A.I. BEZZERIDES Died Jan. 1, 2007
Novelist and screenwriter A.I. Bezzerides died at age 98. Film Noir fans are very familiar with Mr. Bezzerides work. He wrote the novel "The Long Haul." It was turned into the hit film "They Drive By Night," which starred George Raft and Humphrey Bogart. Mr. Bezzerides wrote the screenplay for and made a sleazy cameo appearance (see photo) in Nicholas Ray's excellent Noir film "On Dangerous Ground." This was the only film in which the writer made a cameo appearance. Mr. Bezzerides also adapted Mickey Spilane's Mike Hammer story "Kiss Me Deadly" to the screen. That version was directed by Robert Aldrich and starred Ralph Meeker. Humphrey Bogart also starred in the Bezzerides scripted films "Sirocco" and "Action in the North Atlantic." Other Film Noir credits include Burt Lancaster's "Desert Fury," "Thieves Highway" with L.J. Cobb and "A Bullet For Joey," which starred Edward G. Robinson and George Raft. Mr. Bezzerides other credits include "Beneath the 12-Mile Reef," "Juke Girl" with president Reagan, the Robert Mitchum Western "Track of the Cat" and "Holiday for Sinners." Mr. Bezzerides' life was the subject of two documentary films: "Buzz" and "The Long Haul of A.I. Bezzerides."
DEL REEVES Died Jan. 1, 2007
Country music star Del Reeves died of emphysema at age 73. Mr. Reeves became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1966. Mr. Reeves music has appeared on the soundtracks of such films as Karel Reisz's brutal "Who'll Stop the Rain," "Trackdown," "Drive-In" and "The Las Vegas Hillbillys." Mr. Reeves appeared in several films including Burt Reynold's "Sam Whickey." Mr. Reeves also appeared in several drive-in films aimed at Country Music fans during the 1960s. Those titles include "The Gold Guitar," "Forty Acre Feud," "Cottinpickin' Chickenpickers" and "Second Fiddle to a Steel Guitar."
CHARLES HYATT Died Jan. 1, 2007
Jamaican actor Charles Hyatt died of cancer at age 75. Mr. Hyatt's stage career began in the 1940s. His film credits include "Cool Runnings," "The Mighty Quinn," "Club Paradise," "Love Thy Neighbor," "The Saint" and "A High Wind in Jamaica."
HILMA RUSU Died Jan. 1, 2007
Publicist Hilma Rusu died just after midnight on New Years Day. She was 57 years old. Her credits include "Desolation Sound," "Damaged Care," "My Father's Angel" and "Past Perfect."
HOWARD KUNIN Died Jan. 1, 2007
Award-winning film editor Howard Kunin died at age 75. Mr. Kunin was honored by his peers with three Eddie Awards from the American Cinema Editors. Two of the awards were for his work on the TV series "The Streets of San Francisco" and the other was for the excellent Ted Bundy mini-series "The Deliberate Stranger." Mr. Kunin edited Sam Peckinpah's early Western "Major Dundee." Other credits include "Roller Boogie" and "Fade to Black."
RICHARD MAYNARD Died Jan. 2, 2007
Producer Richard Maynard died of natural causes at age 64. Mr. Maynard produced the feature films "Blood Brothers" and "Normal Life." His many TV credits include the excellent "Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis." He was the father of TV producer Kevin Maynard (Filter).
GEORGES VITALY Died Jan. 2, 2007
French theater director Georges Vitaly died at age 89. Mr. Vitaly founded the Theater of Huchette in 1947. He was one of France's premiere theater directors during the last half of the 20th Century. Mr. Vitaly appeared in the films "Riff-Raff" and "Double Agents." Mr. Vitaly served as stage director for a number of productions in the French TV series "Au Theatre ce Soir."
TERRELL HANSEN Died Jan. 2, 2007
Retired engineer Terry Hansen died of a massive stroke at age 65. Mr. Hansen was a longtime friend of writer Michael Connelly. Mr. Hansen underwent a heart transplant on Valentine's Day 1993. Mr. Hansen's experiences as a organ donor recipient were used by his friend Mr. Connelly as the inspiration for the character of Terry McCaleb in the book "Bloodwork." Clint Eastwood played the police officer Terry McCaleb in the film version of "Bloodwork." You can read an interview with Mr. Hansen about his experiences on Michael Connelly's website if you will CLICK HERE.
RYAN COBDEN Died Jan. 2, 2007
Filmmaker Ryan Cobden died of undisclosed causes at age 32. Mr. Cobden worked as a second unit director on the sci-fi short film "30:13." He was a worked in production on Philip Seymour Hoffman's political documentary "Last Party 2000" "Poster Boy" and "Mind the Gap." Mr. Cobden also played a rapist in "Mind the Gap." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
NATALIE PAUSCH Died Jan. 2, 2007
Line producer Natalie Pausch died of apparent heart failure at age 29. Ms. Pausch was a dancer and five-time state champion gymnast in Ohio. She had recently finished post-production work as a line producer on the upcoming sci-fi feature film "Supercroc." Ms. Pausch also worked as a producer on Mason Bendewald's upcoming documentary "TunaHaki." "TunaHaki" documents the efforts to bring orphaned children from Tanzania to the US to study with the Cirque Du Soleil." Ms. Pausch founded Bliss Productions Inc. Ms. Pausch danced in the LA production of "The Patchwork Girl of Oz." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
VADIM ZAKHARCHENKO Died Jan. 2, 2007
Veteran Russian actor Vadim Zakharchenko died one month shy of his 78th birthday. Mr. Zakharchenko appeared in over 70 films during his lengthy career. Among his better know films are the international hit "Little Vera," "The Lost Expedition," "Go!," the excellent horror film "Viy," "The Day the War Ended" and the six-hour war epic "Tikhiy Don."
MICHEL ROUX Died Jan. 2, 2007
French actor Michel Roux died of cardiac arrest age age 77. Mr. Roux appeared in over 30 films and TV shows during a career that began in the 1940s. Mr. Roux provided Tony Curtis's voice for the French version of the TV series "The Persuaders." Mr. Roux's stage credits include "La Cage Aux Folles."
SERGIO JIMENEZ Died Jan. 3, 2007
Mexican actor/director Sergio Jimenez died of a heart attack at age 69. Mr. Jimenez made his film debut in the acclaimed 1966 Mexican film "The Outsiders." He appeared in over 50 films and TV shows during his career. His acting credits include "The Black Widow" with Isela Vega, "One Way" and "The Two Brothers." Mr. Jimenez also directed a number of TV shows including the miniseries "Salome."
LEO WARE Died Jan. 3, 2007
Actor Leo Ware died of Alzheimer's Disease and complications from a stroke. He died the day after turning 84. Mr. Ware was a noted theater actor in his native Utah. Mr. Ware spent 20 years restoring the Empress Theater in Magna Utah. Mr. Ware's credits include the excellent TV miniseries "The Executioner's Song," "The ButterCream Gang," "The Singles Ward" and "Rupert Patterson Wants to Be a Super Hero." Mr. Ware served his country in the US Army/Air Corps during WWII.
BOB BURRUS Died Jan. 3, 2007
Actor Bob Burrus died at age 68. Mr. Burrus was a resident actor at the Actor's Theater in Louisville Kentucky. He acted in over 30 theaters including appearances off-Broadway. Mr. Burrus was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his performance in the film "Tully." He was the second actor to portray the character Gavin Sinclair on the soap opera "The Guiding Light." Mr. Burrus also appeared in the soap "Search for Tomorrow." He had a bit part in Walter Hill's "Southern Comfort."
BEN GANNON Died Jan. 4, 2007
Tony-nominated producer Ben Gannon died of liver cancer at age 54. The prolific Australian producer was nominated for a Tony Award for the play "The Boy From Oz" which starred Hugh Jackman. Mr. Gannon was an associate producer on Peter Weir's excellent WWI film "Galipoli." That movie starred Mel Gibson. Mr. Gannon's other film and TV credits include "Traveling North," the TV series "Heartbreak High" and "The Man Who Sued God."
DAVID YONALLY Died Jan. 4, 2007
Kansas filmmaker David Yonally died of an apparent heart attack at age 40. Mr. Yonally wrote, produced, directed, edited, filmed, dressed sets and acted in films. For the past few years, Mr. Yonally had been working on a documentary film about the efforts of the people who make a difference at Perverted Justice.Com. Hopefully another will be able to step forward and finish Mr. Yonally's look at this group who assist in catching those who prey on our children. David Yonally was an extra in the landmark TV movie "The Day After." He worked as a set dresser on "Nice Girls Don't Explode," "Sometimes They Come Back" and "Cross of Fire." Mr. Yonally wrote, produced, directed and filmed the sci-fi movie "Terminal Interface." He also wrote and produced last years indie film "Devotion." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
STEVE KRANTZ Died Jan. 4, 2007
Writer/producer Steve Krantz died of complications from pneumonia at age 83. Mr. Krantz was the husband of author Judith Krantz and the father of producer Tony Krantz. Mr. Krantz produced Ralph Bakshi's landmark X-Rated cartoon "Fritz the Cat." The movie was based on Robert Crumb's underground Comic books. "Fritz the Cat" became the first animated film to rake in over $100,000,000.00 at the box-office. The success of the film lead to two more collaborations with Ralph Bakshi: the X-rated cartoon "Heavy Traffic" and the R-rated sequel "The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat." Steve Krantz also brought a number of his wife's books to the small screen. He produced "Mistrial's Daughter," "Princess Daisy," "Dazzle," "Torch Song" and "Till We Meet Again." Steve Krantz wrote and produced the Curtis Harrington directed horror film "Ruby." The movie was butchered upon release and much of the footage was lost. VCI Entertainment restored the movie and released it on DVD several years ago. It is a creepy film directed by one of the unsung heroes of the horror genre. Steve Krantz produced a number of popular films during the 1970. "Cooley High" was a huge hit at the box-office and inspired the TV series "What's Happening." Mr. Krantz also produced the Richard Pryor film "Which Way Is Up?"
VINCENT SARDI JR. Died Jan. 4, 2007
Famed restaurateur Vincent Sardi Jr. died at age 91. He was the owner of the famous Broadway celebrity restaurant Sardi's. The restaurant was started by his father. Mr. Sardi Jr. took over the business in the mid 1940s. Sardi's was very popular with the Broadway theater crowd. The walls of the club are lined with celebrity sketches of the famous patrons from years gone by. Mr. Sardi appeared as himself in several films and TV shows including "The Muppets Take Manhattan" from which the screen capture to the right was taken.
RICHARD BELDING Died Jan. 4, 2007
Emmy-nominated film editor Richard Belding died at age 87. Mr. Belding was nominated for two Emmy Awards for his work on "Inside the Third Reich" and "Alcoa Premiere." He edited the 1964 version of "The Killers," which was Ronald Reagan's final film and only outing as a badguy. Mr. Belding was the editorial supervisor on Steven Speilberg's excellent TV movie "Duel." Mr. Belding was the editorial supervisor on nearly 120 TV shows. His many credits include "Night Gallery," "The Night Stalker," "Kojak" and "Columbo."
CHRISTOPHER GREENBURY Died Jan. 4, 2007
BAFTA-winning film editor Christopher Greenbury died at age 55. Mr. Greenbury won a BAFTA and was nominated for an Eddie Award for his work on "American Beauty." Mr. Greenbury edited over 30 films including "The Muppet Movie," "Where the Buffalo Roam," "Doctor Detroit," "Liar's Moon," "Naked Gun 2 ½," "Dumb & Dumber," "Me, Myself & Irene" and "Wild Hogs."
BECKY GONZALEZ Died Jan. 5, 2007
Former actress Becky Gonzalez of undisclosed causes at age 51. Ms. Gonzalez appeared in Ron Howard's "Night Shift" and "Young Doctors in Love" Ms. Gonzalez's stage credits include "The Roast" on Broadway and Luis Valdez's LA production of "Zoot Suit." Ms. Gonzalez also appeared on the TV series "Laverne and Shirley" and "The Tonight Show" as one of the Mighty Carson Art Players. Ms. Gonzalez retired to raise a family.
MICHAEL BARNETT Died Jan. 5, 2007
Indie filmmaker Michael Barnett was killed in a car crash in Los Angeles at age 30. Mr. Barnett was a film editor. He also formed two production companies: Aisle Five Studios and Squeak Street. Mr. Barnett's edited music videos for Snoop Dogg and Ryan Adams. He also edited several short films produced by his company Aisle Five Studios. They include "Apartment 206," "Blame It on the Youth," "Heaven Cent" and "Red Sky Morning." Ironically, Mr. Barnett's film "Apartment 206" involved two people killed in an automobile accident who are trapped in a purgatory-like state as they learn to move on to the next level of existence. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
CHARMION KING Died Jan. 6, 2007
Canadian actress Charmion King died at age 81. Her stage career began 60 years ago. Ms. King was married to actor Gordon Pinsent and the mother of actress Leah Pinsent. Though she was one of the grand dames of the Canadian theater, Ms. King also worked in film and on TV. She played Aunt Josephine in two "Anne of Green Gables" TV movies. Ms. King played matriarch Rose Kennedy in "Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot." Other credits include the TV series "Room 222," the 1980s version of "Twilight Zone," "McMillan & Wife" and "The Hitchhiker." Ms. King worked with her husband and daughter in the short film "A Promise." She also worked with her husband in the movies "Who Has Seen the Wind" and "Don't Forget to Wipe the Blood Off."
PETE KLEINOW Died Jan. 6, 2007
Country/Rock peddle-steel guitarist Sneaky Pete Kleinow died of Alzheimer's Disease at age 72. Mr. Kleinow was also a noted Emmy-winning stop-motion animator! Sneaky Pete Kleinow was a guitarist for "The Flying Burrito Brothers." Mr. Kleinow appeared in the excellent documentary "Gimmie Shelter" with other members of "The Flying Burrito Brothers" as they performed at the ill-fated Altamont Concert. Mr. Kleinow has millions of devoted music fans. While I did enjoy his music, it is Mr. Kleinow's prowess as a stop-motion animator that always impressed me.
I'm not sure which Pete Kleinow animation I first saw. Maybe it was the Pillsbury DoBoy, but I really believe it was the Purina Chow Chuck Wagon. As a young child, I always wondered how they did that. Later, when my interest in stop-motion animation peeked with the works of Ray Harryhausen, I researched the art and found out just how that tiny horse-drawn wagon could tear through a kitchen with the family dog trailing behind. It happened because Pete Kleinow made it happen…one frame at a time. Now that I think back, I realize that my first exposure to the work of Pete Kleinow was through the animated clay TV shows "Davey and Goliath" and "The Gumby Show." Like millions of other Baby Boomers in my age range, both shows were a regular staple of my TV watching diet.
Another moment ingrained in my memory was my first viewing of "The Terminator." The film jumped from just being a good sci-fi film, to becoming a classic, when the filmmakers went the extra mile at the end of the film. I remember the goose-bumps that rose on my skin and saying to myself "Fucking A!" when, after becoming engulfed in flames, the Terminator walked out of the fire with all of his Schwarzenegger skin burned off. Nothing left by the robotics hidden inside. The film's ending was heavily dependent of stop-motion animation. Pete Kleinow's animation!
Sometimes a really bad movie becomes a fan favorite. Ringo Starr's take-off on "1,000,000 BC" is one such movie. "Caveman" has been a guilty pleasure of mine since my first viewing. Who can forget the look on Pete Kleinow's T-Rex's face as the blind caveman played by Jack Gilford unknowing rubs the huge beast's testicles!
Pete Kleinow was responsible for the spectacular re-entry scenes in "The Right Stuff." He worked with Jim Danforth on the Oscar nominated "The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao" and "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm." Remember the scene in "Gremlins" when the army of bad gremlins emerge from the darkness to walk up the street toward the camera? That was Pete Kleinow's work. How about the giant killer robot in "RoboCop II"? That too was Pete Kleinow's work. Mr. Kleinow was there during the Disaster Film craze. He added his magic touch to "Meteor" and "Avalanche." He also worked on a little film called "The Empire Strikes Back."
It was Pete Kleinow who gave us the realistic destruction of troop carriers in outer space during the planet invasion scene in "Starship Troopers." Other film and TV credits include "The Outer Limits," "Land of the Lost," David Lynch's version of "Dune," "Terminator 2," "Nemesis," "Holes," "Under Seige," "Fearless," "Return of the Living Dead" and "Army of Darkness." Mr. Kleinow shared in an Outstanding Individual Achievement: Special Visual Effects Emmy award for his work on the TV miniseries "The Winds of War."
SOAD NASR Died Jan. 6, 2007
Egyptian actress Soad Nasr died of complications following liposuction surgery. The 57-year-old actress had been in a coma for nearly a year. She suffered a massive blood loss during the liposuction surgery and never awoke. Autopsy results are pending. Ms. Nasr's film credits include "Anger," "A Public Wedding," "Here is Cairo," "An Egyptian Story," "Adam's Autumn," "Alexandria…New York" and the TV miniseries "Joha Al-Masri." Ms. Nasr also enjoyed a successful stage career in her native land.
GEORGE TRESSLER Died Jan. 6, 2007
German actor/director George Teressler three weeks shy of his 90th birthday. Mr. Tressler was the son of actor Otto Tressler. He began his acting career in the 1930s. Mr. Tressler was drafted into the German army during WWII and served on the Russian Front. He became ill and was released from the service and returned to Vienna. Mr. Tressler turned to directing films in the mid 1940s. He directed nearly 80 movies during his lifetime. He came to Hollywood once and directed Disney's "The Magnificent Rebel." Among his better know works are "Teenage Wolfpack," "Ship of the Dead" and the softcore sci-fi film "2069: A Sex Odyssey."
GRANT HOSSACK Died Jan. 6, 2007
British composer and conductor Grant Hossack died of cancer at age 69. Mr. Hossack conducted the orchestras for nearly 30 theatrical shows in London's West End. He was also musical director for the BBC2 radio orchestra. Mr. Hossack composed the award-winning music for the British TV series "Nanny." "Nanny" was created by and starred Wendy Craig. He served as musical advisor on the TV series "The Onedin Line."
BOBBY HAMILTON Died Jan. 7, 2007
NASCAR driving champion and team owner Bobby Hamilton died of neck and throat cancer at age 49. Mr. Hamilton was the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion. Mr. Hamilton raced in the 1996 Daytona 500 as a stunt driver. His car was used as a camera car to film footage for the feature film "Days of Thunder."
IWAO TAKAMOTO Died Jan. 8, 2007
Master animator Iwao Takamoto died at age 82. A chance encounter with two filmmakers and Mr. Takamoto in a Japanese internment camp during WWII lead to an interview with Walt Disney Studios. Mr. Takamoto was hired on the spot and began his apprenticeship with some of the best animators in history. During his tenure with Disney, Mr. Takamoto worked directly with many of the Nine Old Men. He was an assistant to Milt Kahl. Mr. Takamote worked on short films before moving up to features. He contributed his talents to such classic Disney films as "Lady and the Tramp," "Cinderella," "Peter Pan," "Sleeping Beauty" and "101 Dalmatians."
Mr. Takamote left Disney and went to work for Hanna Barbera in 1961. He was responsible for designing many of that studio's most memorable characters, most notably "Scooby Doo," "Penelope Pitstop" and "Astro" from "The Jetsons." Mr. Takamoto co-directed the 1973 animated feature film version of "Charlotte's Web." In 1996 Mr. Takamote received the Winsor McCay Award at that year's Annie Awards. It is one of the highest awards given to animators. The award is named after Winsor McCay, the creator of "Little Nemo." In 2005, Mr. Takamoto received the Golden Award from the Animation Guild for his 50 years of service to the industry. The website Cartoon Brew has a wonderful interview with Mr. Takamoto conducted by Amid Amidi in 1999. Very informative and entertaining. Some of the biographical information in this tribute comes from that interview. CLICK HERE to read Mr. Amidi's interview with Iwao Takamoto.
BONG SOO HAN Died Jan. 8, 2007
Mr. Posner: You really think those Green Beret karate tricks are going to help you against all these boys?
Billy Jack: Well, it doesn't look to me like I really have any choice now, does it?
Mr. Posner: That's right, you don't.
Billy Jack: You know what I think I'm gonna do then? Just for the hell of it?
Mr. Posner: Tell me.
Billy Jack: I'm gonna take this right foot, and I'm gonna whop you on that side of your face, and you wanna know something? There's not a damn thing you're gonna be able to do about it.
Mr. Posner: Really?
Billy Jack: Really!
At this point in the 1971 blockbuster hit film "Billy Jack" Hapkido grand master Bong Soo Han, doubling for star Tom Laughlin delivers a vicious kick to the right side of actor Bert Freed's face. Thus begins one of the best martial arts fight scenes in any American movie. Though Tom Laughlin performed many of the fight stunts himself, the more difficult moves were performed by Mr. Laughlin's stunt double and Hapkido teacher Grand Master Bong Soo Han. I've lost track of how many times I've seen "Billy Jack." I saw it the first time with my little brother Sean. I was 12 and I guess Sean was 7. We tried out the kicks we saw in the film on mailboxes that lines the road home from the theater.
Grand Master Bong Soo Han died at age 75. Bong Soo Han was born is South Korea. He studied martial arts as he grew. Master Han opened his first school in the US in 1967. Grand Master Han was hired by the US Government to train the special forces in Vietnam the art of Hapkido. On July 4th, 1969 Grand Master Han was giving a demonstration of his talents at the bequest of the Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce. Actor Tom Laughlin was in the audience. The two men met, talked and the rest is history.
Bong Soo Han came out of the 'stunt double' shadows to play a major role in Tom Laughlin's follow-up film "The Trial of Billy Jack." The fight scenes were not as expertly filmed as in the 1971 film, but it did feature a great shot of Grand Master Han kicking two men simultaneously with an impressive jump kick. Master Han did a hilarious spoof of himself in John Landis's comedy film "Kentucky Fried Movie." He served as a technical advisor on "The Presidio." Master Han appeared as himself in two documentaries: "Modern Warriors" and "Masters of the Martial Arts Presented by Wesley Snipes."
YVONNE DE CARLO Died Jan. 8, 2007
Actress Yvonne De Carlo died of natural causes at age 84. Though she appeared in over 120 films and TV shows, Ms. De Carlo will be best remembered for her Iconic role as Lily Munster in the hit 1960s TV series "The Munsters." Ms. De Carlo played the monsterous matriarch of the comical family of ghouls. The great ensemble cast included Fred Gwynne as her husband Herman Munster and Al Lewis as Grandpa. The TV series ran for two years and spawned one theatrical spin-off as well as two Made for TV movies.
Yvonne De Carlo's career encompassed so much more than her role as Lily. She began her career as a sex symbol as a contract player at Paramount and Universal. Ms. De Carlo appeared in bit parts in such well known Paramount films as "Lucky Jordon," "This Gun For Hire," "For Whom the Bell Tolls," "Road to Morocco," "The Deerslayer" and "Kismet." Paramount dropped her contract and Ms. De Carlo obtaining star billing in her first film at Universal: the Western "Salome Where She Danced."
At Universal, Ms. De Carlo found herself being case for her beauty more than acting talent. Her many credits include "Criss Cross," "Song of Scheherazade," "The Desert Hawk" and "Hurricane Smith." Famed director Cecile B. DeMille finally saw in Ms. De Carlo the ability to act as he cast her in the classic "The Ten Commandments." She played opposite Charlton Heston as the wife of Moses.
Ms. De Carlo also enjoyed success on Broadway in Stephen Sondheim's Tony-Award winning play "Follies." Ms. De Carlo's other film and TV credits include "Band of Angels," "McClintock!," "The Power," Russ Meyers "The Seven Minutes," "Satan's Cheerleaders," "Silent Scream," "The Man With Bogart's Face," "Liar's Moon," "National Lampoon's Class Reunion," "Oscar" and "Seasons of the Heart."
AKIRA NAITO Died Jan. 8, 2007
Award-winning Japanese Art Director and Production Designer Akira Naito died of lateral sclerosis. His age was not given. Mr. Naito was a longtime collaborator of the late director Kenji Misumi. Mr. Naito helped director Misumi achieve his vision on both the "Lone Wolf and Cub" and "Zatoichi: The Blindswordsman" film series. The pair collaborated on a total of 20 films. Mr. Naito collaborated with Misumi on the first two films in the "Lone Wolf and Cub" series and four of the "Zatoichi" films from the 1960s. Mr. Naito also worked on two other "Lone Wof and Cub" films under other directors. Mr. Naito was also a favorite collaborator of director Tokuzo Tanaka. They worked on 14 films together including "Ghost Story of the Snow Witch." Mr. Naito also worked with Japanese master director Kinji Fukasaku on the award-winning "Hanna No Ran." Mr. Naito won one of his three Mainichi Film Concours Awards for Best Art Direction on Mr. Fukasaku's "Hanna No Ran." Mr. Naito was nominated five time for Best Art Direction at the Awards of the Japanese Academy.
LAURENCE HEATH Died Jan. 9, 2007
Writer/producer Laurence Heath died at age 78. Mr. Heath produced and wrote some of the best TV shows of the 1960s. He wrote over 20 episodes of the hit TV series "Mission Impossible." Mr. Heath's other writing credits include such TV series as "Mannix," "Hawaii 5-0," "The Invaders" and "Murder She Wrote." One of my personal favorite TV series that never really took off was "The Magician." Bill Bixby played a magician/detective. Don't know why the series never took off. Mr. Heath wrote a number of Made for TV movies including the Emmy-nominated TV miniseries "Christopher Columbus."
IRMA ST. PAULE Died Jan. 9, 2007
One of my greatest pleasures in working for EInsiders has been getting to know certain filmmakers. Dante Tomaselli is one of those filmmakers whose work I admire and look forward to. I guess that vicarious connection to actress Irma St. Paule makes the news of her passing that much sadder. I never met, or spoke with Ms. Paule, but I talked to Dante about what it was like for him to work with the great actress. I enjoyed her creepy performances in Dante's films "Desecration" and "Satan's Playground." Director Tomaselli shared his feeling with me on the loss of his friend and collaborator: "We all miss Irma. I was lucky enough to be with her the day before she passed. She was a brilliant actress and a beloved friend."
Ms. St. Paule had a long an distinguished career on TV, stage and film. She appeared on Broadway and on Soap Operas. Feature films and hit TV series. Her many credits include "The Guiding Light," "The Oracle," "The Cemetery Club," "Party Girl," "Twelve Monkeys," "Thinner," "Sex and the City," "OZ," "Homicide: Life on the Street," "Law & Order" and "Chappelle's Show." Thanks for chilling performance as Mrs. Leeds. It still makes me want to stay clear of the Jersey Pine Barrens. Special thanks to autograph collector Danny Rentz for hsaring this picture of Ms. St. Paule with me and my readers!
CARLO PONTI Died Jan. 10, 2007
Oscar-nominated producer Carlo Ponti died of pulmonary complications at age 94. Though he produced some of the greatest films in screen history, though he mentored some of the brightest directors to emerge in the last half century, Carlo Ponti will be best know for his love affair with actress and wife Sophia Loren. Carlo Ponti did battle with the powers of nations and churches to be with the woman he loved. He was threatened with jail and damnation in hell because of his desire to be with Ms. Loren. Their first marriage, performed by proxy in Mexico in 1957 was annulled in 1962. The lovers would eventually marry each other by leaving Italy and becoming French citizens. They were successfully married in 1966. They would have celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary in April of this year.
Carlo Ponti's list of credits is varied and astute. He produced epic masterpieces, art-house films, popular horror films, Spaghetti Westerns, films with a political message. Mr. Ponti was responsible in large part for helping give birth to the New Wave. He mentored such directors as Michelangelo Antonionio, Roman Polanski, Jean Luc Godard and Frederico Fellini. Mr. Ponti served as mentor to up-and-coming producer Dino De Laurentiis.
Mr. Ponti's film credits during the 1950s include "Europa '51" and "Dov'e La Liberta?" both directed by Roberto Rosellini, Felinni's "La Strada," Robert Rossen's "Mambo," Vittorio Di Sica's "The Gold of Naples," "Attlia" starring Anthony Quinn, "Ullysses" starring Kirk Douglas, King Vidor's "War and Peace," Martin Ritt's "The Black Orchid" and Sidney Lumet's "That Kind of Women."
The 1960s were a period of great professional success, even though it was a period of personal turmoil. Of the 37 film's Mr. Ponti would produce for the love of his life, Vittorio Di Sica's "Two Women" would prove the most special. The film earned Sophia Loren the Best Actress Oscar in 1961. Mr. Ponti's film credits from the 1960s include "Heller in Pink Tights," Michael Curtiz's "A Breath of Scandal," "Two Women," "Lola," Jean Luc Godard's "Le Meppris" and "A Woman is a Woman," "Cleo From 5 to 7," the Fellini/Di Sica/Visconti/Monicelli directed comedy "Boccaccio '70," Claude Chabrol's "The Third Lover," Vittorio Di Sica's Oscar winner "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," Di Sica's Oscar nominated "Marriage, Italian Style," "Operation Crossbow," "The 10th Victim," "Lady L" with Paul Newman, David Lean's masterpiece "Dr. Zhivago," The Oscar winning "Closely Watched Trains," Michelangelo Antonionio Oscar-nominated "Blow-Up" and Milos Forman's Oscar-nominated "The Fireman's Ball."
Carlo Ponti's output during the 1970s had a more populists taste to it. Youth films, horror movies and the occasional message movie thrown in for good measure. Of couse, he also continued to produce handsome films for his wife to star in. Michelangelo Antonionio's "Zabriskie Point" is a mishmash of 1960s pyschobabble filtered through Andy Warhol and a whole bunch of drugs. It has to be seen to be believed. This was the first film produced by Mr. Ponti in the 1970s. Other credits include "La Mortadella," Roman Polanski's "What?," "Massacre in Rome," "Andy Warhol's Frankenstein," "Torso," "High School Girl," "The Babysitter," Antonionio's misfire "The Passenger," "The Sensuous Nurse," "The Cassandra Crossing" and "The Squeeze."
Carlo Ponti was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar for "Dr. Zhivago." He won three David Di Donatello Awards for "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," "Marriage: Italian Style" and "Dr. Zhivago." He shared a Best Producer Award with Dino De Laurentiis for Fellini's "La Strada."
RUDY WISSLER Died Jan. 11, 2007
Actor/singer Rudy Wissler died at age 78. Mr. Wissler may be best remembered for providing the singing voice for actor Scotty Beckett in the biopic "The Al Jolson Story." While Scott Beckett played the young Al Jolson on screen, it was Rudy Wissler who did the real singing. Mr. Wissler appeared in 20 films during the 1940s including "The Men of Boy's Town," "Killer McCoy," "Undercover Maise," "Born to Sing," "Fighting Father Dunne" and two of the "Gas House Kids" movies. Mr. Wissler continued to entertain around the world on radio and TV as well as through many live performances. He began working in the Barbershop Quartet format during the 1950s. Mr. Wissler was an honorary member of the Al Jolson Society and often performed at their events.
SOLVEIG DOMMARTIN Died Jan. 11, 2007
French actress/director Solveig Dommartin died of heart failure at age 48. Ms. Dommartin is best remembered for her performance as the angel Marion is Wim Wenders' masterpiece "Wings of Desire" and the sequel "Faraway, So Close." She was also featured in the music video by U2 from the sequel. Ms. Dommartin expanded her collaboration with Wim Wenders when she co-wrote the story for and starred in his epic film "Until the End of the World." She also edited Wenders documentary "Tokyo-Ga." Solveig Dommartin directed the 1998 short film "It Would Only Take a Bridge." The movie was nominated for the Best Short Fiction Film award at the Molodist International Film Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
ROBERT ANTON WILSON Died Jan. 11, 2007
Author Robert Anton Wilson died of natural causes at age 74. Mr. Wilson was best known for his sci-fi/philosophy books "The Illuminatus! Trilogy." He was a former editor for Playboy Magazine. His writings garnered him a large cult following. Mr. Wilson appeared as himself in the great documentary "The Gospel According to Philip K. Dick." His play "Wilhelm Reich in Hell" was turned into a direct to video production in 2005.
SUNE LUND-SORENSEN Died Jan. 12, 2007
Danish director Sune Lund-Sorenson died due to a brain injury suffered during a fall. The 64-year-old director was on vacation in Egypt when he fell and hit his head. Mr. Sorensen died the next day. He was married to writer/director Lise Roos. They were the parents of actress Eline Roos. Mr. Sorensen was best know for his films the two cop thrillers "Mord i Morket" and "Mord i Paradis." Both films earned Mr. Sorenson Best Film nominations at Mystfest. His other credits include "Joker," "Camping" and "Danish Symphony."
GLORIA LOPEZ Died Jan. 12, 2007
Journalist and film producer Gloria Lopez died of pancreatic cancer at age 54. Ms. Lopez enjoyed success in several careers. She was a longtime employee of the Los Angeles Times. She eventual rose to the post of Assistant to the Executive Editor Shelby Coffee. Ms. Lopez took a five-year hiatus from journalism in 1990 when she joined A&M Films. She was an associate producer on the film "S.F.W." Ms. Lopez was an assistant to the producer on Keith Gordon's "A Midnight Clear," "House of Cards" and "A Home of Our Own." Ms. Lopez returned to the LA Times in 1995.
FIONA FRASER Died Jan. 12, 2007
South African actress Fiona Fraser died at age 76. Ms. Fraser enjoyed success on stage in England and South Africa. She appeared in TV shows in both countries. In addition to treading the boards, Ms. Frasier was a noted drama teacher in London. She coached both Whoopie Goldberg and James Earl Jones on African accents for film projects. Ms. Frasier was starring in the Sotuh African TV series "Bentley" at the time of her death.
ROBERT PAUL SMITH Died Jan. 13, 2007
Actor Robert Paul Smith was killed in a car crash in South Carolina. The 30-year-old actor was on his way to an audition. Reportedly, a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel, crossed four lanes of traffic and kit Mr. Smith's car. Mr. Smith was a local actor from Atlanta, Ga. His film credits include "Warm Springs," "Hell's End," "Guest Check" and the upcoming "Daddy's Little Girls." Mr. Smith served his country in the US Army. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
WALTER CHO TAT-WAH Died Jan. 13, 2007
Legendary Hong Kong actor Walter Cho Tat-Wah died of a stomach hemorrhage at age 91. Mr. Tat-Wah was admitted to a London hospital and died a few days later. Walter Cho Tat-Wah began his lengthy career during the 1930s as an assistant director. He was AD on a handful of films and directed another. His biggest influence on Hong Kong Cinema was as an actor. Walter Cho Tat-Wah appeared in over 350 films! As a teenager, Mr. Tat-Wah ran away to Shanghai work in the movies. By 1948 he had returned to Hong Kong and launched his own studio. Walter Cho Tat-Wah continued to act until the late 1990s. Among his many, many credits are the "Aces Goes Places" film series, the "White Bone Sword" film series, the "Huang Feihong" film series, "The Duel of the Century," "The Godfather From Canton," the "Lucky Stars" film series, "Mr. Vampire 2" and "A Gamble's Story." The last title is a bit ironic as Mr. Tat-Wah had a reputation for winning and losing multiple fortunes as a gambler. Mr. Tat-Wah directed the 1970 film "Secret Agent No. 1." He received the Professional Spirit Award in 2003 for his lifetime contribution to the Chinese and Hong Kong cinemas.
LARKIN FORD Died Jan. 13, 2007
Actor Larkin Ford died at age 86. Mr. Ford appeared in the first TV version of the hit play "12 Angry Men." He was juror number 12. Ironic casting as Mr. Ford was the last surviving cast member of that 1954 live TV broadcast. He appeared in the tell-play under the name Will West. Mr. Ford appeared in one of my all time guilty pleasures. Larry Cohen's "Q: The Winged Serpent" is a camp classic monster movie. Mr. Ford plays the curator of the museum in which Incan descendants come and voluntarily have the selves killed to honor the gods. Other credits include "Zane Grey Theater," "The Untouchables" and "Cannon."
BARBARA KELLY Died Jan. 14, 2007
Canadian born actress Barbara Kelly died of cancer at age 82. Ms. Kelly was the widow of actor Bernard Braden. They married as teens and moved to England. The pair enjoyed success at the BBC on both radio and TV. They had their own TV show "Barbara with Braden." Ms. Kelly appeared in a number of TV series and a few films. Her credits include "The Desert Hawk," voice work on the TV series "Space: 1999," "The Flying Fontaines" and "The Rolling Stones." Ms. Kelly later retired from acting and became a talent agent. Her husband died in 1992. The couple were the parents of three children including actress Kim Braden and actor Christopher Braden.
VASSILIS FOTOPOULOS Died Jan. 14, 2007
Oscar-winning art director Vassilis Fotopoulos died at age 72. Mr. Fotopoulos won the Best Art Direction Oscar for the 1964 film "Zorba the Greek." In fact, Mr. Fotopoulos won two Oscars during his career but was robbed of the statue because the director removed his name from the credits. Elia Kazan's 1963 film "America, America" included 75 sets created by Mr. Fotopoulos. Kazan removed his name from the credits saying no one would believe that a young Greek boy had created such sets. The film won the Oscar for Best Art Direction and the statute was given to Gene Callahan. Vassilis Fotopoulos was hired by a young Francis Ford Coppola to do the art direction on his comedy "You're a Big Boy Now."
HARVEY COHEN Died Jan. 14, 2007
Award-winning composer Harvey Cohen died of a heart attack at age 55. Mr. Cohen was nominated for six Emmy Awards for his music. Mr. Cohen won twice for the animated TV series "The Adventures of Batman and Robin" and "Disney's Aladdin." Mr. Cohen's work was also recognized with two Annie nominations. Though he was not nominated for his participation, Mr. Cohen was John William's arranger on the Oscar nominated score for the remake of "Sabrina." Mr. Cohen's credits as composer were mainly in the field of animated TV. He contributed as arranger and orchestrator on a number of feature films including "Naked Gun: 33 1/3," "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut," "The Patriot," "Little Nicky," "Babe Ruth," "Citizen Cohn," "Eight Crazy Nights," the remake of "King Kong" and "Mission Impossible 3."
DARLENE CONLEY Died Jan. 14, 2006
Emmy-nominated actress Darlene Conley died of cancer at age 72. Ms. Conley was best know for the tough broad Sally Spectra on the CBS soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful." Ms. Spectra began her run on the show in 1988. Her portrayal of Sally Spectra earned her a Daytime Emmy Nomination and six Soap Opera Digest Award She worked almost until the end. Ms. Conley also appeared on the soaps "General Hospital," "Days of Out Lives" and "The Young and the Restless."
Ms. Conley made her film debut in Alfred Hitchcock's horror film "The Birds." She played the waitress in the dinner where most of the cast was trapped during the bird's major attack on the town of Bodega Bay. Indie director John Cassavettes cast her in his films "Faces" and "Minnie and Moskowitz." Other notable film credits include "Play It As It Lays," "Lady Sings the Blues," "Tough Guys" and the original "Valley of the Dolls." She also appeared in the Made for TV movies "The President's Plane is Missing," "Get Christie Love" and the remake of "I Want to Live."
VIRGIL GERLACH Died Jan. 14, 2007
Writer/businessman Vergil Gerlach died at age 82. Mr. Gerlach wrote a number of scripts for the TV series "Death Valley Days." He also wrote the story for the Spaghetti Western "The Cruel Ones," which starred Joseph Cotton. Mr. Gerlach was an executive with a national theater chain.
TUDOR GATES Death announced Jan. 15, 2007
Writer/producer/director/union official Tudor Gates died after a lengthy illness at age 76. Horror and sci-fi fans remember Mr. Gates for his many genre scripts including "Barbarella" and Hammer's Karnstein vampire trilogy: "The Vampire Lovers," "Lust for a Vampire" and "Twins of Evil." Mr. Gates produced and directed the 1970s adult films "The Love Box," The Sex Thief" and "Intimate Games." They are tame by today's standards. Other credits include Mario Bava's "Diabolik," the Susan George horror film "Fright" and the TV series "Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson." Mr. Gates was a longtime Union activist in his native land.
GUY PARIGOT Died Jan. 15, 2007
French actor and theater founder Guy Parigot died at age 84. In 1949 Mr. Parigot co-founded the Dramatic Center of the West in Brittany. This lead to the decentralization of the theater in France. Mr. Parigot appeared in several films and TV shows including the miniseries "Silas," "Marcel and Co.," "The Bar at the Crossing" and "The Roaring Forties."
PAULINE DELANEY Died Jan. 15, 2007
Irish actress Pauline Delaney died of Parkinson's Disease. Her age was not given. Ms. Delaney starred in a number of British TV series during her career. The picture at right is from the series "The Pubic Eye" in which Ms. Delaney played the landlady of the series' recently paroled main character Frank. Ms. Delaney's other credits include "The Avengers," "Z Cars," "Hammer's House of Horror," "Rumpole of the Bailey" and the John Wayne cop-thriller "Brannigan." Ms. Delaney's final film was "Circle of Friends."
PETER RONSON Died Jan. 16, 2007
Icelandic Olympian, businessman and former actor Peter Ronson died of natural causes at age 72. Mr. Ronson was a USC student and athlete in the 1950s. He represented his native country in the 110-Meter Hurdles at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Like millions of other sci-fi fans my age, Peter Ronson will always be remembered for his one film role. Mr. Ronson played Hans Belker in the 1959 classic "Journey to the Center of the Earth." The screen capture at right also shows Mr. Ronson's character's pet duck Gertrude. Mr. Ronson also received a technical advisor credit on the film. All of his lines were spoken in his native tongue.
JAMES POOKIE HUDSON Died Jan. 16, 2007
Doo Wop legend James 'Pookie' Hudson died of Thymus cancer at age 72. Mr. Hudson was the lead singer of the 1950s Doo Wop group "The Spaniels." The group's biggest hit was "Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight." Mr. Hudson can be seen performing the song in the TV documentary "Doo Wop Cavalcade: The Definitive Anthology." The song was used on the soundtracks for the movies "American Graffiti" and "Three Men and a Baby."
RON CAREY Died Jan. 16, 2007
Actor Ron Carey died of complications following a stroke at age 71. The comedic actor was a frequent collaborator with director Mel Brooks. He appeared in three Mel Brooks films: "Silent Movie," "The History of the World: Part 1" and most notably "High Anxiety." Mr. Carey may be best remembered as part of the wonderful ensemble cast of the classic TV series "Barney Miller." Mr. Carey held his own against a great cast as the hapless Officer Levitt. Mr. Carey's other film credits include the original (and superior) version of "The Out of Towners," "Who Killed Mary What's 'Er Name?," Dom DeLuise's "Fatso" and "Johnny Dangerously." Mr. Carey began working as a stand-up comedian. He performed his routines on many TV shows "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson." Thanks for the laughs!
GISELA UHLEN Died Jan. 16, 2007
German actress Gisela Uhlen died at age 87 after a lengthy illness. Ms. Uhlen appeared in over 70 films in a career that dated back to the mid 1930s. Ms.Uhlen was the niece of the original "Nosferatu" actor Max Schreck! Ms. Uhlen was one of the most popular actresses in German history. Later in her career, Ms.Uhlen won the Outstanding Individual Achievement: Actress Award at the German Film Awards for he powerful performance in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's "The Marriage of Maria Braun." She also worked with Mr. Fassbinder in his TV movie "Women in New York." Other credits include "Lady Hamilton" with John Mills, "Toto the Hero" and a number of films based on the works of Edgar Wallace including "The Hunchback of Soho." Ms. Uhlen was married six times. She was the mother of actresses Susanne Uhlen and Barbara Bertram.
BENNY PARSONS Died Jan. 16, 2007
NASCAR legend and sports commentator Benny parsons died of lung cancer at age 65. Mr. Parsons was the 1973 NASCAR Champion and won the Daytona 500 in 1975. He retired from racing in 1988. For the past few years Mr. Parsons worked as a commentator for both NBC and TNT's TV coverage of NASCAR. He began his TV career working for ESPN. Mr. Parsons won a Cable ACE Award as Best Sports Analyst. Mr. Parson's appeared as racer in the Burt Reynolds' racing comedy "Stoker Ace." His last film appearance was as himself in last year's hit comedy "Talladega Nights: The Ricky Bobby Story." Other film and TV credits include "Herbie Fully Loaded," "Steel Chariots" and the documentary "Stockcar!"
ART BUCHWALD Died Jan. 17, 2007
He was one of the good guys. Real, open, smart and funny as they come. Art Buchwald's newspaper columns cut to the chase. His insight into politics and common sense was as astute as anyone since, and probably including Will Rogers. Art Buchwald died at age 81. He and his doctors expected Mr. Buchwald to pass away last February when he stopped his kidney dialysis treatments. He defied the odds for nearly a year. We are the more fortunate for this because Mr. Buchwald was able to publish yet another book. This one about the experience of dying.
Art Buchwald was involved in one of the most famous court cases in Hollywood history. He sold a two-page treatment to Paramount Pictures entitled "King for a Day." Buchwald claimed that the Eddie Murphy hit "Coming to America" was based on his treatment. The courts agreed and Paramount was ordered to pay Mr. Buchwald nearly a million dollars. Despite grossing nearly $300,000,000.00 worldwide, Paramount then claimed that they movie did not make a profit. I guess some lawyers and accountants don't fear Hell. Buchwald and Paramount finally settled the dispute out of court. Art Buchwald received writing credits on a couple of movies: Stanley Donen's "Surprise Package" and "Play Time." Mr. Buchwald's children's book "The Bolo Caper" was turned into an animated weekend TV special. Thanks for the light, wisdom and humor you provided us with your life.
HANS DUDELHEIM Death announced Jan. 17, 2007
Emmy-nominated film editor and teacher Hans Dudelheim died of injuries sustained in a motor cycle accident in Puerto Rico. Mr. Dudelheim was 70 years old. Han Dudelheim shared an Outstanding Achievement in Film Edition for Television Emmy nomination in 1964 for the documentary series "Saga of Western Man." The series also won the Peabody Award. Mr. Dudelheim spent his teen years in a Nazi concentration camp. He became a documentary filmmaker in the US during the 1960s. Other credits include the documentary films "Bones," "Tally Brown, NY" and "Kent State May 1970." Mr. Dudelheim shared his craft with young filmmakers as a member of the teaching staff of The New School.
SHELIA BROWN Died Jan. 17, 2007
Animator Shelia Brown died of cancer at age 71. Ms. Brown worked as a background artist on the TV series "The Adventures of Gulliver" and "The New Adventures of Tom and Jerry." She also worked as an assistant animator on Warner Brother's films "Rover Dangerfield" and "Tom and Jerry: The Movie." Ms. Brown worked for Disney on the films "Oliver & Co." and "The Little Mermaid."
CHRIS PARRY Died Jan. 18, 2007
Tony-winning lighting designer Chris Parry died of undisclosed causes at age 54. Mr. parry was nominated three times for Tony Awards. He won for his work on "The Who's Tommy." Mr. Parry received film credit on the documentary "The Who's Tommy, the Amazing Journey." Mr. Parry shared his craft with theater students at U.C. San Diego. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
CURT DEMPSTER Died Jan. 19, 2007
Theater founder and producer Curt Dempster died at age 71. Mr. Dempster founded the Ensemble Theater in NYC. His theater produced over 6000 plays since Mr. Dempster founded it in 1971. Mr. Dempster appeared in several films including "Desperately Seeking Susan," "The Manhattan Project" and "Last Ball."
SCOTT 'BAM BAM' BIGELOW Died Jan. 19, 2007
Former pro-wrestler Scott 'Bam Bam' Bigelow was found dead at his home in Florida. No cause of death ahs yet been released. During his two-decade long career, Mr. Bigelow wrestled for the WWE, ECW and WCW. He and 'Diamond' Dallas Page held the WCW Tag Team title in 1999. In addition to his many, many TV and video appearances while performing as a wrestler, 'Bam Bam' Bigelow appeared in the films "Major Payne," "Snake Eater III," "King of the Ring" and "Ready to Rumble."
DENNY DOHERTY Died Jan. 19, 2007
This has been a week to deal with one's own mortality. Unhealthy smoking habits landed me on my back and in a hospital with the possibility of an incurable disease. While resting up this week I write one obit of a man who died of what I might have. I then write an obit for a young French actress (my age) who passed away from heart failure. Today, one of the Icons from you youth passed away. Those illusions that I am still young at heart and mind, despite residing a body that revolts and becomes move revolting by the hour quickly fall away like to scaly skin on my aging legs and arms. I think back to my childhood. TO a special song that has been with me since 1966. The "Mamas and Papas" song that had the biggest influence on me at the time was "Go Where You Wanna Go." As a 9-year-old growing up in an abusive household, I latched on to the song. I sang it long past its time on the charts. I would go where I want to go, do what I want to do. I would get away from the horror of a psychotic father and drunk mother. Those memories remain strong in my soul. Would that I had the strength as a small child to follow the lyrics to another world. That would come later. The "Mamas and the Papas" biggest hit accented my favorite song by them. Yes, I wanted to go somewhere. Like most kids growing up in middle America in the 60s I wanted to head to California. "California Dreaming." I didn't make it until the 70s. Post Vietnam, post-Watergate, post Haight Ashbury. Still, those songs by the "Mamas and the Papas" served as spiritual guides during the hitchhiking trip across country to get there. The songs had been joined by a more ominous anthem: The Eagles "Hotel California." That journey lead me to California and eventually into the military. Running and searching. At the end of my unhappy tour of duty, the "Mamas and Papas" ironically reared their voices again. During my last night on base, my last night in the service, I sat up watching the late movie. It was the great documentary "Monterey Pop." Music and message from a time gone by. Once more the music brought my heart to an idealistic place. Shortly after leaving the military, I began to work in the Grand Canyon National Park. The song "Go Where You Wanna Go" rang in my head as I road the Greyhound bus cross country. I remember arriving at the magnificent gorge in the earth and sitting for an hour admiring the majesty. This was the place that my youthful longing, inspired by a song by four people I would never meet, brought me. A place where I began to grow and become a human being in my own right. It was here that I would meet the woman who would give birth to my precious Christy. Some folks say that music is just wall paper for our life. Sometimes, music can mean so much more. One song continually urged me to move forward. I wish I could have thanked those four singers for the impact the song had on my life. Denny Doherty, died today, so it is impossible to thank him. I would probably sound like a crazed stalker if I did try to explain such an intangible thing to him. Michele Philips is the last remaining member of the influential 60 folk/rock band. So, here I sit, facing an uncertain medical future while my childhood icons pass before me. And my own children begin their own journeys to go where they wanna go. Though Denny Dorherty has passed away, the music he wrote and sang still remains. Still inspires. In the back of my mind I can here the song start up. "You've Got to go where you wanna go, Do what you wanna do, with whoever…" Time to go to sleep and dream of the future, both mine and my children's.
GERHARD BRONNER Died Jan. 19, 2007
Viennese composer and cabaret entertainer Gerhard Bronner died of a stroke at age 84. Mr. Bronner scored a handful of films and TV shows during his career.
GEORGE SMATHERS Died Jan. 20, 2007
Former US Senator George Smathers died of a stroke at age 93. Senator Smathers served the state of Florida for three terms as a US Congressman and then three terms as a US Senator. His period of service in Washington lasted from 1947 through 1969. George Smathers also served his country as a US Marine during WWII. Senator Smathers was a contemporary of JFK's. I've always had a warped admiration for Senator Smathers because of something he was alleged to have said during his 1946 campaign for the US Senate against Claude Pepper. Smathers supposedly said the following:
"Do you know that Claude Pepper is known all over Washington as a shameless extrovert? Not only that, but this man is reliably reported to practice nepotism with his sister-in-law and he has a sister who was once a thespian in wicked New York. Worst of all, it is an established fact that Mr. Pepper, before his marriage, habitually practiced celibacy."
I did not know that Senator Smathers denied ever saying this until his passing. I still want to believe he did. I love the quote and the idea that it may have actually worked on an ignorant electorate. Oh well. Senator Smathers appeared via archived footage in the feature films "Executive Action" and "The Atomic Café." He appeared as himself in the feature film "The Miami Story," the TV game show "What's My Line?" as well as "The Ed Sullivan Show."
ALFREDO RIPSTEIN Died Jan. 20, 2007
Award-winning Mexican producer Alfreado Ripstein died of respiratory failure at age 90. Mr. Ripstein began his lengthy career as a production manager in the late 1930s. He turned to producing during the 1940s. Mr. Ripstein continued to produce films until 2005. His 2002 film "The Crime of Father Amaro" was nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar and Golden Globe. The movie won Mexico's Golden Ariel as Best Film. His 1995 "El Callejon de los Milagros" also won the Golden Ariel as Best Picture. Salma Hayak starred. Mr. Ripstein's film "The Beginning and the End" also won the Golden Ariel as Best Picture. This last film was a family affair as Mr. Ripstein's son Arturo Ripstein was the director! Mr. Ripstein was honored with the Salvador Toscano Medal at the 2004 Ariel's in recognition to his lifetime contribution to the Mexican film industry. Mr. Ripstein's many credits include "Swamp of the Lost Souls," "Mysteries From Beyond the Grave," "The Living Coffin," "Rio Hondo," "Crown of Tears" and "Rosario."
DR. HUGO MOSER Died Jan. 20, 2007
Neurologist Dr. Hugo Moser died of pancreatic cancer at age 82. Dr. Moser was a specialist working on childhood mental retardation and the disease ALD. Dr. Moser's involvement in the case of Lorenzo Odone was chronicled in the film "Lorenzo's Oil." Actor Peter Ustinov played Dr. Moser in the film, though his character was renamed.
BRIAN EATWELL Died Jan. 20, 2007
BAFTA nominated Production Designer Brian Eatwell died at age 67. Brian Eatwell was involved in so many of my favorite films, that I am amazed I never heard of him before discovering he had died. Mr. Eatwell's lone BAFTA nomination was for his work in one of the best films of the 1970s: Richard Lester's "The Three Musketeers." Like everyone else involved in the project, Mr. Eatwell was also credited in the sequel "The Four Musketeers." Both films were shot at the same time, but released theatrically a year apart from each other. Brian Eatwell worked with director Nicholas Roeg on his breakthrough film "Walkabout" as well as Roeg's sci-fi cult classic "The Man Who Fell to Earth." The photo at right is from Mr. Eatwell's appearance in the Anchor Bay featurette "Watching the Alien" from their great DVD of "The Man Who Fell to Earth." Mr. Eatwell designed the sets for the great Vincent Price camp-horror films "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" and "Dr. Phibes Rises Again." He was the art director on the creepy 1967 horror film "The Shuttered Room." Among Mr. Eatwell's many production design credits are the excellent Made for TV film "The Missiles of October," the Christian rock opera "Godspell," the horrible "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band," Joseph Wambaugh's "The Onion Field," Samuel Fuller's controversial "White Dog," "Tales of Erotica," "The Watcher," "Joshua" and the upcoming ToM Savini horror film "The Forest." Mr. Eatwell was married to Emmy-nominated costume designer Mary Routh.
THOMAS LOIZEAUX Died Jan. 20, 2007
Director of Photography and camera operator Thomas Loizeaux died of a heart attack at age 61. Mr. Loizeaux was the DP on John Water's film "Desperate Living," which starred Liz Renay (see Jan. 22, 2007). Mr. Loizeaux was a camera operator on a number of films including "Mystic Pizza," "Point of No Return," "Absolute Power," "Runaway Bride," "Hannibal," "Gods and Generals," "Ladder 49" and "Syriana."
KARL MESSERSCHMIDT Died Jan. 20, 2007
Emmy-winning technical director Karl Messerschmidt died of complications following surgery. Mr. Messerschmidt worked as a technical director for NBC for over 40 years. He was nominated 14 times for Emmy Awards. Mr. Messerschmidt won twice for "Doug Henning's World of Magic" and "Barbara mandrell's Christmas: A Family Reunion." Mr. Messerschmidt directed episodes of the soap opera "Santa Barbara." Among Mr. Messerschmidt's many credits are "Elvis: The 68 Comeback Special," "The Dean Martin Show" and "Cosby." Mr. Messerschmidt served his country in the US Marine Corp.
FRANK ROH JR. Death announced Jan. 21, 2007
Actor/production coordinator and businessman Frank Roh died at age 74. Mr. Roh was very instrumental in the creation of several State Film Commissions. Mr. Roh also worked for The Hollywood Reporter. He worked with friend Yaphet Kotto on the films "Bone" and "The Limit." Mr. Roh began Douglas Aircraft's film department and produced documentary films for them. Mr. Roh served his country in the US Marines during WWII. He fought in several major battles including Guadalcanal. Mr. Roh's widow is Mary Thorpe is the daughter of Oscar-winning actress Mary Astor.
YUNI Died Jan. 21, 2007
South Korean pop star Yuni died of an apparent suicide at age 26. The young woman was found hanging in her closet by her elderly grandmother. Yuni began her career as an actress. She appeared in the comedy film "Seventeen" as well as the TV series "Adults Don't Know." Yuni released her first album in 2003. Her third album was set to be released the day after she died. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
PEER RABEN Died Jan. 21, 2007
Award-winning composer Peer Raben died of cancer at age 66. Mr. Raben was the late director Rainer Werner Fassbinder's main composer. Mr. Raben scored nearly 30 films and TV shows for the talented and troubled German director. Mr. Raben's scores were honored with awards at The Hong Kong Film Awards and the Berlin International Film Festival among others. Mr. Raben scored nearly 100 films during his career. Among his credits for director Fassbinder are "Veronika Voss," "Querelle," "Lili Marleen," "The Marriage of Maria Braun," "The Stationmaster's Wife" and "Berlin Alexanderplatz." Among Mr. Raben's other scores are the music for Georg Pabst's restored silent film classic "Pandora's Box," "A Woman in Flames" and "Eros."
LIZ RENAY Died Jan. 22, 2007
Talk about your wild life! Liz Renay was an actress (of sorts), a stripper, mob boss girlfriend and author. She wasn't a rat though. That fact ended her up in prison for a few years for perjury. Seems the Feds were interested in her boyfriend's taxes and Ms. Renay had nothing to say. Her boyfriend was LA mob boss Mickey Cohen. She lived the kind of life that Hollywood screenwriters could not even think up. Her long trip came to an end at age 80. Liz Renay died of complications following a fall. Ms. Renay had a budding film career in the 1950s. Her stretch in prison in the early 1960s seemed to nip that in the bud, but Ms. Renay beat the odds and came out of the slammer fighting. She became a stripper, author and began to appear in a number of films. Seems you can't keep a bad girl down. I mean bad in a good, but naughty way. Ms. Renay and her daughter claimed to have had the first mother/daughter striptease act in the world. Though it has been a while since I've seen the film, my first exposure to Ms. Renay was in the b-movie classic "Hot Rods to Hell." Ms. Renay's most famous film appearance came in John Waters' "Desperate Living." The 1977 film brought her an entirely new fan base. Ms. Renay's many film credits and appearances include "Blackenstein," "The Virgin Cowboy" and "The Nasty Rabbit."
LAURENCE STARKMAN Died Jan. 22, 2007
Filmmaker Laurence Starkman died at age 55. Mr. Starkman co-wrote scripts with his wife Carla Malden. He was the son-in-law of actor Karl Malden. Mr. Starkman and his wife wrote the short film "Whit & Charm." Mr. Starkman also directed the film. Mr. Starkman designed the titles for a number of films and TV shows including "Glengarry Glen Ross," "Jade" and "Escape From L.A." He also edited sequences in such films as "Aria" and "Brotherhood of Justice." In addition to directing his short films, Mr. Starkman directed episodes and segments of the TV series "Out of Control," "Joke Time" and "What's Up, America?"
VICTORIA HOPPER Died Jan. 22, 2007
Regular readers know that I occasionally post guest obits. Regular readers are also familiar with British filmmaker Austin Mutti-Mewse. Mr. Mutti-Mewse and his brother Howard made the documentary film "I Used to Be in Pictures." Their excellent film includes numerous interviews with many actresses from the silent and early talkie era. Unfortunately, many of the interview subjects have passed away in recent year. Thanks to Austin Mutti-Mewse for this wonderful obituary of British actress Victoria Hopper.
Victoria Hopper, who died on January 22, at the age of 97, was a petite, fair-haired and entrancingly beautiful blonde with retrousse nose and rosebud lips was a British screen actress of the 1930s, who played leading roles in a number of films before marrying noted film director and producer Basil Dean.
Her biggest film of note was 'The Constant Nymph' (1933), the second of three versions of Margaret Kennedy's novel about a sickly, sensitive Belgian schoolgirl, Tessa Sanger (Victoria Hopper), in love with world-famous composer Lewis Dodd (Brian Aherne), who marries her wealthy cousin Florence (Leonora Corbett). Undermining the already delicate Tessa's health, the composer realises that life without Tessa is unbearable and leaves his unloving wife - but sadly too late.
"I was nothing more than a school girl when I came across Margaret Kennedy's book," she said. "A friend and I had seen the silent version of 'The Constant Nymph' with Mabel Poulton at the cinema and were thrilled to the marrow. We thought of Mabel as the loveliest person in the world, for all intents and purpose she was Tessa."
Years later Sydney Carroll saw Victoria Hopper at the Webber-Douglas School of Music where she was studying singing, and cast her as the lead in 'Martine' at the Ambassador's Theatre. Ivor Novello who had seen performance recommended her to producer Basil Dean. She then played Gretel in 'Hansel and Gretel' (1933) at the Drury Lane theatre. It was on visiting the theatre and watching her performance that Basil Dean gave her a screen test and cast her in the 'Talkie' version of 'The Constant Nymph' (1933).
Film Fashionland Magazine wrote: "Victoria Hopper gives a heart stirring performance. Her appeal on screen is breathtaking, her beauty enchanting." In March 2005, Victoria read the same review and with a hearty roar cried "What a load of bunkum!"
She was born on May 24, 1909 in Vancouver and educated in Trail, a small Canadian mountain town. As a child she won the all-Canada piano playing competition. She was greatly influenced by her aunt, Sylvia Nelis who sang soprano with the Beecham Opera Company. It was Sylvia who suggested Victoria takes singing lessons and found her a couch in the guise of Dino Borgioli. Her father Matthew Gerard Hopper and wife Elizabeth Rutherford Hopper then moved the family to Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1922 with the intention of taking over his father ailing manufacturing business. "I had no interest in anything beyond performance. Looking back I was a show-off," she said. Victoria Hopper frequently skipped school "I adored the pictures," she said.
She followed 'The Constant Nymph,' with the lead in Basil Dean's 'Lorna Doone' (1935). "Find me a girl that has ever read that story and failed to picture herself as Lorna? I took the book as part of my school leaving exam back in Newcastle and I soaked myself in it." Like with the part of Tessa the role of Lorna was a dream come true for Victoria Hopper. But for Dean 'Lorna Doone' was a headache and a financial flop.
Filming on location about the village of Oare, in the Doone Valley was particularly meaningful to the young actress as many of her ancestors settled there and were buried in the village churchyard. "I longed to see their faces if they knew a descendant of theirs was anything as disreputable as an actress!"
She also remained a star of the West End playing Prue Sarn in Mary Webb's 'Precious Bain' (1930) with Hilda Campbell-Russell, as Hazel Woodus in 'Gone to Earth' (1931) and in JM Barrie's 'Mary Rose' (1932).
She lost out on the lead in 'Frail Women' (1932) to Margaret Vines and was heartbroken not to be chosen for the 1934 adaptation of Margaret Kennedy's 'Little Friend.' Nova Pilbeam was cast instead or as Aisla Crane the Emlyn Williams vehicle 'The Frightened Lady' (1934), when actress Belle Crystal beat her to it.
Her theatre work also included the role of Edith in 'The Melody That Got Lost' (1936), as Monica Brooke in 'Autumn' (1937) and as Freda Johnson in 'Johnson Over Jordan' (1938).
She was married to stage and film producer Basil Dean at the registry office in Dunmow, Essex on 12 May 1934. Basil Dean was 21 years her senior. "I soon released people were jealous of my being married to Basil Dean and that's why I lost out on so many film roles," she said. "Correct he was older than me and film folk simply saw me as being ambitious and something of a social climber."
She retreated to a remote cottage in St Mary in the Marsh with a bevy of cats and pet sheep, relying on a paid companion. Victoria hopper was distressed at being "completely forgotten" and blamed her isolation from the industry on her marriage to Basil Dean. "Everyone thought I'd married Basil to further my career this simply wasn't true. He was a charming man and so much more sophisticated than the other men I knew."
Her other roles include: 'Whom the Gods Love' (1936) with Stephen Haggard cast as Mozart Basil Dean featured his wife Victoria Hopper as Mozart's wife Constance Weber and Liane Haid as Mozart's first love Aloysia Weber.
After Basil Dean left Ealing Studios Victoria Hopper divorced him after she learnt of his having conducted a long affair with a married woman. Hopper found her career at standstill. John Trevelyan, then Secretary of the Board of Film Classification and a neighbour at the Dean's Grovensor Square home found Victoria a job as an elocution teacher at Ashford technical College.
She had an agent Eric Glass and did find odd supporting roles on television and with the outbreak of war was sent by Dean to entertain the troops with ENSA. Dean was given the job of heading ENSA by Prime Minister Chamberlain. She toured with ENSA in France and then on tour with the Central R.A.F Band visiting R.A.F. bases across Britian joining the likes of Pat Kirkwood, Gracie Fields, Mildred Shay and Tommy Trinder. One critic remarked that it was only Hopper's marriage to Dean that had made her an actress in the first place. "She couldn't act for toffee and owed her career to delusion."
"I was the focus of much admiration when dinning at the Ivy," she once said. "If I tried to dine there now the doors would be shut tight - nobody knows who I am anymore." During the early 1930s she and friends Peggy Blythe and Renee Clama were known as the three Blondes at London's Berkeley Grill and Victoria a favourite for afternoon tea at Claridges.
Basil Dean's two sons Winton and Vernon remained in touch with their stepmother over the years. "I liked them very much," Hopper said. "I loved Basil's sons - sometimes more than he," she said.
After the war, Victoria Hopper resumed her theatre career with 'Yellow Sands' (1945) at the Saint Martins Theatre and toured with Sir Cedric Hardwickle in 'The House on the Bridge' (1945). In 1947 she played Lady Mannering in 'Said the Spider!' before touring as Helen Bligh in 'My Mother Said…' (1949). Her last stage role was that of Hester Byfield in 'Serious Charge' (1955).
Onscreen Victoria Hopper made just the occasional film appearance ending her career in 1948 opposite John Stuart in 'Escape from Broadmoor.' In 2004, Victoria Hopper broke her promise to herself that she would no longer be photographed when she sat for photographers Elena Hill and Corinne Manches. On looking at the prints she turned up her nose "I never much liked my looks."
Basil Dean died in 1978. Her second husband was the actor Peter Challice Walter in 1951 also an actor. They met starring in a play together in London.
Victoria Hopper celebrated her 97th birthday with friends, she now required twenty-four hour care but remained in her sprawling 17th century cottage in Romeny Marsh. She joked "I haven't enough life in me to blow out my birthday candles."
She leaves no immediate survivors.
AL BACULIS SR. Died Jan. 22, 2007
Composer/jazz musician Al Baculis Sr. died at age 76. The Canadian musician was a noted jazz virtuoso. He played the clarinet, alto and tenor saxophones. Mr. Baculis Sr. was the father of Canadian rock/jazz musician Al Baculis. Mr. Baculis composed scores for Radio Canada and the CBC TV network. Mr. Baculis also composed scores for four productions of the National Film Board of Canada. Mr. Baculis TV credits include "Let's Go," "Music Hall" and "Vedettes en Direct." Mr. Baculis composed the mucis for the closing ceremonies of the 1976 Olympic Games held in Montreal.
ANNA CROPPER Died Jan. 22, 2007
British actress Anna Cropper died at age 69. Ms. Cropper appeared in over 60 films and TV shows. She also enjoyed a successful stage career in the UK. Ms. Cropper's "Z Cars," "Softly, Softly," "The Wednesday Play: In Two Minds," "Cromwell," "Coronation Street," the miniseries "The Lost Boys" and "Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story." She was the mother of BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated actor Linus Roache.
E. HOWARD HUNT Died Jan. 23, 2007
Hero or traitor, patriot or usurper of the public trust. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Maybe not a tailor. E. Howard Hunt served as a soldier and sailor and OSS officer during WWII and later became a shadow warrior in the CIA. From the Guatemala to the Bay of Pigs to Watergate and countless other covert ops in between, E. Howard Hunt stood in the darkness working for what he believed was his nation's best interest. If you believe Victor Marchetti's articles and Oliver Stone's highly speculative film, E. Howard Hunt was involved in JFK's assassination. Mr. Hunt sued the magazine that published Mr. Marchetti's article.
E. Howard Hunt's involvement in setting up the Watergate break in pulled him out from his shadowy, covert world, ending his CIA career. The act also earned him a 35-year prison sentence. Mr. Hunt served less than three years of the sentence. He then began a low profile private life. Mr. Hunt also continued his prolific career as a writer of both novels and non-fiction books. E. Howard Hunt was the author over nearly 90 books!
An interesting trivia note is the fact that the creator's of the TV series "Mission Impossible" based the main character of Jim Phelps on Mr. Hunt. The fact wasn't acknowledged until director Brian DePalma made the film version. The main character was now named 'Ethan Hunt' in tribute to the real-life spy. Mr. Hunt appeared in the 11994 miniseries documentary "Watergate." Mr. Hunt was portrayed by actor Ed Harris in Oliver Stone's surprisingly forgiving "Nixon." He was also portrayed by James Greene in the TV mini series "Blind Ambition" based on John Dean's account of the Watergate scandal. Actor Bill Zuckert played Mr. Hunt in the Charles Colson biopic "Born Again."
ART BARDA Died Jan. 23, 2007
Motorcycle racer Art Barda died of prostate cancer at age 70. Mr. Barda's racing career began in the late 1950s. He ended his racing career in the 1970s but continued to work in the motorcycle industry. Mr. Barda was a stunt rider in the "Death Race 2000" sequel (of sorts) "Deathsport."
DAVE RITCHIE Died Jan. 25, 2007
Set dresser and purchaser Dave Ritchie was killed in an on-set accident in Canada. Mr. Ritchie was 56 years old. Mr. Ritchie was working on the sci-fi film "Jumper" when a concrete wall collapsed, killing Mr. Ritchie and injuring two others. "Jumper" stars Samuel L. Jackson. Mr. Ritchie's screen credits include "X-Men," "Get Over It," "New York Minute," the remake of "The In-Laws." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
RICHARD SCHIEFFER Died Jan. 22, 2007
Actor and TV newsman Rick Schieffer died of a stroke the day before his 69th birthday. Mr. Schieffer appeared in the films "Desert Bloom," "Man Hunt" and "Jesse." Mr. Schieffer worked at local TV stations in Tucson, Arizona and San Antonio, Texas.
DAVID RONNE Died Jan. 23, 2007
Multi Oscar and Emmy nominated sound mixer David Ronne died at age 63. Mr. Ronne worked on over 100 films and TV shows. He shared three Oscar nominations for his work on the films "On Golden Pond," "The River" and "Silverado." Mr. Ronne was nominated four times for the Emmy Award. His Emmy-nominated credits are "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman," "Eleanor and Franklin: The Early years," "Brooklyn Bridge" and "Gypsy." Mr. Ronne's many feature film credits include "Miami Vice," "Hart's War," "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer," "Face/Off," "Stargate," "Beetle Juice," "Star 80," "Thief," "Melvin and Howard," "Butch and Sundance: The Early Days," "Marathon Man," "Burnt Offerings," "Obsession" and "Conrack."
BOB TRACEY Died Feb. Jan. 26, 2007
Pittsburgh DJ Bob Tracey died of complications of pneumonia at age 83. Mr. Tracey was a popular DJ for nearly 40 years. He appeared in a number of films including "The Mothman Prophecies," Sinbad's "Houseguest" and Norman Jewison's romantic comedy "Only You." Mr. Tracey was once asked by his friend Bob Keeshan to film a pilot for a children's TV show. Mr. Tracey turned down the offer as he would not be paid. Mr. Keeshan went on to play the part himself in the pilot and the long-running TV show that followed: "Captain Kangaroo."
CHARLOTTE LESHER Died Jan. 27, 2007
Charlotte Lesher, the mother of Joey Ramone, died of a heart attack at age 80. Joey Ramone, the lead singer of the legendary punk band "The Ramones" died of lymphoma in 2001. Ms. Lesher appeared as herself in the documentaries "End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones" and "Lifestyles of the Ramones." Ms. Lesher also received a Thanks credit on the documentary "Ramones Raw."
XU WEILUN Died Jan. 27, 2007
Taiwanese actress Xu Weilun was killed in a car crash. The 28-year-old actress suffered sever head injuries when the Mini Cooper she was riding in hit a highway guardrail and was then struck from behind by a van. Ms. Weilun went into a coma and died when hydrocephalus developed. Ms. Weilun was known in her native land for her work in a number of TV series including "True Love at 18" and "Love Storm." Ms. Weilun also recorded an album and wrote a book for beauty tips. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
BOB CARROLL JR. Died Jan. 27, 2007
Award-winning writer Bob Carroll Jr. died at age 88. Mr. Carroll was nominated for two Emmy awards during his career. He was best known as one of Lucille Ball's regular writers. Mr. Carroll was the long-time writing partner of Madelyn Pugh. Mr. Carroll shared two Emmy nominations for his work on "I Love Lucy" and "Here's Lucy." Mr. Carroll also wrote for Ms. Ball on her radio show "My Favorite Husband," the TV series "The Lucy Show," the TV movie "Lucy Calls he President" and the feature film "Yours, Mine and Ours." In 1992 Mr. Carroll received the Laurel Award for TV Writing Achievement from his peers at the Writer's Guild. Mr. Carroll's other credits include "The Paul Lynde Show," "Alice" and "The Mothers-In-Law."
CLAUDE BINYON JR. Died Jan. 27, 2007
Award-winning assistant director Claude Binyon Jr. died at age 76. Mr. Binyon shared two DGA awards as assistant director on Michael Cimino's "The Deer Hunter" and the TV series "77 Sunset Strip." Mr. Binyon was also a production manager and TV producer. Mr. Binyon's assistant directing credits also include "Westworld," Curtis Harrinton's classic horror film "What's the Matter With Helen?," "B.S. I Love You," the great made for TV monster movie "Gargoyles," "That's Entertainment," "The Virginia Hill Story," Norman Lear's comedy "Cold Turkey" and "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine." Mr. Binyon's was an AD on three Elvis movies: "Clam Bake," "Spin Out" and "Double Trouble." He also worked on a number of episodes of the TV series "Star Trek" and "Get Smart." Mr. Binyon's father, Claude Binyon Sr. was a WGA-nominated screenwriter. His father was also a journalist for variety, best know fro writing the famous headline "Wall Street Lays an Egg" referring to the stock market crash of 1929.
WALKER STUART Died Jan. 27, 2007
Oscar-nominated director Walker Stuart died. His age was not given. Mr. Walker received a Best Short Subject: Live Action Oscar nomination for the 1963 film "That's Me." Alan Arkin starred in the comedy short. Mr. Stuart produced documentaries, TV movies and feature films. He was a line producer and actor in Disney's "Never Cry Wolf." Mr. Walker produced the 1969 documentary "To Save a Soldier," which was narrated by Henry Fonda. He also produced the 70s cult horror film "Malatesta's Carnival of Blood." Other producer, associate producer and co-producer credits include the 1990 version of "Lord of the Flies," "Short Eyes," "End of the Line," "1918" and the TV documentaries "Abortion!" and "Hemmingway's Spain: A Love Affair."
TIGE ANDREWS Died Jan 27, 2007
Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor Tige Andrews died at age 86. Mr. Andrews was best known to TV audiences of the 1960s for his role as Captain Greer on "The Mod Squad." Mr. Andrews received both an Emmy and Golden Globe award nomination for his work on the series which ran five seasons. He reprised his role in the 1979 TV movie "Return of the Mod Squad." Mr. Andrews also received an Emmy nomination for a guest appearance on the TV series "The Big Valley." "Star Trek" fans remember Tige Andrews for his role as the Klingon Kras in the original TV series.
Tige Andrews appeared in over 60 films and TV series during his career. His career actually began on the stage. His Broadway credits include "The Threepenny Opera" and "Mister Roberts." Director John Ford cast Mr. Andrews in the film version of "Mister Roberts." That was Tige Andrews' film debut. John Ford also cast him in his film "The Wings of Eagles" and the TV show "Alcoa Presents: Flashing Spikes." Mr. Andrews's film credits include Robert Wise's "Until They Sail," "China Doll," "Onionhead," Raoul Walsh's "A Private's Affair," "In Enemy Country," in the title role of "The Werewolf of Woodstock," Elia Kazan's "The Last Tycoon" and the Allen Smithee directed Vanna White stripper movie "Gypsy Angels." Tige Andrews played Shimon Peres in the excellent Made for TV movie "Raid on Entebbe."
EMMANUELE LUZZATI Died Jan. 27, 2007
Oscar-nominated short subject director Emmanuele Luzzati died at age 85, one day after falling ill. Mr. Luzzati received two Oscar nominations for Best Short Subject Animated for the films "Pulcinella" and "The Thieving Magpie." Mr. Luzaati directed several other animated shorts. He was the production designer on the feature film "All Women Behave Like That, or The School for Lovers." Mr. Luzzati was a very successful set designer for stage productions.
HERBERT REINECKER Died Jan. 27, 2007
Award-winning German screenwriter Herbert Reinecker died at age 92. Mr. Reinecker wrote scripts for nearly 100 films and TV shows. He wrote all 281 episodes of the German detective TV series "Derrick." Mr. Reinecker work was honored at the German Film Awards. In 1993 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Bavarian TV Awards. Mr. Reinecker was a Nazi in WWII. He wrote propaganda for the Hitler Youth and was a war reporter for the Waffen SS. Hopefully he saw the error of his ways and atoned for those sins before meeting his maker.
KAREL SVOBODA Died Jan. 28, 2007
Czech composer Karel Svoboda died of an apparent suicide at age 58. Mr. Svoboda was found with a gunshot wound to the head. Mr. Svoboda scored over 50 films and TV series during his career. He may be best known for his work on the anime series "Maya the Bee." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
MARCHELINE BERTRAND Died Jan. 28, 2007
Actress/producer Marcheline Bertrand died of cancer at age 56. Ms. Bertrand was the ex-wife of actor Jon Voight and the mother of actress Angelina Jolie and actor James Haven. Ms. Bertrand produced the documentary "Trudell." The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Ms. Bertrand acted in Hal Ashby's "Lookin' to Get Out" and Blake Edwards' "The Man Who Loved Women."
TEALA LORING Died Jan. 28, 2007
Actress Teala Loring (real name Marcia Eloise Griffin Pickler) died of injuries sustained in an automobile crash at age 84. Ms. Loring was the sister of actresses Debra Paget and Lisa Gaye and actor/makeup artist Frank Griffin. She was the aunt of makeup artist Roxanne Griffin. Ms. Loring appeared in over 30 films during the 1940s. She played the female lead in the horror movie "Return of the Apeman." She was one of John Carradine's murder victims in the 1944 horror film "Bluebeard." Her other credits include "Dark Alibi," "Allotment Wives," "Bring on the Girls," "Henry Aldrich's Little Secret," "Holiday Inn" and "My Favorite Blonde."
NIKOS KOURKOULOS Died Jan. 30, 2007
Greek actor Nikos Kourkoulos died of cancer at age 73. Mr. Kourkoulos was a renowned stage actor in his native land. Mr. Kourkoulos was the director of the National Theater of Greece. He appeared once on Broadway and received a Tony Nomination for his performance! Mr. Kourkoulos appeared in nearly 50 films during his lengthy career. He was the father of actor Alkis Kourkoulos.
SIDNEY SHELDON Died Jan. 30, 2007
Oscar, Tony and Emmy award-winning writer/producer and best selling novelist Sidney Sheldon died of pneumonia at age 89. Sidney Sheldon wrote the kind of books that women loved to read at the beach. Summer fluff that took them away to far-off and exotic places. The books were populated by the kind of women that other women fantasized about being: smart, sexy, tough and feminine all at the same time. It was writing novels that gave Sidney Sheldon his greatest professional satisfaction. His books sold millions of copies. Not bad for a man who began writing novels halfway through his life. Not bad for a man who had already attained the pinnacle of success on stage, in feature films and on TV.
Sidney Sheldon won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for the Cary Grant/Shirley Temple comedy "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer." Among his original and adapted screenplays are "Annie Get Your Gun," "Easter Parade," "Three Guys Named Mike" and "You're Never Too Young."
During the 1960s, Mr. Sheldon turned his pen to TV. During this same time period he became a producer and series creator. Mr. Sheldon created the hit TV series "I Dream of Jeannie," "The Patty Duke Show" and "Hart to Hart." Mr. Sheldon won an Emmy Award as executive producer of "I Dream of Jeannie."
When Mr. Sheldon's novels became blockbusters, many of them were adapted for the screen or TV. Those works include "The Other Side of Midnight," "Rage of Angels," "Master of the Game," "Windmills of the Gods," "The Sands of Time" and "A Stranger in the Mirror."
Mr. Sheldon also enjoyed success on Broadway. He wrote six plays for the Great White Way. The 1959 play "Redhead" won Mr. Sheldon the Best Musical Tony award. Bob Fosse choreographed the play and Fosse's wife Gwen Verdon starred.
Mr. Sheldon served his country as a pilot in the US Army/Air Corp during WWII.
JEANNE KANE Died Jan. 30, 2007
Jeanne Kane, one of the singing Kane Triplets was murdered in Pleasant Plains, New York. The 58-year-old Ms. Kane was shot in the head while she sat in her car waiting to pick up her daughter. He ex-husband, an ex-NYPD officer was arrested in South Carolina on suspicion of her murder. Jeanne Kane and her sisters Lucille and Maureen were born in 1948. The three sisters began singing while still young girls. They continue to record and perform through the mid-1970s, Their most famous song was a cool version of the "Mission Impossible" theme song. The Kane Triplets appeared on such TV shows as "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Jack Benny Show," "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts," "The Perry Como Special" and "The Tonight Show." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
GRIFFITH JONES Died Jan. 30, 2007
British stage and screen actor Griffith Jones died at age 96. Mr. Jones began his stage and screen career in the early 1930s. He appeared in over 70 films and TV shows during his career. Mr. Jones also enjoyed success on stage at London's West End and Broadway. Mr. Jones' film credits include "The Rise of Catherine the Great," The Wife of General Ling," Laurence Olivier's Oscar nominated "Henry V," "A Yank at Oxford," "The Wicked Lady" and "The Sea Shall Not Have Them."
BYRON MCKINNEY Died Jan. 30, 2007
Producer Byron McKinney died at age 88. Mr. McKinney began his career in the early days of TV. He was a director for the Dumont Television Network. Mr. McKinney's best known film is the award-winning documentary "To Fly!" The IMAX film was used during the opening of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. The 1976 film was also added to the National Film Registry. Mr. McKinney served his country in the US Navy during WWII.
JAMES BLAKELEY Died Jan. 30, 2007
Film editor James Blakeley died of heart disease at age 96. Mr. Blakeley began his career as an actor appearing in such films as "Paris in the Spring" and "The Shadow Strikes." After service in the US Army-Air Corp during WWII, Mr. Blakeley returned to Hollywood. He began his long career as a film editor in the 1950s. Mr. Blakeley worked on such films as "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," "Patton" and the TV series "Peyton Place" and "Batman." Mr. Blakeley was married to actress Mary Carlisle. He was at one time the head of post-production at 20th Century Fox during his 50 years with that studio.
LEE BERGERE Died Jan. 31, 2007
Character actor Lee Bergere died at age 88. Mr. Bergere worked both on stage and screen. He appeared in 60 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. Mr. Beregere has devoted fans from two hit TV series. He played the Carrington's major domo Joseph Aynders from 1981 through 1981 on the hit series "Dynasty." Mr. Beregere also has a devoted fan base for his one appearance (as Abe Lincoln) on the original "Star Trek." Mr. Bergere's narrated the Oscar-nominated documentary "Birds Do It, Bees Do It." Mr. Beregere worked primarily on TV. He did appear in the feature films "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" and "Time Trackers." Mr. Bergere's many TV credits include "Perry Mason," "Robert Montgomery Presents," "Wanted: Dead or Alive," "Wagon Train," "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," "Studio One," "McHale's Navy," "The Munsters," "The Addams Family," "Get Smart," "Mannix," "Mission Impossible," "Hogan's Heroes," "Hot L Baltimore," "All in the Family," "Maude," "Soap," "WKRP in Cincinnati" and the miniseries "North and South."
CHARLOTTE DE ARMOND Died Jan. 31, 2007
Social activist Charlotte De Armond died at age 87. Ms. De Armond devoted her life to make Los Angeles a better place to live. Among her many talents was filmmaking. She produced the Oscar-winning short film "Teen Father," which was directed by Taylor Hackford. Ms. De Armond's other award-winning films include "Running My Way," "Growing Up Together: Four Teen Mothers and Their Babies" "I'm 17, I'm Pregnant . . . and I Don't Know What To Do."