Spanish editor Francisco Porrúa (b.1922) died on December 18. Porrúa founded the Minotauro science fiction press and published Spanish translations of The Lord of the Rings, The Left Hand of Darkness, and The Martian Chronicles. Porrúa was also instrumental in getting Gabriel García Márquez’s novel Cien años de soledad published and recognized.
Artist Roy Scarfo (b.1926) died on December 8 from pancreatic cancer. Scarfo worked as the creative art director for GE’s Space Technology Center and also was a space art consultant for NASA, Sun, the Department of Defense, and other organizations. His own art focused on interplanetary travel and space colonization. In 1978, 35 of his paintings were exhibited at the International Space Hall of Fame as “Beyond Tomorrow.”
Actor David Ryall (b.1935) died on December 25. Ryall appeared as Elphias Doge in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and the Chief Builder in City of Ember. Ryall also appeared in Fatherland, Blake’s 7, and The Borrowers. His final film was Autómata.
Actor Booth Coleman (b.1923) died on December 15. Coleman appeared in episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Outer Limits, and Planet of the Apes, in which he played Zaius. He also appeared in the film Them!.
Actress Billie Whitelaw (b.1932) died on December 21. Whitelaw began acting in 1952 in a BBC television adaptation of The Secret Garden and went on to appear in the miniseries Merlin and the films The Flesh and the Fiends and The Omen. She also provided voicework for The Dark Crystal. On stage, she created many roles in Samuel Beckett’s plays, and Beckett considered her a muse.
Actor Hidetoshi Nakamura (b.1954) died on December 24. Nakamura did voice work for several anime, including Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Cowboy Bebop, and Naruto Shippuden: the Movie as well as for video games. He also dubbed American films into Japanese, including The Muppets, Source Code, Bolt, and The Batman.
Author Donald Moffitt (b.1931) died on December 10. Moffitt began publishing science fiction in 1960 with the publication of his story “The Devil’s Due.” His first SF novel, The Jupiter Theft, was published in 1977 and was followed in 1986 with Genesis Quest and Second Genesis. In addition to writing science fiction, Moffitt published thrillers under the pseudonym Paul Kenyon.
Actor Ken Weatherwax (b.1955) died on December 7 from an heart attack. Weatherwax is best known for portraying Pugsley Addams on The Addams Family and in subsequent television films based on the property. After working on the show, he began to work behind the scenes in Hollywood.
Ralph H. Baer (b.1922) died on December 6. Baer is best known for creating the Magnavox Odyssey, widely regarded as the first home video game console, in the 1960s. The unit went on sale in 1972. He also created the first light gun, which was the first peripheral for a home video game. In late late 70s, he helped develop the game Simon. Baer was born in German and was expelled from school at 11 due to his Jewish ancestry. His family fled Germany in 1938.
New Zealand author Rocky Wood (b.1959) died on December 1. Wood was one of the world’s foremost experts on the writings of Stephen King, publishing at least five volumes on King’s works and collecting. Wood worked as a researcher for King on King’s novel Doctor Sleep. Wood was currently serving as the President of the Horror Writers Association and had been diagnosed with ALS in 2010.