Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
FILE - In this undated theater publicity image released by Boneau Bryan Brown, Marcia Gay Harden, left, and James Gandolfini are shown in a scene from, "God of Carnage," in New York. HBO and the managers for Gandolfini say the actor died Wednesday, June 19, 2013, in Italy. He was 51. (AP Photo/Boneau Bryan Brown, Joan Marcus, file)
Scott D. Pierce: A fond farewell to TV icons we lost in 2013

By Scott D. Pierce

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Dec 28 2013 01:01 am • Last Updated Jan 01 2014 01:33 pm

One of the odd things about being a TV critic for almost 24 years is that it gives me an opportunity for personal connections — however brief — with big celebrities.

When news breaks that a TV icon has passed away, I recall their roles — and my time with them. Here are a few who passed this year who I’ll miss.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Dennis Farina • When Farina joined the cast of "Law & Order," he did NOT want to talk about what it was like try to replace Jerry Orbach. But who would?

David Frost • The great interviewer had a self-deprecating sense of humor. He loved telling the story of his ill-fated interview with a talking bird.

Annette Funicello • Talking about the biographical, 1995 TV movie "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes," the former "Micky Mouse Club" star was charming, courageous and open about her battle with MS.

James Gandolfini • The star of "The Sopranos" clearly did not like doing interviews. But he always made the best of the situation. And when a scheduling conflict prevented him from accepting a Television Critics Association Award in person, he sent all TCA members a handwritten thank-you note.

Gary David Goldberg • A smart, funny man who brought us "Family Ties," "Brooklyn Bridge" and "Spin City," Goldberg in person was as sharp as the characters he created.

Julie Harris • Chatting with the Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning actress about her role on "Knots Landing" — and discovering how much she loved her character — is one of my favorite memories.

Elmore Leonard • After multiple failed attempts to translate the author’s works into successful TV series, Leonard could not have been more pleased with "Justified."

Cory Monteith • It’s difficult to reconcile the man who had the world by the tail with the addict who brought about his own death. I remember Monteith’s enthusiasm and openness before "Glee" debuted. I remember him being somewhat overwhelmed by the attention when it became a hit. But he remained a good interview and a good guy.

story continues below
story continues below

Jean Stapleton • I never talked to her during her run on "All In the Family" — hey, I’m not that old! — but I did interview her much later for a TV movie. (Can’t remember which one.) I was instantly struck by the fact that she truly was a great actress because Edith Bunker seemed so real and Stapleton was very different from that character.

Jonathan Winters • I remember being somewhat in awe of this comedy legend, and he was as hilarious as you’d expect. Nonstop funny.

Lee Thompson Young • When news broke that he had taken his own life, I could only think of the nice young man who chatted amiably with me on the set of "Rizzoli & Isles."

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.