Saturday, January 08, 2022

Notable Passings

A number of significant filmmakers and performers have passed away since my December 18th news roundup, so I thought I would pay tribute to them in a post separate from my new Around the Blogosphere This Week column.

...Beginning with one of the most recent first, Oscar-winning actor Sidney Poitier has passed away. He was 94 when he died on January 6th at his home in Los Angeles. Here are additional stories from the Los Angeles Times and Variety. A lovely TCM Remembers tribute video may be viewed here.

...Director and film historian Peter Bogdanovich also died in Los Angeles on the 6th. He was 82 and suffered from Parkinson's disease. My first awareness of Bogdanovich was his film WHAT'S UP DOC? (1972), which I saw as a child on its original release, and a little later his book on John Ford was one of the earliest books on Ford and Westerns in my library. Here's more from the Los Angeles Times, Toby Roan of 50 Westerns From the 50s, Scott Johnson of Power Line, and Leonard Maltin. A TCM Remembers video honoring Bogdanovich is here.

...Another John Ford historian, Michael Wilmington, has passed away at 75. Like Bogdanovich, he had Parkinson's. Wilmington's book JOHN FORD, cowritten with Joseph McBride, joined my library around the same time as the Bogdanovich book. (It was very special to have McBride sign it at UCLA a couple of years ago.) Wilmington served as a film critic for both the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune during his career.

...I was saddened to learn of the passing of Sally Ann Howes, a significant performer of my childhood for her role as Truly Scrumptious in CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG (1968). I was fortunate to see her star in Los Angeles theatrical productions of THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1972) and THE KING AND I (1974), the latter with Ricardo Montalban. Her film career began as a child actress in 1943.

...Betty White passed away on New Year's Eve, days away from celebrating her centennial birthday on January 17th. I will always associate her with her role as Sue Ann Nivens on THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW in the '70s. (For anyone wondering why I don't mention her other best-known TV series, as far as I'm concerned the less said about it the better...) My mom recently told me a neat story, that her first memory of the television her parents bought in 1949 was seeing Betty White on the TV. Leonard Maltin shared a nice story about White's links to Buster Keaton.

...Jeanine Ann Roose, who played Gloria Grahame as a child in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946), has died at the age of 84. Little Violet was her only film role; Roose also did some work in radio and television. She later became a psychologist. Roose is seen in this still between Robert (Bobbie) Anderson and Jean Gale, who played young George and Mary.

...Broadway performer Harvey Evans, whose credits included the original productions of WEST SIDE STORY and HELLO, DOLLY!, has died at 80.

...THE YOUNG VICTORIA (2009) is one of my favorite films of the last couple decades, which I've seen multiple times. I was saddened to learn that the director, Jean-Marc Vallee, died unexpectedly on Christmas at the age of 58. His other work included the Reese Witherspoon-Nicole Kidman TV miniseries BIG LITTLE LIES (2017).

...Composer Marilyn Bergman died today, January 8th, at the age of 92. I most appreciate that she wrote the title song of my all-time favorite Frank Sinatra album, "Nice 'n' Easy." She was a three-time Oscar winner. She's survived by her husband and cowriter, Alan Bergman.


Blogger Lee R said...

If you want to see Betty White in a really funny TV series watch her in her first and best series, "Life With Elizabeth" from the 1950's. It's one of those series that can make me literally laugh out loud, it's funny, clever and Betty's at her cute impish best here.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Hamlette (Rachel) said...

I'm so, so sad that we have lost Sidney Poitier. Such an amazing actor and, by all accounts, lovely person as well.

4:53 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you for the recommendation, Lee. I've never seen LIFE WITH ELIZABETH and am glad to hear more about it. I'll keep it in mind.

Rachel, it's curious for me to realize how little I've seen of Poitier's work. BLACKBOARD JUNGLE (1955)...DUEL AT DIABLO (1966) many years ago...and maybe that's it? I have NO WAY OUT (1950) but keep hoping to see it for the first time at a noir fest.

Best wishes,

2:59 PM  

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