Remembering Burt Reynolds, 'Star Wars' Producer Gary Kurtz and More Reel-Important People We Lost in September

Remembering Burt Reynolds, 'Star Wars' Producer Gary Kurtz and More Reel-Important People We Lost in September

Oct 04, 2018

Reel-Important People is a monthly column that highlights those individuals in or related to the movies that 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.

Perry Miller Adato (1920-2018) - Documentary Filmmaker. She primarily directed artist-focused biographical documentaries, including the Emmy-nominated Picasso: A Painter's Diary and the American Masters entries Eugene O'Neill: A Glory of Ghosts and Alfred Stieglitz: The Eloquent Eye, plus Georgia O'Keefe and Gertrude Stein: When This You See, Remember Me. She died on September 16. (NYT)

Marty Balin (1942-2018) - Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist. One of the founders, front-persons and main songwriters for the bands Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, he can be heard on many soundtracks and is seen performing in The Star Wars Holiday Special (see below) and the famed documentaries Monterey Pop, Gimme Shelter, Fillmore and 1 P.M. He died on September 27. (THR)


Andre Blay (1937-2018) - VHS pioneer, Producer. His company Magnetic Video was the first to put movies on video cassette. Later he was CEO of 20th Century Fox Video and Embassy Home Entertainment. He executive produced the movies They Live, Village of the Damned, Prince of Darkness and the 1988 remake of The Blob, and he appears in the documentary Rewind This!. He died on August 24. (THR)

Anthony Barnao (1953-2018) - Casting Director. He cast mostly horror movies, including Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Troll, Ghoulies and Ghoulies II and Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator, Dolls, From Beyond and Dagon plus Robot Jox. He died on September 11. (THR

Beverly Bentley (1930-2018) - Actress. She starred in A Face in the Crowd, C.H.U.D., Scent of a Mystery, Point of Departure and The Golden Boys. She died on September 14. (Cape Cod Times)

Pasquale Buba (1946-2018) - Editor. He edited many of George A. Romero's movies, including Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Creepshow, The Dark Half (watch him discuss the movie below), Monkey Shines, Martin and Knightriders, for which he also served as first assistant director. He also cut Michael Mann's Heat, Al Pacino's Looking for Richard, Johnny Depp's The Brave and was an additional editor on Martin Scorsese's Casino and Gangs of New York. He died of cancer on September 12. (THR)


Lydia Clarke (1923-2018) - Actress. She starred in The Atomic City and co-starred alongside husband Charlton Heston in The Omega Man, The Greatest Show on Earth, Will Penny, Bad for Each Other and Mother Lode, which Heston co-directed. She died on September 3. (THR)

Peter Donat (1928-2018) - Actor. He starred in The Deep End and Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains and appears in The Godfather Part II, Tucker: The Man and His DreamThe Babe, The GameThe China Syndrome and School Ties, in which he played Headmaster Bartram (see below). He died of diabetes on September 10. (THR)


John M. Dwyer (1926-2018) - Set Decorator. He earned an Oscar nomination for his set decoration for Coal Miner's Daughter but he was best known for his work on the Star Trek series and movies, including the original show and the features Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek: Generations, Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection. He also did set decoration for Jaws, Jaws: The Revenge, The Thing, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Beverly Hills Cop, Rocky V, Patriot Games and Alien: Resurrection. He died of complications from Parkinson's disease on September 15. (THR)

Liz Fraser (1930-2018) - British Actress. She was famous for playing ditzy blondes in movies, including many in the Carry On franchise, among them Carry On Cruising and Carry On Behind. She also appears in I'm All Right Jack, The Americanization of Emily, The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle and 1958's Dunkirk. Watch a montage of her roles below. She died on September 6. (THR)


Stephen Jeffreys (1950-2018) - Screenwriter. He co-wrote the biopic Diana and adapted his own play for the movie version of The Libertine. He died on September 17. (The Guardian)

Carlotta Florio Johnson (c.1951-2018) - Studio Executive. She worked for Michael Eisner, Scott Rudin, Paramount, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures, AMC, USA Films, as a Vice President at Columbia Pictures and as head of the awards department for Focus Features. She died of a stroke on September 19. (THR)

Kirin Kiki (1943-2018) - Japanese Actress. She starred as the matriarch of this year's Cannes Palme d'Or winner Shoplifters as well as more films by Hirokazu Koreeda, including Still Walking, Our Little Sister, After the Storm (see below) and Like Father, Like Son. She also starred in the 2002 action movie Returner and voiced a character in the original Japanese-language version of the animated feature The Secret World of Arrietty. She died on September 15. (THR)


Gary Kurtz (1940-2018) - Producer. He received Oscar nominations for producing the George Lucas movies American Graffiti and Star Wars. He also produced the first Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, before ending his work on the franchise and his collaboration with Lucas. His other movies as a producer include The Dark Crystal, Return to Oz and the animated feature The Thief and the Cobbler. He died of cancer on September 23. (THR)

Christopher Lawford (1955-2018) - Actor. The son of actor Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy, he co-starred in Blankman, The 6th Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, The Doors, Exit Wounds, The Russia House (see below) and Thirteen Days, which is about his uncles, John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. He died of a heart attack on September 5. (THR)


Marceline Loridan-Ivens (1928-2018) - Documentary Filmmaker. With husband Joris Ivens, she co-directed 17th Parallel: Vietnam in War and A Tale of the Wind and appears in Jean Rouch's Chronicle of a Summer and Jean-Luc Godard's In Praise of Love. She died on September 18. (France24)

Roger Mainwood (1953-2018) - Animator. He directed the animated feature Ethel & Ernest and was an animator on Heavy Metal, The Snowman and When the Wind Blows. His death was reported in September. (Screen Daily)

Joe Masteroff (1919-2018) - Playwright. He wrote the book for the musical Cabaret, which was adapted into a Best Picture nominee in 1972. He died on September 28. (THR)

Al Matthews (1942-2018) - Actor. The former U.S. Marine famously played Sergeant Apone, one of the Colonial Marines, in Aliens (see below). He also co-starred in The Fifth Element, Tomorrow Never Dies, Superman III and Ragtime. He died on September 22. (AVP Galaxy)


Mac Miller (1992-2018) - Rapper. Mostly known for his music career, he also acted in the movie Scary Movie 5. He died of a drug overdose on September 7. (THR)

Laurie Mitchell (1928-2018) - Actress, Model. The former pinup model is best known for playing the Venusian villain Queen Yllana in Queen of Outer Space. She also starred in Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Some Like It Hot, Calypso Joe, A New Kind of Love, Missile to the Moon and Lord Love a Duck. She died on September 20. (THR)

Gamil Ratib (1926-2018) - Egyptian-French Actor. He co-starred in Lawrence of Arabia, Trapeze and El-Keif. He died on September 19. (Egyptian Streets)

Burt Reynolds (1936-2018) - Actor, Director. One of the biggest movie icons of the 1970s and 1980s, Reynolds was best known for his lead roles in the Smokey and the Bandit movies (see below), The Cannonball Run and its sequel and Deliverance before becoming a TV star. He later earned an Oscar nomination for his supporting performance in Boogie Nights (pictured above). His other movies include The Longest Yard, Switching Channels, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, The Dukes of Hazzard, Driven, Hooper, City Heat and the animated feature All Dogs Go to Heaven. He also directed himself in Gator, Sharky's Machine, StickThe End and The Last Producer. He died of a heart attack on September 6. See our celebration of his best movies on Fandango.


Thomas Rickman (1940-2018) - Screenwriter. He earned an Oscar nomination for his adapted screenplay for Coal Miner's Daughter. He also co-wrote Hooper. He died of cancer on September 3. (THR)

Roger Robinson (19 - 2018) - Actor. He starred in Brother to Brother, Meteor, Who's the Man? and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. He died on September 26. (THR)

Jeb Rosebrook (1935-2018) - Screenwriter. He co-wrote Disney's The Black Hole and wrote the Steve McQueen Western Junior Bonner. He actually died on August 31. (THR)

Frank Serafine (c.1953-2018) - Sound Designer, Sound Editor. He created the sound design and/or effects for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Tron, Short Circuit and Short Circuit 2, The Fog, Flight of the Navigator, The Hunt for Red October, Field of Dreams and The Sword and the Sorcerer. He died on September 12. (Variety)

Kenny Shopsin (1942-2018) - Chef, Restaurateur. A unique personality with unique methods and menu items, Shopsin owned and was the head cook at various incarnations of Shopsin's General Store, for which he was documented in the movie I Like Killing Flies (see below). He died on September 2. (The New Yorker)


Linda Wohl (1952-2018) - Studio Executive. As a major player on Paramount's music legal team for decades, she is best remembered for her work in the compilation of the songs for the Forrest Gump soundtrack. She died on September 23. (THR)

Jack N. Young (1926-2018) - Stunt Performer, Location Manager. He doubled for Clark Gable in The Misfits and Rock Hudson in Winchester '73. His other movies as a stuntman include Rio Bravo, Rio Lobo, The Searchers, The Alamo, High Noon, How the West Was Won, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Hondo, Forty Guns and the original 3:10 to Yuma. He later did location scouting and managing for such movies as Cannonball Run II, The Wraith and Kidco and acted in a small part in Midnight Run. He died on September 12. (THR)

Zhu Xu (1930-2018) - Chinese Actor, Performance Artist. He starred in Zhang Yang's Shower, as well as The King of Masks (see below), The Message, Lan, Gua Sha Treatment and The True-Hearted. He died on September 15. (CGTN)




Categories: Features, Obituaries
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