RIP: Phyllis Diller, at 95

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RIP: Phyllis Diller, at 95
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Legendary comic Phyllis Diller -- who Joan Rivers says "broke the way for every woman comedian" -- died today in her sleep. She was 95 and had been in a hospice care since a recent fall.

Diller rose to fame in the 1960s with guest spots on Laugh In and TV specials featuring Bob Hope. She later starred in her own shows, The Phyllis Diller Show and The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show.

Watch her bring down the house on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1969.

[tmz]

RIP: Tony Scott, at 68

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RIP: Tony Scott, at 68
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ABC News is reporting that famed Top Gun director Tony Scott, who "shocked Hollywood and fans of his movies" on Sunday when he jumped to his death "without any hesitation" from a bridge in San Pedro, CA, was suffering from inoperable brain cancer.

Scott, brother of director Ridley Scott, reportedly left a note, though its contents have not been made public. An autopsy of Scott's body is planned, and his death is being investigated as a suicide.

Regardless of the way Scott died, British actor Simon Pegg tweeted what many are thinking: "So sad to hear about Tony Scott. A master of grand action, nail biting pace and atmosphere. A real loss to film making."

Scott also directed True Romance and Days of Thunder, and most recently produced Prometheus and The Good Wife.

[abc]

RIP: Sherman Hemsley, at 74

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RIP: Sherman Hemsley, at 74
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Sherman Hemsley, star of The Jeffersons, has died. He was 74.

[kfoxtv]

RIP: Jon Lord of Deep Purple, at 71

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RIP: Jon Lord of Deep Purple, at 71
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Jon Lord, former keyboardist for Deep Purple, passed away today after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 71.

Lord is best known among classic rock fans for co-founding Deep Purple in 1968 and co-writing such hits as "Smoke on the Water." He also recorded with The Kinks and joined other bands, including Whitesnake, after Deep Purple broke up in 1976.

Besides writing your dad's favorite radio-ready riffs, Lord also enjoyed a thriving career in classical music. Originally trained as a classical pianist, Lord began composing and recording classical works during his time with Deep Purple and continued for the duration of his life. Check out the performance of his first composition, Concerto for Group and Orchestra, with Deep Purple and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969.

[bbc]

RIP: Andy Griffith, at 86

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RIP: Andy Griffith, at 86
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Television icon Andy Griffith, best known as Sheriff Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show and country lawyer Ben Matlock on Matlock, died early this morning. He was 86.

Here are Griffith's reflections on aging:

You know when you're young you think you will always be. As you become more fragile, you reflect and you realize how much comfort can come from the past. Hymns can carry you into the future.

[witn]

RIP: Nora Ephron, at 71

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RIP: Nora Ephron, at 71
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Nora Ephron, acclaimed writer and director behind romantic comedies like You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle, has died due to complications of illness. She was 71.

A force of wit and wisdom, Ephron's novels, essays and films surpassed generations and genders alike. She began as a journalist and a playwright, then took on the Hollywood boys' club, observing that, to studio executives, "a movie about a woman's cure for cancer is less interesting than a movie about a man with a hangnail."

After writing the script for When Harry Met Sally, and writing/directing You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle, it was her turn to call the shots.

For the last six years Ephron struggled with myelodysplasia, a blood disorder, of which recently made her extremely ill. She passed away Tuesday in a New York hospital.

[washingtonpost]

RIP: Rodney King, at 47

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RIP: Rodney King, at 47
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Rodney King, whose videotaped beating by four police officers eventually sparked violent riots in Los Angeles two decades ago, was found dead this morning at age 47. King's fiance, Cynthia Kelly, called 911 at 5:25 am after discovering his body.

King was thrust into the national spotlight in March 1991 after a videotaped assaulted at the hands of LAPD officers Theodore Briseno, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind and Sgt. Stacey Koon made headlines. The four officers were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and excessive use of force. Their acquittal on April 29, 1992 led to intense riots in Los Angeles, resulting in 53 deaths.

King fought a life-long battle with alcoholism, and had periodic run-ins with the law since the 1991 incident. He appeared on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew and Sober House, in an attempt to get clean. An interview with The Associated Press earlier this year painted a picture of a changed man:

America's been good to me after I paid the price and stayed alive through it all. This part of my life is the easy part now.

[cnn]