Thursday, August 31, 2017

RIP Richard Anderson

Richard Anderson, Actor on 'The Six M

The Hollywood Reporter
By Mike Barnes
August 31, 2017

He played Oscar Goldman on 'The Bionic Woman' spinoff as well after working in such films as 'Paths of Glory,' 'Seven Days in May' and 'Seconds.'

Richard Anderson, who portrayed Oscar Goldman, the head of a secret scientific government organization, on the 1970s series The Six Million Dollar Man and its spinoff, The Bionic Woman, died Thursday. He was 91.

Anderson, who was mentored by nice guy Cary Grant and received a huge career boost when he was cast in Stanley Kubrick’s anti-war classic Paths of Glory (1957), died at his home in Beverly Hills, publicist Jonathan Taylor announced.

A frequent authority figure onscreen, Anderson also portrayed a colonel in another notable war film, the Rod Serling-scripted Seven Days in May (1964), and he operated on Rock Hudson, the second time much to Hudson’s dismay, in another John Frankenheimer film, the sci-fi thriller Seconds (1966).

As an MGM contract player who started out in the mailroom, Anderson appeared early in his career in such films for the studio as The Magnificent Yankee (1950), Scaramouche (1952), Escape From Fort Bravo (1953) and Forbidden Planet (1956).

He then moved to Fox and played Joanne Woodward’s mama’s-boy boyfriend in The Long, Hot Summer (1958).

In the highly rated, two-part episode that brought a thrilling end to the 1960s ABC series The Fugitive, Anderson portrayed the brother-in-law of Richard Kimble (David Janssen). He also was Police Lt. Steve Drumm on the final season of CBS’ Perry Mason and Santa Luisa Police Chief George Untermeyer on ABC’s Dan August, starring Burt Reynolds.

After three popular Six Million Dollar Man telefilms in 1973, the Universal TV property was given steady life as an ABC series in January 1974. On the show, Anderson played the chief of the fictional Office of Scientific Intelligence and the boss of Steve Austin (Lee Majors), a NASA astronaut who is injured in a crash and “rebuilt” (at a cost of about $29 million in today’s dollars), becoming a secret agent.

Anderson also is heard in the show’s action-packed introduction: “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him, we have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man.”

The series then spawned The Bionic Woman — starring Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers, a tennis player who’s infused with machinery and brought back to life after a parachuting accident, and Anderson played Goldman on that show (which went from ABC to NBC) as well.

He was the first actor to portray the same character on two TV series running concurrently on two networks.

Both shows ended in 1978, but Universal, prodded by Anderson, made three more bionic telefilms through 1994. As an executive producer, he was instrumental in the casting of Sandra Bullock as a supercharged woman in 1989’s Bionic Showdown.

Years later, Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) had an action figure of Oscar Goldman in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

In a statement, Majors said that he first met Anderson in 1966 when he guest-starred on one of Majors' earlier shows, The Big Valley.

"Richard became a dear and loyal friend, and I have never met a man like him," he recalled. "I called him 'Old Money.' His always stylish attire, his class, calmness and knowledge never faltered in his 91 years. He loved his daughters, tennis and his work as an actor. He was still the sweet, charming man when I spoke to him a few weeks ago."

Added Wagner: "I can't begin to say how much I have always admired and have been grateful for the elegance and loving friendship I was blessed to have with Richard Anderson."

His first wife was Carol Lee Ladd, the step-daughter of actor Alan Ladd; his second was Katharine Thalberg, the daughter of Oscar-winning actress Norma Shearer and famed MGM producer Irving Thalberg. Both marriages ended in divorce.

Born on Aug. 8, 1926, in Long Branch, N.J., Anderson and his family moved to Los Angeles when he was 10. After graduating from University High School and serving a 17-month stint in the Army during World War II, he studied at the Actors Laboratory in L.A.

Anderson was working on an NBC show called Lights, Camera, Action in 1949 when, out of the blue, he received a phone call from Grant. “My wife [Betsy Drake] and I saw you on television. We think you’re pretty good, particularly in comedy. Why don’t you come to the studio for lunch?” he said of the invitation in the 1991 book, Evenings With Cary Grant.

“I met him on the set of Crisis. I’ll never forget it. He said, ‘I’d like to help you. You’re a very good actor.’”

That led to a screen test and a contract at MGM, where Anderson stayed for six years and made nearly 30 films. He then appeared on a loan-out to United Artists for Paths of Glory, playing Major Saint-Auban, the heartless prosecuting attorney who wants three soldiers court-martialed for cowardice, in the acclaimed World War I drama.

“That film changed my whole career,” he said.

Anderson later portrayed a district attorney on the 1961-62 ABC adaptation of Bus Stop, a brigadier general on Twelve O’Clock High, another government guy opposite Jennifer O’Neill on Cover Up, Sen. Buckley Fallmont on Dynasty and the narrator on Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.

The career-long supporting player was once a leading man — portraying a doctor in Curse of the Faceless Man, a forgettable 1958 film that took six whole days to make.

“It was a low-budget remake of The Mummy two decades earlier, featuring a stone monster rather than one wrapped in bandages,” Anderson recalled in a 2015 interview. “We spent a week filming in a big old house on the way up to Malibu — the house is still there. I really just learned my lines and tried not to bump into the furniture. The only movie poster I have hanging in my home is from that film.”

A collector of vintage cars — he had a 1936 Ford Phaeton and a 1957 Bentley Continental Flying Spur — Anderson also was dedicated to philanthropic causes like the Veterans Park Conservancy, an organization that honors military veterans by preserving, protecting and enhancing the West Los Angeles VA property, and the California Indian Manpower Consortium, which provides employment, training and other services to Native Americans across California, Illinois and Iowa.

Survivors include his daughters Ashley, Brooke and Deva, a music supervisor for film and TV at Playtone in Los Angeles.

"Our dad was always there for us and showed us by loving example how to live a full and rich life with gratitude, grace, humor and fun," Ashley said.

Born: 8/2/1926, Long Branch, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Died: 8/31/2017, Beverly Hills, California, U.S.A

Richard Anderson’s westerns – actor:
The Vanishing Westerner – 1950 (Deputy Sheriff)
Across the Wide Missouri – 1951 (Dick Richardson)
Zane Grey Theater (TV) – 1957, 1958 (Sheriff John Bates, Adam Stuart)
Zorro (TV) – 1958-1959 (Ricardo del Amo)
The Gunfight at Dodge City – 1959 (Dave Rudabaugh)
Wagon Train (TV) – 1959 (Matthew Lowry)
Law of the Plainsman (TV) – 1960 (Leo Talent)
The Rifleman (TV) – 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963 (Lariat Jones, Duke Jennings, Jason Gowdy, Harry
     Chase, Griff)
Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV) – 1961 (Tom, Jim Kramer)
Redigo (TV) – 1963 (Tom Walker)
The Virginian (TV) – 1963 (Harry Clark)
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1964, 1970, 1974 (Samuel, Gregorio, Caoltrain
Death Valley Days (TV) – 1965 (Judge Lander)
The Big Valley (TV) – 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969 (Travers, Mel Trevor, Nathan Springer, Hen
     Matson, Warden Garreck
Ride to Hangmans Tree – 1967 (Steve Carlson)
Bonanza (TV) 1967 Jamison Fillmore
Cimarron Strip (TV) 1967 (Captain Bragg)
Stranger on My Land (TV) – 1968 (Major Walters)
The Wild Wild West (TV) (Commander James Jeffers)
Daniel Boone (TV) – 1969 (Sergeant Rafferty)
Macho Callahan – 1970 (officer)
Menace on the Mountain – 1970 (Major Galt)
Alias Smith and Jones (TV) – 1971 (James Quirt)
The Honkers – 1972 (Royce Owens)
Gettysburg – 1993 (Major General George G. Meade)

RIP Egon Günther

Director and writer Egon Günther is dead

By Rochus Görgen
August 31, 2017

He once lured Lilli Palmer to the East for "Lotte in Weimar" - later Egon Günther himself went to the West. At the age of 90, the film director has died in Potsdam.

Potsdam - The film director and writer Egon Günther died at 90 years of age. He died on Thursday in Potsdam after a long, serious illness, as the Aufbau-Verlag, referring to the family communicated. Günther was born in Schneeberg in the Erzgebirge and was known in the GDR with films like "Lotte in Weimar" or "Der Dritte". After discussions with the GDR leadership he worked in the west from the end of the seventies.

One of his greatest successes was the fact that the GDR was part of the film festivals in Cannes for the first time with "Lotte in Weimar" (1974). The fact that he had also lied to the actress Lilli Palmer to get her to come to the East in front of the camera for the Goethe film of Defa was then considered a sensation. This gave the radical avant-garde not only a reputation in the GDR, but also international attention.

Film ban: The GDR did not want any debates about truth and honesty

But Günther broke with the GDR leadership step by step. In 1977, he left the Association of Film and Television Producers of the GDR. A year later, he directed the West, including a co-production of the GDR television with Switzerland. But the film "Ursula" was banned after only one broadcast on East German television in the East. From then on Günther worked only in the Federal Republic, much for television. "His productions stand out from the German television program, but they cannot achieve the quality of his earlier work," says the Defa Foundation.

After the fall, Günther returned to the East, where he lived most recently in the district of Großglienicke in Potsdam. It was not until 1990 that his film "If You're Big, Adam" was born, which arose in 1965 but was banned in the GDR. He is about ten-year-old Adam, who has a lamp that lets every liar float in the air, but the GDR leadership did not want any debates about truth and honesty. Günther taught for a while also as a professor of the Filmhochschule Babelsberg.

Jann Jakobs: "One of the greats of German cinema has left us today."

In addition to his film work, Günther also worked as a writer. He filmed his last book "The Bride" with Veronica Ferres in the title role (1999). Once again the film about Johann Wolfgang Goethe - this time around the relationship of the poet prince with the simple flower girl Christiane Vulpius, once beloved and later wife of Goethe.

Potsdam's Mayor Jann Jakobs (SPD) declared in a first reaction: "One of the greats of German cinema has left us today. I personally also feel Egon Günther's death as a great loss. "He congratulated him on the 90th birthday at the end of March, "And now the director has left us such important works as" Lotte in Weimar "and" The Sorrows of Young Werther ". This is a sad day for the state capital, for the German cinema and for all the people who have grown up with their wonderful films."

Born: 3/30/1927, Schneeberg, Saxon, Germany
Died: 8/31/2017, Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germanny

Egon Günther’s westerns – screenwriter, actor.
Chingachgook: The Great Snake – 1967 [screenwriter]
Blue Hawk – 1979 (Archie)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

RIP Hans Lucke

Hans Lucke dies at the age of 90

The Weimar actor, director and author Hans Lucke is dead. According to today's press, the 90-year-old died in the night from Saturday to Sunday.  He said that he had "gone gently" after a long illness, says his wife, the musicologist Irina Lucke-Kaminiarz.  Lucke was born in Dresden in 1927.  After his dramatic studies, which had been interrupted by war and captivity, he had engagements in Görlitz and Dresden as well as at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin.  After 1970, he worked as a freelance author and actor, from 1973 to 1977 he was a director at Rostock's Volkstheater, where he also wrote prose works and television shows, and appeared in numerous television shows and films. Lucke played Colonel Bowie in the 1974 Euro-western “Kit & Co.” based on the Jack London story and starring Dean Reed.

Born: 4/25/1927, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Died: 8/27/2017, Weimar, Thüringen, Germany

Hans Lucke’s western – actor:
Kit & Co. – 1974 (Colonel Bowie)

Friday, August 25, 2017

RIP Viola Harris


New York Times
August 26, 2017

passed away peacefully in New York on August 23, 2017. Loving wife of the late Robert H. Harris. Beloved mother of Steven and his wife Barbara, of Wilmette, IL, and Sunny Harris Rome and her husband Chip, of Burke, VA. Proud grandmother of Avi Kalman-Rome (Eli), Robert Rome, Jacob Harris (Taylor) and Molly Harris. Great-grandmother of Ezra. A working actor for more than 75 years, Viola enjoyed a long and satisfying career in film, television, theater and commercials. Funeral services Sunday, August 27, at 12:30pm, at the Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, Amsterdam at 91st Street, followed by Interment at Cedar Park Cemetery, Paramus, NJ. Donations in memory of Viola may be made to The Actors Fund or the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence.

Harris, Viola
Born: 7/5/1926, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
Died: */23/2017, New York, U.S.A.

Viola Harris’ westerns – actress:
Rawhide (TV) – 1961 (Mrs. Besson)
Bonanza (TV) – 1968 (Harriet Fletcher)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

RIP Jay Thomas

 Jay Thomas, Sitcom Actor on ‘Murphy Brown’ and ‘Cheers,’ Dies at 69

The Hollywood Reporter 

By Mike Barnes

August 24, 2017

The two-time Emmy winner most recently appeared on ‘Ray Donovan’ and spent many a Christmas season with Davif Letterman

Jay Thomas, the good-natured comic actor who starred on the sitcoms Murphy Brown and Cheers, has died. He was 69.

Don Buchwald, his longtime agent and friend, reported his death, after a battle with cancer, to The New York Daily News. His publicist, Tom Estey, would not divulge when or where Thomas died when contacted by The Hollywood Reporter.

Thomas played the obnoxious TV talk-show host Jerry Gold (and Candice Bergen's on-again, off-again boyfriend) on CBS' Murphy Brown from 1989-98 — winning a pair of Emmys — after his stint as Rhea Perlman’s husband Eddie LeBec, a French-Canadian goalie with the Boston Bruins, on NBC's Cheers. On the latter, his character winds up appearing in an ice show and gets killed by a Zamboni.

Thomas also starred on his own sitcom, playing an egotistical sportswriter opposite Susan Dey and then Annie Potts on CBS' Love and War, a 1992-95 series created by Murphy Brown's Diane English.
Thomas often played loud, sleazy types: He recurred on Showtime's Ray Donovan as Marty Grossman, the operator of a salacious TMZ-like website.

For years, Thomas appeared on David Letterman's late-night talk show during Christmas season and told an entertaining, never-gets-old story centered on Clayton Moore, star of TV's The Lone Ranger. He and Letterman also took turns throwing a football, trying to dislodge a meatball from the top of a Christmas tree.

On the big screen, Thomas played the Easter Bunny in the Santa Clause movies released in 2002 and 2006 and appeared in such films as Legal Eagles (1986), Straight Talk (1992), A Smile Like Yours (1997), Mr. Holland's Opus (1995) — as football coach Bill Meister — Dragonfly (2002) and Labor Pains (2009).

A native of Kermit, Texas, who was raised in New Orleans, Thomas got his start in radio as a high school football announcer for the Rutherford High Rams in Panama City, Fla.

He worked at stations in Panama City; Pensacola, Fla.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Nashville; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Charlotte, N.C., where he earned nicknames like "The Mouth of the South," "The Scorpion" and "The Prince of Darkness."

Thomas moved to New York for a job at the FM station 99X and then did stand-up comedy at the Improv and acted in off-Broadway plays. He got his start on television in 1979 as Remo DaVinci, the co-owner of a New York deli, on ABC's Mork & Mindy. He also hosted a radio show in Los Angeles and, most recently, had a daily gig with SiriusXM.

Appearing as an annual Christmas guest alongside Letterman "has been fun," he said in 2014. "I've always wanted to be one of those guys on late-night talk shows who everybody wants to see. Like on Carson, when [Don] Rickles would come out. I became that guy. And I love football, so my two big dreams were totally realized."

Thomas first picked off the meatball in 1998 when then-New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde tried the stunt but failed.

About that Lone Ranger story: Thomas was a radio host with big hair in Charlotte in the early '70s, and he and his producer offered to give Moore — wearing his crime-fighter costume and mask for an appearance at a car dealership — a ride to the airport. Thomas and the producer had just gotten stoned, he said.

On the way, a car backed into their Volvo during a traffic jam and fled. Thomas chased the vehicle, then confronted the other driver — who denied anything had happened — and told him he was going to call the cops.

The guy took one look at Thomas and his producer and said, "Oh really, who do you think they are going to believe, you two hippie freaks or me?" At this point, Moore emerged from the backseat and said, "They'll believe me, citizen."

Survivors include his wife Sally and sons Sam, Max and J.T.

Born: 7/12/1948, Kermit, Texas, U.S.A.
Died: 8/24/2017, Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A.

Jay Thomas’ western – actor:
Dead Man’s Gun (TV) – 1999 (Emil Kosar)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

RIP Mario Milita

Addio to Mario Milita, voice of Fred Flinstone and  Homer Simpson
By Beatrice Pagan
August 22, 2017

The legendary voice dubber Mario Milita died today (August 22, 2017) at the age of 94.
He was born in Cori on June 26, 1923 and was known by TV fans as being the Italian voice of iconic animated characters such as Fred Flinstone, Homer Simpson, and Holly and Benji's narrator.

Among his most recent roles include Herbert and Francis Griffin , while among the shows she has also worked on are The Lady in Yellow , where he was part of Tom Bosley, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in which he was Professor Moriarty .
In 2008 he was awarded the Career Award at the International Dubbing Grand Prize, and then retired in the summer of 2012.

Born: 6/26/1923, Cori, Latina, Italy
Died: 8/22/2017, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Mario Milita’s western – voice actor:
The Return of Ringo - 1965 [Italian voice of Tunet Vila]
Return of Sabata - 1971 [Italian voice of Steffen Zacharias]
Chato’s Land – 1972 [Italian voice of James Whitmore]