Wednesday, September 30, 2015

RIP John Guillermin

John Guillermin, director of Towering Inferno and King Kong, dies at 89

Entertainment Weekly
By Oliver Gettell
September 30, 2015

John Guillermin, the British director of The Towering Inferno and the 1976 version of King Kong, died earlier this week at his home in Los Angeles. He was a few weeks shy of his 90th birthday.

Nick Redman, a friend of Guillermin’s, confirmed the news to EW.

As a filmmaker, Guillermin was best known for action and adventure tales such as Shaft in Africa, Death on the Nile, El Condor, Skyjacked, Sheena, two Tarzan movies, and the sequel King Kong Lives. Over the course of his career, he worked with actors including Orson Welles, Paul Newman, Jessica Lange, Fred Astaire, Peter O’Toole, and Faye Dunaway.

Born in London, Guillermin studied at the University of Cambridge and served in the Royal Air Force before beginning his directing career in France, as a documentary filmmaker. He helmed his first feature, Torment (also known as Paper Gallows), in 1950.

“He was a tough man but a very charming man,” said Redman, whose Twilight Time label re-released Guillermin’s Rapture on home video in 2011. “He was every inch the Hollywood director, the Hollywood figure, but he had very much a European sensibility. He was a very urbane person, and he made some great movies.”

Born: 11/11/1925, London, England, U.K.
Died: 9/28/2015 Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

John Guillermin’s westerns – director:
El Condor – 1969
The Tracker – 1988

RIP Rockne Tarkington

RIP Rockne Tarkington

American actor Rockne Tarkington died on April 5, 2015. His death was not covered by the mainstream media and I can find no official obituary. His death is noted on several websites including Wikipedia and IMDb.

Rockne Tarkington appeared on a number of TV shows and movies, primarily in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. He played the lead in the "Blaxploitation" film Black Samson in 1974. He was a semi-regular on Tarzan, the Ron Ely TV series, playing Tao, a jungle veterinarian. He also played a recurring role on the Lee Horsley detective series, Matt Houston, in the 1980s, playing "Too Mean" Malone.

Fans of The Andy Griffith Show may remember Rockne for his role as football player Flip Conroy in the episode titled "Opie's Piano Lesson." In the episode, Opie gets in trouble for skipping his piano lessons to go to football practice. Then, he subsequently gets in trouble with coach Conroy, a former pro player, for missing football practice to take piano lessons. It turns out that Conroy had to take piano lessons as a kid himself, and he works out a schedule so Opie can do both.

Rockne will also be remembered by fans of the Banana Splits Saturday morning kids show for his portrayal of Morgan, the castaway merchant sailor in the serial adventure "Danger Island," which was a featured element on the show. It was Rockne who frequently uttered the line, "Uh oh, Chongo!", which became a catch-phrase of sorts for kids who watched the show in the late 60s.

Tarkenton's career tailed off in the 1990s. His most recent recorded roles were in the films The Desparate Trail in 1995 and Wyatt Earp (starring Kevin Costner) in 1994.

TARKINGTON, Rockne (Rockne Booth Tarkington)
Born: 7/15/1931, Junction City, Kansas, U.S.A.
Died:  4/5/2015, Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.A.

Rockne Tarkington’s westerns – actor:
Major Dundee – 1965 (Jefferson)
Cowboy in Africa (TV) – 1967 (Jacob)
The High Chaparral (TV) – 1968 (Sergeant)
The Dream of Hamish Mose – 1969
Bearcats! (TV) – 1971 (Lukas)
The Great Gundown – 1977 (Sutton)
Showdown at Eagle Gap (TV) – 1981 (Enterprise Jackson)
Uphill All the Way – 1986 (Leon)
Lucky Luke (TV) – 1990 (Harp)
The Desperate Trail – 1994 (Packo)
Wyatt Earp – 1994 (stable hand)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

RIP Michael Burgess

Canadian tenor Michael Burgess dies at age 70

Canadian tenor Michael Burgess died at a Toronto hospital Monday evening.

The Toronto Star
By Fakiha Baig
September 28, 2015

Noted Canadian artist and singer Michael Burgess has died following a battle with cancer. Burgess had been battling cancer for the past several years.

“Two weeks ago, he called home and sang happy birthday to my wife,” said David Warrack, a close friend of Burgess and his pianist for about 15 years.

“He was a beautiful man and there was nobody like him.”

Burgess was best known for his role in the Toronto production of Les Misérables where he played the character of Jean Valjean 1,000 times in duration of the production. The year long production opened at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre on March 15, 1989.

“Michael created the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, which was one of the first international blockbusters to have its own production in Canada with a local cast,” said David Mirvish on the life and legacy of the great Canadian musical theatre star Michael Burgess.

“He was a very talented performer with a spellbinding voice and a truly arresting stage presence.”

In its 1989 review of Les Miz, the Star wrote: “It’s hard to imagine anyone bringing greater energy and commitment to the role of Valjean than Burgess, particularly in the opening part of the show. His voice is strong and secure (everyone receives discreet electronic aid) and his rendering of the touching, falsetto-style number “Bring Him Home” is exquisite.”

His other major performances include Man of la Mancha, Blood Brothers, and starring roles throughout Canada and the United States.

Burgess was also known for singing the national anthem at sporting events.

Burgess was the first person to sing “O Canada” at a World Series baseball game, in Atlanta in 1992.

Many Canadians, especially Toronto Maple Leaf fans, took to Twitter to express how much they will miss the legend who’s voice graced many home games.

Burgess married Susan Gilmour, his costar in Les Miz, in 1994.

He attended St. Michael’s Choir School in Toronto.

Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre and Royal Alexandra Theatre will dim their marquee lights on Tuesday, September 29, at 8 p.m. for two minutes in the memory of Burgess.

BURGESS, Michael
Born: 7/22/1945, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Died: 9/28/2015, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Michael Burgess’ western – actor, singer:
The Campbells (TV) – 1990 (Mr. Davis)
Bortdertown (TV) – 1990 (Arthur Harrington)
Clearcut – 1991 [vocalist]

Monday, September 28, 2015

RIP Walter Portela

The death of actor Walter Portela in Sao Paulo


He died early on Friday (25) the actor Walter Portela, whose path crossed key moments in the history of the National Theatre, mainly in the 1970s and 1980s, when he worked alongside Antunes Filho.

Among the pieces that made the São Paulo director and director of Theatre Research Centre is "Macunaíma" (1978), adaptation of the novel by Mario de Andrade pointed out by historians as a landmark of contemporary at the National Theatre. The CPT Antunes, Portela also starred in "Nelson Rodrigues - Eternal Return" (1984), fitting with the Pernambuco author adaptations.

The death was confirmed this morning by the Cooperative Paulista Theatre. The cause has not yet been disclosed.

More recently, Portela served in assemblies of the Old Company, founded by Kiko Marques, Alejandra Sampaio and Virginia Buckowski. After a long pause, he resumed his career in show "Pier or the indifference of Ships" (2013), playing the narrator of a story that spanned several generations of a family caiçara.

In May, the actor returned to acting with Companhia Velha in "Valerie and the Birds" show traces of dream about a woman surrounded by dead characters. For health reasons, in the latest season of play, he was replaced by Marques, director.

Born: 1936, Brazil
Died: 9/26/2015, São Paulo, Brazil

Walter Portela’s westerns – production manager, writer, actor:
D’Gajao Mata para Vingar – 1972 [production manager, dialogue, actor]
Caingangue – 1973 [actor]
Trinidae… e Meu Name – 1973 [actor]

Thursday, September 24, 2015

RIP Geoffrey Ryan

RIP Geoffrey Ryan

Wilmington Star-News
September 24, 2015

Geoffrey John Morgan Ryan, 62 of Wilmington died Sunday, September 20, 2015.

Geoffrey was preceded in death by his parents, Cornelius J. Ryan and Kathryn Morgan Ryan of N.Y. and by his wife and soulmate Cheryl Edgar Ryan of Wilmington.

Geoff leaves behind his beautiful daughter Chayne Ashton Ryan of Wilmington, his sister and friend Victoria Ryan Bida, niece Kate Bida and nephew Morgan Bida of Rochester, N.Y.

Geoff was a longtime dedicated member of the Wilmington film community and the L.A. Film community. Geoff’s scope of work ranged from working as an assistant director for “A Bridge Too Far” based on his father’s book to films such as “Last Starfighter;” “Surface;” “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” and many others.

Geoff was also an accomplished songwriter, musician and singer, who was especially fond of Neil Young.

Geoff leaves behind a large film industry family who loved and admired him and he will be truly missed. His kind heart, his smile and his wit will live on in everyone whose life he touched.

Geoff Long May You Run.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27 at Screen Gems Studios on North 23rd Street in Wilmington.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Geoff Ryan Memorial Fund at

RYAN, Geoffrey (Geoffrey John Morgan Ryan)
Born: 8/2/1953, U.S.A.
Died: 9/20/2015, Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.

Geoffrey Ryan’s westerns – location manager:
Guns of Paradise (TV) – 1988-1990
Tecumseh: The Last Warrior (TV) - 1995