Friday, February 24, 2017

RIP Chris Wiggins

Toronto Star
February 24, 2017

CHRISTOPHER JOHN WIGGINS Passed away peacefully at the Wellington Terrace in Elora, Ontario, on Sunday, February 19, 2017 in his 87th year. Predeceased by his wife Sandra Crysler-Wiggins. Chris is survived by 2 nephews and 1 niece. Chris started out as a banker in his home country of England before he began his acting career in Canada, where he moved in 1952. Wiggins is probably best recognized for his role as Jack Marshak, the benevolent, resourceful expert on the occult in the syndicated television horror show Friday the 13th: The Series, which ran from 1987 to 1990. Another well known role was Johann Robinson (Father) on Swiss Family Robinson. In addition to his television and film work, Wiggins was also a very popular radio actor, making over 1,200 appearances in various series over the years, particularly on CBC Radio. Wiggins also made numerous guest appearances on such CBC Radio programs as CBC Playhouse, Nightfall, Vanishing Point and dozens of others. Chris was also well known for his role as Cornelius in the animated series Babar which was appeared in 1989 on CBC and HBO. He won a Canadian Film Award in 1969 for best Actor for his role in The Best Damn Fiddler from Calabogie to Kaladar. Memorial Service for Chris will be held at the Graham A. Giddy Funeral Home & Chapel, 280 St. David St. South in Fergus, Ontario, on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 3:00 p.m., with visitation 1 hour prior. Reception to follow the Service at the Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be directed to the Alzheimer Society.

WIGGINS, Chris (Christopher John Wiggins)
Born: 1/13/1931, Blackpool, Lancashire, England, U.K.
Died: 2/19/1917, Elora, Ontario, Canada

Chris Wiggin’s westerns – actor:
Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans (TV) – 1957 (Jess Adams)
R.C.M.P. (TV) – 1959 (Bush Pilot Watt)
Adventures in Rainbow Country (TV) – 1969 (Fred Vincent)
Tom Sawyer (TV) – 1977 (lawyer)
Welcome to Blood City – 1977 (Gellor)
Fish Hawk – 1979 (Marcos Biggs)
Tales of the Klondike (1979 (TV) – 1981
By Way of the Stars (TV) – 1992-1993 (Captain Harris)
Black Fox (TV) – 1995 (Ralph Holtz)
Black Fox: The Price of Peace (TV) – 1995 (Ralph Holtz)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

RIP John Gay

John Gay, Screenwriter on 'Run Silent Run Deep,' Dies at 92

The Hollywood Reporter
By Mike Barnes

John Gay, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter best known for his work on Run Silent Run Deep, Separate Tables and The Courtship of Eddie's Father, has died. He was 92.

Gay, who began his six-decade career as an actor and writer during the Golden Age of Television, died Feb. 4 in Santa Monica, the WGA announced. He often was in demand by the top directors of the day, scripting projects for the likes of Robert Wise, John Huston, Vincente Minnelli and John Sturges.

Gay also earned an Emmy nomination for scripting Fatal Vision, a controversial NBC 1984 docudrama about the 1970 Jeffrey MacDonald murders that starred Gary Cole as the killer of his pregnant wife and two children.

After actor Burt Lancaster happened to catch one of his television shows, Gay was called to Hollywood and soon found himself on a soundstage watching Lancaster and Clark Gable as submarine commanders in his first screenplay, Run Silent Run Deep (1958), directed by Wise at United Artists.

Gay earned his Oscar nomination for co-writing, with playwright Terence Rattigan, the adapted screenplay for Separate Tables, the Delbert Mann drama that starred Rita Hayworth, Deborah Kerr, Wendy Hiller, David Niven and Lancaster. (Hiller and Niven won Oscars for their performances.)

Gay also penned the romantic comedy The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963), which starred Glenn Ford as a widowed father and Ron Howard as his son.

His other feature credits include The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1962), The Hallelujah Trail (1965), No Way to Treat a Lady (1968), The Power (1968), Sometimes a Great Notion (1970), Soldier Blue (1970), Pocket Money (1972), Hennessy (1975) and A Matter of Time (1976).
Born on April 1, 1924, in Whittier, Calif., Gay and his wife, Barbara, starred on Mr. and Mrs. Mystery, a series for WOR in New York for which he "wrote every episode and performed every beer commercial." That led to writing gigs on such network dramas as Playhouse 90, The Alcoa Hour, General Electric Theater, Lux Video Theatre and Goodyear Playhouse.

His TV résumé also includes the series Shadow of the Cloak and Espionage; the telefilms All My Darling Daughters, The Red Badge of Courage, The Amazing Howard Hughes, The Court Martial of George Armstrong Custer, Captains Courageous, Dial M for Murder and Inherit the Wind; and the miniseries Windmills of the Gods, Around the World in 80 Days, Blind Faith and Burden of Proof.
The Writers Guild of America West honored Gay — a guild member since 1958 — with its highest honor for television writing, the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award, in 1984; the Morgan Cox Award, for guild service, in 1992; and the Edmund H. North Award, for his "courageous leadership, strength of purpose and continuing selfless activity on behalf of the guild through the years," in 2003.

He also served on the WGAW's board of directors (1971-75, 1977-79), was a guild vice president (1985-87) and helped lead writers through several difficult negotiations.
During one WGA strike, he wrote Diversions and Delights, a one-man play that imagined Oscar Wilde delivering a talk to a Paris theater just before his death. It opened in 1978 on Broadway, starring Vincent Price, and went on to play around the world.

In 2008, Gay published his autobiography, Any Way I Can — 50 Years in Show Business, co-written with his daughter, Jennifer Gay Summers.

She survives him, as does another daughter, Elizabeth; son Lawrence; and three grandchildren. The family asks that donations be made to the Writers Guild Foundation in honor of him.

GAY, John
Born: 4/1/1924, Whittier, California, U.S.A.
Died: 2/4/2017, Santa Monica, California, U.S.A.

John Gay’s westerns – screenwriter:
How the West Was Won – 1962
The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters – 1962-1963
The Hallelujah Trail – 1965
Texas Across the River - 1966
Soldier Blue – 1970
The Red Badge of Courage (TV) - 1974

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

RIP Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright, teller of Texas stories, dies at 82

Houston Chronicle
By Alyson Ward
February 22, 2017

Texas writer Gary Cartwright died in Austin Wednesday at 82. The longtime Texas Monthly writer had a deep talent for storytelling, and he made his name telling the stories of Texans.

Cartwright studied journalism and government at Texas Christian University and wrote for Texas newspapers including the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Dallas Morning News, as well as national magazines such as Esquire and Rolling Stone. But his writing for Texas Monthly made him a boldface name in his home state: One of the first writers hired when the magazine started in 1973, he retired as a senior editor in 2010.

In the '60s and '70s, Cartwright ran with the "Mad Dogs," an outlaw crew of hard-partying writers, journalists and others in and around Austin. His friends included Bud Shrake, Dennis Hopper, Jerry Jeff Walker, Larry L. King and Ann Richards, who would later be elected governor.

"Those years were a lot of fun," said Jan Reid, an author and longtime Texas Monthly writer who became a "junior member" of the crowd in the mid-'70s. "There were some casualties. But it was a great time to be young and getting started in the profession and having such a remarkable set of talented friends."

Cartwright made "one serious attempt" at writing fiction, Reid said, a novel about pro football called "The Hundred-Yard War." "But nonfiction was his gift, and he knew that."

He spent some time as a sportswriter, but he started his newspaper career on the police beat, Reid said. "He loved the chase, and that was a big part of what he went on to do."

Eventually, Cartwright specialized in-depth crime stories. Two of his most successful books were based on crime reporting he did for Texas Monthly: "Dirty Dealing," about drug smugglers on the Mexican border; and "Blood Will Tell," about the trial of Cullen Davis, the Fort Worth oilman who was acquitted of shooting his estranged wife and murdering her lover and her daughter. "Dirty Dealing" also became a TV movie.

Evan Smith, CEO of the Texas Tribune, first met Cartwright more than 25 years ago, when Smith was hired as editor of Texas Monthly.

Cartwright was an icon at the magazine by then, but "he never lorded his status over anybody there," Smith said. "He was not a prima donna. He was the exact opposite of that."

Instead, Smith said, Cartwright was the magazine's institutional memory, an invaluable link to a Texas that is fast disappearing.

"You'd go to Gary and say, 'Talk about the [Dallas] Cowboys in the [Tom] Landry days,' or 'Talk about Jack Ruby,' or 'Talk about the police in Dallas back in the day of [prosecutor] Henry Wade," Smith said. "Gary was a link to another time in Texas that was the backdrop for everything that was happening."

In his 2015 memoir, "The Best I Recall," Cartwright wrote frankly about his "careless" and occasionally violent decades of drinking, smoking and partying. That era of his life ended abruptly in 1988, when he had a heart attack and quintuple bypass surgery. The clean living he embraced became fodder for his book "HeartWiseGuy."

Cartwright married four times. His son, Mark Cartwright, died in 1997 of acute leukemia.

"He lived a hard life, and he lived in all the corners of it," Smith said.

As a writer, Cartwright "had great range and durability," Reid said. "I don't have any idea how many magazine articles he wrote, but it seemed like it was always rolling — a rolling, continuing panorama of where we're living."

Born: 8/10/1934, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.
Died: 2/22/2017, Austin, Texas, U.S.A.

Gary Cartwright’s westerns – writer:
JW Coop – 1971
Pair of Aces - 1990

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

RIP Richard McMillan

The Toronto Star
February 21, 2017

RICHARD (RICK) McMILLAN Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. Missing him terribly and always are his crazy-for-him wife of 25 years, Anne Louise Bannon and his only child, Maggie McDaughter, of whom he was ridiculously proud. Rick is now reunited with his beloved parents, Frank and Mary McMillan and his dear, recently deceased brother Cooch (Frank) McMillan. Visitation will be held at HERITAGE FUNERAL CENTRE (50 Overlea Blvd., 416-423- 1000), on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 from 3 to 7 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at Corpus Christi Catholic Church (1810 Queen St. E.) at 11 a.m. Directions and online condolences may be found at In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make a contribution to either The Canadian Actors Fund or to PAL (Performing Arts Lodge) in Toronto in Rick's name.

McMILLAN, Richard
Born: 1951, Beaverton, Ontario, Canada
Died: 2/19/2017, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Richard McMillan’s western – actor:
Promise the Moon – 1997 (Andrew Notman)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

RIP Richard Schickel

'One of the fathers of American film criticism': Time critic Richard Schickel dies at 84

Los Angeles Times
By Jeffrey Fleishman
February 19, 2017

Richard Schickel, whose erudite prose and piercing critiques made him one of America’s most important film critics in an era when cinema became increasingly ingrained in the cultural consciousness, died Saturday in Los Angeles from complications after a series of strokes, his family said. He was 84.  

In a career spanning five decades, thousands of reviews and dozens of books, Schickel chronicled Hollywood’s changing landscape, from the days when studios reigned with stars such as Katharine Hepburn to the rise of independent directors who summoned a new wave of realism that distilled the yearnings of a turbulent nation. A reviewer for Time magazine, Schickel had a legion of followers; he could be incisive and at times bruising in praising or panning a film.

“He was one of the fathers of American film criticism,” said his daughter Erika Schickel, a writer. “He had a singular voice. When he wrote or spoke, he had an old-fashioned way of turning a phrase. He was blunt and succinct both on the page and in life.”  

In his 2015 memoir “Keepers: The Greatest Films — and Personal Favorites — of a Moviegoing Lifetime,” Richard Schickel wrote: “I just like to be there in the dark watching something — almost anything, if truth be known. In this habit — I don’t know if it is amiable or a mild, chronic illness — I have been indulged by wives, girlfriends, just plain friends and children. Of course, a lot of the time I’m alone, unashamedly killing an evening, no questions asked.”

Schickel began his career as a critic in the 1960s, joining a generation of voices, including Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris, who were capturing Hollywood at a time of aesthetic and financial change. Movies were speaking to the country’s identity, its fabric, and film critics often found themselves reviewing not only cinema but the moods of society. In his 1967 review of Stanley Kramer’s “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” Schickel wrote of the interracial love story starring Sidney Poitier, Spencer Tracy and Hepburn:

“Where to begin discussing the ineptitude with which the nightmare is realized on screen. … Kramer is earnestly preaching away on matters that have long since ceased to be true issues.”

He took on other classics as well, describing “The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946) as “close to travesty” and “The Maltese Falcon” (1941) as “cramped and static.”

But Schickel did not inflate the role of the critic or for that matter the importance of cinema. Movies at their best, he said, were a “joyous enterprise” and at their worst a “harmless addiction.”

"Richard was a giant of American film criticism, one of the last survivors of a golden age," Times film critic Kenneth Turan said. "No one could touch him for the high quality of his writing sustained over so many formats and so many years."

Schickel was a prodigious writer and documentary filmmaker. His 37 biographies, critiques and other books included an array of subjects: Gary Cooper, James Cagney, Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, D.W. Griffith and Elia Kazan. He wrote and worked on 37 documentaries, including “From Star Wars to Jedi: The Making of a Saga” and “Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin.”

His review of “The Aviator” went like this: “Director Martin Scorsese soars triumphantly close to the sun, and unlike Icarus, never falters in his flight. An epically scaled biography of Howard Hughes, the mad genius of airplanes, movies and womanizing, this is filmmaking on a grand, rare, often curiously poignant scale, featuring a stunning performance by Leonardo DiCaprio as one of the great American nut cases.“

Born in Milwaukee in 1933, Schickel estimated that he had seen 22,590 movies in his lifetime. The first was Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1938. He won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1964 and lectured at USC and Yale University.

He is survived by daughters Erika and Jessica; step-daughter Ali Rubinstein; and grandchildren.

SCHICKEL, Richard (Richard Warren Schickel)
Born: 2/10/1933, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
Died: 2/18/2017, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Richard Schickel’s westerns – producer: director, writer:
Clint Eastwood on Westerns – 1992 [producer]
Eastwood & Co.: Making ‘Unforgiven’ – 1992 [producer, director, writer]