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TV scriptwriter and composer Jeffrey Moss, who created the Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch and other characters for Jim Henson’s Sesame Street, died of cancer on September 24th, aged 56.

Illustrator Julian Allen, who collaborated with Bruce Wagner on the comic-strip Wild Palms, which became a TV mini-series produced by Oliver Stone, died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on September 28th, aged 55. In 1994 he was commissioned by the American Postal Service to create a series of stamps featuring blues singers.

A former newspaper reporter turned Edgar Award-winning TV scriptwriter, Adrian Spies died during open heart surgery on October 2nd, aged 78. He scripted the 1966 Star Trek episode “Miri”, which was banned for many years in Britain.

Chinese painter and sculptor Chang Chong-Jen, who inspired Belgium artist Hergé(Georges Remi) to create the character of Chang in the Tintin books, died on October 8th at a retirement home outside Paris. He was 93.

British thriller writer Eric Ambler died on October 22nd, aged 89. His books include The Mask of Dimitrios and Journey Into Fear (both filmed). In 1953 he was nominated for an Academy Award for the screenplay adaptation of Nicholas Monserrat’s novel The Cruel Sea, he was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1975, and received the O.B.E. in 1981.

Walter Kendrick, professor of English at Fordham University and an authority on Victorian literature, died of pancreatic cancer on October 25th, aged 51. His books include the 1991 study The Thrill of Fear: 250 Years of Scary Entertainment.

Two weeks after receiving the Order of Merit from the Queen, Britain’s Poet Laureate Ted Hughes (Edward James Hughes) died from cancer on October 28th, aged 68. His books include Tales of the Early World and Ffangs the Vampire Bat and the Kiss of Truth. He had been married to two poets — Sylvia Plath and Assia Wevill — both of whom committed suicide.

American screenwriter, novelist and playwright James Goldman died of a heart attack the same day, aged 71. His credits include The Lion in Winter, They Might Be Giants, Stephen Sondheim’s Follies and Robin and Marian.

Comics artist Bob Kane, who created caped crimefighter Batman with Bill Finger when he was just 24 years old, died on November 3rd, aged 83. Inspired by Zorro, The Shadow and the 1930 movie The Bat Whispers, the character made his debut in the May 1939 issue of Detective Comics No.27, and later became a billion-dollar industry that encompassed numerous films and television series. Although his name appeared on the strip until 1964, much of the work was done by other artists whom Kane called his “ghosts”.

British author Rumer Godden, whose books include Black Narcissus and The River (both filmed), died in Scotland on November 8th, aged 91. She also published a number of children’s books and collections of poetry.

Canadian novelist and teacher Wayland Drew died on December 3rd after a lengthy illness suffering from Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He was 66. Drew’s first novel was published in 1973, and although best known for the post-apocalyptic “Erthring Cycle”, he was also the author of such movie novelizations as Dragon-slayer, Willow and *Batteries Not Included.

Novelist and playwright Robert Marasco, whose first book was the haunted house novel Burnt Offerings (filmed in 1976), died of lung cancer on December 5th, aged 62. His surprise Broadway hit Child’s Play (it ran for 343 performances) was filmed in 1972 by Sidney Lumet.

American comics illustrator George Wilson, whose work appeared in Turok Son of Stone, Space Family Robinson and The Phantom, died on December 7th, aged 77.

British book cover and comic-strip illustrator Ron Turner died on December 19th, aged 76. During the 1950s and 60s he worked on such strips as Rick Random — Space Detective, The Daleks and Star Trek, and more recently produced a series of covers for Gryphon Books.

American comics artist Joe Orlando, whose credits include Tales from the Crypt, House of Mystery, Swamp Thing, Little Orphan Annie and Mad magazine, died on December 23rd, aged 71.

68-year-old French writer and comic-strip artist Jean-Claude Forest, who created sexy 41st-century spacewoman Barbarella in 1962, died on December 30th from a respiratory illness. He acted as design consultant on the 1967 movie in which Jane Fonda portrayed his seductive character. In 1984 he was awarded the Grand Prize at the annual Angouleme comic strip festival.


The voice of cartoon characters Betty Boop, Olive Oyl and Sweet Pea, Mae Questel died on January 4th, aged 89. She played opposite Bela Lugosi (dressed as Dracula) in the 1933 novelty short Hollywood on Parade No. 8, appeared in Woody Allen’s New York Stories and Zelig, and revived her Betty Boop characterisation for Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Cher’s ex-husband and business partner, a former mayor of Palm Springs and Republican Congressman, Sonny Bono (Salvatore Bono) was killed in a freak skiing accident on January 5th. He was 62. After rising to fame as half of the singing duo Sonny and Cher in 1965 with the hit “I Got You Babe”, he appeared as a cartoon character in a 1972 Scooby-Doo TV movie and turned into a tree in the 1985 horror film Troll.

Veteran stuntman and actor Joe Yrigoyen died on January 11th, aged 87. He appeared in numerous serials, including Fighting Devil Dogs, Daredevils of the Red Circle, Drums of Fu Manchu, The Masked Marvel, Secret Service in Darkest Africa, Captain America, The Crimson Ghost and Canadian Mounties vs. Atomic Invaders.

83-year-old character actor Emil Sitka, who was a favourite foil of The Three Stooges, died on January 16th following a stroke. He appeared in thirty-five Stooges shorts between 1938–58, often playing dignified butlers, plus The Three Stooges in Orbit, The Three Stooges Meet Hercules, Watermelon Man, Intruder and TV’s My Favorite Martian.

British actor James Villiers died on January 18th, aged 64. For Hammer he appeared in The Damned (akaThese Are the Damned), The Nanny and Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb (as the scheming Corbeck). His other film credits include Repulsion, The Ruling Class, The Amazing Mr Blunden, Asylum, Spectre and the Bond movie For Your Eyes Only.

American actor Jack Lord (John Joseph Ryan), who played Detective Steve McGarrett on TV’s longest-running cop show, Hawaii Five-O (1968–79), died of congestive heart failure on January 21st, aged 77. His film roles include Dr. No and The Name of the Game is Kill, and he guested on such series as One Step Beyond, The Invaders and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

German-born character actor Ferdinand (Ferdy) Mayne (Ferdinand Mayer-Boerckel) died in London of complications from Parkinson’s Disease on January 30th, aged 81. He was a spoof vampire in Dance of the Vampires (aka The Fearless Vampire Killers) and Dracula in The Vampire Happening. His other films include All Hallowe’en, Hammer’s The Vampire Lovers, The Horror Star, Hawk the Slayer, Conan the Destroyer, Howling II Stirba — Werewolf Bitch, My Lovely Monster and Warlock The Armageddon. On TV he guest-starred in The Avengers, The New Avengers, Monsters and the 1986 Czechoslovakian/West German series Frankenstein’s Auntie.



2011 - 2018