With the passing of each year, we often look back at those whose deaths have greatly affected us. Some of these people are close to us as family and friends. Others we only feel close to because of the body of work they produced which influenced our lives. I honor here the passing of few people who were important to me or my family.
The death of actor Paul Walker was a shock to our family on many levels. My husband worked with Paul on two of his early films--Meet the Deedles and Joy Ride. Paul was raised a member of the LDS church, a faith our family holds dear. Although Paul was no longer an active member of the church, nowhere have we read or heard anything about him denouncing the faith. Instead, his charitable attitude and the way he treated others on film sets seem to prove that his adult life was still deeply rooted in the teachings of his youth. Because of this, two of my sons who want to become filmmakers felt a closeness to him though his work. It was always their intention to make a movie with Paul so they could discuss the gospel with him, as well as watch him work. One of the movies I most enjoyed this year was Fast & Furious 6. I'd never seen the other films in the series, but when I watched The Fast & the Furious for the first time, I was struck by how prophetic is was in the loss of this man, one we can still admire.
It seems like Annette was always a part of my life. From those early days of watching her on The Mickey Mouse Club, through the teen beach movies, and on to her adult life as a designer for teddy bears on QVC, I've always been aware of what Annette was up to in her career. She was a woman to be admired. Her lifelong respect for Mr. Disney and the business gave us a role model to be emulated. My closest association with Annette came though Alan Osmond, who has been both my friend and employer for many years. When Alan got word that a national rag mag was going to break the story about his own battle with MS, he called fellow sufferer and Disney-friend, Annette Funicello, who advised him to break the story himself before the magazines could make up stories. She told him to take charge, which he did, just as Annette did with her own battles with the disease. What an example of courage!
How well I remember my mother singing along with actress Jean Stapleton as she screeched her way through the theme song to All in the Family. Lucky for me, my mother could actually sing, and if the truth be known, Jean Stapleton probably could as well. But the bad vocals added upon the outlandish character being portrayed by a comedic actress who probably could have given Lucille Ball a run for the money. Edith Bunker was the most likable character on the entire show, although I'm not sure she was supposed to be. "Archie! Archie!" could only be properly intoned by Edith in her nasally voice as she tried to explain life to her husband, Archie Bunker. Those were the days! How did I also forget that she was in another of my favorite movies of all time, You've Got Mail?
Most people recognize him as Vernon Dursley, Harry Potter's most unaccommodating uncle, but a quick skim though his listings on IMBD prove we've probably all seen him elsewhere as well. Two films of note are Superman II with Christopher Reeve and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides with Johnny Depp. The comment most often heard another my students, and the members of my household, at his passing was, "It's a good thing all the Harry Potter movies have been made." No one could replace Uncle Vernon.
Of course, there are many other persons of note who passed away in 2013, but these are the ones I've chosen to write a little something more about. A search on in the internet will provides lists and film clips of hundreds more names of those who left us in 2013. Death is a part of life, but our memories can help sustain the talents these people shared with the world.