Musician Paul Kantner (b.1941) died on January 28. Kantner is best known as one of the founding members of the band Jefferson Airplane, as well as its short-lived spin-off Jefferson Starship. In 1971, Kantner was nominated for the Hugo Award for the Jefferson Starship album Blows Against the Empire, the first time a rock album had been nominated.
Fan Dave Marquart (b.1956) died on January 14. Marquart was active in fandom during and immediately after his college years, helping to establish ChUSFA while a student at University of Illinois. He continued to attend conventions for some time, although his participation in fandom decreased as life issues took center stage.
Actor Abe Vigoda (b.1921) died on January 26. Vigoda was ancient looking when he made his film debut in The Godfather, which led to numerous claims that he had died, even working into an episode of Barney Miller, in which Vigoda played the character “Fish.” Best known for his roles in The Godfather, Barney Miller, and the spin-off Fish, Vigoda appeared in episodes of
Marvin Minsky (b.1927) died on January 24. Minsky was integral to the field of artificial intelligence. He served as an advisor on the film 2001: a space odyssey and later collaborated with Harry Harrison on the novel The Turing Option.
Author Merl “Bill” Baldwin, Jr. (b.1935) died on October 14. Baldwin wrote “The Helmsman” series, beginning in 1985 and continuing through eight books, ending with The Turning Tide in 2011. He also wrote the stand-alone novels Canby’s Legion and The Enigma Strategy.
Editor David G. Hartwell (b.1941) died on January 20 following a brain hemorrhage the day before. Hartwell served as an editor at Tor Books and at various times edited for several other publishers, including the creation of the Timescape line for Simon and Schuster. He was the publisher of The New York Review of Science Fiction and edited numerous anthologies, including Northern Stars, Northern Suns, Visions of Wonder, The Science Fiction Century, Ascent of Wonder, Space Opera Renaissance, and Ages of Wonder. His anthologies and the NYRSF often started industry-wide conversations. Hartwell was awarded three editing Hugos, two World Fantasy Awards, and was the Guest of Honor at the 2009 Worldcon, Anticipation. He was the founder and, for many years, the driving force behind the World Fantasy Con.
Screenwriter Robert Banks Stewart (b.1931) died on January 14. Stewart created the Doctor Who villains the Zygons for Terror of the Zygons. The creatures did not reappear until the 50th anniversary episode. Stewart also wrote for The Avengers and Arthur of the Britons. When working on The Darling Buds of May, he discovered Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Boston fan Ray Bowie (b.1949) died on January 13. Bowie was active in NESFA and was a frequent contributor the the club’s annual recommended reading list.
Actor Brian Bedford (b.1935) died on January 13. Most of Bedford’s career was on the stage, but he did provide the voice for Robin Hood in the 1973 Disney animated feature. He also appeared in the television films Mr. St. Nick and a version of A Christmas Carol.
Actor Alan Rickman (b.1946) died on January 14 from cancer. Rickman has numerous appearances in genre films, including playing the role of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series, Sir Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest, the voice of Marvin in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy film, Richis in Perfume, and more. He received Saturn nominations for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Galaxy Quest, Sweeney Todd, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II.