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  • #31
    Philip McKeon, ‘Alice’ Star, Dies at 55

    Actor was brother to “Facts of Life” star Nancy McKeon

    “Alice” star Philip McKeon has died at the age of 55, according to a representative.

    McKeon died on Tuesday after a long battle with an unspecified illness.

    “We are all beyond heartbroken and devastated over Phil’s passing,” family spokesperson Jeff Ballard said in a statement. “His wonderful sense of humor, kindness and loyalty will be remembered by all who crossed his path in life.”

    McKeon, who was the older brother of “Facts of Life” star Nancy McKeon, was best known for co-starring alongside Linda Lavin in the CBS comedy “Alice,” from 1976 to 1985. He went on to make appearances on shows including “CHiPs,” “Fantasy Island” and “The Love Boat.”

    After his career as an actor, McKeon went on to work in radio, serving in the news department at the Los Angeles station KFWB News 98 for a decade. Most recently, he was the host of his own radio show in Wimberly, Texas.

    Charlie Sheen, who appeared alongside McKeon in an episode of “Amazing Stories,” was among those who paid tribute to McKeon on social media on Tuesday.

    McKeon is survived by his sister Nancy and mother, Barbara.


    • #32
      Veteran actor Danny Aiello, star of ‘Moonstruck’ and 'Do the Right Thing,’ dies in N.J. medical center

      Blue-collar character actor Danny Aiello, a New Jersey resident who made his mark in numerous hit movies such as “Moonstruck” and “Do the Right Thing," has died at the age of 86, his publicist confirmed Friday morning.

      Aiello, an Oscar nominee, was born and raised in New York City and moved to Ramsey in Bergen County in the 1980s with his wife Sandy. The couple lived in the affluent suburb of Saddle River since 1998.

      The actor died Thursday night in a New Jersey medical facility, TMZ reported, citing family members who said he was undergoing treatment for a sudden illness and “suffered an infection related to his treatment.”

      Aiello started his acting career in the early 1970s, when he landed a supporting role in the baseball drama, “Bang the Drum Slowly.” The actor gained prominence when he appeared in “The Godfather: Part II” and in Spike Lee’s famous comedy-drama “Do the Right Thing” in 1989, which earned him an Oscar nomination for his role as a pizza worker.

      In the Godfather sequel, Aiello played the role of Tony Rosato and uttered the memorable line, “Michael Corleone says hello!” before putting a chokehold on a rival mob associate.

      Aiello, whose full name was Daniel Louis Aiello Jr., was born on June 20, 1933 in New York City, according to The database cites 106 credits as an actor, mostly in movie roles but also in some television roles, and six credits as a producer of TV shows and documentaries, including the series “Celebrity Taste Makers” in 2012.

      His most recent stint was working as an executive producer of the 2017 TV movie, “Broken Dreams Blvd."

      Recognizable, if not famous, for his burly build and husky voice, Aiello was an ex-union president who broke into acting in his 30s and remained a dependable player for decades, whether vicious or cuddly or a little of both.

      His breakthrough, ironically, was as the hapless lover dumped by Cher in Norman Jewison's hit comedy "Moonstruck." His disillusion contributed to the laughter, and although he wasn't nominated for a supporting-role Oscar (Cher and Olympia Dukakis won in their categories), Aiello was inundated with movie offers.

      “Living in New York City gave me training for any role,” he said in a 1997 interview. “I’ve seen people killed, knifed. I’ve got scars on my face. I have emotional recall when I work; the idea is simply to recreate it. I’ve seen it and experienced it. I’ve played gangsters, teachers, but most of my work has been in the police area. And for that I’m adored by the police in New York City.”

      In a tweet posted on Friday, Cher mourned the man she called “a genius comedic actor” and described her work with Aiello in “Moonstruck” as ”one of the happiest times in my life."

      Actor Michael Rapaport tweeted that Aiello was a “huge inspiration” and “such a nice guy.”

      Aiello and his wife were married for 65 years.

      The actor is also survived by three children — Rick, Jamie and Stacy — and 10 grandchildren. A fourth son, stuntman and stunt coordinator Danny Aiello III, died in May 2010 of pancreatic cancer.


      • #33
        ‘The Getaway’ Producer David Foster Dies At Age 90

        Veteran Hollywood producer David Foster died Monday. He was 90 years old.

        Foster’s career spanned 60 years and he produced such films as McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Getaway, and John Carpenters’ The Thing. Foster began his career as a publicist representing such talent as Steve McQueen, Peter Sellers, Richard Attenborough, Shirley McClain, Andy Williams, James Coburn, Sonny and Cher and many others. He worked first at Rogers and Cowan, and then as a partner at Allan, Foster Ingersoll and Weber from 1960 to 1968.

        In 1968, at the urging of many of his clients, he became a film producer. He partnered with Mitchell Brower and right out the gate they produced Robert Altman’s classic McCabe And Mrs. Miller, starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie. He partnered with his close friend, Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw to produce the Sam Peckinpah-directed hit The Getaway.

        In 1974, he formed a company with The Graduate producer Larry Turman. Their first collaboration was The Drowning Pool, which starred Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and their 20-year partnership spanned 17 films, including 1977’s Heroes, John Carpenter’s The Thing in 1982, 1986’s Running Scared, 1994’s remake of The Getaway and 1994’s The River Wild.

        Following The Turman Foster Company, Foster continued producing into the 2000’s with such films as 1998’s The Mask Of Zorro, 2002’s Collateral Damage and a remake of The Thing in 2011. In all, Foster produced over 30 movies in his storied career.

        His sons, former IMAX chief Greg and veteran producer Gary Foster, followed him into the business.

        Per his family, David Foster was a no-nonsense man who called it as he saw it. He loved life and his family. He also loved adventure and The Apple Pan. He was an avid USC Trojan fan and could be seen roaming the sidelines during the Pete Carroll years. Born in 1929 in the Bronx, NY, David Foster was the son of immigrants. At the age of 17, his parents moved to California where he lived in both La Jolla and finally settling in Los Angeles. After graduating college, David was drafted into the army and served during the Korean War. Thanks to his journalism degree, he became the head speech writer for General “Iron Mike” Daniels in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

        Foster was married in 1959 to Jackie Pattiz. They celebrated 60 years of marriage this past July. He is survived by Jackie, their sons Gary, Greg and Tim, daughter-in-laws Lisa and Marci and grandchildren Daryn, Drew, Kayla, Jackson and Lucas. Foster was an industry mentor to many and loved sharing his enthusiasm for the business with anyone who would listen.

        David Foster’s funeral will be held at Hillside Memorial Park, January 2, 2020 at 11am. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The Jewish Home for the Aging, 7150 Tampa Avenue, Reseda, CA, 91335.


        • #34
          Terry Jones, 'Monty Python' Co-Founder and British Comedy Icon, Dies at 77

          The beloved actor, screenwriter, director, author and historian was known as the famed troupe's underrated but passionate heart.
          Terry Jones, a founding member of Monty Python and a beloved comedian, screenwriter, film director, poet, historian and author, has died. He was 77.

          His agent confirmed his death to the BBC. He had been suffering from dementia, which was revealed publicly by his son, Bill, in September 2016. It left him unable to speak.

          "We are deeply saddened to have to announce the passing of beloved husband and father, Terry Jones," his family said in a statement.

          "Terry passed away on the evening of 21 January 2020 at the age of 77 with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side after a long, extremely brave but always good humoured battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD.

          "Over the past few days his wife, children, extended family and many close friends have been constantly with Terry as he gently slipped away at his home in North London. We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humour has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades."

          Renowned for his depictions of middle-aged housewives, often with hysterically falsetto voices, it was Jones who would famously scream the iconic line, "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy," while playing mother to the titular not-quite-son-of-god in the 1979 comedy Monty Python's Life of Brian, which he also directed. The line twice was voted the funniest in film history in U.K. polls.

          Although rarely receiving the same acclaim as Monty Python's other members, Jones as widely regarded within the group as its underrated but passionate heart, known for his good-natured enthusiasm and a deep well of intelligence across a broad range of subjects.

          A biographer once commented that should you speak to Jones "on subjects as diverse as fossil fuels, or Rupert Bear, or mercenaries in the Middle Ages or Modern China … in a moment you will find yourself hopelessly out of your depth, floored by his knowledge."

          Born in North Wales, Jones read English at Oxford University, where he met his long-term collaborator and friend, Michael Palin. The two would star together in the college's comedy troupe The Oxford Revue, and after graduation, they appeared in the 1967 TV sketch comedy Twice a Fortnight.

          Two years later, they created The Complete and Utter History of Britain, which featured comedy sketches from history as if TV had been around at the time. It was on the show Do Not Adjust Your Set where they would be introduced to fellow comic Eric Idle, who had starred alongside John Cleese and Graham Chapman in productions mounted by the Cambridge University theatrical club the Footlights.

          The five — together with Terry Gilliam, whom Cleese had met in New York — would quickly pool their talents for a new show. Monty Python's Flying Circus was born and ran on the BBC for four seasons between 1969 and 1974, with Jones driving much of the show's early innovation.

          Among his most famous performances in the series were Jones as an inept, bumbling cardinal in the Spanish Inquisition (seen wearing a leather WWI pilot's hat and goggles); a member of the Hell's Grannies, a marauding group of old women terrorizing the streets of London; an overly apologetic French waiter in a sketch involving a dirty fork; a Yorkshireman who had to "get up out of the shoebox in the middle of the night and lick the road clean with our tongues"; and a nude piano player with an erratic face in scenes often used to break up sketches.

          After the TV show ended, Jones co-directed with Gilliam the troupe's first big-screen outing, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), in which Jones also played, among other roles, Sir Bedevere the Wise, Prince Herbert ("Father, I just want to sing!") and a member of the dreaded Knights who say "Ni."

          For Life of Brian (1979) and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983), Jones took on sole directing duties, having amicably agreed with Gilliam that his approach was better suited to the group's performing style.

          Away from the Pythons, Jones would keep directing, helming the comedy Personal Services (1987), the all-star comedy-fantasy Erik the Viking (1989) and The Wind in the Willows (1996) while turning back to TV for episodes of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles on ABC and the British comedy series Ripping Yarns, which he created with Palin.

          Meanwhile, Jones was becoming a prolific children's author. Between 1981 and 2002, he published 20 fiction novels, including Fairy Tales — selected by Children's Laureate Michael Rosen as one of his five best children's stories of all time — and The Saga of Erik the Viking, from which the film Erik the Viking was loosely based. Jones also wrote the first draft of the early script for Jim Henson's David Bowie-starring cult adventure fantasy Labyrinth (1986), and despite the screenplay going through several rewrites, received the film's sole screenwriting credit.

          Adding to an already hugely impressive repertoire, Jones became known as a noted scholar of medieval and ancient history, writing several nonfiction books and presenting shows on British television that often offered an alternative view of historical periods. He was Emmy-nominated in 2004 for Terry Jones' Medieval Lives, which argued that the Middle Age was a far more sophisticated period than commonly believed.

          A vocal opponent of the Iraq War, Jones contributed editorials to British newspapers The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and The Observer condemning the conflict and the U.K.'s involvement in it. Many of his articles were published in the 2004 book Terry Jones's War on the War on Terror.

          Jones' most recent work included the 2012 film A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman, which was co-directed by his son Bill and in which he, naturally, played Chapman's mother. He also returned to the director's chair for the sci-fi comedy Absolutely Anything (2014), featuring the voices of Palin, Gilliam, Cleese, Idle and, in his final movie role, Robin Williams. (It was the first film to feature all living Python members since The Meaning of Life.)

          Jones also reunited with his fellow comics one final time on stage in 2014 for Monty Python Live (Mostly), held in London's O2 arena and intended as a one-off until popular demand saw nine extra dates added.

          Jones is survived by Soderstrom and their daughter, Siri, who was born in 2009, alongside his two children from his first marriage.


          • #35
            Dark Shadows Actor John Karlen Dies At 86

            Actor and Primetime Emmy winner John Karlen, best known for appearing on the original Dark Shadows series and Cagney & Lacey, has passed away. The actor died on Wednesday, January 22 at the age of 86.

            The Dark Shadows News Twitter account first revealed Karlen's passing, writing: "John Karlen was a brilliant, instinctive actor, who thrived in the arena of live TV in a way that few managed. While other performers on #DarkShadows betrayed nervous tics and hurried rehearsal time, John inhabited his characters effortlessly and was simply electric where other actors stumbled and halted, John Karlen simply soared."

            Karlen got his start in television in the 1950s, but gained notoriety for his work on Dark Shadows where he played multiple roles across the 180 episodes in which he appeared. The main role that Karlen filled was that of Willie Loomis, the character that first came into contact with and was under the spell of Barnabas Collins. Karlen went on to appear as three other characters (Carl Collins, Desmond Collins, and Kendrick Young) in the series' many flashbacks.

            The actor went on to appear in countless other television shows including Cagney & Lacey, where he starred in 110 episodes as Harvey Lacey, husband to Tyne Daly's Mary Beth Lacey. Karlen would go on to win the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Primetime Emmy award for his work on the series. He would also reprise the role in four TV movies that continued the series after its conclusion.

            Karlen notable appeared in bit parts across countless TV shows in his decades-long career with stints on shows like Murder, She Wrote (three times!), Hill Street Blues, Fame, Mad About You, Starsky & Hutch, and The Rockford Files

            He is survived by his son Adam.



            • #36
              Kirk Douglas Dies, Aged 103

              Though he always seemed virile and active enough to outlast us all, acting, directing and producing legend Kirk Douglas has died at the age of 103.

              Douglas was a man who could play stone-jawed heroes and scheming villains, who preferred to take on characters who weren't always likeable and who established an acting dynasty that includes Michael Douglas.

              Born Issur Danielovitch (later changed to Demsky) in New York in 1916, the man who would go on to choose the name Kirk Douglas grew up poor, the son of a ragman (a fact that lent its name to his autobiography). With assistance from loans and scholarships, he attended St. Lawrence University, joining the wrestling team but also showing interest in dramatics. After graduating college, he worked odd jobs (including deploying his wrestling skills professionally) and paid his way through the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Here, he met his first wife, Diana Dill, with whom he had sons Michael and Joel (a producer).

              Summer Stock theatre acting followed, and Douglas hit Broadway in 1941, playing a singing messenger in Spring Again. World War II briefly interrupted his ambitions, but once he was honorably discharged, he returned to the stage, appearing in small roles, dropping out of the original production of On The Town because of illness.

              Acting classmate Lauren Bacall recommended him to a producer Hal Willis, and he signed on to a contract for $500 a week. He made his film debut in 1946's The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers, moving on to other movies such as Mourning Becomes Electra and Out Of The Past. He began to clash with Willis on payment and contract issues, and rather than signing another long agreement, went freelance, working for Fox and other studios.

              His first taste of stardom was 1949's Champion, which also saw him earn his first Oscar nomination, and despite his earlier wish to be free, a seven-year deal with Warner Bros. His career blossomed again, and he appeared in The Big Sky and Billy Wilder's The Big Carnival (AKA Ace In The Hole).

              At MGM, he earned another Academy Award nomination from 1952's The Bad And The Beautiful. More success followed, and he met and married publicist Anne Buydens, who survives him, and had two more sons, Peter and Eric. Douglas also set up his own production company, Bryna, named for his mother.

              In 1957, he gave one of the performances for which he has become legendary, in Stanley Kubrick's Paths Of Glory. And then came Spartacus, for which he hired Kubrick to replace director Anthony Mann. Kubrick wasn't a fan of the finished product, but it's seen as a classic. Spartacus also represented Douglas pushing back against the blacklist, becoming one of those to insist that writer Dalton Trumbo be credited for the movie's script.

              Back on stage, Douglas starred in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, adapted from the Ken Kesey novel. He tried for a decade to turn it into a film, but while son Michael succeeded, he'd aged out of the main role, McMurphy, with Jack Nicholson taking the lead, and winning an Oscar. "I made more money from that film than any I acted in," Douglas has said. "And I would gladly give back every cent, if I could have played that role." In addition to producing, Douglas directed two films, Scalawag in 1973 and Posse in 1975.

              He faced numerous health challenges through his career, including injuries from a helicopter accident and stroke in 1995 which forced him to learn to speak again, resulting in his withdrawal from the public spotlight for a time. He returned for 1999's Diamonds and then It Runs In The Family, which co-starred Michael, and Kirk's grandson, Cameron Douglas. TV movies and the odd series appearance dotted his career, and his final two releases were indie movie Illusion and TV movie Empire State Building Murders.

              A keen supporter of charities, he worked on behalf of stroke sufferers, those with Alzheimer's, and building playgrounds for children. Douglas was given an honorary Oscar in 1996 and picked up the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991. And what a life, indeed. Michael Douglas has paid tribute to his father with a statement: "It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103. To the world he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to. But to me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad, to Catherine, a wonderful father-in-law, to his grandchildren and great grandchild their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne, a wonderful husband," he writes.

              "Kirk’s life was well lived, and he leaves a legacy in film that will endure for generations to come, and a history as a renowned philanthropist who worked to aid the public and bring peace to the planet. Let me end with the words I told him on his last birthday and which will always remain true. Dad – I love you so much and I am so proud to be your son."



              • #37
                The Wild, Wild West and Jingle All the Way Actor Robert Conrad Dead at 84

                Robert Conrad, best known as the star of popular 1960s television series The Wild Wild West has died. He was 84. The news of Conrad's passing was confirmed by family spokesman Jeff Ballard (via 1010 WINS) who said that actor had died at his home in Malibu, California with heart failure being given as the cause of death.

                Conrad was born in Chicago, Illinois on March 1, 1935 and worked as a milkman while he pursued a career as a nightclub singer. In 1958, Conrad moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting and soon after landed his first major television role as Tom Lopaka in Hawaiian Eye in 1959. Following success on Hawaiian Eye, Conrad starred as Secret Service agent James T. West in The Wild Wild West which ran from 1965 to 1969 on CBS. Conrad did most of his own stunts in the series, and was inducted into the Stuntman's Hall of Fame in 2010 for his work. When The Wild Wild West was turned into a film in 1999 starring Will Smith, Conrad wasn't fond of the remake. Conrad called the remake "horrible" and "pathetic" and appeared in person at the Razzie Awards to accept three of the awards bestowed upon the film.

                Following the success of television's The Wild Wild West, Conrad went on to have an expansive career in television, appearing in a wide variety of other television series as well as television films. Conrad also worked as a writer, director, and producer of television, including the short-lived High Mountain Rangers. He also appeared in the music video for Richard Marx's "Hazard" in the 1990s.

                “There are three cycles in showbiz,” Conrad told PEOPLE in 1988. “They don’t know you, then they love you, and then you’ve been around so long they hate you. Now I’m starting all over again.”

                Outside of television, Conrad also appeared in a number of theatrical films as well, including 1979's The Lady in Red, 1994's Samurai Cowboy, and 1996's Jingle All the Way in which he played Officer Hummell. His most recent film credit is 2002's Dead Above Ground. Conrad was also the host of a weekly, two-hour national radio talk show, The PM Show with Robert Conrad which he began hosting in 2008. His final appearance on the radio show was last July.

                According to PEOPLE, a private service honoring Conrad is scheduled for March 1, which would have been the actor's 85th birthday. He is survived by 18 grandchildren and eight children.



                • #38
                  VETERAN actor Orson Bean has died aged 91 after being struck by a car while crossing the street in Los Angeles.

                  The Desperate Housewives star, who also appeared in Being John Malkovich, is believed to have died at the scene on Friday night.

                  According to TMZ, the actor was allegedly jaywalking in the beach side community of Venice when he was clipped by one vehicle and then struck by another.

                  Both vehicles are reported to have remained on the scene and TMZ claims police are investigating to see if any charges will be laid.

                  Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Brian Wendling told ABC News: "The car coming westbound did not see him and clipped him and he went down.

                  "A second vehicle was coming up, was distracted by people trying to slow him down and then looked up and then a second traffic collision occurred and that one was fatal."

                  Orson is survived by his wife of 27 years Alley Mills, and their four children - Susannah, Ezekiel, Michele and Max.

                  Orson played Roy Bender in the hit series Desperate Housewives from 2009-2012.

                  He began his career in the 1950s with parts in shows such as Broadway Television Theatre and Goodyear Playhouse.

                  He also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and was a frequent contestant on To Tell The Truth and Match Game.

                  Orson recently appeared in the Denzel Washington film The Equalizer 2, as well as Netflix series Grace and Frankie.

                  The actor also made guest appearances in Murder She Wrote, Alley McBeal and Will & Grace.


                  "In the parlance of the twentieth century, this is an oddball. His name is James B. W. Bevis, and his tastes lean toward stuffed animals, zither music, professional football, Charles Dickens, moose heads, carnivals, dogs, children, and young ladies. Mr. Bevis is accident prone, a little vague, a little discombobulated, with a life that possesses all the security of a floating crap game. But this can be said of our Mr. Bevis: without him, without his warmth, without his kindness, the world would be a considerably poorer place, albeit perhaps a little saner...Should it not be obvious by now, James B. W. Bevis is a fixture in his own private, optimistic, hopeful little world, a world which has long ceased being surprised by him. James B. W. Bevis, on whom Dame Fortune will shortly turn her back, but not before she gives him a paste in the mouth. Mr. James B. W. Bevis, just one block away from The Twilight Zone."



                  • #39
                    Nanny McPhee Star Raphael Coleman Dies At 25

                    RaphaŽl Coleman, a former child actor best known for his role in Nanny McPhee, has died at age 25. Coleman passed away, his mother confirmed on Twitter. Born in September 1994, Coleman won the role of Eric in Nanny McPhee when he was just 10 years old. He would go on to star in a few more movies in the following years, but had been largely out of the film business since 2009. He continued to do advertising work, and in 2017 he wrote, directed, and edited a music video, according to his IMDb biography. British newspapers are reporting that he collapsed unexpectedly during a run.

                    Coleman attended the University of Manchester in 2013, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree for Zoology. He would go on to spend the rest of his life working in conservation, with his mother sharing a statement of purpose he had written for Extinction Rebellion along with her remembrance of her late son.

                    "Rest in peace my beloved son Raphael Coleman, aka Iggy Fox," his mother -- writer Liz Jensen -- shared on Twitter Friday. "He died doing what he loved, working for the noblest cause of all. His family could not be prouder. Let’s celebrate all he achieved in his short life and cherish his legacy."

                    The environmental group to which Coleman dedicated his life is not an uncontroversial one, and as "Iggy Fox," he was one of their earliest and most vocal supporters. Coleman reportedly organized social media and other messaging for the group.

                    After his 2005 debut in Nanny McPhee, Coleman would have a big year in 2009, appearing in It’s Alive, The Fourth Kind, and Edward’s Turmoil. He went on to win the award for best young actor at the British Independent Film Festival in 2010.

                    In Nanny McPhee, which also starred Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Angela Lansbury, Widower Cedric Brown (Firth) hires Nanny McPhee (Thompson) to care for his seven rambunctious children, who have chased away all previous nannies. Taunted by Simon (Sangster) and his siblings, Nanny McPhee uses mystical powers to instill discipline. And when the children's great-aunt and benefactor, Lady Adelaide Stitch (Lansbury), threatens to separate the kids, the family pulls together under the guidance of Nanny McPhee. A box office success, the film eventually got a sequel -- but it was five years later and had none of the same kids in it.

                    Our thoughts go out to Coleman's family and friends.



                    • #40
                      Paula Kelly Dies: ‘Night Court’, ‘Women Of Brewster Place’ Actress Was 77

                      Paula Kelly, an actress who earned Emmy nominations for roles on NBC’s 1980s sitcom Night Court and the 1989 ABC miniseries The Women of Brewster Place, died Saturday, February 8, in Whittier, CA, from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She was 77.

                      Her death was announced by her family and Los Angeles’ Ebony Repertory Theatre.

                      Kelly, who was also a dancer, choreographer and singer, had her breakthrough role of Helene in Bob Fosse’s 1969 film Sweet Charity, sharing the screen with star Shirley MacLaine and Chita Rivera in such musical numbers as “There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This” and the showstopper “Hey, Big Spender.” She’d already played the role in a West End stage production.

                      Other film credits include The Andromeda Strain (1971), Uptown Saturday Night (1974) and Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored (1995).

                      Kelly appeared in numerous TV series from the 1970s through the ’90s, including Sanford & Son, Medical Center, The Streets of San Francisco, Police Woman and The Richard Pryor Show. In one memorable performance, she played an arrogant doctor called upon to treat the young Janet Jackson’s character in a 1979 episode of CBS’ Good Times.

                      In 1984, she earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance as Night Court‘s public defender Liz Williams.

                      Her second supporting actress Emmy nomination came in in 1989, when she played the lesbian Theresa in the two-night miniseries The Women of Brewster Place, produced by Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions.

                      Other television credits include a mid-’80s run on daytime’s Santa Barbara and co-choreographing, with Michael Kidd, BBC’s 1976 presentation of Peter Pan.

                      Notable Hollywood & Entertainment Industry Deaths In 2020: Photo Gallery

                      On stage, Kelly appeared in Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope at the Mark Taper Forum (for which she won a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle best supporting actress award), the West Coast premiere of Sophisticated Ladies opposite Gregory Hines at the Shubert Theatre and Stevie Wants to Play the Blues directed by Simon Callow at L.A.T.C.

                      Kelly came out of retirement in 2009 to join the cast of Ebony Repertory Theatre’s production of Crowns by Regina Taylor at L.A.’s Nate Holden Performing Arts Center; the production later moved to Pasadena Playhouse.

                      “Her unassuming leadership was marked by compassion, elegance and grace,” said Ebony Repertory Theatre producing artistic director Wren T. Brown. “She was a rare and gifted artist, whom we will cherish forever.”

                      Kelly’s dance credits include solos for Martha Graham, Donald MacKayle and Alvin Ailey. Raised in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, Kelly attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art before graduating from Julliard School of Music, where she studied under Graham.

                      Kelly is is survived by her aunt Pearl Mackey of Jacksonville, Florida; longtime companion George Parkington; niece Dina McCarthy and nephew Lehman Brockett.

                      A celebration of Kelly’s life will be held in Los Angeles at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center. Details will be announced at a later date.



                      • #41
                        GoFundMe Raising Money for Family of Marvel Stuntman Who Died at 54

                        Marvel Studios stuntman Brian “Sonny” Nickels died in January at the age of 54, and now a GoFundMe page is raising money to help support Nickels’ family following his loss. Nickels from sudden cardiac arrest while at his home in West London. He’s survived by his wife, Simone, and his two children, seven-year-old Sienna and 3-year-old Rocco. The GoFundMe, launched by David Garrick, has raised £18,095 of its £500,000. “Our great beautiful kind wonderful Brian Sonny Nickels tragically, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away due to cardiac arrest. Leaving his 33 year old wife, 7 year old daughter, and 3 year old son,” Garrick writes on the GoFundMe page. Due to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances his young widow Simone and their two young children are left with a substantial mortgage on their house which won’t be paid off. Simone solely worked for Brian for the past 11 years, and is struggling to work at the minute as she has a 7 year old and 3 years old to look after.

                        “Nothing financially was put into place or implemented as Brian's death was not expected or anticipated. Brian would be the first person to help any of us in need. Simone & Sienna watched and heard Brian graphically passing away, young Rocco is extremely confused and there is no counselling available as he is so young. Simone’s focus needs to be on their precious babies and getting them through this horrific and traumatic time. Their whole world has been turned upside down with the loss of a husband and father, please let’s all work together and help take all the financial pressure off her for some time, and raise as much money as we possibly can for Brian's wife and two young babies to completely take away any financial worries or burdens they may be facing. Let the kindest, love and great legacy of wonderful Brian Nickels live on through all of us.”

                        Nickels is a former boxer who fulfilled his dream of becoming a stuntman when he switched careers at age 25. His work for Marvel Studios included appearances in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

                        Outside of the Marvel cinematic universe, Nickels’ film work included appearances in the James Bond films Skyfall and Spectre, Jason Bourne, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Hobbs & Shaw, Kingsman: The Golden Circle and both parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. He also worked in television, appearing in Life on Mars, Band of Brothers, Top Boy, Peaky Blinders, Killing Eve and Game of Thrones.



                        • #42
                          Charles Portis, 'True Grit' Novelist, Dies at 86

                          Charles Portis, the author whose 1968 novel "True Grit" inspired two beloved big-screen Westerns, died Monday at the age of 86.
                          The Arkansas native had struggled with failing health for several years, according to his brother, Jonathan, who confirmed the death to the Arkansas Times.

                          His biggest success was the 1968 novel "True Grit," the story of a young farm girl who hires a drunken lawman to catch the outlaw who murdered her father. They go on a quest along with a Texas Ranger to track down the villain, and on that adventure, the strength of their "grit" is tested.

                          The novel inspired Henry Hathaway's 1969 film, which earned John Wayne the Oscar for Best Actor. The Coen brothers' 2010 adaptation, starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Hailee Steinfeld, earned 10 Oscar nominations — but went home empty-handed that year.

                          Portis' other work includes comic fiction like "Norwood," "The Dog of the South," "Masters of Atlantis," and "Gringos," as well as a collection of his shorter works called "Escape Velocity."

                          Portis was born in 1933 in El Dorado, Arkansas, to Samuel Palmer Portis and Alice Waddell Portis. He served in the Marines during the Korean War before going on to study journalism at the University of Arkansas.

                          He was a newspaper reporter before going on to write fiction, having written for Fayetteville's Northwest Arkansas Times, Memphis' Commercial Appeal, the Arkansas Gazette, and Newsweek. He went on to become the London bureau chief of the New York Herald-Tribune, according to an obituary his family prepared for the Ruebel Funeral Home which was obtained by to the Arkansas Times.



                          • #43
                            'Good Times' Star Ja'net DuBois Dead at 74

                            Ja'net Dubois -- one of the main characters on "Good Times" -- was found dead Tuesday ... TMZ has learned.

                            Ja'net played the Evans family's sassy neighbor Willona Woods on the classic '70s TV series. Her family tells us ... Ja'net died unexpectedly in her sleep overnight at her home in Glendale, CA.

                            It's unclear who discovered her body Tuesday morning. We're told Ja'net hadn't complained of any specific ailments recently, and appeared to be in good health to those around her. She even attended a fan event in Hollywood a couple weeks ago.

                            Ja'net might be most famous for "Good Times," but she also composed and sang the theme song, "Movin' On Up," for "The Jeffersons" -- so, she should also be remembered for her voice.

                            She appeared in tons of movies over the years, including "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka", "Tropic Thunder" and "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle."

                            Ja'net's acting career began on Broadway, where she was cast in a number of plays including "Golden Boy" with Sammy Davis Jr. and Louis Gossett Jr. -- plus "A Raisin In The Sun."

                            She also won two Emmy awards for her voice-over work on "The PJs."

                            Ja'net is survived by her 3 children.

                            She was 74. RIP



                            • #44
                              Pioneering NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson Dies Aged 101

                              Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician who calculated the flight path for the first manned mission to the moon, has died at the age of 101. A heroine around the world, she broke down racial and social barriers across the space program, paving the way for future generations.

                              Excelling in school, she enrolled at West Virginia State College when she was only 15 years old. After, she was a teacher for several years before she was handpicked to be one of three black students to integrate West Virginia’s graduate schools.

                              A family soon followed and she returned to her role as a teacher until she became aware of openings at the West Area Computing section of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA’s) Langley laboratory in the early 1950s. Here began her extraordinary 33-year career in orbital mathematics, working on a plethora of major NASA missions.

                              Some of the defining moments in her early years at NASA have been shared in Margot Lee Shetterly’s book Hidden Figures and depicted in the 2016 film of the same name, where she was played by Taraji P Henson. Johnson successfully calculated the launch window for the 1961 manned Mercury mission, America’s first human spaceflight, establishing herself as a leader in calculating trajectory.

                              A year later, she once again showcased her incredible mathematical ability when working on John Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission. Mistrustful of the new worldwide IBM communications network for carrying out his trajectory analysis, Glenn asked engineers to “get the girl” – Johnson – to carry out the same calculations by hand. “If she says they’re good,’” Katherine Johnson remembers the astronaut saying, “then I’m ready to go.”

                              Throughout the rest of her career, Johnson went on to calculate the flight trajectories for the 1969 Apollo 11 landing, authored or co-authored 26 scientific papers, helped line up Apollo’s Lunar Lander with the lunar-orbiting Command and Service Module, and won NASA’s Langley Research Center Special Achievement award five times.

                              In 1986, Johnson retired from NASA, but that was not the end of her incredible achievements, nor her impact on women and minorities in STEM. Notably, she received in 2015 the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama, America’s highest civilian honor.

                              A statement by NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine paid respect to Katherine Johnson: “Ms. Johnson helped our nation enlarge the frontiers of space even as she made huge strides that also opened doors for women and people of color in the universal human quest to explore space... At NASA we will never forget her courage and leadership and the milestones we could not have reached without her.”



                              • #45
                                Max Von Sydow Dies Aged 90

                                Legendary actor Max von Sydow has passed away at the age of 90, it has been confirmed. The Swedish actor was an enduring screen presence whose career spanned several eras of cinema – from repeatedly starring for Ingmar Bergman beginning in the ‘50s, to partaking in the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy in the last few years.

                                Von Sydow’s breakout performance came in 1957’s The Seventh Seal, in which he played Antonius Block – a medieval knight who challenges Death to a game of chess. He would go on to collaborate with Bergman several more times – in Wild Strawberries and Mr. Sleeman Is Coming (also released in 1957), 1958’s Brink Of Life, The Magician, and Rabies, 1960’s The Virgin Spring, 1961’s Through A Glass Darkly, 1963’s Winter Light, 1968’s Hour Of The Wolf and Shame, 1969’s The Passion Of Anna, and 1971’s The Touch.

                                Elsewhere, von Sydow’s work included a number of iconic roles. In 1965 he played Jesus in George Stevens’ four-plus hour epic The Greatest Story Ever Told. He famously starred as Father Merrin, the conflicted priest struggling to retain his faith, in The Exorcist – a role he reprised in sequel Exorcist II: The Heretic. He was no stranger to outlandish science-fiction – in 1980 he starred as Emperor Ming The Merciless in Flash Gordon, and played Doctor Kynes in David Lynch’s 1984 Dune. In 1983 he played iconic villain Blofed in non-Eon Bond movie Never Say Never Again, and in 1986 he starred in Woody Allen’s Hannah And Her Sisters.

                                He continued to work for heavyweight directors later into his career, in 2002 starring as PreCrime boss Lamar Burgess in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, and in 2010 appearing in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island as Dr. Naehring and as Sir Walter Loxley in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. He also impacted a whole new generation of genre fans in the last decade, starring as the Three-Eyed Raven for a brief but important stint in Game Of Thrones, and appearing in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Lor San Tekka – the elderly man on Jakku who delivers the map with Luke Skywalker's whereabouts to Poe Dameron, kicking off the events of the Sequel Trilogy. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.