Tuesday, September 30, 2014

RIP Paul Savage

The Desert Sun
October 2, 2014
 
Paul Savage passed away Sept. 17, 2014, in La Quinta, California, at the age of 89 surrounded by his family. Born Sept. 2, 1925, in Warren, Ohio, and raised in Amsterdam, New York, Paul was a Marine who earned a Purple Heart at the battle of Iwo Jima. He was an actor turned screenwriter and wrote professionally for 35 years, contributing 100-plus hours of credits, spanning series from "Laramie" to "Murder, She Wrote" and winning a WGA Award for his work on "Gunsmoke," where he spent many years and served as executive story consultant. He was most proud of his family and he deeply loved his wife of 51 years, Laurie. They raised three children together in Santa Monica, California - Tracey, Chad and Clay - before moving to La Quinta in 1991, where they found great joy in their grandchildren Katherine, Carolyn, Harper, Sawyer, Holden and Dylan. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and friend and is missed immeasurably.
 
 
SAVAGE, Paul
Born: 9/2/1925, Warren, Ohio, U.S.A.
Died: 9/17/2014, LaQuinta, California, U.S.A.
 
Paul Savage’s westerns – actor, screenwriter:
The Far Country – 1954 (miner)
Rails into Laramie – 1954 (actor)
Tales of the Texas Rangers (TV) – 1955 (Tex)
Timberjack – 1955 (man hit by club)
Cheyenna (TV) – 1956, 1957 (Deputy Orville Jones, George Lambert)
Casey Jones (TV) – 1957 [screenwriter]
Mackenzie’s Raiders (TV) – 1958, 1959 [screenwriter]
Maverick (TV) – 1958 (tall man)
The Rough Riders (TV) – 1958 [screenwriter]
Tombstone Territory (TV) – 1958 [screenwriter]
Wagon Train (TV) – 1958 [screenwriter]
Wichita Taown (TV) – 1959, 1960 [screenwriter]
Laramie (TV) - 1959-1963 [screenwriter]
Hotel de Paree (TV) – 1960 [screenwriter]
Klondike (TV) – 1960 [screenwriter]
Lawman (TV) 1961 [screenwriter]
Temple Houston (TV) – 1963 [screenwriter]
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1963-1975 [screenwriter]
The Big Valley (TV) – 1965-1966 [screenwriter]
A Man Called Shenandoah (TV) – 1966 [screenwriter]
The Wild Country – 1970 (actor)
Cutter’s Trail (TV) – 1972 [screenwriter]
The Daughters of Joshua Cabe (TV) – 1972 [screenwriter]
Barbary Coast (TV) – 1975 [screenwriter]
Mackintosh and T.J. – 1975 [screenwriter]
The Daughters of Joshua Cabe Return (TV) – 1975 [screenwriter]
The New Daughters of Joshua Cabe (TV) – 1976 [screenwriter]
The Quest (TV) – 1976 [screenwriter]
The Chisolms (TV) – 1980 [screenwriter]
The Yellow Rose (TV) – 1983-1984 [screenwriter]
Bonanza: The Next Generation (TV) – 1988 [screenwriter]

Saturday, September 27, 2014

RIP Elsie Downey

RIP Elsie Downey
 
Elsie Ann Downey died Monday night at the age of 80, and today her son actor Robert Downey, Jr. took to Facebook to pen a touching—and yet signaturely quirky—tribute to the woman to whom he owes so very much.
 
"As promotion for The Judge kicks off this weekend, I feel the need to run the risk of over sharing..." Downey's essay began as he delved into describing different stages of his mom's life, from her birth as Elsie Ann Ford near Pittsburgh in April 1934, through her short but turbulent marriage to Downy's father, filmmaker Robert Downey Sr., her unremarkable acting career and her struggle with addiction, and onto how she helped him battle his own demons when he was at his worst, how she bonded with her grandchildren and the health issues that weakened her in her final years.
 
"While I strived to have the kind of success that eluded her, my own addiction repeatedly forbade it," the Iron Man star wrote.
 
"In the summer of 2004, I was in bad shape. She called me out of the blue, and I admitted everything. I don't remember what she said, but I haven't drank or used since. Eventually, when finances allowed, we were able to move her out to LA. She had a special affinity for my firstborn son Indio, and really got a kick out of Exton. Got an iPad, pictures, videos, the whole 9....
 
"Her doctors basically titled her a 'Medical Incredible,' said there was little they could do, and were frankly amazed she was up and walking.... Many fond memories of her in the last few years...holidays, kid-stuff, her strutting around with a walking stick. I knew it was difficult, and understood as the visits got shorter."
 
Downey and wife Susan have a second child on the way, a girl due in November.
 
Downey wrote: "She was my role model as an actor, and as a woman who got sober and stayed that way. She was also reclusive, self-deprecating, a stoic Scotch-German rural Pennsylvanian, a ball buster, stubborn, and happy to hold a grudge. My ambition, tenacity, loyalty, 'moods,' grandiosity, occasional passive aggression, and my faith....That's all her...and I wouldn't have it any other way.
 
"If anyone out there has a mother, and she's not perfect, please call her and say you love her anyway..."
 
 
DOWNEY, Elsie (Elsie Ann Ford)
Born: 4/11/1934, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Died: 9/22/2014, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
 
Elsie Downey’s western – actress:
Greaser’s Palace – 1972 (‘The Woman’)

RIP Jesús Laguna

RIP Jesús Laguna
 
Retired Spanish actor and stuntman Jesús Laguna has died in Almeria, Spain. Word spread on Facebook that Laguna had died. He was one of the stuntmen that worked during the heyday of the European western craze in Spain. Most of his appearances were uncredited as stuntmen’s names were seldom seen in the closing credits of a film, but it was there daring and nerve that filled these films with thrills and excitement. After the film business died in Southern Spain Laguna worked as a stunt performer at Mini Hollywood and Texas Hollywood in Tabernas putting on shows for the tourist who visited the now tourist attractions and the occasional commercial that may be filmed in the towns. As the years passed he became more of a vagabond, travelling around Tabernas and Almeria in search of work, food and a place to rest.
 
LAGUNA, Jesús
Born: 1960, Spain
Died: 9/26/2014, Almeria, Andalucía, Spain
 
Jesús Laguna’s westerns – actor, stuntman:
Sons of Trinity – 1994 [stunts]
Bastards – 2011
The Ballad of Billy the Kid – 2013 (Tunstale)
6 Bullets to Hell – 2013 (town drunk)

RIP Michael McCarty

Broadway Veteran Michael McCarty Dies at 68
Hollywood Reporter
By Staff
9/27/2014
The actor was in the original cast of 'Amadeus' and appeared in 'E.R.' and 'The Legend of Bagger Vance'
 
Broadway veteran Michael McCarty has died. He was 68.
 
McCarty died of heart failure Friday, after collapsing several days earlier and falling unconscious. He was in Santa Barbara to appear in a production of Amadeus. He previously performed the show on Broadway with its original cast.
 
McCarty's extensive film credits included small roles in The Legend of Bagger Vance, Casper, and Dudley Do-Right. On television he appeared on ER, 3rd Rock From The Sun, Murder One and Any Day Now. He also appeared in more than 200 TV commercials.
 
On Broadway, McCarty was part of productions of To Be Or Not To Be, Mary Poppins, Oklahoma!, Sweeney Todd , the Tony-winning revival of 42nd Street, and many other titles.
 
He is survived by an ex-wife, who flew to Santa Barbara to be with him.
 
 
McCARTY, Michael
Born: 9/7/1946, Evansville, Indiana, U.S.A.
Died: 9/26/2014, Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A.
 
Michael McCarty’s western – actor:
Dead Man - 1994 (Makah villager)

Friday, September 26, 2014

RIP Assheton Gorton

Assheton Gorton, Oscar Nominee for 'The French Lieutenant's Woman,' Dies at 84
 
The Hollywood Reporter
By Mike Barnes
September 24, 2014
 
The respected English production designer and art director also worked on 'Blow-Up', 'Get Carterand two 'Dalmatians' films
 
Assheton Gorton, the Oscar-nominated and avant-garde English production designer and art director who worked on Blow-Up, Get Carter and The French Lieutenant’s Woman, has died. He was 84.
  
Gorton died peacefully in his sleep Sept. 14 in the Church Stoke Valley on the Wales-England border after battling a heart condition in recent years, his daughter Sophie told the Shropshire Star.
 
Gorton received Oscar and BAFTA nominations for French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981), which was directed by Karel Reisz and adapted by Harold Pinter. In the lush drama, Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons play two sets of couples — one romantically involved in the 19th century, the other having a affair while portraying the first couple in a modern-day movie.
 
Gorton’s film career got off to an impressive start when he served as art director on two films set in the “Swinging London” of the 1960s: the Richard Lester comedy The Knack … and How to Get It (1965) and the Michelangelo Antonioni mystery thriller Blow-Up (1966), for which he collected his first BAFTA nom.
 
Gorton served as production designer on 101 Dalmatians (1996) and its 2000 sequel, where his challenges included working with puppies and fake snow, which needed to be disinfected to protect the animals.
 
His résumé also includes Lester’s The Bed Sitting Room (1969), starring Peter Cook; The Magic Christian (1969), with Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr; Ridley Scott’s Legend (1985), starring Tom Cruise; Revolution (1985), with Al Pacino; For the Boys (1991), starring Bette Midler; Rob Roy (1995), with Liam Neeson and Jessica Lange; and Shadow of the Vampire (2000), starring John Malkovich.
 
Gorton studied architecture and art at the University of Cambridge and Slade School of Fine Art, then designed productions for the ITV anthology series Armchair Theatre before making his movie entrance.
 
In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife Gayatri, sons Steve and Barnaby and seven grandchildren.
 
 
GORTON, Assheton
Born: 1930, Sedbergh, England, UK
Died: 9/14/2014, Church Stoke Valley, Wales, U.K.
 
Assheton Gorton’s western – production designer:
Zachariah - 1971

RIP Peggy Drake

RIP Peggy Drake 1922 – 2014
 
 
The Santa Clarita Valley Signal
By: Staff
September 28, 2014
 
Peggy Akers (Lieselotta Mayer, Peggy Drake), 91, of Santa Clarita, CA passed away on Friday, September 19, 2014. She was born in Germany on October 6, 1922 and immigrated to the US in 1925.
 
At the age of 3, Peggy came to America to pursue a theatre career. She became an accomplished dancer and actress and appeared in many films. She married Frederick Ramsey in 1946 and had three children, Frederick Jr., Cathy, and Carla. Frederick Sr. passed in 1972.
 
Peggy found love again with Ken Akers and they married on May 18, 1976. Ken believed that in Peggy he had found his "gracious partner" and that they "were meant to be". They enjoyed camping at Rincon, CA, annual trips to Laughlin, NV, and visiting family and friends in Carpinteria, CA. Peggy's life was filled with love from her children and grandchildren who lovingly called her "Mutti". Mutti could be counted on to liven up any party with a song and a dance.
 
Peggy is survived by her husband of 38 years, Kenneth Akers; Carla Nash, Sherri Akers, and Cindy Rabson; grandchildren: Denise Plummer, Jamey MacLellan, Jesse Johnson, Erica Gross, Tessa Nash, Anisha Koepnick, Adler Rabson, and Hayden Rabson; 17 great-grandchildren; her faithful dog ,Heidi; her friend and loving caregiver, Bien Cox. She is preceded in death by Frederick Ramsey Sr., Cathy Ramsey, Frederick Ramsey Jr., and Amber Eaton.
 
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be given to St. Clare Catholic Church, Santa Clarita, CA (www.st-clare.org/).
 
 
DRAKE, Peggy (Liesl Lotte Mayer)
Born: 10/6/1922, Vienna, Austria
Died: 9/19/2014, Santa Clarita, California, U.S.A.
 
Peggy Drake’s western – actress:
King of the Mounties – 1942 (Carol Brent)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

RIP Don Keefer

RIP Don Keefer 
 
The Hollywood Reporter
By Mike Barnes
September 25, 2014
 
 
Don Keefer, a versatile character actor for six decades who starred in the original 1949 Broadway production of Death of a Salesman and made an indelible impression as “a bad man, a very bad man” on The Twilight Zone, has died. He was 98.
 
Keefer, a founding member of the legendary Actors Studio in New York, died Sept. 7 of natural causes in his Sherman Oaks home, his son, Don M. Keefer, told The Hollywood Reporter.
 
Keefer is perhaps best known to audiences as the terrorized, Perry Como-starved man who can't help but think “bad thoughts” during his birthday party and thus is transformed by a petulant 6-year-old (Billy Mumy) into a macabre jack-in-the-box with a dunce cap in the disturbing 1961 Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life.” (Cloris Leachman plays the boy's mom.)
 
As Bernard, the Loman family’s young next-door neighbor, Keefer was the last surviving cast member of the original Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, directed by Elia Kazan and starring Lee J. Cobb. He then reprised the role for his movie debut in the 1951 film version, which Miller detested.
 
Keefer played the scientist who woke up Woody Allen in Sleeper (1973), was Carrie Snodgress’ father in the screen adaptation of John Updike’s Rabbit, Run (1970) and appeared as the school janitor confronted with a monster in a box in a segment of Stephen King’s Creepshow (1982).
 
Keefer’s final onscreen appearance came when he portrayed a homeless panhandler on the courthouse steps in the 1997 box-office hit Liar, Liar. He improvised his two scenes with star Jim Carrey, and at the end of his weekend of work, Keefer was escorted off the set by director Tom Shadyac amid applause by the cast and crew, his son recalled.
 
Keefer also appeared with Humphrey Bogart in 1954’s The Caine Mutiny (co-starring Fred MacMurray as the character Lieutenant Keefer); opposite Ronald Reagan and future wife Nancy Davis in Hellcats of The Navy (1957); with Carl Reiner and Alan Arkin in The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966); with Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (1969); and with Redford and Barbra Streisand in The Way We Were (1973).
 
Keefer also held his own with some big names in the 1940s and ’50s on Broadway: Helen Hayes in Harriet, Paul Robeson, Uta Hagen and Jose Ferrer in Othello (he played Iago's henchman Roderigo) and Zero Mostel in Kazan’s Flight Into Egypt.
 
Moving to Hollywood from New York in the mid-1950s with his wife, the late actress Catherine McLeod, Keefer also starred in an acclaimed stage version of John Hersey’s The Child Buyer and in the John Houseman productions of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull and Antigone at UCLA in the ’60s.
 
In the 1970s and ’80s, Keefer created and performed the titular role in An Evening With Anton Chekhov, a one-man show based on the writer's early comedic works, at such venues as the Fringe Theater Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. That led to an invitation to visit Stanislavski’s Moscow Arts Theater as part of a State Department-sponsored cultural exchange program during the Cold War.
 
A native of Highspire, Pa., Keefer was a regular on the short-lived 1960-61 Desilu CBS series Angel, featuring French starlet Annie Fargue; had fun as a beatnik musician on The Jack Benny Show; was Mission Control Director Cromwell on an episode of Star Trek; and appeared in multiple installments of Gunsmoke (twice with his wife), Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Andy Griffith Show.
 
He guest-starred on dozens of other series, including Have Gun, Will — Travel, Bonanza, The Real McCoys, Bewitched, The Munsters, Mission: Impossible, Starsky and Hutch, Ben Casey, The F.B.I., Columbo, ER and Highway to Heaven.
 
Actor Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and his sister, Mary McCarthy — author of the 1963 best-selling novel The Group — served as best man and matron of honor at the Keefers’ 1950 wedding, and actor Montgomery Clift was there too, as a guest.
 
Keefer’s survivors include two other sons, John and Thomas, and grandchildren Bryson and Samantha.
 
 
KEEFER, Don (Donald Keefer)
Born: 8/18/1916, Highspire, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Died: 9/7/2014, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
 
Don Keefer’s westerns – actor:
Have Gun – Will Travel (TV) – 1958, 1960 (Kelso, Colonel Barlowe, Corcoran)
Wichita Town (TV) – 1959 (clerk)
Hotel de Paree (TV) – 1960 (Red Porterfield)
Rawhide (TV) – 1960 (Hames)
Wagon Train (TV) – 1960 (Major Anderson)
Whispering Smith (TV) – 1961 (Doctor Albert Johnson)
The Dakotas (TV) – 1963 (minister)
The Loner (TV) – 1965 (minister)
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1965, 1966, 1970, 1971, 1973 (Milty Sims, Wally, Floyd Babcock, drunk, Turner)
The Virginian (TV) – 1966, 1967, 1969 (Russ Tedler, station master, undertaker)
Dundee and the Culhane (TV) – 1967 (Johnson)
Iron Horse (TV) – 1967 (Blake)
Cimarron Strip (TV) – 1968 (Bolt)
The Outcasts (TV) - 1968
The Guns of Will Sonnett (TV) – 1968, 1969 (prosecutor, Sawyer)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – 1969 (fireman)
Bonanza (TV) – 1969, 1971 (Billy Harris, Tobias Temple
The High Chaparral (TV) – 1970 (telegrapher)
Alias Smith & Jones (TV) – 1971 (Doctor Hiram Wilson)
Nichols (TV) – 1971 (Burt Lincoln)
Kung Fu (TV) – 1974, 1975 (Stripper, station keeper)