Assembling a list of notables who died during a 12-month time span is like taking stock of how much the world you once knew is disappearing. Although I don’t often admit it in the company of non-journos, I (usually) like working on obits. It’s challenging work, usually against a tight deadline, and I feel a certain responsibility to do right by the person. I often hear Mrs. Loman’s famous command in my head: “Attention must be paid.”
In that spirit, here is an electronic chronicle of those who left their mark on the TV biz. 2007 saw the passing of industry titans the likes of Jack Valenti, Merv Griffin, Tom Snyder and Roger King; influential hyphenates including Sidney Sheldon, Mel Shavelson, Martin Manulis, Mel Tolkin and Bob Carroll, Jr.; and a local TV news icon in Hal Fishman.
It was a tough year for “Match Game” fans, with Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers heading in to the blank hereafter. And no obit in the pages of Variety this year was more heartbreaking than that of Cartoon Network exec Jennifer Davidson, 38, who was a charter member of the cabler’s staff and a mother of three.