Recent Passings: 4/1/08
Recent Passings: 4/1/08
1) Anthony Minghella: The Italian-British producer, director and screenwriter died unexpectedly on March 18, at age 54, from a brain hemorrhage arising from surgery for cancer of the tonsils and neck. Minghella started his career in British theater and television, including with the acclaimed Inspector Morse series and The Storyteller for Jim Henson. His first feature film in 1991 was Truly, Madly, Deeply, a romantic ghost drama, which won a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay. His films won numerous awards and nominations, including an Academy Award for Best Director and a BAFTA for Best Film for The English Patient, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Talented Mr. Ripley. He was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) and was the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the British Film Institute from 2003-2007. His last production was the adaptation of the African-set mystery novel The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith for a two hour television pilot movie, which aired on the BBC in the U.K. and will be the start of a 13 episode series for HBO in North America.
2) Paul Scofield: The acclaimed British actor died on March 19, after a battle with leukemia, at the age of 86. Scofield was best known for his stage work, especially Shakespeare, including Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He won an Oscar and a BAFTA for his role as Sir Thomas More in A Man For All Seasons (and a Tony for his performance of the same role on stage.) He won an Emmy for his role in The Male of the Species and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the movie Quiz Show. His performances as King Lear in both the 1971 film and on stage are widely considered among actors to be the best ever seen. He was a Commander of the British Empire, but turned down a knighthood.
3) Ivan Dixon: The actor and director died March 16 at age 76 from a hemorrhage from kidney failure. Best known as Sgt. Kinchloe on the television series Hogan’s Heroes, Dixon helped open doors for other African-Americans in television through his career in the 1970’s and 1980’s. He appeared on t.v. in such shows as The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and SF mini-series Amerika, and directed episodes of t.v. series such as The Rockford Files, The Waltons, The Greatest American Hero, The Bionic Woman, The A-Team, Quantum Leap and Magnum P.I. He starred in the ground-breaking original Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun and in the movie version, and directed the controversial 1973 film about a black CIA agent, The Spook Who Sat By the Door, based on a novel by Sam Greenlee. In the 1990’s, Dixon retired from Hollywood and owned and operated a radio station in Maui, Hawaii.
4) Dave Stevens: The comics artist, illustrator and animator died on March 10, at age 52, from leukemia. Stevens is best known for creating comics icon The Rocketeer, and he developed the character for the Disney movie adaptation. He also was known for his pin-up illustrations, including of model Bettie Page. He began his career working with comics legend Russ Manning on the Tarzan newspaper comic strip. He also designed and developed storyboards for animated Hanna-Barbara shows such as Super Friends and The Godzilla Power Hour, and storyboards for the film Raiders of the Lost Ark and Michael Jackson’s legendary Thriller video, as well as designed the superhero costume for the television show The Flash. He was the first winner of the Comic-Con International Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award in 1982 and received an Inkpot Award and a Kirby Award for his graphic album in 1986.