Sunday, April 7, 2013

October 2007 Film World Obituaries

NED SHERRIN Died Oct. 1, 2007

British actor, producer, director, broadcaster Ned Sherrin died of throat cancer at age 76. Mr. Sherrin was nominated for a Best Actor Tony Award for the 1977 production of "Side by Side." Mr. Sherrin was best known for creating the hit TV series "That Was the Week That Was." He produced several films in the comedy "Up" series including "Up the Front," "Up Pompeii" and "Up the Chastity Belt." Mr. Sherrin was one of the most familiar voices on British radio having hosted the weekly radio show "Loose Ends" for over 20 years.

AL OERTER Died Oct. 1, 2007

Four-time Olympic Gold Medalist Al Oerter died of heart failure at age 71. Mr. Oerter won Gold Medals for throwing the discus at the 1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968 Olympics. Mr. Oerter appeared in the documentary film "Fists of Freedom: The Story of the '68 Summer Games." He was also the subject of an episode of the TV series "Numero Uno." Al Oerter also appeared in the short film "The Al Oerter Comeback."


Composer Ronnie Hazelhurst died following a stroke at age 79. Mr. Hazelhurst composed the themes for a number of hit British TV shows including "The Two Ronnies" and "Are You Being Served?" He was the conductor and music arranger for the Oscar winning film "The English Patient."

GEORGE GRIZZARD Died Oct. 2, 2007

Tony and Emmy-winning stage and screen actor George Grizzard died of lung cancer at age 79. Mr. Grizzard was nominated for three Tony Awards, winning once. He appeared in 21 Broadway productions during his lengthy career including the original production of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" He was nominated for two Emmy Awards, winning once for the TV movie "The Oldest Living Graduate."

George Grizzard appeared in over 90 films and TV shows during his career. His final film role was in Clint Eastwood's "Flags of Our Fathers." He made his film debut in the melodrama "From the Terrace." The movie starred Paul Newman. Mr. Grizzard made his Broadway debut playing Paul Newman's little brother in the crime thriller "The Desperate Hours." Other feature film credits include "Advise & Consent," "Warning Shot," "Happy Birthday, Wanda June," "Comes a Horseman," "Seems Like Old Times," "Wrong is Right," "Bachelor Party" and "Wonder Boys."

George Grizzard was a very familiar face on TV for nearly 50 years. In addition to guest shots on many TV series, Mr. Grizzard appeared in the TV movies "The Deliberate Stranger," "Pueblo," "Scarlett," "The Adams Chronicles" and "The Front Page." He played journalist and author Tom Wicker in the taut, true-crime film "Attica."

TAWN MASTREY Died Oct. 2, 2007

DJ Tawn Mastrey died of complications from Hepatitis C at age 53. She had been awaiting a liver transplant. The Heavy Metal and Hard Rock DJ was a power in the Los Angeles music scene during the 1980s and 90s. She appeared as herself in director Penelope Spheeris' documentary "The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years." Ms. Spheeris also cast Ms. Mastrey in her heavy metal/female mud wrestling documentary "Mud and Thunder."

KOICHI KITAMURA Died Oct. 2, 2007

Japanese actor Koichi Kitamura died of pneumonia at age 75. Mr. Kitamura did live action and voice work during his lengthy career. He would dub the work of Peter Cushing for the Japanese release of his films. Mr. Kitamura also dubbed the voice of the character 'Q' in several "James Bond" films. He. Provided the voice of the evil Mr. Burns in the Japanese version of "The Simpsons." Mr. Kitamura did voice work in the acclaimed anime feature "Akira." He also provided the voices of various characters in the "Gatchaman" series.


The press has called her a "role model for women in the arts," "a film pioneer" and a " leading figure in postwar European culture." Elfi von Dassanowsky died in Los Angeles at age 83 from heart failure. Born in Vienna, Austria, Elfi (Elfriede) von Dassanowsky was at age 15, the youngest woman admitted to Vienna's Academy of Music and Performing Arts to that date, as the protégé of famous German concert pianist, Emil von Sauer. While still a student, she was chosen by Austrian film director Karl Hartl to instruct his rising new star, Curd Jurgens in piano, so that he could play the instrument on screen. Her studies and her budding operatic career were abruptly halted for extended labor service when she openly rejected membership in Nazi organizations. But her talent and beauty allowed her a second chance, and UFA Studios in Berlin offered her a star film contract in 1944, which she also declined.

In 1946, Dassanowsky made her opera debut in Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro" and her wide soprano to mezzo range gained her rapid fame in leading roles in throughout Central Europe. That year she also initiated and performed in concerts for the Allied High Command at the behest of General Emil Béthouart of France and the American Lt. General Geoffrey Keyes. She remains one of the few women in history, and one of the youngest (at age 23), to co-found a major film studio--Belvedere Film Vienna. As creative producer she helped revitalize Austrian cinema and discover such major European film talent as Nadja Tiller and Gunther Philipp in such German language classics as "Die Glücksmühle," "Doktor Rosin," and "Märchen vom Glück." Additionally, Dassanowsky starred in theatrical dramas, comedies, and on the concert stage. She initiated musical theater groups, was announcer for Allied Forces Broadcasting and the BBC, toured Central Europe in a one-woman-show and gave master classes in voice and piano, often to refugees who could not gain entry into music academies. An expert in the rare Paderewski piano technique, her musical pedagogy continued in the U.S. In Hollywood in the early 1960s, she resisted becoming a starlet and preferred to remain behind the camera in an industry that did not yet accept women in the leading production role she had in Europe. She subsequently worked as a noted vocal coach for director Otto Preminger on such films as "In Harm's Way" and "The Cardinal."

In 1999, she re-established Belvedere Film with her son as a Los Angeles-based production company and served as Executive Producer of the award-winning dramatic short film, "Semmelweis," the spy-comedy "Wilson Chance," and the documentary "The Archduke and Herbert Hinkel." Dassanowsky was honored for her pioneering work by Austria, by the cities of Los Angeles and Vienna, as well as by the State of California which declared February 2, 1996, "Elfi von Dassanowsky Day." She was named a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Letters of France, and she received the Austrian Film Archive's Lifetime Achievement Medal and the UNESCO Mozart Medal, among many other awards. At her death, she was one of the few senior female producers active internationally.

ANTONI RIBAS Died Oct. 3, 2007

Award-winning Spanish director and writer Antoni Ribas died of a heart attack at age 71. Mr. Ribas was nominated for the Golden Palm at Cannes for his 1973 film "La Otra Imagen." His 1976 film "The Burned City" won the Special Jury Prize at the Montreal World Film Festival. Mr. Ribas began as an assistant director working on such films as "The Legions of the Nile."

EARL BENNETT Died Oct. 4, 2007

Actor, musician and film editor Earl Bennett died at age 88. Mr. Bennett was a member of the "Spike Jones Band" for nine years. His stage name in the band was Sir. Fredrick Gas. As a member of the band he was a regular on the TV show "The Spike Jones Show" and performed on the "Colgate Comedy Hour." Mr. Bennett was a film editor on a number of animated TV series including "Mr. Magoo," "Fantastic 4" and "The New Scooby-Doo Movies."

NEIL LAWRENCE Died Oct. 4, 2007

Editor Neil Lawrence died at age 65. Mr. Lawrence worked on such films and TV shows as "Beavis and Butt-Head Do America," "Beavis and Butt-head Christmas Special," "The Berenstain Bears' Valentine Special," "Strawberry Shortcake in Big Apple City," "The Berenstain Bears Meet Big Paw" and "The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree."

TOM MURPHY Died Oct. 6, 2007

Tony-winning actor Tom Purphy died of lymphatic cancer at age 39. Mr. Murphy won the Tony for his performance in the 1998 production of "The Beauty Queen of Leenane." Mr. Murphy won the Best Actor in Television award at the 1998 Irish Film and Television Awards for the TV movie "Pure Mule." He was nominated for a Best Actor IFTA once again in 2004 for the movie "Adam & Paul." Other credits include John Boorman's "The General" and Neil Jordon's "Michael Collins."

RODNEY DIAK Died Oct. 6, 2007

British stage actor Rodney Diak died of cancer at age 83. Mr. Diak had a long and distinguished stage career in the UK, working on the West End in a number of long-running plays. He made a few film and TV appearances including "Dunkirk," "Fire Maidens from Outer Space," "Carry On Admiral" and "Z-Cars."

BUD EKINS Died Oct. 6, 2007

Motocross champion turned stuntman and stunt coordinator Bud Ekins died of natural causes at age 77. His most famous screen moment was as Steve McQueen's stunt double in "The Great Escape." Even though Steve McQueen was a world class motorcycle rider himself, producers didn't want to risk their star and McQueen's pal Bud Ekins did the famous motorcycle jump over the barbed wire fence in the classic film. Bud Ekins was a renowned motocross champion in the 1950s. He befriended Steve McQueen in the early 1960s. "The Great Escape" was his first film job. He worked as a stunt rider on over 30 films. Mr. Ekins was the stunt coordinator on one of my personal favorite films: "Electra Glide in Blue." The movie includes an incredible motorcycle chase between two cops played by Robert Blake and Billy Green Bush and a gang of drug dealers on dirt-bikes. Not all of Bud Ekins' work was on two-wheeled vehicles. The term 'yumping' was coined to describe the car jump that Bud Ekins made in the Steve McQueen cop-thriller "Bullitt." Mr. Ekins drove the souped-up Mustang during the famous car-chase scene. As the car jumped the crest of a hilly San Francisco street, all four wheels left the ground. That type of stunt became known as 'yumping.' Other stunt credits include "The Cincinnati Kid," "Then Came Bronson," "Diamonds are Forever," "Chrome and Hot Leather," "Earthquake," "The Towering Inferno," "Race With the Devil," "Animal House," "1941" and "City Heat." Mr. Ekins also acted in several films including the original version of "The Love Bug" and "Pacific Heights." Mr. Ekins was the father of producer Susan Ekins and production designer Donna Ekins-Kapner.

SISI CHEN Died Oct. 7, 2007

Chinese actress Sisi Chen died of pancreatic cancer at age 69. Ms. Chen appeared in over 30 films during her career. She starred in the 1964 Hong Kong comedy hit "Three Charming Smiles." Other credits include "Miss Fragrance," "The Shadow" and "The Ghost's Revenge."

JACK COPELAND Died Oct. 7, 2007

Director/producer Jack Copeland died at age 80. Mr. Copeland directed over 100 industrial films through his company National Education Media. His foray into feature films was the 1957 thriller "Hell's Five Hours" which starred Vic Morrow as a deranged terrorist threatening to blow up a town. Mr. Copeland served his country as a US Army photographer during WWII.

MICHAEL DEL MEDICO Died Oct. 7, 2007

Actor and playwright Michael Del Medico died at age 81. The Chicago based actor, director worked in region theater in the Windy City as well as on and off Broadway. Mr. Del Medico appeared on Broadway in the original production of "Inherit the Wind" with Paul Muni. He also appeared in Broadway in "The Disenchanted" with Jason Robards and George Grizzard. He played several roles in the 1969 Indie film "Children's Games." Mr. Del Medico was a US Marine who served his country during the Korean War.


Czech actress Jirina Steimarova died at age 91. She made her film debut at age 16 in the 1933 movie "Ecstasy." The movie is best remembered for Hedy Lamarr's nude scene. Ms. Steimarova appeared in nearly 40 films and TV shows during her career. Ms. Steimarova is part of a theatrical family. Both her parents were actors. Her son was the award-winning actor Jiri Kodet who died of cancer in 2005. She was also the mother of actress Evelyna Steimarova. Two of Ms. Steimarova's granddaughters are also film actresses.


Assistant editor and assistant music editor Lorinda Hollingshead died at age 56. Ms. Hollingshead's assistant editor credits include "¡Three Amigos!," "Into the Night," "Trading Places" and "Let's Spend the Night Together." She was an assistant music editor on "The Blues Brothers" and a sound effects editor on Steven Spielberg's "1941."

JEROME GOLLARD Died Oct. 8, 2007

Novelist and screenwriter Jerome Gollard died at age 93. Mr. Gollard wrote the movies "Jinx Money" and "Inner Sanctum." Mr. Gollard wrote for Radio and TV also. His TV credits include "Checkmate," "77 Sunset Strip" and "The Fugitive."

CAROL BRUCE Died Oct. 9, 2007

Actress and singer Carol Bruce died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at age 87. Ms. Bruce began her career as a singer in the 1930s. She appeared on Broadway before breaking into films. She continued to focus her career on the stage though. Ms. Bruce was best known to TV audiences for her role as Mama Carlson on the hit TV series "WKRP in Cincinnati." Ms. Carol appeared in nearly 40 films and TV shows during her career. She appeared in seven Broadway productions including the 1946/47 revival of "Showboat."

ENRICO BANDUCCI Died Oct. 9, 2007

Club owner Enrico Banducci died of kidney and heart illness at age 82. Mr. Banducci owned the Hungry I comedy club in San Francisco. He helped launch the careers of Mort Sahl and Barbra Streisand. Mr. Banducci appeared in the TV show "American Masters" as well as the upcoming documentary "Looking for Lenny." Mr. Banducci also owned the restaurant Enrico's. The restaurant was seen prominently in the Steve McQueen cop thriller "Bullitt." Along with Bud Ekins, this is the second related "Bullitt" death this week.

BECKY FALLBERG Death Announced Oct. 9, 2007

Longtime Disney employee Becky Fallberg died at age 84. Ms. Fallberg was named a Disney Legend in 2000 and received the Animation Guild's Golden Award in 2005. Ms. Fallberg was a member of I.A.T.S.E.Local #839. She began working for Disney in 1942. She retired as the head of the Ink and Paint department in 1986. Ms. Fallberg worked her way up from telephone operator to painter to animator to blue sketch artist to paint matcher to final checker…lets face it, Becky Fallberg did it all. She worked in some aspect on every animated feature since 1943. Ms. Fallberg was the ink and paint manager on "The Black Cauldron." Her daughter Carla Fallberg was a character sculptor on "The Iron Giant."


Mexican drag queen Francis died of respiratory failure at age 49. Mr. Escalante performed under the stage name Francis in films, TV and in very popular stage shows. Francis toured internationally in stage shows in which he impersonated numerous famous performers. Francis appeared in such films as "Noches de Cabaret," "Las Borrachas" and "El Garañón 2."


Author Margaret Anne Barnes died of emphysema at age 80. Ms. Barnes wrote the true-crime book "Murder in Coweta County." The book was made into a Made for TV movie in 1983. Johnny Cash and Andy Griffith starred in the story of a rich white man who goes to the electric chair for a 1948 murder based on the testimony of two black field hands. This was a first in Georgia.

WERNER VON TRAPP Died Oct. 11, 2007

Werner Von Trapp, the step-son of Maria Von Trapp died at age 91. Mr. Von Trapp was the second son of Captain Von Trapp. The family's story was the basis of the classic musical play and film "The Sound of Music." Mr. Von Trapp's name was changed to Kurt Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music." Actor Duane Chase played Mr. Von Trapp in the film. The family escaped Austria and moved to the US in 1938. Mr. Von Trapp served his adopted country in the US Army during WWII.

DAVID 'TEX' HILL Died Oct. 11, 2007

WWII fighter ace David 'Tex' Hill died at age 92. Mr. Hill was a member of General Chenault's Flying Tigers. The mercenary squadron was hired to defend China against Japan during WWII. The squadron was later made a part of the US Army Air Corps. Mr. Hill was the inspiration for John Wayne's character in the movie "The Flying Tigers." Mr. Hill had 18 kills in dogfights during the war. He appeared as himself in the documentary "I'm King Kong: The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper."

RAUNI MOLLBERG Died Oct. 11, 2007

Award-winning Finnish director Rauni Mollberg died of leukemia at age 78. Mr. Mollberg won five Best Director Jussi Awards. The Jussi Award is Finland's highest film award. Among his credits are "The Earth is a Sinful Song," "Pretty Good for a Human," "Children of the Paradise" and "The Unknown Soldier."

DR. RODERICK RYAN Died Oct. 11, 2007

Dr. Roderick Ryan died of Lewy Body Disease at age 83. Dr. Ryan was honored with the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, a technical Oscar in 2000 honoring his technical contributions to the industry. In 1981 Dr. Ryan was given another technical award from the Academy for inventing a visual effects film processor. Dr. Ryan also received a Medal of Comendation from the Academy in 1990 for outstanding service and dedication in upholding the high standards of the Academy. Dr. Ryan served his country during WWII in the US Navy. He photographed the atomic bomb tests at the Bikini Atoll in 1946.

STANLEY CANTER Died Oct. 12, 2007

Producer Stanley Canter died of heart disease at age 75. Mr. Cantor produced the excellent "Graystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes." Mr. Cantor also produced the less successful sequel "Tarzan and the Lost City." His other credits include the Rock Hudson war film "Hornet's Nest," Charles Bronson's "St. Ives" and the Burt Reynolds comedy "W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings."

LONNY CHAPMAN Died Oct. 12, 2007

Prolific character actor Lonny Chapman died of heart disease at age 87. Mr. Chapman appeared in eight Broadway productions. He appeared in nearly 150 films and TV shows during his career. Horror movie fans will remember Mr. Chapman as the bartender in the diner in Alfred Hitchcock's classic "The Birds." Mr. Chapman shared in the Western Heritage Award's Bronze Wrangler Award for his part in the John Wayne film "The Cowboys." Lonny Chapman's feature film credits include "Baby Doll," "Hour of the Gun," "The Stalking Moon," "Take the Money and Run," "The Reivers," "I Walk the Line," "Where the Red Fern Grows," "Earthquake," "Moving Violation," "The Bad News Bears Go to Japan," "When Time Ran Out" and "52 Pick-Up." Mr. Chapman's TV credits are numerous and include many of the top shows from the 1950s on.

MANUELA VARGAS Died Oct. 12, 2007

Famed Flamenco dancer Manuela Vargas died of cancer at age 66. Ms. Vargas won international awards for her art. She headed her own dance company and was also a member of the Spanish National Ballet. Ms. Vargas appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1966. She appeared in a Spanish TV version of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night Dream." Director Pedro Almodovar cast her in his 1995 film "The Flower of My Secret."

PAULO AUTRAN Died Oct. 12, 2007

Award-winning Brazilian actor Paulo Autran died of lung cancer at age 85. Mr. Autran was one of Brazil's leading stage actors. His nickname was 'the Lord of the Stage.' In addition to his successful stage career, Paulo Autran enjoyed success on TV and in film. He was a popular soap opera actor winning two Best Actor awards at the Sao Paulo Art Critics Association Awards. Mr. Autran's film credits include the award-winning "The Year My Parents Went on Vacation" and the landmark Brazilian film "Earth Entranced."

MARION MICHAEL Died Oct. 13, 2007

German actress Marion Michael died four days shy of her 67th birthday. Ms. Michael was the second German actress to appear without clothes on screen. As a 16-year-old, Ms. Michael starred in "Liane, Jungle Goddess." She appeared topless through much of the film. She reprised the role the following year in "Jungle Girl and the Slaver." The film was not as successful as Ms. Michael was not topless. She costarred with Eddie Constantine in "Bombs on Monte Carlo." During filming she was injured in a car crash and her face was disfigured. She made 10 films during her career.

RAYMOND PELLEGRIN Died Oct. 14, 2007

French actor Raymond Pellegrin died at age 82. Mr. Pellegrin appeared in nearly150 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. He played the title role in the 1955 version of "Napoleon." He lent his vocal talents to the three "Fantomas" films made in the 1960s. Other credits include "Three Women," the original version of "Manon of the Spring" and Lucio Fulci's "Conspiracy of Torture."

SIGRID VALDIS Died Oct. 14, 2007

Actress Sigrid Valdis, the widow of actor Bob Crane died of lung cancer at age 72. Ms. Valdis played Helga, the voluptuous secretary to Col. Klink on the hit TV series "Hogan's Heroes." She and star Bob Crane fell in love and married on the set of the series in 1970. She appeared in a number of films and TV shows including "Our Man Flint." Ms. Valdis retired from acting following the birth of Scott Crane, her son with Bob Crane. Mr. Crane was murdered in Scottsdale Arizona in 1978. Mr. Crane's battle with sex addiction was the subject of the film "Auto Focus." Maria Bello portrayed Ms. Valdis in that film.

JAMES NICHOLAS Died Oct. 15, 2007

Cree actor James Nicholas was killed in a 70-foot-fall while on a fishing trip. The 60-year-old actor appeared in such films and TV shows as "Crossfire Trail," "Millennium," "Silence" and "CHiPs."

ERNEST WITHERS Died Oct. 15, 2007

Photographer Ernest Withers died of complications from a stroke at age 85. Ernest Withers was the most renowned Black photographer of the 20th century. The Memphis native chronicled segregation in America, especially those events that occurred in Memphis. He served his country in the US Army during WWII as a photographer. His images captured Americana for nearly 60 years. His pictures preserved those things which are great about our country as well as the horrors of racism. He traveled with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during his public life up to and including the day Dr. King was assassinated. His coverage the Emmett Till murder trial galvanized national attention against the racial violence taking place in Mississippi during the 1950s. Mr. Withers appeared in a TV documentary about the murdered 14-year-old entitled "The American Experience: The Murder of Emmett Till." His reputation as a civil rights pioneer was somewhat tarnished when it was revealed after his passing that he had acted as an informant for the FBI during the turbulent 1950s and 60s.

ROBERT MAUCH Died Oct. 15, 2007

Former child actor turned film editor Robert Mauch died at age 86. Robert Mauch and his twin brother William acted as the Mauch Twins during the 1930s. William Mauch also became a film editor as an adult. William Mauch died last September. Robert Mauch starred with his brother opposite Errol Flynn in the 1937 version of "The Prince and the Pauper." His other acting credits include "Football Romeo," "I'll Tell the World" and two films in the "Penrod and Sam" film series. As an adult, Mr. Mauch was an editor for the TV series "Cheyenne."

DEBORAH KERR Died Oct. 16, 2007

Multi Oscar-nominated actress Deborah Kerr died of Parkinson's Disease at age 86. Ms. Kerr was nominated for six Best Actress Oscars during her lengthy career. In 1994 she was given an Honorary Oscar for her contributions to the art of filmmaking. Ms. Kerr was best known roles in two Hollywood classics: "From Here to Eternity" and "The King and I." She received Oscar nominations for both films and won the Golden Globe for "The King and I." Ms. Kerr's other Oscar nominations were for her work in the films "Edward, My Son," "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison," "Separate Tables" and "The Sundowners." The British actress was honored in her homeland with four BAFTA nominations.

Deborah Kerr began her film career in 1940. After a bit part in "Contraband," Ms. Kerr had a supporting role in "Major Barbara." She appeared in 10 British films before coming to Hollywood. The films from her British period include Alexander Korda's "Perfect Strangers" opposite Robert Donet and the Michael Powell/Emeric Pressberger classics "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" and "Black Narcissus." Ms. Kerr came to Hollywood in 1947 and immediately was put in starring roles.

Deborah Kerr appeared in many of the best films of the 1950s. Deborah Kerr's performance as the adulteress wife in "From Here to Eternity" broke US cinematic taboos. She and Burt Lancaster shared an on-screen kiss in the surf that shocked puritanical audiences of the 1950s. In addition to those films already mentioned, Ms. Kerr's credits from the 1950s include "Quo Vadis?," "Julius Caesar," the classic romancer "An Affair to Remember," "Tea and Sympathy" and "King Solomon's Mines."

Ms. Kerr only made a dozen films during the 1960s. She began the decade in a memorable and earthy role opposite Robert Mitchum in "The Sundowners." The actress who played the most noble of women proved she could portray a gritty, nomads wife in this great adventure film. The following year Deborah Kerr starred in the horror classic "The Innocents." She starred as the troubled nanny of two even more troubled children. In 1964 John Huston cast her opposite Richard Burton and Ava Gardner in "The Night of the Iguana." She reteamed with Burt Lancaster for the over-looked and under-rated "The Gypsy Moths" in which she appeared nude in a love scene with Burt Lancaster. After playing Kirk Douglas's wife in Elia Kazan's dreary "The Arrangement," Ms. Kerr retired from the big screen and concentrated on stage acting. She returned to screen acting in a few British TV shows during the 1980s. Her final film role was in the indie film "The Assam Garden."

GARETH FORWOOD Died Oct. 16, 2007

Actor Gareth Forwood died at age 62. Mr. Forwood was the son of actress Glynis Johns. His film credits include "The Bofors Gun," "Birth of the Beatles," "Ghandi" and "King Ralph."

RENEE LICHTIG Died Oct. 16, 2007

Editor Renee Lichtig died of a stroke at age 86. Ms. Lichtig was responsible for restoring several classic films through her association with the Cinematheque Francaise during the 1950s. She worked closely with director Erich Von Stroheim to restore "The Wedding March." Jean Renoir called on her to help restor his classic "The Grand Illusion." Ms. Lichtig also edited Renoir's final three films: "The Vanishing Corporal," "Picnic on the Grass" and "Experiment in Evil." She worked with director Nicholas Ray as a sound editor on "Bitter Victory" and as an uncredited film editor on "King of Kings." She was the half-sister of the late film editor Lucie Lichtig.

JOEY BISHOP Died Oct. 17, 2007

Comedian and actor Joey Bishop died of multiple causes at age 89. Joey Bishop was the last surviving member of the Rat Pack. Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin and their leader Frank Sinatra formed the core of the fun-loving swingers of the 1950s and 60s. Joey Bishop appeared in the Rat Pack movies "Ocean's Eleven" and "Sergeants 3." He was the Master of Ceremonies at the Inaugural Gala for President Kennedy. Mr. Bishop starred in two TV shows, both titled "The Joey Bishop Show." The first TV show was a sitcom while his second show was a late-night variety show ALA "The Tonight Show." Joey Bishop began his career as a stand-up comedian. He performed in night clubs world wide, both alone and with his Rat Pack pals. Joey Bishop served his country in the US Army during WWII.

Mr. Bishop appeared in over 70 films and TV shows during his career. Joey Bishop made guest appearances on numerous TV shows including "The Tonight Show," "The Frank Sinatra Show," "The Ed Sullivan Show," "What's My Line?," "Playboy After Dark," "The Dean Martin Show," "Rowen and Martin's Laugh-In," "Hollywood Squares" and "Match Game." Joey Bishop's film credits include "The Naked and the Dead," "Onion Head," "Valley of the Dolls," "Texas Across the River," "A Guide for the Married Man," "Who's Minding the Mint?," "Delta Force," "Betsy's Wedding" and "Mad Dog Time."

TERESA BREWER Died Oct. 17, 2007

Singer Teresa Brewer died of neuromuscular disease at age 76. Ms. Brewer scored a series of hit songs beginning in the 1950s. Her signature song was "Music, Music, Music." She appeared in the 3-D musical movie "Those Redheads From Seattle." Ms. Brewer's song "I Love Mickey" was used on the soundtrack of the HBO movie "*61" which dealt with the race by Mickey mantle and Roger Maris to break Babe Ruth's single-season homerun record. She was the widow of producer/composer Bob Thiele.

ART HANSON Died Oct. 18, 2007

Property master Art Hanson died at age 80. The I.A.T.S.E. Local #44 member worked in the Universal property department. His film credits include "Missing Pieces" and the 1979 version of "The Prisoner of Zenda." Mr. Hanson served his country in the US Navy during WWII and the Korean War.

MARK TAVENER Died Oct. 18, 2007

British radio and TV writer Mark Tavener died of cancer. Mr. Tavener wrote the BBC radio satire "Absolute Power" as well as other radio shows. "Absolute Power" was turned into a TV series and Mr. Tavener also wrote episodes of the series. Mr. Tavener's novel "In the Red" was turned into a 1998 TV movie.

BARBARA SHELDON Died Oct. 19, 2007

Regular readers know that I occasionally defer to British filmmaker Austin Mutti-Mewse as a guest writer. His friend Barbara Sheldon passed away at age 95. My thanks to Austin for another fine tribute to an actress of yesteryear.

Barbara Sheldon who has died aged 95, was a brisk and sassy blonde; one of many of arrived in Hollywood in the early 1930s in the hope of breaking into pictures and becoming a star. Barbara was lucky in the fact she found herself and agent and won a film contract with RKO Pictures, appearing in a handful of comedies (including "Stolen by Gypsies or Beer and Bicycles" 1933), before landing a more meatier role in the musical "Flying Down to Rio" (1933).

Barbara always found it hard to believe that a tiny bit-part would land her cult status along with a legion of fans who regularly wrote requesting an autographed photo. Barbara was nothing if not modest, "We honestly believed it would be one of those movies that get a flashy premiere and comes off in a week. Yet I can recall walking on Sunset Boulevard the day "Rio" opened and seeing the queues of people form a snake around block after block. The mass hysteria for Fred and Ginger went on for weeks making superstars of them both and mini celebrities out of us their minor co-stars."

After a year, Sheldon's contract expired and with no where to go, she freelanced moving from one 'B' picture studio on Gower Street to the next. "My agent suggested me for a western. I couldn't ride and had a fear of horses, but with nothing else on the horizon I took it. My co-star was John Wayne and I was to be his leading lady."

"The Lucky Texan" was minor fare with Wayne cast as Jerry Mason, a young Texan, and Jake Benson (George 'Gabby' Hayes), an old rancher who become partners and strike it rich with a gold mine. They then find their lives complicated by the son of a crooked sheriff and a platinum blonde called Betty (Sheldon).

It was the mid-1930s when the western was in its heyday, adept at slinging a gun Barbara soon began to relish the appeal of the sagebrush, but her career in Hollywood didn't last. "I thought was I'd made it as a leading lady the offers would come flooding me. I was young and very naïve."

Barbara was always a fighter, and yet the struggle for fame was something that she was never wanted or needed that badly, always insisting, "I was no Joan Crawford or Bette Davis." Barbara often loved to share her stories of Hollywood with anyone who cared to listen. Her closest friend was Hedda Hopper, and she loved sharing tales on her, "Hedda Hopper was a dear friend of mine and I adored her. She was very unique and quite witty, to say the least. She never actually typed a single word, as she always had her Secretary with her at a moments notice. I liked her but I never really could trust her, as she would sell you in a second! Gossip was her whole being and she loved it!"

More than half a century after she quit Hollywood, and Barbara still maintained loyal friendships with other of Wayne's leading ladies; Verne Hillie, Ruth Hall, Mae Madison and Loretta Sayers, reuniting every few months at her favorite restaurant in Pasadena. Barbara was the last surviving of the gang. She was also great friends with Dorothy Dare and "Flash Gordon" star Clarice Sherry, who both survive.

JAN WOLKERS Died Oct. 19, 2007

Dutch writer and sculptor Jan Wolkers died one week shy of his 82nd birthday. Director Paul Verhoven directed the film version of Mr. Wolkers' novel "Turks Fruit" as "Turkish Delights." The film received the Best Foreign Film Oscar and was later voted Best Dutch Film of the Century. Mr. Wolkers collaborated with director Verhoven on his masterpiece "Spetters." The late director Theo Van Gogh filmed Mr. Wolker's novel "Return to Oegstgeest." Mr. Wolkers was a respected sculptor. His work includes the Amsterdam Auschwitz Monument.

BELLA JARRETT Died Oct. 19, 2007

Actress Bella Jarrett died at age 81. Ms. Jarrett appeared on Broadway in "Lolita" and "Once in a Lifetime." Her film and TV credits include "All My Children," "Arthur," "The Cotton Club" and "Jane Austen in Manhattan." Ms. Jarrett was also a romance novelist who penned her books under the name Belle Thorne.

ANGELO SPIZZIRRI Died Oct. 20, 2007

Actor and rock band tour manager Angelo Spizzirri died of undisclosed causes at age 32. Mr. Spizzirri appeared in such films and TV shows as "The Rookie" with Dennis Quaid, "Groove," "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Mr. Spizzirri turned from acting to becoming tour manager for several bands including Incubus and Slayer. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.

DARRELL CATHCART Died Oct. 21, 2007

B-movie cinematographer Darrell Cathcart died at age 72. Mr. Cathcart lenses a number of drive-in movies during the 1970s. He shot several films starring Earl Owensby including "Seabo." Other credits include Al Adamson's "Carnival Magic" and "A Rare Breed" with actor George Kennedy. Mr. Cathcart was also a TV cinematographer for several North Carolina TV stations.

SANDRA BERKE-JORDON Died Oct. 21, 2007

Verteran costumer Sandra Berke-Johnson died of natural causes at age 70. The I.A.T.S.E.Local #705 president worked in the film industry for more than 20 years. Her many credits include "Camelot," "The Godfather Part II," "Rocky 2," "The Deer Hunter," "Heaven's Gate," "Splash," "Pee-wee's Big Adventure," "Crimes of the Heart" and Tim Burton's short film "Frankenweenie." Ms. Berke-Jordon served four terms on the California Film Commission.

VIC RAMOS Died Oct. 21, 2007

Casting director Vic Ramos died of pulmonary failure at age 77. Mr. Ramos cast or helped cast some of the best films of the 1970s and 80s. He later turned to managing talent including actor Matt Dillon. Mr. Ramos' impressive list of credits include "The Godfather Part II," "Star Wars," "Apocalypse Now!," "Hardcore," "Thief," "The Friends of Eddie Coyle," "Blue Collar," "Over the Edge," "Dressed to Kill," "My Bodyguard," "The Black Stallion," "Where's Poppa?," "Little Murders," "The Anderson Tapes," "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" and "Shamus." Mr. Ramos also produced the Matt Dillon films "Kansas" and "Liar's Moon." He was the son of MGM key grip Victor Ramos Sr. Mr. Ramos was married to Virginia Loew, the granddaughter of Marcus Loew. Marcus Loew was the founder of Metro which merged with Samuel Goldwyn's and Louis B. Mayer's companies to form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Mr. Ramos' wife Virginia passed away in 1964.

PETER MOFFATT Died Oct. 21, 2007

British director Peter Moffatt died at age 84. Mr. Moffatt was best known for his work on the "Dr. Who" TV series. Among his other credits were the TV shows "Crane," "EastEnders" and "All Creatures Great and Small."

DON FELLOWS Died Oct. 21, 2007

Actor Don Fellows died at age 84. The American born actor worked almost exclusively in the UK. He began his career during the Golden Age of US television. Mr. Fellows appeared in over 70 films and TV shows during his career. Mr. Fellows usually played American military officers. His many credits include the original version of "The Omen," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "The Eye of the Needle," "Pretty Poison," "Superman II," "Superman IV," "Trick Baby," "Inside Out," "Twilight's Last Gleaming," "Valentino," "The Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission" and "The Last Days of Patton."

DEBORAH LEE Died Oct. 22, 2007

Producer and production manager Deborah Lee died of undisclosed causes at age 58. Ms. Lee was the executive producer of the Gwyneth Paltrow version of "Great Expectations." Ms. Lee was unit production manager on several films including Martin Scorsese's remake of "Cape Fear" and "Mad Dog and Glory." She was a location manager on "Prizzi's Honor." Ms. Lee's first film credit was as a production secretary on the Anthony Quinn/Jacqueline Bisset romancer "The Greek Tycoon."

EVE CURIE Died Oct. 22, 2007

Eve Curie, the daughter of Nobel Prize winning scientists Madame Marie and Pierre Curie died at age 102. Ms. Curie wrote her mother's biography "Madame Curie." The biography was turned into a 1943 film. The movie received 7 Oscar nominations. Ms. Curie played herself in the short film "Paramount Pacemaker: Brains Can Be Beautiful."

PETER HUME Died Oct. 23, 2007

Canadian born athlete, coach and actor Peter Hume died of natural causes at age 54. Mr. Hume was a wrestler and member of Canada's 1980 Olympic team. He did not get to compete as Canada was one of over 60 countries to boycott the Moscow Olympics due to their invasion of Afghanistan. Mr. Hume later became a member of the Olympic Team coaching staff. He also coached at two colleges. He was a high school teacher for the past 13 years! Mr. Hume appeared in the Bill Murray comedy "Meatballs." He played 'The Stomach' during the film's hilarious hotdog-eating sequence. Actor Keith Knight, who played his competition during the scene died in August of this year. Mr. Hume became a naturalized US citizen after going through the legal procedures to enjoy the rights and privileges of US citizenship.

ROBERT F. O'NEILL Died Oct. 23, 2007

Emmy-winning producer Robert F. O'Neill died of colon cancer at age 86. Mr. O'Neill shared an Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series in 1971 for "Columbo." He was nominated for four more Emmy awards, three for his work on "Murder, She Wrote" and another for "Quincy M.E." Mr. O'Neill's other credits include "Mission Impossible," "The Sixth Sense," "Arthur Hailey's Wheels" and "Evening in Byzantium." Robert F. O'Neill served his country during WWII in the US Army where he took part in the D-Day invasion as well as other battles in Europe. Thanks for your service to your country.

MARK MULHOLLAND Died Oct. 24, 2007

Irish character actor Mark Mulholland died at age 70. Mr. Mulholland plied his trade on stage, screen and TV. His film credits include Ron Howard's "Far and Away," Tom Hanks upcoming "City of Ember," the excellent POW thriller "The McKenzie Break," "The Boxer" and the BBC TV series "Eureka Street."

ALLAN STEVENSON Died Oct. 24, 2007

Actor Allan Stevenson was killed by a hit-and-run driver in New York City. The 89-year-old actor worked on Broadway, early TV and made a few film appearances. Mr. Stevenson appeared in several Broadway productions including the 1948/49 production of "Anne of a Thousand Days." Mr. Stevenson appeared in the films "Age of Innocence" and "Murder By Phone." He worked on TV during the 1950s in "Studio One," "Kraft Television Theater" and "Hallmark Hall of Fame."


Flautist Masakazu Yoshizawa died of stomach cancer at age 57. Mr. Yoshizawa's music was featured in such films as "Memoirs of a Geisha," "TMNT," "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story," "Vanishing Acres," "The Joy Luck Club" and the miniseries "Shogun."

PATRICK MYNHARDT Died Oct. 25, 2007

South African actor Patrick Mynhardt died of natural causes at age 75. Mr. Mynhardt died several hours after performing an autobiographical one-man show at London's West End. In addition to his successful stage career, Mr. Mynhardt appeared in nearly 30 films and TV shows. His film credits include Cornel Wilde's "The Naked Prey," "Zulu Dawn" and "A Good Man in Africa."

LYN STATTEN Died Oct. 25, 2007

Actress Lyn Statten died at age 82. Ms. Statten starred in the religious Film Noir movie "The Seventh Commandment." Her many TV credits include "Playhouse 90," "The Alaskans," "Bat Masterson" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."

BERNARD KOWALSKI Died Oct. 26, 2007

Emmy-nominated producer and director Bernard Kowalski died at age 78. Mr. Kowalski shared two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Drama Series for his work on "Baretta." Mr. Kowalski produced and or directed many of the top TV series of the 1960s and 70s. He produced the first two episodes of the WWII series "The Rat Patrol." I thank him for that alone as it was a childhood favorite of mine. One of the first movies to warp my psyche was the kinky horror movie "Attack of the Giant Leeches." I saw it when I was six years old. I came away from the horror opus with very strange feelings for Yvette Vickers, the movie's poor-white-trash femme fatale. Bernard Kowalski was the man who directed that cult classic. I thank him (and Yvette Vickers) for that too! Another childhood favorite was the sci-fi/horror film "Night of the Blood Beast." Mr. Kowalski also helmmed that Roger and Gene Corman production. Mr. Kowalski directed four films for the Corman brothers. Mr. Kowalski returned to horror films in the 1970s directing "Sssssss."

Though I remember Mr. Kowalski fondly for his horror films, his biggest impact on the industry was as a TV producer and director. His impressive list of TV credits include "Perry Mason," "The Untouchables," "Rawhide," "The Virginian," "Mission Impossible," "Gunsmoke," "Columbo," "The Wild, Wild West," "The Streets of San Francisco," "The Rockford Files," "Magnum PI," "Airwolf," "Knight Rider," "Jake and the Fatman" and "Diagnosis Murder." A trivia point from Mr. Kowalski's career was the title of his 1969 disaster movie "Krakatoa: East of Java." The film dealt with the worst volcanic eruption in recorded history: the 1883 eruption felt all around the world. Someone at the studio was asleep when the film was named as Krakatoa is actually west of Java.

MORIA LISTER Died Oct. 27, 2007

South African actress Moria Lister died at age 83. Ms. Lister enjoyed a successful stage career in South Africa and the UK. She began her UK stage career at age 14! Ms. Lister appeared in nearly 50 films and TV shows during a screen career that began in 1944. Her film credits include "Wanted for Murder," "So Evil My Love," "The Cruel Sea" and the 1989 version of "Ten Little Indians."

DARIUS TRULY Died Oct. 27, 2007

26-year-old actor Darius Truly was stabbed to death after leaving a party in Los Angeles. The Memphis-born actor performed in the play "The Chicago Conspiracy" earlier in the evening. Mr. Truly appeared in the short films "Dropping the Gloves" and "Concrete Brown" while studying acting at college in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Truly had begun to gain notice for his work on various Los Angeles stages. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.

PATRICK YACANO Died Oct. 27, 2007

Musician and sound mixer/editor Patrick Yacano died of a heart attack at age 38. Mr. Yacano was a sound mixer on a number of films including "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Part 2," "Jackie Gleason: Genius at Work" and "Mint Condition." Mr. Yacano worked on the audio restoration of several older TV series and feature films including "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," "Magic," "The Jackie Gleason Show," and "The Beverly Hillbillies." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.

PORTER WAGONER Died Oct. 28, 2007

Country music legend Porter Wagoner died of lung cancer at age 80. The old-school country music star was a staple of the Grand Ole Opry for 50 years. He launched the career of singer/actress Dolly Parton when she became his duet partner in 1967. Porter Wagoner hosted the long-running TV series "The Porter Wagoner Show" from 1960 to 1979. His film credits include "Country Music on Broadway," "The Nashville Rebel" and Clint Eastwood's "Honkytonk Man." Mr. Wagoner's many hit songs include "Satisfied Mind" and "Green Green Grass of Home." His music can be heard on the soundtracks of such films as "The Nashville Sound" and "The People vs. Larry Flynt."


Japanese writer/director Senkichi Taniguchi died of pneumonia at age 95. Mr. Taniguchi's directorial debut was the crime drama "The Snow Trail." He co-wrote the film with childhood friend Akira Kurosawa. The film also marked the screen debut of actor Toshiro Mifune in the starring role. Mr. Taniguchi directed five films written by or co-written with Akira Kurosawa. Mr. Taniguchi's 1965 action film "International Secret Police: Key of Keys" was re-dubbed by Woody Allen and turned into the comedy "What's Up Tiger Lily?" Mr. Taniguchi directed over 30 films during his career, thirteen of which he also wrote.

EVELYN HAMANN Died Oct. 29, 2007

German actress Evelyn Hamann died at age 65. Ms. Hamann received the Bavarian TV Award for her work on the popular TV series "Adelheid and Her Murderers." She played a secretary of a bumbling police chief who solves the crimes her boss's cases. Ms. Hamann also won the Best Actress in a TV Series award from the RTL Golden Lion Awards for her work in the series.

DAVID MORRIS Died Oct. 29, 2007

British painter and peace activist turned actor David Morris died at age 83. Mr. Morris appeared in his first feature film at age 79. He played Grandpa George in Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Mr. Morris other credits include the TV shows "Little Britain," "When I'm 64" and "Jonathan Creek." Mr. Morris was a renowned portrait and landscape painter. He served his country in the Royal Army during WWII where he saw action in North Africa.

KAREN FRACTION Died Oct. 30, 2007

Actress Karen Fraction died of breast cancer at age 49. Ms. Fraction enjoyed success on Broadway, feature films and TV. She co-starred in the Nickelodeon TV series "My Brother and Me." Ms. Fraction's Broadway credits include "Caberet" and "The Tap Dance Kid." Ms. Fraction appeared in the films "Palmetto" and "The First of May." She appeared in a number of TV series including "Walker, Texas Ranger" and "Swamp Thing."

ROBERT GOULET Died Oct. 30, 2007

Tony-award-winning actor/singer Robert Goulet died of pulmonary fibrosis at age 73. Mr. Goulet was awaiting a lung transplant at the time of his death. Mr. Goulet's best known role was as Sir. Lancelot in the Broadway play "Camelot." Robert Goulet won the Best Actor in a Musical Tony Award for the 1968 production of "Happy Time." Robert Goulet appeared in over 100 films and TV shows. He had a cameo scene with Susan Sarandon in Louis Malle's outstanding "Atlantic City." Other feature film credits include "Naked Gun 2 and ½," "Scrooged," "Beetle Juice," "I'd Rather Be Rich" and "I Deal in Danger."

Robert Goulet's musical skills graced the small screen in the adaptations of the plays "Brigadoon," "Kiss Me Kate" and "Carousel." He made guest appearances on numerous TV shows including "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Dean Martin Show," "The Andy Williams Show," "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour," "Police Squad!," "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" and "The Simpsons."

LINDA STEIN Died Oct. 30, 2007

Linda Stein, the former manager of the band The Ramones was found murdered in her New York apartment. The 62-year-old music legend was beaten to death in her home. Linda Stein also helped launch the careers of Madonna, The B-52s and The Talking Heads. Ms. Stein was also know as a realtor to numerous music stars. Ms. Stein appeared as herself in the documentaries "End of the Century" and "Too Tough to Die: A Tribute to Johnny Ramone." Ms. Stein was the inspiration for characters played by actress Sylvia Miles (a realtor) in "Wall Street" and Sela Ward (a record exec) in "Studio 54." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.

JOE ROMERO Died Oct. 30, 2007

Gay adult actor/director Joe Romero died of undisclosed causes. His age was not given. Mr. Romero starred in over 600 adult films. He was also a musician and released two CDs. Mr. Romero spent his last year working in a hospital in New England helping AIDS patients. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.

KAREN KUYKENDALL Died Oct. 31, 2007

Actress, singer and business woman Karen Kuykendall died of cancer at age 69. The Austin, Texas native was a major force in the Austin arts scene. She sang in cabarets and acted in a number of local theater productions. She appeared in the indie comedy "Deep in the Heart." Ms. Kuykendall lent her vocal talents to the English versions of several anime films including "Nadia of the Mysterious Seas." She was the sister of actor Guich Koock and the niece of blacklisted writer John Henry Faulk. Her uncle's story was turned into the TV movie "Fear On Trial" in which Mr. Faulk was portrayed by actor William Devane.

DAVID TALLICHET Died Oct. 31, 2007

Businessman and WWII bomber pilot David Tallichet died at age 84. Mr. Tallichet was one of the nation's most successful restaurateurs. He founded the Specialty Restaurants Corporation. Mr. Tallichet served his country during WWII as a B-17 pilot. He flew 23 combat missions over Europe. Mr. Tallichett continued flying throughout his life and had the largest privately owned collection of WWII vintage aircraft in the world. He often loaned his planes out for Hollywood movies. Mr. Tallichet continued to pilot his own B-17 until his death. He was worked as a B-25 pilot in the Harrison Ford film "Hanover Street." Mr. Tallichet flew his own B-17 to Europe to take part in the filming of "Memphis Belle." He was the brother of 1930s and 40s actress Margaret Tallichet. His late sister was the wife of director William Wyler, the director the classic documentary "The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress." Thanks for your service to our country.

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