Saturday, July 4, 2015

RIP Diana Douglas

Bermuda-born actress Diana Douglas Webster, mother of Michael Douglas, and former wife of Kirk Douglas, died today.

The Royal Gazette
July 4, 2015

Ms. Douglas Webster passed away at the Motion Picture and Television Home in Woodland Hills, California. She was 92.

Her death from cancer was confirmed by her husband of 15 years, Donald A Webster of Washington, DC. She was previously married to actor Bill Darrid from 1956 until his death in 1992, and Kirk Douglas from 1943 to 1951.

Known by her professional name, Diana Douglas, she had a prolific 61-year film, television and stage career, appearing in 22 films, including Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Star Chamber, and It Runs in the Family, and in nearly 60 television shows such as Love is a Many Splendored Thing, ER, and The West Wing.

Ms. Douglas Webster loved the theatre and had starring or supporting roles in many plays, including My Fair Lady, Best of Friends, Cactus Flower, Major Barbara, Modern Primitive, A Winter’s Tale, Hedda Gabler, Light Up the Sky and The Highest Tree. One of her favorite roles was playing Queen Gertrude opposite David Birney’s Hamlet.

Born Diana Love Dill on January 22, 1923, in Devonshire, Bermuda, her family roots reached back to the 1640s. Her father, Thomas M Dill, was the Attorney General of Bermuda and although his daughter longed to become an actress, he believed that acting, especially for women, was a shady, even disreputable, line of work. He finally relented, figuring she might as well study acting in America and get it out of her system.

During her studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, Ms Douglas Webster became a Powers agency model and, at 20 years old, graced the cover of Life magazine on May 3, 1943. She was dressed in “frilly Gibson Girl spring fashions,” according to magazine.

One of her acting school classmates, Kirk Douglas, by then serving in the Navy during World War II, saw her on the cover and told his shipmates he would marry her. His prediction proved true: after a whirlwind wartime courtship, they were married on November 2, 1943. The young family soon grew to include actor Michael Douglas (1944) and his producer brother Joel Douglas (1947), thus launching an American acting dynasty that in time came to include Michael’s wife, Welsh-born Catherine Zeta Jones.

Prior to her marriage to Mr Douglas, while studying at the academy, she leapt at an offer of a contract with Warner Brothers in California despite the opposition of then classmate Kirk, who argued she become “a real actress” and try Broadway, as he was intending to do.

Her parents grudgingly consented to the move out west, provided her sister Ruth chaperoned her through the hazards of Hollywood. She was put through the usual paces by the Studio, which glamorised her, gave her lessons that included fencing, and paid her $200 a week. She was happy enjoying the social scene, including a long period of dating Errol Flynn, whom her chaperon sister thought “charming,” as did Ms Douglas Webster. The problem was that she was not given work and so after two years she returned to New York and took up modeling with her eyes now focused on the theatre.

It was the new medium of television, however, which enabled her to break through in the business. She played featured and starring roles in numerous dramas on shows such as Studio One and Westinghouse Theatre. She starred as Henry Fonda’s wife in The Decision at Arrowsmith and some years later was John Houseman’s love interest in the acclaimed The Paper Chase.

Diana Douglas’ very first film was Keeper of the Flame in 1942 with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. She played the uncredited role of “Forward American Girl.” Her last film, in 2003, was the aptly named It Runs in the Family, in which she co-starred with son Michael, grandson Cameron, and former husband, Kirk. Her son Joel was an associate producer.

In her 1998 memoir, In the Wings, Ms Douglas Webster revealed her personal philosophy: “Be courageous, be compassionate, and, for God’s sake, have fun!” She lived her message to the fullest. Her life, and beautiful smile, inspired others to do the same.

In addition to her husband, Diana Douglas Webster is survived by her sons Michael and Joel, grandchildren Cameron, Dylan and Carys; her daughter-in-law, Catherine Zeta Jones; Kirk and Anne Douglas; and many nieces and nephews in the United Kingdom, Bermuda and the United States.

A memorial service will be held in Los Angeles at a date to be announced.

DOUGLAS, Diana (Diana Love Dill)
Born: 1/22/1923, Devonshire, Bermuda
Died: 7/4/2015, Woodland Hills, California, U.S.A.

Diana Douglas’ westerns – actress:
The Indian Fighter – 1955 (Susan Rogers)
Kung Fu (TV) – 1973 (Sister Richardson)
The Cowboys (TV) – 1974 (Annie Andersen)
Another Man, Another Chance - 1977 (Mary’s mother)
Harts of the West (TV) – 1993 (Betty)

Friday, July 3, 2015

RIP Jacques Sernas

RIP Jacques Sernas
July 3, 2015

The Lithuanian actor was almost 90 years. He also starred in Fellini’s "La dolce vita". In the eighties I had director on TV ‘Una lingua per tutti’

ROME – He died suddenly tonight in Rome, a few days before his ninetieth birthday, the actor Jacques Sernas, an icon of the 1950’s international films.

Born in Lithuania he took refuge with his family almost immediately in France for political reasons, his father was a signatory in 1918 of the Act of Independence of Lithuania. Sernas had lived, while very young, the terrible experience of a prisoner for two years in the Buchenwald camp in Germany. He began his acting career after the war. He had shot more than 40 feature films and some television dramas with the greatest directors of the 1950s and 1960s and was also called to Hollywood where he worked a lot. The actor was polite and cultured and had been defined by the press as "the most beautiful man in the world".

Among his most important films: “Helen of Troy”, Pia de 'Tolomei, Vite perdute, Salammbo, American Secret Service: cronache di ieri e di oggi, Fort Yuma Gold, Gli angeli del quartiere, Terra straniera, Romolo e Remo, Maciste contro il vampiro, Il figlio di Spartacus, Cuori sul mare, La pelle, L'avaro, Un amore a Roma e La prima notte. He also starred in a small role in La dolce vita by Fellini.

Sernas had also worked in television in the 1980's on the  RAI educational program Una lingua per tutti. He also took part in various television dramas, including Il maresciallo Rocca and Papa Giovanni.

SERNAS, Jacques (Jurgis Bernard Šernas)
Born: 7/30/1925, Kaunas, Lithuania
Died: 7/3/2015, Rome, Lazio, Italy

Jacques Sernas’ western – actor:
Fort Yuma Gold - 1966 (Major Saunders)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

RIP Paolo Piffarerio

Paolo Piffarerio has died, artist for Alan Ford

Fumetto Logica
Editorial Staff
June 30, 2015

As reported by Father Stefano Gorla, director of the Newspaper and Super G, on the night of June 29th Paolo Piffarerio has died, the designer best known for having replaced Magnus as the regular artist for Alan Ford.

Born in 1924, Piffarerio collaborated with Max Bunker on other characters as Atomik, Black Mask and El Gringo.  His drawings have appeared also on the history of Italian comic Enzo Biagi and the Newspaper of Edizioni San Paolo. In parallel, especially with the brothers Roberto and Nino - which consisted study Gamma Film - has worked in animation, producing commercials for Carousel.

The funeral will be held Wednesday, July 1, at 14.45 in Piazza San Materno in Milan, at the parish of Santa Maria White in Casoretto.

Born: 8/27/1924, Milan, Lombardy, Italy
Died: 6/29/2015, Milan, Lombardy, Italy

Paolo’s westerns – artist:
El Gringo – 1965-1968

RIP Sergio Sollima

Coming Soon
July 1, 2015

Italian director and screenwriter Sergio Sollima has died in Rome at age of 94, Sollima is known and loved by all fans of Western movies and those who remember the great success of his Sandokan TV series with Kabir Bedi in the 1970s.

Born in Rome on April 17, 1921, Sollima started his career as a film critic and screenwriter.  His directorial debut came in 1962 with ‘Le donne’, one of the episodes of the collective film “L'amore difficile”.  After writing for the Peplum genre, he directed three films of espionage in the wake of the great success of those years, (“Agente 3S3: Passaporto per l'inferno”, “Agente 3S3”, “Massacro al sole” and “Requiem per un agente segreto”) and a trilogy excellent westerns with Tomas Milian (“The Big Gundown”, “Face To Face” and “Run Man Run”).

After the thriller “Città violenta” with Charles Bronson and Jill Ireland (1970), Sollima’s signature film “Il diavolo nel cervello” (1972) with Stefania Sandrelli and Keir Dullea.  After the dramatic ransom movie “Revolver” (1973), with Fabio Testi and Oliver Reed , the director turned to TV, where he met his greatest successes.

The aforementioned ‘Sandokan’ (1976), was a global success which also appeared in the cinema in two films, but also the two seasons of ‘I ragazzi di celluloide’.

He concluded his film career in 1993 with “Berlin '39” and television five years later with ‘The Son of Sandokan’.

His son is the talented director Stefano Sollima [1966-    ], author of two series ‘Romanzo criminale’ and ‘Gomorrad’.

Born: 4/17/1921, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Died: 7/1/2015, Rome, Lazio, Italy

Sergio Sollima’s westerns – director, screenwriter:
The Big Gundown – 1966 [director, screenwriter]
Face to Face – 1967 [director, screenwriter]
Run, Man, Run – 1967 [director, screenwriter]
Denn sie kennen kein Erbarmen - Der Italowestern (TV) - 2005 [himself]
Spaghetti Western Memories – 2012 [himself]

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

RIP Jack Carter

Comedian Jack Carter Dies at 93

June 29, 2015

Comedian Jack Carter died Sunday, June 28, of respiratory failure at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 93. He was also an actor, emcee, singer, mimic, dancer, and director in a career that spanned over seven decades.

 He began his professional career appearing on Broadway in “Call Me Mister.” He later appeared on Milton Berle’s “Texaco Star Theatre” shows, and it was during this time that Carter got his first real break.

 For two years, he hosted the early television variety program “Cavalcade of Stars” prior to having his own show on NBC, “The Jack Carter Show,” which lasted three years, and was a part of the “Saturday Night Review.” He also co-starred in several of the Colgate Comedy Hours with Ed Wynn, Jimmy Durante, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Donald O’Connor.

 In addition to “Call Me Mister,” his Broadway credits include “Mr. Wonderful” and “Top Banana.” He hosted the first televised Tony Awards in 1956. Other theater credits include “Guys and Dolls,” “The Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” “Born Yesterday,” “Critics Choice,” “The Odd Couple,” “A Hatful of Rain,” “Little Me,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” and as Fagin in “Oliver” and “Sugar” with Robert Morse.

 He often appeared in dramatic roles on television including “The Last Hurrah” with Carol O’Connor; “The Sex Symbol” with Connie Stevens and Shelley Winters; and he received two Emmy nominations for the NBC series “Dr. Kildare,” starring Richard Chamberlain, and an Emmy nomination for the ABC movie of the week “The Girl Who Couldn’t Lose.” His many other television credits include “The Rockford Files,” “Diagnosis Murder,” “Touched by an Angel,” “Emergency,” “Police Story,” “Fame,” “Fantasy Island,” Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” as well as “3rd Rock From the Sun,” “Baywatch,” “7th Heaven,” “Just Shoot Me!,” “King of the Hill,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Caroline in the City,” “Coach,” “Living Single,” “Monk,” “Desperate Housewives,” “iCarly,” “Parks & Recreation,” “Family Guy,” “New Girl,” “Rules of Engagement,” and, most recently in 2014, several appearances on “Shameless.”

His work as a director included Lucille Ball’s CBS series “Here’s Lucy” and plays including “A Thousand Clowns,” “Silver Anniversary” and “Mouth-Trap.”

Throughout his career, Carter was a prominent presence on TV variety shows and musicals. He has made more than 50 appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and guest starred on “The Dean Martin Show,” “The Andy Williams Show,” “The Jackie Gleason Show,” “Laugh-In” and numerous Bob Hope comedy specials. He was a frequent panelist on “Match Game” through the 1970s and ’80s as well as a guest star on “The $10,000 Pyramid.”

He was a top nightclub entertainer, playing clubs and theaters in Las Vegas as well as New York, London, Atlantic City and Chicago.

 His movie credits include “Play It to the Bone,” “The Horizontal Lieutenant,” “Viva Las Vegas,” “The Amazing Dobermans,” “Alligator,” “Comics,” “Hustle” with Burt Reynolds and Mel Brooks’ “History of the World, Part I.”

Jack Chakrin was born in Brooklyn, New York. While in his teens, he honed his comedic craft as a mimic appearing on the “Major Bowes’ Amateur Hour” radio show. He attended the Academy of Dramatic Art aspiring to be a dramatic actor. He began his professional career after serving in the Army in World War II.

 Survivors include his wife Roxanne, whom he married in 1971; sons Michael Carter and Chase Carter; daughter Wendy Carter; and grandchildren Jake and

CARTER, Jack (Jack Chakrin)
Born: 6/24/1923, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 6/28/2015, Beverly Hills, California, U.S.A.

Jack Carter’s westerns – actor:
The Road West (TV) – 1967 (Tallyl)
The Wild Wild West (TV) – 1969 (Allan Thorpe)