Neil Simon and Barbara Harris — We Mourn the Loss

Posted on September 6, 2018 at 8:00 am

We mourn the loss of the 20th century’s greatest American comedy writer, Neil Simon, and of Barbara Harris, the effervescent star of films like “Nashville,” “Freaky Friday” (the Jodie Foster version), and “A Thousand Clowns.”

Here Harris appears in one of Simon’s films, “Plaza Suite,” with Walter Matthau as a suburban mother meeting with her lecherous former boyfriend, a Hollywood producer, for the first time since they were teenagers.

May their memories be blessings. And may this sad news inspire us all to revisit their best work.

 

 

 

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Tribute: A Sad Farewell to “Schoolhouse Rock” Composer Bob Dorough

Posted on April 24, 2018 at 12:16 pm

We mourn the loss of Bob Dorough, whose wonderful “Schoolhouse Rock” songs taught a generation of kids about everything from grammar to math to history. Some of my favorites:

And here is Dorough talking about the value of music in education.

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Tribute: Rose Marie

Posted on December 29, 2017 at 12:29 pm

Copyright Rose Marie 2017
We bid a sad and fond farewell to Rose Marie, a star from the era of radio to the era of Twitter, who died yesterday at age 94. She is best remembered today as Sally Rogers, the wisecracking comedy writer (inspired by Selma Diamond) on the fictitious “Alan Brady Show” in my all-time favorite television series, “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” Sally’s brash humor, mostly directed toward herself and her single status, was a perfect counterpoint to Van Dyke’s suburban dad and Morey Amsterdam’s non-stop one-liners. For me, and I imagine for many girls and young women across the country, the writer with the bow in her hair who was the only woman in the room was an inspiring example of an independent, respected working woman. In her appearances on talk shows and “The Hollywood Squares” she was as quick and funny as the character she played. And could she sell a song.

After all, she had been a singing superstar as a little girl with a very big voice and and a bigger personality, billed as “the child wonder.”

Here she gives her thoughts on comedy.

And how the Sally Rogers character was based on her own personality.

I was proud to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign for the documentary about Rose Marie that came out earlier this year. It includes many remarkable stories about her early days as a child superstar and her appearances in Las Vegas back when the mob was running the casinos.

Carl Reiner, creator of “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” wrote on Twitter:

I was so sad to learn of the passing of Rosemarie. There’s never been a more engaging & multi-talented performer. In a span of 90 years, since she was four, dear Rosie performed on radio, in vaudeville, nightclubs, films, TV, & Vegas & always had audiences clamoring for “more!!”

Bill Persky, a writer for the show, paid tribute on Twitter as well: “Laughter lost a friend today with the passing of Rosemarie, Every line we wrote for her was guaranteed, she never failed to deliver, The New Year will be less happy with her gone.”

Columnist Amy “Ask Amy” Dickinson wrote in her book that her appearances on the NPR show “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” are inspired by her inner Sally Rogers. I think all of us of that generation, especially those who write, have a bit of Sally — and Rose Marie — in us.

May her memory be a blessing.

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