JULIE PARRISH Died Oct. 1, 2003
Actress Julie Parrish died of ovarian cancer just short of her 63rd birthday. Ms. Parrish appeared in several feature films and nearly 100 TV episodes. Ms. Parrish’s feature films include the Jerry Lewis version of "The Nutty Professor," "Fireball 500" with Frankie Avalon, "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" with Elvis, "The Devil and Max Devlin" and "The Doberman Gang." Ms. Parrish appeared on numerous TVs show from the 1960s through the 90s including "Star Trek" and a recurring role on "Beverly Hills 90210." Ms. Parrash co-starred in the 1967 comedy TV series "Good Morning World" about life in a radio station.
JOY NEWTON HOUCK JR. Died Oct. 1, 2003
B-movie writer/director/producer and actor Joy N. Houck Jr. died of heart failure at home at age 61. Mr. Houck wrote and directed a number of B-Movies during the 70s and 80s. His Bigfoot movie "Creature From Black Lake" has a cult following. The movie starred Jack Elam, Dub Taylor and John David Carson. Mr. Houck began in horror films during the 1960s, writing, directing and producing "Night of Bloody Horror" and "Women and Bloody Terror." A young actor named Gerald McRaney starred in both. They were his first films! Mr. Houck’s acting credits include "The Shepard of the Hills," Clint Eastwood’s "Tight Rope," "The Big Easy" and the excellent HBO film "Doublecrossed" with Dennis Hopper. I haven’t seen the movie since I was a teenager, but I remember enjoying Charles B. Pierce’s redneck gangster drive-in hit "Bootleggers." Mr. Houck played Bobby Joe Woodall. If I remember correctly, he has some inbred relatives named Big-Un Woodall, Sally Fannie Woodall and Rufus Woodall. Those were the days for fun trashy movies.
DALE OLIVER Died Oct. 2, 2003
Long time Disney animator Dale Oliver died of an aneurysm at age 84. Mr. Oliver was a commercial illustrator who worked for Disney for over 30 years. His film credits include "The Fox and the Hound," "Peter Pan," "Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too," "The Rescuers Down Under," "Sleeping Beauty," "101 Dalmatians" and "Robin Hood." Mr. Oliver served his country as a Glider pilot in Europe in the US Army Air Corp during WWII. To view Mr. Oliver’s sketches from WWII CLICK HERE. After retiring from Disney, Mr. Oliver turned to sculpting among other things. You can see his doll of actor Iron Eyes Cody by HERE.
THEODORE BAKER Died Oct. 2, 2003
Actor/choreographer/director/stage manager Theodore Baker died on October 2, 2003. Mr. Baker began as a singer and dancer on stage in New York. He worked for NBC for many years. He was the stage manager on "Days of Our Lives" for 20 years. Other credits include "Laugh In," "The Dean Martin Show" and "The Mac Davis Show."
WILLIAM STEIG Died Oct. 3, 2003
Children’s author and illustrator William Steig had died at age 95. Mr. Steig wrote the book "Shrek!," which was turned into an Oscar winning film by Pixar. Mr. Steig won the Caldecott medal for his book "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble." Mr. Steig was a famed cartoonist for the New Yorker. The New Yorker began publishing Mr. Steig’s cartoons in 1930! Mr. Steig began writing childrens books at the age of 60! It’s never to late to chase a dream! The short cartoons "Pete’s Pizza" and "Doctor DeSoto" were also based on Mr. Steig’s books.
GUNTHER PHILIPP Died Oct. 3, 2003
German comedic actor Gunther Philipp died at age 85. Mr. Philipp became a doctor in 1943, and practiced medicine after WWII. He turned to acting part time and made his film debut in 1949. Mr. Philipp appeared in over 150 films. He also wrote 22 screenplays. A renaissance man, Mr. Philipp was also a successful race car driver, competitive swimmer and author. Mr. Philipp continued acting on TV and stage almost to the time of his death.
FLORENCE STANLEY Died Oct. 3, 2003
Actress Florence Stanley died of a stroke at age 79. Ms. Stanley worked primarily on stage but she was no stranger to TV and film audiences. She was a regular on the TV series "Barney Miller" and its spin off "Fish." She played the wife of Abe Vigoda’s character Det. Fish. Her film credits include "Bulworth," "Up the Down Staircase," "The Day of the Dolphin," "The Fortune" and "Outrageous Fortune." Ms. Stanley was also a regular on the TV series "Dark Shadows" and "My Two Dads." Ms. Stanley was known for her gravelly voice. She was in high demand for voice work. She voiced characters in a number of animated films and TV shows including "Dinosaurs," "House of Mouse," "Family Guy," "A Goofy Movie," "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" and "Atlantis: Milo’s Return."
ROBERT CANTON Died Oct. 3, 2003
Writer/director Robert Canton died of heart disease at age 65. Mr. Canton made the 1961 documentary "Quetzacoatl" about the muralist Orozco. He also wrote and directed the sexploitation film "Orgy Girls ‘69" with Allan Garfield. He and Mr. Garfield re-teamed for "The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful."
DENIS QUILLEY Died Oct. 5, 2003
British stage and film actor Denis Quilley died of cancer at age 75. Though Mr. Quilley was renowned for his stage work in England, he did appear in numerous films and TV shows during his lengthy career. Mr. Quilley won a SWET Award for his 1980 stage performance in "Sweeney Todd." The SWET Award is a London Theater award comparable to the American Tony. Mr. Quilley’s film and TV credits include "Anne of a Thousand Days" with Richard Burton and Genevieve Bujold, "Murder on the Orient Express," "Evil Under the Sun," "A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia," "King David," the TV version of "Cleopatra" and "The Black Windmill."
WALLY GEORGE Died Oct. 5, 2003
Right wing talk show host Wally George died of pneumonia at age 71. Mr. George was cut from the same cloth as Morton Downey Jr. His extreme TV show involved inviting guest with opposing views and then insulting and abusing him. I can only describe his show as a cross between the WWE and Jerry Springer. Wally George’s TV show was brutal and often bogus as Mr. George had actors appear as make believe guests. Mr. George was the biological father of actress Rebecca DeMornay but was not a part of her life. In addition to Mr. George’s TV show he appeared as himself in such movies as "Club Fed," "Repossessed" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child."
PETER MILLER Died Oct. 7, 2003
Actor Peter Miller died of cancer at age 73. Mr. Miller appeared in a number of famous films from the 1950s. He may be best known for his co-starring role as Cholly in Robert Altman’s directorial debut "The Delinquents." Mr. Miller co-starred with "Billy Jack" star Tom Laughlin in Altman’s tale of troubled teenagers. Other film credits include "Rebel Without a Cause," "The Blackboard Jungle," "Forbidden Planet" and the Jimmy Stewart Depression era crime comedy "Fool’s Parade." Mr. Miller also appeared on a number of TV shows during the 1950s.
HENRY HERBERT, the 17TH EARL OF PEMBROKE and 14TH EARL OF MONTGOMERY Died Oct. 7, 2003
Director/producer and British Earl Henry Herbert died at age 64. Mr. Herbert’s most famous film was the soft-core sex film "Emily" which starred Royal family plaything Koo Stark. His documentary "What Color is the Wind?," which dealt with blind children won an award at the Chicago International Film Festival. Other credits include "Lucia," "The Heroes of Telemark," "Forbidden Passion: Oscar Wilde" and "Malachi’s Cove."
RUTH HALL Died Oct. 9, 2003
Actress Ruth Hall died at age 92. Ms. Hall appeared in over 30 films during her career, which spanned the 1930s through the 1950s. She appeared in the Marx Brother’s comedy "Monkey Business." Other credits include "Her Majesty Love" with W.C. Fields and "Ride Him, Cowboy" with John Wayne. She married Oscar winning cinematographer Lee Garmes.
MARTIN JOHNSON Died Oct. 9, 2003
British production designer Martin Johnson died at age 64. Mr. Johnson began his career with the BBC working on the TV shows "Dr. Who" and "Steptoe and Son" among others. His lengthy film career includes the films "Hidden Agenda," "Black Jack," "The Navigators" and "Sweet Sixteen."
MERVYN BLAKE Died Oct. 9, 2003
Award winning actor Mervyn Blake died at age 95 after a long illness. The actor started his career on the London stage but moved to Canada in the 1950s and remained there. He appeared at the Stratford Festival in Canada for 42 consecutive seasons! Mr. Blake’s film and credits include "Seeing Things," "The Black Tulip" and "The Boys from Syracuse." Mr. Blake served in the British Army during WWII and was present for the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen death camp.
MATT ROE Died Oct. 9, 2003
Writer/actor Matt Roe died of multiple myeloma at age 51. Mr. Roe appeared in nearly 40 films and TV shows. He also wrote three scripts, which were produced. Mr. Roe’s acting credits include "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult," "Child’s Play 2," "Puppet Master," "My Blue Heaven," "Judging Amy," "Lois and Clark" and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." Mr. Roe wrote "The Minion" which starred Dolph Lundgren.
HAMILTON BENZ Died Oct. 10, 2003
Actor/writer Hamilton Benz died at age 93. Mr. Benz wrote dramas for TV during the 1940s and 50s. His credits include "The Gentle Rain," "The Straight and the Narrow," "Armstrong Circle Theater," "The Lux Video Theater" and "Addio Mimi!" Mr. Benz worked principally on stage but he did appear in the film "The House on 92nd Street."
VICTORIA HORNE OAKEY Died Oct. 10, 2003
Actress Victoria Horne, the widow of actor Jackie Oakey died at age 91. Mrs. Oakey acted under the name Victoria Horne. She retired from film two years after she married Jackie Oakey. Ms. Horne appeared in over 40 films. She was memorable as the evil sister-in-law in "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir." Other credits include "Harvey" with Jimmy Stewart, "Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff" and the serial "Secret Agent X-9." Other credits include "The Snake Pit," "Forever Amber" and "The Scarlet Claw." Her late husband was a silent film star who made a successful transition to the talkies. He is best known for his performance as Napaloni, the dictator of Bacteria in Charlie Chaplin’s "The Great Dictator." Mr. Oakey received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for the film.
JULIA TREVELYAN OMAN Died Oct. 10, 2003
Production designer Julia Trevelyan Oman died of cancer at age 73. Ms. Oman worked mainly as a theater designer in England, but she did work on a number of films. Ms. Oman’s credits include Sam Peckinpah’s controversial "Straw Dogs," Tony Richardson’s "The Charge of the Light Brigade," the 1970 version of "Julius Caesar" and the TV series "The Forsyte Saga." Ms. Oman also illustrated several books.
TOMMY KELLY Died Oct. 10, 2003
Former child actor turned teacher Tommy Kelly died at age 78. Mr. Kelly made his film debut as the title character in the 1938 film "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." That same year he played the title character in "Peck's Bad Boy at the Circus." He appeared in a total of 19 films betwwen 1938 and 1950. He retired and made a career as a school teacher. His other film credits include "Gone With the Wind," "Life Begins for Andy Hardy," Battleground" and "The West Point Story."
MICHAEL HEGSTRAND Died Oct. 11, 2003
Mike Hegstrand aka Road Warrior Hawk has died at age 46 of undisclosed causes. He, along with Joe Laurinatis (Road Warrior Animal) formed one of the most popular tag teams in wrestling history. The pair took their look from the Mel Gibson hit film "The Road Warrior." The Hawk appeared with his partner in almost 50 wrestling TV series and videos. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
DONALD MACKECHNIE Died Oct. 11, 2002
Actor/stage director and drama coach Donald MacKechnie died of AIDS related illness at age 65. Mr. MacKechnie was a longtime playwright and stage director. He acted in the film "Fat Man and Little Boy" and the TV series "Tales From the Darkside" and "Hotel." He was the staff director of the National Theater at the Old Vic in England. He directed many of the greatest actors in British history including Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and John Gielgud.
RAM GOPAL Died Oct. 12, 2003
Indian dancer Ram Gopal has died. His exact age is unknown but he is believed to have been in his 80s or 90s. Mr. Gopal was discovered in the 1930s and brought to America. He exposed Western audiences to traditional Indian dance. Mr. Gopal’s film credits include appearances in "The Purple Plain" and "The Blue Peter." He was the choreographer on the Elisabeth Taylor film "Elephant Walk."
WILLIAM BRICKELL Died Oct. 13, 2003
Stuntman Butch Brickell died of undisclosed causes at age 46 in Miami. Mr. Brickell was a racing enthusiast who drove very fast and did stunt work in such films and TV shows as "The Specialist," "2 Fast 2 Furious," "Seaquest DSV," "Bad Boys" and "Fair Game."
ANNE ZIEGLER Died Oct. 13, 2003
Singer/actress Anne Ziegler died at age 93. During WWII she and her husband Webster Booth was a very popular singing due in England. She appeared in several films including "Demobbed" and "The Laughing Lady."
JAMES WOODWORTH Died Oct. 14, 2003
Stage manager and set construction manager James "Woody" Woodworth died of emphysema at age 73. Mr. Woodworth worked on the Christopher Reeve film "Somewhere in Time." Among his numerous TV credits are "Barney Miller," "The Ernie Kovacs Show," "The Lawrence Welk Show," "American Bandstand," "Welcome Back Kotter" and over 20 Oscar telecasts. Mr. Woodworth was the stage manager for the famous televised debates between JFK and Richard Nixon. He was awarded the Directors Guild of America's Franklin J. Schaffner Lifetime Achievement Award for his long career.
DAVID SCHWARTZ Died Oct. 14, 2003
Writer David Schwartz died at age 92. Mr. Schwartz began his writing career in the 1930s. He wrote for a number of TV shows including almost the entire "Amos and Andy" series, "The Donna Reed Show" and "Playhouse 90." Mr. Schwartz’s film credits include the Rat Pack movie "Robin and the 7 Hoods," "Sex and the Single Girl" starring Natalie Wood, "The Bobo" which starred Peter Sellers. Mr. Schwartz was nominated for the Writer’s Guild Best Musical for his "Robin and the 7 Hoods" screenplay.
MICHAEL BONDELLI Died Oct. 14, 2003
Stuntman Michael Bondelli died of a heart attack on the set of Michael Mann’s upcoming film "Collateral" starring Tom Cruise. Mr. Bondelli was a stunt driver who worked on "A Man Apart," "Daredevil," "We’re Talking Serious Money," "Top of the World" and "Speed" among others.
SARI PRICE Died Oct. 14, 2003
Actress Sari Price died of a heart attack at age 70. Ms. Price appeared in a number of films and TV shows including the TV movies "Eleanor and Franklin," "Amelia Earhart," "Kill Me If You Can" about condemned rapist Caryl Chessman and "The People vs. Jean Harris." Ms. Price’s TV credits include "Charlie’s Angels," "Gidget," "The Andy Griffith Show" and "The Partridge Family." Ms. Price appeared on a couple of "Partridge" episodes. She was a long time friend of the star Shirley Jones and was the bride’s maid at Ms. Jones wedding to actor Jack Cassidy.
ETHEL BEARD Died Oct. 15, 2003
Actress Ethel Beard died of heart failure at age 85. Ms. Beard was primarily a radio actress during the 1940s. She performed on the Experimental Playhouse of the Air radio shows with many well-known actors including Hume Cronyn and Jonathan Winters. She appeared as a hostess on Merv Griffin’s TV show "Play Your Hunch."
MARK HANNA Died Oct. 16, 2003
Writer/actor Mark Hanna died at age 86 from a stroke. Marl Hanna is best know for sci-fi scripts of the 1950s. He wrote or co-wrote with Charles Griffith the scripts for three of the most popular B-Movies to come from that era: "Not of This Earth," "Attack of the Colossal Man" and "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman." "Attack of the 50-Foot Woman" was remade by HBO and starred Daryl Hannah. "Not of This Earth" was remade twice, once with former underage porn star Traci Lords. Mr. Hanna received credits on each remake. Mr. Hanna’s other writing credits include "Jet Attack" starring John Agar, "The Gatling Gun" and the Blaxploitation film "Slaughter" which starred football great Jim Brown. Mr. Hanna wrote three films for legendary producer Roger Corman. In addition to "Not of This Earth," Mr. Hanna’s Corman credits include "The Undead" and "Naked Paradise." Mr. Hanna acted in several films during the 1950s.
STU HART Died Oct. 16, 2003
This is turning out to be almost as bad a year for professional wrestlers as for others in the film industry. Wrestling patriarch Stu Hart died at age 88. Mr. Hart is the 25th major wrestling figure to died this year. Mr. Hart was the father of wrestlers Owen and Bret Hart. They followed their father into the ring. Mr. Hart founded Stampede Wrestling in Canada in the 1940s. He appeared in a number of WWF and WWE videos.
BERNARD SCHWARTZ Died Oct. 17, 2003
Oscar nominated producer Bernard Schwartz died of complications from a stroke at age 85. Mr. Schwartz was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar for the Loretta Lynn biopic "Coal Miner’s Daughter." Other film credits include "Sweet Dreams" about singer Patsy Cline, "St. Elmo’s Fire," "Psycho II," the great thriller "Roadgames," the Blaxploitation hits "That Man Bolt," "Hammer" and "Bucktown." Mr. Schwartz also produced the effective horror film "Eye of the Cat" with Michael Sarrazin, the sci-fi classic "Journey to the Center of the Earth," "Jennifer on My Mind," "The Shuttered Room" and "A Global Affair."
JANICE RULE Died Oct. 17, 2003
Actress turned psychoanalyst Janice Rule died at age 72. Ms. Rule appeared on stage and screen. She had over 60 film and TV credits. Ms. Rule’s on-screen persona was sultry and intelligent. Among her credits are Robert Altman’s "3 Women," Cost-Gavras’ "Missing," "The Swimmer" with Burt Lancaster, "Kid Blue" with Dennis Hopper and Warren Oates, the Matt Helm spy spoof "The Ambushers" and "Welcome to Hard Times" with Henry Fonda. Ms. Rule co-starred with Marlon Brando, Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda and Angie Dickinson in "The Chase." "The Chase" is one of the more interesting misfires of the 1960s. Arthur Penn directed the all star cast in the Lillian Hellman scripted mess. The behind the scenes stories are more interesting than anything that ended up on screen. Ms. Rule as Robert Duvall’s wife is sexy and mean as the town tramp. Ms. Rule also appeared in the classic comedy "Bell, Book and Candle." She played Jimmy Stewart’s girlfriend, at least until Kim Novak came into the picture. Ms. Rule had another Kim Novak connection. She played the part of Midge opposite Paul Newman in the original Broadway cast of William Inge’s "Picnic." Kim Novak played the part in Joshua Logan’s film version! Ms. Rule received her Ph.D. in 1983 and practiced as a psychoanalyst in New York and LA. Her husbands included actor Ben Gazarra and "Rainmaker" playwright N. Richard Nash.
DAVID LODGE Died Oct. 18, 2003
British actor and ‘fourth Goon’ David Lodge died at age 82. Mr. Lodge was a longtime friend of Peter Sellers. He often appeared with Goons Sellers, Spike Milligan and Michael Bentine on stage and radio. Mr. Lodge appeared in over 150 films and TV series. He was known for both his comedic talent and his ability to portray tough military men. He served in the RAF in WWII. Chances are you have seen Mr. Lodge in any number of films. His credits include "The Cockleshell Heroes," "Guns at Batasi," "Bobbikins," "Captain Clegg" with Peter Cushing, "Catch Us If You Can" with the Dave Clark Five, "Oh! What a Lovely War," "Scream and Scream Again," "The Railway Children," one of my daughter’s favorite movies from her childhood "Mr. Horatio Knibbles" and "Sahara." Mr. Lodge appeared with his friend Peter Sellers in 15 films including "A Shot in the Dark," "The Magic Christian," "The Return of the Pink Panther" and "Up the Creek."
ROY SILVER Died Oct.18, 2003
Producer Roy Silver died of a brain tumor at age 71. Mr. Silver produced Dalton Trumbo’s WWI anti-war film "Johnny Got His Gun." Dalton Trumbo adapted his novel and directed this interesting film, which stars Timothy Bottoms as a soldier who loses everything except his life during WWI. The introspective film features Jason Robards and Donald Sutherland as Christ. Mr. Silver also produced Ray Bradbury’s "The Picasso Summer" starring Albert Finney and Yvette Mimieux. Mr. Silver was also an artist’s manager. He also owned the Tetragrammaton Record label and was responsible for signing one of my favorite groups Deep Purple.
GUY ROLFE Died Oct. 19, 2003
When I was 5 years old, I had nightmares for weeks after seeing Guy Rolfe’s face without its mask at the end of William Castle’s "Mr. Sardonicus." The skull-like death grin creeped me out like nothing I had ever seen before. "Mr. Sardonicus" remains one of my favorite B-Horror movies. British actor Guy Rolfe has died at age 91. Mr. Rolfe appeared in a number of mainstream films in both Great Britain and America, but he is best remembered for his work in horror films. In addition to "Mr. Sardonicus," his horror film credits include "And Now the Screaming Starts," "The Bride," "Dolls," and four of the "Puppet Master" films. Mr. Rolfe’s mainstream credits include "Nicholas and Alexandra," "King of Kings," "Tarus Bulba," "The Fall of the Roman Empire," "Ivanhoe" and "Fools Rush In" among others. Thanks for the nightmares!
EVE NEWMAN Died Oct. 19, 2003
Oscar nominated film and music editor Eve Newman died of cancer complications at age 88. Ms. Newman was nominated for two Best Film Editing Oscars for her work on the thriller "Two Minute Warning" and "Wild in the Streets." Ms. Newman was a film editor and music editor on over 40 films. She began her career as an animator for Disney, working on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves." Her film credits include the Billy Wilder classic "Some Like It Hot." She was the music editor for a number of Roger Corman films including "House of Usher," "The Raven" "The Terror" and "Pit and the Pendulum." Other credits include "Master of the World," "X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes" and "Operation Bikini." Ms. Newman switched from music editing to film editing in 1964. Her film editing credits include "Muscle Beach Party," "Beach Blanket Bingo," "Bloody Mama," "Paradise Alley," "Three in the Attic," "The Other Side of the Mountain" and "No Small Affair."
WILLIAM SARGENT JR. Died Oct. 19, 2001
Producer/promoter William Sargent died of a heart attack at age 76. Mr. Sargent was man who brought us Pay-Per-View. His production credits include a video to film version of Richard Burton’s stage version of "Hamlet." The filmed play was given limited release in 1964. Other credits include "The T.A.M.I.Show," which was one of the first filmed rock concerts. The film from the early 1960s has The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys on the same bill. Mr. Sergant also produced and distributed "Richard Pryor: Live in Concert" and "Give 'Em Hell Harry" with James Whitmore.
GILBERT PARRA Died Oct. 19, 2003
Legendary LA County Homicide detective Gilbert Parra died of liver cancer at age 65. Mr. Parra’s exploits were the basis for the characters played by James Caan and Alan Arkin in the hit comedy "Freebie and the Bean." I was very surprised to hear that these characters were based on a real person. Although "Freebie and the Bean" is one of my guilty pleasures, the two title characters were inept brutes with no respect for the Constitution. I will assume that liberties were taken in writing the script. Mr. Parra also inspired characters in the Nick Nolte cop drama "Mulholland Falls." Mr. Parra acted in a number of films including "8 Million Ways To Die," "Wisdom," "There Goes My Baby" and "L.A. Takedown." He was the technical advisor on Michael Mann’s "Heat," "Mulholland Falls" and Hal Ashby’s "8 Million Ways To Die." In real life, Mr. Parra worked the streets during the Watts Riots, the Riots that followed the Rodney King verdict and was involved in the SLA shootout.
LYNN MATHIS Died Oct. 20, 2003
Actor Lynn Mathis died at age 49 of hypertensive cardiovascular disease. Mr. Mathis was a busy actor in the Dallas/Fort Worth theater scene where he had performed over 50 Shakespearean roles! He was an eight-year Artistic Associate of the Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas. Mr. Mathis also worked in film and TV. Mr. Mathis’ credits include the upcoming feature film "The Alamo," "Walker Texas Ranger," as the warden in "The Life of David Gale," "The Newton Boys" and "Night Vision." Mr. Mathis played a number of characters in the children’s educational TV series "Wishbone." Mr. Mathis won the Best Actor Award at the Ed Wood Memorial Film and Video Festival for his work in the short comedy "Flowers on a Muumuu." He also won the Best Actor Award at the 1999 California Independent Film Festival for the same movie. Mr. Mathis was on the faculty of KD Studio Actor Conservatory. Mr. Mathis' widow is film makeup artist Renée LeCuyer.
JACK ELAM Died Oct. 20, 2003
Harmonica: And Frank?
Snaky: Frank sent us.
Harmonica: Did you bring a horse for me?
Snaky: (laughs) Well…looks like we’re… looks like we’re shy one horse.
Harmonica: (nodding head) You brought two too many.
That exchange between Charles Bronson as Harmonica and Jack Elam as Snaky opens Sergio Leone’s masterpiece "Once Upon a Time in the West." Jack Elam played the leader of a trio of killers sent to kill Bronson. The 12-minute opening credit scene is a wonderful set piece, made all the more memorable because of Jack Elam’s craggy face. As his character waits for the train carrying Bronson to arrive, he does battle with a pesky fly. Elam huffs and puffs to make the fly leave him alone. He finally captures it in the barrel of his six-shooter. Sergio Leone originally wanted Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" to portray the trio of killers. Instead he used Jack Elam, Woody Strode and Al Mulock (who committed suicide on the set!). Sergio Leone liked faces. He was the master of the close up. Actor Danny Aiello was upset when he was asked to do a camera test for "Once Upon a Time in America," until he realized it wasn’t a matter of talent, but that Leone just wanted to see what his face would look like in an extreme close-up. Jack Elam’s visage delighted Leone. Though he was only in the first scene of the movie, "Once Upon a Time in the West" is one of his best screen performances.
Veteran character actor Jack Elam has died at age 84 of undisclosed causes. Elam’s age was in dispute as the actor lied about his age to make himself older so he could get work. Jack Elam appeared in over 200 films and TV shows. He was adept at playing both villains and comedic roles. His list of Western film credits includes a number of the best in the genre. In addition to "Once Upon a Time in the West," his credits include "The Gunfighter," "High Noon," "Rancho Notorious," "Vera Cruz," "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral," "The Comancheros," "Rio Lobo," "Hannie Caulder" and Sam Peckinpah’s "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid." Those are just some of his film credits. When it comes to TV Westerns, chances are he made a guest appearance. He had over 100 TV credits in guest roles.
While Jack Elam could play the meanest killer to walk the face of the earth, he could make you laugh. His unique face and roaming blind eye were just two of the tools he used to make people laugh. Among his comedic films were "The Slowest Gun in the West," "Never a Dull Moment," "Support Your Local Sheriff!," "The Over-the-Hill Gang," "Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County," "Support Your Local Gunfighter," the TV remake of "Cat Ballou," "Hawmps!," "Hot Lead and Cold Feet," "The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again" and the first two "The Cannonball Run" movies. Thanks for the frights and the laughs. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
DONALD G. JACKSON Died Oct. 20, 2003
Independent filmmaker Donald G. Jackson died of Leukemia at age 60. Filmmaker/actor Scott Shaw confirmed Mr. Jackson’s passing. "Yes, sadly Don passed away on Monday, 20 October 2003, at about 3:00 PM after a long battle with Leukemia. He was diagnosed with the disease in 1995. The doctors gave him from six months to six years to live. But, he beat the odds. He lived, and continued to create films, for eight years!" My friend, Pixar animator Stephen Wong has long sung the praises of Mr. Jackson’s post-apocalyptic film "Hell Comes to Frog Town." Stephen said "Frogtown is just a hilarious flick. What other movie has a girl performing a strip tease for a bunch of giant mutated frogs? Aside from "They Live," it’s also "Rowdy" Roddy Piper’s most entertaining work."
Mr. Jackson began making 8mm films during the 1960s. He never looked back, writing, directing, producing and editing a long string of B-Movies via a process he called Zen Filmmaking. Actor Scott Shaw appeared in 13 of Mr. Jackson’s films. Mr. Jackson’s provided additional cinematography on James Cameron’s "The Terminator." His directing credits include "Demon Lover," "The Roller Blade 7," "Big Sister 2000," "Frogtown 2," "Lingerie Kickboxer" and "Blade Sisters." Thanks for the fun movies and thanks for the inspiration you gave to so many indie filmmakers.
VIRGINIA BOGART Died Oct. 20, 2003
Former Disney/Hanna Barbera/Filmation animator Virginia Bogart died at age 85. Ms. Bogart worked for Disney but retired to raise her family. She returned to the business when her children were grown and worked for both Hanna Barbera and the Filmation. She retired a second time in 1987.
ELLIOT SMITH Died Oct. 21, 2003
Oscar nominated composer and folk punk musician Elliot Smith has, according to press reports, apparently committed suicide at age 34. Mr. Smith died of a single stab wound to the chest. Mr. Smith had been fighting a battle with alcoholism. Mr. Smith’s song "Miss Misery" from the movie "Good Will Hunting" was nominated for the Best Song Oscar. Mr. Smith’s songs have been used on the soundtracks of numerous films including "American Beauty," "The Royal Tenenbaums," "Keeping the Faith" and "Zero Effect." Mr. Smith appeared in the film "Southlander." Mr. Smith was working on his sixth album "From A Basement On A Hill" at the time of his death. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
ELLIOT SMITH UPDATE
The LA Coroner's office stated on December 30, 2003 that they are unable to determine if Mr. Smith's fatal stab wound was self-inflicted or the result of an attack. The spokesman said either scenario is possible based on their tests. There were no illegal drugs in Mr. Smith's system at the time of his death. The LAPD is continuing their investigation.
DERYA ARBAS Died Oct. 21, 2003
Turkish/American actress Derya Arbas has died at age 35. The cause of death has not been determined but friends believe she died of a heart attack. Ms. Arbas was the daughter of Turkish beauty queen and actress Zerrin Arbas and Native American actor Dehl Berti. Ms. Arbas appeared in seven films including "Dilan" and "The White Bicycle." Ms. Arbas also appeared in the indie film "Hang Your Dog in the Wind" under the name Derya Berti. Ms. Arbas had just returned to Loa Angeles from Istanbul where hse had buried her grandfather, famed Turkish painter Avni Arbas. Ms. Arbas had been working as a writer and photographer.
FRED BERRY Died Oct. 22, 2003
Actor Fred Berry died of a stroke at age 52. Mr. Berry was best know for his role as Rerun in the hit TV series "What’s Happening" and "What’s Happening Now!." Mr. Berry appeared in one of my favorite B-Movies "Vice Squad." He played Sugar Pimp, who had the misfortune to have a run in with the evil Ramrod played by Wings Hauser. More recently, Mr. Berry had a cameo role in the David Spade comedy "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star." Other credits include "In the Hood," "Bum Runner" and an episode of the NBC TV series "Scrubs." Mr. Berry won a long battle with alcohol and drug addiction. He became a Baptist minister in the 1980s, but returned to acting and doing special events as his Rerun character.
GARY WALKER Died Oct. 22, 2003
Makeup artist and hair stylist Gary Walker died after a short illness. His age was not released. Mr. Walker was a 30-year-verteran of the film industry. He was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Locals 798 (east coast) and 706 (west coast). Mr. Walker was working on the film "The Punisher" when he became sick. His other credits include "The Sopranos," "When Billie Beat Bobby," "Roswell," "SeaQuest DSV," "Psycho IV: The Beginning" and "Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture."
HENRY B. DONOVAN Died Oct. 23, 2003
Writer/producer Henry B. Donovan died at age 89. Mr. Donovan wrote and produced the Jackie Coogan TV series "Cowboy G-Men." He was the president of Telemount Pictures. He directed the films "Magic Lady" and "Our Flag."
ALEX GRAF Died Oct. 23, 2003
Production manager Alex Graf was killed in a automobile accident at age 32. Mr. Graf was on location in China filming the upcoming Columbia release "Mountain Patrol," when the taxi he was riding in collided with a truck. Mr. Graf also worked on the much ballyhooed "Warriors of Heaven and Earth."
MADAME CHIANG KAI-SHEK Died Oct. 24, 2003
One of the most powerful women of the 20th century has died at the age of 106. Madame Chiang Kai-Shek outlived all of her contemporaries. The wife of Chinese leader Chiang Kai-Shek, Madame Chiang took a leading role in her husband’s battle with the Communist Chinese and also the Japanese during WWII. Born Soong Mei-Ling in 1897, Madame Chiang was the daughter of a wealthy minister and publisher. Educated in America, she married the future leader of the Nationalistic movement in China. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek led the revolt against the Manchu Dynasty. She raised millions of dollars for the war against Japan during a tour of the US. Following WWII, her husband’s Nationalistic Party battled Chairman Mao’s communist party. In 1949 she followed her husband and his government into exile in Taiwan. Chiang Kai-Shek died in 1975 after which Madame Chaing moved to New York.
Madame Chiang appeared in Frank Capra’s film made for the US Army "The Battle of China." She appeared in the documentary "The People Between" which was made during the battle for power between her husband and Mao’s communists. Other credits include "Vietnam: A Television History" and "The Century of Warfare" among others. Madame Chiang was a devout Christian and attributed her longevity to her faith in God.
THE CONCORDE Last Commercial Flight Oct. 24, 2003
British Airlines will officially cease operations of the world's only supersonic commercial airline today. The SST made it possible for travelers to leave London and arrive in New York 1 and ½ hours before they left England! The SST was foreseen as the future of aviation by its designers. However only 16 of the planes were produced. Limited seating and high fuel consumption were just two reasons the Concorde became too expensive to maintain. The sleek jet appeared in a number of films, most notably "The Concorde: Airport 1979."
JOANNA LEE Died Oct. 24, 2003
Award winning writer/producer/director/actress Joanna Lee died of bone cancer at age 72. Ms. Lee began her career as an actress, appearing in Ed Wood’s infamous "Plan 9 from Outer Space." Other acting credits include "The Brain Eaters," "Death Valley Days" and "Leave it to Beaver." Ms. Lee turned to writing after suffering serious injuries in an auto accident. She won an Emmy for her script for an episode of "The Waltons." Shw was nominated for another Emmy for her scipt for the TV bio-pic "Babe" with Susan Clark as famed female athlete Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
ANNE GERETY Died Oct. 25, 2003
Stage actress Anne Gerety died of a heart attack at age 77. Ms. Gerety was the older sister of actor Peter Gerety. Ms. Gerety performed primarily on stage, but did appear in a few TV show and movies. She had a supporting role in Robert Altman’s sci-fi misfire "Quintet," which starred Paul Newman. Ms. Gerety did guest shots on "St. Elsewhere," "Benson" and "Barnaby Jones." She also provided the voice of Aunt Beru in the NPR "Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama."
JACK TEMCHIN Died Oct. 26, 2003
Stage producer Jack Temchin died of a heart attack at age 57. The co-founder of ‘The Play Company’ devoted his career to producing new international plays. He wrote scripts for the TV series "Freddy’s Nightmares" and HBO’s "Tales From the Crypt." Mr. Temchin also produced Brian DePalma’s strange but very interesting comedy "Home Movies."
ELIM KLIMOV Died Oct. 26, 2003
Russian director Elim Klimov died of natural causes at age 70. Mr. Klimov directed one of the most harrowing war films ever produced. "Come and See" is a must see for history and war buffs. Word to the wise, this is one of the most brutal depictions of war ever put on film. "Come and See" won the Grand Prize at the Moscow Film Festival. Mr. Klimov directed twelve films between 1959 and 1985.
ROD RODDY Died Oct. 27, 2003
Rod Roddy, the announcer on "The Price Is Right" for 17 years died of breast and colon cancer at age 66. Other credits include announcing for the game show "Whew!," "Battlestars," "Press Your Luck," "Love Connection" and "Family Feud." He did voice work for "House of Mouse" and "Mickey’s House of Villains." Mr. Roddy was also the announcer on the TV shows "Soap" and "The Roseanne Barr Show."
STEPHANIE TYRELL Died Oct. 27, 2003
Award winning songwriter and record producer Stephanie Tyrell died at age 54 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Ms. Tyrell wrote over 200 songs. Her song "How Do You Talk to an Angel" reached number one in 1992. Ms. Tyrell was nominated for an Emmy and won a Cable Ace Award. Her songs have been featured on the soundtracks of "Father of the Bride," "The Client," "Mystic Pizza" and "The Brady Bunch." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
STEVE YACONELLI Died Oct. 29, 2003
Cinematographer/DP/ camera operator Steve Yaconelli drowned while scuba diving. He was 62 years old. Mr. Yaconelli’s film and TV credits include "Papillon," "Animal House," "The Blues Brothers," "Continental Divide," "War Games," "Bram Stoker’s Dracula," "The Temp," "Cabin Boy," "Blue Sky," "Frankie and Johnny" and "Exit to Eden."
RICHARD CANGEY Died Oct. 29, 2003
Veteran stuntman Richard Cangey died at the age of 70 in Cypress California. Mr. Cangey did stunts for a number of TV series including "Vega$," "Baretta," "Daniel Boone," "The Big Valley" and "Mission Impossible." He also worked on the 1975 version of "Capone" with Ben Gazarra. Mr. Cangey was most notably associated with the popular TV series "The Wild Wild West." Mr. Cangey wrote the book "Inside The Wild Wild West" about his years working on the series. Mr. Cangey was a longtime friend of series star Robert Conrad and also worked with him on the TV series "The D.A."
SAUL KAHAN Died Oct. 30, 2003
Actor/publicist Saul Kahan died of heart failure at age 64. Mr. Kahan appeared in the John Landis films "Schlock," "Into the Night" and "Kentucky Fried Movie." He was the publicist for a number of hit movies including "Animal House," "Space Balls," "The Blues Brothers" and "Blade Runner." Mr. Kahan’s first film as an actor was in the camp, 1960s sci-fi film "The Tenth Victim." "The Tenth Victim" utilized the ‘bra-gun’ 30 years before "Austin Powers."
BETH GEDDES Died Oct. 30, 2003
TV producer/writer Beth Geddes died of cancer. Ms. Geddes produced the hit TV series "The People’s Court" for 20 years. Other credits include "Dinah’s Place" and "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson."
WILLIAM SWETLAND Died Oct. 31, 2003
Actor William Swetland died at age 90. Mr. Swetland had a long career on stage, both on Broadway and regional theater. Mr. Swetland’s TV credits include Chekhov’s "The Seagull," Eugene O’Neill’s "Ah! Wilderness," "The Quinns," "A Christmas Without Snow" and an episode of "Naked City."
ROBERT GUENETTE Died Oct. 31, 2003
Award winning writer/producer/director Robert Guenette died of brain cancer at age 68. Mr. Guenette won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary for "Great Movie Stunts: Raiders of the Lost Ark." Mr. Guenette’s other documentary credits include "SPFX: The Empire Strikes Back," "The Making of Star Wars" and "The Mysterious Monsters." Mr. Guenette produced the first shot on video feature length film "Victory at Entebbe," which starred Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Anthony Hopkins, Richard Dreyfuss, Linda Blair and Elisabeth Taylor. Mr. Guenette’s 1965 documentary "William Faulkner’s Mississippi" won an Emmy Award. Mr. Guenette also produced and directed the Nostradamus documentary "The Man Who Saw Tomorrow."
BRUCE EDWARD HALL Died Oct. 31, 2003
Actor/puppeteer Bruce Edward Hall died of cancer at age 49. Mr. Hall’s acting credits include one of my personal favorites: "The Equalizer" with Edward Woodward, "The Muppets Take Manhattan," "Romper Room," "Whirligig!" and "Poor Little Lambs." Mr. Hall was a fourth generation Chinese American. He was also a published author with a number of books and articles to his credit.