Thursday, May 17, 2012

June 2005 Film World Obituaries

LUCY RICHARDSON Died Jun. 1, 2005

Emmy-winning art director Lucy Richardson died at age 47 after a two-year battle with breast cancer. Though Ms. Richardson was a talented art director whose work was nominated for numerous awards, her childhood friendship with Julian Lennon led to more unusual fame. Julian drew a picture of his friend in crayons. He put stars above her. When his father asked him what the picture was he responded "It’s Lucy in the sky with diamonds." While most of the world speculated that John Lennon’s song "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds" was code for LSD, the truth was that the oldest Beatle was writing a song for his son, based on a picture the boy drew. That footnote aside, Ms. Richarson was a very innovative art director. Don’t believe me, go see the innovative film "Spider"…or John Sayles "The Secret of Roan Inish"…or "Restoration." Ms. Richardson won an Emmy Award for her work on "The Young Indian Jones Chronicles." She shared in the Art Director Guild’s the Excellence in Production Design Award for "Chocolat." Two years earlier, the Guild nominated her for the same award for her work on "Elizabeth." Ms. Richardson worked as a draftsperson on a number of films including "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace."

GEOFFREY TOONE Died Jun. 1, 2005

Irish stage and screen actor Geoffrey Toone died at age 94. Mr. Toone was part of John Gielgud’s legendary New Theater Company. Mr. Toone enjoyed a long and successful stage career before embarking in film and TV. He appeared in films on both sides of the Atlantic. Among Mr. Toone’s over 70 film and TV credits are "War and Remembrance," "Dr. Who and the Daleks," "Captain Sinbad," "Dr. Cripen," "The Entertainer," "Zero Hour!," "The King and I," the TV series "Colditz," "Z Cars," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "The Alcoa Hour." Mr. Toone served his country in the Royal Artillery during WWII.

SARA GUASCH Died June 1, 2005

Chilean actress Sara Guasch died of heart failure at age 86. Ms. Guasch gained fame as an actress on the Mexican stage and screen. She was also a very popular TV actress in her adopted homeland. Ms. Guasch’s film career dates back to the 1940s. She appeared in opposite such Mexican cinematic stars as Tin Tan and Cantinflas. Among her many credits is the 1976 film "Survive." "Survive" dealt with the true-life tragedy of a chartered plane full of soccer players, which crashed in the Andes Mountains. The same subject matter was dealt with in the US film "Alive." Ms. Guasch appeared in over 60 films and TV shows.

FERNANDO GHIA Died Jun. 1, 2005

Oscar-nominated producer Fernando Ghia died at age 69. Mr. Ghia was nominated for Oscar, Golden Globe and David Di Donatello Best Film Awards for "The Mission," winning the David di Donatello Best Foreign Film Award. "The Mission" was written by Robert Bolt. Mr. Ghia produced Mr. Bolt’s directorial debut "Lady Caroline Lamb." As wonderful as "The Mission" is, my favorite work by producer Ghia is the six-hour TV mini-series "Nostromo." Based on the novel by Joseph Conrad, "Nostromo" is an adventure set in South America during the 1800s. Mr. Ghia spent years working to film the book. He also produced the thriller "The Endless Game," we starred Mr. Ghia’s friend Albert Finney, the man who taught him to speak English.


Bulgarian actress Mariana Dimitroya committed suicide by jumping from the eighth floor of a building in San Diego, California. The 51-year-old actress had been living in the US since 1997. She was a successful stage and screen actress in her native land. She appeared in nearly 20 films during her career. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends, especially her two children.

PASTOR VEGA Died Jun. 2, 2005

Cuban filmmaker Pastor Vega died of cancer at age 65. Mr. Vega was the founder of the Cuban Film Industry. He directed a number of films during his lengthy career. His best known work was the 1979 film "Portrait of Teresa." The film starred Mr. Vega’s wife Daisy Granados. She won Best Actress at the Moscow Film Festival for her work, and Mr. Vega was nominated for the Golden Prize. Mr. Vega’s work was also nominated for awards at the Cartegena and Gramado Film Festivals.

MIKE MARSHALL Died Jun. 2, 2004

Actor Mike Marshall died of cancer at age 60. Mr. Marshall was the son of American actor William Marshall (Knute Rockne: All American) and French actress Michele Morgan (Marie-Antoinette). Mr. Marshall appeared in over 50 films and TV shows. He made his film debut in the sci-fi thriller "The Phantom Planet," which was directed by his father. While Mr. Marshall appeared in a several US films, he worked mainly in French productions. His credits include the James Bond film "Moonraker," the wonderful love story "A Little Romance," "Is Paris Burning?" and "The Hostage Tower." He was the father of the beautiful actress Sarah Marshall.

LARRY FALLON Died Jun. 2, 2005

Two-time Grammy-nominated composer, conductor, arranger, orchestrator and record producer Larry Fallon died at age 68. Mr. Fallon worked in a number of capacities on such films as "Gimmie Shelter," "The Heartbreak Kid," "Hell Hunters," "Dear Mr. Wonderful" and "Rocco and Raymond." Mr. Fallon produced over 60 albums for such artists as Jimi Hendrix, The Velvet Underground, George Burns, Bob Marley and The Rolling Stones. He produced a favorite of mine from my 6th grade says: "Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)" for the band Looking Glass. Among his many awards and nominations were Grammy nods for Mark Murphy’s "What a Way to Go" and Gloria Lynne’s "A Time for Love." He also enjoyed a prolific Broadway career.

TERRY DOYLE Died Jun. 3, 2005

Canadian actor Terry Doyle died of a heart attack, onstage during the opening night performance of "Disney’s Beauty and the Beast" at the Huron Country Playhouse in Great Bend, Ontario. The 71-year-old actor was playing Belle’s father Maurice. Mr. Doyle was very active in Canadian theater. He was a charter member of the theater production company Drayton Entertainment. Mr. Doyle’s film and TV credits include "Maniac Mansion," "Prom Night III," "Teenage Psycho Killer" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."

LEON ASKIN Died Jun. 3, 2005

Austrian actor Leon Askin died at age 97. According to his official website, Mr. Askin died on June 3rd. Mr. Askin appeared in nearly 150 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. He may be best remembered as General Burkhalter in the hit CBS TV series "Hogan’s Heroes." Ironically, Askin, who played a Nazi general on the TV series, was a devout Jew, born on Yom Kippur, who fled his native land to avoid Nazi persecution. In fact, Mr. Askin served in the US Army during WWII! One of Mr. Askin’s more notable film roles was in Billy Wilder’s comedy "One, Two, Three." Among his many film and TV credits are "The Robe," "Valley of the Kings," "What Did You Do In the War Daddy?," "The Maltese Bippy," "Hammersmith is Out," "Genesis II," "Frightmare" and "Airplane II."


British actor Michael Billington died of cancer at age 63. Mr. Billington began his career as a dancer on stage. He focused his efforts on drama and enjoyed success on TV in the UK. Along with Ed Bishop, Mr. Billington starred in the Gerry Anderson sci-fi TV series "UFO." He was also a regular on the British TV series "Hadleigh," "United!," "The Collectors," "Spearhead" as well as the US TV series "The Quest." Mr. Billington’s film credits include the excellent James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me." Mr. Bilington had another connection to the James Bond films. He auditioned for the title role more than any other actor!

CHLOE JONES Died Jun. 4, 2005

Adult film star Chloe Jones died of liver failure while awaiting a transplant at age 29. Born Melinda Dee Jones, she appeared in both Playboy and Penthouse Magazines as well as a number of adult films. Ms. Jones had a history of medical problems including epilepsy, kidney and liver illness. It is not known for sure if the massive amounts of prescription medicines she had to take played a part in her rapid decline in health. In addition to her work in the adult film industry, Ms. Jones appeared on such mainstream TV shows as "Baywatch," "Edenquest," "Diagnosis Murder" and "Full Frontal Comedy."

LORNA THAYER Died June 4, 2005

I guess an actor is lucky if they appear in a classic movie scene. We all have our favorites; a scene that is quoted endlessly or shown as a highlight during tributes to a particular actor. I remember watching Ms. Thayer’s most famous scene being shown on the 1971 Oscar telecast. Bob Rafelson’s "Five Easy Pieces" was up for four Oscars that year including Best Picture. The clip shown during the Oscar telecast involved Jack Nicholson’s character Bobby trying to order some plain wheat toast. The thing is, toast isn’t on the menu and the waitress, played by Thayer could care less whether Bobby gets what he wants.

Bobby: I'd like a plain omellette, no potatoes, tomatoes instead, a cup of coffee, and wheat toast.

Waitress: (She points to the menu) No substitutions.

Bobby: What do you mean? You don't have any tomatoes?

Waitress: Only what's on the menu. You can have a number two - a plain omelette. It comes with cottage fries and rolls.

Bobby: Yeah, I know what it comes with. But it's not what I want.

Waitress: Well, I'll come back when you make up your mind.

Bobby: Wait a minute. I have made up my mind. I'd like a plain omelet, no potatoes on the plate, a cup of coffee, and a side order of wheat toast.

Waitress: I'm sorry, we don't have any side orders of English muffin or a coffee roll.

Bobby: What do you mean you don't make side orders of toast? You make sandwiches, don't you?

Waitress: Would you like to talk to the manager?

Bobby: ...You've got bread and a toaster of some kind?

Waitress: I don't make the rules.

Bobby: OK, I'll make it as easy for you as I can. I'd like an omelet, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce. And a cup of coffee.

Waitress: A number two, chicken sal san, hold the butter, the lettuce and the mayonnaise. And a cup of coffee. Anything else?

Bobby: Yeah. Now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules.

Waitress (spitefully): You want me to hold the chicken, huh?

Bobby: I want you to hold it between your knees.

Waitress (turning and telling him to look at the sign that says, "No Substitutions"): Do you see that sign, sir? Yes, you'll all have to leave. I'm not taking any more of your smartness and sarcasm.

Bobby: You see this sign? (He sweeps all the water glasses and menus off the table)

Actress Lorna Thayer died at age 86. She appeared in over 60 films and TV shows during her career, as well as acting on stage. Her film credits also include "The Lusty Men," "The Beast With a Million Eyes," "I Want to Live!," "The Traveling Executioner," "The Andromeda Strain," "Cisco Pike," "Skyjacked," "Revenge of the Cheerleaders" and the Al Pacino/Michele Pfeiffer version of "Frankie and Johnny."

DISLEY JONES Died Jun. 4, 2005

Production designer Disley Jones died of an embolism at age 79. Mr. Jones had been battling AIDS for quite some time. Mr. Disley was one of the most in-demand stage designers on the British theater scene. He designed a multitude of theatrical productions since the beginning of his career in 1946. Mr. Jones film credits include the original version of "The Italian Job," "The Revolutionary," Peter O’Toole’s "Murphy’s War," the Katherine Ross/Sam Elliot horror film "The Legacy" and "The House on Garibaldi Street." Mr. Jones was the subject of the short film "Gold Digging."

LOTHAR WARNEKE Died Jun. 5, 2005

Award-winning German director Lothar Warneke died at age 68 following a lengthy illness. Mr. Warneke studied film before going to work for DEFA, the East German film studio. He made some of the most important films to come from East Germany in the late 60s through the 1980s. He won an Honorable Mention and Jury Award at the 1988 Berlin International Film Festival for "Einer Trage des Anderen Last." Mr. Warneke wrote half of the dozen films he directed. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, Mr. Warneke turned to teaching filmmaking.

SUSI NICOLETTI Died Jun. 5, 2005

German stage and screen actress Susi Nicoletti died at age 86. Ms. Nicoletti was a well-known figure on the Austrian stage. She appeared in over 100 films and TV shows during a career that began in the 1930s. Ms. Nicoletti was also a respected acting teacher in Vienna.

KURT GRAUNKE Died June 5, 2005

Composer and conductor Kurt Graunke died at age 89. At the end of WWII Mr. Graunke founded the Graunke Orchestra, which became the Munich Symphony Orchestra. He guided the symphony as conductor until 1989. The Munich Symphony Orchestra has performed the music for over 500 films including "Silence of the Lambs" and Fassbinder’s very strange "Querelle." Mr. Graunke composed nine symphonies and countless other works during his lifetime. He worked as a conductor on the Walt Disney productions "Peter and the Wolf," "Make Mine Music" and "Grand Canyon." He was the orchestrator on the German pre-"Sound of Music" films "The Trapp Family" and "The Trapp Family in America." Other credits include "Captain Sinbad" and new scores for the silent films "Faust" and "Tartuffe."

OSCAR MORELLI Died Jun. 6, 2005

Mexican actor Oscar Morelli died of respiratory and heart problems following surgery 23 days ago for appendicitis. Mr. Morelli was 69 years old. He appeared in nearly 100 TV shows during his lengthy career. Mr. Morelli also appeared in an occasional feature film. He was a well known actor on the Mexican soap operas.

MANUEL CODESO Died June 6, 2005

Actor/comedian Manuel Codeso died of a stroke at age 79. Mr. Codeso was a member of the long-popular Spanish comic trio Zori, Santos & Codeso. The trio was formed in the early 1940s. In 1961, they broke up with Zori and Santos forming a duo and Mr. Codeso embarking on a solo career. They did a reunion show thirty years later in 1991. Mr. Codeso enjoyed success on stage and screen both as part of Zori, Santos & Codeso and as a solo artist. He appeared in nearly 50 films and TV shows during his career.

AMRAM NOWAK Died Jun. 6, 2005

Oscar nominated producer/director Amram Nowak died at age 77. Mr. Nowak mas a respected documentary filmmaker, having either produced or directed over two hundred films. He was nominated for a Best Documentary Feature Oscar for the 1986 film "Isaac In America: A Journey With Isaac Bashevis Singer." Other notable works include the feature film "King Murray," "The Nashville Sound," "They Came For Good: A History of The Jews In The United States" and "The Cafeteria." Mr. Nowak founded his production company Amram Nowak Associates in 1965.

DANA ELCAR Died Jun. 6, 2005

You know the face, if not the name. Dana Elcar died of complications from pneumonia at age 77. Veteran character actor Dana Elcar appeared in over 200 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. Older Baby Boomers remember him for appearing in almost every TV series produced in the 1960s and 70s. Younger audiences probably remember Mr. Elcar best for his role on the hit TV series "MacGyver." A testament to Mr. Elcar’s talent and dedication to his craft was the fact that he went blind from glaucoma in 1989, four years into the series seven-year run. Mr. Elcar continued to act. He was part of the cast until the series ended. He also continued to act on stage. In addition to his work on "MacGyver," Mr. Elcar was a regular cast member on the TV series "Baretta," "Baa Baa Black Sheep," "Dark Shadows," "The Edge of Night" and "The Guiding Light." Dana Elcar was often cast in roles of authority such as policemen or military officers. He also proved himself adept at villainy in rare badguy roles. His list of feature film credits includes "Fail Safe," "The Boston Strangler," "Soldier Blue," Michael Douglas’s debut film "Adam at 6 A.M.," "Zigzag," "The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid," "The Sting," "Report to the Commissioner," "Baby Blue Marine," "W.C. Fields and Me," "2010" and "All of Me." His TV guest roles are too numerous to list. Look at the face. Chances are you will remember seeing him in several shows.

PAMELA MAY Died Jun. 6, 2005

British ballerina Pamela May died at age 88. Ms. May made her debut with the Royal Ballet at age 15. After she ender her career on stage, Ms. May taught for over two decades at the Roayl Ballet School. She appeared in the 1937 BBC TV version of "Swan Lake." She also appeared in the 1934 movie "Lily of Killarney."

ANNE BANCROFT Died Jun. 7, 2005

Multi-award-winning actress Anne Bancroft died of cancer at age 73. Ms. Bancroft had been married to director Mel Brooks for forty years. The striking actress had the range to play any genre. Anne Brancroft was adept at drama or comedy. She could be sexy or cold, demanding or gentle. She was one of the finest actresses of her generation. Ms. Bancrofts work was honored by numerous organizations. For her acting she was nominated for 5 Oscars (1 win), 7 BAFTAs (3 wins), 7 Emmys (2 wins), back-to-back Tony wins, 8 Golden Globes (2 wins), a win at Cannes, 2 National Board of Review Awards and 2 SAG awards among others!

Anne Bancroft appeared in over 100 films and TV shows. She began her Hollywood career as a supporting player during the 1950s. It wasn’t until the 1960s that she moved from the ranks of supporting actress to leading lady. She made her debut in the Marilyn Monroe thriller "Don’t Bother to Knock." For the rest of the 1950s, she did supporting work in B-movies and the occasional epic like "Demetrius and the Gladiators." She focused on Broadway during the later part of the 1950s. Her efforts resulted in back-to-back Best Actress Tony Awards for the plays "Two For the Seesaw" and "The Miracle Worker." She reprized her role as Anne Sullivan in the film version of "The Miracle Worker." She added an Oscar to her trophy cabinet for the 1962 film.

The 1960s were Ms. Bancroft’s most productive years from a professional viewpoint. Her next film: "The Pumpkin Eater" garnered her a second Oscar nomination as well as wins at Cannes, the BAFTAs and the Golden Globes! A personal favorite of mine was her next film: Sidney Pollack’s debut feature film "The Slender Thread." She starred opposite Sidney Portier as a suicidal woman who calls a crisis hotline. Though the stars don’t appear on screen together, they still generate tension as the caller and the man trying to help. She went from the feature film directorial debut of one great director to the final feature film of an American legend. John Ford’s "7 Women" cast Ms. Bancroft a doctor working at a Christian mission in China. EI’s Jon Ted Wynne’s insightful review of "7 Women" can found in our Video Risk archive. It was Ms. Bancroft’s next film for which she is best remembered.

Mike Nichols’ "The Graduate" stands along side "Bonnie and Clyde" and "The Wild Bunch" as one of the most groundbreaking films in Hollywood history. Those three films were the final nails in the coffin of the old production code. "The Graduate" dealt with seduction and adultery in ways that no film outside of Europe dared to do before. Anne Bancroft’s name became synonymous with that of her character Mrs. Robinson. She received her third Oscar nomination and a permanent place in American pop culture.

Anne Bancroft acted in over 40 films following "The Graduate." She received two more Oscar nominations. Even though she always turned in a fine performance, the quality of the roles offered her was not as consistently fine as those she was given during the 1960s. Her final Oscar nominations came for her work in "The Turning Point" and "Agnes of God." Among her other memorable credits are "Young Winston," "Jesus of Nazareth," "Garbo Talks," "’Night Mother," "84 Charing Cross Road," "Point of No Return" and "Antz." Ms. Bancroft’s lone directorial turn was the Dom Deluise comedy "Fatso."

Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks proved that Hollywood marriages can last. The couple was married in 1964. Though I never had the pleasure of meeting either one of them, it is clear from all the empirical evidence that they were madly in love from the first day of the marriage to the last. Ms. Bancroft worked with her husband in several films he either produced, directed or acted in. Her most memorable role was as the loving actress in the Brook’s produced "The Elephant Man." She also worked with her husband on "Dracula: Dead and Loving It," "To Be or Not to Be," "Silent Movie" and "Blazing Saddles." Is it just me, or did you fall in love with Ms. Bancroft during the funny dance scene in "Silent Movie"? I always laugh when she does the little gag with her eyes. She will be missed.

DAVID TEBET Died Jun. 7, 2005

TV Exec David Tebet died of complications from a stroke at age 91. Mr. Twbet was the NBC talent scout who fought hard to have Johnny Carson follow Jack Paar as the host of "The Tonight Show." After Carson left "The Tonight Show," he hired Tebet as executive vice president of Johnny Carson Productions.

ED BISHOP Died Jun. 8, 2005

Actor Ed Bishop died of a chest infection five days after his "UFO" co-star Michael Billington. Mr. Bishop would have turned 73 on the 11th of this month. Mr. Bishop was born in the US, but a Fullbright grant enabling him to study drama in London led to a successful career in film and on TV in the UK. Mr. Bishop appeared in nearly 100 films and TV shows. He made his feature film debut in Stanley Kubrick’s "Lolita." He worked with Kubrick again with a small part in "2001: A Space Odyssey." Mr. Bishop had small roles in a number of notable films before finding success as a leading man on English TV. Among his film credits are "The Mouse in the Moon," "The War Lover," "You Only Live Twice," "The Bedford Incident," "Diamonds Are Forever," "Twilights Last Gleaming," "Brass Target," "Whoops Apocalypse" and "The Lords of Discipline." Producer Gerry Anderson cast Mr. Bishop as the voice of Captain Blue in the puppet adventure show "Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons." Anderson would cast Bishop in the excellent, under-rated "Journey to the Far Side of the Sun" in 1969. The following year, Anderson cast Bishop as the co-star in the TV series "UFO." Mr. Bishop served his native country in the US Army during the Korean War.

JULIA PALMER-STOLL Died Jun. 9, 2005

German actress Julia Palmer-Stoll was hit by a car and killed at age 21/ The popular German film and TV actress had stopped her car in the road to save a hedgehog that was in the middle of the street. When she exited her vehicle, Ms. Palmer-Stoll was run over and dragged 30 feet. Ms. Palmer-Stoll costarred with Klaus Kinski’s son Nikolai in the thriller "The Devil Who Called Himself God." She appeared in nearly 20 films and TV shows during her short career.

MICHAEL FARKASH Died Jun. 9, 2005

Writer and journalist Michael Farkash died after a lengthy illness at age 53. Mr. Farkash was a free-lance journalist who was published in a number of papers and magazines including "The Hollywood Reporter." Mr. Farkash was known for his dark humor in such plays as "Meat Dreams" and "Stolen Time." "Stolen Time" extolled the joys of sex with aliens. Mr. Farkash wrote and produced the direct-to-video film "Street Vengeance."

TRUDE MARLEN Died June 9, 2005

Austrian actress Trude Marlen died at age 92. She was one of the last surviving actresses of the pre-WWII German film industry. Ms. Marlen appeared in a number of films prior to WWII including "Sherlock Holmes and the Gray Lady," "I Am Sebastian Ott" and "Playing With Fire." Her post-WWII career was more oriented toward the stage. She was the widow of actor Wold Albach-Retty, the father of the award-winning and tragically fated actress Romy Schneider.

LON MCCALLISTER Died Jun. 11, 2005

Actor Lon McCallister died of heart failure at age 82. The first time I heard Lon McCallister’s name was back in the 1970s in Martin Scorsese’s wonderful "Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore." I remember Ellen Burstyn in the title role talking about having a crush on Lon McCallister. I had no idea who he was at the time so I looked him up. He had appeared in a number of films that I enjoyed as a child. Mr. McCallister began acting as a child. He appeared in over 40 films. He had bit parts in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," "Stella Dallas," "Judge Hardy’s Children," "Angels Wash Their Faces," "Susan and God," "Henry Aldrich for President" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy." During WWII, Mr. McCallister broke into leading roles. He made his mark in "Stage Door Canteen." From there he had leading roles in "Winged Victory," "Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay!" and as the jockey in the highly fictionalized "The Story of Seabiscuit" opposite Shirley Temple. Mr. McCallister’s second film was the 1936 version of "Romeo and Juliet." Ironically, the film brought him into the ranks of lead players, "Stage Door Canteen" has McCallister and Katherine Cornell perform Shakespeare’s famous balcony scene! Because of his boyish good looks and small stature, Mr. McCallister found it hard to get more adult roles and he retired from film after the 1953 movie "Combat Squad."

ROBERT CLARKE Died Jun. 11, 2005

I discovered the joy of really bad horror and sci-fi films at an early age. I spent every Friday night as a child watching the local creature feature "Fantastic Features" with Sivad, your Monster of Ceremonies on WHBQ in Memphis. Among the many B-movie monster movies I watched were "The Hideous Sun Demon," "The Astounding She-Monster," "The Body Snatcher," "Zombies on Broadway," "Captive Women," "Beyond the Time Barrier" and "The Man From Planet X." All of those films were linked by actor Robert Clarke. In the case of "The Hideous Sun Demon," Mr. Clarke also wrote, produced and directed the film. Actor Robert Clarke died of diabetes at age 85. Robert Clarke appeared in nearly 200 films and TV shows. Mr. Clarke married one of the King Sisters. He was a regular on his wife’s family’s TV series "The King Family Show." Mr. Clarke’s other genre credits include "Frankenstein Island," "The Brotherhood of the Bell" with Glenn Ford, "Terror of the Blood Hunters," "Alienator," "Midnight Movie Massacre" and "The Naked Monster." Though Robert Clarke holds a special place in the hearts of monster movie fans, he also appeared in a number of mainstream films. His other credits include "Back to Bataan," "The Farmer’s Daughter," "Outrage," "The Helen Morgan Story" and "Zebra in the Kitchen."

RON RANDELL Died Jun. 11, 2005

Australian actor Ron Randell died 86. Mr. Randell’s Hollywood film career spanned 40 years and included nearly 100 film and TV credits. Mr. Clarke died the same day as his "Captive Women" co-star Robert Clarke. He portrayed Bulldog Drummond in two films. Mr. Randel appeared in the cult-classic horror film "The She Creature." Other credits include "To Have and Have Not," "Lorna Doone," "Kiss Me Kate," "I Am a Camera," "King of Kings," "The Longest Day," "Follow the Boys," "Savage Pampas" and Russ Meyers "The Seven Minutes."

SEBASTIAN JUNYENT Died Jun. 11, 2005

Spanish TV director Sebastian Junyent died of a heart attack at age 57. Mr. Junyent directed the long-running film history show "Cine de Barrio." The TV series focused on Spanish cinema under Franco’s reign. He was married to Spanish actress Vura Serra.

ROBERT MCCANN Died Jun. 12, 2005

Make-up man Robert McCann was found dead at his apartment in New York City. No age or cause of death was given, but foul play has been ruled out. Mr. McCann was nominated by the Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild for the Best Contemporary Make-up Award along with Donald Mowat and Gillian Chandler for his work on the 2003 film "The Human Stain." Mr. McCann was the make-up artist for actress Nicole Kidman. He worked woth her on such fiolms as "The Others," "Dogville," "Cold Mountain" and "Eyes Wide Shut" among others. Mr. McCann’s other film credits include "Trainspotting," "Mission Impossible II," "Panic Room" and "Truth or Dare."

WILLIAM G. REICH Died Jun. 12, 2005

Producer William G. Reich died of heart disease at age 91. Mr. Reich produced the 1975 Italian horror film "The Night Child," which starred Joanna Cassidy. "The Night Child" was directed by Massimo Dallamano, Sergio Leone’s Director of Photography on "A Fistful of Dollars" and "For a Few Dollars More."

LANE SMITH Died Jun. 13, 2005

Actor Lane Smith died of ALS at age 69. I’m proud to call Mr. Smith a fellow Memphian. The versatile character actor turned in memorable performances in many of his nearly 100 film and TV credits. Mr. Smith was nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal of a trouble President Richard Nixon in the TV mini-series "The Final Days." He was also a successful stage actor having studied at the Actor’s Studio in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Mr. Smith won a Drama Desk Award for his Broadway performance as James Lingk in "Glengarry Glen Ross" Jonathan Pryce played the role in the film version. New audiences probably know Mr. Smith best as Daily Planet editor Perry White in the hit TV series "Lois and Clark." Mr. Smith was adept at both comedy and drama. He could play a character good or evil. He was part of the wonderful ensemble cast in Sidney Lumet’s Oscar winning "Network." Mr. Lumet called on Smith once more as the FBI Bodyguard assigned to protect Treat Williams’ family in "Prince of the City." Paul Schrader cast Mr. Smith as a corrupt union steward in his underrated "Blue Collar." He appeared with P.J Soles and Don Johnson in the overlooked comedy "Soggy Bottom USA." My personal favorite Lane Smith performance was as the prosecutor in the Oscar-winning comedy "My Cousin Vinny." In one way, Lane Smith was like Charles Bronson: both men had a great work ethic and delivered fine performances even in lesser films. He was always a professional. Among Lane Smith’s numerous credits are "The Last American Hero," "Rooster Cogburn," "Over the Edge," "Gideon’s Trumpet," "Honeysuckle Rose," "Resurrection," "Francis," "Places in the Heart," "Red Dawn," "’V’," "Weeds," "Challenger," "Air America," "The Mighty Ducks" and the great HBO mini series "From the Earth to the Moon."

DAVID DIAMOND Died Jun. 13, 2005

Composer David Diamond died at age 89. Mr. Diamond’s many works include 11 symphonies. Mr. Diamond’s music was used in Ray Harryhausen’s monster-movie/sci-fi classic "20 Million Miles to Earth." His music was also used in "Zombies of Mora Tau." He composed music for the films "Anna Lucasta" and "Dreams That Money Can Buy."

JONATHAN ADAMS Died Jun. 13, 2005

British actor Jonathan Adams died at age 74. Mr. Adams played the narrator in the original 1973 stage production of "The Rocky Horror Show" at the Royal Court's Theatre Upstairs. He later appeared in the film version "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," but not as the narrator. In the film, Mr. Adams played Dr. Everett Von Scott (A Rival Scientist). Mr. Adams appeared in nearly 50 films and TV shows. His credits include "Jesus of Nazareth," "Z Cars," "Antony & Cleopatra" and "King Richard the Second."

LEOS SUCHARIPA Died Jun. 14, 2005

Czech actor Leos Sucharipa died of a heart attack at age 73. Mr. Sucharipa was a respected stage actor in his native land. He was a regular performer at Prague’s Divadlo na Zabradle theater. The gruff-voiced actor appeared in over 25 films during his career.

ROBIE LESTER Died Jun. 14, 2005

Voice actress Robie Lester died of cancer at age 75. Ms. Lester provided the singing voice for Eva Gabor’s characters Miss Bianca and Dutchess in Disney features "The Rescuers" and "The Aristocats." She sang the theme song for Disney’s "The Three Lives of Thomasina." Other voice credits include "Mr. MaGoo" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Ms. Lester also did voices on the Christian children’s radio drama "Adventures in Odyssey."

BARRINGTON BUNCE Died Jun. 14, 2005

Layout artist Barrington Bunce died after a 35-year career in animation. Mr. Bunce work for many companies including Hanna-Barbera, Warner Bros., Marvel and Nickelodeon. The I.A.T.S.E. Local 839 member’s credits include "Johnny Bravo," "CatDog," "The Smurfs" and "The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo."

NJ CRISP Died Jun. 14, 2005

Award-winning British screenwriter NJ Crisp died at age 81 after a lengthy illness. Mr. Crisp won the British Writer’s Guild Award for "The Long Chase." He wrote scripts for a number of British TV series including "Doomwatch," "Colditz," "The Brothers," "The Man Who Was Hunting Himself," "Dixon of Dock Green" and "Orson Welles’ Great Mysteries." Mr. Crisp was also a successful novelist and playwright. His play "Dangerous Obsession" became the 1999 film "Darkness Falls" starring Sherilyn Fenn.

BRIAN POHANKA Died Jun. 15, 2005

Historian Brian Pohanka died of cancer at age 50. Mr. Pohanka was one of the most respected Civil War historians in the US. He acted as technical advisor on a number of films and TV series. Mr. Pohanka was on set to insure accuracy on such films as "Glory," "Cold Mountain," The Day Lincoln was Shot," "Gettysburg" and the History Channel TV series "Civil War Journal." Mr. Pohanka was an avid Civil War reenactor. He appeared as Brig. Gen. Alexander S. Webb in the TV mini-series "Gettysburg."

VALERIA MORICONI Died Jun. 15, 2005

Italian actress Valeria Moriconi died of cancer at age 73. Ms. Moriconi had a distinguished career on the Italian stage. She began her stage career in the late 1950s. Ms. Moriconi appeared in over 30 films including "The Face That Launched 1,000 Ships" with Hedy Lamar.

MAYURI Died Jun. 15, 2005

Indian actress Mayuri committed suicide at age 22. The young actress left a note telling her brother that she had lost faith in life before hanging herself from a ceiling fan. Though she acted primarily in Tamil language films she also worked in both Malayalam and Kannada language films. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.

SUZANNE FLON Died Jun. 15, 2005

Award-winning French actress Suzanne Flon died of gastroenteritis at age 87. Ms. Flon won two Best Supporting Actress Cesar awards for her work in Georges Wilson’s "La Vouivre" and Jean Becker’s "L ete Meurtrier." Ms. Flon appeared in over 70 films and TV shows during her career. Her many film credits include John Huston’s "Moulin Rouge," Orson Welles’ "The Trial," John Frankenheimer’s "The Train" and James Ivory’s "Quartet."

PHIL FORD Died Jun. 15, 2005

Comedian Phil Ford died at age 85. Mr. Ford was half of the popular husband and wife act "Ford and Hines." Along with his beautiful wife Mimi Hines, Mr. Ford entertained audiences in Las Vegas, Broadway, on TV, film and nightclubs around the country. The pair was married for nearly 20 years, divorcing in 1972. They appeared together in the film "Saturday Night Bath in Apple Valley." They also appeared on Broadway in "Funny Girl." Ms. Hines replaced Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice when she left the show. Among their many TV appearances were performances on "The Tonight Show" with both Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, Ed Sullivan’s "Toast of the Town," "The Pat Boone Show" and "The Mike Douglas Show."

ALEX MCAVOY Died Jun. 16, 2005

Scottish actor Alex McAvoy died at age 77. Mr. McAvoy was best known for his role as the Teacher in "Pink Floyd’s The Wall." Mr. McAvoy was also well known for his role in the long-running TV series "The Vital Spark." Mr. McAvoy joined the series during its 6th season. He played Sunny Jim from 1965 through the series’ end in 1974. Mr. McAvoy also appeared in several episodes of the TV police drama "Z Cars."

BRIAN KING Died Jun. 16, 2005

Cinematographer/editor Brian King died of heart failure at age 59. Mr. King was the camera operator on the Alice Cooper concert film "Welcome to My Nightmare." Having sat through the terrible concert film, I’d have taken an Allan Smithee credit in that one. On the other hand, Mr. King’s work on the "The American Sportsman" TV series during the 1960s was quite good. I remember watching Curt Gowdy and his guests shoot all kinds of animals each week on the popular sports program. Mr. King was also a film editor. He was the editor of "Bugs Bunny Superstar." Mr. King was an assistant editor on Bruce Brown’s excellent Oscar-nominated documentary about motorcycle racing: "On Any Sunday." The film featured the world’s best motorcyclists including daredevil actor Steve McQueen. In addition to his work in mainstream film, Mr. King was also a pioneer in the world of Gay adult film. Under the name Barry Knight, Mr. King directed, shot and edited films. He was part of the 1970s adult video company Jaguar Productions. Jaguar Productions won a landmark case against the LAPD which is still case law protecting the publication of gay erotica.

SUSANNA JAVICOLI Died Jun. 17, 2005

Italian actress Susanna Javicoli died at age 50 after a long battle with kidney disease. Ms. Javicoli had a memorable supporting role in one of my favorite horror films: Dario Argento’s masterpiece of the macabre "Suspiria." Ms. Javicoli played Sonia, one of many doomed characters in "Suspiria." Her death scene is part of one of Mr. Argento’s best set pieces. Susanna Javicoli had a successful career on stage and screen. She was also one of the most prolific voice actresses in Italy, dubbing the voices of many actresses for the Italian release of American and British films and TV shows in her native land. Some of the voices she dubbed were Michelle Pfeiffer in "Dangerous Liaisons" and "The Fabulous Baker Boys," Holly Hunter in "Raising Arizona," Barbara Stanwyck in "Meet John Doe" and Elizabeth Perkins in "Big." She also dubbed "The Simpsons." Ms. Javicoli appeared in more than 30 films and TV series during her career.

SAMUEL ROECA Died Jun. 17, 2005

Screenwriter Samuel Roeca died at age 85. Mr. Roeca wrote a number of films and for TV. He often wrote for Westerns including the TV series "Rawhide," "The High Chaparral," "The Tall Texan," "Annie Oakley" and the great, but overlooked James Garner series "Nichols." Mr. Roeca also wrote for such hit TV series as "Mission Impossible," Hawaii 5-0" and "Twelve O’clock High." He also co-wrote the creepy Max Von Sydow horror film "The Night Visitor." Mr. Roeca served his country as a B-24 pilot in the US Army-Air Corp during WWII.

CAY FORRESTER Died Jun. 18, 2005

Writer/actress Cay Forrester died of pneumonia at age 83. Ms. Forrester is pictured here in her memorable supporting role as a flirty wife who tempts Edmund O’Brien in the Film Noir classic "D.O.A." Ms. Forrester appeared in over 20 films during her 30-year carrer. She both wrote and starred in the crime thriller "Door to Door Maniac." Johnny Cash co-starred as a psychotic killer who knocked on doors and killed whoever answered! Ms. Forrester’s other credits include the Burt Reynolds crime comedy "Fuzz," "Advise and Consent," "Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman," "Queen of the Amazons," "Mannix," "Family Affair" and "Brenda Starr, Reporter."

TATSUO MATSUMURA Died Jun. 18, 2005

Veteran Japanese character actor Tatsuo Matsumura died of heart failure at age 90. Mr. Matsumuro appeared in nearly 50 films and TV shows during his 40-year-career. He was best known in his native land for appearing "Tora-san" film series. He played the uncle of the film series’ hero: actor Kiyoshi Atsumi’s character Tora-san. Mr. Matsumura worked with master director Akira Kurosawa on two projects. He had a supporting role in the 1970 film "Dodes’ka-den" and he played the lead in Kurosawa’s swan song "Madadayo." Mr. Matsumura played Professor Uchida, a college professor who is honored by his former students following WWII. Professor Uchida teaches German to his students at the university. The year is 1943. The professor announces to his class that he wishes to retire from teaching and devote himself to writing. His students are filled with sorrow that the beloved professor will be leaving. They assist him in his move, and visit quite frequently. Two students in particular remain in constant contact. So loved was Professor Uchida that his students honor and respect him for the next 20 years. Each year on the professor's birthday, the students throw him a Mahda-kai party. The students throw a drunken party which culminates in the students asking the professor in unison "Mahda-kai?" which means "are you ready (for death)?" The professor shouts his reply "Madadayo!" meaning "not yet!" The film chronicles many of these celebrations in addition to several other vignettes. Other credits include my pre-school favorite "King Kong vs. Godzilla," "Zatoichi Challenged" and the excellent Made for TV movie "Hiroshima."

BASIL KIRCHIN Died Jun. 18, 2005

British composer Basil Kirchin died at age 77. Mr. Kirchin began playing music professionally during WWII. He fronted his own band during the 1950s and enjoyed much success in the UK. Mr. Kirchin began working on experimental music during the 1960s and is claimed as an influence by a number of musicians including Brian Eno. Mr. Kirchen composed scores to several films. He did background music for the Dave Clark Five vehicle "Catch Us If You Can." Mr. Kirchin’s best known work was for films in the horror genre. His credits include "The Shuttered Room," "The Mutations" and "I Start Counting." Mr. Kirchin’s most famous score was for the Vincent Price cult classic "The Abominable Dr. Phibes." Production squabbles lead to much of his original score being replaced or changed, but fans may now hear it in all of its brilliance on CD.

RICHARD TUBER Died Jun. 18, 2005

Writer Richard Joseph Tuber died of a heart attack at age 75. Mr. Tuber wrote for the classic 1960s family TV series "Flipper" and "Daktari." He also wrote for the 1950s TV series "Science Fiction Theater." Mr. Tuber did underwater research for the 1966 feature film "Around the World Under the Sea." I enjoyed the movie when I was an 8-year-old. It starred "Sea Hunt" star Lloyd Bridges and "Flipper" star Paul Kelly. "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." star David McCallum was thrown in for good measure, but I couldn’t tear my eyes off of the bikini clad Shirley Eaton! Though Mr. Tuber put in many hours doing the science for this one, it was simple anatomy that made the movie worthwhile. Mr. Tuber’s son Rick won an Emmy for his editing work on "ER," while Mr. Tuber’s son Doug is a producer whose credits include "Lizzie McGuire." Mr. Tuber served his country in the US Air Force during the Korean War.

EVELYNE KER Died Jun. 19, 2005

French actress Evelyne Ker died of natural causes at age 70. Ms. Ker’s greatest professional success came playing the lead role in "Gigi" on stage during the 1950s. Her many film credits include Claude Berri’s "Janine," "Malaise" and two films by Claude LeLouch: "Us Two" and "Bolero."

LARRY COLLINS Died Jun. 20, 2005

Author Larry Collins died of a brain hemorrhage at age 75. Mr. Collins and his writing partner Dominique Lapierre co-wrote five books including "Or I’ll Dress You In the Morning," "The Fifth Horseman," "O Jerusalem" and "Is Paris Burning?" The 1966 film version of "Is Paris Burning?" was nominated for two Oscars. His novel "Fortitude" was turned into the Made for TV movie "Fall From Grace."

CHARLES WHITE Died Jun. 20, 2005

Character actor Charles White died at age 87. Mr. White enjoyed success on Broadway, in film and TV. He was the brother of the late actress Ruth White (Mrs. DuBose from To Kill a Mockingbord). Mr. White was a regular on the soap opera "Love of Life" for ten years. His many film credits include "The Hot Rock," "Serpico," "The Super Cops" and "Airport 1975." Mr. White served his country during WWII.

BILLY PARRISH Died Jun. 20, 2005

Property master Billy Parrish died at age 50. The I.A.T.S.E. local 44 member worked on such films as "Jerry Maguire," "Eraser" and "Star Trek: Insurrection."

JOSEPH DERVIN SR. Died Jun. 20, 2005

EMMY and EDDIE Award-winning film editor Joseph Dervin Sr. died at age 90. After learning his craft in the film industry, Mr. Dervin made the transition to TV where he spent most of his career. Mr. Dervin won two Emmy Awards for his work on the TV series "Longstreet" and "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." He was nominated EDDIE awards for those same two programs. Mr. Dervin was nominated seven times for EDDIE awards by the American Cinema Editors Guild. He won a Best Edited Television Program EDDIE in 1964for the TV series "The Eleventh Hour." His first EDDIE nomination came the previous year for the same show. Mr. Dervin received additional EDDIE nominations for "Charlie’s Angels," "The Young Lawyers" and "Kung Fu." Mr. Dervins film and TV credits include "Desire Me," "Brighty of the Grand Canyon" and "The Spy With My Face." Joseph Dervin Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps and is the VP of post-production for NBC Universal TV.

KAYO HATTA Died Jun. 20, 2005

Director Kayo Hatta accidentally drowned at age 47. Ms. Hatta’s film "Picture Bride" won the Audience Award as Best Dramatic Film at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival. Her movie told the story of a Japanese emigrant to Hawaii who marries a sugar-cane plantation worker. Ms Hatta’s second film was the 2005short "Fishbowl," which has played at film festivals and is scheduled for broadcast on PBS. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends

ROBERT ACHS Died Jun. 21, 2005

Cinematographer Richard Achs died of cancer at age 54. Mr. Aches worked on such films as the unusual Malcolm X drama "Death of a Prophet," which starred Morgan Freeman. He also shot the censorship documentary "Damned in the USA." Other credits include "Taxi Cab Confessions," "No Maps On My Taps" and "In Our Hands." Mr. Achs was the uncle of actors Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal.

BARBARA BREWSTER Died Jun. 21, 2005

Barbara Brewster LeMond died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia at age 87. Ms. Brewster and her twin sister Gloria appeared in a number of films during the 1930s as The Brewster Twins. The successful models were signed by 20th Century Fox. Ms. Brewster went on to entertain our boys fighting in WWII. While working for the USO, Ms. Brewster met a military officer named Bob LeMond. Mr. LeMond was in charge of a radio station in the South Pacific. They married and Ms. Brewster retired from show biz. The other half of The Brewster Twins, Gloria Brewster died in 1996. The sisters appeared in such films as Shirley Temple’s "Little Miss Broadway," "Hold That Coed," "Twincuplets," "The Flame of New Orleans" and "Wife, Nurse and Doctor."

HARVEY SCHAPS Died Jun. 21, 2005

Rock and roll tour manager and accountant Harvey Schaps died at age 62. Mr. Schaps was the accountant and/or tour manager for such rock entertainers as Steely Dan, Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Nicks, Van Halen, Matchbox 20, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. He was tour accountant for the Matchbox 20 concert that was filmed for the documentary "Show: A Night in the Life of Matchbox 20."

RICHARD SPERBER Death Announced Jun. 22, 2005

Sound editor Richard Sperber died at age 88. Mr. Sperber worked on such films as "Fantastic Voyage," the original "Dr. Dolittle," the excellent Made for TV movie "Pray For the Wildcats," one of my personal favorites "Next Stop, Greenwich Village," Mel Brooks’s "High Anxiety," "Damien: Omen II," "The Boys From Brazil," "Norma Rae," "All the Right Moves," "Brubaker" and "Modern Problems."

CLIVE CLERK Death Announced Jun. 22, 2005

Actor/dancer turned painter Clive Clerk died at age 59. Mr. Clerk was part of the original Broadway cast of "A Chorus Line," His many film and TV credits include "Send Me No Flowers," "Dear Brigitte," "Happy Days," "Days of Our Lives," "The Mod Squad," "The Rat Patrol," "I Spy" and "Combat!" Mr. Clerk turned to his first love, painting, following "A Chorus Line."

As a child in Trinadad, Mr. Clerk began to paint. He had his first show at age eight! Under the name Clive Wilson, Mr. Clerk had a successful career as an abstract painter. He studied his craft at various schools. Mary Pomerantz of the McLean Gallery in Malibu, California shared her feelings about Mr. Clerk with me. "Clive leaves behind a legacy of a passionate life: As an actor, singer/dancer, writer, and painter he touched and inspired many through his vast creative endeavors. I feel blessed to have known well such a special individual and am comforted by his magnificent artworks that remain." The painting at right is called "Heartland 60," a favorite of Ms. Pomerantz. You may see more of Mr. Clerk/Wilson’s work at the McLean Gallery website.

SHANA ALEXANDER Died Jun. 23, 2005

Today’s news commentary shows have devolved into a world of arguing heads. Used to be there were talking heads, but today it is just nag, nag, nag. Liberals versus Conservatives. There was a time though, when rival ideas were put forth with humor, panache and respect. Sure, things could get heated, but there was no fatal thrust for the opponent’s jugular. The cool thing about that time, is that you could actually hear both sides of the debate without having to TIVO the show to go back and listen for what you missed. I remember looking forward to Sunday night and the CBS news magazine "60 Minutes." This was in the 1970s. One of the highlights of the show was "Point/Counterpoint" with Shana Alexander (liberal) and James Kilpatrick (conservative). The pair became Icons of that tumultuous decade. Their on-air style also became the butt of comic jabs in such films and TV shows as "Saturday Night Live" and "The Groove Tube." Ms. Alexander was also a prolific author. An article she wrote about a suicide hotline incident became the basis for Sidney Pollack’s debut feature film "The Slender Thread." Anne Bancroft and Sidney Poitier co-starred. Ms. Alexander’s great non-fiction crime book "Nutcracker: Money, Madness & Murder" was turned into a multi-Emmy nominated TV mini series starring Lee Remick. Shana Alexander died of cancer at age 79.

PAUL WINCHELL Died Jun. 24, 2005

Voice actor and ventriloquist Paul Winchell died at age 82. Though he had a long and successful career as a ventriloquist voicing his dummy Jerry Mahoney, he is best know for doing the voice of Tigger of "Winnie the Pooh" fame. Mr. Winchell and his wooden sidekick Jerry Mahoney had their own TV show during the 1950s. The pair appeared as guests on such shows as Ed Sullivan’s "Toast of the Town," "What’s My Line?" and "Rowen and Martin’s Laugh In." Mr. Winchell had a long relationship with Disney Studios. He voiced Tigger in twenty "Winnie the Pooh" shows and movies. He also worked for Disney in "The Fox and the Hound" and "The Aristocats." While I loved Tigger as a child, my favorite Saturday morning cartoon character was Disk Dastardly and his dog Muttley from "The Wacky Racers." Mr. Winchell did the voice of Dick Dastardly. My children enjoyed his voice work as another cartoon villain: Gargamel in "The Smurfs." Among his numerous voice credits are "The Jetsons," "Hong Kong Phooey," "The Banana Splits," "The Hair Bear Bunch," "Spiderman" and "Heathcliff." His daughter is April Winchell, LA radio personality and noted voice actress in her own right.

IMOGEN CLAIRE Died Jun. 24, 2005

Actress/choreographer Imogen Claire died after a long battle with cancer. Ms. Claire gained cult status as one of the Transylvanians in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." She also appeared in the sequel "Shock Treatment." Ms. Claire was a frequent cast member in the films of Ken Russell. She acted in the gonzo director’s films "The Music Lovers," "Savage Messiah," "Tommy," "Lisztomania," "Salome’s Last Dance," "The Lair of the White Worm" and a couple of Made for TV movies. Ms. Claire also choreographed Russell’s "The Lair of the White Worm" and "The Rainbow." Among Ms. Claire’s other credits are "Hussy," "Flash Gordon" and "Billy Elliot." Ms. Claire was a councillor for choreographers in the Equity union. Along with Jonathan Adams, Ms. Claire is the second cast member of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" to die this month.

CAROL SCOTT Died Jun. 24, 2005

Emmy and DGA winning producer/assistant director/casting agent Carol Scott died of cancer at age 56. Ms. Scott won four Daytime Emmy Awards and a DGA award for her work on the long-running soap opera "General Hospital." Ms. Scott worked as an AD on such TV shows as "All in the Family," "Night Court" and "Champs." She did casting for the great cult classic "Carney" among others.

MICHAEL CUNEO Died Jun. 24, 2005

Model-maker Michael Cuneo died of a brain tumor at age 41. Mr. Cuneo was a regular guest at numerous "Star Trek" conventions during the 1900s. He would share the secrets of his craft with fans. Mr. Cuneo was a model-maker and landscape designer for the TV series "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine."

THOMAS ROGERS Died Jun. 24, 2005

Former Hollywood script doctor turned ad-man Thomas Rogers drown in his family pool at age 87. Mr. Rogers was the man who brought us "Charlie the Tuna," the Starkist Tuna mascot with the masochistic tendency of wanting to be eaten by humans! I always wondered about Charlie. Sure, it’s nice to be the best, but this strange cartoon fish wanted to be killed and eaten! The ad campaign worked and Charlie the Tuna became a memorable TV Icon during the 1960s and 70s. Mr. Rogers produced and directed a number of the famous commercials.

EDDIE SMITH Died Jun. 24, 2005

Pioneer Black stuntman Eddie Smith died at age 81. Mr. Smith was the co-founder, along with Native American Henry Kingli of the Black Stuntman’s Association. While working as an extra on Stanley Kramer’s "It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," Mr. Smith noticed that a White stuntman was being painted in black face to do Eddie "Rodchester" Anderson’s stunts. This was common practice. Mr. Smith felt that the practice was cutting a number of Black people out of the job market. He approached Henry Kingli with the idea and the pair fought successfully for a change in the system. Mr. Smith appeared in numerous films, both as an actor and a stuntman. He was a stunt coordinator on such films as "Live and Let Die," "Jason’s Lyric," the landmark TV mini series "Roots," "The Women of Brewster Place," "Do the Right Thing" and "House Party." He performed as a stuntman in Robert Altman’s "M*A*S*H," "Scarface," "The Dogs of War," "Earthquake," "Dirty Mary Crazy Larry," "Blazing Saddles," "Cleopatra Jones," "Across 110th Street," "Dirty Harry" and "Beneath the Planet of the Apes." Mr. Smith’s acting credits include playing Mr. T’s corner man in "Rocky III."

JACK KOSSLYN Died Jun. 24, 2005

Actor/casting director/drama coach Jack Kosslyn died of complications following a stroke at age 84. Fans of 1950s Sci-fi films and fans of Clint Eastwood may recognize Mr. Kosslyn’s face. He worked for Clint Eastwood in various capacities during the 1970s. As an actor, he appeared in Clint Eastwood’s films "Play Misty for Me," "Breezy," "Magnum Force," "High Plains Drifter," "Magnum Force" and "The Eiger Sanction." He was also the dialogue coach on several of the above mentioned films. Mr. Kosslyn was the casting director for Eastwood’s excellent "The Outlaw Josey Wales." He did additional casting on Michael Cimino’s debut film starring Eastwood and Jeff Bridges: "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot." My first exposure to Mr. Kosslyn came as a child, watching many B-monster movies from the 1950s. He appeared in such films as "The Amazing Colossal Man" and its sequel "The War of the Colossal Beast." Mr. Kosslyn also appeared in "Attack of the Puppet People," "Earth vs. the Spider, "Empire of the Ants" and "The Magic Sword."

JOHN FIEDLER Died Jun. 25, 2005

Character actor John Fiedler died at age 80. Though he had a successful career on stage, in film and on TV, Mr. Fiedler was best known for providing the voice of the "Winnie the Pooh" character Piglet. He died one day after Paul Winchell, the voice of the "Pooh" character Tigger. Mr. Fiedler voiced Piglet’s character in every film and TV show featuring the tiny character. Mr. Fiedler was one of the jurors in Sidney Lumet’s classic drama "Twelve Angry Men." He played Juror #2, a mild-mannered grocer who was easily swayed by the other jurors. Now that Mr. Fiedler has passed on, only Jack Warden and Jack Klugman remain from the all-star cast. Mr. Fiedler appeared in nearly 200 films and TV shows. Among his many credits are "A Raisin in the Sun," "That Touch of Mink," "The World of Henry Orient," "Fitzwilly," "True Grit," "Deathmaster," "Skyjacked," "The Shaggy D.A.," "The Cannonball Run," "Sharky’s Machine," "Police Story," "Bewitched," "Star Trek," "I Spy" and "The Twilight Zone." He was a regular on the TV series "The Night Stalker." Mr. Fiedler served in the US Navy during WWII.

CHET HELMS Died Jun. 25, 2005

The Summer of 1967 in the Haight-Ashbury was the Summer of Love. Impresario Chet Helms, the father of The Summer of Love died of a stroke at age 62. Mr. Helms was the founder and manager of Janis Joplin’s first band "Big Brother and Holding Company." He also owned the rock palaces the Avalon Ballrooms. Helms produced the first psychedelic rock shows at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West. Mr. Helms appeared in several documentaries about the late Janis Joplin and The Summer of Love. His credits include "The History of Rock ‘N’ Roll: Volume 6," "Intimate Portrait: Janis Joplin" and "Feed Your Head."

RICHARD WHITELEY Died Jun. 26, 2005

British TV game show host Richard "Twice Nightly" Whiteley died of complications from heart surgery and pneumonia. Whiteley didn’t have a counterpart in the US. To fans in the UK, Richard Whiteley was a character, a character that they welcomed into their homes for 22 years. As the presenter of the game show "Countdown," Mr. Whiteley became kind of a cult figure in the UK. Known for his unusual dress, consisting of loud ties and colorful jackets, Mr. Whiteley oversaw thousands of contestants trying to win a set of Encyclopedias and the honor of being a "Countdown Champion" on the long-running TV show. He was made Officer of the British Empire in 2004 by Queen Elisabeth, one of many fans of Mr. Whiteley and his show "Countdown." He made a cameo appearance in the Hugh Grant film "About a Boy." Mr. Whiteley was also a respected journalist. He reported from the Brighton Bombing, which he happened to survive. Mr. Whiteley also showed his "show must go on" attitude when he finished an interview with a pet trainer while the trainer's ferret sank his fangs in Mr. Whiteley's finger!


Australian director William Mather-Brown drown at age 41. Mr. Mather-Brown was visiting his estranged wife and children in France when his 11-year-old son got into trouble in the La Var River. Mr. Mather-Brown rescued his son, but was unable to get out of the river himself. Mr. Mather-Brown co-directed the acclaimed documentary "Troy’s Story," about Australian motorcycle racer Troy Bayliss. The film was narrated by Ewan McGregor. Last March I attended the New York International Film and Video Festival in Los Angeles with friends and filmmakers Jeremy Benson and Mark Williams who were showing the feature "The Smallest Oceans." Mr. Mather-Brown’s documentary was also in competition. "Troy’s Story" won the Los Angeles edition of the festival and in April also won the main New York City festival. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.

SHELBY FOOTE Died Jun. 27, 2005

My late stepfather, Paul Renshaw, died the summer before my 18-year-old daughter was born. He was a gentleman from the old Southern tradition. He and I shared an avid love of history. He taught me a lot about the joy of giving. Paul would call in July and say, "I know something you don’t know," and then hang up the phone. That was his way of saying he had bought me a Christmas present. I returned the favor one summer a few years before he passed on. The Christmas gift I had purchased him was a hardback set of Shelby Foote’s "The Civil War: A Narrative." He put it in a place of honor on his bookcase. The Christmas of 1986 was a happy time because it was my daughter Christy’s first Christmas. It was also sad because Paul had died that June. There were gifts from him that year though. His habit of spreading his holiday cheer throughout the year insured that he had already bought and wrapped his gifts. My mother had to wrap one gift for him. He returned the Shelby Foote trilogy to me. I also put them in a place of honor on my bookshelf. I didn’t read the books until my youngest daughter Lauren was born. Once I started, I could not stop until all three volumes were finished. My wife complained that I spent more time with the books than the rest of the family. I couldn’t help myself. Mr. Foote’s attention to detail, humanity and voice compelled me to turn page after page. It took Mr. Foote 20 years to write his massive history of the War Between the States.

Author and historian Shelby Foote died at age 88 following a lengthy illness. I always intended to pick up the phone and call my fellow Memphian. He was that accessible. I never did. Those who only knew Mr. Foote through his written words were treated to his soothing manner in person during Ken Burn’s award-winning documentary series "The Civil War." Mr. Foote presented facts, anecdotes and ironies about the war. He also appeared as himself in Burn’s other great documentary "Baseball." Mr. Foote also wrote six novels. His book "September September" was turned into a Made for TV movie "Memphis" starring Cybill Shepherd and my 7th-grade classmate John Laughlin. Mr. Foote worked as a journalist for a number of years. He served his country as a member of both the US Army and the Marines during WWII.

DOMINO HARVEY Died Jun. 27, 2005

Model turned bounty hunter Domino Harvey was found dead in her bathtub at age 37. The cause of death has not been announced pending an autopsy. Ms. Harvey was the daughter of "The Manchurian Candidate" star Laurence Harvey. She was a successful Ford model who hated the industry and turned to something she really loved: bounty hunting. Ms. Harvey ended up with a bad heroin habit. She was busted in a drug sting in Mississippi and was facing life in prison. Director Tony Scott bought her life story and is post production on "Domino." Keira Knightley is playing Ms. Harvey in the film. Ms. Harvey had disowned the film. An open lesbian, Ms. Harvey was upset that she is being portrayed as a straight woman in the film. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.

GUY THOMAJAN Died Jun. 28, 2005

Stage and screen actor Guy Thomajan died at age 87. Mr. Thomajan was closely associated with Oscar-winning director Elia Kazan. The two met at the Group Theater in New York during the 1930s. Thomajan worked behind the scenes with Kazan on Broadway and later acted in a number of his films. In Kazan’s "Panic in the Streets," he played a flunkie to Jack Palance’s gang boss. Mr. Thomajan’s physical acting is on display in that film’s opening murder scene. Thomajan’s character stalks an unlucky gambler through a railroad yard and warehouse before knifing his victim. I was impressed by the scene long before I knew Mr. Thomajan’s name. He moves like some cross between a leopard and a dark creature from your worst nightmare. It is a little ‘bit’ in the film, but it stands out. His death scene in the movie is also memorable. Jack Palance throw him over a balcony to escape from the hero played by Richard Widmark. Mr. Thomajan also acted for Kazan in "Boomarang" and "Viva Zapata!" Other acting credits include "The Pink Panther," "The Breaking Point" and the original version of "Miracle on 34th Street." In "Miracle on 34th Street" he plays the postal worker who appears with Jack Albertson when Albertson gets the bright idea to send all of the letters to Santa Claus to the court house where Kris Kringle’s sanity hearing is taking place. Mr. Thomajan also worked behind the cameras for Kazan and King Vidor as a dialogue supervisor on such films as "On the Waterfront," "East of Eden" and "War and Peace." In "On the Waterfront" it was Mr. Thomajan who fed lines to Rod Steiger during the famous ‘I coulda been a contender’ speech after Marlon Brando refused to return the actor’s courtesy to Mr. Steiger. Mr. Thomajan directed one film, the forgettable "Ex Americans," which featured real-life Raging Bull Jake LaMota.

BRUCE MALMUTH Died Jun. 28, 2005

Director/actor Bruce Malmuth died of esophageal cancer at age 71. Like Ridley Scott, Mr. Malmuth made the transition from directing TV commercials to feature films. His feature film debut was the Sylvester Stallone thriller "Nighthawks." He took over the helm from Gary Nelson after he left the production. "Nighthawks" is a personal favorite of mine. Rutgar Hauer delivered a star making performance as an international terrorist. Mr. Malmuth’s other directorial credits include "Hard To Kill" with Steven Segal, "The Man Who Wasn’t There" and episodes of the TV series "Beauty and the Beast." He was also an actor who played the ring announcer in "The Karate Kid" and its sequel. Mr. Malmuth devoted a large part of his last years to helping children escape drugs and deal with dysfunctional families.

ROWLAND WILSON Died Jun. 28, 2005

Famed cartoonist and award-winning animator Rowland Wilson died of heart failure at age 74. Mr. Wilson’s cartoons were a mainstay in such publications as "Playboy," "Esquire" and "The New Yorker" for nearly four decades. Mr. Wilson was also an Emmy-winning animator. He won a Daytime Emmy for his work on the landmark education cartoon series "Schoolhouse Rock." Mr. Wilson also worked for Disney, animating the feature films "The Little Mermaid," "Tarzan," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "Hercules."

YUMIKA HAYASHI Death announced Jun. 29, 2005

Japanese adult film turned mainstream actress Yumika Hayashi was found dead in her apartment by her mother. Ms. Hayashi chocked to death on vomit after a heavy night of drinking in celebration of her 35th birthday. Ms. Hayashi became a star of Japanese adult videos in the 1980s. Like her American counterpart Traci Lords, Ms. Hayashi had recently begun to act in more mainstream films. She appeared in bizarre gore-fest "Naked Blood," which deals with a young scientist who invents a serum that turns people into mutants. Ms. Hayashi aslo co-starred in the soft-core art film "Lunch Box." Her film "Sunday’s Dream" won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2000 Chicago International Film Festival. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.

CHRISTOPHER FRY Died Jun. 30, 2005

British playwright Christopher Fry died at age 97. Mr. Fry enjoyed a period of success during the 1930s, 40s and 50s. He was among a group of Christian playwrights, which included T.S. Eliot who dealt with life, war, death and love from a religious point of view. He most famous play was "The Lady’s Not for Burning." His play was filmed twice for British TV, once starring Richard Chamberlain and once with Kenneth Branagh. Mr. Fry began to write for TV and film during the 1950s. He was one of several screenwriters hired to fine-tune the script for William Wyler’s "Ben Hur." Mr. Fry also wrote the screenplays for John Huston’s "The Bible" and Richard Fleischer’s "Barrabas."

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