Saturday, April 24, 2010


BETTY JANE (BJ) BAKER Died Apr. 2, 2002

Ms. Baker was a backup singer for many of the greats including Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, The Righteous Brothers and Bobby Darin. She was married to Mickey Rooney, Walt Disney music department executive and composer Buddy Baker and jazz musician Barney Kessell. She provided the singing voice for actress Nancy Kwan in the film "Flower Drum Song." She also provided many voices for cartoons in the 60s. She was a regular on Judy Garland and Dean Martin's TV variety shows. The 74-year-old Ms. Baker died of a stroke.

JACK KRUSCHEN Died Apr. 2, 2002

You may not know his name, but chances are you've seen Jack Kruschen in many films. The Canadian actor was one of the most in-demand character actors for nearly 50 years. I first noticed Mr. Kruschen back in high school when he was the object of James Caan and Alan Arkin's bumbling wrath in the politically incorrect comedy "Freebie and the Bean." Kruschen played a mob boss that the two San Francisco cops wanted to put away. Kruschen is great in the film. His sense of irony and frustration was best illustrated in a scene in which he is getting a haircut. Outside the window of the shop, Caan and Arkin are beating the hell out of an innocent person they believe is a hit man sent to kill Kruschen. As the cops realize they're mistake, they are embarrassed. Kruschen turns to the barber and says "Its OK, they're with me." The scene plays funnier than it reads. Mr. Kruschen was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Billy Wilder's "The Apartment." Other film credits include "Satan's Cheerleaders," Disney's "$1,000,000 Duck," "Harlow," "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," the original (and superior) "Cape Fear," and "War of the Worlds." In "War of the Worlds" he was the Mexican farmer who was part of the trio that became the first victims of the Martians. Mr. Kruschen appeared in nearly 100 movies and just as many TV episodes.

HENRY SLESAR Died Apr. 2, 2002

Mr. Slesar was a writer who specialized in the macabre. He wrote for several dark TV series including "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "The Twilight Zone" and "Tales of the Unexpected." He wrote the screenplay for the excellent 1971 adaptation of Poe’s "Murders in the Rue Morgue" which starred Jason Robards. He also wrote the tongue in cheek Vincent Price vehicle "Two on a Guillotine." His writing wasn’t limited to horror. Mr. Slesar won a daytime Emmy award for his work on the soap opera "The Edge of Night." Mr. Slesar died of complications following surgery.

ROY HUGGINS Died Apr. 3, 2002

Writer/director producer Roy Huggins created and produced some of the greatest TV series of all time. His credits include "Maverick," "77 Sunset Strip," "The Fugitive," "The Rockford Files," "Baretta," "Alias Smith and Jones," and "Hunter." He directed 2 feature films and also wrote for most of the series he produced. He was also responsible for producing a number of made for TV movies including "The Story of Pretty Boy Floyd." He produced the Harrison Ford blockbuster movie version of his TV series, "The Fugitive" and the mediocre sequel "U.S. Marshals."

HEINZ DRACHE Died Apr. 3, 2002

German actor with over 30 film credits. Mr. Drache co-starred with Christopher Lee in both "The Brides of Fu Manchu" and the cool little crime film "Psycho Circus."

HARRY O'CONNOR Died Apr. 4, 2002

44-year-old stunt man Harry O'Connor was killed while filming the new Vin Diesel movie "XXX." Mr. O’Connor was being pulled on a paraglider when he hit the pillar of a bridge. His other films include "Charles Angels" "The Perfect Storm" and "Soldier."

JOHN JAY CARSEY Died Apr. 5, 2002

Long time TV writer and producer. Mr. Carsey wrote for "The Tonight Show" during the tenure of Steve Allen, Jack Parr and Johnny Carson. He later wrote for the 1960s hit TV series "Laugh-In." His widow is Marcy Carsey, the Emmy award winning producer of numerous TV series including "Cosby" "That 70s Show" (my favorite) and "3rd Rock From the Sun."

NOBU McCARTHY Died Apr. 6, 2002

Nobu Atsumi was a successful model in Japan and won the Miss Tokyo pageant. She moved to America with her then husband David McCarthy and started acting in the 1950s. She was in Jerry Lewis's "The Geisha Boy." Other credits include "Five Gates to Hell" "Walk Like a Dragon" "Love With the Proper Stranger" "The Karate Kid II" and "Pacific Heights." She appeared in the landmark TV movie "Farewell to Manzanar" which dealt with the interment of Japanese Americans in California during WWII. She was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award as best lead performance for 1988's "The Wash." Ms. McCarthy was the artistic director of The East-West Players, a theatrical company of Asian and American actors. She died when an aortic aneurysm burst while on location in Brazil filming a movie about Japanese immigrants to that country.

THIERRY PATHE Died Apr. 7, 2002

One shot producer responsible for Gil Gerard's 1977 vanity film "Hooch" about a moonshiner taking on the Mafia.

JOHN AGAR Died Apr. 7, 2002

I first noticed John Agar 36 years ago. It was a Saturday around 6 PM. I was watching "Tarantula" on WHBQ’s "Fantastic Features" in Memphis. I thought I was the smartest 1st grader around after seeing that movie because I learned the word 'Acromegaly.' The star of the film, Leo G. Carroll came down with the deforming disease while experimenting with growth hormones. I went to school and used the word as much as I could. "Your mama's so ugly she has Acromegaly." What should have gotten my skinny white but kicked only drew blank stares from the other 1st graders on the playground. I guess I was strange back then. I hadn't thought of that memory until I read today that John Agar had died.

John Agar was the "King of the B-Movies" back in the 1950s. There were many that argued that Richard Carlson or Richard Denning wore that crown, but those people were mistaken. John Agar ruled supreme. John Agar appeared regularly in three genres: Westerns, War movies and Sci-Fi films. Mr. Agar was groomed to be an A-list actor. His marriage to Shirley Temple brought him under contract in Hollywood. He started his acting career in three of the best John Wayne films ever made. Director John Ford cast Agar and Shirley Temple along side John Wayne and Henry Fonda in "Fort Apache." "Fort Apache" was the first film in John Ford's 'Cavalry Trilogy.' Agar would also appear in the second film in that trilogy, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon." His third film was with the Duke in "The Sands of Iwo Jima."

By the late 1940s, Mr. Agar was tired of hearing himself called 'Mr. Shirley Temple' a thousand times a day in the press. He developed troubles with alcohol. He and Ms. Temple had a bitter divorce. The 1950s saw Mr. Agar appearing in more westerns and war films, only they were b-movies. The 50s also saw the growth of the Sci-Fi genre. Mr. Agar appeared in several famous Sci-Fi films. "The Revenge of the Creature" was the first sequel to "The Creature From the Black Lagoon." He starred in the aforementioned "Tarantula" and others including the cheesy "The Brain From the Planet Arous" and "The Mole People."

In the 60s, Mr. Agar embraced the Westerns again and appeared almost exclusively in that genre. He did appear in Roger Corman's gangster classic "The Saint Valentines Day Massacre" though. John Wayne brought Agar on board for "Chisum" and "Big Jake" in the early 70s.

People, who were once fans as children, were beginning to work in the movie industry in the 80s and 90s. Mr. Agar was given cameo roles in horror and Sci-Fi films out of respect for his place in the history of those genres. He was in Clive Barker's "Nightbreed" among others. He appeared in the video series "A 100 Years of Horror" as himself. His last role was in the video release "Attack of the B-Movie Monster."

In 1981, the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films gave Mr. Agar a Life Career Award.

IVY OLSEN Died Apr. 7, 2002

Ms. Olsen founded the Angel Networks Charities to help the homeless in Hawaii. A stranger's kindness to a down and out Ms. Ivy and her two children one Thanksgiving lead her to return the favor to others who were as she once was. Her story was the inspiration for the CBS TV series "Touched By An Angel." Her Thanksgiving story was the basis for the pilot episode. She has her wings now.

MARIA FELIX Died Apr. 8, 2002

Maria Felix was the most famous movie star in Mexican history. She died at age 88 on her birthday. Ms. Felix made a career out of playing tough, wisecracking women. This was unusual in the Spanish culture. She refused to learn English, so her fame was isolated outside the English speaking world. Credits include French director Jean Renoir's "French Can Can." I tried accessing her official website, but it is being overrun by mourners. She was one beautiful woman in her day.

JOSEF SVOBODA Died Apr. 8, 2002

A world renowned Czech stage designer and theater director, Mr. Svoboda was the co-creator of the theatrical form called "Laterna Magika." He designed the opera sets for Milos Forman's "Amadeus." He was the production designer for Laurence Olivier's 1970 film version of Chekhov's "Three Sisters" and the 1960 film "Laterna Magika II" co-directed by a young Milos Forman.

DAVID CHUDNOW Died Apr. 8, 2002

Mr. Chudnow lived to a ripe old age of 101! Mr. Chudnow was the musical director and/or musical supervisor on nearly 150 films. He also composed the scores for another 20 films. Mr. Chudnow also produced the three "Doberman Gang" films in the 70s. Mr. Chudnow worked mainly on b-westerns and horror films. He is also credited with work on several "Charlie Chan" films.


World-renowned gospel singer and songwriter Dorothy Love Coates died of a heart attack at age 74. Ms. Coates' songs were recorded by many of the greats including Johnny Cash, Mahalia Jackson and Stevie Wonder Ms. Coates appeared in the Whoopie Coldberg/Sissy Spacek film "The Long Walk Home" which dealt with the Montgomery bus boycott. She also appeared in Oprah Winfrey's film "Beloved" on which she was also credited as the music researcher. Anyone interested on hearing her powerful voice should watch the movie "Ghost." Her recording of "No Hiding Place" appears on the soundtrack.

BRANKO BAUER Died Apr. 11, 2002

81 year old Branko Bauer died in Croatia. He directed 25 films in his native land between 1950 and 1978. Credits include "Men Only," "Face to Face" and "Three Girls Named Anna."

HOWARD PAYS Died Apr. 12, 2002

British actor Howard Pays died of cancer. His credits include "A Night to Remember," still the best Titanic movie, the creepy "Horrors of the Black Museum" and "Code of Silence." He was the father of actress Amanda Pays.

IVAN DESNY Died Apr. 13, 2002

Russian actor born in China. Mr. Desny had nearly 150 film credits in his 50-year career. Films include "Mayerling" "Berlin-Alexanderplatz" "Anastasia" (live version), "I Killed Rasputin" and "Sidney Sheldon's Bloodline."

CHARLES MULLIN Died Apr. 14, 2002

A former Radio and Television actor who turned to a career in promoting cigarettes. Mr. Mullin acted in the Radio versions of "Dick Tracy" and "Archie." He acted in the live TV broadcasts of "Robert Montgomery Presents." He then turned to the business of selling tobacco. Mr. Mullin eventually became the president and CEO of the American Tobacco Corporation.

MARK ERMLER Died Apr. 14, 2002

Director of the famed Russian Bolshoi Theater, Mr. Ermler acted as musical conductor in 18 Russian films between the 1950s and 80s. During that time he was also a conductor with the Bolshoi and performed with them all over the world.

DAMON KNIGHT Died April 15, 2002

Mr. Knight was a prolific Sci-Fi author who wrote 13 novels and 100 short stories. He was one of the major authors to bring science fiction to prominence in the "Pulp" magazines of the 30s and 40s. His story "To Serve Man" was made into an episode of "The Twighlight Zone." He also wrote for the 1949 TV series "Captain Video and His Video Rangers."

RUSTY BURRELL Died Apr. 15, 2002

When the state of California tried Charles Manson for the Tate-Labianca murders, Rusty Burrell was the bailiff charged with securing Charlie. When the state of California convicted Caryll Chessman and unjustly sentenced him to death for a series of rapes in the late 50s, Rusty Burrell was the bailiff too. The good-natured lawman also provided bailiff services for Judge Wapner on TVs "The People's Court" and "Judge Wapner's Animal Court." Burrell was a lawman first and foremost, but he did moonlight in the entertainment industry. He was the original bailiff on the 1950s TV show "Divorce Court." He appeared in the movies "Fate is the Hunter" and "Take Her, She's Mine." Court is adjourned.

MOE KEALE Died Apr. 15, 2002

Mr. Keale was a Hawaiian born actor. He appeared in numerous movies and TV
shows filmed in Hawaii. He appeared in many episodes of "Hawaii 5-O" and "Magnum P.I.."

AMELIA BACHELOR Died Apr. 15, 2002

Ms. Bachelor was the model who held up the torch in Columbia Picture’s old logo.

GREG FIELDS Died Apr. 15, 2002

Mr. Fields was a writer and producer. He wrote for the series "In Living Color" and "Full House" which he also produced. He wrote the story for Rodney Dangerfield’s comedy "Back to School."

HERBERT WERNICKE Died Apr. 16, 2002

World famous avant-garde opera designer. His two film credits were as costume designer and production designer on "Jacques Offenbach: Orpheus in the Underworld" (also Stage Director) and "L' Innocenzia ed il Piacer" (also Opera director) which were both European TV movies.

ROBERT URICH Died April 16, 2002

Sometimes the death of a particular celebrity seems sadder than other times. It's not that they had any more value as a human than others or that their passing is any more painful for their family than for others who suffer a loss. News of Robert Urich's death today of cancer put a damper on the morning drive to work. I have been a fan of his since I saw the second Dirty Harry film, "Magnum Force" back in 1973. Mr. Urich may not have been a Robert DeNiro as far as his acting range was concerned, but he had a special something, which brought his characters to life. He also seemed to be a genuinely nice guy.

Mr. Urich had been battling a rare form of cancer, which attacked his joints. It seemed for quite some time that he had the battle won. He was married to actress Heather Menzies (the second oldest daughter in "The Sound of Music"). The couple established the "Heather and Robert Urich Fund for Sarcoma Research" at the University of Michigan. IT is a worthwhile foundation that helps in the battle to cure cancer.

Mr. Urich was a bigger star on TV than on the big screen. He starred or appeared as a regular in more TV series than any other actor in history. Among his 17 TV series are "Soap," "Vega$," "Spencer For Hire," "S.W.A.T." and "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice." Mr. Urich won an Emmy for narrating a WWII documentary about submarines. His best role came in the great mini series "Lonesome Dove." A college football star, Mr. Urich's athletic abilities made him a natural to play pro-football player and Vietnam Vet Rocky Bleier in 1980's "Fighting Back." Mr. Urich was nominated twice for Golden Globes for his portrayal of Dan Tanna in the series "Vega$." Mr. Urich played the Tony Curtis role in the TV remake of "The Defiant Ones."

Mr. Urich appeared in a couple of my favorite films. The aforementioned "Magnum Force" is one. Another is the psuedo-sci-fi, paranoia B-movie classic "Endangered Species." "Endangered Species" provided an explanation for the mysterious cattle mutilations that plagued the Southwest US during the 70s. Urich played a burned out NY cop sent west to rehab and dry-out. Sparks fly between his character and the local sheriff played by JoBeth Williams. When Ms. Williams character asks Urich if he has ever been shot he replies "Honey, I've been shot more times than you've been laid...probably." It is one of the classic lines in B-movie history. Other film credits include "Ice Pirates" and "Turk 182" for which he received a "Razzie" nomination as worst supporting actor. What do those jerk-offs know!

Prayers for his wife, children and friends would be appreciated and helpful. If anyone who might want to donate to the "Heather and Robert Urich Fund for Sarcoma Research" you may send a memorial to the following address:

University of Michigan Comprehensive Center's Robert Urich Fund

1500 E. Medical Center Drive

Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0755.

JAMES AL HENDRIX Died Apr. 17, 2002

Al Hendrix was the father of legendary rock-guitar icon Jimi Hendrix. Al appeared as himself in and was the set photographer on Gary Weis's 1973 documentary "A Film About Jimi Hendrix." Al Hendrix outlived his son by 31 years.

CRANE JACKSON Died Apr. 17, 2002

Producer, stage and film actor, film critic and founder of a Los Angeles actor's studio Crane Jackson died of a heart attack. Mr. Jackson appeared in films during the 70s and 80s. Among his credits are "Lepke" "W.C. Fields and Me" "Something Evil" and "Punchline."

THOR HEYERDAHL Died Apr. 18, 2002

Norwegian explorer who set out to prove that primitive people could have sailed across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans long before European explorers. His 1947 trip from Peru to Tahiti was the subject of the classic adventure book "Kon Tiki." The film version of "Kon Tiki" won the best documentary Oscar in 1951. During the 50s, Mr. Heyerdahl wrote the documentary "Galapagos" and produced the documentary "Aku Aku." In 1970 Heyerdahl set out to cross the Atlantic in his boat made of reeds. After his first ship sank, he tried again with success. That trip was the subject of the documentary film "The Ra Expeditions"(1971). Mr. Heyerdahl was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary category for that film. He tried his hand at acting when he played a pirate in the Danish film "Pippi Longstocking in the South Sea" (1970). He's now off on his greatest adventure.

LAYNE STALEY Died Date Unknown

The decomposing body of "Alice in Chains" lead singer Layne Staley was discovered in his apartment on April 19, 2002. Like the late John Belushi, Mr. Staley died of a "speedball" overdose. IT will never happen to me said the celebrity! Mr. Staley appeared in the Video "Alice in Chains: MTV Unplugged." He also appeared with the band in an uncredited role in Cameron Crowe's comedy "Singles." Mr. Staley also provided a song for that film. He also provided music for "The Last Action Hero" and Kevin Smith's "Clerks."

REGINALD ROSE Died Apr. 19, 2002

Emmy award winning writer producer Reginald Rose died at age 81. Mr. Rose was nominated for his screenplay and for Best Picture with his co-producer Henry Fonda for the film classic "12 Angry Men." He won the Writer's Guild Award for his screenplay for "12 Angry Men." Mr. Rose won Emmy Awards for the "Studio One" production of "12 Angry Men" and for the legal TV series "The Defenders." Other screenplays include "The Wild Geese II" "Somebody Killed Her Husband" and the horrible "The Final Option." Mr. Rose also wrote the powerful "Who's Life Is It Anyway?" which starred Richard Dreyfuss. Mr. Rose began writing in early TV. He wrote several plays for the classic live series "Studio One" and "The Twilight Zone."

LINDA K. CLARK Died Apr. 19, 2002

Ms. Clark produced several of Zalman King’s soft-core "Red Shoes Diaries" films.

VLASTIMIL BRODSKY Died Apr. 20, 2002

Czech actor Vlastimil Brodsky committed suicide. His film career spanned nearly 60 years. He is the father of two actors. His film credits include "Jacob the Liar," "Hardbodies," "Closely Watched Trains" and "Labyrinth." Mr. Brodsky won the Silver Berlin Bear as best actor in "Jacob the Liar" at the Berlin International Film Festival.

BURT REYNOLDS, SR. Died Apr. 20, 2002

While he never appeared in a film that I know of, Burt Reynolds Sr. lived an exemplary life in service to his nation. He also sired one of the 20th century's brightest movie stars. During WWII, Mr. Reynolds Sr. was a part of the first wave of American soldiers to storm Normandy beach on D-Day. Forget "Saving Private Ryan," Mr. Reynolds Sr. lived the real thing. He fought in several other battles, which became the subject of movies such as the Battle of the Argonne Forest, the Battle of the Rhine and the Bridge at Remagen. After serving his country in war, Mr. Reynolds served his country in peace by becoming a lawman. I'm thankful to Mr. Reynolds Sr. for defending in war, the rights I take for granted everyday, and upholding and protecting the laws he fought for in his career as a police officer. I also thank him for his son. I'm sure that the lessons Mr. Reynolds Sr. learned in life were passed on to his son. There are very few men alive today who became men during the 70s who didn't look to Burt Reynolds Jr. as a role model for what it means to be a man. Prayers for Mr. Reynolds Sr.’s family during their time of grief you be appreciated.

ALAN DALE Died Apr. 20, 2002

Popular crooner from the 40s, 50s and 60s. Mr. Dale hosted one of the earliest TV shows, "The Alan Dale Show." That show was in fact the first TV show to be preserved by kinescope show it could be rebroadcast in other parts of the country. Mr. Dale's one film was the 1957 teen-flick "Don't Knock the Rock" in which he sang "Rockin the Cha Cha." Mr. Dale didn't achieve the success some other crooners of his era did because be refused to give in to the Mafia. At least that's what I read. I have no personal information. I can't tell you anything.

DALE HYLDAHL Died Apr. 20, 2002

Mr. Hyldahl was the man who trained the dolphins, which appeared in the TV series "Sea Hunt" and "Flipper." Mr. Hyldahl was 69 years old.

HOWARD MERRILL Died Apr. 20, 2002

Mr. Merrill was a child actor during the silent film era. He appeared in more than 50 films. He became a scriptwriter as an adult. Mr. Merrill wrote for the TV series "I Love Lucy" "The Andy Griffith Show" "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Get Smart."

HERVE DENIS Died Apr. 21, 2002

Mr. Denis was the former Cultural Minister for his native country of Haiti. He was also best known as a stage actor in France and Haiti. His one film credit was the 1968 short film "Concerto Pour Un Exil." Mr. Denis was a foe of former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier. He was imprisoned and tortured by the former tyrant.

TERRY WALSH Died Apr. 21, 2002

Veteran stunt man and stunt coordinator Terry Walsh died of cancer. During his long career, he performed stunts in "Superman", "Dragonslayer," "Superman III," "Willow," "Never Say Never Again," "Superman IV," "An American Werewolf in London" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."

SOJA JOVANOVIC Died Apr. 22, 2002

Ms. Jovanovic was the first woman film director in the former Republic of Yugoslavia. The 80-year-old directed over 20 films during her long career.


Linda Boreman who became the first superstar of the adult film industry under the name Linda Lovelace died of injuries sustained in a car crash on April 3rd. She starred in the 1972 film "Deep Throat" about a woman who's clitoris was located in the back of her throat. The term "pornochic" was coined to describe the effect "Deep Throat" had on middle-class Americans. No longer were adult theaters only frequented by men in raincoats; celebrities and couples were seen waiting on-line at movie theaters to catch the new phenomena. The success "Deep Throat" kicked off the era of adult filmmaking chronicled in "Boogie Nights." The movie also caught the eye of the Justice Department and became the target of a highly publicized prosecution in Memphis, TN. Eventually the filmmakers were exonerated. Linda Boreman's adult career began by making hard-core loops for peep shows. Her only feature before "Deep Throat" was "Dog F**ker" starring Ms. Boreman and a German Shepherd. Pretty disgusting. That fact lends some credence to the story that Ms. Boreman told in her 1980 autobiography "Ordeal." Ms. Boreman claimed that her ex-husband Chuck Traynor had forced her into the adult film industry with threats of violence and by drugging her. These allegations were denied by Mr. Traynor. Ms Boreman spent the rest of her life crusading against pornography. Her one non-porn film, made 2 years after her divorce from Traynor was "Linda Lovelace for President." The soft-core sex farce co-starred former "Monkees" drummer Mickey Dolenz and the legendary Scatman Crothers.


Doris Goodday Hoffmann was the mother of filmmaker Deborah Hoffmann. The elder Hoffmann suffered from Alzheimer's disease and was the subject of her daughter's 1994 Oscar nominated documentary feature "Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter." Deborah Hoffmann's film has been widely used by doctors to help family members learn how to cope with the devastating disease.

CARLA FRY Died Apr. 23, 2002

41-year-old producer Carla Fry jammed a lot of work into her short life. She was the executive in charge of production on some of the most popular films of recent years. Her film credits include "Boogie Nights," "Magnolia," "Life as a House," "State and Main," "Blade," "American History X" and "se7en" among others.

LISA "LEFT EYE" LOPES Died Apr. 25, 2002

Lisa Lopes, part of the hip-hop trio TLC was killed in a car crash in Honduras. Ms. Lopes occasionally traveled to a 'healing village' in Honduras to meditate. Ms. Lopes appeared as the hostess of MTV's series "The Cut." Her one big-screen credit was in the 1994 film "House Party 3" in which she portrayed a character called "Sex as a Weapon." Ms. Lopes also portrayed herself in episodes of the TV series "Living Single" and "Top Ten." She had also appeared on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" last year. She is known to sports fans as the woman who burned NFL star Andre Rison's mansion to the ground. Andre Rison and Ms. Lopes were married in 2000.

MICHAEL BRYANT Died Apr. 25, 2002

74-year-old British stage actor Michael Bryant died of undisclosed causes. In addition to his 25 years of work at London's National Theater, Mr. Bryant appeared in numerous movies and TV shows. His film credits include "Torture Garden," "The Ruling Class" with Peter O'Toole, Richard Attenborough's "Gandhi," "The Deep" with Robert Shaw and Nick Nolte, "Nicholas and Alexandra," "Hamlet" with Kenneth Branagh and my favorite "Bikini Summer II" with Jessica Hahn." Yes that last one is a real credit!

DEL SHARBUTT Died Apr. 26, 2002

Longtime radio and TV announcer. The 90 year-old Mr. Sharbutt was the announcer for or narrator of the following TV shows: "Who Do You Trust" "Your Hit Parade" "X Marks the Spot"

and "Hit Parade of 1947." Mr. Sharbutt was most famous as the voice of Campbell Soup. He was the "M-mm Good!" guy.

RUTH HANDLER Died Apr. 27, 2002

Ms. Handler was the creator of the ideal woman: Barbi! Ms. Handler appeared as herself in two documentaries. "Barbi Nation: An Unauthorized Tour" was Susan Stern's 1997 documentary about the world of Barbi. She also appeared in David Quantick's film "I Love Christmas." If Barbi were a real woman, her measurements would be 39-21-33! This of course pisses off many militant feminists. Let them buy fat-slob lumberjack-shirted dolls for their daughters if they want them to turn out like Rosie O'Donnell. I say this half in jest. I just hate political correctness.

ROBERT L. JOSEPH Died Apr. 27, 2002

Writer/producer Robert L. Joseph died of injuries sustained in a fall at his
home. Mr. Joseph wrote 20 screenplays. Among his credits are the TV movie "World War III." "World War III" was famous for the on-set death of its director Boris Sagal (the father of Katie Sagal from "Married With Children") in a helicopter crash. Other credits include "Sidney Sheldon's Rage of Angels," "Echoes of a Summer" with Jody Foster and "Door to Door Maniac." Mr. Joseph was also a stage producer.

JAKUB GOLDBERG Died Apr. 27, 2002

Mr. Goldberg was an early collaborator with director Roman Polanski. He acted in two of Polanski’s earliest films including "Two Men and a Wardrobe." He wrote the script for the film which fist brought Polanski international acclaim "Knife in the Water." Mr. Goldberg was 79 at his death.

MARSHALL SOSSON Died Apr. 28, 2002

Mr. Sosson was a classical and jazz violinist who acted as concertmaster for several Hollywood studios. He performed music on the soundtracks of "Fantasia" "From Here to Eternity" and "All the King's Men" among other films.

LOU THESZ Died Apr. 28, 2002

Mr. Thesz was know in the 40s and 50s as one of the best wrestlers in the world. Apparently, Mr. Thesz made his reputation as an honest man in a dishonest racket. His style was straight Greco-Roman wrestling. He was a world champion and one of the highest paid sport's figures in the 50s. Mr. Thesz's one screen credit was in the 1932 Hungarian love story "Rákóczi Induló." Fellow Hungarian, Bela Lugosi once acted as Mr. Thesz's celebrity ring corner man!

FERNANDO PESSA Died Apr. 29, 2002

Portuguese actor Fernando Pessa lived to the ripe old age of 100! Mr. Pessa narrated several films. He acted as production liaison for "The Boys From Brazil" and "Lionheart."

IDA INGEL Died Apr. 30, 2002

98 year old Ida Ingel was discovered by Chuck Barris on "The Gong Show." She went on to act in numerous commercials. The 98-year-old actress was one of the oldest working actors in SAG.


PEGGY HEWITT Died Mar. 1, 2002

Ms. Hewitt was primarily a stage actress. Her one film credit was in the 1983 TV mini series "Kennedy." Ms. Hewitt said she specialized in playing "ugly old broads."

HARRY NALDER Died Mar. 1, 2002

Mr. Nalder was the assistant director on the documentary "Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror." Mr. Nalder died of a heart attack.

MARY GRANT PRICE Died Mar. 2, 2002

Vincent Price gave me my first autograph. My mother ran into him at the Brooks Museum in Memphis when I was 12. I still treasure it. Mary Grant Price was his wife for nearly 25 years. Besides being Mr. Price's ex-wife, Ms. Grant-Price was a Hollywood costume designer from 1946 to 1959. Her film credits include "We're No Angels" "Sweet Smell of Success" and "Separate Tables."

DON HAIG Died Mar. 2, 2002

Producer Don Haig was one of the most prominent members of the Canadian film industry. Mr. Haig produced nearly 150 films and television shows. While Mr. Haig did produce some feature films, the majority of the films he produced were documentaries. Mr. Haig also worked as an editor on 3 films and he narrated another. Mr. Haig was once the president of the National Film Board of Canada. In 1985 he was awarded a "Genie" (the Canadian Academy Award) for his "Outstanding Contribution to the Canadian Film Industry."

WILLIAM BERG Died Mar. 2, 2002

Disney artist who worked on "Pinocchio" "Jiminy Cricket" shorts and most notably "Donald Duck." Mr. Berg wrote Donald Duck scripts and helped create the character of Ludwig Von Drake. He also wrote and drew the newspaper cartoon "Scamp" before retirement.


Soviet born writer who immigrated to Austria. His best known work is the Soviet Sci-Fi classic "Solaris."

DAN SONNEY Died Mar. 3, 2002

Mr. Sonney was a sexploitation filmmaker for nearly 40 years. His imaginative titles include "My Tale is Hot" (1964), "Trader Hornee" (1970), "A Virgin in Hollywood" (1948), "Knockers Up" (1963) and "The Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill" (1968). The 86 year old writer/producer/director died of Heart failure at age 86. Mr. Sonney often produced films under the name Semore Tokus!

SHIRLEY RUSSELL Died Mar. 4, 2002

Ms. Russell was a twice Oscar nominated costume designer for "Reds" and "Agatha." She was also nominated 8 times for the British Oscar, winning twice. Ms. Russell was the ex-wife of gonzo director Ken Russell. They had five children, two of which (Xavier and Victoria) are in the movie business. Ms. Russell’s long list of credits includes "Women in Love," "The Boys in the Band," "The Devils," "Tommy," "Listzomania," "Cuba," "Yanks," "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes" and "Hope and Glory."

ERIC FLYNN Died Mar. 4, 2002

Mr. Flynn was a British actor who appeared in "Empire of the Sun" and "Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow." He appeared in numerous British TV shows. He was the father of actors Daniel and Jerome Flynn.

WILLIAM NAGLE Died Mar. 5, 2002

In the late 70s, Australian cinema moved to the forefront of world cinema due to the works of Peter Weir, George Miller, Bruce Beresford and the other George Miller. During that time I looked for every Australian film I could find to watch. I discovered a quirky little war movie called "The Odd, Angry Shot." It caught my eye because of the presence of Bryan Brown, one of the lead actors in my all-time favorite Australian movie "Breaker Morant." "The Odd, Angry Shot" was a low-key, character driven study of Australian soldiers serving in Vietnam. I only saw it once but it made an impression on me. The movie was based on a book by former Special Forces soldier William Nagle. Mr. Nagle wrote two other films that I am aware of. "The Death of a Soldier" is based on a true story of an American soldier who is trial for a series of sex murders in Australia. James Coburn delivers a knockout performance as the military attorney assigned to represent the accused. My favorite film of Mr. Nagle's was a little film called "The Siege of Firebase Gloria." The film stars Wings Hauser (Vice Squad) and R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket). It is an action packed study of men at war. The ending includes some of the most realistic and saddening battle footage you will see in a film of this caliber. It is saddening because of the attention to detail show by Mr. Nagle in the creation of these characters. You care when these characters die in combat. Mr. Nagle wrote from the heart and from experience.

ALAN MANSON Died Mar. 5, 2002

Mr. Manson had an interesting career. He was a soldier in WWII when he was recruited to appear as himself in "This is the Army." 15 years later he began working in films on a regular basis. He had numerous feature films and TV credits. His work included Francis Ford Coppola's "The Rain People" "The Marcus/Nelson Murders" (the true crime TV movie which was the basis for the "Kojak" TV series), "Bang the Drum Slowly" with Robert DeNiro, The Doors and The Devil's Advocate.

MATI KLARWEIN Died Mar. 6, 2002

Legendary psychedelic artist Mati Klarwein was responsible for some of the best rock album covers ever including Santana's "Abraxas" cover. His connection to the film industry came from his loins. He is the father of actress Eleonore Klarwein, the star of the wonderful French, coming of age film "Peppermint Soda." His daughter made the transition from child to adult actress.

MIMI ROTH Died Mar. 7, 2002

Ms. Roth began her career as a writer in Radio. During the 50s, 60s and 70s she worked for United Artists as a department head in screenplay development. Mrs. Roth was the mother of Eric Roth, the Oscar winning screenwriter of "Ali" "The Insider" and "Forrest Gump" among others.

TED TANNEBAUM Died Mar. 7, 2002

Executive producer of numerous recent films such as "The Mothman Prophecies" The Gift "Arlington Road" "200 Cigarettes" and "The Real Blonde."

WINNIE MARKUS Died Mar. 8, 2002

Highly respected German actress was a student of Max Reinhardt. She appeared in 58 films between 1939 and 2001. In 1986 she was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the German Film Association for her outstanding contribution to the German cinema.

ROBIN ANDERSON Died Mar. 8, 2002

Australian documentary filmmaker. Ms. Anderson's 1983 film "First Contact" was nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar. She made three other feature length documentaries. Her 1992 film "Black Harvest" won awards from the International Documentary Association, The Hawaii Film Festival and The Australian Film Institute. Her last film "Facing the Music" also won Best Documentary from the Australian Film Institute and a special jury award from the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival. She died of cancer at age 51.

JOHN HARTLEY Died Mar. 8, 2002

British actor John Hartley appeared in "Shirley Valentine" and "Cry Freedom" among others. Mr. Hartley died of a heart attack.

TED COODLEY Died Mar. 8, 2002

83 year-old Ted Coodley was a veteran make-up artist with more than 50 film credits. Among his credits were "The Rookies," "How Awful About Allan," "Women From the Prehistoric Planet," "The Haunted Palace" and "The Raven."

LEONARD GERSHE Died Mar. 9, 2002

Renowned screenwriter for several decades. Mr. Gershe wrote the Audrey Hepburn movie "Funny Face," "Silk Stockings" which starred Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire. His play "Butterflies are Free" was turned into a Goldie Hawn movie. He also wrote "40 Carats" and the lyrics for the "Born in a Trunk" scene of Judy Garland's version of "A Star is Born."

IRENE WORTH Died Mar. 10, 2002

Ms. Worth was known primarily as a classically trained stage actress. She won three Tony awards during her nearly six decade career. She appeared in over 20 feature films from 1948 through 1999. She won the British Best Actress Award for the 1958 film "Orders to Kill." Other screen credits include Neil Simon's "Lost in Yonkers" Onegin and "Nicholas and Alexandra." Although she was born in Nebraska, she was awarded an Honorary CBE in 1975.

RENE ASSA Died Mar. 10, 2002

Mr. Assa was a character actor with credits in film and TV. He appeared in Alex Cox's misfire "Walker" about William Walker. For a better telling of that story see Marlon Brando in "Burn." Mr. Assa was one of the terrorists in the great TV movie "Raid on Entebbe." Other credits include "Postcards From the Edge" "Deep Cover" and "976-EVIL 2." TV credits include "Baywatch" "The A Team" and "Quantum Leap."

DAVID JOHN Died Mar. 11, 2002

Mr. John died of cancer. He worked as a sound mixer on numerous films. His credits include "The Jackal," "The Haunting," "Entrapment," "Goldeneye," "The Princess Bride" and "The Long Good Friday."

RUSSELL STONEHAM Died Mar. 12, 2002

Mr. Stoneham was a producer who is best known for the excellent "Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. The Ku Klux Klan." That film told the same story covered in "Mississippi Burning" only better and more factual!

NASIR HUSSAIN Died Mar. 13, 2002

Popular director in "Bollywood." Mr. Hussain directed a number of Hindi language musical comedies in India. He retired in 1988. Mr. Hussain won the Indian version of Best Picture and Best Screenplay Oscar (The Filmfare Award) for his last movie "Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak". He also won a lifetime achievement award at the Zee Awards. His son and nephew are also very influential in the Indian film industry.

SYLVESTER "PAT" WEAVER Died Mar. 15, 2002

Emmy and Peabody Award winning writer/producer Pat Weaver died at age 83. One time president of NBC, Mr. Weaver created both the "Today" and "Tonight" shows. Mr. Weaver was the father of actress Sigorney Weaver. Pat Weaver served his country in the US Navy during WWII.

DANILO " BATA" STOJKOVIC Died Mar. 16, 2002

I discovered a movie called Underground(1995) last year. The Serbian made film is a hilarious and dark examination of the Yugoslavia's troubled history. It is one of my favorites and a review can be found on EI's "Video Risk" page. Mr. Stojkovic was one of many great actors who contributed to this great film. In his nearly 40-year movie career, Mr. Stojkovic appeared in over 100 feature films.

CARMELO BENE Died Mar. 16, 2002

Classically trained Italian stage actor who moved into films in the 60s and 70s. He wrote, directed and starred in his re-interpretation of "Hamlet" in 1973. He directed 5 films and acted in nearly a dozen.

WILLIAM WITNEY Died Mar. 17, 2002

B-movie action-film director with well over 100 screen credits. Mr. Witney is
generally regarded as the director who introduced choreographed fight sequences to the movies. He directed numerous cliffhanger serials in the 1930s and 40s, along with many Roy Rodgers movies. He later turned to directing TV westerns including "The Wild, Wild West." His movie credits include one of my all-time favorite B-movies, the lurid "Bonnie Parker Story" with Dorothy Provine. Mr. Witney's admirers included Steven Speilberg and Quentin Tarantino.

ROSETTA LENOIRE Died Mar. 17, 2002

Renowned Black actress and winner of the National Medal of Arts. Ms. LeNoire began her career on the stage. She appeared in Orson Welles all Black version of Hamlet. Best known to TV audiences as Grandma Winslow on "Family Matters." Her film credits include one of my favorites, John Sayles Sci-Fi social satire "Brother From Another Planet." She also appeared in "The Sunshine Boys" Walter Hill's "Brewster's Millions" and she lent her vocal talents to Ralph Bakshi for his X-rated cartoon "Fritz the Cat."

JEFFERY BENJAMIN Died Mar. 18, 2002

Mr. Benjamin was assistant to the producer on one of my all time favorites: The Mechanic with Charles Bronson. He was the associate producer of "The Toy" and "King of the Mountain."

DENIS FOREST Died Mar. 19, 2002

French-Canadian actor with numerous feature film and TV credits. Mr. Forest appeared in the Stephen King mini series "Storm of the Century." Other credits include "Strange Brew" "The Mask" "Eraser" and "Cliffhanger." His TV credits include "The X-Files" "Friday the Thirteenth" and Nikita. The 41 year old actor collapsed at his home. His death is under investigation.

CARL ROUP Died Mar. 20, 2002

Mr. Roup was an extra in the silent films. He worked as a script supervisor on the Spencer Tracy version of "Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde." He was an assistant director on the TV series "Mission Impossible" and "High Chaparral." He was also assistant director on the second Dirty Harry film "Magnum Force."

TOMMY HILL Died Mar. 21, 2002

Country and Western songwriter best known for his sappy CB radio classic "Teddy Bear." Mr. Hill's single film credit was as the musical director of the 1966 country music melodrama "The Tennessee Beat." He was 72 years old.

BORIS SICHKIN Died Mar. 21, 2002

79-year old Russian actor Boris Sichkin died of heart failure. He appeared in many Russian films. He also appeared in the 1998 TV movie "World War III." He portrayed former Soviet premiere Leonid Brezhnev in Oliver Stone’s "Nixon."

JACQUIE LYNN Died Mar. 21, 2002

Child actress in the 30s whose career was ended by salary demands made by her parents. Ms. Lynn appeared in a couple of Laurel and Hardy shorts including "Pack Up Your Troubles." She also appeared in a couple of "Our Gang" shorts including the one in which Spanky is running a mule-powered Taxi service.

JOSEF VON STROHEIM Died Mar. 22, 2002

Josef von Stroheim was one of the top sound editors and sound effects specialists in the business. He won 2 Emmy Awards and 5 Golden Reel awards given by his fellow sound editors. He was also nominated for a British Academy Award for best soundtrack for his work on the 1976 version of "A Star is Born." Mr. von Stroheim was the son of Erich von Stroheim, the director of the silent-film masterpiece "Greed." The elder von Stroheim also played Max, Gloria Swanson's enabling manservant in Billy Wilder's classic "Sunset Blvd." Josef von Stroheim worked on some of the best films of the 70s. His credits include Sam Peckinpah's The Getaway, Martin Scorsese's "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," Sidney Pollack's "Jeremiah Johnson" and "Three Days of the Condor," and Mike Nichols' "Carnal Knowledge." He also worked extensively in TV. Mr. von Stroheim was a combat photographer in WWII. He worked on several B-horror movies in the 50s including "The Amazing Colossal Beast" and "The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow."

BILL BRODIE Died Mar. 22, 2002

Long time production/art designer Bill Brodie died at age 61. Mr. Brodie was nominated for 4 Genie Awards for his art direction. He won for the film "The Gray Fox." His film credits include "Superman," "The Blues Brothers 2000," "Body Parts" and "Short Circuit 2." Mr. Brodie was an assistant art director on Stanley Kubrick’s period piece "Barry Lyndon." He also directed one film "Terry Whitmore, For Example" in 1970. If you get the chance to see the 1967 film "Privilege," on which Mr. Brodie also worked, don’t miss it. It is a bit dated, but it is worth seeing for fans of the 60s.

GWEN DAVENPORT Died Mar. 23, 2002

Ms. Davenport was a novelist. Her book "Mr. Belvedere" spawned 3 movies, two starring Clifton Webb and a 1980s TV series .

EILEEN FARRELL Died Mar. 23, 2002

Very popular opera star who made the cross over to Pop music. Ms. Farrell provided the singing voice of actress Eleanor Parker in the 1955 Oscar winning film "Interrupted Melody." Ms. Farrell also made an uncredited cameo in that same film. She also appeared as a guest several times on "The Carol Burnett Show."

RICHARD BRADFORD Died Mar. 23, 2002

I saw "Red Sky At Morning" when it was first released. I was 12 and the coming of age story meant a lot to me at the time. Richard Bradford wrote the wonderful book that the movie was based on. As good as the film was, the book is better. Mr. Bradford's tale was set in Northern New Mexico. Mr. Bradford died in Sante Fe, the land he loved and shared through his writing.

RICHARD SYLBERT Died Mar. 23, 2002

Last night I was watching the DVD Frances. The featurette included a lengthy interview with Richard Sylbert, the film's production designer. Mr. Sylbert's architectural eye captured the long gone glory of Hollywood in the 30s. His comments revealed him to be a passionate artist. Needless to say, I was shocked today to read that he died. He was in my living room last night. That is the wonder of the medium, Mr. Sylbert's work is immortalized in film. Mr. Sylbert was nominated for 6 Oscars. He won 2 ("Dick Tracy" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.") My Sylbert has provided the look to some of the most influential movies of the last 50 years.

Mr. Sylbert began as an art director in the 1950s. His imprint can be seen in several of the best films from that time. He worked on Elia Kazan's "Baby Doll" (1956) and the powerful portrait of power gone mad "A Face in the Crowd" (1957). My Sylbert turned to production design in the early 60s. Film credits include the gritty crime drama "Murder Inc." (1960), John Frankenheimer's classic The Manchurian Candidate (1962), the dark Rod Steiger vehicle The Pawnbroker (1964), Roman Polanski's horror classic "Rosemary's Baby" (1968). Mr. Sylbert worked with Polanski again on the masterpiece "Chinatown" (1974). During the 60s, Mr. Sylbert produced his only film "What's New Pussycat?"

Mr. Sylbert worked many times with Mike Nichols. In addition to the Oscar winning "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" My Sylbert collaborated with Mr. Nichols on "The Graduate" (1967), "Catch 22" (1970), "Carnal Knowledge" (1971) and "The Fortune".

During the 1970s Mr. Sylbert helped create the illusion of wealth, the color of war and the grit of the street. In John Huston's "Fat City" with Stacy Keach and Jeff Bridges, Mr. Sylbert captured the seamy underside of boxing. He captured the decadence of 1968 Los Angeles in Hal Ashby's satirical "Shampoo" (1975).

During the 80s, Mr. Sylbert designed some of the more stylish films of the decade. His credits include "Reds"(1981), "Francis" (1982), "Breathless" (1983),"The Cotton Club" (1984), "Tequila Sunrise" and "Shoot to Kill" (both 1988). He continued his influential work through the 90s with "Dick Tracy" (1990), "Carlito's Way" (1993), "Mulholland Fall's" in which he also acted (1996) and "My Best Friend's Wedding" (1997). His final film was "Who Shot Victor Fox?" (2002).

FRANCIS LEROI Died Mar 24, 2002

French director of soft-core erotica, which caught on with mainstream studios in the late 70s. He directed seven of the "Emmanuelle" movie made popular by the beautiful body of Sylvia Kristal. He wrote and/or directed nearly 30 erotic films.

LOUIS M. HEYWOOD Died Mar. 26, 2002

81 year-old writer produced Louis Heywood has died of pneumonia. Mr. Heywood began his career in radio and TV. He worked for American International Pictures, Hanna Barbera and as a consultant for DIC children's entertainment. His son Andy is the creator of "Inspector Gadget." Though Mr. Heywood is well known for many prestigious shows such as the Emmy-award-winning TV movie, "The Gathering" and as the first writer for TV's first interactive show, "Winky Dink and You," I will always be indebted to him for the numerous excellent horror films he produced.

Curtis Harrington's "Who Slew Auntie Roo?" was just one of many great films Mr. Heywood produced for AIP. Other credits include "The Witchfinder General" with Vincent Price. Mr. Heywood also wrote additional dialogue for that film. You will be hard pressed to find a better horror film from the late 60s than this highly regarded film. Mr. Heywood's version of "Murders in the Rue Morgue" with Jason Robards is also considered to be one of the finest horror films of that era. Other credits include "The Crimson Cult" with Christopher Lee and Boris Karloff in one of his last roles. He produced "Scream and Scream Again" which was the only film in which Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing all appeared together. Mr. Heywood also produced "The Oblong Box" with Christopher Lee and Vincent Price and "Cry of the Banshee." Mr. Heywood also produced the two "Dr. Phibes" films with Vincent Price: "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" and "Dr. Phibes Rises Again." Fans of horror films from the late 60s and early 70s will recognize all of these titles. Others may want to check them out. Thanks to Mr. Heywood for the hours of pleasure he brought film fans over the years. Prayers for his family.

RANDY CASTILLO Died Mar. 26, 2002

Heavy metal drummer Randy Castillo died of cancer at age 51. Mr. Castillo was a drummer for Ozzy Osbourne, Lita Ford and was Tommy Lee's replacement in Motley Crue. Mr. Castillo appeared in Andrew Dice Clay's action comedy "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane." He also appeared in two rockumentaries: "Don't Blame Me" and "Ozzy Osbourne: Live and Loud."

DUDLEY MOORE Died Mar. 27, 2002

People who bring laughter into the world should be held in the highest esteem by the rest of us. Actor, writer, comedian, composer, producer and all around funny little guy, Dudley Moore passed on today after a long battle with a rare brain disorder. I first noticed Dudley more in the hilarious movie "Bedazzled" (1967) in which he and comedic partner Peter Cook took an irreverent look at love, God and the devil. Forget the remake, the original is far superior. Mr. Moore became in international superstar and unlikely romantic leading man in Blake Edwards' fantasy sex comedy "10" with Bo Derek. Mr. Moore continued his streak playing the lovable drunk in "Arthur." He was the executive producer of the sequel. Mr. Moore was also an extremely accomplished musician. He composed the score for six films. Another favorite performance of mine was as the kinky composer in the Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase comedy "Foul Play." Mr. Moore stole the show. Mr. Moore appeared in over 40 films.

MILTON BERLE Died Mar. 27, 2002

93-year-old showbiz icon Milton Berle died of colon cancer. Mr. Berle began as a child actor in silent movies. He appeared in "The Perils of Pauline" in 1914. Best known as a comedian, Mr. Berle became known as Mr. Tuesday Night in the early 1950s as America tuned into his weekly TV show, "The Texaco Star Theater." He is probably more responsible for the sale of TVs in the early 50s than any other person. "Uncle Miltie" as he was known brought outrageous comedy right into the homes of millions of Americans. Berle dressed in drag and did whatever he could to get a laugh. As a result, moviegoers stayed away from theaters in droves. In this way, Mr. Berle was single-handedly responsible for many technological advances in the movie industry. VistaVision, Cinerama and numerous other new Widescreen (along with 3D) formats were invented to woo people back into the theaters. One of the most popular stories about Mr. Berle is that he had the largest penis in Hollywood. Mr. Berle was dining with Jackie Gleason and Forest Tucker. Mr. Tucker was also supposedly well endowed.Jackie Gleason pushed the two men to a contest to see who was bigger. When Mr. Berle balked at exposing himself in public, Gleason retorted "Berle, just take out enough to beat him!" Berle's numerous film credits include "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" "Broadway Danny Rose" "The Muppet Movie" "Evil Roy Slade" (a hilarious made for TV western spoof) and the gangster movie "Lepke." Mr. Berle's showbiz career spanned the presidential administrations of William Howard Taft through George W. Bush!

BILLY WILDER Died Mar. 27, 2002

When it rains it pours folks. March 27, 2002 looks to be a dark day for the film industry. First Dudley Moore, then Milton Berle and now Billy Wilder. In my humble opinion, Billy Wilder was, behind Akira Kurosawa, the greatest movie director of all time. The Austrian born writer/director was responsible for many of the greatest films ever made. Most directors would be proud to have directed one film as good as those written and directed by Mr. Wilder. The 95-year-old genius helmed such classics as "Sunset Blvd." "The Lost Weekend" "Stalag 17" "Double Indemnity" "The Apartment" "Witness for the Prosecution" "Some Like It Hot" and "The Seven year Itch." Mr. Wilder's non-classics were still better than most others' best films. Some of those films include "Sabrina" "The Spirit of St. Louis" "Irma La Douce" "The Fortune Cookie" "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes" and "One, Two, Three."

Mr. Wilder began his career as a screenwriter. He wrote 35 scripts that were produced before he began directing films in 1942 including "Ninotchka." He always worked with a writing partner because he was self-conscious about his mastery of the English language. His two main partners were Charles Brackett and I.A.L. Diamond. Mr. Wilder not only wrote all of his own films, he continued to write scripts for others. Mr. Wilder performed a bit of uncredited script surgery on the Rat Pack's classic heist film "Ocean's 11" and the James Bond spoof "Casino Royale."

Wilder excelled as a director because not only did he have a brilliant eye for camera placement and movement, he knew how to bring characters to life. His scripts provided some of the most memorable characters in film history. Acting in a Billy Wilder film would usually lead to an Oscar nomination or win for the actors in his films. William Holden (twice), Walter Mathau, Ray Milland, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Strauss, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olsen, Audrey Hepburn, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester, Jack Lemmon (twice), Jack Kruschen and Shirley MacLaine (twice) were all nominated for acting in Billy Wilder films. Mr. Wilder himself was nominated for 21 Oscars. He won six and also was given the Irving Thalberg Lifetime Achievement Award in 1988. Of the 25 films Mr. Wilder directed after fleeing Hitler's Germany, 17 were nominated for one type of Oscar or another. More than two-thirds of his work was recognized for excellence!

Mr. Wilder was able to work in many genres. "Stalag 17" is probably the best POW movie ever made. "Double Indemnity" is usually considered to be the best Film Noir ever made. Billy Wilder's "Some Like It Hot" was voted the best comedy of all time by the American Film Institute. Whether dealing with the twisted mind of an aging movie star ("Sunset Blvd.") or a budding young woman being pursued by wolves in black ties ("Sabrina"), Billy Wilder hit the mark. I hope there will someday be another like him.

GLEN ROBINSON Died Mar. 27, 2002

Mr. Robinson put the shake, rattle and roll in many an action adventure film. The special effects expert died at age 87. His numerous credits include "The Hindenberg," "Earthquake," "Pennies From Heaven," "The Bamboo Saucer," the remake of "King Kong," "Logan’s Run," "The Battle of Britain," "Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid" and "Flash Gordon."

CLARK JONES Died Mar. 28, 2002

The 82-year-old veteran TV director died in Key West, Florida. Mr. Jones directed numerous live TV shows during the 50s. He is best know for his direction of the Mary Martin live-TV broadcast version of "Peter Pan."

RICO YAN Died Mar. 29, 2002

Young Philippine heartthrob who died mysteriously of Pancreatitus, a rare disease which seems to strike down young men of Asian descent.

ANAND BAKSHI Died Mar. 30, 2002

Award winning Indian lyricist who wrote over 4oo songs. He contributed songs to over 60 films in his native India.

BARRY TOOK Died Mar. 31, 2002

British writer/comedian/producer, Barry Took died of cancer. He was a long time stand-up comedian. He began writing for British radio in the 50s with his partner, the late Marty Feldman. Mr. Took was involved in the creation and production of "Monty Python's Flying Circus." It was originally going to be called "Baron von Took's Flying Circus." He also wrote for "Laugh-In" in America during the 60s. Other credits include the British TV show "Marty" and the 1970 film "Every Home Should Have One."

TONINO CERVI Died Mar. 31, 2002

Italian producer, director and screenwriter. One of the first films Mr. Cervi produced was "Boccacio 70." The film consists of four short films. Three of the four were directed by three of the greatest Italian directors ever: Frederico Felleni, Vittorio De Sica and Luchino Visconti. Neither IMDB or the All Movie Guide have complete filmographies of the late filmmaker. I was able to locate 21 film credits. Mr. Cervi also produced early films of both Bernardo Bertolucci and Michelangelo Antonioni. Mr. Cervi died of a heart attack at age 71.

LUIGI LURASCHI Died Mar. 31, 2002

Mr. Luraschi was an executive with Paramount for nearly 4 decades. He worked at expanding Paramount's international department. He produced the Anthony Quinn film "Barabbas" and John Huston's bomb "The Bible." According to IMDB Mr. Luraschi worked with the CIA to promote pro-American causes during the McCarthy era. As part of this work, Mr. Luraschi campaigned against Fred Zinnemann's classic western "High Noon" in the Oscar race.

MARVIN GOLDHAR Died Mar. 31, 2002

Canadian actor Marvin Goldhar provided onscreen performances for live action films, and voice work for many animated features. He appeared in the TV films about two very lovable folks: "Gotti" and "Leona Helmsley: The Queen of Mean." His animated work included voices in "The Nutcracker Prince," "C.O.P.S." and the TV series "Ewoks." Mr. Goldhar was 67 at the time of his death.