Monday, October 10, 2011

Actors Charles Napier, Diane Cilento, and Doris Belack Pass On

Charles Napier

Charles Napier, a prolific character who appeared in films from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970) to Annapolis (2007), passed on 5 October 2011 at the age of 75.

Charles Napier was born on 12 April 1936 near Scottsville, Kentucky. After graduating high school he enlisted in the United States Army and served in the 11th Airborne Division. After his years in the service, Mr. Napier enrolled at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. He developed an interest in acting while at college.

Mr. Napier made his debut on television in an episode of Mannix in 1968. In 1969 he appeared in the television shows Hogan's Heroes and Star Trek (in the notoriously bad episode "The Way to Eden," playing a "space hippie"). He appeared in the films The House Near Prado (1969), The Hanging of Jake Ellis (1969), Cherry, Harry, and Raquel (1970), and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. In the Seventies he appeared in such films as The Seven Minutes (1971), Love and Kisses (1971), Moonfire (1973), Supervixens (1975), Thunder and Lightning (1977), The Blues Brothers (1980), and Melvin and Howard (1980). He was a regular on the TV shows The Oregon Trail and B.J. and the Bear. He appeared on such shows as Mission: Impossible, Kojak, The Streets of San Francisco, Baretta, Kojak, Black Sheep Squadron, and The Rockford Files.

In the Eighties Mr. Napier appeared in such movies as China Lake (1983), Swing Shift (1984), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Kidnapped (1987), Married to the Mob (1988), and Dragonflight (1990). He was a regular on the TV series Outlaws and appeared in the mini-series The Blue and the Grey. He appeared on such shows as The Incredible Hulk, Private Benjamin, Tales of the Gold Monkey, Dallas, Night Court, and The A-Team. In the Nineties he appeared in such movies as The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Loaded Weapon 1 (1993), Philadelphia (1993), Jury Duty (1995), Original Gangstas (1996), The Cable Guy (1996), Steel (1997), and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. He was one of the regular voices on the animated TV series The Critic and also provided voices for Superman: The Animated Series. He appeared on such TV shows as L.A. Law, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

In the Naughts Charles Napier provided the voice of Zed on Men in Black: The Series and Reverend Nat Potterson on God, The Devil, and Bob. He appeared on such shows as The Practice, The Legend of Tarzan, Monk, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. He appeared as a guest voice on The Simpsons, Justice League, and Archer. He appeared in such films as Lords of Dogtown (2005) and Annapolis (2006).

Charles Napier generally played square jawed, military officers, tough as nails detectives, and other rough and tumble types. In fact, his best known roles may be that of the villain, Murdock, in Rambo: First Blood Part Two and Tucker McElroy, the hot tempered leader of a country band, in The Blues Brothers. While he was best known for playing rather rugged types, however, Mr. Napier was a versatile actor who could play many other sorts of characters. In Philadelphia he played the thoughtful Judge Garnett, while Married to the Mob he played Angela's hairdresser. Both roles were a far cry from the usual square jawed types he played. Even when the material was not particularly good, Mr. Napier could give a solid performance. He was convincing as the space hippie Adam in the otherwise wretched Star Trek episode "The Way to Eden." Mr. Napier was also a gifted voice actor, lending his voice everything from action adventure cartoons (Superman) to comedies (The Critic). Charles Napier was one of the great character actors of the last few decades of the 20th Century, one who will be missed.

Diane Cilento

Diane Cilento, an actress who appeared in films from Tom Jones (1963) to The Wicker Man (1973), passed on 6 October 2011, a day after her 78th birthday.

Diane Cilento was born in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia on 5 October 1933. Her parents, both doctors, moved to New York City while she was still young. Miss Cilento later moved to London, where she attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.  In 1951 she made her film debut providing the voice for Mrs. Hornblower in the movie Captain Horatio Hornblower R. N. She made her debut on screen in the film All Hallowe'en in 1952. Throughout the Fifties she appeared in such films as Moulin Rouge (1952), Meet Mr. Lucifer (1953), The Truth About Women (1957), and Stop Me Before I Kill (1960). She appeared on such shows as Hallmark Hall of Fame, BBC Sunday-Night Theatre, and The Alcoa Hour.

In the Sixties she appeared in such films as The Naked Edge (1961), Tom Jones (1963, for which she received an Oscar nomination), The Agony and The Ecstasy (1965), and  Hombre (1967). She appeared on such TV shows as ITV Television Playhouse, Espionage, and Blackmail. She was a regular on the show Rogue's Gallery. In the Seventies she appeared in the films Z.P.G. (1972) and The Wicker Man. She appeared on such shows as The Persuaders, Thriller (the British series), and Tycoon. In the Eighties she appeared in the films Duet for Four (1982) and The Boy Who Had Everything (1985). In the Nineties she was a regular on Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left.

Doris Belack

Doris Belack, a character actress who appeared on stage, in films, and on television, passed on 4 October 2011 at the age of 85.

Doris Belack was born on 26 February 1926 in New York City. She made her television debut in 1951 in an episode of Treasury Men in Action. In 1960 she made her debut on Broadway in Semi-Detatched. She would appear regularly on the Broadway stage, in such plays as The Heroine, Bad Habits, Cheaters, and The Cemetery Club. From the Sixties into the Seventies she would appear on such shows as East Side/West Side, The Patty Duke Show, and Barney Miller. She appeared in the films Looking Up (1971) and The Black Marble (1980).

In the Eighties Miss Belack was a regular on the show Baker's Dozen. She appeared on such shows as The Cosby Show, Remington Steele, The Golden Girls, and The Equaliser. She appeared in such films as Hanky Panky (1982), Tootsie (1982), The Luckiest Man in the World (1989), and Opportunity Knocks (1990).  In the Nineties she was a regular on the TV show Laurie Hill. She appeared on such shows as Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, Sisters, and Law & Order. She appeared in such films as What About Bob (1991), Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994), What's Your Sign (1997), Krippendorf's Tribe (1998). and The Odd Couple II (1998). In the Naughts she appeared in the shows Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Everwood. She appeared in the films Prime (2005) , Delirious (2006), and Arranged (2007).

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