Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sad bit of editing

"Sad" is meant in the literal, not the ironic sense. Last night I noticed on a game show web page, of all places, that an actor named Lee Patterson had died in February of this year. For some reason the death wasn't widely known until just a few days ago. In the sick way I have about such things, I looked Patterson up on Wikipedia. There's nothing like the grim reaper to get me scrounging around WP.

Patterson already had a reasonable bio on Wikipedia, which concentrated on his career as a soap opera actor. The date of death was in the article, with a rather pathetic "citation needed" tag. Seeing the chance to pile up my edit count, I went to work on the entry.

All right, I'll confess to a slightly more sentimental interest. I had seen Patterson recently on reruns of an ancient 77 Sunset Strip knockoff called Surfside 6. The show surfaced on a tiny cable outlet - owned by the Moonies, of all people - which rather grandly dubs itself AmericanLife TV Network. Now and then I'll peek at the channel for nostalgic reasons. They feature TV shows from my all-too-distant youth. I've worked a lot on the network's WP entry, too.

Patterson was hardly a great actor, and he didn't fancy himself one - at least as far as my inexpert self could tell from his natural, unpretentious acting style. But he was versatile and professional, with some maturity and screen presence. Which enabled him to pile up a formidable IMDb page, spanning over four decades of work in movies and TV.

So I rewrote the WP bio with a lot more on his career besides the soap operas. One thing I wondered about was the delay is his death becoming widely known. The hints from Google indicated that he was something of a loner, never much interested in the limelight or in schmoozing Hollywood reporters. I wanted to slip a little of this personal stuff into the entry but resisted.

The grimmest part of the rewrite was changing the "Living people" category to "2007 deaths". Sooner or later, we all get that category switched.


Raizor's Edge said...

I can only think of two reasons for an eight-month gap between Patterson's death and the announcement. One, his family didn't think anyone remembered him. (Given the loyal nature of soap opera fans, I would hope they'd know better.) Two, Patterson, who was 77 and two and a half decades removed from a famous role (Joe Riley on OLTL), couldn't get his obit on the "all Anna Nicole all the time" "news" stations because it wasn't deemed "newsworthy."

I'm certainly sorry to hear of his passing, even eight months after the fact. I edit SurfSide 6 on both and TV, so needless to say, it was rough for me to update the sites to reflect his death.

Casey Abell said...

From Google gleanings, it seems Patterson just wasn't somebody who craved a lot of attention. I couldn't find any interviews or publicity stories, which are usually so common for actors, even those who've been out of the public eye for years. The guy piled up an impressive IMDb page that continued right into the 1990s, but there really wasn't much else on the web. R.I.P.