ONE OF THE BEST SCENES IN CINEMA..
R.I.P Ray Harryhausen
Richard Griffiths, OBE
31 July 1947 - 29th March 2013
News is coming out that the wonderful Richard Griffiths has passed away, aged 65 from complications following heart surgery.
I’m heartbroken by this news. He was an incredible talent who appeared in more than one of my favourite films. He was magnificent as Uncle Monty in Withnail and I and Hector in The History Boys, and that’s not even mentioning his appearances in Harry Potter, The Naked Gun 2½, Sleepy Hollow, Pie in the Sky, Bleak House, Ghandi, Venus or his countless stage roles.
No doubt more tributes will be paid during the day, but I had to mourn his passing myself. His was a startlingly wonderful on-screen presence who brought an amazing gravitas to any role he played. The acting profession is poorer today now he’s gone.
Rest in peace, you fabulous man.
Richard Griffiths, OBE
31 July 1947 - 29th March 2013
RIP Michael Clarke Duncan: December 10, 1957 – September 3, 2012
Oscar-nominated actor Michael Clarke Duncan is reported to have died nearly eight weeks after being hospitalized after suffering a heart attack. The Green Mile star was 54.
Duncan’s publicist, Joy Fehily, released a statement on behalf of his fiancée, Rev. Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, saying that Duncan had passed away on Monday in Los Angeles.
Duncan “never fully recovered” from his July 13 heart attack, the statement said. “Manigault is grateful for all of your prayers and asks for privacy at this time.”
Rest in peace, Michael Clarke Duncan, who appears to have been a giant in every sense of the word, according to those that worked with him and loved him. Hollywood is a poorer place for his passing.
Statement from the family of Neil Armstrong, full statement here (via jtotheizzoe)
RIP Jerry Nelson: July 10, 1934 - August 23, 2012
Jerry Nelson, long time Muppeteer, who played a number of favourite characters, including Count von Count on Sesame Street and Gobo Fraggle on Fraggle Rock, has died. He was 78.
Nelson’s most famous puppet character was, perhaps, Count Von Count, the Sesame Street citizen who teaches children how to count. As well, he gave life to Mr. Snuffleupagus, Herbert Birdsfoot, Sherlock Hemlock, Herry Monster and a wide array of supporting one-shot characters. He also played Gobo Fraggle, the leader of the colourful band of creatures featured on the live-action TV series Fraggle Rock.
Nelson also performed many characters on The Muppet Show, including Sgt. Floyd Pepper (the bassist of the Electric Mayhem band), Pigs in Space star Dr. Julius Strangepork, boomerang fish flinging Lew Zealand, Kermit the Frog’s nephew Robin and Gonzo’s girlfriend Camilla the Chicken.
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and raised in Washington, D.C., Nelson first began working with American puppeteer Bil Baird, who created the marionette sequence for The Sound of Music.
He worked with Jim Henson on The Jimmy Dean Show in 1965, temporarily replacing Frank Oz, and worked with The Muppets off and on throughout the 1960s.
Beginning in the 1970s, he worked full-time on Sesame Street and became involved with productions such as 1979’s The Muppet Movie and 1981’s The Great Muppet Caper.
In 2004, Nelson announced he would no longer be operating puppets for The Muppets. However, he continued to do voice work on Sesame Street and portrayed the announcer on some Muppet productions. He continued to voice the Count up until his death.
In 2009 he wrote about his experiences, for Sesame Street’s 40th Anniversary:
“My grandparents used to give me a quarter to learn and sing songs when I was a sprout about five years old. “South of the Border” was maybe the first of a long list of tunes and I’m still learning them and singing them and will until the day I die. I don’t know if they knew the extent of what they were doing and how they were prepping me to have a way to get along in the world, but I like to think so.
I guess everything you observe and do and experience in life adds to that oneness that makes each of us so unique and at the same time makes us an everyman that shares the human condition in the most fundamental ways.
Working with The Henson Organization was like working with your family and when I started working on Sesame Street that was another extended family so now the family was immense. The idea behind this Sesame Street project was to use the tool of television to teach underprivileged preschool children, but what happened was that the show charmed, taught, and brought love and laughter into the hearts and minds of children and adults all over the world.
Chance, dumb luck or destiny? Who knows the controlling force that chooses where and how we find our lives manifest?
I can only say I have traveled through the breathtaking up and down melody of a lifetime that, I studied and trained for, wandered the paths of least resistance (following my water nature) to, and that I am either blessed and one of the luckiest bozos walking this planet or both.
Doctor Who actress Mary Tamm died this morning after a long battle against cancer, her agent said. She was 62.
Tamm, who played the Doctor’s companion Romana alongside Tom Baker, died at hospital in London. Her agent Barry Langford said she had a “zest for life”.
The actress was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, the daughter of Estonian refugees, and had a long career on stage and screen.
As well as Doctor Who, she starred in films The Odessa File and The Likely Lads and had recurring roles in soaps Brookside and EastEnders.
Tamm leaves husband Marcus Ringrose, daughter Lauren and seven-year-old son Max. She had been suffering from cancer for 18 months.
Mr Langford, her agent of 22 years, said: “She had a great zest for life. She was a fantastic actress - she played stage parts of such range, parts that would take your breath away. She could play any role, and do so wonderfully.”
Tamm, who lived in Battersea, south London, trained at Rada. Her first professional job was at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre where she worked alongside Derek Jacobi, Joan Sims and Ronnie Barker. From there she moved on to television work and film, her first feature film being Tales That Witness Madness with Kim Novak.
She recently starred in Wire In The Blood, Paradise Heights and Jonathan Creek, with stage work including Amanda in Private Lives and Beverley in Abigail’s Party. Her autobiography was published three years ago.
Mr Langford said Tamm had been saddened by the recent deaths of contemporaries Elisabeth Sladen, who played Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who, and Angharad Rees, who died last weekend.
He added: “All of these people who she knew were going.”
RIP Ernest Borgnine - January 24, 1917 – July 8, 2012
With his stocky build, bulging eyes and gap-toothed, pugnacious features, Ernest Borgnine, who has died aged 95, was one of Hollywood’s most distinctive character actors. The star died of renal failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with his wife and children at his side, a spokesman said.
Ernest Effron Borgnino was born on 24 January 1917 in Hamden, Connecticut, the son of Italian immigrants. His parents moved to New Haven in 1923 and changed the family name to Borgnine.
He had no early ambition to be an actor and, on leaving high school in 1935, he enlisted in the United States Navy. Discharged in 1941 he joined up again after Pearl Harbor and served until the end of the war.
On his return to civilian life he began working in a number of factory jobs until his mother suggested that his forceful personality might find more fulfilling expression on the stage.
Soon he was appearing on Broadway and broke into movies after a screen test in which he competed with 140 other actors.
He made a big impression in 1953 in his first major role, as the sadistic sergeant, Fatso, in From Here to Eternity, who terrorises Frank Sinatra’s character Angelo Maggio.
It led to numerous supporting roles as “baddies” in dramas and Westerns, including Bad Day at Black Rock with Spencer Tracy.
But in 1955, he broke free from typecasting with his most memorable role, the shy, sensitive butcher, in Marty.
When he auditioned for the role and saw tears rolling down the cheeks of the writer, Paddy Chayefsky, he knew he had won the part.
Against strong competition from Spencer Tracy, Frank Sinatra, James Dean and James Cagney, Borgnine’s performance won him the Oscar for best actor, as well as a BAFTA.
Among Ernest Borgnine’s other notable films were The Wild Bunch, The Vikings, The Dirty Dozen and The Poseidon Adventure. And, although he purported to dislike television, his series, McHale’s Navy, was a major success in the United States. Another well-remembered TV role came in the 1980s, in the action series Airwolf.
He was still acting into his nineties, including big-screen outings alongside stars such as Bruce Willis in Red and even providing voices for SpongeBob SquarePants. In 2009 he guest starred in the final series of the hospital drama, ER, winning an Emmy nomination for his role.
His final role was in The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez, which saw its premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival earlier this year.
RIP Eric Sykes (4 May 1928 - 4 July 2012)
Comic actor Eric Sykes has died at the age of 89.
His manager, Norma Farnes, stated: ‘Eric Sykes, star of TV, stage and films, died peacefully this morning after a short illness.
‘His family were with him.’
Sykes was one of the most endearing and popular comic actors of his generation and was still appearing on the West End stage into his 80s, even though he became almost totally deaf and nearly blind.
But he was much more than an actor. He was also a hugely successful comedy scriptwriter of enormous talent, energy and imagination, a novelist, a film director and a producer.
Whenever he was asked when he was going to retire from work, he invariably replied that he enjoyed doing what he did so much that he did not regard it as work at all.
Eric Sykes was born in Oldham on May 4 1923. He served as a wireless operator in the Mobile Signals Unit, Royal Air Force, from 1941 until after the end of the Second World War. Like many comics of his generation, he was introduced to showbusiness during his wartime service.
He started out as a scriptwriter for his former comrade Bill Fraser, who was acting in a comedy at the Playhouse theatre in London. He then moved into comedy writing, putting together scripts for the BBC including the hugely popular iconic comedy The Goon Show alongside Spike Milligan. He also wrote and perfomed in The Tony Hancock Show, amongst numerous projects for stars such as Peter Sellers, Frankie Howerd and Stanley Unwin.
After working many times with Hattie Jacques, the two went on to star together in a hit BBC TV sitcom Sykes and A …, which was so successful that it launched the pair’s partnership, dubbed Eric and the Hat, into comedy history.
He then embarked on a film career alongside his television work, starring with the very best of the era’s comic stars including Tony Curtis, Peter Sellers, Terry Thomas, Trevor Howard, Roy Castle, Benny Hill, Vincent Price and Tony Hancock. His numerous films included roles in Monte Carlo or Bust, Theatre of Blood, Absolute Beginners, Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines, Son of Rambow, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The Others.
He also enjoyed acclaim on stage, appearing in plays by the likes of Ray Cooney, Moliere and Alan Bennett.
Sykes gained dozens of comedy awards over the years, including the Golden Rose of Montreux (now known as the Rose D’or) for directing The Plank, in which he also starred alongside Tommy Cooper, and an OBE in 1986, before being elevated to a CBE in 2004.
Sykes and wife Edith celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this Valentine’s Day. The couple had one son and three daughters.
As well as a fine comedian and writer, he was said by people in the entertainment world to be a decent man. Sykes himself reflected late in life: “I tend to live in the wonderful world of my head, where every day the sun shines.”
, widely considered the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century, who wrenched the picture book out of the safe, sanitized world of the nursery and plunged it into the dark, terrifying and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche, died on Tuesday in Danbury, Conn. He was 83. Mr. Sendak’s companion of a half-century, Eugene Glynn, a psychiatrist who specialized in the treatment of young people, died in 2007. No immediate family members survive.
Roundly praised, intermittently censored and occasionally eaten, Mr. Sendak’s books were essential ingredients of childhood for the generation born after 1960 or thereabouts, and in turn for their children. He was known in particular for more than a dozen picture books he wrote and illustrated himself, most famously “Where the Wild Things Are,” which was simultaneously genre-breaking and career-making when it was published by Harper & Row in 1963.
In book after book, Mr. Sendak upended the staid, centuries-old tradition of American children’s literature, in which young heroes and heroines were typically well scrubbed and even better behaved; nothing really bad ever happened for very long; and everything was tied up at the end in a neat, moralistic bow.
Mr. Sendak’s characters, by contrast, are headstrong, bossy, even obnoxious. His pictures are often unsettling. His plots are fraught with rupture: children are kidnapped, parents disappear, a dog lights out from her comfortable home.
A largely self-taught illustrator, Mr. Sendak was at his finest a shtetl Blake, portraying a luminous world, at once lovely and dreadful, suspended between wakefulness and dreaming. In so doing, he was able to convey both the propulsive abandon and the pervasive melancholy of children’s interior lives.
Incredible story. Incredible woman.
RIP NANCY WAKE (30 August 1912 – 7 August 2011)
Ms Wake, who has died in London just before her 99th birthday, was a New Zealander brought up in Australia. She became a nurse, a journalist who interviewed Adolf Hitler, a wealthy French socialite, a British agent and a French resistance leader. She led 7,000 guerrilla fighters in battles against the Nazis in the northern Auvergne, just before the D-Day landings in 1944. On one occasion, she strangled an SS sentry with her bare hands. On another, she cycled 500 miles to replace lost codes. In June 1944, she led her fighters in an attack on the Gestapo headquarters at Montlucon in central France.
Work began earlier this month on a feature film about Nancy Wake’s life. Ms Wake, one of the models for Sebastian Faulks’ fictional heroine, Charlotte Gray, had mixed feelings about previous cinematic efforts to portray her wartime exploits, including a TV mini-series made in 1987.
“It was well-acted but in parts it was extremely stupid,” she said. “At one stage they had me cooking eggs and bacon to feed the men. For goodness’ sake, did the Allies parachute me into France to fry eggs and bacon for the men? There wasn’t an egg to be had for love nor money. Even if there had been why would I be frying it? I had men to do that sort of thing.”
Ms Wake was also furious the TV series suggested she had had a love affair with one of her fellow fighters. She was too busy killing Nazis for amorous entanglements, she said.
Even before she escaped to Britain, through Spain, in 1943 to train as a guerrilla leader, Nancy had been top of the Gestapo’s French “wanted” list. With her husband, she ran a resistance network which helped to smuggle Jews and allied airmen out of the country.
Nancy recalled later in life that her parachute had snagged in a tree. The French resistance fighter who freed her said he wished all trees bore “such beautiful fruit”. Nancy retorted: “Don’t give me that French shit.”
<3 what a bad ass <3
>She was too busy killing Nazis for amorous entanglements, she said.
>She was too busy killing Nazis
>too busy killing Nazis
True Badass Warrior Woman.
RIP Bert Weedon 10 May 1920 – 20 April 2012
Bert Weedon, the English guitarist credited with inspiring millions to pick up and get to grips with the instrument using his Play in a Day books, has died at the age of 91.
A roll-call of musical greats including Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Robert Smith of the Cure and Brian May of Queen learned how to pluck at the strings of their guitars using his books, which sold in their millions
Although he was to claim one Top 10 hit in his career, his influence could be heard on countless number ones from the impact of his Play In A Day books, first published in 1957.
The teenage John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison all started off with Play In A Day, so Weedon could certainly claim to be a key figure in the genesis of the Beatles, and the subsequent dominance of guitar based popular music in the Sixties. Keith Richards, Pete Townshend and Steve Hillage were also acolytes.
Brian May once referred to Weedon as the “Guitar Wizard” and “a legend”, while Clapton, in a 1970s interview, said: “I wouldn’t have felt the urge to press on without the tips and encouragement that Bert’s book ‘Play in a Day’ gives you. I’ve never met a player of any consequence that doesn’t say the same thing.”
He said today, “He will be so sadly missed by all his friends because he is one of the most generous and giving people I have ever met in my life.
“He was always teaching people, privately and publicly. You know, he didn’t have any secrets from anyone and he was so supportive to us all.”
Weedon continued to play live and release records and was a stalwart member of the show business charity the Grand Order of Water Rats. He was awarded an OBE in the 2001 Queen’s birthday honours list for services to music.
RIP Davy Jones
30 December 1945 – 29 February 2012
Davy Jones, Manchester-born lead singer with 60s band The Monkees, has died aged 66.
The band, who included musicians Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork, were famous for hits including Daydream Believer and I’m a Believer.
Formed in 1965 by Hollywood producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, The Monkees quickly stormed radio and TV airwaves with a string of chart-topping songs that went on to sell an estimated 65 million copies worldwide and had four number one albums in a 13-month period.
He first appeared aged 11 on ITV soap Coronation Street, as Ena Sharples’s grandson. He also appeared in the television series Z Cars before leaving showbusiness to train as a jockey. He came back to acting with a role in a stage production of Oliver! and appeared in the West End and followed the show to Broadway, where he built up a career as an actor and singer before auditioning for The Monkees.
Music journalist Paul Gambaccini described Jones as having “phenomenal” charisma and said that in 2008, he was voted the top teen idol of all time by Yahoo! Music.
Jones continued to make appearances on television and stage later, but it was the fame of The Monkees that pulled him back to that era time and time again. On his website, he recalled during auditions for the show when all four men finally were put together in a scene.
“That’s it,” he recalled everyone around him saying: “Magic.”
RIP David Kelly: 11 July 1929 – 12 February 2012
Irish stage and screen actor David Kelly, known for films such as Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, has died aged 82.
The dapper dresser passed away after a short illness following a career on stage and screen spanning 50 years.
Dublin-born Kelly also played feckless builder Mr O’Reilly in Fawlty Towers, as well as the vicar in The Italian Job, but may well be best remembered for riding a motorbike naked in the comedy Waking Ned. He jokingly claimed he had finally become a sex symbol in the role, as well as earning a Screen Actors’ Guild nomination for the 1998 film.
In a 50-year career, Kelly’s roles ranged from the dramatic to the comedic, becoming a familiar face on British television with regular roles in Robin’s Nest, Ballykissangel and Emmerdale Farm.
In his native Ireland, he is well known for his acclaimed role of Rashers Tierney in the historical drama mini-series Strumpet City, which co-starred Peter O’Toole and Peter Ustinov.
In 2005, he received a lifetime achievement award at the Irish Film and Television Awards.
The same year, he was seen by cinema audiences as Grandpa Joe Bucket in Burton’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, opposite Johnny Depp.
Kelly’s final film role was in the 2007 British fantasy film Stardust, as a deceptively nimble, high-kicking wall guard.
RIP John Severin: 1921 - 2012