Sunday, October 28, 2012

RIP Bill Dees

Singer-songwriter William “Bill” Dees, co-writer with Roy Orbison of such global hits as “Oh, Pretty Woman” and “It’s Over,” died Wednesday night at a nursing facility in Mountain Home, Arkansas. He was 73.

A resident of Forsyth, Missouri, near Branson, the entertainment was diagnosed this summer with an inoperable brain tumor.

Though best known for his work with Orbison, Dees wrote songs that were recorded by such other famed performers as Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn and Glen Campbell.

Born in Borger, Texas on January 24, 1939, he had lived for the last three decades in the Arkansas and Missouri Ozarks.

DEES, Bill (William Dees)
Born: 1/24/1939, Borger, Texas, U.S.A.
Died: 10/24/2012, Mountain Home, Arkansas, U.S.A.

Bill Dees’ western – soundtrack:
The Fastest Guitar Alive - 1967

Friday, October 26, 2012

RIP Cesare Canevari

Cesare Canevari the director of the cult classic “Matalo’ died yesterday October 25, 2012 in his home town of Milan, Italy. Born in 1927 Cesare was an Italian producer, director, screenwriter, film editor and actor. His first credited film experience was an actor in “I due sergenti” (1951). After another turn as an actor Canevari started to work behind the camera as a director under the alias D. Brownson, and as a screenwriter and actor as C. Iravenac in the cheaply made “Per un dollaro a Tucson si muore” (Die for a Dollar in Tucson) made in 1964. The only name actor to appear in this film that we know of was Benito Stefanelli under his alias Benny Reeves. Later Canevari would make another western in 1970 called “Matalo” which was a remake of an earlier western called “Dio non paga il sabato” (aka Kill the Wicked) starring Americans Larry Ward and Rod Dana. “Matalo” copied the earlier film almost verbatim but it turned out to be a hippy love-fest with more violence, a funky jazz score by Mario Migliardi, strange camera angles shot by cameraman Julio Ortas and a group of outlaws who look like they are out of a Sonny & Cher video. The hero of the film is Lou Castel who, armed with his favorite weapons, a set of boomerangs finally disposes of the wanted outlaws. “Matalo” was released on DVD by my friends at Wild East and its dedicated to me as they know it is my least favorite Spaghetti Western. Canervari would go on to work in only 9 films that we know of. He was 85 years-old.

Born: 1927, Milan, Lombardy, Italy
Died: 10/25/2012, Milan, Lombardy, Italy

Cesare Canevari's westerns - director, screenwriter, actor:
Die for a Dollar in Tucson - 1964 [director, screenwriter, actor]
Matalo! - 1970 [director]

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

RIP Joel Marston

Joel Marston, 90, passed away Thursday, October 18, 2012. He was born in Baltimore, spent many years in Los Angeles, and the last 20 years in Jacksonville. He leaves to cherish his memory a son, Rik Marston, a daughter, Rose Marston, a grandson, Jordan Marston, a sister, Beverly Foster, and a niece, Pam Watt. Joel was known for his acting career having made over 60 Motion Pictures and Television Series, as well as being a Broadway Stage Actor. He worked next to Marilyn Maxwell, Lucille Ball, William Shatner, Rock Hudson and Doris Day, just to name a few. He was also a World Renowned Chow Chow breeder and judge and the former owner of Starcrest Kennel in CA. However, he was most famous in Jacksonville for being a popular water aerobics instructor at the JCA up until he was 85 years old. A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00pm on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at Life Care Center of Jacksonville, 4813 Lenoir Avenue, Jax, 32216. Please join us for service and reception afterwards. Joel was loved and will be missed by all!

Born: 3/30/1922 Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
Died: 10/18/2012, Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.A.

Joel Marston's westerns - actor:
The Red Badge of Courage - 1951 (Union soldier)
Old Oklahoma Plains - 1952 (Lieutenant Spike Connors)
The Cisco Kid (TV) - 1952 (Marcus Meeker, Kenny)
Boots and Saddles (TV) - 1958 (Private Wells)
Branded (TV) - 1965 (hotel clerk)

Monday, October 22, 2012

RIP Russell Means

 Russell Means, a former American Indian Movement activist who helped lead the 1973 uprising at Wounded Knee, reveled in stirring up attention and appeared in several Hollywood films, has died. He was 72.

Means died early Monday at his ranch in in Porcupine, S.D., Oglala Sioux Tribe spokeswoman Donna Solomon said.

Means, a Wanblee native who grew up in the San Francisco area, announced in August 2011 that he had developed inoperable throat cancer. He told The Associated Press he was forgoing mainstream medical treatments in favor of traditional American Indian remedies and alternative treatments away from his home on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Means was an early leader of AIM and led its armed occupation of the South Dakota town of Wounded Knee, a 71-day siege that included several gunbattles with federal officers. He was often embroiled in controversy, partly because of AIM's alleged involvement in the 1975 slaying of Annie Mae Aquash. But Means was also known for his role in the movie "The Last of the Mohicans" and had run unsuccessfully for the Libertarian nomination for president in 1988.

AIM was founded in the late 1960s to protest the U.S. government's treatment of Native Americans and demand the government honor its treaties with Indian tribes. Means told the AP in 2011 that before AIM, there had been no advocate on a national or international scale for American Indians, and that Native Americans were ashamed of their heritage.

"No one except Hollywood stars and very rich Texans wore Indian jewelry," Means said. "And there was a plethora of dozens if not hundreds of athletic teams that in essence were insulting us, from grade schools to college. That's all changed."

The movement eventually faded away, the result of Native Americans becoming self-aware and self-determined, Means said.

Paul DeMain, publisher of Indian Country Today, said there were plenty of Indian activists before AIM but that the group became the "radical media gorilla."

"If someone needed help, you called on the American Indian Movement and they showed up and caused all kind of ruckus and looked beautiful on a 20-minute clip on TV that night," DeMain said.

Means said he felt his most important accomplishment was the founding of the Republic of Lakotah and the "re-establishment of our freedom to be responsible" as a sovereign nation inside the borders of the United States. His efforts to have his proposed country recognized by the international community continued at the United Nations, he said, even as it was ignored by tribal governments closer to home, including his own Oglala Sioux Tribe.

But others may remember him for his former organization's connection to Aquash's slaying. Her death remains synonymous with AIM and its often-violent clashes with federal agents in the 1970s.

Authorities believe three AIM members shot and killed Aquash on the Pine Ridge reservation on the orders of someone in AIM's leadership because they suspected she was an FBI informant. Two activists - Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham - were both eventually convicted of murder. The third has never been charged.

Means blamed Vernon Bellecourt, another AIM leader, for ordering Aquash's killing. Bellecourt denied the allegations in a 2004 interview, four years before he died.

DeMain, an Indian journalist who researched the case, said AIM's leaders know who ordered Aquash's killing but have covered up the truth for decades.

Also in 1975, murder charges were filed against Means and Dick Marshall, an AIM member, in the shooting death of Martin Montileaux of Kyle at the Longbranch Saloon in Scenic. Marshall served 24 years in prison. Means was acquitted.

In addition to his presidential bid, Means also briefly served as a vice presidential candidate in 1984, joining the Larry Flynt ticket during the Hustler magazine publisher's unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination.

But Means always considered himself a Libertarian and couldn't believe that anyone would want to call themselves either a Republican or a Democrat.

"It's just unconscionable that America has become so stupid," he said.

His acting career began in 1992 when he portrayed Chingachgook alongside Daniel Day-Lewis' Hawkeye in "The Last of the Mohicans." He also appeared in the 1994 film "Natural Born Killers," voiced Chief Powhatan in the 1995 animated film "Pocahontas" and guest starred in 2004 on the HBO series "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

Means recounted his life in the book "Where White Men Fear to Tread." He said he pulled no punches in his autobiography, admitting to his frailties and evils but also acknowledging his successes.

"I tell the truth, and I expose myself as a weak, misguided, misdirected, dysfunctional human being I used to be," he said.

MEANS, Russell
Born: 11/10/1939 Pine Ridge, South Dakota U.S.A.
Died: 10/22/2012, Porcupine, South Dakota, U.S.A.

Russell Means – westerns – actor:
The Last of the Mohicans – 1992 (Chingachgook)
Wagons East – 1994 (Chief)
Buffalo Girls (TV) – 1995 (Sitting Bull)
Pocahontas – 1995 [voice of Powhatan]
Windrunner – 1995 (Wa Tho Huck)
Pathfinder – 1996 (Arrowhead)
Walker, Texas Ranger (TV) – 1996 (Luther Iron Shirt)
Song of Hiawatha – 1997 (Mudjekeewis)
Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (1998) [voice of Powhatan]
Wind River – 2000 (Washakie)
Cowboy Up – 2001 (Joe)
Images of Indians: How Hollywood Stereotyped the Native American (TV) – 2003 [himself]
Black Cloud – 2004 (Bud)
Into the West (TV) – 2005 (older Running Fox)
Winnetou: The Beginning – 2013 (Intshu-tshuna)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

RIP Bernard Behrens

Bernard ‘Bunny’ Behrens passed away on September 19th 2012 in Perth, Ontario Canada just shy of his 86th birthday. Behrens was married to Canadian actor Deborah Cass (nee Bernice Katz), who passed away in 2004, and was father to three sons: Mark (of Dallas, Texas), Matthew (of Perth, Ontario) and Adam (of London, England), grandfather to Taylor, Spenser, and Kate. As a boy, Bernard dreamed of being a Hollywood actor, and escaped the privations of poverty when he sneaked into movie theatres to live out the fantasy world of Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Irene Dunne, and Myrna Loy, a world he eventually immersed himself in for more than half a century. As a child evacuee during the Second World War, Bunny was forced to live by his wits with a foster family, an experience he never forgot and which often haunted him throughout his life.

Behrens path took him everywhere from the Bristol Old Vic to Canadian Players Tours in the 1950s and 1960s, CBC TV and Radio in their golden age, Toronto's Crest Theatre, Halifax's Neptune and then a decade in Hollywood, where he appeared in many 1970s TV series from “Dallas”, “Starsky and Hutch” and “The Bionic Woman” to “Columbo” and “Marcus Welby, MD”. Bernard was a Gemini Award winner and sevberal time Gemini nominee. He appeared in many films and TV shows including “Firefox” (1982) with Clint Eastwood and his only Euro-western “Another Man, Another Chance” (1977) with James Caan and Geneviève Bujold.

Behrens was diagnosed with dementia in 2008 and his final years were spent in Niagara on the Lake and, for the past year, in Perth, Ontario, where he met the actors and enjoyed a performance at the Classic Theatre Festival, run by his daughter-in-law Laurel Smith. The last show he attended was a production of Mary, Mary in Perth, in which he starred 50 years ago in the Canadian premiere at the Neptune Theatre. Behrens suffered a major stroke a month ago and died from its effects on September 19. News of his death was only recently released.

BEHRENS, Bernard
Born: 9/28/1926, London, England, U.K.
Died: 9/19/2012, Perth, Ontario, Canada

Bernard Behrens western – actor:
Another Man, Another Chance - 1977 (Springfield)
Little House on the Prairie (TV) - 1997 (Bailey Farrell)
Bordertown (TV) - 1990 (Reverend Harrison Bennett)