Saturday, March 28, 2015

RIP Rik Battaglia

The World of Cinema is in Mourning, Rik Battaglia has Died

The great actor has died at his home in Corby, had 88 years

March 28, 2015

Rovigo, March 28, 2015 – He died yesterday seized by an illness at his home in Corbola, in the province of Rovigo where he was born 88 years ago, Rik Battaglia.  He was a great film actor.  He participated in more than 100 films (many as the main character) from 1955 to 1999 in Italy, the U.S. and Germany.

He owed his fame to the friendship with the writer Goffredo Parise who noticed him at a bar in the restaurant Agip Milan. He was then presented to the director Mario Soldati that engaged hiu for the film " La donna del fiume" (1955) with Sophia Loren, shot in the Delta, and it opened the doors to an extraordinary career.  Soldiers even escorted him when he attend the Experimental Cinema Centre and has since taken the road of continued success.  He worked in the films of the great masters, of all Sergio Leone which was also a friend.  He worked for him in "A Fistful of Dynamite" (1971).  The cinema of Rik Battaglia was also that of the great Hollywood star Esther Williams, Liza Minnelli.  With the latter he shot "Nina" (1976), the latest film by Vincente Minnelli.  He met the great writers and writers, in addition to Parise, Moravia, Pasolini, Flaiano.

BATTAGLIA, Rik (Rik Bertaglia)
Born: 2/18/1930, Corbola, Rovigo, Italy
Died: 3/27/2015, Corbola, Rovigo, Italy

Rik Battaglia’s westerns – actor:
Shatterhand – 1963 (Dixon)
The Sheriff was a Lady – 1964 (Steve Perkins)
Pyramid of the Sun Gods – 1964 (Captain Lazoro Verdoja)
The Desperado Trail - 1965 (Rollins)
Legacy of the Incas – 1965 (Antonio Perillo)
Pyramid of the Sun Gods – 1965 (Captain Lazoro Verdoja)
The Treasure of the Aztecs – 1965 (Captain Lazoro Verdoja)
Thunder at the Border – 1966 (Sergeant/Captain Mendoza)
This Man Can’t Die – 1967 (Vic Graham)
Black Jack - 1968 (Skinner/Sanchez)
The Longest Hunt – 1968 (Major York/Norton) [as Rick Austin]
This Man Can’t Die – 1968 (Vic Graham)
The Man With the Long Gun – 1968 (Murdock)
Chapaqua’s Gold - 1970 (Mexico/Murphy)
Hey Amigo, to Your Death - 1970 (Barnett/Burnett)
Duck You Sucker - 1971 (Santerna)
The Long Ride of Vengeance – 1972 (Montana) [as Rick Battaglia]
The Call of the Wild - 1972 (Dutch Harry)
White Fang - 1973 (Jim Hall)
Challenge to White Fang - 1974 (Jim Hall)
The Genius - 1975 (captain)
A Man Called Blade - 1977 (Gerard Merton)
Buck at the Edge of Heaven - 1991 (Bauman)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

RIP Sally Forrest

Sally Forrest, Actress and Protege of Ida Lupino, Dies at 86

The Hollywood Reporter
Mike Barnes
March 25, 2015

Sally Forrest, a dancer, actress and protege of Hollywood pioneer Ida Lupino who starred in the 1949 feature dramas Not Wanted and Never Fear, has died. She was 86.

Forrest died March 15 at home in Beverly Hills after a long battle with cancer, publicist Judy Goffin announced.

Forrest starred as a young unwed mother who puts her baby up for adoption in shame and then wants him back in Not Wanted, then stood out as an up-and-coming dancer who is paralyzed from polio in Never Fear.

These performances led Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper to name Forrest the Star of the Year.

Lupino wrote and produced Not Wanted and appeared in the film as Forrest’s mother. (She also took over for Elmer Clifton after he suffered a heart attack during filming, making that film her directorial debut). Lupino, one of the few women to direct features in her era, then helmed and wrote Never Fear.

Forrest then reteamed with director Lupino in Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951).

Born Katherine Feeney in San Diego on May 28, 1924, she worked as a model and taught ballet while still in high school. Forrest was hired as choreographer and lead dancer for her first film, Till the Clouds Roll By (1946), and went on to appear in several MGM musicals.

Forrest also appeared in such films as The Strip (1951) with Mickey Rooney; Bannerline (1951); Excuse My Dust (1951); The Strange Door (1951) with Charles Laughton and Boris Karloff; Son of Sinbad (1955); and Fritz Lang’s While the City Sleeps (1956).

She had musical spots on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dinah Shore Show and The Red Skelton Hour and dramatic turns on such TV series as Suspense, Rawhide and The Millionaire.

Forrest married writer-producer Milo Frank in 1951, and they moved to New York two years later. She took over the starring role the opposite Tom Ewell in the original Broadway production of The Seven Year Itch (she had the role immortalized by Marilyn Monroe in the movie) and later appeared in major stage productions of Damn Yankees, As You Like It and No, No, Nanette.

Frank died in 2004. Survivors include her niece Sharon and nephews Michael and Mark.

FORREST, Sally (Katherine Sally Feeney)
Born: 5/28/1924, San Diego, California, U.S.A.
Died: 3/15/2015, Beverly Hills, California, U.S.A.

Sally Forrest’s films – actress:
The Kissing Bandit – 1948 (Fiesta dancer)
Vengeance Valley – 1951 (Lily Fasken)
Rawhide (TV) – 1959, 1964 (Clovis Lindstrom, Loreen Bouquet)

RIP Roy Douglas

Roy Douglas, composer - obituary

Composer noted for working with William Walton and Ralph Vaughan Williams

The Telegraph
March 26, 2015

Roy Douglas, who has died aged 107, was a composer and arranger, but was best known for the assistance he gave to Ralph Vaughan Williams and William Walton in the preparation of their works for performance and publication.

 He assisted Vaughan Williams from 1947 until the composer’s death at the age of 85 in 1958. It was said of him that he “knew Vaughan Williams’s mind and, perhaps a rarer accomplishment, could read his handwriting”.

Vaughan Williams unintentionally embarrassed him by introducing him jocularly as “Mr Douglas, who writes my music for me”. Some people took this seriously, and Vaughan Williams had to explain that Douglas’s job was to make a fair copy of the score of a new work, correct “a lot of careless errors on my part” and make suggestions about the pianoforte and celesta parts where applicable – a process Vaughan Williams described as “washing the face” of the work concerned. The persistent rumour that Douglas “orchestrated” Vaughan Williams’s later works was totally false.

One work he did orchestrate was the ballet devised from Chopin’s music, Les Sylphides. Disgusted by the many poor orchestrations, he did his own in 1936. He was offered an outright fee of £10 but wisely refused, for royalties from it provided a substantial income for the rest of his life. It was taken up by most leading ballet companies. When the Royal Ballet on one occasion substituted an arrangement by Sir Malcolm Sargent, the restoration of Douglas’s version was demanded by Margot Fonteyn.

Roy Douglas was born at Tunbridge Wells, where he would live for much of his life, on December 12 1907. He began to play the piano when he was five, and at 10 was composing little piano pieces. His mother extracted a shilling a week from her meagre housekeeping money to pay for piano lessons. As a child he suffered from recurrent heart trouble and had little formal education. He never had lessons in composition, orchestration or conducting.

 From the age of eight he spent hours at the piano, reading at sight everything he could find from Beethoven to ragtime. When the family moved to Folkestone in 1915, Roy played regularly in local orchestras, and in 1927 he joined Folkestone Municipal Orchestra as Mustel-organist, deputy pianist, celesta player, extra percussionist, librarian and programme-planner – all for £6 a week for 14 performances and two rehearsals.

When the local council reduced orchestral salaries, Douglas resigned and moved to Highgate with his parents and sister. He obtained engagements with the London Symphony Orchestra, and from 1933 was a full-time member as pianist, celesta player, organist, fourth percussionist and librarian. He also played in ballet seasons at the Alhambra, Coliseum and Drury Lane. He reckoned he played the piano part in Stravinsky’s Petrushka 80 times; and in the Polovtsian Dances from Borodin’s Prince Igor, he “played triangle and tambourine, both parts together, one with each hand”.

In the 1930s he was a pianist in many West End shows, including revivals of The Desert Song and The Vagabond King, and performed light music in the restaurants at the Savoy and at Frascati’s, as well as in cinemas.

Between 1937 and 1941 Douglas provided the orchestration for recordings by several famous singers when HMV, Columbia and Parlophone decided that an orchestral accompaniment was preferable to the original voice and piano. Thus he orchestrated Brahms for Elisabeth Schumann, and other composers for Gigli, Paul Robeson, Webster Booth, Dennis Noble, Peter Dawson (who insisted on his fox terrier being present at sessions) and John McCormack. The orchestra was usually conducted by Walter Goehr, father of the composer Alexander Goehr, and led by Alfredo Campoli.

At one Abbey Road session, the pianist Benno Moiseiwitsch was recording Weber’s Invitation to the Dance, in which the player’s right thumb has four times to execute a glissando up the white keys, ending on a top G. Four times Moiseiwitsch had hit the wrong note at the end, necessitating in those days a complete retake. The record producer Walter Legge fetched Douglas to stand by the piano and hit the G after Moiseiwitsch had completed the glissando – and that is how the record was issued.

The LSO played many composers’ scores for films during the Second World War, and through these engagements Douglas came to work with Walton, Alan Rawsthorne, John Ireland and Arthur Benjamin. He made an orchestral arrangement of Liszt’s Fun√©railles and orchestrated all Richard Addinsell’s music for eight BBC programmes and 24 films. The latter included Dangerous Moonlight (1941), which contained the famous and popular “Warsaw Concerto”.
Dangerous Moonlight was about a Polish airman who was also a concert pianist (played by Anton Walbrook). The original idea was that he should be shown playing Rachmaninoff’s second concerto, but for some reason this was abandoned (and taken up successfully in Brief Encounter).

Addinsell wanted the Warsaw Concerto to sound like Rachmaninoff, so while Douglas was working on the orchestration he surrounded himself with the miniature scores of the second and third concertos and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

The recording sessions began in March 1941 with the young Australian pianist Noel Mewton-Wood; but the pianist for the final soundtrack was Louis Kentner, who agreed to perform only if his name was not publicised – presumably because he feared that it might be thought degrading to play for film music. But when later he heard that the gramophone recording of the soundtrack was a bestseller (three million copies), he asked for (and got) royalties.

Douglas also asked for royalties on his orchestration, but was told he had been commissioned to score the entire music for the film for £100 and that was that. He later worked out that a penny on each of the three million copies would have brought him £12,500, a huge sum at that time.

He first worked with Walton in 1940, on revision of the Violin Concerto. He also gave the composer some lessons in conducting. He performed the same function for Walton as he was later to do for Vaughan Williams, but on occasions helped Walton by orchestrating a few bars of film music when the composer fell behind a deadline.
 One example of this was in the music for Gabriel Pascal’s film of Shaw’s Major Barbara. Douglas also “washed the face” of Walton’s film scores for The First of the Few and Henry V and later of the operas Troilus and Cressida and The Bear and the later orchestral works. During rehearsals for Troilus and Cressida at Covent Garden, Douglas discovered 238 mistakes in the printed parts.

Douglas’s first encounter with Vaughan Williams was with some of his wartime film music when he copied out the orchestral parts of Coastal Command because the manuscript score was deemed “unreadable”. In 1944 the composer asked him to make a reduced score of his Thanksgiving for Victory to enable it to be performed by societies which could not afford the original version. Then, in 1947, Vaughan Williams wrote to him to say he had “been foolish enough to write another symphony (No 6). Could you undertake to vet and then copy the score?”
Thus began an association which brought Douglas close friendship with Vaughan Williams and his wife, Ursula. He worked on Sinfonia Antarctica, the Eighth and Ninth Symphonies, the opera The Pilgrim’s Progress and many other compositions. He also orchestrated six of the nine Songs of Travel after Vaughan Williams’s death.

Douglas wrote a fascinating account of their collaboration, Working with RVW, in 1972 and expanded it in 1988 as Working with Vaughan Williams. It includes many of the composer’s letters to him. After Vaughan Williams’s death, Douglas went through all his manuscripts and was of invaluable assistance to his biographer. He continued to vet the publication of Vaughan Williams scores until he was in his eighties.

Douglas was a founder member of the Committee (now Society) for the Promotion of New Music in 1943, and an early committee member of the Composers’ Guild of Great Britain .
 He moved back to Tunbridge Wells in 1939, and after the war joined the town’s dramatic society, appearing as Oberon, Shylock, Touchstone and Dr Chasuble. In 1950 he played the piano part in Falla’s Love the Magician with the Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra and continued to play with it, and occasionally to conduct it, for many years; in 1985 he was elected president.

His compositions include an oboe quartet, Four Old Scots Tunes for strings and an Elegy for strings. He wrote music for 32 radio programmes and six documentary films.

Douglas was a remarkable all-round musician. His sardonic sense of humour made him a splendid raconteur, and he had a hatred of sloppy English. Perhaps surprisingly, his favourite recreation was motorcycling: he travelled throughout England on a Triumph 200cc Tiger Cub which he bought in 1958, replacing it with a Triumph 350cc on which he covered more than 55,000 miles until his doctor ordered him to stop after his 80th birthday.

Roy Douglas was unmarried, sharing his home with his sister Doris until her death in 1997.

DOUGLAS, Roy (Richard Roy Douglas)
Born: 12/12/1907, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, U.K.
Died: 3/23/2015, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, U.K.

Roy Douglas’ western – composer:
The Overlanders - 1946

RIP Carl K. Mahakian

Carl K. Mahakian (1926 - 2015)

The Desert Sun
March 23, 2015

USMC Retired. 1943 – 1986

Colonel Mahakian served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War.

Between wars, he received a BA degree from USC. He worked in Radio, Television Broadcasting and Motion Pictures as a Post Production Coordinator, Film Editor and Sound Editor. His Motion Picture career spanned from Television series such as The Odd Couple, The Brady Bunch as well as several others, to Major Films such as Rebel Without a Cause, The Manchurian Candidate, West Side Story and more. He was awarded a Golden Reel Award and two Emmys.

In retirement, he loved collecting books and stamps.

Carl was devoted to his loving wife Patricia and his daughter Susan. His loss in this world will be felt by many.

Donations can be made to the VFW-Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Burial services will be held in Arlington National Cemetery, VA. Services have been entrusted to FitzHenry-Wiefels Palm Desert.

MAHAKIAN, Carl Karnig
Born: March 7, 1926, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Died: March 9, 2015, Palm Springs, California, U.S.A.

Carl Mahakian’s westerns – sound editor, dialogue editor:
The Far Horizons - 1955 [sound editor]
Barbary Coast (TV) - 1975 [sound editor]
Death Hunt - 1981 [dialogue editor]

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

RIP Marilyn H. Durham

RIP Marilyn H. Durham

Courier Press
March 25, 2015

Marilyn J. (Wall) Durham
Evansville, Ind.

Marilyn J. (Wall) Durham, 84, of Evansville, Indiana, passed away Thursday, March 19, 2015 at Columbia Healthcare Center.

Marilyn was born in Evansville, Indiana on September 8, 1930 to the late Russell and Stacy (Birdsall) Wall. Marilyn wrote three novels, two of which became best-sellers. Her works include The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1972), Dutch Uncle (1973), and Flambard's Confession (1982). The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing was adapted into a film released in 1973, starring Burt Reynolds and British actress Sarah Miles. Marilyn spoke at numerous writing workshops at the University of Evansville, the University of Southern Indiana, and at other fiction writing groups in Evansville. She won the Fiction Award of the Society of Midland Authors in 1973. Marilyn worked as an instructor for McGraw-Hill's Continuing Education Center for over ten years. Marilyn taught Sunday school at Trinity United Methodist Church in downtown Evansville. She also enjoyed opera and reading "the unread treasures from the sales table" at Barnes & Noble.

Marilyn is survived by her daughter, Elaine Otto; sister and brother-in-law, Kay and Larry Henderson; grandsons Marine Staff Sgt. Robert Durham (Christina) and Andrew Otto; granddaughter Stacy Otto; great-grandchildren Theodore, Evalyn, and Elizabeth Durham; and cousins, Bill and Jan Fares.

Marilyn is preceded in death by her husband of 44 years, Kilburn H. Durham, and her daughter, Jennifer Felker.

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, March 28, 2015, at Browning Funeral Home, 738 Diamond Avenue, Evansville, IN 47711, with Pastor Kaitlin Moore officiating. Burial will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Friends may visit from 4:00 PM until 8:00 PM, on Friday, March 27, 2015, and from 9:00 AM until service time on Saturday at Browning Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Smile Train, P.O. Box 96231, Washington, D.C. 20090-6231 or the Vanderburgh County Humane Society, 400 Millner Industrial Drive, Evansville, IN 47710.

DURHAM, Marilyn
Born: 9/8/1930, Evansville, Illinois, U.S.A.
Died: 3/19/2015,Evansville, Illinois, U.S.A.

Marilyn Durham’s western – author:
The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing - 1973