Sunday, January 31, 2010

RIP Giulio Petroni

Director, screenwriter Giulio Petroni died in Rome on January 31, 2010. His death at the age of 92 was reported to the Italian press by his daughter. Petroni was born on September 21, 1917 in Rome and he started making political documentary films in 1951 and continued writing and directing until 1978 with the film “La profezia” (aka “Obscene Desire”). During this time he wrote and or directed five Euro-westerns. “Death Rides a Horse” (1967) with Lee Van Cleef and John Phillip Law, “Tepepa” (aka “Blood and Guns”) (1968) with Tomas Milian and Orson Welles, “A Sky Full of Stars for a Roof” (1968) with Giuliano Gemma and Mario Adorf, “Night of the Serpent” (1968) with Luke Askew, “They Call Me Providence” (1972) with Tomas Milian and Gregg Palmer. Another of the most well known directors of the genre has left us. RIP

Born: 9/21/1917, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Died: 1/31/2010, Rome, Lazio, Italy

Giulio Petroni's westerns - director, screenwriter:
And for a Roof a Sky Full of Stars - 1968 [director]
Blood and Guns – 1968 [director, screenwriter]
Death Rides a Horse – 1968 [director, screenwriter]
The Night of the Serpent – 1969 [director, screenwriter]
They Call Me Providence – 1972 [director, screenwriter]

RIP Emilio Vieyra

Argentine producer, director, screenwriter and actor Emilio Veyra died on January 25, 2010 he was 89. Sometimes credited as Raúl Zorrilla he was an important figure in South American cinema between 1950 and 1990s. He began as an actor in 1950 in the film “Hombres a precia” and appeared in “Ayer fue primavera” in 1955. As an actor he appeared in such acclaimed films as the Gothic Horror film “Sangre de virgenes” (1967), “La Bestia desnuda” (1971), “El Gran aventura” (1974) and “Angel, la diva y yo” (1999) which was his last acting role. Viera turned to directing in 1962 and here he racked up him most film credits. He directed “Dr. Candido Perez senoras” (1962), “Extrana invasion” (1965) and “Sangre de virgenes” in which he also starred. He often acted in his films. “La Bestia desnuda” (1971) for example but often worked as director only in such films as “Asi es Bueno Aires” (1971) and “Adios abuelo” (1996). He retired in 2005.

VIEYRA, Emilio (aka Raul Zorilla)
Born: 10/12/1920, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died: 1/25/2010, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Emilio Vieyra's western – director, screenwriter:
Los irrompibles - 1975

Saturday, January 30, 2010

RIP Martin Grace

Bond stuntman Martin Grace has died aged 67

James Bond stuntman and stunt double Martin Grace has passed away at the age of 67.

Martin was born in Ireland in 1942 and was an accomplished stunt performer and co-ordinator, and was Roger Moore's stunt double through most of the Bond films. His first 007 credit was on "You Only Live Twice" in 1967, before becoming Moore's regular stunt double from "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977) up until his departure from the series in "A View To A Kill" (1985).

His last big-screen stunt work was on the 2007 Jim Carrey vehicle "The Number 23".

Apparently after suffering a cycling accident in late November, Martin fractured his pelvis andwas hospitalised for some weeks. This week he was taken from his home in Spain to hospital again after developing breathing problems. He died on 27th January 2010 after suffering an aneurism.

GRACE, Martin
Born: 9/12/1942, Kilkenny, Ireland
Died: 1/27/2010, Spain

Martin Grace's westerns - actor, stunt coordinator:
Moon Zero Two - 1969 (Red Killer)
North Star - 1996 [stunt coordinator]

Friday, January 29, 2010

RIP Angio Zane

Director, screenwriter Angio Zane died in Salo, Italy on January 27, 2010 of natural causes. He was 84. Born Angelo Zane in Salo, on August 17, 1925 the son of Senator Francis Zane his house was flanked by former film studios Ondastudios, which for many years was called Little Cinecitta. He later turned his home into a museum filled with appliances and equpiment from the past film industry such as cameras and hundreds of photographs.

He dedicated his talents to making documentaries and short films making over 100 of them in his long career. He made his debut in 1956 with “The Blackcap of the Mill”. He made a series of short childrens films featuring a character named White Cloud. His one Spaghetti Western being “Okay Sheriff” in 1964. He later made business oriented audiovisual creations. He continued making documentary and short films until the late 1990s.

ZANE, Angelo
Born: 8/17/1925, Salo, Italy
Died: 1/27/2010, Salo, Italy

Angelo Zane's western - director, screenwriter:
Okay Sheriff - 1964

RIP Betty Lou Keim


Betty Lou Keim was born, in 1938, in Malden, Massachusetts. She made her debut as Peggy Allison in the television series, "My Son Jeep" (1953). She later appeared on "The Philco Television Playhouse" (1948) and "The Alcoa Hour" (1955). Two movie roles followed in 1956, those being "These Wilder Years" (1956) and "Teenage Rebel"
(1956). Betty's best performance was in "Some Came Running" (1958), filmed and released in 1958. In this fine film, she played Dawn Hirsh, the pretty, out of control daughter of a small town jeweler and his wife, played by Arthur Kennedy and Leora Dana. After appearing in the TV series "The Deputy" (1959) as Fran McCord in 1959, Betty married Warren Berlinger that same year and left show business. They had four children.

BERLINGER, Betty aka Keim, Betty Lou Services will be Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 2:00 p.m., Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries

KEIM, Betty Lou
Born: 9/27/1938, Malden, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Died: 1/2?/2010, California, U.S.A.

Betty Lou Keim's westerns - actress:
Yancy Derringer (TV) - 1959 (Julie Randall)
Riverboat (TV) - 1960 (Holly Andrews)
The Deputy (TV) - 1959-1960 (Fran McCord)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

RIP Zelda Rubinstein

Zelda Rubinstein Dead at 76

By Neal Broverman

Zelda Rubinstein, the Poltergeist actress and HIV activist, died Wednesday at the Barlow Respiratory Hospital in Los Angeles. She was 76.

The 4-foot, 3-inch actress had various health problems following a mild heart attack she suffered late last year.

Rubinstein will be remembered by gays for being one of the first celebrities to lend her name and face to an HIV/AIDS public awareness campaign aimed at gay men. In a series of billboards and posters that blanketed Los Angeles in the mid '80s, Rubinstein portrayed "Mother," a sweet maternal figure who urged her "sons" to play safe. The posters soon spread nationally and then internationally.

The actress spoke to recently about her role in the L.A. Cares campaign and the hit her career took for participating in it (see attached video).

Born in Pittsburgh in 1933, Rubinstein worked as a lab technician until getting into acting in her 40s. Her performance as the psychic Tangina in Poltergeist was hailed by critics, and she later nabbed roles in that movie's sequels and the quirky television show Picket Fences.

Rubinstein spoke out not only for safe sex but for the rights of gays and little people.

Born: 5/28/1933, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Died: 1/27/2010, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Zelda Rubintein's western - actress:
The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (TV) - 1991 (Butterfingers O'Malley)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

RIP Johnny Seven

Character actor Johnny Seven dead at 83

Johnny Seven, 83, a prolific character actor who appeared in dozens of TV episodes that included a recurring role as Lt. Carl Reese on "Ironside," died Friday at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, said his son, John A. Fetto. He had lung cancer.

In a five-decade career, Seven appeared in about 80 productions and had small roles in such films as "The Last Mile" (1959), "The Apartment" (1960) and "What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?" (1966). He starred in "Navajo Run," a 1964 western that he also directed and produced.

Seven was born John Anthony Fetto II on Feb. 23, 1926, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Italian immigrant parents who also had five daughters. He acquired his nickname during World War II, when he was serving with the Army in the Philippines, and held onto it when he began his acting career.

"It probably sounded cool in the 1950s," his son said Tuesday.

Seven had begun singing and acting as a teenager and performed in USO shows during the war. Back in New York, he acted in stage productions and in the early days of live television.

His many TV credits include roles on "The Phil Silvers Show," "Mike Hammer," "Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse," "Rescue 8," "The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor," "The Untouchables," "Naked City," "Bonanza," "Gunsmoke," "Get Smart," "Batman," "Vega$," "CHiPs," "Trapper John, M.D." and "Murder, She Wrote."

After playing Reese in the early 1970s on "Ironside," the police drama starring Raymond Burr, he landed a recurring role on the spinoff series "Amy Prentiss."

Seven, who had a real estate business in the San Fernando Valley, was married for 60 years to his wife Edith. Besides their son, they also had a daughter, Laura Pollard. He is also survived by a grandchild and four sisters.

A memorial service is planned for 11:30 a.m. Feb. 6 at St. John Baptist de la Salle Church in Granada Hills. A celebration of life will be held afterward at the Odyssey restaurant in Granada Hills.

Instead of flowers, his family suggests donations to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

SEVEN, Johnny (John Anthony Fetto II)
Born: 2/23/1926, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 1/22/2010, Mission Hills, California, U.S.A.

Johnny Seven's westerns - actor, director, producer:
Guns of the Timberland - 1960 (Vince)
The Deputy (TV) - 1960 (Pete Claxton)
The Man from Blackhawk (TV) - 1960 (Pio)
Bat Masterson (TV) - 1960 (Burt Comers)
Two Faces West (TV) - 1961 (Gino Carew)
Gunsmoke (TV) - 1961, 1965 (Harry Blucher, Barens)
Death Valley Days (TV) - 1962 (Carlo Farelli)
Temple Houston (TV) - 1963 (Rio)
Navajo Run - 1964 (Mathew Whitehawk) [producer, director]
Bonanza (TV) - 1965 (Trager)
The Wild Wild West (TV) - 1967 (Mikolik)
Gunfight in Abilene - 1967 (Loop)
The Virginian (TV) - 1967 (Tom Beale)
Lancer (TV) - 1968 (Wade Hatcher)
Here Come the Brides (TV) - 1970
Barbary Coast (TV) - 1975 (Carlo)

Monday, January 25, 2010

RIP Pernell Roberts

'Bonanza' Star Pernell Roberts Dies at 81

Veteran actor Pernell Roberts of 'Bonanza' died at his Malibu home Sunday. His wife Eleanor Criswell told the Los Angeles Times that Roberts lost his battle with cancer. He was 81.

Roberts shot to fame in the role of Adam Cartwright on the long-running western, though he left the show to pursue a film career after six seasons - an arguably premature move that Entertainment Weekly recently counted among the 50 worst TV blunders of all time. After 15 years out of the limelight, Roberts took on the starring role of 'Trapper John, MD,' for all seven seasons of its run.

Roberts appeared in guest roles and documentaries in the 1980s. The actor retired from show business in the late '90s.

ROBERTS, Jr., Pernell Elvin
Born: 5/18/1928, Waycross, Georgia, U.S.A.
Died: 1/24/2010, Malibu, California, U.S.A.

Pernell Roberts' westerns – actor:
Sugarfoot (TV) – 1957, 1958 (Salt River Smith, Deuce Braden)
Trackdown (TV) – 1958 (Bannion)
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1957, 1967 (Nat Pilcher, Dave Reeves)
Have Gun – Will Travel (TV) – 1958 (Maury Travis)
The Sheepman – 1958 (Choctaw Neal)
Tombstone Territory (TV) – 1958 (Johnny Coster)
Zane Grey Theater (TV) – 1958 (Jet Mason, Lew Banning)
Ride Lonesome – 1959 (Sam Boone)
Lawman (TV) – 1959 (Fent Harley)
Cimarron City (TV) – 1959 (O'Hara)
Bronco (TV) – 1959 (Reverend David Clayton)
Buckskin (TV) - 1959 (Oscar)
Bonanza (TV) – 1959-1965 (Adam Cartwright)
The Virginian (TV) – 1966, 1971 (Jim Boyer, Sr., Stranger)
The Wild Wild West (TV) – 1967 (Sean O'Reilley)
The Big Valley (TV) – 1967, 1968 (Patrick Madigan, Ed Tanner
Lancer (TV) – 1969 (Banning)
The Silent Gun (TV) – 1969 (Sam Benner)
Four Rode Out – 1970 (Marshal Ross)
Alias Smith and Jones (TV) – 1971, 1972 (Sam Finrock, Terence Tynan)
The Bravos (TV) – 1972 (Jackson Buckley)
The Quest (TV) – 1976
Charley Cobb: Nice Night for a Hanging (TV) – 1977 (Sheriff Yates)
Cetnenial (TV) – 1978 (General Asher)
High Noon, Part II: The Return of Will Kane (TV) – 1980 (Marshal J.D. Ward)
Desperado (TV) – 1987 (Marshal Dancey)
The Young Riders (TV) – 1990 (Hezekiah Horn)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

RIP James Mitchell

'All My Children' thesp James Mitchell, dies at 89
Actor logged 30-year run on ABC daytime soap
By VARIETY STAFFMore Articles:

James Mitchell, an accomplished dancer, Broadway and film thesp who logged a 30-year run on ABC's "All My Children," died Friday in Los Angeles. He was 89.
Mitchell died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and complications from pneumonia, according to ABC. The thesp made his final appearance on "All My Children" on Jan. 5, on the episode that marked the sudser's 40th anniversary. Mitchell was a mainstay of the show from 1979-2008, playing Palmer Cortlandt, the wealthy patriarch of one of the fictional Pine Valley's most prominent families.

Born and raised in Sacramento, Calif., Mitchell began his career as a dancer. He landed leading roles in a number of Broadway tuners, including "Brigadoon," "Billion Dollar Baby," "Bloomer Girl," "Carousel," "Carnival" and "Paint Your Wagon."

He appeared with the American Ballet Theater in New York and toured Europe and South America and the Agnes de Mille Dance Theater, and he appeared in touring productions of "Funny Girl," opposite Carol Lawrence, and "The King and I," opposite Ann Blyth, among other legit productions. Later in his career, Mitchell taught dance and movement at Yale University and Drake University in Iowa.

Mitchell's film roles include the 1985 hoofer retrospective "That's Dancing" and 1977's "The Turning Point." Earlier film roles included 1953's "The Band Wagon" with Fred Astaire, 1954's "Deep in My Heart" with Cyd Charisse, and 1955's "Oklahoma."

Before "All My Children" Mitchell spent four years on the ABC daytime soap "Where the Heart Is."

Survivors include his longtime partner, Albert Wolsky. A memorial service is pending.

Born: 2/29/1920, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.
Died: 1/22/2010, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

James Mitchell's westerns - actor:
Valley of the Hunted Men - 1942 (posse member)
Bordertown Gunfighters - 1943 (townsman)
Stagecoach to Monterey - 1944 (Cave henchman)
California Gold Rush - 1946 (Dr. Daniel Kalbert Harris Jr.)
Colorado Terriroty - 1949 (Duke Harris)
Stars in My Crown -1950 (Dr. Daniel Kalbert Harris Jr.)
Devils Doorway - 1950 (Red Rock)
Oklahoma! - 1955 (Dream Curly)
The Peacemaker - 1956 (Terrall Butler)

RIP Jean Simmons

Jean Simmons Dies at 80; Actress Whose Talent Exceeded the Parts She Played in.

Jean Simmons, the English actress who made the covers of Time and Life magazines by the time she was 20 and became a major midcentury star alongside strong leading men like Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton and Marlon Brando, often playing their demure helpmates, died on Friday at her home in Santa Monica, Calif. She was 80.

The cause was lung cancer, according to Judy Page, her agent.

“Simmons is one of the most quietly commanding actresses Hollywood has ever trashed,” the critic Pauline Kael wrote when reviewing her performance as the half-genuine, half-fraudulent revivalist preacher who succumbs to Burt Lancaster’s con man in “Elmer Gantry” (1960). Indeed, she rarely found roles to match the talent so many colleagues and critics recognized in her, despite a dazzling start to her career.

Plucked out of a dancing-school class at 14, Ms. Simmons appeared in three classic movies before her 19th birthday, typically eliciting adjectives like “lovely,” “radiant” and “luminous” in the reviews.

She was Estella, the mocking girl who was raised to break men’s hearts, in David Lean’s “Great Expectations” (1946). She was the sensual native girl whom five Anglican nuns sought to civilize in a convent high in the Himalayas in “Black Narcissus” (1947). And after seeing “Great Expectations,” Olivier chose Ms. Simmons to play Ophelia to his title character in “Hamlet” (1948).

At the time, however, Ms. Simmons was under contract to the British producer J. Arthur Rank, so Olivier interviewed dozens of other actresses before he was able to pry Ms. Simmons loose for 30 days of shooting. Her performance brought her an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress.

“I didn’t even know what an Oscar was at the time,” Ms. Simmons once said of her nomination. She would get only one other Academy Award nomination, for best actress, as the middle-aged housewife who runs away from her marriage in “The Happy Ending” (1969).

Ms. Simmons came to Hollywood in the early 1950s after her contract was sold to Howard Hughes, a practice not uncommon at the time.

Hughes, whose affairs with young actresses were notorious, wanted more of Ms. Simmons, then 22, than a celluloid image. And as one of the richest and most powerful men in Hollywood, he was accustomed to getting what he wanted, no matter that Ms. Simmons was newly married to the swashbuckling British actor Stewart Granger.

In his autobiography, “Sparks Fly Upward,” Mr. Granger described a telephone conversation in which Hughes propositioned Ms Simmons. After Mr. Granger heard Hughes say, “When are you going to get away from that goddamned husband of yours? I want to talk to you alone, honey,” he grabbed the phone and shouted, “Mr. Howard Bloody Hughes, you’ll be sorry if you don’t leave my wife alone!”

Hughes took his revenge by refusing to lend Ms. Simmons to the director William Wyler, who wanted her to star in “Roman Holiday,” the film that would bring Audrey Hepburn an Oscar and make her a star. And, according to the Granger memoir, when Ms. Simmons refused to sign a seven-year contract with RKO, the studio Hughes had bought in 1948, he threatened “to put her in three lousy productions that would ruin her career.”

One of those movies, “Angel Face” (1952), a film noir directed by Otto Preminger and co-starring Robert Mitchum, was actually well received, with Ms. Simmons playing one of the genre’s most beautiful killers.

“I had to do four pictures for Hughes, and then I was free, Ms. Simmons told the English newspaper The Guardian. “I never signed a contract with a studio after.”

In her first movie after her contract with Hughes ended — “Young Bess” (1953) at MGM — Ms. Simmons starred as the spirited and headstrong young woman who would become queen of England. “Young Bess” was the first of two American movies in which Ms. Simmons played opposite Mr. Granger. The other was “Footsteps in the Fog,” a 1955thriller in which she played a maid who blackmails a man who has poisoned his wife.

In 1953, Ms. Simmons also played the determined title character in “The Actress,” an MGM film based on Ruth Gordon’s autobiographical play, “Years Ago.” Then she slipped quietly into supporting roles in the shadow of strong men.

She was the noble Roman who walked to her death with Richard Burton in “The Robe” (1953), although she did not share his new religion, Christianity. In “The Egyptian” (1954), set 13 centuries before Christ, she was the shy tavern maid who secretly loved the film’s hero, a physician. As “Desiree” (1954), she was mistress to Marlon Brando’s Napoleon, and eclipsed by Brando’s clowning. And no one was more decorous than strait-laced Sergeant Sarah Brown of the Save-a-Soul Mission, who was bedeviled by Brando’s Sky Masterson in “Guys and Dolls” (1955).

One of Ms. Simmons’s better roles was the spirited slave who falls in love with the gladiator (Kirk Douglas) who leads a rebellion in “Spartacus” (1960). But that film, one of several in which Ms. Simmons was dwarfed by a cast of thousands, was teeming with great actors, including Olivier, Peter Ustinov and Charles Laughton.

Jean Merilyn Simmons was born on Jan. 31, 1929, the youngest of four children, and reared in the North London suburb of Cricklewood. Her father, a schoolteacher, died soon after the director Val Guest visited the Aida Foster dancing school and chose Ms. Simmons to play Margaret Lockwood’s precocious younger sister in “Give Us the Moon” (1944).

“It can’t last, you know,” she remembered her father telling her. “You’ll be back here soon, just a plain Cricklewood girl again; so keep your head screwed on tight.”

But Cricklewood had lost her — to America and to marriage with Mr. Granger, a divorced actor 16 years her senior. Soon, though, the couple were drowning in debt; Mr. Granger had bought huge cattle ranches in New Mexico and Arizona with little money down. So they agreed to take any parts that were offered to them.

Between 1957 and 1960, Ms. Simmons, who had given birth to a daughter in 1956, starred in eight films. Mr. Granger, who had become a major star in the blockbuster adventure film “King Solomon’s Mines” (1950), had made the mistake of turning down a second seven-year contract with MGM, which cost him the lead in “Ben-Hur.” Most of the offers he received sent him off for months at a time to Africa and India.

Ms. Simmons had somewhat better luck, starring with Paul Newman in “Until They Sail” (1957), a melodrama about New Zealand women who fell in love with American soldiers during World War II, and “Home Before Dark” (1958), as a woman whose husband commits her to a mental hospital.

Reviewing that film, Ms. Kael, who often praised Ms. Simmons’s intelligence and grace, metaphorically threw up her hands: “Jean Simmons gives a reserved, beautifully modulated performance that is so much better than the material that at times her exquisite reading of the rather mediocre lines seems a more tragic waste than her character’s wrecked life.”

Ms. Simmons’s marriage to Mr. Granger, burdened by frequent separations and constant work, ended in divorce in 1960 when she fell in love with her “Elmer Gantry” director, Richard Brooks, who was 17 years older than she. They married that same year and had a daughter in 1961. The marriage lasted 17 years.

By the 1970s, Ms. Simmons’s career was waning. In 1974 she turned to the stage, touring the United States as Desiree in the Stephen Sondheim musical “A Little Night Music” and taking the production to London. On television she took roles in mini-series like “The Thorn Birds,” for which she won an Emmy, and making guest appearances on shows like “Hawaii Five-O.”

In 1983, Ms. Simmons checked herself into the Betty Ford Clinic for treatment of alcoholism. She spoke publicly about her addiction, saying that she did so that other women would know that they, too, could seek help.

In 1989, more than 40 years after David Lean’s production, Ms. Simmons returned to “Great Expectations,” this time a Disney remake for television and this time in the role of the malicious Miss Havisham, the demented old woman who — jilted on her wedding day — has groomed Estella to destroy men.

Two years later, when the popular gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows” was remade as a weekly prime-time series, Ms. Simmons starred as the matriarch of the Collins family, a role originally played by Joan Bennett.

She is survived by her two daughters, Tracy Granger and Kate Brooks, and a grandson, Ty Saville.

Those who knew her said she was generous, modest and unassuming. According to Mr. Granger, Ms. Simmons called Audrey Hepburn after she saw her in “Roman Holiday” — in a role Ms. Simmons might have had — to say, “I wanted to hate you, but I have to tell you I wouldn’t have been half as good.”

SIMMONS, Jean Merilyn
Born: 1/31/1929, Lower Holloway, London, England, U.K.
Died: 1/22/1910, Santa Monica, California, U.S.A.

Jean Simmons' westerns - actress:
The Big Country - 1958 (Julie Maragon)
Rough Night in Jericho - 1967 (Molly Lamg)
North and South - 1985 (Clarissa Main)
North and South Book II - 1986 (Clarissa Main)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

RIP Robert B. Parker

The celebrated private detective and crime novelist Robert B. Parker has died.

The bestselling author carried the private detective genre into a new century, writing about a tough detective named Spenser since 1971. He was also picked to complete "Poodle Springs," an unfinished novel by the great private detective writer, Raymond Chandler. This GalleyCat editor will always treasure fond memories of reading the novelist's Spenser series as a kid.

Here's more from Sarah Weinman, the literary journalist who broke the news this morning: "He is survived by his wife, Joan, and his sons, David, a choreographer, and Daniel, an actor. Several more novels will be published in 2010, including SPLIT IMAGE, the newest Jesse Stone novel (out February 23) and BLUE-EYED DEVIL, an Appaloosa novel (out on May 4). Much, much more soon, and something tells me a whole lot of tributes will be rolling in over the next day or two.

PARKER Robert Brown
Born: 9/7/1932, Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Died: 1/18/2010, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A

Robert B. Brown's westerns - author, screenwriter.
Monte Walsh (TV) - 2003 [teleplay]
Appaloosa - 2008 - [author]

Monday, January 18, 2010

RIP Daisuke Gouri

The Tokyo Shimbun paper reports that Daisuke Gouri, the voice actor best known for playing Robin Mask in the Kinnikuman television anime series as well as Umigame and Mr. Satan in the Dragon Ball franchise, has passed away in Tokyo on Sunday. He was 57. The actor, whose real name was Yoshio Nagahori, also played Dozle Zabi and Bask Om in the Gundam franchise, Hiromi Yamazaki in Patlabor, Heihachi Mishima in Tekken, Edge Master in the Soul Calibur videogame, and the Japanese Yosemite Sam in Looney Tunes.

The newspaper reports that Gouri was discovered, with blood dripping from his wrist, by a passerby on a street in Nakano ward. Police officers at Nakano station are investigating his death as a possible suicide. According to the authorities, Gouri apparently collapsed face-down onto the street at about 3:00 p.m. The Yomiuri Shimbun paper adds that a knife was found under him along with a last will nearby.

GOURI, Daisuke (Yoshio Nagahori)
Born: 2/8/1952, Koto, Tokyo, Japan
Died: 2/18/2010, Nakano, Tokyo, Japan

Daisuke Gouri's western - voice actor:
Trigun 1998 (Descartes) [Japanese voice]

Sunday, January 17, 2010

RIP Carl Smith

Carl Smith (born March 15, 1927, died January 16, 2010) was an
American country music singer. Known as "Mister Country," Smith was
the former husband of June Carter Cash and Goldie Hill and the
drinking companion of Johnny Cash. He was one of country's most
successful male artists during the 1950s, with 30 Top 10 hits. His
success continued well into the 1970s, when he had a charting single
every year except one. He is a member of the Country Music Hall of

At age 15, he started performing in a band called Kitty Dibble and Her
Dude Ranch Ranglers. By age 17, he had learned to play the string bass
and spent his summer vacation working at WROL-AM in Knoxville,

After graduating from high school, he briefly served in the U.S. Navy.
He returned to WROL and played string bass for country singers Molly
O'Day and Skeets Williamson, and began his singing career. A colleague
at the station sent an acetate disc recording of Smith to WSM and the
Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, and WSM soon signed him. In
1950, Smith was signed to a recording contract with Columbia Records
by producer Don Law.

In 1951 his song "Let's Live a Little" was a big hit, reaching number
two on country chart. During 1951 he had up three other hits,
including "If The Teardrops Were Pennies" and his first #1 hit, "Let
Old Mother Nature Have Her Way". The songs made Smith a well-known
name in country music.

In 1951, Smith also met and married June Carter (who later married
Johnny Cash), the daughter of Maybelle Carter of the Carter Family. In
1955 the couple had a daughter, Rebecca Smith, who became known as
Carlene Carter, a country singer in her own right.

During the rest of the 1950s, Smith made regular appearances on
Billboard's country charts, racking up many hits, including 30 in the
Top 10. His biggest hits include "Loose Talk", "Wicked Lies", "Hey
Joe!" and "You Are the One". He only had five #1 hits though in his
career; "Loose Talk" was his last, in 1955.

Some of his songs had sharp edges, fast phrasing and a strong
drumbeat, similar to rockabilly material making the charts in the
mid-50s, which in some ways made Smith's music closer to rock & roll
than country. Some of his songs did, however, make the pop charts. His
biggest pop entry was the song "Ten Thousand Drums" in 1959, which
reached #43 on the pop chart.

In 1956, Smith quit the Grand Ole Opry, moved to California and
appeared in several movies. Soon after, he joined the Phillip Morris
Country Music Show and spent more than a year touring the United
States. He also made regular appearances on ABC-TV's Ozark Jubilee and
was a fill-in host for Red Foley.

In 1957, Smith and June Carter divorced. That same year, he married
country music singer Goldie Hill, best known for the number one hit "I
Let the Stars Get In My Eyes". Goldie retired from the music business.
By the late 50s, Smith's success began to dwindle on the country
charts, and soon his string of Top 10s turned into Top 20 hits.

By the 1960s, Smith's success as a country singer began to slow. His
Top 20 hits included "Air Mail To Heaven" in 1962 and "Take My Ring
Off Your Finger" in 1964. His biggest hit of the decade was "Deep
Water" in 1967, which peaked at number 10 and became his first Top 10
in 8 years (and his final Top 10 appearance). In 1961, he was one of
five rotating hosts on the NBC summer television series Five Star
Jubilee. He also hosted Carl Smith's Country Music Hall in Canada, a
series syndicated in the United States.

In the 1960s and 70s, Smith incorporated more Western swing into much
of his recorded material. He remained with Columbia Records for almost
25 years, leaving in 1975 to sign with Hickory Records. By this time
his singles were barely making the charts.

In the late 1970s, he decided to retire from the music business, but
in 1983, he recorded again for the Gusto label. In 2003, he was
inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Born: 3/15/1927, Maynardsville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
Died: 1/16/2010, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.

Carl Smith's westerns - actor, singer:
The Badge of Marshal Brennan - 1957 (Sheriff Carl Smith) [singer]
Buffalo Bill - 1961 (himself)

Friday, January 15, 2010

RIP Charles Nolte

Twin Cities actor/director Charles Nolte dies
The late actor, director, theater teacher and mentor lived a
celebrated life.

By ROHAN PRESTON, Star Tribune

Charles Nolte, an esteemed international stage and screen actor who
also directed, wrote and taught in the Twin Cities, died Thursday
evening in Minneapolis.

He breathed his last listening to a recording of Bellini's "Norma,"
one of his many beloved operas, according to those who were with him. He was 87.

Nolte was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago, said longtime
friend David Goldstein, who met him in 1971.

"Even as he was getting weak a few days ago, he was laughing and
joking," Goldstein said. "Charles was such a multifaceted person who
loved to tell stories, and he did it in the theater and film and
opera. Above all, he was a good person."

As a professor at the University of Minnesota, where he taught from
the mid-1960s until the late 1990s, Nolte influenced many, including a
group of former students who formed the Playwrights' Center.

"He was the most open, gently encouraging mentor any playwright has
ever had, and we all loved him," said former student and center co-
founder Barbara Field, whose adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" is a
holiday standard.

In addition to Field, his students at the university included actors
Peter Michael Goetz and Ernie Hudson.

"When I was 15, I'd gotten the fever for theater and I auditioned for
him for a [Theatre in the Round] play, a role I didn't get," said
actor and playwright Timothy Mason about his first encounter with
Nolte in 1965. "About three days later, I had a typewritten postcard
saying that, in his opinion, I had talent and I should pursue theater
in my life. I would find that postcard many years later at my mother's

Born Nov. 3, 1923, in Duluth to a father who later become a dean at
the University of Minnesota, Nolte moved to Wayzata with his family in
the early 1930s. He was voted "most likely to succeed" by the 1941
graduating class of Wayzata High School. Shortly after high school, he
made his debut in a summer stock company that became the Old Log

Nolte studied for two years at the University of Minnesota before
serving in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1945, when he was given a
medical discharge.

He enrolled at Yale, where he majored in English with a minor in
history. After Yale, he moved to New York. His first Big Apple role
was at the American Negro Theatre in Harlem in 1946 in a revival of
"Tin Top Valley" with co-star Julie Harris.

He made his Broadway debut in "Antony and Cleopatra," a production
that starred Katherine Cornell and featuring Maureen Stapleton, Tony
Randall, Eli Wallach and Charlton Heston. He performed again with
Heston and Martha Scott in "Design for a Stained Glass Window." He
also acted with Henry Fonda in both "Mr. Roberts" and "The Caine
Mutiny Court-Martial.".

His Broadway credits also include playing the title character in
"Billy Budd," an adaptation of Melville's novel.

Nolte's films include "War Paint" (1953) with Robert Stack and Peter
Graves and "The Steel Cage" (1954) with John Ireland.

"He knew people at the highest levels of the culture to people who
cleaned houses -- all would be at his parties," said Goldstein. "He
was such an erudite, patrician man with a wicked sense of humor."

In the 1960s, Nolte took up playwriting and returned to school. He
earned a doctorate at the University of Minnesota in 1966. His "Do Not
Pass Go" was produced off-Broadway.

Nolte also wrote libretti for two operas by Dominick Argento: "The
Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe" and "Valentino."

Nolte's last appearance in the Twin Cities was in "Exit Strategy" at
Mixed Blood two years ago. In that play, Nolte depicted an aging gay
man who once performed on Broadway and who was booted from an academic
job because of his relationship with a much younger man.

A disciplined diarist, Nolte donated his journals to the University of
Minnesota, which named a theater after him in 1997.

Survivors include two sisters, and his partner of over 50 years,
onetime child actor Terry Kilburn, who played Tiny Tim in MGM's "A
Christmas Carol" and who headed Meadowbrook Theatre in Rochester,
Mich., for 25 years.

Memorial services are pending.

NOLTE, Charles
Born: 11/3/1923, Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.A.
Died: 1/14/2010, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.

Charles Nolte's western - actor:
War Paint - 1953 (Corporal Hamilton)

RIP Fred Krone

Fred "Crunch" Krone, 1931 – Jan. 12, 2010, noted Hollywood stuntman and actor in predominately western genre, has died in Santa Paula, Calif. after a long battle with cancer.

Fred Krone, or “Crunch” as he was called began appearing in westerns and doing stunt work as far back as the 1950s and he must have been good at it because his IMDB listing is quite extensive. In particular, Fred Krone had been around long enough to have worked in the early days of Steve McQueen’s career. Krone doubled for McQueen in 1960/61 on the TV series “Wanted: Dead or Alive” among others.

In a 2008 interview by Brett Johnson, Krone talked about working with McQueen on “Wanted” stating "I got along with him…A lot of people didn't. He could be moody, a pain in the ass — like most actors." In later years, Krone would see a much more mellow McQueen in Santa Paula. "He was a completely different person then," Krone said.

Fred Krone appeared in numerous television series and in film. Often uncredited, he none-the-less was honored by his peers and was a lifetime member of the Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures.

Born 1931, U.S.A.
Died: 1/12/2010, Santa Paula, California, U.S.A.

Fred Krone's westerns – actor, stuntman
The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok (TV) – 1952 (lumberjack)
The Range Rider (TV) – 1953 [actor, stunts]
Hondo – 1953 [stunts]
Buffalo Bill Jr. (TV) – 1955, 1956 (Henchey)
Reprisal! - 1956 (barfly)
The Adventures of Jim Bowie (TV) – 1957 (Orville)
Sky King (TV) – 1956, 1958 (Jeff, Al Meadows)
Man from God's Country – 1958 (cowboy)
Boots and Saddles (TV) – 1957, 1958 [actor]
Badman's Country – 1958 [actor]
Apache Territory – 1958 (Styles)
The Texan (TV) – 1958 (Frede Bray)
The Rifleman (TV) – 1959 (brawler)
Yancy Derringer (TV) – 1959 [actor]
Johnny Ringo (TV) – 1960 [actor]
Zane Grey Theater (TV) – 1960 [actor]
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (TV) – 1960 [actor]
Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV) – 1960 [actor]
Maverick (TV) – 1961 [actor]
The Firebrand – 1962 (Dickens)
Young Guns of Texas – 1962 (Pike)
Apache Rifles – 1964 [stunts]
Convict Stage – 1965 (Dixon)
Young Fury – 1965 (Hellion henchman)
War Party – 1965 (Indian)
Fort Courageous – 1965 (soldier)
Arizona Raiders – 1965 (Matt Edwards) [stunts]
The Rare Breed – 1966 [stunts]
Laredo (TV) – 1967 [actor]
40 Guns to Apache Pass – 1967 [stunt coordinator]
The High Chaparral (TV) – 1969 (Ike Simes)
The Great Bank Robbery – 1969 (cowboy) [stunts]
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean – 1972 (outlaw)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

RIP Frank Brill

BRILL--Frank. Veteran entertainment executive, Frank Brill, passed away December 15, 2009 at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 91 years old. Brill, born in New York City, began his career in Miami Beach as a dancer. He was one of the fabled "Lew Wasserman Boys" at MCA in New York and in the 1970s, he was the Vice President of Talent and Specials at ABC. Later in his career he was the Entertainment Head at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and held an executive position at Management 3. In 1970, Brill was the producer of the film "A Man Called Horse," and in the early 1980s, he was partnered with director Art Fisher in Fisher / Brill Productions. Brill was a tireless volunteer and supporter of Five Acres, a children's aid society, in Los Angeles, as well as countless other humanitarian causes. Funeral services will be private.

BRILL, Frank
Born: 10/31/1918, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 12/15/2009, Beverly Hills, California, U.S.A.

Frank Brill's western - producer:
A Man Called Horse - 1970

Saturday, January 9, 2010

RIP Blanca Sánchez

Actress Blanca Sanchez Dead At 63

Posted on Jan. 8th, 2010 by LR Staff

Actress Blanca Sánchez died Friday morning, January 8, 2010 at age 63 from a severe decrease in platelet levels in her blood. She was hospitalized for over a month at a medical center in Mexico City for serious kidney problems before passing, a passing that shocked doctors and her family.

Nine years ago the legendary actress received a kidney transplant and it was only a few months ago when it began to cause issues.

Blanca’s career began at age 11 with the soap opera "Nights of Anguish". Among her most important telenovelas, she is remembered as the mother in both "Quinceañera Thalia" (1987) and "Light and Shadow" (1989). Other films include "Time to Die", "When the Children Leave", "I am Chucho el Roto" and "Mama Dolores".

R.I.P Blanca

SANCHEZ, Blanca (Blanca Sánchez De La Fuente)
Born: 3/2/1946, Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico
Died: 1/8/2010, Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico

Blanca Sánchez's westerns - actress:
El cacharro - 1966
Time to Die - 1966 (Sonia)
Juan el desalmado - 1969

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

RIP Joseph M. Wilcots

Joseph M. Wilcots dies at 70; cinematographer on 'Roots' and its sequel
He was the first African American to join the International
Cinematographers Guild. For 15 years, he also worked in various
capacities on Michael Jackson's music videos, tours and other projects.

By Dennis McLellan

Joseph M. Wilcots, a trailblazing African American cinematographer whose
credits include the landmark 1970s TV miniseries "Roots" and "Roots: The
Next Generations," has died. He was 70.

Wilcots died Dec. 30 at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster of
complications from a stroke he suffered in 2008, said his manager,
Phyllis Larrymore Kelly.

The first African American to join the International Cinematographers
Guild -- in 1967 -- Wilcots initially worked on camera crews for TV
series such as "The F.B.I." and "Mission: Impossible" and on films such
as "The Learning Tree," "The Last Picture Show," "The Cowboys" and "Lady
Sings the Blues."

As a director of photography, he achieved his greatest acclaim for
"Roots," the 1977 ratings phenomenon based on Alex Haley's bestselling
epic family saga.

"Joseph Wilcots could be considered the Jackie Robinson of
cinematography," Steven Poster, president of the International
Cinematographers Guild, Local 600, said in a statement.

Describing Wilcots as "a kind and gentle man with amazing talent,"
Poster said Wilcots "loved the work he did and gained the respect he
deserved throughout the industry."

In 1977, Wilcots received a national Emmy nomination for "outstanding
cinematography in entertainment programming for a series" for Part Seven
of "Roots." His work on "Roots" also earned him a local Emmy nomination.

"In doing a picture called 'Roots,' we felt it important that we should
have an African American cinematographer," "Roots" executive producer
David L. Wolper told The Times this week.

"It's extremely difficult to photograph African Americans," Wolper said,
"because when you shoot a scene with an African American and a white
person standing next to each other, the lighting is so complex, and he
was an expert in that."

Louis Gossett Jr., who played Fiddler in "Roots," agreed.

"As the cinematographer, Joe said, 'This is going to take some time if
this is going to look good,' " said Gossett. "It was a challenge for him
to balance in the same scene those colors and the different gradations
of skin."

As for the result, Gossett said, "We all loved it. It had to be very
difficult for that man with that time frame and time pressure, but he
did it."

Said LeVar Burton, who played Kunta Kinte, the African who is abducted,
taken to America via slave ship and sold to a Virginia planter in the
1700s: "What stands out immediately is that the look and feel of 'Roots'
holds up today, in 2010; it does not feel dated at all."

Burton said Stevan Larner was the director of photography on the first
three hours of "Roots."

"Joe started in hour four and took it the rest of the way," he said.
"What I remember about Joe on that shoot is that he's a very gentle,
gentle soul, as well as a very talented man."

For Burton, the "compassion of the man" was evident while shooting the
final scene in hour four in which Kunta Kinte is whipped and forced to
take the name Toby.

"For me, the challenge was standing still while this guy with a whip was
letting it go behind me at 120 miles an hour," recalled Burton. "We
rehearsed it, Joe lit it, they gathered all the extras, [but] it wasn't
working. I was way too skittish.

"He and the director, John Ermin, recognized this was a very important
scene, and I needed to get comfortable with my back to the whip. Joe was
very supportive, [saying], 'Let's go to something else; let's put this
back on the schedule for another day.' "

In the early part of "Roots" when he was shooting Burton, Wilcots said
in a 2007 interview with the Archive of American Television, "I wanted
to make the audience smell the dirt and to create such an atmosphere
that the dirt was the second part of the picture.

"And I was able to accomplish that by whenever I had the opportunity I
would either start on the dirt or shoot something of dirt around and so
there was like a hidden meaning, and it was the dirt and the earth."

Among Wilcots' other credits as a cinematographerare " Bill Cosby:
Himself," "Where the Red Fern Grows: Part 2" and the TV series
"Matlock," "Palmerstown, U.S.A." and "Brewster Place."

For 15 years, he also worked variously as a cinematographer,
photographer, producer, director and editor on Michael Jackson's music
videos, tours and other projects.

Wilcots was born Feb. 1, 1939, in Des Moines.

After a four-year stint in the Navy as a photographer, he worked four
and a half years at Westheimer Co., a Hollywood optical house for which
he was involved in providing visual effects for "Star Trek" and other TV
series and commercials.

Wilcots is survived by his wife Annette; his son, Joseph Wilcots II; his
daughter, London Morrow Wilcots; his sisters, Loretta Hall, Virgie
Monroe and Lois Newcomb; and his brothers, Michael and Henry Wilcots.

A celebration of Wilcots' life is pending.

WILCOTS, Joseph Morrow
Born: 2/1/1939, Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A.
Died: 12/30/2009, Lancaster, California, U.S.A.

Joseph M. Wilcots' westerns - camera operator, cinematographer:
Thomasine & Bushrod - 1974 (camera operator)
The Aurora Encounter - 1986 (TV) (cinematographer)

RIP David Gerber

David Gerber, a seminal figure in American and international television for a half-century as a producer, studio executive, industry statesman and philanthropist, died Saturday at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. He was 86.

Gerber earned an Emmy (and six other Emmy noms), a Golden Globe, a Peabody Award and the Christopher Award as well as honors from the American Film Institute, the Caucus of Producers, Writers and Directors and others by taking on serious, often controversial subjects. He was a pioneer of multiracial programming with such series as "Police Story," "Batman," "Room 222," "thirtysomething," "In the Heat of the Night" and dozens of TV movies, including his last longform, the critically acclaimed "Flight 93" in 2006.

As an executive, Gerber was credited with revitalizing two studios, Columbia Pictures Television in the late 1970s and MGM Television during his 1986-92 stint there.

A Brooklyn native, Gerber served in World War II in the U.S. Air Corps and was shot down over Germany, where he was held as a prisioner of war for 13 months.

He began his career at the BBD&O Ad Agency in New York as a TV supervisor, then worked as an agent for Famous Artists packaging TV shows and then at General Artists Corp. Gerber moved into the executive ranks with 20th Century Fox and in 1972 formed his first independent company.

His impressive list of movies of the week included "Finding the Way Home" (1991) with George C. Scott, "Inherit the Wind" (1999) starring Jason Robards, two "Dirty Dozen" movies.

Gerber is survived by his wife, Laraine, who suggests donations be made to the David and Laraine Gerber Endowment Fund at University of the Pacific; the USC Cardiac Electrophysiology Service; the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles; or any animal rescue charity.

Funeral services will be private, and an industry memorial is in the works.

Born: 1923, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 1/2/2009, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

David Gerber's westerns - producer:
Prudence and the Chief (TV) - 1970
Cade's County (TV) - 1971-1972
The Quest (TV) - 1976
The Quest: The Longest Drive (TV) - 1976
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (TV) - 1982-1983

RIP Donal Donnelly

Irish actor Donal Donnelly dies.

The death has occurred of the Irish actor Donal Donnelly.

The 78-year-old, who was based in the US, had been ill for some time. He died in Chicago yesterday.

Born in Bradford, England of Irish parents, Donnelly's family moved to Dublin when he was small and he was raised in Rathgar.

Donal Donnelly had a successful career in film, including starring in Francis Ford Coppola's 'The Godfather: Part III' and John Huston's 'The Dead'.

He also had a successful stage career in Dublin, London and New York.

He is survived by his wife, Patsy, and two sons.

Paying tribute to Donal Donnelly, the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen, said: "Indeed, Donal Donnelly had a very successful career in film, including starring in Francis Ford Coppola's 'The Godfather: Part III' and John Huston's 'The Dead'.

"Born in England, he was in fact a great ambassador for Ireland, having grown up and been educated in Dublin.

"He received great praise for his work in the United States and in many ways was one of the first of the Irish success stories which today we continue to enjoy in the world of international film.

"I extend my sympathy to his wife Patsy and both his sons. May he rest in peace."

Born: 7/6/1931, Bradford, Yorkshire, England, U.K.
Died: 1/4/2010, Chicago, Illinoise, U.S.A.

Donal Donnelly's western - actor:
Squanto: A Warriors Tale - 1994 (Brother Paul)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

RIP Conchita Nuñez

I came across this obituary in a list of Spanish actors who died in 2009.

Conchita Nuñez began her acting career in film in the 1960s. During that decade he worked in several films: “Bahia de Palma”, John Bisch (1962), “Hands of a Gunman”, Marchent Rafael Romero (1965), “Jugando a morir”, Joseph H. Gan (1966), “Educando a una idiota”, Ramón Torrado (1969), “Las cicatrices”, Pedro Lazaga (1969), Los extremeños se tocan”, Alfonso Paso (1970). “Gan” (1966). After this first stage of her career she began to devote increasingly more time to film dubbing. In the 1970s she participated in the animated series that marked a new era in television, such as Heidi (she was the voice of Peter), or “Marco, the Movie”, and later “Oliver” and “Benji”. In her long career as a voice actress she turned to television characters from series like Dynasty (provided the voice of Linda Evans both in this and other series and films), Dallas, Law and Order, Judging Amy, and more recently in The Sopranos, Desperate Housewives and Ghost Whisperer, among others. She made her last film dubbing in films “Standoff Negotiators” (2007) and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2009). Conchta Nunez died on Saturday 27 June.

NUNEZ, Conchita
Born: 193?, Spain
Died: 6/27/2009, Spain

ConChita Núñez's westerns - actress, voice actress.
Hands of a Gunman – 1965 (Margaret Dixon)
The Valley of Gwangi – 1969 [Spanish voice of Curtis Arden]