Thursday, March 28, 2013

RIP Robert Nichols

RIP Robert Nichols


Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 6:41 p.m.

Robert Nichols, a singer, dancer and actor, enjoyed a career on stage, television and movies for nearly 70 years in London, New York and Los Angeles as well as Occidental, his home since 1991.

Nichols, an Oakland native who entertained troops during World War II and later performed on Broadway and in Hollywood films, died of heart failure at home on Thursday. He was 88.

Nichols' film credits included “The Thing,” the original 1951 version that became a cult classic, “Giant” with Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor, and “The Red Badge of Courage” with Audie Murphy.

On television, he appeared in “Maverick,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Addams Family,” “The Real McCoys” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

Nichols, who started out as a song and dance man, favored the stage most of all, said his wife, Jennifer Nichols of Occidental.

“Live theater was absolutely the thing he loved,” she said.

Nichols' distinction, in an industry known for many starving artists, was to have made a living as a “working actor,” his wife said. “To survive in this business is a big deal.”

His favorite Broadway role was in “Take Me Along,” a musical based on the Eugene O'Neill play “Ah, Wilderness” in 1959.

Another career highlight was performing the role of Cap'n Andy in a 1988 recording of “Showboat,” recognized as the best musical comedy recording of the decade.

To see Nichols in action, check the YouTube clip “Robert Nichols goes dancing,” showing him in the 1952 movie “Sally and Saint Anne.”

Nichols began performing at his Oakland high school, and continued during his wartime duty with the Army's Special Services, playing at stateside bases with soldiers from the burlesque trade and managing a band of black jazz musicians in Japan.

After the war, Nichols won a scholarship to the Royal Academy for Dramatic Art in London, followed by song and dance and stage performances in the British capital. His first film role was in the 1949 feature “I Was a Male War Bride” shot in Germany with Cary Grant.

Deported by the British for lack of a work permit, Nichols went to Los Angeles, where he met Jennifer in 1950 at a beach party near Malibu celebrating her 19th birthday. The couple got engaged after two dates and married months later.

After a decade of film and television work, Nichols returned to London, appearing in musicals, plays and films shot in England and on the European continent.

Nichols returned to Los Angeles in 1965, then moved to New York, where he worked steadily on stage, including “Man and Superman” and “The Man Who Came to Dinner.”

In 1991, the couple bought rural property in Occidental, and Nichols continued working for another decade. His last stage production was in “Ragtime,” which played in Los Angeles, Chicago and Vancouver.

Jennifer Nichols, who worked as a film wardrobe supervisor, said her husband was an ethical, intelligent and good-humored man who cared about others. “Most of all, he made me laugh at myself — essential in a long marriage,” she said.

Survivors, in addition to his wife, are his daughter, Christie Nichols of Santa Cruz; son, David Nichols of Fort Myers, Fla; sister, Nancy Schweitz of Santa Rosa and two grandchildren.
No services will be held because Nichols' friends are either deceased or live far away and “an actor needs a full house,” his wife said.

Friends may plant a rose bush in his memory, she said.

Born: 7/20/1924, Oakland, California, U.S.A.
Died: 3/21/2013 Occidental, California, U.S.A.

Robert Nichols’ westerns – actor:
The Command – 1954 (2nd Lieutenant)
Giant – 1956 (Mort ‘Pinky’ Smythe)
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (TV) – 1956, 1958, 1959 (Simp Sheldon, Professor Jordan, Spencer)
Trackdown (TV) – 1958 (Cotti)
Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV) – 1959 (Deputy Sheriff Sam, John Evans)
Tales of Wells Fargo (TV) – 1959 (Butler)
Elfego Baca (TV) – 1959 (Pronto)
Maverick (TV) – 1959, 1960 (Red Herring, Driscoll)
Bonanza (TV) - 1960 (Johnny)
Sugarfoot (TV) – 1960 (Ab Davies)
The Big Valley (TV) – 1967, 1968 (Sam Becker, Chet Staley)
Alias Smith & Jones (TV) – 1972 (First Man, Magruder)
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1972, 1973 (Warden, Willie)
Westworld – 1973 (1st Male Interviewee)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

RIP Fay Kanin

Former Writers Guild of America, West Vice President, past AMPAS President, and award-winning writer Fay Kanin died today at age 95 at her home in Santa Monica, California.
 Born on May 9, 1917, in New York City, industry icon Kanin sustained a remarkable, trail-blazing career that spanned stage, screen, and television over several decades, leaving an indelible impression in entertainment and popular culture.

Kanin launched her screenwriting career in 1942 with the classic comedy Sunday Punch, co-written with her longtime writing partner and husband, the late Michael Kanin, and Allen Rivkin. Fay and Michael Kanin soon emerged as part of one of the most successful wife-husband screenwriting teams in Hollywood, co-writing a string of screenplays for films such as My Pal Gus (1952), Rhapsody (1954, Screenplay by Fay Kanin and Michael Kanin and Ruth Goetz and Augustus Goetz, Based on the Novel Maurice Guest by Henry Handel Richardson), The Opposite of Sex (1956, adapted from the play “The Women” by Clare Booth), and the classic romantic comedy Teacher’s Pet (1958). Her additional screenwriting credits include The Right Approach (1961, Screenplay by Fay Kanin and Michael Kanin) and The Swordsman of Siena (1962, Screenplay by Fay Kanin & Michael Kanin and Alec Coppel, Based on a Story by Anthony Marshall), and Blondie for Victory (1942, Screenplay by Karen De Wolf & Connie Lee Bennett, Screen Story by Fay Kanin).

Later in her career, Kanin transitioned to television, emerging as a prolific writer-producer of some of the small screen’s most distinguished projects, including telefilms such as Tell Me Where It Hurts (1974), Hustling (1975), based on the book by Gail Sheehy, and Friendly Fire (1979), based on the novel by C.D.B. Bryan, which she wrote and co-produced. In 1980, she partnered with Lillian Gallo to form her own production company Kanin-Gallo, yielding TV movies such as Letting Go and Fun and Games, which received the National Commission of Working Women Broadcast Award. She also penned and co-produced Heartsounds (1984), based on the book by Martha Weiman Lear.

Over the course of her five-decade writing career, Kanin’s film and television projects earned her multiple industry accolades, including: an Academy Award nomination for Teacher’s Pet (Best Story and Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, 1958), as well as a Writers Guild Award nomination for Screen Comedy; two Emmy Awards in 1974 for her work on Tell Me Where It Hurts (Best Writing in Drama, Original Teleplay and Writer of the Year - Special); a 1975 Writers Guild Award (Anthology Adapted) for Hustling, as well as an Emmy nomination for the TV movie (Outstanding Writing in a Special or Program – Drama or Comedy – Original Teleplay); a 1979 Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama or Comedy Special and a Writers Guild Award for Adapted Anthology in 1980 for Friendly Fire, as well as an Emmy nomination (Outstanding Writing, Limited Series or Special, 1979) and Humanitas Prize nomination for the sobering Vietnam-era drama; and Emmy, WGA, Golden Globe writing award nominations for the telefilm Heartsounds.

A Writers Guild, West member since 1942, Kanin served as WGAW Council Vice President from 1973-75, as well as a member of the WGAW Council Screen Branch (1964-67), as Secretary-Treasurer of the WGAW Council Screen Branch (1967-70), as Vice President of the WGAW Council Screen Branch (1969-71), and as President of the WGAW Council Screen Branch (1971-73).

Kanin was one of the Writers Guild’s rare members to earn multiple WGAW honorary and service awards. In 2005, she received the Guild’s Edmund H. North Award, given to a writer whose “courageous leadership, strength of purpose, and continuing selfless activity on behalf of the Guild throughout the years, as well as personal achievement of the highest order, have served to establish the Writers Guild of America as a pillar of strength and security for writers throughout the world.” In 1980, she received the WGAW’s Morgan Cox Award for her longtime service to the Guild, and in 1975, she received the WGAW’s Valentine Davies Award for her humanitarian efforts and whose contributions “to the entertainment industry and the community at large have brought dignity and honor to writers everywhere.”

Having served on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Board of Governors since 1974, Kanin served as AMPAS President from 1979 to 1983, as well as served as a member of AMPAS’ Board of Governors’ Writer Branch for several terms, having also chaired AMPAS’ Finance, Foreign Language Film Award, Long Range Planning, Nicholl Fellowships, and Student Academy Awards committees over the years. She was a founding Trustee and long-time Secretary of the Writers Guild Foundation, as well as a former WGF Vice President and, more recently, Emeritus Vice President, a position she retained until her death. A member of the Board of Trustees of the American Film Institute, she co-chaired AFI’s Center for Film and Video Presentation, as well as chaired the National Film Preservation Board in Washington D.C.

Lauded for her volunteer efforts on behalf of women, Kanin earned honors from the American Civil Liberties Union, the League of Women Voters, the American Women for International Understanding, and the Crystal Award of Women in Film, among other organizations. Known for her signature style and wit, Kanin remained an articulate industry spokesperson and leader on a variety of issues important to creative artists, including film preservation.

KANIN, Fay (Fay Mitchell)
Born: 5/9/1917, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 3/27/2013, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Fay Kanin’s western – screenwriter:
The Outrage 1964

RIP Jerzy Nowak

Jerzy Nowak, died on Tuesday March 26, 2013. He created memorable performances in such films as "Schindler's List," "Children of Irena Sendler" and "Promised Land." He was 89.

From the beginning of his career he worked in Krakow, where he graduated from the National Theatre School. Later, as an old theater actor, he was a teacher. Appearing mainly in supporting roles, he was always able to present a unique character, as in the case of his creation Zucker in the "Promised Land."

Marcin Koszalka, director of the film "Existence", remembers watching Jerzy Nowak , “One thing I can say with certainty: Nowak was definitely not of death. This trip movie, which I had showed me a lot about Jerzy Nowak. It was a movie about life, not death. Jerzy Nowak believed that the most important thing is life, action, and not death, nor the body, which he said was a piece of ragdoll. For him it was important that he left - the roles of theater, film, and this film, which has left a piece of his heart. It was moving and gives food for thought. Smith proved that you need to think about life, not death.”

Jerzy appeared in one Euro-western “Eucalytus” (2001) as Pancho Almodovar.

NOWAK, Jerzy
Born: 6/20/1923, Brzesko, Poland
Died: 3/26/2013, Varsovie, Poland] - stage, TV actor

Jerzy Nowak's western - actor:
Eucalyptus - 2001 (Pancho Almodovar)

RIP Giancarlo Zagni

Farewell to Giancarlo Zagni, worked with Visconti.

He died in Rome and was a director from Bologna. He was 86 years old. He married Alida Valli in Mexico. He was assistant to the great Luchino and directed Lollobrigida in “La bellezza di Ippolita”.

Zagni was born in Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy on November 4, 1926 and had started in the 1950s in the theater as an assistant to director Luchino Visconti in many works (from Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, “La locandiera” by Carlo Goldoni, “Tre sorelle” by Anton Chekhov, “Medea di Euripide”, “Il Seduttore di Fabbri”). Always with Visconti, had went on to the cinema as an assistant director for film direction. On the set of that masterpiece he met the magnificent Alida Valli and they married in Mexico. During the filming of Michelangelo Antonioni's "The Scream" he met screenwriter and writer Elio Bartolini, author of the novel “La bellezza di Ippolita” who, four years after he wrote Zagni to make his first feature film.

Meanwhile he broke with the master Visconti, who never forgave him. 1955 in his first trip to America, he attended the Actor's Studio in New York, run by Lee Strasberg and then went to Mexico to the Royal Theater, becoming the founder and professor of the School of Cinema National Autonomous University of Mexico.

In Italy he adapted from the novel by Elio Bartolini and directed the film “La bellezza di Ippolita” with Gina Lollobrigida and Enrico Maria Salerno, a film that represented Italy at the Berlin Film Festival. In 1966 he won the plate 'Lion of St. Mark' at the Exhibition of the Venice Film Festival with the film "Testadirapa" with Folco Lulli and Gigliola Cinquetti. Then he retired from filmmaking but not from the film: in the following years Zagni started a new career as a producer and distributor himself as an officer dell'Italnoleggio. He also devoted himself to theater in the square and with organizations such as UNICEF, then in 1980 which organizes and produces Ten to Survive, a television movie with cartoons on the bill of rights of children.

ZAGNI, Giancarlo 
Born: 11/4/1926, Bologna, Emilia Romagna, Italy
Died:  3/21/2013, Rome, Lazio, Italy

Giancarlo Zagni's western - screenwriter:
Execution - 1968 (co)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

RIP Franklin Caicedo

Actor Franklin Caicedo has died.

The Chilean actor Franklin Caicedo, based in Argentina for more than 40 years, died March 21st in Santiago.

Born in Iquique, Tarapacá, in 1928, Caicedo had settled in Argentina in 1969. In the first stage of his career, in Chile, he was part of the Experimental Theatre of the University of Chile, who led ‘The Rise and Death of Joaquin Murieta’, the only play by Pablo Neruda, with whom he maintained a friendship.

In the late 1960's he came to Argentina and began working in the country, but also appeared in films. As Farina in "The Chilean" the classic La Patagonia Rebel. Healso starred, among others, in “La isla” directed by Alejandro Doria, “Tacos altos” by Sergio Renan, and “Yo, la peor de todas” by Maria Luisa Bemberg. He also participated in numerous films, plays and TV programs.

His last job was in the country with the play ‘El cartero de Neruda’ by Antonio Skármeta five years ago.

CAICEDO, Franklin
Born: 7/23/1928, Iquique, Chile
Died: 3/21/2013, Santiago, Chile

Franklin Caicedo’s western – actor:
Chiquitas: Rincon de luz - 2001