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Mar 6th 2012, 18:04

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This will serve as our ongoing thread throughout 2012 of film professionals who pass away.

Norman Alden (actor)
Bud Alper (sound) 
Geoffrey Ammer (public relations) 
Frank Andrina (short films/animation)
Dimitra Arliss (actor)
Conrad Bain (actor)
Bernard Barron (executive)
Gary Bell (sound)
Richard Rodney Bennett (composer)
Paul Bogart (director)    
Ernest Borgnine (actor)
George Bowers (editor)
Richard Bruno (designer)
Phillip Bruns (actor)
Barry Cahill (actor)   
Daniel Cahn (film editor)
Breena Camden (public relations)
Harry Carey, Jr. (actor)
Janet Carroll (actor)
Thomas Cook (writer)
Jerome Courtland (producer)
Judith Crist (critic)
Hal David (composer) 
William De Cinces (designer)
Patricia Donahue (actor)
Michael Clarke Duncan (actor)
Charles Durning (actor)  
Jake Eberts (producer)
Nora Ephron (writer/director)
Chad Everett (actor)
Irving Fein (public relations) 
Richard Fowkes (executive)
Steve Franken (actor)
Stuart Freeborn (makeup) 
Al Freeman, Jr. (actor) 
Robin Gibb (composer)  
Ted Gomillion (sound)
Charles Graffeo (designer)
David Grayson (makeup/hair)
Andy Griffith (actor)
Ulu Grosbard (director)
Gerry Hambling (editor) 
Marvin Hamlisch (composer) 
Celeste Holm (actor)
Mike Hopkins (sound)
Eiko Ishioka (designer)
Stan Jolley (designer)
Jack Klugman (actor)
Michael Kohut (sound)
Stefan Kudelski (sound)
Douglas Laurence (producer)
Garrett Lewis (designer) 
Warren Lockhart (documentary)  
Barry Lorie (public relations)
Tracy Lorie (public relations)      
Richard Lynch (actor)  
Ralph McQuarrie (visual effects)
Russell Means (actor) 
Patricia Medina (actor)
George Murdock (actor)
Ha Nguyen (designer)   
Dale Olson (public relations)
Lupe Ontiveros (actor)
Nagisa Oshima (director)
Cliff Osmond (actor)  
Morgan Paull (actor) 
Frank Pierson (writer)
Martin Poll (producer)
Dory Previn (composer)
Jason Rabinovitz (executive)
Robert Ragland (composer)
Carlo Rambaldi (visual effects)      
Joyce Redman (actor)
John Rich (director) 
Lee Rich (executive/producer)
Martin Richards (producer)
J. Michael Riva (production designer)
Richard Robbins (composer) 
Charles Rosen (designer)  
Ann Rutherford (actor)
Irving Saraf (documentarian) 
Andrew Sarris (critic/journalist)
Harris Savides (cinematographer) 
Margaret Fitts Scott (writer)     
Tony Scott (director)
Alan Sharp (writer) 
Mel Shaw (short films/animation)
Robert Sherman (composer)
J. Edward Shugrue (executive) 
Lois Smith (public relations)
Thomas Soderberg (sound) 
Warren Stevens (actor)
Mel Stuart (director)  
Leonard Termo (actor)
Phyllis Thaxter (actor)
Neil Travis (film editor) 
Susan Tyrell (actor)
Gore Vidal (writer)
David Wages (editor)
William Windom (actor)
Michael Winner (director) 
Matthew Yuricich (visual effects)  
Richard Zanuck (executive/producer)

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Mar 6th 2012, 18:06

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BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) – Ralph McQuarrie, the artist who developed the look of the first Star Wars trilogy's signature characters, sets and spaceships, has died. He was 82.

McQuarrie's death Saturday at his Berkeley home was announced on his official website and Facebook page. John Scoleri, co-author of a book on McQuarrie's art, told the Los Angeles Times that McQuarrie had suffered from Parkinson's disease.

In a statement on the official Star Wars website, George Lucas said McQuarrie was the first person he hired to help him envision what would become some of the top-grossing movies of all time.

"His genial contribution, in the form of unequaled production paintings, propelled and inspired all of the cast and crew of the original Star Wars trilogy," Lucas said. "When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph's fabulous illustrations."

McQuarrie's original concepts included the look of some of pop culture's most recognizable characters, including Darth Vader, C-3P0 and R2-D2. He also created the look of the Stormtroopers and the lightsaber.

Other movies to which McQuarrie contributed concept illustrations included Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. He won an Academy Award for Visual Effects for his work on the 1985 film Cocoon.

McQuarrie worked as a technical illustrator at Boeing before his career in the film industry took off, the Times said. He saw combat in the Korean War and survived a bullet that pierced his helmet. He is survived by his wife, sister and two stepsons, the Times said.

.

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Mar 6th 2012, 21:33

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LONDON — How do you sum up the work of songwriter Robert B. Sherman? Try one word: "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."

The tongue-twisting term, sung by magical nanny Mary Poppins, is like much of Sherman's work — both complex and instantly memorable, for child and adult alike. Once heard, it was never forgotten.

Sherman, an American who died in London at age 86, was half of a sibling partnership that put songs into the mouths of nannies and Cockney chimney sweeps, jungle animals and Parisian felines.

Robert Sherman and his brother Richard composed scores for films including "The Jungle Book," "The Aristocats," "Mary Poppins" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." They also wrote the most-played tune on Earth, "It's a Small World (After All)."

Sherman's agent, Stella Richards, said Tuesday that Sherman died peacefully in London on Monday.

Son Jeffrey Sherman paid tribute to his father on Facebook, saying he "wanted to bring happiness to the world and, unquestionably, he succeeded."

Jeffrey Sherman told The Associated Press that his father had learned the craft of songwriting from his own father, Tin Pan Alley composer Al Sherman.

"His rule in writing songs was keep it singable, simple and sincere," Jeffrey Sherman said. "In the simplest things you find something universal."

Robert Sherman knew another truth, his son said: "What seems so simple is really very complex.

"He was a very simple guy — complex but simple. If you ever want to know about my Dad, listen to the lyrics of his songs."

Robert A. Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Co., said in a statement that the company mourned the loss of "one of the world's greatest songwriters and a true Disney legend." Three Broadway marquees — including The New Amsterdam Theatre, where "Mary Poppins" is playing — were to dim their lights Tuesday night in Sherman's honor.

The Sherman Brothers' career was long, prolific and garlanded with awards. They won two Academy Awards for Walt Disney's 1964 smash "Mary Poppins" — best score and best song, "Chim Chim Cher-ee." They also picked up a Grammy for best movie or TV score.

Their hundreds of credits as joint lyricist and composer also include the films "Winnie the Pooh," "The Slipper and the Rose," "Snoopy Come Home," "Charlotte's Web" and "The Magic of Lassie." Their Broadway musicals included 1974's "Over Here!" and stagings of "Mary Poppins" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" in the mid-2000s.

"Something good happens when we sit down together and work," Richard Sherman told The Associated Press in a 2005 joint interview. "We've been doing it all our lives. Practically since college we've been working together."

The brothers' awards included 23 gold and platinum albums and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They became the only Americans ever to win First Prize at the Moscow Film Festival for "Tom Sawyer" in 1973 and were inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 2005.

President George W. Bush awarded them the National Medal of Arts in 2008, commended for music that "has helped bring joy to millions."

Alan Menken, composer of scores for Disney films including "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin," said the Sherman brothers' legacy "goes far beyond the craft of songwriting."

"There is a magic in their songs and in the films and musicals they breathed life into," he said Tuesday.

Robert Bernard Sherman was born in New York on Dec. 19, 1925, and raised there and in Beverly Hills, California.

The brothers credited their father with challenging them to write songs and for their love of lyrics. Al Sherman's legacy of songs includes "You Gotta Be a Football Hero," "(What Do We Do On a) Dew-Dew-Dewy Day" and "On the Beach at Bali-Bali."

Robert Sherman's affection for Britain was nurtured during his service with the U.S. Army in World War II. One of the first American soldiers to enter the Dachau concentration camp — and, his son said, the only Jewish serviceman there — he was shot in the knee in Germany in 1945.

Recovering in hospitals in England, he developed a fondness for and familiarity with the country that stuck with him. He wrote for British characters in "Mary Poppins," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "Winnie the Pooh," and spent the last years of his life in London.

After the war, the brothers started writing songs together. They began a decade-long partnership with Disney during the 1960s after having written hit pop songs like "Tall Paul" for ex-Mouseketeer Annette Funicello and "You're Sixteen," later recorded by Ringo Starr.

Though they were estranged for a number of years, the brothers never completely broke ties. When asked about that, Richard Sherman said: "We're human. We have frailties and weaknesses. But we love each other very much, respect each other."

They wrote over 150 songs at Disney, including the soundtracks for such films as "The Sword and the Stone," "The Parent Trap," "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," "The Jungle Book," "The Aristocats" and "The Tigger Movie."

Most of the songs the Shermans wrote — in addition to being catchy and playful — work on multiple levels for different ages, something they learned from Disney.

"He once told us, early on in our career, 'Don't insult the kid — don't write down to the kid. And don't write just for the adult.' So we write for grandpa and the 4-year-old — and everyone in between — and all see it on a different level," Richard Sherman said.

The Shermans teased songs out of each other, brainstorming titles and then trying to top each other with improvements. "Being brothers, we sort of short-cut each other," Richard Sherman said. "We can almost look at each other and know, 'Hey, you're onto something, kiddo.'"

Most of their songs were written quickly, but others took longer. The pair spent two weeks trying to nail down a snappy title for a song sung by the nanny in "Mary Poppins." They considered, and then nixed, "An Apple a Day" and "A Stitch in Time."

"Nothing was coming," Robert Sherman recalled. Then one day his then-8-year-old son came home from school. "I said, 'How was school?' He said, 'Great. We got the (polio) vaccine today.' I said, 'Oh, did it hurt?' He said, 'No, they just stuck medicine on a lump of sugar.' I went, 'Ohhhh!' That was it!"

"He came in the next day all glassy-eyed," Richard Sherman recalled. The final lyric would become world famous when it emerged from the lips of Julie Andrews: "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down."

Another of their songs — "It's a Small World (After All)" — has become one of the most translated and performed songs on the planet. It plays on a continual, multilingual loop every few minutes at Disney theme parks across the world — a fact that Disney employees are only too well aware of.

"We've driven teenagers crazy in every language," quipped Robert Sherman.

Away from the piano, the two raised families and pursued their own interests, yet still lived close to each other in Beverly Hills and continued working together well into their 70s. When "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" came to Broadway in 2005, they added new lyrics and four new songs.

Robert Sherman moved to Britain in 2002 after the death of his wife Joyce. He is survived by his brother and four children: Laurie, Jeffrey, Andrea and Robert.

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Apr 3rd 2012, 19:30

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Neil Travis, who won an Oscar for Best Editing for Dances With Wolves, died March 28 of natural causes at his home in Arroyo Grande, Calif. He was 75. With a career that spanned more than four decades, the native Angeleno began his entertainment business career as an assistant editor at Paramount Studios while he was in his early 20s. Travis subsequently worked as a second editor for a Fox television series and shortly was offered a position to help edit The Traveling Executioner. His TV work continued and in 1977, Travis won an Emmy for his work on the groundbreaking miniseries Roots. Travis eventually edited more than 25 blockbuster features including No Way Out, Patriot Games, Deceived, Clear And Present Danger and Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines. In 2010 he received the American Cinema Editors Career Achievement Award. Travis is survived by his wife, Ruth and two children, Michael and Michelle. Services will be held in Arroyo Grande on May 12th. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to Hospice Partners of the Central Coast, YMCA or Boy Scouts of America.

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Apr 3rd 2012, 19:40

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By DENNIS HEVESI

Warren Stevens, a lanky, square-jawed actor with swept-back hair and a husky voice whose face became familiar through his more than 100 roles on television and in movies over six decades, died on Tuesday at his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He was 92.

The cause was chronic lung disease, his publicist, Dale Olson, said.

Mr. Stevens, who first made his mark on the Broadway stage in the 1940s, became a versatile and ubiquitous presence on television in the ’50s. He played three different characters on episodes of “Have Gun, Will Travel” between 1957 and 1963; three different characters on “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” between 1965 and 1967; four characters on “Bonanza” between 1965 and 1970; and four on “Ironside” between 1967 and 1975.

While Mr. Stevens would make appearances on dozens of other television series, perhaps his best-known role was in the classic 1956 science fiction movie “Forbidden Planet.” He played the ill-fated Doc Ostrow, who perishes at the hand of a mysterious force on the planet Altair IV, 16 light years from Earth, after his spaceship arrives to search for a long-lost colony.

In 1952, he had a supporting role as a reporter in the movie “Deadline, U.S.A.,” in which Humphrey Bogart played the managing editor of a big-city newspaper seeking to dissuade its owners from selling it simply to free up their capital. Mr. Stevens was among the cast members who gave “conspicuously flavorsome and good” performances, Bosley Crowther wrote in The New York Times.

Among his more than 40 films, Mr. Stevens also had roles in “The Barefoot Contessa,” “Gunpoint,” “Madigan,” “Red Skies of Montana” and “Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell.”

His more than 60 television roles over the years included appearances (and sometimes recurring roles) on “Return to Peyton Place,” “The Twilight Zone,” “M*A*S*H,” “Rawhide,” “The Man From U.N.C.L.E” and “Gunsmoke.”

In recent years, he appeared with Lou Diamond Phillips, Ernest Borgnine and Lee Majors in the 2004 western “The Trail to Hope Rose” on the Hallmark Channel and in a 2006 episode of “ER.”

Warren Albert Stevens was born on Nov. 2, 1919, in Clarks Summit, Pa. By his early 20s, he was acting in summer stock in Virginia.

After serving as a pilot in the Army Air Forces during World War II, he came to New York and joined the Actors Studio. He soon had roles on Broadway in “Galileo,” “Sundown Beach” and “The Smile of the World,” and in radio soap operas including “The Aldrich Family.”

His break came in 1949 in the Broadway production of Sidney Kingsley’s “Detective Story,” a gritty account of the inner workings of a New York City police precinct that starred Ralph Bellamy. Brooks Atkinson wrote in The Times that “as a decent young man horrified to find himself a common criminal, Warren Stevens gives a fine, reticent performance.” That performance led to a film contract with 20th Century Fox.

Mr. Stevens is survived by his wife of 43 years, the former Barbara Fletcher, and their two sons, Adam and Mathew; and a son, Laurence, from a previous marriage, to Susan Huntington.



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May 2nd 2012, 17:34

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LOS ANGELES — The actress who became a leading lady of Hollywood films in the 1950s opposite Glenn Ford, Alan Ladd, Karl Malden and Fernando Lamas has died in Los Angeles. Patricia Medina was 92.

Her friend, Meredith Silverbach, told the Los Angeles Times that Medina had been in declining health and that she died Saturday at Barlow Respiratory Hospital.

The British-born actress was the widow of actor Joseph Cotten. She arrived in Hollywood after World War II and signed with the MGM studios.

She had lead roles in "Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion" in 1950, "Sangaree" with Lamas in 1953, "Plunder of the Sun" with Ford in 1953, "Botany Bay" with Ladd in 1953 and "Phantom of the Rue Morgue" with Malden in 1954.
Medina wrote an autobiography, "Laid Back in Hollywood," in 1998.

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May 16th 2012, 11:38

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By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times

May 14, 2012, 9:45 a.m.

Joyce Redman, a two-time Oscar-nominated Irish-born actress whose erotically charged dinner-eating scene opposite Albert Finney was a highlight of the bawdy 1963 British film comedy "Tom Jones," has died. She was 96.

Redman died Thursday in Kent, England after a short battle with pneumonia, said her son, actor Crispin Redman.

A veteran of the London and Broadway stage, Redman received her first Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress for "Tom Jones," which starred Finney as the incorrigible 18th century English title character who has a series of amorous adventures.

One took place with Redman's bold and brazen Mrs. Waters.

As The Times' Philip K. Scheuer wrote in his review, Jones rescues Mrs. Waters, "beaten and half naked along the road." They wind up in a country inn, where they lustily dine in what Scheuer described as "a scene of gourmandizing that will go down in history.

"Eyeing one another steadily, saying nary a word, they stuff their mouths with dripping goodies in a rite that becomes the personification, even beatification, of sex a la carte."

Redman and Finney had appeared together onstage and they played the eating-as-foreplay scene just "for fun," Finney recalled in 2000 in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot.

"It was filmed early in the morning, and it took hours," he said. "They kept bringing more food – trying us out on different dishes. They'd say things like 'Bring more oysters. She's very good on oysters.' ... We weren't sure the audience would get it at all. It seems they did."

In a 1987 interview with Newsday, Redman said: "Wouldn't it be sad if that were the only thing for which I were remembered?"

The hit "Tom Jones," which was directed by Tony Richardson, won Oscars for best picture, director, screenplay and score.

"After 'Tom Jones,' I was offered all kinds of things, and I could have named my price, but the children were still pretty young, and no way could I leave them," Redman, a mother of three, had said in Newsday.

At the time, she was playing Henry Higgins' mother in a Broadway revival of "Pygmalion" that starredPeter O'Tooleas Higgins.

She received another supporting actress Oscar nomination for her performance as Emilia in the 1965 film "Othello," starring Laurence Olivier.

One of four sisters in an Anglo-Irish family, Redman was born in Newcastle, Ireland on Dec. 9, 1915, according to British media reports, and grew up in County Mayo.

Redman trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and debuted on the London stage in 1935.

She made her Broadway debut as Doll Tearsheet in "King Henry IV, Part II" in 1946 and created the role of Anne Boleyn opposite Rex Harrison's Henry in Maxwell Anderson's drama "Anne of the Thousand Days" on Broadway in 1948.

On television, she appeared on TV series such as "Vanity Fair," "Clayhanger," "The Rector's Wife," "Tales of the Unexpected" and "Ruth Rendell Mysteries."

Her last screen role was as Old Queen Victoria in the 2001 TV movie "Victoria & Albert." The cast included her son, Crispin.

Redman was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Wynne-Roberts, whom she married in 1949.

Survivors include her three children and five grandchildren.

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May 25th 2012, 13:33

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Janet Carroll, a veteran film, TV and stage actress who played Tom Cruise’s mother on vacation in 1983’s Risky Business, died Tuesday in New York after a long illness. She was 71.

During a career that spanned three decades, the Chicago native also had recurring roles in two long-running sitcoms: as the owner of the store in which shoe salesman Al Bundy (Ed O’Neill) works in Fox’s Married … With Children and as the wife of stuffy anchorman Jim Dial (Charles Kimbrough) on CBS’ Murphy Brown.

Carroll also worked regularly on TV’s The Bronx Zoo opposite Ed Asner and The Bonnie Hunt Show and had stints with Brothers and Sisters, Mary, Designing Women, Matlock, Third Rock From the Sun, Law & Order: SVU and Scrubs.

Carroll’s film résumé includes The Killing Time (1987), Memories of Me (1988), Family Business (1989), Talent for the Game (1991), Destiny Turns on the Radio (1995), Forces of Nature (1999), Enough (2002) and the soon-to-be-released College Debts.

On stage, Carroll acted in Lady Windermere’s Fan with Lynn Redgrave and John Lithgow; A Couple of White Chicks, co-starring Cloris Leachman; and Electra, for which she received the Los Angeles Drama-Logue Critics’ Award. She made her Broadway debut in 2005 starring alongside Sutton Foster and Maureen McGovern in the original musical Little Women.

Carroll appeared in eight major musicals every summer for five years at the Kansas City Starlight Theatre, where she began her stage career out of high school. She also served for eight years as the artistic director of The Jazz Series at Simi Valley (Calif.) Cultural Center and performed on tour with the Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band. She recorded a few albums, including 2011’s Lady Be Good.

Carroll co-founded the Victory Ball in Westport, Conn., which annually benefits ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) research, and served on the executive board of directors as vp development for Ginny Mancini’s Society of Singers.

Survivors include her son George and daughter-in-law Lauren. A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at Advent Lutheran Church in New York.

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May 25th 2012, 13:35

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Hollywood Reporter  -
 Producer Lee Rich, the co-founder of the legendary Lorimar production company -- the home of classic TV dramas The Waltons and Dallas and films including An Officer and a Gentleman -- died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles after a battle with lung cancer. He was 93.

In a entertainment career that spanned more than 30 years, Rich worked as an advertising executive, TV programmer, motion picture and TV producer and, for a stint in the '80s, as chairman of the board at MGM/UA.

Partnered in Lorimar from 1969-86 with Merv Adelson, Rich served as executive producer of more than 1,600 episodes of 33 Lorimar TV series, including The Waltons, Dallas, Eight Is Enough, Falcon Crest, Knots Landing, King’s Crossing and Flamingo Road.

The Lorimar series on which Rich served as executive producer received 82 Emmy nominations and 29 wins, including a best drama series victory for The Waltons in 1973.

“He was one of the greatest producers to ever come out of advertising, and he knew talent better than anyone else,” said TV producer Norman Lear.

Rich also served as executive producer of 45 made-for-television movies and miniseries, including The Man with James Earl JonesThe Blue Knight, considered television's first miniseries, for which William Holden earned an Emmy in 1973; Sybil, an Emmy winner for  in 1976); and Helter Skelter in 1977.

In addition, he exec produced 1971’s The Homecoming, a two-hour Christmas TV special starring Patricia Neal that was the first of many projects in which Rich would team with Waltons creator Earl Hamner.

Lorimar also produced such films as Being There (1979), starring Peter Sellers; The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) remake with Jack Nicholson; and An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), starring Richard Gere. In 1985, Lorimar merged with Telepictures, forming Lorimar-Telepictures. That company later merged with Warner Bros.

“Lee’s passion for television, his business acumen and his love of the creative process made him an extraordinary mentor for all of us who had the good fortune to work for him,” said Bruce Rosenblum, president of Warner Bros. Television Group and chairman & CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. “Lee was a creative force who established the gold standard for independent production companies, and the Lorimar/Warner Bros. merger was transformational for Warner Bros. Television."

Added Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corp.: “Lee Rich was a giant in the television industry who produced some of the most iconic series in the history of the medium and influenced audiences worldwide. He also served as an early mentor to me while I was at Lorimar, providing valuable guidance for which I will forever be appreciative."

From 1986-88, Rich was the chairman and CEO of MGM/UA; there, he supervised such films as Baby Boom (1987), The Living Daylights (1987), Moonstruck (1987), Willow (1988), A Fish Called Wanda (1988) and best picture winner Rain Man (1988)  and such TV series as In the Heat of the Night and thirtysomething

Rich abruptly resigned from MGM/UA in July 1988 during a corporate restructuring and formed his own production entity. At Lee Rich Productions — which had a distribution agreement with Warner Bros. — from 1988-95, he executive produced Hard to Kill (1990), starring Steven Seagal, and produced Passenger 57 (1992), starring Wesley Snipes, among other films.

His most recent movie credits include Barbet Schroeder’s Desperate Measures (1998); the remake of Gloria (1999) with Sharon StoneThe Score (2001), starring Robert De Niro and Edward Norton and Replay, now in development at Warner Bros.

In an interview with the Television Academy Foundation’s Archive of American Television, Rich spoke about the famous Dallas storyline “Who Shot J.R.?” in which Larry Hagman’s character is fired upon in the 1979-80 season finale in March and the assailant is not revealed until the following November — when the primetime soap attracted a then-record 53.3 rating and 76% share.

“We had set it up to a point where we knew that X number of people wanted to kill him,” Rich recalled. “We shot three different endings and never told anybody which ending we were going to use. We also hid the script. I and [writer-director Leonard Katzman] were the only ones who knew.

Rich was born Dec. 10, 1926, in Cleveland. After graduation from Ohio University, he joined the advertising firm of Lord and Thomas as an office boy. He served four years in the U.S. Navy, then spent a year with the American Association of Advertising Agencies before joining the Weinthraib Agency in New York.

Rich’s next stop was Benton and Bowles, where he spent 13 years, becoming senior vp and a member of the board of directors. During the 1960s, Benton & Bowles was a wellspring of network programming directors. As a representative of the advertisers, Rich would often be on the set and critiquing scripts before giving his clients’ approval.

Many future TV luminaries worked for Rich at B&B, including former NBC chairman and producer Grant Tinker,  and he helped package The Danny Thomas Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Rich left Benton & Bowles in 1965 to partner with the Mirisch Co. and form Mirisch-Rich Prods. where he produced for TV The Rat Patrol, the Garry Msrshall-Jerry Belson created Hey, Landlord and the Saturday cartoons Super Six and Super President. He returned to advertising at the Leo Burnett Agency, but then left to found Lorimar with Adelson.

In 1971, Rich produced his first feature, the comedy The Sporting Club (1971), and his first film as executive producer was the dark comedy Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978). Among his other credits, he produced the thriller Just Cause (1995), starring Sean Connery, and the family film The Amazing Panda Adventure (1995), the first Western movie to be filmed in the Chinese Himalayas.

Other productions included the telefilms Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate (1971), starring Helen Hayes; Aesop’s Fables (1971) with Bill Cosby; Pursuit (1972), starring Ben Gazarra; and The Crooked Hearts (1972) with Rosalind Russell.

Survivors include his lifelong partner, actress Pippa Scott; children Michael, Jessica, Miranda, Blair and Anthony; and seven grandchildren.

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Jun 12th 2012, 12:47

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LOS ANGELES — Ann Rutherford, the demure brunette actress who played the sweetheart in the long-running Andy Hardy series and Scarlett O'Hara's youngest sister in "Gone With the Wind," has died. She was 94.

A close friend, Anne Jeffreys, said she was at Rutherford's side when the actress died Monday evening at home in Beverly Hills. Rutherford died of heart problems and had been ill for several months, Jeffreys said.

Rutherford's death was first reported by the Los Angeles Times ( http://lat.ms/MEPubi ).

"She was a dear person, a very funny lady, wonderful heart, was always trying to do things for people," said Jeffreys, a leading lady of many films of the 1940s and a star of the 1950s TV sitcom "Topper."

Rutherford was a frequent guest at "Gone With the Wind" celebrations in Georgia and, as one of the few remaining actors from the movie, continued to attract fans from around the world, Jeffreys said.

"She loved it. It really stimulated the last years of her life, because she got thousands of emails from fans," Jeffreys said. "She was in great demand."

She was also known for the Andy Hardy series, a hugely popular string of comical, sentimental films, that starred Lewis Stone as a small-town judge and Mickey Rooney as his spirited teenage son.

Rutherford first appeared in the second film of the series, "You're Only Young Once," in 1938, and she went on 11 more. She played Polly Benedict, the ever-faithful girlfriend that Andy always returned to, no matter what other, more glamorous girl had temporarily caught his eye. (Among the other girls: Judy Garland and Lana Turner.)

It was said she won the part of Carreen — the youngest of the three O'Hara sisters in "Gone With the Wind" — because Judy Garland was filming "The Wizard of Oz."

Rutherford told the Times in 2010 that MGM head Louis B. Mayer was going to refuse her the role, calling it "a nothing part." But Rutherford, who was a fan of the novel, uncharacteristically burst into tears and he relented.

Rutherford plays the sister who, early in the film, begs to be allowed to go to the ball at Ashley Wilkes' plantation. "Oh, Mother, can't I stay up for the ball tomorrow? ... I'm 13 now," she says in a sweet voice.

In 1989, she was one of 10 surviving "GWTW" cast members who gathered in Atlanta for the celebration of the film's 50th anniversary.

"Anyone who had read the book sensed they were into something that would belong to the ages, and everyone was in a frenzy to read the book," she said.

"The specialness of this is with each generation of young people who are touched by `Gone With the Wind,'" she said. "As long as there are little children, there will always be a Mickey Mouse. ... On an adult version, `Gone With the Wind' does that."

Rutherford concurred with other cast members that no matter what else they had done, "Our obituary will say we were in `Gone With the Wind' and we'll be proud of it."

In a 1969 Los Angeles Times interview, she lamented that the "permissive generation" of the 1960s wasn't getting the old-fashioned parenting that the fictional Andy Hardy got.

"Someday someone will have to sit down with today's youth and give them a man-to-man talk," she said.

She also joked that "my life has reached the point where I'm now `camp.'"

Rutherford was born in 1917, according to the voter records reviewed by The Associated Press. Some sources give other dates. The daughter of an opera tenor and an actress, she began performing on the stage as a child.

She launched her movie career in Westerns while still in her teens, often appearing with singing cowboy hero Gene Autry and sometimes with John Wayne.

She joined MGM in 1937, playing a variety of roles for several years before leaving the studio to freelance.

Among her other films: "Whistling in the Dark," with Red Skelton, 1941, and its two sequels, "Whistling in Dixie" and "Whistling in Brooklyn"; "Orchestra Wives," with bandleader Glenn Miller, 1942; and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," with Danny Kaye, 1947.

She largely retired from the screen in 1950, but appeared in a couple of films in the 1970s, "They Only Kill Their Masters," 1972, and "Won Ton Ton — The Dog Who Saved Hollywood," 1976.

Her first marriage, to David May in 1942, ended in divorce; they had two children. In 1953, she married producer William Dozier, a union that lasted until his death in 1991. He was best known as the producer of the "Batman" TV series.

Vivien Leigh, who played Scarlett O'Hara, died in 1967. Evelyn Keyes, who played the middle O'Hara sister, Suellen, died in July 2008.

Rutherford recalled that the night of the "Gone With the Wind" premiere in Atlanta, author Margaret Mitchell invited the cast, including Leigh and co-star Clark Gable, to her home for scrambled eggs. Gable and Mitchell disappeared.

"Clark Gable and Margaret were hiding in the bathroom, Clark on the edge of the tub and Margaret you know where, just talking," she chuckled. "They had to get away from the photographers."

 

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Jun 12th 2012, 12:51

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Oscar-nominated production designer J. Michael Riva, whose film credits include "The Amazing Spider-Man," ''A Few Good Men" and "The Color Purple," has died after suffering a stroke in New Orleans. He was 63.

In a statement to The Associated Press on Tuesday, Sony Pictures spokesman Steve Elzer said Riva, who lived in Los Angeles, was in New Orleans working on the Quentin Tarantino film "Django Unchained" and was preparing to head to the set when he suffered a stroke June 1.

According to the statement, Riva died June 7 "surrounded by his family."

Tarantino, who has been in New Orleans for months directing "Django Unchained," said in a statement released through Elzer that the film crew is "devastated by this tragic loss as we persevere on his wonderful sets."

Riva earned an Academy Award nomination for his work on 1985's "The Color Purple." His other production design work include three of the "Lethal Weapon" films, "Scrooged," ''The Goonies," ''Dave" and "Ordinary People."

Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said Riva was "a tremendous talent, able to tailor the look and mood of a story to the emotion in the script. We are stunned and saddened by his passing."

Marc Webb, director of "The Amazing Spider-Man," added: "Michael Riva was a wonderful collaborator, brilliant designer, an emphatic perfectionist — but most of all he was a great friend. He was a gift from the universe and I will miss him like crazy."

In an email, Elzer said a private family service has been planned for this week in Los Angeles. Planning is also under way for a public memorial and celebration in Riva's honor but details have not been finalized, Elzer said.

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Jun 18th 2012, 19:05

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Oscar nominee Susan Tyrell passes away at 67. From Entertainment Weekly.

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Jun 20th 2012, 15:16

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Andrew Sarris Dead: Famed Film Critic Dies At 83

By HILLEL ITALIE 06/20/12 04:57 PM ET AP

 

Andrew Sarris Dead Andrew Sarris (R), famed film critic

NEW YORK — Andrew Sarris, a leading movie critic during a golden age for reviewers who popularized the French reverence for directors and inspired debate about countless films and filmmakers, died Wednesday. He was 83.

Sarris died at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan after complications developed from a stomach virus, according to his wife, film critic Molly Haskell.

Sarris was best known for his work with the Village Voice, his opinions especially vital during the 1960s and 1970s, when movies became films, or even cinema, and critics and fans argued about them the way they once might have contended over paintings or novels.

No longer was the big screen just entertainment. Thanks to film studies courses and revival houses, movies were analyzed in classrooms and in cafes. Audiences discovered such foreign directors as Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman, rediscovered older works by Howard Hawks, John Ford and others from Hollywood, and welcomed new favorites such as Robert Altman and Martin Scorsese.

Filmmakers were heroes and critics were sages, including Sarris, Pauline Kael, Stanley Kauffmann and Manny Farber.

"Andrew Sarris was a vital figure in teaching America to respond to foreign films as well as American movies," fellow critic David Thomson said Wednesday. "As writer, teacher, friend and husband he was an essential. History has gone."

Sarris started with the Voice in 1960 and established himself as a major reviewer in 1962 with the essay "Notes on the Auteur Theory." Acknowledging the influence of French critics and even previous American writers, Sarris argued for the primacy of directors and called the "ultimate glory" of movies "the tension between a director's personality and his material."

He not only helped write the rules, but filled in the names. He was a pioneer of the annual "Top 10" film lists that remain fixtures in the media. In 1968, he published "The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968," what Sarris described as "a collection of facts, a reminder of movies to be resurrected, of genres to be redeemed, of directors to be rediscovered." Among his favorites: Ford, Hawks, Orson Welles and Fritz Lang. Categorized as "Less Than Meets the Eye": John Huston, David Lean, Elia Kazan and Fred Zinnemann.

The critic himself would be criticized, especially by his enduring rival, Kael, a West Coast-based reviewer who in 1967 was hired by The New Yorker. In the 1963 essay "Circles and Squares," Kael mocked Sarris' ideas as vague and derivative, trivial and immature. She later wrote off the auteur theory as "an attempt by adult males to justify staying inside the small range of experience of their boyhood and adolescence."

Athough Kael herself went on to celebrate such directors as Altman and Brian De Palma, the two never reconciled and friends divided into "Sarristes" and "Paulettes." When Kael died, in 2001, Sarris acknowledged that they "never much liked each other" and added that he found her passing less upsetting than the demise days earlier of actress Jane Greer.

"The terms of the battles he fought for the films he loved have receded into the past – the rivalry with Pauline Kael that we saw as epic at the time, the campaigns on behalf of the auteur theory," Wall Street Journal critic Joe Morgenstern said Wednesday. "Yet Andrew's passion for films – and for his beloved Molly – remained undiminished, despite declining health. Indeed, in recent years his film love seemed to intensify as it grew ever more inclusive."

Kael aside, Sarris was greatly admired by his peers and even some directors. "Citizen Sarris," a collection of essays about the critic published in 2001, included contributions from critics Roger Ebert and Thomson, and from filmmakers Scorsese, John Sayles and Budd Boetticher. Scorsese, with whom Sarris briefly shared an office at New York University, praised him as "a fundamental teacher" and credited him for helping Scorsese "see the genius in American movies." A former student, "Superbad" director Greg Mottola, tweeted Wednesday that Sarris was an "inspirational film writer and teacher."

Sarris was a heavyset and sad-eyed man, a deeply knowledgeable, elegiac critic with a notable willingness to admit error. He dismissed Billy Wilder in 1968 as being "too cynical to believe even his own cynicism," then years later (with a nudge from Francois Truffaut) said he was wrong. After initially panning Stanley Kubrick's "2001: Space Odyssey," he gave the 1968 film another try – under different circumstances – in 1970.

"I must report that I recently paid another visit to Stanley Kubrick's `2001' while under the influence of a smoked substance that I was assured by my contact was somewhat stronger and more authentic than oregano on a King Sano (cigarette) base," he confided.

"Anyway, I prepared to watch `2001' under what I have always been assured were optimum conditions, and surprisingly (for me) I find myself reversing my original opinion. `2001' is indeed a major work by a major artist."

Sarris was born in Brooklyn in 1928, the son of a real estate investor who lost much of his fortune during the Great Depression. (Always broke, but never poor, was how Sarris remembered his childhood.)

According to a family story, young Andrew was being pushed in a standing stroller when he dashed into a nearby movie house and had to be dragged out, screaming. "Womblike," was how Sarris later described his bond to the screen. As an undergraduate at Columbia University, he found himself edging away from campus and "ever deeper into the darkness of movie houses, not so much in search of a vocation as in flight from the laborious realities of careerism."

He called himself a "middle-class cultural guerrilla," an arsenal of ideas and emotions. "Novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poems slithered off my typewriter in haphazard spasms of abortive creation," he later wrote.

By the mid-1950s, he was absorbing the writings of the influential French journal Cahiers du Cinema, where contributors included such future directors as Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Eric Rohmer. In 1960, he became the Village Voice's film critic, starting with a review of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho," which he praised for "making previous horror films look like variations of `Pollyanna.'"

Sarris left the Voice in 1989 to write for the New York Observer, where he remained until he was laid off in 2009. In 2000, Sarris was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for criticism and in 2012 received a $10,000 prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for "progressive, original, and experimental" criticism. He was also a founding member of the National Society of Film Critics, wrote screenplays for the films "A Promise at Dawn" and "Justine" and worked as a story consultant for 20th Century Fox from 1955-65.

He was a longtime professor of film at Columbia University, and also taught at New York University and Yale University. His other books included "Politics and Cinema" and "The Primal Screen."

In 1969, Sarris married Haskell, a union Kael predicted wouldn't last. Haskell said Wednesday that "he had a wonderful life" and that it was fitting.

____

AP Film Critic Christy Lemire in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


Jun 22nd 2012, 01:12

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Richard Lynch has died at age 72.
Jun 26th 2012, 17:04

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Nora Ephron passed away today.