Blog Archives

The Memorials the Oscars Left Out…

My pal Joe Bratcher turned me on to this in Facebook. As I looked at the list, I realized that there were some great… and important to our cultural historyactors and actresses left out of the Academy Award‘s “In Memoriam” segment.

Nicole Williamson? How could they?

Kevin McCarthy has died at 96…

Kevin McCarthy, the suave, square-jawed actor who will always be best known as the star of the 1956 science fiction movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” died Saturday at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Mass. He was 96 and lived in Sherman Oaks, Calif. His death was confirmed by his daughter Lillah McCarthy.

Nothing in the NY Times notice said why he was on Cape Cod, but I assume he was vacationing. The Hyannis hospital serves the entire Cape, so he might have been staying in any of the towns from Provincetown to the Canal. One of his daughters, Mary Dabney McCarthy, lives on Cape Cod.

Kevin McCarthy was born on Feb. 15, 1914, in Seattle, the son of Roy Winfield McCarthy and the former Therese Preston. Both parents died in the famous influenza epidemic of 1918… their four children (one of which became the famous writer Mary McCarthy) were sent to live with relatives in Minneapolis. After five years of near-Dickensian mistreatment, described in Ms. McCarthy’s memoirs, the youngsters moved in with their maternal grandfather.

McCarthy went to college at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University with the intention of having a career in diplomacy… but at some point he took up acting and went to New York in the late 1930s. His first part was in Abe Lincoln In Illinois.

After serving as a Military Policeman in WWII, he returned to NY to actively pursue a theatrical career. At 35, a veteran of seven Broadway plays,  he was cast as Biff, the shallow, elder son of Willy Loman, in the London stage production of “Death of a Salesman,” Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1949 drama about illusion and the common man. His portrayal of Biff in the 1951 film version earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor.

Although Body Snatchers is what most people knew him from during his long life, he never abandoned the stage and did both live and filmed performances for the rest of his life (his last film was 2 years ago.)

International Quote of the Day

“Settlers and settlements are not something that entertain me, and I don’t want to entertain them.”

– Israeli actor Yousef Swaid commenting on theatre artists’ boycott of new theatre in the occupied West Bank. The signatories have asked theatre managers to restrict their activity to stages within the internationally accepted 1967 borders.

More at Thanks also to Thomas Cott at You’ve Cott Mail.

Maury Chaykin Dead at 61

Maury Chaykin died in Toronto, where he lived,  on July 27, 2010, from complications of a heart valve infection. It was his 61st Birthday.

I told this to my wife, who had attended the State University of New York at Buffalo with him in the early 70s. “Oh, no!” she said. She had been part of a crowd at UB that Chaykin was in, dated his roommate. She told me that Chaykin had been part of a four person theatre group (along with Dougy, who she dated, the really pretty girl whose name she couldn’t remember and Duffy, the one who everyone thought was going to be the real star.)

This made me think that we are entering a time in  our lives when more and more people that we used to know in college and elsewhere will start dying off… my wife thought it was time to put together her “bucket list” (a phrase I didn’t know… but apparently what she wants to do before she “kicks the bucket”.)

Chaykin had a 35 year career with lots of movies and TV roles (Nero Stout stands out as one of his few leads).

I found this recent photograph of Chaykin in the Toronto obituary… does not look so hot, but I guess he had been somewhat sick for a while. Certainly seems to have lost a lot of weight.

James Gammon, one of the great character actors, has died…

Character actors at this level are few and far between, so losing someone like James Gammon is a serious problem for contemporary film.

The biggest hit of his career was in “Major League” in 1989 where he played Lou Brown, the flinty but paternalistic manager of the Cleveland Indians, who roar back from last place with a roster of misfits and improbably win the pennant.

Gammon was known in the 1970s for performing in Sam Shepard plays, while at the same time he was doing featured parts in a number of television serials. Shepard’s comment on Gannon was:

“This was a guy who could act circles around most other actors and he never pretended to be other than a working kind of actor.”

Gannon was 70 years old.

Dennis Hopper Dies at age 74

Cancer has taken Dennis Hopper today after a long fight.

Dennis Hopper was known primarily as an actor (Rebel Without A Cause, Easy Rider, Blue Velvet) and director, but he was also an accomplished photographer, not to mention a painter, sculptor and art collector.

He had been married 5 times and was known for an explosive temper. In the last years of his life he was broke and not working, although he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame two months ago.

Former child actor Gary Coleman dead from a brain hemorrhage at age 42.

Coleman died Today at 12:05 PM MDT (2:05 EDT).

Coleman, 42, was best known for his role as Arnold Jackson on “Diff’rent Strokes” where his tag line was “What you talkin’ about, Willis?”

Word got out that he was hospitalized Thursday and in critical condition. This morning they turned off life support.

He died at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, Utah, and was in the company of his wife, Shannon Price, and her father.

John Forsythe has died.

92 year old actor John Forsythe has died after a year long battle with cancer.

Forsythe, known to millions for major TV roles like the oil tycoon in Dynasty and the voice of Charlie in Charlie’s Angels, did films and Broadway, but really hit it big on Television in Bachelor Father.

He was born John Lincoln Freund on Jan. 29, 1918, in Penn’s Grove, N.J.

Robert Culp dies at age 79

This was unexpected.

Television actor Robert Culp (I Spy, with Bill Cosby,  and other programs) was rushed to Queen of Angels Hospital on Wednesday morning after falling outside his Hollywood home, authorities said. He was pronounced dead shortly after arrival, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Culp suffered a fatal blow to the head after falling while taking a walk and was found by a jogger who called 911. Paramedics, patrol officers and detectives responded to the scene.

Police report says this was purely accidental.

Farewell to Karl Malden…Dead at 97

For many of us he will always be Mitch of “Streetcar Named Desire” or Father Corrigan of “On The Waterfront”. The Academy Award winning method actor who was usually in second place to actors like Marlon Brando or Burt Lancaster in his films has just been awarded (last month) the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Karl MaldenIn the 1970s he was Lt. Mike Stone on the Streets of San Francisco, which gave a step up to a young Michael Douglas who considered him a mentor.

Born Mladen Sekulovich in Chicago, he so regretted having to change his name in order to have a career that he insisted Fred Gwynne’s character in On The Waterfront be named Sekulovich.

He was married to his wife Mona for 70 years… a one woman man in an industry that estroys personal relationships. But Malden placed high values on family.

We will miss Karl Malden, but he has left us so much to remember.