2019 In Memoriam: May – June

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Chris Reccardi (November 24, 1964 – May 2, 2019)

Growing up in the 80s was a wonderful time for Kids cartoons, something which carried over into the 90s as we marched towards teen years. Reccardi was a major contributing force towards the quality of these shows, directing, animating, writing, and scoring on a variety of classics including Ren And Stimpy, Tiny Toon Adventures, The Lego Batman Movie, The Simpsons, Spongebob Squarepants, and The Powerpuff Girls.

Freddie Starr ( 9 January 1943 – 9 May 2019)

Freddie Starr was for a while Britain’s most popular stand-up comedian with an energy and physical style unmatched in the early 70s. His career continued throughout the next couple of decades with highs and low, appearing on gameshows and his own TV shows. Like many performers of the period, allegations involving his personal life began to surface in his later life which seems to have resulted in a withdrawal to Spain and near bankruptcy. He will be remembered as an influence on many of Britain’s physical comedians and his virtuoso performances.

Peggy Lipton (August 30, 1946 – May 11, 2019)

Man, this one hurt. Peggy Lipton was one of the most beautiful people to ever grace our screens and lives, inside and out, and a terrific actress too. The extended Twin Peaks family has lost a few big names in the last couple of years so it seems all the more bittersweet that we got The Return at all. Her Norma Jennings was one of the most grounded characters in the show and someone who was always a pleasure to see, set against the darkness and weirdness elsewhere. Lipton also one a Golden Globe for another cult show – The Mod Squad, was married to Quincy Jones for almost twenty years, and her kids Kidada and Rashida are now popular actresses.

Machiko Kyo (March 25, 1924 – May 12, 2019)

Machiko Kyo was one of the last surviving performers from Japan’s Golden Age, most famous for her breakthrough lead in Rashomon. Elsewhere, she was nominated for a GOlden Globe working alongside Brando in The Teahouse Of The August Moon and also appeared in Floating Weeds and Bad Obsession. 

Doris Day (April 3, 1922 – May 13, 2019)

From the Golden Age of Japan to the Golden Age of Hollywood, Doris Day was one of the biggest draws of radio and screen in the 50s and 60s, as well as being one of the most high profile animal rights activists of the 20th Century. She was only nominated for a single Oscar, but won 5 Golden Globes and four Grammys. She will be remembered for Que Sera SeraPillow Talk, Calamity Jane, and The Man Who Knew Too Much. 

Ashley Massaro (May 26, 1979 – May 16, 2019)

Beyond being a model, DJ, and TV host, Massaro will be most remembered for her time with the WWE. She was a winner of WWE’s Diva Search around the time I was winding down from watching it again – the Company was branching out into reality TV ventures which I only watched in passing. She feuded on and off with Mickie James and Vince’s Devils and later Melina before leaving to look after her daughter.

Niki Lauda (22 February 1949 – 20 May 2019)

As a bloke from Great Britain, at some point in your life you’re going to be exposed to Formula 1 – it’s like Nascar, but with skill. I watched on and off for a very short window when I was young before admitting to myself that it was boring and that the technology in the car was more important than the skill of the driver. While I was always much more of a motorcycle fan, there was no getting away from Niki Lauda, unquestionably one of the finest drivers the sport has scene and someone who was always mentioned even though I grew up after his heyday.

Judith Kerr OBE (14 June 1923 – 22 May 2019)

Again, you don’t grow up in GB without being exposed to Judith Kerr’s books. Fleeing Nazi Germany just as their power was rising, Kerr began writing when her children were young and kept going until close to her death, giving us numerous classics including The Tiger Who Came To Tea, and the delightful Mog series.

Mou Tun Fei ((May 3, 1941 – May 25, 2019)

An infamous Chinese Director known for some ‘extreme’ movies which are generally seen as a badge of honour for horror viewers and fans of Cinema which pushes the boundaries of decency. While he dabbled with other genres while working at Shaw Brothers, he remains most known for Men Behind The Sun.

 

Jose Antonio Reyes (1 September 1983 – 1 June 2019)

For lack of a better word, it’s always strange… tragic, when someone the same age or younger than you dies. Dying under the age of forty now is still considered too young to go and while Reyes was nearing the end of a football career which saw him picking up the Premier League, the FA Cup, the Spanish League, and a record five Europa League titles, his enduring popularity in Spain and England likely meant a continuing career as a pundit, commentator, or manager.

Sylvia Miles (September 9, 1924 – June 12, 2019)

In a career spanning eight decades, Miles was a frequent figure on stage and screen often selecting challenging roles in a variety of genres and tackling material many of her peers would have sniffed at. A two time Academy Award nominee, she will be remembered for Midnight Cowboy, Funhouse, and the Wall Street series.

Franco Zeffirelli (12 February 1923 – 15 June 2019)

Say what you will about his politics – serving as a Senator for a right wing party and aligning himself with the Roman Catholic Church on a number of divisive issues, yet coming out as gay himself late in life, Zeffirelli was a producer and director on some of the most notable works of European film and opera of the 20th Century. He will  be remembered for Tea With Mussolini, Jesus Of Nazareth, and Romeo And Juliet. 

Billy Drago (November 30, 1945 – June 24, 2019)

Billy Drago was never quite as big as his performances shown he should have been. Usually cast, often brilliantly, as a villain, Drago’s trademark snarl and accent meant he had a tendency to steal scenes from much larger names. Never afraid to take on challenging roles across the world and in any genre, Drago featured in gangster epics, martial arts movies, horror series, Westerns, and more. For me, he’ll always be the dastardly hitman Frank Nitti in The Untouchables but he will also be remembered for Pale Rider, Charmed, Masters Of Horror, and the infamous China White.

Share your memories and thoughts on any of the people above in the comments.

2019 – In Memoriam: March-April

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King Kong Bundy (November 7, 1955 – March 4, 2019)

We start early with Wrestlers this year as another notorious ‘big man’ of the squared circle departed. Bundy was a formidable figure but never quite achieved the stardom or acclaim that many of his peers did – he didn’t pick up a single championship in WWE but was nevertheless famous for headlining Wrestlemania 2 and being part of The Million Dollar Corporation.

Keith Flint (17 September 1969 – 4 March 2019)

A surprise blow to the musical world this year as former frontman and Firestarter of The Prodigy passed away. The Prodigy has always been one of a small number of dance based groups I could both tolerate and admire, ripping up much of the sentimental and watered down junk which passed for music in the charts. Flint’s look and voice and approach was a large part of their appeal.

Luke Perry (October 11, 1966 – March 4, 2019)

Although I was never a fan of Beverly Hills 90210, there was simply no getting away from it in the early 90s. I probably watched a couple of seasons of it, but I was always a Party Of Five guy. Perry was one of the major stars of the show and used it as a launchpad to a respected voice acting career and appearances in movies including Buffy and The Fifth Element. Later in his career he appeared in the hit shows Riverdale and Jeremiah. 

Wally Yamaguchi (May 5, 1958 – March 9, 2019)

A lifelong Wrestling fan, Yamaguchi had worked in Japan and beyond by writing and recruiting talent, though it wasn’t until 1998 that he appeared briefly, but notably in WWE as the manager of Kai En Tai. His various promos and antics helped them become one of my favourite groups of the time and were peak non-PC WWE.

Larry DiTillio (February 15, 1948 – March 16, 2019)

You won’t know the name, but for people of a certain age he was likely a source of entertainment and inspiration. He become one of the lead writers on He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe as well as She-Ra, creating most of the character names and writing the Secret Of The Sword animated feature. He was also a writer on any number of shows in the 80s and 90s – Babylon 5, Beast Wars, Centurions, Real Ghostbusters, and Rock ‘n’ Wrestling. 

Scott Walker (January 9, 1943 – March 22, 2019)

While Walker at this point in my life doesn’t mean much to me in a detailed way, for a long time he has been on my list of musicians I need to get around to hearing. Beyond a few songs I’ve liked, I haven’t heard much. Starting out as a standard enough pop singer, he eventually became increasingly avant garde, leading him to be an influence on a wide range of artists who would come in his wake.

Larry Cohen (July 15, 1936 – March 23, 2019)

A name that may not be familiar to those outside of the horror world, Larry Cohen was one of the most fearless and popular men in B-movies, making some of the most successful breakout hits. A writer, director, producer, Cohen’s best work saw him in satirical mode – using B-movie tropes and scenarios to talk about something more relevant. He is known for films such as Phone Booth, The Stuff, Q, and the It’s Alive series.

Joseph Pilato (March 16, 1949 – March 24, 2019)

Definitely a name that few outside the horror community will recognise, Pilato has nevertheless appeared in some of the most revered films of all time. I’ve also maintained that his outrageous performance as Captain Rhodes deserved an Oscar nomination, which surely would have opened him up to more roles. He will be remembered for Day Of The Dead, Dawn Of The Dead, and Pulp Fiction.

Bronco McLoughlin (10 August 1938 – 26 March 2019)

An Irish stuntman and hall of famer, he was involved in some of the most impressive stunt set pieces in the last fifty years as well as outright acting, including as the famous Channard Cenobite in Hellraiser 2. His work has helped many TV shows and movies become successful, including Father Ted, Vikings, Star Wars, Superman, Temple Of Doom, Total Recall, and A View To A Kill.

Shane Rimmer (28 May 1929 – 29 March 2019)

Another name most people won’t be familiar with, Rimmer worked as a writer and actor since 1957, most famously as the voice of Scott Tracy in Thunderbirds. He has also worked in multiple James Bond movies, Rollerball, The Land That Time Forgot, Star Wars, Gandhi, Superman I-III, Coronation Street, and Batman Begins. 

Bibi Andersson (11 November 1935 – 14 April 2019)

One of the most famous and successful actors to come from Sweden, Andersson is best known for her work with Ingmar Bergman as well as branching out to Hollywood and wider Europe. She will be remembered for Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, Persona, and Babette’s Feast. 

Jessie Lawrence Ferguson (June 8, 1941 – April 26, 2019)

Ferguson acted for a little over 10 years, yet always managed to make an impact when given a substantial role. He will be remembered for notable appearances in Prince Of Darkness, Darkman, and Boyz In The Hood.

John Singleton (January 6, 1968 – April 28, 2019) 

Speaking of Boyz In The Hood, director John Singleton became the youngest person (24) to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar, as well as the first African American. While he never quite matched that critical acclaim again, he nevertheless worked on well received movies, shows, and music videos including Rosewood, Remember The Time, Shaft, and Empire. 

John Llewellyn Moxey (26 February 1925 – 29 April 2019)

A director known most for his work in horror, Moxey had a more extensive career in TV directing, and will be remembered for works such as City Of The Dead, Mission Impossible, Kung Fu, Magnum PI, and Murder She Wrote. 

Peter Mayhew (May 19, 1944 – April 30, 2019) 

When you’re 7ft 3 inches, chances are you’re going to get typecast – in the movies and in life. Mayhew made it work for him, becoming one of the most loved characters in the most loved movie franchise of all time – his Chewbacca appearing in every film from the first up to and including The Force Awakens. 

Feel free to share your thoughts and memories on the people above in the comments!

2019 In Memoriam: Jan – Feb

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As another year draws to a close we bid heartfelt farewells to those we have loved and lost. I, as you no doubt have too, have suffered some personal losses this year, but the purpose of this post is to remember and say goodbye to those from the world of Sport, of Show Business, or who spent some part of their life in a spotlight. Many of you reading this are likely reaching an age where the people you looked up to in your younger years, whether they be actors, musicians, writers, athletes, or experts in their discipline, are nearing the end or have drawn their last breath. It sucks, but never forget what they achieved and what they meant to you. This list is by no means complete and merely represents those who meant something to me and that I know have died in these past twelve months.

Michel Legrand (24 February 1932 – 26 January 2019)

Legrand was primarily a composer of movie and TV scores, but may be most readily remembered for some of his hit songs – including the Oscar winning Windows Of Your Mind. His songwriting work netted him five further Oscar nominations while his Musical Scores garnered an additional five Oscar nominations, including 2 more wins for Yentl and Summer Of ’42.

Gene Okerlund (December 19, 1942 – January 2, 2019)

‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund was every bit as iconic a part of the WWF throughout the 1980s as Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, and The Ultimate Warrior were. The straight man in the midst of the surrounding macho insanity, Gene always has a poker-faced quip in his pocket and continued that success in a mid-nineties stint with WCW. In recent years he became a WWE Hall Of Famer and worked behind the scenes on many of their Network programming.

Andrew G Vajna (1 August 1944 – 20 January 2019)

In terms of Producers, Vajna was an underrated heavyweight and his name also seemed to be attached to many of my most favourite movies growing up. Cynically left out of the Academy Memoriam, he helped create and release many classics including the Rambo series, Total Recall, Tombstone, The Changling, Die Hard With A Vengeance.

Dick Miller (December 25, 1928 – January 30, 2019)

Dick Miller was another one of those faces who consistently popped up in the movies and TV I adored in my youth. With a career starting in the mid 1950s, he has appeared in Gremlins, The Terminator, The Dirty Dozen, New York New York, The Howling, InnerSpace, Pulp Fiction, and over twenty Roger Corman movies.

Clive Swift (9 February 1936 – 1 February 2019)

Known most widely as Rrrrichad (Richard), the long suffering husband of Hyacinth Bucket in the ever so English sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, Swift had appeared on stage and screen since the 1960s he also appeared in successes including A Passage To India, Frenzy, and Excalibur.

Albert Finney (9 May 1936 – 7 February 2019)

One of the great English actors of stage and screen, Finney never picked up an Oscar despite receiving five nominations. His most notable performances include Tom Jones, Scrooge, Murder On The Orient Express, and Erin Brockovich as well as memorable appearances in Skyfall, Wolfen, Big Fish, and The Gathering Storm.

Gordon Banks (30 December 1937 – 12 February 2019)

Frequently named England’s finest goalkeeper, and one of the greatest of all time, Banks played over 70 times for England, winning the World Cup once. At League level he played mainly for Stoke and Leicester, becoming the six time winner of FIFA’s Goalkeeper Of The Year.

Carmen Argenziano (October 27, 1943 – February 10, 2019)

While never a household name, Carmen has featured in many notable movies and series, typically in a tough guy supporting role, but it wasn’t until his recurring performances in SG1 that he cemented his status as a respected cult performer. During his career he appeared in Melrose Place, The Godfather 2, Don Juan De Marco, and Angels & Demons.

Jan Michael Vincent (July 15, 1944 – February 10, 2019)

Sadly, there was to be no triumphant ending to another of Hollywood’s tragic tales. Vincent was frequently said to be the next big thing in his early days at the tail end of the 1960s but in spite of a string of hits both cult and legitimate, his reliance on alcohol saw a promising career fall to the wayside. Most loved for his portrayal of Stringfellow Hawk in Airwolf, Vincent also appeared in The Mechanic, Big Wednesday, The Winds Of War, and Going Home.

Bruno Ganz (22 March 1941 – 16 February 2019)

While he has certainly been immortalized in memes thanks to his wonderful turn as Adolf Hitler in Downfall, Ganz had been performing for more than fifty years on stage and screen as one of Europe’s most respected actors. He will be remembered for performances in films including Nosferatu The Vampyre, Wings Of Desire, and The House That Jack Built.

Stanley Donen (April 13, 1924 – February 21, 2019)

Donen may not be a household name but he has been responsible for many of Cinema’s most iconic moments. While I am in now way a fan of Musicals, Donen is one of a handful of figures to truly revolutionize the genre, making the movies more than mere stage adaptations. He is remembered for directing On The Town, Singin In The Rain, Funny Face, and Charade.

Andre Previn KBE (April 6, 1929 – February 28, 2019)

Previn was one of the most successful composers in the early sound days of Hollywood, before embarking on both off screen and small screen adventures. He picked up four Academy Awards on his travels, along with ten Grammy Awards before receiving a Knighthood. Some of his most notable work includes My Fair Lady, Gigi, and Bad Day At Black Rock.

Aron Tager (June 30, 1934 – February 28, 2019)

Long time readers of everything I write will no doubt be familiar with Aron Tager – appearing as he did in Are You Afraid Of The Dark. It only seems fitting that we mention his passing. Tager was a renowned voice performer beyond his appearances in front of the camera and also carved his own career as an artist and poet. He will be remembered for Donkey Kong Country, Universal Soldier Series, and Richard Scarry.

Feel free to leave your thoughts and memories of any of the people mentioned above or anyone else who passed away Jan-Feb 2019.

 

2018 In Memoriam Part 4

Scott Wilson (March 29, 1942 – October 6, 2018)

Known most widely in recent years due to his work as Hershel on The Walking Dead, Wilson career stretches back to the 1960s and covers TV and Movies. He will be remembered for works including In The Heat Of The Night, The Ninth Configuration, Junebug, The Last Samurai, and CSI. 

Will Vinton (November 17, 1947 – October 4, 2018)

Although he should be a much more famous name in the US due to his work on commercials and TV specials, his work is also universal. He won one Oscar and was nominated two others, and he worked on Moonwalker, Return To Oz, Speed Demon, and The Adventures Of Mark Twain. 

Raymond Chow (8 October 1927 – 2 November 2018)

It’s not a stretch to say that Chow was one of the most important figures in the history of cinema, creating Golden Harvest and essentially enabling Martial Arts movies and Hong Kong Cinema to exist. Without Raymond Chow, there would be no Jackie Chan, no Bruce Lee, and likely a very different approach to action cinema.

Douglas Rain (March 13, 1928 – November 11, 2018)

Rain was a respected theatre actor and appeared in various TV series and TV movies, but his most well known role was as the voice of HAL in 2001 A Space Odyssey and its sequel.

Stan Lee (December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018)

It was bound to happen sooner rather than later. The ever youthful Stan Lee worked right up until his last days and was a huge supporter of visiting comic cons and speaking with fans – only right as he essentially invented the whole thing. Much of modern pop culture in the last 10 years has been shaped by him thanks to the MCU domination, but his career goes all the way back to the 1930s and his creations have appeared on TV and movies for almost as long. If you somehow still don’t know him, he’s the man behind Spiderman, The X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, Ant-Man, The Avengers, Iron Man, The Fantastic Four, Daredevil, and basically most of their surrounding cast, and as well as appearing in most of the MCU movie and TV creations he can be seen in X-Men, Deadpool, Mallrats, Teen Titans Go To The Movies, Muppet Babies, The Simpsons, and many many more.

William Goldman (August 12, 1931 – November 16, 2018)

One of the best combination screenwriter/authors of the 20th Century, Goldman was a two time Academy Award winner and created seminal works in at least four decades including Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, All The President’s Men, The Princess Bride, Misery, and Marathon Man. 

Nicolas Roeg CBE (15 August 1928 – 23 November 2018)

One of the most influential and respected British directors ever, Roeg’s films included adult and children’s horror, sci-fi, comedy, drama. Starting out as a cinematographer working on Lawrence Of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, Casino Royale, Roeg found his own voice and delivered classics including Don’t Look Now, The Witches, Walkabout, and The Man Who Fell To Earth.

Ricky Jay (June 26, 1946 – November 24, 2018)

Primarily a magician, Jay’s stage presence enabled him to find a way into numerous TV shows and movies in often memorable cameos including The X Files, Boogie Nights, Tomorrow Never Dies, and The Prestige. 

Stephen Hillenburg (August 21, 1961 – November 26, 2018)

It’s another name which many people won’t be familiar with, but you will certainly be familiar with his work. Hillenburg was the creator of Spongebob Squarepants which won him a couple of Emmys. Prior to that he worked on, and eventually became lead director on Rocko’s Modern Life. 

Bernardo Bertolucci (16 March 1941 – 26 November 2018)

It’s not easy being controversial, polarizing, influential, award winning, successful, and have a career lasting sixty years, but Bertolucci ticked each of those boxes thanks to films such as The Conformist, Last Tango In Paris, The Dreamers, The Last Emperor, and Little Buddha. It’s difficult to understate the loss to the film world that Bertolucci’s passing is.

Don Lusk (October 28, 1913 – December 30, 2018)

One of the last surviving animators from the Golden Age of Disney, Lusk began working for the company in 1933 and his touch can be seen on films such as Cinderella, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, and Fantasia. Outside of Disney he also worked as an animator and director for various shows and movies including Tom And Jerry, The Smurfs, Peanuts, and The Flintstones. 

Ringo Lam (1955 – December 29, 2018)

A huge loss to the Asian movie industry and action movies everywhere, Ringo Lam was a director, writer, and occasional actor whose films had a major influence on Hollywood. He will be remembered for films such as City On Fire, Full Contact, Twin Dragons, and Maximum Risk.

Dame June Whitfield (11 November 1925 – 28 December 2018)

A stage and radio performer in the 1940s, Whitfield gained her most popular roles in a run of sitcoms in the 80s and 90s even though she had performed on TV and in films consistently in the decades between. She will be remembered for The Carry On Series, The Benny Hill Show, Terry And June, Doctor Who, Friends, and Absolutely Fabulous.

Robert Kerman (December 16, 1947 – December 27, 2018)

A mainstay of all those porn movies from the 70s that your dad watched, Kerman was a trained actor who also appeared in a number of notable films including Spiderman, Cannibal Holocaust, Night Of The Creeps, and No Way Out. 

Donald Moffat (26 December 1930 – 20 December 2018)

Starting out with a stage career which led to a Tony nominations, Moffat remains most well known for his TV and film work including The Thing (Gary), Clear And Present Danger (The President), License To Kill (Webster), and Dr Quinn Medicine Woman. 

Peter Masterson (June 1, 1934 – December 18, 2018)

Actor, director, writer, Masterson appears in films such as The Exorcist and In The Heat Of The Night, directed The Trip To Bountiful and Lost Junction, and wrote The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. 

Penny Marshall (October 15, 1943 – December 17, 2018)

One of the first truly successful female directors in Hollywood, Marshall made her name as an actress first, earning multiple Golden Globe nominations for Laverne And Shirley while also appearing in Happy Days, The Odd Couple, The Simpsons and other seminal shows. She directed films including Big, Awakenings, and A League Of Their Own. 

Rob Deshotel

A TV producer and writer, Rob worked on That 70s Show, Fantasy Island, and Man With A Plan while also contributing to over thirty episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, including writing personal favourite episodes Killed By Death and The Puppet Show. 

Roger (2006 -2018)

Roger was that kangeroo everyone knew, shared in memes for his beast mode physique.

The Dynamite Kid (5 December 1958 – 5 December 2018)

Thomas Billington, better known as The Dynamite Kid was one half of The British Bulldogs and one of the most successful British wrestlers of all time winning multiple titles across the globe including the WWE Tag Championship.

Geoff Murphy (12 October 1938 – 3 December 2018)

One of the first majorly successful directors from New Zealand, Geoff Murphy acted as a 2nd Unit Director on the LOTR Trilogy but also directed his own films including Young Guns 2, Under Siege 2, and The Quiet Earth. 

Feel free to share any memories of those who died in 2018 in the comments.

2018 In Memoriam Part 3

Brian Christopher (January 10, 1972 – July 29, 2018)

Another post, and another major loss within the wrestling world, Christopher was the son of Jerry The King Lawler yet was more popularly known as Grand Master Sexay thanks to his partnership with Scotty 2 Hotty and Rikishi. Too Sexy were one of the most popular tag teams bag when I was in ‘big school’, with moves such as The Worm being emulated by friends no matter how many times the TV told us to ‘Don’t Try This At Home’.

Elmarie Wendel (November 23, 1928 – July 21, 2018)

Known to me as Mrs Dupcek from 3rd Rock From The Sun, Wendel grew up in a travelling performer family and worked on stage and on Broadway in her younger years. A prominent voice actor, she also lent her talents to NYPD Blue, Seinfeld, and George Lopez.

Shinobu Hashimoto (18 April 1918 – 19 July 2018)

Here’s a name you may not know, but it belonged to a man whose impact on film cannot be understated. He was a director and screenwriter – writing such little known movies as The Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Ikiru, The Hidden Fortress, and Lake Of Illusions. 

William Dunlop (23 July 1985 – 7 July 2018)

The only funeral on the list which I personally attended, local hero William Dunlop was the son and nephew of legends Robert and Joey Dunlop respectively. It goes without saying what a lethal sport motorcycle and road racing is and it claimed another of the best this year.

Claude Lanzmann (27 November 1925 – 5 July 2018)

Lanzmann was a documentary filmmaker known for his Holocause works including Shoah, Sobibor October 14, and the recently released Shoah Four Sisters.

Robby Muller (4 April 1940 – 3 July 2018)

This Dutch Cinematographer contributed his vision to a number of groundbreaking films yet surprisingly was never nominated for an Academy Award. He will be remembered for his work on films including Breaking The Waves, To Live And Die In LA, Korczak, Ghost Dog Way Of The Samurai, Paris Texas, and Dead Man. 

Aretha Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018)

It seems unlikely that we’ll suffer a bigger loss in the music world this year than Aretha Franklin, The Queen Of Soul. Not only is she one of the greatest and most influential singers of all time, she was also the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, received the Presidential Medal Of Freedom, and was a prominent Civil Rights activist and all round epic human.

Jim Neidhart (February 8, 1955 – August 13, 2018)

2018 seems to have been a particularly rough year for Wreslting losses, with Jim The Anvil Neidhart yet another successful figure to depart. With appearances in TNA, WCW, ECW, and of course WWE, Neidhart was one of the Hart family members and won the WWE Tag Championships twice with Bret.

Barry Chuckle (24 December 1944 – 5 August 2018)

One half of The Chuckle Brothers, which won’t mean anything to anyone outside of the UK, Barry was part of one of Britain’s most beloved kids comedy double acts. Nobody can quite put their finger on why they were so successful, but watching them as a child was a joy and they were one of those groups which stoned University students regularly tuned into, their show Chucklevision lasting over twenty years.

Otis Rush (April 29, 1934 – September 29, 2018)

One of the last surviving original authentic Blues guitarists, Rush lent his voice and licks to classics such as I Can’t Quit You Baby, All Your Love, and Double Trouble. 

Marty Balin (January 30, 1942 – September 27, 2018)

As one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, Balin contributed to some of the most iconic and psychedelic hit songs of the 60s, his output continuing with varying degrees of success over the next few decades.

Al Matthews (November 21, 1942 – September 22, 2018)

Most famous for his terrific turn as Sgt Apone in Aliens, Matthews was a bona fide Vietnam Vet with two Purple Hearts and a love for the Corps. He also had a top 40 hit in the UK in the 70s and appeared in many other movies including The Fifth Element, Tomorrow Never Dies, and Superman III. 

John Cunliffe (16 June 1933 – 20 September 2018)

Another legend of children’s entertainment, Cunliffe was the creator of Thomas The Tank Engine and later Rosie And Jim, creating safe and idyllic worlds where kids could let their imagine roam free.

Denis Norden CBE (6 February 1922 – 19 September 2018)

Another titan of British Comedy Television, Norden’s canned camera shows were must see TV growing up, his dry humour often annoying kids who wanted to get straight to the clips. Aside from his work on It’ll Be Alright On The Night and Laughter File, he was a scriptwriter for TV, Radio, and Movies including My Music and Buona Sera Mrs Campbell.

Fenella Fielding OBE (17 November 1927 – 11 September 2018)

With a distinctive husky voice, Fielding made a career as a voice actor and as a sultry screen vixen spanning seven decades. Her voice is recognisable in works including The Prisoner, Dougal And The Blue Cat and will be remembered on screen in Carry On Screaming, The Uncle Jack Series, and Guest House Paradiso. 

Burt Reynolds (February 11, 1936 – September 6, 2018)

One of the biggest stars of the 70s and 80s, Burt Reynolds had a captivating presence and energy which ensured that even the poorest film became good and that a great film became legendary. In a career spanning seven decades he appeared in some of the most iconic TV shows and movies of all time including The X Files, Deliverance, Out Of This World, The Twilight Zone, Riverboat, The Longest Yard, Boogie Nights, and of course the Cannonball Run and Smokey And The Bandit series.

Carl Duering (29 May 1923 – 1 September 2018)

Duering’s most famous role was as Dr Brodsky in A Clockwork Orange but also performed in Darling Lili, The Guns Of Navarone, Biggles, Sunday Night Theatre, Gold, and The Boys From Brazil. 

2018 In Memoriam Part Two

Michael Anderson (30 January 1920 – 25 April 2018)

Almost reaching the age of One Hundred, Anderson had a long and varied career starting in the 1930s. Some of his many TV and Film credits include Logan’s Run, The Dam Busters, Around The World In 80 Days, and The Martian Chronicles. 

Arthur B Rubinstein (March 31, 1938 – April 23, 2018)

Another composer and another non-household name deserving of recognition, Rubenstein worked on the scores for works including WarGames, Blue Thunder, the Stakeout series, The Simpsons, and Tiny Toon Adventures.

Verne Troyer (January 1, 1969 – April 21, 2018)

Known to most as Mini-Me from the Austin Powers series, Troyer performed in a variety of other shows and movies including Jingle All The Way, Men In Black, Fear And Loathing In las Vegas and as a regular guest on popular British game show Celebrity Juice. 

Bruno Sammartino (October 6, 1935 – April 18, 2018)

Every year brings a number of deaths in the Wrestling world, but few would have the impact of the loss of Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino. Sammartino set a world record for bench pressing in the 1950s and holds the record for both longest single WWE title reign and longest time as champion at eleven YEARS. One suspects that these records will never be topped, as much as Brock Lesnar would love to try.

Pamela Gidley (June 11, 1965 – April 16, 2018)

Gidley is most widely known as the ill-fated Teresa Banks in Fire Walk With Me, but also starred in TV shows Angel Street, Strange Luck, The Pretender, and movies including Thrashin’, and The Little Vampire. 

Harry Anderson (October 14, 1952 – April 16, 2018)

Harry Anderson was a recognisable face on stage as a comedian and magician and on the big and small screen as an all round performer – you’ll known him from Cheers, SNL, IT, Night Court, and Dave’s World. 

R Lee Ermey (March 24, 1944 – April 15, 2018)

Ermy had one of the most enduring screen voices and presences no doubt enabled by his years as a marine and drill instructor, and popularized by appearances in Full Metal Jacket, Toy Story Series, Apocalypse Now, Body Snatchers, Starship Troopers, Willard, and The Simpsons. 

Milos Forman (18 February 1932 – 13 April 2018)

One of the most successful directors from Europe who transitioned to Hollywood, Forman’s films received over 30 Oscar nominations and almost twenty wins including two wins for Best Director. He is known for films including One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s  Nest, Amadeus, Man On The Moon, and The People Versus Larry Flynt.

Isao Takahata (October 29, 1935 – April 5, 2018)

One of the most famous directors of animated work whose name isn’t Hayao Miyazaki, Takahata formed Studio Ghibli with Miyazaki and worked on most of the studio’s earliest hits. He directed many classics including Grave Of The Fireflies, Pom Poko, Only Yesterday, and The Tale Of Princess Kaguya. 

Eric Bristow MBE (25 April 1957 – 5 April 2018)

Bristow was one of the most famous Darts players in the world and one of the first to truly popularize the sport. A five time World Champion along with many other accomplishments, Bristow also worked as a TV pundit for the sport and appeared on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. 

Joe Jackson (July 26, 1928 – June 27, 2018)

Patriarch of The Jackson Family, it is fairly safe to say that without Joe there would be no Jackson Five, no Bad, no Thriller, no Rhythm Nation. Strict with his children, his training and managing of them led to some of the greatest music the world has ever heard.

Vinnie Paul (March 11, 1964 – June 22, 2018)

The older brother of Dimebag Darrell who he founded Pantera with, Paul’s drums set the tone for the groove metal band as well as their later collaboration Damageplan.

Koko (July 4, 1971 – June 19, 2018)

Arguably the most famous Gorilla not named Kong, Koko was famous for her relationships with humans, cats, and her seemingly amazing ability to learn, understand, and use sign language. Not only could Koko respond accurately to questions using sign language, she could ask her own, hold conversations, train other gorillas in its usage, and every so often merge signs to deceive or make jokes as well as creatively making up her own combinations of signs to describe objects or feelings she had not been taught the signs for. The star of many viral videos and documentaries, Koko was also known for caring for and loving cats.

Vader (May 14, 1955 – June 18, 2018)

The Wrestling world suffered another major loss this year, one I was much more familiar with. Vader was one of the biggest and best super heavyweight wrestlers in the world. As with most wrestlers he worked in multiple promotions around the world, including WCW, TNA, and WWE, his monster style no barrier to his aerial stunts and speed.

Leslie Grantham (30 April 1947 – 15 June 2018)

I’m conflicted in talking about Grantham, given his shady past – he served ten years in prison for murder – and the man he killed (Felix Reese) likely never gets spoken of. Grantham was a mainstay on British Television thanks to his role as Dirty Den on Eastenders, but also appeared in Doctor Who, Cleudo, and Urban Gothic. 

Eunace Gayson (17 March 1928 – 8 June 2018)

The first Bond girl, appearing in the first two movies in the series as Sylvia Trench, Gayson’s career started in the 40s, preferring to work on Stage but nevertheless also appearing in Carry On Admiral and The Revenge Of Frankenstein.

Nikolai Volkoff (October 14, 1947 – July 29, 2018)

Yet another major Wrestling loss, Volkoff was known for partnering/feuding with the likes of Sgt. Slaughter, Million Dollar Man, and The Iron Sheik, becoming one of the most popular villains of the 80s and 90s, winning the Tag Belt at the first Wrestlemania.

 

2018 – In Memoriam Part One

It’s that time of the year again, when we look forwards, backwards, and under (the tree). We are thankful for who and what we have, and remember those we’ve lost. In the last twelve months or so, I’ve lost a Grandmother to old age, an Aunt to Cancer, a friend to depression and addiction, and a friend’s kid to murder. I set up this blog primarily to post my old movie reviews from IMDB but as I just can’t help myself, it grew into other movie posts, music reviews, lists, and assorted crap, though I have always kept it as a secret space away from my personal life. With this yearly post I take a look at those famous faces who died in the year and who meant something to me – whether it be a movie they were involved in, because of a ball they kicked well, or because they played a mean guitar. I’m writing this on 11/28/2018 – these posts usually take a few weeks to write, so between now and then the Reaper’s Scythe will likely fall again. I will update as I go along, but I plan to post as close to the end of the year as possible – I’m sure I’ve missed some, but feel free to add anyone important to you in the comments.

John Morris (October 18, 1926 – January 25, 2018)

John Morris was one of the many composers in the movie industry whose name is not instantly recognizable, yet whose music will be familiar to many. Starting out composing successfully for Broadway, Morris wrote and produced his own musical before meeting Mel Brooks and heading to Hollywood. There he would write the scores for The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, The Elephant Man (Oscar Nominated), Clue, Spaceballs, Dirty Dancing, and more.

Jack Ketchum (November 10, 1946 – January 24, 2018)

As a life long horror fan, I somehow only made my way to Jack Ketchum in my late twenties. Like many writers of genre fiction, Ketchum was an anti-social imaginative child but it was his meeting with Robert Bloch which cemented his path. Ketchum would be known for his highly controversial and bloody tales such as Off Season, The Girl Next Door, and many short stories such as The Box many of which have been adapted to film.

Moya O’Sullivan (8 June 1926 – 16 January 2018)

Unless you’re Australian or a fan of Neighbours you probably won’t recognise the name. Moya appeared on TV for over 60 years but I know her as Marlene Kratz from Neighbours – a character I admit I never liked but hand the credit for that to O’Sullivan’s acting.

Dolores O’Riordan (6 September 1971 – 15 January 2018)

Although I was never a fan of The Cranberries, there’s no doubting the impact and influence Dolores and her band had on other artists and my friends, and for a number of my teenage years you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing her voice.

Hugh Wilson (August 21, 1943 – January 14, 2018)

If you know me or follow the blog you’ll know that The Police Academy series is one of my favourites – completely brilliant in its juvenile silliness. Hugh Wilson co-wrote and directed the first and best movie in the series as well as working on The Bob Newhart Show, Rough Riders, The First Wives Club and others.

Eddie Clarke (5 October 1950 – 10 January 2018)

The last surviving member of the original Motorhead lineup passed this year, guitarist Fast Eddie following bandmates Lemmy and Phil Philthy Animal Taylor. Clarke started out as a Blues guitarist but provided much of the pace and venom for Motorhead’s early hits.

Tommy Lawrence (14 May 1940 – 10 January 2018)

Lawrence was the goalkeeper for Liverpool FC at the start of their first Golden Age, playing for the club over 300 times in a twenty year period, winning the league twice and the FA Cup once before handing over to the young Ray Clemence.

Lewis Gilbert CBE (6 March 1920 – 23 February 2018)

Gilbert was one of the key icons of the Swinging Sixties, though many people today would not recognise his name. Directing Alfie in 1966 may have been his commercial and critical peak, though beforehand he had directed many successful films including HMS Defiant and Sink The Bismark, and afterwards he continued this trend with hits such as Shirley Valentine and Educating Rita. I will remember him most fondly for directing three James Bond films, including my favourite from the Connery era – You Only Live Twice. 

Johan Johannsson (19 September 1969 – 9 February 2018)

Johannsson was always interested in music from an early age and experimented with a wide array of genres, working with different artists and having a notable solo career. Most people known him from his film work as he was nominated for an Academy Award on Sicario along with composing on Mandy, Arrival, and Prisoners.

John Gavin (April 8, 1931 – February 9, 2018)

Bond fans may know him as the man who was going to take over from George Lazenby, but a huge offer encouraged Connery to return and that was that. Nevertheless, Gavin maintained a success appearing in films as varied and successful as Psycho (Loomis), Spartacus (Caesar), and Thoroughly Modern Millie while also acting as the US Ambassador to Mexico for a number of years.

John Mahoney (June 20, 1940 – February 4, 2018)

A former Vet and English teacher, Mahoney didn’t begin acting until his late thirties before appearing, usually as authority figures, in TV and movies. His most widespread role was as the sardonic sports fan ex-cop father in Fraiser, but also had an extensive career on screen and as a voice performer in works including The Iron Giant, Tin Men, Barton Fink, and The Simpsons.

Stephane Audran (8 November 1932 – 27 March 2018)

Though she primarily starred in French Productions, Audran was known to international audiences due to her performances in critically acclaimed films and every so often popped up in a US piece – Babette’s Feast, The Big Red One, The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie, and the recently released The Other Side Of The Wind are some of her more notable appearances.

Debbie Lee Carrington (December 14, 1959 – March 23, 2018)

Suffering from dwarfism, Carrington became one of the most famous and popular actresses and stuntwoman with the illness, appearing regularly in a string of hits including Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Return Of The Jedi, The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, Total Recall, Titanic, and Dexter. 

Jim Bowen (20 August 1937 – 14 March 2018)

Bowen always seemed to me to be one age – old. I don’t mean that as an insult – growing up on in the 80s and seeing him on TV every week, he always looked old and yet never seemed to age. A natural comedian, it wasn’t until his late twenties that he began stand-up routines which led to friendships with established comedians (such as the next guy on the list) who recommended him for TV roles. Most will know him as the long-serving host of the hit game-show Bullseye, but he also appeared in Phoenix Nights, Last Of The Summer Wine, and continued his stand-up shows.

Sir Ken Dodd (8 November 1927 – 11 March 2018))

Dodd began delivering stand-up shows in the 1950s, merging traditional music hall stylings with more surreal and rapid-fire delivery, becoming on of the most popular entertainers on the circuit. This popularity saw him transition to radio and television where his popularity soared, gaining him many spots on The Royal Variety Performance. One of his many specialties was introducing songs into his comedy routines and these were so successful that he had a music career too – his cover song Tears remains one of the biggest selling singles of all time. Aside from his own shows, which ran for seven decades, he also appeared in Branagh’s Hamlet, and Doctor Who. 

Michael Gershman (June 17, 1944 – March 10, 2018)

Not a name familiar to most, Gershman was a TV Director and Cinematographer known mainly for Crossing Jordan and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. He was DP on over 80 episodes of BTVS including most season openers and finales and many visually memorable episodes such as Hush. His finest moment was as a Director on the show, directing my favourite episode Passion, along with taking the lead on Seeing Red, This Year’s Girl, and others.

David Ogden Stiers (October 31, 1942 – March 3, 2018)

A prominent voice actor, Stiers was also known for his on screen work in shows such as MASH, Perry Mason, Stargate Atlantis, North And South, The Majestic, but it was his relationship with Disney which he is likely most popular for – voicing in films such as Beauty And The Beast, Lilo And Stitch, Pocahontas, and many more.

Frank Doubleday (January 28, 1945 – March 3, 2018)

Again, not a name most will know, Doubleday is one of those people you’ll recognise from a host of cult films. Often appearing as a bad guy, Doubleday is recognisable in Assault On Precinct 13 the ice cream killer), Escape From New York, Broadcast News, and Nomads. 

2017 – In Memoriam

We’re here, at the end of another year. 2016 was reportedly ‘one of the worst years ever’ – by December’s end, everyone was depressed by all the Trump, by all the Brexit, by all the everything. It was a year where people from many generations felt their childhoods slip away for ever, felt pieces of themselves die as successful heroes passed out of life and into whatever comes next. 2017 has been no joke either, with more Trump, more Brexit, and more everything seemingly tightening the noose. The Grim Reaper’s scythe has once again swung with abandon, claiming many of the lives who have had a wide spreadh impact on various aspects of culture. Make no mistake – War, Disease, Famine have all claimed the usual millions of souls as they are wont to do, and those are battles we should be working together to overcome, but that is not the purpose of this post.

I haven’t been paying much attention to my Shrine posts recently, so I decided to do a yearly wrap up instead of the deaths which affected me in some way, on a personal level. Naturally that means that we’ll mostly be covering famous people here. I don’t mean this to sound as if I’m putting the famous on a pedestal, as if their lives mean more than some random mother or son who may have died this year – I firmly believe that every life is as valuable as the next. Yet here I am. In the end it comes down to who I ‘know’ or recognise.

Don’t be annoyed or disheartened if some celebrity who meant a lot to you and who died this year isn’t on the list – as I said, these are the people who meant something to me. By all means, add those who meant something to you in the comments. In the end, this is merely a place for you to give a few words, thoughts, thanks, or memories for those who have fallen.

William Peter Blatty – 7th January 1928 – 13th January 2017

Thanks for giving me, and countless others, many nights of unsettled sleep with The Exorcist.

Miguel Ferrer – February 7, 1955 – January 19, 2017

Thank you for being a perminent fixture in some of my most watched and loved entertainment of all time. You may be the only actor who has starred in both one of my favourite movies ever (Robocop), one of my favourite mini-series ever (The Stand), and one of my favourite TV shows ever (Twin Peaks). 

John Hurt – 22 January 1940 – 25 January 2017

Thank you for your willingness to ignore and balk at traditional acting conventions by appearing in cult works, low budget films, and Television, along with the more accepted critical fodder – for Alien, for Spaceballs, for The Elephant Man, for Hellboy, and many more.

Richard Hatch – May 21, 1945 – February 7, 2017

Thanks for being the original Apollo in Battlestar Gallactica – I’m not as familiar with your other work, but for that I’ll always remember you.

Bill Paxton – May 17, 1955 – February 25, 2017

Thanks for being a true movie legend and for appearing in many of my personal favourite films – The Terminator, Aliens, Near Dark, Commando, Tombstone, True Lies, Frailty, and bringing a truly unique energy and life to them.

Chuck Berry – October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017

One of the forefathers or modern blues, rock, and by extension, metal, thanks for bringing many decades of wonderful music to the world.

Clifton James – May 29, 1920 – April 15, 2017

Thanks for bringing me many laughs in my younger days, especially in the Bond movies, and also for sterling work in a few of my other favourites.

Jonathan Demme – February 22, 1944 – April 26, 2017

One of the few filmmakers to make a critically respected and award winning horror movie in The Silence Of The Lambs, thanks for breaking those boundaries.

Michael Parks – April 24, 1940 – May 9, 2017

Even though he had been acting regularly since the late 50s, Parks became better known in later decades thanks to his work with Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino – thanks for many terrific performances in many terrific films.

Powers Boothe – June 1, 1948 – May 14, 2017

A character actor with great action pedigree, thanks for appearing in some of my favourites such as Tombstone, Extreme Prejudice, Sin City.

Chris Cornell – July 20, 1964 – May 18, 2017

Although Soundgarden were my fourth favourite out of Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, Cornell was nevertheless a driving force in rock and grunge with unmistakable vocals which have been a part of my life for almost as long as I can remember.

Nicky Hayden – July 30, 1981 – May 22, 2017

My dad rides motorbikes. My brother rides a motorbike. Many of my uncles and cousins are bikers. I have dabbled. I live on the same street as the family of my countries most famous motorcyclists and our kids are friends. We all watch motorcycling – none of that F1 shite. Any time any biker dies it’s a tragedy, and Nicky was a particularly heavy loss.

Sir Roger George Moore, KBE (14 October 1927 – 23 May 2017)

I was a Bond fan before I really understood what films were, and Moore was my era. It is typically the Moore films I return to most for their lighter approach and tendency towards action and humour. Moore will always be Bond for me, and while he didn’t have the most varied career outside of that role, he still popped up in many other films and shows and was renowned for being a decent human being.

Adam West (September 19, 1928 – June 9, 2017)

The original Batman… well I’ve heard varying reports on what he was like in real life, but I’m mainly here to focus on their work and what it meant to me – I was never a huge fan of the original campy series, but I still watched it every now and then when I was young. Thanks for being a mainstay on TV and for your great voice work on many shows.

John G Avildson – (December 21, 1935 – June 16, 2017)

Thanks for making some of my favourite films in the Rocky and Karate Kid series as well as a few other notable movies.

Martin Landau – (June 20, 1928 – July 15, 2017)

Thanks for appearing in some of my favourite movies and shows ever, from North By Northwest and The Twilight Zone to Ed Wood and The X Files, and of course for bringing your daughter Juliet into the world.

George A Romero – February 4, 1940 – July 16, 2017

There have been fewer bigger influences on my love of horror, and on the wider horror world than George A Romero, the man who essentially invented the modern zombie genre – thanks for that, thanks for your movies, and thanks for never compromising for The Man.

Sean Hughes – 10 November 1965 – 16 October 2017

Sean, aside from Coronation Street I don’t think I ever saw any of your non- Buzzcocks work. I’m not a huge stand-up comedy fan, but you always made me laugh on Buzzcocks. 

Feel free to leave your thoughts and memories of any people we lost in 2017 in the comments below.

Audrey Hepburn 4 May 1929 – 20 January 1993

There are few more illustrious stars in the history of Cinema than Audrey Hepburn, an actress known around the world for her talent and grace as much as for her charitable work. Involved with the Dutch Resistance during WWII when The Netherlands was occupied, the violence and evils she saw had a profound impact on her life and led her on a humanitarian path. Using her ballet training she picked up dancing credits in The West End after the year, which eventually led to minor roles in British films, though it wasn’t long before she won larger roles in Britain, Broadway, and finally Hollywood. Hepburn is one of a select few people who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Bafta, Oscar, and Tony awards as well as picking up multiple further nominations, and until her death she continued to perform sporadically and gain critical acclaim, while also spending time on the charities and causes she held dear.

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RIP

Feel free to share your thoughts and memories of Audrey Hepburn in the comments section below.

John Candy – October 31, 1950 – March 4, 1994

Like any child of the 80s or 90s, John Candy was a big part of growing up and someone who always managed to make me laugh and leave a mark on movies. He was one of those performers who manages to make us question if he actually is dead – it still seems strange to me that he has been gone for so long given that his work still seems so fresh and timeless. Starting out on TV and movies in the early 70s, it wasn’t until his work with Canada’s Second City TV group, featuring a host of future stars, that he gained recognition. From there he went on to star in a host of shows and movies that defined comedy in the 70s and 80s before his untimely death, as well as appearing in several dramatic roles. Whether it be part of an ensemble in Stripes, The Blues Brothers, Spaceballs, or a leading role in Uncle Buck, Planes, Trains, And Automobiles, or Armed And Dangerous, Candy always had a wink and a smile, and an immense talent.

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RIP

Feel free to leave your thoughts and memories of John Candy in the comments section below