ALLAN PRIOR Died June 1, 2006
Award-winning screenwriter Allan Prior died at age 84. Mr. Prior won the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain’s Best British Drama/Series Script award for his work on the TV series "Z Cars." The 1962 series ran for 16 years. It also spawned the spin off series "Softly, Softly," which he also wrote for. Mr. Prior was one of the founding writers on the TV show. Mr. Prior wrote for many noted British TV shows including "Blake’s 7" and "Coronation Street." He was the father of Steeleye Span lead singer Maddy Prior. Allan Prior served his country in the RAF during WWII.
VINCE WELNICK Died June 2, 2006
Keyboardist Vince Welnick died of an undisclosed injury at age 55. News reports have said that family members say it appears to be a suicide. Mr. Welnick was a member of the bands The Grateful Dead, The Tubes and Todd Rundgren. Mr. Welnick’s teenage band The Beans eventually became The Tubes. He worked at the keyboardist for The Grateful Dead from 1990 until the group disbanded in 1995. As a member of The Tubes, Mr. Welnick appeared in the films and TV specials "Alice Cooper and Friends," "Cracking Up," "Cher…Special" and "Xanadu." He also appeared in the movie "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains."
LEON POWNALL Died June 2, 2006
Canadian actor Leon Pownall died of cancer at age 63. Mr. Pownall enjoyed a successful stage and screen career. He was a frequent performer at the Stratford Festival for nearly 40 years. Mr. Pownall appeared in nearly 40 films and TV shows. He played McAlistar in "Dead Poets Society." Mr. Pownall also had a nice supporting role in the excellent Canadian TV movie "Hiroshima," in which portrayed General George C. Marshall. Other credits include "Wiseguy," "Road to Avonlea" and "The Day Reagan Was Shot." Mr. Pownall was nominated for the Canadian Gemini Award for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series" for his work in the mini series "The Sleep Room."
WILLIAM DRISKILL Died June 2, 2006
Screenwriter William Driskill died of lung cancer at age 76. Mr. Driskill wrote both feature films and TV episodes. His credits include the TV shows "Highway Patrol," "Maverick," "The Alaskans" and "Tarzan."
EDWARD YATES Died June 2, 2006
Director Ed Yates died at age 87. Mr. Yates directed and produced the TV show "American Bandstand" for 17 years. He began with the show when it was a local Philadelphia program. Mr. Yates stayed with the show from 1952 until 1969. Mr. Yates served his country in the military during WWII.
JOHNNY GRANDE Died June 2, 2006
Rock and Roll pioneer Johnny Grande died in his sleep at age 76. Mr. Grande was one of the founding members of Bill Haley and the Comets. He played with the band from 1949 through 1962. He rejoined the band in 1989 and played with the until poor health forced him to stop. Mr. Grande was the piano player for Bill Haley and the Comets. He played on the classic record "Rock Around the Clock." The song was featured over the opening credits of the film "Blackboard Jungle" and on the soundtracks to a multitude of other films and TV shows including "American Graffiti" and "Happy Days." He appeared in with the band in the films "Rock Around the Clock" and "Don’t Knock the Rock."
RONALD CASS Died June 2, 2006
Writer, composer Ronald Cass died at age 93. Mr. Cass wrote the scripts and composed music for three films starring British pop star Cliff Richard: "The Young Ones," "Summer Holiday" and "Wonderful Life." Mr. Cass also wrote for the TV series "This is Tom Jones." He wrote the original screenplay for Ken Russell’s 1964 film "French Dressing."
BRIAN MILLS Died June 3, 2006
British TV director Brian Mills died at age 72. Mr. Mills directed a number of episodes of the long-running British TV series "Coronation Street." He was the only director to helm episodes in each of the five decades in which the series has aired. Other credits include "Alas, Vegas," "The Spoils of War" and "The Cuckoo Waltz."
DICK ANDERSON Died June 3, 2006
Propmaker Dick Anderson died at age 73. Mr. Anderson was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 44.
ZAKO HESKIJA Died June 3, 2006
Bulgarian film director Zeko Heskija died at age 83. Mr. Heskija was nominated for the Palm d’Or at Cannes for his 1966 debut film "Torrid Noon."
JOHN HORTON Died June 4, 2006
Army veteran turned public relations representative between the film industry and the US government John Horton died of liver failure at age 87. Mr. Horton served his country in the US Army during WWII. Mr. Horton acted as the military liaison on a number of films. He helped filmmakers like Clint Eastwood and Francis Ford Coppola gain access to military equipment and other services for a number of films. Mr. Horton’s credits include "Top Gun," "The Mission," "Gardens of Stone," "The Hunt for Red October" "In the Line of Fire" and "A Few Good Men."
ALEC BREGONZI Died June 4, 2006
British actor Alec Bregonzi died at age 76. Mr. Bregonzi worked on stage, film and TV. His career spanned 50 years. Mr. Bregonzi was adept at both comedy and drama. His credits include the TV series "The Two Ronnies," "Hancock’s Half Hour," "Spike Milligan," "It’s Saturday Night," "Steptoe and Son" and many others. His film credits include "Carry on Sergeant," "Georgy Girl," "Cry Wolf" and "School For Sex."
MATT LATTIMORE Died June 4, 2006
Actor Matt Lattimore died of undisclosed causes at age 45. Mr. Lattimore was a successful actor on many, many TV commercials. He also appeared in a handful of films including "Sasquatch Hunters," "In Your Face," "Hunter’s Moon" and "In Your Face."
BILLY PRESTON Died June 5, 2006
Musician Billy Preston died of kidney failure. While George Martin and Brian Epstein are more deserving of the title, Billy Preston was often called the "Fifth Beatle." This was due to the fact he played on the last three Beatle albums and was the only non-Beatle to get a label credit on a Beatle record. He appeared in the film "Let It Be" where he played with the Fab Four in the studio and during the famous Rooftop Concert. Mr. Preston first met the Beatles in Germany during the early 1960s. Billy Preston was playing in Little Richard’s backup band at the time. The Beatles opened up for Little Richard for part of the tour. Beatle George Harrison struck up a friendship with Billy Preston that lasted until the youngest Beatle’s death in November of 2001. Billy Preston was among the many stars who joined George Harrison on stage in Madison Square Garden for the famous benefit "The Concert For Bangladesh." Billy Preston enjoyed success away from the Beatles also. His hits include the very funky instrumental "Outta Space." "Outta Space" was featured in the landmark anti-drugs TV movie "Go Ask Alice." The song played during the scene in which Alice first used LSD. Other songs by Billy Preston include "You Are So Beautiful," "Will It Go Round In Circles" and "Nothing From Nothing." These songs were featured on the soundtracks for "Mother, Jugs and Speed," "Muppets in Space," "Wired," "Carlito’s Way" and "Modern Romance." Mr. Preston’s acting credits include "Blues Brothers 2000," "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "St. Louis Blues."
HODA SULTAN Died June 5, 2006
Egyptian singer/actress Hoda Sultan died at age 80. Ms. Sultan enjoyed a successful film career during the 1950s and 60s, although she continued to work after that busy era. She was married for 15 years to extremely popular Egyptian movie star Farid Shawqi. The couple appeared in 17 films together from 1950 through 1962. They divorced in 1965. Mr. Shawqi died in 1998 and appeared in nearly 400 films!
ASOKA PERERA Died June 6, 2006
Producer, production assistant and manager Asoka Perera died of a heart attack at age 55. Mr. Perera worked on a number of international productions set in Asia. His credits in various capacities include "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," "Indochine," "The Promise," "The Father and the Son," "Bloodsport 2," "Jungle Book 2" and "The Iron Triangle."
KENNETH CALIHAN Died June 6, 2006
Kenneth Callihan died at age 59. The I.A.T.S.E. Local 44 member worked in property.
HOWARD ROSENSTONE Died June 7, 2006
Theatrical agent Howard Rosenstone died at age 68. Mr. Rosenstone represented such playwrights as David Mamet and Wallace Shawn. He appeared as a Mafia boss in the Davis Mamet/Shel Silverstein crime comedy "Things Change."
INGO PREMINGER Died June 7, 2006
Oscar-nominated producer Ingo Preminger died at age 95. He was the brother of Oscar-nominated director Otto Preminger. Ingo Preminger was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar for the Robert Altman film "M*A*S*H." The screenplay was written by Ring Lardner Jr. Ingo Preminger had been an agent for Hollywood writers during the McCarthy era. He represented Mr. Lardner and also Dalton Trumbo. The two blacklisted writers were able to work with ‘fronts’ due to Mr. Preminger’s help. When the blacklist was lifted, Mr. Lardner brought the novel "M*A*S*H." to Mr. Preminger who then took it to FOX. Mr. Preminger was the head of Ingo Preminger productions. His company produced "M*A*S*H." as well as "The Last of the Cowboys." Mr. Preminger also produced the spy thriller "The Salzberg Connection," which starred Barry Newman of "Vanishing Point" fame. Mr. Preminger appeared as himself in the 1999 documentary about his brother "Otto Preminger." His brother was nominated for three Best Director Oscars for "Laura," "Anatomy of a Murder" and "The Cardinal." Otto Preminger died in 1986.
ROBERT DONNER Died June 8, 2006
Veteran character actor Robert Donner died of a heart attack at age 75. Mr. Donner appeared in over 120 films and TV shows. He had one of the most familiar faces in TV and film Westerns. He appeared in six John Wayne films: "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "El Dorado," "Chisum," "The Undefeated," "Rio Lobo" and "Rio Bravo." He worked with his friend Clint Eastwood in "Rawhide" and "High Plains Drifter." Mr. Donner played Boss Shorty in the classic "Cool Hand Luke." He played a cop who puts the bulldozers in place in the cult classic "Vanishing Point." Other feature film credits include "Fool’s Parade," "One More Train to Rob," "Zigzag," "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing," "Bite the Bullet," "The Last Hard Men," "Under the Rainbow" and the upcoming "Hoot." It would be easier to list the TV shows from the 1960s through today that Mr. Donner DID NOT appear in! He had the recurring role of Exidor on the Robin Williams TV series "Mork and Mindy." Mr. Donner played Yancy Tucker on "The Waltons."
ALAN R. JORDON Died June 8, 2006
Actor/stuntman Alan R. Jordon died at age 57. Mr. Jordon acted in numerous TV shows and films. He also worked as a stuntman on such shows as HBO’s "Deadwood" and "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective." Mr. Jordon’s many acting credits include guest roles in such TV shows as "Knight Rider," "Friday the 13th," "Hill Street Blues" and "Falcon Crest." His film credits include "Cocoon: The Return" and "South Beach."
AUDREY CAMPBELL Died June 8, 2006
Exploitation star Audrey Campbell died at age 76. Ms. Campbell was the star of three successful sexploitation films from the mid 1960s. She played the title character in "Olga’s Girls," "Olga’s House of Shame" and "White Slaves of Chinatown." Olga was an iron-fisted, leather clad dominatrix who knew how to keep her girls in line. The nudie films were directed by Joe W. Sarno. He also directed Ms. Campbell in "Lash of Lush" and "Sins in the Suburbs." Audrey Campbell’s other exploitation credits include "50,000 Years B.C. (Before Clothes)," "1000 Shapes of a Female" and "The Sexperts." Most of her films have been released on DVD and are available from Something Weird Video. Ms. Campbell did the commentary track on the "Olga’s Girls" DVD. (Not a plug, just FYI.)
RICHARD WARREN PUGH Died June 9, 2006
Broadway actor Richard Warren Pugh died of undisclosed causes at age 55. Mr. Pugh was a member of the original New York cast of "Phantom of the Opera." His other stage credits on Broaway include revivals of "The Music Man" and "Zorba" as well as original productions of "Sweeney Todd" and "Copperfield." Mr. Pugh was a member of the chorus in Disney’s animated film "Pocahantas."
ENZO SICILIANO Died June 9, 2006
Italian writer Enzo Siciliano died at age 72. Mr. Siciliano was a noted novelist and journalist. He also wrote a biography of famed Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini. His novel "Who Killed Pasolini?" was turned into a 1995 film. His works "La Coppia" and "Io e Lui" were also turned into films. Mr. Siciliano appeared in Pasolini’s film "The Gospel According to St. Matthew" and Bernardo Bertoluci’s "Luna."
RUSTY HANSON Died June 10, 2006
Stuntman Rusty Hanson died of an undisclosed illness at age 39. Mr. Hanson performed stunts in "Jurassic Park," "Pontiac Moon," "Jingle All the Way," James Cameron’s "Titanic," "Ghosts of Mississippi," "Prefontaine," "Sleepers," "The Cure" and "Mathilda" among others. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
JOHN MILTON KENNEDY Died June 11, 2006
Radio and TV announcer John Milton Kennedy twelve days shy of his 94th birthday. Mr. Kennedy had a lengthy career that included announcing for "The Lux Radio Theater." He was the announcer for the TV show "The Loretta Young Show." He starred in the 1949 TV series "Armchair Detective." He also lent his vocal talents to the Doris Day version of "Lullaby of Broadway."
TIM HILDEBRANT Died June 12, 2006
Famed fantasy artist Tim Hildebrant died of complications related to diabetes at age 67. Mr. Hildebrant and his twin brother Greg are world-renowned for their fantasy artwork. The Brothers Hildebrant have illustrated thousands of books, magazines and movie posters. Tim Hildebrandt is the man who drew the original "Star Wars" movie poster. He was also known by millions of J.R.R. Tolkien fans for his illustrations of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "The Hobbit." His artwork was featured on hundreds of Tolkien calendars. Mr. Hildebrant appeared as himself in the documentaries "Secrets of Middle Earth: Inside Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings" and "Secrets of Middle Earth: Inside Tolkien’s The Hobbit."
GYORGY LIGETI Died June 12, 2006
Famed composer Gyorgy Ligeti died at age 83. Stanley Kubrick used Mr. Ligeti’s music in his films "2001: A Space Odyssey," "The Shining" and "Eyes Wide Shut." His work was also featured in films such as Michael Mann’s "Heat," "2010" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Mr. Ligeti appeared as himself in the documentary "Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures."
MIKE CHEVALIER Died June 12, 2006
Cinematographer and cameraman Mike Chevalier died of a heart attack while participating in a Hash House Harriers run. He was 62 years old. The Hash House Harriers are groups world wide who like to finish up a run with cold beer. The group was founded in England in the 1930s. Instead of a pub crawl, I guess it is a pub run or jog. Mike Chevalier worked behind the camera in various capacities. He was a camera operator, assistant cameraman, director of photography and cinematographer. Mr. Chevalier was cinematographer on the award-winning documentary "16 Days of Glory," which covered the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Mr. Chevalier worked on such films as "Superman," "Rocky II," "Big Wednesday," "1941," "Rocky III," "Heartbrteak Ridge," "Colors" and "JFK."
GEORGE KANE Died June 13, 2006
Retired actor George Kane died. His age and cause of death was not disclosed. Mr. Kane appeared in such films and TV shows as "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Thriller" and "The Naked City." Mr. Kane served his country in the US Navy during WWII.
JUDITH WOLINSKY Died June 13, 2006
Producer Judith Wolinsky died of cancer. Ms. Wolinsky was a collaborator with director Henry Jaglom. Her credits include "New Year's Day," "Babyfever," "Last Summer in the Hamptons" and "Déjà Vu."
CAROL STAYER Died June 13, 2006
Social worker and actress Carol Stayer died of a stroke at age 78. Ms. Stayer worked for the State of Maryland for over 30 years. In addition to acting in regional theater in Maryland, Ms. Stayer appeared in the John Waters film "Pecker" as well as the TV series "Homicide: Life on the Streets."
MONTY BERMAN Died June 14, 2006
Producer/cinematographer/director Monty Berman died at age 94. Mr. Berman rose from camera operator and cinematographer to successful B-movie movie producer. Horror movie fans remember Mr. Berman for producing such films as "Blood of the Vampire," "The Crawling Eye," "Jack the Ripper" and "Mania." Mr. Berman was partners with producer Robert Baker. The pair made over 30 films together. Mr. Berman also photographed and directed a number of them. He was an assistant camera operator on Carol Reed’s classic Film Noir "The Third Man." Mr. Berman later produced several TV series including "The Saint."
BILL F. BLAIR Died June 14, 2006
It is with personal sadness that I write this tribute. Bill F. Blair died at age 75. Bill Blair was an independent film producer. He was also the founder of VCI Entertainment. Way back when Entertainment Insiders was nothing more than a fanboy website, we were thinking of ways to turn what we had into a professional entertainment magazine. I started the DVD page by contacting every DVD distributor listed in the Leonard Maltin TV guide with the offer of a permanent link on our website in exchange for DVD screeners. At first only a few smaller DVD houses responded. After several months in which we built up a review archive of 100 reviews, did we begin to get responses from the major studios. Bill Blair's VCI Entertainment was the very first DVD company to respond to my offer. Today, Einsiders.com has several thousand DVD reviews in our archives and our various critics have had review quotes posted on the occasional DVD box or movie poster. Bill Blair and the folks at VCI played a big part in the evolution of EInsiders.com. I will always be thankful. A number of their special edition DVDs were on par or better than those put out by the majors. "City of the Dead" "The Mark" and "The Fighting Sullivans" come to mind. There were others. Bill Blair’s executive producer credits include "The Ripper," "Blood Cult," "Revenge," "Forever Evil" and "The Last Slumber Party." Thanks for everything Bill. You were a class act. Prayers of comfort for his family, friends and the many, many members of his extended VCI family.
RILEY MORGAN Died June 14, 2006
Property Master, art director and fire arms specialist Riley Morgan died at age 53. Mr. Morgan was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 44. His prop master credits include "Zapped!," "Everybody’s Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure" and the TV series "Gun." He was the fire arms specialist on the thriller "Hard Drive." Mr. Morgan was art director on the 1985 film "Sunset Strip."
SAM CAPUANO Died June 14, 2006
Actor Sam Capuano died of natural causes at age 89. Mr. Capuano appeared in a number of films and TV shows. He appeared in two religious biopics: "Hoodlum Priest" and "The Cross and the Switchblade." Actor Don Murray played the lead in "Hoodlum Priest" and later directed "The Cross and the Switchblade." Mr. Capuano’s other credits include "Wagon Trail," "Men Into Space," "Route 66" and "The Defenders."
GWEN WILLSON Died June 15, 2006
Actress Gwen Willson died at age 88. Ms. Wilson appeared in hundreds of TV commercials during her long career. She appeared in a Hertz Rent a Car commercial with O.J. Simpson. She also enjoyed success as an actress in regional theater. Ms. Willson;s film and TV credits include "Gremlins," "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," "Black Magic Woman," "The Wonder Years" and "Unsolved Mysteries."
DANIEL RAFFLOER Died June 15, 2006
Musician/actor Daniel Raffloer died at age 56. Mr. Raffloer acted Off Broadway and in several indie films. He appeared in the NYU student film "The Cutman." "The Cutman" won the Jury Prize as Best Student Film at the Atlanta Film Festival. Mr. Raffloer also composed music for some of the stage and film productions he participated in.
RAYMOND DEVOS Died June 15, 2006
French actor and writer Raymond Devos died of a cerebral hemorrhage at age 83. Mr. Devos co-wrote, produced, co-directed and starred in the 1973 drama "The Right of the Maddest." He appeared in Alejandro (El Topo) Jodorowsky’s first film during the 1950s. "The Severed Heads" was a fantasy short based on a Thomas Mann play.
JAY DEE SKIDMORE Died June 15, 2006
Naval photographer Jay Dee Skidmore died at age 78. Mr. Skidmore made a career of the Navy. He served during WWII and Korea. Mr. Skidmore was one of the men who developed the Navy’s underwater cameras. He worked as a cameraman for American master John Ford. Mr. Skidmore was a stuntman in the submarine movie "Run Silent, Run Deep." He helped photograph the 1959 film "Up Periscope." Mr. Skidmore also did cameraman work for "ABC’s Wide World of Sports." Thanks for the service to your country.
ARTHUR FRANZ Died June 16, 2006
Prolific character actor Arthur Franz died of emphysema at age 86. Mr. Franz appeared in nearly 150 films and TV shows during his career. Arthur Franz starred in the 1952 thriller "The Sniper." Mr. Franz usually worked as a supporting player. And work his did! His was one of the most familiar faces on film and TV for nearly 25 years. He played the Invisible Man in "Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man." He co-starred in William Cameron Menzies classic sci-fi film "Invaders From Mars." Tow years earlier he appeared in "Flight to Mars." Mr. Franz’s feature film credits include "The Caine Mutiny," "Hellcats of the Navy" with Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy, "The Young Lions," "Monster on the Campus," "The Carpetbaggers," "The Sweet Ride," "Anzio," "The Human Factor" and "That Championship Season." Mr. Franz made guest appearances on nearly every major TV series of the 1950s and 60s. Arthur Franz served his country in the US Army Air Corp during WWII.
CHARLES OLDER Died June 17, 2006
Retired Los Angeles judge Charles Older died of complications from a fall at age 88. Judge Older was the man who presided over the 10-month trial of Charles Manson and his followers. He was portrayed by actor Skip Homier in the 1976 Emmy-nominated TV mini series "Helter Skelter." Judge Older served his country as a member of the feared Flying Tigers during WWII and Korea. He was one of the first two men to join Lt. General Claire Chennault’s volunteer force to protect China from Japan. He shot down nearly 20 Japanese fighter planes with his P-40 Warhawk! He was the top-scoring American fighter ace in the air war over China. His exploits are among the events covered in the documentary "The Real Flying Tigers."
RUDOLF WICHMANN Died June 17, 2006
German producer Rudolf Wichmann died of undisclosed causes at age 59. His film credits include "The King’s Whore," "Snakes and Ladders," "Rebecca’s Daughters" and the 2004 film "Drum."
VINCENT SHERMAN Died June 18, 2006
Director Vincent Sherman died one month shy of his 100th birthday. Mr. Sherman went from acting to directing in the late 1930s. His first film was "The Return of Dr. X," which was Humphrey Bogart’s only horror film. Mr. Sherman remained lucid and alert during his long life. He did a wonderful director’s commentary track on the recently released Warner Brothers DVD "Old Acquaintance," which is part of Volume 2 of "The Bette Davis Collection." Mr. Sherman directed Bette Davis in three films, the other two being "Mrs. Skeffinton" and "The Present With a Future." In his autobiography, Mr. Sherman admitted to having an affair with his frequent leading lady. Mr. Sherman also directed Davis rival Joan Crawford in three films: "Harriet Craig," "The Damned Don’t Cry" and "Goodbye, My Fancy." Other film credits include "Nora Prentiss," "Adventures of Don Juan," "The Young Philadelphians" and "A Fever in the Blood." He worked almost exclusively in TV from the mid 1960s to the end of his career. Mr. Sherman was the father of Eric Sherman. Eric Sherman was a co-producer and actor in the film "Pep Squad," which was directed by frequent Einsiders.com contributor Steve Balderson.
RICHARD STAHL Died June 18, 2006
Like millions of people my age, I swept up as a young teen by the film "Billy Jack." Tom Laughlin’s cult classic was my indoctrination into the world of political movies. If you weren’t alive at the time, you wouldn’t understand the phenomena caused by Tom Laughlin’s film during the early 1970s. While Laughlin was the star, the film succeeded in large part to the contributions of many supporting players such as Howard Hessman and the members of the improv group The Committee. Another member of The Committee who added depth and credibility to "Billy Jack" was actor Richard Stahl. He played the head of the city council. His two major scenes are among the most memorable in the film. He is at the center of the heated city council meeting between the town and the teens they fear so deeply. Mr. Stahl’s other great scene takes place at the Freedom School as he leads a contingent from town to see how the other side lives. The film highlights his dramatic and comedic talents. Though my politics have changed since those heady days, my love of the film "Billy Jack" hasn’t wavered. So I was a bit sad to discover that Richard Stahl had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for a decade. His suffering ended Sunday. Richard Stahl was 74.
Richard Stahl enjoyed success on stage, screen and TV. He appeared in nearly 100 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. Richard Stahl appeared in several of the best films of the 1970s. Richard Stahl appeared in such films as "Five Easy Pieces," "Slaughterhouse-Five," "The Student Nurses," "Fuzz," "Hearts of the West," "High Anxiety," "Summertree," "Dirty Little Billy," "The Daring Dobermans," "Nine to Five," "All Night Long," "Under the Rainbow," "The Flamingo Kid," "Overboard," "L.A. Story," "The American President" and "Ghosts of Mississippi." Likewise, Mr. Stahl’s TV credits are numerous. Name just about any comedy TV series from the 1970s or 80s and Richard Stahl made a guest appearance. He is survived by his wife, actress Katherine Ish. They worked together as members of The Committee and on several TV and film projects. The pair had nice supporting roles in the TV movie "The Death of Ritchie."
HUBERT CORNFIELD Died June 18, 2006
Director Hubert Cornfield died of heart failure at age 77. Mr. Cornfield directed a handful of films, mostly B-movies. He wrote, produced and directed the little known Marlon Brando film "The Night of the Following Day." The brutal kidnapping caper features a great menacing performance by Richard Boone. Check out Jon Ted Wynne’s insightful review in our Video Risk section. Mr. Cornfield also produced the taut B-movies "Plunder Road" and "Lure of the Swamp." Actor Bobby Darin gave one of his best performances as a racist killer in a prison psych ward in Mr. Cornfield’s excellent "Pressure Point." Sidney Poitier played the psychiatrist trying to help the tormented Darin.
TRACY THIELEN Died June 20, 2006
Musician, poet and driver Tracy Thielen died of a drug overdose at age 43. The USC Film School graduate was a driver on a number of notable films. He worked on his friend Quentin Tarantino’s "Pulp Fiction" and "Jackie Brown." Other credits include "From Dusk Till Dawn," Scream," "Red Shoes Diaries," "Leaving Las Vegas," "Short Cuts" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street 5." Mr. Thielen founded the band "Tracy and the Hindenburg Ground Crew." He produced spoken-word records for several people including actor Viggo Mortensen.
CLAYDES SMITH Died June 20, 2006
Claydes Smith died of an undisclosed illness at age 57. Mr. Smith was the co-founder of the funk band Kool and the Gang. In addition to writing many of the band’s biggest hits, he was their lead guitarist. Mr. Smith appeared as himself in the documentary "Kool and the Gang: 40th Anniversary of the Funk Legend." His music appeared on such movie soundtracks as "Pulp Fiction," "Me, Myself & Irene," "Shark Tale" and "Be Cool."
LARRY MOSS Died June 20, 2006
Renaissance man Larry Moss died just shy of his 72nd birthday. Larry Moss was a man of many talents. He wrote scripts for such TV shows as "Ben Casey" and "Gunsmoke." The Navy veteran worked on the Atlas Missile System for Convair Astronautics. Although he had a great interest in science, his college degree was in literature. Mr. Moss was a self taught classical guitarist. He taught Peter Tork and Davy Jones how to pretend to play guitar for the cameras when he was cast in the hit TV series "The Monkees." Mr. Moss later became a noted conservationist working for The Sierra Club and serving in a cabinet position for former California Governor Jerry Brown.
BETTY ALEXANDER Died June 21, 2006
Former actress Betty Alexander died at age 80. Ms. Alexander was a Goldwyn Girl under contract to MGM studios during the 1940s. She appeared in such films as "Mildred Pierce," "Christmas in Connecticut," "Cinderella Jones," "Blondie Knows Best" and "The Princess and the Pirate." Ms. Alexander supported her country’s war effort during WWII by entertaining the troops and putting in time at the famous Hollywood Canteen. She appeared as herself in the film "Hollywood Canteen." Ms. Alexander became a spokeswoman on the TV series "The Milton Berle Show." She left show business and became a successful business woman, starting her own cosmetics and toiletry company.
MOOSE Died June 22, 2006
Moose, the Jack Russell Terrier who played ‘Eddie’ for ten years on the hit TV series "Frasier" died of old age at age 16. Moose also played the older Skip in the excellent family film "My Dog Skip."
JAMES WHITEHORN Death announced June 23, 2006
Film editor James Whitehorn died of peritonitis at age 40. Mr. Whitehorn edited hundreds of music videos since the 1980s. He also edited several documentary films. His credits include "Pornography: A Secret History of Civilization," "In Search of the Holy Grail" and "The Death of Alexander."
DIANE BONDER Died June 23, 2006
Award-winning experimental film and video artist Diane Bonder died after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 46 years old. Ms. Bonder was on the screening committee of the New York gay and Lesbian Film and Video Festival. Her work won awards at the Black Maria Film and Video Festival as well as the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Award and a Mid-Atlantic Fellowship. Ms. Binder was also a businesswoman who ran her own graphic design company. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
AARON SPELLING Died June 23, 2006
Emmy-winning TV producer Aaron Spelling died of a stroke at age 83. Mr. Spelling suffered a stroke and died five days later. You could not watch TV during the 1970s and miss seeing Aaron Spelling’s name on an almost daily basis. The prolific producer changed the face of TV in the 70s and single-handedly made ABC the top network. Mr. Spelling was nominated for a multitude of Emmy Awards, winning for producing the outstanding HBO movie "And the Band Played On" as well as for the comedy special "Day One."
In many circles Aaron Spelling was known as the father of jiggle TV for creating the TV series "Charlie’s Angels." Others say that Aaron Spelling was the master of fluff for bringing the Soap Opera to prime time. Harsh criticisms for a man who produced many of the most powerful Made for TV films of the 1970s and beyond. Arron Spelling’s list of credits are impressive by anyone’s standards. Yes, he brought us lots of escapist fluff. Anyone familiar with the Preston Sturges classic "Sullivan’s Travels" knows that audiences need that kind of entertainment. Life is hard enough as it is without having the reality of the daily grind waiting for us on the TV at the end of the day. We needed to laugh and Aaron Spelling gave it to us. We needed to dream and Aaron Spelling gave that to us also. On the other hand, Aaron Spelling did not ignore the importance of education and informing an audience about socially relevant subjects. He also provided us with that.
Aaron Spelling began his showbiz career as an actor. He appeared in a handful of films as well as on numerous TV shows. His acting credits include "I Love Lucy," "Kismet," "Dragnet," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Gunsmoke" and "The Spirit of St. Louis." Mr. Spelling switched from acting to writing in the late 1950s. He wrote for a number of TV shows including "Wagon Train" and "Playhouse 90."
Mr. Spelling’s biggest mark on TV came from his long association with the ABC network. He worked exclusively for ABC during the 1970s producing, writing and creating TV series and TV movies. During the early 1970s, ABC’s lineup inlcudes the "The ABC Tuesday Night Movie" and "The ABC Wednesday Night Movie." Each week the network presented two Made for TV films that were usually of excellent quality. They pushed the competition to follow suit and produce their own TV films. It was a rich time for TV viewers. Much of the credit belongs to Aaron Spelling.
Aaron Spelling’s impressive TV Movie credits include "How Awful About Allan," "Crowhaven Farm," "The Last Child," "The Rookies," "Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole," "Rolling Man," "Letters From Three Lovers," "The Affair," "Savages," "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble," "Little Ladies of the Night," "The Best Little Girl in the World" and the powerful AIDS docudrama "And the Band Played On."
As impressive as Aaron Spelling’s contribution to the world of TV movies was, his biggest impact came from creating and producing TV series. Love them or hate them, there is no denying the success of Arron Spelling’s TV series. Many producers would be happy to have just one of the following on their list of accomplishments. Mr. Spelling’s credits as a TV series producer include "Burke’s Law," "Daniel Boone," "The Guns of Will Sonnet," "The Mod Squad," "S.W.A.T.," "Starsky and Hutch," "The Rookies," "Charlie’s Angels," "Family," "Fantasy Island," "Vega$," "Hart to Hart," "Dynasty," "Hotel," "The Colbys," "Melrose Place," "Beverly Hills, 90210," "7th Heaven" and "Charmed."
Aaron Spelling did not work exclusively in TV. He also produced a number of feature films, some of which received Oscar nominations for cast and crew. They were also popular with the public in many cases. Mr. Spellin’s film credits as a producer include Robert Altman’s "California Split," "Mr. Mom," "Surrender," "Satisfaction," "Loose Cannons," "Soapdish" and "Night Mother."
Aaron Spelling served his country in the US Army Air Corp during WWI. His first wife was actress Carolyn Jones. Mr. Spelling was married to his second wife and widow Candy in 1968. The couple are the parents of actress Tori Spelling and actor Randy Spelling. Prayers of comfort for Mr. Spelling’s family and friends. Thanks for adding so much to the lives of millions of people around the world including me.
WAYNE BROWN Died June 25. 2006
Chicago stage actor Wayne Brown died of cancer at age 65. Mr. Brown had been active in the Chicago-Theater scene for a number of years. He appeared in the TV series "Cupid" and "Chicago Hope" also.
ELKAN ALLAN Died June 25, 2006
British journalist and TV producer Elkan Allan died at age 83. Mr. Allan’s accomplishments as a producer and especially, as an entertainment journalist were quite innovative during the 1960s. Mr. Allan was the executive producer of the British TV series "Ready, Steady, Go!" "RSG!" was a weekly music show that featured such top acts as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Mr. Allan broke the mold for these types of show by banning the common practice of bands lip synching their songs. He directed the 1968 documentary "Love in Our Time," which dealt with the effect of the sexual revolution on the UK. Mr. Allan also contributed scripts on the US side of the pond for the camp, super-hero TV series "Batman."
KENNETH GRIFFITH Died June 25, 2006
British actor Kenneth Griffith died at age 84. The veteran character actor appeared in over 100 films during his lengthy career. He was also a documentary filmmaker. Mr. Griffith’s documentary films include "Hang Out Your Brightest Colours: The Life and Death of Michael Collins." Mr. Griffith’s many acting credits include "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Shaka Zulu," "The Wild Geese," "Sky Riders," "S*P*Y*S," "The Assassination Bureau," "The Lion in Winter," "The Bobo," "Circus of Horrors," "Expresso Bongo," "Tiger Bay," "A Night to Remember," "Lucky Jim," the original version of "1984" and "The Baby and the Battleship." Mr. Griffith served his country in the RAF during WWII.
KATHY WOOD Died June 26, 2006
Kathy Wood, the widow of director Ed Wood Jr. died of esophagus cancer at age 84. Mrs. Wood was portrayed by Patricia Arquette in Tim Burton’s biopic "Ed Wood." She acted as art director on her husband’s "Night of the Ghouls." She appeared as herself in the documentary film "Ed Wood: Look Back in Angora." Director Aris Iliopulos cast Mrs. Wood in a cameo role in his 1998 film "I Woke Up Early the Day I Died." The movie was based on a script that Ed Wood tried to make for over 10 years. A number of name actors appeared in the bizarre film which has no dialogue at all!
STAFF SGT. RAYMOND PLOUHAR Died June 26, 2006
Marine Staff Sgt. Raymond Plouhar was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. The father of two was nearing the end of his second tour in Iraq. Mr. Plouhar’s father stated that his son was ordered to appear in Michael Moore’s propaganda film "Fahrenheit 9/11" after the Marines were led to believe this was for a TV documentary. Mr. Plouhar was a recruiter when he appeared in film. Staff Sgt. Plouhar, like several other military men who appeared in the movie, felt betrayed by the final film because he was proud to serve his country and believed in his mission. An AP photo shows Staff Sgt. Plouhar passing out candy to Iraqi children. Prayers of comfort to his family and friends, especially his wife Leigha and sons Raymond and Michael.
JEFFREY WINKLESS Died June 26, 2006
Actor/composer Jeffrey Winkless (he also acted under the name Jeffery Brock) died of a brain tumor at age 65. Mr. Winkless’s face wasn’t familiar to fans of the Saturday morning children’s series "The Banana Splits Adventure Hour," but he was the man inside the dog suit playing Fleegle. The late Paul Winchell did the voice of Fleegle. Mr. Winkless was a voice actor who did English dubs for a number of Japanese cartoons produced by Saban. His many voice credits include "Look Who’s Talking Now," "Spaced Invaders," "Vampire Hunter D" and "Space Adventure Cobra." Mr. Winkless also appeared in a number of live action films. Sci-fi fans caught a glimpse of him in "Soylent Green." He was the clerk who checked Edward G. Robinson into the suicide center. Other film credits include "Corporate Affairs," "The Nest" and "Ladykiller." He also appeared on an episode of "Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood." Mr. Winkless was also a composer. He scored the remake of Roger Corman’s "Not of This Earth," "Corporate Affairs" and "Ladykiller." Mr. Winkless and his father co-wrote the music for the Rice Krispies Snap, Crackle Pop commercial. He was the brother of writer/director Terrence Winkless.
EILEEN BARTON Died June 27, 2006
Singer Eileen Barton died of natural causes at age 85. Ms. Barton was best known for her 1949 hit record "If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake." Her recording was one of the highest selling pop records of the last century. Ms. Barton was raised in a showbiz family. She began performing as a young child and shared the stage with many of the greats of the early20th century. Ms. Barton was a protégé of Frank Sinatra. Her film and TV credits include "Promises! Promises!," "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Swift Show," "Video Village," "The Big Record" and "College Capers."
FABIAN BIELINSKY Died June 28, 2006
Argentine director Fabien Bielinsky died of a heart attack at age 47. Mr. Bielinsky wrote and directed the 2000 crime caper "Nine Queens." The movie garnered awards and nominations at film festivals in Europe, South America and the US. The movie was remade in the US in 2004 as "Criminal," which starred John C. Reily and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Mr. Bielinsky began his career as a second unit director. He was also a screenwriter. Mr. Bielinsky’s other director credits include "The Aura" and "Sleepwalker."
LENNIE WEINRIB Died June 28, 2006
Veteran voice actor and writer Lennie Weinrib died at age 71. Lennie Weinrib wrote the TV series "H.R. Pufnstuf." Among his many voice roles was that of the much hated Scrappy Doo on "Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo." Mr. Weinrib was a live action character actor during the 1950s and 60s. Among his many live action credits are "Peter Gunn," "The Rebel," "The Twilight Zone," "77 Sunset Strip," "The Munsters," "Burke’s Law," "Happy Days," "Adam-12" and "My Favorite Martian." Mr. Weinrib’s many voice role credits include "The Jetsons," "Scooby Doo, Where Are You?," "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," "The Flintstones Comedy Hour" and "The Smurfs."
GEORGE PAGE Died June 28, 2006
Emmy-winning producer George Page died of cancer at age 71. Mr. Page created and was the host of the PBS TV series "Nature." He received one of his five Emmy nominations for the series. Mr. Page won an Emmy in 1980 as executive producer of the documentary "Fred Astaire: Change Partners and Dance." Mr. Page also received Emmy nominations for producing "Starring Katherine Hepburn," "Picasso: A Painter’s Diary" and "Fred Astaire: Puttin’ On His Top Hat."
LLOYD RICHARDS Died June 29, 2006
Acclaimed, Tony Award winning director Lloyd Richards died of heart failure at age 87. Mr. Richards won the 1987 Tony Award for directing August Wilson’s play "Fences." He was nominated for an Outstanding Individual Achievement in Directing for a Miniseries or a Special Emmy for directing the TV version of August Wilson’s "The Piano Lesson." Mr. Richards other TV credits include "Roots: The Next Generation," "Paul Robeson" and "Medal of Honor Rag." Mr. Richards was awarded the National Medal of the Arts in 1993.
DEAN COHEN Died June 29, 2006
Actor film critic and teacher Dean Cohen died of Alzheimer’s Disease at age 66. Mr. Cohen was a one time president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. He was also an English professor for over 30 years. Mr. Cohen’s acting credits include "Hill Street Blues," "Knots Landing" and "Cagney and Lacey."
DAAN VAN TAMELEN Died June 29, 2006
Propmaker Daan Van Tamelen died at age 54. The I.A.T.S.E. Local 44 member worked in the film and TV industry for nearly 30 years and built sets for hundreds of films and TV series.
WALLACE POTTS Died June 29, 2006
Filmmaker Wallace Potts died of lymphoma at age 59. Mr. Potts wrote, directed, produced, edited and shoot movies. Mr. Potts wrote, produced, directed and edited a couple of gay adult films in France during the 1970s. He wrote and directed the horror films "Psycho Cop" and "Psycho Cop Returns" as well as the sci-fi film "Terminus." He was the long-time archivist for the Rudolph Nureyev Foundation. Mr. Potts was Nureyev’s lover in 1960s and early 70s. He was a second AD on the 1973 Nureyev film "Don Quixote."
ROLAND SCHLOTZHAUER Died June 30, 2006
Cinematographer Roland Schlotzhauer was killed in a helicopter crash while filming scenes for the Sean Astin film "The Final Season" in Iowa. Witnesses say that the pilot clipped some power lines sending the helicopter into a cornfield. Producer Tony Wilson and the pilot survived, but remain in critical condition. Mr. Schlotzhauer was known as an expert cameraman specializing in aerial work in helicopters. Mr. Schlotzhouer’s other credits include "Raising Jeffery Dahmer," Spike Lee’s "CSA: The Confederate States of America" and several IMAX features included "Celebrate Detroit," "Kansas City Presents" and "We the People."