Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mar. 2006 Film World Obituaries



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 Mar. 8, 2006

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.




JORDAN WILLIAMS Died Mar. 13, 2006

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.



ROBERT PAPENBROOK Died Mar. 17, 2006

Prolific voice actor Robert Papenbrook died of chronic lung disease at age 50. Mr. Papenbrook lent his vocal talents to nearly 150 films, TV shows and video games. One of his earliest credits was on Hayao Miyazaki’s animated TV series "The New Lupin III." There were very few anime TV shows that didn’t feature the voice of Bob Papenbrook. If an Asian TV series was sent to the US, Bob Papenbrook would be called on to dub it into English. Among his many credits are "The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers," "Cowboy Bebob," "Digimon: The Movie," "V.R. Troopers," "Ghost in the Shell," "Beetleborgs Metallix," "Power Rangers in Space" and "Vandread." Mr. Papenbrook also appeared as a live action actor in such TV series as "JAG" and "Boston Public." His wife was actress Debbi Rothstein. His 20-year-old son Bryce is following in his father’s footsteps and already has a number of voice actor credits to his name. Prayers of comfort to his family and friends.




FREDERICK BRESSETTE Died Mar. 18, 2006

Regional theater director, teacher, professor and movie extra Frederick Bressette died at age 83. Mr. Bressette followed service to his country in the US Army Air Copr with a career in teaching. He taught in high school as well as college. Mr. Bressette was a prolific theater director in the New England states. He appeared in several films including "The Crucible," "Amistad," "State and Main," "Prozac Nation" and "Developing Sheldon."

BRAD CASE Died Mar. 19, 2006

Animation director Brad Case died at age 93. Mr. Case worked in the industry for over 50 years. He received the Animation Guild Golden Award in 1985 in recognition for his longevity in the animation field. Mr. Case’s career began in 1934. He worked for a number of studios and animation houses including Disney, Hanna-Barbera and Warner Brothers. As an animator, Mr. Case worked on "Bambi," "Shinbone Alley," "Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island" and "The Yogi Bear Show" among others. Mr. Case was an effects animator on Disney’s rarely seen "Song of the South" and the feature film "Make Mine Music." He directed many animated shorts and TV series including many "Pink Panther" cartoons, "The Dick Tracy Show" and "The Fantastic Four." Brad Case was the father of Dale Case. Dale Case followed in his father’s footsteps. His animation career began in the 1950s and is still going strong.



BERNARD GOSSELIN Died Mar. 20, 2006

French-Canadian cinematographer/director Bernard Gosselin died of bone cancer at age 71. Mr. Gosselin photographed nearly documentary 50 films during his 40+ year career. He also directed a handful of films during the 1960s and 70s. Mr. Gosselin directed mostly documentary films, but he did helm the children’s sci-fi film "The Christmas Martian." Mr. Gosselin’s cinematographer credits are almost exclusively on documentary films and a few dramatic shorts. He was a contributing filmmaker on Robin Spry’s excellent documentary "Action: The October Crisis of 1970." The film dealt with the kidnapping of several Canadian government figures by terrorists.



PHILIP KUNHARDT JR. Died Mar. 21, 2006

Documentary filmmaker Philip Kunhardt Jr. died of pulmonary fibrosis at age 78. Mr. Kunhardt Jr. and his sons Peter and Philip produced, wrote and directed several well-received documentaries. "Freedom: A History of Us" was a 16-part PBS documentary series about the history of America. Katie Couric hosted the series. The PBS mini-series "The American President" chronicles the lives of every president from Washington to Clinton. Mr. Kunhardt’s novel "My Father’s House" was turned into a TV movie starring Cliff Robertson. Cliff Robertson would later narrate Mr. Kunhardt’s documentary "P.T. Barnum: America’s Greatest Showman."


DAVID LEONG Died Mar. 21, 2006

David Leong loved movies. I never knew him, but I feel a certain kinship. Mr. Leong did what I do. He was an Internet film journalist. He shared his love of Asian films as one of the crack staff of the "Kung Fu Cult Cinema" website. Like me, Mr. Leong was the elder statesman of his website. He died suddenly at age 45. Those who would like to discover the passion this man had for the movies should check out his work at www.kfccinema.com. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.


BOB DELEGALL Died Mar. 21, 2006

Actor/director/playwright Bob Delegall died of prostate cancer at age 60. He produced and directed the TV series "The Gregory Hines Show." Mr. Delegall was a prolific TVC actor, though he did appear in several feature films including "The Presidio." Mr. Delegal had a supporting role in the Blaxploitation film "Super Dude," which turned out to be the final film of director Henry Hathaway! He co-starred as one of the main badguys in the very first episode of the TV series "Starsky and Hutch." Mr. Delegall’s other credits include "Police Story," "Bonanza," "Twilight Zone," "Matlock" and "Hill Street Blues."



HIROSHI MIYAGAWA Died Mar. 21, 2006

Japanese composer Hiroshi Miyagawa died of a heart attack at age 75. Mr. Miyagawa is known to monster movie fans for his score of "Ghidrah, the Three Headed Monster." Anime fans know him as the man who scored the numerous "Space Battleship Yamato" TV shows. Mr. Miyagawa scored dozens of films and TV shows over the last 40 years.




PIO LEYVA Died Mar. 22, 2006

Director Wim Wenders received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature in 1999 for the film "Buena Vista Social Club." The amazing film chronicled Ry Cooder as he reunited and resurrected the careers of some great Cuban musicians who’s careers were cut short by Castro. Singer Pio Leyva is the fifth musician featured in the great film to die since its release. Thanks to the magic of the movies, we have one of his performances captured forever! Pio Leyva died of a heart attack at age 88.




BRITT LOMOND Died Mar. 22, 2006

Actor/director Britt Lomond died at age 80 after a lengthy illness. Mr. Lomond was an expert swordsman. His talent was such that he qualified for the US Olympic team in 1952. He turned pro before the Olympics. His talent served him well in Hollywood. His best known role was as Captain Monastario in the Disney TV series "Zorro." He was the nemesis of Guy William’s Zorro. He recreated the role in the feature film "The Sign of Zorro." Mr. Lomond appeared on many of the most popular TV shows from that era. His many credits include "Perry Mason," "Death Valley Days," "Wyatt Earp," "Tales of the Wells Fargo," "Highway Patrol," "Rawhide," "Thriller," "I Spy," "Men Into Space" and "Mission Impossible." Later in life, Mr. Lomond moved behind the camera and worked as an assistant director and production manager. His directing credits include "Purple Rain," "Midnight Run" and the TV series "MacGyver." He was the production manager on the films "Somewhere in Time" and "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." He wrote, produced and choreographed the crime fantasy "Sword of Heaven." Mr. Lomond served his country during WWII, earning three Purple Hearts!



KENNETH PEACH JR. Died Mar. 22, 2006

Cinematographer Kenneth Peach died at age 75. Mr. Peach came from an industry family. His father, the late Kenneth Peach Sr. was also a noted cinematographer who began his career shooting "Laurel and Hardy" shorts for Hal Roach. His mother was the silent film actress Pauline Curley (see December 2000 obit column). Kenneth Peach Jr. was a camera operator on Robert Culps brutal cop drama "Hickey and Boggs." Robert Aldrich used Mr. Peach as a camera operator on his tough Depression era drama "The Emperor of the North." Other camera operator credits include the comedy "The Dutchess and Dirtwater Fox," "Beyond the Poseidon Adventure" and Robert Aldrich’s dreadful adaptation of Joseph Wambaugh’s "The Choirboys." Mr. Peach’s spent his career as a cinematographer working on TV. His many cinematographer credits include the TV series and TV films "Games Mother Never Taught You," "Taxi," several Waltons" TV movies and specials, "Remington Steele," "Falcon Crest," "Roc," "Ned and Stacey" and "Cedric the Entertainer Presents."


PIERRE FABRE Died Mar. 23, 2006

Actor/writer Pierre Fabre died at age 72. Mr. Fabre appeared in almost 20 films before turning his talents top screenwriting. He acted in a number of films by French master Francois Truffaut including "Jules and Jim," "The Wild Child," "The Sad Sack" and "Bed and Board." Mr. Fabre wrote nearly 30 films and TV shows. Almost all of his work since the late 1980s was for French television.


DON STANKE Died Mar. 23, 2006

Hollywood historian, film journalist, regional theater actor Don Stanke died at age 76. Way back in the day (1966-75) Leonard Maltin edited and published a little magazine called "Film Fan Monthly." Don Stanke was a regular contributor and wrote profiles of such greats as Ruth Roman, Lizabeth Scott and Jon Hodiak. Mr. Stanke co-wrote along with James Robert Parish a number of books including "Hollywood Baby Boomers," "The Forties Gals," "The Glamour Girls," "The All Americans" and others. Mr. Stanke was active in the Reno Little Theater during the 1990s. He started the annual Blythe Awards which end each theater season in Reno.




RICHARD FLEISCHER Died Mar. 24, 2006

Oscar-winning producer/director Richard Fleischer died in his sleep at age 89. Mr. Fleischer was best known for directing an impressive list of hit feature films. He won an Oscar in 1947 for producing the documentary feature "Design for Death" AKA "Our Job in Japan." If you ask me, Richard Fleischer deserved an Oscar as Best Director for a number of his great films.

Dick Fleischer directed the first film I ever saw in a theater: Disney’s 1955 classic "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." The classic still enthralls audiences. My friend, noted film historian and radio documentarian Bruce Crawford paid tribute to Mr. Fleischer’s film in his December, 2004 Omaha Film Event. Mr. Fleischer was unable to attend the Omaha Event due to poor health. Mr. Crawford remembered Richard Fleischer as "a gracious man and most thoughtful and a fine director of many great films."

Dick Fleischer was, in many ways, like the workhorse director Robert Aldrich. Both men turned out consistently entertaining, profitable and critically acclaimed films. However, their names are not the first to pop into your mind when you think of great directors. Of course, their output does testify to the fact of their greatness.

Last year, I had the pleasure of interviewing Oscar winning film editor Elmo Williams. At 93, Mr. Williams is still sharp as a tack. He spoke about first working with Dick Fleischer and then becoming his friend. Here is a short excerpt from that interview:

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EI:
I noticed that you worked on a lot of Richard Fleischer’s films. Would a director ask for you or was it because you both worked at the same studio? EW: Dick Fleischer was in New York and he was a stage director. When sound first came in, that’s when I started, directors in Hollywood had no experience with directing dialogue. They were ‘picture’ directors. The studios started saying "We’re making talkies now, so we’d better get some guys out here from New York who know how to direct actors to read their lines. So Fleischer was one of those directors who came out from New York, who was a stage director. He was related to Sid Rogel, who was the studio manager…the head of production at RKO. Since Dick knew nothing about the mechanics of making films, I was assigned to him to help teach him. I made all of his set-ups for him on his first three films. EI: Almost a co-director on those. EW: Yeah, well, sort of. Dick and I became good friends. After he started making his mainstream films, whenever possible, he would ask me to edit his films. He got me onto "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and "The Vikings." I always carried a big load. I edited some of Dick’s most successful films. Without bragging, I made lots of contributions to his films.
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Mr. Fleischer’s film output from the 1950s includes the forgotten classic crime drama "Violent Saturday." The movie dealt with the effects of a bank robbery on a small town. It is a precursor of the tough cop movies of Don Siegel and others during the 60s and 70s. A transitional film from Film Noir to the urban realism of the 70s. Lee Marvin, Victor Mature and Earnest Borgnine are just a few of the many great actors who make this film worth seeing. Mr. Fleischer ended the 1950s with the psychological crime drama "Compulsion." The movie was based on the Leopold-Loeb thrill killing of the 1920s. Orson Welles starred as the attorney based on Clarence Darrow who pleads for the young killer’s lives. This is one of Mr. Fleischer’s most respected works. He was nominated for a BAFTA and DGA Award for his direction. This was Mr. Fleischer’s second DGA nomination. The year before, his work on the Kirk Douglas action/adventure film "The Vikings" was also recognized by his peers with a DGA nod.


Mr. Fleischer directed two of the biggest hits of the 1960s. He also directed two of the biggest bombs of the 60s! On the plus side, Mr. Fleischer directed the 1966 Oscar-winning sci-fi classic "Fantastic Voyage." Two years later, he directed the chilling true-life crime drama "The Boston Strangler." Mr. Fleischer directed actor Tony Curtis in one of his last great film performances. On the negative side, Mr. Fleischer helmed the notorious bomb "Dr. Dolittle." The film was the subject of John Gregory Dunne’s classic look at studio politics and practices: "The Studio." Despite being an overblown and bloated film, the movie was nominated for nine Oscars! To find out how this happened, you must read Mr. Dunne’s book. Mr. Fleischer’s other bomb from the 1960s was the misguided biopic "Che!" Omar Sharif played Che opposite Jack Palance as Castro!


1970 saw the release of the WWII film "Tora! Tora! Tora!" Mr. Fleischer directed the US sequences on the definitive film about Pearl Harbor. The following year, Mr. Fleischer returned to the true-crime genre. "10 Rillington Place" starred Richard Attenborough as British killer John Reginald Christie. This is an excellent and very true to the facts film. The Christie/Evans killings lead to the abolishment of the death penalty in England. John Hurt starred as the mentally retarded Timothy Evans. Mr. Evans was executed for murdering his wife. When it was discovered several years later, that Evans’ landlord, serial killer John Christie was in fact the real killer the public backlash put an end to the death penalty. Mr. Fleischer’s direction is taut. This was no surprise as Mr. Fleischer was an old hand at directing crime films. What was surprising was the British feel the film had. This considering Mr. Fleischer was a Yank.

Mr. Fleischer directed three very different films in 1971. His follow-up to "10 Rillington Place" was the "The Last Run." This is a difficult movie to find. It is however, well worth the effort to track down. The movie starred George C. Scott and his then wife Colleen Dewhurst, future wife Trish Van Devere along with Tony Musante. "The Last Run" is a crime film with a much deeper edge than one might expect. I’ve always thought it would make a great double feature with Walter Hill’s Zen crime film "The Driver." Dick Fleischer’s third film from 1971 was the hit psycho horror film "See No Evil." Mia Farrow starred as a blind woman stalked by a cowboy-boot wearing psycho killer. Fleischer chose not to show the killer, other than his boots. The choice enhanced the suspense level of the film. Not unlike what Steven Spielberg achieved in his film "Duel," which aired two months after the release of "See No Evil."


The following year, Mr. Fleischer reteamed with George C. Scott to bring Joseph Wambaugh’s best seller "The New Centurions" to the big screen. For the most part, the movie was a faithful adaptation of Mr. Wambaugh’s police drama. Budget constrains prevented recreating the Watts riots for the film’s climax. With the exception of "The Onion Field" and the William Holden version of "The Blue Knight," Mr. Fleischer’s film was the best adaptation of a Wambaugh novel.

My high school buddy Bruce Ingram and I were the first two people to buy tickets for the Sci-fi classic "Soylent Green" when it opened in Memphis at the Crosstown Theater. Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson starred in the futuristic mystery. And remember… Soylent Green is…! Sorry, no spoilers, even in the obits. Mr. Fleischer finished out the 70s with several notable and notorious films. "Mr. Majestyk" was a Charles Bronson thriller with an evil Al Lettieri in support. "Mandingo" stirred up much controversy. The all-star exploitation film dealt with slavery and interracial sex. Susan George and boxer Ken Norton steamed up the screen and also fired up the box office. Fleischer’s "The Incredible Sarah" was an Oscar nominated biopic of actress Sarah Bernhardt. His 1977 film "Crossed Swords" was designed to recapture the magic of Richard Lester’s "Three Musketeers." Mr. Fleischer’s film reunited much of the cast from Lester’s film, with mixed results. This film also marked his third and final teaming with actor George C. Scott.

Mr. Fleischer’s other film credits include the Neil Diamond version of "The Jazz Singer," "Conan the Destroyer," "The Spikes Gang," "The Don is Dead," "Red Sonja" and "Amityville 3-D." Mr. Fleischer was the son of pioneering animator Max Fleischer.




LYNNE PERRIE Died Mar. 24, 2006

British actress Lynne Perrie died of a stroke at age 75. Ms. Perrie was best known for her starring role as Ivy Brennan on the long-running British soap opera "Coronation Street." He big film break came in one of the lead roles in director Ken Loach’s 1969 multi-BAFTA nominated and winning film "Kes." Ten years later, Ms. Perrie was cast in the role for which she was best known. Her run on "Coronation Street" lasted from 1979 through 1994.




BARBI TAYLOR Died Mar. 24, 2006

Australian producer Barbi Taylor died of cancer at age 59. Ms. Taylor began her career as a production manager during the 1970s. Ms. Taylor later turned to producing both films and TV shows. Her production manager credits include Richard Franklin’s cult classic horror film "Patrick." Three years later she co-produced Franklins international breakthrough film "Roadgames," which starred Stacy Keech and Jamie Lee Curtis. "Roadgames" lead to director Franklin receiving the reigns of the log awaited "Psycho 2." Her other horror film credits include "Thirst," "The Ripper," "Snapshot" and her final film "Subterano." Ms. Taylor worked as production supervisor on the Brooke Shields romance/adventure film "The Blue Lagoon." She was a line producer on the Jackie Chan films "Police Story 4" and "No More Mr. Nice Guy." Ms. Taylor produced the children’s film "The Quest," which starred Henry Thomas in his final child role prior to his jump to adulthood in "Murder One."



ALONA MARLOWE Died Mar. 24, 2006

Former actress turned real estate tycoon Alona Marlowe Cortese died of natural causes at age 97. Mrs. Cortese acted under her family name Alona Marlowe in a number of MGM films. She was one of the many young beauties to appear in several Busby Berkely films. She also appeared in "Our Dancing Daughters," "The Argyle Case" and "The Way of All Men." Her sister was the successful actress June Marlowe. June Marlowe was best known for playing the teacher Mrs. Crabtree in the "Our Gang" shorts. Brother Jouis was a second unit director while brother Armor Goetten was a set designer. Mrs Cortese and her husband Ross were the founders of the Leisure World planned communities.




TOM TOELLE Died Mar. 25, 2006

German TV and film director Tom Toelle died of natural causes at age 74. Mr. Toelle directed over 40 films and TV shows during his career. He was also a film teacher in Germany. Among Mr. Toelle’s credits are the TV mini series "Bismark" and "Via Mala." Mr. Toelle’s most notable work is the little seen satire "The Million Game." The 1970 TV movie was based on the novel "The Prize of Peril" by Richard Sheckley. The theme was similar to Mr. Sheckley’s best known novel "The Seventh Victim." That book was filmed as the wonderful and campy "The 10th Victim." Mr. Toelle’s TV movie "The Million Game" was a futuristic satire about a TV game show in which one person was chased by a pack of killers for a week. If the person survived, they won a Million Marks. If the killers prevailed, they got the money. The show was banned for three decades after its premiere.




BUCK OWENS Died Mar. 25, 2006

Country music legend Buck Owens died of undisclosed causes at age 76. Buck Owens had 20 #1 records during his lengthy career. Some of his best known songs are "Act Naturally," "I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail" and "Together Again." Like most Americans, I remember Buck Owens as the co-host, along with Roy Clark of the hit TV series "Hee Haw." Mr. Owens was the host of the show from 1969 through 1986. Even though I wasn’t a country music fan, I enjoyed the simple entertainment and pretty women on "Hee Haw." Every Saturday evening during the early 1970s, our family would sit in the den and watch "Hee Haw." I gained a deep respect for the musical abilities of both Buck Owens and Roy Clark. Both men also had a talent for comedy. The show would not have lasted as long as it did were that not true. Buck Owens recorded with his band The Buckaroos as well as doing solo work. "Hee Haw" wasn’t his first TV series. In 1966, Mr. Owens hosted "Buck Owens’ Ranch Show." Mr. Owens voice appeared on the soundtrack of the Oscar nominated documentary about the Apollo moon landings: "For All Mankind." Apparently one of the astronauts took Mr. Owens music into space. Mr. Owens produced the Dwight Yokum directed Western "South of Heaven, West of Hell." If I had even had the opportunity to meet Mr. Owens, I would have thanked him for bring me together with my dad and brothers and sisters every Saturday night. Bringing family’s together. Not a bad legacy.




ROCIO DURCAL Died Mar. 25, 2006

Spanish actress and singing sensation Rocio Durcal died of cancer at age 61. Ms. Durcal began her career in Spain as a teen idol. Kind of a Castilian Sandra Dee. Ms. Durcal appeared in 10 films during the 1960s that were not unlike many of the "Gidget" or "Tammy" films made in the USA. Ms. Durcal also enjoyed a successful singing career at the same time. Following the death of strongman Francisco Franco, restrictions on the arts in Spain disappeared. A sexual revolution swept the nation. Ms. Durcal appeared in her final film in 1977. "I Feel Strange" featured an explicit lesbian sex scene between Ms. Durcal and blond beauty Barbara Rey. Ms. Durcal regretted making the film and never made another movie. For the past four decades, Ms. Durcal enjoyed a recording career in which she sold over 35 million records.




JULIAN BURTON Died Mar. 27, 2006

"Bucket of Blood" is my favorite Roger Corman film. It is far superior to his more famous "Little Shop of Horrors." The perversely subversive horror satire still has much to say about fitting in. Julian Burton was one of many actors who added depth and humor to the Corman classic. Julian Burton played the beatnik poet Maxwell Brock. From his bad beard to his ability to never repeat himself, Maxwell Brock captured the essence of pretense in art. A very funny supporting performance. Julian Burton later reteamed with Roger Corman in the horror classic "The Masque of Red Death." Character actor Julian Burton died at age 73. Mr. Burton appeared in such films and TV shows as "The Young Lions," "Rawhide," "The Outer Limits," "Get Smart" and "Mission Impossible."




FRANKLYN NOFZIGER Died Mar. 27, 2006

Lyn Nofziger, press secretary for former President Ronald Reagan died of cancer at age 81. Lyn Nofziger was a non-conformist and a breath of fresh air. He spoke his mind and didn’t mind upsetting the powers that be, even if it was his boss’s wife. Lyn Nofziger served his country in the US Army during WWII. He appeared as himself in the PBS documentary "Reagan."




DAN CURTIS Died Mar. 27, 2006

Emmy and DGA-winning director/producer Dan Curtis died of complications from a brain tumor at age 78. Dan Curtis was one of the first film people I was aware of. In 1967, I would rush home from school (3rd grade) in hopes of catching the last 10 minutes of "Dark Shadows." If I was lucky, I got to see Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins, the only ‘real’ vampire on daytime TV. Dan Curtis created, produced and directed an occasional episode of the hit gothic-horror-soap opera "Dark Shadows." The TV series ran from 1966 through 1971. The TV series also spawned two feature films and a 1991 primetime revival series. The feature films (House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows) were released in 1970 and 71. "Dark Shadows" built a strong cult following which lives today. There are "Dark Shadows" conventions and the series has enjoyed renewed life on DVD.

While Dan Curtis may be best remembered for "Dark Shadows" he was by no means a one hit wonder. Nor were his talents limited to the horror genre. I admit that I am more than fond of his horror output, however, as a war movie fan, I also appreciate Mr. Curtis’ achievements with the TV mini series adaptations of Herman Wouk’s epic "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance." Mr. Curtis was nominated for four Emmy Awards for producing and directing both mini series. He won the Emmy award for producing "War and Remembrance." "The Winds of War" featured an impressive recreation of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Mr. Curtis’ peers at the Director’s Guild awarded him the DGA for directing "War and Remembrance."

Dan Curtis produced some great Made for TV movies during the 1970s. This was during the era of excellent TV movies. He directed two of my favorite old-time gangster films. "Melvin Purvis G-Man" was a larger than life biopic with a robust Dale Robertson playing the F.B.I. chief gangster hunter. John Milius, who later wrote and directed the excellent "Dillinger" wrote the script for Mr. Curtis. The film told of the FBI’s hunt for Machine Gun Kelly. Curtis followed this with a sequel "The Kansas City Massacre." Once again Dale Robertson returned as Melvin Purvis. This time around he was after Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson and John Dillinger. While it played fast and loose with the facts "The Kansas City Massacre" was exciting and entertaining.


Horror movies are my first cinematic love. Dan Curtis was beloved by millions of horror fans like myself. A quick review of his credits show why. In addition to "Dark Shadows" Dan Curtis produced the 1972 landmark TV movie "The Night Stalker." In addition to being one of the best vampire films of all time, the movie spawned a sequel, and two TV series. The following year Curtis produced and directed the sequel "The Night Strangler." He did not have anything to do with the production of spin-off TV series "Kolchak: The Night Stalker." In 1968, Curtis produced the excellent Made for TV version of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Jack Palance starred in the title role. One of my most vivid childhood memories was watching Jack Palance as Mr. Hyde slitting the nose of one of his pursuers by using a knife concealed in his cane. It was a mixture of the blood (unusual at that time) and Jack Palance’s maniacal laugh that made the scene stick with me all these years. Curtis and Palance would reunite in 1973 with Palance in the title role of "Dracula." Dan Curtis liked the classics. He adapted Oscar Wilde’s "The Picture of Dorian Gray" to the small screen, as well as Mary Shelley’s "Frankenstein." In 1974 he produced a TV version of Henry Miller "The Turn of the Screw."

Other times, Mr. Curtis used newer sources for his films. "The Norliss Tapes" starred Roy Thinnes as a modern journalist turned vampire hunter. "Scream of the Wolf" dealt with werewolves. "The Invasion of Carol Ender" dealt with ghosts. Speaking of ghosts, Dan Curtis wrote, produced and directed the all-star shocker "Burnt Offerings." The following year, Mr. Curtis collaborated once again with his "Night Stalker" writer Richard Matheson on the horror feature "Dead of Night."


There is one single image that will forever guarantee Dan Curtis a shivery welcomed place in the heart of horror movie fans worldwide. On Tuesday, March 4, 1975 I sat down in my living room to watch the "ABC Tuesday Night Movie." Every Tuesday and Wednesday night, ABC offered original films that started at 7:30 PM and ended at 9 PM. The timing was just right as my strict parents would have me in bed by 9. As long as the homework was done, I could watch TV until then. That particular evening, ABC ran a movie titled "Trilogy of Terror." Dan Curtis cast his "Burnt Offerings" star Karen Black to play four different roles in three different stories. The film was once again written by master of horror Richard Matheson. I really don’t remember anything about the first two stories. Like every other person on the face of the planet who saw the third story: "The Doll," I can never forget it. Karen Black finds herself being chased around her apartment by a knife wielding Zuni fetish doll. It is a horrific piece of work that that leaves you short of breath and drained. The thing is, for all the excitement and scares that came before, the final shot of Karen Black from "The Doll" is the stuff of nightmares. I slept with a light on that night. Didn’t matter that I was a teenager. I slept with a light on. The final segment of "Trilogy of Terror" is a masterpiece of terror. The final shot is an unforgettable image that has stayed with me for over 30 years. Mr. Curtis, thanks for scaring the ever loving bejezus out of me.




STANISLAW LEM Died Mar. 27, 2006

Polish science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem died of heart disease at age 84. Mr. Lem wrote the novel "Solaris." The novel has been filmed twice. Andrei Tarkovsky’s Soviet version "Solaris" is a moody masterpiece. Steven Soderberg’s 2002 remake has much to recommend it, but is still inferior to the original film version. A number of Mr. Lem’s novels have been turned into films. Two other notable movie versions were "The First Spaceship to Venus" and "Voyage to the End of the Universe." Mr. Lem’s books have been translated into 40 languages and have sold over 27 million copies worldwide.



GERALD ENDLER Died Mar. 27, 2005

Veteran mechanical effects whiz Jerry Endler died at age 94. Mr. Endlers work fueled my imagination as a child. He was one of the people who brought the submarine The Seaview to life. Mr. Endler made lifesize people seem miniscule and other appear to be gigantic. Mr. Endler also help recreate the horrors of war in a realistic manner. Among Mr. Emdler’s many credits are the films and TV shows "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," "Land of the Giants," "Lost in Space," "Pork Chop Hill," "Breakheart Pass," "Sleeper," "Battle for the Planet of the Apes," "Hard Times," "Silent Running," "The Towering Inferno," "Valley of the Dolls," "Hello Dolly!," "King Rat," "The Sand Pebbles" and "Apocalypse Now!" Mr. Endler was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local #44.



CINDY WALKER Died Mar. 27, 2006

Country music composer Cindy Walker died at age 87 after a short illness. Ms. Walker composed songs for a number of noted artists including Elvis Presley. Her songs have been used on the soundtracks of such films as "Northfork," "My Best Friend’s Wedding" and "The Lady Confesses." Ms. Walker appeared and performed her songs in several films during the 1940s. Ms. Walker was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997.




CASPAR WEINBERGER Died Mar. 28, 2006

Former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger died of pneumonia at age 88. Mr. Weinberger served his country during the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Mr. Weinberger began his public service in California during the early 1950s. He appeared as himself in several documentaries including "The Complete Churchill," "Timewatch" and "Cold War."




ERIC JAMES Died Mar. 28, 2006

Composer Eric James died at age 92. Mr. James met Charlie Chaplin in 1957 while Chaplin was directing "A King in New York." Mr. James became Mr. Chaplin’s sole music associate. Mr. James met with Charlie Chaplin at his home in Switzerland to work on adding musical scores to a number of Chaplin’s silent classics. Eric James rescored such films as "A Dog’s Life", "The Circus," "The Kid," "A Countess from Hong Kong" and 33 of Chaplin’s shorts.




GRETCHEN RAU Died Mar. 29, 2006

Set decorator Gretchen Rau died of a brain tumor 24 days after winning the Best Art Direction Oscar for her work on "Memoirs of a Geisha." Ms. Rau shared her Oscar with Art Director John Myhre. Ms. Rau was 66 years old. She had previously been nominated for an Oscar for "The Last Samurai." Ms. Rau was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local #44. Ms. Rau worked on many notable films including Louis Malle’s "Atlantic City," Sergio Leone’s "Once Upon a Time in America," "Crocodile Dundee," "A River Runs Through It," "Leap of Faith," "IQ," "What’s Eating Gilbert Grape," "The Crucible," "The Horse Whisperer," "The Human Stain," "The Shipping News" and "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou." Her final film was the upcoming Robert DeNiro directed "The Good Shepherd."



HENRY FARRELL Died Mar. 29, 2005

Writer Henry Farrell died at age 85. Born Charles Henry Myers, he wrote under the pseudonym Henry Farrell. Mr. Farrell’s most famous novel "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" was turned into an Oscar-winning film by director Robert Aldrich. The gothic camp-classic starred Bette Davis and Joan Crawford as sisters with some serious problems. A TV version starring Lynn and Vanessa Redgrave was produced in 1991. The year after the original version was made, director Aldrich mined the same territory in "Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte," which was also based on a Henry Farrell novel. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing director Curtis Harrington. His personal favorite from among his films is "What’s the Matter With Helen?" Henry Farrell wrote the original screenplay. Mr. Farrell’s late wife was the actress Molly Dodd. Ms. Dodd appeared in "What’s the Matter With Helen?" Curtis Harrington also directed the Tony Perkins thriller "How Awful About Allen." Again, this was based on a Henry Farrell novel. There was also a 1969 West Germany TV version of the novel called "Horror." John Moxey, director of the occult classic "City of the Dead" returned to the black arts when he directed the Farrell scripted "The House That Would Not Die." French director Francois Truffaut’ film "A Gorgeous Bird Like Me" was based on a Henry Farrell novel. Mr. Farrell recently completed his final book, "A Piece of Clarisse." Hopefully, the dark, horror comedy will make its way to the big screen soon.



GLORIA MONTY Died Mar. 29, 2006

Multi Emmy-winning producer Gloria Monty died of cancer at age 84. Gloria Monty received four Emmy nominations for producing the soap opera "General Hospital." She was the woman who popularized the characters Luke and Laura Spencer. In doing so, Ms. Monty breathed new life into the failing daytime drama. Ms. Monty won two Emmy Awards for her efforts. Actors Anthony Geary and Genie Francis played the first "supercouple" on daytime TV. Gloria Monty deserved the credit. Ms. Monty made soaps hip. These weren’t just your ‘mother’s stories.’ Ms. Monty’s other producer credits include "Confessions of a Married Man," "The Hamptons" and "Let Me Call You Sweetheart." Ms. Monty was also a director. She directed such TV shows as "The First Hundred Years" and "The Secret Storm."




CAROL MONPERE Died Mar. 29, 2006

Writer/director Carol MonPere died of breast cancer at age 72. Ms. MonPere was on of the first students in the AFI director’s program for women. Ms. MonPere wrote and directed the semi-autobiographical movie "Pink Lightening." Her writing credits include the movies and TV programs "The Battle of Westlands," "The Borrowers," "The Extraordinary Adventures of the Mouse and His Child," "Someone She Knows" and "French Silk."



TAYLOR WILLIAMS Died Mar. 31, 2006

Actor and antique dealer Taylor Williams died of prostate cancer at age 71. Mr. Taylor was active in theatrical productions in his hometown of Chicago. Mr. Taylor’s film credits include "Somewhere in Time," "Skokie," "Grandview U.S.A." and "The Ballad of the Sad CafĂ©."



CANDICE RIALSON Died Mar. 31, 2006 (reported Aug. 14, 2006)

Candice Rialson, like Rainbeau Smith, was one of the premiere B-movie queens of the 1970s. Like Ms. Smith she appeared in both B-movies and A-list films. She also died out of the limelight. From a physical standpoint, Candice Rialson had more sex appeal than Rainbeau Smith, though she never achieved the status as sex-goddess cum fantasy figure that Ms. Smith did. Just look at her pictures and you will know what I mean. While the circumstances of Ms. Rialson’s passing were not as tragic or dramatic as Ms. Smith’s, her passing did go unnoticed for over four months. By all reports, when Ms. Rialson died of liver disease at age 54 while she was surrounded by a loving family. She was, it seems unaware that she had a still avid fanbase. Ms. Rialson’s passing was discovered by the folks at Code Red DVD who tried to track her down to take part in a commentary track for the 1974 sexploitiation film "Pets."

My first memory of Candice Rialson came from the Clint Eastwood film "The Eiger Sanction." She appears in an early scene opposite Clint. Mr. Eastwood plays the college art professor/professional assassin Dr. Jonathan Hemlock. Ms. Rialson played a very sexy student who stays after class to see if there is anything she can do to get a better grade. While the movie would have been so much more enjoyable if Clint had taken her up on her offer, he tells her to go home and "study that pretty little ass off!" While Ms. Rialson appeared in A-list movies like "The Eiger Sanction," "Logan’s Run," Mel Brook’s "Silent Movie" and William Richert’s "Winter Kills," she was best remembered for her exploitation and B-movies.

Mark L. Lester’s "Stunts" is one of the best B-movies of the 1970s. Ms. Rialson added a sexy charge to the action-packed murder mystery. She poured on the backwoods sex appeal in "Moonshine Country Express" opposite Maureen McCormick and the late Claudia Jennings. Candice Rialson’s most memorable roles were in several drive-in sexploitation films. She starred in such skin classics as "Candy Stripe Nurses," "Summer School Teachers" and Joe Dante’s "Hollywood Boulevard." Ms. Rialson appeared in "Mama’s Dirty Girls" with Film Noir actress Gloria Graham! Her most notorious film was the sex comedy "Chatterbox." Taking a cue from "Deep Throat," this R-rated film told the tale of a woman with a talking vagina!

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