Once again, they come in threes. In the last week Robert Asprin, Sidney Pollack, and Harvey Korman have all died. I think they have varying levels of fame, probably in increasing order as I've listed them, but they're all significant.
Robert Asprin wrote the "MythAdventure" novels--humorous fantasy books whose titles always replaced the syllable "mis-" or the word "miss" with "myth." I've never read them, but they've sold a ton.
He also wrote the "Phule" science fiction books, of which I've read a few, and he co-edited the original "Thieves' World" books. Big name in the fantasy/SF industry. He was supposed to be a guest of honor at Marcon in Ohio last weekend, but couldn't make it due to a bad case of dead. One line in his Wikipedia entry made me chuckle: "Asprin passed away 22 May 2008, dying quietly in bed where he had been reading a Terry Pratchett novel." Not a bad way to go.
Sidney Pollack was a little more famous, generally speaking (though I'm sure there were some people who worshipped Asprin but had never heard of Pollack). He's best-known for directing the movie Tootsie and playing the part of the protagonist's agent.
Michele and I saw him in Michael Clayton the night before Pollack died. That was weird. I hadn't seen him in anything for a long time, and then I did and then he died.
It wasn't my fault. Honest.
And then there's Harvey Korman. Sure he was hysterical as Hedly Lamarr in Blazing Saddles. Sure he had a career that went back to the mid-1960s, when he appeared on the Danny Kaye Show. But what I'll always remember Korman for is his years on the Carol Burnett Show. Our whole family would watch that show every week, and every week Korman barely kept a straight face as Burnett or Tim Conway would do something so outrageously funny any normal human would be reduced to a giggling mess. And Korman was as funny as the others.
I don't like to embed videos, but since no photo can do Korman justice, here are a couple of sketches that still make me cry laughing:
RIP, guys. We were amused.