RENATO POLSELLI Died Oct. 1, 2006
Italian horror master Renato Polselli died at age 84. Mr. Polsetti was a contemporary of Mario Bava. He directed s number of memorable Italian horror films during the early 1960s. During the 1970s and 80s, he adopted the nom de plume Ralph Brown and directed a group of sex-laced gore films more on par with the work of Jesus Franco. His Ralph Brown work has quite a cult following. Mr. Polsetti’s early work includes the first Italian horror film to begin production during the worldwide horror film revival begun in the late 1950s. "The Vampire and the Ballerina" was released in 1960. His 1963 follow-up "The Vampire of the Opera" did not enjoy the success of the earlier film and has been rarely seen. Mr. Roselli also directed several dramas and the Spaghetti Western "Sheriff Won’t Shoot." The Western starred Mickey Hargitay. The late actor worked with the director on two of his Ralph Brown horror films: "Delirium" and "The Reincarnation of Isabel." Other films from his Ralph Brown period include "The Truth According to Satan," the XXX-rated "Revelations of a Psychiatrist in a World of Perverse Sex," "Mania" and "Oscenita."
LEONARD SALAZAR Died Oct. 1, 2006
Actor/teacher Leonard Salazar died of a heart attack at age 44. Mr. Salazar worked on stage and in film. He had a supporting role in Hugh Hudson’s "Lost Angels." Mr. Salazar studied acting under Stella Adler student Ron Burrus. Beginning in 1997, Mr. Salazar began to teacher for the Ron Burrus studio.
FRANK BEYER Died Oct. 1, 2005
East German director Frank Beyer died of undisclosed causes at age 74. Mr. Beyer directed the Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee "Jacob, the Liar." The film was set in the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII. Though his script was originally rejected by the state run DEFA film studio, Mr. Beyer eventually prevailed. The movie was the only film produced in communist East Germany to be nominated for an Oscar. Mr. Beyer dealt with Germany’s Nazi past in several films. He directed 30 films during his career. After the reunification of Germany, Mr. Beyer’s work was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the German Film Awards.
ALAN CAILLOU Died Oct. 1, 2006
British born actor and writer Alan Caillou died at age 92. The prolific actor and writer appeared in over 60 films and TV shows. Mr. Caillou also wrote scripts for over 20 feature films and TV shows. Among his acting credits are roles in "Journey to the Center of the Earth," "Five Weeks in a Balloon," "The List of Adrian Messenger," "Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion," "The Devil’s Brigade," "Hellfighters," "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask," "Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo," "Dixie Dynamite" and "The Ice Pirates." Mr. Caillou wrote the screenplays for such films as "Evel Knievel," "Kingdom of the Spiders," "Village of the Giants" and "Rampage." Mr. Caillou wrote a number of scripts for the TV series "The Rat Patrol." He also appeared in an episode. He also wrote scripts for such TV shows as "Thriller," "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.," "Flipper," "It Takes a Thief" and "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea." Mr. Caillou served his country as an officer in the British Army during WWII.
FRANCES BERGEN Died Oct. 2, 2006
Actress Frances Bergen died at age 84 after a lengthy illness. She was the mother of actress Candice Bergen and the widow of actor/ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. Ms. Bergen appeared with her daughter in the films "Rich and Famous" and "Hollywood Wives" as well as her daughter’s TV series "Murphy Brown." Mrs. Bergen appeared with her husband in the TV shows "The Jack Benny Program," "The Edgar Bergen Show," "The Dick Powell Show" and "Dinah!" Mrs. Bergen’s film credits include the original version of "Titanic," "Her Twelve Men," "Interlude," "American Gigolo," "The Sting II," "The Star Chamber," "The Muppets Take Manhattan," "The Morning After" and "Made in America."
TAMARA DOBSON Died Oct. 2, 2006
Actress Tamara Dobson died of complications of pneumonia and multiple sclerosis at age 59. Tamara Dobson was the FIRST female heroine of the Blaxploitation film craze. Before "Foxy Brown" and the rest was "Cleopatra Jones." The 6 foot 2 beauty played a karate kicking badass Federal Drug Agent. Her groundbreaking film set the stage for many imitators to follow. While Pam Grier’s film career may have eclipsed Ms. Dobson’s, Tamara Dobson was the first. The 1973 film spawned one sequel: "Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold." Ms. Dobson was a successful fashion model when she turned to acting in the early 1970s. Her film debut was in the Burt Reynolds police/comedy "Fuzz." Other credits include "Come Back, Charleston Blue," "Norman…Is That You?" and the women in prison exploiter "Chained Heat." Ms. Dobson also made a few TV appearances in such shows as "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" and "Amazons."
PATRICE HOLLOWAY Died Oct. 2, 2006
Composer and singer Patrice Holloway died of a heart attack at age 58. Ms. Holloway provided the singing voice of the cartoon character Valerie in animated series "Josie and the Pussycats." Ms. Holloway and her sister Brenda co-wrote the "Blood, Sweat & Tears" hit "You Make Me So Very Happy."
LOUIS FELDSTEIN Died Oct. 3, 2005
Publicist Louis Feldman died of cancer and multiple sclerosis at age 80. Mr. Feldstein worked publicity for ABC-TV. During his career, Mr. Feldstein did PR work for such shows as "That Girl," "Bewitched," "The Partridge Family," "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" and "The F.B.I." Mr. Feldstein served his country as a fighter pilot in the US Army-Air Corps during WWII.
PETER NORMAN Died Oct. 3, 2006
Australian Olympic Silver Medal winner Peter Norman died of a heart attack at age 64. Mr. Norman won the Silver Medal for the 200 Meters Race at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Mr. Norman was a part of history beyond his Olympic Medal. He stood on the Medal podium with US sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos as they bowed their heads and clenched their fists in the air in protest of the lack of civil rights afforded Black Americans. Mr. Norman wore a patch for human rights in support of the US athletes. Mr. Norman appeared as himself in the award-winning documentary "Fists of Freedom: The Story of the ’68 Summer Games." Archived footage of the famous event was used in such films as "Hendrix" and Spike Lee’s "Malcolm X."
JIM WOODSON Died Oct. 3, 2006
Assistant editor and script-writing coach Jim Woodson died at age 52. Mr. Woodson worked on the movies "Honey I Shrunk the Kids," "Dracula’s Widow" and "Slow Burn." Mr. Woodson was a script consultant at Jim Truby’s Writer’ Studio.
JANE REILLY Died Oct. 3, 2006
Actress and teacher Jane Reilly died of breast cancer at age 68. Ms. Reilly performed on stage. She passed her craft on to others as a college professor on Ontario California. Ms. Reilly co-starred in the 1966 film version of James Joyce’s difficult novel "Finnegan’s Wake."
ELMER HUI Died Oct. 3, 2006
Special effects technician Elmer Hui died just shy of his 71st birthday. Mr. Hui worked on such films as "Jaws 3D," "Christine," "Big Top Peewee," "Lethal Weapon," "Bettle Juice," "Batman Returns," "The River Wild" and "Species." Mr. Hui was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local #44.
GENE JANSON Died Oct. 4, 2006
Chicago actor Gene Janson died of a heart attack on stage during a performance of the play "The Best Man." Though he worked primarily on stage, Mr. Janson appeared in a number of films. He was a member of the Country & Western band The Good Ole Boys in "The Blues Brothers." Other film credits include "Blink," "While You Were Sleeping," "My Best Friend’s Wedding," "The Road to Perdition" and "The Kill Reflex."
TOM BELL Died Oct. 4, 2006
BAFTA-nominated actor Tom Bell died at age 73. Mr. Bell was twice nominated for the Best Actor TV BAFTA. Once was for his role in the great TV series "Prime Suspect." He played opposite Helen Mirren as a sexist cop who didn’t like taking orders from or working with a woman. Mr. Bell’s second BAFTA nomination was for the TV series "Out." Mr. Bell’s career began on stage in the late 1940s. He was a prolific character actor appearing in nearly 100 films and TV shows. Mr. Bell played Adolph Eichman in the landmark mini-series "Holocaust." I enjoyed his supporting role in the excellent gangster biopic "The Krays." His many film credits include "The L-Shaped Room," "Damn the Defiant," "Sands of Beersheba," "Lock Up Your Daughters!," "Royal Flash," "Wish You Were Here" and "Prospero’s Books."
HAL LYNCH Died Oct. 5, 2006
Prolific stage, film and TV actor Hal Lynch committed suicide at age 79. Mr. Lynch appeared on Broadway as a singer in "Spoon River Anthology." He appeared in numerous films and TV shows including Blake Edwards’ "Wild Rovers," the remake of "Stagecoach," "Attack on Terror: The F.B.I. vs. the Ku Klux Klan," "The F.B.I.," "Star Trek," "The Wild, Wild West," "Gunsmoke," "The Big Valley," "The Mod Squad," "Mayberry R.F.D.," "Mannix" and "Emergency."
JENNIFER MOSS Died Oct. 5, 2006
British actress Jennifer Moss died at age 61. Ms. Moss played Lucille Hewitt in the long-running TV series "Coronation Street" for 14 years. She appeared in the 1963 Rock and Roll movie "Live It Up." Ms. Moss’ career ended in the 1970s due to alcohol problems.
MICHAEL JACOT Died Oct. 5, 2006
Writer/director Michael Jacot died of a heart attack at age 82. Mr. Jacot wrote the novel "The Last Butterfly." It was turned into a1997 film starring Tom Courtney. Mr. Jacot directed over 100 documentaries for Canadian TV. During WWII, Mr. Jacot was a codebreaker for British Intelligence.
CHARLES MESHACK Died Oct. 5, 2006
Actor Charles Meshack died at age 61. Mr. Meshack appeared in such films and TV shows as "The Bob Newhart Show," "Child’s Play 2," "1st and 10," "Action Jackson," "Commando," "Hunter," "The Forbidden Dance" and "CIA Code Name: Alexa." Mr. Meshack served his country in the US Marines during the Vietnam War.
VINCENETTA GUNN Died Oct. 5, 2006
Actress Vincenette Gunn died of lymphoma at age 62. Ms. Gunn appeared in "Copycat," "Little Nicky" and "Sex and the City."
EDUARDO MIGNOGNA Died Oct. 6, 2006
Award-winning Argentine director/novelist Eduardo Mignogna died at age 66. Mr. Mignogna won two Goya Awards for directing "The Lighthouse" and "The Escape." The Goya is Spain’s equivalent. His films also won awards at a number of international film festivals.
SEAN FAGAN Died Oct. 6, 2006
Writer Sean Fagan died of liver failure at age 40. Mr. Fagan wrote scripts for the TV series "Friday the 13th" as well as the Tibor Takacs horror film "The Gate." Mr. Fagan was best known as one of the top web designers in the US. He also created the Dark Horse comic book "Floaters." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
HEINZ SIELMANN Died Oct. 6, 2006
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Heinz Sielmann died in his sleep at age 89. Mr. Sielmann was a world-renowned environmentalist. His documentary films for the theaters and TV are among the most popular of type ever filmed. His best known titles are the 1974 film "Vanishing Wilderness" narrated by Rex Allen and the 1962 film "Galapagos: Dream Island in the Pacific." He also directed several documentaries for the "National Geographic Specials" TV series. Mr. Sielmann won numerous awards for his films including two Bambi Awards.
SALLY MALONEY Died Oct. 7, 2006
Author and actress Susan Maloney has died. Ms. Maloney wrote the book "Not Without Feeling." The Alabama native appeared in the TV "The End of August," which was filmed in Mobile.
KEITH COTTON Died Oct. 7, 2006
Production accountant Keith Cotton died of undisclosed causes at age 48. Mr. Cotton worked for ABC Entertainment, Mark Burnett Productions and also as a free lance production accountant. His credits include a number of films and TV shows including "Dante’s Peak."
NORMAN GOLLIN Died Oct. 8, 2006
Graphic designer and filmmaker Norm Gollin died at age 87. Mr. Gollin was a respected graphic designer in Los Angeles. He wrote and directed the short films "Apple" and "Wheeler Dealer." Mr. Gollin served his country in the US Army during WWII.
COCCINELLE Died Oct. 9, 2006
Transexual entertainer Coccinelle at age 75, Born Jacques-Charles Dufresnoy, Coccinelle underwent a sex-change operation in 1958. She was officially recognized by her native France as a woman. Coccinelle appeared in a number of films and documentaries including "European Nights," "Beach Casanova" and "Flash 11."
DANIELE HUILLET Died Oct. 9, 2006
Award-winning actress and filmmaker Daniele Huillet died of cancer at age 70. Ms. Huillet and husband Jean-Marie Straub co-wrote/produced and directed over 20 films. Their work was recognized at a number of international film festivals. Among their many credits are "The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach," "Aaron and Moses" and "Sicily!"
TERENCE SOALL Died Oct. 10, 2006
British actor Terence Soall died at age 86. Mr. Soall enjoyed success on stage as well as in film and TV. His TV credits include "Dixon of Dock Green," "Our Miss Pemberton," "The Avengers" and "Z Cars." Mr. Soall’s many film credits include "Theater of Death," "Georgy Girl," "Venom" and "Orlando."
JERRY BELSON Died Oct. 10, 2006
Emmy-winning writer Jerry Belson died of cancer at age 68. Mr. Belson was nominated sixteen times for Emmy Awards. He won twice for "The Tracey Ullman Show" and "Tracey Takes On." One of my favorite comedy films is the Made for TV Western "Evil Roy Slade." Jerry Belson wrote it. Michael Ritchie’s beauty pageant film "Smile" is a serious comedy that stays with you despite the fluff subject matter. Jerry Belson wrote it. The original version of "Fun With Dick and Jane" was a crowd-pleaser that still hold up today. Jerry Belson wrote that too. Steven Spielberg called on Mr. Belson for help with "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Mr. Belson later wrote the script for Spielbergs excellent romance film "Always." Mr. Belson was the early writing partner of Garry Marshall. Mr. Belson’s many credits include "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.," "I Spy!," "Love American Style," "The Odd Couple," the Burt Reynolds directed comedy "The End" and "Smokey and the Bandit 2."
JUDY BATULA Died Oct. 10, 2006
Production coordinator Judy Batula died the day after her 50th birthday. Ms. Batula worked on director Connie Stevens award-winning documentary "A Healing: Women of Vietnam." The documentary dealt with several nurses who served during the Vietnam War. Ms. Batula is pictured with ex-husband Tony Batula, one of "The Lettermen."
JACQUES STERNBERG Died Oct. 11, 2006
Science-fiction and fantasy writer Jacques Sternberg died of lung cancer at age 83. Mr. Sternberg wrote the script for the 1968 film "Je T’aime, Je T’aime." Mr. Sternberg also contributed to several short films. He appeared as himself in the documentary "Alain Resnais, Discreet Revolutionary."
GILLO PONTECORVO Died Oct. 12, 2006
Oscar-nominated director Gillo Pontecorvo died at age 86. Mr. Pontecorvo was nominated for Best Director and Best Screenplay Oscars for the 1966 film "The Battle of Algiers." The controversial film dealt with the Algerian revolution to gain independence from France. The first time I saw "The Battle of Algiers" I thought it was a documentary. The film is an even-handed examination of the bloody revolt. It is an amazing film. Mr. Pontecorvo also wrote and directed excellent "Burn!" "Burn!" also dealt with colonial imperialism. Marlon Brando gave one of his best performances as the amoral and evil Sir. William Walker. Lots of back-stabbing for profit. Gillo Pontecorvo’s work garnered him a number of awards including two David di DonDonatello’s.
MICHAEL NOEL Died Oct. 12, 2006
Actor turned businessman Michael Noel died of pneumonia and sepsis at age 52. Mr. Noel’s film and TV credits include John Waters’ "Cecil B. Demented," "Dave," "The Day Lincoln Was Shot" and the TV series "The Wire" and "Homicide: Life on the Street."
GUDRUN MCCLEARY Died Oct. 12, 2006
Ballet dancer, championship swimmer, former actress and socialite Gudrun McCleary died of complications from surgery at age 80. The Swedish born beauty was the widow of USAF Col. John Pershing McCleary. She played William Holden’s wife in the 1974 film "Open Season."
PAMELA LAVAF Died Oct. 12, 2006
Assistant director Pamela Lavaf died of undisclosed causes at age 54. Ms. Lavaf was the daughter of Emmy-winning producer Bob Finkel (Elvis Presley’s 68 Comeback Performance). She was the sister of Emmy-winning director Peter Baldwin (The Wonder Years) and assistant director Terry Baldwin. Ms. Lavaf’s credits include the award-winning short film "Shade" as well as the TV series "Full House" and "Grace Under Fire."
FREDDY FENDER Died Oct. 14, 2005
Multi-Grammy award winning singer Freddy Fender died of lung cancer at age 69. I was never much of a country music fan. Strange for a guy from the South. Freddy Fender is on my short list with Johnny Cash and David Allen Coe of Country performers I enjoy. I was dragged to a Freddy Fender show when I lived in Las Vegas during the 1980s. Expecting to be bored, I found that I was hooked on the Tex-Mex flavor. I dodn’t know much about Freddy Fender’s life until he died. It would make a great movie. Maybe something Clint Eastwood could sink his directorial teeth into. A great second act success story. Freddy Fender scored two Number 1 songs in 1975: "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" and "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights." His music was used on the soundtracks of such films as "Fire in the Sky," "The King" and "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada." Freddy Fender sang Ry Cooder’s theme song in the Jack Nicholson/Harvey Kietel thriller "The Border." He acted in several films including "The Milagro Beanfield War," "Short Eyes" and "Mi Amigo."
HERBERT LEONARD Died Oct. 14, 2006
Producer and production manager Bert Leonard died of cancer at age 84. Mr. Leonard was the executive producer on two of the best TV series in history. "The Naked City" and "Route 66" were innovative TV series that pushed the envelope of what the medium could accomplish. Both TV shows were critical and popular hits in the early 1960s. Each was filmed on location. Mr. Leonard also was the executive producer on the hit 1950s TV series "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin." Other producer credits include the TV series "Circus Boy" starring future Monkee drummer Micky Dolenz, the Alan Arkin movie "Popi" and "Going Home." "Mr. Leonard worked as a production manager on numerous B-movies and Westerns for Columbia pictures. He served his country as a pilot in the US Navy during WWII.
DEREK BOND Died Oct. 15, 2006
British actor Derek Bond died at age 86. Mr. Bond appeared in over 50 films and TV shows. He was also a successful stage actor. Mr. Bond’s many credits include the title role in "Nicholas Nickelby," "Scott of the Antarctic," "Svengali," the 1960 horror film "The Hand," the TV series "Callan" and "The Saint." Mr. Bind served his country in WWII and was wounded in North Africa.
TOMMY JOHNSON Died Oct. 16, 2006
Tuba player Tommy Johnson died of cancer and kidney failure at age 71. Mr. Johnson played on the scores for over 2000 films. He added the Oom Pah to such films as all three "The Godfather" films, most of the "Star Trek" films, "Titanic," "Close Encounters" and "Back to the Future." Mr. Johnson taught his craft at USC, UCLA and in the Los Angeles junior highs system. He also played with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
ROSS DAVIDSON Died Oct. 16, 2006
Scottish actor Ross Davidson died of a brain tumor at age 57. Mr. Davidson was best known in his native land for his work on "The EastEnders." Other credits include "The Pirates of Penzance" and "Monty Python’s Meaning of Life."
GERRY MARX SR. Died Oct. 16, 2006
Businessman/actor Gerry Marx died at age 80. Mr. Marx was a retired businessman. He hosted a local PBS TV show in Colorado. Mr. Marx appeared in the film independent Christian film "Pamela’s Prayer." He served his country in the US Navy.
CHRISTOPHER WEEKS Died Oct. 16, 2006
Actor Christopher Weeks (real name Jack DeLeon) died. No age or cause of death was given. Mr. Weeks appeared in such films and TV shows as "Laverne and Shirley," "Night Court," "Growing Pains," "Life Stinks" and "Silk Stalkings."
NORMA EDWARDS Died Oct. 16, 2006
Canadian actress Norma Edwards died at age 79 following spinal surgery. Ms. Edwards was a stage actress who also worked in film and TV. Her credits include the mini-series "Storm of the Century." She also appeared in such TV shows as "Friday the 13th" and "Street Legal."
SID DAVIS Died Oct. 16, 2006
His movies were designed to scare young teens into moral compliance through fear. Sid Davis made hundreds of cautionary tales designed to keep kids sober and pure. Mr. Davis warned kids of the horrors to follow indulging in alcohol, drugs and sex. Titles such as "The Bottle and the Throttle," "Girls Beware," "VD," "Seduction of the Innocent" and others tried to keep American kids from either swapping or polluting their precious bodily fluids. Mr. Davis worked at John Wayne’s stand-in for over a decade.
JEFFIE LEGEND Died Oct. 17, 2006
Actress Jeffie Legend (real name Martha Bostick) died of cancer at age 57. Ms. Legend appeared in the films "Confessions" and "Lebensborn."
CHRISTOPHER GLENN Died Oct. 17, 2005
My children have a hard time getting their mind around the concept that there was a time when cartoons only appeared on Saturday morning. As one of those who suffered a childhood with only four TV stations and hours of playing outdoors, my kids look on me with pity. I think my kids would pity me even more if they knew that CBS actually snuck news breaks into my Saturday morning cartoon viewing. I guess my kids will never know how wonderful those times really were. The news that CBS snuck into their Saturday morning line up was the long-running series "In The News." The 2 and ½ minute clips informed young ones about the world in which they were growing up. The authoritarian and soothing voice of "In the News" belonged to Christopher Glenn. "In the News" began in 1971 and ran for 13 years. Mr. Glenn also appeared on the CBS new series "30 Minutes." Christopher Glenn died of liver cancer at age 68. On November 4, 2005 he is to be inducted in the Radio Hall of Fame.
DANIEL EMILFORK Died Oct. 17, 2006
Actor Daniel Emilfork died of natural causes at age 82. Mr. Emilfork appeared in nearly 100 films and TV shows during his career. His many credits include the Anthony Quinn version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "What’s New Pussycat," "The Liquidator," "The Devil’s Nightmare," George Cukor’s "Travels With My Aunt," "Fellini’s Casanova" and "Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?"
PHYLLIS KIRK Died Oct. 19, 2006
Actress Phyllis Kirk died of a post cerebral aneurysm at age 79. Ms. Kirk was best known for her role as the heroine in the 3-D classic "House of Wax." Ms. Kirk was the object of obsession of Vincent Price’s character in the 1953 horror-film. Her "unmasking" of Vincent Price in "House of Wax" rivaled Mary Philbin’s unmasking of Lon Chaney Sr. in "Phantom of the Opera" for shear shock value. Ms. Kirk also starred opposite Peter Lawford as Nora Charles in the TV series version of "The Thin Man." Ms. Kirk’s other film and TV credits include "Our Very Own," "Three Guys Named Mike," "About Face," "Crime Wave," "Your Show of Shows," "Studio One," "Climax!," "The Red Buttons Show," "The Twilight Zone," "Playhouse 90" and "The F.B.I."
JIM AUTZ Died Oct. 19, 2006
Sound engineer Jim Autz died of heart complications at age 48. Mr. Autz was a sound mixer for Tram Recording. He also started AVLA/Jim Autz Productions, Inc./Network Events. He was the sound engineer for the video "The Method: Pilates All in One Workout."
JIM GLENNON Death announced Oct. 20, 2006
Emmy-winning cinematographer Jim Glennon died at age 64. Mr. Glennon won an Emmy for his work on the HBO series "Deadwood." He was the son of Oscar-nominated cinematographer Bert Glennon (Stagecoach). Mr. Glennon first worked his craft as a camera operator and assistant cameraman on such films as "The Conversation," "Breaking Away," "The Electric Horseman," "Absence of Malice," "Altered States," "True Confessions," "Taps" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." He was the location director of photography on "Return of the Jedi." Mr. Glennon’s was the cinematographer on nearly 60 films and TV shows. His many credits include "El Norte," "Flight of the Navigator," "The West Wing," "About Schmidt," "Local Boys" and "Big Love."
TAKURYA FUJIOKA Died Oct. 20, 2006
Japanese actor Takurya Fujioka died of renal failure at age 76. Mr. Fujioka appeared in three of the original "Zatoichi" films. In "Samaritan Zatoichi" Mr. Fujioka played a Yakuza ally of the Blind Swordsman. He was best known to Japanese TV viewers for his role in the long-running family drama "Wataru Seken wa Oni Bakari." Mr. Fujioka also did voice work in anime films including "Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer."
PETER BARKWORTH Died Oct. 21, 2006
BAFTA-winning actor Peter Barkworth died of pneumonia and complications from a stroke. The 77-year-old actor won two BAFTA TV Awards for his work in the TV series "Professional Foul" and "The Country Party." In his native land, Mr. Barkworth was best known for playing the title role in the dramatic TV series "Telford’s Change." Mr. Barkworth’s other credits include "Dr. Who," "Where Eagles Dare," "The Avengers," "Patton" and "Colditz."
SANDY WEST Died Oct. 21, 2006
Sandy West the cofounder of and drummer for the all-girl rock band "The Runaways" died of lung cancer at age 47. Ms. West and friend Joan Jett started the band in the mid 1970s. I must have played their first album constantly. I was in tech school in the Air Force in 1978. I didn’t get a chance to play the album until the grooves were gone because my roommate had more esoteric musical tastes. I guess hearing "Cherry Bomb" over 100 times in one week caused him to snap. I came back to the dorm after class one day and found the album in 100 pieces. He had even torn up the album cover. Taking my cue from my musical influences at the time (mainly punk) I destroyed my roommate’s stereo. It was a cheap one. He laughed at the pile of splinters neatly piled up on his side of the room. He no longer had to listen to "The Runaways" and I didn’t have to listen to his artsy-fartsy stuff anymore either. Sandy West appeared as herself in the so-so 2004 documentary about "The Runaways" called "Edgeplay." The film was directed by Vickie Blue. Ms. Blue replaced Jackie Fox as the band’s bass player in 1978. Prayers of comfort for Ms. West’s family and friends.
DARYL DUKE Died Oct. 21, 2006
Award-winning director Daryl Duke died of pulmonary filbrosis at age 77. Mr. Duke won an Emmy Award for directing the TV series "The Bold Ones." Mr. Duke also received Emmy and DGA nominations for directing the landmark TV mini series "The Thorn Birds." In 2003 Mr. Duke received the DGA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. As much as I liked "The Thorn Birds" my appreciation of Mr. Duke comes from his excellent thriller "The Silent Partner." The 1978 Canadian film starred Elliot Gould as a bank-teller trying to outsmart Christopher Plummer’s intelligent and very, very sadistic bank robber. The film also features early performances by SCTV alumni John Candy and Andrea Martin. It is a taut, brutal film that remains enjoyable after many viewings. Mr. Duke also directed the under-rated "Payday." Rip Torn gives the performance of his career in "Payday" as a Country and Western singer who is not what he seems. The film has much in common with the classic Andy Griffith film "A Face in the Crowd." Other film and TV credits include "Night Gallery," "The President’s Plane is Missing," "Harry O" and "Tai-Pan."
DR. BERNARD ABBENE Died Oct. 21, 2006
Writer and teacher Dr. Ben Abbene died at age 84. Dr. Abbene wrote for "The Dinah Shore Show" as well as for David Wolper Productions. Dr. Abbene taught film and TV at Loyola Marymount. Dr. Abbene served his country as a tail-gunner in the US Army-Air Corp during WWII.
MILTON SELZER Died Oct. 21, 2006
Prolific character actor Milton Selzer died of pulmonary complications at age 88. Milton Selzer appeared in every film and TV show produced in the last five decades. Of course I’m kidding. But not by much. Milton Selzer worked steady from the 1950s until the late 1990s. His face is instantly recognizable to any one who has watched TV in the last 50 years. In addition to his film and TV work, Mr. Selzer worked on Broadway and in regional theaters. His many film credits include "The Young Savages," "Marnie," "The Cincinnati Kid," "A Big Hand for a Little Lady," "The Legend of Lylah Clare," "Crowhaven Farm," "Blood and Lace," "Lady Sings the Blues," "The Sex Symbol," "Blue Collar" (playing a character called ‘sumbitch’), "Capricorn One," "Sid and Nancy," "Shoot to Kill," "Tapeheads" and "National Lampoon’s Last Resort." As far as Mr. Selzer’s TV credits are concerned, it might be easier to list the shows he did not appear in. Chances are, if a TV show was popular in the 1950s through the 1990s, Mr. Selzer did a guest shot on it. Mr. Selzer served his country in the US Army during WWII.
JANE WYATT Died Oct. 22, 2006
Emmy-winning actress Jane Wyatt died of natural causes at age 96. Ms. Wyatt worked in film and TV for over 60 years. She was known to millions of TV fans for her role in the 1950s and 60s TV series "Father Knows Best." Ms. Wyatt won three Emmy Awards for playing Robert Young’s wife in the long-running TV series. She also played another mother in another famous TV series. Ms. Wyatt played Leonard Nimoy’s mother in the TV series "Star Trek." She reprised her role as Spock’s mom in the feature film "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home." Jane Wyuatt’s fi,m career began in the 1930s. She starred in such high profile films as "Great Expectations," Frank Capra’s classic "Lost Horizon" and Elia Kazan’s "Gentleman’s Agreement." Jane Wyatt never became a major film star ALA Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, but she worked steady for over 60 years. During the 1950s, Ms. Wyatt began to work almost exclusively on TV. Her many TV credits include "Robert Montgomery Presents," "Studio One," "Wagon Train," "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," "Love, American Style," "Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law," with former co-star Robert Young in "Marcus Welby M.D.," "Alias Smith and Jones," "ER" and "St. Elsewhere."
NELSON DE LA ROSA Died Oct. 22, 2006
Actor Nelson de la Rosa died of undisclosed causes at age 38. Mr. de la Rosa was listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as the shortest actor in the world. The 2 foot 4 inch actor was best known as Marlon Brando’s small sidekick in "The Island of Dr. Moreau."
ARTHUR HILL Oct. 22, 2006
Tony Award winning actor Arthur Hill died of Alzheimer’s Disease at age 84. The urbane actor could play both ethical and amoral characters with convincing realism. The classically trained stage actor won a Tony Award for originating the role of George in Edward Albee’s "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Mr. Hill worked steady in film and on TV from the late 1940s through 1990. He achieved TV stardom in the title role of the legal drama TV series "Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law."
Arthur Hill also contributed solid performances to many excellent films. My first exposure to Mr. Hill was in the sci-fi classic "The Andromeda Strain." Sam Peckinpah fans remember his his turn as a disloyal CIA exec in "The Killer Elite." He worked with James Caan in the Peckinpah film. The two actors made a cameo appearance together in the all-star WWII film "A Bridge Too Far." The fact is, the James Caan/Arthur Hill scene is the only redeeming scene is an otherwise overly bloated mess. Arthur Hill played a battlefield surgeon who is confronted at gun point by James Caan. Caan has brought his apparently dead sergeant to the field hospital. Turns out that the sergeant is not as dead as Arthur Hill thought he was. The 4-minute scene is quite powerful.
Mr. Hill played a particularly sleezy lawyer in the first of Paul Newman’s two "Harper" films. Another personal favorite of mine is the Made for TV movie "Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys." Mr. Hill played the Alabama Judge who bucked the racist feelings of his small town and freed a groupr of nine black teenagers accused of raping two white women. The film was based on a true story. Hill’s performance makes me wonder why he was never nominated for an Emmy award.
Arthur Hill’s many memorable credits include such films as "The Ugly American" opposite Marlon Brando, Richard Lester’s classic "Petulia," "Rabbit, Run," "Futureworld," "A Little Romance" and "Butch and Sundance: The Early Years." The Canadian born actor served his native country in the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII.
CLAUDIA BOBSIN Died Oct. 23, 2006
German costume designer Claudia Bobsin died of cancer at age 62. Ms. Bobsin was nominated for a Best Costume Design Award at the 2003 German Television Awards for her work on the TV movie "Der Liebe Entgegen." Ms. Bobsin’s many credits include the Oscar nominated film "The Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich," "I Am the Other Woman," "Bandits" and "Beethoven’s Nephew."
STANLEY BROSSETTE Died Oct. 24, 2006
Veteran Hollywood publicist Stanley Brossette died of bone cancer at age 69. Mr. Brossette worked promoting hundreds of films during his lengthy career. He received the Les Mason Award from his peers at the Publicists Guild for his lifetime of work and professionalism in the field. Mr. Brosette promoted many of the films of Elvis Presley and Burt Reynolds. Among his many credits are "The Quick and the Dead," "The Prince of Tides," "Children of a Lesser God," "Semi-Tough" and "Smokey And The Bandit."
ROBERT N. SCOTT Died Oct. 24, 2006
Actor Robert N. Scott died of cancer at age 80. Bob Scott appeared in the classic Frank Capra film "It’s a Wonderful Life." He and actor Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer played the two guys who unlocked the gym floor at the high school dance, exposing the pool below. Jimmy Stewert and Donna Reed ended up taking a bath. I am not sure of Mr. Scott’s other credits. He acted under the name of Mark Roberts at one time. IMDB has his and another actor named Mark Roberts film credits mixed up. Mr. Scott served his country in the US Army-Air Corps during WWII.
ERIC INMAN Died Oct. 24, 2006
Indie production assistant Eric Inman died of undisclosed causes at age 27. Mr. Inman worked on the film "South of Heaven." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
LEN WATT Died Oct. 25, 2006
Actor Len Watt died at age 83. The Scottish born actor worked primarily in Canada. His credits include "Hiroshima," "Visiting Hours," "Happy Birthday to Me," "Hog Wild" and "Blackout." Mr. Watt served his country during WWII.
TILLMAN FRANKS Died Oct. 26, 2006
Country music legend Tillman Franks died at age 86. Mr. Franks was the manager of singer Johnny Horton. The pair co-wrote the theme song for the John Wayne film "North to Alaska." Mr. Franks was injured in the 1960 car crash that killed his friend Johnny Horton. Mr. Franks managed a number of performers. He played the stand up bass. Mr. Franks many compositions include the country classic "Honky Tonk Man." The song has been used in a number of films including "In Country," "The Fool Killer" and Clint Eastwood’s "Honkytonk Man."
NIGEL HOLTON Died Oct. 26, 2006
British composer Nigel Holton drowned in New Zealand at age 54. Mr. Holton composed scored a number of films for producers Roger Corman and Mike Elliott. His many credits include "Carnosaur," "Overdrive," "To Sleep With a Vampire" and "Howard Hughes: His Women and His Movies."
JENDA SMAHA Died Oct. 27, 2006
World famous elephant trainer Jenda Smaha died of heart failure at age 74. Mr. Smaha and his Asian elephant Tanya performed all over the world for two decades. One of Tanya’s gags was to play slot machines. Mr. Smaha and his partner Tanya appeared in the James Bond film "Diamonds Are Forever" where Tanya hit the jackpot. The pair also appeared on such TV shows as "The Mike Douglas Show" and "The Steve Allen Show, " "The Merv Griffin Show" and "Those Amazing Animals."
RICHARD ST. JOHNS Died Oct. 28, 2006
Producer and broadcast exec Richard St. Johns died at age 77. Mr. St. Johns produced such popular films as "A Change of Seasons," "The Wanderers" and "The Final Countdown." One of my favorite horror films of the 1980s is director Gary Sherman’s creepy "Dead & Buried." The film is sexy, scary and has a great twist ending. A must see for horror movie fans. Thanks to Mr. St. Johns for producing the film. His other credits include Charlton Heston’s "The Mountain Men," "Nightwing," "Venom," and animation director Ralph Bakshi’s sword and sorcery tale "Fire and Ice." Mr. St. Johns was the co-founder of the European broadcasting group SBS Broadcasting.
TINA AUMONT Died Oct. 28, 2006
Actress Tina Aumont died of a pulmonary embolism at age 60. Ms. Aumont was the daughter of French actor Jean Pierre Aumont and actress Maria Montez. She appeared in over 50 films during her career. Ms. Aumont appeared in a number of notable films including "Modesty Blaise," "Texas Across the River," "Torso," "Salon Kitty," "The Divine Nymph" and "Fellini’s Casanova." She was the widow of actor Christian Marquand. The pari was married when she was 16 and he was 36! Their marriage lasted 37 years, ending when he died in November 2000.
MARIE SELLAND Died Oct. 28, 2006
Marie Selland, actress and the first wife of director Sam Peckinpah died of complications following heart surgery at age 79. Ms. Selland acted in the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." She also appeared in a number of episodes of her first husband’s TV series "The Westerner." Ms. Selland also acted extensively on stage. She was the mother of Matthew, Sharon and Kristen Peckinpah.
WILLIAM MARSDEN Died Oct. 28, 2006
Canadian producer William Marsden died at age 78. Mr. Marsden was considered the father of the Alberta Canada film industry. Mr. Marsden’s film credits include "West to the Mountains" and "Naked Flame."
FLORENCE HEALY-FRENCH Died Oct. 29, 2006
Stage and film actress Florence Healy-French died at age 85. Ms. Healy-French acted primarily on stage. She began acting in 1945. Ms. Healy-French appeared in the film "Wait Until Spring, Bandini." She also was a regular in the Disney TV series "The Secret of Lost Lake." Ms. Healy-French was the widow of actor Burt French (Love of Life). Mr. French died in 1999.
NIGEL KNEALE Died Oct. 29, 2006
BAFTA-nominated screenwriter Nigel Kneale died at age 84. Though Mr. Kneale’s BAFTA nominations were for the excellent dramas "The Entertainer" and "Look Back in Anger," he is best remembered for his intelligent science fiction films in the "Quatermass Experiment" series. He wrote the 1953 TV series "The Quatermass Experiment." Reginald Tate played Professor Quatermass in the first TV series. That was followed in 1955 by "The Creeping Unknown" with Brian Donlevy as the professor. John Robinson took on the role in the 1955 TV series "Quatermass II." Brian Donlevy returned to the role in the ValGuest directed film "Quatermass 2: Enemies From Space." 1958 saw yet another TV series "Quatermass and the Pit." Roy Ward Baker directed the 1967 film version of "Quatermass and the Pit." Sir John Mills starred as the professor in the 1979 film and TV series entitled "The Quatermass Conclusion."
Nigel Kneale’s contributions to the sci-fi and horror genres are not limited to his "Quatermass" films. He wrote the script for Ray Harryhausen’s "The First Men IN the Moon." Other genre credits include "The Abominable Snowman," the TV version of "1984," "The Witches" with Joan Crawford and "Halloween III: Season of the Witch." Mr. Kneale also wrote the script for "H.M.S. Defiant."
BURT BUSH Died Oct. 29, 2006
Editor and negative cutter Bert Bush died at age 71. Mr. Bush edited several films including "Empire of Ash II." He was the negative cutter on over 30 films including "Dark Water," "Futuresport," "Air Bud," "Saving Grace" and "Crash."
ROY BARNES Died Oct. 29, 2006
Art director and set designer Roy Barnes died of lung and bone cancer at age 70. Mr. Barnes was the art director on Tim Burton’s innovative and touching fantasy "Big Fish." Mr. Barnes worked as a set designer and/or assistant art director on numerous films. His many credits include "Red Dawn," "Rambo: First Blood II," "Poltergeist II," "The Milagro Bean Field War," "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?," "Basic Instinct," "Jurassic Park III," "The Last Samurai," the feature film version of "Starsky and Hutch," the Tom Cruise version of "War of the Worlds," "Serenity" and "Flightplan."
RICHARD RAMOS Died Oct. 30, 2006
Actor Richard Ramos died at age 65. The prolific stage actor appeared in a number of films and TV shows. His onscreen credits include "The Monkees," "Klute," "Barney Miller," the TV series "M*A*S*H," the Armand Assanti version of "I, The Jury," "Hanky Panky," "Die Hard 3," "Private Parts" and the remake of "The Thomas Crown Affair."
MIKE MONAHAN Died Oct. 30, 2006
Actor Mike Monahan died of lung disease at age 77. Mr. Monahan and his wife Ann founded the Horizon Players, The Showboat Troupe and the Showboat Dinner Theater in Woodland Hills, California. Mr. Monahan appeared in such TV shows as "Starsky and Hutch," "Cannon," Sugerfoot," "Father Knows Best" and "Happy Days."
WILLIAM FRANKLYN Died Oct. 31, 2006
Prolific British actor William Franklyn died of prostate cancer at age 80. Mr. Franklyn worked on stage, film and TV. His many film credits include "Above Us the Waves," "Quatermass 2," Roman Polanski’s "Cul-de-sac" and "The Satanic Rites of Dracula." Mr. Franklyn’s TV credits include "The Avengers," "The Scarlet Pimpernel," "The Count of Monte Cristo" and "Lovejoy."
EDWARD L. ALPERSON JR. Died Oct. 31, 2006
Composer/producer Edward Alperson Jr. died at age 81. Mr. Alperson’s film credits "I Mobster," "Matador" and "Courage of Black Beauty." Mr. Alperson also produced such films as "The Sword of Monte Cristo" and the remake of "Invaders From Mars."