ROD MACLEISH Died July 1, 2006
Author Rod MacLeish died of natural causes at age 80. Mr. MacLeish was journalist and filmmaker. During his eventful life he covered many historic events including the Vietnam and Sinai Wars. He was once imprisoned in Siberia. Mr. MacLeish shared an Emmy nomination with Daniel Wilson and John Baehrend for the documentary mini-series "The Hermitage: A Russian Odyssey."
JAYE MICHAEL DAVIS Died July 1, 2006
This one hits close to home. Longtime Memphis DJ and Shelby County sheriff’s deputy Jaye Michael Davis (real name Preston Moore) was killed in a motorcycle accident near Tunica Mississippi. His wife was also injured. Mr. Davis was driving the motorcycle which hit a car turning across the highway. The woman driving the car has not been charged as yet. Jaye Michael Davis was a longtime DJ and talk radio personality in Memphis. He worked for the pioneer Black radio station WDIA for over 30 years. Mr. Davis appeared in the excellent D.A. Pennebaker/Chris Hegedus concert documentary "Only the Strong Survive." The movie focused on and contain performances by many of the great musical acts to come out of Stax Records in Memphis.
FRED MCCARREN Died July 2, 2006
Actor Fred McCarren died at age 55. Mr. McCarren was a prolific actor in commercials, appearing in over 200 TV and radio ads. He also appeared in a number of films and TV shows. His credits include "The Goodbye Girl," "Xanadu," "The Star Chamber" and "National Lampoon's Class Reunion."
JAN MURRAY Died July 2, 2006
Comic actor Jan Murray died at age 89. The stand-up comic became a popular host of several TV series during the 1950s. He hosted six TV shows during the 50s. The most popular one was "Treasure Hunt," which ran from 1956 through 1959. Like many folks my age, I remember Mr. Murray best from his many appearances on "Hollywood Squares" and "The Tonight Show." He was a frequent guest host of "The Tonight Show" for Johnny Carson. He also acted in a number of films. Mr. Murray’s film credits include "Tarzan and the Great River," "The Busy Body," "Thunder Alley" and "Which Way To the Front?"
JACK SMITH Died July 3, 2006
Singer and actor Jack Smith died of leukemia at age 92. Mr. Smith enjoyed a singing and radio career that began in the 1930s. He later appeared in TV and film. Mr. Smith was the final host of the popular 1950s TV game show "You Asked For It!" The show was cancelled in 1959. The show returned with Smith as the host in the 1970s and ran several years in syndication. Mr. Smith also acted in several TV shows including "Police Story," "The Andy Griffith Show," "I Dream of Jeannie" and "Charlie’s Angels." During his heyday as a singer, Mr. Smith appeared in the Three Stooges short "Beer and Pretzels" and the Doris Day film "On Moonlight Bay."
CAPTAIN ARTHUR HAGGERTY Died July 3, 2006
World-renowned dog trainer and character Captain Arthur Haggerty died of adenocarcinoma at age 74. Captain Haggerty appeared on "The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson" and "The Mike Douglas Show" to discuss his animal training methods. He train animals which appeared in over 500 TV commercials. Captain Haggerty also appeared in a famous commercial. He was the original Mr. Clean! In addition to his first love, Captain Haggerty appeared in many films. I was a huge Burt Reynolds fan in the early 70s. One of his best movies was the detective thriller "Shamus." Captain Haggerty played the bald, heavyset bodyguard of the film’s badguy. The scene in which Burt Reynolds landed a two-by-four to the Captain’s crotch made every male movie-goer in the country flinch in sympathetic pain. His film credits include "The Pawnbroker," "The House of Dark Shadows," "The Great Gatsby," "The Eyes of Laura Mars," Lucio Fulci’s "Zombi 2," "Home Movies," "The Last Dragon," "Married to the Mob" and "Honeymoon in Vegas." Captain Haggerty served his country in the US Army and saw combat during The Korean War. Captain Haggerty was a dog trainer for the military and wrote the book for training dogs to detect mines.
PEGGY DOYLE Died July 3, 2006
Character actress Peggy Doyle (real name Margaret Amacker) died at age 85. Ms. Doyle worked on radio, TV and film. She was a familiar face to Californians as the hip senior citizen in the Boost Mobile Phone TV commercials. Ms. Doyle’s many film and TV credits include "Fletch," "Kentucky Fried Movie," "Happy Days," "Laverne and Shirley," "ChiPs," "Highway to Heaven," "General Hospital" and "E.R."
DAVID BROWN Died July 4, 2006
Construction coordinator David Brown died at age 74. The I.A.T.S.E. Local 44 member’s many credits include "The General’s Daughter," "Dante’s Peak," "White Man Can’t Jump," "Stand By Me" and "Prizzi’s Honor."
JEAN PAQUI Died July 4, 2006
French actor Jean Paqui was killed in an automobile accident at age 85. Mr. Paqui appeared in a number of films during the 1930s, 40s and 50s. His credits include the 1955 version of "Napoleon," "The Life and Loves of Beethoven" and "Serenade of Texas."
JACK SAMETH Died July 4, 2006
Producer/director Jack Sameth died of heart failure at age 79. Mr. Sameth helped create one of my all time favorite TV series. "The Great American Dream Machine" aired on PBS in 1971 and 72. The show was a mixture of skits, experimental films, political commentary and satire. The show featured Marshall Efron who later came up with "Marshall Efron’s Painless Sunday School." Also in the cast was Ken Shapiro, the writer/director and star of "The Groove Tube." There was also an unknown comic named Chevy Chase who would later become a star on network TV. The TV series was an explosion of creativity during an amazing decade for the arts. Mr. Sameth was a director during the days of live TV. He then directed the network news on ABC before moving to PBS. Mr. Sameth was the executive producer of the documentary "Depression" and the TV series "Television."
JUAN PABLO REBELLA Died July 5, 2006
Award-winning Uruguayan director Juan Pablo Rebella died of a gunshot wound to the head. Police suspect the 32 year old director committed suicide. Mr. Rebella co-directed two films with Pablo Stoll during his short career. Their fiorst fil was "25 Watts." Their second film, "Whiskey" garnered praise and awards from around the world. The film was nominated for 14 awards at film festivals around the world. It won awards at Sundance, Cannes, the Tokyo International Film Festival, at Mexico’s Ariel Awards and Spain’s Goya Awards. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
KEN LAY Died July 5, 2005
Convicted Enron chairman Ken Lay died at his rented vacation home in Colorado at age 64. The family’s minister said he died of a massive heart attack. Mr. Lay and Enron CEO Jeff Skilling were convicted six weeks ago of conspiracy, wire fraud and securities for their part in the nation’s biggest corporate fraud scandal. Mr. Lay appeared as himself in the Oscar-nominated documentary "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room." Actor Mike Farrell played Kenneth Lay in the CBS TV movie "The Crooked E." Einsiders.com’s own Jon Ted Wynne played Jeff Skilling in the same film.
BENJAMIN HENDRICKSON Death announced July 5, 2006
Emmy-winning actor Benjamin Hendrickson committed suicide by gunshot one month shy of his 56th birthday. He was in a state of depression following the death of his mother from cancer. Mr. Hendrickson won an Emmy for his portrayal of Hal Munson on the long-running soap opera "As the World Turns." Mr. Hendrickson played the character for nearly 20 years. Mr. Hendrickson played Hannibal Lector’s keeper Dr. Chilton in Michael Mann’s excellent "Manhunter." The film was later remade as "Red Dragon." "Regarding Henry," "Consenting Adults," "Russkies" and "The Guiding Light." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
AMZIE STRICKLAND Died July 5, 2006
Prolific character actress Amzie Strickland died of Alzheimer’s Disease at age 87. Ms. Strickland appeared in over 130 films and TV shows during her lengthy career. She appeared in nearly every American TV series produced from the 1950s through the 1980s. She had a number of fans due to her appearances on "The Andy Griffith Show." By one count, Ms. Strickland appeared in over 600 episodes of various TV series. Ms. Strickland’s many TV credits include "I Love Lucy," "The Millionaire," "Make Room for Daddy," "Dragnet," "Rawhide," "The Twilight Zone," "Leave It To Beaver," "Perry Mason," "Bonanza," "The Untouchables," "Wagon Train," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "The Fugitive," "Gomer Pyle," "The Mod Squad," "Then Came Bronson," "Gunsmoke," "Mission Impossible" and the list goes on and on through such shows as "Alf," "The Golden Girls" and "E.R." Her many film credits include "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue," "Captain Newman M.D.," "Kotch," "Harper Valley PTA" and "Doc Hollywood."
KASEY ROGERS (aka) LAURA ELLIOT Died July 6, 2006
Actress Kasey Rogers died at age 79. Ms. Rogers had battled cancer for a number of years and had suffered a stroke. I had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Rogers last year at the Memphis Film Festival along with her business partner Mark Wood. At the time, Ms. Rogers had difficulty speaking due to a recent throat surgery. She was a bit reluctant to talk at length with me because she wanted to use her limited speaking resources for the fans who had come to see her. Mark Wood was nice enough to talk for her as she nodded her approval at what he said or stopped to correct him the one time he had a fact a little but off. I admired he spunk and tenacity that day as I watched her speak to the fans in as loud a voice as she could muster. She spoke of working with Hitchcock on his classic "Strangers on a Train" as well as her recurring role as Louise Tate on the hit TV series "Bewitched." She and Mr. Wood were promoting a "Bewitched" cookbook they had written. Ms. Rogers also spoke of her hopes of launching a cooking show on TV. She looked great despite her illness. I found Ms. Roger's example comforting and inspiring on a personal level in light of my daughter's battle to walk following her accident.
Kasey Rogers also acted under the name of Laura Elliot. She changer her name from Casey Rogers to Laura Elliot while under contract to Paramount. When she left Paramount and began working in TV, she switched back to Casey Rogers except she switched the first letter of Casey to a "K." As Laura Elliot she played Farley Granger’s conniving ex-wife in Hitchcock’s masterpiece "Strangers On a Train." She had one of the most memorable death scenes in any Hitchcock film. Her character wore thick glasses. She met her fate at a fairgrounds at night . Robert Walker lights a cigarette lighter, which illuminates his reflection in her glasses. The glasses fall to the ground as Walker then strangles her. Hitchcock filmed the murder reflected from the thick glasses as they lay on the ground. It was one of his great set pieces and a brilliant example of the type of process shots Hitchcock was capable of producing. Ms. Rogers talked with me about shooting that scene. She stated that she was on a soundstage. Hitchcock had a concave mirror several feet in diameter set up. She had to fall a number of times before the master was satisfied. Apparently he wanted her to defy gravity and float to the floor. She eventually floated to the floor and into film history. Ms. Rogers appeared in over 70 films and TV series during her career. She appeared in such feature films as "Samson and Delilah," "Two Lost Worlds," "Union Station" and "When Worlds Collide." He biggest success came in TV. She appeared in nearly every major TV show during the 1950s and 60s before retiring from acting. She was a regular on the soap opera "Peyton Place" for two years during the 1960s. In addition to her acting, Ms. Rogers became a pioneer in woman’s motocross racing while in her 40s!
SYD BARRETT Died July 7, 2006
Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett died of undisclosed causes at age 60. Mr. Barrett co-founded the band and wrote most of the songs for their 1967 debut albuim "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn." Mr. Barrett’s life was marked by personal tragedy. After several years of extensive drug use, Mr. Barrett began to suffer from mental illness. He left the band in 1968 and spent most of the rest of his life in seclusion. The song "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" from the "Wish You Were Here" album was dedicated to Syd Barrett. Mr. Barrett appeared with other band members in the 1967 film "Pink Floyd London ’66 ’67." He also appeared in the documentary "The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story." He composed music that was used on the soundtracks of the TV series "The X-Files," "San Francisco" and "Tonight Let’s All Make Love in London."
RUDI CARRELL Died July 7, 2006
Dutch singer Rudi Carrell died of lung cancer at age 71. Mr. Carrell represented his homeland in the 1960 "Eurovision Song Contest." As a result of the exposure, Mr. Carrell was given his own TV show. He went on to have a ong and successful career both as a singer and a TV personality. He hosted eight TV series and made guest appearances on many more. Mr. Carrell also acted in a few films and TV shows.
ANNA MARIA CAMPOY Died July 8, 2006
Columbian actress Anna Maria Campoy died of pneumonia at age 81. Ms. Campoy’s film career spanned eight decades. Ms. Campoy acted in films in South America and Europe. She was married to the late actor Jose Cibrian. The pair appeared in 11 films and TV shows together including the 1960 TV miniseries "Topaze."
PETER HAWKINS Died July 8, 2006
British actor Peter Hawkins died at age 82. Mr. Hawkins did both live action and voice work. Mr. Kawkins thrilled generations of children and adults alike with his voice work in such shows as "The Adventures of Tintin" and "Dr. Who and the Daleks." Among his many voice credits are roles in "Whirligig," "Flower Pot Men," "Captain Pugwash," "Bleep and Booster" and "Penny Crayon." Mr. Hawkins appeared in the "Z-Cars" spin-off" "Softly, Softly." Other live action credits include "The Days of Vengeance" and "Father Brown." Mr. Hawkins served his country in the Royal Navy during WWII.
JUNE ALLYSON Died July 8, 2006
Actress June Allyson died of pulmonary respiratory failure at age 88. Ms. Allyson rose from a contract player at MGM to one the studio’s top movie stars. She was typecast as the perfect wife. She played James Stewart’s wife in "Strategic Air Command," "The Stratton Story" and "The Glenn Miller Story." Later in her career, she turned her perfect wife image on its head by playing Hal Holbrook’s lesbian wife in "They Only Kill Their Masters." Ms. Allyson was also a frequent co-star of Van Johnson. They appeared in such films as "Two Girls and a Sailor," "Till the Clouds Roll By," "The Bride Goes Wild" and an episode of "The Love Boat" among others. June Allyson appeared in over 100 films, TV shows and documentaries. She was adept in comedies, musicals and straight drama. She and friend Judy Garland appeared in four films together including "Girl Crazy" and "Words and Music." June Allyson received top-billing in the 1949 version of "Little Women." Elizabeth Taylor, Janet Leigh and Margaret O’Brien played her sisters.
June Allyson was married to actor Dick Powell for nearly 20 years. They were married until his death by cancer in 1963. She and her husband appeared together in three films and several episodes of his TV series. The couple’s son, Dick Powell Jr. portrayed his own father in the 1977 film "Day of the Locust." Following the death of first husband Dick Powell, June Allyson appeared in fewer films and concentrated on TV work. Other film credits include the 1948 version "The Three Musketeers," "Executive Suite," "The McConnell Story," "Best Foot Forward" and "The Shrike." Ms. Allyson was known to later generations for her TV commercials for Depends undergarments.
LEE WOLFBERG Died July 9, 2006
Producer and agent Lee Wolfberg died of cancer at age 76. Mr. Wolfberg was the personal agent for a number of performers including Vic Damone and Pat Morita. He was also the manager and good friend of the late Don Adams. He produced the Don Adams TV series "The Partners."
CHRISTIAN DRAKE Died July 9, 2006
Former actor turned businessman Christian Drake died at age 82. Mr. Drake appeared in over 100 films and TV shows during a career that stretched from just after WWII to the early 1960s. Sci-fi and horror fans remember him as the doomed state trooper killed by the giant ants at the beginning of the classic "Them!" Mr. Drake played James Whitmore’s partner in the movie. He is left behind to guard a murder scene when the oversized murderous bugs return. His off-screen death is still chilling as the sounds of his guns shots and screams are lost in the creepy "voice" of the giant ants. Mr. Drake co-starred with the late Irish McCalla in the 1955 TV series "Sheena: Queen of the Jungle." Among Mr. Drake’s many credits are "A Walk in the Sun," "Tokyo Rose," "Battleground," "Halls of Montezuma," "Operation Pacific," "Gobs and Gals" and "The Anapolis Story." Mr. Drake brought more than a touch of realism to the many war films he appeared in. He served his country in the US Marine during WWII. He saw combat in the Pacific and was wounded at Guadalcanal.
MILAN WILLIAMS Died July 9, 2006
Milan Williams, composer and co-founder of the funk/R&B band "The Commodores" died of complications from leukemia at age 58. In addition to co-writing music and songs, Mr. Williams was the band’s keyboardist. He wrote the instrumental kit "Machine Gun." That songs and others like the monster hit record "Brick House" have been used on the soundtracks of a number of films. The music of "The Commodores" has been used in films such as "Looking For Mr. Goodbar," "Thank God It’s Friday," "Boogie Nights" and "Undercover Brother."
AL STEVENSON Died July 10, 2006
Character actor and radio personality Al Stevenson died at age 73. Mr. Stevenson worked in radio in Missouri and California. His film and TV acting credits include "Critters 2," "Cornbread Earl and Me," "Kojak," "Baretta," "Sanford and Son," "The Women of San Quenton," "Hill Street Blues" and a recurring role on "The Rockford Files." Mr. Stevenson played the title role in the 1973 film "Mr. Brown."
ANNE-SOPHIE DEVAL Died July 10, 2006
Teen French actress Anne-Sophie Deval died of cancer at age 16. She fought the disease since discovering it in October 2005. The young actress appeared on TV and in films. She is survived by her parents and younger brother Jean-Paul who is also a child actor. Ms. Deval’s credits include "The Atlantic Isle" and "Commissaire Cordier." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
DARYL NICKENS Died July 10, 2006
Emmy and WGA nominated screenwriter Daryl Nickens died of prostate cancer at age 53. Mr. Nickens was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for the TV movie "You Must Remember This." His peers in the Writers Guild nominated him for his work on "The 19th Annual NAACP Image Awards." Though he worked primarily in TV, Mr. Nickens wrote the comedy feature "House Party 2." His many TV credits include "Benson," "Webster," "What’s Happening Now!," "A Different World," "Viper" and "The Parkers." He also edited the great book "Doing It For Money: The Agony and Ecstasy of Writing and Surviving in Hollywood." He was a senior lecturer on screenwriting at the American Film Institute and was a former WGA vice-president.
JOYCE GRANT Died July 11, 2006
South African actress Joyce Grant died of cancer at age 82. Ms. Grant enjoyed success as a stage and TV actress in England. Her many TV credits include "The Black Adder" and "The Professionals."
BILL MILLER Died July 11, 2006
Pianist Bill Miller died of a heart attack after suffering a fall during a concert in Canada. Mr. Miller was 91. Mr. Miller was Frank Sinatra’s accompanist for almost 50 years. Mr. Miller appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Real Las Vegas." His music is heard in the films "Pal Joey" and "Young At Heart." He appeared on the TV series "The Frank Sinatra Show" and the TV special "Frank Sinatra: The Main Event."
BARNARD HUGHES Died July 11, 2006
Tony and Emmy-winning actor Barnard Hughes died after a short illness five days before his 91st birthday. Mr. Hughes won the Tony for Best Actor for the play "Da." The play was turned into a feature film co-starring Martin Sheen. Mr. Hughes won an Outstanding Lead Actor for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series Emmy for a 1977 guest appearance on "Lou Grant." Barnard Hughes was a prolific actor whose career stretched back to the 1930s. He appeared in nearly 100 films and TV shows. Horror and Sci-Fi movie fans like myself remember Mr. Hughes fondly for his performances in such films and TV shows as Brian DePalma’s "Sisters," "Tron," "The Lost Boys" and "Dark Shadows." Of course, Mr. Hughes had many fans who appreciated his deft comedic touch. He livened up many comedy films and TV shows such as "Sister Act 2," "Doc Hollywood," "Oh God!," the twisted "Where’s Poppa?," the truly quirky "Deadhead Miles," Paddy Chayefsky’s darkly hilarious "The Hospital," "Cold Turkey" and "All in the Family." One of the things that Made Barnard Hughes so successful as an actor was his range. Good guy, bad guy, comedy, horror, sniveling coward or heroic Everyman, Bernard Hughes could do it all with equal perfection. The trait made him one of the most in demand character actors for several decades. Mr. Hughes appeared in many, many Broadway plays dating back to 1935. He also appeared in a number of serious films. Among his other notable theatrical and TV film credits are "Midnight Cowboy," "Rage," "Pueblo," "Guilty or Innocent: The Sam Sheppard Murder Case," "Kill Me If You Can," "First Monday in October" and "Little Gloria…Happy At Last." Mr. Hughes served his country in the US Army during WWII.
DAVID MORALES Died July 12, 2006
Businessman and retired part-time actor David Morales died at age 87. Though it wasn’t his main occupation, Mr. Morales appeared in several films during his lifetime. He was also involved in regional theater. Mr. Morales appeared in the films "Big Jim McLain," "Second Chance," "Assignment: Paris," "About Mrs. Leslie," "Second Chance" and "Double Trouble." Mr. Morales served his country under Gen. Patton during WWII.
STANIS NIEVO Died July 12, 2006
Filmmaker Stanis Nievo died at age 72. Mr. Nievo and his partners made cult classic "Mondo Cane" in 1962. The film was a predecessor of reality documentaries such as "Faces of Death" and the ilk. The film was a mixture of sex, African rituals, depravity and nature study. The movie was also famous for the Oscar nominated song "More." Mr. Nievo co-directed the films "7 Women Per Head" and "Mal d’Africa." He was production manager on "Africa Addio."
KURT KREUGER Died July 12, 2006
German born actor Kurt Kreugar died of a stroke at age 89. Mr. Kreugar became a naturalized US citizen in 1944. Kurt Kreugar appeared in over 50 films and TV shows during his career. He played a number of Nazi characters during the WWII era. He appeared in such films as "Action in the North Atlantic," "Christmas in Connecticut," the original version of "Unfaithfully Yours," "The Hitler Gang" and "Sahara." Mr. Kreugar tired of being typecast and moved to Germany in the late 40s. He received the leads in a few films. After being seriously injured in a car crash, Mr. Kreugar moved back to the US and continued his career. He had a nice supporting role in the WWII film "The Enemy Below." During the 1960s Mr. Kreugar worked primarily in TV though he did make a few films. He played one of the seven doomed members of the Bugs Moran gang in Roger Corman’s gangster film "The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre."
KAREN MAYO-CHANDLER Died July 12, 2006
Actress Karen Mayo-Chandler died of breast cancer at age 47. Ms. Mayo-Chandler was a one-time girlfriend of Jack Nicholson. She shared her intimate secrets about his prowess as a lover in an article that accompanied her pictorial in Playboy Magazine. Ms. Mayo-Chandler appeared in a number films and TV shows including "Beverly Hills Cop," "Explorers," "Stripped to Kill 2," "976-EVIL 2," "Dark Planet" and "The Young and the Restless." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
RED BUTTONS Died July 13, 2006
Oscar winning actor Red Buttons died of vascular disease at age 87. Red Buttons won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for a BAFTA for his performance in the 1957 film "Sayonara." Red Buttons won an Emmy Award as Best Comedian for his 1950s TV show "The Red Buttons Show." He would later receive two more Golden Globe nominations as well as an Emmy nomination for his dramatic performances in "Harlow," "They Shoot Horses Don’t They?" and the TV series "ER." Not bad for a man best known for his work as a comedian. Red Buttons appeared in nearly 150 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. He began as a comedian in clubs while still a teenager in the 1930s. He served his country in the US Marines during WWII.
One of my favorite films as a child was Howard Hawks’ "Hatari!" I remember sitting on my doghouse (yes, the same doghouse that was a helicopter when I played "Whirlybirds") in the backard pretending to be John Wayne sitting on the front of his truck chasing rhinos like he did in the exciting safari adventure film. Red Buttons was memorable as Pockets in the same film. I loved the scene in which a leopard walked into Elsa Martinelli’s room. Red Buttons came in to save her from the beast. John Wayne screwed things up for Red when he came in and revealed that the leopard was a tame pet. Couldn’t blame Red for trying. One of the joys of raising my kids was introducing them to the movies. My daughter Christy loved the Disney film "Pete’s Dragon" when she was little. Red Buttons had a great supporting role as a travelling salesman in the movie.
For my money, the best performance of his career came as the doomed sailor in Sidney Pollack’s powerful drama "They Shoot Horses Don’t They?" Red played a sailor with a bum heart who enters the depression era dance marathon. It was an unforgettable performance in a film loaded with great performances. He also contributed a nice supporting performance in the WWII epic "The Longest Day." Mr. Buttons played the paratrooper who got caught up on a church steeple and watched as his buddies were slaughtered by the German soldiers as they landed. My foot aches just thinking about the scene in which he was wounded by a sniper from below.
Red Buttons is the second cast member of Irwin Allen’s all-star disaster film "The Poseidon Adventure" to pass away this year. His costar Shirley Winters died in January. Among his other feature films are "13 Rue Madeleine," "One, Two, Three," "Your Cheatin’ Heart," the remake of "Stagecoach," "Who Killed Mary What’s ‘Er Name?," "Gable and Lombard," "Movie, Movie," "Power" and "The Story of Us."
SCOTT BUSHNELL Died July 13, 2006
Longtime Robert Altman associate Scott Bushnell died of heart failure at age 67. Ms. Bushnell was a costume designer and producer on a number of Robert Altman’s most important films. She was the older sister of the late actress Debralee Scott. Ms. Scott was a costume designer on a few films including Altman’s sci-fi drama "Quintet" and "Popeye." She was a producer on 20 films by Mr. Altman including "Nashville," "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean," "H.E.A.L.T.H," "The Player," "A Wedding," "Short Cuts" and "Pret-a-Porter." She worked as the casting director on Altman’s comedy "California Split." She worked in production design on "O.C. & Stiggs" and "Aria" as well as being a design consultant on Altman’s depression era gangster film "Thieves Like Us."
LEN TEEUWS Died July 14, 2006
Former LA Ram tackle Len Teeuws died of prostate cancer at age 79. Mr. Teeuws played for the LA Rams and St. Louis Cardinals during the 1950s. He retired from the game in 1959 and had a second career as a successful businessman. Mr. Teeuws was also an advocate for the rights of retired NFLers and was a member of the board of the NFL Retired Players Pension Fund. Mr. Teeuws appeared as himself in the Oscar nominated biopic "Crazylegs," which dealt with Rams football player Elroy ‘Crazylegs’ Hirsch.
JUNE ORMOND July 14, 2006
Exploitation producer June Ormond died of complications from a stroke at age 94. June and Ron Ormond produced a string of country music and exploitation films during the 1950s and 60s. They later turned to making religious movies and brought their son Tim into the business. She was the daughter of B-Western actor Cliff Taylor. The Ormonds made a string of low budget films for the Southern drive-in crowd. Their titles included "The Monster and the Stripper," "Please Don’t Touch Me," "Girl From Tobacco Road," "White Lightnin’ Road" and "Forty Acre Feud." The poster for "The Girl From Tobacco Road" promised that the buxom Southern lass was "Wilder Than a Peach Orchard Hog!" Ms. Ormond also acted occasionally. The picture shows her playing the Witch of Endor in the 1976 film "Grim Reaper."
CARRIE NYE Died July 14, 2006
Emmy and Tony-nominated actress Carrie Nye died of lung cancer at age 69. Ms. Nye was married to TV legend Dick Cavett. Ms. Nye was nominated for an Emmy Award for the TV movie "Moviola: The Scarlett O’Hara War." She was nominated for a Tony Award in 1965 for "Half a Sixpence." Ms. Nye worked primarily on stage. She appeared in a few films and TV shows during her career. Her feature film credits include Stephen King’s "Creepshow," "The Seduction of Joe Tynan" and "The Group." She acted in the soap opera "The Guiding Light." She also appeared in the Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor TV movie "Divorce His/Divorce Hers."
GLENN CUNNINGHAM Died July 16, 2006
Assistant film editor Glenn Cunningham died of undisclosed causes at age 56. Mr. Cunningham was the lead editor on "A Dry White Season." He was an assistant editor on several other films including "Fame," "Honeysuckle Rose," Arthur Penn’s underrated "Four Friends," "The World According to Garp," "Angel Heart," "Frantic," "Mississippi Burning" and "The Bourne Identity."
BARBARA EILER Died July 16, 2006
Former actress Barbara Eiler died of complications following hip surgery at age 79. Ms. Eiler appeared in numerous TV shows during the 1950s and 60s. She began acting on radio while still a teenager. Ms. Eiler’s many TV credits include "Studio 57," "The Lone Ranger," "Dragnet," "Tales of Wells Fargo," "Wanted: Dead or Alive," "The Dick Van Dyle Show," "The Rifleman," "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" and "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C."
MICKEY SPILLANE Died July 17, 2006
Mickey Spillane, the last of the great tough guys died of undisclosed causes at age 88. Mickey Spillane was the real deal. A tough guy who wrote about tough guys. He defined the macho man before the Village People redefined the term. The prolific mystery writer created Mike Hammer, one of the greatest fictional detectives of all time. Mike Hammer has been portrayed by such actors as Stacy Keach, Armand Assanti, Darren McGavin, Ralph Meeker and Mickey Spillane himself. Mickey Spillane gave his no-nonsense detective the sexiest secretary imaginable. Velda was erotic on the page and has been portrayed by some very beautiful actresses including Shannon Whirry and Pamela Anderson.
I remember the lurid covers of Mickey Spillane’s paperback classics from my childhood. Tough brutes fighting and beautiful broads bursting the buttons on their tight, white cotton shirts. Or the even more provocative cover of his later novel "The Erection Set" featuring one of his ex-wives Sherri Malinou! I wasn’t sure what I would find when I picked up one of the books and actually read it. I found so much more than my 11-year-old prurient interest satisfied. I fell in love with the detective novel which lead to my love for Film Noir. Mickey Spillane wrote more than two dozen books.
Spillane’s Mike Hammer novels have, for the most part, translated well to the big screen and TV. For my money, Stacy Keach was the best Mike Hammer. He starred in the title role in the 1980s CBS TV series "Mike Hammer." He reprised the role in several Made for TV movies as well as the 1997 TV series "Mike Hammer, Private Eye." Darren McGavin played the title role in the 1950s TV series "Mike Hammer."
The Mike Hammer films run the gamut from classic to poor. Ralph Meeker’s "Kiss Me Deadly" is one of the best Film Noir entries. It is ironic that the film is so good because director Robert Aldrich turned Mike Hammer from an American Icon into a brutal sadist. Mr. Spillane was a conservative who hated communism. (Gotta love a guy like that!) Robert Aldrich was more left of center politically. While "Kiss Me Deadly" is a great, is somewhat strange film, it is not indicative of Mickey Spillane’s work. "I, the Jury" was the first Mickey Spillane novel to be turned into a film. The results were fair. The 1982 remake with Armand Assanti giving a brutal performance as Hammer is one of the better films in the series. Mickey Spillane played his own creation in the 1963 film "The Girl Hunters." Even though Mickey Spillane wasn’t a great actor, or even a good actor, this movie remains a guilty pleasure. It features great widescreen Black and White photography, Shirley Eaton in a bikini and a badass Mike Hammer as his creator saw him.
Mickey Spillane began writing for comic books before WWII. He enlisted in the military and served his country during WWII. His first novel sold several million copies and he never looked back. Thanks Mickey for hours of reading pleasure. Hope Velda is waiting for you on the other side.
ANDRE ROSEY BROWN Died July 18, 2006
Actor Andre Rosey Brown died at age 50. Mr. Brown was a character actor who appeared in numerous films and TV shows. He played a game ref in "Space Jam." He shared a jail cell with Kurt Russell in "Tango & Cash." He was a regular for two years on the TV series "413 Hope Street." Among Mr. Brown’s many, many credits are "Throw Mama From the Train," "Money Talks," "Barb Wire," "Kingpin," "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult," "Fresh Prince of Bel Air," "Night Court," "Caddyshack II" and "Hill Street Blues."
JEAN LUISI Died July 18, 2006
French actor Jean Luisi died of cancer at age 79. Mr. Luisi appeared in nearly 100 films and TV shows during his career. Mr. Luisi often played the heavy in French films. Gangsters and cops. He also appeared as comic relief in several softcore sex films. Mr. Luisi often worked with actor/director Georges Lautner, appearing in nearly 20 of his films. Mr. Luisi was one of the badguys from across the sea in "The French Connection." Other credits include "The Gypsy," "Man in the Trunk" and "The Eye of the Monocle."
TIM CONDREN Died July 19, 2006
British stuntman and actor Tim Condren died of undisclosed causes in a hospital in London. Mr. Condren was a prolific stuntman who appeared in some of the most exciting films of the last 40 years. Mr. Congren also taught others his craft at the London Stunt School. Among Mr. Condren’s many credits as an actor and/or stuntman are "Lawrence of Arabia," "Goldfinger," "Thunderball," "Where Eagles Dare," "Star Wars," "The Spy Who Loved Me," "The Wild Geese," "Superman," "The Long Good Friday," "Superman II," "Brazil" and "Willow."
GERALD OURY Died July 19, 2006
Award-winning French writer/director Gerald Oury died at age 87. Mr. Oury directed "Don’t Look Now, We’re Being Shot At." The 1966 film sold more tickets in France than any other film produced in France. Mr. Oury received an Honorary Cesar Award in 1993 for his lifetime of work. Mr. Oury directed a number of popular comedies during his career. Other credits include "The Brain," "The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob" and "The Sucker."
JACK WARDEN Died July 19, 2006
Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning actor Jack Warden died after a lengthy illness at age 85. Mr. Warden was nominated for two Best Supporting Actor Oscars. Both nominations came in films starring Warren Beatty. Mr. Warden was nominated for his role as Lee Grant’s husband and Carrie Fischer’s father in the Hal Ashby film "Shampoo." He was also nominated for a BAFTA for "Shampoo." Warden was the business tycoon the Warren Beatty approached for a loan to start a hair salon. Mr. Warden had one of the best lines in the movie. He is at a Hollywood party which takes place at night. He stands outside the pool house and watches as a couple is making love. Warden turns to the character played by Tony Bill and says "That’s what I call f**king!" Suddenly a refrigerator door opens and the light reveals that the couple is Warren Beatty and Mr. Warden’s mistress played by Julie Christie. Needless to say, his attitude changed after that! In a more likeable role, Jack Warden played a football coach in the Beatty directed "Heaven Can Wait." The remake of "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" was a huge hit and retains its magic through repeated viewings. Warden lost that year to Christopher Walken in "The Deer Hunter." Jack Warden also costarred with Warren Beatty in the political comedy "Bulworth."
Jack Warden was known to TV fans for his hit comedy/detective series "Crazy Like a Fox." The show ran from 1984 through 1986. Warden was nominated for two Emmy Awards for the show. Mr. Warden won an Emmy for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Drama for his portrayal of Chicago Bear’s head coach George Halas in the 1971 TV movie "Brian’s Song."
Jack Warden appeared in over 150 films and TV shows. Jack Warden became a professional boxer during the 1930s. He later joined the US Navy in China, then the Merchant Marines and finally the US Army as part of the 101st Airborne. After service to his country in the US Army during WWII, Jack Warden pursued an acting career. Mr. Warden learned his craft and began acting on stage in the late 40s. He made his Broadway debut in the early 1950s.
Jack Warden and Lee Marvin both made their film debut in the comedy "You’re In the Navy Now." After a supporting role "From Here To Eternity" and work on TV, Mr. Warden gained notice as one of the jurors in the classic film "12 Angry Men." With the death of Jack Warden, Jack Klugman remains as the last actor on that famous jury. Bigger roles on TV and in film followed. His biggest period of success came in the 1970s. Mr. Warden’s credits in the 50s and 60s include "Run Silent, Run Deep," "The Twilight Zone," "The Untouchables," "Bonanza," "Donovan’s Reef," the original version of "The Thin Red Line" and "Wagon Train."
During the 1970s, Jack Warden emerged as an in demand character actor. The decade saw him win an Emmy and receive two Oscar nominations. In addition to those films already mentioned, Mr. Warden contributed to such films as "Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?," "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing," "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz," "All the President’s Men," "Raid on Entebbe," "Death on the Nile," "…And Justice For All" and "Being There." These last two credits showed Mr. Warden’s lighter side. I loved his suicidal/homicidal judge in "...And Justice For All." Jack Warden continued to receive great roles during the early 80s. He played twin brothers in the hilarious Kurt Russell comedy "Used Cars." He returned to serious drama as Paul Newman’s friend and fellow attorney in Sidney Lumet’s "The Verdict."
The later part of Jack Warden’s career included good TV and hit-or-miss films. His later credits include "Problem Child," "Bulworth," "Ed," "The Presidio," "Night and the City," "Bullets Over Broadway," "Mighty Aphrodite" and "The Replacements."
TUDI WIGGINS Died July 19, 2006
Actress and talk show host Tusi Wiggins died of cancer at age 70. Ms. Wiggins was known to soap opera fans for her work on "The Guiding Light," "Love of Life" and "All My Children." She was also a frequent guest on the TV game show "The Match Game." She also appeared in a few films including "Monkey Shines." Ms. Wiggins appeared on Broadway in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," "There’s One In Every Marriage" and "Alone Together." She later hosted a local TV talk show in New York state.
MARTY FARRELL Died July 19, 2006
Emmy-winning writer Marty Farrell died of colon cancer at age 78. Mr. Farrell had nearly 100 writing credits during his lengthy career. Many of his credits were for TV specials and awards shows. He shared an Emmy Award with Bob Ellison in 1971 for the TV special "Singer Presents Burt Bacarach." He was nominated for two other Emmy awards for "The Kraft Music Hall" and "Julie and Carol at Lincoln Center." Mr. Farrell also wrote for episodic TV. His series credits include "9 to 5," "Three’s Company Too," The Diahann Carol Show" and "The Jeffersons." He began his career writing for "The Jack Parr Show."
MICHAEL KALINYEN Died July 20, 2006
Stage actor Michael Kalinyen died at age 59. Mr. Kalinyen played Jonas Fogg in the filmed stage production "Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," which starred Angela Lansbury.
ROBERT CORNTHWAITE Died July 20, 2006
Character actor Robert Cornthwaite died of natural causes at age 89. Mr. Cornthwaite was familiar to horror and science fiction fans for his roles in the original versions of "The Thing" and "War of the Worlds" as well as "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?," "Colossus: The Forbin Project" and "The Twilight Zone." Mr. Cornthwaite appeared in over 130 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. He began as a radio actor. His career was interrupted by service to his country in the US Army Air Corp during WWII. After the war, Mr. Cornthwaite returned to acting and never looked back. His many film credits include "Monkey Business," "Kiss Me Deadly," "The Spirit of St. Louis," "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken," "Waterhole #3," "Futureworld," "Doctor Detroit," "Deal of the Century," "Who’s That Girl?" and "Matinee." It might be easier to list the TV shows that Mr. Cornthwaite didn’t appear in. His career spanned the days of live TV in such shows as "Fourstar Playhouse" and "Studio 57" through the 1990s when he had a recurring role on "Picket Fences."
J. MADISON WRIGHT Died July 21, 2006
Former child actress J. Madison Wright died of a heart attack three days shy of her 22nd birthday. Ms. Wright enjoyed success as a child actress. At age 15, Ms. Wright discovered she had an enlarged heart and underwent a heart transplant. Ms. Wright got married earlier this month. She suffered her heart attack after returning from her honeymoon. Ironically, Ms. Wright’s best known role was as the first child to die on the TV series "E.R." Ms. Wright’s film and TV credits include "Grace Under Fire," "Earth 2," "The Nanny," "Shiloh" and "Safety Patrol." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
MAKO Died July 21, 2006
There are some movies in which even the most stout-hearted guys are allowed to cry. In "The Dirty Dozen" guys cry when Jim Brown gets killed. In "Old Yeller" guys can cry at the end no matter how tough they are. When Brandon DeWilde yells "Shane, come back!" Guys can cry. Robert Wise’s epic film "The Sand Pebbles" is another film in which even Peckinpah fans can let loose. The scene comes about 2/3rds of the way through the movie. The character of Po-Han played by Mako is captured by Chinese revolutionaries and is hung from a pillory by his hands. He is then cut with a sword repeatedly by the Communists. Po-Han cries out for the soldiers aboard the US Gunship on which he serves to shoot him. Afraid of an international incident, the commander played by Richard Crenna tells his soldiers to stand down. Po-Han worked in the engine room with a sailor named Jake Holman played by Steve McQueen. Holeman is a the free-spirited sailor who earlier in the film takes Po-Han under his wing and teaches him how a steam engine really works. He is the only American sailor on board who looks at the Chinese workers as human beings. He and Po-Han have become more than friends. They are brothers. As Po-Han screams in agony, Steve McQueen’s character takes aim and shoots his student, his friend, his brother. It is a powerful scene that remains potent even after many, many viewings. Steve McQueen and Mako both earned Oscar nominations for the wonderful film. Neither won, but their performances and the relationship between the characters shows just what can be achieved when two excellent actors work together. "The Sand Pebbles" was Mako’s feature film debut. His Best Supporting Oscar nomination was well deserved and gave him the clout to push for better roles for Asian-American actors.
I’m not the kind of guy who likes the term Asian-American or African-American or European-American unless the person in question was actually born overseas. Mako was born and raised in Japan. During WWII, his parents lived in the US and worked for the Office of War Information. Mako spent the war as a child in Japan with his grandparents. Following the war, his parents were granted US citizenship and they sent for their son. He later served his adopted country in the US Army in the 1950s.
Oscar and Tony nominated actor Mako died of esophageal cancer at age 72. He was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical for the 1975 Broadway production of "Pacific Overtures." Mako appeared in over 130 films and TV shows. He was also the co-founder of the East West Theater, this nation’s first Asian American theater company. Though he rarely was given film work that rose to the level of "The Sand Pebbles," that performance alone is proof that he was a great actor.
Mako’s many feature film roles include a nice role as a hunted politician in Sam Peckinpah’s under-rated "The Killer Elite." He co-starred with Hal Holbrook in the excellent Made for TV biopic "When Hell Was In Session." About Vietnam POW Jeremiah Denton. He co-starred with the future governor of California in "Conan the Barbarian" and "Conan the Destroyer." In 2001 Mako provided the only reason whatsoever to watch the overblown "Pearl Harbor." He played Admiral Yamamoto. Other film credits include "The Private Navy of Sgt. O’Farrell," "The Hawaiians," "The Island at the Top of the World," "The Big Brawl," "Under the Rainbow," "An Eye For an Eye," "Testament," "Pacific Heights," "Sidekicks," "RoboCop 3," "Red Sun Rising," "Tucker: The Man and His Dream," "Seven Years in Tibet" and "Bulletproof Monk." His final film appearance is in the upcoming Lucy Liu horror film "Rise."
Mako began working on stage and TV before his film career. He gained notice for his stage performances in "Rashomon" and "Teahouse of the August Moon" early in his career. His early TV credits include appearing with Bruce Lee on "The Green Hornet." Other TV credits include a number of guest shots on "McHale’s Navy," "The Big Valley," "The Time Tunnel," "The Streets of San Francisco," "Kung Fu," "Hawaii 5-O," several appearances on "M*A*S*H," "Magnum P.I.," "Tour of Duty," "Walker: Texas Ranger," "The Equalizer," "Frasier" and "JAG." Mako also did voice work on the animated shows "Rugrats II: Rugrats in Paris" and as the evil Aku in "Samurai Jack."
CHARLES KNOX ROBINSON Died Jul. 22, 2006
Actor Charles Knox Robinson died of Parkinson's Disease at age 74. Mr. Robinson came from a theater family. He began his stage career at age 10. Mr. Robinson appeared in nearly 50 films and TV shows during his career. He was part of the great ensemble cast in Robert Wise's "The Sand Pebbles." Mr. Robinson played Richard Crenna's second in command aboard the Navy Warship stationed in China. Mr. Robinson had a standout scene in which he had to lead his troops under a communist guard back to the ship. As the sailors march, they are pummeled by vegetables thrown by the throngs of Chinese citizens. Mr. Robinson died one day after his "The Sand Pebbles" co-star Mako. Mr. Robinson's other film appearances include "Splendor in the Grass," "Take Hers, She's Mine," "Dear Bridgette," "Shenandoah," "The Singing Nun," L.Q. Jones' horror film "The Brotherhood of Satan," "Death Wish 4" and "The Cable Guy." Mr. Robinson's many TV credits include "77 Sunset Strip," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," "Wagon Train," "Ben Casey," "The Munsters," "Mannix," "The F.B.I.," "Emergency," "Cannon," "Airwolf," "Switch!" and "Simon & Simon."
HAROLD D. COHEN Died July 22, 2006
Producer and former talent agent Harold D. Cohen died at age 80. Mr. Cohen produced Michael Douglas’s debut film "Hail Hero!" He also produced a favorite of mine: "I Walk the Line" with Gregory Peck and Tuesday Weld in a backwoods turn on the "Lolita" story. Other production credts include the TV mini series adaptation of Gay Talese’s true-crime book "Honor Thy Father," "The Everly Brothers Show," "Spy Killer" and "Second Chance." Mr. Cohen was also a talent agent. He counted Robert Blake among his many clients.
EWA SALACKA July 23, 2006
Polish actress Ewa Salacka died of anaphylactic shock after being stung by a wasp. The red-headed beauty had a successful career on stage, TV and film in her native land. She began working on stage after studying drama in high school. Her earliest film work was on TV in the early 1980s where she specialized in supporting comedic and character roles. She later moved on the lead performances in both film and TV. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
MICK DILLON Died July 23, 2006
Actor/stuntman and former jockey Mick Dillon died at age 80. One of my favorite man-in-a-rubber-suit monster movies is the British film "Gorgo." Mick Dillon was one of the stuntmen who worked inside the monster suit. Mr. Dillon was the only man to ever act as a stunt double for Buster Keaton. He doubled for Mr. Keaton in "A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum." The 1966 film was the silent film star’s final movie. Mr. Dillon also doubled for Ringo Star in "Help!" That was Mr. Dillon and not Ringo who had the recording studio floor cut out from under him and his drums in Richard Lester’s comedy. Other stunt credits include "Day of the Triffids," "Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang," "You Only Live Twice," the 1968 version of "The Charge of the Light Brigade" and "Dead Cert." Mr. Dillon’s acting credits include "How I Won the War," "Champions" and "Jockey School." Mr. Dillon served his country in the RAF during WWII.
NINO QUEVEDO Died July 24, 2006
Spanish writer/director Nino Quevedo died of Parkinson’s Disease at age 77. Mr. Quevedo was nominated for the Golden Palm at Cannes for his 1971 film "Goya, Historia de una Soledad." Mr. Quevedo wrote nearly 20 screenplays and directed over a dozen films.
LUCILLE TOLCES Died July 24, 2006
Teacher, writer and actress Lucille Tolces died of a stroke just shy of her 92nd birthday. Ms. Tolces was a long-time teacher in Long Island, New York. She also wrote fiction including romance comics for Marvel Comics. Later in life, Ms. Tolces turned to acting. She worked in commercials and did voice work on radio. She appeared in the TV series "Nowhere Man" as well as in the new indie film "The Standard."
HANI HANAFI Died July 25, 2006
43-year-old Malaysian actor Hani Hanafi died of a heart attack while waiting to board an airplane in Kuala Lampur with his young daughter. Mr. Hanafi had appeared in a number of Malaysian films as well as John Boorman’s "Beyond Rangoon." Most recently, Mr. Hanafi was the host of a populat Malaysian TV game show. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends, especially his young daughter.
LISA MCINTOSH Died July 25, 2006
Co-producer of the documentary "Mothman: Man, Myth or Monster?" died of Multiple Myeloma at age 42. Ms. McIntosh and her boyfriend Barry Conrad also produced the TV show "Monsters of the UFO." Ms. McIntosh also made cameo appearances in all three episodes of the TV show. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
GUSTAVO ALATRISTE Died July 25, 2006
Mexican producer/director/actor Gustavo Alatriste died of undisclosed causes at age 83. Mr. Alatriste had cancer in the past. Mr. Alatriste was best known for producing the Luis Bunuel films "Viridiana," "The Exterminating Angel" and "Simon of the Desert" in the early 1960s. He turned to directing in the 1970s. Mr. Alatriste produced and directed over a dozen films, several of which he also wrote.
CARL BRASHEAR Died July 25, 2006
Carl Brasher died of lung and heart failure at age 75. Mr. Brasher was the first Black man to become a deep-sea diver for the US Navy. His story was told in the movie "Men of Honor." Cuba Gooding Jr. played Mr. Brasher in the film. Mr. Brasher appeared in the film in an uncredited cameo. Mr. Brasher show his resolve when he fought to remain on active duty after losing a leg to an accident. Mr. Brasher proved he could still perform his duries as a diver and eventually rose to the rank of Master Diver of the Navy. The only Black sailor to achieve that rank.
LISE DELAMARE Died July 25, 2006
French actress Lise Delamare died at age 93. Ms. Delamare had a long and distinguished career as a stage actress in France. She was also a drama teacher. Ms. Delamare appeared in Jean Renoir’s 1938 tale of the French Revolution "La Marseillaise." Ms. Delamare’s credits include "Bernadette of Lourdes," "Lola Montes," "Captain Blood" and the 1943 French version of "The Count of Monte Cristo."
MICHAEL WOODS Died July 26, 2006
Businessman, aspiring politician and actor Michael Woods died of undisclosed causes at age 49. Mr. Woods was the younger brother of actor James Woods. Michael Woods ran twice for Mayor of his home town of Warwick, Rhode Island. He appeared in several of his brother’s films including "Straight Talk," "The Hard Way," "Another Day in Paradise," "Rudy: The Rudy Guiliani Story," "Race to Space" and "Killer: A Journal of Murder."
RAQUEL MARIA Died July 26, 2006
Portuguese actress Raquel Maria died of cancer at age 60. Ms. Maria was a respected stage actress in her native land. Though she worked primarily on stage, Ms. Maria di appeared in several films and TV series.
JOHNNY WEISSMULLER JR. Died July 27, 2006
Actor Johnny Weissmuller Jr. died of cancer at age 65. He was the son of "Tarzan" star Johnny Weissmuller. Mr. Weissmuller had an uncanny resemblance to his father. I first remember seeing him in George Lucas’ "American Grafitti." Mr. Weismuller played the man who stole Charlie Martin Smith’s car. While Weissmuller is beating up Smith’s character Toad, Paul LeMat’s character John Milner comes to the rescue and beats up Tarzan Jr. Mr. Weissmuller did not have any lines, but he is immediately recognizable. He also worked with George Lucas on "THX1138" and "Ewoks: The Battle For Endor." Mr. Weismuller did voice work in the animated Frecn sex comedy "Tarzan: Shame of the Jungle." Other credits include "Andy Hardy Come Home," "The Streets of San Francisco," "Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story" and "Six Against the Rock." Mr. Weismuller also did regional theater. He played Chief in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" for over a decade in San Francisco.
ELIZABTH VOLKMAN Died July 27, 2006
German actress Elisabeth Volkman was found dead in her home at age 64. No cause of death was released. Ms. Volkman was classically trained in acting and singing. Ironically, it was her coemedic timing and sexy looks that brought her greatest fame. She starred in the German TV series "Klimbin" in the early 1970s. The comedy series featured skits and gags and an ample dose of sex and nudity. Ms. Volkman became one of the most popular entertainers in Germany due to her role on the show, which ran for six years. She appeared in a number of softcore sex films. Ms. Volkman appeared in nearly 100 films and TV shows. Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder cast her in his films "Veronica Voss," "Lili Marleen" and "Lola." She co-starred with Linda Blair and Sylvia Kristal in the European woman’s prison film "Red Heat." She also provided the German voice for Marge Simpson in "The Simpsons."
ANTHONY GLASS Died July 27, 2006
Editor and assistant camera operator Anthony Glass died of colorectal cancer at age 31. His credits include "Gone With the Wind: Restoring a Legend" and "The Crawford Formula: Reel and Reel." Mr. Glass also cut movie trailers as well as TV spots. His wife, Chastity Turnquist worked as an assistant to producer/director Julia Jay Pierpoint II on the John Ritter comedy "Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel." Prayers fo comfort for his family and friends.
PATRICK ALLEN Died July 28, 2006
Character actor Patrick Allen died at age 79. Mr. Allen had a successful career as an on-screen and voice actor. He leant his talents to over 100 films and TV shows. His onscreen credits include Hitchcock’s "Dial M For Murder," the original version of "1984," "I Was Monty’s Double," "Dunkirk," "Night Creatures," "Night of the Generals," "Puppet on a Chain," "When Dinosaur’s Ruled the Earth," "The Wild Geese" and "The Winds of War." Mr. Allen’s distinctive deep voice was heard in such films and TV shows as "The Black Adder," Bob Guccione’s infamous "Caligula," "Force Ten From Navarone," "The Eagle Has Landed," "The Assassination Bureau" and "The Devil Rides Out."
JOEL EHRLICH Died July 28, 2006
Producer, teacher and philanthropsit Joel Ehrlich died of pancreatic cancer at age 64. In addition to his business interests and community service in the state of Colorado, Mr. Erlich produced independent films. His credits include the award-winning film "Lumanarias" and "Below the Belt."
EDWIN TOLOBLOWSKY Died July 29, 2006
Attorney and one-time movie producer Edwin Tobolowsky died at age 86. Mr. Tobolowsky produced several notorious exploitation films during the 1960s. His credits include such titles as "Mars Needs Women," "Zontar, the Thing From Venus," "The Eye Creatures," "Curse of the Swamp Creature," "In the Year 2889," "Hell Raiders," "Creature of Destruction" and a TV movie called "It’s Alive." Mr. Tobolowsky’s "It’s Alive" is a different film than Larry Cohen’s 1974 drive-in classic.