Discussion in 'General TV & Media' started by sandersidle, Jun 26, 2009.
Nelson Mandela, revered statesman and anti-apartheid leader, dies at 95
'Lawrence of Arabia' Star and Hollywood Icon Peter O'Toole Dies
"Billy Jack" star Tom Laughlin dies at 82
NEW YORK - Actor-writer-director Tom Laughlin, whose production and marketing of "Billy Jack" set a standard for breaking the rules on and off screen, has died.
Laughlin's daughter told The Associated Press that he died Thursday at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Laughlin was 82 and Teresa Laughlin, who acted in the Billy Jack movies, said the cause of death was complications from pneumonia.
"Billy Jack" was released in 1971 after a long struggle by Laughlin to gain control of the low-budget, self-financed movie, a model for guerrilla filmmaking.
He wrote, directed and produced "Billy Jack" and starred as the ex-Green Beret who defends a progressive school against the racists of a conservative Western community. The film became a counterculture favorite and the theme song, "One Tin Soldier," was a hit single for the rock group Coven.
Laughlin was in his mid-30s when he created Billy Jack with his wife and collaborator, Delores Taylor. Billy Jack was half-white, half Native American, a Vietnam veteran and practitioner of martial arts who had come to hate war. Billy Jack was first seen in the 1968 biker movie "Born Losers," but became widely known after "Billy Jack," the second of four films Laughlin made about him (only three made it to theaters).
"Billy Jack" initially flopped at the box office, but generated an underground following and became a substantial commercial success and inspiration to independent filmmakers. The title character has been cited as a forerunner for such screen avengers as Rambo.
Laughlin was born in 1931 and grew up in Milwaukee. He played football for the University of South Dakota (where he met his future wife) and Marquette University, but decided he wanted to become an actor after seeing a stage production of "A Streetcar Named Desire."
His early film credits included "South Pacific," ''Gidget" and Robert Altman's "The Delinquents." Laughlin also was interested in directing and writing and by 1960 had directed, written and starred in "The Young Sinner."
Laughlin wasn't only a filmmaker. He ran for president as both a Republican and Democrat and founded a Montessori school in California. He was an opponent of nuclear energy and a longtime advocate for Native Americans and bonded with another actor-activist, Marlon Brando.
In recent years, he wrote books and attempted to make another Billy Jack movie.
He is survived by his wife, a sister, three children and five grandchildren.
Joan Fontaine, Oscar-winner for 'Suspicion,' dies
Dec 15, 11:01 PM (ET)
By HILLEL ITALIE and BOB THOMAS
CARMEL, Calif. (AP) - Academy Award-winning actress Joan Fontaine, who found stardom playing naive wives in Alfred Hitchcock's "Suspicion" and "Rebecca" and also was featured in films by Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang and Nicholas Ray, died Sunday. She was 96.
Fontaine, the sister of fellow Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland, died in her sleep in her Carmel, Calif., home Sunday morning, said longtime friend Noel Beutel. Fontaine had been fading in recent days and died "peacefully," Beutel said.
Influential country singer Ray Price dead at 87
By CHRIS TALBOTT and JAMIE STENGLE
DALLAS (AP) — Good friends like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard got more credit for their contrary ways and trend-setting ideas, but it was Ray Price who set the precedent for change in country music more than a decade earlier.
Price passed away Monday at his Texas home, having long outlasted most of his country music contemporaries and the prognosis doctors gave him when they discovered his pancreatic cancer in 2011. He was 87.
The way the Country Music Hall of Fame member fought cancer was an apt metaphor for the way he lived his life, always fiercely charting a path few others might have the fortitude to follow.
Along the way he changed the sound of country music, collaborated with and inspired the genre's biggest stars and remained relevant for more than half a century.
"Ray Price was a giant in Texas and country western music. Besides one of the greatest voices that ever sang a note, Ray's career spanned over 65 years in a business where 25 years would be amazing," said Ray Benson of the country music group Asleep at the Wheel.
Price, one of country music's most popular and influential singers and bandleaders, had more than 100 hits and was one of the last living connections to Hank Williams.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum historian Michael McCall said Price "was one of his generation's most important musical innovators," popularizing the bedrock 4/4 shuffle beat that can still be heard on every honky-tonk jukebox and most country radio stations in the world.
"His emphasis on the shuffle rhythm influenced every generation to follow and remains a staple of country dance floors everywhere, especially in the Southwest," said McCall.
Price died Monday afternoon at his ranch outside Mount Pleasant, Texas, said Billy Mack Jr., who was acting as a family spokesman. Billie Perryman, the wife of family friend and spokesman Tom Perryman, a DJ with KKUS-FM in Tyler, also confirmed his death.
Price's cancer had recently spread to his liver, intestines and lungs, according East Texas Medical Center in Tyler. He stopped aggressive treatments and left the hospital last Thursday to receive hospice care at home.
At the time, his wife, Janie Price, relayed what she called her husband's "final message" to his fans: "I love my fans and have devoted my life to reaching out to them. I appreciate their support all these years, and I hope I haven't let them down. I am at peace. I love Jesus. I'm going to be just fine. Don't worry about me. I'll see you again one day."
Perhaps best known for his version of the Kris Kristofferson song "For the Good Times," a pop hit in 1970, the velvet-voiced Price was a giant among traditional country performers in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, as likely to defy a trend as he was to defend one. He helped invent the genre's honky-tonk sound early in his career, then took it in a more polished direction.
He reached the Billboard Hot 100 eight times from 1958-73 and had seven No. 1 hits and more than 100 titles on the Billboard country chart from 1952 to 1989. "For the Good Times" was his biggest crossover hit, reaching No. 11 on the Billboard pop music singles chart. His other country hits included "Crazy Arms," ''Release Me," ''The Same Old Me," ''Heartaches by the Number," ''City Lights" and "Too Young to Die."
Price was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996, long after he had become dissatisfied with Nashville and returned to his home state of Texas.
His importance went well beyond hit singles. He was among the pioneers who popularized electric instruments and drums in country music. After helping establish the 4/4 shuffle in country music, Price angered traditionalists by breaking away from country. He gave early breaks to Nelson, Roger Miller and other major performers.
His "Danny Boy" in the late 1960s was a heavily orchestrated version that crossed over to the pop charts. He then started touring with a string-laden 20-piece band that outraged his dancehall fans.
In the 1970s he sang often with symphony orchestras — in a tuxedo and cowboy boots.
Like Nelson, his good friend and contemporary, Price simply didn't care what others thought and pursued the chance to make his music the way he wanted to.
"I have fought prejudice since I got in country music and I will continue to fight it," he told The Associated Press in 1981. "A lot of people want to keep country music in the minority of people. But it belongs to the world. It's art."
In the same 1981 interview, he credited the cowboy for the popularity of country music.
"Everyone loves the cowboy. He's nice, humble and straightforward. And country music is the same thing. The kids have discovered what mom and pop told 'em."
Price continued performing and recording well into his 70s.
"I have to be in the business at least five or 10 more years," Price said in 2000, when he and his band were doing 100 shows a year.
"Two or three years ago, we did 182," he said. "Fans come to the shows, bless their hearts, they always come."
In 2007, he joined Haggard and Nelson on a double-CD set, "Last of the Breed." The trio performed on tour with the Texas swing band Asleep at the Wheel.
"I'll be surprised if we don't all get locked up somewhere," Price joked at the time.
Over the years, Price came in and out of vogue as traditional country music waxed and waned on the radio. He was a constant advocate for the old days and ways of country music, and more recently re-entered the news when he took offense to comments Blake Shelton made about classic country music that included the words "old farts." The dustup drew attention on the Internet and introduced Price to a new generation of country fans.
"You should be so lucky as us old-timers," Price said in a happily cantankerous post in all capital letters. "Check back in 63 years (the year 2075) and let us know how your name and your music will be remembered."
Price earned his long-standing fame honestly, weaving himself into the story of modern country music in several ways.
As a young man, Price became friends with Williams, toured with the country legend and shared a house with him in Nashville. Williams even let Price use his band, the Drifting Cowboys, and the two wrote a song together, the modest Price hit "Weary Blues (From Waiting)".
By 1952 Price was a regular member of the Grand Ole Opry.
The singer had one of country music's great bands, the Cherokee Cowboys, early in his career. His lineup included at times Nelson, Miller and Johnny Paycheck.
His 1956 version of "Crazy Arms" became a landmark song for both Price and country music. His first No. 1 country hit, the song rode a propulsive beat into the pop top 100 as well. Using a drummer and bassist to create a country shuffle rhythm, he eventually established a sound that would become a trademark.
"It was strictly country and it went pop," Price said of the song. "I never have figured that one out yet."
Price was born near Perryville, Texas, in 1926 and was raised in Dallas. He joined the Marines for World War II and then studied to be a veterinarian at North Texas Agricultural College before he decided on music as a career.
Soft-spoken and urbane, Price told the AP in 1976: "I'm my own worst critic. I don't like to hear myself sing or see myself on television. I see too many mistakes."
He was one of the few who saw them.
Rifle designer Mikhail Kalashnikov dead at 94
By JIM HEINTZ
MOSCOW (AP) — Mikhail Kalashnikov, whose work as a weapons designer for the Soviet Union is immortalized in the name of the world's most popular firearm, died Monday at the age of 94.
Kalashnikov once aspired to design farm equipment. But even though his most famous invention — the AK-47 assault rifle — sowed havoc instead of crops, he often said he felt personally untroubled by his contribution to bloodshed.
"I sleep well. It's the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence," he said in 2007.
Kalashnikov died in a hospital in Izhevsk, the capital of the Udmurtia republic where he lived, said Viktor Chulkov, a spokesman for the republic's president. He did not give a cause of death. Kalashnikov had been hospitalized for the past month with unspecified health problems.
TCM to Remember Joan Fontaine and Peter O'Toole with Programming Tributes on Dec. 29
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will pay tribute to Oscar® winner Joan Fontaine and eight-time Oscar® nominee and honorary Academy Award® recipient Peter O'Toole with tributes on Sunday, Dec. 29.
The Fontaine collection features Blonde Cheat (1938), The Women (1939), Born To Be Bad (1950), Ivanhoe (1952), Fontaine's Oscar-nominated roles in The Constant Nymph (1943) and Rebecca (1940), and her Oscar-winning performance in Suspicion (1940).
In the evening, TCM will pay tribute to O'Toole with his Oscar-nominated performances in Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969) and My Favorite Year (1982). Also featured will be a special encore telecast of Peter O'Toole: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival, a one-hour extended interview with TCM host Robert Osborne taped before a live audience at the 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival.
The following is the complete lineup for TCM's on-air tributes to Joan Fontaine and Peter O'Toole:
Sunday, Dec. 29
All times are ET/PT.
TCM Remembers Joan Fontaine
6:30 a.m. – Blonde Cheat (1938)
7:45 a.m. – The Women (1939)
10:15 a.m. – Born to Be Bad (1950)
Noon – Ivanhoe (1952)
2 p.m. – The Constant Nymph (1943)
4 p.m. – Suspicion (1941)
5:45 p.m. – Rebecca (1940)
TCM Remembers Peter O'Toole
8 p.m. – Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Midnight – Peter O'Toole: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival (2011)
1 a.m. – Goodbye Mr. Chips (1969)
3:45 a.m. – My Favorite Year (1982)
Remembering Prolific Trek Guest Joseph Ruskin, 1924-2013
By StarTrek.com Staff - December 31, 2013
StarTrek.com is saddened to report the passing of Joseph Ruskin, who died of natural causes on December 28 at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California. Ruskin was 89 years old. The prolific film, television and stage actor's career spanned from 1955 to 2013 and encompassed such memorable credits as The Honeymooners, The Twilight Zone, The Untouchables, The Outer Limits, Mission: Impossible, The Six Million Dollar Man, Charlie's Angels, Hill Street Blues, Prizzi's Honor, ER, The Scorpion King, Alias, Smokin' Aces and Bones, not to mention numerous appearances across the Star Trek franchise. As recently as this past summer he co-starred in The Antaeus Company's production of The Crucible, directed by Deep Space Nine's Armin Shimerman.
As noted, Ruskin was something of a go-to Star Trek guest. He played Galt in The Original Series episode "The Gamesters of Triskelion," the Klingon Tumek in the DS9 episodes "The House of Quark" and "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places," a Cardassian informant in DS9's "Improbable Cause," a Vulcan master in the Voyager hour "Gravity" and a Suliban doctor in the Enterprise series opener, "Broken Bow." Ruskin also played a Son'a officer in Star Trek: Insurrection and provided voices for the Star Trek video games Hidden Evil and Away Team. In what turned out to be his final feature, Smokin' Aces, Ruskin shared scenes with Star Trek's future Captain Kirk, Chris Pine.
Ruskin was a World War II veteran, having served in the Navy, and he served on the board of the Screen Actors Guild from 1976 to 1999. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Ruskin is survived by his wife, Barbara Greene Ruskin; daughter, Alicia Ruskin, and son-in-law, Larry Bucklan; step-daughters Rachel Greene, Martha Greene and Liza Page. StarTrek.com offers our condolences to Ruskin's family, friends and many fans.
James Avery who played Uncle Phil on the tv show "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, passed away yesterday after undergoing open heart surgery. He was 65.
James Avery, Uncle Phil on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air', dead at 65
Tribune staff and wire reports
9:15 a.m. CST, January 2, 2014
James Avery, a classically trained actor best known for his role as the wealthy uncle of the young rapper Will Smith in the 1990s television comedy "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," has died at age 65.
Avery's death was confirmed by his publicist, and more widely in a Twitter message on Wednesday by one of the actor's TV co-stars, Alfonso Ribeiro, who played his son, Carlton, on "Fresh Prince.
"I'm deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly," Alfonso Ribeiro, who played preppy son Carlton on the series, said via Twitter.
According to the celebrity website TMZ, Avery died on Tuesday, New Year's Eve, from complications he suffered after recent open-heart surgery.
Avery's voice was heard in many animated TV series, including "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "Iron Man," and he guest-starred on "That '70s Show" as a police officer.
But the Atlantic City, New Jersey native gained fame on television playing family patriarch Uncle Philip Banks on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," which starred Will Smith as a young rap artist from a tough Philadelphia neighborhood who ends up living with well-heeled relatives in the affluent Bel-Air section of Los Angeles.
The sitcom, which ran on NBC for six years, was built largely around the clash of cultures between the refined lifestyle of Banks and his household and the brash, freewheeling attitudes of his nephew.
The show, a launching pad for Smith's own acting career, ended with a series finale in which Uncle Philip puts his mansion up for sale and it is bought by George and Louise Jefferson - actors Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford - of "The Jeffersons."
More recently, Avery had a recurring role as a deputy medical examiner on the cable drama series "The Closer." His last screen credit, according to the Internet Movie Database website was the 2013 TV comedy movie "Go, Bolivia, Go!"
In addition to his work on "Fresh Prince," Avery boasted a large number of acting credits over more than 30 years. He recurred on "Hill Street Blues" early in his career and worked as a guest actor on TV throughout the first half of the 1980s. Roles on "Beauty and the Beast" in 1988 and "L.A. Law" between 1988 and 1992 led to "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," starting in 1990.
The Virginia-born, New Jersey-raised actor first appeared onscreen in an uncredited role in 1980's "The Blues Brothers."
Avery wrapped his final film, "Wish I Was Here" (directed by Zach Braff) in September. The movie is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival later this month.
Avery is survived by his wife of 26 years, Barbara Avery; his mother, Florence Avery; and his stepson, Kevin Waters.
The Wrap, Reuters, Los Angeles Times and Zap2it
link to article
Phil Everly, one half of The Everly Brothers has passed away at the age of 74
Phil Everly has died.
Jay Traynor passed away Jan. 2 of Liver Cancer, he was 69. Jay was the lead singer for the group, "Jay and The American's" who had hits like "Come a little bit closer", and "Cara Mia".
Actress Barbara Lawrence dies at age 83
Jan 3, 8:17 PM (ET)
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Actress Barbara Lawrence, who played Gertie Cummings in the 1955 movie "Oklahoma!", has died. She was 83.
Her daughter-in-law, Christy Nelson, said Friday that the actress died of kidney failure on Nov. 13.
Lawrence's career spanned the late 1940s through the early 1960s.
Her movies include "The Street with No Name,""A Letter To Three Wives," and the 1957 sci-fi cult classic "Kronos."
Her TV work included episodes of "Perry Mason" and "Bonanza."
Lawrence later became an author, publicist and real estate agent in Beverly Hills.
She has a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
Saying ‘Bye Bye’ to the Everly Brothers’ Phil, 1939-2014
'Rudolph' voice actor Larry D. Mann dies at 91
Jan 6, 7:06 PM (ET)
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Larry D. Mann, who voiced Yukon Cornelius in the animated Christmas favorite "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," has died. He was 91.
His son, Richard Mann, says the actor died of age-related causes on Monday in Los Angeles.
Beginning in the 1950s, the Canadian-born Mann had small roles in movies, including "The Sting" and "In the Heat of the Night."
On TV, his appearances included "Gunsmoke,""Bewitched" and "Hill Street Blues."
He also did voice work for animated shows, including 1964's "Rudolph."
His son says Mann's last role before retirement was playing a talent agent in the 1991 TV show "Homefront."
George Goodman, aka TV's "Adam Smith," dies at 83
Jan 3, 7:48 PM (ET)
By HILLEL ITALIE
NEW YORK (AP) - George Goodman, a journalist, business author and award-winning television host who under the pseudonym "Adam Smith" made economics accessible to millions of people, died Friday at age 83.
Goodman's son, Mark Goodman, said his father died at the University of Miami Hospital after a long battle with the bone marrow disorder myelofibrosis.
Starting in the 1950s, the elder Goodman had a long, diverse and accomplished career, whether as a founder of New York Magazine, as a best-selling business author or as the personable host of "Adam Smith's Money World."
Known as "Jerry" to his friends, he prided himself on making arcane debates among economists and business leaders understandable, often using an anecdotal or irreverent approach to explain a complicated issue. He has been credited with coining the mocking catchphrase, "Assume a can opener," as a parody of academic jargon.
"I have always believed that if you dramatize a story, you can make it comprehensible while at the same time maintaining a relatively high level of sophistication," he once said.
"Adam Smith's Money World" was a multiple Emmy winner that aired on PBS stations from 1984-1996, with guests including Warren Buffett and then-Federal Reserve Board chairman Paul Volcker. He was also an executive editor at Esquire, a member of The New York Times editorial board and a commentator for NBC television. In recent years, he sponsored a lecture series through the Harvard Club of New York Foundation.
Before his success in the business world, Goodman had written novels and worked in Hollywood as a screenwriter. He helped adapt his own book, "The Wheeler Dealers," into a 1963 movie of the same name starring Lee Remick and James Garner.
Smith was editing the monthly journal The Institutional Investor when his first nonfiction book, "The Money Game," was published in 1968. Among the year's top sellers, and read for decades after, "The Money Game" offered a colorful take on the financial markets that added a human element to the laws of finance and seemed as influenced by Damon Runyon as by any economic theorist. One popular character was an oversized investment guru known as "Scarsdale Fats."
Full story at Iwon / AP News.
Actress Carmen Zapata dies after long career
Jan 7, 5:11 PM (ET)
By SUE MANNING
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Emmy-nominated actress Carmen Zapata, who started a foundation to promote Hispanic writers because jobs were so scarce, has died of heart problems, colleagues say. She was 86.
Zapata died Sunday at her Van Nuys-area home, said Luis Vela, marketing manager for the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts in Los Angeles.
Zapata started her career in 1945 in the Broadway musical "Oklahoma" and went on to perform in "Bells Are Ringing,""Guys and Dolls" and many plays.
"She was an inspiration for me," Vela said. "She taught me that art is the key to resolving differences in the community."
He said Zapata was once asked how she wanted to be remembered - as an artist, producer or founder. "'I prefer people remember us as educators,'" Vela recalled her saying.
Her movie credits included "Sister Act,""Gang Boys" and "Carola." She also appeared in dozens of television series, including nine seasons on the PBS bilingual children's show, "Villa Alegre."
Zapata had continuing TV roles in "The Man and the City" and "The New Dick Van Dyke Show." She sang in several other musicals, including "Bloomer Girl.""No Strings,""Show Boat,""Stop the World, I Want to Get Off" and "Funny Girl."
Born in New York City of Mexican-Argentinian descent, Zapata joined forces with Cuban-born actress, playwright and director Margarita Galban to found the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts in 1973.
The organization produces four plays a year that are presented at its 99-seat theater. Productions alternate in English and Spanish, with some shows taken on the road by production companies.
Zapata collected Emmy nominations for best supporting actress in a segment of "Medical Center" and for "Carola" on "Hollywood TV Theatre."
Vela said he last saw Zapata on Christmas Eve.
"Everyone who worked with her felt she had created something really important and was making our community a better place." he said. "She was emphatic that what we were doing at the foundation was more important than personal recognition."
She was not working on any one project when she died, Vela said, but was supervising and approving projects being presented to her.
Funeral and service arrangements were being finalized.
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