Including a conversation with film historian Tony Williams
By David Walsh, 21 July 2017
The American director of numerous horror and other films, including Night of the Living Dead, died July 16 in Toronto.
By Adam Soroka, 22 May 2017
Cornell (born July 20, 1964 in Seattle, Washington) will be best remembered as the lead vocalist of the Seattle metal band Soundgarden. His vocals combined an R&B sensibility with a dynamic, multi-octave range.
Citizens Band, Something Wild, The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia …
By David Walsh, 13 May 2017
American filmmaker Jonathan Demme died April 26 in New York City from complications stemming from esophageal cancer and heart disease. He was 73.
By Vladimir Volkov, 3 May 2017
Yevgeny Yevtushenko, the best-known Soviet poet from the 1960s to the 1980s, died at 85 from cancer on April 1, 2017, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
By Hiram Lee, 23 March 2017
It would be difficult to overstate Berry’s influence on American popular music in the second half of the 20th century. Perhaps more than any other artist in the genre, he defined the sound of rock ’n’ roll.
By David Walsh, 8 March 2017
Osborne was an affable and intelligent presence on American television—something increasingly rare!
By Kevin Martinez, 17 February 2017
Renowned for playing outsiders and “commoners,” British actor John Hurt died January 25, three days after his 77th birthday.
By Nick Barrickman, 15 February 2017
Axelrod crafted and inspired some of the more haunting, cinematic and versatile popular American music during the second half of the 20th century.
By Sandy English and David Walsh, 7 February 2017
Prominent left-wing art critic John Berger died on January 2 and left a mixed legacy of writing on art and society.
By Lee Parsons, 13 January 2017
Last August the Soviet-Russian sculptor Ernst Neizvestny, one of the most interesting artists of the postwar period, and someone with a distinctive political history, died in New York City at the age of 91.
By David Walsh, 29 December 2016
The announcement Tuesday that Carrie Fisher had died at only 60 was sad news. The actress, writer and humorist was an appealing figure and personality.
By Kevin Reed, 17 December 2016
Greg Lake was a founder, along with schoolmate Robert Fripp, of the British band King Crimson in 1968 and later the 1970s’ supergroup Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
The “Mark Twain of jazz” dies at 89
By James Brewer, 26 November 2016
Over his six-decade musical career, Allison performed live thousands of times and released over 50 albums. He left behind a tremendous body of recorded work dating back to the mid-1950s.
By Hiram Lee, 23 November 2016
Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, famed for songs such as “Suzanne,” “The Stranger Song,” “So Long, Marianne,” “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye,” “Famous Blue Raincoat” and “Bird on the Wire,” died November 7 at the age of 82.
By Dorota Niemitz and Stefan Steinberg, 14 October 2016
Film and theatre director Andrzej Wajda, who made some of the most significant Polish films of the twentieth century, has died at the age of 90.
By David Walsh, 22 September 2016
Albee is best remembered for The Zoo Story (1959), The Death of Bessie Smith (1960), The Sandbox (1960), The American Dream (1961), and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962).
By James Brewer, 1 September 2016
Although his work in film ended more than 25 years ago, Wilder will be long remembered for the humor and humanity he displayed in films like Young Frankenstein.
Toots Thielemans: 1922-2016
By James Brewer, 25 August 2016
The Belgian-born multi-instrumental jazz musician became widely known for his virtuosic harmonica playing.
By Hiram Lee, 1 August 2016
Guitarist Scotty Moore, who performed on all the classic Elvis Presley recordings of the 1950s, died June 28 at the age of 84.
By Bernd Reinhardt, 16 July 2016
In addition to a remarkable command of his instrument, guitarist Häns’che Weiss was distinguished by his thrilling musicality.
By David Walsh, 14 July 2016
The Iranian director will be best remembered and long honored for the series of feature films, including documentaries, that he made between 1987 and 1997.
By Richard Phillips, 11 July 2016
Cox directed over 40 dramatic features and documentaries—the overwhelming majority on paper-thin budgets—during his more than forty-year career.
By David Walsh, 7 July 2016
Cimino is best known as the director of The Deer Hunter (1978), which won numerous Academy Awards, and Heaven’s Gate (1980), which was denounced by leading critics, lost a great deal of money and severely damaged Cimino’s career.
By Hiram Lee, 6 July 2016
Ralph Stanley led one of the most remarkable groups in Bluegrass music and was among the genre’s greatest banjo players and singers.
By Hiram Lee, 27 April 2016
While music icon Prince, who died April 21 at the age of 57, was among the more electrifying performers of his generation, his work could be terribly uneven.
By Hiram Lee, 29 March 2016
The members of A Tribe Called Quest were more relatable than the superstar rappers who came before them and more sensitive and intelligent than the lyricists of then-emerging gangster rap.
By Hiram Lee, 15 March 2016
Legendary music producer George Martin, who supervised almost all of the Beatles’ recordings, died on March 8.
By Hiram Lee, 16 January 2016
British rock icon David Bowie died January 10, just two days after his 69th birthday and the release of his final album Blackstar .
By Alex Lantier, 7 January 2016
As a conductor who worked and recorded extensively with leading orchestras and opera companies, Boulez elicited powerful, precise, unpretentious and always tasteful performances, though they sometimes had a touch of coldness.
By Hiram Lee, 12 November 2015
On tour at the time of his death, Toussaint suffered a heart attack following a performance at the Teatro Lara in Madrid, Spain.
By Hiram Lee, 28 October 2015
Irish-born actress Maureen O’Hara, star of The Quiet Man and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, died October 24 at the age of 95. She was one of the most compelling actresses of her generation.
By Kevin Reed, 30 July 2015
The British-born bass player, song writer and vocalist for the progressive rock band Yes, died on June 27 at his home in Phoenix, Arizona. He was 67.
By Hiram Lee, 18 June 2015
Saxophonist Ornette Coleman helped to define the free jazz movement during an often controversial career spanning half a century.
By Sybille Fuchs, Wolfgang Weber and Peter Schwarz, 25 April 2015
Günter Grass, who died at the age of 87 on April 13, was one of Germany’s most outstanding storytellers and a man who remained true to his political principles throughout his life.
By Kaye Tucker, 21 April 2015
Seymour’s most successful play The One Day of the Year is one of the very few that challenges the myths surrounding Anzac Day.
By Dorota Niemitz and Matthew Brennan, 5 March 2015
The appeal of the Detroit native, who won a Pulitzer Prize and was named Poet Laureate of the US, was due in part to the accessibility and directness of his poems.
By Peter Schwarz, 2 February 2015
The glorification of Weizsäcker has less to do with his actual role than with the current political situation, amidst a resurgence of German militarism.
By Fred Mazelis and Tom Mackaman, 20 January 2015
Most attention has been focused on the relationship between Martin Luther King and Lyndon Johnson, but far deeper questions must be explored, including the significance of the mass movement against Jim Crow segregation, its political limitations and its fate.
By Jeff Lusanne, 16 January 2015
Artists from around the world have contributed 26 comics depicting the criminality and brutality of World War I.
By James Brewer, 3 January 2015
The iconic British rock performer died on December 22 of lung cancer at the age of 70.
By David Walsh, 22 November 2014
Nichols, whose career spanned five decades, was undoubtedly an artistically gifted individual, known for his sharp wit and urbanity as well as his considerable skill with actors.
By Sandy English, 30 September 2014
Writer Nadine Gordimer, winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature, died in Johannesburg at the age of 90 on July 13.
By David Walsh, 15 August 2014
Bacall, one of the few surviving performers prominently identified with Hollywood films in the 1940s, died at her home in New York City on Tuesday at the age of 89.
By David Walsh, 13 August 2014
Williams was found dead on Monday at his home in Tiburon, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area, having apparently commited suicide.
By Richard Phillips, 8 July 2014
One of the few remaining old-school soul singers still working, Womack left behind a remarkable body of work in rhythm and blues.
By Hiram Lee, 7 July 2014
Lyricist Gerry Goffin passed away in June at the age of 75. Together with composer Carole King, he wrote many of the better known pop hits of the 1960s.
By Fred Mazelis, 27 June 2014
The actor’s career spanned 65 years and intersected with the work of many leading figures in the film and theater worlds.
By John Andrews, 24 June 2014
Horace Silver, the noted pianist and composer central to the hard bop school of jazz, has passed away, leaving a legacy of outstanding recordings made during the 1950s and 1960s.
By David Walsh, 14 June 2014
Dee won Grammy, Emmy, Obie, Drama Desk and Screen Actors Guild awards during her remarkable acting career, and was also nominated for an Academy Award for her role in American Gangster (2007).
By Rafael Azul, 14 May 2014
The Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, one of the major literary figures of the past half-century, died in Mexico City on April 17 at the age of 87.
British actor Bob Hoskins (1942-2014): “When you’ve got something to give, give it without hesitation”
By Paul Bond, 10 May 2014
Hoskins was a fine performer, never less than watchable, and able to combine vulnerability with explosive anger.
By David Walsh, 8 April 2014
Longtime film, television and stage actor Mickey Rooney died on Sunday at the age of 93. Rooney was one of the most popular American movie stars in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
By David Walsh, 12 March 2014
Unlike virtually any other leading filmmaker, Resnais chose to treat colonialism in Africa, the Holocaust and World War II, the atomic bombing of Japan, the Algerian War, the Spanish Civil War and the Vietnam War.
By Paul Bond, 5 March 2014
Cultural Studies, in which Stuart Hall specialised, sought to shift the focus of social criticism away from class and onto other social formations, promoting the development of identity politics.
By Hiram Lee, 3 February 2014
Philip Seymour Hoffman, the award-winning American film and stage actor, has died of an apparent drug overdose at the age of 46.
By Hiram Lee, 1 February 2014
Actress Joan Fontaine, who passed away in December at the age of 96, contributed a number of remarkable performances to Hollywood films of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.
By David Walsh, 30 January 2014
In a career that lasted almost three quarters of a century, Seeger wrote, co-wrote or was identified with a number of the most popular folk or protest songs of the second half of the twentieth century.
By Rafael Azul, 29 January 2014
Argentine poet Juan Gelman died in Mexico city on January 14. Gelman was considered one of the most important Spanish-language poets, as well as a fighter against the Latin American dictatorships of the 1970s.
By Fred Mazelis, 18 January 2014
The career and legacy of Amiri Baraka reveal, above all, the dead end of black nationalism, as well as communalism and ethnic-based cultural exclusivism of every kind.
By D. Lencho, 8 January 2014
These great, although lesser-known figures in jazz, who died in the last few months of 2013, left a legacy of beautiful music.
By Hiram Lee, 7 January 2014
Singer Phil Everly, one half of the early Rock ‘n’ Roll duo The Everly Brothers, has died at the age of 74.
By Paul Bond, 23 December 2013
Actor Peter O’Toole, one of the remarkable film and stage actors of his generation, died December 14 at 81.
By Sandy English, 9 December 2013
Doris Lessing, the Nobel Prize winning novelist , died at age 94 in London on November 11. She produced over 50 novels and scores of short stories.
On the death of literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki (1920-2013): A passionate advocate of literature—Part 1
By Sybille Fuchs, 31 October 2013
Polish-born literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki was one of the most important figures in contemporary German cultural life.
By Hiram Lee, 29 October 2013
Lou Reed, founder of the influential rock band The Velvet Underground, has died at the age of 71.
By Hiram Lee, 27 August 2013
Rhythm and blues great Bobby “Blue” Bland, whose hits included “Cry, Cry, Cry” and “Turn on Your Lovelight,” died this summer at the age of 83.
By David Walsh, 21 June 2013
American actor James Gandolfini, best known for his role in The Sopranos, died in Rome on Wednesday night.
By Hiram Lee, 25 May 2013
Ray Manzarek, keyboardist of the 1960s rock band The Doors, died May 20 at the age of 74.
By Hiram Lee, 29 April 2013
Legendary country singer George Jones died in Nashville on April 26. A remarkable performer, Jones was a significant figure in American popular music during the second half of the 20th century.
By Hiram Lee, 10 April 2013
Singer Cleotha Staples of the popular gospel, folk and R&B group the Staple Singers, died recently at the age of 78.
By Fred Mazelis, 2 March 2013
A musician who became world-famous more than half a century ago, Van Cliburn had a career that was noteworthy, even if he never achieved the potential that seemed possible in his youth.
By John Andrews, 11 February 2013
Donald Byrd, a trumpet master associated with the post-bebop jazz that emerged in New York City during the 1950s and 1960s, died last week at the age of 80.
By Kapila Fernando, K. Ratnayake and Peter Symonds, 20 December 2012
What was unique about Ravi Shankar was the breadth of his interests, willingness to experiment and passion for making classical Indian music available to the world.
By Hiram Lee, 10 December 2012
A significant figure in postwar American culture, Brubeck’s classic 1959 album Time Out sold a million copies, the first jazz album to hold that distinction.
By Fred Mazelis, 6 December 2012
American composer Elliott Carter reflected the trajectory of Western classical music in the past century.
By Clare Hurley, 30 August 2012
Australian-born art critic and social historian Robert Hughes (The Shock of the New, The Fatal Shore) died August 6 in New York City after a long illness.
By Sandy English, 27 August 2012
Gore Vidal, novelist, playwright, essayist and one-time television personality, died July 31 at his home in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles.
By Hiram Lee, 23 July 2012
Country music icon Kitty Wells died July 16 at her home in Nashville, Tennessee.
Film critic Andrew Sarris 1928-2012: An appreciation
By David Walsh, 26 June 2012
One of the leading American film critics of the past half-century, Andrew Sarris, died in New York City on June 20. The WSWS is reposting an interview we did with Sarris and a review of one of his later books. The interview includes a new introduction.
Film critic Andrew Sarris 1928-2012: An appreciation
By David Walsh, 26 June 2012
The World Socialist Web Site is reposting here an article originally published on July 1, 1998. See also the accompanying interview with Andrew Sarris, also from 1998, with a new introduction following his death June 20.
By Christine Schofelt and Hector Cordon, 14 June 2012
The American science fiction and fantasy writer Ray Bradbury was one of the most influential popular authors for the generation that grew up after the Second World War.
14 June 2012
Science fiction and fantasy writer Steven Brust, best known for the Vlad Taltos series of novels, offers the WSWS a comment on Ray Bradbury, who died June 5.
By Hiram Lee, 8 June 2012
Legendary guitarist and folk singer Doc Watson died May 29 in North Carolina.
By Christine Schofelt, 7 June 2012
Beloved author and illustrator Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are and many others) died May 8.
By James Brewer, 26 May 2012
Booker T. and the M.G.’s bass player Donald “Duck” Dunn, died suddenly while on tour in Tokyo on May 13.
By Dorian Griscom, 25 May 2012
The German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was renowned for his interpretations of Schubert, Schumann and Brahms songs, but his repertoire included opera and oratorio as well.
By Sandy English, 3 May 2012
Hilton Kramer spoke for some of the most retrograde forces in American culture.
By Hiram Lee, 25 April 2012
Broadcaster and entrepreneur Dick Clark, host of the long-running teen dance show American Bandstand, died April 18.
By James Brewer, 23 April 2012
After 14-year bout with cancer, Levon Helm, the drummer and singer of The Band, dies in New York.
By Hiram Lee, 31 March 2012
Earl Scruggs, a pioneering figure in Bluegrass music and an innovator on the 5-string Banjo, has died at the age of 88.
By Hiram Lee, 13 February 2012
American popular singer Whitney Houston has died in Los Angeles at the age of 48.
By David Walsh, 9 February 2012
Ben Gazzara had a long career in film, theater and television, which began in the mid-1950s. He worked with numerous interesting directors, although he seems to have found the greatest artistic satisfaction working with John Cassavetes.
“I no longer deal with politics, with generalisations. I have stopped understanding them.”
By Stefan Steinberg, 27 January 2012
In many respects Angelopoulos expresses the artistic and political crisis of a generation of intellectuals who tragically failed to come to grips with the traumas of the past century and the extraordinary social and intellectual challenges of the new.
By Paul Bond, 26 January 2012
Etta James had an instantly recognisable voice, sinuous, tender and harsh in equal measure. She died a few days short of her 74th birthday.
By Hiram Lee, 24 January 2012
Influential R&B musician Johnny Otis, best-known for the hit dance record “Willie and the Hand Jive” died January 17 at the age of 90.
By Paul Bond, 5 January 2012
The longtime sideman for Chicago blues great Howlin’ Wolf, Hubert Sumlin, died last month at the age of 80.
By Paul Bond, 29 December 2011
British filmmaker Ken Russell, who directed Women in Love, The Music Lovers, The Devils and many other works, died last month aged 84.
By Hiram Lee, 28 December 2011
Jazz drummer Paul Motian, a member of the classic Bill Evans Trio of the early 1960s, died recently at the age of 80.
Nicholas Ray: The Glorious Failure of an American Director—a new biography of a major American filmmaker
By Charles Bogle, 12 September 2011
In writing Nicholas Ray: The Glorious Failure of an American Director, biographer Patrick McGilligan has performed the valuable service of tracing the fitful arc of a great and troubled director’s life and career.
By Hiram Lee, 6 September 2011
Songwriter Nick Ashford who, along with his wife Valerie Simpson, wrote several significant hits for Motown records in the late 1960s, has died at age 70.