ANTHONY AZZOLINO Died May 1, 2007
Multi-Emmy nominated lighting director Anthony Azzolino died at age 88. Mr. Azzolino worked for ABC TV for nearly 40 years. Mr. Azzolino was nominated for 5 Emmy Awards during his career. He served his country in the US Army during WWII.
SHEILA BALLANTYNE Died May 2, 2007
Author Sheila Ballantyne died of multisystem atrophy at age 70. Ms. Ballantyne wrote two novels: "Imaginary Crimes" and "Norma Jean, the Termite Queen." Her book "Imaginary Crimes" was an autobiographical story. It was turned into a movie starring Harvey Keitel in 1994.
WALTER M. SCHIRRA Died May 3, 2007
Astronaut and Navy Captain Walter Mr. Schirra died of a heart attack at age 84. Wally Schirra was one of the original seven Mercury astronauts. Schirra was the only member of the original seven to fly missions in all three of NASA's first space programs. Schirra's Mercury flight, Sigma 7 was called a "Textbook Flight" by mission control members. It was generally considered the most successful, from a technical point of view, of the six Mercury flights. Schirra and fellow astronaut Tom Stafford were scheduled to fly a two week Gemini mission, but technical glitches cancelled their flight. They were to set an endurance record and then, 8 or 9 days into the flight, be joined by astronauts Jim Lovell and James Borman in Gemini 7 for rendezvous. As it turned out, the two crews swapped missions. Gemini 7 was launched first while the problems with the Gemini 6 spacecraft were fixed. Schirra and Stafford later launched in Gemini 6 and met Gemini 7 for the first rendezvous of two manned space crafts. Wally Schirra was called on once more to help NASA regain the public's trust after the Apollo 1 fire which killed astronauts Grissom, White and Chaffee. Wally Schirra commanded Apollo 7, the first successfully launched manned mission of the Apollo program. During the 11 day mission, astronauts Schirra, Walter Cunningham and Don Eisle all came down with colds. Wally Schirra would later recount this incident in a series of TV commercials for a popular cold remedy.
Walter Schirra was portrayed by actor Mark Harmon in an episode of the excellent mini-series "From the Earth to the Moon." Actor Lance Henriksen portrayed him in the classic film "The Right Stuff." Schirra's character was given very little to do in the film "The Right Stuff." That is one of the reasons I really enjoyed Mark Harmon's performance in the Tom Hanks produced mini-series. Schirra was the star of the episode and Mark Harmon honored him with his excellent performance. Wally Schirra made a cameo appearance as himself in the Made for TV movie "The Astronaut." He appeared as himself and through archived footage in several films and documentaries including "Houston, We've Got a Problem," "For All Mankind," "Space Flight," "Korean War Stories" and "Failure is Not an Option." Wally Schirra served his country as a fighter pilot during the Korean War. He flew 90 missions and was credited with shooting down a MIG fighter. God's speed Wally Schirra. Thanks for your service to your country.
GUSTI WOLF Died May 5, 2007
Austrain actress Gusti Wolf died at age 95. Ms. Wolf began her film career in the 1930s. She had a long and distinguished stage career. Ms. Wolf's credits include "Falstaff in Vienna," "The Little Country Court" and "The Divorcee." Ms. Wolf turned to TV work in the 1960s.
SISTER MARGUERITE MORRISSEY Died May 5, 2007
Broadway actress turned nun Sister Marguerite Morrissey died at age 86. Sister Marguerite appeared in Broadway in the play "Life With Mother" before becoming a nun in 1953. Sister Morrissey was technical advisor on Stanley Kramer's film "The Runner Stumbles." She also played a supporting role in the film.
CYNTHIA LINDSAY Died May 5, 2007
Writer Cynthia Lindsay died at age 92. Ms. Lindsay holds a close place in the hearts of horror film fans for her wonderful book "Dear Boris" a biography of Boris Karloff. Ms. Lindsay worked as a stunt double and stand in before turning to writing. She worked on such TV shows as "Bachelor Father," "An American in Paris" and "My Three Sons." She and actor Russell Gleason were the parents of producer Michael Lindsay. Michael Lindsay died last August. Mr. Gleason died in a fall in 1945.
STAN LOTHRIDGE Died May 5, 2007
Actor Stan Lothridge died of esophageal cancer at age 80. Mr. Lothridge acted in a number of TV commercials. He played a policeman in the David Lynch segment of the movie "Lumiere and Company." The film consisted of short films shot by 40 international directors using the Cinematographe invented by the Lumiere brothers.
CURTIS HARRINGTON Died May 6, 2007
Horror director Curtis Harrington died of natural causes at age 80. Mr. Harrington suffered a stroke in 2005 and had been in ill health since then. I conducted one of my first filmmaker interviews with Curtis Harrington in 2001 after watching six of his movies. I found him to be a very smart and funny man. Mr. Harrington made me wish I had a couple of weeks to spend talking to him. His memory was sharp and he had some very strong opinions. A refreshing trait in a world of thought out press releases and political correctness. His love of film began while still a teen making Avante-Garde short films and working with others such as Kenneth Anger, Anais Nin and Maya Derin. His early 16mm shorts are only available from the Filmakers Cooperative in New York.
Horror films were my first love. That is what drew me to Curtis Harrington's work. If you have not had the pleasure to discover what I called Mr. Harrington's 'elegant madness' then you are in for a treat. I do recommend having a marathon weekend of his films in order to truly appreciate his diverse talents.
Curtis Harrington's many credits include "Games" with James Caan and Katherine Ross, "The Killing Kind" with John Savage, "Who Slew Auntie Roo?" with Shelly Winters, "Ruby" with Piper Laurie and the director's personal favorite "What's the Matter With Helen?" with Shelly Winters and Debbie Reynolds. In addition to the films he directed, Mr. Harrington was the man who rediscovered the long-lost Universal horror film "The Old Dark House," which starred Boris Karloff.
Between 1968 and 1973 Curtis Harrington made some very remarkable horror films. He ran into studio interference on a couple of projects. His career took a nosedive in the late 70s and early 80s and Mr. Harrington ended up working in episodic TV. His final project was the 2002 short film "Usher" based on the Poe classic. The picture at right is of Mr. Harrington in the title role.
You can find the link to my interview with Mr. Harrington on the right side of this blog. We spent several hours talking about his entire film output. Mr. Harrington also said he was working on his autobiography. I hope that some trusted friend will have it published. In addition Mr. Harrington shared memories about knowing James Whale, Boris Karloff, Orson Welles, Gary Graver and many other screen legends. Curtis Harrington acted in Orson Welles's famous unreleased film "The Other Side of the Wind." He spoke about the attempts by the late Gary Graver to have the film released in very frank terms during our interview. Mr. Harrington was not one to pull punches. Thanks for the thrills and chills.
KAZUO KITAMURA Died May 6, 2007
Japanese actor Kazuo Kitamura died of pneumonia at age 80. Mr. Kitamura appeared in over 60 films and TV shows during his career. He had a supporting role in Akira Kurosawa's award-winning "Heaven and Hell." Mr. Kitamura appeared in the classic horror film "Kaiden." Anime fans remember Mr. Kitamura for his voice work in the "Taro the Dragon Boy." Other notable credits include "Japan's Longest Day," "Tora! Tora! Tora!," "The Sinking of Japan" and "Black Rain."
LOIS GIBSON Died May 6, 2007
Writer/story editor Lois Gibson died at age 77. Ms. Gibson wrote the story for the Spanish horror film "Crypt of the Living Dead." She was a story editor for such TV shows as "The Invaders" and "The Fugitive." Ms. Gibson was the wife of actor Henry Gibson. She was the mother of studio exec Jonathan Gibson, multi-Oscar winning visual effects supervisor Charles Gibson and writer/producer James Gibson.
MAURICE MARSAC Died May 6, 2007
Prolific character actor Maurice Marsac died at age 87, less than a month after the death of his wife Melanie. The pair were married for 55 years. The French born actor made a career as a character actor, appearing in over 150 films and TV shows. He was the waiter in the hilarious 'snails on the plate' scene with Steve Martin in "The Jerk." War movie fans may remember Mr. Marsac as the Vichy colonel in Sam Fuller's classic "The Big Red One." Ironically, Mr. Marsac was a patriot who chose to fight the Nazi evil as a member of the French Underground during WWII, rather than capitulate and join the Vichy puppets. Among the many films which Mr. Marsac appeared in are "To Have and Have Not," the original version of "The Razor's Edge," "The Caddy," "How to Marry a Millionaire," "The Black Shield of Falworth," "Lafayette Escadrille," "Gigi," "It Started With a Kiss," "Can-Can," as Nicodemus in "King of Kings," "Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory," "Captain Sinbad," "What a Way to Go," "Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion," "Monkeys, Go Home," "Double Trouble" with Elvis, "Caprice," "The Poseidon Adventure" and "Herbie Rides Again." I know I say this a lot, but it WOULD be easier to list the TV shows that Mr. Marsac did not appear in.
KANEO IKEGAMI Died May 6, 2007
Japanese screenwriter and novelist Kaneo Ikegami died 10 days shy of his 83rd birthday. Mr. Ikegami wrote the novel "47 Ronin." The 1994 film adaptation of the novel received 11 nominations from the Awards of the Japanese Academy. The film won four awards. Mr. Ikegami, director Kon Ichikawa and actor Ken Takakura were all nominated for the excellent movie. Mr. Ikegami was a frequent collaborator with director Toshiro Masuda. Mr. Masuda directed eight Ikegami screenplays including "The Shadow Hunters" and "The Endless Duel."
SERGE BUREAU Died May 6, 2007
Awarding-winning Canadian production designer Serge Bureau died of cancer at age 52. Mr. Bureau was nominated for two Genie Awards for his work on "Movements of Desire" and "Night of the Flood." He won a Jutra Award for his production design on "Set Me Free." He worked as a set dresser on the horror film "Scanners." Other credits include "Iron Eagle 2," "The Black Robe," "M. Butterfly" and "The Josephine Baker Story."
SHIRL CONWAY Died May 7, 2007
Emmy-nominated actress Shirl Conway died at age 90. Ms. Conway received an Emmy nomination for her regular role on the TV series "The Nurses." Ms. Conway was a successful Broadway actress. She won the Theater World Award for her work in the 1955 production of "Plain and Fancy." She and her husband Bill Johnson appeared together in the Broadway production of "Banjo Eyes," which starred Eddie Cantor. Ms. Conway's film and TV credits include the British comedy "Helter Skelter," "Route 66," "The Defenders" and "The Naked City."
MARK BURNS Died May 7, 2007
British actor Mark Burns died of cancer at age 71. Mr. Burns appeared in over 60 films and TV shows during his career. He won the Best Actor award at the Sitges: Catalonia International Film Festival for his performance in the horror film "House of the Living Dead." Mr. Burns co-starred in a number of noted films including "A Death in Venice," "Ludwig," "The Charge of the Light Brigade," "The Virgin and the Gypsy," "Juggernaut," "Rosebud," "The Wicked Lady" and "The Jokers." Mr. Burns also appeared in the two Joan Collins/Jackie Collins films "The Bitch" and "The Stud."
NICHOLAS WORTH Died May 7, 2007
Actor Nicholas Worth died of heart failure at age 69. The character actor was often cast as the villain. He made his debut in the Billy Graham film "For Pete's Sake" which also featured Teri Garr! Mr. Worth appeared in nearly 90 films and TV shows during his career. While he appeared in a few A-list projects such as Clint Eastwood's "City Heat" and "Heartbreak Ridge," most of his credits were in B-Movies. Mr. Worth appeared in the cult classic "Hell Comes to Frogtown." Other credits include "Don't Answer the Phone!," "Swamp Thing," "Scream Blacula, Scream," "Coma," "The Hills Have Eyes 2," "Action Jackson," "Darkman" and "Barb Wire." Mr. Worth served his country in the US Army during the Vietnam War.
ISABELLA BLOW Died May 7, 2007
Fashion icon Isabella Blow committed suicide by drinking the insecticide Paraquat. The 48-year-old woman's death was originally attributed to her recently diagnosed ovarian cancer. An autopsy revealed the true cause of death. Ms. Blow's father-in-law also committed suicide in the same manner. Her grandfather, Sir Jock Broughton committed suicide in 1942. Sir Jock was suspected of murdering his wife's lover in Africa. That famous case was the subject of the 1987 movie "White Mischief" starring Greta Scacchi and Joss Ackland as Sir Jock. Isabella Blow was director of fashion for a number of publications including "The Sunday Times" and "Vogue." She was known for her love of hats. Ms. Blow appeared in the movie "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou." She appeared as herself in the TV series "Catwalk."
ARCH WHITING Died May 7, 2007
Actor Arch Whiting died at age 70. Mr. Whiting was best known for his role as 'Sparks' on the TV series "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea." He played the part during the show's four-year run. Mr. Whiting played the lead in the TV series "Run, Joe Run." Mr. Whiting's other credits such TV shows as "Star Trek," "The Fugitive," "Garrison's Guerrillas," "Land of the Giants," "The Bold Ones" and "The F.B.I." Mr. Whiting also appeared in the TV movies "Attack on Terror: The F.B.I. vs. the Ku Klux Klan" and "The FBI Story: The FBI vs. Alvin Karpis, Public Enemy Number One." Under his real name Arch Archambault, he was a cinematographer who shot such films as "Count Yorga, Vampire," "Angels Die Hard," "Marigold Man" and "The Jekyll Hyde Portfolio."
MARIA KORDA Died May 8, 2007
What a life! Born into the midst of WWII. Holocaust survivor, refugee, novice nun, dancer, Las Vegas showgirl and actress! Maria Korda died at age 66. Maria Korda appeared in the Western "The Fastest Guitar in the West." The movie was the only starring vehicle for musician Roy Orbison. She also appeared in the then daring look at the swinging singles scenes "For Singles Only." Ms. Korda was an ardent volunteer with the Catholic Charities and at the VA Hospital in Brentwood, California.
KENN KINGSBURY Died May 9, 2007
Casting director/agent/author Kenn Kingsbury died at age 61. Mr. Kingsbury worked as an actor's rep at BSC Management. He was the author of the book "Who's Who in Country Music."
BEAU VANDENECKER Died May 9, 2007
Stuntman/actor/producer/director Beau Vandenecker died of Parkinson's Disease at age 76. Mr. Vandenecker was closely associated with the TV series "Hawaii 5-0." He acted in over 20 episodes, performed stunts, was an associate producer of 9 episodes and directed another 4 episodes. Mr. Vandenecker was an assistant stunt coordinator in the classic original version of "The Manchurian Candidate." He performed stunts in such films as "The Swinging Barmaids," "Grandview USA" and "Murphy's Law."
SETH SAKAI Died May 10, 2007
Actor Seth Sakai died of undisclosed causes just shy of his 75th birthday. Mr. Sakai appeared in over 20 episodes of the TV series "Hawaii 5-0." He often played villains. Mr. Sakai's many film and TV credits also include "Airwolf," "Magnum P.I.," "Farewell to Manzanar," "Midway," "Pearl," "War and Remembrance," "The Next Karate Kid" and "Pearl Harbor."
JO DURDEN-SMITH Died May 10, 2007
Producer/author Jo Durden-Smith died of a stroke at age 65. Mr. Durden-Smith produced three concert documentaries: "The Doors are Open," "The Stones in the Park" and "Johnny Cash in San Quentin." Each of these films were produced for the British TV network Granada. Being a Memphis guy, I love the title of Mr. Durden-Smith's film "The Burger & the King: The Life & Cuisine of Elvis Presley."
FRED BURNS Died May 11, 2007
Comedian/actor/activist Fred Burns died at age 49. Mr. Burns was born with spinal bifida. He used his disability not as a crutch, but as a tool to educate as well as entertain. He showed that a person was more defined by their will to achieve than the obstacles that could hold them back. He was the subject of the award-winning German TV documentary "Fred." He appeared in the Farrelly Brothers film "Stuck on You." Mr. Burns' TV credits include "Extreme Gong Show" and "America's Funniest People."
STANLEY HOLDEN Died May 11, 2007
British choreographer and former dancer Stanley Holden died of heart disease and colon cancer at age 79. After a successful career as a character dancer with the Royal Ballet, Mr. Holden moved to the US and took up teaching. He choreographer sequences in the film "Danse Macabre" and the Made for TV biopic "Liberace." Mr. Holden appeared as himself in the TV movie "Somebody's Daughter."
WINIFRED MANN Died May 11, 2007
Actress Winifred Mann died at age 88. Ms. Mann began acting while still in high school. Her stage career took her around the world. She appeared on Broadway in revivals of "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "Tiger at the Gates." Since the 1970s, Ms. Mann was a fixture in the Bay Area theater scene. Her credits include Michael Ritchie's films "Smile" and "The Candidate." Other film and TV "Tell Me a Riddle," "Midnight Caller" and "The Streets of San Francisco." Ms. Mann appeared in the first regular season episode of "The Streets of San Francisco."
BARBARA MAIER Died May 11, 2007
Child actress Barbara Maier died at age 90. Ms. Maier worked as a child in silent films. Her dozen credits include "The Speed Girl" with Bebe Daniels, the fourth adaptation of Isben's "A Doll's House" and "The Bachelor Daddy." Ms. Maier later worked for the FBI.
BERNARD GORDON Died May 11, 2007
Blacklisted screenwriter Bernard Gordon died of cancer at age 88. Mr. Gordon wrote most of his screenplays using fronts and fake names. Mr. Gordon has had more credits restored by the WGA than any other blacklisted screenwriter. Horror and Sci-Fi fans know Mr. Gordon for such films as "Day of the Triffids," "Horror Express," "The Zombies of Mora Tau" and Ray Harryhausen's "Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers." Mr. Gordon's other credits include the original version of "The Thin Red Line," "55 Days at Peking," "Hellcats of the Navy," "Battle of the Bulge" and the epic stinker "Krakatoa, East of Java." Mr. Gordon was one of the leaders of those who protested Elia Kazan's honorary Oscar in 1999. Elia Kazan named names in front of HUAC and was allowed to continue working in film. Kazan maintained he did what he did because he was an anti-communist and could not see losing his career in support of a system he did not believe in.
TEDDY INFUHR Died May 12, 2007
Former child actor Teddy Infuhr died at age 70. Mr. Infuhr appeared in 127 films and TV shows during his career. He usually played brats and bullies. Mr. Infuhr appeared in a number of the "Ma & Pa Kettle" films as well as several of the "Rusty" dog film series. Mr. Infuhr's appeared in such films as "Ghost of Frankenstein," "What We Are Fighting For," "The Best Years of Our Lives," "The Clock," "The Virginian," "Til the End of Time," "The Killer That Stalked New York," "The Blackboard Jungle," "And Baby Makes Three," "Madam Bovary," "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," "The Boy With Green Hair," "David and Bathsheba," "Conquest of Space," "The Cisco Kid," "The Gene Autry Show" and "The Bishop's Wife." Mr. Infuhr appeared in one of Alfred Hitchcock's most famous scenes. He played the younger brother of Gregory Peck's character as a child in "Spellbound." The death of Teddy Infuhr's character in that film turned out to be the cause of Mr. Peck's character's mental troubles. In the scene Teddy Infuhr sits at the bottom of the stairs outside his home. His older brother, played by Joel Davis slides down the slope beside the stairs, hitting Infuhr and hurling him onto the spiked fence in front of the home.
CHARLES PEMBERTON Died May 13, 2007
British actor Charles Pemberton died of cancer at age 66. Mr. Pemberton appeared in over 60 films and TV shows during his career. He was also a successful stage actor. He was best known for his one-man show "A Disagreeable Man?" Mr. Pemberton's many credits include "Dr. Who," "Callan," "Dixon of Dock Green," "Brannigan" with John Wayne and "All Creatures Great and Small."
WILLIAM W. SPENCER Died May 14, 2007
Emmy-winning cinematographer William Spencer died of natural causes at age 85. Mr. Spencer worked on numerous films and TV shows. He was closely associated with Quinn Martin Productions, having shot nearly 60 episodes of "The F.B.I." His other work for Quinn Martin included episodes of "Twelve O'clock High," "Barnaby Jones," "The Streets of San Francisco," "Panic on the 5:22," "Murder or Mercy" and the horror feature film "The Mephisto Waltz." Mr. Spencer won Emmy awards for his work on the TV series "Twelve O'clock High" and "Fame." He was nominated for a third Emmy for "Barnaby Jones." Mr. Spencer's first film as director of photography was the final Andy Hardy movie "Andy Hardy Comes Home." Mr. Spencer worked with Robert Altman on the sci-fi movie "Countdown."
YOLANDA KING Died May 15, 2007
Actress and activist Yolanda King died of undisclosed causes at age 51. Yolanda King was the eldest daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. She was only 12 years old when her father was assassinated in Memphis. She continued her father and mother's work during her lifetime. Ms. King was an actress and producer. She founded Higher Ground Productions for the purpose of positively effecting society through drama. Ms. King's first film role was as civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks in the TV mini-series about her father: "King." Ms. King's many film credits include "Hopscotch," the Malcolm X assassination film "Death of a Prophet" and "Ghosts of Mississippi."
REV. JERRY FALWELL Died May 15, 2007
The Rev. Jerry Falwell died of heart disease at age 73. Rev. Falwell will be best remembered as the founder of the Moral Majority. The conservative Christian group helped motivate and organize Christian voters into a powerful group. The Moral Majority had a large impact on the national elections of 1980 which elected Ronald Reagan as president and a republican majority in the congress. Rev. Falwell accepted Jesus Christ as his savior at age 19. Rev. Falwell was the founder of Liberty University and the Thomas Road Baptist Church. During his life, Rev. Falwell became the target of wrath for a number of groups. Like all Christians, Rev. Falwell was a human being who made mistakes and sinned. He sometimes said things that caused controversy and caused other Christians to cringe. He was also the type of man who would apologize and ask forgiveness when he say that he had erred. One thing that Rev. Falwell was always consistent about was in spreading the good news about his savior Jesus Christ. Jerry Falwell was a 'hate the sin, love the sinner' type of preacher. He followed Christ's Great Commission and reached out to all. He also spoke in a no nonsense way about what the Bible had to say about many of the moral ills facing our world.
Jerry Falwell sued porn publisher Larry Flynt for libel over a fake ad in Hustler Magazine which portrayed Rev. Falwell in a disgraceful manner. The case went all the way to the US Supreme Court where Hustler Magazine won the 1st Amendment battle. The court case was the subject of Milos Forman's movie "The People vs. Larry Flynt." Rev. Falwell was portrayed in the film by actor Richard Paul. Actor Richard Paul also portrayed Rev. Falwell in the TV movie "Fall From Grace" about Jim and Tammy Faye Baker. Rev. Falwell and Larry Flynt went from being opponents in the courts to friends in real life. Rev. Falwell and Larry Flynt would often appear together in college debates. Rev. Falwell prayed for Mr. Flynt's conversion and never wavered in his opposition to pornography.
ROBERT SULLY Died May 15, 2007
Former actor, engineer, COE and professor Robert Sully died at age 88. Mr. Sully was under contract at MGM during the mid 1940s and early 1950s. He appeared in George Pal's sci-fi classic "When Worlds Collide," "Meet Me In St. Louis" with Judy Garland," Betty Grable's "Million Dollar Legs," "A Guy Named Joe" and "The Heavenly Body" with Hedy Lamar.
ALBERTO VERSO Died May 16, 2007
Italian costume designer Alberto Verso died at age 65. Mr. Verso's many credits include "Ripley's Game," "Caligula: Sins of Rome," "Beyond the Door," "Waterloo" and "The Night Porter."
TIMOTHY O'MEARA Died May 16, 2007
Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning film editor Tim O'Meara died at age 64. Mr. O'Meara shared a Best Editing Oscar nomination with Robert Wolfe for his work on "The Rose." He won an Emmy for editing part 3 of the mini-series "The Thorn Birds." Mr. O'Meara was recognized by his peers in the Editor's Guild with Eddie nominations for the movie "Hoosiers" and the TV show "The Thorn Birds." Mr. O'Meara worked as an assistant editor on such notable films as "Blazing Saddles," "All the President's Men," "Alice Doesn't Live Here Any More" and "Malice." Among the nearly 30 films and TV shows he edited are "Big Wednesday," "Conan the Barbarian," "The Last Starfighter," "Flashback," "My Science Project" and "Blind Justice."
THEODORE GERSHUNY Died May 16, 2007
Exploitation director Theodore Gershuny died at age 73. Mr. Gershuny directed the Lloyd Kaufman produced soft-core thriller "Sugar Cookies." Other credits include "Silent Night, Bloody Night" and "Kemek." Mr. Gershuny played a small role in the Otto Preminger stinker "Rosebud." He wrote the book "Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture" about his experiences on the PReminger film. Mr. Gershuny was once married to actress Mary Woronov.
TATYANA LAVROVA Died May 17, 2007
Award-winning Russian actress Tatyana Lavrova two weeks after having suffered a heart attack at age 69. Ms. Lavrova received Russia's highest film award, the Nika Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the 2002 film "Cinema About Cinema." The Russian Guild of Film Critics also gave her a Best Supporting Actress Award for her work in that film. Ms. Lavrove began her successful career as both a stage and film actress in the late 1950s. Her credits include "Nine Days One Year" and a 1971 Russian TV adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's "All the King's Men."
LLOYD ALEXANDER Died May 17, 2007
Author Lloyd Alexander died of cancer at age 83. Mr. Alexander was best known for his fantasy works. He won the National Book Award for "The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian." Mr. Alexander wrote three book series. The Disney film "The Black Cauldron" was based on the second of six books in the Chronicles of Prydain series.
TOKI SHIOZAWA Died May 17, 2007
Japanese actress Toki Shiozawa died of stomach cancer at age 79. Ms. Shiozawa was a familiar face in Japan, having appeared in almost 100 films during her 40 year career. She appeared in Akira Kurosawa's "Dodes'ka-den." Monster movie fans may recognize her from the "Godzilla" movie "Monster Zero." Ms. Shizawa worked with Hitoshi Ueki and The Crazy Cats in nine films including "Las Vegas Free For All."
ROBERT A. JOHNSON Died May 18, 2007
Stage technician RA Johnson died at age 62. Mr. Johnson was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local #16. He was a stage technician of George Lucas's company ILM. Mr. Johnson worked on "Return of the Jedi" and "The Hunt for Red October" among other films.
CARL WRIGHT Died May 19, 2007
Chicago actor Carl Wright died of cancer at age 75. Mr. Wright was a professional tap dancer from age 16 on. He appeared in such films as "Barbershop," "Barbershop 2," "Soul Food," "The Cookout," "When Thugs Cry" and "Big Momma's House."
BEN WEISMAN Died May 20, 2007
Song-writer Ben Weisman died of Alzheimer's Disease at age 85. Mr. Weisman wrote over 50 songs for Elvis Presley. His many songs appeared on the soundtracks of 18 films starring Elvis. Non-Elvis film credits include "Punch Drunk Love" and "Dark City." Mr. Weisman also composed music for the Herman's Hermits movie "Hold On!"
SLIM DE GREY Died May 20, 2007
Australian actor Slim de Grey died of heart disease at age 88. Mr. de Grey appeared in nearly 40 films and TV shows during his career. His credits include the hit Australian TV series "Skippy the Bush Kangaroo," "Riptide," "The Age of Consent" (best known for then 24-year-old Helen Mirren's nude scenes), "Changi," "Dead Sleep" and "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles."
GEORGE AMINEL Died May 20, 2007
French actor George Aminel died at age 84. Mr. Aminel was one of the first Black actors to find success on stage and screen in France. He was also a noted voice actor. He provided the "French voice" for such American actors as Orson Welles and Yul Bryner when their films were released in France. Mr. Aminel's many credits include "That Man From Rio," "Is Paris Burning?," "The Little Rebels," "Tarzoon: Shame of the Jungle" and "Mama Dracula."
WOLFGANG GASSER Died May 20, 2007
Austrian actor Wolfgang Gasser died just shy of his 80th birthday. Mr. Gasser enjoyed success on both stage and screen. He was honored with the Austrian Cross for Arts and Science. Mr. Gasser's many credits include "Everyman," "3 November, 1918" and "Time Troopers."
RON PRESSON Died May 20, 2007
Actor Ron Presson died just shy of his 70th birthday. Mr. Presson was the father of actor Jason Presson. The elder Mr. Presson had a small role in "The Stone Boy" which starred his son and Robert Duvall. Ron Presson's other credits include "Wisdom," "Touch and Go" and "Uninvited."
BRUNO MATTEI Died May 21, 2007
Italian schlockmeister Bruno Mattei died at age 75 after falling into a coma. Mr. Mattei wrote/produced/edited and directed around 50 exploitation films during his career. He had nearly as many pseudonyms as he had film credits. Most of his credits were either horror films or erotica. Bruno Mattei directed many grade-Z sequels. His films were populated by zombies, cannibals, Nazis and women in prison. His many credits include "Cannibal Ferox 3," "Zombi 3" (replacing Lucio Fulci) "Zombi 5," "Porno Holocaust," "SS Girls" and "SS Extermination Love Camp."
BUD MOLIN Died May 21, 2007
Film editor Bud Molin died a few days shy of his 82nd birthday. Mr. Molin was nominated for two Eddie Awards by his peers at the American Cinema Editors for his work on the TV series "I Spy." Mr. Molin cut over 40 films and TV shows. He was a frequent collaborator with director Carl Reiner. The pair worked on nearly 20 projects together including "The Jerk," the very twisted "Where's Poppa?," "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," "The Man With Two Brains," "Summer Rental," "Summer School" and "Oh God!" Mr. Molin's many credits include "Viva Max!," "Halls of Anger," "How Sweet It Is!," "The Man With One Red Shoe" and "Up the Academy."
JULIAN DZIEDZINA Died May 21, 2007
Polish director Julian Dziedzina died at age 77. Mr. Dziedzina wrote and directed a number of films from the late 1950s through the early 1970s. His credits include "End of the Night," "The Holy War" and "The Little One."
GORDON HOWARD Died May 22, 2007
Actor Gordon Howard died at age 87. Mr. Howard appeared in films in the US and Germany. He skated in the "Ice Capades" with Sonja Henie. Mr. Howard's film credits include "The Devil Makes Three" with Gene Kelly, "Adventure in Berlin," "They Were So Young" and "Battle Stations." Mr. Howard served his country in the US Army during WWII.
ART STEVENS Died May 22, 2007
Disney animator Art Stevens died at age 92. Mr. Stevens worked as an animator for Disney for 45 years. He was an assistant to John Lounsbery, one of Disney's 'Nine Old Men.' Mr. Stevens directed the Disney features "The Rescuers" and "The Fox and the Hound." He was also a producer on "The Fox and the Hound." Mr. Stevens' animator credits include "Peter Pan," "101 Dalmatians," "Robin Hood," "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" and "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day."
KEI KUMAI Died May 23, 2007
Award-winning director Kei Kumai died of a brain hemorrhage at age 77. Mr. Kumai wrote and directed a number of films based on true-life events. His work was honored with awards in Japan and around the world. He was either nominated or received awards at many international film festivals including Montreal, Moscow, Venice, San Sebastian and Berlin. Mr. Kumai's films dealt with such topics as the forced prostitution of Japanese women in Borneo, the vivisection of US POWs during WWII and a 1948 mass murder. Mr. Kumai's many credits include "Tunnel to the Sun," "The Long Darkness," "Brothel #8" and "Darkness in the Light." His last film, "The Sea is Watching" was written by the late Akira Kurosawa.
CHARLES NELSON REILLY Died May 25, 2007
Tony-winning actor Charles Nelson Reilly died of complications of pneumonia at age 76. Mr. Reilly was one of the first television actors to not hide the fact they were gay. He may be best remembered by TV audiences for his work on the game show "Match Game." He was also a frequent guest on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson," appearing nearly 100 times. Mr. Reilly had a regular recurring role in the Hope Lange TV series "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir." Charles Nelson Reilly was nominated four times for Tony Awards. He won a Best Featured Actor Tony award for the 1962 production of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." He was nominated for a second Best Featured Actor award for the 1964 production of "Hello, Dolly!" Mr. Reilly was also nominated a Best Direction Tony for "The Gin Game." His final nomination was for the Drama Desk Award for Best Solo Performance in "Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly."
LEE FROST Died May 25, 2007
Exploitation director Lee Frost died at age 71. No cause of death was given. Lee Frost directed a number of nudie and exploitation films during the 1960s. He helmmed several Drive-In classics during the 1970s. My favorite Frost film was "The Thing With Two Heads" starring Ray Milland and Rosie Grier (see picture). Milland played a rich racist who cheats death by having his head grafted onto another body. There are two problems with this, from Milland's POV: the body is a Black man and the body still has the original owner's head attached. It is a camp classic with lots of memorable dialogue. Mr. Frost's resume includes the biker classic "Chrome and Hot Leather," "A Night on Bare Mountain," the sexy "Policewoman" and "Dixie Dynamite." Mr. Frost also wrote the Drive-In horror/action thriller "Race With the Devil."
EVE SHELLEY Died May 25, 2007
Former British actress Eve Shelley (real name Marjorie Edwards) died at age 93. Ms. Shelley appeared in the films "Tea Leaves in the Wind" and the 1941 version of "Tilly of Bloomsbury." She also appeared in one of the earliest TV productions: the 1938 BBC production "Doctor: My Book." Ms. Shelley married US Army officer Ralph Edwards and emigrated to the US after WWII. She was made a member of the Most Nobel Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1985 for her many charitable works.
LAURIE BARTRAM Died May 25, 2007
Former actress Laurie Bartram died of cancer at age 49. Ms. Bartram appeared in the horror films "Friday the 13th" and "The House of Seven Corpses." She also appeared in episodic TV and soap operas. Ms. Bartram retired from acting and attended Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. She and her husband Greg McCauley were married by Rev. Falwell. Ms. Bartram devoted her life to her God and her family.
BONNA HAYS Died May 25, 2007
Actress and teacher Bonna Hays died at age 71. Ms. Hays worked on stage in New York, North Carolina and Nebraska. She appeared in the Soap Operas "The Doctors," "The Edge of Night" and "As the World Turns." Ms. Hays was the first woman director at the Lincoln Community Theater in Lincoln Nebraska. Ms. Hays shared her craft with students as a teacher in Nebraska.
DICK HARVEY Died May 25, 2007
Canadian cinematographer Dick Harvey died at age 77. Mr. Harvey loved the outdoors. That love lead to two different careers. He worked for the Department of Fisheries in Canada as well as being a documentary cinematographer. Mr. Harvey shot the award-winning film "Living River." He also shot the film "New Channels for Sockeye." Mr. Harvey also provided stock footage to the BBC, CBC, Discovery Channel and the National Film Board of Canada.
ERIC ALGREN Died May 25, 2007
Special effects wiz Eric Algren died of undisclosed causes at age 32. Mr. Algren worked as an animator on Disney's "Dinosaurs." Mr. Algren worked and became a Senior Inferno Artist. His artistry heated up such films as "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," "X-Men 3," the remake of "The Fog" and "300." Some of Mr. Algren's earlier credits include "Titanic," "Armageddon" and "The Fifth Element." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
GEORGE GREELEY Died May 26, 2007
Composer George Greeley died of emphysema at age 89. Mr. Greeley composed the theme song to the TV series "My Favorite Martian." He also worked on such TV shows as "The Buster Keaton Show," "My Living Doll," "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" and "Small Wonder." Mr. Greeley was a studio musician and composer at Columbia and contributed music to hundreds of soundtracks.
HARRY FRAZIER Died May 26, 2007
Actor Harry Frazier died of complications from diabetes at age 77. Mr. Frazier was a stage and screen actor who got typecast in Santa Claus roles. He played the jolly old elf, or variations on the part in half a dozen movies and TV shows. Mr. Frazier was one of the ten charter members of the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas. Mr. Frazier was a Shakespearian actor known for the role of Falstaff. Mr. Frazier's film and TV credits include Robert Altman's "Macabe and Mrs. Miller," "Eat My Dust," Steve McQueen's interesting misfire "An Enemy of the People," "The Big Bus" and "Deep Cover."
PHYLLIS FLAX Died May 26, 2007
Actress and dancer Phyllis Flax died of cancer at age 85. Ms. Flax was a child actress in England. She was a resident dancer at the London Palladium during the 1930s. She served her country as an ambulance driver and Red Cross volunteer during WWII. Ms. Flax moved to the US following the war. After raising a family, Ms. Flax resumed her acting career. Her credits include "Newhart," "The Wonder Years," "Dallas," "NYPD Blue," "Wonder Woman" and "ER."
EDWARD BEHR Died May 27, 2007
British journalist and screenwriter Edward Behr died at age 81. Mr. Behr wrote the Sigorney Weaver thriller "Half Moon Street." He was series consultant on the documentary series "Prohibition: Thirteen Years That Changed America." Mr. Behr appeared as himself in Otto Preminger's misfire "Rosebud."
GRETCHEN WYLER Died May 27, 2007
Actress Gretchen Wyler died of breast cancer at age 75. Ms. Wyler enjoyed 50 years of success on Broadway as well as steady work in film and TV. She became a leading animal right's activist and was the first female board member of the ASPCA. Ms. Wyler's Broadway credits include "Guys and Dolls," "Bye, Bye Birdie" and "Silk Stockings." Ms. Wyler was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Best Actress for her work opposite George C. Scott in the 1977 production of "Sly Fox." She appeared in over 50 films and TV shows during her career. Ms. Wyler had a recurring role in the 1981-82 season of "Dallas." Other credits include Disney's "Pollyanna," "Remington Steele," "MacGyver," "St. Elsewhere," "Private Benjamin," "Charlie's Angels" and "The Phil Silvers Show."
LEONORA RUFFO Died May 28, 2007
Italian actress Leonora Ruffo died at age 72. Ms. Ruffo co-starred in Fellini's "I Vitelloni." She appeared in 20 films during her career. Ms. Ruffo's credits include "Woman on Fire," Mario Bava's "Hercules in the Haunted World," "Goliath and the Vampires" with Gordon Scott, "Goliath and the Dragon" and in the title role as "The Queen of Sheba."
PATRICK HARE Died May 28, 2007
Actor/casting director Patrick Hare died of undisclosed causes at age 28. Mr. Hare appeared in the indie films "The Adventures of Buster Smith" and "For the Best." Mr. Hare was the founder of the non-union casting agency "In the Loop." His company specialized in casting non-union acting roles for TV commercials and music videos. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
NORMAN KAYE Died May 29, 2007
Award-winning Australian actor Norman Kaye died of Alzheimer's Disease at age 80. Mr. Kaye was nominated for two Best Actor Awards by the Australian Film Institute. He won one AFI for his work in the 1983 film "A Man of Flowers." His second nomination was for the film "Lonely Hearts." Both films were directed by Paul Cox. Mr. Kaye appeared in 17 films directed by Paul Cox. In 2006, Paul Cox released a documentary about his long time collaborator "The Amazing Mr. Kaye." Norman Kaye appeared in over 70 films and TV shows. He appeared on the popular cop TV series "Rip Tide." Mr. Kaye played Nicole Kidman's doctor in the film "Moulin Rouge."
ORLANDO ORTEGA Died May 29, 2007
Actor/producer Orlando Ortega was murdered during a robbery. The 31-year-old actor was killed by two robbers. The police are still looking for the suspects. Anyone in the Whittier area of Los Angeles with any information about the killing should call Detective Jeffrey Leslie at (323) 890-5586 or Detective Eddie Brown at (323) 890-5636. Orlando Ortega produced and starred in the comedy short "Speed Dating 101." Mr. Ortega's credits include "CSI: Miami," "Strong Medicine" and "GI Jesus." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
MARK HARRIS Died May 30, 2007
Author and teacher Mark Harris died of Alzheimer's Disease at age 84. The Guy Rules say that it is OK for guys to cry in certain types of movies. If a movie deals with a sports figure who is sick, guys may cry. No over the top blubbering, but manly tears that can be easily absorbed in the cuff of your sleeve are OK. Writer Mark Harris wrote four novels about the fictional baseball team the New York Mammoths. His second book in the series became one of the all-time greatest Guy Films. "Bang the Drum Slowly" starred Robert Di Niro as Bruce Pearson, a hick catcher from Texas who learns he is dying. Michael Moriarty co-stars as Henry Wiggen (the main character in all four novels), the Mammoths' star pitcher, and Pearson's only friend. Lots of valuable lessons to be learned from this movie. One of those lessons is never play TEGWAR. The book was also the subject of a live TV production in 1956 with Albert Salmi and Paul Newman in the roles later played by Di Niro and Moriarty. Mr. Harris also wrote scripts for the TV productions "Boswell for the Defense" and "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg." Mr. Harris taught English at ASU before his retirement.
NICK RAMUS Died May 30, 2007
Native American actor Nick Ramous died. His age was not given. Mr.Ramus starred in the 1980 film "Windwalker," which was famous for being the first native language film produced. The film is presented in the Cheyenne and Crow languages with subtitles! Trevor Howard co-starred. Mr. Ramus appeared in numerous films and TV shows including "I Will Fight No More Forever," "The Apple Dumpling Gang," "The Quest," "Little House on the Prairie," "The Legend of Walks Far Woman," "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home," "Invasion USA," "Centennial," "Northern Exposure," "Walker, Texas Ranger," "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" and "MacGyver."
JEAN-CLAUDE BRIALY Died May 30, 2007
Award-winning French actor Jean-Claude Brialy died of cancer at age 74. Mr. Brialy appeared in over 170 films during his career. He was part of the New Wave movement during the late 1950s and early 1960s. His breakthrough performance came in Claude Charbrol's 1958 film "Handsome Serge." Among his many film credits are some of the most important films of the era. Mr. Brialy's many credits include Eric Rohmer's "Claire's Knee," Philippe de Broca's "The King of Hearts," Roger Vadim's "La Ronde," Agnes Varda's "Cleo From 5 to 7," Francois Truffaut's "The 400 Blows," Claude Charbrol's "Les Cousins," "Catherine & Co.," Roberto Benigni's "The Monster" and Jean-Luc Godard's "A Woman is a Woman." Mr. Brialy was nominated for two Cesar Awards as Best Supporting Actor for "The Judge and the Assassin" and "The Innocents." He won for "The Innocents."
BILL WHITMAN Died May 30, 2007
Surfer, horticulturist and surf board inventor Bill Whitman died at age 92. Mr. Whitman wanted to share the beauty of the ocean with his friends and family. He invented an underwater camera to film his scuba trips. Mr. Whitman sold the footage to producer Irwin Allen who fashioned the movie "The Sea Around Us" around the Whitman footage. Irwin Allen won the 1952 Best Documentary Feature Film Oscar for the movie. Bill Whitman's photography was the reason the film won. Bill Whitman was one of the world's most knowledgeable experts on exotic fruit.
DON GRANBERRY Died May 31, 2007
First assistant director and actor Don Granberry died. His age was not given. Mr. Granberry appeared in a number of films including "The Groundstar Conspiracy," "Star 80" and "Mrs Soffel." Mr. Granberry worked as an AD on 20 films including Michael Crichton's "Physical Evidence."
MILTON CLARK JR. Died May 31, 2007
Actor Milton Clark Jr. died of a heart attack at age 48. Mr. Clark appeared in the films "Hairspray," "The Prince of Tides" and "Younger and Younger."