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#51 Post by dx23 » Tue Jul 12, 2005 7:13 pm

Alberto Lattuada: 1914–2005

The Criterion Collection is saddened to note the passing of the venerable and wildly eclectic Italian film director Alberto Lattuada. Lattuada's distinguished career in film spanned five decades, resulting in such disparate works as the neorealist Il Bandito (The Bandit; 1949), the pioneering organized crime film Mafioso (1962), and his beloved collaboration with Federico Fellini, Variety Lights. In addition to writing and directing films, Lattuada was also an accomplished photographer and opera director, and founded Italy's first film archive. Lattuada passed away in Rome, on July 3, at the age of ninety.

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#52 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Wed Jul 20, 2005 12:47 pm

'Star Trek' Star James Doohan Dies


James Doohan, the burly chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise in the original "Star Trek" TV series and movies who responded to the command "Beam me up, Scotty," died Wednesday. He was 85.

Doohan died at 5:30 a.m. at his Redmond, Wash., home with his wife of 28 years, Wende, at his side, Los Angeles agent and longtime friend Steve Stevens said. The cause of death was pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease, he said. He had said farewell to public life in August 2004, a few months after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

The Canadian-born Doohan was enjoying a busy career as a character actor when he auditioned for a role as an engineer in a new space adventure on NBC in 1966. A master of dialects from his early years in radio, he tried seven different accents.

"The producers asked me which one I preferred," Doohan recalled 30 years later. "I believed the Scot voice was the most commanding. So I told them, 'If this character is going to be an engineer, you'd better make him a Scotsman.'" The series, which starred William Shatner as Capt. James T. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as the enigmatic Mr. Spock, attracted an enthusiastic following of science fiction fans, especially among teenagers and children, but not enough ratings power. NBC canceled it after three seasons.

When the series ended in 1969, Doohan found himself typecast as Montgomery Scott, the canny engineer with a burr in his voice. In 1973, he complained to his dentist, who advised him: "Jimmy, you're going to be Scotty long after you're dead. If I were you, I'd go with the flow."

"I took his advice," said Doohan, "and since then everything's been just lovely." "Star Trek" continued in syndication both in the United States and abroad, and its following grew larger and more dedicated. In his later years, Doohan attended 40 "Trekkie" gatherings around the country and lectured at colleges.

The huge success of George Lucas' "Star Wars" in 1977 prompted Paramount Pictures, which had produced "Star Trek" for television, to plan a movie based on the series. The studio brought back the TV cast and hired director Robert Wise. "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" was successful enough to spawn five sequels. The powerfully built Doohan, a veteran of D-Day in Normandy, spoke frankly in 1998 about his employer and his TV commander.

"I started out in the series at basic minimum_ plus 10 percent for my agent. That was added a little bit in the second year. When we finally got to our third year, Paramount told us we'd get second-year pay! That's how much they loved us." He accused Shatner of hogging the camera, adding: "I like Captain Kirk, but I sure don't like Bill. He's so insecure that all he can think about is himself."

James Montgomery Doohan was born March 3, 1920, in Vancouver, British Columbia, youngest of four children of William Doohan, a pharmacist, veterinarian and dentist, and his wife Sarah. As he wrote in his autobiography, "Beam Me Up, Scotty," his father was a drunk who made life miserable for his wife and children.

At 19, James escaped the turmoil at home by joining the Canadian army, becoming a lieutenant in artillery. He was among the Canadian forces that landed on Juno Beach on D-Day. "The sea was rough," he recalled. "We were more afraid of drowning than the Germans." The Canadians crossed a minefield laid for tanks; the soldiers weren't heavy enough to detonate the bombs. At 11:30 that night, he was machine-gunned, taking six hits: one that took off his middle right finger (he managed to hide the missing finger on screen), four in his leg and one in the chest. Fortunately the chest bullet was stopped by his silver cigarette case.

After the war Doohan on a whim enrolled in a drama class in Toronto. He showed promise and won a two-year scholarship to New York's famed Neighborhood Playhouse, where fellow students included Leslie Nielsen, Tony Randall and Richard Boone.

His commanding presence and booming voice brought him work as a character actor in films and television, both in Canada and the United States. Oddly, his only other TV series besides "Star Trek" was another space adventure, "Space Command," in 1953.

Doohan's first marriage to Judy Doohan produced four children. He had two children by his second marriage to Anita Yagel. Both marriages ended in divorce. In 1974 he married Wende Braunberger, and their children were Eric, Thomas and Sarah, who was born in 2000, when Doohan was 80.

In a 1998 interview, Doohan was asked if he ever got tired of hearing the line "Beam me up, Scotty." "I'm not tired of it at all," he replied. "Good gracious, it's been said to me for just about 31 years. It's been said to me at 70 miles an hour across four lanes on the freeway. I hear it from just about everybody. It's been fun."

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#53 Post by david hare » Thu Jul 21, 2005 11:15 pm

Gavin Lambert, 80; British-Born Screenwriter, Chronicler of Hollywood
By Dennis McLellan, Times Staff Writer

Gavin Lambert, the British-born author and screenwriter whose novels such as "Inside Daisy Clover" and nonfiction works, including biographies of screen stars Norma Shearer and Natalie Wood, earned him a reputation as one of Hollywood's finest chroniclers, has died. He was 80.

Lambert, who lived in Los Angeles off and on for the last five decades and was most recently a resident of West Hollywood, died of pulmonary fibrosis Sunday at Barlow Respiratory Hospital in Los Angeles, said his longtime friend Mart Crowley, who wrote the landmark play "The Boys in the Band."

A former editor of the prestigious British film magazine Sight & Sound, Lambert arrived in Hollywood in the mid 1950s as director Nicholas Ray's assistant. From then on, he devoted much of his life crafting what one book reviewer called "elegant, elegiac, arch fictions about his adopted home, Hollywood." Among his novels are "The Slide Area: Scenes of Hollywood Life," "Inside Daisy Clover," "A Case for the Angels," "The Goodbye People" and "Running Time."

In her review of "The Ivan Moffat File," a 2004 book about screenwriter Moffat that Lambert edited, critic Carolyn See said of Lambert: "Both his 'Inside Daisy Clover,' an artful study of creativity, longing and heedless love, and 'The Slide Area,' written in the sophisticated, elegiac style of Christopher Isherwood's 'The Berlin Stories,' remain as terrific today as when they were first written.

"One has to see — quite apart from his talent — that Lambert is a gentleman as well as a writer entirely committed to recording the history of this magic place." As a screenwriter, Lambert's credits include his adaptation of Tennessee Williams' "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone," his adaptation of "Inside Daisy Clover," and his two shared Oscar-nominated adaptations, "Sons and Lovers" and "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden."

As a biographer, he wrote "Norma Shearer: A Life," "Nazimova: A Biography," "Mainly About Lindsay Anderson," a combination biography-memoir about the acclaimed British director and his lifelong friend; and "Natalie Wood: A Life in Seven Takes." Lambert also wrote "On Cukor," a full-length interview with director George Cukor; and "GWTW: The Making of Gone With the Wind."

Writer Dominick Dunne said he considered Lambert to be "a major Hollywood historian," whose "The Slide Area" is one of the best books on Los Angeles and the movie business he has ever read. "He was the guy at the party who observed more than participated," Dunne, a longtime friend of Lambert's, told The Times on Monday. "He could be very funny — funny in a quiet way. His observations on Hollywood life and Hollywood people were just incredible."

Kevin Thomas, The Times' veteran film writer, said Lambert "was tremendously knowledgeable about Hollywood people and history, and very perceptive, very insightful and very comprehensive. I consider him a big loss as someone who I think had a real understanding of Hollywood's legacy and how Hollywood has worked."

Director Nicolas Roeg, for whom Lambert adapted Tennessee Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth" for a 1989 TV production starring Elizabeth Taylor and Mark Harmon, said Lambert was "a terrific writer," who, despite having some of his greatest successes in the 1960s, "didn't stay rooted in the past."

"He moved on in style and attitude," Roeg said. "He was quite an exciting guy; I thought he was extraordinary."

Born in East Grinstead, England, on July 23, 1924, Lambert attended Cheltenham College, where he first met Anderson. He also attended Magdalen College, Oxford, but left after a year, he said later, after discovering he had to learn medieval English to earn a degree. Lambert later wrote that he "never made any secret" of the fact that he was gay, "but was never militant — unless it was 'militant' to inform the tribunal that summoned" and rejected him for military service in 1942 that he was a homosexual.

His first job was writing scripts for two-minute commercial films shown in movie theaters. He also wrote short stories that were published in literary magazines. In 1948, he collaborated with Anderson as an editor of an iconoclastic film magazine, Sequence. As a film critic, he became known for championing neglected films such as Ray's "They Live By Night" and Max Ophuls' "Letter from an Unknown Woman."

Two years later, he became editor of Sight & Sound, a position he held until 1956. Taking a sabbatical in the winter of 1955-56, he wrote and directed an independently financed movie, "Another Sky," a low-budget film shot on location in Morocco. It drew the admiration of Luis Bunuel and Ray. After becoming Ray's personal assistant in Hollywood, Lambert did uncredited writing on Ray's films "Bigger Than Life" and "The True Story of Jesse James," and he collaborated on the script for "Bitter Victory."

In what may have been his last public appearance, Lambert joined author Gore Vidal and others at a motion picture academy salute to Greta Garbo in April. Like Vidal, Lambert had known the film legend. "Everybody adored him," said Crowley on Monday, describing his friend of 40 years as "very droll" and "terribly fun to be with."

"He liked to go to every party and be out almost every night," said Crowley. "But he was an intense worker every day. His work habits were extraordinary. He worked every morning and played every night."

Lambert, who became an American citizen in 1964, is survived by his brother, Denys M. Lambert. At Lambert's request, no funeral service will be held.

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#54 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Mon Jul 25, 2005 10:00 am

Edward Bunker, ex-con turned crime writer, dead at 71

BURBANK, Calif. - Edward Bunker, an ex-con who learned to write in prison before achieving literary fame as a crime novelist, has died at age 71. A diabetic, Bunker died Tuesday at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank of complications following surgery to improve circulation to his legs, said screenwriter Robert Dellinger, a longtime friend.

At 17, Bunker became the youngest inmate at San Quentin after he stabbed a prison guard at a youth detention facility and later escaped from a Los Angeles County jail, where he was serving a sentence for another crime. It was during his 18 years of incarceration for robbery, check forgery and other crimes that Bunker learned to write.

In 1973, while still in prison, he made his literary debut with "No Beast So Fierce," a novel about a paroled thief who has trouble re-entering society. Author James Ellroy called the novel "quite simply one of the great crime novels of the past 30 years; perhaps the best novel of the Los Angeles underworld ever written." It was made into the 1978 movie "Straight Time," starring Dustin Hoffman.

Bunker co-wrote the script and played a minor role as a criminal who helps Hoffman plan a heist. Other big-screen credits include 1985's"Runaway Train," an action drama about two escaped convicts played by Jon Voight and Eric Roberts.

Themes of crime and prison life appeared in his other novels, "The Animal Factory," "Little Boy Blue" and "Dog Eat Dog."

"It has always been as if I carry chaos with me the way others carry typhoid. My purpose in writing is to transcend my existence by illuminating it," Bunker once told an interviewer.

As an actor, Bunker had nearly two dozen roles, most notably as Mr. Blue in Quentin Tarantino's 1992 violent drama "Reservoir Dogs." More recently, he played a convict in the remake of "The Longest Yard."

Bunker's last published book, a 2000 memoir entitled "Education of a Felon," features an introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist William Styron praising him as "an artist with a unique and compelling voice."

"Bunker wrote with energy and a muscular style that very few people have, and his words just literally jump off the page," said Dellinger, who met Bunker in 1973 at the federal prison on Terminal Island, where Dellinger was the inmate founder and teacher of a creative writing class.

Born in Hollywood, Bunker spent half a dozen years in foster homes after his parents divorced when he was 4. By 12, he was living in the first of a series of juvenile reform schools. He is survived by a son, Brendan, who he had with ex-wife Jennifer Steele. A memorial service was scheduled Sept. 10 at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood.

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#55 Post by Michael » Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:27 pm

'Dallas' Star Barbara Bel Geddes Dies


Barbara Bel Geddes, the winsome actress who rose to stage and movie stardom but reached her greatest fame as Miss Ellie Ewing in the long-running TV series "Dallas," has died. She was 82.

The San Francisco Chronicle said she died Monday of lung cancer at her home in Northeast Harbor, Maine. Jordan-Fernald Funeral Home in Mount Desert, Maine, confirmed the death Wednesday, but owner Bill Fernald said the family asked that no further information be given out.

Bel Geddes, daughter of renowned industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes, was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress for the 1948 drama "I Remember Mama" and was the original Maggie the Cat on Broadway in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

"Dallas" came late in her career. She had retired to take care of her husband, Windsor Lewis, after he fell ill with cancer in 1966. He died in 1972. Her earnings depleted by his long illness, she found work scarce for a middle-aged actress and said she was "flat broke" in 1978 when she accepted the role as matriarch of a rambunctious Texas oil family.

Though castigated by critics, "Dallas" hurtled to the top of the audience ratings and spawned copycat shows. Bel Geddes won an Emmy in 1980 as best lead actress in a drama series and remains the only nighttime soap star to be so honored. Bel Geddes called "Dallas "real fun," but it was also marked by tragedy. In 1981, Jim Davis, who played Miss Ellie's husband, Jock Ewing, died.

"It was like losing her own husband again," said "Dallas" producer Leonard Katzman. "It was a terribly difficult and emotional time for Barbara." In March 1984, Bel Geddes was stricken with a major heart attack. Miss Ellie was played by Donna Reed for six months, then Bel Geddes returned to "Dallas," remaining until 1990, a year before CBS canceled the show.

In 1945, Bel Geddes made a splash on Broadway at 23 with her first important role in "Deep Are the Roots," winning the New York Drama Critics Award as best actress. She announced to a reporter: "My ambition is to be a good screen actress. I think it would be much more exciting to work for Frank Capra, George Cukor, Alfred Hitchcock or Elia Kazan than to stay on Broadway."

Hollywood was quick to notice. In 1946 she signed a contract with RKO that granted her unusual request to be committed to only one picture a year. In her first movie she costarred with Henry Fonda in "The Long Night," a disappointing remake of a French film. Her second film was a hit playing a budding writer in George Stevens' "I Remember Mama," the touching story of an immigrant family in San Francisco starring Irene Dunne as Mama. With her delicate features and patrician manner, Bel Geddes became a popular leading lady in films.

"I went out to California awfully young," she remarked. "I remember Lillian Hellman and Elia Kazan telling me, 'Don't go, learn your craft.' But I loved films." After four movies, Howard Hughes, who had bought control of RKO in 1948, dropped her contract because "she wasn't sexy enough."

Bel Geddes was devastated. But it turned out to be a good happenstance. She had time to return to the stage, and she scored a triumph in 1955 as Maggie the Cat in Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Yet her biggest Broadway success was "Mary, Mary," a frothy marital comedy by Jean Kerr, which opened in 1961 and ran for more than 1,500 performances.

In her film career, Bel Geddes was able to work with great filmmakers such as Kazan ("Panic in the Streets") and Alfred Hitchcock ("Vertigo"). She also costarred with Danny Kaye in "The Five Pennies" and with Jeanne Moreau in "Five Branded Women."

"By Love Possessed" in 1961 was her last film for 10 years. She made her final films in 1971 - "Summertree" and "The Todd Killings." Among Bel Geddes' other major theater credits were roles in Terence Rattigan's "The Sleeping Prince" (1956); Robert Anderson's "Silent Night, Holy Night" (1959), which co-starred Henry Fonda; and Edward Albee's "Everything in the Garden" (1967). Her last Broadway appearance was in 1973, when she starred in another Kerr comedy, "Finishing Touches."

She was born in New York City on Oct, 31, 1922. Her father, born Norman Geddes, and mother, maiden name Helen Belle Sneider, coined Bel-Geddes as the title for a magazine they were planning. He took the name without a hyphen as his name. The couple divorced when Barbara was 3. "I didn't see much of my father," she said, "but I absolutely adored him." After her education in private schools, he found her a job at a summer theater and used his connections with stage people to help her get work.

Her first role was a walk-on with Ethel Barrymore in "The School for Scandal" at a summer theater. Her father helped land her Broadway debut in the 1941 "Out of the Frying Pan," for which a critic called her "plump, pleasing and amusing." She dropped 20 pounds and continued in a variety of roles until her breakthrough in "Deep Are the Roots."

Early in her stage career Bel Geddes married Carl Schreuer, an electrical engineer, and they had a daughter, Susan. The marriage ended after seven years in 1951, and that year she married director Lewis. They had a daughter, Betsy.

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#56 Post by dx23 » Sun Aug 14, 2005 12:04 am

Oscar-Winning Art Director Golitzen Dies

Alexander Golitzen, an art director and production designer who shared Academy Awards for his work on 1943's "Phantom of the Opera," 1960's "Spartacus" and 1962's "To Kill a Mockingbird" during a career that spanned decades, has died. He was 97. Golitzen died July 26 of congestive heart failure at a health care center in San Diego, said his daughter, Cynthia Garn.

Golitzen worked on more than 300 movies. He earned more than a dozen Oscar nominations for art direction, beginning with the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock movie "Foreign Correspondent" and ending with "Earthquake" in 1974. Others included 1961's "Flower Drum Song" and 1969's "Sweet Charity."

The Moscow-born Golitzen and his family fled the Russian revolution and ended up in Seattle. Golitzen attended the University of Washington, where he earned an architecture degree, and moved to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, he became an assistant to a fellow Russian, MGM art director Alexander Toluboff. He went on to work at United Artists and later was supervising art director at Universal, where he oversaw movies for three decades. He also designed the set for the Academy Awards show several times.

Along with his daughter, Golitzen is survived by his wife, Frances; son, Peter; five grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

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#57 Post by TomReagan » Thu Aug 18, 2005 1:54 pm

Cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli, who worked on some of Italy's most famous films, has died at the age of 81.

Rome-born Delli Colli shot more than 130 movies, including such "spaghetti westerns" as The Good the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West. He worked regularly with directors such as Sergio Leone, Federico Fellini, Roman Polanski and Pier Paolo Pasolini. Delli Colli ended his career on a high in 1997 as director of photography on the Oscar-winning Life is Beautiful. He was found dead in his Rome apartment on Wednesday morning, his niece Laura said on Thursday. "He was one of those people who loved the set - it was his real family," she said.

His funeral will be held on Friday at Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Rome's Piazza del Popolo.

Delli Colli began working at the city's famous Cinecitta studios in his teens, making his first film - Finalmente Si - in 1943. He shot Italy's first colour movie, Toto a Colori, in 1952, and won four David di Donatello awards - the country's version of the Oscars. "You must know the sun and the sea, the colours and the contrasts," he once said of his trade. "We Italians are masters of this."

He is survived by his son Stefano.

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#58 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Thu Aug 18, 2005 4:30 pm

Teruo Ishii, R.I.P. – Director Of Crazed Yakuza, Ero-Guro And Karate Exploitation Flicks Dies At 81

Teruo Ishii, a director of strange and wild films, died of lung cancer at the age of 81 on Friday, August 12, 2005. Ishii was perhaps best known for directing the long-running Abashiri Prison series (aka Abashiri Bangaichi) for Toei in the 1960s, starring Ken Takakura. He was also known for a series of films depicting torture and brutality in the Edo-era, under the Tokugawa Shogunate. In his time, Ishii worked with a number of Japanese cinema's biggest stars, including Ken Takakura, Sonny Chiba, and Tetsura Tamba.

Born in 1924, Ishii learned the ropes at Toho, and then became an assistant director at Shin-Toho, before moving to Toei in 1961. At Toei, he directed the popular Abashiri Prison series, the Line (aka Chitai) films, and a series of erotic-grotesque films in the ‘70s. After growing frustrated with the karate and biker films he was forced to make, Ishii quit the industry for a long period following 1979.

Ishii was a fan of ero-guro horror and suspense writer Edogawa Rampo (say it fast), a favorite writer for many in Japanese film, and adapted several of his works, putting aspects of more than one story into his film titled The Horror of Malformed Men (aka Edogawa ranpo taizen: Kyofu kikei ningen). After an interregnum during the ‘80s, Ishii resumed work as an independent filmmaker, directing a number of movies, including Blind Beast vs. Dwarf (aka Môjuu tai Issunbôshi), based on a Rampo story, as recently as 2001.

Ishii's films have always demonstrated an inspired lunacy. The Executioner (aka Chokugeki! Jigoku-ken) is a truly joyous little piece of madness, shucking off logic and taste, and reveling in its own depravity. It's one of craziest, most fun movies I have ever seen Sonny Chiba in, and that's saying a lot about a man who acted in Ninja Wars (aka Iga Ninpoucho) and Karate Bearfighter. By all accounts, the sequel is even more insane. Apparently, Ishii deliberately made The Executioner and its sequel as offensive, scatological, and wacko as possible, out of anger at being forced to do karate films! Naturally, the movies were huge successes. Adness is preparing to release a remastered anamorphic double-disc of the two, for which we should all be grateful. Ishii also directed the second sequel to The Street Fighter, entitled The Street Fighter's Last Revenge (aka Gyakushu! Satsujin Ken) - not the best entry in the series, but certainly the weirdest. I can't say I enjoyed Yakuza Punishment: Lynch (aka Yakuza keibatsu-shi: Rinchi - shikei!), an anthology piece about Yakuza punishments throughout the ages, but I have to admire the sheer bloody mindedness of making an entire movie about Yakuza treating each other horribly. Fortunately, it should be only a matter of time before more of Ishii's films are given the treatment they deserve on DVD.

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#59 Post by dx23 » Tue Aug 23, 2005 11:07 pm

Death of a "Mockingbird" Star Brock Peters passes away at 78

The way Brock Peters recalled it, the competition for To Kill a Mockingbird came down to him and James Earl Jones. Peters won out. "I never actually knew who made the decision," he remembered, "but to whoever it was...I am ever grateful."

Peters, the character actor who made his mark as, and lent his booming voice to, the doomed Tom Robinson in the 1962 film version of Mockingbird, died Tuesday at his Los Angeles home following an eight-month battle with pancreatic cancer, the Associated Press reported.

"We spent two weeks that I call two weeks of tears--my veil of tears," Peters said of the movie shoot before an audience in Kansas in 2000, per the site To Kill a Mockingbird & Harper Lee.

Tears didn't necessarily come easy to Peters the actor, nor did they come easily to his stoic character. They did, however, apply to Tom Robinson's plight: A wrongly accused black man faced with an all-white jury in the 1930s South.

Acclaimed by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 greatest U.S. films of the last century, Mockingbird won three Oscars, including one for star Gregory Peck, who died in 2003. And it was Peters who read the eulogy at Peck's funeral. "In art there is compassion, in compassion there is humanity, with humanity there is generosity and love," Peters said. "Gregory Peck gave us these attributes in full measure."

Over the years, Peters was a regular on the Mockingbird circuit, as it were, appearing on stage with Mary Badham, who played young Scout in the movie, and, most recently, at a 2005 Los Angeles tribute to Harper Lee, upon whose novel the largely faithful film was based.

Breaking into the movies at the onset of the civil-rights movement, Peters had roles in two key black-led studio films of the 1950s, Carmen Jones and Porgy and Bess. In 1996, he revisited the time with a supporting role in Ghosts of Mississippi, director Rob Reiner's account of the murder of civil-right leader Medgar Evars.

In the 1970s, as Hollywood became eager to exploit blaxploitation, Peters costarred in the Jim Brown revenge opus Slaughter's Big Rip Off, and that same year, produced Five on the Black Hand Side, a kinder, gentler alternative to the era's heavily armed entries.

Arguably, Peters found the steadiest screen work in the more enlightened future. A stalwart of the sci-fi genre, Peters played Commander Sisko's father in several episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and appeared as Starfleet Admiral Cartwright in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. In 1981, he began work on the National Public Radio production of the original Star Wars trilogy. He was the voice of Darth Vader, the role old friend James Earl Jones originated in the movies. Other genre credits included 1973's Soylent Green and guest shots on the likes of Battlestar Galactica and The Bionic Woman.

Born George Fisher on July 2, 1927 in New York, Peters earned a Tony nomination for the 1973 Broadway musical revival of Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars. In 1991, he was presented with a lifetime achievement award by the Screen Actors Guild.

He is survived by his daughter, Lise Jo.

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#60 Post by Cinephrenic » Wed Aug 24, 2005 5:26 pm

Tonino Delli Colli: 1922–2005

Celebrated Italian cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli, DP on more than 130 films, passed away last Wednesday in Rome, at the age of 82. The great cameraman was a regular collaborator of such giants as Sergio Leone, Federico Fellini, Roman Polanski, Louis Malle, and Pier Paolo Pasolini, in a career that spanned more than fifty years. Among the classic works he shot were Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West, Malle's Lamcombe Lucien, and Roberto Begnini's Life is Beautiful. Criterion's DVD release of Pasolini's Mamma Roma includes a video interview with Delli Colli, in which he discusses his art and working with the legendary provocateur. For more on Delli Colli's life and work, click here.

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#61 Post by dx23 » Tue Sep 06, 2005 3:28 pm

Gilligan has joined the skipper :cry: :

Bob Denver, TV's Gilligan, Dead at 70

LOS ANGELES - Bob Denver, whose portrayal of goofy first mate Gilligan on the 1960s television show "Gilligan's Island," made him an iconic figure to generations of TV viewers, has died, his agent confirmed Tuesday. He was 70.

Denver died Friday at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital in North Carolina of complications from treatment he was receiving for cancer, his agent, Mike Eisenstadt, told The Associated Press. Denver's death was first reported by "Entertainment Tonight."

Denver had also undergone quadruple heart bypass surgery earlier this year. Denver's wife, Dreama, and his children Patrick, Megan, Emily and Colin were with him when he died. "He was my everything and I will love him forever," Dreama Denver said in a statement.

Denver's signature role was Gilligan. But he was already known to TV audiences for another iconic character, that of Maynard G. Krebs, the bearded beatnik friend of Dwayne Hickman's Dobie in the "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," which aired from 1959 to 1963.

"Gilligan's Island" lasted on CBS from 1964 to 1967, and it was revived in later seasons with three high-rated TV movies. It was a Robinson Crusoe story about seven disparate travelers who are marooned on a deserted Pacific Island after their small boat was wrecked in a storm.

The cast: Alan Hale Jr., as Skipper Jonas Grumby; Bob Denver, as his klutzy assistant Gilligan; Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer, as rich snobs Thurston and Lovey Howell; Tina Louise, as bosomy movie star Ginger Grant; Russell Johnson, as egghead science professor Roy Hinkley Jr.; and Dawn Wells, as sweet-natured farm girl Mary Ann Summers.

TV critics hooted at "Gilligan's Island" as gag-ridden corn. Audiences adored its far-out comedy. Writer-creator Sherwood Schwartz insisted that the show had social meaning along with the laughs: "I knew that by assembling seven different people and forcing them to live together, the show would have great philosophical implications."

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#62 Post by Ashirg » Thu Sep 15, 2005 7:05 am

Robert Wise passed away

Robert Wise, who won four Oscars as producer and director of the classic 1960s musicals "West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music," has died. He was 91.

Wise died Wednesday of heart failure after falling ill and being rushed to the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center, family friend and longtime entertainment agent Lawrence Mirisch told The Associated Press. Mirisch said Wise had appeared in good health when he celebrated his 91st birthday Saturday.

Wise was nominated for seven Oscars, including the four he won, during a career that spanned more than 50 years. The other nominations were for editing the 1941 Orson Welles classic "Citizen Kane," directing 1958's "I Want to Live!" and producing 1966's "The Sand Pebbles," which was nominated for best picture.

More recently, he served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Directors Guild of America. Wise directed 39 films in all, ranging from science fiction ("The Day the Earth Stood Still") to drama ("I Want to Live!") to war stories ("Run Silent Run Deep") to Westerns ("Tribute to a Bad Man").

"I'd rather do my own thing, which has been to choose projects that take me into all different kinds of genres," he once told The Associated Press. "I don't have a favorite kind of film to make. I just look for the best material I can find."

With the big-budget productions "West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music," he helped create two of the most critically acclaimed and popular musicals of all time. "West Side Story" was the tale of "Romeo and Juliet" set in the New York City tenement slums of the early 1960s. Co-directed by Wise and Jerome Robbins, with music by Leonard Bernstein, it won 10 Academy Awards.

"The Sound of Music," which told the story of the singing von Trapp family's escape from Nazi-ruled Austria, won five Oscars. It was for many years the top-grossing film of all time. Wise gave much of the credit for the film's success to its stars, Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. "A big part of a director's job is done if he gets the right actors in the right roles," he once said. "That doesn't mean you don't help actors, but once we thought about Julie and Chris, we didn't seriously consider anyone else."

He also credited Orson Welles, for whom he edited "The Magnificent Ambersons" and "Citizen Kane," as a major influence, adding that the actor-director-writer was "as close to a genius as anyone I have ever met." "Citizen Kane" was "a marvelous film to work on well-planned and well-shot," Wise once said. It has topped many polls over the years as the best film ever made.

Wise moved up from film editor to director almost by accident when he was assigned to finish "The Curse of the Cat People" after the original director fell too far behind schedule on that 1944 film. Pleased with his work, horror film producer Val Lewton assigned Wise to direct "The Body Snatcher" the following year. Other films Wise directed include "The Set-Up" in 1949; "Destination Gobi" in 1952; "Executive Suite" in 1954; "Two for the Seesaw" in 1962; "The Haunting" in 1963; "The Andromeda Strain" in 1971; and "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" in 1979.

Born Sept. 10, 1914, in Winchester, Ind., Wise dropped out of college during the Depression after his brother, an accountant at RKO, helped get him a job at the studio.

He worked his way up to film editor or co-editor on such movies as "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "The Devil and Daniel Webster."

In addition to his four Oscars, Wise was awarded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, a special Oscar for sustained achievement, in 1966. He also received the Directors Guild of America's highest honor, the D.W. Griffith Award, in 1988.

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#63 Post by Caligula » Mon Oct 24, 2005 9:56 am

Tony Adams, a producer of many of the films of director Blake Edwards including six Pink Panther movies, SOB, 10 and the screen and stage versions of Victor/Victoria, has died of a stroke. He was 52. Adams died Saturday at Beth Israel Hospital, said Peter Cromarty, a spokesperson for the producer. Adams was a partner in Hello Entertainment, a theatre producing company, which develops and produces Broadway shows.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Adams started in motion pictures as an assistant to director John Boorman on Deliverance (1972) and later went to work for Edwards as an associate producer on The Return of the Pink Panther (1975). Among the other Pink Panther movies he produced or co-produced were The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978), Trail of the Pink Panther (1982), Curse of the Pink Panther (1983) and Son of the Pink Panther (1993).

Adams also worked on several films starring Edwards' wife, Julie Andrews, including 10, SOB (1981), Victor/Victoria (1982), The Man Who Loved Women (1983) and That's Life! (1986). He also produced Julie, a short-lived television series, starring Andrews, in 1992. In 1995, Adams co-produced the stage version of Victor/Victoria, starring Andrews and Tony Roberts on Broadway. The musical ran for over 700 performances.

Survivors include Adams' third wife, actress Anne Runolfsson, and four children.

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#64 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Fri Nov 11, 2005 7:16 am

'Halloween' Producer Dies in Jordan

AMMAN, Jordan - Moustapha Akkad, the Syrian-born producer of the "Halloween" horror films, died Friday from wounds sustained in the triple hotel bombings, a hospital official said. Akkad died at 7:30 a.m. in a Jordanian hospital where he was being treated, said surgeon Dr. Yousef Qisous. He lived in Los Angeles and was reportedly in his 70s.

"He had bleeding in the lungs, his ribs were fractured and he died of his wounds and a severe heart attack this morning," Qisous told The Associated Press. Akkad's daughter, Rima Akkad Monla, 34, also died in one of Wednesday's three explosions, said her mother, Patricia Akkad, Thursday.

A woman who answered the telephone at Moustapha Akkad's home early Friday said she was too upset to talk. A telephone message left at Patricia Akkad's Los Angeles area home was not immediately returned. She left for Lebanon late Thursday.

Three suicide bombers hit the Grand Hyatt, Radisson SAS and Days Inn hotels in the Jordanian capital, Amman, Wednesday night and killed at least 59 people, including the three suicide bombers. Officials suspect Iraqi involvement in the attacks, which were claimed by al-Qaida's Iraq branch.

Moustapha Akkad, best known for producing all eight films in the "Halloween" franchise, also produced and directed "The Message" (1977) and "Lion of the Desert" (1981). Both latter films starred Anthony Quinn.

His daughter, Rima, grew up in Los Angeles an avid polo player who graduated from the University of Southern California in 1995 with a degree in international relations. She pursued a master's degree in Middle East studies at the American University in Beirut, where she met her husband Ziad Monla, 35.

Her husband's family owns the Monla Hospital in Tripoli, Lebanon. The couple, married for six years, has two sons, ages 2 and 4. "Rima is a totally American girl," Patricia Akkad, 64, said Thursday in a phone interview from her ex-husband's home in Los Angeles. "Here's an American who was over there and innocently killed for no reason."

Akkad said her daughter loved living in Beirut. "We all know the problems in the Middle East, and you never think it's going to touch you," she said. Funeral services were scheduled for Friday in Tripoli. "She was the light of everybody's life," Patricia Akkad said. "She put everybody else first."

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#65 Post by Gordon » Sun Nov 13, 2005 9:40 pm

Moustapha Akkad, the Syrian-born producer of the "Halloween" horror films, died Friday from wounds sustained in the triple hotel bombings, a hospital official said.

"He had bleeding in the lungs, his ribs were fractured and he died of his wounds and a severe heart attack this morning," Qisous told The Associated Press.

Akkad's daughter, Rima Akkad Monla, 34, also died in one of Wednesday's three explosions, said her mother, Patricia Akkad, Thursday.
That is awful news. :cry:

He was mogul capitalist par excellence, but in interviews he always seemed gracious, warm and happy. Another obscene absurdity at the hands of these banal, joyless life-haters.

Rest in peace, Moustapha.

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#66 Post by dx23 » Fri Nov 25, 2005 4:40 pm

Actor Pat Morita Dies at 73

LOS ANGELES - Actor Pat Morita, whose portrayal of the wise and dry-witted Mr. Miyagi in "The Karate Kid" earned him an Oscar nomination, has died. He was 73.

Morita died Thursday at his home in Las Vegas of natural causes, said his wife of 12 years, Evelyn. She said in a statement that her husband, who first rose to fame with a role on "Happy Days," had "dedicated his entire life to acting and comedy."

In 1984, he appeared in the role that would define his career and spawn countless affectionate imitations. As Kesuke Miyagi, the mentor to Ralph Macchio's "Daniel-san," he taught karate while trying to catch flies with chopsticks and offering such advice as "wax on, wax off" to guide Daniel through chores to improve his skills.

Morita said in a 1986 interview with The Associated Press he was billed as Noriyuki "Pat" Morita in the film because producer Jerry Weintraub wanted him to sound more ethnic. He said he used the billing because it was "the only name my parents gave me."

He lost the 1984 best supporting actor award to Haing S. Ngor, who appeared in "The Killing Fields."

For years, Morita played small and sometimes demeaning roles in such films as "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and TV series such as "The Odd Couple" and "Green Acres." His first breakthrough came with "Happy Days," and he followed with his own brief series, "Mr. T and Tina."

"The Karate Kid," led to three sequels, the last of which, 1994's "The Next Karate Kid," paired him with a young Hilary Swank.

Morita was prolific outside of the "Karate Kid" series as well, appearing in "Honeymoon in Vegas," "Spy Hard," "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" and "The Center of the World." He also provided the voice for a character in the Disney movie "Mulan" in 1998.

Born in northern California on June 28, 1932, the son of migrant fruit pickers, Morita spent most of his early years in the hospital with spinal tuberculosis. He later recovered only to be sent to a Japanese-American internment camp in Arizona during World War II.

"One day I was an invalid," he recalled in a 1989 AP interview. "The next day I was public enemy No. 1 being escorted to an internment camp by an FBI agent wearing a piece."

After the war, Morita's family tried to repair their finances by operating a Sacramento restaurant. It was there that Morita first tried his comedy on patrons. Because prospects for a Japanese-American standup comic seemed poor, Morita found steady work in computers at Aerojet General. But at age 30 he entered show business full time.

"Only in America could you get away with the kind of comedy I did," he commented. "If I tried it in Japan before the war, it would have been considered blasphemy, and I would have ended in leg irons. "

Morita was to be buried at Palm Green Valley Mortuary and Cemetery. He is survived by his wife and three daughters from a previous marriage.

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#67 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:19 am

'Bosom Buddies" Wendie Jo Sperber Dies

LOS ANGELES - Actress Wendie Jo Sperber, who starred opposite
Tom Hanks on TV's "Bosom Buddies" and who in his words became "a walking inspiration" after she contracted cancer, has died. She was in her 40s. Sperber died at home Tuesday after an eight-year battle with breast cancer, publicist Jo-Ann Geffen said Wednesday.

A Los Angeles native, Sperber appeared in dozens of television shows and movies, including all three "Back to the Future" films. Her publicist first said Sperber was 46, but later said she was 43 based on an Internet resource. The Associated Press in September reported Sperber's age as 47.

Sperber also had roles in Steven Spielberg's "1941," Robert Zemeckis' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," and Neal Israel's "Moving Violations" and "Bachelor Party." Her television credits include "Murphy Brown," "Private Benjamin," "Will & Grace" and "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter."

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, the actress became an advocate for cancer care. In 2001, she founded the weSPARK Cancer Support Center, which provides free emotional support, information and social activities for individuals and families affected by cancer. Sperber helped unveil and promote a breast cancer stamp for the U.S. Postal Service in 1998, Geffen said.

"The memory of Wendie Jo is that of a walking inspiration," Hanks said in a statement. "She met the challenges of her illness with love, cheer, joy and altruism. We are going to miss her as surely as we are all better for knowing her."

Sperber is survived by a son and daughter, her parents, two sisters and a brother.

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#68 Post by mogwai » Sat Dec 10, 2005 6:45 pm

Pathbreaking Comedian Richard Pryor Dies

Richard Pryor, the caustic yet perceptive actor-comedian who lived dangerously close to the edge both on stage and off, died Saturday. He was 65. Pryor died shortly before 8 a.m. of a heart attack after being taken to a hospital from his home in the San Fernando Valley, said his business manager, Karen Finch. He had been ill for years with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the nervous system.

"He did not suffer, he went quickly and at the end there was a smile on his face," his wife, Jennifer Pryor, said. "I'm honored now that I have an opportunity to protect and continue his legacy because he's a very, very, very amazing man and he opened doors to so many people."

Pryor's audacious style influenced an array of stand-up artists, including Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and Damon Wayans, as well as Robin Williams, David Letterman and others. He was regarded early in his career as one of the most foul-mouthed comics in the business, but he gained a wide following for his expletive-filled but universal and frequently personal insights into modern life and race relations.

A series of hit comedies in the '70s and '80s, as well as filmed versions of his concert performances, turned him into one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood. He was also one of the first black performers to have enough leverage to cut his own Hollywood deals. In 1983, he signed a $40 million, five-year contract with Columbia Pictures. His films included "Stir Crazy," "Silver Streak," "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling," and "Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip."

Throughout his career, Pryor focused on racial inequality, once joking as the host of the 1977 Academy Awards that Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier were the only black members of the Academy.

Pryor once marveled "that I live in racist America and I'm uneducated, yet a lot of people love me and like what I do, and I can make a living from it. You can't do much better than that." In 1980, he nearly lost his life when he suffered severe burns over 50 percent of his body while freebasing cocaine at his home. An admitted "junkie" at the time, Pryor spent six weeks recovering from the burns and much longer from drug and alcohol dependence.

He battled multiple sclerosis throughout the '90s. In his last movie, the 1991 bomb "Another You," Pryor's poor health was clearly evident. Pryor made a comeback attempt the following year, returning to standup comedy in clubs and on television while looking thin and frail, and with noticeable speech and movement difficulties.

In 1995, he played an embittered multiple sclerosis patient in an episode of the television series "Chicago Hope." The role earned him an Emmy nomination as best guest actor in a drama series. "To be diagnosed was the hardest thing because I didn't know what they were talking about," he said. "And the doctor said `Don't worry, in three months you'll know.'

"So I went about my business and then, one day, it jumped me. I couldn't get up. ... Your muscles trick you; they did me." While Pryor's material sounds modest when compared with some of today's raunchier comedians, it was startling material when first introduced. He never apologized for it.

Pryor was fired by one hotel in Las Vegas for "obscenities" directed at the audience. In 1970, tired of compromising his act, he quit in the middle of another Vegas stage show with the words, "What the (blank) am I doing here?" The audience was left staring at an empty stage.

He didn't tone things down after he became famous. In his 1977 NBC television series "The Richard Pryor Show," he threatened to cancel his contract with the network. NBC's censors objected to a skit in which Pryor appeared naked save for a flesh-colored loincloth to suggest he was emasculated.

In his later years, Pryor mellowed considerably, and his film roles looked more like easy paychecks than artistic endeavors. His robust work gave way to torpid efforts like "Harlem Nights," "Brewster's Millions" and "Hear No Evil, See No Evil."

"I didn't think `Brewster's Millions' was good to begin with," Pryor once said. "I'm sorry, but they offered us the money. I was a pig, I got greedy."

"I had some great things and I had some bad things. The best and the worst," he said in 1995. "In other words, I had a life."

Recognition came in 1998 from an unlikely source: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington gave Pryor the first Mark Twain Prize for humor. He said in a statement that he was proud that, "like Mark Twain, I have been able to use humor to lessen people's hatred."

Born in 1940, to a Peoria, Ill., construction worker, Pryor grew up in a brothel his grandmother ran. His first professional performance came at age 7, when he played drums at a night club. Following high school and two years of Army service, he launched his performing career. He played bars throughout the United States, honing his comedy skills.

By the mid-'60s, he was appearing in Las Vegas clubs and on the television shows of Ed Sullivan, Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson. His first film role came with a small part in 1967's "The Busy Body." He made his starring debut as Diana Ross' piano man in 1972's "Lady Sings the Blues."

Pryor also wrote scripts for the television series "Sanford and Son," "The Flip Wilson Show" and two specials for Lily Tomlin. He collaborated with Mel Brooks on the script for the movie "Blazing Saddles."

Later in his career, Pryor used his films as therapy. "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling," was an autobiographical account of a popular comedian re-examining his life while lying delirious in a hospital burn ward. Pryor directed, co-wrote, co-produced and starred in the film. "I'm glad I did `Jo Jo,'" Pryor once said. "It helped me get rid of a lot of stuff."

Pryor also had legal problems over the years. In 1974, he was sentenced to three years' probation for failing to file federal income tax returns. In 1978, he allegedly fired shots and rammed his car into a vehicle occupied by two of his wife's friends.

Even in poor health, his comedy was vital. At a 1992 performance, he asked the room, "Is there a doctor in the audience?" All he got was nervous laughter. "No, I'm serious. I want to know if there's a doctor here." A hand finally went up. "Doctor," Pryor said, "I need to know one thing. What the (blank) is MS?"

Pryor was married six times, most recently to Flynn. The two had a son, Steven. His other children included son Richard and daughters Elizabeth, Rain and Renee.

Daughter Rain became an actress. In an interview in 2005, she told the Philadelphia Inquirer that her father always "put his life right out there for you to look at. I took that approach because I saw how well audiences respond to it. I try to make you laugh at life."

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#69 Post by david hare » Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:40 pm

A big round of applause for Pryor for his amazing live concert movies and his "Zeke" in Blue Collar.

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#70 Post by Gordon » Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:14 pm

Very sad. He has made me laugh longer and louder than anyone. An astounding master of comedy. I have the Warner 9-CD boxed set of his albums and the recently released 2-CD of the early shit, too, which is an amazing collection. I listened to them only last week, too.

Rich is with Sam Kinison and Bill Hicks now - oh, shit! Bye, Rich. You were a beautiful motherfucker!

And now, Mudbone:

Y'know... a friend ah mine passed away recently. Boy was sissy-five years old. I'm amazed the muthafucka lived that long, heh, heh! Had that multiplex... that multiplica... that multi... - the nigga's brain was fucked up in some way, okay? I don' know that name ah the goddamn disease, but he had it and it brought 'im a lotta misery.

But he was a tough son-of-a-bitch: One time, I saw him runnin' down the road... on fire. I never figured out why the man was on fire; I s'pect that he had a bah-beh-que assident, or summit. But he was ev'n tougha than that - I saw 'im in a movie where he played a TOY. Wha' the fuck wuz that all about? Jesus Christ.

The boy died offa heart-attack. I had a heart-attack once. Felt like someone stuck a red-hot poker in ma chest while I wuz sittin' inna electric chair. The boy wuz awways talkin' 'bout death - jokin' 'bout it, y'know? I tolt 'im, I said, "Boy, don' you tempt God. He don' like peoples jokin' about his favrit hobby". Didn' lissen, though.

But he was a sweet boy and I loved him an' I'll miss 'im. God bless ya, Rich. The muthafucka still owe me fifteen dollars, though, goddamit.

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#71 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Dec 17, 2005 9:16 am

Actor John Spencer, who played the role of Leo McGarry in "The West Wing," mirrored his character in several ways: Both were recovering alcoholics and both were driven.

"Like Leo, I've always been a workaholic, too," he told The Associated Press in a 2000 interview. "Through good times and bad, acting has been my escape, my joy, my nourishment. The drug for me, even better than alcohol, was acting."
Last edited by flyonthewall2983 on Tue Oct 17, 2006 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#72 Post by Caligula » Tue Dec 27, 2005 10:13 am

Argentina Brunetti has died.

View her filmography here. Strange that imdb indicates her as having died a month earlier!

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#73 Post by dx23 » Sat Jan 14, 2006 4:03 pm

Oscar Winner Shelley Winters Dies at 85

Shelley Winters, the forceful, outspoken star who graduated from blond bombshell parts to dramas, winning Academy Awards as supporting actress in "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "A Patch of Blue," has died. She was 85. Winters died of heart failure early Saturday at The Rehabilitation Centre of Beverly Hills, her publicist Dale Olson said. She had been hospitalized in October after suffering a heart attack.

The actress sustained her long career by repeatedly reinventing herself. Starting as a nightclub chorus girl, advanced to supporting roles in New York plays, then became famous as a Hollywood sexpot. A devotee of the Actors Studio, she switched to serious roles as she matured. Her Oscars were for her portrayal of mothers. Still working well into her 70s, she had a recurring role as Roseanne's grandmother on the 1990s TV show "Roseanne."

In 1959's "The Diary of Anne Frank," she was Petronella Van Daan, mother of Peter Van Daan and one of eight real-life Jewish refugees in World War II Holland who hid for more than a year in cramped quarters until they were betrayed and sent to Nazi death camps. The socially conscious Winters donated her Oscar statuette to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

In 1965's "Patch of Blue," she portrayed a hateful, foul-mouthed mother who tries to keep her blind daughter, who is white, apart from the kind black man who has befriended her.

Ever vocal on social and political matters, Winters was a favored guest on television talk shows, and she demonstrated her frankness in two autobiographies: "Shelley, Also Known as Shirley" (1980) and "Shelley II: The Middle of My Century" (1989).

She wrote openly in them of her romances with Burt Lancaster, William Holden, Marlon Brando, Errol Flynn, Clark Gable and other leading men. "I've had it all," she exulted after her first book became a best seller. "I'm excited about the literary aspects of my career. My concentration is there now." Typically Winters, she also had a complaint about her literary fame: While reviewers treated her book as a serious human document, she said, talk show hosts Phil Donohue and Johnny Carson "only want to know about my love affairs."

Winters, whose given name was Shirley Schrift, was appearing in the Broadway hit "Rosalinda" when Columbia Pictures boss Harry Cohn offered her a screen test. A Columbia contact and a new name -- Shelley Winters -- followed, but all the good roles at the studio were going to Jean Arthur in those days.

Winters' early films included such light fare as "Knickerbocker Holiday," "Sailor's Holiday," "Cover Girl," "Tonight and Every Night" and "Red River." When her contract ended, Winters returned to New York as Ado Annie in "Oklahoma!" She would soon be called back and signed to a seven-year contract at Universal, where she was transformed into a blonde bombshell. She vamped her way through a number of potboilers for the studio, including "South Sea Sinner," with Liberace as her dance-hall pianist, and "Frenchie," as wild saloon owner Frenchie Fontaine, out to avenge her father's murder. The only hint of her future as an actress came in 1948's "A Double Life" as a trashy waitress strangled by a Shakespearian actor, Ronald Colman. The role won Colman an Oscar.

"A Place in the Sun" in 1951 brought her first Oscar nomination and established her as a serious actress. She desperately sought the role of the pregnant factory girl drowned by Montgomery Clift so he could marry Elizabeth Taylor. The director, George Stevens, rejected her at first for being too sexy. "So I scrubbed off all my makeup, pulled my hair back and sat next to him at the Hollywood Athletic Club without his even recognizing me because I looked so plain. That got me the part," she recalled in a 1962 interview.

Winters received her final Oscar nomination, for 1972's "The Poseidon Adventure," in which she was one of a handful of passengers scrambling desperately to survive aboard an ocean liner turned upside down by a tidal wave. By then she had put on a good deal of weight, and following a scene in which her character must swim frantically she charmed audiences with the line: "In the water I'm a very skinny lady." Although she was in demand as a character actress, Winters continued to study her craft. She attended Charles Laughton's Shakespeare classes and worked at the Actors Studio, both as student and teacher. She appeared on Broadway as the distraught wife of a drug addict in "A Hatful of Rain" and as the Marx Brothers' mother in "Minnie's Boys."

Among her other notable films: "Night of the Hunter," "Executive Suite," "I Am a Camera," "The Big Knife," "Odds Against Tomorrow," "The Young Savages," "Lolita," "The Chapman Report," "The Greatest Story Ever Told," "A House Is Not a Home," "Alfie," "Harper," "Pete's Dragon," "Stepping Out" and "Over the Brooklyn Bridge."

During her 50 years as a widely known personality, Winters was rarely out of the news. Her stormy marriages, her romances with famous stars, her forays into politics and feminist causes kept her name before the public. She delighted in giving provocative interviews and seemed to have an opinion on everything. Robert Mitchum once told her: "Shelley, arguing with you is like trying to hold a conversation with a swarm of bumblebees." The revelations in her autobiographies provided endless material for interviewers and gossip writers. She wrote of an enchanted evening when she and Burt Lancaster attended "South Pacific" in New York, dined elegantly, then retired to his hotel room. "This chance meeting proved to be the beginning of a long but painful romance," she wrote. "Despite the immediate and powerful chemistry between us, the love and the friendship, some wise part of me knew that he would never abandon his children while they were young and needed him." She also told of a dalliance with William Holden after a studio Christmas party. In a glamorous, real-life version of the play "Same Time, Next Year," they continued their annual Yuletide rendezvous for seven years. She wrote that despite their intimacy, they continued to refer to each other as "Mr. Holden" and "Miss Winters," and when they met on the set of the 1981 film "S.O.B." she said, "Hello, Mr. Holden." He smiled and replied, "Shelley, after your book, I think you should call me Bill."

Shirley Schrift was born on Aug. 18, 1920, and grew up New York, where she appeared in high school plays. "My childhood is a blur of memories," she wrote in the first of her autobiographies. "Money was so scarce in my family that at the age of 9 I was selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door. "It was during this stage of my life that I developed a whole fantasy world; reality was too unbearable. Every chance I got, I was at the movies. I adored them." Working as a chorus girl and garment district model helped finance her drama studies. She gained practical training by appearing in plays and musicals on the summer Borscht Circuit in the Catskill mountains.

During the Detroit run of a musical revue, she married businessman Paul "Mack" Mayer on Jan. 1, 1942. He entered the Army Air Corps, and after the war, the pair found they had little in common. They divorced in 1948.

Winters' second and third marriages were brief and tempestuous: to Vittorio Gassman (1952-1954) and Anthony Franciosa (1957-1960). The combination of a Jewish Brooklynite and Italian actors seemed destined to produce fireworks, and both unions resulted in headlines.

A daughter, Vittoria, resulted from the marriage to Gassman. She became a successful physician.

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#74 Post by on connait... » Sat Jan 21, 2006 5:30 pm

Anthony Franciosa, 77; Versatile Star of Stage, Film and Television

Anthony Franciosa, the rakishly handsome, cleft-chinned actor who came to fame on Broadway in the 1950s and had a long career in Hollywood as a star in five TV series, including "The Name of the Game" and "Matt Helm," has died. He was 77. Franciosa suffered a stroke Monday and died Thursday at UCLA Medical Center, his publicist Dick Guttman said.

An alumnus of New York's Actors Studio under Lee Strasberg, Franciosa received his big theater break in 1955 when an Actors Studio workshop production of "A Hatful of Rain" moved to Broadway. His searing portrayal of the brother of a heroin addict earned him an Outer Critics Circle Award and a Tony nomination in 1956.

Franciosa's success on Broadway brought him to Hollywood, where he earned an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor for reprising the role of Polo Pope in the 1957 movie version of "A Hatful of Rain," starring Don Murray and Eva Marie Saint.

The string of film roles he played at the time included an unethical personal manager in Elia Kazan's "A Face in the Crowd," starring Andy Griffith; a weak Southerner in "The Long, Hot Summer," starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward; and the starring role as a struggling actor in "Career," with Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine.

"Tony was as good as it gets — smart, probing, explosive, and he had it all at his fingertips," Newman said in a statement to The Times on Friday.

Among Franciosa's other early films are "Period of Adjustment" opposite Jane Fonda, "Rio Conchos" with Richard Boone and Stuart Whitman; and "The Pleasure Seekers" and "The Swinger," both opposite Ann-Margret. "He was extremely talented, and he showed people what he could do because he did all the dramatic things and then the very light" roles, Ann-Margret told The Times on Friday. "He was a caring man — obviously charming and extremely supportive, bless his soul — and had a wonderful sense of humor."

In addition to "The Name of the Game" and "Matt Helm," Franciosa starred in the TV series "Valentine's Day," "Search" and "Finder of Lost Loves." Along the way, the actor earned a reputation for having a hair-trigger temper, a man whose image was summed up in a 1975 TV Guide article as "hotheaded" and "arrogant."

Franciosa served 10 days in the Los Angeles County Jail in the 1950s for kicking a news photographer. He was fired from "The Name of the Game" by NBC executives who cited "the wear and tear" he had caused on the set. And he got into a fistfight with a director on "Matt Helm."

"I went to Hollywood in the mid-1950s, and I would say I went out there a little too early," Franciosa said in 1996. "It was an incredible amount of attention, and I wasn't quite mature enough psychologically and emotionally for it."

Veteran actress Janet Waldo saw another side of Franciosa. "Tony was a gorgeous, brilliant man, and a dear, dear person," said Waldo, who played Franciosa's secretary on "Valentine's Day," the 1964-65 situation comedy in which he played a debonair young Manhattan publishing executive who was a magnet for beautiful girls.

"It was such great fun to work with him," Waldo told The Times on Friday. "He was a bit temperamental, but people understood that and indulged him and didn't criticize him for it."

What she remembered most about Franciosa was how he'd second-guess his performance after an episode aired. "He was always self-critical because he was such a perfectionist," she said, recalling that Hal Kanter, the show's producer, once told him, "Tony, you can't be Hamlet every week."

By the time he starred in "Finder of Lost Loves" in 1984, Franciosa reportedly had mellowed. The only child of a construction worker and a seamstress, Franciosa was born Anthony Papaleo in New York City in 1928. His parents divorced when he was a year old, and he later said he felt abandoned by his father, whom he seldom saw. Franciosa held a variety of jobs after graduating from high school, telling Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper in 1957 that he was interested only in girls and dancing at the time.

"I had only one main concern — I couldn't do the mambo," he said. "So when I read that they were giving free dancing lessons at the YWCA, I went there with a friend who was studying dramatics. They were casting a play and offered me a part."

He later won an acting scholarship and worked in a restaurant to support himself while attending the Actors Studio, during which he adopted his mother's maiden name, Franciosa.

The actor, who made his Broadway debut in "End As a Man" in 1953, fell in love with Actors Studio classmate Shelley Winters. In 1957, after divorcing his first wife, writer Beatrice Bakalyar, Franciosa married Winters. His marriage to Winters, who died Jan. 14, ended in 1960. He also had a six-year marriage to Judy Balaban Kanter.

A longtime civil rights supporter, Franciosa joined actors Marlon Brando and Newman in Gadsden, Ala., in 1963 for a desegregation drive. "Regardless of the great struggle we're going through," Franciosa told the crowd of more than 1,000 gathered in a Methodist church, "the greatest thing I see here is joy."

Franciosa is survived by his wife, Rita; his children, Nina, Christopher and Marco; and a granddaughter. A private memorial service is pending.

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#75 Post by jesus the mexican boi » Wed Jan 25, 2006 3:04 am

Character actor Chris Penn, younger brother of Oscar-winner Sean Penn, was found dead on Tuesday at an apartment near the Pacific Ocean in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica, police sources said.

No cause of death was immediately determined but there was no signs of foul play, the sources added. A family spokeswoman confirmed the death and said the Penn family "would appreciate the media's respect of their privacy during this difficult time."

Penn, 43, was a character actor who appeared in dozens of films including "Reservoir Dogs," "Mullholland Falls" and the 2004 film "Starsky & Hutch." In one of his best known roles, he played baby-faced criminal Nice Guy Eddie Cabot in director Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs." He also starred along with his brother in the 1986 film "At Close Range."

Recently, Penn voiced Officer Eddie Pulaski in the video game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas."

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