Monday, March 27, 2017

RIP Alessandro Alessandroni

Goodbye to Alessandro Alessandroni, the western world's most famous ‘whistle’

The composer, conductor and arranger Alessandro Alessandroni died in Rome. He had just turned 92 years-old. Celebrated for his 'whistle' which made many great soundtracks of the spaghetti western genre. 'For a Few Dollars More' is its 'booed' most iconic.

La Repubblica ·
By Valeria Rusconi and Ernesto Assante
March 27, 2017

"It's very simple. I phoned Ennio Morricone and he told me: 'Sandro, come down here for a moment, in the room, we need you to whistle. Well, it was really a whistle, nothing more, but think about what happened next ... When we saw the film, I have to admit that no one thought it would make a penny". And instead. Instead the 'whistling' really did change everything. Alessandro Alessandroni, the master - it is right to call him that - says the opening words of the most famous of his career and the most iconic of Western movies song that for a Fistful of Dollars, made up by Morricone, which made the film music of Sergio Leone - and practically made all the best western movies - even bigger. "It was a great professional partnership, we had a wonderful collaboration," he told La Repubblica. Morricone, "knew very well I could play the guitar and was the director of the choir and this was superb. And he knew very well that I could whistle. He had worked on A Fistful of Dollars and on other occasions. Why I chose him to whistle? by chance, I needed a whistle, I asked the musicians working with me who was able to whistle well and others I liked less. He had the courage to try".

The composer, conductor and arranger Alessandro Alessandroni died in Rome, in the city that gave him birth on March 18, 1925, on March 26th. He had just turned 92 years of age. The announcement came on the official Facebook page of the composer: "It is with great sorrow that I inform you of the death yesterday of the master Alessandro Alessandroni born in Rome on March 18, 1925, composer, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and choir director. There will be a memorial service at his home in Namibia with music and musicians directed by his son Alex Jr. Alessandroni".

Alessandroni approached music when he was still a boy. At the time he lived in the country of his mother, in the province of Viterbo. He was 11 years old and listened insistently, whenever he could to classical music. He began playing the guitar with assistance from a friend. The place is one of those details. He told in an interview to the blog Planet Hexacord: "I started in the barber shop, because in small countries it is a reference point: there were the instruments, the guitar, the mandolin. They worked a little, but it sounded a lot. .. ". While he was attending the last year of high school he formed his first band, with whom he performed for local dance halls. Quick to learn, in a short time he become proficient on several instruments, which he alternates during his performances: as a teenager he already is able to play the guitar, the piano, the accordion, sax, flute, mandolin and sitar, one of the first Italians to try their hand on this complex stringed instrument. He obtained his diploma at the Conservatory in Rome, and found a job in the film production company Fonolux There he meets the great Nino Rota, his senior by 14 years, who wants him in his orchestra. Then came the whistle. It was almost by accident. Alessandroni, at some point, when Rota asked for a volunteer to whistle. Whistling become his new tool to play with and one of the moments that characterized the soundtracks of the Spaghetti Westerns. Music in effect: "My whistle parts are on the staff," explained Alessandroni, "and woe to miss the pitch, to make mistakes." That thought also by Federico Fellini, author of his soprannonme: Alessandroni for him was simply "The Whistler".

In 1962 he founded the octet I Cantori Moderni, a formation that takes the place of his previous group, the Caravels Quartet. With him, the band is formed by soprano Edda Dell'Orso, Augustus Garden, Franco Cossacks, Nino Dei, Enzo Gioieni, Gianna Spagnuolo and, not the least, his wife Julia De Mutiis.

The most important co-operation, long-lived and linked by a sincere esteem Alessandroni remains to this day one with Ennio Morricone: besides the famous whistle of For a Fistful of Dollars he also worked on For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Alessandroni was used by all the most important Italian composers of the time, in the 1960s, such as Piero Umiliani, for which he sang along with his wife Giulia in great song Mah-na Mah-na, extracted from the soundtrack of Svezia inferno e paradiso by Louis Scattini (1968) and the master Armando Trovajoli. With the arrival of the seventies, for ARC of the RCA label which was dedicated to the ‘young Italian music’, between beats and 'world exotico', a public-disc collection of twelve songs in the race to the edition of 1969 of Canzonissima. Are recorded, of course, the tune and work on the Hammond organ solo is credited to Ron Alexander, his pseudonym.

The name of Alessandroni had become one of worship across the board, and had crossed generations and musical styles, especially he had conquered the library music enthusiasts. Among the last to want in their drive Baustelle, group of Montepulciano, who have chosen it for one of their best albums. "Alessandro Alessandroni is the oldest guest," explained Francesco Bianconi, the singer, "a wonderful eighty-four and played the sitar, accordion, acoustic guitar and he did blow the whistle". The song title, not surprisingly, was Spaghetti Western. The Album, Amen.

Born: 3/18/1925, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Died: 3/26/2017, Rome, Lazio, Italy

Alessandro Alessandroni’s westerns – composer, musician, whistler, choir:
A Fistful of Dollars – 1964 [guitar, whistle, choir]
Massacre at Marble City – 1964 [choir]
For a Few Dollars More – 1965 [guitar, whistle]
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – 1966 [guitar]
Seven Dollars on the Red – 1966 [choir]
Any Gun Can Play – 1967 [composer]
Payment in Blood – 1967 [choir]
Wanted – 1967 [choir]
Once Upon a Time in the West – 1968 [whistle]
The Wild and the Dirty – 1968 [composer]
El Puro – 1969 [composer]
Raise Your Hands, Dead Man, You're Under Arrest – 1971 [composer]
Zorro the Invincible – 1971 [composer]
The Crazy Bunch – 1974 [composer]
White Fang and the Gold Diggers – 1975 [composer]
White Fang and the Hunter – 1975 [composer]
Lucky Luke – 1991 [whistle]
Lucky Luke (TV) – 1991-1992 [whistle]

Saturday, March 25, 2017

RIP Perry Sheehan Adair

Las Vegas Nevada

PERRY SHEEHAN ADAIR Perry Sheehan Adair passed away peacefully and suddenly March 6, 2017. She was born Margaret Sheehan in Brooklyn, N.Y. After graduating from St. Brendan's Diocesan High School and business college, she began her professional career as a John Robert Powers model in New York City. She moved to Hollywood in 1949 and, after several small acting roles at RKO, Columbia and Paramount Pictures, landed an acting contract with MGM in 1950. Under contract to MGM for the next seven years, Perry was featured in over 50 films with the major stars of that time. She was the official pin-up girl for the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War and a model for Max Factor cosmetics. Perry moved to Las Vegas in 1957 to marry Dunes Hotel and Casino co-owner, J. Carlton Adair. At the Dunes, she produced, wrote and starred in "Noon at the Dunes," a talk show broadcast live daily from the Dunes Hotel. Her daily television show was later broadcast from Channel 8 as the Perry Sheehan Adair Show. Her career in film, television and commercials spanned over four decades. She was very involved in the Screen Actors Guild for many years, devoting countless hours to the Guild and serving as President of the Nevada Branch and as a member of the National Board of Directors. In years past, Perry was also active in numerous charitable organizations, including as a director of Opportunity Village, a charter member and officer of the Assistance League of Las Vegas, a director of St. Jude's Women's Auxiliary, President of St. Anne's Hospital Auxiliary (Los Angeles) and with the Mesquite Club, among others. She was preceded in death by her beloved and devoted husband, J. Carlton Adair; and sister, Esther Tansey. She is survived by her daughters, Susan and Valerie Adair; sister, Emily Arena; two nieces; a nephew; and numerous grand and great nieces and nephews. No services are scheduled.

ADAIR, Perry Sheehan
Born: 1922, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 3/6/2017, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.

Perry Sheehan Adair’s western – actress:
The Electric Horseman – 1979 (Mrs. George Phillips)

RIP Jean Rouverol

Horn & Thomes, Inc. Funeral Home
March 25, 2017

Jean Rouverol Butler passed away in Pawling, Friday, March 24, 2017 at the age of 100. Born in St. Louis, MS on July 8, 1916, she was the daughter of Joseph Rouverol and playwright Aurania (Ellerbeck) Rouverol, who created Andy Hardy and many films for MGM. After spotted in a high school production, she acted in her first Hollywood movie at 17, appearing as W.C. Fields’ daughter in It’s a Gift (1934). She acted in another eleven films until 1940 when she married screenwriter Hugo Butler.

Having four children, she did not return to film acting during the 1940’s, but performed on radio, including playing Betty Carter on One Man’s Family. While her husband served in WWII, she wrote her first novella and sold it to McCall’s magazine in 1945. By 1950 she had her first screenplay made into a film, but her career was interrupted as a result of investigations by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) into Communist influence in Hollywood.

In 1943, Jean and her husband joined the American Communist Party. In 1951, when agents for HUAC attempted to subpoena them, Jean and her husband chose to self-exile to Mexico with their four small children rather than face a possible prison sentence endured by some of their friends who were dubbed the “Hollywood Ten”. Labeled as “subversives and dangerous revolutionaries” by the government, they did not return permanently to the US for thirteen years, during which time they had two more children.

While in exile she continued to write screenplays; she wrote short stories and magazine articles to earn money. Three screenplays she co-wrote with her husband were accepted for filming by Hollywood studios because agent Ingo Preminger (brother of director Otto Preminger) arranged for friends from the Writer’s Guild of America to put their names on the scripts.

In 1960, the family moved to Italy so she and her husband could work on a film script. In 1964, they moved to Mexico for a short time and then returned to the United States for good. Living in California, she and her husband continued to collaborate on screenplays, and she wrote a book on Harriet Beecher Stowe. Her husband passed away in 1968.

She returned to writing in the 70’s. She scripted an episode of Little House on the Prairie, wrote three books in three years (two young adult biographies and a Gothic novel), and was then hired as co-head writer for the CBS soap opera Guiding Light, receiving a Daytime Emmy nomination and a Writers Guild of America Award. Jean left the show in 1976 at the age of sixty. In 1984 she authored “Writing for the Soaps” and taught writing at the University of Southern California and at the UCLA Extension. She also wrote scripts for the soap operas Search for Tomorrow and As the World Turns.

She served four terms on the board of directors of the Health and Pension Plan of the Producer-Writers Guild of America, and in 1987 she received the Guild’s Morgan Cox Award. In 2000, at the age of eighty-four she published "Refugees from Hollywood: A Journal of the Blacklist Years", that told of her family’s life in exile.

Jean moved to Pawling, NY in 2005, where she lived with her beloved partner, Clifford Carpenter, another former blacklisted artist; he predeceased her on January 9, 2014.

She is survived by her son Michael Butler and five daughters, Susan Butler, Becky Butler, Mary Butler, Emily McCoy, and Deborah Spiegelman; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

A memorial service to be held at a future date.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Horn & Thomes, Inc. Funeral Home, 83 East Main Street, Pawling, NY.

To leave an online condolence, please visit

Born: 7/8/1916, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
Died: 3/24/2017, Pawling, New York, U.S.A.

Jean Rouverol’s westerns – actress, writer:
Bar 20 Rides Again – 1935 (Margaret Arnold)
The Law West of Tombstone – 1938 (Nitta Moseby)
Western Jamboree – 1938 (Betty Haskell)
Little House on the Prairie (TV) – 1974 (writer)

RIP Gino D'Achille

March 20, 2017

Gino D’Achille was born in Rome in 1935 and displayed a precocious talent as an artist from a very young age – being invited at 11 years old to present a portrait he’d made of Pope Pius XII to the pontiff himself. From 13 he studied at Rome’s Liceo Artistico, going on to the University of Architecture at 19. By now, he was already drawn to the world of commercial art, producing advertising illustrations for the prestigious agency Studio Favalli in his spare time. This led him to pursue a full-time career in Milan, where he gained the attention of British scouts, and in 1964 Gino was persuaded to move to London. Here, he immediately established his credentials with his illustrations for David Kossof’s popular Bible Stories, commissioned by WM Collins.

His international reputation gained hold with his 1973 paintings for the John Carter of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, going on to create over 100 cover paintings for other science-fiction titles published by Daw Books, Ace, Ballantine and various other publishers. He is also well known for his series of covers for the much-loved Flashman series of novels by George Macdonald Fraser, as well as countless western adventure stories, crime thriller and war stories, romance novels and children’s books.

Gino lived in London and Corsica with his wife, painter Mim Hain.

Born: 11/30/1935, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Died: 2/10/2017, London, England, U.K.

RIP Giorgio Capitani

Giorgio Capitani is dead, the father of the "Maresciallo Rocca "

March 25, 2017

Giorgio Capitani is dead.  The director passed away last night at the hospital Belcolle of Viterbo.  Capitani was 89 years-old and was born December 29, 1927.

 For years it was closely tied to the city of Viterbo, where he had decided to set the TV series of "Maresciallo Rocca" with Gigi Proietti and Stefania Sandrelli.  Among the films that have seen him behind the camera "Samson and His Mighty Challenge" (1964), " Pane, burro e marmellata" (1977), " Io tigro, tu tigri, egli tigra" (1978 ), " Vai avanti tu che mi vien da ridere" (1982), "Missione eroica - I pompieri 2" (1987), "Rimini, Rimini - Un anno dopo " (1988).

For television he directed, besides the series of " Maresciallo Rocca" between 1996 and 2005, including "E non se ne vogliono andare ", "Papa Luciani", "Il generale Dalla Chiesa", "Enrico Mattei."

The funeral will be held Monday at 10 in the Basilica of Santa Rosa.

Born: 12/29/1927, Paris, Île-de-France, France
Died:  3/25/2017, Viterbo, Lazio, Italy

Giorgio Capitani’s western – director:
The Ruthless Four - 1968

Friday, March 24, 2017

RIP Tony Russel

Las Vegas Review-Journal
March 24, 2017

TONY RUSSO Tony Russo a.k.a. Tony Russel passed away March 18, 2017, in Las Vegas. He was born Nov. 23, 1925, in Kenosha, Wis. He was a former film, stage and television actor. He was noted for having worked in the Italian film industry in the mid-60s and for his work as a voice actor where he was founder and president of English language Dubbers association (ELDA) in Italy. Tony had the privilege of turning down the lead role in "A Fistful of Dollars." He developed and interest in acting at an early age and following his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army Air Corps. He took up language, speech and drama at the University of Wisconsin. He won a best supporting actors award for the role of Eddie Fuseli in a production of "Golden Boy" at the university. With that, he asked the Government for a transfer to the Pasadena playhouse which they okayed. He graduated from the playhouse in 1952. After the playhouse, Tony got his big break when the film "War is Hell" won an award out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1961. At that time, he became a big hit in Italy. He worked in Italian adventures, crime dramas and "spaghetti westerns." After eight years in Italy, he went back to Hollywood and became part of the dinner theater circuit, working with actors like John Barrymore, Gene Raymond, Elvis Presley in "King Creole," Robert Fuller, Fabian, Richard Egan, Jackie Coogan, June Wilkenson, Virginia Mayo, Lyle Talbot, Carol Lynley and Kathryn Crosby. His last film was "Vegas Strip Wars" starring Rock Hudson in 1984. He did the Walt Disney sign of Zorro in which there was three different episodes. Tony and his wife, Renee, lived a quiet life playing golf every day and being shareholder members of Stallion Mountain and Black Mountain golf courses, up until three years ago when he took ill and had to stop playing. Among Tony's starring roles are parts of the sci-fi epics, "Wild Wild Planet" in 1965 and its sequel "War of the Planets" film concurrently in 1971. He worked as "Big Red" in the "Hard Ride" and starred in "Soul Hustler" in 1973. Tony will be missed by many. Services will be at 9:20 a.m. Tuesday, March 28, at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 1900 Veterans Memorial Drive, in Boulder City. Everyone is welcome.

RUSSEL, Tony (Antonio Pietro Russo)
Born: 11/23/1925, Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
Died: 3/18/2017, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.

Tony Russel’s westerns – actor:
Hiawatha - 1952
26 Men (TV) – 1957 (Black Eagle)
Zorro (TV) – 1957-1959 (Carlos Martinez, Pedro Avila
Broken Arroe (TV) – 1958 (Anaka)
Behind the Mask of Zorro – 1965 (Patricio/Alfonso/Zorro)
Last Train from Gun Hill – 1969 (Pinto)
Death Valley Days (TV) – 1969 (Mike Cassidy)
The High Chaparral (TV) – 1970 (Ricardo)
Hec Ramsey (TV) – 1973 (Gentleman Jim Sachet)
The Mystic Warrior (TV) – 1984 (Red Lake)