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The Globe and Mail

Passings: Some of the bright lights that went out in 2011

Brad Wheeler lists some of the people we loved and lost

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Poet-musician Gil Scott-Heron dies (unknown cause) at age 62 Notable for his 1970 poem-song The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, the rap-music antecedent was an elegant militant who lived and commented on the black American experience. His last album was 2010’s bluesy I’m New Here – last words from an artist whose revolution wasn’t televised (and not even YouTubed much), but was duly recognized.


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Actor John Neville dies of Alzheimer’s at age 86 He drank with Richard Burton, played Hamlet opposite Judi Dench and, after emigrating to Canada in 1972, the stately and charismatic English actor directed prominent theatre companies here. He was also the Well-Manicured Man on TV’s The X-Files, a role for which he was well-suited.


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Actress Elizabeth Taylor dies of heart failure at age 79 The violet-eyed film star was a mesmerizing screen presence who married well and often. Diamonds were among her friends, as was, of all people, Michael Jackson. “That girl has true glamour,” her two-time husband Richard Burton once said. “If I retired tomorrow, I'd be forgotten in five years, but she would go on forever.”

HO/AFP/Getty Images

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Director Sidney Lumet dies of lymphoma at age 86 “If you prayed to inhabit a character, Sidney was the priest who listened to your prayers, helped them come true.” So said Al Pacino, of the prolific New York filmmaker who not only earned four Oscar nominations (12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, Network and The Verdict), but the respect of his actors.


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