VICKI LYN SPARKS Died Aug. 1, 2006
Actress Vicki Lyn Sparks died of lymphoma at age 55. Ms. Sparks lead a varied life. She was a long-time flight attendant, was politically active in Georgia for Jimmy Carter and Zell Miller. Under the name Victoria Spark she acted in a number of films and TV shows. She appeared in and was a technical advisor on the Made for TV account of United Flight 93: "The Flight That Fought Back." Other credits include "The Lords of Dogtown," "Chloe’s Prayer" and "A Lot Like Love."
SARA FLANIGAN Died Aug. 1, 2006
Writer Sara Flanigan died of a stroke at age 75. Ms. Flanigan’s novels "Sudie" and "Wildflower" were turned into the Made for TV movies "Sudie and Simpson" and "Wildflower." Both were produced for the Lifetime Channel. Ms. Flanigan and director David Rocksavage adapted Truman Capote’s first novel "Other Voices, Other Rooms" to the big screen. She also co-wrote the ABC TV movie "Dare to Love." Ms. Flanigan won the Humanitas Prize for the telefilm "Wildflower."
JONATHAN SHORT Died Aug. 2, 2006
Art director and set designer Jonathan Short died of cancer at age 46. Mr. Short was a non-smoker who died of lung cancer. Mr. Short was the art director on the up-coming film "ATL" as well as "Remember the Titans" and "Unshackled." He worked as a set designer and assistant art director on a number of films including "Freejack," "Hard Promises," "My Boyfriend’s Back," "The Real McCoy," "A Simple Twist of Fate," "Black Dog" and "Gods and Generals." Mr. Short also worked with the Coen Brothers on "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" and "Big Fish." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends, especially his two children.
ARTHUR LEE Died Aug. 3, 2006
Rocker Arthur Lee died of Leukemia at age 61. A self-described ‘Black Hippie,’ Arthur Lee’s band Love released some of the most influential music of the 1960s. Mr. Lee sang the title songs on Haskell Wexler’s counter-culture classic "Medium Cool" as well as Gordon Parks blaxploitation Western "Thomasine & Bushrod." Mr. Lee’s music was used on such soundtracks as "Bottle Rocket," "High Fidelity," "Point Break," "I Shot Andy Warhol" and "Hideous Kinky."
DR. JOHN HAASE Died Aug. 3, 2006
Writer John Haase died of emphysema at age 82. The successful novelist also was a practicing dentist. Dr. Haase wrote several novels, which were turned into movies. Though Dr. Haase was unhappy with the film adaptation of his novel "Me and the Arch Kook Petulia," the film was a critical success. Richard Lester directed George C. Scott and Julie Christie in "Petulia." It is one of my favorite films of the 1960s. If you catch it on the late show, look quick for Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company as the band playing during the party scene. Dr. Haase’s book "Erasmus With Freckles" was turned into the Jimmy Stewert/Bill Mumy film "Dear Bridget." He also wrote an episode of "The Richard Boone Show." Dr. Haase served his adopted country in the US Army during WWII.
KEN RICHMOND Died Aug. 3, 2006
Actor and Olympic wrestling medalist Ken Richmond died of a heart attack at age 80. Mr. Richmond was seen by millions of movie-goers around the world, but chances are they never knew his name. Mr. Richmond was the muscular man who rang the gong in theRank Films logo. He was the fourth and final person to appear in the Rank Films logo. Mr. Richmond appeared in a few films including the Film Noir classic "Night and the City" as well as "Mad About Men."
BRANDY DALTON Died Aug. 4, 2006
Composer and activist Brandy Dalton died of AIDS after living with the HIV virus for 17 years. Mr. Dalton was co-founder with Robert Woods of the LA based electronic band Drance. The pair began performing music in the mid 1980s under different names. The band finally became known as Drance. Mr. Dalton’s musical and life partner Robert Woods died of AIDS in 1995. Advances in medical research in the mid 1990s made extended living available to people infected with HIV. Mr. Dalton continued to record and perform for most of the remainder of his life. His music was used on the soundtracks to a number of Gay porn films as well as director Greg Araki’s "The Living End." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
JOHN ALDERSON Died Aug. 4, 2006
Character actor John Alderson died at age 90. The British born actor worked in the US for nearly 40 years. He appeared in over 100 films and TV shows during his long career. Mr. Alderson was a very familiar face to Western fans. He played James Cagney’s assistant in Milos Forman’s "Ragtime." Mr. Alderson’s many film credits include "Young Guns II," "Evil Under the Sun," "The Wild Geese," "The Cat From Outer Space," "Candleshoe," "Valentineo," "The Dutchess and the Dirtwater Fox," "The Klansman," "Blazing Saddles," "The Molly Maguires," "Hellfighters," "My Fair Lady," "To Catch a Thief," "Violent Saturday," "The Desert Fox" and "The Desert Rats." Mr. Alderson appeared in countless TV shows during the 1950s through the 70s.
STEVE MALITO Died Aug. 5, 2006
Sound mixer Steve Malito died of a blocked artery. Mr. Malito worked on the TV series "COPS" for that past 15 years.
SAM WHITE Died Aug. 5, 2006
Producer/director Sam White died two months shy of his 100th birthday. Mr. White was the youngest brother of directors Jules and Jack White. Mr. White produced and directed a number of films and early TV shows. Mr. White produced the 1944 Columbia horror film entry "The Return of the Vampire." The film was notable for having Bela Lugosi once more play a vampire…even if it wasn’t Count Dracula. Mr. White produced and directed a dozen of so films during the 1940s. He also made training films for the military during WWII. Mr. White late worked in TV on such TV shows as "Perry Mason" and "The Outer Limits." Mr. White’s brother Jack White produced hundreds of shorts during the silent film era. His brother Jules also produced and directed nearly 700 films and shorts. He was nominated four times for Oscars for his "Three Stooges" shorts. He produced nearly 150 films starring the Three Stooges!
DR. JACK ROUSSO Died Aug. 5, 2006
Atlanta dentist Jack Rousso died of complications following heart surgery at age 79. Dr. Rousso promoted children’s dental health for 35 years with a puppet show he wrote, produced and performed. He was also active in local theater at his synagogue. Dr. Rousso played Jessica Tandy’s nephew Slick in the Oscar winning film "Driving Miss Daisy." Dr. Rousso served his country in the US Army Air Corp during WWII.
ANGEL DE ANDRES Died Aug. 5, 2006
Spanish comedic actor Angel de Andres died in his sleep at age 88. Mr. Andres was the father of actor Angel de Andres Lopez. Mr. Andres had over 200 film and TV credits during his long career. His greatest popularity came on Spanish TV.
DANIEL SCHMID Died Aug. 5, 2006
Award-winning Swiss filmmaker Daniel Schmid died of cancer at age 64. Mr. Schmid’s works have been nominated for awards at Cannes, The Berlin International Film Festival and at France’s Cesar Awards. He wrote and directed nearly 20 films during his career. His credits include "Hecate," "Shadow of Angels" and "Tosca’s Kiss."
DAVID CHIASSON Died Aug. 5, 2006
Set decorator David Chiasson died of cancer at age 50. Mr. Chiasson’s film and TV credits include "Air Bud," the TV remake of "The Omen," "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: The Anette Funicello Story" and "The Stickup."
STELLA MORAY Died Aug. 6, 2006
British character actress and singer Stella Moray died at age 83. Ms. Moray had a successful career as a supporting actress on stage. Ms. Moray was Elaine Stritch’s understudy in the popular stage musical "Sail Away." She also appeared in numerous films and TV shows in Great Britain. Ms. Moray’s credits include "Z Cars," "Steptoe and Son" and "The Benny Hills Show."
HIROTAKA SUZUOKI Died Aug. 6, 2006
Prolific Japanese voice actor Hirotaka Suzuoki died of lung cancer at age 56. Among Mr. Suzuoki’s multitude of anime credits are "Dragon Ball Z," "Gundam III," "Fantazoo," "Cleopatra D.C.," "Pokemon" and "Samurai X."
FABRIZIO MORONI Died Aug. 6, 2006
Italian actor Fabrizio Moroni died after a lengthy illness at age 63. He made his film debut is Visconti’s classic "The Leopard." Mr. Moroni had a supporting role on Dario Argento’s early film "Four Flies on Grey Velvet." He later worked with the director’s daughter Asia Argento in the film "Bits and Pieces." During the 1960s, Mr. Moroni appeared in several Spaghetti Westerns.
OJI PIERCE Died Aug. 6, 2006
Composer and musician Oji Pierce died at age 46. Mr. Pierce worked with many of today’s greatest musicians including Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones. Mr. Pierce’s song "This Is How We Do It" was featured on the soundtracks of such movies as "8 Mile," "How High" and "Multiplicity." His song "She Wants To Be With Me" was used in the soundtrack of "Love and a Bullet." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
LOIS JANUARY Died Aug. 7, 2006
Actress Lois January died of Alzheimer’s Disease at age 93. Ms. January appeared in nearly 50 films and TV shows during her career. The bulk of her work was in the 1930s. Ms. January appeared in "The Wizard of Oz" playing a manicurist who worked on Judy Garland in the Emerald City. She was best known for her work in a number of B-Westerns. Ms. January was a contract player at Universal. She appeared in a bit part in the classic horror film "The Black Cat." Ms. January starred in the cautionary tale "The Pace That Kills." During the 1960s the film was re-released for comic value as "The Cocaine Fiends." She later worked extensively in radio. Ms. January made several guest appearances on TV shows during the 1960s and 70s.
DUANE BLACK Died Aug. 8, 2006
Colorado actor Duane Black died of pancreatic cancer the day before his 51st birthday. Mr. Black was well known in Denver for his performances in "Greater Tuna" and "Nixon’s Nixon." He performed in "Greater Tuna" in over 100 performances. Mr. Black starred with Efrim Zimbelist Jr. in a 1983 TV version of "The Tempest."
MARION CAJORI Died Aug. 8, 2006
Documentary filmmaker Marion Cajori died of cancer at age 56. Ms. Cajori’s work focused primarily on artists. She produced and directed the film "Joan Mitchell: Portrait of an Abstract Painter." Ms. Cajori also produced the TV series "Art in the Twenty First Century."
DR. JAMES VAN ALLEN Died Aug. 9, 2006
Physicist James Van Allen died of heart failure at age 91. Dr. Van Allen played an important role in the US effort to launch a satellite into orbit. He developed the Geiger counter carried by the first US satellite Explorer I. This device discovered two radiation belts that surround the Earth. They were named in honor of Dr. Van Allen. Dr. Van Allen appeared as himself in the documentary mini series "The Planets." The radiation belts that carry his name was used as major plot device in the Irwin Allen film "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."
SAM X. ABARBANEL Died Aug. 9, 2006
B-movie producer, studio exec, publicist and writer Sam X. Abarbanel died at age 92 following an automobile accident. Mr. Arbarbanel suffered internal injuries and broken bones after being pinned by his car in a parking lot. Mr. Arbarbanel produced several films beginning with the 1950 cult classic "Prehistoric Women," which starred the beautiful Laurette Luez. He spent much of his career working for US studios in Europe. Mr. Arbarbanel’s first trip to Europe was with the US Army during WWII. Mr. Abarbanel’s other credits include the Karl Malden thriller "Summertime Killer," "The Last Day of the War" and "The Narco Man."
JENNY GROLLMANN Died Aug. 9, 2006
German actress Jenny Grollmann died of cancer at age 59. Ms. Grollmann was a popular TV actress in Germany. She appeared in over 50 films and TV shows during her career. Ms. Grollmann was the mother of actress Anna Maria Muhe. Actor Ulrich Muhe caused controversy when he accused the mother of his child being a spy for the German Democratic Republic during the 1980s. She denied the allegations and sued her ex-husband to rpevent him from spreading the rumors anymore.
RONN IVERSON Died Aug. 10, 2006
Actor Ronn Iverson died of a brain tumor at age 65. Mr. Iverson was active in local theater in the Santa Barbara area. He began as a DeeJay and eventually owned two radio stations. In addition to his work on stage, Mr. Iverson appeared in the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie "The Last Cowboy" and the movie "Two Bits & Pepper."
MIKE DOUGLAS Died Aug. 11, 2006
Singer/TV personality Mike Douglas died on his 81st birthday. No cause of death has been released. Mike Douglas was known to millions through his daytime TV talk show "The Mike Douglas Show." His TV show ran from 1961 through 1982. Mr. Douglas was a Big Band singer with the Kay Kyser Orchestra. His vocal talents were used by Walt Disney to provide the singing voice of Prince Charming in the 1950 classic animated feature "Cinderella." Mr. Douglas’ variety TV show was a combination of his musical performances and talk with celebrity guests. Over two decades he hosted the famous from all walks of life, from presidents to war protestors. Mr. Douglas had an affable way about him, which resulted in comfortable guests and good entertainment. One of the most famous weeks on his show occurred when he invited John Lennon and wife Yoko Ono to guest host. The success of "The Mike Douglas Show" paved the way for other TV talk shows, though few of the hosts that followed in his path had his personable approach. I remember on episode in which Mr. Douglas has about a half dozen portrayers (including Johnny Weismuller) of "Tarzan" on his show. Mr. Douglas acted in a handful of films including Burt Reynold’s sequel to "White Lightning" entitled "Gator." Mike Douglas served his country in the US Navy during WWII. As for those who say that Hollywwod marriages can’t last, Mike Douglas is survived by Genevieve, his wife of 62 years!
ALVIN COOPERMAN Died Aug. 11, 2006
Emmy-winning producer Alvin Cooperman died of complications from a severe case of the shingles. Mr. Cooperman produced a number of TV specials as well as several TV series. He was nominated four times for Emmy Awards, winning twice for "Live From Studio 8H: A Tribute to Toscanini" and "Live From Studio 8H: An Evening With Jerome Robbins." Mr. Cooperman produced such TV series as "The Untouchables," "Shirley Temple Storybook" and "Tate." Other credits include the TV specials "Damn Yankees!" and "Ain’t Misbehavin’."
NICHOLAS WEBSTER Died Aug. 12, 2006
Director Nicholas Webster died at age 94. Mr. Webster directed documentaries, feature films and TV. He directed the infamous "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians," which starred a very young Pia Zadora. Mr. Webster produced and directed the film version of Ossie Davis’s play "Purlie Victorious." Mr. Webster’s many TV credits include "Get Smart," "The Waltons," "Dan August," "The F.B.I." and "In Search Of…"
NICK PAPAC Died Aug. 12, 2006
Assistant propmaster Nick Papac was killed on location in Mesa, Arizona while filming the film "The Kingdom." Mr. Papac sustained severe head injuries when the ATV he was driving was stuck by an SUV that was transporting the films director. The 25-year-old assistant propmaster died later at a hospital. Nick Papac was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 44. His father is property master Michael Papac. Father and son were together at the hospital when Mr. Papac died. Mr. Papac’s film credits include "S.W.A.T.," "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," "xXx: State of the Union," "Domino" and "Miami Vice." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
ROBERTO ARIGANELLO Died Aug. 13, 2006
Canadian filmmaker Roberto Ariganello drowned at age 45. Mr. Ariganello wrote, produced, directed and shot the documentary short film "Loteria." He co-directed the movie with Frederico Hildalgo. Mr. Ariganello worked on behalf of artists in Ontario for the past nine years in the organization Liaison of Independent Filmmakers. Mr. Ariganello became the executive director of the organization in 2003. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
TONY JAY Died Aug. 13, 2006
Prolific voice actor Tony Jay died of complications following surgery to remove tumors from his lungs. Mr. Jay was a classically trained actor who had successful careers on stage, screen and TV. Mr. Jay had over 120 film and TV credits both as a live action and voice actor. He voiced the Supreme Being in "Time Bandits." Mr. Jay showed up at the end of Woody Allen’s hilarious "Love and Death." Mr. Jay narrated the English version Hayao Miyazaki’s excellent "Nausicaa." He had a recurring role in season two of David Lynch’s "Twin Peaks." Mr. Jay was a regular on the TV series "Lois and Clark." He played the villain Frollo in Disney’s animated "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." Mr. Jay also voiced characters for a number of video games. Mr. Jay was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award and an Annie Award for Best Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production for the TV series "Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends."
LUIS FERNANDEZ DE LA REGUERA Died Aug. 14, 2006
Filmmaker Luis Fernandez de la Reguera was killed in a motorcycle accident at age 39. Mr. de la Reguera directed the award-winning documentary "Rockets Redglare!" The film was about Michael Morra. Mr. Morra was born a heroin addict. His mother was murdered and his father was deported. Not a nice beginning for a young baby. Morra turned to comedy, acting and drugs in his search for self-discovery. He also changed his name to Rockets Redglare. Along with Steve Buscemi he performed in "The Rockets Redglare Taxi Cabaret." Rockets was a bodyguard for The Sex Pistols at one time. He appeared in a number of films. Rockets Redglare died in May 2001. Mr. de la Guera’s documentary was shown at Sundance in 2003. He won the Best Director Award at the New York Independent Film Festival. Mr. de la Reguera continued to give even in death as an organ donor. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
BRUNO KIRBY Died Aug. 14, 2006
Actor Bruno Kirby died of Leukemia at age 57. I read the rumors today on the Internet that Mr. Kirby had passed away. Like many others, I hoped this rumor was false. Unfortunately it is not. Bruno Kirby’s screen persona was of the kind of guy you’d love to hang out with and shoot the breeze. Sure, he could play jerks as well as goodguys. Even when he played a jerk, Bruno Kirby came across as a good guy. It wasn’t bad acting, it was just some inner quality he had which shone through.
Though I had seen Mr. Kirby in such films as "Superdad" and "Cinderella Liberty" when they first came out, I first noticed him as the young Clemenza in the greatest American film ever made "The Godfather: Part II." Mr. Kirby brought both humor and menace to the role. He also appeared in one for the film’s best composed shots. As Mr. Kirby and Robert DeNiro as the young Vito Corleone are stealing a rug, they are interupted by a policeman knocking on the door of the residence. Mr. Kirby stands just inside the door, gun drawn, waiting to kill the policeman if he enters the house. It is a beautiful shot.
My second favorite Bruno Kirby film is the hilarious and very warm-hearted "Godfather" tribute "The Freshman." Mr. Kirby held his own against the legendary actor Marlon Brando and the very talented Mathew Broderick. Bruno Kirby appeared in nearly 70 films and TV shows during his career. Among his more memorable films are "When Harry Met Sally," "City Slickers," "Birdy," "Good Morning, Vietnam," "Donnie Brasco," "The Basketball Diaries," "This Is Spinal Tap," "Tin Men" and "Hoffa."
Mr. Kirby also worked on stage and TV. He appeared in the pilot episode of the series "M*A*S*H." Mr. Kirby played Los Angeles district attorney Vincent Bugliosi in the remake of "Helter Skelter." Other TV credits include appearances on HBO’s "Entourage," "Frasier," "It’s Garry Shandling’s Show," "Kojak" and "Emergency." Mr. Kirby appeared on Broadway in the early 90s in Neil Simon’s "Lost in Yonkers." He also acted in numerous regional theaters across the country.
Bruno Kirby was the son of character actor Bruce Kirby. Bruce Kirby recently played Matt Dillon’s ill father in the Oscar winner "Crash." Bruno Kirby was married to actress Lynn Sellers. Thanks for the joy and passion you brought to each of you films. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
DAVID MCKELVY Died Aug. 14, 2006
Musician David McKelvy died at age 57. Mr. McKelvy was a world-class harmonica player. He was Bill Paxton’s harmonica coach in the film "The Dark Backward." Mr. McKelvy worked with Clint Eastwood on "Honky Tonk Man" and "Any Which Way You Can."
ZELDA BARRON Died Aug. 14, 2006
Director/writer/producer Zelda Barron died of Alzheimer’s Disease at age 77. Ms. Barron worked her way up through the ranks from continuity to producer. She directed a handful of feature films including "Shag" with Bridget Fonda. Her continuity credits include "Morgan!," "Isadora," "Stardust," "Inserts," "Valentino" and "Yanks." Ms. Barron worked with Warren Beatty as a special consultant on "Reds." Mr. Beatty thanked her in his Oscar acceptance speech. She also worked with Beatty on "Love Affair" and Bullworth." Ms. Barron wrote and directed the feature "Secret Places." She was Michael Apted’s production manager on "Coal Miner’s Daughter" and "Continental Divide." Ms. Barron worked in production on Lindsay Anderson’s "If…" and "O Lucky Man!"
ALAN VINT Died Aug. 16, 2006
Character actor Alan Vint died from multiple organ failures stemming from various infections and illnesses. Alan Vint appeared in a number of memorable films during his career. He and brothers Bill and Jessie Vint were familiar faces on the big screen during the 1970s. Alan Vint was able to play goodguys as well as the heavy. Alan Vint had a cool, laid back persona. While his brother Jessie oozed menace on screen, Alan Vint seemed to be one of the guys. That’s not to say he couldn’t play crazy when need be. He was just cool under pressure. Actor and friend Jim Beaver (Deadwood) shared this memory of Alan Vint with his fellow posters at the Google.alt.obits Message board: "I wish you all could have know Alan Vint. He was a hell of a guy."
Alan Vint played one of the deputies that captured Martin Sheen in Terrence Malick’s Charles Starkweather inspired masterpiece "Badlands." In his short scene, Mr. Vint perfectly captures the bewilderment and confusion of a sane man trying to understand a mass murderer. A guilty pleasure of mine is Max Baer Jr.’s redneck classic "Macon County Line." Alan Vint costarred with brother Jessie and hottie Cheryl Waters in a tale of three young people terrorized by an insane small town sheriff. Another memorable role was in the classic anti-drug film "Panic in Needle Park." Mr. Vint played a narc. He held his own against such dramatic heavyweights as Al Pacino, Raul Julia and Richard Bright. He also had a nice cameo in Monte Hellman’s "Two Lane Blacktop." Mr. Vint costarred as part of a gang of psychotic Vietnam Vets in the violent drive-in film "Welcome Home, Soldier Boys." Mr. Vint played one of the Texas lawmen who stormed the tower to put an end to sniper Charles Whitman’s rampage in the great (if less than factual) TV movie "The Deadly Tower." He and his brother Jesse played Marjoe Gortner’s roommates in the disaster blockbuster "Earthquake." Other movie credits include Charles Bronson’s "Breakout," "Checkered Flag or Crash," "Unholy Rollers," "The Glass House" and "The McMasters."
Mr. Vint also made guest appearances on numerous TV shows including "Police Story," "The Rookies," "Petrocelli," "Nichols," "Cade’s County," "Then Came Bronson" and "Adam-12." Alan Vint also directed one film. "Reversal" was an excellent film dealing the relationship between a father and son. Too bad Mr. Vint didn't direct more films!
Alan Vint was the ex-husband of producer/actress Susan Mullen. They are the parents of actress Kelly Vint. Kelly Vint was directed by her father in "Reversal."
SIG SHORE Died Aug. 16, 2006
Producer/director Sig Shore died at age 87 after a lengthy illness. Mr. Shore produced the Blaxploitation films "Superfly" and "Superfly T.N.T." HE also produced and directed the 1990 "Return of Superfly." Mr. Shore produced several other B-movies but none were as well known as his landmark "Superfly." Mr. Shore was also involved in the import and distribution of foreign films during the 1950s and 60s. Mr. Shore served his country in the US Army-Air Corps during WWII.
TIM JONES Died Aug. 16, 2006
Texas actor/producer Tim Jones died of undisclosed causes at age 49. Mr. Jones was the executive producer of and an actor in the upcoming indie film "Angora Ranch." "Angora Ranch" is a May/December Gay romantic comedy. Mr. Jones also appeared in the short film "Bending Light."
ANNE ROONEY Died Aug. 16, 2006
Actress Anne Rooney died at age 80. Ms. Rooney appeared in such films as "Graveyard Shift," "Henry Aldrich Gets Glamour" and "For Me and My Gal."
NICHOLAS SAUNDERS Died Aug. 16, 2006
Actor Nicholas Saunders died of lung cancer at age 92. Mr. Saunders appeared in such films as "Bananas," "Deadly Hero" and "C.O.D." He played Captain Barker in the 1950s TV series "The Phil Silver’s Show." His daughter is actress Lanna Saunders who played Richard Crenna’s sister in "Body Heat."
BERNARD RAPP Died Aug. 17, 2006
French director and TV personality Bernard Rapp died of cancer at age 61. Mr. Rapp directed the Terrence Stamp thriller "Limited Edition." His film "A Matter of Taste" was nominated for five Cesar Awards including Best Picture. The Cesar if the French equivalent of the US Oscar. Mr. Rapp was a national news anchor for five years.
JOYCE BLAIR Died Aug. 19, 2006
Actress Joyce Blair died of cancer at age 73. Ms. Blair appeared in numerous films and TV shows during her lengthy career. Her credits include "Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?," "Z Cars," "The Last Days of Pompeii," "The Benny Hill Show," "The Adventures of Robin Hood," "Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter" and "The Saint." Her brother is actor Lionel Blair.
JOE ROSENTHAL Died Aug. 20, 2006
Pulitzer prize winning photographer Joe Rosenthal died of natural causes at age 94. Mr. Rosenthal took one of the most famous photographs of WWII. He captured the image of the US Marines raising the flag on Mt. Suribachi during the February 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima. The picture was also immortalized on a US postage stamp. Mr. Rosenthal’s photo was the basis for the Marine Corps War Memorial in Washington D.C. Mr. Rosenthal appeared in a number of documentaries about the famous photo including "The Heroes of Iwo Jima."
GIUSEPPE MOCCIA Died Aug. 20, 2006
Italian writer/director Giuseppe Moccia died of a heart attack at age 73. Mr. Moccia wrote 90 films with writing partner Franco Castellano. He directed over 20 films under the pseudonym Pipolo. Mr. Moccia wrote Mario Bava’s "Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs," which starred Vincent Price. The movie was the inspiration for the Fembots in "Austin Powers." Mr. Moccia also wrote three films for Italian horror director Lucia Fulci: "The Maniacs," "Two Public Enemies" and "The Swindlers."
ROGER DONOGHUE Aug. 20, 2006
Former boxer Roger Donoghue died of Alzheimer’s Disease at age 75. Mr. Donoghue gave up the sweet sport in 1951 after killing his opponent George Flores, during his Madison Square Garden debut. The fatal blow was captured in the picture at right. Roger Donoghue was Marlon Brando’s boxing instructor in Elia Kazan’s masterpiece "On the Waterfront." Mr. Donoghue struck up a friendship with writer Norman Mailer. Mailer’s book "Tough Guys Don’t Dance" came from an anecdote Mr. Donoghue told him. Roger Donoghue made a cameo appearance in the Norman Mailer directed crime drama "Beyond the Law."
ROBERT HOFFMAN Died Aug. 20, 2006
National Lampoon co-founder Robert Hoffman died of leukemia at age 59. Mr. Hoffman and partners Doug Kenny and Henry Beard founded the famous humor magazine in the late 1960s. National Lampoon magazine produced a number of films including "Animal House," Van Wilder" and the "Vacation" films. Though Mr. Hoffman was not involved in the films, he was responsible for laying the foundation so those movies could be made.
ETHEL STRATTON Died Aug. 21, 2006
Ethel Stratton, the widow of baseball pitcher Monte Stratton died at age 90 after a lengthy illness. Monte Stratton was a star pitcher for the Chicago White Sox until an off-season hunting accident in 1938 resulted in the loss of his leg. Mr. Stratton worked his way back to pitch minor league ball. Ethel Stratton helped her husband in untold ways during his recovery and comeback. Their story was the subject of the movie "The Stratton Story." James Stewart and June Allyson portrayed Monte and Ethel Stratton in the film. Monte Stratton died in 1982. May they have a joyous reunion. "The Stratton Story" is one of the six films recently released in the Warner Brothers DVD boxed set "James Stewart: The Signature Collection."
LOMAX STUDY Died Aug. 21, 2006
Character actor Lomax Study died of cancer at age 91. The long-time SAG member appeared in nearly 50 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. He played Alfred Hitchcock in the TV movie "Grace Kelly." Mr. Lomax’s many credits include the 1995 version of "The Little Princess," "All Night Long," "The Choirboys," "Boeing Boeing," "The Twilight Zone," "The Wreck of the Mary Deare," "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" and "The French Line."
CAROL KAYE Died Aug. 22, 2006
British singer/actress Carol Kaye died of cancer at age 71. Ms. Kaye was a member of the singing group The Kaye Sisters. The three blonde beauties were not real sisters. The Kayes were popular in the 1950s and early 1960s. The group appeared on a number of TV variety shows including "Sunday Night at the London Palladium." Carol Kaye acted in the long-running British TV series "Coronation Street."
BRUCE GARY Aug. 22, 2006
Drummer Bruce Gary died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma at age 55. Mr. Gary was the original drummer for the band "The Knack." After the break up of that band, Mr. Gray went on to play with numerous other musicians including Robby Krieger of "The Doors." Mr. Gray was a music coach on Oliver Stone's biopic "The Doors." He also appeared in the documentary "Getting the Knack."
ED WARREN Died Aug. 23, 2006
Paranormal researcher Ed Warren died at age 79. Mr. Warren and his wife Lorraine (pictured at right with her husband) were well-known paranormal researchers. Mr. Warren was one of the investigators on the Amityville Horror case. He was a technical advisor on the original version of "The Amityville Horror." Mr. Warren and his wife authored a number of books in their field. His books "The Haunted" and "The Demon Murder Case" were both turned into Made for TV movies. Mr. Warren appeared as himself in the documentaries "History’s Mysteries: Amityville: Horror or Hoax" and "History’s Mysteries: Amityville: The Haunting." Mr. Warren served his country in the US Navy during WWII.
HOPE POMERANCE Died Aug. 23, 2006
Actress Hope Pomerance died of a brain hemorrhage at age 77. The Miami based actress appeared in a number of films over the last 30 years. She was the widow of the late Rocky Pomerance, famed Miami police chief. Ms. Pomerance’s film credits include "The Stoolie," "The Crew," "Mr. Nanny" and "A Night in Heaven."
JOHN TODD TAYLOR Died Aug. 23, 2006
Grip and Best Boy J. Todd Taylor died at age 36. Mr. Taylor’s credits include "Dumb & Dumber," "Teenage Bonnie and Klepto Clyde," "The Cooler" and "Bonneville." Prayers of comfort to his family and friends, especially his four children.
MAYNARD FERGUSON Died Aug. 23, 2006
Legendary trumpeter Maynard Ferguson died of kidney and liver failure at age 78. The Grammy nominated musician began his career while still a young teen. Mr. Ferguson played with many of the greatest figures of the Bog Band Era. He headed his own Biog Band at the age of 17. Mr. Ferguson’s daughter Lisa is in production on the documentary "Maynard Ferguson: The Unforgettable Real Story." Maynard Ferguson’s music has been heard on the soundtracks of such films and TV shows as "Wheel of Fortune," "Hot Rod Girl," "Uncle Joe Shannon," "Dinah!" and "The Ed Sullivan Show."
ROCCO PETRONE Died Aug. 24, 2006
Rocco Petrone, former director of launch operations at NASA died of complications from diabetes at age 80. Mr. Petrone was director of launch operations for the Apollo program. He was there from the fire on Apollo 1, through the first landing on the moon by Apollo 11 and through the final moon landing in 1972. Mr. Petrone appeared as himself in the "Turning Point" documentary episode "Race to the Moon: The Tragedy of Apollo One."
DAVID PLOWRIGHT Died Aug. 25, 2006
British TV executive David Plowright died at age 75. Mr. Plowright was the former chairman of Granada Television in England. Mr. Plowright was associated with Granada for 35 years. Mr. Plowright produced such show as "King Lear" and "All Our Yesterdays." He was the brother of actress Joan Plowright, the wife of actor Laurence Olivier.
TOROKU TAKAGI Died Aug. 25, 2006
Japanese composer Toroku Takagi died of pneumonia at age 102. Mr. Takagi was best known for his song "Light Blue Waltz." During WWII, Mr. Takagi composed songs for the Japanese military. His film credits include the movies "Koku Kichi" and "Sora No Shinpei."
JOSEPH STEFANO Died Aug. 25, 2006
Writer/producer Joseph Stefano died of a heart attack at age 84. Mr. Stefano
wrote the screenplay of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror film "Psycho." Mr.
Stefano adapted the Robert Bloch novel to the screen. He convinced Hitchcock to
lengthen the book’s beginning. Instead of having the Marion Crane character
check into the motel and get killed right away as happened in the book, Mr.
Stefano added the great beginning and a classic film was born. For the first
time, the film’s biggest star was unexpectedly killed after 20 minutes. The rest
is history. Mr./ Stefano was also a producer on many episodes of the original
sci-fi TV series "The Outer Limits." Other credits include the 1969 horror film
"The Eye of the Cat," "Snowbeast" and "Psycho IV: The Beginning."
MICHAEL LINDSAY Died Aug. 25, 2006
Producer Michael Lindsay died of cancer at age 67. Mr. Lindsay produced the TV series "The Paul Lynde Show" and "Temperatures Rising." Mr. Lindsay was the son of the late actor Russell Gleason and actress/writer Cynthia Lindsay.
DAVID KOZUBEI Died Aug. 26, 2006
Writer and sometime actor David Kozubei died in his sleep. No age was given. Mr. Kozubei’s website is dedicated to the world’s best poetry. Since the mid 1940s, Mr. Kozubei has collected what he considered to be the work of best 5000 poets from 1100 AD to the present. You can read their work at davidkozubie.com. Mr. Kozubie had a small role in Steven Tobolowsky’s comedy "Two Idiots in Hollywood." Mr. Kozubei created the concept for the first Borders Book Store.
GEOFF FREEMAN Died Aug. 27, 2006
Publicist Geoff Freeman died of pulmonary fibrosis. Mr. Freeman worked as a publicist for nearly 50 years. He was associated with the "James Bond" film series having worked as unit publicist on "The Man With The Golden Gun," "Octopussy," "A View To A Kill," "The Living Daylights," "Goldeneye," "Tomorrow Never Dies," "The World Is Not Enough" and "Die Another Day." Among Mr. Freeman’s many other credits are "The Mark," "Satan Never Sleeps," "Cleopatra," "Zulu," "A Shot In The Dark," "The Hill," "Alfie," "A Countess From Hong Kong," "Omen III," "Victor/Victoria," "Brazil," "Legend," "Aliens," "Willow," "The Mummy," "The Mummy Returns" and "Alien vs Predator."
JON DOUGH Died Aug. 27, 2006
Adult film superstar Jon Dough committed suicide at age 43. His birth name was Chet Anuszek. Jon Dough came into the adult film industry during the early 1980s. He appeared in over 1000 adult films. Jon Dough was the first male performer to sign an exclusive performance contract with a production company. This was a big deal considering that many women were signed to such contracts. Jon Dough was the first guy to be accorded such a deal. In part it was because of his appeal to women viewers. The home video revolution opened up porn to women viewers. Gone was the stigma of sitting in a theater with the raincoat crowd. Jon Dough had the looks, the body and the stamina that women viewers liked. His deal with Vivid Video paved the way for other male performers to sign under contract. His first wife was adult actress Deidre Holland. Their poolside scene in the Paul Thomas’s movie "Beat the Heat" got me through my first divorce. The couple divorced in 1994. Mr. Dough was married to adult actress Monique Demoan at the time of his death. Jon Dough won several Adult Video News Awards during his career. He was also a prolific director with over 50 films to his credit. His most famous film as a performer was "The Luckiest Guy in the World." In that film he had sex with 101 women in a three day period. The film’s title takes on a sad irony considering his final days. According to Dan Miller’s article in the Adult Video News, Mr. Dough had been battling with a substance abuse problem lately. It is a shame that he could not win this battle. Mr. Dough was respected and well liked in the industry. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends, especially his young daughter.
ROGER DEEGAN Died Aug. 28, 2006
Composer Roger Deegan died of undisclosed causes at age 78. The Canadian musician provided scores for over 200 documentaries. He scored such films as "The Snow War," "Beyond the Frontier" and the Gemini nominated "Life After Hockey."
JAMES HALPIN Died Aug. 28, 2006
Seattle journalist James Halpin died at age 78. Mr. Halpin was also a national journalist with Time Magazine. He scripted two short films. Writer Jean Shepherd read Mr. Halpin’s words in the short film "No Whistles, Bells of Bedlam." Mr. Halpin also scripted the short film "Greenhouse." Both movies were made in 1973.
KIM MILLS Died Aug. 28, 2006
British producer/director Kim Mills died at age 75. Mr. Mills directed many British TV shows. He may have been best known for his contributions to the classic hit TV series "The Avengers." Other credits include "The Public Eye," "City Beneath the Sea," "Secret Beneath the Sea," "Sunday Night Thriller" and "The Protectors."
ED BENEDICT Died Aug. 29, 2006
Animator Ed Benedict died in his sleep at age 94. Mr. Benedict was Tex Avery’s chief layout artist and character designer during Avery’s MGM heyday. Mr. Benedict worked for Disney, Hanna-Barbera and Universal. He designed such famous characters as The Flintstones, Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound. Mr. Benedict had attempted to start his own studio during the 1930s.
GERALD GREEN Died Aug. 29, 2006
Emmy-winning writer, novelist and TV & film producer Gerald Green died of undisclosed causes at age 84. Mr. Green’s most famous novel "The Last Angry Man" was turned into an Oscar nominated feature film starring Paul Muni. The book was also turned into a Made for TV movie with Pat Hingle in the title role. Mr. Green won an Emmy Award for writing the landmark TV mini-series "The Holocaust." He also scripted the excellent TV movie "Kent State." Mr. Green produced one of my favorite B-movies. "High Risk" deals with four friends who fly from LA to Columbia for the weekend to rip off a major drug dealer. The all-star drive-in classic remains fun after repeated viewings. Among his other producer credits is the Farrah Fawcett comedy "Sunburn." Mr. Green served his country in the US Army during WWII.
DR. WILLIAM WANAMAKER Died Aug. 29, 2006
Dr. William Wanamaker died of heart disease and other illnesses at age 89. Dr. Wanamaker was the brother of the late actor/director Sam Wanamaker. Dr. Wanamaker had practiced medicine since the 1940s. He served his country as a medical officer in the US Navy for 11 years including time during WWII. Dr. Wanamaker was a technical advisor for several TV series during the 1950s and 60s including "The Twilight Zone" and "The Outer Limits."
BILL STEWART Died Aug. 29, 2006
British character actor Bill Stewart died of motor neuron disease at age 63. Mr. Stewart was a successful stage and screen actor in his native land. Mr. Stewart graduated drama school and began acting on British stages in the early 1960s. He appeared in over over 40 TV shows and films. Mr. Stewart’s credits include "Anna and the King," "101 Dalmatians," "Black Beauty," "Morons From Outer Space," "Lovejoy," "McGyver," "Pirates," "A Touch of Frost" and "Copying Beethoven."
GLENN FORD Died Aug. 30, 2006
My first memory of Glenn Ford was in the 1971 TV series "Cades County." I’m sure I had seen his work before that, but that was the first time I became aware of who Glenn Ford was. The short-lived series was a favorite of mine, in large part because of the screen presence of Glenn Ford. Glenn Ford was one of the last of the great movie stars from the golden age of the studio system. I gained a new respect for Mr. Ford’s work in the past few years because of EI’s contributing writer Jon Ted Wynne. Ted wrote an article in 2002 lambasting the Academy and AFI for overlooking such veteran actors as Glenn Ford, Richard Widmark and Tony Curtis for the lifetime achievement award while giving the award to Tom Hanks. Members of the Academy should hang their heads in shame that an actor of Glenn Ford’s caliber (not to mention a certifiable Movie Star!) was never given an Honorary Oscar.
Award-winning actor Glenn Ford died in bed at age 90. Mr. Ford suffered a series of illnesses for the past few years. The Golden Globe winning and BAFTA nominated actor appeared in over 100 films and TV shows during his career. Though he was born in Canada, Glenn Ford became a US citizen in 1936. The following year he made his screen debut. Mr. Ford served his country in the US Marines during WWII. He interrupted his film career to do so. (Don’t see that happening today!)
Glenn Ford’s greatest screen success came after his wartime service. He co-starred with his longtime friend and one time love Rita Hayworth in the Film Noir classic "Gilda." His pre-war goodguy image was shaken in "Gilda." To quote Jon Ted Wynne’s article: "Glenn Ford showed us in "Gilda" that he was not to be confined to good guy roles…He was an actor with range. He’s a rat. But we still love him. Only a real star could pull that off!" "Gilda" was not the only Noir classic in which Mr. Ford starred. Fritz Lang’s "The Big Heat" is second only to "Out of the Past" in the pantheon of classic Noir films. In 1955 Glenn Ford starred in what is probably his best know film. In "The Blackboard Jungle" Glenn Ford played an inner city high school teacher who fights to try and teach thugs. Vic Morrow and Sidney Poitier played two of the toughs Mr. Ford tries to reach.
Superhero fans will fondly remember Glenn Ford as Pa Kent in Richard Donner’s classic "Superman." His death scene is abrupt and powerful. I must admit that my eyes misted over this summer when I saw Glenn Ford’s picture on the mantle in the Kent home in the movie "Superman Returns." It was a fitting homage to the actor and the character he played in the original film.
Western fans will argue about which Glenn Ford Western is the best. My money is on "3:10 to Yuma." He plays a good man with bad motives. His transformation as he battles his conscience during the film gives grit to the drama and action on screen. "The Violent Men" would surely garner some votes as his best Western film.
Other memorable credits include the original version of "Ransom!" Mel Gibson played Glenn Ford’s part in the Ron Howard remake. Mr. Ford was nominated for the Best Actor in a Foreign Film BAFTA for his work in "The Sheepman." He won a Best Actor in a Motion Picture: Musical/Comedy Golden Globe for the warm and funny "Pocketful of Miracles." He was Eddie’s father in the original film "The Courtship of Eddie’s Father." Other credits include "Midway," "Experiment in Terror," "Fate is the Hunter," "Is Paris Burning?," "The Teahouse of the August Moon," "The Man From the Alamo" and "Heaven With a Gun."
Glenn Ford had a colorful and tumultuous personal life. Like all of us, he had his good and bad days. For the past few years, he has been very ill. May his passing bring him peace. Glenn Ford was once asked how he wanted to be remembered. He said that "He did his best and he believed in God." May he find peace in the presence of the God he loved and served.
NELLIE CONNALLY Died Aug. 31, 2006
She spoke one of the most ironic lines in US history. On November 22, 1963 Texas first lady Nellie Connally turned around in her seat and told President John Kennedy "Mr. President, you can’t say that Dallas doesn’t love you." An instant later three bullets killed the president and seriously wounded her husband, then Texas governor John Connally. Nellie Connally died in her sleep at age 87. She was the last surviving passenger in the JFK limo. Nellie Connally appeared in "The Zapruder Film," one of the most closely scrutinized pieces of celluloid ever filmed. Ms. Connally also appeared in a number of documentaries and feature films dealing with the assassination of JFK. He credits include "The Shot That Shook the World," Oliver Stone’s "JFK" and "Nixon," "Ruby," "Executive Action" and "Four Days in November."
WILLIAM ALDRICH Died Aug. 31, 2006
Producer William Aldrich died of cancer at age 62. Mr. Aldrich was the son of "The Dirty Dozen" director Robert aldrich. Mr. Aldrich worked on and appeared in a number of his father’s films as well as those of other filmmakers. His producer credits include the remakes of his father’s films "What Ever happened to Baby Jane?" and "The Flight of the Phoenix." Mr. Aldrich also produced the films "What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?," "The Grissom Gang," "Hustle," "The Choirboys," "The Sheltering Sky," "Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?" and a personal favorite of mine "…All the Marbles." William Aldrich appeared in several of his father’s films. His character in and "The Flight of the Phoenix" was killed in the plane crash that starts the film. Mr. Aldrich appeared in and was an assistant director on "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" He was a production assistant on "The Killing of Sister George" and "Too Late the Hero." His sister Adell is a script supervisor with many film credits to her name.