Sunday night was Tony Awards night on TV! I love the Tonys just as I love watching old black & white Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movies. I re-watch my DVDs of Rent, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, South Pacific and many more. And while the Tonys honour much more than musicals, that's what's captured my attention.
The Tonys remind me of the real live movie star I met when I was a young girl, on a visit to my aunt's house in Port Angeles, Wash. Renting out her basement apartment for a short while was Marjie Millar. If you were an avid watcher of anything that had dancing and singing in it, you might have seen Marjie. She appeared in the mid-50's as Ray Bolger's love interest on his weekly TV show, as well as in numerous movies and TV series. She was a tall, gorgeous, blonde. Like I said, a movie star. However, she'd been in a horrid car accident and she'd had to give up dancing. I lapped up the stories she told and photograph albums I was allowed to pour through. I romanticized at the time that she was retreating from the world. Sadly, she died a few years later. But I never forgot her.
So when the point came during the Tonys, where those involved in the industry who died in the past year are remembered, I thought of Marjie again. (I know, she wasn't on Broadway but she was bigger than life to me). The Academy Awards do it, too.
And, Crime Writers of Canada does something similar on its website with the In Memoriam. This past year, the Canadian crime writing world lost Michael Van Rooy, author of A Criminal to Remember, which was up for a Best Crime Novel award. He died early this year while on tour in Montreal.
In 2010, John Ballem from Calgary was remembered for his 14 novels. The previous year, Lyn Hamilton, a double Arthur Ellis nominee, left her readers with 11 books in the wonderful Lara McClintoch mysteries. And in 2008, Dennis Richard Murphy, an Arthur Ellis winner for Best Short Story, died just after finishing his first novel, Darkness at the Stroke of Noon, which went on to be short-listed for Best First.
These, and there may be other mystery authors in various stages of their careers who I haven't listed, are remembered and missed. The crime and mystery genre is richer because of their contributions. And we are grateful.
Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read coming in April, 2012
from Berkley Prime Crime