Tuesday, July 16, 2019

RIP William Hurndell

British film and television actor William Hurndell died on July 4, 2019. He would have been 84 on July 31st. Hurndell’s career ran from 1963 to 1970 as he appeared in 14 films and television roles. Among them was his appearance as Ike Clanton in the ‘Doctor Who’ mini-series “The Gunfighters” (1966). 

Born: 7/31/1933, U.K.
Died: 7/4/2019, London, England, U.K.

William Hurndell’s western – actor:
Doctor Who: The Gunfighters – 1966 (Ike Clanton)

Monday, July 15, 2019

RIP Crawford Hawkins

Crawford Hawkins, Canadian Producer and Editor, Dies at 85

The Hollywood Reporter
By Etan Vlessing

The Brooklyn-born Hawkins worked in Hollywood before heading north in 1979 and eventually serving as head of the Directors Guild of Canada in Vancouver.

Crawford Hawkins, a director, producer and editor in Los Angeles before heading to Canada in 1979 and eventually becoming head of the Directors Guild of Canada on the West Coast, has died. He was 85.

Hawkins died June 25 due to unspecified causes, the DGC confirmed. "What Crawford gave our community is stunning in its breadth as in its depth and matched by the memories of the countless individuals and lives he touched along the way. He will be remembered and he will be missed," Tim Southam, national president of the Directors Guild of Canada, said in a statement.

Born in Brooklyn on Sept. 21, 1933, Hawkins enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at age 18 years and fought during the Korean War. He entered the entertainment industry in 1957 after getting a job in the mailroom at CBS for $22.50 a week.

That led to a gig as an assistant film editor in a film production company, which paid him $65 a week. From there, Hawkins went on to become a veteran film editor, director, postproduction supervisor and TV production executive.

He worked early on with Hollywood players like 20th Century Fox, The Jim Henson Company, Mandalay Television and Hallmark Entertainment. While based in Los Angeles, Hawkins in 1979 executive produced a Western, Up River, which was shot in British Columbia.

While on that shoot, Hawkins met his future wife, Lid Hawkins, a veteran costume designer. That union led Hawkins to move to Vancouver and begin a four-decade association with the British Columbia film and TV industry, which included a stint as executive director of the DGC on the West Coast from 2002-2016.

On the creative front, Hawkins produced 25 episodes of The X-Files, which was shot in Vancouver, and Eli Craig's 2010 horror pic Tucker and Dale vs. Evil and the 2005 action-thriller Caught in the Headlights. In 1997, Hawkins won an Emmy for his work on The X-Files.

He also served as the production manager or postproduction supervisor on another 30 projects, including Christopher Nolan's 2002 thriller Insomnia, which starred Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank and was shot in northern British Columbia doubling as Alaska.

Hawkins also directed one episode of the Neon Rider TV series in 1994. Away from the production front, he played a key leadership role in the British Columbia film and TV industry.

Hawkins chaired the British Columbia Motion Picture Association from 1996-1997 and served as a board member of the Motion Picture Production Industry Association. Today, Vancouver is bursting with Hollywood production, in part because of the earlier efforts of Hawkins and other industry builders to lure Los Angeles producers north to shoot their projects.

In 2009, Hawkins told Playback magazine that British Columbia had the advantage of familiarity for Hollywood producers, even if he couldn't control fluctuations in the Canadian dollar, compared to the value of the American greenback, and competition from rival American states.

"I have been around a long time and have a lot of experience, familiarity and friendships with the people we deal with on an ongoing basis. In this business, people buy from their friends. Everything is too time-sensitive to take chances on new suppliers," Hawkins, then-head of the DGC B.C. District Council, said.

He also lent his name and time to the Vancouver International Film Festival, the then-Banff Television Festival, the British Columbia Film Society, the B.C. Film Center, the B.C. Film Commission and the Film and New Media Competition Council B.C.

"Crawford Hawkins’ contribution to the Directors Guild is immeasurable. He leaves a massive hole in B.C.’s film and television family, and we expect to honor his memory by living up to the example he set for multiple generations of our industry," DGC B.C. chair Allan Harmon said in his own statement.

HAWKIN, Crawford
Born: 9/21/1923, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 6/25/2019,  Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Crawford Hwkins’ western – executive producer:
Up River - 1979

Friday, July 12, 2019

RIP Valentina Cortese

Valentina Cortese, screen diva who earned Oscar nomination for ‘Day for Night,’ dead at 96

Associated Press
July 11, 2019

Valentina Cortese, an Italian postwar actress who was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for her role as a fading diva in Francois Truffaut’s “Day for Night” but lost to Ingrid Bergman, died at her home in Rome on Wednesday. She was 96.

Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala announced the death Wednesday of the Milan-born actress in a tweet, thanking Cortese for having “given us marvelous and unforgettable” performances on the screen and stage.

Cortese was a popular muse for leading Italian directors including Michelangelo Antonioni and Franco Zeffirelli.

She garnered an Oscar nomination in 1975 for her performance in “Day for Night,” a movie about making movies.

While Cortese didn’t win the Academy Award for best supporting actress, she was showered with praise by the actress who did clinch it that year, Bergman, for her performance in “Murder on the Orient Express.”

In an elegant acceptance speech devoted to Cortese, Bergman said the Italian actress had given “the most beautiful performance” in “Day for Night” as an aging actress who forgets her lines like “all we actresses” do sooner or later.

“I’m her rival, and I don’t like it at all,” Berman said and gestured toward a smiling Cortese in the audience. “Please forgive me, Valentina.”

In an odd twist, the Truffaut film had won in the best foreign-language film category a year earlier. But Cortese was only nominated the following year in the supporting actress category.

Cortese won acclaim too as a stage actress. Her performances at Milan's Piccolo Theater included roles in works by Brecht, Goldoni and Pirandello, directed by Giorgio Strehler, one of the theater's co-founders and a longtime companion.

The theater in a statement mourned the loss of a “splendid, elegant, iconic” actress.

Cortese's film career included roles in Federico Fellini’s “Juliet of the Spirits” and Zeffirelli’s “Brother Sun, Sister Moon.”

Her film career began in the 1940s. She stood out in a field filled with other beautiful and talented Italian women on the screen, including Alida Valli, Anna Magnani and Sophia Loren.

But by the early 1950s, Cortese had returned to Italy from Hollywood. She appeared in “The Barefoot Contessa,” the 1954 Joseph L. Mankiewicz film, which starred Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart and was filmed in Italy.

In a 2012 interview with Rome daily La Repubblica, Cortese said, “I could have remained in Hollywood for who knows how long, but I never made compromises. Never was in a producer’s bed,” although she claimed, without naming names, that “because of a ‘no’ to one, I was destroyed.”

In the same interview, she called theater “my true passion.”

Cortese married actor Richard Basehart, with whom she starred in the thriller “The House of Telegraph Hill.” Both Basehart, and their son, Jackie Basehart, an Italian-American actor, predeceased her.

CORTESE, Valentina (Valentina Rossi-Coenzo)
Born: 1/1/1923, Milan, Lombardy, Italy
Died: 7/10/2019, Milan, Lombardy, Italy

Valentina Cortese’s western – actress:
The Girl of the Golden West – 1942 (Madge Curtiss)

RIP Stephanie Niznik

Stephanie Niznik, Actress in ‘Everwood’ and ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 52

July 12, 2019

Stephanie Niznik, an actress who appeared on “Everwood” and in “Star Trek: Insurrection,” died unexpectedly in Encino, Calif. on June 23. She was 52.

A native of Bangor, Maine, she originally intended to become a geneticist before graduating from Duke U. with majors in theater and Russian. She pursued a masters at Cal Arts, then began acting with roles in series including “”Vanishing Son” and “Murder She Wrote.”

She had additional parts on shows including “Nash Bridges” and “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” before landing a recurring role on “Diagnosis Murder.” On medical series “Everwood,” she played the neighbor Nina Feeney. She also had a recurring role on “Life is Wild” and guested on “Lost,” “NCIS” and “CSI: Miami.”

After playing Trill Starfleet Ensign Kell Perim in the feature “Star Trek: Insurrection,” Niznik returned to the “Star Trek” world to play the Wraith in the “Rogue Planet” episode of the series “Star Trek: Enterprise.”

Niznik was active in volunteering for hunger, children and animal rescue organizations, and also worked with Four Winds Heart-Centered Healing.

She is survived by her mother and stepfather; brother and sister-law; her niece and nephews; aunt and uncle; and her beloved dogs Nucleus and Jake.

NIZNIK, Stephanie
Born: 5/20/1967 Banger Maine, U.S.A.
Died: 6/23/2019, Encino, California, U.S.A.

Stephanie Niznik’s western – actress:

Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (TV) – 1997 (Rose)