LORENZO ROBLEDO Died Sep. 2006
Italian actor Lorenzo Robledo died at age 85. Mr. Robledo appeared in nearly 100 films during his career. He is most recognizable to international audiences for his role as one of the Baxter gunmen in "A Fistful of Dollars." He was gunned down by Clint Eastwood in that film. He worked with director Sergio Leone in three other films. Mr. Robledo was one of Lee Van Cleef's minions in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." He was a member of Jason Robard's gang in Leone's masterpiece "Once Upon a Time in the West." He also appeared in "For a Few Dollars More."
BOB MATHIAS Died Sept. 2, 2006
Legendary American athlete Bob Mathias died of throat cancer at age 75. Mr. Mathias won back-to-back Gold Medals in the decathlon in 1948 and 1952. He was the youngest athlete to won the decathlon and the first person to win back-to-back Gold Medals in the same event. By the way, Mr. Mathias also played in the Rose Bowl in 1952, the same year he won his second Olympic Gold. Mr. Mathias also served his country in the US Marines as well as a Congressman from the state of California. His life was the subject of the biopic "The Bob Mathias Story." He played himself in the 1954 film. Mr. Mathias appeared in a few films including the Jayne Mansfield comedy "It Happened In Athens," "China Doll" and the Italian Sword and Sandal flick "The Minotaur."
WILLI NINJA Died Sept. 2, 2006
Dancer Willi Ninja (born William Leake) died of complications from AIDS at age 45. Mr. Ninja was one of the dancers who specialized in "Vouguing." He appeared as himself in the documentary "Paris Is Burning." The film looked at New York’s Drag Queen subculture. Willi Ninja also appeared in the short film "Anthem" and made a guest appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."
ANNAMARIE WENDL Died Sept. 3, 2006
German actress Annamarie Wendl died of heart failure at age 91. Ms. Wendl was best known for her role as Else Kling in the long-running comedy TV series "LindenStraße." She played the gossip addict for 21 years. Ms. Wendl appeared in numerous films and TV shows during her career. Her credits include "The Erotic Adventures of Heidi," "How I Became a Negro," "Purgatory" and "Black and White Like Day and Night."
JACQUELINE DOYEN Died Sept. 3, 2006
French actress Jacqueline Doyen died of natural causes at age 76. Ms. Doyen appeared in over 70 films and TV shows during her career. She was best known in France for her roles in a number of comedy films by director Michel Audiard including "How to Make Good When One Is a Jerk and a Crybaby." Ms. Doyen’s many credits include Claude Berri’s "Le Sex Shop," "The Wages of Sin," "Peppermint Soda," "Juliette and Juliette," "Entre Nous," "The Frog Prince" and Louis Malle’s "A Very Private Affair."
JAOME OSORIO Died Sept. 3, 2006
Columbian producer/director/actor Jaime Osorio died of a heart attack at age 59. Mr. Osorio’s best know international films are "Maria Full of Grace" and "Our Lady of the Assassins." He also acted in "Maria Full of Grace." "Maria Full of Grace" garnered a Best Actress Oscar nomination for its star Catalina Sandino Moreno. The film was praised at film festivals worldwide and was included on Einsiders.com’s Top 10 Films of 2004 list.
STEVE IRWIN Died Sept. 4, 2006
Some times the news makes you want to cry. Steve Irwin, the conservationist and TV star known as the Crocodile Hunter was killed when a stingray pierced his heart while filming an episode of the TV series "Ocean’s Deadliest." The attack took place Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Reports state that Mr. Irwin swam too close to a stingray and the animal struck him with its tail. The tail of a stingray holds a 10-inch-long toxic barb. While it is rare for a stingray barb to kill, the barb pierced Mr. Irwin’s heart. Steve Irwin was 44 years old. Mr. Irwin and his wife Terri were known worldwide for the show "The Crocodile Hunter." The overly enthusiastic Irwin risked death while teaching millions of children and adults worldwide about the wonders of the animal kingdom. Steve Irwin became the most recognizable conservationist in the world. His popularity on TV lead to a feature film based on his work. The comedy/adventure "The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course" was a fun family film. I’m having a hard time putting my feelings into words. My family enjoyed watching the Irwins TV shows. I can’t tell you how many times my kids would jump into my lap in fear that the crocodile, or snake or spider was going to get Mr. Irwin. Maybe the fact that Steve Irwin played himself on TV makes this hurt. Though I never met him, I have a deep sadness at this news. He was the kind of person that everyone felt they knew. Maybe his enthusiasm was off-putting to some, but I saw it as passion for his work. I admired he and his wife for it. Prayers of comfort for his wife Terri, daughter Bindi Sue and son Bob.
JOHN CONTE Died Sept. 4, 2006
Radio, TV, Broadway and film actor John Conte died of natural causes at age 90. Mr. Conte was a radio announcer for CBS in the 1930s. He also did voice work and narration for a number of films during that same era. His early film work included "The Crowd Roars," "Each Dawn I Die" and "Confessions of a Nazi Spy." Mr. Conte worked on a number of popular TV shows during the 1950s and early 60s. His TV credits include "Perry Mason," "Your Show of Shows," "Studio One," "77 Sunset Strip" and "The Untouchables." Mr. Conte’s later film credits include "The Carpetbaggers" and a memorable supporting role in Otto Preminger’s landmark story of heroin addiction "The Man With the Golden Arm."
REMY BELVAUX Died Sept. 4, 2006
Belgian director Remy Belvaux died at age 38. No cause of death was disclosed. Remy Belvaux only directed one film, but that film brought him worldwide attention. "Man Bites Dog" was a mockumentary about a serial killer. A film crew followed the film’s hero around as he killed and raped and then discussed the process afterwards. In the film’s most controversial scene, the killer rapes a woman and invites the film crew to join in. They do. Mr. Belvaux’s message was one of anti-violence. Some critics lambasted him for engaging in the very thing he was condemning. "Man Bites Dog" earned Remy Belvaux awards at Cannes, Toronto, Sitges and several other prestigious film festivals.
BILL MEILEN Died Sept. 4, 2006
Welsh actor, teacher and novelist Bill Meilen died of a tumor. His age was not released. Bill Meilen began his long stage career in 1954. Mr. Meilen played six different role, speaking six different languages in the 1963 Oscar-nominated live action short subject "The Six-Sided Triangle." The film was directed by Christopher Miles, the older brother of actress Sarah Miles. Mr. Meilen appeared in numerous films and TV shows. His credits include "Dr. Who," "Softly Softly," "The Outer Limits," "Lonesome Dove: The Series," "The Burial Society," "Grey Fox," "Kingdom Hospital," "Scooby Doo 2" and the new version of "Battlestar Galactica." Mr. Meilen was professor emeritus of drama at the University of Alberta. Mr. Meilen served his country during the Korean War. He used his military experience to teach military drill techniques among other dramatic skills.
BIG BOY Died Sept 4, 2006
The alligator Big Boy died at age 45. The huge reptile played the menacing pet of badguy Yaphet Kotto in the first Roger Moore James Bond film "Live and Let Die." Big Boy also appeared in the hilarious British TV series "The Young Ones." It was announced that the 3-meter-long lizard will be stuffed and put on display in England.
ERIC JOHNSON JR. Died Sept. 5, 2006
Businessman, profession sports exec and former TV production assistant Eric Johnson Jr. died at age 78. Mr. Johnson was a production assistant on such early TV shows as "Your Show of Shows," "Break the Bank," "Home," "Coke Time" and "Decision." Mr. Johnson later worked in sales and TV in the state of Georgia. He was National Sales Director for such sports teams as the Braves, Hawks and Falcons. Mr. Johnson served his country in the US Navy.
JONATHAN BALL Died Sept. 5, 2006
Actor Jonathan Ball died at age 60. Mr. Ball appeared in such films and TV shows as "Pterodactyl Woman From Beverly Hills," "Art Deco Detective," "L.A. Law," "Stein, Gertrude Stein" and "The Zombie Diaries."
ROBERT EARL JONES Died Sept. 7, 2006
Actor Robert Earl Jones died at age 96. Mr. Jones was the father of actor James Earl Jones. Mr. Jones’ acting career began in the 1930s. My first memory of Mr. Jones was as Robert Redford’s ill-fated partner Luther during the beginning scenes of "The Sting." Among his many credits are the excellent Film Noir "Odds Against Tomorrow," Elia Kazan’s "Wild River," "The Cotton Club," "Trading Places," "Sleepaway Camp," "The Sophisticated Gents," "Witness" and "Maniac Cop 2."
BERNARD WOLF Died Sept. 7, 2006
Master animator Bernard Wolf died at age 95. Bernard Wolf worked as an animator at all of the great animation studios. He started in the days of silent films and worked into the 1980s. Mr. Wolf worked for the Fleischers, Disney, Tex Avery and others. He worked on such Disney classics as "Dumbo," "Pinocchio" and "Fantasia." Mr. Wolf worked with Disney legend Ward Kimball in creating the character of Jiminy Cricket. Bernard Wolf was also known for his work on the Fleischer’s "Betty Boop" cartoons.
REX HAYES Died Sept. 8, 2006
Broadway actor Rex Hayes died of cancer at age 60. While Mr. Hayes appeared frequently on Broadway, his lone film credit was the Susan Sarandon/Julia Roberts movie "Stepmom." Mr. Hayes was married to actress Lisby Hayes.
S. JOHN LAUNER Died Sept. 8, 2006
Prolific character actor S. John Launer died. Mr. Launer was born in 1919. "Perry Mason" fans will instantly recognize Mr. Launer from his 32 appearances as a judge on the popular TV series. I enjoyed his cameo as the chairman of Pepsi who learns just how determined Joan Crawford could be in "Mommie Dearest." 1950s horror and sci-fi films hold a dear place in my heart. I remember Mr. Launer’s contributions to such films as "I Was a Teenage Werewolf," "Creature With the Atom Brain" and "The Werewolf." "Perry Mason" wasn’t the only show in which Mr. Launer played a judge. He was the guy who sentenced Elvis Presley to prison in "Jailhouse Rock." He also played judges in "Pendulum," "Gable and Lombard," "A Question of Love," "M.A.D.D.: Mothers Against Drunk Driving" and "Billionaire Boys Club." Mr. Launer also appeared in such feature films as "I Want to Live!," "Zero Hour!," Alfred Hitchcock’s "Marnie," "Speedway" and the TV movie "The Amazing Howard Hughes." Mr. Launer’s many TV credits include "Have Gun-Will Travel," "Bonanza," "Dr. Kildare," four episodes of "The Twilight Zone," "Gunsmoke," "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," "The Wild, Wild West," "Batman," "Marcus Welby M.D.," "The Rookies," "The FBI," "Cade’s County," "The Mod Squad," "Harry O" and "Petrocelli." Mr. Launer’s son Dale wrote and produced the hilarious "My Cousin Vinny" among other films.
FRANK MIDDLEMASS Died Sept. 8, 2006
British character actor Frank Middlemass died at age 87. Mr. Middlemass enjoyed success in all acting mediums: stage, radio, TV and in feature films. He was a popular character on the hit British TV series "Heartbeat." His feature film credits include Stanley Kubrick’s "Barry Lyndon," "Otley," "Madame Sin" with Bette Davis and Peter Benchley’s pirate thriller "The Island." Among the many TV shows in which Mr. Middlemass appeared are "Z Cars" and its spin-off "Softly, Softly," "Dixon of Dock Green," "The Avengers," "Upstairs, Downstairs," "Poldark," "Emmerdale Farm" and "Highlander." Mr. Middlemass served his country as an officer during WWII. He was wounded at Dunkirk.
HOLLY ONE Died Sept. 8, 2006
Spanish porn star and performance artist Holly One died of cardiac arrest at age 41. Holly One could be described as the Mini Me of Avant-Garde, cabaret style porn. He often worked in the films of Rocco Siffreddi. In addition to his film work, Holly One was known for throwing large-scale bacchanals in Barcelona and Ibiza.
REV. GEORGE TWIGG-PORTER Died Sept. 8, 2006
Rev. Twigg-Porter served God as a Jesuit for 66 years. He was a child actor during the 1930s, working under the name Geordie MacKay. He appeared in such films as "Of Human Bondage," "Oliver Twist," "David Copperfield," "Parnell" and "A Feather in Her Cap."
GERARD BRACH Died Sept. 9, 2006
Screenwriter Gerard Brach died of cancer at age 79. Mr. Brach was a long-time collaborator with director Roman Polanski. He wrote one of the most intimate protraits of madness ever filmed. Polanski’s 1965 film "Repulsion" still maintains it macabre power today. Catherine Deneuve starred as a mentally ill young woman who slowly goes completely over the edge over a three-day period. The visuals in "Repulsion" influenced many horror directors in the succeeding four decades. "Repulsion" was just one of ten films Mr. Brach wrote for Roman Polanski. Others include the hilarious "The Fearless Vampire Killers" (starring Sharon Tate), "Tess," "Frantic," the totally bizarre "The Tenant" and the classic "Cul-De-Sac." Gerard Brach was also a frequent collaborator with director Jean-Jacques Annaud. Their films include the wonderful "Quest For Fire," "The Bear" and the highly under-rated "The Name of the Rose." Gerard Brach won a BAFTA for adapting "Jean de Florette" to the screen. He also wrote the sequel "Manon of the Spring." Mr. Brach also worked with Itlaian horror director Dario Argento on "The Phantom of the Opera."
HERB RUDLEY Died Sept. 9, 2006
Actor Herb Rudley died of a heart attack at age 95. The prolific character actor appeared in over 100 films and TV shows during a career that began in the late 1920s. Mr. Rudley’s many credits include "Abe Lincoln in Illinois," "Rhapsody in Blue," the original version of "Brewster’s Millions," "A Walk in the Sun," "Joan of Arc," "The Silver Chalice," "Artists and Models," "The Court Jester," "That Certain Feeling," "The Young Lions," "The Big Fisherman," "Hell Bent For Leather" and "The Great Imposter." Mr. Rudley also appeared in countless TV shows during the 1960s and 70s. He was a regular cast member on the Eve Arden/Kay Ballard comedy TV series "The Mothers-in-Law."
HOI-SHAN KWAN Died Sept. 11, 2006
Chinese actor Hoi-Shan Kwan died of complications of a stroke he suffered in 2001. Mr. Kwan was either age 80 or 82. Mr. Kwan had a memorable supporting role in John Woo’s brutal cop thriller "Hard Boiled." He appeared in nearly 80 films during his lengthy career. Mr. Kwan worked with Jackie Chan in the films "Project A" and its sequel "Project A 2." He won the Best Supporting Actor award at the Hong Kong Movie Awards for his work in the first film in the "Lee Rock" trilogy.
PAT CORLEY Died Sept. 11, 2006
Actor Pat Corley died of congestive heart failure at age 76. Mr. Corley played Phil the bartender on the hit TV series "Murphy Brown." The prolific character actor appeared in nearly 100 films and TV shows. Mr. Corley’s feature film credits include "The Super Cops," "The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training," "Coming Home," "Nightwing," "The Onion Field," "The Rose," "The Black Marble," "The Hand," "True Confessions," "Hanky Panky," "Night Shift" and "Against All Odds." Mr. Corley also appeared in several memorable TV movies including "The Executioners Song." Mr. Corley also enjoyed a successful stage career that include work on Broadway.
DANIEL SMITH Died Sept. 11, 2006
Daniel Smith, the 21-year-old son of Anna Nicole Smith died of a drug overdose while visiting his mother in a hospital in the Bahamas. His mother had given birth to a daughter several days before. Daniel Smith appeared in his mothers far-from-reality TV show "The Anna Nicole Smith Show." He also appeared in his mother’s films "Skyscraper" and "Too the Limit." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
SANDRA LOUIE Died Sept. 11, 2006
Location manager Sandra Louie died of cancer at age 62. Ms. Louie worked in the medical field for several decades. After working as an extra in the sexy thriller "Jade," Ms. Louie began a second career in the film industry. She was a location manager on a number of films including "The Rock," "Hulk," "The Game," "The Sweetest Thing" and "Sweet November."
JOSEPH HAYES Died Sept. 11, 2006
I saw original version of "The Desperate Hours" on TV when I was in first or second grade. For years, all I could remember was the final shot of Humphrey Bogart running from a house, throwing his pistol at a police search light, and then being machine-gunned to death. Sorry for the spoiler! The memory of that scene and a desire to figure out just what the movie was haunted me for over 10 years. I finally caught it again when I was old enough to appreciate the entire film. The movie was adapted by writer Joseph Hayes from his Tony-winning stage play, which in turn was adapted by him from his popular novel! William Wyler directed the original version, which starred Bogart, Fredric March, Gig Young and a host of recognizable character actors. The story involves a family held hostage in their own home by an escaped convict and his gang. Michael Cimino remade the film in 1990 with Mickey Rourke and Anthony Hopkins in the lead roles. While the Cimino version wasn’t that bad, it did not achieve the status of the 1955 original. Paul Newman starred in the stage version, which won the Best Play Tony Award. Writer Joseph Hayes died of Alzheimer’s Disease at age 88. Mr. Hayes wrote several other Broadway plays. His other film credits include "The Young Doctors," "Bon Voyage!" and "The Third Day."
CESARE BARBETTI Died Sept. 13, 2006
Italian actor Cesare Barbetti died two weeks shy of his 76th birthday. Mr. Barbetti dubbed hundreds of English language films and TV shows into Italian for screenings in his native land. He provided the Italian voice for many of America’s best known actors including Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty. Mr. Barbetti also acted as dubbing director on a number of films including "Cinema Paradiso." He acted in over 20 films and TV shows in his career including King Vidor’s version of "War and Peace" and "The Affairs of Messalina."
PETER TEVIS Died Sept. 13, 2006
Peter Tevis is one of the unsung heroes of the Spaghetti Western genre. The American musician moved to Rome in the early 1960s. A 1962 meeting with Ennio Morricone planted the seeds for what would become the Spaghetti Western sound. Mr. Morricone produced a recording of Mr. Tevis singing the Woody Guthrie song "Pastures of Plenty." The resemblance to Mr.Tevis’s song and the theme to Morricone’s "A Fistful of Dollars" is uncanny. Mr. Tevis contributed to such films as "Pistols Don’t Argue" and "Gunfight at Red Sands." Mr. Tevis also helped Howard Ziehm raise money to produce the cult classic "Flesh Gordon." Peter Tevis died of Parkinson’s Disease at age 69.
ANN RICHARDS Died Sept. 13, 2006
Former Texas governor Ann Richards died of cancer at age 73. Often, writing obits takes me back to a certain place in my life. A memory is dusted off and cherished. My father died in 1997. I miss him very much. Years after all the kids were grown, my father would wrangle all of us together each summer by renting a two-story house in Mexico Beach Florida. Each of us would bring our own families or friends. The crowded beach house was the setting of many memories both good and bad. One of those cherished memories was of the heartiest laugh I ever heard my father give. I grew up in a political family. It is in the blood. During the summer of 1988, we sat around the vacation house in Florida and watched the Democratic Presidential Convention. Gov. Ann Richards brought the house down and became a nationally known figure as she skewered Vice-President George Herbert Bush by saying "Poor George! He was born with a silver foot in his mouth." Ann Richards appeared as herself in a number of documentaries and TV shows including "Murphy Brown," "King of the Hill" and "Dennis Miller Live."
NORMAN BROOKS Died Sept. 14, 2006
Canadian singer Norman Brooks died at age 78. Mr. Brooks was best known for his Al Jolson impersonations. He played Mr. Jolson in the 1956 film "The Best Things in Life are Free." Mr. Brooks also appeared as himself in the original version of "Ocean’s Eleven." Other film credits include "Meet Danny Wilson" and "The Block." Mr. Brooks recorded several albums of Al Jolson’s music working with Al Jolson’s conductor Al Goodman.
TERRY O’SULLIVAN Died Sept. 14, 2006
Radio and TV actor Terry O’Sullivan died of cancer at age 91. Mr. O’Sullivan began working in Radio during the 1930s. His voice is heard as a radio announcer in Raoul Walsh’s Gangster masterpiece "White Heat." Mr. O’Sullivan was best known to TV fans for his 12-year stint on the Soap Opera "Search For Tomorrow." Mr. O’Sullivan Also appeared in the Soaps "Days of Our Lives" and "The Secret Storm."
JOHNNY SEKKA Died Sept. 14, 2006
African actor Johnny Sekka died of lung cancer at age 72. Mr. Sekka began his career as a stage actor in England. He later moved into work on TV and film. He played one of Harry Belafonte’s gangsters in the hilarious Bill Cosvy/Sidney Poitier comedy "Uptown Saturday Night." Mr. Sekka also appeared in such films and TV shows as "Z Cars," "Good Times," "Roots: The Next Generation," "Hanky Panky," "Mohammed, Messenger of God," "Ashanti" and "Fever Pitch."
MICKEY HARGITAY Died Sept. 14, 2006
Former Mr. Universe and actor Mickey Hargitay died at age 80. Mickey Hargitay was the father of Emmy-winning actress Mariska Hargitay. She is the daughter of Mr. Hargitay and actress Jayne Mansfield. Ms. Mansfield was killed in a 1967 car crash in Mississippi. Mickey Hargitay was a world-class bodybuilder in the 1950. In 1957 he appeared in bit parts in "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" and "Slaughter on 10th Avenue." Mr. Hargitay moved his film career to Europe and appeared in numerous horror films, Westerns and Sword and Sandal epics. His credits included starring roles in the demented horror film "Delirium," "The Reincarnation of Isabel," "Lady Frankenstein," "Hercules vs. the Hydra."
PETER LING Died Sept. 14, 2006
British screenwriter Peter Ling died at age 80. Mr. Ling and then writing partner Hazel Adair created the popular British soap opera "Crossroads." Mr. Ling began writing while still a teen. His credits include "Dr. Who," "Dixon of Dock Green" and "The Avengers."
ERNIE ALVAREZ Died Sept. 14, 2006
Special effects technician Ernie Alvarez died. No age or cause of death was given. Mr. Alvarez was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 44. His film credits include "Spy Hard."
GIL AMELIO Died Sept. 14, 2006
Actor Gil Amelio was died after being hit by a car at age 82. Mr. Amelio’s film and TV credits include "Amadeus," "The Bourne Identity" and "Shadow Fury."
SUSAN SLOMAN Died Sept. 14, 2006
British actress Susan Sloman died at age 62. Ms. Sloman appeared in the British TV shows "The Lost Tribe" and "The Witch." Ms. Sloman also had a bit part in Norman Jewison’s film version of "Fiddler on the Roof."
LESLIE YEO Died Sept. 15, 2006
Canadian actor and theater director Leslie Yeo died of a brain tumor at age 91. Mr. Yeo was one of the driving forces in the Canadian theater scene for the past 60 years. He appeared in hundreds of productions in Canada, the US and Great Britain. Mr. Yeo worked occasionally in film and TV. His credits include the new version of "The Twilight Zone," "Bye Bye Blues," "Improper Channels" and "The First Time."
EDWIN OWENS Died Sept. 16, 2006
Actor Edwin Owens died of heart failure at age 64. Mr. Owens had a successful stage career including a number of Broadway shows. Mr. Owens’ film and TV work includes "The Waltons," "Little House on the Prairie," "Hill Street Blues," "General Hospital," "Falcon Crest" and "Married With Children."
FOUAD EL-MOHANDES Died Sept. 16, 2006
Egyptian comedian Fouad El-Mohandes died of liver disease at age 82. Mr. El-Mohandes was one of Egypt’s best known comedians. He apprenticed under comedic Egyptian movie star Naguib El-Rihini. Mr. El-Mohandes began work in radio and on stage. He began screen acting in the 1950s. During the 1960s he and then wife Shouweikar became huge stars appearing in a dozen comedy/musicals that were box-office successes.
TIM HOLLINGS Died Sept. 17, 2006
Cinematographer and businessman Tim Hollings died of a brain tumor at age 55. Mr. Hollings lensed the award-winning Canadian film "Storm." He also appeared in a documentary about the making of "Storm." Mr. Hollings later started his own company: Manda Film and Video.
MARK KRASNOFF Death discovered Sept. 17, 2006
New Orleans actor Mark Krasnoff committed suicide at age 43. Mr. Krasnoff’s body was discovered on Sunday along the banks of the Mississippi River. Mr. Krasnoff was very active in the New Orleans theater scene. He also acted in several films and TV shows. His credits include "The Runaway Jury," "The Skeleton Key," "The Badge" and "Acapulco Gold" which he also wrote. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
PABLO SANTOS Died Sept. 16, 2006
19-year-old Mexican actor Pablo Santos and one of his friends were killed in a small plane crash in his home land. Mr. Santos was part of the cast of the WB TV series "Greetings From Tucson." Among his other credits are guest shots on "The Shield," "American Family," "Boston Legal" and "The Proud Family." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
PATRICA KENNEDY LAWFORD Died Sept. 17, 2006
Patricia Kennedy Lawford died of pneumonia at age 82. She was the sister of the late president John F. Kennedy and the ex-wife of actor Peter Lawford. She had four children including actor Christopher Lawford. Mrs. Lawford appeared as herself in the documentaries "The Rat Pack" and "V.I.P.-Schaukel."
ART BAER Died Sept. 17, 2006
Emmy-winning writer Art Baer died of cancer at age 81. Mr. Baer won an Emmy for his work on "The Carol Burnett Show." Mr. Baer’s other writing credits include "The Andy Griffith Show," "Hogan's Heroes." "The Odd Couple," "Chico and the Man," "Happy Days," "Alice" and "The Love Boat."
FRANK MERRELLS Died Sept. 18, 2006
Key grip Frank Merrells died at age 73. Mr. Merrells worked in the Canadian film industry. He was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 212. His film credits include "The Reflecting Skin," "Days of Heaven," "Touched By Love" and "Why Shoot the Teacher?"
DANNY FLORES (AKA CHUCK RIO) Died Sept. 19, 2006
Composer Danny Flores died of Parkinson’s Disease at age 77. Mr. Flores used the stage name Chuck Rio. He composed and performed on the hit record "Tequila." Mr. Flores played the sax on the song. He was also the vocalist who sang the song’s one word "Tequila." The song has been used in many films. Paul Reubens danced to the tune to avoid getting beat up in the comedy "Pee Wee’s Big Adventure." Other films featuring the song include "The Freshman" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
ELIZABETH ALLEN Died Sept. 19, 2006
Tony-nominated actress Elizabeth Allen died of kidney failure at age 77. Ms. Allen had a long and successful Broadway career. She was nominated for Tony Awards twice as Best Actress and Best Featured Actress. Ms. Allen was also a successful film and TV actress. She was romanced by Cesar Romero and spanked by John Wayne in the John Ford comedy "Donovan’s Reef." Ms. Allen appeared with Charlton Heston in "Diamond Head." She also had a nice supporting role in the Paul Newman/Joanne Woodward melodrama "From the Terrace." Other film and TV credits include "Cheyenne Autumn," "Star Spangled Girl," "The Carey Treatment," "The Twilight Zone," "The FBI," "The Fugitive" and "Mannix." Ms. Allen was familiar to Soap Opera fans. She played the character Victoria Bellman on "Another World" and its spin-off "Texas."
SVEN NYKVIST Died Sept. 20, 2006
He was one of the true masters in the world of cinematography. The right-hand-man of Ingmar Bergman on over 20 of the grand director’s films. His work was elegant and simple. Simple but not easy. If it were easy, then anyone with a camera could be Sven Nykvist. He was a "one and only." Multi-Oscar winning cinematographer Sven Nykvist died after a lengthy illness at age 83. He had suffered from a rare form of dementia for some time.
Sven Nykvist collaborated with Swedish master Ingmar Bergman on over 20 films. Though the two worked together once in the early 1950s, it was the 1960 film "The Virgin Spring" which marked the beginning of their steady collaboration. Bergman’s work in the 1960s is one of the most powerful bodies of work by any director in the history of cinema. There is no doubt that much of the power of those films was in large part due to the camera work of Sven Nykvist. His technique was the opposite of Film Noir, yet no less exciting and influential. Mr. Nykvist achieved beauty through simplistic lighting. He perfected the use of natural lighting, which enhanced the introspective subject matter of the director’s work and the actor’s performances. He was a master of Black and White and also Color cinematography. Sven Nykvist’s credits with Ingmar Bergman include "Through a Glass Darkly," "Winter Light," "Hour of the Wolf," "The Silence," "Shame," "The Serpent’s Egg," "Persona," "Scenes From a Marriage" and "The Passion of Anna."
Sven Nykvist was nominated for three Oscars. He won twice for Bergman’s "Cries and Whispers" and "Fanny and Alexander." His third nomination was for Philip Kaufman’s "The Unbearable Lightness of Being." Other awards include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Cinematographers, two BAFTA nominations, three nominations including one win from the British Society of Cinematographers, a win at Cannes, a Cesar Award, an Independent Spirit Award, a Guldbagge Award and a myriad of other such accolades from film festivals and critic societies around the world.
Sven Nykvist was sought out by other great directors. Bergman fan Woody Allen worked with him on four projects including "Crimes and Misdemeanors." Mr. Nykvist helped Roman Polanski achieve a twisted madness in "The Tenant." Fellow Swede Lasse Halstrom called on Sven Nykvist twice, most notably in "What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?" Mr. Nykvist’s cinematography was one of the few things that did work in Bob Raphelson’s remake of "The Postman Always Rings Twice." He helped achieve the feeling of the hopeless doom of Stalin’s political prisons in "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich." He captured the beauty of ancient in the 1972 adaptation of Herman Hesse’s novel "Sidhartha." He worked with Louis Malle on "Pretty Baby" and "Black Moon."
Other notable cinematography credits include Richard Fleischer’s "The Last Run," "The Dove," "King of the Gypsies," "Cannery Row," "Star 80," "Agnes of God," "Chaplin" and "Sleepless in Seattle."
Sven Nykvist also directed a handful of films. Those include "The Ox," "One on One" and "Gorilla." He was the father of director Carl-Gustaf Nykvist. Carl-Gustaf documented his father’s career in "Light Keeps Me Company." More valuable to students of film is the amazing documentary "Visions of Light." Mr. Nykvist is just one of many great cinematographers who explain their art and share their passion for those wonderful images we call the movies.
JOHN PETTERSON Died Sept. 20, 2006
Gospel composer John Peterson died at age 84. Mr. Peterson composed over 1000 songs during his career. His autobiography "The Miracle Goes On" was turned into a 1976 film starring David Pearson as Mr. Peterson. The film was produced by Gospel Films. Mr. Peterson served on the film company’s board at one time. He was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1986. John Peterson served his country as a pilot in the US Army-Air Corp during WWII.
ALLISTER BOWTELL Died Sept. 20, 2006
Model maker Allister Bowtell died of prostate cancer at age 66. Mr. Bowtell was a sculptor who contributed models for a number of films and TV shows. He designed the Cybermen for the British sci-fi TV series "Dr. Who." Mr. Bowtell also made models for "The Benny Hill Show," "Whoops Apocalypse" and for Monty Python.
CHARLES LAWSON Died Sept. 21, 2006
Writer and Emmy-nominated producer Charles Lawson died at age 83. Mr. Lawson was nominated for an Outstanding Dramatic Series Emmy for "The F.B.I." Mr. Larson’s TV career began in the earliest days of the medium. He wrote for such TV series as "Studio One," "Sky King," "The Long Ranger," "Climax!," "One Step Beyond," "Rawhide," "The Virginian," "Hawaii 5-O" and "Trapper John M.D." In addition to producing "The F.B.I." Mr. Lawson also produced such shows as the Glenn Ford TV series "Cade’s County," "Twelve O’Clock High" and "The Interns."
THOMAS PISKURA Died Sept. 22, 2006
Producer Thomas Piskura died after a 45-year film career. Mr. Piskura began working in film and TV in the early 1950s. He was an assistant to the producer on the first "Dirty Harry" sequel "Magnum Force." Mr. Piskura also worked on the sci-fi environmental film "Silent Running." He also produced the documentary "The Making of Silent Running." Mr. Piskura produced the Stephen Baldwin action film "Sub Down."JERRY DEBONO Died Sept. 22, 2006
Emmy nominated writer Jerry DeBono died of lymphoma at age 75. Mr. DeBono was nominated for an Emmy award for writing the first episode of the TV series "Marcus Welby M.D." Among his many writing credits are "Dr. Kildare," "Star Trek" and "The Invaders."
EDWARD ALBERT Died Sept. 22, 2006
Actor Edward Albert died of lung cancer at age 55. Mr. Albert was the son of multi-Oscar nominated actor Eddie Albert. His mother was actress Margo (Lost Horizon). Eddie Albert died last May. Edward Albert won a Golden Globe as Most Promising Newcomer for the 1972 film "Butterflies Are Free." Edward Albert appeared in over 120 films and TV shows during his career. Mr. Albert made his film debut as a child starring opposite Anthony Perkins in "The Fool Killer." Mr. Albert’s many film credits include "40 Carats," "Midway," Stanley Kramer’s "The Domino Principle," "The Greek Tycoon," the Irwin Allen disaster of a disaster film "When Time Ran Out," "Galaxy of Terror," "The House Where Evil Dwells" and "Guarding Tess." Mr. Albert appeared in a host of TV series and TV movies.
MARY ORR Died Sept. 22, 2006
Writer Mary Orr died at age 94. Ms. Orr wrote the short story on which the classic film "All About Eve" was based. She was the widow of writer Reginald Denham. Mr. Denham’s only daughter was the first wife of actor Peter Ustinov. She co-wrote the play "Wallflower" with her late husband. It was turned into a 1948 film starring Robert Hutton. Ms. Off also wrote for such TV shows as "Mr. and Mrs. North" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."
CHRISTOPHER CRAWFORD Died Sept. 22, 2006
Christopher Crawford, the adopted son of actress Joan Crawford died of cancer at age 62. Mr. Crawford was the brother by adoption of Christina Crawford. Their unhealthy and unhappy childhood was the subject of the book and film "Mommie Dearest." Mr. Crawford told the press that his sister’s book was an accurate account of their abusive upbringing. He was portrayed Jeremy Reinbolt and Xander Berkeley in the film "Mommie Dearest."
GABRIELLE WOODS Died Sept. 23, 2006
Actress Gabrielle Woods died at age 95. Ms. Woods was the widow of actor Edward A. Woods. Mrs. Woods married Eddie Woods in 1947. Their 47-year marriage ended with the death of Mr. Woods in 1989. Eddie Woods was James Cagney’s co-star in the classic Warner Brothers Gangster film "Public Enemy." His death scene in "Public Enemy" is one of the most famous in film history. Mrs. Woods appeared in the 2000 film "The Crow: Salvation."
TIMOTHY ROONEY Died Sept. 23, 2006
Timothy Rooney, the son of actor Mickey Rooney died of dermatomyositis at age 59. The disease attacks the muscular system causing weakness and soreness in the muscles accompanied by severe rashes. Timothy Rooney appeared in a handful of films and TV shows. His credits include "Village of the Giants," "King of the Roaring 20s: The Story of Arnold Rothstein," "Bewitched," "Riot on the Sunset Strip," "The Loners" and "Storyville."
SIR MALCOLM ARNOLD Died Sept. 23, 2006
Oscar-winning composer Sir Malcolm Arnold died of a chest infection at age 84. Sir Arnold won an Oscar for his memorable score to the classic War movie "The Bridge on the River Kwai." The score was written in a mere 10 days! Sir Arnold scored nearly 100 films in his lengthy career. His many film credits include "Africa-Texas Style!," "The Heroes of Telemark," the original version of "The Thin Red Line," "Nine Hours to Rama," "Lisa," "Whistle Down the Wind," "Suddenly, Last Summer," "Solomon and Sheba," "Dunkirk," "Island in the Sun," the original version of "1984," "I Am a Camera" and "The Seas Shall Not Have Them."
PATRICK TULL Died Sept. 23, 2007
British actor Patrick Tull died at age 65. Mr. Tull appeared in the films "Mosquito Squadron," "Parting Glances" and "Sleepers." Mr. Tull did guest shots on a number of TV shows including "Thriller," "Dr. Who," "Z Cars" and its spin-off "Softly, Softly."
GENE RUTHERFORD Died Sept. 24, 2006
Actor Gene Rutherford died at age 67. The character actor appeared in a number of Western films and TV series during his career. His many credits include the excellent Charlton Heston Western "Will Penny." Other credits include "Hurry Sundown," "The Andy Griffith Show," "The Monkees," "Gunsmoke," "Mannix," "Bonanza," "Adam-12" and "Matt Houston."
LILIAN TOTH Died Sept. 24, 2006
Makeup artist Lilian Toth died at age 81. Ms. Toth worked on a number of films and TV shows including "Risky Business," "The Color of Money," "Dillinger," "The Blues Brothers," "The Fury," "The Sting," "Endless Love," "T.R. Baskin," "Code of Silence," "Damien: Omen II" and "Wildcats."
TETSURO TAMBA Died Sept. 24, 2006
Award-winning Japanese actor Tetsuro Tamba died of pneumonia at age 84. The prolific actor appeared in over 200 films during his lengthy career. He played the head of Japan’s Secret Service Tiger Tanaka in the James Bond film "You Only Live Twice." Mr. Tamba appeared in Kinji Fukasaku’s Gangster epic "The Yakuza Papers: Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Proxy War." Horror fans will remember Mr. Tamba from the classic Oscar-nominated ghost story "Kaidan." Mr. Tamba won a Best Supporting Actor award from the Awards of the Japanese Academy for his performance in war film "The Battle of Port Arthur." Other credits include "The Bushido Blade," "Message From Space" and "Tidal Wave."
JOHN BOSKOVICH Died Sept. 24, 2006
Writer John Boskovich died of yet undetermined causes at age 49. Mr. Boskovich co-wrote the movie "Without You I’m Nothing" with actress Sandra Bernhard. He also directed the 1990 comedy.
IVA TOGURI Died Sept. 26, 2006
The woman convicted of being the infamous Tokyo Rose died at age 90. Iva Toguri was an American citizen who found herself stranded in Japan at the outbreak of WWII. Following the war, Ms. Toguri was returned to the US and tried for treason. She was convicted of being Tokyo Rose, though the evidence was flimsy at best. After an appearance on "60 Minutes" in 1976, her story caused many to take a second look at her case. President Gerald Ford pardoned Ms. Toguri in 1977. Her story was the subject of the "A&E Biography" episode "Tokyo Rose: Victim of Propaganda?" Ironically Ms. Toguri was born on the Fourth of July!
LIONEL MURTON Died Sept. 26, 2006
Canadian actor Lionel Murton died of natural causes at age 91. Mr. Murton appeared in over 60 films and TV shows during a career that spanned the 1940s through the 1970s. Mr. Murton often played military characters. He played the 3rd Army Chaplin called upon by George C. Scott's General Patton to write an intercessory prayer during the Battle of the Bulge scene in "Patton." Other film credits include Robert Aldrich's "Twilights Last Gleaming," "The Revolutionary," "The Last Shot You Hear," "The Mouse That Roared" and "Fire Down Below." Mr. Murton was a prolific TV actor. His many TV credits include "O.S.S.," "Danger Man," "Invisible Man," "Man in a Suitcase," "Journey to the Unknown" and "Yanks Go Home!" Director Val Guest cast Mr. Murton in several films including "Carry On Admiral," "The Runaway Bus," "Up the Creek," "Further Up the Creek" and "Confessions of a Window Cleaner."
STANLEY CHERRY Died Sept. 27, 2006
Director/writer turned psychological counselor Stanley Cherry died of cancer at age 74. Mr. Cherry wrote scripts for a number of TV series and a few feature films. He alsp directed numerous TV shows. Mr. Cherry’s directing credits include the TV shows "Bring Me the Head of Dobis Gillis," "Flipper," "The Addams Family," "Peyton Place," "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Petticoat Junction." Mr. Cherry’s scripts include the Bette Davis crime comedy "Bunny O’Hare." Mr. Cherry retired from the industry and returned to college at age 60. He became a family counselor. Mr. Cherry started a support group for people suffering from cancer while he himself suffered from head and neck cancer.
THOMAS COLEMAN Died Sep. 27, 2006
Grip Tom Coleman died of natural causes at age 61. Mr. Coleman was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 80. He worked on such films as "The Pinballs," "Francesca, Baby" and "Beat the Turtle Drum."
MYRON GALLOWAY Died Sept. 28, 2006
Canadian actor and theater critic Myron Galloway died of lung cancer at age 85. Mr. Galloway acted on radio in the 1930s and 40s. He was a well known figure in the Canadian theater scene. Mr. Galloway wrote theatrical reviews for the Montreal Star and The Suburban Weekly. Mr. Galloway appeared in the Made for TV films "Ford: The Man and the Machine" and "Spearfield’s Daughter."
HELEN VAN DONGEN Died Sept. 28, 2006
Filmmaker Helen Van Dongen died at age 97. Ms. Van Dongen began her career in the silent film era. She worked in Europe and Russia before coming to the US. Ms. Van Dongen taught Film Editing at the University of Moscow in the 1930s and worked with Sergei Eisenstein. Ms. Van Dongen produced the 1948 Robert (Nanook of the North) Flaherty film "Louisiana Story." The picture at right is of her and Mr. Flaherty during the production of that film. She produced films for the United Nations and the US Office of War Information during WWII. Ms. Van Dongen’s credits include "Rain," "The Spanish Earth," "The 400 Million" and "Russians at War."
WILLAIM MAUCH Died Sept. 29, 2006
Emmy nominated Sound Editor and actor William Mauch died of respiratory failure at age 85. Mr. Mauch began his career as a singer with his twin brother Robert Mauch. He worked as an actor before becoming a sound effects and dialogue editor. He received Emmy nominations for his editing work on "Murder She Wrote" and "Knight Rider." I still have nightmares because of Mr. Mauch's creepy audio creation for the sci-fi classic "Them!" As a sound editor for Warner brothers in the 1950s, he created the memorable sound of the giant ants in the Oscar winning sci-fi film. Mr. Mauch was also the man who brought you all the sounds of burning rubber and crashing metal in the granddaddy of all chase scenes from "Bullitt." He later worked as a dialogue editor at both Warner brothers and Universal. Mr. Mauch worked on over 300 films and TV shows during his lengthy career as an editor. As a child and young adult actor he appeared in "Anthony Adverse," several of the "Penrod and Sam" films, "The Prince and the Pauper" and the Ronald Reagan films "That Hagen Girl" and "Bedtime for Bonzo." Mr. Mauch served his country in the US Army/Air Corps in the Pacific during WWII. Mr. Mauch was a longtime member of the Editor's Guild Local #776.
GEORGE LEE Died Sept. 29, 2006
Actor/radio personality/teacher George Lee died of pancreatic cancer at age 67. George Lee was a noted radio personality in North Carolina. He also taught filmmaking at the North Carolina School of Arts. George Lee’s film and TV credits include the mini-series "Chiefs," "Patch Adams," "The Program" and "Hellraiser III." IMDB lists many more films for Mr. Lee, but the list cannot be trusted as some of his credits occurred before he was born! If anyone who knew Mr. Lee would contact me with his correct filmography, I would be happy to update this tribute.
ISABEL BIGLEY Died Sept. 30, 2006
Tony-award-winning actress Isabel Bigley died at age 80. Ms. Bigley had a successful Broadway career. She won her Tony award in the original production of "Guys and Dolls." She appeared as herself on a number of TV shows during the early 1950s including "Premiere" and "Toast of the Town." She retired from acting the year I was born!