This year has been had a much better start to it for me, than the entire of last year. However, sadly it has also seen the loss of a number of great patrons of the Arts, most recently with the passing of the Pulitzer Prize winning author of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Harper Lee.
With the passing of so many prominent people, in such a short length of time, it got me thinking. There is no denying that the loss of these people is not only a great loss and source of sadness and grief for their friends and family, but a loss felt by a worldwide community. What these people leave behind for us to cherish forever is one of the greatest gifts of all. Their legacy, the great things they have done, their contribution to the Arts and to society.
So for this post, I would like to take a moment to honour these great patrons of the Arts that have passed in 2016, the writers, the musicians, the actors and highlight that even though their loss will be forever felt, their legacy will be forever in existence. This is no way a complete list, just a few people who have left their mark on the world. Some of these people were very well known at the time of their passing, some not as well known but all have left their mark on the world, left behind their legacy.
David Bowie (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016)
Born as David Robert Jones in Brixton, London, England. David Bowie has undoubtedly left behind quite a legacy. Musician, actor, record producer, he has been called both a “star and an icon” and a “pioneer of glam rock.” The news of his passing resulted in worldwide mourning, his contribution to music, theatre and film will live on forever. This is his legacy.
Harper Lee (April 28, 1926 – February 19, 2016)
The passing of author Harper Lee is what prompted me to write this post, as I said above. Prior to the release of Lee’s latest work “Go Set a Watchman”, I did not know much about the Pulitzer Price winning author and did a little research and reflection on the impact of her most famous work “To Kill a Mockingbird” which you can read in my post “Best Novel of the 20th Century”. Born as Nelle Harper Lee in Monroeville, Alabama, she was much more than an American Novelist. Her most famous work “To Kill a Mockingbird”, which was actually her first published novel, will always be listed among the greatest novels of all-time, a story of racism and the attitudes of adults in the deep south as seen through the eyes of children, the character of Atticus Finch, the level and fair-minded lawyer who defends the falsely accused Tom Robinson. “To Kill a Mockingbird” will ensure that her her name will forever be immortalised in history as an accomplished author and great contributor to the world of literature. This is her legacy.
Vilmos Zsigmond (June 16, 1930 – January 1, 2016)
This is one name you may not have heard of and the passing of this person was not widely publicised in the media. You may however have heard of films such as Deliverance (1972), The Long Goodbye (1973), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) or perhaps The Witches of Eastwick (1987) or Assassins (1995). All these films (and many more) were the work of Hungarian-born American cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, who has been listed as one of the top ten most influential cinematographers in history. He has been awarded and nominated for Oscars, BAFTA, Emmy Awards as well as being awarded three life-time achievement awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, Manaki Brothers Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival. Vilmos Zsigmond may not be a name that most people recognise and his passing may not of been trending on Twitter or Facebook, but through his work in the film industry, his work, his films, his art will forever live on. The contribution he has made to the art of cinematography will forever endure. This is his legacy.
Learn more about his life and work from Wikipedia
Frank Armitage (5 September 1924 – 4 January 2016)
Another name on this list that may not be familiar, however you may have seen Frank’s work in many Walt Disney Films such as Lady and the Tramp, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book. You see, Frank Armitage was an Australian-born American painter and muralist who worked for Walt Disney for a considerable part of his career, painting the backgrounds for some of Disney’s most notable feature-length films. Not only can his work be seen on film, but his work also features in some of the world’s Disney theme parks. Frank’s work will forever life on,giving a world of life and colour to the wonderful creations of Disney, brightening the worlds of children for years to come. This is his legacy.
Learn more about his life and work from Wikipedia
Otis Clay (February 11, 1942 – January 8, 2016)
Otis Clay is one you might have heard of, he was an American R & B and Soul singer and inductee of the Blues Hall of Fame. Otis will probably be remembered for one of his most popular singles “The Only Way is Up”, click here to refresh your memory. In his lifetime Otis had many chart-topping hits and received a significant number of awards and nominations. Otis may longer be in this world, but his music forever will be. This is his legacy.
Alan Rickman (21 February 1946 – 14 January 2016)
Earlier this year, the world mourned the loss of veteran actor and director Alan Rickman. Alan played many different roles throughout his career but I will always remember him by the role that I grew up with him playing, the professor of potions at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry -Severus Snape. Now I’m not here to argue whether the character was a villian or hero, this is not the time or the post to argue that, I am however acknowledging the depth Alan brought to this character, he brought this character out of the pages of books, the minds of readers and brought our favourite professor to hate (and sometimes love) to life on the screen. No matter how small or significant of a role Alan played, he always performed at his best, giving it his all. His contribution to film will never be forgotten, the characters he brought to life forever present. Even though I have seen many different films that Alan was in, for me I will forever see him as Professor Severus Snape, the lonely heartbroken boy who became a rather complicated man. Professor Severus Snape will life on forever through Alan’s magnificent portrayal. This is his legacy.
Learn more about his life and career on Wikipedia
Now I put forth these questions: what will your legacy be? What will be the mark you leave on the world? It doesn’t matter whether if your legacy is something to leave with your family and friends or something for the world, whatever it might be make sure you live your life to the fullest, you only get one chance after all…
© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
*Facts and information compiled from Wikipedia