Archive for the ‘Obituaries’ Category

  • Mickey Rooney 1920-2014

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    Another passing of a Hollywood Legend, perhaps one of the longest careers in the history of cinema, Mickey Rooney started as a child actor at age 2 and was working still at 93 on multiple film projects the supporting roles he was accustomed for the latter half of his career. Rooney was in the process of appearing in B. Luciano Barsuglia’s adaptation of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, when he died at home, surrounded by his family at 93 years old.

    A willing and able actor in the studio system (He did a number of films with young Judy Garland) and beyond, the man has an incredible 300+ film and TV acting credits, and this doesn’t count all of his time spent on stage. Personally, I remember him in his most racist caricature in Breakfast at Tiffany‘s where he plays the upstairs Japanese neighbor and yells a lot, which is perhaps a more unfortunate legacy. His broad comic humour, short stature, and boundless enthusiasm won him many fans, particularly in Hollywood’s golden age, just as his wild-child alienated others as the studio system was crumbling.

    Married 8 times (the last of which lasted 37 years) he has a staggering amount of children, grand children and great grandchildren. Cue the biopic going into pre-production in 5…4…3…

    The Guardian has more, here.

  • James Rebhorn 1948-2014

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    James Rebhorn

    Another loss of a fine and prolific character actor. James Rebhorn, who was 65 and recently seen on TV’s Homeland and Enlightened spans a lengthy career playing doctors, lawyers, politicians and judges in film and TV. Mostly doctors though. Maybe it was that ‘professional white guy’ look he had. A professional “HEY IT’S THAT GUY” who did his work well on huge blockbusters, and small TV movies with aplomb and well, professionalism.

    More here.

  • Alain Resnais 1922-2014

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    At 91 years old, not quite French New Wave director who will forever be known as the man who broke my brain with the esoteric and influential Last Year In Marienbad, Alain Resnais has passed on. With his first film (never finished) in 1936 and his final film in 2013, he is one of the few directors whose work spans over 8 decades. Hiroshima Mon Amour, Night and Fog, and Last Year In Marienbad are probably the three must-watch entries in his long career.

    More at The Guardian.

  • Harold Ramis 1944 – 2014

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    Writer, director, SCTV-player, collector of spores, molds and fungus, Harold Ramis has returned forthwith into his place of origin in the sky (or to the nearest convenient parallel dimension) at the age of 69. He died of natural causes (swelling of the blood vessels, if you must know) in the presence of his family.

    Most famous for writing and acting in Ivan Reitman directed comedies (Meatballs, Stripes, Ghostbusters) in the 1970s and 1980s and directing Groundhog Day and the Analyze This movies in the 1990s. He will be missed. Go ahead and have that chocolate bar in the great hereafter, Harold, you’ve earned it.

    More Here.

  • Shirley Temple 1928-2014

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    The iconic golden-curled, dimple faced child star of the 30s and 40s (and beyond) has sailed away forever on the good ship lollipop. More here.

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014

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    Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead today in a New York City apartment building. Details still forthcoming.

    This is sudden and tragic and strange all at once. Certainly the man was one of America’s best actors, but also a decent human being that despite previous battles with drugs and alcohol, managed to stay out of the tabloids and other less flattering media spotlights.

    He was known mainly for his stellar work as a character actor, and later, as a bonafide lead and Oscar winner. Every single film in which he starred was by default that much better due to his presence. Case in point: Twister. Remember him how you will. Brandt in Big Lebowski. Lester Bangs in Almost Famous. Father Flynn in Doubt. Truman Capote or countless other great roles. He truly was The Master.

    Let’s all take the time to remember his greatness and not as much with the sad details of his death.

    We’re speechless, here in the third row.

  • Run Run Shaw was 106.

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    Co-founder of the magnificent and prolific Shaw Brothers Studios, Run Run Shaw passed away yesterday at exceptional age of 106 (his brother, Runme, passed away in 1985 at 84). Putting out every kind of genre film in China, but specializing in big costume studio wuxia films, he was one of the last great world-class cinema moguls along the lines of Louis B. Mayer, Jack Warner or Darryl F. Zanuck. Only lesser tigers like Harvey Weinstein now remain. More here.

    (Fun Fact: Run Run Shaw was one of the principle financiers for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.)

  • Peter O’Toole 1932-2013.

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    Peter O'Toole

    We have lost another icon of cinema this weekend as the great Peter O’Toole shuffled off his mortal coil. A major presence in Hollywood elite getting awards nominations from the 1960s epic of epics, Lawrence of Arabia as well as A Lion in Winter onward to 1980s The Stuntman and mid-2000s with Venus and almost 100 film and TV credits. His combination of stiff upper lip and raw sex appeal was the perfect mix of a Brit capturing the imagination of the American filmgoer. Other films include: Zulu Dawn, Caligula, The Last Emperor and the goofy 1980s comedy High Spirits; he is even known to the kiddies as food critic Anton Ego in Brad Bird’s Ratatouille.

    Lots more on the man here.

    And Mamo! Matt Brown’s eclectically wonderful personal take on the man, here.

  • Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013

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    With the passing of Mr. Mandela it feels as if the 20th Century is has officially signed off and closed shop. More here.

  • Paul Walker: 1973 – 2013 (RIP)

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    It’s with a heavy heart that we report to you tonight that Paul Walker, awesome star of the Fast and Furious franchise passed away today in a car crash that took two lives in Southern California. Walker was 40 years-old.

    Walker was a passenger in a friend’s car and both were attending a charity event for his organization, Reach Out Worldwide, in the community of Valencia in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles north of Hollywood. The website for the charity said the Saturday event was intended to benefit victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

    We’re going to miss the man around here as some of us have really been defenders of the man’s talent in acting, energy and charisma. Although superficially he did make it on my shallow list last year. Obviously Fast and Furious wouldn’t work as well without him and I’m not sure how the rest of that franchise is going to play out due to Walker’s untimely death – especially since part seven is in the midst of filming right now. Walker is also the star of an independent film that is scheduled to hit theaters later this year titled Hours.

    Most people just wrote-off Walker as a sub-par actor with just a pretty face – and you could argue there’s some truth to that – but looking at films like Noel and Running Scared, or even Joy Ride, there was something more to this guy than just looking like a bleach-blonde haired meathead. When he wanted to put on the acting hat, he could do it and he could actually carry a film. Of course it has to be the right film, but he could do it.

    So yeah, I always enjoyed seeing Paul in films. Probably he was never destined for an Oscar, but he almost always worked for whatever film he was tapped for. It’s too bad that after Hours, I won’t be seeing him again. Coincidental that I just bought copies of Fast and Furious 5 and 6 today. Weird. RIP sir.

  • Elmore Leonard Leaves Behind A Heck of a Legacy.

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    Dozens upon dozens of excellent novels, hundreds of memorable characters, and one heckuvalot of excellent film adaptations of his work, from westerns to noir crime tales of redemption to satirical comedies, Leonard was a Titan of pop-literature and popcorn entertainment for grown-ups. He’ll be missed. He passed on today from complications from a Stoke earlier in Detroit, Michigan (the setting of many of his novels). You cold remember by popping in Soderbergh’s Out of Sight, probably the best adaptation of his work, although many might argue Jackie Brown which was adapted from his novel Rum Punch by Quentin Tarantino, or either version of 3:10 to Yuma (whether your preference is Glenn Ford or Russell Crowe), or Charlie Bronson in Mr. Majestyk, or Roy Scheider and Anne Margaret vs. John Glover in John Frankenheimer’s delightfully trashy 52-Pickup, or goofy Hollywood spoofing in Barry Sonnenfeld’s Get Shorty, or Paul Newman’s sparkly blues and pearly whites in Hombre. Then there was TV shows Justified, Karen Cisco and the Twin Peaks-y Maximum Bob. Even if you don’t watch the films, and wanted to go right to the Leonard-source, the novels read like films and play like films in my imagination while I turned pages at the cottage or on the beach.

    The key theme in his work was seedy down on their luck types with criminal backgrounds making a play for redemption; this is of course not always by going straight or living on the up-and-up, but rather finding their own moral code in the face of a sea of less than ethical deadbeats. The man has nothing for which redemption requires, he did the good service for entertaining millions with quality stuff, and made us look a second or third time at people we would cross the street to avoid. That’s fine, fine work.

  • Dennis Farina: 1944 – 2013

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    This one is a bit of a sad shocker. Legend character actor Dennis Farina died tragically on Monday morning after a hospital stay for a blood clot in his lung.

    I’ve always enjoyed Farina for his biting humor and “hammer-on” approach to his characters. I’ve been watching the guy since I was a kid and can name countless roles of his I enjoy; whether he’s working with Soderbergh or Spielberg, on the big screen or on TV. But for some reason his role in Guy Ritchie’s Snatch is always the first role that springs to mind.

    He’ll be sorely missed in movie world.

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