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#26 Post by milkcan » Mon Mar 14, 2005 9:47 pm

'Meet the Parents' Actress Dies After Two Misdiagnoses

The actress who was famously smashed in the face by a volleyball in the Meet The Parents comedy died last month after two medics misdiagnosed her pneumonia. Nicole DeHuff, who played Teri Polo's sister in the hilarious 2000 movie, checked into three Los Angeles hospitals, but only when her problems became inoperable did doctors realize what was wrong with her. The actress' mother Patsie says, "By the time she reached the third hospital, it was too late. She was unconscious." The grieving mother reveals her daughter was rushed to hospital on February 12 but was sent home by medics and told to take painkiller Tylenol. Patsie DeHuff recalls, "The next day my daughter was worse." Again, the actress went to hospital, but this time medics prescribed antibiotics for bronchitis. Two days later, paramedics rushed to her home after she collapsed, gasping for breath. The tragic actress died on February 16.

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Buttery Jeb
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#27 Post by Buttery Jeb » Wed Apr 06, 2005 4:44 pm

I was shocked to find out that Morris Engle, the director of "Little Fugitive," died last month. Nobody put anything up as far as I remember seeing.

Anyway, here's the obituary I found on Turner Classic Movies' website:

Morris Engel, the director whose landmark film Little Fugitive (1953), was nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar�, and more notably, inspired an era of independent filmmaking by better-known mavericks such as John Cassavetes and Francois Truffaut, died of cancer on March 5 at his Manhattan apartment. He was 86.

Engel was born on April 8, 1918 in Brooklyn, New York to a family of very modest income. He became fascinated with photography as a child, being enamored by travel pictures he came across in brochures. When still in high school, he signed up for a $6 course at the Photo League and began roaming the streets of New York with his camera. He enlisted in the Navy during World War II and became a combat photographer, where he eventually found himself documenting the historic D-day landing at Normandy, France. After the war, he photographed for magazines such as Collier's and McCall's, and became respected for his work in photojournalism.

He met his wife, Ruth Orkin, also a noted photographer, in the early '50s. After their marriage in 1952, both Morris and Orkin expressed a desire toward filmmaking. The result was an innovative and daring film they wrote, directed and produced - The Little Fugitive (1953). The story, of a seven-year-old boy from Brooklyn named Joey (the wonderful Richie Andrusco), who believes he fatally shot his 11-year-old brother (Richard Brewster), and escapes to Coney Island to avoid punishment, was certainly modest in budget ($30,000) and execution. Yet for many film scholars, there was simply nothing like it to compare to at the time. Engel's capture of New York locations, fresh use of street sounds, hand held camera technique, and employing real New Yorkers as extras, made for something fresh and new. Indeed, when in 1959, both John Cassavetes and Francois Truffaut came onto the scene with their feature film debuts (Cassavetes for Shadows and Truffaut for The 400 Blows), both were quick to publicly praise Engel for starting an "independent" mind set for film direction.

Although Engel and his wife would create only two more films: the charming Lovers and Lollipops (1956), about a little girl who views the world of her elders with a precocious eye; and the lyrical drama Weddings and Babies (1958), regarding the pre-marital jitters of a professional photographer; their influence on Indie filmmaking cannot be overstated. After his wife's death from cancer in 1985, Engel did make two video documentaries, A Little Bit Pregnant (1993) and Camellia (1998). He is survived by a son, Andy; a daughter, Mary; two sisters, Pearl Russell and Helen Siemianowski; and a grandson. -- Michael T. Toole

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#28 Post by Rufus T. Firefly » Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:32 am

It was reported from Tokyo, Japan, on April 8, 2005, by the AP that the director, Yoshitaro Nomura, whose 1974 suspense thriller "Castle of Sand" has been ranked by critics as one of Japan's best films, died here on Friday. April 8, 2005, at the age of 85. The cause was pneumonia, his son, Yoshiki, said.

Mr. Nomura was one of Japan's most prolific and celebrated post-World War II directors, making numerous films in a variety of genres - including samurai dramas, musicals and crime stories - over more than three decades.

Born in 1919, Mr. Nomura joined Shochiku, a major Japanese film studio, when he was 22. Twelve years later he made his directorial debut with "Hato" ("Pigeon"). Mr. Nomura, son of the director Hotei Nomura, showed he could skillfully weave tales that were both social commentaries and thrillers, and was a pioneer of Japanese film noir, collaborating with the best-selling mystery writer Seicho Matsumoto. They made eight films, including "The Chase" in 1957, "Castle of Sand" in 1974 and "The Demon" in 1978.

His other adaptations include Ellery Queen's "Calamity Town" ("Three Undelivered Letters," 1979) and Agatha Christie's "The Hollow" ("Dangerous Women," 1985).
Many Japanese critics consider "Castle of Sand" Mr. Nomura's most compelling work. The thriller follows two detectives as they investigate the killing of a police officer and uncover a link to the jarring, hidden past of a young composer. It received accolades from Kinema Junpo, one of Japan's most prestigious movie contests, and won
the special jury's prize at the Moscow International Film Festival in 1975.

Even after directing his last movie, Mr. Nomura continued to work as a producer, and mentored directors, including Yoji Yamada ("Twilight Samurai," 2002).

Besides his son, Yoshiki, he is survived by a daughter, Kaori

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#29 Post by Steven H » Fri Apr 22, 2005 10:52 am

Ruth Hussey died at 93. Famous for her "wise-cracking girlfriend" role she played in Philadelphia Story next to James Stewart.

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#30 Post by The Digital McGuffin » Sat Apr 23, 2005 12:54 pm

Sir John Mills, star of Great Expectations, Hobson's Choice, Ice Cold in Alex and countless other classics has died at the age of 97. For nearly 70 years, Sir John Mills enjoyed a reputation as one of Britain's finest actors. Building on a catalogue of mild-mannered but iron-willed film characters in his youth, he made his name both on stage and television. With appearances in more than 100 films, he conveyed the quiet passion of the noble Englishman, intent on doing the decent thing.

Mills was born in Felixstowe, Suffolk, on February 22 1908. He headed for London as a teenager and, before long, his first appearance in revue.
Soon, an overseas tour of Mr Cinders took him to Singapore, where Noel Coward spotted him. On his return to London, Mills appeared in a couple of "The Master's" musical stage productions. When Coward was asked to find actors for his naval propaganda film In Which We Serve, Mills was an obvious choice.

He was the dashing military die-hard with the stiff upper lip of other such epics, including We Dive at Dawn, The Colditz Story and the film that made him a star, Brown on Resolution. In each, he typified all that was good, courteous and noble of the wartime spirit. And wide-eyed and brooding, he was the vulnerable Pip of David Lean's Great Expectations, as well as the heroic Scott of the Antarctic.

Throughout his career, Mills remained determinedly English and resisted lucrative offers to tie him and his family to Hollywood. When he married playwright Mary Hayley Bell in 1943, he entered a celebrity marriage of unusual endurance and devotion. The couple renewed their wedding vows as recently as 2001. They were also the creators of an acting dynasty.

Their elder daughter Juliet enjoyed a successful theatrical career before moving to America, and their younger Hayley was a cinematic child prodigy. Father and daughter appeared together in such British classics as Tiger Bay and The Swiss Family Robinson.

Mills went on to develop the character roles of Mossop in David Lean's Hobson's Choice and, for the same director, the Irish village mute Michael in Ryan's Daughter. For his comprehensive performance in the latter, he was awarded an Oscar for best supporting actor.

During his long career, he worked with everybody from Jessie Matthews in Midshipmaid to Madonna in Who's That Girl.

Mills entertained no snobbery about different forms of entertainment and rejected John Gielgud's assertion that movies were "only to pay the income tax".

Television later claimed his attention, too. As well as his own comedy series Young at Heart in the early 1980s, he appeared in Tales of the Unexpected and the adaptation of Martin Chuzzlewit.

The veteran star even lent his voice to the animated version of Where the Wind Blows, and toured with his one-man show An Evening with John Mills.

To mark his 80th birthday in 1988, the BBC televised a special tribute, as well as a season of his films.

Resisting this swansong, Mills worked on, appearing in Perfect Scoundrels in 1992 and, despite the onset of blindness, Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet in 1996.

Mills received his knighthood in 1976 and saw the publication of his memoirs, Up in the Clouds, Gentlemen Please, four years later.

As early as 1947, critic Peter Noble wrote that Mills possessed "the gift of combining all that is best in our national character". More than fifty years later, Sir John's enduring success on stage and screen proved that he never lost it.

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#31 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Tue Apr 26, 2005 1:04 pm

Wow, this one flew under the radar. Not a huge fan of his work but I do enjoy watching Tombstone whenever its on TV. A solid genre film -- very entertaining with, easily, Val Kilmer's best performance.

George Cosmatos, director of action movies such as Rambo, dies in Victoria at age 64

Victoria Times Colonist. Saturday, April 23, 2005.

Hollywood filmmaker George P. Cosmatos, best known for his direction of international epics and the box-office hits Rambo (1985) and Tombstone (1993), has died in Victoria at age 64 of lung cancer.

Born in Florence, Italy and raised in Egypt and Cyprus, Cosmatos studied international affairs at University College in London. A graduate of London Film School, he got his start as assistant director on Exodus (1960) and Zorba the Greek (1964), and was a correspondent for the prestigious film journal Sight and Sound.

As gruff and outspoken as he was passionate about film, the cigar-loving director worked with a who's who of international stars, including Burt Lancaster, Sophia Loren, Lee Strasberg, Donald Sutherland and Richard Burton.

He gained a reputation for being able to handle complex action shoots, and specialized in aerial photography, narrowly avoiding being killed in a helicopter crash while filming The Cassandra Crossing in 1976.

His other credits include The Beloved (1970), Massacre in Rome (1973), Of Unknown Origin (1983), Cobra (1986), his second collaboration with Rambo star Sylvester Stallone, and the underwater thriller Leviathan (1989).

Cosmatos, his late wife, renowned Swedish sculptor Birgitta Ljungberg Cosmatos, and their only son, Panos, moved to Victoria 24 years ago after living in London, Sweden, Guadaljara, Mexico and briefly in Los Angeles.

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#32 Post by Rufus T. Firefly » Wed Apr 27, 2005 5:52 pm

Austrian-born actress Maria Schell, a film idol who captivated German-speaking audiences in the 1950s and starred opposite some of Hollywood's legendary leading men, has died, according to a statement released on Wednesday. Schell was 79.

Schell's brother, the internationally known actor Maximilian Schell, issued a statement from Los Angeles saying that the death of his older sister had left him facing "the hardest and most difficult hours of my life."

"She was a great actress and an extraordinary human being," Schell, 74, said. "But most of all she was a friend. I could trust her completely, and she trusted me completely. ...After the war, when it was hard to be happy, she made a lot of people happy or at least made happiness seem possible."

Born in Austria in 1926, Schell's father was a Swiss author and her mother an Austrian actress. Along with her brothers and sisters, she spent the war years in Switzerland, where she was cast in her first film role at age 16 in "Steibruch" by director Sigfrit Steiner.

Schell, popular for bringing a youthful radiance to her screen roles, rose to international stardom in the 1950s in films such as "The Last Bridge" (Die Letze Brucke), and "The Brothers Karamazov" where she played opposite Yul Brynner. She starred with Gary Cooper in the 1959 Western drama "The Hanging Tree" and appeared with actors such as Glenn Ford, Marcello Mastroianni and Marlon Brando in a career that spanned five decades.

Schell's later years were marked by declining health, financial difficulties and seclusion. She made her last public appearance at the 2002 premiere of "My Sister Maria," a documentary by Maximilian Schell about his sister's life, career and their own relationship.

Maximilian Schell, in Los Angeles to direct an opera, said he had visited his sister a few days before her death. "Towards the end of her life, she suffered silently and I never heard her complain. I admire her for that," Schell said in his statement. "Her death might have been for her a salvation. But not for me. She is irreplaceable."

Austrian media reports said Maria Schell died on Tuesday at her home in southern Austria, which was also her parents' prewar home.


Kay Walsh, actress: born London 27 August 1911; married 1940 David Lean (marriage dissolved 1949), second Dr Elliott Jaques (died 2003; one adopted daughter; marriage dissolved); died London 16 April 2005.

A former chorus girl who became a popular screen player in the Thirties, Kay Walsh was leading lady to George Formby in two of the singer/comedian's hit films. She found most recognition, though, when she had roles in two of the biggest successes of the Forties, In Which We Serve and This Happy Breed.

The second of David Lean's six wives, she encouraged him to become a director, and played Nancy in his version of Oliver Twist. Also a skilled writer, she is credited with devising two of the best-remembered scenes in Lean's work - the climax of Great Expectations (often cited as better than that conceived by Dickens) and the wordless opening sequence
of Oliver Twist. Later she became one of Britain's finest character actresses, giving outstanding performances in such films as Last Holiday, Encore and Cast a Dark Shadow.

Of Irish stock, she was born in London in 1911 and raised in Pimlico by her grandmother. Although her family was not theatrical, she told the historian Brian McFarlane, I can't remember a time when I didn't dance. My first memory of a public performance was darting into Church Street,
Chelsea, and dancing to a barrel organ, aged three.

She was a chorus dancer in revue before making her screen d�but with a small part in the musical How's Chances? (1934), then played a leading role in the minor comedy Get Your Man (1934), the first of several "B" movies that displayed her fresh blonde beauty and spirited playing. She
remembered these early films with mixed emotions - Affection because of such warm-hearted old pros as Sandy Powell, Will Fyffe and Ernie Lotinga. Fear, because of having broken out of the chorus at a time of appalling unemployment and presenting myself as an actress. I had had no training and dreaded being rumbled.

In 1936, while filming The Secret of Stamboul, she met Lean, then a fledgling editor who was cutting the Elisabeth Bergner vehicle Dreaming Lips (1937). The pair were soon in love, and Walsh broke off her engagement to Pownell Pellew, later ninth Viscount Exmouth, and began living with Lean. In December 1936, she was appearing in the play The Melody That Got Lost at the Embassy Theatre when she was seen by the
Ealing producer Basil Dean, whose wife Victoria Hopper was in the show.

Dean gave her a year's contract and cast her in her two movies with Formby, Keep Fit (1937) and I See Ice (1938). Walsh described the films as "high-flying compared to the 'fit-up' quickies I had been doing", but she was unhappy at Ealing. She told Lean's biographer Kevin Brownlow,

I never suffered so much in my life as I did at that studio. They were absolute monsters, and everyone assumed I was Basil Dean's girlfriend. They were all freemasons and they would never give David a job because he had the wrong handshake. Although her relationship with Lean, whom she married in 1940, was constantly subject to his infidelities, Walsh recalled their early days fondly:

We worked all day and danced all night and slept through the weekend, waking late on Sunday to make love, to read the Sunday papers and to breakfast on eggs and bacon. And, of course, we went out to a film. We were asked everywhere - we were an attractive couple, we enjoyed life enormously. When Lean edited Anthony Asquith's screen version of Pygmalion (1939), Walsh wrote additional dialogue for the film with such skill that, allegedly, Shaw himself never noticed.

Her film roles continued to be in lesser "quota quickies" until she was cast in No�l Coward's In Which We Serve (1942). She had tested, unsuccessfully, for a role in Leslie Howard's The First of the Few, but Coward saw the test and thought she had "a nice, mousy quality" perfect for the role of the wife of an Able Seaman (John Mills). Particularly
moving was the scene in which she receives a telegram informing her that her husband is one of the survivors of a sunken destroyer. After joyfully shouting the news to her mother, she dissolves into tears. "Kay's great strength is her reality," Mills said. "You can hardly believe she is
acting; when the camera turned over she just did it." It was Walsh who persuaded Lean, who was editing the film, to ask for co-director credit with Coward, who eventually agreed. Walsh and Coward got along well, though privately he derided her strong left-wing views, calling her "Red Emma".

Walsh had an even better role in Lean's first film as solo director, This Happy Breed (1944), based on Coward's play. She played Queenie, the erring daughter dissatisfied with working-class life, who leaves home during the night to be with a married man. The scene in which, years later, she returns home, was exquisitely underplayed by Walsh and Celia
Johnson, as her mother. "The only difference between Queenie and me was that I would never have given in, never have gone back home."

She was given a writing credit on Lean's Great Expectations (1946), her major contribution being the d�nouement, completely different from that of Dickens. Estella's transformation into a second Miss Havisham, and Pip's throwing open the doors and curtains to let in the light, is
generally considered superior to the original ending.

Walsh's next film as an actress was the comedy-fantasy Vice Versa (1947), Anthony Newley's first feature film: I went to the first day rushes, then telephoned David at Pinewood, where he was doing dreadful things in the make-up room to Alfie Bass's face (to test him for the Artful Dodger). I said, "I've got your Dodger." Walsh played Nancy in Lean's Oliver Twist (1948), a performance she herself disliked - she wanted to look dirtier and "more damaged" than Lean would allow her.

She was much prouder of having conceived the film's haunting opening sequence. Dickens's novel starts with a matter-of-fact statement of Oliver's birth, and the film-makers were so desperate to find an effective way of beginning the film that there had even been a competition held at Pinewood: Finally, I said to David, "Look, I've got a couple of pages here I've written in an exercise book. Have a look at it."

She had scribbled a detailed description of a storm, a girl in labour painfully climbing a hill to reach a source of light, and pulling on a bell as she sinks down and the camera goes up to a sign saying, "Workhouse". A baby's cry is heard and Oliver Twist is born. Although the film initially received mixed reviews, all agreed that the opening sequence, filmed as Walsh had described, was masterly.

Lean and Walsh were divorced in 1949, Walsh citing his adultery with the actress Ann Todd, who became Lean's next muse. Later Walsh married Dr Elliott Jaques, a leading psychologist who coined the phrase "mid-life crisis", and in 1956 they adopted a baby daughter, Gemma.

Walsh spent the next decades as a respected character actress, creating a gallery of memorable portraits. She had a good role in Alfred Hitchcock's Stage Fright (1950), which she remembered primarily for "watching Marlene Dietrich tuck into a steak-and-kidney pudding in the canteen". She was a sympathetic housekeeper in Last Holiday (1950) with Alec Guinness, and in another Coward adaptation, Meet Me Tonight
(1951), portrayed part of a music-hall act in the "Red Peppers" sequence. Her partner was Ted Ray, "the most lovable actor I ever worked with".

She was the frustrated wife of a vicar in Lease of Life (1954), and in The Horse's Mouth (1956), again with Alec Guinness, she had her favourite role, as the barmaid. She enjoyed cooking for Guinness, his family, and other friends, and she was also an enthusiastic gardener and renovator of old properties.

Her last film was Night Crossing (1992), based on the true story of a family who escaped from East to West Berlin by hot-air balloon.

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#33 Post by Rufus T. Firefly » Wed May 11, 2005 6:57 pm

Veteran Italian film director Luigi Comencini (Bread, Love and Dreams, The Scientific Card-Player), died on April 21. I have not been able to find an English-language obit as yet.

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#34 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Wed May 18, 2005 4:21 pm

'The Riddler' Frank Gorshin Dies at 72


Frank Gorshin, the impressionist with 100 faces best known for his Emmy-nominated role as the Riddler on the "Batman" TV series, has died. He was 72. Gorshin's wife of 48 years, Christina, was at his side when he died uesday at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, his agent and longtime friend, Fred Wostbrock, said Wednesday. "He put up a valiant fight with lung cancer, emphysema and pneumonia," Mrs. Gorshin said in a statement.

Despite dozens of TV and movie credits, Gorshin will be forever remembered for his role as the Riddler, Adam West's villainous foil in the question mark-pocked green suit and bowler hat on "Batman" from 1966 to '69.

"It really was a catalyst for me," Gorshin recalled in a 2002 Associated Press interview. "I was nobody. I had done some guest shots here and there. But after I did that, I became a headliner in Vegas, so I can't put it down."

West said the death of his longtime friend was a big loss. "Frank will be missed," West said in a statement. "He was a friend and fascinating character."

Gorshin earned another Emmy nomination for one for a guest shot on "Star Trek," a 1969 episode called "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield."

In 2002, Gorshin portrayed George Burns on Broadway in the one-man show "Say Goodnight Gracie." He used only a little makeup and no prosthetics. "I don't know how to explain it. It just comes," he said. "I wish I could say, `This is step A, B and C.' But I can't do that. I do it, you know. The ironic thing is I've done impressions all my life � I never did George Burns."

Gorshin's final performance will be broadcast on Thursday's CBS series "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

Born in Pittsburgh, Gorshin broke into show business in New York. He did more than 40 impressions, including Al Jolson, Kirk Douglas, Bobby Darin, Dean Martin and James Cagney. Later, he took his impressions to "The Ed Sullivan Show" on a memorable evening � the same night the Beatles were featured. He did impressions in Las Vegas showrooms, opening for Darin and paving the way for other impressionists like Rich Little.

Sammy Davis Jr. said it was Gorshin who taught him to do impressions, Wostbrock said. "He said you had to look like them and walk like them. Once you get that down, the voice comes easy," he said.

Gorshin's movie roles included "Bells are Ringing" (1960) with his idol Dean Martin and a batch of fun B-movies such as "Hot Rod Girl" (1956), "Dragstrip Girl" (1957) and "Invasion of the Saucer Men" (1957).

"He was fun, fascinating, wild and always a class act," Wostbrock said. "Here's a guy who always wore great clothes, stood up when a woman walked into the room � he was a gentleman. We did all our deals with a handshake. There was never a signed contract."

His other TV credits included roles on "General Hospital, "The Edge of Night" and "The Munsters" as well as guest appearances on "Donny & Marie," "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," "Murder, She Wrote," "The Fall Guy," "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century," "Wonder Woman," "Charlie's Angels" and "Police Woman."

Besides his wife, Gorshin leaves his son Mitchell Gorshin of Orlando, Fla., and sister Dottie Roland of Pittsburgh. Wostbrock said the funeral would be private and Gorshin would be buried in the family plot in Pittsburgh.

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#35 Post by Lemdog » Wed May 25, 2005 1:53 pm

Filmmaker Ismail Merchant Dies

LONDON - Filmmaker Ismail Merchant, who with partner James Ivory became synonymous with classy costume drama in films such as "A Room With A View" and "Howard's End," died Wednesday. He was 68. Merchant died surrounded by friends and family at a hospital, Merchant-Ivory's London production office said.

Merchant, who was born in Bombay but spent most of his life in the West, had been unwell for some time and recently underwent surgery for abdominal ulcers, according to Indian television reports.

Merchant and Ivory, an American, made some 40 films together and won six Oscars four for best picture since forming their famous partnership in 1961 with German-born screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Their hits, especially E.M. Forster adaptations like "A Room With a View" and "Howard's End" helped revive the public's taste for well-made, emotionally literate period drama.

In an interview with The Associated Press last year, Merchant said Merchant-Ivory films worked because they captured great stories. "It should be a good story speak about a time and place that is permanent," he said. "It should capture something wonderful with some great characters whether it's set in the past or in the future."

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#36 Post by J » Wed May 25, 2005 2:07 pm

I'm assuming the article meant four films were nominated for Best Picture, not winner of Best Pic. If so, Howards End, Room With a View and Remains of the Day were nominated for best pic... Which is the fourth?


#37 Post by Anonymous » Sat May 28, 2005 8:28 pm

I've been reading Ismail Merchant's obits the past couple days and I noticed many times that Merchant and James Ivory were described as being life-long professional and personal partners. The Ebert obit mentioned Merchant was survived by Ivory and a couple sister-in-laws, but no wife or kids.

Was Ismail Merchant gay? (obviously, nothing wrong with that) And were Merchant and Ivory gay lovers? I've never heard them described as such, but now I'm curious...

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#38 Post by mahler » Tue Jun 07, 2005 6:12 pm

Actress Anne Bancroft Dies at Age 73

Anne Bancroft, who won the 1962 best actress Oscar as the teacher of a young Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker" but achieved greater fame as the seductive Mrs. Robinson in "The Graduate," has died. She was 73. She died of cancer on Monday at Mount Sinai Hospital, John Barlow, a spokesman for her husband, Mel Brooks, said Tuesday.

Bancroft was awarded the Tony for creating the role on Broadway of poor-sighted Annie Sullivan, the teacher of Keller, who was born deaf and blind. She repeated her portrayal in the film version.

Yet despite her Academy Award and four other nominations, "The Graduate" overshadowed her other achievements. Dustin Hoffman delivered the famous line when he realized his girlfriend's mother was coming on to him in a hotel room: "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me. ... Aren't you?"

Bancroft complained to a 2003 interviewer: "I am quite surprised that with all my work, and some of it is very, very good, that nobody talks about `The Miracle Worker.' We're talking about Mrs. Robinson. I understand the world. ... I'm just a little dismayed that people aren't beyond it yet."

Her beginnings in Hollywood were unimpressive. She was signed by Twentieth Century-Fox in 1952 and given the glamour treatment. She had been acting in television as Anne Marno (her real name: Anna Maria Louise Italiano), but it sounded too ethnic for movies. The studio gave her a choice of names; she picked Bancroft "because it sounded dignified."

After a series of B pictures, she escaped to Broadway in 1958 and won her first Tony opposite
Henry Fonda in "Two for the Seesaw." The stage and movie versions of "The Miracle Worker" followed. Her other Academy nominations: "The Pumpkin Eater" (1964); "The Graduate" (1967); "The Turning Point" (1977); "Agnes of God" (1985).

Bancroft became known for her willingness to assume a variety of portrayals. She appeared as Winston Churchill's American mother in TV's "Young Winston"; as Golda Meir in "Golda" onstage; a gypsy woman in the film "Love Potion No. 9"; and a centenarian for the TV version of "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All."

After an unhappy three-year marriage to builder Martin May, Bancroft married comedian-director-producer Brooks in 1956. They met when she was rehearsing a musical number, "Married I Can Always Get," for the Perry Como television show, and a voice from offstage called: "I'm Mel Brooks."

In a 1984 interview she said she told her psychiatrist the next day: "Let's speed this process up � I've met the right man. See, I'd never had so much pleasure being with another human being. I wanted him to enjoy me too. It was that simple." A son, Maximilian, was born in 1972.

Bancroft appeared in three of Brooks' comedies: "Silent Movie," a remake of "To Be or Not to Be" and "Dracula: Dead and Loving It." She also was the one who suggested that he make a stage musical of his movie "The Producers." She explained that when he was afraid of writing a full-blown musical, including the music, "I sent him to an analyst."

When Bancroft watched Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick rehearse "The Producers," she realized how much she had missed the theater. In 2002 she returned to Broadway for the first time since 1981, appearing in Edward Albee's "Occupant."

She was born Sept. 17, 1931, in the Bronx to Italian immigrant parents. She recalled scrawling "I want to be an actress" on the back fence of her flat when she was 9. Her father derided her ambitions, saying, "Who are we to dream these dreams?" Her mother was the dreamer, encouraging her daughter in 1958 to enroll at the American Academy for Dramatic Arts.

Live television drama was flourishing in New York in the early 1950s, and Bancroft appeared in 50 shows in two years. "It was the greatest school that one could go to," she said in 1997. "You learn to be concentrated and focused."

In mid-career Bancroft attended the Actors Studio to heighten her understanding of the acting craft. Later she studied at the
American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women at UCLA. In 1980 she directed a feature, "Fatso," starring Dom De Luise. It received modest attention.

Among her notable portrayals: a potential suicide in "The Slender Thread"; Mary Magdalene in Franco Zeffirelli's miniseries "Jesus of Nazareth"; actress Madge Kindle in "The Elephant Man"; Anthony Hopkins' pen pal in "84 Charing Cross Road"; feminist U.S. senator in "G.I. Jane"; the Miss Haversham role in a modernized "Great Expectations."

Despite all her memorable performances, Bancroft was remembered most for Mrs. Robinson. In 2003 she admitted that nearly everyone discouraged from undertaking the role "because it was all about sex with a younger man." She viewed the character as having unfulfilled dreams and having been relegated to a conventional life with a conventional husband.

She added: "Film critics said I gave a voice to the fear we all have: that we'll reach a certain point in our lives, look around and realize that all the things we said we'd do and become will never come to be � and that we're ordinary."

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#39 Post by Michael » Tue Jun 07, 2005 9:56 pm

Was Ismail Merchant gay? (obviously, nothing wrong with that) And were Merchant and Ivory gay lovers? I've never heard them described as such, but now I'm curious...
I dont have a proof if they were lovers or gay. But I always suspect that they were. Look at how the men were filmed in their works.. so beautiful and lush. I think Maurice is their finest and most personal work and I'm not saying that one needs to be gay to direct a film like Maurice but their handling of the whole gay thing, including the love scenes felt very personal and profound.

Too bad about Anne Bancroft. A fine, fine woman. Time to bring Fatso out on DVD.

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#40 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Wed Jun 08, 2005 12:30 am

Time Magazine's obit referred to Ivory as Merchant's life partner. I'd say that doesn't leave too much ambiguity.

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#41 Post by jorencain » Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:18 am

Not to mention that they are constantly disagreeing and correcting each other, like an old married couple, in all of the Merchant Ivory Collection DVD interviews.

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#42 Post by tryavna » Fri Jun 10, 2005 11:43 am

Yeah, check out the extras on Howards End in particular. They bicker just like my parents do.

I wonder how this will affect Ivory's future filmmaking. I've always considered him one of the best and most interesting directors working today. Obviously, Merchant's loss will be a huge blow to Ivory's professional career, but the personal loss may be even more significant.


#43 Post by cbernard » Mon Jun 13, 2005 5:45 pm

Ubiquitous character actor and MacGyver's boss, Dana Elcar, 77:

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#44 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Wed Jun 15, 2005 11:23 am

Actor Lane Smith Dies

LOS ANGELES - Lane Smith, a longtime character actor who played a small-town district attorney who clashed with Joe Pesci in "My Cousin Vinny," died Monday. He was 69.

Smith, who also played Richard Nixon in the TV movie "The Final Days" and Daily Planet editor Perry White in "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," died at his home in Los Angeles, according to his wife, Debbie Benedict Smith.

Born in Memphis, Smith appeared in numerous films and television shows. Most recently, he appeared in the 2000 movie "The Legend of Bagger Vance," starring Will Smith and Matt Damon. Lane Smith also appeared in the original stage production of "Glengarry Glen Ross" and the revival of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Film credits include "The Distinguished Gentleman," "Son in Law," "The Mighty Ducks" and "The Hi-Lo Country."

Besides his wife, Smith is survived by his son Robbie, 18, and a brother and sister. He also has a 19-year-old stepson.

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#45 Post by Rufus T. Firefly » Thu Jun 16, 2005 5:09 am

VETERAN French actress Suzanne Flon has died in a Paris clinic aged 87, sources close to her announced.

Flon's career spanned over 60 years. She was well known for her theatre work but also appeared in numerous films, working with such cinematic
icons as Orson Welles, John Huston, Roger Vadim, Joseph Losey and Claude Chabrol.

Flon, born in a Paris suburb in 1918, specialised in playing European aristocrats, such as in Welles' Mr Arkadin (1955). Flon's most celebrated role for French audiences was probably in the anti-war Tu ne Tueras point (Thou Shalt Not Kill, 1961), for which she won the Venice Film Festival Best Actress award.

Treading the boards, she played the gamut of classical theatre from Shakespeare to Pirandello. Before embarking on her own career Flon worked as secretary for the great French torch singer Edith Piaf

No cause of death was given, although Flon had been ill for some time and was known to be suffering from gastro-enteritis.

Robert I. Clarke, a featured performer on the 1960's ABC variety show The King Family, who acted in over 75 films, and made well over 100 television appearances, starred in a dozen "B" movies including The Man From Planet X, Beyond the Time Barrier and The Astounding She-Monster, and produced, co-directed and starred the 50's monster film with a cult following, the Hideous Sun Demon, died Saturday Night, June 11 of natural causes in Valley Village, California. He was eighty-five. While mixing in Hollywood with the best and brightest, Clarke also retained his image as a Southern gentleman of grace, modesty, courtesy and kindness.

Clarke was born in Oklahoma City on June 1, 1920 and was an avid movie and acting fan throughout his youth. He attended Kemper Military College aiming at the armed services, but was kept out of World War II due to asthma. He then attended the University of Oklahoma and graduated from the University of Wisconsin, which he attended hoping to follow in the footsteps of alumni Frederick March. At college, he acted in several university plays.

At twenty-two with a few saved dollars, he hitched a ride with an Oklahoma friend and began making the rounds of small-time agents in Hollywood. He received a screen test at Twentieth Century Fox in 1943, and became an RKO contract performer from 1944-1947 where he appeared with Boris Karloff in The Body Snatcher, with Bela Lugosi in Zombies on Broadway, with John Wayne in Back to Bataan and almost forty other films before 1950. He appeared on Broadway for four months in late 1948 with Louis Calhern, playing the romantic lead in Molnar's stage comedy, The Plays The Thing.

In the late forties and early fifties he had a western period (Riders on the Range, Pistol Harvest and many more) followed by a swashbuckling period where he gained lead rolls in low budget versions of The Black Pirates, The Sword of Venus, Blades of the Musketeers (playing D'Artagnan) and Robin Hood. He later appeared with Clark Gable in Band of Angels, with Greer Garson in Her Twelve Men, with Jimmy Steward in The FBI Story and in leading rolls directed by Ida Lupino in Outrage and Hard, Fast and Beautiful.

The early 1950's witnessed the breaking of the sound barrier and increased interest in outer space, and with it, Clarke began to get rolls for the new genre of low-budget 1950's extra-terrestrial and horror movies. He starred-often with Margaret Field (Sally Field's mother)--in The Man From Planet X, Captive Women, The Astounding She Monster, The Incredible Petrified World (with John Carradine), Beyond the Time Barrier, and his own production and co-direction of The Hideous Sun Demon.

In his 1996 autobiography with Tom Weaver: To 'B' or Not To 'B', Clarke noted that Planet X was made for $41,000 and shot in six days, with the actors receiving $175 a week. She Monster was budgeted at $50,000 but came in under $18,000. In 1959, his own production company produced The Hideous Sun Demon over twelve weekends (so they could pay one day's rental on the camera equipment for two days shooting time), started with $10,000 in cash, and was completed for under $50,000--the rubberized lizardy body suit itself costing about $500 (the radioactively-contaminated scientist turns into a monster when exposed to sun's rays). To save money, he used his own relatives, nieces and nephews as bit players, many who went on to perform in the weekly The King Family Show. Sun Demon has been re-released under various names, redubbed as a cult comedy film with outtakes appearing in 1982's It Came From Hollywood. This gave Clarke something of a cult status as he spent his later years appearing at fan conventions and giving lectures about Hollywood's golden era.

To augment his sometimes struggling actor's income, he also sold insurance, and even built and operated a large car wash on the corner of Roscoe and Canoga Avenue in Chatsworth.

In 1956 he married a young widow with two small sons, Alyce King Driggs of the singing King Sisters. In the mid-1960's the King Sisters appeared on their own weekly ABC musical variety show with their entire families called The King Family Show. Clarke, the featured actor, would do various sentimental readings and comedic scenes between musical numbers and performed with the family for most of the decade, as the show eventually went into syndication and came back with holiday specials. He also appeared on some 75 television shows, in repeat rolls frequently on Jack Webb's Dragnet, and even as the minister who married Joan Collins on Dynasty.

Alyce died in 1996 and Clarke's health has been deteriorating in the last year. He is survived by a brother and sister, Bill Clarke and Genevieve Sloan of Texas; two step-sons he raised with Alyce, Lex de Azevedo, a composer and record producer, Ric de Azevedo, a Warner Bros. executive, and his only son, Cam Clarke, a successful voice-over and cartoon voice actor with lead voice rolls as He-Man, Leonardo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and hundreds of other parts. He had dozens of nieces and nephews, eleven grandchildren and 18 great grand children. Family services will be held later in the week at Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills.

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#46 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:17 am

BBC report on the death of Alberto Lattuada aged 90.

Guardian report on Mr Lattuada's death.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

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#47 Post by swingo » Tue Jul 05, 2005 4:25 pm

Great Actress Marga López died yesterday, she was 81.

She was "Beatriz" on Nazarín by Buñuel and "Mercedes Gómez" on Salòn México by "Indio" Fernández.

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#48 Post by Andre Jurieu » Wed Jul 06, 2005 10:33 am

Former publicist and famous screenwriter Ernest Lehman passed away on Saturday at age 89.

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#49 Post by luxetnox » Thu Jul 07, 2005 1:42 am

A short interview with Eva Marie Saint and her husband Jeffrey Hayden on their friend Ernest Lehman aired on NPR's All Things Considered today. An audio file of this can be found at the NPR website on this page.

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#50 Post by Rufus T. Firefly » Thu Jul 07, 2005 4:17 am

It has been reported that writer Evan Hunter, who also wrote under the pseudonym Ed McBain, has died at 78. Some of the films based on his works include The Blackboard Jungle, High and Low and The Birds.

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