Friday, November 21, 2014

RIP J.E. Freeman

RIP J. E. Freeman
 
Dial M for Movies
By Rhett Bartlett
November 3, 2014
 
J. E. Freeman – ‘Wild at Heart’ and ‘Miller’s Crossing’ gangster, has died aged 68.
 
J. E. Freeman – who portrayed hired mobster Marcello Santos in David Lynch’s crime thriller Wild at Heart (1990), and was the henchman Eddie Dane in the Coen Brothers gangster film Miller’s Crossing (1990), has died aged 68.
 
His death, in the evening of August 9th 2014, was confirmed to me by his agent Christopher Black. As per Mr Freeman’s wishes, no memorial or official announcement of his passing was to be made at that time.
 
‘He was an extraordinary actor and person and I count myself fortunate to have known and represented him’, his agent told me in an email on November 3 2014.
 
J. E. Freeman also appeared in Alien: Resurrection (1997), the fourth instalment of the Alien film series. He was Dr Mason Wren, the head of the scientific team that successfully clones Ellen Ripley.
 
In the black comedy Ruthless People (1986), he is the local serial killer ‘The Bedroom Killer’ whose death occurs after he falls down the basement stairs.
 
He also appeared in Patriot Games (1992) , Copycat (1995), and played Victor Snr, the owner of the strip club in Go (1999).
 
The cause of his passing was not disclosed.
 
 
FREEMAN, J.E.
Born: 2/2/1946, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 8/9/2014, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
 
J.E. Freeman’s birthday – actor:
Tremors 4: The Legend Begins – 2004 (Old Fred)

RIP G.C. 'Rusty' Meek

RIP G.C. ‘Rusty’ Meek
 
The Arizona Republic
By Staff
October 12, 2014
 
Meek, G. C. (Rusty) 89, Died peacefully at his home in Scottsdale on 9/16/2014. Rusty came to the Valley in 1970 to work on "The New Dick Van Dyke Show". He was a WWII Navy Veteran and worked in all facets of the Motion Picture Industry, starting in Cartooning and finishing in Production. He was a member of "The Order Franciscan Seculars". He is survived by his adoring wife Jo Jean, Children, Barbara (Bill), David (Delia), Christina (Moose), Victoria (Steve), Kimberly (Dale) and Elizabeth (Harry) He was a doting Grandfather to 11 Grandchildren, Jaclyn, Briana, Matthew, Giana, Joshua, Michael, Madelyn, Isabella, Alexandra, Nathaniel and Alexander and 3 Great-Grandchildren, Luis, Tristen, and Juan. The Meek Family wishes to thank the caregivers of Hospice of the Valley, Carolyn, Cindy and Brenda for the wonderful care of Rusty. Services to be held at the Franciscan Renewal Center, Saturday, October 18, 1:00 pm.
 
 
MEEK, Rusty (George C Meek)
Born: 3/5/1925, Missouri, U.S.A.
Died: 9/16/2014, Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.A.
 
Rusty Meek’s westerns – assistant director, production manager:
Giant – 1956 [assistant director]
Maverick (TV) – 1958, 1959 [assistant director]
Sugarfoot (TV) – 1958, 1959 [assistant director]
Lawman (TV) – 1959 [assistant director]
Bronco (TV) – 1959 [assistant director]
Barquero – 1970 [assistant director]
Gon with the West – 1975 [production manager]
Banjo Hackett: Roamin’ Free (TV) – 1976 [assistant director]
Stagecoach (TV) – 1986 [production manager]

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

RIP Mimi Walters

RIP PRENTICE--Mimi Walters

The New York Times
By Staff
November 20, 2014
 
Dancer, singer, actress and loving wife, passed away on November 16th in New York City. First dancing professionally at the age of three or four, Ms. Prentice performed on Broadway in "Annie Get Your Gun," and toured with Guy Lombardo and his band. She also acted in television commercials and appeared in Bonanza. In 1968 she became the first woman Account-Executive at the Wilding Firm in New York City, where she worked for two years. Then she met and married the love of her life, the late Spelman Prentice, a grandson of John D. Rockefeller. She is survived by five step-children, sixteen step- grandchildren, and twenty two great-grandchildren. She was a private, perceptive, loyal, feisty, and loving woman with a great deal of presence. She will be missed. A memorial service will be held at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel at 81st Street and Madison Ave on Friday, November 21st at 11am. Donations can be made in in her memory to The Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
 
 
WALTERS, Mimi
Born: 11/21/1920
Died: 11/16/2014, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
 
Mimi Walters’ western – actress:
Bonanza (TV) – 1964 (Marie)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

RIP Ken Takakura

RIP Ken Takakura
Associated Press
By Mari Yamaguchi
November 18, 2014
 
 
Veteran Japanese actor Ken Takakura dies at 83
 
Ken Takakura, a craggy-faced, quiet star known for playing outlaws and stoic heroes in scores of Japanese films, has died of lymphoma. He was 83.
 
Perhaps best known abroad for his police inspector role in Ridley Scott's "Black Rain" in 1989, Takakura died November 10 at a Tokyo hospital where he was treated for the illness, according to his office and media reports Tuesday.
 
He surged to stardom after his 1956 debut, becoming an icon in yakuza films such as "Abashiri Prison" in the 1960s. Much of his appeal to the Japanese public stemmed from his image as a hero fighting authority figures on behalf of the poor and weak.
 
But in a career spanning more than 200 films he sometimes played comic roles, such as his 1992 potrayal of a coach in "Mr. Baseball."
 
Likened to Clint Eastwood, Takakura starred in detective stories and dramas including the 1977 film "The Yellow Handkerchief" and 1999's "Railroad Man," which won him a best actor award at the Montreal World Film Festival.
 
The news of his death topped Japanese news programs almost nonstop, and major newspapers distributed extras in downtown Tokyo.
 
Unlike many Japanese celebrities, Takakura shunned the usual rounds of television variety shows and melodramas, maintaining a John Wayne-like aura of toughness.
 
Born in 1931 as Goichi Oda in Fukuoka, southern Japan, he was recruited by a major film production while he was applying for a managerial position.
 
Takakura's friends and admirers described him as humble, honest and reserved in his real life, too.
 
"He was the last big star (in Japan)," said Shintaro Ishihara, 82, an award-winning writer and politician. "And yet, Ken-san lived a really healthy, sound life, unlike many other stars who often end up paying the price later on."
 
Even though he played many outlaw roles in yakuza films, Takakura said today's gangster movies didn't interest him.
 
"I like movies that picture the human heart and linger with me," he told an interviewer of the Japan Subculture Research Center. "The Deer Hunter," ''Gladiator," and "The Godfather" were among his favorites, he said.
 
In the 2012 award-winning "Dearest," the last of Takakura's films, he plays a retired prison warden who goes on a soul-searching trip with a postcard that arrived after his wife's death.
 
According to a fax released by his office, Takakura was preparing for his next project while in the hospital.
 
In 2013, when Takakura attended a ceremony to receive Japan's highest cultural award, the Order of Culture, at the Imperial Palace, he joked that he had often played characters considered most distant from the exalted realm of the palace.
 
"In movies, I'm most often an ex-convict. I'm grateful for the award despite many of these roles I've played," Takakura said. "I really believe that hard work pays off."
 
 
TAKAKURA, Ken (Goichi Oda)
Born: 2/16/1931 Nakama, Fukuoka, Japan
Died: 11/10/2014, Tokyo, Japan
 
Ken Takakura’s western – actor:
The Drifting Avenger – 1968 (Ken Kato)
 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

RIP Mary-Edith Schreiber

Freie-Presse
11/15/2014
 
Mourning for actress
 
Mary Edith Schreiber said goodbye once with the role of Mrs. Higgins from the stage. Now the great lady of the theater is dead.
 
A Life in the Theatre has completed itself. The artist Mary-Edith Schreiber has died at the age of 93 years. With her recurring role as Mrs. Higgins in "My Fair Lady" production of Michael Heinicke they had once retired into private life. Older theater goers will remember their roles, for example in Goldoni's "The Campiello" or the Indian-piece "Cat Game" by István Örkény directed by Gerhard Meyer. The longtime theater director Hartwig Albiro took in Karl Marx-Stadt in 1970 his work. As writer was already a respected member of the ensemble, because she came in 1953 to the house. "If the concept is accepted: She was a real theater horse, a Vollblutkomödiantin through and through, which burned for their profession, about the role concerns to the overall situation of the ensemble committed", so Albiro.
 
Two of her roles were legendary: the Commissioner in the "Optimistic Tragedy" by Vsevolod Vishnevsky and Anna in Brecht / Weill's "The Seven Deadly Sins of the Petty Bourgeois". For it was by the spectacle of another passion of the writer: the chanson. So Albiro recalls that connoisseurs claiming that their part in the "Seven Deadly Sins" was magnificent, "better than the Gisela May," the legendary singer Brecht in the GDR. Until the turn Schreiber was active in the theater, they do not always stand in the forefront, "but very often," said Albiro, who appreciated the reliability and the precision with which they worked. Drama students she taught in the art song. After the turn, there were some minor encounters with her on the operatic stage, as in "Fiddler on the Roof" and 1997 in Kálmán's operetta "Countess Maritza". About the re-encounter with the audience she said herself: "This is something you need to live."
 
The funeral service will be held on December 12 at 14 clock instead of on the castle cemetery.
 
 
SCHREIBER, Mary-Edith
Born: 5/31/1921, Hannover, Niedersachsen Germany
Died: 11/1?/2014, Germany
 
Mary-Edith Schreiber’s western – actress:
Karl May – 1992 (Herta)

RIP Glen A. Larson

Glen A. Larson, Creator of TV’s 'Quincy M.E.,' 'Magnum, P.I.' and 'Battlestar Galactica,' Dies at 77
 
Hollywood Reporter
By: Mike Barnes
November 15, 2014
 
The writer-producer also was behind 'Knight Rider,' 'Fall Guy' and 'Six Million Dollar Man'
 
 
Glen A. Larson, the wildly successful television writer-producer whose enviable track record includes Quincy M.E., Magnum, P.I., Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider and The Fall Guy, has died. He was 77.
 
Larson, a singer in the 1950s clean-cut pop group The Four Preps who went on to compose many of the theme songs for his TV shows, died Friday night of esophageal cancer at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, his son, James, told The Hollywood Reporter.
 
Larson also wrote and produced for such noteworthy series as ABC’s It Takes a Thief, starring his fellow Hollywood High School alum Robert Wagner as a burglar now stealing for the U.S. government, and NBC’s McCloud, with Dennis Weaver as a sheriff from Taos, N.M., who moves to Manhattan to help the big-city cops there.
 
After ABC spurned the original pilot for The Six Million Dollar Man (based on the 1972 novel Cyborg), Larson rewrote it, then penned a pair of 90-minute telefilms that convinced then-network executive Barry Diller to greenlight the action series, which starred Lee Majors as a former astronaut supercharged with bionic implants.
 
Other shows Larson created included Alias Smith & Jones, B.J. and The Bear, Switch (another series with Wagner), Manimal and The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo. He spent his early career at Universal Studios, inventing new shows and reworking others, before moving to 20th Century Fox in 1980 with a multiseries, multimillion-dollar deal.
 
With Lou Shaw, Larson conceived Quincy M.E., which starred Jack Klugman — coming off his stint on The Odd Couple — as a murder-solving Los Angeles medical examiner. A forerunner to such “forensic” dramas as CSI, the series ran for 148 episodes over eight seasons on NBC from 1976-83.
 
CBS’ Magnum, P.I., toplined by Tom Selleck as a charismatic Ferrari-driving private instigator based in Oahu, Hawaii, also aired eight seasons, running from 1980-88 with 162 installments. Larson created the ratings hit with Donald Bellisario, with whom he had worked on Quincy and Battlestar.
 
NBC’s Knight Rider, starring David Hasselhoff as a crime fighter aided by a Pontiac Trans-Am with artificial intelligence (K.I.T.T., drolly voiced by William Daniels), lasted four seasons and 90 episodes from 1982-86. And ABC’s Fall Guy, with Majors as a stuntman who moonlights as a bounty hunter, prevailed for five seasons and 113 episodes spanning 1981-86.
 
If you’re counting, Quincy, Magnum, Knight Rider and Fall Guy accounted for 513 hours of television and 21 combined seasons from 1976-88.
 
During a 2009 interview with the Archive of American Television, Larson was asked how he could possibly keep up with such a workload.
 
“I tried to stay with things until I thought they were on their feet and they learned to walk and talk,” he said.
 
“If you believe if something, you must will it through, because everything gets in the way. Everyone tries to steer the ship off course.”
 
Battlestar Galactica lasted just one season on ABC from 1978-79, yet the show had an astronomical
impact. Starring Lorne Greene and Richard Hatch as leaders of a homeless fleet wandering through space, featuring special effects supervised by Star Wars’ John Dykstra and influenced by Larson’s Mormon beliefs, Battlestar premiered as a top 10 show and finished the year in the top 25. But it was axed after 24 episodes because, Larson said, each episode cost “well over” $1 million.
 
“I was vested emotionally in Battlestar, I really loved the thematic things. I don’t feel it really got its shot, and I can’t blame anyone else, I was at the center of that,” said Larson, who years early had written a sci-fi script, Adam’s Ark, with a theme similar to Battlestar’s and had been mentored by Star Trek's Gene Coon. “But circumstances weren’t in our favor to be able to make it cheaper or to insist we make two of three two-hour movies [instead of a weekly one-hour series] to get our sea legs.”
 
Much like Star Trek before it, Battlestar became much more beloved after it was canceled. Universal packaged episodes into two-hour telefilms and added a “Battle of Galactica” attraction to its studio tour that proved hugely popular. A new version debuted in 2004 on the Sci-Fi Channel, followed by a spinoff, Caprica.
 
Yet for all his success, Larson had his share of critics.
 
Writer Harlan Ellison, in a 1996 book about his Star Trek teleplay for the famous episode “City on the Edge of Forever,” infamously called him “Glen Larceny,” accusing him of using movie concepts for his TV shows.
 
It often has been noted that Battlestar premiered soon after Star Wars, that Alias Smith & Jones arrived shortly after Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid and that the setups for McCloud and B.J. and The Bear bore similarities to the Clint Eastwood films Coogan’s Bluff and Every Which Way But Loose, respectively.
 
“Larson is undeniably a controversial figure in TV history because of his reputation for producing video facsimiles of popular films, but scholars, fans and critics should also consider that ‘similarity’ is the name of the game in the fast world of TV productions,” John Kenneth Muir wrote in his 2005 book, An Analytical Guide to Television’s Battlestar Galactica. “Shows are frequently purchased, produced and promoted by networks not for their differences from popular productions, but because of their similarities.”
 
Fox in 1978 sued Battlestar studio Universal for infringing on Star Wars copyrights but lost the suit years later, vindicating Larson, who described his TV show as “Wagon Train heading toward Earth.”
 
He also said that Alias Smith & Jones was “certainly in the genre of Butch Cassidy, a New Wave western” and compared B.J. and the Bear to something along the lines of the 1977 film Smokey & the Bandit.
 
He was not apologizing for any of this.
 
“Television networks are a lot like automobile manufacturers, or anyone else who’s in commerce. If something out there catches on with the public … I guess you can call it ‘market research,’ ” he said in the TV Archive interview. “You can go in and pitch one idea at a network and they’ll say, ‘You know, we’d really like it if you had something a little more like this.’ ”
 
And the trend goes on: new versions of Battlestar, Knight Rider, Manimal, Six Million Dollar Man and The Fall Guy have been floated about for the big screen in recent years.
 
Glen Albert Larson was born an only child on Jan. 3, 1937, in Long Beach, Calif. He and his parents moved to Los Angeles when he was young, and he became enthralled with the art of storytelling while listening to hour after hour of radio shows.
 
He met Wagner while hitchhiking to Hollywood High and landed a job as a page at NBC, then home to such live anthologies as Lux Video Theatre and Matinee Theatre.
 
Music took over when Capitol Records A&R exec Nik Venet signed The Four Preps to a long-term contract in 1956, and the wholesome youngsters recorded such hits as “Twenty Six Miles (Santa Catalina),” “Big Man," “Dreamy Eyes” and "Down by the Station."
 
“Ultimately, The Four Preps’ biggest influence can be heard via their impact on Brian Wilson, whose harmony-driven production for The Beach Boys was a direct antecedent of The Four Preps’ sound,” or so says a biography of the group on AllMusic.com.
 
The Preps appeared on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, The Ed Sullivan Show and American Bandstand, played college campuses around the country and toured the world. But with a new wife and child, Larson wanted to get off the road, so he pursued a career in television and sold a story idea for a 1966 episode of The Fugitive.
 
Larson then wrote an episode of It Takes a Thief, and within the short span of a season he went from story editor to producing the series.
 
He created his first show, the ABC Western Alias Smith and Jones, which starred Peter Duel and Ben Murphy as outlaw cousins trying to go straight. He exited the series soon after Duel died of a self-inflicted gunshot on New Year’s Eve in 1971.
 
He did not get along with Klugman on Quincy and eventually left the show in the hands of Bellisario.
 
Selleck, who was under contract at Universal and had done a couple of pilots that had not made it to series, was obligated to do Magnum, whose pilot was written by Bellisario.
 
“We got the star, it was a perfect fit,” said Larson, who was a fan of the 1960s CBS series Hawaiian Eye, which centered on a detective agency. “I had a house over there [in Hawaii] and a guy [like Selleck’s character] who lived in a guest house and took care of it.”
 
Larson based the unseen novelist character Robin Masters, the owner of the home, on author Harold Robbins.
 
After years at Universal — where he also did The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries for ABC and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century for NBC — Larson left for Fox. But to get out of his Universal deal, he had to give the studio one more show, and that would be Knight Rider.
 
“Michael Knight [Hasselhoff’s character] in a way is a prototyped by the Lone Ranger,” Larson said. “If you think about him riding across the plains and going from one town to another to help law and order, then K.I.T.T. becomes Tonto.”
 
At Fox in the spring of 1983, he sold four new series: Manimal to ABC and Trauma Center, Automan and Masquerade to ABC, but all were quickly canceled.
 
Larson’s next show, CBS’ Cover Up — about a photographer (Jennifer O’Neill) who replaces her late husband as an undercover CIA agent — lasted one season. During production, actor Jon-Erik Hexum died as a result of an accidental self-inflicted blank-cartridge gunshot wound on the set.
 
In July 2011, Larson sued Universal, alleging a decades-long fraud perpetrated by a studio that he said never once sent him profit participation statements despite his shows earning hundreds of millions of dollars.
 
More recently, Larson reteamed up with The Four Preps, reuniting in 2004 for a PBS reunion show, Magic Moments, with best friends and fellow group members David Somerville and Bruce Belland.
 
Survivors include his wife Jeannie, brother Kenneth and nine children (including his son James) from former wives Carol Gourley and Janet Curtis: Kimberly, Christopher, Glen, Michelle, David, Caroline, Danielle and Nicole.
 
A memorial service will be held in the near future, his son said.
 
Despite his remarkable career churning out hits, Larson earned but three Emmy nominations, two for producing McCloud and one (for outstanding drama) for Quincy. He never won.
 
His shows, Larson said in the TV Archive interview, “were enjoyable, they had a pretty decent dose of humor. All struck a chord in the mainstream. What we weren’t going to do was win a shelf full of Emmys. We got plenty of nominations for things, but ours were not the kind of shows that were doing anything more than reaching a core audience. I would like to think we brought a lot of entertainment into the living room.”
 
 
LARSON, Glen A. (Glen Albert Larson)
Born: 1/3/1937, Long Beach, California, U.S.A.
Died: 11/14/2014, Santa Monica, California, U.S.A.
 
Glen A. Larson’s westerns – producer, screenwriter:
The Virginian (TV) – 1970 [screenwriter], 1972 [producer]
Alias Smith and Jones (TV) – 1971-1973, [screenwriter], 1971-1972 [producer]

RIP Troy Nabors

RIP Troy Nabors
 
Arizona Republic
By Staff
November 15, 2014
 
Rodeo entertainer, bullfighter, trick roper, comedian, actor (SAG), family man, and one of the last true cowboys --Troy Nabors passed away unexpectedly on the evening of November 10th, 2014 in Mesa, Arizona at the age of 83. Troy was born on October 2, 1931 in Antlers, Oklahoma to Buster & Mary Kay Nabors. He is survived by his beloved wife Janice "Jonnie" nee Elder of Mesa, AZ, son Randal (Karen) Robbins, grandsons Steven and William Robbins, 6 nephews, 10 nieces, and a large extended family. It was a long and winding road from his self-proclaimed "Okie" beginnings through his storied 50 years of show business. For 38 of those years, his housebroken and "educated" mule Slim was his constant companion and cohort. His cowboy comedy antics and trick roping brought him before President John F. Kennedy, President Ronald Reagan, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, and countless captivated audiences. He performed at The Calgary Stampede in Canada, Pendleton Roundup in Oregon, Lakeside Rodeo in California (26 years), Phoenix Jaycees Rodeo of Rodeos, Parada Del Sol, Gilbert Days, Apacheland, and Legend City. He also performed many years at the Stardust Hotel and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, and won Best Contract Act of IPRA for 3 consecutive years. Above all, he was a good-hearted cowboy, and a friend to all who met him. Troy went from Okie beginnings and became a true Arizona son. A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held Monday, November 17th at 1:00PM at the Welcome Home Ranch, 26601 S. Val Vista Drive, Gilbert, AZ 85298. All are welcome to attend.
 
 
NABORS, Troy (Troy Calvin Nabors)
Born: 10/2/1931, Antlers, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
Died: 11/10/2014, Mesa, Arizona, U.S.A.
 
Troy Nabors’ western – actor:
Apache Blood – 1975 (Corporal Lem Hawkins)