Harriz Lentz’s annual book of celebrity obits, “Obituaries in the Performing Arts,” for 2013 is now available from the usual outlets via McFarland and Company. As with previous volumes, this latest book reminds us of the stars who passed on during the year, and alerts us to those who somehow skipped our radar. This reviewer keeps pretty good track of these things, and even I was surprised at some of the entries (sometimes it is a surprise that a particular older star lived as long!).
Lentz’s book offers thorough information on each celebrity, and covers all levels of performance. Music, film, television, the stage, even pro wrestlers are included (it was a surprise to see that we lost Mexican grappler Hector Garza last year at only 43 years of age).
Big names like Roger Ebert, James Gandolfini, Jonathan Winters, Jean Stapleton, Peter O’Toole, and Annette Funicello certainly get ample coverage, but Lentz does not leave out Eleanor Parker, Michael Ansara, Dale Robertson, Frank Bank, or Jane Kean. World leader Nelson Mandela is included, so is wrestling manager Paul Bearer (William Moody). Even some animal stars are noted. Every entry has a picture, so if the name, bio, and credits do not ring a bell, the photo image will certainly remind you of who that person was.
Harris Lentz’s books are great research and reference sources, as well as interesting and informative. His obituaries usually offer more information than any newspaper or online announcements of a celebrity’s death. To Lentz, each of these individuals is important and deserves the same recognition. As much information as can be gathered is always presented.
For those of us who research media, Lentz’s books are extremely beneficial. This book is recommended to libraries, research centers, and film/TV/media historians and buffs.