Saturday, April 24, 2010



Historian Sir Steve Runciman died at age 97. Mr. Runciman’s most famous work was the three-volume "A History of the Crusades." He appeared as himself in the Terry Jones written documentary "The Crusades." He also appeared as himself in the documentary TV miniseries "The Churchills."

BERNARD ERHARD Died Nov. 1, 2000

Actor Bernard Erhard passed away on November 1st. Mr. Erhard was best known as a prolific voice actor. He did have the distinction of co-starring in one of the worst sword and sorcerer films of all time. He played the evil magician Munkar in "Deathstalker" opposite former Playboy Playmate Barbi Benton. The Frazetta movie poster is the best thing about the "Conan" rip-off. Mr. Erhard also appeared in Clint Eastwood’s Cold War thriller "Firefox." But voices were Mr. Erhard’s forte. His many credits include the wonderful "Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland," "Johnny Quest," "The Smurfs," "Challenge of the Go-Bots," "David and Goliath," "The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo" and "Visionaries."

STEVE EVANS Died Nov. 1, 2000

Drag racing announcer Steve Evans died of a heart attack at age 58. He was the guys that any actor or comedian imitates when doing a drag race commercial sendup. He was the best. Mr. Evans played himself in the Shirley Muldowney bio-pic "Heart Like a Wheel." He also played (big surprise) the drag race announcer in "More American Graffiti."

ANDERS GERNANDT Died Nov. 2, 2000

Olympic horseman and Swedish TV personality Anders Gernandt died of a blood clot at age 80. Mr. Gernandt competed in Show Jumping during the 1956 and 1960 Olympics. He later became a popular TV and radio personality in his native land. Mr. Gernandt did voice work in the comedy "SOPOR."

ROBERT CORMIER Died Nov. 2, 2000

Writer Robert Cormier died of a blood clot at age 75. Mr. Cormier wrote books for young teens, which dealt with difficult issues. He dealt with serial killers, terminal illness and sexually active teenagers. As a result he was often the target of groups wanting to ban his books from US high schools. Several of his works were translated to film. His credits include "The Chocolate War," "I Am the Cheese," "The Bumblebee Flies Away" and "Lapse of Memory." Mr. Cormier played a supporting role in "I Am the Cheese." Mr. Cormier used his real phone number as the phone number of Cynthia Nixon’s character in the film. As a result, many of his young fans were able to call him and talk about his work and their lives. Pretty cool.

LUCILLE ALPERT Died Nov. 3, 2000

Lucille Alpert and Irja Lloyd were the subjects of the documentary "Sunset Story." The film dealt with Sunset Hall, a Los Angeles retirement home for communists and other so-called free thinkers. Ms. Alpert died at age 95. The film was released two years after her death. Ms. Lloyd would outlive her by two years.

LYNN STARR Died Nov. 3, 2000

Former actress Lynn Starr died of heart disease at age 87. Ms. Starr appeared in minor roles in several films during the 1940s. Her credits include "The Panther’s Claw," "House of Errors," "Gallant Lady" and "The Yanks are Coming." Ms. Starr retired and married Tommy Hull. While the movie "Bugsy" would have you believe that New York mobster Benjamin Siegel started the Las Vegas Strip, the truth is that Tommy Hull and Jim Cashman actually started the strip when they built the "El Rancho" which opened in 1941. Siegel’s "Flamingo" was opened in 1946 and wasn’t even the second hotel on the strip.

LEO BENVENUTI Died Nov. 3, 2000

Award-winning Italian screenwriter Leo Benvenuti died following heart surgery at age 77. Mr. Benvenuti won two Best Screenplay David Di Donatello awards in 1986 and 1988. He collaborated with Sergio Leone on the Italian master’s final film "Once Upon a Time in America." Mr. Benvenuti was part of the writing team that adapted Harry Grey’s novel "The Hoods" for the big screen. Mr. Benvenuti appeared as himself in the documentary about Sergio Leone: "Once Upon a Time: Sergio Leone." Mr. Benvenuti was the writing partner of Piero De Bernardi. The pair wrote over 100 screenplays, which were filmed! Mr. Benvenuti wrote close to 30 more by himself or with others.


Tony nominated actress Stephanie Lawrence died at age 50. Ms. Lawrence was nominated for a Tony Award for her work in the musical "Blood Brothers." She starred in three Andrew Lloyd Webber plays "Evita," "Cats" and "Starlight Express." Ms. Lawrence was also well-known for her stage show "Marilyn," which paid tribute to Marilyn Monroe. Her film and TV credits include "O Lucky Man!," "Buster" and the 1989 version of "The Phantom of the Opera."

FRANCES LEE Died Nov. 5, 2000

Silent film actress Frances Lee died at age 92. Ms. Lee made the transition to talkies, but retired from film in the mid-1930s. Among her credits are "Flirtation Walk," "The Tabasco Kid," "Confessions of a Chorus Girl" and the risqué "Reckless Rosie."

MARY SINCLAIR Died Nov. 5, 2000

Actress Mary Sinclair died at age 78. The model turned actress was the very first actress to be signed to a contract by the fledgling TV network CBS. She signed with CBS in 1951. Ms. Sinclair appeared in nearly 70 TV shows and films. She was a familiar face during the early days of live TV. Among her credits are 15 productions for "Studio One," "The Kraft Television Theater," "Lights Out," "Suspense," "Climax!," "Peter Gunn" and "Arrowhead."

JIMMIE DAVIS Died Nov. 5, 2000

Long before Ronald Reagan, Jessie Ventura or Arnold Schwarzenneger proved that state Governors could also entertain, a man form Louisiana showed the world that showbiz and politics could mix. Former Louisiana Governor Jimmie Davis died at age 101! He was known as The Singing Governor because of his songwriting talent. He wrote the standard "You Are My Sunshine." His songs were used on the soundtracks of a number of films. Mr. Davis’s life story was turned into the 1947 bio-pic "Louisiana." He played himself as an adult in the film. Mr. Davis also appeared in such films as "Frontier Fury," "Riding Through Nevada" and "Strictly in the Groove." In 1972 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

JEAN HILL Died Nov. 7, 2005

Jean Hill, former school teacher and witness to one of the most traumatic event in US history died of blood disease at age 69. Jean Hill was only a few feet away from President John F. Kennedy as bullets tore through his back and skull. Ms. Hill was the woman wearing the red coat in the Zapruder film. Ms. Hill appeared in a number of documentaries about the assassination and was a technical advisor in Oliver Stone’s "JFK." Actress Ellen McElduff portrayed Ms. Hill in Stone’s film.

DONALD GUSTAVSON Died Nov. 9, 2000

Art department coordinator Donald ‘Gustav’ Gustavson died of AIDS complications at age 41. Mr. Gustavson was the lead man of the Art Department for five seasons on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Other credits include "Cabin Boy" and "Lord’s of Illusion." He was a member of I.A.T.S.E. local 44.

RAYFORD BARNES Died Nov. 11, 2000

Character actor Rayford Barnes died at age 80. The prolific actor appeared in nearly 150 films and TV shows. He was a familiar face to Western fans. He worked with John Wayne in "Hondo," "North to Alaska" and "Cahill: U.S. Marshall." He was one of "The Wild Bunch" in Sam Peckinpah’s masterpiece. Mr. Barnes was one of the gang who was killed in the bloody ambush that opened the film. His Western credits include Charles Bronson’s "Breakheart Pass," "The Hunting Party," "Shenandoah," "Bonanza," "Gunsmoke," "The Cimarron Strip," "The Big Valley" and "The High Chaparral." Mr. Barnes did work in other genres. He appeared on "Battle Cry," "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes," "E.R.," "Dynasty," "The F.B.I." and "Gomer Pyle" among others. With a credit list as long as Mr. Barnes one is bound to appear in a stinker or two. He also appeared in "Beginning of the End," "Jessie James Meets Frankenstein" and "The Three Stooges in Orbit."

WERNER KOENIG Died Nov. 12, 2000

Producer Werner Koenig was killed in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps while scouting locations for a film. Mr. Koenig was 37 years old. He was the co-founder of the German distribution company Helkon Media. Mr. Koenig’s producer credits include the Leslie Neilson comedy "2001: A Space Travesty," "Heavy Metal 2000," "The Body," "History is Made at Night" and the bizarrely titled "Suck My Dick."

FRANCES MERCER Died Nov. 12, 2000

Model turned actress Frances Mercer died of heart failure at age 85. Ms. Mercer was discovered while still a teen. She turned a successful modeling career into a trip to Hollywood and Broadway. Ms. Mercer appeared in such films as "Vivacious Lady," "The Mad Miss Manton" and "Society Lawyer." Ms. Mercer had a successful career on Broadway as well as making many appearances on TV during the early days of the medium. Her TV credits include the soap opera "Dr. Hudson’s Secret Journal," "Studio One" and "Leave it to Beaver."

ROBERT DOYLE Died Nov. 16, 2000

Prolific film and TV actor Robert Doyle died at age 62. Mr. Doyle was a familiar face on TV during the 1960s and 70s. He appeared in the John Sayles scripted horror film "Alligator," but the rest of his credits were on the small screen. Mr. Doyle did guest spots on "The Outer Limits," "Gunsmoke," "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," "The F.B.I.," "The Fugitive," "Barnaby Jones" and others.

JOE C Died Nov. 16, 2000

Joe C, the 3 foot 9 inch sidekick of rocker Kid Rock died of celiac disease, an intestinal disorder at age 26. Joe C hooked up with Kid Rock in 1994 and appeared in on the hit songs "Cowboy" and "Bawitdaba" among others. Joe C’s film and TV credits include a song on the soundtrack of "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut." He did voice work on "Osmosis Jones." Other credits include "Saturday Night Live," "The Simpsons," "The Howard Stern Show" and "Raw is War."

DOUGLAS BENTON Died Nov. 16, 2000

Emmy-winning producer Douglas Benton died of cancer at age 75. Mr. Benton was nominated four times for Emmy awards. He won in 1974 for "Columbo." Mr. Benton was also a writer and director. He wrote a number of "Dr. Kildare" episodes as well as "Hec Ramsey" and "Police Woman." Among Mr. Benton’s many producer credits are "Boris Karloff’s Thriller!," "Ironside," "Murder, She Wrote" and "Magnum PI."

EARL COLGROVE Died Nov. 16, 2000

Disney still photographer Earl Colgrove died at age 93. Mr. Colgrove was the head of Disney’s still camera department. Mr. Colgrove documented the making of Disney’s films for more than 30 years including "Snow White," "Dumbo" and "Mary Poppins." His service to Disney was interrupted by his service to America during WWII. He volunteered to join the US Navy. The photo at right was shot by Lt. Colgrove in November of 1944. He captured a Japanese kamikaze just before it crashes into the USS Essex.

BRUCE TALKINGTON Died Nov. 20, 2000

Daytime-Emmy award winning writer Bruce Talkington died at age 51. Mr. Talkington shared a Daytime Emmy award for his work on "The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh." Other credits include "Clifford the Big Red Dog," "Goof Troop" and "Bonkers." Mr. Talkington worked for MGM, Disney and Hanna-Barbera during his career. He was a member of The Animator’s Guild Local 839.

EDWARD LUDLUM Died Nov. 21, 2000

Director Edward Ludlum died of heart failure at age 80. Mr. Ludlum was primarily a stage director in New York and Los Angeles. Mr. Ludlum did work for a while as a TV director in the 1950s. He directed such series as "Death Valley Days," "Mike Hammer" and "Gunsmoke." He was the cousin of best-selling spy novelist Robert Ludlum (The Bourne Identity).


Writer/director Christian Marquand died of Alzheimer’s Disease at age 73. The noted French actor spoke four languages, which enabled him to work in films all over the world. He appeared in nearly 60 films during his career. He made his film debut in one of the greatest films ever made, Jean Cocteau’s 1946 version of "Beauty and the Beast." To those who have never seen this classic film, rush out and find it right now. Mr. Marquand’s more notable credits include "…And God Created Woman," "The Longest Day," "Behold a Pale Horse," "Lord Jim," the original version of "The Flight of the Phoenix," "Victory at Entebee" and "Apocalypse Now Redux." His part as the French plantation owner in Vietnam was cut out of the original release prints of "Apocalypse Now!" Director Frances Ford Coppola re-released the film in the "Redux" version with a number of scenes restored. The scene with Mr. Marquand explains what happened to Laurence Fishburne’s body. He directed two films including the all-star cult sex comedy "Candy." "Candy" is a sight to behold. As a whole the movie doesn’t work, but there is so much bizarre material and oddball performances by the likes of Marlon Brando, Richard Burton and others, that it bears watching at least once. Mr. Marquand was the brother of Serge Marquand and Nadine Trintignant. He was the uncle of actress Marie Trintignant.

BRIAN RAWLINSON Died Nov. 23, 2005

British actor Brian Rawlinson was found dead of natural causes at age 69. He was due to appear in a play but did not show up. He was found dead in his cottage. Mr. Rawlinson began as a stage actor, working at the Old Vic. He also appeared in a number of film and TV roles. He appeared in several of the popular "Carry On" comedies. He appeared in the cool little thriller "See No Evil" with Mia Farrow. Other credits include both the film and TV versions of "Far From the Madding Crowd," "Z Cars" and "Danger Man."

BERNARD VORHAUS Died Nov. 23, 2000

Director Bernard Vorhaus died of natural causes at age 95. The American expatriate died in his adopted England. Mr. Vorhaus left America a bitter man. He was a victim of the HUAC Blacklist. Mr. Vorhaus was born in America but first achieved success as a film director in England during the 1930s. He returned to America where he directed a number of films. Fellow director Edward Dmytryk named Vorhaus before the HUAC committee which ended Vorhaus’s career as a director. His studio, United Artists did help Mr. Vorhaus during this time. He was given an Italian pseudonym by the studio and allowed to do second unit work. His film credits include John Wayne’s "Three Faces West" and "The Lady From Louisiana." Other credits include "The Last Journey," "Angels With Broken Wings," "Hurricane Smith" and "Pardon My French." His second unit work includes the films "Roman Holiday," "The Barefoot Contessa," "War and Peace," "The Nun’s Story" and "Soloman and Sheba."

LARRY STRONG Died Nov. 24, 2000

Emmy-nominated editor Larry Strong died at age 68. Mr. Strong was nominated for two Emmy awards for his work on "Wiseguy" and "Skag." Other credits include the TV series "Mission Impossible," "Little House on the Prairie," "The Night Stalker" and "Battlestar Galactica."

DANIELLE VOLLE Died Nov. 24, 2000

French actress Danielle Volle at age 63. While Ms. Volle’s face appeared in over 20 French films and TV series, her voice was better known in her native land. Ms. Volle was a prolific voice actress who dubbed the voices of many actresses for foreign film and TV releases in France. She provided Dyan Cannon’s French voice for "Ally McBeal." She also voiced the performances of Angie Dickinson, Gina Lolobridgida, Lee Remick, Sophia Loren and Raquel Welch among others.

ANNE BARTON Died Nov. 27, 2000

Actress Anne Barton died of cancer at age 76. Ms. Barton played the mother of Eddie Haskell on "Leave it to Beaver." She was the wife of actor Dan Barton and the mother of actress Susan Berman. Ms. Barton appeared "The Left Handed Gun," the Paul Newman version of the Billy the Kid story. She also played the wife of Jesse James gang member Clell Miller (R.G. Armstrong) is the under rated "The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid." I can’t recommend this film enough. Robert Duvall turned in a great performance as a totally insane Jessie James. She played the daughter/niece of acting greats Joan Crawford and Bette Davis in the classic "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" In addition to her role as Agnes Haskell, Ms. Barton appeared on numerous TV shows including "Perry Mason," "Dr. Kildare" and "Gunsmoke."

GEORGE WELLS Died Nov. 27, 2000

Oscar-winning writer George Wells died at age 91. Mr. Wells won an Oscar in 1957 for his original screenplay "Designing Women." Mr. Wells other memorable scripts include "Angels in the Outfield," "Where the Boys Are," "Don’t Go Near the Water," "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and "Till Clouds Roll By."

LIANA HAID Died Nov. 28, 2000

Austrian actress Liana Haid died at age 105! She was the first Austrian movie star. Ms. Haid was a ballerina, singer and actress. She made the transition from silent films to talkies and was the highest paid German actress of her time. WWII put an end to her career. Between 1915 and 1940, Ms. Haid appeared or starred in nearly 100 films. She tried to make a comeback in 1953, but went back into retirement. Her film credits include "Eva, the Sin," "Lady Hamilton," "Lucretia Borgia" and "Mozart." In 1969 she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the German Film Awards.

GREGG BARTON Died Nov. 28, 2000

Veteran character actor Gregg Barton died at age 82. Mr. Barton appeared in nearly 220 films and TV shows. He a familiar face in dozens of Westerns. Shortly before his death, Mr. Barton was honored with a Backbone of the B’s Award at the Golden Boot Awards. Mr. Barton served his country as a US Marine during WWII. Mr. Barton’s credits include "Flying Tigers," "Song of the Thin Man," "Task Force," "The Conqueror," "The Beginning of the End," the 1948 version of "The Three Musketeers," "Joan of Arc," "Tripoli" and "Never Steal Anything Small."

MARGARET EARLY Died Nov. 29, 2000

Former MGM starlet Margaret Early died just shy of her 81st
birthday. Ms. Early appeared in thirteen films during the late 30s through the mid 1940s. She played Clarabell Lee, one of Andy Hardy’s many girlfriends in two films: "Judge Hardy and Son" and "Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary." She was one of the non-star leads in "Stage Door Canteen." She played one of the girls that a departing soldier would be thinking of once he went to war. She also played a supporting role in the Bette Davis classic "Jezebel."

CHRIS REBELLO Died Nov. 30, 2000

Former child actor Chris Rebello died of a heart attack at age 37. Mr. Rebello only acted in one film, but his face is very familiar. He played Mike Brody, one of Roy Scheider’s sons in "Jaws." Prayers of comfort for his wife, sons, family and friends.

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