MARGE SCHOTT Died Mar. 2, 2004
Outspoken former owner of the Cincinnati Red baseball team Marge Schott died of lung disease at age 75. Ms. Schott drew the ire of fans, players and the Baseball Owner’s Association for her frank talk that often included racist remarks and praise for Adolph Hitler. She was forced from her ownership position by the Baseball Owner’s Association in 1992. Ms. Schott appeared in the documentary "Cincinnati: Just Around the Corner" the TV series "Good Sports."
NANCY DEALE GREENE Died Mar. 2, 2004
Actress Nancy Deale Greene, the widow of "Bonanza" star Lorne Greene died of cancer at age 70. Though Ms. Greene appeared acted on stage, film and TV, she was a politically active woman. She was a foreign policy consultant and one of the founders of the National Women’s Political Caucus in Los Angeles. Ms. Green appeared with her husband on the TV series "Bonanza." She also appeared in John Cassavettes’ great indie film "Shadows."
MERCEDES MCCAMBRIDGE Died Mar. 2, 2004
Oscar-winning actress Mercedes McCambridge died of natural causes at age 85. Ms. McCambridge won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in her debut film "All the King’s Men." I saw "All the King’s Men" with my father when I was in second grade. The movie scarred me to death. There is a scene in the film where a group of kids are walking down a flight of stairs at school. The stairs collapse killing several of the children. For several weeks I made sure I ran up or down the stairs at school as fast as I could. If they were going to collapse, I wasn’t going to be one of the ones trapped. Ms. McCambridge contributed to my nightmares later in my life. When "The Exorcist" first came to Memphis, two friends and myself snuck out of school to go to the first show. Ms. McCambridge provided the possessed voice for Linda Blair’s character. The studio tried to hide the fact at first, making it seem that Miss Blair had talents beyond her years. Ms. McCambridge rightfully fought for recognition for her work. Ms. McCambridge received a second Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in George Steven’s "Giant." She played Rock Hudson’s sister Luz. Her life was marked with tragedy. Ms. McCambridge’s son John Markle killed his wife, two daughters and then himself. Ms. McCambridge was a popular radio actor before making her film debut in 1949. She appeared in a number of great films and was also a frequent guest star on TV shows. She returned to radio in the 1970s, appearing on many of the best episodes of "Himan Brown’s CBS Mystery Theater." Ms. McCambridge appeared in the kinky Western "Johnny Guitar." She appeared opposite Joan Crawford. The two hated each other and the feelings translated to film. If you’ve never seen the movie, don’t wait to rent it. She appeared in a memorable, but uncredited role as the lesbian leader of the gang that menaces Janet Leigh in Orson Welles’ classic "Touch of Evil." She also appeared in the twisted cult classic "Suddenly Last Summer."
CECILY ADAMS Died Mar. 3, 2004
Actress/teacher/casting director Cecily Adams died of lung cancer at age 39. Cecily Adams was the daughter of "Get Smart" actor Don Adams. She was known to "Star Trek" fans as Moogie on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." She had a number of TV and film acting credits including "Get Smart Again!," "The Equalizer," "Just Shoot Me" and "Home Improvement." Ms. Adams was also a respected acting coach. Her biggest success in the industry came as a casting director. She put together some of the best casts for several popular TV series. Can you think of a better ensemble and collection of guest stars than on FOX’s "That 70s Show"? Thank Ms. Adams. She was a casting assistant on several feature and TV films including "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" Her other casting director credits include the cult TV series "Eerie, Indiana," "3rd Rock From the Sun," "That 80s Show," "Lost on Earth," "Bone Chillers" and "Not Necessarily the Election." She cast the feature film "Sweet Revenge." Her husband, actor Jim Beaver (Adaptation) wrote additional dialogue for that film. She also cast the award winning "American Heart."
Ms. Adams, a non-smoker, lost her battle with lung cancer at home with her husband beside her. It is with great sadness that I write this. I’ve had the privilege of corresponding with Mr. Beaver from time to time. He is a decent man. Mr. Beaver also shared this painful process with his fellow posters at the google.alt.obits board. Prayers of comfort amd strength for Mr. Beaver and his daughter Madeline Rose Beaver during the days to come.
DRAKE SATHER Died Mar. 3, 2004
Emmy-nominated writer/producer and stand-up comedian Drake Sather died of a gunshot wound at age 44. The L.A. county coroner’s office ruled the death a suicide. Apparently Mr. Sather was distraught over marital problems. He had four children. Mr. Sather was nominated for an Emmy for his work on "The Larry Sanders Show." He wrote of "Saturday Night Live" during the 1993/94 season. Other credits include the movie "Zoolander," "The Dennis Miller Show," "Ed," "Empty Nest," "News Radio" and "The Naked Truth." Mr. Sather was a producer on the new TV series "Mr. Ed," but was replaced last month. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
ARTHUR KEMPEL Died Mar. 3, 2004
Composer Arthur Kempel died of stomach cancer at age 58. Mr. Kemple was nominated for an Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Composition for a Miniseries or a Special Emmy for the TV film "Fire in the Dark." Mr. Kempel’s TV credits include "Falcon Crest," "Diagnosis Murder," "The Father Dowling Mysteries" and "Remington Steele." His film credits include "Behind Enemy Lines," "The Arrival," "Double Impact," "Fleshburn" and "Mystery Men."
WALT GORNEY Died Mar. 5, 2004
"You’re all doomed!" Those words were spoken by Crazy Ralph in "Friday the 13th" and "Friday the 13th Part 2." Crazy Ralph was played by Walt Gorney. Mr. Gorney died at age 91 after a long illness. Mr. Gorney appeared in "Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter" through archived footage. He also provided the opening narration for "Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood." His other credits include "Nunzio," the remake of "King Kong," "Endless Love," Ralph Bakshi’s X-rated animated film "Heavy Traffic" and "Trading Places."
ARLENE SELLERS Died Mar. 5, 2004
Producer Arlene Sellers died of cancer at age 82. Ms. Sellers and her business partner Alex Winitsky produced and/or helped obtain financing of some of my favorite films. She assisted in the financing of Nicholas Roeg’s classic horror film "Don’t Look Now," which starred Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. She also helped in bringing the great Steve McQueen adventure/biopic "Papillon" to the screen. Ms. Sellers’ producer credits include such great movies as Sam Peckinpah’s WWII epic "Cross of Iron," the little seen, but very funny "Silver Bears" and Herbert Ross’s great Sherlock Holmes film "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution." Ms. Sellers’ other producer credits include Jonathan Demme’s "Swing Shift," "House Calls" with Walter Mathau and Glenda Jackson, Richard Lester’s "Cuba," "Stanley and Iris" and "Circle of Friends."
FRANCIS DEE Died Mar. 6, 2004
Actress Francis Dee died following a stroke at either age 94 or 96. Ms. Dee was the widow of movie star Joel McCrea. She and McCrea’s marriage lasted for 57 years. McCrea died in 1990. Francis Dee appeared in over 50 films between 1929 and 1953. Ms. Dee played Meg in George Cuckor’s version of "Little Women." She starred in Jacques Tourneur’s classic "I Walked With a Zombie." She co-starred with Bette Davis and Leslie Howard in the classic "Of Human Bondage." She co-starred with husband Joel McCrea in Frank Lloyd’s Western "Wells Fargo." Other credits include "If I Had a Million," "Becky Sharp," "Words and Music," "So Ends Our Night" and "Four Faces West."
HELENE WINSTON Died Mar. 6, 2004
Character actress Helene Winston died after a long illness. Her age was not given. Ms. Winston appeared in some of my personal favorites. She worked with director Curtis Harrington on two of his best films. The little seen, but still worthwhile "The Killing Kind" is a chilling portrait of a budding serial killer played by John Savage. Ms. Winston also appeared in Harrington’s camp classic "What’s the Matter With Helen?" One of Ms. Winston’s more memorable film roles was in LQ Jones’ cult classic "A Boy and His Dog." Ms. Winston is pictured at right with co-stars Jason Robards and Alvy Moore. The trio played the ruling council of the subterranean community ‘Topeka.’ She also worked on the Jones’ scripted 70s horror film "The Brotherhood of Satan." Other horror/sci-fi genre credits include "The Witchmaker," "Port Sinister," "Return From Witch Mountain" and an episode of "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour." "Return From Witch Mountain" wasn’t her only Disney credit. She also appeared in "The Devil and Max Devlin" and "The Shaggy D.A." Ms. Winston may be best known for the TV series "King of Kensington." She appeared in two Elvis films: "Double Trouble" and "The Trouble With Girls." Ms. Winston did voice work in Ralph Bakshi’s X-rated animated feature "Heavy Traffic." She also appeared in the Don Knotts’ comedy "The Shakiest Gun in the West." Her final film was Mel Brooks’ "Life Stinks."
PAUL WINFIELD Died Mar. 7, 2004
Oscar-nominated actor Paul Winfield died of a heart attack at age 62. 1972 was a memorable year for me as a moviegoer. That was the first year that I began to keep up with the Oscars. That was the first year that I noticed Paul Winfield. Mr. Winfield was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in "Sounder." Paul Winfield appeared in over 150 films, documentaries and TV shows. He was both a powerful lead and a strong supporting actor. His range included both drama and comedy. Mr. Winfield was nominated for three Emmy Awards for his performance as Martin Luther King Jr. in the mini-series "King," "Roots: The Next Generation" and the TV series "Picket Fences." He received the NAACP Image Award in 1982. As a kid I watched the landmark TV series "Julia." I got a kick out of the obnoxious character Earl J. Waggedorn played by Michael Link. I have no memory of Paul Winfield from that show, but he played the boyfriend of series lead Diahann Carroll. "Julia" was notable for being the first American TV series with a Black actress in the leading role. Mr. Winfield turned in a number of great performances. He had a nice supporting role in the Sidney Poitier vehicle "Brother John." I loved his befuddled, Uncle Tom general in Tim Burton’s "Mars Attacks!." He co-starred in the cool Blaxploitation film "Trouble Man." Mr. Winfield was also memorable in the Oscar nominated "Conrack." He played Burt Reynold’s fellow cop in the underrated Robert Aldrich cop drama "Hustle." He also had a nice, creepy role in Wes Craven’s "The Serpent and the Rainbow." Star Trek fans remember Mr. Winfield for his roles in "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation." He co-starred with Warren Oates in Samuel Fuller’s controversial "White Dog." Let’s not forget his role in "The Terminator." Mr. Winfield was one of the poor unfortunates who learned the hard way when Arnold said "I’ll Be Back!" Mr. Winfield appeared in a number of TV series in recurring and guest roles. He was a semi regular on "Touched By An Angel" and "L.A. Law." One of his final roles was in the TV remake of "Sounder." He leant his unique homespun voice to the A&E series "City Confidential." Mr. Winfield played boxing promoter Don King in the TV movie "Tyson." He parodied King in the animated hit series "The Simpsons" playing Lucious Sweet. The list goes on. Thanks for the many great performances.
KIKI MCCABE Died Mar. 7, 2004
Emmy-winning writer Kiki McCabe died of non-Hodkin’s lymphoma at age 75. Ms. McCabe wrote for soap operas for over 20 years. She won an Emmy for her work on "All My Children." Ms. McCabe also wrote for "The Guiding Light" and "Another World."
ISAAC KLEINERMAN Died Mar. 7, 2004
Emmy-winning TV producer Isaac Kleinerman died at age 87. Mr. Kleinerman produced the powerful WWII documentary TV series "Victory at Sea." This landmark series is still one of the best account of navel warfare during WWII. The series won both Emmy and Peabody Awards. Mr. Kleinerman also produced the TV series "The 20th Century." Mr. Kleinerman won an Emmy for the prophetic "The 21st Century," a 1968 program about the future of science and technology.
MICHAEL STRINGER Died Mar. 7, 2004
Oscar nominated Art Director/Production Designer Michael Stringer died at age 79. Mr. Stringer was nominated for a Best Art Direction Oscar for his work on Norman Jewison’s "Fiddler on the Roof." Mr. Stringer served in the RAF during WWII. He began his career as a theatrical set designer. Mr. Stringer was the Art Director on one of my childhood favorites: "Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure." "Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure" was shown as the late movie in Memphis on New Years Eve during the 1960s and 70s. While my parents were out partying, I sat home and watched the colorful epic. Among Mr. Stringer’s 50 other film credits as an Art Director and/or a Production Designer are "The Sundowners," Disney’s "The Three Lives of Thomasina" and "One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing," "633 Squadron," "A Shot in the Dark," "Casino Royale," "Robin and Marian," "The Greek Tycoon," "The Awakening" and "The Mirror Crack’d."
SPAULDING GRAY Death Confirmed Mar. 8, 2004
Actor/writer Spaulding Gray’s death was confirmed one day after his body was
pulled from the East River in New York. Mr. Gray disappeared on January 11, 2004. Gray is best known for his one-man show and later film "Swimming to Cambodia." Gray was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards for the film version. His stage version won the Obie Award. "Swimming to Cambodia" dealt with Mr. Gray’s experiences while appearing in Roland Joffe’s harrowing film "The Killing Fields. Mr. Gray appeared in a number of films including " David Byrne’s "True Stories," "Clara’s Heart," "Beaches," "The Paper" and "Kate & Leopold." Gray appeared in several adult films in the 1970s including Radley Metzger’s erotic film "Maraschino Cherry" and "Little Orphan Dusty" with porn legend John Holmes. Mr. Gray suffered from depression over the years. His mother committed suicide and Mr. Gray often said he had considered that option. Mr. Gray had previously attempted suicide in October of 2003.
ROBERT PASTORELLI Died Mar. 8, 2004
Emmy-nominated actor Robert Pastorelli was found dead in his home. He was 49 years old. The coroner's report states he died of an accidental overdose of heroin and cocaine. Police said that drug paraphernalia was found at the scene. Mr. Pastorelli was best known as the house painter Eldin on the Candice Bergen TV series "Murphy Brown." Pastorelli was nominated for an Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy for "Murphy Brown." Mr. Pastorelli’s other film and TV credits include "Dances With Wolves," "Striking Distance," the upcoming "Get Shorty" sequel "Be Cool," "Beverly Hills Cop II," "Outrageous Fortune," "Michael," "Miami Vice," "MacGyver," "Night Court" and "St. Elsewhere."
VICTOR COWIE Died March 8, 2004
Canadian actor/teacher Victor Cowie died of lung cancer at age 74. Mr. Cowie was from Winnipeg, Manitoba. My good friend, actor Jon Ted Wynne is also from Winnipeg. I wrote Ted to ask if he knew Mr. Cowie. It turns out that they were very close friends. I asked Ted for permission to use his e-mail for Mr. Cowie’s obituary. I felt that the words of a friend would pay greater tribute to the man than anything I could write.
Dear, dear Vic was a very good friend of mine. We met for lunch usually once every two months, more often if there was a project cooking. He told me, after reading "DICK & LIZ," that it was the single best manuscript he had read in 40 years of teaching, acting, etc. A very high compliment, indeed. He wrote me letters of reference for grant applications and came to all my shows. He told me many times he thought I was a truly brilliant performer and should be at Stratford and in London.
I called Vic in the new year because I hadn't heard from him or a while and wanted to touch base. He told me he had lung cancer. He had been a chain smoker for many years. I immediately made plans to see him and went over for a visit the following week. At that point, the tumour on his chest, which was touching one of his vocal cords, had paralysed the same vocal cord and he was only able to speak with a rasp.
While there he brought up a subject we'd discussed many times, namely that I would type up his latest manuscript, a screenplay. We agreed on a fee and he paid me half the money there and then. I called last Sunday to say I'd finished the typing only to discover that he was in hospital. The next day I learned from his son that Vic had passed away the night before.
A week after my first visit to Vic at home after hearing about his illness, my friend Stan Lesk went over with me. We had a great time, though Vic was obviously failing. He said he hoped to see another Manitoba summer and that he was sad he couldn't act. Stan asked him if he would play the part of the old man who is dying in my TV script "NAPOLEON'S HAND," which we started filming two weeks ago. Vic was thrilled at the prospect. He said he'd had nightmares when he read my script the week before. The only condition was that we film it at his home, so we began making plans.
I called to arrange another visit the following week and Gerry, Vic's wife said they were doing ten days of radiation treatments and he couldn't see anyone until that was over. In the meantime, Guy Maddin took his latest film, "THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD" (in which Vic, who was in many of Guy's films, had a small role) over to Vic for a private screening.
I was not to see Vic again as his sudden turn for the worse deprived me of another visit and the world of another fine performance. The thought of capturing his last role-- which would have been so poignant-- was bittersweet. It's a tremendous disappointment not to have that to look forward to.
In 1989 I played Prospero in "THE TEMPEST" in an outdoor performance. Vic was still teaching at the time and he came to see it. We didn't know each other then but he came back afterwards to see me. He was weeping, he was so moved. He told me I was a world-class actor. I'll never forget his generosity.
Vic was a wonderful actor. I worked with him in "WE WERE THE MULVANEYS." He played the Judge. He did many films and often performed on stage when he could accommodate it. I last saw him in some short plays of Pinter a year ago January.
Vic was highly respected among artists and academicians and was one of the most encouraging people I've ever known. He was also a gentleman.
We talked about many projects and ideas and he always pushed me towards new discoveries.
MIMI D’ESTEE Died Mar. 8, 2004
French-Canadian actress Mimi D’Estee died of pneumonia and Alzheimer’s disease at age 96. Ms. D’Estee appeared on stage and in film. She played Sister Elizabette in "Agnes of God." Other credits include "The Fortress" and "Crime City."
ROBIN HUNTER Died Mar. 8, 2004
British actor Robin Hunter died of emphysema at age 74. The stage and screen actor was the son of movie actor Ian Hunter. Mr. Hunter was the husband of actress Amanda Barrie. The pair had been separated for 20 years but never divorced. Mr. Hunter’s film credits include the Hammer horror film "The Vampire Circus." He also appeared in the Mod spy thriller "Modesty Blaise." Mr. Hunter’s other film and TV credits include the Mark Lester vehicle "Melody," "Doctor in Clover," the Robert Englund version of "The Phantom of the Opera" and Cy Endfield’s 1971 thriller "Universal Soldier."
COLERIDGE-TAYLOR PERKINSON Died Mar. 9, 2004
Emmy-nominated composer Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson died of cancer at age 71. Mr. Perkinson was nominated for an Emmy for his score of the TV documentary "Bearden on Bearden." Mr. Perkinson’s film and TV credits include "Cornbread, Earl and Me," "Thomasine & Bushrod," "Amazing Grace," "The Education of Sonny Carson," "Get Christie Love," "Room 222" and "A Woman Called Moses."
MARSHALL FRADY Died Mar. 9, 2004
Emmy-winning TV journalist and author Marshall Frady died of cancer at age
64. Mr. Frady wrote "Wallace," a biography of former Alabama governor George Wallace. The book was the basis for the TV film "George Wallace," which starred Gary Sinese as the controversial American civil rights figure. Frady along with Paul Monash adapted his own book to the screen. Mr. Frady won an Emmy for the TV documentary "Soldiers of the Night," which dealt with mercenaries.
JACK CRELEY Died Mar. 10, 2004
One of the creepiest film characters ever was Professor Brian O’Blivion in David Cronenberg’s "Videodrome." Actor Jack Creley, the man who portrayed the harbinger of "the new flesh" died of congestive heart failure at age 78. Jack Creley had a successful career on stage and in TV and film. He claimed over 2000 TV credits and 800 plays. Mr. Creley’s film credits include Stanley Kubrick’s black comedy "Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb," the wonderful "If You Could See What I Hear," the overlooked and controversial "Rituals" and two of the "Police Academy" movies.
BORISLAV BRONDUKOV Died Mar. 10, 2004
Renowned Russian character actor Borislav Brondukov died at age 66. Mr. Brondukov had suffered a series of three heart attacks. The final one in 1997 left the actor unable to move or speak. Brondukov began acting in reginal theaters in the Ukraine. In 1962 he made his film debut. He appeared in 110 films in the former Soviet Union. His biggest role was as police inspector Lestrade in the TV mini-series "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson." He was honored with several awards in his native country.
WILHELM VON HOMBERG Died Mar. 10, 2004
German actor Wilhelm von Homberg died of cancer at age 63. Mr. von Homberg was best known for a series of villainous roles in several hit movies. He was Vigo, the evil overlord in "Ghost Busters II." He was also one of Alan Rickman’s gang of thieves in "Die Hard." Mr. von Homberg appeared in John Carpenter’s under-rated "In the Mouth of Madness." Other film credits include Alfred Hitchcock’s "Torn Curtain," "The Devil’s Brigade," "The Last of the Secret Agents," the Matt Helm spy-spoof "The Wrecking Crew," "The Package" and Michael Ritchie’s "Diggstown."
EDMUND SYLVERS Died Mar. 11, 2004
R&B singer Edmund Sylvers died of lung cancer at age 47. Mr. Sylvers and six family members formed the funk band "The Sylvers" in 1972. The Sylvers had a string of hits back when my stomach was flat and the only hair on my back was also attached to the top of my head. Edmund Sylvers sang lead vocals on the catchy "Boogie Fever." He also scored a hit in 1980 as a solo artist with the song "That Burning Love." Edmund and the rest of The Sylvers appeared in the basketball comedy "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh." Mr. Sylvers also appeared on "Soul Train" performing "Have You Heard."
KAREL KACHYNA Died Mar.12, 2004
Czechoslovakian writer/director Karel Kachyna died at age 79. Mr. Kachyna was part of the Czech New Wave, though he wasn’t as well known as fellow directors Milos Forman and Jiri Menzel. This may be due to the fact that his films were banned by the Soviets for nearly 20 years. His movie "The Ear" was nominated for the Golden Palm at Cannes in 1970. The film was banned and didn’t receive a public release until 1990! Mr. Kachyna wrote over 40 films and directed over 60.
WILLIAM MORITZ Died Mar. 12, 2004
Animator/film historian/experimental filmmaker/teacher William Moritz died of cancer at age 63. Mr. Moritz wrote hundreds of articles on experimental animators and filmmakers. He was instrumental in the rediscovery of German experimental animator Oskar Fischinger. Mr. Moritz biography of Fischinger "Optical Poetry: The Life and Work of Oskar Fischinger" is set for release in April, 2004. Mr. Moritz taught film at Cal Arts. He was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Royal Academy of the Netherlands for his work in the area of visual music. Mr. Moritz made 34 short and experimental films. He appeared as himself in the documentary "Abstract Cinema." Mr. Moritz was also a published poet and playwright.
"Firecracker" and "Pepsquad" director Steve Balderson remembered Mr. Moritz this way: "Bill Moritz was one of my mentors. He was a great fellow. I met with him a few times at his home off Laurel Canyon - it was like another world in there. He taught me about how to understand, and respect, the aesthetics of cinema. At that time I'd never heard the word aesthetic. He was a wonderful teacher. Bill was great. He is great. I deal with death very well, so my instincts are to have a moment to celebrate him - instead of feeling down!"
USTAD V. KHAN Died Mar. 13, 2004
Sitarist Ustad V. Khan died of lung cancer at age 76. Mr. Khan was one of India’s premiere Sitar players. Mr. Khan composed music for a number of films including James Ivory’s "The Guru," which starred Michael York and Rita Tushingham. He also worked with Ivory on the documentary "The Delhi Way." Other credits include "Jalsaghar" by master director Satyajit Ray. Mr. Khan appeared as himself in "Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love" and Ivory’s "The Guru."
MAX HARRIS Died Mar. 13, 2004
British composer Max Harris died at age 85. Mr. Harris composed the theme songs to a number of British TV series. His film and TV credits include "On the Buses," "Porridge," "The Strange World of Gurney Slade," "Doomwatch," "Baby Love," "Dreamchild," "Carry On England" and "The Christmas Wife." Mr. Harris served in the British army during WWII.
ROXIE CAMPANELLA Died Mar. 14, 2004
Roxie Campanella, widow of baseball great Roy Campanella died of cancer at age 77. Roy Campanella was an MVP catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers during the 1940s and 50s. He was paralyzed in an auto accident in 1958. The TV movie "It’s Good to Be Alive" dealt with Mr. Campanella’s heroic story of survival. Mrs. Campanella had a cameo in the TV biopic. Paul Winfield portrayed Roy Campanella in that film. The couple also started a scholarship foundation for students with physical disabilities.
RENE LALOUX Died Mar. 14, 2004
Award-winning writer/director Rene Laloux died of a heart attack at age 74. One of my favorite films in high school was Laloux’s "Fantastic Planet." The animated fantasy was nominated for the Golden Palm at Cannes. It was given a Special Award at that same festival. "Fantastic Planet" is Mr. Laloux’s best-known film. However, his other works do have followings among animation fans. He also wrote and directed "Gandahar" and "Time Masters" in addition to a number of shorts. If you’ve never experienced "Fantastic Planet" the DVD is available from Anchor Bay. While the film is deliberately paced, it is rewarding to those with patience and an appreciation for beauty.
NATHAN HEARD Died Mar. 14, 2004
Writer Nathan Heard died at age 67. Mr. Heard is a prime example of the possibilities of rehabilitation. Mr. Heard was a gangster from an early age. He spent nearly 15 years in prisons and youth reformatories. In prison, a cellmate handed him a soft-core pornography novel. Mr. Heard thought to himself "I can do better than that." And he did. Mr. Heard’s first novel "Howard Street" was a brutal look at life on the streets. Mr. Heard wrote several more novels. He taught English at Rutgers and Fresno State. Mr. Heard played the character "Big Pink" in Ossie Davis’s tough crime drama "Gordon’s War." "Gordon’s War" starred Paul Winfield and dealt with a group of Vietnam vets going to war against drug-dealers destroying their neighborhood.
MARTIN EDMOND Died Mar. 15, 2004
Comic book artist Martin Edmond died at age 34. The apparent cause of death was suicide. Mr. Edmond moved from his native New Zealand to Los Angeles two years ago. His most famous work was the "White Trash" series. He was the co-creator of "Accident Man." He also worked on the Illicit clothing line. Other comic and illustration credits include "Toxic," "Lobo," "Heavy Metal" and "The Punisher." He was a write for the "Piratenet" TV series. He was negotiating with Fox to turn his "Rolling Red Knuckles" comic strip into an animated series. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
JOHN C. VALLONE Died Mar. 15, 2004
Oscar-nominated production designer/producer John C. Vallone drown in Park City, Utah at age 50. Mr. Vallone was nominated for an Oscar for his work on Robert Wise’s "Star Trek: The Motion Picture." Mr. Vallone was a producer on the hit sci-fi film "Predator." Mr. Vallone was the production designer on five films by director Walter Hill. Those include "Southern Comfort," "48 Hrs" and "Streets of Fire." His other production design credits include "Die Hard 2," "Brainstorm," "Bad Boys" and "Cliffhanger."
PHILIPPE LEMAIRE Died Mar. 15, 2004
Veteran French actor Philippe Lemaire committed suicide by throwing himself under a subway train. He was 77 years old. Mr. Lemaire appeared in over 100 films in a career that spanned nearly 60 years. Among his film credits are the Roger Vadim segment of "Spirits of the Dead," Jean Boyer’s "We Will All Go to Paris," "Cartouche," "The Iron Mask," the TV version of "Belle Epoque" and "The Art of Love." Mr. Lemaire worked up until his death. He has two films currently in post-production.
BRIAN BIANCHINI Died Mar. 16, 2004
Actor/model Brian Bianchini committed suicide at age 25. The actor appeared in "The Brotherhood," "Girl for Girl" and "The Black Magic." Mr. Bianchini is reported to have suffered from depression. He had tried several times previously to commit suicide. During one attempt, the San Francisco police department had to use a Taser to subdue Mr. Bianchini. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
J.J. JACKSON Died Mar. 17, 2004
Original MTV VJ J.J. Jackson died of a heart attack at age 62. Mr. Jackson along with Martha Quinn, Mark Goodman, Nina Blackwood and Alan Hunter was one of the original five VJs on MTV. Jackson and the others helped shaped the pop iconography of the 1980s on the groundbreaking TV network. Jackson hosted the MTV show "120 Minutes." He appeared as himself in several documentaries. Mr. Jackson was a successful deejay before coming to MTV. He returned to radio after leaving MTV.
MARTIN BRINTON Died Mar. 17, 2004
Actor Martin Brinton died at age 61. Mr. Brinton. Mr. Brinton played Lenny in Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece "Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore." Mr. Brinton was also a stage actor appearing in "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial" with Dirk Blocker and James Morrison. Mr. Brinton’s other film and TV credits include "Forget Paris," "Midnight Warrior," the pilot episode of "It’s Like, You Know," "Hot Line" and "Doogie Howser M.D."
RICHARD MARNER Died Mar. 18, 2004
British actor Richard Marner died at age 82. Mr. Marner was beloved in his native land for his long-running role on the comedy series " ‘Allo ‘Allo!" Mr. Marner played German General Kurt von Strohm in the series. He appeared in every episode during the show’s 10-year run. Mr. Marner appeared in some of the most popular movies ever made. His film credits include John Huston’s "The African Queen," Alfred Hitchcock’s remake of his own "The Man Who Knew Too Much," the hilarious "The Mouse on the Moon," the James Bond film "You Only Live Twice," "The Boys From Brazil," "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold," the excellent TV mini-series "QBVII," Karel Reisz’s biopic of dancer Isadora Duncan "Isadora" and "The Sum of All Fears."
RAQUEL RODRIGO Died Mar. 18, 2004
Veteran Spanish actress Raquel Rodrigo lost her three-year battle with colon cancer. She was 89 years old. Ms. Rodrigo appeared in the 1932 film "Carceleras." It was the first Spanish talkie. Among her many credits were "The Curse of the Black Cat," "Family," "Black Flag," "The Barber of Seville" and "The Power of Desire." Ms. Rodrigo was also an accomplished singer.
ROBERT BENNETT Died Mar. 19, 2004
Cinematographer Robert Bennett died of a brain hemorrhage at age 44. Mr. Bennett was best known for his work on several award-winning documentaries. Bennett often worked with director Douglas Pray. His credits include "Hype," a look at the Seattle grunge scene, "Scratch," a look at the San Francisco Hip-Hop scene and "Scratch the Surface," a look beyond the beauty of several super models. His feature credits include "The Gardner" and "Murder in China Basin."
CHOSUKE IKARIYA Died Mar. 20, 2004
Popular Japanese comedian Chosuke Ikariya died of lymph-node cancer at age 72. Mr. Ikariya announced his illness last June. Ikariya and four others formed the comedy team "The Drifters" in the 1960s. He appeared in over 20 films both as a solo artist and with his slapstick comedy troupe. Mr. Ikariya’s film credits include "Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams," "Black Jack II," "Bayside Shakedown" and "Bayside Shakedown 2."
JOHN DENNIS Died Mar. 20, 2004
Character actor turned minister John Dennis died at age 84. Mr. Dennis appeared in over 120 films and TV episodes. Late in Life, he changed his name to John St. Dennis and began to share the word of God at his church in Apple Valley, California. Among Mr. Dennis’ many film and TV credits are "From Here to Eternity," "Jailhouse Rock," "The Oscar," "Frankenstein 1970," "Pete Kelly’s Blues," "My Gun is Quick," "Never a Dull Moment," "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes," "Soylent Green," "High Anxiety," "Love at First Bite," "Up the Sandbox," "Perry Mason," "Dragnet," "Kung Fu" and "The Night Stalker."
LUDMILA TCHERINA Died Mar. 21, 2004
Ballarina and actress Ludmila Tcherina died at age 79. Ms. Tcherina danced with many of the best ballet companies in the world including the Bolshoi. She appeared in 21 films including Michael Powell’s classic "The Red Shoes." I remember my mother dragging me to see "The Tales of Hoffman" when I was a kid. Had I not fallen asleep, I might remember seeing Ms. Tcherina’s work in that film. Hey, I was only 10-years old. Ms. Tcherina’s other film credits include Douglas Sirk’s "The Sigh of the Pagan" and the title role in the 1973 TV version of "Salome." Ms. Tcherina was also a published novelist and accomplished painter and sculptor.
ROBERT SNYDER Died Mar. 21, 2004
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Robert Snyder died at age 88. Two of his films were nominated for Best Documentary Feature Oscars. "The Hidden World" is a fascinating look at the world of insects. While Snyder was nominated for "The Hidden World," he won the Oscar for producing "Titan: The Story of Michaelangelo." Mr. Snyder’s father-in-law was the famed designer of the Geodesic Dome, R. Buckminster Fuller. Mr. Snyder made two films about Mr. Fuller. Mr. Snyder also directed two documentaries about erotic author Henry Miller and erotic diarist Anais Nin. He also directed the 12-part series "A Look at Modern Art."
ERIC HOUSE Died Mar. 21, 2004
Canadian actor Eric House died of emphysema at age 82. Mr. House was best known as a theatrical actor and director in Canada. He was one of the original members of the Stratford Festival theater company. Mr. House appeared in several films and TV shows. He had a supporting role in the disturbing psychological drama "An Act of the Heart," which starred Genevieve Bujold. Other credits include "Strange Brew," "High-Ballin!" and "The Twilight Zone."
SEIJI MATANO Died Mar. 23, 2004
Japanese actor Seiji Matano apparently committed suicide at age 41. This is the fourth industry suicide this month! (That's not counting the confirmation that Spaulding Gray committed suicide.) Mr. Matano was 43. He was found hanging from a ceiling beam at a bar in Tokyo that he was managing. Mr. Matano was known in Japan for his work as Detective Bruce in the TV series "Taiyo Ni Hoero." Mr. Matano’s film credits include "Goodbye to the Girls" and "Sunny Gets Blue." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
NATAL KING (TAYLOR SUMERS) Death Announced Mar. 24, 2004
Canadian model and adult video actress Natal King (stage name Taylor Sumers) was reported missing on Feb. 29, 2004. He body was discovered today and it was revealed that she had died of multiple stab wounds. Ms. King was in Conshohocken, Pa. to do an adult photo shoot. The photographer Anthony Joseph Frederick has been charged in the death. Another actress, Jennifer Mitkus has also been charged with lying to authorities and hindering investigation in relation to the homicide. Ms. King’s body was found with an S/M ball gag in her mouth. Ms. King advertised herself as a fetish model. In a stroke of morbid irony, one website features Ms. King bound and gagged with a rubber ball in her mouth and fake blood on her breasts. The 23-year-old Canadian had entered the world of adult entertainment about six months prior to her disappearance. Ms. Taylor is quoted on her page at the model/actress referral website "Onemodelplace.com" as saying "My name is Taylor Sumers, and I am looking to hit it big in the adult industry." She appeared in the video "Naughty College Couples 6." Unfortunately, Ms. Taylor’s fame came at the cost of her life. It’s a dangerous world and a dangerous business. Prayers of comfort for her family.
UTAKO MITSUYA Died Mar. 24, 2003
Japanese actress Utako Mitsuya died of pneumonia at age 67. Ms. Mitsuya appeared in the cheesy sci-fi movie series "Super Giant." Ms. Utako appeared in six of the films between 1957 and 1964. The titles she appeared in were "Super Giant," "Zoku Super Giant," "Super Giant 5," "Super Giant 6," "Evil Brain from Outer Space" and "Atomic Rulers of the World."
RICHARD LEECH Died Mar. 24, 2004
Irish actor Richard Leech died at age 81. Mr. Leech gave up the practice of medicine in 1946 to become an actor. He had successful stage and film careers. He appeared in over 60 films and TV series during a career that spanned 40 years. Among his credits are the excellent occult film "Night of the Demon," "Gandhi," "The Dam Busters," "A Night to Remember," "The Terror of the Tongs," "The War Lover," "Young Winston" "The Shooting Party," several episodes of "The Avengers" and "Dr. Who."
HERMAN SAUNDERS Died Mar. 24, 2004
Writer/producer Herman Saunders died of heart failure at age 87. I’ve always been a huge fan of the space program. Long before Ron Howard’s "Apollo 13," Herman Saunders produced the excellent Made for TV movie "Houston, We’ve Got a Problem." Robert Culp, Gary Collins and Sandra Dee starred in the film which focused on the ground crew’s battle to save the damaged Apollo 13 space craft. Mr. Saunders also produced such TV series as "Adam-12," "F Troop" and "Dragnet." Saunders also wrote for the TV series "Perry Mason." Mr. Saunders served his country in the US Army Air Corp during WWII.
LOUIS MACKEY Died Mar. 25, 2004
Professor Louis Mackey died of emphysema at age 77. Professor Lackey taught philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. He appeared in Richard Linklater’s films "Slacker" and "Waking Life." He played the Old Anarchist in "Slacker." He appeared as an animated version of himself in "Waking Life." He graduated from Duke and Yale. Mr. Lackey was also a published author. From the memorials I’ve read of the man, I would have loved to taken his classes.
KATHERINE LAWRENCE Died Mar. 25, 2004
The body of writer Katherine Lawrence was found by hikers along the San Pedro River in Arizona on March 27. A Cochise County Sheriff’s office representative informed me that there are no indications of foul play at this time, pending the medical examiner’s report. Cochise County received a request from the Tucson Police to locate a missing vehicle on March 26. Her vehicle was located next to a bridge on the San Pedro River. The police placed the time of her death as March 25. I was also informed that the Cochise County Sheriff’s office does not release information concerning suicides. Unless homicide is suspected the person’s death is does not fall into the "foul play" category. The representative stated that based on items found at the scene, they do not suspect foul play. IMDB reports that a suicide note was found at the scene. Though the Cochise County representative didn't confirm that information, I did get the impression from our conversation that the thing that was found which ruled out 'foul play' was a suicide note. If true, this is the sixth suicide this month by someone in the industry. Ms. Lawrence was born in 1954. She was a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She was nominated for a Writer's Guild of America Award for the animated series "The Hypernauts." Ms. Lawrence wrote the direct to video animated feature "The Secret of Mulan." Ms. Lawrence had numerous TV writing credits for animated series including "Dungeons and Dragons," "Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies," "Beatlejuice," "Conan the Adventurer," "War Planets," "X-Men Evolution," "Stargate Infinity" and "Legend of the Dragon."
ROBERT ARDEN Mar. 25, 2004
British character actor Robert Arden died at age 81. Mr. Arden had a memorable death scene as the US ambassador in "Omen 3: The Final Conflict." Mr. Arden appeared in over 50 films during a career that began in the 1940s. His credits include "Joe MacBeth," "A King in New York," "Call Me Bwana," "The Story of Ruth," "Ragtime" and the remake of "Little Shop of Horrors."
JAMES R. NICHOLSON Died Mar. 26, 2004
Assistant director/unit manager James R. Nicholson died at age 88. Mr. Nicholson began his career in the 1940s. He directed the film "The Badd One" with actor William Smith. Mr. Nicholson’s second unit work includes "Sailor’s Holiday," "Eight Iron Men," "Gideon’s Trumpet," "Norma Rae" and "McArthur." He also worked on a number of TV series episodes. Mr. Nicholson was a member of the Director’s Guild of America.
JAN STERLING Died Mar. 26, 2004
Oscar-nominated actress Jan Sterling died of complications following a series of strokes. She was 82. Ms. Sterling was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work in "The High and the Mighty." The John Wayne thriller was one of the inspirations for the Zucker Brother’s "Airplane." Ms. Sterling won the Golden Globe for that film. She also won the National Board of Review Award for Billy Wilder’s "Ace in the Hole." Ms. Sterling was a sexy, buxom blonde who was at her best when she played bad girls. She appeared in several of the best Film Noir dramas. Her credits include "Slaughter on 10th Avenue," "Flesh and Fury" with Tony Curtis, Dick Powell’s "Split Second," "The Human Jungle," "Female on the Beach" with Joan Crawford, "Johnny Belinda," "The Harder They Fall," the 1956 version of "1984," "The Incident" and the cult classic "High School Confidential." Ms. Sterling was the widow of actor Paul Douglas. She later lived with actor Sam Wanamaker. Ms. Sterling trained for the stage in London. She was a successful Broadway actress before turning to films.
JAN BERRY Died Mar. 26, 2004
Jan Berry has died. Mr. Berry, along with Dean Torrence was one half of the 1960s singing duo "Jan and Dean." Mr. Berry would have been 63 next week. "Jan and Dean" had a number of hits during the 1960s. They were part of the West Coast Sound music scene that also included "The Beach Boys." At the height of his career, Jan Berry crashed his corvette into a parked truck. He was paralyzed and suffered from brain damage. Through Herculean efforts, Mr. Berry fully recovered and Jan and Dean returned to performing. Actor Richard Hatch portrayed Berry in the Made for TV movie "Dead Man’s Curve." At the time of his accident Mr. Berry was set to star with his partner in the film "Easy Come, Easy Go." Jan and Dean also performed in the great rockumentary "The T.A.M.I. Show."
CONNIE CEZON Died Mar. 26, 2004
Actress Connie Cezon died of breast cancer two days before her 79th birthday. Ms. Cezon was best known for her work with Larry, Moe, Shemp and Joe Besser during the 1950s. Ms. Cezon appeared in six "Three Stooges" films. Ms. Cezon played Perry Mason’s receptionist on "The Perry Mason Show." Her other film credits include "The Female Jungle" with Lawrence Tierney and Jayne Mansfield.
FRED KARLIN Died Mar. 26, 2004
Oscar winning composer Fred Karlin died of cancer at age 67. Mr. Karlin also won Emmy and the NAACP Image Award. Mr. Karlin was nominated for four Best Song Oscars between 1970 and 73. He was the winner, along with Robb Royer and James Griffin for the song "For All We Know" from the movie "Lovers and Other Strangers." The song became a top-ten hit for The Carpenters. Mr. Karlin’s score for the TV movie "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman" won him an Emmy. He was nominated for a total of twelve Emmy Awards. Mr. Karlin scored over 130 feature films and TV movies. Among his many film credits are "The Sterile Cuckoo," "Up the Down Staircase," "Westworld," "Born Innocent," "Bad Ronald," "Futureworld" and "Greased Lightning."
ROBERT MERLE Died Mar. 27, 2004
French novelist Robert Merle died at home at age 95. Mr. Merle was an
award-winning writer. Among his books was "Un Animal Doue de Raison." Director Mike Nichols filmed the book as "Day of the Dolphin." I probably would never have seen the film were it not for the Memphis Review Board. In the 1970s, Memphis still employed a local censor. Films that were rated "GP" elsewhere earned an "R" rating in Memphis if they contained a four-letter word referring to human excrement. This meant that movies like "The Sting" and "American Graffiti" were rated "R" in Memphis. The George C. Scott film "Day of the Dolphin" also fell into this group. Having been labeled forbidden fruit by the city fathers, I snuck into the movie. The dreaded "S" word occurred once in the film as the badguys realized that the dolphin had placed an explosive charge on their boat and they were about to die. Mr. Merle’s first novel concerned the evacuation of British forces at Dunkirk during WWII. That novel won the French Goncourt Award. It was made into the film "Weekend at Dunkirk." Several of Mr. Merle’s other books were also translated into films.
PETER DIAMOND Died Mar. 27, 2004
Master stuntman/stunt coordinator/actor Peter Diamond died of a stroke at age 74. Peter Diamond was England’s premiere stuntman. He began his career as an actor having been trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. His film career spanned over 50 years. Many of the most popular films of all time were made that much more exciting because of Mr. Diamond’s presence. In addition to his behind the scenes work, Mr. Diamond made many memorable on screen appearances. He was the Tusken raider who attacked Luke Skywalker in the first "Star Wars" film. He played several other roles in the original Trilogy. More importantly, Peter Diamond is the guy who trained everyone to fight with light sabers! His swashbuckling go all the way back to Errol Flynn’s "The Dark Avenger." One of Mr. Diamond’s most spectacular on-screen appearances came in the original "Highlander" film. He was the immortal who attacked Christopher Lambert in the opening parking garage scene. Mr. Diamond was the stunt coordinator on "Raiders of the Lost Ark." He taught Harrison Ford how to do a screen fight. Mr. Diamond’s credits also include a number of Hammer horror films including "Dracula: Prince of Darkness" and "The Gorgon." According to Mr. Diamond’s family, he had over 1000 industry credits! Way to many to list or even comprehend. With that many screen credits you can be sure that Peter Diamond has entertained you at one time or another. Thanks for the thrills and spills!
PETER USTINOV Died Mar. 28, 2004
Two-time Oscar winner Peter Ustinov died of heart failure at age 82. One of the greatest character actors of all time has passed away. Thankfully he has left behind a rich legacy of film performances for us to enjoy. Mr. Ustinov was much more than a great actor though. He was a humanitarian who used his wealth and position to help the world’s underprivileged. He was a goodwill ambassador of UNICEF for 30 years. While millions will remember Mr. Ustinov for his films, millions of children will remember him for the work he did on their behalf. Ustinov also wrote and directed films and plays. Mr. Ustinov always made me believe had had lived the life experiences of the characters he played. He was able to portray the purely evil as well as the extremely good.
Ustinov won the first of his Best Supporting Actor Oscars as the owner of the gladiator school in Stanley Kubrick’s "Spartacus." His second Oscar as Best Supporting Actor came in the comedy "Topkapi." "Topkapi" was the first film I saw with Mr. Ustinov. The jewel heist movie still works today. Mr. Ustinov did not win the Oscar the first time he was nominated. He portrayed the amoral Roman emperor Nero in "Quo Vadis?" He did win the Golden Globe for "Quo Vadis?" Mr. Ustinov also won three Emmy awards. He was nominated for numerous other awards for acting, writing and directing. He was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for the 1968 film "Hot Millions."
Ustinov wrote, directed and starred in "Billy Budd." He was nominated for a DGA Award for direction and a BAFTA for his screenplay. Star Terrence Stamp received a Best Actor Oscar nomination under Mr. Ustinov’s direction on "Billy Budd." Among Ustinov’s other direction credits is the kinky Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor film "Hammersmith is Out."
To millions of Agatha Christie fans, Peter Ustinov was the best screen incarnation of detective Hercule Poirot. He portrayed the character six times on the big screen and TV including the films "Death on the Nile" and "Evil Under the Sun." One his most memorable roles and a personal favorite of mine is as the Old Man in "Logan’s Run." Other memorable credits include "The Egyptian," the overlooked story of the man who invented motion pictures "The Magic Box," "The Sundowners" and "Lorenzo’s Oil." Mr. Ustinov was also a voice actor in a number of animated films including Disney’s "Robin Hood," "Animal Farm" and "The Mouse and His Child."
ART JAMES Died Mar. 28, 2004
Veteran game-show host Art James died at age 74. Art James hosted a dozen TV games shows between the 1960s and 1990s. His credits include "Concentration," "Blank Check," "Say When," "Family Feud Challenge," "Who, What, When or Where," "Face the Music" and "The Magnificent Marble Machine." Director Kevin Smith cast Mr. James in his film "Mallrats." In "Mallrats" Mr. James played Bob Summers, a game show host!
SYLVIA FROOS Died Mar. 28, 2004
Child actress/singer/vaudevillian Sylvia Froos died of a stroke at age 89. Ms. Froos began her career on the stage as a child. She was billed as Baby Sylvia Froos. She appeared in two sound short subjects released before the first ‘talkie’ "The Jazz Singer." Ms. Froos continued her singing career into adulthood. Her film credits include "Stand Up and Cheer!" with Shirley Temple, "School for Swing," "Eddie Duchin & his Orchestra" and "All for One." A number of her film credits were short subjects featuring her singing talents.
RICHARD KEMPSTER Died Mar. 28, 2004
Animator and special effects whiz Richard Kempster died of a pulmonary embolism at age 57. Mr. Kempster was a computer animator. His film credits include "Mask 2," "X-2," "The One," "Rose Red" and "Frida." Mr. Kempster was an executive producer at Kleiser-Walczak studio.
TIDO MINOR Died Mar. 28, 2004
The ex-wife of the late TV producer Don Fedderson has died. The former model was married to Mr. Fedderson for 30 years. Ms. Minor appeared in every episode of Mr. Fedderson’s 1950s TV series "The Millionaire."
SIMONE RENANT Died Mar. 29, 2004
French actress Simone Renant died at age 93. Ms. Renant was known for her comic flair as well as her elegant sensuality. She appeared in over 40 films and also had a successful stage career. She portrayed Mme. Volanges in Roger Vadim’s 1959 version of "Dangerous Liaisons." Swoozy Kurtz played that part in the 1988 Stephen Frears version. Among her many film credits are the excellent mystery "Quai des Orfevres," "The Night is Ours" and the fun Jean-Paul Belmondo spy thriller "That Man from Rio."
DEAN WORSWICK Died Mar. 29, 2004
15-year-old actor Dean Worswick sent his family and friends farewell messages and then hanged himself. This is the seventh industry suicide this month! Young Mr. Worswick appeared on the British TV series "Coronation Street" and "Shameless." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
HUBERT GREGG Died Mar. 29, 2004
Actor/writer/radio broadcaster Hubert Gregg died at age 89. Mr. Gregg was the host of the BBC radio show "Thanks for the Memory." The show aired for over 30 years. Mr. Gregg appeared in a number of films during the 1940s and 50s. His film credits include "Flying Fortress," "In Which We Serve," "The Story of Robin Hood," "The Maggie," "Svengali" and "Doctor at Sea." Mr. Gregg was also a screenwriter. He was nominated for a Best Screenplay BAFTA for the film "Three Men in a Boat."
CHARLES GRENSBACH Died Mar. 29, 2004
Oscar winning sound mixer Charles Grenzbach died of diabetes at age 80. Mr. Grenzbach shared the Best Sound Oscar for his work on Oliver Stone’s "Platoon." Mr. Grenzbach was nominated two other times for his work on "The Godfather" and "Chinatown." Mr. Grenzbach’s career spanned nearly 50 years and included almost 100 films. Among his many credits are "King Creole," "I Married a Monster From Outer Space," "One-Eyed Jacks," "The Misfits," "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "Hatari!," "Nevada Smith," "What’s the Matter With Helen?," "Mean Streets," "The Parallax View," "Winter Kills," "The Onion Field," "No Way Out" and "Wall Street."
FIMA NOVECK Died Mar. 30, 2004
Editor/director/actor Fima Noveck died at age 86 after a lengthy illness. The Russian born Noveck immigrated to America in the late 1940s. His editing credits include Tibor Takacs’ "Viper," Antonio Margheriti’s horror film "Web of the Spider," the US version of "Agony," which dealt with the mad monk Rasputin, "Suzanne" and Burt Balaban’s "A Gentle Rain." Mr. Noveck also co-edited the classic lesbian vampire film "Daughters of Darkness." Mr. Noveck also worked as a character actor. He played Andre Gromyko in Oliver Stone’s "Nixon." Other acting credits include the feature version of "McNale’s Navy" and the TV series "SeaQuest DSV" and "ER." Mr. Noveck received a DGA nomination for directing the film "Reflections of New York." He was given co-directing the very strange 1972 horror film "Ganja & Hess." In fact, he only re-edited the film for re-release in a severely abridged version.
ALISTAIR COOKE Died Mar. 30, 2004
Emmy-winning broadcaster Alistair Cooke died at age 95. Mr. Cooke was the longtime host of "Masterpiece Theater." He brought British culture into American homes for 22 years via "Masterpiece Theater." He was also the host and writer of the TV series "America." Mr. Cooke was the narrator of the Oscar-winning film "The Three Faces of Eve." Though born in England, Mr. Cooke became an American citizen in 1941. He began the 15-minute radio show "Letter From America" designed to give the British, and idea of what life in America was like. The radio show lasted 58 years!
SCOTT HELVENSTON Died Mar. 31, 2004
Former Navy Seal, stuntman and actor Scott Helvenston was one of four American security contractors ambushed and barbarically slaughtered by terrorists in the town of Fallujah, Iraq. Mr. Helvenston was 38. The Americans were providing security for humanitarian food deliveries in the war-torn area. They died after being ambushed with RPGs. Following their deaths, the barbarian murderers dismembered the burned bodies and drug them through the streets, paraded their heads on sticks and hung one from a bridge. Prayers of comfort for the family and friends of these men who sought to bring humanitarian aid to a liberated people. Mr. Helvenston worked on a number of films and TV shows. His credits include "Face Off," "G.I. Jane," "Three Ninjas," "Raise the Titanic" and "Silk Stalkings."
FRANCES SCHREUDER Died Mar. 31, 2004
Murderer Frances Schreuder died of chronic lung disease at age 65. Ms. Schreuder was convicted of the 1978 murder of her wealthy father Franklin Bradshaw. According to prosecutors, Ms. Schreuder feared being disinherited and plotted her father’s death. The twist was that Ms. Schreuder didn’t do the deed herself. She convinced her own teenage son Marc to pull the trigger! Ah! Motherly love and filial devotion! Ms. Schreuder and her son were convicted and completed prison sentences in the case. The bizarre nature of the crime and the social status of the players made this a natural for Hollywood. Two books were written about the case. Both were turned into TV movies. Jonathan Coleman’s book became the TV movie "At Mother’s Request." Stephanie Powers played the greedy Ms. Schreuder, while E.G. Marshall portrayed her unfortunate father and Doug McKeon the son. "Point/Counterpoint" journalist Shana Alexander also wrote a book about the case. "Nutcracker: Money, Madness & Murder" was the title of the mini-series based on Ms. Alexander’s book. Lee Remick, G.D. Spradlin and Tate Donovan portrayed the killers and their victim.
BUDDY ARNOLD Died Mar. 31, 2004
Writer/composer Buddy Arnold died at age 88. Mr. Arnold wrote for the TV series "The Jackie Gleason Show" and "The Jimmy Dean Show." He produced the TV series "Philies Jackpot Bowling," which was hoste3d by his friend and collaborator Milton Berle. Mr. Arnold also composed music for "The Toast of the Town," more popularly known as "The Ed Sullivan Show." Mr. Arnold served his country in the US Army during WWII.
BONNIE JO HALPIN Died Mar. 31, 2004
Hugh Hefner’s first Bunny has died. Bonnie Jo Halpin was the first Playboy Bunny. She died of an accidental drug overdose at age 65. Ms. Halpin was seriously injured in a hit and run accident over a month ago. It is believed that she accidentally overdosed on the prescribed painkiller Vicodin. Ms. Halpin worked at the same Playboy Club with Gloria Steinem when Ms. Steinem went undercover researching her article on being a Playboy Bunny. The book became a TV movie called "A Bunny’s Tale." A more positive film and book about the Bunny experience is "The Bunny Years" by writer and former Bunny Kathryn Leigh Scott. Ms. Halpin was a friend of Ms. Scott’s. Her memoirs appear in the book. A documentary film was made of "The Bunny Years."