Friday, November 30, 2012

RIP Pat Renella

The veteran character actor also appeared on "Mannix," "The New Phil Silvers Show" and dozens of other TV series during a 30-year-plus career.

Pat Renella, a suave character actor who played the mobster shot and killed by Steve McQueen in the waning moments of the 1968 classic crime thriller Bullitt, has died. He was 83.

Renella, who worked in Hollywood for more than three decades, died Nov. 9 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after suffering for months with a chronic illness, his niece, Judy Portone, told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday.

Renella also starred as one of con man Phil Silvers’ cohorts on The New Phil Silvers Show in the early 1960s, guest-starred in five episodes of Mannix in the 1970s (his best friend was the show’s executive producer and writer, Bruce Geller) and played Dr. Nelson on General Hospital for a 26-week stint in 1980.

The actor also starred in TV commercials and ad campaigns; one notable assignment was for Viceroy cigarettes.

In Bullitt, directed by Peter Yates, Renella plays Johnny Ross, who fakes his murder so he can become free of the mob. After McQueen’s San Francisco Police Lt. Frank Bullitt discovers the ruse, he chases down Ross across the runways of San Francisco Airport and gets his man in the terminal.

Renella was a busy actor in the 1970s, appearing mostly as hoods and heels on such TV series as McCloud, The Streets of San Francisco, The Rockford Files, Cannon, Faraday and Company, Police Woman, S.W.A.T. and Hunter.

Born on March 24, 1929, in Chicago, the dark-haired Renella came to Los Angeles and worked as an entertainer and nightclub singer in the club the Roaring Twenties. He appeared on the TV show The Alaskans in 1960 before making his first movie appearance in X-15 (1961).

His film résumé also includes Riot on Sunset Strip (1967), Moonchild (1974), Run for the Roses (1977) and Beverly Hills Brats (1989).

Geller, most famously known as the creator of the Mission: Impossible TV series, died in May 1978 at age 47 when his small plane crashed in a canyon near Santa Barbara. Renella’s niece said it was her uncle who identified Geller’s body.

In addition to his niece and her husband John, Renella is survived by his sister Florence.

Born: 3/24/1929, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Died: 11/9/2012, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Pat Renella’s western – actor:
The High Chaparral (TV) – 1971 (sergeant)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

RIP John Kemeny

John Kemeny, a giant of Canadian film, dies at 87.

John Kemeny, who received a Best Picture Oscar nomination for his work as a producer on the 1980 film "Atlantic City", died Friday November 23, 2012 after a long illness in Sedona, Arizona. He was 87. Kemeny worked as a producer, editor, director and writer over the course of his decades-long career. In addition to "Atlantic City", his film credits include "Quest For Fire" (1981), "The Boy In Blue" (1986), "Ice Castles" (1978), and "The Apprenticeship Of Duddy Kravitz" (1974). Kemeny also shared Primetime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special and Miniseries for "The Josephine Baker Story" (1991) and Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special for "Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story" (1989). Kemeny also served as a producer for HBO and was one of the co-founders of Alliance Communications, a former Canadian-based movie distribution company.

Born: 4/17/1925, Budapest, Hungary
Died: 11/23/2012, Sedona, Arizona, U.S.A.

John Kemeny’s westerns – editor, producer:
Drylanders – 1963 [editor]
Louisiana (TV) – 1984 [producer]

Monday, November 26, 2012

RIP Bobbie Jordan

Actress Bobbi Jordan Dies at 75

She had a stint on "General Hospital" in the 1970s and appeared in the Lucille Ball musical "Mame."
Bobbi Jordan, who starred on General Hospital, in several primetime series and in the Lucille Ball film musical Mame, died Nov. 9 of a heart attack at her home in Encinitas, Calif. She was 75.
In the mid-1970s, Jordan had a three-year stint as former nightclub owner and singer Terri Webber Arnett on General Hospital. In one memorable story arc on the ABC daytime soap, she crashed her car after the wife of the man she was dating -- just released from a sanitarium -- tampered with her brakes. (Of course, he would operate on her to save her life.)

Later in the decade, Jordan had regular roles on the primetime comedies Turnabout, written by Steven Bochco and starring John Schuck and Sharon Gless, and Joe and Sons, with Richard S. Castellano and Jerry Stiller.

She also guest-starred on such series as The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West, Love, American Style, Ironside, Barbary Coast, The Odd Couple, Charlie’s Angels, Diff’rent Strokes, One Day at a Time, Quincy M.E., Nero Wolfe and Highway to Heaven.

In Mame, the 1974 musical directed by Gene Saks that was based on the Broadway hit, Jordan played Pegeen, a maid at the home of Mame Dennis (Ball) who winds up marrying Mame's nephew Patrick (Bruce Davison).

She also had a small role as a waitress in the Walter Matthau-starring A Guide for the Married Man (1967).

Jordan, born Roberta Carol Bartlett, moved from her hometown of Hardinsburg, Ky., to Chicago, then settled in Los Angeles to study opera. While working as a cocktail waitress, her manager at the club heard her singing in the kitchen and offered her a chance to audition for a musical the place was producing.

Jordan was cast as the lead in a modern-day telling of the Cinderella story and signed by William Morris. She then landed a role on The Rounders, an ABC Western that debuted in 1966.

Throughout her career, Jordan continued to sing and perform on stages around the country, with a lead role in the first national tour of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Company and regional productions of Guys and Dolls, Damn Yankees, South Pacific and others.

Jordan’s husband, Bill Jacobson, head writer for The Kate Smith Hour, died last year.

She is survived by her son, writer-director Jordan Roberts (March of the Penguins); her grandchildren, Brandon Roberts, a rock musician and songwriter; Cameron Roberts, a high school sophomore and aspiring actor; her sister, Reba Sue Waters; and her stepdaughter, Jessie Jacobson.

A memorial service is set for 3 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple, 939 Second St., Encinitas, CA 92024.

JORDAN, Bobbie (Roberta Carol Bartlett)
Born: 7/11/1937 Hardensburg, Kentucky, U.S.A.
Died: 11/9/2012, Encinitas, California U.S.A.

Bobbie Jordan’s westerns – actress:
The Rounders (TV) – 1966 (Ada)
The Wild Wild West (TV) – 1968 (Fleur Fogarty)
Barbary Coast (TV) – 1975 (Flame)

RIP Celso Adv. Castillo

MANILA, Philippines – Celso Advento Castillo, the veteran film director credited for creating such classics as “Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa,” “Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara,” and “Burlesk Queen” among others, died of heart attack early Monday morning in his hometown of Siniloan, Laguna. He was 69.

Before his death, Castillo was working on his book, “Celso Ad. Castillo: An Autobiography and His Craft.”

An English Literature graduate from the Manuel L. Quezon University, Castillo started his career as a writer, publishing his own works via a magazine funded by his father.

His foray into films began two years after graduating from college, when he wrote and directed his first movie, “Misyong Mapanganib” at 21 years old.

In 1971, he established himself as a writer-director of note when his opus "Nympha" became a huge critical success, with the film screened at the Venice Film Festival that year -- only the second Filipino film to have earned such a recognition after "Gengis Khan" in 1950.

Castillo went on to helm over 60 films encompassing a variety of genre including horror, drama, erotica, suspense, comedy, fantasy, and action -- along the way allowing actors such as Fernando Poe Jr. and Vilma Santos to carve their own niche in the movie industry.

CASTILLO, Celso Advento
Born: 9/12/1943, Siniloan, Laguna, Philippines
Died: 11/26/2012, Siniloan, Laguna, Philippines

Celso Advento Castillo’s western – screenwriter:
Omar Cassidy and the Sandalyas Kid – 1970 [screenwriter]

Saturday, November 24, 2012

RIP Tony Leblanc

One of Spain’s most beloved actors Tony Leblanc died today in Madrid, Spain. He was 90 years-old. Tony’s real name was Ignacio Fernández Sánchez and he was born in Madrid on May 7, 1922 in Villaviciosa de Odon, Madrid. He developed a successful career on stage and cinema. He played soccer and was a boxer during his youth. In films, he became a popular actor during the 1950s and 1960s, often in comedic roles. Among others, he appeared in "El Tigre de Chamberí" (1957), "Las chicas de la Cruz Roja" (1958), "El Día de los enamorados", “Los Tramposos” (both 1959), “Una vez al año ser Hippy no hace daño" (1969), "El astronauta" (1970), and "Torrente, el brazo tonto de la ley" (1998). His only Euro-western “Torrejón City” was made in where he played dual roles. Leblanc was awarded with a Goya Award for his career in 1994.

LEBLANC, Tony (Ignacio Fernández Sánchez Leblanc)
Born: 5/7/1922, Villaviciosa de Odon, Madrid, Spain
Died: 11/24/2012, Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Tony Leblanc’s western – actor:
Torrejón City – 1962 (Tom & Tim Rodriguez)