Tuesday, January 31, 2012

RIP Juan Carlos Gené

Actor and playwright Juan Carlos Gené dies at 82

Argentine actor and playwright Juan Carlos Gené, who led the Latin American Centre for Creation and Theatrical Investigation, died today in Buenos Aires at the age of 82 after having had cancer, family and friends of the artist said.

Known for promoting local theatre works, Gené directed the state-run television channel 7, until the military dictatorship (1976-83) where he had to leave the country in exile, moving to Venezuela, where he lived until 1993.

The actor, who also led the Argentine Association for Actors at the traditional San Martín theatre, directed last year a version of ‘Hamlet’ starring Mike Amigorena, Luisa Kuliok and Esmeralda Mitre, in Buenos Aires.

In 2010 Gené directed and acted in a versión of ‘Blood Wedding,’ one of Spanish playwright, Federico García Lorca’s classics.

GENE, Juan Carlos
Born: 11/6/1929, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died: 1/31/2012, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Juan Carlos Gené's western - voice actor:
Fierro - 2007 [voice of the Justice of the Peace]

RIP Robert L. Lippert, Jr.

Robert L Lippert, Jr.
February 28, 1928 - September 29, 2011

Robert L. Lippert, Jr was born in Alameda, California on February 28th 1928 and passed away peacefully at his home in Pebble Beach on 29 September 2011. He was 83 years old and lived life to the fullest. Bob had four different successful occupations; Motion Picture Film Editor, Film Producer, Hotel Restaurateur, and Cinema Exhibitor.

Bob’s love of travel and adventure started very early as his family hosted South Pacific Sailing Captains and aircraft pioneers like Donald Douglas, William Piper and Wiley Post. At the age of fifteen, Bob ran away to join the Canadian Navy during World War II. He was caught and returned to Richmond, California, where his father immediately enrolled him into San Rafael Military Academy, graduating four years later as Cadet Colonel, Battalion Commander. He attended St. Mary’s College, Moraga, California.

Bob took up flying and received his pilots license in 1946, working as a line boy at Sherman Field to pay for his flying time and ground school. To earn extra money he worked as a theatre
Manager and was good enough to be offered the job of opening the largest drive-in theater at that time, “The El Rancho” in South San Francisco.

In 1949, Bob was selected to be Margaret Truman’s escort at her father’s Inaugural Ball.

He was offered a position in production of full length movies in 1950. As an assistant film editor, he worked with Oscar winning Elmo Williams on such films as The Steel Helmet, Little Big Horn, Hellgate, and the Academy Award winning “High Noon.”.

While living in the city of La Habra, Bob was very active in the La Habra Rotary Club, Elks, and Boys Club. He ran for and was elected to a four year term as City Councilman.

Returning to Palm Springs in the middle of 1967, he purchased an old restaurant building with a large parking facility located on South Palm Canyon Drive. It took one year to remove the old structure and build the new “Bob Lippert’s Steak House. It quickly became a success. Steve McQueen, William Holden, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, and many stars from film and television would meet there.

Bob is survived by his wife of 25 years, Hong Sook,his son, Robert L.Lippert III; his daughter Stacy Lytle; and his grand-daughter, Amanda Lytle.

Services will be held on Tuesday 10/4/2011 at Mission Mortuary, 450 Camino Elestero, Monterey from11:00 to 12:00 .Reception to follow.

LIPPERT, Jr., Robert L.
Born: 2/28/1928, Alameda, California, U.S.A.
Died: 9/29/2011, Pebble Beach, California, U.S.A.

Robert L. Lippert Jr.,'s westerns - producer:
The Great Jesse James Raid - 1953
The Big Chase - 1954

RIP Oren Stevens

Steve Ornstein of Alpine dies at age 73

Sunday, January 29, 2012    Last updated: Monday January 30, 2012, 2:55 PM

The Record

Steve Ornstein, an Alpine councilman whose career spanned the military, the big screen and the company of baseball greats, died Saturday. He was 73. The cause of death was colon cancer, which Mr. Ornstein had battled for six years, his family said.

Mr. Ornstein's professional life took many turns: He was a lieutenant in the Army, then a model for Hathaway shirt ads; an actor on the television series "Bonanza" and in the movie "Downhill Racer" with Robert Redford and Gene Hackman, then a sportscaster and producer for "Sports Extra" in New York. In the 1980s and 1990s, he owned the restaurants Oren and Aretsky and Tatou, which became popular celebrity hangouts in Manhattan. He often invited professional athletes to stop by after a post-game interview. His son, Jim, remembered that his father once inviting the entire Yankees ballclub to a barbecue at his home. Nearly all the players showed up.

"They were our buddies," Jim Ornstein, 43, said of the Giants, Rangers, Knicks and Yankees players. "I used to play Wiffle ball in the street with Don Mattingly."

But, as usual, Mr. Ornstein was not satisfied. He needed a new direction. In 2009, seeing an opening on the Alpine Borough Council, the 70-year-old ran and won the seat.

"It wasn't about ego," said Jim Ornstein, who lives in Manhattan. "He just could never understand people who wanted to sit back and complain about things and not do anything about it."

Mr. Ornstein's issues ranged from national debates — he was passionately against the death penalty — to small-town quality-of-life concerns. He fought for years to abolish noisy leaf-blowers and persuade "people to pick up a rake," his son recalled.

Toward the end of his life, Mr. Ornstein entertained the thought of running for Congress, though that never materialized.

"He just wanted the best for everyone," Jim Ornstein said. "He was a great soul."

Mr. Ornstein is survived by his wife, Joan; daughters Rosie and Jeorjie; sons Jim and Gus; and five grandchildren: Maya, Gailie, Zoe, Henry and Shane.

Services will be held Tuesday at 11:45 a.m. at Riverside Memorial Chapel, 180 W. 76th St. in Manhattan. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society's Coaches versus Cancer charity.

STEVENS, Oren (Steven Orenstein)
Born: 1939, U.S.A.
Died: 1/28/2012, Alpine, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Oren Stevens’ western – actor:
Bonanza (TV) – 1969 (Billy Buckman)

RIP Leo Lastumäki

Actor Leo Lastumäki has died

The beloved Finnish actor Leo Lastumäki is dead. He died Saturday night January 29, 2012 at his home in Kemi, saiid Hill-Wood biographer, Sven Pahajoki. Lastumäki was 84 years old.

Lastumäki starred in a number of theaters in parts of Finland, including Pori, Imatra, Tampere, Mikkeli, Vaasa and Helsinki. On TV, Lastumäki appeared in series like Pirate Radio, ÄWPK - Älywapaa fire and Ällitälli. Lastumäki’s movies were mostly comedies, such as Spede Pasanen, Uuno Turhapuro movies including his only Euro-western “Speedy Gonzales – the Son of About Seven Brothers”. His last film role was in “Dog Nail Clipper” in 2004. Leo also appeared in the Finnish northern film “Villi Pohjola” a semi-western.   

LASTUMAKI, Leo (Leo Antero Lastumäki)
Born: 12/28/1927, Liminka, Finland
Died: 1/29/2012, Kemi, Finland

Leo Lastumäki's western - actor:
Speedy Gonzales – the Son of About Seven Brothers – 1970 (Rudolf)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

RIP John Rich

Veteran director John Rich, who worked on a number of TV classics including "All in the Family," "Gunsmoke" and "Gilligan's Island," has died.

He was 86.

He directed the pilot for "All in the Family" and spent four years directing and producing the classic comedy for which he won two DGA Awards and three Emmys. Rich was prolific, directing more than 40 episodes of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" as well as "Bonanza," "The Rifleman," "The Twilight Zone" and "Murphy Brown."

Rich was also a board member of the Directors Guild for more than 50 years, and was a key player in the union's 196- merger ith the Radio and Television Driectors Guild and was integral to the formation of the pension and health plans.

DGA President Taylor Hackford on Sunday morning issues a statement on Rich, which read :

“We are deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of John Rich. A legendary figure in the history of TV comedy, John tirelessly served our Guild for nearly six decades. He directed some of the most beloved classics of all time and his skills as a television director were unsurpassed, but no matter how busy and successful his career was, John always made time for the DGA.

“No one who ever sat in a meeting with John will ever forget his stories about the early days of the Guild or his lovably salty sense of humor. John began making an impact in the Guild from the very first time he attended a meeting of what was then the Screen Directors Guild. At that meeting, he had the chutzpah to point out that of the illustrious members – including Capra, Stevens, Wyler and Hitchcock – who had convened to elect a board of directors, none had ever worked in television. And the very next day – John got a call that they had appointed him – this brash young television wunderkind, as an alternate member of the new board. And once he began serving the Guild, he never stopped, with more than 50 years on the National Board and Western Directors Council, and even after his retirement continued serving as the Chairman of the Directors Guild Foundation.

“But what we’ll remember the most is his dedication to defending the economic and creative rights of our members, pushing for the merger of the Screen Directors Guild and Radio & Television Directors Guild, establishing the Pension Plan and serving on almost every Negotiations Committee since 1960. We’ll always be grateful to have had the benefit of his formidable presence, his outspoken nature and his years of experience that came from leading and supporting the Guild in some of its most important moments. Our hearts go out to his wife Pat and his family at this difficult time.”

RICH, John
Born: 7/6/1925, Rockaway, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 1/29/2012, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

John Rich’s westerns – director:
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1957, 1958, 1967, 1968, 1969
The Rough Riders (TV) – 1958, 1959
Bat Masterson (TV) – 1958, 1959, 1960
Riverboat (TV) – 1959
Hotel de Paree (TV) – 1960
The Rifleman (TV) – 1960
Outlaws (TV) – 1960
Bonanza (TV) – 1960, 1967, 1968

Saturday, January 28, 2012

RIP Dimitra Arliss

Dimitra Arliss, who played a hired killer alongside Robert Redford and Paul Newman in the caper comedy "The Sting," has died in Los Angeles. She was 79.

Jaime Larkin, a spokesperson for the Motion Picture and Television Fund Hospital, says Arliss died Jan. 26 at the Woodland Hills facility of complications from a stroke.

The Ohio native began her acting career at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. On Broadway, Arliss starred opposite Stacy Keach in "Indians" and with Kevin Kline and John Malkovich in "Arms and the Man."

After appearing as a "hit lady" in the 1973 hit "The Sting," she was seen in "Xanadu," starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly, and in Clint Eastwood's "Firefox."

Her numerous television credits include "Dallas," ''Quincy M.E.," and "Rich Man, Poor Man."

Arliss is survived by a sister.

ARLISS, Dimitra
Born: 10/23/1932, Loraine, Ohio, U.S.A.
Died: 1/26/2012, Woodland Hills, California, U.S.A.

Dimitra Arliss' western - actress:
This the West That Was (TV) - 1974 (Ida May)

Friday, January 27, 2012

RIP Ian Abercrombie

A character actor worked continuously throughout his 50-year-plus career, with credits that include “Stalag 17,” “Army of Darkness,” “Rango” and “Wizards of Waverly Place.”

Ian Abercrombie, a busy character actor who gained recognition as Elaine Benes’ (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) eccentric boss Mr. Pitt on NBC’s Seinfeld, died Thursday in Hollywood. He was 77.

Abercrombie seemed to be always working, appearing in scores of films, TV shows and theater productions during his 50-year-plus career in show business. The British actor made his American stage debut in 1955 in a production of Stalag 17 opposite Jason Robards, played the Wise Man in Sam Raimi’s comedy-horror film Army of Darkness (1972) and was 800-year-old wizard Professor Crumbs on Disney Channel hit Wizards of Waverly Place.

Abercrombie also had a recurring role as Palpatine/Darth Sidious on George Lucas’ animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, did voice work on animation hit Rango this year and, just before his death, completed his work on the latest episode of the Green Lantern animated series for Cartoon Network.

In seven episodes of Seinfeld, Abercrombie played Justin Pitt, Elaine’s picky boss who eats his candy bars with a knife and fork and wears white knee socks. He fired Elaine after he became convinced she had tried to murder him using a deadly drug interaction, with Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) as an accomplice.

Abercrombie’s film credits start with Von Ryan’s Express (1965) and include They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969), The Molly Maguires (1970), Young Frankenstein (1974), Puppet Master III (1991), The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School (2005) and Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties (2006).

On television, he was a regular on the WB Network series Birds of Prey and also worked on such shows as Get Smart, Hunter, L.A. Law, Dynasty, Northern Exposure, NewsRadio, Murphy Brown, Desperate Housewives and dozens of others.

Born Sept. 11, 1934, in Grays, Essex, England, Abercrombie performed on stages in London, Holland, Ireland and Scotland before coming to America at age 17 in 1951. His other theatrical credits include Mary Stuart (with Marsha Mason), The Crucifer of Blood (with Charlton Heston as Sherlock Holmes), The Vortex (with Rupert Everett) and The Arcata Promise with Anthony Hopkins.

Abercrombie was a founding member and former board member of BAFTA-LA as well as a board member for the Actors Fund of America.

Survivors include his brothers Douglas, Donald and Alex.

Born: 9/11/1934, Grays, Essex, English, U.K.
Died: 1/26/2012, Hollywood, California, U.S.A.

Ian Abercorombie’s westerns actor, voice actor:
The Quest (TV) – 1976 (Englishman)
Wild Wild West – 1999 (British Dignitary)
Rango – 2011 [voice of Ambrose]

RIP Joaquin Martinez

Joaquin Martinez dies at 81

Actor appeared in film and TV Westerns

By Variety Staff

Actor Joaquin Martinez, best remembered for the role of Paints His Shirt Red in Sydney Pollack's Robert Redford starrer "Jeremiah Johnson" and for the title role in Robert Aldrich's "Ulzana's Raid" (1972), starring Burt Lancaster, died on Jan. 3 at his home in Everdingen, Holland, after a brief struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was 81.

Born in Cozumel, Mexico, Martinez studied Method acting with Seki Sano and came to prominence in Carlos Velo's Mexican film "Pedro Paramo," which premiered at Cannes in 1967. Shortly thereafter he moved to Los Angeles and worked as an actor in film, on television and onstage for more than three decades.

Offered stereotypical roles, like many Latino actors, during his career in Hollywood, Martinez would work to redefine the parts, sometimes bringing him into conflict with producers and directors.

His TV work including guest roles in a large number of Western series, including "The High Chapparal," "Bonanza" and "Gunsmoke"; guest gigs on "Marcus Welby, M.D.," "Ironside," "Quincy," "L.A. Law," "Dynasty" and "Northern Exposure"; and roles in telepics and miniseries incliuding "Ishi: The Last of His Tribe," "Centennial," "How the West Was Won" and "Stones for Ibarra."

Film credits Bille August's 1993 "The House of the Spirits," and "Revenge" (1990), starring Kevin Costner and Anthony Quinn. In 2001, Lee Tamahori cast Martinez in the James Bond thriller "Die Another Day" based on his longtime admiration for Martinez's performance in "Ulzana's Raid."

Onstage Joaquin appeared with Christopher Reeve and Christine Lahti in Tennessee Williams' "Summer and Smoke" at the Ahmanson in 1988. He was also an original cast member of the musical drama "Zoot Suit."

Martinez is survived by his wife, Marja Valkestijn; son Christopher, a publicist; a daughter, Jennifer; stepson Sjoerd; and former wife Mary Preston.

Donations may be made in his memory to the SAG Children's Fund for Children's Literacy.

Born: 11/5/1932 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Died: 1/3/2012, Everdinger, Holland

Joaquin Martinez’s westerns – actor:
Alma Grande en el desierto – 1967
Dundee and the Culhane (TV) – 1967 (Jesus Padilla)
The Bandits – 1967
The High Chaparral (TV) – 1967, 1968, 1970 (Little Cloud, Innocente, Luis, peon)
The Stalking Moon – 1968 (Julio)
Bonanza (TV) – 1968, 1970, 1971 (Red Sky, Sanchez, Chavez)
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1970 (Pepe)
Death Valley Days (TV) – 1970 (Joaquin)
Alias Smith and Jones (TV) – 1971 (Carlos)
The Bravos (TV) – 1972 (Santana)
Joe Kidd – 1972 (Manolo)
Jeremiah Johnson – 1972 (Paints His Shirt Red)
Ulzana’s Raid – 1972 (Ulzana)
Kit Carson and the Mountain Men (TV) – 1977 (Renni)
Ishi: The Last of His Tribe (TV) – 1978 (Grandfather)
Centenial (TV) – 1979 (Captain Salcedo)
How the West Was Won (TV) – 1979 (Armando Perez)
Dream West (TV) – 1986 (Sagundai)
Gunsmoke: The Last Apache (TV) – 1990 (Geronimo)
The Young Riders (TV) – 1990 (Running Bear)
The Cowboy Way – 1994 (Nacho Salazar)