Thursday, September 30, 2010

RIP Joe Mantell

NEW YORK --Oscar-nominated actor Joe Mantell, who co-starred in "Marty" and delivered one of movies' most famous lines in "Chinatown," has died, his family said. He was 94.

Mantell was a character actor with more than 70 film and TV credits who received an Academy Award nomination in 1956 for his performance as Angie, the best friend of Ernest Borgnine in "Marty." His oft-repeated line to his sad-sack friend -- "Well, what do you feel like doin' tonight?" -- was one of the beloved film's most memorable lines.

He again became a part of movie lore in 1974's "Chinatown," in which he played the partner of Jack Nicholson's detective character, Jack Gittes. Mantell spoke the film's famous last line: "Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."

Mantell's other notable credits include "The Birds," as well as "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room" and several other episodes of "The Twilight Zone."

MANTELL, Joe (Joseph Mantell)
Born: 12/21/1920, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Died:  9/29/2010, Tarzana, California, U.S.A.
Joe Mantell's westerns - actor:
Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV) - 1958 (Orv Daniels)
The Man from Blackhawk (TV) - 1960 (Wayne Weedy)
The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (TV) - 1964 (Piggy Trueblood)
The Virginian (TV) - 1965 (Aaron)
The Loner (TV) - 1966 (Allerdyce)

RIP Tony Curtis

Tony Curtis Dead At 85

"Some Like it Hot" star and father of Jamie Lee Curtis suffered cardiac arrest.

By Gil Kaufman

From sword-and-sandal epics to the most famous drag show in movie history, Hollywood legend Tony Curtis did it all during his long career on the screen. The actor died on Wednesday in his Las Vegas of cardiac arrest at the age of 85.

Though he earned an Oscar nomination for his role as a an escaped convict in 1958's "The Defiant Ones," Curtis is best remembered for his role alongside Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe in Billy Wilder's 1959 comedy classic "Some Like It Hot." A dashing ladies man with a reputation for a wandering eye, Curtis donned women's clothes in the movie to play a jazz musician on the run from the mob who, along with cohort Lemmon, makes the acquaintance of singer Sugar Kane (Monroe). Hilarity ensues.

Through more than 140 movies Curtis was the 1950s equivalent of a modern metrosexual, known for his sculpted pompadour hair, dreamy blue eyes and dashing looks, which accompanied what the New York Times described in an obituary as a "dramatically potent combination of naked ambition and deep vulnerability, both likely products of his Dickensian childhood in the Bronx."

Curtis, the son of Jewish immigrants from Hungary, was born Bernard Schwartz in Hell's Kitchen, New York, on June 3, 1925. Father Emanuel owned a tailor shop, behind which the family lived in cramped quarters. Mother Helen was a schizophrenic who often beat Curtis and his two brothers. When his parents couldn't provide for their children during the Great Depression, Curtis and one of his brothers were put in a state institution in 1933, and the actor often spoke of the rabid anti-Semitism he suffered when he returned to his old neighborhood. Younger brother Julius died at age 12 after being struck by a car.

Following a stint in the Navy during World War II, Curtis began acting lessons in New York and quickly landed a contract with Universal Pictures in 1948, beginning a string of small movie roles that led up to 1952's "No Room for the Groom," in which he first showed off his ace comedic timing.

Off screen, Curtis was legendary for his way with women, which resulted in six marriages and liaisons with such Hollywood icons as Monroe and Natalie Wood. His first marriage in 1951 was to actress Janet Leigh, his co-star in 1953's "Houdini," Curtis' first box office hit. Popular, but not taken seriously, Curtis finally gained notice for his acting chops in 1957's "Sweet Smell of Success," which he followed up with "The Defiant Ones," portraying a prisoner who escapes a Southern chain gang while shackled to fellow convict Sidney Poitier. As the civil rights movement was just gaining steam, the sight of the black and white actors chained together was a potent symbol for the nation's upcoming struggles and earned Curtis his only recognition from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

He went on to a string of successful starring roles in the late 1950s and 1960s, including "Operation Petticoat," "Spartacus," "The Outsider" and "The Great Race." His career was thrown off track in 1962 when he divorced Leigh — with whom he had daughter Jamie Lee Curtis — after an affair with a 17-year-old German actress named Christine Kaufmann, whom he married the next year. That marriage only lasted five years. Curtis gave it another shot shortly after divorcing Kaufmann in 1968 when he married 23-year-old model Leslie Allen.

The 1970s found Curtis retreating to undistinguished roles in TV shows, such as "The Persuaders" and "Vegas," and a few B-movies. An admitted drinker and addict, Curtis went to rehab in 1982 following his divorce from Allen. He continued to pop up in small films and pursue his second love, painting.

His final film appearance was in the 2008 indie "David & Fatima," in which he played a character named Mr. Schwartz.

CURTIS, Tony (Bernard Schwartz)
Born:  6/3/1925, Bronx, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 9/29/2010, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.

Tony Curtis' westerns - actor:
Sierra - 1950 (Brent Coulter)
Winchester '73 - 1950 (Doan)
Kansas Raiders - 1950 (Kit Dalton)
The Rawhide Years - 1955 (Ben Matthews)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

RIP Arthur Penn

Arthur Penn dies at 88; director of landmark film 'Bonnie and Clyde'

The stage, film and TV director was a three-time Oscar nominee who won a Tony for 'The Miracle Worker.' His role in shaping the graphic violence in 1967's 'Bonnie and Clyde' helped usher in a new era in American filmmaking.
Arthur Penn, the three-time Oscar-nominated director best known for "Bonnie and Clyde," the landmark 1967 film that stirred critical passions over its graphic violence and became a harbinger of a new era of American filmmaking, died Tuesday, a day after he turned 88.

Penn died of congestive heart failure at his New York City home, said his daughter, Molly.

A veteran of directing live television dramas in the 1950s, Penn made his film directorial debut with "The Left Handed Gun,"a 1958 revisionist western starring Paul Newman as Billy the Kid.

Penn, who was often attracted to characters who were outsiders, directed only a dozen other feature films over the next three decades, including "The Miracle Worker," "The Chase," "Mickey One," "Alice's Restaurant," "Little Big Man," "Night Moves," "The Missouri Breaks" and "Four Friends."

But during his heyday in the late 1960s and early `70s, Penn was in the vanguard of American filmmakers and is considered a pivotal figure in American cinema thanks to "Bonnie and Clyde," the standout film starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as Depression-era bank robbers-turned folk heroes.

"Had he only directed 'Bonnie and Clyde,' he'd be a director of note," film critic Leonard Maltin told The Times in 2009. "But that was simply the most successful of these highly individual, often idiosyncratic, films that he made in his heyday."

Because of his relatively small number of films, most of which were made before the 1980s, Penn "has a somewhat neglected reputation at this point," said film critic Peter Rainer.

"I think you should judge directors by their best work," Rainer told The Times in 2009, "and I think 'Bonnie and Clyde' is one of the very best American movies and is really sort of the opening salvo for a whole generation of American directors who were breaking boundaries and finding their own way."

Rainer said that actors loved working with the stage-trained Penn.

"I think he's up there with Sidney Lumet and several others who really understand acting and know how to get the best out of a performer," he said. "And I think he, as opposed to a lot of directors who have theatrical origins, had a real cinematic sense. There's nothing stagy about 'Bonnie and Clyde' or 'Little Big Man.'"

In the late '50s and early '60s, Penn was best known for his work on Broadway as the director of "Two for the Seesaw," "The Miracle Worker," "All the Way Home," "Toys in the Attic," "An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May," "Golden Boy" and "Wait Until Dark."

Among his later Broadway credits are "Sly Fox" and "Golda."

Penn's relationship with playwright William Gibson's "The Miracle Worker" -- the story of teacher Anne Sullivan's efforts to teach the blind and deaf child Helen Keller -- began when he directed the drama as a 1957 installment of television's "Playhouse 90."

The 1959-61 Broadway production of "The Miracle Worker," starring Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke, not only earned Penn a Tony Award as director but a Tony for best play and a Tony for Bancroft as best actress in a play.

Penn's 1962 film version of "The Miracle Worker" earned him his first Oscar nomination as a director, and Bancroft and Duke won Oscars for their performances.

"Bonnie and Clyde" earned Penn his second Oscar nomination.

The film's famous ending, in which Bonnie and Clyde are ambushed by lawmen and die in a seemingly endless hail of submachine-gun fire, is considered one of the great moments in movie history. The graphically violent ending, shot with four cameras running at different speeds, was Penn's primary reason for directing the film.

"I was reluctant to say 'yes' to doing 'Bonnie and Clyde' because I wanted an ending that was simply not just violent," Penn said in an interview for Turner Classic Movies. "I wanted one that would, in a certain sense, transport -- lift it -- into legend.

"And it wasn't until I woke up one morning and I could see that scene with multiple camera speeds and the shape of the almost ballet of dying, and then I knew that that was a film I wanted to make -- desperately." The release of "Bonnie and Clyde" ignited a critical firestorm.
Outraged by the film's "blending of farce with brutal killings," veteran New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther called it "a cheap piece of bald-faced slapstick comedy that treats the hideous depredations of that sleazy, moronic pair as though they were as full of fun and frolic as the jazz-age cutups in 'Thoroughly Modern Millie.'"

But New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael praised "Bonnie and Clyde," calling it "the most excitingly American American movie since 'The Manchurian Candidate.' The audience is alive to it."

Newsweek critic Joseph Morgenstern panned the movie as "a squalid shoot-`em up for the moron trade" because it "does not know what to make of its own violence."
But then he watched the film again and famously reversed his position in a second review the next week, saying that he considered the first review "grossly unfair and regrettably inaccurate."

The Chicago Sun-Times' young film critic, Roger Ebert, had no such second thoughts, declaring in his review: "'Bonnie and Clyde' is a milestone in the history of American movies, a work of truth and brilliance….Years from now it is quite possible that 'Bonnie and Clyde' will be seen as the definitive film of the 1960s…."

The movie's core audience, Penn told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1996, were the same people who were questioning the Vietnam War and viewed the film's notorious bank robbers as an extension of their own rebellion.

"They were acting that movie out months before we had made it," he said. "They were in a kind of collective revolt and the self-recognition that leaped off the screen is really what swept it along….It resonated in a way that I never expected."

As for the violence in the film, he told the Dallas Morning News in 1999 that he "considered 'Bonnie and Clyde' to be about Vietnam."

"I was attacked for the violence in the film," he said, "but I wanted to show shootings as they really are -- bloody and horrifying -- so the Vietnam casualty lists wouldn't just be meaningless numbers."

Nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including best picture, "Bonnie and Clyde" won Oscars for Estelle Parsons as best actress in a supporting role and best cinematography for Burnett Guffey.

Beatty, who also starred in Penn's 1965 film "Mickey One," praised Penn in a 2000 interview with the New York Times for having "the soul of an artist."

"His intelligence," Beatty said, "is the factor that resonates most strongly, his intelligence and a lack of interest in pandering."

Film editor Dede Allen, who edited "Bonnie and Clyde" and five other Penn films, told the Boston Globe in 2008 that he was her "favorite director."

"I would cut the phone book for Arthur," she said.

Penn was born in Philadelphia on Sept. 27. 1922. His older brother, Irving, later became an internationally renowned photographer. He died in October 2009.

Penn's parents -- his father was a watchmaker, his mother was a nurse -- divorced when he was 3, and he and his brother moved to New York with his mother.

Penn later said he moved so often while growing up that he attended at least a dozen schools over an eight-year period. At 14, he and his brother moved back to Philadelphia to live with their father.

While in high school in Philadelphia, Penn acted in school plays and worked for a local radio station, voicing the words of world leaders in dramatizations of events in the news. He was, he later said, "a terrible actor." Penn received his first chance to direct at a local amateur playhouse. The idea of becoming a director, he told the Boston Globe in 2008, "just emerged. I was drawn to the theater as kind of a lonely kid…. I went there, really, for company."

After joining the Army during World War II, he used his weekend passes while training at Ft. Jackson in South Carolina to frequent a nearby community theater, where he met Fred Coe, who would become an acclaimed producer and director of live TV dramas and would produce Penn's first two films.

Penn served in the infantry in Europe. After the war ended in 1945, he joined the Soldier Show Company run by director Joshua Logan. He began as the stage manager for a production of the play "Golden Boy." But after being demobilized, Penn succeeded Logan as head of the company whose casts consisted of professionals and amateurs.

A year later, Penn returned home from Europe and attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina on the GI Bill, followed by two years studying in Italy at the University of Perugia and the University of Florence.

Penn launched his career in television in 1951 as a floor manager for NBC's "The Colgate Comedy Hour," where he worked his way up to assistant director. When the show moved to Hollywood, he went with it.

But when his old friend Coe called him in 1953 with an offer to direct, Penn returned to New York as a director of NBC's live dramatic anthology "Gulf Playhouse: 1st Person."

Directing assignments on other live dramatic anthology series, such as "Goodyear TV Playhouse," "Philco TV Playhouse" and "Playhouse 90," followed.

Penn, a former president of the Actors Studio in New York, married actress Peggy Maurer in 1956. They had two children, Matthew and Molly. His wife and children survive him, as do four grandchildren.

The couple later divided their time between homes in Manhattan and in Stockbridge, Mass., the setting for "Alice's Restaurant," his 1969 counterculture Vietnam-era film, inspired by the Arlo Guthrie song of the same name, for which Penn received his third Oscar nomination as a director.

PENN, Arthur Hiller
Born: 9/27/1922, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Died: 9/28/2010, Manhattan, New York, U.S.A.

Arthur Penn's westerns - director:
The Left Handed Gun - 1958
Little Big Man - 1970
The Missouri Breaks - 1976

RIP Vincenzo Crocitti

Vincenzo Crocitti, a comedic actor in many Italian films died September 29, 2010 in Rome after being ill for some time. He was 61. Born in Rome on July 16, 1949, Vincenzo played likable characters and with his pronounced nose and a smile on his face is well remembered for his many roles such as the young son of Alberto Sordi in “Un borghese piccolo piccolo”. Crocitti debut as a film comedian but in the '90s turned to television where he became well know in his role as Dr. Mariano on the TV series “Un medico in famiglia” and made several appearances on the Terence Hill series “Don Mateo”.

CROCITTI, Vincenzo
Born: 7/16/1949, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Died: 9/29/2010, Rome, Lazio, Italy

Vincenzo Crocitti's western - actor:
Roy Colt and Winchester Jack - 1970 (deaf man)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

RIP Art Gilmore

Voiceover performer 'Art' Gilmore dies
Veteran announced for trailers also


Voiceover performer Arthur "Art" Gilmore, died Sept. 25 in Irvine, Calif., of natural causes. He was 98.

After a stint in Washington State's radio station KWSC, Gilmore worked at Seattle's KOL. By the '30s he was a staff announcer for KFWB in Hollywood.
He started as a radio announcer for such shows as "Amos 'n' Andy," "The Sears Radio Theater" and "Red Ryder" before seguing to TV lending his voice to programs including "The George Gobel Show," "An Evening With Fred Astaire" and "Highway Patrol."

During WWII, he served in the Navy, before returning to showbiz.

Gilmore was Red Skelton's announcer on CBS and NBC. He also appeared on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "The Waltons" and "Dragnet." In film, he was the voice heard in trailers and documentaries throughout the '50s and '60s, including for "It's a Wonderful Life," "Rear Window," "Vertigo," "War of the Worlds," "Bye Bye Birdie" and "White Christmas."

Gilmore served as the national president of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists from 1961 to 1963 and helped found the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters. He taught announcing at the U. of Southern California and co-authored "Television and Radio Announcing."

Survivors include his wife of 72 years, Grace; two daughters; two grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 10 p.m. Oct. 8 at St. Andrew's Church in Newport Beach. Donations may be made to the Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic at 5022 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027.

Born: 3/18/1912, Tacoma, Washington, U.S.A.
Died: 9/26/2010, Irvine, California, U.S.A.
Art Gilmore's westerns - narrator:
Treachery Rides the Trail - 1949 (narrator)
Montana - 1950 (narrator)
Barbed Wire - 1952 (narrator)
The Far Horizons - 1955 (narrator)
MacKenzies Raiders (TV) - 1958-1959 (narrator)

RIP Romina Yan

Romina Yankelevich De Giaccomi (5 September 1974 - 28 September 2010), better known as Romina Yan, was an Argentine actress, screenwriter, singer and dancer. She debuted in television programme Jugate Conmigo, followed by internatonally successful series Chiquititas, created by her mother Cris Morena. Romina died at age 36 on September 28, 2010, after suffering a myocardial infarction. According to a spokesperson of the Central Hospital of the City of Buenos Aires, in San Isidro district, Romina arrived dead at the hospital. Romina felt sick at home and a friend took her to the hospital, but she was pronounced dead fifty minutes after arrival.

YAN, Romina (Romina Yankelevich)
Born: 9/5/1974, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died: 9/28/2010, Bueno Aires, Argentina
Romina Yan's western - actress:
Rincón de Luz - 2001 (Belén Fraga)

RIP Jean Lara

It's been reported at Legends of the Cinema that French stage, film, TV actor, screenwriter, production manager and director Jean Lara died on September 25, 2010 in France. Lara first appeared in the 1946 film “Mr. Orchid” under the stage name Jean Varas. His last film appearance was in the 1986 film “Paris minuit”. Born Juan Usnadivaras on September 20, 1922 in Dijon, France he shortened his name to Jean Varas and eventually Jean Lara. He appeared in such films as “The Iron Mask” (1962) and headed the French production unit for “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo” (1977).

LARA, Jean (aka Jean Varas) (Juan Usandivaras)
Born: 9/20/1922, Dijon, Burgundy, France
Died: 9/25/2010, France

Jean Lara's western - actor:
Fernand Cowboy – 1956 (Baby)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

RIP Grace Bradley

Grace Bradley Boyd dies at 97; widow of William 'Hopalong Cassidy' Boyd kept 'Hoppy' character alive

By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times

Grace Bradley Boyd, who came to Hollywood as a Paramount contract player in the early 1930s but abandoned her career after marrying the love of her life, William "Hopalong Cassidy" Boyd, has died. She was 97.

Boyd, the keeper of the "Hoppy" flame after the death of her western movie-hero husband of 35 years in 1972, died of age-related causes on her birthday Tuesday at her home in Dana Point, said Jane Mak, a longtime close friend.

As Grace Bradley, Boyd appeared in 35 films, including "Too Much Harmony," starring Bing Crosby; "The Big Broadcast of 1938," with W.C. Fields and Bob Hope; and "Come on Marines" with Richard Arlen and Ida Lupino.

The petite, Brooklyn-born actress, who launched her show-business career as a dancer, was often cast as a femme fatale or "the wrong girl," but she played a variety of characters.

Her most enduring role, however, was off-screen — as the wife of William Boyd.

Born Grace Bradley on Sept. 21, 1913, she studied to be a concert pianist and at 15 represented the state of New York in an annual competition for young pianists at Carnegie Hall. Although she won the contest, she began modeling full time and attending dance school at night.

She was dancing in the floor show at the Paradise nightclub in Manhattan in 1933 when she was spotted by a Paramount Pictures director and placed under contract.

Grace Bradley had a string of movies behind her when she received the phone call that changed her life.

Years before, as a 12-year-old Brooklyn school girl, she had become smitten by dashing silent-screen star William Boyd.

Since his earlier success, the handsome actor's career had plummeted then risen again in 1935 after he began playing Hopalong Cassidy, the silver-haired western hero who dressed in black and rode a snow-white horse in a series of low-budget films.

In 1937, a mutual friend in Hollywood told William Boyd, "There's a girl you should meet."

When the actor phoned Bradley and said, "This is William Boyd," she recalled in a 1976 interview with the Costa Mesa-based Daily Pilot, she thought someone who knew about her "mad crush" on Boyd was pulling her leg.

"You mean the William Boyd?" she asked.

He laughed — the same distinctively hearty laugh she had heard in his movies — and she was speechless.

"You couldn't miss that laugh," she recalled. "There was no other like it."

The actor invited her to a small party at his beach house Malibu. And when he arrived at her Beverly Hills townhouse to pick her up, her mother greeted him at the door.

William Boyd was standing at the foot of the stairs when Grace walked down to meet him. He instinctively held out his arms for her, she recalled, "and I walked right into them."

Three days later, Boyd asked her to marry him. "He said, 'I would have proposed the first night except I was afraid I'd scare you to death,' " she recalled.

They were married three weeks after they met, Grace Bradley becoming the fifth — and last — Mrs. William Boyd.

As Republic Studios director William Witney once put it: "She met a Prince Charming on a big white horse."

Despite the age difference — he was 42; she was 23 — she said, "We were absolutely right for each other."

Grace Boyd soon abandoned her own acting career to devote herself to her husband.

After producer Harry "Pop" Sherman ceased production of the Hopalong Cassidy films in 1944, William Boyd set about purchasing the rights to the old movies and the Hoppy character.

To help raise the $350,000 to purchase the rights, the Boyds sold their ranch home north of Malibu and moved into an apartment in Hollywood.

"We were," Grace Boyd recalled in a 1991 interview with The Times, "down to absolutely nothing."

In 1946, William Boyd formed his own production company to begin turning out new Hoppy movies.

But the Boyds' investment paid off in a big and unexpected way.

In 1948, the old Hoppy films began appearing on KTLA-TV Channel 5 in Los Angeles and on a station in New York City. NBC soon began airing them nationally and Boyd then started making new 30-minute episodes for television.

As America's first real television hero, the wise and tough cowboy with the friendly grin became a show-business phenomenon.

More than 2,000 products were manufactured bearing Hoppy's name and likeness, and Boyd, as Hoppy, appeared on the covers of Life, Time and Look magazines. During a 26-city tour, a million fans turned out to see him.

"I made a point of being in the background," she said in the 1976 interview. "As far as the kids were concerned, Hoppy was Hoppy. He didn't have a wife or family. When the young ones would ask, 'Who are you?,' I'd say, 'I'm Hoppy's mommy.' "

William Boyd retired from the screen in 1953 and died in 1972 at 77.

At a loss after his death, Grace Boyd began her more than 35 years of volunteer work at the hospital in Laguna Beach where her husband had spent his final days.

But Hopalong Cassidy always remained part of her life, including winning a two-decade legal battle stemming from a copyright infringement suit, and appearing at Hoppy tributes.

"Everybody I talk to is looking for a hero," she said at the Lone Pine Film Festival in 1995. "They say, 'If only we had Hoppy again,' or somebody like that. The children don't have role models. Who do we have?"

Boyd had no survivors.

A private service was held Thursday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, where she was interred next to her husband.

Born: 9/21/1913, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 9/21/2010, Dana Point, California, U.S.A.

Grace Bradley's westerns - actress, self:
Ros of the Rancho - 1936 (Flossie)
Sign of the Wolf - 1941 (Judy Weston)
Hopalong Cassidy: Public Hero #1 (TV)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

RIP Jackie Burroughs

Jackie Burroughs dead at 71.

Award-winning actress Jackie Burroughs died of stomach cancer surrounded by family and close friends at her home in Toronto Wednesday afternoon. She was 71.

Born in Lancashire, England on Feb. 2, 1939, she immigrated to Canada with her family in the early 1950s. A classically trained dancer, she used every ounce of her physical and sentient being to create emotion and character on stage. Director Robin Phillips, who worked with her at the Stratford Festival, said she shared with the late William Hutt “the ability to find humour in the tragic roles and tragedy in the humorous ones.”

Best known for her continuing role as the twitchy and eccentric Hetty King in the television series Road to Avonlea, Burroughs’ legacy as an screen actress belongs to a series of luminous roles including Kate Flynn in the The Grey Fox and Maryse Holder in A Winter Tan, a film which she also co-directed and co-wrote, as well as many stage roles in both the contemporary and classic theatre. A highly creative person whose interests encompassed writing and gardening, she loved the process of acting and of challenging audiences rather than simply nailing down a performance that she could repeat every night. Actress and director Sarah Polley, who worked with her on Road to Avonlea, described her as “an artist in the most true, pure, brutal sense of the world,” and somebody who was “passionate, fierce, uncompromising, honest.”

Married briefly in the mid-1960s to the late Zalman Yanovsky of The Lovin’ Spoonful, she leaves her daughter Zoe Yanovsky (proprietor of the Kingston restaurants Chez Piggy and Pan Chancho), two grandchildren, her brother Gary and her extended family. Funeral arrangements are pending. A full obituary is forthcoming.

BURROUGHS, Jackie (Jacqueline Burroughs)
Born: 2/2/1939, Lancashire, England, U.K.
Died: 9/22/2010, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Jackie Burroughs westerns - actress:
The Gray Fox - 1982 (Kate Flynn)
Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years (TV) - 1998 (Ozza Starks)

RIP Gwen Gaze

Gwen Gaze STEINHART Gwen Gaze Steinhart, beloved mother and friend, passed away peacefully on August 29, 2010. She was born to artistic parents in Australia. Her mother was a pianist and her father was a silent film actor and singer in light operas and musical comedies in Australia, New York, and London. She immigrated to the USA and received drama degrees from Pasadena College and The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, England. She starred in the play "The Women" in New York and went on to have a career in Hollywood with Paramount Studios where she starred in about 20 movies with stars such as John Wayne and William Boyd. She married in Vancouver, Canada where she had a part time radio show. In Seattle she was a proud homemaker who believed in education and the arts. While her first love was family, she continued doing part time work in television, advertising, and theater. She was active in PTA, the Seattle Symphony, Ruth School for Girls, the Seattle Milk Fund, and the Seattle Yacht Club. She was preceded in death by her husband of 25 years, Arden Steinhart. She is survived by daughters Carole Sobolewski (John), Lynne Bailey, and son Peter Burdic (Suzanne), as well as eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Thank you to Sound View Home and the NICA Family Home for their loving care. A Memorial service is being planned for a later date. Remembrances can be made to the Salvation Army or your favorite charity in the name of Gwen Steinhart.

GAZE, Gwen (Alta Gwendolyn Gaze)
Born: 8/30/1915, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died: 8/29/2010, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

Gwen Gaze's westerns - actress:
Partners of the Plains - 1938 (Lorna Drake)
Bar 20 Justice - 1938 (Ann Dennis)
West of the Pinto Basin - 1940 (Joan Brown)
Wrangler's Roost - 1941 (Molly Collins)
Underground Rustlers - 1941 (Irene Bently)
Two Fisted Justice - 1943 (Joan Hodgins)

RIP Bunny Summers

Bunny Summers – Passed away September 9, 2010, after a brief illness. Known to her colleagues in the entertainment industry and to her many fans as Bunny Summers, she was an accomplished character actress with a long and varied career in stage and screen. She appeared in several notable theater productions, including the Los Angeles premiere of John Cassavetes' "Love Streams" and the Southern California run of the musical "Minnie's Boys" in which she played the mother of the Marx Brothers.

She is also known to many television (and now YouTube) viewers as the singer of the happy cake-baking song from a popular episode of "Saved By the Bell," and enjoyed a cult following for her roles in "The Last Starfighter," "Re-Animator," "From Beyond" and "Big Top Pee-Wee." Born Bernice Siegel on February 23rd, 1924, in Brooklyn, New York, in the 1940's she made her way west with her soon-to-be husband Benjamin Sussman, USMC, veteran of the historic Peleliu conflict in the Pacific. After 58 years of marriage to his beloved Bunny, Ben passed away in 2003.

Bernice and Ben raised three daughters in the Los Angeles area and it was during this time that Bunny began her career as an actress, making ongoing contributions to print and television advertising in addition to her work for the screen. Continuing to work until shortly before her retirement to the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills, Bunny Summers made many memorable appearances on network television, among them a recurring role on "Family Ties," and roles as an irreverent school principal on "Married With Children" and an obstreperous bus passenger on "Seinfeld." Bunny was a wildly joyful and energetic presence who enlivened every encounter with everyone she knew. She will be missed.

She is survived by sisters Rose Kapler of Los Angeles and Estelle El-Hai of Roseville; daughters Eileen Reis of Napa and Mindi White and Sandy Sussman of Los Angeles; grandchildren Kristal Sherman of Santa Monica, Max Reis of Los Angeles and Gabriel Reis of Napa, and great-grandchild Benjamin Sherman of Santa Monica.

SUMMERS, Bunny (Bernice Siegel)
Born: 2/23/1924, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 9/9/2010, Woodland Hills, California, U.S.A.

Bunny Summers' western – actress:
Laredo (TV) – 1967 (Amy Bergstrom)

Monday, September 20, 2010

RIP Irving Ravetch

'Hud' scribe Irving Raveth dies
Oscar-nominated screenwriter also wrote 'Norma Rae'


"Hud" and "Norma Rae" scribe Irving Ravetch died Sept. 19 in Los Angeles. He was 89 and had been ailing for some time.

Ravetch and his wife, Harriet Frank Jr., were Oscar-nommed for adapted screenplay on both pics.

Together they penned 18 other films between the 1960s and 1980s. Beginning in 1957, the couple collaborated on critically acclaimed screenplays for pics including Paul Newman starrers "Hombre," and "The Long, Hot Summer" besides adapting 1963's "Hud."

Other films the two co-wrote include "Conrack," "The Reivers," "The Sound and the Fury," "Home From the Hill," "The Cowboys," "Murphy's Romance" and "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs."

They were jointly given the Writers Guild of America's Laurel Award for their screenplays.

After graduating from UCLA, Ravetch joined MGM's young writers training program, where he met Frank, whom he married the following year in 1946.

For nearly a decade he mostly penned oaters such as "Vengeance Valley" until he and Frank pitched "The Long, Hot Summer," an adaptation of William Faulkner's "The Hamlet," to producer Jerry Wald.

When Wald asked Ravetch to suggest a director he proposed Martin Ritt, beginning a relationship that led to eight films, kicking off with 1958's "Summer" and including "Hud," "Norma Rae," "The Sound and the Fury," "Murphy's Romance" and "Stanley and Iris."

In an introduction to a New American Library book reprinting three Ravetch/Frank Jr. screenplays, Ritt wrote: "Our whole lives are intertwined in this work, from 'The Long, Hot Summer,' back in the '50s, on. I am proud of the movies we've made together and consider several among them the finest of my career."

Ravetch is survived by his wife, Frank; a sister and a brother.

Born: 11/14/1920, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Died: 9/19/2010, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Irving Ravetch's westerns - screenwriter, producer:
The Outriders - 1950 [screenwriter]
Vengeance Valley - 1951 [screenwriter]
The Lone Hand - 1953 [screenwriter]
Ten Wanted Men - 1955 [screenwriter]
Run for Cover - 1955 [screenwriter]
Hud - 1963 [screenwriter]
Hombre - 1967 [screenwriter] [producer]
The Cowboys - 1972 [screenwriter]
The Spikes Gang - 1974 [screenwriter], [producer]

Saturday, September 18, 2010

RIP James Bacon

James Bacon, a friend and chronicler of the stars who worked for both the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner during the course of his long career, died Saturday in his sleep of congestive heart failure at his home in Northridge, Calif. He was 96.

During his 75-year career as a newspaperman, columnist and author, Bacon was a confidant of Marilyn Monroe, hung out with John Wayne, knocked back drinks with Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, traded cigars with Winston Churchill and met eight U.S. presidents.

He spent 23 years with the A.P., followed by 18 years at the Herald Examiner. Most recently, he wrote a weekly column, recalling memories from Hollywood's glory days, for Beverly Hills 213, where his last column appeared on June 6.

He also authored three best-selling books, "Hollywood Is a Four Letter Town," "Made in Hollywood" and Jackie Gleason's autobiography "How Sweet It Is," which he co-authored.

Bacon belonged to an era when hard-drinking columnists mixed freely with Hollywood royalty.

In "Four-Letter Town," he claimed an affair with Monroe.

Pretending to be the coroner, he made his way through a police barricade to get Lana Turner's first-hand account of the fatal stabbing of her lover Johnny Stompanato by her daughter Cheryl Crane.

He accompanied Elizabeth Taylor's physician to her home to break the news of the death of her third husband, Mike Todd, in a plane crash.

He broke the story of Wayne's cancer, and he was the first to debunk Clifford Irving's hoax, "The Autobiography of Howard Hughes."

"Jim always made you feel like...he was a pal looking to hang out," Clint Eastwood once said of Bacon.

He was born James Richard Hughes Bacon on May 12, 1914 in Buffalo, New York. In pursuing his career, he was inspired by his father Thomas Bacon, a journalist who worked for William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer.

After attending the University of Notre Dame and graduating from Syracuse University, Bacon got his first newspaper job as a summer intern at the South Bend (Indiana) News-Times before moving on to the Clinton County (Pa.) Times and the Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald Journal.

He joined the A.P. in Albany, N.Y. as a general assignment reporter covering New York state politics in 1942. Soon after, he joined the U.S. Navy as an ensign, serving in Panama and breaking Japanese codes during World War II.

He rejoined the A.P. in its Chicago bureau in 1946 and moved to the A.P.'s L.A. bureau in 1948.

Bacon's first marriage to Thelma Love ended in divorce. A daughter from that marriage, Carol Stermer, and a granddaughter Larkin Brooks are deceased.

He is survived by his wife of 44 years, the former Doris Klein; their children James B. Bacon of Granada Hills, Calif., Thomas C. Bacon of Manhattan Beach, Calif., and Margaret Bacon Smith of L.A.; two children from his first marriage, Roger Bacon and Kathleen Brooks, both of Ventura, Calif.; 15 grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; and a sister, Patricia Wilt of Lock Haven, Pa.

Funeral services will be private.

BACON, James Richard Hughes
Born: 5/12/1914, Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 9/18/2010, Northridge, California, U.S.A.

James Bacon's westerns - actor:
The Rebel (TV) - 1960 (Dude)
The Big Valley (TV) - 1969 (hotel clerk)
The Virginian (TV) - 1970 (reporter)
The Last Hard Men - 1976 (Deputy Jetfore)
The Legend of Frank Woods - 1977 (cowboy)
More Wild Wild West (TV) - 1980 (wheelman)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

RIP Clyde Ware

Writer-director Clyde Ware dies
Multihyphenate penned for 'Gunsmoke'


Multihyphenate Clyde Ware, best known for his writing on such shows as "Gunsmoke," "Dynasty," and "Rawhide," died Aug. 30 in Los Angeles of cancer. He was 79.

A member of the Writers Guild of America and Directors Guild of America, worked up until his death on his last venture, a low- budget sci-fi thriller titled "Dreamkiller" released in 2010.

Ware wrote for numerous television shows for more than 20 years. He also helmed eight films including the television spesh "The Story of Pretty Boy Floyd," starring Martin Sheen in 1974.

Ware was the founder of Delaware Pictures in Los Angeles, which has sold and optioned numerous screenplays and produced MGM's "Bad Jim" (1990) as well as "Another Time, Another Place," which he also directed.

A jack of all trades, Ware also penned two award-winning novels titled "The Innocents" and the "The Eden Tree."

Ware is survived by two children.

WARE, Clyde
Born: 12/22/1930, West Union, West Virginia, U.S.A.
Died: 8/30/2010, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Clyde Ware's westerns - director, screenwriter, story consultant
Rawhide (TV) - 1964 [screenwriter]
Gunsmoke (TV) - 1965, 1966, 1967 [screenwriter]
The Iron Men (TV) - 1966 [screenwriter]
The Road West (TV) - 1966 [screenwriter]
Daniel Boone (TV) - 1966, 1967 [screenwriter]
The Guns of Will Sonnett (TV) - 1967 [screenwriter]
The Silent Gun (TV) - 1969 [screenwriter]
The High Chaparral (TV) - 1970, 1971, 1972
Bonanza (TV) - 1972 [story consultant]
The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory (TV) - 1987 [screenwriter]
Bad Jim - 1999 [director, screenwriter]

Monday, September 13, 2010

RIP Harold Gould

Veteran Actor Harold Gould urbane character actor of 'Golden Girls,' 'The Sting,' dies at 86

By Emma Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 13, 2010; 7:44 PM

Harold Gould, a dapper, white-haired character actor best known for playing the swindler Kid Twist in the 1973 movie "The Sting" and for recurring roles on the popular television sitcoms "Rhoda" and "The Golden Girls," died Sept. 11 of prostate cancer at a nursing home in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 86.

Mr. Gould, a former college drama professor, was nominated five times for Emmy Awards in a television career spanning a half-century.

Beginning in the 1960s with series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "I Dream of Jeannie," he appeared in more than 100 television programs in small roles, invariably playing well-groomed, elegant men of a certain age.

His most memorable parts included the archetypal Jewish father of Valerie Harper's Rhoda Morgenstern on "Rhoda," which aired on CBS in the mid-1970s, and the ex-mobster boyfriend of Rose Nylund, played by Betty White, on the NBC show "The Golden Girls" in the late 1980s.

Mr. Gould received one of his Emmy nominations for his supporting performance opposite Katharine Hepburn in the CBS television movie "Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry" (1986). He played a Jewish doctor wooing a WASPy widow.

His other Emmy nominations were for supporting roles on the series "Police Story" and "Rhoda" and as guest actor in the drama series "The Ray Bradbury Theater" in 1985. He also was nominated for his portrayal of Hollywood studio chief Louis B. Mayer in the TV movie "The Scarlett O'Hara War" (1980). In a review of that production, Associated Press writer Bob Thomas called Mr. Gould "a bit tall but forceful."

Onscreen, Mr. Gould had small roles in films such as "Inside Daisy Clover" (1965) with Robert Redford and "Harper" (1966) with Paul Newman before winning a supporting role opposite both actors in the hit film "The Sting," a wildly popular movie about con men in the 1930s.

Mr. Gould went on to land roles in Mel Brooks's "Silent Movie" (1976) and Woody Allen's "Love and Death" (1975), a satire of Russian literature. Mr. Gould traveled to Budapest for the film, in which he played Allen's romantic rival.

"I remember sitting in the cold at 6:30 in the morning at some fire built out in the forests, freezing, and holding plastic coffee cups," he told the Bergen Record in 1996. Allen "would look dolefully at me and say, 'Tough dollar, huh?' "

More recently, Mr. Gould appeared alongside Robin Williams in "Patch Adams" (1998) and Lindsay Lohan in "Freaky Friday" (2003).

Although television and movie gigs paid his bills, Mr. Gould maintained that his first love was the stage. He won an Obie award for his portrayal of a social scientist beleaguered by tangled romantic interests in Vaclav Havel's "The Increased Difficulty of Concentration" (1969). Two years later, he played the lead role of an irrepressible bumbler in John Guare's "The House of Blue Leaves," which won an Obie for best American play.

Mr. Gould continued to appear in theater productions throughout his career. In 2008, he co-starred in "Viagara Falls," a comedy about two aging men seeking one last fling with a much-younger call girl.

Harold Vernon Goldstein was born Dec. 10, 1923, in Schenectady, N.Y. After serving in World War II, he graduated from the old Albany Teachers College in New York and received a master's degree and a doctorate in theater from Cornell University.

While in graduate school, he met Lea Shampanier,whom he married in 1950. Besides his wife, survivors include their three children and five grandchildren.In the 1950s, Mr. Gould taught drama at Randolph-Macon Woman's College in southwestern Virginia and at the University of California at Riverside before deciding in his late 30s to try acting full time.

Mr. Gould often spoke about the role that got away. He had appeared as hardware store owner Howard Cunningham in a 1972 episode of "Love, American Style." The producers of that ABC comedy anthology show saw potential for a spinoff called "Happy Days" and asked Mr. Gould to appear in a pilot, reprising the Cunningham role.

Mr. Gould had to decline, having committed to perform abroad in a musical about Karl Marx. "Of course, I couldn't abandon the company," Mr. Gould later said. The part on "Happy Days" went to Tom Bosley, and the series became a hit that ran for a decade.

"Those are painful decisions," Mr. Gould said in 2006. "On the other hand, I probably would have shot myself after two years. I need variety in my work."

GOULD, Harold (Harold Vernon Goldstein)
Born: 12/10/1923, Schenectady, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 9/11/2010, Woodland Hills, California, U.S.A.

Harold Gould's westerns – actor:
Empire (TV) – 1963 (Judge Will)
The Virginian (TV) – 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965 (Tom Finney, Prosecutor Black, Adam Pendleton, John Anderson, John Marshall Harrison, Lacey)
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1964, 1974 (Hadley Boake, Colonel Lucius Shindrow)
The Wild Wild West (TV) – 1967, 1968 (Victor Freemantle, John Taney)
The Big Valley (TV) – 1967, 1968, 1969 (Major Wilson, Judge Williams, Captain Crawford, Daggett)
Daniel Boone (TV) – 1968 (Major Richardson)
Lancer (TV) – 1968, 1970 (Charlie Poe, Otto Mueller)
Here Come the Brides (TV) – 1970
The High Chaparal (TV) – 1970 (Carlisle)
Dirty Sally (TV) – 1974 (Lucius)
Kenny Rogers as The Gambler (TV) – 1980 (Arthur Stowbridge)
The Dream Chasers – 1982 (Telford Stampley)
Kenny Rogers as the Gambler: The Adventure Continues (TV) – 1983 (Stowbridge)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

RIP Danny Morton

Danny Morton, 95, died July 19 in California. Best known as "The Dakota Kid" in a 1951 Rough Ridin' Kids Republic western; also in "Royal Mounted Rides Again", "Mysterious Mr. M" serials and "Eyes of Texas" with Roy Rogers.

Born: 2/5/1915, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 7/19/2010, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Danny Morton'e westerns - actor:
The Royal Mounted Rides Again - 1945 (Eddie 'Dancer' Clare)
The Scarlet Horseman - 1946 (Ballou)
Gunman's Code - 1946 (Lee Fain)
Eyes of Texas - 1948 (Frank Dennis)
The Dakota Kid - 1951 (Dakota Kid)

RIP Kevin McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy, the veteran stage and screen actor best known for his starring role as the panicked doctor who tried to warn the world about the alien "pod people" who were taking over in the 1956 science-fiction suspense classic "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," died Saturday September 11th 2010. He was 96. McCarthy died of natural causes at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Mass., said his daughter Lillah.

During a career that spanned more than 70 years, beginning on stage in New York in the late 1930s, McCarthy played Biff Loman opposite Paul Muni's Willy in the 1949 London production of "Death of a Salesman." McCarthy's long career included numerous guest appearances on TV series such as "The Twilight Zone," "Burke's Law," "Flamingo Road" and "Murder, She Wrote." He also appeared in about 50 films, including "An Annapolis Story," "40 Pounds of Trouble," "The Prize," "The Best Man," "Kansas City Bomber," Buffalo Bill and the Indians," "Piranha" and "The Howling." In addition to his many Broadway and other stage credits, McCarthy toured for many years as President Harry Truman in the one-man show "Give 'Em Hell, Harry."

The son of a lawyer and his homemaker wife, McCarthy was born Feb. 15, 1914, in Seattle, Washington. He and his two brothers and sister — Mary McCarthy [1912-1989], who later became an author and wrote the bestselling novel "The Group" — were orphaned when both parents died in the 1918 flu epidemic and were sent to live with relatives.

McCarthy began acting in the 1930s at the University of Minnesota, where, on a dare from a friend, he played a bit part in "Henry IV, Part 1."
"That day, I realized that I could do something," he told the Bangor Daily News in 1997. "I didn't study acting. I didn't even think about it. But evidently I have some innate ability, some talent. It was maybe a gift. In any case, I was in one play after another after that."

After moving to New York, he made his Broadway debut in a small role in " Abe Lincoln in Illinois," starring Raymond Massey, in 1938. As Sgt. Kevin McCarthy during World War II, he appeared in Moss Hart's "Winged Victory," the Broadway play produced by the Army Air Forces.

McCarthy appeared in several Broadway plays in the years immediately after the war, including Maxwell Anderson's short-lived "Truckline Cafe" with Marlon Brando and Karl Malden. He also was a founding member of the Actors Studio.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife of 31 years, Kate Crane McCarthy; children James Kevin McCarthy, Mary Dabney McCarthy, Tess McCarthy and Patrick McCarthy; stepdaughter Kara Lichtman; and three grandchildren. He was divorced from actress Augusta Dabney [1918-2008], who died in 2008.

Born: 2/15/1914, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
Died: 9/11/2010, Hyannis, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Kevin McCarthy's westerns – actor:
The Gambler from Natchez – 1954 (Andre Rivage)
Stranger on Horseback – 1955 (Tom Bannerman)
The Misfits – 1961 (Raymond Taber)
The Rifleman (TV) – 1961, 1963 (Mark Twain, Winslow Quince)
The Legend of Jesse James (TV) – 1966 (Sheriff Dockery)
A Big Hand for the Little Lady – 1966 (Otto Habershaw)
The Road West (TV) – 1967 (Rando)
The Wild Wild West (TV) – 1968 (Major General Walter Kroll)
The High Chaparral (TV) – 1968 (James Forrest)
Ace High – 1969 (Drake)
The Guns of Will Sonnett (TV) – 1968 (Sheriff Tom Mills)
Alien Thunder 1974 (Sergeant Malcolm Grant)
Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bulls History Lesson – 1976 (The Publicist (Major John Burke)
Once Upon a Texas Train (TV) – 1988 (The Governor)

RIP Rebel Randall

Alaine Brandes known to film fans as Rebel Randall died in Riverside, California on July 22, 2010. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, she graduated from Foreman High School and became a John Robert Powers model before going to Hollywood. She became a popular G.I. pin-up girl during the 1940s she did several layouts, including one for Esquire magazine. She also did a stint as "The Coca Cola Girl" in advertisements. She later was a disc jockey for the Armed Forces Radio Services and hosted a show called "Radio Calling". In the 1950s, Rebel discovered that a New Orleans stripper began using her name and she had to legally stop her. According to an interview with Mike Barnum in the December 2009 issue of "Classic Images", she got her initial start after winning a scholarship to the Max Reinhardt Workshop in Hollywood where she appeared as Queen Titania in a version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream.

RANDALL, Rebel (Alaine C. Brandes)
Born: 1/22/1922, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Died: 7/22/2010, Riverside, California, U.S.A.

Rebel Randall's westerns - actress:
The Lone Rider in Ghost Town - 1941 (Helen Clark)
Sin Town - 1942 (dance hall girl)
In Old Oklahoma - 1943 (woman on train)
Dead or Alive - 1944 (Belle Loper)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

RIP Piero Vivarelli

The director and screenwriter Piero Vivarelli died last night in Rome at the age of 83 years. The announcement of his death was given by his wife, but he had long been suffering from heart problems.

Born in Siena, February 26, 1927, Vivarelli had signed many of his films using the pseudonym of Donald Murray. Among his films were ‘Io bacio… tu baci” (1960), ”Sanremo, la grande sfida” (1960), ”Oggi a Berlino” (1962), ”Rita, la figlia americana” (1965), with Toto’ and Rita Pavone, ”Mister X” (1967), ”Satanik” (1968), ”Il vuoto” (1969), ”Il dio serpente” (1970), with Nadia Cassini, ”Il Decamerone nero” (1972), ”Codice d’amore orientale” (1974) and ”Nella misura in cui” (1979). His last film was the comedy ”La rumbera”(1998), the story of a Cuban dancer.

In 1960 he created the radio program ‘La coppa del Jazz’, and he was also known as a lyricist (among his lyrics are Adriano Celentano’s ’24.000 baci’ and ”Il tuo bacio e’ come un rock”). For five years he has chaired the selection committee of the music of the Sanremo Festival.

Born in 1927, he was just seventeen when he entered the “X-Mas”, the infamous squadron of Italian commando frogmen commanded by famed submarine commander Junio Valerio Borghese.

A former militant, he was arrested in 1946, before joining the communist party from 1949 to 1990, after which he joined the Cuban Communist Party in order to support a ‘party that justly claims to be communist’. He was also one of the directors of ”L’addio a Enrico Berlinguer (1984)”, a documentary on the collective funeral of the historic Italian Communist party secretary.

Vivarelli started his career working on Lucio Fulci films about young singers of the time (”I ragazzi del juke-box” (59) and ”Urlatori alla sbarra” (60))and his first films as director continued in a similar musical vein.

Born: 2/26/1927, Sienne, Tuscany, Italy
Died: 9/7/2010, Rome, Lazio, Italy

Piero Vivarelli's western - screenwriter:
Django - 1965

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

RIP David Dortort

David Dortort, who created "Bonanza," the top-rated Western that aired for 14 years on NBC with family values as its centerpiece, died Sept. 5 in his apartment in Westwood. He was 93.

"Bonanza" ran from 1959-73, was the most-watched show on television from 1964-67 and maintained a place in the ratings top 10 for a decade. Dortort also created "The High Chaparral," which originally followed "Bonanza" on Sunday nights on NBC and ran for three seasons.

In 1959, Dortort pitched his show to RCA subsidiary NBC. "Bonanza" would be filmed in color in gorgeous Lake Tahoe, Nev. -- to help promote the sale of RCA's color TVs -- and feature a cast of relative unknowns (Michael Landon, Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker and Pernell Roberts) as members of the Cartwright family.

Dortort went away from the typical Western formula of focusing on lone drifters, choosing to focus on a family of three boys and a father living on the Ponderosa Ranch.

"Our scripts delve into character and deal with human relationships, which is where the best stories are. And we try to teach something about human values like faith and hope," the Brooklyn native told Look magazine in 1965.

Bonanza premiered at 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday in September 1959 and failed to attract an audience going up against "Perry Mason" on CBS. But in fall 1961, NBC shifted the show to 9 p.m. Sundays, and it became a huge success.

"Bonanza" was canceled in 1973, a year after the beloved Blocker, who played Eric "Hoss" Cartwright, died unexpectedly after complications from gall bladder surgery. Dortort went on to produce several "Bonanza" spinoffs including "Bonanza: The Next Generation" (1988), a prequel for Pax TV and other Old West-based projects.

Before "Bonanza," Dortort wrote episodes for such series as "Lassie," "The Restless Gun," "Climax!" and "Waterfront" and contributed to the screenplay for the 1952 Nicholas Ray film "The Lusty Men."

A three-time Emmy nominee, he got his start as a producer on "Restless Gun." Dortort served as president of the Producers Guild of America and was president of the Television-Radio branch of the WGA.

Survivors include daughter Wendy, son Fred, brother Elliot and granddaughter Tracy.

A service will be held at noon Sunday at Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries in Los Angeles. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Writers Guild Foundation and the Venice Family Clinic.

Born: 1916, Rockaway, New York,U.S.A.
Died: 9/5/2010, Westwood, California, U.S.A.

David Dortort's westerns - screenwriter, producer:
The Lusty Men - 1952 [screenwriter]
Reprisal! - 1956 [screenwriter]
The Big Land - 1957 [screenwriter]
The Restless Gun (TV) - 1957-1959 [producer, screenwriter]
The High Chaparral (TV) - 1967-1971 [producer, screenwriter]
Bonanza (TV) - 1959-1973 [producer, screenwriter]
The Cowboys (TV) - 1974 [producer]
The Chisolms (TV) - 1980 [screenwriter]
Bonanza: The Next Generation (TV) - 1988 [producer, screenwriter]
Bonanza: The Return (TV) - 1993 [producer, screenwriter]
Bonanza: Under Attack (TV) - 1995 [producer, screenwriter]
Ponderosa (TV) - 2001 [producer, screenwriter]

RIP Glenn Shadix

Bessemer native and "Beetle Juice" actor Glenn Shadix dies following a fall in his condo

Bessemer native Glenn Shadix, a Hollywood character actor best known for his role as Otho the interior decorator in Tim Burton's "Beetle Juice," died this morning following a fall at his Birmingham condo, a family member said today.

Mr. Shadix, who appeared in more than 70 films and TV shows, was 58.

"He was having mobility problems, and he was in a wheelchair," Susan Gagne, Shadix's sister, said. "It looks like he fell and hit his head in the kitchen, and that's the cause of death."

Besides his breakthrough role as the outlandish Otho in "Beetle Juice" in 1988, Mr. Shadix appeared in two more movies for the writer-director Burton, doing the voice of the mayor in "The Nightmare Before Christmas" in 1993 and playing the orangutan Senator Nado in Burton's 2001 remake of the sci-fi classic "Planet of the Apes."

After retiring from Hollywood, Mr. Shadix moved back to Birmingham about four years ago to be close to his family, his sister said. He had been living in a condo on Highland Avenue.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete early Tuesday afternoon.

SHADIX, Glenn William
Born: 4/15/1952, Bessemer, Alabama, U.S.A.
Died: 9/7/2010, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.

Glenn Shadix western - actor:
Sunset 1988 (Roscoe Arbuckle)

Monday, September 6, 2010

RIP Sheldon Feldner

Sheldon Feldner 3/16/36-8/11/10 Playwright, actor, poet, director. Loved dogs, the spoken word, and his friends. Born in Chicago, but raised in San Francisco. Graduate of Lincoln High School, San Francisco State, and Stanford University (MFA). US Army Veteran. Member of the San Francisco Actor's Workshop, Stanford Repertory, Berkeley Rep, and The All Army Touring Show, "Rolling Along", among many others. Taught playwriting and theater classes at UC Santa Cruz, Emerson College, Stevenson and Cowell Colleges. Over nine plays produced--including "Mad Oscar" at Berkeley Rep in 1978--and numerous musical reviews. 1980 Dramalogue Award winner for Acting. Worked as an actor in film and TV, in both Hollywood and San Francisco, series regular on Fox TV's "Good Grief." A 'Hail Fellow Well Met' personality, with a comedic, acerbic wit, and a sly devilish smile, Sheldon was proudly just an old theater dog, always bringing his "A" material wherever he went, be it on the stage or while walking his beloved Cleopatra in Golden Gate Park. A celebration of his life will be held September 20, 2010 at 6:00 pm. Please come and share a story, and a laugh--or a whisper of a tear--for our old pal Shel.

FELDNER, Sheldon
Born: 3/16/1936, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Died: 8/11/2010, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Sheldon Feldner's western - actor:
Father Murphy (TV) - 1983 (engineer)

Friday, September 3, 2010

RIP Gary Moody

Gary Robert Moody, 63, passed away Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010, in Granbury. Memorial service: Will be held at a later date. Memorials: Friends for Animals, 2885 Fall Creek Highway, Granbury, Texas 76049. Mr. Moody was born Dec. 18, 1946, in Waco to Robert Wylie Moody and Jody Bullock Moody. Gary was an accomplished actor and had appeared at many theaters in the Metroplex as well as Granbury. He was a member of Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Preceding him in death were his father, Robert Moody; mother, Jody Earle; and brother, Mark Moody. Survivors: Father, Jack Earle of Odessa; sisters, Terry Belcher of The Woodlands and Becky Earle of Houston; and partner, Drenda Lewis of Granbury.

MOODY, Gary Robert
Born: 12/18/1946, Waco, Texas, U.S.A.
Died: 8/29/2010, Granbury, Texas, U.S.A.

Gary Moody's westerns - actor:
The Newton Boys - 1998 (crooked banker)
Walker, Texas Ranger (TV) - 1994, 1998, 2000 (Arnie Silk, Walt Kimber, Oliver Winfield)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

RIP Bernard Mayers

MAYERS, Bernard Leon

Eminent saxophone and clarinet player, arranger and orchestrator, died of natural causes on August 17th at the age of 102 years old, in Marina del Rey, CA. Bernie Mayers, who is best known for his work on a string of hit movies for 20th Century Fox in the 1950s and 60s was born in Lakewood, New Jersey on January 6, 1908. His musical career started during high school at the urging of the local band instructor who recognized Bernie's excellent ear for the tunes of the day. Bernie went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania and the famed Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia before playing saxophone with many of the New York big bands including those of The Dorsey Brothers, Benny Goodman, Eddie Duchin, Fletcher Henderson and Paul Whiteman in the 1930s. By the mid 1930s, his career focus changed, and Bernie was hired as an orchestrator for the Lucky Strike Hit Parade on NBC radio, under the baton and musical direction of Lenny Hayton. In the 1940s, he joined the migration of talent from New York to California, from radio to movies. Over the next two decades, Bernie arranged and orchestrated the music for close to 70 movies, including "The King and I," "South Pacific," "Carousel," "How to Marry a Millionaire," and "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." Bernie served in the Navy band during World War II. Upon his return, he and his first wife, actress Helen Spachner, divorced. In 1965, following the death of his second wife, Lois Adler Feingold Mayers, he retired to pursue his life-long dream of fishing the great waters of the world. He moored his dramatic orange boat, the C Major 7th in Marina del Rey where he was member of the Del Rey Yacht Club for over 40 years. He was a founder of the Los Angeles Rod & Reel Club. He was preceded in death by his parents, Freda Gerber Mayers and Louis Mayers, his sister, Leah Mayers, and brother, David Lippman Mayers and stepson, Richard Fields. Bernie is survived by his nieces, Barbara Ann Mayers Keller of Leisure Village in Manchester, N.J. and Elaine Mayers Salkaln of Northport, NY, three grandnephews, Dr. David L. Keller of Torrance CA, Donathan D. Salkaln, of NYC, NY, James K. Salkaln of St-Prix, France, and James's two children, Candice and Olivier, three stepchildren, Fred Fields of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, Ray Fields of McMinnville, OR and Judy Lichtenstein of Englewood, CO, eight step grandchildren, 12 step great-grandchildren and his dear friends, Jon and Linda Fenley. Contributions may be made in Bernie Mayers' name to The Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA 19103.

MAYERS, Bernard Leon
Born: 1/6/1908, Lakewood, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Died: 8/17/2010, Marina Del Rey, California, U.S.A.

Bernard Mayers' westerns - orchestrator:
The Secret of Convict Lake - 1951
The Outcasts of Poker Flats - 1952
Way of the Gaucho - 1952
City of Bad Men - 1953
Siege at Red River - 1954
The Last Wagon - 1956
The Proud Rebel - 1958
The Big Country - 1958
North to Alaska - 1960