Filming location for spaghetti westerns in Almería, Spain

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© 1987-2016
Scott Larson





Building façade in Cannes, France

Passings: September 2012

Last September was notable for the passing of people associated with Babylon 5, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica—not to mention a couple of people who put music in our lives.

Director

  • Winrich Kolbe: During your two-and-a-half-decade TV directing career, you helmed episodes of series ranging from The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries in the late 1970s to Barnaby Jones to The Rockford Files to Magnum, P.I. to Scarecrow and Mrs. King and Spenser: For Hire and In the Heat of the Night and Hunter and 24. But we will remember for the ones you directed in the sci-fi and fantasy genres, which would include the original Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider, War of the Worlds, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Angel. But what we will really remember you for are all the Star Trek episodes, including several of The Next Generation (notably the two-part finale “All Good Things”), Deep Space Nine and Enterprise. (IX-2012, at 71)

    Actors

  • Turhan Bey: Born in Vienna, your dark exotic looks were inherited from your Turkish father and Jewish mother. Your suave demeanor led to you being cast as mysterious or villainous characters in Hollywood, but they also paved the way for leading man parts in the 1940s. And that’s how you came to be dubbed as “the Turkish Delight.” Your flicks had titles like Raiders of the Desert, Burma Convoy, Bombay Clipper, The Mummy’s Tomb, Arabian Nights and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. Later on you had TV guest spots on SeaQuest DSV, Murder, She Wrote and VR.5. But your immortality is guaranteed for playing not one but two memorable roles on Babylon 5. In “The Coming of Shadows” you played the dying Centauri emperor who is tragically assassinated before he can make peace with the Narn, whom his people had brutally colonized, thereby paving the way for another Centauri/Narn war. In “Learning Curve” you were Master Turval, a Minbari ranger who visits the space station with two younger rangers. Said B5 godfather J. Michael Straczynski, “Turhan Bey was a lovely man who played a Centuari emperor and charmed the hell out of everyone in the cast and crew. He shall be missed.” (30-IX-2012, at 90)

  • Michael Clarke Duncan: A giant of a man, you will always be remembered for playing John Coffey, the death row inmate who appears to be supernaturally gifted in Frank Darabont’s adaption of the Stephen King book The Green Mile. No wonder it got you nominated for an Academy Award. Prior to that you had graduated from TV spots capitalizing on your imposing size in shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Married with Children and The Jamie Foxx Show to roles that capitalized on your imposing size in movies like Bulworth, Armageddon, Breakfast of Champions, Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, The Scorpion King, Daredevil (as Kingpin) and Sin City. You also contributed distinctive voice work to Cats & Dogs (and its sequel), The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Kung Fu Panda and Green Lantern. Fittingly, one of your final roles showed off your charming and funny side, as you played bar owner Leo who assisted Geoff Stults in solving mysteries in the TV series The Finder. Gone too soon at 54, your final movie appears to be Kent Moran’s as-yet-unreleased The Challenger. (3-IX-2012, at 54)

  • Stephen Dunham: Dead at only 48, you will mainly be remembered for starring in a number of TV shows that came and went quickly. These include Hot Properties (with Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara), Oh, Grow Up and DAG. I will remember you for an amusing turn in the indie movie Nothing Sacred. You also had supporting roles in flicks like The Mummy, Catch Me If You Can, Traffic and Monster-in-Law. Your final movie was Paranormal Activity 4 in which you played the husband of your real-life wife Alexondra Lee. (14-IX-2012, at 48)

  • Lance LeGault: You started out as Elvis Presley’s stunt double and went on to employ your intense features and gravelly voice in a procession of roles as villains and authority figures. You were the hired killer in Coma, the card sharp Doc Palmer in the TV movie The Gambler and the no-nonsense colonel in Stripes. You were also tough colonels on The A-Team (Col. Decker) and Magnum, P.I. (Col. Buck Greene). Other TV roles were on shows like the original Battlestar Galactica, Dynasty, Knight Rider, Simon & Simon, Airwolf, Werewolf (as Alamo Joe), Dallas and MacGyver—among many others. But, as is our wont here, let us recall in particular that you were a Klingon captain in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Emissary” and a senator in the Babylon 5 spinoff series Crusade episode “Each Night I Dream of Home.” (10-IX-2012, at 77)

  • Herbert Lom: Yes, you will forever be the apoplectic French chief inspector who had the misfortune to be in charge of Peter Sellers’s bumbling Inspector Clouseau in seven Pink Panther movies, beginning with the second one, A Shot in the Dark. On the other hand, I expect more than a few of us also remember you in the title role of the 1962 version of The Phantom of the Opera. You made one movie in your native Czechoslovakia before you emigrated to Britain ahead of the German invasion. (Sadly, your girlfriend died in a concentration camp.) You weren’t only a comedic actor. Your numerous movie roles included Compton Bennett’s The Seventh Veil, Jules Dassin’s Night and the City and the classic Ealing comedy The Ladykillers. You were Napoleon in King Vidor’s War and Peace, a pirate in Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus and a Muslim leader in El Cid. And let us not forget that you played Van Helsing to Christopher Lee’s vampire in Count Dracula. And here’s something I bet few people knew. You originated the role of the King of Siam in The King and I on the London stage. (27-IX-2012, at 95)

  • Michael O’Hare: The late, lamented first commander of Babylon 5. Read this.(2-IX-2012, at 60)

  • Claudine Walker: You worked with such stars as John Barrymore, Gloria Swanson and Adolphe Menjou. In 1929 you and your two sisters appeared in one of the earliest color films ever, Dance of the Paper Dolls, your second cinema appearance. Known as The Mawby Triplets, your sensational but brief Hollywood career began when you were spotted by MGM talent scouts after arriving with your family from England on the Queen Mary. It ended after fears in the wake of the Lindbergh kidnapping, which led your family to head back to Britain. By the time British law permitted you and your sisters to act on stage (at the age of 14), your secret was out. The three extremely photogenic blonde girls were not really triplets. You and Claudette were twins, but Angella was 11 months older. In any event, World War II put a definitive end to your career, with Claudette’s death in a Brighton hotel that was hit by a German V-1. (13-IX-2012, at 90)

    Music People

  • Hal David: What’s it all about, Hal? You were nominated for an Oscar (for writing lyrics for Best Original Song nominees, all featuring melodies by Burt Bacharach) three years in a row: in 1966 for “What’s New Pussycat?,” in 1967 for “Alfie” and in 1968 for “The Look of Love” (for the off-the-reservation James Bond flick Casino Royale). But you didn’t win until 1970, for “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” which graced George Roy Hill’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. As it happens, you also contributed to a canon 007 film. You penned the lyrics to “We Have All the Time in the World” (music by John Barry), which was sung by Louis Armstrong and closed On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Less well remembered would be the songs you and Bacharach wrote for the ill-fated 1973 musical remake of Lost Horizon. Thanks for all the musical memories. They were often “Magic Moments,” as per the words you penned for a 1958 Perry Como song. Some of my personal favorites: “Walk On By” (sung by Dionne Warwick), “This Guy’s in Love with You” (sung by Herb Alpert), “Trains and Boats and Planes” (sung by Warwick, among others), “Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa” (sung by Gene Pitney) and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (a hit for Pitney that was written for but not used in the 1962 film by John Ford). And, of course, thanks to you we will never be able to forget the musical question “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” or hope to get through a season of weddings without hearing the Carpenters hit “(They Long to Be) Close to You.” (1-IX-2012, at 91)

  • Andy Williams: Will it ever be Christmas without you? Well, yes, but for a generation your annual specials were a staple of the holiday season. Somehow many of the songs you sang have been associated with movies, Exhibit A being your performance of a certain nominated song at the 1962 Academy Awards. Audrey Hepburn had sung it in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (and wasn’t dubbed by Marnie Nixon), but from the night you sang it on national television, Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini’s “Moon River” became yours. Your music was mellow and melodic and definitely not what the kids were listening to in the 1960s. But you had your niche and kept doing it your way. Via your TV variety show you gave us the Osmond Brothers, reminding us that you too had started out as part of a musical brother act. Interestingly, through the years your biggest hits seemed to be movie themes (even if they weren’t the definitive versions): “Love Story,” “Charade,” “The Way We Were,” “Days of Wine and Roses.” Even the irreverent Bad Santa had to include your holiday classic “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Personal confession: I was always jealous that you were married to Claudine Longet. I guess we both dodged a bullet with that one. (25-IX-2012, at 84)

    -S.L., 23 April 2013


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