Saturday, August 8, 2020

Wilford Brimley and Reni Santoni Pass On

Wilford Brimley

Wilford Brimley, who had a recurring role on the TV show The Waltons and a regular role on Our House, and appeared in such movies as The Thing (1982) and Cocoon (1985), died on August 1 2020 at the age of 85. 
Wilford Brimley was born on September 27 1934 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mr. Brimley dropped out of school at age 14 and worked as a cowboy in Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona. During the Korean War he joined the United States Marines and served in the Aleutian Islands. After his service he worked as a ranch hand, wrangler, and blacksmith. For a short time he was a bodyguard for Howard Hughes. He started shoeing horses for both movies and television series.

Wilford Brimley appeared in bit parts in the movies True Grit (1969) and Lawman (1971) before he was cast in the recurring role of Horace Brimley on seasons 2 through 6 of The Waltons. He guest starred on the TV shows Kung Fu, The Oregon Trail, and How the West Was Won. He appeared in the mini-series The Awakening Land and the TV movie The Wild Wild West Revisited. Mr. Brimley appeared in the movies The China Syndrome (1979), The Electric Horseman (1979), Brubaker (1980), and Borderline (1980).

In the Eighties Wilford Brimley had the regular role of grandfather Gus Witherspoon on the television show Our House. He guest starred on the TV show The Firm and appeared in several TV movies. Mr. Brimley appeared in the movies Absence of Malice (1981), Death Valley (1982), The Thing (1982), High Road to China (1983), Tender Mercies (1983), 10 to Midnight (1983), Tough Enough (1983) Harry & Son (1984), The Hotel New Hampshire (1984), The Stone Boy (1984), The Natural (1984), Country (1984), Cocoon (1985), Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985), Jackals (1986), Shadows on the Wall (1986), End of the Line (1987), Cocoon: The Return (1988), and Eternity (1990).

In the Nineties Wilford Brimley appeared in the movies The Firm (1993), Hard Target (1993), Heaven Sent (1994), Mutant Species (1995), A Place to Grow (1995), My Fellow Americans (1996), Chapter Perfect (1997), In & Out (1998), Progeny (1998), Summer of the Monkeys (1998), Lunker Lake (1998), All My Friends Are Cowboys (1998), and Comanche (2000). He appeared on the TV shows The Boys of Twilight; Homicide: Life on the StreetWalker, Texas Ranger; and Seinfeld. He appeared on the mini-series OP Center

In the Naughts Mr. Brimley appeared in the movies Brigham City (2001), The Round and Round (2002), The Road Home (2003), and The Path of the Wind (2009). He appeared in the TV movies Crossfire Trail and The Ballad of Lucy Whipple. In the Teens he appeared in the movies Masque (2012), Timber the Treasure Dog (2016), and I Believe (2017).

Wilford Brimley was known for playing gruff, rustic, older, yet congenial characters. As hard as it is to believe, he was only 51 years old when he played Ben Luckett in Cocoon, a character who was portrayed as a contemporary of characters played by Don Ameche and Hume Cronen, actors who around a quarter of a century older than Mr. Brimley. So convincing was Wilford Brimley playing older characters that many people honestly thought he was older than he really was. Of course, this is not to say that Wilford Brimley did not play other sorts of roles. He played Blair, the biologist in The Thing (1982) and President Grover Cleveland in The Wild Wild West Revisited. In most of his movies Wilford Brimley was a trustworthy, reassuring presence, which is probably why he appeared in commercials for Quaker Oats, Liberty Medical, and the American Diabetes Association. He certainly will be missed.

Reni Santoni

Reni Santoni, who played David Kolowitz in Carl Reiner's movie Enter Laughing (1967), Harry Callahan's partner in Dirty Harry (1971), and had recurring roles on several TV shows, died on August 1 2020 at the age of 82. The cause was complications from throat and lung cancer.

Reni Santoni was born on April 21 1938 in New York City. He began his career off-Broadway. In 1962 he wrote the play Raisin' Hell in the Son. He also appeared off-Broadway in The Mad Show, a revue based on Mad Magazine that began in 1966. He had bit parts in Strangers in the City (1962) and The Pawnbroker (1966) before playing the lead in Enter Laughing  (1967). For the remainder of the Sixties he appeared in such films as A Great Big Thing (1968), Lo sbarco di Anzio (1968), Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969), and The Student Nurses (1970). He guest starred on the TV shows East Side/West Side; The Trials of O'Brien; Look Up and Live; Hawk; and Love, American Style.

In the Seventies Reni Santoni had a recurring role on the TV show Owen Marshall, Counsellor at Law. He guest starred on such shows as The Odd Couple, The Bold Ones: The Senator; The Psychiatrist; Bearcats!, The F.B.I., Barnaby Jones, The Rookies, Jigsaw John, Delvecchio, Lou Grant, Hawaii Five-O, The Rockford Files, and Charlie's Angels. He appeared in the movies Dirty Harry (1971), I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977), and They Went That-A-Way & That-A-Way (1978).

In the Eighties Reni Santoni was a regular on the TV show Manimal. He played the lead role on the short lived show Sanchez of Bel Air. He had a recurring role on Midnight Caller. He guest starred on the shows CHiPs, Lottery!, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, 227, Hardcastle and McCormick, Joe Bash, Hill Street Blues, Moonlighting, Miami Vice, Murphy Brown, Life Goes On, and Equal Justice. He appeared in the movies Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982), Bad Boys (1983), Brewster's Millions (1985), Radioactive Dreams (1985), Summer Rental (1985), Cobra (1986), The Pick-Up Artist (1987), and The Package (1989).

In the Nineties Mr. Santoni had a recurring role on the TV series Murder One and Seinfeld. He guest starred on the shows Quantum Leap; Dream On; The New WKRP in Cincinnati; Murder, She Wrote; Dave's World; Hudson Street; Renegade; Walker, Texas Ranger; NYPD Blue; Dangerous Minds; The Practice; The Tony Danza Show; Jesse; Love Boat: The Next Wave; and Judging Amy. He appeared in the movies Only You (1992), The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), Private Parts (1997), Can't Hardly Wait (1998), and 28 Days (2000).

In the Naughts he guest starred on the TV shows V.I.P., According to Jim, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Grey's Anatomy, Four Kings, and Raising the Bar. He appeared in the movies Gang Warz (2004) and Irene in Time (2009). In the Teens he guest starred on the TV show Franklin & Bash.

Reni Santori was an incredible actor with a very wide range. He was the movie loving delivery boy and machine shop assistant in Enter Laughing. He was the right-wing, unhygienic  restaurant owner Poppie on Seinfeld. He was Dirty Harry's rookie partner Chico Gonzalez. On Sanchez of Bel Air he played clothing company owner Ricardo Sanchez. Over the course of his career Mr. Santori played everything from legal assistants to police officers to priests to medical doctors. What is more, he always gave a good performance.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Godspeed Jacqueline Scott and Alan Parker

Jacqueline Scott

Jacqueline Scott, a frequent guest star on American television from the Fifties to the Naughts, who played Richard Kimble's sister Donna on The Fugitive, died on July 23 2020 at the age of 89.  The cause was lung cancer.
Jacqueline Scott was born on June 25 1931 in Sikeston, Missouri. Because her father worked for the State of Missouri, her family moved frequently before finally settling down in Neosho, Missouri. Miss Scott took to performing while very young. She won a tap dancing contest when she was three years old. When she was five years old she performed with a travelling tent show. As a child she attended movies frequently. Her first professional work on stage occurred when she was 17 years old in St. Louis. There she worked for a local theatre company before she moved to New York City to pursue acting there. 

Jacqueline Scott made her debut on Broadway in 1955 in The Wooden Dish. She made her television debut in an episode of Armstrong Circle Theatre in 1956. That same year she appeared in an episode of Omnibus.  In 1957 she appeared on Broadway in Inherit the Wind. In 1958 she made her film debut in the William Castle movie Macabre. In the late Fifties she appeared on such TV shows as Robert Montgomery Presents; The Kaiser Aluminum Hour; Mike Hammer; The Loretta Young Show; Matinee Theatre; State Trooper; Steve Canyon; 77 Sunset Strip; Perry Mason; Zane Grey Theatre; Schlitz Playhouse of Stars; Bat Masterson; Have Gun--Will Travel, Richard Diamond, Private Detective; Goodyear Theatre; Gunsmoke; and U.S. Marshal

In the Sixties Jacqueline Scott appeared on the TV show The Fugitive as title character Richard Kimble's sister Donna. She guest starred on such shows as Dante, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, The Detectives, Route 66, Alcoa Premiere, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Virginian, Have Gun--Will Travel, Ben Casey, The Twilight Zone, Laramie, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Outer Limits, Run for Your Life, Lassie, Insight, The Guns of Will Sonnett, Judd for the Defense, Mission: Impossible and The Immortal. Miss Scott appeared in the movies House of Women (1962), Firecreek (1968), and Death of a Gunfighter (1969).

In the Seventies Jacqueline Scott appeared on such TV shows as The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Gunsmoke; Cannon; Insight; Owen Marshal, Counsellor at Law; The Rookies; Ironside; The F.B.I.; The Streets of San Francisco; Medical Center; Planet of the Apes; Marcus Welby, M.D.; Starsky and Hutch; The Wonderful World of Disney; Barnaby Jones; CHiPs; Police Woman; How the West Was Won; and Salvage 1. Miss Scott also appeared in the famous TV movie Duel. She appeared in the movies Charley Varrick (1973), Empire of the Ants (1977), and Telefon (1977). 

In the Eighties Jacqueline Scott appeared on the shows Trapper John, M.D.; Vega$; Code Red; Lottery!; Riptide; Crazy Like a Fox; The Bold and the Beautiful; and L.A. Law. She appeared in the movie Jinxed! (1982). In the Nineties she appeared on the TV shows Equal Justice and Switched at Birth. In the Naughts she appeared on the TV show Cold Case and in the movie Sugar Boxx (2009).

Jacqueline Scott was an enormous talent. In her career she played everything from a saloon girl to a nun. It was because she could play nearly anything that she was a favourite of television director Leo Penn, who directed many of the TV shows in which she appeared. She told Rick Armstrong of the blog Classic Film & TV Café, "Once I'd be the good girl and once I'd be the bad girl. … One director, Leo Penn — who is Sean Penn's father — would call me for anything. We had worked together when we were kids in New York, and he was fabulous." Jacqueline Scott was very much a chameleon and played a wide variety of roles throughout her career. She was, quite simply, one of the best character actors to work in television in the late 20th Century.

Alan Parker

Sir Alan Parker, who directed such movies as Midnight Express (1978), Fame (1980), and Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982), died July 31 2020 at the age of 76 following a lengthy illness.
Alan Parker was born on February 14 1944 in Islington, London. He left school when he was 18 to pursue a career in advertising. He worked as a copywriter at various agencies, including Collett Dickenson Pearce in London. By 1968 he had moved to being a copywriter to directing television commercials. In 1970 Mr. Parker founded Alan Parker Film Co., a company that created commercials for various companies. His first screenplay was for the movie Melody in 1971. In 1975 he directed the BBC television movie The Evacuees, which won a BAFTA Award. The following year he directed another TV movie, No Hard Feelings.

It was that same year that Alan Parker made his feature film directorial debut with Bugsy Malone (1976). The spoof of gangster movies was also written by Mr. Parker and starred an all-child cast. Although it did poorly at the box office, it has since become a cult film. Alan Parker followed Bugsy Malone with Midnight Express (1978). The film received positive notices and did well at the box office. It was also nominated for several Academy Awards and won the Oscar for Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. He ended the Seventies with the highly successful film Fame (1980).

The Eighties would see the release of Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982). Based on Pink Floyd's 1979 concept album The Wall, the film had modest success at the box office. It has since become a cult film. It was during the decade that he also directed Mississippi Burning (1988). The film received mixed reviews and and been criticised for its fictionalizing historical events. Regardless, it was nominated for several Academy Awards and won the Oscar for Best Cinematography. In the Eighties Alan Parker also directed the movies Shoot the Moon (1982), Birdy (1984), Angel Heart (1987), and Come See the Paradise (1990). 

Alan Parker opened the decade of the Nineties with The Commitments (1991), which won the BAFTA Awards for Best Film, Best Direction, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Editing. It also did modestly well at the box office and has since become a cult film. In the Nineties Alan Parker also directed The Road to Wellsville (1994), Evita (1996), and Angela's Ashes (1999). His last film was The Life of David Gale (2003). 

As a director Alan Parker's output was certainly diverse. He directed everything from musicals to psychological horror movies to comedies to thrillers. A recurring theme in his movies was music, which played a big role in Bugsy Malone, Fame, Pink Floyd: The Wall, The Commitments, and Evita. Alan Parker was also not afraid to push the envelope creatively. Pink Floyd: The Wall contained a good deal of surreal, often disturbing imagery, including animated sequences. Angel Heart proved controversial for its sexual content. Not only was Alan Parker capable of directing movies in a diverse array of genres, but most of his movies were of a high quality. While Alan Parker did direct his share of bad movies, they are few and far between. He certainly directed several films that continued to be enjoyed to this day.