JORG KALT Died Jul. 1, 2007
Austrian filmmaker Jorg Kalt committed suicide at age 40. News reports stated that Mr. Kalt died on the weekend of June 30/July 1. Mr. Kalt was best known for his film "Crash Test Dummies." Mr. Kalt won awards at the Max Ophuls Festival and The First Step Awards for his film "Richtung Zukunft Durch die Nacht." Mr. Kalt was working on two separate films at the time of his death. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
ROBERT G. MCBRIDE Died Jul. 1, 2007
Composer Robert McBride is the second Robert McBride involved in the film business to die in two months. This Robert McBride was a retired music professor at the University of Arizona. The 96-year-old composer earned his degree in the 1930s. Mr. McBride's film credits include "Farewell to Yesterday," "Man With My Face" and "Garden of Eden." An avid golfer, Mr. McBride was proud of the fact he scored 11 hole-in-one shots during his lifetime. His last hole-in-one occured when he was 92
BEVERLY SILLS Died Jul. 2, 2007
Renowned opera singer Beverly Sills died of lung cancer at age 78. Ms. Sills brought the fine art of Opera to the common man. The Brooklyn born diva appeared on such TV variety shows as "Ed Sullivan" and "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson." Her down-to-earth personality brought her legions of fans. Always upbeat and filled with laughter, Beverly Sills appealed to the masses. Quite an accomplishment considering that her rarified talent was of the type that only comes around every other generation. Whether you liked opera or not, you couldn't help liking Beverly Sills. Ms. Sills was nominated four times for Emmy Awards. She won for the 1975 show "Profile in Music: Beverly Sills Festival." Ms. Sill's many TV and film credits include "Sills and Burnett at the Met," "The Muppet Show" and "Live From Lincoln Center."
HY ZARET Died Jul. 2, 2007
Oscar-nominated lyricist Hy Zaret died at age 99. Mr. Zaret and his writing partner Alex North shared a Best Original Song Oscar nomination for the oft-recorded song "Unchained Melody." The song was for the 1955 prison film "Unchained." The memorable song has been recorded over 300 times most notably by The Righteous Brothers. The song has been heard on the soundtracks of such films as "Ghost," "Goodfellas," "Happy Feet" and the remake of "Alfie."
MAX DOUY Died Jul. 2, 2007
Award-winning production designer/art director/set decorator Max Douy died at age 94. Mr. Douy worked in one way or another on over 200 films. He won the Cesar for Best Production Design for the sci-fi film "Malevil." His many credits include "Rules of the Game," Jerry Lewis's unreleased holocaust film "The Day the Clown Cried," "Castle Keep," "Moonraker" and "Gloria."
MOE DISESSO Died Jul. 2, 2007
Award-winning animal trainer/actor Moe Disesso died at age 82. Mr. Disesso was one of the foremost animal trainers in the film business. He won 11 Patsy Awards for his ability to train animals to perform. He trained the rats for "Willard" and its sequel "Ben." He trained the German Shepherds for the original "The Hills Have Eyes." Arnold Ziffle in "Green Acres," The credits go on and on. "Annie," "Seinfeld," "Will & Grace," Roger Corman's "The Raven," John Wayne's "The Conqueror," Curtis Harrington's "Devil Dog: Hound From Hell," "The Gazebo," "Animal World," and many more. Mr. Disesso served his country in the US Navy during WWII. He was wounded in action. Mr. Disesso started his film career wanting to be a trick rider and stuntman. He worked on the TV series "The Cisco Kid." He also appeared in "The Ten Commandments" and "The Conqueror." Mr. Disesso's son Frank has followed in his father's footsteps. He has many credits to his name.
BOOTS RANDOLPH Died Jul. 3, 2007
Saxaphone legend Boots Randolph died of a brain hemorrhage at age 80. Mr. Randolph was one of the most requested studio musicians during the 1950s. He hit the big time in 1963 with his hit "Yakety Sax." Mr. Randolph was a headline for faithful fans from the 1960s on. Mr. Randolph's trademark song was used on numerous TV shows and movies. "The Benny Hill Show" springs to mind everytime I hear "Yakety Sax." The slapstick comedy of Benny Hill was a perfect visual match to Randolph's jumpy tune. Mr. Randolph's music can also be heard on the soundtracks of "Bad Santa," "V for Vendetta," "Click" and "Shark Tale."
HENRIQUE VIANA Died Jul. 4, 2007
Portuguese actor/recording artist Henrique Viana died of cancer at age 71. Mr. Viana appeared in over 100 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. He also had a successful career on stage.
JAMES STREET Died Jul. 4, 2007
13-year-old voice actor James Street was killed in a skateboarding accident in Thousand Oaks, California. Mr. Street was a voice actor who provided the voices of the characters Huckleberry Pie in "Strawberry Shortcake" and Pepito in "Madeline." He was also a gifted athlete. A "James David Street Memorial Fund" has been established and donations should be sent to California Oaks State Bank, P.O. Box 5038, Thousand Oaks, CA 91359-9873. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
ELEANOR STEWART Died Jul. 4, 2007
Actress Eleanor Stewart died of Alzheimer's Disease at age 94. Ms. Stewart appeared in over 30 films during the 1930s and 40s. She appeared mainly in B-Westerns. Ms. Stewart did voice work on the MGM cartoon short "Robin Hood." Her non-Western film credits include the Vivian Leigh version of "Waterloo Bridge," "Eternally Yours," "The Fighting Devil Dogs," "Love on the Run" with Joan Crawford and Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra's film debut "Las Vegas Nights" and "Caught in the Draft" with Bob Hope. Ms. Stewart appeared opposite many of the popular Western actors of the time. With Tex Ritter in "Arizona Days," Bob Steele in "The Gun Ranger," Ken Maynard in "Flaming Lead," Tom Keene in "Where Trails Divide" and in three of William Boyd's "Hopalong Cassidy" films.
GEORGE MELLY Died Jul. 5, 2007
Singer/actor/film critic George Melly died of lung cancer and vascular dementia at age 80. Mr. Melly was a renowned jazz singer in the UK. He switched gears in the 1960s and began writing, only to return to music in the 1970s. Mr. Melly acted in several films including a TV version of "Ain't Misbehavin'" He wrote screenplays for the films "Smashing Time" and "Take a Girl Like You." His sister is "Brides of Dracula" actress Andree Melly.
SUBHENDU CHATTERJEE Died Jul. 5, 2007
Indian actor/medical doctor Subhendu Chatterjee died of heart and lung illness at age 71. Mr. Chatterjee had a long film and stage career in his native land. He starred in several films by Indian master Satyajit Ray. Those films include an adaptation of Isben's "An Enemy of the People," "The Zoo" and "Days and Nights in the Forest." Mr. Chatterjee was the father of actor Saswata Chatterjee.
KERWIN MATHEWS Died Jul. 5, 2007
Actor Kerwin Mathews died in his sleep at age 81. This is a sad day. Like millions of others, I was just one person entertained and amazed by Kerwin Mathews' films with Ray Harryhausen. He played the title roles in "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad" and "The Three Worlds of Gulliver."
Mr. Mathews most famous scene was the sword fight with a skeleton toward the end of "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad." He fought with and reacted to something that was not there. Mr. Harryhausen animated the miniature skeleton later and brought the images together through his Dynamation process. Some folks will say that there was nothing special about Mr. Mathews' performances, but fans of the films know better. Kerwin Mathews' performances personified everything good in a film hero.
For kids growing up in the late 50s and early 60s, Kerwin Mathews characters were larger than life. After the success of "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad" Kerwin Mathews was cast in the lead role of "Jack the Giant Killer." That movie reunited Matthews with "Sinbad" director Nathan Juran and villain Torin Thatcher. Animator Jim Danforth provided the stop-motion animation for this one. "Jack the Giant Killer" proves my point concerning Mr. Mathews' heroic persona. He was not overshadowed by Harryhausen's incredible effects. The inferior special effects left the viewer with Mathews sincere hero to move the film along. Other genre credits include "Battle Beneath the Earth," "The Warrior Empress," "The Pirates of Blood River," "Octaman," "The Maniac," "The Boy Who Cried Werewolf" and "Nightmare in Blood." Kerwin Mathews appeared in non-fantasy/horror films. He played composer Johann Strauss in Disney's "The Waltz King." Other credits include "The Devil at 4 O'clock," "Five Against the House," "Man on a String," "The Last Blitzkreig" and the Spaghetti Western "Barquero."
Film historian, Omaha Film Event producer and award-winning radio documentarian Bruce Crawford had the pleasure of speaking with Kerwin Mathews several times. He shared his memories of the man with me: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Kerwin several times over the years. As anyone who ever spoke with or met him will tell you, he was a true gentleman and a gentle man. He truly personified the legendary hero, not only with his handsome looks but his sincerity and integrity as not only an actor but as a human being. It all came through in his performances. He is the ultimate Sinbad, with which all the others have to compare. He was perhaps the best Gulliver on film as well. He gave his performances his very best, and it shows. A real warmth and genuine decency that still captivates us today. Mr. Mathews served his country in the US Army-Air Corps during WWII.
DAVID HILBERMAN Died Jul. 5, 2007
Animator David Hilberman died at age 96. Mr. Hilberman worked for Disney as a layout artist on "Bambi," "The Ugly Duckling" and other short films. Mr. Hilberman organized the animator's strike at Disney in 1941. He left Disney and co-founded with Steve Bosustow and Zack Schwarts the UPA animation studio. During the McCarthy era, Mr. Hilberman was blacklisted when Walt Disney denounced him as a communist. He left the country. On his return to the US in the 1980s, Mr. Hilberman worked as a layout artist on "Once Upon a Forest," "The Kwicky Koala Show" and "The Smurfs."
GERALD NEWBY Died Jul. 5, 2007
Propmaker and carpenter Gerald Newby died at age 80. Mr. Newby was a 56-year-member of I.A.T.S.E. Local #44. Mr. Newby worked for RKO, Desi Lu and Universal during his career.
STEVEN GREGORY TYLER Died Jul. 6, 2007
Actor Steven Gregory Tyler died of undisclosed causes. His age was not released. Mr. Tyler's film and TV credits include Lawrence Kasden's "Wyatt Earp," "White Sands," "Miami Vice," "To Save a Child," "The Night Before Christmas" and "Dawson's Creek." Mr. Tyler was very active in regional theater in Florida.
RAYMOND WATTERS Died Jul. 6, 2007
Lighting gaffer Raymond Watters died of complications from surgery a week shy of his 94th birthday. Mr. Watters worked in the industry for over 25 years. His credits include the TV series "The Partridge Family" and "Wonder Woman." Mr. Watters served his country in the motion picture unit of the Army-Air Corp during WWII.
JERRY ITO Died Jul. 7, 2007
Japanese actor Jerry Ito died of pneumonia at age 79. Monster movie fans remember Mr. Ito for his role as the bad-guy in "Mothra." He was the treasure hunter who kidnapped the Twin Fairies from Mothra's island. He played the good-guy in another Japanese monster movie "The Manster." Mr. Ito's other credits include Kinji Fukasaku's sci-fi film "Message From Space," "The Last War" and the TV series "Golgo 13 Kowloon Assignment."
MARK MOBLEY Died Jul. 7, 2007
Transportation coordinator/stage manager/grip/welder Mark Mobley died of undisclosed causes at age 40. Mr. Mobley was working on location at Fort Bragg, California when he died. Mr. Mobley was one of the guys who worked behind the scenes. Getting the cast and crew where they needed to be for each shot. Arranging the transportation for the trucks that carry the equipment as well as the limos for the actors and director. He was one of the guys, without whom movies don't get made. Below the Line guys (and gals) who do the grunt work. Artisans who build and move and carry and take care of the small details. Mark Mobley worked on over 50 films in his short career including the recent Cable TV remakes of several Roger Corman horror films including "Humanoids from the Deep," "A Bucket of Blood" and "The Wasp Woman."
DAME ANNE MCLAREN Died Jul. 7, 2007
World renowned geneticist Dame Anne McLaren was killed along with her ex-husband professor Donald Michie in a one car accident in the UK. As a child, Ms. McLaren appeared in the 1936 sci-fi film "Things to Come." He ex-husband was part of the British team at Bletchely Park which broke the German codes during WWII. Their efforts were the basis for the WWII thriller "Enigma."
MOSS MOSSBERG Died Jul. 7, 2007
Actor Moss Mossberg was killed in a motorcycle accident at age 61. Mr. Mossberg was one of the founding members of the Wild Bunch of Hollywood. The Wild Bunch of Hollywood is a group of character actors who specialize in playing outlaw types. The group's website features 150 of the baddest looking dudes and toughest babes you are likely to see. Truth be told, you've probably seen many of them in various action films. Mr. Mossberg appeared in "S1m0ne" and "Mean Guns."
BILL FEENEY Died Jul. 8, 2007
CPA turned actor Bill Feeney died at age 70. Mr. Feeney's credits include such TV shows as "Hunter," "LA Law," "Patty Hearst," "Cooperstown" and "The Heart of Justice." Mr. Feeney produced and acted in the indie film "Taboo: The Single and LP." Mr. Feeney served his country in the US Army in the early 1960s.
JACK SOWARDS Died Jul. 8, 2007
WGA-nominated writer Jack Sowards died of Lou Gehrig's Disease at age 78. Between 1970 and 1975 the ABC TV network produced over 400 films in their "ABC Movie of the Week" series. Every Tuesday and Wednesday night viewers were treated to a new movie. Many of these films have come to be considered classics. "Duel," "That Certain Summer" and "The Night Stalker" spring to mind. Jack Sowards' "Deliver Us From Evil" is another one of these films that I remember fondly. It was a tale of five friends out camping who accidentally kill a fellow hiker. The victim turns out to be a D.B. Cooper type hijacker who parachuted to safety with the ransom cash. George Kennedy, Jan Michael Vincent, Jack Weston and Bradford Dillman starred. It is a neat thriller with some great rugged mountain scenes. Mr. Sowards also wrote two more films for ABC: "Cry Panic" and "Death Cruise." Mr. Sowards is best known for his sole feature film credits "Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn." Mr. Sowards was responsible for convincing actor Leonard Nimoy to appear in the film. Tired of playing Spock, Nimoy was asked by Sowards "How'd you like to play Spock's death scene?" The hook was set and Nimoy was back on board. The rest, they say is history. Mr. Sowards delivered several drafts of the story. Director Nicholas Meyer tightened things up and added to the story to make the final script. Mr. Sowards received sole writing credit on the film. Mr. Sowards received a WGA nomination for his work on the 1960s TV series "The Bold Ones." It is arguably the best film in the series. Mr. Sowards served his country in the US Air Force in the post-WWII era. He took part in the Berlin Airlift.
ITZIK KOL Died Jul. 8, 2007
Israeli producer Itzik Kol died of pneumonia at age 75. Mr. Kol's first film "The Policeman" was nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. Two years later, his film "I Love You Rosa" was also nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. Mr. Kol's opther credits include "Peeping Toms," Rock Hudson's final feature film "The Ambassador," "Chasim" and several children's stories in the "Cannon Movie Tales" series. During the 1980s Mr. Kol was the CEO of Golan & Globus's production company Cannon.
GEORGE DREW Died Jul. 8, 2007
Emmy-nominated costume designer George Drew died of cancer. His age was not given. Mr. Drew was nominated for an Emmy for the soap opera "One Life to Live." Mr. Drew's other credits include "The Patty Duke Show" and the Patty Duke movie "Billie."
PENNY THOMPSON Died Jul. 9, 2007
Scottish producer Penny Thompson died of cancer at age 56. Ms. Thompson produced the documentary "Sean Connery's Edinburgh." Her other credits include "The Work They Say Is Mine," "Conquest of the South Pole" and "Blue Black Permanent."
CHARLES LANE Jul. 9, 2007
Character actor Charles Lane died at age 102. Mr. Lane was the oldest living film actor in the US. His familiar face has been immortalized in celluloid in hundreds of films and TV shows. Mr. Lane began acting on stage at the Pasadena Playhouse in the late 1920s. He began his film career in 1931. Charles Lane appeared in over 300 films and TV series. The individual TV episodes among those many series number in the hundreds. He appeared in 36 films which were nominated Oscars. Mr. Lane was one of the founding members of the Screen Actors Guild. If you don't know Mr. Lane's name, you surely know his face. Generations of movie and TV fans have watched Mr. Lane grow old on film. It is conceivable that Charles Lane was the last living cast member of many of the movies in which he appeared. Mr. Lane was given a special 100th birthday party in 2005. He stated that he was still available for work! He was adept at comedy and very serious drama. Mr. Lane was an everyman or sorts. He was honored with a special Emmy award in 2005.
So many memorable scenes. One of the most highly watched TV episodes in history was the "I Love Lucy" episode in which Little Ricky was born. Charles Lane and Desi Arnez worked magic. Mr. Lane played a man with six daughters expecting (he hopes) his first son. As Desi Arnez worked himself into a panic over his first child, Mr. Lane sat calmly. Mr. Lane stole the show when it turned out instead of giving him a son, his wife had girls triplets! Great comedy.
Mr. Lane was a master of great tragedy also. He had a five-minute cameo scene in the landmark TV series "Sybil." Mr. Lane played the small time doctor who had looked the other way at the abuse Sybil underwent. He shared the scene with Joanne Woodward. He stole the scene from her. Mr. Lane plays an old man who is finally admitting he did nothing as a small child was tortured by her mother. "Where do I go for absolution" he asks Ms. Woodward's character. Mr. Lane's body language in this scene is proof positive that he was the master of his craft. There is a long pause in his conversation where he stands with his back to the camera, looking out the window. The weight of his guilt seems to press down on his body. Watch for this scene the next time "Sybil" plays on TV.
Charles Lane appeared in ten films by American master Frank Capra. Small, but memorable roles. From his tussle with Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" to his insubordinate compliment of Jimmy Stewart to Lionell Barrymore's Mr. Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life," Charles Lane made you remember his characters. Mr. Lane's other films for Frank Capra include "State of the Union," "Broadway Bill," "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" and "Arsenic and Old Lace."
During the 1930s Mr. Lane appeared in 93 films. They included "The Cat and the Canary," "Golden Boy," "You Can't Take it With You," "In Old Chicago," "Golddiggers of 1933" and "42nd Street."
During the 1940s Mr. Lane picked up the pace and appeared in 94 films! Those include the original "Mighty Joe Young," "Call Northside 777," "The Farmer's Daughter," "Flying Tigers," "Tarzan's New York Adventure," "The Big Store" and "Edison, the Man."
With the advent of TV in the 1950s, Mr. Lane picked up his schedule. He continued to work in feature films (23 in all), but also began his prolific TV career. On TV, Mr. Lane had a regular recurring role on the Peter Lawford series "Dear Phoebe." He made guest appearances on such series as "I Love Lucy," "Perry Mason," "Whirlybirds," "The Real McCoys," "The Ann Southern Show," "The Millionaire" and "The Thin Man." His film credits during the 1950s include "The Mating Game," "Teacher's Pet," "The Birds and the Bees" and "The Sniper."
Charles Lane's focus during the 1960s was TV. He did appear in 16 films, but the bulk of his work was in TV. One of his most memorable TV roles was as Homer Bedloe on Petticoat Junction. He played the shifty railroad man in over 20 episodes of the series. Mr. Lane's TV credits during the 1960s include "The Twilight Zone," "The Lucy Show," "Maverick," "F Troop," "Mr. Ed," "Dobie Gillis," "77 Sunset Strip," "The Andy Griffith Show," "Get Smart," "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.," "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Bewitched," "Honey West," "The Wild, Wild West," "Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.," "Green Acres" and "The Flying Nun." Charles Lane's feature film credits during the 60s include "The Music Man," "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," "Papa's Delicate Condition," "The Carpetbaggers," "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken," "The Gnome Mobile" and "The Ugly Dachshund."
Charles Lane slowed down a bit during the 1970s. He only appeared in two feature films: Brian De Palma's "Get to Know Your Rabbit" and "Movie, Movie." His best known TV series work from that decade was as the presiding judge during Jessica Tate's murder trial on the hilarious series "Soap." The aforementioned TV movie "Sybil" was also from the 1970s.
Not that you can blame him, but Mr. Lane only worked on a little over 22 films and TV shows from 1980 until his final work last year as the narrator of the children's short "The Night Before Christmas." Mr. Lane's credits from the last 20 years include "Murphy's Romance," "Strange Invaders," "The Winds of War," "War and Remembrance," "Date With an Angel," "L.A. Law" and "St. Elsewhere."
Charles Lane was blessed with longevity and a sharp mind until the end. We are blessed to have so many great films and TV shows to remember him by. Charles Lane served his country in the US Coast Guard during WWII.
PETER TUDDENHAM Died Jul. 9, 2007
British voice actor Peter Tuddenham died at age 88. Mr. Tuddenham provided voices for characters in a number of films and TV series including "Blake's 7," "Dr. Who" and "Tales of the Unexpected." Mr. Tuddenham also did live action work. He appeared on screen in such films and TV shows as "Lovejoy," "North and South" and "Quiller."
TIBOR FEHEREGYHAZI Died Jul. 10, 2007
Hungarian movie star Tibor Feheregyhazi died of prostate cancer at age 75. As a child, Mr. Feheregyhazi was a radio actor in his native land. He starred in several Hungarian films including "Ward No. 9." He fought for the freedom of his country in the 1956 Hungarian revolution. Soviet tanks put the rebellion down. Mr. Feheregyhazi fled to Canada where he became one of….
Let me allow EI's actor in residence Jon Ted Wynne tell you about what Mr. Feheregyhazi became. Mr. Wynne knew the man well.
Tibor Feheregyhazi (T-Bone Scheherazade to his friends) had an extraordinary gift to inspire people. He was my first acting teacher, and I'll never forget a number of things he said to me, but one thing in particular: "Succeed or fail. But never be boring. There is no excuse for an artist to be boring."
I remember rehearsing Sophocles' "Antigone" with Tibor. I was playing the Messenger who, burdened with bad news, has to tell the king something he doesn't want to hear. As part of the rehearsal technique Tibor had me carry three stacking chairs on my back as we did the scene. I thought he was crazy. When we were done he asked how it felt. I said the obvious, that it was difficult having to carry the chairs while doing the scene. He replied that the physical burden of the chairs was the equivalent of the psychological burden of my bad news. To an 18-year-old theatre student just out of High School this was revelatory, if not genius. I've never forgotten that.
Over the years I had a few opportunities to work with Tibor as a professional. He never disappointed me. He told me about his days as a child actor (star, actually) in Hungary before the Revolution. After he was exiled the Communist government censored his name from the credits of the films he was in. One radio program he had done played annually. Tibor said his father, still in Hungary, looked forward to that broadcast in order to hear his "Little Tibor's" voice once again.
This is why Tibor was an inspiration to his students and colleagues. He would tell you a little anecdote like that and you realized that he had his pulse on the heartbeat of Life itself. That is why his work was always so grounded and true.
He would take shows like "Fiddler on the Roof," "The Sound of Music" and "Man of Lamancha" (shows I did with him) and infuse them with a freshness and passion you'd thought long lost from these perennial favourites. Tibor brought his committed work ethic, his fire, his artistry and his energy--even from a wheelchair in his last years-- to every show he touched.
Most Artistic Directors spend their careers checking out what other theatres are doing and what the latest hottest show is so they can program it, copy it. Some even send their minions to watch other productions over and over, to make notes, to steal. Not Tibor. He had the insight and talent and belief in himself to make his own decisions. While others might say "this is a good play because it was a hit in New York and all the critics are saying so," Tibor would say, "This is a good play." Period. His judgment was sound.
Some people hated him. Most loved him. But no one ever found him boring.
MARJORIE MORGAN Died Jul. 10, 2007
Canadian author Marjorie Morgan died of Alzheimer's Disease at age 92. Ms. Morgan's book "Marie Anne" became one of the first feature films produced in Alberta Canada. The 1978 film was the sole directorial effort by prolific Assistant Director Martin Waters.
NANA GUALDI Died Jul. 11, 2007
German singer/actress Nan Gualdi died at age 75. Ms. Gualdi had a hit with the German version of the Doris Day song "Everybody Loves a Lover." She appeared in several films including "Schlagerrevue 1962." During the 1980s, Ms. Gualdi enjoyed success as a stage actress in Hamburg and Stuttgart Germany.
LADY BIRD JOHNSON Died Jul. 11, 2007
Former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson died of natural causes at age 94. Lady Bird Johnson was the widow of former president Lyndon Baines Johnson. The couple was married in 1934. Her husband died in 1973, four years after leaving office. Lady Bird Johnson was an environmentalist who was responsible for the Highway Beautification Bill. The 1965 law was aimed at replacing billboards with trees and flowers along the nation's interstate highways. Lady Bird Johnson appeared as herself through archived footage in a number of films and documentaries such as "Executive Action," "JFK" and "Love Field." She has been portrayed by a number of actresses: Patti Lupone (LBJ: The Early Years), Felicity Huffman (Path to War), Carlin Glynn (A Woman Named Jackie), Danna Hansen (Robert Kennedy & His Times), Tanny McDonald (Kennedy). She was even portrayed by male actor Michael Shane in "Tricia's Wedding," the first film by the Gay comedy troupe The Cockettes.
BILL FLYNN Died Jul. 11, 2007
South African actor/writer Bill Flynn died of a heart attack at age 58. Mr. Flynn appeared in over 20 films. He also wrote several screenplays and enjoy success as a stage actor in his native land. His credits include "House of the Living Dead," "Saturday Night at the Palace" and "Krakatoa: The Last Days." He was married to actress Jana Cillers.
RICHARD FRANKLIN Died Jul. 11, 2007
Award-winning Australian director Richard Franklin died of prostate cancer at age 58. Though best known for his early thrillers "Patrick," "Road Games" and "Psycho 2," Mr. Franklin's later films are more complex and compelling. Maybe his passing will bring his films "Hotel Sorrento" and "Brilliant Lies" more international acclaim. Richard Franklin attended USC's film school with George Lucas, Randal Kleiser and John Carpenter. While at USC, Mr. Franklin contacted Alfred Hitchcock to speak to the students. Hitchcock invited Mr. Franklin to the sets of "Topaz" and "Family Plot." While Richard Franklin was a student of Hitchcock's work, he was more than a mere imitator. After USC, Richard Franklin returned to Australia where he enjoyed success with the horror film "Patrick." That led to "Roadgames" with US actors Stacy Keach and Jamie Leigh Curtis. Richard Franklin then took on the risky job of developing and directing the sequel to Hitchcock's masterpiece "Psycho." "Psycho 2" was a deftly handled film. More subtle that Hitchcock, in that Mr. Franklin saved the shocks for the last third of the movie. The build up was a nicely handled look into the mind of a man with a tenuous grip on reality. This was followed by "Cloak and Dagger," "Link," the pilot for the TV series "Beauty & the Beast" and "F/X 2." Mr. Franklin returned to Australia where he returned to making the more personal thrillers "Hotel Sorrento" and "Brilliant Lies." Mr. Franklin won the Australian Film Institute Best Screenplay awards for "Hotel Sorrento" and "Patrick." Other credits include "Visitors" and the pilot for the TV series "The Lost World."
ROD LAUREN Died Jul. 11, 2007
Actor/singer/murder suspect Rod Lauren apparently committed suicide by jumping out of a second floor window at a California hotel. Mr. Lauren was married to Philippine actress Nida Blanca. The award-winning actress was stabbed to death in a Manilla parking lot in November 2001. A man was arrested and claimed that Ms. Blanca's husband hired him to do the murder. Mr. Lauren successfully avoided being extradited from the US to the Philippines to stand trial. Mr. Lauren played Michael Gough's mute assistant in the horror film "The Black Zoo." Other credits include "The Crawling Hand," "The Young Swingers" and "Once Before I Die." Mr. Lauren had a #31 on the Billboard charts hit in 1959 called "If I Had a Girl." Ms. Blanca's family can only wish that he had never had her.
JIM MITCHELL Died Jul. 12, 2007
Porn trailblazer Jim Mitchell died of an apparent heart attack at age 63. Jim and his brother Artie Mitchell built a porn empire in San Francisco during the late 60s and early 70s. Jim Mitchell produced and directed such films as "Behind the Green Door," "The Resurrection of Eve" and "Sodom and Gomorrah." They discovered and turned into a star, Marilyn Chambers, the Ivory Snow girl. The pair turned the O'Farrell Theater into and adult entertainment goldmine. Both eventually got lost in the world of drugs and alcohol. While Jim Mitchell kicked his drug habit, brother Artie did not. In 1991 Jim Mitchell shot and killed his brother. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and spent three years in prison. The Mitchell brother's story was the subject of the book "X-Rated: The Mitchell Brothers-A True Story of Sex, Money and Death." Brothers Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen turned the book into a very good film entitled "X-Rated." Jim Mitchell was portrayed by Emilio Estevez.
PAUL JYRALA Died Jul. 12, 2007
Award-winning Finnish sound designer Paul Jyrala died at age 66. Mr. Jyrala worked in his native land and in the US. He won five of Finland's Jussi awards for Best Sound Design. One win was for the outstanding film "The Winter War." The true-life war film tells the tale of the Finnish repulse of the Russian invasion during WWII. The photo at right is of Mr. Jyrala at work on location of "The Winter War." Mr. Jyrala's talent was imported to the US on such productions as Mel Gibson's "The Patriot," "Proof of Life," "Hannibal" and John Woo's "Windtalkers."
MAURICE HILL Died Jul. 12, 2007
Actor Maurice Hill died of heart illness at age 89. Mr. Hill was the last surviving cast member of the 1950s sci-fi TV series "Space Patrol." He played Captain Hayward in the 1950-51 show. Mr. Hill also wrote episodes of the series. Mr. Hill's many acting credits include "I Love Lucy," "Dragnet," "Get Smart," the TV movies "Glass Houses" and "The Lindberg Kidnapping Case" and the two "Airplane!" feature films.
MARK BEHM Died July 12, 2007
Novelist and screenwriter Mark Behm died at age 82. Mr. Behm's story "The Unsuspecting Wife" was turned into the Cary Grant/Sudrey Hepburn thriller "Charade." He scripted the Fab Four's second feature film "Help!" Mr. Behm script for "12 + 1" was based on the same Russian story Mel Brooks used for his "The Twelve Chairs." Mr. Behm's version featured Sharon Tate in her final film role. Other credits include the biopic "Piaf," "Lady Chatterley' Lover" and "Hospital Massacre."
LAWRENCE GABRIEL Died Jul. 13, 2007
Actor/producer/teacher Lawrence Gabriel died at age 70. Mr. Gabriel produced the upcoming comedy film "Vacuuming the Cat." He also produced the feature films "The Job" and "The Hard Easy." As an actor Mr. Gabriel appeared in "Truck Turner," "Trackdown," "Cavegirl" and "The Muppet Movie." Mr. Gabriel shared his craft for 35 years as a drama teacher for the Arch Diocese of Los Angeles.
MICHAEL REARDON Died Jul. 13, 2007
Actor/producer/motivational speaker/studio exec/lawyer/world renowned rock climber and former Glam Rocker Michael Reardon drown in Ireland at age 42. Michael Reardon proved that you can succeed at whatever you put your mind to. Mr. Reardon was known in the rock climbing world as one of the best at 'soloing.' That is, climbing without ropes, harnesses or any safety equipment. In the 1980s Mr. Reardon was a member of the Glam band Rocks Milan. Before that, Mr. Reardon was a child actor who appeared in "Scrooge" and "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." Mr. Reardon worked for several studios including Paramount and Universal. He co-founded Black Sky Entertainment, the company that produced Eli Roth's excellent horror film "Cabin Fever." Mr. Reardon played a bit part in the movie. He also wrote, produced and directed several films in the "Climb On!" series. Mr. Reardon was posing for a photographer at the base of a cliff in Ireland when he was hit by a wave and swept out to sea.
FRANK MAHER Died Jul. 13, 2007
British actor/stuntman and stunt coordinator Frank Maher died of emphysema at age 78. Mr. Maher was Patrick McGoohan's stunt double on the TV series "Danger Man" and "The Prisoner." He doubled for Roger Moore on the TV series "The Saint." Other credits include "Dr. Who" and "Blake's 7." Mr. Maher retired from the film business and began writing adventure novels.
MIKHAIL KONONOV Died Jul. 16, 2007
Russian actor Mikhail Kononov died of heart failure at age 67. Mr. Kononov enjoyed success during the 1960s in the Soviet film industry. The actor appeared in starring roles during this time. His best known film is "The Chief of Chukotka." His parts grew smaller in the 1970s and 80s. Mr. Kononov's final film appearance was in the 2005 TV miniseries adaptation of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's "The First Circle."
LUCIANO GIANCARLO Died Jul. 16, 2007
Actor Luciano Giancarlo died of pneumonia and cancer at age 35. Mr. Giancarlo appeared in such TV shows and films as "Gypsy Rose," "What I Like About You," "Gilmore Girls," "Will & Grace" and "Arrested Development." Mr. Giancarlo also did voice work for the video game "Medal of Honor: Vanguard." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
WARREN CLYMER Died Jul. 16, 2007
Emmy-winning art director/production designer Warren Clymer died at age 84. Mr. Clymer was the art director on Francis Ford Coppola's masterpiece "The Godfather." Mr. Clymer was nominated for seven Emmy Awards during his career. He won two Emmy awards in the 1960s for "Hallmark Hall of Fame" and the TV movie "The Holy Terror." Mr. Clymer was also honored with the National Educational Theater Design Award and at the National Better Rooms Competition. Mr. Clymer was also art director on the twisted Ruth Gordon comedy "Where's Poppa?" He was production designer on over 500 TV productions as well as the movies "Alice's Restaurant" and "A New Leaf."
Warren Clymer served his country as a B-17 tail gunner in the US Army-Air Corp during WWII. Mr. Clymer created the artwork for the 9/11 memorial. THe design he worked on is shown at Right next to the picture of Mr. Clymer with one of his Emmy Awards. Mitch Mendler, president of the WORLD MEMORIAL charity told me about Mr. Clymer's important contribution to the project: "I met Warren about 2 years ago in NYC. I am the President of a 9/11 Memorial - charity. The organization is WORLD MEMORIAL and Warren created artwork for us that we use for our mission which is getting out the message, 'NEVER FORGET!' " You can check out this worthy cause's website at http://www.world-memorial.org.
GRANT FORSBERG Died Jul. 17, 2007
Actor turned businessman Grant Forsberg of undisclosed causes at age 47. Mr. Forsberg appeared in such films as "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," "Bloodhounds of Broadway" and the TV series "L.A. Law." Mr. Forsberg was co-owner of the business Soolip which specialized in customized invitations and other paper products.
JORGE MONTORO Died Jul. 17, 2007
Peruvian actor Jorge Montoro died of lung cancer at age 82. Mr. Montoro appeared on stage and in film and TV in his native land. He appeared in several US productions including Dennis Hopper's infamous "The Last Movie." Other credits include "Manhunt in the Jungle" and "The Gallant One."
BART BURNS Died Jul. 17, 2007
Character actor Bart Burns died of natural causes at age 89. Mr. Burns appeared in over 80 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. Mr. Burns was also a noted stage actor appearing on Broadway in Henry Fonda's production of Mr. Roberts. Mr. Burns played Jessica Langes father in the biopic "Frances." He played Juror #6 in the "Studio One" TV production of "Twelve Angry Men." Mr. Burns' film credits include "Seven Days in May," "Fear Strikes Out," "Number One" with Charlton Heston, "Tora! Tora! Tora!," "There Was a Crooked Man…," the American Film Theater version of "The Iceman Cometh," "Legal Eagles" and "Fear." His TV movie credits include "Helter Skelter," "The Amazing Howard Hughes" and "The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal." Bart Burns appeared in such notable TV series as "Perry Mason," "Twilight Zone," "Gunsmoke," "Kojak" and "The Untouchables." He wrote the screenplay for the four-part Disney TV movie "Kilroy Was Here." Mr. Burns served his country as a US Marine during WWII winning a Silver Star during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
RUTH KETTLEWELL Died Jul. 17, 2007
British character actress Ruth Kettlewell died of natural causes at age 94. Mr. Kettlewell appeared in over 40 films and TV shows during her career. She was also a successful stage actress. Her feature film credits include "Room at the Top," "Sons and Lovers," "Oh! What a Lovely War," "Zeppelin" and the truly awful biopic "Great Balls of Fire." Ms. Kettlewell served her country during WWII as a member of the Woman's Land Army.
IVOR EMMANUEL Died Jul. 19, 2007
Welsh singer/actor Ivor Emmanuel died at age 80. Mr. Emmanuel was part of the excellent ensemble cast of the classic war film "Zulu." Mr. Emmanuel played Private Owen, the man who rallies his troops during the final climactic battle by leading them in the song "Men of Harlech." The song builds the soldiers morale as they are surrounded by thousands of Zulu warriors chanting battle cries before the attack. A great scene in a great movie. Ivor Emmanuel was a noted stage actor. He appeared on Broadway as well as London's West End. Mr. Emmanuel also appeared on the British TV shows "Morcombe and Wise" and "The Benny Hill Show."
AL HENDRICKSON Died Jul. 19, 2007
Renowned guitarist Al Hendrickson died at age 87. Mr. Hendrickson began his career in Hollywood before the outbreak of WWII. He was a much-in-demand rhythm guitarist. Mr. Hendrickson played with such band leaders as Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. He was a prolific studio musician contributing music to thousands of Film and TV scores. His guitar can be heard in such films as "The Wild Bunch," "Cleopatra" and "West Side Story." Mr. Hendrickson appeared in the Fred Astaire movie "Second Chorus."
LAURA DEVON Died Jul. 19, 2007
Former actress and singer Laura Devon died of heart failure at age 76. Ms. Devon appeared in a number of films and TV shows during the 1960s. Her credits include the films "Goodbye Charlie," "Chamber of Horrors," "Gunn" and "Red Line 7000." Her many TV appearances include such shows as "Route 66," "The Richard Boone Show," "I Spy" and "The Twilight Zone." Ms. Devon's first husband was actor Brian Kelly. Her second husband was composer Maurice Jarre. She was the mother of screenwriter Kevin Jarre.
JOHN GRAFFEO Died Jul. 20, 2007
Emmy-winning set dresser, prop and lead man John Graffeo died at age 65. Mr. Graffeo won an Emmy for his work on the TV version of "East of Eden." His many film and TV credits include the Marlon Brando version of "Mutiny on the Bounty," the original "Around the World in 80 Days" and "Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Kahn." Mr. Graffeo was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local #40.
ACHILLE MANZOTTI Died Jul. 20, 2007
Producer Achille Manzotti died of throat cancer at age 63. Mr. Manzotti produced "Two Evil Eyes," which was co-directed by Dario Argento and George Romero. Mr. Manzotti also produced a number of films written by actor Renato Pozzetto. These films include "Stormtrooper" and "Rich and Poor." Mr. Manzotti over 40 films and TV shows during his career. The photo is from Mr. Manzotti's days with the Italian rock and roll band "Volti."
LASZLO KOVACS Died Jul. 21, 2007
Award-winning cinematographer Lazlo Kovacs died in his sleep at age 74. Mr. Kovacs lensed some of the most memorable movies of the 1970s. He was honored by his peers at the American Society of Cinematographers with their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. Mr. Kovacs discussed his art and craft in the wonderful documentary "Visions of Light." What an eye he had! The Hungarian born cinematographer was classmates in his native land with Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond. During their last year of film school the pair surreptitiously film the Hungarian uprising against the Soviet Union. They then fled their country with the film and came to America as political refugees. The Iron Curtain's loss was our gain.
Laszlo Kovacs honed his talents during the early 1960s working on sexploitation, biker and horror films. His early credits include Ray Dennis Steckler's "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies," "Kiss Me Quick!," "Psych-Out" and "Hells Angels on Wheels." In 1968 he teamed with Peter Bogdanovich on his breakthrough film "Targets." Mr. Kovacs' value as a cinematographer became plain for all to see the following year with the landmark film "Easy Rider." The drug-era road picture remains a visually stunning treat today. Except for two horror exploitation films by Al Adamson and a biker film, Laszlo Kovacs would only work on top productions after "Easy Rider."
Laszlo Kovacs filmed many of the best films of the 1970s and 80s. Director Peter Bogdanovich would call on Mr. Kovacs to lens his films "Paper Moon," "What's Up Doc?," "Nickelodeon," "At Long Last Love" and "Mask." He shot Bob Rafelson's "Five Easy Pieces" and "The King of Marvin Gardens." Martin Scorsese called on Mr. Kovacs to shoot his interesting misfire "New York, New York." Laszlo Kovacs was also one of the several directors of photography on Mr. Scorsese's concert masterpiece "The Last Waltz." Steven Spielberg called on Mr. Kovacs as an additional director of photography on his sci-fi film "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Brian De Palma would use Mr. Kovacs for additional photography on the political thriller "Blow Out." Other credits include Paul Mazursky's "Alex in Wonderland," Denis Hopper's "The Last Movie," "Steelyard Blues," "Slither," Hal Ashby's "Shampoo," the politically incorrect cop-comedy "Freebie and the Bean," "F.I.S.T.," "Inside Moves," "Frances," "Ghost Busters," "Say Anything," "Little Nikita," "My Best Friend's Wedding" and "Copycat."
TAMMY FAYE MESSNER Died Jul. 21, 2007
Televangelist Tammy Faye Messner died of cancer at age 65. Ms. Messner and former husband Jim Baker founded the "PTL Club" in the 1970s. Their ministry eventually failed due to greed, corruption, adultery (on the part of Mr. Baker) and extravagant living. Jim Baker went to prison for his part in bilking their TV parishioners out of millions. Who says there aren't any second acts in life. Ms. Messner divorced her husband and remarried. She continued her ministry on a much smaller scale. Ms. Messner did something that many in her calling were unable or refused to do: she reached out to the gay community in a loving way. Ms. Messner did what she could to comfort those dying of AIDS. The true nature of her compassion was accepted and appreciated by those she showed His love to. It may have been Ms. Messner's 'drag-queen' looks and outlandish make-up that endeared her to the gay community, but it was her inner spirit that made them love her. In a parody of herself, Ms. Messner played a make-up lady on the "Rosanne" show. Ms. Messner appeared as herself on a number of TV shows and in several documentary films. Her long, painful battle with cancer is over. I hope she is at peace now.
BARBARA ISSAK Died July 21, 2007
Multi-Emmy-winning sound editor Barbara Issak died of ovarian cancer at age 57. Ms. Issak was nominated eleven times for Emmy Awards (four wins!). She was also nominated for nine Golden Reel Awards (three wins!). Ms. Issak's many credits include the remake of "Sabrina," "Joyride," "Meet Joe Black" and "Storm of the Century."
KIERON MOORE Died Jul. 22, 2007
Irish actor Kieron Moore died at age 82. Mr. Moore was best known to sci-fi/horror fans for his role in the creepy "The Day of the Triffids." Mr. Moore began his film and stage career in the 1940s. One of his earliest starring roles was opposite Vivian Leigh in the 1948 version of "Anna Karenina." He appeared in over 50 films before retiring in the 1960s. Other credits include "David and Bathsheba" with Gregory Peck, "The Tall Men" with Burt Lancaster, Disney's "Darby O'Gill and the Little People," "The Angry Hills" with Robert Mitchum, "The Day They Robbed the Bank of England," the title role in "Dr. Blood's Coffin," the original version of "The Thin Red Line," "The 300 Spartans" and "Crack in the World." Mr. Moore joined the Catholic charity group Cafod and retired from film. He did make documentaries about conditions in third world countries in hopes of bringing aid and attention to their plight. He devoted the latter part of his life to his faith.
ULRICH MUEHE Died Jul. 22, 2007
German actor Ulrich Muehe died of stomach cancer at age 54. Mr. Muehe starred in the 2006 Best Foreign Film Oscar-winner "The Lives of Others." Set just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mr. Muehe played a member of the East German secret police who observed citizens for the state. Mr. Muehe won a number of Best Actor awards for his work in the film. Ulrich Muehe appeared in over 50 films and TV shows including the upcoming "Nemesis." "Nemesis" co-stars actress Susanne Lothar, who was Mr. Muehe's wife. The pair worked together in many films and TV programs.
JOAN O'HARA Died Jul. 23, 2007
Irish actress Joan O'Hara died after a lengthy illness. Her exact age was not given. Ms. O'Hara began her stage career at the Abbey Theater in 1948. She was best known in her native land for her role as Eunice Dunston on the long-running TV series "Fair City." Ms. O'Hara's film credits include "Da" with Martin Sheen and Ron Howard's "Far and Away."
GEORGE TABORI Died Jul. 24, 2007
BAFTA-winning screenwriter George Tabori died at age 93. The Hungarian born writer won the BAFTA for Best British Screenplay for "The Young Lovers." He wrote Alfred Hitchcock's minor mystery/thriller "I Confess." Montgomery Cliff played a priest who hears the confession of a murderer. Cliff's character refuses to tell the police what he heard in the confessional and is himself arrested and tried for the murder. Mr. Tabori's other scripts include "Thunder in the East," "The Emperor's Clothes" and "No Exit." Mr. Tabori left Hollywood for Germany and established a career writing and directing for the theater.
CHANEY KLEY Died Jul. 24, 2007
Actor Chaney Kley died of undisclosed causes at age 34. Mr. Kley starred in the under-rated horror film "Darkness Falls." Mr. Kley won the Joseph Jefferson Award as Lead Actor in the Chicago stage production of "The Angels of Lemnos." Mr. Kley's many credits include such films and TV shows as "Legally Blonde," "The Shield," "CSI," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Navy NCIS" and "Las Vegas." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
JERRY SKEELS Died Jul 24, 2007
Emmy-nominated costume designer Jerry Skeels died of a heart attack at age 68. Mr. Skeels was best know for co-creating with Randy McLaughlin, the famous "Hollywood Graffiti" gown. The gown includes the beaded signatures of nearly 400 movie stars. It has been displayed to raise money for AIDS charities. The gown is the subject of the documentary "The Hollywood Graffiti Gown: Fighting AIDS With Fashion." The two men spent 27 years working on the gown. Mr. Skeels was nominated for Emmy awards for the TV series "One West Waikiki" and "P.S. I Luv U."
CARMEN DIRIGO Died Jul. 25, 2007
Hair stylist Carmen Dirigo died at age 99. The long-time Universal studio hairstylist career began in the 1930s. Ms. Dirigo worked on nearly 100 films and TV shows during her lengthy career. Among the films she added style to are "House of Dracula," "The Cat Creeps," the original version of "The Killers," "The Brute Man," "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein," "Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid," "Diary of a Madman" and "1776."
On occasion I have published obituaries written by other people, most notably those by British filmmaker Austin Mutti-Mewse. The following essay is by Scott Essman of Visionary Media. My thanks to Mr. Essman for allowing me to publish his excellent tribute to Ms. Dirigo.
Chances are, if you saw a movie with one of the stars of the 1930s or 1940s, her hair was done by Carmen Dirigo, who passed away on July 25 in Van Nuys at the age of 99.
Dirigo, born Daisy Obradowits, was a prominent hair and wig stylist in Hollywood's Golden Age, working at the various studios and later in television. Among her stable of stars were Joan Bennett, Yvonne De Carlo, Joan Fontaine and her sister, Olivia de Havilland, Ann Blyth, Elena Verdugo, and many others.
She was born in New York on December 30, 1907 and moved with her mother Lilley to Southern California in the 1920s. Soon after, Lilley started a beauty shop on Cahuenga in Hollywood while Carmen went to school. But the younger Dirigo had show business dreams. From an early age, she worked as a dancer at the Egyptian, Chinese, and Pantages theaters doing prologue shows before feature films ran.
At Carmen's urging, Lilley finally attempted to get into the movie business during the last years of the silents. "I kept after her, but she was very shy," Carmen recalled in 1999. "One day, she went and made an appointment at Universal with Carl Laemmle and she sold him on the idea of having a hairstylist established on the lot. She told him that she once saw a picture where the actress is out in the rain, and when she comes in, her hair is all dry. She told him that he could have someone established on each picture to read the script and follow the story and do it accordingly. He thought that was brilliant, and that's how it all started."
By 1933, after taking a state test to get her cosmetology license, Carmen followed her mother and entered the hairstyling field, first working at United Artists. After four years, she moved to Paramount where she first worked with stars like Fontaine and Fredric March. Eight years later, she came to Universal as head of hairstyling, where her mother had broken ground working with legendary makeup artist Jack Pierce, famous for Universal's slate of classic monster films.
Of the rapid pace of the classic studio days, Carmen remembered the structured approach to the work. "They didn't have time to talk about stuff then," she said. "We would get there early, and have to rush to get people out on time. If I had wigs to do, I'd have to be there at 6:30AM and take the wigs off the block. Max Factor's on Highland and three wigmakers out of Universal would ventilate the wigs. Then, I would style them the night before."
One of her biggest challenges at Universal was the 1948 film, "Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid" which featured underwater photography of star Ann Blyth. "The producer wanted her hair to look as beautiful underwater as out of the water," she recalled. "I had to get together with a chemist to figure out what we could use that would be pliable in the water. For days, before the picture started, I would be in my department with a fishbowl, and I'd have a hunk of hair which I waved first and sprayed with this chemical. I'd plunk it in the water and swish it around and see if it held the curl. When it did, I knew that it was okay."
While at Universal, Dirigo served as president of the Cinema Hairstylists, an elite association, and was the first hairstylist in the business to get screen credit. In 1951, the nascent television medium beckoned, and she moved to TV on shows including Fireside Theater, which ran until 1955. Around that time, she did several episodes a CBS show called You Are There, which recreated significant moments from history. For an episode which aired in April 1955, using wigs and makeup, she and Jack Pierce transformed actor Jeff Morrow into Abraham Lincoln for a staged recreation of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
After a season on TV's The Andy Griffith Show in 1961-62 Dirigo's last significant job in the business was as hairstyling department head for TV's Petticoat Junction, where she worked for three seasons, through 1965-66. Her final credit was on the film "1776" in 1972. Subsequently, she retired comfortably to her house on Coldwater Canyon Boulevard in Van Nuys where she lived the rest of her life. Until a severe fall at home in 2000 left her partially immobilized, Dirigo was an avid equestrian and enjoyed watching her Academy screeners on VHS tapes. She leaves behind no living heirs and died as Carmen Dirigo Heckler.
Her legacy, along with her mother's, was creating firm aesthetics for women's hairstyles in films that remains to this day. One Universal press release from 1946 stated: "She is a firm believer in frequent hair style changes and in the choice of simple styles for business and sportswear. Elaborate hairstyles should be created only for evening and formal occasions, she recommends."
WALTER FLANNIGAN Died Jul. 25, 2007
Actor Walter Flannigan died at age 78. Mr. Flannigan did regional theater all over the US. His film credits include "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight," "Ghost Busters II," "Shakedown" and Brian De Palma's misfire "The Bonfire of the Vanities."
LLOYD NELSON Died July 25, 2007
Actor and script supervisor Lloyd Nelson died of internal bleeding at age 80. Mr. Nelson was a long-time collaborator with actor/director Clint Eastwood. He was script supervisor on 14 of Mr. Eastwood's films and played bit parts in 10 of those movies. Mr. Nelson was script supervisor on 14 of Mr. Eastwood's films starting with 1978's "Every Which Way But Loose" and ending with the Oscar-winning "Unforgiven." Mr. Nelson's non-Eastwood credits include "Stripes," "Goonies," "A Change of Seasons," "Hammett," "The Outsiders" and "Sleepwalkers." Mr. Nelson acted in over 30 films and TV shows including "Man Beast," "The Court Jester," "The Ann Southern Show," "Space Patrol," "Creature of the Walking Dead," "Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo" and "Pretty Woman" and Jerry Warren's truly terrible "The Wild World of Batwoman."
JOHN NORMINGTON Died Jul. 26, 2007
British actor John Normington died of pancreatic cancer at age 70. Mr. Normington was a noted stage actor in the UK who also appeared on Broadway. He appeared in over 70 films and TV shows. His filom credits include Michael Apted's excellent rock and roll drama "Stardust" and Norman Jewison's original version of "Rollerball." Mr. Normington's many TV credits include "Dr. Who," "Coronation Street" and "Upstairs, Downstairs."
DAVID SHAW Died Jul. 27, 2007
Tony Award-winning writer David Shaw died one month shy of his 91st birthday. Mr. Shaw won a two Tony awards for the play "Redhead." He was nominated for WGA and Golden Globe Awards for the hilarious comedy "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium." Mr. Shaw received an Emmy Nomination for an episode of "Producer's Showcase." He received story credit for Billy Wilder's "A Foreign Affair." Mr. Shaw was a prolific TV writer during the 1950s contributing scripts to such shows as "Studio One" and "Playhouse 90." Mr. Shaw was married to Emmy nominated actress Maxine Stuart. Mr. Shaw served his country in the US Army-Air Corp during WWII.
WILLIAM TUTTLE Died Jul. 27, 2007
Oscar-honored makeup artist William Tuttle died at age 95. Lon Chaney Sr. was called the Man of a Thousand Faces. William Tuttle could very well be called the Man of Thousands of Faces. During his 46-year career, 20 of those years as head of the MGM Makeup department, William Tuttle was responsible for some of the most memorable makeup effects in movie history. William Tuttle was given an Honorary Oscar for his work on the fantasy film "The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao," which starred Tony Randall. In that film Mr. Tuttle gave Tony Randall the appearance of several beings including an ancient Chinese wizard, Medusa and the god Pan. William Tuttle was nominated for an Emmy award for his work on the biopic "Babe."
William Tuttle worked on hundreds of films from the mid-1930s through his retirement in 1981. IMDB lists Mr. Tuttle's first film work on Tod Browning's 1935 film "The Mark of the Vampire." The Bela Lugosi movie was a remake of Lon Chaney Sr.'s lost film "London After Midnight." During the 1930s Mr. Tuttle was also an assistant makeup artist on the classic "The Wizard of Oz."
William Tuttle did the makeup on almost every one of Elvis Presley's movies. Horror and science fiction films provided Mr. Tuttle with some of his most shining moments. He worked his magic on such films as George Pal's "The Time Machine," "Atlantis, the Lost Continent," "The Wonderful World of the Brother's Grimm," "Forbidden Planet," "Logan's Run," Brian DePalma's "The Fury," Curtis Harrington's "What's the Matter With Helen?," "Young Frankenstein," "Love at First Bite" and the TV movies "Moon of the Wolf" and "The Night Strangler." The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films" honored Mr. Tuttle four times for his work on "The Fury," "Logan's Run," "Young Frankenstein" and "Love at First Bite." William Tuttle worked on a dozen episodes of "The Twilight Zone." His work includes the classic episodes "The Masks," "Eye of the Beholder" and "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet."
Not all of William Tuttle's work was aimed at creating the impossible or the magical. Many times, he was there to make the stars look good. William Tuttle's many credits include such classic films as the original "Father of the Bride," "An American in Paris," "Singin' in the Rain," "Pat and Mike," "Julius Caesar," "Kiss Me Kate," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," "The Blackboard Jungle," "Somebody Up There Likes Me," "Tea and Sympathy," "Jailhouse Rock," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," Hitchcock's "North by Northwest," "The Wreck of the Mary Deare," "Home From the Hills," Sam Peckinpah's first masterpiece "Ride the High Country," Norman Jewison's "The Cincinnati Kid," "A Patch of Blue" and John Huston's quirky Western "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean."
CHERYL KOSEWICZ Died Jul. 27, 2007
Prosecuting attorney and reality TV show participant Cheryl Kosewicz committed suicide at age 35. Ms. Kosewicz was a contestant on the short-lived, reality TV show "Pirate Master." Ms. Kosewicz was despondent over the suicide of her boyfriend in June of this year. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
MICHEL SERRAULT Died Jul. 29, 2007
Award-winning French actor Michel Serrault died at age 79 after a long illness. Mr. Serrault was nominated for seven Best Actor and one Best Supporting Actor Cesar awards. The Cesar is France's equivalent of the US Oscar. Mr. Serrault won three Best Actor Cesars including one for his work in the comedy hit "La Cage aux Folles." Though Mr. Serrault appeared in over 150 films and TV shows in France, he was best known to international audiences for his performance as the flamboyant drag-queen in the 1978 hit film. Mr. Serrault reprised his role in two sequels to "La Cage aux Folles." Fans of the cult-classic "The King of Hearts" also remember Mr. Serrault as the insane Bishop Marcel. Horror movie fans may remember Michel Serrault for his work in the original version of "Diabolique." The 1955 classic marked Mr. Serrault's film debut. Mr. Serrault delivered a chilling performance in the title role true-crime serial-killer biopic "Doctor Petiot." The film told the tale of the infamous French doctor who killed Jews for their money during WWII while supposedly helping them escape the Nazis. Other credits include the Oscar winning "Get Out Your Handkerchiefs" and Claude Charbrol's "The Swindle."
TOM SNYDER Died Jul. 29, 2007
TV journalist and talk show host Tom Snyder died of leukemia at age 71. Mr. Snyder hosted NBC's "The Tomorrow Show." Mr. Snyder's late night interview program came on after Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show." His smoky interviews and distinctive laugh endeared him to fans. Mr. Snyder interviewed many of the great artists, musicians and newsmakers of his generation. He was parodied by Dan Ackroyd on "Saturday night Live." "The Tomorrow Show" ran 1973 through 1982. I was a big fan. I remember resenting that upstart comedian David Letterman when NBC cancelled "The Tomorrow Show" and replaced it with "Late Night With David Letterman." Tom Snyder returned to late night talk TV with "The Late Late Show" in the 1990s. Tom Snyder was nominated for two Emmy Awards.
MARVIN ZINDLER Died Jul. 29, 2007
Flamboyant Texas TV newsman Marvin Zindler died of pancreatic cancer at age 85. Mr. Zindler gain fame outside Texas for his crusade to shut down a brothel near La Grange, Texas. His exploits inspired the play and movie "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." Actor Clinton Allmon played the character based on Mr. Zindler in the original Broadway production of the play. Dom LeLuise played him in the film version. Marvin Zindler served his country in the US Marines during WWII. A KTRK-TV co-worker shared these thoughts about Mr. Zindler: "On Sunday our beloved Marvin Zindler passed away after a short battle with pancreatic cancer he was 85. Marvin has been with the station for several years and is known for his flamboyant appearance, his rat and roach report, "Slime in the Ice Machine," Marvin's Angels, always helping those that could not help themselves. Marvin is best know for closing down the infamous brothel in La Grange, Texas known as the Chicken Ranch."
MIKE REID Died Jul. 29, 2007
British actor Mike Reid died of a heart attack at age 67. Mr. Reid played Frank Butcher on the long-running British TV series "EastEnders." Mr. Reid was a regular on the show from 1989 through 2005. Mr. Reid's film credits include his role as Dough 'The Head' Denovitz in "Snatch." Mr. Reid did stunt work in such films as "The Dirty Dozen," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and the original film version of "Casino Royale."
INGMAR BERGMAN Died Jul. 30, 2007
My film education, the realization that the cinema had more to offer than the 1950s monster movies I fell in love with as a child began in the early 1970s at the old Memphis public library at Peabody and McLean. I sought refuge there to escape the horrors of an abusive father and step-mother. Hours spent on the second floor reading film books that I was considered too young to check out. Within a few years I would be old enough to sneak into R-Rated movies by using a fake ID and false sideburns made from recently cut hair. My years of perusing the written volumes of Pauline Kael left me with a wish list of movies I had to see before I died. Directors with names like Kurosawa, Bergman, Cocteau and Truffaut called to me from the pages of books.
It was fitting that I would see my first Bergman film at another library. It was the early 1980s. The library was in Las Vegas. The film was "Wild Strawberries." The magical descriptions that I had read of what Mr. Bergman had achieved with this film did not exaggerate. The film remains one of my personal favorites. It is somewhat on the cherry side for Bergman. In the next couple of years I was able to see several dozen of the master's films. I don't say that lightly…calling Ingmar Bergman a Master. He was one of the few geniuses of the art. Bergman made Art. He, along with Kurosawa, Alfred Hitchcock and John Ford rules in the Pantheon of Director Gods. He sits on a throne of work that others only aspire to. Woody Allen may be inspired by Ingmar Bergman, but he is a neophyte in comparison.
Award-winning Swedish director Ingmar Bergman died at home at age 89. Mr. Bergman was nominated for three Best Director Oscars, five Best Screenplay Oscars and one Best Picture Oscar. He was awarded the Irving Thalberg Award by the Academy in 1971. Mr. Bergman's films "The Virgin Spring," "Through a Glass Darkly" and "Fanny and Alexander" all won the Best Foreign Film Oscar. "Cries and Whispers" was nominated for the 1972 Best Picture Oscar. His work has been honored with countless awards and nominations around the world. He directed over 60 films and TV movies during his career. Among them are at least five masterpieces and many, many more films which tower over the best work of lesser directors.
When I began writing the Hollywood Obituary column I decided to use a classic film still at the top of each months column. The first still I used was of actors Max Von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot in Ingmar Bergman's 1957 film "The Seventh Seal." The picture of Von Sydow's crusade knight playing chess with Death seemed appropriate for the column. "The Seventh Seal" was released in the US on the day I was born. The film has aged much better than I have. Bergman's classic is an amazing examination of one man's quest for eternal answers. The movie put Bergman on the international map. Bergman was nominated for the Golden Palm and won a Special Jury prize at Cannes for the film.
Bergman's melancholy "Wild Strawberries" was also filmed in 1957. It tells the tale of an elderly professor traveling to his alma mater in order to receive honors for his life's work. Through dreams and flashbacks the old professor reflects on his past life. It is a warm and poignant film. Ingmar Bergman received his first Oscar nomination for the screenplay.
Bergman's 1960 film "The Virgin Spring" won the Best Foreign Film Oscar. The film is one of Bergman's grimmer tales. The parents of a young girl brutally raped and murdered by a gang of thugs exact revenge when the guilty parties unknowingly seek food and shelter from the parents. Wes Craven and Seasn S. Cunningham based their horror film "Last House on the Left" on Bergman's classic.
So many great films. So much cinematic magic to discover for the beginning film student. So much to learn for the veteran filmmaker. Ingmar Bergman's many credits include "Winter Light," "The Silence," "Persona," "Hour Of the Wolf," "Shame," "Scenes From a Marriage," "Face to Face," "The Serpent's Egg," "Autumn Sonata," "From the Life of the Marionettes" and "Saraband."
MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI Died Jul. 30, 2007
What a tragic day for the world of film. I wake up one day to hear of the death of Ingmar Bergman and the next with news of the passing of Michelangelo Antonioni! As was the case with Ingmar Bergman, I read extensively about Michelangelo Antonioni's landmark film "Blow Up" long before I was able to see it. It remains on of the best films of the 1960s. Oscar-nominated Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni died at age 94. Mr. Antonioni was nominated for Best Director and Best Screenplay Oscars for "Blow Up." "Blow Up" was an event film during the swinging 60s. The world-wide reception of the film made Antonioni a household name. His last name became a lyric in one of the songs from "Hair." Mr. Antonioni was honored with a special Oscar in 1995 for his life's work. Like his contemporary, Mr. Bergman, Antonioni's work received countless honors, nominations and awards throughout the world.
Antonioni's 1970 film "Zabriskie Point" became a minor cult film. The director took a look at American culture during the tumultuous late 1960s and created visually stunning movie that is more than a bit confused in what it wants to say. For the patient viewer, Mr. Antonioni's 1975 film "The Passenger" yields a number of rewards. Jack Nicholson starred with Marlon Brando's "Last Tango in Paris" co-star Maria Schneider. The final tracking shot of the film is quite impressive. Mr. Antonioni's work from the early 1960s is also worth discovering. "The Adventure" and "The Night" being highlights from his pre "Blow Up" days.