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Tag: In Memoriam (81-90 of 704)

Diane Disney Miller, daughter of Walt, dies at age 79

Diane Disney Miller, daughter of Walt Disney, has died at age 79.

Close family friend Richard Greene confirmed the news of Miller’s passing to the Los Angeles Times, saying Miller died Tuesday in her Napa, Calif., home as a result of complications of a fall in September.

Miller was born Dec. 18, 1933, in Los Angeles to Walt and Lillian Disney. She made a name for herself as a philanthropist and played a key role in the creation of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Though it was Miller’s mother, Lillian, who donated $50 million to build a new home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1987, it was Miller who insisted that a portion of her mother’s donation be used to hire architect Frank Gehry in 1997.

Al Ruscio, veteran film, TV, stage actor, dies at 89

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Veteran character actor Al Ruscio, who appeared in countless film, television, and stage productions across half a century, has died at age 89, said his longtime manager, Judy Fox.

Ruscio, who died Nov. 12 at his Encino, Calif., home following declining health, appeared in such films as The Godfather: Part III and Guilty by Suspicion, and on some of the most memorable TV shows of all time, from Sea Hunt to Seinfeld. His stage credits include A Hatful of Rain and A View From the Bridge.

In addition, Ruscio taught college acting classes, wrote a drama text called So Therefore…A Practical Guide for Actors and served on the board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild.

Ruscio is survived by his wife, actress Kate Williamson; four children; and five grandchildren.

'I Love Lucy' guest star Shirley Mitchell dies at 94

Shirley Mitchell, who appeared in three episodes of I Love Lucy in its 1953-54 season, died of heart failure on Monday. She was 94.

Mitchell played Marion Strong on I Love Lucy, a friend of Lucy’s who was easily identified by her cackle. She was believed to be the last surviving cast member from the show.

You might also recognize Mitchell from her work on The Odd Couple, Three’s Company, Dallas, or The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, along with a number of other shows. Her film career included Jamboree, Big Business, The War of the Roses, and more.

Mitchell was the widow of pop composer Jay Livingston and is survived by her sister-in-law and two children, Scott and Brooke.

British composer John Tavener dies at 69

British composer John Tavener, whose austere choral and orchestral works reflected his religious journey from West to East, died Tuesday. He was 69. Tavener’s publisher, Chester Music, said he died at his home in Child Okeford, southern England.

Born and trained in London, Tavener burst onto the public scene in 1968 with the help of The Beatles and is often remembered for his beautiful “Song for Athene” — reworked as “Songs of Angels” — that caught the public’s mood at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales.

His wistful, elegant setting of William Blake’s poem “The Lamb” (1982) became a staple of Christmas carol services.

“I think there are an awful lot of artists around who are very good at leading us into hell,” Tavener once said. “I would rather someone would show me the way to paradise.”
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Blockbuster goes bust, will end retail and DVD-by-mail service

It’s the end of an era: Dish announced today that its subsidiary, Blockbuster L.L.C., will end both its retail and its mail DVD distribution operations by early January 2014.

“This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment,” DISH’s president and chief executive officer Joseph P. Clayton said in a statement. “Despite our closing of the physical distribution elements of the business, we continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand, and we expect to leverage that brand as we continue to expand our digital offerings.”

According to a release, Blockbuster By Mail service will cease in mid-December 2013, and will continue serving existing customers until that time. The company will close its remaining domestic retail stores — some 300 locations altogether — as well as its distribution centers by early next year.

Dish says that it will retain the brand’s licensing rights and key assets, including Blockbuster’s “significant video library.” Both Dish’s Blockbuster @Home service, which offers a package of over 15 movie channels, and Blockbuster On Demand streaming video will also continue to exist. As the mission statement on Blockbuster’s new website puts it: “You’ve known us for years, but who are we now? Well, we’re different. We’ve grown. We’ve changed. Still, one thing has remained the same: We love movies. And now we’re taking that love to the next level.”

'Killer's Kiss' actress Irene Kane dies

Irene Kane, star of Stanley Kubrick’s Killer’s Kiss, died Thursday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The actress, who reportedly died of pancreatic cancer, also worked as a journalist for CBS, CNN, and The New York Times under the pen name Chris Chase, and co-authored Hollywood autobiographies and a memoir: How to Be a Movie Star, or A Terrible Beauty Is Born. Aside from 1955′s Killer’s Kiss, Kane also acted in Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz (1979) and the TV series Naked City (1958-63).

In a 1999 Q&A with Entertainment Weekly, Kubrick spoke of the poor critical reception for Killer’s Kiss, only his second feature. “Killer’s Kiss had some exciting action sequences in it, but the story was written in a week in order to take advantage of a possibility of getting some money,” the director said.

Kane’s niece, who confirmed her death to THR, didn’t want to reveal the late actress’ age.

British actor Nigel Davenport dies at 85

Nigel Davenport, who starred in the iconic British films A Man for All Seasons (1966) and Chariots of Fire (1981) has died at the age of 85, The Guardian reported Tuesday.

Davenport was a founding member of the English Stage Company at the Royal Court and made his London theater debut in 1952 in Noel Coward’s Relative Values. He went on to star in two Oscar-winning films, Fred Zimmerman’s A Man for All Seasons as the Duke of Norfolk and as Lord Birkenhead in Chariots of Fire. He was also a big presence on British TV, including roles in The Saint, Keeping Up Appearances, and Howard’s Way.

His survivors include Smash and Pirates of the Caribbean actor Jack Davenport.

'Mad Love' director Antonia Bird dies at 54

British television and film director Antonia Bird, best known for directing Priest (1994), Mad Love (1995), and Ravenous (1999) died Thursday in London at the age of 54 due to an unspecified illness.

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh tweeted his condolences, as did Bird’s friend, actor Robert Carlyle.
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Hollywood stuntman and director Hal Needham dies at 82

Famed Hollywood stuntman Hal Needham died Friday morning in Los Angeles after a short battle with cancer. He was 82. 

Needham, who received an honorary Oscar at the 2012 Governors Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, got his start in Hollywood as a stuntman in the late 1950s before directing several films starring Burt Reynolds including Smokey and the Bandit, Stroker Ace and The Cannonball Run.

Needham released an autobiography in 2011, in which he proudly claimed to have broken 56 bones in his lifetime as well as knocking out a few teeth and puncturing a lung. At the peak of his career, Needham was the highest paid stuntman in Hollywood.

'Windmills of Your Mind' singer Noel Harrison dies

British actor and musician Noel Harrison, who sang the Academy Award-winning ballad “The Windmills of Your Mind,” has died at 79.

Harrison’s wife, Lori Chapman, said Tuesday that he suffered a heart attack after a performance on Saturday in Devon, southwest England, and died in a hospital.

The son of actor Rex Harrison, Noel Harrison was a British champion skier and represented the country at the 1952 and 1956 Olympics before becoming a professional musician.

He moved to the United States during the 1960s’ “British invasion” and had his greatest success with “The Windmills of Your Mind,” which was the theme to 1968 heist movie The Thomas Crown Affair and won the Best Song Oscar.

Harrison wrote on his website that he did not immediately realize the power of the song, by French composer Michel Legrand and American lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman.
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