Sunday, May 31, 2015

RIP Betsy Palmer

Betsy Palmer, dies; was killer cook in 'Friday the 13th'

Associated Press
By John Rogers

Betsy Palmer, the veteran character actress who achieved lasting, though not necessarily sought-after, fame as the murderous camp cook in the cheesy horror film "Friday the 13th," has died at age 88.

Palmer died Friday of natural causes at a hospice care center in Connecticut, her longtime manager, Brad Lemack, told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Palmer had appeared in films, on Broadway and in TV shows for decades before she took the role of Mrs. Voorhees in the campy 1980 movie in which young camp counselors suddenly begin meeting their bloody demise. The back story was that she was the mother of Jason Voorhees, who had died at the camp years before. He would come to life in several sequels that Palmer passed on.

She would say in later years that she only took the role in that first film because she wanted the money to buy a new car.

Palmer had appeared in numerous TV shows dating to the early 1950s Golden Age of Television. Among them were such classic dramas as "Kraft Theatre," ''Playhouse 90" and "Studio One."

Her film credits included "Mr. Roberts" with Henry Fonda, "The Long Gray Line" with Tyrone Power and Maureen O'Hara, "Queen Bee" with Joan Crawford, and "The Tin Star" with Fonda and Anthony Perkins.

Other TV credits included "Knot's Landing," ''The Love Boat," ''Newhart," ''Just Shoot Me" and "Murder, She Wrote." She also appeared in several Broadway plays, including "Same Time, Next Year" and "Cactus Flower."

Palmer is survived by her daughter, Melissa Merendino.

PALMER, Betsy (Pamela Betsy Hrunek)
Born: 11/1/1926, East Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Died: 5/29/2015, Newtown, Connecticut, U.S.A.

Betsy Palmer’s western – actress:
The Long Grey Line - 1955 (Kitty Carter)
The Tin Star – 1957 (Nona Mayfield)

RIP Julie Harris

Designer Julie Harris dies at 94

Belfast Telegraph
31 May 2015

Tributes have been paid to Oscar-winning British costume designer Julie Harris, who has died at the age of 94.

Ms Harris designed clothes worn by The Beatles in the films A Hard Day's Night and Help! and by Roger Moore in the James Bond film Live and Let Die.

She died yesterday at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London after a brief illness from a chest infection, her close friend Jo Botting confirmed.

Ms Botting, senior curator at the British Film Institute National Archive, said: "In a career that embraced more than 80 films and television productions, as well as several stage plays, Julie worked with some of the greatest international stars in the history of the cinema, and for some of its most legendary directors and producers.

"Her outstanding work was constantly nominated for awards. She was an amazing woman."

Ms Harris, of Kensington, west London, won the Academy Award for her "Swingin' London" designs in the 1965 film, Darling, starring Julie Christie and Dirk Bogarde.

She was also awarded the Bafta for best costume design in 1967 for the film The Wrong Box, starring Michael Caine.

In 1965, after working with the Beatles, she said: "I must be one of the few people who can claim they have seen John, Paul, George and Ringo naked."

Ms Harris also designed costumes for the 1967 film Casino Royale starring David Niven and Peter Sellers, Goodbye Mr Chips (1969), Dracula (1979) starring Laurence Olivier and for the Muppets in The Great Muppet Caper (1981).

Ms Harris, who never married or had children, retired at the age of 70. She is survived by her god-daughter, Serena Dilnot.

HARRIS, Julie (Diana Julie Harris)
Born: 3/26/1921, London, England, U.K.
Died: 5/30/2015, London, England, U.K.

Julie Harris’ western – costume designer:
The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw – 1958

Saturday, May 30, 2015

RIP Billy Cummings

RIP Billy Cummings

Arizona Republic
May 31, 2015

Cummings, William C. (Bill) William C. Cummings (Bill) of Mesa AZ, passed away on May 28th. Born January 31, 1933 in Inglewood, CA to Arthur and Mae Cummings. Survived by Wife Audrey Cummings, Children William Cummings, Traci Vargas, Cindi Heazlit and Stan Gollihue, Grandchildren Christopher Cummings, Adam Misner and Jenna Linh. William (Little Billy) was a child actor with Republic Pictures appearing in 36 movies. He was one of the Little Rascals and co-starred with Lloyd Nolan in Circumstantial Evidence (1945). He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. His career in the Aerospace Industry spanned over 50 years and he was retired from Boeing. He will be missed by his family, many friends and loved ones. No services are planned at this time.

CUMMINGS, Billy (William Clifton Cummings)
Born: 1/31/1933, Inglewood, California, U.S.A.
Died: 5/28/2015, Mesa, Arizona, U.S.A.

Billy Cummings westerns – actor:
Bells of Rosarita – 1945
Colorado Pioneers – 1945
Oregon Trail Scouts - 1947

Friday, May 29, 2015

RIP Lillian Cornell

RIP Lillian Cornell

Daily Herald
May 29, 2015

Lillian Michuda Fessenden, age 98, of Miami Florida, formerly of St. Charles. Died Monday, May 25, 2015 at her home. She was born June 2, 1916 in Chicago, IL. She passed away just shy of her 99th birthday. She lived a very interesting life as an actress, her stage name was Lillian Cornell. Also a singer, artist, wife, mother and grandmother. She is survived by her three children, three grandchildren. and her sister Anne Michuda She was preceded in death by her husband, Ace C. Fessenden. Visitation will be held Saturday from 2:00 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. followed by the funeral service at 3:30 at Yurs Funeral Home St. Charles. Burial will be private. To leave an online condolence for the family, visit the funeral homes obituary page at For more information, please call Yurs Funeral Home of St. Charles, 630-584-0060 or like us on Facebook.

Lillian Cornell (Lillian Michuda)
Born: 6/2/1916, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Died: 5/25/2015, Miami, Florida, U.S.A.

Lillian Cornell’s western – actress:
Buck Benny Rides Again – 1940 (Peggy)

RIP Wally Cassell

Wally Cassell, Gangster in 'White Heat,' Dies at 103

Hollywood Reporter
By Mike Barnes
May 28, 2015

Wally Cassell, a film-noir favorite who played Cotton Valletti, one of Jimmy Cagney’s gang, in the electric 1949 crime thriller White Heat, has died. He was 103.

Cassell died peacefully April 2 at his home in Palm Desert, Calif., his wife, actress, singer and songwriter Marcy McGuire, told The Hollywood Reporter. He was in good health until recently, she noted.

“He was the most wonderful man,” McGuire said. “We never had an argument.”

Mickey Rooney served as the best man at their 1947 wedding, and he gave Cassell — who was born Oswaldo Castellano in Sicily — his more marquee-friendly moniker.

Cassell stood out in such film-noir movies as Cornell Woolrich’s The Guilty (1947); Quicksand (1950), which starred Rooney and Peter Lorre; the crime-doesn’t-pay drama Highway 301 (1950), opposite Steve Cochran; Breakdown (1952), a boxing saga with Ann Richards and Sheldon Leonard; and City That Never Sleeps (1953), starring Gig Young.

Cassell also played a jockey opposite Rooney in National Velvet (1944) and held the rank of private in the war tales Story of G.I. Joe (1945) and John Wayne’s Sands of Iwo Jima (1949).

In his final onscreen appearance, Cassell played L.A. Dodgers front-office executive Buzzie Bavasi in a 1963 episode of The Beverly Hillbillies.

In the Warner Bros. classic White Heat, Cagney’s ruthless killer Cody Jarrett orders Cassell’s character to polish off fellow gangster Zuckie Hommell (Ford Rainey), who is badly scalded during a train robbery and left behind. Cotton, though, can’t bring himself to do it, and evidence left at the scene links the bad guys to the crime.

In addition to National Velvet, Cassell worked with his pal Rooney in such films as Thousands Cheer (1943) and Killer McCoy (1947).

Cassell started his movie career with a contract with MGM and made his debut in Fingers at the Window (1942), starring Basil Rathbone.

He was rather busy after that, seen in small roles in Presenting Lily Mars (1943), Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944), Anchors Aweigh (1945), The Thin Man Goes Home (1945), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) and Homecoming (1948).

McGuire, a perky RKO contract player from Iowa, starred in such films as Higher and Higher (1943), Frank Sinatra’s first acting effort, and Sing Your Way Home (1945).

She and Cassell returned the favor as Rooney’s maid of honor and best man at his 1949 wedding to actress Martha Vickers, the third of Rooney’s eight wives.

“Mickey couldn’t understand how we were married so long,” the red-haired McGuire recalled. “He said, ‘It must be the red hair!’”

In addition to his wife, Cassell’s survivors include children Michael and Cindy, grandsons Ian, Chris and Austin and great-granddaughter Annabella.

CASSEL, Wally (Oswaldo Casrellano)
Born: 3/3/1912, Agrigento, Sicily, Italy
Died: 4/2/2015, Palm Desert, California, U.S.A.

Wally Cassel’s westerns – actor:
Bad Bascomb – 1946 (Curley)
Ramrod – 1947 (Virg Lea)
Little Big Horn – 1951 (Private Danny Secca)
Oh! Susana – 1951 (trooper Muro)
The Charge at Feather River – 1953 (member of rescue party)
Law and Order – 1953 (Durango Kid)
Stories of the Century (TV) – 1954 (Luke Short)
Timberjack – 1955 (Veazie)
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1956 (Oley)
Colt .45 (TV) – 1958 (Hap)
Rawhide (TV) – 1960 (station keeper)