Friday, December 12, 2008

weird death onslaught...

By now, you've probably heard that Forrest J. Ackerman, founder of "Famous Monsters" magazine and all-around sci-fi/horror fandom guru, and iconic cult pin-up model Bettie Page have both died in the past week. Of course, it is always sad when someone dies, and certainly when someone as legendary as either of these people dies, it's a good time for reflection, but at the same time, Uncle Forry was 92, Bettie Page was 85, they both lived long lives and made important contributions to popular culture...

Meanwhile, several other interesting pop figures have also died in the past few weeks. I wasn't really familiar with Netherlands-born Nina Foch, who died on the 4th, or at least I didn't realize that I was, since she was in films from 1943 until recently, with more than a few interesting credits to her resume. She was in Lew Landers' "Return of the Vampire" (1944) with Bela Lugosi, Harry Levin's "Cry of the Werewolf" (also '44), Robert Rossen's "Johnny O'Clock" with Dick Powell and Lee J Cobb (1947), Rudolph Mate's "The Dark Past" (1948) also with Lee J. Cobb, William Holden and Adele Jurgens, Joseph H. Lewis' "The Undercover Man" (1949) with Glenn Ford, Edgar G Ulmer's "St. Benny the Dip," "An American in Paris," Robert Wise's "Executive Suite," "The Ten Commandments," "Spartacus," "Mahogany," b-movies "Jennifer" (1978) and "Ebony, Ivory & Jade" (1979), and films as recent as "Pumpkin" and "How to Deal." It's funny, how you can see someone in so many films and not really register them, though I think in some cases that's the mark of a good performer, to blend in with the work they're appearing in, to perfectly compliment the material without overwhelming it, and thinking back I think that's the kind of performer Nina Foch was. She was 84...

Beverly Garland was an actress I mostly associated with Roger Corman. She appeared in his "Swamp Women" (1955), "Gunslinger" (1956), "It Conquered the World" (a personal favorite) (1956), "Not of This Earth" (1957), "Naked Paradise" (aka Thunder Over Hawaii, also 1957) and the Corman-produced "Twice-Told Tales" (1963). She was also, impressively, in noir classic "DOA" (1950), William Wyler's "The Desperate Hours" with Bogart, Curt Siodmak's "Curucu," Roy Del Ruth's "The Alligator People" with Lon Chaney Jr, "Stark Fear" (1962) with Kenneth Tobey, Noel Black's "Pretty Poison" with Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld, Bernard Girard's "The Mad Room" with Stella Stevens and Shelley Winters, "Airport 1975," Mark Lester's "Roller Boogie" (1979) with Linda Blair, and, like Nina Foch, lots and lots of TV. Also like Foch, she was active until fairly recently, mostly in TV roles. She was 82...

Robert Prosky was a somewhat more contemporary character actor probably best known for his roles as the garage owner in John Carpenter's "Christine" and as a horror movie TV host in Joe Dante's "Gremlins 2." He was also in Michael Mann's "Thief" (1981), Mann's "The Keep " (1983), "Broadcast News," David Mamet's "Things Change," "Far and Away," "Hoffa," "the Last Action Hero," "Dead Man Walking" and dozens of others. He was living in Washington, DC (my hometown) and mostly doing theatre when he died. He was just shy of 78...

Van Johnson, aside from having one of the coolest names out there (I also like Van Heflin, Van Williams but strangely, not Van McCoy), was in "Murder in the Big House" (1942) with George Meeker, "Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant" (1942) and "Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case" (1943) both with Lionel Barrymore, Victor Fleming's "A Guy Named Joe" with Spencer Tracy, Mervyn LeRoy's "30 Second Over Tokyo" with Tracy and Robert Mitchum, Frank Capra's "State of the Union" with Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, "Command Decision" (1948) with Clark Gable, Roy Rowland's "Scene of the Crime" with Arlene Dahl (1949), "The Big Hangover" with Elizabeth Taylor, Edward Dmytryk's "The Cain Mutiny" with Bogart, Vincente Minnelli's "Brigadoon" with Geney Kelly (1954), Richard Brooks' "The Last Time I Saw Paris" with Elizabeth Taylor, Dmytryk's "The End of the Affair" with Deborah Kerr and Peter Cushing, "Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows", "Yours, Mine & Ours" with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, Enzo G. Castellari's "Battle Command," Spaghetti Western "The Price of Power" (1969), Ruggero Deodato's "Concorde Affair" (1979), Umberto Lenzi's "The Kidnapping of the President" with William Shatner and Ava Gardner(1980) and Sergio Martino's "Scorpion with Two Tales" with John Saxon. He was 92...

2 comments:

Brian Barker said...

Uncle Forry was a great pioneer for the new global language, Esperanto.

Dankon al vi Onklo Forry, pere de http://www.lernu.net

harris smith said...

that's awesome. did he have anything to do with the Esperanto movie INCUBUS, with William Shatner?