ELAINE BARRYMORE Died Mar. 1, 2003
The fourth wife of actor John Barrymore died at age 88. Elaine Jacobs swore at age 16 she would marry the world’s greatest actor. Three years later, she did just that. Her husband was 34 years older than her! Mrs. Barrymore didn’t have much of a film career herself. She acted under the names Elaine Barrie and also Elaine Barrymore. She appeared in two shorts which are cult classics: "How to Undress in Front of Your Husband" and "How to Take a Bath." It’s nice to know Hollywood cares enough to produce such educational films for the ladies! Ms. Barrymore appeared in "Midnight" with her husband, Don Ameche and Claudette Colbert. While you might think Drew Barrymore was the first actress in the famous family to get naked for her craft, Elaine Barrymore holds that distinction stripping on stage.
HANK BALLARD Died Mar. 2, 2003
Rock and Roll songwriter and performer Hank Ballard died of throat cancer at age 75. The leader of Hank Ballard and the Midnighters charted with 22 songs during his lengthy career. Ballard wrote "The Twist" which kicked off a worldwide dance craze in the early 1960s. Chubby Checker’s cover of Ballard’s tune became the best known version of the song. Ballard appeared in Roy Mann’s 1992 documentary film "The Twist." Mr. Ballard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
MALCOLM WILLIAMSON Died Mar. 2, 2003
Master of the Queen’s Music, Malcolm Williamson died at age 71 after a lengthy illness. Mr. Williamson not only composed for Queen Elizabeth, but also Hammer Studios. He scored several of their horror films including "The Brides of Dracula," "The Horror of Frankenstein" and "Crescendo." Mr. Williamson provided incidental music for the animated film "Watership Down." He was supposed to compose the entire score, but he never finished.
FRED FREIBERGER Died Mar. 2, 2003
Writer/producer Fred Freiberger died at age 88. Mr. Freiberger wrote the script for Ray Harryhausen’s first solo feature "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms." "Beast" was adapted from a short story by Ray Bradbury first published in the Saturday Evening Post. One of Mr. Freiberger’s less successful 50s sci-fi scripts was for Bert I. Gordon’s horrendous "The Beginning of the End." Gordon’s film achieved cult status due to the terrible special effects, which include grasshoppers photographed on 8x10 photos of sky scrappers in Chicago. Mr. Freiberger wrote scripts for many of the most popular TV series of the 1960s, 60s and 70s including "Bonanza," "Rawhide," "The Wild, Wild West," "Ben Casey," "The Fugitive," "Starsky and Hutch" and "Space 1999." Mr. Freiberger turned to producing in the 1960s. His credits include the original "Star Trek" series, "Ben Casey" and "The Six Million Dollar Man." Reader Ty from Texas wrote with this bit of trivia: Speaking of "Star Trek," such was his talent for creating techno-props for series that the gizmos became known as "Freibergers."
HORST BUCHHOLZ Died Mar. 3, 2003
According to the Berliner Morgenpost, actor Horst Buchholz died at age 69 from complications from a broken thigh bone. Actor Buchholz was one of the original "The Magnificent Seven." Only Charles Bronson and Robert Vaughn remain of the original seven. Mr. Buchholz made 75 films during his lengthy career. I first remember seeing him as Naturam Godse, the man who killed Ghandi in "Nine Hours to Rama." Mr. Buchholz made 15 films in Europe before his international breakthrough role in "The Magnificent Seven." He followed this with a number of American made films, though he continued to work predominately in Germany and Europe. Other credits include Billy Wilder’s so-so "One, Two, Three" with Jimmy Cagney, the awful "Avalanche Express" and Roberto Benigni's "Life is Beautiful." Mr. Buchholz delivered an outstanding performance as one of the main terrorists in the true-life, made for TV film "Raid on Entebbe."
CAPTAIN JAMES VERINIS Died Mar. 3, 2003
The Memphis Belle played a big part in my imagination as a child. I remember playing under the shade of the B-17 Flying Fortress’s wings as my sister took her dog to obedience school at the National Guard Armory in Memphis. The old war horse has been given more suitable housing since those days. Captain James Verinis was the co-pilot as the Memphis Belle fought over the skies of Europe in WWII. He became the first man to complete 25 combat missions in that war. Mr. Verinis and the rest of the crew appear in William Wyler’s outstanding WWII documentary "The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress."
BERT LUXFORD Died Mar. 4, 2003
British special effects pioneer Albert J. Luxford died after a short illness. Mr. Luxford was the cinematic equivalent of "Q" from the James Bond series. Mr. Luxford was the special effects man who created most of the more famous James Bond goodies. The Aston Martin on "Goldfinger" was Mr. Luxford’s work. He was known in the British film industry as "The Gimmick Man." Mr. Luxford worked on over a hundred films, many times without screen credit. His films include the Hammer vampire film "Twins of Evil" starring the Playboy twins Mary and Madeleine Collinson, Ingrid Pitt’s "Countess Dracula," Frank Zappa’s "200 Motels," the original "Highlander" and many others. Mr. Luxford was indispensable to the James Bond series. He also contributed quite a bit to the British comedy movies in the "Carry On…" series.
BILL REDDICK Died Mar. 4, 2003
Character actor Bill Reddick died of a heart attack at age 84. Mr. Reddick appeared in the Dirty Harry film "Sudden Impact," Francis Ford Copolla’s "Tucker: The Man and His Dream" and Alan Parker’s brutal divorce film "Shoot the Moon." Mr. Reddick was married to actress Jean Sheperd.
SEBASTIEN JAPRISOT Died Mar. 4, 2003
French writer/director Sébastien Japrisot died at age 71. Sebastien Japrisot was a psuedonym made from an anagram of his birth name Jean-Baptiste Rossi. Mr. Japrisot wrote a one of my favorite films. "Le Passiger de la Pluie" (Rider on the Rain) is a taut psychological thriller starring Charles Bronson. Bronson plays an Army officer tracking a psychotic serial killer across the French countryside. The film’s opening sequence is beautiful. Bronson also starred in Japrisot’s "Farewell, Friend." Japrisot also wrote the erotic S/M-B/D classic "The Story of O" which starred Corinne Cleary. Japrisot’s novel "The Lady in the Car with the Glasses and the Gun" was filmed with Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar. Oscar winning writer/director Costa Gravis turned Japrisot’s novel "The Sleeping Car Murder" into a very good mystery film. Mr. Japrisot won the Cesar (France’s Oscar) for Best Screenplay for his psycho-sexual thriller "L’ Ete Meurtrier." Mr. Japrisot directed four films.
BERNARD SCHWAB Died Mar. 4, 2003
Bernard Schwab, along with his three brothers, founded Schwab’s Pharmacy in Los Angeles. The store located on Sunset Blvd. Became the hangout out for film folk for nearly 50 years. Legend has it that high school sweater girl Lana Turner was discovered sitting on a stool in Schwab’s. The pharmacy was mentioned in countless films of the era, including Billy Wilder’s "Sunset Blvd." Mr. Schwab died at age 94. He was the last surviving member of the four brothers.
HARDY AIMES Died Mar. 5, 2003
Self proclaimed snob and clothes designer to Queen Elizabeth II, Hardy Aims died at age 93. Mr. Aimes designed costumes and did wardrobe on Stanley Kubrick’s "2001: A Space Odyssey," "The Alphabet Murders" and "Two for the Road."
JOHN SANFORD Died. Mar. 6, 2003
Blacklisted writer John Sanford died of an aortic aneurysm at age 98. Mr. Sanford had a long, but not too successful career as a novelist. He was blacklisted in the 50s for his ties to the communist party. Mr. Sanford wrote the film "Honky Tonk" with his wife, prolific screenwriter Marguerite Roberts.
HAROLD AYER Died Mar. 6, 2003
British character actor Harold Ayer died at age 86 from a stroke. Mr. Ayer made his film debut in Carol Reed’s noir classic "The Third Man" with Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton. He appeared in the Oscar winner "The Sting." Other credits include the Linnea Quigley horror romp "Night of the Demons" and Bo Derek’s vanity film "Tarzan the Ape Man." Mr. Ayer was a prolific TV actor, appearing in numerous shows in guest roles. Two of Mr. Ayer’s three children followed him into show business while his third child is a teacher. Mr. Ayer was the son of famed songwriter Nat Ayer.
MANFRED DURNIOK Died Mar. 7, 2003
Oscar winning producer Manfred Durniok died of a heart attack at age 68. Mr. Durniok had over 600 film credits to his name. Durniok’s "Mephisto" won the Best Foreign Film Oscar in 1981. "Mephisto" is a chilling portrait of an actor who sells his soul to the Nazis for fame. The movie was loosely based on the life of actor Emil Jannings. Mr. Durniok's film "Colonel Redl" won the British Best Foreign film award. "Colonel Redl" was also nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. Both films were directed by Istvan Szabo.
ADAM FAITH Died Mar. 8, 2003
British 60s pop star and actor died at age 60 of a heart attack. Mr. Faith enjoyed great popularity in England during the early 1960s with 20 songs hitting the British charts. Mr. Faith made the transition to acting. He appeared in one of the best Rock and Roll movies ever made. Mr. Faith co-starred with fellow British rocker David Essex in Michael Apted’s wonderful "Stardust." "Stardust" is the excellent sequel to the equally outstanding "That’ll Be the Day." The two films chronicle the rise and fall of David Essex’s band "The Stray Cats." Mr. Faith played the band’s manager in "Stardust." I can’t recommend these two films more highly. They are probably two of the best films you’ve never seen. Mr. Faith turned in an excellent performance as the manager who couldn’t help his star from self-destructing. 1980 was another great year for Adam Faith’s film career. He appeared in Adrian Lyne's excellent coming-of-age story "Foxes" starring Jodie Foster, Cherie Currie of "The Runaways." He also co-starred in Roger Daltry’s powerful modern gangster movie "McVicar." Mr. Faith was a natural actor who was sorely underused in the movies.
MARIA LADYNINA Died Mar. 8, 2003
Russian film icon from the Stalin era, Marina Ladynina died in Moscow at age 98. Ms. Ladynina made a series of films during the reign of Joseph Stalin that furthered the ideals of the Stalin regime. She stopped making films when Stalin died. Ms. Ladynina was given a lifetime achievement award at the 1998 Nikas Awards (the Russian equivalent of the Oscars). Her son is Russian film director Andrei Ladynin.
HURREM ERMAN Died Mar. 8, 2003
Turkish producer Hurrem Erman died at age 90. Mr. Erman produced nearly 50 films during a 30 year career. Mr. Erman was given an honorary award at the 1990 Istanbul International Film Festival.
KAREN MORLEY Died Mar. 8, 2003
Blond bombshell Karen Morley died at age 93 of pneumonia. Ms. Morley was married to actor Lloyd Gough. Ms. Morley played the second female lead in Howard Hawks gangster classic "Scarface." Ms. Morley appeared in nearly 50 films before her career was cut short during the HUAC witchhunts. Ms. Morley appeared before HUAC, but didn’t name names. She only appeared in a couple of movies after her appearance on Capitol Hill. Ms. Morley’s other credits include "Mata Hari" with Greta Garbo, "Arsne Lupine" with John Barrymore, "The Mask of Fu Manchu" with Boris Karloff, George Cukor’s "Dinner at Eight," "The Littlest Rebel" with Shirley Temple, "Pride and Prejudice" with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier and John Ford’s "Flesh."
STAN BRAKHAGE Died Mar. 9, 2003
Pioneering avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage died of cancer at age 70. Mr. Brakhage made nearly 400 experimental films during his 50-year career. Mr. Brakhage’s film "Dog Star Man" is listed in the National Registry of Films. In 1986, Mr. Brakhage was given the "Maya Deren Independent Film and Video Artists Award" from the American Film Institute.
PHILIP JONES Died Mar. 9, 2003
Indie and B-movie writer/director/producer Philip Jones died of cancer at age 39. Mr. Jones produced a series of B-movies in the late 1980s and 90s. His credits include "Princess Warrior," "Time Barbarians," "Getting Lucky" and "Backflash" with Jennifer Esposito and Robert Patrick. Mr. Jones also wrote and directed "Backflash." Mr. Jones had complete shooting on his latest film as a director: "Hellborn." Prayers of comfort for his wife and two children.
DAVID SCASE Died Mar. 11, 2003
British theater director and actor David Scase died at age 83. Mr. Scase was best know for directing plays in England. A merchant marine in WWII, Mr. Scase survived his ship being torpedoed. Mr. Scase appeared in the films "Truckers," the Sherlock Holmes episode "The Master Blackmailer" and the early Hammer film"Never Look Back" among others.
ZINN ARTHUR Died Mar. 11, 2003
Big band leader turned celebrity photographer Zinn Arthur died at age 90 of natural causes. Mr. Arthur toured with Irving Berlin, entertaining troops during WWII. The tour was the basis for the movie "This is the Army." After the demise of the Big Band Era, Mr. Zinn became a celebrity photographer. Mr. Zinn did special photographic art for Joshua Logan’s 1961 film "Fanny" which starred Leslie Caron and Horst Buchholz.
HOWARD FAST Died Mar. 12, 2003
Best-selling blacklisted author Howard Fast died at age 88. 14 of Mr. Fast’s novels were translated to film and TV. Mr. Fast wrote the novels which formed the basis for Stanley Kubrick’s "Spartacus," the Robert Mitchum/Loretta Young/William Holden film "Rachel and the Stranger," John Ford’s poetic "Cheyenne Autumn" and the Gregory Peck thriller "Mirage." Mr. Fast also wrote several teleplays. He wrote for the great, early-1960s legal TV series "The Defenders." Mr. Fast also penned the outstanding TV movie "21 Hours at Munich" about the murder of the Israeli Olympic athletes during the 1972 Olympic Games.
LYNN THIGPEN Died Mar. 12, 2003
Tony award winning actress Lynn Thigpen died suddenly at age 54. The coroner stated that Ms. Thigpen died of an enlarged heart, cardio hemmorrhage and cerebral hemorrhage. Ms. Thigpen may be best known for her role in the children’s geography TV show "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" She was currently was co-starring in the TV series "The District" with Craig T. Nelson on CBS. Ms. Thigpen won a Tony Award for her performance in the play "An American Daughter." Ms. Thigpen plays the judge in the soon to be released Adam Sandler/Jack Nicholson comedy "Anger Management." Ms. Thigpen appeared in nearly 50 films and TV series during her career. She made her debut in the rock version of the Gospel According to Matthew "Godspell." Walter Hill fans know her as the female D-Jay in "The Warriors" and from "Streets of Fire." She also appeared in Sidney Pollack’s "Tootsie," "Bob Roberts," "Sweet Liberty," "The Paper," "Naked in New York," "The Insider," the remake of "Shaft," "Novocaine" and the TV version of "An American Daughter." Ms. Thigpen had recurring roles on "L.A. Law," "Gimmie a Break," "thirtysomething" and "Law and Order." Ms. Thigpen was also nominated twice for the Image Award for her work on "All My Children" and "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?"
NIELS BJORN LARSON Died Mar. 13, 2002
Danish choreographer, dancer and world famous mime, Niels Bjorn Larson has died at age 89. Mr. Larson was choreographer for numerous Danish films. His best known film, internationally was 1988’s "Babette’s Feast."
IVAN RASSIMOV Died Mar. 13, 2003
Italian exploitation actor , Ivan Rassimov died at age 65. Rassimov appeared in a large number of horror and soft core erotic films. Among Rassimov’s nearly 500 credits include two films by Italian Horror master Mario Bava: "Planet of the Vampires" and "Schock" (Beyond the Door II). Mr. Rassimov also appeared in numerous cannibal films including "Jungle Holocaust," "Eaten Alive by Cannibals" and "Deep River Savages." Mr. Rassimov also appeared in several films in the soft-core Emmanuelle series.
FRANK DELMAR Died Mar. 13, 2003
Hollywood wardrober costume designer Frank Delmar died at age 93. He had suffered two heart attacks in recent years. Mr. Delmar worked both in film and TV. He worked on Cecile B. Demille’s "The Ten Commandments" and Arthur Penn’s epic "Little Big Man." Other films include the so-bad-its-good tree-monster movie "From Hell It Came," "Tank Battalion" and "Jeopardy." Mr. Delmar was best known in the industry for his meticulous period costumes on such TV shows as "The Untouchables" and "The Wild, Wild West."
THORA HIRD Died Mar. 15, 2003
British actress Dame Thora Hird died at age 91 after suffering a stroke. Better known in England than America, Ms. Hird appeared in over 90 films and TV shows during her career. She was awarded four BAFTA (the British Oscar) awards for her work including a lifetime achievement award. Ms. Hird appeared in several of my favorites. Michael Winner’s "The Nightcomers" is a kinky mess starring Marlon Brando. The film is a prequel to Henry James classic novel "The Turn of the Screw." "The Turn of the Screw" was filmed as "The Innocents" with Deborah Kerr. Brando gives one of his most bizarre performances in a film full of strange happenings. "The Quatermass Experiment" was the first of the great British sci-fi movies about Professor Bernard Quatermass. Brian Donlevy played Quatermass in this classic British film. Ms. Hird was third billed in the Val Guest film. Ms. Hird had a smaller role in the seldom seen "The Magic Box." "The Magic Box" is another great British film. The movie tells the story of the forgotten inventor of motion pictures. Its not who you think. Ms. Hird also appeared in Tony Richardson’s "The Entertainer" with Laurence Olivier and John Schlesinger’s "A Kind of Loving" with Alan Bates.
PAUL STOJANOVICH Died Mar. 15, 2003
TV producer Paul Stojanovich died at age 47 in a fall from a 300 foot cliff in Oregon. Mr. Stojanovich’s body has not been recovered. The waves were 14 to 16 feet at the time Stojanovich fell. Mr. Stojanovich was the creator of the long running reality TV show "COPS." Mr. Stojanovich served as a video consultant on Oliver Stone’s "Natural Born Killer’s." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
PEGGY CONKLIN Died Mar. 18, 2003
Stage actress Peggy Conklin has died at age 96. Ms. Conklin first achieved fame in the role of Gabby Maple in the Broadway production of "The Petrified Forest." She starred opposite Humphrey Bogart. Bogart became a screen star when he reprised his role as John Dillinger based character Duke Mantee in the film version. Bette Davis played Ms. Conklin’s role in the film version. While Ms. Conklin has a long and distinguished career on stage, she made relatively few movies. Her film credits include "The President Vanishes," "The Devil is a Sissy" and "Having a Wonderful Time."
LEWIS GREIFER Died Mar. 18, 2003
Renowned British TV writer Lewis Greifer died at age 87. Mr. Greifer began his career writing for radio. He wrote for the groundbreaking comedy show "The Goon Show" with Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers. Mr. Geifer wrote several precursors to the TV mini series. In 1959 he wrote two six-part shows: "The Man Who Cheated Death" and "Voodoo Factor." Mr. Greifer was also one of the writers on two of the greatest British TV shows of all time: "Dr. Who" and "The Prisoner." Mr. Greifer also wrote radio documentaries including a biography of Paul Robeson.
EMILE GENEST Died Mar. 19, 2003
French-Canadian character actor Emile Geneset has died at age 81 after suffering a heart attack. Mr. Genest appeared in nearly 30 films including Norman Jewison’s "The Cinncinati Kid" with Steve McQueen. Mr. Genest appeared in countless TV shows during the 1960s. He appeared in many TV WWII dramas including "The Rat Patrol," "Combat" and "Garrison’s Guerillas." He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Award at the Genie Awards for his work in "Les Plouffe." Mr. Genest starred in the original version of Walt Disney’s "The Incredible Journey."
DON HOOD Died Mar. 20, 2003
Verteran character actor Don Hood died of heart failure at age 62. Hood is probably best known for his supporting role in Sidney Lumet’s "Absence of Malace." Hood played the politically ambitious District Attorney torpedoed by a vengeful Paul Newman. Hood also played corrupt Tennessee governor Ray Blanton in the true-life drama "Marie" which starred Sissy Spacek. Mr. Hood also appeared in "Alien Nation," "Fletch Lives," "The River," "Ed Wood," "Cat People" and "Bad Girls." Hood also appeared in the excellent HBO film "Doublecrossed" with Dennis Hopper. Mr. Hood’s other credits include Brian De Palma’s "Obesssion" and Louis Malle’s "Pretty Baby."
BEN BRADY Died Mar. 20, 2003
Writer/producer Ben Brady died at age 94. Mr. Brady worked in TV for decades. Mr. Brady produced some of the greatest early TV shows including "Perry Mason," "Rawhide," "Have Gun, Will Travel," "The Outer Limits" and "The Johnny Carson Show." Mr. Brady was the founder of the Television Producer’s Guild. Mr. Brady also wrote several books about TV writing and production.
EISEI AMAMOTO Died Mar. 23, 2003
Legendary Japanese character actor Eisei Amamoto has died at age 77. Mr. Amamoto in 50 films during his lengthy career. He is best known to American audiences for his work in numerous Toho Studios monster movies. Mr. Amamoto appeared in Akira Kurosawa’s "Yojimbo" with Toshiro Mifune. "Yojimbo" was the basis for the Sergio Leone western "A Fist Full of Dollars" with Clint Eastwood. Mr. Amamoto made his film debut in the Golden Globe Best Foreign Film winner "24 Eyes." Among his many monster movies was the campy "Attack of the Mushroom People" where he played the Skulking Transitional Matango! Other monster movie credits include "Atragon," "Dagora, the Space Monster," "King Kong Escapes," "Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster," "Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster" and "Godzilla’s Revenge." Mr. Amamoto appeared in the Japanese spy film purchased by Woody Allen and turned into "What’s Up, Tiger Lilly?" In Allen’s film, the tall, skinny Amamoto was given a Peter Lorre type voice to hilarious effect. Mr. Amamoto was fascinated by all things Spanish. He was an acomplished Flamenco dancer.
PHILIP YORDAN Died Mar. 24, 2003
Oscar winning writer Philip Yordan died of pancreatic cancer at age 88. Yordan won an Oscar for his screenplay "Broken Lance" in 1954. Yordan had been nominated twice previously for "Detective Story" with Kirk Douglas and Lee Grant and the movie that made Lawrence Tierney a star "Dillinger." Among Mr. Yordan’s 61 produced scripts are Charlton Heston’s "El Cid," Tony Curtis’s "Houdini," "The Harder They Fall" with Humphrey Bogart, "King of Kings," "55 Days at Peking" and "The Unholy." Mr. Yordan is credited with seven scripts, which were in fact written by other people. Mr. Yordon acted as a front for two blacklisted writers: Ben Maddow and Bernard Gordon. Those scripts include "The Battle of the Bulge," "The Day of the Triffids" "God’s Little Acre" and "No Down Payment."
DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN Died Mar. 25, 2003
Four-term US Senator from New York Daniel Patrick Moynihan died from complications following a burst appendix at age 76. The longtime democratic leader served in the US Senate from 1977 through 2001. Senator Moynihan served in official capacities to Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Gerald Ford. Senator Moynihan appeared as himself in the documentary about Washington D.C. hosted by Richard Dreyfus: "Mr. Dreyfus Goes to Washington." Senator Moynihan also appeared in the PBS mini series "New York: A Documentary Film." In addition to these appearances, Senator Moynihan was the subject of an episode of A&E’s Biography."
MATTHEW ALLWORK Died Mar. 26, 2003
British cameraman Matthew Allwork was killed in a helicopter crash while filming an endurance horse race in the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Allwork was an inventive camera operator who won Emmy Awards for his work at the Sidney Olympics and the Janet Jackson special "Velvet Rope." He also invented the "jockey-cam" used to give an inside view of horse racing. Mr. Allwork’s feature film credits include "Out of Africa," "Indian Jones and the Last Crusade," "Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein" and Clint Eastwood’s "White Hunter, Black Heart."
PAUL ZINDEL Died Mar. 27, 2003
Award-winning playwright and screenwriter Paul Zindel died of cancer at age 66. Mr. Zindel won the Pulitzer Prize for his play "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds." Paul Newman directed the screen version, which starred Newman’s wife Joanne Woodward. Both were nominated for awards at Cannes for their work on Zindel’s movie. Woodward won the Best Actress award. Mr. Zindel was one of five writers credited with the screenplay for the outstanding action thriller "Runaway Train." Akira Kurosawa also worked on that script! Mr. Zindel wrote the scripts for Barbara Streisand’s introspective "Up the Sandbox," the Lucille Ball version of "Mame" and "Maria’s Lovers" with Nastasjja Kinski.
DWIGHT DAVID FRYE Died Mar. 27, 2003
One of the scariest moments of my childhood came watching the Bela Lugosi version of "Dracula." The scene that creeped me out so badly was when the quite mad Renfield is discovered laughing maniacally in the hold of the ship which transported Dracula to England. Renfield was played by the great horror-movie icon Dwight Frye. His son, Dwight David Frye died at age 72. The younger Frye appeared with his father in the 1937 film "The Man Who Found Himself." Mr. Frye appeared in several documentaries about the great Universal horror films his father appeared in. Those documentaries include "Lugosi: Hollywood’s Dracula," "The Road to Dracula" and "She’s Alive: Creating the Bride of Frankenstein."
LEIGH JACKSON Died Mar. 27, 2003
British screenwriter Leigh Jackson died of cancer at age 52. Mr. Jackson wrote the critically acclaimed drama "Warriors" about British troops serving as UN peace-keepers in the Balkins. He followed that film with "The Project." Two films currently in production were also written by Mr. Jackson: "Assumption" with Juliette Binoche and "Walk Two Moons" with Neve Campbell.
BOB MATZ Died Mar. 28, 2003
Long time Warner Brothers animator Bob Matz died at age 89. Mr. Matz had over 120 credits to his name. In 1987, Mr. Matz won the Golden award at the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonist’s Awards. Mr. Matz’s credits include "The Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie," "You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown," "A Boy Named Charlie Brown," "The Pink Panther Show" and "Moby Duck." Mr. Matz animated many of the Pink Panther features.
RAE CREEVEY Died Mar. 29, 2003
Asian American theater pioneer, Rae Creevey died of heart failure at age 69. Mr. Creevey was one of the co-founders of the East West Players and a long time director of the Asian American theater company. In addition to promoting Asian-American theater, Mr. Creevey was the head lighting director for the soap opera "General Hospital" for eleven years.
RUDOLPH BORCHERT Died Mar. 29, 2003
TV writer Rudolph Borchert died at age 75. Mr. Borchert wrote several episodes of the great horror series "Kolchak: The Night Stalker." Other credits include "Police Woman" with Angie Dicienson, "Hunter," "Quincy" and "The Greatest American Hero." Mr. Borchert also wrote the feature film "The Little Dragons."
MICHAEL JETER Died Mar. 30, 2003
Before I go to work to deal with the constitutional rights of every kind of accused criminal you can imagine, I get my five–year-old daughter ready for preschool. It’s just her and me. A little respite before the storm called the real world. Part of our daily routine is watching "Sesame Street" together. Lauren’s favorite segment, hands down is Elmo’s daily visit with Mr. Noodle or Mr. Noodle’s brother Mr. Noodle. Lauren and I both prefer Mr. Noodle’s bother Mr. Noodle to the plane old Mr. Noodle. For the second time in as many months, a children’s television icon has passed on. Michael Jeter’s contribution of Mr. Noodle’s brother Mr. Noodle to "Sesame Street" was but a small part of his outstanding career as an actor on stage, film and TV.
Jeter turned from medicine to acting while a student at my alma mater, Memphis State University. I first noticed Jeter in his film debut in Milos Forman’s "Hair." He had a hilarious cameo as a draftee with a penchant for painted toenails. Jeter appears at the beginning of the song "White Boys." He stands naked before the Army induction NCOs except for his socks. When he refuses to take the socks off, a large soldier lifts Jeter in the air while another removes the socks, revealing his painted toenails. Then the song begins.
Jeter appeared in nearly 50 films. Although he was Gay, Jeter played both Gay and straight roles with ease. The 50-year-old actor announced that he was HIV positive several years ago. An autopsy is scheduled, but it has been reported that Mr. Jeter was in good health and his death wasn’t related to his HIV status.
Michael Jeter won an Emmy Award as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his work on the Burt Reynold’s series "Evening Shade." Mr. Jeter was also nominated for three other Emmy Awards. He also won a Tony Award for his role in the play "Grand Hotel." Mr. Jeter won three "Q Awards" for his work on "Evening Shade" from the "Viewers for Quality Television Awards." Nice to see a Gay guy recognized for being wholesome by a watchdog group!
Jeter turned in one of his best performances as the condemned prisoner with a pet mouse in Frank Darabont’s "The Green Mile." Jeter’s execution scene is one of the most harrowing scenes ever committed to celluloid. Other credits include the hilarious "Mouse Hunt," the Coen Brother’s gangster homage "Miller’s Crossing," Milos Forman’s "Ragtime," Woody Allen’s "Zelig," Terry Gilliam’s "The Fisher King," Clint Eastwood’s "True Crime" and "Jurassic Park III." Jeter was an actor of versatility and range. He will be sorely missed by legions of fans.
CHRISTIANE SCHMIDTMER Died Mar. 30, 2003
Sexy German actress Christiane Schmidtmer died at age 63. Ms. Schmidtmer appeared in several TV series during the 1960s including "Hogan’s Heroes," "Twelve O’clock High" and "The Wild, Wild West." Her film credits include the evil Warden Dietrich in the classic exploitation film "The Big Doll House" with Pan Grier. She also appeared in Stanley Kramer’s "Ship of Fools," "Boeing, Boeing" with Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis, Russ Meyer’s "Fanny Hill," "The Giant Spider Invasion" and horror maven Gordon Hessler’s "Scream, Pretty Peggy" with Bette Davis.
ANNE GWYNNE Died Mar. 31, 2003
Scream queen Anne Gwynne died at age 84 of a stroke following surgery. The raven-haired beauty is remembered fondly by horror movie fans for her many appearances in the Universal horror films of the 1940s. Ms. Gwynne co-starred with Boris Karloff in "The House of Frankenstein," Bela Lugosi in the remake of "The Black Cat," Lon Chaney Jr. in "Weird Woman" and "The Strange Case of Dr. RX." Ms. Gwynne co-starred with Abbott and Costello in the comedy "Ride ‘Em Cowboy." Ms. Gwynne’s final film was also one of Michael Douglas’s first starring vehicles: "Adam at 6 A.M."