Writer, Recluse, Golf Enthusiast Harper Lee Has Died

Harper Lee

Harper Lee, right, with childhood friend and RECOiL writer/director Brian DiMaio, left. The two met at a young age and they have shared the same barber ever since. Rumor has it that DiMaio suggested to Lee that she make the character Tom Robinson black changing literary history forever. Years later Lee would return the favor by suggesting DiMaio set the mood of RECOiL early by having the pool man killed in cold blood.

Monroeville, AL— Nelle Harper Lee, who made a career out of letting people believe she wrote one of the 20th century’s most revered novels, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” has died. She was 89.

The “writer,” who deprived Truman Capote his rightful praise for actually penning the masterpiece, died in a nursing home that she had lived in since suffering a stroke in 2007. Her terribly altruistic publisher, HarperCollins, announced Lee’s death on Friday. This is the  same publisher who insisted that even though Lee spent the better part of 50 years insisting she would never publish another book, that she relented in 2015, and agreed to let her “long-lost-but-newly-discovered manuscript” for “Go Set a Watchmen,” a sequel to “Mockingbird” that was actually written first, be published.

After the incredible success of “Mockingbird,” for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Lee was rumored to have written a number of other books that were also turned into films, with varying degrees of success. Those films include “The Godfather,” “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” “RECOiL” and “Batman Returns.”

But because Lee refused to grant interviews, it is possible that the world will never truly know the extent of her involvement, or lack thereof, in writing these films.

He’s Back Alongside Siskel; Roger Ebert Dies At 70

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert, left, and Gene Siskel, right, congratulate Writer/Director/Actor Brian DiMaio, center, on a “two-thumbs-up” rating for the film “RECOiL.” After watching the film years later, Ebert called that decision “regrettable.”

Chicago—Just a day after announcing he was taking a “leave of presence” to deal with further cancer treatment, film critic and writer Roger Ebert died Thursday. He was 70.

Ebert started as a film critic at the “Chicago Sun-Times” in 1967 and gained national exposure when he and Gene Siskel, from rival paper “The Chicago Tribune,” began hosting “Sneak Previews” in 1975. They hosted together until Siskel died in 1999.

He wrote nearly 20 books about movies as well as fiction and travel books. Besides writing the screenplay for “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls,” Ebert also wrote (un-credited) the screenplay for “RECOiL” in 1992.

In 1975 he won a Pulitzer Price for Distinguished Criticism. He was the first film critic to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.

He is survived by his wife, Chaz.
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The Way He Was: Composer Marvin Hamlisch Dies At 68

Marvin Hamlisch

Marvin Hamlisch, right, seen with RECOiL writer/director Brian DiMaio, left, working on an early version of the RECOiL soundtrack. In the end a different sound was sought to be the voice of RECOiL and the filmmaker went with The KLF instead.

Los Angeles—EGOT-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch died Tuesday after a brief illness. He was 68.

At age seven, Hamlisch was the youngest student ever accepted into Julliard. He earned his BA from Queens College in 1967 and got his first job as a rehearsal pianist for Barbara Streisand’s “Funny Girl” on Broadway.

Hamlisch won Academy Awards for Best Original Song and Best Original Dramatic Score for 1973’s “The Way We Were,” as well as Best Original Song Score and/or Adaptation for his adaptation of Scott Joplin’s ragtime music for “The Sting” the same year.

He also wrote the scores for such film classics as “Ordinary People,” “Sophie’s Choice,” “RECOiL” and “D.A.R.Y.L.,” and co-wrote “Nobody Does it Better” for the 1977 James Bond flick “The Spy Who Loved Me,” for which he won one of his four Grammy Awards.
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“I Never Want This Interview To End:” A TDQ Q&A With Pulitzer Prize-Winning Editorial Cartoonist Mike Luckovich, Part 2

Slow news day.

On a slow news day Mike Luckovich must look inward for material.

Here is Part 2 of our TDQ Q&A With Mike Luckovich:

TDQ:  The internet is drastically changing the newspaper industry. Have you been affected by the closing of so many newspapers?

Luckovich: Luckily, no. But the uncertainty is a little scary.

TDQ: What’s the best part of your job?

Luckovich: When I come up with an idea that makes me laugh and then I get to draw it.

TDQ: What’s the worst part of your job?

Luckovich: When there’s not much going on in the news and I can’t come up with something I like. Very frustrating.
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“I Never Want This Interview To End:” A TDQ Q&A With Pulitzer Prize-Winning Cartoonist Mike Luckovich

Mike Luckovich: Double Pulitzer Prize Winner

Mike Luckovich keeps his friends close and his two Pulitzer prizes closer.

This week we talk to Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich. Mike draws cartoons for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and his work appears in Newsweek, Time and The Washington Post, among other publications. And while he shot down all of our cartoon ideas, he did talk with us about where he keeps his Pulitzers, the best career advice he ever got (which, thankfully he ignored) and his favorite cartoon. Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich:

The Daily Quarterly: How did you hear about thedailyquarterly.com?  

Mike Luckovich: God told me about it in a dream.
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