Friday, August 1, 2014

RIP Rick Mittleman

Rick Mittleman, Emmy-Nominated Writer, Dies at 84
The Hollywood Reporter
By Mike Barnes
The veteran scribe worked on such series as "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "The Odd Couple" and "Gomer Pyle: USMC" during his five-decade career.
Rick Mittleman, a three-time Emmy Award nominee who wrote for such classic comedies as The Dick Van Dyke Show, Gomer Pyle: USMC, The Flintstones, M*A*S*H and The Odd Couple, has died. He was 84.
Mittleman, whose entertainment career spanned five decades, died July 30 in his Hancock Park home in Los Angeles, a family spokesman said.
Mittleman wrote for such comedies as The Mary Tyler Moore Show (the 1972 episode in which Murray, played by Gavin MacLeod, is moonlighting to make extra money for an anniversary gift, but Mary thinks he’s cheating on his wife), , Get Smart, Bewitched, McHale’s Navy, The Donna Reed Show, Petticoat Junction, The Doris Day Show, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, That Girl, Welcome Back, Kotter and Sanford and Son, to name just a few.
He wrote 30 episodes of the CBS hit Gomer Pyle, which starred Jim Nabors.
Mittleman also penned installments of such hourlong series as I Spy, Emergency!, CHiPs, Remington Steele, Matlock, MacGyver, Simon & Simon and Murder, She Wrote.
His Emmy noms came in 1963 for writing on The Red Skelton Show; in 1971 for Arnie, a CBS comedy starring Herschel Bernardi and Sue Ann Langdon; and in 1976 for the NBC sketch comedy special Van Dyke and Company.
Earlier, Mittleman was a producer on the 1950s popular live show You Asked for It in which viewers would write in requesting things they wanted to see on TV, like a knife-thrower or a reunion of the Our Gang kids of the movies.
Mittleman served on the WGA’s board of directors for many years and in 1997 received the guild’s prestigious Morgan Cox Award.
Survivors include his wife Arlene, children Todd, Rachel and Dana and grandchildren Leah, Will, Isaac and Mia.
MITTLEMAN, Rick (Richard B. Mittleman)
Born: 1930
Died: 7/30/2014, Hancock Park, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Rick Mittleman’s western – screenwriter:
Dusty’s Trail (TV) - 1973

RIP Szobor Csech

Szobor Cseh has died. Stunt was because of bone cancer.
By Ioana Tomescu
August 1st, 2014
Stuntman and actor Szobor Cseh died this morning at age 71 after losing his battle with cancer. In 2012, the famous stuntman learned that he had contracted multiple myeloma, which is a form of bone marrow malignancy. In June of last year, he was admitted to a hospital Stunt Fundeni because of complications of the disease he was suffering. Cseh Szobor collaborated on more than 150 films and TV Feature, including 25 foreign productions and co-productions (Germany, France, USA, etc.), coordinating the action sequences and directing battles and fight scenes, falls, and acting in several memorable film roles.
In a press conference, doctors stated that Fundeni Hospital stunt family (wife and two boys) was constantly at his side. Doctors said that the death occurred at three in the morning, the disease is advanced and affecting his kidneys. They said that in May last year, the state of health of the stunt was good, but the later the disease progressed and bone and renal complications occurred. These complications led to death of szobor Cseh.
The death was confirmed by his wife stunt. "Yes, it's true. Szobor died this morning. He was in the hospital. So far the boys are away. Ago I went from hospital. Follows to take him to the hospital and get him chapel. Szobor has a degree from the presidency and has a grave in Alley artists in Belu Cemetery. ago just wanted to talk to the priest. Lately disease became rampant. strived very hard, "said Simona Cseh, the cancan. ro .
Szobor Cseh was born on December 11, 1942, in Miercurea Ciuc in a family of Székely. It is known as the author of numerous inventions that led to the development of techniques and methodologies of the stunt, not only in Romania, but also internationally.
After graduating from high school secondary and high school Andrei Saguna Brasov union, attended the Institute of Physical Education and Sport in Bucharest, which was completed in 1966.
During college, he worked as Cseh flying trapeze at the Bucharest State Circus troupe Ganea. In junior year worked as a stuntman in "Dacia", directed by Sergiu Nicolaescu, then the next year in the movie "Shooter on the staff" (directed by Caesar Grigoriu), "Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn" (French production ) and “Gallant Celebrations "(directed by René Clair).
In the years 1967-1980, he worked on all the films that contained Romanian-fighting action sequences and executed multiple challenging and spectacular waterfalls, some of which are unique worldwide. He was known as the first Methodist (master of wrestling) embarked on a post in Romania Thus, in the Cinema Studio "Bucharest" and then in Central RomaniaFilm - Film Production Center
Since 1967, he made the first team of stunt professionals in Romania. By 1987 he coordinated and trained team, contributing substantially to the creation of an area virtually nonexistent in Romania before and the "Golden Era" of Romanian film action in the global context.
In 1975 the school became a stunt coordinator in Germany, where he worked with Peter Fogel, action and stunt director on 11 films produced by DEFA studios Tele Berlin and Munich (until 1986).
Szobor Cseh collaborated on more than 150 films and TV Feature, including 25 foreign productions and co-productions (Germany, France, USA, etc.), making the design and action sequences directed battles, design and / or performance falls , stunt coordination, interpretation of memorable film roles.
CSECH, Szobor (Szabolcz Csech)
Born: 12/11/1942, Miercurea,-Civic, Romania
Died: 8/1/2014, Bucharest, Romania
Szabolcz Csech’s westerns – actor, stunt coordinator:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (TV) – 1968 [stunt coordinator]
The Leatherstocking Tales (TV) – 1969 (Arrowhead) [Episode #1 ‘The Deerslayer”, episode #2
      “The Last of the Mohicans” guest appearance]
The Prophet, the Gold and the Transylvanians – 1978 [stunt coordinator]
The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians – 1979 (Sergeant McDusky)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

RIP Dick Smith

Dick Smith, who transformed the art of creating special makeup effects, has died aged 92.
96.4 Eagle News
The pioneer worked on dozens of films including The Godfather, The Exorcist, Taxi Driver and Amadeus.
His protege Rick Baker revealed the death on Twitter and said: "The master is gone. My friend and mentor Dick Smith is no longer with us. The world will not be the same."
Smith started his career in television and became head of makeup at NBC in 1945 where he remained until 1959.
Working with Marlon Brando on The Godfather, Smith spent an hour and half before each scene adding jowls, age spots and grey hair to create the character Vito Corleone.
Brando won a best actor Oscar for the role but refused to accept it.
In 1973's horror The Exorcist Smith created the demonic makeup for possessed child Regan, played by Linda Blair, and fitted the vomit device for one of the film's most famous scenes.
His use of latex and other techniques meant he was able to artfully age F Murray Abraham from his forties to his eighties in Amadeus in 1984.
Smith discovered his talent while studying at Yale University. He happened to pick up a textbook detailing makeup tricks used in Hollywood.
He began doing makeup for the university's theatre group and reportedly roamed the campus at night in comic monster makeup.
In 2009 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honoured Smith with a special tribute to mark his huge contribution to the makeup profession and entertainment industry.
Smith is the only makeup artist in history to receive a Governors Award, the very highest and most prestigious type of Oscar.
Speaking at the ceremony in 2011 he said: "I have loved being a makeup artist so much, but this kind of puts a crown on all of that ... I am so grateful."
Smith mentored and trained dozens of makeup artists who are now huge successes in the industry themselves.
SMITH, Dick (Richard Emerson Smith)
Born: 6/26/1922, Larchmont, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 7/30/2014, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Dick Smith’s westerns – makeup artist:
The Cowboy and the Blonde – 1941
From Hell to Texas – 1958
Little Big Man - 1970

RIP Wilton Schiller

Wilton Schiller, Who Produced the Record-Breaking Episode of 'The Fugitive,' Dies at 95.
The Hollywood Reporter
By Mike Barnes
He presided over the series finale, which attracted a then-record 78 million viewers, and wrote for such shows as "The Adventures of Superman," "Leave It to Beaver" and "Dragnet."
Wilton Schiller, who co-produced the climactic final season of the ABC drama The Fugitive, including the series finale in 1967 that attracted more than 78 million viewers and shattered television records, has died. He was 95.
Schiller, who also wrote episodes of that show as well as for other series including The Adventures of Superman, Leave It to Beaver, Lassie, Adam-12 and Dragnet, died peacefully at his home in Studio City on Sunday, said his wife of 39 years, writer-producer Patricia Payne Schiller.
In “The Judgment Part II,” which aired on Aug. 29, 1967, and was the 120th episode of The Fugitive, accused killer Richard Kimble (David Janssen) finally clears his name when he catches up with the one-armed man (Bill Raisch) who had murdered his wife.
The episode was at the time the most-watched series episode in TV history, viewed in 25.7 million households as 45.9 percent of American households with a set tuned in. The viewership record was held until the Nov. 21, 1980, episode of Dallas that revealed who shot J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman).
Schiller also produced for Ben Casey, starring Vince Edwards, and Mannix, starring Mike Connors; was executive story consultant for The Six Million Dollar Man, starring Lee Majors; and with his wife wrote a two-part Captain America movie of the week in 1979 that starred Reb Brown as the Marvel hero.
Later, Schiller and Payne wrote and produced For the Term of His Natural Life, a 1983 six-hour Australian historical miniseries that starred Anthony Perkins.
Schiller pioneered co-productions between the U.S. and Canada in the early 1970s with the series Police Surgeon, which featured Martin Sheen, John Candy, William Shatner and Leslie Nielsen, and the 1976 movie-of-the-week The Man Inside, starring James Franciscus and Stefanie Powers.
Schiller wrote the screenplay for the 1964 movie The New Interns, with George Segal, Dean Jones and Telly Savalas, and was executive producer of the Payne-produced 2007 film California Dreaming, starring Lea Thompson.
Born July 24, 1919, in Chicago, Schiller graduated from the University of Chicago and began his career in his hometown, working as a writer in radio and performing stand-up comedy. During World War II, he served as a psychiatric assistant in the Army.
After the war, Schiller went to Hollywood and worked as a literary agent at MCA.
He also wrote for the shows Have Gun — Will Travel, Broken Arrow, Rawhide and M Squad and in the 1960s taught screenwriting at UCLA.
In addition to his wife, survivors include his nephew Roger; grandnephews Neal, Paul and Scott; cousins Michael and Arthur; second cousins Joyce, Laura, Russell, David, Bruce, Elliot, Dan, Alan and Laurence; grandson Dorian; and great granddaughter Julia.
There will be no funeral service. The family asks that donations be made to Doctors Without Borders or to a favorite charity.
Born: 7/24/1919, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Died: 7/27/2014, Studio City, California, U.S.A.
Wilton Schiller’s westerns – screenwriter:
Broken Arrow (TV) – 1957, 1958
Man Without a Gun (TV) – 1958
Have Gun – Will Travel (TV) - 1958
The Deputy (TV) – 1960
Johnny Ringo (TV) – 1960
Rawhide (TV) – 1960, 1961, 1962

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

RIP Robert Halmi

Prolific TV Producer Robert Halmi Sr. Dies at 90
By Daniel Doperalski
July 30, 2014
Robert Halmi Sr., the Hungarian-born producer who battled the Nazi and Soviet occupations in his youth before becoming a top magazine photographer and telepic mogul, died Wednesday of a brain aneurysm at his home in New York City. He was 90.
With his son, Robert Halmi Jr., Halmi produced more than 200 TV productions, including hit 1990s miniseries including “Gulliver’s Travels,” “The Odyssey,” “Arabian Nights” and “Dinotopia.”
The dozens of telepics and miniseries produced by the Halmis, many in the fantasy genre, won more than 100 Emmys. Halmi Sr. shared the Emmy for outstanding miniseries for NBC’s “Gulliver’s Travels” in 1996.
The Halmis were riding high during the 1990s, a period in which virtually all the networks programmed spectacular, big-budget miniseries, which drew spectacular ratings.
Halmi Sr. picked up his first Emmy nomination, for outstanding children’s program, in 1985 for ABC’s “The Night They Saved Christmas.” He was also nominated for “Hallmark Hall of Fame” entry “Pack of Lies” in 1987; for the CBS adaptation of the musical “Gypsy” in 1994; in 1997 both for NBC’s “The Odyssey” and for the CBS adaptation of Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood”; for USA’s “Moby Dick” and for NBC’s “Merlin” in 1998; for ABC’s “Arabian Nights” in 2000; for ABC’s “Dinotopia” in 2002; for Showtime remake “The Lion in Winter” in 2004; and, finally, in 2008 for “Wizard of Oz” reimagining “Tin Man” on the Sci Fi Channel.
Francis Ford Coppola was also an exec producer on some of the Halmi TV efforts, including “The Odyssey” and “Moby Dick.”
Halmi was recognized with a Peabody Award for his body of work in 1998.
In 2008 TV Week quoted David Howe, then president of the Sci Fi Channel, about the irrepressible Halmi, then 84. “He never switches off. He is on 24/7. I don’t think he sleeps,” Howe said. “He lives for reading books and figuring out what his next project is, and he’s got the rights to books and comic books that I’ve never heard of. He really is a guru on some of this stuff, and he’s very passionate about the genre and very committed to telling great stories through this genre.”
Halmi began producing outdoor documentary television in the early ’60s with credits including “American Sportsman” and the weekly “Outdoors With Liberty Mutual” and tried his hand at filmmaking as a producer on 1974’s “Visit to a Chief’s Son” — adapted from a novel he penned — and the animated “Hugo the Hippo” (1975). Halmi continued to work in film sporadically the rest of his life but made his mark in television after founding Robert Halmi Inc. in 1979 with his son.
RHI Entertainment produced the Halmis’ longform fare throughout the ’80s and ’90s. Hallmark Cards acquired the company in 1994 and renamed it Hallmark Entertainment, where Halmi brought a string of classic stories to the smallscreen in the form of miniseries such as “Gulliver’s Travels,” “Moby Dick,” “Noah’s Ark,” “Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment” and “The Ten Commandments.” Halmi was also behind two different smallscreen takes on “Alice in Wonderland.”
Not all of Halmi’s efforts were grand-scale affairs. He also exec produced adaptations of the play “Harvey” and “The Yearling” for television, for example.
Halmi and his son reacquired the company in 2006 but filed for prepackaged chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2010. Halmi left the company in 2012 to launch another production shingle, the Halmi Co.
Recent efforts have included 2010’s “Riverworld” and 2011’s “Neverland,” a reimagining of “Peter Pan,” both for Syfy, and 2012’s “Treasure Island” remake. In 2014 Syfy ordered the Greek mythology drama “Olympus,” produced by Halmi.
Born in Budapest, Halmi was twice captured and sentenced to death — once by the Nazis while fighting with the Hungarian Resistance and again by the Russians while spying for the United States’ Office of Strategic Services against the Communists.
Halmi studied economics at Budapest U., graduating in 1946. He followed his father into photography before immigrating to the U.S. in 1952 and landing a job at Life magazine, where he worked as a writer and photographer until 1962.
HALMI, Robert
Born: 1/22/1924, Budapest, Hungary
Died: 7/30/2014, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Robert Halmi’s western – executive producer:
King of Texas (TV) - 2002
The Colt (TV) - 2005
High Plains Invaders (TV) - 2009

RIP Robert Lincoln Drew

By Staff
July 30, 2014
Robert L. Drew, a documentary filmmaker and the father of American cinéma vérité, died today at his home in Sharon, Connecticut. He was 90.
In the early 1960s, Drew and his associates pioneered a kind of filmmaking that’s now a staple of the documentary form. Over a career that spanned more than five decades, Drew made more than 100 films, many on social issues, politics and the arts.
Drew’s entire collection will be preserved by the archives of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, of which he was a member. Two of Drew’s films are in the National Film Registry, administered by the Library of Congress.
His list of honors includes the Cannes Film Festival Special Jury Prize, blue ribbons from the New York Film festival, the International Documentary Association Career Achievement Award, an Emmy Award, first prizes at the Venice Film Festival, 19 Cine Golden Eagles, the Flaherty Award, and the Dupont-Columbia Best Documentary award.
Drew was a Life magazine correspondent and editor when he formed Drew Associates in 1960 to produce his kind of films. He hired filmmakers who would later become well known, among them Ricky Leacock, D.A. Pennebaker and Albert Maysles.
Drew’s films pioneered a strict journalistic code that allowed no directing of subjects. The candid footage was edited into a dramatic narrative intended to give a sense of what it was like to be there as events occurred. His technique became known as cinéma vérité or direct cinema; he liked to call it “reality filmmaking.”
To accomplish this, Drew and his associates re-engineered a motion picture camera and sound recorder so they could move freely and in sync with a subject. This allowed them the mobility to capture real life as it unfolded before the lens, as documented in the documentary “Cinema Verite: Defining the Moment” (
For their first film with their new equipment, Drew convinced John F. Kennedy, who was running for president, to be his first subject. Drew and his team recorded the senator from Massachusetts as he campaigned for the 1960 Democratic Presidential nomination in Wisconsin. The resulting film, “Primary,” was the first film made in which the sync sound camera could move freely to capture events as they were actually happening.
“Primary,” along with “Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment”— the famous 1963 film about Kennedy’s decision to back racial equality as a moral issue and force the integration of the University of Alabama – won numerous awards and have been named to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry as works of enduring importance to American culture. “Crisis” includes candid scenes from inside the Oval Office.
Drew refined his early ideas about documentaries in a 1954-55 Nieman Fellowship at Harvard, where he studied storytelling in order to craft documentaries that used narrative and what he called “picture logic” rather than following “word logic.” When he returned to Life magazine, Drew made several experimental films.
Drew formed Drew Associates and made several films under contract for Time Inc., which owned some television stations and sometimes teamed with ABC and commercial sponsors to broadcast the independent films. In addition to “Primary” and “Crisis,” these included some of the recognized seminal works of early cinéma vérité: “Yanki No!” (1960), about Latin America’s rising anger at its northern neighbor; “On the Pole” (1960 and 1961), which follows driver Eddie Sachs at two Indianapolis 500s; “Mooney vs. Fowle” (1961), an inside-the-locker room story of a high school football state championship game; “The Chair” (1962), in which a crusading lawyer saves a man from the electric chair; and “Jane” (1962), about Jane Fonda’s debut as the lead in what turned out to be a Broadway flop. Each of the films won major awards at film festivals in the U.S. and Europe.
Starting in 1964, Drew Associates functioned as an independent producer. Drew won an Emmy in 1969 for “Man Who Dances,” which depicts the grinding physical stress on New York City Ballet’s then-premier dancer, Edward Villella. That film was edited by a filmmaker who would soon become Drew’s second wife and filmmaking partner, Anne Gilbert Drew. The two were inseparable personally and professionally until Anne’s death from lung cancer in April 2012.
Drew won the Dupont-Columbia best documentary award in 1986 for “For Auction: An American Hero,” the story of a rural auctioneer and the family whose farm is put up for sale when their debts become overwhelming.
Robert Lincoln Drew was born in Toledo, Ohio. His family soon moved to Ft. Thomas, Kentucky, where his father ran a seaplane base on the Ohio River and taught his son to fly.
Drew left high school shortly before graduation to enlist as a cadet in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After flight training school, Drew was posted to a combat squadron near Naples, Italy, and flew 31 missions before being shot down behind enemy lines on January 31, 1944, 16 days before his 20th birthday. Drew survived for three and a half months eluding German troops in the mountains near the town of Fondi, Italy, before finding his way through the approaching battle lines to return to his squadron.
Drew returned to the States and enrolled in a military engineering school so he could qualify to join the first squadron of jet fighter pilots, a posting he was finally granted. He was still in training when the war ended. When Life came to his base to do a story on jet fighters, Drew wrote a first-person essay for the magazine about what it was like to fly the plane. That essay eventually landed him a job as a Life correspondent.
Drew is survived by his three children, Thatcher Drew, Lisa W. Drew, and Derek Drew; three grandchildren; his brother Frank M. Drew; and his sister, Mary Way Drew Greer.
Jill Drew, his daughter-in-law, is General Manager of Drew Associates, which is active in distributing the company’s library of films.
DREW, Robert Lincoln
Born: 2/15/1924, Toledo Ohio, U.S.A.
Died: 7/30/2014, Sharon, Connecticut, U.S.A.
Robert Lincoln Drew’s western – assistant producer:
The Cowboy and the Tiger (TV) – 1963

Monday, July 28, 2014

RIP James Shigeta

The Hollywood Reporter
By Mike Barnes
James Shigeta, Top Asian-American Actor of Early '60s and 'Die Hard' Co-Star, Dies at 85
He starred in such films as "The Crimson Kimono," “Flower Drum Song,” “Cry for Happy," "Bridge to the Sun" and, later, as a terrorized executive in the Bruce Willis movie.
James Shigeta, a top Asian-American actor of the early 1960s who starred in the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Flower Drum Song, died Monday in Los Angeles, publicist Jeffrey Leavitt announced. He was 81.
The handsome Hawaiian, who later appeared as the ill-fated chief executive of the Nakatomi corporation in the Bruce Willis action film Die Hard (1988), had a great two-year run in Hollywood starting in the late 1950s.
Shigeta made his feature debut in Sam Fuller’s Los Angeles-set noir The Crimson Kimono (1959), playing a young detective, and followed that by portraying a young Chinese man in the American Old West who battles a freight line operator (Jack Lord) over a woman in James Clavell’s Walk Like a Dragon (1960).
Shigeta then starred with Glenn Ford and Donald O’Connor as American Navy men billeted in a Tokyo geisha house in director George Marshall’s Cry for Happy (1961). And in Bridge to the Sun, he portrayed a Japanese diplomat who is married to an American (Carroll Baker) at the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
In Flower Drum Song (1961), set in San Francisco and directed by Henry Koster, Shigeta plays Wang Ta, who’s dazzled by a showgirl (Nancy Kwan) before he realizes an immigrant from China (Miyoshi Umeki) is really the one for him. A natural baritone, Shigeta did all his singing in the film.
The Golden Globes in 1960 named him (along with Barry Coe, Troy Donahue and George Hamilton) as “most promising male newcomer.”
Shigeta later had recurring roles on the 1969-72 CBS drama Medical Center and appeared on episodes of Ben Casey, Lord’s Hawaii Five-O, Ellery Queen, Little House on the Prairie, Fantasy Island, T.J. Hooker, The Love Boat, Magnum, P.I., Simon & Simon, Jake and the Fatman and Murder, She Wrote.
His film résumé includes Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966) with Elvis Presley, Nobody’s Perfect (1968), Lost Horizon (1973), Midway (1976), Cage (1989) and the animated Mulan (1998).
Born in Honolulu of Japanese ancestry on June 17, 1929, Shigeta moved to New York and studied at New York University, then joined the U.S. Marine Corps and fought during the Korean War.
He relocated to Japan and became a star on radio and television in that country, then returned to the U.S. to sing on The Dinah Shore Show in 1959. Also that year, he starred with Shirley MacLaine in a production of Holiday in Japan in Las Vegas.
SHIGETA, James (James S. Shigeta)
Born: 6/17/1929, Honolulu, Hawaii
Died: 7/28/2014, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
James Shigeta’s westerns – actor:
Walk Like a Drago – 1960 (Cheng Lu)
Death Walks in Laredo – 1966 (Lester Kato)
Kung Fu (TV) – 1974  (Master Kwan Li, Colonel Lin Pei)
Little House on the Prairie (TV) – 1977 (Sam Wing)