Emmy winner Kathryn Joosten, whose emotional death scene as Karen McKluskey gave Desperate Housewives‘ recent series finale its biggest emotional punch, died yesterday of lung cancer in Westlake Village, CA. She was 72.
Joosten won her Emmys in 2005 and 2008 in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy for her portrayal of Wisteria Lane’s crankiest (but still loveable) resident.
Prior to her Housewives success, Joosten was best known for playing Mrs. Landingham, secretary to Martin Sheen’s President Bartlet, on The West Wing.
She also had roles on such shows as Scrubs, My Name Is Earl, Joan of Arcadia, and Dharma & Greg.
Joosten, who didn’t begin her acting career until she was 42, famously told interviewers through the years that Housewives‘ creator Marc Cherry had promised never to kill off Mrs. McCluskey, seeing how many of her prior characters hadn’t survived to their shows’ series finales.
According to her rep, Joosten was surrounded by family at the time of her death.
NEW YORK (AP) — Richard Dawson, the wisecracking British entertainer who was among the schemers in the 1960s sitcom "Hogan's Heroes" and a decade later began kissing thousands of female contestants as host of the game show "Family Feud" has died. He was 79.
Dawson, also known to TV fans as the Cockney POW Cpl. Peter Newkirk on "Hogan's Heroes," died Saturday night from complications related to esophageal cancer at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, his son Gary said.
The game show, which initially ran from 1976 to 1985, pitted families who tried to guess the most popular answers to poll questions such as "What do people give up when they go on a diet?
He made his hearty, soaring delivery of the phrase "Survey says..." a national catchphrase among viewers.
Dawson won a daytime Emmy Award in 1978 as best game show host. Tom Shales of The Washington Post called him "the fastest, brightest and most beguilingly caustic interlocutor since the late great Groucho bantered and parried on 'You Bet Your Life.'" The show was so popular it was released as both daytime and syndicated evening versions.
His swaggering, randy style (and British accent) set him apart from other TV quizmasters. He was known for kissing each woman contestant, and at the time the show bowed out in 1985, executive producer Howard Felsher estimated that Dawson had kissed "somewhere in the vicinity of 20,000."
"I kissed them for luck and love, that's all," Dawson said at the time.
One of them he kissed was Gretchen Johnson, a young contestant who appeared with members of her family in 1981. After a decade together, she and Dawson wed in 1991. They had a daughter, Shannon.
Dawson reprised his game show character in a much darker mood in the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger film "The Running Man," playing the host of a deadly TV show set in a totalitarian future, where convicts try to escape as their executioners stalk them. "Saturday Night Live" mocked him in the 1970s, with Bill Murray portraying him as leering and nasty, even slapping one contestant (John Belushi) for getting too fresh.
The British-born actor already had gained fame as the fast-talking Newkirk in "Hogan's Heroes," the CBS comedy that starred Bob Crane and mined laughs from a Nazi POW camp whose prisoners hoodwink their captors and run the place themselves.
Despite its unlikely premise, the show made the ratings top 10 in its first season, 1965-66, and ran until 1971.
"We ran six years," Dawson once quipped, "a year longer than Hitler."
Both "Hogan's Heroes" and "Family Feud" have had a second life in recent years, the former on DVD reissues and the latter on GSN, formerly known as the Game Show Network.
On Dawson's last "Family Feud" in 1985, the studio audience honored him with a standing ovation, and he responded: "Please sit down. I have to do at least 30 minutes of fun and laughter and you make me want to cry."
"I've had the most incredible luck in my career," he told viewers, adding, "I never dreamed I would have a job in which so many people could touch me and I could touch them." That triggered an unexpected laugh.
Producers brought out "The New Family Feud," starring comedian Ray Combs, in 1988. Six years later, Dawson replaced Combs at the helm, but that lasted only one season. Steve Harvey is the current host.
Dawson was born Colin Lionel Emm in 1932 in Gosport, England. When he was 14 he joined the Merchant Marines, serving three years.
He first got into show business as a stand-up comedian, playing clubs in London's West End including the legendary Stork Room. It was there, in the late 1950s, he met blond bombshell Diana Dors, the film star who became known as Britain's answer to Marilyn Monroe. They married in 1959 and divorced in the late 1960s.
Dawson landed roles in U.S. comedy and variety shows in the early 1960s, including "The Steve Allen Show" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Then his performance as a military prisoner in the 1965 film "King Rat" led to his being cast in "Hogan's Heroes," which truly made him a star to American audiences.
After that, he was a regular on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" and "The New Dick Van Dyke Show."
Meanwhile, he became a frequent celebrity contestant on game shows, including both daytime and prime-time versions of "The Match Game."
While still a panelist on "The Match Game," he began hosting "Family Feud," where his popularity grew to such levels that he was mentioned as a frontrunner to win the "Tonight Show" host chair to succeed Johnny Carson, who at the time was considering retirement. Though Carson stayed put, Dawson made appearances as a guest host.
Dawson is survived by his widow, Gretchen, their daughter Shannon, two sons, Mark and Gary, from his first marriage, and four grandchildren.
Fashion designer Nolan Miller, best known for his lavish costumes for the 1980s drama "Dynasty," has died, "Dynasty" star Joan Collins said. He was 79.
Collins broke the news on Twitter, saying on Thursday that he had died in his sleep the night before. He had battled lung cancer.
"My dear friend Nolan Miller died peacefully in his sleep last night. He was a huge part of my life and I will miss him terribly. Rest now NM," she wrote.
He was nominated for Emmys in the costume categories six times in the mid-'80s: for Outstanding Costume Design for a Series for Dynasty in 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1986, for Outstanding Costume Design for a Limited Series or a Special for "Malice in Wonderland" in 1985, and for Outstanding Costume Design for a Miniseries or a Special for "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" in 1987. He won for "Dynasty" in 1984.
The popularity of his clothing for the show spawned a clothing line, the Dynasty Collection. He also worked for the "Dynasty" spin-off "The Colbys" and other shows including "Hotel" and "T.J. Hooker."
By Variety Staff Sam Manners, an Emmy-nominated producer and production manager for television and film, died June 1. He was 91.
He began his long career as a production supervisor on "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin"; associate producer, production executive and second unit director on "Naked City"; and associate producer, executive in charge of production and second unit director on "Route 66." A little later he was a unit production manager on "The Wild Wild West."
Manners' feature credits as production manager included "Billy the Kid vs. Dracula," "Heaven With a Gun," "Valdez Is Coming," "Cleopatra Jones" and "The Last Hard Men." He produced the 1979 feature "Jamaican Gold" and the 1980s film comedies "Mischief" and "Bad Medicine."
By the late 1970s, Manners began to produce a steady stream of made-for-television movies. These included "Dummy" and "Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones," both Emmy nominated for outstanding special. Others included the miniseries "Pearl" as well as "The Pride of Jesse Hallam," "Divorce Wars: A Love Story," an adaptation of "Casanova," "Bloodlines: Murder in the Family," "Lies of the Heart: The Story of Laurie Kellogg" and "Beyond Betrayal." In addition, in the 1990s he produced three telepics based on "The Waltons": "A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion," "A Walton Wedding" and "Walton Easter"
Manners even found time for small roles in "Guyana Tragedy" and "The Pride of Jesse Hallam."
Manners was born Savino Maneri in Cleveland, Ohio. His son Kim Manners, a producer and director for television, died in 2009.
Survivors include Manners' wife, Joyce; a son, TV producer Kelly A. Manners; a daughter, TV assistant director Tana M. Manners; and two granddaughters.
Dee Caruso, one-half of the comedy writing team who worked on TV’s Get Smart and The Monkees and the Disney film The World’s Greatest Athlete, died May 27 of pneumonia at his Brentwood home in Los Angeles. He was 83.
Most recently, Caruso served as a professor of screenwriting at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television for more than two decades. Before that, he and his wife of 47 years, Sandra, taught a class called “What’s Funny, What's Not” in the UCLA Extension. She survives him.
Caruso got his start working for such nightclub comedians as Allen & Rossi (Marty Allen and Steve Rossi) and Don Adams. He and his writing partner, Gerald Gardner, served as the head writers for Get Smart, the 1960s spy spoof that starred Adams and was created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry.
In addition for writing 22 epsiodes of The Monkees, the pair produced and/or wrote for The Red Skeleton Hour, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Bill Cosby Show, What’s Happening!! and Gilligan’s Island (a memorable episode with guest star Phil Silvers). They also wrote for Don Adams’ Screen Test, a 1975 game show that featured contestants re-enacting famous scenes from movies.
Caruso and Gardner shared a primetime Emmy nomination with Henry and several others in 1965 for their writing on the series That Was the Week That Was, starring David Frost.
The duo’s film résumé included Jerry Lewis war satire Which Way to the Front? (1970), The World's Greatest Athlete (1973) starring Jan-Michael Vincent and Doin’ Time (1985).
Caruso and Gardner also teamed for several telefilms, including Break Up (1973) with Bernadette Peters and How to Break Up a Happy Divorce (1976), starring Barbara Eden.
Jim Paratore, a veteran television executive who was an executive producer of TMZ, died suddenly May 29 of a heart attack while on a cycling vacation in France. He was 58.
Paratore oversaw development of the show TMZ with Harvey Levin while he was president of Telepictures Productions, a unit of Warner Bros. TV. He also served as executive vp of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.
“The Warner Bros. Television family has lost an incredibly talented and creative friend and colleague in Jim,” said Bruce Rosenblum, president of Warner Bros. Television Group. “He has left an indelible mark not only on our company’s success but on each of us who worked with him during the past 26 years. Jim had a passion for life, both inside and outside the entertainment industry, and he will truly be missed. All of us at Warner Bros. are shaken by this news.”
Paratore founded paraMedia in 2006 after almost three decades as an executive. ParaMedia has an exclusive overall deal with the Warner Bros. Television Group and is based on the studio lot in Burbank.
TMZ started online in 2005, which was an unusual move at the time. After interest in the website grew, however, Paratore and Warner Bros. were able to move it to television in 2007, where it has become a surprise success story.
Paratore was unusual in that he worked on both the creative and the business side of show business, often at the same time. He served as president of Telepictures Productions from 1992-2006 and had been executive vp of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution since 2002.
While running Telepictures, Paratore was credited with building the nonscripted production division into one of the industry’s most prolific producers. Among the shows that came out of those efforts are The Ellen DeGeneres Show (on which he was an executive producer), Bonnie Hunt, Judge Mathis, Extra, The Tyra Banks Show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show and Jenny Jones.
In primetime, Paratore and his team helped put on the air The Bachelor, High School Reunion, Steve Harvey’s Big Time and The Starlet. He also worked on TBS' late-night talker Lopez Tonight, starring George Lopez.
Before Telepictures, Paratore was at Lorimar as senior vp and was vp first run development before that. He was also vp development at Lorimar.
Before Lorimar and Telepictures, Paratore worked at local TV stations. He began his career in New Orleans at KALB-TV (in Alexandria, La.) and was director of programming and production at WTVJ-TV Miami, program director at WPLG-TV Miami and advertising and promotion manager at WJXT-TV Jacksonville, Fla.
Paratore earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola University in New Orleans.
He is survived by his wife, Jill Wickert, and his daughter, Martinique Paratore.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Frank Cady, a character actor best known as the general-store owner on the sitcom "Green Acres," has died. He was 96.
Cady's daughter Catherine Turk tells the Los Angeles Times that her father died Friday at his home in Wilsonville, Ore. A cause of death wasn't released.
Cady played Sam Drucker, one of the less loony denizens of Hooterville in "Green Acres." The show, about a Manhattan couple who left the big city to live in a rundown farm, ran from 1965 to 1971. Cady also played the same character in "Petticoat Junction" and "The Beverly Hillbillies."
He also had a recurring role as Doc Williams on "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet."
He and his wife, Shirley, moved to Oregon in the 1990s. She died in 2008.
Doris Singleton, best known for her role in "I Love Lucy," has died at the age of 92.
The New York City native got her start in showbiz as a ballerina and a vocalist. A chance meeting with Lucille Ball on a radio show in 1948 led the two women to strike up a working relationship that would span decades. Ball cast Singleton in her 1950s starring vehicle, "I Love Lucy"; Singleton played the recurring role of Carolyn Appleby, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo's neighbor, known for bragging about her son, Stevie. The women worked together again several times, including on "The Lucy Show," "Here's Lucy," "Make Room for Granddaddy," and the "Bob Hope Christmas Special."
Singleton talked about her relationship with Ball in a 2005 interview with the Archive of American Television. "Lucy was very nice to me because she really liked my work. And when you did ["I Love Lucy"], if Lucy liked you -- not just Lucy but Desi [Arnaz] as well and the producers, writers, and directors -- you did the show a lot. So she had her stock company, too. If she didn't like you or you made a mistake ... you didn't come back."
Singleton said Ball was very serious on the set. "We didn't do a lot of socializing on the set," she said. "We worked very hard. It was all work and not so much play."
Ball's daughter, Lucie Arnaz, addressed the loss of Singleton, who died Tuesday in Los Angeles, in a Facebook post: "A day of saying hasta luego to two great ladies, Nora Ephron and Doris Singleton. May they both fly swiftly heavenward and enjoy a blissful rest for jobs well done down here. They were loved and appreciated and will be missed."
In addition to her work with Ball, Singleton appeared on "All in the Family, "Adventures of Superman," "Hogan's Heroes," "My Three Sons," "The Munsters," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Gomer Pyle," "Marcus Welby, M.D.," "Days of Our Lives," and "Dynasty."
Singleton was predeceased by her husband of 61 years, comedy writer Charles Isaacs, who died in 2002.
Don Grady, who sang and
danced as a Mouseketeer on "The Mickey
Mouse Club," played son Robbie on the long-running family sitcom "My Three
Sons," and later became a composer and songwriter, died Wednesday. He was
Grady died at his home in Thousand Oaks after a four-year battle with
said his wife, Ginny.
As a child in the Bay Area town of Lafayette, Grady
developed a fondness for music and dancing. He told the Contra Costa Times in
2005 that he took clarinet and accordion lessons and later taught himself bass,
guitar and the trumpet. His musical talents landed him an audition with "The Mickey Mouse Club" when he
was in middle school. He performed on the Disney show for several years but left
for a part on "My Three Sons" when he was 16.
That show, which aired from
1960 to 1972, was one of the longest-running family sitcoms of all time. It
featured Fred MacMurray
as the thoughtful, pipe-smoking widower Steve Douglas, who raised his boys as a
single parent at 837 Mill St. in a middle-class Midwestern home.
we did a good show," Grady said in a 2001 interview on CBS' "The Early Show."
"It was a clean show. It was a fun show."
The show's wholesome portrayal
of American life is what helped it resonate with families who tuned in weekly
for the latest trials and tribulations in the Douglas household, according to
film historian Leonard Maltin.
"America loved this family," Maltin said
of the show. "It represented stability and continuity."
When the series
began, Grady played the 14-year-old Robbie. His older brother Mike was played by
Tim Considine, and his younger brother Chip was played by Stanley Livingston.
When Considine left the show in 1965, he was replaced by Barry Livingston,
Stanley Livingston's brother. Barry Livingston played Ernie Thompson, an orphan
adopted by Steve Douglas.
"It's a cliche, but Don was the guy we looked
up to because he was our big brother," Barry Livingston said Wednesday night.
"The lines blur when you're working with them and living with them so many hours
a day. Don was the oldest, so we were emulating him."
Grady also appeared
in other television shows of the era, including "The Rifleman" and "Wagon
A native of San Diego, Grady was born Don Agrati on June 8, 1944.
His father, Lou, was in the Navy and later became a sausage maker. His mother,
Mary, was a talent agent.
After "My Three Sons" ended, Grady continued
with his enthusiasm for music and began a new career as a composer and
songwriter for television, theater and films.
He wrote the theme song to
Phil Donahue's talk
show, and his compositions were featured in the children's TV series "The
Kid-A-Littles" and the 1985 film "Girls Just Want to Have Fun."
also co-wrote "Keep the Dream Alive," which was recorded by Herbie
Hancock, Della Reese
and others for the Jazz to End Hunger project.
"His passion was music,"
his wife said. "TV was a sideline to all he ever wanted to do, which was play
Besides his wife, Grady is survived by his mother; two children,
Joey and Tessa; and a sister, Marilou Reichel. Another sister, actress Lani
O'Grady, died of a drug overdose in 2001.