BO DIDDLEY Died Jun. 1, 2008
Rock and Roll pioneer Bo Diddley died of heart failure at age 79. He had been in ill health following a heart attack last August and a stroke the previous May. Bo Diddley was one of the most influential guitarists from the early days of Rock and Roll. His style was borrowed, imitated and stolen by his contemporaries and those who followed in the years since. Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" took Bo Diddley's trademark guitar riff from Diddley's classic song "Bo Diddley." Holly also remade "Bo Diddley." Bo Diddley was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammy Awards. He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall o Fame. While Bo Diddley had the glory of being one of Rock and Roll's greatest pioneers, he was screwed out of a fortune. Like many of the era, Bo Diddley received a flat fee for his music and did not receive royalties.
In 1973 the concert film "Let the Good Times Roll" was released. The film was chronicled a series of 'Oldies' concerts performed in Long Island. Every major (then living) Rock and Roll star from the 1950s (except Elvis) appeared in the film. While most of the acts provided lively recreations of what they were 15 years earlier, Bo Diddley showed that he was still relevant in the world of 1970s Rock. Gone was his 50s style performance suite. Bo was clad head to toe in black leather. Bo Diddley performs a set early in the film which ends with a five-minute jam that had the crowd of Led Zeppelin fans rocking in the aisle. The film's finale features a split-screen guitar battle between Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry. Unfortunately the film has been tied up in legal battles of musical rights and has yet to be released on VHS or DVD. It does show up occasionally on IFC. Do not miss this movie! If you want to compare Bo Diddley in 1972 with Bo Diddley in 1966 check out the concert film "The Big TNT Show." Bo was rock's badass from the very beginning. He is backed by his trio of girls singers and musicians as well as drummer and bass player. Check out his moves as well as his guitar playing. Bo's dancing in "The Big TNT Show" reminds one of the legendary James Brown. The difference is that Bo danced while playing one mean guitar.
Bo Diddley acted in a few of fiIms. His most notable role was as the pawnbroker who sold Dan Aykroyd the gun in "Trading Places." He also appeared in "The Blues Brothers 2000," "Eddie and the Crusiers 2" and "Rockula." In addition to performing in many documentaries and TV shows, Bo Diddley's music has been used on numerous soundtracks. His music added the beat to such films as "Goodfellas," "Fritz the Cat," "Ghosts of Mississippi," "Boys Don't Cry" and "Hollywoodland."
YVES SAINT LAURENT Died Jun. 1, 2008
Renowned clothing designer Yves Saint Laurent died at age 71. Mr. Saint Laurent was considered one of the greatest designers of the past century. He was the protégé of Christian Dior. He took over the House of Dior following that designer's death in 1957. Yves Saint Laurent's film credits include the classic "Belle de Jour," "The Pink Panther" and "The Hunger."
TED MANSON Died Jun. 1, 2008
Actor Ted Manson died of lung cancer at age 81. He played Will Ferrell's father-in-law in "Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby." Mr. Manson appeared in such films and TV shows as "Sweet Home Alabama," "Matlock," "In the Heat of the Night," "Fried Green Tomatoes," "Runaway Jury," "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," "Gordy," "Elizabethtown," "Foxworthy's Big Night Out," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Good Intentions," "Love Hurts," "Deja Vu," "Major League: Back to the Minors" and "Boxing Helena." Mr. Manson served his country in the US Navy during WWII.
KEITH BEST Died Jun. 1, 2008
British engineer and WWII veteran Keith Best died of cancer at age 85. Mr. Best was the man who designed and built the bridge in David Lean's classic "The Bridge on the River Kwai." After taking eight months to build the bridge, Mr. Best was also the man who pushed the button to blow the bridge up in the film. Mr. Best appeared in the documentary "The Making Of 'The Bridge on the River Kwai'." Mr. Best served his country during WWII. He parachuted behind German lines before the D-Day invasion. Mr. best spent a year in a German POW camp.
FRANK D'AMICO Died Jun. 1, 2008
Actor and comedian Frank D'Amico died at age 52. The cause of death has not been determined. Mr. D'Amico's sister, writer Barbara Ricci has posted some very disturbing allegations about her brother's passing. If true, someone might be looking at some jail time. You can read Ms Ricci's account of what she believes happened to her brother by going to The Westchester News. Mr. D'Amico gained recognition as a stand-up comedian. This led to both comedy and dramatic acting roles. He had a hilarious bit opposite Ted Dansen on the TV series "Becker." The routine had Mr. D'Amico playing a plumber sent to unplug a drain in the doctor's office. Ted Dansen's character mistakes the plumber for a patient with intestinal blockage. It is a classic moment of TV comedy. Mr. D'Amico's credits include "NYPD Blue," "Grounded for Life," "Deep Cover" and "The Grimm Cycle." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
THOMAS MERDIS Died Jun. 1, 2008
Actor Thomas Merdis died at age 62. Mr. Merdis credits include "A Time to Kill," the TV series "In the Heat of the Night," "Super Mario Bros," and "My Cousin Vinny." Mr. Merdis served his country in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War.
CALVIN BOOTH Death announced Jun. 2, 2008
Law-enforcement officer and former actor Cal Booth died at age 76. Mr. Booth had a bit part in one of my favorite 'creature features' of the 1950s: "Invasion of the Saucer Men." Other credits include "Gun Girls," "Under Fire" and "The Abductors."
BILL DIAL Died Jun. 2, 2008
Writer, producer and sometime actor Bill Dial died of a heart attack at age 64. Mr. Dial wrote the classic "Turkeys Away" episode of "WKRP in Cincinnati." The episode was named one of the funniest episodes in TV history. It dealt with a radio promotion in which turkeys were dropped to listeners from a helicopter. The problem was that turkeys can't fly. Bill Dial also played the part of Bucky Dornster, the hard-drinking engineer on "WKRP in Cincinnati." Mr. Dial is also remembered by "Star Trek" fans for his work on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "Star Trek: Voyager." His producer credits include "Sliders," "E.A.R.T.H. Force," "Simon & Simon," "Harper Valley P.T.A." and "WKRP in Cincinnati." His other writing credits include "Simon & Simon," "Legend," "Evening Shade," "The Elite," "Code Name: Foxfire" and "Legmen."
MEL FERRER Died Jun. 2, 2008
Actor, director, producer Mel Ferrer died at age 90. Mel Ferrer appeared in over 100 films and TV shows during his career. He was once married to actress Audrey Hepburn. Mr. Ferrer produced his wife's classic thriller "Wait Until Dark." He appeared with her in several films including the 1956 version of "War and Peace." Mr. Ferrer appeared in a number of Broadway productions beginning with the 1940 production of "Kind Lady." He made his Hollywood debut in the 1947 film "The Fugitive."
Mel Ferrer's director credits include "The Girl of the Limberlost," "Green Mansions" and "Cabriola." He produced several films including "El Greco," "W" starring Twiggy and the superior Max Von Sydow thriller "The Night Visitor."
Mel Ferrer appeared in films both in the US and in Europe. His career was a mixture of A-list films and various genre movies. His 'Hollywood' credits include "Born to Be Bad," "Rancho Notorious," "The Brave Bulls," "Scaramouche," as King Arthur in "Knights of the Round Table," "Lili," "War and Peace," "The Sun Also Rises," "The World, the Flesh and the Devil," "The Longest Day," "Sex and the Single Girl," John Wayne's "Brannigan" and "The Fall of the Roman Empire."
Mel Ferrer also worked in many B-movies and horror films. Horror fans remember his work from numerous films including Tobe Hooper's underrated "Eaten Alive." Mel Ferrer actually appeared in two films with that title. His second "Eaten Alive" was director Umberto Lenzi's entry into the cannibal film cycle. Mr. Ferrer's many horror film credits include Roger Vadim's "Blood and Roses," "The Hands of Orlac" which was a remake of Peter Lorre's "Mad Love," "The Antichrist," "Something Waits in the Dark," "The Visitor," "Guyana: Cult of the Damned," "Alligators" and "City of the Walking Dead."
Mr. Ferrer made guest appearances on numerous TV shows during the latter part of his career. His many guest credits include "Police Story," "Murder, She Wrote," "Dallas" and "Fantasy Island."
PAUL SILLS Died Jun. 2, 2008
Writer and Second City co-founder Paul Sills died of pneumonia at age 80. Mr. Sills' play "Story Theater" was nominated for the 1971 Best Play Tony Award. Mr. Sills won the Drama Desk Award for adapting and directing the play. Mr. Sills was one of the founders of the famed 'Second City' comedy troupe. His legacy from that enterprise has left all of us richer. Many of the greatest comedy talents of the last quarter century can trace their roots back to 'Second City.' Thanks for the joy and laughter you brought us.
MARK TUTTLE SR. Died Jun. 2, 2008
Writer/producer Mark Tuttle Sr. died at age 73. Mr. Tuttle was co-producer and writer for "The Beverly Hillbillies." Mr. Tuttle wrote 135 episodes of the hit TV series. He was the executive story editor for the hit TV series "Three's Company." Mr. Tuttle's other TV writing credits include "227," "The Facts of Life," "What's Happening Now!," "Private Benjamin" and "Petticoat Junction." He wrote the TV pilots for "By George!" and the "Blazing Saddles" spin off "Black Bart." Mr. Tuttle was also a Rolls Royce expert and judged many classic car shows.
GERALD WILSON Died Jun. 3, 2008
Film editor Gerald Wilson died at age 93. Mr. Wilson worked mainly in television but did have a few film credits. Mr. Wilson's credits include "Washington: Behind Closed Doors," "Gunsmoke," "Bewitched," "A Farewell to Arms" and "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet."
CURTIS WEHR Died Jun. 5, 2008
Firefighter, cinematographer and gaffer Curtis Wehr died at age 75. Mr. Wehr worked in the film industry for 40 years. He was also a 21-year veteran of the LA Fire Department. Mr. Wehr's cinematographer credits include "For the People" and "Let It Ride."
BRUCE PURCHASE Died Jun. 5, 2008
Actor Bruce Purchase died of cancer at age 69. The New Zealand born actor movied to the UK in 1960 to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. He had a lengthy stage, film and TV career. "Dr. Who" fans remember Mr. Purchase for his role as the Captain on "The Pirate Planet" episodes. Mr. Purchase appeared in over 50 films and TV shows during his career. His many credits include "Richard III," "Lionheart: The Children's Crusade," "Wallenberg: A Hero's Story," "Pope John Paul II," "Quatermass," "Blakes 7," "Doctor Who," "Rumpole of the Bailey," "The New Avengers," "Doomwatch," "Softly Softly," "Mary, Queen of Scots" and Roman Polanski's "Macbeth."
PETER KAPETAN Died Jun. 5, 2008
Actor and singer Peter Kapetan died at age 51. Mr. Kapetan did some film work, but was primarily an actor on Broadway. His many Broadway credits include "Got Tu Go Disco," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "Sunset Boulevard," "Titanic" and "The Wedding Singer." His film credits include "Farm Girl in New York," "Player" and "Confessions of a Shopaholic."
ROBERT J. ANDERSON Died Jun. 6, 2008
Former child actor, assistant director and production manager Robert J. Anderson died of cancer at age 75. Mr. Anderson may be best remembered for playing George Bailey as a child in Frank Capra's classic "It's a Wonderful Life." His other acting credits include "A Place in the Sun," "Samson and Delilah," "The Bishop's Wife," "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," "The Officer and the Lady" and Shirley Temple's "Young People." Mr. Anderson served his country in the US Navy during the Korean War. Following his wartime service, Mr. Anderson continued to work in film, this time behind the camera. Mr. Anderson worked as a second unit director and eventually production manager. Mr. Anderson's production manager credits include "Aaron Loves Angela", "Omen IV", "Demolition Man," "Passenger 57", "No Holds Barred", "Shoot to Kill," and "Bonfire of the Vanities."
YANNA KROYT BRANT Died Jun. 6, 2008
Emmy-nominated producer Yanna Kroyt Brandt was killed in a car crash at age 74. Ms. Brandt was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for producing the 1977 special "The Nutcracker." Ms. Brant won nine Daytime Emmy Awards for several educational programs. Ms. Brandt produced the "F.Y.I." TV spots featuring Hal Linden. Other credits include "Vegtable Soup," "The American Experience" and "Ralph Ellison: An American Journey."
GENE PERSSON Died Jun. 6, 2008
Former actor turned Broadway producer Gene Persson died of a heart attack at age 74. Mr. Persson was nominated for a Tony and won the Drama Desk Award for the 1999 revival of his play "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown!" He also produced the 1971 Broadway and 1973 TV production of the play. Mr. Persson co-created the show with Arthur Whitelaw. Mr. Persson produced a number of Brodway plays including "The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald." Mr. Persson acted in a number of films and TV shows in the 1940s and 50s. He played one of the leads in Bert I. Gordon's classic monster movie "Earth vs. The Spider." Other acting credits include "Bloodlust!," "Dragnet," "The Party Crashers," "The Stratton Story," "The Egg and I" and "Danger." Mr. Persson also played a couple of the Kettle kids in three of the "Ma and Pa Kettle" movies. Mr. Persson was the ex-husband of actress Shirley Knight.
DINO RISI Died Jun. 7, 2008
Oscar-nominated writer and director Dino Risi died at age 91. Mr. Risi's 1976 film "Scent of a Woman" earned him a Best Screenplay Adapted Oscar. The film which starred Vitorrio Gassman as a blind Army Captain also earned a Best Foreign Film Oscar nomination. The movie was remade in 1992 starring Al Pacino. Mr. Risi directed over 75 films and TV shows during a career that began at the end of WWII. His many credits include "Poor But Beautiful," "How Funny Can Sex Be?," "The Tiger and the Pussycat," "The Treasure of San Gennaro," "The Dolls," "The Easy Life" and "Poor Girl, Pretty Girl."
JIM MCKAY Died Jun. 7, 2008
Emmy-winning sports-caster Jim McKay died at age 86. Mr. McKay was the host of "ABC's Wide World of Sports" for more than four decades! He also covered a dozen Olympic Games for ABC during his lengthy career. Mr. McKay won an Emmy Award (one of twelve!) for his coverage of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich Germany. He was thrust into the forefront as a news man when PLO terrorists kidnapped and eventually murdered 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team. Mr. McKay broke the tragic news to the world with the words "They're all gone." Footage of his haunting broadcast was used in the documentary "One Day in September" and Steven Speilberg's "Munich." Mr. McKay played himself in the 2004 film "Miracle" which dealt with the USA's upset of the Russian Hockey team at the 1980 Olympics. Mr. McKay appeared in numerous documentaries and sports TV shows in addition to his voluminous work for "ABC's Wide World of Sports." Jim McKay served his country in the US Navy during WWII.
FRANZ RUSSELL Died Jun. 8, 2008
Canadian actor Franz Russell died of heart failure at age 71. Mr. Russell appeared in film and on TV in Canada. He moved to the US in the 1980s where he enjoyed a career as a voice actor for radio and TV commercials. Mr. Russell won four Clio Awards for his voice work. Mr. Russell's film and TV credits include "Agency," "Who'll Save Our Children?," "Our Man Flint: Dead on Target," "Journey Into Fear," "Paperback Hero" and "Wojeck."
BOB GRABEAU Died Jun. 8, 2008
Singer Bob Grabeau died at age 79. Mr. Grabeau was the lead vocalist for the Jan Garber Orchestra. His singing voice can be heard in the films "A Pink Christmas," "Badlands of Montana" and "Slim Carter." Mr. Grabeau performed the song "Bella Notte" in the Disney soundtrack album for "Lady and the Tramp." The song was performed in the actual movie by George Givot.
ALGIS BUDRYS Died Jun. 9, 2008
Science fiction author Algis Budrys died at age 77. Mr. Budrys had recently been diagnosed with cancer. Mr. Budrys wrote under his own name and under several pseudonyms including John A. Sentry. Two of Mr. Budrys novels were adapted to the screen. His novel "Master of the Hounds" was filmed as "To Kill a Clown" starring Alan Alda. Hi novel "Who?" was turned into a film starring Elliot Gould.
RICHARD MARSHALL Died Jun. 9, 2008
Actor Richard Marshall died at age 59. Mr. Marshall was also a high school teacher for 18 years! His credits include "Dead Inn," "House of Cards," "My Name Is Bill W." and "The Ryan White Story."
KAN MUKAI Died Jun. 9, 2008
Japanese producer/director Kan Mukai died of liver cancer at age 70. Mr. Mukai was known as the Father of the Japanese Pink Movie. His credits include "Tokyo Deep Throat," "A Certain Adultery," "Forbidden Technique" and "The Bite."
DAVID BRIERLY Died Jun. 10, 2008
British actor David Brierly died at age 73. Mr. Brierly was known to "Dr. Who" fans for providing the voice of the character K-9 during the 1979-1980 series. Mr. Brierly's other credits include "Threads," "Coronation Street," "On the Game," "Escort Girls" and "Z Cars."
HARUO MIZUNO Died Jun. 10, 2008
Producer/director Haruo Mizuno died of liver failure at age 76. Mr. Mizuno created the "Siberian Express" film series. He directed three films in the series and produced six others. Two of the films were in production at the time of Mr. Mizuno's death. He was also a film critic and film publicist. He hosted a film criticism TV show in Japan for over 15 years. Mr. Mizuno played himself in the movie "Kamikaze Girls."
CHINGIZ AITMATOV Died Jun. 10, 2008
Author and diplomat Chingiz Aitmatov died of kidney failure at age 79. Mr. Aitmatov was one of the most popular authors in the former Soviet Union. Following the fall of the Iron Curtain, Mr. Aitmatov's work gained recognition in the West. Mr. Aitmatov's work detailed life inside Russia. He was one of the first Soviet writers to expose the bloody purges of Stalin. Mr. Aitmatov's father was executed by Stalin in 1938. Several of his books have been adapted to the screen. "Spotted Dog Running at the Edge of the Sea" won awards or was nominated at the Fantasporto and Moscow Film Festivals as well as a Nika Awards Best Film Nomination.
RUDY FERNANDEZ Died Jun. 10, 2008
Philippine actor Rudy Fernandez died of cancer at age 56. Mr. Fernandez was nominated for 12 FAMAS Best Actor Awards. The actor won two of the Philippine film industry awards. Mr. Fernandez was one of the country's biggest action stars. He shot to fame in the 1976 crime biopic "Bitayin si Baby Ama." Other credits include "Vengeance is Mine" and "The Day They Robbed America."
MARIEMMA Died Jun. 10, 2008
Mariemma, one of the top dancers in Spain and the world died at age 91. Mariemma was the former head of the Madrid Royal Conservatory. She brought the joys of Spanish dance to the world through exhibitions, performances, teaching and film. She won a Gold Medal at the 1964 New York World's Fair. Mariemma appeared in 15 films as a dancer and actress. Her credits include "Fandanguillo" and "Europa '51."
ELIOT ASINOF Died Jun. 10, 2008
Writer Eliot Asinof died of pneumonia at age 88. Mr. Asinof wrote the excellent baseball book "Eight Men Out." Director John Sayles adapted the book to the screen, telling the story of the 1919 Chicago Black Sox scandal. Mr. Asinof also played a small role in the John Sayles' film. Mr. Asinof's book "Ten Second Breakout" was turned into the 1975 thriller "Breakout" with Charles Bronson and Robert Duvall. Asinof's other credits include "Wagon Train," "Climax!," "Maverick," "Cain's Hundred" and "The Dupont Show of the Month." Mr. Asinof was once married to Marlon Brando's sister Jocelyn. Mr. Asinof served his country in the US Army during WWII.
LU YANQUING Died Jun. 10, 2008
Chinese stuntman Lu Yanquing was killed on the set of John Woo's upcoming film "Red Cliff." The 23-year-old stuntman was killed and several others were hurt when unexpected flames set several boats on fire during the filming of a sea battle sequence. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
ARTHUR BLOOM Death announced Jun. 10, 2008
Sound technician Arthur Bloom died at age 80. The I.A.T.S.E. Local 52 member worked on over 60 films during his career. His many credits include "The Hustler," "Love Story," "A Chorus Line," "Fame," "Goodfellas," "Married to the Mob," "Wall Street," "Brighton Beach Memoirs," "Sophie's Choice," "The World According to Garp," "The Fan," "One Trick Pony," "Kramer vs. Kramer," "Starting Over," "The Warriors," "Thieves," "The Prisoner of Second Avenue," "Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams," "Such Good Friends," "The Boys in the Band" and "The Defenders."
JEAN DESAILLY Died Jun. 11, 2008
French actor Jean Desailly died at age 87. Mr. Desailly appeared in over 100 films and documentaries. In addition to his lengthy film career, Mr. Desailly was also a noted stage actor. He and his wife, actress Simone Valere worked together on stage and in film. Mr. Desailly's many credits include Truffaut's "The Soft Skin," "The Assassination of Trotsky," "Dirty Money" and the 1981 spy thriller "The Professional."
ETHAN ORMSBY Died Jun. 12, 2008
Lighting director and digital artist Ethan Ormsby died of cancer at age 40. Mr. Ormsby worked as lighting technical director on "Bee Movie" and "Flushed Away." He was a digital lighter on "Over the Hedge." Mr. Ormsby's many digital artist credits include "The Haunted Mansion," "Matchstick Men," "Bad Boys II," "The Matrix Reloaded," "Spider-Man," "Dinosaur" and "T2 3-D: Battle Across Time." He was a digital compositor on "Stealth," "I Spy," "What Lies Beneath," "Strange Days" and "Apollo 13." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
DANNY DAVIS Died Jun. 12, 2008
Grammy-winning musician and record producer Danny Davis died of a heart attack at age 83. Mr. Davis played trumpet for a number of Big Bands including those of Gene Krupa and Les Brown. Mr. Davis lead the country music instrument band Danny Davis & the Nashville Brass. They scored a number of hits in the 1960s. Mr. Davis later went on to produce records for such top stars as Connie Francis, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Danny Davis & the Nashville Brass performed on such TV shows as "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Mike Douglas Show" and "The Johnny Cash Show."
JOHN MALCOLM Died Jun. 13, 2008
Scottish actor John Malcolm died at age 72. Mr. Malcolm was one of the founders of Edinburgh's Traverse Theater. As a horror movie fan, I remember Mr. Malcolm from the great Amicus film "The House That Dripped Blood." Mr. Malcolm played one of the Scotland Yard officers investigating the various mysteries which connected the stories in this excellent omnibus film. Mr. Malcolm appeared in over 50 films and TV shows. His many credits include "Inspector Morse," "War and Remembrance," "The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission," "Dempsey & Makepeace," "Remington Steele," "Reilly: Ace of Spies," "Softly Softly," "Dixon of Dock Green," "Coronation Street," the 1972 TV mini-series "War & Peace," "Upstairs, Downstairs," "Z Cars" and "The Mind of Mr. J.G. Reeder."
TIM RUSSERT Died Jun. 13, 2008
TV newsman Tim Russert died of a heart attack at age 58. Mr. Russert was the host of the long-running news program "Meet the Press." Mr. Russert became the show's moderator in 1991. He was NBC News' Washington bureau chief. Mr. Russert began his career at NBC in the 1980s on the "Today Show." Mr. Russert appeared in the documentary "Why We Fight" and Michael Moore's propaganda piece "Fahrenheit 9/11." Tim Russert made an appearance as himself on the TV series "Homicide: Life on the Streets." The character Megan Russert played by actress Isabella Hofmann was portrayed as Tim Russert's cousin!
BRUCE LESTER Died Jun. 13, 2008
South African-born actor Bruce Lester died at age 96. Mr. Lester appeared in over 60 films during his career. He began working in the British film industry in the 1930s. Mr. Lester came to Hollywood in the late 1930s. Mr. Lester made 20 films in the UK before coming to Hollywood. Those credits include "Hail and Farewell," "The Tenth Man" and "Old Faithful." Mr. Lester's first US film was "Boy Meets Girl" with Jimmy Cagney. His other credits include "Tarzan and the Trappers," "King Richard and the Crusaders," "The Son of Dr. Jekyll," "Tales of Robin Hood," "Tarzan's Peril," "Above Suspicion," "Eagle Squadron," "A Yank in the R.A.F.," "The Letter," "Pride and Prejudice" and "The Invisible Man Returns."
DR. FRANC FALLICO Died Jun. 14, 2008
Pathologist Fran Fallico died of cancer at age 66. Dr. Fallico worked as a pathologist in the state of Alaska for over 30 years. He performed the autopsy on nature activist Timothy Treadwell after Mr. Treadwell and his girlfriend were killed by Grizzly bears. Dr. Fallico appeared as himself in Werner Herzog's fascination documentary film about Mr. Treadwell: "Grizzly Man."
STAN WINSTON Died Jun. 15, 2008
Oscar-winning visual effects and makeup master Stan Winston died of multiple myeloma at age 62. Stan Winston received ten Oscar nominations during his illustrious career. He won four. Stan Winston was beloved by millions of horror and science fiction movie fans. He stands next to Willis O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen in the pantheon of special effects gods. Stan Winston was responsible for some of the most incredible images ever captured on film. He was much in demand by top directors and with good reason. It is hard to imagine what many of the films he worked on would have looked like without his magic. In addition to his Oscar winning makeup and visual effects work, Stan Winston wrote and directed the monster movie "Pumpkinhead." I will pay tribute to Mr. Winston's Makeup career and Visual Effects career separately. Of course remember that he worked in both capacities on a number of films.
Stan Winston did the makeup for nearly 40 films and TV shows. Like many of his fans, I saw his first film when it aired on CBS in 1972. The Made for TV movie "Gargoyles" was a cool sci-fi flick starring Cornel Wilde and Bernie Casey. The TV movie earned Stan Winston his first of five Emmy nominations for makeup. He won for "Gargoyles" as well as the 1974 TV movie "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman." In that film, Mr. Winston aged actress Cicely Tyson to look 110 years old. Stan Winston contributed makeup to 15 films and TV shows during the 1970s. Not all were genre films. He transformed Maximilian Schell into the Adolph Eichman-based character in the American Film Theater's production of "The Man in the Glass Booth." He turned Rod Steiger into W.C. Fields in the biopic "W.C. Fields and Me." Other makeup credits from the 1970s include "The Wiz," "Roots," "Dracula's Dog."
Stan Winston did the makeup on nine films and TV movies during the 1980s. He received his first of four Best Makeup Oscar nominations for the abysmal 1981 film "Heartbeeps." Stan Winston began the 1980s working on Michael Ritchie's adaptation of Peter Benchley's "The Island." Lots of creepy pirates. Next up was the cool vigilante B-movie "The Exterminator" "The Entity" and Oliver Stone's misfire "The Hand." His best makeup work from the 1980s was in John Carpenter's remake of "The Thing." The gruesome, gory alien transformations played on the viewer's innermost fears of change and death. Another standout film Mr. Winston worked on was the eerie "Dead and Buried." Mr. Winston also worked on "Friday the Thirteenth Part 3" and "Wes Craven's Chiller."
Stan Winston received three Best Makeup Oscar nominations during the 1990s. They were for his work on Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands," "Batman Returns" and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." He won his only Best Makeup Oscar for "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." He also was honored with two BAFTA nominations for Best Makeup. They were for "Batman Returns" and "Interview with the Vampire." Mr. Winston's work was about the only memorable aspect of the third remake of "The Island of Dr. Moreau." Stan Winston's makeup credits in the new century include "Terminator 3," "Constantine," "AI: Artificial Intelligence" and the dreadful "Pearl Harbor."
VISUAL EFFECTS CAREER
As wonderful as Stan Winston's makeup work was, his artistry in the field of visual effects is nearly unequalled in the film industry. His visual effects work was honored with six Oscar nominations (three wins) and four BAFTA nominations (three wins). Even more that the high accolades from his peers, Stan Winston earned the respect and admiration of millions, possibly billions of movie fans. He made the impossible possible. His childlike imagination and his talent for finding a way to bring fantasy to life have enriched our movie going lives immeasurably.
If the only film credit Stan Winston ever had was James Cameron's "Aliens" then we would all owe him a debt of gratitude. "Aliens" is arguably the greatest science fiction film ever made. Stan Winston created the Alien effects for the film and won his first Best Visual Effects Oscar and BAFTA. He shared the Oscar with three others who helped create the stunning visuals. "Aliens" was followed the next year by "Predator." The film earned Mr. Winston a back to back Oscar nomination. Four years later Mr. Winston would do the special effects for the sequel "Predator 2." Mr. Winston won his second Best Visual Effects Oscar and BAFTA for James Cameron's "Terminator 2: Judgment Day."
I was sad when Ray Harryhausen retired. The magic of his stop-motion dinosaurs was a special part of my childhood. Of course I'm also one of those guys who looks back fondly at the memories of vinyl record albums. Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" took the sting out of the passing of Harryhausen's craft. Stan Winston made you believe that dinosaurs were real…and scary as hell! The 1993 film earned Stan Winston his third Visual Effects Oscar and BAFTA. He shared it with a team of three others. Like James Cameron before, director Steven Spielberg recognized in Stan Winston a kindred spirit possessing both imagination and talent. Mr. Winston would earn his 5th Visual Effects Oscar nomination for Spielberg's "The Lost World: Jurassic Park 2." Mr. Winston's final Visual Effects Oscar nomination came for Spielberg's "AI: Artificial Intelligence."
Stan Winston's final film released theatrically is the current hit "Iron Man." There is a good chance that Stan Winston may join the ranks of those film artists who have earned posthumous Oscar nominations. IMDB states that Mr. Winston was working on the upcoming "Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins." I'm not sure how much work Mr. Winston completed before he lost his battle with cancer.
Stan Winston contributed incredible special effects to many films which weren't nominated for top industry awards. Those films include "Darkness Falls," "Jurassic Park III," "Galaxy Quest," "End of Days," "Lake Placid," "Small Soldiers," "The Relic," "Congo," "Leviathan," "The Monster Squad," "Invaders from Mars," "Mousehunt," "The Ghost and the Darkness," "Starman" and the original "The Terminator."
I don't remember which one, but one old comedian once posed the question "I wonder what Frank Sinatra puts on the record player when HE makes out?" Old guys like me will understand the joke. But it got me wondering just what it would take to capture the imagination of a person like Stan Winston. What would make him fall down in awe? He struck so many of us in our hearts with his magic. I imagine that standing at the gate of heaven will do the trick. Thanks for the thrills and excitement Mr. Winston.
SIDNEY J. BARTHOLOMEW Died Jun. 15, 2008
Emmy-winning art director and production designer Sidney Bartholomew died at age 54. Mr. Bartholomew won an Emmy for his art direction on "Peewee's Playhouse." Mr. Bartholomew was the production designer on seven of the Farrelly brother's films. His credits include "Kingpin," "Me, Myself & Irene," "Dumb & Dumber," "Shallow Hal" and the remake of "The Heartbreak Kid." He was the visual consultant for the Farrelly's "There's Something About Mary." He wrote and directed the kid's movie "Just for Kicks."
HENRI LABUSSIERE Died Jun. 15, 2008
French actor Henri Labussiere died of a ruptured aorta at age 87. Mr. Labussiere was primarily a voice actor. He was best known for providing the voice of the character Professor Calculus for the animated series "The Adventures of Tintin." He also dubbed a number of English language films and series into French. Mr. Labussiere's credits include "Rugrats," and number of the "Asterix" films, "The Smurfs and the Magic Flute" and "Babar: The Movie."
OLE JORGEN NILSEN Died Jun. 15, 2008
Norwegian actor Ole Jorgen Nilsen died at age 72. Mr. Nilsen was the former head of the National Theater in Norway. In addition to his stage work, Mr. Nilsen appeared in over 30 films. He was well known for his regular role on the TV series "Hotel Caesar." Mr. Nilsen appeared in several of the "Olsen Gang" crime comedies. His other credits include "Citizen X," "The 7 Deadly Sins," "Angst," "Bobby's War" and "Love Is War."
FLOR SANDOVAL Died Jun. 15, 2008
Makeup artist and hairstylist Flor Sandoval was killed along with three others in an apartment arson fire in Queens, New York. The 48-year-old Ms. Sandoval was killed along with her husband and son as well as a man who police believe was targeted by his ex-girlfriend in the attack. The deaths are being called homicides. According to a police statement, a surveillance video shows a man and a woman running out of the building engulfed in flames. Police believe that the couple got into a fight and that the woman threw carpet cleaner on her ex-boyfriend and set him on fire. The woman was also severely burned. Ms. Sandoval worked in the film and TV industry in her native Columbia. She worked on Roland Joffe's "The Mission" and the Oscar nominated "Maria Full of Grace." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
WERA FYDTBERG Died Jun. 16, 2008
German actress Wyra Fydtberg died at age 78. Ms. Fydtberg enjoyed success on stage and screen She appeared in over 30 films and TV shows. Her credits include "Der Kommissar," "Love, Vampire Style," "Flash Gordon," "Elle" and "The Story of a Sinner."
H. O'NEIL SHANKS Died Jun. 16, 2008
H. O'Neil Shanks died at age 90. Mr. Shanks was the National Executive Secretary of the Screen Extras Guild for over 40 years. Mr. Shanks served his country in the US Navy during WWII.
JEAN DELANNOY Died Jun. 17, 2007
Award-winning French director and writer Jean Delannoy died at age 100. Mr. Delannoy won the Grand Prize at Cannes for "La Symphonie Pastorale." Mr. Delannoy directed over 50 films and TV shows and wrote the screenplays for more than 30. He directed the Anthony Quinn version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." Other directing credits include "Mary of Nazareth," "Bernadette," "The Majordomo," "Inspector Maigret" and "The Secret of Mayerling."
JACQUELINE BERTRAND Died Jun. 17, 2008
Actress and model Jacqueline Bertrand died at age 83. She was the widow of famed glamour photographer Peter Basch. Ms. Bertrand's film and TV credits include "Six Degrees of Separation," "Ryan's Hope," "Family Affair" and the gothic horror soap opera "Dark Shadows." Ms. Bertrand also appeared in a number of off-Broadway productions including "The Nest of the Wood Grouse" and "Lulu."
CYD CHARISSE Died Jun. 17, 2008
Dancer/actress Cyd Charisse died of a heart attack at age 86. The leggy dancer was one of the greatest musical stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Her dance numbers with Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire are among the most memorable ever captured on film. Ms. Charisse had a sensual quality which added heat to her dancing. She began studying dancing as a child. She appeared in some of the best musicals in film history. Last month, Ms. Charisse and her husband, actor/singer Tony Martin celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary!
Cyd Charisse worked with Gene Kelly in six films. Their dance in the 1952 classic "Singin' in the Rain" highlighted Ms. Charisse's incredible legs. That same year the studio got $5,000,000.00 insurance policy on Ms. Charisse's legs! She and Kelly also co-starred in the 1954 film "Brigadoon." "Brigadoon" was one MGM's lesser musicals.
My personal favorite of Ms. Charisse's musicals is "Silk Stockings." The musical remake of "Ninotchka" co-starred Fred Astaire. Cyd Charisse's other musical film credits include "Meet Me in Las Vegas," "It's Always Fair Weather," "Deep in My Heart," "The Band Wagon," "East Side, West Side," "Words and Music," "The Kissing Bandit," "Till the Clouds Roll By," "Ziegfeld Follies," "The Harvey Girls" and "Thousands Cheer." Many of her dance numbers from these classic films were used in the 1970s documentaries "That's Entertainment!" and "That's Entertainment, Part II."
Cyd Charisse also acted in many non-musicals. Her straight acting film and TV acting credits include "Murder, She Wrote," "Fantasy Island," "The Love Boat," "Warlords of the Deep," "Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood," "The Silencers," "Two Weeks in Another Town," as the other woman in the unfinished Marilyn Monroe film "Something's Got to Give," "Party Girl," "The Big North" and the cool Film Noir thriller "Tension."
HENRY BECKMAN Died Jun. 17, 2008
Prolific character actor Henry Beckman died at age 86. The Canadian actor appeared in nearly 200 films and TV shows during his career. He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Gemini Award for his performance in "Family Reunion." Mr. Beckman played Captain Clancey on the TV series "Here Come the Brides." He was also a regular on the soap opera "Peyton Place." He also appeared in several episodes of the TV series "Perry Mason," "Flash Gordon," "Gunsmoke," "Ironside," "Quincy M.E." and "The X-Files." Mr. Beckman's many credits include "War and Remembrance," "Death Hunt," "The Brood," "Happy Days," "The Six Million Dollar Man," "Who Is the Black Dahlia?," "Police Story," "Nichols," "Love, American Style," "Night Gallery," "The Undefeated," "Sweet Charity," "Madigan," "The Monkees," "The Andy Griffith Show," "The Munsters," "The Satan Bug," "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Niagara" and the Alfred Hitchcock movies "Marnie" and "The Wrong Man."
MARY TAYLOR ZIMBALIST Died Jun. 17, 2008
Mary Zimbalist, former actress and widow of Oscar-winning producer Sam Zimbalist died at age 93. Ms. Zimbalist accepted her husband's posthumous Best Picture Oscar for "Ben-Hur." Mr. Zimbalist died of a heart attack at age 54 during the production of the film classic. Ms. Taylor's acting credits include "Blossoms in the Dust," "Shining Victory" and "Soak the Rich."
DAVEY LEE Died Jun. 17, 2008
Former child actor Davey Lee died at age 83. He had been in a nursing home since suffering a stroke several years ago. He was the child who crawled up on Al Jolson's lap as he sang the song "Sonny Boy" in the 1928 feature film "The Singing Fool." The recording of "Sonny Boy" became the first record to sell more than one million copies. The following year Mr. Lee played the title role in the movie "Sonny Boy." He also worked with Al Jolson in the movie "Say It With Songs." Mr. Lee appeared in a handful of films before leaving the business. His other credits include "The Squealer" and the Rin-Tin-Tin movie "Frozen River." Mr. Lee's mother ended his career after five films so that he could have a normal childhood. Mr. Lee served his country in the US Army under General George S. Patton during WWII. He later tried to get back into show business, but had no success. Mr. Lee performed for fans at conventions for the International Al Jolson Society during his later years.
BRIAN FREDRICKSON Died Jun. 17, 2008
Film and video game sound designer Brian Fredrickson died of pancreatic cancer at age 52. Mr. Fredrickson shared a Golden Reel nomination for his work on the video game "Uncharted Drake's Fortune." Mr. Fredrickson's film and TV credits include "The Purifiers," "Black Cloud," "High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story," "Below," "Farmclub.com" and "Smoke Signals."
MIYUKI KANBE Died Jun. 18, 2008
Japanese actress Miyuke Kanbe died of heart failure at age 24. Ms. Kanbe had been ill for over a year. She was best known for playing the character Sailor Moon on stage in several musical productions. Her film credits include "Battle Royale II" and the documentary "Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, 10th Anniversary Festival." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
BERND BURGEMEISTER Died Jun. 21, 2008
German TV producer and production manager Bernd Burgemeister died at age 63. He produced over 30 films and TV shows including "Tatort," "Fantômas," "Ghettokids" and "Anna." Mr. Burgemeister was production manager on numerous TV shows including the 1968 version of "Heidi." That show holds an infamous footnote to football fans in the US because of the Heidi Bowl.
BILL VINCE Died Jun. 21, 2008
Oscar and BAFTA-nominated film producer Bill Vince died of cancer at the age of 44. Mr. Vince was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar and BAFTA for "Capote." Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in the title role. Bill Vince produced nearly 40 films during his short career. He was in post-production on four films at the time of his death. One of his final films is Heath Ledger's final movie "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus." Bill Vince's credits include "Saved!," "Air Bud 2," "Air Bud," "Underworld" and "Cafe Romeo." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
KERMIT LOVE Died Jun. 21, 2008
Costume designer Kermit Love died of congestive heart failure at age 91. Mr. Love designed many of the "Sesame Street" Muppets including Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster. Mr. Love also played Willy the hotdog vendor on "Sesame Street." Mr. Love always denied that Kermit the Frog was named after him. He was also responsible for the Snuggle Fabric Softener bear. Kermit Love also designed costumes for several noted choreographers including Twyla Tharp and George Balanchine.
RODRIC BECKHAM Died Jun. 21, 2008
WWII POW Rodric Beckham died at age 93. Mr. Beckham served in the US Army-Air Corps during WWII. He was a crew chief on a B-17 Bomber shot down over Germany. Mr. Beckham was captured and imprisoned at the notorious Stalag 17. Mr. Becham and other survivors of the POW camp played bit parts in Billy Wilder's classic film "Stalag 17." Thanks for your service to our country.
ROBERT BENDICK Died Jun. 22, 2008
Producer/director Robert Bendick died at age 91. Mr. Bendick produced "This is CineramaT." He also directed "Cinerama Holiday." Mr. Bendick worked for CBS news during the early years of the TV network. He served his country in the US Army-Air Corps during WWII where he received medals for combat bravery.
DODY GOODMAN Died Jun. 22, 2008
Comedic actress Dody Goodman died at age 92. Ms. Goodman enjoyed success on Broadway, in film and especially on TV. Her trademark 'airhead' persona made her a popular guest on both the Jack Parr and Johnny Carson versions of "The Tonight Show," "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Mike Douglas Show" and "Dinah!" She was nominated for an Emmy award for her guest appearances on the Jack Parr version of "The Tonight Show." Ms. Goodman appeared in 13 Broadway productions including "Grease" and "Call Me Madam." She was nominated for a Drama Desk award for her performance in the off-Broadway production of "Ah! Wilderness." Ms. Goodman was part of the excellent ensemble cast on the landmark TV series "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman." She had a very funny role in the hit film "Splash." Her many film and TV credits include "Boston Common," "Splash, Too," "Diff'rent Strokes," "St. Elsewhere," "Max Dugan Returns," "Grease 2," "Fantasy Island," "Grease," "Search for Tomorrow" and "The Defenders."
GEORGE CARLIN Died Jun. 22, 2008
So many memories! The icons of my youth are passing away so fast. I remember the first time I heard George Carlin. The summer of 1972. I was attending a junior high school church retreat in Montreat, North Carolina. At the time I was more interested in finding a girl than finding Jesus. My buddies Bruce Ingram, Scoop Carlisle and I sat around in the dorm with several others listening to George Carlin's incredibly funny album "FM & AM." I had the album memorized before the week was over. Flash forward ten years to Las Vegas. I remember the anticipation of finally seeing Mr. Carlin in concert. I'd see him twice more before I left Las Vegas in 1987. Finally the bittersweet last date with the one who got away from me. George Carlin at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis, October 1993. Lots of little and big memories rushed back when I heard that George Carlin had died of heart failure at age 71. 71! How could he be that old, or that young? George Carlin seemed to capture the essence of youth. He was smart and he was a smart ass. The perfect description of the young. As I am now officially old I've graduated from being a smart ass to a wise ass. Wisdom. George Carlin seemed to have that too, though it was sometimes misguided. I admit that I gave-up on George Carlin when I saw one of his HBO specials in which he began to attack God in general and Christians in particular. That is what George Carlin was good at…getting under your skin. Whether he made you bust a gut laughing or infuriated you to rage, George Carlin made you think. Like Lenny Bruce and Frank Zappa, George Carlin like to smash icons. He thought that sacred cows made the tastiest burgers to steal a joke. Mr. Carlin was a comedic genius who had the ability to make us laugh with clean humor and with the profane. Did he always hit a home run? No, but neither did Babe Ruth. Life is tough and full of pain. George Carlin gave us laughter to lift our spirits. That is a blessing.
Comedian Steve Bluestein is another person blessed with the gift of laughter. Like so many others, my friend was touched by George Carlin in profound ways. Steve shared his thoughts with me:
"I didn't 'know' him, I've met him, I've seen him around...but I will sorely miss him. He was, in a word, a genius. His concepts, his ability to make audiences think will be hard to match again by any other comedian. With George gone the flood gates are open for low-brow comedy, we are destined to see more dick jokes and crude comedy that doesn't make us think. George made us think, he observed the world and reported it in a way that left you wondering. I will miss his voice on the comedy scene. I have been a fan since I was 18...his was the first comedy album I ever bought. I still have it. That's something, no? That just goes to show you how much I respected the man."
George Carlin appeared in numerous films and TV shows. He had over a dozen "HBO Specials." Mr. Carlin was the first guest host of the landmark comedy series "Saturday Night Live." George Carlin wirked with director Kevin Smith on several projects including "Jersey Girl," "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" and "Dogma." He leant his distinctive voice to a number of animated film and TV projects as well as his live acting credits. Mr. Carlin's many credits include "Cars," "Scary Movie 3," "The Simpsons," "Shining Time Station," "The Prince of Tides," "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey," "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," "Americathon," "Welcome Back, Kotter," "With Six You Get Eggroll," "That Girl," "The Aristocrats," "The Daily Show," "Dennis Miller Live," "Late Show with David Letterman," "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," "The Carol Burnett Show" and "The Ed Sullivan Show."
JOHN FURLONG Died Jun. 23, 2008
Actor John Furlong died at age 75. Mr. Furlong appeared in nearly 80 films and TV shows during his career. Mr. Furlong worked with exploitation master Russ Meyer on a number of films. In addition to his live action in Mr. Meyer's films, Mr. Furlong narrated several and dubbed Russ Meyer's onscreen voice in the movies. Mr. Furlong provided the opening dialogue for Meyer's masterpiece "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" His other Russ Meyer credits include "Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens," "Supervixens," "Vixen!," "Finders Keepers, Lovers Weepers!," "Common Law Cabin," "Mudhoney" and "Mondo Topless." Mr. Furlong also worked in many non-exploitation films. His many other credits include "John Carpenter's Vampires," Kevin Kostner's "Wyatt Earp," "Murder, She Wrote," "Cagney & Lacey," "The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory," "Jagged Edge," "Highway to Heaven," "Dallas," the remake of "The Postman Always Rings Twice," "The Waltons," "The Swarm," "The Gumball Rally," "All the President's Men," as the judge in "Helter Skelter," "W.C. Fields and Me," "Rich Man, Poor Man," "Hustle," the Billy Wilder version of "The Front Page," "Busting," "Blazing Saddles" and "The Blue Knight."
JUDITH HOLZMEISTER Died Jun. 23, 2008
Austrian actress Judith Holzmeister died at age 88. Ms. Holzmeister was praised for her work in the resistance during WWII where she stood up against the Nazis and hid Jewish people from those who would exterminate them. Ms. Holzmeister was a renowned stage actress in Europe and won many awards. She appeared in over 20 films during her career. Her many credits include "Don Carlos," "William Tell," "House of Life," "Young Girls of Vienna," "Eroica," "Lysistrata" and "The Fire-Devil."
HOWARD BRANDY Died Jun. 23, 2008
Publicist and producer Howard Brandy died three days after his 79th birthday. Mr. Brandy worked as a publicist in both the music and film industries. He helped promote such musical artists as Frankie Avalon and The Monkees. He was the long-time publicist for "Rocky and Bullwinkle" creator Jay Ward. Mr. Ward based the character Dudley Do-Right on Mr. Brandy. Horror movie fans remember Mr. Brandy as the producer of the Hammer horror film "Blood from the Mummy's Tomb." He also produced "The Take." Mr. Brandy's publicist credits include "The Last Emperor," "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," "Silent Running," "Young Frankenstein," the original version of "The Omen," "Quest for Fire," "My Favorite Year," "Runaway Train," "The Pope of Greenwich Village," "Gorky Park" and "Things Are Tough All Over." Mr. Brandy was the father of Emmy-winning makeup artist Adam Brandy, casting agent Eden Brandy and Lo-Ball rocker/actress J.C. Brandy.
DAVID NICHOLLS Died Jun. 23, 2008
British actor David Nicholls died of the cancer mesothelioma at age 58. Mr. Nicholls was exposed to asbestos as a teen working in a factory. Mr. Nicholls spent his last months trying to raise funds for the battle against mesothelioma. Mr. Nicholls many film and TV credits include Ridley Scott's "Gladiator," Martin Scorsese's "The Gangs of New York," "Crush," "Heartbeat," "Highlander: Endgame," "Queer as Folk 2," "Ivanhoe," "Muppet Treasure Island" and "The New Avengers."
PINKAS BRAUN Died Jun. 24, 2008
Swiss actor Pinkas Braun died at age 83. Mr. Braun appeared in nearly 90 films and TV shows during his career. He was nominated for his country's Best Actor Swiss Film Prize for the 2000 film "Comedians." Mr. Braun was a familiar face to fans of Hammer films and Edgar Wallace mysteries. His many credits include "Sidney Sheldon's Bloodline," "The Zombie Walks," "Nevada Clint," "City of Fear," "Dog Eat Dog," "The Lightship," "The Curse of the Yellow Snake," "The Door with Seven Locks" and "The Puzzle of the Red Orchid."
ALLA KAZANSKAYA Died Jun. 25, 2008
Russian actress Alla Kazanskaya died at age 88. Ms. Kazanskaya made her stage debut in 1938. She appeared in a half dozen films including the Best Foreign Film Oscar winner "Burnt by the Sun." Other credits include Val Kilmer's "The Saint" and "The Iron Curtain."
LILYAN CHAUVIN Died Jun. 26, 2008
Actress Lilyan Chauvin died at age 82. She was also a noted drama coach. Ms. Chauvin appeared in over 120 films and TV shows during her career. Horror movie fans remember her as the evil Mother Superior in "Silent Night, Deadly Night" and its sequel. Ms. Chauvin's many credits include "Catch Me If You Can," "Friends," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," "Pumpkinhead II," "Universal Soldier," "Predator 2," "Born in East L.A.," "Private Benjamin," "The Other Side of Midnight," "Victory at Entebbe," "Funny Lady," "The Mephisto Waltz," "Yours, Mine and Ours," "Perry Mason," "Two Weeks in Another Town," "North to Alaska," "The Wreck of the Mary Deare," "King Creole," "Les Girls," "Silk Stockings" and "Studio One."
TONY MELODY Died Jun. 26, 2008
British character actor Tony Melody died of cancer at age 85. Mr. Melody was best known for his work on British TV. He appeared in over 50 films and TV shows during his career. Mr. Melody had a large supporting role in the Richard Gere WWII romancer "Yanks." His many credits include "Emmerdale Farm," "Coronation Street," "Steptoe and Son," "Last of the Summer Wine," "Heartbeat," "Rumpole of the Bailey," "All Creatures Great and Small," "Little Lord Fauntleroy," "Z Cars" and "Home and Away."
RICHARD MILLS Died Jun. 28, 2008
Pioneering adult film director Dick Miller AKA Richard Mailer (real name Richard Mills) committed suicide the day before his 63rd birthday. Mr. Miller suffered from the disease Myasthenia Gravis. Mr. Miller began producing and directing adult films in the 1970s. For the past several years he worked out of Europe. Mr. Miller worked with people ranging from 1970s and 80s superstars like Annette Haven and John Leslie to more recent porn stars like Anita Dark and Dru Berrymore. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
STIG OLIN Died Jun. 28, 2008
Writer/director/actor Stig Olin died at age 87. Mr. Olin was the father of actress Lena Olin. Mr. Olin acted in nearly 50 films. He appeared in six of Ingmar Bergman's early films including "Illicit Interlude." Mr. Olin directed ten films during the 1950s, seven of which he also wrote.
NORIAKI TSUCHIMOTO Died Jun. 28, 2008
Award-winning documentary film director Noriaki Tsuchimoto died of lung cancer at age 79. Mr. Tsuchimoto is best know for his 1972 film "Minamata: The Victims and Their World" which dealt with the mercury poisoning of the village of Minamata Japan during the 1950s. Other credits include "Traces" and "Another Afghanistan: Kabul Diary."
HANS CANINENBERG Died Jun. 29, 2008
Actor Hans Caninenberg died at age 95. He appeared in over 50 films during his career. Mr. Caninenerg had a supporting role in the Jon Voight thriller "The Odessa File." Other credits include the TV miniseries "Richelieu," "Der Kommissar" and "The Contract."
IRVING PEARLBERG Died Jun. 29, 2008
Writer/producer Irv Pearlberg died at age 82. Mr. Pearlberg was an associate producer on the TV series "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." He also produced several feature films. Mr. Pearlberg's many TV writing credits include "The Paper Chase," "Falcon Crest," "Eischied," "Quincy M.E.," "Police Woman," "Hawaii Five-O," "The Rookies," "Cannon," "Ironside," "The F.B.I.," "Alias Smith and Jones" and "The Name of the Game." Mr. Pearlberg was a WWII veteran.
DON S. DAVIS Died Jun. 29, 2008
Character actor Don S. Davis died of a heart attack at age 65. Mr. Davis was beloved by sci-fi fans for his portrayal of Major General George Hammond during the first seven years of the TV series "Stargate SG-1." Mr. Davis left the series in 2003 due to health concerns however he reprised his role in the upcoming film "Stargate: Continuum" as well as making guest shots on "Stargate: Atlantis" and "Stargate: SG-1." Mr. Davis was also well known for his role in David Lynch's TV series "Twin Peaks." Mr. Davis worked on over 130 films and TV series. He first worked with his "Stargate: SG-1" co-star Richard Dean Anderson when Mr. Davis worked as Dana Elcar's stunt double on "MacGuyver." Don S. Davis served his country as an officer in the US Army during the Vietnam War era. In addition to his acting, Don Davis was an accomplished painter, sculptor and woodcarver.
Mr. Davis' many acting credits include "The West Wing," "Best in Show," "Con Air," the TV remake of "In Cold Blood," "Needful Things," "Cliffhanger," "Hero," "A League of Their Own," "Kuffs," "Hook," "21 Jump Street," "Look Who's Talking Too," "L.A. Law," "Look Who's Talking," "Matinee," "Wiseguy," "Stakeout" and "The Journey of Natty Gann."
ANGEL TAVIRA Jun. 30, 2008
One-handed violinist Angel Tavira died of kidney failure at age 84. Mr. Tavira lost his right hand in a fireworks accident when he was 13 years old. Despite his handicap, Mr. Tavira became one of the top folk violinist in Mexico. He learned to play by tying his bow to the stump of his right arm. He starred in the 2005 film "The Violin" for which he won a Best Actor award at Cannes.