JACK KELLER Died Apr. 1, 2005
Composer Jack Keller died of leukemia at age 68. Mr. Keller wrote a number of Top 10 pop hits as part of the Brill Building writers assembled by Don Kirschner in the early 1960s. Among his works were "Venus in Blues Jeans" and "Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool." Mr. Keller wrote the theme songs for the TV series "Bewitched" and "Gidget." Mr. Keller was the producer of the theme song for the TV series "The Monkees." He also produced their first album. Mr. Keller’s music appeared in such films and TV shows as "The Victors," "Here Come the Brides," "Winter a Go-Go," "For Singles Only" and "The Cable Guy."
TAKAO ZUSHI Died Apr. 1, 2005
Japanese Character actor Takao Zushi died of pancreatic cancer at a Tokyo hospital. The 58-year-old actor appeared in number of films over the last 46 years. He began acting as a child. He appeared in Akira Kurosawa’s final film "Madadayo" as well as "Ran." Mr. Zushi’s younger brother Yoshitaka is also an actor. He too appeared in both of the above mentioned Kurosawa films as well as Kurosawa’s "Dreams" and "Dodes’ka-den." The younger Mr. Zushi was memorable in "Dreams" as the Japanese soldier Pvt. Noguchi who encounters the ghost battalion of his former friends who were killed in combat due to his mistake.
HARALD JUHNKE Died Apr. 1, 2005
German singer/actor Harald Juhnke died from the effects of dementia and alcoholism at age 75. Mr. Juhnke was dubbed "The German Frank Sinatra" by fans in his home country. He had a hit record of Sinatra’s signature tune "My Way." Mr. Juhnke appeared in nearly 150 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. He appeared in a number of films before becoming a huge TV star in Germany during the 1960s. Mr. Juhnke fought a well-publicized battle with alcohol. He received worldwide press when he used a racial epitaph on a Black security guard in Los Angeles in 1997. Mr. Juhnke later apologized for the remark. Mr. Juhnke’s film and TV credits include "Der Kommisar," "The Testament of Dr. Mabuse," the title character in the TV series "Sgt. Berry" and "I Wasn’t a Very Good Student Either."
PHILIP AMELIO Died Apr. 1, 2005
Former child actor turned teacher Philip Amelio died of an infection to his heart at age 27. Mr. Amelio played the grandson of Lucille Ball in her final TV series "Life With Lucy." The series ran for 12 episodes in 1986. Mr. Amelio retired from acting as a young teen. In Oliver Stone’s "Born on the Fourth of July" he played the young version of Stephen Baldwin’s adult character Billy Vorsovich. Mr. Amelio also appeared on the soap opera "All My Children" for three seasons. Mr. Amelio devoted himself to teaching high school student. Prayers of comfort to his family and friends.
KAREN CIRAULO Died Apr. 1, 2005
Storyboard artist Karen Ciraulo was killed in a car accident in New Mexico. Ms. Ciraulo worked as a storyboard artist on "The Wild Thornberrys" and "Pinky and the Brain."
POPE JOHN PAUL II Died Apr. 2, 2005
Pope John Paul II died at age 84 after a lengthy illness. Born Karol Wojyla, he became the first non-Italian Pope in over 400 years. During his 27 years as pontiff Pope John Paul II became one of the most respected spiritual leaders in history. His strength in speaking out for the poor and oppressed, the fact he asked the Jewish people for forgiveness for the sins of the Catholic Church against them and his part in breaking down the iron curtain brought him the admiration and respect of peoples of all faiths and political ideologies. Pope John Paul II also stood fast to the tenets of the Christian faith, choosing to serve and honor God no matter whether it upset those who would rewrite the Bible. When he was shot three times by an assassin in 1981, Pope John Paul II visited him in jail and forgave him.
Prior to becoming a priest in 1946, having studied at a clandestine seminary in Nazi occupied Poland, Karol Wojyla was a stage actor and playwright. He was also an accomplished athlete. Two of Pope John Paul II’s plays were turned into films. Burt Lancaster starred in the 1988 film version of "The Jeweler’s Shop." His play "Our God’s Brother" was filmed in Poland in 1997. The Pope’s life was the subject of two Made for TV movies: "Pope John Paul II" with Albert Finney in the title role and "From a Far Country." The Pope was also the subject of a number of documentaries including "The Millenial Pope: John Paul II."
Though I am not a Catholic, I have always admired Pope John Paul II’s defense of the Christian faith against those who would try and dilute Christ’s teachings. He was a man of principle and compassion. I pray that his successor is cut from the same cloth.
JUNE EASTON Died Apr. 2, 2005
Actress June Easton died of lupus at age 72. Ms. Easton was the wife of actor Robert Easton. She was a dialect coach at her husband’s firm "Henry Higgins of Hollywood Inc." Robert Easton is considered one of the top dialect coaches in the film industry. He teaches over 80 different dialects. Clients have include such greats as Laurence Olivier and Gregory Peck. Ms. Easton appeared in several films with her husband including "Paint Your Wagon," "Tai-Pan" and "Timber Tramps."
BETTY BOLTON Died Apr. 2, 2005
Actress Betty Bolton passed away at age 99! Ms. Bolton took part in the very first experimental TV broadcast! Though there is no sound, Ms. Bolton’s image from this first experimental TV broadcast still exists. Ms. Bolton was a famous vaudeville entertainer in England. She began her career as a child. Ms. Bolton was able to play straight drama as well as comedy and musicals. She appeared in a few films before retiring in the 1930s to raise her child. Ms. Bolton’s film credits include "Wolves," "Balaclava" and "Long Live the King."
JACQUES POITRENAUD Died Apr. 2, 2005
French filmmaker Jacques Poitrenaud died at age 83. Mr. Poitrenaud did it all: he wrote, directed, edited, acted, produced and photographer movies! His debut film as a director "The Door Slams" was Catherine Deneuve’s second film. His 1963 film "Strip Tease" has a cult following due to presence of Nico. Nico later gained fame as a member of Andy Warhol’s factory and as the lead singer of The Velvet Underground. Mr. Poitrenaud was assistant director on a number of films by directors Roger Vadim and Michel Boisrond including "Dangerous Liaisons 1960." Mr. Poitrenaud created the Movie Markets which ran in conjunction with the Cannes Film Festival. This May, Mr. Poitrenaud will be honored at Cannes Film Festival.
BLANCHETTE BRUNOY Died Apr. 3, 2005
French actress Blanchette Brunoy died of natural causes at age 86. Ms. Brunoy appeared in nearly 100 films during a career that began in the mid-1930s and lasted until 1998. Ms. Brunoy worked with such directors as Abel Gance and Jean Renoir. Among her many credits are the title role in "Claudine a L’ecole," "Judas Was a Woman," "Shop Girls of Paris," "Bernadette of Lourdes," "Anatomy of a Marriage," "The Holy Terror" and "L’ Enfer." Her final film was "White Lies" with the late Marie Trintignant.
SAUL BELLOW Died Apr. 5, 2005
Nobel prize-winning writer Saul Bellow died at age 89 after a lengthy illness. In 1976 Mr. Bellow won both the Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer Prize. He was the first writer to win the National Book Award three times. His Novel "Seize the Day" was turned into a feature film starring Robin Williams. He wrote the script for the 1967 Yugoslavian TV drama "Izvlacenje." He appeared as himself in the Woody Allen film "Zelig" and in the Israeli documentary "In Search of Identity."
DEBRALEE SCOTT Died Apr. 5, 2005
Actress Debralee Scott died three days after her 52nd birthday. Ms. Scott had lapsed into a coma for three days last week. When the doctors could not uncover the reason for her collapse, Ms. Scott was sent home. Though Ms. Scott was best known for her role as "Hotzi Totzi" in the hit TV series "Welcome Back Kotter," she had memorable roles in a several films. My first memory of her was as the naked corpse in "Dirty Harry." I first saw the movie when I was young enough to be awed by a glimpse of flesh. Ms. Scott played the young woman who was kidnapped by the film’s serial killer badguy. It was Ms. Scott’s character that led Clint Eastwood’s Harry Callahan to torture the killer in order to find her whereabouts. Ms. Scott is glimpsed as she is pulled dead from a culvert. It’s funny what sticks in your mind when you are 13 years old. Other memorable cameos include her role as one of Harrison Ford’s girlfriends in "American Graffiti." She was the girl who exclaimed to Paul LeMat’s John Milner "Ain’t he neat!" as the hod-rod racers faced off early in the film. Other credits the disaster movie "Earthquake," "The Reincarnation of Peter Proud," the TV series "Angie" and two of the "Police Academy" films. Perhaps her most memorable role was as Cathy Schumway on the TV series "Mary Harman, Mary Hartman" and its spin-off "Forever Fernwood." In the spin-off series her character found herself in lust with her own father, played by Tab Hunter. Tab Hunter replaced Phil Burns in the role. Plastic surgery was the explanation for the drastic change in her father’s appearance. This storyline was just one of many that caused both series to be show late at night in many markets. Ms. Scott was engaged to New York port authority officer J.D. Levi. Officer Levi was killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11.
DALE MESSICK Died Apr. 5, 2005
Cartoonist Dale Messick died at age 98. Ms. Messick created the long-running comic strip "Brenda Starr." The red-headed character was a girl reporter who lived through hundreds of adventures. The comic strip began in 1940. Ms. Messick’s heroine went on adventures usually reserved for male characters. Brenda Starr was a prototype of such modern heroines as Lara Croft. The sassy girl reporter was first brought to the screen in the 1945 Columbia serial "Brenda Starr, Reporter." Joan Woodbury played the title role. Jill St. John starred as the title character in the 1970s TV series "Brenda Starr." Brooke Shields and Timothy Dalton starred as Ms. Starr and her dashing beau Basil St. John in the 1989 feature film "Brenda Starr." Ms. Messick appeared as herself in the documentary "Funny Ladies."
JUDITH WEINER Died Apr. 5, 2005
Veteran casting director Judith Weiner died of ovarian cancer at age 58. Ms. Weiner over saw casting for the UPN network for the last 6 years. Her career dated back to the 1970s. She was responsible for Michael J. Fox being cast on "Family Ties." She fought for Fox when the network did not want to cast him the part. Among the many films and TV series she cast are "The Howling," "Some King of Wonderful," "Gross Anatomy," "SOAP," "The Golden Girls," "Ally McBeal" and the TV remake of "The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three."
FRANCISCO LAUDADIO Died Apr. 6, 2005
Italian director Francisco Laudadio died after a lengthy illness at age 55. Though I have never seen one of his films, I will always be indebted to him for being the man who discovered the beautiful Monica Bellucci! Mr. Laudadio directed Ms. Belluci in the film "La Riffa." In 1983, Mr. Laudadio was given the David di Donatello Award for Best New Director for his film "Grog." His final film was the 2003 production "Signora."
PRINCE RAINIER GRIMALDI III Died Apr. 6, 2005
Prince Rainier III of Monaco, Europe’s longest reigning monarch died of heart, lung and kidney illness at age 81. Rainier had ruled the tiny nation of Monaco for nearly 56 years. His family has ruled Monaco since 1297. Prince Rainier was the widower of American movie star Grace Kelly. The Pennsylvania beauty who won the heart of Rainier. Who could blame him! In 1956, after appearing in eleven films, the blonde beauty retired from the movies and married the prince. Princess Grace was killed in a tragic automobile accident in 1982. She was killed on the same winding road made famous during her car chase with Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock’s "To Catch a Thief." Prince Rainier appeared as himself in a number of documentaries and was the subject of an "A&E Biography."
GENE HAZELTON Died Apr. 6, 2005
Animation designer Gene Hazelton died at age 85. Mr. Hazelton work for Disney, Warner Brothers, MGM and Hanna-Barbera. He was the man who designed the opening title sequence for the landmark TV series "I Love Lucy!" Mr. Hazelton worked on such films and shorts as "Fantasia," "Pinocchio," "Tom and Jerry" and "Invitation to the Dance." He also was the designer of Pebbles and Bam Bam on "The Flintstones." He was a member of The Animation Guild, Local 839.
ROBERT GOLDEN Died Apr. 6, 2005
Veteran film editor Robert Golden died at age 93. He was a 67-year-member of the Editor’s Guild! Mr. Golden worked on one of the greatest films ever made: Charles Laughton’s gothic horror film "Night of the Hunter." In 1974, film historian and preservationist Robert Gitt discovered boxes of loose film that turned out to be the rushes and outtakes of Laughton’s classic film. After a number of years, Mr. Gitt was able to assemble the rushes. What emerged was a vision of the director at work. Laughton had his editor keep the film for him rather than throw it away. Thankfully Mr. Golden saved the footage which shows Laughton between takes directing the actors. Turns out that Charles Laughton did not stop rolling film when he yelled cut. Most of Mr. Golden’s work was in the Western genre. He also produced several "Lassie" film compilations.
BILL LAYNE Died Apr. 7, 2005
Disney background artist Bill Layne died at age 94. Mr. Layne worked for Disney Studios for 32 years. His credits include "Sleeping Beauty," "101 Dalmations," "The Sword in the Stone," "Mary Poppins," "The Jungle Book," "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" and "Robin Hood."
JOSE MELIS Died Apr. 7, 2005
Cuban-born composer Jose Melis died at age 85. Mr. Melis was Jack Parr’s musical director. He worked with Mr. parr on a number of shows including "The Tonight Show." Mr. Melis performed on Ed Sullivan’s "Toast of the Town" as well as Jack Parr’s "Startime." He appeared in the film "Senior Prom." Mr. Melis’s song "Pasion Orientale" was used in the Judy Garland version of "A Star is Born."
YOSHITARO NOMURA Died Apr. 8, 2005
Award-winning Japanese director Yoshitaro Nomura died of pneumonia at age 85. Mr. Nomura directed nearly 90 films during his lengthy career. His films were honored with awards by the Moscow International Film Festival," the Japanese Academy, Mystfest and others. His Film Noir thriller "Castle of Sand" is considered one of the best films ever made in Japan by their film community. "Castle of Sand" was based on a best-selling novel by Seicho Matsumoto. Mr. Nomura filmed eight of Mr. Matsumoto’s books. He also looked to American and Great Britain for source material, adapting the works of Agatha Christie as well as the duo Manfred Lee and Frederic Dannay (better known as Ellery Queen) to the screen. Among Mr. Nomura’s credits are "The Incident," "Zero Focus," "The Demon," "Three Undelivered Letters" and "Suspicion."
ONNA WHITE Died Apr. 8, 2005
Honorary Oscar winner Onna White died of natural causes at age 80. Ms. White received an Honorary Oscar for her choreography work in the Best Picture Oscar winner "Oliver!" Ms. White was nominated for eight Tony Awards for her choreography on Broadway. She never won. The classically trained ballerina switched from dancing on stage to creating the dance moves for a number of great Broadway plays. She also worked in film. Her film credits include "Bye, Bye Birdie," "The Music Man," "1776." Lucille Ball’s version of "Mame" and Disney’s wonderful "Pete’s Dragon."
MARY OLGA MOORE Died Apr. 9, 2005
Actress/singer Mary Olga Moore died of cancer at age 54. Ms. Moore played a small part in and sang the title song of "The Happy Hooker." The lame comedy was based on the best selling memoir by Xaviara Hollander co-written by journalist and author Robin Moore. Mary Olga was the wife of Robin Moore. Mr. Moore wrote the film’s title song for his wife to sing. Robin Moore is the author of such books as "The Green Berets" and "The French Connection." Ms. Moore gave up acting shortly after her marriage to Mr. Moore 32 years ago.
IRA KATZ Died Apr. 9, 2005
Behind every explosion or smoke screen that shows up in an action film, there is someone somewhere working in a lab to find a better and safer way to bring that image to the screen. One such person was Ira Katz. Ira Katz was the founder and owner of Tri-Ess Sciences, a company he started in 1950. He developed a number of products that have become the standard in the entertainment industry including Spectrasmoke. Ira Katz died at home at age 89. Thanks for adding that extra spark to our movie lives.
WILLIAM PANCAKE JR. Died Apr. 9, 2005
Special effects technician William Pancake Jr. died at age 42. Mr. Pancake was working on the upcoming Steven Spielberg sci-fi remake "War of the Worlds." Other film credits include "Twister," "The Rock" and "Swordfish." Mr. Pancake was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 44. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends, especially his wife and four children.
FAITH MCNULTY Died Apr. 10, 2005
Author Faith McNulty died after a lengthy illness at age 86. Ms. McNulty was a reporter and writer for a number of magazines including "LIFE" and "The New Yorker." She wrote the non-fiction crime book "The Burning Bed," which dealt with a woman who burned her husband to death after years of physical and mental abuse. The book became a multi-award winning TV movie starring Farrah Fawcett. Ms. McNulty covered WWII as a young reporter in London, England.
CHARLES KALISH Died Apr. 11, 2005
Former NBC TV employee Chuck Kalish died at age 87. Mr. Kalish worked on the production side of many NBC TV shows during his lengthy career. His credits include "The Andy Williams Show," "Let's Make a Deal," "The Dean Martin Show" and "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson.
MARGO SKINNER Died Apr. 11, 2005
Actress Margo Skinner died of a massive heart attack in her New York apartment. Ms. Skinner was 55 years old. Ms. Skinner had received a standing ovation the night before as she performed on stage in the play "Moonlight and Magnolias." She was playing the secretary of "Gone With the Wind" producer David O. Selznick in "Moonlight and Magnolias." Ms. Skinner’s film and TV credits include the horror film "Night School," PBS’s remake of "I Never Sang for My Father," "Longtime Companion," "Law & Order" and "The Dave Chappelle Show."
Laura Sutcliffe shared her fond memories of close friend Margo Skinner with me:" This woman was a gift to all who loved her, always a smile, never an unkind word (unless it was in a script). She will be missed every day, even after I stop crying every time I think of the unthinkable loss of her company. I do take solace in the fact that Margo burned bright until the last minute of her life, she was loved and she loved. I guess that's what we all hope we have to the end." To Ms. Sutcliffe's remarks I add, Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
JOHN BENNETT Died Apr. 11, 2005
Prolific British character actor John Bennett died just shy of his 76th birthday. Mr. Bennett was a familiar face to horror and sci-fi fans. He appeared in nearly 150 films and TV shows during his 43-year-career. Mr. Bennett appeared in a number of great genre films and TV shows. His horror and sci-fi credits include Terence Fisher’s classic "The Curse of the Werewolf" starring the great Oliver Reed, "Dr. Who," "The House That Dripped Blood," "Face of Darkness," the TV remake of "Jason and the Argonauts," "The Fifth Element" and "Minority Report." Not everyone is as big a horror movie fan as I am. Mr. Bennett appeared in many other types of well-known films. Other credits include "Lawrence of Arabia," "Victim," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "The Forsyte Saga," as Josef Goebbels in "Hitler: The Last Ten Days," "I, Claudius," "Watership Down," "The House on Garabaldi Street," the great thriller "Eye of the Needle," "Charlotte Gray" and "The Pianist."
JOHN LATTANZIO Died Apr. 11, 2005
On a recent trip to LA with director Jeremy Benson and producer Mark Williams, we were shown around Sony Studios by my friend Ken Miyamoto. Like many folks in LA, Ken works in the movie business. He’s not one of the folks on screen; he’s a behind the scenes guy. Like thousands of others who all work toward the common goal of providing entertainment for the world. While Ken gave me the grand tour, we saw hundreds of people working on everything from building sets to manning the cash register at the studio gift shop. Movie-goers will probably never know their names. Chances are that you have not heard the name John Lattanzio. I know I hadn’t. John Lattanzio began as a painter, moved on to paint foreman and then construction coordinator. Along the way he also managed to help produce a great TV series. John Lattanzio died at age 81. He was an associate producer on the wonderful Michael Mann TV series "Crime Story." Most of his work took place behind the scenes. He worked with director Mann on his brilliant crime character study "Thief." Mr. Lattanzio was a painter on Terrence Malick’s beautiful "Days of Heaven." He was the construction coordinator on a number of great films by personal favorite Walter Hill. His Walter Hill credits include "Southern Comfort," "The Long Riders," "48 Hrs." and Hill’s homage to Sam Peckinpah "Extreme Prejudice." He also was construction coordinator on John Carpenter’s campy "Big Trouble in Little China." He was a member of I.A.T.S.A. Local 44.
JOHN BROSNAN Died Apr. 11, 2005
While as an undergrad student, I took a course on science fiction films. The book used as the text was John Brosnan’s "Future Tense: The Cinema of Science Fiction." I can’t tell you how much fun I had using Mr. Brosnan’s theories to analyze the movie "Killer Klowns From Outer Space." This wasn’t the only great film book written by Mr. Brosnan. Fans of the James Bond films look to his work "James Bond in the Cinema" as one of the best books on the subject. Mr. Brosnan also wrote many novels. Several of his books were turned into film. They include "Carnosaur," "Beyond Bedlam" and "Proteus." Mr. Brosnan died of acute pancreatitis at age 57.
SAMANTHA DOWNING Died Apr. 12, 2005
Former actress Samantha Downing died of cancer at age 38. Mrs. Downing and her husband Todd Downing worked together on two feature films and a short comedy during the 1980. Ms. Downing, then Samantha Grismore, directed her husband’s script "Kings." She was the script supervisor on "Project" while her husband directed. They also made the short sci-fi comedy "Flotsam." The couple went into the Role Playing Game business, running "Deep 7, LLC" in Seattle, Washington. Ms. Downing donated her body to University of Washington Medical Center in hopes of helping find a cure for the aggressive cancer that took her life. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
JOE BARONE Died Apr. 12, 2005
Fireman turned actor/playwright Joe Barone died of respiratory illness at age 65. Mr. Barone appeared in the movie "The Day It Came to Earth" as well as the TV series "The Fall Guy" and "Designing Women." He also wrote plays directed and acted in regional theater. He also hosted radio interviews and SAG & AFI seminar interviews with numerous people in the entertainment industry including Jack Lemon, Robert Loggia and Michael Crichton. He was on the National Board of Directors of AFTRA from 1984 through 1991 and was on the Casting Committee of SAG also during the 1980s. He founded the Top of Texas Players theater group in Amarillo Texas.
JOHNNY JOHNSON Died Apr. 13, 2005
Legendary rock and blues pianist Johnny Johnson died of natural causes at age 80. I grew up Johnny Johnson played piano on Chuck Berry’s classic recordings "Roll Over Beethoven," "Maybellene," "Back in the U.S.A." and "Sweet Little Sixteen." Berry’s song "Johnny B. Goode" was a tribute to his longtime band member. Mr. Johnson played with Berry for over 20 years. Mr. Johnson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Mr. Johnson's piano playing has been heard on the soundtracks of countless films featuring Chuck Berry's classic rock and roll standards. He appeared as himself in the outstanding Chuck Berry concert film "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll" He also appeared in Eric Clapton’s concert video "Eric Clapton: 24 Nights."
PHILIPPE VOLTER Died Apr. 13, 2005
French actor Philippe Volter committed suicide at age 45. Mr. Volter received a Cesar nomination for Most Promising New Actor for his work in Jacques Deray’s "Dark Woods." Mr. Volter was familiar to international audiences for his appearances in "The Music Teacher," "Trois Couleurs: Blue," "Cyrano de Bergerac," "A Mere Mortal" and "The Double Life of Veronique." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
JOHN FRED Died Apr. 15, 2005
Rock and Roll singer John Fred Gourrier died of renal disease at age 63. Mr. Gourrier was the lead singer of the band John Fred & His Playboys. They scored a #1 hit in 1968 with "Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)." As a snotty 10-year-old, I used that song to tease my oldest sister Judy. The fact that she did not kill me is a tribute to my big sister’s patience at the time. John Fred wrote the song as a parody of "The Beatles" hit "Lucy in the Sly With Diamonds." Fred’s song was a frisky rocker with fun lyrics. It is one of the songs that brings back memories of one of the best years of my childhood. Thanks for the memories Mr. Fred. His song was used on the soundtrack of Gus Van Sant’s powerful "Drugstore Cowboy."
MARGARETTA SCOTT Died Apr. 15, 2005
Renowned British actress Margaretta Scott died at age 93. Not many actresses can boast Made for TV movie credits from the 1930s, but Ms. Scott could! If not for WWII, TV development would have advanced much quicker than it did. The BBC was airing TV programming during the 1930s. Ms. Scott appeared in early BBC TV versions of "Much Ado About Nothing," "The Taming of the Shrew," "Will Shakespeare" and several others. Ms. Scott’s acting career spanned 70 years and included stage, film and the small screen. My first exposure to her work was in the 1936 sci-fi film "Things to Come." Ms. Scott played two roles in the H.G. Wells film, but one of the roles was cut out along with 40-minutes of the film. The lost footage has never been found. Modern audiences probably remember Ms. Scott best for her role as Mrs. Pumphrey in the TV series "All Creatures Great and Small." Among her many film and TV credits are "The Return of the Scarlet Pimpernel," "Crescendo," "Percy," "Town on Trial," "Lovejoy" and "The Saint."
KIM MOO-SAENG Died Apr. 16, 2005
South Korean actor Kim Moo-saeng died of pneumonia at age 62. Mr. Moo-saeng appeared in over 100 films and TV shows in his native land. He was the father of actor Ju-hyeok Kim. Mr. Moo-saeng’s credits include "Only You," "Dance With Solitude" and "A Deep, Deep Place." He began his career as a voice actor.
JAIME FERNANDEZ Died Apr. 16, 2005
Award-winning Mexican actor Jaime Fernandez died of a heart attack at age 67. Jaime Fernandez was the younger brother of actor/director Emilio Fernandez: General Mapache in Sam Peckinpah’s "The Wild Bunch." The two brothers worked together in eight films. Jaime Fernandez appeared in nearly 200 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. In addition to his work in front of the camera, Mr. Fernandez was the General Secretary of Mexico’s actor’s union for 11 years. International audiences may know Mr. Fernandez best for the role of Friday in Luis Bunuel’s "The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe." While his co-star Daniel O’Herlihy was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his work in the film, Mr. Fernandez won the Best Supporting Actor Silver Ariel, Mexico’s equivalent of the Oscar. He won three Silver Ariel Awards during his career. He appeared with Charles Bronson and Anthony Quinn in "The Guns of San Sebastian." He had a small part in the Glenn Ford Western "The Day of the Evil Gun."
KAY WALSH Died Apr. 16, 2005
Award-winning British actress Kay Walsh died at age 93. Ms. Walsh was a chorus dancer turned stage and screen actress. She was the second wife of acclaimed director David Lean. Ms. Walsh appeared in over 60 films and TV shows between 1934 and 1981. Ms. Walsh was responsible for one of her husband’s greatest film set pieces. Anyone who has seen the great documentary "Visions of Light" knows that it opens with a cinematographer describing the haunting, rainy opening sequence of David Lean’s "Great Expectations." Ms. Walsh wrote the film’s opening as well as the ending. Both worked. Many critics have stated that Ms. Walsh’s ending was superior to the original by Charles Dickens! Ms. Walsh was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress BAFTA and won the National Board of Review Best Supporting Actress Award for Ronald Neame’s comedy "The Horses Mouth." Ms. Walsh’s many film credits include "In Which We Serve" opposite Sir John Mills, "The Ruling Class," "Scrooge," "The Witches," "Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow," "The Magic Box," Alfred Hitchcock’s "Stage Fright" and "Oliver Twist."
ERIC GELMAN Died Apr. 17, 2005
Who knows what actor Eric Gelman may have ended up sharing with the world? Maybe he had the perfect Hamlet in him? Could be he would have been a great comedian. Then again, he may have ended up being a great character actor. Maybe Eric Gelman would have been one of those actors who was lucky enough to work steady, even if he didn’t achieve fame and fortune. Maybe he would have been one of those actors who kept at it day after day because of his love for the craft. The thing is, we will never know. Eric Gelman was stabbed to death in a robbery attempt in Los Angeles. He had just left work as a waiter. Mr. Gelman was 32 years old. Mr. Gelman appeared on an episode of the TV series "Monk." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
DON RAY Died Apr. 17, 2005
Emmy-nominated composer Don Ray died of an infection at age 79. Mr. Ray was a longtime CBS employee. He worked for the network for 29 years. Mr. Ray was nominated for an Emmy as the musical supervisor on "Hawaii 5-0." Mr. Ray’s other TV credits include "Rawhide" and "The Twilight Zone." Mr. Ray received a Special Thanks credit on several silent films that were rescored by Turner Classic Movies for recent broadcasts. They include Lon Chaney Sr.’s "Laugh, Clown Laugh" and Rudolph Valentino’s version of "Camille." Mr. Ray served his country in the US Navy during WWII.
ALISTAIR MCHARG Died Apr. 17, 2005
Scottish singer and entertainer Alistair ‘Scotty’ McHarg died at age 79. Mr. McHarg was one of the most popular variety entertainers in the UK during the 1940s and 50s. He entertained the British troops during the Korean War. Mr. McHarg appeared in the film "London Town" under the name Scotty McHarg. Although he performed six songs in the film, many were cut out before it was released.
BRENT SWIFT Died Apr. 18, 2005
Production designer/art director/producer Brent Swift died of liver cancer at age 60. Mr. Swift’s credits include "Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone," "Seed of Innocence," "Subterfuge," "Cinderella Liberty" and "Alien Nation."
RYAN EFFNER Died Apr. 18, 2005
Property master and special effects technician Ryan Effner died at age 40. Mr. Effner was part of the crew who helped Freddy Kruger thrill and kill us in "A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child." His art department credits include "She’s All That" and "Never Too Young to Die." Mr. Effner played a supporting roll in S.P. Somtow’s zombie horror film "The Laughing Dead." Mr. Effner was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 44. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
RUTH HUSSEY Died Apr. 19, 2005
Oscar nominated actress Ruth Hussey died at age 93. She had been in the hospital for a short time following an attack of apendicitis. Ms. Hussey was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performances as the spunky photographer in George Cuckor’s classic screwball comedy "The Philadelphia Story." Ms. Hussey acted in support of Katherine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant. She held her own among these movie giants. Ms Hussey appeared in nearly 80 films and TV shows. Ms. Hussey was also a prolific actress on stage and radio. She appeared on numerous episodes of the "Family Theater" radio show which emphasized family prayer. The radio show featured many of the best known actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Ms. Hussey appeared in such classic films as George Cuckor’s "The Women," "Madame X," "Northwest Passage" and "The Great Gatsby." She appeared in three of my old movie favorites. She co-starred with Ray Milland in the creepy romantic ghost story "The Uninvited." Ms. Hussey also appeared in "Judge Hardy’s Children" and "Another Thin Man." Ms. Hussey holds a dear place in the hearts on any fan of Andy Hardy and Nick & Nora Charles. Other film credits include "Blackmail," "Tennessee Johnson," "Maise," "Susan and God," "The Lady Wants Mink" and "Stars and Stripes Forever." Ms. Hussey was the mother of Oscar winning filmmaker John Longenecker. She did voice over work on his 1971 Oscar winning Live Action Short Subject "The Resurrection of Bronco Billy."
GEORGE P. COSMATOS Died Apr. 19, 2005
Action film director George P. Cosmatos died of lung cancer at age 64. Mr. Cosmatos was best known "Rambo: First Blood Part II." Mr. Cosmatos also put A-list actor Kevin Costner to shame when his film "Tombstone" outshone and outgrossed Costner’s high-brow film on the same subject "Wyatt Earp." The Italian born director was assistant director on Otto Preminger’s "Exodus" and well as on the Oscar-winning "Zorba the Greek." He wrote and directed the all-star thriller "The Cassandra Crossing." During the production of that film, the director was almost killed in a helicopter crash. Comantos and "Rambo" star Sylvester Stallone reteamed for the brutal and forgettable "Cobra." He then directed "Leviathan," an underwater variation of "Alien." His final film was the 1997 Charlie Sheen vehicle "Shadow Conspiracy."
ROY HANLON Died Apr. 19, 2005
Scottish actor Roy Hanlon died at age 66. Mr. Hanlon was a prolific TV actor in the UK appearing in over 400 TV episodes. He also appeared in a number of films. His credits include Frank Sinatra’s "The Naked Runner," Stanley Baker’s "Robbery," "The Dark Island," "The Fiction Makers," "Journey to Midnight," "Z Cars," "Softly, Softly" and "Taggart."
JERRY MOSS Died Apr. 20, 2005
Veteran property master Jerry Moss died of lung cancer two months shy of his 50th birthday. The I.A.T.S.E. Local 44 member worked on some of the most popular films of the last 25 years. This is a very simplified explanation that really doesn’t due justice to those men and women working as property masters, but remember this, if you see an object on screen, there is a property master who had to create it and make sure it got in front of the cameras. If you think back to all of the "stuff" onscreen in the following films, you will realize how busy a man Jerry Moss was. His film credits include "Minority Report," "Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events," "Big Fish," "A.I.," "The Lost World: Jurassic Park," "Mars Attacks!," "Jurassic Park" (he created the insect trapped in amber!), "A Few Good Men," "Bugsy," "Clean and Sober" and "Somewhere in Time." Mr. Moss had to withdraw from "The Pirates of the Caribbean II" because of his illness. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
JOHN O’HARE Died Apr. 20, 2005
Actor and playwright John O’Hare died at age 82. Mr. O’Hare was an actor during the early days of TV. He appeared on several "Hallmark Hall of Fame" productions. In the episode titled "21-Plus" he appeared with an actress named Natalie Core. Ms. Core became his wife and survives him after many years of marriage. Mr. O’Hare also appeared on Ed Sullivan’s "The Toast of the Town" and "Lights Out." Mr. O’Hare served his country as a bombardier in the US Army Air Corp in the Pacific during WWII.
VALERIANO ANDRES Died Apr. 21, 2005
Veteran Spanish actor Valeriano Andres died at age 82. Mr. Andreas appeared in over 120 films and TV shows as well as many theatrical productions during his lengthy career. His film career began in the 1940s.
BOB GARDINER Died Apr. 21, 2005
Oscar-winning filmmaker Bob Gardiner committed suicide at age 54. Mr. Gardiner was a pioneer in clay animation. Mr. Gardiner called his process ‘sculptimation.’ Bob Gardiner and Berkley student Will Vinton made the short film "Culture Shock" while still in school. The short film won first prize at the Berkley Film Festival. Their 1973 short film "Closed Mondays" won the Oscar for Best Short Film Animated. "Closed Mondays" is a hilarious little film about a drunken man who stumbles into a museum and reacts as the artwork comes to life. They first tested the drunken character out in a 45-second animation called "Wobby Wino #1." The pair went their separate ways shortly after "Closed Mondays." Mr. Vinton, the creator of the Claymation process went on to create the "California Raisins," earn four more Oscar nominations and win a number of Emmy awards. Prayers of comfort for Mr. Gardiner’s family and friends.
JIMMY THOMPSON Died Apr. 21, 2005
British stage and screen actor Jimmy Thompson died at age 79. Mr. Thompson had a lengthy career on stage, which included performances at the West End, the London Palladium and in New York. His film and TV credits include "Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines," several "Carry On" films, "The Benny Hill Show," "Pinky and Perky" and "Band of Thieves."
JOHN K. MARSHALL Died Apr. 22, 2005
Documentary filmmaker John K. Marshall died of cancer at age 72. Mr. Marshall was known for his series of documentary films, which studied the bushmen of the Kalahari Desert. Beginning with the 1957 film "The Hunters," Mr. Marshall educated the world about all aspects of the lives of the African bushmen.
NORMAN BIRDDied Apr. 22, 2005
British character actor Norman Bird died of cancer at age 80. Mr. Bird appeared in nearly 120 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. He was also a stage actor having toured with Sir John Gielgud’s Shakespeare Group. Fans of horror and sci-fi films remember Mr. Bird for his work in such films as "Maniac," Ray Harryhausen’s "First Men IN the Moon," "Hands of the Ripper," "Doomwatch" and "Omen III: The Final Conflict." Mr. Bird provided the voice of Bilbo Baggins in Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 animated version of "The Lord of the Rings." Mr. Bird was also adept at comedy and drama. Other memorable credits include "The Hill," "Victim," "The League of Gentlemen," "Whistle Down the Wind," "In Search of the Castaways," "The Wrong Box," "Oh! What a Lovely War," "Shadowlands," and "Young Winston." Mr. Bird served his country as a member of the RAF in WWII.
SIR JOHN MILLS Died Apr. 23, 2005
One of the greats of the British stage and screen has died. Sir, John Mills, patriarch of the famed acting family died at age 97 after a short illness. John Mills won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for David Lean’s 1970 romantic epic "Ryan’s Daughter." John Mills is the father of actors Juliet Mills, Hayley Mills and writer/producer Jonathan Mills. Mr. Mills appeared in nearly 150 films and TV shows during a film career that began in 1932 and continued until his death!
Mr. Mills body of work included something for all ages. John Mills starred in great family films, sophisticated adult dramas, rousing war films and a number of epics. My first exposure to his work was Disney’s "The Parent Trap," which starred his daughter Hayley. Like most men my age, I grew up with a childhood crush on his daughter Hayley Mills. He appeared seven films with his daughter including "Africa-Texas Style!," "The Truth About Spring" and "The Family Way." Other great family films starring John Mills include "Swiss Family Robinson" and "Around the World in 80 Days."
Next to the horror film genre, War movies are among my favorites. John Mills appeared in many great war films. They include "Zulu Dawn," "King Rat," "Operation Crossbow," "The Valiant," "Dunkirk," "I Was Monty’s Double," "Above Us the Waves," "We Dive at Dawn," "The Colditz Story" and "In Which We Serve." He also appeared in the anti-war musical comedy "Oh! What a Lovely War." "Oh! What a Lovely War" was directed by Sir. Richard Attenborough. John Mills also appeared . Richard Attenborough’s directorial biopics "Young Winston" and "Gandhi."
It is hard to do service to a career like that of John Mills in such limited space. His credits speak for themselves. Other memorable films include "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," "Great Expectations," "Scott of the Antarctic," "War and Peace," "The Wrong Box," "Oklahoma Crude," "Lady Caroline Lamb" and "Hamlet."
Two years ago I had the pleasure of interviewing John Mills daughter Juliet Mills. She spoke of her father fondly. Despite losing most of his vision in the 1990s, she said that he was still very sharp. "He’s remarkable. He’s 95 now and he’s still going strong. He has all his faculties. He still regales you with stories and jokes. He’s wonderful." It is nice to know that he was able to enjoy his life until the very end.
ALBERT "GUS" WING III Died Apr. 23, 2005
Skydiver Gus Wing was killed in a freak accident when the plane he had just skydived from hit him and severed both of his legs at the knees. Mr. Wing was still able to guide himself to a safe landing before dying of blood loss. He was 55 years old. Mr. Wing was a well-known skydiving camera man. His eye for exciting aerial shots is evident in such films as "Navy SEALS," "Drop Zone," "Cutaway" and the skydiving films of his friend Norman Kent. Mr. Wing was wearing a camera helmet when the tragic accident happened. It is not yet known if the camera was operating when the tragic accident occurred. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
ROBERT FARNON Died Apr. 23, 2005
Composer Robert Farnon died in his sleep at age 87. The Canadian composer was stationed in England during WWII. He stayed and made it his home. He scored nearly 40 films and TV shows as well as working in both Canadian and British radio. His film credits include "Captain Horatio Hornblower," "Quatermass II," "Expresso Bongo," "The Road to Hong Kong" and the cult TV series "The Prisoner." Mr. Farnon was the uncle of "The Sound of Music" actress Charmian Carr and "The Beguiled" actress Darleen Carr.
ALAN GILBERT Died Apr. 23, 2005
TV game show producer Alan Gilbert died at age 84. Mr. Gilbert produced such popular shows as "Let’s Make a Deal," "Split Second," "Keep Talking" and "Penny to a Million."
JACK GLEASON Died Apr. 24, 2005
EMMY and EDDIE Award nominated film editor Jack Gleason died at age 85. Mr. Gleason worked in TV dating back to the 1950s. His work was recognized with an EMMY nomination for the gritty crime drama "The Naked City." The American Cinema Editor nominated him twice for his work on the hit series "Hawaii 5-0." Mr. Gleason’s credits include TV shows as "Route 66," Irwin Allen’s "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," the outstanding TV movie "Cry Rape" and "The Jerk, Too."
WILLIAM LINDEMANN Died Apr. 25, 2005
Film editor William Lindemann died at age 79. He was a 51-year-member of the Editor’s Guild. Mr. Lindemann worked on such films as Sam Peckinpah’s "The Getaway," the Peter Bogdanovich films "Daisy Miller" and "Nickelodeon" and the Goldie Hawn comedy "The Dutchess and Dirtwater Fox."
MARIA SCHELL Died Apr. 26, 2005
Award-winning Austrian actress Maria Schell died of pneumonia at age 79. Ms. Schell had been admitted to a hospital for her illness two weeks ago. She remained in critical condition. Maria Schell was the first major German star to emerge during the post WWII era. Ms. Schell enjoyed popularity on an international level. She was the sister of Oscar-winning actor Maximilian Schell. Ms. Schell appeared in over 100 films and TV shows during her lengthy career. Ms. Schell won eight Bambi Awards (including seven consecutive wins!) for her acting and also received a Lifetime Achievement Bambi in 2002. Her work was also recognized with two BAFTA nominations and awards at numerous film festivals including Cannes. Ms. Schell played a strong supporting role in "The Mark." Her co-star Stuart Whitman was nominated for an Oscar that year. His competition was Ms. Schell’s brother Maximilian. Her brother won for his role as the defense attorney in "Judgment at Nuremberg." Ms. Schell’s other film credits include "Superman," "The Odessa File," "Voyage of the Damned," Jesus Franco’s "Night of the Blood Monster" and "99 Women," the remake of "Cimarron" with Glenn Ford and "The Magic Box."
MASON ADAMS Died Apr. 26, 2005
Emmy-nominated character actor Mason Adams died of natural causes at age 86. Mr. Adams worked in radio, TV, film and on the stage. How you know him may depend on what generation you come from. Mr. Adams was on the popular radio serial "Pepper Young’s Family," in which he played the title role. He continued working in radio during the 1970s when "The CBS Radio Mystery Theater" thrived with stories of the macabre. That was my first exposure to Mr. Adams. When he appeared in the popular 1977 TV series "Lou Grant," I was able to put a face with the voice. Mr. Adams was nominated for three Emmy awards for playing the editor of the Los Angeles Tribune in Ed Asner’s spin-off from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." Mr. Adams character in "Lou Grant" was typical of the kind he usually played: wise, kind and gentle. That is why it was such a delight to see him play the evil Col. Mason in the thriller "F/X." Like most badguys, Mason Adams’ character in "F/X" got a deliciously clever comeupance reminiscent to Peter Graves death in Billy Wilder’s "Stalag 17." Others may remember Mason Adams as the voice on the ubiquitous Smuckers TV commercials. "With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good." Mason Adams other credits include "Omen III: The Final Conflict," "Toy Soldiers," the remake of "Not of This Earth," "Houseguest," "Murder, She Wrote" and "Oz."
ROBERT J. SCHIFFER Died Apr. 26, 2005
Legendary make-up man Bob Schiffer died of a massive stroke at age 88. Mr. Schiffer worked on nearly 200 hundred film and TV shows during his 70-year career. He worked at RKP, MGM and for over 30 years was the makeup supervisor for Disney Studios. He was a personal favorite of a number of movie stars including Rita Hayworth, Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire and Burt Lancaster. Mr. Schiffer is credited with creating the 1940’s look of deep red lips and thin eyebrows. Just take another look at Rita Hayworth in "Gilda" to see what I mean. During WWII, Mr. Schiffer was recruited by the government to do makeup for covert operations. He also was involved on the Bay of Pigs to make certain people look Cuban. At the Second Annual Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Awards in 2001, Mr. Schiffer received the Guild's George Westmore Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Schiffer’s credits speak for themselves. "Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend," "Splash," "Something Wicked This Way Comes," "Tron," "Pete's Dragon," "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," "The Gypsy Moths," "The Professionals," "Cat Ballou," "Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte," "My Fair Lady," "Cleopatra," "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?," "Birdman of Alcatraz," "The Music Man," "Judgment at Nuremberg," the original "Ocean's Eleven," "Elmer Gantry," "Gigi," "Run Silent Run Deep," "The Amazing Colossal Man," "Pal Joey," "3:10 to Yuma," "Sweet Smell of Success," "Around the World in Eighty Days," "Picnic," "Mister Roberts," "Marty," "The Caine Mutiny," "From Here to Eternity," "Death of a Salesman," "An American in Paris," "All the King's Men," "Knock on Any Door," "The Lady from Shanghai," "Gilda," "The Magnificent Ambersons," "Here Comes Mr. Jordan," "Boom Town," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "The Wizard of Oz," "Boys Town," "Captains Courageous," "The Good Earth," "After the Thin Man," "The Charge of the Light Brigade," "The Great Ziegfeld," "A Night at the Opera," "Mutiny on the Bounty," "The Last Days of Pompeii," "She," "The Informer" and "Horse Feathers." Wow! What a list. There are plenty more where those came from!
HASIL ADKINS Died Apr. 26, 2005
If you listened to one different Hasil Adkins song a day, it would take you nearly 17 years to go through his entire library. Hasil Adkins was a one-man-rockabilly band. He wrote and recorded almost 7000 songs during his lengthy and eccentric career. He was more prolific than Wild Man Fischer was, but in many ways he was a kindred spirit to Fischer. Unlike Wild Man Fischer, Hasil Adkins didn’t have a Frank Zappa to stand behind him and release his recordings. Instead, Hasil Adkins played live, nearly 50 years on the road. He released several singles on Norton Records in the early 60s. Mr. Adkins gained newfound popularity in the 1980s when the band The Cramps recorded his song "She Said." Mr. Adkins was the subject of the documentary "The Wild World of Hasil Adkins." He appeared in several films including "Die You Zombie Bastards!" One of a kind Hasil Adkins died three days shy of his 68th birthday.
CHARLES A. PRATT Died Apr. 27, 2005
Producer Charles A. Pratt died of lung cancer at age 81. Mr. Pratt produced a string of very successful low-budget films for Bing Crosby Productions during the 1970s. Checking out his credits brought back a string of memories from my high school days. The list includes many fond favorites. Growing up not too far from McNairy County meant you knew who Bufford Pusser was. My favorite film by Mr. Pratt was the original "Walking Tall" with Joe Don Baker. Mr. Pratt was to produce two theatrical sequels and a Made for TV version also. As a horror fan, I remember the Saturday afternoon I watched Pratt's blockbuster-horror-film "Willard" at the Crosstown Theater in Memphis. I never did see Pratt’s squeal to "Willard": "Ben," but anyone who grew up at the time can attest to hearing Michael Jackson’s theme song on the radio more times than they wish to remember. Another favorite of mine is "The Reincarnation of Peter Proud." Looking back I think I may have enjoyed the movie because of the ample nudity on display. Though I snuck into the movie a number of times during high school, I can’t really remember if the movie is any good! Probably Mr. Pratt’s crowning achievement as a producer was the Oscar-nominated adaptation of Pat Conroy’s excellent book "The Great Santini." Other credits include the horror comedies "Arnold" and "Terror in the Wax Museum." He also produced the Twiggy vehicle "W." Mr. Pratt was the father of Daytime Emmy winning writer Charles Pratt Jr. Mr. Pratt served his country in the Pacific as a decorated US Army soldier during WWII. He was wounded in combat. Thanks for the service to your country and thanks for the movie memories Mr. Pratt.
LANE NAKANO Died Apr. 28, 2005
Japanese actor Lane Nakano died of emphysema. Lane Nakano co-starred with Van Johnson in the WWII drama "Go For Broke!" It was one of the first American films to feature Japanese American actors in non-stereotypical roles. The film told the story of the 442 Regimental Combat Team made up of Japanese American soldiers fighting in the European Theater of War during WWII. Mr. Nakano and his brother Lyle were no strangers to the 442nd as both served in the combat unit during WWII! While Mr. Nakano acted in several more films and TV shows during the 1950s and 60s, "Go For Broke!" was his most famous and biggest role. He was also involved in region theater in California. Mr. Nakano was the father of screenwriter Desmond Nakano who wrote "Last Exit to Brooklyn," "Bad Moon Rising" and "American Me" among others. He also wrote and directed "White Man’s Burden."
REX HICKOK Died Apr. 28, 2005
Another sad story from the world of adult films. Rex Hickok who directed under the name Rex Cabo and acted under the name Lance Heywood committed suicide by jumping from the 11th story of a Long Beach, California apartment building. Mr. Cabo acted in and directed over 100 adult films in the 1990s. Mr. Cabo was the man who discovered 1990s porn superstar Savannah. His famous discovery also committed suicide following a car accident that disfigured her beautiful face. He claimed to be a direct descendant of Wild Bill Hickok. Mr. Hickok was also known as Rex Darkthone, a member of the Church of Satan. Some news reports have misstated that Mr. Cabo was Draconis Blackthorne, when in fact Draconis Blackthorne is a completely different person who is quite alive. Mr. Cabo was quoted as saying "The only thing the cross is good for is to turn upside-down and dig your own grave, for if you trust in the cross, your ass has been sold, you are a slave." Hopefully he came to his senses to accept the blood that was shed for him on the cross before he crashed in the parked police car following his 11-story drop. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
CHARLES R. SCHULTHIES Died Apr. 28, 2005
Special effects technician and production designer Chuck Schulthies died at age 82. His son Charles Schulthies II followed in his footsteps and is also a special effects technician. The elder Mr. Schulthies did special effects and was production designer on the classic sci-fi film "Westworld." Other credits include the remake of "Mutiny on the Bounty," "Ben-Hur," "Ice Station Zebra," "Ambush Bay," the TV version of "How the West Was Won," "Diner" and "My Favorite Year." He was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 41.
AILEEN RAYMOND Died Apr. 28, 2005
British actress Aileen Raymond died five days after her first husband, actor Sir John Mills. Ms. Raymond had a long and distinguished career on stage, in film and on TV. She began her film career in silent movies. Ms. Raymond appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1929 film "Champagne." Other early film credits include "Elstree Calling" and "Orders is Orders." Ms. Raymond appeared primarily on stage. She enjoyed renewed popularity on TV in the 1960s in the soap Opera "Crossroads" and the police drama "Z Cars." She was married to John Mills from 1931 through 1940. She later married Francis Ogilvy. Their son Jonathan is a writer/director and son Ian an actor best known for his work in the TV series "The Saint."
MARIANA LEVY Died Apr. 29, 2005
Yet another actor has died this month as result of a robbery attempt. Mexican actress Mariana died of a heart attack suffered during a robbery attempt in Mexico City. The popular TV actress was 39 years old. Ms. Levy was being driven by a chauffeur when a lone assailant tried to steel her watch. Ms. Levy appeared in nearly 20 TV series in her native land. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
WILLIAM J. BELL Died Apr. 29, 2005
Soap opera writer William J. Bell died of Alzheimer’s disease at age 78. Along with his wife Lee Phillip Bell, Mr. Bell created the popular soap operas "The Young and the Restless" and "The Bold and the Beautiful." Mr. Bell won six Daytime Emmy Awards for "The Young and the Restless." He was nominated another nine times! In addition, Mr. Bell won two Soap Opera Digest awards and was nominated for a Writer’s Guild Award for his hit soap opera. Mr. Bell was also the head writer for "The Days of Our Lives" from 1966 through 1972. His other writing credits include "Another World," "As the World Turns" and "The Guiding Light." Mr. Bell was the father of actress award-winning actress Lauralee Bell and writer Bradley Bell.
JOHNNIE STEWART Died Apr. 29, 2005
British TV producer Johnnie Stewart died at age 87. Mr. Stewart was the creator of the long-running BBC series "Tops of the Pops." "Tops of the Pops" featured musical performances by such groups as The Beatles, The Supremes, Sonny and Cher, Jeff Beck, The Monkees, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Queen, Elvis Costello and others. Mr. Stewart also producer "The Terry Thomas Show."
BROOK WILLIAMS Died Apr. 29, 2005
British stage and film comedic actor Brook Williams died of cancer at age 67. Mr. Williams was the son of writer Emlyn Williams and a long-time friend of the late actor Richard Burton. He was part of Burton’s entourage called Burton’s Caravan. He appeared in small roles in thirteen films starring Richard Burton. Mr. Williams was best known for his stage work. His film credits include "The Heroes of Telemark," "Raid on Rommel," "Plague of the Zombies," "The V.I.P.s," "Where Eagles Dare," "Anne of a Thousand Days," "Hammersmith is Out," "The Wild Geese" and "Absolution."
SHERMAN LOUDERMILK Died Apr. 30, 2005
Emmy-nominated art director Sherman Loudermilk died of Alzheimer’s Disease at age 92. Mr. Loudermilk was part of the Emmy-nominated team of designers who brought the TV mini-series "Centennial" to life. Among his other credits are the original "Battlestar Galactica," "The A-Team," "Simon & Simon" and "Moving Violation." Mr. Loudermilk was Cowboy Slim, the host of a local LA TV kid’s show during the late 1940s and early50s. Mr. Loudermilk served his country in the Pacific as a Marine during WWII.
WILLIAM BROWN Died April 30, 2005
Cinematographer William Brown died of colon cancer just shy of his 80th birthday. Mr. Brown was the DP on the TV series "Emergency!" The decorated WWII Army veteran became a professional ice skater following the war and worked with Sonja Henie. He began working in the film industry during the 1950s as a camera operator, camera man and later as a DP. Mr. Brown worked on such films and TV shows as "Clambake," "Change of Habit," "Angel in My Pocket," "Shenandoah," "Munster, Go Home," "The Andromeda Strain," "McHale's Navy," "Night Gallery" and "Ironside."
BRITNEY MADISON Died April 30, 2005
Budding porn star Britney Madison, real name Stacey Pfeiffer was killed in a one-car accident in her home town of Las Vegas. Ms. Madison and her friend Kyle Anderson were both killed when their car went off the road and flew more than 90 feet in the air. Both were 21-years-old. The buxom blond had worked for a number of adult video producers including Diabolic Video Productions, Hustler Video and Platinum X Pictures.