Category: Celebs

RIP: Jessica Walter

Jessica Walter, star of stage, television and movie screen for over 60 years died in her sleep on March 24th at the age of 80.  No cause of death was given.

I probably saw Jessica Walters for the first time in the premiere episode of Flipper.  I would have been five.  After that she appeared with regularity, guesting on many shows that I enjoyed: The Fugitive, The FBI, The Name of the Game, Mannix, The Immortal, Love American Style, Mission Impossible, Alias Smith & Jones and Medical Center — and those are just the shows I regularly watched, she appeared in many others.

Then in 1971, Jessica Walter appeared in the role that always comes first when I think of her.  She played Evelyn Draper, the psycho woman who becomes obsessed with Clint Eastwood in Play Misty for Me.  That role and that movie was well ahead of it’s time.  There’s a scene (and if you’ve seen the movie or the poster you know the one) where Walter literally caused me to yell out loud.  Thankfully, we were at the drive-in with just my family.  Walter was nominated for a  Best Actress Golden Globe for her performance.

Had Mrs. Walter’s only role been that in Play Misty For Me, it would have still warranted notice here.  After Play Misty For Me, Jessica Walter continued to alternate between television, feature films and stage roles always making everything she was in better for her being there.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jessica Walter’s family, friends and fans.

“No Ordinary Man: The Billy Tipton Documentary” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

Here we have the poster and trailer for No Ordinary Man: The Billy Tipton Documentary.

Billy Tipton was an American musician who played in jazz bands from the 1930s through 1950.  In 1951, he formed the Billy Tipton Trio (along with Dick O’Neil and Kenny Richards).  The trio’s popularity earned them a contract for two albums: Sweet Georgia Brown and Billy Tipton Plays Hi-Fi on Piano.  The records did well enough for a new four album contract, but surprisingly, Tipton declined the offer.  Tipton instead moved to Spokane, where he became a talent agent and performed occasionally.  Tipton retired from music in the late 1970s.

Over the years Tipton had several different woman who went under the title Mrs. Tipton, but the title was without legal standing since he didn’t marry any of them.  In the early 60s, Tipton and one of his “wives” adopted 3 sons.

In 1989, as paramedics worked to save Billy Tipton’s life, they discovered he was a female!   Sadly, the paramedics were unable to save Billy Tipton.

The story that Billy Tipton was actually a woman who lived life as a man undetected by his fellow musicians, his children and even his “wives” made national news.  In 1989, there was little discussion in the main stream media about transgender people, so Billy Tipton’s story was shocking.  Truth be told, it would probably still be considered shocking.  I remember when the story broke about Billy Tipton and I couldn’t understand how so many people close to Billy would have no idea of his secret.

For decades, the life of American Jazz musician, Billy Tipton, was framed as the story of an ambitious woman passing as a man in pursuit of a music career. In No Ordinary Man, Tipton’s story is re—imagined and performed by trans artists as they collectively paint a portrait of an unlikely hero. Together, the filmmakers join Tipton’s son, Billy Jr. to reckon with a complicated and contested legacy: how do you tell the story of someone who was hiding in plain sight yet desperate to be seen? On demand April 2nd.

George C. Romero’s “The Rise” – A “Night of the Living Dead” Prologue

 George C. Romero (George Romero’s son) is teaming with Diego Yapur (pencils/inks) and DC Alonso (colors) to bring us a comic book prequel to his father’s classic Night of the Living Dead.  The new series will be published by Heavy Metal.  Romero said this about working with Heavy Metal:

“With regard to the comic, I think it’s safe to say that working with Heavy Metal has given me the unprecedented pleasure of not only staying true to my original intentions for the story, but has also given me the freedom to explore the universe and the time period in a much more detailed way than a feature film script ever could.”

I’ll definitely want to check this series out. has a four page preview and short interview with Romero in their post GEORGE C. ROMERO RESURRECTS ‘NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD’ WITH NEW PROLOGUE COMIC ‘THE RISE’.

“Into the Labyrinth” Starring Dustin Hoffman – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

The poster and trailer for Into the Labyrinth starring Dustin Hoffman is here.  I think the poster looks more like an ad for a game show than a movie — probably because it is missing all the credits usually seen on a movie poster.  The trailer is interesting but doesn’t have me dying to see the film.

A kidnapped girl is found 15 years after her abduction. A celebrated psychiatrist is trying to deal with her trauma and a retired detective who only has hours to live is ready to put it all on the line to find a vicious killer. Will he be able to succeed? And who is the real villain?

Jim Ivey’s 96th Birthday is Coming! Want to Help Celebrate It?

That’s my buddy, Jim Ivey.  If you’ve been a reader here for any length of time you’ve probably read about Jim.  For the last couple of decades, I’ve gotten a group of Jim Ivey’s friends together twice a year to celebrate Jim (at his birthday and Christmas).  We’d meet at a breakfast location for a marathon session of stories, remembrances and gifts for Jim.  We were unable to meet last year due to the Covid pandemic.

Jim’s 96th birthday is on April 15th.  If you would like to send a birthday card, that would be awesome. I’ll send out all cards received.  Please try to get the cards to me by April 6th, so Jim gets them by his birthday.  You can also contact me on Facebook or Twitter.  I would love for Jim to be surprised with many cards from his friends.

I first met Mr. Ivey back in 1977.  He was the owner of The Cartoon Museum in Orlando, Florida.

The Cartoon Museum was stuffed wall-to-wall with original art from around the world.  The art spanned the gamut from comic book to comic strip to political cartoons to magazine illustrations.  Jim had over 100,000 comic books and magazines for sale.  You could find comic book scripts and autographs, and well, you get the idea.  Plus you never knew who would be passing through.  It could be a famous comic book or magazine illustrator, a political or newspaper cartoonist and even a couple of times famous faces from movies or tv.

Jim was also one of the founding members of Orlando Con.  Orlando Con was held yearly and attracted cartoonists from around the country plus a movie/tv star or two.  Guests included Joe Kubert, Wil Eisner, C.C. Beck, Hal Foster, Roy Crane, Jack Davis, Harvey Kurtzman, Robert Cummings, Jock Mahoney and many, many others.

Jim was also a political cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the Orlando Sentinel. He was the creator of the Thoughts of Man cartoon that ran in newspapers throughout the country.  Jim was the publisher of cARTtoon, a quarterly magazine.  And that’s just an overview of some of the many  accomplishments of Jim Ivey.

“Dad Stop Embarrassing Me” – The Trailer for Jamie Foxx’s New Series is Here!

Here’s the trailer for Jamie Foxx’s new Netflix series, Dad Stop Embarrassing Me.  It doesn’t look great, but it doesn’t look bad.  I’ll tune in to check it out.  I’m glad to see David Alan Grier has a part.  Truthfully, I’m surprised that Jamie Foxx is doing a series.

Family. Fatherhood. Facepalms. Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! starring Jamie Foxx premieres on April 14, only on Netflix

RIP: Yaphet Kotto

Yaphet Kotto, whose acting career spanned 50 years on television and in feature films, died Sunday, March 14, 2021, at the age of 81.  No cause of death was given.

Kotto began his career in 1962 with a role in the feature film Nothing But a Man.  After that he alternated between roles in television and feature films.  It is hard to say which was Kotto’s best known role because he had so many.  Some would say it was when he played the villain, Mr. Big, in the James Bond film, Live and Let Die.  Others would point to his starring role as President Idi Amin in Raid on Entebbe.  Who can forget his standout performance as Parker in Alien?  Others would know Yaphet Kotto best from his role as Al Giardello in Homicide: Life on the Street.

I probably first saw Yaphet Kotto in one of his many guest starring roles on television.  Mr. Kotto appeared on many of my favorite tv programs: Tarzan, The High Chaparral, Mannix, Daniel Boone, The Name of the Game, Gunsmoke, and Night Gallery.  Keep in mind, those were just the shows I watched, Yaphet Kotto appeared on many others.  Some of my favorite feature film performances by Yaphet Kotto include: Live and Let Die, Brubaker, The Running Man and of course, my all-time favorite Yaphet Kotto role, Parker in Alien.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Yaphet Kotto’s family, friends and fans.

Men of the Square Table: Who Makes Man Laws Now?

In 2007, Miller Lite ran a series of ads called Man Laws.  The idea was that a group of highly respected (and manly) men met in secret to create the Laws by which men are to live.  The ads were humorous and well done.  Here is the introduction to the concept…

And here are some of the ads…

If the Men of the Square Table were to come together today, what men would be invited?  Who would replace Burt Reynolds as the leader of the group?  Here are my suggestions…

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov:  UFC MMA Champion, retired undefeated 29 – 0
  • Kurt Angle: Gold Medal Winner: 1996 Olympics in Wrestling, Pro-Wrestler
  • Idris Elba: Actor, Kickboxer
  • Shaquille O’Neal: Basketball
  • Marvelous Marvin Hagler: Boxing  (I wrote this post up several days before Mr. Hagler died.  Out of respect to him, I elected to not change this. – Craig)
  • Danny Trejo: Actor
  • Chuck Zito: Actor, Celebrity Bodyguard, Stuntman, Former President of the New York chapter of the Hells Angels
  • Oleksii Novikov: 2020 World’s Strongest Man
  • Eugene Goodman: Capitol Police Officer
  • Sylvester Stallone: Actor and Leader of the Table

RIP: Henry Darrow

Henry Darrow, best known for his co-starring role as Manolito Montoya on the popular tv series, The High Chaparral, died yesterday at the age of 87.  No cause of death was disclosed.

Darrow began his acting career in 1959 and made memorable guest appearances on many shows before landing his signature part on The High Chaparral.  Some of Darrow’s appearances include roles on Wagon Train, The Outer Limits, The Wild, Wild West, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Daniel Boone, Mission Impossible and many others.  It was his role as Manolito where Darrow aligned with his signature character.

After The High Chaparral went off the air, Darrow continued to make guest appearances on television series, tv movies and the occasional feature film.  He also had regular roles on The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Harry O, The New Adventures of Zorro,  Zorro and Son, Me and Mom, Santa Barbara, Zorro, and The Bold and the Beautiful.  Henry Darrow was an actor who was always in demand because everything he appeared in became at least a little better.

I was a big Henry Darrow fan.  My grandfather would tune in to The High Chaparral weekly and Darrow’s Manilito was my favorite character on the show.  I was (and continue to be) pleased when Darrow turns up in any program I’m watching.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Henry Darrow’s family, friends and fans.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Monthly Newsletter!

Arnold Schwarzenegger recently started a monthly newsletter.  I signed up and am glad I did.  Arnold gives a real glimpse to what is going on in his life, his passions/causes, health tips, jokes, and more.  The newsletter is positive, upbeat and inspiring.  Here are a few tidbits…

I get questions non-stop about how I stay positive during the pandemic, how I train, how I eat, and I decided I can use this newsletter to answer questions and keep all of you up to date on what I’m doing, what I’m thinking, and what vision I’m currently chasing…

I decided to switch from sweatpants to regular pants for a meeting recently and let me tell you, I spent the whole meeting feeling like I was in a straitjacket, just waiting to put my sweats back on… Now I’m committing to all of you: This month I am going to drop the weight I gained and get back to 218 again. I am going to conquer March. Who is with me?…

One thing that has always bothered me about politics is that some people refuse to even sit down and talk with people from the other party. It’s absurd. But political parties are in the business of villainizing the other side. That’s how they make money – the more they make you hate or fear the enemy, the more donations come in. I’ve had it…

If there is one political message you leave with, please don’t make people the enemy over politics, because then you can’t talk and find common ground. Even when someone is prejudiced, I try not to demonize them, because once I do that, I have lost my chance to open their mind and get them to think differently…

On a much lighter note, here is some advice for those of you always struggling with finding gifts. I celebrated Valentine’s Day by painting some handmade cards like I always do…

My Netflix spy series – which reminded me of a new version of True Lies, so I signed on immediately – is coming along and once it’s safe to shoot we’ll get going. I have also signed on to a few other scripts I’m excited to share but the one I’m really excited for is the script for the sequel to Twins, Triplets

That’s just a small taste.  If you’re interested in getting Arnold’s newsletter just click over and look for the sign-up at the bottom right of the page.

RIP: Marvelous Marvin Hagler

Marvelous Marvin Hagler, one of the greatest boxers in the history of the sport, died unexpectedly yesterday at the age of 66.  The announcement was made by his wife and no cause of death was given.  

Hagler, whose professional boxing record was 62 – 3 – 2, with 52 wins by knockout, dominated the middleweight division from the time he won the title on September 27, 1980 until his controversial split decision loss to Sugar Ray Leonard on April 6, 1987.  Along the way, Hagler beat anyone they put in front of him including all the great middleweights of the era – Alan Minter, Vito Antuofermo, Mustafa Hamsho, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns and many others.

Hagler’s fight with Tommy Hearns lasted less than 3 rounds, but is considered by many fight fans to be not only the most exciting fight in boxing history, but it also contains the most exciting round ever.  Hagler won the fight by a TKO before the end of the third round.

Hagler lost the title in a controversial split decision to Sugar Ray Leonard.  Leonard who was warned for holding in every round, fought in spurts and did enough in two judges’ eyes to win.  Fight enthusiasts and reporters were split in their opinions as to who should have won the fight with an extremely slight majority favoring Hagler.  Although one would think that a title fight decided on such a razor-thin margin would demand an immediate rematch, it never happened.  Leonard announced his retirement, despite Hagler’s request for a rematch.  Hagler waited for the Leonard to change his mind, but when after 14 months that didn’t happen, Hagler officially retired.  A month later, Leonard announced a comeback against another fighter.  By this point, Hagler was done with boxing for good and moved to Italy where he starred in action movies.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler was named Fighter of the Decade (1980s) by Boxing Illustrated magazine.  He was the Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year for 1983 and 1985 and Ring Magazine’s Fighter of the Year for 1983 and 1985.  Marvelous Marvin Hagler was inducted into both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.

I was a huge Marvelous Marvin Hagler fan.  Hagler was a fighter’s fighter.  I watched Hagler’s fights on television and pay-per-view.  Hagler provided so many great evenings spent with family watching him perform.  His fight against Tommy Hearns is perhaps the most exciting boxing match in the history of the sport.  I have a post scheduled for Tuesday (written a few days ago) in which I spotlight Marvelous Marvin Hagler as one of my choices to be in a group of “men’s men”, little knowing that he would pass on before the post would ever be published.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Marvelous Marvin Hagler’s family, friends and fans.  

Behind the Scenes: The Making of “Raging Bull”

Raging Bull fans will want to check out Jay Glennie’s The Making of a Heavyweight: Scorsese and De Niro Behind the Scenes of Raging Bull – in Pictures at The Guardian.  If you click over you’ll enjoy:

  • Behind the Scenes Photos of Michael Westmore’s Make-Up Effects for De Niro.
  • Jake Lamotta & De Niro and the Inscription LaMotta Gave Him
  • Photos from De Niro’s Private Collection
  • A Sample of De Niro’s Heavily Annotated Script
  • Photos from Scorsese’s Private Collection
  • A Handwritten Note from Al Pacino to Robert De Niro

“Batman: Dying is Easy” – The Amazing Short is Here! It is a Must-See!

Batman: Dying is Easy is a fan-made film that’s better than most “professional” films.  The writing, direction, editing, acting, and set design are all top notch.  I love the movie character cameos – Commissioner Gordon, Hugo Strange, Bullock, The Riddler, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivey, Harley Quinn,  I also like the star cameos – Kevin Porter, Michael Madsen, Doug Jones, Chris Daughtry and Casper Von Dien.

Directed by Aaron Schoenke and Sean Schoenke from a script by Aaron Schoenke.  Aaron and Sean are brothers and the creative team behind other amazing fan films which include Batman vs Darth Vader, Predator vs Wolverine, Spider-man vs Darth Maul, and more.  Someone needs to give these guys a feature film!

Directed by Aaron Schoenke and Sean Schoenke
Kevin Porter as Batman
Aaron Schoenke as Joker
Michael Madsen as Bullock

“Batman and Joker have always had such an interested psychological relationship, it’s those dark concepts that make the characters so interesting.”

Eddie Muller’s Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir is Getting a Revised & Expanded Hardcover Edition!

Fans of film noir will be excited to learn that Eddie Muller’s classic Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir is getting a revised and expanded hard cover edition!

This revised and expanded edition of Eddie Muller’s Dark City is a film noir lover’s bible, taking readers on a tour of the urban landscape of the grim and gritty genre in a definitive, highly illustrated volume.

Dark City expands with new chapters and a fresh collection of restored photos that illustrate the mythic landscape of the imagination. It’s a place where the men and women who created film noir often find themselves dangling from the same sinister heights as the silver-screen avatars to whom they gave life. Eddie Muller, host of Turner Classic Movies’ Noir Alley, takes readers on a spellbinding trip through treacherous terrain: Hollywood in the post-World War II years, where art, politics, scandal, style — and brilliant craftsmanship — produced a new approach to moviemaking, and a new type of cultural.

I’ve already pre-ordered mine.  You can too, if you’re so inclined.  Here is the Amazon link (at a discounted price).

Eddie Muller has teamed with Larry Edmund’s Bookshop in Hollywood California to provide autographed copies that will also contain an exclusive graphic stamp.  These copies can be ordered here.