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Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Sad Weekend

Sad to see two obituaries this weekend of talented men who died too young, and whose work gave so much joy.

First we lost Bernie Mac at the age of 50. (The photo at right is courtesy the Associated Press). Here's the story from the AP:
Bernie Mac blended style, authority and a touch of self-aware bluster to make audiences laugh as well as connect with him. For Mac, who died Saturday at age 50, it was a winning mix, delivering him from a poor childhood to stardom as a standup comedian, in films including the casino heist caper Ocean's Eleven and his acclaimed sitcom The Bernie Mac Show.

Though his comedy drew on tough experiences as a black man, he had mainstream appeal—befitting inspiration he found in a wide range of humorists: Harpo Marx as well as Moms Mabley; squeaky-clean Red Skelton, but also the raw Redd Foxx.

Mac died Saturday morning from complications due to pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital, his publicist, Danica Smith, said in a statement from Los Angeles. She said no other details were available.

"This is a very sad day for many of us who knew and loved Bernie," said Don Cheadle, a member of the "Oceans" gang. "He brought so much joy to so many. He will be missed but heaven just got funnier."

Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body's organs, but had said the condition went into remission in 2005. He recently was hospitalized and treated for pneumonia, which his publicist said was not related to the disease.
Now Isaac Hayes has left us (the photo is also courtesy the Associated Press).

Here's what the AP has to say about Isaac:
Isaac Hayes, the pioneering singer, songwriter and musician whose relentless "Theme From Shaft" won Academy and Grammy awards, has been found dead at home. He was 65.

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office says a family member found Hayes unresponsive near a treadmill on Sunday. He was pronounced dead about an hour later at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis. The cause of death was not immediately known.

In the early 1970s, Hayes laid the groundwork for disco, for what became known as urban-contemporary music and for romantic crooners like Barry White. And he was rapping before there was rap.