Film Review Daily

 

In Memoriam

 

 

Michael Darvell examines the lives of the recently deceased, including John G. 

Avildsen, Stephen Furst, Anita Pallenberg, Adam West, Glenne Headly, Roger Smith, 

Peter Sallis, Fred J. Koenekamp, Roger Moore, Dina Merrill, Powers Boothe, Brad Grey, 

Michael Parks, Geoffrey Bayldon, Michael Wearing, Daliah Lavi, Moray Watson, Kathleen 

Crowley, Jonathan Demme, Don Gordon, Erin Moran, Clifton James, Michael Ballhaus, 

Tim Pigott-Smith, Christopher Morahan, Don Rickles, Christine Kaufmann and Lola Albright.

 

 

 

EDWARD ALBEE (12 March 1928-15 September 2016)

Essentially a man of the theatre, American playwright Edward Albee never wrote for the cinema, However, his most famous play from 1962 also became celebrated on film. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Edward Albeedirected by Mike Nichols in 1966, details the destructive nature of a marriage as George, a university professor, and his wife Martha peel off the layers of their relationship to reveal a basic hatred of one another. This is played out before two younger guests, Nick and Honey. The film was Oscar-nominated in thirteen categories including the four actors, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal and Sandy Dennis, but only Taylor and Dennis won the awards, although the film also won for best cinematography, art direction and costume design. The screenplay by Ernest Lehman was the only Albee play ever to be filmed. Albee himself adapted novels for the theatre including Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Nabokov’s Lolita, but both flopped, and he did a stage version of Carson McCullers’ The Ballad of the Sad Café (1991), subsequently filmed by Merchant-Ivory using Michael Hirst’s screenplay based on the novella and Albee’s play. Albee’s first play was The Zoo Story in 1959, and of his thirty others he is best remembered for Tiny Alice, A Delicate Balance (filmed by Tony Richardson, starring Katharine Hepburn, Paul Scofield and Lee Remick, and released theatrically in Britain), The Lady From Dubuque, Three Tall Women, The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? and, of course, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Some of his plays were produced on television and Albee himself took part in many TV documentaries on the performing arts.

  

GIORGIO ALBERTAZZI (20 August 1923-28 May 2016)
Acting in films and on television from 1951, the Italian actor found global fame when Alain Resnais, spotting a photograph of Albertazzi, chose him to play the lead in Last Year in Marienbad (1961). Identified only as ‘X – the man with the Italian accent’, he engages with a woman called ‘A, the brunette’ (Delphine Seyrig), claiming he had slept with her the previous year. That film may have been the making of him as an international film actor, for Albertazzi continued in the cinema, acting, writing and directing. He was in two films by Joseph Losey, Eve (1962) and The Assassination of Trotsky (1972), a TV series on Jekyll and Hyde and the title role in the Italian version of the Philo Vance detective series. For the most part he wrote and directed TV series and appeared in Italian films that seldom reached the UK. His main love, however, was the theatre and in his time he was a much lauded actor-manager in Italy, gracing plays by Shakespeare, Shaw, Lillian Hellmann, Arthur Miller, the Italian playwrights Gabriele D’Annunzio and Luigi Pirandello and others. His last film, La sindrome di Antonio is awaiting release this 

year.

 

LOLA ALBRIGHT (20 July 1925-23 March 2017)
The American actress Lola Albright started out as a model Lola Albrightand radio station receptionist. She studied piano and singing and recorded some albums when playing a nightclub singer in the TV series Peter Gunn. Her film debut was in The Unfinished Dance in 1947 with Margaret O’Brien and Cyd Charisse. She had other uncredited roles at MGM before landing a good role in Champion (1949) with Kirk Douglas. She was in Tulsa with Susan Hayward and played in several minor films before entering television in Armstrong Circle Theatre in 1951. More television and some B-films kept her busy until Budd Boetticher’s The Brave and the Beautiful (aka The Magnificent Matador) with Anthony Quinn in 1955. Then there was The Tender Trap with Frank Sinatra, more TV and more B-westerns until 1961 and A Cold Wind in August in which she showed how good an actress she was, playing a stripper who seduces an innocent young man. She was a great success in Peter Gunn on TV and appeared with Elvis in Kid Galahad, with Alain Delon in The Love Cage, with Tuesday Weld in Lord Love a Duck, with Kirk Douglas again in The Way West and Doris Day in Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? Then it was mostly back to television until retirement in 1984. She was married and divorced three times, her second husband being the actor Jack Carson. 

 


ALEXIS ARQUETTE (28 July 1969-11 September 2016)

The American actress, born Robert Arquette, came out as gay at 13, Alexis Arquettebut was really transgender and became Alexis. She was the sister of actors Patricia, Rosanna, David and Richmond Arquette. After working at various jobs she appeared briefly in Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), with Nick Nolte and Bette Midler. With a very busy career on TV and in films Alexis was probably the most successful transgender actor in the US. She was in Last Exit to Brooklyn (1989), Gary Sinise’s Of Mice and Men (1992), the title role in the horror film Jack Be Nimble (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994), Frank and Jesse (1995) with Rob Lowe, Kiss and Tell (1997) with brother Richmond and father Lewis Arquette, The Wedding Singer (1998), Bride of Chucky (1998) and many films hitherto unreleased in the UK. Alexis’ TV work included American Playhouse, Alien Nation, Roseanne, Xena: Warrior Princess, Friends, Californication etc and her last film appearance is in Citizens, due out in February 2017.
 

ALEXANDER ASTRUC (13 July 1923-19 May 2016)

French literary turned film critic, Astruc wrote for several newspapers and magazines including La Gazette du Cinéma, Ciné-Digest and the influential Les Cahiers du Cinéma. His thoughts that cinema should be more like novel writing (caméra stylo or the camera pen) were appealing to the likes of Chabrol, Godard and Truffaut, who made their own films very personal. Astruc was also a novelist, a screenwriter and director. He began working on films in the late 1940s, assisting on Marc Allegret’s Blanche Fury, and writing scripts for other directors. His first efforts at directing were not outstanding but he is perhaps best remembered for a short, 44-minute film The Crimson Curtain (1953) with Anouk Aimée and Jean-Claude Pascal as illicit lovers. He went on to make a handful of feature films including Bad Liaisons, One Life, Shadows of Adultery, Lessons in Love and The Savage Souls. There were more shorts, a documentary about Sartre, some TV movies and a series about the society burglar Arsène Lupin. However, his influence was probably felt more in his philosophy of the cinema than his own film-making.

 

JOHN G. AVILDSEN (21 December 1935-16 June 2017)

The American film director John G. Avildsen, who has died aged 81, was not just a director but also in his time a producer, editor, writer and cinematographer. John G. AvildsenHis most famous film was arguably Rocky (1976), for which he won an Oscar and which won many other awards around the world. It was enormously popular and made a star out of Sylvester Stallone. Avildsen also directed Rocky V and hit gold, too, with The Karate Kid (1984) and its sequels, but he also made other, more interesting films such as Joe (1970) with Peter Boyle, Save the Tiger (1973) with Jack Lemmon (who won an Oscar for it) and other titles including W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings, Slow Dancing in the Big City, The Formula and The Power of One. As a producer, Avildsen was involved with Arthur Penn’s Mickey One (1965) with Warren Beatty, and at the time of his death was working on The Margarita Man, American Satan and Nate & Al, the last with Richard Dreyfuss and Martin Landau. Derek Wayne Johnson has written and directed a documentary tribute, John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs with contributions from Stallone, Ralph Macchio, Martin Scorsese, Luke Perry etc plus archive footage of Avildsen’s many other actors.

 

HÉCTOR BABENCO (7 February 1946-13 July 2016)

The Argentinian-born Brazilian Hector Babencofilm director, producer, writer and actor worked in films from 1973 with his documentary on racing driver Emerson Fittipaldi. His first feature was King of the Night (1975), about a man in São Paulo who has affairs with two daughters of his mother’s friend. Mainly dealing with social or political problems, Babenco became better-known through Pixote (1980), about street boys and their sexual relationship; Kiss of the Spiderwoman (1985) with William Hurt and Raul Julia as two men in prison, one for political activities and the other for illicit underage gay sex; Ironweed (1987) with Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep as a couple in the Great Depression; At Play In the Fields of the Lord (1990), about two Amazon Basin explorers, with Tom Berenger and John Lithgow; and Carandiru (2003), on a prison massacre in a Latin American jail. His last film was My Hindu Friend (2007), which concerned a dying film director and starred Willem Dafoe.

 

KENNY BAKER (24 August 1934-13 August 2016)

Born a dwarf, actor Kenny Baker, who made his name as R2-D2 in the Star Wars franchise, was formerly a skater touring the world in Holiday On Ice. His initial film appearance was in Circus of Horrors (1960) and then television called before the first Star Wars (1977) made him famous as the robotic droid nestling inside a silver bin-like container. His most famous role meant he never appeared as himself in the seven of the eight (including a TV special) Star Wars films in which he featured. His other films included Wombling Free, Flash Gordon, The Elephant Man, Time Bandits, Amadeus, Mona Lisa, Labyrinth and Willow, along with several TV programmes. Kenny Baker’s last appearance was in When the Devil Rides Out, a horror film with Craine Steven, Bai Ling, Lysette Anthony, Patrick Bergin and Oliver Tobias, which has yet to be released. His wife Eileen was also born with dwarfism but their two children did not inherit the condition.

 

MICHAEL BALLHAUS (5 August 1935-12 April 2017)

The German-born cinematographer learned how to Michael Ballhausphotograph actors at his parents’ theatre in Berlin. Max Ophűls was a family friend and Ballhaus was inspired by the great German director’s work. Ballhaus began his career working on German television from 1959 until his first feature film in 1969. He carried on in TV with the occasional cinema film until Rainer Werner Fassbinder used him for his Western Whity. In all he made fifteen films with Fassbinder, including The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, Martha, Fox and His Friends, Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven, Chinese Roulette, Germany in Autumn and The Marriage of Maria Braun. He then gravitated to Hollywood where he shot seven films with Martin Scorsese beginning with After Hours(1985), followed by The Color of Money, The Last Temptation of Christ, GoodFellas, The Age of Innocence, Gangs of New York and The Departed. Ballhaus also worked on Baby, It’s You, Reckless, Broadcast News, Quiz Show, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Sleepers and Something’s Gotta Give, among many other high-profile productions. For Mike Nichols he filmed Working Girl, Postcards from the Edge and Primary Colours. He also worked with Prince and Madonna. He shot 3096, his last film, back in Germany in 2013. He was born and died in Berlin.

  

GEOFFREY BAYLDON (7 January 1924-10 May 2017)

Having allegedly turned down the part of Doctor Who for fear of being typecast in an old-man part, the actor Geoffrey Bayldon went on to make his name as Hector BabencoCatweazle in the TV series of the same name about an 11th-century wizard reincarnated into the 20th century, an iconic role that put him among the most popular TV roles. Later on he would gain more fans as the Crowman in Worzel Gummidge and the hero of Magic Grandad, all parts of an old man. Before entering TV he had worked on stage at Stratford-upon-Avon, Glasgow, Birmingham and London’s Old Vic etc. In films from 1952, he was uncredited in Trent’s Last Case with Orson Welles, but then concentrated on television while also taking small roles in films such as The Camp on Blood Island, Dracula, A Night to Remember, The Rough and the Smooth and Libel. Still concentrating on television Bayldon also made films including The Longest Day, 55 Days at Peking, Becket, King Rat, Sky West and Crooked, Casino Royale (1967, as Q), To Sir, With Love, Inspector Clouseau, A Dandy in Aspic, Otley and Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed. Never a leading man in films, he played a waiter in Born to Boogie with Marc Bolan and Ringo Starr, a vicar in Steptoe and Son Ride Again, an Archbishop in The Slipper and the Rose, the governor in the film of Porridge, and a colonel in Bullshot. Apart from appearing in umpteen high-profile TV series, his last films included Madame Sousatzka, Tom and Viv, Ladies in Lavender and Love/Loss (2010). But it is as Catweazle that Geoffrey Bayldon will be best remembered and loved.

 

TERENCE BAYLER (24 January 1930-2 August 2016)

The New Zealand-born actor Terence Bayler’s first film was Broken Barrier, made in New Zealand in 1952, after he had moved to the UK to study at RADA. He then appeared in Shakespeare under Peter Hall and further stage work followed including The Mousetrap, The Rocky Horror Show and a European tour of Pygmalion on which he met his second wife, Valerie Cutko. (His first wife was the New Zealand actress Bridget Armstrong). Earlier on he was in TV movies, The Whiteoak Chronicles (1955) and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1956). His first film part was as a stoker in Powell & Pressburger’s The Battle of the River Plate (1956), and he played a policeman in The Hi-Jackers (1963). Television mostly kept him busy playing establishment types in Compact, Maigret, Upstairs, Downstairs etc and he did a couple of episodes of Doctor Who. He played Macduff in Polanski’s film of Macbeth (1971) and he also popped up in the Monty Python films The Life of Brian (1979), Time Bandits (1981) and Brazil (1985). Later films included The Remains of the Day and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001).

 

ANN BEACH (7 June 1938-9 March 2017)

Although she was never a star, Ann BeachAnn Beach always brought a great sense of her own personality to any role she played, be it on stage, in films or on television. As a chorister in Wales she was encouraged to take up a singing career, but instead became an actress. After attending RADA she toured in a Feydeau farce and then worked extensively with Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop in Stratford East and also at the Royal Court. She also appeared in the musical Mame at Drury Lane with Gingers Rogers. Her first film was The City of the Dead in 1960 and then On the Fiddle with Sean Connery. Other films include The Fast Lady with Leslie Phillips, Hotel Paradiso with Alec Guinness, Sebastian with Dirk Bogarde, Under Milk Wood with Taylor and Burton, King Ralph, Notting Hill (as Hugh Grant’s mother), and One Chance (2013), with James Corden as Paul Potts, her last film. 

  

BRIAN BEDFORD (16 February 1935-13 January 2016)

The Yorkshire-born actor trained at RADA and subsequently specialised in performing and directing Shakespeare. He worked extensively for the New York Public Theatre and, for 27 years, Brian Bedfordthe Stratford Shakespeare Festival Theatre in not only Shakespeare but also Molnar, Coward, Chekhov, Molière, Shaw, Vanbrugh, Sheridan, Boucicault, Peter Shaffer and Tom Stoppard. He played Lady Bracknell and directed Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest in Stratford Ontario and on Broadway, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award, one of seven in his career. His first film role was in Miracle in Soho (1957) and he made more films in the 1960s including The Angry Silence (1960) for Richard Attenborough and Bryan Forbes and then played opposite James Garner in John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix (1966). He was the voice of Robin Hood (1973) in the Disney animated feature and played FBI man Clyde Tolson in Oliver Stone’s Nixon (1995). He was Mr Fezziwig in the NBC television film of A Christmas Carol (2004) -  with Kelsey Grammer as Scrooge - and his Lady Bracknell was filmed in 2011 (but not released outside of the USA).

 

WILLIAM PETER BLATTY (7 January 1928-12 January 2017)

The writer, filmmaker and occasional actor William Peter Blatty will be forever associated with a single film, The Exorcist, which he produced and wrote from his own novel. In its day (1973), it was one of the most sensational productions to come out of Hollywood. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning two, including best adapted screenplay for Blatty. He also wrote and directed the sequel, The Exorcist III (1990), which was cut, so he re-filmed it in 2016. There was also a prequel, Exorcist: The Beginning, in 2004. Blatty had written books from 1959, including an autobiography of his time as an editor in Beirut, Which Way to Mecca, Jack?, then John Goldfarb Please Come Home (filmed in 1965), and The Ninth Configuration (also filmed in 1980 by Blatty). Meeting director Blake Edwards he wrote for A Shot in the Dark, What Did You Do In the War, Daddy?, Gunn and Darling Lili. Other films with Blatty scripts include The Man from the Diners’ Club with Danny Kaye and The Great Bank Robbery with Zero Mostel. He had four wives and five children. A TV series based on The Exorcist was aired in 2016.

  

MARGARET (Maggie) BLYE (24 October 1942-24 March 2016)

The Texas-born actress joined a drama group at UCLA, where she was spotted by an agent from 20th Century Fox. maggie blyeShe appeared in Summer and Smoke (1961) with Laurence Harvey, from there progressing to TV series including Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, The Virginian and Ben Casey. After Martin Ritt put her in Hombre (1967) with Paul Newman she secured a Fox contract. Later at Paramount she made Waterhole Three (1967) with James Coburn, Diamonds for Breakfast (1968) with Marcello Mastroianni, and The Italian Job (1969) in which she played (memorably) Michael Caine’s girlfriend. Ash Wednesday (1973) with Elizabeth Taylor was a bit of a disaster, after which her parts were no longer that glamorous. Her film career coasted along with Hard Times (1975), Little Darlings (1980), Liar’s Moon (1982), The Entity (1982) and Mischief (1985), interspersed with TV movies and series such as Harry O, The Rockford Files, Hart to Hart, Hunter, The New Adventures of Superman and the long-running In the Heat of the Night TV series. Her last appearance was in the TV movie A Soldier’s Love Story (2010).

 

POWERS BOOTHE (1 June 1948-14 May 2017)

Texas-born actor Powers Boothe gave up football in high school and turned to theatre. Powers BootheHe gained a Masters Degree in Fine Arts and for the early part of his career appeared only in Shakespeare in Oregon, Philadelphia and New Haven. His Broadway debut was in James McLure’s comedy Lone Star in 1979. After that he never played comedy again and became typecast as either villainous characters or authority figures in films and on television. His film debut was in Neil Simon’s screenplay of The Goodbye Girl (1977), in which he played a member of the Richard III cast. He had a small part in William Friedkin’s Cruising and then a TV series called Skag. More TV followed including The Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones for which Boothe won an Emmy playing the title role. He then appeared in several genre movies such as Walter Hill’s Southern Comfort and Extreme Prejudice, John Milius’s Red Dawn, John Boorman’s The Emerald Forest and Yuriy Ozerov’s Stalingrad. He had the title role in the TV series Philip Marlowe, Private Eye. Boothe made his mark opposite Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer in Tombstone, about Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. He was Alexander Haig in Oliver Stone’s Nixon, and then played a Sheriff in the same director’s U Turn, a Captain in Men of Honour, an FBI Agent in Frailty, a Senator in Sin City and its sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and a colonel in MacGruber. His last work included Avengers Assemble and the TV series Agents of SHIELD. Also on TV he was in the Deadwood, 24 and Nashville series. Powers Boothe claimed that his favourite movie was Mutant Species (1994), about a man infected with bio-hazardous material. His wife Pam Cole and their children Parisse and Preston survive him.

   

JOAN CARROLL (18 January 1932-16 November 2016)

Child actress Joan Carroll had a Brian Bedfordshort film career from an uncredited turn in 1936 in The First Baby until 1945 with Leo McCarey’s The Bells of St Mary’s. She was with Claire Trevor in Walking Down Broadway (1938) and appeared with many other celebrated stars: Don Ameche in Gateway, Peter Lorre in Mr Moto’s Last Warning, Rathbone and Karloff in Tower of London, Alice Faye in Barricade, Ginger Rogers in Primrose Path and Fredric March in Tomorrow the World! Apart from The Bells of St Mary’s, Carroll may be best remembered for the part of Agnes Smith, one of Judy Garland’s sisters, in Meet Me in St Louis, She also appeared (uncredited) with Garland in Under the Clock, after which she retired. Carroll was the first Hollywood child to appear on Broadway in the Cole Porter musical Panama Hattie, in which she sang ‘Let’s Be Buddies’ with Ethel Merman.

 

JOHN CARSON (28 February 1927-5 November 2016)

The actor John Carson was born in Sri Lanka (or Ceylon as it then was), John Carsoneducated in Australia, did National Service in the UK and then studied law at Queen’s College, Oxford. He then left for New Zealand and became involved in amateur theatre and eventually radio drama. Returning to Britain, his first film was an Italian production Teheran (1946), also known as The Plot to Kill Roosevelt. His first TV series was Boston Blackie in 1952 and from 1959 he became a fixture on Emergency Ward 10, playing Dr Donald Latimer, which brought him an enormous fan following. He had also been in films from 1955, including The Adventures of Quentin Durward with Robert Taylor, and Intent to Kill, Jack Cardiff’s film shot in Canada. More television work kept Carson constantly busy, although he never became a truly international star. He was good at playing rather seedy characters, perhaps on account of his looks and that recognisable voice that has often been likened to James Mason’s. As well as appearing in most of the British TV series from the 1960s onwards (The Troubleshooters, The Avengers, The Professionals, et al) Carson also lent his talents to many a British B-move, in particular those involving writer-producer-director Jim O’Connolly, and especially Smokescreen (1964). From his nearly 200 appearances on stage, film and TV, it’s difficult to select the best. He was in the first London productions of Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons in 1960 and Peter Nichols’ A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, which also went to Broadway. Perhaps Carson was seen at his dramatic best in his ventures with Hammer Films such as The Plague of the Zombies, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Captain KronosVampire Hunter, and the Hammer House of Horror series on TV.

 

BILLY CHAPIN (28 December 1943-2 December 2016)

The child actor Billy Chapin had a film and Billy ChapinTV career that lasted about eight years up to 1958. He had uncredited appearances as a baby and a tot in the mid-1940s before television took hold in 1952. His first film, Affair With a Stranger (1953) starred Jean Simmons, his next, The Kid From Left Field had Dan Dailey and Anne Bancroft. He also worked with Dailey on There’s No Business Like Show Business, playing the Johnnie Ray character aged ten. Tobor the Great was a space age tale of robots, Naked Alibi was a film noir with Sterling Hayden, A Man Called Peter starred Richard Todd, and Violent Saturday was another film noir. Chapin will, however, be mainly remembered for playing the boy in The Night of the Hunter, Charles Laughton’s only directorial outing for which he personally selected the boy on account of his incredible expertise in film acting. Chapin’s last film was a B-western, Tension at Table Rock in 1956. For his stage debut in Three Wishes for Jamie in 1951, Chapin won the New York Drama Critics’ Award for most promising newcomer.

 

WILLIAM CHRISTOPHER (20 October 1932-31 December 2016)

Although the American actor William Christopher became typecast playing Father Mulcahy in the TV series M*A*S*H (1972 to 1983), and its sequel After M*A*S*H (1983-85), he also appeared in many other series (Hogan’s Heroes, The Love Boat, The Smurfs etc). He made his Broadway debut in Beyond the Fringe but his first film was Billy Wilder’s The Fortune Cookie (aka Meet Whiplash Willie in the UK) in 1966. Then in 1968 he was in With Six You Get Eggroll, Hollywood Cowboy in 1975, and Heaven Sent (1994), in which he again played a priest. The rest of his career happened on TV, including Mad About You as Chaplain Olsen, while his last appearances were as Father Tobias, yet another cleric, in Days of Our Lives (2012).

  

MICHAEL CIMINO (3 February 1939-2 July 2016)

The American film director, writer and producer was originally a student of architecture and theatre until he had the opportunity to make documentaries and commercials. His first feature as a screenwriter was co-writing Silent Running (1972), a futuristic cross between ecology and science fiction. After working on the ‘Dirty Harry’ movie Magnum Force (1973) Clint Eastwood asked him to write and direct Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. This led eventually to Cimino directing his own story in The Deer Hunter (1978), an iconic study of the effects of the Vietnam War. Cimino contributed (uncredited) to the Bette Midler starrer The Rose and then came one of his and Hollywood’s biggest flops, Heaven’s Gate, although it has lately been re-evaluated. His career was packed with films he might have made but didn’t and some from which he was dropped. This may account for his relatively small output – he wrote just nine screenplays and directed only eight films including Year of the Dragon, The Sicilian, Desperate Hours and The Sunchaser, his last film in 1996. He finally contributed in 2007 to To Each His Own Cinema, a collection of shorts by over thirty globally famous directors. Always controversial, Cimino will be remembered for the personal quality of his films and his abiding desire not to compromise for commercialisation’s sake.  
  

TOM CLEGG (16 October 1934-24 July 2016)

The Lancashire-born director Tom Clegg initially worked for Granada Television as a camera operator. Moving to ABC TV he became a director and for most of his career worked in television directing high-profile series such as Special Branch, Regan (1974), the TV pilot that led him to direct The Sweeney with John Thaw and Denis Waterman, the Gerry Anderson sci-fi series Space 1999 and episodes of Minder, The Chinese Detective, The Professionals, Boon, Van der Valk, Bergerac, Between the Lines, Poirot and Rosemary and Thyme etc. Probably his biggest contribution to British television was directing 16 feature-length TV action films based on the character of Sharpe, a soldier during the Napoleonic Wars, starring Sean Bean. Clegg made a few films for the cinema: Sweeney 2, the second spin-off from Sweeney, McVicar (1980), a relentlessly powerful study of villain John McVicar’s time in prison, with Roger Daltrey, G’Olé!, the official FIFA documentary on the 1982 World Cup, The Inside Man (1984), a Cold War thriller with Dennis Hopper and Any Man’s Death (1990), about a missing journalist in the African civil war, with John Savage. Clegg’s last work was on Sharpe’s Peril (2008), the final in the series about which he also made a documentary film.

 

LEONARD COHEN (21 September 1934-7 November 2016)

The Canadian singer-songwriter, philosopher-poet and novelist had little to do with the cinema, although he did appear in a few titles, but many (approaching some 250) films and television programmes have used his songs as part of their soundtracks. Cohen’s appearances as an actor were few and far between: just four odd shorts, playing a singer in The Ernie Game (a Canadian film from 1967) and a TV appearance on Miami Vice in 1986. However, his songs have been heard on everything from Altman’s McCabe and Mrs Miller and A Wedding to Pump Up the Volume and Natural Born Killers, and from Breaking the Waves and Shrek to EastEnders.

 

MIKE CONNORS (15 August 1925-26 January 2017)

The Armenian-American actor, born Krekor Illevado Ohanian in California, Mike Connorsbegan reading law but then moved on to theatre studies. A fine baseball player (hence his being called ‘Touch’), he was discovered by director William A. Wellman. In Republic Pictures’ Sudden Fear (1952), with Joan Crawford, he appeared under the name of Touch Connors, which served him well in several films and TV series. The former included such choice low-grade delights as Jaguar, Roger Corman’s Day the World Ended, Swamp Women and The Oklahoma Woman, and Voodoo Woman and Shake, Rattle and Rock! He also played an Amalekite Herder in DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. Then, as Michael Connors his career looked up with much TV work including undercover agent Nick Stone in 37 episodes of Tightrope and the films Panic Button, Good Neighbour Sam, Where Love Has Gone, Harlow, Situation Hopeless… But Not Serious, the remake of Stagecoach and Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die. The Mannix TV series brought (by then ‘Mike’) Connors his most famous role as LA private eye Joe Mannix for nearly 200 shows from 1967, and for which he won a Golden Globe. Later movies included Avalanche Express, Nightkill, Gideon etc. After playing Joe Mannix in a Hollywood spoof, Nobody Knows Anything!, and an episode of Two and a Half Men in 2007, Mike Connors retired.

  

RONNIE CORBETT (4 December 1930-31 March 2016)

Although mostly known for his television appearances with Ronnie Barker in The Two Ronnies, Ronnie Corbett began his career in cabaret and revue. On leaving school in Edinburgh he worked as a civil servant Ronnie Corbettfor the Ministry of Agriculture, and also joined an amateur dramatics club. Following national service in the RAF, he moved to London and started working in repertory theatre. Small parts materialised on television and in films (sometimes uncredited) such as You’re Only Young Twice (1952), Top of the Form (1953), The Million Pound Note (1954), Fun at St Fanny’s (1955), After the Ball (1957) and Rockets Galore (1958), before he appeared in the first London production of the Rodgers & Hart musical The Boys from Syracuse - with Bob Monkhouse and Denis Quilley - at Drury Lane, in 1963. Television kept him going until stardom beckoned with The Frost Report (1966-67), working with John Cleese and Ronnie Barker – Corbett had been discovered by David Frost at Danny LaRue’s nightclub. After that the partnership of The Two Ronnies was well and truly established, although the TV series pairing them didn’t begin until 1971, but then ran for sixteen years. Corbett was also popular in TV sitcoms such as Now Look Here, No, That’s Me Over Here!, The Prince of Denmark and Sorry! He was never in any particularly outstanding films but he did grace such titles as the first Casino Royale (1966), Seth Holt’s Monsieur Lecoq (1967, but abandoned before it was finished), Some Will, Some Won’t (1970, a reworking of Laughter in Paradise, from 1951), The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (1970) and No Sex Please, We’re British (1973), in which he starred. In 1997 he made Fierce Creatures with John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Palin, hoping to repeat the success of A Fish Called Wanda, but it didn’t. His last appearance in a film was in John Landis’s Burke and Hare (2010), a sort of comedy about grave robbers, which fielded a lot of comedy actors. However, Ronnie Corbett will chiefly be remembered for his contribution to television entertainment and the lasting comic legacy he has left behind. He was due to have been knighted in the Queen's 2016 birthday honours.

 

RAOUL COUTARD (16 September 1924-8 November 2016)

The great French cinematographer Raoul Coutard was formerly a war photographer who served in the Indochina War and later worked in Vietnam as a news photographer for Time and Paris Match magazines. His streetwise way of filming with handheld cameras and natural light suited the film directors of the French Nouvelle Vague, so he often worked with the likes of Godard, Truffaut and Jacques Demy who wanted the look of simplicity in their work. Notable films that Coutard worked on – and there were over eighty of them spanning forty years from 1958 – include, for Godard: Breathless, Une Femme est une femme, Vivre sa vie, Le Petit soldat, Le Mépris, Bande à part, Alphaville, Pierrot le fou, La Chinoise, Weekend, Two or Three Things I Know About Her…. For Truffaut Coutard filmed Shoot the Pianist, Jules and Jim, La Peau douce, The Bride Wore Black; and for Demy he shot Lola. He also worked with Costa-Gavras, Tony Richardson, Édouard Molinaro, Jean Rouch, Nagisa Oshima and many other respected directors. His last film was Wild Innocence for Philippe Garel in 2001.

 

PAUL COWAN (3 September 1939-6 October 2016)

Film producers don’t always get the recognition they deserve. However, line producer and associate producer Paul Cowan was arguably responsible for some of the most iconic films to come out of the UK from the 1980s. His first major film as an associate producer was Michael Radford’s Another Time, Another Place (1983), set in wartime Scotland where a housewife falls in love with one of three Italian POWs. After that came Mike Newell’s Dance With a Stranger (1985) about Ruth Ellis, the last woman to hang in Britain. Cowan worked on Richard Eyre’s Loose Connections, The American Way and Black Leather Jacket, both with Dennis Hopper, We Think the World of You, The Krays and The Pope Must Die. One film that may not have been made were it not for Cowan’s presence was The Crying Game, Neil Jordan’s humane drama set against the IRA troubles. Financing it was a problem but the film did get made and won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay. Many of Cowan’s productions dealt with important themes. Backbeat was Iain Softley’s film about The Beatles, Hollow Reed about a married doctor and his homosexuality, Jez Butterworth’s Mojo covered gay issues in the music business, and A Kind of Hush dealt with child abuse. Fred Schepisi’s Last Orders had a starry cast reminiscing in a pub about the old days, following the death of a friend. Apart from some TV work, Cowan was also an assistant director on, amongst others, Ladies In Lavender, Song of Norway and a couple of Carry Ons. One of his first jobs was on Carry On Camping (1969) where he had to tug Barbara Windsor’s bra off using a fishing line. After that his career just blossomed.

 

PAUL COX (16 April 1940-18 June 2016)     

Born in the Netherlands to a German family, the photographer Paul Cox emigrated to Australia in 1965, where he also became a film writer, producer and director. Paul CoxFar from being an average commercial director, Cox was unsparing in his depiction of his characters on film. Loneliness was an abiding theme of his work and the complicated relationships it can bring. After making some short films in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Cox’s first ‘feature’ (just 52 minutes) was The Journey (1972) about a middle-aged man looking for his lost love. In Kostas (1979) Cox’s titular hero is a Greek journalist living in exile in Melbourne and forced to drive a cab. He hooks up with one of his female fares, a divorcee, and they begin a relationship. Other films from Cox are Lonely Hearts (1982) in which a lonely bachelor meets a sexually repressed woman; Man of Flowers (1983) about a middle-aged man’s loneliness; My First Wife (1984) features a sexless marriage; and Cactus (1986) concerns two blind people falling in love. Cox’s films did not always get a wide release, even in the UK. However, one film that did reach these shores was Vincent (1987), his moving documentary, narrated by John Hurt, about Van Gogh as seen from the viewpoint of the painter’s brother Theo. In 2001 he made a film based on Nijinsky’s Diaries with Derek Jacobi and in all Cox made about two dozen features as well as many more documentaries, sometimes based on the lives of his own acquaintances. All his films are intensely personal, making him Australia’s most celebrated cinema auteur and perhaps that country’s answer to Mike Leigh – only more so! His last film, Force of Destiny was about a man waiting for a liver transplant, a subject based on Cox’s own experience. Often nominated in his own country for his films, he did win some awards and also many from international film festivals.

 

KATHLEEN CROWLEY (26 December 1929-23 April 2017)

The American actress Kathleen Crowley came sixth in the Miss America pageant of 1949, representing New Jersey. Her prize money went towards her studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York. In 1951 she made her TV debut in a version of A Star Is Born with Robert Montgomery. More television followed until her first film role in The Silver Whip, a western with Dale Robertson. Then came The Farmer Takes a Wife with Robertson again and Betty Grable, and Sabre Jet with Robert Stack. She appeared with Fess Parker in Westward Ho, the Wagons! but for the most part it was back to TV apart from Target Earth, a sci-fi horror flick which set the tone for her career in exploitation movies such as Female Jungle, The Flame Barrier, Curse of the Undead, The Rebel Set, The Quiet Gun, Showdown and other minor Westerns. Guest shots in TV also kept her busy. After the films of Downhill Racer and The Lawyer in 1970, she retired to look after her family and to become a bridge tender for the Green Bank Road Bridge in her hometown in New Jersey.

  

RICHARD DAVALOS (5 November 1930-8 March 2016)

Actor Richard (Dick) Davalos first came to fame Dick Davaloswhen Elia Kazan cast him as Aron Trask in the film of John Steinbeck’s novel East of Eden (1955). He was playing the brother of Cal Trask, famously portrayed by James Dean. Although he was good, he couldn’t compete with Dean’s popularity and whose fame increased even more after his death. Davalos went on to have a modest career on film and in television but was never a major star. In 1955 he was also in The Sea Chase with John Wayne, and I Died a Thousand Times with Jack Palance. All the Young Men (1960) was a Korean war film with Alan Ladd, and The Cabinet of Caligari (1962) an inferior remake of the German classic. He fared better with Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke (1967) and with Clint Eastwood in Kelly’s Heroes (1970). Apart from Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983), Jack Clayton’s film of Ray Bradbury’s story, his career coasted along on TV in Bonanza, Laramie, Dr Kildare, 77 Sunset Strip, Perry Mason, Rawhide, The Rockford Files, Hawaii Five-O, Hart to Hart and Murder, She Wrote etc. His last film was Ninja Cheerleaders in 2008.

 


ROBERT DAY (11 September 1922-17 March 2017)

Robert Day was the epitome of the commercial filmmaker who could put his directorial touch on any type of film. In a long career he helmed sixteen feature films and over 120 television movies and series episodes. Starting as a clapper boy he progressed to operating the camera on many classic British films from 1941, including The Wooden Horse, The Holly and the Ivy, The Red Beret, The Man Between, An Inspector Calls and 1984 (the 1956 version). His first directing job was in 1956 on The Green Man, the Launder & Gilliat comedy with Alastair Sim. His other features included Grip of the Strangler and Corridors of Blood, both with Boris Karloff, First Man Into Space, Life in Emergency Ward 10, a spinoff from TV, Two-Way Stretch, The Rebel, She for Hammer, and four Tarzan pictures, two of which he co-wrote. He also co-wrote The Big Game starring Stephen Boyd. For UK television he had worked on The Buccaneers, The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Avengers. Moving to the States he then directed for the TV series: of The F.B.I., Ironside, The Streets of San Francisco, McCloud, Kojak, Dallas, Hollywood Wives, Matlock and many others. He was married first to Eileen Pamela Day and then to actress Dorothy Provine. They had one son, the musician Robert Day Jr.

  

GLORIA DeHAVEN (23 July 1925-30 July 2016)

The American actress Gloria DeHaven was the daughter of actor-director Carter DeHaven and actress Flora Parker DeHaven. Her first (uncredited) appearance on film was in Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936), for Gloria DeHavenwhich her father was assistant director. She became a contract player at M-G-M from 1940, appearing in some of the studio’s most popular musicals, including Best Foot Forward with Lucille Ball, Thousands Cheer with Gene Kelly, Broadway Rhythm, with George Murphy, Two Girls and a Sailor, with Van Johnson and June Allyson, Three Little Words, with Fred Astaire, and Summer Stock with Judy Garland. She made films with other studios (Fox, Universal, RKO, Paramount) including Step Lively, in which she gave Frank Sinatra his first screen kiss, I’ll Get By, with June Haver, Two Tickets to Broadway, with Tony Martin, So This Is Paris with Tony Curtis, and The Girl Rush with Rosalind Russell. When the film roles dried up, television called and Gloria appeared in Ellery Queen, The Defenders, Flipper, Mannix, Marcus Welby M.D., Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Quincy M.E. etc, as well as the long-running As the World Turns and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. In the 1980s she appeared in Hart to Hart, Fantasy Island, Falcon Crest, The Love Boat and Murder, She Wrote among many other shows. Before she retired in 2000 Gloria made a couple of films, Outlaws… (1994), a western written by Mickey Rooney, and Out To Sea (1997), with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Her last appearance was in an episode of the TV series Touched By An Angel in 2000. Gloria had her own nightclub act and worked occasionally on stage in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, The Sound of Music, No, No Nanette and Golden Boy, the last a musical based on the Clifford Odets play about a champion boxer played by Sammy Davis Jr. It came to the London Palladium in 1968 co-starring Gloria DeHaven. She had four marriages to three men, the first of whom was the actor John Payne.

 

JONATHAN DEMME (22 February 1944-26 April 2017)

The American filmmaker Jonathan Demme was prolific as a writer-director-producer and sometime actor, covering both cinema and television in equal measure. He began as a producerPatty Duke in the early 1970s, writing several films such as Angel Warriors, The Hot Box and Black Mama White Mama. His first film as a director was Caged Heat in 1974, then Crazy Mama with Cloris Leachman, Last Embrace with Roy Scheider, Swing Shift with Goldie Hawn, and Melvin and Howard with Jason Robards as Howard Hughes. He also worked concurrently on TV documentaries, series and video shorts. Then there was Something Wild (1986), which starred Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels, followed by Spalding Gray’s Swimming to Cambodia, and Married to the Mob, with Michelle Pfeiffer. Next came his greatest success, The Silence of the Lambs (1991), which won five Oscars, including statuettes for best picture, Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins and for Demme himself as best director. He then followed this with Philadelphia, which won Tom Hanks his first Oscar and was one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to tackle homosexuality and Aids. This was followed by Beloved, with Oprah Winfrey and Thandie Newton, and the critically ridiculed The Truth About Charlie, a remake of Charade with Mark Wahlberg and Thandie Newton. His remake of The Manchurian Candidate (2004) with Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep was no improvement on the original, just different. Among the documentary work, Demme still found time to direct Rachel Getting Married with Anne Hathaway, A Master Builder, based on the play by Ibsen, and Ricki and the Flash (2015), with Meryl Streep, his last theatrical feature.

    

PATTY DUKE (14 December 1946-29 March 2016)

Working mainly on television from 1954, the American actress Patty Duke had her biggest success in 1959 when she was cast in the Broadway production of The Miracle Worker, Patty DukeWilliam Gibson’s play about Helen Keller, a young blind and deaf girl, for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in the film version. She later made a TV movie of the same piece, in the role of Annie Sullivan, Helen’s teacher, originally played by Anne Bancroft who won a Tony for the stage play and an Academy Award for the film. More TV followed with the occasional film such as The Goddess (1958), with Kim Stanley, and Happy Anniversary (1959), with David Niven. She was good in Billie (1965) and had her own TV series, The Patty Duke Show, for three seasons. More TV and the film of Valley of the Dolls (1967) did little for her, but she was outstanding as a gawky girl looking for love in Me, Natalie (1969), for which she won a Golden Globe. From 1973 to 1985 she was known as Patty Duke Astin - she had married the actor John Astin in 1972. Duke also had three other husbands and two children, Sean and Mackenzie, both actors, and adopted a third, Kevin. Her later career was mostly taken up with television and the odd movie like The Swarm (1978), with Michael Caine, Prelude to a Kiss (1992), with Meg Ryan and Alec Baldwin, The Four Children of Tander Welch (2008), with her son Mackenzie Astin, and Amazing Love (2012) with her other son Sean Astin. Her last performance was in Power of the Air, due to be released in 2017. She suffered manic depression during the 1980s, about which she wrote a book, and she published an autobiography, Call Me Anna, in 1987, which she also made into a TV movie.

   

ROGER DUMAS (9 May 1932-2 July 2016)

The French actor Roger Dumas appeared in some 150 films and TV series across sixty years. Although he was never out of work, many of his films were for home consumption only. Roger DumasHis first film in 1954 was Wild Fruit, a family saga with Gérard Blain. He worked with Brigitte Bardot in The Bride Is Too Beautiful (1956); with Louis De Funes in Squeak-Squeak (1963); and with Belmondo and Françoise Dorléac in the action movie That Man From Rio (1964) which did get a wide release. He was directed by Claude Chabrol in An Orchid for the Tiger (1965) and also in Line of Demarcation (1966), a story of the Nazi invasion of France. From the 1960s Dumas appeared in many French TV series, including a mini-series of Le Comte de Monte-Cristo (1979) and Le gang des tractions (1991). He was with Gérard Depardieu, Catherine Deneuve and Philippe Noiret in Fort Saganne (1984), played Leontes in Éric Rohmer’s version of A Winter’s Tale (1992), and was Bonhomme in Jean Marboeuf’s war film Pétain (1993). Dumas carried on working on TV including a Maigret episode (1997), appeared in another version of The Count of Monte-Cristo (1998) and he was Lorrain in a mini-series of Les Misérables. The First Day of the Rest of Your Life (2008) looked at the lives of family members at the end of the 20th century, while Radu Mihăileanu's The Concert (2009) was about a conductor who was fired for employing Jewish musicians. His last film appearance was in First Growth (2015), a drama about a vineyard on the verge of bankruptcy. He had no children but was briefly married to the actress Marie-José Nat in the early 1960s.

 

PIERRE ÉTAIX (23 November 1928-14 October 2016)

Actor, director, writer and clown Pierre Étaix made only a handful of films in his long career as an entertainer, mainly focussed on comedy. Trained as an illustrator, he also performed in the Paris cabarets and music halls often as a clown. Influenced by Max Linder, Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, etc, and an admirer of Jacques Tati, Étaix collaborated on Tati’s film Mon Oncle (1958) which took four years to make because both Étaix and Tati were perfectionists. He then met Jean-Claude Carrière with whom he made a short film, Happy Anniversary that won an Oscar for best short of 1963. The same year he made his first feature, The Suitor, about a man who is told by his parents to go out and find a bride. The delicacy of the humour was its major asset and the film achieved worldwide success. He went on to make Yoyo (1964) about a millionaire who goes broke and becomes a circus clown, followed by As Long As You’ve Got Your Health, The Great Love, plus more shorts and TV documentaries. In between his own films he appeared as an actor in Bresson’s Pickpocket, Fellini’s I Clowns, and films by Nagisa Oshima, Philip Kaufman and Jerry Lewis, a great admirer of Étaix. However, Lewis and Étaix’s resulting film, The Day the Clown Cried, was never released. Étaix also toured as a clown with his wife Annie Fratellini with whom he founded the National Circus School. His last work as a film actor was in Micmacs (2009), Chantrapas (2010) and Le Havre (2011).

 

ABEL FERNÁNDEZ (14 July 1930-3 May 2016) 

The Hollywood actor and stuntman was born in Los Angeles to a Mexican Indian father and a Yakaii Indian mother. Before taking up acting Fernández was a light heavyweight boxer and sparring partner to Rocky Marciano. He entered films in such varied fare as the 3-D gangster thriller, Second Chance (1953, playing a boxer) with Robert Mitchum, the western Many Rivers to Cross (1955), with Robert Taylor, and the jungle adventure Devil Goddess (1955) with Johnny Weissmuller. He worked through the ’50s in small parts on TV and in minor films including westerns in which he was generally typecast as an Indian or Latino but often uncredited. He played several different parts in The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin, Have Gun, Will Travel, Wagon Train, Gunsmoke and Daniel Boone series and was Chief Kiasak in Walt Disney’s The Saga of Andy Burnett. His best and most popular role on TV was as Federal Agent Youngfellow in The Untouchables (1959-63) with Robert Stack. The A-features he appeared in include The Harder They Fall (1956) with Humphrey Bogart, Pork Chop Hill (1959) with Gregory Peck, Rio Conchos (1964) with Richard Boone, Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966) with James Coburn, Don Siegel’s Madigan (1968) with Richard Widmark, Hitchcock’s Topaz (1969) and Quicksilver (1986) with Kevin Bacon. His last appearance was in 1991 in Rebecca Horn’s Buster’s Bedroom with Donald Sutherland, Geraldine Chaplin and Valentina Cortese.

 

MIGUEL FERRER (7 February 1955-19 January 2017)

The American actor was the son of José Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney and the cousin of George Clooney. He studied acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse but became a musician, singing and playing drums. For some time he toured with his mother and Bing Crosby but when Crosby died Miguel turned to acting. On TV from 1981, he made a few forgettable films until his first major movie, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. More films and more TV followed until RoboCop came along in 1987 and the role of Bob Morton. Later movies included Tony Scott’s Revenge and William Friedkin’s The Guardian. Then there was Twin Peaks, in which series he played FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield, a role he repeated in two subsequent movie versions. A mixture of film, television and voice-over work (like his father, he had a rich, deep voice) kept Ferrer constantly busy. From 2000 his credits included Traffic, John Sayles’s Sunshine State and Silver City, the remake of The Manchurian Candidate, Iron Man 3 and Four Assassins. On TV he was in Desperate Housewives and Crossing Jordan, also directing some episodes of the latter. Another series of Twin Peaks is due in 2017. Miguel Ferrer was married twice and fathered two children.  


BERNARD FOX (11 May 1927-14 December 2016)

The Welsh actor Bernard Fox was successfully typecast as blundering or buffoonish old parties, a good character player who went on to make his mark in Hollywood. After rep he joined Brian Rix’s Whitehall farce company and in 1962 was invited to the US where he appeared in many TV shows, including Bewitched (as Dr Bombay), Hogan’s Heroes, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Perry Mason, The Dick Van Dyke Show, etc. In his film work he was in both versions of the Titanic story (1953 and 1997), Strange Bedfellows, One of Our Spies Is Missing, Munster, Go Home!, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Yellowbeard, 18 Again!, The Mummy (1999), etc. His last work was as Dr Bombay again in Passions (the Bewitched sequel), and an episode of Dharma & Greg (2001).

 

STEPHEN FURST (8 May 1954-16 June 2017)

The American actor-director (and sometime writer and producer) Stephen Furst has died aged 63. Once a pizza delivery boy in Hollywood, Furst put his photo and cv inside the pizza boxes and was thus discovered for a role in National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978). Television took up most of his time after that, alongside crazy and comic features or horror flicks. He was also in National Lampoon’s Class Reunion, an early screenplay by John Hughes who wrote the TV Delta House series in which Furst played Flounder, his character from Animal House. From 1983 onwards he appeared mainly on TV. Feature films, however, included The Dream Team, Little Bigfoot 2: The Journey Home, Deadly Delusions, Going Greek, Echoes of Enlightenment, Sorority Boys, Wild Roomies, Everything’s Jake and, his last film, Seven Days of Grace in 2006. As a director he was responsible for Magic Kid II, Stageghost, Game Day, Title to Murder, and episodes of Babylon 5, the TV series in which he played Vir Cotto over 100 times. Among his films as a producer were My Sister’s Keeper with Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin, Cold Moon, written and directed by his actor-director son Griff Furst, and Jack Snyder’s River Runs Red, a thriller due out in 2017. Stephen Furst and his wife Lorraine had another son, Nathan, a film composer.

   

ZSA ZSA GABOR (6 February 1917-18 December 2016)

The Hungarian-American actress Zsa Zsa Gabor was born in Budapest. Having been crowned Miss Hungary, Zsa Zsa moved to the US and made her name playing exotic and glamorous parts, Zsa Zsa Gaborincluding the can-can dancer Jane Avril in John Huston’s Moulin Rouge (1953), probably her best film. Always publicity-conscious, she became known not for her acting but for having nine husbands, including the hotelier Conrad Hilton and actor George Sanders in marriages that seldom lasted more than five years, apart from her last to Prinz von Anhalt which ran for thirty years. Zsa Zsa was a socialite with a very likeable personality which she was always willing to parody. Having claimed she was a good housekeeper, she admitted that “every time I leave a man, I keep his house.” Her first Hollywood film was Mervyn LeRoy’s Lovely to Look At (1952), then We’re Not Married with Ginger Rogers. After Moulin Rouge she was in Lili, Three Ring Circus, and later Touch of Evil, but for every good film there was a complete opposite, such as the camp classic Queen of Outer Space. She was in For the First Time, Pepe (with Cantinflas), Drop Dead Darling, and Up the Front with Frankie Howerd. She played herself in Nightmare on Elm Street 3, The Naked Gun 2½ and The Beverly Hillbillies. Much of Zsa Zsa’s career was spent on TV, often playing herself, as she did in her last film A Very Brady Sequel (1996).

  

LISA GAYE (6 March 1935-14 July 2016)
The American actress, singer and dancer was the daughter of actress Margaret Griffin.  Her sisters were Debra Paget and Teala Loring, her brother Ruell Shayne and all three were in showbusiness. Lisa won a Universal contract at 17 and from 1954 to 1970 she made over ninety appearances on TV or in pictures, although most of her films were exploitationers. On TV she appeared with George Burns & Gracie Allen, Robert Cummings and in many popular drama series – 77 Sunset Strip, Perry Mason, Black Saddle, Colt 45, Sea Hunt, Wagon Train, Laramie, Maverick, Rawhide, Have Gun – Will Travel and Cheyenne, etc. Her first films in 1954 included The Glenn Miller Story, Yankee Pasha and Magnificent Obsession, all uncredited except for Drums Across the River with Audie Murphy. Lisa will always be remembered for her dancing in Rock Around the Clock and for Shake, Rattle & Rock!, both from 1956 and both cashing in on the new rock ‘n’ roll sounds. She appeared with Dean Martin in Ten Thousands Bedrooms (1957); with William Campbell in Night of Evil and with Fernando Rey in Face of Terror (both 1962); with Scott Brady in Castle of Evil (1966); and with Fernando Lamas in The Violent Ones (1967). After I Dream of Jeannie, The Flying Nun and the Mod Squad TV series, Lisa retired in 1970 to look after her family.

 

DON GORDON (13 November 1926-24 April 2017)

The American character actor Don Gordon, who has died aged 90, Don Gordonappears never to have been out of work between 1951 and 1993. Appearing in countless long-running television series as well as guest shots on other TV shows plus a number of major films, he was never, however, a particular star, just a face that was always there. His career began with uncredited appearances in Twelve O’Clock High, Halls of Montezuma, Let’s Go Navy!, Force of Arms and It’s a Big Country. He then graduated to TV in Space Patrol, and was in the original television production of Paddy Chayefsky’s Marty with Rod Steiger. Other TV series included 77 Sunset Strip, Wanted: Dead or Alive (with his pal Steve McQueen), The Untouchables, The Twilight Zone, Peyton Place and Remington Steele. Often appearing as a man frantically agonising over some kind of trouble, Don Gordon graced the likes of Cry Tough, The Lollipop Cover (top billed in a film he also co-wrote), Bullitt, The Gamblers (based on Gogol), WUSA, Dennis Hopper’s The Last Movie and Out of the Blue, Fuzz, Papillon, The Towering Inferno, Lethal Weapon, Blake Edwards’ Skin Deep and The Exorcist III (aka Legion). He retired in 1993 after an episode of Diagnosis Murder. Don Gordon was married to the actresses Helen Westcott, Nita Talbot and Bek Nelson. His fourth wife, Denise Farr, daughter of the actress Felicia Farr, Jack Lemmon’s widow, survives him, as does his daughter from his marriage to Bek Nelson.

 

BRAD GREY (29 December 1957-14 May 2017)

Born in the Bronx, producer Brad Grey first worked for concert promoter Harvey Weinstein while at university. His first promotion was for Frank Sinatra in 1978. Staying in the talent business, he booked New York stand-up comics and in 1984 joined forces with talent manager Bernie Brillstein, forming Brillstein-Grey Entertainment. From 1986 he produced It’s Garry Shandling’s Show for television and remained in TV production for many series and movies until his first features from 1996, Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer, both with Adam Sandler, and The Replacement Killers, with Yun-Fat Chow. He continued in television while also producing films. His greatest TV success was The Sopranos (1999-2007), a massive global hit. Grey went into partnership with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, the company being Plan B, which gave rise to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Departed and 12 Years a Slave. In 2005 Grey became CEO at Paramount Pictures for twelve years, hitting the heights with There Will Be Blood and sequels to Star Trek, Mission: Impossible and Transformers. Other films made under Grey’s aegis include Mike Nichols’s What Planet Are You From?, Scary Movie, City By the Sea, Running With Scissors and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. His last work was on Real Time With Bill Maher, a TV series from 2006 until 2017. Brad Grey married twice and had four children.

    

TAMMY GRIMES (30 January 1934-30 October 2016)      

Essentially a stage performer, the American actress and singer Tammy Grimes occasionally appeared in films. Her Broadway debut was as the understudy for Kim Stanley in Bus Stop (1955) and Tammy Grimesshe continued to work in theatre and also in cabaret. Noël Coward saw her in a nightclub act singing in her distinctive throaty voice and put her into his play Look After Lulu, for which she won a Theatre World Award. Grimes’s biggest hit was the starring role in Meredith Willson’s Titanic musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown, for which she won a Tony Award in 1960. She won another Tony for playing Amanda in Coward’s Private Lives.

Had she played Molly Brown in the film version (Debbie Reynolds got the role), then Tammy Grimes’s career in movies might have been better. As it was she appeared in Three Bites of the Apple, her first film in 1967, followed by Arthur! Arthur!, Play It As It Lays, Somebody Killed Her Husband, and Stanley Kramer’s The Runner Stumbles. During the 1980s Grimes was in Can’t Stop the Music with the Village People, America (her only co-starring film role), Mr North, James Ivory’s Slaves of New York, and a few others including her last feature film, High Art, in 1998. Tammy Grimes was married three times: to Christopher Plummer (with whom she had a daughter, actress Amanda Plummer), then to the actor Jeremy Slate and finally to composer Richard Jameson (in 1971) until his death in 2005.

 

BARBARA HALE (18 April 1922-26 January 26 2017)

“Tell me, Perry, how did you know that…?” These words were often spoken by Della Street, Barbara Haleconfidential secretary to criminal defence lawyer Perry Mason, and played by American actress Barbara Hale in countless episodes and TV features of the long-running courtroom drama starring Raymond Burr. After studying art and modelling, Hale began a long career in movies and TV from 1943. Her first film of note, among over a hundred appearances, was Higher and Higher, also one of Sinatra’s earliest films. This was followed by a mixture of minor pictures including the Falcon series, The Boy With Green Hair, The Window with Bobby Driscoll, and playing the second wife in Jolson Sings Again (1949). After further film work – including A Lion Is In the Streets with Cagney and Unchained (remember the Melody?) – television offered the usual suspects until Perry Mason came along in 1957. This lasted until 1966 with Hale appearing in nearly all 271 episodes. Other TV shows intervened and more films (Airport, The Giant Spider Invasion, Big Wednesday, with her son William Katt) and then from 1985 more of Perry Mason in thirty TV feature-length episodes, the last in 1995 when Hale retired. She married actor Bill Williams (real name Hermann Katt) and, apart from their son William, they also had two daughters.

    

GUY HAMILTON (18 September 1922-20 April 2016)

The director and former assistant director led an early charmed existence by starting his working life with some of the best filmmakers in the business. Having been born in Paris – Hamilton’s father worked at the British Embassy there – Guy began his career in 1938 at the Victorine Studios in Nice as a clapperboard boy. During the war he returned to Britain to work for Paramount News before joining the Royal Navy. Back in France in 1943 he worked on Immortal France (or The Heart of a Nation), a sort of biopic of Paris and how she survived the many wars in her history. The director was Julien Duvivier, one of the great names in French cinema, who began making films in the silent era from 1919 and who later worked in the US and Britain.

Back in England Hamilton became assistant director to the cream of the British film industry, with Alberto Cavalcanti on They Made Me a Fugitive (1947), with Duvivier again on Anna Karenina (1948), with Carol Reed on The Fallen Idol (1948), The Third Man (1949) and Outcast of the Islands (1951), and with Sidney Gilliat on State Secret (1950) and John Huston on The African Queen (1951) among others.

He got his first directorial role for The Ringer (1952), an Edgar Wallace thriller with Herbert Lom and Donald Wolfit. The Intruder (1953) was a neat tale about an ex-Army man (Michael Medwin) who robs his former Commander (Jack Hawkins) and then goes on the run. An Inspector Calls (1954) was an excellent adaptation of J. B. Priestley’s play about members of a well-to-do family and their relationship with a girl who is found dead. The starry cast was headed by the splendid Alastair Sim and the production showed how sympathetic Hamilton was at directing actors. He went on to make The Colditz Story (1955), the epitome of UK post-war prisoner of war escape dramas. Stiff upper lips were provided by John Mills, Eric Portman, Ian Carmichael, Richard Wattis, Lionel Jeffries, Bryan Forbes et al, in what was a prime example of the satisfyingly well-made British film. Another good, but underrated film from Guy Hamilton, was A Touch of Larceny (1959) in which Commander James Mason fakes his defection to the Soviet Union in order to sue the resulting false press coverage.

After a few more films, Hamilton finally got his directorial hands on the Bond franchise with Goldfinger (1965) and he went on to make three more, Diamonds Are Forever (1971),  Live and Let Die (1873) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) which are among the best of the genre. Funeral in Berlin (1967) Guy Hamiltonwas Michael Caine repeating his role as Harry Palmer, first seen in The Ipcress File. Battle of Britain (1969) was never as exciting as it should have been, despite its starry cast of Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Kenneth More, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Michael Redgrave, Ralph Richardson, Susannah York, Nigel Patrick, Robert Shaw, Edward Fox etc and some brilliant cinematography by Freddie Young. Another glitch in Hamilton’s career was The Party’s Over (1965) with Oliver Reed and Ann Lynn in a story of beatniks and their weird ways. Hamilton removed his name from the credits when the distributor cut an orgy scene.

Following The Man with the Golden Gun Hamilton’s career just coasted along with only a few interesting interruptions. He was slated for Superman (1978) but, when the production moved to the UK, Hamilton couldn’t work in Britain as he was a tax exile in Spain. Instead Force Ten From Navarone (1978) proved to be a dull sequel to a much better film, a couple of Agatha Christie adaptations, The Mirror Crack’d (1980) and Evil Under the Sun (1982) were glossy enough but not outstanding, and his last feature film, Try This One For Size (1989), was a James Hadley Chase story with Michael Brandon and David Carradine. Hamilton’s first wife was actress Naomi Chance (1930-2003). He first met actress Kerima when they were both working on Outcast of the Islands. Later on they met again in Rome and eventually got married.

 

EARL HAMNER JR (10 July 1923-24 March 2016)

Although he worked extensively as a TV writer, Earl Hamner Jr will be best remembered for creating The Waltons series which ran for over 200 episodes from 1972 to 1981. He did not write the teleplays but the series was based on a book about his own family, The Homecoming, and he also provided the voice-over narration. He created other TV series too including Falcon Crest (1981-90), Apple’s Way (1974-75) and Morningstar/Eveningstar (1986), as well as writing for The Twilight Zone, Gentle Ben, Nanny and the Professor and Boone etc. He wrote the novel on which the film Spencer’s Mountain was based, directed by Delmer Daves in 1963, with Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara. Palm Springs Weekend (1963) was his own screenplay about college kids which featured some big names early in their careers: Troy Donahue, Connie Stevens, Ty Hardin, Stefanie Powers, Robert Conrad, Bill Mumy, Linda Gray and Mike Henry. The Last Generation (1971) was a dystopian view of the future with Stuart Whitman, Vera Miles and Cesar Romero, but it was hardly seen. Where the Lilies Bloom (1974) was about children hiding in the woods after the death of their father (nothing, then, like The Waltons). He wrote both screen versions of E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web and produced and wrote many other TV shows. Although nominated for Primetime Emmy and Writers’Guild of America TV Awards, he never ever won. But then, for over fifty years he was seldom out of work either. Good night Earl.

 

BARRY HANSON (10 August 1943-20 June 2016)

Yorkshire-born Barry Hanson was one of the great producers of British television whose career appears to be a catalogue of highlights. Starting in the theatre at London’s Royal Court, he nurtured many of Britain’s most prominent playwrights such as John Osborne, Stephen Poliakoff, Howard Brenton, David Mercer, David Rudkin etc, then progressed to TV direction before settling into creating some of the best UK television drama series for the next thirty years. He was responsible for Second City Firsts, Plays for Britain, ITV Playhouse, Out with Tom Bell, Lost Belongings, Virtual Murder, Kinsey with Leigh Lawson, A Year in Provence with John Thaw, Lady Chatterley with Sean Bean and Resort to Murder with Ben Chaplin among others. One of Hanson’s greatest coups was getting John Hurt to play Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant (1975) which won the Prix Italia and a Bafta Award for Hurt. Later on he produced The Long Good Friday (1980) with Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren which was made for TV but considered too strong for home screens and instead cleaned up at the cinema. The same year saw him produce John Osborne’s Very Like a Whale for TV, starring Alan Bates. In 1985 Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones wrote and starred in Morons From Outer Space, one of Hanson’s less successful projects. His last work was as co-producer on Creep (2004), a horror film set in the London Underground. If nothing else Hanson will, however, be remembered for the masterpieces that are The Naked Civil Servant and The Long Good Friday.

 

CURTIS HANSON (24 March 1945-20 September 2016)

Until Curtis Hanson made L.A. Confidential, most cinemagoers would have known him as just another journeyman director. He made fifteen films, also producing most of them, between 1972 and 2012, Curtis Hansonplus a couple of TV movies. He also wrote some of his own films and worked on screenplays for other directors. Mad about movies from an early age, Hanson became a journalist interviewing directors for Cinema magazine, and thereby worked his way into the film business. His first screenplay was for The Dunwich Horror (1970), for American International Pictures, which starred Sandra Dee. He directed his own horror screenplay for Sweet Kill (1972) and in 1982 co-wrote White Dog with its director Sam Fuller. He directed Losin’ It (1983), one of Tom Cruise’s early films, and then began to reveal real mettle with The Bedroom Window (1987), a thriller starring Steve Guttenberg and Isabelle Huppert. After Bad Influence (1990) with Rob Lowe came The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992), a scary story of revenge. Surprisingly, Meryl Streep starred in Hanson’s tough action movie, The River Wild (1994), but it wasn’t until 1997 that he found his true voice in bringing James Ellroy’s deviously tortuous novel L.A. Confidential to the screen. It won Hanson an Oscar for Best Screenplay, while Kim Basinger was named Best Supporting Actress. Wonder Boys (2000) with Michael Douglas was not a great success, but 8 Mile (2002), based on the life of Eminem, won a Best Song Oscar for the rapper. In Her Shoes with Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine (2005) was dismissed then as a chick-flick. Lucky You (2007) had Eric Bana as a poker player, and Chasing Mavericks (2012), Hanson’s last film, with Gerard Butler, was finished by Michael Apted when Hanson became ill.

 

ROBIN HARDY (2 October 1929-1 July 2016)

The writer and director Robin Hardy, brother of actor Robert Hardy, is best remembered for The Wicker Man (1973), a horror film about Celtic paganism on a remote Scottish island, which became an iconic success, perhaps because Christopher Lee was in the cast. A sequel, The Wicker Tree, based on Hardy’s novel Cowboys for Christ (2011) never achieved the same glory, and The Wicker Man remake in 2006 by Neil LaBute did not involve Hardy. Robin Hardy’s only other feature film was The Fantasist (1986), about a serial killer in Dublin which he both wrote and directed. His career began with him making documentaries for the National Film Board of Canada, after which he went into American television drama. He ran a film company with playwright Anthony Shaffer, who later wrote the screenplay for The Wicker Man. Back in the UK Hardy made TV commercials, wrote historical fiction and staged Winnie, a musical based on the life of Churchill, in which his brother appeared as Winston, a role he played many times. He was a writer on Forbidden Sun (1989) which, set on Crete, mixed ancient Minoan culture with girl gymnasts and male rapists. Before his death Robin Hardy was writing The Wrath of the Gods, which would have completed his Wicker Man trilogy.

 

RICHARD HATCH (21 May 1945-7 February 2017)

After studying piano as a child, the American actor Richard Hatch opted for the theatre, Richard Hatcheventually moving from LA to New York. Following theatre work he arrived on television to create the role of Philip Brent in the daytime soap All My Children which he played for two years. His first feature film was Best Friends in 1975, after which it was back to TV and Hawaii Five-O, The Waltons, Cannon, and The Streets of Sa Francisco (as Inspector Dan Robbins). Eventually along came Battlestar Galactica in 1978, and the part of Captain Apollo, which then led to a TV series for a couple of years. Hatch’s other cinema films were rarely from the top rank – Living Legend: The King of Rock and Roll, Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen, Prisoners of the Lost Universe, Ghetto Blaster, Leathernecks and The Hitch-Hikers. These were made in between guest shots on TV in Fantasy Island, Dynasty, Murder, She Wrote, Baywatch, etc, and another series of Battlestar Galactica in 2004 but playing a different role. Hatch continued to work on films and in TV and at the time of his death there were still many projects in the pipeline, either announced or in post-production.

 

TONY HAYGARTH (4 February 1945-10 March 2017)

The Liverpool-born actor and poet Tony Haygarth worked mainly in the theatre and on television, but also appeared in many films. His early working life included jobs as a lifeguard, a circus performer and a psychiatric nurse before he started in repertory theatre. He also worked with the Liverpool poets Roger McGough and Brian Patten. Eventually he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Old Vic and the National Theatre. He was on TV from 1968 and inbetween television work he fitted in films such as Percy, Unman, Wittering and Zigo, Dracula, The Human Factor, McVicar, Britannia Hospital, A Private Function, The Bride, Clockwise, A Month in the Country, The Dressmaker, The Most Dangerous Man in the World, Tree of Hands, London Kills Me, Amy Foster, The Woodlanders, and he was the voice of Mr Tweedy in Chicken Run.

 

GLENNE HEADLY (13 March 1955-8 June 2017)

Always wanting to be an actress from her earliest days, Glenne HeadlyConnecticut-born Glenne Headly, who has died aged 62, graduated with acting honours from her high school. Although she studied art history and literature she nevertheless went into theatre and was associated with the famous Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago for some 25 years. She did other theatre work on and off Broadway before getting her first film, Arthur Penn’s Four Friends (1981). She also played a hooker in Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo, was in Peter Yates’ Eleni and appeared in Seize the Day with Robin Williams and Making Mr Right with her then husband John Malkovich. Later came Nadine, Stars and Bars and Paperhouse, before Dirty Rotten Scoundrels really put her on the map. She was Warren Beatty’s girlfriend in Dick Tracy and was eventually top-billed in Ordinary Magic, with Ryan Reynolds, but then continued in routine fare, except for Mortal Thoughts, Mr Holland’s Opus and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. Television work included ER, Encore! Encore!, On Golden Pond, Anjelica Huston’s Bastard Out of Carolina and Monk. Among her last films were Don Jon, Strange Weather, The Circle and Villa Capri (due for release in December 2017). Five years after divorcing John Malkovich, Headly married cameraman Byron McCulloch, by whom she had a son, Stirling.

   

FLORENCE HENDERSON (14 February 1934-24 November 2016)

Stage, film and TV actress Florence Henderson Florence Hendersonwas in show business from an early age. At 18 she was cast in the Harold Rome musical Wish You Were Here, while her first TV appearance was in a tribute to Rodgers & Hammerstein in 1954. She made umpteen TV shows but is best-known for playing the mother in The Brady Bunch series and its various spin-offs, plus she also played Carol Brady in The Love Boat. Her first film was Song of Norway in 1970 and then Shakes the Clown 22 years later, a black comedy from Bobcat Goldthwait. She played Grandma in The Brady Bunch Movie (1995) and in the 2000s appeared as herself in Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, graced For Heaven’s Sake, was Carmen in Venus and Vegas, played Betsy Ross in The Christmas Bunny, and Mrs Robinson in Fifty Shades of Black. Florence Henderson was a huge supporter of charities and helped to raise millions in her lifetime. Her last film, Grandmothers Murder Club, is due out in 2017.

 

STEVEN HILL (24 February 1922-23 August 2016)

The American actor will be remembered as District Attorney Adam Schiff in the long-running TV series Law & Order (1990-2000). Before that he had appeared in many high-profile films and on television throughout his career. Having been a founder member of the Actors’ Studio in New York, with Brando, Monroe and Julie Harris, he was in the school’s TV series in 1949. His first film was A Lady Without Passport (1950) with Hedy Lamarr and he went on to make The Goddess (1958) with Kim Stanley, A Child Is Waiting (1963) with Judy Garland, The Slender Thread (1965) with Anne Bancroft, Yentl (1983) with Barbra Streisand, and other titles including Rich and Famous, Raw Deal, Legal Eagles, Heartburn, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Running on Empty and Billy Bathgate. He played Daniel Briggs in the first season of the Mission: Impossible TV series (1966) but was fired because, as an Orthodox Jew, he could not work weekends. He then took a ten-year break working in a Jewish community until returning to acting in 1977. He retired after Law & Order in 2000.

 

ARTHUR HILLER (22 November 1923-17 August 2016)

The Canadian director (born of Polish parents) worked on a long line of middle-brow American movies, comedies and dramas, with equal professionalism. Arthur HillerHowever, Arthur Hiller never acquired a signature style, despite his avowed admiration of the Italian Neo-Realism films of the 1940s. There was nothing personal about his work but he made some of Hollywood’s biggest commercial successes. For over forty years he directed films and TV series of all kinds, from The Careless Years in 1957 to National Lampoon's Pucked in 2006. From 1955 to 1963 he mostly directed for television and then steered such cinema titles as The Wheeler Dealers (1963) with James Garner and Lee Remick, The Americanisation of Emily (1964) again with Garner plus Julie Andrews, Promise Her Anything (1965) with Warren Beatty and Leslie Caron, Penelope (1966) with Natalie Wood, Tobruk (1967) with Rock Hudson and George Peppard, two Neil Simon projects: The Out of Towners (1970) and Plaza Suite (1971), Paddy Chayevsky’s The Hospital (1971), Man of La Mancha (1972) with Peter O’Toole and Sophia Loren, Silver Streak (1976) with Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, Making Love (1982), Outrageous Fortune (1987) with Bette Midler and See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) with Pryor and Wilder again. Hiller’s most successful film was probably Love Story (1970) with Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw; it was an Oscar-winner for Francis Lai’s score. Hiller’s only Academy Award was an honorary one, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 2002, although he did win a Golden Globe and other prizes during his lifetime. His last film was National Lampoon’s Pucked in 2006 with Jon Bon Jovi. Hiller was past President of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. He was married to his wife Gwen for 68 years; she died in June 2016. They had two children.

 

KEN HOWARD (28 March 1944-23 March 2016)

For some forty-five years the actor Ken Howard graced US films and television, usually in affable roles that suited his six-foot-six stature and blond good looks. He was known as the White Shadow in his Manhasset High School basketball team, as he was the only Caucasian player. After Amherst College and Yale his first acting job was inKen Howard Promises, Promises, the 1968 musical based on Billy Wilder’s film The Apartment. Two years later he won a Tony award for Child’s Play on Broadway. He also played Thomas Jefferson in the stage musical and film of 1776. Howard was in two Otto Preminger films, Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon and Such Good Friends (with Rita Gam, q.v.). Television kept him busy in Adam’s Rib (1973) with his 1776 film co-star Blythe Danner. Then there was The Manhunter series, The White Shadow – sort of playing himself – plus It’s Not Easy, The Thorn Birds, Dynasty, The Colbys, Murder, She Wrote, Melrose Place, Crossing Jordan, Cane and 30 Rock etc. Other films included Oscar with Sylvester Stallone, Clear and Present Danger with Harrison Ford, The Net with Sandra Bullock, Michael Clayton with George Clooney, Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar and The Judge with Robert Downey Jr. His last appearance was in Joy (2015) with Jennifer Lawrence. A member of the Screen Actors’ Guild for over forty years, Howard had been its President since 2009. He won two Emmy Awards, for Facts for Boys: The Body Human and for HBO’s Grey Gardens with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore. He was married three times. 

 

DAVID HUDDLESTON (17 September 1930-2 August 2016)

American David Huddleston was a fine character actor, good in both comedy and dramatic roles. david huddlestonHe was never a star with his name over the title, except perhaps on stage where he memorably played Benjamin Franklin in the musical 1776 in 1998 and 2003. He worked in films and on TV for some 55 years, beginning in television in 1960. Films he will be remembered for include Howard Hawks’ Rio Lobo (1970), Robert Benton’s Bad Company (1972), as Olson Johnson in Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles (1974), memorable for his “No Irish” gag, Peter Hyams’ Capricorn One (1977) and as the eponymous star of Santa Claus (1985) with Dudley Moore, for which he was perfect casting. He was also the title character in the Coen brothers’ The Big Lebowski (1998) and played the Judge in Mel Brooks’ musical remake of The Producers (2005). His last work was in a segment of the 2014 thriller Locker 13. With many other films and constant TV roles, David Huddleston was never out of work.

 

JOHN HURT (22 January 1940-27 January 2017)

The Derbyshire-born actor John Hurt attended John Hurtart school and then went to RADA to study acting. On stage from 1962 he was a weedy-looking soul, the eternal student, which may explain his first appearances on TV in Z-Cars and on film in The Wild and the Willing (both 1962), the latter about love and life on a university campus. More stage work included John Osborne’s Inadmissable Evidence and David Halliwell’s Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs, a play Hurt later filmed and which led to a part in Fred Zinnemann’s A Man for All Seasons. He made his biggest name as Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant, Jack Gold’s 1975 TV film and a part one couldn’t see anybody else attempting. Also on TV he made a mark as Caligula in I, Claudius with Derek Jacobi. High-profile films followed – Alien, Midnight Express and The Elephant Man – again, who else would have done it? He earned Oscar nominations for the last two. Later movies included The Sailor from Gibraltar, Sinful Davey, Before Winter Comes, 10 Rillington Place (as Timothy Evans), The Pied Piper, Heaven’s Gate, 1984 (as Winston Smith), Scandal (as Stephen Ward), The Field, Love and Death on Long Island, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, plus Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, the remakes of Brighton Rock, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Jackie, and so much more up to and including TV’s Doctor Who. Hurt made some 200 film and TV appearances, and a further four films are still to be released. He also had four wives and two children. John Hurt, who died of pancreatic cancer, was knighted in 2015 for his services to drama.

 

SAEED JAFFREY (8 January 1929-15 November 2015)

Indian actor first in theatre and radio during the 1950s, then came to the UK, studied at RADA, toured Shakespeare in the US and worked at the Actors’ Studio in New York. Appeared in The Jewel in the Crown and many other TV productions. Films include Merchant-Ivory’s The Guru, and then work for directors David Lean, Richard Attenborough and Satyajit Ray in A Passage to India, Gandhi and The Chess Players, etc, as well as many Bollywood films. He was married to the cook and actress Madhur Jaffrey.

 

CLIFTON JAMES (29 May 1921-15 April 2017)

Although he had one hundred credits to his name, Clifton Jamesthe US actor may well be remembered best for his appearances as Sheriff Pepper in two 007 pictures, Live and Let Die and The Man With the Golden Gun in which he played a genial and bluff good old Southern boy. However, he began his acting career as a graduate of the Actors Studio and from 1954 was a regular on television. He also notched up a considerable collection of character parts in many notable films, beginning with Jack Garfein’s The Strange One in 1957 and Something Wild in 1961. He graced Blake Edwards’ Experiment in Terror (Grip of Fear in the UK) and was in David and Lisa, Invitation to a Gunfighter, The Chase, with Paul Newman in both Cool Hand Luke and WUSA, and in Will Penny, The Reivers, Kid Blue, The Iceman Cometh, The Last Detail and Juggernaut. With Gene Wilder in Silver Streak he played another sheriff, as he also did in Superman II. He was in Brian De Palma’s The Bonfire of the Vanities and John Sayles’s Lone Star and Sunshine State. Old Soldiers was in pre-production when he died.

  

FRAN JEFFRIES (18 May 1937-15 December 2016)

Fran Jeffries was a Las Vegas nightclub entertainer, who also toured Europe with Sammy Davis Jr and South-east Asia with Bob Hope. She was noted for her sexy dance moves, some of which she demonstrated in her short film career. She worked with second husband Dick Haymes until they separated in 1961. Her third husband, the director Richard Quine, featured her in the films Sex and the Single Girl with Tony Curtis, and A Talent for Loving with Richard Widmark. She also modelled for Playboy magazine at the age of 40 and 45 to general amazement. Other films included The Buccaneer, The Pink Panther and Harum Scarum. Her daughter Stephanie married Elton John’s lyricist Bernie Taupin.

 

CHRISTINE KAUFMANN (11 January 1945-28 March 2017)

The German actress was born in Austria but brought up in Munich where she trained in ballet and joined the Munich Opera as a dancer. She entered films in 1952 in a version of White Horse Inn and then made many more in Germany, including Mädchen in Uniform, the 1958 remake of the 1931 original, with Lilli Palmer and Romy Schneider. She then gained international recognition in 1959 opposite Steve Reeves in The Last Days of Pompeii. Later came Town Without Pity, filmed in Germany and Austria, with Kirk Douglas, for which she won the Golden Globe. She continued in German films until Taras Bulba in 1962, where she met and then married Tony Curtis, the first of her four husbands. She continued to be in demand mostly in European movie and TV productions and the occasional UK film such as Murders in the Rue Morgue, plus Fassbinder’s Lili Marleen and Percy Adlon’s Bagdad Café in 1987. Christine Kaufmann carried on making films, notching up over a hundred productions in her career. Her last film was Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in 2014. She published two autobiographies and books on health and cosmetics, and had her own make-up brand.

 

MOHAMED KHAN (26 October 1942-26 July 2016)

The Egyptian-British film director began to make his name after he returned to Egypt, having studied at the London School of Film Technique in the early 1960s. A film fan from childhood, Mohamed worked for the General Egyptian Film Organisation from 1963, editing screenplays and before becoming an assistant director in Lebanon. Moving back to London he was involved in journalism and publishing, writing reviews for the London film society magazine Montage. In 1971 he published his own book, An Introduction to Egyptian Cinema, and edited another, Outline of Czechoslovakian Cinema by Langdon Dewey. When I knew Mohamed in the 1970s he was hoping to publish his own film magazine called The Film Page, which would have been one large single sheet folded up to be pocket-sized. Sadly it never happened, although Films Illustrated adopted a similar idea.

Eventually returning to Egypt in the 1980s he established himself as a director of serious ambition in that his films always had a social message and often featured women in strong positions. He made many short films from 1963 to 1981 and then embarked on some two dozen highly thought-of features from 1977. Sunstroke was his first, to be followed by among others Streetplayer (1984), on the life of a football star, The Wife of an Important Man (1987), about a martinet of a policeman and his spouse, and Dreams of Hind and Camilla (1989), all three of which were considered among the 100 best Arab films of all time. Other films include Supermarket (1990), Knight of the City (1991), Mr Karate (1993), A Very Hot Day (1994) and Days of Sadat (2001), a biography of the Egyptian President.

All his films were popular in Egypt, although they seldom travelled far except to film festivals around the world where they often reaped awards. In the UK, his home from home, however, he seems to have been overlooked. More recent films were Factory Girl (2013), about a rebellious textile worker, Downtown Girls (2005) and In the Heliopolis Flat (2007), all three with screenplays by his wife Wessam Soliman who was often his writing partner. They had two children, daughter Nadine, also a film director, and son Hassan, an artist. Oddly enough Mohamed Khan was granted Egyptian nationality only as late as 2014, because his mother, an Egyptian, had married a Pakistani man, Mohamed’s father. Mohamed’s last film Before the Summer Crowds, a satirical look at the foibles of friends on holiday, was released in 2016.

  

ABBAS KIAROSTAMI (22 June 1940-4 July 2016)

In his time the Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami had also been a producer, a writer, an editor and a cinematographer, as well as a poet and photographer. From 1970 to 2013 he directed and wrote over forty features, documentaries and shorts, making him the most important filmmaker to come out of Iran. Abbas KiarostamiInitially he studied fine arts at university and then worked as a graphics designer. Joining the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults in Iran (or Kanoon), he inaugurated a film department, thus beginning his career as a filmmaker. His success in making films for Kanoon led the way for other Iranian filmmakers to put Iranian cinema on the global map. It was not always a comfortable journey for Kiarostami or his fellow directors. From his first feature in 1977, The Report, he had to toe the line of the state censors and remained in Iran after the Ayatollah Khomeini revolution. Of the films he made, a particular trilogy of titles may be considered his most important – Where Is the Friend’s Home?, about a child trying to return a book to his friend; Life, and Nothing More… was about his own search for his actors following a massive earthquake; and Through the Olive Trees, a continuation of the previous film’s narrative.

Kiarostami’s films were a mixture of intellectual thinking and positive spirituality, often centring on life and death. As censorship increased he left Kanoon and later on actually quit Iran to make films in Italy and Japan. Such was his reputation respected, he was recently asked to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, perhaps a tad too late to make any difference to his own life, as he had already been diagnosed with cancer.

His last feature, Like Someone In Love (2012), about a sex worker finding a connection with a widowed man, was shot in Japan. His final work was a contribution to Venice 70: Future Reloaded (2013), a collection of short films on cinema and its future by seventy of the world’s most celebrated directors. Kiarostami’s films won awards all over the world including top prizes at Cannes and Venice. He was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute and received Japan’s Medal of Honour. He has left a lasting legacy of work by a true auteur of the cinema.

 

FRED J. KOENEKAMP (11 November 1922-31 May 2017)

The American cinematographer Fred J. Koenekamp, who has died aged 94, began his film career under contract to MGM as a camera assistant on Dangerous When Wet (1953), Fred J. Koenekampone of Esther Williams’s musical water features, followed by Underwater! with Jane Russell, Kismet, Raintree County, then Watusi, two Vincente Minnelli films, Bells Are Ringing and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and The Hook with Kirk Douglas. Koenekamp became a Director of Photography through television shows including Mission: Impossible and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and he also worked on several of the last series’ spin-off movies. He photographed the films of many important directors, including Franklin J, Schaffner (Patton, Papillon, Yes, Giorgio, Islands in the Stream), Mark Robson (Happy Birthday, Wanda June), Carol Reed (The Last Warrior), Kirk Douglas (Posse), Sidney Poitier (Uptown Saturday Night), Ted Kotcheff (Fun With Dick and Jane), Irwin Allen (The Swarm), Franco Zeffirelli (The Champ), and Buzz Kulik (The Hunter, Steve McQueen’s last film). Most of his work in the 1990s was taken up with television movies. Fred Koenekamp was Oscar-nominated for Patton and Islands in the Stream and he won the Academy Award for The Towering Inferno. He was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Society of Cinematographers in 2005.

 

JOHN KRISH (4 December 1923-7 May 2016)

The film director and writer John Krish was mainly noted for his documentaries often sponsored by government, trade unions or charities. After working on Target for Tonight (1941) he contributed to some 30 documentaries from 1945 but not always pleasing his sponsors. For British Transport Films he made The Elephant Will Never Forget (1953) on the sad departure of London’s trams. The Finishing Line (1977) about the dangers of children playing on railway tracks was too realistic and was banned. I Think They Call Him John (1964) depicted the problems of a lonely old age, while They Took Us to the Sea (1961) covered the NSPCC’s work taking children for a seaside outing. Krish wrote and directed films for the Children’s Film Foundation and directed episodes of The Saint and The Avengers plus occasional features: Companions in Crime (1954), The Wild Affair (1963), Unearthly Stranger (1963), Decline and Fall… of a Birdwatcher (1968), The Man Who Had Power Over Women (1970) and The Jesus Film (1979) which he co-directed.

 

GEORGE KOSANA (22 December 1935-2 January 2017)

The American actor and sometime production manager will be remembered for his contribution to George A. Romero’s zombie classic Night of the Living Dead (1968) in which he played Sheriff McClelland. He also appeared as himself in various documentaries on Romero’s film, and played a police chief in Romero’s comedy There’s Always Vanilla and other exploitation movies such as The Booby Hatch (1976), John Russo’s comedy about a scientist who checks his clients’ levels of eroticism. Later on came Incest Death Squad (2009) and Living Dead (2012), the latter directed by a (but not the) Robert Aldrich, with Kosana as Sheriff McClelland again. Awaiting release is John Russo’s My Uncle Is a Zombie! A short but not uninteresting career.

  

BURT KWOUK (18 July 1930-24 May 2016)

Although he was born in Lancashire, the Chinese actor Burt Kwouk Burt Kwoukwas brought up in Shanghai until he was 17. He studied politics and economics in the US but when his parents lost their money in the 1949 Chinese Revolution he stayed in America and in 1954 moved to the UK where he eventually took up acting. His film debut was in Windom’s Way (1957) with Peter Finch, followed by The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) with Ingrid Bergman which was, apparently, the favourite of all his films. He was in three Bond movies, Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice and the disastrous 1967 version of Casino Royale. He appeared in Empire of the Sun, Air America, Leon the Pig Farmer and Carry on Columbus etc, but was most famous for playing Inspector Clouseau’s manservant, the karate-chopping Cato, in seven of the Pink Panther films, of which Kwouk said he learned much from Peter Sellers. Cornering the market in Oriental villains in the likes of The Terror of the Tongs, The Sinister Man, The Brides of Fu Manchu and The Fiendish Plot of Dr Fu Manchu (again with Sellers), Kwouk was also in countless TV series including Danger Man, The Avengers, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, Doctor Who, Tenko, and from 2002 Last of the Summer Wine in which he played Entwistle, the electrician from Hull.

 

DALIAH LAVI (12 October 1940-3 May 2017)

Trained first as a dancer, the Palestine-born actress Daliah Lavi was popular as a sex symbol in European films before hitting the global market, notably in the US and UK. Her first film in 1955 was Swedish, followed by productions in Germany, France and Italy. Her first American film, Vincente Minnelli’s Two Weeks in Another Town (1962), was the director’s sequel to his 1952 film The Bad and the Beautiful. Lavi was in Abel Gance’s Cyrano et d’Artagnon (1964) with José Ferrer and Jean-Pierre Cassel and then came Lord Jim (1965), which put her on the world map. After that she was in Ten Little Indians with Hugh O’Brian, The Silencers with Dean Martin, The Spy With a Cold Nose with Laurence Harvey, the first (spoof) version of Casino Royale, Jules Verne’s Rocket to the Moon, Nobody Runs Forever, Some Girls Do, and Catlow (1971), but not very much after that, just occasional TV series (including an episode of Sez Les, with Les Dawson in 1972).

Daliah Lavi

Daliah Lavi

 

MADELEINE LEBEAU (10 June 1923-1 May 2016)

The French actress worked in her native country until 1940 when she and her then husband, actor Marcel Dalio, fled from the Germans to the US and Hollywood. She is mostly remembered for her wartime role in Michael Curtiz’s Casablanca (1942) in which she played a woman in flight from Nazi-occupied France tearfully singing ‘La Marseillaise’. Until her death she was the last surviving credited actor from that movie. Lebeau’s film career in France began in 1939 in G. W. Pabst’s Young Girls in Trouble but by 1941 she was at Paramount in Mitchell Leisen’s Hold Back the Dawn, with Charles Boyer, and at Warner Bros in Raoul Walsh’s Gentleman Jim (1942) with Errol Flynn. She was in a film about the French Resistance, Paris After Dark (1943) with George Sanders, and Music for Millions (1944) with Margaret O’Brien and June Allyson. Returning to France after the war, she mainly pursued the rest of her career there in mainly routine films, the exception being Sacha Guitry’s Napoléon, with Guitry, Daniel Gélin and Jean-Pierre Aumont. Occasional trips abroad saw her as David Farrar’s mistress in Basil Dearden’s Cage of Gold (1950); as one of Marcello Mastroianni’s women in Fellini’s Otto e mezzo (1963); and as Jennie Lee in a Spanish western, Gunmen of Rio Grande (1964) with Guy Madison as Wyatt Earp. Lebeau’s marriage to Dalio ended in 1942. She retired in 1970 and in 1988 married Tullio Pinelli, the prolific screenwriter for many of Fellini’s films including Otto e mezzo,

 

HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS (15 June 1929-26 September 2016)

Styled “the godfather of gore”, actor-producer-director Herschell Gordon Lewis was the first filmmaker to really pile on the blood in his films. With titles like Blood Feast (which was issued with sick bags in the cinema), Colour Me Blood Red (the poster said “drenched in Crimson Colour”), A Taste of Blood and The Gore Gore Girls, his films left nothing to the imagination. One of his most celebrated films, Two Thousand Maniacs (1964), saw Yankee tourists being tortured and killed by Southern rednecks. Apparently both Quentin Tarantino and John Waters were influenced by his oeuvre. Lewis’s working life began as a teacher in Mississippi State University and then he took to radio and TV and commercial copywriting. Before his gory horror flicks he and his producer David Friedman made soft-porn shorts. They filmed their first feature in five days for a cost of $25,000 and then Blood Feast went on to earn millions at US drive-ins. Between Living Venus (1961) and The Gore Gore Girls (1972) he released over thirty titles including some that were not splatter movies but sex manuals or kids’ films: Sin, Suffer and Repent, The Gruesome Twosome, The Girl, the Body and the Pill, Blast-Off Girls, She-Devils on Wheels, How to Make a Doll, The Ecstasies of Women, Miss Nymphet’s Zap-In, The Wizard of Gore, This Stuff’ll Kill Ya! and The Magic Land of Mother Goose. Then for thirty years Lewis became a writer and publisher of books on direct marketing until he was asked to make a sequel to his first film, namely Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat. A compilation of excerpts from some of his films, Herschell Gordon Lewis’s BloodMania, is in preparation.

  

WILLIAM LUCAS (14 April 1925-8 July 2016)

After a number of jobs, actor William Lucas gained a scholarship to the Northern Theatre School. Beginning in rep at Chesterfield and elsewhere, he finally made the West End in 1962 in The Witch of Edmonton at the Mermaid. He had already been on TV from 1954, his big break being the Frances Durbridge serial Portrait of Alison a year later. He continued to work mainly on television for the rest of his career in series such as The Strange World of Planet X, The Crime of the Century, The Royalty, Champion Road, Solo for Canary, The Infamous John Friend, The Days of Vengeance, Flower of Evil, Armchair Theatre, Z Cars, The Prior Commitment, Dixon of Dock Green, and The Adventures of Black Beauty (1972-74), all 52 episodes along with a sequel series of 26 (1990-91), the programme for which Lucas will be best remembered. He appeared in a couple of soaps, Coronation Street and the ill-fated Eldorado (just 93 episodes) and along the way made movies, including the film of Portrait of Alison, X the Unknown (Hammer sci-fi), Up in the World (Norman Wisdom comedy), High Flight, with Ray Milland, Sons and Lovers, directed by Jack Cardiff, Richard Fleischer’s Crack in the Mirror, Payroll, with Michael Craig, Terence Fisher’s Night of the Big Heat, plus a number of British ‘B’ programme fillers. Lucas’s last work in early 2000 was in Last of the Summer Wine, Doctors and The Bill.

 

MARY MacLEOD (6 July 1937-7 June 2016)

That fine character actress Mary MacLeod was born in Birmingham and took up acting while working as a teacher and drama tutor. She joined Birmingham Rep in 1956 and later Mary MacLeodmoved to the Royal Court where she worked with Lindsay Anderson who cast her in if…. (1968) as Mrs Kemp, wife of the schoolmaster played by Arthur Lowe. She was required to walk naked through the school in a dreamlike sequence that recalled Jean Vigo’s Zéro de conduite. After Jacques Demy’s The Pied Piper (1972) she played three parts in Anderson’s O Lucky Man! (1973) and was also in his Britannia Hospital (1982) as a nurse. Although MacLeod joined the National Theatre for a while, much of her work was in television in such series as Love Thy Neighbour, Crown Court, Play for Today, The Duchess of Duke Street, People Like Us, The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Taggart, Doctor Finlay, The Bill etc. She was Godiva Plaistow in TV’s Mapp and Lucia and was also in Brideshead Revisited and in Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective, again playing a nurse or a hospital sister. This actress had the great ability of being able to play ordinary women in perhaps extraordinary circumstances. She was also in Potter’s Brimstone and Treacle, David Cregan’s Events in a Museum, Sally Potter’s film of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, and she played a librarian in Hear My Song, the biopic of singer Josef Locke. Mary MacLeod was the midwife in Michael Hoffman’s Restoration, and had roles in TV versions of Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina. Two of her last film appearances were in Terence Davies’s The House of Mirth (2000), from the novel by Edith Wharton, and Enigma (2001), Michael Apted’s film about the Bletchley Park codebreakers. She retired in 2003 following a stroke.

 

GARRY MARSHALL (13 November 1934-19 July 2016)

The actor, director, writer and producer Garry Marshall was born in New York to a tap dance teacher and a documentary film producer. He was the brother of actress and producer Penny Marshall Garry Marshalland TV producer Ronny Marshall Hallin. He started as a journalist, writing a sports column, graduated to writing jokes for comedians and then scripts for TV shows featuring Jack Paar, Dick Van Dyke, Joey Bishop, Danny Thomas and Lucille Ball. His first TV series, written with Jerry Belson, were Hey, Landlord and Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple. Marshall then created Happy Days (1974-84) for Henry Winkler, and later Laverne and Shirley (1976-83) for his sister Penny. Other TV successes included Mork and Mindy (1978-82) for Robin Williams and two more revivals of The Odd Couple (1982) and 2015). From the 1980s, however, Marshall was also directing and acting in films, beginning with Young Doctors in Love. He gave Tom Hanks a break in Nothing in Common, and hit a popular vein with Overboard for Goldie Hawn, Beaches with Bette Midler, Pretty Woman for Juliet Roberts, Frankie and Johnny for Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer, The Runaway Bride, again with Juliet Roberts plus Richard Gere and Héctor Elizondo who appeared in most of Marshall’s films including The Princess Diaries and its sequel, both with Anne Hathaway. His last three films were all sentimental comedies (Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve and Mother’s Day) which were pretty average movies but ones that seemed to please the punters on a Friday night. They were the commercial films that Hollywood thrives on, and Garry Marshall was the sort of fillmmaker who always kept both eyes on the box-office. 

 

ALEC McCOWEN (26 May 1925-6 February 2017)

British actor Alec McCowen seemed equally at home on stage, in films and on television. He claimed he wanted to be an entertainer rather than an actor, but in fact he succeeded as both. Alec McCowenI was first aware of him as the Dauphin in Shaw’s St Joan, with Barbara Jefford at The Old Vic, circa 1960. He trained at RADA and then appeared in repertory both in the UK and overseas. On returning to London he was directed in Shakespeare by Laurence Olivier, Franco Zeffirelli and Peter Brook and appeared in many stage productions, including the first production of Equus at the National. His great theatrical feat came in his own adaptation of St Mark’s Gospel, a real tour-de-force of a solo narrative. McCowen’s first film was The Cruel Sea (1953) and he worked steadily in the 1950s and ’60s on such high-profile British pictures as The Divided Heart, The Deep Blue Sea, Private’s Progress, The Long Arm, Town on Trial, Time Without Pity, The Good Companions, The One That Got Away, The Silent Enemy, A Night to Remember and The Doctor’s Dilemma. He was in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner with Tom Courtenay, in The Witches with Joan Fontaine, and The Hawaiians with Charlton Heston. He made Hitchcock’s Frenzy (1972) and was particularly memorable as a police inspector whose wife presented him with new but increasingly disgusting dishes for dinner. He appeared opposite Maggie Smith in Travels With My Aunt, with Glenda Jackson in Stevie, and played Q in the 007 film Never Say Never Again. More films included Personal Services, Cry Freedom and Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V. Later in his career McCowen worked with Martin Scorsese on The Age of Innocence and Gangs of New York, his last film in 2002. Alec McCowen’s partner, the actor Geoffrey Burridge, died in 1987.

 

PAUL McDOWELL (15 August 1931-2 May 2016)

Although better-known as a musician and singer with The Temperance Seven trad jazz band, Paul McDowell was also an actor, comedian, writer, painter and teacher.  The Temperence Seven began at art school in the 1950s, a 1920s style band dressed in Victorian garb which at its height had a No. 1 chart hit with ‘You’re Driving Me Crazy’. McDowell’s (mainly minor) film appearances included Brecht’s The Life Story of Baal, The Thirty-Nine Steps (with Robert Powell), Don Siegel’s Rough Cut, National Lampoon’s European Vacation, Peter Yuval’s Dead End City and Julian Doyle’s Chemical Wedding, an evocation of Aleister Crowley and McDowell’s last appearance in 2008. He contributed scripts for TV comedy shows starring Sheila Hancock, Harry Secombe, David Frost and The Two Ronnies, and appeared on TV in The World of Beachcomber, The Good Life, Porridge, Going Straight, Dave Allen at Large, Wodehouse Playhouse, Robin’s Nest, Kenny Everett, Blackadder, Only Fools and Horses, Mr Bean and The Two of Us etc. He also acted in TV dramas such as Scoop, Crown Court, Churchill’s People, Suez 1956, Churchill: The Wilderness Years, Angels, Frank Stubbs, EastEnders and many others.

 

JOHN McMARTIN (21 August 1929-6 July 2016)

The American actor was better known as a leading man in the theatre and for his television work, although he contributed to a number of films, too. He was first noticed off-Broadway in Little Mary Sunshine, Rick Besoyan’s 1959 musical with Eileen Brennan. John McMartinNever reaching Broadway it ran at several off-Broadway houses for over 1000 performances and came to London briefly in 1962 with Patricia Routledge. McMartin first hit Broadway in 1961 in The Conquering Hero and later created the role of Oscar opposite Gwen Verdon in Sweet Charity (1966). He appeared in the original production of Sondheim’s Follies (1971) as Benjamin Stone and he also worked with Sondheim on revivals of A Little Night Music (1991), Into the Woods (2002), Passion in concert (2004) and the Sondheim Birthday Concert (2010). As well as other plays and musicals such as Show Boat, High Society, Pleasures and Palaces, The Visit (Kander & Ebb), Grey Gardens, Anything Goes etc, McMartin also appeared in many TV series: As the World Turns, East Side/West Side, Marcus Welby M.D., Frasier, Murder, She Wrote, The Partridge Family, Hawaii Five-O, The Rockford Files, Cannon, Hart to Hart, Falcon Crest, Magnum, P.I., The Golden Girls and Law and Order etc.

McMartin’s first film part was in A Thousand Clowns (1965). He repeated the role of Oscar in Bob Fosse’s film of Sweet Charity (1969) with Shirley MacLaine; he was in All the President’s Men (1976), and also in his Dream Lover (1986); in Brubaker (1980) and Legal Eagles (1986), both with Robert Redford, in Brian De Palma's Blow Out (1981), Pennies From Heaven (1981) with Steve Martin, Who’s That Girl (1987) with Madonna, The Dish (2000) with Sam Neill, Kinsey (2004) with Liam Neeson, and No Reservations (2007) with Catherine Zeta-Jones. John McMartin’s last appearance was in the Tina Fey sitcom Unbreakable Jimmy Schmidt (2015).

 

DINA MERRILL (29 December 1923-22 May 2017)

American actress Dina Merrill was born into wealth, her father being a Wall Street financier, her mother heiress to a cereal fortune. As in life, so in movies, for Dina Merrill Dina Merrillalways played elegant women from the top shelf of society. Stunning to look at with her high cheek bones, she lifted any part off the floor and placed it on another level. Merrill originally had no desire to act but changed her mind and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, did some summer stock and eventually reached Broadway, staying in theatre for some ten years. Married to Stanley Rumbough, the Colgate-Palmolive heir, she stopped acting to bring up her family. Back to work from 1955 she entered television, including two memorable appearances on The Phil Silvers Show (Sgt Bilko). Her first film was Desk Set (1957) with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, and she was in other comedies including Operation Petticoat, with Cary Grant and Tony Curtis, while also appearing on TV. More dramatic roles came her way in Butterfield 8, The Sundowners and The Young Savages. She graced The Courtship of Eddie’s Father with young Ron(ny) Howard but for the most part it was TV virtually all the way, including spoof western episodes of Batman playing Calamity Jan with her then husband Cliff Robertson as Shame. Apart from the TV shows, Dina Merrill was in The Greatest, Tom Gries’s biopic on Ali, while Robert Altman cast her in A Wedding and The Player. She was in Sidney Lumet’s Just Tell Me What You Want, Herbert Ross’s True Colors, Disney’s remake of Mighty Joe Young and Peter Hyam’s remake of the 1956 Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009), her last appearance. With her third husband, actor and investment banker Ted Hartley, she bought the RKO studio, becoming allegedly the richest actress in the world but a great benefactor of charities as well. She had four children.

  

TED V.MIKELS (29 October 1929-16 October 2016)

Low budgets, schlock-horror and sexploitation were the chief ingredients of the films of American independent writer-producer-editor-director and actor Ted V. Mikels. He was born Theodore Vincent Mikacevich but his father shortened the family name to Mikels (pronounced Michaels). He began his career as a magician and ventriloquist, later deciding to film his act. When he moved to Oregon he got involved in local theatre and, living close to Hollywood western locations, became a stunt rider. After making some shorts and documentaries he financed his own first feature, Strike Me Deadly (1963) about a forest ranger who witnesses a murder and is then captured and imprisoned by the killer. It starred nobody of note which set a pattern for his future work as he cast using amateurs, strippers and anybody who was around at the time. He was spotted by Wayne Rogers who helped him write Dr Sex (1964) and The Astro-Zombies (1968) which were shot for pennies and recouped millions. For the next fifty years and more he churned out films, writing, producing, directing and often acting in such come-on titles as Blood Orgy of the She-Devils, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, The Doll Squad, The Worm Eaters, Ten Violent Women, Mission: Killfast, Apartheid Slave-Women’s Justice, Cauldron: Baptism of Blood, Demon Haunt, Paranormal Extremes: Messages From the Dead and, perhaps his most popular (?), The Corpse Grinders and its two sequels, and the film that was in production at the time of his death.

 

TOMAS MILIAN (3 March 1933-22 March 2017)

The Cuban-born Tomas MilianAmerican-Italian actor and singer trained at the Actors Studio in New York. After a short spell on Broadway he was discovered for a film career in Italy that covered all manner of action films, from spaghetti Westerns and police thrillers to violent comedies. Director Mauro Bolognini put him in The Big Night, written by Pasolini, and more Italian films followed, including Boccaccio ’70 (the Visconti segment with Romy Schneider), then Carol Reed’s The Agony and the Ecstasy. Milian rarely escaped from action parts until The Last Movie in 1971 when director Dennis Hopper cast him as a priest. He was in Winter Kills with Jeff Bridges, Havana with Robert Redford, Oliver Stone’s JFK, Spielberg’s Amistad and Soderbergh’s Traffic. In 2014 he played Gramps in Fugly! with John Leguizamo, his final appearance in a career covering some 120 films.

 

ROBERT ELLIS MILLER (18 July 1932-27 January 2017)

Robert Ellis Miller’s career as a director began in 1958 with ten years working in American television. His first feature film in 1966 was Any Wednesday (aka Bachelor Girl Apartment) with Jane Fonda and Jason Robards. This was followed by Sweet November with Sandy Dennis, and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter from the novel by Carson McCullers, for which Alan Arkin and Sondra Locke were both Academy Award-nominated. The Buttercup Chain (1970) was nominated at Cannes but after that Miller mainly directed middle of the road films that were nothing too special. His version of Peter De Vries’s Reuben, Reuben gained Oscar nominations in 1983 for the film, its star Tom Conti and writer Julius J. Epstein. More TV work was followed by Hawks, Brenda Starr and Bed and Breakfast, his last feature film in 1991, a romcom with Roger Moore and Talia Shire. Miller retired after directing the TV movie The Angel of Pennsylvania Avenue in 1996.

 

MARY TYLER MOORE (29 December 1936-25 January 2017)

The American actress Mary Tyler Moore began her career as a dancer and her first TV appearance was in a Hotpoint commercial during the popular show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet Mary Tyler Moorein 1952 with the real-life Nelson family. Umpteen more television shows ensued until she made a break for films with X-15 (1961), a Cold War space drama. Then came 158 episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show as the ditsy wife of Van Dyke’s scriptwriter. The film musical Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) with Julie Andrews might have made her a movie star but ensuing film roles,  including Change of Habit with Elvis Presley, were nothing great. Back on TV she was in Phyllis, then Rhoda, and her own show, playing the same character, Mary Richards in all three. Ordinary People (1980) was the film that showed her at her dramatic best and she was nominated for an Oscar. This was followed by Six Weeks and Just Between Friends before she returned to TV for the Lincoln mini-series playing Mary (who else?) and in many other series and TV movies. Her last film was Against the Current (2010), and her final TV appearance was on Hot in Cleveland (2013). On stage she was in an ill-fated musical of Breakfast at Tiffany’s with Richard Chamberlain in 1967, but she won six Emmy Awards for her TV work and Tony Awards for Whose Life Is It Anyway? and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. She was married three times and had a son, Richie, who died in 1980. Her own company MTM Enterprises made many successful TV shows.

 

ROGER MOORE (14 October 1927-23 May 2017)

London-born actor Roger Moore first had an interest in being an artist. After art school he was apprenticed to an animation studio but a chance meeting with Brian Desmond Hurst led to the director offering to pay for his studies at Rada. At 17 Moore was an uncredited extra in Caesar and Cleopatra (1945) and many other films but the following year he joined the Royal Army Service Corps. Modelling work then came his way and he was seen on many a Paton & Baldwin’s knitting pattern. His TV debut was in Patrick Hamilton’s The Governess in 1949 and then the early 1950s saw him in US television series until he finally gained a contract with MGM for The Last Time I Saw Paris, Interrupted Melody, The King’s Thief and Diane. Further television work led to the Ivanhoe series, The Alaskans and Maverick, playing James Garner’s brother. Other films included The Sins of Rachel Cade and Gold of the Seven Saints until The Saint series came along. 

Roger Moore

Roger Moore as The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970)

 

This gave Roger Moore global fame and another series, The Persuaders, with Tony Curtis. Bond, James Bond, sealed Moore’s celebrity with Live and Let Die and then The Man With the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill. Other films interspersed during the 007 years were never as popular, although titles such as Gold, Shout at the Devil, The Wild Geese, The Sea Wolves and The Cannonball Run were all successful. Moore continued in films but his main work by the 1990s was as a Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef, the work that he was most proud of and for which he won several awards. He was made CBE in 1999 and knighted in 2003. For his acting work he received a Golden Globe among several other gongs. Roger Moore had four wives including the singer Dorothy Squires and he fathered three children by Luisa Mattioli, his third wife. He died in Switzerland after a short battle with cancer.

 

CHRISTOPHER MORAHAN (9 July 1929-7 April 2017)

Noted mainly for Christopher Morahanhis superior work for television, director-producer Christopher Morahan trained as an actor but became a TV director, initially on Emergency – Ward 10, Probation Officer and adaptations of John Gabriel Borkman and Arsenic and Old Lace. In his time Morahan was Head of Plays at the BBC and also directed at the RSC, the National and Chichester Festival Theatres. He will be especially remembered for producing and co-directing The Jewel in the Crown (earning him Bafta and Primetime Emmy Awards), which introduced the then relatively unknown Tim Pigott-Smith. For the cinema Morahan directed Marcello Mastroianni  in Diamonds for Breakfast, as well as All Neat in Black Stockings, Clockwise, Paper Mask and Element of Doubt. He is survived by his second wife, the actress Anna Carteret with whom he had two children, Rebecca, a theatre director, and the actress Hattie Morahan. He also had three children from his first marriage to the late Joan Murray. Morahan died on the same day as his Jewel in the Crown star Tim Pigott-Smith (q.v.). He was awarded the CBE in 2011.

 

ERIN MORAN (18 October 1960-22 April 2007)

Chiefly known for playing Joanie Cunningham on ABC TV’s Happy Days, actress Erin Moran’s first job was a TV commercial for a bank. She made some films but her career was mainly in such TV series as Daktari, My Three Sons, Family Affair, Gunsmoke, The F.B.I., The Waltons, Joanie Loves Chachi, a spin-off of Happy Days, the latter being her most successful part in over 200 episodes (from 1974 to 1984). Other TV series included The Love Boat, Diagnosis: Murder, The Bold and the Beautiful and, inevitably, Murder, She Wrote. For the cinema she was rarely in any major movies but, for the record, she appeared in How Sweet It is! with James Garner and Debbie Reynolds, Watermelon Man, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Broken Promise and Not Another B Movie (2010), a spoof on the horror film industry, Erin’s last film. She died from cancer, aged 56.

   

MICHÈLE MORGAN (29 February 1929-20 December 2016)

Michèle Morgan was a great beauty and a natural asset to the cinema. Christopher MorahanShe began her film career in 1936 in France in small or uncredited roles and was discovered by director Marc Allegret for Heart of Paris. Shortly afterwards, Marcel Carné put her in Quai des brumes with Jean Gabin and Michel Simon, a classic of its kind and one of Morgan’s best films. She worked again with Gabin as well as Raimu, Boyer, Vanel, Renaud, etc, before moving to the US and an RKO contract beginning with Joan of Paris. Apart from her continental exoticism the studio didn’t know what to do with her. She appeared with Sinatra in Higher and Higher but RKO wouldn’t release her to Warner Bros for Casablanca. However, she did get to play opposite Bogart in Passage to Marseille. In Carol Reed’s The Fallen Idol, made in London, she had a good role as Ralph Richardson’s secret lover. After more forgettable parts she eventually returned to France where she made Guitry’s Napoleon, Clair’s Summer Manoeuvres, André Cayatte’s Le miroir à deux faces and Chabrol’s Bluebeard. She retired in 1999. Morgan had three husbands: William Marshall, Henri Vidal and Gérard Oury, all actors, as was her only son, Mike Marshall. 

 

NOEL NEILL (25 November 1920-3 July 2016)

It is not often that actors are remembered for a role they played over and over again. Even with nearly eighty credits on her CV, it happened to American actress Noel Neill who, after eight years spent appearing in over forty small and often uncredited film roles, she finally found her true metier as Lois Lane in Superman (1948) - opposite Kirk Alyn as Clark Kent/Superman - in Columbia Pictures’ 15-episode serial. Two years later she played Lois in another Columbia serial, Atom Man v Superman, again with Kirk Alyn. From 1953 to 1958 she was Lois in the TV series Adventures of Superman with George Reeves as the action man, in a total of 78 episodes. The two stars also made Stamp Day for Superman (1954), a promotional short for US Savings Stamps. Later on Neill played Lois’s mother Ella in Superman (1978) with Christopher Reeve. She was also in Superman 50th Anniversary, a TV special in 1988 and played Alexis in a single 1991 episode of the Superboy TV series (1988-92). Neill had a cameo as Gertrude Vanderworth in Superman Returns (2006) and plays Aunt Lois in the forthcoming Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel. Between ‘Superman’ appearances Noel Neill continued to work in other films (The Big Clock, An American in Paris, The Greatest Show on Earth, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) and on TV in The Cisco Kid, The Lone Ranger and The Public Defenderamong others. However, she will always be remembered for being the first Lois Lane on film and, undoubtedly, the best.

 

MARNI NIXON (22 February 1922-24 July 2016)

The American singer, actress and vocal teacher Marni Nixon worked in film, TV, opera, musicals and classical Marni Nixon concerts, but will be chiefly remembered for her work as a voiceover and playback artist who dubbed many famous actresses whose own singing voices were perhaps less than perfect. Marni had always performed as a child and later sang in choirs including the Roger Wagner Chorale. She studied singing and opera but her film career started in 1942 in The Bashful Bachelor. She was the voices Ingrid Bergman heard in Joan of Arc. Then she sang for Margaret O’Brien in Big City (1948) and The Secret Garden (1949) and was the singing voices of Walt Disney’s Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), the geese in Mary Poppins (1964) and Mulan (1998). Although Marni, who had a clear soprano voice, did sing in opera and act on stage and in films (she was Sister Sophia in The Sound of Music) she also did TV work with Danny Kaye, Woody Woodbury, Joey Bishop, Jerry Seinfeld and had her own show Boomerang. With her fine vocal range she managed to dub other actors such as Deborah Kerr in The King and I and An Affair to Remember, Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Natalie Wood in West Side Story and Gypsy, Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, as well as Janet Leigh and Jeannie Crane. Marni Nixon was married three times, first to film composer Ernest Gold (Exodus) with whom she had three children. Both Andrew and Melanie are singer-songwriters.

 

BILL NUNN (20 October 1953-24 September 2016)                                                    

American actor Bill Nunn, son of William G. Nunn Jr, a scout for Bill Nunnthe Pittsburgh Steelers American football team, first appeared uncredited in Burt Reynolds’ Sharky’s Machine (1981). After some TV work he was taken up by Spike Lee to play Grady in his film School Daze (1988) and then Lee used him again in Do the Right Thing (1989) in which Nunn played the larger-than-life character of Radio Raheem who gets murdered by police on the streets of Brooklyn. He was Bottom Hammer in Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues (1990) and Uncle Bubba in He Got Game (1998). His work with Lee led to many other jobs and he appeared in New Jack City (1991), Sister Act (1992), Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead (1995), Extreme Measures (1996), and he played Robbie Robertson in the three Spider-Man movies, among the seventy odd credits in his film and TV career. Nunn was in A Raisin in the Sun both on TV and on stage with Audra Macdonald. His last work was in the TV series Sirens (2014-15).

  

HUGH O’BRIAN (19 April 1925-5 September 2016)

If for nothing else the American actor Hugh O’Brian will be remembered for one particular part, Hugh O'Brianthe title role in the TV series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. He was allegedly the first television sex symbol, having been an all-round athlete, and he fitted easily into the role of the western Marshal and all the other action movie roles he played. He was in, among many others, Vengeance Valley, Buckaroo Sheriff of Texas, Cave of Outlaws, Red Ball Express, Son of Ali Baba, The Raiders, The Lawless Breed, Seminole, The Man from the Alamo, etc, and even in the musicals Meet Me at the Fair and There’s No Business Like Show Business (both 1954). Then came television and many shows before Wyatt Earp rode into town for 227 episodes from 1955 to 1961, cementing O’Brian’s status as a star. More television and the odd film – Come Fly With Me, Love Has Many Faces, Ten Little Indians, Africa: Texas Style and John Wayne’s last film The Shootist. He was in Twins with Arnie, did Murder, She Wrote, and reprised his most famous role in TV movies about Wyatt Earp. His last film, Old Soldiers, is in pre-production for release later in 2016. As a philanthropist, Hugh O’Brian was impressed by Dr Albert Schweitzer to set up Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, which helps inspire young people around the world into team leadership programmes.

 

ANITA PALLENBERG (25 January 1944-13 June 2017)

The actress and model Anita Pallenberg, who has died aged 73, Anita Pallenberggarnered most of her celebrity through her association with The Rolling Stones, as girlfriend to both Brian Jones and Keith Richards, having three children by the latter. She also worked with Mick Jagger on Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell’s iconic film Performance (1970). Born in Rome to German parents, she was expelled from boarding school and became involved in the art scenes in Rome and New York before becoming a model in Paris. After recovering from drug addiction, she trained as a fashion designer. Her involvement in films began in 1967 in Volker Schlöndorff’s Mord und Totschlag (Degree of Murder), in which she had top-billing. After a brief appearance in Wonderwall, she was in Barbarella, Candy and Dillinger Is Dead. Performance gave everybody concerned a certain notoriety as the film’s release was delayed because of its graphic violence and sexuality. Anita also worked on videos for Madonna, appeared in Absolutely Fabulous on TV, played ‘The Queen’ in Mister Lonely, was ‘Sin’ in Abel Ferrara’s Go Go Tales, and La Copine in Stephen Frears’s Chéri. Her last work was in two pictures by Abel Ferrara, Napoli, Napoli, Napoli and 4:44 Last Day on Earth in 2011.

 

MICHAEL PARKS (24 April 1940-May 2017)

The American actor and sometime singer Michael Parks made his professional debut on the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series in 1958, which was followed by more TV work, Michael Parksmost notably playing Tom in The Real McCoys in 1961. His 1965 film debut was in Bus Riley’s Back in Town with Ann-Margret. He was then hailed as the new James Dean and the film led to his playing Adam in John Huston’s The Bible: In the Beginning. After Wild Seed, The Idol, The Happening and Stranger on the Run, interspersed with more television, he was cast in the title role of a journalist looking for the meaning of life in 26 episodes of Then Came Bronson (1969-70). Later TV series included continuing roles in The Colbys and Twin Peaks. For over fifty years Parks appeared in nigh on 150 roles on film and TV but without really becoming a major leading man. Among the films he made were Between Friends, The Last Hard Men, The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (as Robert Kennedy), Breakthrough, North Sea Hijack, The Return of Josey Wales (which Parks also directed), Storyville and Death Wish V, among many other (more forgettable) titles. However, Parks eventually became something of an iconic figure with directors such as Robert Rodriguez in his From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) and later Grindhouse (2007), a double-bill of Planet Terror and Death Proof. Similarly, Quentin Tarantino cast him in both Kill Bills (2003/4) and Django Unchained. Kevin Smith, who thought Parks was “the most incredible thespian… the best actor I’ve ever known”, put him in Red State and Tusk. There were also The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Argo. Several films with Parks are still awaiting release or have been announced. Michael Parks had five wives and two children. His son, James Parks, is also an actor and has appeared in many of his father’s films.

 

BILL PAXTON (17 May 1955-25 February 2017)

From the time he entered the film business, the American actor and sometime writer, Bill Paxtonproducer and director Bill Paxton, seemed to be cast in eccentric character roles. He entered films as a set-dresser for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures company and made his film acting debut in Corman’s Crazy Mama (1975). Later on he studied acting at New York University and then secured several TV appearances while also making short films. He was in The Lords of Discipline and a number of minor movies including Taking Tiger Mountain written by William S. Burroughs and then came The Terminator and Commando, both with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Many films followed, including Weird Science, Aliens, Near Dark, Slipstream, Next of Kin, Predator 2, Tombstone, Future Shock, True Lies and Apollo 13 (as NASA astronaut Fred Haise). He was Frank in Frank and Jessie, about the James brothers, he chased a storm in Twister, searched for the RMS Titanic, and played Jeff Tracy in Thunderbirds (2004). More recently, apart from TV shows, Paxton graced Soderbergh’s Haywire, was in Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise, Nightcrawler and Term Life. Paxton’s last film, The Circle, with Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, is due for release in 2017, in a career that notched up nearly a hundred film and TV appearances.

 

TIM PIGOTT-SMITH (13 May 1946-7 April 2017)

When Tim Pigott-Smith’s family moved to Stratford-upon-Avon soon after the Royal Shakespeare Company was founded in 1961, young Tim’s future was clearly set in stone by his discovery of Shakespeare. He studied drama at Bristol University, continued his training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and subsequently joined the Bristol Old Vic company from 1969. Essentially a stage actor, Tim Pigott-Smithhe worked in London and New York, but mainly appeared in repertory and regional theatres and with Toby Robertson’s Prospect Theatre Company, eventually forming his own touring theatre company, Compass, for which he was artistic director from 1989 to 1992. His theatre and TV performances covered plays by, among many others, Shakespeare, Eugene O’Neill, Edward Albee and George Bernard Shaw. His last London stage appearance was in Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III, which he took to Broadway and for which he gained Olivier and Tony Award nominations. At the time of his death (from a suspected heart attack) he was about to tour in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, with his actress wife Pamela Miles.

Tim Pigott-Smith was best-known for his television appearance as Ronald Merrick in The Jewel in the Crown, a dramatisation of Paul Scott’s novel on India under the British, for which the actor won a Bafta in 1984. Other notable television appearances include Dr Who, The Glittering Prizes, The Lost Boys, North and South, Bloody Sunday, Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years, I Remember Nelson, The Chief, The Vice, Downton Abbey and latterly Decline and Fall. His first film appearance was in Aces High with Malcolm McDowell in 1976 and he subsequently appeared in Joseph Andrews, Sweet William, Richard’s Things, Clash of the Titans, Escape to Victory, The Remains of the Day, Oliver Stone’s Alexander, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, Quantum of Solace, Gangs of New York, RED 2 and the 2017 remake of Whisky Galore!. Four more of his films are due for release in 2017, including a television adaptation of King Charles III.

Tim Pigott-Smith was a patron of Friendship Works, a charity operating in the London boroughs of Camden and Islington, offering mentoring support for children and young people who have problems growing up in their home and social environment. He also wrote books on India and children’s stories. He was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 2017. His son Tom is a concert violinist.

  

JON POLITO (29 December 1950-1 September 2016)

The American character actor Jon Polito was often seen in the films of Joel and Ethan Coen, Jon Politonamely Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, The Big Lebowski and The Man Who Wasn’t There. Perhaps never a star, he was, however, a face you might recognise without necessarily putting a name to it. With over two hundred film and TV credits to his name he was a very busy man, starting out on television in 1981 and working continuously up until his death. His last film, The Maestro, is due out in 2017. Over the years he played cops, detectives, hoods, judges, bankers and other businessmen with equal aplomb, in films such as The Freshman, Highlander, The Crow, The Tailor of Panama, The Singing Detective, Flags of Our Fathers and American Gangster. As well as working for the Coens, Polito was directed by Clint Eastwood, Ridley Scott, Michael Apted, Tom Hanks, Andrew Bergman, Tim Burton and many others.  On stage he appeared in American Buffalo, Curse of the Aching Heart, Total Abandon and a revival of Death of a Salesman, while on television Polito appeared in everything from As the World Turns (1983) and Crime Story (1986-8) to Seinfeld (1998), Desperate Housewives (2005) and Modern Family (2014-16).

 

PRINCE (7 June 1958-21 April 2016)

Where does one start paying tribute to Prince Rogers Nelson, the High Priest of Pop, the Prince of Funk, His Royal Badness, The Purple One, The Artist Formerly Known as Prince or just the unpronounceable signature squiggle [ O ( + > ] he used at one point in his career when he thought his contract with Warner Bros Records was too oppressive? Whatever name he went under, he was undoubtedly one of the most successful popular music artists of all time, a composer, lyricist and multi-instrumentalist musician, singer and dancer who made some forty albums, selling over 100 million records and winning seven Grammy awards. He was eccentric, shy and arguably wilfully reclusive but not without a sense of humour: “I’ve got more hits than Madonna’s got kids,” he once announced. Born in Minneapolis to a jazz singer mother and a pianist and lyricist father, he wrote Princehis first song at age seven. His career in the music business began at age 18 when he started producing demo-tracks that eventually led to his Warner Bros contract and a debut album in 1978 with his band The Revolution. Always controversial, his songs often dealt with sexual matters and religion, subjects that did not necessarily appeal even to his greatest fans.

In Purple Rain (1984), the first of the three feature films in which he acted, he played The Kid, a rising musician with an unhappy home life who has problems with his own band, a rival singer and a budding romance. In Under the Cherry Moon (1986) which Prince also directed, he and Jerome Benton played Chris and Tricky, two Americans holidaying on the Mediterranean in order to live off rich women tourists. Having been persuaded by Tricky to go after a $50 million dollar heiress (Kristin Scott Thomas), Chris gradually realises he is falling in love with her. Graffiti Bridge (1990) is a sequel to Purple Rain in which The Kid and his old rival Morris Day vie for who has the best club and who can write the best song. When The Kid meets the poetic and angelic Aura under the Graffiti Bridge, he falls in love with her, only to find Day trying to take Aura for himself. When she dies in an accident, The Kid writes a moving song and Morris capitulates admitting defeat. Aah!

Prince contributed to many other short films, videos and video games, for which he also composed the music. He also wrote, produced and directed other videos and documentaries. But it is as a writer of songs and as a performer for which he will be most remembered. Much of his work has been used on the soundtracks for films and television shows, to which he at times also contributed as a screenwriter. Songs by Prince have been used in films including Summer Lovers (1982), Risky Business (1983), My Stepmother is an Alien (1988), Batman (1989), Pretty Woman (1990), The Last Boy Scout (1991), Romeo + Juliet (1996), Scream 2 (1997), Rush Hour 3 (2007), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) and Gulliver’s Travels (2010), among many others, as well as in countless television programmes both in the UK and USA. Apparently there are massive archives at his Minneapolis home of as yet unreleased material, so we have probably not heard the last of The Artist Formerly Known as [squiggle]. The Prince is dead – long live the Prince!

 

OM PURI (18 October 1950-6 January 2017)

The award-winning Indian actor enjoyed Om Purigreat success in Bollywood, Hollywood and Pinewood in a career that included over 300 appearances in both film and television. He must have been one of the hardest working actors in the world. He entered films in India in 1975 making features and shorts, including Satyajit Ray’s TV movie Deliverance (1981). He had a small part in Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi and, in the 1980s, sometimes made up to nine films a year, most of which never reached the UK. However, we would know him from Roland Joffé’s Time Traveller and City of God, filmed in India, Wolf, The Ghost and the Darkness, My Son the Fanatic, The Jewel in the Crown TV series, and most notably East is East, about a Pakistani father’s troubles with his family in Manchester. The sequel was West is West. He was also in The Parole Officer, The Zookeeper, Ismail Merchant’s The Mystic Masseur, Code 46, Charlie Wilson’s WarThe Hundred Foot Journey and Viceroy's House. And he still has another four films awaiting release. He received an honorary OBE in 2004.

  

 

SIMON RELPH (13 April 1940-30 October 2016)

A producer like his father Michael Relph (1915-2004), Simon Relph was also involved in directing, albeit as a second unit or assistant director. His first work in features was in 1962 as an assistant on Twice Round the Daffodils, produced by the Carry On team of Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas with whom he worked again the same year on Carry On Cruising. Early on in his career Relph Jr was involved in straight commercial work (frequently with Dirk Bogarde) such as Doctor in Distress, Hot Enough for June and The High Bright Sun, and on Deadlier Than the Male, Nobody Runs Forever and Some Girls Do. However, he occasionally stepped out with more relevant themes such as brainwashing in The Mind Benders, again with Bogarde, and the problems of youth in A Place to Go, both produced by his father.

Simon worked with Bryan Forbes and Richard Attenborough on Séance on a Wet Afternoon, a film that scooped a number of awards. During the 1970s Relph the director was associated with several prestige productions, starting with Anne of the Thousand Days, followed by Olivier’s Three Sisters, John Schlesinger’s Sunday Bloody Sunday and Yanks, Roman Polanski’s Macbeth, Mary, Queen of Scots, The Triple Echo, the film of Rattigan’s Bequest to the Nation, The Hireling, A Touch of Class and Zardoz.

He had directing and producing duties on Warren Beatty’s Reds and Richard Eyre’s The Ploughman’s Lunch, after which he settled just for the role of the producer for The Return of the Soldier, Privates on Parade, Wetherby, Comrades, Danny, the Champion of the World, Enchanted April, Louis Malle’s Damage, The Secret Rapture, The Land Girls and Hideous Kinky, among others. Simon Relph’s last work was as executive producer on Birdsong, a TV adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ novel in 2012 – a fitting end to an illustrious career. 

 

DEBBIE REYNOLDS (1 April 1932-28 December 2016)

The Hollywood actress Debbie Reynolds died the day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher. She was arranging the funeral when she suffered a stroke. Although Carrie Fisher Debbie Reynoldshad become something of a movie icon on account of her appearances in the Star Wars films, her mother was a true Hollywood goddess. Following a few appearances in minor films from 1948 Debbie secured an MGM contract and became a great hit in Singin’ in the Rain (1952). After that she was constantly employed in such movies as I Love Melvin, Give a Girl a Break, Susan Slept Here, Athena, Hit the Deck, The Tender Trap and so on. She was a popular hit in Tammy, The Mating Game, The Gazebo, The Pleasure of His Company and The Second Time Around. John Ford used her in How the West Was Won and she exhibited her personal feistiness in the film of The Unsinkable Molly Brown, for which she was Oscar-nominated. She was The Singing Nun, but after Divorce American Style and How Sweet It Is, television called and she had her own show for a while. She played herself in The Bodyguard (1992) and had the title role in Albert Brooks’ Mother (1996), for which she was honoured with a Golden Globe nomination. But her forty-year film career was losing its grip and she resorted to voicing the Rugrats series and appearing in Will and Grace and other TV shows. Daughter Carrie wrote the TV movie of These Old Broads (2001) about a reunion for aging Hollywood actresses played by Debbie, Shirley MacLaine, Joan Collins and Elizabeth Taylor. By then Debbie had forgiven Liz for pinching her husband Eddie Fisher. In 2013 she appeared as Liberace’s mother in Behind the Candelabra. Her marriage to Eddie Fisher ended in divorce, as did her marriages to businessman Harry Karl and real estate manager Richard Hamlett. Her son Todd Fisher is a director and cinematographer. Debbie Reynolds was a great collector of Hollywood memorabilia and had established a museum to house the collection.

 

DON RICKLES (8 May 1926-6 April 2017)

The American stand-up comedian Don Rickles joined the US Navy after high school and served in World War II. After discharge he studied acting but took up comedy instead, becoming known as an ‘insult comic’ who would send up his audience, earning the name The Merchant of Venom. He made his film debut in Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), with Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster, followed by The Rabbit Trap, The Rat Race, The Man With X-Ray Eyes, Beach Party and its sequels, Enter Laughing, The Money Jungle, Kelly’s Heroes, Innocent Blood, Casino, Dirty Work, Quest for Camelot and Toy Story and its sequels (voicing Mr Potato Head) plus a few others along the way. Most of his career outside of stand-up in Las Vegas was spent on TV in The Thin Man, The Twilight Zone, Wagon Train, The Addams Family, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Burke’s Law, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Munsters and various chat shows. He was married to Barbara Sklar and they had two children.

 

EMMANUELLE RIVA (24 February 1927-27 January 2017)

It was a great disappointment when, after she had been nominated for an Oscar in 2013, Emmanuelle Rivathe 85-year-old French actress Emmanuelle Riva did not receive the award for her role in Michael Haneke’s Amour. However, she did win the best leading actress Bafta and was voted actress of the year in the London Critics’ Circle Awards, along with securing many other nominations and wins around the world. Riva also received a Bafta nomination for Hiroshima mon amour in 1961 and she won at Venice and in Mexico for Georges Franju’s Thérèse Desqueyroux in 1964. Amour was not even her last appearance, for she was in three more films after that and still has three more to be released. Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima mon amour was her first major film and the one that had the most impact in the UK. She also worked regularly on stage and on French television. In the cinema she was directed memorably by many of the great filmmakers of the time. Gillo Pontecorvo’s Kapò is about escaping from a concentration camp, and in Jean-Pierre Melville’s Léon Morin, prêtre she falls in love with a priest. Riva appeared in Franju’s Thomas l’imposteur, Andre Cayatte’s Les risques du metier, Marco Bellocchio’s Gli occhi, la bocca, Krzysztof Kieslowśki’s Trois couleurs: Bleu and Julie Delpy’s delightful Le Skylab, among many others in a career encompassing nearly one hundred film and TV appearances. However, for most filmgoers it is probably for Hiroshima mon amour and Amour that this great French actress will be remembered.

 

BRIAN RIX (27 January 1924-20 August 2016)

Although popular in his day as a farceur, Lord Rix will leave as his legacy his tireless campaigning for the rights of disabled people. He and his wife, actress Elspeth Gray, Brian Rixhad a Down’s syndrome daughter, Shelley, the first of their four children. In the 1950s there was no provision for children with that condition but Rix was determined to improve the situation by joining many charities for the mentally handicapped. He worked for Mencap from 1987 and was their president until he died. Before that Brian Rix was mostly known as an actor-manager at London’s Whitehall Theatre from 1950. His successes are part of theatrical history with farces such as Reluctant Heroes, Worm’s Eye View, Dry Rot, Simple Spymen, One For the Pot and Chase Me, Comrade. In 1966 he moved to the Garrick Theatre with a similar repertoire. He also appeared in television adaptations from 1952 until he retired from acting in 1977. Rix was a skilled performer even if some of his productions were hardly subtle affairs - but they appealed to a wide audience. He appeared in a few films,  including Reluctant Heroes (1951), What Every Woman Wants (1954), Up to His Neck (1955), Dry Rot (1956), Not Wanted on Voyage (1957), And the Same to You (1960), The Night We Dropped a Clanger and The Night We Got the Bird (both 1961). Rix was also involved with the Arts Council on arts and disability topics, the support of national, regional and ethnic minority theatres. Other campaigns he headed were respite for carers, childcare provision for those with disabilities, pensions for widows and widowers, and he was a founder member of ASH, the anti-smoking lobby. Before he died he expressed a wish to have voluntary euthanasia legalised.

 

FRANCO ROSSO (29 August 1941-9 December 2016)          

The Italian-born British filmmaker made his name with his first feature Babylon (1980), a film he made in London about a reggae musician who is subjected to the institutional racism of the time. Before that Rosso had made shorts, documentaries and TV work as a writer, film editor and producer, including The Mangrove Nine, Dread, Beat an’ Blood, about Linton Kwesi Johnson. Before Babylon he mainly worked in television on 64 Day Hero: A Boxer’s Tale, and Struggle for Stonebridge, until his 1988 feature film The Nature of the Beast. Ostensibly about a wild animal attacking local livestock in northern England, it was really about poverty and unemployment, something akin to Ken Loach’s Kes (1969) on which Rosso was assistant editor, his first film job. This led to work with John Lennon and Yoko Ono but the results never materialised. After Luche Libre (1991) the family moved to Ramsgate in Kent where Rosso raised prize-winning chickens.

  

ANDREW SACHS (7 April 1930-23 November 2016)

The Berlin-born actor Andrew Sachs will forever Andrew Sachsbe remembered as Manuel, the hapless waiter from Barcelona – “I know nothing!” – in the BBC TV sitcom Fawlty Towers. After studying at Rada for two terms he went into repertory, before making his West End debut in 1958 in the Whitehall farce Simple Spymen, with Brian Rix. His first credited film performance was in The Night We Dropped a Clanger (1959) also with Rix, with whom he worked on various TV shows and in other films. He was in Hitler: The Last Ten Days, and a couple of Pete Walker horror films, Frightmare and House of Mortal Sin. He appeared in Revenge of the Pink Panther, Mel Brooks’ History of the World Part I, Consuming Passions, and played Durdles in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Some of his later film work included roles in Nowhere in Africa (2001, which was nominated for a best foreign language Oscar), Dustin Hoffman’s Quartet (2012), Breaking the Bank (2014) with Kelsey Grammer and, finally, the uncredited role of the Mantel Clock in Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016).

  

PETER SALLIS (1 February 1921-2 June 2017)
Although the British actor Peter Sallis’s first job was, like his father, in banking, his call-up into the RAF during World War II actually led to his becoming an actor. WallaceWorking at RAF Cranfield saw him taking part in amateur dramatics and that was it. He studied at RADA, then appeared in rep and in 1946 made his London stage debut. Much of his early career was spent in theatre, although his TV work began with playing Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream, in 1947. His first film appearance was in Stranger from Venus (1954) with Patricia Neal, followed by roles in The Doctor’s Dilemma, The Scapegoat, Anastasia, Doctor in Love, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, No Love for Johnnie, The Curse of the Werewolf, The V.I.P.s, The Mouse on the Moon, Charlie Bubbles, The Reckoning, Scream and Scream Again, Taste the Blood of Dracula and many more. For Sallis the films were breaks between TV series such as Danger Man, The Avengers, Maigret, Z Cars, Doctor Who, Budgie, Callan, The Pallisers, and, of course, Last of the Summer Wine, in which Sallis played Cleggy in every one of the 295 episodes of the BBC sitcom, from 1973 to 2010. On stage he worked with Orson Welles and was in Hal Prince’s 1963 production of the musical She Loves Me (later filmed for TV), and also Baker Street, a musical on Sherlock Holmes. He was in John Osborne’s Inadmissable Evidence and the original London production of Kander & Ebb’s Cabaret, with Judi Dench. Apart from Last of the Summer Wine Peter Sallis will also be remembered as the voice of Wallace in Nick Park’s Aardmon Animation film A Grand Day Out and later The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave, both of which won Academy Awards and Baftas, and also The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, another Oscar-winner. Sallis was married to Elaine Usher and they had a son, Crispian, a film set-designer. However, after many separations they divorced in 1965. Sallis was awarded the OBE in 2007.

 

WILLIAM SCHALLERT (6 July 1922-8 May 2016)

Perhaps never a star, the character actor William Schallert, William Schallertwho was also a composer, pianist, singer and voice-over artist, was in films and on TV for almost seventy years. Starting with The Foxes of Harrow (1947) he clocked up over 370 appearances and never officially retired. As well as early films such as Mighty Joe Young, The Reckless Moment, M, The Man from Planet X and The Red Badge of Courage, he was also in, but often uncredited, Singin’ in the Rain, Riot in Cell Block 11, The High and the Mighty, Friendly Persuasion, Written on the Wind, Pillow Talk, Lonely Are the Brave, Some Came Running, In the Heat of the Night, Will Penny, Charley Varrick, Gremlins etc. There are more TV series and movies with Schallert than you can shake an aerial at including The Lone Ranger,Maverick, The Twilight Zone, Sea Hunt, Perry Mason, Dr Kildare, Lassie, 77 Sunset Strip, Rawhide, The Lucy Show, The Patty Duke Show, Star Trek, Get Smart, Hawaii Five-O, Gunsmoke, The Waltons, Lou Grant, St Elsewhere, Desperate Housewives etc. 

 

PETER SHAFFER (15 May 1926-6 June 2016)

Before the British playwright became established, he collaborated Garry Shandlingon crime novels with his twin brother Anthony Shaffer (who died in 2002). Eventually both became successful playwrights but Peter focussed on esoteric subjects, such as the Spanish capture of the Incas in The Royal Hunt of the Sun; the psychology behind the blinding of horses by a stable lad in Equus; and a riotous biographical play about the composer Mozart and his bête-noire Salieri in Amadeus which, when filmed in 1985, won an Oscar. All were staged by the National Theatre and all three were subsequently filmed. Before this, from the 1950s, Shaffer had some success with writing plays for television. His first stage play was Five Finger Exercise (1958), a study in family secrets as the arrival of a young tutor provides a catalyst for their revelations. It was filmed in 1962 with Rosalind Russell, Jack Hawkins and Maximilian Schell, although Shaffer did not write the screenplay. His play The Private Ear became The Pad and How To Use It when filmed in 1966, adapted by other hands. He had collaborated with Peter Brook on Lord of the Flies (1963) and later adapted The Public Eye for the film Follow Me! (1972), with Mia Farrow and Topol, Equus (1977) with Richard Burton and Peter Firth, and Amadeus (1984) with Tom Hulce and F. Murray Abraham. He also wrote more TV movies in what was not an immense output but one that had a touch of class and where his major stage works also proved popular on screen. Shaffer was made OBE in 1987 and received a knighthood in 2001.

 

GARRY SHANDLING (29 November 1929-24 March 2016)

The American comic writer, producer/director and actor/stand-up comedian mainly worked in television Garry Shandlingcreating his own shows such as It’s Garry Shandling’s Show (1986-90) and its alter ego The Larry Sanders Show (1992-98). He also wrote some episodes of Sanford and Son, the US version of Steptoe and Son, plus series for Harvey Korman and Welcome Back, Kotter. As an actor, apart from his TV work, he appeared in Love Affair with Warren Beatty, Annette Bening and Katharine Hepburn, Nora Ephon’s Mixed Nuts with Steve Martin, Hurlyburly with Sean Penn and Kevin Spacey, Mike Nichols’ What Planet Are You From?, with Bening again, Town & Country with Beatty again, Zoolander with Ben Stiller, Trust the Man with David Duchovny and Julianne Moore, Iron Man 2 with Robert Downey Jr and Captain America: The Winter Soldier with Chris Evans in 2014. He also did voiceover work on Dr Dolittle (1998), Over the Hedge (2006) and The Jungle Book (2016). He was an original and important innovator as a comedian and writer for American television and subsequently the winner of many comedy awards.

 

MADELEINE SHERWOOD (13 November 1922-23 April 2016)

The career of the Canadian actress was mainly in the theatre and on television. She was on stage from age four but began professionally on the CBC channel in plays and soap operas. Her Broadway debut in 1952 was in Horton Foote’s The Chase in which she took over from Kim Stanley. She played Abigail in the first production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible in 1953, while the following year saw Elia Kazan directing her as Mae Pollitt, the mother of the no-neck children in Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a part she recreated in the 1958 film with Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. She was also in the stage and screen Madeleine Sherwoodversions of Williams’s Sweet Bird of Youth playing Miss Lucy. In 1957 she became a life member of Lee Strasberg’s Actors’ Studio.

Other stage work included Brecht’s Arturo Ui, Camelot, The Night of the Iguana, Inadmissable Evidence and Miss Edwina, a play about Tennessee Williams’s mother. Sherwood even got to sing ‘What Do We Do? We Fly!’ in the first production of Do I Hear a Waltz?, Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim’s musical based on Arthur Laurents’s play and David Lean’s film Summertime.

Most of Sherwood’s work was, however, done on television although she made around a dozen feature films beginning with an uncredited role as a nurse in Kazan’s Baby Doll (1956) with Carroll Baker and Karl Malden. Other films included Delmer Daves’s Parrish (1961) with Troy Donahue and Claudette Colbert, Otto Preminger’s Hurry Sundown (1967) with Michael Caine and Jane Fonda, George Schafer’s Pendulum (1969) with George Peppard and Jean Seberg, Peter Medak’s The Changeling (1980) with George C. Scott and Trish Van Devere, and Arthur Hiller’s Teachers (1984) with Nick Nolte and JoBeth Williams. Her last film was An Unremarkable Life (1989), Amin Q. Chaudhri’s study of old people with Patricia Neal and Shelley Winters, although Sherwood came back in 2010 to direct a short film about her time at the Actors’ Studio. In the 1980s she had also directed and starred in a film called Goodnight Sweet Prince, made with funds from the American Film Institute’s grants to several actresses, including Cicely Tyson and Joanne Woodward, to make their own films.

Sherwood was kept busy on TV in such series as Guiding Light, Naked City, The Fugitive, Ben Casey, Columbo, Rich Man, Poor Man, Cagney & Lacey, Dynasty and the show she is best-remembered for, The Flying Nun (77 episodes, 1967-70) playing Mother Superior to Sally Field’s Sister Bertrille. Madeleine Sherwood was involved with Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights Movement – she had been blacklisted in the McCarthy era – and later on was active in the First Women’s Sexual Conference and did counselling workshops for Women and Incest. She was married to Robert Sherwood and they had one daughter.

 

SHEILA SIM (5 June 1922-19 January 2016)

The British actress is probably better known as the wife of Richard Attenborough. They met as students at RADA and married in 1945. Her first film was Powell and Pressburger’s A Canterbury Tale (1944), followed by Great Day (1945) Dancing with Crime (1947) and The Guinea Pig (1948) in which she appeared with her husband. Sim and Attenborough were famously in the first cast of the Agatha Christie play, The Mousetrap, in 1952. Like Christie Sim gave the run no more than six months. However, Richard had a ten per cent stake in the production which came in handy when he was raising money to film Gandhi. Other of her films include Dear Mr Prohack, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, The Magic Box, West of Zanzibar and The Night My Number Came Up, her last film in 1955 after which she retired to bring up their three children. The Attenboroughs were instrumental in founding Denville Hall, the actors home in Northwood where, along with Sheila’s brother, actor Gerald Sim, they spent their last years together.

  

ALAN SIMPSON (27 November 1929-8 February 2017)

From 1957, the scriptwriting partnership of Ray Galton and Alan Simpson produced some of the best comedy programmes on radio and television for some sixty years. They met in hospital when they were both suffering from tuberculosis and started writing for the hospital radio station. They began scripting for BBC radio in 1951 for Derek Roy’s show Happy-Go-Lucky, then with Eric Sykes contributed to Frankie Howerd’s Fine Goings On and eventually Hancock’s Half Hour (1954-59) which transferred to BBC Television from 1956 to 1961. They had also written for Bernard Braden and contributed ten one-off scripts for BBC TVs Comedy Playhouse, one of which, The Offer, about two rag and bone men, became Steptoe and Son (1962-74). The duo wrote Citizen James, a series for Sid James, and other TV shows for Frankie Howerd, Ken Dodd and Leslie Phillips plus television movies and an adaptation of Clochemerle. In the cinema they were not that successful. Apart from movie spin-offs of Steptoe and Son and Up the Chastity Belt for Frankie Howerd, there was The Rebel (1961) written when Hancock was at the height of his fame, The Bargee (1964), with Harry H. Corbett, The Spy With a Cold Nose (1966), the film version of Joe Orton’s Loot (1970) and a short called Le Petomane (1979) with Leonard Rossiter as the Frenchman with a music hall farting act. However, Alan Simpson and Ray Galton were essentially TV writers and in their heyday they were the best there was and their material still stands up today. They both received the OBE in 2000 and were awarded a Bafta Fellowship in 2016. Alan Simpson is survived by his writing partner Ray Galton, now aged 86.

   

DOUGLAS  SLOCOMBE (10 February 1913-22 February 2016)

Although I had seen many of the films Douglas Slocombe had photographed, it wasn’t until 1963 that I made a note of his name from the credits of Joseph Losey’s The Servant, in which the lighting and the photography were some of the best I had ever encountered, the whole look of the film being sharply contrasted in black and white, the chiaroscuro effect, a trick Slocombe used even for films in colour which he shot as if they were in monochrome. He started out as a photojournalist for Life magazine and Paris-Match before World War II, was a newsreel cameraman during the hostilities and subsequently joined Ealing Studios at the end of the war. After some short documentaries, his first feature film work (uncredited) was on San Demetrio London (1943), Ealing’s account of the Battle of the Atlantic. More films for Ealing followed including Dead of Night, The Captive Heart, Hue and Cry, The Loves of Joanna Godden, Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Lavender Hill Mob, Mandy, Lease of Life, The Titfield Thunderbolt and umpteen others. His range was enormous, taking in all genres from comedy and drama to horror (Taste of Fear, Circus of Horrors), musicals (The Young Ones, Jesus Christ Superstar), historical adventure (The Blue Max, The Lion in Winter, Julia, Nijinsky), action movies (Rollerball, Caravans) and even that unofficial James Bond movie Never Say Never Again. Steven Spielberg used Slocombe for three of his Indiana Jones films and for second unit work on Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Having worked on some 80 films Slocombe retired at age 76 following Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Many of these films were outstanding because of Slocombe’s expertise and, if you think about such classics as It Always Rains on Sunday (1947), Saraband for Dead Lovers (1948), Dance Hall (1950), The Man in the White Suit (1951), Davy (1958), The Boy Who Stole a Million (1960), The L-Shaped Room (1952), Freud (1962), A High Wind in Jamaica (1965), Robbery (1967) and The Music Lovers (1970), they were all notable for their cinematography and, as with The Servant and Raiders of the Lost Ark (for which Slocombe never used a light meter) it is always the appearance of the film that is most memorable. Douglas Slocombe certainly made an unforgettable contribution to the film industry for which, in 2008, he was awarded an OBE.

 

Douglas Slocombe II

Douglas Slocombe (right) with his friend, the 103-year old cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitzky; 

photo: Frances Cameron-Wilson

   

LIZ SMITH (11 December 1921-24 December 2016)

Scunthorpe-born actress Liz Smith (real name Betty Gleadle) Liz Smithcame to professional acting at the late age of fifty. After an uncredited role in John Boorman’s Leo the Last (1970) she was discovered by Mike Leigh, who cast her as Pat’s mother in his first film Bleak Moments. After that she mainly worked in television, including Last of the Summer Wine, Bootsie and Snudge, David Copperfield, Emmerdale Farm, Nicholas Nickleby, The Vicar of Dibley, Lark Rise to Candleford and The Royle Family as Nana Norma, for which she will be best remembered. However, there were more films, including It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet, The Duellists, Agatha, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Britannia Hospital, A Private Function, Little Dorrit, We Think the World of You, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Secrets and Lies – Mike Leigh again. Liz Smith generally played mums, grans and old ducks in Dickens adaptations, at which she excelled. She was married to Jack Thomas and had two children. She was awarded the MBE in 2009. Her autobiography, Our Betty, is a delightful memoir of an unusual but rewarding life.

 

ROGER SMITH (18 December 1932-4 June 2017)

The American actor Roger Smith, most famous for appearing on the Roger Smith77 Sunset Strip TV series from 1958, got his big break through meeting James Cagney while in the US Naval Reserve in Hawaii. Cagney suggested he try the movies and, following some TV appearances, Smith gained a contract with Columbia Pictures in 1957, appearing in Teenage Delinquents, Operation Mad Ball and Crash Landing. Cagney invited him to appear in Man of a Thousand Faces, a biopic of Lon Chaney, and then Never Steal Anything Small. He also played the older Patrick Dennis in Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell. But television called again and Smith landed the part of private detective Jeff Spencer in 77 Sunset Strip, a part he had already played in Hawaiian Eye and Surfside 6. He was in the series until 1963 when he became ill with a blood clot on his brain. Forced to give up acting, he formed a production company with his manager Allan Carr, while also returning to television and the theatre. However, after the TV series of Mr Roberts and a couple of movies in 1968, he contracted a muscle and nerve disorder and retired from acting altogether. Having divorced his first wife, actress Victoria Shaw with whom he had three children, Smith married actress-singer Ann-Margret in 1967. Becoming her manager he produced her Las Vegas shows and TV specials and helped  her recover from a near fatal accident. He also wrote the films C.C & Company (for Ann-Margret) and They Don’t Need Pajamas at Rosie’s. Smith’s health subsequently recovered and he and Ann-Margret stayed married for fifty years until his death. 

 

BUD SPENCER (31 October 1929-27 June 2016)

Bud Spencer, a former champion swimmer and Olympic water polo player, was an Italian actor (born Carlo Pedersoli) who, like his regular co-star Terence Hill (born Mario Girotti) Bud Spencerassumed an American sounding name in order to enter the US and European film markets – Bud after Budweiser and Spencer after Tracy. His career was mostly geared to cowboy films, the oft-named spaghetti western or pizza oater movie genre. His first (uncredited) film appearance was in an Italian comedy, Quel fantasma di mio marito (1950). He then appeared in Quo Vadis, the 1951 MGM epic filmed in Italy, after which he was in many minor movies but with little success until his change of name in the late 1960s when he began working with Terence Hill in such titles as Ace High, The Black Pirate, They Call Me Trinity and its many sequels. Not all his films reached the UK, but among those that did were Dario Argento’s Four Flies on Grey Velvet, Watch Out We’re Mad and The Night Before Christmas (directed by Hill). For the rest of his career Spencer relied on more westerns and the Flatfoot films with him playing Inspector Flatfoot, until Italian television cast him in series such as Big Man (as Jack Clementi), Extralarge (as private eye Jack ‘Extralarge’ Costello), We Are Angels, a prison break comedy, and Recipe for Crime (2010), with Bud as a chef, one of his final roles. In his time he also trained as an air pilot and formed his own air transport company and later on a children’s clothing firm. In 2005 he turned to politics, standing for the Forzia Italia party, but without ever getting into power.

 

JAMES STACY (23 December 1936-9 September 2016)

The American actor James Stacy first wanted to be a professional football player but turned to acting at a friend’s suggestion. His first uncredited film appearance was in Sayonara (1957) with Marlon Brando. He was a sailor in South Pacific (1958) and continued in small parts on TV in Cheyenne, The Donna Reed Show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Perry Mason etc and the title role in Lancer, as well as Disney’s Summer Magic. In the 1970s he was in The Streets of San Francisco, Marcus Welby M.D. and Gunsmoke. However, in 1973 he lost an arm and a leg in a motorcycle accident but returned to work in 1975 in a role created for him by Kirk Douglas in Posse. He continued to work mainly on TV until 1992 but more trouble lay ahead. In 1995 he was arrested for child molestation, but fled and tried suicide. In 1996 he was charged again for child abuse and served six years in jail. Stacy was divorced from both Connie Stevens and Kim Darby. The good news is that he was Emmy-nominated twice for Just a Little Inconvenience (1977) and Cagney & Lacey (1981).

 

KAY STARR (21 July 1922-3 November 2016)

The popular American singer who had great success in the 1950s with her chart hits ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and ‘Rock and Roll Waltz’ possessed a distinctively husky voice that endeared her to her many fans. Born Katherine Starks in Oklahoma, she was singing from an early age, winning a radio show contest at the age of seven. On film she mostly appeared as herself from 1944, firstly in the short Stop That Dancin’ Up There; then she was the singing voice of Adele Jergens in Down to Earth (1947), with Rita Hayworth. She sang with many other singers in two Joseph Santley music features, Make Believe Ballroom (1949) and When You’re Smiling (1950). After that it was television that called her in the 1950s and ’60s. She had parts in the TV movies The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Mr Smith Goes to Washington, with Fess Parker, and The Red Skelton Hour. Incidentally, her voice has often been used on film and TV soundtracks, including Happy Days, Police Woman, Let Him Have It, L.A. Confidential, Shutter Island, and even Call the Midwife. She was married six times.

 

DAVID STOREY (13 July 1933-27 March 2017)

Although chiefly a novelist and playwright, David Storey often adapted his own books and plays for both the big and small screen. Yorkshire-born, he trained as an artist at the Slade School in London during the week but returned to Leeds at weekends to play professional rugby. His first novel, This Sporting Life, published in 1960 and based on his own experience, was subsequently filmed by Lindsay Anderson with Richard Harris. Some of his Royal Court plays directed by Anderson, Home, Early Days, In Celebration, The Contractor were all adapted for television, while In Celebration was also filmed by Anderson for the American Film Theatre (screened on TV in the US and released in cinemas in the UK). He was married to Barbara Hamilton (who died in 2015), with whom he had two sons and two daughters. He continued writing mainly novels and plays, and exhibited a collection of his drawings in 2016.

  

JEREMY SUMMERS (18 August 1931-14 December 2016)

The British film and TV director Jeremy Summers enjoyed a long career from the early 1950s up to 2001, directing many popular genre films, comedies, musicals, horror and action adventures and some high-profile television series without ever helming any real classics of the cinema. He was a journeyman director like many in the British film industry who could turn their hand to whatever came along. He began as an assistant director on Derby Day, the Anna Neagle romantic comedy-drama from 1952. Then, in 1960, he directed and co-wrote Depth Charge, a B-movie released by British Lion. More features followed – The Punch and Judy Man, with Tony Hancock, Crooks in Cloisters, Ferry Across the Mersey with Gerry and the Pacemakers, San Ferry Ann and Dateline Diamonds, by which time he was also directing for TV His other film work included The Vengeance of Fu Manchu, Five Golden Dragons, House of a Thousand Dolls, Eve and Nightmare. The rest of his career was taken up with more television, including Tenko, Howard’s Way, Coronation Street, The Bill and Brookside.

  

WOLFGANG SUSCHITZKY (29 August 1912-7 October 2016)

Viennese-born cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitzky, who has died aged 104, fled from fascism in Austria in the 1930s and eventually settled in the UK. Also known as a brilliant photographer, he captured London in the 1930s and ’40s in a way that no other photographer could. Brilliantly using light and shade, his work is so evocative that it stays for ever in the memory. His shot of St Paul’s cathedral nestling among the wartime ruins of London speaks volumes. As a cinematographer, Wolf began with documentary shorts from the 1940s right up to 1977 when he filmed The Queen’s Garden, directed by James Hill, with whom he also worked on The Young Visiters (1984) and earlier on Lunch Hour (1961; with a screenplay by John Mortimer), a film that was hardly shown until it appeared on TV and was issued on DVD.

Other features he worked on include No Resting Place (1951), Cat and Mouse (1958), The Bespoke Overcoat (1955), The Boy Who Loved Horses (1961), The Small World of Sammy Lee (1963), Ulysses (1967), The Vengeance of She (1968), Ring of Bright Water (1969) and Living Free (1972), Entertaining Mr Sloane (1970), Theatre of Blood (1973), Something to Hide (1972), Good and Bad at Games (1983, TV) and The Chain (1984), both by Jack Gold, and Claudia (1985), from a story by Mohamed Khan (q.v.). Perhaps Wolf’s most memorable contribution was on Get Carter (1971), Mike Hodges’ British gangster film with Michael Caine in one of his best roles and Suschitzky’s cinematography at its finest. He received a special award from Bafta for his cinematography in 2012, his one hundredth birthday year.

Wolfgang Suschitzky created a photographic dynasty in that his son Peter Suschitzky is also a celebrated cinematographer (Privilege, Lisztomania, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Empire Strikes Back, Mars Attacks! and many of David Cronenberg’s films). Wolf’s grandson Adam, son of Peter, is a noted director of photography on television. He also had a daughter, Julia Donat, and another son, Misha Donat, who is a musician and film composer (Charlie Bubbles, The White Bus, etc).

  

DAVID SWIFT (3 April 1931-8 April 2016

The British actor David Swift will mainly be remembered for his role as Henry Davenport, the bumptious and cantankerous old lech of a newsreader in Drop the Dead Donkey, Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin’s David Swifthilarious sitcom about news gathering at the fictitious TV channel Globelink News, which Channel 4 aired for six series during the 1990s. He didn’t, however, start out as a performer, even though both his wife Paula Jacobs and his brother Clive Swift were actors. He trained as a lawyer but went into business instead, working for the textile company operated by his wife’s father, but soon changed professions for the theatre. At the same time he ran a sound recording and film editing business and later a production company employing the likes of documentarists John Pilger and Kenneth Griffith. On stage he began in repertory in Dundee and then progressed to the RSC and the West End. On TV from 1964, he made about 100 appearances in such series as Compact, Love Story, Hereward the Wake, The Baron, The Avengers, A Family at War, Budgie, Casanova, Follyfoot, War and Peace, Couples, The Professionals, The Day of the Triffids, Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years, Freud, Cold Warrior, The Diary of Anne Frank, Vanity Fair, Oscar Charlie and Holby City, among others, including Drop the Dead Donkey. He made a few films over the years such as George Cukor’s Travels With My Aunt (1972) with Maggie Smith, Fred Zinnemann’s The Day of the Jackal (1973) with Edward Fox, Cliff Owen’s No Sex Please – We’re British (1973) with Ronnie Corbett, Ken Hughes’ The Internecine Project (1974) with James Coburn, Colin Gregg’s We Think the World of You (1988) with Alan Bates, and Tim Sullivan’s Jack and Sarah (1995) with Richard E. Grant, plus many more TV movies.

 

MICHAEL TUCHNER (24 June 1932-17 February 2017)

The Berlin-born film and television director lived in Britain from the age of seven. He made most of his cinema films between 1970 and 1990, beginning with Villain in 1971, from a screenplay by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, with Richard Burton as an East End gangster. The following year he directed Fear Is the Key, an Alistair MacLean actioner, with Barry Newman. Mr Quilp (1975) was a musical version of Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop with Anthony Newley. The Likely Lads (1975) had another script from Clement and La Frenais, based on their TV show, a film that holds up well today. Trenchcoat (1983) was a Disney mystery with Margot Kidder and Robert Hays; Wilt (1990) was a Tom Sharpe story with Griff Rhys Jones as a would-be wife murderer. Tuchner’s last film for the cinema was Back to the Secret Garden (2001), a sequel with Joan Plowright. The rest of his busy career was taken up with television series, films and documentaries, including episodes of Follyfoot, Play for Today, Whicker’s World, The One and Only Phyllis Dixey, Tales of the Unexpected, Hart to Hart, etc. His last TV movie was A Place Called Home in 2004, with Ann-Margret. Tuchner was nominated four times for a Bafta, winning for the BBC’s Bar Mitzvah Boy in 1977.

  

PETER VAUGHAN (4 April 1923-6 December 2016)

The British actor Peter Vaughan had an immensely successful career on stage, film and television over a period of some 75 years from provincial rep (at the age of 16), right up to his last film, Albatross (2011). Here was a great character actor who could play any part, charming or villainous, with equal conviction. Peter VaughanHe may be best remembered for his role in the sitcom (and film) of Porridge, as the arch-criminal Harry Grout who ruled with relish over Slade Prison’s family of felons. Vaughan was also in many of the popular TV series from the 1950s onward, up to and including Game of Thrones in 2015. He was particularly outstanding in the BBC’s Our Friends in the North.

He began his career on stage but by 1954 was on television, too, until he started appearing, uncredited, in films such as The 39 Steps with Kenneth More, Sapphire, Village of the Damned and Make Mine Mink, playing policemen in all four. More police roles came his way in I Thank a Fool, The Devil’s Agent, Hancock (on TV), and The Victors. Stepping out of character in 1964 Vaughan played a parsimonious insurance investigator in the B-feature Smokescreen, in which he was not the heavy for a change but an interesting and eccentric loner.

Other of his films include Hammer’s Fanatic with Tallulah Bankhead, the Boultings’ Rotten to the Core, The Naked Runner, The Bofors Gun, Straw Dogs, The Pied Piper, Ken Russell’s Savage Messiah and Valentino, John Huston’s The Mackintosh Man, Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits and Brazil, and The French Lieutenant’s Woman. He was particularly moving as Anthony Hopkins’s father in The Remains of the Day. Vaughan was married twice, both to actresses, first to Billie Whitelaw for 14 years from 1952 and then Lillias Walker for fifty years until his death.

 

ROBERT VAUGHN (22 November 1932-11 November 2016)

American actor Robert Vaughn initially did stage work but soon entered Robert Vaughntelevision and saw most of his career on the box. Having appeared in many of the popular series – As the World Turns, Gunsmoke, Dragnet, etc – he finally got his own show, The Lieutenant in 1963 and then The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in 1964 which made his name forever. He carried a spear in his first film, The Ten Commandments (1956), and then made a few B-pictures including Roger Corman’s Teenage Cave Man (1958). His first major role was in The Young Philadelphians (1959) earning him an Oscar nomination and it was followed by The Magnificent Seven (1960). After that it was a mixture of TV and movies, with just a few outstanding films such as Borderlines, Bullitt, Julius Caesar, The Mind of Mr Soames, The Towering Inferno, S.O.B., Superman III etc. Vaughn turned up in TV series of The A Team and The Magnificent Seven (playing a judge) and he won an Emmy for Washington Behind Closed Doors (1977). In Britain he made the TV series The Protectors and later on Hustle (from 2004) saw him as the head of a gang of con artists. Then he did three months on Coronation Street as a suspect businessman. His final film was Victoria Negri’s Gold Star (2016).

  

ANDRZEJ WAJDA (6 March 1926-6 October 2016)        

The Polish director Andrzej Wajda became famous during the 1950s for his extraordinary trilogy of films documenting Poland during and just after World War II. A Generation (1954) was about the Polish young who survived the war but were embittered by its effects. Kanal (1957) David Swiftdepicted the escape by many Poles during the Nazi invasion of 1944, fleeing via the sewers of Warsaw. Finally, Ashes and Diamonds (1958) was set at the end of the war but, far from being a celebration at the cease of hostilities, it had a strong anti-war message. It starred a young actor called Zbigniew Cybulski, often described as the ‘Polish James Dean’: he was rebellious and died young at age 40. Wajda went on to make many more films, but they were not always appreciated by those in charge. His criticisms of the Polish authorities were couched in symbolism as the director made films based on classic Polish novels. When he returned to making more political films he came up against censorship. His film Man of Marble (1970) about the fall from grace of a worker was shelved for four years. However, there was a sequel, Man of Iron (1981), which dealt with the son of the hero of Man of Marble and his political struggles. However, Wajda lived to see the situation change in Poland with the arrival of Lech Walesa and Wajda himself entered the political arena. Wajda had a long career in cinema despite all the obstacles, making over fifty features. Apart from the trilogy, among his best are Gates to Paradise, Wesele, Landscape After Battle, The Promised Land, Danton, Walesa: Man of Hope and Katyn, about the slaughter by the Nazis of thousands of Polish people (including Wajda’s own father). His final film, Afterimage, the biography of a Polish avant-garde artist who fought against the system, is due to be released in 2017. Wajda’s films won many awards at Cannes, Berlin and Moscow, and he was nominated four times for an Academy Award. In 2000 he was finally given an honorary Oscar.

 

JANET WALDO (14 February 1920-12 June 2016)

Although she was discovered by Bing Crosby and subsequently landed a contract Janet Waldowith Paramount Pictures, actress Janet Waldo was never that happy making films. At the start of her career she played many bit parts, often uncredited. Her first major film was Waterloo Bridge (1940) with Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh. That was followed by more bit parts in minor films and westerns. From 1952 she began appearing on TV in such series as I Love Lucy, The Phil Silvers Show, The Andy Griffith Show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet etc. Having also done radio programmes Waldo found her true metier as a voice-over artist and from the mid-1960s she concentrated on voice work, contributing to The Flintstones, The Atom Ant Show, Shazzan etc, until she found fame in Wacky Races (1968-69) as the voice of Penelope Pitstop. She then had her own show, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, plus other animated series, Josie and the Pussycats, The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, The Addams Family cartoon series (as Morticia), Inch High, Private Eye, Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo and Alvin and the Chipmunks, among many other series, and, of course, she was the voice of Judy Jetson in The Jetsons TV series and movie spin-off. She retired in 2000 after voicing King of the Hill and the Wacky Races video game.

 

MORAY WATSON (25 June 1928-2 May 2017)

Sometimes cast as a military man in films and television, actor Moray Watson was a captain in the army before studying drama at the Webber Douglas Academy. He appeared in rep at Nottingham, eventually reaching London in Small Hotel and The Grass Is Greener by Hugh and Margaret Williams. He also appeared in Stanley Donen’s 1960 film version with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. Mainly wedded to the theatre and television, Watson did make the occasional film from Find the Lady in 1956, through The Valiant with John Mills, Operation Crossbow with Sophia Loren and John Mills, Every Home Should Have One with Marty Feldman and The Sea Wolves with Gregory Peck. Never out of work, Watson appeared in dozens of TV films and series including Compact, The Avengers, Z Cars, Paul Temple, Doctor Who, Minder, Rumpole of the Bailey, and perhaps his most memorable role, that of the Brigadier in The Darling Buds of May. He retired in 2014.

Moray Watson  

Moray Watson 

 

MICHAEL WEARING (12 March 1939-5 May 2017)

Michael Wearing was chiefly known as a BBC Television producer responsible Michael Wearingfor some of the most iconic drama series of the 1980s and ’90s. Alan Bleasdale’s Boys from the Blackstuff (1982) was the sequel to the original 1980 Play for Today, The Black Stuff. The series won a Bafta award, as did Wearing’s production of Edge of Darkness (1985), with Bob Peck, which he later remade as a feature film. From 1980 he also produced The History Man, Blind Justice, Ashenden, Common as Muck, Martin Chuzzlewit, Seaforth, Pride and Prejudice, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, Our Friends in the North, Holding On, Our Mutual Friend, Gormenghast and many other TV movies, series and serials. For the cinema he started with Bellman and True (1987, with Bernard Hill from Blackstuff), The Advocate (1993, with Colin Firth), Human Traffic (1999), and from 2000 When the Sky Falls, South West 9, Mystics, Red Mercury and, finally, Edge of Darkness with Mel Gibson. In 1997 he won the Alan Clarke Bafta award for Outstanding Achievement in Television. Michael Wearing had two children, the late Catherine Wearing, a former journalist for What’s On In London, who also became a television producer, and Benjamin Wearing, a film and television cameraman, who survives him.

 

FRITZ WEAVER (19 January 1926-26 November 2016)

American actor Fritz Weaver made his Broadway acting debut in Enid Bagnold’s The Chalk Garden in 1955, for which he earned a Tony Award nomination. He won a Best Actor Tony for Robert Marasco’s Child’s Play but lost out to James Mason in the film version of 1972. He had been in television since 1948 and continued for much of his career on the small screen. Never perhaps a star, Weaver was always a reliable character actor who brought dignity to any role he played. He was in more films as his career progressed, from his first, Sidney Lumet’s Fail-Safe (1964), through Guy Green’s A Walk in the Spring Rain (1970), Mike Nichols’ The Day of the Dolphin, Marathon Man, Frankenheimer’s Black Sunday, Donald Cammell’s Demon Seed, Lumet’s Power, the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair, and The Cobbler (2014), with Adam Sandler. His last film was The Congressman (2016), with Treat Williams.

 

FRED WEINTRAUB (27 April 1928-5 March 2017)

Hollywood writer and producer Fred Weintraub made Fred Weintrauba lot of feature films for both the cinema and television and many documentaries, too. His first film in 1972, Rage, about a military gas leak, was directed by George C. Scott, who also starred. Weintraub’s first success, the following year, was Enter the Dragon, which starred Bruce Lee. He followed this with more martial arts, action and exploitation movies such as Black Belt Jones and Hot Potato with Jim Kelly, Truck Turner with Isaac Hayes, Golden Needles and The Pack with Joe Don Baker, and The Ultimate Warrior with Yul Brynner. In Britain he made Trial by Combat with John Mills, and also produced Steve McQueen’s penultimate film, Tom Horn. Then it was back to martial arts with Jackie Chan in Battle Creek Brawl and Joe Lewis in Force: Five and then High Road to China with Tom Selleck. Weintraub co-wrote The Women’s Club with his wife Sandra, who also directed the film, which was about a writer turned rent boy. There was Trouble Bound with Michael Madsen, Patricia Arquette and Billy Bob Thornton and many other action films up to 2003. Weintraub’s last production was Dream Warrior, a futuristic sci-fi thriller.

 

ADAM WEST (19 September 1928-9 June 2017)

Although he clocked up nearly 200 credits on film and television, Adam Westactor Adam West was never a big star or even a leading man, except for Batman, the 1966 TV series and its spin-off movie which made his name for evermore. On leaving the US Army, West toured the States setting up military TV stations. Then he joined a kids’ TV programme, The Kini Popo Show in Hawaii. Following television work from 1954 and after the Boris Karloff film Voodoo Island, West got his Hollywood break in 1959 in The Young Philadelphians, with Paul Newman. Several TV westerns ensued until his next big film, Geronimo (1962), with Chuck Connors. More TV included The Detectives (currently replaying on Talking Pictures TV), Laramie, Bonanza, Maverick, Gunsmoke etc. West was never in many major movies, with perhaps Hooper and The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker being the exceptions. However, he still worked continuously on TV, latterly doing voiceover work on various animated Batman series and as Mayor Adam West in Family Guy, another certainty for being remembered by posterity. He was offered the role of James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever, but declined it as he thought it needed a British actor. Adam West married three times, had four children and two stepchildren.

 

GENE WILDER (11 June 1933-29 August 2016)

The American comedy actor began his career in the theatre in an off-Broadway Gene Wilderproduction of Arnold Wesker’s Roots in 1961. He continued on stage and on television until his first film in 1967, a small part in Bonnie and Clyde. Having met director Mel Brooks he was cast in The Producers (1967) as the hysterical accountant Leo Bloom and subsequently made his best films with Brooks: as the drunken cowboy in Blazing Saddles and the Doctor in Young Frankenstein, which he co-wrote with Brooks. He had also made an impression in Start the Revolution Without Me (1970), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) and Woody Allen’s Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex… (1972). Wilder took to writing and directing and, although The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother and The World’s Greatest Lover were reasonably good, his Haunted Honeymoon and The Woman in Red were not as funny as they should have been. He worked with Richard Pryor (who had co-written Blazing Saddles) on Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1982), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) and Another You (1991). He also made films with the third of his four wives, Gilda Radner (she died in 1989): Hanky Panky, The Woman in Red and Haunted Honeymoon. Wilder also did further stage work in London in Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor in 1996. His last appearances included the TV series Something Wilder (1994-5) and Will and Grace (2002-3) after which he painted, wrote novels and worked for his cancer charity. Finally, he was the voice of Elmer in Yo Gabba Gabba! (2015).

 

DOUGLAS WILMER (8 January 1920-31 March 2016)

Memories of the British actor Douglas Wilmer may recall his uncanny resemblance to the original Sherlock Holmes as depicted by Sidney Paget in Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories first published in The Strand magazine. His career Douglas Wilmeras an actor started in theatre at Rugby in 1945. After training at RADA he specialised in classical parts, performing many roles in Shakespeare. He was in two plays by Ben Jonson, The Silent Woman and Bartholomew Fair, and in a production of Lulu: A Sex Tragedy, Peter Barnes’ adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s plays Earth Spirit and Pandora’s Box at Nottingham and in London in 1970. His first film appearance was in Men of Sherwood Forest (1954) and he was also in the Robin Hood television series. His first major film, however, was Olivier’s Richard III (1955) playing The Lord Dorset. Wilmer went on to appear in supporting roles in many major films including The Battle of the River Plate with Peter Finch, El Cid with Charlton Heston, Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor, The Fall of the Roman Empire with Sophia Loren, A Shot in the Dark with Peter Sellers, One Way Pendulum with Eric Sykes, and Khartoum with Heston and Olivier. He continued to appear on television and in other films including playing Nayland Smith in two Fu Manchu films, plus The Reckoning, Patton, Cromwell, The Vampire Lovers, Anthony and Cleopatra and Octopussy, among many others. In 1964 Wilmer first appeared as Sherlock Holmes in BBC TV’s The Speckled Band, with Nigel Stock as Watson, and later in a series of twelve further episodes. He also played Professor Van Dusen in the TV series The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes and had a small part as Holmes in the Gene Wilder comedy The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother (1975). He retired from acting in 1988 but had a final cameo role in The Reichenbach Fall episode of Benedict Cumberbatch’s 2012 Sherlock TV series. The Sherlock Holmes Society of London gave Wilmer honorary membership for being the definitive Holmes. He also recorded some of the Conan Doyle stories on audio cassette, but spent his last years from 2001 as a successful painter at his home in Suffolk.

 

VICTORIA WOOD (19 May 1953-20 April 2016)

The premature death of the writer and entertainer Victoria Wood has left a huge gap in the talent pool that is the best of British television. As a solo artist she was up there on the same level as Ken Dodd and I cannot remember laughing at any other comedians as much I have with Doddy and Victoria. And when she was with Julie Walters performing Wood’s own scripts, they were the equivalent of The Two Ronnies or Morecambe and Wise. Although fairly quiet on her own, on stage or on television she blossomed into a comic persona that at times could also be streaked with pathos. Just recall the more poignant moments in dinnerladies amongst all the knockabout hilarity; or the difference between the two sisters in her TV movie Pat and Margaret, one a grumpy but successful star, the other a sad couch potato with no achievements; or the sketch from Victoria Wood As Seen On TV, in which she played a cross-channel swimmer with parents who couldn’t wait to see the back of her disappearing over the horizon.

Victoria Wood was born in Greater Manchester and studied drama at the University of Birmingham. Her debut as a performer in 1974 was in New Faces, the TV talent contest, in which she sang her own songs, and she subsequently appeared on Esther Rantzen’s consumer programme That’s Life! She had met Julie Walters at Manchester victoria Wood Polytechnic and again later when they both appeared in a revue called In at the Death in 1978. This led to a commission for her first play Talent which was seen by Peter Eckersley, the head of drama at Granada TV who asked her to adapt it for television, starring both Wood and Walters. More plays materialised and a TV sketch show actually called Wood and Walters was commissioned by Eckersley, but he died during the run and the show suffered because of that. By 1984 she had joined the BBC for Victoria Wood As Seen On TV. The rest is television history and other shows, Victoria Wood and dinnerladies, subsequently followed. 

For many years Victoria Wood was a stand-up comedian and singer-songwriter. She toured very successfully all over the UK, including playing for two weeks at the Royal Albert Hall. Her act combined her observations on life as she saw it in comic monologues and of course her own songs, happy and sad, punctuated the shows. ‘The Ballad of Freda and Barry’ is perhaps her most famous and funniest song about a randy woman and her sexually recalcitrant partner: “Let’s do it, let’s do it, I really want to run amok…” Further television programmes included several one-off specials, and then Acorn Antiques, her send-up of a Crossroads type TV soap opera, hit the live stage. Branching out into serious drama Wood then adapted the wartime diaries of Nella Last for Housewife, 49 (2006) and also looked back at Victorian times for films on the British Empire in India, China, Borneo, Ghana, Jamaica, Zambia, Newfoundland and Australasia, in Victoria’s Empire (2007). She also appeared in other programmes not written by her, such as Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes (2007) and Mary Norton’s The Borrowers (2011).

Returning to TV comedy in 2009, Wood wrote a Christmas special that included a send-up of all the then current period dramas such as Lark Rise to Candleford, Little Dorrit and Cranford in Lark Pies to Cranchesterford. She had the idea for a biographical drama about Morecambe and Wise called Eric and Ernie (2011) in which she played Eric’s mother. That Day We Sang was Wood’s musical about two people who meet and fall in love on a television programme in 1969 and recall their experiences when they sang in the same choir forty years earlier. It was written for the Manchester International Festival and performed at the Manchester Opera House, and then later staged at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre and finally for television in 2014 when it starred Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton. Loving Miss Hatto (2012), written by Victoria Wood, was a TV film about the concert pianist Joyce Hatto and the controversy surrounding the release of her many recordings that were allegedly by the pianist herself but which in fact were fraudulent copies by other musicians.

Victoria Wood had plans to write a film for the cinema but it never happened. Perhaps wisely she did not go down the route of many TV comedians by putting her comic persona into feature films, an act that was the undoing of many a stand-up, up to and including Morecambe and Wise. She did appear, however, in a couple of cinema films namely Terry Jones’s The Wind in the Willows (1996) as the Tea Lady and The League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse (2005) as Queen Mary II. What Victoria needed was a live audience or a television audience that she could talk to and sing to in an intimate, confidential way. I have seen her live and on television, have heard her on radio and on records and even had dinner with her. In performance she always induced great gales of laughter for whatever she did and I can still hear the roar of the audience and recall feeling that I have laughed so much, almost painfully so, that I cannot laugh any more. There are not too many entertainers today about which that can be said. The passing of Victoria Wood is a sad day indeed. Victoria Wood married the magician Geoffrey Durham in 1980, although they separated in 2002. They had two children. Victoria Wood won many awards for her work, including several Baftas. She was also given an OBE and awarded the CBE for her contribution to drama.

 

ANTON YELCHIN (11 March 1989-19 June 2016)

It is a real shame that this promising young American actor should die at the age of just 27, from a freak accident in which his car ran him down in his own driveway. Anton YelchinHis parents were professional ice skaters but Anton always wanted to be an actor from the age of four. His first appearance was in the TV series E.R. at the age of eleven, after which he was never out of work. In 2001 he was in Along Came a Spider with Morgan Freeman and in Hearts in Atlantis with Anthony Hopkins. He then continued in films and on TV in Taken, The Practice, Without a Trace, NYPD Blue, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Huff, Criminal Minds etc. He was in Nick Cassavetes’ Alpha Dog (2006), played the title role in Jon Poll’s Charlie Bartlett (2007) with Robert Downey Jr, but then really made his name as Pavel Chekov in J.J. Abrams’ rebooted series of Star Trek (2009). After this he could do no wrong with projects such as Terminator Salvation, Jodie Foster’s The Beaver (as the love interest of Jennifer Lawrence), Roland Joffé’s You and I, and the remake of Fright Night with Colin Farrell and Imogen Poots. Yelchin was the voice of Clumsy in The Smurfs and he repeated his role of Chekov in two more Star Trek movies, including the upcoming Star Trek Beyond and the franchise’s video game. He was also the star of the harrowing, highly suspenseful Green Room (2015), again with Imogen Poots. There are four more films with Yelchin still to be released. With some forty features alone to his name, Anton Yelchin at just 27-years-old obviously had a potentially great future ahead, but it was not to be and that is very sad indeed.

 

ALAN YOUNG (19 November 1919-19 May 2016)

Northumberland-born Alan Young moved to Canada from the Alan YoungUK at age six. He was on radio as a teenager and had his own show on CBC at 17. His first film was Margie (1946) with Jeanne Crain, followed by Chicken Every Sunday with Dan Dailey, and Mr Belvedere Goes to College, with Clifton Webb. From the end of the 1940s he toured the US with a theatre show which led to having his own TV comedy revue on CBS, which ran for three years from 1951. His career lasted over seventy years on TV and films, encompassing many famous series but he is best remembered for 144 episodes of Mister Ed, the one about the talking horse. He also did voice-overs for Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo, Battle of the Planets, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Beauty and the Beast, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Duck Tales, The Ren & Stimpy Show and many more – over 100 titles including videogames. Other films were Androcles and the Lion (1953), tom thumb (1958), The Cat From Outer Space (1978), Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), Em and Me (2004), but perhaps his best film was George Pal’s 1960 version of H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine. He was also in the 2002 remake with Guy Pearce, playing a cameo role as a florist, and before his death had narrated an animated version of the same story.

 

 

  

 

MICHAEL DARVELL