Blog Archives

Football Player and Film Star Alex Karras Dead at 77…

Former football great Alex Karras, died yesterday at age 77 after battling kidney failure, cancer and dementia. He was able to successfully transition from a career as a pro athelete to a successful career as an actor and Hollywood personality.

He appeared in a series of guest shots on such series as “Daniel Boone” and “Love, American Style,” but it was when his appearance as the lumbering bad guy Mongo in Mel Brooks‘ “Blazing Saddles” that his star really took off.

He capitalized on his engaging personality with a run as a panelist on “Match Game ’75,” which was memorable for his run-in with Transylvanian female wrestler Lola Kiss.

 

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.”).

 

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.”

Drowning our Kids in Liberalism :)

From Yahoo News:

Several weeks ago, Dan Gainor of the conservative Media Research Center told Fox Business host Eric Bolling that “The Muppets,” the new movie starring Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, had a liberal agenda.

“It’s amazing how far the left will go … to manipulate your kids to … give them the anti-corporate message.” Gainor went on to say that Hollywood is trying to brainwash kids. Bolling later apologized (sort of).

Kermit and Miss Piggy fired back…

 

And as it said on All Hat No Cattle:

The difference between a Fox News anchor and a Muppet is one is a puppet who says whatever their handler wants, no matter how ridiculous or factually incorrect…and the other is a Muppet.

So keep an eye on your kids (suggestion… take them to the movies.)

Result of Bachmann’s Waterloo, Iowa Comment

Mark Hoback’s FGAQ (Fried Green al-Qaedas)  is by far the best satirical blog on the web. It invariably takes the major bloops and blunders of our political life and turns them into hysterically funny dialogs like none anywhere else (and I don’t say this simply because he lists Under The LobsterScope on his blog list…Hell, I list FGAQ as well.)

This piece from June 28 is an excellent example:

Waterloo says thanks

“A mistake?” asks Waterloo resident Missy Buckner, neither expecting nor wanting an answer. “No, I don’t think it was a mistake. I know that the media likes to portray Michele Bachmann as somebody who can’t keep her facts straight, but all I know is that she’s not even president yet and already she’s managed to save at least one job – mine.”

For over ten years, Buckner has been curator of Waterloo Iowa‘s John Wayne Gacy Museum of Art, home of the largest collection of the Killer Clown‘s paintings, drawings, and artifacts in the world. Founded with an endowment from an anonymous European donor, the Gacy Museum has been an enormous failure, drawing only a few occasional curiosity seekers and losing money every year. It had been threatened with closing it’s doors forever later this summer.

“I can’t help but think that all of that’s going to change now,” says Buckner. “What Michele Bachmann has done is remind everyone about Waterloo’s most famous resident. Sure, he might have been primarily famous for killing all those teenage boys back in the seventies, but if there was justice in life – aside from the justice Gacy got at the end of his – he would be famous as Waterloo’s greatest artist. And now he will be.”

“Bachmann said that John Wayne came from Waterloo. She didn’t say which one and nobody asked her. The other John Wayne, well, he’s not from Iowa, he’s from Hollywood. And his real name was Marion Mitchell Morrison. John Wayne Gacy was using his real name. And when Bachmann said that she was just like him, I assume that she means she’s an artist, too. I mean, she doesn’t look like the sort of a person who would be a serial killer. Of course, I guess that’s the same thing they used to say about Gacy.”

“The man really had a feel for clowns, don’t you think? He knew
them intimately, knew what made them tick, because he used to dress up like a clown for parades and children’s parties. So he knew first hand how truly scary clowns can be and really captured that. He painted them for the entire fourteen years he was on death row, and they make up a large part of the museum‘s collection. We have some of his landscapes, some of his dwarfs – he liked to paint the dwarfs from Disney‘s ‘Snow White‘, often with clowns – and some of his portraits of other serial killers, but I think when people visit the Gacy Museum, it’s the clowns they’re going to want to see.”

“And people will be coming to the museum now, thanks to Michele Bachmann, I just know it. We had over a dozen visitors today, and when I asked them what brought them here, she’s the reason they gave. That’s why the Gacy Museum has authorized a token of our appreciation for helping us survive. An original piece, a Manson by Gacy. It’s a real stunner, isn’t it? I hope this small token of our appreciation lets Bachmann understand just how warmly the people of Waterloo feel about her.”

Marshal Dillon rides off into the sunset…

James Arness, Gunsmoke‘s Matt Dillon, has died at age 88. Arness (family name Aurness which he never legally changed) and his actor older brother, Peter Graves (who died in March 2010), came to Hollywood after WWII where James ended up in the performing group that surrounded John Wayne. Wayne became Arness’ mentor and when the Matt Dillon part came up he convinced him to take it. He kept the role for 19 years … plus came back a decade later to do a few made for television Gunsmoke movies.

Arness was also a private pilot whose exploits buzzing the Gunsmoke set were legendary.

His was a great career, the major part being one of the greatest characters in the best days of Television dramas.

David Nelson Dead at 74…

From NPR:


David Nelson, who starred on his parents’ popular television show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, died Tuesday, a family spokesman said. He was 74.

Nelson died at his home in the Century City area of Los Angeles after battling complications of colon cancer, said family spokesman and longtime Hollywood publicist Dale Olson.

Nelson was the last remaining member of the Nelsons TV family, which included actor/bandleader Ozzie, his singer wife, Harriet Hilliard and his teen idol brother Rick. The show originated on radio in 1952 as “Here Come the Nelsons, then ran for 320 episodes on TV from 1952 to 1966 as The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet with some of the story lines taken from the stars’ own lives. David Nelson also directed and produced numerous episodes of the show throughout its run.

The show was shot in the Nelson family home in the Hollywood foothills, which remains a popular attraction for visitors on Hollywood celebrity bus tours.

Born in New York City, David attended Hollywood High School and the University of Southern California.

Do you use IMDb?

I spend so much time reviewing information on films I am about to watch on TCM or IFC or AMC (to find out reviews, casts, directors and designers) that sometimes I think I live on the Internet Movie Database. That’s why I was interested in this article out of the UK (The Mail) on where IMDb was born and the man who runs it (it’s now owned by Amazon.com). 

Here’s the opening of the article, but it is worth going in and reading the whole thing (you can do that by clicking HERE):

clipped from www.dailymail.co.uk

Revealed: How the world’s biggest movie website is run by a ‘self-confessed geek’ from a house in Bristol

By
Daily Mail Reporter

  • 43-year-old compiled info on 3.2m actors and industry professionals
  • Founded firm in 1990 and still works as chief exec despite selling to Amazon
  • Sale price has been kept a secret but founder and volunteers netted cash and Amazon stock
The founder of one of the most successful websites in the world has been unveiled as a self-confessed technology geek who still runs the website from his former family home in Bristol.

Colin Needham, from Stoke Gifford, began the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) in 1990 as a hobby, and now the website is the 42nd most popular on the planet, attracting some 57million unique users every month.

Such is the power and influence it wields, IMDb – which has information on over 3.2million actors and industry professionals and a database of more than 1.5million films – has the ability to launch and crush Hollywood careers.

Budd Schulberg Dies

ShulbergBudd Schulberg, who wrote the award-winning screenplay for “On the Waterfront” and created a classic American archetype of naked ambition, Sammy Glick, in his novel “What Makes Sammy Run?,” died on Wednesday. He was 95.

My favorite of Schulberg’s works was the novel “What Makes Sammy Run,” which took the lid off of Hollywood politics and was the Author’s way of getting back at studios that had originally ostracized him.

During the Red Scare of the 1950s, Schulberg testified before the HUAC and named some of the people he had been with for a short period in the Communist Party. This didn’t earn him a lot of friends.

Schulberg, however, kept working and writing for films and television right up to his death.