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  • #46
    R.D. Call, Waterworld and Born on the Fourth of July Actor, Dies at 70

    R.D. Call, a prolific character actor whose work included Born on the Fourth of July, Waterworld, and Last Man Standing, has passed away at the age of 70. His family announced the news via an obituary on Utah's Lindquist Mortuary and Cemeteries website. According to the family, Call passed away on Thursday, February 27, due to complications from back surgery. Born Roy Dana Call, was born on February 16, 1950, and grew up in Layton, Utah. He studied theater at Utah State University and Weber State University, before joining the Los Angeles acting scene in 1975. Call joined Lee Strasberg's acting school and Lonny Chapman's L.A. Repertory Theater Group, and ultimately made his onscreen debut in an episode of CBS' Barnaby Jones a few years later.

    Call went on to work closely with both Sean Penn and his father, Leo Penn, throughout his career, including on 1988's Judgment in Berlin. His projects with the younger Penn included At Close Range (1986), Colors (1988), State of Grace (1990), The Weight of Water (2000), I Am Sam (2001) and Babel (2006) and Into the Wild (2007).

    Beyond that, Call portrayed "Enforcer" in Waterworld, a Chaplain in Born on the Fourth of July, and Sheriff Maurice Daniels in The X-Files' "Miracle Man" episode.

    Call was candid about his struggles with alcoholism, and celebrated his 26th year of sobriety earlier this year. He was actively involved in Alcoholics Anonymous and often sponsored many who also went through the program.

    "R.D. was as tough as nails on the outside but a real gentleman on the inside," his family writes. "He could be very intimidating at first sight or even a little scary to some. But once you got to know him, his directness turned into a kind fondness for getting to know people. He was who he was, honest, direct, genuine, and funny, he had a great sense of humor and there was no pretense or phoniness. He was genuine and solid as a rock, true, faithful and totally loyal. As his good friend Matt Nelson said to me "he rode hard and could come off as a little frightening but inside was really a gentle soul." He would give someone that was down and out every dime in his pocket and the shirt off his back. Just ask all of the waitresses that work in any restaurant he frequented, his tips were very generous! That is R.D. Call."

    A service for Call was held on Saturday, March 7th in Utah. He is survived by his brother, Rick; his sisters, Quay and Cindy; his uncle, Lane; and his aunt, Evelyn. 2mP9WE-_hhrvo9Jf3dA


    • #47
      His sculptures were larger than life. Renowned N.J. artist Seward Johnson dies at 89.

      J. Seward Johnson Jr., renowned sculptor and heir to the Johnson pharmaceutical fortune, died this week at his home in Key West, Florida. He was 89 and died Tuesday of cancer, according to a published report.

      Johnson’s sculptures were literally larger than life, such as a supersized depiction of the celebration at the end of World War II when a sailor kissed a nurse in New York’s Times Square.

      Another one of his works, “Double Check”, a disheveled businessman sitting on a bench going through his briefcase, survived the destruction of the World Trade Centers in 2001.

      The sculpture in Liberty Park outside of the Trade Centers was so lifelike firefighters frequently mistook it for an actual victim of the attack that needed to be rescued, according to a report in the New York Times.

      The New Jersey native son was also known for his 42-acre Grounds for Sculpture in Trenton, which featured dozens of his works laid out in a lifelike, doubletake fantasy exhibit. He opened it in 1992.

      It also featured a foundry for other emerging artists to craft their works.

      “We have all these paths in the park that go different ways and we want people to use their own intuition about which path to take, which has nothing to do with what anyone would teach about art,” said Johnson in a 2014 interview with NJ Advance Media.

      He also encourages people to go their own way when interpreting the art itself.

      “Art has its own message for each viewer and it must be viscerally received to have it be powerful,” he said.

      Johnson explained what he hoped the park brings to someone who might not be particularly knowledgeable about contemporary art.

      “It’s easy sometimes to forget the simple things that give us pleasure,” a statement on Steward Johnson Atelier website said. “If we open our eyes, life is marvelous.” m_source=facebook&utm_content=nj_facebook_njcom&fb clid=IwAR2VM9nGc9FQrBREZDNqciHEazdNhKOB54Ai_a14Aie 1csEV7xfDfhREKSE


      • #48
        Wonder Woman Star Lyle Waggoner Dead at 84

        Today, the entertainment industry is coming together to remember the talent which Lyle Waggoner brought to the screen. A report by TMZ has confirmed the Wonder Woman and Carol Burnett Show star passed away recent at the age of 84.

        The report comes from a source close to Waggoner's family. TMZ says the TV star died at his home on Tuesday after battling with an illness. Waggoner went peacefully while surrounded by his wife and sons.

        For those unfamiliar with Waggoner, the actor rose to fame back in the 1960s after he was cast on the show Gunsmoke in a guest role. The actor almost nabbed a role in a very different comic book series before Wonder Woman as he was a lead choice to play Batman, but Waggoner ultimately lost the role to Adam West.

        After failing to don the cowl, Waggoner redirected his focus to comedy as he joined The Carol Burnett Show. The star appeared on the iconic sketch comedy series for seven years where he rose to fame.

        It was in 1975 that Lyle Waggoner finally landed in DC role. He was cast as Steve Trevor in the Wonder Woman TV series where he also played Steve Trevor Jr. He was on the show for more than three seasons alongside Lynda Carter.

        Outside of his acting career, Lyle was seen as a sex symbol by many, and he even posted seminude in Playgirl back in 1973. From the big screen to television, Lyle was reliably cast as a hunk to woo female audiences, and he stole plenty of hearts during his time on Wonder Woman.

        In the mid-1970s, Waggoner began separating himself from Hollywood to pursue other careers around the entertainment industry. In the years following, he went on to revive his TV legacy on programs such as That '70s Show.


        • #49
          David Schramm, Star on NBC’s ‘Wings,’ Dies at 73

          Schramm was a founding member of New York’s The Acting Company, which announced the news of his death on Sunday.

          He played Roy Biggins, the rival airline owner on “Wings,” and appeared in all 172 episodes between 1990 and 1997. Throughout his 40-year career, Schramm also appeared in the TV movie “The Dreamer of Oz: The L. Frank Baum Story” in 1990 and played Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in the miniseries “Kennedy.” His film credits include “Let It Ride,” “Johnny Handsome” and “A Shock to the System.”

          He graduated from New York City’s Julliard School and appeared in productions on and off-Broadway, at the New York Theatre Workshop, Pasadena Playhouse, George Street Playhouse, Washington D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre Company and more. His theater credits include Alan Ayckbourn’s “Bedroom Face” and the 2009 revival of “Finian’s Rainbow.”

          “We mourn his loss and will miss him,” Margot Harley of The Acting Company said in the group’s statement.


          • #50
            Adam Schlesinger, Fountains of Wayne and ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Songwriter, Dies at 52 of COVID-19

            Adam Schlesinger, the bassist-songwriter from the rock band Fountains of Wayne and a music producer and composer on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” has died due to complications from the coronavirus, his lawyer Josh Grier told The New York Times. He was 52.

            Schlesinger had been hospitalized due to COVID-19 for the past week and was on a ventilator, TheWrap reported on Tuesday. Representatives for Schlesinger and for Fountains of Wayne did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

            Schlesinger earned three Emmy Awards for his work writing songs for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and for the 2011 and 2012 Tony Awards broadcasts. He won a Grammy Award for the 2008 comedy album “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!”

            In 1996, he also earned an Oscar nomination for co-writing the title song to Tom Hanks’ movie “That Thing You Do!” as well as a Tony nomination for the score to the 2008 Broadway musical version of John Waters’ “Cry-Baby.”

            But he was best known for his work with the quirky late-’90s rock band Fountains of Wayne, which he formed with fellow Williams College graduate Chris Collingwood in 1995, which was inspired by bands like The Kinks, Big Star and The Cars.

            The band scored its biggest hit with the 2003 single “Stacy’s Mom,” which also was famous for a racy music video starring the supermodel Rachel Hunter. The song hit No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

            He had also been at work on a stage musical version of the Fran Drescher ’90s sitcom “The Nanny,” collaborating with “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” creator Rachel Bloom. He and Bloom together on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” a cult favorite on The CW from 2015-19 that wove Broadway-style parody songs into the rom-com storyline.

            Some of his other credits included songs for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Damsels in Distress,” “Music & Lyrics” and “Crank Yankers.”



            • #51
              Ellis Marsalis Jr., legendary jazz musician, teacher and patriarch, dies at age 85 of coronavirus

              Legendary jazz pianist and teacher Ellis Marsalis Jr., the patriarch of New Orleans' great musical family, died Wednesday at 85 due to complications of coronavirus.

              "It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my father, Ellis Marsalis Jr.," son Branford Marsalis said in a statement, saying his father was admitted to hospital on Saturday and "died peacefully this evening."

              "My dad was a giant of a musician and teacher, but an even greater father. He poured everything he had into making us the best of what we could be," Branford Marsalis said.

              New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell marked Marsalis' passing with a statement posted on her Twitter account.

              "Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz. The love and the prayers of all of our people go out to his family, and to all of those whose lives he touched," Cantrell wrote.

              Marsalis was a New Orleans legend who had just ended a three-decade run at New Orleans' Snug Harbor on Frenchman Street that ended in January. Marsalis told the club’s proprietor late last year it had become too exhausting to play his two 75-minute sets every Friday evening at the club.

              But his fame was international, burnished by his musician family. Four of Marsalis' six sons are musicians: Wynton, a nine-time Grammy-winning trumpeter and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York; Branford, a saxophonist and musical director of the "Tonight Show With Jay Leno" in the 1990s; Delfeayo, a trombonist; and Jason, a drummer.

              Branford Marsalis quoted a text he received from Harvard Law Professor David Wilkins on his father. “We can all marvel at the sheer audacity of a man who believed he could teach his black boys to be excellent in a world that denied that very possibility, and then watch them go on to redefine what excellence means for all time.”

              His musical teaching went far beyond family. Marsalis nurtured countless musicians over the year at New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, Xavier University and the University of New Orleans. His students include trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard; singer/pianist Harry Connick Jr.; saxophonists Donald Harrison and Victor Goines; and bassist Reginald Veal.

              Born on Nov. 14, 1934, the son of a New Orleans hotel operator, Marsalis began formal music studies at the Xavier University junior school of music at 11, playing clarinet and tenor saxophone. After high school, Marsalis enrolled in Dillard University (New Orleans) as a clarinet major, graduating in 1955.

              Branford Marsalis told The Washington Post in 2009 that his father was in his 20s when he switched to the piano after realizing he would never equal the great saxophonists he heard. He passed on his clarinet to Branford and gave Wynton a trumpet (a gift from Ellis’ boss at the time, Bourbon Street legend Al Hirt).

              To celebrate his teaching retirement in 2001, the entire Marsalis family performed, captured on the release "The Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration." In 2008, Ellis was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

              Marsalis’ wife, Dolores, died in 2017. He is survived by sons Branford, Wynton, Ellis III, Delfeayo, Mboya and Jason.



              • #52
                Honor Blackman, Star of 'The Avengers' and 'Goldfinger,' Dies at 94

                Honor Blackman, the beguiling British actress who portrayed the leather-clad Cathy Gale on TV's The Avengers and then Bond girl Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, has died. She was 94.

                Blackman, who first won recognition for her performance as Elizabeth Taylor's friend in the MGM spy tale Conspirator (1949), died at her home in Lewes, Sussex, of natural causes unrelated to the coronavirus, her family told The Guardian.

                "As well as being a much-adored mother and grandmother," her family said, "Honor was an actor of hugely prolific creative talent; with an extraordinary combination of beauty, brains and physical prowess, along with her unique voice and a dedicated work ethic, she achieved an unparalleled iconic status in the world of film and entertainment and with absolute commitment to her craft and total professionalism in all her endeavors she contributed to some of the great films and theater productions of our times."

                The London native with the icy blue eyes also played a woman who believes that she has nothing to live for in A Night to Remember (1958), one of the retellings of the Titanic disaster. And five years later, she starred as the goddess Hera in Jason and the Argonauts (1963).

                Considered a real-life goddess to her adoring fans, Blackman joined the British series The Avengers for its second season in 1962 as Mrs. Gale, a widowed anthropologist and black belt in judo who quite ably assists the bowler-wearing, umbrella-toting John Steed (Patrick Macnee) solve crimes. (Gale started out as a revamped version of another character, Doctor Keel, played by Ian Hendry, who had left the series).

                With The Avengers soaring in the ratings and about to air on ABC in the U.S., Blackman in December 1963 announced that she was exiting after two seasons to star as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger (1964). She would effectively be replaced by Diana Rigg as Emma Peel.

                "Everybody was quite startled when I decided to leave, especially since the program was about to go onto film and into color. It was a bombshell, I'm afraid, for everybody, that I was going, but I thought my decision was right and I still think it was right," she said in 2011.

                "It was two years of a show every fortnight for the entire year. I used to stand up for hours and hours after rehearsals for clothes fittings as well as go to the gym for my judo. I also used to do an enormous amount of publicity for the series, as did Patrick. It was very, very tough going but great fun."

                In her final Avengers episode, "Lobster Quadrille," Steed says to Gale, "You're going to be pussyfooting around on some beach," she recalled. "He worked that into the dialogue because everybody in Great Britain knew where I was going, so it was sort of an in-joke."

                In Goldfinger, her henchwoman character, the leader of an all-woman flying-display team, trades sexy double entendres — and judo moves — with Agent 007 (Sean Connery):
                Galore: "My name is Pussy Galore."
                Bond: "I must be dreaming."

                "She was a fascinating creature and the least predictable of all James Bond's conquests," Blackman once said. "All the others succumbed quickly, but not Pussy. In the [1959 Ian Fleming] book she was a lesbian.”

                Her action roles led to the publishing of a 1966 book: Honor Blackman’s Book of Self-Defence.

                Wrote one reader on the book's page: "She truly was an amazing woman well ahead of her time who not only was able to catch the eye of men with her stunning looks but also able to judo flip them across the room like a sack of potatoes!"

                Honor Blackman was born in East London on Aug. 22, 1925, the daughter of a civil servant who taught her how to box. She attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and began acting in the West End.

                In 1947, she made her motion picture debut with an uncredited role in Fame Is the Spur, starring Michael Redgrave.

                Blackman often was cast as a demure young woman in such late 1940s films as Daughter of Darkness, Quartet and A Boy, A Girl and a Bike. In 1950, she appeared in So Long at the Fair with Dirk Bogarde and the following year performed opposite Roger Livesey and Richard Burton in Green Grow the Rushes.

                She won notice in The Square Peg (1958) and A Matter of WHO (1961), with Terry-Thomas. Those performances led to her casting as the imperious Mrs. Gale.

                Blackman followed Goldfinger with three films released in 1965: The Secret of My Success, a comedy with Shirley Jones and Stella Stevens; the drama Life at the Top (1965), also starring Laurence Harvey; and the tragic love story Moment to Moment.
                In 1966, she starred in the West End production of Wait Until Dark.

                Later, Blackman played in Richard Donner's Lola (1970), opposite Charles Bronson and Susan George; The Last Grenade (1970), in which she was the wife of Richard Attenborough's character; Fright (1971), a horror film with George yet again; and The Cat and the Canary, a 1978 version of the haunted-house amusement.

                More recently, Blackman appeared in Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), Color Me Kubrick (2005), the noir thriller I, Anna (2012) and Cockneys vs. Zombies (2012).

                For most of the 1990s, Blackman starred as Laura West in the long-running ITV sitcom The Upper Hand. The series was an adaptation of the ABC hit Who's the Boss? with Blackman playing the role originated by Katherine Helmond — the sexually active mother of an advertising exec who employs a male live-in housekeeper.

                Blackman was married twice, the second time to actor Maurice Kaufmann. They appeared together in Fright and adopted two children, Lottie and Barnaby. Survivors also include her grandchildren Daisy, Oscar, Olive and Toby.



                • #53
                  Voice of Brainy Smurf Danny Goldman Dead at 80 After 2 Strokes

                  Danny Goldman -- the actor best known for voicing Brainy Smurf in "The Smurfs" -- has died ... TMZ has learned.

                  Goldman died at his home Sunday night in front of friends and family while in hospice after suffering a couple of strokes around New Years ... this according to his longtime agent, Doug Ely. His death is not related to COVID-19. Ely took to Facebook to give his decades-long friend a touching tribute.

                  Ely wrote, "Danny was truly one of a kind. He always had strong opinions and didn't mind telling you about them. He was incredibly funny. He loved to root for the little guy and help wherever he could. He had a huge heart. We lost a good one today. He will be missed."

                  Goldman's acting credits date back all the way to 1963 with a stint in "General Hospital." He later landed roles in "Young Frankenstein" as a young medical student who questioned Gene Wilder.

                  Goldman also landed roles in "MASH" and "Busting Loose" but he reached stardom voicing Brainy Smurf when "The Smurfs" debuted in 1981 as a Saturday morning cartoon series on NBC. Brainy Smurf -- easily one of the most identifiable characters with his trademark thick glasses -- was known to never back down from sharing his smarts.

                  He'd hold on to that role until the series ended in 1989 but the show's popularity kept the series on the air via USA Network, the Cartoon Network and now the Boomerang channel.

                  Goldman would go on to land a ton of small roles on other shows including "Criminal Minds" in 2012. He was 80. RIP



                  • #54
                    Irrfan Khan, 'Slumdog Millionaire' and 'Life of Pi' Star, Dead at 53

                    Irrfan Khan -- Bollywood icon and star of films like "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Life of Pi" -- has died after battling cancer.

                    The Indian actor died Wednesday in a Mumbai hospital after being admitted to the ICU for a colon infection earlier this week.

                    His rep says ... "Irrfan was a strong soul, someone who fought till the very end and always inspired everyone who came close to him."

                    Khan revealed in March 2018 that he had been diagnosed with a rare neuroendocrine tumor, an abnormal growth that begins in the body's specialized neuroendocrine cells. We're told he'd been getting chemotherapy in London and traveling back and forth to India in recent months.

                    Khan is one of India's most famous and beloved actors, and has more than 150 Bollywood and Hollywood credits to his name.

                    He attended the National School of Drama in New Delhi and started his acting career soon after, playing mainly supporting roles for more than a decade. He had his big break in early 2000s, though ... racking up awards for his starring role in the 2003 film, "Haasil."

                    Irrfan went on to star in other award-winning films such as "Like In A….Metro" before busting onto the international scene in 2008 when he appeared in the Oscar hit, "Slumdog Millionaire."

                    He then landed a starring role in the acclaimed "Life of Pi," and would go on to appear in movies like "The Amazing Spider-Man," "Jurassic World" and "Inferno."

                    Sadly, the actor's mother also died last week, but he was unable to attend her funeral due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.

                    Priyanka Chopra is one of many Bollywood stars to post a tribute to Khan.

                    Irrfan is survived by his wife and 2 children.

                    He was 53.




                    • #55
                      Don Shula Dead At 90, Legendary NFL Coach 'Passed Away Peacefully'

                      Don Shula -- the NFL coaching legend who famously led the Miami Dolphins to a perfect season in 1972 -- has died at 90 years old.

                      "[Shula] passed away peacefully at his home this morning," the Dolphins said in a statement.

                      A cause of death was not immediately known.

                      "Don Shula was the patriarch of the Miami Dolphins for 50 years," the team said.

                      "He brought the winning edge to our franchise and put the Dolphins and the city of Miami in the national sports scene."

                      "Our deepest thoughts and prayers go out to Mary Anne along with his children Dave, Donna, Sharon, Anne and Mike."

                      Shula is one of football's all-time greats ... after a playing career as a defensive back in the NFL in the 1950s -- he went on to become a Hall of Fame coach.

                      Shula, the head man in Baltimore from 1963 to 1969 and then in Miami from 1970 to 1995, owns the record for most wins by an NFL coach EVER ... piling up 347 in his 33-year career.

                      Shula also won two Super Bowls as the coach of the 'Fins ... and is still the only man to ever coach an undefeated NFL team.

                      Don was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.


                      Shula had a major impact on a ton of famous people. Some of them are posting tributes on social media including:

                      NFL commish Roger Goodell -- "Don Shula will always be remembered as one of the greatest coaches and contributors in the history of our game. He made an extraordinarily positive impact on so many lives."

                      "His iconic legacy will endure through his family and continue to inspire generations to come."

                      The Cleveland Browns -- who drafted Shula in 1951 -- shared the team's condolences ... saying, "We're proud of the fact that his football foundation was built in Ohio, starting at Harvey High School in Painesville, playing collegiately at John Carroll and then being drafted by the Browns."

                      "Coach Shula's contribution to our game are unmatched. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the entire Shula Family."

                      Magic Johnson -- "RIP NFL Hall of Fame Coach and 2X Super Bowl champion Don Shula! My prayers go out to his family."

                      Andrea Kremer -- "My deepest condolences on the passing of Don Shula ... As a professional I worked w/ him & got to know him well, even naming my dog Zonk, just like he did. RIP Coach."

                      Gov. Ron DeSantis -- "Coach Don Shula leaves behind an incomparable legacy as the NFL’s winningest coach and as the one who put Miami sports on the map."

                      Bill Cowher -- "We lost one of the most iconic men in the history of NFL coaching in Don Shula. His leadership and wisdom helped to guide me and many others who have made a life in coaching football. Thank you Coach Shula. May your spirit and legacy live on forever."



                      • #56
                        Comedian Jerry Stiller Dies at 92

                        The world woke up to some incredibly sad news on Monday morning, as we learned that beloved comedian and actor Jerry Stiller had passed away overnight. Stiller had a long career in comedy both on the stage and on the screen, and he passed away this weekend at the age of 92 years old. The news of Stiller's passing came from his son, actor and filmmaker Ben Stiller, who posted a loving tribute to his late father on Twitter.

                        "I'm sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes," Stiller wrote in the tweet. "He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad."

                        Stiller had a long and illustrious career of comedy that spanned decades. He first rose to prominence in the 1960s, performing routines alongside his wife, Anne Meara. In addition to their work in front of live crowds around the country, Stiller and Meara also performed several times on The Ed Sullivan Show.

                        Over the years, Stiller appeared on several TV shows and in quite a few feature films, including Hairspray, Law & Order, Heavyweights, and The Love Boat. However, his most popular on-screen role came in 1993, when he first appeared on Seinfeld. Stiller played Frank Costanza, father of Jason Alexander's George Costanza, for a total of 26 episodes of the show's run. He was even nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for his work on the series in 1997.

                        Stiller went on to take a starring role in sitcom series The King of Queens, alongside Kevin James and Leah Remini. He played Arthur Spooner, the father of Remini's character, who lived in the basement of the couple's home in New York City.

                        Stiller also got the chance to work alongside his son, appearing in both Zoolander movies as Derek Zoolander's manager, Maury. The comedian's last on-screen role was actually in Zoolander 2, back in 2016.

                        In 2007, Stiller and Meara were given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.



                        • #57
                          Fred Willard, Comedic Actor, Dies at 86

                          Fred Willard, known for his delightful roles in projects like Everybody Loves Raymond, Best In Show, Anchorman, and more has passed away at the age of 86. His death was confirmed by his agent Michael Eisenstadt, though no details regarding his death were released (via THR). Willard's daughter also shared the news on Twitter, and said her father passed away "very peacefully." She then added "He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end. We loved him so very much! We will miss him forever," (via PopCulture). Willard's agent, Glenn Schwartz, also told Rolling Stone that the actor died from natural causes. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.

                          Willard has been a fan favorite actor for quite some time thanks to delightful characters in everything from Wizards of Waverly Place to Raymond to Disney's WALL-E, and he was also part of the upcoming Netflix series Space Force, which releases later this year.

                          Willard's vast resume includes memorable roles in both film and television, though it's hard not to immediately think of his brilliant work in the Christopher Guest series of Mockumentaries, which included films like A Mighty Wind, Best In Show, and For Your Consideration. He would also grace the screen in shows like Modern Family, and would lend his voice to things like Scooby-Doo, G.I. Joe: Renegades, Transformers, WALL-E, Kim Possible, and more.

                          He would reprise his role as Hank MacDougall on Everybody Loves Raymond 14 times, and most recently appeared as Fred Naird in Netflix's Space Force.

                          Our thoughts are with Willard's family and friends at this time.



                          • #58
                            Claude Heater, Opera Singer Who Played Jesus in 'Ben-Hur,' Dies at 92

                            Claude Heater, the famed opera singer who appeared with his face unseen as Jesus Christ in William Wyler's epic 1959 production of Ben-Hur, has died. He was 92.

                            A noted Wagnerian tenor, Heater died May 28 at St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco of natural causes after a long illness, according to an announcement on his foundation website.

                            While performing in Rome, Heater was spotted by Ben-Hur production manager Henry Henigson, who was struck by the singer's "magnificent" voice and "beautiful spiritual face," Hollywood gossip columnist Louella Parsons wrote in 1958.

                            Heater was then tested and hired to play Jesus in the MGM feature. "Now here is the strange part: They had to go to Europe to find this boy, who was born in Oakland, California," Parsons wrote.

                            "Mainly, they were interested in hands. They wanted strong, but sensitive, hands," Heater told the Marin Independent Journal newspaper in 1992. During production, he noted that "there were people on the set who would see me, drop to one knee and make the sign of Christ."

                            As filming progressed, Heater was given more time in front of the camera and a few lines, but British law at the time forbid Jesus to speak or his face to be seen if he were a "secondary character." So, Heater as Jesus appears only from behind, as when he gives water to Charlton Heston's enslaved Judah Ben-Hur.

                            In the 1993 documentary Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic, Heater is shown front and center in a costume test photo. And in 2003, he and Heston reunited at a screening at the Motion Picture Academy in Los Angeles, the last two remaining actors from the film, winner of 11 Academy Awards, including best picture.

                            Born in Oakland on Oct. 25, 1927, Heater served as a missionary and in the U.S. Marine Corps before studying voice in Los Angeles. He moved to New York in 1950, joined the American Theater Wing and appeared on Broadway as a singer and juggler in Top Banana, a comedy starring Phil Silvers and Jack Albertson.

                            In 1952, the 6-foot-4 Heater was the baritone member of the trio in the world premiere of Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, won the top prize on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts program and performed in La Traviata and Faust with the Amato Opera in New York.

                            After he completed his studies in Milan, Heater performed in Spain, Germany and Switzerland before being engaged at the renowned Vienna Staatsoper for three years under conductor Herbert Von Karajan. His final performances as a baritone came in 1961 with the San Francisco Opera.

                            Heater retrained his voice as a tenor, and in 1964 he took the title role in Hans Werner Henze's König Hirschat the Bavarian State Opera, serving as the leading dramatic tenor at that opera house through 1968. He would perform often as Tristan in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, including on Belgium television in 1967-68.

                            After retiring from the stage in the '70s, Heater taught opera for 30 years out of his San Francisco studio; served as general director of the Oakland Opera of California; ran for Congress as a write-in Republican candidate in 1992; and wrote a 2007 book, Fatal Flaws of the Most Correct Book on Earth, about what he felt were inconsistencies with his Mormon experience.

                            In 2018, he co-founded the Claude Heater Foundation to "nurture, encourage and support dramatic operatic voices, classical musicians and artists through developmental, educational programs and professional level performance opportunities."

                            Survivors include his longtime partner, Juyeon Song, an opera singer; children Christian, Steven, Evelyn, Erika, Claudia and Michele; grandchildren Nicolas, Alexander, Lauren, Joshua, Cecilia, Zachary and Valentina; and great-grandchildren Fiamma and Priscilla.

                            A donation in his memory may be made to his foundation.



                            • #59
                              Lord of the Rings Star Ian Holm Dies at 88

                              It's a sad day throughout the world and in Middle Earth, as beloved actor Ian Holm has died. A veteran of the screen, Holm took on seemingly countless roles over the years, but was best known for his portrayal of Bilbo Baggins in the Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He also starred in Alien alongside Sigourney Weaver, playing the android known as Ash. Holm died peacefully on Friday morning at the age of 88.

                              Holm's agent released a statement to the Guardian on Friday morning, confirming that the actor had indeed passed. Holm died surrounded by loved ones, and his death was due to an illness related to Parkinson's.

                              "It is with great sadness that the actor Sir Ian Holm CBE passed away this morning at the age of 88. He died peacefully in hospital, with his family and carer," said Holm's agent. "Charming, kind and ferociously talented, we will miss him hugely."

                              Holm was born in Essex in 1931 and began acting at an early age. His work in theater eventually led to Holm landing a few parts on television. His first on-screen role came in the ITV Play of the Week program in 1957. Holm worked steadily throughout the '60s and '70s, but it wasn't until 1978 that he really became the star he's known to be today. The actor was cast as a malfunctioning android named Ash in Ridley Scott's sci-fi thriller, Alien.

                              Three years after Alien was released, Holm received heaps of critical acclaim for his role as coach Sam Mussabini in Chariots of Fire. Holm won a BAFTA for the role and was ultimately nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

                              Over the years, Holm appeared in several other popular films, such as Time Bandits, Brazil, Henry V, Hamlet, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, The Fifth Element, and The Sweet Hereafter. Holm earned a whole new generation of fans for his portrayal of Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, a role that he reprised briefly in two of the three Hobbit films. Holm also voiced the villainous Skinner in Pixar's Ratatouille.

                              Holm was named a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1989, and in 1998 he was knighted for his services to drama.

                              He is survived by his wife, artist Sophie de Stempel, whom he married in 2003, and 5 children.

                              Ian was 88.





                              • #60
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