Sunday, November 24, 2013

July 2008 Film World Obituaries

GAYLIN SCHULTZ Died Jul. 1, 2008

Award-winning key grip Gaylin Schultz died at age 82. Mr. Schultz was renowned for his camera mount work. He was honored with the The Society of Operating Cameramen's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 for his work as a Mobile Camera Platform Operator. The "American Cinematography Magazine" highlighted Mr. Schultz's work on the films "Le Mans" and "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" in articles published during the 1970s. His most notable work was the landmark car chase scene in "Bullitt." Mr. Schultz's innovative camera mounts were able to withstand the great force exerted during the classic chase scene. His work, more than the driving itself made the scene the classic it remains today. Actor Steve McQueen never forgot Mr. Schultz's expertise and called on him to design the camera rigs for his racing film "Le Mans." Mr. Schultz worked on nearly 100 feature films during his career. He worked once again with Steve McQueen and director director Sam Peckinpah on "Junior Bonner" and "The Getaway." Mr. Schultz's many credits include "The Big Country," "The Searchers," "West Side Story," "The Apartment," "Some Like It Hot," the original version of "The Manchurian Candidate," "Witness for the Prosecution," "Seven Days in May," "Irma La Douce," the original version of "The Thomas Crown Affair," "Fletch Lives," "Critical Condition," "Pee-wee's Big Adventure," "Fletch," "National Lampoon's Vacation," "Mr. Mom," "The Final Countdown," "...And Justice for All," "Up in Smoke," "Gargoyles," "The Glass House," "Gaily, Gaily" and Sidney Pollack's "The Yakuza." Mr. Schultz was a veteran of the US Navy who served his country during WWII. He interrupted his film career to serve once more during the Korean War.

KEITH CHARLES Died Jul. 1, 2008

Actor Keith Charles died of lung cancer at age 74. Mr. Charles worked on Broadway as well as in film and on TV. He appeared opposite Lauren Bacall in a Broadway production of "Applause." He was known to TV fans for his work in a number of soap operas. Mr. Charles' many credits include "Law & Order," "Kate and Allie," "Newhart," "Remington Steele," "Dallas," "Barnaby Jones," "As the World Turns," "Ryan's Hope," "Guiding Light," "The Edge of Night," "The Secret Storm," "Search For Tomorrow," "Love of Life" and "One Life to Live."


Renowned British actress Elizabeth Spriggs died at age 78. Ms. Spriggs was a long-time actress with the Royal Shakspeare Company. In addition to her noted work on the British stage, Ms. Spriggs appeared in nearly 100 films and TV shows. She was the first actress to play the role of the Fat Lady in the painting that guarded the entrance to Gryffindor House in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." Her other credits include "Midsomer Murders," "Heartbeat," "Victoria & Albert," "HBO's Tales from the Crypt," "The Tomorrow People," "Jeeves and Wooster," "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles," "Doctor Who," "Lady Chatterley's Lover," "Tales of the Unexpected" and "Work Is a 4-Letter Word."

ERIC LIEBER Died Jul. 2, 2008

Emmy-nominated producer Eric Lieber died of leukemia at age 71. Mr. Lieber shared an Emmy nomination with George Stevens Jr. for the TV special "The American Film Institute Salute to Henry Fonda." Mr. Lieber created and produced the long-running TV show "Love Connection." The show hosted by Chuck Woolery (and later Pat Bullard) was a guilty pleasure of many viewers including myself during its 16-year-run. Mr. Lieber's other credits include "The Baby Game," "Omnibus" and "Musical Comedy Tonight."

NATASHA SHNEIDER Died Jul. 2, 2008

Rocker Natasha Shneider died of cancer at age 52. Ms. Shneider was the keyboardist and singer for the group "Eleven." She also collaborated with Chris Cornell and "Queens of the Stone Age." Her music can be heard on the soundtracks of such films and TV shows as "Catwoman," "Beavis & Butt-Head" and "Rock & Roll High School Forever." The Moscow born musician also acted on occasion. She played a Soviet cosmonaut in the sci-fi sequel "2010: The Year We Make Contact."

DAVID COUGHLIN Died Jul. 2, 2008

Actor David Coughlin died of an undisclosed illness at age 47. Mr. Coughlin worked in theater in the North East before moving to California. He appeared in a number of indie films as well as in bit parts in the studio films "Wag the Dog" and "Air Force One." His other credits include "New York Nights," "Sylvia Kristel's Beauty School," "The Marilyn Diaries" and "Cemetery High."

MICHAEL DARRIN Died Jul. 2, 2008

Emmy-winning choreographer Michael Darrin died of Lou Gehrig's disease at age 62. Mr. Darrin was also a respected costume, lighting and stage designer. In addition to his work on numerous touring companies and Las Vegas shows, Mr. Darrin choreographed the "1990 American Music Awards," and the "1990 Academy Awards." Mr. Darrin also choreographed the films "The Only Game in Town," "Fire Down Below" and "Dream Lover," the TV series "Homefront" and "Stand By Your Man." He shared an Emmy Award with Paula Abdul and Dean Barlow for "1990 American Music Awards." The opening number was based on his choreography of Abdul's music video "Cold-Hearted Snake."

CLIVE HORNBY Died Jul. 3, 2008

British actor Clive Hornby died at age 63. Mr. Hornby was the longest-serving cast member in the popular British TV series "Emmerdale Farm" (now called "Emmerdale"). Mr. Hornby played the character Jack Sugden for 28 years! In 2001 he won two British Soap Awards for his work on the series. He began playing the role in 1980 and his final episode aired this past February.

LARRY HARMON Died Jul. 3, 2008

Actor Larry Harmon died of congestive heart failure at age 83. Mr. Harmon bought the rights to the character "Bozo the Clown" and turned it into a very profitable business enterprise. Mr. Harmon played Bozo for over 50 years. He also trained and licensed countless other Bozos. Mr. Harmon produced several TV shows including "The All New Adventures of Laurel & Hardy in 'For Love or Mummy'," "It's Good to Be Alive," "Bozo's Big Top," "The New Casper Cartoon Show" and "Popeye." Mr. Harmon's acting credits include "Matt Houston," "The New Scooby-Doo Movies," "A Laurel and Hardy Cartoon," "Because You're Mine," "Invitation" and "Too Young to Kiss."

HARALD HEIDE-STEEN JR. Died Jul. 3, 2008

Norwegian comedic actor Harald Heide-Steen died of lung cancer at age 68. Mr. Heide-Steen was the son of actor Harald Heide-Steen Sr. He was beloved by generations of film fans for playing the character Dynamite Harry in seven of the "Olsen Gang" films. The long-running film series dealt with an incompetent band of criminals. He first played the role in the 1970 film "Olsen Gang and Dynamite Harry." Mr. Heide-Steen appeared in over 40 films and TV shows during his career.

JAMES BREEN Died Jul. 3, 2008

Greensman and actor James Breen died at age 52. Mr. Breen worked on a number of films by director M. Night Shyamalan. His credits include "Annapolis," "In Her Shoes," "The Village," "Signs," "Unbreakable," "The Sixth Sense" and "Beloved." Mr. Breen had a voice role in Shyamalan's "The Happening" and a live action role in "Lady in the Water."

DAVID KAHN Died Jul. 3, 2008

Composer David Kahn died at age 98. He composed the theme song for the TV series "Leave It To Beaver." Mr. Kahn arranged Charles Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette" for the theme song of the second season of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." Mr. Kahn worked in various capacities on such films and TV shows as "Simon & Simon," "Animal House," "Electra Glide in Blue," "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Green Acres," "Petticoat Junction," "The Addams Family," "Mike Hammer," "Bearcats!," "Mister Ed," "Island of Lost Women," "Ride a Violent Mile," "M Squad" and "Hopalong Cassidy."

JOHN SEDWICK Died Jul. 3, 2008

Director John Sedwick passed away. His age was not given. Mr. Sedwick directed over 250 episodes of the gothis horror soap opera "Dark Shadows." He also directed episodes of the soap operas "The Bold and the Beautiful," "The Edge of Night," "Santa Barbara" and "One Life to Live."

DAVE POWERS Died Jul. 3, 2008

Emmy-winning producer Dave Powers died of skin cancer at age 75. Mr. Powers won four Emmy awards for directing "The Carol Burnett Show." He was nominated for five more Emmy awards for "The Carol Burnett Show," "Julie and Carol at Lincoln Center," "Sills and Burnett at the Met" and "Once Upon a Mattress." Mr. Powers' non-Carol Burnett credits include "Three's Company" and "The Ropers."

AGNETA PRYTZ Died Jul. 4, 2008

Swedish actress Agneta Prytz died at age 91. Ms. Prytz was a noted stage actress in her homeland. Her husband, actor/director Gosta Folke died this past April. Ms. Prytz appeared in over 40 films and TV shows during her career. Her credits include supporting roles in Jan Troell's pair of Oscar nominated films "The Emigrants" and its sequel "The New Land."

THOMAS DISCH Died Jul. 4, 2008

Sci-fi author Thomas Disch committed suicide at age 68. Mr. Disch was said to have suffered from depression for several years. Mr. Disch's children's book "The Brave Little Toaster" spawned a Disney movie and two sequels. Mr. Disch appeared on the documentary TV series "Arena" in the episode "Philip K. Dick: A Day in the Afterlife." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.

EVELYN KEYES Died Jul. 4, 2008

Actress Evelyn Keyes died of cancer at age 91. Ms. Keyes is best remembered for her role as Vivian Leigh's younger sister Suellen in the Hollywood classic "Gone With the Wind." Ms. Keyes appeared over 50 films and TV shows during her career. She co-starred with Robert Montgomery in the classic "Here Comes Mr. Jordan." Ms. Keyes was paired with Glenn Ford in six films including "The Adventures of Martin Eden" and "The Lady in Question." Ms. Keyes was married four times. Her ex-husbands include directors John Huston and Charles Vidor as well as band leader Artie Shaw. Ms. Keyes' other credits include "Murder, She Wrote," "Wicked Stepmother," "A Return to Salem's Lot," "Amazing Stories," "The Love Boat," the original version of "Around the World in Eighty Days," "Climax!," "The Seven Year Itch," "Hell's Half Acre," "The Prowler," "The Killer That Stalked New York," "Mrs. Mike," "Enchantment," "Johnny O'Clock," "The Jolson Story," "A Thousand and One Nights," "Before I Hang" with Boris Karloff, "Union Pacific" and "The Buccaneer."

THOMAS WINDING Died Jul. 5, 2008

Danish children's author Thomas Winding died of cancer at age 71. Mr. Winding wrote many popular children's books. He created the children's TV show "Bamse and Chicken." Mr. Winding also provided voices for a number of animated shows.

NONNA MORDYUKOVA Died Jul. 6, 2008

Russian actress Nonna Mordyukova died at age 82. Ms. Mordyukova appeared in nearly 50 films during a career that began in 1948. She starred in her debut film "The Young Guard." She was part of the cast of Sergei Bondarchuk's epic classic "War & Peace." Other credits include "Luna Park," "No Return," "The Ballad of Bering and His Friends," "The Commissar," "A Simple Story," "Three Tales of Chekhov," "The Return of Vasili Bortnikov."


Propmaker Dolph Stonecipher died at age 89. Mr. Stoneciper was a 55-year member of I.A.T.S.E. Local #44. He worked for Universal for 35 years before retiring.

LIZ MARKS Died Jul. 6, 2008

Casting director Liz Marks died after a long battle with cancer. at age 56. Ms. Marks many film and TV credits include "Sally Hemings: An American Scandal," "The Contender," "Major Payne," "Commander in Chief," "Capitol City," "The Bernie Mac Show," "Tom Clancy's Netforce" and "Toy Soldiers."

RICHARD ANGAROLA Died Jul. 7, 2008

Veteran character actor Richard Angarola died of complications from leukemia at age 87. Mr. Angarola appeared in nearly 70 films and TV shows. Though primarily a film and TV actor, Mr. Angarola appeared in Broadway in the 1947 production of "Our Lan'." I remember first seeing Mr. Angarola as the prison commandant in the Steve McQueen epic adventure film "Papillon." His other feature film credits include Tom Laughlin's "The Master Gunfighter," "Raveling," "Black Moon Rising," "Three the Hard Way," "Jeremiah Johnson" Russ Meyer's "The Seven Minutes," "The Undefeated" with John Wayne and Rock Hudson, "What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?," "Che!," "Sweet Charity," Clint Eastwood's "Hang 'Em High," "Star!," "Yours, Mine and Ours," "Valley of the Dolls," "Gambit" and "Moment to Moment." The photo at right is from "Jeremiah Johnson." Mr. Angarola's many TV credits include "Switch," "Lou Grant," "Hawaii Five-O," "McCloud," "Ironside," "Adam-12," "Gunsmoke," "The Wild Wild West," "Get Smart," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "The Rat Patrol," "Perry Mason," "Honey West," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "The Fugitive," "The Andy Griffith Show," "The Twilight Zone," "Bonanza," "The Detectives" and "One Step Beyond." Richard Angarola served his country in the US Army-Air Corp during WWII. He flew 52 combat missions including D-Day. Mr. Angarola donated his body for medical research to the USC Medical Center.


Dutch actor Carol van Herwijnen died at age 67. Mr. van Herwijnen appeared in over 50 films and TV shows. He did voice work for the TV series "The Smurfs." Mr. van Herwijnen also played a small role in Cheech and Chong's "Still Smokin'." He was an award-winning stage actor in his native land.

STEVE HARMON Died Jul. 7, 2008

Actor Steve Harmon died at age 69. Mr. Harmon worked on TV and in film. He played Ensign Pulver in the TV series version of "Mister Roberts." His other credits include "That Girl," "The Girl from U.N.C.L.E," "Another World," "The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band," "Sabrina, Down Under," "Occasional Wife" and "The Bell Telephone Hour."

BRUCE CONNER Died Jul. 7, 2008

Beatnik film director Bruce Conner died at age 74. Mr. Conner was honored by the American Film Institute with the Maya Deren Independent Film and Video Artists Award. He directed over 20 Avant-garde films during his career. His most famous film was his 1958 debut "A Movie." Mr. Conner appeared as himself in the excellent 2007 documentary "Fog City Mavericks" which dealt with filmmakers from San Francisco.

HARRY SPALDING Died Jul. 8, 2008

Writer Harry Spalding died at age 95. Mr. Spalding was beloved by horror and sci-fi movie fans for his many scripts. Mr. Spalding wrote nearly 30 scripts or stories during his career. His many credits include "The Watcher in the Woods," "The Earth Dies Screaming," "Curse of the Fly," "Raiders from Beneath the Sea," "Witchcraft," "House of the Damned," "The Day Mars Invaded Earth."

CHARLES H. JOFFE Died Jul. 9, 2008

Oscar-winning producer Charles Joffe died one week shy of his 78th birthday. Mr. Joffe won a Best Picture Oscar for Woody Allen's "Annie Hall." Mr. Joffe and business partner Jack Rollins produced and/or were executive producers of nearly all of Woody Allen's films. Mr. Joffe was one of the most powerful talent agents in Hollywood. In addition to Woody Allen, Mr. Joffe helped shape the careers of Hary Belafonte, Ted Bessell, Dick Cavett, David Letterman, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal. In addition to Mr. Joffe's many credits with Woody Allen, he also produced the Oscar-nominated "Arthur" starring Dudley Moore. Mr. Joffe's 40-plus Woody Allen credits include "Bananas," "Sleeper," "Interiors," "Zelig," "Alice," "Celebrity" and "Scoop." Mr. Joffe was the step-father of "Lovely and Amazing" director Nicole Holofcener.

JOHN VAN KESTEREN Died Jul. 11, 2008

Opera singer John van Kesteren died at age 87. In addition to his stage performances around the world, he appeared in a number of films and TV shows. His credits include "Carmina Burana," "Le Nozze di Figaro" and "Cancan und Bakarole."

JAMES HECKERT Died Jul. 11, 2008

Emmy and Eddie nominated film editor James Heckert died at age 81. Mr. Heckert received both Emmy and Eddie nominations for the landmark miniseries "Roots." He received a second Emmy nomination for "Inside the Third Reich." Mr. Heckert received a second Eddie nomination from his peers at the Editor's Guild for the miniseries "Shogun." His many credits include "Evita Peron," "Brave New World," "The Golden Gate Murders," "Wheels," "Rosetti and Ryan: Men Who Love Women," "Brenda Starr," "Emergency!," "Sandburg's Lincoln," "Birds Do It, Bees Do It," "The 500 Pound Jerk," "Valdez Is Coming," "Sweet November," "F Troop," "Peter the Great," "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask," "Take the Money and Run" and "Terror in a Texas Town."

CLAUDIO GUZMAN Died Jul. 12, 2008

Emmy-winning director, producer, production designer and art director Claudio Guzman died at age 80. Mr. Guzman won an Emmy for his art direction on the Desilu production of "Song of Bernadette." He was also nominated for an Emmy award for his art direction on the 1950s TV series "Where's Raymond." He received two Daytime Emmy nominations for producing the children's TV series "Villa Alegre." "Villa Alegre" was one of the first bilingual TV children's shows in the country. Mr. Guzman began his career as an art director. He worked as art director on a number of films and TV shows including the Mystery Science Theater 3000 favorite "Daddy-O." His art direction and production design credits include "Touched by Love," "The Lucy Show," "The Real McCoys," "Make Room for Daddy," "Sidney Sheldon's Memories of Midnight," "Alistair MacLean's The Hostage Tower" and "The Fugitive." Mr. Guzman directed nearly 30 films and TV shows including "Linda Lovelace for President." His director credits include "Here's Boomer," "Far Out Space Nuts," "The Partridge Family" 35 episodes of "I Dream of Jeannie," "The Flying Nun," "The Patty Duke Show" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show." He produced several TV shows including the Made for TV movie "The Feminist and the Fuzz." Mr. Guzman was once married to actress Anna Maria Alberghetti.

LES CRANE Died Jul. 13, 2008

Talkshow host and Grammy winner Les Crane died at age 74. Mr. Crane won a Grammy Award for his hit spoken record "Desiderata." The new-age hokum was hilariously parodies by "National Lampoon" in the record "Deteriorata!" He hosted ABC's late night TV talk show "The Les Crane Show" in 1964 and 65. His few acting credits include "The Virginian," "Ironside," "An American Dream" and "It Takes a Thief." Mr. Crane was married to actress Tina Louise for five years. They are the parents of writer Caprice Crane.

HUGH LLOYD Died Jul. 14, 2008

British comedic actor Hugh Lloyd died at age 85. Mr. Lloyd was inspired by the artistry of Stan Laurel. Mr. Lloyd perfected the morose underdog character during his lengthy career. He was best known to TV fans in the UK for his work on "Hancock's Half Hour" with Tony Hancock and "Hugh and I" with Terry Scott. Mr. Lloyd provided the voice for the sad worm in "James and the Giant Peach." His many credits include "Foyle's War," the TV miniseries "Oliver Twist," "Great Expectations," "Heartbeat," "Doctor Who," "Last of the Summer Wine," "Venom," "Quadrophenia," "Z Cars," "The Gnomes of Dulwich," "The Mouse on the Moon" and "Benny Hill."

BRENO MELLO Died Jul. 14, 2008

Former actor Breno Mello died of undisclosed causes at age 76. Mr. Mello only made a few films. He made his debut in the Oscar winning Best Foreign Film "Black Orpheus." Mr. Mello played Orpheus opposite the beautiful Marpessa Dawn as Eurydice. The film also won the Palm de Or at Cannes. Director Marcel Camus updated the tragic tale of Orpheus and Eurydice to the Carnival in Rio. Mr. Mello only made a handful of films after his famous debut.

JO STAFFORD Died Jul. 16, 2008

Singer Jo Stafford died at age 90. Ms. Stafford sang with the group The Pied Pipers as part of The Tommy Dorsey band. The Pied Pipers sang backup for Frank Sinatra during the early 1940s. She went on to a successful solo career as well as recording a number of albums with husband Paul Weston. She hosted their own TV series "The Jo Stafford Show" in 1962. Ms. Stafford also performed on a number of TV shows including "The Ed Sullivan Show." Ms. Stafford's songs can be heard on the soundtracks of such films as "The End of the Affair," "Dennis the Menace," "The Mambo Kings," "Bugsy," "Biloxi Blues," "Tin Men," "Swing Shift," "The Kentucky Fried Movie" and "The Last Picture Show." She appeared in several films during the 1940s including "Dark Passage," "Girl Crazy" and "Gals, Incorporated."

LARRY HAINES Died Jul. 17, 2008

Tony-nominated and Daytime Emmy-winning actor Larry Haines died at age 89. Mr. Haines was nominated for two Tony Awards for his performances in "Promises, Promises" and "Generations." Other Broadway credits include "A Thousand Clowns," "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers" and "Tribute." Mr. Haines was best known to soap opera fans for the role of Stu Bergman on "Search for Tomorrow." He was nominated for four Daytime Emmy awards (two wins) for his work on the series. The long-running soap opera began in 1951. It ended in 1986 with a scene between Mr. Haines and long-time costar Mary Stuart. Mr. Haines played the role during the entire 35-year-run of the series. Mr. Haines appeared in over 20 films and TV shows during his career. He also worked as a radio actor. I remember his work from the "CBS Radio Mystery Theater" which ran during the 1970s and 80s. Cop-movie fans remember his work in the "French Connection" follow-up "The Seven Ups." He was also memorable in the Jack Lemmon/Walter Mathau comedy "The Odd Couple." Mr. Haines' many film and TV credits include "Loving," "Another World," "Tank," "Kojak," "Maude," "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," "Hawk," "The Defenders" and "The Nurses."

ALI OOP Died Jul. 17, 2008

The brown bear Ali Oop died of old age at 27. Ali Oop was famous for kissing visitors to the Discovery Wildlife Park. Ali Oop appeared in the films "Dr. Dolittle 2," "Wild America," "The Last Trapper," "Trueheart," "Grizzly Falls."

PAUL SORENSEN Died Jul. 17, 2008

Prolific character actor Paul Sorensen died at age 82. The Pasadena Playhouse graduate served his country in the military during the Korean War before breaking into film and TV. He appeared in over 150 films and TV shows. His most notable film roles were as Reno in Clint Eastwood's "Hang 'em High" and as the captain of the Merchantman in "Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock." Mr. Sorensen was often cast as a police officer. He had a recurring role in the TV series "Dallas" playing a member of the Texas oil cartel. Mr. Sorensen's many feature film credits include "Smokey and the Bandit," the original version of "The Shaggy D.A.," "Escape to Witch Mountain," "Westworld," "Executive Action," "Evel Knievel," "Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came?," "Support Your Local Sheriff!," "The Big Bounce," "Live a Little, Love a Little," "Madigan," "A Guide for the Married Man," "Chamber of Horrors," "The Satan Bug," "Captain Newman, M.D.," "Kid Galahad" and "Flower Drum Song." Mr. Sorensen was a frequent guest star on dozens of TV shows. He played the father of the bully Mean Buddy Hinton on "The Brady Bunch." Mr. Sorensen was also a familiar face to fans of TV Westerns. His many TV credits include "Simon & Simon," "Vega$," "Lou Grant," "Flamingo Road," "Dynasty," "CHiPs," "Charlie's Angels," "The Rockford Files," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Kolchak: The Night Stalker," "Gunsmoke," "Mannix," "Ironside," "The Waltons," "Cannon," "McMillan & Wife," "The F.B.I.," "Mission: Impossible," "My Three Sons," "The High Chaparral," "Death Valley Days," "Bewitched," "The Mod Squad," "The Big Valley," "Family Affair," "Cimarron Strip," "The Invaders," "The Fugitive," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "The Monkees," "F Troop," "Honey West," "My Favorite Martian," "Rawhide," "Ben Casey," "The Untouchables," "The Virginian," "The Rifleman," "Zane Grey Theater," "Have Gun - Will Travel," "Highway Patrol" and "Wagon Train." Whew! The guy sure got around!

GEORGE PETTY Died July 18, 2008

If you are a movie fan, you've probably never heard of George Joseph Petty. If you served with him in the US Navy during WWII you would have known him. If you were one of the people he helped or arrested during his 13 years as a San Francisco cop you would have known him. If you were one of the people he helped during his 22-year tenure as a San Francisco fireman then you would know him. But movie fans (except his close family and friends) couldn't tell you what movies or TV shows he appeared in. George Joseph Petty was a long-time member of the Screen Extras Guild. He stood in the background, maybe playing a cop, maybe a fireman or maybe a regular citizen to add a bit of character to the director's vision. George Petty worked on many films including "Dirty Harry." Thanks for you lifetime of service to the country and the people of San Francisco.

LATA RYAN Died Jul. 19, 2008

Producer Lata Ryan died of pancreatic cancer at age 59. Ms. Ryan was executive producer of several films including "Rent," "Cold Creek Manor," "The One," "The X Files" and "Grosse Pointe Blank." She was an associate producer on Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park." Ms. Ryan worked as a production coordinator on a number of films including several made for director Spielberg. He production coordinator credits include "Back to the Future Part III," "Back to the Future Part II," "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," "Rain Man," "*batteries not included," "Less Than Zero," "The Color Purple," "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," "Return of the Jedi," "1941" and "When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?"

KELLEY HANKINS Died July 19, 2008

Scenic painter Kelley Hankins died of undisclosed causes at age 41. Ms. Hankins worked on over two dozen films. Her many credits include the 2004 version of "The Alamo," "Secondhand Lions," "All the Pretty Horses," "Where the Heart Is," "Universal Soldier: The Return," "Arlington Road," "Office Space," "The Faculty," "Rushmore," "Michael," "The Evening Star," "Courage Under Fire," "Powder," "The Stars Fell on Henrietta," "Jason's Lyric," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Milk Money" and "The Public Eye." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends, especially her three children Audrey, Irene and Archer.

DERCY GONCALVES Died Jul. 19, 2008

EDITOR'S NOTE: Regular readers are familiar with the contributions of frequent guest writer Austin Mutti-Mewse. The British documentary filmmaker has once again agreed to share one of his wonderful obits about a star from the past. As one of the purposes of this column is to celebrate life, I'd like to share the good news that Austin and his lovely wife Joanna are the proud parents of a baby boy Nathan! He was born a month after the birth of my granddaughter.

Dercy Gonçalves, the leading Brazilian actress who has died in Rio de Janerio aged 101, was known worldwide for her vulgar wit and scandalous behaviour in a career that spanned for more than 80 years. Critics compared her comic timing and wildly funny caricatures to legendary Hollywood clowns Jerry Lewis, Dick Van Dyke and Martha Raye.

A constant figure in the media in her native Brazil, Gonçalves made her professional debut as a young teenager in a stage review where she sang and danced. 'The call of the crowd and the bright lights paved the way for a career in entertainment. Performing was my lifeblood,' she recalled in 2007 in an interview to mark her centenary. 'I've done nothing else for almost 81 years'.

She was born Dolores Gonçalves Costa on June 23, 1907 in Santa Maria Madalena, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The eldest of six children, her early life was spent in abject poverty. Her way of escapism was the stage and later film. 'When talking pictures came in I was horrified. I thought the magic of film would be lost forever'.

Gonçalves' early career was spent on the stage performing in comedy reviews and carnivals for more than 20 years. Her film debut came in the late 1930s, however, she had to wait until 1943 for her first featured role playing the second female lead in Samba em Berlim opposite the Latin American heart-throb Mesquitinha. It is hard to describe Brazil's early celluloid years as an industry, since most of the films made resulted from the effort of passionate film makers and financiers. Unlike Hollywood without a studio system, Gonçalves freelanced, finding work where she could. 'Fortunately Hollywood gave us Carmen Miranda and she single-handedly put Brazil on the map even though she was born in Portugal!' she remembered.

Gonçalves soon found her niche in musical comedies, and whilst away from the screen she turned her hand to radio. She played opposite Duarte de Moraes in Abacaxi azul (1944) and Dercy in the tearjerker Romance Proibido (1944). Director Luiz de Barros cast her as the female lead Rita Naftalina in the carnival musical Caídos do Céu (1946) and she lent her support to the all-star cast Folias Cariocas (1948).

Her marriage to Ademar Martins ended in divorce in 1942. They had been married for almost ten years. Her only daughter Decimar was born in 1934. In 1943 she married for the second time, Danilo Bastos a businessman. Their marriage ended in 1963.

After leaving Atlântida Studios, where he made his name as Brazil's most commercially successful director of popular musical comedies or "chanchadas", Watson Macedo formed his own production company and (in association with producer Oswaldo Massaini) directed three films with Gonçalves in the lead, " Depois Eu Conto " (1956), " A Baronesa Transviada " (the best of the trilogy, 1957) and this " A Grande Vedete " (1958) a take on Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard with Gonçalves cast as Madame Janete an aging music-hall star who fails to acknowledge her fading fame. These films were the highlights of her career.

Throughout the 1960s, as her popularity continued Gonçalves developed an outrageous sense of humour and an expletive-filled foul mouth to popularize herself with younger audiences, winning her a whole new generation of fans with her one woman shows that continued up until her death.

She played Etelvina in Cala a Boca, Etelvina (1960) and Valentina in A Viúva Valentina (1960) a bordello owner in Dona Violante Miranda (1960) and opposite Odete Lara in Sonhando com Milhões (1963).

By the 1980s and 1990s, she became a regular in TV soap operas, including Cavalo Amarelo , Dulcinéa Vai à Guerra and Que Rei Sou Eu? As well as a popular guest on panel game shows and played the talk show circuit with aplomb. 'I make Joan Rivers look like Sister Maria from The Sound of Music' she quipped. In 1991, she shocked Brazil by parading topless on a Carnival float. She was 84 at the time.

Still working up until three months ago, upon her death President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gave a statement, 'All Brazilians will miss her "irreverence and strength."

She is survived by her daughter.

ANASTASIA BLUE Died July 19, 2008

Former adult film actress Anastasia Blue (real name Elena Behm) died of undisclosed causes at age 28. Ms. Behm appeared in dozens of videos before retiring in 2000 and won an AVN award. The news of her death was withheld for a month as her family did not want the presence of any adult film industry personal at her funeral. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.


Producer Gladys Nederlander died at age 83. Ms. Nederlander was nominated for two Tony awards for producing the 1993 production of "The Goodbye Girl" and the 1980 production of "West Side Story." Ms. Nederlander produced nine Broadway plays. She was the wife of producer and theater owner Robert Nederlander. Ms. Nederlander was an associate producer on Roman Polanski's feature film "Death and the Maiden." Ms. Nederlander was nominated for a Cable ACE Award for producing A&E's "The Parallax Garden." Her other TV credits include "A Case of Libel," "Intimate Strangers," "Sahara," "When Will I Be Loved?" and "Orpheus Descending."

ERIC DOWLING Died Jul. 21, 2008

Former RAF WWII bomber pilot Eric Dowling died one day before his 93rd birthday. Mr. Dowling was one of the real-life planners and participants in the POW prison break immortalized in the book and classic film "The Great Escape." Mr. Dowling was a navigator on 29 bombing missions before being shot down over Europe. His roles in the famous escape included forging documents and digging tunnels. The film version of the event while very entertaining was highly fictionalized. Mr. Dowling's contributions to the escape were personified by several characters, most notably the one played by Donald Pleasance. Obviously Mr. Dowling did not go blind or die during the escape attempt as did Mr. Pleasance's character, but he did forge a multitude of documents and made maps for the men escaping. It is reported that Mr. Dowling wasn't a fan of the movie as the film exaggerated the role of American POWs in the escape. Box-office concerns elevated US actors Steve McQueen and James Garner to an equal footing with the largely British cast. Mr. Dowling remained in the field of aviation after the war as an accident investigator for the RAF and as a member of the team from British Aerospace who worked on the Concorde.

KATHRYN SKATULA Died Jul. 21, 2008

Actress and singer Kathryn Skatula died of ALS at age 54. Ms. Skatula was once a member of The New Christy Minstrels. She worked on stage as well as in film and on TV. Ms. Skatula's stage credits include touring companies of "Annie" and Cathy Rigby's "Peter Pan." She had a supporting role in the excellent indie film "Purgatory House." She played Jessica Savitch's mother in the TV movie "Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story." Ms. Skatula's other film and TV credits include "Life Stinks," "Out on a Limb" and "Riptide." Ms. Skatula's favorite personal achievement was being a founding member of the Musical Theater Guild which worked to stage rarely performed musicals.

GREG BURSON Died Jul. 22, 2008

Prolific voice actor Greg Burson died of complications due to diabetes and arteriosclerosis at age 59. Mr. Burson provided the voices of hundreds of cartoon characters during his career. A losing battle with alcohol and a stand-off with a SWAT team in California in 2004 ended his acting career. Mr. Burson's many, many credits include "Looney Tunes," "Samurai Jack," "Mr. Magoo," "From Hare to Eternity," "The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest," "The Bugs n' Daffy Show," "Garfield and Friends," "Scooby Doo's Arabian Nights," "Animaniacs," as Mr. DNA in "Jurassic Park," "Tiny Toon Adventures," "Tom and Jerry: The Movie," "Mother Goose & Grimm," "Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland," "The Yogi Bear Show" and "Jonny Quest."

SEAN WOERTER Died Jul. 22, 2008

Set medic Sean Woerter passed away of undisclosed causes. His age was not given. THe I.A.T.S.E. Local # 480 member was an EMT who worked as a Set Medic on a number of films and TV shows. Mr. Woerter was also an authorized trainer of the Pekiti-Tirsia Kali form of self defense. He also served in the US Navy. Mr. Woerter's many credits include "Year One," "Felon," "Breaking Bad," "Paradise Falls," "Sarah Conner Chronicles," "3:10 to Yuma," "Legion" and "Love N' Dancing." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends, especially his 4-year-old son Sorn. An account has been set up to provide for the education of Sorn Woerter. You can write a check to "Donation account Sorn Woerter" and send it care of: Brian G. Lax, 5 Basket Maker Court, Santa Fe, NM 87508 or you can make a deposit directly into the donation account at Wells Fargo Acct number 714 288 4381. The bank routing number is 107 002 192.

ESTELLE GETTY Died Jul. 22, 2008

Emmy and Golden Globe winning actress Estelle Getty died of Lewy Body Dementia three days before her 85th birthday. Ms. Getty won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her work on the hit TV series "The Golden Girls." Ms. Getty played the sarcastic Sophia Petrillo on the long-running series. She received seven Emmy nominations in a row for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Ms. Getty played the mother of actress Bea Arthur's character. In real life, Bea Arthur was 15 months older than Ms. Getty. Estelle Getty began her film-acting career in the late 1970s. She appeared in nearly 30 films and TV shows. He feature film credits include "Tootsie," "Mask," "Mannequin" and "Stop or My Mom Will Shoot." Ms. Getty was a member of the original Broadway cast of "Torch Song Trilogy." She enjoyed a three-run with the play and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her performance. Ms. Getty's success was a testament to her perseverance. She began working as a stand-up comedian in the borsch belt while still a teenager. After decades of sticking to it, Ms. Getty achieved success on Broadway, in film and on TV. A great testament to following one's dream. Thanks for the many laughs and your inspirational spirit.

GEORGE GRIVAKIS Died Jul. 22, 2008

Producer George Grivakis died of cancer at age 61. I addition to his work as a film distributor, Mr. Grivakis produced two teen-sex comedies. His 1992 "Body Trouble" featured Frank Gorshin and Dick Van Patten, while his 1989 comedy "Lauderdale" included Ron Jeremy and Beano in the cast.

CAROL VITALE Died Jul. 23, 2008

Carol Vitale, Playboy Magazine's Miss July 1974 died at age 61. Ms. Vitale had been suffering from lupus and scleroderma. Ms. Vitale hosted two Miami based TV shows: "Disco Magic" and "The Carol Vitale Show." She appeared in the TV show "Caribe."

BUD BROWNE Died Jul. 25, 2008

Surfing movie filmmaker Bud Browne died at age 96. Mr. Browne captured incredible images of surfers battling giant waves. His footage was used in several films and documentaries. He shot his own smaller films and also contributed footage to John Milius' underrated "Big Wednesday." Mr. Browne inspired others to seek the perfect picture of the perfect wave. His credits include "Goin' Surfing," "Hawaiian Surf Movie," "Five Summer Stories," "Surfari" and "Locked In!"

BRUCE ADLER Died Jul. 25, 2008

Tony-nominated actor and singer Bruce Adler died of cancer at age 63. Mr. Adler enjoyed success on Broadway as well as in film and TV. He was nominated for two Tony awards for his work in the 1991 production of "Those Were the Days" and the 1992 production of "Crazy For You." Mr. Adler won the 1991 Drama Desk award for "Those Were the Days." Mr. Adler's film and TV credits include "Great Performances" and "Law & Order." Mr. Adler snag parts in the Disney films "Aladdin and the King of Thieves," "Aladdin" and "Beauty and the Beast."

TED HALL Died Jul. 26, 2008

Sound mixer Ted Hall died at age 48 of an undisclosed illness. Mr. Hall was best known for his work in the music industry. He was the senior mixer for POP-Sound. Mr. Hall used his talents to restore and remaster the soundtracks of movies for DVD release. Some of the older films which benefited from his artistry include "The Beatles' Yellow Submarine," "The Doors: Live at the Hollywood Bowl" and the John Wayne version of "The Alamo."

BENOIT LESTANG Died Jul. 27, 2008

French make-up artist Benoit Lestang committed suicide. His age has been reported at 42 and 44 years old. Horror movie fans are very familiar with Mr. Lestang's work. He worked on over 55 films and TV shows during his all too short career. His memorable credits include "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," "Brotherhood of the Wolf," Ken Chapiron's "Sheitan," the excellent "The City of Lost Children," "The Evil Within," "The Wax Mask," Costa-Gavras' "Amen," "Demonlover," Lars von Triers' "Manderlay" and the Oscar nominated "Days of Glory." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.

ANDREW ACKERMAN Died Jul. 27, 2008

Producer/director Andrew Ackerman died of cancer at age 55. Mr. Akerman produced such shows as "Eli Stone," "Everwood" and "Jack & Bobby."

MARISA MERLINI Died Jul. 28, 2008

Italian actress Marisa Merlini died at age 84. Ms. Merlini was nominated three Best Supporting Actress Awards in her native land. She received two nods from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists and one David di Donatello nomination. Ms. Merlini appeared in over 150 films and TV shows. Her best known performance was in the 1953 Oscar nominated "Bread, Love and Dreams."

DEIRDRE PAULINO Died Jul. 28, 2008

Production supervisor Deirdre Paulino died of ovarian cancer at age 66. Ms. Paulino worked on such TV shows as "My So-Called Life" and "The Paula Poundstone Show."

DIANE FISHER Died Jul. 29, 2008

Former child actress Diane Fisher (married name Diane Murrell) died at age 76. Ms. Murrell played Shirley Temple's little sister in "The Blue Bird." She played Don Ameche's daughter in "Swanee River" and "Lillian Russell." Ms. Fisher's other credits include "Gone With the Wind," "The Villain Still Pursued Her," "Young People" and "The Man I Married." Ms. Fisher retired from acting and enjoyed a long life as a wife and mother.

LUTHER DAVIS Died Jul. 29, 2008

Writer/producer Luther Davis died at age 91. Mr. Davis wrote over 30 films and TV shows. He also produced two feature films. Mr. Davis wrote the libretto for the film "Kismet." Crime movie fans know Mr. Davis for writing and producing "Lady in a Cage." James Caan and Olivia De Havilland starred in the tale of a woman trapped in an elevator and terrorized by thugs while the neighbors ignore her cries for help. Ironically the film was released shortly after the Kitty Genovese murder. Mr. Davis' credits include "Across 110th Street," "Cade's County," "The Old Man Who Cried Wolf," "Daughter of the Mind," "The Name of the Game," "Ironside," "Combat!," "A Lion Is in the Streets," "Black Hand," "B.F.'s Daughter," "The Hucksters" and "The Mayor of 44th Street." Mr. Davis served his country as an officer in the US Army-Air Corps where he saw action in both the European and Pacific theaters of operation.

AL D. RODRIGUEZ Died Jul. 30, 2008

Actor Al D. Rodriguez died of liver cancer at age 45. He was best known for his off-Broadway performance as the drag queen Marijuana in "Born to Rumba!" Mr. Rodriguez's film and TV credits include the remake of "The Producers," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Rounding First," "The Mule," "Piñero" and as himself in the documentary film "Party Monster."

NATHAN KAPROFF Died Jul. 30, 2008

Music contractor Nathan Kaproff died at age 86. Mr. Kaproff played with the Glenn Miller Band as principle violinist during WWII. He performed with such artists as Frank Sinatra and Carlos Santana. As a music contractor Mr. Kaproff was responsible for hiring orchestras to perform the scores of many top composers in Hollywood. He was also the contractor for the Academy Awards ceremony for nearly 20 years. Mr. Kaproff's film credits include all of the "Rocky" films, "Dances With Wolves," "Fatal Attraction," the remake of "The Thomas Crown Affair," "The Rainmaker," "Spy Hard," "Jumanji," "Clear and Present Danger," "Indecent Proposal," "Patriot Games," "The Rocketeer," "Edward Scissorhands" and "Jack the Bear."

PETER COKE Died Jul. 30, 2008

British actor and playwright Peter Coke died at age 95. Mr. Coke was best known for playing detective "Paul Temple" on the BBC Radio show. Mr. Coke enjoyed success on stage and screen. He began his acting career in the 1930s. His career was interrupted by WWII where he served his country as an officer in the Royal Artillery. Mr. Coke's film and TV credits include "Up the Creek," "Carry on Admiral," "The Adventures of Sir Lancelot," "A Gentleman's Gentleman," "I Met a Murderer" and "Missing, Believed Married." Mr. Coke's play "Breath of Spring" was turned into the feature film "Make Mine Mink."

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