Filming location for spaghetti westerns in Almería, Spain

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© 1987-2016
Scott Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

Passings: April 2012

Among those who passed in April of last year were the world’s oldest teenager, the phantom of the Paradise, daytime TV’s most beloved bloodsucker and one of the few actors to appear in both the Star Trek and Doctor Who franchises.


  • Paul Bogart: From the 1950s through the 1990s, you became known for your skill at directing live television, whether it was comedy/variety like Broadway Open House (your first TV job) or drama like The Goodyear Playhouse or news like The Today Show or game shows. You directed episodes of The Defenders and Get Smart and won Emmys for episodes of The Golden Girls and All in Family, including a memorable episode in which Edith is the target of a sexual assault. You also directed films for the big screen, including Marlowe (starring James Garner), Class of ’44 (sequel to Summer of ’42) and Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy. Your final job was the 1995 TV movie The Heidi Chronicles, starring Jamie Lee Curtis. (15-IV-2012, at 92)

  • Jamaa Fanaka: An Air Force veteran, you went to film school at UCLA and graduated summa cum laude. While there, you changed your name to Swahili for “together we will find success.” And you were part of group at the UCLA film school known as the L.A. Rebellion, which also included Charles Burnett and Julie Dash. Before graduating, you made no fewer than three commercial films: A Day in the Life of Willie Faust, or Death on the Installment Plan, Welcome Home, Brother Charles and Emma Mae. You made a successful independent movie called Penitentiary about a wrongfully imprisoned man who finds redemption as a boxer. When you became a member of the Directors Guild of America, you tried to open more opportunities for minority filmmakers. When stymied, you brought a series of (ultimately unsuccessful) class-action lawsuits. Your refusal of offers to direct blaxploitation flicks had the sad result of limiting your subsequent film output, which included two sequels to Penitentiary. (1-IV-2012, at 69)

  • Claude Miller: It was reported that, while making a film from the final unfinished manuscript of your mentor François Truffaut (The Little Thief), you were terrified of the comparisons. You needn’t have worried. Starring 17-year-old Charlotte Gainsbourg, the film was a success. Your movies tended to focus on the interior lives of women and you were concerned about the mistreatment of children. Your work included The Best Way to Walk, Under Suspicion, Alias Betty, Class Trip and A Secret. Your final film, Thérèse Desqueyroux (starring Audrey Tautou), played at Cannes just weeks after you left us. (4-IV-2012, at 70)


  • Dick Clark: Sure, we’ll remember you forever for hosting American Bandstand and The $10,000 Pyramid and all those New Year’s Eve shows and for producing all those blooper shows and major awards shows. But let us not forget you also produced TV fare like the sitcom The Weird Al Show, the western The Guns of Will Sonnett and the TV movies Murder in Texas (starring Katharine Ross), Copacabana (Barry Manilow), Liberace (Andrew Robinson) and Deep Family Secrets (Richard Crenna). You also had something of a feature film career, working as a producer on things like two 1968 Richard Rush movies, The Savage Seven and Psych-Out; the 1979 horror flick The Dark; the 1984 horror flick The Power; Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins; the 1990 Dennis Hopper action comedy Catchfire; and the 1968 backwoods crime drama Killers Three, which you co-wrote and acted in, along with Robert Walker Jr., Diane Varsi and Merle Haggard. Indeed, early on you had quite an acting career, playing characters on everything from Burke’s Law to Ben Casey to Branded to Honey West to Lassie and Perry Mason. You even played a teacher and a doctor, respectively, in the feature films Because They’re Young and The Young Doctors. (18-IV-2012, at 82)

  • Martin Poll: Over four decades you were a producer on some of the late 20th century’s most memorable movies. The titles covered all kinds of genres and sensibilities. Some of the titles: Anthony Harvey’s The Lion in Winter, Leonard Horn’s The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart, Richard C. Sarafian’s The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, Woody Allen’s Love and Death, Lewis John Carlino’s The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea, Lamont Johnson’s Somebody Killed Her Husband and Ivan Passer’s Haunted Summer. (14-IV-2012, at 89)


  • William Finley: A friend of Brian De Palma since you were students at Columbia University, your acting career was inextricably linked with his directing career. You appeared in everything from his early films like Dionysus, Murder à la Mode, The Fury and Sisters (as Margot Kidder’s ex-husband). In Dressed to Kill you had an un-credited turn as a red herring psychiatric patient named Bobbi. Your last role was as a murder suspect in The Black Dahlia. You also worked with Tobe Hooper in Eaten Alive, The Funhouse and Night Terrors. But your most memorable role was definitely as the title character in De Palma’s 1974 musical horror spoof Phantom of the Paradise, in which you kidnapped Jessica Harper, who had to be rescued by Paul Williams. (14-IV-2012, at 71)

  • Jonathan Frid: The first, the original, the only true Barnabas Collins. Read this. (13-IV-2012, at 87)

  • George Murdock: You appeared in a heck of a lot of TV shows and a few movies during the past half-century. Too many to list, but here’s a sampling. You appeared in Alan Parker’s Shoot the Moon, the fantasy adventure The Sword and the Sorcerer, The American President and Orange County. But it was on TV where you seemed to show up in everything. You were Fred Devon on It Takes a Thief. You were Cavanaugh on Banacek. You were Lt. Scanlon on Barney Miller. You were Dr. Salik on the original Battlestar Galactica. You were Laslo Gabov on the Yakov Smirnoff sitcom What a Country. You were one of The Elders on The X Files. You were one of only seven actors to appear both in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Smallville. You played God in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and an admiral in the classic Borg two-parter “The Best of Both Worlds” on Star Trek: The Next Generation. And you played a preacher in the “Miracle Day” miniseries of the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood. (30-IV-2012, at 81)

    Music People

  • Ralph Ferraro: You orchestrated the music on everything from A Man Called Horse to Beneath the Planet of the Apes to The Wiz to the Ralph Bakshi adaptation of The Lord of the Rings to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home to RoboCop 2 to While You Were Sleeping to Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. As a composer, your music graced the TV western The Virginian and, of all things, the porn sci-fi spoof Flesh Gordon. (3-IV-2012, at 82)

  • Joel Goldsmith: You followed your father Jerry into the film and TV scoring business, specializing in electronic music. Among your many credits: The Man with Two Brains, the 1990s TV series The Untouchables, the western series Hawkeye, the movie Kull the Conqueror, the series Witchblade and various iterations of Stargate. (29-IV-2012, at 54)

  • Levon Helm: I’ve put you in the music category because it only seemed right. Your throaty vocals will live forever, as well as your work with Bob Dylan, the Band and as a solo artist. But you also had a not insignificant acting career, beginning with the role of Sissy Spacek’s father in Coal Miner’s Daughter. You also played pilot Jack Ridley, who is the narrator in The Right Stuff, Bo in Best Revenge, Harry in Smooth Talk, Leo Pickett in End of the Line, the sheriff in Man Outside, Denny in Staying Together and Juvie Bob in The Adventures of Sebastian Cole. Among your last big screen appearances: as an old man with a radio in Tommy Lee Jones’s The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and as General John Bell Hood in Bertrand Tavernier’s In the Electric Mist. (19-IV-2012, at 71)

    -S.L., 11 February 2013

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