But the real reason I wanted to post here today is to acknowledge the passing, in the last few days, of two creative people who certainly had a large influence on all of us here at The Bits and probably you as well.
First, director John Singleton died on Monday as a result of a stroke. He was just 51. When he was just 24, in 1991, he became the first African American and the youngest person ever to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar for his stunning film Boyz n the Hood. He followed that with Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, Rosewood, an updating of Shaft, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and others. Singleton also directed episodes of TV’s Empire, American Crime Story, and Billions. You can read more here at The New York Times and fellow director Spike Lee has shared words in his honor here.
And just this afternoon, word broke that the gentle giant and actor Peter Mayhew has died. Mayhew, most of you will certainly know, played Chewbacca in the Star Wars films. I had the privilege of meeting him at various conventions over the years, and I can attest that he was a gentleman and sweetheart, warm, kind, and exactly who you’d want him to be as a Star Wars fan – characteristics that burst through in his performance of the beloved Wookie. As I mentioned, the news is just breaking, but Mark Hamill has paid tribute to Mayhew here on Twitter this evening.
Both men are dearly missed and we’re all a little better off for their influence on our lives.