WILLIAM MANCHESTER Died June 1, 2004
Writer William Manchester died at age 82. Mr. Manchester had suffered two strokes and was in declining health. Manchester’s book "The Death of a President" was one of the first adult books I read in my youth. William Manchester was a popular historian best known for his two biographies of President John F. Kennedy. Manchester also wrote two volumes on British statesman Winston Churchill. Mr. Manchester’s poor health prevented his completion of Volume III. Mr. Manchester also chronicled the life of American military genius and demigod Douglas MacArthur. The MacArthur book "American Caesar" was turned into a TV documentary mini series. Mr. Manchester served his country in the U.S. Marines.
ALOHA PORTER Died June 1, 2004
I received an e-mail from British writer/documentary filmmaker Austin Mutti-Mewse. Mr. Mutti-Mewse co-wrote the documentary "I Used to Be In Pictures" with his twin brother Howard. The film follows the brothers as they tour the Hollywood of yesteryear and interview a large number of actresses from the 1920s and 30s. He informed me that silent film actress Aloha Porter had passed away at age 93. Ms. Porter is the second subject of the Mutti-Mewse brother’s film to die in the last two months. Ms. Porter joins Patricia Russell in the great beyond. Ms Porter may be best known for playing the Devil in the 1935 version of "Dante’s Inferno." Ms. Porter was Miss California in 1926. She was a finalist in the Miss America pageant. Her film credits include "Beauty Ala Mud," "Sure Fire," "The Campus Vamp," "Love is a Racket," the Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle directed "Gigolettes" and "My Weakness."
DIXIE FRANCIS Died June 1, 2004
Filmmaker Austin Mutti-Mewse informed me that actress Dixie Francis died in LA at age 93. Ms. Francis appeared with Lew Ayres in the musical "My Weakness." Other credits include the Shirley Temple movie "Stand Up and Cheer!" and the classic "42nd Street."
PEGGY PAYNE BREUNING Died June 2, 2004
Ms. Breuning was one of the thousands of unsung folks who work in the movie industry. She may not have been known to anyone outside of those she worked with, (I sure never heard of her), but Peggy Breuning had a very interesting life. She was a child prodigy on the violin. Ms. Breuning grew up and served her country during WWII. She served in the Coast Guard as did her husband. Ms. Breuning appeared with Sid Caesar and Buddy Edsen in the Coast Guard recruitment film "Stars and Tars." Following the war she became a secretary to such folks as Charles Laughton, "Topper" producer Milton Bren and Lee J. Cobb. She later worked at Universal Studios (for nearly 20 years) in a number of departments. Ms. Breuning lived a full 86 years.
NICHOLAI GHIAUROV Died June 3, 2004
Renowned Bulgarian opera singer Nicholai Ghiaurov died of a heart attack at age 74. The award-winning singer performed at the Bolshoi, La Scala, Covent Garden and the Met. Mr. Ghiaurov appeared in film and TV versions of many operas including "Eugene Onegin," "Faust," "Aida" and "La Boheme."
HAROLD GOODWIN Died June 3, 2004
Veteran character actor Harold Goodwin died at age 86. Mr. Goodwin appeared in over 100 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. Among Mr. Goodwin’s many credits are "The Bridge on the River Kwai," "The Dam Busters," "The Ladykillers," "Quatermass and the Pit," the Christopher Lee version of "The Mummy," the Herbert Lom version of "The Phantom of the Opera," "The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb," "Die Monster, Die" and "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed."
ANTONIO DE TEFFE Died June 4, 2004
Brazilian actor Antonio de Teffe died of cancer at age 74. Born in Rome, Mr. de Teffe became a major Italian action star during the 1960s and 70s under the name Anthony Steffen. Mr. de Teffe appeared in over 60 films including a number of spaghetti Westerns and Sword and Sandal epics. Among his many credits are "City at Night," "Sodom and Gomorrah," "Django the Bastard," "Viva Sabata," "Diary of an Erotic Murderess," "The Naked Sun" and "Escape From Hell."
CHARLES CORRELL Died June 4, 2004
Director/cinematographer Charles J. Correll died at age 60. Mr. Correll was the son of actor Charles Correll, Andy of "Amos and Andy" fame. Mr. Correll’s brother is producer/director/actor Richard Correll. Charles J. Correll was a prolific TV director. His credits include some of the most popular shows of the 80s and 90s. His director credits include "MacGyver," "Wiseguy," "Beverly Hills 90210," "Stargate SG-1" and "C.S.I." Mr. Correll was also a cinematographer who worked in both film and TV. His feature film credits include "Animal House," "Fast Break," "Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock," "Joy of Sex," and "Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise."
EDMUND DIGIULIO June 4, 2004
Multi-Technical Academy Award winner Edmund DiGiulio died of congestive heart failure at age 76. While he was the director of Cinema Products Inc., Mr. DiGiulio headed up the development of the Stedicam. Mr. DiGiulio won Technical Oscars in 1969, 93 and 99. He was honored at the 2002 Technical Oscars with a Gordon E. Sawyer Award in recognition for his lifetime of contribution to the technical craft of filmmaking. Mr. DiGiulio was the special cinematographer on Stanley Kubrick’s period piece "Barry Lyndon." DiGiulio developed high-speed camera lenses which allowed Kubrick to film night time interior scenes by candlelight.
ROLF MOBIUS Died June 4, 2004
Veteran German actor Rolf Mobius died of pneumonia at age 88. Mr. Mobius was primarily a stage actor in his native land. Mr. Mobius appeared in the final film of master German director Fritz Lang: "The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse." Mr. Mobius’ career survived WII. Other credits include "Heidi," "U-47: Lt. Commander Prein," "The Alfred Nobel Story" and "Forbidden Paradise."
BRIAN LINEHAN Died June 4, 2004
Canadian TV personality Brian Linehan died after a two-year battle with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Mr. Linehan hosted one of the longest running TV shows in Canadian history. His interview program "City Lights" began its run in 1975 and ran for 16 years. Mr. Linehan would devote each show to interviewing a single celebrity. He was the inspiration for Martin Short’s character "Brock Linehan" on "SCTV." Mr. Linehan was flattered by Martin Short’s satire. The TV show became the subject of a short film by the same name. Mr. Linehan also hosted the TV shows "Glitter Palace" and "Linehan." Mr. Linehan was 58 years old.
MANU TUPOU Died June 5, 2004
Fiji born actor Manu Tupou died at age 69. Mr. Tupou landed his first role in the early 1960s. Mr. Tupou was in New York on his way to attend college at Oxford, England. During the layover, Mr. Tupou read of an audition for the part of a Hawaiian prince in the movie "Hawaii." He got the part. Other credits include the truly bad film "The Extraordinary Seaman," "A Man Called Horse," "Hurricane," several episodes of "Hawaii 5-0," and Mel Gibson’s "Payback."
RONALD WILSON REAGAN Died June 5, 2004
Ronald Wilson Reagan, The 40th President of the United States of America died of Alzheimer’s Disease at age 93. Known as The Great Communicator, President Reagan was in large part responsible for lifting America from the moral and psychological depression, which swept the nation following Watergate, Vietnam, the Carter recession and the crisis in Iran. After eight years of Reagan, it was once again OK to be proud to be an American. Millions who had never lost their pride, could come out of the closet without fear of attack. During his administration, the US economy underwent an amazing recovery, the Soviet Union fell and the US once again became a world leader to be feared and respected. The former actor turned to politics in the 1960s when he retired from film and ran for Governor of California.
President Reagan survived an assassination attempt by deranged gunman John Hinckley. Hinkley shot the President and three others in an attempt to impress actress Jodie Foster. The insanity defense came under attack when Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
As an actor, Ronald Reagan specialized in good guy roles. He was usually the leading star’s best buddy. He appeared in over 200 films, documentaries and TV shows during his lengthy career. His best performance as an actor came in the 1942 drama "Kings Row." I first saw the movie when I was 11. I remember getting goose bumps when Reagan delivered his famous line "Where’s the rest of me!?" Though he delivered his best performance in "Kings Row," Reagan may be best known for his role as Notre Dame football player George Gipp in "Knute Rockne All American." A personal favorite of mine was President Reagan’s final film: Don Seigal’s remake of "The Killers." Reagan resisted the role, as he had never played a bad guy. Reagan played the nemesis of Lee Marvin in the second film version of Hemmingway’s short story. The movie also starred Angie Dickinson and John Cassavettes. President Reagan also received great exposure as the host of the Western anthology series "Death Valley Days." He was the frequent butt of jokes by late night TV host Johnny Carson due to his co-starring role opposite a monkey in "Bedtime for Bonzo."
Ronald Reagan was married to Oscar winner Jane Wyman from 1940 through 48. The couple parented Maureen and Michael Reagan. President Reagan’s second wife and widow is Nancy Davis Reagan. The pair co-starred in the movie "Hellcats of the Navy." They parented Ron Reagan and Patti Davis. Reagan was politically active as an actor. He was president of SAG from 1947 to 52.
Former President Reagan suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease for over a decade. He became the most high profile victim of the insidious illness. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends. Thank you for your courageous service to the country.
MILDRED VAN DORN Died June 5, 2004
This has not been a good month for subjects of Austin Mutti-Mewse documentary "I Used to Be In Pictures." Mr. Mutti-Mewse informed me that actress Mildred Van Dorn passed away at age 94. Ms. Van Dorn was a model who turned to acting. She appeared in a number of films during the 1920s and 30s. Ms. Van Dorn worked with such actors as Gary Cooper, Bette Davis, Bela Lugosi and Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. She also worked with "Dracula" and "Freaks" director Tod Browning. Ms. Van Dorn’s film credits include "Hold Your Man," "Sons of the Gods," "How’ve You Bean" and "The Iron Man."
JUDY CAMPBELL Died June 6, 2004
Famed British actress Judy Campbell died at age 88. Ms. Campbell was one of the most successful British stage actresses of the past century. Though she performed in a wide range of plays, she was best known for her collaborations with genius playwright Noel Coward. She turned to film in 1940, and later to TV, though she never abandoned the stage. Her film and TV credits include "Bonnie Prince Charles," "There’s a Girl in My Soup" and "The Forsyte Saga." Ms. Campbell was the matriarch of an English showbiz dynasty. Her daughter is the sexy and talented Jane Birkin of "Catherine and Co.," fame. Daughter Jane is the mother of equally sexy and talented actresses Lou Doillon and Charlotte Gainsbourg (21 Grams). Ms. Birkin is also the mother of assistant director Kate Barry. Ms. Campbell’s son is Oscar nominated director/writer/actor Andrew Birkin. Andrew Birkin is the father of actors David and Ned Birkin.
RON TIBBETT Died June 7, 2004
Magnolia Independent Film Festival founder Ron Tibbett was killed in a one-car accident in West Point, Mississippi. He was 63 years old. Mr. Tibbett founded the Magnolia Independent Film Festival in 1997. Tibbett produced the documentary short "Buffalo Common." It won the Festival Award for Best Documentary Short at the New York Underground Film Festival. Mr. Tibbett directed the quirky documentary "Citizen Shane." The 59-minute film follows the campaign for Sheriff of 23-year-old Shane Ballard, a pro-porn Republican who is friends with Charlie Manson and believes that the Sheriff's office of Lowndes County, Mississippi is responsible for covering up the mysterious death of his mother. Mr. Tibbett also acted in and edited the short film "Cookie Jar." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
DON TRUMBULL Died June 7, 2004
Oscar-winning special effects whiz Don Trumbull died of natural causes at age 95. Mr. Trumbull was the father of fellow Oscar –winning special effects whiz Douglas Trumbull. The pair worked together on son Douglas’ directorial debut "Silent Running." Doug directed and Don created the drones Huey, Dewey and Louie, which played major characters in the sci-fi ecology manifesto. Mr. Trumbull was honored with two Technical Oscars and a Special Award. In 1984, Mr. Trumbull shared a Technical Achievement Oscar with fellow Apogee, Inc. inventors Jonathan Erland, Stephen Fog and Paul Burk. The team designed and developed the "Blue Max" high-power, blue-flux projector for traveling matte composite photography. In 1990, the Academy honored Mr. Trumbull with a Medal of Commendation for his outstanding dedication and service to the industry. In 1998, Mr. Trumbull shared a Scientific and Engineering Oscar with Michael Sorensen and Richard Alexander of Sorensen Designs International. The team was recognized for their advancements in real-time motion control with the Gazelle and Zebra camera dolly systems. Mr. Trumbull worked on such classics as "The Wizard of Oz," "Star Wars" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." He worked on one of my favorite ‘bad’ movies, the naked space vampire opus "Lifeforce." Other credits include the original TV series "Battlestar Gallactica" and the Mel Brooks space spoof "Space Balls." Son Douglas was the special effects supervisor on Stanley Kubrick’s "2001: A Space Odyssey."
NURIA TORRAY Died June 8, 2004
Spanish actress Nuria Torray died of colon cancer at age 70. Ms. Torray was the widow of writer/producer Juan Zamora and the mother of actress Alejandra Torray. Ms. Torray was a successful actress on stage, TV and film. She appeared in two horror films late in her career. She appeared in the Giallo/vampire film "La Casa de la Muertas Vivientes" and "The Man Who Lived Twice." Ms. Torray appeared in a number of Spaghetti Westerns during the 1960s including three films in the "Django" series. She was also an accomplished dramatic actress. Some of her better known films are "Accidente 703," "Girl of the Nile" and "El Bosque del Lobo."
ARCHIE SMITH Died June 8, 2004
Denver based actor Archie Smith died at age 86. Mr. Smith was a member of the
Denver Regional Theater Company. Ironically, one of his film credits was "Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead." Other film credits include "Asteroid," "The Slender Thread" and "Across the River."
RABBI WILLIAM KRAMER Died June 8, 2004
Rabbi William Mordecai Kramer died of congestive heart failure and complications from diabetes at age 84. Rabbi Kramer was a prolific writer and the editor of Western States Jewish History magazine. Rabbi Kramer appeared in several films and TV shows. He played a rabbi in the apocalyptic "The Seventh Sign." Other credits include "Opening Night," "Sisters," "L.A. Law" and "Life Goes On."
BARBARA WHITING Died June 9, 2004
Singer/actress Barbara Whiting died of cancer at age 73. Ms. Whiting, along with her sister Margaret starred in the TV series "Those Whiting Girls." The show ran from 1955 through 57. Ms. Whiting was the daughter of Oscar-nominated composer Richard Whiting. Ms. Whiting was comfortable in both dramatic and comedic roles. Ms. Whiting had a strong supporting role in the overlooked film noir "Beware, My Lovely." She was about the only thing worthwhile in the Esther Williams musical "Dangerous When Wet." Other credits include "City Across the River," "Junior Miss," "I Can Get it for You Wholesale" and "Home Sweet Homicide." She married a GM executive in 1959 and retired to Detroit.
KATHLEEN O’SHEE Died June 9, 2004
Kathleen O’Shee died at age 104. Ms. O’Shee entered a beauty contest in Australia. Her prize was a role in Cecile B. DeMille’s 1923 version of "The Ten Commandments." Ms. O’Shee is the second cast member of the 82 year old film to die this year. Pat Moore, who played the Pharoh’s son died in April. Ms. O’Shee served her native England in the military during both WWI and WWII!
RAY CHARLES Died June 10, 2004
Legendary bluesman Ray Charles died of liver disease at age 73. To call Ray Charles just a bluesman is to limit him. Mr. Charles succeeded in whichever genre he chose. His song "What’d I Say" is still a driving badass song that puts most of today’s music to shame. Ray Charles lost his sight due to glaucoma while still a child. Charles was nominated for three Emmy Awards in three different categories. Mr. Charles composed music and sang songs in a number of films. He sang the theme song for Norman Jewison’s Oscar winner "In the Heat of the Night." While he appeared as himself in a multitude of TV shows and films, he had few chances to act. The big exception was in John Landis’ classic comedy "The Blue Brothers." Ray Charles was one of the original inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
ODETTE LAURE Died June 10, 2004
French actress/singer Odette Laure died of natural causes at age 87. Ms. Laure had successful careers as a cabaret singer and actress on stage and screen. She was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Cesar in 1991 for her performance in Bernard Tavernier’s "Daddy Nostalgia." Ms. Laure appeared in nearly 50 films during her career.
ROBERT LEES Died June 13, 2004
Blacklisted screenwriter Robert Less was one of the victims of a gruesome double murder. Lees was 91 years old. Mr. Lees was attacked in his home and decapitated. The killer took Mr. Lees head, jumped Lees’ back fence and the murdered neighbor Morley Engleson, a retired doctor. 27-year-old Keven Lee Graf was arrested for the crimes the next day. Robert Lees wrote for the big screen and later TV. Lees collaborated with writer Frederic Rinaldo on 27 film and TV scripts. The pair wrote one of my favorites, the comedy/horror classic "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein." The film revived the careers of many of the participants. It still works today. One of the funniest Abbott and Costello films ever. Mr. Lees wrote seven films for comedy team including "Buck Privates Come Home" and "Hold That Ghost." Mr. Lees’ other credits include the TV series "Rawhide," "Land of the Giants" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." Mr. Lees began as an extra with MGM. He then became a writer for MGM working on shorts such as the "Crime Does Not Pay" series and the "Pete Smith Specialties." Mr. Lees served with director Frank Capra’s filmmaking unit during WWII. Lees and Rinaldo were blacklisted during the HUAC era. On April 10, 1951, actor Sterling Hayden (the corrupt cop in The Godfather) named names while testifying before the House Unamerican Activities Committee. One of those names was Robert Lees. Lees continued to work as a writer. He used a front while writing for the "Lassie" films and later adopted the pseudonym J.E. Selby. Rinaldo did not return to film after the blacklist. Mr. Lees was one of those protesting the Academy for honoring director Elia Kazan with an Honorary Oscar in 1999. Lees carried a sign that read "Don’t Whitewash the Blacklist."
ROBERT ELROSS Died June 13, 2004
Actor Robert Elross died of Parkinson’s Disease at age 82. Mr. Elross was a well-known actor and teacher in the San Francisco area. Though Mr. Elross was primarily a stage actor, he did appear in several films. Mr. Elross played the head of the review board investigation the sinking of Gus Grissom’s capsule Liberty Bell 7 in Philip Kaufman’s "The Right Stuff." Other credits include "Cujo," "The Method" and "Homeward Bound."
DANNY DARK Died June June 13, 2004
You may not know the face, but chances are you’ve heard his voice. Voice actor Danny Dark has passed at age 65. Mr. Dark did voice work for 100s of TV commercials. Do the Keebler elves ring a bell. Mr. Dark appeared in the comedy feature "Tunnel Vision" and the Howard Hughes fantasy "Melvin and Howard." He also did the voice of Superman in the animated series "Super Friends."
JENNIFER NITSCH Died June 13, 2004
German actress Jennifer Nitsch died after falling from the fourth floor of her Munich home. Ms. Nitsch was 37 years old. Although no note was found, suicide is suspected based on the actress’s past expressions of suicidal thoughts. A toxicology report is pending. Ms. Nitsch became on of Germany’s A-list actresses after her performance in the 1991 film "Alone Among Women." Ms. Nitsch appeared in nearly 50 films and TV shows. She won a Bavarian TV Award in 1994 for the mini-series "Nur eine Klene Affare." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
DR. JAMES GRIGSON Died June 13, 2004
Dr. James Grigson died of lung cancer at age 72. The psychiatrist was given the moniker "Dr. Death" due to his penchant for testifying for the state of Texas in over 150 death penalty cases. Dr. Grigson was expelled from the American Psychiatric Association because he had the bad habit of predicting future behavior of people he never even interviewed! Scary stuff. Documentary filmmaker was researching for a film about the "good" doctor when he discovered a death row inmate named Randall Adams. Morris switched gears and focused the film on Mr. Adams’ case. The resulting film "The Thin Blue Line" exonerated Adams and revealed the true killer of a Dallas police office: David Harris. By the way, Dr. Grigson said that David Harris had never killed and would never kill. He also stated that Adams had killed, and would kill again if released. Ironically, David Harris sits on death row in Texas for a second murder, while Randall Adams has been trouble free since his arrest. I guess the doctor was wrong! I highly recommend this movie to one and all. Sayonara Dr. Death.
MILO FRANK Died June 13, 2004
Writer/producer/agent Milo O. Franks died of Parkinson’s Disease at age 82. Mr. Frank was the agent for Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe among others. Mr. Frank was the head of casting for CBS TV. Mr. Frank also wrote the first adaptation of the novel "The Viking" and sold it to actor Kirk Douglas. Douglas turned it into the film "The Vikings." Mr. Frank also helped bring "Village of the Damned" to the screen.
TYLO TAYLOR Died June 14, 2004
Actor Tylo Taylor died at age 27. Mr. Taylor appeared in the sex comedy "The Sex Substitute 2." He was the president of Black Knight Productions. Mr. Taylor won the Eddie’s Award for a TV commercial.
ROSEMARY BRESLIN Died June 14, 2004
Writer Rosemany Breslin died of cardiac arrest and renal failure at age 47. Ms. Breslin was the daughter of famed newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin. Ms. Breslin suffered from an autoimmune blood disorder for nearly 15 years. Ms. Breslin wrote for the hit TV series "N.Y.P.D. Blue." She and her husband produced and directed several documentaries including the 9/11 films "Women of Rockaway" and "A Smile Gone, But Where?" Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
WHITMAN KNAPP Died June 14, 2004
Judge Whitman Knapp died of pneumonia at age 95. The retired jurist was appointed by New York mayor John Lindsey to investigate allegations of widespread corruption in the NYPD. The Knapp Commission was made famous in Peter Maas’ book "Serpico." The work of the Knapp Commission became the part of the movies including "Serpico" and "Prince of the City."
DAN CRACCHIOLO Died June 14, 2004
Producer Dan Cracchiolo was killed in a motorcycle accident at age 39. Mr. Cracchiolo was a successful producer for Joel Silver’s Silver Pictures. He began his career at the super agency ICM in the early 1990s. Mr. Cracchiolo worked on some of the most successful films of the last 15 years. He was an early producer on the HBO EC Comic’s based series "Tales From the Crypt." He also produced the feature film spin-offs "Bordello of Blood" and "Demon Knight." Among Mr. Cracchiolo’s credits are "Lethal Weapon 4," "Conspiracy Theory," "The Matrix," "Romeo Must Die," "Exit Wounds," "Swordfish" and the remakes of "The House on Haunted Hill" and "Thir13een Ghosts." Mr. Cracchiolo is picture far right with director Hype Williams and rapper DMX. Thanks to photographer Isaiah Trickey of Trickey Photography for the use of his photo. Prayers of comfort the family and friends of Mr. Cracchiolo.
FRANK NASTASI Died June 15, 2004
Actor Frank Nastasi died of a brain tumor at age 81. Mr. Nastasi was the voice of a number of characters on Soupy Sales’ TV show "Lunch With Soupy." Mr. Nastasi was not seen, but his characters Pookie, White Fang and Black Tooth were very popular with many kids in the 1960s including myself. Mr. Nastasi appeared in several films including "Golden Boy," "Birds Do It" and "The Night They Robbed Big Berthas’."
MAX ROSENBERG Died June 15, 2004
Amicus producer Max Rosenberg died at dinner. He was 89 years old. Mr. Rosenberg and partner Milton Subotsky were the power behind Amicus Productions. Horror movie fans remember the great Omnibus films produced by Amicus. I took my first date to an Amicus film. The Omnibus film "Asylum" featured several separate stories set in an insane asylum. The film starred Robert Powell, Patrick Magee, Peter Cushing and Herbert Lom. Many of the Amicus films still hold a special place in my heart. The studio produced the two EC Comics based films "Tales From the Crypt" and "Vault of Horror." Among his nearly 50 films are a number of the best horror films of the 60s and 70s. His many credits include "Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors," "Torture Garden," "Scream and Scream Again," "The House That Dripped Blood," "From Beyond the Grave," "And Now the Screaming Starts!" and the remake of "Cat People."
GARY STEVENS Died May 17, 2004
Producer/Warner Brothers Exec Gary Stevens died of heart disease at age 88. Mr. Stevens was a publicist who became the general manager of Warner Brothers’ TV department. He produced the radio and TV show "Twenty Questions."
BRIAN NOHR Died June 17, 2004
Writer/director Brian Nohr died of cancer at age 38. Mr. Nohr wrote and directed the short film "Night’s Necromantic Rose," which is in competition at several film festivals this year including Cannes. Mr. Nohr’s screenwriting credits include the TV series "The New Outer Limits," "The New Adventures of Robin Hood" and "Code Name: Eternity." Mr. Nohr’s mother Elizabeth Hestevold was the storyboard artist on his short film "Night’s Necromantic Rose." Mr. Nohr was also a pet and playwright. A number of his plays were performed at several LA theaters.
GEORGE ‘BUCK’ FLOWER Died June 18, 2004
Character actor/writer/producer/director George "Buck" Flower died in his sleep after along illness. He was 66 years old. George Flower appeared in over 100 films during his colorful career. Horror and B-movie fans will recognize Mr. Flower immediately from any number of fun films. He worked with director John Carpenter on six films including "Escape From New York," "They Live," "Starman," "Village of the Damned" and "The Fog." I always laugh when I see his cameo as the drunk that Snake discovers wearing the President’s locator bracelet in "Escape From New York." "I’m the president. Sure I’m the president. I knew when I got this thing I’d be the president!" He had a larger role as a bum turned dapper alien convert in "They Live." Mr. Flower had a way of taking a small part and making it memorable. After 12 years of touring with his repertory theater group, Mr. Flower turned to film. He appeared in everything from G-rated films like "The Adventures of the Wilderness Family" to several X-rated sex comedies of the early 1970s. My first exposure to Mr. Flower was in the cheesy crime caper "The Daring Dobermans." Among Mr. Flower’s more notorious credits are the exploitation cult classic "Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS" and "Sorority Babes in the Slimeball-Bowl-O-Rama." He appeared as the town drunk in the first two "Back to the Future" movies. Mr. Flower’s horror film credits include "Pumpkinhead," "Spontaneous Combustion," "Waxwork II," "Maniac Cop," "Puppet Master II," "976-EVIL 2," "Wishmaster," "Dark Breed" and the misguided TV sequel to "Psycho": "Bates Motel." Mr. Flower wrote such sexploitation classics as "Takin’ It All Off" and "The Bikini Carwash Company." He and fellow character actor Charles Napier co-wrote the novel "Rednecks in Love."
PETER MARTHESHEIMER Died June 18, 2004
Producer/writer Peter Marthesheimer died of a heart attack at age 67. Mr. Marthesheimer wrote three scripts directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder: "Veronicka Voss," "The Marriage of Maria Braun" and "Lola." Mr. Marthesheimer also produced one mini-series, a feature film and four TV movies directed by Fassbinder. Mr. Marthesheimer created the character Dr. Maximilian Bloch, a criminologist/psychiatrist. The character appeared in five TV movies.
DORIS DOWLING Died June 18, 2004
Actress Doris Dowling died of natural causes at age 81. Ms. Dowling drew stood out in her debut film performance as a prostitute in Billy Wilder’s Best Picture Oscar winner "The Lost Weekend." She played an unfaithful wife who ends up murdered in her next film: "The Blue Dahlia." Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake starred. Ms. Dowling moved to Rome and appeared in several Italian films including Orson Welles’ "The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice." On her return to America, Ms. Dowling was relegated to lesser films and TV shows. Among her final credits was the TV mini-series "Scruples." Ms. Dowling was one of band leader Artie Shaws’ eight wives. Her sister was actress Constance Dowling.
JOVEN ROLA Died June 18, 2004
Filipino actress Joven Rola died at age 89. Ms. Rola moved to the US at age 21. She became a US citizen. Ms. Rola appeared in the hit Broadway play "The Eve of St. Mark." 20th Century Fox turned the play into a movie. She retired from acting and ran a restaurant in Portland. Ms. Rola was a cousin of Ferdinand Marcos.
FREDERICK JAEGER Died June 18, 2004
German-born actor Frederick Jaeger died at age 76 after a lengthy illness. Jaeger’s family fled German to England to escape the Nazi persecution of the Jews. He had a successful career on stage, TV and in film. Mr. Jaeger usually played military officers. Ironically, he played German officers in British productions and English officers in German productions! Mr. Jaeger appeared in nearly 100 films and TV shows. Among his many credits are "I Was Montey’s Double," "The War Lover," "The Looking Glass War," "Song of Norway," "Scorpio," "The Seven Per Cent Solution," "Voyage of the Damned," "Nijinsky" and "Cold Comfort Farm." Among Mr. Jaeger’s many TV credits are "Dr. Who" and "The Avengers." He played a pilot in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" but his scenes were cut.
JOE STABILE Died June 19, 2004
Producer/agent Joe Stabile died of Alzheimer’s Disease at age 87. Mr. Stabile was the manager of comedian Jerry Lewis. He also produced three of Lewis’ films: "The Big Mouth," "Hook, Line and Sinker" and "Which Way to the Front ?"
ARTHUR KENNARD Died June 22, 2004
Arthur Kennard was the agent for several of the all-time great horror movie stars. Mr. Kennard represented Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Lon Chaney Jr. and Peter Lorre. Mr. Kennard also represented many well-known actors not associated with horror films. Mr. Kennard served his country in the US Army during WWII.
MALCOLM STUART Died June 20, 2004
Literary agent turned producer Malcolm Stuart died of cancer at age 76. Mr. Stuart was responsible for the publication of Leon Uris’ novel "Exodus." He turned to film production in the mid 1960s. Though Mr. Stuart produced several feature films, his primary medium was TV. His best known work was the Made of TV movie "The Deliberate Stranger," which dealt with serial killer Ted Bundy. Mark Harmon delivered an especially creepy performance as the psycho/sexual maniac. Other credits include "A Death in California," "Johnny Belinda," "The Martin Chronicles" and the mini-series "Christopher Columbus."
DAVID S. KAUFMAN Died June 21, 2004
Actor David S. Kaufman committed suicide at age 35. Mr. Kaufman was active in the California theater scene. He appeared in several films during the 1990s. His credits include "The Late Shift," "Jack Frost" and "Babylon 5." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
STANLEY SHPETNER Died June 22, 2004
Producer Stanley Shpetner died of Pneumonia at age 79. Mr. Shpetner’s debut film is one of my favorite B-movie cheese classics. He wrote and produced AIP’s "The Bonnie Parker Story." Dorothy Provine is great in this fast and loose with the facts biopic. For some strange reason, Shpetner changed Clyde’s name to Guy Barrow! "Bonnie and Guy?" Doesn’t have much of a ring to it. Shpetner’s third film was one of director John Ford’s last. "Two Rode Together" starred James Stewart and Richard Widmark doing battle with the Commanche. Shpetner produced several TV series including "The Green Hornet," "Kodiak" and "The Sixth Sense." He also produced the Made for TV film "Sweet, Sweet, Rachel" which was the pilot for "The Sixth Sense."
PAUL BENDER Died June 22, 2004
TV exec/technical director Paul Bender died at age 76. Mr. Bender worked his way up from cameraman and technical advisor to a vice president of NBC TV. Mr. Bender began his career during the days of live TV. Among the many shows Mr. Bender worked on are "Laugh-In," "Let’s Make a Deal" and "The Tonight Show."
POLLY WILLIAMS Died June 24, 2004
Actress Polly Williams died of cancer at age 54. Ms. Williams was the wife of actor Nigel Havers. She appeared in 1970s Cinderella film "The Slipper and the Rose." She also appeared in the Peter Sellers film "The Magic Christian" and an episode of "Upstairs, Downstairs."
YASH JOHAR Died June 26, 2004
Bollywood producer Yash Johar died of acute chest congestion at age 74. Mr. Johar produced a number of successful films over the last 24 years. Johar shot films in India and London. He was an associate producer on Disney’s live action remake of "The Jungle Book." Mr. Johar’s 1998 film "Something is Happening" won the Filmfare Award’s Best Picture Award.
PETER BLYTHE Died June 27, 2004
Actor Peter Blythe died at age 69. Mr. Blythe was a respected stage actor in the UK. He did appear in numerous films and TV shows. Mr. Blythe’s film and TV credits include "The Avengers," "Carrington," "Inspector Morse," "Frankenstein Created Woman," "Rumpole of the Bailey," "Kaleidoscope," "Callan" and "UFO."
LINDA OTTO (LANDSBURG) Died June 27, 2004
Producer/director/casting director Linda Otto Landsburg died of cancer at age 64. Ms. Landsburg was the wife of producer/director Alan Landsburg and the step mother of actress/writer/director Valerie Landsburg. She was nominated for two Emmy Awards for producing the TV shows "Living Dolls: The Making of a Child Beauty Queen" and "Destined to Live." "Destined to Live" was a documentary about her bout with breast cancer as well as the experiences of others attacked by the disease. Other producer include "Gregory K," "The Ryan White Story," "Unspeakable Acts." Ms. Landsburg directed four films. She was the casting director on several films from the early 1970s including "Baby Blue Marine," "The House of Dark Shadows" and "Burnt Offerings." In addition, Ms. Landsburg was a noted casting director on Broadway.
ORIEN HEYWOOD Died June 28, 2004
Model and actress Orien Heywood died at age 89. Ms. Heywood was a model during the 1930s. She appeared in the films "She Asked for It" and "Her Husband Lies."
HISASHI NOZAWA Died June 28, 2004
Hisashi Nozawa hung himself. He was 44. Mr. Nozawa wrote one of my favorite Japanese films, Beat Takeshi’s "Violent Cop." Mr. Nozawa was nominated for a Best Screenplay by the Award of the Japanese Academy for the movie "Shudan-sasen."
MARCEL JULLIAN Died June 28, 2004
French writer Marcel Jullian died of a heart attack at age 82. Mr. Jullian wrote the scripts for over 30 films and TV shows during his 40-year career. Among his credits are "Don’t Look Now, We’re Being Shot At," "The Sucker" and "The Brain."
SHANNON SCUDDER-PUDLEINER Died June 28, 2004
Film editor Shannon Scudder-Pudleiner died of ovarian cancer at age 36. Ms. Scudder-Pudleiner was an assistant film editor on Disney’s "Aladdin and the King of Thieves." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
ALEXANDRA MIDDENDORF Died June 29, 2004
Producer and former actress Alexandra Middendorf died of Lou Gehrig’s Disease at age 52. Ms. Middendorf lived a varied life. She was a Bond girl in "Moonraker." She produced the TLC TV series "Junkyard Wars." Like Burt Lancaster, she was a circus performer. Ms. Middendorf produced the documentaries "Vietnam: The Soldier’s Story" and "Circumcision vs. AIDS in Africa." She worked as a stand-in on Woody Allen’s "Stardust Memories."
PETER HRISKO Died June 29, 2004
Writer Peter Hrisko died at age 39. The former Michigan State football player wrote the book "They Can’t Take That Away From Me: The Odyssey of an American POW." He was a researcher for the documentary "In the Line of Fire: Behind the Scenes with the Secret Service."
BERNARD GRANT Died June 30, 2004
Actor Bernard Grant died of lymphoma and pneumonia at age 83. Mr. Grant was best known to Soap Opera fans for his work in the daytime series "The Edge of Night," "The Guiding Light," "One Life to Live" and "Somerset." Grant appeared in a number of TV series such as "Maude" and "Barney Miller." He did voice over work on dubbed foreign films including "A Fistful of Dollars," "For a Few Dollars More," "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," "Once Upon a Time in the West" and "Duck You Sucker!" Mr. Grant served his country in the US Army during WWII.
DAVID RAY HARRIS Died June 30, 2004
Convicted killer David Ray Harris was executed by the state of Texas for the murder of a man who tried to prevent Harris from kidnapping his girlfriend. Harris was featured in the Errol Morris documentary "The Thin Blue Line." Ironically Harris died just a few weeks after Dr. James Grigson aka Dr. Death. Dr. Grigson said that David Harris had never killed any one and never would kill anyone when he examined the teen suspected of killing a Dallas cop. Randall Adams was convicted of the killing and Harris was set free to kill again. Mr. Morris’s film freed Adams and proved Harris the killer. According to his last words, Mr. Harris made peace with his maker.
CHRIS ALCAIDE Died June 30, 2004
Western actor Chris Alcaide died of cancer at age 81. Though Mr. Alcaide appeared in such non-Western productions as "The Glass Menagerie," "The Wild One" with Marlon Brando, "Assassination" with Charles Bronson and "Kid Galahad" with Elvis Presley, he was best known for his work in the Western genre. Mr. Alcaide appeared in over 400 Western TV episodes. Mr. Alcaide’s movie credits include "The Miami Story," "Gunslinger," "Miami Expose," "The 49th Man," "Massacre Canyon" and "Rock All Night."
CYNTHIA BURWASH Died June 30, 2004
Hairstylist Cynthia Burwash died at home at age 46. Ms. Burwash worked on a number of films including "X-Men 2," "Dark Walker," the TV series "Viper" and "Dark Angel," "Slapshot 2" and "Portrait of a Killer." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.