TCM’s annual homage to the moviemakers who passed away at the end of each year is always made with style and class. This year is no exception. The images are set to a stirring rendition of Tom Petty and The Heartbreaker’s “Learning to Fly” by AG and Christina Perri and is tied together in silk by performance artist Jordaan Stallworth.

As one gets older, it is sobering to note how many of the departed stars seem more contemporary. Partially this is because some are associated with the wave of movies I grew up watching in cinemas in the ’70s. Among those saluted in the 2023 video are Cindy Williams (“American Graffiti”), Ryan O’Neal (“Paper Moon”), and Melinda Dillon (“Close Encounters of the Third Kind”). Richard Roundtree was the private dick who’s the sex machine to all the chicks in “Shaft.”

Others were people I was fortunate to interview over my career as a journalist, including Matthew Perry, Alan Arkin, Suzanne Somers, David McCallum, George Maharis and Treat Williams. Gordon Pinsent was always the guy you gravitated towards in any crowded room.

The great Harry Belafonte made a lasting impression at a 2004 Television Critics Association press tour appearance. Way back at one of my first press tours in 1985, Robert Blake told us the name of dat tune while promoting his short-lived TV comeback in Helltown.

Find them all, including composer Burt Bacharach, filmmaker William Friedkin, author Cormac McCarthy, stunner Raquel Welch and unforgettable Paul Reubens, among those saluted this December by TCM.

1 Comment

  1. We lost 96 great artists, actors, and producers, cinematographers, singers, dancers, and writers, and directors. It brought tears to my eyes as I watched the TCM listing. Ryan O’Neal—from Love Story one of the first films I ever went to a movie theater to see. Raquel Welch, the “bombshell”. Tina Turner, Cindy Williams, and another of my favorites, Piper Laurie, from “Carrie”, the obsessive- self-indulgent fanatical Christian-mother who no doubt had a profound effect on the character star of that movie.
    We cannot, will not be able to replace these people…

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