Monday, June 29, 2009

RIP Fred Travalena

Comedian Fred Travalena dies of cancer.

Comedian and impersonator Fred Travalena died Sunday afternoon after a seven-year battle with cancer. He was 66.

Comedian Fred Travalena had a 40-year career in show business.

Travalena -- known as "The Man of a Thousand Faces" -- died at home in Encino, California, surrounded by family, according to his publicist.

He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2002 and prostate cancer in 2003. Following five years' remission, the lymphoma returned in 2008.

"Since that time, he has been in and out of treatment, consisting of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation," spokesman Roger Neal said.

During Travalena's 40-year career, he entertained audiences with impressions of celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Bob Hope. He was a regular on the "Tonight Show," with Johnny Carson.

Travalena is survived by his wife of 39 years, Lois; sons Fred IV and Cory; daughter-in-law, Kelly; and a granddaughter.

Private services will be held this week, with a public memorial service to be announced later.

Born: 10/6/1942, Bronx, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 6/28/2009, Encino, California, U.S.A.

Fred Travalena's westerns - actor, voice actor:
Escape from Grumble Gulch - 1983 [English voice of William Dalton]
Luvky Luke (TV) - 1983-1984, 1990-1991 [English voice of William Dalton]
Walker, Texas Ranger (TV) - 1995 (Ross Perot)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

RIP Gale Storm

Gale Storm, perky star of 1950s TV, dies at 87

The Associated Press
Sunday, June 28, 2009; 7:09 PM

LOS ANGELES -- Gale Storm, whose wholesome appearance and perky personality made her one of early television's biggest stars on "My Little Margie" and "The Gale Storm Show," has died at age 87.

Storm, who had been in failing health in recent years, died Saturday at a convalescent hospital in Danville, said her son, Peter Bonnell.

Before landing the starring role in "My Little Margie" in 1952, Storm appeared in numerous B movies opposite such stars as Roy Rogers, Eddie Albert and Jackie Cooper. After her last TV series, "The Gale Storm Show," ended in 1960 she went on to a successful singing career while continuing to make occasional TV appearances.

Storm was a Texas high schooler named Josephine Owaissa Cottle when she entered a talent contest for a radio show called "Gateway to Hollywood" in 1940. She was brought to Los Angeles for the finals, where her wholesome vivacity won over the radio audience and she was awarded a movie contract.

The contest's male winner was a lanky would-be actor named Lee Bonnell, who would later become her husband.

Given the quirky name Gale Storm, she went from contracts with RKO to Monogram to Universal, appearing in such low-budget films as "Where Are Your Children?" with Cooper and "Tom Brown's School Days" with Freddie Bartholomew.

She was often cast in westerns as the girl the cowboy left behind, and appeared in such B-movie oaters as "The Dude Goes West" with Albert, "The Kid from Texas" with Audie Murphy and "The Texas Rangers" with George Montgomery.

"I was really scared of horses," she admitted in 2000. "I only rode them because that's what you had to do."

She appeared in three Republic westerns with Rogers and recalled that his horse Trigger did what he could to cause her trouble. As she would smile and ride alongside Rogers while the king of the cowboys crooned a song, Trigger (out of camera range) would lean over and bite her horse's neck.

With her movie roles diminishing in the early 1950s, Storm followed the path of many fading movie stars of the day and moved on to television.

"My Little Margie" debuted on CBS as a summer replacement for "I Love Lucy" in 1952. It quickly became an audience favorite and moved to its own slot on NBC that fall.

The premise was standard sitcom fare: Charles Farrell was a business executive and eligible widower, Storm was his busybody daughter who protected him from predatory women.

The year after "My Little Margie" ended its 126-episode run in 1955, she moved on to "The Gale Storm Show" (also known as "Oh! Susanna") which lasted until 1960. This time she played Susanna Pomeroy, a trouble-making social director on a luxury liner.

Storm, who had taken vocal lessons, sang on her second series, and three of her records became best sellers: "I Hear You Knocking," "Teenage Prayer" and "Dark Moon."

She appeared only sporadically on TV after "The Gale Storm Show," guest starring on such programs as "Burke's Law," "The Love Boat" and "Murder, She Wrote."

She appeared in numerous musicals, however, including Gian Carlo Menotti's "The Old Maid and the Thief" at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. Other stage credits included "Unsinkable Molly Brown" (as the title character), "South Pacific" and "Finian's Rainbow."

Although Storm had not acted in recent years, Peter Bonnell said his mother enjoyed keeping in touch with fans and had known many of them for years.

Her fans were surprised to read in her 1980 autobiography, "I Ain't Down Yet," that she was an alcoholic.

"I had hidden it socially, never drank before a performance," she said. After being treated in three hospitals, she found one that helped her break the habit. On her Web site, she credited Bonnell, her husband of 45 years, with helping her survive that dark period.

Born April 5, 1922, in Bloomington, Texas, Storm was only 13 months old when her father died. Her mother supported five children by taking in sewing.

Storm's first husband died in 1987, and the following year she married former TV executive Paul Masterson. He died in 1996.

Storm and Bonnell had three sons, Phillip, Peter and Paul, and a daughter, Susanna. Storm is survived by her children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

STORM, Gale real name Josephine Owaissa Cottle
Born: 4/5/1922, Bloomington, Texas, U.S.A.
Died: 6/27/2009, Danville, California, U.S.A.

Gale Storm's westerns - actress:
Saddlemates - 1941 (Susan Langley)
Jesse James at Bay - 1941 (Jane Filmore)
Red River Valley - 1941 (Kay Sutherland)
Man from Cheyenne - 1942 (Judy Evans)
The Dude Goes West - 1948 (Liza Crockett)
Stampede - 1949 (Connie Dawson)
The Kid from Texas - 1950 (Irene Kain)
Curtain Call at Cactus Creek - 1950 (Julie Martin)
Al Jennings of Oklahoma - 1951 (Margo St. Claire)
The Texas Rangers - 1951 (Helen Fenton)
Woman of the North Country - 1952 (Cathy Norlund)

RIP Spyros Kologyrou

The king of the Greek cinema, actor Spyros Kalogirou breathed his last on Saturday. He was 87. He had been in an Athens hospital suffering from a brain infection since early May. He will be laid to rest on Monday morning in Markopoulo.

Born: 11/3/1922, Athens, Greece
Died: 6/27/2009, Athens Greece

Spyros Kologyrou's western - actor:
Oi sfaires den gyrizoun (Bullets Don't Come Back) - 1967 (outlaw leader)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

RIP Keijo Komppa

Keijo Emil Kalervo Komppa was a longtime Finnish character actor. Born on April 10, 1928 in Helsinki, he appeared in films and TV in "War and Peace" and in The Neighborhood Suburb" and was a member of the Finnish National Theater from 1982-1995. Komppa graduated from the school's theater department in 1967 with a dramatic-director's degree. He had been a child actor in the 1930s but his real acting career began in the Helsinki theater when he was a teenager in the late 1940s and the Student Theater where he was a director from 1952-1954. From the '50s on word he would appear on radio, TV and film both as an actor and director. He also loaned his voice to several animated features. Keijo died in Helsinki on June 22nd.

KOMPPA, Keijo Kalervo Emil
Born: 4/10/1928, Helsinki, Finland
Died: 6/22/2009, Helsinki, Finland

Keijo Komppa's western - actor:
Villa Pohjola (The Wild North) - 1955 (outlaw)

Friday, June 26, 2009

RIP Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett, a reigning symbol of American pop culture who never quite managed to escape the one electrifying role that made her that symbol - as one of "Charlie's Angels" - has died. She was 62 and had been suffering from anal cancer, which had recently spread to her liver.

"After a long and brave battle with cancer, our beloved Farrah has passed away," Fawcett's longtime partner, Ryan O'Neal, said in a statement released by Fawcett's publicist, Paul Bloch. "Although this is an extremely difficult time for her family and friends, we take comfort in the beautiful times that we shared with Farrah over the years and the knowledge that her life brought joy to so many people around the world."

A near-mythic figure of '70s TV screen and pinup poster fame, with her radiant grin and bounteous hair, Fawcett became a cultural star - at one time adored, then mimicked, by fans, and mobbed by paparazzi. She was one of those uniquely Hollywood/tabloid creations who would in time seem famous simply because she was famous.

Born in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1947, Fawcett moved to Los Angeles after high school, and was cast in small roles in series such as "I Dream of Jeannie" and "The Flying Nun." After marrying TV star Lee Majors in 1973, she guest-starred in four episodes of his hit series "The Six Million Dollar Man" and began doing ads for Wella Balsam hair products. That led to a poster company inquiring about taking her picture.

A deal was struck, and the Fawcett pinup - featuring the star in a red bathing suit that didn't hide much at all - became a worldwide best-seller. It remains her iconic image: A picture that for some still recalls an entire decade.

Despite later attempts at serious TV movies and stage work, it was just one role that defined Fawcett for the past 30 years, for better or worse. In 1976, Fawcett - then credited as Fawcett-Majors - was cast as Jill Munroe, one of three female detectives in an ABC series that was originally going to be called "The Alley Cats." The trio never actually saw their boss, but were sent off on assignments to health spas or beaches or nightclubs - where they might model either snug-fitting bathing suits or Nolan Miller gowns. ABC spent up to $20,000 per episode on the costumes Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith wore - insanely profligate even in 1970s dollars.

But her career rehab turned out to be hit or miss. Later lowlights included posing nude in Playboy (1995); a memorably incoherent appearance on "Late Show with David Letterman" (1997); and a well-publicized altercation with her then-boyfriend, director James Orr (1998).

After divorcing Majors in 1982, she began a tempestuous, tabloid-friendly relationship with actor Ryan O'Neal, with whom she co-starred in "Good Sports," a short-lived 1991 CBS series. Their son, Redmond, 24, was - recently was arrested after police said he brought drugs into a California jail.

Her battle with cancer was made public in 2006, and she subsequently signed a deal with a California TV producer to create a show that would follow her on her tireless rounds of treatments for a disease she was certain she would beat. The program aired May 15 on NBC and attracted 9 million viewers (It will be repeated tonight at 9 on Ch. 4).

"Farrah's Story" will be her final credit.

FAWCETT, Farrah Leni
Born: 2/2/1947, Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.A.
Died: 6/25/2009, Santa Monica, California, U.S.A.

Farrah Fawcett's western - actress:
Children of the Dust (TV) - 1995 (Nora Maxwell)

Monday, June 22, 2009

RIP Hal Riddle

Character actor Hal Riddle dies
Thesp was collector of Hollywood memorabilia

Character actor Hal Riddle, an avid collector of Hollywood memorabilia, died June 17 in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 89.
Riddle appeared on numerous TV shows throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s, including "The Fugitive," "Little House on the Prairie," "The Waltons," "Days of Our Lives," "Green Acres," "The F.B.I." and "Eight is Enough."

His fascination with Hollywood began when at the age of 11, he wrote a letter to silent film actress Billie Dove. She sent him an autographed photo and he went on to collect more than 1,700 movie-related items.

While living at the Motion Picture & Television Fund, Riddle met and developed a close friendship with Dove, and later delivered the eulogy at her funeral. Stories about Riddle and Dove's friendship were published in The New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times and Entertainment Weekly.

Riddle started his career in showbusiness in summer theater in Pennsylvania.

In 2001, he donated his collection to his alma mater, Kentucky's Murray State U. The collection spanned 70 years of Hollywood history, including letters from Anthony Hopkins, Harpo Marx and Governor Ronald Reagan; autographed pictures from Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Bette Davis, and posters from films such as "Gone With the Wind," "A Street Car Named Desire," and "From Here to Eternity."

RIDDLE, William Harold 'Hal'
Born: 1917, Fulton, Kentucky, U.S.A.
Died: 6/17/2009, Woodland Hills, California, U.S.A.

Hal Riddle's westerns - actor:
Gunsmoke (TV) - 1958 (townsman)
The Marshal of Windy Hollow - 1972 (Governor)
Bonanza (TV) - 1972 (Tiller)
How the West Was Won (TV) - 1978 (photographer)
Little House on the Prairie (TV) - 1978 (judge)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Danica Acimac

Serbian actress Danica Acimac died of natural causes on June 11, 2009 in Belgrade. Born in Belgrade on December 29, 1928 as Danica Pomorišac she became a TV actress starting in 1959 and appeared in a number of television series until 1976 when she retired from show business.

ACIMAC, Danica real name Danica Pomorišac
Born: 12/29/1928, Belgrade, Serbia, Yugoslavia
Died: 6/11/2009, Belgrade, Serbia

Danica Acimac's western - actress:
Zlatna pracka (The Golden Sling) - 1967 (Stanija)

RIP Howard Dayton

Actor Howard Dayton dies at 81

Feature credits include 'Sting,' 'Dinosaurs!'


Howard Dayton, a character actor who appeared in dozens of films and TV shows from the 1960s to the 1980s, died of pneumonia May 31 in Los Angeles. He was 81.Born in Atlantic City, N.J., Dayton studied in New York and came to Hollywood in 1957.

His feature film credits include "The Sting," "Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice," "Dinosaurus!," "Paradise Alley," "Captain Newman, M.D." and "The Van."

On television, he appeared in shows including "Cagney and Lacey," "Mannix," "Quincy M.E.," "Tales From the Darkside" and "General Hospital."

Dayton, who left no immediate survivors, spent his later years kibitzing with friends at Los Angeles' Farmers Market.

DAYTON, Howard real name Harold Gebstein
Born: 1928, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Died: 5/31/2009, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Howard Dayton's westerns - actor:
The Californians (TV) - 1957 (sailor)
Sky King (TV) - 1958 (Briggs)
Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV) - 1958 (Deputy Michael Peet)
Tombstone Territory (TV) - 1959
Have Gun - Will Travel (TV) - 1960 (Clemmie Tradger)
Rawhide (TV) - 1963

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

RIP Fernando Delgado

Stage, TV and film actor Fernando Delgado died of lung disease on June 15, 2009 in Madrid, Spain. He was born Fernando Martinez Delgado on June 28, 1930 in Porucna, Jaén, Spain during the tour of his parents, actors Luis Martinez Tovar and Julia Delgado Caro. He began to make stage appearances with his mother in the mid-forties. His extraordinary voice allowed him to star in some of the major films of the second half of the last century. Among them were “Papillon” (1967). He was seen regularly both in front of and behind Spanish TV since 1956. His son Albert followed his father and became a theater actor. Fernando Delgado appeared in “El Coyote” in 1955 and in “Zorro the Avenger” 1962.

DELGADO, Fernando Martinez
Born: 5/28/1930, Porcuna, Jaén, Spain
Died: 6/15/2009, Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Fernando Delgado’s westerns – actor:
Judgment of the Coyote – 1954
Zorro the Avenger – 1962

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

RIP Freddy Unger

From the Cinema Italiano website it has been learned that actor, stunt coordinator, stuntman Goffredo “Freddy” Unger passed away in mid May of this year. Word was passed down by his son. Born Goffredo Unger in Oslo, Norway on June 6, 1933 and acted under several pseudonyms such as Freddy Hagar, Fred Hunger, Freddy Hunger, Frederico Hunger and John Silver but is known by most of us as Freddy Unger. Besides his being an actor Unger was also an assistant director, stunt coordinator, stuntman and special effects expert. He appeared in many Spaghetti Westerns as an actor and stuntman but also the stunt coordinator on several. He was one of the best stuntmen who appeared in the genre.

Freddy Unger’s westerns - actor, stuntman, master of arms, stunt coordinator, assistant director:
Un fiume de dollari (The Hills Run Red) - 1966 [as Goffredo Unger]
Faccia a faccia (Face to Face) – 1967 [as Freddy Unger]
Corri, uomo corri (Run, Man Run!) - 1967 [as Freddy Unger] also Master of Arms
Sette pistole per un Gringo (7 Pistols for a Massacre) - 1967 [as Freddy Unger]
Joko, invoca Dio… e muori (Vengeance) - 1967 [as Freddy Unger]
Black Jack - 1968 [as Freddy Unger]
Quel caldo maledetto giorno di fuoco (Gatling Gun) - 1968 [as Freddy Unger]
Uno dopo l’altro (One After the Other) - 1968 [as Freddy Unger]
Uno di più all’inferno (Full House for the Devil) - 1968 [as Freddy Unger]
Viva cangaceiro (The Magnificent Bandits) - 1969 [as Goffredo Unger] also Asst. Dir.
Chapaqua (Chapaqua’s Gold) - 1970 [as Freddy Unger]
Django sfida Sartana (Django Defies Sartana) - 1970 [as Freddy Unger]
Buon funerale, amigos…paga Sartana (Have a Good Funeral… Sartana will Pay) - 1970 [as Goffredo Unger]
Prega per il morto e ammazza il vivo (Shoot the Living and Pray for the Dead) - 1970 [as Freddy Unger] also Stunt Coordinator
Lo chiamavano Spirito Santo (Blazing Guns) - 1971 [as Freddy Unger]
Gli fumavano le colt…lo chiamavano Camposanto (Bullet for a Stranger) - 1971 [as
Freddy Unger]
I corvi ti scaveranno la fossa (The Buzzards and Crows Will Dig Your Grave) - 1971 [as Freddy Unger]
Anda muchacho spara! (Dead Men Ride) - 1971 [as Goffredo Unger]
Testa t’ammazzo, croce sei morto… mi chiamano Alleluia! (Guns for Dollars) - 1971 [as
Freddy Unger]
Lo chiamavano King (His Name was King) - 1971 [as John Silver]
I due figli di Trinita (Two Sons of Trinity ) - 1971 [as Freddy Hunger]
Los amigos (Deaf Smith & Johnny Ears) - 1972 [as Freddy Unger]
Due fratelli i un posto chiamato Trinita (Jesse and Lester, Two Brothers in a Place Called Trinity) - 1972 [as Goffredo Unger]
Il West ti fa stretto, amico…e arrivato Alleluia (The Return of Halleluia) - 1972 [as Goffredo Unger] also Master of Arms
Te deum (Sting of the West) - 1972 [as Freddy Unger]
Trinita e Sartana figli di (Trinity and Sartana those Dirty SOBs) - 1972 – Stunt
Ci risiamo, vero Providenza? (Another Try, Eh Providence) - 1973 [as Goffredo Unger]
Storia di karate pugni e fagioli (Karate, Fists and Beans) - 1973 [as Freddy Unger]
Lo chiamavano Tressette… giocava sempre colla morta (The Man Called Invincible) - 1973 [as Goffredo Unger]
Arriva! il Crow (On the Third Day Arrived the Crow) - 1973 Master of Arms
Il ritorno di zanna bianca (Challenge to White Fang) - 1974 [as Goffredo Unger] also
Stunt Coordinator
Di Tressette ce n’è uno, tutti gli altri son nessuno (The Crazy Bunch) - 1974 [as Freddy Unger]
I quattro dell’apocalisse (Four of the Apocalypse) - 1974 [as Goffredo Unger] also Stunt Coordinator
Una donna chiamata Apache (Apache Woman) - 1976 Stunt Coordinator
Thunder (Thunder Warrior) - 1983 [as Goffredo Unger] also Asst. Dir.

RIP Ward Costello

Actor Edward 'Ward' Costello dies
Worked on stage, film, TV shows since '40s

Edward "Ward" Costello, who had recurring roles on TV series including "The Streets of San Francisco" and "General Hospital," died June 4 in Redlands, Calif. due to complications from a stroke. He was 89.
Costello worked on the stage, on film and in numerous TV shows from the 1940s through the late 1980s.

His first major role was starring in August Strindberg's long-running "The Father" Off Broadway. In the 1950s, Costello began working in live television while continuing to work on the stage in New York.

He starred in soap operas including "Secret Storm" and "The Edge of Night." Other TV appearances included He also "Barnaby Jones," "Little House on the Prairie," "Star "Trek: The Next Generation," "Roe vs. Wade" and "Newhart."

He also worked as a composer and lyricist, including the theme for "The Gallant Hours." Costello's feature film appearances included cult sci-fi pic "Terror from the Year 5000," "The Gallant Hours," and "MacArthur."

Born in Boston, he served in the British Royal Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII, where he was awarded five medals.

After his tour of duty, Ward worked as a foreign news editor for CBS, wrote for newspapers and magazines and studied at the Yale School of Drama. He also studied at the Old Vic and U. of Birmingham in England.

He is survived by his wife, Gerarda; three sons; a daughter; two brothers and a sister.

COSTELLO, Edward 'Ward'
Born: 7/5/1919, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Died: 6/4/2009, Redlands, California, U.S.A.

Ward Costello's westerns - actor:
Law of the Land (TV) - 1976
Little House on the Prairie (TV) - 1980

Monday, June 15, 2009

RIP Allan King

Filmmaker Allan King Dies At 79

One of Canada's greatest filmmakers brilliantly told the stories of others. But now the story of his own life has ended, with the death of director Allan King at the age of 79. He was the man behind a long series of classic films, including the recent documentary "Memory for Max, Claire, Ida and Company" which was made at Toronto's Baycrest Geriatric Centre, TV shows like the award winning "Road To Avonlea," and "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues," a continuation of the classic 70s cult TV show, and 1981's "Silence of the North." King was born in Vancouver in 1930, and never forgot his Canadian roots. His first major documentary, "Warrendale" in 1967, showed viewers the inside of an institution for emotionally disturbed children, while "A Married Couple," traced the end of a marriage. But King was proficient in every kind of cinema, except as his website notes "animation," and had a career that spanned four decades and inspired numerous retrospectives around the world. His 'cinema verite' style was an inspiration for others. But it was the flick "Who Has Seen The Wind," based on W.O. Mitchell's classic novel, that brought King some of his greatest fame. The 1976 film won the Grand Prix at the prestigious Paris International Film Festival and wound up being the highest grossing Canadian movie of that year. He won the Ontario Film Institute Award for Excellence in Canadian Cinema in 1998 and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006. King leaves behind a wife, four children and five grandchildren, and it was his family who confirmed his passing on Monday. They have yet to reveal the exact cause of his death but King was diagnosed with a brain tumour in April.

KING, Alan Winton
Born: 2/6/1930 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Died: 6/15/2009, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Alan King's westerns - director:
Bordertown (TV) - 1989
By Way of the Stars (TV) - 1992

RIP Ivan Della Mea

Ivan Della Mea died Saturday night, June 14 at San Paolo in Milan the singer, poet and writer he was 69 years. The memorial service and last farewell is scheduled for 11 am Tuesday morning at the Circolo Arci Corvetto, where he was president. Born in Lucca on 16 October 1940, he soon moved to Milan where, along with Gianni Bosio, was among the founders of the New Italian songbook. Since 1990 he was director of Ernesto De Martino di Sesto Fiorentino.

Together with people like Joan Marini, Paolo Pietrangeli, Michele Straniero, Della Mea and Dischi del Sole, was a key member of Italian culture, he documented a time in which the accompanying music, where the youthful rebellions of the 1960s, and witnessed the close link between leftist politics and the struggles of our country. His real name was Louis and his activities took place almost entirely in Milan, where he had moved when he was very young and where he started to write songs, for Milly. His most famous song is ‘Cara Maglia’ (aka Dear Wife). His career as an author and activist was very crucial with the meeting of Gianni Bosio. Della Mea was a co-screenwriter with Franco Solinas of the Spaghett Western “Tepepa” (aka Blood and Guns) starring Tomas Milian and Orson Welles.

DELLA MEA, Ivan real name Luigi Della Mea
Born: 10/16/1940, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
Died: 6/14/2009, Milan, Lombardy, Italy

Ivan Della Mea's western - screenwriter:
Tepepa (aka Blood and Guns) - 1968

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Actress Mary Howard de Liagre dies
Roles included 'Abe Lincoln,' 'Swamp Water'

Mary Howard de Liagre, actress and wife of Broadway producer and director Alfred de Liagre, died June 6 in Manhattan. She was 94.
Born in Independence, Kansas, she performed with her twin sisters in the Ziegfeld Follies and was featured in the Broadway revue "Life Begins at 8:40" with Bert Lahr.

She then made her way to Hollywood where Louis B. Mayer put her under contract at MGM. Her feature roles included "Abe Lincoln in Illinois" opposite Raymond Massey; "Billy the Kid" with Robert Taylor; "Swamp Water" opposite Walter Huston, directed by Jean Renoir; "Loves of Edgar Allen Poe"; "Riders of the Purple Sage" opposite George Montgomery; and "Wild Man of Borneo" with Dan Dailey.

She also appeared in "The Great Ziegfeld," as well as "Four Girls in White," "Nurse Edith Cavell," "Marie Antoinette" and "Fast Company."

During WWII she toured service camps, helped organize the USO in Los Angeles and toured hospitals and camps Stateside for servicemen returning from war.

In 1945, she moved to New York and married Alfred de Liagre Jr., a prominent producer who died in 1987.

After retiring from show business to raise her children, she became a founding member of Recording for the Blind and served on the board of The American Academy of Dramatic Art and The Princess Grace Foundation.

She is survived by a son, a daughter and a grandson.

HOWARD, Mary aka Mary Rogers
Born: 5/18/1913, Independence, Kansas, U.S.A.
Died: 6/6/2009, Manhattan, New York, U.S.A.

Mary Howard's westerns - actress:
Billy the Kid - 1941
The Riders of the Purple Sage - 1941

Saturday, June 6, 2009

RIP Del Monroe

Del Monroe was born in Santa Barbara, California. After finishing school Monroe joined the army and it was then when he first became interested in acting. He enrolled in the Pasadena Playhouse where he appeared in more than 30 plays. In 1961 Irwin Allen asked Monroe to play the character of Seaman Kowski in the film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. He later played Seaman Kowalski in the television show of the same name. After "Voyage" ended Monroe made a guest star appearence in another Irwin Allen show, The Time Tunnel and also appeared in many other television shows including 'Gunsmoke', 'Emergency!', 'Mannix', 'Wonder Woman', 'Dukes of Hazzard', 'The Incredible Hulk', 'Hunter', 'The Fall Guy', and 'Fame'. Most recently Del was nominated for a best actor award on stage. Del died of Leukemia on Friday June 5th.

MONROE, Delbert “Del”
Born: 4/7/1936, Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A.
Died: 6/5/2009, Oceanside, California, U.S.A.

Del Monroe’s westerns – actor:
Revenge of the Virgins – 1959
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (TV) – 1960
The Dakota (TV) – 1963
The Legend of Jesse James (TV) – 1965
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1966, 1971, 1973
Lancer (TV) – 1968, 1969, 1970
The Virginian (TV) – 1969

Thursday, June 4, 2009

RIP Shek Kin

Martial arts actor Shek Kin dead at 96.

Hong Kong has lost one of its greatest and longest living film treasures. Veteran martial arts actor Shek Kin (aka Shih Kien, Sek Kin), best known internationally for his role in ENTER THE DRAGON as "Mr. Han," died this morning at the venerable age of 96.

Gregory So, Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development expressed regret at the loss.

"Mr. Shek's brilliant career in the performing arts industry started in the 1940s. Since then he devoted lifelong commitment to the industry. He played a villain role in the Wong Fei-hung film series and had become one of the most recognizable faces of Hong Kong cinema," said So.

"With his death, Hong Kong has lost an outstanding performing arts talent. On behalf of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, I offer our deepest condolences to Mr. Shek's family."

Shek was one of the territory's most recognizable actors thanks to a prolific career that spanned over 50 years. Born in 1913, Shek was among the first generation of martial arts stars including Walter Cho, Kwan Tak-hing and Yu So-chow, who flourished during the initial genre boom of the 1950s and '60s. Trained in several northern kung fu disciplines rather than Chinese opera like so many of his peers, Shek began appearing in Cantonese-language martial arts films in the late 1940s. Up until he was cast as the lead villain in ENTER THE DRAGON, Shek was best known as the lead villain in the long-running WONG FEI HUNG film series where he frequently crossed fists and wits with series star Kwan Tak-hing.

In the 1970s and '80s, Shek continued to appear in a variety of films, most notably in ENTER THE DRAGON but also in a comedic supporting role opposite Jackie Chan in THE YOUNG MASTER. He also frequently appeared in local television series. Shek Kin retired from the entertainment industry in the mid-1990s. His final film role was in Bosco Lam's comedy HONG KONG ADAM'S FAMILY (1994).

KIN, Shek
Born: 1/1/1913, Shaging, Panyu, Guandong, China
Died: 6/4/2009, China

Shek Kin's western - actor:
Millionaire's Express - 1986

RIP David Carradine

Actor David Carradine, star of the 1970s TV series "Kung Fu" who also had a wide-ranging career in the movies, WAS found dead in a Bangkok hotel room. A news report said he was found hanged in his hotel room closet and was believed to have committed suicide.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, Michael Turner, confirmed the death of the 72-year-old actor. He said the embassy was informed by Thai authorities that Carradine died either late Wednesday or early Thursday, but he could not provide further details out of consideration for his family. Carradine was in Bangkok to shoot a movie “Stretch”, and had been staying at the hotel since Tuesday.

Carradine was a leading member of a venerable Hollywood acting family that included his father, character actor John Carradine, and brothers Keith and Robert. In all, he appeared in more than 100 feature films with such directors as Martin Scorsese, Ingmar Bergman and Hal Ashby. One of his prominent early film roles was as singer Woody Guthrie in Ashby's 1976 biopic "Bound for Glory." But he was probably best known for his role as Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin priest traveling the 1800s American frontier West in the TV series "Kung Fu," which aired in 1972-75. He reprised the role in a mid-1980s TV movie and played Caine's grandson in the 1990s syndicated series "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues." He returned to the top in recent years as the title character in Quentin Tarantino's two-part saga "Kill Bill." The character, the worldly father figure of a pack of crack assassins, was a shadowy presence in 2003's "Kill Bill — Vol. 1." In that film, one of Bill's former assassins (Uma Thurman) begins a vengeful rampage against her old associates. In "Kill Bill — Vol. 2," released in 2004, Thurman's character comes face to face again with Bill himself. The role brought Carradine a Golden Globe nomination as best supporting actor.

After "Kung Fu," Carradine starred in the 1975 cult flick "Death Race 2000." He starred with Liv Ullmann in Bergman's "The Serpent's Egg" in 1977 and with his brothers in the 1980 Western "The Long Riders." One thing remained a constant after "Kung Fu": Carradine's interest in Oriental herbs, exercise and philosophy. He wrote a personal memoir called "Spirit of Shaolin" and continued to make instructional videos on tai chi and other martial arts.

CARRADINE, David (John Arthur Carradine)
Born: 12/8/1936, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Died: 6/3/2009, Bangkok, Thailand

David Carradine's westerns - actor:
Wagon Train (TV) - 1963
The Virginian (TV) - 1964
Taggart - 1964
Shane (TV) - 1966
Cimarron Strip (TV) - 1967
Heaven with a Gun - 1969
Young Billy Young - 1969
The Good Guys and the Bad Guys - 1969
The McMasters - 1970
Macho Callahan - 1970
Gunsmoke (TV) - 1971
Kung Fu (TV) - 1972-1975
Mr. Horn (TV) - 1979
The Long Riders - 1980
High Noon Part II: The Return of Will Kane (TV) - 1980
On the Line - 1983
Lone Wolf McQuade - 1983
Arrrivano i vostri (TV) - 1984
Kung Fu: The Movie (TV) - 1986
Showdown: The Vampire in Retreat - 1990
The Young Riders (TV) - 1990
Brotherhood of the Gun (TV) - 1991
The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (TV) - 1991
Last Stand at Saber River (TV) - 1997
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (TV) - 1997
Queen of Swords (TV) - 2001
Warden of Red Rock (TV) - 2001
The Outsider (TV) - 2002
Brother in Arms - 2003
Wild West Tech (TV) - 2004-2005
Miracle at Sage Creek - 2005

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

RIP Leonard B. Kaufman

Leonard B. Kaufman, a publicist, TV producer and screenwriter, died May 24 at the Motion Picture & Television Fund Home in Woodland Hills from Alzheimer's disease. He was 84.

In Hollywood in the 1950s and '60s, Kaufman was one of the industry's premier PR men, representing Cary Grant, Burt Lancaster, Ella Fitzgerald, Robert Ryan, Shelley Winters, Fred Zinnemann and David Janssen and United Artists films including "The Misfits" (1961) and "Birdman of Alcatraz" (1962).

A native of Newark, N.J., Kaufman began in public relations at Rogers & Cowan, where he represented Joan Crawford and Jane Wyman, among others.

In 1953-54, he started his own firm, soon partnering with screenwriter Robert C. Lewin and later Marvin Schwartz. The Beverly Hills firm was known as Lewin/Kaufman/Schwartz.

When L/K/S dissolved, Kaufman became a producer and worked on TV series including "Flipper," "Gentle Ben," "Hawaii Five-O," "Daktari," "Sea Hunt" and "The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams." He also wrote for several series, including "The Dukes of Hazzard."

Kaufman was married to actress Doris Dowling ("The Lost Weekend," "The Blue Dahlia"), who died in 2004.

A memorial will be held June 9.

KAUFMAN, Leonard B.
Born: 1925, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Died: 5/24/2009, Woodland Hills, California, U.S.A.

Leonard B. Kaufman's western - producer:
The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams (TV) - 1977

RIP Phil Rawlins

Long time Placerita Canyon resident, Phil Rawlins, passed away quietly at his home on Thursday, May 28, 2009 at the age of 79.

He chose to live his colorful life to the fullest. While Phil was thought of most recently as a calf roper and bulldogger cowboy, for 52 years, he successfully was in the motion picture business.

Born in Glendale, California, Phil attended North Hollywood High School where he played basketball. While attending Pierce College, he started the rodeo team, which after their first big win in Arizona competition put Pierce on the rodeo map. Phil roped ever since, including after he turned 40 when he joined the Senior Pro Rodeo Circuit Association (PRCA). In fact, at the age of 57 he made the PRCA Sierra Finals in Calf Roping. Balancing his career with the rodeo circuit, he competed in 35 to 40 rodeos a year, primarily in California though he also successfully participated at Calgary, Cheyenne, Cow Palace, Pendleton and Salinas events.

In addition to his love of rodeo, for the first 10 years of his film career, Phil was a stuntman. He doubled for Clint Eastwood in "Rawhide", rode shotgun on the stagecoach in "Gunsmoke", as well as doubled for Randolph Scott, Robert Ryan, and Don Murray, the latter in "Bus Stop" which featured Marilyn Monroe.

After 10 years, he was lucky to get into production first as Second Assistant Director in "Fury", and then primarily as First Assistant Director at Warner Brothers Studios. Credits at that time include "Hawaiian Eye", "Cheyenne", "Bronco" and "77 Sunset Strip". For two seasons, he served as Director on "F Troop", the first year as Assistant Director until directing the last episode of the first season, liking it so much, he directed half of the second year. He then directed "Adam 12" and "High Chaparral".

After the stint at directing, Phil decided he'd rather go back into Production where he served as Production Manager for "Coma", "Star Trek" motion picture, and "Gremlins 1 & 2. During this period of time, he also did second unit production in Spain on "The Wind and the Lion" with Sean Connery. In addition, after his suggestion to his sister Lisa Rawlins, a Warner Brothers Vice President, who was most instrumental, the State of California created the Film Commission during the term of then Governor Deukmejian.

In 1969, Phil moved to Placerita Canyon after learning about the Canyon from local Newhall pioneer Fox O'Callahan, a famous rodeo cowboy who also worked in the motion picture business. Phil lived in an original cabin built in 1915, until 1985 when he moved into his custom home. Up until his passing, Phil had been seen riding his horses or driving his tractor performing trail maintenance.

In 2007, Phil was bestowed the honor of receiving a star on the Newhall Western Walk of Stars, as well as being recognized by the Placerita Canyon Property Owners Association as a Placerita Gold honoree. For the past two years, he served on the Board of the PCPOA and the Placerita Canyon Trails Council, representing himself as a true guardian of Placerita Canyon's open space.

Phil is survived by his beloved wife of 27 years, Fran Rawlins; two sons, cameraman Lex Rawlins of Valencia and film editor Clay (Gaylynn) Rawlins of Castaic; three beautiful granddaughters Kylie, Mackenna, and Lacy; his brother David Rawlins and sister Lisa Rawlins-deLorimier.

A celebration of Phil's life will be held Wednesday, June 3, 10 a.m. at Eternal Valley, Newhall. In lieu of flowers, donations in Phil's memory may be made to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, 101 Pro Rodeo Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80919 or at

RAWLINS, Phil (aka David Rawlins)
Born: 1930, Glendale, California, U.S.A.
Died: 5/28/2009, Newhall, California, U.S.A.

Phil Rawlins's westerns - production manager, director, screenwriter, actor:
Fort Defiance - 1951 [actor]
Gun Fury - 1953 [actor]
Maverick (TV) - 1961 [assistant director]
"F Troop" (TV) - 1965-1967 [assistant director]
The High Chaparral (TV) - 1967 [director]
The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing - 1973 [production manager]
Honky Tonk (TV) - 1974 [production manager]

RIP Don Edmonds

Don Edmonds
EDMONDS, Don Cult Film Director, Don Edmonds, dies at 73, of liver cancer complications, in North Hollywood, CA. Don, 73, was a longtime resident of California and a paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne. Edmonds movie career began as a goofy sidekick in Gidget Goes Hawaiian and Beach Ball. Edmonds achieved his enduring cult exploitation cinema popularity by directing the infamous Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS. He followed with the sequel, Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks. Edmonds went on to direct Bare Knuckles, Terror on Tour, Tomcat Angels and the pilot of the TV Series Silk Stalkings. As producer, co-producer and executive producer, Edmonds was involved in greenlighting and production of Short Circuit, 8 Million Ways to Die and The Clan of the Cave Bear, Larceny, Fast Money and True Romance.

Born: 1937, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.
Died: 5/30/2009, North Hollywood, California, U.S.A.

Don Edmonds’ western – screenwriter:
Saddle Tramp Women - 1972

Monday, June 1, 2009

RIP Edward J. Lasko

Lakso, Edward J.

Prolific freelance writer, director, producer, composer, lyricist,
Edward Joseph Lakso, 76, the last of a breed of independent freelance
television writers, died at home after a long illness. His credits
include writing and/or producing "Charlie's Angels," "COMBAT!," "The
Rockford Files," "Star Trek," "Adventures In Paradise," "Mission:Impossible," "The Wild Wild West," "My Three Sons," "43: The Richard Petty Story," to name a few.

Lakso's talent was apparent from the days at U.C.L.A. when he sang
opera and played jazz piano. Ed wrote fast and furiously, singularly
creating over 400 hours of television.

Ed is survived by his wife, Rev. Lee Lakso, of Beverly Hills, CA,
daughters Shauna L. Hagan of San Diego, CA, and Laurie Lakso of New
Mexico, four grandchildren, two great grandchildren, one sister, two
brothers and many beloved nieces and nephews.

The family wishes to acknowledge Giovanni Jalandon for being an
exceptional caregiver and friend to Ed and the entire family and Haven
Hospice of Los Angeles.

Donations may be made to Alzheimer's Assoc., 5900 Wilshire Blvd.,
Suite 1100, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Ph: (323) 938.3379

LASKO, Edward J.
Born: 1933
Died: 5/23/2009, Beverly Hills, California, U.S.A.

Edward J. Lasko's westerns - screenwriter:
The Deputy (TV) - 1961
Laramie (TV) - 1961
The Broken Land - 1962
Rawhide (TV) - 1963
Laredo (TV) - 1965, 1966, 1967
The Wild Wild West (TV) - 1967, 1968
The Guns of Will Sonnett (TV) - 1967, 1968
The Virginian (TV) - 1967, 1969, 1970
The Outcasts (TV) - 1968
The Big Valley (TV) - 1968, 1969

RIP Waldemar Matuška

Czech pop singer and actor Waldemar Matuška died after a long illness at the age of 76 in Miami, Florida on May 30, 2009. The singer died of pneumonia and heart failure after suffering from asthma for a long time, his son Waldemar said. Matuška was one of the most popular Czech singers from the 1960s to the 1980s. He won the Golden Nightingale for the best Czechoslovakian singer twice in the 1960s. He also played in a number of films and film musicals, including "All My Good Countrymen" (1968), "Lemonade Joe" (1964) and "If a Thousand Clarinets" (1964). He left the country and asked for asylum in the United States in 1986. The Czech public learn about his emigration from an article in the Communist party's daily Rude pravo, entitled "The moral fall of a singer." After the fall of the Czechoslovakian communist regime in 1989, Matuška frequently visited his homeland. In 2007, Matuška sang in Prague for the last time when he celebrated his 75th birthday there. A farewell ceremony will be held in Prague at a date to be determined.

MATUSKA, Waldemar
Born: 7/2/1932, Košice Czechoslovakia
Died: 5/30/2009, Miami, Florida, U.S.A.

Waldemar Matuška's westerns - actor:
Lemonade Joe - 1964