Who's Next To Croak?

Started by cine, September 28, 2003, 11:07:39 AM

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'MacGyver' actor dies at 77

Dana Elcar played boss on adventure show

VENTURA, California (AP) -- Dana Elcar, the round-faced, balding actor whose real-life struggle with blindness was written into his role on the TV adventure series "MacGyver," has died. He was 77.

He died Monday of complications from pneumonia at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, his family said.

"MacGyver" ran on ABC from 1985 to 1992. Elcar played the best friend and boss of the crime-fighting title character, played by Richard Dean Anderson.

"At a time when I had very little business being called an actor, he made things so easy for me," Anderson said. "It was a learning experience that was very warm and loving for all seven years."

Elcar, who suffered from glaucoma, told producers he was going blind after four seasons with "MacGyver," so they adapted his character to match his medical condition. By the end of the show's run, he had become almost completely blind.

"The fact that you are losing your eyesight does not mean you have forgotten how to act," Elcar, in a speech to the National Federation of the Blind in 1991, recalled producers telling him.

Elcar's television career spanned 50 years. He played in other drama series, including "Baretta" opposite Robert Blake and the Robert Conrad series "Black Sheep Squadron."

Elcar also appeared in at least 40 films, including "The Sting," "2010," "All of Me" and "The Learning Tree."

He starred in off-Broadway plays, including the first American productions of Harold Pinter's "The Dumb Waiter" and "The Caretaker," Dylan Thomas' "Under Milk Wood" and Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot."

Running away from home in Ferndale, Michigan, at age 13 may have led Elcar to an acting career, his son, Dane Elcar, said. He became separated from a friend in a town far from home, and spent the night watching "Citizen Kane" at an all-night theater.

"That kind of sparked him to be an actor. He watched it four or five times in one night," Dane Elcar said.

In addition to his son, Elcar is survived by three daughters, a stepdaughter, a sister, a half sister and longtime companion Thelma M. Garcia.

Find Your Magali

This is a sad one.

Actor Lane Smith, 69, Dies
By Myrna Oliver
Los Angeles Times

   LOS ANGELES -- Lane Smith, the actor who portrayed President Nixon in the 1989 docudrama "The Final Days" and apoplectic Daily Planet editor Perry White in the 1990s television series "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," has died. He was 69.
   Smith died Monday at his Los Angeles home of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease, his family said.
   A veteran stage actor with scores of character parts in film and television, Smith achieved instant fame when he took on the role of Nixon in the production based on the book "The Final Days" by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Smith's performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination.
   Although he had been acting for three decades when he was cast as Nixon, Smith told Newsday when the show aired that he considered the role "a tremendous career break."
   "It's an actor's dream to play something like this," he said. "I consider this my masterwork."
   The program itself generated controversy with Nixon supporters labeling it a "smear," and Nixon critics saying it was too sympathetic to the fallen leader. But Smith won critical praise for capturing the physical gestures, mannerisms and what he considered the "Greek tragedy" of the only U.S. president forced to resign in disgrace.
   Newsweek called Smith's portrayal "a towering performance" and noted: "This docudrama is a one-man show, and perhaps the most incandescent ever to ignite the tube."
   And Newsday said Smith "is such a good Nixon that his despair and sorrow at his predicament become simply overwhelming."
   The program greatly enhanced Smith's reputation.
   "Playing Nixon gave me tremendous recognition," Smith told United Press International a year after the docudrama aired. "I'd long been known in the business, but it pulled everything together. Finally people could put the name Lane Smith with my face."
   In 1991, he landed regular roles in two short-lived television series, as cable television mogul R.J. Rappaport in "Good Sports" starring Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal, and as suitor for star Teri Garr's mother in "Good and Evil."
   In short order, he also played a hockey coach in the highly popular "The Mighty Ducks," a politician in Eddie Murphy's "The Distinguished Gentleman" and a lawyer in "My Cousin Vinny" all released in 1992.
   And then along came Superman.
   Smith had been a regular on other series, including the title character's mentor in the 1986 medical drama "Kay O'Brien" and a corrupt industrialist aiding menacing aliens in the 1985 sci-fi series "V." But "Lois and Clark," which starred Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher and ran on ABC from 1993 to 1997, would be his most enduring employer.
   In the updated take on the caped crusader from Krypton, White's favorite exclamation changed from "Great Caesar's Ghost!" to "Great shades of Elvis!" and the editor spewed Elvis trivia.
   Born in Memphis, Tenn., April 29, 1936, Smith grew up wanting to act. He studied drama for two years at what is now Carnegie-Mellon University before dropping out for a two-year Army hitch. . He later moved to New York to study at the Actors Studio.
   Smith made his off-Broadway debut in 1959 and acted in several plays on and off Broadway.
   Notwithstanding the Nixon role, his real career break came in the late 1960s when he played Randle Patrick McMurphy for 650 off-Broadway performances of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next." Better roles followed, and he went on to play characters as diverse as Modigliani, Jack Kerouac and Adolf Hitler.
   Smith earned a Drama Desk Award for his role in David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Glengarry Glen Ross" in 1984.
   The actor made his motion picture debut in 1973 in "The Last American Hero" starring Jeff Bridges, and in 1978, he moved to Los Angeles to concentrate on film and television work. His first motion picture starring role came in 1988 when he played the warden in "Prison" with Viggo Mortensen.
   Smith is survived by his wife of four years, Debbie, and his son from a previous marriage, Robertson.


Those of you who watched Ken Burns' Civil War know who this is.


Historian, novelist Shelby Foote dies at 88
Worked for 20 years on three-volume Civil War history
The Associated Press
Updated: 2:34 p.m. ET June 28, 2005

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Novelist and historian Shelby Foote, whose Southern storyteller's touch inspired millions to read his multivolume work on the Civil War, has died. He was 88.

Foote died Monday night, his widow, Gwyn, said Tuesday.

Foote, a Mississippi native and longtime Memphis resident, wrote six novels but is best remembered for his three-volume, 3,000-page history of the Civil War and his appearance on the PBS series "The Civil War."

He worked on the book for 20 years, using a flowing, narrative style that enabled readers to enjoy it like a historical novel.

"I can't conceive of writing it any other way," Foote once said. "Narrative history is the kind that comes closest to telling the truth. You can never get to the truth, but that's your goal."

That work landed Foote a leading role on Ken Burns' 11-hour Civil War documentary, first shown on the Public Broadcasting Service in 1990.

"He was a Southerner of great intellect who took up the issue of the Civil War as a writer with huge sanity and sympathy," said Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford, a friend and fellow Mississippi native.

Foote's soft drawl and gentlemanly manner on the Burns film made him an instant celebrity, a role with which he was unaccustomed and, apparently, somewhat uncomfortable.

One volume became three

Foote attended the University of North Carolina for two years and served in World War II, though he never saw combat.

Foote's first novel, "Tournament," was started before the war and published in 1949. Then came "Follow Me Down" in 1950, "Love in a Dry Season" in 1951, "Shiloh" in 1952 and "Jordan County" in 1954.

That same year, Random House asked him to write a one-volume history of the Civil War. He took the job, but it grew into a three-volume project finally finished in 1974.

In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Foote's "The Civil War: A Narrative" as No. 15 on its list of the century's 100 best English-language works of nonfiction.

Reading, he said, was as much a part of his work as writing.

After finishing his sixth novel, "September, September," in 1978, he took off three years to read.

Though hardly a recluse, Foote had long been known around Memphis as having little interest in parties and public gatherings. And he was often outspoken about his likes and dislikes.

"Most people, if the truth be told, are gigantic bores," he once said. "There's no need to subject yourself to that kind of thing."

Writing with a dipped pen

Foote was born Nov. 7, 1916, in Greenville, a small Delta town with a literary bent. Walker Percy was a boyhood and lifelong friend, and Foote, as a young man, served as a "jackleg reporter" for Hodding Carter on The Delta Star. As a young man, he would also get to know William Faulkner.

During World War II, he was an Army captain of artillery until he lost his commission for using a military vehicle without authorization to visit a female friend and was discharged from the Army. He joined the Marines and was still stateside when the war ended.

"The Marines had a great time with me," he said. "They said if you used to be a captain, you might make a pretty good Marine."

He tried journalism again after World War II, signing on briefly with The Associated Press in its New York bureau.

"I think journalism is a good experience, having to turn in copy against deadline and everything else, but I don't think one should stay in it too long if what he wants to be is a serious writer," Foote said in a 1990 interview.

Early in his career, Foote took up the habit of writing by hand with an old-fashioned dipped pen, and he continued that practice throughout his life.

He kept bound volumes of his manuscripts, all written in a flowing hand, on a bookshelf in a homey bedroom-study overlooking a small garden at his Memphis residence.

Though facing a busy city street, the two-story house was almost hidden from view by trees and shrubs.

"If I were a wealthy man, I'd have someone on that gate," he said.

Foote said writing by hand helped him slow down to a manageable pace and was more personal that using a typewriter, though he often prepared a typed copy of his day's writing after it was finished.

Married three times, Foote has a daughter, Margaret Shelby, and a son, Huger Lee. He and Gwyn married in 1956, three years after he moved to Memphis.

© 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

thadius sterling

Someone may have already suggested this but the thread is far too long for me to go scanning. I think Abe Bigota croaked 10 years ago but he's still showing up at Roasts


Luther Vandross Dies at 54

NEW YORK - Grammy award winner     Luther Vandross, whose deep, lush voice on such hits as "Here and Now" and "Any Love" sold more than 25 million albums while providing the romantic backdrop for millions of couples worldwide, died Friday. He was 54. Vandross died at John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Edison, N.J., said hospital spokesman Rob Cavanaugh. He did not release the cause of death.


I just read that not too long ago.

God Bless that man.
"As a matter of fact I only work with the feeling of something magical, something seemingly significant. And to keep it magical I don't want to know the story involved, I just want the hypnotic effect of it somehow seeming significant without knowing why." - Len Lye


he died of the stroke he suffered two years ago.



Famed screenwriter Ernest Lehman, 89

Ernest Lehman, the screenwriter whose adaptations of such high-profile Broadway plays and musicals as "West Side Story," "The Sound of Music" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" dominated movie screens during the 1960s, died Saturday at UCLA Medical Center after a lengthy illness. He was 89.

Lehman received six Academy Award nominations -- four for his screenplays and two in the category of best picture -- and also earned nine WGA Award nominations, winning the guild's top honor five times. In 2001, Lehman was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when he became the first screenwriter awarded an honorary Oscar, for his "varied and enduring work."

"I accept this rarest of honors on behalf of screenwriters everywhere, but especially those in the Writers Guild of America," he said onstage. "We have suffered anonymity far too often. I appeal to all movie critics and feature writers to please always bear in mind that a film production begins and ends with a screenplay.

"A creative giant among writers and within the industry, Ernest possessed one of the most distinctive voices of the last half-century," WGAW president Daniel Petrie Jr. said Tuesday. "Adept at tackling a wide range of genres, his unforgettable contributions to the craft of screenwriting helped define what we've come to know as American film."
One of Hollywood's most critically and commercially successful screenwriters, Lehman served as president of the WGAW, elected in 1983 and serving until 1985. He also served several terms on the WGAW board -- in 1954-56, 1961-70, as vp of the screen branch in 1965-67, and in 1980-88. He also sat on many WGAW committees, as well as the Writers Guild Foundation board of directors.

He took home WGA Awards for "Sabrina," "The King and I," "West Side Story," "The Sound of Music," and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

In 1972, the WGA presented Lehman with its Screen Laurel Award.

The Academy nominated Lehman for his original screenplays for Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" and "Sabrina," which he cowrote with Billy Wilder and Samuel A. Taylor. He received adapted screenplay noms for "West Side Story" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" which he also produced. In addition to his producing nom for "Woolf," he also picked up a nom in the best picture category for "Hello, Dolly!"

Lehman was brought to Hollywood in the early 1950s by Paramount Pictures and John Houseman just as the industry was beginning to fear the impact of TV. "It was like taking the last train from Berlin," Lehman said. "I was one of the last contract writers signed."

His writing credits also include "Executive Suite," "Somebody Up There Likes Me," "From the Terrace," and "The Prize," "Black Sunday" and "Family Plot."

Lehman was born Dec. 8, 1915 on Long Island, N.Y. His family was affluent until hit by the Depression. He graduated from the College of the City of New York with a degree that combined chemical engineering and English. He became a freelance writer, and his first sale was a profile of entertainer Ted Lewis to Colliers magazine. Freelancing was, he claimed, a "very nervous way to make a living," so Lehman went to work writing copy for a publicity firm specializing in theatrical productions and celebrities.

That experience later informed 1957's "The Sweet Smell of Success," which he scripted with Clifford Odets based on one of Lehman's novellas, "Tell Me About It Tomorrow." Starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis, the movie focused on the relationship between a powerful gossip columnist and an unscrupulous press agent and has come to be considered a classic dissection of the underside of show business. In 2002, it served as the basis for a Broadway musical.

Enthralled by Broadway and its environs, the young Lehman wrote short stories and novellas. More than 50 of them were published by such publications as Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Colliers, Redbook and others.

Those credits prompted Paramount to offer Lehman a writing contract. His first movie credit was "Executive Suite," an insider's look at Wall Street. It was a success and Paramount called him to collaborate with Wilder on one of the studio's major productions, "Sabrina," the romantic comedy, starring Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn.

Although he became highly regarded as a adapter of stage plays, Lehman was in the distinct minority in Hollywood in his belief in the cinematic potential of Edward Albee's profane stage play "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" While most considered the play too dark, Lehman found a supporter in Warner Bros. executive Jack Warner. With Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor starring as the hardrinking professor and his foul-mouthed materialistic wife and Mike Nichols making his theatrical directorial debut, the movie, shot in black-and-white, went on to receive 13 Academy Award nominations, more than any other film that year, including two for Lehman as producer and writer.

Lehman stumbled, though, with his next effort, "Hello, Dolly!," where he again functioned as producer-writer. One of the most lavish musicals ever produced by 20th Century Fox, it received seven Academy Award nominations, but was regarded as an elphantine boxoffice disappointment.

Lehman directed one film, "Portnoy's Complaint," based on Philip Roth's best-selling novel. For that production, starring Richard Benjamin, he adapted the screenplay, directed and produced under his Chenault Prods. banner for Warner Bros.

Lehman essentially retired from his scriptwriting in 1979, His last project was a TV miniseries adaptation of the novel "The French Atlantic Affair." "Sabrina" was remade in 1995.

Throughout his retirement, Lehman has been active with AMPAS activities.

Lehman is survived by his wife, Laurie, and their son, Jonathan, as well as his sons Roger and Alan from his marriage to his late first wife, Jackie; his daughter-in-law, Julie; and two grandchildren, Adele and Jack.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the Writers Guild Foundation or the Motion Picture and Television Fund. A private memorial service will be held this Friday in Los Angeles.

:yabbse-cry:  :yabbse-cry:  :yabbse-cry:  :yabbse-cry:  :yabbse-cry:
"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

Skeleton FilmWorks


RIP... amazing guy.

89, not bad at all anyways


retired for 25 years. this dude lived a full life. RIP.
under the paving stones.


Quote from: Pubrickretired for 25 years. this dude lived a full life. RIP.
not to mention he died "after a lengthy illness".

RIP, ernie.


RIP, he accomplished alot.

But I know people who are still alive and are envious of him dead and all. He lived a long life and had many accomplishments, can't really feel sorry for him.
Falling in love is the greatest joy in life. Followed closely by sneaking into a gated community late at night and firing a gun into the air.


its too bad he died on the 2nd otherwise we could've called this a "black sunday"..  :yabbse-undecided:


2005 is a horrible year for life.
"As a matter of fact I only work with the feeling of something magical, something seemingly significant. And to keep it magical I don't want to know the story involved, I just want the hypnotic effect of it somehow seeming significant without knowing why." - Len Lye

I Don't Believe in Beatles

W, you misspelled Mitch Hedberg.
"A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later." --Stanley Kubrick