Musician and poet David Berman died Aug. 7. Pitchfork reports he was 52. Berman was the founder of the band Silver Jews, who amassed a cult following in the early ’90s, and Purple Mountains, who released their first album in July.
Toni Morrison, the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, died Aug. 5 at age 88. Her prize-winning and best-selling books, including “Beloved,” “Song of Solomon,” and “The Bluest Eye,” gave expression to formerly unspoken truths of black life in America, past and present. Morrison may be best remembered as a literary genius who wrote about black people for other black people, yet her work had universal appeal.
Oscar-winning documentary maker D.A. Pennebaker, whose historic contributions to American culture and politics included immortalizing a young Bob Dylan in “Don’t Look Back” and capturing the spin behind Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign in “The War Room,” died Aug. 1. He was 94. Pennebaker was a leader among a generation of filmmakers in the 1960s who took advantage of such innovations as handheld cameras and adopted an intimate, spontaneous style known as cinéma vérité.
Emmy-winning lighting director Phil Hymes died of complications from cancer on July 29, NBC announced. He was 96. Hymes joined “Saturday Night Live” in 1976 and received an Emmy for his work on “SNL” in 2018, his last year with the NBC show. He occasionally appeared in its sketches, including in episodes hosted by Christopher Walken and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Russi Taylor, the voice of Minnie Mouse since 1986 who also starred in “The Simpsons,” died July 26 in California at age 75, Walt Disney Co. announced. Taylor beat out 200 candidates to win the role of Minnie and reigned in hundreds of television shows, theme park rides, animated shorts and theatrical films.
Rutger Hauer, whose murderous replicant Roy Batty famously fought Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard in 1982’s “Blade Runner,” died July 19 at home in the Netherlands. The Dutch actor, 75, also had memorable roles as the ex-CEO of Wayne Enterprises in 2005’s “Batman Begins” and the vampire master Lothos in 1992’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” movie.
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