Category: RIP

Remembering Evan Tanner

Evan Tanner was found dead yesterday. Tanner, 37, was a real free-spirit. A MMA fighter and former champion, Tanner seldom lived in the same place for more than six months. He didn’t have a lot of possessions, except for his books, which he truly loved. Tanner considered himself an adventurer and loved to travel and spend time with nature. Unfortunately, this may have contributed to his death.Tanner told friends that he was going deep into the desert… alone. He told some that he was going out for a “cleansing” and others that he was going to “hunt treasure.” These short trips into nature were nothing new for Tanner who loved his time alone in nature and the “great mysteries.” His friends became concerned when he stopped returning text messages. A rescue helicopter was sent out and his body was found miles from his camp. It appears that his motorcycle ran out of gas and Tanner began walking in heat well over a 100 degrees. The temperature became more than his body could take.

I knew of Evan Tanner because of his career in the UFC where he won 10 of his first 12 fights. Tanner was a former two time high school wrestling champ and a former UFC middleweight champion. Although he was best known for his abilities on the mat and in the octagon, Tanner said about himself: “I always thought of myself as the poet, the writer, or the philosopher – I never thought of myself as a fighter.” That is why the picture at the top of this post is not of Evan Tanner the fighter.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

 

RIP: Don LaFontaine

Don LaFontaine died yesterday at the age of 68. You might not know his name, but I’d bet you would recognize Mr. LaFontaine’s voice. He was consider the voice-over king, and rightly so. What else would you call the man behind over 5,000 movie trailers, the in-studio announcer for the Academy and SAG awards, and whose voice could be heard on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, UPN, TNT, TBS and the Cartoon Network?I’m going to miss hearing his iconic voice booming, “In a world where…” and I have to tell you movie previews are going to be a little less fun… “In a world where Don LaFontaine no longer resides.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

Remembering Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes died today at the age of 65.  The multi-talented Hayes, who was a self-taught songwriter, singer, record producer, actor and more, will be missed by fans of all ages.
I first discovered Isaac Hayes thanks to his Academy Award and Grammy winning theme song for the motion picture “Shaft.” I’ve never met a person who didn’t like THAT song. If the theme from “Shaft” was all that he ever did, Isaac Hayes would have left his mark on popular culture. Hayes went on to produce more albums as well as work on the soundtracks of dozens of movies. 
I first saw Isaac Hayes the actor guest starring on “The Rockford Files” as ex-con Gandolph Fitch. He was excellent in the role and who can forget him repeatedly calling James Garner’s Rockford character “Rockfish”? Hayes reprised the role three different times. My next memory of Isaac Hayes the actor, is in the cult classic, John Carpenter’s “Escape from New York” where he played the Duke of New York. The role was tailor made for Hayes. Younger fans probably know Isaac Hayes best as the voice of “The Chef” on “South Park.”

Isaac Hayes will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

Remembering Bernie Mac

It has just been reported that comedian Bernie Mac has died. He had been in the hospital for treatment of pneumonia. His publicist, Danica Smith in her confirmation of his death “ask(ed) that his family’s privacy continue(s) to be respected.” Bernie Mac’s death is shocking enough, but as recently as yesterday there were reports saying that he was responding well to treatment and would be released from the hospital before too long.I first discovered Bernie Mac from his standup routines. He was funny and had a great personality. His standup led to work in dozens of movies and “The Bernie Mac Show” which ran for five years. He was currently in post production on a new tv show, “Starting Under” and had finished work on two movies set for release later this year and in 2009.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

Remembering Estelle Getty

Estelle Getty, best known as the wise-cracking mother on “The Golden Girls” died today , just two days short of her 85th birthday. Getty’s story is an interesting one. She was born in 1923, and wanted to make it as an actress. Getty struggled trying to get roles and working office jobs to make ends meet.In 1985 she auditioned for the role of Bea Arthur’s mother in the just-being-cast tv series “The Golden Girls.” Everyone knew that if Estelle got the role, it would sorely test her acting skills since Bea Arthur was actually a year older than her. Estelle was brought back to audtion three different times since the producers weren’t sure that Estelle was convincing enough as an 80 year old. Eventually, she was awarded the role, and the rest is, as they say, history. “The Golden Girls” ran for seven years and Estelle was perfect as the fiesty oldest of the quartet.Her popularity in “The Golden Girls,” led to other roles, most notably as mothers to Sylvester Stallone [“Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!”], Cher [“Mask”] and even Barry Manilow in the tv movie “Copacabana.” Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends and fans.


George Carlin: RIP

George Carlin, who had suffered from heart problems for years, died yesterday at the age of 71. Carlin, best known for his comedy routine about the “seven words you can’t say on television,” was one of the brightest and wittiest comedians to ever grace a stage. Carlin’s comedy made you think. He challenged your ideas and made you laugh at the same time. What better send off than to quote some of my favorite Carlinisms:

  • Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

  • I’m not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose… it’ll be much harder to detect.

  • One can never know for sure what a deserted area looks like.

  • When someone is impatient and says, “I haven’t got all day,” I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day?

  • If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn’t it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted?
  • I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.

  • The whole meaning of life is trying to find a place for your stuff.

George Carlin repeatedly crossed the line and made me laugh every time. I miss him already. My best wishes go out to his family, friends and fans. I leave you with George Carlin’s thoughts on death [do not click on the link if you are offended by profanity or jokes about religion].

Stan Winston – RIP

Oscar-winning special-effects wizard Stan Winston passed away yesterday after a seven year battle with cancer. Mr. Winston was just 62 years old.

Over the course of his career Stan Winston worked with most of the big names in Hollywood… everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Steven Spielberg. He won four Oscars [for his work on “Aliens”, “Terminator 2”, “Jurassic Park” and “Batman Returns”] and was considered by many to be the best special effects artist in the business. In addition to his Oscar winning film appearances, Stan Winston’s work could also be seen in “Edward Scissorhands”, “Predator”, “A.I.”, “Big Fish”, “Iron Man”, and so many other fan favorite movies.

Stan Winston is survived by his wife, Karen; a son, daughter, brother and four grandchildren. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

NBC’s Tim Russert: RIP

Tim Russert, host of “Meet the Press” and NBC News’ Washington bureau chief died today after suffering a sudden heart attack while prepping for Sunday’s show. Mr. Russert was just 58. He leaves behind his wife and son.

I’m going to miss Tim Russert. He was a newscaster that I truly enjoyed watching. His love of the political process was evident in each broadcast. Although he covered the world of politics, Tim Russert never let his own take center stage. He believed that his job as moderator of “Meet the Press” was to “learn as much as you can about your guest’s positions and take the other side, and to do that in a persistent and civil way.” And that’s exactly what he did, often with a smile, and never with the feeling that it was personal. He didn’t yell or belittle those he interviewed. He allowed them to respond and gave thought to their answers. He showed respect to members of all parties. It’s too bad that more newscasters [let alone politicians] can’t adopt that same outlook.

Our thoughts and prayers will be with Mr. Russert’s family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.

Harvey Korman – RIP

For a period of time, Harvey Korman was a member of one of the funniest comedy ensembles on tv as part of The Carol Burnett Show. I, along with millions of other folks loved to tune in each week to see how Mr. Korman and the others were going to make us [and each other] laugh. In fact that was one of the joys of the show, seeing the cast members attempt to not crack up as they played out their scenes. Mr. Korman won four Emmys for his work on the show.

After leaving The Carol Burnett Show, Mr. Korman went on to make other guest appearances in movies and tv. Mel Brooks used Harvey Korman regularly because every time Mr. Korman appeared on screen he made things at the very least just a bit funnier. Here’s a link to a classic bit with Mr. Korman from The Carol Burnett Show plus a photo tribute.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

Remembering – Charlton Heston

Charlton Heston passed away yesterday at the age of 84. Perhaps best known for his Oscar winning role as the title character in Ben-Hur, I will always remember him first as Taylor from the Planet of the Apes.Don’t get me wrong, I loved Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur which was one of those event movies back in the days before cable tv, VCRs [remember those] and of course DVDs. The first time I watched

Ben-Hur was on a little black and white tv with my mom. I can remember my excitement during the chariot race and my fear of the lepers. A few years later I watched Ben-Hur for the first time on color tv at my grandparents’ house and my grandpa told me about the chariot race [and someone actually getting killed during the filming of it].I would see Charlton Heston pop up in movies after that, but it wasn’t until The Planet of the Apes [one of my favorite childhood movie experiences] that he hit a streak of movies that really made me take notice. Mr. Heston had a small role in the sequel Beneath the Planet of the Apes — and there were of course starring roles in The Omega Man and Soylent GreenAlthough these movies have not held up as well as my childhood memories of them, Mr. Heston was on a roll as far as I was then concerned. You can imagine my delight when he showed up in the all-star cast of the disaster epic, Earthquake.


Despite winning a Best Actor award, Charlton Heston wasn’t one of the first names that came to mind when discussing great actors. Yet, when I think of all the movies that I’ve enjoyed that he’s appeared in from Ben Hur to Tombstone,  you’d have to agree that he had talent enough to make him a star.
In his later years, Charlton Heston became more known for his strict conservative political views than his acting. This was quite a change from his liberal views in the 1950’s and 60’s. In 2002, Mr. Heston announced that he was suffering from sympton’s of Alzheimer’s disease.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and fans of Charlton Heston.

Dave Stevens – RIP

Dave Stevens, illustrator/comic book artist, died yesterday. Probably best known for creating The Rocketeer, Stevens was also known for his “good girl” art and love for Bettie Page. Stevens didn’t have a prolific output, but each piece he created was a beauty. Mark Evanier explains why and writes a worthy remembrance.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dave Stevens‘ family, friends and fans.

RIP – Roy Scheider

Roy Scheider died yesterday at the age of 75.

Although Scheider appeared in several dozen films over the course of his career, it is his work in three that is most remembered: “The French Connection,” “Jaws,” and “All That Jazz.” He received an Best Supporting Actor nomination for “The French Connection” and a Best Actor nomination for “All That Jazz” but it was “Jaws” that made him a household name.

Chris Mills said it best with: “He was part of that last generation of character actors who could play leads, before the movie industry became obsessed with pretty boys and grunting beefcake.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

RIP: Heath Ledger

I was shocked to hear that Heath Ledger was found dead today and that drugs may have played a factor. Although only 28, Ledger had already appeared in both critically acclaimed [“Brokeback Mountain” “Monster Ball”] and wildly popular [“The Patriot”] movies. Ledger seemed to me to be an actor who was more interested in being an actor than a star, although his upcoming role as the Joker in “The Dark Knight” would surely once again pushed him into the spotlight.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

RIP: Suzanne Pleshette

Suzanne Pleshette, best known for her role as Bob Newhart’s wife, Emily Hartley, on “The Bob Newhart Show” passed away yesterday at the age of 70 from respiratory failure.

The first time I remember seeing Suzanne Pleshette on screen was in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” She played Rod Taylor’s ex-flame, Annie Taylor [who to me was more appealing than his new love interest, Tippi Hendren]. I know I saw her in other things [since she turned up in a lot of guest star roles], but my next memory is of her co-starring with James Garner in “Support Your Local Gunfighter.” Not long after that came the classic role on Newhart.

Suzanne Pleshette was pretty, fun-loving and brought a sparkle to the roles she played. She will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends and fans.

RIP: Allan Melvin

I just discovered via Mark Evanier’s site that Allan Melvin passed away last Thursday. While you may not know his name, I’ll bet you’ll know his face. Melvin was probably best known as “Sam the Butcher” from the Brady Bunch, but there was a time when Melvin was, as Mark Evanier states, “in everything.”
Melvin appeared repeatedly on “The Phil Silvers Show,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “The Andy Griffith Show” [my favorite Melvin guest roles], “Gomer Pyle,” “Lost in Space,” “All in the Family” and so many more shows. He made every show he was on just a little bit better just by being there.Mr. Melvin was 84 years old and is survived by his wife, his daughter, his grandson and many fans. My thoughts and prayers go out to them all.