SHINYA HIDAKA Died Sep. 1, 2002
Shinya Hidaka wrote screenplays with revered Japanese director Kon Ichikawa. Hidaka became a frequent collaborator of Ichikawa's following the death of Ichikawa's wife Natto Wada. Ms. Wada had been her husband's writing partner for many years. Multi-award winning director Ichikawa is considered one of the four pioneers in modern Japanese cinema. Shinya Hidaka wrote six films with Mr. Ichikawa. Shinya Hidaka died of pneumonia.
TED ROSS Died Sept. 3, 2002
Highly recognizable character actor Ted Ross has died. Mr. Ross was the Cowardly Lion in the film version of "The Wiz." He also played Dudley Moore chauffeur in "Arthur." Mr. Ross appeared in one of the best TV series of the 1980s: "The Equalizer." Other film credits include Milos Forman's "Ragtime" and "The Fisher King." Mr. Ross won a Tony award as the Cowardly Lion in "Wiz" on Broadway.
ELSE PETERSEN Died Sep. 3, 2002
Danish actress Else Peterson died at age 91. She appeared in nearly 50 films. She had an uncredited role in the WWII classic "The Fighting Sullivans." Ms. Petersen’s career included such highly regarded films as Lars von Trier’s "Zentropia" and Gabriel Axel’s "Babettes Feast." Ms. Petersen appeared in a couple of the Danish "Agent 69 Jensen" sex comedies also. Talk about diversity of roles!
CLIFF GORMAN Died Sep. 5, 2002
As a teenager I loved NBC’s anthology series "Police Story." That is where I first remember seeing Cliff Gorman. Mr. Gorman had intensity, which was dangerous. He played characters that were usually smarter than those around them and frustrated because those others had more power than he. I never tired of his performances, even in bad movies. Cliff Gorman kept the audience wondering what he would do next.
Gorman starred or appeared in several of my favorite films. "Night of the Juggler" is one of the best B-Movies you’ve never seen. Mr. Gorman played a super intelligent \, psycho kidnapper who takes James Brolin’s daughter from a private school. Turns out that Brolin is poor and his kid was there on a hardship scholarship. Gorman took the wrong child. The rest of the film is a non-stop chase between the two men across New York City. If you’re lucky enough to find this at your video store, get it. Gorman’s dark intensity makes for a memorable villain.
Obviously I’m a little obsessed with death. Bob Fosse’s autobiographical film "All That Jazz" is another favorite of mine. Mr. Gorman played Dustin Hoffman’s fictional counter-part in that film. He plays the actor appearing in the fictional "Lenny" within the movie. (It isn’t as complicated as it sounds!) Again, Mr. Gorman’s dangerous persona adds just the right amount of kink to add to Fosse’s rich cinematic tapestry. I always wondered if Bob Fosse hated Dustin Hoffman after seeing "All That Jazz." Mr. Gorman won a Tony Award for his stage performance as Lenny Bruce in 1971.
Mr. Gorman first gained notice for his performance in the stage and screen versions of "The Boys in the Band." His effeminate Emory in the gay comedy was a character in extreme juxtaposition to the tough-guy roles he often played on TV cop shows. Mr. Gorman was also nominated for a Tony Award for "The Boys in the Band."Other credits include "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai," "Rosebud," "Hoffa" and "Night and the City." Mr. Gorman died of leukemia at age 65. Trivia note: Cliff Gorman, Lenny Bruce and yours truly were all born on October 13th!
FLORENCE LESSING Died Sep. 5, 2002
Florence Lessing was a dancer on stage and screen. Her film appearances include "Moon Over Miami" and "Just For You." Ms. Lessing was also a noted dance teacher. She died at age 86 of kidney failure.
JACK KELK Died Sep. 5, 2002
Jack Kelk was a TV actor during the 1950s. He appeared in guest roles on "Leave it to Beaver" and "The Donna Reed Show." Mr. Kelk played Homer Brown on the series "The Aldrich Family" which ran during the 1949-50 TV season. He was also a regular on the TV show "Young Mr. Bobbin." According to IMDB, Mr. Kelk appeared in the following feature films" "The Pajama Game," "Somebody Up There Likes Me" with Paul Newman, "Wrongorilla" and "Born to Be Bad." Mr. Kelk was 81.
KATRIN CATLIDGE Died Sep. 7, 2002
41-year-old actress Katrin Catlidge died of pneumonia and blood poisoning. Ms. Catlidge first gained notice in Mike Leigh's film "Naked." She played David Thewles's lover in that film. Ms. Cartlidge also appeared two other Mike Leigh's films: "Career Girls" and "Topsy Turvy." Other credits include "Breaking the Waves" and the Oscar winning "No Man's Land." Ms. Catlidge played the ambitious TV news reporter in "No Man's Land." I thought Ms. Cartlidge added a nice touch with her performance as "Dark Annie Chapman" in the Hughes Brothers's Jack-the-Ripper thriller "From Hell."
MICHAEL ELPHICK Died Sep. 7, 2002
British character actor Michael Elphick died at age 55. Mr. Elphick appeared in number of great movies. His greatest popularity was achieved as a TV actor in native England, where he played private eye Ken Boon on the series "Boon." Mr. Elphick’s film credits include The Who’s "Quadrophenia," Lindsey Anderson’s "Oh Lucky Man!" and "Gorky Park." Mr. Elphick played the sadistic night porter in David Lynch’s "The Elephant Man." Elphick played real-life grave robber Edmund Burke in the Vincent Price horror film "Cry of the Banshee." There were two overlooked films in the 70s dealing with the rise and fall of a rock star which should be on anyone’s must see list: "That’ll Be the Day" and "Stardust" starred David Essex as the rock star. Mr. Elphick appeared uncredited in "Stardust." Other credits include the kinky, quirky classic "Withnail and I," the TV mini-series "Massada," "Little Dorrit" and the tough true-crime drama "The Krays." Mr. Elphick was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor award by the British film academy for his role in "Gorky Park."
ERMA FRANKLIN Died Sep. 7, 2002
Ms. Franklin was the sister of Aretha Franklin. She was nominated for a Grammy in 1967 for "Piece of My Heart." She sang backup on her sister’s hit "Respect" in which she contributed the "sock-it-to-me" refrain to push the song over the top. Ms. Franklin appeared as herself in the 1988 documentary "Aretha Franklin:The Queen of Soul."
CYRINDA FOXE-TYLER Died Sep. 8, 2002
Ms. Foxe-Tyler was the ex-wife of Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler. Ms. Foxe died of a brain tumor at age 51. Ms. Foxe was an actress best know for her role in "Andy Warhol’s Bad." Her greatest fame came as a groupie during the early 70s. She had been involved with David Bowie and David Johanson before Tyler. She married musician Keith Waa three days before she died.
KIM HUNTER Died Sep. 11, 2002
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kim Hunter at the 2001 Memphis Film Festival in August of last year. She was living proof that you shouldn’t judge someone by her size. The petite actress was a powerhouse talent. Ms. Hunter seemed a bit frail, but her mind was as sharp and she displayed a keen wit. It was a privilege to talk with her over the three days of the festival.
Ms. Hunter won the Best Actress Oscar as Marlon Brando’s wife, Stella in "A Streetcar Named Desire." Of course, Ms. Hunter was probably most adored for her performances as Dr. Zira in the first three "Planet of the Apes" films. Ms. Hunter’s Zira was a lot like the lady herself, strong, idealistic and willing to take a stand.
Ms. Hunter appeared in 65 feature films, TV movies and documentaries. She also appeared in over 40 TV series. She was nominated for daytime Emmy in 1980 for her work on "The Edge of Night." In 2000, she was nominated for a Genie (Canada’s Oscar) as Best Actress for "Here’s to Life!," which was her final feature film. In addition to her extensive work in film and TV, Ms. Hunter was a highly respected stage actress.
Ms. Hunter’s credits include Val Lewton’s "The Seventh Victim," "The Swimmer" with Burt Lancaster, "Born Innocent" with Linda Blair and Dario Argento’s "The Black Cat." The 79-year-old actress died of a heart attack at home in Greenwich Village.
JOHNNY UNITAS Died Sep. 11, 2002
I pissed my dad off twice in the winters of 1968 and 69. The first thing I said was the Richard Nixon would win the presidency. The second was that Joe Namath would lead the NY Jets to victory in the Super Bowl over the powerhouse Baltimore Colts led by Johnny Unitas. Johnny Unitas held 22 NFL records when he retired in 1973 after 17 years in the pros. Mr. Unitas was the subject of a TV documentary "Unitas" in 2000. Mr. Unitas played the head coach of the Knights in Oliver Stone’s "Any Given Sunday." Mr. Unitas also appeared as himself in a couple of movies and TV shows. His son Joe is an actor who appeared in "Bandits" and "The Princess Diaries." Mr. Unitas died of a heart attack at age 69.
LOLITA TORRES Died Sep.14, 2002
Lolita Torres was one of Argentina's most famous actresses. She starred in 17 films during what is known as the "Golden Age" of Argentinean filmmaking. Ms. Torres was also successful as a pop singer. She is also the mother of pop singer Diego Torres. Ms. Torres died of complications from a lung infection.
LAWANDA PAGE Died Sep. 14, 2002
81 year-old Lawanda Page was best known as the Aunt Esther on the hit TV series, "Sanford and Son." Esther was the nemesis of Red Foxx’s character ‘Fred Sanford.’ Many of the shows best gags came from Red Foxx thinking up new ways to call Esther ugly. Ms. Page’s catch line in the show was "watch it sucker." Like Red Foxx, Ms. Page had quite a following for her off-color stand-up comedy routines. She was a one-time partner of Rudy Ray Moore of "Dolemite" fame. Ms. Page released a number of comedy albums. In later years, Ms. Page continued to act on stage and screen. Credits include "CB4," "Friday," "Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood" and "Meteor Man." Ms. Page died of complications from diabetes.
MICHAEL GREER Died Sep. 14, 2002
Michael Greer died of lung cancer at age 64. Mr. Greer was an actor and comedian. His most famous role was as "Queenie," the prison drag queen in Sal Mineo's stage and the Harvey Hart film version's of "Fortune and Men’s Eyes" which dealt with sex in prison. Mr. Greer appeared as Don Johnson’s friend in the 60s cult film "The Magical Garden of Stanley Sweetheart." That movie was also Don Johnson’s big screen debut. Other credits include the B-Movie sex comedy "Summer School Teachers" and "The Gay Deceivers" about two guys avoiding combat in Vietnam by pretending to be gay. Mr. Greer also had bit parts in the Steve Martin comedy "The Lonely Guy" and the Bette Midler vehicle "The Rose."
BEATRICE MANLEY Died Sep. 14, 2002
Yet another teacher has died. Beatrice Manley, like Byrne Piven, Jeff Corey and Tracy Roberts was an acting teacher. Her students at CalArts included actors Ed Harris and Paul Reubens. Ms. Manley helped start the Actor’s Workshop in Los Angeles. She had a long stage career. Ms. Manley wrote two books on the craft of acting. She was also a playwright and screenwriter. He TV and film credits include the twisted and rarely seen "The Baby," "Little Mo" about athlete Maureen Connelly and the great Michael Moriarity/Robert DeNiro film "Bang the Drum Slowly." Ms. Manley was 81 years old.
JAMES MITCHELL Died Sep. 15, 2002
British born writer James Mitchell wrote over 70 spy novels during his lifetime. Edward Woodward played assassin David Callan who was employed by the British government, in the TV series "Callan" based on Mr. Mitchell’s novel. The series ran from 1969 to 1972. A film version was released in 1974. Mr. Mitchell also wrote episodes for the TV series "The Avengers," "The Troubleshooters" and "Mogul." Mr. Mitchell also created the British TV series "When the Boat Comes In." IMDB’s listing of Mr. Mitchell is full of errors. Mr. Mitchell died of cancer at age 76.
CHARLES DENTON Died Sep. 15, 2002
Charles Denton wrote one of the most famous films that will never be seen. I first heard about "The Day the Clown Cried" about 20 years ago in the book "The Golden Turkey Awards." I thought the film was a joke. Jerry Lewis (quite alive, pictured hamming it up on the set of the 1972 film) plays a clown who is used by the Nazis to lead children into the gas chambers of Auschwitz. The movie was never finished due to legal battles between Jerry Lewis and the writers of the original script, including Mr. Denton. I have always been curious to see what exists of the film, but Jerry Lewis has it locked away. This was years before "It’s a Beautiful Life." "The Day the Clown Cried" is the only credit Mr. Denton has listed on IMDB. Mr. Denton died of a heart attack.
CHARLES MOUAT Died Sep. 15, 2002
Charles Mouat was a multiple Emmy award winning sound editor. Mr. Mouat had nearly 30 TV and feature film credits. Mr. Mouat shared two Emmy awards for the TV mini-series "Roots" and "The Night That Panicked America" which dealt with Orson Welles "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast. Mr. Mouat was nominated for two other Emmy awards. His feature film credits included "A Few Good Men," "Mermaids," "Days of Heaven," "Halloween III: The Season of the Witch" and "John Carpenter’s The Thing."
JAMES GREGORY Died Sep. 16, 2001
James Gregory portrayed the McCarthy-like Senator John Iselin in the classic thriller "The Manchurian Candidate." Mr. Gregory has died at age 90. TV viewers in the 70s knew him as the usually wrong Inspector Luger on the comedy show "Barney Miller." To sci-fi fans he was the evil ape general Ursus in "Beneath the Planet of the Apes." Mr. Gregory appeared in over 50 films or TV series during his career. He started as a stage actor. He played the oldest son, Biff in "Death of a Salesman" on Broadway.
TONY MARTINEZ Died Sep. 16, 2002
Baby boomers will remember Tony Martinez as "Pepino," the hired hand on the TV sitcom "The Real McCoys." Martinez was a band leader who turned to acting. He was one of the first Latinos to have a major, and non-stereotypical role on a network TV show. "The Real McCoys" ran from 1957 until 1963. Mr. Martinez was also an accomplished stage actor. He portrayed Sancho Panza in "The Man of La Mancha" over 2,200 times. Mr. Martinez died at age 82 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
NORMAN LEVY Died Sep. 17, 2002
Norman Levy was the former head of 20th Century Fox. Mr. Levy was responsible for the "Porkys" movies which made Fox over a billion dollars in revenues. Mr. Levy had also worked at Columbia where he was responsible for the distribution of such films as "When a Stranger Calls," "You Light Up My Life" and "The Lords of Flatbush." Mr. Levy died of cancer.
JOAN LITTLEWOOD Died Sep. 20, 2002
British writer and theater director Joan Littlewood died at age 87. Ms. Littlewood wrote the play "Oh, What a Lovely War!" which was later turned into a motion picture. Richard Attenborough directed the film version of Ms. Littlewood’s play. Ms. Littlewood also wrote and directed the 1963 film "Sparrows Can’t Sing." She appeared as herself in the documentary "The Unforgettable Yootha Joyce." Ms. Littlewood was a co-founder of London’s Theater Workshop.
JENNIFER ALWARD Died Sep. 20, 2002
TV producer Jennifer Alward died of a heart attack at age 53. Ms. Alward was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries for "Family of Spies." Ms. Alward received the Canadian Gemini nomination for the miniseries "Choices of the Heart: The Margaret Sanger Story." Ms. Alward was a creative consultant on the Sigorney Weaver film, "Gorillas in the Mist." Ms. Alward co- produced the much maligned Rock and Roll update of "A Star is Born," "Hearts of Fire" with Bob Dylan and Fiona. Ms. Alward created the production company "Morgan Hill."
ANGELO BUONO JR. Died Sep. 21, 2002
One of the two serial killers who were known as the "Hillside Stranglers" has died in prison. Angelo Buono Jr. died in prison on Saturday. The evil bastard killed 9 women along with fellow predator Kenneth Bianchi. Dennis Farina portrayed Angelo Buono in the chilling made for TV movie "The Case of the Hillside Stranglers." Ron Gilbert played the killer in the 2001 TV movie "Supersleuth." Hopefully Buono’s death will bring some comfort to the parents and loved ones of the women he and Bianchi slaughtered.
PETER KOWALD Died Sep. 21, 2002
German bassist Peter Kowald was one of the premiere bassists in New York Free Jazz movement. He co-founded the Sound Unity festivals of improvisational music. Mr. Kowald was featured in the 1985 documentary "Rising Tones Cross" by German filmmaker Ebba John. The film focused on the Free Jazz movement and featured interviews with Mr. Kowald and others. Kowald composed the music for the film "My Heart is Mine Alone." He also appeared and performed in the film "The Complaint of an Empress." Mr. Kowald was 58 years old.
JAN DE HARTOG Died Sep. 22, 2002
Dutch novelist and play write Jan de Hartog died at his home in Houston at age 88. Mr. de Hartog is best know for the Broadway play "The Four Poster." The play was made into a film with Rex Harrison and Lili Palmer. Other works that were filmed include his novel "The Inspector" which was filmed under the title of "Lisa." "Lisa" starred Stephen Boyd, Delores Hart, Leo McKern, Donald Pleasence and a host of other British character actors. "The Spriral Road" with Burl Ives and Rock Hudson was adapted from de Hartog’s novel "Godsgeuzen." "The Little Ark" and "The Key" were also film versions of his books.
JOSEPH KANE Died Sep. 22, 2002
103-year-old Joseph Kane was the master of trivia. Mr. Kane wrote over 50 books of factual information and trivia including five editions of "Famous First Facts." Mr. Kane’s Hollywood connection started as the host of a radio version of "Famous First Facts" in the 1940s. He later worked for TV games shows, such as "The $64,000 Question," "Break the Bank" and "Double or Nothing" as a question writer.
CARMEN PHILLIPS Died Sep. 22, 2002
Carmen Phillips was a bit character actress who appeared in numerous films and TV shows. Ms. Phillips’s passion was furthering the cause of animal and actor’s rights (same thing!). Ms. Phillips had bit parts in "Easy Rider," Curtis Harrington’s thriller "Games," Alfred Hitchcock’s "Marnie" and Sam Peckinpah’s classic "Ride the High Country." Ms. Phillips appeared in the Rat Pack films "Ocean’s 11" and "Some Came Running."
TIM ROSE Died Sep. 24, 2002
Tim Rose died of complications from surgery for cancer. Mr. Rose was a highly respected folk/rock/pop musician who seemed to hook up with other musicians just before they got their big break. While Tim Rose was left behind, his music is not forgotten. Mr. Rose was part of "The Big Three" with Cass Elliot before she went on to the "Mamas and the Papas." He played with John Bonham before Bonham joined "Led Zeppelin." Mr. Rose’s best known song was "Hey Joe," later made popular by Jimi Hendrix. Mr. Rose appeared in the pseudo-documentary/environmentalist propaganda film "Love It, or Leave It" which also starred Tina Louise, Herb Alpert, Phil Ochs and Richard Nixon!
MAURICE MANSON Died Sep. 25, 2002
88-year-old stage and screen actor Maurice Manson has died. Mr. Manson appeared in numerous TV episodes, feature films and Broadway shows. His film credits include "Spirit of St, Louis," "Nickelodeon," "The Three Stooges in Orbit" and "The Creature Walks Among Us." Mr. Manson showed up frequently on the TV series "Perry Mason," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "Gunsmoke."
WOODY LONG Died Sep. 28, 2002
Veteran porn actor Woody Long died of a stroke. (Don’t say it!). Ever wonder why these guys don’t use names like Stubby or Dinky?
ROBERT LIEB Died Sep. 28, 2002
Veteran character actor Robert Lieb died at age 88 from complications following surgery. Mr. Lieb had numerous TV and feature film credits. He was a regular on the TV series "Hazel" and "My Three Sons." Mr. Lieb had a recurring role on "Alf." He did guest-spots on 16 other TV series. His feature film credits include roles in the excellent TV mini-series "The Missiles of October" in which he played General Curtis LeMay. He had a bit part in one of the great political thrillers of the 1970s, Alan J. Pakula’s "The Parallax View." Mr. Lieb's last screen appearance was in 1999’s "Mystery Men."
WHITNEY BLAKE Died Sep. 28, 2002
Whitney Blake was best known as the mother on the 1960s TV series "Hazel" which starred Oscar winner Shirley Booth. Ms. Blake was the second cast member of "Hazel" to die this day. Whitney Blake was the mother of actress Meredith Baxter Birney. Ms. Blake made quest appearances on numerous TV shows, mostly Westerns during the 1950s and 60s. Ms. Blake’s film and TV movie credits include "The Betsy," "My Gun is Quick" and "Strange Homecoming." Ms. Blake was also the co-creator of the 1970s hit sitcom "One Day at a Time" starring Bonnie Franklin. Ms. Blake was 76 years-old.
MICKEY NEWBURY Died Sept. 29, 2002
Mickey Newbury was one of the most influential country and pop songwriters of the 1960s. His best known songs were "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" which was a number one hit for Kenny Rogers and the first Edition. Mr. Newbury’s most famous song was "American Trilogy." "American Trilogy" was an arraignment of three Civil War era songs. Elvis Presley had a huge hit with it in the early 70s. Mr. Newbury’s Hollywood connection is limited to his appearance, along with his wife Susan in the 1979 comedy "Swim School."
DANIEL LENZINI Died Sep. 29, 2002
Memphis musician and actor Daniel Lenzini died of Kidney failure at age 39. Mr. Lenzini was singer and songwriter with the band "The Wild Bunch." His film credits include Milos Forman’s "The People vs. Larry Flynt" and J. Michael McCarthy’s gonzo-trashfest "The Sore Losers." "The Sore Losers" deals with hot-rod Mayans from outer space who come to Earth to kill Hippies!
ZVI KOLITZ Died Sep. 29, 2002
Zvi Kolitz wrote on of the classics of Holocaust literature, "Yosl Rakover Talks to God." Mr. Kolitz wrote and produced the first feature length film is the modern state of Israel, "Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer." "Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer" was about the Jewish war for independence. Mr. Kolitz wrote and produced many plays, the most controversial being "Deputy" which dealt with the Vatican’s silence during the Holocaust. Mr. Kolitz was 89.