Paddington Bear Creator, Michael Bond Is Dead At 91

Even though Paddington Bear only made his theatrical debut three years ago, he’s been a beloved children’s character for nearly six decades, be it as the star of many books or lead several TV shows in the United Kingdom. Sadly, the man who brought Paddington to life all those years ago is no longer with us, as Michael Bond has passed away at the age of 91.

Publishing company HarperCollins broke the news earlier today that Michael Bond died at his home following a “short illness.” Bond, a member of the Order of the British Empire, is survived by his wife, Susan; two children, Karen and Anthony; and four grandchildren. HarperCollins CEO Charlie Redmayne said the following about the author:

“Michael Bond was one of the great children’s writers and at HarperCollins we are immensely fortunate to have published him and to have known him. He was a wonderful man and leaves behind one of the great literary legacies of our time.”

Source: Paddington Bear Creator Michael Bond Is Dead At 91

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Prodigy, Half Of Rap Duo Mobb Deep, Dead At 42

Prodigy, the rapper who made up half of New York rap duo Mobb Deep, has died. He was 42.

Prodigy’s publicist confirmed his passing to MTV News on Tuesday (June 20). “It is with extreme sadness and disbelief that we confirm the death of our dear friend Albert Johnson, better known to millions of fans as Prodigy of legendary NY rap duo Mobb Deep,” the statement read. “Prodigy was hospitalized a few days ago in Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis. As most of his fans know, Prodigy battled the disease since birth. The exact causes of death have yet to be determined. We would like to thank everyone for respecting the family’s privacy at this time.”

Born Albert Johnson in Hempstead, New York, Prodigy formed Mobb Deep in Queensbridge with rapper-producer Havoc in the early ’90s. The pair’s debut album, Juvenile Hell, came out in 1993 when they were both teenagers, and they would go on to release the critically acclaimed albums The Infamous and Hell on Earth. Alongside Nas and Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep were key contributors to the sound of hardcore East Coast hip-hop during the ’90s.

After a hiatus beginning in 2012, Mobb Deep regrouped and released a new album, The Infamous Mobb Deep, in 2014. They had performed this past weekend at the Art of Rap Tour in Las Vegas.

Source: Prodigy, Half Of Rap Duo Mobb Deep, Dead At 42

Stephen Furst, ‘Animal House’ and ‘St. Elsewhere’ Actor, Dies at 63

Stephen Furst, perhaps best known as Flounder in Animal House, died Friday from complications with diabetes, the actor’s rep told The Hollywood Reporter. He was 63.

His two sons Nathan and Griffith Furst announced the news on the actor’s Facebook page, paying tribute to their “brilliant and prolific actor and filmmaker” father.

“Steve has a long list of earthly accomplishments,” his sons said in the post. “He was known to the world as an brilliant and prolific actor and filmmaker, but to his family and many dear friends he was also a beloved husband, father and kind friend whose memory will always be a blessing.”

The actor was also known for playing the role of Dr. Axelrod in the 1980s medical TV drama St. Elsewhere, and later as Vir Cotto in Babylon 5, which he occasionally directed as well.

After his breakout role of Kent “Flounder” Dorfman in 1978’s Animal House, he had several guest appearances on TV shows such as Newhart, CHiPS and The Jeffersons until he landed the role on St. Elsewhere, which aired from 1982-1988.

Source: Stephen Furst, ‘Animal House’ and ‘St. Elsewhere’ Actor, Dies at 63

John G. Avildsen, Oscar-Winning Director of ‘Rocky,’ Dies at 81

John G. Avildsen, who won an Academy Award for directing Rocky and helmed the first three original Karate Kid movies, has died. He was 81.

Avildsen died of pancreatic cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his son, Anthony, told the Los Angeles Times.

Avildsen also won the DGA Award for directing “Rocky,” which also won Oscars for best picture and film editing and was nominated in multiple other categories.

In 2006 Variety interviewed Avildsen, who said that a film with a boxing story didn’t excite him at first, but he was “moved by the urban character study of Sylvester Stallone’s script.” He held out on directing part two in lieu of another project — a decision that Avildsen said was “one of my greatest mistakes.” He returned to the franchise to direct 1990’s “Rocky V.”

In 1983 he was Oscar nominated again, this time for the documentary short “Traveling Hopefully.”

Avildsen also directed Susan Sarandon and Peter Boyle in the ultimately violent drama Joe (1970); guided Jack Lemmon to the Academy Award for best actor in Save the Tiger (1973) in a story about a businessman having a mid-life crisis; and kept things together on the set of The Formula (1980), which starred the temperamental actors George C. Scott and Marlon Brando.

Avildsen also called the shots on The Karate Kid (1984), the inspirational film that starred Pat Morita as an Okinawan martial arts master who agrees to teach karate to a bullied teenager (Ralph Macchio), then stayed on for the sequels in 1986 and 1989.

The franchise brought in almost a quarter-billion dollars at the box office.

 

Source: John G. Avildsen, Oscar-Winning Director of ‘Rocky,’ Dies at 81