Filming location for spaghetti westerns in Almería, Spain

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© 1987-2016
Scott Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

Passings: March 2012

Among those welcomed to movie heaven last March were a great French filmmaker, a brilliant Italian screenwriter and some distinctive character actors.


  • Pierre Schoendoerffer: Your life was like a movie, and your accomplishments were impressive. You won the Best Screenplay award at Cannes (for La 317ème Section) and the Academy Award for Best Documentary (La Section Anderson). You won the Grand Prix du Roman de l’Académie Française for writing the novel Le Crabe-Tambour, and then you adapted it yourself into a movie. As a cameraman with the French army in Indochina, you spent time in a Saigon hospital and parachuted into Dien Bien Phu, where you were captured and then marched hundreds miles to a prison camp. That led to the prize-winning films mentioned above, as well as the feature film Dien Bien Phu. You last film was a thriller, Above the Clouds, adapted from another of your novels. (14-III-2012, at 83)


  • Tonino Guerra: Your screenwriting gigs sound like a who’s who of Italian cinema. You worked with Michelangelo Antonioni on his best known films: L’Avventura, La Notte, L’Eclisse, Red Desert, Blow-Up, Zabriskie Point. You wrote three films for Federico Fellini, including Amacord. Other screenplays were written for Francisco Rosi’s Lucky Luciano, Mario Monicelli’s Casanova ’70, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s The Night of the Shooting Stars and Good Morning, Babylon and Giuseppe Tornatore’s Everybody’s Fine. And you didn’t just work with Italian filmmakers. Your work also included Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia and several screenplays for Theo Angelopoulos, including Ulysses’ Gaze and The Dust of Time. Hey, you even participated in the adaptation of a Gabriel García Márquez book, Francesco Rosi’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold. (21-III-2012, at 92)


  • Phillip Richard Allen: You made guest appearances on every TV sitcom from Mary Tyler Moore to Designing Women and on every TV drama from Police Story to Dallas to Homefront. You were a regular on the TV spinoff of Bad News Bears, as Roy Turner. Your career highlights, as far as I’m concerned? They would be Lt. Commander Thach in Midway, Capt. Esteban in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and a cop in Dark Shadows. (1-III-2012, at 72)

  • Luke Askew: Tall and intense looking, you were born to play villains and menaces. You started out with Michael Caine and Faye Dunaway in Hurry Sundown and as a sadistic prison guard in Cool Hand Luke. You were a sergeant in The Green Berets and a hitchhiker who brings Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper to a commune in Easy Rider. You showed up on TV westerns like The High Chaparral and Bonanza and in movies like The Culpepper Cattle Co., The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid and The Magnificent Seven Ride! You worked consistently until your final role, the leader and prophet of a polygamist cult for in the TV series Big Love. (29-III-2012, at 80)

  • Leonardo Cimino: Your small build and thin, exotic face destined you to be a character actor. You worked on Broadway where, among other roles, you played the titular van Gogh in Vincent. Your TV career spanned playing a bandit in The Phil Silvers Show to episodes of Law & Order. Your film career ran from playing a bar owner in Mad Dog Coll to working with Ethan Hawke, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Albert Finney in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. Other notable movie roles: Stardust Memories, Monsignor (playing the Pope), Dune, Moonstruck, Penn & Teller Get Killed, The Freshman, Hudson Hawk, Waterworld and Cradle Will Rock. In real life, you were a hero. You were part of the waves of soldiers who landed at Normandy on D-Day. (3-III-2012, at 94)

  • Philip Madoc: You were a familiar face on British television over the years, with guest spots on shows like The Avengers and UFO. You notably played the titular prime minister in the TV production The Life and Times of David Lloyd George. But it is Doctor Who fans who really took note when you passed on. You were a smuggler in the spinoff movie Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD. In the regular series you appeared in two different story arcs with the second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) and two story arcs with the fourth Doctor (Tom Baker). It was the penultimate story that was the most memorable. You were the mad scientist Mehendri Solon who menaces the Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith in The Brain of Morbius. (5-III-2012, at 77)

  • Warren Stevens: A lanky character actor with a square jaw, you showed up in lots of movies like The Barefoot Contessa, Madigan and Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell. On the telly, you made appearances in everything from The Twilight Zone to Rawhide to Gunsmoke to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. to M*A*S*H. Your most consequential role? As the ill-fated Lt. “Doc” Ostrow, who bites it after landing on planet Altair IV with Commander Leslie Nielsen in Fred M. Wilcox’s Forbidden Planet. (27-III-2012, at 92)

  • Joan Taylor: For decades you were in charge of Hawaii Five-0, which was created by your husband Leonard Freeman, who died in 1974. But you had something of an acting career of your own. You appeared in the sci-fi flicks Earth vs. the Flying Saucers and 20 Million Miles to Earth and the westerns Rose Marie, Apache Woman and War Paint. But you may be best remembered for playing the shop owner Milly Scott on the TV series The Rifleman. (4-III-2012, at 82)

  • Garry Walberg: For four decades you appeared on numerous TV shows, like Mister Peepers, Rawhide, Have Gun Will Travel, Ben Casey, The F.B.I., Run for Your Life, The Fugitive, Green Acres, The High Chaparral, Mannix and lots of others—often as a cop. You even had a recurring role as a police sergeant in Peyton Place. But you are best known for working with Jack Klugman. You played Speed on The Odd Couple, and you played Lt. Monahan for seven years on Quincy M.E. But let’s not forget that you were also Commander Hansen, who was killed by the Romulans at Outpost 4 along the Neutral Zone in the 1966 Star Trek episode “Balance of Terror.” (27-III-2012, at 90)


  • Robert Sherman: You and your brother Richard wrote the music that graced the Disney movies that kids and families loved in the 1960s and beyond. Your melodies could be heard in The Jungle Book, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Sword and the Stone, The Aristocats and various Winnie-the-Pooh cartoons. You also did the music for the non-Disney magical musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which was adapted by Roald Dahl and Ken Hughes from a book by Ian Fleming. But your greatest contribution was the music for the movie that earned you two Academy Awards (for the score and for the song “Chim Chim Cher-ee”): Mary Poppins. But not even writing “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” makes up for the fact that the two of you also wrote the song that no Disney theme park visitor can get out of his head (no matter how much he tries), “It’s a Small World (After All).” (5-III-2012, at 86)


  • Steve Bridges: Thanks for many laughs during the Bush administration. With the creative use of makeup and prosthetics you specialized in the impersonations of U.S. presidents. Your repertoire included Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, but it was your takeoff of George W. Bush that was uncanny. During your numerous appearances with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, we had to double-check our eyes to make sure that it was not W. himself trading banter and quips with Jay. (3-III-2012, at 48)

  • Ralph McQuarrie: Your concept art was the foundation for fantastic imagery in some of the most memorable sci-fi and fantasy movies. These included Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek IV, Batteries Not Included, Jurassic Park, the original Battlestar Galactica TV series and Cocoon, for which you were a co-recipient of an Academy Award. The spaceships in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial were yours. But your biggest impact was on the original Star Wars trilogy for George Lucas. Two studios had refused to green-light the first Star Wars movie before you came up with fantastic paintings of droids and laser fights, which were instrumental in convincing 20th Century Fox to back the project. (3-III-2012, at 82)

    -S.L., 6 February 2013

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