Friday, July 25, 2014

RIP George Riddle

Country singer George Riddle dies at 78
Toronto Sun
By Staff
July 22, 2014
Country music veteran George Riddle has lost his battle with throat cancer at the age of 78.
The singer/songwriter passed away on Saturday (19Jul14), two months after undergoing surgery to treat his condition.
Riddle began his career as a musician in the 1960s, performing with the late George Jones, and went on to land a regular gig playing the fiddle at country music mecca the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.
As a songwriter, he penned tracks for his close friend Jones, Ray Charles, Tammy Wynette and Melba Montgomery, who turned his tunes The Greatest One of All and Hall of Shame into chart hits.
He was also a beloved classic country radio DJ in his native Indiana.
RIDDLE, George
Born: 5/21/1937, Auburn, Indiana, U.S.A.
Died: 7/19/2014, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.
George Riddle’s western – actor:
Whiskey ‘n Ditch – 2012 (Reno)

RIP Vanna Bonta

RIP Vanna Bonta
Los Angeles Times
By Staff
July 20, 2014
Vanna Bonta was an American novelist, essayist and poet, and the author of Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel, which Publishers Weekly reviewed as the first definitive work of "quantum fiction," an emerging 21st century literary genre. A haiku by Bonta is among the top five selected onboard a NASA spacecraft (MAVEN), which launched from Cape Canaveral to the planet Mars in November 2013. Bonta began writing poetry and short fiction at age six. She has ridden camels in Egypt's Sahara Desert, elephants in Thailand, learned sharp-shooting from her father at age nine and by age eleven had traveled around the world twice and spoke four languages. As an actress, Bonta cameos as the superhero's young mother in the classic fantasy movie, The Beastmaster. She has worked as a voice actor on numerous feature movies and television. One of her stories was purchased for Star Trek:The Next Generation. The History Channel followed her into zero gravity to test a spacesuit she invented. In the The Universe TV episode, Bonta talked about humanity colonizing planets beyond Earth. The program depicted a futuristic scenario of a mother reading Bonta's novel Flight in a space station orbiting Earth. The Bonta signature voice celebrates human-centric themes that knit cultural differences with universality. Her stories juxtapose the everyday and the cosmos. She is survived by her husband, Allen Newcomb..
BONTA, Vanna (Vanna Marie Bonta)
Born: 4/3/1958, Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Died: 7/20/2014, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Vanna Bonta’s western – voice actress:
An American Tale: Fievel Goes West – 1991 [additional voices]

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

RIP Thomas Berger

Thomas Berger, ‘Little Big Man’ Author, Is Dead at 89
New York Times
By Christopher Lehmann-Haupt and William McDonald
July 21, 2014
Thomas Berger, the reclusive and bitingly satirical novelist who explored the myths of the American West in “Little Big Man” and the mores of 20th-century middle-class society in a shelf of other well-received books, died on July 13 in Nyack, N.Y. He was 89.
His agent, Cristina Concepcion, said she learned of his death, at Nyack Hospital, on Monday. Mr. Berger lived in Grand View, a village in Rockland County, N.Y., where he had remained fiercely protective of his privacy.
Mr. Berger fell into that category of novelists whose work is admired by critics, devoured by devoted readers and even assigned in modern American literature classes but who owe much of their popularity to Hollywood. “Little Big Man,” published in 1964, is widely known for Arthur Penn’s film adaptation, released in 1970, starring Dustin Hoffman as the protagonist, Jack Crabb.
The novel, told in Crabb’s voice at the age of 111, recounts his life on the Great Plains as an adopted Cheyenne and makes the claim that he was the only white survivor of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. But Mr. Berger’s body of work was far broader than that, and it earned him a reputation as an American original, if an underrecognized one. The author and scholar Thomas R. Edwards, writing in The New York Times Book Review in 1980, called him “one of our most intelligent, witty and independent-minded writers.” “Our failure to read and discuss him,” Mr. Edwards added, “is a national disgrace.”
To many critics, “Little Big Man” was Mr. Berger’s best novel and a worthy addition to the American canon. (The Dial Press plans a 50th-anniversary trade paperback edition this year.) “Few creative works of post-Civil War America have had as much fiber and blood of the national experience in them,” the historian and novelist Frederick Turner wrote in The Nation in 1977.
Brooks Landon, Mr. Berger’s biographer, placed “Little Big Man” in a tradition of American frontier literature begun by James Fenimore Cooper. Henry Miller heard echoes of Mark Twain in it.
Historical fiction was just one genre that the restless Mr. Berger embraced. He took on the horror novel in “Killing Time” (1967) and the pulp detective story in “Who Is Teddy Villanova?” (1977). He ventured into science fiction (and Middle American sexual fantasy) with “Adventures of the Artificial Woman” (2004); utopian fiction with “Regiment of Women” (1973), in which men have surrendered their grip on the world; and the survival saga in “Robert Crews” (1994), an updating of “Robinson Crusoe.” He revisited the western, and his best-known character, in “The Return of Little Big Man” (1999).
The classics were also fodder. He dipped into the Camelot myth in “Arthur Rex: A Legendary Novel” (1978) and Greek tragedy in “Orrie’s Story” (1990), a replay of the Oresteian trilogy. At other times, he reworked popular fantasies: “Being Invisible” (1987), in which the protagonist has the power to disappear from sight at will, and “Changing the Past” (1989), in which a man gets to go back in time to the forks in his road and take the other path.
If Mr. Berger had a literary mission, it was to mine the anarchic paranoia that he found underlying American middle-class life. “Sneaky People,” from 1975, chronicles three hectic days in the life of a used-car salesman, a “family man” who keeps a mistress and hires a car washer to kill his phlegmatic wife. “Neighbors” (1980) records a nightmarish day in suburbia that parodies the rituals of neighborliness, among them competitiveness, bonhomie (false and otherwise) and a striving for civility in the face of a creeping conviction that the people across the street are barbarians. (“Neighbors” was made into a 1981 movie starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, one of four film adaptations of Berger books.)
In these and other novels — “The Houseguest” (1988), “Meeting Evil” (1992), “Suspects” (1996) and “Best Friends” (2003) — everyday social encounters quickly disintegrate into Kafkaesque comic horrors.
“It was Kafka who taught me that at any moment banality might turn sinister, for existence was not meant to be unfailingly genial,” Mr. Berger told the critic Richard Schickel in a rare interview in 1980, published in The New York Times. He gave expression to that view in “The Feud” (1983), which he set in the American Midwest in the 1930s. In this tale, a misunderstanding over the fire hazard posed by an unlit cigar devolves into a slapstick battle between two communities that somehow manages to convey a convincing portrait of the mean Depression years.
“The Feud” was the top recommendation of the fiction jury for the 1984 Pulitzer Prize, but it was passed over by the Pulitzer board in favor of William Kennedy’s Depression-era novel “Ironweed,” which had also been cited by the jury.
Before then, Mr. Berger’s focus had mainly been on contemporary American life, in all its sprawling disorder, in a series of books that trace the growth of a woebegone character (and perhaps alter ego) named Carl, né Carlo, Reinhart. The books — “Crazy in Berlin” (1958), “Reinhart in Love” (1962), “Vital Parts” (1970) and “Reinhart’s Women” (1981) — follow Reinhart from his bewildered youth as a soldier in Berlin to his mellower middle age as a serious cook.
Reinhart is “representative of the unrepresented,” the cultural critic Benjamin DeMott wrote in The Times in 1981. “We’re talking screw-ups, frankly,” he continued. “Chaps who, while seldom dropped from the lineup, continually whiff, in all senses, in the game of life.”
But Reinhart’s existence is not without meaning. “Possibly the simple secret of Reinhart’s value is just this: The fellow has hunkered down here in the U.S. of A.,” Mr. DeMott went on. “He’s stuck it. He is a man of no standing growing up stunted, naturally, blowing it in a thousand helpless ways, dreaming on into late middle age of the coup that will turn him overnight into Somebody, knowing it’s not in the cards, knowing (in totally unsystematic fashion) that They, the Managers, have more or less stolen his humanity, yet working hard to avoid being needlessly cruel to anyone.”
Of all Mr. Berger’s characters, none is as indelible as the Indian scout and adopted Cheyenne Jack Crabb. His homespun but shrewd colloquial voice drives the narrative of “Little Big Man.”
In his early years, Crabb is indoctrinated into the ways of Indians, including their diet.
“The antelope chunks weren’t too well done,” he says. “Indians don’t have a prejudice against grease, on the one hand; and on the other, they weren’t given in those days to using salt. Along with the meat was some chokecherries all cooked to a mush, and a root or two that didn’t have a taste until you swallowed it and it fell all the way to your belly and gave off the aftereffect of choking on sand.”
But he befriends his captors. “In later years I grew greatly fond of Old Lodge Skins,” he says of one. “He had more bad luck than any human being I have ever known, red or white, and you can’t beat that for making a man likable.”
Thomas Louis Berger was born in Cincinnati on July 20, 1924, the son of Thomas Charles Berger, the business manager of a public school system near Cincinnati, and the former Mildred Bubbe. Both parents loved to read, and Thomas’s mother encouraged him to adopt the habit.
After graduating from Lockland High School in Cincinnati in 1942, he enrolled at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and found he did not like it. So he enlisted in the Army, which put him in the Medical Corps and sent him to England and Germany as World War II raged.
After the war, he enrolled at the University of Cincinnati, earned his baccalaureate degree there with honors in 1948 and pursued graduate work in English at Columbia University until 1951, when he abandoned work on his thesis, on George Orwell. In the meantime he married. His wife, Jeanne Redpath Berger, a painter, is his only immediate survivor.
After Columbia, he held jobs as a librarian at the Tamiment Institute and Library (formerly the Rand School for Social Science) in New York and as a summary writer for The New York Times Index.
In the early 1950s, Mr. Berger moved from New York City to Rockland County, where he scraped by as a freelance copy editor and worked on his first novel, “Crazy in Berlin.” Writing the book took four years, in part because he had discarded the original manuscript after two and a half years and begun again.
For a time, Mr. Berger thrived on literary sociability. Writers, editors and publishers frequently gathered around the dinner table at his home. But he became reclusive, Mr. Schickel wrote in his 1980 article in The Times, to an extent that not even his publisher or his literary agent knew how to get in touch with him.
Mr. Schickel sustained his friendship with Mr. Berger by mail and was sworn to secrecy about his whereabouts. In his interview with Mr. Schickel, Mr. Berger unburdened himself of his disdain for the New York literary scene and his weariness of everyday living, saying, “Real life is unbearable to me unless I can escape from it into fiction.”
He was more sanguine about his craft:
“Why does one write? Because it isn’t there! Unlike Everest and other celebrated eminences. Beginners sometime ask me how a novel is written, the answer to which is: Any way at all. One knows only when it is finished, and then if one is at all serious, he will never do it the same way again.”
He concluded: “I should like the reader to be aware that a book of mine is written in the English language, which I love with all my heart and write to the best of my ability and with the most honorable of intentions — which is to say, I am peddling no quackery, masking no intent to tyrannize, and asking nobody’s pity. (I suspect that I am trying to save my own soul, but that’s nobody else’s business.)”
BERGER, Thomas (Thomas Luis Berger)
Born: 7/20/1924, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Died: 7/13/2014, Nyack, New York, U.S.A.
Thomas Berger’s western – author:
Little Big Man - 1970

Monday, July 21, 2014

RIP Vera Mihic-Jolić

Longtime filmmaker Vera Mihic-Jolić has died.
Association of Filmmakers of Bosnia and Hercegovini
With sadness we inform our colleagues and co-workers that the long-time member of the Association of Film Workers VERA MIHIĆ JOLIĆ died last night, July 15, 2014th year, at 81 years of age.
Vera has been involved in film production for over thirty years. On dozens of films, she worked in production as the principal organizer and leader of production. She was also involved in the production of some of the most famous Bosnian films (OTAC NA SLUŽBENOM PUTU, DOKTOR MLADEN, DIVERZANTI, MAČAK POD ŠLJEMOM, ULOGA MOJE PORODICE U SVJETSKOJ REVOLUCIJI ).
In the last twenty years she has worked as a consultant on several productions.
She was awarded by the vocational Association of Filmmakers a lifetime achievement for  contribution to the BH film in 2012.
Born: 1933, Sarajeva, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Yugoslavia
Died: 7/13/2014, Sarajeva, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Vera Mihic-Jolic’s western – production manager:
The Golden Sling - 1967

RIP John Fasano

R.I.P., Writer/Producer/Director John Fasano, 52
By: Staff
July 20, 2014
Writer/producer/director John Fasano, best known for his work in the horror genre, died in his sleep Saturday night at the age of 52, his attorney Craig Baumgarten confirmed. No cause of death was available.
Fasano was nominated for a Writers Guild Award in 1996 for writing the teleplay for The Hunchback for TNT. He also had a hand in more than 40 other film and TV projects, including writing the hit Tom Selleck TV movie Stone Cold, Iraq war TV docudramas Saving Jessica Lynch and The Hunt for Saddam, and films including Alien 3, Meggido: The Omega Code 2, Darkness Falls and Another 48 Hours. Fasano also worked as a script doctor and screenwriting guest lecturer at AFI and the Writer’s Boot Camp. He was president of the screenwriting seminar at the Sony/Canal+ Equinoxe screenwriting seminar in France. He produced and directed several independent films, typically in the horror genre, including Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, Black Roses and The Jitters, all released in the 1980s.
Fasano, who was born Aug.24, 1961, had his first taste of filmmaking when his father, a friend of director John Cassavetes, brought him along on a visit to the set of Husbands, according to a frequently quoted story in articles about him. In high school, he worked on industrial films for IBM and other companies, and graduated from SUNY-Purchase with a degree in film. He initially worked as an editor or freelance editor for a variety of specialty magazines, but his work creating posters for exploitation films led to a break from producer Jack Bravman, who hired him to direct a low-budget horror film called Zombie Nightmare. After selling the script to Tailgunners to Morgan Creek, he moved to Los Angeles. In 1990, he founded a production company called Thoughts in the Margin.
His projects also ranged well beyond film and TV, including creating and writing Woke Up Dead, a digital series for Sony’s Crackle site featuring Jon Heder. He co-wrote with Roni Keller the book Evie and the Golem, published in 20122. He also wrote frequently about firearms for magazines such as Combat Tactics and American Handgunner, and was known as a prolific designer of Halloween masks. Fasano is survived by his wife, Edie, his children, Lucia and Jon Carlos, and his sister, Felicia, who is a casting director.
FASANO, John (John M. Fasano)
Born: 8/24/1961, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 7/19/2014, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
John Fasano’s westerns – producer, screenwriter, actor:
Tombstone – 1993 [producer]
The Legend of Butch & Sundance – 2006 (blacksmith) [screenwriter]
Hannah’s Law (TV) – 2012 (Marshal Deger) [screenwriter]

Sunday, July 20, 2014

RIP Steve London

TV and film actor Steve London died in Burbank, Calfiornia on June 6, 2014. He was 85.
Born Walter Lee Gragg in St Louis, Missouri, on March 9, 1929 London was a veteran of numerous Hollywood film and television roles, including parts on Daniel Boone, M Squad, Sky King, Lock Up, The Loretta Young Show, Sugarfoot, Mission Impossible, Kraft Suspense Theatre, Branded, and Mackenzie's Raiders. Film roles included Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966), I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958), Zero Hour! (1957), The Gun of Zangara (1960), and Alcatraz Express (1960), the latter two being 2-part episodes of The Untouchables that were re-edited into feature films for international distribution.
Several years after the cancellation of The Untouchables, London appeared in a special episode of The Lucy Show entitled "Lucy The Gun Moll", an Untouchables reunion of sorts, where he reprised his role as sidekick to Robert Stack. Actor Bruce Gordon who played Frank Nitti in the series, also appeared in this episode, and The Untouchables narrator Walter Winchell served as narrator for this episode.
After 1966, his acting career waned, he left Hollywood, finished law school, and began practicing law under his birth name. Many years later, London returned to acting, where he played roles in the Cartoon Network T.V. series Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, (2007), and the film Brothers War (2009).
LONDON, Steve (Walter Lee Gragg)
Born: 3/9/1929, Detroit Michigan, U.S.A.
Died: 6/6/2014, Burbank, California, U.S.A.
Steve London’s westerns – actor:
Sky King (TV) – 1958 (Dr. Van Vicker)
Mackenzie’s Raiders (TV) – 1959 (Hogue)
Sugarfoot (TV) – 1959 (Sgt. Reddick, Dallas Pike)
Branded (TV) – 1966 (Captain)
Daniel Boone (TV) – 1966 (Barnabas Platt)

RIP Álex Angulo

RIP Alex Angulo
El Commercio
By Staff
July 20, 2014
Actor Álex Angulo has died in a traffic accident
The actor, known for his roles on television, had his car leave the road at the Rioja town of Fuenmayor.
The actor Álex Angulo died this afternoon in a road accident on AP-68 in the town of Fuenmayor. As reported by the Government Delegation in La Rioja, the accident occurred at five-thirty in the afternoon, at mile 114.3 of the highway, which corresponds to Fuenmayor, in regard to Logroño. In the State of La Rioja
The native of the town of Bilbao Erandio, the actor was 61. He was a very familiar face to both Spanish viewers for his roles on the small screen, and the mainstream for his role in 'Journalists'.
ANGULO, Álex (Alejandro Angulo León)
Born: 4/12/1953, Bilbao Erandio, Vizcaya, Spain
Died: 7/20/2014, Fuenmayor, La Rioja, Spain
Alex Angulo’s western – actor:
Limoncello – 2007 (Jackson)