Saturday, December 4, 2010


BASIL CLARKE Died Dec. 2004

Actor Basil Clarke died at age 91. Mr. Clarke was born in England but raised in New Zealand. Mr. Clarke was primarily a stage actor. He toured with the Royal Shakespeare Theater. Mr. Clarke began his career writing radio documentaries in New Zealand. He then turned to the stage and eventually film and TV. His best known TV role was as Young Mr. Bone in the Australian version of "Are You Being Served?" Mr. Clarke appeared in over 40 films and TV shows. He played Charles Darwin in the Australian comedy "Young Einstein." Other credits include "Babe: Pig in the City," "My Brilliant Career," "The Secret Garden" and "Time Trax."

WILLIAM SACKHEIM Died Dec. 1, 2004

Award-winning writer/producer William Sackheim died of Pick’s Disease, a degenerative brain disease at age 84. Mr. Sackhein co-wrote "First Blood." The hit film kicked off the successful "Rambo" film series. He was nominated for two Emmy awards for producing the TV series "The Law" and an episode of "The Alcoa/Goodyear Theater." He won for both. Mr. Sackheim produced a number of notable films. The original version of "The In-Laws" is hands down one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen. Alan Arkin and Peter Falk co-starred in the sleeper comedy. Forget the remake, if you want to laugh, rent Mr. Sackheim’s version. He also produced the chilling "Pacific Heights," "The Competition" and "White Sands." Mr. Sackheim produced many TV series including "Night Gallery," "Delvecchio," "Gidget," "The Flying Nun" and "Deadlock." Speaking of "Night Gallery," Mr. Sackheim produced the pilot film as well as several episodes of the series. As the producer of the pilot film, Mr. Sackheim hired the three directors, the late Boris Sagal, Barry Shear and the then unknown Stephen Speilberg!

BHETTY WALDRON Died Dec. 1, 2004

Actress/drama coach Bhetty Waldron died of lung cancer at age 63. Ms. Waldron appeared in a number of Films and TV shows. Her credits include "All in the Family," "The Jeffersons," "Good Times," "Sanford and Son," "B.L. Stryker," "C.S.I.: Miami" and the films "Hit Man" and "The Suitor." Ms. Waldron founded the Quest Theater & Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida to promote the production of Black plays. She later taught drama to elementary-school children.

KEVIN COYNE Died Dec. 2, 2004

Rock/blues singer/writer/painter/poet Kevin Coyne died of lung fibrosis at age 60. Mr. Coyne was offered the job of being the front man for The Doors following the death of Jim Morrison. He turned the job down because he didn’t like the idea of wearing tight leather pants! His career was the subject of the documentary "One Room Man: Kevin Coyne." He composed the music for Peter Sempel’s documentary "Jonas in the Desert."

ALICIA MARKOVA Died Dec. 2, 2004

Prima ballerina Alicia Markova died of natural causes one day after her 94th birthday. Ms. Markova co-founded the English National Ballet in 1950. She was the director of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet from 1963 to 1969. She also performed many times at the American Ballet Theater. Ms. Markova played the title role in the film "Giselle." She appeared as herself in the films "A Song for Miss Julie" and "Celebration: The Story of the Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet."

LARRY BUCHANAN Died Dec. 2, 2004

Pioneer indie film director/producer/writer/editor Larry Buchanan died of complications from a colapsed lung at age 81. Mr. Buchanan was cut from the same cloth as such filmmakers as Russ Meyer, Herschell Gordon Lewis and Doris Wishman. He directed a multitude of low budget and exploitation films during his lengthy career. Mr. Buchanan was from the school of movie makers who did everything. He wrote, produced, directed edited and sometimes scored his own films. His early work included everything from lurid nudies to grade-Z horror films. He later turned to bio-pics and docu-dramas. He spent the last 30 years trying to finish his religious epic "The Copper Scroll of Mary Magdalene." He finished post-production on the film shortly before his death. Mr. Buchanan’s long list of credits include "Mars Need Women" (who doesn’t!). He also was the force behind "Zontar: The Thing From Venus," "The Eye Creatures" and "Curse of the Swamp Creature." Some news outlets have mistakenly reported that Mr. Buchanan directed the cult classic "It’s Alive." While Mr. Buchanan did direct a low-budget horror film by that name, it was not the Larry Cohen film that is beloved by legions of horror fans. Mr. Buchanan’s film starred former child actor Tommy Kirk as one of a trio kidnapped by a crazy farmer in order to feed the monster that lives in a cave on his farm. The Cohen film concerned a carnivorous newborn baby with fangs and claws. Larry Buchanan also directed the nudie film "Naked Dallas." The movie was shot in Jack Ruby’s club and featured many of Jack’s strippers. One of the strippers in the film, Jada became one of the mysterious deaths that JFK conspiracy theorists point to prove that Oswald was a patsy. Jada was killed in 1981 when her motorcycle was run over by a school bus. Mr. Buchanan directed the Marilyn Monroe bio-pic "Goodbye, Norma Jean." The movie starred Playboy playmate Misty Rowe and featured ample nudity.

MARIA PERSCHY Died Dec. 3, 2004

Austrian actress Maria Perschy died of cancer at age 66. Ms. Perschy worked on both sides of the Atlantic. She appeared in the films of master directors as well as in low-budget horror films. Of course I prefer her work in the horror genre. She co-starred with Jason Robards in Gordon Hessler’s excellent "Murders in the Rue Morgue." Ms. Perschy worked several times with Spanish horror icon Jacinto Molina. She also had a strong supporting role in Jacinto Molina’s "Hunchback of the Rue Morgue." She also worked with Molina on "Exorcismo," "House of Psychotic Women," "Ultimo Deseo" and "Kilma Queen of the Jungle." She appeared with Christopher Lee in cult director Jesus Franco’s "The Castle of Fu Manchu." Other horror film credits include one of Amando de Ossorio’s Templar Knight zombie films "Ship of Zombies" and "The Spector of Terror." Ms. Perschy also found a number of roles in war films. She was the lone female in the WWII film "633 Squadron" with Cliff Robertson. Ms. Perschy also appeared in "The Last Day of the War," "The Password is Courage" and "Battle Flag." Mainstream American audiences may know her best for such films as John Huston’s bio-pic "Freud" and Howard Hawks’ sex comedy "Man’s Favorite Sport?" with Rock Hudson.

CARL ESMOND Died Dec. 4, 2004

Actor Carl Esmond died of natural causes at age 96. Mr. Esmond became a matinee idol in pre-WWII Germany. Before the war began, he moved first to Great Britain and then the US. He appeared in 90 films and TV shows during his career. In the US, Esmond was a character actor specializing is sophisticated yet oily roles. His US film debut came in Errol Flynn’s "The Dawn Patrol." He had a bit part in the Ronald Coleman version of "The Prisoner of Zenda." He provided nice supporting work as a German Major in "Sergeant York." One of his better roles came in Cecil B. DeMille’s WWII drama "The Story of Dr. Wassell." Likewise, Mr. Esmond was excellent in Fritz Lang’s classic Film Noir "Ministry of Fear." On the lighter side, he appeared with Hedy Lamar and Robert Walker in the comedy "Her Highness and the Bellboy." Mr. Esmond also carved out a nice career for himself on TV during the 1950s and 60s. He played Victor Lazlo in the live TV version of "Casablanca" on the "Lux Video Theater." Actor Paul Henreid played the role in the more famous film version.

KYLE HEALEY Died Dec. 4, 2004

Special visual effects whiz Kyle Healey died of undisclosed causes at age 37. Mr. Healey worked on over 50 films during his 11-year career. He was nominated by the Visual Effects Society for the Outstanding Visual Effects in a TV series Award for his work on "ER." In addition to his many F/X credits, Mr. Healey wrote, produced and directed the short comedy film "Blown Chance." Mr. Healey’s film and TV credits include "White Noise," "Jungle 2 Jungle," "Con Air," "Flubber," "Armageddon," the remake of "Mighty Joe Young," "Mission to Mars," the remake of "Gone in 60 Seconds," "Pearl Harbor," "Reign of Fire" and "Seed of Chucky."

ROBERT DHERY Died Dec. 5, 2004

French actor/director Robert Dhery died of heart disease at age 83. Mr. Dhery was known as one of France’s top comedians during the post-WWII era. Though he appeared in a number of films including many dramas, he is best known for the few comedic films he wrote, directed and acted in. Mr. Dhery was adept at visual gags as well as sophisticated verbal humor. Among his many film credits is a cameo in the classic "Children of Paradise." The films he wrote and directed include "The American Beauty," "Bernard and the Lion" and "The Mad Adventures of the Bouncing Beauty."

RICHARD DUNLAP Died Dec. 6, 2004

Emmy-winning producer/director Richard Dunlap died of heart disease at age 81. Mr. Dunlap produced or directed over 1000 TV shows and specials. He directed the annual Oscar telecast every year between 1960 and 1972. He won 4 Emmy Awards for his work in the medium. After a lengthy career in TV, Mr. Dunlap retired and became the artistic director of the Berkshire Theater Festival. Mr. Dunlap served his country as a commander in the US Navy during WWII.


Award-winning German actress Christine Wodetzky died of undisclosed causes at age 61. Ms. Wodetzky won both the BAMBI Award and the Golden Camera Award for her work in film and TV. She appeared in the Jon Voight thriller "The Odessa File" and the 1970 Israeli remake of "Dybuk." Ms. Wodetzky was a classically trained actress who appeared on the German stage. She escaped from East Germany in 1962 and continued her career in the West. She appeared in over 50 films and TV series in Germany.

JERRY SCOGGINS Died Dec. 7, 2004

Singer Jerry Scoggins died of natural causes at age 93. Mr. Scoggins was the lead singer of The Cass County Boys. He was best known for the song "The Ballad of Jed Clampett." The memorable ballad was the theme song of the hit CBS TV series "The Beverly Hillbillies." Mr. Scoggins was backed on the song by the distinctive banjo and guitar playing of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. The TV series ran from 1962 through 1971. Mr. Scoggins rerecorded the song for Penelope Spheeris’s feature film version of the series. Mr. Scoggins also appeared in a number of B-Westerns in the 1940s and 50s as a member of The Cass County Boys. His acting credits include "Barbed Wire," "Sioux City Sue" and "Last Days of Boot Hill" among others. Mr. Scoggins formed the Cass County Kids in the 1930s. Singer/actor Gene Autry hired them as his backup band and changed their name. Mr. Scoggins’s band also backed up crooner Bing Crosby.

JIMMY BANGLEY Died Dec. 8, 2004

Actor/film historian Jimmy Bangley died of a heart attack at age 48. Mr. Bangley was one of the back ground Sweathogs on the 1970s TV series "Welcome Back Kotter." Though he appeared in a few films including Faye Dunaway’s directorial debut "Yellow Bird," he was best know as a film historian. Mr. Bangley was the author of numerous articles on actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Mr. Bangley appeared in dozens of TV documentaries dealing with the stars of yesteryear. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.

SONDRA BERCHIN Died Dec. 8, 2004

Former studio exec Sondra Berchin died at age 52. Ms. Berchin was a former executive vice-president of MCA Universal. She was also a well-respected attorney who clerked for the late US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

WILLIE METCALF Died Dec. 9, 2004

New Orleans jazz musician Willie Metcalf died of throat cancer at age 74. Mr. Metcalf was also a noted music teacher. In this year’s film "Ray" he played a teacher of Ray Charles as a child. Other film credits include Nicolas Cage’s directorial debut "Sonny" and the up-coming football film "Glory Road." His life and career was examined in the documentary film "Getting It Together: The Willie Metcalf Story."

DARRELL ABBOT Died Dec. 8, 2004

Heavy metal guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbot was murdered on stage in Columbus Ohio. A man ran on stage and shot Mr. Abbot several times at point blank range. Three others were shot and killed trying to subdue the gunman before a local police officer shot and killed the mad man. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends. The 38 year-old musician had just begun the first song. The former Pantera guitarist was performing with his new band Damageplan. Mr. Abbot and his brother Vinnie Paul had left the popular band Pantera in 2003 and formed the new band. Mr. Abbot contributed music to a number of films and TV shows. His credits include one of the best modern vampire films "Dracula 2000," "Detroit Rock City," "Heavy Metal 2000," "The Crow" and "Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle." He was the son of country music songwriter Jerry Abbot.


Adult film actress Andrea Absolonova died of brain cancer at age 27. The Czech born actress performed in adult films under the name Lea DeMae. I was struck by her death because of the situation of my own daughter. Both suffered from an illness of the same part of the brain. Ms. Absolonova had a tumor located near her Basil Ganglias. My daughter suffered a hemorrhage to the same area of the brain after an ATV accident. Both are attractive young women. Both had families who reached out to strangers for support during their time of need. Unlike my then comatose daughter, Ms. Absolonova was fully aware of the life and death struggle she was in. Ms. Absolonova, for whatever reasons, chose to make her living performing sex acts on film and video. While I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit the sin of viewing pornography, I would never wish either of my daughters or son to take part in the industry. That realization hit me hard, because Ms. Absolonova was someone’s sister and daughter. In researching her life I discovered that she was supported with love throughout her illness by a sister, Lucie who disapproved of her lifestyle. Even though her sister disapproved, she still supported her sister with love and patience. That hit me hard also. Ms. Absolonova’s sister showed her the kind of love and support that Christians are supposed to show to others. Non-judgmental, self-sacrificing love. Comfort those who are sick. Comfort those who are lost. Overlook what many will see as irredeemable features and get your hands dirty with care and support. I know nothing about why Ms. Absolonova chose the path she did. She began performing in adult films in the year 2000. She broke her back while training to be part of the Czech Olympic swimming team in 1996. She lived in a poor nation that suppressed the freedom of religion. She was attractive. She may have traded on the only commodity she knew how. I pray that she found peace before her death. I pray that her sister finds peace through her sacrifice and giving. I don’t like to go on rants in this column, but the bottom line is that our wives, sisters, mothers and daughters are valuable human beings. Let’s try to stop viewing them as less than human. I feel some complicity in her situation as I have been one who supported pornography. It is something I pray about and daily. Sex is wonderful and fun when kept in its proper perspective. Prayers of comfort for the family and friends of Ms. Absolonova.

HENNY BACKUS Died Dec. 9, 2004

Henny Backus, actress and widow of comedic actor Jim Backus died after a series of strokes at age 93. The couple was married for 46 years. Her late husband died in 1989. Mrs. Backus appeared in a number of films. She co-starred with her husband in the 1968 TV series "Blondie." They played Mr. and Mrs. Dithers opposite Will Hutchins and Patricia Harty as Dagwood and Blondie. She also appeared with her husband in a second season episode of "Gilligan’s Island." The pair appeared in several films together including "Don’t Make Waves," "Hello Down There," "Meet Me In Las Vegas" and "The Great Man." Mrs. Backus made her Broadway debut under the name of Henrietta Kaye in the 1920s. She appeared uncredited as a teacher in the classic 1950s teen movie "The Blackboard Jungle." She and her husband wrote several books about their successful marriage. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Backus wrote a book aimed at helping those who care for seriously ill people.

MORGAN CAVETT Died Dec. 9, 2004

Composer/music producer Morgan Cavett died of cancer at age 60. Mr. Cavett’s various credits include the films "Melvin and Howard," "Swing Shift," Overboard" and "The Fourth Wise Man."

JOHN MONKS JR. Died Dec 10, 2004

"Live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse." Actor John Derek playing troubled teen Nick Romano in "Knock on Any Door" delivered that famous movie line. Writers John Monks Jr. and Daniel Taradash adapted the novel by Willard Motley for the screen. Writer John Monks Jr. died of natural causes at age 91. Mr. Monks wrote or co-wrote several great films from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Among his credits are the Jimmy Cagney movies "West Point Story" and "13 Rue Madeline." He also co-wrote the play "Brother Rat" which ran on Broadway before being adapted to the screen. Ronald Reagan met his first wife Jane Wyman when they starred in the film version. Mr. Monks also penned the sequel "Brother Rat and a Baby." "The House on 92nd Street" is one of the best Film Noir movies of all time. Lloyd Nolan starred as an FBI agent busting up a Nazi spy Ring. Other writing credits include "Wild Harvest," "Where’s Charley?," "So This is Love" and "Strike Up the Band." Mr. Monks served his country as a Marine during WWII. He wrote the documentary "We Are the Marines." Mr. Monk co-wrote and co-directed with Richard Goldstone the true life WWII adventure "No Man is an Island," which starred Jeffery Hunter. He made several cameo appearances later in life in such films as "Paradise Alley" and "Early Warning."

DENNIS ALBAUGH Died Dec. 10, 2004

Dennis Albaugh, the vice-president of the charity Comic Relief, died of pancreatic cancer at age 63. Mr. Albaugh spent his life trying to make the world a better place for his fellow man. One of his most notable and high-profile charities was "Comic Relief." The funny fund-raise first aired on HBO in 1986. In that and subsequent telecasts, "Comic Relief" has raised nearly $50 million dollars. Thanks for the good work.

CHARLET OBERLEY Died Dec. 11, 2004

Actress Charlet Oberley died of Parkinson’s Disease. No age was given. Ms. Oberley appeared on stage in the original production of "Fiddler on the Roof." Other stage performances include "I Am a Camera," "Crossing Delancy" and "Flirting With Disaster." She also appeared in the film version of "Flirting With Disaster." Other film credits include "Nunzio" and "Grandma Didn’t Wave Back."

CHRISTOPHER BLAKE Died Dec. 11, 2004

British actor Christopher Blake died of Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at age 55. Mr. Blake proved himself adept at light comedy, serious drama and playing the heavy. In addition to his stage work, Mr. Blake appeared as a regular in several British TV series. His TV series credits include "That’s My Boy," "Mixed Blessings," "The Mill on the Floss," "The Lost Boys" "Love for Lydia." Mr. Blake appeared in the excellent IRA thriller "Hennesy."

FRITS HELMUTH Died Dec. 12, 2004

Award-winning Danish actor Frits Helmuth died of liver failure at age 73. Mr. Helmuth acted on both stage and screen. He won the Danish Bodil Award as Best Actor four times during his career. Mr. Helmuth appeared in over 60 films and TV shows during his career. He starred in Kaspar Rostrup’s 1988 film "Memories of a Marriage." The film was nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. He began his career as a child actor appearing with his father, actor Osvald Helmuth in the film "Blaavand Melder Storm."

KATHERINE EAMES Died Dec. 12, 2004

Actress Katherine Eames died of natural causes at age 96. Ms. Eames appeared on stage, TV and in film. Ms. Eames appeared on Broadway in several plays. She made her Braodway debut in November of 1943 in Moss Hart’s "Winged Victory." Her film credits include "The Big Heat," "Diary of a Mad Housewife" and "Starlight-The Musical." Her TV credits include the soap operas "The Secret Storm," "Love of Life," "Another World" and "Loving." She also appeared on the TV series "Sgt. Bilko," "The Bob Hope Chrysler Theater" and "The Armstrong Theater."

ELIZABETH MARTIN Died Dec. 12, 2004

Longtime TV exec Elizabeth Martin died of pneumonia at age 75. Ms. Martin was an executive for Goodson-Todman Productions. She worked for the Games Show mavens for nearly 35 years. She worked on such TV staples as "What's My Line?," "To Tell The Truth," "I've Got a Secret," "Beat the Clock," "Password," "The Price Is Right," Family Feud," "Match Game" and "Tattletales."

PERRY GRANT Died Dec. 12, 2004

Writer/producer Perry Grant died of Alzheimer’s Disease at age 80. Mr. Grant wrote for a number of popular TV series during the past 50 years. His writing credits include "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," "Happy Days," "Love American Style," "The Andy Griffith Show" and "The Odd Couple." Mr. Grant also produced and wrote for the TV series "227" and "Hello Larry."

BENJAMIN SLACK Died Dec. 13, 2004

Actor Ben Slack died at age 67. Mr. Slack appeared in over 70 films and TV shows during his career. He may be best known for his recurring role as Mr. Ermin in the TV series "The Wonder Years." He played Ariel Sharon in the Made for TV bio-pic "Sadat" with Lou Gossett Jr. Mr. Salck also had a recurring role on both "All in the Family" and "Archie Bumker’s Place." He played Floyd Mills. Other film and TV credits include "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "N.Y.P.D. Blue," "The Seduction of Joe Tynan," "Piranha," "Times Square," "Bachelor Party" and "The Practice."

FERNANDO POE JR. Died Dec 14, 2004

Filipino actor turned presidential hopeful Fernando Poe Jr. died of a stroke at age 65. Mr. Poe appeared in over 200 films in his native land. He also wrote. Directed and produced films. Mr. Poe won seven FAMAS awards for Best Actor and was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2000 FAMAS Awards. Mr. Poe lost his bid to become the president of the Philippines in May of this year.

RENE CLEITMAN Died Dec. 14, 2004

Producer Rene Cleitman died of undisclosed causes at age 64. Mr. Cleitman produced over 20 films including the Gerard Depardieu version of "Cyrano de Bergerac." He also worked with Depardieu in the cross-dressing crime film "Menage." In 1995, Mr. Cleitman producer Bernard Tavernier’s award-winning true crime film "The Bait." He appeared as himself in the documentary "Lost in La Mancha." The film chronicles director Terry Gilliam’s attempt to make the movie "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote."

JIM HOLIDAY Died Dec. 15, 2004

Adult film director and critic Jim Holiday died of complications from Type II diabetes. Mr. Holiday was considered by many to be the Pauline Kael of porn. He began his career acting in adult films during the 1970s. During that period of ‘porn chic’ he was one of the few film journalists covering the adult industry with a serious critical eye. He was a founding member of the X-Rated Critic’s Society. Mr. Holiday broke the rule that ‘those you can do, those you can become film critics.’ He turned to directing and made over 50 adult films. Holiday’s movies were a cut above the thousands of other films that were nothing more than crap. In addition to using beautiful men and women, he added cultural references and humor that showed a depth of knowledge not usually found in the industry. He was a mentor to a number of directors and actresses. He helped a number of women take charge of their own careers and move into industry positions of power normally held by men. Mr. Holiday delivered the eulogy at John Holmes funeral. In typical Jim Holiday honesty, the first line he spoke was "John was a liar."

FERNANDO BAULUZ Died Dec. 15, 2004

Spanish director Fernando Bauluz died at age 53 after a lengthy illness. Mr. Bauluz is best known for the award-winning film "Black Tears." Mr. Bauluz was a production manager and second unit director. Three weeks in the shooting of "Black Tears," the film’s director Ricardo Franco died. Mr. Bauluz stepped into his shoes and finished the film. He and Franco had been close collaborators on the film so Bauluz was able to complete the film in the spirit intended by original director Franco. The pair was nominated for the Golden Spike Award for the film at the Valladolid International Film Festival. The film’s lead actress, Ariadna Gil received a Best Actress Nomination at the Spanish equivalent of the Oscars: The Goya Awards.


This has not been a good day for the film community in India. Two leading actors of India died this day. Noted Malayalam film villain Prathapachandran died at age 63 after a period of declining health. He appeared in over 300 films in his 44-year career! Prathapachandran was a character actor and most notably a great screen villain. He won numerous awards in India for his work.

LAXMIKANT BERDE Died Dec. 16, 2004

Noted Bollywood and Hindi actor Laxmikant Berde died of kidney disease at age 50. Mr. Berde was a noted comedian in his native land. He was one of the leading Marathi actors before he began to make Hindi films. He appeared in over 50 films.


TV star Haleloke died at age 82. The Hawaiian dancer and singer appeared on the hit TV series "Arthur Godfrey and His Friends" drom 1950 through 1955. Before TV, she was on the radio show "Hawaii Calls."Haleloke also performed on Ed Sullivan’s "Toast of the Town."

WILLIAM BERRY Died Dec. 19, 2004

Jack of all trades William Berry died 10 days after his 95th birthday. Mr. Berry was a sound engineer for Warner Brothers Studios during the 1930s. He later went to work for Howard Hughes as a project manager on the Spruce Goose cargo plane. He was on board the plane when Howard Hughes took it for its only flight in the Los Angeles Harbor in 1947. Mr. Berry was also the father of Rock and Roll singer Jan Berry. Jan Berry was half of the rock duo Jan and Dean. Mr. Berry’s famous son died in March of this year.

RICHARD BEST Died Dec. 19, 2004

British film editor Richard Best died at age 88. Mr. Best’s career started in the mid 1930s as an assistant editor with the Rank Organization. At this time her worked on several of David Lean’s early films. During WWII he worked on training films and documentaries for the British Army Film Unit. He was the lead editor on nearly 40 films and 13 episodes of the great TV series "The Avengers." Mr. Best worked on a number of excellent films. "The Dam Busters" is his best known work. The WWII actioner benefits greatly from his climatic ariel bomb attack sequence. "The Magic Box" is an old-fashioned gem of a bio-pic. The all-star movie starred Robert Donat as William Friese-Greene, the inventor of the movie camera. Mr. Best’s other credits include Tony Richardson’s "Look Back in Anger," "Otley," "The Chairman" and "The Blood on Satan’s Claw."

JACK NEWFIELD Died Dec. 20, 2004

Journalist and writer Jack Newfield died of kidney and lung cancer at age 66. Mr. New field wrote biographies of Robert Kennedy and Don King. Both books were turned into TV films. "Robert F. Kennedy: A Memoir" was a documentary, while "Don King: Only in America" was a bio-pic starring Ving Rhames. He also produced the PBS documentary "Don King: Unauthorized" for which he won an Emmy. Mr. Newfield was an associate producer on the documentary "Sugar Ray Robinson: The Bright Lights and Dark Shadows of a Champion."

IB MOSSEN Died Dec. 20, 2004

Danish actor and director Ib Mossin died of a heart attack at age 71. My first exposure to Mr. Mossin was in the movie "Without a Stitch." My buddy (who will remain unnamed) and I snuck into our first porn movie when we were 15 years old. "Without a Stitch" and the Marilyn Chamber’s film "Together" were playing at the Capri Art in Memphis. I don’t remember a thing about Mr. Mossin’s performance. He acted in a number of films, both mainstream and adult. He appeared in the hardcore spy-spoof "Agent 69" series of movies which also featured the nude Anna Bergman, daughter of director Ingmar Bergman! Ironically, Ib Mossin was also the director of a number of family films popular in his native land.

TONY VAN BRIDGE Died Dec. 20, 2004

British born actor Tony Van Bridge died in his adopted country of Canada at age 87. Mr. van Bridge appeared for 35 years combined at the renowned Stratford and Shaw Theater festivals in Canada. In addition to his prolific stage work in Canada, he also was a familiar face to Canadian and international TV viewers. He starred in the CBC TV series "Judge." Mr. van Bridge appeared in the great little film "If You Could See What I Hear," which starred Marc Singer as a blind man who doesn’t let his disability stop him from living life to the fullest. Mr. van Bridge also appeared in one of Shelley Duvall’s "Faerie Tale Theater" episodes: "The Pied Piper of Hamilin." Other TV roles include guest roles on "Mission Impossible" and "The Quartermass Experiment."

ARLON OBER Died Dec. 20, 2004

Composer, orchestrator and music editor Arlon Ober died at age 61. Mr. Ober worked on some of my favorite B-movies. He was the music editor on Larry Cohen’s great monster movie "Q: The Winged Serpent." He composed the score for Paul Bartel’s cult classic "Eating Raoul." Other credits include "Hospital Massacre," "Child’s Play," "Deep Star Six," "Nightbeast" and "Robotech."

HOWARD FEUER Died Dec. 20, 2004

Award-winning casting director Howard Feuer died of colon cancer at age 56. Mr. Feuer was nominated for the Casting Society of America’s Artios Award eleven times. He won four awards. Mr. Feuer cast some of the best films of the last three decades. Among his nearly 80 credits are "The Warriors," "Hair," "All That Jazz," "Altered States," "Bad Boys," "Places in the Heart," "Moonstruck," "Married to the Mob," "Mississippi Burning," "Dead Poets Society," "The Abyss," "Miami Blues," "Billy Bathgate," "Basic Instinct," "Philadelphia," "That Thing You Do!" and "The Dreamers." Mr. Feuer also cast nearly 30 Broadway plays.

LUCILE LAYTON Died Dec. 21, 2004

Former Ziegfeld girl Lucile Layton died at age 101. Ms. Layton appeared in several silent films directed by D.W. Griffith. She also appeared in a silent version of "The Sign of the Cross." She moved to Broadway in the 1920s as one of Flo Ziegfeld’s girls. She appeared in his Follies from 1921 through 1924.

PAUL LOPEZ Died Dec. 22, 2004

Costume supervisor Paul Lopez died at age 56. Mr. Lopez helped make the stars look great, or not so great if that was what was called for, in a number hit films. Among his many credits are "The Woman in Red," "Big Trouble in Little China," "I Heart Huckabees," "The Patriot," "The Wild Wild West," "Rush Hour," "X-Men 2," "Unlawful Entry," "Planes Trains and Automobiles" and "Maverick." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.

CATHERINE WINTER Died Dec. 22, 2004

French producer Catherine Winter died of cancer at age 79. Ms. Winter produced Alain Resnais’s Oscar nominated classic "La Guerre est Finie." As a teenager, Ms. Winter fought against Hilter’s army as a member of he French Resistance. She was awarded the Legion of Honor for her courage.

FRANK ORSATTI Died Dec. 23, 2004

Actor/stuntman/director Frank Orsatti died of respiratory failure at age 62. Mr. Orsatti worked on over 100 films and TV shows. Mr. Orsatti was the stunt double for such stars as Burt Reynolds, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Bixby. He worked with Mr Bixby on the TV series "The Incredible Hulk." He also directed a couple of episodes of the series. He worked with Burt Reynolds on "Fuzz," "The Longest Yard" and "Cop and a Half." Mr. Orsatti was Arnold’s stunt double on "The Terminator." Frank and his brother, stunt coordinator Ernie Orsatti worked together in Irwin Allen’s classic disaster film "The Poseidon Adventure." His numerous film credits include such films as "Planet of the Apes," "Bullitt," "Rosmary’s Baby," Charles Bronson’s excellent "The Mechanic," one of my personal favorites "Freebie and the Bean," "Lenny," "Paint Your Wagon," "Soylent Green," "The Towering Inferno," "Rancho Deluxe," "Marathon Man," "The Gumball Rally," "Blue Collar," "The Beastmaster," "First Blood," "Point Break," "Lethal Weapon 2" and "Con Air."

FREDDIE PERREN Died Dec. 23, 2004

Composer and record producer Freddie Perren died at age 61 after a long period of ill health. Mr. Perren won a Grammy for his work on the soundtrack album of "Saturday Night Fever." He wrote a number of hit songs that have appeared on the soundtracks to many a movie. His songs have accented such films as "Starsky and Hutch," "Men in Black II," "Charlie’s Angels," "The Replacements," "In & Out," "Crooklin," "Billy Madison," "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Running Scared," "Meatballs," "Cooley High" and "Hell Up in Harlem." Mr. Perren’s hit songs include "A.B.C.," "Makin; It," "Boogie Fever" and "I Will Survive."

REGGIE WHITE Died Dec. 26, 2004

NFL great and evangelical minister Reggie White died of a heart attack at age 43. Reggie White was a star defensive lineman at UT Knoxville before turning pro. He was the scourge of quarterbacks everywhere during his NFL career. He played on the Green Bay Packers and played in two Super Bowls, winning in Super Bowl XXXI. Mr. White also played for the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers. Between college and the NFL, he spent two years playing in the USFL in my hometown team the Memphis Showboats. Mr. White’s nickname was "The Minister of Defense." He gave God the glory for his talent. Mr. White was an ordained minister who devoted his life to the ministry following his retirement from football. Mr. White and his wife Sara co-starred in the inspirational film "Reggie’s Prayer." Mr. White appeared on the TV series "Touched By an Angel," "ESPN Sport Century" and "Praise the Lord." Mr. White also appeared in Spike Lee’s documentary "4 Little Girls," which dealt with the 1963 bombing of a Black Birmingham Church. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.


German screenwriter/actress Manuela Brandenstein was killed by the tsunami during a vacation in Khao Lak, Thailand. The 47-year-old Ms. Brandenstein was on vacation with her longtime partner and co-writer Helmut Schweiker. The pair was separated during the tsunami. Ms. Brandenstein’s body was recovered and identified three days later. Ms. Brandenstein and Mr. Schweiker co-wrote the German TV series "Sport is Murder" and "Sitte, Die." They also wrote the Made for TV film "Am Ende die Wharheit." That film starred the beautiful actress Jennifer Nitsch who committed suicide in June of last year. Ms. Brandenstein also did voice work. She dubbed the voice of character Lieutenant Alyssa Ogawa of the TV series and film "Star Trek: The Next Generation" into German for broadcast in her native land.

LUKE SCULLY Died Dec. 26, 2004

Assistant director and special effects tech Luke Scully and his girlfriend Angela Foust were vacationing in Thailand when the tsunami that devastated the South Pacific struck. After several months, the worst can be assumed. I have waited until May 2005 to add Mr. Scully’s obituary to this page. I guess with my daughter’s situation, I wanted to respect any hope the families may have been holding out. Mr. Skully was first AD on a number of films including "The Day After Tomorrow," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," "Panic" and "Wonderland." He did special effects work on "Babe: Pig in the City," the remake of "The Time Machine" and "Star Trek: Nemesis." His girlfriend, Angela Foust was a real estate agent who also taught yoga and pilates. Prayers of comfort for their families and friends.

PEGGY PHILLIPS Died Dec. 27, 2004

Actress/screenwriter/novelist/theatrical press agent Peggy Phillips died of complications from a stroke at age 88. Peggy Phillips was one of the pioneer female press agents. She was the representative for a number of famous Broadway plays starting in the 1950s. Ms. Phillips wrote for a number of TV series. Her credits include "Lassie," "National Velvet," "The Donna Reed Show" and "Days of Our Lives." Ms. Phillips was an avid scuba diver. She once saw a woman in trouble and saved her from drowning. It turned out that the woman Ms. Phillips saved was director Leni Riefenstahl. The irony of the situation was that Ms. Phillips was Jewish. She wrote a novel based on the incident.

FERENC BEDDENYEI Died Dec. 27, 2004

Hungarian stage and film actor Ferenc Bessenyei died at age 85. Mr. Bessenyei was considered to be one of Hungary's greatest stage actors. He was declared "The Nation's Actor" by the Communist party. Mr. Bessenyei was best known for his stage work but he also appeared in over 60 films and TV shows. Most of his work was not released internationally. He did voice work in the animated film "Hugo the Hippo."

HANK GARLAND Died Dec. 27, 2004

Innovative guitarist Hank Garland died of a staph infection at age 74. Mr. Garland appeared on recordings with many of the greats of American music history. His guitar playing was much sought after by artists from many genres. He played Rock with Elvis, jazz with Charley Parker and C&W with just about everybody in Nashville during the 1950s and early 60s. Mr. Garland was injured in a 1961 car crash that left him comatose for many months. Though he eventually learned to walk and talk again, the accident put an end to his brilliant career. Mr. Garland played in the soundtrack of Elvis’s movie "Follow That Dream." His played the great guitar lick on the Elvis version of "Little Sister." Mr. Garland’s trademark song was his 1949 hit "Sugarfoot Rag." He played on the hit song "Jingle Bell Rock" which was used in the film "Jingle All the Way." Mr. Garland’s family members have always contended that the career-ending car crash was in fact a murder attempt. The family tried to produce a film version of their side of the story with Jerry Reed in the title role. The movie never got off the ground.

SUSAN SONTAG Died Dec. 28, 2004

Writer Susan Sontag died of leukemia at age 71. In America we have freedom of speech. Our men and women have and are dying for that right. I must admit that I was outraged when Ms. Sontag stated that the terrorists who pulled off the 9/11 attacks were not "cowards." However, the fact that she could make that remark and not be imprisoned by the government gives testimony to the freedoms enjoyed in the USA. I hope that Ms. Sontag appreciated the sacrifice of the soldiers who protected her right to compliment the courage of those who want to bring death to America. Ms. Sontag appeared in a number of Andy Warhol's short films. She also appeared as herself in Woody Allen's "Zelig." Ms. Sontag wrote and directed several short films. She was best known for her novels and articles for such publications as "The Partisan Review."

JERRY ORBACH Died Dec. 28, 2004

Tony-Award-winning actor Jerry Orbach died at age 69 after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer. Mr. Orbach has success on stage, in film and on TV. The lights of Broadway were dimmed in his honor. He may have gained his widest recognition during the twelve years he played Detective Lennie Briscoe on the TV series "Law & Order" and "Law & Order: Trial By Jury." Mr. Orbach's small screen work was recognized with three Emmy and seven SAG nominations. My favorite performance by Mr. Orbach was as the unrepentant cop Gus Levy in Sidney Lumet's "Prince of the City." Mr. Orbach provided the voice of candlestick Lumiere in Disney's hit animated film "Beauty and the Beast." He reprised the role in two video sequels and a couple of Disney TV series. Mr. Orbach appeared in the original Broadway productions of several famous plays including "The Fantastiks," "Promises, Promises," "42nd Street" and "Chicago." Mr. Orbach won a Tony Award in 1969 for his work in "Promises, Promises." Among Mr. Orbach's film credits are "Dirty Dancing," "F/X," "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "The Flamingo Kid," "Last Exit to Brooklyn," "Crimes and Misdemeanors" and "The Sentinel."

WILLIAM BOYETT Died Dec, 29, 2004

Actor William Boyett died of pneumonia and kidney failure at age 77. Most people knew actor William Boyett from such TV shows as "Adam 12" and "Highway Patrol." In fact, I remember him well as Sgt. ‘Mac’ MacDonald on "Adam 12." My fondest memory of William Boyett is as one of the great incarnations of the alien monster in the twisted sci-fi classic "The Hidden." If you have never seen "The Hidden" I recommend it highly. It concerns an alien with a taste for fast cars, large breasted women, heavy metal music and armed robbery. The beast moves from human to human. Whenever a human body gets worn out (usually during a shootout with dozens of cops) the slimy bugger jumps to another human. Mr. Boyett played one of the human hosts in that great film. His gravelly voice is put to great use as he suffers from digestive tract problems due to the invasion of his body by the alien. "The Hidden" was just one of nearly 200 films and TV shows in which Mr. Boyett appeared. Soap opera fans may remember him as the father of Luke, as in Luke and Laura on "General Hospital." Mr. Boyett’s film and TV credits include "The Rocketeer," "Knot’s Landing," "Perry Mason," "Emergency!," "Dragnet," "The Deliberate Stranger," "Vanished," "Sam Whisky," "Francis in the Haunted House" and "Forbidden Planet." Mr. Boyett served his country in the US Navy during WWII.


Former actor Charles Bradstreet died of heart failure at age 86. Mr. Bradstreet appeared in several films during the 1940s. He was best known for his supporting role in the horror/comedy classic "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein." Mr. Bradstreet also appeared in the films "Till Clouds Roll By," "Undercover Maise," "Parole Inc.," "Gallant Bess" and "The Beginning or the End." Mr. Bradstreet turned to real estate after his film career.

RICHARD LEGRAND Died Dec. 29, 2004

Emmy-winning sound editor died at age 84. Mr. LeGrand won Emmy Awards for his sound editing on "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" and "The Amazing Howard Hughes." He was also nominated for his work on the TV series "Batman." Mr. LeGrand’s many credits include the TV series "The Andy Griffith Show," "Charlie’s Angels," "I Love Lucy," "Bonanza," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "The Green Hornet," "Starsky and Hutch," "The Love Boat," "Vegas," "Dynasty" and "Fantasy Island." His feature film credits include "J.W. Coop," "The Philadelphia Experiment," "Moscow on the Hudson," "Avalanche," "Iron Eagle" and "Robin Hood: Men in Tights."

LIDDY HOLLOWAY Died Dec. 30, 2004

New Zealand writer/actress Liddy Holloway died at age 59. Ms. Holloway was a regular, along with her son, on the soap opera "Shortland Street." She appeared on the New Zealand series for six years. I remember her best for her haunting performance as the mother of murder victim Martha Moxley in the excellent Made for TV movie "Murder in Greenwich." Ms. Holloway also wrote for and appeared in one of my guilty pleasures: "Prisoner: Cellblock H." Ms. Holloway had two recurring roles in the Australian women's prison soap opera. She also had a recurring role, playing Alcmene on the TV series "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys." Ms. Holloway was recently embroiled in a fight over her credit on the Oscar-nominated film "The Whale Rider." She claimed to be one of the film's original screenwriters and was fighting to receive a credit on the movie.

ARTIE SHAW Died Dec. 30, 2004

Oscar nominated composer and Big Band leader Artie Shaw died of natural causes at age 94. Mr. Shaw hit the big time at age 28 with his recording of Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine." Mr. Shaw was on of the top Big Band leaders of the era. During the 1930s and 40s, he had a string of hits including "Moonglow" and "Stardust." Mr. Shaw also had a string on notable Hollywood wives. Among his eight wives were Lana Turner, Ava Gardner and Evelyn Keyes. Mr. Shaw was nominated for Best Original Song and Best Musical Score Oscars in 1940 for his work on the film "Second Chorus." Mr. Shaw also composed the songs for the Marx Brothers' comedy "The Big Store." He appeared with his orchestra in the Lana Turner film "The Dancing Co-ed." During the 1970s Mr. Shaw made cameo appearances in several films and TV shows including "Across 110th Street" and "Police Woman."

DOLLY DYER Died Dec. 30, 2004

Australian TV pioneer Dolly Dyer died of a stroke. Ms. Dyer was a showgirl when she met US comedian Bob Dyer during WWII. The pair co-hosted the hit Australian TV game show "Pick-a-Box" from 1957 until 1971.

META ROSENBERG Died Dec. 30, 2004

Emmy-winning producer Meta Rosenberg died at age 89. Ms. Rosenberg was nominated for three Emmy Awards. She won for producing "The Rockford Files." Ms. Rosenberg was also a respected agent in Hollywood for nearly seven decades. She produced several series and shows for client James Garner. In addition to "The Rockford Files," Ms. Rosenberg produced one of my all-time favorite TV shows "Nichols." The overlooked gem starred Garner as a motorcycle-riding sheriff at the turn of the century. She also produced the great western comedy "Skin Game." The film starred James Garner and Lou Gossitt Jr. Ms. Rosenberg also played a part in one of the darkest chapters of Hollywood’s history. Like Elia Kazan, Ms. Rosenberg named names to HUAC. She was one of several individuals who named Oscar nominated writer/director Abraham Polonsky as being a member of the communist party.

JOHNNY FARROW Died Dec. 30, 2004

Songwriter Johnny Farrow died at age 92. Mr. Farrow compsed over 200 songs in his lifetime. His standard "I Have But One Heart." That was the song that actor Al Martino serenaded Talia Shire with during the wedding scene of "The Godfather." Mr. Farrow’s song "Monkey See, Monkey Do" was used in the Connie Francis film "When the Boys Meet the Girls."

GERALD ROBERTS Died Dec. 31, 2004

Legendary rodeo champion and Hollywood stunt double Gerald Roberts died at age 85. Mr. Roberts won 67 Rodeo Championships during his many years of competition. He won two World Champion All-Around Cowboy titles in 1942 and 1948. Mr. Roberts worked as a stunt double for a number of years, doing the hard work for such actors as Glenn Ford, Arthur Kennedy and Jack Lemmon. Mr. Roberts worked on such films and TV shows as "The Lusty Men," "Cowboy," "Have Gun Will Travel," "Gunsmoke," "Maverick," "Boston Blackie" and "Rin Tin Tin." He was offered a role in the pilot episode of the hit series "Rawhide" but turned it down to return to the world of Rodeo. Mr. Roberts came from a family of cowboys. The Roberts family started the longest-running rodeo in Kansas: the Flint Hills Rodeo. Gerald Roberts had a full and active life both in and out of the movie business. CLICK HERE to visit the wonderful website run by his grand daughter Shannan Hauser.

WERNER POSSARDT Died Dec. 31, 2004

German producer/director/actor Werner Possardt died at age 53 during surgery to repair injuries sustained in the December 26th tsunami in Thailand. Mr. Possardt was found alive after being buried in debris for two days. Mr. Possardt produced such films as the horror movie "The Pool" and the comedy "Fandango." He also produced numerous shows for German TV. Mr. Possardt also wrote and directed the sci-fi comedy "Xaver." Mr. Possardt was on his honeymoon when the tsunami hit. His wife survived. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010



On occasion, I have had guests write an obituary of a particular film industry person. I came across a paid obituary for Joseph Red Flame Tayac Proctor in the New York Times while researching this column. Needing more information, I sent off a few e-mails. I was fortunate enough to hear back from a family member of Joe Tayac. His son-in-law, Daniel Medina graciously sent me the booklet from Mr. Tayac’s funeral. As I read of Mr. Tayac’s life, I realized that I could not do him justice unless his entire story was told. Mr. Medina has allowed me to pay tribute to his late father-in-law by sharing this with you. I was moved by what I read. I wish I had known Mr. Tayac.


Joseph Bedford Proctor, Red Flame Tayac, always said that he was "like a time traveler." He was born to the late Piscataway medicine man, Chief Turkey Tayac, and Mary Emma Scott in Washington, D.C. on January 8, 1928. From this extraordinary heritage, he went on to create an incomparable life of his own.

He was a modern day Sinbad, rejoicing in his self-titled persona, the "Terror of the South China Sea." Joe joined the Merchant Marines at the age of 16 in 1944, and was at D-Day in Normandy. He sailed for 40 more years as an officer and a navigator, making more than 100 sea voyages to every part of the world. Joe was drafted into the Army off of a ship and served in the Korean War where he went on to jungle training in the Philippines. He sailed into combat zones on the Mekong River in the Vietnam War.

In the late 1950s, Joe moved to New York City where he enjoyed a liberating, intellectual, and bohemian life in Greenwich Village when he was on land. In 1961 at Washington Square Park, he met Barbara Goldstein, whom he described as the "most fascinating person I ever met," and they were married on January 26, 1963. Their daughter, Gabrielle Astra Tayac, was his best friend and the pride of his life. Joe played chess at a Grand Master's level, earned a well-deserved reputation as a gourmet chef, hosted fabulous parties, danced a graceful tango, and told thousands of fantastic stories. At the age of 66, Joe joined the Screen Actor's Guild and appeared in a number of films including Searching for Bobby Fisher and The Royal Tenenbaums.

Joe was fiercely devoted to his family and to his friends. He became a venerated elder counselor presiding gleefully at the Sun Dance kitchen at Tayac Territory. He stood by his brother, Chief Billy Tayac, his nephews, and his nieces in the struggle for Native rights - for Joe being Indian meant being a free person. Joe deeply adored his grandchildren, Sebastian and Jansikwe. He was everyone's Uncle Joe. Joe was not afraid to live, not afraid to love, and at the very end not afraid to die. Sail on, beloved sea warrior, into the stars to find your place among the hero ancestors who watch over us all.

TERRY KNIGHT Died Nov. 1, 2004

Music producer/composer Terry Knight was stabbed to death in Temple, Texas. He was 61 years old. Temple police are questioning the 26-year-old boyfriend of Knight’s daughter concerning the murder. Terry Knight produced my favorite 60s and 70s power trio "Grand Funk Railroad." "Grand Funk Railroad" came from the remains of Terry Knight’s band "Terry Knight and the Pack." Knight left the band to work in radio. When he heard Mark, Don and Mel rehearse Terry brought them to the forefront of the American and then world music scene. The band fired Knight after accusing him of stealing their money. The story is told in the VH1 "Behind the Music: Grand Funk Railroad" documentary. IMDB states that Terry Knight composed the score for the 1967 thriller "The Incident." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.

MAE MADISON Died Nov. 1, 2004

British filmmaker Austin Mutti-Mewse informed me today that silent screen and early talkie actress Mae Madison died at age 89. Ms. Madison was one of the actresses who appeared in the Mutti-Mewse brother’s documentary "I Used to Be In Pictures." Ms. Madison was a favorite of director Busby Berkley. She appeared in most of his films in the 1930s. Ms. Madison told the Mutti-Mewse brothers "Buzz (Berkeley) got to like me so I was never out of his pictures. He'd telephone me and say "Mae bring your swimsuit to the studios your gonna be my gal in this new picture". You know the pictures where the girl jumps off the high board into the pool and swims through the legs of thirty girls and comes up smiling? I was that girl!" In addition to her work with Busby Berkley, Ms. Madison worked with John Barrymore in "The Mad Genius," John Wayne in "The Big Stampede" and William Wellman in "So Big!" among others.

ALAIN FOURNIER Died Nov. 1, 2004

French writer Alain Fournier died at age 56 after a long illness. Mr. Fournier used the pseudonym A.D.G. He was one of France’s best crime novelists. Mr. Fournier specialized in police novels. A number of his books were turned into TV films and a TV series.

RUSTY ALLEN Died Nov. 1, 2004

Actress Rusty Allen died at age 60 in Las Vegas. I spoke with director Herschel Gordon Lewis today. He was saddened by the brevity of her obituary in the Las Vegas Sun. Rusty Allen starred in Mr. Lewis’s nudist camp exploitation film "Daughter of the Sun."

Mr. Lewis shared his thoughts with me concerning his former star: "When my partner Dave Friedman and I shot the film "Daughter of the Sun" in Miami all those years ago, we billed her as "The most beautiful girl in the world" ... and that appellation wasn't movie hype. We sincerely believed it. Often, I've compared her sunny disposition and cooperative attitude with those of other actresses with whom I've worked. She usually scored at the top.

In addition to her starring role in "Daughter of the Sun," Ms. Allen also appeared with Elvis in "Girl Happy." She had a minor role as one of Linda Darnell’s prostitutes in the Rory Calhoun Western "Black Spurs." Ms. Allen was also the star of the 1965 exploitation film "The Sexperts." Ms. Allen’s real name was Terri Kay Cooper. She was a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild.

ROBERT M. ANDERSON Died Nov. 1, 2004

Property master, stunt man and set decorator Robert M. Anderson died at age 38. Mr. Anderson was a property master on nearly 50 films and TV series. He was the property master and set decorator on Robert Altman’s classic film "Nashville." Other credits include Michael Cimino’s "The Deer Hunter," John Milius’s great gangster bio-pic "Dillinger," "Plaza Suite," the over-looked comedy "Mother, Juggs and Speed," the hilarious "Skin Game" and several great Made for TV movies including "The Night Stalker" and "Genesis II."

THEO VAN GOGH Died Nov. 2, 2004

Controversial writer/director/producer/actor Theo Van Gogh was murdered on an Amsterdam street. The 47-year-old filmmaker was stabbed and shot. Dutch police arrested a Dutch-Moroccan man after a shootout in which the suspect was wounded. Mr. Van Gogh was the great grand son of Theo Van Gogh, brother of painter Vinvent Van Gogh. Mr. Van Gogh had received death threats after the release of his film "Submission," which criticized the treatment of women in the Islamic faith. Mr. Van Gogh won a number of awards for his work at various film festivals around the world. He directed over 20 films, many which he also wrote and produced. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.

EDWARD GORSUCH Died Nov. 3, 2004

Actor Edward Gorsuch died of brain cancer at age 63. Mr. Gorsuch was a rocket scientist for the Honeywell Corporation. After retiring, he took up acting. Mr. Gorsuch trained in acting technique, scene study, improv and auditioning. He appeared in several feature and student films. Mr. Gorsuch appeared in a TV version of Strinberg’s "Dream Play." He played the lead in the student film "Weiner." Mr. Gorsuch was the father of director/screenwriter/production manager Edward Gorsuch Jr.

EDWARD WARSCHILKA Sr. Died Nov. 6, 2004

Veteran film editor Edward Warschilka Sr. died at age 76. Mr. Warshilka was the father of Emmy-nominated film editor Edward Warschilka Jr. and sound effects editor Paul Warschilka. The elder Mr. Warschilka cut the film "Child's Play 3" with the junior Edward Warschilka. Among Mr. Warschilka's many credits are several of my personal favorites including Hal Ashby's dark comedy "Harold and Maude," the cool mystery "The Last of Sheila," the overlooked gem "Raggedy Man," Walter Hill's classic Western "The Long Riders" and the great 1960s cartoon series "Johnny Quest." Other credits include "The Landlord," "Childs Play," "Rambo III," "The Running Man" and "Brainstorm." Ed Warschilka Jr. has worked with director John Carpenter on a number of films including "Vampires," "Village of the Damned," "In the Mouth of Madness," "Big Trouble in Little China," "Body Bags" and "Escape From L.A."

ELIZABETH ROGERS Died Nov. 6, 2004

Actress Elizabeth Rogers died of complications from a series of strokes and lung cancer. Ms. Rogers played Lt. Palmer on the original "Star Trek" TV series. She also played David Keith’s mother in Taylor Hackford’s "An Officer and a Gentleman." She was the wife of actor/property master Erik L. Nelson. She was a personal friend of producer Irwin Allen. As such, she appeared in bit parts in several of his films including "The Poseidon Adventure," "The Towering Inferno" and "The Swarm." Ms. Rogers’s other credits include "Something Evil," "Grand Theft Auto," "The Van," "Mannix," "Gunsmoke," "The Little House on the Prairie," "Bonanza" and "The Time Tunnel."

PETE JOLLY Died Nov. 6, 2004

Musician Pete Jolly died of bone marrow cancer and heart problems at age 72. Mr. Jolly performed on the soundtracks of hundreds of movies and TV shows. He appeared as a member of a Jazz Combo in true-crime bio-pic "I Want to Live!" The noted keyboardist performed on the title themes of such TV shows as "M*A*S*H," "Mannix," "Dallas" and many others. His film credits include "The Wild Party," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "The Man With the Golden Arm." He was nominated for a Grammy Award for his composition "Little Bird."

ROBERT LANG Died Nov. 6, 2004

British actor Robert Lang died of cancer at age 70. Mr. Lang had a long and distinguished career on the British stage. During the 1960s he he was one of the up-and-coming actors in Sir. Laurence Olivier’s National Theater Company. Mr. Lang appeared in nearly 100 films and TV shows. He never achieved the on-screen recognition that he earned on stage, however, Mr. Lang was a versatile actor who improved any vehicle he appeared in. He delivered a number of memorable supporting roles. Mr. Lang appeared in Ken Russell’s challenging "Savage Messiah," "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "The House That Dripped Blood," "The Mackintosh Man," "The Great Train Robbery," "The Medusa Touch," "Night Watch," "Othello," "Rasputin," "Uncle Vanya" and the Dave Clark Five vehicle "Catch Us If You Can"

HATTIE BILSON Died Nov. 6, 2004

Writer Hattie Bilson died at age 97. Ms. Bilson began her career as the head of Warner Brother’s Trailer Department. She was a journalist for several movie magazines during the 1940s and 50s. A few years back, I had the pleasure of interviewing former child actor Gary Gray. Mr. Gray starred in the RKO short film series about "Pal," a dog rescued by a boy named Gary. Ms. Bilson wrote four of the short films, which also starred Flame, the Wonder Dog! Ms. Bilson was the mother of Emmy winning director Bruce Bilson (Get Smart), the grandmother of writer/producer/director Danny Bilson (creator of the TV series "Viper") and the great-grandmother of actress Rachel Bilson (The O.C.).

HOWARD KEEL Died Nov. 7, 2004

MGM musical star Howard Keel died of colon cancer at age 85. The burly baritone starred in a number of classic musicals. His career underwent a revival in the 1980s when he was a regular cast member on the hit TV series "Dallas." Howard Keel appeared on stage in Rogers and Hammerstein’s "Oklahoma" and "Carousel." He followed success on stage with a lengthy film career. His large physique made it easy for him to play action and leading man roles as well as his work in musicals. Howard Keel appeared in over 60 films and TV shows. His credits include such classic musicals as "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," "Show Boat," "Kismet," "Annie Get Your Gun," Pagan Love Song," "Calamity Jane" and "Kiss Me Kate." Several of his more famous scenes were used in the great anthology movies "That’s Entertainment" and "That’s Entertainment II."

In addition to his musical roles, Howard Keel appeared in a number of Westerns and other films. He played St. Peter in "The Big Fisherman." He took a stab at Sci-Fi in the scary "The Day of the Triffids." His Western credits include "Waco," "Red Tomahawk" "Zane Grey Theater," "Tales of Wells Fargo," "Death Valley Days," and "The War Wagon." In 1981 Mr. Keel for success in prime time TV. He was hired to play the second husband of Miss Ellie on "Dallas" following the death of actor Jim Davis. Mr. Keel remained with the show until its end in 1991.

EVE WASSERMAN Died Nov. 7, 2004

Eve Wasserman, former story editor at Universal Studios died of natural causes at age 91. Ms. Wasserman was the sister of Tony winning playwright Dale Wasserman (Man of LaMancha) and the sister of one time Disney Studios head librarian Billie Wasserman. Ms. Wasserman worked as a story editor for Universal from 1950 through the early 1960s.

JOHNNY RAHM Died Nov. 7, 2004

39-year-old gay porn star Johnny Rahm (born Barry Rogers) committed suicide by hanging himself in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Mr Rahm was one of the more popular gay porn stars during the 1990s. He was HIV positive and had been trying to get SSI. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.

FRANK SHELLEY Died Nov. 8, 2004

Prolific British stage actor and director Frank Shelley died at age 86. Mr. Shelley’s stage career dated back to the 1930s. He worked with many of the greats of the English stage, and even discovered quite a few new talents. Mr. Shelley worked on a few TV series and feature films. He had a nice cameo in John Schlesinger’s wonderful "Darling." He played appeaser Neville Chamberland in the Merchant/Ivory film "The Remains of the Day."

ED WATERS Died Nov. 9, 2004

Emmy winning writer/producer Ed Waters died at age 74. Mr. Waters won an Emmy for one of my all-time favorite TV series "Police Story." The anthology series was created by L.A.P.D. vet turned writer Joseph Wambaugh. I wish someone would release the series on DVD! Mr. Waters was the nephew of actor Edmund O’Brien. He wrote "Man Trap," which was directed by O’Brien. Mr. Waters also wrote scripts for the outstanding series "The Equalizer." Other credits include "Kung Fu," "Jake and the Fatman," The F.B.I.," "Mannix," "The Virginian," "Baretta" and "Combat!"

IRIS CHANG Died Nov. 9, 2004

Author Iris Chang committed suicide by shooting herself in the head. Ms. Chang wrote the best-selling book "The Rape of Nanking" about the Japanese atrocities of rape, torture and murder committed against hundreds of thousands of Chinese people in 1937. Ms. Chang suffered a breakdown several months ago while researching a new book about the Bataan Death March. Ms. Chang appeared as herself in the TV documentary "The Genocide Factor." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.

EMLYN HUGHES Died Nov. 9, 2004

British soccer star Emlyn Hughes died of a brain tumor at age 57. Mr. Hughes was known for his fierce competitive nature and insatiable desire to win. Mr. Hughes was one of the top British soccer players during the 1960s and 70s. After a distinguished career on the field, Mr. Hughes became a TV celebrity in his native land. He was featured in the documentary "The Story of Football." Mr. Hughes appeared on the TV shows "I Love 1970’s," "Sports Triangles," "A Question of Sports" and "The Grand Knockout Tournament."

ED KEMMER Died Nov. 9, 2004

Actor Ed Kemmer died of a stroke at age 83. Mr. Kemmer played Commander Buzz Cory on the ABC TV and Radio series "Space Patrol." The series ran for five years. He was also a well known Soap Opera actor. Mr. Kemmer was a regular on "The Edge of Night," "The Secret Storm," "The Doctors," "Clear Horizon," "Another World," "Somerset" and "All My Children." My first memory of Mr. Kemmer was as the star of Bert I. Gordon’s "Earth vs. the Spider." He appeared in nearly 80 TV shows and films. Mr. Kemmer served his country during WWII in the US Army/Air Corp. He was shot down over France following D-Day. He was interred in the same prison camp immortalized in "The Great Escape." Mr. Kemmer escaped the camp but was later recaptured. For his service to his country, Mr. Kemmer was awarded an Air medal with three oak leaf clusters, the European campaign ribbon with two battle stars and a Purple Heart.

KEN SWOR Died Nov. 10, 2004

Award-winning assistant director/production manager/producer Ken Swor died of heart disease at age 69. Mr. Swor’s assistant director credits include Monty Hellman’s cult classic "Two Lane Blacktop." He shared the DGA Award for his work on the Made for TV movie "The Queen of the Stardust Ballroom." Other director credits include the thriller "Two Minute Warning," "Secrets," "The Other Side of the Mountain" and "The Great Santini." Mr. Swor produced one of my favorite guilty pleasures: "Endangered Species." He was also production manager on that under-rated film as well as "The Formula" and "Diner."

YASSER ARAFAT Died Nov. 11, 2004

Terrorist leader Yasser Arafat died of undisclosed causes after lingering in a coma at age 75. The Egyptian born Arafat was the founder of the PLO. Though he tried to cultivate his status as that of a statesman, Arafat never denounced the bloody terrorism that he encouraged and directed during his decades long war on Israel. He was the mastermind of the bloody massacre of the Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics. Arafat was the first person to address the general assembly of the UN while carrying a gun. He appeared in a number of documentaries including Oliver Stone’s "Persona Non Grata."

DAYTON ALLEN Died Nov. 11, 2004

Voice actor/comedian Dayton Allen died of natural causes at age 85. Mr. Allen provided the voice for a number of famous cartoon characters such as "Deputy Dawg," "Heckle and Jeckle" and "Flub a Dub" on "The Howdy Doody Show." He worked on over 120 cartoons. Francis Ford Copolla cast Mr. Allen in a small role in his gangster/musical "The Cotton Club." Mr. Allen was a semi-regular on the Steve Allen version of "The Tonight Show." He played the "man on the street" in a number of comic sketches. His catch-phrase from "The Tonight Show": "Why Not?" was also the title of his autobiography.

RICHARD DEMBO Died Nov.11, 2004

Oscar winning writer/director Richard Dembo died suddenly at age 56. The cause of death was not announced. Mr. Dembo’s first film "Dangerous Moves" won the 1984 Best Foreign Film Oscar and the French Cesar for Best First Work. Mr. Dembo did not direct his second film "The Instinct of the Angel" for another ten years. He was involved in the post-production of his third and fourth films when he died.

ELIZABETH EMANUEL Died Nov. 11, 2004

Author and Fox Senior Research Assistant Elizabeth Emanuel died at age 93. Ms. Emanuel worked for disaster-film producer Irwin Allen. She worked on "The Poseidon Adventure," "The Towering Inferno" and the TV series "Lost in Space," "Land of the Giants" and "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea." Ms. Emanuel also contributed dialogue to "My Fair Lady." Ms. Emanuel also wrote children’s books. She wrote "Baby Baboon" and "Climbing Sun: The Story of a Hopi Indian Boy."

NORMAN ROSE Nov. 12, 2004

You knew his voice more than likely. I was a huge fan of the "CBS Radio Mystery Theater" during the 1970s. It was a ritual listening to the scary tales every night at 9 P.M. Norman Rose was one of the more prolific actors on the radio show. He worked on nearly 60 episodes. Actor Norman Rose died of pneumonia at age 87. If you’re to young to remember the the "CBS Radio Mystery Theater" then you surely know his voice through the "Juan Valdez" coffee commercials. Woody Allen employed his distinctive voice in his wonderful "Radio Days." Mr. Rose wasn’t always behind the camera. He appeared in a number of films. He played Woody Allen’s attorney in Martin Ritt’s great film about the Blacklist: "The Front." He had a supporting role in one of my favorite crime capers: "The Anderson Tapes." One of his funnier roles was in the twisted comedy "The Telephone Man." He played the world’s best obscene phone caller. Other film and TV credits include "Biloxi Blues," "Who Killed Mary What’s Her Name ?," "The Edge of Night," "All My Children" and "One Life to Live." Mr. Rose was the narrator of the English dubbed version of the classic Russian film "War and Peace." Despite all of his work on radio, film and TV, I think my favorite piece of Norman Rose’ work was the National Lampoon take off on the poem "Desiderata." The Lampoon version was called "Deteriorata" Some of the more memorable lines were to "go placidly amid the noise and waste" and "You are a fluke of the universe. You have no right to be here. And whether you can hear it or not, the universe is laughing behind your back." The parody appeared on the 1972 album "Radio Diner."

JACQUES DYNAM Died Nov. 12, 2004

French character actor Jacques Dynam died at age 91. Mr. Dynam’s film career stretched back to the 1930s. He dubbed a number of American Western films for release in his native land. Among Mr. Dynam’s nearly 149 film and TV credits are a number of the "Fantomas" films, "The Taming of the Shrew," "Dangerous Games," "Agent 38-24-36," "The Sleeping Car Murders," "French Connection II" and Claude Charbrol’s version of "Madame Bovary."

BILLY SCOTT Died Nov. 12, 2004

British variety star and composer Billy ‘Uke’ Scott died at age 81. Mr. Scott got his nickname from his trademark ukulele. Though Mr. Scott mainly performed on British radio and variety halls, he did appear in a couple of WWII era films: "Rainbow Round the Corner" and "A Night of Magic." Mr. Scott was the subject of a British TV documentary "The Impresarios."

JOAN O’BRIEN Died Nov. 12, 2004

Writer Joan O’Brien died of complications from a stroke. Ms. O’Brien was a publicist who worked for legendary producer David O. Selznick. She also was an agent for Elvis and Ronald Reagan. Not bad! Representing a King and a President. She also helped create the TV series "To Rome, With Love." Ms. O’Brien co-wrote with TV critic Charles Denton, one of the most famous films that has never been released. "The Day the Clown Cried" is the infamous Jerry Lewis film, which revolves around a German clown who entertains children at Auschwitz as they enter the gas chambers. The film was shot years before "Life is Beautiful." Due to protracted legal wranglings, the movie was never released. The negative is in a vault in Sweden and Mr. Lewis has a video copy in his safe. Producer Nate Waschberger ran out of money to complete the film. Ms. O’Brien was never paid for the rights to her story. In fact, the producer’s option to make the film expired before the cameras ever rolled! Mr. Lewis used his own money to finish the movie, but post production was never completed. Ms. O’Brien and Mr. Denton never agreed to the film’s completion and blocked all efforts to have the movie finished. Maybe her heirs will think differently.

JOHN ELSENBACH Died Nov. 13, 2004

Award-winning cinematographer John Elsenbach died of heart failure at age 79. Mr. Elsenbach received three Emmy nominations for his work behind the camera on the shows "The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory," "Murder She Wrote" and "Code Name: Firefox." He won two ASC Awards for his work on the TV series "Murder She Wrote." Though he worked mainly on TV, Mr. Elsenbach shot a few films. He was a camera operator on Roger Corman’s gangster bio-pic "Bloody Mama," which starred Shelly Winters as Ma Barker. He also did second unit work on the comedy "Love at First Bite." Mr. Elsenbach’s other credits include "Bah Bah Black Sheep," "Kojak," the TV series version of "The Paper Chase" and "Knot’s Landing."

CARLO RUSTICHELLI Died Nov. 13, 2004

Prolific Italian composer Carlo Rustichelli died surrounded by his family at age 87. Mr. Rustichelli composed the scores for over 400 films during a career that stretched back to the 1930s. He worked with such directors as Mario Bava and Billy Wilder. Mr. Rustichelli was awarded two Silver Ribbons by the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists for his work. He scored three of the best films by Italian horror master Mario Bava: "Blood and Black Lace," "The Whip and the Body" and "Kill, Baby…Kill!" He also scored Bava’s historical mini-series "The Adventures of Ulysses." He was the music arranger on Billy Wilder’s "Avanti!" Rustichelli scored dozens of Spaghetti Westerns and Sword and Sandal movie. Among his other credits are "And Then There Were None," "Alfredo, Alfredo," "Operation Snafu," Sharon Tate’s final film "The 13 Chairs," "The Secret War of Harry Frigg," "The Gospel According to St. Matthew," one of my guilty pleasures "The Cavern," "Divorce – Italian Style" and "Torpedo Bay."

HARRY LAMPERT Died Nov. 13, 2004

Comic book illustrator and writer Harry Lampert died of cancer at age 88. Mr. Lampert collaborated with writer Gardner Fox to create the super hero "The Flash." As a teenager, Mr. Lampert worked as an inker on the cartoons of Fleischer Studios. He worked on "Popeye" and "Betty Boop" among others. Lampert’s most famous creation was the subject of both a 1990 TV movie and subsequent TV series aptly titled "The Flash." Mr. Lampert was also a noted bridge player. He wrote the book "The Fun Way to Serious Bridge."

RUSSELL JONES Died Nov. 13, 2004

Rapper Russell Jones, better known as Ol’ Dirty Bastard collapsed and died of a drug overdose in a Manhattan recording studio. Mr. Jones complained of chest pains before collapsing. He would have been 36 on Monday. Mr. Jones was a founding member of the rap group "Wu Tang Clan." He appeared in the documentaries "And You Don’t Stop: 30 Years of Hip Hop" and "Wu Tang." Jones also enjoyed a successful solo career. In 2001 he was jailed for drug possession and escape. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.


Writer/producer Richard Alan Simmons died of natural causes at age 80. Mr. Simmons was nominated for two Emmy Awards for his work on "Columbo" and "The Dick Powell Show." The episode of "The Dick Powell Show" won an Emmy for a young actor named Peter Falk. Mr. Falk and Mr. Simmons collaborated many times after that. Simmons eleven of Mr. Falk’s "Colombo" TV movies. Mr. Simmons wrote over 30 films and TV shows. He did uncredited script doctoring on the 1950s classic sci-fi film "The Incredible Shrinking Man." He wrote the excellent Made for TV horror-thriller "Fear No Evil." Mr. Simmons wrote the story for the great Western-comedy "Skin Game." Perhaps his greatest achievement was staying married for 53 years in Hollywood!

SEELEG LESTER Died Nov. 14, 2004

Writer Seeleg Lester died at age 91. Mr. Lester was a prolific TV writer during the 1950s and 60s. His TV and film credits include the Lee Marvin film "Sergeant Ryker," "Perry Mason," "Climax!," "The Outer Limits," "The Virginian," "Bonanza" and "Hawaii 5-0." He also wrote and produced the film "Change of Mind" about the transplant of a white man’s brain in a black man’s body! Mr. Lester also co-wrote the sports biopic "The Winning Team." Former president Ronald Reagan co-starred with Doris Day in the film about all-star baseball pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander.

MICHEL COLOMBIER Died Nov. 14, 2004

Award-winning French composer Michel Colombier died of cancer at age 65. Mr. Colombier won the Best Original Music Written for Film Cesar for Jean Becker’s 1995 film "Elisa." In addition, Mr. Colombier was nominated for a Grammy for his work on the so-so remake of "Out of the Past": "Against All Odds." He received a Golden Globe nomination for his work on "White Nights." Even though Mr. Colombier was a prolific movie composer, he also had a successful career as a symphony conductor and as the composer of twenty ballets. Mr. Colombier scored nearly 110 films and TV shows both in his native country and in the US. Among his many credits are "Purple Rain," the great sci-fi film "Colossus: The Forbin Project," "The Money Pit," "Ruthless People," "The Golden Child," "Who’s Harry Crumb?," "New Jack City," "Barb Wire," "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" and the dreadful remake of Lina Wertmuller’s "Swept Away."

MARIO SCARPETTA Died Nov. 14, 2004

Actor Mario Scarpetta died just shy of his 51st birthday. Mr. Scarpetta appeared in a number of films including Lina Mertmuller’s "The End Of the World in Our Usual Bed in a Night Full of Rain." He was a favorite of Ms. Wertmuller’s. Mr. Scarpetta was the assistant director on her film "Blood Fued." He also appeared in that film as well as Wertmuller’s "Softly, Softly," the TV movie "Saturday, Sunday and Monday" and "A Complex Plot About Women, Alleys and Crimes."

EVELYN WEST Death discovered Nov. 14, 2005

Famed St. Louis stripper Evelyn West (real name Amy May Coomer) was found dead in her home in Tampa Florida after she had not been seen for several days. Ms. West died of natural causes at age 83. Ms. West was known worldwide for her "$50,000 Treasure Chest." Her treasure was a 39-inch bust, which she claimed was insured by Lloyds of London. Ms. West appeared as herself in the 1947 film "A Night in the Follies."

JOHN MORGAN Died Nov. 15, 2004

Canadian comedy star John Morgan died at age 74. Mr. Morgan was one of the founding members of "The Royal Canadian Air Farce." The comedy troupe has had a TV series since 1993. Mr. Morgan retired from the show in 2001. He also appeared as himself in Disney’s "Cool Runnings."

ANGELA HAJIANIS Died Nov. 15, 2004

Specialty costumer Angela Hajianis died of cancer. Her age was not given. Ms. Hajianis worked on a number of films including "Ace Venture: When Nature Calls" and "Space Trucker." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends, especially her young daughter.

LINDSAY BOURQUIN Died Nov. 15, 2004

Actress/dancer Lindsay Bourquin died at age 84. Ms. Bourquin was a child dancer and acrobat. She entertained US military troops with the U.S.O. Ms. Bourquin played the wife of stooge Moe Howard in the short film "Gents Without Cents." She also appeared in the 1940s films "Youth Aflame" and "Affairs of Geraldine."


Assistant director Christopher Gerrity died on Nov. 16th. His age and cause of death were not announced. Mr. Gerrity was a first and second assistant director on a number of films during the 1990s. His credits include "Jerry Maguire," "The Replacement Killers," "Predator 2," "Sliver," "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country," "Love Field," "Eraser," "Hellraiser: Bloodline" and "Super Nova."

JOAN RAMON MAINAT Died Nov. 16, 2004

Spanish producer/director Joan Ramon Mainat died at age 53 after a lengthy illness. Mr. Mainat directed the popular 1990s TV series "Cronicas Marcianas" and "La Cara Divertido." Mr. Mainat co-produced series "Cronicas Marcianas" with his brother Toni Cruz. His brother Josep Maria is a member of the popular comedy team "Trinca."


Stuntwoman Patricia Dean Hulsman died at age 81. Ms. Hulsman specialized in aquatic work. She was a stuntwoman for Esther Williams and Jane Russell among others. Her film and TV credits include "The Creature From the Black Lagoon," "Seahunt" and "Underwater."

YVES BERGER Died Nov. 16, 2004

French author Yves Berger died at age 73. Mr. Berger wrote a number of books. He was an advocate for the Native American Indians. Mr. Berger’s novel "Le Sud" was turned into a 1982 TV movie in France.

KEN HANNAM Died Nov. 16, 2004

Australian director Ken Hannam died of cancer at age 75. Mr. Hannam directed the excellent "Sunday Too Far Away." The simple film looked at rival sheep shearers in the Australian outback. It starred Jack Thompson of "Breaker Morant" fame. Though the film is regarded as one of the best Australian films of all time, the movie did not catapult Mr. Hannam to international fame like so many other Australian directors from the Australian New Wave of the 1970s. "Sunday Too Far Away" won the Golden Reel Award for Best Feature Film at the Australian Film Awards. Mr. Hannam’s other credits include a number of Australian and British TV series including "Z Cars," "The Colditz Story," "The Day of the Triffids," "Moonbase 3" and "Lovejoy."

ANTHONY MAGRO Died Nov. 17, 2004

Emmy-Award winning sound effects and film editor Anthony Magro died of pneumonia at age81. Mr. Magro was nominated for three Emmys during his career. He was recognized for his work on the TV series "Muder She Wrote" and the TV specials "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "The Executioner’s Song." He won the Emmy for the excellent account of killer Gary Gilmore’s death by firing squad "The Executioner’s Song." In addition to his sound effects work on "Murder She Wrote" he was also an associate producer of the series. Mr. Magro was also a film editor. He helped cut on of my favorite trash-classics "Attack of the Giant Leeches" featuring hottie Yvette Vickers. He also cut the Peter Fonda drive-in classic "Fighting Mad." Mr. Magro’s sound editing credits include "Earthquake," "Smokey and the Bandit," "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and Sam Peckinpah’s "The Osterman Weekend." Mr. Magro served his country in the US Army during WWII.

CY COLEMAN Died Nov. 18, 2004

Oscar-nominated composer Cy Coleman died of a heart attack at age 75. Mr. Coleman was nominated for a Best Musical Score Oscar for his work on "Sweet Charity." Mr. Coleman wrote a number of classic Broadway shows. He won both Tony and Emmy Awards. In addition to writing scores for plays and movies, he had a number of hit singles. He wrote the classic "Witchcraft." Mr. Coleman’s film and TV credits include "Father Goose," "The Heartbreak Kid," "Fosse," "What Women Want," "G-String Divas," "Family Business," "Power" and "Garbo Talks."

BOBBY FRANK CHERRY Died Nov. 18, 2004

Murdering racist Bobby Frank Cherry died in prison after a long illness at age 74. Mr. Cherry was convicted for the cowardly terrorist bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama in 1963. Four young girls, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair were killed in the KKK racist terrorist bombing. Mr. Cherry was apprehended when his son turned him into the police after many tortured years of living with his father’s actions. Actor Richard Jenkins turned in a chilling performance as Mr. Cherry in the excellent TV movie "Sins of the Father." Tom Sizemore played his emotionally tortured son. One survivor, who lost an eye stated that she hoped he had made peace with God.

GREGORY MITCHELL Died Nov. 18, 2004

Actor Gregory Mitchell suffered a heart attack on stage at the Kennedy Center and died a week later. He was 52. The actor/dancer appeared in numerous Broadway plays, but also worked in film. His credits include Woody Allen’s "Everybody Says I Love You," "Chicago," "Random Hearts" and "Cradle Will Rock." Mr. Mitchell also did guest appearances of several Soap Operas as well as "The Cosby Mysteries" and "Law & Order."

MARION SCHILLING Died Nov. 18, 2004

British filmmaker Austin Mutti-Mewse had the sad task of letting me know that yet another one of his documentary subjects has passed away. She was 93. Mr. Mutti-Mewse said "Marion was the sweetest person in the world. I will miss her." Actress Marion Schilling was one of many actresses from the days of silent film and early talkies who appeared in Austin and Howard Mutti-Mewse’s documentary "I Used to Be In Pictures." Why the BBC will not release the film on DVD is a mystery to me. Marion Schilling toured with Bela Lugosi in the theatrical version of "Dracula." She ended up in Hollywood. Like a number of other young actresses, she did not achieve that top rung on the ladder of stardom. However, according to her interview with the Mutti-Mewse brothers, she had a full and happy life after Hollywood. She worked with the likes of Buster Keaton, Fatty Arbuckle and Buck Jones. Ms. Schilling appeared 40 films during her career. She was best known for her work on Western serials including "The Red Rider." She appeared in MGM’s first all-talkie "Wise Girls."

TERRY MELCHER Died Nov. 19, 2004

Songwriter/record producer Terry Melcher died of melanoma at age 62. Mr. Melchor was the only son of actress/singer Doris Day. He played a peripheral role in one of the most infamous crimes of the 20th Century. He rented his home to Roman Polanski and wife Sharon Tate. Ms. Tate and four others were murdered in the home in August of 1969. Though Melcher had turned down Charles Manson for a recording contract, it was proven that the Manson Family knew that Melcher no longer lived on Cielo Drive. Terry Melcher was one of the guiding forces behind the Beach Boys and others. Mr. Melcher co-wrote the song "Kokomo" with Mike Love and Scott Mckenzie for the movie "Cocktail." The trio won both BMI and ASCAP Film and Television Awards for the song. They were also nominated for a Golden Globe. Mr. Melcher was the executive producer of his mother’s TV series "The Doris Day Show." He also composed songs for the movies "Move Over Darling" and "The Lively Set." As a producer for Columbia records, Mr. Melchor produced the hit songs "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "Mr. Tambourine Man" for The Byrds. He also produced songs for my childhood favorites Paul Revere and the Raiders.

HELMUT GRIEM Died Nov. 19, 2004

Handsome German leading man Helmut Griem died at age 72. Mr. Griem was able to portray evil like few others. My first recollection of Mr. Griem was in Visconti’s seedy, sleezy "The Damned." The film told the story of the rise of Rohmer’s Brownshirts in Nazi Germany. Griem co-starred as the sexy, seductive and thoroughly power hungry SS officer Ausenbach. The devil himself couldn’t be much different. One of my favorite WWII films of the 1970s is "The McKenzie Break." In his first English language film, Mr. Griem played a ruthless U-Boat captain trying to escape from an allied POW camp in Scotland. With a twinkle in his eye, Griem’s Captain Schluter doesn’t think twice about killing his own fellow German POWs as a diversion to cover his own escape! It is a fun movie due to Mr. Griem’s performance. He is probably best known to audiences outside his native land for his portrayal of Max in Bob Fosse’s "Cabaret." Max was the Baron who seduced both Liza Minnelli’s Sally Bowles and Michael York’s Brian Roberts. The famous exchange between Minnelli and York was shocking at the time. Roberts tells Sally "Screw Max!" Not to be outdone, Sally replies "I do." Much to Sally’s chagrin, Robert’s replied "So do I." Helmut Griem appeared in over 60 films and TV shows. He was also an accomplished theater actor. His other film and TV credits include Visconti’s "Ludwig," Stuart Rosenberg’s all-star "Voyage of the Damned," the sequel to Sam Peckinpah’s "Cross of Iron": "Sergeant Steiner," Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s classic TV mini-series "Berlin Alexanderplatz," the mini-series "Peter the Great" and as Erwin Rommel in "The Plot to Kill Hitler."

RUTH MANNING Died Nov. 19, 2004

Actress Ruth Manning died of heart failure while auditioning for a TV role. Ms. Manning was 84. Ruth manning began her career on stage. She had a long and successful career as a stage actress before turning to the film industry. Although Ms. Manning appeared in a number of films and TV shows, her widest recognition came from a series of TV commercials for Kraft Mayonnaise. I don’t know if that gig had anything to do with the fact that the last name of her agent was Mayo! Among Ruth Manning’s nearly 50 film and TV credits are Disney’s "No Deposit, No Return," "Audrey Rose," "The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark," "The Devil and Max Devlin," "The Billionaires Boy’s Club," "E.R.," "Three’s Company," "Maude," "All in the Family," "MacGyver" and "Night Court."

JIMMY TAPP Died Nov. 20, 2004

Canadian radio personality and TV talk show pioneer Jimmy Tapp died of natural causes at age 86. Mr. Tapp died one week before he was to be inducted into the Canadian Broadcasting Hall of Fame. In addition to his work on radio and TV talk shows, Mr. Tapp provided the voice of the title character on the 1960s cartoon "The Mighty Hercules." He played Shannon Tweed’s father in the 1980s horror film "Of Unknown Origin." Lucky guy! His series "The Tapp Room" was one of the first TV talk shows in Canada.

ANNA KEAVENEY Died Nov. 20, 2004

British actress Anna Keaveney died of lung cancer at age 55. Ms. Keaveney was best known in her native land for her work on the Soap Opera "Brookside." She appeared in this year’s Award-winning biopic about British abortionist "Vera Drake." Among her many other film and TV credits is the hit film "Shirley Valentine."

CHARLES LANG JR. Died Nov. 20, 2004

Writer Charles Lang Jr. died at age 89. Mr. Lang turned to writing after an acting career that included work on Broadway. As an actor he appeared in 20 films including W.C. Fields’ classic "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break" and "Guadalcanal Diary." He wrote four films for the under-appreciated director Budd Boetticher: "Killer Shark," "The Magnificent Matador," "Decision at Sundown" and "Buchanan Rides Alone." Mr. Lang also wrote for a number of TV series including "Perry Mason," "Cheyenne," "The High Chaparral" and "Bonanza."

ROBERT COURTLEIGH Died Nov. 21, 2004

Actor Robert Courtleigh died at age 88. Mr. Courtleigh was the son of William Courtleigh, one of the creators of the Actor’s Equity union. Mr. Courtleigh appeared in several films and TV shows. He was the star of the 1950s sci-fi TV series "The Atom Squad." Mr. Courtleigh also appeared in an episode of the 1960 sci-fi series "Men Into Space." He played the evil stepmother’s date in the classic TV special "Cinderella," which starred Lesley Anne Warren. Mr. Courtleigh had small supporting roles in Joh Huston’s "Winter Kills" and the Sylvester Stallone vehicle "F.I.S.T."

JERRY BICK Died Nov. 22, 2004

Producer Jerry Bick died of Alzheimer’s Disease at age 81. Mr. Bick produced a string of excellent films during the 1970s. Unfortunately, many of his 1970s films were overlooked at the box office. My personal favorite was "Thieves Like Us." Robert Altman directed the depression era gangster film. The movie was gritty and far from romanticized. It was the opposite of Arthur Hiller’s "Bonnie and Clyde." Keith Carradine and Shelly Duval starred as a pair of lovelorn rednecks lured into the world of easy money. Mr. Bick was also responsible for a trio of "Phillip Marlowe" films, the first with Elliot Gould as the detective and the final two starring Robert Mitchum. "The Long Goodbye" is set in 1970s LA. Also directed by ALtman, "The Long Goodbye" is a brutal film and features a great supporting performance by Sterling Hayden. The second of the "Marlowe" films, "Farewell My Lovely" is set in the 1930s and is a very-good remake of the 1940s version. Bick’s final "Marlowe" film "The Big Sleep" is a bit of a disaster. Once again, the action takes place in modern times and the story is transported across the pond to England. A fan of Noir fiction, Mr. Bick also produced the disastrous remake of the Film Noir classic "Out of the Past": "Against All Odds." Mr. Bick also produced Goldie Hawn’s 1984 film "Swing Shift." Mr. Bick served his country during WWII in the US Navy.


The real "Mary Ellen" has died. Marion Hamner Hawkes, the sister of "The Waltons" creator Earl Hamner Jr. died at age 74 after a lengthy illness. Ms. Hawkes was the inspiration for her brother’s creation Mary Ellen Walton." "The Waltons" was one of the most popular and critically praised TV series of the 1970s. The depression era drama focused on a tight knit family surviving hard times with love. Actress Judy Norton-Taylor portrayed "Mary Ellen."

ARTHUR HOPCRAFT Died Nov. 22, 2004

Sports writer turned screenwriter Arthur Hopcraft died just shy of his 72nd birthday. Mr. Hopcraft adapted several John Le Carre novels to the small screen. Alec Quinness starred in the excellent TV mini-series "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy." Mr. Hopcraft also adapted Le Carre’s "The Perfect Spy." He won a BAFTA Writer’s Award for his adaptation of Charles Dickens’ "Bleak House." Other credits include the TV movies "Agatha" and "Rebecca." Mr. Hopcraft was considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the game of soccer. His 1968 book "The Football Man" is still one of the best books on the subject.


British writer/actor Stephen Mallatrat died at age 57. Mr. Mallatratt’s best known work was his adaptation of Susan Hill’s novel "The Woman in Black" into a long-running play. He recently wrote the TV remake of "The Forsythe Saga" and the WWII drama "Island at War." Mr. Mallatrat contributed to the long-running British TV series "Coronation Street." His acting credits include roles in "Chariots of Fire," "Island at War," "Emmerdale," "All Creatures Great and Small" and "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes."

FRANCESS LANTZ Died Nov. 22, 2004

Writer Francess Lantz died of ovarian cancer at age 52. Ms. Lantz wrote a series of popular fiction books aimed at young girls, most notably the "Luna Bay" series. She published over 30 books during her career. Two of her works "Confessions of a Marriage Junkie" and "Stepsister From Planet Weird" were turned into films. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.

DANIEL MCCAULEY Died Nov. 22, 2004

Assistant director Daniel McCauley died at age 88. Mr. McCauley worked with some of the best directors in film history. He helped Alfred Hitchcock on "Vertigo," "To Catch a Thief" and "The Wrong Man." He assisted Cecil B. DeMille on "The Ten Commandments." Other credits include John Sturges’s "Marooned" and "The Last Train From Gun Hill," Otto Preminger’s "In Harms Way," Henry Hathaway’s "Nevada Smith," Roman Polanski’s "Rosmary’s Baby," Hal Ashby’s "The Last Detail," Richard Fleischer’s "Soylent Green" and Robert Wise’s "Star Trek: The Motion Picture."

FRANCES CHANEY Died Nov. 23, 2004

Actress Frances Chaney, the widow of writer Ring Lardner Jr. died of Alzheimer’s Disease at age 89. Ms. Chaney was beginning her acting career when the HUAC blacklist cut things short. She and her husband were blacklisted for being communists. Her husband was one of the Hollywood 10. Before marrying Ring Lardner Jr. she had been married to his brother David Lardner who was killed in Germany two years before. Ms. Chaney was later able to establish a successful career on the New York stage. Her film and TV credits include the soap opera "The Edge of Night," the excellent cop flick "The 7-Ups," "When Harry Met Sally" and "Paint it Black."

PAT CORLETO Death Announced Nov. 23, 2004

Assistant director Pat Corleto died at age 94. Mr. Corleto was the assistant director on "Bye, Bye, Birdie," "The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze," "Operation Mad Ball," "Under the Yum, Yum Tree" and the TV series "Dennis the Menace."

LARRY BROWN Died Nov. 23, 2004

Writer Larry Brown died of a heart attack at age 53. Mr. Brown received much critical praise for his short stories and novels. A native of Oxford, Mississippi, Brown taught himself to write. His Southern Gothic stories garnered him a number of awards including the Thomas Wolfe Award and the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. Husband and wife team Arless Howard and Deborah Winger brought Mr. Brown’s "Big Bad Love" to the screen. Brown played a cameo in the film. Mr. Brown’s life and work was the subject of the documentary "The Rough South of Larry Brown." The documentary was unusual in that it also included dramatic adaptations of three of his short stories!

FABIO SCORPION Died Nov. 23, 2004

Brazilian bisexual porn actor Fabio Scorpion died of a heart attack while undergoing calf implant surgery. It was reported that an associate of Mr. Scorpion said that the death is proof there is no God. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends and the hope that Mr. Scorpion’s associate comes to see there is a God.

JAMES WONG Died Nov. 24, 2004

Prolific Hong Kong actor/composer James Wong died of lung cancer at age 64. Mr. Wong wrote the lyrics to over 1000 songs. He composed the scores or provided additional music to many films including "City Killer," John Woo’s brutal classic "Hard Boiled," "Once Upon a Time in China" and "Bullet in the Head." Mr. Wong appeared in many films also. His acting credits include "Red-Headed Stranger," "Iron Monkey," "Return to a Better Tomorrow" and "Let’s Rock." Mr. Wong was also a TV host, author and director!


Producer and agent Howard Hinderstein died at age 79 after a long battle with myeloma. Mr. Hinderstein’s family has been ravaged by cancer. His daughter Sherry and granddaughter Alyse both died of cancer. Mr. Hinderstein was very much involved in charitable work to battle the dread disease. Mr. Hinderstein was the personal manager for a number of entertainment figures. He was Totie Field’s manager for the last 18 years of her life. Mr. Hinderstein was also a TV producer who worked on several Goodson-Todman productions including "Tattletales" and "Match Game."

MILAS HINSHAW Died Nov. 25, 2004

Documentary filmmaker Milas Hinshaw died of heart disease at age 72. Mr. Hinshaw directed, produced and shot a number of Disney’s "True Life Adventures" for the TV series "The Wonderful World of Disney." He was the cinematographer on the film "Mystery Mansion" as well as the TV series "Animal World," "American West" and "The Challenging Sea." He later produced an updated version of the series "Animal World" called "New! Animal World."

ARTHUR HAILEY Died Nov. 25, 2004

Emmy-nominated writer Arthur Hailey died of a suspected stroke at age 84. Mr. Hailey began writing for TV in the 1940s. He wrote a number of teleplays for such shows as "The Alcoa Hour," "Kraft Television Theater," "Studio One" and "General Motors Presents." His 1956 TV play "Flight Into Danger" was the basis and inspiration for the drama "Zero Hour!" and the comedy "Airplane!" Mr. Hailey’s best-known work was the novel "Airport." The film version won Helen Hayes a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and spawned three sequels. His novel "Hotel" was turned in to a feature film, a Made for TV movie and a TV series. His books "Wheels," "The Money Changers" and "Strong Medicine" were all adapted to the screen. Mr. Hailey wrote the screenplay for the 1957 Air Force film "Test Pilot" which starred future "Star Trek" actor James Doohan. Mr. Hailey was nominated for an Emmy for his "Studio One" drama "No Deadly Medicine."

DAVID BAILEY Died Nov. 25, 2004

Actor David Bailey drown at age 71. Mr. Bailey was well known to Soap Opera fans throughout the years. He currently portrayed patriarch Alistair Crane on the series "Passions." He was best known for his ten-year stint as Russ Matthews on "Another World." Other Soap credits include "The Guiding Light," Ryan’s Hope" and "As the World Turns." Mr. Bailey’s film credits include "The Good Thief," "The Believer," "Above the Rim," "Something the Lord Made," "Wicked, Wicked" and "Never Again." Mr. Bailey also had a successful stage career and was one of the founding members of The Black Book Theater Company. He gained fame in the early 1970s for a TV commercial. He was the "man in bed" in the Mitchum deodorant commercial. Mr. Bailey served his country for eight years in the US Air Force.

PHILIPPE DE BROCA Died Nov. 26, 2004

Philippe de Broca’s "The King of Hearts" set records for an art house film. The movie played for years during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The sweet, gentle and humorous anti-war film was a personal favorite of mine. I am not sure how many times I saw it during my high school years but it had to have been more than 20 times. Oscar-nominated French writer/director Philippe de Broca died at age 71 after a lengthy illness. Mr. de Broca polished his craft as an assistant director for such new wave masters as Francois Truffaut and Claude Charbrol. Mr. de Broca was the assistant director on Truffaut’s classic "The 400 Blows." He helmed over 39 films. My first exposure to his work was the great 1960s comedy thriller "That Man From Rio." Mr. de Broca was nominated for Best Original Screenplay Oscar for the 1964 film. French superstar Jean Paul Belmondo played the unlikely hero who rescues his kidnapped girlfriend and thwarts a band of thieves while on a weeks leave from the army. Mr. Belmondo worked wit de Broca on six films. Among his other notable films are "Cartouche" which starred Belmondo, "1001 Nights" and "Amazon." His final film "A Viper in the Fist" was released last month. Mr. de Broca often made cameos in both his and the films of other directors. He played a journalist in Godard’s New Wave classic "Breathless." On of Mr. de Broca’s funniest cameo’s was as Adolph Hitler in "The King of Hearts." He was once married to actress Margot Kidder.

MARGARET JEWISON Died Nov. 26, 2004

Wife of director Norman Jewison died the day after her 74th birthday. Mrs. Jewison was also the mother of producer Walter Jewison, actress Jennifer Jewison and camera operator Kevin Jewison. She was a champion of Canadian filmmakers and was an ardent supporter of research to cure spinal injuries. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.

HUGH HASTINGS Died Nov. 26, 2004

Australian playwright Hugh Hastings died at age 87. Several of Mr. Hasting’s plays were turned into films. His comedies drew on his service in the Royal British Navy. His credits include "Seagulls Over Sorrento," "Crest of the Waves," "It Started in Paradise" and "Gift Horse." Mr. Hastings also acted on stage and in several TV series.

LELAND MURRAY Died Nov. 26, 2004

Actor Leland Murray died of diabetes at age 75. Mr. Murray was a respected stage actor who also appeared in a few films and TV shows. His film and TV credits include Blake Edwards’ "Thoroughly Modern Millie," "What Am I Bid?," "Pete and Tillie," "V," "Mission Impossible," "Roots" and "Riptide."


Emmy-nominated screenwriter Dorothy Cooper Foote died at age 93. Under the name Dorothy Cooper, she wrote such films as "On an Island With You," "Small Town Girl," "A Date With Judy" and the TV shows "Father Knows Best," "My Three Sons," Gidget," "Love on a Rooftop," "The Flying Nun" and "Hazel." Ms Foote was nominated for an Emmy for her work on the Robert Young TV series "Father Knows Best." She was also nominated for a Writer’s Guild Award as the co-writer of the Esther Williams film "On an Island With You."

SHOGO SHIMADA Died Nov. 27, 2004

Japanese actor Shogo Shimada died of a stroke at age 98. Mr. Shimoda was mainly a stage actor, performing with Japan's "New National Theater" from it’s inception in 1923 until it was disbanded in the 1980s. Mr. Shimada appeared in a number of films including "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and "Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold."

MOLLY WEIR Died Nov. 28, 2004

Scottish actress Molly Weir died in her sleep at age 94. Ms. Weir was the sister of naturalist and author Tom Weir. She was best know for playing Hazel the McWitch in the children’s TV series "Rentaghost." Ms. Weir was also a newspaper columnist. Ms. Weir appeared in a number of films and TV shows. Her credits include "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," "The Hands of Orlac," "Scrooge," "Hands of the Ripper," "One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing" and "Captain Jack."

JOHN DREW BARRYMORE Died Nov. 29, 2004

Actor John Drew Barrymore died of undisclosed causes at age 72. Mr. Barrymore was the son of screen legend John Barrymore and actress Deloris Costello. His aunt and uncle were screen legends in their own right: Lionel and Ethel Barrymore. Though he had an excellent pedigree, Mr. Barrymore never attained the fame or success of his father, aunt or uncle. That success seemed to skip a generation as Mr. Barrymore’s daughter, actress Drew Barrymore certainly eclipsed her noted relatives in the fame and success department. Mr. Barrymore and his daughter had a troubled relationship, but appear to have mended fences prior to his death. Thank God for that and the peace of mind it will bring Ms. Barrymore. Mr. Barrymore is also the father of actor John Blyth Barrymore. Lack of discipline, drug abuse and a rebellious streak kept Mr. Barrymore form fulfilling his potential as an actor. He appeared in nearly 50 films and TV series. His credits include "High School Confidential!," "While the City Sleeps" and "The Sundowners." He played Dr. Stephen Ward in the fact based political scandal film "The Keeler Affair." Actor John Hurt played the part in the better known film of the Profumo Affair: "Scandal." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.

DALE DUNHAM Died Nov. 29, 2004

Actor Dale Dunham died of a stroke at age 73. Mr. Dunham was a regional actor in the Twin Cities area. He had been active on the Minnesota stage since the 1960s. Mr. Dunham acted in a number of films and TV shows filmed in his home state. His credits include "Drop Dead Gorgeous," "The Mighty Ducks," "The Stranger Within," "The Naked Man" and "Naked Minnesota." As a Dee Jay in the 1950s, Mr. Dunham conducted one of the last interviews with Rock pioneer Buddy Holly. Mr. Dunham served his country during both WWII and the Korean War.

JACK DESHIELDS Died Nov. 29, 2004

Emmy-nominated production designer/art director Jack DeShields died of diabetes at age 81. Mr. DeShields was nominated foe Emmy Awards four times in recognition of his work on "Washington: Behind Closed Doors," "Barbary Coast," "The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd" and the excellent Elisabeth Montgomery movie "The Legend of Lizzie Bordon." Though Mr. DeShields worked mainly on TV, he did occasionally ply his craft in feature films. His feature film credits include "Marathon Man," the Blaxploitation film "Black Gunn" and the lame Tom Smothers’ comedy "Pandemonium."

ANGELA SCHILLER Died Nov. 30, 2004

Former actress Angela Schiller died in an apartment fire with her husband, publisher Lloyd Schiller. Ms. Schiller was 66. The fire started when she fell asleep with a lit cigarette. Ms. Schiller had parts in several films during the 1970s. Her stage name was An Tsan Hu. Her credits include the disaster movie spoof "The Big Bus," "Checkmate" and the Made for TV movie "Like Normal People." "Checkmate" was a softcore spy comedy also known as "Pepper Burnns: Agent 00X."

PIERRE BERTON Died Nov. 30, 2004

Once again, I must defer to another writer for an exceptional obituary of a very unusual guy. It wouldn’t be right for me to try and tell the story. Cryptozoologist and a very gifted guy himself Loren Coleman has been nice enough to allow me to publish his great obit of Pierre Berton. I’ll shut up now and let Loren talk…

Beloved by Canadians, folklore readers, cryptozoologists, and skeptics, the well-known writer and broadcast journalist Pierre Berton, 84, passed away on the afternoon of November 30, 2004, in a Toronto hospital, reportedly of heart failure.

Berton had a long and varied career, writing more than 40 books, most of which were nonfiction, with several award-winners among them. His remarkable humor and eccentric take on the world was legendary - as was his trademark bow tie, bushy white sideburns and dramatic cloaks. As the Canadian Press observed, merely a month before his death, Berton appeared on the CBC satire show, Rick Mercer's Monday Report, offering tips on how to roll a marijuana joint, recommending his book The National Dream as an excellent "rolling surface" and warning about the perils of a loose joint. He said a less-than-firmly rolled spliff could leave unsightly toke burns on one's bow tie.

While recent years had seen Berton called upon to be a keynote speaker at a 2003 skeptics' gathering honoring the Amazing Randi, his early days sometimes involved his fascination with cryptozoology. His 1956 book, Mysterious North was one of the first to chronicle the wide spectrum of cryptids, from hairy hominoids such as Sasquatch and Windigo, to lake monsters, across Canada. Berton has even become a footnote in the mysterious tale of a missing piece of cryptid evidence. As Mark A. Hall reports in his new book, Thunderbirds: America's Living Legends of Giant Birds (Paraview, 2004), the biologist Ivan T. Sanderson is remembered to have appeared on The Pierre Berton Show with a photostat of a huge thunderbird affixed to the side of a barn. The "missing Thunderbird photograph" and Pierre Berton's name are forever tied together in cryptozoology folklore.

Born in July 12, 1920 and raised in the Yukon, Pierre Berton worked in Klondike mining camps during his university years. He spent four years in the army, rising from private to captain/instructor at the Royal Military College in Kingston. He spent his early newspaper career in Vancouver, where at 21 he was the youngest city editor on any Canadian daily. He moved to Toronto in 1947, and at the age of 31 was named managing editor of Maclean's. In 1957 he became a key member of the CBC's public affairs flagship program, Close-Up, and a permanent panelist on Front Page Challenge. He joined The Toronto Star as associate editor and columnist in 1958, leaving in 1962 to commence The Pierre Berton Show, which ran until 1973. Since then he has appeared as host and writer on My Country, The Great Debate, Heritage Theatre, and The Secret of My Success.

For his massive contribution to Canadian literature and history, Berton was awarded more than a dozen honorary degrees. He was awarded a Doctorate of Athabasca University in 1982 in recognition of his eminence as an historian, writer, and commentator, and of his concern for, and dedication to, Canada.² He has received over 30 literary awards such as the Governor-General¹s Award for Creative Non-Fiction (three times), the Stephen Leacock Medal of Humour, and the Gabrielle Leger National Heritage Award. He served as the Chancellor of Yukon College.

Writer Alistair MacLeod, noted the Canadian Press, called Berton a "very, very good writer," and said Berton "made the history of Canada come alive. He emphasized the importance of our history as distinct from American history or British history or French history."

One of Berton's final public appearances was in October, 2004, when he attended the opening of a new $12.6 million resource library named in his honor in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada.