GERTAN KLAUBER Died Aug. 1, 2008
Czech actor Gertan Klauber died at age 86. Mr. Klauber trained in England and was a prolific stage, film and TV actor. He was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Mr. Klauber appeared in over 100 films and TV shoes during his career. Mr. Klauber appeared in seven films in the "Carry On" comedy series. James Bond fans saw him in "Octopussy" and "The Living Daylights." His horror movie credits include "Cry of the Banshee" and "The Hands of Orlac." Other notable credits include roles in "Backbeat," "Blackadder the Third," "Top Secret!," "The First Olympics: Athens 1896," "Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession," "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution," "Upstairs, Downstairs," "Venom," "Wuthering Heights," "The Avengers," "The Saint," "The Prisoner," "Doctor Who," "Danger Man," "Operation Crossbow," "Dixon of Dock Green" and "Agent 8 3/4"
BERTRAND CASTELLI Died Aug. 1, 2008
Broadway and film producer Bertrand Castelli was killed when he was struck by a boat while swimming off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. The 78-year-old Castelli was executive producer of the original Broadway production of "Hair." He recently appeared in the documentary film "Hair: Let the Sun Shine In." Ms. Castelli wrote and produced the prophetic political satire "Richard." The 1972 film portrayed then president Richard Nixon as a crook. Ironically the movie was made before the Watergate break in.
DICK BARRYMORE Died Aug. 1, 2008
Documentary filmmaker Dick Barrymore died of brain cancer at age 74. Mr. Barrymore was one of the world's leading documenter of skiing. Mr. Barrymore called himself "The Last of the Ski Bums." That is also the title of a 1969 film shot and directed by Mr. Barrymore. Mr. Barrymore began his career shooting the winter Olympics at Squaw Valley, California. Other credits include "Ski West, Young Man" and "Mountain High."
TIMUR OTUS Died Aug. 1, 2008
Actor Timur Otus committed suicide at a Southern California psychiatric hospital at age 43. Mr. Otus had bit parts on the TV series "Zoey 101" and "Ripley's Believe It or Not." Mr. Otus went missing at the Aurora Las Encinas Hospital which is associated with Radio and TV Dr. Drew Pinsky. Mr. Otus was found hanging the next morning in an old shed on the hospital campus. The upscale hospital has received unwanted attention this year because of three adult patient deaths and the rape of a juvenile female patient at the facility. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
CHARLES H. GRAY Died Aug. 2, 2008
Character actor Charles H. Gray died at age 86. Mr. Gray was a familiar face to Western fans during the 1950s through the 70s. The prolific actor appeared over 60 films and TV shows during his career. Mr. Gray may be best known for playing Clay Forrester during the last four seasons of "Rawhide." Mr. Gray's final role was as the sheriff in the terrible 1979 monster movie "The Prophecy." Mr. Gray's many credits include "Ike," "Sergeant Matlovich vs. the U.S. Air Force," "A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story," "Captains and the Kings," "Banacek," "The Rookies," "Alias Smith and Jones," "The New Centurions" with George C. Scott, Sam Peckinpah's rodeo film "Junior Bonner," "Bonanza," "The Organization," "Bless the Beasts & Children," "Wild Rovers," "McCloud," Elvis Presley's Western "Charro!," "Perry Mason," "Gunsmoke," "Death Valley Days," "Riverboat," "Have Gun - Will Travel," "Zane Grey Theater," "The Ann Sothern Show," "Leave It to Beaver," "The Unknown Terror," "Whirlybirds" and "Highway Patrol."
TADASHI HATTORI Died Aug. 2, 2008
Japanese composer Tadashi Hattori died at age 100. Mr. Hattori scored three of Akira Kurosawa's early films: "The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail," "No Regrets for Our Youth" and "One Wonderful Sunday." He also provided scores for several Japanese cartoons during the early 1940s.
LINDA FIELD Died Aug. 3, 2008
Best boy and key grip Linda Field died of undisclosed causes at age 45. Ms. Field was the wife of screenwriter and Groucho Marx's personal secretary Steve Stoliar. Ms. Field's many credits include "Hear No Evil," "Crazy in Love," "The People Under the Stairs," "Black Magic Woman," "Rambling Rose," "Zandalee," "Pump Up the Volume," "Drug Wars: The Camarena Story," "Full Moon in Blue Water" and "My Best Friend Is a Vampire."
ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN Died Aug. 3, 2008
Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn died of heart failure at age 89. Mr. Solzhenitsyn won the Nobel Prize in literature for his books dealing with Soviet labor camps. Mr. Solzhenitsyn was a decorated soldier during WWII. Despite this, he was imprisoned by Joseph Stalin for a slight against the dictator written in a private letter. Mr. Solzhenitsyn's experiences became the basis for his classic books "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," "The First Circle" and "The Gulag Archipelago." "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" was turned into a feature film in 1970. It received a BAFTA nomination. The book was also dramatized in a 1963 episode of "Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater." Mr. Solzhenitsyn's book "The First Circle" was turned into a feature film, a TV movie and a TV miniseries.
LOU TEICHER Died Aug. 3, 2008
Pianist Lou Teicher died of heart failure at age 83. Mr. Teicher was half of the renowned piano duo Ferrante & Teicher. The pair recorded over 150 albums during their lengthy career. They were known for their versions of famous movie theme songs. Mr. Teicher composer the theme song for the movie "A Rage to Live." The duo performed on numerous TV shows including "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" and "The Dinah Shore Show."
SALLY INSUL Died Aug. 4, 2008
Actress Sally Insul died at age 92. Ms. Insul appeared in such films and TV shows as "Click," "Old School," "L.A. Confidential," "Primary Colors," "Seinfeld," "Frazier," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "My Name is Earl," "Boy-Next-Door," "The Last" and "Life with Bonnie."
PETER KASS Died Aug. 4, 2008
Broadway director and actor Peter Kass died at age 85. Mr. Kass acted in several Broadway productions during the 1940s. He was a protégé of writer Clifford Odets. He directed another four productions including "Night Music." Mr. Kass wrote and directed the 1962 feature film "Time of the Heathen." He did a guest spot as a judge on "Law & Order." Peter Kass shared his craft with students at Boston University and NYU. Mr. Kass served his country in the US Army during WWII where he saw action in the European theater of operation.
ROBERT MAHEU Died Aug. 4, 2008
Businessman Robert Maheu died of congestive heart failure at age 90. Mr. Maheu was Howard Hughes' right-hand-man from 1955 until 1970. He was the public face of the reclusive billionaire. Mr. Maheu was also known as the man the CIA hired to arrange the assassination of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Robert Maheu was portrayed by actor Bart Burnes in the TV movie "The Amazing Howard Hughes" and by actor Bill Cross in the HBO movie "Sugartime." Mr. Maheu appeared as himself in such documentaries as "638 Ways to Kill Castro," "Sinatra: Dark Star" and "Howard Hughes: The Real Aviator."
DON GRISSOM Died Aug. 4, 2008
Camera and sound man Don Grissom died of lung cancer at age 65. The documentary filmmaker's credits include "Slavery and the Making of America," "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg," numerous episodes of "The American Experience" and "Frontline."
BRUNO DALLANSKY Died Aug. 5, 2008
Austrian actor and drama teacher Bruno Dallansky died at age 79. He outlived his wife, actress Judith Holzmeister by a little over a month. Bruno Dallansky taught at the famed Max-Reinhardt-Seminar in Vienna for 25 years. He appeared in over 60 films and TV shows during his career. Mr. Dallansky's many credits include "Radetzky March" with Charlotte Rampling and Max von Sydow, "Tatort," "And Jimmy Went to the Rainbow's Foot," "School of Fear" and Disney's "The Magnificent Rebel."
GARY MOONEY Died Aug. 5, 2008
Animator Gary Mooney died of cancer at age 78. Mr. Mooney worked for a number of studios including Disney. His was an assistant animator on Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" and "Lady and the Tramp." Other credits include the feature film "Heavy Metal," the cartoon segment in "Jurassic Park," "The Emperor's New Groove 2: Kronk's New Groove," "A Very Brady Sequel," "Four Rooms," "Honeymoon in Vegas," "Honey I Blew Up the Kid," "City Slickers," "Gnomes," "The Mouse and His Child," and the animated TV series "George of the Jungle" and "Underdog."
MICHAEL SILBERKLEIT Died Aug. 5, 2008
"Archie" comic-book publisher Michael Silberkleit died of cancer at age 76. Mr. Silberkleit's family are the co-owners and founders of the "Archie" comic franchise. He worked his entire life in the publishing business. Mr. Silberkleit's family creation spun off the animated TV shows "The Archie Show," "Josie and the Pussycats" and "Sabrina the Teenage Witch." "Sabrina" was later turned into a live action TV series starring Melissa Joan Hart. Ms. Silberkleit called for Ms. Hart to be fired from the role after she appeared in a Maxim magazine pictorial. He felt it violated the Archie code of decency which his publishing company had followed since 1941.
JENNIFER HILARY Died Aug. 6, 2008
British actress Jennifer Hilary died at age 65. Ms. Hilary enjoyed success on Broadway and London's West End as well as in film and TV. She appeared in three Broadway productions including "Avanti!" Ms. Hilary appeared in over 30 films and TV shows including "Midsomer Murders," "Slipstream," "Tales of the Unexpected," "Z Cars," "The Idol," "The Heroes of Telemark" and "Becket."
SIMON GRAY Died Aug. 6, 2008
Tony-nominated playwright Simon Gray died of lung cancer at age 71. Mr. Gray received two Tony nominations for his plays "Butley" and "Otherwise Engaged." Actor Alan Bates starred in the 1974 film version of "Butley." Mr. Gray wrote scripts for a number of British TV productions. Mr. Gray wrote three books about his inability to give up cigarettes. Mr. Gray was in the process of adapting the last volume of his "The Smoking Diaries" for the stage when he died. It was aptly called "The Last Cigarette."
EUGENE GALUSHA Died Aug. 6, 2008
Voiceover artist and narrator Gene Galusha died at age 66. Mr. Galusha worked on TV and radio as an announcer and narrator on numerous shows, documentaries and commercials. He narrated the Discovery Channel's series "The New Detectives: Case Studies in Forensic Science." Other credits include "Masterpiece Theater," "Evening at Pops," "NFL Films," "National Geographic Explorer," "The West Wing," "Nova" and "A Haunting in Connecticut."
JUD TAYLOR Died Aug. 6, 2008
DGA-winning director and former actor Jud Taylor died at age 68 of an undisclosed illness. Mr. Taylor was the former president and vice president of the Director's Guild. Mr. Taylor was married to Emmy-winning casting director Lynn Kressel. He won a DGA for the 1987 TV special "Foxfire" which starred Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn. Mr. Taylor was also honored by the Director's Guild with the Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award in 2003. Mr. Taylor received an Emmy nomination for the TV biopic "Tail Gunner Joe." The TV film starred Peter Boyle as Senator Joe McCarthy. Jud Taylor directed nearly 70 TV movies and TV shows during his lengthy career. He directed multiple episodes of many popular TV shows including the original "Star Trek." Mr. Taylor directed the Made for TV movie "The Great Escape II: The Untold Story." As an actor, Jud Taylor appeared in the original classic film "The Great Escape." Mr. Taylor played Steve McQueen's buddy Goff, who along with James Garner and McQueen were the only American POWs in the film. You may remember him from the scene in which the three American POWs taste the moonshine they brewed for the 4th of July celebration. Mr. Taylor chokes on the fire-water as he says "Wow!" He also carried the flag in the photo shown at right. Mr. Taylor directed David Jansen in his final film "City in Fear." Mr. Taylor surprisingly used the Alan Smithee credit for the TV movie. It was surprising that he used the Smithee credit because the movie was a very-well done crime thriller. He also used the Alan Smithee pseudonym for the 1968 Burt Reynolds' TV movie "Fade In."
Jud Taylor's many directing credits include "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues," "Broken Vows," "Lou Grant," "Woman of the Year," "The Disappearance of Flight 412," "Winter Kill," the pilot film for "The Rookies," "Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole," "Mannix," "Longstreet," "Then Came Bronson," "Love, American Style," "The New Doctors," "Judd for the Defense," "The Guns of Will Sonnett," "The Second Hundred Years," "The Fugitive," "The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.," "Ben Casey," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." and "Dr. Kildare."
Jud Taylor also had a successful career as a film and TV actor before heading behind the camera. Mr. Taylor made his acting debut in Robert Aldrich's WWII film "Attack." He was a regular on the TV series "Dr. Kildare." He appeared in several episodes playing different parts on "The Fugitive" and "12 O'Clock High." Other acting credits include "The Interns," "Follow the Sun," "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin," "Men of Annapolis," "Gunsmoke" and "The Garment Jungle."
EVA PFLUG Death discovered Aug. 6, 2008
German actress Eva Pflug died at age 79. Ms. Pflug's body was found by police in her Munich apartment. Eva Pflug was best known for her role in the 1960's sci-fi TV series "Space Patrol." The TV series remains a cult favorite in Germany. Eva Pflug was also an accomplished singer. She appeared in over 70 films and TV shows during her career. Ms. Pflug also dubbed the voices of English speaking actresses for the German release of their films. Ms. Pflug dubbed Julie Christie's voice for "Dr. Zhivago," Ursula Andress in "Casino Royale," Ann Bancroft in "The Graduate" and Eva Marie Saint in "North by Northwest."
JACK KAMEN Died Aug. 6, 2008
Comic book artist Jack Kamen died of cancer at age 88. Mr. Kamen is best remembered for his work for EC Comics. Mr. Kamen had a way with women, drawing them that is. His wholesome, pretty women with a sexy edge added something extra to EC's horror comics like "Tales From the Crypt," "Vault of Horror" and "Haunt of Fear." While many of the EC horror comics are remembered for their explicit gore, Mr. Kamen's stories left something to the reader's imagination. Jack Kamen supplied the EC style comic art to the George Romero/Stephen King movie "Creepshow."
BERNIE BRILLSTEIN AUG. 7, 2008
Emmy-nominated producer Bernie Brillstein died of kidney failure at age 77. Mr. Brillstein was one of the most successful and powerful agents in Hollywood. He was responsible for bringing such shows as "Saturday Night Live," "Hee Haw," "The Muppet Show" and "Alf" to TV. Mr. Brillstein represented many of the most talented actors and writers of the past 30 years. He was best known as John Belushi's agent. Mr. Brillstein was nominated for nine Emmy awards and three Daytime Emmy awards. Mr. Brillstein's many producer credits include "Jiminy Glick in Lalawood," "The Wayne Brady Show," "The Martin Short Show," "NewsRadio," "Just Shoot Me!," "The Replacement Killers," "Politically Incorrect," "Mr. Show," "Bulletproof," "The Cable Guy," "Happy Gilmore," "The Dana Carvey Show," "The Steve Harvey Show," "The Celluloid Closet," "It's Garry Shandling's Show," "Ghostbusters II," the feature film version of "Dragnet," "Spies Like Us," "Summer Rental," "Ghost Busters," "Buffalo Bill," "Doctor Detroit," "Neighbors," "Continental Divide," "The Blues Brothers" and "Up the Academy." Actor Alex Rocco played a fictionalized version of Bernie Brillstein in the lame movie "Wired."
JANE DEACY Died Aug. 8, 2008
Agent Jane Deacy died at age 94. Ms. Deacy was James Dean's agent. She met Mr. Dean two weeks after the 20-year-old arrived in New York. Ms. Deacy guided his career through the lean years until his death. Just prior to Dean's death, Ms. Deacy had negotiated him a nine-picture deal worth nearly a million dollars. Ms. Deacy was George C. Scott's agent and personal manager for nearly 30 years. Her other clients included Leonard Rosenman.
BERNIE MAC Died Aug. 9, 2008
Emmy-nominated comedian/actor Bernie Mac died at age 50. Bernie Mac had been hospitalized with severe pneumonia for several weeks. He also suffered from the autoimmune disease sarcoidosis since the early 1980s. I love the fact that Bernie Mac fought against being labeled a 'Black Comedian.' Bernie Mac's comedy crossed all lines. He spoke to all humans. When he broke the 4th wall at the end of each episode of "The Bernie Mac Show" he sure spoke to me.
Bernie Mac was born almost one year to the day before me. His insights on parenting, wives and other topics covered in his TV show hit home with me and I imagine millions of other men in the same generation. He voiced the conflict of what it means to be a real man in a world of metrosexual, Oprah-inspired, man-bag carriers. I hated when the show was cancelled. I hate even more that Bernie Mac was not able to win this last battle. Thirty years ago I would have said that 50 is old. What a shame that Bernie Mac died so young.
Some will detract from the man for his blue humor. I look at Bernie Mac as a positive role model for the power of perseverance. Though he knew at an early age that he wanted to make his living as a comedian, he did not get his big break until late in life. But Bernie Mac did not give up the fight. He did not lose sight of his dream. He worked to make ends meet while he pursued his dream.
Bernie Mac gained wide audience exposure in the early 1990s with his appearances on HBO's "Def Comedy Jam." He soldiered on through the 1990s working comedy clubs, making TV appearances and playing bit parts in movies. In 2000 Bernie Mac was one of four comedians featured in Spike Lee's comedy concert film "The Original Kings of Comedy." The movie pushed Bernie Mac further up the ladder and landed him on the A-List. His TV series was in direct result of his appearance in the Spike Lee documentary. There was no denying that Bernie Mac was a star who could carry a TV show. The series ran from 2000 through 2006 and earned Bernie Mac two Emmy nominations among many other accolades. His movie roles also grew larger.
Bernie Mac appeared in nearly 40 films and TV shows. He had finished work on two films at the time of his death. "Soul Men," set for release next year was filmed in part in my home town of Memphis. Bernie Mac co-starred in the remake of "Ocean's Eleven" and its two sequels. His hilarious cameo as a used car dealer was the only thing, besides Megan Fox looking under the hood of that car, worthwhile in last year's "Transformers." I loved the fact that Bernie Mac was cast as Bill Murray's brother when he replaced Murray as Bosley in the second "Charlie's Angels" movie. Bernie Mac's many film and TV credits include "Pride," "Guess Who," "Mr 3000," "Bad Santa," "Head of State," "Moesha," "The Players Club," "B*A*P*S," "Booty Call," "Get on the Bus," "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood," "Friday," "Above the Rim," "House Party 3" and "Mo' Money."
Thanks for the laughter. It was needed in this tough world. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
ISAAC HAYES Died Aug. 10, 2008
Oscar-winning composer Isaac Hayes ten days shy of his 66th birthday. Mr. Hayes was found unresponsive by a treadmill in his house. He was pronounced dead at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis. Isaac Hayes was one the most influential songwriters and performers in American music history. His impact on Soul, R&B, Rock and Roll and Disco can be heard in not only his recordings but also in those for who he wrote hit songs and influenced. Isaac Hayes was nominated for two Oscars for his score and original song for the movie "Shaft." He won the Oscar for Best Song. Mr. Hayes won two Grammy awards for his score and song from the same film.
Isaac Hayes was one of the premiere artists working at the Memphis based record studio STAX. Along with David Porter of "Sam & Dave" fame, Mr. Hayes co-wrote some landmark hit records. The Sam & Dave hits "Soul Man" and "Hold On! I'm Comin'" were co-written by Isaac Hayes. Isaac Hayes broke trough as a nationally recognized performer with the classic 1969 album "Hot Buttered Soul." This began a five-year period during which Mr. Hayes recorded some of the most memorable music of the 1970s. During this time Isaac Hayes was nicknamed Black Moses. His music created an opening through which many followed. Isaac Hayes' electric live performances were captured in a number of films and documentaries including "Wattstax" and "Save the Children."
In addition to his score for the movie "Shaft," Isaac Hayes composed scores for such films as "Knight Fever," "Truck Turner," "Tough Guys" and "Maidstone." Music written and/or performed by Mr. Hayes has been used on numerous movie soundtracks. You can enjoy his work in such films as "American Gangster," "Zodiac," "Lord of War," "Kill Bill," "8 Mile," "We Were Soldiers," "The Sopranos," "Jackie Brown," "Beavis and Butt-Head Do America," "Dead Presidents," "White Men Can't Jump," "Wired," "Casualties of War," "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," "The Blues Brothers" and "Shaft's Big Score!"
Isaac Hayes also enjoyed a successful career as an actor. He appeared in over 60 films and TV shows. He starred in the 1974 Blaxploitation film "Truck Turner" in which he played the title character bounty Hunter. John Carpenter cast Isaac Hayes as the chief crime boss 'the Duke' in his classic "Escape from New York." His Duke was a super bad, super cool counterpart to Kurt Russell's super-bad, super-cool hero Snake Plissken. Memphis director Craig Brewer gave Mr. Hayes a nice cameo role in the Oscar-winning "Hustle & Flow." Isaac Hayes also had a small part in the Samuel L. Jackson remake of "Shaft." He made an appearance as himself in the upcoming "Soul Men." Just hours before his own death, Isaac Hayes told a Memphis TV news reporter how upset he was at the death of his "Soul Men" co-star Bernie Mac. Younger audiences know him best for his voice role as Chef in "South Park." Mr. Hayes left the show after his Scientology beliefs were lampooned in one episode. A somewhat hypocritical stance as Mr. Hayes contributed his voice to other episodes which poked fun at other religions. We all are guilty of our own hypocrisy now and again. This just showed he was human. Isaac Hayes other acting credits include "Return to Sleepaway Camp," "Stargate SG-1," "Chelsea Walls," "Dr. Dolittle 2," "Reindeer Games," "Escape from L.A.," "Sliders," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Tales from the Crypt," "Robin Hood: Men in Tights," "Prime Target," "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," "Miami Vice," "The A-Team" and "The Rockford Files."
HOWARD MINSKY Died Aug. 10, 2008
Oscar-nominated producer Howard Minsky died at age 94. Mr. Minsky was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar for "Love Story." Mr. Minsky's only other producer credit was for the Robbie Benson Western "Jory." Howard Minsky worked in the film industry since childhood. He was a studio exec at both Fox and Paramount. He also worked as a talent agent for the William Morris agency. He was writer Erich Segal's agent. Mr. Minsky quit William Morris and worked to get Mr. Segal's book "Love Story" to the screen. While "Love Story" is Mr. Minsky's biggest claim to fame, his other film "Jory" is well worth discovering. I remember seeing it in the theater back in the day. Robbie Benson did a great job portraying a teen who has to learn to be a man on his own after his family is killed. John Marley and singer BJ Thomas co-starred.
MARGARET SAINSBURY Died Aug. 10, 2008
British housewife Margaret Sainsbury died of an apparent heart attack at age 73. Mrs. Sainsbury was on of the stars of Great Britain's first reality TV show "The Family." The British documentary series followed the formula of the landmark PBS series "An American Family." Mrs. Sainsbury was married to her first husband Terry Wilkins at the time the 1974 series aired. The couple divorced one year after the series.
RANA FISHER Died Aug. 10, 2008
Model and actress Rana Fisher died of undisclosed causes at age 36. Ms. Fisher began her career as a model before turning to acting. Her credits include "Gene Simmons: Family Jewels," "Cattle Call" and "Pomegranate." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
VLASTIMIR GAVRIK Died Aug. 11, 2008
Emmy-nominated art director Vlastimir Gavrik died at age 80. The Serbian production designer/art director was nominated for the 1987 TV movie "Escape from Sobibor." Mr. Gavrik was art director on one of my personal favorites: Emir Kusturica's brilliant "Underground." Mr. Gavrik worked on over 90 films in various capacities during his lengthy career. Other credits include the Richard Widmark/Sidney Portier adventure film "The Long Ships."
TERENCE RIGBY Died Aug. 11, 2008
Prolific British character actor Terence Rigby died of lung cancer at age 71. Mr. Rigby enjoyed success on stage as well as in film and TV. James Bond fans remember him as General Bukharin in "Tomorrow Never Dies." He appeared in over 70 films and TV shows during his career. Mr. Rigby's other credits include "Mona Lisa Smile," "Midsomer Murders," "Elizabeth," "Lovejoy," "Scandal," "Testimony," "The Dogs of War," "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," "Watership Down," "Softly Softly," "The Homecoming," the original version of "Get Carter," "Callan," "Z Cars," "Dixon of Dock Green" and "Accident."
GEORGE FURTH Died Aug. 11, 2008
Actor and Tony-winning playwright George Furth died at age 75. Mr. Furth was a frequent collaborator of Stephen Sondheim. Mr. Furth won the 1971 Tony award and 1970 Drama Desk award for his book of the play "Company." Mr. Furth wrote or co-wrote eight Broadway plays. Mr. Furth appeared in nearly 90 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. He may be best remembered as the loyal railroad clerk Leonard Woodcock in George Roy Hill's classic Western "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Mr. Furth's character was nearly killed several times protecting the money of E. H. Harriman of the Union Pacific Railroad from the Hole in the Wall gang's robbery attempts. His interplay with actor Paul Newman during the two robbery scenes were classics of comedic timing.
George Furth's many acting credits include "Bulworth," "Murder, She Wrote," "Murphy Brown," "The Man with Two Brains," "Doctor Detroit," "The Cannonball Run," "Oh, God!," "Airport '77," "All in the Family," "Shampoo," "Blazing Saddles," "Sleeper," "Bonanza," "Night Gallery," "Myra Breckinridge," "The Boston Strangler," "What's So Bad About Feeling Good?," "Ironside," "The Monkees," Curtis Harrington's "Games," "F Troop," "Honey West," "McHale's Navy," "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" and "The Defenders."
DON HELMS Died Aug. 11, 2008
Legendary steel-guitarist Don Helms died of a heart attack at age 81. Don Helms was the last surviving member of Hank Williams Sr.'s band "The Drifting Cowboys." Mr. Helms played on most of Hank Williams' 66 recorded songs. His career with hank Williams was interrupted when Mr. Helms enlisted in the US Army to fight during WWII. The last time Mr. Helms saw Hank Williams was during the final recording session which yielded "Your Cheatin' Heart." He is pictured with Hank Williams Sr. at right. Mr. Helms continued his prolific career after the death of Hank Williams in 1953. He worked with just about every major Country & Western artist of the last half century. Mr. Appeared as himself in such documentaries as "American Masters: Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues" and "Inside Fame: Loretta Lynn."
GEORGE NAIDAS Died Aug. 11, 2008
Greek actor George Naidas died in a motorcycle accident at age 34. Mr. Naidas gained fame in Greece for his work in the reality TV series "Bar." He had a supporting role in the US based thriller "G.P.S." On April 2, 2002 George Naidas and his friend cinematographer Panos Gkolfis captured on film an armored car robbery carried out a terrorist group known as 'November 17.' The gangsters fired machine guns at the filmmakers as they fled the scene on motorcycles.
BILL STULLA Died Aug. 12, 2008
TV host Bill Stulla died at age 97. Bill Stulla was known to millions of kids in Southern Califiornia as Engineer Bill. He hosted the popular "Cartoon Express" TV show from 1955 through 1966. Mr. Stulla won two local Emmy Awards for the show. Bill Stulla served his country in the US Army during WWII where he was awarded the Bronze Star.
STEPHEN LEAKE Died Aug. 13, 2008
Memphis filmmaker Stephen Leake died of undisclosed causes at age 43. Mr. Leake co-wrote, produced and starred in the award-winning comedy short "Experiencing Raju." The film won awards at the Seattle Summer Film and Videotape Festival and WorldFest Houston 2000. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
ARTHUR HATCH Died Aug. 13, 2008
Electrical engineer and inventor Arthur J. Hatch Jr. died at age 97. Mr. Hatch worked for and eventually became the president of the Strong Electric Company. Strong manufactured projection lighting equipment for motion picture theaters. In 1966 received a technical Academy Award for the development of an air blown arc for projection.
PRISCILLA ALLEN Died Aug. 14, 2008
Actress and teacher Priscilla Allen died from complications of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at age 70. Ms. Allen was one of the stars in the San Diego theater scene. She trod the boards for over 40 years. Ms. Allen shared her craft with both high school and college students in San Diego. Ms. Allen is known to film fans world wide for her iconic role in Arnold Schwarzenegger's sci-fi classic "Total Recall." Ms. Allen appeared in one scene. When Mr. Schwarzenegger's character sneaks into the colony on Mars he is disguised as a Fat Lady, played by Ms. Allen! When the disguise begins to malfunction, her head opens up revealing Arnold. Arnold then throws her head to one of the armed guards where Ms. Allen delivers the line "Get ready for a surprise!" The head explodes and for those guards, the fat lady sang. Ms. Allen also appeared in the films "The Naked Truth" and "Let Others Suffer." She also had a guest role on the TV series "Happy Days."
LITA ROZA Died Aug. 14, 2008
British singer Lita Roza died at age 82. She was the first woman to have a #1 record on British pop charts with her 1953 song "How Much Is That Doggy In The Window." It is reported that Ms. Roza hated the song and never sang it live. Her acting credits include "My Way Home" and "Cast a Dark Shadow."
ROBERT JESSUP Died Aug. 14, 2008
Cinematographer Robert Jessup died at age 78. Mr. Jessup's work is familiar to sci-fi and horror movie fans. He worked on over 50 films and TV shows during his career. Mr. Jessup worked in various capacities on the following horror and sci-fi films: "Silent Rage," "Deadly Blessing," "Race with the Devil," "Mars Needs Women," "Night Fright" and "Futureworld." Mr. Jessup worked mainly in TV. His many other credits include "Dallas," "Porky's 3," "The Big Brawl," "Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders II," "The Dukes of Hazzard," "Cotton Candy," "Thaddeus Rose and Eddie," "A Small Town in Texas," "Drive-In," "Sugar Hill," "SpaceCamp," "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Ode to Billy Joe." Mr. Jessup served his country in the US Air Force during the Korean War.
JERRY WEXLER Died Aug. 15, 2008
Oscar-nominated record producer and composer Jerry Wexler died of heart disease at age 91. Mr. Wexler was one of the guiding forces in R&B. He produced records for such stars as Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, Bob Dylan and Wilson Pickett. Mr. Wexler was nominated for an Oscar for his score of Louis Malle's controversial "Pretty Baby." Songs written by Mr. Wexler appear on the soundtracks of numerous films including "S1m0ne," "Michael," "Dead Presidents," "Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills," "Action Jackson," "Planes, Trains & Automobiles," "Angel Heart" and "The Big Chill."
MOLLY MCCLURE Died Aug. 15, 2008
Actress Molly McClure died at age 89. Ms. McClure was active in regional theater in Kentucky and California. She also appeared in numerous films and TV shows. She played Noble Willingham's wife in the two "City Slickers" movies. Ms. McClure played George Strait's grandmother in "Pure Country." Her other credits include "The Patriot," "Walker, Texas Ranger," "Northern Exposure," "Picket Fences," "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Murphy Brown," "Daddy's Dyin'... Who's Got the Will?," "Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure," "The Women of Brewster Place," "Webster" and "Arthur 2: On the Rocks."
LEONARD HIRSCHFIELD Died Aug. 15, 2008
Director and cinematographer Leonard Hirschfield died at age 80. Mr. Hirschfield was director Frank Perry's cinematographer on his films "David and Lisa" and "Ladybug Ladybug." "David and Lisa" earned director Perry and Oscar nomination for Best Director. His wife Eleanor Perry also received a Best Screenplay Adapted Oscar nomination for the film. Mr. Hirschfield was best known in the industry for his prolific work as a TV commercial director. He won numerous CLIO awards for his TV work. Mr. Hirschfield wrote, directed and produced the Greek film "La Skalopatia" which starred Irene Pappas. Mr. Hirschfield later worked with director George Cosmatos doing second unit work on "Tombstone" and "Shadow Conspiracy."
TOMISLAV PINTER Died Aug. 15, 2008
Award-winning Croatian cinematographer Tomislav Pinter died at age 81. Mr. Pinter won numerous awards during his lengthy career. He worked on a number of internationally known and produced films. Mr. Pinter was hired as an apprentice following WWII. He worked his way up to be one of the most respected cinematographers in Europe. Mr. Pinter lensed over 110 films and TV shows during his career. He worked on a number of international productions. Mr. Pinter worked with Orson Welles on "The Merchant of Venice." His many notable credits include "The Battle of Neretva," "Steppenwolf" and "Montenegro." Mr. Pinter also shot the two TV movie sequels to "The Dirty Dozen."
ROBERTA COLLINS Died Aug. 16, 2008
Life is tough. Grief can be overwhelming. Janis Joplin once said "On stage I make love to twenty five thousand people; and then I go home alone." Fame is fleeting. The love and adoration of fans may fill some void, but we are all alone at the end of the day. Sometimes it becomes more than we can bear. Roberta Collins lost her son Michael to suicide. While it is not known whether Roberta Collins' death was an accident or suicide, my sources state that she took too many pills the day she died. Ms. Collins sank into depression following the death of her son. She was married to actor Paul Harper (The Wild Bunch). On the last day of her life, Bobbie Collins lay in bed. Her husband checked on her in the morning and at lunch time. She refused any food. She was gone by 4 that afternoon.
Roberta Collins was a free spirit. She brought joy to others through her work and in her personal life. She was a believer in holistic healing and tried to help others through those beliefs. Most of us didn't know Roberta Collins. We remember her fondly from her many cult films from the 1970s. She was a contemporary of Rainbeaux Smith, Candice Rialson, Claudia Jennings. While I enjoyed Roberta Collins' work, Rainbeaux Smith was the girl for me (in a movie fantasy way I'm sure you understand.) Roberta Collins appeared in 30 films and TV shows during her career. She remains in the hearts of drive-in movie fans for a half-dozen cult classics she appeared in during the 1970s.
In 1971, Roberta Collins co-starred with Pam Grier in her first of three Women in Prison films: Jack Hill's "The Big Doll House." Who can forget their famous, muddy cat-fight! That same year, she re-teamed with Ms. Grier in her second Women in Prison film "Women in Cages." Both films were US/Philippine co-productions. Ms. Collin's third Women in Prison film was Jonathan Demme's fun "Caged Heat." She co-starred with Barbara Steele, Erica Gavin, Juanita Brown and Rainbeaux Smith. The 1974 film is the best of the three films.
Her best known role is probably as Matilda the Hun in Roger Corman's gonzo cult-classic "Death Race 2000." She played a Nazi vixen paired up with Fred Grandy in the tale of a cross country race where the more people you kill, the more points you score. One of her most touching roles was as Clara, the doomed prostitute in Tobe Hooper's under-rated horror classic "Eaten Alive." She played one of those characters you know is going to end up in a very bad place, but you want her to make it. She doesn't. Another early drive-in classic from the 70s: "The Unholy Rollers." The Roller Derby movie belongs to its star, the late Claudia Jennings. Roberta Collins delivers the film's second best performance as a beautiful, but badass teammate.
Roberta Collins did some TV and made a few movies during the 1980s before leaving the film industry. Her TV credits include "Adam 12," "The Night Stalker," "BJ and the Bear" and Glenn Ford's great series "Cade's County." Ms. Collins would later work as one of the health care providers for Glenn Ford toward the end of his life. Ms. Collins other film credits include "Sweet Kill" with Tab Hunter, "Death Wish 2," "School Spirit" and the two "Hardbodies" movies.
It has taken some time to find and talk to my sources. Ironically news of Ms. Collins' passing surfaced on August 28, my daughter Christy's birthday. Tomorrow (Sept. 14) is the fourth anniversary of Christy's ATV accident. When Christy lay in a coma the doctors told me on several occasions that she wouldn't live through the night. I was blessed that I didn't lose my daughter. However the experience gave me some insight into what it would be like to lose a child. As bad as my experience was I know that it pales in comparison to what Bobbie Collins went through. I can't say what I would have done had Christy died. I hope I never have to find out the answer to that question. I just pray that Ms. Collins finds some peace from the pain she suffered due to the loss of her son Michael.
UPDATE: I was contacted by Roberta Collins' sister Lois. She forwarded her sister's death certificate to me which states the cause of death as Myocardial Infarction. She stated in her e-mail that Ms. Collins' husband Paul had informed her that Roberta had taken too many pills that day. It is an accusation that she did not believe. After being contacted by Ms. Collins' sister, I contacted my original source and was assured that their information was correct. In fact, their information was confirmed in many respects by the e-mail I received from Ms. Collins' sister Lois. There was no autopsy as a doctor signed the death certificate the same day Ms. Collins died. Ms. Collins' sister has some very definate ideas on how this was accomplished. I understand her grief, and regular readers know the tone of this obituary column. I stand by my original sources as to what happened the day Ms. Collins passed away.
JULIE FOLLANSBEE Died Aug. 16, 2008
Actress Julie Follansbee died at age 88. Ms. Follansbee had parts in the Mike Nichols' film "Regarding Henry" and the TV series "Law and Order."
JOHNNY MOORE Died Aug. 16, 2008
Musician Johnny Moore died of cancer at age 70. Mr. Moore was a founder of the reggae/ska band The Skatalites. The band received two Grammy nominations. Mr. Moore's music can be heard on the soundtracks of such films as "Friday After Next," "Jack Frost," "Dying Young" and "Woodstock: The Lost Performances."
ANDREW CASEY Died Aug. 17, 2008
Stedicam operator Andrew Casey was killed along with his wife Kathleen when the Harley Davidson motorcycle they were riding was struck by a pickup truck. Mrs. Casey was a nurse by profession. Mr. Casey was 44 years-old. The couple had three children: Brendan, Jessica and Trevor. Mr. Casey's many credits include "What Happens in Vegas," "John Adams," "The Invasion," "The Bourne Ultimatum," the remake of "The Producers," "The Interpreter," the remake of "Alfie," the remake of "The Manchurian Candidate," the remake of "The Stepford Wives," "City by the Sea," numerous episodes of "The Sopranos," "Meet the Parents," "Mickey Blue Eyes," "Analyze This," numerous episodes of "Sex and the City," "Kiss the Girls," "The Ice Storm," "Forrest Gump," "Philadelphia," "FX2," "Joe Versus the Volcano" and "Glory."
This is the second motorcycle accident this month to claim folks in the industry. Keep an eye out for motorcycle riders Damn It!
Prayers of comfort for their family and friends.
ARMOND FIELDS Died Aug. 17, 2008
Biographer Armond Fields has died at age 78. Mr. Fields was a meticulous biographer who chronicled the world of popular theater. He was the grand-nephew of actor Lew Fields. Mr. Field's grandmother blamed Lew Fields for the early death of her husband. She cut off contact with his side of the family and Armond Fields grew up unaware that he was related to Oscar-winner Dorothy Fields, "Annie Get Your Gun" writer Herbert Fields and "Flower Drum Song" writer Joseph Fields! Mr. Fields discovered his roots in his 50s! His first book was published in 1993. "From the Bowery to Broadway: Lew Fields and the Roots of American Popular Theatre" was co-written with his son Marc Fields. Mr. Fields donated a large collection of theatrical artifacts and documents to USC in 2005. Armond Fields wrote biographies of such luminaries as Sophie Tucker, Eddie Foy, Lillian Russell and Maude Adams. He also wrote "Women Vaudeville Stars: Eighty Biographical Profiles."
PERVIS JACKSON Died Aug. 18, 2008
Singer Pervis Jackson died of cancer at age 70. Mr. Jackson was one of the original members of the singing group The Spinners. Mr. Jackson provided the bass vocals for the band's many hit records. He is pictured on the far left in the picture. Mr. Jackson's film and TV credits include "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh," "Laverne & Shirley," "Saturday Night Live," "American Bandstand," "The Mike Douglas Show" and "Cher."
SID CAMPBELL Died Aug. 18, 2008
Martial arts grandmaster Sid Campbell died of cancer just shy of his 64th birthday. Mr. Campbell wrote dozens of books on martial arts. Mr. Campbell was honored by President Jimmy Carter for training US troops in the martial arts. Mr. Campbell acted in and served as fight choreographer in the films "The Master Demon" and "The Weapons of Death."
MISSY Died Aug. 18, 2008
Former adult actress Miss (birth name Maria Christina) died of an accidental overdose of prescription medications at age 41. Missy appeared in over 300 videos during her career and won several of the AVN industry awards. She was married at one time to fellow performer and actor Micky G. Missy left the industry at the end of the 1990s. She suffered from a series of breakdowns and returned to her Christian roots. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
LEROI MOORE Died Aug. 19, 2008
LeRoi Moore, the saxophone player and c-founder of The Dave Mathews Band died of complications from injuries he sustained in an ATV accident. The 46-year-old musician was hurt in June. I know first hand the dangers posed by ATVs. I wish that Mr. Moore had heard the message. Mr. Moore's work can be heard on the soundtrack of the movie "The Kingdom." The Dave Matthews Band appeared on numerous TV shows including "The David Letterman Show" and "Saturday Night Live." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
PAUL STARR Death discovered Aug. 19, 2008
Make-up artist Paul Starr was found dead in his Echo Park home. Mr. Starr had not been seen for several days. No cause of death has been announced for the 51-year-old Mr. Starr but foul play is not suspected. Mr. Starr worked with numerous actresses including Angelina Jolie and Madonna. Mr. Starr's credits include "Searching for Debra Winger," "Four Rooms," "David Bowie: Black Tie White Noise," "Paula Abdul: Straight Up," "Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night" and Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks!"
WAYNE WADHAMS Died Aug. 19, 2008
Music professor and author Wayne Wadhams died of undisclosed causes. His age was not given. Mr. Wadhams was a professor at Boston's Berklee College of music. He was the sound man on John Sayles landmark indie film "The Return of the Secaucus Seven." His publications include the three volume set "Sound Advice" and "Inside the Hits."
JULIUS CARRY Died Aug. 19, 2008
Actor Julius Carry died of pancreatic cancer at age 56. Mr. Carry appeared in nearly 60 films and TV shows during his career. He will always be remembered and loved for his gonzo performance as 'Sho Nuff: The Shogun of Harlem' in producer Berry Gordy's cult, Kung-Fu classic "The Last Dragon." Mr. Carry's over-the-top villain remains one of my favorite movie characters of all time. Mr. Carry was also well-known for playing Lord Bowler on the cult TV series "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr." Julius Carry's many credits include "The Unit," "JAG," "The District," "The Hughleys," "Boy Meets World," "Cosby," "Caroline in the City," "Murphy Brown," "Earth 2," "Tales from the Crypt," "Murder, She Wrote," "Perry Mason: The Case of the All-Star Assassin," "Tanner '88," "Moonlighting," "Fame," "The A-Team," "The Man with One Red Shoe," "The Jeffersons," "Alice," "Newhart," "Benson," "Hill Street Blues," "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh" and "Disco Godfather." Thanks for the memories, sho nuff!
DIANE WEBBER Died Aug. 19, 2008
Nudist, model, actress, belly-dancer and twice Playboy Playmate Diane Webber died of complications following surgery for ovarian cancer. Ms. Webber was 76 years old. Under her maiden name of Marguerite Empey, she was one of the few women to make more than one appearance as a Playboy Playmate. Ms. Webber appeared in the centerfolds in May 1955 and February 1956. One of her pictorials was shot by a young Russ Meyer. An underwater shot of Ms. Webber marked the first time public hair was shown in the magazine! She was married to Joe Webber. Ms. Webber was both a naturalist and a natural beauty. She was one of the most popular figure models in the worlds during the 1950s and 60s. She also taught belly dancing. Ms. Webber played a belly dance instructor in Tom Laughlin's "The Trial of Billy Jack." She appeared in several other films including the recently released on DVD "The Mermaids of Tiburon." Other credits include "The Witchmaker," Ray Dennis Steckler's "Sinthia, the Devil's Doll," "The Swinger," "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "Peter Gunn."
EDWARD FREEMAN Died Aug. 20, 2008
Congressional Medal of Honor winner Edward Freeman died of complications from Parkinson's Disease at age 80. Mr. Freeman was a US Army helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. Mr. Freeman flew numerous rescue missions during the 1965 battle of Ia Drang Valley. He was presented the medal by President George W. Bush in 2001. The intense battle was the subject of Mel Gibson's film "We Were Soldiers." Actor Mark McCracken portrayed Edward Freeman in the Mel Gibson film. Thanks for your service to our country.
PIERRE-ANDRE BOUTANG Died Aug. 20, 2008
French documentary filmmaker Piere-Andre Boutang died at age 71. Mr. Boutang's credits include "Paris Brothel," "Chasing Butterflies," "Jeanne Moreau: A Bombshell in Disguise," "Jean Cocteau: Le Phénix" and "Orson Welles à la Cinémathèque."
LEOPOLDO SERRAN Died Aug. 20, 2008
Screenwriter Leopoldo Serran died of liver cancer at age 66. Mr. Serran co-wrote the award-winning films "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands" and "Bye Bye Brazil." He also co-wrote the script for the 1995 film "O Quatrilho" which was nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar in 1996. Mr. Serran wrote nearly 40 films including the Alan Arkin thriller "Four Days in September."
PENNY RIGDEN Died Aug. 20, 2008
British dancer, teacher and actress Penny Rigden died of cancer at age 63. She had a dancer troupe called The Penny Rigden Dancers. She taught dance at the Eton End School for 20 years. Ms. Rigden's TV credits include "The Benny Hill Show," "The Bill," "Keeping Up Appearances" and "One Foot in the Grave."
ERIC LONGWORTH Died Aug. 20, 2008
British character actor Eric Longworth died at age 90. He was best known in the UK for his role as the Town Clerk in the TV series "Dad's Army." Mr. Longworth's other credits include "Oedipus the King," "The Life and Times of David Lloyd George," "Coronation Street," "No Sex Please: We're British," "Doomwatch," "Softly Softly," "Perfect Friday," "The Saint" and "Z Cars."
FRED CRANE Died Aug. 21, 2008
Actor Fred Crane died of complications following leg surgery at age 90. Mr. Crane was one of the last surviving cast members of the 1939 Hollywood classic "Gone With the Wind." Only six actors who had speaking parts in the epic film now survive. Mr. Crane played Stuart Tarleton, one of the twin suitors trying to win Vivian Leigh's affection in the opening scene of the classic film. Actor George Reeves played Mr. Crane's twin brother Brett Tarlton. It was Fred Crane who spoke the first line of dialogue in "Gone With the Wind." Mr. Crane became life-long friends with fellow actor George Reeves. He did not believe that Mr. Reeves committed suicide in 1959. At right is a publicity photo of George Reeves (l) and Fred Crane (r) as the Tarleton twins. Fred Crane continued to work in film and TV, but radio was his primary medium. He was a program director for KFAC, a classical music radio station in Los Angeles for over 40 years. Mr. Crane also acted on "The Jack Benny Radio Program." His other film and TV credits include "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," "Lost in Space," "Lawman," "Surfside 6," "The Gay Amigo," "The Cisco Kid," "General Hospital," "The Twilight Zone," "Hawaiian Eye" and "Peyton Place."
BUDDY HARMAN Died Aug. 21, 2008
Drummer Buddy Harman died of congestive heart failure at age 79. Mr. Harmon was one of the most prolific sessions-musicians in the world. He played on over 18,000 recordings during his career. While the Nashville native was one of Country Music's best known performers, he also worked in other genres including Rock and Roll and Swing. It would be impossible to list all of the films and TV shows which include songs to which Buddy Harman contributed. Some of the best known songs Mr. Harman performed on include Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman," Patsy Cline's "Crazy," Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," Elvis Presley's "Little Sister," Roger Miller's "King of the Road" and Loretta Lynn's "Coal Miner's Daughter."
JERRY FINN Died Aug. 21, 2008
Record producer Jerry Finn died of a brain hemorrhage at age 39. Mr. Finn produced a number of artists including Blink-182 and Morrissey. Music he produced was used on the soundtracks of such films and TV shows as "The Simpsons," "American Pie 2," "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place" and "Angus."
RALPH YOUNG Died Aug. 22, 2008
Comedian and singer Ralph Young died at age 90. Mr. Young was the singing partner of Tony Sandler. They performed on the last episode of "The Ed Sullivan Show." Sandler and Young performed in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Their TV credits include "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," "The Andy Williams Show," "Merv Griffin," "The Dean Martin Show" and "The Red Skelton Show." Mr. Young appeared in Doris WIshman's exploitation nudie "Blaze Starr Goes Nudist."
JEFF MACKAY Died Aug. 22, 2008
Actor Jeff MacKay died of liver failure at age 60. Mr. MacKay was best known for his role as Lt. Mac Reynolds on "Magnum P.I." He also had recurring roles on "JAG" and "Tales of the Gold Monkey." Mr. MacKay's many film and TV credits include "Diagnosis Murder," "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues," "Frame Up," "Hardcastle and McCormick," "Airwolf," "The Greatest American Hero," "The Wild Wild West Revisited," "Battlestar Galactica," "Baa Baa Black Sheep," "The Krofft Supershow" and "All the President's Men." Mr. MacKay was the cousin of "All the President's Men" star Robert Redford.
SYLVIA FAY Died Aug. 22, 2008
Casting director Sylvia Fay died at age 91. Sylvia Fay was co-founder of Sylvia Fay/Lee Genick & Associates Casting. The company was started in 1972. Ms. Fay cast extras for over 200 films and TV shows during her career. In addition to her work casting extras, she was casting director for a number of films including Brian DePalma's "Sisters" and "Phantom of the Paradise." Ms. Fay provided extras for such notable films as the original "Shaft," "Taxi Driver," "All That Jazz," "Tootsie," "Prizzi's Honor" and countless others.
FRED NASSIF Died Aug. 22, 2008
Actor Fred Nassif died at age 79. Mr. Nassif appeared on Broadway in the 1972 production "All the Girls Came Out to Play" which closed after three days. His film credits include "Something Short of Paradise" and "Made for Each Other." Mr. Nassif appeared in many nationally show TV commercials. He played Jeff Daniels' father in a 1982 Pepto-Bismal commercial. Mr. Nassif served his country in the US Army during WWII.
RUTH COHEN Died Aug. 23, 2008
Actress Ruth Cohen died of a heart attack at age 78. Ms. Moore played the cashier at Monk's Café on the TV series "Seinfeld." She appeared in almost every episode of the long-running show. Ms. Cohen's other credits include "Murder She Wrote," "Golden Girls," "V.I.P.," "Third Eye Blond" and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."
DOUGLAS SEBERN Died Aug. 23, 2008
Actor and regional theater director Douglas Sebern died at age 64. I remember Mr. Sebern best for his role in the Polish brother's quirky fantasy film "Northfork." Mr. Sebern played the mayor of the town overrun by angels. His wife Saralyn had a smaller part in "Northfork." His other film and TV credits include "Son of the Morning Star," "Return to Lonesome Dove," Steven Segal's "The Patriot," "Love Comes to the Executioner," "The Flying Dutchman," "Big Eden" and "Tom Murphy: The Left-Handed Gun." Mr. Sebern directed regional theater in Montana. He served our country in the US Navy during the Vietnam War.
JOSE DUARTE Died Aug. 24, 2008
Art director and scenic artist Jose Duarte died at age 73. Mr. Duarte worked on a number of feature films produced in South Florida. He was production designer on the thriller "Midnight Crossing." Mr. Duarte was art director on several films including the horror movies "The Unholy" and "The Funhouse." His many scenic artist credits include "Smokey and the Bandit," "Hoot," "From Justin to Kelly," "There's Something About Mary," "Miami Blues," "Married to the Mob," "Police Academy 5," "Revenge of the Nerds II," "Making Mr. Right" and "Porky's 3."
TAD MOSEL Died Aug. 24, 2008
Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tad Mosel died at age 86. Mr. Mozel's play "All the Way Home" won the Pulitzer in 1961. The play was turned into the excellent feature film starring Robert Preston. The Broadway production of "All the Way Home" earned Mr. Mosel a Tony nomination. His play was based on James Agee's novel "A Death in the Family." There were also two TV productions of the play. Mr. Mosel was nominated for an Emmy for the mini-series "The Adams Chronicles." He received a WGA nomination for his screenplay for "Up the Down Staircase." Mr. Mosel wrote countless scripts for live TV dramas during the 1950s. His credits include numerous episodes on such series as "General Electric Theater," "Playhouse 90," "Studio One," "Goodyear Television Playhouse" and "The Philco Television Playhouse." Mr. Mosel enlisted in the US Army after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He served for three years in the Pacific Theater of Operations.
DOROTHY PORTER Died Aug. 24, 2008
Singer/actress Dorothy Porter died at age 85. Ms. Porter appeared in several MGM and Paramount musicals during the late 1940s. Her credits include "Written on the Wind," "Three Daring Daughters," "Musical Parade: A Tale of Two Cafes," "Naughty Nanette" and "Arkansas Swing."
MORRIS F. SULLIVAN Died Aug. 24, 2008
Producer Morris F. Sullivan died at age 91. Mr. Sullivan was the founder of the mergers and acquisitions firm M.F. Sullivan and Co. After retirement he joined Don Bluth, John Pomeroy and Gary Goldman in founding Sullivan-Bluth Studios. Don Bluth's company had gone bankrupt. He approached the 72-year-old Sullivan and they opened the studio in 1985. Mr. Sullivan was responsible for moving the company from Los Angeles to Dublin, Ireland. Mr. Sullivan was executive producer on "Rock-A-Doodle" and "All Dogs Go to Heaven." He was supervising executive on "The Land Before Time."
RITA QUIGLEY Died Aug. 25, 2008
Former actress Rita Quigley died at age 85. Ms. Quigley appeared in nearly 20 films during the 1940s before retiring to raise a family. She was the sister of Juanita Quigley who acted in over 30 films. Ms. Quigley starred in several films put out for Monogram, but she also had supporting roles in films released by major studios. She made her film debut playing Joan Crawford's daughter in "Susan and God." The photo at right shows Ms. Quigley with Joan Crawford. Ms. Quigley's other credits include Edgar Ulmer's "Isle of Forgotten Sins," "Jennie," "Henry Aldrich, Editor" and "Hitler's Women."
FUKAURA KANAKO Died Aug. 25, 2008
Japanese actress Fukaura Kanako died of cancer at age 48. Ms. Kanako enjoyed success on stage and screen. International audiences may remember her best from the Oscar-nominated "The Twilight Samurai" and the cult classic "Battle Royale." She only had one scene in Kinji Fukasaku's cult classic "Battle Royale" but it is an important cameo. Ms. Kanako played the bus conductress who knocks out the films hero Shuya after the gas which has knocked out he and his schoolmates has worn off. The movie reallys tarts to get interesting with the punch delivered by Ms. Kanako. She was known in Japan for her TV roles in "Sweet Home" and "SP."
MARPESSA DAWN Died Aug. 25, 2008
Actress Marpessa Dawn died of a heart attack at age 74. The US born actress made her home in Paris. She was the co-star of the 1959 Best Foreign Film Oscar winner "Black Orpheus." Director Marcel Camus updated the story of Orpheus and Eurydice to the Carnival in Rio. The beautiful film won awards all around the world including the Palm de Or at Cannes. Ms. Dawn played Eurydice opposite actor Breno Mello as Orpheus. Her co-star passed away on July 14th of this year. Ms. Dawn appeared in just over a dozen films, but will always be remembered for her work in "Black Orpheus."
HAZEL WARP Died Aug. 26, 2008
Former stuntwoman Hazel Warp (nee Hash) died at age 93. Ms. Warp was one of several stunt doubles for Vivian Leigh on "Gone With the Wind." Ms. Warp was the lady who took the famous fall down the steps at Tara toward the end of "Gone With the Wind." Ms. Warp quit school to take up life as a rodeo trick rider. Ms. Warp also did all of Ms. Leigh's horseback scenes in the classic film. According to family members MS. Warp also performed stunts in the films "Wuthering Heights," "Ben Hur," "National Velvet," "Julia Thayer," "The Painted Stallion" and "The Prisoner of Zenda."
RICHARD KASSEBAUM Died Aug. 27, 2008
Filmmaker Richard Kessebaum died of a brain tumor at age 47. Mr. Kassebaum was the son of former senator Nancy Kassebaum and the grandson of the late presidential candidate Alf Landon. Richard Kassebaum won a Student Academy Award for his documentary "Alf Landon: My Talk With Papa." Mr. Kassebaum directed the documentary "Bill's Run" which dealt with his younger brother Bill's run for congress. He produced "Woodrow Wilson and the Birth of the American Century" and the "John Brown's Holy War" episode of the TV series "The American Experience." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
MARK PRIESTLEY Died Aug. 27, 2008
Australian actor Mark Priestley jumped to his death from the 22nd floor of a Sydney Australia hotel. The 32-year-old actor suffered from depression. Mr. Priestley was the star of the popular Australian TV series "All Saints." Last year Mr. Priestley was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor in a Television Drama by the Australian Film Institute for his work on "All Saints." His other credits include "The Secret Life of Us," "Loot," "Changi," "Better Than Sex" and "Water Rats." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
WONDERFUL SMITH Died Aug. 28, 2008Comedian Wonderful Smith died at age 97. The comedian broke racial stereotypes during his performance in the Duke Ellington's stage revue "Jump for Joy." Mr. Smith's many film and TV credits include "Webster," "This Is Spinal Tap," "Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy," "CHiPs," "Oh, God!," "A Piece of the Action," "Dynasty," "That's My Mama," "Harry O," "Happy Days," "Love, American Style," "The Bold Ones: The New Doctors," "Over My Dead Body" and "Top Sergeant Mulligan."
GEOFFREY PERKINS Died Aug. 29, 2008
British comedy producer Geoffrey Perkins was killed when he was struck by a truck in London. Mr. Perkins was 55. His credits include "Benidorm," "May Contain Nuts," "The Catherine Tate Show," "Happiness," "My Hero," "Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps," "My Family," "Coupling," "Hippies," "Blackadder Back & Forth," "Operation Good Guys," "Game-On," "The Thin Blue Line," "Harry Enfield's Television Programme" and "The Robbie Coltrane Special." Mr. Perkins also had a number of acting credits.
JACQUI LANDRUM Died Aug. 29, 2008
Emmy-nominated choreographer Jacqui Landrum died of cancer at age 64. Ms. Landrum and her husband Bill received an Emmy nomination for their work on the TV series "Moonlighting." Ms. Landrum choreographed a number of films for the Coen brothers. Jeff Bridges' drug-induced bowling ally dream from "The Big Labowski" and the Siren scene from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" were among her most memorable works. Ms. Landrum's credits include such films and TV shows as "Hollywood A Go Go," "The Doors," "Basic Instinct," "Great Balls of Fire," "Barton Fink," "The Singing Detective," "The Man Who Wasn't There" and "Sinatra." Ms. Landrum appeared as a dancer in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." She also appeared in the Playboy video "Fabulous Forties." Ms. Landrum and her husband taught dance and Pilates in Los Angeles.
MELISSA MARTIN-ZANDER Died Aug. 29, 2008
Actress turned casting director Melissa Martin-Zander was killed in a motorcycle accident in Hawaii. The 53-year-old casting director began her career as an actress. She had a successful career working in TV commercials as well as several feature films. Ms. Martin-Zander founded Martin Casting Inc. in 1994. The successful company has provided actors for numerous commercials, music videos and indie films. Ms. Martin-Zander's acting credits include "Death Becomes Her," "L.A. Law," "Midnight Caller" and the final Dirty Harry film "The Dead Pool." Ms. Martin-Zander is the third person in the industry to die in a motorcycle accident this month! Watch out for our brothers and sisters riding on two wheels my friends! They have just as much right to the road as the rest of us. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
SAM LORENO Died Aug. 30, 2008
Property master Sam Loreno died at age 80. Mr. Loreno was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local #44. His film and TV credits include "V," "The Border" and "Rescue from Gilligan's Island."
ELDON RATHBURN Died Aug. 31, 2008
Canadian composer Eldon Rathburn died at age 92. Mr. Rathburn worked for the National Film Board of Canada. He scored numerous films and documentaries during his lengthy career. Mr. Rathburn's career was the subject of the documentary film "Eldon Rathburn: They Shoot…He Scores." Mr. Rathburn's many credits include "Who Has Seen the Wind," "The Last Buffalo," "The War Is Over."
BETTY CARR Died Aug. 31, 2008
Former actress and dancer Betty Carr died at age 79. Ms. Carr played one of the seven brides in the musical film "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." Other credits include the Mickey Rooney film "All Ashore." Ms. Carr also appeared on Broadway in the plays "Mask and Gown," "Happy Hunting," "Damn Yankees" and "Fanny."