Poet. Rocker. Punk. Junkie. Jim Carroll, who was all of these, passed away at his desk while working on new material. He first became famous for his novel The Basketball Diaries, but I didn’t discover that until after his album Catholic Boy blew my doors in. I can still sing “People Who Died” from memory and was fortunate enough to have seen the man himself do the honors. Many people believe he was the poet of our generation, a post-Beat Beat writer. Now he’s gone. Wicked, wicked gravity.
Larry Gelbart is probably best known as the creator of M*A*S*H, an accomplishment which would outshine many people’s career resumes. But his writing spanned generations – he started writing for Fanny Brice and Bob Hope, wrote jokes for Red Buttons and Danny Kaye, hit his stride in the incredible writer’s room for Sid Caesar (a crew that included Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Neil Simon and Carl Reiner) and capped it off with M*A*S*H and Tootsie. His work is so good that I forgive him for AfterMASH.
My comments on these two is certainly no slight by omission on the recent passing of others. I just had more invested in the works of Carroll and Gelbart. But over the past seven days the Grim Reaper has been working overtime:
- Pierre Cossette, a TV and Broadway producer I had the pleasure of working with when I was in Artist Management. Total pro, as was his team.
- Army Archerd, whose news items in Variety predated today’s gossip rags and TV shows…except Army had ethics and didn’t just blast rumors to get attention.
- George Eckstein, a producer/writer for some great early TV shows.
- Paul Burke, star of Naked City and 12 O’Clock High
- William Beck, the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, who at least was saved from witnessing Michael Jordan’s embarassing Hall Of Fame speech.
- Frank Batten, creator of The Weather Channel, saving millions of people from having to rely on that antiquated tool of looking out the window.
Christopher Kelly– hmmm, not suspicious at all, right?
Awww crap…11pm update. I knew this was going to happen but not this soon.
And damn, Reaper – Wednesday update – you socked it to him, too?
Jim Carroll Wikipedia entry
Larry Gelbart page at IMDB.