BETTY JANE (BJ) BAKER Died Apr. 2, 2002
Ms. Baker was a backup singer for many of the greats including Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, The Righteous Brothers and Bobby Darin. She was married to Mickey Rooney, Walt Disney music department executive and composer Buddy Baker and jazz musician Barney Kessell. She provided the singing voice for actress Nancy Kwan in the film "Flower Drum Song." She also provided many voices for cartoons in the 60s. She was a regular on Judy Garland and Dean Martin's TV variety shows. The 74-year-old Ms. Baker died of a stroke.
JACK KRUSCHEN Died Apr. 2, 2002
You may not know his name, but chances are you've seen Jack Kruschen in many films. The Canadian actor was one of the most in-demand character actors for nearly 50 years. I first noticed Mr. Kruschen back in high school when he was the object of James Caan and Alan Arkin's bumbling wrath in the politically incorrect comedy "Freebie and the Bean." Kruschen played a mob boss that the two San Francisco cops wanted to put away. Kruschen is great in the film. His sense of irony and frustration was best illustrated in a scene in which he is getting a haircut. Outside the window of the shop, Caan and Arkin are beating the hell out of an innocent person they believe is a hit man sent to kill Kruschen. As the cops realize they're mistake, they are embarrassed. Kruschen turns to the barber and says "Its OK, they're with me." The scene plays funnier than it reads. Mr. Kruschen was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Billy Wilder's "The Apartment." Other film credits include "Satan's Cheerleaders," Disney's "$1,000,000 Duck," "Harlow," "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," the original (and superior) "Cape Fear," and "War of the Worlds." In "War of the Worlds" he was the Mexican farmer who was part of the trio that became the first victims of the Martians. Mr. Kruschen appeared in nearly 100 movies and just as many TV episodes.
HENRY SLESAR Died Apr. 2, 2002
Mr. Slesar was a writer who specialized in the macabre. He wrote for several dark TV series including "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "The Twilight Zone" and "Tales of the Unexpected." He wrote the screenplay for the excellent 1971 adaptation of Poe’s "Murders in the Rue Morgue" which starred Jason Robards. He also wrote the tongue in cheek Vincent Price vehicle "Two on a Guillotine." His writing wasn’t limited to horror. Mr. Slesar won a daytime Emmy award for his work on the soap opera "The Edge of Night." Mr. Slesar died of complications following surgery.
ROY HUGGINS Died Apr. 3, 2002
Writer/director producer Roy Huggins created and produced some of the greatest TV series of all time. His credits include "Maverick," "77 Sunset Strip," "The Fugitive," "The Rockford Files," "Baretta," "Alias Smith and Jones," and "Hunter." He directed 2 feature films and also wrote for most of the series he produced. He was also responsible for producing a number of made for TV movies including "The Story of Pretty Boy Floyd." He produced the Harrison Ford blockbuster movie version of his TV series, "The Fugitive" and the mediocre sequel "U.S. Marshals."
HEINZ DRACHE Died Apr. 3, 2002
German actor with over 30 film credits. Mr. Drache co-starred with Christopher Lee in both "The Brides of Fu Manchu" and the cool little crime film "Psycho Circus."
HARRY O'CONNOR Died Apr. 4, 2002
44-year-old stunt man Harry O'Connor was killed while filming the new Vin Diesel movie "XXX." Mr. O’Connor was being pulled on a paraglider when he hit the pillar of a bridge. His other films include "Charles Angels" "The Perfect Storm" and "Soldier."
JOHN JAY CARSEY Died Apr. 5, 2002
Long time TV writer and producer. Mr. Carsey wrote for "The Tonight Show" during the tenure of Steve Allen, Jack Parr and Johnny Carson. He later wrote for the 1960s hit TV series "Laugh-In." His widow is Marcy Carsey, the Emmy award winning producer of numerous TV series including "Cosby" "That 70s Show" (my favorite) and "3rd Rock From the Sun."
NOBU McCARTHY Died Apr. 6, 2002
Nobu Atsumi was a successful model in Japan and won the Miss Tokyo pageant. She moved to America with her then husband David McCarthy and started acting in the 1950s. She was in Jerry Lewis's "The Geisha Boy." Other credits include "Five Gates to Hell" "Walk Like a Dragon" "Love With the Proper Stranger" "The Karate Kid II" and "Pacific Heights." She appeared in the landmark TV movie "Farewell to Manzanar" which dealt with the interment of Japanese Americans in California during WWII. She was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award as best lead performance for 1988's "The Wash." Ms. McCarthy was the artistic director of The East-West Players, a theatrical company of Asian and American actors. She died when an aortic aneurysm burst while on location in Brazil filming a movie about Japanese immigrants to that country.
THIERRY PATHE Died Apr. 7, 2002
One shot producer responsible for Gil Gerard's 1977 vanity film "Hooch" about a moonshiner taking on the Mafia.
JOHN AGAR Died Apr. 7, 2002
I first noticed John Agar 36 years ago. It was a Saturday around 6 PM. I was watching "Tarantula" on WHBQ’s "Fantastic Features" in Memphis. I thought I was the smartest 1st grader around after seeing that movie because I learned the word 'Acromegaly.' The star of the film, Leo G. Carroll came down with the deforming disease while experimenting with growth hormones. I went to school and used the word as much as I could. "Your mama's so ugly she has Acromegaly." What should have gotten my skinny white but kicked only drew blank stares from the other 1st graders on the playground. I guess I was strange back then. I hadn't thought of that memory until I read today that John Agar had died.
John Agar was the "King of the B-Movies" back in the 1950s. There were many that argued that Richard Carlson or Richard Denning wore that crown, but those people were mistaken. John Agar ruled supreme. John Agar appeared regularly in three genres: Westerns, War movies and Sci-Fi films. Mr. Agar was groomed to be an A-list actor. His marriage to Shirley Temple brought him under contract in Hollywood. He started his acting career in three of the best John Wayne films ever made. Director John Ford cast Agar and Shirley Temple along side John Wayne and Henry Fonda in "Fort Apache." "Fort Apache" was the first film in John Ford's 'Cavalry Trilogy.' Agar would also appear in the second film in that trilogy, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon." His third film was with the Duke in "The Sands of Iwo Jima."
By the late 1940s, Mr. Agar was tired of hearing himself called 'Mr. Shirley Temple' a thousand times a day in the press. He developed troubles with alcohol. He and Ms. Temple had a bitter divorce. The 1950s saw Mr. Agar appearing in more westerns and war films, only they were b-movies. The 50s also saw the growth of the Sci-Fi genre. Mr. Agar appeared in several famous Sci-Fi films. "The Revenge of the Creature" was the first sequel to "The Creature From the Black Lagoon." He starred in the aforementioned "Tarantula" and others including the cheesy "The Brain From the Planet Arous" and "The Mole People."
In the 60s, Mr. Agar embraced the Westerns again and appeared almost exclusively in that genre. He did appear in Roger Corman's gangster classic "The Saint Valentines Day Massacre" though. John Wayne brought Agar on board for "Chisum" and "Big Jake" in the early 70s.
People, who were once fans as children, were beginning to work in the movie industry in the 80s and 90s. Mr. Agar was given cameo roles in horror and Sci-Fi films out of respect for his place in the history of those genres. He was in Clive Barker's "Nightbreed" among others. He appeared in the video series "A 100 Years of Horror" as himself. His last role was in the video release "Attack of the B-Movie Monster."
In 1981, the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films gave Mr. Agar a Life Career Award.
IVY OLSEN Died Apr. 7, 2002
Ms. Olsen founded the Angel Networks Charities to help the homeless in Hawaii. A stranger's kindness to a down and out Ms. Ivy and her two children one Thanksgiving lead her to return the favor to others who were as she once was. Her story was the inspiration for the CBS TV series "Touched By An Angel." Her Thanksgiving story was the basis for the pilot episode. She has her wings now.
MARIA FELIX Died Apr. 8, 2002
Maria Felix was the most famous movie star in Mexican history. She died at age 88 on her birthday. Ms. Felix made a career out of playing tough, wisecracking women. This was unusual in the Spanish culture. She refused to learn English, so her fame was isolated outside the English speaking world. Credits include French director Jean Renoir's "French Can Can." I tried accessing her official website, but it is being overrun by mourners. She was one beautiful woman in her day.
JOSEF SVOBODA Died Apr. 8, 2002
A world renowned Czech stage designer and theater director, Mr. Svoboda was the co-creator of the theatrical form called "Laterna Magika." He designed the opera sets for Milos Forman's "Amadeus." He was the production designer for Laurence Olivier's 1970 film version of Chekhov's "Three Sisters" and the 1960 film "Laterna Magika II" co-directed by a young Milos Forman.
DAVID CHUDNOW Died Apr. 8, 2002
Mr. Chudnow lived to a ripe old age of 101! Mr. Chudnow was the musical director and/or musical supervisor on nearly 150 films. He also composed the scores for another 20 films. Mr. Chudnow also produced the three "Doberman Gang" films in the 70s. Mr. Chudnow worked mainly on b-westerns and horror films. He is also credited with work on several "Charlie Chan" films.
DOROTHY LOVE COATES Died Apr. 9, 2002
World-renowned gospel singer and songwriter Dorothy Love Coates died of a heart attack at age 74. Ms. Coates' songs were recorded by many of the greats including Johnny Cash, Mahalia Jackson and Stevie Wonder Ms. Coates appeared in the Whoopie Coldberg/Sissy Spacek film "The Long Walk Home" which dealt with the Montgomery bus boycott. She also appeared in Oprah Winfrey's film "Beloved" on which she was also credited as the music researcher. Anyone interested on hearing her powerful voice should watch the movie "Ghost." Her recording of "No Hiding Place" appears on the soundtrack.
BRANKO BAUER Died Apr. 11, 2002
81 year old Branko Bauer died in Croatia. He directed 25 films in his native land between 1950 and 1978. Credits include "Men Only," "Face to Face" and "Three Girls Named Anna."
HOWARD PAYS Died Apr. 12, 2002
British actor Howard Pays died of cancer. His credits include "A Night to Remember," still the best Titanic movie, the creepy "Horrors of the Black Museum" and "Code of Silence." He was the father of actress Amanda Pays.
IVAN DESNY Died Apr. 13, 2002
Russian actor born in China. Mr. Desny had nearly 150 film credits in his 50-year career. Films include "Mayerling" "Berlin-Alexanderplatz" "Anastasia" (live version), "I Killed Rasputin" and "Sidney Sheldon's Bloodline."
CHARLES MULLIN Died Apr. 14, 2002
A former Radio and Television actor who turned to a career in promoting cigarettes. Mr. Mullin acted in the Radio versions of "Dick Tracy" and "Archie." He acted in the live TV broadcasts of "Robert Montgomery Presents." He then turned to the business of selling tobacco. Mr. Mullin eventually became the president and CEO of the American Tobacco Corporation.
MARK ERMLER Died Apr. 14, 2002
Director of the famed Russian Bolshoi Theater, Mr. Ermler acted as musical conductor in 18 Russian films between the 1950s and 80s. During that time he was also a conductor with the Bolshoi and performed with them all over the world.
DAMON KNIGHT Died April 15, 2002
Mr. Knight was a prolific Sci-Fi author who wrote 13 novels and 100 short stories. He was one of the major authors to bring science fiction to prominence in the "Pulp" magazines of the 30s and 40s. His story "To Serve Man" was made into an episode of "The Twighlight Zone." He also wrote for the 1949 TV series "Captain Video and His Video Rangers."
RUSTY BURRELL Died Apr. 15, 2002
When the state of California tried Charles Manson for the Tate-Labianca murders, Rusty Burrell was the bailiff charged with securing Charlie. When the state of California convicted Caryll Chessman and unjustly sentenced him to death for a series of rapes in the late 50s, Rusty Burrell was the bailiff too. The good-natured lawman also provided bailiff services for Judge Wapner on TVs "The People's Court" and "Judge Wapner's Animal Court." Burrell was a lawman first and foremost, but he did moonlight in the entertainment industry. He was the original bailiff on the 1950s TV show "Divorce Court." He appeared in the movies "Fate is the Hunter" and "Take Her, She's Mine." Court is adjourned.
MOE KEALE Died Apr. 15, 2002
Mr. Keale was a Hawaiian born actor. He appeared in numerous movies and TV
shows filmed in Hawaii. He appeared in many episodes of "Hawaii 5-O" and "Magnum P.I.."
AMELIA BACHELOR Died Apr. 15, 2002
Ms. Bachelor was the model who held up the torch in Columbia Picture’s old logo.
GREG FIELDS Died Apr. 15, 2002
Mr. Fields was a writer and producer. He wrote for the series "In Living Color" and "Full House" which he also produced. He wrote the story for Rodney Dangerfield’s comedy "Back to School."
HERBERT WERNICKE Died Apr. 16, 2002
World famous avant-garde opera designer. His two film credits were as costume designer and production designer on "Jacques Offenbach: Orpheus in the Underworld" (also Stage Director) and "L' Innocenzia ed il Piacer" (also Opera director) which were both European TV movies.
ROBERT URICH Died April 16, 2002
Sometimes the death of a particular celebrity seems sadder than other times. It's not that they had any more value as a human than others or that their passing is any more painful for their family than for others who suffer a loss. News of Robert Urich's death today of cancer put a damper on the morning drive to work. I have been a fan of his since I saw the second Dirty Harry film, "Magnum Force" back in 1973. Mr. Urich may not have been a Robert DeNiro as far as his acting range was concerned, but he had a special something, which brought his characters to life. He also seemed to be a genuinely nice guy.
Mr. Urich had been battling a rare form of cancer, which attacked his joints. It seemed for quite some time that he had the battle won. He was married to actress Heather Menzies (the second oldest daughter in "The Sound of Music"). The couple established the "Heather and Robert Urich Fund for Sarcoma Research" at the University of Michigan. IT is a worthwhile foundation that helps in the battle to cure cancer.
Mr. Urich was a bigger star on TV than on the big screen. He starred or appeared as a regular in more TV series than any other actor in history. Among his 17 TV series are "Soap," "Vega$," "Spencer For Hire," "S.W.A.T." and "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice." Mr. Urich won an Emmy for narrating a WWII documentary about submarines. His best role came in the great mini series "Lonesome Dove." A college football star, Mr. Urich's athletic abilities made him a natural to play pro-football player and Vietnam Vet Rocky Bleier in 1980's "Fighting Back." Mr. Urich was nominated twice for Golden Globes for his portrayal of Dan Tanna in the series "Vega$." Mr. Urich played the Tony Curtis role in the TV remake of "The Defiant Ones."
Mr. Urich appeared in a couple of my favorite films. The aforementioned "Magnum Force" is one. Another is the psuedo-sci-fi, paranoia B-movie classic "Endangered Species." "Endangered Species" provided an explanation for the mysterious cattle mutilations that plagued the Southwest US during the 70s. Urich played a burned out NY cop sent west to rehab and dry-out. Sparks fly between his character and the local sheriff played by JoBeth Williams. When Ms. Williams character asks Urich if he has ever been shot he replies "Honey, I've been shot more times than you've been laid...probably." It is one of the classic lines in B-movie history. Other film credits include "Ice Pirates" and "Turk 182" for which he received a "Razzie" nomination as worst supporting actor. What do those jerk-offs know!
Prayers for his wife, children and friends would be appreciated and helpful. If anyone who might want to donate to the "Heather and Robert Urich Fund for Sarcoma Research" you may send a memorial to the following address:
University of Michigan Comprehensive Center's Robert Urich Fund
1500 E. Medical Center Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0755.
JAMES AL HENDRIX Died Apr. 17, 2002
Al Hendrix was the father of legendary rock-guitar icon Jimi Hendrix. Al appeared as himself in and was the set photographer on Gary Weis's 1973 documentary "A Film About Jimi Hendrix." Al Hendrix outlived his son by 31 years.
CRANE JACKSON Died Apr. 17, 2002
Producer, stage and film actor, film critic and founder of a Los Angeles actor's studio Crane Jackson died of a heart attack. Mr. Jackson appeared in films during the 70s and 80s. Among his credits are "Lepke" "W.C. Fields and Me" "Something Evil" and "Punchline."
THOR HEYERDAHL Died Apr. 18, 2002
Norwegian explorer who set out to prove that primitive people could have sailed across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans long before European explorers. His 1947 trip from Peru to Tahiti was the subject of the classic adventure book "Kon Tiki." The film version of "Kon Tiki" won the best documentary Oscar in 1951. During the 50s, Mr. Heyerdahl wrote the documentary "Galapagos" and produced the documentary "Aku Aku." In 1970 Heyerdahl set out to cross the Atlantic in his boat made of reeds. After his first ship sank, he tried again with success. That trip was the subject of the documentary film "The Ra Expeditions"(1971). Mr. Heyerdahl was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary category for that film. He tried his hand at acting when he played a pirate in the Danish film "Pippi Longstocking in the South Sea" (1970). He's now off on his greatest adventure.
LAYNE STALEY Died Date Unknown
The decomposing body of "Alice in Chains" lead singer Layne Staley was discovered in his apartment on April 19, 2002. Like the late John Belushi, Mr. Staley died of a "speedball" overdose. IT will never happen to me said the celebrity! Mr. Staley appeared in the Video "Alice in Chains: MTV Unplugged." He also appeared with the band in an uncredited role in Cameron Crowe's comedy "Singles." Mr. Staley also provided a song for that film. He also provided music for "The Last Action Hero" and Kevin Smith's "Clerks."
REGINALD ROSE Died Apr. 19, 2002
Emmy award winning writer producer Reginald Rose died at age 81. Mr. Rose was nominated for his screenplay and for Best Picture with his co-producer Henry Fonda for the film classic "12 Angry Men." He won the Writer's Guild Award for his screenplay for "12 Angry Men." Mr. Rose won Emmy Awards for the "Studio One" production of "12 Angry Men" and for the legal TV series "The Defenders." Other screenplays include "The Wild Geese II" "Somebody Killed Her Husband" and the horrible "The Final Option." Mr. Rose also wrote the powerful "Who's Life Is It Anyway?" which starred Richard Dreyfuss. Mr. Rose began writing in early TV. He wrote several plays for the classic live series "Studio One" and "The Twilight Zone."
LINDA K. CLARK Died Apr. 19, 2002
Ms. Clark produced several of Zalman King’s soft-core "Red Shoes Diaries" films.
VLASTIMIL BRODSKY Died Apr. 20, 2002
Czech actor Vlastimil Brodsky committed suicide. His film career spanned nearly 60 years. He is the father of two actors. His film credits include "Jacob the Liar," "Hardbodies," "Closely Watched Trains" and "Labyrinth." Mr. Brodsky won the Silver Berlin Bear as best actor in "Jacob the Liar" at the Berlin International Film Festival.
BURT REYNOLDS, SR. Died Apr. 20, 2002
While he never appeared in a film that I know of, Burt Reynolds Sr. lived an exemplary life in service to his nation. He also sired one of the 20th century's brightest movie stars. During WWII, Mr. Reynolds Sr. was a part of the first wave of American soldiers to storm Normandy beach on D-Day. Forget "Saving Private Ryan," Mr. Reynolds Sr. lived the real thing. He fought in several other battles, which became the subject of movies such as the Battle of the Argonne Forest, the Battle of the Rhine and the Bridge at Remagen. After serving his country in war, Mr. Reynolds served his country in peace by becoming a lawman. I'm thankful to Mr. Reynolds Sr. for defending in war, the rights I take for granted everyday, and upholding and protecting the laws he fought for in his career as a police officer. I also thank him for his son. I'm sure that the lessons Mr. Reynolds Sr. learned in life were passed on to his son. There are very few men alive today who became men during the 70s who didn't look to Burt Reynolds Jr. as a role model for what it means to be a man. Prayers for Mr. Reynolds Sr.’s family during their time of grief you be appreciated.
ALAN DALE Died Apr. 20, 2002
Popular crooner from the 40s, 50s and 60s. Mr. Dale hosted one of the earliest TV shows, "The Alan Dale Show." That show was in fact the first TV show to be preserved by kinescope show it could be rebroadcast in other parts of the country. Mr. Dale's one film was the 1957 teen-flick "Don't Knock the Rock" in which he sang "Rockin the Cha Cha." Mr. Dale didn't achieve the success some other crooners of his era did because be refused to give in to the Mafia. At least that's what I read. I have no personal information. I can't tell you anything.
DALE HYLDAHL Died Apr. 20, 2002
Mr. Hyldahl was the man who trained the dolphins, which appeared in the TV series "Sea Hunt" and "Flipper." Mr. Hyldahl was 69 years old.
HOWARD MERRILL Died Apr. 20, 2002
Mr. Merrill was a child actor during the silent film era. He appeared in more than 50 films. He became a scriptwriter as an adult. Mr. Merrill wrote for the TV series "I Love Lucy" "The Andy Griffith Show" "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Get Smart."
HERVE DENIS Died Apr. 21, 2002
Mr. Denis was the former Cultural Minister for his native country of Haiti. He was also best known as a stage actor in France and Haiti. His one film credit was the 1968 short film "Concerto Pour Un Exil." Mr. Denis was a foe of former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier. He was imprisoned and tortured by the former tyrant.
TERRY WALSH Died Apr. 21, 2002
Veteran stunt man and stunt coordinator Terry Walsh died of cancer. During his long career, he performed stunts in "Superman", "Dragonslayer," "Superman III," "Willow," "Never Say Never Again," "Superman IV," "An American Werewolf in London" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."
SOJA JOVANOVIC Died Apr. 22, 2002
Ms. Jovanovic was the first woman film director in the former Republic of Yugoslavia. The 80-year-old directed over 20 films during her long career.
LINDA "LOVELACE" BOREMAN Died Apr. 22, 2002
Linda Boreman who became the first superstar of the adult film industry under the name Linda Lovelace died of injuries sustained in a car crash on April 3rd. She starred in the 1972 film "Deep Throat" about a woman who's clitoris was located in the back of her throat. The term "pornochic" was coined to describe the effect "Deep Throat" had on middle-class Americans. No longer were adult theaters only frequented by men in raincoats; celebrities and couples were seen waiting on-line at movie theaters to catch the new phenomena. The success "Deep Throat" kicked off the era of adult filmmaking chronicled in "Boogie Nights." The movie also caught the eye of the Justice Department and became the target of a highly publicized prosecution in Memphis, TN. Eventually the filmmakers were exonerated. Linda Boreman's adult career began by making hard-core loops for peep shows. Her only feature before "Deep Throat" was "Dog F**ker" starring Ms. Boreman and a German Shepherd. Pretty disgusting. That fact lends some credence to the story that Ms. Boreman told in her 1980 autobiography "Ordeal." Ms. Boreman claimed that her ex-husband Chuck Traynor had forced her into the adult film industry with threats of violence and by drugging her. These allegations were denied by Mr. Traynor. Ms Boreman spent the rest of her life crusading against pornography. Her one non-porn film, made 2 years after her divorce from Traynor was "Linda Lovelace for President." The soft-core sex farce co-starred former "Monkees" drummer Mickey Dolenz and the legendary Scatman Crothers.
DORIS GOODDAY HOFFMANN Died Apr. 23, 2002
Doris Goodday Hoffmann was the mother of filmmaker Deborah Hoffmann. The elder Hoffmann suffered from Alzheimer's disease and was the subject of her daughter's 1994 Oscar nominated documentary feature "Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter." Deborah Hoffmann's film has been widely used by doctors to help family members learn how to cope with the devastating disease.
CARLA FRY Died Apr. 23, 2002
41-year-old producer Carla Fry jammed a lot of work into her short life. She was the executive in charge of production on some of the most popular films of recent years. Her film credits include "Boogie Nights," "Magnolia," "Life as a House," "State and Main," "Blade," "American History X" and "se7en" among others.
LISA "LEFT EYE" LOPES Died Apr. 25, 2002
Lisa Lopes, part of the hip-hop trio TLC was killed in a car crash in Honduras. Ms. Lopes occasionally traveled to a 'healing village' in Honduras to meditate. Ms. Lopes appeared as the hostess of MTV's series "The Cut." Her one big-screen credit was in the 1994 film "House Party 3" in which she portrayed a character called "Sex as a Weapon." Ms. Lopes also portrayed herself in episodes of the TV series "Living Single" and "Top Ten." She had also appeared on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" last year. She is known to sports fans as the woman who burned NFL star Andre Rison's mansion to the ground. Andre Rison and Ms. Lopes were married in 2000.
MICHAEL BRYANT Died Apr. 25, 2002
74-year-old British stage actor Michael Bryant died of undisclosed causes. In addition to his 25 years of work at London's National Theater, Mr. Bryant appeared in numerous movies and TV shows. His film credits include "Torture Garden," "The Ruling Class" with Peter O'Toole, Richard Attenborough's "Gandhi," "The Deep" with Robert Shaw and Nick Nolte, "Nicholas and Alexandra," "Hamlet" with Kenneth Branagh and my favorite "Bikini Summer II" with Jessica Hahn." Yes that last one is a real credit!
DEL SHARBUTT Died Apr. 26, 2002
Longtime radio and TV announcer. The 90 year-old Mr. Sharbutt was the announcer for or narrator of the following TV shows: "Who Do You Trust" "Your Hit Parade" "X Marks the Spot"
and "Hit Parade of 1947." Mr. Sharbutt was most famous as the voice of Campbell Soup. He was the "M-mm Good!" guy.
RUTH HANDLER Died Apr. 27, 2002
Ms. Handler was the creator of the ideal woman: Barbi! Ms. Handler appeared as herself in two documentaries. "Barbi Nation: An Unauthorized Tour" was Susan Stern's 1997 documentary about the world of Barbi. She also appeared in David Quantick's film "I Love Christmas." If Barbi were a real woman, her measurements would be 39-21-33! This of course pisses off many militant feminists. Let them buy fat-slob lumberjack-shirted dolls for their daughters if they want them to turn out like Rosie O'Donnell. I say this half in jest. I just hate political correctness.
ROBERT L. JOSEPH Died Apr. 27, 2002
Writer/producer Robert L. Joseph died of injuries sustained in a fall at his
home. Mr. Joseph wrote 20 screenplays. Among his credits are the TV movie "World War III." "World War III" was famous for the on-set death of its director Boris Sagal (the father of Katie Sagal from "Married With Children") in a helicopter crash. Other credits include "Sidney Sheldon's Rage of Angels," "Echoes of a Summer" with Jody Foster and "Door to Door Maniac." Mr. Joseph was also a stage producer.
JAKUB GOLDBERG Died Apr. 27, 2002
Mr. Goldberg was an early collaborator with director Roman Polanski. He acted in two of Polanski’s earliest films including "Two Men and a Wardrobe." He wrote the script for the film which fist brought Polanski international acclaim "Knife in the Water." Mr. Goldberg was 79 at his death.
MARSHALL SOSSON Died Apr. 28, 2002
Mr. Sosson was a classical and jazz violinist who acted as concertmaster for several Hollywood studios. He performed music on the soundtracks of "Fantasia" "From Here to Eternity" and "All the King's Men" among other films.
LOU THESZ Died Apr. 28, 2002
Mr. Thesz was know in the 40s and 50s as one of the best wrestlers in the world. Apparently, Mr. Thesz made his reputation as an honest man in a dishonest racket. His style was straight Greco-Roman wrestling. He was a world champion and one of the highest paid sport's figures in the 50s. Mr. Thesz's one screen credit was in the 1932 Hungarian love story "Rákóczi Induló." Fellow Hungarian, Bela Lugosi once acted as Mr. Thesz's celebrity ring corner man!
FERNANDO PESSA Died Apr. 29, 2002
Portuguese actor Fernando Pessa lived to the ripe old age of 100! Mr. Pessa narrated several films. He acted as production liaison for "The Boys From Brazil" and "Lionheart."
IDA INGEL Died Apr. 30, 2002
98 year old Ida Ingel was discovered by Chuck Barris on "The Gong Show." She went on to act in numerous commercials. The 98-year-old actress was one of the oldest working actors in SAG.