Category: RIP

RIP: Neal Adams

Neal Adams died yesterday as result of a sepsis infection.  Mr. Adams was 80.

These days the word “legend” is used pretty loosely, but Neal Adams is a true legend in the comic book field.  He is known for both his art and his passion for creator’s rights.  

Neal Adams is best known for his Batman comics with Denny O’Neil and his Green Lantern/Green Arrow run, again with Denny O’Neil.  Often Neal Adams was asked to draw covers for comics that didn’t have his art inside.  A Neal Adams’ cover alone could increase sales.

Neal Adams opened Continuity Studios which took on comic and commercial art assignments.  Neal Adams’ art appeared in magazines, movie posters, book covers and more.

Neal Adams is in the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame (1998), the Harvey Awards’ Jack Kirby Hall of Fame (1999) and the Inkwell Awards Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame (2019).  

Neal Adams’ RIP write-up is one of the toughest I’ve written.  Neal Adams was a huge part of my childhood.  When I think Neal Adams, I think of his take on Batman, Superman and Conan.  I think about the many times I saw Neal Adams at conventions.  He was always smiling.  If I had the talent of Neal Adams, I’d always be smiling too.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Neal Adams’ family, friends and fans.

RIP: Marvin J. Chomsky

Marvin J. Chomsky, the four time Emmy winning director and producer died on March 28th at the age of 92.  No cause of death was given.

Mr. Chomsky began his career as an art and set director.  He began directing in 1964 on the television series The Doctors and the Nurses where he helmed three episodes.  Mr. Chomsky spent the bulk of his career working in television where he directed some of the most popular tv series (usually multiple episodes) and television movies.  Mr. Chomsky also directed five feature films.

A sample of some of the series where Mr. Chomsky served as a director include: The Wild, Wild West; Star Trek; Gunsmoke; Lancer, The Magical World of Disney; The Name of the Game; Bearcats!; Mission Impossible; Hawaii 5-0; Mannix; The Magician and Police Story.

Some of the tv movies directed by Marvin Chomsky include: Mrs. Sundance; Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. the Ku Klux Klan; Victory at Entebbe; Attica and Catherine the Great.

A few of the TV mini-series on which Marvin Chomsky directed include: Roots; Holocaust; Peter the Great; The Deliberate Stranger; Billionaire Boys Club and Brotherhood of the Rose.

His feature films include: Evel Knievel; Mackintosh and T.J.; Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff and Tank.

Mr. Chomsky won three Emmy Awards: as Outstanding Director for a Drama Series for Holocaust in 1978; as Outstanding Director for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special for Attica in 1980 and for Inside the Third Reich in 1982.  When Mr. Chomsky accepted his third Emmy for directing, he was said that he had won awards for directing projects about events that “never should have happened.”

Marvin Chomsky directed episodes of some of my favorite shows when I was a kid: The Wild, Wild West; Star Trek; (the short-lived) Bearcats! and (also short-lived) The Magician.  Another favorite directed by Mr. Chomsky was Brotherhood of the Rose based on David Morrell’s best selling novel.

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

RIP: Scott Hall

Scott Hall, the professional wrestler also known as Razor Ramon, died today after being taken off life support.  Mr. Hall was placed on life support after having three heart attacks following hip replacement surgery.  He was 63 years old.

Scott Hall began his pro wrestling career in 1984 and wrestled for all the major professional wrestling organizations throughout his career.  During the WWE / WCW ratings war, Scott Hall was part of the NWO (a group of wrestlers which included Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan and others who played outsiders taking over the WCW).  The NWO were a ratings hit.  Scott Hall is a two-time inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Scott Hall was a charismatic personality who entertained millions over the course of his career.  His struggles outside the ring were sometimes made part of his wrestling storylines and impacted both his personal and professional life.  The fact that Scott Hall’s family, many friends and fans continued to support his efforts to get healthy are a testament to the impact he had.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Scott Hall’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: William Hurt

William Hurt’s son announced today that his father died of natural causes one week short of his 72 birthday.  William Hurt’s acting career spanned over 40 years.  He appeared on the stage, television and feature films.

Mr. Hurt began his career as a stage actor and won  an Obie Award (Off Broadway Theater Award) for his debut performance in Corinne Jacker’s My Life in 1977.  In 1977, he also made his first television appearance in Kojak.  William Hurt’s feature film debut came in 1980’s Altered States and his performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best New Actor in a motion picture.

For the rest of his career William Hurt continued to appear on stage, television and in feature films.  He won one Oscar for Best Actor (Kiss of the Spider Woman) and had four Best Actor Oscar nominations.  Three of the nominations came in three successive years!

Some of William Hurt’s most notable feature film appearances were in: Altered States; Body Heat; The Big Chill; Kiss of the Spider Woman; Children of a Lesser God; Broadcast News; The Accidental Tourist; Dark City;  A.I. Artificial Intelligence; The Village;  A History of Violence; Captain America: Civil War; Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: End Game.

Some of Mr. Hurt’s most notable television appearances were in: Kojak; Varian’s War; Damages; Endgame; Too Big to Fail and Bonnie & Clyde.

My favorite William Hurt performance was in Body Heat.  I had seen him prior to that but his performance as Ned Racine was the one that made me sit up and take notice.  It was interesting to see how William Hurt was able to adapt to different roles over the course of his long and memorable career.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to William Hurt’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Johnny Brown

Johnny Brown, actor and singer, died on March 3, 2022, at the age of 84.  No cause of death was reported.

Mr. Brown began his career as singer.  He toured with Sam “the man” Taylor.  In 1961, Johnny Brown released an album of his own.  Sammy Davis Jr. became a mentor to Johnny Brown and this led to Brown’s role in Golden Boy on Broadway.  His first movie role was in Sammy Davis’ film, A Man Named Adam.

Johnny Brown was a regular on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.  His contract on Laugh-In prevented him from accepting the role of Redd Fox’s son on Sanford & Son.  After Laugh-In, Mr. Brown was a regular on Good Times,  Other major appearances include the shows: Love American Style, Night Gallery, Maude, Chico and the Man, Gimme a Break, Archie Bunker’s Place, The Jeffersons, Fantasy Island and Family Matters.

Johnny Brown always made me smile.  I’ll miss seeing him pop-up in surprising places.

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

RIP: Mitchell Ryan

Mitchell Ryan, the actor of stage and screen, died yesterday from heart failure at the age of 88.  Mr. Ryan’s career spanned over 60 years, so depending on your age you may know him best from his work on Dark Shadows, Lethal Weapon, Dharma & Greg or any of his well over 130 credits.

Mitchell Ryan began his career in a theater production of Thunder Road.  His Broadway credits include Wait Until Dark, Medea and The Price.  In 1958, he earned his first screen credit in the Robert Mitchum film, Thunder Road.  For the rest of his career, Mitchell Ryan alternated between television and feature films.

A few of his major television roles included the shows: Naked City, Dark Shadows, The High Chaparral, Cannon, Chase, Having Babies, The Chisholms, Hardcastle & McCormick, Dallas, Renegade, Murder She Wrote and Dharma & Greg.

Some of his more memorable film roles were in: High Plains Drifter, Electra Glide in Blue, Lethal Weapon, and Judge Dredd.

Mitchell Ryan was always a welcome addition to any movie or tv show.  He played a great bad guy – one who came off as smart, tough and just a bit arrogant.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ryan Mitchell’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Frank Pesce

Frank Pesce, the memorable character actor of movies and television, died on February 6th at the age of 75.  Mr. Pesce’s girlfriend, Tammy Scher reported the cause of death to be dementia-related.

Frank Pesce began his career in 1976 with a role on Police Story.  Mr. Pesce then stayed busy alternating between feature films, guest spots on tv series and appearances in movies made for television.

Some feature films that Mr. Pesce appeared in include: Rocky, Paradise Alley, American Gigolo, Flashdance, Beverly Hills Cop, Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II, MIdnight Run, Lock Up, Donnie Brasco, Grudge Match, The Expendables, Reach Me and Creed!

Frank Pesce’s television appearances include roles in: Kojak, Knight Rider, The Greatest American Hero, Hardcastle and McCormick, Miami Vice, Airwolf, Cagney & Lacey, Matlock, Who’s the Boss, Jake & the Fatman and Karen Sisco.

What a career Frank Pesce had!  I love that he developed friendships with stars like Sly Stallone, Robert Forester and Tony Danza.  The fact that Mr. Pesce was used so often (and many times repeatedly by stars/directors) speaks to his professionalism.  I always enjoyed a Frank Pesce appearance!

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Frank Pesce’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Ivan Reitman

Ivan Reitman, writer, director and producer, died in his sleep on February 12th at the age of 75.  No cause of death was been given.

Ivan Reitman is best known for directing the megahit Ghostbusters, but he also directed 24 other films including: Meatballs, Stripes, Twins and Kindergarten Cop.  Mr. Reitman also served as a producer on over 60 films including: National Lampoon’s Animal House, Ghostbusters, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and Beethoven to name just a few.

I first became aware of Ivan Reitman because of his involvement with Animal House.  A year later I saw Meatballs, my favorite Ivan Reitman directed film, on it’s initial release.  It’s interesting that Ivan Reitman got his start producing low budget horror films like Cannibal Girls, Shivers, The House by the Lake and Rabid (directed by David Cronenberg and starring Marilyn Chambers) before he found his sweet spot with comedies.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ivan Reitman’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Bob Wall

Robert “Bob” Wall, martial artist and actor, died yesterday at the age of 82.  No cause of death was reported.

Bob Wall was a 9th degree Black Belt who began his career as co-owner of the Sherman Oaks Karate Studio in California.  When Mr. Wall’s partner decided to sell his interest in the studio, Chuck Norris became co-owner with Wall.

Bob Wall was also an actor best known for his role as O’Harra in Bruce Lee’s classic Enter the Dragon.  Mr. Wall also had roles with Lee in Way of the Dragon and Game of Death.  Bob Wall also appeared in several Chuck Norris movies (Code of Silence, Invasion U.S.A., Firewalker, Hero and the Terror and Sidekicks) as well as Norris’ Walker, Texas Ranger series.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bob Wall’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Howard Hesseman

Howard Hesseman, actor and comedian, has died at the age of 81 of complications from colon surgery.  Best known for his starring roles on WKRP in Cincinnati and in Head of the Class, Mr. Hesseman has over 150 credits on his acting resume.

Howard Hesseman alternated between roles on television and feature films.  In addition to the tv shows mentioned, some of Mr. Hesseman’s major television appearances included roles on The Andy Griffith Show, Sanford and Son, The Bob Newhart Show, Soap, One Day at a Time, The New WKRP in Cincinnati, That ’70s Show, Boston Legal and Fresh Off the Boat.  Some feature film appearances include: Billy Jack, The Sunshine Boys, Silent Movie, The Jerk, and Heat.

Surprisingly, I never watched WKRP in Cincinnati or Head of the Class.  I still enjoyed seeing Howard Hesseman whenever he appeared in a tv show or movie.  I first saw (and remembered him from) Billy Jack.  Mr. Hesseman always made whatever show or movie he was in funnier.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Howard Hesseman’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Louie Anderson


Louie Anderson, born Louis Perry Anderson, died today at the age of 68, from blood cancer.  Louie was a stand-up comedian, actor, author and game show host.  

Louie Anderson began his career as a stand-up comedian but soon began making appearances with small roles in movies.  A comedy special led to more acting roles, his own animated television show (Life with Louie which ran for three seasons and won two Emmys) and a live action series (The Louie Show).  Louie continued to act on television, in feature films, as well as doing stand-up comedy and game show hosting throughout his career.  Along the way he found time to author four books!

Louie Anderson was such a likeable person that his appearances on talk shows, tv guest spots and movie roles were always welcome.  Louie’s stand-up comedy put him in a league with the very best.  He will be missed.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Louie Anderson’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf, born Marvin Lee Aday, but who later changed his name to Michael, has died at the age of 74.  No cause of death was announced.  Although best known for his record-breaking best selling album Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf was also an accomplished actor.  He appeared on Broadway, had notable roles in The Rocky Horror Picture Show,  Black Dog and Fight Club.  

Meat Loaf’s musical career started right after high school when his bands opened for acts such as Van Morrison, Janis Joplin and The Who.  For the next 50 plus years, Meat Loaf did what he loved best – entertaining.  He alternated between touring, putting out new music and acting.

In a time when disco was king, Bat Out of Hell became an international best seller.  It was an album that everyone knew about and most owned.  It was odd that this guy who appeared in The Rocky Horror Picture Show could sing.  And, boy, could he sing!  It was always a pleasure to see Meat Loaf pop up in television and film roles.  One of my favorites is The Salton Sea with Val Kilmer. 

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

RIP: Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier, actor, director, and writer died last night at the age of 94. 

Mr. Poitier was the first Black to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.  In 1967, had a year most actors only dream about; he starred in three hits (To Sir, with Love; In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who is Coming to Dinner)!  In 1972 he directed his first feature film (Buck and the Preacher).  In 1977, after a career that saw him with over 40 acting and/or directing credits in 30 years, Sidney Poitier took a break that lasted eleven years!  When Sidney Poitier returned he alternated between acting in feature films and television movies. 

In 2001, Mr. Poitier retired from acting/directing.  He wrote a well-received memoir The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography.  In 2009, Mr. Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

My favorite Sidney Poitier film is In the Heat of the Night. It’s because the character he played was a calm man of intelligence and dignity… and he resonated “cool”.  Cool, not as in hip, but cool as in control of himself and every situation.  I was always impressed when I heard Sidney Poitier in interviews.  We’ve lost a legend.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sidney Poitier’s family, friends and fans.

  

RIP: Peter Bogdanovich

Peter Bogdanovich died today at the age of 82 from natural causes.  Mr. Bogdanovich immersed his life in the world of cinema where he excelled as a writer, director, actor, producer and more.  

Like so many others, Peter Bogdanovich’s career began working for Roger Corman.  A few years later Corman produced Targets, written/directed by Peter Bogdanovich with Boris Karloff in the starring role.  While Targets gave some attention to Mr. Bogdanovich’s talents, it was The Last Picture Show that made him a household name.

The Last Picture Show featured an all-star cast (many before they became well known actors/actresses) directed by Peter Bogdanovich in a story that he co-wrote with Larry McMurtry.   The film was a hit with critics, the public and earned multiple nominations and awards from The Academy Awards, The Golden Globes, The Directors’ Guild and more.

After The Last Picture Show, Peter Bogdanovich would go on to write, act, and direct projects that interested him.  Some of the films he directed include: What’s Up, Doc?, Paper Moon, and Mask.  He also wrote and directed a well-received documentary The Great Buster about silent film star Buster Keaton.  Last year Peter Bogdanovich along with TCM host Ben Mankiewicz, began a documentary podcast about Bogdanovich’s life in Hollywood. Mr. Bogdanovich was a hit on talk shows because of his extensive knowledge of film history and his friendships with top Hollywood celebrities.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Peter Bogdanovich’s family, friends and fans. 

RIP: Betty White

Betty White, the beloved comedian, actress and author died today from natural causes at the age of 99.  Betty White’s career began in radio in the 1940s.  She transitioned to television working on local stations in 1949.  From 1952 to 1955, Betty White starred in (and also co-created and co-produced) Life with Elizabeth which was syndicated nationally.  Following Life with Elizabeth, Ms. White would go on to appear in television series, game and talk shows and the occasional feature film.

Betty White’s breakout role came in 1973 when she joined The Mary Tyler Moore Show playing Sue Ann Nivens, a woman in her 50s who was always on the prowl for a man.  She was a hit with critics and fans. Betty White won two (of her 5) Emmys for her efforts as Sue Ann Nivens.  When The Mary Tyler Moore Show ended Ms. White continued to stay busy with her own show (The Betty White Show, 1977-78) as well as guest appearances on television programs and tv movies.  She was so popular she ended up with recurring roles on The Love Boat, Mama’s Family and Empty Nest.

At the age of 63 (when many folks are considering retirement), Betty White landed the role of Rose Nyland on The Golden Girls.  The series ran for seven seasons and Ms. White returned as Rose for the sequel series The Golden Palace (which ran for one season).  Betty White’s portrayal of Rose Nyland won her another Emmy and she was nominated every year of The Golden Girls run!  

Betty White continued to make guest appearances (often in recurring roles) for the remainder of her career.  Her popularity continued to grow with each passing year.  Betty White’s 100 birthday was less than three weeks from today.  A big celebration that was to be filmed to mark the occasion will go on as planned and is tentatively titled “Betty White: 100 Years Young — A Birthday Celebration.

Although she was 99 years old, Betty White’s passing came as a surprise. I loved how her popularity grew as she got older.  It was always a pleasure to see her guest appearances and who didn’t love her as Sue Ann Nivens or Rose Nyland?  From all accounts Betty White was as wonderful a human being as she appeared to be. The world is a little less fun now that she is gone.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Betty White’s family, friends and fans.