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James Horner composed the film scores of our dreams

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James Horner may have been the most important film composer not named John Williams to work in the movie industry. He scored music for more than 100 movies, won two Academy Awards, and through his music, provided the emotional context for some of the most beloved films of our time. It’s rare that movie viewers even notice the music that plays under the scenes that they’re watching (Williams’ duuuh-dum! that accompanies the shark in Jaws might be one of the best examples of a film score stepping to the forefront). Horner, however, was a master of striking just the right note in the emotional accompaniment to the action on screen. “You have to make an audience connect to [the film]…

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Joan Rivers: The tart-tongued trailblazer was also a bestselling author

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Joan Rivers was bawdy, obnoxious, loud, sometimes crude, and always irreverent. Love her or hate her, no one can deny she was a true original. With her acerbic wit and signature New Yawker raspy voice, she pushed the boundaries of comedy like no other female comic before her or since, and opened doors for others like Roseanne Barr, Whoopi Goldberg, Sarah Silverman and Kathy Griffin. The iconic comedienne, actress, writer, director and talk show host, who was also a bestselling author, passed away on September 4 in New York City at the age of 81. From her first appearance in 1965 on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, to her last stand-up gig the night before she went into cardiac…

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Remembering Robin Williams: the genie who brought books to life

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The news of Robin Williams’ passing generated near-palpable shock across social media, television, and around the world Monday. Fans lost a brilliant and gentle (if troubled) soul who delighted countless millions across five decades with a brand of comedy that was unique in its tenor and unparalleled in its inspired lunacy. Williams was all four Marx Brothers squeezed into one pair of pants, a cyclone of comedic energy made up of equal parts childlike innocence and late-night Vegas-strip bawdiness. Williams’ rocket-fueled brand of comedy, however, sometimes eclipsed his formidable talents as a serious dramatic actor. In his youth he was granted a full scholarship to study theatre at the prestigious Julliard School at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in…

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