The legendary Cicely Tyson has passed away. She leaves behind a prolific award-winning career in film, TV, and the stage. She was a trailblazer who opened the door for other black actresses that followed. Moreover, she used her work to show how multidimensional black women are and their deserving of respect. I’ll remember her most for the dignity and poise she possessed. Like a regal queen. She always seemed sure of herself and what she wanted from the world. Recently, Miss Tyson completed her memoir, Just As I Am. I’m looking forward to reading it and learning more about this incredible woman.
Director Joel Schumacher passed away yesterday at the age of 80 after a battle with cancer. He started out as a costume designer (The Last of Sheila) in the 70s before transitioning to screenwriting (Sparkle, The Wiz). In 1981, he made his directorial debut with the comedy The Incredible Shrinking Woman. Looking at his IMBD page, you can see how eclectic his directing career was. There were big blockbusters (BatmanForever), dramas adapted from books (A Time to Kill, The Client), thrillers (Flatliners), and even a musical (The Phantom of the Opera). He didn’t allow himself to be pigeonholed as one type of director, but instead made the movies he enjoyed.
I’ll remember Schumacher best for The Lost Boys. It’s one that I have to stop and watch whenever I come across it on TV, which is often. He was able to put together the perfect mix of horror and comedy. It’s a very fun film.
I’m looking forward to re-watching my favorites from Schumacher and discovering his other films that I haven’t gotten around to seeing.
Activist and writer Larry Kramer passed away yesterday at 84. Over the years, his writing was critically acclaimed and won many awards. But he’ll be remembered most for his unbridled activism. Kramer was on the frontlines when the AIDS epidemic began in the 1980s. He helped to form the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and later the more militant ACT UP. His approach was usually abrasive and confrontational. However, that anger was necessary in order to get people in power to implement changes. I enjoyed Kramer’s book Faggots and was moved by his play TheNormalHeart. I’m also very thankful for the battle he fought and the lives that it saved.
Yesterday it was announced that actor Roscoe Born had passed away. He was known for his roles on soap operas like One Life to Live, Ryan’s Hope, Days of Our Lives, and The Young and the Restless. Being an OLTL fan, I remember him as the villainous Mitch Laurence. I missed his first run in the 80s, but caught him when Mitch returned from the dead (wouldn’t be the last time) in 2002. Mitch lied, cheated, blackmailed, kidnapped, assaulted, and murdered his way through Llanview. At one point he started a cult and called himself The Messenger, seducing followers into doing his bidding. He really was a son of a bitch. Yet, he was very entertaining. The success of the character was because of Born. He was an incredible actor that made you love to hate Mitch as opposed to plain despising the guy. Of course, you wanted the heroes to win, but you enjoyed seeing Mitch torture them a bit. It takes a smart charismatic actor to pull that off. It helped that he was quite handsome and had a delicious voice. I’m glad I got to see Born in one of his defining roles. He’ll be missed.