ROBERT PETERSON Died Dec. 1, 2003
Actor Robert Peterson died of a heart attack while playing handball at age 71. Mr. Peterson was Robert Goulet’s understudy in the Broadway play "Camelot." He filled in for Goulet for in the role of Sir Lancelot a number of times and took over the role for eight months at one point. The play also starred Richard Burton and Julie Andrews. He had a lengthy stage career. Mr. Peterson was a devout Mormon. He did voice work in "The Mormon Temple Film." Mr. Peterson also made a guest appearance on the TV series "The Jack Benny Program."
CARL SCHENKEL Died Dec. 1, 2003
Swiss director Carl Schenkel died of a heart attack at age 55. Mr. Schenkel directed the cult film "Knight Moves" with Christopher Lambert and Diane Lane. Among his other credits are "The Mighty Quinn" with Denzel Washington," "Tarzan and the Lost City," the TV series "Profiler" and "The Hitchhiker." Mr. Schenkel also directed the Made for TV version of Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express." Mr. Schenkel won the Bavarian Film Award as Best Director for his 1984 thriller "Abwarts" with the sexy Renee Soutendijk.
SUZANNE VIDOR PARRY Died Dec. 1, 2003
Suzanne Parry, the only child of director King Vidor died at age 84. Ms. Parry was 84. Her father directed a number of Hollywood classics including "Solomon and Sheba," the Kansas sequence of "The Wizard of Oz" and "Duel in the Sun." King Vidor also investigated probably solved the unsolved murder of silent film director William Desmond Taylor. His book "A Cast of Killers" is a fascinating read for crime and film buffs. Ms. Parry appeared as herself in the documentary "Captured on Film: The True Story of Marion Davies."
FERNANDO DI LEO Died Dec. 2, 2003
Italian writer/director Fernando Di Leo died at age 81. Mr. Di Leo had a lengthy career and made notable contributions to the Spaghetti Western, erotica and crime genres. He worked on the scripts for Sergio Leone’s "A Fist Full of Dollars" and "For a Few Dollars More." Those films turned Clint Eastwood into an international superstar. Mr. Di Leo was the assistant director of "A Fist Full of Dollars." His other Spaghetti Western writing credits include "The Return of Ringo," "Seven Guns for the MacGregors," Lucio Fulci’s "Massacre Time," "Navajo Joe" with Burt Reynolds and "God Made Them…I Kill Them." Mr. Di Leo directed a number of crime dramas during the early 1970s including "The Italian Connection," "The Boss," "The Big Boss" with Jack Palance and "The Contract." He also wrote a number of sexploitation films and also directed another: "Loaded Guns" with Ursula Andress.
SUZANNE CLOUTIER Died Dec. 2, 2003
Canadian actress Suzanne Cloutier died of liver cancer at age 76. Ms. Cloutier was once married to actor Peter Ustinov. The couple appeared together in the comedy "Romanoff and Juliet." Ustinov also directed the film. Ms. Cloutier also appeared as Desdemona in Orson Welles’ film "The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice."
THOMAS JEFFERSON HUTCHINSON Died Dec. 2, 2003
Oscar winning inventor Thomas Jefferson Hutchinson died of leukemia at age 72. Mr. Hutchinson, along with two associates received a technical Oscar in 1972 for developing a system of xenon arc lights used for production lighting. Mr. Hutchinson served his country during WWII in the Navy.
DENISE NOEL Died Dec. 2, 2003
French actress Denise Noel died at age 80. The classically trained actress turned to comedy and was a member of the comedy troupe "La Comédie-Française" for 27 years. Ms. Noel’s film credits include "Earth Light" and "School for Love."
VIC GORDON Died Dec. 2, 2003
Veteran British TV actor Vic Gordon died at age 93. Although Mr. Gordon began his career in England, he achieved his greatest success on Australian TV. He appeared in a number of TV shows, most notably "Matlock Police," in which he played desk sergeant Bert Kennedy. His film credits include "Quigley Down Under," "Lonely Hearts" and "Next of Kin."
MIKE MASTERS Died Dec. 2, 2003
Actor/stuntman Mike Masters died of cancer at age 74. Mr. Masters appeared on a number of TV series. He did stunts on the series "The Wild, Wild West" and "Hondo." Mr. Masters film credits include "The Manchurian Candidate," "Young Dillinger" with Nick Adams, "Seven Days in May," the horror cheapie "Sssssss," "Lepke," "Nice Dreams," "The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again" and "Macho Callahan." His TV credits include "Sea Hunt," "Mannix," "The Rebel," "The A-Team," "Baywatch," "Night Gallery" and many more.
FRANCIS MORRIS Died Dec, 2, 2003
Actress Francis Morris died at age 98. Her film career began in the 1920s. She made over 150 films retiring in the 1960s. Ms. Morris played Martha Kent in the first episode of the 1950s TV series "Superman." Ms. Morris was best known as a leading lady in B-Westerns. Among her films are "Portrait of a Mobster" with Vic Morrow as Dutch Schultz, "Bullets or Ballots," "G Men," "Gold Diggers of 1937," "Coconut Grove," "Young Tom Edison," "Life with Henry," "Life Begins for Andy Hardy," "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break," "This Gun for Hire," "Four Jills in a Jeep," "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," "Alias Nick Beal" and "The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima."
DAVID HEMMINGS Died Dec. 3, 2003
British actor David Hemmings died of a heart attack at age 62. Mr. Hemmings had just finished filming scenes for the movie "Samantha’s Child" when he suffered a heart attack and died. The movie is being shot in Romania. Mr. Hemmings became an international star in Michaelangelo Antonioni’s cryptic classic "Blowup." Hemmings played a London fashion photographer during the swinging 60s who believes he accidentally photographer a murder. Antonioni’s film is part mystery but more a psychological study of Hemmings character. He appeared in a number of films and eventually turned to directing episodic TV. Hemmings starred in Dario Argento's outstanding horror film "Deep Red." His cameo as Sean Connery’s ill-fated friend in "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" was one of the few good things about that movie. Mr. Hemmings film credits include "Barbarella," as Mordred in "Camelot," "Charge of the Light Brigade," "The Love Machine," the excellent thriller "Juggernaut," the under rated Sherlock Holmes film "Murder by Decree," "Gladiator" and "The Gangs of New York." Mr. Hemmings directed a few films and episodes of "Magnum P.I.," "The A Team," "Airwolf," "In the Heat of the Night" and "Murder She Wrote."
ELLEN DREW Died Dec. 3, 2003
Actress Ellen Drew died of a liver illness at age 89. Ms. Drew appeared in nearly 80 films and TV shows during a career that spanned the 1936 through 1960. She was discovered by actor William Demarest working at an ice cream shop in Hollywood. She was a contract player at Paramount. Ms. Drew’s credits include "Sing You Sinners" with Bing Crosby, "If I Were King" with Ronald Colman, "The Gracie Allen Murder Case," "Geronimo," "Christmas in July" with Dick Powell, "The Parson of Panamint," "Isle of the Dead" and "The Great Missouri Raid."
LEONARD TRAUBE Died Dec. 3, 2003
Long-time publicist and press agent Leonard Traube died of cancer at age 84. Mr. Traube represented some of the biggest names in entertainment. His clients included Vincent Price, Marlon Brando, John Belushi, Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn.
CLAIRE HAGEN Died Dec. 3, 2003
Actress/producer Claire Hagen died of cnacer. Ms. Hagen was the wife of actor/writer/director Ross Hagen. Ms. Hagen acted under the name Claire Polan and Claire Hagen. Her film credits include a number of B-movie classics. Her film "Five the Hard Way" (aka The Sidehackers) was used as fodder by "Mystery Science Theater 3000." Ms. Hagen’s other credits include "Angel’s Wild Woman," "Bikini Drive-In," "Attack of the 60-Foot Centerfold," "Invisible Dad" and "Fugitive Rage." Ms. Hagen’s producer credits include "The Media Madman," "B.O.R.N." and "Reel Horror," which she also directed.
CECIL CORNISH DIED Dec. 4, 2003
Rodeo cowboy Cecil Cornish died at age 94. Mr. Cornish spent nearly 40 years performing in rodeos around the country. Mr. Cornish trained horses for the movie industry. He trained horses used in William Wyler’s "Ben Hur." He also trained Roy Rodgers’ horse Trigger. Mr. Cornish was known as "Mr. Rodeo" and was a member of the Cowboy Hall of Fame.
RITA BURTON Died Dec. 5, 2003
Emmy winning TV producer and studio executive Rita Burton died of cervical cancer at age 57. Ms. Burton won Emmy Awards for "The Lily Tomlin Special" and "The AFI Salute to James Cagney." Ms. Burton worked for CBS, Fox and Casey Werner during her lengthy career. She was the first woman to be promoted to vice president and general manager of CBS/Fox.
WALTER STOCKER Died Dec. 5, 2003
Actor Walter Stocker died at age 78. Mr. Stocker wrote, produced and directed the 1978 horror film "Til Death" with Bert Freed. Mr. Stocker appeared in the cult film "They Saved Hitler’s Brain." Other credits include "Lassie’s Great Adventure," "The Sunshine Boys" and "Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy." Mr. Stocker served his country in the US Army Air Corp during WWII. Like Jeanne Crain, Mr. Stocker is a Hollywood figure who managed to stay married to the same person for 53 years! Imagine that. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
HARRY LOJEWSKI Died Dec. 5, 2003
Emmy Award winning composer and MGM Executive Harry Lojewski died of pneumonia. Mr. Lojewski was the musical supervisor on a number of notable films and TV shows including "The Wind and the Lion," "That’s Entertainment II," "Logan’s Run," "The Goodbye Girl," "Coma," "Telefon," "Demon Seed," "Rich and Famous," "Poltergeist," "All the Marbles" and "The Pope of Greenwich Village." Mr. Lojewski composed a number of Catholic Masses and was recognized by the Vatican for his work. He won Emmy Awards for his work on the Made for TV biopic "Babe" and "Hollywood: The Dream Factory." Mr. Lojewski was Director of Music for MGM’s TV department and later Executive Director of Music for Motion Pictures at MGM. Mr. Lojewski started at MGM as an accompanist for such stars as Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra. He worked as an assistant scorer on many of the great musicals from MGM’s golden era.
GREGORY GARCIA SEGURA Died Dec. 5, 2003
Spanish composer Gregory Garcia Segura died in Madrid at age 74. Mr. Segura composed scores for over 200 films during a career that dated back to the 1950s. Mr. Segura worked with such directors as Juan de Orduña, Rafael Gil, Tulio Demicheli, Ladislao Vajda, Juan Antonio Bardem, Mario Camús. Mr. Segura had a lengthy creative partnership with director Mariano Ozores, having scored over 25 of his films. Mr. Segura was nominated for a Goya Award in 1990 for his score for the movie "Las Cosas del Querer."
JERRY TUITE Died Dec. 6, 2003
Jerry Tuite, a former WCW wrestler who appeared under the names Sgt. A-Wall, The Wall and most recently Gigantes died of a heart attack at age 36 in his hotel in Tokyo, Japan. Mr. Tuite appeared in a number of TV series including "WCW Nitro," "WCW Thunder" and "WCW Saturday Night." Prayers of comfort for his family. This has been a rough year for wrestling fans.
HANS HOTTER Died Dec. 6, 2003
Opera star Hans Hotter died at age 94. Mr. Hotter was one of the world’s best bass-baritones. He was known for his interpretations of the works of Wagner. His career spanned 60 years. Mr. Hotter appeared in several films during his long career including "Bruderlein Fein," "Mother Love" and "Seine Beste Rolle."
MICHAEL NORWOOD Died Dec. 6, 2003
Michael Norwood drowned while working on an episode of The History Channel’s "Deep Sea Detectives." Mr. Norwood was the co-host of the series. He died while diving on the wreck of the USS Perry in the South Pacific. Mr. Norwood ran out of air. He was helped to the surface by others who shared their air with him. Unfortunately, Mr. Norwood drown in the process. Mr. Norwood was the diving researcher on John Sayles film "Limbo." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
RUBEN GONZALEZ Died Dec. 7, 2003
Ruben Gonzalez died at age 84. He joins his former band leader Compay Segundo of the Buena Vista Social Club for an otherworldly jam session. Mr. Segundo passed away in July of this year. Both men were featured in the excellent documentary "The Buena Vista Social Club." Mr. Gonzalez was the band’s pianist.
ROBERT R. BENTON Died Dec. 7, 2003
Multi Oscar-nominated set director Robert R. Benton died of respiratory failure at age 79. Mr. Benton was nominated four times for a Best Art-Direction/Set Decoration Oscar. The Academy nominated him for his work on the films "Hud," "The Americanization of Emily," "The Slender Thread" and "The Oscar." Mr. Benton worked on nearly 100 films during his lengthy career. Among his many film credits are "Heartbreak Ridge," "Top Gun," "Starman," "Being There," "Telefon," "Soylent Green," "The Odd Couple," "Will Penny," "Barefoot in the Park," "Nevada Smith," "One-Eyed Jacks" and "I Married a Monster From Outer Space."
LEWIS M. ALLEN Died Dec. 8, 2003
Broadway and film producer Lewis M. Allen died of pancreatic cancer at age 81. Mr. Allen was the husband of Oscar nominated writer Jay Presson Allen and the father of experimental filmmaker Dana Hodgdon. Mr. Allen may be best known for producing the hit Broadway play "Annie." Mr. Allen was nominated for seven Tony Awards and won three! He also produced a number of films during the 1960s and 70s. His best known films are the 1963 version of "The Lord of the Flies" and Francois Truffaut’s "Fahrenheit 451." Mr. Allen also produced the film version of John Herbert’s "Fortune and Men’s Eyes." Mr. Allen was also responsible for funding Robert Altman’s disastrous "National Lampoon" movie "O.C. & Stiggs." Other credits include "Miss Firecracker" and "Swimming to Cambodia."
SAU LEUNG ‘BLACKIE’ KO Died Dec. 8, 2003
Hong Kong action actor, stuntman and director Blackie Ko died at age 51. The actor's family stated he suffered from asthma. It was reported that Mr. Ko had been drinking heavily with friends the night he died. Foul play has been ruled out. Blackie Ko was adept at both light drama and extreme villainy. He was an avid motorcyclist who performed some amazing stunts in several films. Among Mr. Ko’s many credits are "Pink Force Commando," "Ultra Force," "Crime Story," "Jet Li’s The Enforcer," "Best of the Best" and "City of Desire." Mr. Ko directed several films including "Curry and Pepper," "Invincible" and "Hero From Beyond the End of Time." Mr. Ko was known as the "Evel Knievel of Asia." Mr. Ko jumped the Great Wall of China on a motorcycle and the Yellow River in a car.
NIKOLAI BINEV Died Dec. 8, 2003
Bulgarian character actor and comedian Nikolai Binev died at age 69. Mr. Binev’s career in film spanned 40 years. Though he appeared mostly in European films, Mr. Binev di appear in a number of American and international films toward the end of his career. Mr. Binev’s best known film was the Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee "East West," which starred Catherine Deneuve. Other credits include the Sci-Fi Channel’s original movie "Alien Hunter" with James Spader, "Derailed" with Jean-Claude Van Damme, "Bloodsport: The Dark Kumite" and "Bridge of Dragons" with Dolph Lundgren.
BILL CHADNEY Died Dec. 8, 2003
Jazz pianist and restaurateur Bill Chadney died at age 79. Mr. Chadney played Emmett, the piano player on the TV series "Peter Gunn." Mr. Chadney married and later divorced fellow cast member Lola Albright.
SENATOR PAUL SIMON Died Dec. 9, 2003
Former US Senator from Illinois and Presidential candidate Paul Simon died at age 75 following heart surgery. Mr. Simon was a socially liberal and fiscally conservative Democrat. He ran for President in 1988. Mr. Simon appeared as himself in the political comedy "Dave" with Kevin Kline and Sigorney Weaver. He also appeared, through archived footage in the documentary "The Speeches of Nelson Mandela." Mr. Simon once hosted "Saturday Night Live" with the other famous Paul Simon of Simon and Garfunkel.
RAFI BUKAI Died Dec. 9, 2003
Israeli producer/director Rafi Bukai battled cancer 27 of his 47 years on earth. Mr. Bukai’s family owner a movie theater. He was raised in the projection booth of the cinema and grew up loving movies. Sounds like there’s a movie there somewhere! Mr. Bukai’s debut feature "Avanti Popolo" is considered a classic of Israeli cinema. The comedy follows two Egyptian soldiers lost in the desert following their defeat during the Six Day War. The film won the Golden Leopard’s Eye Award at the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland. Mr. Bukai directed two films, a segment of one other and produced five more. His last film "One Small Step for Man" dealt in part, ironically with a boy losing his battle with cancer.
BILL MOREY Died Dec. 10, 2003
Actor Bill Morey died at age 83. Mr. Morey appeared in nearly 70 films and TV shows. Mr. Morey played Oscar on the TV series "The John Larroquette Show." Mr. Morey’s film credits include Roger Corman’s cult classic "Death Race 2000," Joseph Wambaugh’s true-crime film "The Onion Field," the excellent true crime TV movie "Kill Me if You Can," "Some Kind of Hero" with Richard Pryor, "Brainstorm" with Natalie Wood and Christopher Walken and "The Thorn Birds." Mr. Morey provided the voices of Mutt and Recondo on the cartoon series "G.I. Joe." Mr. Morey was a frequent guest star on a number of TV series during the 1980s and 90s.
LEONARD MALEK Died Dec. 10, 2003
TV editor Leonard Malek died at age 75. Mr. Malek worked on the TV series "Eight is Enough" and "Charlie’s Angels."
SEAN MCCLORY Died Dec. 10, 2003
Irish actor Sean McClory died of heart failure at age 79. Mr. McClory appeared in over 100 films and TV shows during a career that spanned nearly 50 years. Mr. McClory first big movie role was in John Ford’s "The Quiet Man," in which he played Owen Glynn. Mr. McClory appeared in a number of well-known films including "David and Bathsheba," "The Desert Fox," "What Price Glory," "Niagra," "Island in the Sky," "Them!," "The Gnome-Mobile" and John Huston’s "The Dead." Mr. McClory was a familiar face on American TV during the 1950s and 60s. His TV credits include "Perry Mason," "Gunsmoke," "Fantasy Island," "The Virginian," "Mannix," "The Outer Limits," "Rawhide," "Bonanza," "The Rifleman," "Wagon Train" and "Have Gun, Will Travel."
ANN PETERSON Died Dec. 11, 2003
Award winning Belgian actress Ann Peterson died at age 76. Ms. Peterson won several Best Actress awards for her final film "Pauline and Paulette." Ms. Anderson played the sister of a retarded woman who must either take care of her disabled relative or be disinherited. "Pauline and Paulette" is the film that brought Ms. Peterson to the attention of international audiences. She had a lengthy film career in her native Belgium.
KEIKO Died Dec. 13, 2003
The orca Kieko died of pneumonia at age 27 according to the whale’s keepers in Norway. Kieko played Willie in the "Free Willy" movie series. Money was raised to save Kieko when the whale was found to be ailing in the Mexico City aquarium in which he resided. Kieko was transported to Norway where he was being trained to survive in the wild.
DAVID PERLOV Died Dec. 13, 2003
Director/writer cinematographer David Perlov died at age 73. In 1999 Mr. Perlov was awarded the Israel Prize. The Israel Prize is that nation’s highest honor. It was the first time that a filmmaker had been awarded the prize. Mr. Perlov directed a number of films that examined the Jewish experience. His most famous film is "Diary." Mr. Perlov was a professor at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Film and Television, Katz Faculty of the Arts.
XIE TIAN Died Dec. 13, 2003
Award winning Chinese actor/director Xie Tain died at age 89. Mr. Tain acted in Chinese films dating back to the 1930s. As a director he won the Hundred Flowers Award for "Candied Enterprise" and the Golden Rooster Award for "Teahouse." Among his acting credits are "The Lin Family Shop," "Temptress Moon," "An Old Man and His Dog," "Match Maker" and "Street Angel."
ALEXIS KANNER Died Dec. 13, 2003
British actor/producer/director Alexis Kanner died at age 61. Mr. Kanner appeared in several episodes of the cult TV show "The Prisoner." He was rebellious prisoner Number 48. Mr. Kanner also wrote, produced, starred in and directed the films "Kings and Desperate Men: A Hostage Incident" and "Mahoney’s Estate." Other acting credits include "The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders," "Connecting Rooms," "Nightfall," "We Joined the Navy," "The Ernie Game" and "Goodbye Gemini."
ALBERT CARAVAL Died Dec. 13, 2003
Indie filmmaker and "Access Hollywood" production assistant Albert Caraval was beaten to death in Cuba. The 33 year-old filmmaker was in Havana where his film "Capicu" was entered in the Havana Film Festival. Mr. Caraval was mugged shortly after his arrival on December 8. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
JEANNE CRAIN Died Dec. 14, 2003
Oscar nominated actress Jeanne Crain died of a heart attack at age 78. While Ms. Crain appeared in a number of high profile films, I have a fondness for her because of a low-budget piece of trash called "Hot Rods to Hell." When I was 9 years old, I got to watch this lurid potboiler about a disabled guy who moves his family to the desert to run a motel. The local hoods try to scare the guy off because they think he’s going to clean up the make-out motel. The bad guys also put the moves on the family’s hot teenage daughter. Ms. Crain and Dana Andrews play the establishment couple battling a gang of souped-up and very horny juvenile delinquents. It is a horrible movie that is very enjoyable! Ms. Crain was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1948 for the film "Pinky." The film was quite controversial at the time. Ms. Crain played the title character, a light-skinned black woman passing for white. Ethel Barrymore and Ethel Waters co-starred. Other credits include "State Fair," "Cheaper by the Dozen," "A Letter to Three Wives," "Belles on Their Toes," the wonderful "Gift of the Magi" segment of "O. Henry’s Full House," "Duel in the Jungle," "Gentlemen Marry Brunettes," "Man Without a Star" and "The Fastest Gun Alive." Her final film was "Skyjacked" with Charlton Heston. Ms. Crain married actor Paul Brinkman in 1946. Despite a few rocky spots, they were one of those Hollywood couples who made it ‘til death do us part." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
JACK RAGOTZY Died Dec. 15, 2003
Jack Ragotzy, actor, director and founder of the famed Equity summer stock company The Barn Theater in Michigan died of a heart attack the day before his 82nd birthday. Mr. Ragotzy appeared in a number of films and TV shows during a long career, however, he is best known for his 57 consecutive years as the executive producer at The Barn Theater. A long list of notable actors broke into acting at Mr. Ragotzy’s theater. Others went their to hone their skills. Mr. Ragotzy’s film and TV credits include among others "Forever Young," "Memoirs of an Invisible Man," "Dragnet," "Get Smart," "The Virginian," "Hunter," and "China Beach."
ROBERT DRYDEN Died Dec. 16, 2003
Actor Robert Dryden put me to sleep for several years in the early 1970s. I became hooked on "The CBS Radio Theater" when I was in Jr. High. I was a faithful listener throughout its long run. Actor Robert Dryden did voice work in over 200 hundred episodes. Mr. Dryden was a natural for Himan Brown’s attempt to recreate the Golden Age of Radio as he was one of the more popular radio actors of the 1940s and 50s. His film credits include Sergio Leone’s "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," Sidney Lumet’s "Prince of the City," Milos Forman’s "Taking Off" and "Man on a Swing" with Cliff Robertson. Mr. Dryden died of Parkinson’s Disease at age 86.
MADLYN RHUE Died Dec. 16, 2003
Actress Madlyn Rhue died of pneumonia at age 68. Ms. Rhue battled multiple sclerosis during the last part of her life. Ms. Rhue was a familiar face on TV for nearly 30 years. She continued to work, most notably in "Murder She Wrote," from her wheelchair during the last part of her career. Though mainly a TV actress, Ms. Rhue appeared in the films "It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and the sexy Lt. Reid in "Operation Petticoat." Ms. Rhue’s had over 120 film and TV credits. Among her credits are "Have Gun, Will Travel," "Fame," "Days of Our Lives," "The Rebel," "Gunsmoke," "Perry Mason," "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," "The Untouchables," "I Spy," "Rawhide," "The Nurses," "The Fugitive" and "The Man From U.N.C.L.E."
JENIFER ESTESS Died Dec. 16, 2003
Theatrical producer Jenifer Estess died of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) at age 40. Ms. Estess was the founder of Naked Angels Theater Company. She was diagnosed with ALS in 1997 and began a campaign to raise money to fight the disease. She was the subject of a docudrama about her fight for life: "Jenifer." Laura San Giacomo portrayed Ms. Estess in the film. She received a ‘Special Thanks’ credit in the film "Chelsea Walls."
ALFRED LYNCH Died Dec. 16, 2003
Once seen, Sidney Lumet’s powerful film "The Hill" is hard to forget. Set during WWII, "The Hill" centers around the brutality of a British prison camp. The prisoners are British soldiers being disciplined by their own. Sean Connery co-stars with British actor Alfred Lynch. Alfred Lynch died of cancer at age 72. After a promising start in film during the 1960s, Mr. Lynch failed to breakthrough with international audiences. He spent the remainder of his career working on British TV, the stage and a few films. Lynch and Connery also co-starred in the comedy "Operation Snafu." Other credits include "55 Days in Peking," "Look Back in Anger," "The Password is Courage" and "The Krays." Mr. Lynch played the father of the true-life gangsters Ronald and Reginald Kray in the excellent crime drama.
ED DEVEREAUX Died Dec. 17, 2003
Australian actor Ed Devereaux died of renal failure at age 78. Mr. Devereaux starred in the still popular 1966 TV series "Skippy." His co-star was an Australian bush kangaroo! Mr. Devereaux appeared in nearly 70 films and TV shows. Among his credits are "Goldeneye: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming," "Edward and Mrs. Simpson," "To the Devil a Daughter," "The Death of Adolph Hitler," several of the "Carry On" films and "Absolutely Fabulous."
STEVE KAPLAN Died Dec. 14, 2003
Steve Kaplan, musical director for Merv Griffin’s TV series "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune" was killed in a small plane crash in California. Mr. Kaplan was 45.
ALAN TILVERN Died Dec. 17, 2003
British character actor Alan Tilvern died at age 85. Mr. Tilvern was an accomplished stage actor who also played a great variety of characters on film. He may be best known to American audiences as R.K. Maroon in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" Other notable films include "Captain Horatio Hornblower" with Gregory Peck and Christopher Lee, "Bhowani Junction" with Stewert Granger and Ava Gardner, "Khartoum" with Charlton Heston, Woody Allen’s hilarious "Love and Death," Ralph Bakshi’s animated version of "The Lord of the Rings," "Superman" with Christopher Reeve, "Firefox" with Clint Eastwood and the remake of "The Little Shop of Horrors."
CHRISTOPHER N. SEITER Died Dec. 17, 2003
Assistant director/production assistant/producer Christopher N. Seiter died of heart and lung problems at age 68. Mr. Seiter worked on a number of Disney films including "The Black Hole," "The North Avenue Irregulars," "Pete’s Dragon," "No Deposit, No Return," "The Shaggy D.A." and "The Cat From Outer Space." He was also an assistant director on the Oscar winning "Save the Tiger." Mr. Seiter’s producer credits include the TV series "Fame" and the Made for TV "Columbo" movies during the 1990s.
HENRY CUESTA Died Dec. 17, 2003
Musician Henry Cueata died a week short of his 72nd birthday. Mr. Cuesta was a virtuoso of the clarinet. He was one of the featured musicians for over ten years on "The Lawrence Welk Show." Mr. Cuesta also appeared on several "Lawrence Welk" specials on PBS. During his lengthy career Mr. Cuesta played all over the world. He performed at both of President Bill Clinton’s inaugurations.
MARY ANN JACKSON Died Dec. 17, 2003
Child actress Mary Ann Jackson died at age 80. Her death was not made public for nearly two years! Ms. Jackson played Mary Ann 32 of Hal Roach’s "Our Gang" comedy shorts. After 57 shorts and silent films, Ms. Jackson retired at the ripe old age of eight years old. She resurfaced in the 1950 film "Ma & Pa Kettle Go to Town." She also appeared in an episode of "The Andy Griffith Show." Ms. Jackson was the little sister of child actress Peaches Jackson and the daughter of actress silent film actress Charlotte Jackson.
CHARLES BERLITZ Died Dec. 18, 2003
World renowned linguist/novelist and all around smart person Charles Berlitz died at age 90. Mr. Berlitz spoke over 30 languages. His grandfather was the founder of the Berlitz School. A Mensa member, Charles Berlitz led a very remarkable life. He served his country in WWII, Korea and Vietnam! Mr. Berlitz had a deep interest in the paranormal. His books "The Bermuda Triangle" and "The Philadelphia Experiment" were both turned into films.
LES TREMAYNE Died Dec. 19, 2003
"War of the Worlds" star Les Tremayne died of heart failure at age 90. Les Tremayne played General Mann in the 1953 classic adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel. Mr. Tremayne appeared in a number of sci-fi and horror films during the 1950s and 60s. Mr. Tremayne was also a noted voice actor. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995. Among his credits are "Forbiddon Planet" (voice only), "Rodan" (narrator US version), "King Kong vs. Godzilla" (narrator US version), "The Monolith Monsters," "The Monster of Piedras Blancas," the original version of "The Angry Red Planet," "The Phantom Tollbooth" (voice only), "The Slime People," "Shazam," "Snakes" and "Attack of the B-Movie Monster." Among Mr. Tremayne’s non-genre credits are "The Story of Ruth," "The Shoes of the Fisherman," "The Fortune Cookie," "Goldfinger" (voice only), "It Grows on Trees" and "Francis Goes to West Point." Mr. Tremayne provided voices for "Johnny Quest," "The Smurfs," "Go-Bots," "Scooby Doo," "Mr. Magoo," "Rikki Tiki Tavi" and "Daffy Duck’s Fantastic Island."
HOPE LANGE Died Dec. 19, 2003
Oscar nominated actress Hope Lange died of an infection caused by ischemic colitis at age 72. Ms. Lange received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her work in the 1957 soaper "Peyton Place." My first memory of Hope Lange as from the TV series version of "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir." Ms. Lange won two Emmy Awards for her work on that show. Years later I saw the film version of "Peyton Place." It is one of the best adult dramas produced in the 1950s. Hope Lange had a natural beauty. She wasn’t in the same class as Grace Kelly. Rather she had a radiant girl-next-door look. More important, Hope Lange was an excellent actress. She had the range to play light comedy and heavy drama. She made her film debut in "Bus Stop" with Marilyn Monroe and first husband Don Murray. Director Alan J. Pakula was another ex-husband. She played the pre-war love interest of German soldier Marlon Brando in "The Young Lions." In "Wild in the Country" Ms. Lange played a psychiatrist with more than a passing interest in her troubled patient played by Elvis. Ms. Lange appeared in a number of excellent Made for TV movies during the early 1970s. She received an Emmy nomination for her role as Hal Holbrook’s wife in the groundbreaking movie about homosexuality "That Certain Summer." She is also quite good in the spooky "Crowhaven Farm." In 1974 Ms. Lange appeared in one of the most controversial films of the 70s: "Death Wish." She played Charles Bronson’s ill-fated wife. Her murder in that film lead to Bronson’s vigilante spree. David Lynch cast Ms. Lange as Laura Dern’s mother in "Blue Velvet." Other credits include "Just Cause" and "A Clear and Present Danger." Ms. Lange is the mother of actor Christopher Murray.
GEORGE ELLIOT JR. Died Dec. 20, 2003
US Army veteran George Elliot Jr. died from complications of a stroke at age 85. The WWII veteran was the radar operator who discovered the approaching Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Elliot and another soldier discovered the Japanese planes one hour before the attack commenced. Mr. Elliot’s warnings of the impending attack went unheeded and the rest is history. Mr. Elliot’s actions were depicted in the films "Tora, Tora, Tora" and "Pearl Harbor" among others.
JOSEPH HUBERT NEIL Died Dec. 20, 2003
Emmy nominated news camerman Joseph Neil died of emphysema at age 77. Mr. Neil worked for CBS for 20 years. He shot the groundbreaking news documentary "Harvest of Shame" for legendary newsman Edward R. Murrow. He also filmed the documentaries "D-Day Plus 20" and Rachel Carson’s "Silent Spring." Mr. Neil moved to NBC after his time with CBS. He was nominated for an Emmy for his work on the documentary "The Hidden Children." Other credits include "60 Minutes" and "CBS Reports."
SCOTT DESTEFANO Died Dec. 20, 2003
The actors and directors may get the glory, but without crew members such as gaffers and key grips, the picture wouldn’t get made. Emmy award winning key grip Scott Destefano died of a heart attack at age 57. Mr. Destefano won an Emmy for his work on the TV series "Home Improvement." Other credits include "Married with Children" and "Who’s the Boss." Mr. Destefano was also a teacher. He served his country in Vietnam where he was awarded a Purple Heart. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
DOROTHY BURR Died Dec. 21, 2003
Dancer Dorothy Burr at age 89. Ms. Burr and her late husband Howard Babin were the vaudeville dance team "Dot and Dash." They appeared in the 1935 film "Temptation." Ms. Burr was the mother of Mousekeer/actor/stuntman Lonnie Burr. Lonnie Burr was one of the original Mouseketeers and remained with the show for its entire run.
CHARLES R. GREAN Died Dec. 21, 2003
Composer Charles Grean died at age 90. Mr. Grean was involved in the music business for over 60 years. He worked with Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Nat King Cole and others. His first solo recording was "Quentin’s Theme" from the TV series "Dark Shadows." Mr. Grean composed the score for the documentary "Two Men of Karamoja."
CHARLES SHANNON Died Dec. 21, 2003
Writer/actor Charles Shannon died at age 44 after a suffering a stroke. Mr. Shannon played Lester the Pawn Shop Owner on the MTV TV series "Austin Stories." Other credits include "The Man Show, BattleBots," "ESPN’s Two Minute Drill." Mr. Shannon wrote for the TV series "Vibe" with his brother James. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
WAH CHANG Died Dec. 22, 2003
Wah Chang brought great joy and wonder into my life. Not bad considering I never met the man. From an early age, I have loved monster movies, sci-fi films. Anything to do with fantasy kept me enrapt. It still does. Animator Wah Chang died at age 86. Mr. Chang and his partners Gene Warren and Tim Barr created the Oscar winning special effects for the 1960 version of H.G. Wells’ "The Time Machine." Due to the way the credits were submitted to the Academy, Mr. Chang was overlooked at Oscar time while his partners took home the gold. Mr. Chang should have been honored also. Mr. Chang was an extraordinary artist. Mr. Chang designed creatures for a number of films. Jim Danforth brought his dragon to life in the superb "The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao" starring Tony Randall. Mr. Chang added the magic to "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm." Mr. Chang did the wonderful miniature work on the Jules Verne fantasy "Master of the World," which starred Vincent Price and Charles Bronson. Even though it may not hold up well with adult audiences, Mr. Chang’s "Dinosaurus" delighted many kids including myself in the early 1960s. Mr. Chang also designed the dinosaurs for the Saturday morning sci-fi series "Land of the Lost." He also created special effects for the 1968 Michael Rennie vehicle "The Power." Other credits include "Tom Thumb," "Cat Women of the Moon," "The Mephisto Waltz," "Journey to the Seventh Planet," "Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women" and "The Three Bears." Mr. Chang was also an accomplished costume designer. He designed costume for "The King and I," "Can-Can" and Elizabeth Taylor’s headdress in "Cleopatra." Mr. Chang directed the animated film "Magic Pony." Mr. Chang was a sculptor. He sculpted posable models used by the animators on "Bambi" and "Pinocchio." HE also created creatures for the TV series "Star Trek" and "The Outer Limits." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
DAVE DUDLEY Died Dec. 22, 2003
Country and Western singer Dave Dudley is believed to have died of a heart attack. Mr. Dudley was 75. Dave Dudley was best known for his anthem to the men and women who move goods across our great land with 18 wheels. "Six Days on the Road" became Dusley’s biggest hit in 1963. It wasn’t all he did. Mr. Dudley recorded more than 70 albums! Mr. Dudley and Tom T. Hall composed the soundtrack for the funny Alan Arkin film "Deadhead Miles." The reclusive Terrence Malick wrote the film along with director/producer Vernon Zimmerman.
PATRICK ‘PADDY’ CREAN Died Dec. 22, 2003
Combat choreographer/actor/stuntman Paddy Crean died at age 93. Mr. Crean was a fencing master who was Errol Flynn’s double in a number of films. Mr. Crean was the longtime fight coreographer at the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario. Mr. Crean’s film credits include "The Master of Ballentree," "The Sword of Sherwood Forest," "The Legends of Don Juan," "Head On," the 1968 TV version of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," "The Naked Maja," "Seven Hills of Rome," "A Farewell to Arms" and the 1956 version of "War and Peace."
ROSE HILL Died Dec. 22, 2003
British actress Rose Hill died at age 89. Ms. Hill played Madame Fanny La Fan in the Brit WWII TV comedy "‘Allo ‘Allo." Ms. Hill appeared on stage in London and Broadway in "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby." The nine-hour performance was aired as a mini-series in 1982. Ms. Hill’s film credits include "A Shot in the Dark" with Peter Sellers, "The Bank Raiders," the lurid sexploitation film "The House of Whipcord" and Marty Feldman’s "Every House Should Have One." Ms. Hill also appeared in an episode of "Steptoe and Son," the British TV series that inspired the US series "Sanford and Son."
RICCARDO BERTONI Died Dec. 22, 2003
Casting director Roberto Bertoni died of cancer at age 70. Mr. Bertoni’s agency cast extras for over 150 films. He also appeared in a number of Woody Allan films.
GEORGE PENTECOST Died Dec. 23, 2003
Actor George Pentecost died at age 64 from an unspecified illness. Mr. Pentecost was best know to soap opera fans for his recurring role on "Another World" as the loan shark Tony the Tuna. Mr. Pentecost appeared on a number of popular TV shows during the 1970s and 80s including "Happy Days," "Mork and Mindy," "Starsky and Hutch" and "The Rockford Files." Mr. Pentecost also appeared in the excellent Watergate film "All the President’s Men." Mr. Pentecost also had a successful stage career including the Broadway production of "The Show Off" opposite Helen Hayes.
GUY HUDSON Died Dec. 24, 2003
Visual effects whiz Guy Hudson died of a brain hemorrhage at age 45. Mr. Hudson shared a nomination for a VES Award by the Visual Effects Society for Best Visual Effects in a TV Series for his work on "Dinotopia." Mr. Hudson helped bring the impossible to life in many of the most popular films of all time. He was a special effects technician on Ridley Scott’s "Alien" and Wolfgang Peterson’s "The Never Ending Story." He was also an effects technician on "The Empire Strikes Back." When George Lucas decided to release special editions of the first "Star Wars" trilogy, Mr. Hudson did computer graphics work on the first film of the series. He was an animatronics operator on David Cronenberg’s twisted "Naked Lunch." Mr. Hudson also made contributions to "Enemy Mine" and "Twister." Mr. Hudson was working on the upcoming "Harry Potter" movie when he died.
NOEL TOY Died Dec. 24, 2003
Chinese-American strip tease artist Noel Toy died of a stroke at age 84. Ms. Toy was known as the "Chinese Sally Rand." She worked at the San Francisco nightclub "The Forbidden City." Ms. Toy’s film and TV credits include "The Left Hand of God," "Soldier of Fortune," "Big Trouble in Little China," "Anne of the Andes" and the TV series "M*A*S*H" and "Family Affair." She appeared as herself in the documentary "Forbidden City USA."
FRANCIS THOMPSON Died Dec. 26, 2003
Oscar winning documentary filmmaker Francis Thompson died of pneumonia at age 95. Mr. Thompson was nominated for two Oscars for his short subjects "To Be Alive!" and "City Out of Wilderness" He won for "To Be Alive!," a film about children in Africa. "To Be Alive!" was a three screen film. Thompson’s process was one of the inspirations for the IMAX film process. Mr. Thompson also directed the documentary "N.Y. N.Y." Mr. Thompson spent his last years as a painter.
DICK ST. JOHN Died Dec. 27, 2003
Singer Dick St. John died of injuries sustained in a fall from a ladder. Mr. St. John was 63. Mr. St. John along with friend Mary Sperling, was half of the 1960s pop singing due Dick and Dee Dee. The pair scored a number of Top 25 hits, most notably with "The Mountain’s High." The pair were semi regulars on "Dick Clark’s American Bandstand." They also performed two numbers in the 1966 film "Wild, Wild Winter." The pair also toured with The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys. When Mary Sperling retired, Mr. St. John’s wife Sandy became the new Dee Dee.
YING RUOCHENG Died Dec. 27, 2003
Chinese actor Ying Ruocheng died at age 74 of liver disease. Mr. Ruocheng co-starred with Keanu Reeves in Bernardo Bertolucci’s "Little Buddha." He played the Lama Norbu. Mr. Ruocheng had previously acted with director Bertolucci in the Oscar winning "The Last Emperor." At the time "Emperor" was filmed, Mr. Ruocheng was China’s Vice Minister of Culture. He played the Governor of the detention center in which Emperor Pu Yi (John Lone) was detained. Other credits include the mini series "Marco Polo," in which he played Kublai Khan. Mr. Ruocheng worked toward bringing Western culture to China in the form of joint projects. He also was a well-known stage actor, fluent in English who introduced Chinese audiences to William Shakespeare and Arthur Miller. Mr. Ruocheng’s son is Ying Da, a well-known director who introduced the sit-com to Chinese TV.
ALAN BATES Died Dec. 27, 2003
"The King of Hearts" was one of the first films to attain Cult Classic status. The movie didn’t touch everyone, but those it did saw it over and over again. Philippe De Broca’s anti war film, set in WWI became a hit with college aged moviegoers during the Vietnam era. I discovered the movie in the early 70s. Much to the annoyance of my friends and family, I tried to spread the word about the movie like some fervent evangelist. Alan Bates played Pvt. Charles Plumpick. Plumpick was sent into a French town to recon the Germans. He is chased into an insane asylum by the Krauts. When questioned as to his identity he replies "I’m the King of Hearts." Plumpick then finds himself being worshipped by the other inmates, all the while, he tries to get word to his troops of an impending trap. It is a wonderful film that still holds up today.
The King is Dead, Long Live the King. British actor Alan Bates died of liver cancer at age 69. Alan Bates was nominated for an Oscar as Best Actor for the 1968 film "The Fixer." He was nominated for six BAFTAs, winning the Best Actor TV Award for "An Englishman Abroad." Mr. Bates won two Tony awards, the first in 1972 in the play "Butley" and the second for his role in the
2002 production of "Fortune’s Fool." Though he appeared in a number of great films, Mr. Bates may be best remembered for his work in Ken Russell’s modern classic "Women in Love."
Among Mr. Bates more than 80 memorable film and TV credits are "The Entertainer" with Laurence Olivier, "Whistle Down the Wind" with Hayley Mills, "Georgy Girl" with Lynn Redgrave," "Zorba the Greek" with Anthony Quinn, "Far From the Madding Crowd" with Julie Christie and Terrence Stamp, "The Rose," with Bette Midler, "Mr. Frost" with Jeff Goldblum, "An Unmmarried Woman" with Jill Clayburgh, "The Mothman Prophecies," Robert Altman’s "Gosford Park" and "The Sum of All Fears."
Mr. Bates was Knighted at the first of this year. He was preceded in death by his 19 year-old-son in 1990 and two years later by his wife. May they have a happy reunion beyond. Prayers of comfort for those left behind.
ROBERT ENRIETTO Died Dec. 27, 2003
Producer/assistant director/set director Robert Enrietto died of a heart attack at age 62. Mr. Enrietto was second unit director on a couple of my personal favorites: Hal Ashby’s cult classic "Harold and Maude" and Brian DePalma’s "Phantom of the Paradise." Other second unit credits include the plane sequences in "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and the late Jaques DeRay’s twisted thriller "The Outside Man." Mr. Enrietto produced the mini series "Backstairs at the White House." Other credits include second unit direction on the TV series "Hawaii 5-0," "Little House on the Prairie" and "In the Heat of the Night." He was production manager on the series "Remington Steele." Mr. Enrietto did set design and art direction on several low budget films in the 1960s including "She Devils on Wheels" and "The Girl, the Body and the Pill." Mr. Enrietto was on the faculty of Columbia College in Chicago. Mr. Enrietto set up the Semester in LA program to allow Columbia students to get first hand experience in the film industry such as attending the Bill Duke director’s workshop. Stuart Gordon and Arther Hiller were other directors who worked with Mr. Enrietto’s students. Mr. Enrietto began the program in 1999.
LYNN F. REYNOLDS Died Dec. 28, 2003
Emmy-nominated makeup artist Lynn F. Reynolds died at home at age 86. Mr. Reynolds was nominated along with Michael Westmore and Hank Edds for his work on the TV film "The Amazing Howard Hughes." The trio transformed Tommy Lee Jones from a young man into the Gollum looking creature that Mr. Hughes resembled during his last years. Mr. Reynolds film and TV credits include "It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," "Around the World in 80 Days," "Time After Time," "WUSA," "The Seven Minutes," "Kid Galahad," "The Little House on the Prairie," "Gunsmoke" and "The Wild, Wild West." Mr. Reynolds served his country in the
Pacific during WWII.
HELEN KLEEB Died Dec. 28, 2003
Actress Helen Kleeb may be best known for her portrayal of Mamie Baldwin on the long-running TV series "The Waltons." Helen Kleeb passed away just short of her 97th birthday. Ms. Kleeb appeared in over 100 films and TV episodes during a career that spanned nearly 50 years. She appeared in several of my favorite films. She was Fredric March’s secretary in the original, and superior version of "The Desperate Hours." She also appeared in the Gary Cooper classic "Friendly Persuasion." She turned in a memorable cameo as one of the tea party ladies during the hallucination scenes in the classic "The Manchurian Candidate." Other memorable films from the early 1960s include "The Young Savages," "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte," "Seven Days in May" and "The Fortune Cookie." Other credits include "Fitzwilly" with Dick Van Dyke, Blake Edward’s "The Party" with Peter Sellers, the TV movie "Eleanor and Franklin" and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." Ms. Kleeb appeared on just about every TV series there was during the 1950s through the 70s. A few of her TV credits include "Perry Mason," "Gunsmoke," "Dragnet," "Dennis the Menace," "Barnaby Jones," "Green Acres" and, well the list goes on! No matter what, Ms. Kleeb is fondly remembered by millions for her work on "The Waltons." TV sure has changed!
HAROLD GAST Died Dec. 29, 2003
Emmy-nominated producer/writer Harold Gast died of pneumonia at age 85. Mr. Gast was nominated for an Emmy in 1969 for his producing the excellent TV series "Judd for the Defense," which starred Carl Betz. Mr. Gast produced a number of TV series and Made for TV movies, most notably "Guilty or Innocent: The Sam Sheppard Murder Case" starring George Peppard and "The Jessie Owens Story" with Dorian Harwood in the title role. Mr. Gast was also a successful screenwriter. He wrote the TV mini-series version of "From Here to Eternity" and the Emmy winning "A Woman Called Golda," which starred Ingrid Bergman in a rare TV performance as Golda Meir.
BOB MONKHOUSE Died Dec. 29, 2003
Beloved British comedian Bob Monkhouse died after a long battle with cancer. He was 75. Mr. Monkhouse was best known in England, however he did have an influence on this side of the pond. Mr. Monkhouse was an actor and writer. He wrote material for Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis. In 1995 he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Comedy Awards. Mr. Monkhouse’s film credits as an actor include "The Bliss of Miss Blossom" with Shirley MacLaine and Richard Attenborough, "A Weekend with Lulu," "Carry On Sergeant" and "Dentist in the Chair." Mr. Monkhouse provided the voice for Space Navigator Brad in the classic TV series "Thunderbirds are Go." Mr. Monkhouse was best known in England for the many TV game shows he hosted.
EARL HINDMAN Died Dec. 29, 2003
Actor Earl Hindman died of lung cancer at age 61. Mr. Hindman played Wilson, Tim Allen’s little seen neighbor on the hit TV series "Home Improvement." Mr. Hindman’s face was well known to fans of the soap opera "Ryan’s Hope." He played Detective Bob Reid for 16 years. I first noticed Mr. Hindman in Alan J. Pakula’s classic thriller "The Parallax View." Mr. Hindman played Red, the homicidal and incredibly stupid deputy that Warren Beatty tangles with in the backwoods of Idaho. Referring to Hindman’s character, another character says "The boy is so dumb that if you move his plate six inches he’d starve to death." Hindman and Beatty take part in one of the great bar fights in movie history. His other film credits include the under rated "Who Killed Mary What’s Her Name?," the original "The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three," William Friedkin’s overlooked "The Brink’s Job," the TV series "Key West," Lawrence Kasden’s excellent "Silverado," "Taps" with George C. Scott and Timothy Hutton, "Three Men and a Baby," Oliver Stone’s "Talk Radio," "Greased Lightning" with Richard Pryor and the great Made for TV movie "Pueblo" about the capture of the USS Pueblo by the North Koreans during the Vietnam era.
ANITA MUI Died Dec. 29, 2003
Chinesse pop superstar/diva/actress Anita Mui died of cervical cancer at age 40. Ms. Mui burst onto the Hong Kong music scene in the early 80s. Her sexy/tomboy personal resulted in her being called "The Madonna of Hong Kong." Ms. Mui moved into acting and had simultaneous success in both film and recording. She appeared in nearly 50 films during her short career. She won two Best Supporting Actress, one Best Actress and two Best Song Awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Ms. Mui’s film credits include "Rumble in the Bronx" with Jackie Chan, "Jet Li’s The Enforcer," "Who’s the Man, Who’s the Woman," "A Better Tomorrow III," "Legend of the Drunken Master" and "The Last Princess of Manchuria." Ms. Mui announced her medical condition in September. Prayers of comfort for her family and many fans.
DINSDALE LANDEN Died Dec. 29, 2003
British comedic actor Dinsdale Landen died at age 71. Mr. Landen had a long, successful career in the British theater. He was best known for his work in light comedies and farces. Mr. Landen also had a lengthy career in film and TV. Among his film credits are "The Valiant" with John Mills, "Rasputin : The Mad Monk" with Christopher Lee, the exciting WWII film "Mosquito Squadron," Richard Attenborough’s Winston Churchill biopic "Young Winston" with Simon Ward, the truly terrible "Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World," "International Velvet" and "Morons from Outer Space."
GERALD GUTIERREZ Died Dec. 29, 2003
Director Gerald Gutierrez died of respiratory failure due to the flu. He was 53. Mr. Gutierrez was primarily a theater director. He was nominated for three Tony Awards, winning twice for "A Delicate Balance" and "The Heiress." Mr. Gutierrez directed several TV films. His credits include David Mamet’s "A Life in the Theater," "Kiss-Kiss Dahlings!" with Blythe Danner and "Hyde in Hollywood."
DOROTHY KONRAD Died Dec. 29, 2003
TV and film character actress Dorothy Konrad died of diabetes at age 91. Ms. Konrad recreated her stage role as Mrs. Maribelle Norris in the film version of "Sweet Bird of Youth," which starred Paul Newman. Ms. Konrad’s other film credits include the Warren Oates drive-in classic "Dixie Dynamite" and "Futureworld" with Peter Fonda. Ms. Konrad was a familiar face to TV audiences in the 1960s and viewers of TV Land today. Her TV credits include "Mayberry RFD," "The Lucy Show," "Gidget," "Ben Casey," "The Monkees," "Bonanza," "My Three Sons" and others. Ms. Konrad was a friend of Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance. She was first a student and then a teacher at the Goodman Theater in Chicago.
I.M. HOBSON Died Dec. 29, 2003
Actor I.M. Hobson was killed in an automobile accident in Wyoming. His age is unknown. Mr. Hobson had successful careers on both stage and screen. His film credits include the Coen Brothers’ "Barton Fink" and "The Hudsucker Proxy." He played on of the hopeful actors in Bob Fosse’s "All That Jazz." Other film credits include Francis Ford Coppola’s "Bram Stoker’s Dracula," "Annie," "Heart of Dixie" with Bridget Fonda, "Amos and Andrew" and "Cabin Boy." Among his many stage credits was the original Broadway run of "Amadeus."
JOHNNY SANDS JR. Died Dec. 30, 2003
Actor Johnny Sands Jr. died at age 75 in Hawaii. Mr. Sands appeared in nearly 20 films and TV shows between 1946 and 1966. Discouraged by the Hollywood lifestyle, Mr. Sands moved to Hawaii to devote himself to his family. He worked as a real estate agent after giving up acting. Mr. Sands played Shirley Temple’s boyfriend in "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer." He played the title role in "Aladdin and His Lamp." He also appeared in Orson Welles’ "The Stranger," "Sabre Jet," "Massacre River" and "The Admiral was a Lady."
JOHN GREGORY DUNNE Died Dec. 30, 2003
Writer John Gregory Dunne died at age 71 as he was sitting down to dinner with wife and long time screenwriting partner Joan Didon. Mr. Dunne was the brother of Dominick Dunne and the uncle of actors Griffin and the late Dominique Dunne. Mr. Dunne wrote a number of novels, no-fiction books and screenplays. "The Studio" is one of the best books ever written concerning the inner workings of a movie studio. Dunne was given full access by Richard Zanuck to observe life at 20th Century Fox. His book "Monster: Living Off the Big Screen" examined working in Tinseltown. Mr. Dunne wrote several top-notch screenplays. "Panic in Needle Park" was a tour of hell through the eyes of a pair of heroin addicts. Al Pacino and Kitty Winn starred in the brutal film. Mr. Dunne and wife Joan Didon adapted Ms. Didon’s novel "Play it as it Lays" to the screen. Tuesday Weld starred in that 1970s journey through the fringe of Hollywood. Didon and Dunne also adapted "A Star is Born" for the Barbra Streisand version of the film. Mr. Dunne wrote the novel "True Confessions" as an expose of the Catholic Church by way of a detective novel. "True Confessions" used elements of the unsolved Black Dahlia murder case. Robert DeNiro and Robert Duvall starred in the film version. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
PATRICIA ROC Died Dec. 30, 2003
British actress Patricia Roc died of kidney failure at age 88. Ms. Roc enjoyed a brief career in film before she retired after turning 40. Ms. Roc was one of the most popular actresses in British film after WWII. She only made one film in America, "Canyon Passage" with Ronald Reagan. Ms. Roc began her film career in the late 1930s working for Alexander Korda. Later, she received better roles and became one of England’s most popular leading ladies. Her film credits include "The Wicked Lady," "The Man on the Eiffel Tower," " Circle of Danger," "The Perfect Woman" and "Cartouche." Ms. Roc appeared on the first episode of the TV series "The Saint" with Roger Moore.
SOPHIE DAUMIER Died Dec. 31, 2003
French actress Sophie Daumier died at age 67. Ms. Daumier had suffered from Huntington’s Disease since the late 1970s. The beautiful blond actress appeared in a number of films between the late 1950s and mid 1970s. Her film credits include the starring role in the Roman Polanski scripted "A Taste for Women." The film is a comedy about cannibalism! She co-starred with Jean Paul Belmondo in Jacques Deray’s "Crime On a Summer Morning." She and former husband Guy Bedos co-starred in several films including "Thumbs Up," which they co-wrote. She and Mr. Bedos also recorded albums together. She also appeared in Claude Sautet’s "A Simple Story."
PAULA RAYMOND Died Dec. 31, 2003
Actress Paula Raymond died at age 79. Ms. Raymond played the female lead in my all-time favorite ‘Monster Movie.’ Ms. Raymond co-starred with Ken Tobey, Paul Hubschmid (aka Paul Christian) and Cecil Kellaway in "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms." "Beast" was Ray Harryhausen’s breakthrough film. Ms. Raymond played the protégé of paleontologist Cecil Kellaway in the film based on the Ray Bradbury short story "The Fog Horn." Ms. Raymond has a successful career in both film and TV. She was a familiar face on the small screen during the 1950s. She appeared in a number of TV series, especially in TV Westerns. He TV credits include "Perry Mason," "Maverick," "Have Gun-Will Travel," "Bat Masterson," "Peter Gunn," the Lee Marvin cop series "M Squad" and "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." Ms. Raymond’s film credits include "Adam’s Rib," "East Side, West Side," "The Human Jungle" and "Dracula’s Castle." Ms. Raymond underwent a number of tragedies in her life including a near-fatal car accident, which severed her nose, years of reconstructive surgery, and the death of her daughter. Ms. Raymond was hired for the soap opera "The Days of Our Lives" in 1977. Again tragedy struck as she broke her leg in a fall and had to leave the show.
PETER DONEN Died Dec. 31, 2003
Visual effects supervisor Peter Donen died of a heart attack at age 50. Mr. Donen’s film credits include "Ladyhawke," "Space Balls," "Child’s Play," "Flatliners," "The Quick and the Dead," "LA Confidential," "The Horse Whisperer," "U-571" and the theatrical version "The Bourne Identity." Mr. Donen started in the industry designing titles. He is the son of "Singin’ in the Rain" director Stanley Donen.
ROBERT SELIG Died Dec. 31, 2003
Motion picture distributor Robert Selig died from complications from a fall at age 93. Mr. Selig was one of the creators of the ShoWest film convention in Las Vegas. The convention was originally held in San Diego, but moved to Las Vegas. ShoWest became one of the main conduits between the movie studios and theater owners. Studios would preview their films and the theater owners would bid on the rights to show them. The convention became one of the biggest business conventions of its type attracting theater owners from around the globe.