Fan and editor Frank Dietz died in mid-October. Dietz was one of the founding members (and President) of the Lunarians in 1956. Over the years, he published the fanzines Luna, Luna Monthly, and Science, Fantasy, and Science Fiction. He published the daily newsletter for the Cinvention. He served on the concom for Lunacon from 1957 through 1971 and in 2007, he was the Fan Guest of Honor at Lunacon 50. Dietz was also an esteemed member of the Order of St. Fantony. In 1958, he and George Nims Raybin filed a lawsuit against Dave Kyle over funds from the 1956 NYCon.
Fan and editor Leland Sapiro (b.1924) died on October 8. Sapiro, along with Jon White and Ron Smith, revived the fanzine Inside Science Fiction as Inside in 1962. Eventually, Sapiro was left in editorial control of the magazine and it became the Riverside Quarterly, with a more scholarly feel to it. Although there was a lengthy lapse in publishing during the seventies, Sapiro published the final issue of Riverside Quarterly in the early 1990s.
Author Richard Kearns (b.1951) died on January 12, 2012. Kearns was a member of the Clarion class of 1978 and published a handful of stories, beginning in 1980 with “From Bach to Broccoli” in 1980 through “Raven, Jade and Light” in 1994. His best known story may have been “The Power of the Press.” He was briefly the editor of the SFWA Bulletin in the 1970s. Kearns was diagnosed HIV positive in 1987, the same year his story “Grave Angels” was nominated for the Sturgeon Award.
Actor Jay Robinson (b.1930) died on September 27. Robinson got his first break appearing in The Robe as Caligula and reprised the role the following year in Demetrius and the Gladiators. His career was sidetracking the the late 50s when he was arrested for heroin possession and served time in prison, where he discovered religion. Robinson was able to restart his career, with appearances on Star Trek, The Wild Wild West, and Bewitched. he continued to work, mostly in television, from the seventies through the nineties, including making several shows with the Kroffts. He played King Charles in the film The Sword and the Sorcerer and had the title role in the television series Dr. Shrinker.
Author and screenwriter Philip Nutman (b.1963) died on October 7. Nutman’s only novel, the zombie novel Wet Work, was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for First Novel. His short fiction appeared in numerous anthologies and he wrote the screenplay to the film The Girl Next Door, which he also produced. Nutman appeared as an actor in several low budget films, including Death Collector. Nutman also worked on numerous comics during his career.
Mercury Astronaut Malcolm Scott Carpenter (b.1925) died on October 10. Carpenter flew reconnaissance missions for the Navy in Korea before being selected as part of the initial astronaut class by NASA. When Deke Slayton was grounded, Carpenter was moved forward in the flight rotation. He flew on Aurora 7 on May 24, 1962, the fourth American in space and the second to achieve orbit. His flight considered a success until the last moments when a mechanical problem caused him to splashdown 400 km beyond his planned landing zone. Two years later, he left NASA to join the Navy’s SEALAB program and, after leaving the Navy in 1969, he founded Sea Sciences, Inc. to help develop products from the oceans. Prior to his own flight, Carpenter uttered the phrase “Godspeed, John Glenn” just before Glenn’s Friendship 7 capsule was launched. Glenn is now the only living member of the Mercury 7.
Film critic Stanley Kauffmann (b.1916) died on October 9. Kauffmann was best known for his work as a movie critic, however he also worked as an acquisitions editor for Ballantine Books. In 1953, he purchased the novel Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. He went on to acquire the rights to Death of a Salesman and The Moviegoer before becoming a full time film critic. His love for films began during the silent era and continued throughout his life.
Fan Larry Tucker (b.1948) died on October 8. Tucker was was active in the Stilyagi Air Corps, the Science Fiction Oral History Association, and the Ann Arbor Science Fiction Association. As far back as the 1970s, we was taking video and making recordings of conventions. Tucker was also the driving force behind the film FAANS. Tucker chaired or co-chaired three ConFusions from ’78-’80, he continued to attend the convention even after he suffered a debilitating stroke in 2011.
Author Tom Clancy (b.1947) died on October 1. Clancy began publishing with The Hunt for Red October and wrote numerous thrillers, many of which focused on his character Jack Ryan. Although Clancy helped to create the techno-thriller genre, some of his novels had a distinct science fictional element. He also created several series with Steve Pieczenik which were written by other authors. Several of his Jack Ryan novels were made into films with the title character played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine.
Muppeteer Faz Fazakas (b.1918) has died. Fazakas was a special effects designer and puppeteer who began working with puppets in the 1950s. He joined Jim Henson in the 1970s and developed the mechanism to control the eye movement of life-size muppets like Big Bird and Sweetums as well as athe cables needed for the smaller characters including Rizzo. He worked on many of the Muppet films as well as Fraggle Rock and The Dark Crystal.