Category Archives: film

Morgan Paull, Cult-Favorite ‘Blade Runner’ Actor, Dies at 67

 

I missed this last week, for which I apologize. When a great character actor dies it is a loss that should be recognized by those of us in Theatre, film and other areas of entertainment.

On July 17th, Morgan Paull died of stomach cancer in Ashland, Oregon.

From his website:

Even by Hollywood standards, the breadth of Morgan Paull’s career is striking.

In a span of four decades, he’s starred in scores of movies, TV shows and plays; owned and run a talent agency for actors and writers; appeared in numerous commercials; been a leader in major industry organizations; and had good enough pipes to convince Old Blue Eyes to re-record his demo into another Sinatra chart-topper.

Morgan started early, and started fast, jumping right from Culver Academy to the famed Barter Theatre of Virginia. True to its reputation, Barter burnished his skills and nourished his desires. As his talent ripened, it became clear that Morgan was ready for the bigger challenges of the Big Apple, challenges he met and mastered in countless productions with New Dramatists and the Cherry Lane Theater. What had begun as a dream had become destiny.

 

Morgan Paull on TV’s Ironside with Pat Hingle and Raymond Burr, 1971

As surely as Barter groomed Morgan for New York, New York prepared him for Hollywood. After the obligatory struggle, he rocketed from obscurity to a coveted role in the blockbuster “Patton.” His film resume includes both critical and commercial successes, including the acclaimed “Norma Rae,” the futuristic cult classic “Blade Runner,” and “Cahill, U.S. Marshall,” which paired him with childhood hero John Wayne.

While making enduring movies, he made enduring friendships – not only with some of screen’s biggest stars, but talented directors and powerful producers who taught Morgan how to make things happen on the other side of the camera, knowledge that would prepare him for the next leg of his career – representation.

By now a savvy and connected insider, Morgan was a natural as an agent and manager. A shrewd investor in both human and financial capital, he was a tough and able negotiator for the people and projects he took on. In a way, he was born to the role, being a direct descendant of 18th century naval hero John Paul Jones (“I have not yet begun to fight.”).

 

The next time your pals say there is no such thing as Global Warming, show them this:

If this doesn’t convince them, suggest they go live in the grain producing areas of the midwest. That should back up their belief (but don’t laugh too hard.)

TV, film actor Chad Everett dies after cancer battle…

 

We seem to be having a lot of celebrity deaths this week and this one caught me by surprise.

Chad Everett, the blue-eyed star of the 1970s TV seriesMedical Center” who went on to appear in such films and TV shows as “Mulholland Drive” and “Melrose Place,” has died after a year and a half battle with lung cancer. He was 75.

Everett played sensitive doctor Joe Gannon for seven years on “Medical Center,” a role that earned him two Golden Globes and an Emmy nomination. With a career spanning more than 40 years, Everett guest starred on such TV series as “The Love Boat,” “Murder, She Wrote” and “Without a Trace.” Everett most recently appeared in the TV series “Castle.”

Everett was born in South Bend, Ind., and graduated from Wayne State University before moving to Los Angeles and becoming a contract player with MGM.

 

A message received from Michael Moore:

I don’t know if you are on Michael Moore’s mailing list. If not, I’d like to pass on a couple of things I received from Michael this morning re: the Aurora shootings and guns in general. It’s quite long, so I have condensed it as best I could:

In modern times, nearly every nation has had a psychopath or two commit a mass murder, regardless of how strict their gun laws are – the crazed white supremacist in Norway one year ago Sunday, the schoolyard butcher in Dunblane, Scotland, the École Polytechnique killer in Montreal, the mass murderer in Erfurt, Germany … the list seems endless.

And now the Aurora shooter last Friday. There have always been insane people, and there always will be.

But here’s the difference between the rest of the world and us: We have TWO Auroras that take place every single day of every single year! At least 24 Americans every day (8-9,000 a year) are killed by people with guns – and that doesn’t count the ones accidentally killed by guns or who commit suicide with a gun. Count them and you can triple that number to over 25,000.

That means the United States is responsible for over 80% of all the gun deaths in the 23 richest countries combined.

——–

People like me will say this is all the result of the U.S. having a history and a culture of men with guns, “cowboys and Indians,” “shoot first and ask questions later.” And while it is true that the mass genocide of the Native Americans set a pretty ugly model to found a country on, I think it’s safe to say we’re not the only ones with a violent past or a penchant for genocide. Hello, Germany! That’s right I’m talking about you and your history, from the Huns to the Nazis, just loving a good slaughter (as did the Japanese, and the British who ruled the world for hundreds of years – and they didn’t achieve that through planting daisies). And yet in Germany, a nation of 80 million people, there are only around 200 gun murders a year.

So those countries (and many others) are just like us – except for the fact that more people here believe in God and go to church than any other Western nation.

———

So – why us?

I posed this question a decade ago in my film ‘Bowling for Columbine,’ and this week, I have had little to say because I feel I said what I had to say ten years ago – and it doesn’t seem to have done a whole lot of good other than to now look like it was actually a crystal ball posing as a movie.

This is what I said then, and it is what I will say again today:

1. We Americans are incredibly good killers. We believe in killing as a way of accomplishing our goals. Three-quarters of our states execute criminals, even though the states with the lower murder rates are generally the states with no death penalty.

Our killing is not just historical (the slaughter of Indians and slaves and each other in a “civil” war). It is our current way of resolving whatever it is we’re afraid of. It’s invasion as foreign policy. Sure there’s Iraq and Afghanistan – but we’ve been invaders since we “conquered the wild west” and now we’re hooked so bad we don’t even know where to invade (bin Laden wasn’t hiding in Afghanistan, he was in Pakistan) or what to invade for (Saddam had zero weapons of mass destruction and nothing to do with 9/11). We send our lower classes off to do the killing, and the rest of us who don’t have a loved one over there don’t spend a single minute of any given day thinking about the carnage. And now we send in remote pilotless planes to kill, planes that are being controlled by faceless men in a lush, air conditioned studio in suburban Las Vegas. It is madness.

2. We are an easily frightened people and it is easy to manipulate us with fear. What are we so afraid of that we need to have 300 million guns in our homes? Who do we think is going to hurt us? Why are most of these guns in white suburban and rural homes? Maybe we should fix our race problem and our poverty problem (again, #1 in the industrialized world) and then maybe there would be fewer frustrated, frightened, angry people reaching for the gun in the drawer.

——-

Those are my thoughts about Aurora and the violent country I am a citizen of. Like I said, I spelled it all out here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jGtAcDefHg).Those are my thoughts about Aurora and the violent country I am a citizen of.  I’m in if you are.

Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@MichaelMoore.com
@MMFlint
MichaelMoore.com

How Romney and Bain made a fortune by taking away jobs… and making the people they fired help with their own dismissal.

This is pathetic, but it is why we can’t trust one word Romney says about creating jobs, or the way businesses are going to create jobs.

Take a look:

DONATE: http://www.prioritiesusaaction.org
If Mitt Romney wins, the middle class loses.

NRA website has nothing on the Thursday night movie theatre shooting…

I thought I’d skip over to the News page at the NRA’s website and watch their news report from yesterday, July 20. I was sure they would at least put forward a position on the Colorado shooting that killed and wounded about 50 people.

Wayne LaPierre of the NRA

Nothing there. Oh, there was a complaint about Congress looking into carry permit law and shooting competitions around the country, but nothing at all about the mass killing in a movie theatre.

Wayne LaPierre’s National Rifle Association has ignored the idea of people who shouldn’t have guns being able to get them…and use them. Their recent support of the “Stand Your Ground” law in the Trayvon Martin case is an example of their position. And look, Twenty or so years ago, the NRA was losing members. At the time, when some nut shot up a post office or a McDonald’s, we actually had laws passed like the 1994 assault weapons ban.

LaPierre and members lobbied for years and made sure the assault weapons ban was not renewed. I assume that means that the NRA thinks assaults are legal.

Rather than focus on putting airport-style security on movie theatres (which will keep me away from the movies), why aren’t we exploring more effective gun laws? I assume LaPierre and his minions are meeting today over at their world headquarters outside of DC planning their next set of tactics to keep assault weapons in the hands of moose hunters and to promote automatic weapons and machine guns for target shooting.

Keep an eye on the TV news… the NRA will be showing up soon.

Actress Celeste Holm, 95, Dies…

Celeste Holm, the versatile actress who achieved fame on Broadway in the original production of Rodgers and Hammerstein‘s hit musical “Oklahoma!” in 1943 and five years later won an Oscar for best supporting actress, died today.

In a career of over 70 years, Holm did other Broadway shows such as “Bloomer Girl” and as the replacement for Gertrude Lawrence in “The King and I.” She made films like “Three Little Girls In Blue,” “The Snake Pit” and “All About Eve.”

Celeste Holm won an Academy Award for supporting actress in the 1947 film “Gentleman’s Agreement” and was nominated two other times. She also had frequent roles on television, including in the 1990s series ‘Promised Land.’

Holm died in her apartment on Central Park West in New York City.


Richard Zanuck, famous Hollywood producer, dies at 77

Richard D. Zanuck was one of the most legendary and influential figures in the history of motion pictures. He died Friday morning at age 77.

He was a huge influence on Hollywood culture, first as the head of 20th Century Fox and, for the past four decades, as a film producer.

While running Fox he  released such classics such as “The Sound of Music,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “MASH.”

As an independent producer, Zanuck, who was the son of Darryl Zanuck, the first chief of Fox, was a driving force on movies such as “Jaws,” “Cocoon,” and “Driving Miss Daisy.”

In recent years, he had collaborated frequently with Tim Burton, producing about a half-dozen of the auteur’s movies, including the recently released“Dark Shadows.”

Ernest Borgnine, dead at age 95

Ernest Borgnine died Sunday at the age of 95. He became famous playing the film version of “Marty”, an unpretty man finding love with an unpretty woman (Betsy Blair), with a decency and tenderness that still disarms a modern viewer. He won the best actor Oscar for it, beating Frank Sinatra, James Dean, Spencer Tracey and Jimmy Cagney.

He went on to play heavies, leads, breakthrough character parts and more on film and on television. Many of us remember him as PT boat skipper Quinton McHale in “McHale’s Navy” (1962 to 1966), benignly leading a crew of misfits and malcontents in one long wartime luau. He was in films like The Poseidon Adventure, The Vikings, The Devil’s Rain and many more.

Never one to retire, Borgnine worked right up to this year.

 

Artist Paul Jenkins dead at 88

Paul Jenkins, Painter of Abstract Artwork, Dies at 88

Paul Jenkins, a colorful Abstract Expressionist who came of age during the heyday of the New York School and for several decades carried on its highly physical tradition of manipulating paint and canvas, died on June 9 in Manhattan, where he lived and had continued to paint until recently. He was 88.

He died after a short illness, said his wife, Suzanne.

Jrenkins was a contemporary and friend of both  Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. In 1953 he resettled in Paris, but maintained a lifelong connection with New York.

He became well-known outside the art world in 1978 when his paintings had a starring role in the Paul Mazursky movie “An Unmarried Woman,” in which Alan Batesplayed a Manhattan artist. The paintings supposedly done by the Bates character were actually his work.“I try to paint like a crapshooter throwing dice, utilizing past experience and my knowledge of the odds,” he said in 1964. “It’s a big gamble, and that’s why I love it.”

Actress Ann Rutherford has died at 94.

Ann Rutherford and Vivien Leigh in “Gone With the Wind.”

She was  Scarlett O’Hara’s younger sister Carreen in the 1939 film “Gone With the Wind” and  Mickey Rooney‘s teenage girlfriend in the Andy Hardy movies, plus over 60 other films.

Ann Rutherford died Monday evening at her home in Beverly Hills,according to her close friend and fellow actress Anne Jeffreys. She became one of the last surviving cast members of “Gone With the Wind,” and made a second career out of attending festivals featuring the Civil War epic.

Under contract with MGM, studio head Louis B. Mayer informed her that his son-in-law, producer David O. Selznick, wanted to borrow her for the small role in “Gone With the Wind.” Mayer called it “a nothing part” and planned to say no, Rutherford told The Times in 2010.

A fan of the Margaret Mitchell novel, Rutherford implored Mayer to reconsider. When she uncharacteristically burst into tears, he relented. “I just wanted to watch the book come to life,” she said.

According to the AllMovie internet database, Rutherford was “quite appealing” as the optimistic Carreen O’Hara in the romantic drama that starred Vivien Leigh as her sister Scarlett and Clark Gable as Rhett Butler.

Obama’s new TV ad…

Short, simple and full of truth:

Obama’s going to have to keep it up on Romney’s record, and this is a good start.

Character Actor Frank Cady Dies at 96

Sam Drucker

Cady as Sam Drucker

If you remember Petticoat Junction or Green Acres or The Beverly Hillbillies, you’ll remember General Store proprietor Sam Drucker, who was played by Frank Cady. Cady died Friday at his home in Wilsonville, Ore., at Age 96.

Cady played Drucker for the entire run of “Green Acres” on CBS, from 1965 to 1971, when it was canceled.He was also in the 1990 movie, Return To Green Acres.

Frank Cady was first known on television for playing Doc Williams on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. In films, he had a part in Hitchcock’s Rear Window, among others. He also appeared in many Southern California stage productions.

Ray Bradbury is Dead at 91…

He took us into the future and then farther into the future. He showed us where our politics and lifestyles could take us in books like “Fahrenheit 451.” He created a whole civilization and then related it to the Cold War in “The Martian Chronicles.” He created a monumental body of books, film, television and theater…so much that it is hard to conceive of one man writing it all.

But he did.

Did you know he scripted the 1956 film version of “Moby Dick?” Or that he was a regular writer for “The Twilight Zone?” Or that his work has been published in over 30 languages? Or that he wrote about 600 short stories which appeared in more than 1000 school textbooks?

And his approach to work:

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.

– Ray Bradbury

Bradbury was our science fiction evangelist and we will miss him… but we are so happy that he left so much amazing work behind. Rest in Peace, Ray.

Farewell to Richard Dawson – Dead at 79

According to his son, Richard Dawson, the legendary host of “Family Feud,” has died from complications due to esophageal cancer:

“It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my father passed away this evening from complications due to esophageal cancer. He was surrounded by his family. He was an amazing talent, a loving husband, a great dad, and a doting grandfather. He will be missed but always remembered…”

– Gary Dawson

Dawson was the host of Family Feud from 1976-1985, and then from 1994-1995. He was also famous for being a regular on “The Match Game” and for appearing in the classic Arnold Schwarzenegger action film “The Running Man.”  I remember him best, however, as the British soldier, Cpl. Peter Newkirk, on “Hogan’s Heroes.”

Dick Beals dies at 85; voice of Speedy Alka-Seltzer

Richard “Dick” Beals was an American voice actor who performed many voices in his career,  spanning the period from the early 1950s into the 21st century. He specialized primarily in doing the voices of young boys. He was well known as Davey in the Davey and Goliath animations.

Perhaps his most recognizable characterization was the voice of the stop-motion animation figure called “Speedy Alka-Seltzer“, featured in TV ads for more than 50 years….

Half a year to go and I can’t wait to see the film of Les Mis…

They have released a “teaser” and that’s just what it is. I am teased. I’m really looking forward to the December release of the Les Miserables movie… not the kind of thing I usually get so fired up about.

Here’s the teaser:

That’s Anne Hathaway performing as Fantine. And I can’t wait to see Hugh Jackman do Jean Valjean.

(geez, I sound like a teenage girl!)

Unfortunately, there are books that will never be made into movies…

Posting earlier about the film version of Kerouac‘s “On The Road” at Cannes got me thinking about the novels I’ve gotten attached to in my life that will never be made into movies. Some of them should be, but, due to author preferences or interpretive difficulty or some other reason, won’t.

The one that comes to mind first is “Catcher in the Rye.” Having been disappointed at the way one of his early short stories was committed to film, Salinger vowed it would never happen again and kept all his remaining work from becoming “properties.” The number of young actors who would have killed to play Holden Caulfield goes beyond counting… and there are certainly directors who would have been willing to commit immense amounts of time to such a project. Can you imagine a Mike Nichols directed “Catcher?”

Thinking of Salinger, it is also a shame that Seymour and Buddy and the rest of the Glass family will never appear on film. No Franny and Zooey.” No “Seymour, an Introduction” (although that would have been a very eccentric film.)

The novels of Thomas Pynchon, especially “V.” and “Gravity’s Rainbow,” although extremely complex and time-line-twisted, would be interesting to film. I would have liked to see John Belushi play Benny Profane. Not gonna happen.

I’m sure you can think of more, of books you would have liked to have seen filmed but that were withheld from the process.

Let me know which ones come to mind.

I guess I’m looking forward to “On The Road” opening in the US

“On The Road”, Jack Kerouac‘s 50s novel brought to the screen by Walter Salles (director of “The Motorcycle Diaries“), opened at Cannes to moderate response. The NY Times felt it was a “muted take on Jack Kerouac’s ecstatic American story” and the audience apparently gave it a polite applause.

From left, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Garrett Hedlund in “On the Road.”

The film appears more than five decades after the novel’s publication caused a literary sensation and launched a thousand road trips, not to mention innumerable road movies. Earlier directors had attempted to create a film from the work, including Francis Ford Coppola (listed as Executive Producer on the credits… and I believe the one with control of the film rights.)

Salles interviewed poets Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Diane di Prima and Amiri Baraka, who were Kerouac contemporaries. He also interviewed the Kerouac biographers Gerald Nicosia and Barry Gifford, who served as consultants on the film.

Salles spent eight years on the project, five on research alone… including taking the Kerouac/Neil Cassady road trip (the film uses Kerouac’s character names Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty). Characters based on Alan Ginsberg and William S.Boroughs also show up.

I think this is one of those films where I’ll ignore reviews and see for myself.

The Plastic Bag…

Elly and I went to Martin’s without our cloth shopping bags, so, of course, we were trapped into plastic bags.

Makes you think of the great Mockumentary narrated by Jeremy Irons:

Robin Gibb dies at age 62…

Robin Gibb, Bee Gees singer has died.

Following the recent death of  Donna Summer,  another defining voice of the disco era, Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees,  has passed on after a long battle with cancer. He was 62.

Robin Gibb helped define the disco subculture of the 1970s. His signature song was “I Started a Joke.” The Bee Gees first emerged as a pop-rock act in the late ’60s, but reinvented themselves in the mid-’70s when Robin, Maurice and Barry Gibb came to public attention with the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack.

 

Mexican author Carlos Fuentes dead at 83

The Mexican writer who received  international acclaim for “The Death of Artemio Cruz,” a novel about a post-revolutionary Mexico, has died in Mexico City.

His other classics included “Aura,” ”Terra Nostra” and “The Good Conscience.” Many American readers know him for “The Old Gringo,” a novel about San Francisco journalist Ambrose Bierce, who disappeared at the height of the 1910-1920 Mexican Revolution. That book was later made into a 1989 film starring Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda.

Fuentes was a contemporary of other Latin American authors like  Colombia’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Peru’s Mario Vargas Llosa who together drew global readership and attention to their culture during a period when strongmen ruled much of the region.

Mexican writer Hector Aguilar Camin said on his Twitter account: “One of a kind. An era, his own genre. A writer for all seasons. To Silvia, all my affection.”

Fuentes himself ventured into Twitter only one day, March 19, 2011.

His last message there read: “There must be something beyond slaughter and barbarism to support the existence of mankind and we must all help search for it.”

 

Donald “Duck” Dunn dies at 70…

I was sorry to hear that blues bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn, studio musician, producer and song writer, who played on more songs than one can easily count, had passed away. The bassist for Booker T and the MGs, he was probably most famous for playing himself in The Blues Brothers films.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, his father nicknamed him “Duck” while watching Disney cartoons with him one day.At Stax Records, Dunn was a studio musician on songs like Otis Redding‘s Respect” and “I Can’t Turn You Loose“, Sam & Dave‘s “Hold On, I’m Comin’“, and Albert King‘s “Born Under a Bad Sign.” He would later play for play for Muddy Waters, Freddie King, and Jerry Lee Lewis, as well as Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart. He joined with Steve Cropper, former Stax drummer Willie Hall, and Dan Aykroyd, to form the The Blues Brothers band on two movies and on tour.

Dunn died in his sleep after finishing a double show at the Blue Note night club in Tokyo yesterday.

Here’s a history of “Duck” Dunn:

What I worry about the most… Opinions of remarkably uninformed Republican voters.

If this were only one woman, I could walk away from it without worrying. The fact is, she is one of millions who have absorbed this Tea Party crap and WILL get out and vote.

Nothing will educate these folks. Nothing.

It’s Mothers Day… and I wish a happy one to all you Mothers out there…

Mother's Day card

Elly (who is waiting to see if our son calls her from Milwaukee with a Happy Mothers Day) and I are riding down to Manassas  to take my mom to lunch in celebration.

Although I think this was a holiday created by the greeting card companies in association with florists everywhere, it’s good to remember how much our mothers mean to us. Our personalities were formed under her auspices as we grew up. She was our first supporter and encouraged us as we headed into the future. She was the true person we could turn to if we were in trouble. Is there anyone more important than a mother.

So here’s a bit on the history of Mothers Day:

Have a nice one.