Tuesday, February 28, 2017

RIP Martin Lüttge

"Tatort" Commissioner Flemming
Martin Lüttge is dead

He became known in the early 1990s as the thoughtful "Tatort" Commissioner Flemming.  Now Martin Lüttge has died at the age of 73 years.


He assumed a heavy inheritance.  When Martin Lüttge appeared in 1992 as Commissioner Bernd Flemming, he was supposed to fill the gap, which had been torn by the departure of Götz George in the role of Horst Schimanski.  The WDR was now seeking a successor to the Ruhr area.

Lüttge did not even try to emulate the sympathetic rascal George: Instead of finding himself in the proletarian primal mud of Duisburg, his Flemming in bourgeois Düsseldorf, instead of seeking relaxation at one-night stands, he retired after his work on his farm far from of the city.

Lüttge's television director Flemming was more of a thoughtful type.  And when he did not think about it, he would sweat on his farm in the sauna.  Instead of using his biceps, he developed his brain.

Great performance as a fist

The actor was born in Hamburg and had a considerable physical presence.  At the end of the fifties he went to England, where he worked in the acting industry, playing in theaters.  Back in Germany he attended the Neue Münchner Schauspielschule.

As a theatrical actor, Lüttge always filled the stage, for instance as Faust in the production of Claus Peymann at the Staatstheater Stuttgart 1977. Previously he was active at the Munich Kammerspielen and at the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus. In 1978 the farmers and colleagues established a theater on a farm in Mehring near Burghausen, which became known as Theaterhof Priessenthal.

Lüttge was featured in major television productions such as "Der Lord von Barmbeck" (1973), "Die Wannseekonferenz" (1984) or "In the Shadow of Power" (2003).  He played his role as a "Tatort" commissioner Flemming only a relatively limited time, overall he appeared in 15 assignments.

Nevertheless, his Düsseldorfer Fernsehenhrevier also has a certain significance for the current "Tatort" Germany: As Klaus Flemming-Sidekick, Klaus J. Behrend played first roles in the role of Max Ballauf , the investigator who is still active in Cologne's "Tatort".  Just the 20th anniversary of this TV-station was celebrated .

Lüttge, however, was active his last years in another German TV show: until 2013, he had a fixed role in the series "Forsthaus Falkenau".  As his agent reported, Martin Lüttge passed away last Wednesday in Schleswig-Holstein.  He was 73 years old.

LUTTGE, Martin
Born: 7/7/1943, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Died: 2/22/2017, Plön, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

Martin Lüttge’s western – actor:
The Blue Hotel – 1973 (Johnny Scully)

RIP Jennifer Watson

Ventura County Star
February 28, 2017

Jennifer Watson 56, of Camarillo, Stunt Women-Film & Television, died at St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo, Ventura County, California February 13, 2017.

Jennifer Hunt Watson, also known as Jennifer Watson-Johnston, (born 12 November – died 13 February 2017) was a stuntwoman and stunt actress who performed stunts in Star Trek: Insurrection.

In 2001 she was nominated for a Taurus World Stunt Award for best water work in the film The Perfect Storm alongside Star Trek stunt performers Dana Dru Evenson, George Wilbur, and Tim Rigby.

Watson has performed stunts in films such as Bonanza: The Next Generation (1988, with Peter Mark Richman and David Q. Combs), A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988, with Lisa Wilcox, Brooke Bundy, and stunts by Doc Charbonneau, Maria R. Kelly, Lane Leavitt, Paula Moody, Noon Orsatti, and Kimberly L. Ryusaki), The Rapture (1991, with Darwyn Carson, Scott Burkholder, Vince Grant, and Carole Davis), Far and Away (1992, with Colm Meaney), Hexed (1993, with Robin Curtis), Hocus Pocus (1993), Bad Girls (1994, with Jim Beaver and stunts by Anthony De Longis and Denise Lynne Roberts), Showgirls (1995), Alien Nation: The Enemy Within (1996, with Gary Graham, Eric Pierpoint, Michele Scarabelli, Wayne Pere, Tiny Ron, Joe Lando, Kerrie Keane, Patrick Kerr, and stunts by Chris Antonucci, Paul Eliopoulos, Denney Pierce, and Nancy Thurston), Absolute Power (1997), Kiss the Girls (1997, with Ashley Judd), Blade (1998), Cast Away (2000, with Valerie Wildman, Geoffrey Blake, and stunts by Richard L. Blackwell, Bud Davis, Doug Coleman, Hugh Aodh O'Brien, Peewee Piemonte, and Lynn Salvatori), and Texas Rangers (2001).

She has also performed stunts in television series such as Dangerous Women and Team Knight Rider.

On 13 February 2017, Hunt Watson died at St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo, Ventura County, California.

Arrangements by Coast Cities Cremations.

WATSON, Jennifer (Jennifer Hunt Watson)
Born: 11/12/1960
Died: 2/13/2017, Camarillo, California, U.S.A.

Jennifer Watson’s westerns – stuntwoman:
Bonanza: The Next Generation (TV) - 1988
Three Amigos! - 1986
Back to the Future Part III – 1990
Far and Away – 1992
Bad Girls – 1994
The Avenging Angel – 1995 (TV)
The Cowboy and the Movie Star (TV) - 1998
Texas Rangers - 2001

Monday, February 27, 2017

RIP Bill Paxton

Actor Bill Paxton, 61, dies after complications from surgery

Los Angeles Times
By Randall Roberts
February 26, 2017

Bill Paxton, who earned success through roles in movies including “Apollo 13,” “Titanic,” “A Simple Plan,” “Weird Science,” “Twister” and “True Lies,” as well as that of a polygamist Mormon businessman in the hit HBO series “Big Love,” has died.

The actor, who was 61, died due to complications from surgery, according to a statement from a representative of Paxton’s family.

“A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker,” read the statement, in part. “Bill's passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable.”

That warmth earned Paxton a career that began in B-movies, experimental film and music videos, moved through bit parts in big pictures and, ultimately, leading roles. The epitome of a working actor, he described to The Times his on-screen presence as that of “a very straight-looking guy, very old-fashioned.”

"I consider myself an everyman, and there will always be an underdog quality to my stuff," Paxton told Cosmopolitan magazine in a 1995 interview.

Paxton often found a way to make these roles his own. One memorable moment? As Pvt. Hudson in James Cameron’s film “Aliens,” Paxton’s desperate, defeated whine after a spaceship crash became a catch-phrase: “Game over, man! Game over!”

Born William Paxton in Fort Worth, Texas, the actor was the son of a hardwood salesman and, he told “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross in a 2009 interview, expected that he’d follow the same path. But after taking theater classes in high school, Paxton made a decision to become an actor.

He relocated to Los Angeles when he was in his late teens. One of his first gigs was at New World Pictures as a set designer for famed B-movie producer and director Roger Corman on the Angie Dickenson movie “Big Bad Mama.” A year later, he acted in “Crazy Mama,” a New World production directed by a young Jonathan Demme.

The actor continued with set design gigs while making inroads in front of the camera. Early appearances included a starring role in “Fish Heads” (1980), a cult-classic novelty video for the music duo Barnes & Barnes, which Paxton directed and that aired on “Saturday Night Live.”

As the jerky brother Chet in “Weird Science” (1985), a young Paxton reveled in the character’s over-the-top antipathy. In one memorable scene, blowing cigar smoke into his younger brother’s face, he said, “How about a nice, greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray?”

Paxton played a blue-haired punk rocker in an opening scene of “The Terminator,” a role that led to a friendship with director Cameron and jobs in “Aliens,” “True Lies” and “Titanic.” Paxton’s acclaimed turn in “Apollo 13,” where he was cast alongside Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon, further confirmed the actor’s abilities. 

"Every day you're taking a final exam as an actor,” Paxton told the late film critic Roger Ebert in 1998, while discussing his work in “A Simple Plan.”

As Hank in “A Simple Plan,” Paxton harnessed his average-Joe demeanor in service of a career-defining role alongside Billy Bob Thornton. After their two characters find millions of dollars in the woods, Paxton’s Hank endures hardships that reveal the ways in which good men can do bad things.

“I don’t play my characters with any judgment,” he told Gross. “I don’t think it’s possible to play any character with judgment.”

The actor carried that philosophy into one of his most notable performances, as Bill Henrickson in “Big Love.” As the polygamist patriarch, Paxton played a husband juggling family, work and spirituality — with three wives, a half-dozen children and a sect-wide family feud.

When “Big Love” concluded, Paxton told The Times’ Mary McNamara that he faced a hurdle. “It was the only steady job I've ever had as an adult,” he said. “But then nobody knew really what to do with me.”

As was always the case, though, Paxton found work. He earned an Emmy nomination in 2012 for the miniseries “Hatfields and McCoys,” and had a recurrent role in the TV series “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Paxton was starring as Det. Frank Rourke in the first season of the CBS series “Training Day.” The 13 episodes finished shooting in December, with nine still set to air.

CBS and Warner Bros. Television praised Paxton’s work in a statement issued Sunday morning.

It read, in part: “Bill was, of course, a gifted and popular actor with so many memorable roles on film and television. His colleagues at CBS and Warner Bros. Television will also remember a guy who lit up every room with infectious charm, energy and warmth, and as a great storyteller who loved to share entertaining anecdotes and stories about his work.”

Paxton is survived by his wife, Louise, and two children, James and Lydia.

PAXTON, Bill (William Paxton)
Born: 5/17/1955, Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Died: 2/25/2017, U.S.A.

Bill Paxton’s westerns – actor:
Tombstone – 1993 (Morgan Earp)
Frank & Jesse – 1995 (Frank James)
Hatfields & McCoys (TV) 2012 (Randall McCoy)
Red Wing – 2013 (Jim Verret)
Texas Rising (TV) – 2015 (Sam Houston)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

RIP Babs Bram

The Arizona Republic
February 26, 2017

Bram, Babette "Babs" 92, of Phoenix, Arizona passed away on February 7, 2017. Babette Bram went quietly to sleep in her home in Phoenix, Arizona, 7 February, 2017 at the age of 92. It was a peaceful finale for the dynamic, vivacious, fiercely intelligent force of nature that everyone knew as Babs. Her friends and colleagues, whether in the theatre or in real estate, all agreed that she was an unforgettable character.

Babette Flora Blum Bram was born 18 January 1925 in New York City, daughter of Solomon Blum and Frances Jacobs Blum. Babs grew up in New York City and Forest Hills, Queens. Her life-long love of music, theater and voice took her to the University of Michigan to major in the Dramatic Arts, graduating with the Class of 1945. After university, she soon relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, where in 1948 Babs met the love of her life, Robert H. Bram. They were married the following summer in 1949. Bob and Babs remained utterly devoted to each other for 60 years. Their early years together were marked by a lot of moves necessitated by Bob's career as a manufacturer's representative in the clothing industry. Along the way, their sons Richard and Robert came along in 1952 and 1956. Their eight years in Salt Lake City in the 1960s instilled in Babs an abiding love of the great outdoors of the Mountain West.

Every summer she would pack up the boys and head off on a journey to see the wonders of nature in the National Parks, especially Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. While her favorite athletic activity was swimming, she was proud of having learned to ski at the age of 37 so she could keep up with her boys. While in Salt Lake City, Babs began to develop her theatre career, performing on stages both amateur and professional. She also became active in the American Association of University Women chapter there and later in Phoenix. After their final relocation to Phoenix in 1969, her professional acting career blossomed. She became well known as a commercial and character actress, performing on stage, television and ultimately on the big screen.

Babs was a proud member of the Actors Equity, the Screen Actors Guild, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Babs appeared in made-for-TV movies as well as several episodes of the TV series "Little House on the Prairie" and "Father Murphy." At the age of 68 she had her first big screen role in the thriller "Red Rock West" with Nicolas Cage and Dennis Hopper. Babs embarked upon a second career in residential real estate in 1979, joining Russ Lyon Realty in 1984 where she remained for over 20 years. There she earned the love, admiration, and respect of her colleagues by her thorough knowledge of the ins and outs of the business. She was a member of Russ Lyon Realty's President's Club, Million-Dollar Roundtable, and the Scottsdale Association of Realtors. In their later years Babs and Bob discovered cruising and traveled extensively from Alaska to Antarctica, the Caribbean to the Mediterranean. Their happiest moments were at sea, exploring the world from the ships they sailed upon. Even after Bob's passing in early 2009, she continued to take cruises as long as she was able.

Babs was proud of her family and would often say that she "managed to raise two fine sons who married two fine women," Richard Bram, photographer, of London, England and wife Monika; and Robert Bram, landman in the oil and gas industry, of Littleton, Colorado and wife Laura.

Memorial donations may be made to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation http://sagaftra.foundation/# , the Alzheimer's Foundation of America https://www.alzfdn.org/ContributetoAFA/makeadonation.html , or the Tanenbaum Center for Inter-religious Understanding, https://tanenbaum.org/donate/

BRAM, Babs (Babette Flora Blum Bram)
Born: 1/8/1925, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 2/7/2017, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.

Babs Bram’s westerns – actress:
Little House on the Prairie (TV) – 1979 (dowager)
Father Murphy (TV) – 1981, 1982 (Lady, Consumer)

Friday, February 24, 2017

RIP Olive Dunbar

Ithaca Journal
February 25, 2017

Olive Joann Dunbar (known privately as Jo Keene) was a stage, film and TV actress, born on March 30, 1925 to lawyer Harry C. Dunbar and Geneva Teague Dunbar in Wellesley Hills, Mass. At an early age, Jo (who identified herself with the heroine of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women) decided she wanted to be an actress. (Not surprisingly, her favorite performer was Katherine Hepburn, who memorably created the Alcott character on film). After finishing high school, with lessons in elocution, Olive was accepted at the Yale Drama School as an acting major, one of the youngest in the class of '46. She left after completing two of the three-year program because she had won a role in Philip Barry's Broadway play, The Joyous Season, making her debut in the company of Ethel Barrymore. Several stage performances followed, including the leading role in John van Druten's I Remember Mamma. Later, she went on tour with Gertrude Lawrence in several plays written and directed by Noel Coward. When a cross-country tour of an Archibald MacLeish play starring Raymond Massey ended in Los Angeles, she decided to remain there and soon found work in films (The First Monday in October, The Carey Treatment, The Lottery) and in many television shows, including a series with Fred MacMurray and another with Carroll O'Connor. She married William Keene, a New York radio actor who had migrated to Hollywood and the couple lived and worked there until his death. She returned to New York briefly and was persuaded by Richard Burdick, the son of her roommate at Yale, to move to a retirement community (Kendal at Ithaca) where she resumed her acting career at the Kitchen Theatre and helped to form another dramatic group, Icarus, with which she appeared for several seasons. Failing health forced her permanent retirement and she died on February 8, 2017, a month before her 92d birthday, mourned by all her friends.

DUNBAR, Olive (Olive Joann Dunbar)
Born: 3/30/1925, Wellsbury, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Died: 2/8/2017, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A.

Olive Dunbar’s westerns – actress:
Invitation to a Gunfighter – 1964 (towns woman)
Death Valley Days (TV) – 1967 (Gita Schieffelin)
Laredo (TV) – 1967 (Mrs. Morton)
The Big Valley (TV) – 1969 (Eliza Grant)
Little House on the Prairie (TV) - 1974 (sales lady)