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Tag: In Memoriam (31-40 of 69)

British horror author James Herbert dies at 69

He was a “Grand Master” of horror and rats were one of his specialties.

British horror writer James Herbert, whose best-selling spine-tinglers included “The Rats” and “The Fog,” has died at age 69.

Herbert’s publisher, Pan Macmillan, said he died Wednesday at his home in Sussex, southern England. It did not disclose the cause.

The London-born Herbert studied graphic design, print and photography before finding work at an advertising agency.

His first novel, “The Rats” — which depicted London being overrun by mutant flesh-eating rodents — took 10 months to complete and was published in 1974. It sold 100,000 copies in three weeks and was later turned into a film.

He went on to write 23 novels, selling 54 million copies around the world.

Most recent bestsellers included “Nobody True” and “The Secret of Crickley Hall,” which was turned into a three-part series for BBC television that aired in December.

Jeremy Trevathan, Herbert’s editor for ten years at Macmillan, said Herbert had the “rare distinction” of seeing his novels deemed classics of the horror genre within his lifetime.

“It’s a true testament to his writing and his enduring creativity that his books continued to be huge bestsellers right up until his death,” Trevathan said in a statement. “His death marks the passing of one of the giants of popular fiction in the 20th century.”

Herbert was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, by Queen Elizabeth II in 2010 — the same year he was named “Grand Master of Horror” by the World of Horror Convention.

He is survived by his wife Eileen and three daughters.

Legendary music biz executive Clive Davis opens up about Whitney Houston, Kelly Clarkson, and his own bisexuality in new memoir


It is almost easier to list the artists legendary music business executive Clive Davis hasn’t worked with than the ones he has during his half century-long career. Suffice it to say that the founder of Arista and J Records and the current chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment has overseen releases by everyone from voice-of-his-generation Bob Dylan to Milli Vanilli who, as it turned out, weren’t even the voices of themselves.


'Three Cups of Tea' co-author David Oliver Relin dies at age 49


David Oliver Relin, co-author of the 2006 best-selling inspirational memoir Three Cups of Tea, died on Nov. 14 in Oregon at age 49. Relin had been suffering from depression and committed suicide, according to a family spokesperson.

The book, co-authored with Greg Mortenson, came under fire in 2011 when 60 Minutes and author Jon Krakauer alleged that it misrepresented or fabricated basic facts, particularly passages about Mortenson’s rescue by the citizens of Korphe, Pakistan, and the number of schools built by Mortenson’s charity, the Central Asia Institute. READ FULL STORY

David Rakoff, author and 'This American Life' contributor, dies at 47

UPDATED: David Rakoff — a sharp, sardonic wit who delighted listeners of This American Life and readers of his books of essays — died after a two-year fight with cancer on Thursday. He was 47.

Born in Canada, Rakoff started his career in publishing, where he struck up a friendship with author and humorist David Sedaris. Through Sedaris, Rakoff also got to know an NPR reporter named Ira Glass, and when Glass started his hour long public radio show This American Life, Rakoff was one of its earliest contributors. (He’s also one of the rare few who has guest hosted the show.) “[His death] was no surprise,” Glass wrote Friday on the This American Life blog. “He’d been talking about it for months. He even named August as when it would happen. We’ve watched him get weaker and sicker. But still it’s hard not to be stunned. … He was my friend, our friend here at the radio show, and our brother in creating the program, making it into what it’s become. We loved him. We’ll miss him.”

Through his This American Life appearances and his books of collected essays, including 2001’s Fraud and 2005’s Don’t Get Too Comfortable, Rakoff quickly established his singular worldview: A bemused, trenchant pessimism, informed in equal measure by his Jewish cultural heritage, his homosexuality, and his inveterate loyalty to his adopted home of New York City. READ FULL STORY

Novelist Gore Vidal dies at age 86

How do you sum up a career as eclectic as that of Gore Vidal, who died Tuesday at age 86 of complications from pneumonia? He was a novelist, of course, the acclaimed author of 25 novels (from scandalous best-sellers like Myra Breckinridge to scholarly works like Burr and Lincoln). But he also wrote more than 200 essays, seven plays (his 1960 political drama The Best Man had a critically praised revival on Broadway in 2012 starring James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury), and nobody knows how many TV and movie scripts (including an uncredited rewrite on the 1959 classic Ben-Hur). He was a political pundit who famously came close to fisticuffs with William F. Buckley Jr. during a live TV debate at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. He was also an actor (in movies such as Gattaca and With Honors), a game show panelist (What’s My Line?), and a frequent guest on Johnny Carson’s sofa (where he made witty banter during 16 Tonight Show appearances, almost as many as Charo).

“I never thought about myself as a ‘personality,’’’ Vidal told EW back in 2006, when he was promoting Point to Point Navigation, a second volume of personal memoirs. “To go around in a purple suit or something just to get attention — that’s not my style. But you’ve got to amuse yourself somehow, you know? And I find that being on TV is a lot more amusing than actually watching it.’’

Vidal’s health—and luck—had been on a long slide since 2003, starting with the illness and death of his longtime partner, Howard Auster. He was forced to sell Swallows Nest, his beloved cliff-side villa in Ravello, Italy, and spent his final years ensconced in his Hollywood Hills home, a sprawling abode filled with framed photographs of the famous friends he’d made over the years. In his living room, he kept a somber picture of Jackie Kennedy, apparently taken in the early 1960s. “To Gore,” she scrawled across her frowning visage, “who makes it impossible to look this serious.”

'Circle of Friends' author Maeve Binchy dies

Bestselling Irish author Maeve Binchy, one of Ireland’s most popular writers who sold more than 40 million books worldwide, has died in Dublin after a brief illness, Irish media and national leaders said. She was 72 years old.

She was best known for her depictions of human relationships and their crises, mainly in the small towns of Ireland but also in London. “We have lost a national treasure,” said Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

The Irish Times, her former employer, told the AP it had spoken to Binchy’s family and said the acclaimed author had died in a Dublin hospital on Monday with her husband Gordon Snell by her side.

“She was an outstanding novelist, short story writer and columnist, who engaged millions of people all around the world with her fluent and accessible style,” said Ireland’s president, Michael D. Higgins. READ FULL STORY

'Encyclopedia Brown' author dies at age 87


Donald J. Sobol, creator of the Encyclopedia Brown series for children, died at age 87 on July 11. Over the course of his mystery writing career, which began in 1959 with Two-Minute Mysteries, Sobol wrote more than 65 books and won a special Edgar Award in 1976.

The Encyclopedia Brown series centers on Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown, a boy detective nicknamed for his vast knowledge of facts, who helps his police chief father solve local cases, usually by dinner time. Sobol came up with the concept when he came across a book by chance at the New York Public Library. The book had puzzles on one side of the page and solutions on the other, and it occurred to him to write a mystery book in the same style. Since the publication of the first Encyclopedia Brown novel in 1963, the books have never been out of print and have been translated into 12 languages.

He is survived by his wife, Rose; a sister, Helen; three children Diane, Eric and John; and four grandchildren, Gregory, Bryan, Lauren and Nicholas.

Did you grow up with Encyclopedia Brown, Bugs Meany, and Sally Kimball? What was your favorite mystery?

Nora Ephron's life in books: Read some of her best quotes

Nora Ephron, who died of acute myeloid leukemia last night at age 71, was perhaps best known for her films When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and Julie & Julia — but she began her career in words as an essayist, and remained one throughout her life. Her essay collections — and for that matter, her 1983 novel Heartburn about her messy divorce from journalist Carl Bernstein — were funny, sharp, relatable, and highly personal, and they became even more so in her later years. Click through for some of the most memorable zingers, observations, and bon mots from her ever-quotable books.

NEXT: Wallflower at the Orgy

Ray Bradbury: Remembering the words of his 'demon muse' in 10 classic stories

Ray Bradbury will be remembered forever as as one of America’s greatest authors, but the truth is he never wrote anything. At least, that’s how he told it.

Whenever the storyteller, who died Tuesday at age 91, was asked about the creation of his classic tales — such as the novels Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Something Wicked This Way Comes — Bradbury tended to say it was a mystery to him too.

In 2003, after a screening of the movie based on his short story “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit,” he told an audience that he couldn’t claim credit for any of his stories. Bradbury said he sat down to do the typing, and the “demon” who lived inside him would start to speak. “Everything comes to me,” he told Fox News in 2004. “Everything is my demon muse. I have a muse which whispers in my ear and says, ‘Do this, do that,’ but it’s my demon who provokes me.” READ FULL STORY

Ray Bradbury, 'Fahrenheit 451' author, dead at 91

Ray Bradbury, the science fiction-fantasy master who transformed his childhood dreams and Cold War fears into telepathic Martians, lovesick sea monsters, and, in uncanny detail, the high-tech, book-burning future of Fahrenheit 451, has died. He was 91. He died Tuesday night, his daughter said Wednesday. Alexandra Bradbury did not have additional details.

Although slowed in recent years by a stroke that meant he had to use a wheelchair, Bradbury remained active into his 90s, turning out new novels, plays, screenplays and a volume of poetry. He wrote every day in the basement office of his home in the Cheviot Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles and appeared from time to time at bookstores, public library fundraisers and other literary events around Los Angeles. His writings ranged from horror and mystery to humor and sympathetic stories about the Irish, blacks and Mexican-Americans. Bradbury also scripted John Huston’s 1956 film version of Moby Dick and wrote for The Twilight Zone and other television programs, including The Ray Bradbury Theater, for which he adapted dozens of his works. “What I have always been is a hybrid author,” Bradbury said in 2009. “I am completely in love with movies, and I am completely in love with theater, and I am completely in love with libraries.” READ FULL STORY

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