Thursday, December 31, 2015

RIP Wayne Rogers

Wayne Rogers, Trapper John on 'M*A*S*H*,' dies at 82

Fox News
December 31, 2015

LOS ANGELES –  Wayne Rogers, whose Trapper John McIntyre alongside Alan Alda's Hawkeye Pierce brought mischief, martinis and meatball surgery to the masses in the 1970s every week on "M.A.S.H.," has died.

The actor was surrounded by family when he died Thursday in Los Angeles of complications from pneumonia at age 82, his publicist and longtime friend Rona Menashe told The Associated Press.

Rogers' army surgeon Trapper John was one of the most beloved characters -- and half of one of the most beloved duos -- in TV history, despite the actor's appearing in only the first three of the show's 11 seasons on CBS.

The two skilled doctors, Hawkeye and Trapper, blew off steam between surgeries pulling pranks, romancing nurses and tormenting their tent-mate Frank Burns, with a seemingly endless supply of booze and one-liners at the ready.

In one classic moment, Trapper reaches out as though he's checking for rain and says, "Hmm, feels like it's going to martini," as Hawkeye promptly passes him a drink.

And in another line that typified the show's ethos, Trapper answers a question with "How should I know? I dropped out of school to become a doctor."

McIntyre was on "M.A.S.H." from 1972 to 1975, becoming one of many original cast members to leave the wildly popular show that went on until 1983. He was initially considered for Alda's character, but he preferred Trapper's sunnier disposition to Hawkeye's darkly acerbic personality.

The characters were essentially equals when the show began, but it increasingly focused on Alda, which was a factor in Rogers' departure.

Two other actors played Trapper in other incarnations. Elliot Gould was same character in the "M.A.S.H." feature film that preceded the TV show, and Pernell Roberts played the title character in the 1980s spinoff drama "Trapper John, M.D."

An Alabama native and Princeton University graduate, Rogers had parts on many short-lived shows early in his career, specializing in westerns like "Law of the Plainsman" and "Stagecoach West." He had a bit part in the 1967 film "Cool Hand Luke" with Paul Newman.

In the years after "M.A.S.H." he returned to TV regularly, including a recurring role in the early 1990s on "Murder, She Wrote."

He moved beyond acting to see serious success later in life as a money manager and investor. In 1988 and 1990, he appeared as an expert witness before the House Judiciary Committee to speak in favor of maintaining the Glass-Steagall banking laws of the 1930s. In recent years he was a regular panelist on the Fox News stock investment show "Cashin' In."

Rogers is survived by his wife Amy, two children, Bill and Laura, and four grandchildren.

ROGERS, Wayne (William Wayne McMillan Rogers III)
Born: 4/7/1933, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.
Died: 12/31/2015, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Wayne Rogers westerns – actor:
Zane Grey Theater (TV) – 1959 (Frank Sanders)
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1959, 1962, 1965 (Tom, Brack, Stretch Morgan)
Law of the Plainsman (TV) – 1959, 1960 (Fran Anderson, Deputy Billy Gordon)
Johnny Ringo (TV) – 1960 (Charlie Hanford)
Stagecoach West (TV) – 1960-1961 (Luke Perry
Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV) – 1960 (Ash Langford)
The Great Adventure (TV) – 1963 (Tombs)
Have Gun – Will Travel (TV) – 1963 (Daniel Powers)
The Glory Guys – 1965 (Lt. Mike Moran)
Death Valley Days (TV) – 1965 (Lt. Richard H. Pratt)
Shane (TV) – 1966 (Jim Greevey)
The Big Valley (TV) – 1968 (Don Jarvis)
Lancer (TV) – 1968 (Ted Lewis)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

RIP Michael Earl

Sesame Street puppeteer Michael Earl dies.

The Daily Voice
By Sherrill Fulghum
December 24, 2015

Emmy Award winning Muppeteer Michael Earl died early in the afternoon of December 23 as a result of colon cancer at the age of 56. Earl had been fighting the disease for the past three years.

While Earl performed in a variety of productions, it is his role on “Sesame Street” as Mr. Snuffleupagus that he is best known. He joined the ranks of Jim Henson’s Muppet crew in 1978 at the age of 19. Earl spent the next 15 years in a variety of Muppet adventures.

Earl got an early start in the entertainment business by starring in a Curad bandage commercial when he was only five years old and then the as the “Is it Soup yet?” Lipton soup kid. He continued to appear in TV ads as a teen. Earl began creating his own puppets when he was eight and his puppeteering began at age 10. After hearing about Michael Earl from Mike Oznowicz – Frank Oz’s father – and Kermit Love; Jim Henson hired the 19 year old for his debut film “The Muppet Movie”. Earl then took over the Mr. Snuffleupagus duties from Jerry Nelson. Though he was never needed, Earl was the understudy for Big Bird – a role an 82 year old Caroll Spinney continues to play.

Earl says that his favorite Muppet to play was Oscar the Grouch’s pet Slimey the worm.

As a Muppet performer Earl’s credits include “Sesame Street”, “The Muppet Movie”, “John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together”, “The Dark Crystal”, “The Muppets Take Manhattan”, “Little Muppet Monsters”, “The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years”, “National Wildlife Federation” Public Service Announcement as a Muppet Penguin, the pilot episode of “The Jim Henson Hour”, the “Family Challenge” and “When Food Goes Bad” episodes of “Dinosaurs”, “Sesame Street: Sing Yourself Silly”, “Sesame Songs: Rock & Roll”, “Sesame Street: Learning about Numbers”, a Muppet performer in a Target commercial, a “Sesame Street” Muppet performer in the Eaton’s Santa Claus and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades, and “Kermit: A Frog’s Life”.

But Michael Earl was much more than a member of the Muppet family. His other acting, puppeteering, voice over, and creative credits include “Team America: World Police”, a puppet alien in “Men in Black II”, “The Adventures of Timmy the Tooth”, “Ticktock Minutes”, ”Little Shop of Horrors”, “Michael Earl & Friends”, “An Evening with Michael Earl”, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, Bil Baird’s Marionettes, Sid & Marty Kroftt’s “A Broadway Baby”, the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut, “Shrek”, “Fame”, “Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?”, “Digimon Tamers”, and an M&M commercial.

During his career Earl has also worked with Whoopi Goldberg, Gregory Hines, and Victor Borge.

He was born Michael Earl Davis on September 10, 1959 in Oakland, California.

EARL, Michael (Michael Earl Davis)
Born: 9/10/1959, Oakland, California, U.S.A.
Died: 12/23/2015, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Michael Earl’s western – voice actor:
The Adventures of Timmy the Tooth: Big Mouth Gulch – 1995 [English voice of Ms. Flossie/ Bunky]

Monday, December 28, 2015

RIP Carson van Osten

Carson Van Osten, Ex-Todd Rundgren Sideman, Dies

Ultimate Classic Rock
By Nick DeRiso
December 27, 2015

Carson Van Osten, a former bassist with Todd Rundgren who went on to work with Disney, has died at age 70.

The pair first collaborated in an early group called Woody’s Truck Stop, then co-founded Nazz in 1967, releasing an early version of Rundgren’s No. 5 1972 solo hit “Hello It’s Me.” Thom Mooney and Robert “Stewkey” Antoni rounded out a lineup that focused on psychedelic and garage rock mixed with power pop. Their first appearance was as an opening act with the Doors, and Nazz found very modest early success with a self-titled debut album that also included “Open Your Eyes.”

Unfortunately, the latter song wouldn’t earn widespread notice until its inclusion on the 1972 compilation Nuggets. Nazz Nazz followed in 1969, but by then the band was disintegrating. Rundgren departed and, soon after, so did Van Osten. Rick Nielsen briefly joined, and a collection of odds and ends arrived in 1971, titled Nazz III. By then, however, Rundgren was gearing up for Something/Anything?, the gold-selling solo double album that featured his own version of “Hello It’s Me.”

Van Osten, meanwhile, returned to his roots as a former student at the Philadelphia College of Art. He joined Disney as a writer and artist at the turn of the 1970s, becoming a staff comic artist in ’74. “For me, Walt Disney Studios was really kind of like an ivory tower,” he once said. “Whenever I draw Mickey Mouse, I don’t realize it, but I start smiling.”

After helping to create comic books featuring Mickey Mouse and Goofy through the late ’70s, he was named manager of creative services with Disney consumer products in 1980. There, Van Osten oversaw motion picture tie-in advertising – and, in a return to his roots with Rundgren, the Disney music company.

Van Osten earned the first of a series of vice president-level positions with the company in 1988. Among his most notable projects was the design of the Walt Disney Studios logo. Van Osten earned the Disney Legends award for his service in August 2015, sharing the bill with George Lucas.

Antoni later revived Nazz around a new lineup, with dates commencing in 2006. Nielsen would go on to form the nucleus of Cheap Trick, and they used Rundgren as producer on 1983’s Next Position Please. Van Osten, who died on Dec. 22, leaves behind a wife, two children and three grandchildren.

van OSTEN, Carson
Born: 9/24/1945, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Died: 12/22/2015, Thousand Oaks, California, U.S.A.

Carson van Osten’s western – animator:
A Cowboy’s Work is Never Done - 1972

Sunday, December 27, 2015

RIP Elain Riley

Elaine Riley, an actress who appeared in dozens of 1940s and '50s motion pictures, has died, according to multiple news sources. Riley, who died Dec. 7, was 98.

The cause of death was not announced.

A former pinup model, Riley won the beauty pageant in her hometown of East Liverpool, Ohio. In 1937, she was runner-up in the Miss Ohio Beauty Pageant. She also did some modeling work in New York City.

Her first movie role was in 1944's "Higher and Higher," a musical that also starred Frank Sinatra in his debut movie role. Other credits, mostly in small roles, include "The Stork Club," "Texas Bad Man" and "Pardners."

After signing with Paramount Pictures in 1946, she became the leading lady for Westerns that featured Hopalong Cassidy, played by the actor William Boyd.

Starting in 1951, she co-starred on the TV Western series "The Gene Autry Show," "The Range Rider" and "Hopalong Cassidy."

She retired from acting in 1960.

Riley received the Golden Boot Award in 2004. The award goes to actors and crew members who have made important contributions to the genre of Western movies and TV programs. Other recipients of the award that year were fellow actors Pat Hingle, Noel Neill, Gale Storm and Val Kilmer.

She was preceded in death by her husband of more than 45 years, actor Richard Martin; he died in 1994.

RILEY, Elaine (Elaine Louise Riley)
Born: 1/15/1917, East Liverpool, Ohio, U.S.A.
Died: 12/7/2015

Elain Riley’s westerns – actress:
The Falcon Out West – 1944 (cigarette girl)
Girl Rush - 1944 (troupe member)
Trailin' West - 1944 (Linda)
The Devil's Playground – 1946 (Mrs. Evans)
False Paradise – 1948 (Anne Larson)
Sinister Journey – 1948 (Jessie Garvin)
Strange Gamble - 1948 (Nora Murray)
Rider from Tucson – 1950 (Jane Whipple)
The Lone Ranger (TV) – 1950, 1955 (Peggy Dingle, Julia Gregory)
The Hills of Utah - 1951 (Karen McQueen)
The Range Rider (TV) – 1951, 1952, 1953 (Connie Lane, Sue Wooley, Sally, Kathy Roberts,
      Alice Booth)
The Gene Autry Show (TV) – 1952 (Joyce Lawson, Jan Carter Gray, Sheriff Kathy Vale)
Leadville Gunslinger - 1952 (Carol Davis)
Hopalong Cassidy (TV) – 1952, 1954 (Mrs. Evans, Nora, Jessie, Nancy Mathews)
Texas Bad Man - 1953 (Lois)
The Cisco Kid (TV) – 1955 (Irene Moore, Millie Stone)
Stories of the Century (TV) – 1955 (Virginia Slade)
Fury (TV) – 1956 (Alice Parker)
Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV) – 1960 (Panama)
Pardners – 1956 (dance hall girl)
The Texas (TV) – 1958 (Dolly)
26 Men (TV) – 1958