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Reply #1470 on: February 24, 2014, 11:30:27 AM
Harold Ramis, Chicago actor, writer and director, dead at 69
Best-known as an actor for 'Ghostbusters', 'Stripes', writer/director for 'Caddyshack', 'Groundhog Day'
Mark Caro
Tribune reporter
11:22 a.m. CST, February 24, 2014

Harold Ramis was one of Hollywood’s most successful comedy filmmakers when he moved his family from Los Angeles back to the Chicago area in 1996. His career was still thriving, with “Groundhog Day” acquiring almost instant classic status upon its 1993 release and 1984’s “Ghostbusters” ranking among the highest-grossing comedies of all time, but the writer-director wanted to return to the city where he’d launched his career as a Second City performer.

“There's a pride in what I do that other people share because I'm local, which in L.A. is meaningless; no one's local,” Ramis said upon the launch of the first movie he directed after his move, the 1999 mobster-in-therapy comedy “Analyze This,” another hit. “It's a good thing. I feel like I represent the city in a certain way.”

Ramis, a longtime North Shore resident, was surrounded by family when he died at 12:53 a.m. from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels, his wife Erica Mann Ramis said. He was 69.

Ramis’ serious health struggles began in May 2010 with an infection that led to complications related to the autoimmune disease, his wife said. Ramis had to relearn to walk but suffered a relapse of the vaculitis in late 2011, said Laurel Ward, vice president of development at Ramis’ Ocean Pictures production company.

Ramis leaves behind a formidable body of work, with writing credits on such enduring comedies as “National Lampoon’s Animal House” (which upon its 1978 release catapulted the film career of John Belushi, with whom Ramis acted at Second City), “Stripes” (1981) and “Ghostbusters” (in which Ramis also co-starred) plus such directing efforts as “Caddyshack” (1980), “National Lampoon’s Vacation” (1983), “Groundhog Day” and “Analyze This.”

Previously he was the first head writer (and a performer) on Second City’s groundbreaking television series “Second City Television (SCTV)” (1976-79). More recently he directed episodes of NBC’s “The Office.”

Ramis’ comedies were often wild, silly and tilting toward anarchy, but they also were cerebral and iconoclastic, with the filmmaker heeding the Second City edict to work at the top of one’s intelligence. This combination of smart and gut-bustingly funny led a generation of comedic actors and filmmakers — including Judd Apatow (“The 40 Year Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up”, Jay Roach (“Meet the Parents,” the “Austin Powers” movies), Peter Farrelly (“There’s Something About Mary,” “Dumb and Dumber”), Jake Kasdan (“Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,” “Orange County,” both of which featured Ramis in small roles) and Adam Sandler (who starred in his own wacky golf comedy, “Happy Gilmore”) — to cite him as a key inspiration.

“When I was 15, I interviewed Harold for my high school radio station, and he was the person that I wanted to be when I was growing up,” said Apatow, who later would cast Ramis as Seth Rogen’s father in “Knocked Up” and would produce Ramis’ final movie, “Year One” (1999). “His work is the reason why so many of us got into comedy. We grew up on ‘Second City TV’ and ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘Vacation,’ ‘Animal House,’ ‘Stripes,’ ‘Meatballs’ (which Ramis co-wrote); he literally made every single one of our favorite movies.”

Ramis also left behind a reputation as a mensch and all-around good guy.

“He's the least changed by success of anyone I know in terms of sense of humor, of humility, sense of self,” the late Second City founder Bernie Sahlins, who began working with Ramis in 1969, said of him in 1999. “He's the same Harold he was 30 years ago. He's had enormous success relatively, but none of it has gone to his head in any way.”

Laurel Ward, vice president of development for Ramis’ Ocean Pictures production company, called him “the world’s best mentor.” She recalled that when she first began working for him 15 years ago as his assistant, he had to be in California for a month, and he told her that although he didn’t need an assistant out there, she should go anyway because it would be a good experience for her, and he’d make sure her expenses were covered.

“He just did it for me,” she said. “He loved teaching people. He loved helping people. He loved seeing people succeed.”

The son of Ruth and Nathan Ramis, who owned Ace Food & Liquor Mart on the West Side before moving the store and family to Rogers Park, Ramis graduated from Senn High School and Washington University in St. Louis. For his first professional writing gig, he contributed freelance arts stories to the Chicago Daily News in the mid-1960s. He also wrote and edited Playboy magazine’s “Party Jokes” before and during his Second City days.

When, after some time off, he returned to Second City in 1972 to act alongside a relative newcomer in the cast, Ramis said he came to a major realization.

“The moment I knew I wouldn't be any huge comedy star was when I got on stage with John Belushi for the first time,” he said in a 1999 Tribune interview. “When I saw how far he was willing to go to get a laugh or to make a point on stage, the language he would use, how physical he was, throwing himself literally off the stage, taking big falls, strangling other actors, I thought: I'm never going to be this big. How could I ever get enough attention on a stage with guys like this?

“I stopped being the zany. I let John be the zany. I learned that my thing was lobbing in great lines here and there, which would score big and keep me there on the stage.”

With his round glasses lending a professorial air, Ramis would become the calm center of storms brewed by fellow actors, playing the bushy-haired, low-key wisecracker to Bill Murray's troublemaker in “Stripes” and being the most scientific-minded “Ghostbuster.” Later roles included the sympathetic doctor of James L. Brooks’ “As Good as It Gets” (1997) and the “Knocked Up” (2007) dad, whose dialogue, Apatow said, was almost all improvised.

Sahlins, who died last June, said he knew from the start that Ramis “would be an important factor in American comedy. He has all the skills and abilities to be funny and to write funny, but he also is a leader, a very nice guy. He was always looked up to, in Second City to being head writer at `SCTV.' He was never separate from anybody. He was always one of the boys, but he was the best boy.”

Ramis followed Belushi from Second City to New York City to work with him plus fellow Second City cast member Murray (who would collaborate with Ramis on six movies) on “The National Lampoon Radio Hour.” Those three plus Gilda Radner also performed in a National Lampoon stage show produced by Ivan Reitman, who went on to produce “National Lampoon’s Animal House” and to direct such Ramis scripts as “Meatballs,” “Stripes,” “Ghostbusters” and “Ghostbusters II” (1989).

“I always thought he was a very talented writer who always had a very perceptive and intelligent point of view about the material,” Reitman told the Tribune in 1999. “He managed to get the people to speak in a realistic way but still found something funny in their voices.”

Apatow said he was captivated not just by the spirit of Ramis’ movies but also his frequent collaborations with a collective of funny people.

“We noticed this group of friends who were making comedy together — all the ‘SCTV’ people and ‘Saturday Night Live’ people and National Lampoon people — and that seemed the most wonderful community you could ever be a part of,” said Apatow, who has developed his own group of regular collaborators. “In addition to wanting to be comics, we also wanted to make comedies with our friends.”

As zany as Ramis’ early comedies were, they rigorously pursued a theme close to the heart of someone who grew out of the 1960s counterculture: characters rebelling against institutions, be they authoritarian college administrators and pampered rich kids (“Animal House”), a stuffy golf club (“Caddyshack”) or the military (“Stripes”). After the collapse of his first marriage and the flop of his 1986 comedy “Club Paradise” (with greedy developers as the institutional villain), the Jewish-raised Ramis immersed himself in Zen Buddhism.

“It's my shield and my armor in the work I do,” he said. “It's to keep a cheerful, Zen-like detachment from everything.”

Ramis’ later directorial efforts, starting with “Groundhog Day” and including “Stuart Saves His Family” (1995), “Multiplicity” (1996), “Analyze This” and his “Bedazzled” remake (2000), reflect a spiritual striving, exploring individuals’ struggles with themselves more than outside forces.

Comparing his later to earlier comedies, Ramis told the Tribune: “The content's different, but it comes from the same place in me, which is to try to point people at some reality or truth.”

He recalled that at the “Analyze This” junket, a writer told him his genre had become “goofy redemption comedy,” to which Ramis responded, “OK, I'll take that.”
Ramis had been living in Los Angeles since late ‘70s before he returned to Chicago, basing his production company in downtown Highland Park.

“In L.A., you're much more aware of an artificial pressure, just that you're in a race of some kind,” Ramis recalled one morning over a veggie egg-white omelet at the coffee shop downstairs from his office. “You know, if you're not moving forward, you're dead in the water, because everyone around you is scheming, planning and plotting to advance themselves, often at your expense.

“I've compared it to high school: Am I popular? Am I cool? Am I in? Who's the in crowd? How do I get into that party? These are not things I ever wanted to worry about. Here I'm so liberated from that.”

After unsuccessfully lobbying Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro to film “Analyze This” in Chicago, Ramis finally got his wish to shoot a movie locally with the 2005 dark crime comedy “The Ice Harvest,” which starred Evanston native John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton.

Until his illness Ramis was out around town a fair amount, whether cheering on the Cubs and leading the occasional “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” or attending theater or appearing at local organizations’ fundraisers or collecting honors, such as an honorary Doctorate of Arts from Columbia College Chicago in 2001 and a lifetime achievement award from the Just for Laughs festival in 2009. And when Second City celebrated its 50th anniversary in December 2009, Ramis joined “SCTV” cast members Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Joe Flaherty, Dave Thomas and Martin Short in a Mainstage set that proved to be the weekend’s hottest ticket.

Ramis was quiet about his illness, but friends did visit, including brothers and Second City castmates Bill Murray, from whom he’d been estranged for years, and Brian Doyle-Murray, who appeared in seven Ramis movies.

“He was like the campfire that we all gathered around for light and warmth and knowledge,” his adult daughter Violet Stiel said.

“And that’s the truth,” added Erica Ramis.

He is survived by Erica Mann Ramis, Stiel, sons Julian and Daniel Ramis and two grandchildren. Erica Ramis said a private service is planned for this week with a public memorial in Chicago to take place probably in May.


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Reply #1471 on: March 02, 2014, 08:49:48 AM
Alain Resnais.

Un maître de disparu.


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Reply #1472 on: March 02, 2014, 04:11:28 PM
French Film Master Alain Resnais Dies

Alain Resnais, a cinema pioneer and a leading light of the French New Wave, died Saturday in Paris, his longtime producer and friend Jean-Louis Livi said. He was 91.

One of the most critically-aclaimed French helmers of all time, Resnais directed such arthouse masterpieces as “Hiroshima Mon Amour,”a flagship pic of the New Wave, which earned writer Marguerite Duras an Oscar nom for original screenplay in 1961, and “Last Year at Marienbad,” a major influence on such directors as David Lynch.

Resnais, who began his career with a number of art documentaries and then broke through with the gripping 1955 “Night and Fog,” about the Jewish Holocaust in WWII, was one of the more intellectually rigorous members of the new wave of filmmakers who overturned the French film industry in the late ’50s.

The French cinema world is mourning Resnais today as critics, industryites, festivals’ toppers and fans pay him homage.

“As Billy Wilder said of Lubitsch’s death, ‘No More Resnais.’ But beyond that, ‘No More Resnais Films,’” tweeted Thierry Fremaux, Cannes’ director. ”He talked a lot about others’ films. He would say, ‘Making films is fine, but seeing films is even better.’”

Agnes Varda, another cinema legend whose career spans over six decades, told Variety that Resnais “taught (her) to be radical.”

“In 1954, Resnais accepted to edit my first film, “La Pointe Courte. ” I’ll never forget his punctuality, his patience and respect for my clumsy film. It’s his generosity that impressed me the most in this film adventure, where money was lacking. Alain Resnais meant a lot to me at an age where we’re still struggling to define ourselves.  We shared a taste for surrealism, Italian painting and wordplay,” said Varda, whose credits include “Vagabond,” “Les glaneurs et la glaneuse” and “Les plages d’Agnes.”

France’s culture minister Aurelie Fillipetti said “Resnais’ work shone a light on French cinema throughout the world.” Fillipetti added that “Resnais’ films never gave in to trends and almost always won over audiences’ favors as much as critics.’”

Meanwhile, Gilles Jacob, who will serve his last edition as president of Cannes Film Festival this year, wrote on Twitter that “If the French State fails to organize a national funeral for this modest and model artist as Italy did for Fellini, it will be an abandonment of glory.”

Helmer had a deep relationship with the Cannes Film Festival: Among the flurry of awards he won throughout his long career, Resnais nabbed the grand jury prize in Cannes for Gerard Depardieu starrer “Mon uncle d’Amerique” in 1980 and competed in 2012 with “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.” He also received a lifetime achievement honor in 2009.

Resnais, who was known as a bon vivant, maintained an active career until the end, culminating just a month ago with the Berlin Film Festival premiere of “Life of Riley” (“Aimer, boire et chanter”), an ensemble comedy of manners which marked Resnais’ third adaptation of British playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s work. Produced by Jean-Louis Livi and sold by Le Pacte, the film won a prize for innovation at the festival.

“For more than 60 years now, movie audiences have been privy to his moving-image test kitchen, where disparate stylistic and tonal collisions are par for the course, and the surprising aftertaste reliably reveals an underlying method to the apparent madness. From Resnais’ earliest films, this has entailed seeing just how far he can ostensibly push an audience away by exposing his artistic scaffolding (particularly in the radical montage techniques of films like ‘Hiroshima mon amour’ and ‘Muriel’), all the while stealthily drawing us closer in. And beginning with ‘Melo’ in 1986, this ongoing experiment has increasingly drawn on explicitly theatrical aesthetic devices to at once push and pull at the audience’s attentions,” wrote Variety’s chief film critic Scott Foundas in his review of Resnais’ “Life of Riley.“

Unlike Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Melville and Francois Truffaut, Resnais was less influenced by Hollywood film genres and more by literary conceits. As with another New Wave filmmaker, Eric Rohmer, Resnais’ films and images were thematically focused. Most of Resnais’ movies were about the interplay of memory on the characters’ lives, owing a debt to literary antecedents such as Marcel Proust and the philosopher Henri Bergson. Whereas Rohmer was narratively direct, Resnais was boldly experimental in telling his stories in nonlinear fashion, overlapping time and images.

While his first few movies, such as “Hiroshima,” were international arthouse sensations, his later films, such as “Smoking/No Smoking,” received sparse distribution abroad.

He was born June 3, 1922 in the town of Vannes and was already making 8mm films in his teens, including a teen version of “Fantomas.” He originally studied acting and stagecraft before moving on, in his mid-20s, at the IDHEC French film school to study editing. After serving in the war, he began making short 16mm art films about such painters as Hans Hartung, Max Ernst, Felix Labisse and Lucien Coutard, some of which were shown on early French television. His first fictional film, 1945’s “Schema d’une identification,” starred Gerard Philipe.

He brought Marguerite Duras’ script “Hiroshima, Mon Amour” to the screen as his first full-length feature in 1959. The film sought to reconcile memories of the nuclear attack on Japan in 1945 and was a sensation in a year that also produced such Gallic masterpieces as Truffaut’s “The 400 Blows” and Godard’s “Breathless.” In 1961, he broke down the narrative structure even further with “Last Year at Marienbad,” from a script by Alain Robbe-Grillet. The stylish romantic thriller won the grand prize at the Venice Film Festival and became a major influence on a generation of filmmakers looking for alternative ways to tell their stories.

The 1963 film “Muriel” also broke down its narrative, though his Prix Delluc winner, 1966’s Yves Montand starrer “La Guerre est finie,” is a straightforward and shattering reminiscence on the effects of the Spanish Civil War.

Resnais’ next film, “Je t’aime, je t’aime,” proved a financial setback and hampered his ability to raise funding for several years. When he returned it was with the conventional gangster story “Stavisky” (1974), starring Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Three years later, he worked in English for the first time with “Providence,” a contemplation on the creative process featuring John Gielgud’s most satisfying screen performance.

Except for 1983’s “Mon oncle d’Amerique,” Resnais’ films of the ’80s and ’90s, such as “Life Is a Bed of Roses,” “Love Unto Death” (all three of which were written by Jean Gruault), “Melo” and “I Want to Go Home” rarely saw wide release outside France, where his stature as a filmmaker remained largely intact. His 1993 duet “Smoking/No Smoking” consisted of two complementary, stand-alone features adapted from Alan Ayckbourn’s play “Intimate Strangers.”

Resnais scored greater attention with 1997’s “Same Old Song,” a musical comedy written (like “Smoking/No Smoking”) by the husband-and-wife team of Jean-Pierre Bacri and Agnes Jaoui, who also appeared in the film. The helmer delivered another tuner with 2003’s “Not on the Lips,” a playful romp better appreciated at home than abroad, then returned to Ayckbourn with the well-received “Private Fears in Public Places” (2006), a Parisian take on the play of the same title.

Three years later, Resnais made a significant return to international prominence with “Wild Grass,” a surreal, disorienting tale of l’amour fou adapted from Christian Gailly’s novel “L’incident.” Starring two of his longtime regulars, Andre Dussollier and Sabine Azema, the film was hailed as a late masterpiece by some critics and dismissed as confounding by others when it premiered at the 2009 Cannes fest, where Resnais received a lifetime achievement award.
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Reply #1473 on: March 02, 2014, 07:12:31 PM
he was still alive?!?! wow. rip, such an amazing man.


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Reply #1474 on: March 23, 2014, 03:36:45 PM
R.I.P. ‘Homeland’, ‘White Collar’ Thesp James Rebhorn Passes From Melanoma
via Deadline

UPDATED, SUNDAY 12:35 PM: James Rebhorn died Friday afternoon from melanoma. The actor was diagnosed with melanoma in 1992 and died at home in South Orange, N.J. peacefully around his family. He had been receiving hospice care after being released from NYU Hospital. “He was a wonderful, wonderful man. I represented him since 1990, and I represented him for my entire career,” said his Leading Artist rep Dianne Busch. “He was an absolute joy to work with. He was very funny and was warm. He was drawn to projects with a social conscience. One of his favorite movies that he did was Lorenzo’s Oil because it made a difference. He had a very strong faith and loved his family. His family was extremely important to him and I saw him make career sacrifices for them.” His is survived by wife Becky, and two daughters Hannah and Emma. His family is planning a religious service arrangement to take place in New Jersey.

PREVIOUSLY: The longtime character actor, whose recent recurring credits include playing as Carrie Mathison’s father Showtime’s Homeland and Special Agent Reese Hughes on USA’s White Collar, died Friday at his home. He was 65. James Rebhorn got his start in theater before moving to television where he starred on soaps Guiding Light and As The World Turns in the 1980s, earning a Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for the latter. As a character actor Rebhorn built a career playing figures of authority in films like Independence Day, Scent of a Woman, Carlito’s Way, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Game, Regarding Henry, and Meet the Parents. During his prolific TV career he guest-starred as three different characters in on Law & Order, played the D.A. in the two-part series finale of Seinfeld, and appeared on Third Watch, The Book Of Daniel, 30 Rock, Big Lake, 2012′s Coma miniseries, and HBO’s Enlightened. Rebhorn’s recent big screen credits include Real Steel, Baby Mama, The Odd Life Of Timothy Green, and Sleepwalk With Me.


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Reply #1475 on: April 07, 2014, 02:52:03 AM
Mickey Rooney died @ 93.


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Reply #1476 on: April 17, 2014, 03:50:45 PM


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Reply #1477 on: April 17, 2014, 06:52:40 PM
That's a day ruiner. An incredible talent. Read his stuff folks.


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Reply #1478 on: April 23, 2014, 11:43:35 AM
Michael Glawogger (1959–2014) Acclaimed Austrian director Michael Glawogger, famed for his hard-hitting documentaries on the lives of the desperate poor, has died while on a shoot in Africa.

he has done some of my favorite docs, "Whores Glory", "Megacities", and "Workingman's Death." i think whores glory is still on netflix i highly recommend it, add to your instant queue great filmmaker
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Reply #1479 on: April 30, 2014, 08:36:52 AM
Actor Bob Hoskins Dead at 71   

LONDON — British actor Bob Hoskins, whose varied career ranged from noir drama "Mona Lisa" to animated fantasy "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" has died aged 71.

A family statement released Wednesday by agent Clair Dobbs said Hoskins died in a hospital after a bout of pneumonia.

A versatile character actor capable of menace, quiet poignancy and Cockney charm, London-raised Hoskins appeared in some of the most acclaimed British films of the past few decades, including gangster classic "The Long Good Friday."

He specialized in tough guys with a soft center, including the ex-con who chaperones Cathy Tyson's escort in Neil Jordan's 1986 film "Mona Lisa." Hoskins was nominated for a best-actor Academy Award for the role.

His Hollywood breakthrough came as a detective investigating cartoon crime in the part-animated 1988 hit "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." He also played the pirate Smee in Steven Spielberg's 1991 Peter Pan movie "Hook."

In 2012 Hoskins announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and was retiring from acting.

His last role was as one of the seven dwarves in "Snow White & The Huntsman," starring Kristen Stewart.

"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Bob," said a statement from wife Linda and children Alex, Sarah, Rosa and Jack.
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Reply #1480 on: April 30, 2014, 09:49:39 AM
Was not expecting that. Damn.
He held on. The dolphin and all the rest of its pod turned and swam out to sea, and still he held on. This is it, he thought. Then he remembered that they were air-breathers too. It was going to be all right.

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Reply #1481 on: April 30, 2014, 12:21:27 PM
A sad sad day. Such a great actor. "The Long Good Friday" is an incredible gangster film and so much more, all held up by Hoskins' performance. I also love his bit part in "Brazil" He will be missed.

PS. I watched the scene where Freddie meets The Master and it just fucking broke me in two. As soon as PSH says: "Alright" This year has been nasty beyond belief...


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Reply #1482 on: May 08, 2014, 08:35:39 AM
I loved Bob Hoskins' performance in Atom Egoyan's "Felicia's Journey". He walks such a fine line between a perfect gentleman and a violent brute. It's one of the most subtly disturbing films I've ever seen, and you won't find a more tasteful portrayal of a serial killer. Just realized he starred in it today, hadn't put a name to his face before. He does such an impressive job. Really good movie, I highly recommend it.


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Reply #1483 on: May 08, 2014, 04:38:04 PM
in which i overshare how my feelings responded to what reelist said:
egoyan and i have an overall patchy relationship, idk, when i watched the sweet hereafter i thought i was entering an adult-serious-movie realm. seemed next level to me at the time, but. pretty sure the best time i had with egoyan was the first time i saw him, and it's been some kinda cocaine addiction since then. so. i remember i owned the egoyan box set and sold that. four of his movies, gone from me. do i still own felicia's journey? yes. here it is, next to ararat, the adjuster, and exotica. those are the four egoyans i've kept for whatever reason. plus, felicia's journey is unopened! how strange. i netflix'd it in the past, then bought it cheaply somewhere and i haven't opened it or watched it since i bought it. now everything cosmic seems pointed at me rewatching felicia's journey. roger


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Reply #1484 on: May 11, 2014, 07:50:47 PM
R.I.P. ‘Videodrome’ Actor Les Carlson
via Deadline

Actor Leslie “Les” M. Carlson, who starred in four David Cronenberg films including Videodrome during his 38-year career in film, television, and the stage, died May 3 after a battle with cancer at his Toronto home, under hospice care. He was 81. South Dakota-born Carlson began his screen career in the 1970s, with turns in films including 1974′s Deranged and the sorority slasher classic Black Christmas. Cronenberg cast him as Spectacular Optical Corporation head Barry Convex in 1983 sci-fi horror Videodrome, for which Carlson earned a Genie Award nomination. He’d go on to act in three more Cronenberg films: The Dead Zone, The Fly, and 2000′s Toronto Film Festival short Camera. Carlson’s credits also include films High-Ballin’, A Christmas Story, Rolling Vengeance, and K2, as well as TV appearances on 21 Jump Street, The X-Files, Highlander, Babar and the Adventures of Badou, Rookie Blue, and a recurring run on Disney’s Road To Avonlea.