DANNY GANS Died May 1, 2009
Las Vegas entertainer Danny Gans was found dead in his home. The autopsy has not revealed a cause of death for the 52-year-old entertainer. Mr. Gans was one of the most popular entertainers in Las Vegas. The song and dance man had been performing to sold out audiences in Las Vegas since 2000. He appeared on Broadway in the 1990s in "Danny Gans on Broadway: The Man of Many Voices" where he showcased his talent of singing and doing celebrity impressions. Mr. Gans had a bit part as the third baseman in "Bull Durham." He played Dean Martin in the TV movie "Sinatra." Mr. Gans' other film and TV credits include "Spring Fling," "Silk Stalkings," "Tiny Toon Adventures," "Roseanne" and "The New Hollywood Squares." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
FRED DELMARE Died May 1, 2009
German actor Fred Delmare died of pneumonia at age 87. The popular German actor appeared in over 150 films and TV shows during his lengthy career. He suffered from Alzheimer's Disease during his final years. Mr. Delmare's many credits include "Nora S.," "The Little Magician," "Hostess," "Ulzana," "Orpheus in the Underworld," "The Legend of Paul and Paula," "Bread and Roses," "Naked Among Wolves" and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."
RIC ESTRADA Died May 1, 2009
Animation artist Ric Estrada died at age 81. Mr. Estrada worked in numerous areas of the animation field. He was a character designer, storyboard artist, layout artist and story director. Mr. Estrada worked on the Mormon church's "The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible" videos. Other credits include "The Adventures of Don Coyote and Sancho Panda," "Jonny Quest," "Pound Puppies," "Smurfs," "Challenge of the GoBots," "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe," "Droopy: Master Detective," "Tom & Jerry Kids Show," "Tiny Toon Adventures" and "Jetsons: The Movie."
MARC ROCCO Died May 1, 2009
Director/producer/writer Marc Rocco died of undisclosed causes at age 46. Mr. Rocco was the son of actor Alex Rocco (Moe Greene in The Godfather). Mr. Rocco wrote, produced and directed four films during his short career. His debut film "Scenes From the Goldmine" dealt with the New Wave rock scene in New York and LA during the 1980s. His best known film was the courtroom drama "Murder in the First" starring Gary Oldman and Kevin Bacon. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
JACK KEMP Died May 2, 2009
Former professional football quarterback, US Congressman and Vice Presidential nominee Jack Kemp died of cancer at age 73. Mr. Kemp parlayed his fame as quarterback for the Buffalo Bills football team in a a nine-term political career as a Republican congressman from New York. Mr. Kemp was Robert Dole's running mate in the 1988 presidential race. Mr. Kemp appeared in a number of documentaries and TV shows including "Dear Mister President," "Hannity & Colmes," "ESPN SportsCentury" and "Rebels with a Cause: The Story of the American Football League."
S. RICKERT GRACE Died May 3, 2009
Religious leader and filmmaker S. Rickert Grace died at age 61. Mr. Grace was the great-grandson of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, the co-founders of the Unity School of Christianity. Mr. Grace wrote and directed the documentaries "Charles Fillmore: American Mystic" and "Unity: a School of Christianity." He also was active in production of the radio and TV broadcasts "The Word From Unity." Though the Missouri-based church has the name 'Christianity' in the title, most Christian theologians consider Unity to be a cult for that churches pantheistic teachings, belief in reincarnation and denial of Jesus Christ as the way to salvation.
DOM DELUISE Died May 4, 2009
The world can be a very sorrowful place. All of us are struck with pain and tragedy. One of God's greatest gifts to mankind is the joy found in laughter. Those with the gift to make us laugh and temporarily forget our pain are to be cherished. One of those with the ability to lift our spirits to a higher level through laughter has left us. Comedian and actor Dom DeLuise died at age 75. Dom DeLuise shared his gift through film, TV and on stage. He appeared in over 200 films and TV shows as well as three Broadway plays. Dom DeLuise was the husband of actress Carol Arthur and the father of actors David, Michael and Peter DeLuise. Thanks for the happiness you brought so many people.
Dom DeLuise was known for his collaborations with director Mel Brooks and actor Burt Reynolds. He appeared or did voice work in six films for director Mel Brooks. His Mel Brooks credits are "Blazing Saddles," "History of the World: Part I," "Robin Hood: Men in Tights," "Silent Movie," as the voice of Pizza the Hutt in "Spaceballs" and "The Twelve Chairs." Dom DeLuise costarred with friend Burt Reynolds in such films and TV shows as "B.L. Stryker," "All Dogs Go to Heaven," "Smokey and the Bandit II," "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," "The Cannonball Run" and "The End."
Mr. DeLuise appeared on Broadway in three productions during the 1960s. He was in the hit play "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers" as well as "Here's Love" and "The Student Gypsy." Dom DeLuise headlined two TV series "Lotsa Luck" and "The Dom DeLuise Show." Mr. DeLuise's many film and TV credits include "You Don't Mess with the Zohan," "Stargate SG-1," "The Wild Thornberrys," "All Dogs Go to Heaven," "3rd Rock from the Sun," "Cybill," "Murphy Brown," "All Dogs Go to Heaven 2," "Burke's Law," "SeaQuest DSV," "An American Tail: Fievel Goes West," "Loose Cannons," "Oliver & Company," "Going Bananas," "An American Tail," "Haunted Honeymoon," "Johnny Dangerously," "The Secret of NIMH," "Wholly Moses!," "The Last Married Couple in America," "Hot Stuff," "The Muppet Movie," "The Cheap Detective," "Sextette," "The World's Greatest Lover," "The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother," "Every Little Crook and Nanny," "Evil Roy Slade," "Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?," "Norwood," "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir," "What's So Bad About Feeling Good?," "The Busy Body," "The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.," "Please Don't Eat the Daisies," "The Glass Bottom Boat," "Fail-Safe," "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," "The Dean Martin Show," "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," "The Flip Wilson Show," "The Carol Burnett Show" and "The Jackie Gleason Show."
FRITZ MULIAR Died May 4, 2009
Austrian actor Fritiz Muliar died at age 89. Mr. Muliar appeared in over 100 films and TV shows in a career dating back to the 1940s. He is best remembered for starring in the 1972 TV series "Die Abenteuer des Braven Soldaten Schwejk" which was based on the anti-war novel "The Good Soldier." He had earlier appeared in a film version of the book, but not in the lead role. Mr. Muliar's other credits include "Kommissar Rex," "Naughty Roommates," "Confessions of a Bigamist" and "5 Sinners."
GISELA STEIN Died May 4, 2009
German actress Gisela Stein died at age 74. Ms. Stein was a renowned stage actress in Germany. She appeared in a number of movies and TV shows including "The Betrothed," "The Old Fox" and "Der Kommissar."
HIDEO KO Died May 4, 2009
Japanese singer Hideo Ko died at age 90. Mr. Ko was known as one of the foremost performers of the Chanson style of French singing. He enjoyed popularity in Europe as well as his native land. Mr. Ko appeared in several films. Fans of horror movies know him for his role as the assassin turned space vampire in the gonzo "Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell." The 1968 film is a real riot and includes themes found in many of today's horror films. Mr. Ko also appeared in the notorious "Horrors of Malformed Men." The 1969 Japanese horror film was banned for nearly 40 years and has only recently been released on DVD. Mr. Ko's other three screen credits were in gangster films.
RAY FRY Died May 4, 2009
Prolific stage actor Ray Fry died at age 86. Mr. Fry appeared in over 25 Broadway productions between 1944 and 1973. His credits on the Great White Way include "A Streetcar Named Desire," "The Merchant of Venice," "Twelfth Night," "The Playboy of the Western World," "In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer," "Cyrano de Bergerac," "The Little Foxes" and "The Country Wife." Mr. Fry appeared in regional theaters all across the country. His film and TV credits include "Target," "Larry" and "Enemies."
JANE RANDOLPH Died May 4, 2009
Former actress Jane Randolph died of complications from a broken hip at age 94. Ms. Randolph appeared in nearly 20 films during the 1940s before retiring and moving to Europe. Horror movie fans remember Ms. Randolph for three films. She appeared in the Val Lewton produced classic "The Cat People" and its sequel "The Curse of the Cat People." My personal favorite of her films is the horror/comedy classic "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein." Ms. Randolph played the female lead in the 1948 comedy hit opposite Abbott and Costello as well as horror movie Icons Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi and Glenn Strange. Ms. Randolph also played the female leads in several Film Noir movies. Those films include "Highways by Night," "Jealousy" and "Railroaded!" Her other credits include "The Mysterious Mr. M," "The Falcon Strikes Back," "The Male Animal" and "Dive Bomber."
EAN EVANS Died May 6, 2009
Bassist Ean Evans died of cancer at age 48. Mr. Evans was asked to join the band Lynyrd Skynyrd following the death of original bass player Leon Wilkeson in 2001. Mr. Evans performed with the band at the "47th Annual Grammy Awards." He also appeared in the concert videos "Lynyrd Skynyrd: Live at Freedom Hall" and "Lynyrd Skynyrd Lyve: The Vicious Cycle Tour." Mr. Evans was leader of the band Noon. He also previously played as a member of The Outlaws. Mr. Evans is the second member of Lynyrd Skynyrd to pass away this year following the January death of keyboardist Billy Powell.
RANDALL 'POODIE' LOCKE Died May 6, 2009
Randall 'Poodie' Locke, Willie Nelson's stage manager for over 30 years died of a heart attack at age 60. Mr. Locke appeared in Willie Nelson's films "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Songwriter."
VINCENT DAVIS Died May 6, 2009
Emmy-nominated animation timing-director Vincent Davis died at age 65. Mr. Davis was nominated for an Emmy and won an Annie Award for an episode of "Cow and Chicken." Mr. Davis' other credits include "The Batman," "Captain Planet and the Planeteers," "Duck Tales," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "The Wuzzles," "My Little Pony," "The Mouse and His Child," "Garfield and Friends" and "Mother Goose and Grimm."
MICKEY CARROLL Died May 7, 2009
Former actor Mickey Carroll died at age 89. Mr. Carroll was one oof the last surviving Munchkins from the 1939 Hollywood classic "The Wizard of Oz." Mr. Carroll appeared as several Muchkins in the film. He played the Town Crier, a marching soldier and violin player. Mr. Carroll retired from show business in the 1940s and returned to his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.
LINDA DANGCIL Died May 7, 2009
Actress Linda Dangcil died of throat cancer at age 67. Ms. Dangcil was best known for her role as Sister Ana in the Sally Fields TV series "The Flying Nun." Ms. Dangcil made her Broadway debut as a child in the original 1954 production of "Peter Pan" with Mary Martin. She played an Indian in the production and reprised her role in two TV versions of the play. An Associated Press obituary stated that Ms. Dangcil was a principle dancer in the film version of "West Side Story" but her name is not listed in the credits. She worked as a singer, actress and voice actress. Ms. Dangcil's film and TV credits (both live action and voice work) include "The Young and the Restless," "3rd Rock from the Sun," the animated TV series "Batman," "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo," "Jem," "Foofur," "Quincy M.E.," "Kaz," "The Bold Ones: The New Doctors," "Here Come the Brides," "El Dorado," "I Spy," "Tales of Wells Fargo" and "The Rifleman."
STEPHEN BRUTON Died May 8, 2009
Singer, actor, composer, producer, guitarist Stephen Bruton died of cancer. His age was not given. Mr. Bruton fought his cancer for two years. In addition to producing albums for numerous artists, writing songs for many more, Mr. Bruton acted in a number of films and TV shows. His credits include "Man of the House," Sam Peckinpah's "Convoy," "Songwriter," "Heaven's Gate," "Miss Congeniality," "Sweet Thing," the remake of "The Alamo," "A Seduction In Travis County," "Amerika," "Matlock," "Michael" and the Barbra Streisand version of "A Star Is Born." Mr. Bruton narrated and scored the documentary "Picture This: The Times of Peter Bogdanovich in Archer City, Texas."
JOHN FURIA Death announced May 8, 2009
Emmy-nominated and WGA-winning producer, writer John Furia died at age 89. Mr. Furia was nominated for an Emmy for producing the religious TV series "Insight." He was honored with three awards by his peers in the Writer's Guild. Mr. Furia's many writing credits include "Hotel," "The Death of Ocean View Park," "Kung Fu," "The Waltons," "Hawaii Five-O," "Longstreet," "Felony Squad," "The Singing Nun," "The Twilight Zone," "Bonanza" and "Dr. Kildare." Mr. Furia also produced many of the shows he wrote. He played a character named Lieutenant Furia in the TV series version of Joseph Wambaugh's "The Blue Knight."
GLORIA VARELA Died May 9, 2009
Former actress and extra Gloria Verela died of a heart attack at age 77. Ms. Varela began her career as a child. She retired in 1968 to raise a family. Ms. Varela's credits include "Around the World in Eighty Days," "Jubilee Trail" and "Angel in Exile."
ROYA MEGNOT Died May 10, 2009
Actress Roya Megnot died of cancer just shy of her 47th birthday. Ms. Megnot played the character Ava in the soap opera "Loving" during the 1980s. Her other credits include "Thirst Silk," "Stalkings," "MacGyver," opposite Tim Roth in "Tales from the Crypt," "The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage" and "Quantum Leap." Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
DOLORES SUTTON Died May 11, 2009
Actress Dolores Sutton died at age 82. Ms. Sutton worked on Broadway and in film and TV. She appeared in two Broadway plays: "My Fair Lady" and "General Seeger." Ms. Sutton appeared in 30 films and TV shows. She appeared in the feature films "Crossing Delancy," Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemenors" and "Tales from the Darkside: The Movie." She played Sister Rose Marie in "The Trouble With Angels" and its sequel "Where Angels Go Trouble Follows!" Ms. Sutton played Patty Herst's mother in the TV movie "The Ordeal of Patty Hearst." Her other credits include "Law & Order," "Dream Lover," "All in the Family," "Medical Center," "The Bob Newhart Show," "Ben Casey," "Gunsmoke," "The Defenders," "Studio One," "Robert Montgomery Presents," "The United States Steel Hour" and "Kraft Television Theatre."
DAN AMMERMAN Died May 11, 2009
Actor and TV broadcaster Dan Ammerman died of Alzheimer's Disease at age 76. Mr. Ammerman was best known to "Dallas" fans as the doctor who removed the bullet from Larry Hagman after someone shot JR. Mr. Ammerman appeared in six episodes of the hit series playing various roles. Mr. Ammerman also appeared in the wonderful movie "Local Hero." His other credits include "A Taste for Killing," "Margaret Bourke-White," "Pancho Barnes," "Guilty of Innocence: The Lenell Geter Story" and "The Jesse Owens Story." Mr. Ammerman saw combat serving his country during the Korean War. He was given a battlefield commission as Second Lieutenant for his bravery under fire.
MARQUE E. DE VEAUX Died May 11, 2009
Production assistant and public relations representative Marque E. De Veaux died of undisclosed causes at age 39. Mr. De Veaux worked with director Bill Duke on several films. He was a production assistant on "The Cemetary Club." Mr. De Veaux also worked for Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbera. Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
ROBERT WILLEY Died May 12, 2009
Actor Robert Willey died at age 88. Mr. Willey appeared on Broadway in the plays "Junior Miss" and "Winged Victory." His film credits include "Journey Into Fear," "South of Pago Pago" and "The Mortal Storm." Mr. Willey served his country in the US Army-Air Corps during WWII.
VICTOR PETROTTA SR. Died May 11, 2009
Prop master Victor Petrotta died at age 93. Mr. Petrotta had been a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 44 since 1939. His son Vic Petrotta Jr., also a property master, died in October of 2008.
SHAUN ARNOLDS Died Apr. 12, 2009
42-year-old South African actor Shaun Arnolds was killed when he was hit by a pickup truck while crossing a street. Mr. Arnolds appeared in a number of South African TV series as well as several films. He was also a noted stage actor in his native land. His credits include "From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money" and "Interrogation Room." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
FRANK ALETTER Died May 13, 2009
Character actor Frank Aletter died of cancer at age 83. Mr. Aletter performed on Broadway, TV and in film. Baby-boomers like myself remember him best as the co-star of the sci-fi/comedy TV series "It's About Time." Mr. Aletter was one of two US astronauts who flew through a timewarp and ended up back in the stone age. It combined space and cave men. What more could a kid in the 60s ask for! Frank Aletter was married to former Miss America/actress Lee Meriwether from 1958 through 1974. He was the father of actress Kyle Aletter and stunt woman Lesley Aletter. His daughter Lesley was the woman bitten on the tongue in the horror comedy "Snakes on a Plane." Frank Aletter appeared in over 100 films and TV shows during his career. He also acted on Broadway in plays such as "Mister Roberts." He also appeared in the film version of the play.
Frank Aletter's many film and TV credits include "General Hospital," "Matlock," "T.J. Hooker," "Dallas," "The Golden Girls," "Murder, She Wrote," "Private School," "CHiPs," "The Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," "All in the Family," "Rich Man, Poor Man," "Kojak," "Mannix," "Kolchak: The Night Stalker," "Adam-12," "M*A*S*H," "Ironside," "Maude," "Tora! Tora! Tora!," "Petticoat Junction," "The Fugitive," "Perry Mason," "Dr. Kildare," "The Twilight Zone" and "Bringing Up Buddy."
MONICA BLEIBTREU Died May 14, 2009
Award-winning Austrian actress Monica Bleibtreu died of cancer at age 65. Ms. Bleibtreu was honored with awards for her film and TV work by most of the major German awards programs. Her starring role as a piano teacher working with a woman in prisoner in the 2006 film "Four Minutes" earned her the Best Actress Award at the Bavarian Film Awards. She appeared in over 120 films and TV shows during her lengthy career. International audiences may see her work in such films as "Run Lola, Run," Costa Gavras' "Amen" or the Marlene Dietrich biopic "Marlene."
SUSAN WILLIS Died May 14, 2009
Actress Susan Willis died at age 83. Ms. Willis worked on Broadway as well as in film and on TV. Her Broadway credits include "Medea," "Miss Mazeppa," "Dylan," "Cabaret," "Take Me Along" and "Oliver." Ms. Willis' film and TV credits include "Doctor S Battles the Sex Crazed Reefer Zombies: The Movie," "Live Free or Die," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Uptown Girls," "Mystic River," "Far from Heaven," "The Majestic," "Third Watch," "Sex and the City," "The 13th Warrior," "All My Children," "What About Bob?" and "Puzzle of a Downfall Child."
ALICE EISNER Died May 15, 2009
Actress and singer Alice Eisner died at age 87. Ms. Eisner began her career as a singer with jazz great Eeoll Garner. Her film and TV credits include "The Piano Lesson," "The Cemetery Club," "Zac and Miri Make a Porno," "Passed Away," "Bent: In the Meantime," "Daddy Cool," "Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh" and "The Bride in Black."
CHARLES 'BUD' TINGWELL Died May 15, 2009
Award-winning Australian actor Charles 'Bud' Tingwell died of prostate cancer at age 86. Mr. Tingwell appeared in over 160 films, TV series and documentaries during his lengthy career. He was much revered in Australia. Mr. Tingwell was beloved by Aussies for his starring roles in the movie "The Castle" and hit TV series "Homicide." Mr. Tingwell was well known to international audiences for his roles in such films as "Breaker Morant" and the Agatha Christie series of "Miss Marple" mysteries starring Margaret Rutherford. Mr. Tingwell received two Australian Film Institute nominations as Best Supporting Actor for his work in the 1997 film "The Castle" and Bruce Beresford's 1980 classic "Breaker Morant." In "Breaker Morant" Mr. Tingwell played the head of the court martial board set on executing three Australian soldiers to make political gains in ending the Boer War. Though not one of the main characters, Mr. Tingwell adds the right air of hypocrisy and eventually self-revulsion which helped make this such a memorable film. In 1998 the AFI honored Mr. Tingwell with its highest honor, the Raymond Longford Award. The award recognized Mr. Tingwell's "unwavering commitment over many years to excellence in the film and television industries." Mr. Tingwell served his country as a pilot in the RAF during WWII.
I'm a die-hard Hammer Horror fan. Mr. Tingwell had a nice supporting role in the 1966 classic "Dracula: Prince of Darkness." US fans have a hard time seeing Christopher Lee's second outing as the bloodthirsty Count as the DVD is out of print and not likely to be reissued according to the folks I've talked to at Anchor Bay. Alas I may never find a copy of the second best film in the Christopher Lee series!!! Mr. Tingwell played the doomed Arthur Kent who was sacrificed by having his throat slashed while hanging upside down in order to resurrect the ashes of Count Dracula. A classic scene in the history of Hammer horror films. Mr. Tingwell also appeared in one of my personal favorite small films "Puberty Blues." The 1981 film came during the renaissance of the Australian film industry in the late 1970s and early 80s. It is a great coming of age story of a group of surfer kids.
I also must admit that I have a soft spot in my heart for the comedic "Miss Marple" murder mysteries which starred Margaret Rutherford. Mr. Tingwell co-starred as Inspector Craddock in the four films from the early 1960s. The films were "Murder Ahoy," "Murder Most Foul," "Murder at the Gallop" and "Murder She Said."
Mr. Tingwell's many other credits include "Menzies and Churchill at War," "Hidden Creatures," the remake of "Ned Kelly," "The Man from Snowy River: Arena Spectacular," "Changi," "Snowy River: The McGregor Saga," "All the Rivers Run," "Freedom," "UFO," "Z Cars," "Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons," "The Avengers," "Thunderbirds," "Danger Man," "The Secret of Blood Island," in the final of Gordon Scott's six Tarzan films "Tarzan the Magnificent," "Bobbikins," "Dunkirk," "King of the Coral Sea" and "The Desert Rats."
MARK WHITBREAD Death announced May 16, 2009
Canadian production designer, set decorator, graphic designer, property master and art director Mark Whitbread died of undisclosed causes at age 43. Mr. Whitbread worked in various capacities on a number of films and TV shows. His credits include "Family Biz," "Girl's Best Friend," "Little Mosque on the Prairie," "A Woman Hunted," "Housesitter," "The Tom Green Show," "Mann to Mann," "Posers" and "Punch & Judy." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
GIULIO GIANINI Died May 16, 2009
Italian animation producer/director Giulio Gianini died at age 82. Mr. Gianini co-directed many animated shorts with Emmanuele Luzzati. Their 1964 short "The Thieving Magpie" and 1973 short "Pulcinella" received Best Short Subject Animated Oscar nominations. Mr. Luzzati died in January 2007. The creative partners are pictured in the photo at right. Mr. Gianini is wearing the glasses.
WAYNE ALLWINE Died May 18, 2009
Voice actor and Emmy-award winning sound effects editor Wayne Allwine died of diabetes at age 62. Mr. Allwaine provided the voice for Mickey Mouse for the past 32 years. He was only the third person, following Walt Disney and Jimmie MacDonald, to provide the voice for the famous mouse. He was the husband of voice actress Russi Taylor who provided the voice for Minnie Mouse! Mr. Allwine did voice work on over 50 films and TV shows. His credits include "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," "The Lion King 1½," "Fantasia/2000," "A Goofy Movie," "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?," "The Great Mouse Detective," "The Black Cauldron" and "Mickey's Christmas Carol." Wayne Allwine also worked as a sound effects editor and foley artist. He won an Emmy for the TV series "Amazing Stories." His other sound department credits include "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier," "Alien Nation," "3 Men and a Baby," "Innerspace," "Psycho III," "Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend," "Frankenweenie," "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and "The Black Hole."
SAMUEL ROTH Died May 19, 2009
Postman turned actor and drama coach Sam Roth died at age 88. Mr. Roth appeared in such films and TV shows as "Rain Man," "Crime Story," and "Midnight Run." He later taught acting in Henderson Nevada, just outside Las Vegas. Mr. Roth served his country in the US Army-Air Corps during WWII.
RODERICK BURTON aka DOLLA Died May 19, 2009
I don't understand the lack of value of human life that seems to surround the rap music industry. There is no other genre of music which seems to eat its own as does the rap and hip-hop scene. You never read a headline which states "Herman's Hermits singer killed in drive by shooting. Members of the Dave Clark Five are being sought for questioning." However the shooting deaths of rap singers, both famous and unknown, have become old hat. I just don't get it. Maybe the fact that I deal with senseless violence everyday at work makes me feel out of place and time. A generation of young people are killing each other for no reason at all. It is senseless. 21-year-old rap singer Dolla (real name Roberick Burton) was shot and killed in an upscale mall in Los Angeles. A man was later arrested for the shooting at LAX. Mr. Burton was working on his second album. He performed the song "Feelin' Myself" on the soundtrack of the 2006 film "Step Up." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends.
DOREEN FOO CROFT Died May 19, 2009
Actress Doreen Foo Croft died at age 81. Ms. Croft was both an actress and a recognized expert in the area of child developmental psychology. Ms. Croft's film and TV credits include "Patch Adams," "Golden Gate," "Sweet November," "Nash Bridges," "The Rookie" and "Midnight Caller."
RANDI NAESS Died May 20, 2009
Norwegian actress and singer Randi Naess died at age 104! Ms. Naess' stage career spanned the years 1928 through 1991. Though primarily a stage actress, Ms. Naess appeared in a handful of films and TV productions including "The Chieftain."
LUCY GORDON Died May 20, 2009
British actress Lucy Gordon apparently committed suicide two days before her 29th birthday. Ms. Gordon was found hanging in her Paris apartment by her boyfriend. Reports stated that Ms. Gordon was upset by the recent suicide of a friend. Ms. Gordon appeared in 11 films. She played a TV reporter in the blockbuster hit "Spiderman 3." She starred in the upcoming biopic "Serge Gainsbourg, Vie Héroïque." She played actress Jane Birkin opposite Eric Elmosnino who plays the title role. Ms. Gordon's other credits include "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men," "Frost," "Serial" and "The Four Feathers" with the late Heath Ledger. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.
OLEG YANKOVSKY Died May 20, 2009
Award-winning Russian actor Oleg Yankovsky died of cancer at age 65. Mr. Yankovsky was nominated for five Best Actor Nika Awards in his homeland. He won twice for the films "The Lover" and "The Assassin of the Tsar." Mr. Yankovsky appeared in nearly 70 films and TV shows during his career. His final film "Tsar" premiered at this years Cannes Film Festival. Mr. Yankovsky's many credits include "Mirror," "Nostalgia," "Anna Karenina," the TV mini-series version of "Doctor Zhivago," "The Man Who Cried," "My Twentieth Century," "To Kill a Dragon," "The Hound of the Baskervilles," as the famed Baron in "That Munchhausen" and "A Ballad of Love."
JOAN ALEXANDER Died May 21, 2009
Radio and voice actress Joan Alexander died of an intestinal illness at age 94. Ms. Alexander portrayed the characters Lois Lane and Della Street in the "Superman" and "Perry Mason" radio serials. Ms. Alexander played Lois Lane opposite Bud Collyer in the title role. Ms. Alexander and Mr. Collyer are pictured at right. Ms. Alexander also voiced Lois Lane in the 1940s "Superman" cartoons as well as in three different cartoon series in the 1960s. Ms. Alexander appeared on Broadway in the play "Poor Richard." Ms. Alexander's first husband was actor John Sylvester White who portrayed the sweathog's nemesis principle Woodman in Gabe Kaplan's hit TV series "Welcome Back Kotter."
THOMAS TOLLEFSON Died May 21, 2009
Prop maker Tom Tollefson died of undisclosed causes at age 42. Mr. Tollefson was a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 44. Mr. Tollefson worked on the movie "Hole." Prayers of comfort for his family and friends, especially his children Amanda and Jacob.
BENJAMIN HARTIGAN Death announced May 22, 2009
Publicist turned actor Benjamin Hartigan died at age 86. Mr. Hartigan was a longtime publicist with Walt Disney studios. He worked on such films as "The Incredible Journey," "Snowball Express," "The Jungle Book" and "Robin Hood." Mr. Hartigan's many acting credits include "The Hunt for Red October," "Punchline," "Psycho 2," "Tales from the Crypt," "Moonlighting," "War and Remembrance," "Wild Orchid II," "Switch," "Skin Deep," "Caddyshack II," "The Colbys," "The A-Team," "Dynasty," "Knots Landing," "Dallas" and "National Lampoon's Movie Madness." Mr. Hartigan served his country in the US Marine Corps during WWII.
ALEXANDER GRILL Died May 22, 2009
Austrian actor Alexander Grill died of a stroke at age 70. Mr. Grill began his stage career in the 1930s. He was set to appear in a play after replacing another actor who died earlier this month. Mr. Grill appeared in over 40 films and TV shows during his career.
YEO WOON-GAE Died May 22, 2009
Korean actress Yeo Woon-Gae died of lung cancer at age 69. Ms. Yeo was best known for her role as Lady Jeong in the long-running series "Jewel in the Palace." Ms. Yeo began her professional acting career in the early 1960s. She was a prolific stage actress and appeared in over 20 films and TV shows.
DONALD LABRANCHE Died May 22, 2009
Artist, teacher and actor Donald LaBranche died at age 76. Mr. LaBranche appeared in two films by director Bill Millios: "Old Man Dogs" and "Dangerous Crosswinds." Mr. LaBRanche was a prolific stage actor appearing in nearly 100 regional theater productions.
RALPH TANGNEY Died May 22, 2009
PBS producer Ralph Tangney died at age 85. Mr. Tangney worked as a program director for public radio and a senior producer for PBS for over 30 years. Among the films he produced for PBS are "The Fighter" and "Lorainne Hansberry: The Black Experience in the Creation of Drama." Mr. Tangney served his country in the US Army-Air Corps during WWII. He flew 35 combat missions over Germany.
JULIE BESCOS Died May 23, 2009
Former USC football, baseball and basketball coach Julie Bescos died at age 97. Mr. Bescos was Clark Gable' stunt double on the classic 1934 adventure film "Mutiny on the Bounty." Mr. Bescos also played a sailor in the film. He appeared in four films during the early 1930s. His other credits include "Death on the Diamond," "Murder in the Fleet" and "Navy Blue and Gold." Mr. Bescos served his country as an officer in the US Navy during WWII. He took part in the capture of Iwo Jima. Mr. Bescos received the Silver Star for his part in the rescue and evacuation of wounded sailors on the USS Saratoga after the aircraft carrier was hit by Kamikazes. The photograph at right shows Mr. Bescos when he was the captain of the USC football team.
BARBARA RUDNIK Died May 23, 2009
German actress Barbara Rudnick died of cancer at age 51. The prolific actress appeared in over 100 films and TV shows during her career. Her many credits include "Illegal," "Tatort," "Polizeiruf 110," "Ghetto-Kids," "Dick Francis: In the Frame," "Time Troopers" and "Out of Time."
JAY BENNETT Died May 23, 2009
Musician Jay Bennett died in his sleep of undisclosed causes at age 46. Mr. Bennett a founder of the band "Titanic Love Affair." He was a member of the band "Wilco" from 1994 through 2001. He appeared in the documentary film "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart." Mr. Bennett's music can be heard on the soundtracks of such films as "King of California," "The Darwin Awards," "Chelsea Walls" and "Girl, Interrupted."
ELLA SNOEP Died May 24, 2009
Dutch actress Ella Snoep died at age 82. Ms. Snoep was known in her homeland for her many TV appearances in the 1990s.
JACK LEWIS Died May 24, 2009
Actor, stuntman, screenwriter, publisher Jack Lewis died of lung cancer at age 84. Mr. Lewisd married his long-time companion Stephanie Gonsalves a week before his death. Mr. Lewis wrote several scripts for film and TV including "A Yank in Vietnam." He acted and performed stunts in several movies including John Ford's "Sergeant Rutledge." Mr. Lewis was the co-founder of "Gun World" magazine. He served his country as an officer in the US Marines during the Korean War. Mr. Lewis was awarded the Bronze Star.
RICHARD LEWIS May 25, 2009
Producer Richard Lewis died of melanoma at age 89. Mr. Lewis produced the hit 1950s TV series "M. Squad" and "Wagon Train." "M Squad" made a star out of actor Lee Marvin. Mr. Lewis produced the pilot episode of the TV series "Leave it to Beaver." Mr. Lewis' final film was one of the first movies I reviewed in the Video Risk section of Einsiders "The Mind Snatchers." The movie was Christopher Walken's first starring role. Mr. Lewis' other credits include "A Lovely Way to Die," "Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre" and "Studio 57."
KOSTAS SFIKAS Died May 25, 2009
Greek actor, writer, director Kostas Sfikas died at age 82. Mr. Sfikas acted in 20 films. He wrote and directed another 15. His credits include "See No Evil," "A Drop in the Ocean," "Metamorphosis," "Allegory," "Young Aphrodites" and "The House of Pleasures."
AUBREY WELLS Died May 26, 2009
Retired contractor and actor Aubrey Wells was killed in a car crash at age 78. Mr. Wells had supporting roles in the films "Coal Miner's Daughter" and "Kentucky Woman." Mr. Wells served his country in the US Navy.
MICKEY ROSS Died May 26, 2009
Emmy-winning writer, producer, director Mickey Ross died of complications following a stroke and heart attack at age 89. Mr. Ross was nominated for three Emmy awards: two for producing "All in the Family" and "Three's Company" and one for writing "All in the Family." Mr. Ross won his Emmy for writing. Mr. Ross also worked on the TV shows "The Jeffersons," "Chico and the Man," "The Ropers" and "Three's a Crowd." Mr. Ross served his country as a bomber pilot in the US Army-Air Corps during WWII.
PAUL SHARRATT Died May 27, 2009
Award-winning producer and performer Paul Sharratt died of a heart attack at age 75. Mr. Sharratt won a Daytime Emmy award as well as 12 Logie awards in Australia. The Logie award is Australia's version of the Emmy. His many credits include "Real Vice Cops," "Princess Diana: The Legend and Legacy of a Princess," "Real Pirates of the Caribbean," "Unlocking DaVinci's Code" and "The Secret KGB UFO Files."
MORT ABRAHAMS Died May 28, 2009
Producer Mort Abrahams died at age 93. Mr. Abrahams was an associate producer of the 1968 classic "Planet of the Apes." He also wrote the story for and produced the first sequel "Beneath the Planet of the Apes." Mr. Abrahams produced 25 films and TV shows during his career. He produced four of the movies in the American Film Theater project from the early 1970s. Those films include "The Man in the Glass Booth" and "Rhinoceros." Mr. Abrahams other film and TV credits include "The Holcroft Covenant," "The House on Garibaldi Street," "The Greek Tycoon," the Peter O'Toole version of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," "The Chairman," "Doctor Dolittle," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "Route 66" and "General Electric Theater."