In Memoriam 2015

This past year, we lost so many talented people.  I wanted to acknowledge some I did not cover in individual blog entries during the year.  Though most are listed simply by name and work, I want to draw attention to some particular favorites of mine.

Joan LeslieSergeant York, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Hollywood Canteen – One of the most popular leading ladies of the 1940s, Leslie was the perfect girl-next-door in dozens of movies, the kind of girl the servicemen wanted to come home to after WWII.  Leslie did comedy, drama, and musicals.  Real-life marriage and motherhood came along and she decided to retire from full-time acting, taking smaller roles and working in television.  Her final role was in the TV-movie Fire in the Dark in 1991.

Kevin CorcoranPollyanna, The Shaggy Dog, Old Yeller – He was the kid brother or best friend who came close to stealing movies away from the stars.  One of the young Disney actors we loved.  He left acting and, in his adult years, became an assistant director on numerous TV series.  But we’ll always remember him as “Moochie.”

Dean JonesThe Love Bug, That Darn Cat!, Beethoven – Jones started in bit parts in movies and then moved on to starring roles and guest star parts on television.  But in 1965 he starred in a Disney film – That Darn Cat! – and became the studio’s go-to leading man for much of the 60s and 70s.  In later years, he went back to TV, even doing a series based on The Love Bug.  He retired from acting in 2009, but left us fun movies to share with our kids and grandkids.

Roger Rees A Christmas Carol, Robin Hood, Men in Tights, Frida – His breakthrough role was the lead in a stage production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.  The play was recorded and shown on PBS in America.  That’s where I first saw him, and I was a fan from then on.  From there, he went on to dozens of movies and TV series, including Cheers and The West Wing.  Welsh by birth, American citizen by choice, Rees never stopped working, appearing on Broadway until just a few weeks before his death.

Rod TaylorThe Time Machine, The Birds – Rod Taylor has been one of my favorite actors since I was a kid.  Mostly I remember him for the rom-coms he did with Doris Day, including The Glass Bottom Boat.  But he was equally at home with dramas, such as The Time Machine and The Birds.  Beginning his film career in the 1950s, he continued working in films into the 2000s, his last movie being Inglorious Basterds.  Along the way, he even did voice of Pongo in 101 Dalmatians.

In front of the camera

James BestThe Dukes of Hazzard, Shenandoah
Theodore BikelMy Fair Lady, My Side of the Mountain, The African Queen
Jack CarterViva Las Vegas, Shameless
Yvonne CraigBatman, Star Trek
Jonathan CrombieAnne of Green Gables
Diana DouglasIt Runs in the Family, Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Donna DouglasThe Beverly Hillbillies, Frankie and Johnny
Richard DysartL.A. Law, Pale Rider, The Thing
Anita EkbergLa Dolce Vita
Marty IngelsI’m Dickens, He’s Fenster
Richard JohnsonThe Haunting, The Boy in Striped Pajamas
Louis JourdanGigi, The Count of Monte Cristo, Octopussy
Geoffrey Lewis Every Which Way But Loose, The Shadow Riders
Robert LoggiaBig, Scarface
Patrick MacneeThe Avengers, The Howling
Geraldine McEwanMiss Marple, Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, Mulberry
Keith MichellThe Six Wives of Henry VIII, Murder, She Wrote
Al MolinaroHappy Days
Ron Moody Oliver!, The Twelve Chairs
Dickie MooreOur Gang, Sergeant York
Betsy PalmerMister Roberts, Friday the 13th
Roddy PiperThey Live
Reynaldo Rey Friday, White Men Can’t Jump
Alex Rocco The Godfather, The Wedding Planner
Wayne RogersCool Hand Luke, M*A*S*H TV series
Lizabeth ScottThe Strange Love of Martha Ivers, The Racket
Rose SigginsAmerican Horror Story: Freak Show
Sawyer SweetenEverybody Love Raymond
Nigel TerryThe Lion in Winter, Excalibur
Dick Van Patten Eight is Enough, Spaceballs
Grace Lee Whitney Star Trek, Irma la Douce

Behind the scenes

William Bast (screenwriter) – The Man in the Iron Mask, The Scarlet Pimpernel
Michael Blake (screenwriter) – Dances with Wolves
Robert Chartoff (producer) -- Rocky, Raging Bull, Ender’s Game
Andraé Crouch (composer/conductor) – The Lion King, The Color Purple
Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. (producer) – Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World, Mystic Pizza
Gene Saks (director/actor) – Cactus Flower, The Odd Couple, Nobody’s Fool
Sam Simon (writer/producer) – Taxi, Cheers, The Simpsons
Jerry Weintraub (producer) -- Karate Kid, Ocean’s series
Herbert Wise (director) – I, Claudius, Inspector Morse
Harris Wittels (writer/producer) – Parks and Recreation
Bud Yorkin (TV producer) – All in the Family, What’s Happening!!

Authors who inspired

Colleen McCullough (author) – The Thorn Birds
Ruth Rendell (author) – Inspector Wexford mysteries, Ruth Rendell Mysteries

Singers and songwriters who inspired – Their songs were used in numerous movies and TV shows.

Natalie Cole (singer, actress) – This Will Be (An Everlasting Love), I’ve Got Love on My Mind
B. B. King (singer, songwriter, musician) – The Thrill is Gone, You Upset Me Baby
Ben E. King (singer) – Stand by Me, There Goes My Baby

Flickr: CC          : Moonlight Mallards          Photo by Brent M.