Thursday, October 31, 2019

RIP Roger Cardwell

South Australian TV and radio legend Roger Cardwell dead at 85

The Advertiser
By Renato Castello
October 26, 2019

Much-loved presenter, actor, reporter and musician Roger Cardwell has died aged 85, surrounded by his family.

A giant of Adelaide’s music and media scene, the former television and radio presenter passed away at a nursing home on Saturday morning succumbing to cancer.

Cardwell became a household name in a five-decade media career which saw him front news bulletins for all major Adelaide commercial television networks.

The former journalist was also a newsreader for 5AD-FM and 5DN from 1985 to 1998.

His ex-wife and former Channel 9 weather presenter, Sue Cardwell, announced Cardwell’s death on Facebook saying that he “lives on in all of us”.

“We were all blessed to be here in time to say goodbye and to laugh and cry together as we shared our memories as a family,” the former Here’s Humphrey presenter wrote.

“We sang and hummed together in harmony in his final hours.”

Cardwell’s award-winning singer-songwriter son Jeb said the family “felt gifted to be by his bedside at the we shared our memories as a family”.

“So sad and yet so beautiful,” he said.

Jeb and his sister, Triple J Unearthed winner Abbie, were children from Cardwell’s previous marriage to Wendy and have followed in their father’s musical footsteps.

Sue Cardwell, who was Roger’s fifth wife, has three daughters Vanessa, Chelsea and Rani from a previous marriage.

They, along with Cardwell’s son Simon - from his first marriage - were also by Cardwell’s side when he died.

In the 60s Cardwell was host and performer for Nine’s national TV show Country and Western Hour and Channel 7’s Country Style. He was inducted into the Australian Contry Music Hall of Fame in 1996 as a pioneer of country music television.
Roger Cardwell with television colleague Gail Spiro.

Colleague and friend Greg Clark, who runs a production company, said Cardwell had moved into the Resthaven Malvern nursing home about five years ago due to poor health.

“He really enjoyed his time there and was involved in reading and entertainment of guests,” he said.

After his newsreading career, Cardwell was a sought-after voiceover man for radio and TV commercials.

Clark said he would pick up Cardwell from the nursing home and drive him over to his studio after Cardwell’s poor health stopped him driving.

“The last commercial I did with him was in 2016 before his health really deteriorated — he was a bloody trooper,” he said.

Cardwell had survived two heart attacks. He was diagnosed with blood cancer two months ago and during scans doctors also discovered he had lung cancer.

Born: 7/19/1934, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Died: 10/26/2019, Norwood, South Australia, Australia

Roger Cardwell’s western – actor:
Robbery Under Arms (TV) – 1985 (travelling salesman)

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

RIP Victor Mohica

DeGusipe Funeral Home
October 18, 2019

Victor Manuel Mojica Sr, 86, of Sanford, FL passed away on Thursday, October 17, 2019. As Victor Mohica he was an American film and television actor, who was active from the early 1960s to mid-1990s and is known for his roles in Johnny Firecloud, The Final Countdown, and Blood In, Blood Out.  Mohica was born on July 31, 1933 in New York, New York and made his acting debut in Charles Crichton-directed 1960 action/comedy film, The Boy Who Stole a Million. In the following years, he appeared in numerous American television series such as General Hospital (1963,) Days of Our Lives (1965,) Dark Shadows (1969,) McCloud (1972,) and Doc Elliot (1974) among others. In the years 1972-74, he appeared as "Nick Thomas" twice on the TV series The F.B.I. He was last seen playing the role of Mano in Taylor Hackford-directed 1993 crime/drama hit film, Blood In, Blood Out. Victor was married to Wanda Mojica and they had two children.

MOHICA, Victor (Victor Manuel Mojica Sr.)
Born: 7/31/1933, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 10/7/2019, Sanford, Florida, U.S.A.

Victor Mohica’s westerns – actor:
Bearcats! – 1971 (Apache)
Hec Ramsey (TV) – 1972 (Len Wolf)
Showdown – 1973 (Big Eye)
Little House on the Prairie (TV) – 1974 (Soldat De Chene
Johnny Firecloud – 1975 (Johnny Firecloud)
How the West Was Won (TV) – 1976 (Billy Joe)
The Deerslayer (TV) – 1978 (Chief Rivenoak)
California Gold Rush (TV) – 1981 (Joaquin Murieta)
The Ghost Dance – 1982 (Tom Eagle)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

RIP Zev Braun

Zev Braun Dies: ‘Tour Of Duty’ Vietnam Drama Producer Was 90

By Greg Evans
October 29, 2019

Zev Braun a TV and film producer whose credits include the acclaimed CBS Vietnam War series Tour of Duty (1987-1990), died peacefully in Los Angeles on Oct. 17, just two days shy of his 91st birthday.

Braun got his start in show business with his debut of the film Goldstein, which he produced with his cousin Philip Kaufman; the film screened at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival, and shared the Prix de la Nouvelle Critique with Bertolucci’s Before the Revolution.

Productions or co-productions in the 1970s included The Pedestrian; the horror film The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, starring Jodie Foster and Martin Sheen; Angela, starring Sophia Loren and John Huston; Freedom Road, starring Muhammad Ali and Kris Kristofferson; and The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu, starring Peter Sellers and Helen Mirren.

In the ’80s, Braun’s credits include TV and features such as Stillwatch, starring Lynda Carter and Angie Dickinson; a four-hour miniseries, Murder Ordained, starring JoBeth Williams, Keith Carradine and Terry Kinney; and a two-hour NBC movie, The Father Clements Story, starring Louis Gossett Jr., Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Carroll O’Connor.

Tour of Duty, for which he’ll be best remembered, ran for three seasons on CBS. Other TV credits include Murphy’s Law, starring George Segal, and Bagdad Cafe, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Jean Stapleton.

Braun remained busy though the ’90s and 2000s, with A Seduction in Travis County, Menendez: A Killing In Beverly Hills, and Dominick Dunne’s 919 Fifth Avenue, among others. Most recently, Braun executive produced the Lifetime film The Gabby Douglas Story, starring Regina King and Imani Hakim.

Braun is preceded in death by his sisters: Miriam Pickard and Judith Weinstein. He is survived by wife Mayling; his children  Ben (Jessica), Jonathon, Jeremy (Roxie), and Sue-Ling (Sam Mickens); his brother, David; as well as his five grandchildren.

Braun Zev
Born: 10/19/1928, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Died: 10/17/2019, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Zev Braun’s westerns – executive producer, producer:
Madron – 1970 [executive producer]
Spaghetti Western – 1975 [producer]

Monday, October 28, 2019

RIP Robert Evans

Robert Evans, ‘Chinatown’ Producer and Paramount Chief, Dies at 89

By Richard Natale and Carmel Dagan          
October 28, 2019

Robert Evans, the Paramount executive who produced “Chinatown” and “Urban Cowboy,” and whose life became as melodramatic and jaw-dropping as any of his films, died on Saturday night. He was 89.

Even though Hollywood history is filled with colorful characters, few can match the tale of Evans, whose life would seem far-fetched if it were fiction. With his matinee-idol looks, but little acting talent, Evans was given starring roles in a few movies and then, with no studio experience, was handed the production reins at Paramount in the 1960s. When he left the exec ranks, his first film as a producer was the classic “Chinatown,” and he followed with other hits, like “Marathon Man” and “Urban Cowboy.” Eventually, his distinctive look and speaking style turned him into a cult figure, and he had the distinction of being the only film executive who starred in his own animated TV series.

His life was a continuous roller-coaster. Amid the successes, Ali MacGraw left him for Steve McQueen, her co-star in the 1972 “The Getaway,” a love triangle that got huge media attention. (MacGraw was the third of Evans’ seven wives.) In 1980, Evans was arrested for cocaine possession and a few years later, was involved in an even bigger scandal: the murder of would-be Hollywood player Roy Radin during the production of “The Cotton Club.” Due to his association with Radin, Evans became a material witness in the execution-style slaying, though no proof of Evans’ knowledge of or connection to the murder was ever established.

Drug dependency and the studios’ changing corporate culture plagued Evans’ later career. When he eventually resurfaced at Paramount in the ’90s, his production track record was mostly undistinguished (“The Saint,” “Sliver”). But by then his larger-than-life persona was already the stuff of Hollywood legend. Evans parodied himself in the film “Burn, Hollywood, Burn” (1998), and Dustin Hoffman, a longtime friend, borrowed liberally from Evans in creating the character of an outrageous producer in the 1997 satire “Wag the Dog,” earning an Oscar nomination in the process.

Evans was born Robert Shapera in New York. Before the age of 18, he had worked on more than 300 radio shows and the occasional TV show and play. A collapsed lung forced him to recuperate for a year, and when he returned, he realized he’d lost his momentum. He worked his charms as a salesman at the sportswear firm Evan-Picone, co-founded by his brother Charles.

Several years later, however, his show business career was revived: In the perhaps apocryphal tale, he was spotted by the pool of the Beverly Hills Hotel with actress Norma Shearer, who asked him to play her deceased husband, the legendary MGM exec Irving Thalberg, in the film “Man of a Thousand Faces.” Darryl Zanuck then cast him as a bullfighter in the 1957 version of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.” The other actors pleaded with Zanuck to replace Evans, but Zanuck sent a telegram, saying, “The kid stays in the picture,” which provided the title for his eventual autobiography. Evans’ good looks carried him only so far, however. His stiff onscreen presence in those movies and in “The Fiend Who Walked the West” (1958) and “The Best of Everything” (1959) did not warm the hearts of reviewers, however, and he returned to the garment industry.

After Evan-Picone was sold to Revlon (netting Evans $2 million, according to some sources), he decided to return to the industry in a producing capacity. He purchased the rights to a novel, “The Detective.” New York Times reporter Peter Bart chronicled Evans’ tale in an article that caught the attention of Fox executives Richard Zanuck and David Brown, who put him in charge of such projects as “Achilles Force” (which was never made) and “The Detective,” starring Frank Sinatra. But his stay at Fox was brief.

He befriended and charmed Charles Bluhdorn of Gulf & Western, which owned Paramount Pictures. The born salesman recognized another born salesman when he met him. In 1966 Bluhdorn controversially named the neophyte Evans VP in charge of production. By 1969 he was exec VP of worldwide production.

Evans’ early Paramount tenure included such monumental flops as “Paint Your Wagon” and “Darling Lili,” which were Bluhdorn’s pet projects. Evans oversaw disappointments including “Catch-22” and the 1974 “The Great Gatsby.”

But they were more than offset by Evans’ successes, starting with “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Goodbye, Columbus,” “Love Story” and “The Godfather” films. The degree to which he personally deserved credit for any of these has always been debated, and even Evans claims that some of the best decisions made during his tenure, particularly with respect to “The Godfather,” were arrived at over his objections.

Evans hired Bart at Paramount; Bart eventually joined Variety in 1989, and profiled Evans in his 2011 book “Infamous Players: A Tale of Movies, the Mob, (and Sex).”

As a studio ambassador Evans was a success. His attention to day-to-day production, however, soon deteriorated, exacerbated by his public divorce from MacGraw and growing cocaine dependency. He clashed openly with Francis Ford Coppola on “The Godfather” (and was slighted by Coppola when he accepted his screenplay Oscar). After Barry Diller was brought in over him in 1974, Evans eased into a producing deal. His first crucible was “Chinatown,” a tempestuous but ultimately successful enterprise that was nominated for 11 Oscars.

After that, Evans started to slowly go downhill even as a producer. Thriller “Marathon Man,” starring Dustin Hoffman, was a hit in 1976, and 1977’s “Black Sunday” did OK, but did not live up to expectations. His tennis drama “Players” (starring MacGraw) was a flop, and neither “Urban Cowboy” nor “Popeye” (both 1980) were big enough hits to restore his golden-boy reputation.

In 1980, at age 50, he was convicted of cocaine possession, during a period when widespread drug use was plaguing the industry and tarnishing its reputation nationally. Evans’ Rat Pack-style behavior was by then quickly falling out of fashion in an increasingly buttoned-down corporate town.

A personal dream, “The Cotton Club,” became a never-ending nightmare, taking up several years of Evans’ life and almost $50 million. The hybrid of music and gangsters found Evans begging Coppola to take over the reins. The results were uneven, but artistically interesting; the production was tied to underworld money and, in attempting to raise more funds for the film, Evans became involved with Radin, whose murder seemed to be a case of life imitating art. The scandal cast a large shadow over Evans that he never successfully overcame. “The Cotton Club,” released by Orion Pictures in 1984, went down in flames.

Evans planned to make an acting comeback in 1985 in “The Two Jakes,” a sequel to “Chinatown” to be directed by Robert Towne (who wrote the original). But he had not grown as an actor and, soon after production began, Evans was fired. The film was shut down, only to be revived in 1990 under the direction of Jack Nicholson, who co-starred with Harvey Keitel. Evans was distanced from the sequel, which was a failure.

He returned to Paramount in the early ’90s as a producer, but the salacious “Sliver” (1993) and “Jade” (1995) were both significant failures. The comic-book-like “The Phantom” (1996) also sank without a trace. In 1997 Evans produced “The Saint,” based on the long-running TV espionage-adventure series. He’d been nurturing the project for several years and hoped the film would be the first entry in a franchise. But the movie, starring Val Kilmer, didn’t turn out as well as expected and the sequels never came to pass.

His private life once again made the headlines when Evans’ name was mentioned among the customers for Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss’ service. An entire chapter on his sexual habits was detailed in the salacious and hyperbolic book “You’ll Never Make Love in This Town Again.” Evans had already published a frank memoir of his life, 1994’s “The Kid Stays in the Picture,” admitting some of his virtues and his vices.

In 1998 Evans suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed on one side and unable to speak, but he eventually made a full recovery after much therapy.

He made a triumphant return in some sense with the 2002 documentary adaptation of “The Kid Stays in the Picture,” directed by Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen, in which Evans idiosyncratically discussed his life.

Taking advantage of the increased exposure, he exec produced “Kid Notorious,” a 2003 animated series based on his unique persona for Comedy Central. The same year he produced the successful romantic comedy “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.”

Evans maintained an office on the Paramount Pictures lot, and continued to develop projects, though none came to fruition: He had long planned a movie based on the renegade car builder John DeLorean, written by James Toback to be produced with Brett Ratner; he also had in development a sci-fi movie set in a futuristic Manhattan and based on a graphic novel, “NYC2123”; “Whip Smart,” the story of a young dominatrix to be directed by Catherine Hardwicke; and a superhero film, “Foreverman,” based on an original character created by Stan Lee and to be produced with Lee.

He was married and divorced seven times, first to actress Sharon Hugueny, then to actress Camilla Sparv and, after his divorce from MacGraw, to former Miss America Phyllis George. His brief 1998 marriage to actress Catherine Oxenberg was annulled. Thereafter he was married to Leslie Ann Woodward and Victoria White.

He and MacGraw had a son, Josh, an actor and director. Survivors also include a grandson.

EVANS, Robert (Robert Shapera)
Born: 6/4/1930, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 10/26/2019, U.S.A.

Robert Evans’ westerns – actor, producer:
The Fiend Who Walked the West – 1958 (Felix Griffin)
Urban Cowboy – 1980 [producer]

Sunday, October 27, 2019

RIP Anne Phelan

TV Tonight
By David Knox
October 28, 2019

Veteran Australian actress Anne Phelan, best known for Prisoner and Winners & Losers, has died, aged 75.
Showbiz colleagues were sharing the news yesterday on social media.

Phelan enjoyed a long career on stage and screen with TV roles from the 1970s in such shows as Ryan, Homicide, Division 4, Matlock Police and 4 years on Bellbird as Kate Ashwood. Soaps including Skyways, Holiday Island, A Country Practice, Sons & Daughters and Carson’s Law all followed.

She received two Television Society of Australia Awards for 124 episodes as Myra Desmond in Prisoner. Myra was the 2nd longest running Top Dog after Bea Smith. Phelan, who recently attended the 40th anniversary cast reunion, originally appeared in the show in bit parts as a prison officer and as a different inmate.

For Something in the Air she played Monica Taylor, and she had 3 years on Winners & Losers as grandma Dot Gross, mother of Francis Greenslade’s Brian.

There were many other credits including The Harp in the South, The Fast Lane, Mother & Son, GP, Inside Running, Skirts, Col’n Carpenter, Snowy River: The McGregor Saga, Law of the Land, Good Guys Bad Guys, Simone de Beauvoir’s Babies, Blue Heelers, The Micallef Program, Thunderstone, Marshall Law, Dogwoman, Marshall Law, The Librarians, Neighbours, and Sammy J & Randy in Ricketts Lane.

Film credits included The Devil’s Playground, Hard Knocks, The Craic & Charlie & Boots. She also enjoyed a prolific stage career with the likes of St Martins Theatre Co., Melbourne Theatre Co., Playbox Theatre, State Theatre Co. of SA, Black Swan, Queensland Theatre Co., Deckchair Theatre, La Mama and Sydney Theatre Co.

Phelan was passionate about social causes, becoming Patron of Positive Women (Victoria), including when HIV / AIDS was considered taboo, and is a member of Actors For Refugees. In 2007 she received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for service to the arts as an actress, and to the community, particularly through support for women living with the HIV virus and for asylum seekers and refugees. In 2016 she also received the Equity Lifetime Achievement Award.

50 years after giving up her daughter for adoption -when she was a pregnant 16 year old- she was reunited wth her daughter Sandra.

In 2012 she told TV Tonight, 'We thought Something in the Air would run for 10 years, and I was quite happy to be in it for 10 years and Channel 2 axed it. Family and Friends a long, long time ago, same thing. Came to work one morning, got out of the car and someone said ‘Don’t worry about getting out of the car, we’ve been axed.’

“Never expect anything in this industry because it can turn the other way.

“Unless I’m enjoying the job, I don’t care how fabulous the role is or how brilliant the series is. If I’m not enjoying myself, forget it.”

PHELAN, Anne (Anne Mary Phelan)
Born: 8/2/1948, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died: 10/27/2019, Bendigo, Victoria, Australai

Anne Phelan’s western – actress:
Snowy River: The McGregor Saga (TV) – 1996 (Nell Frampton)