Actress Carla Laemmle (b.Rebecca Isabelle Laemmle 1909) died on June 12. Laemmle began acting in silent films in 1925 in the Lon Chaney film The Phantom of the Opera . Six years later, she spoke the first line in the Bela Lugosi version of Dracula. She retired from mils in 1939, but began appearing in horror film cameos in 2001. She was part of the family that founded Universal Studios and the Laemmle theatre chains in Chicago and Los Angeles.
Actress Veronica Lazar (b.1938) died on June 9. Lazar appeared in several horror films, including Inferno, The Beyond, and the Italian mini series 6 passi nel giallo. She also appeared in Last Tango in Paris.
Actress Martha Hyer (b.1924) died on May 31. Hyer is best known for her work in Sabrina and The Sons of Katie Elder, but also appeared in First Men in the Moon, Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, and the horror film Picture Mommy Dead. She received an Oscar nomination for her role in Some Came Running.
Fan Susan Kahn (b.1960) died on June 9. Kahn ran many registration desks for Lunacon and was also a pediatrician. Kahn has been battling pancreatic cancer.
Actor Rik Mayall (b.1958) died on June 9. Mayall appeared as Robin Hood in Black Adder Back and Forth. He also appeared in Shoebox Zoo and provided voice work for Watership Down. he may have been best known for his work on The Young Ones and The New Statesman. He was filmed as “Peeves the Poltergeist” for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but the role was ultimately cut from the film.
Author Jay Lake (b.1964) died on June 1, five days shy of his 50th birthday. Lake began publishing in 2001 and won the John W. Campbell Award in 2004. He has published numerous collections of his stories, beginning with Greetings from Lake Wu, and has written novels in three different series as well as a couple of stand-alone novels. In recent years, Lake’s fictional output has been less due to a very public battle with cancer, which he has often blogged about with openness and humor.
Editor Oscar Dystal (b.1913) died on May 28. Dystal joined Bantam publishing in the 1950s and brought the company from the brink of bankruptcy to the largest paperback publishers by decreasing its print runs and inventory and promoting classic novels and books he felt would be widely popular. Dystal retired as the chairman of Bantam in 1980.
Bay area fan Mike Farren(b.1949) died on May 22. In the 1980s, Farren served as Chair for The Elves’, Gnomes’ and Little Men’s Science Fiction, Chowder, and Marching Society. Farren also ran a FidoNet computer Bulletin Board System called Sci-Fido that focused on science fiction and fannish interests.
Ken Brown (b.circa 1957) died on May 19. Brown was a long-time reviewer for Interzone, beginning with issue 19 in 1987 and continuing through 1998. During that time, Brown also contributed non-fiction essays to the magazine and occasionally had review appear in Foundation.
Astronaut Wubbo Ockels (b.1946) died on May 18. Ockels was the first Dutch astronaut, flying on STS-61-A in 1985, the last successful mission of the Challenger. He was seconded to NASA by the European Space Agency for the flight. Ockels served on the SpaceLab 1 crew and has an asteroid named in his honor.