Hollywood Deaths from July 1st, 2001 - March 31st, 2002
Those Who Have Gone Before
July 1st, 2001 - March 31st, 2002
Christopher Hewett, who entertained us for six years as "Mr. Belvedere" has died due to complications from diabetes. He was 80 when he passed.
Lorenzo Music, the voice of Garfield, Tummi from "The Gummi Bears," Dr. Peter Venkman in "The Real Ghostbusters" and Dunder in "Talespin" as well as many other characters died of Bone and Lung Cancer in August. Lorenzo was 64 at the time of his death.
Aaliyah who's singing and acting career was expanding dramatically died abruptly in a plane crash this summer. She played in "Romeo Must Die" and was to apear in "The Matrix II" and "III" and "Queen of the Damned." Aaliyah was 22 years old when she died.
Dave Thomas founder and spokesman for Wendy's died of liver cancer at his home in Florida at the age of 69. Dave Thomas appeared in more than 800 Wendy's ads and holds the Guinness Book of Records achievement for the longest TV campaign by a company founder.
Ted Demme, director of last year's cocaine drama "Blow"' and nephew of Oscar-winning filmmaker Jonathan Demme, suffered an apparent heart attack and died at the age of 38. His other well known films include "Life,'' "Snitch," "Beautiful Girls" and the neo-classic holiday favorite, "The Ref."
Actor-singer Ron Taylor died the week of January 14th at the age of 49, from what is thought to have been a heart attack.
Besides his recurring role as Bleeding Gums Murphy on "The Simpsons," he appeared on "Ally McBeal" and "Twin Peaks," created and starred in the hit Broadway musical "It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues," and appeared in more than 20 films, including "Trading Places" and "Rush Hour 2."
Peggy Lee died of a heart attack at the age of 81. Besides a legendary carreer in Jazz and Pop, the singer also made her mark in Hollywood as an actress, winning an Academy Award nomination for her role as the hard-drinking singer in the 1955 jazz saga, ``Pete Kelly's Blues'' and composing songs for the 1955 Walt Disney Co. animated classic ``Lady and the Tramp'' including everyone's favorite "The Siamese Cat Song" which she both wrote and performed.
Astrid Lindgren, creator of the free-spirited, freckle-faced, pig-tailed Pippi Longstocking, died Monday, January 28th, 2001 at the age of 94. Lindgren died after a brief illness caused by a viral infection.
Singer, songwriter and guitarist, Waylon Jennings died at 64 after a long battle with diabetes-related health problems. Jennings, recorded 60 albums and had 16 No. 1 country singles in a career that spanned five decades and began when he played bass for Buddy Holly. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in October.
New Zealand actor Kevin Smith died from critical head injury after falling from a tower. The 38-year-old actor was best know for playing the Greek God of War on "Xena: Warrior Princess" and was to join Bruce Willis in an upcoming film.
John Thaw was a respected stage actor and had been a leading television actor for many years. But was he was indelibly identified with "Inspector Morse" after creating a complex character whose flaws appealed to fans as much as his better qualities.
Academy Award-winning animator Chuck Jones, who drew such beloved cartoon characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig, died of congestive heart failure at 89.
In addition to Bugs and Daffy, he helped create a cast of characters including the Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Marvin the Martian, Pepe le Pew, Michigan J. Frog and so many others. He also produced, directed and wrote the screenplays for "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," as well as the feature film "The Phantom Tollbooth."
Jones worked on more than 300 animated films in a career that spanned more than 60 years. Three of Jones' films won Academy Awards: ``Frigid Hare,'' ``So Much, So Little'' and ``The Dot and the Line,'' for which Jones also received a directing Oscar. One of Jones' most popular films, ``What's Opera, Doc?'' was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1992 for being ``among the most culturally, historically and aesthetically significant films of our time.'' In 1996, he was presented an honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement. Among his many awards and recognitions, one of those he most valued was the honorary life membership from the Directors Guild of America. Just last year, Jones was inducted into the Animation Hall of Fame in Los Angeles, along with Walt Disney.
Don Haig, known in the industry as the godfather of Canadian film for helping produce award-winning features and nurturing young talent, died at age 68.
Irene Worth, the award-winning film and stage actress after a stroke near her home in Manhattan. She was 85.
Worth was nominated for five Tony Awards, winning three, for Edward Albee's "Tiny Alice" (1965), for a revival of Tennessee Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth" (1976), and for Neil Simon's "Lost in Yonkers" (1991). Her non-winning roles were no less impressive: for Lillian Hellman's "Toys in the Attic" (1960) and Joseph Papp's production of "The Cherry Orchard" (1976). She also received two OBIEs, one for "The Chalk Garden" (1982) and one for Sustained Achievement (1989). She made her Broadway debut in "The Two Mrs. Carrolls" (1943) and subsequently moved to London, her primary residence for much of the next 30 years.
Worth's film appearances were few, but memorable. She won the British Academy Award for "The Scapegoat" (1959), and appeared in "Nicholas and Alexandra" (1971), "Eyewitness" (1981), "Deathtrap" (1982), and the film version of "Lost in Yonkers" (1993).
The father of Sigourney Weaver and creater of NBC's "Today" and "Tonight" shows, Sylvester "Pat" Weaver, died of pneumonia at 93.
Convinced that he could woo morning radio listeners away, Weaver created the first early morning show, "Today," in 1952, with host Dave Garroway. For his contributions, Weaver received two Emmy awards and was inducted into the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame in 1985.
Carmelo Bene, an actor and director who stirred up Italian theater with experimental techniques influenced by the European avant-garde, died at 64 after suffering from serious heart problems.
He appeared in director Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Oedipus Rex" in 1967. Bene's own film the following year, "Our Lady of the Turks," won a prize at the Venice Film Festival.
Danilo Bata Stojkovic, a popular Yugoslav actor best known for his roles in plays and movies dealing with the country's troubled communist past, died after a long battle with cancer. He was 67.
He was known for his comic interpretation of narrow-minded state officials and working-class characters in a series of anti-communist plays by dissident authors in the 1980s. Stojkovic, who was also a prominent character actor, became hugely popular when he publicly backed pro-democracy forces that eventually toppled former President Slobodan Milosevic.
Rosetta LeNoire who was best known to TV audiences for her long-running role as Grandma Winslow on the television comedy "Family Matters" died Sunday in Teaneck, N.J., after a long illness. The nature of the illness was not disclosed. She was 90.
LeNoire made her Broadway debut in "The Hot Mikado" in 1939, going on to appear in such shows as "A Streetcar Named Desire," "The Sunshine Boys" and "Lost In The Stars." LeNoire also co-starred in the film version of "Anna Lucasta" with Sammy Davis Jr. and Eartha Kitt, and appeared in such TV series as "Search for Tomorrow," "The Guiding Light" and "Gimme a Break."
Juilliard School violin teacher Dorothy DeLay whose students include Itzhak Perlman and Midori died from cancer at the age of 84.
DeLay began her teaching career at Juilliard in 1948, earning a reputation as the world's foremost violin teacher. Among DeLay's other musical progeny on the international concert circuit are the American violinist Nadia Salerno-Sonnenberg, the Israeli-born Shlomo Mintz and the British-born Nigel Kennedy. In 1994, she received the National Medal of Arts, presented to her by President Clinton.
Louis Heyward who wrote for many TV shows in the 1950s and was head writer for "The Ernie Kovacs Show" died of complications from pneumonia at the age of 81.
In 1953, he created "Winky Dink and You," a Saturday morning children's show with a twist. Viewers at home could help the animated boy called Winky Dink and his dog Woofer by buying a 50-cent kit that included a "magic screen." The clear sheet of plastic was placed over the television screen so that viewers could help the characters cross a stream, for example, by drawing in a bridge with "magic crayons." The show ran for many years in syndication. Heyward also briefly produced "The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show" in the 1950s.
66-year-old comedian Dudley Moore, the diminutive British actor, writer and musician best known for his Oscar-nominated role as a slurring drunk billionaire in 1981's "Arthur", has died of pneumonia as a complication of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a rare degenerative Parkinson's-like disease that affects the brain and causes slurred speech, problems with walking, imbalance and difficulty in swallowing.
Moore was an accomplished pianist and a celebrated comedian best remembered in Britain for his legendary pairing with Peter Cook in their inspired "Dud and Pete" comedy double act as well as such hit films as "The Wrong Box," "Bedazzled" and "The Bed-sitting Room". In the United States and the rest of the world, he was better known for his role in Hollywood blockbusters, "Foul Play" and "10." He later earned two Golden Globe awards for his roles in "Micki and Maude" and "Arthur" as well as an Oscar nomination for playing the drunken playboy.
Legendary comedian and cross-dressing host of "The Texaco Star Theater" and the top-rated "The Milton Berle" Show," died after a lengthy illness coupled with a diagnoses of colon cancer at the age of 93.
"Uncle Miltie," as he was known by his fans was the master of television in the 1940's and earned the second moniker, "Mr. Television" for his early support of the medium. He won an Emmy for his time on "The Texaco Star Theater." He made a number of movies in the 1960s, most notably "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" in 1963. Other films included "The Oscar," "The Happening," "Who's Minding the Mint?," "Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows," "For Singles Only," "Hieronymus Merkin," "Lepke" and "The Muppet Movie."
"Too many people simply give up too easily," he once said. "You have to keep the desire to forge ahead, and you have to be able to take the bruises of unsuccess. Success is just one long street fight."
Director Billy Wilder, creator of such classic American films as "Sunset Boulevard," and "Double Indemnity" died at age of 95. He was suffering from failing health and was reported to be battling a bout of pneumonia.
As co-writer, director and producer of the 1960 film "The Apartment" Wilder collected three Oscars and was the first filmmaker to win three Academy Awards for the same film. His other classics include "Stalag 17," "The Lost Weekend," "Sabrina," and "Witness for the Prosecution" as well as the Marilyn Monroe comedies "The Seven Year Itch," and "Some Like it Hot."
In "The Fortune Cookie," he was the first to pair Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, creating one of the screen's all time most beloved and memorable comic teams.
Wilder received 21 Academy Award nominations and won six Oscars.
Ken Hughes, the veteran screenwriter and director of the popular movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang died at 79. He had been ill for some time with Alzheimer's disease.
Hughes also directed The Trials of Oscar Wilde, which starred Peter Finchand and made a version of Of Human Bondage, with Kim Novak and Laurence Harvey. He directed Mae West in Sextette - the last film she made and he was one of several directors to work on the James Bond spoof Casino Royale. His 1980 drama Cromwell, starring Sir Alec Guinness and Richard Harris, was highly acclaimed.
Barry Took, one of Britain's most famous comedians and comic writers who helped produce such shows as "Monty Python's Flying Circus," died at the age of 73 after a battle with cancer.
He was responsible for celebrated radio series like "The Army Game," "Educating Archie" and "Bootsie and Snudge," and co-wrote the hugely popular 1960s radio comedy "Round the Horne" with well-known funnyman Marty Feldman.The shows were a vital part of British life in the austere decades after World War II, when food rationing lasted for years and the country struggled to adjust to its diminished role in the world. Took also worked on the U.S. television show, "Laugh In" and wrote the television show "Bootsie and Snudge."
Tonino Cervi, the Italian producer, screenwriter and director who worked with film greats such as Federico Fellini, Bernardo Bertolucci and Michelangelo Antonioni, died, aged 71.
Cervi produced one of Bernardo Bertolucci's first feature films, La Commare Secca (Grim Reaper). In 1963, he won top honours at the Cannes Film Festival for director Michelangelo Antonioni's Deserto Rosso, or Red Desert. In the same years, he managed to put together such star directors as Fellini, Vittorio De Sica, Mario Monicelli and Luchino Visconti for a four-segment film called Boccaccio '70.
Amelia Bachelor, the actress who posed for the Columbia Pictues logo in 1936 has died at the age of 94.
Bachelor held the torch for a mere $25 at the time. Her image is still used today and has earned her a spot in the record books for appearing in more films than any other individual. Unless Columbia decides to change their logo she is going to hold that honor for a very long time.