RIP Syd Mead (1933 – 2019)

Syd Mead was an American concept artist best known for his work on Blade Runner (1982), Tron (1982) and Aliens (1986).

His death comes only three months after the death of Luigi Colani (1928 – 2019) who was in a different but comparable branch of concept art.

Both Colani and Mead were obsessed with futuristic aerodynamics.

In the public domain in 2020

Just a few more hours and it will be 2020, which means that the work of a new batch of artists will pass into the public domain in countries of the death-70 regime.

In Europe this means that this will become public domain:

RIP Sue ‘Lolita’ Lyon (1946 – 2019)

Lolita (1962)


Sue Lyon was an American actress best-known as the nymphet of Lolita (1962).


My film bible Cult Movie Stars has this:

“Amid much publicity stating she was too young even to see the film, an unknown blonde was cast in the title role in Lolita.”

Lyon’s final film role was in the mildly amusing Alligator (1980).

RIP Alasdair ‘Lanark’ Gray (1934 – 2019)

Alasdair Gray was a Scottish writer and artist.

‘Out There’ featuring Alasdair Gray.

His magnum opus Lanark (1981) features a skin disease called ‘dragonhide’.

Adjectives applicable to this work are grotesque, fantastique and rabelaisian.

The book has a tendency to depress.

Update: The skin disease ‘dragonhide’ reminds me of Maldoror: “I am filthy. I am riddled with lice. Hogs, when they look at me, vomit. My skin is encrusted with the scabs and scales of leprosy, and covered with yellowish pus.”

RIP Jerry ‘I Am What I Am’ Herman (1931 – 2019)

“I Am What I Am”

Jerry Herman was an American composer and lyricist, known for his work in Broadway musical theater. He composed the scores for the hit Broadway musicals Hello, Dolly!Mame, and La Cage aux Folles. He was nominated for the Tony Award five times, and won twice, for Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles.

By pure coincidence I was watching Paris Is Burning (1990) this afternoon, it features the Jerry Herman-penned gay anthem “I Am What I Am” from La Cage Aux Folles.

Paris Is Burning (1990)
This is the bit from Paris Is Burning (1990) where Brooke and Carmen sing “I Am What I Am” on the beach.

RIP Allee Willis (1947 – 2019)

Allee Willis  was an American eccentric best-known as a songwriter, writing or co-writing “I’ll Be There For You” (1994, Friends theme song); “September” (1978) and “Boogie Wonderland” (1979) by Earth, Wind & Fire; and “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” (1987) by Pet Shop Boys.

Child Star

There are plenty of short portraits of her on YouTube, most of them filmed in her house which, she says, was the MGM partyhouse built in 1937.

There is also her 1974 album Child Star.


She also recorded the song “Big Adventure” (1985) with Pee-Wee Herman.

RIP Peter Wollen (1938 – 2019)

Peter Wollen was a British film theorist, filmmaker. and political journalist.

 Signs and Meaning in the Cinema (1969) . I’m curious about the middle cover.

He is best-known for his book Signs and Meaning in the Cinema (1969) as well as his marriage to and collaboration with Laura “visual pleasure” Mulvey.

Wollen reads the U.S. Press: “People Magazine” and “Scientific American” in the same breath

Above is an enigmatic video from Paper Tiger Television in which Wollen “reads the U.S. Press: ‘People Magazine’ and ‘Scientific American’ in the Same Breath”.

RIP Claudine ‘bond girl’ Auger (1941 – 2019)

Scene from Yo Yo (1965)

Claudine Auger was a French actress. I do not think she is related to Brian Auger.

Auger will be remembered as a ‘bond girl’ but in my universe, she is the mother in Exploits of a Young Don Juan (1986), Isolina in Yo Yo (1965), the “thief!” shouter in Terrain Vague (1960) and Renata in Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971).

Sometimes, the death of someone serves as a jumping board to something only tangentially related to the deceased. This is the case with the Yo Yo film fragment with its mime aesthetic.

Nevertheless, please enjoy despite its tangentiality.