Actor Dane Witherspoon (b.1957) died on March 29. Witherspoon was best known for his role on the soap opera Santa Barbara, but also appeared in the science fiction films Seedpeople and Asteroid. He was married to his first wife, Robin Wright, when she was filming The Princess Bride.
Astronomers have discovered the first known asteroid with a ring. Asteroid 10199 Chariklo, an asteroid orbiting between Saturn and Uranus, is the first object known to have a ring that isn’t a gas giant. The two concentric rings are dense, thin, and bright according to astronomers. The outer ring is 3 km wide and the inner ring is 6.5 km wide with a gap of 9 km between the rings. Chariklo is 250 km wide.
Actress Kate O’Mara (b.1939) died on March 30. O’Mara is best known to science fiction fans for her portrayal of The Rani, a Time Lord, in two Doctor Who serials. Other genre roles included Adam Adamant Lives!, The Avengers, The Vampire Lovers, and The Horror of Frankenstein. O’Mara was best known outside the genre for her role on Dynasty.
Director Derek Martinus (b.1931) died on March 27. Martinus directed numerous episodes of Doctor Who, beginning with Galaxy 4, the first serial of the third season, and ending with Spearhead from Space, the first serial of the seventh season. He went on to direct episodes of Z Cars and Blake’s 7.
Screenwriter Lorenzo Semple, Jr. (b.1923 died on March 28, one day after his 91st birthday. Semple wrote screenplays for Papillon, Never Say Never Again, the 1976 King Kong and the 1980 Flash Gordon among other projects. He may have been best known for his role in creating and writing for the 1960s television show Batman. Semple wrote the first four episodes and the series’ Bible, acted as a consultant for the rest of the series, and came up with the idea of the graphics indicating fights, named everything Bat-whatever, and came up with Robin’s Holy ___ catch phrase.
Elizabeth Anne Hull has announced that a memorial service for Frederik Pohl will be held at Harper Rainey College on August 2, 2014. Frederik Pohl, who worked as an author, agent, and editor in his long career, died on September 2, 2013. In addition to publishing the award winning novels Gateway and Man Plus, Pohl edited the magazines If and Galaxy and the anthology series Star Science Fiction.
Editor Diana Gill will be moving to Penguin Books to serve as Executive Editor of the Ace, Roc, and Berkley lines following Ginjer Buchanan’s retirement. Gill has served as the head of HarperVoyager US and has been with Harper for close to sixteen years. She left Harper on March 21 and will begin working at Ace/Roc on April 1. She joined Morrow/Avon in 1998.
British comics writer Steve Moore (b.1949) died on March 16. Moore helped mentor Alan Moore, who was not a relation, and taught him to write scripts, with the two often collaborating using pseudonyms, Steve Moore wrote as “Pedro Henry.” Moore worked on The Fortean Times, Doctor Who, Hulk, and Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and 2000 AD.
Fan Stuart Andrews died on March 20 following a short illness. Andrews was a costumer and was widely known as “Viking Stu” for his Viking costumes and paraphernalia.
Massachusetts fan Mary Robison (b.Mary Trompke, 1957) died on March 24. Robison was one of the founders of the Arisia Science Fiction convention in Massachusetts and an active costumer. She built specialty electronics for rock bands and appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionnaire?.