One of the many virtues of Turner Classic Movies is how it always honors film people in all areas of the art in its year-end In Memoriam feature.
Never less than fastidious, Turner has been traditionally inclusive. In fact, it routinely puts the Oscars' yearly botched obit tribute to shame.
Seemingly - seemingly - no one is disregarded or omitted by Turner. Until this year...
I appreciate that many more film people pass away who can be fit on any reasonable list, but for some inexplicable/inexcusable reason, the 2013 edition of TCM Remembers neglects Paul Walker, the appealing actor who died in a tragic car accident at a young 40 on November 30th. His death was major news that one would think could not be ignored. But it was.
I would day that Turner simply didn't have time to include him, but wait! Eleanor Parker, who died more than a week after Walker - just two days ago, on December 9th - is very much included. Funny how they were able to accommodate Parker on such short notice, but not Walker.
And unlike James Gandolfini, who also qualified for Turner's list, Walker wasn't known largely as a TV actor. He had a solid film résumé.
So Eleanor Parker and James Gandolfini make the grade (and deservedly so) but not Paul Walker. OK, but also feted by Turner are Virginia Gibson, who danced in a few films and, from time to time, even got to speak a line of dialogue; Rossella Falk and Diane Clare. Diane who? Who's she?
Well, Diane Clare is a prime example of Turner's admirable inclusiveness.
But apparently not Paul Walker.
So exactly what's going on here? By appearance, it smacks of a disturbing case of film snobbery - you know, the "he's not one of us" mentality that is way beneath what Turner Classic Movies is supposed to represent. Heck, Turner is so democratic that it regularly allots precious air time to the dubious films of Elvis Presley and Frankie & Annette.
Regardless of the rationale for this exclusion, it's still hugely disappointing.
Update: I subsequently engaged in a friendly email conversation about this subject with a Turner rep, who acknowledged the chore of weeding through so many deaths, but who noted that those who are finally chosen are selected with "an eye towards picking personalities whose fim work resonates strongly with the TCM community." Um, OK. Also, I was told that Diane Clare, a name that still means nothing to me, was selected because she was "best known for appearing in Hammer horror films which make sense with out brand." I guess I understand that.