Wednesday, February 10, 2016

RIP Virginia Herrick

Southern Utah Mortuary

Virginia Leah Herrick Garrison (known by many as Alannah), age 99, passed away on January 29, 2016, at the home of her caregiver and long time friend, Jackie Williams Robertson, in Provo, Utah. She was born at her family home in the small community of Elwah, Port Angeles, Clallam County, Washington, on June 13, 1916. Virginia was welcomed by her parents, Henry Bert Herrick and Elizabeth B. Casner, and two brothers, John Wilbert and Grant.

She was raised on the family ranch where she developed many skills and talents. Her mother was a professional seamstress and taught Virginia the art of sewing at the age of five. She learned to sew on an old treadle machine and was making her own clothes by the age of nine. She designed and created all of her own costumes and personal clothing. During the depression, she and her mother left the ranch to support themselves and found their sewing skills were in great demand.

Music was her first love and she started piano lesson at the age of six. Since her teacher was a fine musician and had a beautiful contralto voice, Virginia learned to sing as well, and performed her first vocal solo when she was eleven.

Later in life, she became involved with musical theatre, which took her to New York. While in New York, she became a hat model for the Harry Conover Agency. When they learned she designed her own clothing, she was asked to create a petite line for Macey's Department Store. She was not able to complete that request, when her mother was taken ill, and she returned to Hollywood, California, to care for her.

A few days after her return to California, a man approached Virginia, claiming to be an agent who represented movie actors. At first, she was suspicious. However, his claim turned out to be legitimate and she was employed steadily as "one of the girls" in B-Westerns for the next three years, from 1950-1952. Some of her movies were, FRONTIER PHANTOM (Lash LaRue), MONTANA DESPERADO (Johnny Mack Brown), SILVER RAIDERS (Whip Wilson), I KILLED GERONIMO (James Elision), VIGILANTE HIDEOUT (Rocky Lane). Additionally, she played in the CISCO KID T.V. SHOW, GENE AUTRY SHOW, and COWBOY G-MEN. She made fourteen movies and a serial, ROAR OF THE IRON HORSE. The latter was her favorite work, since she was able to use her riding and horsemanship skills, which the producers appreciated. Virginia further impressed them with her ability to shoot a rifle.

While in an interview for another role, she met Omar V. Garrison, a handsome gentleman who had been a war correspondent during World War II and was currently a syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times-Mirror Company. Omar fell for her like the proverbial "ton of bricks" and they dated regularly. Virginia told Omar her dream was to sing opera. He then told her he was being transferred to Cinecitta in Rome, Italy, and asked if she would like to study voice, while he did his column. They were married on September 10, 1952, in Los Angeles, California. Virginia, an operatic soprano, subsequently sang leading roles, while in Italy.

Virginia and Omar traveled abroad extensively, but finally purchased their first home in Cedar City, Utah, in 1977. They had no children of their own, but soon fell in love with the Williams children who lived a few doors away. They treated these children, Carolyn, Chase and Jeff, as if they were their own grandchildren and enjoyed spoiling them. While residing in Cedar City, Virginia was active with the local drama club and was also a member of the Southern Utah Chorale, performing many solos during her participation with the group. Omar and "Alannah" moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1996 where Omar died, a short time later, in 1997.

Virginia soon became acquainted with a gentleman from her church, James "Dick" Madigan, who remained her friend and companion until his death. Both James and Alannah relocated to Utah in January 2009, where he moved to an assisted living center, and she lived with her unofficially adopted daughter and friend. Alannah continued to visit Dick everyday until his death in 2014.

Virginia was a cherished and loved part of the Williams/Robertson family for 38 years, and received solicitous care from Jackie and her husband, Victor Robertson, as well as other family members. She will be greatly missed by the family who will always remember her pleasant nature, her wonderful sense of humor, and her efforts to be adaptable and easily satisfied. Virginia had no surviving family of her own. Gratitude is also extended to Tender Care Hospice, who rendered kind assistance.

Funeral services are scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 13, 2016, at Southern Utah Mortuary, located at 190 North 300 West, Cedar City, Utah. Viewing will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m Saturday, February 13th at the mortuary. Interment will be in the Cedar City Cemetery, together with the ashes of her husband, Omar, under the direction of Southern Utah Mortuary.

Those interested may find further information about Virginia, on the following website:

HERRICK, Virginia (Virginia Leah Herrick)
Born: 6/13/1916, Olympia, Washington, U.S.A.
Died: 1/29/2016, Provo, Utah, U.S.A.

Virginia Herrick’s westerns – actress:
I Killed Geronimo – 1950 (Julie Scot)
Silver Raiders – 1950 (Patricia Jones)
Vigilante Hideout – 1950 (Marigae Sanders)
The Gene Autry Show (TV) – 1950 (Caroline)
Montana Desperado – 1951 (Sally Wilson)
Roar of the Iron Horse – Rail Blazer of the Apache Trail (1951) Carol Lane)
The Cisco Kid (TV) – 1951, 1952 (Nedra Challis, Helen Butler)
Frontier Phantom – 1952 (Susan)
Cowboy G-Men (TV) - 1953

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

RIP Tommy Kelly

Tommy Kelly, Star of 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,' Dies at 90

The Hollywood Reporter
By Mike Barnes

Then a 12-year-old from the Bronx, he was picked by producer David O. Selznick to play the boy in the adaptation of Mark Twain's 1876 novel.

Tommy Kelly, who starred as the mischievous Missouri boy immortalized by Mark Twain in David O. Selznick’s 1938 film The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, has died. He was 90.

Kelly, who was done in Hollywood by the time he turned 25, died Jan. 26 of congestive heart failure at home in Greensboro, N.C., his son, Matt, told The Hollywood Reporter.

The famed producer Selznick handpicked the freckle-faced Kelly, then a 12-year-old student at a Catholic school in the Bronx, to play Tom in the United Artists film. Legend has it that 25,000 youngsters from around the country had auditioned.

Kelly then starred as the title character Billy Peck in Peck’s Bad Boy With the Circus (1938) and cried on camera as a youngster with a Confederate band in Selznick’s Gone With the Wind (1939).

The son of a fireman, Kelly and his family relocated to Los Angeles in 1936 for the filming of Tom Sawyer. He later appeared in such films as Curtain Call (1940), Military Academy (1940), Irene (1940), Double Date (1941), Life Begins for Andy Hardy (1941), The Beginning or the End (1947), The West Point Story (1950) and The Magnificent Yankee (1950).

Kelly enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Europe during World War II. After his Hollywood days, he earned a Ph.D. from Michigan State and was a high school teacher and counselor in Culver City and an administrator in the Orange County school system.

He then accepted an assignment as a Peace Corps administrator in Monrovia, Liberia, and served as superintendent of international schools in Liberia and Venezuela. He returned to the States and worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington.

Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Susie; children Ann, Matt (and wife Kathy), Eileen (and husband Wally), Kevin (and wife Patricia), Mark (and wife Gail) and Paul (and wife Teresa); 12 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

KELLY, Tommy (Thomas Kelly)
Born: 4/6/1925, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 1/26/2016, Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.A.

Tommy Kelly’s westerns – actor:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – 1938 (Tom Sawyer)
The Fabulous Texan – 1947 (Lee Klirain)

RIP Norman Hudis

RIP Norman Hudis

BBC News

Screenwriter Norman Hudis, best known for writing the first six Carry On films, has died at the age of 93.

After several weeks in hospice care, he died surrounded by his family in California on Monday evening.

His widow Rita Hudis said in a statement: "He died peacefully at home with myself and Stephen and Kevin, his two sons.

"He did well to reach 93. We will miss him. Our 60th anniversary would have been on the 28th April."

London-born Hudis began his career as a journalist, but soon turned his talents towards the screen and stage.

Carry On Sergeant was his break-out film in 1958. Following its success, he went on to write five more Carry On films before moving to the US.

His second film, Carry On Nurse, was the UK's top grossing film of 1959 and was based on tales from his wife Rita, who was a nurse herself and went on to become one of the medical consultants on the US medical show M*A*S*H.

His American television writing credits include The Wild Wild West, The F.B.I., The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and Hawaii Five-O.

For the stage, he wrote the long-running play Seven Deadly Sins Four Deadly Sinners.

Morris Bright, chairman of Elstree Studios and a close family friend of 25 years, said: "Without him we wouldn't have had the Carry On films, because he wrote the first six - and look what that spawned over the years.

"We owe the man a lot. He leaves a great legacy of joy, entertainment and laughter - something we can look back on and say, 'We're very grateful for him'.

"He was a great guy, I shall miss him a great deal."

In 2008, Hudis published an autobiography titled No Laughing Matter: How I Carried On.
He is survived by his widow, two sons, and two grandchildren, Veronica and Cameron.

HUDIS, Norman
Born: 7/27/1922, Stepney, London, England, U.K.
Died: 2/8/2016, California, U.S.A.

Norman Hudis’ western – screenwriter:
The Wild Wild West (TV) – 1967

RIP Barry Stern

RIP Barry Stern
February 2, 1942 - December 12, 2015

Los Angeles Times
February 9, 2016

Barry Roger Stern passed away while visiting Tucson, Az. He was born in Chicago, Ill. on February 4, 1942, the only child of Rena Meyer and Dr. David Stern. His career spanned international finance and marketing; TV, motion pictures, music video and commercials production, writing and directing. His interests included a love of foreign cars and car racing, bowling, gardening, and playing and listening to folk music. He was a lifelong advocate for worldwide peace and justice.

After graduating from South Shore High School in Chicago, he completed studies in business, accounting, and law at Indiana University. He then completed an MBA in marketing and international finance at the University of Southern California. He began work as an auditor and controller for various motion picture studios in Hollywood, and was transferred to New York City in 1969 to work as an executive in the entertainment division of Gulf and Western. While there he applied for and was accepted into the Director's Guild's trainee program and happily returned to Laurel Canyon in LA.

In 1984 he moved to Seattle, WA to build Pacific Northwest Studios, while continuing to work on films in LA. He retired in 1994 and moved to Bainbridge Island, WA. Barry is survived by his beloved wife of 21 years, Mary Dunbar, his daughter Dana (Pete Hinz and her mother Marlene), son David (Madison Clark and his mother Claire) and his Puli, Sasha. Friends and family will host a celebration of Barry's life in the coming months.

STERN, Barry (Barry Roger Stern)
Born: 2/2/1942, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Died: 12/12/2015, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.

Barry Stern’s westerns – production manager, assistant director.
Paint Your Wagon – 1969 [production manager]
Zandy’s Bride – 1974 [assistant director]

Monday, February 8, 2016

RIP Douglas Greer

Charles Douglas Greer
May 21, 1921 - January 6, 2016
Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Sentinel
February 8, 2016

Charles Douglas Greer (Doug), passed away at the young age of 94. Perhaps you had the privilege of meeting him when he would be out on a walk in Scotts Valley or Santa Cruz. He was quick to offer a smile and a four leaf clover. He loved to meet new people and share his sense of humor, good attitude and one or two of his many amazing stories about his life.

Born in Ottawa, Canada in 1921, Doug moved to Glendale, California in 1924. He began working in the movies at age seven after winning a freckle contest. It was his many freckles that earned him the name, "Turkey Egg" given to him by Robert McGowan, director of the "Our Gang" comedies, also known as, "The Little Rascals", which Doug was a regular in. His freckles reminded the director of the speckles that cover turkey eggs. Doug spent twelve years of his childhood working in the movies alongside actors such as Mickey Rooney, John Wayne and Jackie Cooper. He was a member of the Screen Actors Guild and acquired around 60 screen credits.

Due to his busy career as a childhood actor he found himself behind in school. Thanks to his homeroom teacher at Burbank High school he was able to graduate at age twenty-one. He had learned how to work with aircraft sheet metal in high school which helped him get a job working for Lockheed Aircraft Company in Burbank, California.

In 1943, during World War II, he was one of the first members of the 10th Mountain Division Ski Troops at Camp Hale, Colorado. After finishing training, he was transferred to inactive duty to go back to Lockheed for a specific job, just before his outfit was to head overseas to the Italian Alps. He later discovered that every officer in his company had been either killed or wounded in the first three days of battle. After his job at Lockheed was finished, he was called back to service on June 8th, 1944 with the "1267 Combat Engineers" and visited England, France, Luxemburg and Germany. After the war was over he traveled to Marseille, France and traveled through the Panama Canal on his way to the Philippines. Malaria cut short his military service and he was Honorably Discharged on March 31, 1946.

Back in the Los Angeles, California he met and married his wife of forty years, Doris Greer. They had one daughter together, Diane and four grandchildren. He founded his own company, American Northern, Inc., laboratory furniture and supply company, specializing in fume hoods, biological safety cabinets and exhaust systems. It was at Northridge Hospital that his equipment helped stop a tuberculosis outbreak. In 1978, he designed and built a three-story home in Lake Tahoe and lived there with his family for several years, enjoying fishing and skiing. Doug was also an accomplished magician, and a lifetime member of the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California.

He was a very genuine, caring person who wanted only the best for his family. He is preceded in death by his wife Doris Greer; companion of 20 years, Beverly Paine; daughter Diane Welton; and his grandson Wesley McCall. He is survived by his granddaughter Christen Miller, grandson Scott McCall, granddaughter Misty Moran, and great grandchildren Sierra and Zachary Miller and Abram Moran (arriving 04/04/16). A memorial service for Doug will take place on February 20th at 2:00pm at Gateway Bible Church in Scott's Valley.

GREER, Douglas (Charles Douglas Greer)
Born: 5/21/1921, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Died: 1/6/2016, Santa Cruz, California, U.S.A.

Douglas Greer’s western – actor:
The Arizona Kid – 1930 (freckle-faced kid)