Remembering 'Dirty Harry' Inspiration Dave Toschi, Oscar-Winning Actress Dorothy Malone and More Reel-Important People We Lost in January

Remembering 'Dirty Harry' Inspiration Dave Toschi, Oscar-Winning Actress Dorothy Malone and More Reel-Important People We Lost in January

Feb 02, 2018

Reel-Important People is a monthly column that highlights those individuals in or related to the movies who have left us in recent weeks. Below you'll find names big and small and from all areas of the industry, though each was significant to the movies in his or her own way.


Albert Bettcher (1920-2017) - Cameraperson. His credits as a camera operator or assistant cameraperson include Blade RunnerThe GraduateStar Trek: The Motion PictureHoward the DuckBody HeatBattle for the Planet of the ApesMy Stepmother Is an AlienSome Kind of Wonderful and the 1976 King Kong. He actually died on December 21. (THR)

Alan Bleviss (1941-2017) - Voice Actor. He provided voiceovers for numerous trailers, including spots for On Golden PondDirty DancingScarface (hear him below), Flashdance and many, many more. He actually died of lung cancer on December 30. (NYT/AP)

Kendall Carly Browne (1918-2018) - Actress. After starting her career working as a receptionist for Zeppo Marx, she became an actress late in life, appearing in Pineapple ExpressSoul PlaneDreamscape and Alligator. She died on January 26. (THR)

Frank Buxton (1930-2018) - Writer, Director, Actor. He co-wrote the Woody Allen movie What's Up, Tiger Lily? and lots of television; he also appears in the movies Beaches, Overboard and Frankie and Johnny. He died on January 2. (Variety)

Olivia Cole (1942-2018) - Actress. She is best known for TV's Roots miniseries, but she also co-starred in the movies Coming HomeFirst Sunday and Some Kind of Hero. She died on January 19. (THR)

Garon Tsuchiya (1947-2018) - Japanese Manga Author. Also known as Marley Crib, he wrote the manga Old Boy, which was turned into a 2003 movie by Park Chan-wook and a 2013 remake by Spike Lee. He died on January 7. (Anime News Network

Bradford Dillman (1930-2018) - Actor. In addition to playing two different police captains in the Dirty Harry movies Sudden Impact and The Enforcer, he also co-starred in Escape from the Planet of the ApesThe Way We WerePiranhaThe Swarm and Compulsion. He died of complications from pneumonia on January 16. (The Guardian)

Louie Elias (1933-2017) - Stunt Person. He performed stunts for Dick TracySpartacusFlashdanceThe Apple Dumpling Gang Rides AgainThe Longest YardWestworldThe Wild BunchPlanet of the ApesBatman: The Movie and the original True Grit. He actually died on December 13. (THR)

Darlanne Fluegel (1953-2017) - Actress. Following a career in modeling, she co-starred in the movies Once Upon a Time in America, To Live and Die in L.A., Eyes of Laura MarsBattle Beyond the StarsPet Sematary II (see below) and 1986's Running Scared. She actually died on December 15. (THR)

Joel Freeman (1922-2018) - Producer. He produced Shaft, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Love at First Bite and Soapdish and also worked uncredited on Camelot and The Music Man. Earlier, he was the assistant director on classics such as Blackboard Jungle, Bad Day at Black Rock, Adam’s Rib and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. He died of Alzheimer’s disease on January 21. (Deadline)

Jackson Hunsicker (1948-2017) - Writer, Director. She wrote and directed the 1988 movie The Frog Prince and co-wrote the 1989 Agatha Christie adaptation Ten Little Indians. She actually died on December 29. (Variety)

Dorothy Malone (1924-2018) - Actress. She won an Oscar for her supporting role in Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind (pictured above, clip below) and also co-starred in The Big SleepBasic InstinctWarlockThe Last SunsetMan of a Thousand Faces, Colorado TerritoryBeach PartyWinter KillsArtists and Models and Sirk's The Tarnished Angels. She died on January 19. (Variety)

Terence Marsh (1931-2018) - Production Designer, Art Director. He won Oscars for his art direction for Doctor Zhivago and Oliver! and was nominated for Scrooge and Mary, Queen of Scots. His other movies include The Shawshank RedemptionThe Hunt for Red October, A Bridge Too Far, A Man for All Seasons, The Green Mile, Basic Instinct and, as an assistant art director, Lawrence of Arabia. He died of complications from cancer on January 9. (VarIety)

Rick McKay (1960-2018) - Documentary Filmmaker. He made the acclaimed documentary Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There and two sequels still due for release. He died on January 29. (Playbill

Warren Miller (1924-2018) - Filmmaker. He was a pioneer of ski films and other sports documentaries, including Cold FusionStormJourney and Snowriders. He died on January 24. (Variety)

John Morris (1926-2018) - Composer. He received Oscar nominations for his scores for Blazing Saddles and The Elephant Man (listen below). His other scores include those for the Mel Brooks movies The ProducersYoung FrankensteinHigh AnxietySilent Movie, The Twelve Chairs, Spaceballs, Life Stinks and History of the World Part I plus Clue, Ironweed, The In-Laws and Dirty Dancing. He died of a respiratory infection on January 25. (NYT)

Yosuke Natsuki (1936-2018) - Japanese Actor. He played Detective Shindo in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and also co-starred in YojimboThe H-ManShogun and The Return of Godzilla (aka Godzilla 1985). He also recently appeared in the documentary Mifune: The Last Samurai. He died on January 14. (Godzilla-Movies.com

Dolores O'Riordan (1971-2018) - Singer, Songwriter, Musician. As leader of the rock group The Cranberries, she appeared and performed in the movie Click. She died on January 15. (Variety)

Jean Porter (1922-2018) - Actress. She co-starred in Night and DayHellzapoppin'Abbott and Costello in HollywoodThe Left Hand of God and 1938's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. She died on January 13. (THR)

Donnelly Rhodes (1937-2018) - Canadian Actor. He co-starred in Tron: LegacyButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Snow Dogs. He died of cancer on January 8. (THR

Connie Sawyer (1912-2018) - Actress. After becoming an actress late in life, she appeared in the movies Pineapple ExpressDumb and DumberWhen Harry Met Sally...Something's Gotta GiveThe Bonfire of the Vanities, Foul Play, Out of Sight and the original True Grit. She died on January 21. (THR)

Allison Shearmur (1963-2018) - Producer. Her credits include the four Hunger Games movies, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Disney's live-action Cinderella (see her talk about the movie below), Power Rangers, What to Expect When You're Expecting, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story. She died of lung cancer on January 19. (Variety)

Tadashi Sawashima (1926-2018) - Japanese Filmmaker. He directed the Toshiro Mifune film Shinsengumi: Assassins of Honor. He died on January 27. (Sponichi)  

Ezra Swerdlow (1954-2018) - Producer, Production Manager. His credits include SpaceballsAlien 3The First Wives ClubZombieland, 21 Jump Street, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Arthur, The King of Comedy, The Smurfs and The Smurfs 2 and the Woody Allen movies Stardust Memories, Broadway Danny Rose, Radio Days, Zelig and Hannah and Her Sisters. He died from complications from pancreatic cancer and ALS on January 23. (Variety)

John Thompson (c.1946-2018) - Producer. As head of production at Millennium Films, he oversaw the Expendables and Mechanic movies, plus Olympus Has FallenLondon Has FallenThe Hitman's Bodyguard16 BlocksRamboBad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and many more. He died of leukemia on January 9. (THR)

Greta Thyssen (1927-2018) - Danish Actress. After doubling for Marilyn Monroe in Bus Stop, she made appearances on her own in the movies Journey to the Seventh PlanetTerror Is a Man, the Three Stooges short Sappy Bull Fighters and John Cassavetes's Shadows. She died of complications from pneumonia on January 6. (THR

Dave Toschi (1931-2018) - Police Inspector. Famous for being the chief investigator in the Zodiac Killer case, he was portrayed by Mark Ruffalo in David Fincher's Zodiac (see below), for which he also served as an advisor, and was the model for the lead characters in Bullitt and Dirty Harry. He also inspired the name of Tosche Station in Star Wars. He died on January 6. (NYT

Jerry Van Dyke (1931-2018) - Actor. Best known for his Emmy-winning role on TV's Coach (and as Dick Van Dyke's brother), he also appears in the movies McLintock! and The Courtship of Eddie's Father. He died of heart failure on January 5. (Variety)

Richard Venture (1923-2017) - Character Actor. He co-starred in Scent of a WomanAll the President's MenBeing ThereCourage Under FireHeartbreak RidgeNavy Seals and Looking for Mr. Goodbar. He actually died on December 19. (THR)

Shri Vallabh Vyas (1958-2018) - Indian Actor. He played one of the village cricket players in Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India and co-starred in SarfaroshBunty Aur Babli and Sankat City. He died on January 7. (Indian Express

Hugh Wilson (1943-2018) - Writer, Director, Producer. He co-wrote and directed the movies Police AcademyGuarding TessBlast from the Past and Dudley Do-Right, the last two of which he also produced. He also directed The First Wives Club and co-wrote Down Periscope and Stoker Ace. He died of lung cancer on January 14. (Variety)

Peter Wyngarde (1927-2018) - British Actor. He played the masked Klytus in Flash Gordon (see below) and also starred in The Innocents and Burn, Witch, Burn. He died on January 15. (Variety)

Cyrus Yavneh (1942-2018) - Producer. Best known for TV series 24 and Supernatural, his movies include Town & Country, It's Pat: The Movie and In the Army Now. He died of lung cancer on January 25. (THR)

Louis Zorich (1924-2018) - Best known for TV roles on Mad About You and Brooklyn Bridge, he also played the diner owner, Pete, in The Muppets Take Manhattan and co-starred in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Fiddler on the Roof. He died on January 30. (THR)

Categories: Obituaries, Features
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