JACK WILD Died Mar. 1, 2006
Oscar and BAFTA nominated actor/ singer and teen idol Jack Wild died of mouth cancer at age 53. Mr. Wild lost a hard fought five-year battle against the disease. Mr. Wild was up front about the fact that his smoking caused his illness. Makes me glad I’ve gone two months without a smoke! Prayers of comfort for his family and friends. Here’s hoping that Mr. Wild’s story inspires someone else to put out their cigarettes. Jack Wild was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as the Artful Dodger in Carol Reed’s 1968 musical "Oliver!" Though the film’s win as Best Picture over such contemporaries as "2001," "A Lion in Winter," "Rosemary’s Baby" and "Planet of the Apes" is considered to be one of Oscar’s biggest blunders, there is no denying that Jack Wild deserved his Oscar nod as the teen pick-pocket. His song "Consider Yourself" was a show-stopper and proved the young man’s talent. Jack Wild became a teen idol and released three albums in quick succession. He also landed the lead in Sid and Marty Croft’s TV series "H.R Pufnstuf." This cemented his status as the object of pre-teen girls desire the world over. He went on to star in the feature film version of the TV series in 1970. He was reunited with his "Oliver!" co-star Mark Lester in the 1971 teen-love story "Melody." As is often the case with child and teen actors, success doesn’t always follow into adulthood. Jack Wild’s star burned bright in the early 70s and quickly faded. He appeared in only a handful of films during the 1980s and beyond. He appeared in a small role in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves." His final screen appearance was in the 2005 film "Moussaka & Chips." The crime comedy reunited Wild onscreen with actor Ron Moody. Ron Moody played Fagin to Wild’s Artful Dodger in "Oliver!"
JENNY TAMBURI Died Mar. 1, 2006
Italian actress and casting director Jenny Tamburi died at age 53 after a lengthy illness. Ms. Tamburi was well known to fans of Italian erotica and horror films. She appeared in films ranging from Giallos to soft-core erotica to horror to nunsploitation! Later in her career, Ms. Tamburi became a casting director. Her acting credits include Lucio Fulci’s "The Psychic," "Seduction," "The Sinful Nuns of Saint Valentine" and the sex-comedy "Frankenstein: Italian Style" In the 1990s, Ms. Tamburi began a second career as a casting director for both TV and feature films.
PHYLLIS HUFFMAN Died Mar. 2, 2006
Award-winning casting director Phyllis Huffman died at age 61. In 1996, Ms. Huffman was nominated for two Emmy Awards in the Outstanding Individual Achievement in Casting for a Miniseries or a Special category. She shared the nomination with Nancy Foy for "The Late Shift" and Olivia Harris for "The Boys Next Door." Ms. Huffman has been recognized by her peers in the Casting Society of America with eleven Artios Award nominations. She won twice. In 1989 she won for casting the TV series "Murphy Brown." In 2004 she won for casting Clint Eastwood’s "Mystic River." Ms. Huffman had a long working relationship with Clint Eastwood. She was the casting director or helped in the casting of twenty one films Mr. Eastwood was involved in including the upcoming "Flags of Our Fathers." Ms Huffman also cast "Rat Boy," which was directed by Clint Eastwood’s then girlfriend Sondra Locke. Ms Huffman was the widow of actor David Huffman. Her late husband appeared with Clint Eastwood in "Firefox" as well as in Joseph Wambaugh’s "The Onion Field." Mr. Huffman was murdered in 1985. He was working on stage in San Diego. A thief stole a theater-goer’s purse. Mr. Huffman chased the thief and was stabbed to death for his trouble. The killer was later caught. A scholarship fund was set up in David Huffman’s name. Ms. Huffman’s family asks that any memorials for her be made to the David Huffman Memorial Scholarship, Webster University, 470 East Lockwood Ave., St. Louis, MO 63119.
GARRETT SCOTT Died Mar. 2, 2006
Award-winning director Garret Scott died of a heart attack at age 37, two days before his documentary "Operation: Dreamland" won an award at the Independent Spirits Awards. "Operation: Dreamland" was co-directed by Ian Olds. Mr. Olds accepted the Truer Than Fiction Award on Saturday. "Operation: Dreamland" was shot by the two men when they were embeds with the US Army in Iraq. Mr. Scott’s first film was the documentary "Cul De Sac: A Suburban War Story." The documentary chronicled the day Shawn Nelson stole a tank and went on a rampage in San Diego. Mr. Scott’s film is a fascinating look into those events. I’ve seen the film several times and recommend it highly. Mr. Scott had several film projects in various stages of development. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
FRANCOIS BETTE Died Mar. 3, 2006
Belgian actress Francois Bette died of cancer at age 56. Ms. Bette acted in many French films as a supporting player. She appeared in "Verdict" with Sophia Loren," "Le Secret des Flamards" with Isabelle Adjani, "The Adolescent" directed by actress Jeanne Moreau and "Toto the Hero."
IVOR CUTLER Died Mar. 3, 2006
Scottish poet/musician/actor and all around silly man Ivor Cutler died at age 83. Ivor Cutler was a teacher for 30 years who became famous in the late 1950s for his short, sardonic and often silly poetry. He became a cult figure among the youth of England. John Lennon was a big fan of Mr. Cutler’s work. He invited Mr. Cutler to appear in the Beatles’ TV special "The Magical Mystery Tour." Mr. Cutler played Buster Bloodvessel, the man who falls in love with Ringo’s Aunt Jessie. Mr. Cutler was brought to the attention to most in the UK through the radio broadcasts of the legendary DJ John Peel. If John Peel had been an American, he would have had to have been Dick Clark, Alan Freed and Murray the K all rolled into one. That was his influence in the UK. The Beatles heard Ivor Cutler on John Peel’s BBC radio shows. Ivoir Cutler also appeared in the TV show "The Albert’s Channel Too!" Mr. Cutler’s final concert at age 81 was filmed for the TV special "Cutler’s Last Stand." Mr. Cutler tried to serve his country in the RAF during WWII but was a bit too absentminded. His head was in the clouds, but not the way the RAF wanted it to be.
CHARLIE HODGE Died Mar. 3, 2006
Charlie Hodge, former backup singer and guitarist for Elvis Presley died at age 71. Mr. Hodge was the lead singer of the gospel group The Foggy River Boys. His first gig was in a gospel group with the great Bill Gaither! He caught Elvis’s eye when his group played the Ellis Auditorium in Memphis. The diminutive singer would stand on a wooden coke crate as he sang, so as to not be overshadowed by his three much taller band mates. Elvis got a kick out of the gag. Charlie Hodge went into the Army at the same time as Elvis. He introduced himself, and Elvis remembered the singer. They became fast friend in Germany and Elvis hired him to play on his first album after he was discharged from the army. Mr. Hodge has stated that he was Elvis’s court jester. He had a lengthy working relationship with Elvis and lived at Graceland for nearly 20 years. Mr. Hodge appeared in bit parts in the Elvis movies "Clambake," "Speedway" and "Charro!" He played himself in John Carpenter’s classic TV movie biopic "Elvis." As a member of the band, Charlie Hodge can be seen in Elvis’s legendary 1968 TV special "Elvis." He also appeared in the concert films "Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii," "Elvis: That’s the Way It Is" and "Elvis on Tour."
BILL HAYS Died Mar. 3, 2006
British TV and theater director Bill Hays died two weeks shy of his 68th birthday. Mr. hays directed many well know British TV shows during a career that spanned 40 years. His TV credits include "Z Cars," "Lovejoy" and "Rumpole of the Bailey" among others. He also directed "The Lady Killer" starring Robert Powell.
ANTOINE BONFANTI Died Mar. 4, 2006
Award-winning French sound and ADR engineer Antoine Bonfanti died at age 76. Mr. Bionfanti worked on almost 150 films during his prolific career. He won the Ernest Artaria Award at the Locarno International Film Festival for his work on Jacques Bral’s "Exterior: Night." He was nominated for a Cesar, France’s highest film award for Best Sound on the 1976 film "I Love You, I Don’t." He was the sound mixer on Truffaut’s Oscar winner "Day For Night." Bernardo Bertolucci called on Mr. Bonfanti for "Last Tango in Paris." Alain Resnais used his talents on the Oscar-nominated "La Guerre est Finie." His other credits include the Alain Delon/Jane Fonda crime drama "Joy House" and Jean Luc Goddard’s "A Married Woman."
RICHARD KUKLINSKI Died Mar. 5, 2006
Anyone who saw the HBO documentary "The Iceman Confesses: The Secrets of a Mafia Hitman" could not help but be revolted by the calm detachment with which murderer Richard Kuklinski told of his exploits as a hired killer. Kuklinski gained the nickname, the Iceman because he would sometimes keep his victim’s bodies refrigerated if he couldn’t dispose of them cleanly right away. Mr. Kuklinski claimed to have killed over 199 people. He hid his real profession from his family. Mr. Kuklinski died of undisclosed causes at age 70. Mr. Kuklinski was serving life sentences for murder in New Jersey. Hopefully, Mr. Kuklinski made peace with his God before he left this world.
DONALD ORECK Died Mar. 5, 2006
Policeman turned actor turned businessman Donald Oreck died of brain disease at age 75. Mr. Oreck worked in radio, TV and film. His film credits include the Korean War action film "Target Zero." His TV credits include "Bonanza," "Checkmate," "M Squad," "Men Into Space," "Sea Hunt," "Frontier Doctor," "State Trooper," "West Point" and "Studio 57."
JEREMIAH MORRIS Died Mar. 5, 2006
Actor/director Jeremiah Morris died of colon cancer at age 76. Mr. Morris directed several hit TV shows during the 1970s including "Quincy," "Barmey Miller" and "Diff’rent Strokes." Mr. Morris acted in such TV shows as "The Defenders," "Naked City," "WKRP in Cincinnati," "Car 54, Where Are You?," "Cheers," "Mad About You" and "Frasier." Mr. Morris was also active on the stage from regional theater to touring shows to a few small roles on Broadway during the 1960s.
DANA REEVE Died Mar. 6, 2006
Dana Reeve, actress, activist and the widow of "Superman" actor Christopher Reeve died of lung cancer at age 44. Ms. Reeve, who was not a smoker, discovered the cancer last August. Though she is now reunited with her husband, she leaves behind a 13-year-old son and two stepchildren. Prayers of comfort and support for those children. Dana and Christopher Reeve were married in 1992. After her husband’s horseback riding accident, Mrs. Reeve became an advocate for the rights of the disabled. Mrs. Reeve appeared in the Made for TV movie "The Brooke Ellison Story." The film was directed by her husband and aired two weeks after his death in October of 2004. She also worked with her husband in the feature film "Above Suspicion." Mrs. Reeve’s TV credits include "Law & Order," "Feds" and "Oz." I never knew Mrs. Reeve or her husband. The news of her death has struck an emotional chord with me. Christopher Reeve died while my daughter Christy was still in a coma fighting for her life. The reality of his death put my daughter’s own ordeal in very grim focus. While Christy was going through rehab at the Shepherd center, her physician, Dr. Leslie spoke highly of the Reeves. I felt a bond with them, for their work, because it now touched my family. Dana Reeve carried on the work after her husband died. The Christopher & Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center will continue to carry on their great work.
KIRBY PUCKETT Died Mar. 6, 2006
Hall-of-Fame outfielder Kirby Puckett died of complications following a stroke at age 45. Kirby Puckett lead the Minnesota Twins to two World Series titles in 1987 and 1991. Mr. Puckett played in 10 All Star games. His career was cut short due to glaucoma. He was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame the first time he was eligible. Mr. Puckett appeared in the documentaries "100 Years of the World Series," "The 50 Greatest Home Runs in Baseball History" and the TV series "ESPN Sports Century." Speaking of Kirby Puckett’s greatest home run. It took place in 11th inning of Game 6 of the 1991 World Series. Puckett’s Minnesota Twins were on the verge of elimination by the Atlanta Braves. The walk-off Home Run pushed the series to a 7th game, which Minnesota won. Kirby Puckett was a Baseball player cut from the old cloth. A man who played for the love of the game. The fact that money came his way is of no account. He played because he loved the game. Had he been born a generation or two earlier, he still would have played for the love of the game.
MARGARET MUSE Died Mar. 6, 2006
Actress Margaret Muse died at age 91. She was the widow of Broadway and film actor Charles Meredith. Ms. Muse acted and danced with Martha Graham and in regional theater. In 1932, she met and married former silent film star Charles Meredith. The pair married and remained together until his death in 1964. The couple continued to act together on stage for a number of years. They moved to LA in the late 1940s where Charles Meredith returned to film after a 21-year absence. Ms. Muse also began to work in film and TV. Ms. Muse’s film and TV credits include "Knott’s Landing," "General Hospital," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Mayberry R.F.D.," "Bewitched," "Family Affair," "Night Gallery," "Simon and Simon," "Burke’s Law" and "Teacher’s Pet." Her late husband appeared in over 120 films. Fans of the original "Ocean’s 11" will remember Mr. Meredith as the mortician at the end who plays a big part in the film’s twist ending. He also appeared in "Strangers On a Train" and "Them!"
MARIO BABADILLA Died Mar. 6, 2006
Studio musician Mario Bobadilla died at age 86. Mr. Bobadilla toured with such big bands musicians as Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and Harry James. He worked on movie soundtracks for many studios. Mr. Bobadilla worked for Disney Studios for nearly 15 years. He also recorded for Paramount and Warner Brothers.
TERRY DENTON DE GRAY Died Mar. 6, 2006
British actor Terry Denton De Gray died at age 81. Mr. Gray was best known in his native land for portraying King Henry VIII. Mr. Gray came from a theater family. He appeared in several films and TV shows as well as his stage work. He did stunt work for "The Benny Hill Show." His film and TV credits include "Quatermass II," "The Crossroad Gallows" and "It Happened in Athens." Mr. Gray served his country during WWII as part of the Tank Corp. He saw action on France and Belgium after the D-Day Invasion.
BRIDGET HOLLOMAN Death discovered Mar. 7, 2006
Screenwriter Mark Evanier has reported on his website that his friend, actress Bridget Holloman was found dead in her apartment. It is not clear exactly when Ms. Holloman passed away, but she appeared to have died a day or so before she was found. According to Mr. Evanier, Ms. Holloman had been complaining of headaches for several days before her death. Ms. Holloman was an actress in several films and TV shows. Her most famous film was the sexploitation flick "Slumber Party ’57." Her co-stars were the legendary Rainbeaux Smith, sexy Janet Wood and newcomer Debra Winger! Other credits include "Stoogemania!," "Evils of the Might," "Days of Our Lives," "The Goodbye Girl" and "The Empty Mirror." Mr. Holloman also worked as a makeup artist, dancer and choreographer.
HOWARD JACKSON Died Mar. 7, 2006
Actor and martial artist Howard Jackson died of leukemia at age 54. Mr. Jackson was known professionally as the "California Flash." He trained under Chuck Norris and attained a 6th Degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do. Mr. Jackson was the first Black martial artist inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame. Mr. Jackson worked with his mentor on a number of films and the TV series "Walker: Texas Ranger." His film credits with Chuck Norris include "The Hero and the Terror," "Code of Silence," "Invasion U.S.A.," "The Delta Force," "Delta Force 2" and "Braddock: Missing in Action III." Mr. Jackson also worked on the films "Disco Godfather," "Red Sun Rising," "Dolemite" and "The Last of the Mohicans."
CLEO JENSEN Died Mar. 7, 2006
Danish actress Cleo Jensen died of natural causes at age 84.Ms. Jensen appeared in a number of films in her native land. Foreign audiences would recognize her for her supporting role in award-winning film "Elvira Madigan."
JOHN JUNKIN Died Mar. 7, 2006
Comedy writer/actor John Junkin died of lung cancer at age 76. Mr. Junkin appeared in nearly 100 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. He played Shale, the Beatles’ road manager in Richard Lester’s classic "A Hard Days Night." Other notable film credits include the hilarious "The Wrong Box," Warren Beatty’s "Kaleidoscope," "How I Won the War" with John Lennon and Michael Crawford, "Brass Target" and "Chicago Joe and the Showgirl." Among his numerous TV credits are "EastEnders," "Mr. Bean," "The Avengers," "Coronation Street," "Z Cars" and it’s spin-off "Softly Softly," "The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine," "Marty Abroad" and "Marty" (all with Marty Feldman!), "All Creatures Great and Small," "Dixon of the Dock Green" and "The Benny Hill Show." Mr. Junkin was a respected comedy writer. He worked as a writer on various TV shows spanning six decades.
GORDON PARKS Died Mar. 7, 2006
What a shame it is that the passing of Gordon Parks should be used to celebrate more than just his talent, contributions and success as a photojournalist, film director, writer, playwright and composer. What a shame that we must also point out that Gordon Parks achieved everything he did in spite of the fact that he was a Black man. Thanks to the pioneering work of Gordon Parks and many others like him, Mr. Parks great-grandchildren will live in a country where their contributions will be accepted and appreciated based on their merit alone. Why? Because Gordon Parks did make a difference in helping America face the ugly fact of racism. Why? Because Gordon Parks did step out and pursue his God given talents without believing those who said a Black man in America can not rise up and succeed. Gordon Parks was a man who stood up with many, many other men and women of his generation to live and pursue the American Dream. He believed in the preamble of the Constitution when it said all men were created equal. Truth be told, Mr. Parks wasn’t really equal…Gordon Parks was ahead of most of us. Gordon Parks was special. Mr. Parks died today after 93 years of a wonderful life.
Gordon Parks was one of America’s premiere photojournalists in the post WWII era. He worked for Life Magazine from 1948 through 1968. A tumultuous era in US history. His images stand among the best from a magazine known for its wonderful photography. During his time with Life, Gordon Parks directed two short documentaries. His first short film "Flavio" came about from a Life agazine assignment in Brazil. Mr. Parks chronicled the story of a poor Brazilian boy who was very ill. His photo essay resulted in worldwide monetary donations, which saved the child and his family. Gordon Park’s photography of poverty were not only taken in third world countries. He aimed his camera at the ugly underbelly of poverty and racism in the US. His pictures did much in the effort to eradicate both.
In 1969, Gordon Parks turned to feature film directing. He became the first Black American to directed a studio feature. Gordon Park’s "The Learning Tree" was based on his own autobiographical novel. He wrote the script, composed the score and directed the film. Though the film itself has many shortcomings, it was important for the fact that Gordon Parks directed it. Because he did, people like John Singleton, Spike Lee and others would be able to also pursue their dream of directing films, of finding an outlet for their artistic visions. "The Learning Tree" was one of the first films placed in the National Film Registry.
In 1971 Gordon Parks directed his second film. "Shaft" was a success, grossing 12 times its production budget. Richard Roundtree starred as the tough, sexy private detective. An urban hero who appealed to all races. More importantly though, John Shaft was a hero for Black Americans. He was a tough guy who wouldn’t hesitate to hit back when pushed by a corrupt police officer. The film gave voice to a collective frustration in the soul of Black America. The film was one of the first films in the Blaxploitation genre. I’ve always thought the term Blaxploitation was misleading. I only use it because you know exactly what films I’m talking about. I’ve always thought the term misleading because most of the films were entertaining. Some did have exploitation elements, but many did not. The novelty was the fact that Black characters were being portrayed as real human beings and not the screen caricature of the Stepin Fetchit days. "Shaft" spawned several excellent sequels and a TV series. Mr. Parks directed the first sequel "Shaft’s Big Score." He only directed a few films after "Shaft." Mr. Parks directed the lame cop comedy "The Super Cops." Saw it, didn’t care for it. Hey, Black directors can strike out too! At least now they have the chance thanks to folks like Gordon Parks! Mr. Parks was the subject of the TV documentary "Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks."
Gordon Parks’ film legacy also lived through his blood. His son Gordon Parks Jr. directed the films as "Superfly," "Thomasina and Bushrod," "Three the Hard Way" and "Aaron Loves Angela." The younger Mr. Parks was tragically killed in a 1979 plane crash in Kenya while scouting locations for a film.
JAKE JACOBSON Died Mar. 7, 2006
DGA-winning production manager Jake Jacobson died of a pulmonary embolism at age 58. Mr. Jacobson was part of the team awarded a DGA Award for the TV movie "The Late Shift." He shared the award with director Betty Thomas and assistant directors Richard Graves and Robert Lorenz. "The Late Shift" told the story of the Leno/Letterman battle to succeed Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show." Mr. Jacobsen shared another DGA nomination for his work on the Oscar-winning film "As Good as It Gets." Mr. Jacobsen’s other credits include the TV series "Providence" and "The District."
Rhoda Williams died of natural causes at age 75. Ms. Williams appeared in many live action films and TV shows, but she may be best know for her work as a voice actress. Ms. Williams played the evil stepsister Drizella in Disney’s "Cinderella." Ms. Williams began her career as a child actress in a number of radio dramas. Her radio credits include "Father Knows Best." Her film and TV credits include "National Velvet," "Mr. Belvedere Goes to College," "Dragnet," "Ironside," "Marcus Welby, M.D.," "Barnaby Jones," "Star Trek IV" and "Star Trek V." Ms. Williams joined AFTRA in 1938!
BARNEY MCFADDEN Died Mar. 9, 2006
Actor Barney McFadden died of a stroke at age 59. Mr. McFadden appeared in over 30 films and TV shows during his career. He played Ned Tebbets, one of the men who first bring Count Barlow’s coffin to town in Tobe Hooper’s version of Stephen King’s "Salem’s Lot." Hi film credits include the Richard Gere/Sharon Stone drama "Intersection" and the horror film "Crazed." His many TV credits include "Kojak," "Logan’s Run," "Buck Rogers," "Police Woman," "Barnaby Jones," "The A-Team," "Dallas," "The Commish," "Beverly Hills 90210" and "JAG."
PANO ALAFOUZO Died Mar. 10, 2006
Studio Exec Pano Alafouzo died at age 88. During Mr. Alafouzo’s lengthy career, he held management positions with 20th Century FOX, Warner Brothers, Universal, Cinema International, UIP and finally his own company Hollywood Classics.
CRAIG HUEBING Died Mar. 10, 2006
Former actor Craig Huebing died after a lengthy illness at age 77. Mr. Huebing was best known for his ten-year run in the role of Dr. Peter Taylor in Soap Opera "General Hospital." Being a huge fan of the Space program in the 1960s, my first exposure to Mr. Huebing was his performance as the flight director in the 1969 big-budget space-disaster movie "Marooned." That same year, he appeared in Carl Reiner’s excellent "The Comic." Most of Mr. Huebing’s work was on TV. His many TV credits include "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," "Green Acres," "Ironside," "Fame is the Name of the Game," "The F.B.I." and "Love, American Style."
ANNA MOFFO Died Mar. 10, 2006
American opera star Anna Moffo died of cancer at age 73. Ms. Moffo’s opera career spanned the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Blessed with beautiful looks as well as great talent, she also was in demand for film and TV. She was very popular in Italy where she had her own TV show. Ms. Moffo also filmed TV versions of several Operas for Italian TV. She appeared in the films "The Divorce," "The Battle of Austerlitz" and "The Adventurers" among others.
JOHN PROFUMO Died Mar. 10, 2006
John Profumo, the disgraced former War Minister of England under Prime Minister Harold MacMillan died at age 91. The Profumo Affair rocked PM MacMillan’s administration and lead to Profumo’s resignation in 1963. John Profumo was connected with prostitute Christine Keeler. Ms. Keeler was a friend of Dr. Stephen Ward. The good doctor was a swinger in the truest sense of the word. Dr. Ward introduced Ms. Keeler to not only Mr. Profumo but also Soviet Navel Attache Eugene Ivanov. Dr.Ward was put on trial for his part in the sordid mess. He committed suicide on the last day of trial. The Profumo Affair was the subject of two films: "The Keeler Affair" and "Scandal." Actor Ian McKellen portrayed John Profumo in "Scandal." Mr. Profumo was married to actress Valerie Hobson (Werewolf of London). Ms. Hobson proved her metal as she stood by her man despite the magnitude of the betrayal and disgrace. Mr. Profumo and his wife devoted their years following the scandal to charity work.
RON HASTINGS Died Mar. 10, 2006
Canadian actor Ron Hastings died at age 69 after a short illness. Mr. Hastings was a renowned actor in the Canadian theater world. He was best known for his role in "Anne of Green Gables" performed at the Charlottetown Festival in Prince Edward Island. Mr. Hastings appeared as Baptista in a TV version of "The Taming of the Shrew" filmed at the Stratford Festival in 1988.
MARGARETHE DUX Death announced Mar. 10, 2006
Austrian actress Margarethe Dux died of natural causes at age 92. Ms. Dux was a prolific stage actress in her native land. She appeared in over 100 productions at the Castle Theater in Vienna. Ms. Dux had a bit role in Disney’s "Miracle of the White Stallions." Other film credits include "Alles Luge" and "The Alpine King and the Misanthrope."
SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC Died Mar. 11, 2006
Former Yugoslav dictator and alleged war criminal Slobodan Milosevic was found dead in his jail cell at The Hague. He had been on trial at The Hague since 2002 for alleged war crimes committed during the 1990s. Mr. Milosevic appeared as himself in the documentaries "A Storm Above the Krajina," "The Troubles We've Seen: A History of Journalism in Wartime," "The Death of Journalism" and many others. Nicknamed The Butcher of the Balkens, Mr. Milosevic was accused of committing genocide during the Bosnian War.
CHARLOTTE WALKER Died Mar. 11, 2006
Actress Charlotte Walker died of a heart attack at age 87. Ms Walker turned to acting late in life. Ms. Walker had small roles in a number of notable films. She appeared with Richard Pryor in "Greased Lightning." Her film credits include "Catherine’s Grove," "Go Tell It on the Mountain," "Marvin and Tige" and "Murder in Mississippi."
LINDSAY SHONTEFF Died Mar. 11, 2006
I remember watching "The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World" on the late show with my younger brother Sean. I was 12 and he was 8 or 9. The James Bond spoof was actually pretty good. I remember the film’s hero getting into a shootout where he lay on his back in the middle of the street and fires at the enemy with a Lugar. I saw the movie a number of years later and was surprised to see that it still held up. Lindsay Shonteff directed the movie, which was the first in a series of movies featuring the spy Charles Vine. Lindsay Shonteff died at age 70. He was also well known for the cult horror film "Devil Doll." During the 1960s and 70s, Mr. Shonteff directed a series of low budget horror, crime and sex films. He produced and directed over 20 films during his career.
JOE BOVA Died Mar. 12, 2006
Tony-nominated actor Joe Bova died at age 81. Mr. Bova had a successful career on both stage and screen. He was nominated for a Best Featured Actor Tony Award for his work in "The Chinese and Dr. Fish." He spent a large part of the 1980s working in the Broadway musical "42nd Street." Mr. Bova’s film credits include "Serpico," "Up the Sandbox" and the cult classic "Pretty Poison." His many TV credits include "Starsky and Hutch (see picture)," "Happy Days" and "Kojak." Mr. Bova served his country in the US Army during WWII.
Actor Jordan Williams died at age 50 after a lengthy illness. Mr. Williams was a familiar face to fans of daytime dramas. He appeared in the WTBS produced soap opera "The Catlins," as well as the network soaps "Ryan’s Hope" and "All My Children." Elvis fans may remember Mr. Jordan’s memorable performance as Sam Phillips in the ABC mini-series "Elvis: The Early Years." One of his earliest acting jobs was as an extra in Brian DePalma’s "The Fury." Mr. Williams many film and TV credits include "Tank," "Kent State," "Swamp Thing," "My Dog Skip" and "Jaws of Satan."
PETER MYERS Died Mar. 13, 2006
Studio exec Peter Myers died 2 months shy of his 90th birthday. Mr. Myers began working in the film industry in the 1930s. He had a long association with 20th Century FOX. Mr. Myers also worked for Hemdale Releasing. Mr. Myers began the FOX Classics division. He took part in the distribution of such hit films as "Planet of the Apes," "M*A*S*H," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "Star Wars," "The French Connection" and "Platoon."
MARTIN LICKERT Death announced Mar. 13, 2006
One time actor and British attorney Martin Lickert died of undisclosed causes. Mr. Lickert was in his 50s. Mr. Lickert was once the chauffeur for Ringo Starr. He was hired by Frank Zappa to replace bass player Jeff Simmons in the movie "200 Motels." Jeff Simmons had left Zappa’s band "The Mothers of Invention" just prior to filming of the movie "200 Motels." Frank Zappa was having trouble replacing Simmons. He first hired actor Wilfrid Brambell, the Grandfather from "A Hard Day’s Night." Mr. Brambell quit after a week. Frank Zappa said in frustration that he would give the role to the first person who walked through the door. Mr. Lickert was looking for cigarettes for Ringo and walked through the door. He was hired on the spot.
PETER TOMARKEN Died Mar. 13, 2006
Actor and former TV game show host Peter Tomarken and his wife were killed in a small plane crash off the coast of Santa Monica. Mr. Tomarken was 63 years old. Mr. Tomarkin was piloting the airplane. He was involved in Angel Flight West as a volunteer pilot. Angel Flight West is a non-profit organization that would ferry needy people by air for medical treatment. I guess Mr. Tomarken earned his real angel wings today. He was born on the 1st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Peter Tomarken hosted several TV game shows including "Wipe Out," "Bargain Hunters" and "Hit Man." He was best known for hosting the popular TV game show "Press Your Luck." Anyone alive during the 1980s has to remember the show. You had to press your luck and avoid the Whammy. Mr. Tomarken was also an actor. His film and TV credits include Warren Beatty’s "Heaven Can Wait" and the hit TV series "Ally McBeal." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
MAUREEN STAPLETON Died Mar. 13, 2006
Oscar-winning actress Maureen Stapleton died of natural causes at age 80. Maureen Stapleton won multiple awards for her craft including the Oscar, BAFTA, Emmy, Golden Globe, Tony the Los Angeles, New York and National Film Critics Awards! Ms. Stapleton was nominated four times as Best Supporting Actress. She won in 1981 for portraying communist writer and anarchist Emma Goldman in Warren Beatty’s "Reds." Her other three Oscar nominations were for Woody Allen’s "Interiors," "Airport" and her big screen debut "Lonelyhearts."
Ms. Stapleton’s performance in "Reds" was also resulted in her BAFTA, Los Angeles and National Film Critic Awards. She won the Golden Globe for her supporting performance as the wife of the suicidal bomber in "Airport." She was nominated for five Golden Globes. Those nominations mirrored her Oscar nominations but also included her work in Neil Simon’s "Plaza Suite." The New York and Los Angeles Critics both awarded her the Best Supporting Actress Award for her colorful performance as the other woman in "Interiors." "Interiors" is my personal favorite of her performances. She brings sympathy top a character who all of the other characters hate. She is a loud, boisterous broad. A great juxtaposition to her opposite in the film played by Geraldine Page.
Maureen Stapleton enjoyed success on the small screen also. She was nominated for seven Emmy Awards. She won in 1968 for the TV movie of Truman Capote’s "Among the Paths to Eden." Her other Emmy nominations were for "All the King’s Men," "The Queen of the Stardust Ballroom," "The Gathering," "Road to Avonlea," "Miss Rose White" and "B.L. Stryker."
Maureen Stapleton began her acting career on the stage. She appeared in numerous Broadway productions. She won two Tony Awards for her work in Tennessee William’s "The Rose Tattoo" and Neil Simon’s "The Gingerbread Lady." She was nominated four other times for the plays "The Little Foxes," "Plaza Suite," "Toys in the Attic" and "The Cold Wind and the Warm."Ms. Stapleton appeared in nearly 90 films and TV shows. Her film career featured many memorable movies. She costarred with Marlon Brando and Joanne Woodward in Sidney Lumet’s "The Fugitive Kind." Though she was only six months older than him, she played Dick Van Dyke’s mother in "Bye, Bye Birdie." Ms. Stapleton did voice work in "Summer of 42" and "Voyage to Next." Her other film credits include "The Runner Stumbles," "The Fan," "Johnny Dangerously," "Cocoon," "Cocoon: The Return," "Heartburn" and Barbra Streisand’s "Nuts." TRIVIA NOTE: Despite some physical resemblance, she was not related to actress Jean Stapleton.
MEGAN VAN PEEBLES Died Mar. 13, 2006
Megan Van Peebles, the daughter of pioneering Black director Melvin Van Peebles and the sister of actor/director Mario Van Peebles died at home at age 47. No cause of death has been released. Ms. Van Peebles appeared in her father’s 1971 landmark feature film "Sweet Sweetback’s Baad Asssss Song." She co-starred with her talented brother Mario in the 1985 film "South Bronx Heroes." She also worked with her brother in his tribute to their father, the 2003 film "Baadasssss!" Ms. Van Peebles appeared in the documentaries about her father "How to Eat Watermelon in White Company (And Enjoy It)." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends, especially her children.
HOWARD M. LLOYD Died Mar. 14, 2006
Howard M. Lloyd died at age 86. Mr. Lloyd was the founder and senior partner of Worldvision Enterprises, Inc. Worldvision Enterprises is one of the largest TV syndication companies in the world. Worldvision Enterprises is listed on IMDB as distributing nearly 200 TV shows and feature films.
ANN CALVELLO Died Mar. 14, 2006
Roller Derby queen Ann Calvello died of liver cancer at age 76. Ms. Calvello had previously beat two bouts of brain cancer as well as melanoma. Ms. Calvello began her roller derby career in the 1940s when she was 18. She continued to play the game into her 60s. Ms. Calvello was the subject of the 2001 documentary "The Demon of the Derby." She also appeared in the 1971 documentary "Derby."
JACQUES LEGRAS Died Mar. 15, 2006
French actor Jacques Legras died at age 81. Mr. Legras appeared in nearly 100 films during his lengthy career. His film credits include "The Lady in the Car With the Glasses and the Gun," "The Swashbuckler," "Le Sex Shop," "A Slightly Pregnant Man," "Catherine & Co." and "How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired."
MOIRA REDMOND Died Mar. 16, 2006
Actress Moira Redmond died at age 77. News reports state that Ms. Redmond suffered from Dementia. She appeared in Blake Edwards’ 1st "Pink Panther" sequel, "A Shot in the Dark." She also appeared in John Huston’s biopic "Freud." Her many TV credits include "Suddenly, Last Summer," "Return of the Saint," "I, Claudius," "Dixon of Dock Green," "Thriller," "Danger Man," "The Third Man" and "The Avengers."
OLEG CASSINI Died Mar. 17, 2006
Famed fashion designer Oleg Cassini died at age 92. Mr. Cassini was the personal designer for first lady Jackie Kennedy during the days of Camelot. Mr. Cassini was once married to actress Gene Tierney (pictured at right). He designed her costumes in a number of films including "Whirlpool," "The Razor’s Edge," "Night and the City," "Close to My Heart," "The Mating Season" and "On the Riviera." Mr. Cassini designed the costumes and also appeared in Otto Preminger’s gritty Film Noir classic "Where the Sidewalk Ends." He left Hollywood after his divorce from Gene Tierney in 1952. After JFK’s assasination, Mr. Cassini returned to work on a few films including the animated Rankin-Bass biopic "The Daydreamer" and the Matt Helm spy flick "The Ambushers." Mr. Cassini’s brother was Igor Cassini, a famous gossip columnist during the 1940s and 50s.