PETER ZVI MALKIN Died Mar. 1, 2005
Peter Zvi Malkin choked to death after vomiting at age 77. A painful and inglorious end to the man who brought one of the world’s most hated criminals to justice. Mr. Malkin was the chief of operations for Israel’s intelligence agency the Mossad. He was the man who captured Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann. Mr. Malkin was part of the team headed by Mossad head Isser Harrel. After much tracking and surveillance, Mr. Malkin was in place when Adolph Eichmann stepped out of his apartment in Argentina. Malkin approached Eichmann and said "Un momentito, Senor." He then grabbed Eichmann and wrestled him into an awaiting car. Mr. Malkin wore rubber gloves so he wouldn’t have to touch Eichmann. Mr. Malkin’s sister Fruma and her children were killed in the Holocaust. Mr. Malkin revealed to his mother on her deathbed that it was he who captured Eichmann: "I captured Eichmann. Fruma is avenged." Mr. Malkin’s book "Eichmann in My Hands" was turned into the TV film "The Man Who Captured Eichmann." Actor Arliss Howard portrayed Mr. Malkin in the film. There were a number of documentaries made about the operation. They include "Crime Stories: The Capture and Trial of Adolph Eichmann." For those who are interested, Mr. Harrel wrote an excellent book on the operation called "The House on Garibaldi Street." That book was filmed as a TV movie in 1979. Though there is no character named Peter Malkin in that film, his actions are portrayed. At the time, his identity had yet to be revealed, as he was still a Mossad operative. Thank you for your service to humanity.
REV. WALTER HALLORAN Died Mar. 1, 2005
Jesuit priest Walter Halloran died at age 83 in a Jesuit retirement home. Rev. Halloran was the last surviving priest who performed the 1949 exorcism on a 14-year-old Mt. Rainier, Maryland boy. That exorcism was the inspiration for writer William Peter Blatty, author of the book "The Exorcist." The real exorcism was performed at a St. Louis psychiatric hospital by Rev. William Bowdern. Rev. Halloran was asked to help control the child as he was having violent seizures. Rev. Halloran’s nose was broken during the exorcism. He appeared as himself in the documentary about the real exorcism: "In the Grip of Evil." Rev. Halloran served his country in Vietnam. He earned two Bronze Stars as an airborne chaplain.
NINA LUNN BLACK Died Mar. 1, 2005
Actress turned Washington socialite Nina Lunn Black died of congestive heart failure at age 80. As Nina Lunn she appeared in two movies during the 1940s. She appeared in the first scene of the comedy "The Senator Was Indiscreet." The movie was the lone directorial effort of Pulitzer Prize winning author George S. Kaufman. Ms. Lunn was also Mr. Kaufman’s assistant during the film’s shoot. She appeared in one other film, "Up in Central Park" before leaving Hollywood for the halls of power in Washington.
ROGER MYERS Died Mar. 1, 2005
Propmaker Roger Myers died at age 62. Mr. Myers had worked in the industry since 1976. He was the father of special effects technician Ron Myers. His son worked on the films "Boogie Nights" and "Blade." Both father and son are members of I.A.T.S.A. Local 44.
BARRY STIGLER Died Mar. 1, 2005
Actor Barry Stigler died suddenly at age 56. Mr. Stigler had a long list of voice credits in movies, TV and video games. He often worked under the name Gil Starberry. He was well known to anime fans as he provided voices for English versions of anime shows dating back to the late 1970s. Among his credits are "Gundam," "Transformers," "Street Fighter," "Cowboy Bebop" and "Ghost in the Shell."
CORRADO PANI Died Mar. 2, 2005
Italian actor Corrado Pani died after a lengthy illness. He was two days shy of his 69th birthday. Mr. Pani appeared in nearly 50 films during his 50 year career. Among his many credits are several Sward and Sandal films from the late 50s and early 60s. Those include "Amazons of Rome," "A Queen for Caesar," "Cleopatra’s Daughter" and "Herod the Great." Mr. Pani appeared in very unpleasant horror film "Watch Me While I Kill." He also appeared in "Under Ten Flags" with Charles Laughton and Van Heflin."
GUYLAINE ST-ONGE Died Mar. 3, 2005
Canadian actress Guylaine St-Onge died of cervical cancer at age 39. Ms. St-Onge was a regular on the TV series "Lonesome Dove" and "Earth: Final Conflict." She appeared in nearly 30 films and TV shows during her short life. Ms. St-Onge played the sexy space vampire Juda in Gene Roddenberry’s "Earth: Final Conflict." Other credits include Jlo’s "Angel Eyes," "One Way Out," the new version of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," the TV series version of "La Femme Nikita" and "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues." Prayers of comfort for her young son.
HERBERT ARMSTRONG Died Mar. 3, 2005
Prolific character actor Herbert Armstrong died at age 80. Mr. Armstrong appeared in over 50 films and TV shows during his career. He can be seen in the original version of "Cape Fear" playing a waiter. Mr. Armstrong's many credits include "The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond," "Something Evil," "Police Story," "Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. the Ku Klux Klan," "Stir Crazy," "Seems Like Old Times," "Big Trouble" and "7th Heaven."
ANNEMARIE HOELLGER NORTH Died Mar. 4, 2005
Annemarie Hoellger North, the widow of Oscar winning composer Alex North died of cancer at age 64. Ms. North managed a symphony orchestra in Munich Germany before moving to the US. Her late husband was nominated for 15 Oscars! He was given an Honorary Oscar in 1988 for his contribution to the movies. Ms. North worked hard to help elevate the appreciation of movie music as an art form.
PAULINE FAWCETT Died Mar. 4, 2005
Pauline Fawcett, the mother of actress Farrah Fawcett and grandmother of actor Redmond O’Neal died at age 91. Ms. Fawcett made a cameo in her daughter’s film "Sunburn." She also appeared with her daughter in "The Barbara Walters Mothers Day Special." She was the second cast member of the workout video "Silver Foxes Aerobics with Richard Simmons" to pass away this year. Sal Pacino, father of Al Pacino died in January. Ms. Fawcett also appeared in her daughter’s current reality TV series "Chasing Farrah."
MORRIS ENGEL Died Mar. 5, 2005
Indie-film pioneer Morris Engel died of cancer at age 86. Mr. Engel co-wrote, co-produced, shot and co-directed one of the most influential films of the 1950s. The 1953 film "The Little Fugitive" was a simple film with profound results. The story concerned a 7-year-old boy who runs away from home believing that her killed his older brother. Mr. Engel designed a lightweight camera, which allowed him to shoot the film by hand. He raised his own money and made the movie without studio support. Mr. Engel, his future wife Ruth Orkin and co-director Ray Ashley were nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar. The film won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Not bad for a non-studio movie released during the days of the Studio System. Mr. Engel also made the films "Lovers and Lollipops" and "Weddings and Babies." Neither was as influential as
"The Little Fugitive." French critic and director Francois Truffaut claimed that Mr. Engel’s work was responsible for the French New Wave movement of the late 50s and early 60s. Indie auteur John Cassavettes also credited Engel with inspiring him to finance his own personal films. He was also one of director Martin Scorsese’s inspirations. Mr. Engel was primarily a photographer. He served his country in WWII as a combat photographer for the US Navy. He hit the beaches on D-Day and photographed what he witnessed. Mr. Engel appeared in documentary "Birth of a Nation." Jonas Mekas’ film focused on indie and avant-garde filmmakers during the last half of the 20th century. If you are unfamiliar with Mr. Engel’s work, his three films are available on DVD from Kino Video and include a commentary track by Mr. Engel. It might be a smart purchase for aspiring indie filmmakers.
JAMES TYLER Died Mar. 5, 2005
Orchestrator James Tyler died at age 76. Mr. Tyler spent over 50 years working on Broadway. He also worked in TV and film. His credits include "The Great Muppet Caper," "Raggedy Ann and Andy," "Bell Telephone Hour," "Kraft Music Hall" and two films in the video series "The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare": "Romeo and Juliet" and "Measure for Measure." Mr. Tyler served his country during the Korean War.
VANCE GERRY Died Mar. 5, 2005
Disney layout artist/writer Vance Gerry died of cancer at age 75. Mr. Gerry wrote or co-wrote a number of Disney’s animated features. His writing credits include the 1967 version of "The Jungle Book," "Oliver and Company," "The Aristocats," "The Black Cauldron," "The Great Mouse Detective," "The Fox and the Hound" and "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh." Mr. Gerry began his career with Disney as an artist. His art credits include "101 Dalmatians," "The Goofy Success Story," "Goofy's Cavalcade of Sports," "The Sword in the Stone," "Hercules," "Pocahontas" and "Tarzan."
SANDY WARD Died Mar. 6, 2005
Character actor Sandy Ward has died leaving us with countless contributions to numerous great films. Mr. Ward appeared in nearly 120 films and TV shows. He contributed nice supporting performances to many of my favorite films. Mr. Ward added spice to many great films. While his roles weren’t always large, he made his presence known when he was on screen. Mr. Ward was also a HAM Radio aficionado.
Actor John Crawford and dear friend of Mr. Ward paid tribute to Mr. Ward this way: "The actor, Sandy Ward, was unique. Fifty years ago when he appeared in his 1st play at the Players Ring Theatre in Hollywood, the audience took one look at that rugged face, listened to that powerful voice and considered him the next Orson Wells. Later on, Sandy’s very presence was all that was needed to complete the desired aspect. If the role wasn’t there, directors had their writers create more material for him. Yes, they broke the mold when Sandy Ward joined the rest of us on this old globe. And, boy, will he be missed!"
Mr. Ward added his talent to the excellent TV series "Malcolm in the Middle" playing Logger Pete during the third season. He appeared in some of the best Made for TV movies of all time. He appeared in the caustic comedy "Shirts/Skins," "The Kansas City Massacre," "The Execution of Private Slovak" and "The Disappearance of Aimee." Horror fans may remember Mr. Ward from his roles in "The Velvet Vampire" and as Sheriff Bannerman "Cujo." He played the warden in my favorite B movie "Fast Walking." The list of Mr. Ward’s films in quite impressive: "F.I.S.T.," "The Onion Field," "The Rose," "Being There," "Airplane 2," "Under Siege" and "The Perfect Storm."
In addition to his work on "Malcolm in the Middle" Mr. Ward had a recurring role on "Seinfeld." He was a regular on "Dallas" from 1978 and 79. His other TV guest roles included appearances on "Murder, She Wrote," "Hill Street Blues," "The A-Team," "Charlie’s Angels," "Ironside," "The Rockford Files" and "Alias Smith and Jones."
TERESA WRIGHT Died Mar. 6, 2005
Oscar-winning actress Teresa Wright died of a heart attack at age 86. Teresa Wright was the only actor to be nominated for Oscars for their first three films. She is also only one of nine actors to be nominated in both the Best Acting and Supporting Acting Oscar categories in the same year. Though she appeared in less than 50 films, many of them were classics. Teresa Wright’s screen persona epitomized the girl you wanted to take home to meet you mom. That may sound corny, but she was what the girl-next-door was before Hugh Hefner redefined them. Ms. Wright’s first husband was Oscar-nominated screenwriter Niven Busch (Duel in the Sun). Her second husband was the multi Oscar-nominated playwright Robert Anderson (I Never Sang for My Father).
After being discovered on Broadway by Samuel Goldwyn, she was brought to Hollywood amid much hoopla. Goldwyn saw Ms. Wright in the Broadway production of Thorton Wilder’s "Our Town." Ms. Wright held her own against such talents as Bette Davis and Herbert Marshall in William Wyler’s "The Little Foxes." She was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in her 1941 film debut. The following year she played Lou Gehrig’s wife in "Pride of the Yankees." That film earned her a Best Actress Oscar nomination. That same year she co-starred in the ultimate tearjerker "Mrs. Miniver." She won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work.
My personal favorites came later. Alfred Hitchcock cast her perfectly in his masterpiece "Shadow of a Doubt." Ms. Wright played the small-town girl who begins to suspect that her favorite uncle Charlie is a notorious serial killer. Ms. Wright once again shone among a stellar ensemble cast that included Joseph Cotton, Hume Cronyn, Macdonald Carey and Wallace Ford. Her best work came in William Wyler’s American classic "The Best Years of Our Lives." If there is any doubt that Ms. Wright was an actress of limited range, this is the film to watch. Ms. Wright played the daughter of a rich banker who finds herself falling in love with a married man. Again, she was part of a great ensemble cast that included Fredric March, Myna Loy, Dana Andrews, Harold Russell, Virginia Mayo and Hoagy Carmichael.
After ten years in Hollywood, Teresa Wright ran afoul of the Studio System. She was bad-mouthed for not being a toadie to the moguls. She suffered financially, but continued to work. In later years she spent more time on stage than in front of the cameras. She starred opposite Marlon Brando in his film debut "The Men." Brando played a man wheelchair bound due to a wound suffered in the Korean War. I always remember his line in which he says that Ms. Wright’s character "makes me feel like a bug." She appeared in a number of feature films during the 1950s before retreating to the stage. Her film appearances after 1960 were limited mostly to a number of Made for TV films.
I remember Teresa Wright in the creepy ABC TV movie "Crawlspace." She co-starred with Arthur Kennedy as an elderly couple who discover a strange young man living in the crawlspace of their home. They adopt the kid to try and help him. It was one of the great little films put out by ABC in the early 1970s as part of their "ABC Tuesday and Wednesday Movie of the Week." "The Elevator" was another TV movie in this series that was a standout. It involved an all-star cast trapped in an elevator with an armed robber. I know an obituary is not the place to say this, but I wish someone would put out those old ABC movies in a boxed set of DVDs! Another great TV movie featuring Ms. Wright was CBS's "Bill: On His Own." The film was a sequel to "Bill." Mickey Rooney played Bill Sackter, a mentally retarded adult learning to live on his own. Soap Opera fans enjoyed Ms. Wright’s brief stint as Grace Cummings during the 1986 season of "The Guiding Light."
Ms. Wright was also a prolific guest star on various TV shows. She appeared in over 60 shows during her career. She was nominated for two Emmy Awards. The first was for her performance as Annie Sullivan in the "Playhouse 90" version of "The Miracle Worker." Patricia McCormack of "The Bad Seed" fame played Helen Keller opposite Ms. Wright. Ms. Wright was also nominated for an Emmy Award for her guest appearance on the TV series "Dolphin Cove." Other guest starring credits include "The Ford Television Theater," Sid Caesar’s "Your Show of Shows," "Climax!," "Studio 57," "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," "Bonanza," "Picket Fences" and "Murder She Wrote."
Ms. Wright did come back to features occasionally. In 1969 Ms. Wright played Michael Douglas’s mother in his debut film "Hail, Hero!" Like Marlon Brando’s debut, Michael Douglas’s debut dealt with a man returning home from war: this time the Vietnam War. In 1980 Ms. Wright appeared in the romantic cult-classic "Somewhere in Time." Leonard Nimoy cast Ms. Wright in his 1988 film "The Good Mother." Ms. Wright’s final film was shot in my hometown. She played Matt Damon’s landlord in Francis Ford Coppola’s film version of John Grisham’s "The Rainmaker."
DEBRA HILL Died Mar. 7, 2005
Horror movie fans will most probably think of Michael Myers whenever the town of Haddonfield is mentioned. The psychopathic monster is as much a part of the fictional movie geography as Jason is of the fictional Camp Crystal Lake. The movie town of Haddonfield was the name of "Halloween" co-writer and producer Debra Hill’s hometown. Debra Hill rose from her roots in Haddonfield New Jersey to become on of the most successful female producers in Hollywood. Today Debra Hill lost her 13-month battle with cancer. She was 54 years old. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
Horror movie fans are loyal. They invariably look for a new talent, a name that guarantee’s quality thrills and chills. I’m one such fan. "Halloween" was a movie phenomenon. Like millions of other genre fans in the 1970s, I was wowed by John Carpenter’s work. I made a point of going to see whatever he did. I also noticed that there was someone else involved with John Carpenter, a co-writer and a producer, someone who shared his vision and believed in his work. That person was Debra Hill. Carpenter and Hill wrote "Halloween" in two weeks. Ms. Hill provided the insight into small-town America and into teenage girls. Carpenter provided the scares.
I guess Debra Hill’s career reminds me of that old TV commercial for Smith-Barney in which John Houseman said "Smith-Barney: They make money the old-fashioned way. They EARN it!" Debra Hill’s rise was like that. She earned her way to the top with hard work that started as a script supervisor on B-movie director Larry Buchanan’s 1976 sexploitation bio-pic "Goodbye, Norma Jean." Ms. Hill worked on two films during that bicentennial year. The other film was a first time effort by John Carpenter. "Assault on Precinct 13" showed what a talented director could do with a very low budget. The film still packs a punch today. Ms. Hill was both the script supervisor and assistant editor in the indie classic. That film marked the beginning of the collaboration with Mr. Carpenter that continued to this day. That is not to say that Ms. Hill was strictly the woman who co-wrote and produced the films of John Carpenter. While that in itself guarantees Ms. Hill a respected spot in Hollywood history, Debra Hill achieved much more in her short life.
In addition to her association with John Carpenter, Debra Hill produced a number of successful films. Her first non-Carpenter production was David Cronenberg’s wonderful adaptation of Stephen king’s "The Dead Zone." Other production credits include Terry Gilliam’s "The Fisher King," Chris Columbus’s "Adventures in Babysitting" and "Heartbreak Hotel," "Big Top Pee Wee" and "Crazy in Alabama." Ms. Hill also produced a string of Made for TV and cable TV films.
As I said before, I’m a horror movie fan. I will always be indebted to Ms. Hill for her partnership with John Carpenter. Ms. Hill wrote and produced "Halloween," "Halloween II," "The Fog" and one I’ll forgive her for "Escape from L.A." The characters she created in "Halloween" were used in five sequels including the upcoming "Halloween 9." Her script for "The Fog" is being remade with director Rupert Wainwright at the helm. Ms. Hill also produced Carpenter’s "Escape from New York." She and Mr. Carpenter co-produced the in name only sequel "Halloween 3: Season of the Witch." This overlooked little gem suffers from having the "Halloween" title. Michael Myers was nowhere to be found. Instead, the movie was an occult thriller involving a demonic toy manufacturer played by the late Dan O’Herlihy who is bent on destroying our children with some very creepy Halloween masks. The film was one of Ms. Hill’s less successful films, but it is worthy of rediscovery.
JOHN BOX Died Mar. 7, 2005
Multi Oscar and BAFTA winning production designer/art director John Box died of vascular disease at age 85. John Box helped some of the greatest directors of all time achieve their vision. In some cases, Mr. Box’s vision exceeded the talent of the directors he worked with. Mr. Box was nominated for six Oscars, winning four and was nominated for six BAFTAs, winning three. Just looking over Mr. Box’s will conjure up memorable and monumental scenes from some of the best films ever made.
Mr. Box won Oscars for David Lean’s films "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Dr. Zhivago." Those two films alone would make one worthy of a place in film history. I could go on and on about the memorable images and sets. However, Mr. Box’s career didn’t end there. He also won Oscars for Carol Reed’s 1968 Best Picture Oscar winner "Oliver" and Franklin J. Schaffner’s "Nicholas and Alexandra." Mr. Box was also nominated for Oscars for Lean’s "A Passage to India" and George Cukor’s "Travels With My Aunt." His three BAFTA wins were for "A Man for All Seasons," Norman Jewison’s original version of "Rollerball" and the Robert Redford/Mia Farrow version of "The Great Gatsby." He was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1999 London Critic’s Circle Film Awards.
Last year I reviewed the Fox Studio Classic DVD release of "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness." The true story of a missionary to china who saved over a hundred children during WWII was a visually stunning film. I was stunned to discover that the movie was filmed in Wales! Mr. Box’s art direction on that film was amazing. I intend to watch it again and see if I can tell that it was not filmed in the orient.
Among Mr. Box’s other credits are William Friedkin’s remake of "The Wages of Fear": "Sorcerer." While the remake doesn’t come close to the original film’s power, Mr. Box’s jungle design work is excellent. He also created the great sets in Michael Mann’s excellent and dark horror film "The Keep." Other credits include "The Cockleshell Heroes," "Our Man in Havana," "The World of Suzi Wong," the 1994 version of "Black Beauty" and "First Knight."
Mr. Box served his country in the Royal Armored Corp during WWII, rising to the rank of Colonel at age 25!
WILLIS HALL Died Mar. 7, 2005
Playwright Willis Hall died one month shy of his 86th birthday. Mr. Hall was nominated for three BAFTAs for Best British Screenplay in 1961, 62 and 63. All three nominations were shared with Mr. Willis’s longtime writing partner Keith Waterhouse. The first nomination was for the classic "Whistle Down the Wind," which starred Haley Mills and Albert Bates. If you have never seen this film, you are in a position to discover a masterpiece. Next came "A Kind of Loving," an entry in the British Angry Young Man cycle of films. Again, Alan Bates starred and the film was directed by John Schlesinger. "Billy Liar" was Mr. Willis’s best known work. John Schlesinger also directed the film version in 1962. The play version was directed by Lindsey Anderson. Canadian actor aqnd friend Jon Ted Wynne exposed me to another one of Mr. Willis’s works: "The Long and the Short and the Tall." Other credits include "The Valiant," the TV series "That Was the Week That Was" and "Lock Up Your Daughter’s."
I TWO STEP TOO Died Mar. 7, 2005
This is a sad day for horse lovers. The horse I Two Step Too had to be put down due to a nasal tumor. I Two Step Too was one of ten horses used to play Seabiscuit in last years hit film "Seabiscuit." The horse’s owners had the tumor removed last year, but it grew back. I Two Step Too was eleven years old. There were a number of horses hired to play Seabiscuit. Each horse was hired for a specific skill. I Two Step Too was the horse featured in all of the "blow by" scenes. I Two Step Too had the speed needed to add excitement to scenes in the movie where Seabiscuit would blow by the competition and leave them in the dust.
SHARYN LANE Died Mar. 7, 2005
Writer/producer/actress Sharyn Lane died of pancreatic cancer at age 55. Ms. Lane produced the film version of Del Shores "Sordid Lives." She also played a small part in the movie. She also produced several stage plays including "The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife." Ms. Lane did guest spots on the TV series "Married…With Children" and "Parker Louis Can’t Lose." She was also a regular on the very short-lived series "Vinnie & Bobby," which was created by her then husband Ron Leavitt. Special thanks to Ms. Lane's friend, singer/songwriter Kacey Jones for the use of this photo.
OZREN DEPOLO Died Mar. 7, 2005
Croatian composer Ozren Depolo died just shy of his 75th birthday. Mr. Depolo composed scores for a number of animated shorts as well as a few feature films. He was a noted jazz composer who played the flute and saxophone. Mr. Depolo’s credits include "The Ugly Duckling," "The Grasshopper," "The Specialist," "Whatever You Can Spare" and "Anno Domini."
GORDON KAY Died Mar. 8, 2005
Producer Gordon Kay died in his sleep at age 88. Mr. Kay produced nearly 50 films, many of them B-movie Westerns. He worked for several studios before starting his own independent production company. Mr. Kay producer 29 of the 38 "Rocky Lane" Westerns. Actor Allan Lane played Western hero Rocky Lane in a series of 39 films. He was also well known as the Western hero Red Ryder. Mr. Kay later teamed up with director Harry Keller, producing seven of his films including "The Unguarded Moment" and "Day of the Badman." Mr. Kay also produced seven films starring WWII Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy. His Audie Murphy films include "Hell Bent for Leather" and "Bullet for a Badman." Mr. Kay also produced the Rock Hudson film "Twilight For the Gods."
LARRY BUNKER Died Mar. 8, 2005
Jazz drummer Larry Bunker died of complications following a stroke at age 76. Mr. Bunker was an in demand jazz percussionist. He played with many of the jazz greats of the past century. Mr. bunker was also a prolific Hollywood studio musician. He worked on movie soundtracks for 51 years. He played with Henry Mancini on such great soundtracks as "Hatari!," "Charade," "Breakfast at Tiffany’s" and "Peter Gunn." Other credits include "Stalag 17," "A Boy and His Dog," "The Incredibles" and "The Truth About Cats and Dogs." Mr. Bunker played with the Bill Evans Trio. The band appeared on the TV series "BBC Jazz 625." He also appeared with two different bands on the TV series "Frankly Jazz."
BRIGITTE MIRA Died Mar. 8, 2005
Acclaimed German actress Brigitte Mira died at age 94. Ms. Mira entered a private hospital last month for weakness associated with her age. Ms. Mira began her performing career as a ballerina. She moved on to become an accomplished singer and cabaret performer. She turned to film in the late 1940s. Ms. Mira appeared in over 120 films and TV shows. During the 1970s she gained great popularity at home due to the TV series "Three Women in a Grill." She gained international recognition during the same time for her work in the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Ms. Mira worked with Fassbinder ten times before his suicide in 1982. Her Fassbinder credits include "Berlin Alexanderplatz," "Fear Eats the Soul," "Satan's Brew" and "Lili Marleen." She also appeared as herself in the documentary "Fassbinder’s Women." Ms. Mira acted with Fassbinder in the bizarre "Adolf and Marlene," which was a love story between Adolf Hitler and Marlene Dietrich. Ms. Mira also worked with the other great German director to emerge from the German Renaissance of the 1970s: Werner Herzog. She starred in Herzog’s masterful "Every Man for Himself and God Against All." The movie was based on the true story of Kaspar Hauser. I highly recommend this movie. It is an unforgettable experience. Ms. Mira won the Outstanding Achievement by an Actress Award at the German Film Awards for her work in Fassbinder’s "Fear Eats the Soul." That same organization also gave her an Honorary Award for her long contribution to the German film industry.
ELIZABETH OWENS Died Mar. 8, 2004
Actress Elizabeth Owens died of breast cancer at age 77. IMDB lists her age as 67. Ms. Owens was primarily a stage actress. She appeared on Broadway as well as off-Broadway and in touring companies. Ms. Owens co-founded the Roundabout Theater with her husband Gene Feist. Ms. Owens’ film credits include Brian De Palma’s "The Bonfire of the Vanities," Costa Gavras’ "Music Box," "Mr. Deeds" and "Two Weeks Notice."
SHEILA GISH Died Mar. 9, 2005
Acclaimed British stage actress Sheila Gish died of cancer at age 62. Two years ago, Ms. Gish lost her right eye to cancer. Sheila Gish may be best known for her stunning performance as Blanche DuBois on the London stage. Though primarily a stage actress, the blond beauty did appear in a number of films and TV shows. Her film credits include "Highlander," "Hitler: The Last Ten Days," "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg" and James Ivory’s "Quartet." Ms. Gish’s first husband was actor Roland Curram. He second husband was actor Denis Lawson, best know as Wedge from the first "Star Wars" trilogy. Mr. Lawson was also the co-star of the excellent, quirky comedy "Local Hero."
WILLIAM MURRAY Died Mar. 9, 2005
Author William Murray died of a heart attack at age 78. Mr. Murray was a longtime writer for "The New Yorker." He also wrote 39 novels, many of them were mysteries set around the world of horse racing. "The Sweet Ride" featured a topless Jacqueline Bissett causing problems for three guys sharing a Malibu beach house played by Tony Franciosa, Michael Sarrazin and Bob Denver in a rare straight role. Mr. Murray’s novel "Malibu" was made into a TV mini-series.
CHRIS LEDOUX Died Mar. 9, 2005
Country & Western singer Chris LeDoux died of bile duct cancer at age 56. Chris LeDoux was the Real McCoy. He was a rodeo cowboy, a bareback bronco rider. Mr. LeDoux was the Rodeo Cowboy’s Association 1976 World Champion Bareback Rider. All along, Chris LeDoux wanted to sing. He took on the musical industry the same way he faced a bucking bronco: with talent, tenacity and perseverance. Mr. LeDoux broke into the music business in the early 1990s. He recorded 36 albums. Mr. LeDoux appeared on and hosted several shows on The Nashville Network. He also performed on several of his buddy Garth Brook’s TV specials. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
DANNY JOE BROWN Mar. 10, 2005
I took my daughter Christy to see the "Bubbapalooza" concert back in the late 90s. I had to make sure her musical education was complete. The lineup included The Fabulous Thunderbirds, .38 Special, The Allman Brothers Band and Molly Hatchet. Of the many concerts I took Chris to, this one was among her favorites. We both agreed that Molly Hatchet stole the show. Molly Hatchet’s front man Danny Joe Brown died of complications from diabetes at age 53. Their biggest hit was "Flirtin’ With Disaster." The song was used on the soundtrack of Charlize Theron’s Oscar winner "Monster" as well as in the redneck comedy "Run Ronnie Run."
MATHIAS LEDOUX Died Mar. 10, 2005
French director Mathias Ledoux died at age 51 following a lengthy illness. Mr. Ledoux worked primarily in TV but did direct two feature films. The crime thriller "Three Blind Mice" starred Edward Furlong and Emilia Fox. Mr. Ledoux’s feature debut was "En Face," a sexy thriller starring Clotilde Courau. Mr. Mathias may have been best known for his work on the TV comedy series "Camera Café." He also directed a number of documentaries.
DAVE ALLEN Died Mar. 10, 2005
Irish comedian Dave Allen died in his sleep at age 68. Mr. Allen was a staple on British TV during the 1960s through the 80s. He had successful shows on the BBC, ITV and the Thames networks. Mr. Allen was known for his acerbic wit. His social commentaries took on topics ranging from sex to religion. Mr. Allen sat on a stool with a smoke in one hand and a highball in the other. From this throne Mr. Allen held court for decades. Mr. Allen owned his programs and did not allow rebroadcasts while he was alive. Maybe now, new generations will be allowed to witness Mr. Allen’s wit in reruns. His TV shows include "Tonight with Dave Allen" and "Dave Allen at Large." Mr. Allen also tried his hand at dramatic acting. He appeared on stage and in film. He starred in Stephen Frears’ movie "One Fine Day."
SYDNEY GOTTLIEB Died Mar. 10, 2005
Retired film editor Sydney Gottlieb died at age 100 after taking a slight fall. Mr. Gottlieb was born the day that Teddy Roosevelt was elected to the presidency! He was an assistant film editor at Universal. Though he worked without credit, the 62-year-Editor’s Guild member worked on a large number of films and TV shows. Mr. Gottlieb worked on such films and TV shows as the "Ma and Pa Kettle" film series, "Bonzo Goes to College," "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" and the "Lassie" TV series.
ROBERT LAZARUS Died Mar. 11, 2005
There are the actors and directors who get the glory. There are the gaffers and grips that do the hard work behind the camera. There are the guys and gals who make the deals, without which no one else would work. What good is a movie if you can’t find distribution? The people who put the money together to make movies may not be artists, but without their business acumen, many an artist would starve. Robert Lazarus was one such person. He worked on deals to finance some very good films including "A Simple Plan" and "Primary Colors." He was the executive producer of "Girl’s Best Friend." He worked for Disney, Turner Broadcasting, Paramount and Flixer. Mr. Lazarus passed away of pulmonary disease at age 43. He died way to young. Prayers of comfort to the family and friends.
DANNY CAPPA Died Mar. 11, 2005
Property man and set dresser Danny Cappa died at age 62. Mr. Capa worked on the films "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult" and "The Chamber" among others. He was a member of I.A.T.S.A. Local 44.
GLENN DAVIS Died Mar. 12, 2005
Grip and stuntman Glenn Davis died of complications following transplant surgery. Mr. Davis did stunts for the TV series "Switch" and the films "Early Frost" and "Starstruck." He was a grip on many films during his lengthy career. His credits include "Die Hard," "Minority Report," "How Stella Got Her Groove back," "8MM" and "Magnolia." Mr. Davis served his country as a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War.
GERALD ADAMS Died Mar. 12, 2005
Emmy-winning set decorator Gerald Adams died at age 71 after a lengthy illness. Mr. Adams was nominated for six Emmy awards, winning back-to-back awards for his work on the mini series "The Thorn Birds" and the TV movie "The Letter." His other nominations came for "Columbo: Playback," "Captains and the Kings," "The Silent Lovers" and "There Must Be a Pony." Mr. Adams worked on a number of films and TV shows. He helped make things appear creepy on a number of horror films including "Evil Dead 2," "Salem’s Lot," "Dead Again," "Fright Night" and "V: The Final Battle." Other credits include "Paradise Alley," "Goldengirl," "Haywire" and "Lock Up." He was a member of I.A.T.S.A. Local 44.
GUGLIELMO SPOLETINI Died Mar. 12, 2005
Italian actor and stuntman Guglielmo Spoletini died in Rome. Mr. Spoletini used the American pseudonym William Bogart when he appeared in a number of Spaghetti Westerns during the 1960s. Director Gianfranco Pannone found Mr. Spoletini in the late 1990s and used him as the centerpiece of his wonderful documentary "L’America a Roma." Mr. Spoletini led the director to a number of other long forgotten Italian actors who worked during the glory days of the Spaghetti Western. Mr. Spoletini appeared in over 20 films during the 1960s and 70s. Most of them were Westerns. He had a bit part as an Italian taxi driver in the hit horror film "The Omen."
JASON EVERS Died Mar. 13, 2005
Though he appeared in over 115 films and TV shows, Jason Evers is known to millions of bad movie fans as the star of "The Brain That Wouldn’t Die." I saw this memorable stinker on the Memphis monster movie show "Fantastic Features" with your Monster of Ceremonies, Savid. "The Brain That Wouldn’t Die" dealt with a scientist who kept his girlfriend’s head alive in a tray while he figured out a way to attach it to a body. He goes after several sexy strippers in his quest to find a body on which to reattach the head. For some reason, his wife just wants to die. There is also a monster locked in a closet that looks like a reject from "The Hills Have Eyes." Classic cinema. Jason Evers died of heart failure at age 83. Mr. Evers other credits include "Escape From the Planet of the Apes," "Basket Case 2," the enjoyable CBS Movie of the Week "Fer-de-Lance," "The Illustrated Man," "The Green Berets" and "Pretty Boy Floyd."
HAL SEEGER Died Mar. 13, 2005
Producer/director Hal Seeger died at age 87. Mr. Seeger produced and directed over 200 cartoons during his prolific career. His late wife, Beverly Arnold was a voice actress who worked on many of his productions. Mr. Seeger created the "Milton the Monster" cartoon series. He also created the character Batfink. Mr. Seeger was also the patriarch of an entertainment family. His son David is a director and editor, daughter Susan is a writer/producer, daughter Charlene a writer, actress daughter Mindy plays Chris on "The West Wing" and son Efrem is a writer/producer.
LYN COLLINS Died Mar. 13, 2005
R&B singer Lyn Collins died of cardiac arrhythmia at age 56. As a teenager, Ms. Collins began singing with James Brown. He called her the Female Preacher. Ms. Collins went solo after two years with James Brown. She sang the song "How Long Can I Keep It Up?" in the Blaxploitation film "Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off." She also composed music for the Fred Williamson Blaxploitation film "Black Caesar." She appeared as herself in the documentary "James Brown: Soul Survivor."
WINNIE DANGERFIELD Died Mar. 13, 2005
British silent film child actress Winnie Dangerfield died at age 96 after a two-week illness. Ms. Dangerfield was the daughter of screenwriter Ernest Dangerfield. She appeared in a number of films during her childhood using the stage name Unita Hanson. Many were written by her father. As is the case with most films of the silent era, only one of her’s survives to this day. "Sweep! Sweep!! Sweep!!!" was shot in 1913. A copy of it is preserved in the National Film Archive in England. Ms. Dangerfield’s other film credits include "Rough On Uncle," "When the Pie was Opened" and "The Society Visit." Ms. Dangerfield continued to make her living as an entertainer. She appeared in a number of musical and variety stage presentations. Ms. Dangerfield retired in 1999 and moved in the Musicians Benevolent Fund Home in Bromley England in April of 2000.
TOM DILLON Died Mar. 14, 2005
Actor Tom Dillon died at age 86. Though primarily a stage actor, Mr. Dillon appeared in several films and TV shows. He was the president of the Actor’s Fund for 16 years and was involved in much charitable work. His film credits include "Winged Victory," "Slaughterhouse Five," "Anastasia" and "Family Business." Mr. Dillon served his country during WWII.
CHUCK MYALL Died Mar. 14, 2005
Set designer and theme park ride designer Chuck Myall died of kidney failure and emphysema at age 81. Mr. Myall worked on several TV shows and films during the 1950s and 60s including "Perry Mason." He was the man who designed several beloved rides at Disneyworld and Disneyland. Mr. Myall designed "It’s a Small World" and "The Haunted Mansion." A tombstone tribute to Mr. Myall has been placed in the haunted mansion. He was also one of the master planners of Disney World where he also oversaw the huge construction project! Mr. Myall served his country in the US Army Air Corp during WWII.
DON DURANT Died Mar. 15, 2005
TV actor Don Durant died at age 72. Mr. Durant had been battling leukemia and lymphoma for several years. Mr. Durant was best known as the star of "Johnny Ringo." The TV series ran from 1959 to 1960. 38 episodes were produced. Mr. Durant played the former gunfighter turned sheriff. His other film and TV credits include "She Gods of the Shark Reef," "Battle Cry," "Perry Mason," "The Twilight Zone," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "The Virginian" and "Wagon Train."
ANTHONY WALSH Died Mar. 15, 2005
Lawyer/actor Tony Walsh died of a heart attack at age 64. As a trial lawyer, I know what Mr. Walsh knew; working in front of a jury is like acting. Mr. Walsh worked before juries and before audiences. He was active in regional theater in Ohio. Mr. Walsh also appeared in the excellent HBO biopic "Citizen Cohn."
ANTHONY GEORGE Died Mar. 16, 2005
Actor Tony George died of lung disease at age 84. Mr. George was best known to fans of the cult-gothic soap opera "Dark Shadows." Mr. George played two roles on the series starting in 1967. Mr. George also did an eight-year stint on the soap "One Life to Live" and five years on "Search For Tomorrow." He appeared in over 50 films and TV shows during his career. Other credits include "The Gun of Zangara" with Robert Stack as Elliot Ness, "The Ten Commandments," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Sea Hunt," "Where the Sidewalk Ends" and "77 Sunset Strip."
LEN COWEN Died Mar. 16, 2005
Len Cowen died at age 85. He doesn’t have a single movie credit. He worked at many different trades during his life, none of them related to the movies. He did how ever take part in events, which were the basis for one of my all-time favorite films. Mr. Cowen served as a radio operator during WWII. He was the only American attached to the British forces in India that were charged with destroying Japanese radar installations in Burma. Mr. Cowen won a Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and the Burma Star. Those operations were dramatized in the excellent Errol Flynn war movie "Objective Burma!" I highly recommend the movie to anyone who has not seen it. It was a favorite of my father’s. As a child, my Dad was very strict concerning bedtimes. That rule went out the window whenever "Objective Burma!" played on the Late Show. Thanks to Mr. Cowen for his service to our country.
SVERRE HOLM Died Mar. 17, 2005
Norwegian actor Sverre Holm died of natural causes at age 73. Mr. Holm was best know to adults in his native land as Benny in the comedy/crime film series "The Olsen Gang." Mr. Holm played Benny Frantzen in 15 films starting with the first "Olsen Gang" in 1969. He also wrote three of the films. Children knew Mr. Holm best as the Stationmaster in the educational TV series "Sesame Station." The series ran for eight years. Mr. Holm appeared in over 30 films and TV shows during his career.
ANDRE NORTON Died Mar. 17, 2005
Writer Andre Norton died of congestive heart failure at age 93. Ms. Norton wrote over 130 books during her lifetime. She was best known for her sci-fi/fantasy books. Her novel "The Beast Master" was the basis for the two "Beastmaster" films and the TV series that followed. Marc Singer played her creation Dar in the two films while actor Daniel Goddard played Dar in the TV series.
LALO GUERRERO Died Mar. 17, 2005
Musician Lalo Guerrero died of prostate cancer at age 88. Mr. Guerrero was called the father of Chicano music. During his 60-year career, Mr. Guerrero recorded over 700 albums and enjoyed popularity in both the Hispanic and English speaking worlds. Mr. Guerrero wrote a number of songs that were used by writer/director Luis Valdez’s interesting musical "Zoot Suit." Mr. Guerrero made appearances in the movies "The Good Girl" and "La Pastorela."
COLONEL JAMES HICKEY Died Mar. 18, 2005
Retired Air Force Colonel James Hickey died at age 88. Col. Hickey oversaw the US Army’s 1st Cavalry’s change from horses to motorcycles. Col. Hickey’s story was the subject of the Made for TV movie "Born to Ride," which starred John Stamos. Col. Hickey’s daughter Janice Hickey co-wrote the script with her husband Michael Pardridge. Col. Hickey is not the same Col. James Hickey who commanded the forces that actually captured Saddam Hussein.
RAYMOND MERCER Died Mar. 18, 2005
Famed LA lawman Raymond Mercer died at age 86. Mr. Mercer was part of the team that took down West Coast Mafia boss Mickey Cohen. Mr. Mercer was an expert on fraud and forgery. He was a long time technical advisor for Jack Webb’s TV series "Dragnet." Mr. Mercer served his country during WWII in the US Army Air Corp. He was part of the squadron that shot down Pearl Harbor architect General Yamamoto!
LUISA ALESSANDRI Died Mar. 18, 2005
Assistant director Luisa Alessandri died of at age 91. Ms. Alessandri was assistant to Italian master Vittorio De Sica. She worked with De Sica on most of his films from his first in 1940 through his final film in 1974. The films of Vittorio De Sica won a multitude of awards worldwide. They were either nominated for or won a total of thirteen Oscars! Ms. Alessandri’s credits include "The Bicycle Thief," "Umberto D.," "Two Women," "Boccaccio ‘70," "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" and "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis."
JOHN DELOREAN Died Mar. 19, 2005
Auto designer John DeLorean died of complications following a stroke at age 80. Mr. DeLorean developed the gull-winged sports car that bore his name. The venture was a failure due to a complicated series of events. Documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker co-directed the 1981 documentary "DeLorean," which chronicled the rise and fall of the maverick carmaker. "Car Crash: The DeLorean Story" was a TV documentary on the same subject. Mr. DeLorean’s greatest gift to the movies was his famed car. The DeLorean was the car used as a time machine in the "Back to the Future" films.
WALTER REUTER Died Mar. 20, 2005
German photographer Walter Reuter died of kidney failure at age 99. Mr. Reuter left Germany in the early 1930s where he moved throughout Europe and Africa. He settled in Mexico in 1942. Mr. Reuter’s photographs of the day to day life of Mexico’s poor indigenous people. He approached his subjects with love and respect and his work became beloved in his adopted home. Mr. Reuter turned to cinema for a time during the 1950s and 60s. He produced, directed, co-directed and photographed 21 documentaries. He photographed Alberto Issac’s documentary "Olympiada en Mexico," which dealt with the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Mr. Reuter was given a Special Silver Ariel award in 1999 for his contribution to the Mexican film industry. His work was an important part of Mexico’s budding independent film movement during the 1950s. The Ariel is Mexico’s equivalent of the Oscar.
CHARLES PURPORA Died Mar. 20, 2005
Screenwriter Charles Purpora died at age 59. Mr. Purpora wrote the teen comedies "Satisfaction" and "Heaven Help Us." "Satisfaction" starred Justine Bateman. The mediocre movie also featured Julia Robert’s film debut. He also wrote the serious Made for TV film "The Day the Senior Class Got Married." Mr. Purpora won the Humanitas Prize for "The Day the Senior Class Got Married." The Humanitas Prize is awarded for films that communicate and promote positive human values. Mr. Purpora taught screenwriting at NYU. He was also a member of several bands during the 1960s and 70s including "The Front Porch." That band recorded several singles including "Song for St. Agnes." He was also in a band with Shere Hite, who later wrote the sexual best seller "The Hite Report." Mr. Purpora and Front Porch bandmate Marc Scott also wrote music for several off-Broadway shows under the name "Gizmo Delicious."
PAUL KELLY Died Mar. 20, 2005
Former actor and radio talk show host Paul Kelly was killed in an automobile accident at age 46. Mr. Kelly’s car struck a tractor-trailer that was blocking both lanes of traffic. The accident happened at night. The truck became stuck while trying turn around. Sheriff’s deputies were in the process of placing road flares down when Mr. Kelly’s vehicle slammed into the trailer. Mr. Kelly was killed instantly. Paul Kelly was a talk show host at the California radio station KVEC. A station employee told me that everyone was shocked by the tragic loss of Mr. Kelly. Mr. Kelly had worked as an actor in LA prior to moving to radio. He appeared in the movie "The Flintstones" and a couple of first season episodes of "NYPD Blue." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
WALTER LEIGHTON Died Mar. 20, 2055
Emmy-nominated editor Walter Leighton died at age 74. Mr. Leighton was nominated for an Emmy for his work on the TV series "LA Law." Mr. Leighton started out as a sound editor during the 1950s. His sound editor credits include "South Seas Adventure," "Hollywood Shuffle," "An Innocent Man" and "Third Degree Burn." Mr. Leighton began film cutting in the early 1960s. He worked on a number of films and TV series. Mr. Leighton edited H. B. Halicki’s original "Gone in 60 Seconds." He also made a cameo in the 90-minute car chase film. Mr. Halicki and Mr. Leighton also collaborated on the car crash extravaganzas "The Junkman" and "Deadline Auto Theft." Director Halicki was killed in 1989 while filming "Gone in 60 Seconds 2." Mr. Leighton’s other credits include the cartoon series "The Flintstones," "Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear," "The Fantastic Four," "Space Ghost," "Moby Dick and the Mighty Mightor" and "Shazzan!" His live action film credits include "C.H.O.M.P.S.," "Wolf Lake" and "Once Upon a Time on a Texas Train."
ANTHONY ROBERTS Died Mar. 21, 2005
Actor turned photojournalist Anthony Roberts died of prostate cancer at age 65. Mr. Roberts appeared in the low budget creature feature "The Beach Girls and the Monster." The grade-z monster movie from the 1960s was directed by 1940s romantic lead Jon Hall. It was his last film as an actor or director. Mr. Roberts won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of photos of the attempted kidnapping of a woman in Los Angeles. Under the name of Kal Roberts, he appeared in two Made for TV movies starring Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash: "The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James" and "Stagecoach." Mr. Roberts photographed album covers for Willie nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. Mr. Roberts was also the voice of God in a series of books on tape produced by the World Bible Society. Though he claimed to have been framed by the police, Mr. Roberts was once convicted of DUI for an offense that was committed while he was driving a limo once owner by John Gotti!
Noted photographer N. Warren Winter took this portrait of Mr. Roberts. Mr. Winter shared his memories with me: "It was the portrait of himself he most liked. In fact, it was taken the moment I met Kal at his studio in Nashville. He very quickly became someone who was like a surrogate father to me. I loved him dearly. I'm deeply sadden, I'm moved to tears. I adore his wife Gloria. They were an amazing couple. He used to introduce me to his Nashville celebrity friends as "the second best photographer in Nashville." He was truly a one of a kind person. A real cowboy in the grandest, most chivalrous sense of the word."
WAYNE MIYATA Died Mar. 21, 2005
Surfer Wayne Miyata died of throat cancer at age 63. Several clips of Mr. Miyata successfully surfing tubes in Hawaii appeared in the excellent documentary "The Endless Summer." Mr. Miyata also was featured in the documentary video "Top of Their Game." Mr. Miyata was also a popular hand-crafter of surfboards.
GEMINI GANESAN Died Mar. 21, 2005
Indian actor Gemini Ganesan died at age 84 after a lengthy illness. Born Ramaswami Ganesan, he went to work for the Gemini film studios in the 1940. While he wanted to be an actor he was hired as an office boy. In 1947 he was cast in his first film. He continued to do supporting roles before hitting it big in 1953. Mr. Ganesan took the name of the first studio he worked for as a stage name. Mr. Ganesan became a popular romantic lead in Indian films of the 1950s and 60s. He appeared in over 200 films made by the various Indian film industries.
BOBBY SHORT Died Mar. 21, 2005
Cabaret singer Bobby Short died of leukemia at age 80. Bobby Short held court since 1968 at the Café Carlyle in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. A child prodigy, Mr. Short began playing the piano as a child and played professionally starting at age 9. Middle America may know Mr. Short best for the series of commercials he did for Charlie perfume. He appeared in a number of films and TV shows including Woody Allen’s "Hannah and Her Sisters," "Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol" and "Call Me Mister." He was the subject of the 1979 concert documentary "Bobby Short at the Café Carlyle."
BARNEY MARTIN Died Mar. 21, 2005
Actor Barney Martin died of cancer at age 82. Mr. Martin was best known as Jerry Seinfeld’s dad on the hit TV series "Seinfeld." He took over the role from Phil Bruns during the show’s second season. Mr. Martin was a cop before he turned to the entertainment world. He appeared on stage, TV and film. Mr. Martin’s first film appearance was as a juror in Alfred Hitchcock’s "The Wrong Man." He moved to larger roles when Mel Brooks cast him in "The Producers." His film roles include "Charly," "Movie Movie" and both "Arthur" movies. He played Liza Minnelli’s father in the "Arthur" films. Mr. Martin originated the role of Amos Hart on stage in "Chicago." John C. Reilly played the role in the film version. He was also Jackie Gleason’s stand-in on the TV series "Jackie Gleason and His American Scene Magazine." Mr. Martin appeared in nearly 80 films and TV shows.
DON SCHWEIKERT Died Mar. 21, 2005
Background artist Don Schweikert died on March 21. Mr. Schweikert worked on the animated series "Space Sentinels," "Ghostbusters," "She Ra: Princess of Power" and "Batman: The Mask of the Phantom" among others. Mr. Schweikert worked for Warner Brothers, Hanna-Barbera and Filmation during his career. He was a member of The Animation Guild, Local 839.
JULIAN LESSER Died Mar. 22, 2005
Producer Julian Lesser died of cancer at age 90. Mr. Lesser began his career with his father Sol Lesser as an assistant producer on "Tarzan and the Mermaids." His father was the producer of the later non-Maureen O’Sullivan "Tarzan" movies that starred Johnny Weissmuller. Julian Lesser produced several films and a TV series during the 1940s and 50s. His credits include "The Saint Returns," "Whispering Smith vs. Scotland Yard," "Massacre River" and the TV series "Bold Journey."
ROD PRICE Died Mar. 22, 2005
Guitarist Rod Price died instantly after falling down the stairs in his home. The 57-year-old price fell after suffering a massive heart attack. Mr. Price was the lead guitarist for 70s super-group "Foghat." The band was well known for their driving hits "Slow Ride," "I Just Want to Make Love to You," "Fool For the City" and others. The band appeared on a number of TV shows including "In Concert" and a live concert tribute to Don Kirschner and the blues on "MTV." Foghat’s lead singer "Lonesome" Dave Peverett also died at age 57 of died of cancer in 2000.
DAVID KOSSOFF Died Mar. 23, 2005
BAFTA winning actor David Kossoff died of liver cancer at age85. The actor devoted the latter part of his life to a crusade against drug abuse. Mr. Kossoff was the father of the late rock guitarist Paul Kossoff. Paul Kossoff, guitarist for the band "Free" died of a heart attack at age 25 after years of drug abuse. Mr. Kossoff toured schools with his one-man show "Late Great Paul" to warn kids about the dangers of drugs. During his 50-year career, Mr. Kossoff appeared on stage screen and TV. He played the Sheriff of Nottingham in the TV series "Robin Hood." He also starred in the comedy TV series "The Larkins." Among Mr. Kossoff’s many film credits are the original version of "1984," "I Am a Camera" which was the basis for Bob Fosse’s "Cabaret," "The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll," the hilarious "The Mouse that Roared" and it’s sequel "The Mouse on the Moon," "A Kid For Two Farthings" and John Huston’s biopic "Freud." He also appeared in Billy Wilder’s excellent "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes" but his scenes were deleted. You can see them on the recently restored DVD release of the over-looked film. Mr. Kossoff received a BAFTA as best newcomer for his work in the film "The Young Lovers." Two years later he was again recognized as Best Actor by the Society of Film and Television Arts for his work in "A Kid For Two Farthings."
SIVAD Died Mar. 23, 2005
I feel like a huge part of my childhood has died. Like thousands of other kids in the Mid South, I spent many a Saturday night watching "Fantastic Features" on WHBQ TV. The local creature feature program was hosted by Sivad, Your Monster of Ceremonies. Watson Davis, the local Memphis actor who created Sivad died of cancer at age 92. Davis worked for the Malco theater chain. He was hired by WHBQ in 1962 to host the popular monster movie program. It ran until 1971. Mr. Davis created his costume, reversed his last name and Sivad was born. I still remember arguing with my mother to watch Willis O’Brien’s "The Giant Behemoth" way back in 1964. WHBQ ran a parental warning that the movie about a dinosaur attacking London may not be suitable for young children. My how times have changed. After a couple of years, "Fantastic Features" was moved from a 6 PM time slot to 10:30 at night. I don’t have the space to recall all of the fond memories I have of watching the show. Whether I was sitting up late with my older sister eating cake icing while watching such classics as "The Wasp Woman" or "Attack of the Giant Leeches" or the numerous times I watched with my dad. My father had a wicked sense of humor. He loved to terrorize us by jumping out from the dark. One of my best memories was the night my dad spent the entire show scarring the crap out of my mom and I during one of the shows. Before he finally donned a toupee and never took it off, my father was bald-headed. This particular night he buttoned his short over his head so that all that showed was the hairless top of his head. He added a splatter of ketchup and spent an hour as a headless corpse ambushing us from the darkness as we watched Sivad. My dad was scarier than the movie being shown. The flood of memories is kind of overwhelming. In downtown Memphis sits the Orpheum Theater. Before it was restored and turned into a live theater, the building was the Malco Theater. In 1970 I went to the Malco for All Night monster movies. Sivad made a grand entrance, flying over the huge crowd on a wire and on to the stage. It was a different time. A time long gone. Thank you Mr. Davis for the years of entertainment and enjoyment. Thank you for the times you brought my family together to share some fun, chills and excitement.
CHARLES ANTALOSKY Died Mar. 23, 2005
Actor Charles Antalosky died of cancer at age 67. Mr. Antalosky was primarily a stage actor. He appeared on Broadway and on many regional stages throughout the nation. Mr. Antalosky appeared on the TV series "Remembering WENN" and "All My Children."
PAUL HENNING Died Mar. 25, 2005
Oscar and Emmy nominated writer/producer Paul Henning died of natural causes at age 93. Paul Henning created the classic TV series "The Beverly Hillbillies." During the early 60s my father enforced a 7 PM bedtime for my older brother, sister and myself. The only exception was on Tuesday night when we could stay up to 7:30 in order to watch "The Beverly Hillbillies." Mr. Henning also wrote the memorable theme song. "Come and listen to my story about a man named Jed…" Tonight I’ve watched the news as Terri Schiavo is slowly starved to death while an abundance of evidence is shown that cast doubt on the motives of her guardian. I wonder how this nation has come to this point. I guess one could argue that the beginning of the end of a United States and the division of the country into the Red and the Blue states could be tracked back to 1971. That year the president of CBS made a decision. Despite the fact that Paul Henning’s TV series "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Green Acres" were still Top 10 shows, the network canceled them both. CBS decided that the home-spun humor and family friendly entertainment that was the hallmark of Paul Henning’s TV series was a thing of the past. It was time for "All in the Family," "M*A*S*H" and other more politically charged shows to break into the airwaves. That was also the year that "Mayberry" was wiped off the TV map. Maybe I’m making a stretch here, but I don’t think that Ms. Schiavo would be judicially executed in those days.
Paul Henning went to law school on the advice of Harry S. Truman, but turned to the entertainment industry instead of the practice of law. Paul Henning began his career as a writer for the radio show "Fibber McGee and Molly." He went from radio to film and TV. He was nominated for an Oscar for his script of the Doris Day/Rock Hudson film "Lover Come Back." Mr. Henning always seemed to put rural and urban America in comedic conflict and the rural world won out. He wrote for such shows as "The Real McCoys," "The Andy Griffith Show" and others. In addition to creating "The Beverly Hillbillies" he also created "Petticoat Junction," "Green Acres," "The Bob Cummings Show," "Bearcats" and "The Dennis Day Show." Mr. Cummings also co-wrote the Steve Martin/Michael Caine comedy "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels." Mr. Henning was nominated for Emmy Awards for his TV series "The Bob Cummings Show" and "The Beverly Hillbillies." The Writer’s Guild gave Mr. Henning an honorary Silver Laurel Award for his contribution to TV. Sorry for getting political in this obituary but I’ve been moved to tears by this whole Terri Schiavo fiasco. I’ve seen the videos of Ms. Schiavo and I was reminded of my own daughter’s battle back to life from severe brain damage. I remember seeing Christy look just like Ms. Schiavo and wondering if she would ever return to me. I feel for Ms. Schiavo’s parents. Somehow I don’t think that Jed or Jethro would stand around and let her die. Paul Henning wrote for a time gone by. A time that I wish would return. A time when life was respected. Maybe Mr. Henning is the lucky one who no longer has to witness the downfall of the human race.
PAUL HESTER Died Mar. 25, 2005
The bad year for aging rock stars continues. So far this year we’ve lost members or management of "The Doors," "Jefferson Airplane," "Traffic," "Duran, Duran," "The Doobie Brothers," "Molly Hatchet," "Blue Cheer," "The Searchers," "Foghat," "Blackfoot" and now "Crowded House." Former "Crowded House" drummer Paul Hester hung himself in a park in Melbourne Australia. Mr. Hester was 46 years old. Mr. Hester was a member of the bands "Split Enz" and later "Crowded House." He co-founded the band in 1985 and left in 1993. The band scored international hits with the songs "Don't Dream it's Over" and "Weather with You." Mr. Hester’s film and TV credits include "The Coca-Cola Kid" and "One Night Stand" as well as the TV series "Hessie’s Shed" and "The Mick Molloy Show." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends, especially his young daughters.
GREG GARRISON Died Mar. 25, 2005
Emmy-winning director Greg Garrison died of pneumonia at age 81. Mr. Garrison was a TV director during the early days of television. He worked on such classic shows as "The Milton Berle Show," "You Show of Shows," "Bachelor Father" and "The Dean Martin Show." Mr. Garrison produced the hilarious "Dean Martin Presents the Gold Diggers." He was nominated for ten Emmy awards During his career. He won in 1969 for directing "The Dean Martin Show." Mr. Garrison also directed the two Joey (Peppermint Twist) Dee feature films "Hey, Let’s Twist" and "Two Tickets to Paris." Actor Joe Pesci played a dancer in "Hey Let’s Twist."
MICHAEL LUKE Died Mar. 25, 2005
Writer/producer Michael Luke died at age 80. Mr. Luke wrote and produced the Orson Welles/Christopher Plummer film "Oedipus the King." I saw the movie on a 9th grade field trip. I don’t remember much as I spent the movie starring at a girl I had crush on. I comfort myself for my lack of action in pursuing her further than furtive glances by the fact that she is now a lesbian rock and roller. Never had a chance anyway! Mr. Luke also produced "The World Ten Times Over." Other credits as a writer and actor include "The Monte Carlo Story" and "Senso."
DRAGOLJUB MILOSAVLJEVIC Died Mar. 26, 2005
I first became aware of the rich Yugoslav film industry when someone turned me on to Emir Kusturica’s brilliant 1995 film "Underground." "Underground" marked the final film appearance of veteran Yugoslav actor Dragoljub ‘Gula’ Milosavljevic. The beloved actor died after a long illness at age 82. Mr. Milosavljevic appeared in over 60 films and TV series. He was also one of his nation’s most respected stage actors. He was a member of the Serbian National Theater and the Yugoslav Drama Theater. He was the recipient of the Steriya Acting Award.
One of the problems in reporting the passing of actors from other nations is translating information about them found in foreign websites. I want to thank Voja Rodic of www.inet.co.yu for taking the time to translate several articles for me. Regular readers know that I like to share personal memories of people I’ve met or whose work brings back memories. Mr. Rodic shared his fond memories of Mr. Milosavljevic with me. "I might say he was one of my most favorite childhood actors. He starred in many children’s TV series and always played loveable, somewhat confused and lost, characters, that were always bewildered with the big world - very much like most children really are. He has a daughter - Vladica Milosavljevic, in the 80s one of the leading film actresses in ex-Yugoslavia, also with distinguished theatre roles. It was exciting to see how Gula's acting talent was passed on to his daughter. Her choice of roles and characters was rather different, and she didn't remind of her father literally, but one could see how the next generation is using the same gift to build on convincing and exciting characters, showing that the variations of one talent can be ever inspiring for the attentive audience.
I feel a little bit unfair by pointing out Gula's appearances in children programs, but that is the image of him etched in my mind and my emotional memory. As I grew up I watched him in a number of roles that showed the wide span of his talent, but nevertheless, his appearance would bring to me the childhood memories of characters that were funny and clumsy, always carrying a certain note of sadness, a kind of sad clown that will make you laugh, but while you laugh you would have a choking feeling in your chest. It was different from other comedians that would make me laugh and make me want to imitate their gigs, or to retell the jokes and punchlines to friends. After watching Gula one stays bemused - just experiencing the strange feelings he would invoke, and the taste of those feelings stayed with me forever. That was the power of the master actor, but I still don't believe it was just a perfect craftsmanship, I still do believe he was really funny and sad, playful and serious, a true inspiration for invoking emotions that seem to be so rare today. For that I am ever in debt to Gula, and for as long as I live some bittersweet waves of long forgotten emotions (that touch me inside rarely in these hectic days of ever increasing competitive game of life) are my private Goolisms, an island of true sanity and sincerity."
EDDIE SAETA Died Mar. 26, 2005
Director, assistant director, production manager and producer Eddie Saeta died at age 90. Mr. Saeta came from an industry family. His father ran the electrical department at Columbia Studios starting in the 1920s. Mr. Saeta began his career as a teen working for the much feared Harry Cohen of Columbia. Mr. Saeta worked his way from Gofer to producer/director. Not a bad way to go. He worked along side many great American directors. The films he added to ranged from shorts by The Three Stooges to Orson Welles! Mr. Saeta’s credits include "The Lady From Shanghai," "Diamond are Forever," Ray Harryhausen’s "20 Million Miles to Earth," "The Killing of Sister George," the overlooked gem "…All the Marbles," Elvis Presley’s "Harum Scarum" and "This Property is Condemned." Mr. Saeta received a DGA award as assistant director on the original version of "Brian’s Song."
AHMED ZAKI Died Mar. 27, 2005
Award-winning Egyptian actor Ahmed Zaki died of lung cancer at age 55. Mr. Zaki was one of Egypt’s most popular and respected actors. He appeared in over 60 films during a career that began in the 1960s. Mr. Zaki portrayed two of the most prominent men in modern Egyptian history. He played the late presidents Anwar Sadat and Gamal Nasser in "Days of Sadat" and "Nasser ‘56" respectively. Mr. Zaki also produced the biopic about Anwar Sadat. Mr. Zaki was in production on the biopic "Halem," about Egyptian singer Abd al-Halim Hafidh, when he died. Mr. Zaki was likened to Robert DeNiro by producers and directors in the Egyptian film industry. His intensity and professionalism made him one of that nations top movie draws. Mr. Zaki won the Best Actor award at the 2002 Cairo International Film Festival for his work in "Ma’ali al Wazir." His talent was also recognized at the 1999 Shanghai Film Festival where he won another Best Actor award. Mr. Zaki was also a groundbreaker in Egyptian race relations. He was the first Black actor to break free of the stereotypical second banana roles given Black actors in Egypt to become an A-list movie star. His final days were met with an outpouring of love and sympathy from the elite of Egypt as well as the common people. Mr. Zaki had begun production on "Halem" in January. The project was very close to his heart. He had been fighting cancer for over a year when he decided to go forward with the project.
CAROLYN COATES Died Mar. 28, 2005
Actress Carolyn Coates died of cancer at age 77. Ms. Coates was primarily a stage actress, but she did appear in a number of films and TV shows. Ms. Coates was the wife of actor James Noble. Mr. Noble played Governor Gatling on the comedy TV series "Benson." Ms. Coates’s film and TV credits include the remake of "The Postman Always Rings Twice," "The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds," "The Hustler" and "Mommie Dearest."
ROBIN SPRY Died Mar. 28, 2005
Award-winning writer/director/producer Robin Spry was killed when he lost control of his car and crashed into a retaining wall in Montreal. The Canadian director was 65 years old. Mr. Spry began his career making shorts and documentaries for the National Film Board of Canada. His most famous documentary is "Action: The Crisis of October 1970." The film dealt with the kidnapping of a high-ranking Canadian cabinet minister and the British consul by the Canadian terrorist organization The Front de liberation du Quebec. Mr. Spry was the son of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation co-founder Graham Spry. Mr. Spry was nominated for an Emmy and won the Canadian Gemini Award as one of the executive producers of the mini-series "Hiroshima." The Gemini is the Canadian version of the American Emmy Award. Mr. Spry was nominated for four Genie Awards, the Canadian Oscar. Two for Best Picture: "Un Histoire Inventee" and "A’ Corps Perdu." The other two Genie nominations were for his screenplays for "Hitting Home" and "Suzanne." "Hitting Home" also won the Best Canadian Film award at the Montreal World Film Festival. Mr. Spry was also a producer of the TV series "The Lost World," "Student Bodies" and "Charlie Jade."
DAVE FREEMAN Died Mr. 28, 2005
British comedy writer Dave Freeman died at age 82 after a lengthy illness. Mr. Freeman was Benny Hill’s writing partner in the 1950s and early 60s. They co-wrote the landmark BBC TV series "Benny Hill." Mr. Freeman also wrote a number of the "Carry On" films. His other film and TV credits include :"The Avengers," "Rocket to the Moon," "Simon Simon" and "Bless This House." Mr. Freeman served his country in the Royal Navy during WWII and the Korean War.
HERMAN LAUSE Died Mar. 28, 2005
German stage and screen actor Herman Lause died of cancer at age 66. Mr. Lause appeared in over 70 films and TV shows. He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Award at the 2004 German Television Awards. He appeared in the landmark German TV mini-series "Berlin Alexanderplatz," which was directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Mr. Lause’s other credits include "Wings of Fame," "Schtonk!" and "Hamlet X."
ROBERT SLATZER Died Mar. 28, 2005
Director Robert Slatzer died at age 77 following a lengthy illness. Mr. Slatzer was also an author of many books on the film industry. He was famous for his unsubstantiated and oft-refuted claim that her was briefly married to Marilyn Monroe. His story was turned into the 1991 TV movie "Marilyn and Me" with actor Jesse Dobson portraying Mr. Slatzer. Mr. Slatzer wrote and directed two B-Movie features: "Bigfoot" and biker chick saga "The Hellcats." He also made a cameo in the biker chick film. Mr. Slatzer also directed the documentary "No Substitute for Victory." John Wayne narrated the celluloid attempt to hold back the turning tide of American public opinion against the Vietnam War.
JOHNNIE COCHRAN Died Mar. 29, 2005
Renowned attorney Johnnie Cochran died of a brain tumor at age 67. Mr. Cochran gained worldwide fame for his successful defense of ex-NFL running back O.J. Simpson for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Though critics can point to a poor prosecution by the State of California and a lack of courtroom control by Judge Ito, there is no denying that Mr. Cochran’s work on the lengthy trial was nothing less than brilliant. He prevented the State of California from giving The Juice the juice. He led the legal dream team during the yearlong trial. His phrase "If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit" became the stuff of legend. If he didn’t know before, it’s safe to assume that Mr. Cochran now knows whether or not his golf-playing client was really guilty. He appeared in the documentary "The Trial of O.J. Simpson." Johnnie Cochran built his reputation in California long before the Simpson trial. He was a fierce litigator and champion for the rights of those brutalized by rouge elements of the LAPD. Mr. Cochran had recently opened an office in my hometown of Memphis, though that office specialized in medical malpractice suits. I was a bit disappointed, as I practice solely in criminal court and would have loved to watch him work. Mr. Cochran appeared as himself in a number of films and TV shows including Spike Lee’s "Bamboozled," "Showtime," "Arli$$," "Pete Rose on Trial," "The Hughleys," "Saturday Night Live" and "JAG." Of course, his most famous TV appearance was on that ultimate reality TV show "The State of California vs. Orenthal James Simpson."
CLIVE MCLEAN Died Mar. 29, 2005
Adult Video News hall of fame photographer Clive McLean died of cancer at age 60. Mr. McLean worked for Hustler magazine as one of its main photographers for nearly 30 years. Mr. McLean turned to directing videos several years ago. He directed nearly 80 videos in Hustler’s "Barely Legal" series. Mr. McLean appeared in the PBS "Frontline" documentary "American Porn." He was also the subject of the American Movie Classics TV show "The AMC Project: I Want to Be Clive McLean."
RICHARD K. WRIGHT Died Mar. 29, 2005
Veteran prop master Richard K. Wright died of complications from a brain aneurysm at age 65. Mr. Wright suffered the aneurysm on the set of the upcoming Nick Nolte film "Peaceful Warrior." Mr. Wright was the prop master on seven films by the Farrelly brothers. Those films include "There’s Something About Mary," "Dumb & Dumber" and "Me, Myself & Irene." Mr. Wright had over 50 film credits as property master. He was the production designer on the horror film "Sorority House Massacre II." Among Mr. Wright’s credits are "Hard to Die," "Poison Ivy," 976-EVIL 2," "Threesome" and "Albino Alligator."
MICHEL GRISOLA Died Mar. 29, 2005
Award-winning writer Michel Grisola died of a cerebral hemmorahge at age 56. Mr. Grisola won the Cesar (French Oscar) for Best Writing on the Simone Signoret film "L’ Etoile du Nord." Mr. Grisola was a French film critic who began writing novels in the 1970s. He worked mainly in the detective genre. Several of his novels were translated to the screen. Mr. Grisola also wrote a number of screenplays including "Cop or Hood," "I Love You All" and "Death in Therapy."
ASHINI KIBIBI Died Mar. 30, 2005
Kenyan actress and writer Ashini Kibibi committed suicide by hanging at age 36. Ms. Kibibi was a popular soap opera actress in her native land. She received a Humphrey's Fellowship to study screenwriting at the University of Maryland. Ms. Kibibi starred on and co-produced the soap opera "Tausi." She also wrote a number of scripts for various TV shows. Ms. Kibibi suffered a stroke several years ago. She had been suffering from depression and mental illness. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
MITCH HEDBERG Died Mar. 30, 2005
Stand-up comedian Mitch Hedberg was found dead in a New Jersey hotel room. The cause of death is not yet known. The 37-year-old comedian got his big break on "The David Letterman Show." Mr. Hedberg wrote, directed and starred in the comedy film "Los Enchiladas." He made a cameo appearance in "Almost Famous." He also did guest spots on "That 70s Show" and "Ed." Mr. Hedberg had released two comedy CDs: "Mitch All Together" and "Strategic Grill Locations." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
TED JORDAN Died Mar. 30, 2005
Actor and author Ted Jordan died 80. Mr. Jordan was also credited in several films as Eddie Friedman. He was the nephew of Big Band leader and songwriter Ted Lewis. Mr. Jordan played Nathan Burke for nine years on the hit TV series "Gunsmoke." He appeared in nearly 100 films and TV shows from the 1940s through 1980. He had bit parts in such films as Otto Preminger’s Noir thriller "Whirlpool," "Tokyo Joe" and "Kill the Umpire." Mr. Jordan was briefly married to stripper Lili St. Cyr. He authored the controversial book "Norma Jean," in which he claimed to have a love affair with Marilyn Monroe. Most historians dismissed the book due to lack of cooberation of Mr. Jordan's many claims.
TERRI SCHIAVO Died Mar. 31, 2005
Terri Schiavo's life was taken by the judicial system of the State of Florida and the United States of America. Ms. Schiavo was 41 years old. Ms. Schiavo died after being starved and dehydrated for 14 days. God help this country regain its moral compass. This is the first obituary I’ve included in which the person did not have a film or TV credit. There is little doubt that the story will be turned in a film of some sort in the future. This story hit me hard due to the events I’ve gone through with my own daughter. I am horrified that a group of judges condemned to death a disabled woman who was in no immediate danger of dying. I am horrified that a group of judges prevented a mother and father from putting water on the lips of their helpless daughter. I am horrified that her parents had to be searched for water before being allowed to visit their daughter. I am horrified that her so-called husband denied the family the right to be with Terri when she died. I am ashamed to be an attorney in a system that ruled to starve to death a woman whose only crime was to have been helpless. Many will say that we must respect the rule of law; that we must respect the judges. There were a number of German judges during the 1930s and 40s who believed they were upholding the rule of law. Those judges paid the price of following the rule of law at the war crimes trials at Nuremberg. I fear that we are on a slippery slope into moral oblivion. Please pray for Terri’s parents and siblings. Please pray for this country. Though my heart is filled with anger toward Michael Schiavo, as a Christian I am compelled to ask for prayers on his behalf also. The rule of law must be tempered with mercy.
HIDEAKI SEKIGUCHI Died Mar. 31, 2005
Japanese punk rocker Hideaki Sekiguchi died of a heart attack at age 38. Mr. Sekiguchi was better known as Billy Wolf, or Bass Wolf of the Japanese punk rock band "Guitar Wolf." I first became aware of Guitar Wolf through Memphis filmmaker J. Michael McCarthy. The gonzo director put them in his B-movie classic "The Sore Losers." McCarthy’s film deals with hot-rod Mayans from outer space you come to earth to kill hippies. Guitar Wolf is one of the reasons the movie is so cool. Of course, the petite, blond naked angel helps too! Guitar Wolf released nine albums during their 12-year career. The Tokyo band adopted my hometown as their spiritual Mecca. They played numerous gigs in Memphis including one just nine days before Mr. Sekiguchi died. Maybe the Memphis connection had something to do with Billy Wolf sharing a birthday with Elvis. The band’s first release on vinyl was recorded on Memphis label Goner Records. Mr. Sekiguchi starred with the rest of Guitar Wolf in the Japanese Rock Zombie film "Wild Zero."
AL WASSERMAN Died Mar. 31, 2005
Documentary filmmaker Al Wasserman died of lung cancer at age 84. Mr. Wasserman wrote, produced and directed a number of news documentaries for all three major TV networks. He was the producer of "60 Minutes" for ten years starting in 1976. Mr. Wasserman wrote the Oscar-winning documentary "First Steps." The film deals with a subject dear to my heart, physical therapy for disabled children. Mr. Wasserman also produced the film version of Theodore White’s "The Making of the President 1972."