Monday, October 31, 2016

RIP Tammy Grimes

Tammy Grimes, the Original ‘Unsinkable Molly Brown,’ Dies at 82

The New York Times
By Anita Gates
October 31, 2016

Tammy Grimes, the throaty actress and singer who conquered Broadway at the age of 26, winning a Tony Award for her performance in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” and went on to a distinguished stage career, died on Sunday in Englewood, N.J. She was 82.

The death was confirmed by Duncan MacArthur, her nephew.

Ms. Grimes was largely unknown in 1960 when she was cast as Molly, the rags-to-riches turn-of-the-century socialite-philanthropist who survived the sinking of the Titanic. The show’s producers, who clearly considered the music and lyrics by Meredith Willson more marketable than their female lead, declined to put her name above the title, which meant that (because of the Tony regulations of the time) she could be nominated only in the featured-actress category.

Her second Tony, for a 1969 revival of Noël Coward’s “Private Lives,” was decidedly for lead actress. Clive Barnes, writing in The New York Times, called Ms. Grimes’s interpretation of her character, the reluctant 1930s divorcée Amanda Prynne, “outrageously appealing” and “so ridiculously artificial that she just has to be for real.”

Coward was a major influence on Ms. Grimes’s career. In 1958, he saw her performing at the Manhattan nightclub Downstairs at the Upstairs and cast her as the lead in “Look After Lulu,” a new comedy he had adapted from a Feydeau farce. In 1964 she appeared in “High Spirits,” a musical version of Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” (directed but not written by Coward), playing the ghost of the leading man’s first wife. The cast included Beatrice Lillie as a medium trying to summon her and Edward Woodward as the husband. It was one of more than a dozen Broadway productions in which Ms. Grimes starred.

Her mop of blond-red hair, a pointed chin, a wide mouth and a ski-slope nose that was often compared to Bob Hope’s gave her a distinctive look.

“I never looked like an ingénue,” Ms. Grimes acknowledged in a 1960 interview with The New York Times Magazine. But that didn’t matter to her, she said, because “I don’t want to be America’s Sweetheart; I’d rather be something they don’t quite understand.”

Tammy Lee Grimes was born in Lynn, Mass., on Jan. 30, 1934, the second of three children of Luther Nichols Grimes, who managed the Brookline Country Club, and the former Eola Willard Niles. Many fans believed Ms. Grimes was British, partly because of her Mid-Atlantic accent, which she attributed to a finishing-school education.

She attended Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, Mass., and graduated from Stephens College in Missouri, which she often said she had chosen because of its drama program. Then she went to work for the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut and studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, where the playwright Anita Loos saw her in a student presentation and chose her for the title role in “The Amazing Adele.”

That show closed during out-of-town tryouts but did get Ms. Grimes noticed. So did her Off Broadway debut, in “The Littlest Revue,” a 1956 musical production whose cast also included Joel Grey.

Critics loved Ms. Grimes from the beginning. Howard Taubman hated “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” but praised Ms. Grimes as its “buoyant interpreter” in introducing lively, often comic song-and-dance numbers like “Belly Up to the Bar, Boys” and “I Ain’t Down Yet.”

Walter Kerr compared her more than once to a stormy force of nature. Of her 1976 performance in Neil Simon’s “California Suite,” he wrote, “Everything out of her face is thunderously funny,” and a year later he reported that as Elmire in “Tartuffe” she called down “laughs sharp as thunderclaps.”

Ms. Grimes made films, including “Play It as It Lays,” “The Last Unicorn” and “Slaves of New York,” and appeared in dozens of television movies and series (including her own short-lived sitcom, “The Tammy Grimes Show,” in 1966). But the starring role in the film version of “Molly Brown” (1964) went to Debbie Reynolds, who had a more traditional Hollywood look and sound.

The stage was Ms. Grimes’s first home. The Off Broadway productions in which she starred included Marc Blitzstein’s “The Cradle Will Rock,” at City Center in 1960, and a 1979 Roundabout Theater production of Turgenev’s “A Month in the Country” with her daughter, Amanda Plummer. Ms. Grimes also worked at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, performing at least once with her first husband, Christopher Plummer; in “Henry IV, Part I” (1958), he was Bardolph and she was Mistress Quickly.

Ms. Grimes said she fell in love with Mr. Plummer after seeing him on Broadway in “The Dark Is Light Enough” (1955), a comedy in which he played a 19th-century Hungarian count. They married in 1956 and divorced in 1960. She married Jeremy Slate, a television actor, in 1966, and they divorced the next year. She was with her third husband, the musician and composer Richard Bell, from 1971 until his death in 2005. Ms. Grimes is survived by her brother, Nick, and her daughter.

She quickly developed a reputation for star attitude. In 1961, Earl Wilson referred to her in his New York Post column as “terrible-tempered Tammy Grimes” and reported that she had been known to “hit or bite her fellow actors.” Sometimes she was more politely called mercurial.

In an interview with The Christian Science Monitor in 1980, she addressed that perception. “Well, I was very young,” she said. “It’s difficult to know what to do with success when you’re so young.”

Her last feature film role was as Ally Sheedy’s Old World mother in “High Art” (1998). Her final Broadway appearance was a supporting role in a revival of Tennessee Williams’s “Orpheus Descending” (1989) starring Vanessa Redgrave.

In 2003 Ms. Grimes was part of the rotating cast of “24 Evenings of Wit and Wisdom,” a production of Off Broadway readings about aging. At the time, she told a writer for Theatermania that she was “about as ambitious as a water buffalo.”

Her voice, once described as a “lyric baritone,” also aged, but if it became whispery it also remained strong, as she demonstrated in 2010 with “Miss Tammy Grimes: Favorite Songs and Stories,” a solo cabaret show at the Metropolitan Room in Manhattan.

In a 1964 interview with The Saturday Evening Post, Ms. Grimes speculated about old age and a life that she fully intended to dedicate to work. “Perhaps all you have left in the end is a scrapbook filled with old newspaper clippings,” she said.

She quickly reconsidered, however, sounding a bit like the debutante she once was. “If things get too bad,” she added, “well, there are always far-off cities and cowboys with guitars, new clothes, music boxes and large funds of traveler’s checks.”

GRIMES, Tammy (Tammy Lee Grimes)
Born: 1/30/1934, Lynn, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Died: 10/30/2016, Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Tammy Grimes’ westerns – actress:
The Virginian (TV) – 1963 (Angie Clark)
Destry (TV) – 1964 (Patience Dailey)
The Outcasts (TV) – 1969 (Polly)
The Young Riders (TV) – 1990 (Margaret Herrick)

RIP Imre Józsa

24 Hu

Imre Józsa has died

The actor was 62 years old, has long suffered from a serious illness. Józsa Imre was born in Budapest on 18 March 1954. He received a degree from The Theatre and Film Academy in 1978. Then contracted at the Attila József Theatre.

He appeared in theater and films, as well as being a voice actor whose voice was often heard. He was the Hungarian voice of Nicolas Cage, Chevy Chase and was the voice of South Park’s Mr. Garrison. About the role in an interview, he said: "According to the feedback, many people love South Park Garrison Lord of teachers as well. This role and genre is absolutely not my thing, but perhaps that's why the task is a challenge. "

The actor won the Jászai Mari Prize in 1988, and was awarded in 1997 the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic Small Cross. (MTI)

Born: 3/18/1954, Budapest, Hungary
Died: 10/30/2016, Budapest Hungary

Imre Józsa’s westerns – voice dubber:
Santa Fe Trail – 1940 [DVD Hungarian voice of Ronal Reagan]
Last Train from Gun Hill – 1959 [DVD Hungarian voice of Earl Holliman]
Bienvenido Padre Murray – 1964 [1989 DVD Hungarian voice of Rene Munoz]
And for a Roof a Sky Full of Stars – 1968 [Hungarian voice of unknown actor]
Oklahoma Crude – 1973 [1981 Video Hungarian voice of Harvey Jason]
Don’t Touch the White Woman – 1974 [Hungarian voice of Ugo Tognazzi]
The White, the Yellow, the Black – 1975 [Hungarian voice of Tomas Milian]
Glory – 1989 [Hungarian voice of Jihmi Kennedy]
Dances With Wolves – 1990 [Hungarian voice of Kevin Costner]
City Slickers – 1991 [Hungarian voice of Billy Crystal]
Four Eyes and Six Guns (TV) – 1992 [Hungarian voice of Judge Reinhold]
City Slickers 2 – 1994 [Hungarian voice of Billy Crystal]
The Adventures of Huck Finn – 2012 [Hungarian voice of unknown actor]

Sunday, October 30, 2016

RIP Rayl Alba

Los Angeles Times
October 30, 2016

September 18, 1926 - October 13, 2016 Ray Alba died October 13, 2016 in Sherman Oaks, California, at the age of 90. His wife, Annabelle Alba, was at his side. The pair were partners and best friends for 50 years, married happily for 38. When he was younger, Ray worked as a lifeguard in Santa Monica and Venice Beach and was on the swim team at Hollywood High. Between high school and college Ray enlisted in the Navy, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He saved the life of a fellow sailor who had fallen off the ship and was caught in a riptide. Ray jumped in and rescued him, winning a commendation for his bravery. Ray went to UCLA to swim, but ended up playing basketball under Coach John Wooden. He majored in Literature to pursue his love of reading. Ray started his career as a sound editor working, without credit, on one scene in "Vertigo." Over the course of his career he worked on nearly 50 movies and television shows, including the movie "Rocky," for which he was nominated for an Oscar. He was working for Stephen J. Cannell when he retired from television and went into business with a partner working in films. He was a voting member of the Academy and he carried the torch in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. His main passions were wine and food. He was a member of the Westwood Wine and Food Society and greatly enjoyed the monthly meetings. He worked out every day into his early eighties, going to Bruce Connor's Gym or running from Brentwood to the ocean and back again. He celebrated his 90th birthday dining at a nice restaurant with his friends and family. He is survived by his wife, Annabelle; brother, Victor Manjarrez; stepdaughter, Mary-Anne King; granddaughter, Megan Kandell and her husband, Michael Ehler; and great-grandson, Jack Kandell-Ehler.

Born: 9/18/1926, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Died: 10/13/2016, Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.A.

Ray Alba’s westerns – sound effects editor, sound designer:
Bat Masterson (TV) – 1961 [sound editor]
Death Valley Days (TV) – 1962-1963 [sound effects editor]
The Hatfields and the McCoys (TV) – 1975 [sound effects editor]
Death Hunt – 1981 [sound designer]

Saturday, October 29, 2016

RIP Norman Brokaw

Norman Brokaw Dies: Influential William Morris Leader Was 89

Deadline Hollywood
By Patrick Hipes, Anita Busch

Norman Brokaw, who pioneered the mailroom-to-agent route in Hollywood and went on to become chairman of the William Morris Agency, has died. He was 89. Brokaw was one of the last of his generation of agents of that era, working alongside Abe Lastfogel, Stan Kamen, Morris Stoller and (the often despised) Sammy Weisbord. He and Kamen basically built the William Morris television department from scratch.

Brokaw took over the career of Marilyn Monroe after his Uncle Johnny Hyde died. It was his Uncle Johnny who brought “Normie” into the mailroom at the agency. After four years slaving away there, Brokaw was promoted to a secretary and then an agent before he was hand-picked to start the television department in Los Angeles. He helped push the William Morris clients to crossover from film to TV and worked personally with Danny Thomas. Kamen worked with Sheldon Leonard. And all four — the two agents and Thomas and Leonard –became power in television. Brokaw helped put  packages together for T&L Productions which produced The Danny Thomas Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Real McCoys, The Andy Griffith Show and its spin-off Gomer Pyle. He and Weisbord worked together to package popular TV shows like The Mod Squad.

He was also Bill Cosby’s agent and as such, was instrumental in getting the young comedian cast on I Spy and eventually spearheaded deals that led to The Cosby Show.

Brokaw was considered one the giants of his generation and he helped as an agent on what was a who’s who of Hollywood and beyond — among them Marilyn Monroe, Barbara Stanwyck, Loretta Young, Mark Spitz, Clint Eastwood (Len Hirshan took him over), Andy Griffith, Kim Novak, Natalie Wood, President Gerald Ford, Tony Orlando, Priscilla Presley, Tony Randall, Hank Aaron, Marcia Clark and Christoper Darden, and Brooke Shields.

Brokaw’s son, David, confirmed his father died today in Beverly Hills after a long illness.

Brokaw began working for William Morris in 1943 at 15 as its first trainee. He eventually was was elected President and CEO in February 1989, and two years later was named Chairman and CEO.

Brokaw was immensely proud of his achievements, and chafed at being overlooked as players like Michael Ovitz and Ron Meyer gobbled up attention in the 1980s and ’90s. Once, he threatened to sue a Los Angeles Times reporter for leaving him off an agency power list, raising the prospect of an unusual claim for libel by omission. Instead, he invited the reporter to lunch at the Hillcrest Country Club, and read aloud from a manuscript story of his life over desert.

In 2010, Brokaw received the TV Academy’s Governors Award on Brokaw — the only agent to be given the group’s highest honor.

BROKAW, Norman (Norman R. Brokaw)
Born: 4/21/1927, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 10/29/2016, Beverly Hills, Californai, U.S.A.

Norman Brokaw’s western – executive producer:
Four Winds – 2013

Friday, October 28, 2016

RIP Zacherley
By Chris Alexander   
October 28, 2016

Legendary New York based horror host John Zacherle (aka Zacherley) passes away at age 98

Unfortunately news to glean just before Halloween, but a man who devoted much of his life to monster culture, iconic TV horror movie host John Zacherle passed away yesterday. He was 98.

Zacherle – or simply Zacherley, as he best known as, was instrumental in creating the “monster kid” movement of the 1950’s, first as the host of New York’s WCAU’s Shock Theater as the character Roland, where he screened classic horror films and “interrupted” them with stylized, campy shtick that both quoted and mocked the movies in question. This format would later be copied by a myriad “horror hosts”. Later, during his run at Philadelphia’s WABC-TV, he changed the name of his character to Zacherley, “The Cool Ghoul”. Zacherle would continue evolving this persona in a myriad mediums throughout the 1960s and 70s as well as appearing in film, television and radio as an actor.

Zacherle is also well known to cult film fans for his blackly funny turn giving voice to the brain sucking parasite Aylmer in Frank Henenlotter‘s gory cult classic Brain Damage. He continued to work and appear at conventions almost right until the point of his death.

Zacherle’s impact on horror was substantial and he will be missed by many. We send our love to all of his fans to and to the friends and family who knew him best.

Born: 9/26/1918, Germantown, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Died: 10/27/2016, Manhattan, New York, U.S.A.

John Zacherle’s western – actor:
Action in the Afternoon (TV) – 1953 (Coroner)