Monday, June 26, 2017

RIP William Woodson

Actor, announcer & voiceovers performer William T. Woodson has died at age 99.  His friends have shared the sad news on Facebook; there have been no obituary notices.

WOODSON, William (William T. Woodson)
Born: 7/16/1917, San Bernardino, California, U.S.A.
Died: 2/22/2017, U.S.A.

William Woodson’s westerns – actor:
Klondike (TV) – 1960 (professor)
Death Valley Days (TV) – 1961 (witness)
Have Gun – Will travel (TV) – 1962, 1963 Barker Craft
The Rifeleman (TV) – 1962 (Sheriff)
Empire (TV) – 1963 (Al Pope)
Redigo (TV) – 1963 (Grady Tipton)
F Troop (TV) – 1966 (Secretary of War)
The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family – 1968 (Henry White)
More Dead Than Alive – 1969 (Warden)
The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams – 1974 [narrator]

RIP Hal Fryar

The Republic

June 8, 1927 – June, 25, 2017

Hal Fryar, age 90, of Bradenton, Florida passed away on June 25, 2017 after a life well lived and well loved by many.

Born in 1927, Hal became an actor and television personality and rose to prominence as “Harlow Hickenlooper”, the host of The Three Stooges Show on Channel 6 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Hal began his broadcasting career as an announcer, emcee, and writer as a teenager in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the mid-1940s. He graduated from Indiana University in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree in speech, and by the 1960s, he had developed his entertainment talents as host of programs geared to young audiences in radio
and TV in Ohio.

Hal served as the host for a local Indianapolis children’s show on WFBM-TV that ran from 1960 to 1972, that highlighted the old Three Stooges movie shorts. He appeared under the name “Harlow Hickenlooper” and was one of a trio of hosts with Curley Myers and Captain Star (Jerry Vance aka Larry Vincent). Together, they sang songs and did skits for a live studio audience of children. His idea of Harlow Hickenlooper’s
personality was for him to be a character for whom nothing ever went right, no matter how hard he tried and Hickenlooper regularly ended up with a (shaving) cream pie in his face.

Hal was also the host for several other children’s shows over his 43 years in local television. In 1965, Fryar was cast in the Original Three Stooges movie, The Outlaws Is Coming, playing the part of Johnny Ringo and in 2008, he was inducted into the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.

Hal is survived by his wife of 37 years Henrietta Fryar, his daughter Pam Allen, his son Gary Fryar, stepdaughters Connie Linton and Marsha McMullin and grandchildren, Joseph Galimi, Amber Clark, Michael Craney, Jami Kong, Jessica Truax, Jonathan Linton, Matthew Linton, Great-grandchildren Hailey McMullin, Arden Kong, Talan Kong, Odelle Linton, Hayden Truax, Alaina Kong, Catalina Galimi, Ethan Clark, Vivian Clark nieces and nephews.

The funeral service will be a private ceremony held at his home in Bradenton, Florida.

Hal was always generous, witty, and dedicated to entertaining, often volunteering his talent to community events. He always expressed personal interest in others and was forever introducing people to create new connections and friendships. Hal was a dedicated member of the Emanuel Methodist Church of Bradenton.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Hospice House of Bradenton, 3355 26th St W., Bradenton, Florida 34205. Condolences can be sent through Hal’s contact page. The family would like to thank friends, WFYI, Hospice House of Bradenton.

Born: 6/8/1927, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.
Died: 6/25/2017, Bradenton, Florida, U.S.A.

Hal Fryar’s western – actor:
The Outlaws’ is Coming – 1965 (Johnny Ringo)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

RIP Armando Sciascia

ARMANDO SCIASCIA, 97, Composer and Violinist

Connecticut Post
June 25, 2017

Armando Sciascia, Italian-born 34-year Trumbull, CT resident, died peacefully at his home on June 23, leaving a precious legacy of artistic accomplishments and memories for his numerous family, colleagues and fans. The maestro's fame in his native country includes his work as composer and conductor of film scores and recordings, musical innovator and prominent entrepreneur. As head of the recording company he founded, the young artists he discovered and made famous during his many crossovers to contemporary popular repertory, just as jazz and rock n' roll, were blossoming during the early '60s. As a graduate of the Rossini Conservatory in Pesaro, Italy, his classical background also permitted some interesting arrangements of classical music in modern dress, for which he apologized to his otherwise 'classical music lovers' but quickly found a new audience to his young followers. Sciascia also introduced many American artists through representing the U.S. companies and artists, like "The Doors", Woodie Guthrie, and the UNESCO recordings of that world's folk music. Armando leaves his wife, Aliki Michalaros-Sciascia, his daughter Dr. Albertina Molinari, his son Sergio (from a first marriage), and nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Visiting hours will be held on Sunday (TODAY) 4-7pm at Spadaccino and Leo P. Gallagher & Son Funeral Home, 315 Monroe Turnpike, Monroe, CT. Mass of Christian burial will be held Monday, June 26, 2017,12pm at St. Stephen Church 6948 Main Street, Trumbull, CT. Further information can be found at

Donations in his memory can be offered to the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama. More information can be found at

SCIASCIA, Armando (Armando Alberto Sciascia)
Born: 6/16/1920, Lanciano, Abruzzo, Italy
Died: 6/23/2017, Trumbull, Connecticut, U.S.A

Armando Sciascia’s westerns – composer:
Die for a Dollar in Tucson – 1964 [as H. Tical]
Three Graves for a Winchester – 1966

Friday, June 23, 2017

RIP Joesph Billingiere

Memory Alpha

Joseph "Joe" Billingiere was the actor who appeared as a background performer in several episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise, mostly under heavy prosthetics. In the episode "Canamar", he played one of the Enolian prisoners. He also appeared as a Klingon.

Billingiere was a trained martial artists and stuntman, skilled in stage combat, aikido, and Japanese sword techniques. Beside stage plays, such as Sherlock Holmes, The Final Adventure, The Best Man" and Big River, he served as stand-in and photo double for Steven Seagal in the action films Exit Wounds (2001, with Bruce McGill), Ticker (2001, with Vanessa Branch and Jerry Rector), and Half Past Dead (2002, with Tony Plana, Linda Thorson, and fellow Enterprise co-star Michael McGrady).
He also worked as photo double for Steve Valentine in the television series Crossing Jordan (2001-2007, with regular Miguel Ferrer), played recurring roles in Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and guest and supporting roles in Air America, Miracles, and Captain My Captain (as Gene Simmons), as well as in the television action film Crash and Burn (2008, with Jamie McShane and stunts by Gary J. Wayton and Terry James).

He appeared as Two Wolves in the Reno 911! episode "Wiegel's Dad Returns" (2008, with Boni Yanagisawa) as well as in episodes of Chocolate News (2008), Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! (2008, with Buddy Daniels Friedman), and Everybody Hates Chris (2009).

Further acting work included the comic adaptation Jonah Hex (2010, with Antal Kalik and Michael Papajohn), the short comedy Rollercaster Safety with Patrick Warburton (2011), the Western Yellow Rock (2011, with Clay Wilcox and Bruce Mercury), the thriller Rites of Passage (2012, with Christian Slater and John Saint John), the science fiction film John Carter (2012, with Don Stark), and the short film Through the Night (2012).

Most recent projects included the television series Drunk History (2013 and 2015), the Western comedy Damsel (2017), and the horror film Moon Creek Cemetery (2017).
Billingiere died in his sleep of natural causes on 15 June 2017 at his home.

BILLINGIERE, Joseph (Joseph Francis Billingiere)
Born: 6/30/1948, Ventura, California, U.S.A.
Died: 6/15/2017, Ventura, California, U.S.A

Joseph Billingiere’s westerns – actor:
Jonah Hex – 2010 (Old Cherokee)
Yellow Rock – 2011 (Chief White Eagle Feather)
Damsel – 2011 (Zacharia)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

RIP Keith Loneker

The Kansas City Star
By Jesse Newell
June 22, 2017

Keith Loneker Sr., who played offensive tackle for the Kansas football team from 1989-92 before establishing careers in the NFL and with film, has died, KU Athletics officials confirmed. He was 46.

Loneker, who was a starter for the 1992 KU team that finished 8-4 and won the Aloha Bowl, spent three seasons in the NFL after going undrafted, playing 19 games with the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams from 1993-95 with five starts.

The 6-foot-4 Loneker later received notoriety for his acting career, which included roles in “Out of Sight,” “Superbad” and “Leatherheads.”

Loneker’s son, Keith Jr., is a junior linebacker on the KU football team. Keith Jr. posted on his Instagram page in December that his father had been diagnosed with cancer the previous month.

Keith Sr., who was coached by Glen Mason, earned all-Big Eight honors in his final season with the Jayhawks.

Born: 6/21/1971, Roselle Park, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Died: 6/22/2017,  U.S.A.

Keith Loneker’s western – actor:
Outlaws and Angels – 2016 (Little Joe)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

RIP Jim Brewer

Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home
June 18, 2012

Gentleman Jim Brewer, a retired boxer and actor, died Thursday, June 15th, after a rough spell of bad health. Jim was sure-enough Old Austin. He grew up in the Rosedale neighborhood and was a member of McCallum High School's first graduating class. After a successful local boxing career under the tutelage of Pat O'Grady (who later relocated to Oklahoma City and guided his son, Sean, to a world championship), Jim was cast in John Wayne's production of THE ALAMO. This turn of good fortune allowed Jim to develop an acting career that lasted until his health began to decline. He starred in MISSION TO DEATH, which some would claim to be the first independent feature film shot in Austin. But mostly he worked as a supporting actor and had scenes with the likes of Marlon Brando, Robert Mitchum, and George C. Scott, among many others. Jim is known for None but the Brave (1966), The Formula (1980) and AB-Negative (2006). He worked in TV as well, including a memorable guest slot on an episode of THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW. Jim lived mostly in L.A. and was President/Owner of the manufacturing company, Techmar Enclosures, Inc. along with his successful acting career. Jim would always spend a couple of months a year back in Austin, where he'd tool around in his 1965 sky-blue Mustang, which he'd purchased years ago from his actress friend, Karen Valentine (ROOM 222 etc). He was a regular at Dirty Martin's (where there's sort of a shrine to him in one corner of the dining room), Dry Creek Saloon, El Patio, and Avenue B Grocery, as well as at Upper Crust Bakery. He didn't stop training until the last year, and he'd work the heavy bags at R Lord's Boxing Gym like an up-and-coming welterweight whenever he was in town. Every year he hosted an "anniversary of his 70th birthday" dinner at Matt's El Rancho to which he would invite a host of friends including lifelong school friends, surviving Austin boxers from the 1950s and '60s, and his Austin theater group.

Jim was born in Midland, Texas on January 8th, 1937 as James Cleveland Brewer III. Jim is survived by his younger brother Robert Brewer of Lockhart, TX, his niece Breanna and her son Zayden. He was preceded in death by his beloved Mother and biggest fan, Pat Anderson, and will be laid to rest alongside her at Austin Memorial Park. Jim was loved by many and will be greatly missed.

Visitation hours from 5pm to 7pm on Tuesday June 20th at Weed-Corley-Fish on North Lamar.
A celebration of Jim's life will be held Wednesday June 21st from 7pm to 9pm at Dirty Martin's on Guadalupe.

BREWER, Jim (James Cleveland Brewer III)
Born: 1/8/1937, Midland, Texas, U.S.A.
Died: 6/15/2017, Austin, Texas, U.S.A.

Jim Brewer’s westerns – actor:
The Alamo – 1960 (Travis’ man)
Kate Bliss and the Ticker Tape Kid (TV) – 1978 (Ben)
Fort Yeguas – 2012 (Jim Schulte)

Monday, June 19, 2017

RIP Bill Dana

Business Wire
June 19, 2017

It is with great sadness that Emerson College announces the death of comedy pioneer and alumnus Bill Dana ’50. Dana passed away at his home in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday, June 15, 2017 with his wife of 36 years Evelyn (Evy) Shular Dana by his side. He was 92 years old.
Bill Dana was a successful writer, author, cartoonist, producer, recording artist, inventor, and stand-up comedian. Many will remember him as “José Jiménez,” a classic character he created on The Steve Allen Show and continued to perform throughout his career. 

Born William Szathmary in 1924, Bill was the youngest of six children to parents Dena and Joseph (of Hungarian-Jewish descent). He grew up in the midst of the Great Depression in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Bill volunteered for the Army at age 18, and later earned a Bronze Star Medal in WWII as a combat infantryman. After graduating from Emerson College on the GI Bill, he entered show business, beginning his career as an NBC page at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. His career took a major turn when he began writing for comedian Don Adams, including penning the famous “Would You Believe?” jokes. Hired as a writer on the original Tonight Show, Bill eventually became head writer on The Steve Allen Show, hiring a legendary stable of comedy writers: Buck Henry, Bill Persky, and Sam Denoff. His creation of the popular José Jiménez character in 1959 resulted in his own NBC series, The Bill Dana Show (1963-1965).

His comedy albums, as both José and Bill Dana, were top-sellers. He helped launch the careers of comedic greats such as Don Knotts, Jackie Mason, and Jim Nabors. A major career highlight was writing the All in the Family episode, “Sammy’s Visit,” featuring Sammy Davis, Jr.- consistently rated in TV Guide’s “Top 100 Television Episodes of All Time” and for which he received a Writers Guild Award.

Adopted by the original seven Mercury astronauts, Dana became part of U.S space history on May 5, 1961 when the first words from planet Earth spoken by Deke Slayton to Alan Shepard blasting into space were, “OK, José, you’re on your way!” Bill was proudly named America’s first “Honorary Astronaut” by the Aerospace Society, and is honored by inclusion in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Appearances at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, The London Palladium, and a show-stopping performance at the John F. Kennedy Inaugural Gala are just some career highlights. He received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Pacific Pioneer Broadcaster Association, the Boston Comedy Festival, the American Comedy Festival, and Emerson College, among others.

The National Hispanic Media Coalition endorsed the José Jiménez character and Bill continued to serve on their Advisory Board throughout his life. In 1970, he honored Earth Day by creating America’s first syndicated cartoon panel devoted to the environment, Ecolo/Jest. Bill continued to work in film and television through the ‘90s, including producing The Milton Berle Show, writing Alice in Wonderland (1966) and appearing on numerous television shows—notably as “Uncle Angelo” on The Golden Girls.
In 2005, Bill and his dear friend, philanthropist, Emerson Trustee Emeritus, and fellow Emerson alumnus, the late Ted Cutler, founded the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, fulfilling a lifelong goal to honor the study and appreciation of the comedic arts.
Bill is survived by his best friend and cherished wife Evelyn Shular Dana of Walden’s Creek, Tennessee.

Donations may be made in memory of Bill to the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College. Please contact:

DANA, Bill (William Szathmary)
Born: 10/5/1924, Quincy, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Died: 6/15/2017, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.

Bill Dana’s western – actor:
Zorro and Son (TV) – 1983 (Bernardo)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

RIP Stephen Furst

Stephen Furst Flounder from ‘Animal House’ dead at 63


Stephen Furst -- actor and filmmaker known for playing Flounder in 'Animal House' -- has died due to complications from diabetes ... TMZ has learned.

Stephen's son Nathan tells us ... his father died at his home in Ventura Country, CA early Friday morning surrounded by loving friends and family. We're told he battled with diabetes for years and became a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association.
Along with playing Kent 'Flounder' Dorfman in the 1978 comedy classic, he also had starring roles on "Babylon 5" and "St. Elsewhere." He directed a few episodes of 'Babylon 5' as well.

He was 63.

FURST, Stephen
Born: 5/8/1955, Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.A.
Died:  6/16/2017, Ventura, California, U.S.A.

Stephen Furst’s western – director:
Stageghost - 2000

RIP Bill Butler

Hollywood Reporter
By Mike Barnes

He also worked with famed writer-director Melvin Frank on 'The Prisoner of Second Avenue,' 'A Touch of Class' and 'The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox.'

Bill Butler, the British-born film editor who received an Oscar nomination for his work on Stanley Kubrick's 1971 classic A Clockwork Orange, has died. He was 83.

Butler died June 4 at a hospital in Sherman Oaks, his son Stephen Butler told The Hollywood Reporter.

Butler earned his first film editor credit when he collaborated with Melvin Frank on the romantic comedy Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968), starring Gina Lollobrigida, and he also edited A Touch of Class (1973), The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (1976) and Lost and Found (1979) — all three starring George Segal — for the famed writer-director.

The London native also cut movies including One More Time (1970), directed by Jerry Lewis and starring Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford, and A Little Sex (1982), helmed by Bruce Paltrow.

Butler was introduced to Kubrick by a fellow editor, Ray Lovejoy (who would later edit The Shining), and joined A Clockwork Orange two weeks before the end of shooting. Hunched over a Steenbeck and two Moviolas, he then worked alongside the notoriously perfectionist filmmaker in Kubrick's garage seven days a week, 14 hours a day, for nearly a year.

"I thought that I was going to be left alone to put it together, which is a normal procedure," Butler said in a 2001 interview. "The director shoots it, the editor assembles it. Then you have your first cut, you get input notes from the director, you fine cut that, and then you work with the director.

"Of course, with Stanley it was a different story, it didn't happen. I would say there should be a close-up here and a long shot there, and it would materialize maybe weeks down the road — but not right away, no way. My understanding was that he was like that with all the departments."

Born in 1933, Butler and his family survived the Battle of Britain, and he spent many days as a youth playing amid mounds of rubble scattered throughout London. He sometimes found random streams of 35mm film.

After World War II, Butler regularly visited the guards at Gainsborough Studios in Islington, pestering them for bits of film. He noticed the minuscule progression from box to box and became hooked on reading books about developing film and manipulating negatives.

His brother found him a job at a local studio, and Butler got a chance to work briefly with prominent British editor Jack Harris on The Crimson Pirate (1952), starring Burt Lancaster, before he went off to serve as a member of the Royal Army Ordinance Corps.

In the mid-1950s, Butler began as an assistant to sound editor Leslie Hodgson (Apocalypse Now) and worked on such films as Moby Dick (1956), The Naked Earth (1958), The Unforgiven (1960) and Jack Cardiff's The Lion (1962).

Butler was the sound editor on A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966) when he first met Frank, who had co-written the picture. The pair also collaborated on 1975's The Prisoner of Second Avenue (he was second editor on the Jack Lemmon comedy) and the 1987 film Walk Like a Man.
Butler also worked as a film editor on the acclaimed 1980s NBC series St. Elsewhere and on the 1994 Antonio Banderas film Of Love and Shadows.

According to his son, Butler was "always nostalgic for the physical touch of his white gloves, a grease pencil in his hand and gazing into a projection machine of the past." All three of his children — Stephen, Lynne and Les — were inspired by him and now work in the industry.

Survivors also include Mary, his wife of 60 years, four grandchildren, a great-grandchild and his sister Jean.

A life celebration is planned for Aug. 12. Please contact Stephen Butler

BUTLER, Bill (William Butler)
Born: 1933, London, England, U.K.
Died: 6/4/2017, Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.A.

Bill Butler’s western – film editor:
The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox - 1976

RIP Marisa Marco

Marisa Marco is deceased

June 17, 2017

Marisa has left us. And although we know that she would reprimand us for coming here to talk about her, just as she dodged for years the photos, the interviews and any pretense of notoriety, we need not apologize, and that, from that space reserved for smokers somewhere They will have qualified for it, understand that we could not just say goodbye.

Because the actress leaves us: for some, the voice of Mary Ingalls, of the Jo of A man at home; For another generation, and always Corky Sherwood, Lilith Sternin, so many laughs ... But also the director: enjoyed, fun, laughing eagerly takes well-executed and worthy of his intelligent humor. And, above all, the companion and the friend: dear and admired. Admired and very dear.

Marisa, we are sure, wise and lucid as always, will have ordered a "tecito", will have lit a cigar, and looks at us already, mockingly and sympathetically, from some privileged viewpoint.

Until forever, my dear. You can not imagine how much we're going to miss.

All our love for her daughter and the little newcomer.

MARCO, Marisa (Maria Luisa Marco)
Born: 19??, Spain
Died: 6/17/2017, Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Marisa Marco’s westerns – voice dubber:
Little House on the Prairie (TV) – 1974-1983 [Spanish voice of Melissa Sue Anderson]
Garringo – 1969 [1988 DVD Spanish voice of Maria Pia Conte, Fanny Grey]
Navajo Joe – 1966 [? DVD Spanish voice of Franca Polesello]

RIP Mieczysław Kalenik

Polish actor Mieczysław Kalenik HAS died, played Zbyszka from Bogdaniec


Mieczysław Kalenik has died, an actor known for his role as Zbyszko from Bogdaniec in "The Knights" by Alexander Ford. Information about the actor's death was given by his daughter Magdalena Kalenik. The artist died, June 16 in Międzyrzec Podlaski. He was 84 years old.

Mieczysław Kalenik was born on January 1 1933 in Międzyrzec Podlaski. The actor made his debut in 1957 in the musical "Kiss Me, Kasia" by Jerzy Rakowiecki according to Shakespeare's "Taming the Shrew". During his studies he also played several episodic roles, including: In films: "Generation", "Captain Martens's Treasure", "Hours of Hope", "Warsaw Siren". But he gained real fame in 1960 when he played one of his most important roles - Zbyszko from Bogdaniec in "The Teutonic Knights" by Alexander Ford.

When Alexander Ford prepared the "Teutonic Knights", many young actors dreamed of Zbyszek's role in Bogdaniec. I had to give up my dream because I read that Bogusz Bilewski was supposed to play it. However, fate decided otherwise. When I went to the SPATiF Club, I saw three men from the film crew. One of them, the production manager, having learned that I was an actor, invited me to a short conversation with Ford. This one, watching me carefully, asked if I would like to play "Teutonic Knights" - he recalled Kalenik years later.

The actor also played, among others. "First Day of Freedom", "Life Again", "Everything for Sale", "Kazimierz Wielki" and - in the late 90s - Stolnik in "Pan Tadeusz".

Six years ago, in an interview with Krzysztof Lubczyński, the actor admitted that he had fulfilled himself as an artist - although he had been told for a long time that he could only play the role of Zbyszko from Bogdaniec. - After this role (...) Alexander Ford gave me a role in the film "The First Day of Freedom" by Leon Kruczkowski, where I played Otton, the rapist, and it was a completely different role from Zbyszko. I really like this role. So I was acting as an actor, but never dreamed of a role, the proverbial Hamlet. In the aftermath of the "Teutonic Knights," Ludwik Sempolinski told me: "If it was before the war, no one would let you go, you would have everything," Kalenik said.

Mieczysław Kalenik died on Friday in his native Międzyrzec Podlaski. He was 84 years old.

KALENIK, Mieczyslaw
Born: 1/1/1933, Międzyrzec Podlaski, Lubelskie, Poland
Died: 6/16/2017, Międzyrzec Podlaski, Lubelskie, Poland

Mieczysław Kalenik’s western – actor:
Tecumseh – 1972 (General Brook)

Friday, June 16, 2017

RIP John G. Alvidsen

‘Rocky’ director John G. Avildsen dies at 81

Los Angeles Times
By Jeffrey Fleishman
June 16, 2017

Oscar-winning director John G. Avildsen, whose “Rocky” sent a shot of adrenaline through movie theaters and turned Sylvester Stallone into one of cinema’s most unforgettable boxers, has died at 81.
Avildsen’s eldest son, Anthony, said the filmmaker died of pancreatic cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

With rousing music and sentimental scripts, Avildsen was a master at ennobling and lifting the underdog into states of grace. He won best director for “Rocky” (1976), the tale of Rocky Balboa’s gritty and unlikely transcendence from the streets of South Philadelphia, and was also known for “The Karate Kid” (1984), the story of a restless teenager and his Okinawan martial arts mentor.
But Avildsen was also known for deep and nuanced portraits of characters caught in the complexities of their times. His “Save the Tiger” (1973), which won Jack Lemmon an Academy Award for best actor, was the story of a garment manufacturer who burns down his company for insurance money. In “Joe” (1970), Peter Boyle starred as a racist factory worker and iconoclast in an exploration of hippies and murder that touched on the nation’s changing cultures.

In an interview with The Times in 2014, Avildsen recalled his encounter with Lemmon: “When I came to meet him for the first time I had long hair, an extensive beard and blue velvet jeans with daisies on my butt. I explained to him if he chose me to direct the movie, I didn’t want to see him in it. I didn’t want all the mannerisms, all of the things he had grown comfortable with over the years. I wanted to see [the character], not him.”

Avildsen explored social ills, unexpected relationships and the friction and forgiveness that run through life. “Lean on Me” (1989) cast Morgan Freeman as a New Jersey school principal trying to help students stay clear of violence and drugs. “Neighbors” (1981) starred John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as disparate middle-aged neighbors in a comedy that captured the insecurities and eccentricities of suburbia. Critic Roger Ebert called “Neighbors” a “truly interesting comedy, an offbeat experiment in hallucinatory black humor. It grows on you.”

But it was his film about a boxer that roused a nation, revived the well-worn pugilist melodrama and set loose a string of sequels. “Rocky” entered the consciousness at a time America was shaken by Watergate and the Vietnam War and was trying to find its way as the radicalism of the 1960s settled into the uncertain — and at times bland and hero-less — 1970s.
“Rocky” was a hit with audiences but not always with critics. Writing in the New York Times, Vincent Canby concluded: “Under the none too decisive direction of [Avildsen], Mr. Stallone is all over ‘Rocky’ to such an extent it begins to look like a vanity production…. It’s as if Mr. Stallone had studied the careers of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola and then set out to copy the wrong things.”

The Hollywood Reporter in its review credited Avildsen with “extraordinary insight, and an even more extraordinary feeling for the rhythm and pace of his film…. ‘Rocky is a picture that should make movie history.”

In an interview last year, Avildsen told the Baltimore Sun about his initial misgivings about “Rocky”: “When this script came to me from an old friend ... I said I had no interest in boxing, I think boxing’s sort of a dumb thing,” he said. “He pleaded and pleaded, so I finally read the thing. And on the second or third page, he’s talking to his turtles, Cuff and Link. I was charmed by it, and I thought it was an excellent character study and a beautiful love story. And I said yes.”

Avildsen, who also directed Marlon Brando and George C. Scott in the World War II thriller “The Formula,” is the subject of a new documentary, “John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs.” That film had its world premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival this year and is slated for a digital and home video release in August.

Born in Oak Park, Ill., Avildsen is survived by sons Anthony, Jonathan and Ashley; and daughter, Bridget.

AVILDSEN, John G. (John Guilbert Avildsen)
Born: 12/21/1935, Oak Park, Illinois, U.S.A.
Died: 6/16/2017, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

John G. Avildsen’s western – director:
8 Seconds - 1994

RIP Gilberto Galimberti

Assistant director, stuntman, master of arms and actor Gilberto Galimberti has died in Rome, Italy on June 16th. He was 84.  Born in Rome on February 25, 1933, Gilberto was an expert in judo and debuted as a film actor in the early 1960s thanks to his acrobatics skills, which lead him to become one of the most important master of arms at that time. In 1976, together with some of his colleagues, he founded The Acrobat Cinematography Organization, which, among other things, dealt with Tomas Milian's films. Among the films in which he appeared the two Trinity films with the Bud Spencer and Terence Hill, are best remembered. After taking part in over 180 films often being billed as Gil Roland, he concluded his career in the early 1990s. He had appeared in 43 Euro-westerns during his career.

Born: 2/25/1933, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Died: 6/16/2017, Rome, Lazio, Italy

Gilberto Glimberti’s westerns – actor, stuntman, mster of arms:
Hercules and the Treasure of the Aztecs - 1964 (Aztec)
Adiós Gringo – 1965 (Ranchester cowboy)
Gold Train – 1965 (cowboy)
Blood at Sundown – 1966 (Tim)
God Will Forgive My Pistol – 1966, 1969 (Ross)
Buckaroo – 1967 (Nash henchman)
Colt in the Hand of the Devil - 1967 (El Condor/Il Capataz henchman)
Days of Vengeance – 1967 (Butch henchman)
Death Sentence – 1967 (gunman)
Django Kills Silently – 1967 (brawler)
And Then a Time for Killing - 1968 (Trianas' right hand man)
Day After Tomorrow – 1968 (Espartero henchman)
Full House for the Devil – 1968 (Sean) [as Gill Roland]
Hate is My God – 1969 (Carter henchman)
If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death - 1968 (Lasky henchman)
Shotgun – 1968 (Kildare henchman)
Sabata – 1969 (Shotgun )
Apocalypse Joe - 1970 (Moe) [master of arms]
The Beast – 1970 (bandit)
Shango – 1970 (Martinez soldier)
They Call Me Trinity – 1970 (Major henchman)
The Unholy Four – 1970 (townsman)
A Man Called Django – 1971 (
The Masked Thief – 1971 (Collins) [as Gil Rolan]
The Return of Sabata – 1971 (circus man)
Trinity is STILL My Name – 1971 (poker player with eye patch)
Viva Django! - 1971
An Animal Called Man – 1972 (Joe)
A Bounty Killer in Trinity – 1972 (wagon guard)
Gunmen and the Holy Ghost – 1972 (the priest)
Life Is Tough, Eh Providence? - 1972 (Challenger’s henchman)
They Called Him Veritas - 1972
Trinity and Sartana Are Coming - 1972 (Willie)
The Two Sons of Trinity – 1972 (friar)
And They Smelled the Strange, Exciting, Dangerous Scent of Dollars - 1973 (Fernandez)
A Book of Dollars – 1973 (Catapult henchman) [as Gill Rolland]
Court Martial – 1973 (Smith henchman)
Fasthand is Still My Name – 1973 (Raul) [as Gill Rolland]
The Three Musketeers of the West – 1973
The Crazy Adventures of Len and Coby – 1974 (bandit)
White Fang and the Hunter – 1975 (brawler)
Macho Killers – 1977 (deputy)
Arizona Road – 1991 (referee)