Momento Mori

In Memorium:

0000walcottGregory Walcott  (Jan. 13, 1928 – March 20, 2015) American character actor. Walcott was born and raised in North Caroline, though at the end of World War II, joined the U.S. Army in which he served two years before making his way to California where he was discovered in a local theatrical production by a Hollywood agent. In 1952, Walcott made his screen debut in an unbilled role in the film “Red Skies of Montana”. That same year he would appear in three additional films, all uncredited, including “Fearless Fagan” and “Battle Zone”. Walcott would often be cast  Westerns or as detectives or military personnel. In 1955 he appeared in the films “Mister Roberts”, “Battle Cry” and “Texas Lady”. In 1959 he played the lead in the notorious Ed Wood production “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. Throughout his career, Walcott could be seen in dozens of television programs, mostly in police dramas or- especially  -westerns, including “Rawhide” on which he began a friendship with Clint Eastwood which led to later appearances in the Eastwood films “Joe Kidd”, “The Eiger Sanction”, “Every Which Way But Loose” and “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot”. Walcott can also be seen in the films “Jet Attack”, “The Last American Hero”, “Norma Rae”, “The Steel Jungle”, “Midway”, “Captain Newman, M.D.”, “Prime Cut”, “The Sugarland Express” and, his last film appearance, in Tim Burton’s biopic “Ed Wood”. He also appeared in the television series “The High Chaparral”, “Wagon Train”, “The Rifleman”, “Maverick”,”Sugarfoot”, “Bonanza”, “87th Precinct”, “Laramie”, Dallas” and Murder, She Wrote”.

ralphwaitecoolhandlukeRalph Waite (June 22, 1928 – Feb. 13, 2014) American actor who is best known as the patriarch John Walton Sr. in the long running TV series “The Waltons” (1972-1981) and a later number of television films based on the same characters. Waite served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1946 to 1948, before going to college, eventually earning a Master’s Degree from Yale University and becoming an ordained Presbyterian minister. He made his feature film debut in the role of Alibi (see photo, above) in the 1967 movie “Cool Hand Luke” and can be seen in “Five Easy Pieces”, “The Grissom Gang”, “The Magnificent Seven Ride”, “Chato’s Land”, “The Stone Killer”, “Trouble Man”, “Cliffhanger”, Michael Cimino’s remake of “Desperate Hours” and “Sunshine State”. In 1980 he directed, wrote and starred in the feature “On the Nickel”. On television, Waite was a familiar face appearing in dozens of series including “Nichols”, “CSI”, “Cold Case”, “Murder, She Wrote” and had recurring characters on several series including “The Mississippi”, “Carnivale”, “Murder One”, “Days of Our Lives” and played Jackson Gibb, the father of Jethro Gibb on eight episodes of the popular series “NCIS”.

christopherjonesChristopher Jones (August 16, 1941 – Jan. 31, 2014)  American actor (born William Frank Jones) who played the lead in the 1965 television series “The Legend of Jesse James”, and made his feature film debut in the 1967 film “Chubasco” co-starring with his wife Susan Strasberg. In 1968, Jones starred in what became his most celebrated role as the rock star turned President Max Frost in “Wild in the Streets” (co-starring Shelley Winters with whom he co-starred in his Broadway debut, “The Night of the Iguana” in 1961) and also starred in the same year’s “Three in the Attic”. In 1969, he starred in both the John le Carré spy thriller “The Looking Glass War” and “Una breve stagione”. David Lean cast Jones for the film “Ryan’s Daughter” without meeting with the actor, later finding his diminutive stature and high pitched voice (he was eventually dubbed) problematic for the role of Randolph Doryan. The troubled production would prove to be the last for the actor (except for a minor appearance in Larry Bishop’s 1996 “Mad Dog Time”) who retired from the film industry to pursue a career in art.

louiswaldronLouis Waldon (Dec. 16, 1934 – Dec. 6, 2013) American actor best known for his appearances in the films of Andy Warhol. Waldon’s film debut came with Adolfas Mekas’ 1965 adaptation of a Mark Twain story “The Double-Barrelled Detective Story”, followed by starring roles in several  provocative features, the sex comedy “Misconduct” and two Joe Sarno productions, “The Swap and How They Make It” and “The Love Merchant”. In 1967 he appeared in Andy Warhol’s “The Nude Restaurant” which began an association with both Warhol and Warhol Superstar Viva who he shared the screen with in several films including “Keeping Busy”, the Warhol/Paul Morrissey directed “Lonesome Cowboys and “San Diego Surf”, “Cleopatra”, “Necropolis” and “Trapianto, consunzione e morte di Franco Brocani” and the 1969 Andy Warhol directed, two-character “Blue Movie” in which he engages in explicit sexual intercourse with Viva; a film which would be closed down by the New York City Police as obscene after playing only a eleven days at the New Andy Warhol Garrick Theater. Waldon also appeared in several independent cult curiosities including  the Warhol produced- Paul Morrissey directed “Flesh”, Henri Pachard’s “The Bizarre Ones”, “The Spy Who Came”, “Traumstadt”, “Lenz”, “S.P.Q.R.”, the Severn Darden scripted “The Virgin President” and Peter Bogdanovich’s 1985 “Mask”, the most popularly recognized film with which he would have association.

edlauter_thelongestyardEd Lauter (Oct. 30, 1938 – Oct. 16, 2013) Prolific American character actor, Lauter began his dramatic career as an understudy in the 1968 Broadway production of Howard Sackler’s Pulitzer Prize winning play “The Great White Hope”, eventually making his way into the performing cast in 1970. He made his first television appearance in “Mannix” in 1971 and quickly followed with appearances on “Cannon” and “Longstreet”. His feature film debut assignment was in the 1972 cult western “Dirty Little Billy”, though he actually had four other film appearances released before that film saw distribution: “The Magnificent Seven Ride”, “The New Centurians”, “Hickey and Boggs” and Robert Benton’s directorial debut “Bad Company”. His best remembered role was likely in Robert Aldrich’s 1973 “The Longest Yard” (he also made a brief appearance in the 2005 remake), but he also appeared in “Executive Action”, “Magic”, “The Rocketeer”, Alfred Hitchcock’s final feature “Family Plot”, “Death Hunt”, “John Frankenheimer’s “French Connection II”, “The White Buffalo”, Seabiscuit”. Born on the Fourth of July”, “Lolly-Madonna XXX”, “Fat Man and Little Boy”, “Real Genius”, “Thirteen Days”, “Trouble With the Curve”, George C. Scott’s “Rage”, “Breakheart Pass”, “The Artist”, “King Kong” (1976 edition) and the upcoming “The Town That Dreaded Sundown”. His numerous television credits include “How the West Was Won”, “Golden Years”, “Kojak”, “Police Story”, “The Streets of San Francisco”, “E.R.”, B.J. and the Bear”, “The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo”, “St. Elsewhere”, “The Waltons”, “The A-Team”, “The Equalizer”, “Cold Case” and “Psych”.

amidou_sorcererAmidou (Aug 2, 1935 – Sept. 19, 2013) Moroccan actor associated with Claude Lelouch in eleven different films including “Le propre del’homme” (1961), “Les grands moments” (1965), “Une fille et des fusils” (1965), “Vivre pour vivre” (1967), “La vie, l’amour, la mort” (1969), “Le voyou” (1970), “Smic smac smoc” (1971), “Il y a des jours et des lones” (1990) and “And now…Ladies and Gentlemen” (2002). He starred as a desperate fugutive looking for redemption in William Friedkin’s 1977 masterwork “Sorcerer”. Amidou was also featured in the films “La chamade”, “Hideous Kinky”, “Rosebud”, “Rules of Engagement”, “Spy Game”, “Ronin” and “Victory”.

julieharrisJulie Harris (Dec. 2, 1925 – Aug. 24, 2013) American actress. Harris attended the Yale School of Drama until leaving in 1945 to make her Broadway debut in “It’s a Gift”. She starred in the initial presentation of the Actors Studio in 1949 with the Elia Kazan directed “Sundown Beach”. In 1950, at the age of 24, she was cast as 12-year-old Frankie in “The Member of the Wedding”, a role which she would repeat in Fred Zinnemann’s 1952 film, marking her cinema debut. Her portrayal of Sally Bowles in “I Am a Camera” brought Harris the first of her five Tony Awards. In 1955 she co-starred with James Dean in Elia Kazan’s film “East of Eden”, that same year appearing on Broadway in “The Lark”, a role which would bring her a second Tony Award. She received additional Tony Awards for Best Actress for “Forty Carats” in 1969, “The Last of Mrs. Lincoln” in 1973 and “The Belle of Amherst” in 1977. She also received a special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2002. Harris was prolific in her appearances on television, appearing in a lead role on the Hallmark Hall of Fame more than any other actor. Her television appearances include regular roles on the “Thicker Than Water”, “The Family Holvak” and “Knots Landing”, as well as appearances on numerous series, including: “Actors Studio”, “Goodyear Playhouse”, “Kraft Suspense Theatre”, “Rawhide”, “Run For Your Life”, “Tarzan”, “Laredo”, “Bonanza”, “The Big Valley”, “The Name of the Game” and “Columbo”.   Her film credits include “I Am a Camera” (1955), “The Truth About Women” (1957), “The Poacher’s Daughter” (1958), “Requiem for a Heavyweight” (1962), “The Haunting” (1963), “You’re a Big Boy Now” (1966), “Harper” (1966), “Reflections in a Golden Eye” (1967), “The Split” (1968), “The Hiding Place” (1975), “Voyage of the Damned” (1976), “The Bell Jar” (1979), “Gorillas in the Mist” (1988) and “The Dark Half” (1993). Harris was a recipient of the National Medal of Arts in 1994 and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2005.

vadim yusovVadim Yusov (Apr. 20, 1929 – Aug. 23, 2013) Russian cinematographer whose  professional film debut was with a shared credit with Konstantin Brovin for the cinematography of the 1956 film “Obyknovennyy Chelovek”. His career was distinguished by work with directors Georgi Daneliya (“I Step Through Moscow” (1963), “Hopelessly Lost” (1973), “The Passport” (1990)],  Sergei Bondarchuk [“Boris Gudonov” (1986)] and Ivan Dykhovichny [“The Black Monk” (1988)], though he is most often associated with his long working relationship with Andrei Tarkovsky beginning with 1960’s “The Steamroller and the Violin”, and continuing with “Ivan’s Childhood” (1962), “Andrei Rublev” (1966) and “Solaris” (1972).

lucianomartinoLuciano Martino (Dec. 22, 1933 – Aug. 14, 2013) Italian producer, screenwriter and director. The prolific and versatile Martino made his debut as a screenwriter as a contributor to the story of the 1955 film “La donna più bella del mondo” (“Beautiful But Dangerous”), as a producer with the 1963 Brunello Rondi horror film “Il demonio” (“The Demon”) and as a director with the 1965 Italian spy film “Le spie uccidono a Beirut” (“Secret Agent Fireball”). Highlights of his career as a producer crosses into most of the genres popular in the Italian film scene, including peplum with Antonio Margheriti’s 1964 “I giganti di Roma” (“The Giants of Rome”), crime dramas with “1973’s “Tony Arzanta” (“No Way Out”), the spaghetti western with 1977’s “Mannaja” (“A Man Called Blade”), the cannibal film with “La montagna del dio cannibale” (“The Mountain of the Cannibal God”),  giallo with 1972’s “Il tuo vizio è una stanza chiusa solo in ne ho la chiave” (“Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key”) and “Perché quelle strane gocce di sangue sul corpo di Jennifer?” (“The Case of the Bloody Iris”). However, Martino’s greatest legacy may lie in popularizing the commedia sexy all’italiana film, producing and writing a series of popular erotic comedy hits often starring Edwige Fenech, including 1972’s “Quel gran pezzo della Ubalda totta nuda e totta calda” (“Ubalda, All Naked and Warm”), 1973’s Giovannona Coscialunga disonorata con onore” (“Giovannona Long-Thigh”), 1975’s L’insegnante” (“The School Teacher”) and 1977’s “La vergine, il toro e il capricorno” (“Erotic Exploits of a Sexy Seducer”) which he also directed. His career is most frequently associated with Fenech and his brother, director Sergio Martino, who helmed many of Luciano’s productions.

hajiHaji (Jan. 24, 1946 – Aug. 10, 2013) Canadian born actress discovered by fleshmeister Russ Meyer while she was working as an exotic dancer. Her audition for his 1965 film “Motor Psycho” led to a major role as well as a lead role as Rosie, one of the three go go booted avengers in Meyer’s “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” which was released earlier than “Motor Psycho” so might be considered her actual film debut. On “Pussycat!”, Haji took on several roles for the maverick director including hairdressing, make-up and production assistant. She recommended her friend Tura Satana for casting in another of the lead roles. Haji appeared in several later Meyer films: “Good Morning…and Goodbye”, “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” and “Supervixens” as well as exploitation drive-in fare such as “Bigfoot” and “Up the Alley” as well as the notorious sexploitation shocker “Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks”. Her career prestige high came with a role in “The Killing of a Chinese Bookie”, directed by John Cassavetes- her career favorite.

karenblackKaren Black (July 1, 1939 – Aug. 8, 2013) American actress who became one of the most recognized figures of the emerging maverick American cinema of the early 1970’s. A student of Lee Strasberg, she made her film debut in a minor role in 1960’s “The Prime Time”, and her Broadway debut as an understudy in the 1961 production of “Take Her, She’s Mine”. Honing her craft in theater throughout the early half of the 60’s, she reemerged to critical praise on Broadway in the short-lived 1965 production of “The Playroom”. A role in the 1966 film “You’re a Big Boy Now” was followed by a succession of roles on television, her debut coming in 1967 on an episode of “The F.B.I.”. Throughout her career she would appear on a great number of programs and television films (the most memorable of the latter certainly being the 1975 “Trilogy of Terror”) including “Run For Your Life”, “Mannix”, “The Big Valley”, “Judd for the Defense”, E/R”, “Saturday Night Live” and “Miami Vice”. Her small but colorful role in 1969’s “Easy Rider” would lead to her breakout role as the dim but innocent Raylene in Bob Rafelson’s 1970 “Five Easy Pieces”. Black quickly appeared in a series of small but interesting films including Jack Nicholson’s 1971 directorial debut “Drive, He Said”, “A Gunfight”, Born to Win” and “Cisco Pike”. The commercial and critical disappoinment of the anticipated filmization of “Portnoy’s Complaint” was followed by roles in “Airport 1975” and Jack Clayton’s film of “The Great Gatsby” (both 1974), “The Day of the Locust” and Robert Altman’s landmark “Nashville” (both 1975) in which she composed and performed her own songs, and in 1976 she appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s final film “Family Plot” and Dan Curtis’ “Burnt Offerings”. Later notable films include “Capricorn One” (1978), “In Praise of Older Women” (1978), “Chanel Solitaire” (1981), Robert Altman’s “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean” (she also appeared in the play on Broadway), “Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?” (1983), the 1986 remake of “Invaders From Mars” in which she co-starred with her son Hunter Carson, “The Player” (1992) and “House of 1000 Corpses” (2003).

bernadettelafontBernadette Lafont (Oct. 28, 1938 – July 25, 2014) French actress and one of the most notable faces of the Nouvelle Vague, making her film debut at the age of 18 in the 1957 François Truffaut short “Les Mistons”, then starring in Claude Chabrol’s initial feature “Le Beau Serge” in 1958. She would collaborate with Chabrol in a number of films throughout her career including, 1960’s “Les Bonnes Femmes”, 1978’s “Violette Nozière”, 1986’s “Inspecteur Lavardin” and 1987’s “Masques”. In her over 100 film and television film appearances, highlights of her cinema appearances include: “Les bon vivants”, Louis Malle’s 1967 “The Thief of Paris”, “To Catch a Spy”, Costa Gavra’s  1965 debut feature “The Sleeping Car Murders”, Raoul Ruiz’ 1997 “Genealogies of a Crime”, Jean Eustache’s 1973 “The Mother and the Whore” and François Truffaut’s 1972 “Such a Gorgeous Kid Like Me”.

jimkellyJim Kelly (May 5, 1946 – June 29, 2913) American actor and martial arts master. Kelly rose to prominence in the field of karate, winning several world titles in the early 1970’s, subsequently opening a dojo which would be frequented by several notables in the Hollywood community, including Calvin Lackhart who Kelly would train for his role in the 1972 Hugh A. Robertson film “Melinda”, leading Kelly to obtain a role in the film, marking his cinema debut. The next year would find Kelly with a major role in the Robert Clouse directed-Bruce Lee hit “Enter the Dragon”, which would leave a favorable enough impression for Clouse to give Kelly the lead in his next film “Black Belt Jones”, marking the rising action figure as the first black martial arts star in American cinema. Subsequent movies would include the 1974 action films “Three the Hard Way” and Robert Clouse’s “Golden Needles”, the 1975 Antonio Margheriti western “Take a Hard Ride”, 1976’s “Hot Potato”, the sequel to “Black Belt Jones”, Al Adamson’s low budget “Black Samurai”, the Hong Kong produced “The Tattoo Connection” (often mislabeled “Black Belt Jones 2”) and Fred Williamson’s “One Down, Two to Go”.

elliott reidElliott Reid (Jan. 16, 1920 – June 21, 2013) American actor (sometimes billed as ‘Ted Reid’) who made his radio debut in 1935 on “The March of Time” and would subsequently would enjoy a fruitful career in the medium throughout the 39’s and 40’s, including an association with Orson Welles’ The Mercury Theater on the Air. Reid would make his Broadway debut in a Mercury Theatre production of “Julius Caesar ” in 1937, with his film debut coming in 1940 in Louis De Rochemont’s “The Ramparts We Watch”. Reid was one of the original members of Actors Studio and would appear in many television programs throughout the decades, including “The Jack Paar Tonight Show”, “To Tell the Truth”, “I Love Lucy”, “The Millionaire”, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, “That Was the Week That Was”, Here’s Lucy”, “Love, American Style”, “All in the Family”, “The Odd Couple”, “Miss Winslow and Son”, “The New Dick Van Dyke Show”, “Designing Women” and “Seinfeld”. Reid also wrote scripts for several television programs including “Lou Grant”, “Love, Sidney” and “AfterMASH”. His most notable appearances in film were as Ernie Malone, Jane Russell’s love interest in Howard Hawks’ 1953 “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and as Prof. Shelby Ashton, Fred MacMurray’s rival in 1960’s “The Absent Minded Professor” and it’s 1963 sequel “Son of Flubber”. Reid’s other film credits include “A Double Life”, “Vicki”, “Inherit the Wind”, “The Thrill of It All”, “Move Over Darling” and “Blackbeard’s Ghost; his last film role was in the 1988 comedy “Young Einstein”.

vivibachVivi Bach (Sept. 3, 1939 – April 22, 2013) Danish actress and singer who made her film debut in 1957’s “Krudt og klunker” becoming known as “The First Teenager”  before relocating in Germany in 1960 and eventually becoming known as the “the Danish Bardot”. Her German film career was features relatively undistinguished productions, highlighted by a spate of early musical comedies such as “Kriminaltango” and “Schlagerparade” before she branched out into an equally undistinguished variety of genre films including the 1963 British- German co-production  murder thriller “Death Drums Along the River”, a remake of the 1935 film “Sanders of the River”, the western “Le pistole non discutono”, the Italian comedy “Amore, all’ italiana”, Curt Siodmak’s comedy “Ski Fever”, Val Guest’s “Assignment K”, “Upperseven, l’uomo da uccidere”, “Holiday in St. Tropez” and “Mozambique”. Her German recording career was highlighted by a German version of the U.S. hit “Hey Paula”. Bach later became a popular German television personality in the 1970’s.

miloosheaulyssesMilo O’Shea (June 2, 1926 – April 2, 2013) Irish film, stage and television actor who made his film debut in Michael Powell’s 1940 “Contraband”. He appeared in the coveted role of Leopold Bloom in Joesph Strick’s film “Ulysses” (photo, left) as well as in Zeffirelli’s 1968 production of “Romeo and Juliet”, “Barbarella”, “Sacco e Vanzetti”, “Loot”, “Theatre of Blood”, “The Verdict”, “The Purple Rose of Cairo”, “The Playboys” and “The Butcher Boy”. Onstage he starred in “Staircase”, the first openly homosexual comedy on Broadway, as well as in “Dear World”, “My Fair Lady” and “Mass Appeal”. He appeared in many British television series including “Z-Cars”, “ITV Play of the Week”, “Jackanory” and “Me Manny” and in America in the 1974 miniseries “QB VII”, “Cheers”, “Frasier”, “Early Edition, “Oz” and “The West Wing”.

harryreemsHarry Reems (Aug. 27, 1947 – March 19, 2013) Most famous stage name of actor Herbert Streicher  who after uncredited appearances in mainstream films such as “Klute” and “The Cross and the Switchblade” and adult stag loops gained notoriety as one of the early male stars of the “Porno Chic” era of adult films, starring in “Deep Throat”, “The Devil in Miss Jones”, “Memories Within Miss Aggie”, the cult roughie “Forced Entry” and over 100 other hardcore titles. Reems was arrested and prosecuted in Tennessee in 1975 for his participation in “Deep Throat” under federal charges of distribution of obscene materials across state lines. He was convicted but the conviction was overturned in 1977. He was to appear in Paramount’s “Grease” but was replaced by Sid Caesar. Reems also appeared in Joe Sarno’s “Butterflies”, Doris Wishman’s “Deadly Weapons”, the 1972 “Ginger” sequel “The Abductors” and the 2005 documentary “Inside Deep Throat”.

damianodamianiDamiano Damiani (July 23, 1922 – March 7, 2013) Italian director and screenwriter who made his filmmaking debut with the 1947 documentary “La banda d’Affari” and directed his first commercial feature film with 1960’s “Il rossetto”. His 1966 spaghetti western “El Chucho, quién sabe?” is one of the seminal landmarks of the politically charged “Zapata” subgenre, and with 1968’s “Il giomo delia civetta”, Damiani seamlessly altered his critical eye from Revolutionary politics to corruptive connections between politicians, police and the Mafia with such dramas as “L’istruttoria è dimentichi”, Perché si uccide un magistrato” and the award winning “Confessioni di un Commissarro di Polizia al Procuretora della Repubblica”. His films also include “L’isola di Arturo”, “La noia”, “Sorriso del grande tentatore” and “Pizza Connection”  His experience with Hollywood was not as distinguished. being brought to America by producer Dino De Laurentiis to helm the badly received  1982 sequel “Amityville II: The Possession”.

kerrJohn Kerr (Nov. 15, 1931 – Feb. 2, 2013) American actor who made his Broadway debut in 1953’s “Bernardine”, quickly followed by a lead role in “Tea and Sympathy”. Kerr made his film debut in Vincente Minnelli’s 1955 “The Cobweb”  and would reunite with director the next year to reprise his role in the film version of “Tea and Sympathy”. He declined the lead in Billy Wilder’s film “The Spirit of St. Louis” as he opposed Charles Lindburgh’s pre-war support of the Nazis. Kerr portrayed Lr. Joe Cable in the 1958 film “South Pacific”  and was prominently featured in Roger Corman’s classic “Pit and the Pendulum”. He also appeared in the films “The Vintage”. “Gaby”, “The Crowded Sky” and “Seven Women From Hell”. Kerr appeared in dozens of television series, making multiple appearances in several major series including “Arrest and Trial”, “Peyton Place”, “The F.B.I.”, “Police Story” and “The Streets of San Francisco”.

mariangelamelatoMariangela Melato (Sept. 19, 1941 – Jan. 11, 2013) Italian film and theater actress who began her stage career in the early 1960’s working with both Dario Fo and Luchino Visconti, before making her film debut in 1969 in “Thomas e gli indemoniati” (Thomas and the Bewitched). In her film career she worked with several notable directors including Claude Chabrol, Vittorio De Sica and Elio Petri, but her greatest fame came in the 1970’s with her trio of films in collaboration with director Lina Wertmüller: “”Mimi metallurgico ferito nell’onore” (The Seduction of Mimi), “Film d’amore e d’anarchia, ovvero ‘stamattina alle 10 in via dei Fiori nella nota casa di tolleranza…'” (Love and Anarchy) and most famously “Travolti da un insolito destino nell’ azzurro mare d’agosto” (Swept Away by an Unusual Destony in the Blue Sea of August). After a brief period in America in which she appeared in several unsuccessful films (“So Fine”, “Flash Gordon”), she returned to Italy where she continued to appear in theater, television and film, including a 1986 reunion with Wertmüller, “Notte d’estate con profilo greco, occhi a mandorla e odore di basilico” (Summer Night with Greek Profile, Almond Eyes and Scent of Basil).

charlesdurning2Charles Durning (Feb. 28, 1923 – Dec. 24, 2012) American actor of film, television and theater. Durning, serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, was engaged in both the D-Day invasion of Omaha Beach and the Battle of the Bulge. Wounded several times, including once by a German mine, he received, among other commendations, the Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Heart medals. His acting career was continually split between theater, film and television, his film debut in 1962’s “The Password is Courage”. His other film appearances include “The Sting”, “Dog Day Afternoon”, “Sisters”, “Breakheart Pass”, “Twilight’s Last Gleaming”, “Mass Appeal” and “True Confessions”. He was twice nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for “To Be or Not To Be” and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”. On Broadway, he was featured in the original cast of Jason Miller’s Pulitzer Prize winning play “That Championship Season” and received the Tony Award for his performance as Big Daddy in a revival of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’. He was nominated for the Emmy Award nine times for his work on television, highlights of his career including his role as the Captain in the 1984 live broadcast of “Mister Roberts” and reoccurring roles on “Evening Shade”, “Rescue Me” and “Everybody Loves Raymond”.

deborahraffinDeborah Raffin (Mar. 13, 1953 – Nov. 21, 2012) American actress who was discovered by an agent while attending Valley College. She made her television debut in the 1973 TV movie “Of Men and Women” and her feature film debut the same year in “40 Carats”. She soon appeared in the films “The Dove”, “Once is Not Enough”, “God Told Me To” and “The Sentinel”, but was far more recognized for her work on television films including “Nightmare in Badham County”, “Ski Lift to Death”, “Mind Over Murder”, “For the Love of It” and “Haywire”, the mini-series “Noble House” and television series including “Foul Play”, “The Secret Life of an American Teenager”, “Law and Order: SVU”, “ER”,  and “7th Heaven”. She produced several television films including “Family Blessings”, “Futuresport” and “Windmills of the Gods” and later created, and ran with her husband, the successful audiobook company Dove Books-On-Tape.

anitabjorkAnita Björk (April 25, 1923 – Oct. 24, 2012) Swedish actress,who after attending the prestigious Dramatens elevskola would become one of the great stars of the Kungliga Dramatiska Teatem. Her extensive film work was highlighted by her starring role in the 1951 Strindberg adaptation “Frokën Julie”. She appeared in dozens of films including “Adalen 31”, “Kvinnors väntan”, Kvinna uton ansikte” and several Ingmar Bergman television dramas including “Markissinan de Sade”, “Enskilda samtal”, “Lamar och gör sig till” and “Bildmakama”.

sylvia-kristel-1975Sylvia Kristel (Sept. 28, 1952 – Oct. 12, 2012) Dutch actress best known for her depiction of the sexual adventuress Emanuelle. In 1973, Kristel  competed in an won the title of Miss TV Europe, that same year making her film debut in the film “Frank en Eva” .The very next year she became an international star playing the title role in Just Jaeckin’s soft-core sensation “Emmanuelle”, a role she would reprise in four more films and several French television features. Though primarily known for sexually charged roles, including Jaeckin’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” and Curtis Harrington’s “Mata Hari”, she also appeared in the films “The Fifth Musketeer”, “The Concorde- Airport ’79”, the “Get Smart” film “The Nude Bomb”, “Private School” and the surprise 1981 hit “Private Lessons”. Her autobiography Nue was published in France in 2006.

theodorathurmanTheodora Thurman (June 23, 1923 – Sept. 17, 2012) New York model who from 1955 to 1961 was the weather girl known as Miss Monitor on the NBC radio weekend program “Monitor”. She was one of the stars of the 1954 Ed Wood film “Jail Bait”, playing gun-toting girlfriend Loretta to Timothy Farrell’s reckless killer. She may also be seen as Miss Monitor, introducing the film “Ten Thousand Bedrooms” in it’s 1957 trailer.

judithcristJudith Crist (May, 22 1922 – Aug. 7, 2012) From the 1960’s through the 1980’s, Crist was one of the most popular, influential and acerbic film critics in America. Hired at the New York Herald Tribune as the assistant to the women’s editor, Crist moved through the journalistic ranks as reporter, feature writer and second-string theater critic before becoming the first regular female film critic of a major American newspaper. During a major newspaper strike, she reviewed theater and film for WABC-TV, at which time she was noticed the producer of NBC’s “Today” show and was hired in 1963 as the first regular “Toady” movie critic, a position she held until 1973. Crist was also the first film critic at New York magazine. She was also the film critic at TV Guide magazine for 22 years. Her other writings include the books ‘The Private Eye, The Cowboy and the Very Naked Girl’, “Take 22: Moviemakers on Moviemaking’ and ‘Judith Crist’s TV Guide to the Movies’.

Mary Tamm (March 22, 1930 – July 26, 2012) British actress whose best remembered film role is that of John Voight’s girlfriend Sigi in the 1974 film “The Odessa File”. A familiar face on British television, she later achieved great fame as the original Ramona on the long running TV series “Doctor Who” with Tom Baker,  before leaving that series after one season (1978-1979) over differences in how her character was reduced to a typical woman in distress rather than a fully developed character. Her last BBC series was “WestEnders”.

Isuzu Yamada  (Feb. 5, 1917 – July 9, 2012) Acclaimed Japanese stage and screen actress who made her film debut in 1930’s “Ken o koete” and in the active cinema years of her career, worked with many of Japan’s greatest directors, including Kenji Mizoguchi, Mikio Naruse, Masaki Kabayashi and Yasujiro Ozu. She is probably best known to Western audiences from her film work with Akira Kurosawa in “Yojimbo”, as the Lady Macbeth-like landlady Osugi in Kurosawa’s adaptation of Maxim Gorky’s play in the 1957 drama “The Lower Depths” and most especially in her stunning portrayal as Asaji, (photo left) Kurosawa’s surrogate Lady Macbeth, in his adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play” in the 1957 film “Throne of Blood”.

richardlynch_thesevenupsRichard Lynch (Feb. 12, 1940 – June 19, 2012) American actor who after serving in the Marine Corps. trained in New York City at both the H.B. Studio and the Actor’s Studio with Uta Hagen and Lee Strasberg, commencing a fruitful theatrical career until his 1973 film debut in “Scarecrow” which changed the direction of his acting career to both film and television, with numerous appearances on significant programs of the times, such as “Police Woman”, “Baretta”, “Battlestar Gallactica”, “The Streets of San Francisco”, “Starsky and Hutch” and “The Fall Guy”. His performance as Moon, the cold-blooded mobster kidnapper in 1973’s “The Seven-Ups” established him as a powerful villainous movie presence. His scarred face, the result of an accidental burning in 1967 added to his persona as a screen villain seen to great effect in the films “God Told Me To”, “Bad Dreams”, “The Formula”, “The Ninth Configuration” and “The Sword and the Sorcerer”.

victorspinettiVictor Spinetti (Sept. 2, 1929 – June 18, 2012) Versatile Welsh comedic actor who notably appeared in all three live-action fictional Beatles films: “A Hard Day’s Night”, “Help!” (see photo, left) and “Magical Mystery Tour”. A television and stage veteran with deep associations with both the Royal Shakespeare Company and Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop, he memorably appeared in both the London and Broadway productions of “Oh! What a Lovely War” for which he received a Tony Award. He made his film debut in 1958’s “Behind the Mask” and his non-Beatles film credits include “The Taming of the Shrew”, “Under Milk Wood”, “The Little Prince”, “Voyage of the Damned” and “The Krays”.

joyceredmanJoyce Redman (Dec. 9, 1918 – May 10, 2012) English actress, raised in Ireland who spent the majority of her early career in the theatre, appearing with The Old Vic Company and the Comédie-Française as well as originating the role of Anne Boleyn in the New York production of Maxwell Anderson’s “Anne of the Thousand Days”. She appeared in numerous British series and television films, including the memorable 1978 production of “Les Miserables”. Though her cinema work was minimal by comparison- with her debut in a minor role in 1941’s “Spellbound” (AKA: “The Spell of Amy Nugent”) and the next year  featured in the Powell-Pressburger producyion “One of Our Aircraft is Missing” -she commanded critical accclaim for her portrayals of Jenny Jones/Mrs. Waters in Tony Richardson’s 1963 “Tom Jones” and Emilia in Laurence Olivier’s 1965 film of “Othello”.

levonhelmLevon Helm (May 26, 1940 – April 19, 2012) American musician and actor, Helm joined Ronnie Hawkins and his band The Hawks in the early 1960’s, en route the group adding additional members including Rick Danko and Robbie Robertson, and when Hawkins later exited, the band changed identities several times until returning to the name The Hawks. Helm exited the band, replaced by Mickey Jones, but then returned as the group, during their period of unreleased recordings with mentor Bob Dylan, signed a new record contract under the new name The Band, with whom Helm assumed the role of drummer, his vocals highlighting several major recordings including “The Night They Tore Old Dixie Down”. After the announced split of the group, highlighted in Martin Scorsese’s 1978 film “The Last Waltz”- a project highly criticized by Helm- he made his dramatic film debut playing Loretta Lynn’s father in the 1980 “Coal Miner’s Daughter”. In 1973 he would assume a major role in the epic “The Right Stuff” and appear in several other films of lesser quality including “Smooth Talk” and “Feeling Minnesota” until making a brief  but memorable appearance in Tommy Lee Jones’ masterwork “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada”.

paullsmithPaul L. Smith (June 24, 1936 – April 25, 2012) American actor who made his 1960 film debut in Otto Preminger’s “Exodus”. In the 1970’s he moved to Italy, where due to his heavy, bearded appearance he bore a striking resemblance to popular actor Bud Spencer and starred in a series of productions with Antonio Cantafora, a Terence Hill look-alike, which capitalized on the success of the Hill-Spencer “Trinity” films, including “Carambola”, “Carambola, filotto…tutti in buca”, “Noi non siamo angeli” and 1976’s “Simone e Matteo: Un gioco da ragazzi”, imported in the United States under the title “Convoy Buddies”, during which the distributor marketed Smith’s named as “Bob Spencer”, for which Smith successfully sued for damages to his career by infringement on his professional identity. Smith was featured prominently in several Hollywood films including “Midnight Express”, “The In-Laws”, “Popeye”, “Red Sonja” and “Dune” as well as several major television productions, including “Masada”, “21 Hours at Munich” and as King Farouk in the 1983 tv film “Sadat”.

williamfinleyWilliam Finley (Sept. 20 1940 – April 14, 2012) American character actor who enjoyed a lengthy association with director Brian De Palma, his appearances beginning in the 1963 short film “Woton’s Wake” and continuing through “The Wedding Party”, “Murder à la mod”, the filmed stage production of “The Bacchus”- “Dionysus in ’69”, “Sisters”, “Phantom of the Paradise” (in which he portrayed the epoymous masked musician), “The Fury”, “Dressed to Kill” and “The Black Dahlia”. He also appeared in the films “Simon”, “Silent Rage”, “Wise Blood”, “The Funhouse” and “Eaten Alive”.

Martin PollMartin Poll (Nov. 22, 1922 – April 14, 2012) American film and TV producer, who in the 1950’s restored and reopened the Bronx-based Biograph Studios to make it the largest working American studio outside of the Los Angeles area, assisting in the creation of such notable films as Elia Kazan’s “A Face in the Crowd” and Sidney Lumet’s “The Fugitive Kind”. In the 60’s he sold the studio and began independently producing theatrical features with the 1963 romantic comedy “Love is a Ball”. He would produce ten more feature films including “Sylvia”, “The Possession of Joel Delaney”, “Nighthawks”, “Somebody Killed Her Husband” and “The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea”, as well as numerous television projects including the Dashiell Hammett-based miniseries “The Dain Curse”, though he is probably best known for producing the 1968 historical drama “The Lion in Winter” as well as the 2003 cable television remake.

luke askewLuke Askew (March 26, 1932 – March 29, 2012) American actor who made his film debut in Otto Preminger’s 1967 “Hurry Sundown” remaining active through his role in the HBO series “Big Love”. His film work includes appearances in “Cool Hand Luke”, “Will Penny”, “The Green Berets”, “Easy Rider”, “The Culpepper Cattle Company”, “The Great Northsfield Minnesota Raid”, “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid”, 1975’s “Posse” and “The Newton Boys”.

halechesterHal E. Chester (March 6, 1921 – March 25, 2012) American actor and producer who began his professional career on stage in “Dead End” before making his film debut in 1938’s “Crime School”. Over the next several years he would play in numerous roles, though he is best remembered in the recurring role of Murph in Universal’s “Little Tough Guys” series. Leaving acting after 1941’s “Sea Raiders” to become a producer at Monogram Pictures, Chester changed his professional name from Hally Chester to Hal E. Chester, and took good advantage of his personal friendship with  popular comic strip “Joe Palooka” creator Ham Fisher and brought the strip’s characters to the screen in a series of eleven films. In 1953, Chester enjoyed a major success producing the deceptively low budget hit “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms” incorporating the special effects of Ray Harryhausen in his first solo effects outing in a feature. Producing 1955’s “The Weapon” in Great Britain led to Chester relocating there for the rest of his professional life, where he co-wrote and produced the classic horror film “Night of the Demon” (AKA: “Curse of the Demon”) as well as “School for Scoundrels”. Other films produced by Chester include: “Crashout”, “The Bold and the Brave”, “His and Hers”, “The Double Man”, “The Secret War of Harry Frigg” and his last theatrical film, 1970’s “Take a Girl Like You”.

robertfuestRobert Fuest (Sept. 30, 1927 – March 21, 2012) British director-writer who began work in the television industry as a set designer, working on the original incarnation of “The Avengers” series. Making his theatrical film directorial debut with 1967’s “Just Like a Woman” based on his own script, he then directed several memorable episodes of “The Avengers” and would later return in the reincarnation of the series with “The New Avengers” in the mid-70’s. His feature films were distinguished by their stylish visuals and increasing before filming a series of films distinguished by stylish visuals and an often dry, often offbeat sense of humor. His 1975 supernatural horror film “The Devil’s Rain” was so universally panned it redirected Fuest’s career to strictly television direction (with the exception of the final gasp effort, the soft-core “Aphrodite”). His films include an impressively rendered, though now generally ignored “Wuthering Heights”, the vastly underrated thriller “And Soon the Darkness” and an off-the-wall adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius novel “The Final Programme”, later retitled and (disastrously shortened) under the release title “The Last Days of Man on Earth”. His lasting fame is the result of his black comedy-horror masterpiece “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” and its lesser sequel “Dr. Phibes Rises Again”.

joantaylorJoan Taylor (Aug. 18, 1928 – March 4, 2012) American actress who made her feature film debut in 1949’s “Fighting Man of the Plains” and appeared in the 1953 Bob Hope comedy “Off Limits”, the 1954 Howard Keel remake of “Rose Marie” as well as two Ray Harryhausen SF films, “Earth Vs. the Flaying Saucers” and “20 Million Miles to Earth”, though she mainly appeared in B-movies such as “War Paint”, “Fort Yuma”, “Girls in Prison” and “Apache Woman”. From the 50’s to her retirement from acting in 1963, she appeared in dozens of telkvision shows, most notably an 18 episode stint as Milly Scott” on “The Rifleman”.

erlandjosephsonErland Josephson (June 15, 1923 – Feb. 25, 2012) Swedish actor, writer and director. Joesphson spent the bulk of the first half of his acting career pursuing his stahe work, appearing in well over 100 plays, associated with the Municipal theatre, Helsingborg from 1945 to 1949, the Gothenberg Municipal theatre from 1949 to 1956, joining the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm in 1956, succeeding his friend and colleague Ingmar Bergman as Creative Director from 1966 to 1975, and finally making his English-language theatrical debut in 1988 in Peter Brooks’ production of “The Cherry Orchard”. But it is his association with Bergman by which Josephson enjoys his international acclaim (they even collaborated on two screenplays for 1961’s “The Pleasure Guardian” and 1964’s “And All These Women” under the combined pseudonym Buntel Ericksson). The two met in the late 1930’s when Josephson was in his teens, making his film debut in an uncredited role in Bergman’s 1946 “It Rains On Our Love”. He enjoyed more prominent roles in Bergman’s “Brink of Life” and “The Magician” (both 1958), but would return to the theater until appearing in Bergman’s 1968 “Hour of the Wolf”. For the next decade Josephson would appear in several Bergman films- “The Passion of Anna” (1969), “The Touch” (1971), “Cries and Whispers” (1972), “Scenes From a Marriage” (1973), “Face to Face” (1976), “Autumn Sonata” (1978), “Fanny and Alexander” (1982), “After the Rehearsal” (1984) and Bergman’s final film in 2003 “Saraband”. He became, in essence, the post-Von Sydow replacement for male interaction with favored actress Liv Ullman during this period of Berman’s career. Josephson’s persona in Bergman cinema was defined by a melancholic emotional remoteness, becoming a modern figure of introspective angst. Until his appearance as Nietzsche in Liliana Cavani’s “Beyond Good and Evil”, Josephson’s participation in cinema had been confined to Sweden. After his Caviani experience, he became a welcome addition in several films but notable international filmmakers, including: Dusan Makaveyev’s 1981 “Montenegro”, Philip Kaufman’s 1988 “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”, Peter Greenaway’s 1991’s “Prospero’s Books”, Theo Angelopoulos’ 1995 “Ulysses’ Gaze” and most importantly in Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1983 “Nostalghia” and 1986 “The Sacrifice”.

linaromay1Lina Romay (June 25, 1954 – Feb. 15, 2012) Spanish actressand Euro-cult favorite (not to be confused with the Mexican-American actress-singer, from whom she took her name) who was featured on over one hundred films, most directed by her eventual husband, Jesus Franco, often featuring her in hardcore situations. Highlights of her filmography include: “Female Vampire”, “Doriana Grey”, “Les predateurs de la nuit”, “Women Behind Bars” and “Der Dimenmörder von London”.

 

billhinzmanBill Hinzman (Oct. 24, 1936 – Feb. 06, 2012) American actor, cinematographer, director and producer who will be forever remembered as the first zombie to appear in the cemetery in opening sequence of George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”. He also appeared in the Romero films “Hungry Wives” (AKA “Season of the Witch”), “There’s Always Vanilla” and 1972’s “The Crazies” (in which he also served as cinematographer). He also appeared in “Evil Ambitions”. “Santa Claws”, River of Darkness” and two of his own directorial efforts: “The Majorettes” and “FleshEaters”.

bengazzaraBen Gazzara (Aug. 28, 1930 – Feb. 3, 2012) American actor who trained at the Actors Studio while working steadily during the 1950’s in several series and live broadcast productions. He performed on-stage in several important productions including the portraying Brick in the original production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, “A Hatful of Rain” and a Broadway revival of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”. He starred in television series including “Arrest and Trial” an early 1960’s precursor to the similarly formatted “Law and Order”, “Run for Your Life” and the mini-series based on Leon Uris’ “QB VII”. Gazzara made his film debut in 1957’s “The Strange One” and two years later would receive critical acclaim for his role in Otto Preminger’s “Anatomy of a Murder”. His association with directorial maverick John Cassavetes would yield three films that would continue to gain acceptance as milestones of independent American cinema: “The Killing of a Chinese Bookie”, “Husbands” and “Opening Night”. Gazzara also appeared in “The Young Doctors”, “The Bridge at Remagen”, “Road House”, “Voyage of the Damned”, “Bloodline”, “Saint Jack”, “Buffalo ’66”, “Dogville”, “Happiness” and “Tales of Ordinary Madness”.

zalmankingZalman King (May 23, 1942 – Feb. 3, 2012) Director/producer/writer/actor specializing in erotic film and perhaps best known for his long-running cable film and series “Red Shoe Diaries”.  Before assuming the director’s chair, the acting King made many television appearances in the 1960’s -70s, also appearing in drive-in fare such as “Trip With the Teacher” in which his hyperactively psychotic performance perhaps set a new standard in scene stealing, and the little seen cult treasure “Blue Sunshine”. His erotic signature can be found in his directorial efforts, including “Wild Orchids”, Two Moon Junction”, “Delta of Venus” and the aforementioned “Red Shoe Diaries”. He also produced the erotic hit “9 1/2 Weeks”.

Theo Angelopoulos (April 27, 1935- Jan. 24, 2012) The greatest of Greek film directors, almost completely unknown outside of Europe, his films were difficult, challenging and enriching with a singular cinematic view. Ignoring the general standards of montage and expression through editing which has become the cultural norm, the films of Angelopoulos are sometimes painstakingly methodical. Slow, with shots that are uncommonly extended; the events and characters within the frames meticulously planned in a sometimes otherworldly “living” mise en scene that often defy normal narrative conventions. His films also boldly traced social and political evolution in Greece, surprisingly, even when it was virtually impossible to be internally critical of the governing factions. Highlights of his career include “Landscape in the Mist”, “Ulysses’ Gaze”, “The Bee-Keeper”, “Megalexandros” and “O Thiassos” often regarded as his masterpiece. He was killed while struck by a motorcycle on location for a new film.

kandi1Kandi Barbour (Feb. 15, 1959 – Jan. 18, 2012) Born in Alabama (real name, Kandie Lou Dotson), Barbour dropped out of high school and was reportedly discovered by photographer Diana Hardy, who would subsequently shoot many of Barbour’s subsequent men’s magazine photo spreads. Barbour entered the adult film world in 1978, debuting in an uncredited bit part in “Stranger in Town”. She appeared in dozens of adult films during the so-called “golden age of porn”, most notably in Chuck Vincent’s “Bon Appêtit”, “Pandora’s Mirror”, “Screwpies”, Henri Pachard’s “The Budding of Brie” and Cecil Howard’s “Neon Nights”, before retiring from films in 1984.

danfrazerDan Frazer (Nov. 20, 1921 – Dec. 16. 2011) American actor who trained in local theater in his native New York City for years until entering the U.S. Army Special Services, entertaining troops during World War II. Among his stage highlights was a later career definitive Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman”. He made his television debut in 1950 on “Studio One in Hollywood” and appeared on a vast amount of programs including “The Phil Silvers Show”, “The F.B.I.”, “The Invaders”, “The Untouchables”, “Car 54, Where are You?” and “Route 66”. He made his film debut in Ralph Nelson’s 1963 “Lilies of the Field”. He would also appear in “Lord Love a Duck”, “Fuzz”, “Cleopatra Jones”, “The Super Cops”, as well as appearing in three Woody Allen films: “Take the Money and Run”, “Bananas” and “Deconstructing Harry”. He often played police officers, an occupational role in which he would find his greatest success as Capt. Frank MacNeil in the five year run of television’s “Kojak” as well as a decade long run as a detective in the popular daytime soap opera “As the World Turns”.

Nicol Williamson (Sept. 14, 1936- Dec. 16, 2011) Brilliantly intense but troubled Scottish born actor who made early successes on stage in John Osborne’s “Inadmissable Evidence” and “Hamlet” both of which he would subsequently film for the cinema. He would later star on stage in 1976 in the Richard Rodgers flop “Rex” as a musical Henry VIII. Despite his immense talents,chronic bouts with alcohol and alarmingly unpredictable behavior caused him to be considered unemployable by many producers and directors. His additional film highlights include “The Bofors Gun”, “Laughter in the Dark”, “The Wilby Conspiracy”, “Robin and Marian”, “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution”, “The Wind and the Willows” and “Excalibur”.

Ken Russell (July 3, 1927- Nov. 27, 2011) Flamboyant British director who revolutionized the British documentary industry with his landmark 1960’s work on the BBC for the programs Monitor and Omnibus, being the first to use the then-controversial method of dramatic reenactments to illustrate biographical episodes instead of the usual photo documentary approach. His 1969 film “Women in Love”, with it’s landmark depiction of male nudity in a wrestling scene between actors Oliver Reed and Alan Bates, would cement his reputation as a director in tune with controversy as well as a director capable of serious aesthetic finesse. However, Russell’s refusal to cater to the expectations of either his critics or audiences would lead to vehicles of great and greater extravagant realization that would often lead to heavy censorship if not outright banning. His 1971 film “The Devils” has been rarely viewed intact, seeing distribution in ruinous butchered cuts, and even his most charming effort of the period- the wondrous homage to Berkeleyesque musicals- “The Boy Friend”, featuring the unlikely casting but star making turn by supermodel Twiggy, found it’s way to America heavily edited giving it little chance with critics or audiences. Success would follow with films such as “Savage Messiah”, “Mahler” and “Tommy”, though by now it was expected that the occasion of an Russell release would be precluded by the savage sharpening of critical knives, whether merited or not. Russell’s preoccupation with both religion and sexuality and their often unseemly intermingling would win him few champions with the critical elite. Hollywood itself would find little excuse to essentially shun him professionally after his disagreements during production of the 1980 film “Altered States” which so inflamed novelist/screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky, that he used a pseudonymous credit Sidney Aaron on the production- despite it being a highly skilled translation of Chayefsky’s rather pedantic book.

0000000cynthiamyersCynthia Myers  (Sept. 12, 1950 – Nov.  4, 2011))  Myers first became prominent as Playboy Magazine’s December Playmate of the Month in 1968, a photo feature- shot in her home town of Toledo, Ohio  -that was actually completed when she was 17 years of age and withheld by the magazine until her eighteenth birthday. She was also featured regularly on Hugh Hefner’s television show “Playboy After Dark”. Myers briefly appeared in the 1968 film “The Lost Continent” and in Sydney Pollack’s 1969 “They Shoot Horses Don’t They?” before landing a leading role as the bisexual rock star Casey in Russ Meyer’s 1970 “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls”. She was also featured in a supporting role in Gary Nelson’s 1972 western “Molly and Lawless John”. 

Cliff Robertson (Sept. 9, 1923- Sept. 10, 2011) American actor possessed of a commanding intelligence, often cast in roles of corporate, governmental or military authority. He was often publicly critical of the film industry and in a courageous act of whistle-blowing accused Columbia Studios head David Begelman of check forgery. Begelman was subsequently removed from his position and found guilty of embezzlement, but in a typical Hollywood ironic/hypocritical twist, was given probation and punished with a new post as head of MGM, while Robertson was blacklisted from the industry for several years.A veteran of stage and 1950’s live television, Robertson received the Academy Award for Best Actor for the 1968 film “Charly” a project he guided to fruition. Often cast in films unworthy of his talents, film highlights in his career include “Picnic” (his motion picture debut), “The Naked and the Dead”, “Gidget”, PT 109″, “Man on a Swing”, “Obsession”, “Sunday in New York”, Three Days of the Condor”, “Spider-Man”, Brainstorm” and, arguably, his finest hour as a fading rodeo cowboy in the 1972 film “J.W. Coop”, [see photo, above left] in which he not only starred but directed, produced and co-wrote as well.

Raul Ruiz (July 25, 1941- August 19, 2011) Chilean-born film director whose intelligent use of literary devices within the framework of the Cinema, created labyrinthine, psychologically surrealist films of an almost startling complexity. “Three Lives and Only One Death”, “Time Regained” and “Mysteries of Lisbon” are titles which merely scratch the surface of his cinematic oeuvre. Virtually unknown in the increasingly World Cinema illiterate American film culture, nonetheless he was an undisputed giant of the Cinema Art Form

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