Remembering Chuck Berry, Chuck Barris and More Reel-Important People We Lost in March

Remembering Chuck Berry, Chuck Barris and More Reel-Important People We Lost in March

Apr 04, 2017

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.


Lola Albright (1924-2017) - Actress, Singer. A regular on TV's Peter Gunn, she also appears in the movies Easter ParadeThe PirateChampion, The Way West, The Tender Trap, Joy House, Lord Love a DuckThe Monolith Monsters and Kid Galahad. She died on March 23. (THR)

Chuck Barris (1929-2017) - Game Show Host, Producer, Director, Songwriter, Author. He created The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game and The Gong Show, hosting the latter, and wrote the theme songs to both. He also directed and starred in The Gong Show Movie, and his autobiography was the basis of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, in which he's portrayed by Sam Rockwell. He died on March 21. (THR)

Chuck Berry (1926-2017) - Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist. He's the star of the classic concert film Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll (see below) and the musical Go, Johnny, Go, and he appears in Jazz on a Summer's DayClass Reunion (pictured above), The T.A.M.I. ShowAmerican Hot WaxRock Rock Rock! and Let the Good Times Roll. He was also portrayed by Mos Def in Cadillac Records, and he has a prominent invisible, non-participatory role in Back to the Future. He died on March 18. (NYT)

Sheila Bond (1928-2017) - Actress. Mostly known for her Tony-winning stage work, she also co-starred in the movie The Marrying Kind and appears in The Spirit of St. Louis and Broadway Danny Rose. She died on March 25. (THR)

Jimmy Breslin (1928-2017) - Writer. His novel The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight was turned into a 1971 movie and he appears as himself in Son of Sam and the documentaries William Kunstler: Disturbing the UniverseCrazy LoveThe Battle Over Citizen Kane and Trump: What's the Deal? He died of pneumonia on March 19. (THR)

Darlene Cates (1947-2017) - Actress. She is best known for her film debut as the obese mother in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (see below). She died on March 26. (Variety)

Miriam Colon (1936-2017) - Puerto Rican Actress. She is best known for playing Al Pacino's mother in Scarface (see below). She also appears in Goal! The Dream BeginsGoal II: Living the Dream, Goal IIIAll the Pretty HorsesOne-Eyed Jacks and the Sabrina remake. She died on March 3. (THR)

Robert Day (1922-2017) - British Filmmaker. He directed Two Way StretchSheCorridors of BloodThe Haunted Strangler and four 1960s Tarzan movies: Tarzan the MagnificentTarzan and the Valley of GoldTarzan's Three Challenges and Tarzan and the Great River. Earlier he worked as a camera operator on the 1956 adaptation of 1984 and An Inspector Calls. He died on March 17. (THR)

Jack H. Harris (1918-2017) Producer. His movies include The Blob and its remake and its sequel, Beware! The Blob, as well as EquinoxSchlockDark StarEyes of Laura MarsMaster of Horror and Prison Ship. He died on March 14. (THR)

Christine Kaufmann (1945-2017) - Austrian Actress. She won a Golden Globe for most promising newcomer of 1961 for Town Without Pity. She also starred in Bagdad Cafe, Taras Bulba (with eventual husband Tony Curtis, see below), Madchen in UniformThe Last Days of Pompeii and Rainer Werner Fassbinder's LolaWorld on a Wire and Lili Marleen. She died of leukemia on March 28. (THR)

Scott Lew (1968-2017) - Screenwriter, Director, Producer. He wrote and directed Bickford Shmeckler's Cool Ideas from a wheelchair because he had ALS, and he also wrote and produced Aberration and produced Let's Go to Prison. He is the subject of the documentaries Living with Lew and Jujitsuing Reality (see below). He actually died of ALS on February 25. (THR)

Antonio Llorens (1940-2017) - Spanish Producer, Distributor. He was a distributor in Spain for Miramax, and his movie credits as a producer include BarcelonaWomen on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Baton Rouge. He died on March 19. (THR)

Lawrence Montaigne (1931-2017) - Actor. He co-starred in The Great EscapeThe Band WagonEscape to Witch Mountain and the original Star Trek TV series. He died on March 17. (THR)

Sol Negrin (1929-2017) - Cinematographer. He mostly worked in television, but he also shot The Concert for Bangladesh and did some supplemental cinematography work on Superman, Jaws 2RoboCop and Coming to America and he was a camera operator for Across 110th StreetWhere's Poppa?Clean and Sober and Frankenstein Meets the Spacemonster (watch him teach a cinematography masterclass below). He died on March 20. (THR)

Robin O'Hara (1954-2017) - Producer. An important figure of the New York independent film scene, her movie credits include Harmony Korine's Gummo and Julian Donkey-Boy, as well as Raising Victor VargasIdlewildHow to Lose Friends & Alienate People and more. She died on March 14. (IndieWire

Robert Osborne (1932-2017) - Film Historian, TV Host. He was the face of Turner Classic Movies, for which he introduced films and hosted programs and interviews on the cable network (see the TCM tribute below). He also acted in Spartacus and Psycho and appears in the documentaries Tab Hunter Confidential and And the Oscar Goes To... He died on March 6. (THR)

Richard A. Roth (1940-2017) - Producer, Actor. He produced Summer of '42Our TimeThe Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother and Outland and appears in the movies Young FrankensteinThe World's Greatest LoverJohnny Dangerously and In God We Tru$t. He died on March 17. (THR)

Jean Rouverol (1916-2017) - Screenwriter, Actress. Before being blacklisted in the 1950s for being a member of the Communist Party, she co-wrote So Young So Bad and starred in Stage DoorIt's a GiftPrivate WorldsBar 20 Rides Again and more. After being blacklisted, she co-wrote Autumn Leaves, The Legend of Lylah ClareThe First TimeThe Miracle and A Face in the Rain (watch a great WGA interview below). She died on March 24. (THR)

David Storey (1933-2017) - British Screenwriter. He wrote the Lindsay Anderson movies The Sporting Life, which is based on his own novel, and In Celebration, which is based on his own play, and appears in Anderson's Is That All There Is? He died on March 27. (THR)

Janine Sutto (1921-2017) - Canadian Actress. Her movies include CongoramaLes Boys III and Kamouraska. She died March 28. (THR)

Bill Swearingen (1937-2017) - Camera Operator. His movie credits include GreaseAirportEarthquakeWill Penny and The Supernaturals. He also appears as a cameraman in Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. He actually died on February 15. (THR)

Tony Terran (1926-2017) - Trumpet Player. He was best known for being in Desi Arnaz's orchestra on I Love Lucy and a member of the session band The Wrecking Crew, but he also was a soloist on the Close Encounters of the Third Kind score (hear the most iconic part of that score in the scene below) and played on the scores of The Car and Enter the Dragon. He died on March 20. (THR)

Robert James Waller (1939-2017) - Author. His novel The Bridges of Madison County became a 1995 movie, and his novel Puerto Vallarta Squeeze was turned into a movie in 2004. He died of cancer on March 10. (THR)

Allen Weiss (c.1927-2017) - Screenwriter. He wrote or co-wrote the Elvis movies Blue HawaiiGirls! Girls! Girls!Fun in AcapulcoRoustabout, Paradise Hawaiian Style and Easy Come, Easy Go, plus the John Wayne Western The Sons of Katie Elder. He died on March 23. (THR)

Bernie Wrightson (1948-2017) - Comic Book Artist, Creature Designer. He co-created the title character of Swamp Thing and its sequel, The Return of Swamp Thing, for DC Comics. Swamp Thing is also in the new animated feature Justice League Dark. He also created the title character of the "Captain Sternn" segment of Heavy Metal for the magazine of the same name. Specifically for movies, he designed the creature for The Mist, consulted on designs for Ghostbusters (see him discuss his work in detail below) and worked on Space Truckers, Creepshow, Land of the Dead, Thir13een Ghosts and Galaxy Quest. He died of brain cancer on March 18. (Heroic Hollywood)

 

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Categories: Obituaries
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