COLETTE BROSSET Died Mar. 1, 2007
French actress Colette Brosset died at age 85. Ms. Brosette acted on stage and in film. She was the widow of director Robert Dhery. Mr. Dhery died in December of 2004. Ms. Colette acted in six films directed by her husband. She also wrote three of those films. Ms. Colette appeared in over 20 films including "Is Paris Burning?"
OTTO BRANDENBURG Died Mar. 1, 2007
Danish singer and actor Otto Brandenburg died at age 72. Mr. Brandenburg broke out as a Danish rock-and-roll star in 1958. That same year he appeared in his first film. Mr. Brandenburg appeared in over 70 films and TV shows. He appeared in Lars Van Triers' creepy TV miniseries "Kingdom" and "Kingdom 2." Mr. Brandenburg sang the theme song for John Agar's cheesy sci-fi film "Journey to the Seventh Planet."
EDDIE FIRESTONE JR. Died Mar. 1, 2007
Character actor Eddie Firestone Jr. died of heart failure at age 86. Mr. Firestone appeared in over 1200 films and TV shows. He played the café owner in Steven Spielberg's classic Made for TV movie "Duel." Mr. Firestone's other film credits include the great Charles Bronson crime film "The Stone Killer," "Good Morning, Miss. Dove," "Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came?," "The Todd Killings," "Play It As It Lays" and "W.C. Fields and Me." There are few TV series from the 1950s, 60s and 70s that Mr. Firestone did not appear in.
HENRY TROYAT Died Mar. 2, 2007
Russian born author and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Henry Troyat died of natural causes at age 95. Mr. Troyat wrote over 100 books during his lifetime. He shared a Best Motion Picture Story Oscar nomination for the 1953 film "The Sheep Has Five Legs." Mr. Troyat's novel "The Mountain" was turned into a 1956 Spencer Tracy film.
KATHARINA MAYBERG Death announced Mar. 2, 2007
German actress Katarina Mayberg died at age 83. Ms. Mayberg appeared in over 40 films and TV shows during her career. Ms. Mayberg's played Brunhilde in "Sigfrido" based on "Die Nibilungen." Ms. Mayberg also appeared with Raymond Burr in the Film Noir "Party Girls for Sale."
HAROLD MICHELSON Died Mar. 2, 2007
Multi-Oscar-nominated Art Director and illustrator Harold Michelson died at age 87. Mr. Michelson was nominated for Best Art Direction Oscars for his work on "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" and "Terms of Endearment." Mr. Michelson received the Art Directors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999. Mr. Michelson's Art Direction/Production Design credits include "Catch-22," "Johnny Got His Gun," "Pretty Poison," Lucille Ball's "Mame," "Mommie Dearest," "Space Balls" and "Dick Tracy." Mr. Michelson was also one of the most sought after storyboard artists in Hollywood. His many credits include "The Ten Commandments," "Ben-Hur," "Cleopatra," "The Birds," "The Apartment," "Irma La Douce," "Journey to the Center of the Earth," "Marnie," "Ship of Fools," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," "The Graduate" and "Fiddler on the Roof."
BERTRAND GAGNON Died Mar. 2, 2007
Canadian actor Bertrand Gagnon died at age 80. Mr. Gagnon acted in a number of Canadian TV series. He appeared in the Oscar nominated film "Lies My Father Told Me."
EUGENE LAURITZEN Died Mar. 2, 2007
Construction coordinator Eugene Lauritzen died at age 92. Mr. Lauritzen was a long-time member of I.A.T.S.E. Local #44. Mr. Lauritzen worked hard behind the scenes on many notable films including "The Lost Weekend," "Sorry, Wrong Number," "My Friend Irma," "Detective Story," the original version of "The War of the Worlds," "White Christmas," "The Bridges of Toko-Ri," "Rear Window," "The Ten Commandments," "Vertigo," "One-Eyed Jacks," "Breakfast at Tiffanys," "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "Nevada Smith," "The Graduate," "Prime Cut," "The Exorcist" and "Escape From Alcatraz." Not a bad list of credits at all!
RANDOLPH KRONBERG Died Mar. 2, 2007
German actor Randolf Kronberg died at age 64. Mr. Kronberg appeared in numerous films including "Inside Out" with Telly Savalas. Mr. Kronberg provided the German voice for a number of American actors in the overseas versions of their films. He dubbed every Eddie Murphy into German including "Shrek" and "Shrek 2." He replaced Deforrest Kelly's voice as Bones in the TV series "Star Trek." Mr. Kronberg also dubbed such actors as Steve McQueen, Harrison Ford and Jeff Bridges.
ELIZABETH YOUNG Died Mar. 2, 2007
Former actress Elizabeth Young died at age 93. Ms. Young was the first wife of Joseph L. Mankiewicz. She appeared in several films during the 1930s. Her credits include "East of Java" and "Queen Christina."
SUTTON ROLEY Died Mar. 3, 2007
Director Sutton Roley died at age 84. Mr. Roley had a prolific career in television. He directed episodes of such TV shows as "Highway Patrol," "77 Sunset Strip," "Gunsmoke," "The Fugitive," "Twelve O'Clock High," "Wagon Train," "Combat!," "The Big Valley," "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," "Bonanza," "The Invaders," "Garrison's Guerillas," "The Rat Patrol," "Lost in Space," "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.," "Mission Impossible," "Kojak," "Mannix," "Baretta," "S.W.A.T.," "Starsky and Hutch," "Charlie's Angels," "Hawaii Five-0," "Vega$" and "Spencer for Hire."
PHILIP CHONG Died Mar. 3, 2007
Stunt man and actor Philip Chong died of a heart attack at age 70. Mr. Chong was one of the first Asians to become a member of the Stuntman's Association of America. He worked on over 100 films during his lengthy career. His many stunt skills included doing burns, stage combat, horseback riding and driving. Mr. Chong worked on such films as "Go Tell the Spartans," "Inchon," "Star Trek 3: The Search For Spock," "Rambo: First Blood Part 2," "Big Trouble in Little China," "To Live and Die in L.A.," "The Running Man," "War and Remembrance," "Another 48 Hrs," "Robocop 2," "Predator 2," "Rapid Fire," "Candyman," "Sidekicks," "The Glass Shield," "Mars Attacks," "Escape From L.A.," "Godzilla," "Bedazzled," "Swordfish," the remake of "The Italian Job" and "Memoirs of a Geisha."
SAUL SWIMMER Died Mar. 3, 2007
Director Saul Swimmer died at age 70. Mr. Swimmer was known for his connection to "The Beatles." He co-produced the documentary "Let It Be." In addition to capturing the band making music together, Mr. Swimmer's film also gave fans an inside look at the band's disintegration. In 1971 former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr and Mr. Swimmer collaborated on the films "Cometogether" and "Blindman." Mr. Swimmer co-produced "Cometogether" with Ringo. He also directed "Cometogether." Mr. Swimmer produced the spahetti Western "Blindman," which starred Ringo. Former Beatles guitarist George Harrison threw a benefit concert in Madison Square Garden and called on Saul Swimmer to document the "Concert For Bangladesh." Mr. Swimmer directed the 1968 "Herman's Hermits" movie "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter." In 1982 he directed "We Will Rock You: Queen Live in Concert." Mr. Swimmer's final film was the documentary "Bob Marley & Friends." The movie premiered at the Miami International Film Festival in 2006. Mr. Swimmer spent four years on the film, trying to show the impact Mr. Marley had on the world through his music. The film includes concert footage from Marley at the 1977 Rainbow concert in London.
ROBERT PRINCE Died Mar. 4, 2007
Emmy-nominated composer Robert Prince died at age 77. Mr. Prince shared an Emmy nomination for their theme music for the TV series "The Name of the Game." Me. Prince's many credits include "The Streets of San Francisco," "JD's Revenge," "Squirm," "Wonder Woman," "The Blue Knight," "The Bionic Woman," "Gargoyles," "Night Gallery," "The Wild, Wild West" and Francis Ford Coppola's early film "You're a Big Boy Now."
SENATOR THOMAS EAGLETON Died Mar. 4, 2007
Former Missouri senator Thomas Eagleton died of heart disease at age 77. Senator Eagleton was the Vice Presidential running mate of George McGovern during the 1972 presidential election. He was that is, until it was revealed in the press that the Senator had been hospitalized for depression. Thank God that mental health issues have lost some of the stigma they had back in the early 70s. It was a time in which real men did not seek help. That's one of the reasons I grew up in a house with an untreated manic-depressive for a father. Not a fun place to be. At least Thomas Eagleton had the courage and common sense to get help. Instead of the public seeing the good judgment of a man who sought out the proper help for a problem, Senator Eagleton was ridiculed and attacked to the point that he withdrew from the ticket. Senator Eagleton appeared as himself through archived footage in the Oscar-winning film "All the President's Men."
ALFONSO 'POMPIN' IGLESIAS Died Mar. 4, 2007
Comedic actor Pompin Iglesias died of natural causes at age 82. Mr. Iglesias was a character actor who appeared in over 70 films and TV shows in Mexico. He was best know for the TV series "My Secretary." His film career began in the 1940s. Mr. Iglesias appeared in the comedy/horror films "Bring Me the Vampire" and "Spook House," both directed by Alfredo Crevenna.
MIKE FERRA Died Mar. 4, 2007
Camera operator and inventor Mike Ferra died at age 74. Mr. Ferra developed the Ferraflex camera and equipment line. Mr. Ferra provided crash cameras with housings, walking cams, body cams and underwater housings among other products. Mr. Ferra's credits include "The Mountain Men," "Meteor" and Steve McQueen's little seen adaptation of Isben's "An Enemy of the People."
CYNTHIA BRANNON Died Mar. 4, 2007
Stuntwoman Cynthia Brannon died at age 55. Ms. Brannon worked on such films as "The Terminator" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street."
MARY MARSH Died Mar. 4, 2007
Actress Mary Marsh died two months shy of her 87th birthday. Ms. Marsh began her stage career in 1950. Her film and TV credits include "Northern Exposure," "The Temp," "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey," "The Favor" and "Quarterback Princess."
YVAN DELPORTE Died Mar. 5, 2007
Writer Yvan Delporte died at age 78. In the late 1950s Mr. Delporte collaborated with cartoonist Peyo, creator of "The Smurfs" to expand the characters into a comic strip and later films. Mr. Delporte wrote the script for the feature films "The Adventures of the Smurfs" and "The Smurfs and the Magic Flute."
ALLEN COAGE Died Mar. 6, 2007
Olympic medalist turned professional wrestler Allen Coage died of a heart attack at age 63. Mr. Coage wrestled under the stage name of Bad News Brown in the WWF and Bad News Allen elsewhere. Mr. Coage won the Bronze Medal for Judo at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Mr. Coage appeared in many wrestling TV shows and the documentary "Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story."
JOSE LUIS COLL Died Mar. 6, 2007
Spanish humorist, writer and actor Jose Luis Coll died of multiple organ failure at age 75. Mr. Coll was half of the comedy duo 'Tip y Coll' with Luis Sanchez Polack. Mr. Coll was an award-winning author and poet. Mr. Coll won numerous awards for his acting and writing. He won the Best Supporting Actor award from the Cinema Writer's Circle for "The Adulteress."
ROGER WATKINS Died Mar. 6, 2007
Writer/director Roger Watkins died at age 58. Mr. Watkins wrote and directed a number of horror films as well as hardcore adult movies. Roger Watkins wrote and directed his films under several pseudonyms. His most famous film is the horror movie "Last House on Dead End Street." The film was shot in 1972. The movie was tied up in court when one of the actresses sued the director to have him remove some hardcore footage he had shot of the actress. The movie's original title was "The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell." It dealt with n ex-con who made snuff films. The movie was released five years after it was shot without the director's knowledge. It was re-titled to cash in on the success of Wes Craven and Sean Cunningham's "Last House on the Left." That film was inspired by Ingmar Bergman's classic "The Virgin Spring." Mr. Watkins also directed the horror film "Shadows of the Mind." In the late 1970s, Mr. Watkins began directing adult films. His adult films were highly regarded. Intense actor Jamie Gillis added an extra edge to Mr. Watkins' adult films. They dealt with much more than just sex. His adult titles include "Corruption," "Her Name Was Lisa" and "Hollywood Babylon." Mr. Watkins was not recognized as the director of either his horror films or adult films until the year 2000.
EDWARD SIEG Died Mar. 7, 2007
Actor/photographer/author/theatrical director Edward Sieg died at age 78. Mr. Sieg promoted the arts in his home state of Georgia. Mr. Sieg appeared in the 1952 film "The Ring" with Rita Moreno. The boxing film also dealt with the deeper issue of prejudice against Hispanics in Los Angeles. Mr. Sieg served his country in the US Army during the Korean War.
ANDY SIDARIS Died Mar. 7, 2007
Emmy-winning director Andy Sidaris died of throat cancer at age 76. Andy Sidaris succeeded in two genres. He was a pioneering TV sports director. He directed episodes of "ABCs Wide World of Sports" for a quarter century. His direction of the controversial 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City won him an Emmy award. I imagine that most people remember Andy Sidaris for his boob-filled action films. Mr. Sidaris developed a loyal following for the dozen films he directed aimed a young male audience. With a stable of actresses that include Julie Strain, Dona Speir, Roberta Vasquez and others, Andy Sidaris turned out thrillers with T&A. "Charlie's Angels" with a healthy libido and Russ Meyer's eye for cleavage. Tell the truth, a few of his films were actually worthwhile for more than the eye-candy. "Picasso Trigger" was my favorite Andy Sidaris film. Cool plot, hot women in the lead roles and some pretty cool action scenes. The photo at right is the cover shot from Andy Sidaris's book "Bullets, Bombs and Babes: The Films of Andy Sidaris."
BILL CHINNOCK Died Mar. 7, 2007
Emmy-winning musician Bill Chinnock died of undisclosed causes at age 59. Mr. Chinnock won an Emmy in 1987 for his song "Somewhere in the Night." The song, which he sang in a duet with Roberta Flack, became the theme song for the soap opera "The Guiding Light." Mr. Chinnock sang the song "Eureka" in the 1977 movie "Gizmo!"
JOHN INMAN Died Mar. 8, 2007
British comedic actor John Inman died at age 71 after a lengthy battle with Hepatitis A. John Inman played Mr. Humphries on the long-running hit TV series "Are You Being Served?" The BBC series ran for 12 seasons and still plays around the world in syndication. John Inman appeared in a number of other TV shows, but he will forever be remembered for his character on "Are You Being Served?" He never failed to make me laugh. I always wondered how he would have fared along side the great ensemble cast on "The Carol Burnet Show."
THOMAS MASON Died Mar. 8, 2007
Attorney and actor Thomas Mason died at age 88. Mr. Mason was a former Federal district attorney in Virginia. Mr. Mason served in the US Navy with JFK during WWII. President Kennedy appointed Mr. Mason to his post as the federal DA. Mr. Mason was also a stage actor. He appeared in the films "Mississippi Burning," "Crimes of the Heart" and "Gods and Generals." IMDB has Mr. Mason's credits mixed up with another Thomas Mason. Not surprising!
ALEJANDRO CRUZ Died Mar. 8, 2007
Mexican wrestler Alejandro Cruz AKA Black Shadow died of pneumonia. Mr. Cruz made his wrestling debut in 1948. He was the protégé of Mexican wrestling superstar the Blue Demon, whose real name was also Alejandro Cruz. Mr. Cruz appeared in a number of Mexican wrestling/horror films during the 1950s and 60s. His credits include "Santo vs. the Zombies" and "Santo and Blue Demon Against the Monsters."
LISA-LISBETH FINNEY Died Mar. 8, 2007
Actress Lisa-Lisbeth Finney died at age 40. Ms. Finney was a former deputy sheriff in Virginia. She also co-owner a Yacht Charter business in the Washington D.C. area. Ms. Finney recently finished filming a supporting role in the feature film "Boy of Pigs." Ms. Finney also appeared in the TV series "The West Wing."
ULPIO MINUCCI Died Mar. 9, 2007
Composer Ulpio Minucci died of natural causes at age 89. Mr. Minucci was a concert pianist and composer. He wrote songs for such performers as Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole. His film and TV credits include "Robotech," "The White Lions," "In the Shadow of Kilimanjaro" and "The Saga of Western Man."
BRAD DELP Died Mar. 9, 2007
Brad Delp, the lead singer for the band "Boston" committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning at age 55. Mr. Delp locked himself in his bathroom and fired up two charcoal grills. The 70s supergroup's first album sold millions and included a number of hit songs including "More Than a Feeling" and "Foreplay/Long Time." Mr. Delp's vocals can be heard on the soundtracks of such films as "The Limey" and "Krippendorf's Tribe." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
RICHARD JENI Died Mar. 10, 2007
Comedian Richard Jeni died of a gunshot wound to the face. The 45-year-old comedian's death is tentatively being called a suicide. His family reported that Mr. Jeni suffered from depression. Mr. Jeni was a frequent quest on "The Tonight Show" during the tenure of Johnny Carson and later Jay Leno. He also was the star of several HBO specials. Mr. Jeni appeared in several films. He played Jim Carrey's best friend in "The Mask." Other film and TV credits include "Burn, Hollywood Burn: An Allen Smithee Film," "Married With Children" and "Everybody Hates Chris." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
LANNA SAUNDERS Died Mar. 10, 2007
Actress Lanna Saunders died of multiple sclerosis at age 65. Her husband was actor Lawrence Pressman. Ms. Saunders appeared in a handful of films and TV shows. She had a small but significant supporting role as Richard Crenna's sister in the modern Noir thriller "Body Heat." Ms. Saunders was a regular on the soap opera "Days of Our Lives" from 1979 through 1985. She played Marina Oswald, the wife of JFK's killer in the Made for TV movie "Ruby and Oswald." Other TV credits include "The Waltons," "Fantasy Island" and "Hart to Hart." Ms. Saunders enjoyed a successful stage career, making her Broadway debut at age 13.
BETTY HUTTON Died Mar. 11, 2007
Actress Betty Hutton died of colon cancer at age 86. Ms. Hutton soared to the top of the Hollywood pecking order in the late 1940s only to walk away from stardom in 1952. Ms. Hutton walked out on her Paramount contract at the zenith of her stardom. Though she acted off-and-on on TV, Ms. Hutton never recaptured the popularity she experienced during the late 1940s. Ms. Hutton starred in Preston Sturges' classic screwball comedy "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek." Ms. Hutton played a young woman who enjoyed a night or revelry with several soldiers set to ship out for WWII. She wakes up married to one of the soldiers (can't remember which one!) and pregnant. It is one of the best American films of the era. Far ahead of its time and still very funny. This was the one film in which Ms. Hutton was actually allowed to step outside the persona the public expected. Betty Hutton appeared in over 50 films, documentaries and TV shows during her career. She starred in 19 feature films during the decade of 1942 through 1952. She made one feature film after walking away from her contract in 1952. Ms. Hutton's film credits include "The Greatest Show on Earth," "Annie Get Your Gun," "The Perils of Pauline," "Incendiary Blonde," "Red, Hot and Blue" and "Somebody Loves Me." Ms. Hutton battled prescription drug addiction for nearly two decades. With the help of a Catholic priest the Rev. Peter Maguire, Ms. Hutton beat her addiction and enjoyed an active senior life.
VILMA EBSEN Died Mar. 12, 2007
Dancer Vilma Ebsen died in her sleep at age 96. Ms. Ebsen was the younger sister of actor/dancer Buddy Ebsen. She was also a long-time dance instructor in California. She and her brother danced as a team on Broadway in the early 1930s. They appeared together in the MGM musical "Broadway Melody of 1936." Ms. Ebsen left Hollywood to be with her then composer husband Robert Dolan in New York. She returned to California in the early 1940s. Ms. Ebsen opened the Ebsen School of Dance and operated it for 50 years.
ARNOLD DRAKE Died Mar. 12, 2007
Writer and comic book author Arnold Drake died of pneumonia at age 83. Mr. Drake wrote and created a number of comic books including "The Doom Patrol." He scripted a few films including the horror movie "The Flesh Eaters," the nudie film "50,000 BC (Before Clothes)" and Sal Mineo's camp classic "Who Killed Teddy Bear?"
HERBERT FUX Died Mar. 13, 2007
Austrian actor and politician Herbert Fux died two weeks shy of his 80th birthday. Mr. Fux appeared in nearly 200 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. Mr. Fux was often cast as the heavy. His many credits include Ingmar Bergman's "The Serpent's Egg," the Brat Pack version of "The Three Musketeers," Werner Herzog's "Woyzeck," "21 Hours at Munich," "Night Flight to Moscow," "Le Sex Shop," "Funeral in Berlin" and "The Quiller Memorandum." Mr. Fux is well known to horror movie fans for such films as "Lady Dracula," "Jack the Ripper," "Lady Frankenstein," "Love, Vampire Style," Jesus Franco's "Eugenie," the controversial and very gory "Mark of the Devil," Christopher Lee's "Castle of Fu Manchu," "House of 1000 Dolls" and "The Invisible Terror." Mr. Fux was an active member of the Green Party in Austria.
JEFF MUSSO Died Mar. 13, 2007
French writer/director Jeff Musso died of natural causes at age 99. Mr. Musso wrote and directed five films. His 1938 film "The Puritan" won Prix Louis Delluc. The French industry prize was inaugurated in 1937 in memory of film critic Louis Delluc. Mr. Musso's other credits include "Robinson Crusoe" and "Last Desire."
LUCIE AUBRAC Died Mar. 14, 2007
French resistance leader Lucie Aubrac died at age 94. Ms. Aubrac fought the Nazis during WWII as a leader of the French Resistance. She freed her husband and 13 others from a Nazi prison in 1943. Two movies were made about her life: Claude Berri's "Lucie Aubrac" and "Boulevard des Hirondelles."
HIROMITSU SUZUKI Died Mar. 14, 2007
Japanese singer/actor Hiromitsu Suzuki died of liver cancer at age 60. Ms. Suzuki was the lead singer of the 1960s rock band "The Mops." Following the breakup of his band Mr. Suzuki turned to acting. He appeared in nearly 20 films and TV shows. Mr. Suzuki's credits include "G.I. Samurai" and "Lady Camellia."
GARETH HUNT Died Mar. 14, 2007
British actor Gareth Hunt died of pancreatic cancer at age 65. Mr. Hunt co-starred with Patrick McNee and Joanna Lumley in the TV series "The New Avengers." Other acting credits include "Softly, Softly," "Upstairs, Downstairs," "Space: 1999," "The House on Garibaldi Street," "Fierce Creatures" and "The Riddle."
DAVID GARVIN Died Mar. 14, 2007
Aspiring filmmaker David Garvin blew a mental gasket and went on a killing spree in New York City. Mr. Garvin put 15 bullets into a pizzeria bartender Alfredo Romero Morales. He then walked out onto the streets of Greenwich Village and began shooting. Mr. Garvin then killed two brave unarmed auxiliary police volunteers: Eugene Marshalik and Nicholas Pekearo. NYPD officers then engaged the crazed man and killed him. Mr. Garvin directed a short film "The Stand Ups." He played a small part in the comedy "Brothers." The men who died are pictured at right. They are from left to right: Alfredo Morales, Nicholas Pekearo and Eugene Marshalik. Prayers of comfort for the families and friends of his victims, especially their children.
NICOLE STEPHAN Died Mar. 14, 2007
French actress/producer Nicole Stephan died at age 83. Ms. Stephan was nominated for a Best Foreign Actress BAFTA for the 1950 film "Les Enfants Terribles." Ms. Stephan produced a handful of films including Susan Sontag's documentary "Promised Lands."
STAN DUKE Died Mar. 14, 2007
Sports caster and actor Stan Duke died at age 70. Mr. Duke was one of the first Black sports casters to work in a major US TV market. Mr. Duke worked for CBS's Los Angeles affiliate starting in 1968. His TV career was cut short when Mr. Duke was sent to prison for killing the lover of his estranged wife. Mr. Duke appeared in a handful of films and TV shows including my favorite TV show yet to be released on DVD "Police Story," "The Love Bug," "Cowboy in Africa" and "Joe Forrester."
BLANQUITA AMARO Died Mar. 15, 2007
Cuban 'Queen of Rhumba' Blanquita Amaro died of a heart attack at age 83. Ms. Amaro performed live on stage and starred in over 20 films during her career. She performed throughout Latin America and Europe. Ms. Amaro settled in the US in the late 1960s where she hosted a local TV show in Miami. Ms. Amaro's film credits include " Scandal of Stars," "Summer Hotel" and "The Seducer."
STUART ROSENBERG Died Mar. 15, 2007
He was one of the greats. Like Robert Altman, he began directing TV and went on to direct some of the most memorable films of the 1960s and 70s. His credits include one of the greatest films in history as well as a number of other very good films. Stuart Rosenberg died of a heart attack at age 79. His masterpiece was "Cool Hand Luke." Mr. Rosenberg earned a DGA nomination for the 1967 film. "What we've got here is failure to communicate…" Though Stuart Rosenberg was never nominated for an Oscar, his films garnered 11 nominations. Mr. Rosenberg's actors were often the recipients of Oscar's nod. George Kennedy won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work under Rosenberg in "Cool Hand Luke." Mr. Rosenberg directed Peter Falk (Murder Inc.), Paul Newman (Cool Hand Luke), Lee Grant (Voyage of the Damned) and Geraldine Page (The Pope of Greenwich Village) to Oscar nominated performances.
Stuart Rosenberg learned his trade working on the small screen. He won an Emmy Award for directing an episode of "The Defenders." He directed 19 episodes of that series. Mr. Rosenberg was also a regular director on the gritty crime series "The Untouchables." He directed 15 episodes. His work on "The Untouchables" lead to his first feature film, the true-life crime film "Murder Inc." The movie has a great Film Noir look to it. Filmed on location in the Bronx, Rosenberg delivered a brutal crime movie that still holds up 47 years later. Mr. Rosenberg's other TV credits include "The Twilight Zone," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "Rawhide."
After the 1967 film "Cool Hand Luke" Stuart Rosenberg left TV for good. He directed such memorable films as "Brubaker" with Robert Redford, "The Pope of Greenwich Village," "Voyage of the Damned," "The Amityville Horror," Paul Newman's sequel to "Harper" called "The Drowning Pool," "The April Fools" with Jack Lemmon and Catherine Deneuve and "The Laughing Policeman." Mr. Rosenberg worked with Paul Newman four times. The photos at right are from the location shoot of "The Drowning Pool." Mr. Rosenberg also directed Paul Newman in "WUSA" and "Pocket Money." Other film credits include "Move" with Elliot Gould, "Love and Bullets" with Charles Bronson," "My Heroes Have All Been Cowboys" and his 'Allen Smithee' film "Let's Get Harry."
HERMAN STEIN Died Mar. 15, 2007
Composer Herman Stein died of congestive heart failure at age 91. Mr. Stein was hired as a staff composer at Universal Studios in 1951. He had worked in radio and with many noted jazz musicians during the 1930s and 40s. At Universal Mr. Stein worked on nearly 200 films. Universal had an incredible staff of composers during this era. Mr. Stein worked with such musical luminaries as Henry Mancini, Hans Saltzer and Robert Dolan. These composers would often collaborate on the same films. Many of Mr. Stein's most memorable scores were for the great sci-fi/horror films of the 1950s. He worked on such films as "It Came From Outer Space," "This Island Earth," "The Creature From the Black Lagoon," "Tarantula," "City Beneath the Sea," "Revenge of the Creature," "The Monolith Monsters," "The Mole People," "The Creature Walks Among Us," "The Incredible Shrinking Man," "The Land Unknown," "The Thing That Couldn't Die" and the TV series "Lost in Space" and "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."
CHARLES HARRELSON Died Mar. 15, 2007
Convicted assassin Charles Harrelson died of natural causes at Colorado's Supermax federal prison. Mr. Harrelson was doing life in prison for the 1979 assassination of Federal Judge John Wood. Mr. Harrelson denied any involvement in the killing. Mr. Harrelson was also rumored to have taken part in the assassination of JFK. Reporter Jack Anderson and authors John Craig and Phillip Rogers all speculated that Mr. Harrelson was one of the men on the grassy knoll. When Mr. Harrelson was arrested on the Wood killing, he made a statement saying that he took part in the JFK assassination. He later recanted that statement. Mr. Harrelson was the father of actor Woody Harrelson. Mr. Harrelson appeared as himself in the true-crime TV series "City Confidential: San Antonio: Maximum Justice."
ALICE BACKES Died Mar. 15, 2007
Prolific actress Alice Backes died in her sleep at age 73. Ms. Backes worked on radio, in film and on TV. She appeared in over 65 films and TV shows between 1948 and 1997. Ms. Backes' film credits include "I Want to Live!," "That Touch of Mink," "It Started With a Kiss," "The Glory Guys," "Snowball Express," "Gable and Lombard" and "The Cat From Outer Space." Ms. Backes appeared in many, many TV shows. Her numerous TV credits include guest appearances on "Dragnet," "M Squad," "The Rifleman," "Thriller," "Ben Casey," "Leave it to Beaver," "The Virginian," "The Andy Griffith Show," "My Favorite Martian," "Wagon Train," "Hazel," "The Muinsters," "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," "The Donna Reed Show," "Gunsmoke," "The Big Valley," "Bewitched," "Mannix," "Ironside," "Kolchack: The Night Stalker," "Baretta" and "Barney Miller." Ms. Backes' was the widow of film editor Milton Citron.
DR. MILTON WEXLER Died Mar. 16, 2007
Noted psychologist Milton Wexler died at age 98. Dr. Wexler started the Human Genome Project and the Hereditary Disease Foundation. At one time he was the Chief Psychologist at the famed Menninger Clinic. Before turning to his career in medicine, Dr. Wexler was a lawyer in Manhattan. Sometime during his busy life, Dr. Wexler also found time to write screenplays and novels! He co-wrote the screenplays "That's Life" and "The Man Who Loved Women" with director Blake Edwards. I loved the fact that the family placed paid obituary for Dr. Wexler published in the New York Times said that he died 'prematurely' at age 98!
JON GRZEGORCZYK Died Mar. 16, 2007
Actor John Grzegorczyk died at age 40. He appeared in the indie gay horror films "October Moon" and "November Son." According to the films' director Jason Paul Collum's 'myspace' page, Mr. Grzegorczyk committed suicide. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
CLETUS ANDERSON Died Mar. 16, 2007
Production designer/teacher Cletus Anderson died of cancer at age 69. Mr. Anderson worked on many of the films of George Romero. Mr. Anderson's wife Barbara was the costume designer on the films her husband worked on. His film credits include "Knightriders," "Creepshow," "Day of the Dead," "Monkey Shine," "Two Evil Eyes" which was co-directed by Romero and Dario Argento, the remake of "Night of the Living Dead" and "The Dark Half." Mr. Anderson was the art director on the Peabody Award winning children's TV series "Once Upon a Classic." Mr. Anderson passed his craft on to others as a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He was also a noted set and costume designer in the theater world. Mr. Anderson and his wife co-wrote the text book "Costume Design."
CAROL RICHARDS Died Mar. 16, 2007Singer Carol Richards died at age 84. She was best know for singing the Christmas carol "Silver Bells" in a duet with Bing Crosby. Her version of "Silver Bells" was heard on the soundtrack of Barry Levinson's "Avalon." Ms. Richards often provided the singing voice for actresses in major motion pictures. She dubbed Cyd Charisse's singing voice in four films including "Brigadoon" and "Silk Stockings." Mr. Richards' voice can be heard singing in such films as "The Women of Pitcairn Island," "The Robe" and "The Petty Girl." She appeared as herself on such TV shows as "I Love Lucy," "The Bob Crosby Show" and "Saturday Night Revue."
STEVEN BENDEROTH Died Mar. 16, 2007
Composer Steven Benderoth died at age 60. Mr. Benderoth wrote TV and radio jingles. He also wrote songs for films including "Oxford Blues." Mr. Benderoth was a member of the band Lenny and the Squigtones which featured Lenny and Squiggy actors Michael McKean and David Lander.
FREDDIE FRANCIS Died Mar. 17, 2007
Oscar-winning cinematographer Freddie Francis died of complications following a stroke. Mr. Francis was 89 years old. In addition to his illustrious career as a cinematographer, Freddie Francis enjoyed success as a horror movie director. Mr. Francis, along with Terence Fisher, Roy Ward Baker and Jimmy Sangster was one of Hammer Films workhorse directors. He also directed some great films in the Amicus omnibus series. I knew of Mr. Francis's work as a horror movie director long before I knew what a cinematographer even was.
Though his greatest acclaim came as an in demand cinematographer, Freddie Francis inspired me and millions of other young horror movie fans with his many horror films. Freddie Francis's sequel "Dracula Has Risen From the Grave" is second only to Terence Fisher's original "Horror of Dracula" in the Christopher Lee film series. Actress Veronica Carlson co-starred with Christopher Lee in "Dracula Has Risen From the Grave." She remembered working with Freddie Francis during an interview with me in 2001: "He was a brilliant cinematographer. He has won Oscars for his camera work. His movies had great pictures and lighting. As a director he was very gentle with me. He realized I was a new comer." Mr. Francis shot eight films with British horror legend Peter Cushing and four with Christopher Lee. Freddie Francis' other horror films include directing addition scenes for "The Day of the Triffids," "Dr. Terror's House of Horrors," "The Evil of Frankenstein," "The Skull," "The Psychopath," "Torture Garden," "The Deadly Bees," "They Came From Beyond Space," "Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly," "Trog," the feature film version of "Tales From the Crypt," "The Creeping Flesh," "Tales That Witness Madness," "Legend of the Werewolf," "The Ghoul," "Craze" and "Dark Tower." Freddie Francis also directed the Harry Nilsson/Ringo Starr rock and roll horror film "Son of Dracula."
Freddie Francis is best remembered for his work as a cinematographer. He helped numerous top directors capture their vision. Freddie Francis work as a cinematographer was honored with two Oscars, was nominated for four BAFTAs, won four British Society of Cinematographers awards as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Society of Cinematographer's International Award and many, many more.
Freddie Francis began his career as a focus puller and camera loader in the 1930s. During WWII, Mr. Francis served his country in the British Army Film Unit. Following the was he returned to work as an assistant cameraman and camera operator. Mr. Francis's credits as an assistant include "The Macomber Affair," "The Elusive Pimpernel," "The Tales of Hoffman," John Huston's "Moulin Rouge," "Beat the Devil" and "Moby Dick."
Freddie Francis became a Cinematographer on the 1956 war film "A Hill in Korea." He lensed 12 films between 1956 and 1964 when he turned to directing. He returned to Cinematography in 1980. Mr. Francis won his first Oscar for "Sons and Lovers." Other films from his early period include "Room at the Top," "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning," "The Innocents" and "Night Must Fall."
Mr. Francis returned to cinematography with David Lynch's "The Elephant Man." He followed this up with "The French Lieutenant's Woman." Mr. Francis came to America and shot the great TV miniseries "The Execution's Song." He teamed up with David Lynch once more for "Dune." Mr. Francis did some uncredited work on the live-action "Return to Oz." Mr. Francis ended the 1980s with a second Oscar win for "Glory." His credits from the 1990s include Martin Scorsese's remake of "Cape Fear" and "School Ties." Mr. Francis' final film as a cinematographer was yet another colaboration with David Lynch: "The Straight Story."
EIJI FUNAKOSHI Died Mar. 17, 2007
Japanese actor Eiji Funakoshi died of a cerebral infarction on his 74th birthday. Mr. Funakoshi appeared in over 80 films during his career. Mr. Funakoshi worked with director Kon Ichikawa in 11 films including playing the lead in the award-winning war film "Fires on the Plain." Mr. Funakoshi was familiar to monster movie fans for his work in such rubber suit classics as "Gamera" and "Attack of the Monsters." Truth be told, his appearance in "Attack of the Mosnters" was just archived footage from "Gamera." Other credits include "Afraid to Die," "Manji," "An Actor's Revenge" and "The Loyal 47 Ronin."
WILLIAM PANZER Died Mar. 18, 2007
Producer/writer Bill Panzer died from head injuries sustained in a fall at age 64. Mr. Panzer was best known for producing the Film "Highlander," its sequels and the TV series spin-off. Mr. Panzer was nominated for Canada's Gemini Award for Best Dramatic Series for "Highlander." Mr. Panzer wrote several films and produced a number movies besides "Highlander." His 1977 film "Stunts" starring Robert Forster is a B-movie gem. Overlooked and well worth seeing. Mr. Panzer also produced Sam Peckinpah's troubled final film "The Osterman Weekend." He appeared as himself in the documentary "Alpha to Omega: Exposing The Osterman Weekend." Other credits include "St. Helens" and Abel Ferrara's "Cat Chaser." His film 1976 "The Death Collector" was Joe Pesci's first film in a starring role. Mr. Panzer also produced "Cutting Class" which featured future star Brad Pitt.
PASCAL DAUMAN Died Mar. 18, 2007
French producer/actress Pascale Dauman died at age 69. Ms. Dauman was the widow of producer Anatole Dauman who died in 1998. Ms. Dauman was closely associated with directors Wim Wenders and Raymond Depardon. She co-produced with her late husband Wim Wenders' films "Paris, Texas" and "Wings of Desire." She also co-produced Peter Greenaway's controversial "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover." Ms. Dauman produced four films by director Raymond Depardon: "Paris," "Captive of the Desert," "Caught in the Acts" and "A Woman in Africa." Ms. Dauman acted in several films including Francois Truffaut's Oscar-nominated "Stolen Kisses."
CALVERT DEFOREST aka LARRY 'BUD' MELMAN Died Mar. 19, 2007
Comedian Calver DeForest died at age 85 after a lengthy illness. Mr. DeForest was best known for portraying the bizarre character Larry 'Bud' Melman on "Late Night with David Letterman." He always struck me as someone out of the world of director John Waters. I could see Larry 'Bud' Melman attending a family reunion with Edie the Egg Lady and Divine. Mr. DeForest appeared as Larry 'Bud' Melman on "Saturday Night Live," the video "The Couch Potato Workout" and the movie "Freaked."
LUTHER INGRAM Died Mar. 19, 2007
Singer/songwriter Luther Ingram died of heart failure at age 69. Mr. Ingram had the hit song "If Loving You is Wrong (I Don't Want to Be Right)." Mr. Ingram can be seen performing in the excellent documentary "Wattstax" as well as the TV shows "Midnight Special" and "American Bandstand." Mr. Ingram co-wrote the Staple Singers' hit "Respect Yourself."
DAVID CLARRIDGE Died Mar. 19, 2007
Production accountant David Clarridge died of cancer at age 61. Mr. Clarridge was the production accountant on the films "Edge of Honor" and the remake of "Get Carter" as well as the TV shows "Northern Exposure" and "Law and Order."
ELAINE SHORE Died Mar. 19, 2007
Actress Elaine Shore died of tongue cancer at age 78. Ms. Shore acted on stage as well as TV and in films. She played Herschel Bernardi's secretary in the TV series "Arnie." Ms. Shore had a small role as Mr. Dragon's secretary in the Clint Eastwood thriller "The Eiger Sanction." Ms. Shore brought just the right amount of pompous bitch to her memorable scene of verbal sparing with Clint Eastwood. Horror movie fans may remember her from "The Sentinel." She also had a small role in Otto Preminger's "Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon."
JOYCE ANN GILSTRAP Died Mar. 19, 2007
Set decorator Joyce Ann Gilstrap died of undisclosed causes at age 46. The I.A.T.S.E. Local #44 member worked on such films as "3000 Miles to Graceland," "Mr. & Mrs. Bridge" and "Shag."
JOHN P. RYAN Died Mar. 20, 2007
Prolific character actor/teacher John P. Ryan died at age 70. Mr. Ryan appeared in many memorable films from the 1970s and beyond. He was one of the great screen villains of all time. Though the actor specialized in brutal characters, in real life he was a spiritual seeker, counselor and healer. There are so many films that he added to. John P. Ryan brought an intensity to his work that jumped from the screen and grabbed the viewer. Not all of his performances were as intense as his work in such films as "Runaway Train," "The Cotton Club" or his relatively small role in his final film "Bound," but all of his performances were memorable.
John P. Ryan was a member of The Actor's Studio. He made his TV debut in the 1968 production of "A Hatful of Rain." Actor Jack Nicholson would see that performance and remember John P. Ryan. This lead to Mr. Ryan working with Jack Nicholson in "Five Easy Pieces," "The King of Marvin Gardens," "The Missouri Breaks," the remake of "The Postman Always Rings Twice" and "Hoffa."
My earliest memories of John P Ryan's work are from John Milius's classic, brutal gangster biopic "Dillinger" and the cult classic horror film "It's Alive." Ryan played Dillinger gang member Charlie Mackey in the Milius film. John P. Ryan had a number of memorable death scenes. "Dillinger" featured one such scene. Marlon Brando shot him in the back while he was having sex with a farmer's wife against the side of a barn in Arthur Penn's "The Missouri Breaks." James Remar took a butcher knife to Mr. Ryan in Francis Ford Copolla's "The Cotton Club." It is hard to play the bad guy and not meet a sticky end now and again. Mr. Ryan played the lead in Larry Cohen campy "It's Alive." The movie featured one of the greatest taglines in film history: "There's only one thing wrong with the Davies' baby…It's Alive!" Mr. Ryan played the father of the killer mutant baby.
Mr. Ryan's memorable film credits include "The King of Marvin Gardens," Burt Reynolds' cool "Shamus," "The Legend of Nigger Charley," "The Missouri Breaks," "Kill Me If You Can: The Caryl Chessman Story," "Futureworld," "It Lives Again," "The Last Flight of Noah's Ark," the remake of "Breathless," "The Right Stuff," "The Cotton Club," "Fatal Beauty," "Class of 1999," "Rent-a-Cop," "Death Wish 4," "Delta Force 2," "White Sands" and as a voice actor on the animated movie "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm."
Mr. Ryan's TV credits include "Kojak," "The F.B.I.," "Police Woman," "Archer," "The Rockford Files," "Starsky and Hutch," "Hawaii 5-0," "M*A*S*H," "Matt Houston," "Cagney and Lacey," "Faerie Tale Theater" and "Miami Vice."
ARTHUR STOLNITZ Died Mar. 21, 2007
Attorney and producer Art Stolnitz died at age 79. Mr. Stolnitz worked for MCA, United Artists, Warner Bothers and Lorimar during his lengthy career. He was involved in production of such films and TV shows as "The Vault of Horror," "The Norliss Tapes," "Scream of the Wolf," "Someone I Touched," "Tales From the Crypt," "Foster and Laurie," "The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams," "Perfect Strangers," "Full House," "Murphy Brown," "I'll Fly Away," "Family Matters," "Sisters," and "Knots Landing."
JOHN ZACCARO Died Mar. 21, 2007
Actor John Zaccaro died at age 72. Mr. Zaccaro appeared in such films and TV shows as "Gunsmoke," "Ripcord," "The Untouchables," "Burke's Law," "Cornbread Earl and Me" and "The Other Side of the Mountain."
ANNE WEHRER Died Mar. 22, 2007
Artist, author and actress Anne Wehrer died in her sleep at age 77. Ms. Wehrer is proof that the human spirit can overcome any hardship. Ms.Wehrer lost a leg to cancer at age 18. Didn't slow her down one bit. She founded a well-known art festival, appeared in Andy Warhol's film "Bike Boy," wrote books and magazine articles and toured with Iggy Pop. All while raising five children! I imagine Ms. Wehrer didn't have the word 'can't' in her vocabulary.
LILY WHEELWRIGHT Died Mar. 22, 2007
Actress Lily Wheelwright died of undisclosed causes at age 24. Ms. Wheelwright co-starred in the indie film "Orphans," which is directed by Ry Russo-Young. The movie debuted at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin Texas on March 12. The movie won a Special Jury Award. Many critics praised Ms. Wheelwright's performance as a pill-popping painter. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
ANGUS DUNCAN Died Mar. 22, 2007
Character actor Angus Duncan died of cancer at age 70. Mr. Duncan appeared in nearly 70 films and TV shows during his career. He was also a stage actor. His film credits include "…And Justice For All," "Sweet Sugar," "Marlow," "Stay Away, Joe" and "What's So Bad About Feeling Good?."
WALTER TURNBULL Died Mar. 23, 2007
Walter Turnbull, the founder of the Boys Choir of Harlem died of complications following a stroke at age 62. Mr. Turnbull founded the famed choir in 1968. The Boys Choir of Harlem has provided an introduction to the arts to thousands of underprivileged, talented young men for almost 40 years. The choir provided music for the movies "Glory," "Jungle Fever," "Malcolm X" and "The Wizard of Oz In Concert." Mr. Turnbull appeared as himself on the TV shows "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood" and "Reading Rainbow."
BRADLEY LAVELLE Died Mar. 23, 2007
Canadian born actor Bradley Lavelle died of a heart attack just shy of his 49th birthday. Mr. Lavelle was a noted voice actor in the UK though he also did live action work. Mr. Lavelle's credits include "Supergirl," "The Last Days of Patton," "Superman 4," "Hellraiser 2," "Memphis Belle," "Waterland," "Judge Dredd," "The Dressmaker" and "Alien Autopsy."
ALEX PLASSCHAERT Died Mar. 24, 2007
Stuntman Alex Plasschaert died the day after his 75th birthday. Mr. Plasschaert was in my home town of Memphis where he was preparing for the Easter passion play at Bellvue Baptist Church when he passed away in his sleep. Mr. Plasschaert's career included work as a dancer and stuntman in such films and TV shows as "Mary Poppins," "Hello Dolly!," "Logan's Run," "Melvin and Howard," "Big Top Peewee," "City Heat," "The Omega Code" and its sequel "Megiddo: The Omega Code 2."
LYNN MERRICK Died Mar. 25, 2007
Actress Lynn Merrick died at age 87. Ms. Merrick appeared in over 40 films during the 1940s. She worked for both RKO and Columbia. Ms. Merrick starred in many of the B-Westerns produced at RKO. She also appeared in a few dramas. Ms. Merrick was married twice. First to actor Conrad Nagel and then to producer Robert Goelet Jr. Ms. Merrick's film credits include "I Love Trouble," "A Close Call for Boston Blackie," "Voice of the Whistler," "Boston Blackie Booked on Suspicion," "Meet Miss Bobby Socks," "Dangerous Blondes," "Dead Man's Gulch," "Jesse James, Jr.," "The Apache Kid," "Ice-Capades" and "'Til We Meet Again." Ms. Merrick was one of the 1940 batch of Wampas Baby Stars.
MIKHAIL ULYANOV Died Mar. 26, 2007
Award-winning Russian actor Mikhail Ulyanov died of an intestinal disease at age 69. Mr. Ulyanov won a Best Actor awards from the Russian Guild of Film Critics and the Nika Awards for the 1999 film "The Rifleman of the Voroshilov Regiment." Mr. Ulyanov appeared in nearly 70 films during his career. He also directed two films including a 1969 version of "The Brothers Karamazov." Mr. Ulyanov portrayed real life WWII General Zhukov in 9 films and TV shows.
MARTHA THIMMESCH Death discovered Mar. 26, 2007
Actress Martha Thimmesch was found dead in her apartment in Debuque Iowa. The cause of death for the 46-year-old actress has yet to be determined. News reports state that witnesses suspect Ms. Thimmesch had been dead for a number of days based on the amount of mail collected in her mailbox. Ms. Thimmesch appeared in Sean Penn's excellent "The Crossing Guard." Other credits include "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "The Day Lincoln Was Shot" and "Homicide: Life on the Streets."
JOE SENTIERI Died Mar. 26, 2007
Italian singer/actor Joe Sentieri died at age 82. Mr. Sentieri began his singing career in the 1950s as a singer on board cruise ships. He appeared in several movies featuring his singing abilities. His credits include "San Remo: The Big Challenge," Lucio Fulci's "Howlers of the Dock" and "Beauty on the Beach."
GUNTER MACK Died Mar. 27, 2007
German actor Gunter Mack died of cancer at age 76. Mr. Mack enjoyed success both on stage and in film. He appeared in nearly 70 films and TV shows during his career. His credits include "The Lightship," "Der Kommissar," "Only the Wind Knows the Answer," "The Brave Little Tailor" and "Tatort."
HITOSHI UEKI Died Mar. 27, 2007
Japanese comedic actor/musician Hitoshi Ueki died of respiratory failure at age 80. Mr. Ueki was co-founder of the popular Japanese musical group The Crazy Cats. The Crazy Cats starred in some of the most popular Japanese films of the 1960s. Mr. Ueki also acted in a number of films without The Crazy Cats. Mr. Ueki was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Award by the Japanese Academy for his work in Akira Kurosawa's "Ran." He won the Best Supporting Actor award for his work in the 1985 comedy "Shukuji."
CALVIN LOCKHART Died Mar. 29, 2007
Actor Calvin Lockhart died of complications following a stroke at age 72. One of my favorite jobs in high school was working at the Memphian Theater in Memphis. The one-screen theater was often rented by Elvis for late-night movie parties. The only drawback to working at a one-screen theater was seeing the same movie over and over. In the mid-70s it was not unusual for a film to play a theater for several months if the box-office was good. The box-office for the Sidney Poitier/Bill Cosby comedy "Let's Do It Again" was very good. If push came to shove, I could probably quote most of the movie to this day. Among the film's many memorable performances was a dark, villainous turn by Calvin Lockhart as gangland boss Biggie Smalls. While actor John Amos played fellow badguy Kansas City Mack in a clownish manner, Calvin Lockhart was pure menace. Menace that brewed below the surface and eventually rose to the top. The same kind of menace he brought to his bizarre performance in David Lynch's "Wild at Heart." Calvin Lockhart appeared in nearly 40 films and TV shows during his career. He was always interesting. When Calvin Lockhart was on screen, your eyes were automatically drawn to him. As a movie fan, I hate the fact he didn't appear in more films. "Let's Do It Again" was his second appearance in a Poitier/Cosby comedy. He played Silky Slim in the pair's first hit comedy "Uptown Saturday Night."
Calvin Lockhart had a recurring role on the TV series "Dynasty." Mr. Lockhart starred in the 1970 drama "Halls of Anger," which dealt with the then hot-button topic of busing. Lockhart starred as a big-game hunter tracking a werewolf in "The Beast Must Die." The movie has many detractors. It is so over the top that I happen to like it. Other memorable credits include "Myra Breckenridge," "Cotton Comes to Harlem," "Get Christie Love," "Predator 2" and "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me."
LESLIE WALLER Died Mar. 29, 2007
Novelist Leslie Waller died at age 83. Mr. Waller's novel "Hide in Plain Sight" was brought to the screen by actor James Caan. The film was Mr. Caan's only directorial effort. The story dealt with a man hunting down his children after his ex-wife goes into the witness protection program with her new mob husband. Various obituaries for Mr. Waller claim that he wrote the screenplays for the films "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "Dog Day Afternoon." This is not correct. What Mr. Waller did do was write the novelizations of those two movies after the films were released.
HOWARD GOORNEY Died Mar. 29, 2007
British actor Howard Goorney died at age 85. Mr. Goorney appeared in over 60 films and TV shows during a career that was spent mainly on the stage. Fans of Dudley Moore and Peter Cook's original version of "Bedazzled" may remember Mr. Goorney as the deadly sin Sloth. He played Nachum in Norman Jewison's "Fiddler on the Roof." Mr. Goorney was in the excellent war prison film "The Hill." If you can remember anything other than the beautiful, young naked Helen Mirren from Ken Russell's "Savage Messiah" you might have spotted Howard Goorney in the background. Mr. Goorney was stranger to the British horror movies of the 60s and 70s appearing in such films as "The Evil of Frankenstein," "Berserk!," "Crucible of Horror," "Blood on Satan's Claw" and "To the Devil a Daughter." Mr. Goorney appeared in a couple of my favorite British films from the early 1970s: "The Offence" and "Innocent Bystanders." His face was a familiar sight in many popular British TV shows from the 60s including "Z Cars" and "Dixon of Dock Green."
GARY RIZZO Died Mar. 31, 2007
Set dresser Gary Rizzo died at age 56. Mr. Rizzo was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local #44. His film and TV credits include "Dracula, Dead and Loving It," "Kindergarten Cop," "As Good As It Gets" and "Being John Malkovich."