Sunday, November 30, 2014

RIP Valentina Leyva

Valentina Leyva has died
 
The singer died at the age of 67 years.
 
Ihey
November 29,2014
 
The singer of vernacular music Valentina Leyva died Saturday at 67 years old as a result of pancreatic cancer that was undermining her health for the last two months, so she informed her former representative in its infancy, Elena Medina.
 
Medina said in an interview with Notimex, Valentina Leyva, who was the interpreter's primary composer Federico Mendez, died this morning at his home, located in Naucalpan, State of Mexico.
 
"She was scheduled for a chemotherapy session to fight a cancerous growth, however it metastasis and invaded much of her body, even a couple of days before I saw she was very weak," said the current assistant actress and producer Carmen Salinas .
 
Elena Medina mentioned that ensure Valentina Leyva this Saturday afternoon at the premises of a funeral known located on Sullivan Street, then make cremation services Sunday at a private ceremony with family and friends.
 
Valentina Leyva participated in the Third Ranchera Song Festival, where she managed to win first place; she consolidated his career with the release of multiple disks with lyrics written by Federico Mendez, who composed her special topics.
 
 
LEYVA, Valentina
Born: 1947, Mexico
Died: 11/29/2014, Naucalpan, Mexico
 
Valentina Lyva’s westerns – actress:
Tierra sangrienta – 1979
Yo soy el asesino – 1987

Friday, November 28, 2014

RIP Chespirito

Beloved Mexican Comedian Roberto Gomez Bolanos, Who Played ‘Chespirito,’ Dies at 85
 
Beloved Mexican actor and comedian Roberto Gomez Bolanos, best known for his role as “Chespirito,” has died, Televisa announced Friday. He was 85.
 
Bolanos passed away at his home in Cancun, Mexico, according to the Spanish-language television network. The cause of death was not immediately known.
 
The comedian was renowned for his signature character on the long-running TV series “El Chavo del Ocho,” in which he played a boy living in a neighborhood of Mexico City.
 
The first episode of the series that brought Bolanos international recognition aired in June 1971.
 
The actor’s other well-known roles included El Chapulín Colorado, El Chanfle and Chompiras.
 
 
Chespirito (Roberto Gomez Bolanos)
Born: 2/21/1929, Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico
Died: 11/28/2014, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico
 
Chespirito’s western – director, actor, storywriter, songwriter:
Un par… a todo dar – 1951 [storywriter]
¡En peligro de muerte!1962 [songwriter]
Capulina 'Speedy' González: 'El Rápido – 1970 [songwriter]
Charrito – 1984 (Chespirito) [director, storywriter, screenwriter]

RIP Bob Baker

Bob Baker, Puppeteer Whose Theater Was L.A. Institution, Dies at 90
 
Variety
By Staff
November 28, 2014
 
Puppeteer Bob Baker, whose marionette theater near downtown Los Angeles was an institution serving generations of kids, died Friday of natural causes. He was 90.
 
Baker, who launched the Bob Baker Marionette Theater in 1963, offered puppet shows in what was billed as one of the world’s oldest and longest-running children’s theater companies. In 2009, the theater’s location on First Street was named a Los Angeles Historical Cultural Monument.
 
An L.A. native, Baker traveled the world with his famous marionette troupe. His work was featured in prominent films, ranging from Disney’s “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” to Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” to the 1954 version of “A Star Is Born.” He was said to have an archive of more than 3,000 puppets.
 
Baker’s interest in puppetry was sparked at the age of 5 when he saw a puppet show at a downtown Los Angeles department store. Within a few years he was studying the art and competing in local talent shows.
 
Baker graduated from Hollywood High School and served in the Army Air Corps during WWII, when he worked at Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank. After his discharge, he worked for the George Pal Animation Studios. Amid labor unrest, he left Pal and began marketing his own line of marionettes. He created window displays for prominent retailers around the country — and he did the same for storefront windows on Disneyland’s Main Street, USA.
 
Baker’s workshop on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood became a magnet for future showbiz stars, including producer Bob Clampett, Stan Freberg and Daws Butler, who would go on to create a TV sensation locally with the KTLA-TV hand puppet series “Time for Beany.” In the late 1940s Baker also worked in local TV with the series “Adventures of Bobo.”
 
In the early 1960s, Baker teamed with Alton Wood to launch the marionette theater. He worked as an adviser to Disney and other studios, and was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences as well as the Television Academy.
 
 
BAKER, Bob (Robert Alison Baker III)
Born: 2/9/1924, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Died: 11/28/2014, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
 
Bob Baker’s western – actor:
The Wild Wild West (TV) – 1966 (puppeteer)

Friday, November 21, 2014

RIP J.E. Freeman

RIP J. E. Freeman
 
Dial M for Movies
By Rhett Bartlett
November 3, 2014
 
J. E. Freeman – ‘Wild at Heart’ and ‘Miller’s Crossing’ gangster, has died aged 68.
 
J. E. Freeman – who portrayed hired mobster Marcello Santos in David Lynch’s crime thriller Wild at Heart (1990), and was the henchman Eddie Dane in the Coen Brothers gangster film Miller’s Crossing (1990), has died aged 68.
 
His death, in the evening of August 9th 2014, was confirmed to me by his agent Christopher Black. As per Mr Freeman’s wishes, no memorial or official announcement of his passing was to be made at that time.
 
‘He was an extraordinary actor and person and I count myself fortunate to have known and represented him’, his agent told me in an email on November 3 2014.
 
J. E. Freeman also appeared in Alien: Resurrection (1997), the fourth instalment of the Alien film series. He was Dr Mason Wren, the head of the scientific team that successfully clones Ellen Ripley.
 
In the black comedy Ruthless People (1986), he is the local serial killer ‘The Bedroom Killer’ whose death occurs after he falls down the basement stairs.
 
He also appeared in Patriot Games (1992) , Copycat (1995), and played Victor Snr, the owner of the strip club in Go (1999).
 
The cause of his passing was not disclosed.
 
 
FREEMAN, J.E.
Born: 2/2/1946, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 8/9/2014, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
 
J.E. Freeman’s birthday – actor:
Tremors 4: The Legend Begins – 2004 (Old Fred)

RIP G.C. 'Rusty' Meek

RIP G.C. ‘Rusty’ Meek
 
The Arizona Republic
By Staff
October 12, 2014
 
Meek, G. C. (Rusty) 89, Died peacefully at his home in Scottsdale on 9/16/2014. Rusty came to the Valley in 1970 to work on "The New Dick Van Dyke Show". He was a WWII Navy Veteran and worked in all facets of the Motion Picture Industry, starting in Cartooning and finishing in Production. He was a member of "The Order Franciscan Seculars". He is survived by his adoring wife Jo Jean, Children, Barbara (Bill), David (Delia), Christina (Moose), Victoria (Steve), Kimberly (Dale) and Elizabeth (Harry) He was a doting Grandfather to 11 Grandchildren, Jaclyn, Briana, Matthew, Giana, Joshua, Michael, Madelyn, Isabella, Alexandra, Nathaniel and Alexander and 3 Great-Grandchildren, Luis, Tristen, and Juan. The Meek Family wishes to thank the caregivers of Hospice of the Valley, Carolyn, Cindy and Brenda for the wonderful care of Rusty. Services to be held at the Franciscan Renewal Center, Saturday, October 18, 1:00 pm.
 
 
MEEK, Rusty (George C Meek)
Born: 3/5/1925, Missouri, U.S.A.
Died: 9/16/2014, Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.A.
 
Rusty Meek’s westerns – assistant director, production manager:
Giant – 1956 [assistant director]
Maverick (TV) – 1958, 1959 [assistant director]
Sugarfoot (TV) – 1958, 1959 [assistant director]
Lawman (TV) – 1959 [assistant director]
Bronco (TV) – 1959 [assistant director]
Barquero – 1970 [assistant director]
Gon with the West – 1975 [production manager]
Banjo Hackett: Roamin’ Free (TV) – 1976 [assistant director]
Stagecoach (TV) – 1986 [production manager]

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

RIP Mimi Walters

RIP PRENTICE--Mimi Walters

The New York Times
By Staff
November 20, 2014
 
Dancer, singer, actress and loving wife, passed away on November 16th in New York City. First dancing professionally at the age of three or four, Ms. Prentice performed on Broadway in "Annie Get Your Gun," and toured with Guy Lombardo and his band. She also acted in television commercials and appeared in Bonanza. In 1968 she became the first woman Account-Executive at the Wilding Firm in New York City, where she worked for two years. Then she met and married the love of her life, the late Spelman Prentice, a grandson of John D. Rockefeller. She is survived by five step-children, sixteen step- grandchildren, and twenty two great-grandchildren. She was a private, perceptive, loyal, feisty, and loving woman with a great deal of presence. She will be missed. A memorial service will be held at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel at 81st Street and Madison Ave on Friday, November 21st at 11am. Donations can be made in in her memory to The Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
 
 
WALTERS, Mimi
Born: 11/21/1920
Died: 11/16/2014, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
 
Mimi Walters’ western – actress:
Bonanza (TV) – 1964 (Marie)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

RIP Ken Takakura

RIP Ken Takakura
Associated Press
By Mari Yamaguchi
November 18, 2014
 
 
Veteran Japanese actor Ken Takakura dies at 83
 
Ken Takakura, a craggy-faced, quiet star known for playing outlaws and stoic heroes in scores of Japanese films, has died of lymphoma. He was 83.
 
Perhaps best known abroad for his police inspector role in Ridley Scott's "Black Rain" in 1989, Takakura died November 10 at a Tokyo hospital where he was treated for the illness, according to his office and media reports Tuesday.
 
He surged to stardom after his 1956 debut, becoming an icon in yakuza films such as "Abashiri Prison" in the 1960s. Much of his appeal to the Japanese public stemmed from his image as a hero fighting authority figures on behalf of the poor and weak.
 
But in a career spanning more than 200 films he sometimes played comic roles, such as his 1992 potrayal of a coach in "Mr. Baseball."
 
Likened to Clint Eastwood, Takakura starred in detective stories and dramas including the 1977 film "The Yellow Handkerchief" and 1999's "Railroad Man," which won him a best actor award at the Montreal World Film Festival.
 
The news of his death topped Japanese news programs almost nonstop, and major newspapers distributed extras in downtown Tokyo.
 
Unlike many Japanese celebrities, Takakura shunned the usual rounds of television variety shows and melodramas, maintaining a John Wayne-like aura of toughness.
 
Born in 1931 as Goichi Oda in Fukuoka, southern Japan, he was recruited by a major film production while he was applying for a managerial position.
 
Takakura's friends and admirers described him as humble, honest and reserved in his real life, too.
 
"He was the last big star (in Japan)," said Shintaro Ishihara, 82, an award-winning writer and politician. "And yet, Ken-san lived a really healthy, sound life, unlike many other stars who often end up paying the price later on."
 
Even though he played many outlaw roles in yakuza films, Takakura said today's gangster movies didn't interest him.
 
"I like movies that picture the human heart and linger with me," he told an interviewer of the Japan Subculture Research Center. "The Deer Hunter," ''Gladiator," and "The Godfather" were among his favorites, he said.
 
In the 2012 award-winning "Dearest," the last of Takakura's films, he plays a retired prison warden who goes on a soul-searching trip with a postcard that arrived after his wife's death.
 
According to a fax released by his office, Takakura was preparing for his next project while in the hospital.
 
In 2013, when Takakura attended a ceremony to receive Japan's highest cultural award, the Order of Culture, at the Imperial Palace, he joked that he had often played characters considered most distant from the exalted realm of the palace.
 
"In movies, I'm most often an ex-convict. I'm grateful for the award despite many of these roles I've played," Takakura said. "I really believe that hard work pays off."
 
 
TAKAKURA, Ken (Goichi Oda)
Born: 2/16/1931 Nakama, Fukuoka, Japan
Died: 11/10/2014, Tokyo, Japan
 
Ken Takakura’s western – actor:
The Drifting Avenger – 1968 (Ken Kato)
 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

RIP Mary-Edith Schreiber

Freie-Presse
11/15/2014
 
Mourning for actress
 
Mary Edith Schreiber said goodbye once with the role of Mrs. Higgins from the stage. Now the great lady of the theater is dead.
 
A Life in the Theatre has completed itself. The artist Mary-Edith Schreiber has died at the age of 93 years. With her recurring role as Mrs. Higgins in "My Fair Lady" production of Michael Heinicke they had once retired into private life. Older theater goers will remember their roles, for example in Goldoni's "The Campiello" or the Indian-piece "Cat Game" by István Örkény directed by Gerhard Meyer. The longtime theater director Hartwig Albiro took in Karl Marx-Stadt in 1970 his work. As writer was already a respected member of the ensemble, because she came in 1953 to the house. "If the concept is accepted: She was a real theater horse, a Vollblutkomödiantin through and through, which burned for their profession, about the role concerns to the overall situation of the ensemble committed", so Albiro.
 
Two of her roles were legendary: the Commissioner in the "Optimistic Tragedy" by Vsevolod Vishnevsky and Anna in Brecht / Weill's "The Seven Deadly Sins of the Petty Bourgeois". For it was by the spectacle of another passion of the writer: the chanson. So Albiro recalls that connoisseurs claiming that their part in the "Seven Deadly Sins" was magnificent, "better than the Gisela May," the legendary singer Brecht in the GDR. Until the turn Schreiber was active in the theater, they do not always stand in the forefront, "but very often," said Albiro, who appreciated the reliability and the precision with which they worked. Drama students she taught in the art song. After the turn, there were some minor encounters with her on the operatic stage, as in "Fiddler on the Roof" and 1997 in Kálmán's operetta "Countess Maritza". About the re-encounter with the audience she said herself: "This is something you need to live."
 
The funeral service will be held on December 12 at 14 clock instead of on the castle cemetery.
 
 
SCHREIBER, Mary-Edith
Born: 5/31/1921, Hannover, Niedersachsen Germany
Died: 11/1?/2014, Germany
 
Mary-Edith Schreiber’s western – actress:
Karl May – 1992 (Herta)

RIP Glen A. Larson

Glen A. Larson, Creator of TV’s 'Quincy M.E.,' 'Magnum, P.I.' and 'Battlestar Galactica,' Dies at 77
 
Hollywood Reporter
By: Mike Barnes
November 15, 2014
 
The writer-producer also was behind 'Knight Rider,' 'Fall Guy' and 'Six Million Dollar Man'
 
 
Glen A. Larson, the wildly successful television writer-producer whose enviable track record includes Quincy M.E., Magnum, P.I., Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider and The Fall Guy, has died. He was 77.
 
Larson, a singer in the 1950s clean-cut pop group The Four Preps who went on to compose many of the theme songs for his TV shows, died Friday night of esophageal cancer at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, his son, James, told The Hollywood Reporter.
 
Larson also wrote and produced for such noteworthy series as ABC’s It Takes a Thief, starring his fellow Hollywood High School alum Robert Wagner as a burglar now stealing for the U.S. government, and NBC’s McCloud, with Dennis Weaver as a sheriff from Taos, N.M., who moves to Manhattan to help the big-city cops there.
 
After ABC spurned the original pilot for The Six Million Dollar Man (based on the 1972 novel Cyborg), Larson rewrote it, then penned a pair of 90-minute telefilms that convinced then-network executive Barry Diller to greenlight the action series, which starred Lee Majors as a former astronaut supercharged with bionic implants.
 
Other shows Larson created included Alias Smith & Jones, B.J. and The Bear, Switch (another series with Wagner), Manimal and The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo. He spent his early career at Universal Studios, inventing new shows and reworking others, before moving to 20th Century Fox in 1980 with a multiseries, multimillion-dollar deal.
 
With Lou Shaw, Larson conceived Quincy M.E., which starred Jack Klugman — coming off his stint on The Odd Couple — as a murder-solving Los Angeles medical examiner. A forerunner to such “forensic” dramas as CSI, the series ran for 148 episodes over eight seasons on NBC from 1976-83.
 
CBS’ Magnum, P.I., toplined by Tom Selleck as a charismatic Ferrari-driving private instigator based in Oahu, Hawaii, also aired eight seasons, running from 1980-88 with 162 installments. Larson created the ratings hit with Donald Bellisario, with whom he had worked on Quincy and Battlestar.
 
NBC’s Knight Rider, starring David Hasselhoff as a crime fighter aided by a Pontiac Trans-Am with artificial intelligence (K.I.T.T., drolly voiced by William Daniels), lasted four seasons and 90 episodes from 1982-86. And ABC’s Fall Guy, with Majors as a stuntman who moonlights as a bounty hunter, prevailed for five seasons and 113 episodes spanning 1981-86.
 
If you’re counting, Quincy, Magnum, Knight Rider and Fall Guy accounted for 513 hours of television and 21 combined seasons from 1976-88.
 
During a 2009 interview with the Archive of American Television, Larson was asked how he could possibly keep up with such a workload.
 
“I tried to stay with things until I thought they were on their feet and they learned to walk and talk,” he said.
 
“If you believe if something, you must will it through, because everything gets in the way. Everyone tries to steer the ship off course.”
 
Battlestar Galactica lasted just one season on ABC from 1978-79, yet the show had an astronomical
impact. Starring Lorne Greene and Richard Hatch as leaders of a homeless fleet wandering through space, featuring special effects supervised by Star Wars’ John Dykstra and influenced by Larson’s Mormon beliefs, Battlestar premiered as a top 10 show and finished the year in the top 25. But it was axed after 24 episodes because, Larson said, each episode cost “well over” $1 million.
 
“I was vested emotionally in Battlestar, I really loved the thematic things. I don’t feel it really got its shot, and I can’t blame anyone else, I was at the center of that,” said Larson, who years early had written a sci-fi script, Adam’s Ark, with a theme similar to Battlestar’s and had been mentored by Star Trek's Gene Coon. “But circumstances weren’t in our favor to be able to make it cheaper or to insist we make two of three two-hour movies [instead of a weekly one-hour series] to get our sea legs.”
 
Much like Star Trek before it, Battlestar became much more beloved after it was canceled. Universal packaged episodes into two-hour telefilms and added a “Battle of Galactica” attraction to its studio tour that proved hugely popular. A new version debuted in 2004 on the Sci-Fi Channel, followed by a spinoff, Caprica.
 
Yet for all his success, Larson had his share of critics.
 
Writer Harlan Ellison, in a 1996 book about his Star Trek teleplay for the famous episode “City on the Edge of Forever,” infamously called him “Glen Larceny,” accusing him of using movie concepts for his TV shows.
 
It often has been noted that Battlestar premiered soon after Star Wars, that Alias Smith & Jones arrived shortly after Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid and that the setups for McCloud and B.J. and The Bear bore similarities to the Clint Eastwood films Coogan’s Bluff and Every Which Way But Loose, respectively.
 
“Larson is undeniably a controversial figure in TV history because of his reputation for producing video facsimiles of popular films, but scholars, fans and critics should also consider that ‘similarity’ is the name of the game in the fast world of TV productions,” John Kenneth Muir wrote in his 2005 book, An Analytical Guide to Television’s Battlestar Galactica. “Shows are frequently purchased, produced and promoted by networks not for their differences from popular productions, but because of their similarities.”
 
Fox in 1978 sued Battlestar studio Universal for infringing on Star Wars copyrights but lost the suit years later, vindicating Larson, who described his TV show as “Wagon Train heading toward Earth.”
 
He also said that Alias Smith & Jones was “certainly in the genre of Butch Cassidy, a New Wave western” and compared B.J. and the Bear to something along the lines of the 1977 film Smokey & the Bandit.
 
He was not apologizing for any of this.
 
“Television networks are a lot like automobile manufacturers, or anyone else who’s in commerce. If something out there catches on with the public … I guess you can call it ‘market research,’ ” he said in the TV Archive interview. “You can go in and pitch one idea at a network and they’ll say, ‘You know, we’d really like it if you had something a little more like this.’ ”
 
And the trend goes on: new versions of Battlestar, Knight Rider, Manimal, Six Million Dollar Man and The Fall Guy have been floated about for the big screen in recent years.
 
Glen Albert Larson was born an only child on Jan. 3, 1937, in Long Beach, Calif. He and his parents moved to Los Angeles when he was young, and he became enthralled with the art of storytelling while listening to hour after hour of radio shows.
 
He met Wagner while hitchhiking to Hollywood High and landed a job as a page at NBC, then home to such live anthologies as Lux Video Theatre and Matinee Theatre.
 
Music took over when Capitol Records A&R exec Nik Venet signed The Four Preps to a long-term contract in 1956, and the wholesome youngsters recorded such hits as “Twenty Six Miles (Santa Catalina),” “Big Man," “Dreamy Eyes” and "Down by the Station."
 
“Ultimately, The Four Preps’ biggest influence can be heard via their impact on Brian Wilson, whose harmony-driven production for The Beach Boys was a direct antecedent of The Four Preps’ sound,” or so says a biography of the group on AllMusic.com.
 
The Preps appeared on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, The Ed Sullivan Show and American Bandstand, played college campuses around the country and toured the world. But with a new wife and child, Larson wanted to get off the road, so he pursued a career in television and sold a story idea for a 1966 episode of The Fugitive.
 
Larson then wrote an episode of It Takes a Thief, and within the short span of a season he went from story editor to producing the series.
 
He created his first show, the ABC Western Alias Smith and Jones, which starred Peter Duel and Ben Murphy as outlaw cousins trying to go straight. He exited the series soon after Duel died of a self-inflicted gunshot on New Year’s Eve in 1971.
 
He did not get along with Klugman on Quincy and eventually left the show in the hands of Bellisario.
 
Selleck, who was under contract at Universal and had done a couple of pilots that had not made it to series, was obligated to do Magnum, whose pilot was written by Bellisario.
 
“We got the star, it was a perfect fit,” said Larson, who was a fan of the 1960s CBS series Hawaiian Eye, which centered on a detective agency. “I had a house over there [in Hawaii] and a guy [like Selleck’s character] who lived in a guest house and took care of it.”
 
Larson based the unseen novelist character Robin Masters, the owner of the home, on author Harold Robbins.
 
After years at Universal — where he also did The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries for ABC and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century for NBC — Larson left for Fox. But to get out of his Universal deal, he had to give the studio one more show, and that would be Knight Rider.
 
“Michael Knight [Hasselhoff’s character] in a way is a prototyped by the Lone Ranger,” Larson said. “If you think about him riding across the plains and going from one town to another to help law and order, then K.I.T.T. becomes Tonto.”
 
At Fox in the spring of 1983, he sold four new series: Manimal to ABC and Trauma Center, Automan and Masquerade to ABC, but all were quickly canceled.
 
Larson’s next show, CBS’ Cover Up — about a photographer (Jennifer O’Neill) who replaces her late husband as an undercover CIA agent — lasted one season. During production, actor Jon-Erik Hexum died as a result of an accidental self-inflicted blank-cartridge gunshot wound on the set.
 
In July 2011, Larson sued Universal, alleging a decades-long fraud perpetrated by a studio that he said never once sent him profit participation statements despite his shows earning hundreds of millions of dollars.
 
More recently, Larson reteamed up with The Four Preps, reuniting in 2004 for a PBS reunion show, Magic Moments, with best friends and fellow group members David Somerville and Bruce Belland.
 
Survivors include his wife Jeannie, brother Kenneth and nine children (including his son James) from former wives Carol Gourley and Janet Curtis: Kimberly, Christopher, Glen, Michelle, David, Caroline, Danielle and Nicole.
 
A memorial service will be held in the near future, his son said.
 
Despite his remarkable career churning out hits, Larson earned but three Emmy nominations, two for producing McCloud and one (for outstanding drama) for Quincy. He never won.
 
His shows, Larson said in the TV Archive interview, “were enjoyable, they had a pretty decent dose of humor. All struck a chord in the mainstream. What we weren’t going to do was win a shelf full of Emmys. We got plenty of nominations for things, but ours were not the kind of shows that were doing anything more than reaching a core audience. I would like to think we brought a lot of entertainment into the living room.”
 
 
LARSON, Glen A. (Glen Albert Larson)
Born: 1/3/1937, Long Beach, California, U.S.A.
Died: 11/14/2014, Santa Monica, California, U.S.A.
 
Glen A. Larson’s westerns – producer, screenwriter:
The Virginian (TV) – 1970 [screenwriter], 1972 [producer]
Alias Smith and Jones (TV) – 1971-1973, [screenwriter], 1971-1972 [producer]

RIP Troy Nabors

RIP Troy Nabors
 
Arizona Republic
By Staff
November 15, 2014
 
Rodeo entertainer, bullfighter, trick roper, comedian, actor (SAG), family man, and one of the last true cowboys --Troy Nabors passed away unexpectedly on the evening of November 10th, 2014 in Mesa, Arizona at the age of 83. Troy was born on October 2, 1931 in Antlers, Oklahoma to Buster & Mary Kay Nabors. He is survived by his beloved wife Janice "Jonnie" nee Elder of Mesa, AZ, son Randal (Karen) Robbins, grandsons Steven and William Robbins, 6 nephews, 10 nieces, and a large extended family. It was a long and winding road from his self-proclaimed "Okie" beginnings through his storied 50 years of show business. For 38 of those years, his housebroken and "educated" mule Slim was his constant companion and cohort. His cowboy comedy antics and trick roping brought him before President John F. Kennedy, President Ronald Reagan, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, and countless captivated audiences. He performed at The Calgary Stampede in Canada, Pendleton Roundup in Oregon, Lakeside Rodeo in California (26 years), Phoenix Jaycees Rodeo of Rodeos, Parada Del Sol, Gilbert Days, Apacheland, and Legend City. He also performed many years at the Stardust Hotel and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, and won Best Contract Act of IPRA for 3 consecutive years. Above all, he was a good-hearted cowboy, and a friend to all who met him. Troy went from Okie beginnings and became a true Arizona son. A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held Monday, November 17th at 1:00PM at the Welcome Home Ranch, 26601 S. Val Vista Drive, Gilbert, AZ 85298. All are welcome to attend.
 
 
NABORS, Troy (Troy Calvin Nabors)
Born: 10/2/1931, Antlers, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
Died: 11/10/2014, Mesa, Arizona, U.S.A.
 
Troy Nabors’ western – actor:
Apache Blood – 1975 (Corporal Lem Hawkins)

Friday, November 14, 2014

RIP Mary Blake

RIP Mary Blake
 
U-T San Diego
November 2, 2014
 
Helms, Caroline Houseman 03/18/1916 ~ 10/22/2014 "A Life Well Lived" RANCHO SANTA FE-- Our beloved mother, grandmother, and great- grandmother, Caroline Houseman Helms passed away on October 22, 2014, at the age of 98. Mere words cannot express the loss that our family is now experiencing. She was the most kind, gentle, generous lady that we will ever know, and a shining example of love for all of us. Married to the love of her life, Paul Hoy Helms Jr. for 71 years, Caroline was the mother of two children, Suzanne and Paul, grandmother to eight, and great-grand- mother to thirteen. She touched countless lives, and people who knew her were better for it. Caroline was a tireless volunteer who supported many worthy causes, was a longtime Sunday school teacher, and very active in her church. She was a member of a book club, a bowling league, enjoyed golf and because she and Paul attended Stanford University, she was an avid Stanford fan. Caroline was a mentor to all of her family, and a guiding light in the good and not so good times that happen in all of our lives. Her light which shined on all of us will never be forgotten or extinguished; she now joins Dad Helms in heaven where he has been patiently waiting for her for the past six years.
 
 
BLAKE, Mary (Caroline Houseman)
Born: 3/18/1916, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
Died: 10/22/2014, Rancho Santa Fe, California, U.S.A.
 
Mary Blake’s western – actress:
Code of the Range – 1936 (Janet Parker)

RIP Fabrizio Trifone Trecca

Fabrizio Trecca, host of the historic Better Living, has died aged 74
Today
By Staff
November 13, 2014
 
The TV world is mourning the death of Fabrizio Trecca, historical host of the Mediaset '' Better Living ''.
 
The announcement of his death at the age of 74 years, was given at the end of today's episode of the Forum, by the presenter Barbara Palombelli.
 
His gaffes on TV have gone down in history, especially when a prestigious guest who, for a number of reasons cut off his tie, after receiving a lot of abuse from Trecca. After leaving Mediaset in 1998, Trecca led broadcasts '' Living Well '' and '' Better Living ''. Trecca was also the personal physician of Silvio Berlusconi.
 
 
TRECCA, Fabrizio Trifone (aka T. F. Karter)
Born: 8/19/1940, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Died: 11/12/2014, Rome, Lazio, Italy] – writer.
 
Fabrizio Trifone Trecca – western – screenwriter:
Shanghai Joe – 1973 (co) [as T.F. Karter]

Thursday, November 13, 2014

RIP Ernest Kinoy

Ernest Kinoy, ‘Roots’ Writer and Former WGA East President, Dies at 89
 
Variety
By Dave McNary
November 13, 2014
 
Emmy-winning writer Ernest Kinoy, who served as president of the Writers Guild of America East from 1969 to 1971, died Monday in Townshend, Vermont from complications from pneumonia. He was 89.
 
The New York native won Emmys for writing the 1964 “Blacklist” episode of the controversial CBS drama series “The Defenders,” which starred George C. Scott, and for the second segment of the ABC miniseries “Roots” in 1977.
 
His many other TV credits include the prestigious anthology skeins “Playhouse 90″ and “Studio One” as well as “Dr. Kildare,” “Naked City,” “Route 66″ and “The Untouchables.” In the 1970s and ’80s he wrote more than a dozen telepics, including episodes of 1978′s “Roots: The Next Generations.”
 
He was nominated for three other Emmys, notably for the 1981 TV movie “Skokie,” based on a march of neo-Nazis in the Illinois city. Kinoy had been taken as a POW during World War II and survived the Nazi concentration camp at Berga.
 
“We mourn his loss but celebrate his life,” said Michael Winship, WGA East president. “My most vivid memory of Ernie Kinoy is the phone calls he made to me during the 2007-08 Writers Guild strike in which he offered greatly valued advice, support and encouragement. This Emmy Award winner was an important member of the Guild East, a past president who received two of our highest awards: the Hunter Award for career achievement and the Jablow Award for devoted service to the union.
 
Winship continued: “It speaks to Ernie’s ardent belief in justice and civil liberty that this man, who as a Jewish World War II POW was sent to the brutal German concentration camp at Berga, would 35 years later find within himself the ability to write the moving teleplay ‘Skokie,’ the story of free speech and a neo-Nazi march through a Jewish community.”
 
Kinoy was married to Barbara Powers from 1948 until her death in 2007. They had two children.
 
 
KINOY, Ernest
Born: 4/1/1925, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 11/10/2014, Townshend, Vermont, U.S.A.
 
Ernest Kinoy’s westerns – writer, screenwriter:
Shane (TV) – 1966 [writer]
Buck and the Preacher – 1972 [writer, screenwriter]

RIP Robert C. Stewart

Houston Chronicle
By Staff
November 13, 2014
 
Robert Chisem Stewart Jr. On November 6, 2014, Robert Chisem Stewart Jr. received the reward he had worked for all of his life. Known to most as Bob, he was also affectionately referred to as WriterBobStewart, Uncle Bob, Dad, and Grandad. He was 75 at the time of his death. His residence the past 4 years has been in Spring, Texas with his son, daughter in law, and grandchildren. His last days were spent doing what he loved. He passed in his hotel room in Salem Massachussetts, while attending the Writers Unplugged Unconference. Although the exact cause of death is pending, it is believed to be a "medical incident", possibly heart failure or complications of diabetes. Bob was born in Woodsboro, Texas on December 17, 1938 to Robert Chisem Stewart Sr. and Edna Alta Culpepper Stewart. He grew up with a younger sister, Nancy and a much younger brother, Van. He graduated from Calhoun County High School in Port Lavaca, Texas in 1957. He was active in the high school band making all regional band and barely missing all state band his senior year. He was active in drama, playing leading roles in school plays, and competing with great success in district speech and drama tournaments. He was also active in the chess club and enjoyed success in high school chess tournaments. He subsequently attended Abilene Christian College (ACC), now known as Abilene Christian University (ACU), where he also appeared in school produced plays. He began with a major in bible, which he later switched to journalism. When only a few hours from completing his degree, he was offered a job at a daily newspaper, The Vernon Record, and thus began his illustrious career spanning decades. Bob's early years in journalism included times at The Borger News Herald, The Bryan Daily Eagle, The Dallas Times Herald, The Marshall News Messenger, The Laredo Times and the San Antonio Light. At a young age, while managing editor at The Bryan Daily Eagle, he was recognized by editor and publisher and state journalism societies as being the best in the state of Texas in several categories. Also while in Bryan, Bob's play "WHICH DEATH TO DIE?" was produced by the AGGIE PLAYERS and he wrote 2 scripts for the number one TV series "GUNSMOKE". During his nearly twenty years at the San Antonio light, he began to focus on entertainment news, developing the first TV book to accommodate the multiple channel listings that were needed for the new cable networks. He wrote the weekly cover story for the TV guide and a daily column for the TV section of the newspaper. He also enjoyed a number of years on the air with the local network affiliate Channel 12 KSAT doing movie reviews. He would rank the movies on a scale of 1-12 and give his "Bobservations". Following his work at the San Antonio Light, Bob worked freelance for People magazine, US magazine, Life magazine, and many others. He gave up his freelance status to work full time for People magazine for several years to wrap up a distinguished career in the field of journalism. During his career, Bob interviewed literally thousands of people, both famous and infamous, ranging from presidents, to serial killers, to movie stars. Bob's most relished interview ever was the day he interviewed Roy Rogers, his childhood hero. He stated that he could hardly speak and that Roy was everything he could ever want a hero to be. After retiring from People magazine, Bob began a career as an author, having four non-fiction books published:MAN TO MAN When the woman you love has breast cancer St Marten's Press 1989SACRIFICE Word Publishing 1990REVENGE REDEEMED Fleming H Revell 1991NO REMORSE Pinnacle Books 1996In recent years Bob has enjoyed the publishing of three fiction booksALIAS THOMAS A. KATT Solstice Publishing 2011HIDDEN EVIL Novel Concept Publishing 2011FIRST BORN Novel Concept Publishing 2013Recently, Bob received recognition from the Writer's Guild of America for his work in 1967 on scripts for Gunsmoke, named as one of WGA's 101 Best Written TV Series of the last 70 years. Above all else, Bob loved God. A close second was the time he had with his family. A loving and sacrificial husband, father, and grandfather he set an example of what a Godly man should be. Ever patriotic, he was never too busy to stop, and shake hands, and thank every law enforcement officer or any military personnel he saw. Bob was a faithful member of the Church of Christ and consistent in his involvement. He often preached sermons on Sundays, taught bible classes, and officiated weddings and funerals as a lay minister. He loved a good joke, especially if it involved an Aggie. It was often said "You will know if Bob doesn't like you if he doesn't tease you". He loved to watch his beloved Aggies football team and "bled maroon". He also was a big Dallas Cowboy fan and especially enjoyed assignments when he got to interview the Cowboy players. A dominating presence, he usually seemed to be in command of all situations. At his last writers "unconference" the night before he passed, Bob spoke on "Perseverence". All attending were thinking of persevering within the literary world……the fight to be published. The best lesson though from Bob Stewart was the perseverence and love that he showed seeing his wife Martha through 2 bouts with cancer. When Bob gave his word, he kept it. Bob is survived by his son Dr. Robert Chisem Stewart III and his spouse Kimberly Ann Stewart of Spring, Texas, his daughter Martha Liland Stewart of New York City, grandchildren Christina Leigh Stewart, Courtney (CA) Ann Stewart, and Robert Chisem Stewart IV, all of Spring, TX; sister Nancy Lee Giles of Corsicana, Texas, and beloved "kitty" Schyler, resident of "Grandad's Cabana."Preceding Bob in death are his wife of 50 years Martha Ann Oeding Stewart, and brother William Van Stewart. Viewing/visitation will be at 9:00 AM Friday. Funeral Service at 10:00 AM Friday , Nov. 14, 2104 at the Klein Chapel-Mausoleum 9714 FM 2920, Klein Texas, 77379 Officiating will be Minister Mark Davis from the Crestway Church of Christ in San Antonio, Texas. Pallbearers will include Brian Harris, Charlie Meyers, Bobby Stewart, and Ronnie Giles. The family thanks all of those from Bob's personal and professional life who have given so much support and love for WriterBob and his family!"Do not go softly into that night…………"LOVING………………..GIVING…..…………..FIERCE
 
 
STEWART, Robert C. (Robert Chisem Stewart, Jr.)
Born: 12/19/1939, Woodsboro, Texas, U.S.A.
Died: 11/4/2014, Salem, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
 
Robert C. Stewart’s westerns – screenwriter:
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1965, 1966

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

RIP Leigh Chapman

Leigh Chapman, Actress and Screenwriter, Dies at 75
 
Variety
By Jon Burlingame
November 11, 2014
 
Leigh Chapman, the 1960s actress-turned-screenwriter who wrote “Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry” and “The Octagon,” died Tuesday, Nov. 4 at her West Hollywood home, after an eight-month battle with cancer. She was 75.
 
Chapman was familiar to TV viewers as Sarah, Napoleon Solo’s efficient secretary in several 1965 episodes of “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” She also did guest shots on several other mid-’60s series including “Combat,” “Dr. Kildare,” “McHale’s Navy” and “The Monkees.”
 
But she found her calling as a scriptwriter, starting in TV with “Burke’s Law,” “Mission: Impossible,” “It Takes a Thief,” “The Mod Squad” and “My Favorite Martian.” She penned six scripts for “The Wild Wild West,” one of which earned Agnes Moorehead her only acting Emmy.
 
Chapman soon graduated to feature-film work, mostly – and unusually for a female writer in the ’70s – in the action-adventure genre, notably with the Peter Fonda car-chase film “Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry.”
 
Subsequent writing credits included “Steel,” “Boardwalk,” “King of the Mountain,” “Impulse” and the Chuck Norris film “The Octagon.” She did uncredited work on “All the Marbles” and wrote the original treatment that eventually became the Isaac Hayes blaxploitation film “Truck Turner.”
 
Her final writing credits were the 1993 pilot for “Walker, Texas Ranger” and another first-season episode of the Chuck Norris series, although a creative dispute led her to substitute her mother’s name (Louise McCarn) in the credits for both.
 
She was born Rosa Lee Chapman in Kannapolis, N.C., in 1939, graduated from Winthrop College in Rock Hill, S.C., and moved to L.A. in the early 1960s, where her first job, as a secretary at the William Morris agency, led to the acting gigs; eventually the agency represented her as a writer.
 
In later years she took up underwater photography and her work was featured in a 2011 exhibit at Calumet Photography in Hollywood.
 
Survivors include two sisters and a brother.
 
 
CHAPMAN, Leigh (Rosa Lee Chapman)
Born: 3/29/1939, Kannapolis, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Died: 11/4/2014, West Hollywood, California, U.S.A.
 
Leigh Chapman’s westerns – actress, screenwriter:
Law of the Lawless – 1964 (saloon girl)
The Iron Horse (TV) – 1966 (Crystal Cochran)
The Professionals – 1966 (lady)
The Wild Wild West (TV) – 1966-1968 [screenwriter]

RIP David Watson

David Watson, Who Played Cornelius in 'Beneath the Planet of the Apes,' Dies at 74
 
The Hollywood Reporter
By Mike Barnes
November 11, 2014
 
He jumped in when Roddy McDowall was unavailable for the second film in the original film series
 
David Watson, who stepped in for Roddy McDowall to portray the chimpanzee archeologist Cornelius in the 1970 film Beneath the Planet of the Apes, has died. He was 74.
 
The British actor died on October 5 following a heart attack in New York, where he had been attending the opening night of the Broadway play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the U.K. newspaper The Stage reported.
 
McDowall played Cornelius in the original Planet of the Apes (1969) as well as in Escape From the Planet of the Apes (1971) and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973). He also was Cornelius' son Caesar in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) and another chimp, Galen, in a 1974 Planet of the Apes series for CBS.
 
But when McDowall was unavailable for Beneath the Planet of the Apes because of a scheduling conflict (he was in England directing the Ava Gardner-Ian McShane feature The Ballad of Tam Lin), Watson — who sounded much like McDowall underneath the mask and all that makeup — took over the role for that film only.
 
Watson earlier appeared on such 1960s TV series as Rawhide opposite Clint Eastwood, Never Too Young, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., The Time Tunnel and Daniel Boone, and he starred as Robin Hood (opposite McDowall as Prince John) in a 1968 musical for NBC. Later, he showed up on The Bionic Woman and in the 1988 telefilm Perry Mason: The Case of the Lady in the Lake.
 
A native of London, Watson was a singer in nightclubs and on the cabaret scene before making a transition to acting.
 
 
WATSON, David
Born: 3/10/2940 London, England, U.K.
Died: 10/5/2014, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
 
David Watson’s westerns – actor:
Rawhide (TV) – 1965 (Ian Cabot)
Daniel Boone (TV) – 1968, 1969, 1970 (David Scott, Prince Louise

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

RIP Carol Ann Susi

'The Big Bang Theory's' Carol Ann Susi dies at age 62
Zap2it
By Andrea Reiher
11/11/2014
                   
Television veteran Carol Ann Susi has died at the age of 62. A rep for the actress confirms to Zap2it that Susi passed away Tuesday (Nov. 11) after a brief battle with an aggressive form of cancer.
 
Working on TV for four decades, Susi has most recently become known as the voice of the unseen Debbie Wolowitz, Howard's mom, on "The Big Bang Theory." Her other recent credits include "Grey's Anatomy," "Ugly Betty" and the movie "Just Go With It."
 
As a teen, Susi studied acting HB Studio in New York and came to Los Angeles in the 1970s. Soon after, she was cast as Kolchak's secretary Monique Marmelstein on the hit ABC series "The Night Stalker." Dozens of TV appearances followed, including memorable turns on "Cheers," "Married ... With Children," "Seinfeld" and "Six Feet Under."
 
"'The Big Bang Theory' family has lost a beloved member today with the passing of Carol Ann Susi, who hilariously and memorably voiced the role of Mrs. Wolowitz," say Warner Bros. Television and "Big Bang Theory" producers Chuck Lorre, Steven Molaro and Bill Prady in a statement. "Unseen by viewers, the Mrs. Wolowitz character became a bit of a mystery throughout the show's eight seasons.
 
"What was not a mystery, however, was Carol Ann's immense talent and comedic timing, which were on display during each unforgettable appearance. In addition to her talent, Carol Ann was a constant source of joy and kindness to all. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with her family during this time, and we will miss her greatly."
 
Susi's rep also says that the Brooklyn native enjoyed "Doctor Who," Halloween horror mazes and the Magic Castle. She also frequently won blue ribbons for her culinary creations at the Los Angeles County Fair.
 
Susi is survived by her brother Michael and sister-in-law Connie.
 
 
SUSI, Carol Ann
Born: 2/2/1952, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 11/11/2014, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
 
Carol Ann Susi’s western – actress:
Blood Red – 1988 (Segestra daughter)

RIP Steve Dodd

Local film legend Steve Dodd passes away
 
South Coast Register
By Adam Wright
November 11, 2014
 
ABORIGINAL actor and Korean War veteran Steve Dodd died on Monday morning.
 
Mr Dodd lived in St Georges Basin for more than 20 years but throughout his life, lived and worked around Australia.
 
For about 70 years he played the role of an indigenous Australian character in movies and advertisements.
 
Wikipedia credits his movie career to Chips Rafferty who in 1946 noticed Mr. Dodd on the set of The Overlanders and gave him a small role.
 
He later appeared alongside Jack Thompson in The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith.
 
By 1985 he had acted in 55 movies or TV series. Later films saw him on screen with Tom Selleck in Quigley Down Under and Keanu Reeves in The Matrix.
 
In 2013 he was awarded the Jimmy Little Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sydney Opera House.
 
Before his time on film he worked as a stockman, horse breaker and rodeo rider.
 
Mr. Dodd served two years in the Korean War with 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.
 
In June this year Mr Dodd was the guest of honour at Shoalhaven High School’s NAIDOC Week celebrations. He unveiled a plaque in honour of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who fought for their country.
 
Basin View residents Robin and Halyna Rossall considered themselves his family after striking up a friendship with Mr Dodd about 20 years ago.
 
“Halyna used to cook food and put it in his freezer. He loved her pea and ham soup,” Mr Rossall said.
 
“We became very good friends over the years.
 
“He was 85 years old but he was sharp mentally. Steve had a super personality.
 
“I’ve got a photo of him advertising Nike shoes. He told me he walked into the film studio naked but with Nikes on.
 
“The photographer said you can’t pose for the picture like that, so from behind his back he took a stuffed goanna and covered his privates.
 
“He had a marvellous sense of humour.
 
“He was a wonderful personality and such a great friend.”
 
A memorial service for Mr Dodd will be held on Monday at Blackett Park, St Georges Basin, at 11am.
 
 
DODD, Steve
Born: 6/1/1928, Dodnadatta, Australia
Died: 10/11/2014, Basin View, New South Wales, Australia
 
Steve Dodd’s westerns – actor:
The Overlanders - 1946
Quigley Down Under – 1990 (Kunkurra)

Monday, November 10, 2014

RIP Geula Nuni

Israeli actress Geula Nuni from 1960's iconic film Sallah Shabati passes away
 
Israel News
By Ran Boker
11.10.2014
 
Israeli actress Geula Nuni passed away on Sunday night at age 72 and will be laid to rest Monday afternoon.
  
Nuni became famous in the 1960's for her role in the Israeli film Sallah Shabati in which she costarred with Chaim Topol and Gila Almagor. Sallah Shabati was one of the most successful films in Israeli history and centered on the chaos of Israeli immigration in the '60s.
 
 
NUNI, Geula
Born: 9/6/1942, Israel
Died: 11/9/2014, Tel Aviv, Israel
 
Geula Nuni’s western – actress:
Legacy of the Incas – 1965 (Graziella)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

RIP Ronald R. Grow

RIP Ronald R. Grow
 
Producer, production manager, assistant director Ronald R. Grow died in Los Angeles on October 21, 2014. He was 74. Born in Los Angeles Ron began his career as a second assistant director on 1970’s “Catch 22”. He was probably best known for his work as a unit production manager on TV’s ‘7th Heaven’ from 1996-2002.
 
 
GROW, Ronald R. (Ronald Richard Grow)
Born: 4/13/1940, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Died: 10/31/2014, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
 
Ronald R. Grow’s westerns – assistant director, unit manager, production manager:
The Apple Dumpling Gang – 1975 [unit manager]
Centennial (TV) – 1978 [assistant director]
Kung Fu (TV) – 1986 [production manager]

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

RIP Richard Schaal

Richard Schaal dies at 86; character actor was a Second City pioneer
Los Angeles Times
By Chris Jones
November 5, 2014
 
Actor Richard "Dick" Schaal, a pioneer at the Second City comedy theater in Chicago and a familiar face from character roles on movies and television, including "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda," has died. He was 86..
 
Schaal died Tuesday at the Motion Picture and Television Fund retirement home in Woodland Hills, said his daughter, actress Wendy Schaal. The cause was not disclosed.
 
“He was a great genius at that. You'd swear he could actually see the objects.”- Jeffrey Sweet, author of "Something Wonderful Right Away"
 
Born in Chicago in 1928, Schaal (pronounced SHAWL) was in the second cast of Second City, beginning in 1962. At the famed theater, he was known, in sketch-comedy parlance, as a "space man." In other words, whereas the fledgling company had more than its share of University of Chicago graduates prized for their wit and verbosity, Schaal not only had a more blue-collar sensibility but was also the rare but crucial guy who could physically enliven the scenes.
 
"Using mime, Dick could place 40 objects within a scene, remember where they all were, and then modify them," said Jeffrey Sweet, who wrote extensively about Schaal in "Something Wonderful Right Away," a history of the early years of Second City. "He was a great genius at that. You'd swear he could actually see the objects."
 
"His whole body was an instrument," Wendy Schaal said. "He was the one who really took off on working in the space. That was where the work could make the visible invisible. In his workshops, he would teach performers to explore what would happen to their body when handling objects."
 
Schaal was an intimate of the early developers of modern sketch comedy and improvisation, especially Paul Sills and Sills' mother, Viola Spolin. At Second City, he performed alongside such masters of the form as Del Close and Avery Schreiber. Schaal was, in many ways, the first performer to fall into what would become a regular Second City type: the regular Chicago guy, a role later filled by such performers as John Belushi and George Wendt.
 
Initially, Schaal had run his own construction company in Chicago. After finding himself in the audience for the first show at Second City, he founded his own rival comedy-improv company in the backroom of a restaurant in Chicago Heights. Bernie Sahlins, Sheldon Patinkin and Sills of the Second City troupe came to see the show. Sensing that Schaal had something they needed, they hired him for the second revue at Second City.
 
He did not stay long in Chicago. After a year or so, he made his way to New York, where he found work in improvisational theater and met actress Valerie Harper, who would become his second wife. They divorced in 1978, and he later married a third time.
 
Schaal had regular guest-starring roles on 1960s and '70s television, including "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "That Girl" and "The Bob Newhart Show."
 
He also appeared on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," which featured Harper as Rhoda, and two of that show's spinoffs, "Rhoda" and "Phyllis."
 
His notable film appearances include "The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming" (1966) and "Slaughterhouse-Five" (1972).
 
His daughter survives him.
 
 
SHAAL, Richard
Born: 5/5/1928, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Died: 11/4/2014, Woodland Hills, California, U.S.A.
 
Richard Shaal’s western – actor:
Tall Tales & Legends – 1986 (Bob)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

RIP Renée Asherson

Versatile actor who combined grace with gravity in her many roles over 65 years
 
The Guardian
By Michael Coveney
November 4, 2014
 
Renée Asherson, a vivacious and stylish actor, who has died aged 99, enjoyed a career on stage and screen spanning 65 years. She will be remembered as the French princess in Laurence Olivier’s wartime propaganda film version of Henry V, pertly trimming her garden roses while rehearsing the English words for delicate body parts.
 
She had made her screen debut earlier the same year, playing a small role in Carol Reed’s The Way Ahead (1944), Peter Ustinov’s script (from Eric Ambler’s story) showing how an army officer (David Niven) organised a bunch of disparate conscripts into a plausible fighting unit. She followed that with another war-time adventure, this time with more love interest, Anthony Asquith’s The Way to the Stars (1945), scripted by Terence Rattigan, in which she played John Mills’s girlfriend, with Michael Redgrave and Rosamund John as a more straightforwardly middle-class pair.
 
Asherson’s clarity of diction, open demeanour, bright blue eyes and retroussé nose were distinct physical hallmarks; she often seemed to combine the kittenishness of Vivien Leigh with the grace and watery-eyed gravity of Celia Johnson, as she progressed from leading Shakespearean roles at the Old Vic before the second world war to West End stardom soon after it. She played sisters to both those exemplary actors in two major productions: the London premiere, in 1949, of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, as Stella Kowalski to Leigh’s Blanche DuBois; and as the youngest of Chekhov’s Three Sisters in a 1951 revival featuring Johnson and Margaret Leighton as her siblings, as well as Diana Churchill, Harcourt Williams and Ralph Richardson.
 
Kenneth Tynan had already noted her pedigree as a “comely Juliet”, tormented and fragile, speaking in a “husky alto”, and as Bianca – “a syrupy puss, [who] gets her little behind well slippered” – in a raucous Taming of the Shrew led by Trevor Howard and Patricia Burke. Olivier was keen for her to join him at the Old Vic, but her career had taken a decisive turn elsewhere when she met the love of her life, the handsome film star Robert Donat, (the original Mr Chips) in a stage (and subsequent film) version of Walter Greenwood’s The Cure for Love in 1945.
 
She was born Renée Ascherson in London (dropping the “c” early in her acting career), the second daughter of Charles Ascherson, a businessman and bibliophile of German-Jewish extraction, and his second wife, Dorothy Wiseman. He had booked a honeymoon on the Titanic but had to cancel at the last minute due to an attack of appendicitis. Thus Renée arrived in the world, following her elder sister, Janet. Renée was scantly educated at Maltman’s Green girls’ school in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, and at finishing schools in Switzerland and France, due to ill health; she suffered from anorexia in her teenage years before deciding (to her mother’s dismay) to train for the stage, at Webber Douglas school in London.
 
She made her stage debut in 1935 in a small role in Romeo and Juliet, directed by John Gielgud, and soon became a fixture at the Birmingham Rep and other leading theatres, making her West End debut (while filming Henry V) in Enid Bagnold’s melodramatic backstage drama Lottie Dundass (1943) at the Vaudeville, with Ann Todd and Sybil Thorndike. When she met Donat, whose marriage had ended, they lived together in Three Kings Yard, Mayfair, behind the Savile Club, his home from home.
 
In John Boulting’s Festival of Britain film The Magic Box (1951), Donat played the pioneering photographer William Friese-Greene, while Asherson contributed a cameo among her peers, including Olivier, Thora Hird, Ustinov and Emlyn Williams. The couple married in 1953 when Donat completed his successful run in TS Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral, but separated soon after; he was extremely ill with asthma, and became difficult to live with. Towards the end, Asherson unsuccessfully attempted a reconciliation. Donat died in 1958.
 
On stage, in 1969 Asherson appeared with Alastair Sim in Pinero’s The Magistrate, and with John Clements, Leighton and Hugh Paddick in Antony and Cleopatra, at Chichester; and as Mrs Parker in JB Priestley’s When We Are Married (with Peggy Mount and Fred Emney) at the Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford, in 1970. Her television credits accelerated through the decades, and included an Arnold Bennett serialisation of Clayhanger (1976), the first series of Tenko (1981), and Philippa Pearce’s Tom’s Midnight Garden (1989), in which she played Mrs Bartholomew. Her best TV films were Rodney Bennett’s Edwin (1984), scripted by John Mortimer, in which she played the possibly unfaithful wife of Alec Guinness’s retired high court judge; and Jack Clayton’s brilliant Memento Mori (1992), a perfect adaptation of Muriel Spark’s macabre comedy of senility, in which she sparkled in a hand-picked company of Maggie Smith, Cyril Cusack, Peter Eyre, Hird, Michael Hordern, Zoë Wanamaker, Stephanie Cole and John Wood; this was a high watermark of television drama.
 
Never a lead, but always a special irregular, her films included Don Sharp’s Rasputin (1966, starring Christopher Lee), Douglas Hickox’s critic-baiting Theatre of Blood (1973), Richard Attenborough’s Grey Owl (1999, with Piers Brosnan), and Alejandro Amenábar’s The Others (2001), a spooky Henry James-inspired house haunting, starring Nicole Kidman, in which Asherson played an incredibly powerful scene, eyes glazed over, as an old medium at a seance (“Children, if you are dead, why do you stay in this house?”).
 
Mordant, witty and constantly sociable, Asherson spent her last years in apartments in London, and is survived by her nephew, the journalist Neal Ascherson, grandson of Renée’s father and his first wife.
 
 
ASHERSON, Renée (Dorothy Renée Ascherson)
Born: 5/19/1915, Kensington, London, England, U.K.
Died: 10/30/2014, London, England, U.K.
 
Renée Ascherson’s western - actress:
Grey Owl – 1999 (Carrie Belaney)