Category: RIP

RIP: George Maharis

George Maharis, the actor, singer and artist, died on May 24, 2023 from natural causes.  Mr. Maharis was 94.

George Maharis studied at the Actors Studio after a stint in the US Marines.  He began to get roles in off-Broadway productions and television appearances.  His big break came in 1960 when he was cast as Buz Murdock in Route 66.  The show catapulted him to stardom.  Due to his popularity and singing ability, Mr. Maharis even began a recording career!

During the third season of Route 66, George Maharis left the series for health reasons.  The show’s producers felt that Mr. Maharis wanted to break his contract to pursue roles in feature films.  Reports later surfaced that tensions rose when the producers learned that George Maharis was gay.  Once Mr. Maharis was off the show, Route 66 declined in popularity and was cancelled the following year.

George Maharis went on to star in television roles and feature films.  Later in his career, he sang in nightclubs and became an impressionist painter.

Some of George Maharis’ television appearances include: Mister Peepers; The Investigator (2 episodes); The Phil Silvers Show; Naked City (4 episodes); Search for Tomorrow (5 episodes); Route 66 (82 episodes); Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (2 episodes); The Danny Thomas Hour; Journey to the Unknown; The Most Deadly Game (13 episodes); Night Gallery; Cade’s County; Medical Center; Canon; Mission: Impossible; Barnaby Jones; Marcus Welby; McMillan & Wife; Rich Man, Poor Man; The Bionic Woman (2 episodes); Kojak; Police Story (3 episodes); Switch (2 episodes); Fantasy Island (6 episodes); Matt Houston and Murder She Wrote (2 episodes).

Some of George Maharis’ feature films include: Quick Before It Melts; The Satan Bug; The Happening and The Sword and the Sorcerer;

I can remember watching Route 66 because it was what the adults watched in the house.  I also remember my mom and her friend talking about the rumors that Mr. Maharis left the show because the producers found out he was gay. They had a hard time believing it, and thought George Maharis was so handsome.  I liked him in Route 66 and always enjoyed seeing George Maharis appear in shows that I watched.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to George Maharis’ family, friends and fans.

RIP: Ed Ames

Ed Ames who was born Edmund Dantes Urick died May 21, 2023, at the age of 95 from natural causes.

While still in high school Ed and his brothers formed a singing group which won many competitions in the Boston area.  They changed their group’s name to the Ames Brothers and landed their first record contract in 1947.  The group continued recording and scored several hits throughout the 1950s and early 1960s.

When the group broke up, Ed Ames decided to pursue a full-time acting career.  Mr. Ames landed roles in off-Broadway and Broadway plays.  While playing Chief Bromden in the Broadway play One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest opposite Kirk Douglas, Mr. Ames was offered the role of Mingo on the television series Daniel Boone.  This role made him a star.  For the rest of his career Ed Ames would alternate between acting on television and stage as well as singing as a solo performer.

Some of Ed Ames television appearances include: The Rifleman; The Travels of Jamie McPheeters; The Danny Thomas Hour; Daniel Boone (72 episodes); The Ed Sullivan Show (4 episodes); The Tonight Show; McCloud; Murder She Wrote; In the Heat of the Night and Jake and the Fatman.

I was a huge fan of Ed Ames as Mingo.  It was the first time that I can remember liking a supporting character more than the star.  There’s a classic clip of Ed Ames promoting Daniel Boone on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Mr. Ames was demonstrating his prowess at tomahawk throwing.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth looking up.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ed Ames’ family, friends and fans.

RIP: Tina Turner

Tina Turner, born Anna Mae Bullock died yesterday at the age of 83.  The cause of death was natural causes.

Tina Turner rose to fame singing with Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm.  Later Tina and Ike married and formed a popular singing/recording duo that released hits such as River Deep, Mountain High, Proud Marry and Nutbush City Limits. They broke up in 1976 and they divorced in 1978.

In 1984, Tina Turner released Private Dancer which went on to become a platinum seller.  The single, What’s Love Got to Do With It won Record of the Year and went to #1 on the charts.  This made Ms. Turner, at age 44, the oldest female singer to hit the top spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart.  Tina Turner would continued to pile up hit after hit, and award after award.  By the end of her career she had won 12 Grammy Awards (including 3 Hall of Fame Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award).  2021: Turner became a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

Tina Turner appeared in several feature films including: Tommy; Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and The Last Action Hero.  Angela Bassett played Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It?

I am a Tina Turner fan.  I loved her in Thunderdome and thought we’d see more of her in movies.  I think she probably loved singing, making music videos and touring too much to pursue a movie career.  She had so many hits that it’s hard to pick just one favorite.  It was even better seeing her perform songs in guest spots on tv and in her videos.  There will never be another Tina Turner.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Tina Turner’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Ray Stevenson

Ray Stevenson died today.  He was 58.  No cause of death has been released.

Ray Stevenson was an Irish actor known for his roles in theater, television and feature films.  He is best known for his starring roles as The Punisher in Punisher: War Zone and Volstagg in Thor franchise films,

Some of Ray Stevenson’s television appearances include: The Dwelling Place (3 episodes); The Tide of Life (3 episodes); Band of Gold (9 episodes); City Central (21 episodes); Walking the Dead (2 episodes); Rome (22 episodes); Dexter (9 episodes); Black Sails (11 episodes); Rellik (6 episodes); Reef Break (13 episodes); Vikings (11 episodes) and Das Boot (9 episodes).

Some of Ray Stevenson’s feature films include:  The Theory of Flight; King Arthur; Punisher: War Zone; Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant; The Book of Eli; The Other Guys; Kill the Irishman; Thor; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; Thor: The Dark World; Cold Skin; Thor: Ragnarak; Accident Man; RRR and Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday.

My favorite Ray Stevenson role was in Punisher: War Zone. He was excellent in the role and I’m surprised that they didn’t do sequels with him.  It was also a pleasant surprise to see him in RRR.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ray Stevenson’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Jim Brown

Jim Brown died on Thursday, May 18, 2023.  He was 87 years old.  Jim Brown was an athlete, civil rights activist and actor.

Jim Brown attended Syracuse University where he excelled at basketball, track and field, lacrosse, and football. Many consider Jim Brown to be one of the best lacrosse players of all time.  While at Syracuse, Jim Brown was a unanimous selection for the All-America team and they retired his number 44.  In 1995, he was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Jim Brown was a running back for the Cleveland Browns from 1957 – 1965.  He led the league in rushing 8 of the 9 seasons he played.  When he retired (while at the height of his career) he was the all-time leading rusher.  Jim Brown was a named a Pro Bowl player each season that he played.  Three times in the 9 seasons he was named the NFL Most Valuable Player.  He led the Browns to a Championship in 1964.  Jim Brown is the only professional football player to average over 100 yards per game.  He is considered by many to be the greatest player to every take the field.  Mr. Brown retired from football to pursue a career as an actor.

Some of Jim Brown’s television appearances include: I, Spy; Police Story; CHiPs (3 episodes); Knight Rider; TJ Hooker (2 episodes); The A-Team and Soul Food (4 episodes).

Some of Jim Brown’s feature films include: Rio Concho; The Dirty Dozen; Dark of the Sun; Ice Station Zebra; The Split; 100 Rifles; Slaughter; Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off; Three The Hard Way; The Running Man; I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; Mars Attacks and Any Given Sunday.

Jimi Brown was one of the few athletes to speak out about civil rights in the 1950s and he continued to do so throughout his life.  Mr. Brown was the founder of the Negro Industrial Economic Union, later renamed as the Black Economic Union which helped find opportunities and promote minority owned business.

I was a fan of Jim Brown’s football prowess.  My favorite Jim Brown films are The Dirty Dozen and Dark of the Sun.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jim Brown’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Superstar Billy Graham

Superstar Billy Graham, the Hall of Fame Professional wrestler died yesterday at the age of 79.  He had been on life-support and ill for some time.

Superstar Billy Graham was born Eldridge Wayne Coleman.  He became interested in weightlifting while in fifth grade.  In high school he threw the shot put and participated in the Golden Gloves.  In 1961, Mr. Coleman won the Teenage Body Building Contest West Coast Division. (Frank Zane was the winner of the East Coast Division!).  By 1968, Eldridge Coleman was working out at Gold’s Gym where he became friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbu and other famous body builders of the era.

In 1970, Mr. Coleman began his career in professional wrestling working for various territories around the country.  In 1972, he took on the moniker Superstar Billy Graham and he became world famous.  Over the course of his career he was a three-time World Champion and inducted in the the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.  He retired in 1988 and became an author and ringside announcer.

Superstar Billy Graham was the inspiration for the next wave of pro wrestlers that included Ric Flair, Austin Idol, Hulk Hogan and Jesse The Body Ventura.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Superstar Billy Graham’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Doyle Brunson

Doyle Brunson, known as the Godfather of Poker died yesterday at the age of 89.

Mr. Brunson played professional poker for over 50 years.  He is in the Poker Hall of Fame after a career that included him being the first person to win $1 million in poker tournaments, back-to-back World Series of Poker tournament championships (1976 & 1977) and ten World Series of Poker tournament lifetime wins.  Doyle Brunson wrote two books on how to win at poker, Super/System and SuperSystem2.  These books are considered required reading for anyone who plays poker for money.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Doyle Brunson’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte (born Harold George Bellanfanti Jr.), the singer, actor and activist died today from congestive heart failure.  Mr. Belafonte was 96.

After graduation from high school Mr. Belafonte served in the Navy.  Following his time in the service he got work as a janitor’s assistant. It was during this period that Harry Belafonte attended the American Negro Theater and decided he wanted to be a performer.  It was also when he developed a friendship with Sidney Poitier.

Harry Belafonte began singing in nightclubs to help pay for his acting classes.  Along the way he performed with Charlie Parker and Miles Davis before getting a record contract.

Harry Belafonte began taking acting classes at The Dramatic Workshop of the New School.  There he studied along with future stars such as Marlon Brando, Sidney Poitier, Tony Curtis and Walter Mathhau.

In 1954, Harry Belafonte received a Tony Award for his part in the Broadway revue John Murray Anderson’s Almanac.  In 1956, Mr. Belafonte’s album Calypso became the first to sell one million copies in a year.  Harry Belafonte would go on to released 49 albums.

In 1953, Harry Belafonte appeared in the feature film Bright Road.  The following year he appeared in his breakout role in Carmen Jones.  For the rest of his career, Mr. Belafonte would perform on stage, recording or performing live and acting in feature films or on television.

Some of Harry Belafonte’s feature film performances include: Bright Road; Carmen Jones; Island in the Sun; The World, The Flesh and the Devil; Odds Against Tomorrow; Buck and the Preacher and Uptown Saturday Night.

Some of Harry Belafonte’s television appearances include:  Front Row Center; The Ed Sullivan Show (10 episodes); The Steve Allen Show; Tonight With Belafonte; The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; The Tonight Show; The Flip Wilson Show; The Muppet Show; Grambling’s White Tiger and An Evening with Harry Belafonte and Friends.

Throughout his life, Harry Belafonte was an humanitarian activist.  He supported Civil Rights causes. Harry Belafonte became a friend and confidant to Martin Luther King, Jr.  Harry Belafonte helped to bring together artists to perform on We Are The World, the Grammy Award-winning song used to raise funds for Africa. He served as an UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for over 35 years, the American Civil Liberties Union celebrity ambassador for juvenile justice issues, the cultural advisor to the Peace Corps

Harry Belafonte won three Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award (1960 for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Musical Program or Series for “Tonight with Belafonte”), a Tony Award (1954 for Best Featured Actor in a Musical), a Kennedy Centers Honors Award (1989 for lifetime contributions to the performing arts); a National Medal of Arts Award (1994, highest honor given to artists and patrons of the arts by the United States government),  the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award (2014, by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) for an individual’s “outstanding contributions to humanitarian causes”),  and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2022 as an Early Influencer).

Harry Belafonte’s talent was unsurpassed and may only be matched by his dedication to humanitarian efforts.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Harry Belafonte’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Al Jaffee

Al Jaffee, the award-winning cartoonist best known for his work with MAD magazine died yesterday from organ failure.  He was 102.

Al Jaffee attended the High School of Music & Art in New York City.  There he met Will Elder, Harvey Kurtzman, John Severin, and Al Feldstein all of whom would go on to work for MAD magazine and become noted cartoonists.

Mr. Jaffee’s career began in 1942 when he began getting work from Joker Comics, Timely Comics, Atlas Comics and other publishers.  During World War II, Al Jaffee worked as an artist in the military.  After his service, Mr. Jaffee became editor for Timely Comics humor and teenage comics.  In 1957, Mr. Jaffee created the Tall Tales syndicated strip.  It ran for six years.

Al Jaffee’s art first appeared in MAD Magazine in 1955.  In 1964 Al Jaffee created MAD Magazine’s longest-running feature, the fold-in. Jaffee would create a full page illustration with text that when folded vertically in half would present a new illustration with text that served as a punchline to the original drawing.  The fold-in appeared in every issue of the magazine from 1964–2020 except for two.  One issue in 1977 lacked a fold-in although Mr. Jaffee provided a back cover illustration.  One issue in 1980 had a unique Jaffee presentation: the inside back cover and back cover illustrations when held up to a light source merged to create a third image.  Al Jaffee also created MAD’s popular and long-running series “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.”

In 1971 and again in 1975, Mr. Jaffee won the National Cartoonists Society Special Features Award.
In 1973, Al Jaffee won the National Cartoonists Society Advertising and Illustration Award.
In 1979, Mr. Jaffee won the National Cartoonists Humor Comic Book Award.
In 2008, Jaffee was honored by the Reuben Awards as the Cartoonist of the Year.
In October 2011, Al Jaffee won the Comic Art Professional Society’s Sergio Award.
In July 2013, Mr. Jaffee was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame.
In April 2014, Al Jaffee was elected to the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame.
On March 30, 2016, Mr. Jaffee was awarded the Guinness World Record for the longest career as a comic artist.
In June 2020, Al Jaffee announced his retirement. MAD Magazine published a tribute issue that same month.

Al Jaffee’s sense of humor and artistic talent translated into decades of smiles for countless children and adults.  What better legacy could one hope for?

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Al Jaffee’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Michael Lerner

Michael Lerner  died on April 8, 2023.  Mr. Lerner was 81.

Michael Lerner knew from an early age that he wanted to be an actor.  While in college he performed in several plays.  After his graduation from Brooklyn College, Michael Lerner received a scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley. There he earned a master’s degree.  Upon graduation he received a Fulbright Scholarship to study theater in London.  While in London, Michael Lerner became friends with John Lennon and Yoko Ono.  He even appeared in one of Ono’s short experimental films.

In 1968, Michael Lerner returned to California.  He began appearing in local stage productions.  The following year he began getting guest spots on television shows.  In 1970, he appeared in the feature film Alex in Wonderland.  For the remainder of his career Michael Lerner would act on stage, television, feature films and even radio. Mr. Lerner was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role in Barton Fink (1991).

Some of Michael Lerner’s television appearances include: Dr. Kildare; The Brady Bunch; The Doris Day Show (2 episodes); The Young Lawyers; That Girl; Thief; Marriage Year One; Banacek; The Bold Ones: The New Doctors (2 episodes); Ironside (2 episodes); Night Gallery; The Streets of San Francisco; The Bob Newhart Show; Emergency; Love American Style; MASH; The Odd Couple; The Missiles of October; Sarah T. – Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic; Starsky and Hutch (2 episodes); Rhoda; Harry O; Police Woman; The Rockford Files (4 episodes); Ruby & Oswald; Kojak; Vegas; Wonder Woman; Barnaby Jones; Hart to Hart (2 episodes); MacGyver; The A-Team; Hill Street Blues (4 episodes); Amazing Stories; The Equalizer; Melba (4 episodes); Tales from the Crypt; Courthouse (11 episodes); Clueless (18 episodes); Godzilla: The Series (3 episodes); Third Watch; Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2 episodes); Entourage; Saving Grace; The Good Wife and Glee (5 episodes).

Some of Michael Lerner’s feature film appearances include: Alex in Wonderland; The Ski Bum; The Candidate; Busting; Newman’s Law; St. Ives; The Other Side of Midnight; Outlaw Blues; Golden Girl; Borderline; Coast to Coast; The Postman Always Rings Twice; Strange Invaders; Eight Men Out; Harlem Nights; Maniac Cop 2; Barton Fink; No Escape; Godzilla; The Mod Squad; My Favorite Martian; Elf and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

I don’t remember when I first saw Michael Lerner.  He appeared in several shows that I regularly watched as a kid.  Michael Lerner always brought something special to the roles he played.  My favorite is probably his Academy Award nominated performance in Barton Fink.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Michael Lerner’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Bill Butler

Wilmer Cable Butler aka Bill Butler died yesterday at the age of 101, just two days short of his 102nd birthday.

Mr. Butler graduated with a degree in engineering from the University of Iowa.  He began his professional career as an engineer at a Gary, Indiana radio station.  He moved to Chicago to help design and build ABC television affiliate stations.  Mr. Butler then moved to WGN-TV where he worked live camera reports for local shows and commercials.

It was at WGN where Bill Butler met director William Friedkin.  Friedkin was prepping a documentary. He asked Mr. Butler to serve as his cinematographer.  The documentary was The People vs. Paul Crump, about a death row inmate.  The documentary assisted in getting Crump exonerated.  It was also Bill Butler’s first professional film credit.  Mr. Butler would go on to become one of the most requested and admired cinematographers in the industry.

Some of Bill Bulter’s feature films include: Fearless Frank; The Rain People; Drive, He Said; The Return of Count Yorga; Hickey & Boggs; The Conversation; Jaws; Lipstick; The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings; Demon Seed; Capricorn One; Damien: Omen II; Grease; Uncle Joe Shannon; Ice Castles; Rocky II; Can’t Stop the Music; The Night’s the Lights Went Out in Georgia; Stripes; Rocky III; Rocky IV;  Biloxi Blues; Graffiti Bridge; Hot Shots!; Sniper; Cop & ½; Beethoven’s 2nd; Anaconda and Frailty.

Some of Bill Butler’s television projects include: The People vs. Paul Crump; Something Evil; Circle of Fear (5 episodes); Savage; The Execution of Private Slovik; Raid on Entebbe; The Thorn Birds (4 episodes); A Streetcar Named Desire and  A Walton Wedding.

Bill Butler is best known for his work with Steven Spielberg on Jaws.  They had worked together previously on two television movies, Something Evil and Savage.  I first saw Bill Butler’s work on The Execution of Private Slovik, a television movie starring Martin Sheen.  It felt like I was watching a feature film and much of the credit for that goes to Mr. Butler.

I loved how throughout his career Bill Butler could move from low-budget genre films to high budget star vehicles.  He was at home with gritty dramas as movies geared to kids.  He worked on so many films that I love: Jaws; Capricorn One; Rocky 2, 3 &4 and Frailty to name a few.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bill Butler’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Sharon Acker

It was reported yesterday that actress Sharon Acker died on March 16, 2023.  Ms. Acker was 87.

Sharon Acker appeared in both television and feature film roles in a career that lasted over 35 years.  She is best known for her role as Lee Marvin’s double-crossing wife in Point Blank. Although Ms. Acker appeared in a few other feature films she was in great demand for television roles and appeared in most of the major hits for decades.

Some of Sharon Acker’s television appearances include: On Camera; Anne of Green Gables; Lucky Jim; Macbeth; Encounter (8 episodes); Quest (3 episodes); The Serial (5 episodes); Wojeck (2 episodes); The Wild, Wild West; Festival (8 episodes); Star Trek; Get Smart; It Takes a Thief (3 episodes); Lancer; A Clear and Present Danger; The Bold Ones (4 episodes); Alias Smith and Jones; Gunsmoke; Cade’s County; The FBI: Love American Style; Mission Impossible (2 episodes); Mod Squad; McMillan & Wife; Hec Ramsey (2 episodes); Marcus Welby (2 episodes); The New Perry Mason (15 episodes); Harry O; Cannon (3 episodes); Barnaby Jones (3 episodes); Executive Suite (18 episodes); The Streets of San Francisco (2 episodes); The Love Boat; The Rockford Files (2 episodes); Police Story; The Incredible Hulk; Quincy (3 episodes); Texas (62 episodes); Matt Houston; Trapper John MD; Simon & Simon (2 episodes); Knight Rider; Murder She Wrote; Days of Our Lives (7 episodes); Rin-Tin-Tin K9 Cop (3 episodes) and The Young and the Restless (4 episodes).

I probably first saw Sharon Acker in The Wild, Wild West.  She would go on to appear in many of the shows I tuned in to weekly to see.  What an amazing career she had.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sharon Acker’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Hal Dresner

Hal Dresner died yesterday from cancer.  He was 85.

Mr. Dresner was a writer and producer of television programs and feature films.  He was an uncredited writer on the Paul Newman classic, Cool Hand Luke.  One of the most famous lines in movie history, “What we have here is a failure to communicate” is attributed to Hal Dresner.

Some of Hal Dresner’s television work includes: Night Gallery (3 episodes); The Harvey Korman Show (creator & writer – 3 episodes); Husbands, Wives & Lovers (creator & writer – 10 episodes) and Poor Richard.

Some of Hal Dresner’s feature film work includes: .Cool Hand Luke (uncredited writer); The April Fools (screenplay); Catch 22 (screenplay); Sssssss (screenplay); The Eiger Sanction (screenplay) and Zorro: The Gay Blade (screenplay).

I probably first saw Hal Dresner’s work on a Night Gallery episode.  My favorite Hal Dresner screenplay is The Eiger Sanction.  It’s interesting to note that if he did nothing more than come up with the Cool Hand Luke line, “What we have here is a failure to communicate”, his place in movie history would be assured.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Hal Dresner’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Lance Reddick

Lance Reddick died today from natural causes.  He was 60.

In high school Lance Reddick’s focus was on music.  After graduation he attended the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree.  Mr. Riddick later attended the Yale School of Drama where he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree.

Lance Reddick appeared on television and in feature films throughout his career.

Some of Lance Reddick’s television appearances include: New York Undercover; The Nanny; The West Wing; Falcone (3 episodes); Oz (12 episodes); Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (6 episodes); Law & Order: Criminal Intent; Law & Order (3 episodes); CSI: Miami (3 episodes); The Wire (60 episodes); Lost (4 episodes); It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia; Fringe (90 episodes); The Blacklist (2 episodes); Intelligence (5 episodes); Quantum Break (4 episodes); American Horror Story (4 episodes); Duck Tales (voice – 5 episodes); Castlevania (voice – 10 episodes); Corporate (18 episodes); Bosch (68 episodes); Young Sheldon and Resident Evil (8 episodes).

Some of Lance Reddick’s feature film appearances include: Great Expectations; The Siege; Don’t Say a Word; Jonah Hex; White House Down; Oldboy; John Wick; John Wick: Chapter 2; John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum; Angel Has Fallen; One Night in Miami; Godzilla vs Kong and John Wick: Chapter 4.

I first saw Lance Reddick in Lost.  He had a unique look and stage presence.  Then I started seeing him more and more in both television and feature films.  Whenever Lance Reddick’s name appeared in the credits, I knew I was in for a treat.  My favorite Lance Reddick role was as Charon in the John Wick films.  Lance Reddick was a special type of actor who could appear in action films, dramas, comedies as well as provide voice work for animated projects.  What a career he had.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lance Reddick’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Robert Blake

Robert Blake, the actor, writer and producer, died on March 9, 2023, from heart disease.  He was 89.  Robert Blake was born Michael James Vincenzo Gubitosi.  In many of his early roles he was billed as Mickey Gubitosi.

Robert Blake began acting professionally when he was just a child.  He was cast in 40 of The Little Rascals/Our Gang shorts.  In 1942, he took the stage name Bobby Blake.  Mr. Blake played Little Beaver in 23 films in The Red Ryder franchise.  As a child Robert Blake also appeared in The Big Noise with Laurel and Hardy and The Treasure of Sierra Madre with Humphrey Bogart.

Robert Blake said that his childhood was an unhappy one.  He was sexually and physically abused by his parents. At school he was bullied and got into many fights.  At one point he ran away from home.  Robert Blake was drafted into the Army.  When he got out he couldn’t find work and developed a drug addiction.  He focused on acting classes, and got his life back on track.  He would work on television and in feature films for the remainder of his career.

Some of Robert Blake’s feature film appearances include: The Big Noise; The Horn Blows at Midnight; The Treasure of Sierra Madre; Pork Chop Hill; PT 109; The Greatest Story Ever Told; This Property is Condemned; In Cold Blood; Tell Them Willie Boy is Here; Electra Glide in Blue; Coast to Coast, Money Train and Lost Highway.

Some of Robert Blake’s television appearances include: The Cisco Kid (2 episodes); The Roy Rogers Show; Broken Arrow (3 episodes); One Step Beyond; Bat Masterson; Naked City (2 episodes); Wagon Train; Laramie; Ben Casey; Have Gun – Will Travel (3 episodes); The Richard Boone Show (25 episodes); Rawhide (2 episodes); The FBI (2 episodes); Baretta (82 episodes); Of Mice and Men; Blood Feud and Hell Town (tv movie and 9 episodes) and Heart of a Champion.

Robert Blake was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards as an Outstanding Lead Actor, winning in 1975 for his role in Baretta.

Sadly in 1999, Blake met and became involved with Bonnie Lee Blakely.  She had nine previous marriages.  Robert Blake became her tenth husband the following year.  On May 4, 2001, the couple went to dinner. As they prepared to leave, Mr. Blake said that he realized he accidentally left his pistol in the restaurant.  He went in to get it and Ms. Blakely waited in the car.  When he returned to the vehicle, Ms. Blakely was dead, the result of a gunshot to the head.  On April 22, 2002, Blake was charged for the murder of Ms. Blakely.  On March 16, 2005, Blake was found not guilty of murder.  Ms. Blakely’s children sued in civil court and won a judgment of $30 million, which was later reduced to $15 million.  After this Robert Blake filed for bankruptcy and stayed out of the public eye for the remainder of his life.

I was a major Robert Blake fan.  My favorite of his many roles was as Baretta.  He made the series must-see tv.  He is most famous for his role in Cold Blood, but fans shouldn’t sleep on Electra Glide in Blue.  Any time Robert Blake was a guest on a tv talk show, you could be sure it was worth a view.  Mr. Blake was witty, and projected a this is me, this is what you get vibe.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Robert Blake’s family, friends and fans.