Sunday, April 19, 2015

RIP George Cooper

RIP George Cooper

San Luis Obispo The Tribune
April 19, 2015

George Cooper George Healey Cooper passed February 14, 2015. He was 95 years old. George was born in January 1920 in Brooklyn, New York, the same month prohibition began. His father, George Healey Cooper was a stage and silent film actor. He moved to Hollywood, California when he was nine months old before moving to Santa Monica in 1927. He loved California and lived there most of his life. He enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and attended The Ben Bard Players acting school in 1945 where he met and married Valerie Conte the mother of his four children. Noteworthy accomplishments include an actor under contract with RKO Studios and later worked in both film and television before developing George Cooper Publications. He was a fine art marine artist, husband and loving father. He enjoyed traveling and spending time near the ocean. He spent the last 15 years of his life on the Central Coast of California and always referred to it as his oasis. He was most grateful and proud to have forty-four years of sober living. George is survived by his children: George Cooper III, Christine Alton Shiers, Mary Leavitt, and Kerry Germain; grandchildren: Kameron Alton, Ryan Alton, and Jack Germain, and great- granddaughter, Hazel Alton. His ashes will be scattered over the Pacific Ocean during a private family service and celebration of his life. Sign his guestbook at

COOPER, George (George Healey Cooper)
Born: 1/24/1920, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 2/14/2015, San Luis Obispo, California, U.S.A.

George Cooper’s westerns – actor:
Blood on the Moon – 1948 (Fred Barden)
Roughshod – 1949 (Jim Clayton)
The Gene Autry Show (TV) – 1951 (Johnny ‘Buckeye’ Hollis)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

RIP Robert Rietty

British-born voiceover actor who specialized in James Bond villains and was so in demand he played 98 roles in one film

Jimmy Morelli

Robert Rietti was one of the regular actors in the James Bond films for two decades, but even aficionados might struggle to work out who he played, for his work was top secret.

He played the villains Emilio Largo in Thunderball and Ernst Stavro Blofeld in For Your Eyes Only and he was the Japanese secret service chief Tiger Tanaka in You Only Live Twice, but only on the soundtrack. He provided the voices that complemented the appearance of actors who looked the part, but just did not sound quite right.

Born of Italian heritage Lucio Rietti was "discovered" at the tender age of 8 by his father Vittorio (Victor Rietti veteran actor of the stage and screen) who had noticed the boy had completely memorized a copy of a script he had given Lucio having wanted help from his son while rehearsing his lines for a play. Vittorio had Lucio join his own acting school (which turned out products such as Ida Lupino - then just a little girl), and taught the boy everything he knew. Lucio was quickly recognized as a child prodigy and appeared alongside his father in scores of plays. He was handpicked by Alfred Hitchcock to play the boy in Secret Agent (1936), but being so young required schooling by law and had to turn down the part. The early Hollywood motion picture king David O. Selznick having seen the boy perform, tried to sign him to an extended contract with his Studio. Before having turned 11 years old he had been in over a dozen films the most notable having starred in the classic Emil and the Detectives (1935) as the leader of a gang of kids.

He was 15 years old and on tour in the UK when WW2 broke out and being of Italian origin was placed in a detention camp together with his father and brother Ronaldo (Ronald Rietti later a film director and producer). After 8 months he was released upon special request to organize an army unit made up of professional actors to entertain the troops. It was during this time that his stage name was altered to Robert Rietty in an attempt to make it sound less Italian and more Irish (who were neutral during the war). It was under the name Robert Rietty that he came to be known best by the public. After 5 ½ years of army service Robert returned to public attention picking up where he had left off.

Over the next several years he participated in every form of entertainment - in radio, on the stage, through motion pictures and the early days of Television. In radio Robert teamed up with Orson Welles twice for the complete radio crime drama series The Black Museum 1951 broadcast to the US armed forces and The Third Man 1951-1952 (aka Harry Lime) - based on the hit film. This proved to be the beginning of a lifelong friendship between the two and Orson made sure to use Robert in countless films of his. Robert was also a regular on the radio series Horatio Hornblower and Theater Royal with Sir Laurence Olivier as well as frequent guest appearances on scores of other radio shows of the time. In motion pictures, still only 25 years of age, he continued to work mostly in character parts with the exception of his performances in Call of the Blood (1948), Prelude to Fame (1950) and Stock Car (1955). Also during this time Robert was heavily involved in the Theater starring in dozens and dozens of plays, even writing quite a few and was editor of the drama quarterly Gambit.

He once found the script of the Italian play To Live in Peace which his father had translated to English but had no luck convincing anyone to produce it. Despite the fact the story was rejected countless times Robert rewrote the script and found a producer willing to back the project with his father in the lead role as Don Geronimo and himself as Maso. The play became an instant success winning many awards and toured in Europe eventually being made twice as films made for Television in 1951 and 1952. Together with his father Robert was knighted by the Italian Government for their contribution to the Italian entertainment industry in particular from translating a great many Italian plays into English. His knighthood was then upgraded. Early television took up much of Robert's time, guest-starring repeatedly in over 100 TV shows many of them being shot live in those days. In television he often got the chance to work together with his father again, most notably in The Jack Benny Program episode Jack Falls Into Canal in Venice (3/10/57) and in the pilot for the series Harry's Girls (1960). During the next 15 years most of his acting was confined to TV and films. His most memorable performances were in The Crooked Road (1965) with Robert Ryan and Stewart Granger, Hell Is Empty (1967) produced by his brother Ronald Rietti and co-starring French actress Martine Carol (who died before the end of shooting the film), The Italian Job (1969) and The Omen (1976) with Gregory Peck.

During this time he made the change from actor to director (although he continued acting) becoming heavily involved in postproduction work directing and re-voicing and became unquestionably the most sort after director of the kind known throughout Hollywood and Europe as the King Of Dubbers and Man Of A Thousand Voices. His direction was used for practically every film in the James Bond Series (even acting in several) and a never ending list of hundreds of pictures. Through this he came to instruct such stars as Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Gregory Peck, Orson Welles, John Huston, Rod Steiger, Elizabeth Taylor, Sean Connery and Walter Matthau among others.

Robert Rietty was one of the greatest of British voice dubbers in the Golden Age of films. He died in London on April 3, 2015 at the age of 92. Born Lucio Rietti on February 8, 1923 in Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. His father was actor Vittorio Rietti and discovered his son’s ability to memorize scripts and made him a part of his theatrical troop where he performed at the age of 8. By 15 he was making films under his new stage name Robert Rietty. On tour in England when World War II broke out he was detained and released after 8 months. He continued to acting on stage, films and TV and later in the 1960s became active in film dubbing where he wrote dialogue, directed and voiced many films. Among which were seven Euro-westerns including the voice of Patrick McGoohen in 1975’s The Genius with Terence Hill.

RIETTY, Robert (Lucio Rietti)
Born: 2/8/1923, Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Died: 4/3/2015, London, England, U.K.

Robert Rietty’s westerns – voice actor:
Mackenna’s Gold – 1969 [English voice of Ted Cassidy]
The Valley of Gwangi – 1968 [English voice of Gustavo Rojo]
The Desperados – 1969 [English voice of David Thompson]
Land Raiders – 1969 [English voice of Harper wagon master]
A Talent for Loving – 1969 [English voice of two unknown characters]
Captain Apache – 1971 [English voice of unknown character]
A Town Called Hell – 1971 [English voice of Michael Craig]
The Genius – 1975 [English voice of Patrick McGoohen]

RIP Jonathan Crombie

Jonathan Crombie, Anne of Green Gables actor, dead at 48

Actor best known for playing Gilbert Blythe in TV movies, also played lead in Drowsy Chaperon in 2008

CBC News
April 18, 2015

Jonathan Crombie, who played Gilbert Blythe in the Anne of Green Gables movies, has died at the age of 48, CBC News has learned.

He was also the son of David Crombie, who was mayor of Toronto from 1972 to 1978 and served as a federal Progressive Conservative cabinet minister in the 1980s.

The actor's sister, Carrie Crombie, told CBC News on Saturday that her brother suffered a brain hemorrhage and died in New York City on April 15.

"We've been going through lots of stories the last couple days," she said.

"He was funny, he was sweet, he loved acting, he loved comedy and singing and dancing. As a little kid, he just loved Broadway shows and all of that kind of stuff and would sing and dance in the living room."

Answered to the name Gil

Jonathan Crombie will be best remembered for his role in the CBC TV movie Anne of Green Gables in 1984 and its two sequels in 1987 and 2000.

Carrie Crombie said her brother never shied away from the fame that came along with playing the role of Gilbert Blythe, and happily answered to the name Gil when recognized by fans on the street.

"I think he was really proud of being Gilbert Blythe and was happy to answer any questions...he really enjoyed that series and was happy, very proud of it — we all were," she said.

"[But] I think his proudest part was when he played the lead in Drowsy Chaperone on Broadway. That was just an amazing thing for him to be able to do."

Anne of Green Gables producer Kevin Sullivan said dozens of actors, including Jason Priestley, tried out for the role of Gilbert Blythe but none captured the spirit of the character.

Casting director Diane Polley eventually discovered the then-17-year-old Crombie while he was acting in a high school play. Polley is also the mother of Sarah Polley, who portrayed the main character in the Road to Avonlea series.

"She said, 'Trust me. He's it," Sullivan said. "We never screen-tested him. We met him and he was cast. It was a perfect storm...It just all worked perfectly."

'A devastating tragedy'

Sullivan said Crombie and the on-screen character he came to embody were actually pretty similar.

"I think for legions of young women around the world who fell in love with the Anne of Green Gables films, Jonathan literally represented the quintessential boy next door, and there were literally thousands of women who wrote to him over the years who saw him as a perfect mate," Sullivan said.

"I think there will be hundreds of people who will be floored that this has happened. It's such a devastating tragedy. In reality, Jonathan was as generous, as kind, as sensitive and as ambitious, in some ways, as the character he came to be identified with."

Sullivan said Crombie and Megan Follows, the actress who played Anne Shirley in the movies, had a special relationship off screen.

"Megan was more of a seasoned professional, in some ways, than Jonathan was," he said.

"He was kind of a newbie and I just remember that they were able to ground each other extremely well and the relationship that they had was one of great affection...they were both very generous with each other and both really made those performances vivid and real."

'Kinda quirky'

Jonathan Crombie also performed with a sketch comedy troupe featured in the Canadian TV series Comedy Now! in 1998. Carrie Crombie said her brother was incredibly passionate about improv and sketch comedy.

"John was funny. He was kinda quirky in some ways," she said.

"Like he would only take the bus back and forth from Toronto to New York. And, to be honest, that's how we are going to be bringing him back. We felt that it was an ode to Jonathan. He would never go on a plane, so we're going to make the trek from New York to Toronto on a bus with his ashes."

Crombie said her brother just didn't feel it necessary to spend the money required to make the journey by plane.

"He always seemed to attract interesting people on buses. He always had great stories about characters on buses, so we always had fun listening to his impersonations."

Carrie Crombie said she didn't think her brother had any major health issues, and was committed to staying healthy. She said his organs have been donated, which is something he would have been proud of.

She said a "huge, wonderful celebration of life" will be held in his honor sometime in the coming weeks.

CROMBIE, Jonathan (Jonathan David Crombie)
Born: 10/12/1966, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died:  4/15/2015, New York City, New York, U.S.A.

Jonathan Crombie’s western – actor:
The Campbells (TV) - 1985-1988 (Kevin Sims)

RIP Ritchie D'Horsie

RIP Ritchie D’Horsie

Comedian Ritchie D' Horsie passes away at 58

GMA News
April 18, 2015

Comedian Ritchie D' Horsie (real name: Ricardo Reyes) has passed away due to complication of diabetes, kidney failure and brain stroke. He was 58.

According to a report on GMA News TV's Balitanghali, the Loyola Memorial Chapels & Crematorium in Marikina confirmed that the wake of the comedian will start Saturday afternoon.

The report added that the family, friends and former co-workers of D' Horsie are expected to arrive at the Loyola chapel at around 2 p.m.

His "Iskul Bukol" co-star and screenwriter Bibeth Orteza paid tribute to him in a series of posts on Facebook.

D’HORSIE, Ritchie (Ricardo Reyes)
Born: 1957, Philippines,
Died: 4/17/2015, Manila, Philippines

Ritchie D’Horsie’s western – actor:
The Return of the Long Ranger & Tonton: How the West Was Wrong – 1992 (Horse with No Name)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

RIP Peter Price

RIP Peter Price

British assistant director and production manager Peter Price died in London on April 6th. He was 85. Price started work at Ealing studios in 1946 as post boy then worked his way up to the production department and after several months training, worked as 3rd Assistant on the film "It Always Rains on Sunday", which was made again in 1948 when crews returned from the services. He then started his freelance career an Assistant Director working at all the major studios, and with many top directors. He had the privilege of working as 1st Assistant with all the Ealing Directors: Sandy Mackendrik, Charles Crichton, Basil Deardon,Les Norman, Michael Truman.

PRICE, Peter
Born: 1/9/2930, London, England, U.K.
Died: 4/6/2015, London, England, U.K.

Peter Price’s westerns – assistant director:
Shalako – 1968 [assistant director]
Chato’s Land – 1972 [assistant director]
Heaven’s Gate – 1980 [production manager]