Tuesday, June 29, 2010

RIP Allyn Ferguson

TV Theme Song Writer Allyn Ferguson Dead at 85

by Nick Zaino, posted Jun 28th 2010

TV theme song writer Allyn Ferguson died Wednesday of natural causes according to Variety. He was 85.

Ferguson co-wrote the theme songs for many recognizable TV franchises, including 'Charlie's Angels' (pictured) and 'Barney Miller,' and co-wrote scores for shows like 'Starsky and Hutch' and 'S.W.A.T.' with his partner, Jack Elliott.

Ferguson garnered eight Emmy nominations -- six for movies and miniseries, including 'Ivanhoe' and 'The Last Days of Patton.' He won an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Limited Series of a Special in 1985 for 'Hallmark Hall of Fame: Camille.'
His musical education started at the age of four, with trumpet lessons from jazz icon Red Nichols. He also studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and Aaron Copeland at Tanglewood.

Ferguson served as the musical director for various awards programs, including the Kennedy Center Honors, the American Movie Awards, the Grammys, Oscars and Emmys. He and Elliott created the Foundation for New American Music in 1978. The Foundation's music ensemble, the New American Orchestra, performed symphonic works and reflected Ferguson's jazz training.

Ferguson's last credit listed on IMDB.com was for 2001's 'Back to the Secret Garden.'

Born: 10/18/1924, San Jose, California, U.S.A.
Died: 6/23/2010, Westlake Village, California, U.S.A.

Allyn Ferguson's westerns - composer:
Terror at Black Falls - 1962
Support Your Local Gunfighter - 1971
The Legend of Earl Durand - 1974
Big Bend Country (TV) - 1981
Stone Fox (TV) - 1987
Highn Noon (TV) - 2000

Monday, June 28, 2010

RIP Corey Allen

Corey Allen, the last remaining cast member of "Rebel Without a Cause," died June 27 in Hollywood of natural causes. He was 75.

Allen played "Buzz," the tough in a black leather jacket who fatally challenges James Dean's character to a chicken race in the iconic "Rebel." After graduating from UCLA, he appeared in the short "A Time Out of War," which won an Oscar in 1954. Allen started performing in legit in plays around L.A., where he was seen by "Rebel" helmer Nicholas Ray, who cast him as Buzz.

Other film roles followed in such pics as "Private Property," "Party Girl," "Darby's Rangers" and "The Chapman Report." He also acted in television on series including "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Perry Mason," "Bonanza" and "Gunsmoke."

Meanwhile, Allen branched into directing and helmed Equity plays as well as TV series beginning in 1969 such as "The New People," "Mannix," "Hawaii Five-O," "Barnaby Jones," "Police Woman" "Quincy Jones" "The Rockford Files."

In 1983 he won an Emmy for helming "Hill Street Blues." He was nommed by the DGA for "Hill Street Blues" and "The Streets of San Francisco."

His last outing was 1994's "The Cosby Mysteries." Over the course of 25 years he directed more than 75 series, including "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "The Paper Chase," for which he won an ACE cable kudo. He helmed some 20 telepics, among them "The Ann Jillian Story," which earned its eponymous star a Golden Globe in 1989.

Allen was also a teacher and instructed at the Actors Workshop, Margie Haber Studio and Columbia U., where he set the curriculum for the acting and directing courses.

Survivors include his daughter Robin Duncan, who ran Allen's business affairs for many years; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a brother.

ALLEN, Corey (Alan Cohen)
Born: 6/29/1934, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.
Died: 6/27/2010, Hollywood, California, U.S.A.

Corey Allen's westerns - actor:
Stories of the Century (TV) - 1955 (Charles Ward)
The Restless Gun (TV) - 1958 (Art Hemper)
Gunsmoke (TV) - 1958 (Ben Tennis)
Trackdown (TV) - 1958 (Tom Summers)
Have Gun - Will Travel (TV) - 1958 (Chuck Anderson)
Rawhide (TV) - 1959 (Mel Mason)
The Rebel (TV) - 1961 (Yancey Daggett)
Lawman (TV) - 1961 (William Lord)
The Dakotas (TV) - 1963 (Clen Biglow)
Bonanza (TV) - 1964 (Lt. Bower)
The Loner (TV) - 1965 (Andrew Drake)
The High Chaparral (TV) - 1970
The Quest (TV) - 1976

Sunday, June 27, 2010

RIP Aldo Giuffrè

Italian actor Aldo Giuffrè has died.

Giuffrè died June 26th during an operation for peritonitis in San Filippo Neri Hospital in Rome. Giuffrè turned 86 years old on April 10. A native of Naples, Italy he was a radio announcer before he was 20 years-old and announced the end of the war in 1945. He started acting on stage in 1942 with the Eduardo De Filippo company. He worked on stage with Luchino Visconti and Giorgio Strehler. In 1972-1973 he played alongside his brother Carlo in the comedy “Un coperto di più”. His film debut was in 1947 in the drama “Assunta Spina” directed by Mario Mattoli. He also appeared in “I eri, oggi, domani” directed by Vittorio De Sica but is best remembered for his role as Captain Clinton in Sergio Leone's “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966). His last film appearance was in 2001's “La republica di San Gennaro” directed by Massimo Costa. In the 1960s he devoted most of his acting skills to television.

Born: April 10, 1924, Naples, Compania, Italy
Died: June 26, 2010, Rome, Lazio, Italy

Aldo Giuffrè's westerns:
Two Mafiamen in the Far West - 1964 (defense attorney)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - 1966 (Captain Clinton)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

RIP Pavel Lyubimov

The Russian Directors Guild was informed on June 24th of the death of Pavel . According to his widow his funeral will be held on the 27th. He did not want any requiems, therfore he will pass away modestly and silently as he specified.

The honored director was born on September 7, 1938 in Moscow. He graduated from the director's facility at Vgika in 1962 and directed his frist film in 1963. Since 1964 he's worked at the Maxim Gorkogo Studio. He also wrote screenplays and was an occassional actor. He made his only western “Sledopyt” (The Pathfinder) in 1987.

LYUBIMOV, Pavel (Pavel Grygorievich Lyubimov)
Born: 9/7/1938, Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R.
Died: 6/24/2010, Moscow, Russia

Pavel Lyubimov's western - director, screenwriter, actor:
The Pathfinder - 1987

RIP Ursula Thiess

Ursula Thiess Taylor, the widow of Hollywood movie star Robert Taylor, died June 19, at an assisted living care center in Burbank, Calif. An artist and an actress, she was 86 years of age.

Born Ursula Schmidt on May 15, 1924 in Hamburg, Germany, where her father was manager of a print shop, she had a normal childhood until 1939, when the authorities of the Third Reich drafted her for one year as a farm laborer.

Upon returning to Hamburg, where she resided throughout World War II, she began her stage career and adopted the name Ursula Schmidt-Huth.

In 1942, she married movie producer George Thiess and gave birth to daughter Manuela in July 1943 and son Michael in June 1945. Two years later, the marriage ended in divorce.

Her modeling career began in 1948 in Berlin, then continued in Munich. Photos of her appeared on the cover of magazines and she had small movie roles. After being offered a movie contract with RKO Pictures, she relocated to the United States in 1951, the same year she was featured on the June 4 cover of Life Magazine.

In Hollywood, Ursula Thiess appeared in 1953 with actor George Nader in “Monsoon,” then in 1954 with Robert Stack in “The Iron Glove” and with Rock Hudson in “Bengal Brigade.”

Then in 1955 she appeared with Glenn Ford in “The Americano,” and in 1956 with Robert Mitchum in “Bandido.”

Meanwhile, she had met Gage County native Robert Taylor on a blind date in April 1952 after his marriage to actress Barbara Stanwyck had ended the previous year. She visited Beatrice in May 1953 with Taylor and his mother Ruth Brugh, which included a stop at his Filley birthplace. Sometimes she also accompanied him on his hunting and fishing excursions later on.

After her marriage to Taylor on May 24, 1954, at Jackson Lake, Wyo., Ursula gave birth to their son Terry in June 1955 and daughter Tessa in August 1959. The family settled on their 113-acre ranch at 3099 Mandeville Canyon Rd. in San Fernando Valley, just a 20-minute drive from Los Angeles.

Ursula had occasional roles with her husband in his weekly television series “Robert Taylor’s Detectives” on the ABC and NBC Networks from 1959 to 1962, but she preferred to concentrate on her family life and enjoyed painting, making shadow boxes and decorating. Among the couple’s close friends were Ronald and Nancy Reagan and Ivy Mooring.

Ursula visited Nebraska with her husband in October 1963 when he received an honorary doctorate from Doane College and again in mid-January 1968 when his business interest in Grand Island opened.

In 1969 she suffered the tragic loss of her son Michael Thiess on May 26 and then her husband on June 8, after months of attempted recovery from surgery for lung cancer.

Ursula raised her surviving children, and after the sale of the ranch four years later, resided at 1940 Bel Air Rd. in Los Angeles. In 1974, she was married to Marshall Schacker, an international film distributor. Marshall died of cancer 12 years later.

Meanwhile, Ursula had undergone surgery for a benign brain tumor in 1979, but recovered to lead a normal life, often visiting Hawaii while her children pursued their careers.

Later she engaged in volunteer work at Children’s Hospital associated with the University of California at Los Angeles. She also worked on her autobiography, which was privately published in 2004 under the title “... but I have promises to keep: My Life Before, With and After Robert Taylor.”

Ursula returned to Nebraska for the 1994 and 1996 Robert Taylor Conferences in Beatrice, which included the Oct. 2, 1994 dedication of the Robert Taylor Memorial Highway on the portion of U.S. Highway 136 between Beatrice and Filley, followed by a ceremony at Doane College.

Surviving relatives of Ursula Thiess Taylor include son Terry and his wife, daughter Tessa and daughter Manuela. Her cremated remains are scheduled for placement at one of her favorite locations.

THIESS, Ursula (Ursula Schmidt)
Born: 5/15/1924, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Died: 6/19/2010, Burbank, California, U.S.A.

Ursula Thiess' westerns - actress:
The Americano - 1955 (Marianna)
Bandido - 1956 (Lisa Kennedy)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

RIP Tracy Wright

Tracy Wright, veteran of Canadian stage and screen, dies at 50

Peter Saltsman, National Post ·
Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2010

In the realm of Canadian arts and culture, Tracy Wright was veritable royalty.

Over the past 20 years, the actress worked with some of Canada’s most prominent artists, including Daniel MacIvor, Bruce McCulloch, Bruce McDonald, and her husband Don McKellar (the two wed last January after a years-long partnership).

She died on Tuesday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 50 years old.

Although many Canadians never knew her name, anyone who saw her perform never forgot her presence, which had a way of emanating from her expressive eyes through to the audience, often without her ever uttering a line.

While she appeared in an almost surprising number of films, Wright was firmly rooted in the Canadian tradition of stage acting. At the beginning of her career she founded the Augusta Company with McKellar and Daniel Brooks, an experimental theatre company that spurred the kind of offbeat and inventive characters for which she would later be remembered. It also earned her a lifelong place on the Toronto stage, where she appeared in shows put on by some of the country’s best and most avant-garde companies, including STO Union and da da kamera.

One of her last turns in the spotlight was in A Beautiful View, Tarragon Theatre’s 2009 remount of the 2006 Daniel MacIvor show in which Wright originally starred alongside Caroline Gillis. She earned rave reviews for her portrayal of a vulnerable straight woman who falls unintentionally in and out of a relationship with another woman. In this, as in her other work, Wright was effortlessly funny, real, and fearlessly smart.

Wright thrived onstage, even planning on returning despite being hospitalized in the last months of her life. An artist staunchly devoted to her craft, she had been preparing for the title role in a staged reading of Bertolt Brecht’s The Life of Galileo by Toronto’s Small Wooden Shoe company (performed May 30 without her) and a role -- to be shared with her husband -- in the Theatre Centre’s rendition of TTTTg (Triple Trooper Trevor Trumpet Girl).

Her presence lives on, though, in her film work, for which she rarely starred but always shone. She established herself as a distinguished character actor whose talents complemented a wide range of genres. From her uproarious Kids in the Hall performance as a woman having an affair with Bruce McCulloch to her scene-stealing performances in McKellar’s Last Night and Reg Harkema’s Monkey Warfare, Wright proved that comedy is subtle, and that a glance, a stare, or a silent shrug can carry more emotional weight than any amount of dialogue. Indeed, her role in Last Night earned her one of her biggest roles, as an art curator engaged in an online affair with a young boy in Miranda July’s 2005 film Me and You and Everyone We Know. The apocryphal story goes that July wrote a character for her film based on Wright’s in Last Night. When July randomly spotted her at a film festival in Rotterdam, Wright was cast in the role she unwittingly created.

Fans can catch a glimpse of Wright in theatres this Friday as the Box Office Woman in Bruce McDonald’s This Movie is Broken, and later in McDonald’s upcoming Trigger, which stars Sarah Polley, Don McKellar, Caroline Gilli and Daniel MacIvor.

Born: 12/7/1959, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died: 6/22/2010, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Tracy Wright's western - actress:
All Hat - 2007 (Elizabeth Dokes)

Monday, June 21, 2010

RIP Walt LaRue

Walt LaRue was one of those men who God seems to have blessed more than other men. It's as if Walt's spirit had lived more than one life, and each time it lived, it learned more and added to the knowledge, talent, and ability of the life that followed.

He was born in Canada, of American parents. He had relatives who had horses, and Walt learned to ride. He spent part of his early life as a guide and packer in Glacier National Park and also in Yosemite and the High Sierras of California. That horseback work led to rodeoing, and Walt spent part of the next 12 years of his life traveling to rodeos, riding bareback horses and

In 1942, he joined the Cowboy's Turtle Association (card number 1848), the forerunner of the Rodeo Cowboys Association (R.C.A.), which, in turn, became the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (P.R.C.A.). Throughout his life, Walt was proud of his status as a Gold Card Member of the P.R.C.A.

Rodeoing eventually led Walt to a career as a Hollywood stuntman. He had the good fortune to be part of that business during the 1940s and 1950s, Hollywood's golden age of Westerns. He appeared in hundreds of movies and television shows, doing stunts that mostly involved horse work.

Besides the work itself, which was fun and exciting for an athletic young man, Walt enjoyed the behind-the-scenes life of the movie business. He was a natural storyteller, and his tales of all that went on behind the cameras enthralled any and all lucky enough to be within hearing distance.

Entertaining came naturally to Walt. He could also play the guitar and sing, and he'd happily perform for anyone who wanted to listen to his cowboy songs and his humorous old-time-radio-show act.

Throughout his life, Walt was a superb artist, his lifetime of cartoons, sketches, drawings, and paintings numbering in the thousands. His greatest influences were the works of Charlie Russell and Will James, and evidence of both can be seen in Walt's work.

Walt did drawings and paintings commercially for Levi Strauss, Weber Bread, Blevins Buckles, Paul Bond Boots, and other businesses, and, from 1945 to 1952, Walt drew cartoon covers for The Buckboard, the official magazine of the R.C.A.

It was always a treat for anyone to sit down with Walt in a restaurant. He would tell humorous stories of his rodeo days or his years in the movies, and, while he did so, he'd pull out a pen and reach for the nearest napkin or paper place mat and sketch a quick drawing of a horse, or a bronc ride, or a cowboy. Who knows how many people have eagerly scooped up one of Walt's restaurant originals and treasure them to this day?

You could always tell where Walt was in a restaurant. He'd be in the most crowded booth, surrounded by laughing people. One time, when Walt was a guest entertainer at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, he was holding sway at a breakfast table in the restaurant at the Stockman's Hotel. While his enthralled listeners delighted in his tales of the movie business, Walt grabbed a small biscuit plate and made an excellent drawing of a cowboy on a bronc. He handed it to one of the people at the table.

The next thing you know, Walt's audience spilled over into the adjoining booths, and biscuit plates appeared in front of Walt from all over the restaurant. One wonders if the staff of the Stockman's Restaurant ever figured out where those plates disappeared to?

Walt didn't mind being loved and adored by his many friends and fans, and, in 2007, he was recognized by the movie industry, as well, when he was presented a Golden Boot Award.

Walt's life was a long and happy one. He was one of those fortunate individuals who lived the kind of life he wanted to live. Walt was quoted once as saying "I've enjoyed doing what I've done, a lot of different things. I've been able to paint, and entertain a little, and rodeo, and work in the movies. I could have made a living at any one of them. I've been kinda lucky, I do what I want to do."

It says a lot about a man if a smile comes to someone's face at the mere mention of his name. Walt LaRue was such a man. People loved to be near him, and they seldom left his company with anything other than warm feelings. He had many friends and many fans who wished they could be his friends.

Walt LaRue passed from this earth on Saturday, June 12th at the age of 91.

LaRUE, Walt
Born: 8/18/1918, Canada
Died: 6/12/2010, Burbank, California, U.S.A.

Walt LaRue's westerns actor, stunts:
New Frontier – 1939 (townsman), [stunts]
The Phantom Rider – 1946 (ambusher)
Fort Apache – 1948 [stunts]
Ambush – 1950 (trooper), [stunts]
Cow Town – 1950 (cowhand), [stunts]
Wyoming Mail – 1950 [stunts]
Gene Autry and the Mounties – 1951 (mountie), [stunts]
Man with the Steel Whip – 1954 (townsman), [stunts]
Walk the Proud Land – 1956 [stunts]
Cowboy – 1958 [stunts]
Gunman's Walk 1958 (wrnagler), [stunts]
They Came to Cordura – 1959 [stunts]
Hell Bent for Leather – 1960 [stunts]
Bat Masterson (TV) – 1961 (Boomer)
Savage Sam – 1963 [stunts]
The Quick Gun – 1964 [stunts]
A Distant Trumpet – 1964 [stunts]
Major Dundee – 1965 [stunts]
Arizona Raiders – 1965 [stunts]
Gunpoint – 1966 [stunts]
El Dorado – 1966 [stunts]
Cimarron Strip (TV) – 1967 (Pike Landusky)
The High Chaparral (TV) – 1967 (bandit)
A Time for Dying – 1969 [stunts]
More Dead Than Alive – 1969 (Graber)
Paint Your Wagon – 1969 [stunts]
The Good Guys and the Bad Guys – 1969 [stunts]
The Cowboys – 1972 [stunts]
Blazing Saddles – 1974 [stunts]
Pale Rider – 1985 [stunts]
Silverado - 1985 [stunts]
Three Amigos – 1986 [stunts]
Young Guns – 1988 [stunts]
Back to the Future Part III [stunts]

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

RIP Bekim Fehmiu

World-renowned actor, Bekim Fehmiu, committed suicide at his residence in Zvezdara, on the outskirts of Belgrade today June 15, 2010. His motives are unknown at this time.

Interior Minister Ivica Dacic, has said he believed that Fehmiu committed suicide because the bullet came from a gun registered in his name.

Bekim Fehmiu was 74-year-old and is recognized as one of the most popular actors in the former Yugoslavia. He was born on June 1, 1936 in Sarajevo and attended the Faculty of Dramatic Works from 1956 until 1960.

Among his most famous films was 1969's “The Adventurers” starring Charles Aznavour and Candice Bergen, “The Executioner” (1975), “Salon Kitty” (1976) and his only Euro-western “The Deserter” (1971) directed by Burt Kennedy and also starring John Huston and Richard Crenna. He worked extensively in Italy with Dino De Laurentis.

He was married to actress Branka Petric and had two sons Hedon and Uliks, who is also an actor.

Fehmiu published his autobiography in 2001 which he had written in 1985 entitled 'Blistavo i strašno' ("Brilliant and Terrifying")

Born: 6/1/1936, Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Died: 6/15/2010, Zvezdara, Serbia

Bekim Fehmiu's western - actor:
The Deserter - 1971 (Captain Victor Kaleb)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

RIP Jimmy Dean

Country music star Jimmy Dean dies

Jimmy Dean, the musician and founder of the sausage company that bears his name, has died.

Dean, 81, died today June 13th. He lived in Varina, in eastern Henrico County, Virginia. He is survived by his wife, Donna Meade Dean.

Funeral arrangements at Nelsen Funeral Home on South Laburnum Aveneue have not been finalized.

His 1961 hit 'Big Bad John', was No. 1 on Billboards pop charts and won him a Grammy. Dean was a regular headliner in Las Vegas and Reno in the 1960s.

Dean was named to the Country Music Hall of Fame in February 2010. He was inducted into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997, the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Meat Industry Hall of Fame last year.

DEAN, James Ray
Born: 8/10/1928, Olton, Texas, U.S.A.
Died: 6/13/2010, Henrico, Virginia, U.S.A.

Jimmy Dean's western - actor:
Daniel Boone (TV) - 1967-1970 (Delo Jones, Jeremiah, Josh Clements)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

RIP Carole Ann Campbell

Carole Ann Campbell passed away on March 6, 2010 in Laguna Woods CA (just shy of her 66th birthday), from a return bout with cancer. She was born March 27, 1944 in Sherman Oaks CA, the sole offspring of Glenn and Edna Campbell, who both had had show business-related careers, behind the cameras.

She’s best known (and will probably be mostly remembered) for being personally chosen by the legendary Walt Disney to portray the wannabe girlfriend (Iola Morton) of Joe Hardy, the Tommy Kirk character in the Mickey Mouse Club mini-series, “The Hardy Boys,” during the mid-1950s. By her own choice, her acting career ended in 1958, and the year she graduated from Van Nuys High School (1962), she cut three single recordings (45s) for Kangaroo Records, before permanently leaving the performing arts.

She married Gerald W. Murphy (August 1965), eventually settling in Northridge CA, where she gave birth to two sons, and we offer our most sincere condolences to those who knew her best.

Born: 3/27/1944, Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.A.
Died: 3/6/2010, Laguna Woods, California, U.S.A.

Carol Campbell's western - actress:
26 Men (TV) - 1958 (Kay Whiteside)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

RIP Ginette Garcin

Ginette Garcin, one of the leading actresses of the series "Family Home", died today June 10, 2010 at the age of 82 years.

We learned this morning the death of actress Ginette Garcin who died at the age of 82years. Ginette Garcin was one of the heroines of the series "Family Home" on France 3, made in Bordeaux last ten years by teams of our regional station.

Garcin played the role of Aunt Jane, and she was still there just three weeks on the sets of the new season. She was born in Marseilles in 1928 and began his career in the orchestra of Jacques Hélian. She also participated in the seventies to the famous series of TF1 Mark and Sophie.

GARCIN, Ginette Marcelle
Born: 1/4/1928, Marseille Bouches-du-Rhône, France
Died: 6/10/2010, Nanterre, Ile-de-France, France

Garcin Ginette's western actress:
The Daltons – 2004 (Ma James)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

RIP Robert B. Radnitz

Robert B. Radnitz dies at 85; Hollywood producer of distinguished family

Radnitz, producer of Academy Award-nominated "Sounder" and "Cross
Creek," successfully brought children's literature to film.
By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times

June 10, 2010

Robert B. Radnitz, an English teacher turned movie producer who made
some of Hollywood's more distinguished family fare, including "Sounder"
and "Island of the Blue Dolphins," has died. He was 85.

Radnitz died Sunday at his Malibu home from complications of a stroke he
had years ago, said his wife, Pearl.

With the release of his first film in 1959 - the boy-and-his-dog tale "A
Dog of Flanders" - Radnitz started to develop a reputation as a maker of
high-quality movies for children and their parents.

He went on to produce nearly a dozen feature films, often mining
children's literature to make such movies as "Misty" (1961), based on
the Marguerite Henry classic "Misty of Chincoteague," and "Island of the
Blue Dolphins" (1964), which shared its name with the Newbery
Award-winning book by Scott O'Dell.

"Island" was "the very model of what children's pictures ought to be but
seldom are," Time magazine said in its 1964 review of the film. "Radnitz
& Co. have provided sentiment without sentimentality and a moral without
a lecture."

The filmmaker had a simple explanation for his approach to making movies
aimed at children: "If you don't talk down to them, you'd be surprised
how high they can reach," Radnitz told The Times in 1991.

His movies often featured a young person who must overcome adversity and
were filmed inexpensively on location, using non-actors in secondary
roles and indigenous music, Radnitz later said.

Nominated for an Academy Award for best picture, "Sounder" was his most
acclaimed film. Based on William Armstrong's best-selling book about a
black sharecropping family in the Depression-era South, it starred
Cicely Tyson and Paul Winfield.

"Sounder" was "his ego trip," Radnitz recalled in a 1973 interview,
"because everybody told me not to make it," and nobody thought it would
find an audience.

"It was the first film that broke the mold of blaxploitation," he told
The Times in 1996.

When Times critic Charles Champlin named "Sounder" one of the top films
of 1972, he called it "beautifully acted, honest, angering and

By 1973, The Times had proclaimed Radnitz "the only successful American
maker of children's films outside the gates of Walt Disney films."

Robert Bonoff Radnitz was born Aug. 9, 1924, in Great Neck, N.Y., the
only child of Fred and Lilyn Radnitz. His mother's family, the Bonoffs,
started a laundry business that his father ended up running.

Raised on Long Island, Radnitz was an asthmatic child who regularly
indulged in Saturday movie binges in New York City. Filmmaker Stanley
Kubrick said Radnitz was "the only person who has seen more old movies
than I have," People magazine reported in 1976.

At the University of Virginia, Radnitz studied English and drama. After
earning his degree, he stayed to teach English literature.

Eventually, Radnitz apprenticed with influential theatrical director
Harold Clurman, according to his family, then produced two Broadway
plays, "The Frogs of Spring" and "The Young and the Beautiful," between
1953 and 1955.

After he came to Hollywood, he became a script consultant at 20th
Century Fox, which financed his first feature.

By 1970, he had entered into a partnership with toy maker Mattel to
produce family films, releasing "Sounder" and the Appalachian drama
"Where the Lilies Bloom" (1974), among other movies.

His movies were "marked by a happy lack of condescension," Time magazine
pointed out in 1969 while writing about "My Side of the Mountain," his
film about a Canadian boy who runs away to nature.

The producer's final feature film was "Cross Creek," a 1983 drama that
unfolds on a Florida bayou. It was nominated for four Academy Awards.

A devoted tennis player, Radnitz almost always wore his tennis whites,
even to business appointments.

Soon after moving here, he bought his beachfront home in Malibu. Every
morning at 6 a.m., Radnitz swam naked in the ocean "rain or shine," he
told The Times in 1973.

The swims continued until he had a stroke in 1996, which also ended his

Until then, he had been "a robust, hale and hearty type of guy," said
his friend, Keith Robinson, "always in charge and a great storyteller."

When asked why the license plate on his Mercedes-Benz convertible said
"CALM," Radnitz would invariably reply, "It is a state I hope one day to

Pearl, his wife of 23 years, is his only survivor.

RADNITZ, Robert Bonoff
Born: 8/9/1924, Great Neck, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 6/6/2010, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Robert B. Radnitz's western - producer:
For the Love of Mike - 1960

Monday, June 7, 2010

RIP David Markson

David Markson, postmodern master, dead at age 82


NEW YORK -- David Markson, a revered postmodern author who rummaged relentlessly and humorously through art, history and human nature in such novels as "Wittgenstein's Mistress" and also wrote crime fiction, poetry and a spoof of Westerns made into the Frank Sinatra film "Dirty Dingus Magee," has died at age 82.

The author's literary agent and former wife Elaine Markson said Monday that he was found in his bed in his Greenwich Village apartment late last week. She did not know the cause of death, but said Markson had been in failing health.

Little known to the general public, Markson was idolized by a core of fans that included Ann Beattie and David Foster Wallace. He was celebrated for his insights and for how he expressed them, often in paragraphs lasting just a sentence or two.

MARKSON, Dvid Merrill
Born: 12/20/1927, Albany, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 6/5/2010, Greenwich Village, New York, U.S.A.

David Markson's westerns - writer:
Dirty Dingus Magee - 1970
Cry for Me, Billy - 1972

Friday, June 4, 2010

RIP Eddie Barth

Eddie Barth, a veteran actor and voiceover artist known as
"Mr. Gravel" for his raspy timbre, died May 28 at his home
in Los Angeles of heart failure. He was 78.

Barth appeared in 38 episodes of "Simon & Simon," the
1981-89 CBS series that starred Gerald McRaney and Jameson
Parker as brothers and owners of a private detective agency.
Barth played Myron Fowler, the owner of Peerless Detectives,
a rival agency.

The Philadelphia native closed the classic Miller Lite beer
commercials (Tastes Great ... Less Filling) of the 1980s
with the line, "Lite Beer from Miller; everything you want
from a beer and less."

Barth also did voice work on "Osmosis Jones" (2001), "Babe:
Pig in the City" (1998) and "Superman: The Animated Series."

He played a police lieutenant on CBS series "Shaft," an 1973
offshoot of the movie, and had regular roles on "Murder, She
Wrote," "Civil Wars," "Night Court" and "Stone."

Survivors include his wife Sally, his son Victor, his
grandson Tommy and his daughter-in-law Annie.

No services are planned. The family asks that donations in
his name be made to the Actors Fund, the American Heart
Assn. or any children's charity.

BARTH, Eddie (Edward Bartholetti)
Born: 9/29/1931, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Died: 5/28/2010, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Edddie Barth's western - actor:
Cimarron Strip (TV) - 1967 (townsman)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

RIP Steve Drexel

CARINGI, Ernest Joseph
aka Steve Drexel
Born December 23, 1931, in Mechanicville, N.Y. Passed away April 17, 2010, in Quartz Hill/Lancaster, Calif., of lung and bone cancer. He grew up in Mechanicville, N.Y., and Saratoga Springs, N.Y., went to school in Mechanicville and Boston University. He was in the U.S. Army serving in the Korean War. He has lived in the Antelope Valley for 19 years. Career includes SAG, actor of 37 TV and stage shows and 33 movies. Was a writer and producer of several productions. He and his parents owned and operated Panzas Lazy Susan in Hollywood for approximately 25 years, a supper club and hang-out for the stars in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. He is survived by his wife Hildegard Caringi, cousins in New Jersey, up state New York, South Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Brazil, Italy and family on his wifes side in Germany. Preceded in death by his parents Ernest B. and Molly Panza Caringi, grandparents Joseph and Theresa Panza, Dominik and Mary Caringi. Viewing will be held at 12 noon with Services at 1 p.m., Friday, April 23, 2010, both at Joshua Memorial Park & Mortuary, Lancaster. Entombment will follow at Good Shepherd Mausoleum.

DREXEL, Steve (Ernest Joseph Caringi)
Born: 12/31/1931, Mechanicville, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 4/17/2010, Quartz Hill, California, U.S.A.

Steve Drexel's westerns - actor:
Badman's Country - 1958
Colt .45 (TV) - 1960 (Jess Sanger)
The Red, White, and Black - 1970 (Captain Louis Carpenter)

RIP "La Polaca"

Spanish dancer and actress Josefa Cotillo Martínez, professionally known as “La Polaca” ("Polish"), died June 2nd in Seville, Andalucia, Spain at 65. According to family sources she was a victim of lung cancer. The dancer, who lived in the town Tomares Seville for the last five years with her husband, suffered from lung cancer that worsened in the last month and she died today.

Born June 16, 1944 in Madrid, "La Polaca” was a precocious artist and taught herself, and began to dance at just 10 years of age, after leaving her studies, she debuted at the age of 12 at Alcázar de Madrid Theatre. In the early '60s she joined the company of Jose Greco, with whom she toured America, where she began to emerge as a dancer. This tour was the first of many more to be carried out in other countries like the Soviet Union and the United States, which included an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and went on to dance before President John F. Kennedy.
In 1965 he fame gave her the chance to debut in the cinema with Mario Camus's film “With the East Wind”. This film was followed with among others "El amor brujo" (1967), Francisco Rovira Beleta, "Secretaries" (1969), Pedro Lazaga and "Of Love and Death" (1977) Antonio Giménez Rico. “La Polaca” appeared in one Euro-western 1966's “Rebels on the Loose”.

Throughout her career she was honored with several awards including the National Outstanding Performance for her work in "El amor brujo”.

"La Polaca" (Josefa Cotillo Martínez)
Born: 6/16/1944, Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Died: 6/2/2010, Seville, Andalucia, Spain

"La Polaca's" western - actress, dancer:
Rebels on the Loose - 1966

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

RIP William A. Fraker

William A. Fraker, a six-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer, died Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after a battle with cancer. He was 86.

Fraker earned cinematography noms for "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" (1977), "Heaven Can Wait" (1978), "1941" (1980), "WarGames" (1983) and "Murphy's Romance" (1985) as well as a visual effects mention for "1941."

Fraker emerged as an influential cinematographer during the '60s, with credits including 1968 pics "Bullitt" and "Rosemary's Baby" and 1969's "Paint Your Wagon." He served as ASC president three times and received the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

Born and raised in Hollywood, Fraker served in the Navy during World War II, then enrolled in film school at USC assisted by the G.I. Bill of Rights. He taught at the school in recent years.

"William A. Fraker, ASC, BSC, embodied not only the consummate artistry that was necessary to become a legend in his craft but also the romance and glamour of making movies," ASC president Michael Goi said.

"His presence was a reminder that we in the motion picture industry exist in a world of privilege, a world where one's ability to visually depict the world as we would like it to be had value to an audience. His tireless devotion to informing and educating the next generations of cinematographers spoke to his desire that the industry never forget that we are dreamers, and that those dreams have significance. He will be missed but never forgotten."

"Billy Fraker was the epitome of a Hollywood cinematographer," ASC past president Richard Crudo added. "He was immensely talented, handsome and charismatic, and he has a body of work that was the envy of us all. We are always going to miss him."

Fraker is survived by his wife, Denise.

FRAKER, William A.
Born: 9/29/1923, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Died: 5/31/2010, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

William A. Fraker's westerns - director, cinematographer, camera man:
The Professionals - 1966 [camera man]
Fade In (TV) - 1968 [cinematographer]
Paint Your Wagon - 1969 [cinematographer]
Monte Walsh - 1970 [director]
Rancho Deluxe - 1975 [cinematographer]
The Legend of the Lone Ranger - 1981 [director]
Walker Texas Ranger (TV) - 1993 [director]
Tombstone - 1993 [cinematographer]
Go West, Young Man - 2003 [himself]

RIP Yvonne Howell

Yvonne Stevens, mother of George Stevens Jr., died May 27 in Hollywood of heart failure. She was 107.

Stevens, the daughter of silent screen actress and producer Alice Howell, was a Mack Sennett Bathing Beauty, a bevy of girls who were featured in his slapstick comedies, and played small parts in films. In 1928 she met George Stevens, who was a cinematographer, and they were married two years later. The couple later divorced and Stevens died in in 1975.

Among the survivors are three sons, including multihyphenate Stevens Jr., founder of the American Film Institute; one daughter; three grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

HOWELL, Yvonne (Julia Yvonne Shevlin)
Born: 7/13/1907, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Died: 5/27/2010, Hollywood, California, U.S.A.

Yvonne Howell's westerns - actress:
Somewhere in Sonora - 1927 (Patsy)