Wednesday, March 29, 2017

RIP David Farrow

Skagit Valley Herald
March 30, 2017

The life force that was David Marcus Farrow left this earth on Monday evening, March 27, 2017. He was home by a window with cats on his bed.

David entered this world on June 23, 1929 in the parsonage of the First Christian Church in Rosalia, Washington. His father, Eugene Oregon Farrow, was giving a sermon when his mother, Ione Wilkins Farrow, gave birth to a very boisterous boy.

His sister, Bertie Jean, was two years old at the time.

In 1931, the Farrows moved to Los Angeles, California where David grew and thrived. As a teenager, during the war years, David got a job parking cars at Hollywood's famous nightclubs.

His stories of fast cars and famous actors always delighted people.

He enlisted in the Air Force in 1950 where he became a jet engine mechanic. He was stationed at Sheppard, Chanute and Luke AFB's. At Luke, he worked with the Air Force Demonstration Team that evolved into The Thunderbirds.

After his discharge, he prospected for gold, uranium and other precious metals in the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico.

Hollywood still lured him and he returned to begin a career as an actor.

Acting doesn't always pay well. He soon learned that his mechanical aptitude would serve him well on the other side of the camera as a grip, prop maker and production manager.

David eventually became a television commercial director for John Urie and Company, one of the first "boutique" production companies in Hollywood.

In 1971 he joined Paisley Productions as a staff director. At Paisley he met his life partner, Christine Kitch, who later became the "Mrs.". His clients included, Lincoln Mercury, Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Mazda, TRW, Toyota, Maytag and Sears.

Paisley closed in 1989 and David moved to Paramount Images, the commercial division of Paramount Pictures under a three year contract.

Studio restrictions never suited David, so when his contract expired he continued to direct under his own company name: Thimblerig Films.

The love of fast cars and motorcycles reached a peak in 1986 when David became the first man to race in the Baja 1000 on a customized Harley Davidson. He named it "Harley's Comet".

Ending his directing career in 2000, David focused on his true passion, flying. He flew for Angel Flight. He flew for pleasure. He flew to explore.

The last chapter of his life began in 2007 when the Farrows moved to Mount Vernon, Washington into a small home with a big view of Mount Baker.

New friends were made wherever he turned. He flew photographic flights for the Skagit Land Trust. He counted salmon in his own creek. He lived life with the joy of constant discovery.

When the weather warms and the days are long we will celebrate a life well lived.tin

FARROW, David (David Marcos Farrow)
Born: 6/23/1929, Rosalia, Washington, U.S.A.
Died: 3/27/2017, Mount Vernon, Washington, U.S.A.

David Farrow’s westerns – actor:
The Virginian (TV) – 1967, 1968 (Carter, Harkness)
Daniel Boone (TV) – 1968 (sentry)
The High Chaparral (TV) – 1969 (Frank)
The Last of the Mohicans – 1997 (guard)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

RIP Christine Kaufmann

Las Vegas Review-Journal
March 28, 2017

Golden Globe winner, ex-wife of Tony Curtis, Christine Kaufmann, dies

Christine Kaufmann, an Austrian-born actor who became the country’s first Golden Globe winner and was married to Tony Curtis in the 1960s, has died. She was 72.

Kaufmann died in Munich after a battle with leukemia, her management company told the dpa news agency Tuesday.

Born in 1945, Kaufmann made her acting debut in 1952 and won a Golden Globe for her 1961 Hollywood debut, “Town Without Pity,” where she played alongside Kirk Douglas as a German girl raped by American soldiers.

She met Curtis the year later while filming “Taras Bulba” and the two married in 1963. They had two daughters before divorcing in 1968.

While continuing to act, Kaufmann later in life also wrote health and beauty books, and established her own line of cosmetics.

KAUFMANN, Christine
Born: 1/11/1945, Lengdorf, Bavaria, Germany
Died: 3/28/2017 Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Christine Kaufmann’s westerns – actress:
Burning Daylight (TV) – 1975 (Marget ‘Labiskwee’)
Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn  - 2014 (Aunt Polly)

RIP Lee Farr

Los Angeles Times
March 27, 2017

April 10, 1927 - March 23, 2017 Lee Farr died peacefully in Woodland Hills, California, on March 23rd, following a long fight against cancer. He was less than three weeks shy of the 90th birthday that was his goal. Born Leon Farb in New York on April 10, 1927 (not Liberty, Missouri, as the Internet insists), Lee grew up in Brooklyn, son of photographer Jacob Farb and Rose Draisin Farb. He graduated from Boys High School, served in the Navy, and studied geophysics at Penn State University. After working briefly as a geologist, he turned to acting, becoming familiar to television viewers as Detective Lt. Jim Conway on ABC's Robert Taylor's Detectives. His flashing smile and equally convincing scowl led to roles as both good and bad guys on Bonanza, Mission Impossible, The Invaders, M Squad, Have Gun Will Travel, Lassie, The Rifleman, Perry Mason, The Rockford Files, and other iconic series of the sixties and seventies. His feature films included Gunfighters of Abilene, Lone Texan, Tarawa Beachhead, and Thundering Jets. He also starred on the Los Angeles stage in Death of a Salesman; A View from the Bridge; Julius Caesar; and A Hatful of Rain. Lee was predeceased by his sister, Lottie Kelban (Harold), and half-brothers Abe and Dave Caroff; survived by daughter Denise; nephews Russell Kelban, Stuart Kelban (Marjorie Saul), and niece Laurie Kelban (Eric Schuhmann); cousins Jack Michaelson, Shelley Sosniak Wesolowski, and Stacy McLaughlin; and great-nephews Oscar Kelban and Daniel Schuhmann.

FARR, Lee (Leon Farr)
Born: 4/10/1927, Liberty, Missouri, U.S.A.
Died: 3/23/2017, Woodland Hills, California, U.S.A.

Lee Farr’s westerns – actor:
Lone Texasn – 1958 (Riff)
The Sheriff of Cochise (TV) – 1958 (Mack Bannon)
The Rifleman (TV) – 1958, 1961 (Sam Montgomery, Carl Avery)
Gunfighters of Abilene – 1959 (Judd Hainline)
Have Gun – Will Travel (TV) – 1959 (Jack Wilse)
Lawman (TV) – 1959 (Ben Greene)
The Restless Gun (TV) – 1959 (Jack Wise)
Trackdown (TV) – 1959 (Tris Corey, Charley Wagner)
Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV) – 1959 (Al Calico Jarrett)
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (TV) – 1960 (Claude Turner)
Laramie (TV) – 1962 (Lon)
Bonanza (TV) – 1962, 1969 (Johnny Simms, Sam Torrance)
Lancer (TV) – 1969 (Lucky Morgan)

Monday, March 27, 2017

RIP Allan Weiss

Allan Weiss, Writer on 6 Elvis Presley Movies, Dies at 90

The Hollywood Reporter
By Mike Barnes

He was there in 1956 for the singer's first Hollywood screen test and later penned 'The Sons of Katie Elder.'

Screenwriter Allan Weiss, who was on hand to witness Elvis Presley's first Hollywood screen test and worked on six of the singer's movies in the 1960s, has died. He was 90.

Weiss died Thursday at a nursing facility in Mission Viejo, Calif., his nephew, Ken Maas, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Weiss provided the story for Presley's Blue Hawaii (1961) and wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for the films Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962), Fun in Acapulco (1963), Roustabout (1964), Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966) and Easy Come, Easy Go (1967).

Weiss once noted that to write a screenplay for an Elvis movie, "You had to make room for 12 songs, and they had to be integrated." He and Anthony Lawrence's script for Roustabout was nominated for a WGA award for best movie musical that year, losing out to Mary Poppins.

Weiss received credit for just one other screenplay during his career — for The Sons of Katie Elder (1965), the Henry Hathaway-directed film that starred John Wayne and Dean Martin.

Weiss was an associate of renowned producer Hal B. Wallis, whose credits included The Maltese Falcon (1941), Casablanca (1942) and several films starring Martin and Jerry Lewis. The writer was present when Wallis, then based at Paramount Pictures, made Presley's screen test in March 1956.

"No one had any expectations; [Presley] was such a strange, quiet fellow — so completely foreign," Weiss said in the 2004 book Elvis Presley: The Man. The Life. The Legend. "But he sang and read a scene from [the N. Richard Nash play] The Rainmaker and answered questions asked from off-screen — and it was phenomenal. It was an amazing experience to be there, one of those life-changing experiences."

A native of Sharon, Pa., Harry "Allan" Weiss served in the U.S. Army, was stationed in Germany and was as a translator during the Nuremberg trials. He then graduated from UCLA and worked as a sound engineer and in journalism.

Weiss' partner, producer Paul Nathan, who also worked alongside Wallis, died in 1977. The two are buried near each other at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Maas said.

WEISS, Allan (Harry Allan Weiss)
Born: 1927, Sharon, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Died: 3/23/2017, Mission Viejo, California, U.S.A.

Allan Weiss’ western – screenwriter:
The Sons of Katie Elder - 1965

RIP Alessandro Alessandroni

Goodbye to Alessandro Alessandroni, the western world's most famous ‘whistle’

The composer, conductor and arranger Alessandro Alessandroni died in Rome. He had just turned 92 years-old. Celebrated for his 'whistle' which made many great soundtracks of the spaghetti western genre. 'For a Few Dollars More' is its 'booed' most iconic.

La Repubblica ·
By Valeria Rusconi and Ernesto Assante
March 27, 2017

"It's very simple. I phoned Ennio Morricone and he told me: 'Sandro, come down here for a moment, in the room, we need you to whistle. Well, it was really a whistle, nothing more, but think about what happened next ... When we saw the film, I have to admit that no one thought it would make a penny". And instead. Instead the 'whistling' really did change everything. Alessandro Alessandroni, the master - it is right to call him that - says the opening words of the most famous of his career and the most iconic of Western movies song that for a Fistful of Dollars, made up by Morricone, which made the film music of Sergio Leone - and practically made all the best western movies - even bigger. "It was a great professional partnership, we had a wonderful collaboration," he told La Repubblica. Morricone, "knew very well I could play the guitar and was the director of the choir and this was superb. And he knew very well that I could whistle. He had worked on A Fistful of Dollars and on other occasions. Why I chose him to whistle? by chance, I needed a whistle, I asked the musicians working with me who was able to whistle well and others I liked less. He had the courage to try".

The composer, conductor and arranger Alessandro Alessandroni died in Rome, in the city that gave him birth on March 18, 1925, on March 26th. He had just turned 92 years of age. The announcement came on the official Facebook page of the composer: "It is with great sorrow that I inform you of the death yesterday of the master Alessandro Alessandroni born in Rome on March 18, 1925, composer, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and choir director. There will be a memorial service at his home in Namibia with music and musicians directed by his son Alex Jr. Alessandroni".

Alessandroni approached music when he was still a boy. At the time he lived in the country of his mother, in the province of Viterbo. He was 11 years old and listened insistently, whenever he could to classical music. He began playing the guitar with assistance from a friend. The place is one of those details. He told in an interview to the blog Planet Hexacord: "I started in the barber shop, because in small countries it is a reference point: there were the instruments, the guitar, the mandolin. They worked a little, but it sounded a lot. .. ". While he was attending the last year of high school he formed his first band, with whom he performed for local dance halls. Quick to learn, in a short time he become proficient on several instruments, which he alternates during his performances: as a teenager he already is able to play the guitar, the piano, the accordion, sax, flute, mandolin and sitar, one of the first Italians to try their hand on this complex stringed instrument. He obtained his diploma at the Conservatory in Rome, and found a job in the film production company Fonolux There he meets the great Nino Rota, his senior by 14 years, who wants him in his orchestra. Then came the whistle. It was almost by accident. Alessandroni, at some point, when Rota asked for a volunteer to whistle. Whistling become his new tool to play with and one of the moments that characterized the soundtracks of the Spaghetti Westerns. Music in effect: "My whistle parts are on the staff," explained Alessandroni, "and woe to miss the pitch, to make mistakes." That thought also by Federico Fellini, author of his soprannonme: Alessandroni for him was simply "The Whistler".

In 1962 he founded the octet I Cantori Moderni, a formation that takes the place of his previous group, the Caravels Quartet. With him, the band is formed by soprano Edda Dell'Orso, Augustus Garden, Franco Cossacks, Nino Dei, Enzo Gioieni, Gianna Spagnuolo and, not the least, his wife Julia De Mutiis.

The most important co-operation, long-lived and linked by a sincere esteem Alessandroni remains to this day one with Ennio Morricone: besides the famous whistle of For a Fistful of Dollars he also worked on For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Alessandroni was used by all the most important Italian composers of the time, in the 1960s, such as Piero Umiliani, for which he sang along with his wife Giulia in great song Mah-na Mah-na, extracted from the soundtrack of Svezia inferno e paradiso by Louis Scattini (1968) and the master Armando Trovajoli. With the arrival of the seventies, for ARC of the RCA label which was dedicated to the ‘young Italian music’, between beats and 'world exotico', a public-disc collection of twelve songs in the race to the edition of 1969 of Canzonissima. Are recorded, of course, the tune and work on the Hammond organ solo is credited to Ron Alexander, his pseudonym.

The name of Alessandroni had become one of worship across the board, and had crossed generations and musical styles, especially he had conquered the library music enthusiasts. Among the last to want in their drive Baustelle, group of Montepulciano, who have chosen it for one of their best albums. "Alessandro Alessandroni is the oldest guest," explained Francesco Bianconi, the singer, "a wonderful eighty-four and played the sitar, accordion, acoustic guitar and he did blow the whistle". The song title, not surprisingly, was Spaghetti Western. The Album, Amen.

Born: 3/18/1925, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Died: 3/26/2017, Rome, Lazio, Italy

Alessandro Alessandroni’s westerns – composer, musician, whistler, choir:
A Fistful of Dollars – 1964 [guitar, whistle, choir]
Massacre at Marble City – 1964 [choir]
For a Few Dollars More – 1965 [guitar, whistle]
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – 1966 [guitar]
Seven Dollars on the Red – 1966 [choir]
Any Gun Can Play – 1967 [composer]
Payment in Blood – 1967 [choir]
Wanted – 1967 [choir]
Once Upon a Time in the West – 1968 [whistle]
The Wild and the Dirty – 1968 [composer]
El Puro – 1969 [composer]
Raise Your Hands, Dead Man, You're Under Arrest – 1971 [composer]
Zorro the Invincible – 1971 [composer]
The Crazy Bunch – 1974 [composer]
White Fang and the Gold Diggers – 1975 [composer]
White Fang and the Hunter – 1975 [composer]
Lucky Luke – 1991 [whistle]
Lucky Luke (TV) – 1991-1992 [whistle]