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R.I.P. ‘The Basketball Diaries’ Director Scott Kalvert

By | Friday March 7, 2014 @ 8:16pm PST

Scott KalvertScott Kalvert, who went from helming music videos to the features The Basketball Diaries and Deuces Wild, has died. He was 49. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said it is investigating his death as a suicide but provided no other details. Kalvert had a knack for working with unknown acts who would go on to become huge stars. He started in the music video business,  hitting paydirt with his first project: “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” a 1988 pop hit by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince that launched the career of Will Smith. It was named Best Rap Video at the MTV Video Music Awards. The NYC native went on to direct videos for such acts as Snoop Doggy Dogg, Cyndi Lauper and, notably, “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, which featured a muscle-bound unknown named Mark Wahlberg. He also helmed the 1988 concert video Guns N’ Roses: Live At The Ritz, which aired on MTV. In 1995, Kalvert directed The Basketball Diaries, an adaptation of “People Who Died” singer Jim Carroll’s 1978 memoir. The film starred a teenage Leonardo DiCaprio as Carroll along with Wahlberg in one of his first film roles and featured three actors who go on to be regulars on The Sopranos: Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperoli and Vincent Pastore. Kalvert’s only other feature directing credit was the 2002 actioner Deuces Wild, starring Stephen Dorff and Brad Renfro.

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R.I.P. Bill McLaughlin

By | Friday March 7, 2014 @ 3:01pm PST

47526_2_BMcLaughlinCBSmFormer CBS News correspondent Bill McLaughlin died this morning. The diplomatic and foreign correspondent, who headed bureaus in Germany and Lebanon for CBS News in the late 1960s and ‘70s, died from cardiac arrest in a Waterbury, CT hospital. McLaughlin lived in France and was visiting friends in the U.S. at the time of his death. He was 76.

McLaughlin’s television news career spanned 27 years, nearly all of it with CBS News; he left for two years in late 1979 to report for NBC News as its United Nations correspondent. He spent a decade overseas on his CBS news assignments, including the Paris bureau, where he met his wife, the former Huguette Cord’homme, who survives him. He covered the gamut of overseas events, from the Vietnam War, to terrorism to the conflicts in the war-torn Middle East, appearing on the CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite, CBS Radio News  and other CBS News broadcasts, including CBS Reports documentaries. From 1983 to 1993, when he left CBS news, he was a State Department correspondent, and general assignment reporter in the Washington Bureau.  This job, too, sent him overseas on a regular basis, covering the diplomatic travels of secretaries of state, including George Shultz.

R.I.P. Newsman Bruce Dunning
R.I.P. Newsman Lew Wood
Read More »

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R.I.P. Former TV Academy President Hank Rieger

By | Friday March 7, 2014 @ 2:28pm PST

The journalist-turned-PR man who went on to serve two terms as president of the TV Academy died Wednesday in Oceanside, Calif. Hank Rieger was 95. In 1977, he became the first hank-riegerelected president of ATAS following the split between the East and West Coast factions of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He is one of only 11 recipients of the Academy’s Syd Cassyd Award, presented in recognition of long and distinguished service. “Hank Rieger worked tirelessly for many years on behalf of the Television Academy,” ATAS Chairman and CEO Bruce Rosenblum said in a statement. “He believed in the Academy’s ability to have a positive impact on the entire entertainment industry, and we are deeply grateful for all he contributed.” The Kansas City, MO, native served in World War II before beginning his career as a journalist with United Press International, playing a key role in breaking the news of Marilyn Monroe’s death. In 1965, he joined NBC’s public relations department, where he worked with many of the biggest stars and execs in television — from Bob Hope, Bill Cosby, Johnny Carson and Milton Berle to Bob Kintner, Grant Tinker, Herb Schlosser and Brandon Tartikoff. He traveled with Hope as the comic entertained U.S. troops overseas and led the publicity team during The Tonight Show‘s move from New York to Los Angeles in 1972. When NBC News writers and reporters went on strike, Rieger filled in for two weeks as an on-air correspondent and host of a weekend political talk show. Read More »

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R.I.P. Game Show Host Geoff Edwards

By | Wednesday March 5, 2014 @ 9:49pm PST

Geoff EdwardsThe veteran TV game show host, actor and radio personality died today of pneumonia at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. Geoff Edwards was 83. He hosted a series of game shows from the 1970s into the early ’90s, including Jackpot!, The New Treasure Hunt, a later version called Treasure Hunt, Shoot For The Stars, Play It By Ear and Chain Reaction. He might be best known to viewers in the Golden State as the longtime host of The Big Spin, the California Lottery’s TV show. He also appeared on a number of TV series ranging from Petticoat Junction and I Dream Of Jeannie to The Paper Chase, Diff’rent Strokes and Trapper John, M.D. and was the straight man to the star on NBC’s short-lived variety series The Bobby Darin Show in 1973. Edwards was a regular on Southern California radio for decades, starting in San Diego in the 1950s and landing at KMPC in Los Angeles in 1968. He also worked at KFI and the former KSUR.

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R.I.P. Alain Resnais

By | Sunday March 2, 2014 @ 4:03am PST

alain resnaisProlific award-winning filmmaker Alain Resnais passed away on Saturday night in Paris, his producer Jean-Louis Livi said this morning. He was 91. The Hiroshima Mon Amour director’s latest film, Aimer, Boire Et Chanter (Life Of Riley) was recently in competition at the Berlin Film Festival where it won the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize. It is due to be released in France on March 26. A giant of French film whose career spanned six decades, Resnais was born in 1922 in Brittany. He began making 8mm shorts at age 12 and later attended film school, training as an editor. Of his 1958 short, Chant Du Styrène, Jean-Luc Godard once wrote, “Alain Resnais is the 2nd best editor in the world after Eisenstein.” Resnais first appeared at the Cannes Film Festival in 1947 with Nicole Védrès’ Paris 1900 on which he collaborated. In 1956 his influential documentary Night And Fog, about Nazi concentration camps, was shown out of competition in Cannes despite difficulties with French censors and protests of France’s West German embassy. It later screened in Berlin and also won the prestigious Jean Vigo prize. Resnais later attended Cannes with Toute La Memoire Du Monde and in 1959 was in competition with Hiroshima Mon Amour, hiroshima mon amourwhich was part of the French New Wave. Marguerite Duras’ screenplay was nominated for an Oscar and the … Read More »

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R.I.P. Maria Franziska von Trapp

By | Saturday February 22, 2014 @ 5:43pm PST

Maria Von Trapp deadThe second-eldest daughter of Georg Ludwig von Trapp and Agatha Whitehead von Trapp,, who was part of the musical family that inspired The Sound Of Music died Tuesday in Vermont, per the AP. She was 99. Maria Franziska von Trapp was the last surviving member of the Von Trapp Singers. She was portrayed by Heather Menzies-Urich as the character Louisa in Robert Wise’s 1965 multiple Oscar-winner, adapted from the 1959 Broadway play about her family’s flight from Nazi-held Austria.

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R.I.P. ‘The Waltons’ Patriarch Ralph Waite

By | Thursday February 13, 2014 @ 5:15pm PST

Ralph WaiteThe man who played the patriarch on CBS’ long-running series The Waltons has died. Ralph Waite was 85. He also had been recurring since 2008 as Papa Gibbs, the father of Mark Harmon’s character, on NCIS. “Everyone at NCIS is deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague Ralph Waite,” the show’s cast and crew said in a statement sent out by CBS tonight. “Ralph was family to us, a tremendous talent and a very special man. We truly cherish the time we had with him. Our hearts and prayers go out to his loved ones.” He also recurred on Bones as the grandfather of David Boreanaz’s character, played Father Matt in nearly 100 episodes of Days Of Our Lives and appeared in Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, Cold Case and The Practice.

Related: R.I.P. ‘Little House’ Actor Richard Bull

But Waite was best known as “Daddy” on The Waltons. He starred for nine seasons on the Depression-era drama as John Walton Sr., who eked out a living at the family lumber mill on Walton’s Mountain. He scored an Emmy nom for the role in 1978 and also directed more than a dozen episodes of the hourlong series, which ran from 1972-81 and was followed by a series of telefilms.

Related: In Memoriam: Notable Deaths Of 2013
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R.I.P. Hollywood Columnist Joseph Finnigan

By | Friday February 7, 2014 @ 12:00pm PST

Longtime TV Guide columnist Joe Finnigan died January 22 in Sun Valley, CA after a long illness. He was 88. Finnegan began writing about Hollywood after landing in UPI’s Los Angeles bureau in the late 1950s, writing one of UPI’s two daily Hollywood columns. In 1965, Finnigan segued to TV Guide’s Hollywood bureau where, for the next 18 years, he penned the iconic, yellow-page “TV Teletype” column, along with features, profiles and interviews. He also wrote the “Inside Hollywood” column for the Daily Racing Form and worked as a writer/guest prep interviewer for The Merv Griffin Show. He later wrote for the now-defunct Television-Radio Age and Emmy magazine. Throughout the years, Finnigan also was occasionally cast as an extra in a TV series or movie, with credits including TV’s McHale’s Navy and Hazel and films Seven Days In May and The Patsy.

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R.I.P. Talent Agent Neil Bagg

By | Thursday February 6, 2014 @ 3:59pm PST

Neil_Bagg_PhotographLongtime talent agent Neil Bagg died Monday at his home in Los Angeles. He had been diagnosed with ALS commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease in 2012, according to a statement from Don Buchwald & Associates where Bagg worked as an agent for 16 years representing actors in film, television and theatre. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1959, Bagg grew up with a love for the arts. At the age of 17, he hosted a popular talk show in South Africa, called PULSE. He moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA where he received his BA and later his MFA. Setting his sights on acting, he was cast in the play, Viva Vittorio, at the Mark Taper Forum opposite Vittorio Gassman, following the production to Broadway. He then banded together with a small group of fellow actors who would pose as managers and submit each other on projects. He was so successful at finding work for his friends that he applied for and got a job in the William Morris training program. From there he went on to work as an agent at Contemporary Artists, The Agency, Susan Smith & Associates and finally Don Buchwald & Associates where he worked until he left on medical leave in the summer of 2012. Colleagues of Neil’s described him as “a devoted father with a sensitive soul and a wicked sense of humor; a true raconteur and mensch”. A memorial service is being … Read More »

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R.I.P. Character Actor Richard Bull

By | Tuesday February 4, 2014 @ 10:24pm PST

nels_olesonThe prolific TV actor who played the hen-pecked shopkeeper on Little House On The Prairie has died. Richard Bull died Monday of pneumonia in Calabasas, CA. He was 89. He played general store owner Nels Oleson for all of the NBC drama’s nine seasons and in three telefilms during the 1980s. But his busy small-screen career dates back to the mid-1950s, appearing in episodes of more than 100 shows. Bull’s resume includes such classic series as Perry Mason, The Fugitive, The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched, Hawaii Five-O, Mission: Impossible, The Streets Of San Francisco, Lou Grant, Knots Landing, Hill Street Blues and ER — all the way through to Starz’s Boss in 2011. The Zion, Ill., native also appeared on the big screen in pics including High Plains Drifter, The Parallax View, The Andromeda Strain, The Thomas Crown Affair and the 2008 Larry the Cable Guy comedy Witless Protection.

Related: In Memoriam: Notable Deaths Of 2013

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UPDATE: Philip Seymour Hoffman Dead At 46 Of Apparent Overdose

By and | Sunday February 2, 2014 @ 10:52am PST

Philip Seymour Hoffman DeadOscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has died. He was 46. According to NYPD, Hoffman was discovered Sunday morning in his Manhattan home after suffering an apparent drug overdose. Police were called to the scene around 11:30 AM by Hoffman’s friend who found the actor non-responsive in the bathroom of the apartment this morning, according to NYPD, which said that a hypodermic needle and two glassine envelopes containing what appeared to be heroin were found in the fourth-floor apartment. Police would not confirm the name of the friend who found Hoffman. An autopsy will be performed and results could take  some time for toxicology reports to become available.

Related: PHOTOS: Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)

The industry well knows Hoffman’s films credits, but his real role in life was as father of three young children with costume designer Mimi O’Donnell: Cooper, 11, Tallulah who is seven and Willa who is six years old. O’Donnell and he met in 1999 when Hoffman directed the play In Arabia We’d All Be Kings. His family just issued the following statement: “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone. This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving.  Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers.”

Hoffman, who audiences will most recently remember for his turn … Read More »

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R.I.P. Producer Michael Filerman

By | Saturday February 1, 2014 @ 1:00am PST

The former Lorimar Productions exec who worked with creator David Jacobs to bring Dallas to TV and later became a Tony-winning Broadway producer has died. Michael Filerman died January 25 at his L.A. home after a yearlong battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Starting in the late 1970s, Filerman worked on Dallas – whose 1980 Michael Filerman 2“Who Shot J.R.?” cliffhanger was the highest-rated episode in TV history at the time – and served as executive producer on such series as Knots Landing, Flamingo Road, Emerald Point N.A.S., Falcon Crest, Sisters and The Client. The Chicago native also produced more than a dozen TV movies, starting with 1980’s Willow B: Women In Prison through 2000’s When Andrew Came Home. Filerman later turned to producing for the Main Stem, earning eight Tony nominations and two wins – for the revivals of The Gershwins’ Porgy And Bess (2012) and The Norman Conquests (2009). His other Broadway credits include the musicals A Christmas Story, American Idiot, Nice Work If You Can Get It and the current A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder, along with such original plays as Enron, November and Frozen and revivals of The Country Blithe Spirit and Driving Miss Daisy. Read More »

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R.I.P. Arthur Rankin Jr

By | Friday January 31, 2014 @ 7:23pm PST

Arthur Rankin Jr.The man whose animated holiday TV specials have touched generations of fans died Thursday at his home in Bermuda. Arthur Rankin Jr was 89. His death was reported by local newspaper The Royal Gazette. With his partner Jules Bass, Rankin mined popular Christmas songs to create enduring stop-motion TV classics including Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) — which beat The Voice and Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the 18-49 demo when CBS aired it Thanksgiving Eve last year – The Little Drummer Boy (1968), Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (1970) and The Year Without A Santa Claus (1974). The Jimmy Durante-narrated Frosty The Snowman (1969) was done in tradition cel animation and was the first of their santarudolphChristmas specials done as a half-hour rather than an hour. Rankin and Bass founded their company in 1960 as Videocraft International, and the name was changed to Rankin/Bass Productions eight years later. They also produced plenty of non-holiday fare as well, from their first TV project — the syndicated The Adventures Of Pinocchio — through The Ballad of Smokey the Bear (1966), The Wacky Word of Mother Goose (1967), The Hobbit (1977) and the popular 1980s series Thundercats, which was remade for Cartoon Network in 2011. Rankin and Bass also directed many of their productions including Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town and Frosty The Snowman, the early ’70s series Jackson … Read More »

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R.I.P. TV/Film Composer John Cacavas

By | Thursday January 30, 2014 @ 4:10pm PST

jhcTV/film composer and conductor John Cacavas, whose credits include Airport 1975 and 1970s TV series Kojak, died January 28 at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 83. The South Dakota native scored numerous TV series and films throughout his career beginning with the 1972 feature Horror Express. He went on to score the next two movies in the Airport franchise, Airport 1975 and Airport ’77. Cacavas had developed a strong friendship with Telly Savalas, leading to a long tenure as composer for the Kojak TV series (1973-78), including the series theme for its fifth and final season on CBS. His other TV credits include Hawaii Five-O, Matlock, Switch, Columbo, Mrs. Columbo, Quincy, Buck Rogers, Gangster Chronicles, Lady Blue, Four Seasons and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. He also composed movies-of-the-week, TV pilots, mini-series and specials such as A Time to Triumph, Eddie Capra Mysteries, She Cried Murder, Time Machine, By Reason Of Insanity, Jenny’s War , Police Story, Dirty Dozen II and III, Confessional and Perfect Murder Perfect Town. Read More »

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R.I.P. Sarah Marshall

By | Monday January 20, 2014 @ 9:36pm PST

Sarah MArshall TrekThe British actress was a familiar face on TV and on Broadway during the 1950s and early ’60s, earning a Tony nom for her supporting role in 1959’s Goodbye, Charlie. Sarah Marshall died Saturday of cancer in Los Angeles. She was 80. Marshall appeared on dozens of TV shows from the mid-’50 through the mid-’90s, including such popular series as Thriller, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Get Smart, Daniel Boone, Three’s Company and Cheers. She also was a regular on the 1979 CBS comedy Miss Winslow & Son and appearedLittle Girl Lost in the 1980 miniseries Scruples. But Marshall is perhaps best known to American TV audiences for starring roles on episodes of The Twilight Zone (the worried mother in “Little Girl Lost”) and Star Trek (the disease-curing scientist an ex-flame of Capt. Kirk in “The Deadly Years”).

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R.I.P. ‘Oz’ Munchkin Ruth Robinson Duccini

By | Thursday January 16, 2014 @ 9:39pm PST

ruthThe last surviving female Munchkin from the 1939 classic The Wizard Of Oz died Thursday at a Las Vegas hospice after a brief illness. Ruth Robinson Duccini was 95. Her death was confirmed by longtime friend Stephen Cox, author of The Munchkins Of Oz. Duccini’s only other acting gig after her uncredited role in Oz was the10e461196907d2a61295b4543cc4d78b 1981 Chevy Chase-Carrie Fisher comedy Under The Rainbow. She was one of a half-dozen Oz veterans who attended the unveiling of the Munchkins star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007 (that’s her on the left in the photo), and she was a guest of honor at the world premiere of The Wizard Of Oz in IMAX 3D in September. Her death leaves Jerry Maren, who turns 94 next week, as the lone surviving Munchkin from the Judy Garland musical.

Related: R.I.P. ‘Oz’ Munchkin Margaret Pellegrini

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R.I.P. Former ABC Exec Mark Cohen

By | Thursday January 16, 2014 @ 2:00pm PST

abclogoLongtime ABC executive Mark Cohen, retired EVP ABC Broadcast Group and VP Capital Cities/ABC died on December 31st, ABC announced today. He was 81. A Maine native, Cohen joined ABC in the company’s clearance department in 1958. He moved to network sales in 1961, was promoted to director of sales planning in 1964 and to VP sales planning in 1967. In the early ’70s, Cohen held a number of positions in the business analysis and planning areas, and was named VP in charge of planning and development for ABC Television in 1974. He was promoted to SVP Finance and Planning in 1976, became SVP of ABC Television in 1977 and assumed the additional title of VP ABC Inc. in 1981. From 1983 to 1985, he was SVP ABC and in 1985 was promoted to executive vice president. Cohen left the company in 1988. Read More »

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R.I.P. Russell Johnson

By | Thursday January 16, 2014 @ 1:40pm PST

2nd Annual TV Land Awards - Press RoomActor Russell Johnson, best known for playing The Professor on Gilligan’s Island, has died. He was 89. His longtime agent Mike Eisenstadt told Deadline that Johnson died this morning of natural causes at his home in Washington state. The Pennsylvania native had dozens of TV and film credits during his decades-long career, but it was as Professor Roy Hinkley in 1960s sitcom Gilligan’s Island for which he is best remembered. Johnson appeared on the show all three seasons it aired on CBS (1964-67). He reprised the role in The Castaways On Gilligan’s Island TV movie in 1979. Deadline recently reported that Warner Bros was planning a feature film based on the series.

Russell’s Hollywood career began in the early 1950s, with early roles mainly in westerns including 1953′s The Stand At Apache River and Tumbleweed and sci-fi pics such as It Came from Outer Space (1953), This Island Earth (1955), Attack Of The Crab Monsters (1956), and The Space Children (1958). His other TV credits include The Adventures Of Superman, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, The Jeffersons, MacGyver, Fame and an episode of Newhart in which he was shown watching Gilligan’s Island. Johnson’s other film credits include MacArthur, The Great Skycopter Rescue, The Greatest Story Ever Told and Off The Wall.

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R.I.P. Roger Lloyd-Pack; British Sitcom Star, ‘Harry Potter’ Actor

By | Thursday January 16, 2014 @ 5:24am PST

roger lloyd packRoger Lloyd-Pack, the British actor best known for his role in classic sitcom Only Fools And Horses, has died. He passed away at home on Wednesday night, suffering from pancreatic cancer, his agent told the UK press. He was 69. Lloyd-Pack played the slow-witted road sweeper Colin “Trigger” Ball on long-running BBC One sitcom Only Fools And Horses. He also played farmer Owen Newitt in the Richard Curtis-created BBC series The Vicar Of Dibley. The actor’s feature career included turns in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, in which he took on the part of Bartemius “Barty” Crouch, Sr, the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Born in North London in 1944, Lloyd was the son of Charles Lloyd-Pack who appeared in several Hammer horror films. He was also the father of actress Emily Lloyd. Lloyd-Pack studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and later appeared in episodes of The Avengers and other series. His bigscreen debut was in 1968′s The Magus which starred Michael Caine, Anthony Quinn and Candice Bergen. In 1981, Lloyd-Pack was cast in his break-out role in Only Fools And Horses. He also did guest shots on The Bill, Poirot, Doctor Who and The Borgias among many other series. In 2012 and 2013, he returned to the stage appearing in productions of Richard III and Twelfth Night.

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