COL. PAUL TIBBETS Died Nov. 1, 2007
American hero Col. Paul Tibbets died at age 92 after a period of declining health. Col. Tibbets piloted the US Superfortress Enola Gay on the first nuclear mission over Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. The bomb blast killed over 80,000 people, but in turn saved millions of lives by bringing an end to the Pacific Theater of operation during WWII. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki three days later caused the unconditional surrender of Japan and ended the need for a bloody invasion of Japan. Col. Tibbets flew B-17 missions in Europe. He lead the first B-17 mission into Europe as a member of the famed 8th Air Force. He returned to the US and became a test pilot for the B-29 Superfortress. Considered by many in the military to be the best bomber pilot of the war, Col. Tibbets was given the mission that would end the war. His plane, the Enola Gay was named after his mother. Paul Tibbets appeared in several documentaries including "The World at War" and "Price for Peace." Col. Tibbets has been portrayed by a number of actors in feature films and TV shows. Barry Nelson played him in the 1947 film "The Beginning or the End." In 1952 Robert Taylor played him in "Above and Beyond." Patrick Duffy had the honors in the TV movie "Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission and the Atomic Bomb." Thanks you for your unwavering service to your country in the face of an enemy bent on world domination and destruction.
CLARICE SHERRY Died Nov. 1, 2007
Documentary filmmaker Austin Mutti-Mewse has informed me that yet another actress from the 1930s has passed on. Once again, I gladly step aside for Mr. Mutti-Mewse and thank him for this tribute to Ms. Sherry.
Clarice Sherry, the Hollywood film starlet who made a string of movies during the 1930s died of an aneurysm in Los Angeles on November 1, she was 93. Clarice Sherry's close friend Dorothy Dare recalled Clarice as being, "A beautiful sweet woman." Clarice spent much of her Hollywood career being confused with character actress Gladys Blake. Dorothy Dare said both women detested one another particularly as they both dated the same man, actor Gordon Richards. Hollywood gossip queen Hedda Hopper was on hand at Ciro's one night when the pair fought 'like wildcats'. Dorothy Dare retold the story: "Gordon had confused the two and made arrangements for a date, being "confused" he made a date on the same night at the Hollywood hot-spot Ciro's. Gordon had arrived with Clarice and not too long after Gladys showed up looking for Gordon. Well, gals being gals, they fought and pulled hair and broke dishes and spaghetti went airborn! It was a mess and I was not eyewitness to the fiasco but dear old Hedda was and she wrote about it and really scolded the gals and as for Gordon, well, he was pretty much unscathed! It happened that Barbara Stanwyck was also an eyewitness and she told me that in fact Gladys Blake started it." Clarice Sherry, who was born in Brooklyn on January 23, 1914, became best known for her portrayal of Queen Glenda of Frigia in the Flash Gordon series during the 1940s and as Myrna Loy's bridesmaid Bebe in 'Manproof' (1938). Her favourite film was 'Fast and Furious' (1939), in which she played 'Miss Brooklyn' opposite Ann Sothern (who became a lifelong friend) and Franchot Tone. Her other film credits include: 'The Girl Friend' (1935), also with Ann Sothern, 'One in a Million' (1936) wit Sonja Henie and Don Ameche, the romantic thriller 'The Emperor's Candlesticks' (1937), 'Honolulu' (1939), with George Burns and Gracie Allen, and 'The Women' (1939).
SONNY BUPP Died Nov. 1, 2007
Former child actor Sonny Bupp died at age 79. Mr. Bupp appeared in over 60 films during his career. He played Orson Welles son in the classic "Citizen Kane." Mr. Bupp was one of the last surviving cast member of that film. He also appeared in Ronald Reagan's first film "Love is in the Air." The photo at right is of Mr. Bupp with William 'Hopalong Cassidy' Boyd in the 1939 film "The Renegade Trail." Among Mr. Bupp's other credits "Annie Oakley" with Barbara Stanwyck, "Kid Millions," the classic Ronald Coleman version of "Lost Horizon," "Angels With Dirty Faces," "Tennessee Johnson" and "The Devil and Daniel Webster." I spoke with his widow Theresa Bupp. She stated that she appreciated the outpouring from his fans, but she was a bit overwhelmed at the moment and wasn't sure when she would be able to respond to all the cards and letters. She would appreciate your patience in her time of transition. Mr. Bupp served his country in the US Army during WWII. As an adult, Mr. Bupp worked as an auto industry exec. Thanks for the service to your country.
DAVID MARTA Died Nov. 2, 2007
Cameraman David Marta died at age 58. He was the son of Emmy-winning cinematographer Jack Marta. Mr. Marta worked with his father on "The Trial of Billy Jack." Mr. Marta worked on numerous TV shows including "Coach," "Little House on the Prairie" and "Hawaii Five-O."
HENRY CELE Died Nov. 2, 2007
South African actor Henry Cele died of a chest infection at age 58. Mr. Cele was best known for playing the title role in the TV mini-series "Shaka Zulu." Mr. Cele portrayed the 19th century Zulu chief who waged war on the British Empire. Henry Cele was a professional soccer goalie before turning to acting. The epic-miniseries "Shaka Zulu" was his film debut. Anyone who has seen the show can not deny the power of Mr. Cele's performance. Mr. Cele reprised his role as the warrior chief in the 2001 TV movie "Shaka Zulu: The Citadel." Other film credits include Michael Douglas' "The Ghost and the Darkness" and the biopic "Schweitzer" with Malcolm McDowell.
THE FABULOUS MOOLAH Died Nov. 2, 2007
Professional wrestler Lillian Ellison, known to fans for the past 60 years as The Fabulous Moolah died at age 84. According to the WWE, she reigned as champion for 24 years, the longest such reign in sports history. Ms. Ellison starred in the documentary film "Lipstick and Dynamite" which looked at the world of female wrestling. She began her career in 1949 and continued working through 2006.
ELMORE BURINGRUD Died Nov. 2, 2007
Engineer Elmore 'Moe' Buringrud died at age 84. Mr. Buringrud worked as an engineer for the Kenworth Truck Company for his entire working career. He was the man who designed the two specialty trucks used during the filming of the James Bond film "License To Kill." Mr. Buringrud's trucks could pop wheelies and drive on two wheels to avoid being hit by bazooka fire! He explained how he did it in the documentary "Kenworth Truck Stunt Featurette" which was included in the DVD release of "License To Kill." Mr. Buringrud served his country in the US Army during WWII. He served in the Pacific Theater of Operations and saw action at Iwo Jima. Thanks for your service to our country.
MARILYN MARTINEZ Died Nov. 3, 2007
Comedienne Marilyn Martinez died of colon cancer at age 52. Ms. Martinez was one of the Showtime Channel's "Original Latin Divas of Comedy." Her film and TV credits include "Pauly Shore is Dead," "Urban Jungle," "Hot Tamales Live: Spicy, Hot and Hilarious," "My Wife and Kids" and "For Da Love of Money."
JUNE SAMSON Died Nov. 3, 2007
Script supervisor June Samson died of complications from a fall at age 77. Here many credits include "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers," "Harry and Tonto," "Bound for Glory," "The Deer Hunter," "Coming Home," "Heaven's Gate," "The Stone Killer," "…And Justice For All," "The Challenge," "Against All Odds," "Murphy's Romance," Top Gun" and "Dangerous Minds."
JOE VERSCHAREN Died Nov. 3, 2007
Singer Joe VerScharen died of cancer at age 67. The baritone singer was an original member of the singing group "The Skyliners." Their hit song "Since I Don't Have You" was heard on the soundtracks of such films and TV shows as "American Graffiti," "Shag" and "The Sopranos." Mr. VerScharen was one of the writers of the song. The band broke up after two albums. The reunited at 1968 Madison Square Garden concert. That concert became the subject of Ricky Nelson's hit song "Garden Party."
SERGE ROUSSEAU Died Nov. 3, 2007
Actor and talent agent Serge Rousseau died of cancer at age 77. Mr. Rousseau was a close friend of director Francois Truffaut and was one of two speakers at the director's funeral. Mr. Rousseau appeared in three films by his friend: "Stolen Kisses," "The Bride Wore Black" and "The Green Room." Mr. Rouseau's widow, actress Marie Dubois was director Truffaut's leading lady in "Jules and Jim" and "Shoot the Piano Player." Mr. Rousseau's other credits include "The Sleeping Car Murders," "Mata Hari" and "Is Paris Burning?"
GEORGE RUTTER Died Nov. 4, 2007
Script supervisor George Rutter died of a leg infection at age 91. Mr. Rutter was the script supervisor for nearly every episode of the original "Star Trek" TV series. Other credits include the original "Outer Limits" TV series and "IT! The Terror From Beyond Space." "IT! The Terror From Beyond Space" was the inspiration for Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic "Alien." George Rutter served his country in the US Army-Air Corp during WWII.
PETER VIERTEL Died Nov. 4, 2007
Novelist and screenwriter Peter Viertel died of lymphoma just shy of his 87th birthday. Mr. Viertel died 20 days after the death of his wife, actress Deborah Kerr. Mr. Viertel collaborated with director John Huston on three films: "We Were Strangers," "Beat the Devil" and "The African Queen." Mr. Viertel's novel "Black Hunter, White Heart" was a veiled account of his experiences with John Huston working on "The African Queen." Mr. Viertel adapted his own novel for the screen. Actor Jeff Fahey played the character based on Mr. Viertel. Mr. Viertel's impressive list of credits include Alfred Hitchcock's "Saboteur," "Decision Before Dawn," "The Sun Also Rises," "The Night Heaven Fell" and "The Old Man and the Sea."
ANTHONY BAVERO Died Nov. 4, 2007
Property master Anthony Bravero died at age 91. Mr. Bavero was a 51-year-member of I.A.T.S.E. Local #44. Mr. Bavero's many film credits include "That's Entertainment II," "The Outfit" and "The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!" Mr. Bavero also worked on numerous episodes of the hit TV series "Rawhide."
PAUL NORRIS Died Nov. 6, 2007
Comic book artist Paul Norris died at age 93. Mr. Norris co-created the character "Aquaman" with fellow artist Mort Weisinger in 1940. The character has been the subject of numerous animated TV series.
HILDA BRAID Died Nov. 6, 2007
British actress Hilda Braid died at age 78. Ms. Briad had been suffering from dementia. Hilda Braid was best known for the role of Nana Moon in the long-running TV series "EastEnders." She played the character in 200 episodes. Ms. Briad appeared in over 60 films and TV shows during her career. Her film credits include the live-action version of "101 Dalmatians," "Mrs. Dalloway," "Killer's Moon" and "The Wildcats of St. Trinian's." Her many TV credits include "Z Cars," "Softly, Softly," "Emmerdale Farm" and "The Onedin Line."
GEORGE OSMOND Died Nov. 6, 2007
Singing family patriarch George Osmond died of undisclosed causes at age 90. George and Olive Osmond parented the group of singing siblings who enjoyed success on TV and the recording industry. Their nine children are Viril, Tom, Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Donny, Jimmy and Marie. Mr. Osmond was portrayed by actor Bruce McGill in the TV movie "Inside the Osmonds." Actor Joseph Bottoms played George Osmond in the TV movie "Side by Side: The True Story of the Osmond Family."
ROBERT ROLLIS Died Nov. 6, 2007
Prolific French character actor Robert Rollis died of cancer at age 86. Mr. Rollis was a familiar face in his native land with bit parts in nearly 150 films and TV shows. Mr. Rollis began his film career before the outbreak of WWII and continued to work on TV until 2005. Mr. Rollis appeared in such films as "Adorable Creatures," "Any Number Can Win," "Weekend at Dunkirk" and "A Slightly Pregnant Man."
HANK THOMPSON Died Nov. 6, 2007
Country Music Hall of Fame singer Hank Thompson died of lung cancer at age 82. Mr. Thompson had nearly 30 Top 10 hits including the #1 song "The Wild Side of Life." His music can be heard on the soundtracks of such films as "Smoky," "Every Which Way But Loose," "U Turn," "Secondhand Lions" and "Slither." Mr. Thompson performed on such TV shows as "The Joey Bishop Show" and "Austin City Limits."
PETER HANDFORD Died Nov. 6, 2007
Oscar and BAFTA winning sound recordist Peter Handford died at age 88. Mr. Handford won the Oscar and BAFTA for his work on Sidney Pollack's "Out of Africa." He was also nominated for a second Oscar for his work on "Gorillas in the Mist." Mr. Handford received two more BAFTA nominations for "Hope and Glory" and "The Go-Between." He worked with Alfred Hitchcock on "Frenzy" and "Under Capricorn." Mr. Handford's craft helped capture Bernard Herrmann's classic score on Ray Harryhausen's "Mysterious Island." Mr. Handford's impressive list of credits also include "Havana," "White Hunter Black Heart," "Dangerous Liaisons," the 1979 remake of "The Lady Vanishes," "Julia," "Murder on the Orient Express," "Hitler: The Last Ten Days," "Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment," "Darling," "Tom Jones," "Billy Liar," "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning," "The Entertainer," "Sons and Lovers," "Room at the Top" and "Night and the City."
WAYNE ARTMAN Died Nov. 6, 2007
Oscar and Emmy nominated sound re-recording mixer Wayne Artman died just shy of his 71st birthday. Mr. Artman shared an Oscar nomination for his work on "The Witches of Eastwick." He received two Emmy nominations for his work on "The Tuskegee Airmen" and "Sinatra." Mr. Artman was honored by his peers with a CAS Award for "Into Thin Air: Death Everest." Wayne Artman worked on over 110 films and TV shows during his career. His many credits include "Wes Craven Presents Don't Look Down," the TV remake of "Pretty Poison," "Night of the Running Man," "Point of No Return," "Falling Down," "Passenger 57," "Glengarry Glen Ross," "Lethal Weapon 3," "The Last Boy Scout," "Child's Play 2," "Blind Faith," "Hard to Kill," "Tango & Cash," "Lean on Me," "Stakeout," "Armed and Dangerous," "Short Circuit," "Jagged Edge," "European Vacation," "Conan the Destroyer," "The Toy," "Things Are Tough All Over," "Conan the Barbarian," "Stripes," "Stir Crazy," "The Blue Lagoon," "Oh, God!," "The Front" and "Jonathan Livingston Seagull."
GEORGE W. GEORGE Died Nov. 7, 2007
Writer/film and Tony-nominated Broadway producer George W. George died at age 87. Mr. George produced the off beat "My Dinner With Andre." An interesting film not for all tastes. He co-wrote his first script, "The Bodyguard" with Robert Altman. The pair later collaborated when they co-directed the documentary "The James Dean Story." Mr. George wrote for over 30 TV shows and films. His credits include "Combat!," "Bonanza" and "Peter Gunn." Mr. George also produced plays on Broadway. He received three Tony nominations during his career. He received two Tony nominations for his 1964 production "Dylan" which was based on "Dylan Thomas in America." Mr. George produced both the Broadway and film versions of the thriller "Night Watch."
PHIL MELFI Died Nov. 7, 2007
Indie producer Phil Melfi died of heart failure at age 38. Mr. Melfi was the producer of the upcoming horror film "Tenebrous" which was filmed in my home state of Tennessee. Mr. Melfi was an associate producer on the US/Hungarian co-production "Getno." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends, especially his young daughter Taylor Ann.
MICHAEL DELAHOUSSAYE Died Nov. 8, 2007
Cinematographer Michael Delahoussaye died of multiple myeloma at age 58. He was a member of the International Cinematographers Fuild I.A.T.S.E. Local #600. Mr. Delahoussaye's credits include many videos for Playboy including "The Complete Anna Nicole Smith." His feature film credits include "They Still Call Me Bruce," "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigelo," "Inner Sanctum," "Chill Factor" and numerous episodes of the TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
FRANCINE PARKER Died Nov. 8, 2007
Director and teacher Francine Parker died of heart failure at age 81. Ms. Parker directed the anti-war documentary "F.T.A." "F.T.A." was produced by Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland. It followed the pair and a troupe of actors and musicians on a tour of military bases in the Pacific during the Vietnam War. The film focused on the performer's skits and the reaction of the many, many military personnel who saw the shows. The 1971 film was pulled from theaters within two weeks of its release. Ms. Parker taught film directing at a California college for the past two decades.
CAROLYN LASATER Died Nov. 10, 2007
Former Miss Utah and the 1962 Miss America first runner up Carolyn Lasater died at age 65. Ms. Lasater appeared in such films and TV shows as "Diary of a Bachelor," "Hawaiian Eye," "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" and "The Red Skelton Show."
NORMAN MAILER Died Nov. 10, 2007
Writer Norman Mailer died of renal failure at age 84. Norman Mailer was one of most colorful and controversial writers of the past century. He won two Pulitzer prizes for his books "The Executioner's Song" and "Armies of the Night." Norman Mailer was a left-wing man's man. Norman Mailer served his country in the US Army during WWII. His experiences became the basis for his debut novel "The Naked and the Dead." Director Raoul Walsh helmmed the film version in 1958. His novel "An American Dream" was filmed in 1966 starring Janet Leigh and Stuart Whitman. Norman Mailer wrote, produced and directed the 1968 comedy "Beyond the Law." He directed a total of four films. Norman Mailer was not a very good filmmaker. His strengths were in his writing and the lust for experience in his daily life. His best film as a director was the adaptation of his novel "Tough Guys Don't Dance." Still, that wasn't saying much about his skills as a filmmaker as Mr. Mailer earned two Razzie Nominations as Worst Director and Worst Screenplay for the movie! The two best film adaptations of his work were Made for TV movies. "Marilyn: The Untold Story" starred Catherine Hicks as the doomed sex goddess Marilyn Monroe. Mr. Mailer caught flack from some quarters when he released the Monroe biography as he was accused of plagiarism. Mailer's excellent true-crime novel "The Executioner's Song" was based on tons of research by Lawrence Schiller. The book ranks just below Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" as the best true-crime non-fiction novel. Tommy Lee Jones and Rosanna Arquette starred in the excellent film of condemned killer Gary Gilmore. Norman Mailer was nominated for an Emmy Award for adapting his book to the screen. Lawrence Schiller directed the movie. Mr. Mailer occasionally acted in film. He starred in his own film "Wild 90." His best remembered screen appearance was as architect and murder victim Stanford White in Milos Forman's "Ragtime." Mr. Mailer also appeared in the short film "The Obit Writer."
LARAINE DAY Died Nov. 10, 2007
Actress Laraine Day died of natural causes at age 87. Ms. Day appeared in over 80 films and TV shows during her career. She co-starred with Joel McCrea in Alfred Hitchcock's classic "Foreign Correspondent." The 1940 film was nominated for six Oscars. Tarzan fans may remember Ms. Day as the doomed biological mother of 'Boy' in "Tarzan Finds a Son." She and actor Morton Lowry played the parents of 'Boy' and were killed in a plane crash at the beginning of the film. Ms. Day stuck around mch longer in the "Dr. Kildare" movie series. She starred as Dr. Kildare's love interest in seven films in the series. Ms. Day made her film debut in the Barbara Stanwyck vehicle "Stella Dallas." Other credits include "I Take This Woman" with Spencer Tracy, "Unholy Partners" with Edward G. Robinson, "Mr. Lucky" with Cary Grant and John Wayne's "The High and the Mighty." Ms. Day was once married to baseball legend Leo Durocher. She was the widow of producer Michel Grilikhes.
FRANK COX Died Nov. 10, 2007
British variety star Frank Cox died at age 86. Mr. Cox and his twin brother Fred began entertaining their fellow Brits during WWII. They played Tweedledee (Frank) and Tweedledum (Fred) in the 1972 version of "Alice and Wonderland." Mr. Cox's film credits include Truffaut's "Fahrenheit 451," "Up Jumped a Swagman" and "Funny Bones."
DELBERT MANN Died Nov. 11, 2007
Oscar-winning director Delbert Mann died of pneumonia at age 87. Mr. Mann won the 1955 Best Director Oscar, the Golden Palm at Cannes and the DGA award for "Marty." Delbert Mann received three other DGA nominations for "Jane Eyre," "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" and "The Member of the Wedding." The DGA also honored Mr. Mann with the Robert Aldrich Achievement Award in 1997 and the Honorary Life Member Award in 2002." His other accolades include three Emmy nominations and three additional Golden Palm nominations at Cannes.
Delbert Mann began directing during the era of live TV. He directed numerous episodes of such TV shows as "Goodyear Television Playhouse," "Playhouse 90," "Sunday Showcase," "Philco Television Playhouse" and "Omnibus."
During the 1950s, Delbert Mann directed five feature films. "Marty" was his feature debut. The film received eight Oscar nominations and scored four wins including Best Picture, Best Actor (Ernest Borgnine) and Best Writer (Paddy Chayefsky). Delbert Mann reteamed with writer Paddy Chayefsky for his second feature film "The Bachelor Party." That film earned Carolyn Jones a Best Suppoting Actress Oscar nomination. His next feature was "Desire Under the Elms" with Sophia Loren and Tony Perkins. It received a Best Cinematography Oscar nomination. His fourth film was the classic "Separate Tables." Again Oscar smiles on Mr. Mann's film with seven nominations and two wins: Best Actor (David Niven) and Best Supporting Actress (Wendy Hiller). Delbert Mann's final film of the 1950s was "Middle of the Night" for which he received a Golden Palm nomination at Cannes.
Delbert Mann began the 1960s with one of my personal favorites "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs." Robert Preston starred as Rubin Flood in one of the most memorable films of the decade. Do not miss the chance to catch this gem on the late show. Shirley Knight received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her work in the film. Delbert Mann next helmmed the Rock Hudson/Doris Day romantic comedy "Lover Come Back." Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. Mr. Mann next directed the biopic "The Outsider." Long before Clint Eastwood's "Flags of Our Fathers," Delbert Mann focued in on the story of Ira Hayes, the native American Marine who helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima. Tony Curtis starred. Delbert Mann returned to the world of romantic comedy with the Cary Grant/Doris Day vehicle "That Touch of Mink." The film received three Oscar nominations. (Do you see a pattern yet!) Next Delbert Mann mixed romance and war. "A Gathering of Eagles" starred Rock Hudson and (guess what) received an Oscar nomination. The Glenn Ford/Geraldine Page comedy also received an Oscar nomination. James Garner starred in Mann's amnesia drama "Mr. Buddwing." That film received two Oscar nominations. While "Fitzwilly" did not receive any awards, the Dick Van Dyke comedy was a huge hit.
During the late 1960s Delbert Mann returned to his first love, directing TV. His 1968 TV movie "Heidi" became a footnote in history when the networks cut in on the final moment of the New York Jets/Oakland Raiders football game. The Jets led 32 to 29 when "Heidi" began. The final score after the last minute of play was 43 to 32 Oakland. The game became known as the "Heidi Bowl." The movie won John Williams an Emmy for his outstanding score.
For the rest of his career, Delbert Mann worked mainly in his beloved medium of television. His version of "All Quiet on the Western Front" reteamed him with "Marty" star Ernest Borgnine. Richard Thomas played the lead role in the excellent film. Mr. Mann received one of his three Emmy nominations for the 1979 movie. Other TV film credits include "A Girl Named Sooner," "Francis Gary Powers: The True Story of the U-2 Spy Incident" and "The Last Days of Patton" with George C. Scott.
Delbert Mann served his country in the US Army Air Corp during WWII. He was a B-24 pilot with the Eighth Air Force and flew 35 combat missions over Europe. Thanks for the great movies and thanks for your service to our country.
ROBERT 'CHIP' MONK Died Nov. 11, 2007
31-year-old cameraman Chip Monk was killed in a one-car accident while on location in Florida filming the upcoming film "Fireproof." Mr. Monk's widow is pregnant with the couple's first child. Mr. Monk was a respected stedicam operator. His many film credits include "The Waterboy," "Monster" and "Drowning." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
EMILY GAMBOA Died Nov. 11, 2007
Production coordinator Emily Gamboa died of pneumonia at age 68. Ms. Gamboa worked on such films as "Missing," "The Falcon and the Snowman," "Romancing the Stone," "Predator," "Old Gringo" and "Medicine Man."
JOHN PETERSON Died Nov. 11, 2007
John Peterson, the drummer for the 60s rock band "The Beau Brummels" and co-founder of the band "Harper' Bizarre" died of a heart attack at age 65. The "Harper' Bizarre" hit song "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy)" can be heard on the soundtrack of Michael Moore's "Sicko," the TV series "Desperate Housewives" and "The Kraft Music Hall." "The Beau Brummels" song "Just Wait and See" was performed by the band in the movie "Wild Wild Winter." "The Beau Brummels" also appeared in the movie "Village of the Giants."
KOJIRO KUSANAGI Died Nov. 11, 2007
Japanese actor Kojiro Kusanagi died of pneumonia at age 78. Mr. Kusanagi made his film debut starring in the landmark film 1956 "Darkness at Noon." Based on the true story of an innocent man arrested, tried and executed for a crime he didn't commit. Mr. Kusanagi appeared in over 40 films. Most of his work was in supporting roles. Other credits include "Alone on the Pacific," "The Sun," "Bee Bop High School" and "The Man Who Stole the Sun."
AL MANCINI Died Nov. 12, 2007
Actor Al Mancini died of Alzheimer's Disease at age 74. Mr. Mancini played condemned soldier Tassos Bravos in Robert Aldrich's classic "The Dirty Dozen." In the film, Mr. Mancini's character was befriended by fellow soldier Clint Walker. Their characters died guarding the cross-roads from a platoon of German soldiers during the film's climactic battle sequence. Al Mancini was the sixth actor of those who portrayed the Dozen to die. Al Mancini was also a beloved drama teacher. He shared his craft with others for over 30 years as a teacher at the Beverly Hills Playhouse. Mr. Mancini appeared in over 50 films and TV shows during his career. He was a regular on the British political satire series "That Was the Week That Was" for a dozen years. Other credits include "Falling Down," "Miller's Crossing," "Loose Canons," "Turk 182!," and "All in the Family."
IRA LEVIN Died Nov. 12, 2007
Novelist and Tony-Award-nominated playwright Ira Levin died of a heart attack at age 78. Three of Ira Levin's novels were turned into excellent films. Roman Polanski adapted and directed the film version Levin's occult novel "Rosemary's Baby." The horror masterpiece earned Polanski a Best Screenplay Adapted Oscar nomination. Actress Ruth Gordon won a Best Supporting Actress nomination for the film. Ira Levin's satirical sci-fi novel "The Stepford Wives" was filmed twice. The original version starring Katherine Ross is a classic of the genre. The remake with Nicole Kidman was a dismal failure and did not resemble Mr. Levin's book at all. The 1978 film "The Boys From Brazil" was a brilliant mix of horror, sci-fi and political thriller. Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier starred in the tale of an attempt to stop the cloning of Adolph Hitler. The film received three Oscar nominations including a Best Actor nod for Laurence Olivier. Mr. Levin's excellent debut novel "A Kiss Before Dying" was filmed twice with so-so results. His novel "Sliver" was turned into a sub-par Sharon Stone vehicle.
Ira Levin wrote nine Broadway plays. "Deathtrap" earned him a Best Play nomination. The play was adapted to the screen and starred Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve and Dyan Canon. Mr. Levin's first Broadway play was the comedy "No Time For Sergeants." Andy Griffith starred. Don Knotts made his Broadway debut in the play. Both actors reprised their roles for the 1958 film version. His Broadway play "Dr. Cook's Garden" was adapted to the small screen. Bing Crosby delivered a chilling performance as a small town doctor with a god complex who begins to kill his patients. The movie was part of the excellent ABC Movie of the Week series. Juna Allyson co-starred. Thanks for the goosebumps!!!
Entertainment Insiders' DVD critic Frank Cifaldi remembers meeting Ira Levin: In 1978, my school drama department made a trip to New York to see some of the plays that were the toast of Broadway. One evening, after having seen "Bubbling Brown Sugar", our group headed off for dinner at a deli with the pictures of famous stars all over the wall (Sardi's?). I was 15 and sat down for whatever sandwich I had ordered when I overheard a woman at the table next to ours saying that the gentleman with the beard sitting a few tables down from ours was Ira Levin, the author. Having read "Rosemary's Baby" and in my juvenile mind thinking that "The Stepford Wives" was the most amazing movie I had ever see up to that point, I knew exactly who Ira Levin was. But I had been told by my parents that you never broke into a meal while someone was eating and you NEVER interrupted an adult while they were talking. I kept looking over until finally I could contain myself no longer. On our way out of the deli, I stopped by the table and with all the courage I could muster, I excused myself for being rude but I wanted to tell Mr. Levin that we were going to see "Deathtrap" on the following night and how thrilled I was to meet him. Mr. Levin looked at me and I could feel myself turn to ice thinking I was going to get in trouble. He put his arm around me, asked my name and introduced me to his agent. He was very gracious and I somehow managed to ask for his autograph albeit somewhat breathlessly. The only paper I had was the paper menu I had taken off the table and he signed his name to it without hesitation. Mr. Levin then asked why I was in New York and I told him I was with my drama group and he asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Starry eyed, I told him I wanted to be an actor or a writer. He laughed and said "Both are fine careers. I cannot tell you the joy I have gotten from writing because I get to meet people like you". I had never felt so important in my entire life and I almost cried on the spot because IRA LEVIN was happy to meet ME! We left the deli in the November chill and it started to rain. We walked everywhere because we couldn't afford to take taxi's and even though I tried to hide the signature under my shirt, the ink ran and for days I had the backwards signature of Ira Levin tattooed on my stomach. I kept the faded, rumpled piece of paper for a number of years until one day I threw it away thinking that I could always write to Mr. Levin and tell him of that night and, of course, HE would remember ME because, afterall, he had been happy to meet me. I never wrote the letter and I am sure that Mr. Levin wouldn't have remember me all those years later but I will never forget that on one November night, in 1978, I felt like the most important person on the face of the earth.
FERDINANDO BALDI Died Nov. 12, 2007
Italian writer/director/producer Ferdinando Baldi died at age 80. Mr. Baldi directed nearly 40 films during his career. He began his career directing films in the Sword and Sandal genre. He co-directed "David and Goliath" which starred Orson Welles. Mr. Welles also appeared in Mr. Baldi's film "The Tartars." Mr. Baldi's other credits in the genre include "Son of Cleopatra" and "The Sword of El Cid." During this same time period Mr. Baldi was an associate producer on Mario Bava's masterpiece "The Whip and the Body." Ferdinando Baldi is best remembered for his many Spaghetti Westerns. While he was no Sergio Leone, Mr. Baldi did direct several westerns fondly remembered by fans. His 1967 film "Little Rita of the West" was the first Spaghetti Western film credit of star Terrence Hill. Franco Nero gave a memorable performance in the otherwise forgettable "Texas, Addio." Mr. Baldi's "Blindman" was his take on the Japanese "Zatoichi" film series. Frequent collaborator, writer/actor Tony Anthony starred in the title role and Beatles' drummer Ringo Starr co-starred. Mr. Anthony also co-wrote and starred in Mr. Baldi's 3-D Spaghetti Western "Comin' At Ya!" The film's plot was so-so but the special effects were pretty good. Mr. Baldi appeared as himself in the excellent documentary "The Spaghetti West."
LESTER ZIFFREN Died Nov. 12, 2007
Journalist and screenwriter Lester Ziffren died of congestive heart failure at age 101. Mr. Ziffren was a reporter during the Spanish Civil War. Mr. Ziffren wrote nine scripts during his stint in Hollywood including five films in the "Charlie Chan" movie series.
MONTY WESTMORE Died Nov. 13, 2007
Oscar and Emmy nominated makeup artist Monty Westmore (pictured with actress Ona Munsen) died of natural causes at age 84. Mr. Westmore was part of the legendary makeup artist family. He was in the third of four (so far) generations of movie make up artists! Mr. Westmore was nominated for an Oscar for his work on Steven Speilberg's "Hook." He's the guy who turned Glen Close into a male pirate in "Hook." He received two Emmy nominations for his work on "The Late Shift" and "Who Will Love My Children." Mr. Westmore worked on over 75 films during his impressive career. He worked with director Robert Altman on five films including "A Wedding" and "Quintet." "Quintet" star Paul Newman called on Mr. Westmore to make him look good (or bad) in 17 films. Mr. Westmore worked his magic on Mr. Newman in such films as "The Verdict," "The Color of Money," "The Drowning Pool," "Fat Man and Little Boy," "The Towering Inferno" and the hilarious John Huston western "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean." Mr. Westmore's many credits include "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?," "Straight Jacket," "Rio Lobo," "Uptown Saturday Night," "Let's Do It Again," "Lipstick," "Endangered Species," "Airplane 2," "Stand By Me," "Garden's of Stone," "The Shawshank Redemption" and "se7en." Mr. Westmore's father was "Gone With the Wind" makeup artist Monte Westmore.
PETER ZINER Died Nov. 13, 2007
Oscar and BAFTA-winning film editor Peter Ziner died at age 88. Mr. Zinner was nominated for three Oscars for his work on "The Godfather," "The Deer Hunter" and "An Officer and a Gentleman." He won and Oscar and a BAFTA for "The Deer Hunter." Mr. Zinner's work on "The Godfather: Part II" earned him a second BAFTA nomination. Mr. Ziner was nominated four times for Emmy Awards and won twice. He won for miniseries "War and Remembrance" and the excellent HBO film "Citizen Cohn." His other two nominations were for "The Winds of War" and "Conspiracy." Mr. Ziner's peers in the American Cinema Editor's Guild honored him with six Eddie nominations of which he won four. His first Eddie came for Richard Brooks classic Western "The Professionals." His second was for "The Godfather." Mr. Ziner won four Eddies for "The Deer Hunter," "War and Remembrance," "Citizen Cohn" and "Dirty Pictures."
Mr. Ziner came up through the studio system in various capacities for Fox and Universal. He also worked as a music editor on such films as "Lord Jim," "X-15," and the US version of "King Kong vs. Godzilla." Peter Ziner's many other film editor credits include Blake Edwards' "Gunn," Richard Brooks' "In Cold Blood," "Darling Lili," "Crazy Joe," "Mahogany," the 1976 version of "A Star is Born" and "Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture."
GEORGIANA YOUNG Died Nov. 13, 2007
Once again, I happily defer to and thank British filmmaker Austin Mutti-Mewse for his tribute to Georgiana Young, the sister of actress Loretta Young and wife of actor Ricardo Montaban.
Georgiana Young, who has died in Beverly Hills at the age of 84, was the youngest and least well-know of the Young sisters, Loretta Young being the most famous of the siblings followed by Sally Blane and Polly Ann Young. Despite actually being a half-sister, Loretta insisted Georgiana be treated as 'one of their own.' Despite her exquisite beauty and much hype and promise, the sisters made only one film together 'The Story of Alexander Graham Bell' (1939). "I was never comfortable in front of the movie cameras," she said. "I never had the same drive as Loretta nor the looks of Sally or Polly gusto. In truth movies and the life of a movie star scared me to death."
Born Georgiana Belzer on September 30, 1923, she acted during the 1930s as Anne Royal. Her 'stage mother' Gladys Royal pushed baby Georgiana into the movie business at a tender age often appearing as an un-billed extra in films starring her sisters. Georgiana's father George Belzer also worked within the movie industry. Her parents divorced when Georgiana was still an infant.
It wasn't until the tale end of the 1930s that Georgiana began to find her own way. She spent three years under contract to David O. Selznick and was screen tested for the role of Scarlet O'Hara and then as Scarlet's younger sister Suellen in 'Gone with the Wind' (1939). She lost out to both Vivien Leigh and Evelyn Keyes. Georgiana blamed her lack of success on her height, "I was taller than Vivien Leigh, taller than Evelyn Keyes and Clark Gable - heck, I was taller than Tara!"
Georgiana Young's most important role off-screen was guarding the true identity of Loretta Young's love child Judy. Born Judy Young on November 6, 1935. Her father was Clark Gable. Because of the morality clause in both Gable and Loretta's contracts and the fact that Clark Gable was married, Loretta Young brought Judy up as her adopted daughter. "It was obvious just by looking at Judy who her father was," said Georgiana, "but I never told. I lost out on movie roles because producers said they would give me wonderful roles if I told, but I didn't, I wouldn't tell, so that was that." The secret remained so until the late 1950s.
Georgiana also lost out on the role of Whitey to Marian Martin in 'Boom Town' (1940) starring Clark Gable and to Luana Walters in the Buck Jones western 'Arizona Bound' (1941). When she did eventually succeed and take the lead in Herbert Wilcox movie 'No, No Nanette' (1940), it was all too short lived. Three days into shooting Wilcox decided he was in love with Anna Neagle and re-cast Georgiana as a show girl instead.
It was whilst Georgiana was modeling between movies that she caught the eye of 'Latin lover' Ricardo Montalban. He was a friend of Sally Blane's husband Norman Foster and whilst working on a Mexican film directed by Foster noticed Georgiana on set one day, "He said later on that after one glance he knew we'd marry," said Georgiana, "And I believed him." They married on October 26, 1944.
During the 1940s, Georgiana curtailed her modeling work (she modeled for Lux Soap, Coke Cola, Ford and was an early Levis model), and concentrated on her husbands career, accompanying him the work whilst he splashed around with Esther Williams in the aquatic melodrama "Neptune's Daughter" (1949), and the Film Noir classic "Border incident" (1949), in which she had a small un-billed cameo. Throughout the 1950s, Georgiana appeared on Loretta's highly successful TV chat show. Asked why their marriage succeeded where so many fail in Hollywood, Georgiana said, "because we have a sense of humour and best friends and trust one another."
Georgiana Young admitted being in awe of her sister Loretta. "I simply felt I'd never achieve what she achieved so never tried," she said. Loretta Young who affectionately nicknamed her sister 'Georgie' died in August, 2000 from ovarian cancer at Georgiana and Ricardo Montalban's home. Sally Blane and Polly Ann Young also succumbed to cancer.
Georgiana Young who died on November 13, has been interred in the Young's family plot in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, close to the former site of MGM studios, is survived by Ricardo Montalban and their four children; Laura Montalban is a successful clothing designer.
MICHAEL BLODGETT Died Nov. 14, 2007
Actor and writer Michael Blodgett died at age 67. He is best remembered for his role as pretty boy actor Lance Rocke in Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert's cult classic "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls." Horror movie fans remember Mr. Blodgett for his starring role in "The Velvet Vampire." Mr. Blodgett had a memorable supporting role as a wrongly condemned man in the Henry Fonda/Kirk Douglas Western "There Was a Crooked Man." He takes one of the most sever whipping ever captured on film in that movie. Mr. Blodgett turned to screenwriting when he failed to get better roles or roles tat didn't accent his good looks. Mr. Blodgett wrote the hit film "Turner and Hooch," Chuck Norris' "The Hero and the Terror" and Burt Reynolds' "Rent-A-Cop." Mr. Blodgett was married to actress Meredith Baxter from 1995 through 2000.
RONNIE BURNS Died Nov. 14, 2007
Former actor turned boat racer and businessman Ronnie Burns died of cancer at age 72. Mr. Burns was the adopted son of George Burns and Gracie Allen. He worked with his parents on the TV show "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show." He also worked with his father on "The George Burns Show." Mr. Allen's acting credits "The Honeymooners," "Playhouse 90" and "The Millionaire." He played the title role in the crime drama "Anatomy of a Psycho."
JOE BABAS Died Nov. 14, 2007
Key grip, second unit director and production designer Joe Babas died at age 62. Mr. Babas was production designer on the prison drama "Short Eyes." He worked as first AD on the TV movie "A Mistaken Charity." Mr. Babas was key grip on such films and TV shows as "G-String Divas" and "Enormous Changes at the Last Minute."
STEVEN WILLIS Died Nov. 14, 2007
Propmaker Steven Willis died at age 58. Mr. Willis was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local #44. His film credits include "Spaceballs," "Lifestinks" and "Erin Brockovich."
PIERRE GRANIER-DEFERRE Died Nov. 16, 2007
Award-winning French writer/director Pierre Granier-Deferre died of natural causes at age 80. Mr. Granier-Deferre won the French Cesar Award for Best Writing: Adapted for his 1982 film "The North Star." He was nominated for a Best Director and Best Writer Cesar for the film "A Strange Affair." That movie also won a prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. Other credits include "Le Train" and "The Cage." He also wrote 14 scripts for TV movies based on the "Inspector Maigret" novels.
HOLLIS ALPERT Died Nov. 18, 2007
Writer and film critic Hollis Alpert died at age 91. Mr. Alpert was Editor-in-Chief of "American Film" magazine as well as film critic for the "Saturday Review." He and film critic Pauline Kael founded the National Society of Film Critics in 1966. Like many guys my age, my first exposure to the writings of Hollis Alpert came through his work in "Playboy" magazine where he wrote the "History of Sex in the Cinema." Mr. Alpert wrote numerous biographies including works on Fellini, the Barrymores, Charlton Heston and Richard Burton.
GOLDA OFFENHEIM Died Nov. 18, 2007
British production coordinator Golda Offenheim died. Her age was not given. Ms. Offenheim was production secretary on such films as "The Guns of Navarone" and Norman Jewison's "Fiddler on the Roof." Ms. Offenheim worked with Mr. Jewison on the original version of "Rollerball." She mentored such people as line producer Patricia Carr 1970s. Ms. Offenheim worked on several James Bond films including "From Russia With Love" and "The Spy Who Loved Me." She worked as a production assistant and production coordinator for Dino De Laurentis on the films "Flash Gordon" and "Dune." Other credits include Milos Forman's "Ragtime," "Red Sonja" and "Daylight."
"Star Wars" production manager Patricia Carr remembered her mentor like this: Golda Offenheim was a legend in the UK film production community - and beyond. She was the doyenne of production co-ordinators, but she was so much more than that; she knew the film business inside out,and she devoted her life to it. Small in stature, but with a huge personality and an enormous heart also, she was a production powerhouse, as anyone who knew her would attest. I was lucky enough to be employed as her assistant on "Fiddler on the Roof" in 1970, and I owe so much to her for allowing me to learn my trade at her side. Thank you, Golda, may you rest in peace.
GYORGY MIKLOSY Died Nov. 18, 2007
Hungarian stage and screen actor Gyorgy Miklosy died at age 82. Mr. Miklosy was honored with numerous awards including the Little Cross for the Order of the Hungarian Republic. He appeared in nearly 90 films during his career. He also enjoyed a successful stage career. Mr. Miklosy played a police officer in the excellent HBO true-crime film "Citizen X." Other credits include "Miss Arizona" and "Diary for my Parents."
JAMES M. HART Died Nov. 19, 2007
Special effects technician James M. Hart died at age 64. Mr. Hart had been a member of the I.A.T.S.E. Local #44 for 33 years. His film credits include "Under the Rainbow," the US remake of "The Vanishing" and "Apollo 13."
DICK WILSON Died Nov. 19, 2007
Actor Dick Wilson died of natural causes at age 91. Though Mr. Wilson appeared in nearly 100 films and TV shows he was best known for portraying the character Mr. Whipple in over 500 TV commercials for Charmin toilet paper. For decades Mr. Whipple implored female shoppers to "Please, don't squeeze the Charmin!" only to have the female shopper then bust him for squeezing the same tissue. It was one of the most effective ad campaigns in TV history. Dick Wilson began working as a DJ in Canada while still a teen. Next to his stint as Mr. Whipple, Dick Wilson was also well known for playing 'drunk' characters in a number of TV shows including "Bewitched." He played Captain Gruber on the hit series "Hogan's Heroes." Mr. Wilson's feature film appearances include "What a Way To Go," "Our Man Flint," "Caprice," "Stay Away Joe," "The Shakiest Gun in the West" and "The Incredible Shrinking Woman."
PAUL BRODIE Died Nov. 19, 2007
Canadian classical saxophone master Paul Brodie died during heart surgery at age 73. Paul Brodie was honored by his native land as an Officer of the Order of Canada for his work as "Canada's ambassador of classical saxophone and founder of the World Saxophone Congress." Mr. Brodie's music can be heard on the soundtracks of the Richard Burton/Tatum O'Neil movie "Circle of Two" as well as Warren Beatty's "Heaven Can Wait." Warren Beatty himself sought out Mr. Brodie to play on the soundtrack. Whenever you hear Warren Beatty's character playing the alto sax in "Heaven Can Wait" it is actually Paul Brodie playing. The score for "Heaven Can Wait" earned an Oscar nomination for Dave Grusin. Mr. Brodie can be heard on over 50 albums and is considered to be the most recorded classical saxophone player in history.
SLAVKO SIMIC Died Nov. 20, 2007
Serbian actor Slavko Simic died of cancer at age 83. Mr. Simic appeared in nearly 100 films and TV shows during a career that began in the 1940s. His credits include "Horoscope," "Hitler on Our Street" and "Tren."
ALAN BARNARD Death announced Nov. 21, 2007
Special effects technician Alan Barnard died at age 79. The exact date of death was not announced, but it was revealed that Mr. Barnard died in October. Mr. Barnard worked on such films as "Lawrence of Arabia," "Dr. Zhivago," "The Dirty Dozen," "Dragonslayer," "Lifeforce," "Gandhi," "Superman," "Moonraker," "Octopussy," "Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade" and "Full Metal Jacket."
FERNANDO FERNAN-GOMEZ Died Nov. 21, 2007
Award-winning actor/writer and director Fernando Fernan-Gomez died at age 86. Mr. Fernan-Gomez won multiple awards for his acting, writing and directing. The Spanish artist acted in over 200 films during his career. He wrote and directed another 30! He co-starred in the Oscar winning Best Foreign film "Belle Epoque." Mr. Fernan-Gomez received 11 Goya nominations during his career. Two as Best Director, three for Best Screenplay, five as Best Actor and one as Best Supporting Actor. He won The Goya is Spain's equivalent to the Oscar. He won six times! Two as Best Actor, two Best Screenplay and one each as Best Director and Best Supporting Actor. Mr. Fernan-Gomez won numerous other awards at film festivals around the world. Mr. Fernan-Gomez was also a successful novelist and playwright. His other film credits include "The Spirit of the Beehive" and Pedro Almodovar's "All About My Mother."
ROBERT ETCHEVERRY Died Nov. 21, 2007
French actor Robert Etcheverry died at age 70. Mr. Etcheverry was a popular TV star in his native land during the 1960s and 70s. He was a semi-regular on the long-running TV series "Poly." Other credits include "Sex is Beautiful" and "Terminate With Extreme Prejudice."
MAURICE BEJART Died Nov. 22, 2007
Ballet choreographer Maurice Bejart died at age 80. Mr. Bejart was considered opne of the most innovative modern ballet choreographers. He choreographed and directed a number of ballet films and TV specials including his updated version of "The Nutcracker."
REG PARK Died Nov. 22, 2007
Bodybuilder and actor Reg Park died of melanoma at age 79. Mr. Park was a three time Mr. Universe bodybuilding champion. He starred as Hercules in several Italian sword and sandal epics. His film credits include "Hercules and the Captive Women," "Hercules in the Haunted World," "Hercules, Prisoner of Evil," "Hercules the Avenger" and "Samson in King Solomon's Mines." Mr. Park was an early mentor to Arnold Schwarzenegger, encouraging his film career.
VERITY LAMBERT Died Nov. 22, 2007
Award-winning British TV producer Verity Lambert died five days shy of her 72nd birthday. Ms. Lambert was the first female TV producer for the BBC. She was a producer on the original "Dr. Who" TV series, which premiered almost 40 years ago to the date of her death. Ms. Lambert was due to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Women in Film and Television Awards in December. Verity Lambert was nominated for an Emmy, five BAFTAs and an Australian Film Insititute Award for her work. She won a BAFTA for the series "W. Somerset Maugham." She also won the AFI award for producing "A Cry in the Dark." Other credits include the TV series "The Norman Conquests," "Quatermass" and the movie "Morons From Outer Space."
GEORGE PETRARCA Died Nov. 23, 2007
Actor and dialogue coach George Petrarca died at age 84. Mr. Petrarca appeared in the TV shows "House Calls" and "The Good Guys." He was the dialogue coach on the film "A Lovely Way to Die."
INGE LANGEN Died Nov. 23, 2007
German actress Inge Langen died at age 83. Ms. Langen appeared in over 20 films and TV shows during her 20-year-acting career. She appeared in two Edgar Wallace thrillers: "The Squeaker" and "Gorilla Gang." Her other credits include "Destination Death" and "Crunch."
MARTHA KOSTYRA Died Nov. 24, 2007
Hug your mother today. She might not be here tomorrow. Think a nice thought about her if she is gone. My mother is still with me. I'm lucky that way. My mother encouraged my imagination and instilled in me a sense of justice and caring that I use everyday in my work as a public defender. These thoughts came to me as I read about Martha Kosyra, the mother of Martha Stewart. What an impact that mother has had on our society. She raised her children and taught them many, many things. Many of the things she taught her daughter Martha, Ms. Stewart has passed on to the public. Simple pleasures about making a house a home. Knowledge from one generation to another. I'm sure that Ms. Kostyra was overjoyed that her daughter was able to build on what she taught her and turn it into an incredible business empire. From what I've read of Ms. Kostyra I'm sure she would have been just as pleased in her daughter had just continued to pass on the family heritage to a new generation of Stewarts. Martha Kostyra died at age 93. She appeared on several episodes of her daughter's TV series "The Martha Stewart Show." She also appeared with her daughter on "Larry King Live." Go hug your mother. Thank her for what she has passed on to you.
LINDA LAWLEY Died Nov. 24, 2007
Singer/songwriter Linda Lawley died of cancer at age 58. Ms. Lawley was the wife and songwriting partner of Danny Pelfry. Ms. Lawley began her music career fronting the rock band Eternity's Children. She appeared on Broadway in the musical "Hair." She later wrote songs with other people including her husband Danny Pelfry. Ms. Lawley added her talents to such films as "The Big Kahuna" and "Enemy of the State."
KEVIN DUBROW Died Nov. 25, 2007
Rocker Kevin DuBrow died of a cocaine overdose at age 52. Mr. DuBrow was found dead in his home in Las Vegas. Kevin DuBrow was the lead singer and co-founder of the band "Quiet Riot." The band was the first heavy metal band to have a #1 album on the Billboard charts. I saw Quiet Riot open for ZZ Top at the Aladdin Theater when I lived in Las Vegas. They were without a doubt the loudest band I've ever heard in all my years of concert-going. I actually developed a severe headache which didn't subside until they left the stage. That aside, I did enjoy their music when I was able to control the volume. Mr. DuBrow's songs can be heard on the soundtracks of such films as "The Sure Thing," "Switch" and "Crank." He appeared in several music documentaries including an episode of VH1's "Behind the Music." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
PETER HAAS Died Nov. 25, 2007
Publicist Peter Haas died at age 51. Mr. Haas worked for the PMK Agency as well as an independent agent. He worked on such films as "Dances with Wolves," "Heat," "Last of the Mohicans," "Apt Pupil," "Dante's Peak," "Serial Mom" and "Hoffa."
DR. ROBERT HEPBURN Died Nov. 26, 2007
Dr. Robert Hepburn, brother of the late actress Katherine Hepburn died at age 94. Dr. Hepburn appeared in the documentary TV show "Biography: Katherine Hepburn: On Her Own Terms." Dr. Hepburn served his country as a Naval doctor in the Pacific during WWII and was present at the Battle of Okinawa.
MEL TOLKIN Died Nov. 26, 2007
Emmy-winning writer/producer Mel Tolkin died at age 94. Mr. Tolkin was nominated multiple times for Emmy Awards, winning for the TV special "Your Show of Shows Revisited." His work with Sid Ceasar was featured in the great documentary film "Ten From Your Show of Shows." Mr. Tolkin won a Humanitas Prize for his work on the hit TV series "All in the Family." Other writing credits include "The Good Guys," "Archie Bunker's Place" and "Sanford." He wrote and produced the feature film "The Last of the Secret Agents?" He was the father of Oscar-nominated screenwriter Michael Tolkin (The Player) and director/screenwriter Stephen Tolkin. Mr. Tolkin served in the Canadian Army during WWII.
JOE RESTIVO Died Nov. 26, 2007
Actor and stand-up comic Joe Restivo died of lung cancer. Joe Restivo appeared in a number of films and TV shows including "The Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story," "Seinfeld," "Hill Street Blues" and "Tales From the Crypt." He was a radio film critic on the nationally syndicated show "Vinny Goes to the Movies." Mr. Restivo served his country by organizing and leading entertainment troupes overseas to entertain the men and women of the armed forces. Thanks for the laughs and thanks for bringing joy to those in harm's way.
MARIT ALLEN Died Nov. 26, 2007
Emmy and BAFTA-nominated costumer designer Marit Allen died of a brain aneurism at age 66. Ms. Allen was nominated twice for Emmy Awards. Her Emmy nominations were for "Snow White: A Tale of Terror" and the miniseries "Scarlett." Her BAFTA nomination came for her work on the true-crime tale "White Mischief." She received a CDG Award nomination from the Costumer's Guild for her work on Stanley Kubrick's final film "Eyes Wide Shut." She was Julie Christie's wardrobe person on the classic horror film "Don't Look Now." Her costume design credits include "Bad Timing," "The Witches," "Mrs. Doubtfire," the musical remake of "Little Shop of Horrors" and "Brokeback Mountain."
JANE RULE Died Nov. 27, 2007
Writer Jane Rule died of liver cancer at age 76. The lesbian author wrote the book "Desert of the Heart" which was turned into the feature film "Desert Heart's." Helen Shaver starred in the film about a woman living in a Nevada motel to establish residency for a divorce during the 1950s. She falls for the daughter of a local ranch owner. A pretty good romantic film with a twist. Ms. Rule also appeared in the documentary film "Little Sister's vs. Big Brother."
BILL MOOR Died Nov. 27, 2007
Award-winning actor Bill Moor died at age 76. Mr. Moor enjoyed success on stage and screen. He studied with Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler in the 1950s and 60s. Mr. Moor won an Obie Award for his performance in the off-Broadway play "The Marriage of Bette and Boo." He played the Florida judge in the opening and closing scenes of "The Devil's Advocate." Other notable film and TV credits include "Kramer vs. Kramer," "Ishtar," "Quiz Show," "Law & Order," "New York Stories," "Ryan's Hope," "The Seduction of Joe Tynan" and "Kojak."
JEANNE BATES Died Nov. 28, 2007
Prolific character actress Jeanne Bates died at age 89. Ms. Bates appeared in over 100 films and TV shows during her lengthy career. She also enjoyed a successful stage career. Ms. Bates may be best remembered for her role as Mrs. X in David Lynch's experimental cult classic "Eraserhead." She also worked with director Lynch on "Mulholland Drive." Among ms. Bates many film credits include "Die hard 2," "Wild Orchard 2" and "Grand Canyon." Ms. Bates co-starred in the famous "Twilight Zone" episode "It's a Good Life!" There are few TV shows from the 1950s, 60s and 70s that Ms. Bates did not appear on.
MALI FINN Died Nov. 28, 2007
Emmy-winning casting director Mali Finn died of melanoma at age 69. Ms. Mali won an Emmy award for the HBO movie "61*." She was nominated for another Emmy for "Indictment: The McMartin Trial." Ms. Finn was honored by her peers at the Casting Society of America with six Artios nominations. She won three for "Sunday," "L.A. Confidential" and "61*." Ms. Finn's many credits include "Titanic," "The Matrix," "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," "The Client," "The Green Mile," "8 Mile," "The Untouchables" and "Flatliners."
TONY HOLLAND Died Nov. 29, 2007
British writer Tony Holland died at age 67. Mr. Holland was the co-creator of the long-running hit series "EastEnders." Mr. Holland also wrote hundreds of scripts for the series which began in 1985. Mr. Holland wrote several scripts and was the script editor on over 150 episodes of the cop drama "Z Cars." Other credits include "Eldorado," "Cold Warrior," "Angels" and "The District Nurse."
ROGER B. SMITH Died Nov. 29, 2007
Former GM CEO Roger B. Smith died at age 82. Mr. Smith was head of the auto industry giant from 1981 through 1990. Filmmaker Michael Moore's breakthrough documentary "Roger & Me" dealt with the hard times in Flint Michigan brought about by cutbacks at GM. Mr. Smith was the Roger of the film's title. The movie chronicled Michael Moore's attempts to interview Mr. Smith.
EVEL KNIEVEL Died Nov. 30, 2007
He was a lone wolf hero who defied death for a living. Next to the NASA astronauts, there were few in the 1960s and 70s who held the attention of all generations the way Robert 'Evel' Knievel did. The motorcycle daredevil risked his health to try and achieve the impossible. Many of his goals he achieved. Other left him broken in body but not spirit. You couldn't help but be amazed that a man who suffer injuries like Evel Knievel did, would then get back on the back of his motorcycle and try again. He personified the pioneer American spirit. Get 'er done. Didn't hit the mark the first time. Try again. No bellyaching, just get 'er done. Everytime I watch the "ABC Wide World of Sports" film of Evel Knievel's horrific crash at Caesar's Palace, I stand in awe of the man. How can you break 40 bones and ever try again. This is what made him a hero to so many during a time when Vietnam, corrupt politicians, racist national policies and the disintergration of the family seemed to overwhelm society. Evel Knievel's actions said "sure things are tough, but I won't quit till I'm dead." Actor George Hamilton played the daredevil in the biopic "Evel Knievel." At the end of that film, Knievel is shown riding a motorcycle to the edge of the Grand Canyon. Jumping the Grand Canyon was one of the dreams he didn't achieve. His attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon failed when the parachute on his two wheeled rocket deployed during launch. He kept on trying. He kept his fans dreaming of what was possible. Thanks for that. Evel Knievel played himself in the 1977 feature film "Viva Knievel." He was James Caan's motorcycle stunt double in the politically incorrect cop comedy "Freebie and the Bean." Evel Knievel was the father of daredevil Robbie Knievel. Actor George Eads played him in the 2004 Made for TV movie "Evel Knievel." Sam Elliot played him in an unsold 1974 TV pilot. Evel Knievel died of pulmonary fibrosis at age 69. Thanks for the thrills and never-say-die spirit.