A promotional card for Pennsylvania funeral home, listed on EBay at Buy It Now for $95.
Queen of the Dead – dateline July 30, 2012
• Two reliably talented British performers have died: Angharad Rees (on July 21, at 63) and Simon Ward (on July 20, at 70). Both had long stage careers and did movies, but were best-known for TV: Rees in Poldark, and Ward in All Creatures Great and Small and The Tudors—though he was also an hilariously handsome Young Winston, in 1972. Ward is the father of actress Sophie Ward, and Rees was married (from 1973-94) to adorable actor Christopher Cazenove. Seriously, there must be at least one untalented British actor or actress, somewhere, right? You can’t all be born with a RADA certificate and a BAFTA award clutched in your tiny paws? Where are your Keanu Reeveses, your Renée Zellwegers? Do you send them off to some Island of Misfit Toys and teach them American accents?
• When pioneering astronaut Sally Ride died at 61 on July 23, the Intranets were all abuzz with “she was survived by her longtime female companion!” and the debates started about “had she been in the closet all these years?” or “was she a gay role model?” or “was she just living her life and not making any public announcements?” As for me, I was more fascinated by the fact that she was also survived by her sister, who is actually named “Bear Ride,” which is best male porn-star name ever.
• We will soon be saying goodbye to Newsweek—at least, the print edition. In another move that makes me feel like an old lady on the lawn shaking her walking stick at jazz-crazed juvies, Barry Diller announced that Newsweek is losing $22 million a year, and that come September, it looks as though it will shift to online-only. We were a Time family, but I am hardly feeling like Time “won.” Neither does Newsweek editor Tina Brown, who calls Diller a “scaremonger” and adds that he had simply “made the uncontroversial, industry-wide observation that print is moving in the direction of digital.” Damn Charleston-mad flappers.
• TV fans are still mourning Andy Griffith, Ernest Borgnine and Sherman Hemlsey, and now Chad Everett! Noooo! One of my big childhood crushes, he died on July 24, aged 76. A male starlet of the 1960s, he appeared in such films as Get Yourself a College Girl, Made in Paris, The Singing Nun and The Impossible Years before finding fame as the dedicated (and hot) young doctor Joe Gannon in Medical Center (1969-76). Unlike his contemporary Marcus Welby—who in 1974 told one patient to pray his evil gayness away—Gannon tackled modern issues (including one of TV’s first sympathetic looks at the transgendered, in a groundbreaking 1975 episode). Everett kept acting steadily through this year (Centennial, Airplane II, Cybill, The Nanny, and most recently Castle), his jaw-dropping good looks intact. Unlike many gorgeous actors, he did not turn into an alligator handbag (I am looking at you, Robert Redford), a plastic-surgery victim or an old lesbian; he just looked like a really hot older guy. Plus, he and his wife, actress Shelby Grant (who died last year) sponsored heart surgeries for children through their Gift of Life foundation.