Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

RIP, continued ...

Gene Wilder, (1933-2016), aged 83 - Gene has been on our radar ever since he was kidnapped by BONNIE AND CLYDE in 1967. Then he was Leopold Bloom, that hysterical accountant conned into helping Max Bialystock in Mel Brooks' THE PRODUCERS, filmed that year, but it did not show up in London until 1969, when it became a cult item, and one of the first late night shows at 11pm - my pal Stan roped us into going and we loved it, so we rushed to BLAZING SADDLES, and particularly YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN which he co-wrote with Brooks, we saw it several times - its still a scream now. We also liked SILVER STREAK, the first of four with Richard Pryor, and lots more Gene, including of course, WILLY WONKA ..... he directed and wrote THE WOMAN IN RED.  His personal life had its share of tragedies, his third wife comedienne Gilda Radner dying of cancer in 1989, and his developed Alzheimers. He received an Emmy Award for his appearances in WILL & GRACE, his final acting role in 2003. One always remembers Gene with affection - particularly his sheep obsession in Woody's EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX.

Sonia Rykiel (1930-2016), aged 86 from Parkinson's Disease. Stylish French fashion designer, whose knitwear and clothes, accessories, fragrances and books kept her at the forefront of French haute couture. She appeared in Altman's PRET-A-PORTER (1994), and the character played by Anouk Aimee was based on her. 

Arthur Hiller  (1923-2016), aged 93. American film director whose biggest hit was of course LOVE STORY in 1970 - no, I have never seen it but I liked his MAN OF LA MANCHA in 1972, and he also helmed, among his 33 films, the very funny PLAZA SUITE and THE OUT OF TOWNERS, plus THE HOSPITAL, THE AMERICANISATION OF EMILY, SILVER STREAK and OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE.  1982's MAKING LOVE was an interesting choice for him, one of the first mainstream gay theme movies, which should have been better received at the time. 

Hugh O'Brian (1925 - 2016, aged 91. A good innings for '50s WYATT EARP star Hugh, I never saw those tv series, being too young at the time, but we know Hugh from the many westerns he featured in around that time: SEMINOLE, SASKATCHEWAN, WHITE FEATHER, BROKEN LANCE and he co-stars in THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW-BUSINESS. He also made an impression in those yellow speedos in the Lana Turner classic LOVE HAS MANY FACES in 1965, other films include TEN LITTLE INDIANS, COME FLY WITH ME. Former marine Hugh was one of those boys in the sauna in that Modern Screen photospread which we featured earlier this year ( ). He married at 81 and did a lot of charity work. Another personable cowboy star then, notching up 112 credits.

Gloria DeHaven (1925-2016), aged 91. Actress and singer from The Golden Age with a lot of credits. I know her best as Judy Garland's younger sister in SUMMER STOCK in 1950. Other roles included TWO GIRLS AND A SAILOR and SO THIS IS PARIS, which was fun, with young Tony Curtis. She was a child actress in Chaplin's MODERN TIMES in '36, and she was later under contract to MGM. Her stage work included HELLO DOLLY, THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN, and THE SOUND OF MUSIC in 1964.

Marni Nixon (1930-2016), aged 86. Soprano Marni of course was the singing voice of so many:  Deborah Kerr in THE KING AND I and AN AFFAIR TO REMEMER, Natalie Wood in WEST SIDE STORY and GYPSY, Audrey in MY FAIR LADY, to name a few. She appeared as a nun in the film of THE SOUND OF MUSIC and appeared in opera, and musicals on Broadway and various concerts as she became better known as herself. It seems she even dubbed Marilyn's high notes on "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend"!

William Lucas (1925-2016), aged 91. Dependable British actor, which extensive film and television credits ranging from PAYROLL and SONS AND LOVERS (1960), THE BILL, LAST OF THE SUMMER WINE, BLACK BEAUTY, DR WHO, CORONATION STREET, DIXON OF DOCK GREEN, THE AVENGERS, Z CARS, etc. 

1 comment:

  1. Michael! Natalie Wood did her own singing in "Gypsy." Check it out. The info is out there.