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‘Harry Potter’ Actor Found Dead In Death Valley

By | Friday July 11, 2014 @ 3:21pm PDT

‘Harry Potter’ Actor Found Dead In Death ValleyHarry Potter actor and mixed martial artist Dave Legeno died this week in California’s Death Valley in a suspected heat-related incident, according to a report from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department. He was 50. The British thesp/athlete had starred as werewolf Fenrir Greyback in Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Parts 1 and 2 and played Broch in Snow White And The Huntsman. Legeno’s body was found Sunday morning by hikers and airlifted out of a remote section of Death Valley near Zabriskie Point, where temperatures can reach as high as 120 degrees. The Inyo County Sheriff’s Department reported no signs of foul play. Legano started his career with a role in Guy Ritchie’s Snatch (2000) and also appeared in Batman Begins, Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Centurion, and The Raven.

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R.I.P. Sound Editor Paul Apted, 47

By | Sunday July 6, 2014 @ 6:43am PDT

Sad news for Hollywood today. Paul Apted, the sound editor on a long list of movies including most recently the Fox 2000 hit The Fault In Our Stars, has died. According to reports, he succumbed to colon cancer at age 47, which is just way too young. Apted is the son of director Michael Apted, and they worked together several times and most recently on Chronicles Of Narnia: Voyage Of The Dawn Treader. Paul Apted’s survivors include wife Gemma and two children, Thomas and Rose. Condolences to the family.

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R.I.P. Louis Zamperini, Olympian War Hero Is Subject Of Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’

By | Thursday July 3, 2014 @ 1:27am PDT

R.I.P. Louis Zamperini, Olympian War Hero Is Subject Of Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’UPDATED: Louis Zamperini, the World War II hero and former Olympic long distance runner, has died. The subject of Angelina Jolie‘s upcoming sophomore directorial effort Unbroken, Zamperini was 97. Universal, which announced his passing this morning, had developed the Unbroken project for close to 55 years when it finally got off the ground with Jolie signed to direct in December 2012. The script is based on Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and louis zamperini olympicsRedemption, by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand. Zamperini was a Depression era kid who became a track prodigy and was the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team that traveled to Berlin for the 1936 games. He didn’t medal, but was so impressive that Hitler asked to meet him. The 1940 Olympics in Tokyo were cancelled due to the war, and in 1941, Zamperini enlisted in the Air Force. When his plane went down in the Pacific during a rescue mission, Zamperini and two other crew mates survived on a raft in the hot sun for 47 days. They were ultimately caught by the Japanese Navy, beginning a terrifying term of captivity that lasted until the end of the war in 1945. Universal first bought Zamperini’s rights back in the 1950s.

As Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr has written, “Few movies gestate as long as this one, but it’s clear from Hillenbrand’s remarkable book that it … Read More »

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R.I.P. Bob Hastings

By | Wednesday July 2, 2014 @ 12:49pm PDT

R.I.P. Bob HastingsThe prolific character actor best known as Lt. Carpenter in the 1960s sitcom McHale’s Navy died Monday of cancer. Bob Hastings was 89. He started in radio before serving as a bomber navigator in World War II. After the war, he voice Archie in an Archie Comics radio spinoff. He segued to the emerging TV medium and was working steadily by the mid-‘50s. He recurred on The Phil Silvers Show and also appeared on such programs as The Donna Reed Show, Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, Car 54, Where Are You? and multiple episodes of Bob HastingsDennis The Menace and The Munsters. In 1962, he was cast as the bumbling Lt. Elroy Carpenter in McHale’s Navy opposite Ernest Borgnine, Tim Conway and Joe Flynn. He stayed with the show during its entire four-year run. When it ended in 1966, the Brooklyn native remained a familiar face on TV, appearing on dozens of shows including multiple episodes of Green Acres, Love, American Style, Adam-12 and Ironside and recurring on All In The Family as Kelsey, owner of the bar Archie Bunker frequented and later bought. While continuing his on-camera TV career in comedies, dramas and soaps – The Rockford Files, Three’s Company, The Waltons , Alice, Lou Grant, General Hospital, et al. — Hastings later became a busy voice-over actor, lending his pipes to numerous Batman toons as Commissioner Gordon and doing other superhero shows. His last credit was voicing a judge … Read More »

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R.I.P. Paul Mazursky

By | Tuesday July 1, 2014 @ 12:03pm PDT

R.I.P. Paul MazurskyThe prolific Oscar-nominated screenwriter and director whose films include Harry And Tonto, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and Down And Out In Beverly Hills, died yesterday in Los Angeles of pulmonary cardiac arrest. Paul Mazursky was 84.

Born 1930 in Brooklyn as Irwin Mazursky, he was a graduate of Brooklyn College and made his cinema debut in Stanley Kubrick’s feature Fear And Desire.  When he wasn’t acting, Mazursky was a stand-up comic in New York and at the Gate of Horn in Chicago.  After befriending Pauls Sills and Barbara Harris, Marzursky appeared in the west coast company of Second City.  Writing gigs followed on The Danny Kaye Show among many others, before he co-wrote the pilot for The Monkees TV series, in which he had a cameo. In 1968, Mazursky made his screenwriting debut with the Peter Sellers comedy I Love You, Alice B. Toklas. The following year, he made his directorial debut with the breakout hit Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, which he also co-wrote. The comedy, which follows the extramarital exploits of two jaded California couples and starred Elliot Gould, Natalie Wood, Dyan Cannon and Robert Culp, earned four Oscar nominations: best original screenplay for Mazursky, supporting actor for Gould, supporting actress for Cannon, and best cinematography for DP Charles Lang. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice embraced the sexual revolution of the late ’60s and started a trend for films that dealt with spouse-swapping and infidelity in interpersonal relationships. Read More »

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R.I.P. Greg Coote

By | Friday June 27, 2014 @ 9:16pm PDT

R.I.P. Greg CooteThe former CEO of Dune Entertainment and Village Roadshow chief died today of cancer in Los Angeles. Greg Coote was 72. He was a key player in the emergence of the Australian film industry, starting in the mailroom at Aussie distributor Village Roadshow and working his way up to Managing Director. “Greg was a champion of Australian films from the early 1970s, and he continued being a great supporter of Australian filmmakers,” said Screen Producers Australia president Brian Rosen. After a stint at Ten Network during which its ratings soared, Coote relocated to LA as President of Columbia Pictures’ international division, where he oversaw worldwide distribution, acquisitions and marketing. He later became the founding President and CEO of Village Roadshow Pictures in Los Angeles, and the company helped finance films including The Matrix. Later, when Coote was Chairman and CEO of Dune Entertainment, the company co-financed dozens of movies including Avatar, which went on to be the top-grossing film in history. Read More »

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R.I.P. Ron Silveira

By | Tuesday June 24, 2014 @ 3:22pm PDT

Ron-SilveiraThe postproduction industy veteran died Saturday of cancer. Ron Silveira spent the past decade at NBCUniversal, where he was VP Universal Studios Digital Services. The unit provides post services for several NBCUni departments including home entertainment, TV distribution and feature marketing. He also did a nine-year stint at the Post Group, where he oversaw its VFX division and digital film group. Silveira also created Momentum Lab, a design group focused on feature titles and commercial work;  was involved in establishing the first nonlinear editing systems; and helped develop HD services for film and TV markets, which included a digital intermediate process for creating a digital negative and HD masters from data. He was a former president of the Southern California chapter of post industry trade group ITS., and earlier in his career served as President of Compact Video/Image Transform and President of Unitel Video.

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R.I.P. Steve Rossi Of Comedy Duo Allen & Rossi

By | Monday June 23, 2014 @ 12:04pm PDT

R.I.P. Steve Rossi Of Comedy Duo Allen & RossiThe singer-turned-comic who played Marty Allen’s straight man in one of the most popular comedy duos of the 1950s and ’60s died Sunday at a Las Vegas hospice. Steve Rossi was 82. Allen and Rossi formed in 1957 and appeared on hundreds of TV show — including Ed Sullivan dozens of times — and recorded 16 comedy albums during the heyday of recorded comedy. In the vein of Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, Rossi asked questions that were answered by Allen, and the pairing of suave singer and goofy comedian also was akin to Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. The Bronx native was working as a crooner in Vegas when Nat King Cole suggested he team with Allen, who had recently split with his comedy partner. By the early ’60s, Allen and Rossi were regulars on TV game and variety show, and they shared the Sullivan stage with the Beatles three times. They starred as American tourists in Paris who stumble into international intrigue the 1966 movie yarn The Last Of The Secret Agents? Allen and Rossi split in 1968, and Rossi linked up for a while with Joe E. Ross, then with Slappy White in one of comedy’s first interracial duos. Allen and Rossi reteamed several times over the decades, and Rossi continued to perform until recently.

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R.I.P. ‘Blackadder’ Actress Patsy Byrne

By | Saturday June 21, 2014 @ 5:55pm PDT

R.I.P. ‘Blackadder’ Actress Patsy ByrnePatsy Byrne, who played the clueless, but loyal Nursie to Miranda Richardson’s Queenie on BBC‘s Blackadder died Tuesday at the age of 80 at Denville Hall, a retirement home for actors, in Hillingdon, London.  Her death comes less than two weeks since another Blackadder series regular Rik Mayall (Lord Flashheart) also passed away.  A native of Ashford, Kent, Byrne studied drama at Rose Bruford College before signing up with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She starred in a number of British TV series including opposite Tony Robinson in a Series 3 episode of Maid Marian and her Merry Men as well as the Tea Lady in the BBC children series Playdays. Notable film credits include Clive Donner’s Stealing Heaven, Bille Augusts non-musical version of Les Miserables starring Liam Neeson (in which she played the role of Toussaint) and the cult British comedy Kevin & Perry Go Large. Check out Byrne’s comedic timing opposite Richardson in this clip from Blackadder:

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R.I.P. Ruby Dee

By | Thursday June 12, 2014 @ 10:28am PDT

Ruby Dee DeadOscar-nominated stage and screen actress Ruby Dee died Wednesday at her home in New York. She was 91. Dee made her film debut in 1946′s That Man of Mine, earned notice playing Rae Robinson in 1950′s The Jackie Robinson Story, and famously originated the role of suffering housewife Ruth Younger in the groundbreaking Broadway play A Raisin in the Sun opposite Sidney Poitier – a role she reprised in the 1961 film adaptation, earning the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress. Decades later Dee received her only Academy Award nomination for her brief turn in 2008′s American Gangster. In between those milestones she also won an Emmy for 1990 miniseries Decoration Day and earned eight more Emmy nods. Among her numerous additional honors, Dee shared a Grammy with late husband Ossie Davis for their spoken word album With Ossie And Ruby: In This Life Together and was honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild.

Dee was born Ruby Ann Wallace, later taking her surname from first husband, blues singer Frankie Dee. But it was her second marriage to fellow actor Ossie Davis that became indelibly intertwined with her life in the arts and in political activism. The couple were close friends with civil rights icons Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, attending the 1963 civil rights March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom where Dee spoke and Davis emceed. Following Davis’s death in 2005, the two received the National Civil Rights Museum’s Lifetime Achievement Freedom Award.

Ruby DeeDee made her stage debut in 1940 with the American Negro Theatre’s On Strivers Row and played Ruth Younger in the 1959 Broadway premiere of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in The Sun (currently being revived on Broadway). Dee would have a significant impact on the cause of non-traditional casting, starring in the title role of Philip Yordan’s Anna Lucasta, as Kate in The Taming Of The Shrew, Cordelia in King Lear, Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie and as Gertrude, in a New York Shakespeare Festival production of Hamlet, among other many others. She is remembered for an astonishingly powerful performance in Athol Fugard’s Boesman and Lena (later made into a film starring Danny Glover and Angela Bassett). Dee and husband Davis were devoted supporters of African-American theater artists and was long affiliated with groups such as Woody King Jr.’s off-Broadway New Federal Theatre. Read More »

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R.I.P. Louis C. Blau, Stanley Kubrick’s Attorney For Over 40 Years

By | Monday June 2, 2014 @ 12:46pm PDT

Stanley Kubrick, Louis C. Blau Entertainment Attorney,Entertainment attorney Louis C. Blau, who repped such distinguished filmmakers as Stanley Kubrick and Francois Truffaut, died Friday. He was 99. His clients included such showbiz names as Walter Matthau, Lana Turner, Fernando Lamas, Richard Widmark, Dan Duryea, Arlene Dahl, Richard Basehart as well as such 1950s Italian cinema personalities as Alida Valli, Valentina Cortese, Rossano Brazzi and Pier Angeli. His music clients included Motown founder Berry Gordy, Donald O’Connor and Mitzi Gaynor. Blau was a senior partner at Loeb & Loeb for decades until his retirement in the late 1990s. He also worked with such notable authors as Pulitzer Prize winner Alex Haley, Danielle Steel, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Alvin Toffler, Larry Gelbart and Barnaby Conrad. Read More »

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R. I. P. ‘Brady Bunch’ Actress Ann B. Davis

By | Sunday June 1, 2014 @ 3:58pm PDT

Ann_B._DavisThe Emmy-winning actress best known as Alice from The Brady Bunch died Sunday after suffering a subdural hematoma in a fall, reports CNN. She was 88. Years before she kept house for a man named Brady, his lovely wife, and their unconventional brood of children, Ann Bradford Davis rose to prominence in 1955 playing Charmaine ‘Schultzy’ Schultz on The Bob Cummings Show. The role earned her four Emmy nominations and two wins, and within five years she garnered her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Davis also performed on The John Forsythe Show and in films like Lover Come Back and All Hands On Deck before establishing the most iconic character of her career: Alice Nelson, the housekeeper to the Brady Bunch. She played the character from from 1969 to 1974 and reprised the role in The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, spin-offs The Brady Brides and The Bradys, and reunion movies The Brady Girls Get Married and A Very Brady Christmas.

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R.I.P. Oscar-Nominated Actress Joan Lorring

By | Saturday May 31, 2014 @ 5:01pm PDT

Joan LorringJoan Lorring, who was Oscar nominated for best supporting actress in the 1945 film The Corn Is Green, died Friday in the New York City suburb of Sleepy Hollow.  She was 88.  Born Mary Magdalene Ellis in Hong Kong on April 17, 1926, Lorring fled with her mother from the Japanese invasion in 1939 to San Francisco.  Her showbiz career began in radio, and her first American film at 18 was the 1944 MGM romantic war drama Song of Russia. She signed with Warner Bros. for the role of the scheming, trampish Bessie Watty, playing opposite Bette Davis, in The Corn Is Green.  Though she lost the Oscar to Anne Revere’s turn as Mrs. Brown in National Velvet, a budding film career followed for Lorring in such features as Three Strangers, The Verdict, and two Joseph Losey films, The Big Night and Stranger on the Prowl. She co-starred in the Burt Lancaster co-directed feature The Midnight Man in 1974. Following movies, Lorring had a vibrant career on TV including a role as Emma, the sister to ax murderess Lizze Borden on a 1956 episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, as well as such made-for-TV features  as 1966′s The Star Wagon opposite Dustin Hoffman and Eileen Brennan.  For a season, she portrayed the part of Anna Pavel on the soap opera Ryan’s Hope and even appeared as a guest on The Love Boat. 

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R.I.P. Helma Sanders-Brahms

helma-sandersbrahmsProlific German filmmaker Helma Sanders-Brahms passed away in Berlin on Tuesday following a long illness. She was 73. The director, screenwriter and producer was born in 1940, and began her career as a model and TV presenter. In 1969, she met Italian giant Pier Paolo Pasolini on a movie set where he told her, “You are going to make films!” She stuck around the set and later said it helped her discover her love of the craft. She ultimately became a key representative of German post-war film, directing both narrative features and documentaries. Eight of her works screened at the Berlin Film Festival including 1980′s Deutschland, Bleiche Mutter (Germany, Pale Mother) which premiered in competition. Just this year, the now classic film, narrated by a German woman who tells the story of her parents before, during and after World War II, was screened in a digitally restored version as part of the Berlinale Classics section. Her other credits include 2008′s Geliebte Clara; 1997′s My Heart Is Mine Alone; 1975′s Under The Beach’s Cobbles; and 1976 TV drama Shirin’s Wedding. Sanders-Brahms was known for exploring political and social issues in her films including topics like feminism, immigrant workers and German history. “Helma Sanders-Brahms was a radical and committed filmmaker who had a lasting impact on German cinema,” said Berlin Film Fest director Dieter Kosslick. She was “a tremendous director.” Under former Festival Director Moritz de Hadeln, she was … Read More »

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R.I.P. “Bronze Buckaroo” Herb Jeffries, First Black Singing Cowboy

By | Monday May 26, 2014 @ 9:55am PDT

Herb Jeffries Dead Bronze BuckarooJazz singer and actor Herb Jeffries, the first black singing cowboy to grace Hollywood screens, died of heart failure today in West Hills, CA, reports the LA Times. He was 100. Jeffries was born Umberto Alexander Valentino in 1913 to an Irish mother and a father of Sicilian, Ethiopean, French, Italian and Moorish descent. A singer with the Duke Ellington band and other pop orchestras in the 1940s, the blue-eyed Jeffries embraced his mixed heritage and played up his African-American roots. He made his screen debut in 1937′s Harlem on the Prairie, the first of many “sepia movies” bronzebuckaroohe would star in aimed at black audiences. In 1939′s The Bronze Buckaroo he warbled tunes like “I’m a Happy Cowboy” and established himself as Hollywood’s black Gene Autry. He also starred in low-budget Westerns Harlem Rides The Range and Two-Gun Man From Harlem, and starred opposite Angie Dickinson in 1957′s musical romance Calypso Joe. Television credits include runs on the Hanna-Barbera animated football sitcom Where’s Huddles? and multiple guest roles on Hawaii Five-O. Jeffries played himself in the 1996 comedy Western The Cherokee Kid. He was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 2004.

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R.I.P. ‘All My Children’s Matthew Cowles

By | Sunday May 25, 2014 @ 10:39am PDT

Matthew Cowles DeadActor and playwright Matthew Cowles, best known for creating and playing the villainous Billy Clyde Tuggle on ABC’s All My Children, died May 22. He was 69. Cowles’s long-running stint on the ABC soap ran began in 1977 as he popped in and out of the Pine Valley soap through 1990, when the Tuggle character was presumed dead in a bomb explosion. He came back a final time to reprise the role in 2013. Cowles nabbed two Daytime Emmy Awards for his turn as the notorious thug and also starred on CBS soap The Bold and the Beautiful for a season. In features Cowles made his film debut in 1969′s Me, Natalie with Patty Duke and a young Al Pacino. He also acted in The Happy Hooker, Slap Shot, The World According to Garp, The Money Pit, Brenda Starr, The Juror, Nurse Betty, City By The Sea, and Shutter Island. Read More »

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R.I.P. ‘The Godfather’ DP Gordon Willis

By | Sunday May 18, 2014 @ 8:57pm PDT

gordon willis cinematographer Iconic cinematographer Gordon Willis died early Sunday at age 82 after a battle with cancer, surrounded by family at his Cape Cod home. Most famous for his distinctive cinematography work on Francis Ford Coppola‘s Godfather series, Willis’s also worked with Woody Allen on some of his great New York-based movies, including  Manhattan, Annie Hall, Zelig, Stardust Memories, Broadway Danny Rose, and The Purple Rose Of Cairo. He was a fixture with New York-based directors, also working with the late Alan J. Pakula on the classic All The President’s Men, Klute, and The Parallax View, and worked with Herbert Ross’s Pennies From Heaven; and Malice, The Devil’s Own. Official cause of death has not been disclosed, but expect Monday morning to be Gordon Willis appreciation day around the cinephile set. Phone calls and social media posts about Willis’s passing began trickling in Sunday evening. “This is a momentous loss,” confirmed ASC President Richard Crudo late Sunday night. “He was one of the giants who absolutely changed the way movies looked. Up until the time of The Godfather 1 and 2, nothing previously shot looked that way. He changed the way films looked and the way people looked at films.”

gordon willisQueens, NY-born Willis cultivated a background in photography and served in the Korean War as an Air Force Photographic and Charting Serviceman before starting his film career as an assistant cameraman, working his way up with commercials and documentaries. He made his debut as a cinematographer with four features in 1970: comedy End of the Road, Irvin Kershner’s Loving, drama The People Next Door, and Hal Ashby’s The Landlord. His deft use of shadows and light for Coppola’s 1972 mafia classic The Godfather was a career-maker for Willis, who came to be known as one of the most influential cinematographers in the field. Despite his landmark contributions, Willis didn’t win either of the Oscar nods earned for films with two of his most frequent collaborators – Woody Allen’s Zelig and Coppola’s The Godfather Part III. He also shot 1986′s The Money Pit, 1988′s Bright Lights, Big City, 1990′s Presumed Innocent, and his own lone directorial effort, the 1980 thriller Windows. In 2009 the Academy awarded him an Honorary Academy Award “for unsurpassed mastery of light, shadow, color and motion.” Read More »

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R.I.P. ‘Searching For Sugar Man’ Oscar Winner Malik Bendjelloul

By | Tuesday May 13, 2014 @ 2:50pm PDT

Searching for Sugar Man director Malik Bendjelloul deadUPDATED, 2:58 PM: Malik Bendjelloul‘s older brother Johan told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet today that the filmmaker’s death was a suicide.

PREVIOUSLY, May 13: The Oscar-winning filmmaker behind Searching For Sugar Man was found dead today in Stockholm. Malik Bendjelloul was 36. No cause of death was reported, but local police told the newspaper Expressen that it was not being treated as suspicious. Bendjelloul won the Academy Award for Best Documentary last year for Sugar Man, about a personal search for the reclusive musician Sixto Diaz Sugar ManRodriguez. He recorded a pair of LPs in the early 1970s as Rodriguez that went nowhere in the U.S. but were huge and influential in South Africa. But Rodriguez was unaware of the albums’ overseas success, and he faded completely from public view for decades. Searching For Sugar Man is about fans’ personal search to find him. Bendjelloul directed, produced, edited and co-wrote the pic, which opened Sundance in 2012 and went on to win the Audience Award. The film also would score documentary honors from the DGA, PGA, WGA, BAFTA, NBR and many other groups and festivals.

Related: Cannes: ‘Searching For Sugar Man’ Director’s Suicide Hits Hard

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R.I.P. ‘Videodrome’ Actor Les Carlson

By | Sunday May 11, 2014 @ 2:39pm PDT

Les Carlson dead Actor Leslie “Les” M. Carlson, who starred in four David Cronenberg films including Videodrome during his 38-year career in film, television, and the stage, died May 3 after a battle with cancer at his Toronto home, under hospice care. He was 81. South Dakota-born Carlson began his screen career in the 1970s, with turns in films including 1974′s Deranged and the sorority slasher classic Black Christmas. Cronenberg cast him as Spectacular Optical Corporation head Barry Convex in 1983 sci-fi horror Videodrome, for which Carlson earned a Genie Award nomination. He’d go on to act in three more Cronenberg films: The Dead Zone, The Fly, and 2000′s Toronto Film Festival short Camera. Carlson’s credits also include films High-Ballin’, A Christmas Story, Rolling Vengeance, and K2, as well as TV appearances on 21 Jump Street, The X-Files, Highlander, Babar and the Adventures of Badou, Rookie Blue, and a recurring run on Disney’s Road To Avonlea.

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