Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: In Memorium (1-10 of 40)

A Jack Klugman appreciation: An unusual star, with Oscar and Quincy displaying his range

Jack Klugman, who has died at 90, was a TV-star anomaly — not conventionally handsome, with the jagged voice and hangdog demeanor of a character actor, and a performer who was as comfortable being part of an ensemble as he was a lead actor. His two signature roles — sloppy sportswriter Oscar Madison on The Odd Couple and shrewd medical examiner in
Quincy, M.E. — were as different as could be, yet Klugman was expansively comfortable as both of those men.

Robert Hughes, the art critic who brought us 'The Shock of the New,' has died

Robert Hughes, not only one of the greatest art critics, but one of the greatest critics in any medium, has died. He was 74. The Australian-born Hughes was the art critic for Time Magazine starting in 1970, the author of the bestselling history of Australia, The Fatal Shore, and was the writer, producer, and star of one of the finest television documentaries ever aired: The Shock of the New, first broadcast in 1980. READ FULL STORY

Gore Vidal, TV star: From William Buckley to Ali G

Gore Vidal, who died on Tuesday at age 86, almost always stirred things up when he appeared on television. Coming on the scene around the same time Marshall McLuhan had dubbed TV the “cool medium,” Vidal heated up the screen with his forthright, usually liberal, often radical, opinions on politics and culture. READ FULL STORY

Sherman Hemsley: A tribute to the great George Jefferson, and more

Sherman Hemsley, the man who brought George Jefferson to vivid life, has died at age 74. The accomplished stage actor achieved his widest fame in a role he raised to comic greatness: George Jefferson, the egotistical, strutting centerpiece of The Jeffersons. READ FULL STORY

An Andy Griffith tribute: The gentle sheriff of Mayberry was a shrewd, brilliant performer

Andy Griffith was one of the greatest performers in television history. His portrayal of Mayberry, North Carolina, sheriff Andy Taylor is one of the most sustained feats of comic subtlety and grace in any medium. Griffith did a lot before and after The Andy Griffith Show, but that series will remain the cornerstone of his achievement. READ FULL STORY

Richard Dawson was a different kind of TV personality: Smoochy, sullen, and smart

Richard Dawson, who has died at age 79, was a unique TV personality, someone who raised his status from game-show regular and sitcom supporting player on the strength of his often sharp sarcasm, dour poker-face, and naughty, mischievous, even rebellious nature.  READ FULL STORY

Tonight's HBO 'Rock and Roll Hall of Fame' special is a fitting eulogy for Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch: A review

Tonight’s 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony special had been scheduled to air on HBO well before the death of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch yesterday, but the show, which also features new inductees including Guns N’ Roses, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Donovan, and Freddie King, will inevitably turn into a timely eulogy for Yauch. The sight of his fellow Beastie Boys Adam “Ad Rock” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond making their acceptance speeches, and reading a statement written by Yauch especially for the Hall of Fame because he was too ill with cancer to attend, gains emotion and force this evening. READ FULL STORY

A Dick Clark appreciation: The deceptively laid-back, conservative revolutionary

Dick Clark’s on-camera image — that of the relaxed, welcoming presence, whether as host of American Bandstand, the Pyramid game-shows, or Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve — belied the fact that, just beneath the surface, was an ambitious man who succeeded through hard work and shrewd business decisions to become one of the best-loved personalities in TV history. READ FULL STORY

Andy Rooney: He was more than just the great grump of '60 Minutes'

Andy Rooney, who became famous delivering his “A Few Minutes With… ” segments on 60 Minutes, has died. He was 92 years old. Rooney won five Emmy Awards, including a 2003 “Lifetime Achievement” Emmy; his first was for writing the 1968 CBS News documentary Black History: Lost, Stolen, or Strayed.

The most highly visible link to the first generation of TV personalities — he wrote for anchors, reporters, and entertainers — Rooney was a lot more than the “cranky,” “Did you ever notice FILL IN BLANK?” guy that too many people ridiculed. READ FULL STORY

9/11 movie 'The Space Between' review: Melissa Leo lifted the quality of a sincere, sentimental drama

The Space Between, which aired commercial-free Sunday night on the USA network, distinguished itself from the rest of the 9/11 tenth-anniversary programming by being a fictional movie, starring Melissa Leo (The Fighter). The film, written and directed by Travis Fine, told the story of Montine McLeod (Leo), a hard-edged flight attendant who finds herself the sudden, unwilling guardian of a young boy on her when their plane bound for Los Angeles is grounded on Sept. 11, 2001, in the wake of the terrorist attacks. READ FULL STORY

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