Remembering George Kennedy, Douglas Slocombe and Other Reel-Important People We Lost in February

Remembering George Kennedy, Douglas Slocombe and Other Reel-Important People We Lost in February

Mar 02, 2016

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.

Joe Alaskey (1952-2016) - Voice Actor. He took over voicing Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck when Mel Blanc died and can be heard as those characters and more in the movie Looney Tunes: Back in Action, as well as many TV and video game works. He also voiced Yosemite Sam and Foghorn Leghorn in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (hear him below), President Nixon in Forrest Gump and Grandpa Lou Pickles in the Rugrats movies. His other film credits include Spaced Invaders and Casper. He died from cancer on February 3. (THR)

Alice Arlen (1940-2016) - Screenwriter. She received an Oscar nomination for co-writing Silkwood with Nora Ephron. She also worked with Ephron on the script for Cookie and wrote Louis Malle's Alamo Bay and co-wrote Kathryn Bigelow's The Weight of Water and Helen Hunt's Then She Found Me. She died on February 29. (NYT)

Max Aspin (?-2016) - Stunt Man. He coordinated stunts for Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (see his work below), for which he was Mel Gibson's double,  'Crocodile' DundeeSky Pirates and Howling III. He died on February 24. (Daily Mail)

Robert Beecher (1924-2016) - Character Actor. He appears in Barton FinkBugsyDick Tracy and Twin Falls Idaho. He died on February 12. (THR)

Tony Burton (1937-2016) - Actor. He's best known for playing Duke, Apollo's trainer, in six Rocky movies (see him in Rocky II below) and also appears in The ShiningAssault on Precinct 13HookStir Crazy and The Toy. He died from complications of pneumonia on February 25. (THR)

Scott Cosgrove (?-2016) - Stunt Man. He worked on Tron: LegacyThe Hunger Games300Rush Hour 3Live Free or Die HardSerenityLone Survivor and The Expendables 2. He died while climbing on February 24. (Rock and Ice)

Johnny Duncan (1923-2016) - Actor. He played Robin in the 1949 film serial Batman and Robin and also appears in SpartacusPlan 9 from Outer SpaceThe Caine MutinyThe Wild One, WhirlpoolThirty Seconds Over Tokyo and Summer Stock. He died on February 8. (THR

Umberto Eco (1932-2016) - Italian Author. His book The Name of the Rose became the 1986 movie of the same name. He died on February 19. (NYT)

Bob Elliott (1923-2016) - Comedian and Actor. Initially famous as one part of the comedy duo Bob and Ray, he later appeared in the movies Quick Change (see him in the trailer below), Author! Author!Kidco and Cabin Boy, which stars his son, Chris Elliott. He and Chris also starred together int he absurd sitcom Get a Life. His granddaughter is comedic actress Abby Elliott. He died from throat cancer on February 2. (Comic's Comic)

Margaret Forster (1938-2016) Author. She wrote the novel Georgy Girl, which was turned into the 1966 movie. She died on February 8. (THR)

George Gaynes (1917-2016) - Actor. Best known for playing Commandant Lassard in the Police Academy movies (see him in Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment below) and Henry on the TV series Punky Brewster. He also appears in TootsieAltered StatesThe Way We WereWag the Dog, Micki + Maude, the 1996 version of The Cruicible and the 1994 version of The Fantastic Four. He died on February 15. (Variety

Daniel Gerson (1966-2016) - Screenwriter. He co-wrote the screenplays for Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University and contributed to the writing of Big Hero 6CarsTangled Ever AfterChicken Little and the upcoming Cars 3. He also voiced characters in a few Disney movies. He died of brain cancer on February 6. (THR)

Gil Hill (1931-2016) - Actor. A real Detroit Police detective and politician, he famously played fictional Detroit Police Inspector Todd in the Beverly Hills Cop movies (see him in Beverly Hills Cop II below). He died on February 29. (Rhett Bartlett)

Norman Hudis (1922-2016) - Screenwriter. He was the primary writer on the first six Carry On... movies and also worked on the 1980s sex comedies Snowballing and Hot Resort and the Man From U.N.C.L.E. feature How to Steal the World. He died on February 8. (BBC)

Bayard Johnson (c.1952/1953-2016) - Screenwriter. He co-wrote the 1990s movies Tarzan and the Lost CityThe Second Jungle Book: Mowgli & Baloo. He died from cancer on February 10. (THR)

Tommy Kelly (1925-2016) - Child Star. He played the lead in the 1938 version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (see below) and also appears in Gone With the Wind, The West Point Story Battleground and He Walked by Night. He died of congestive heart failure on January 26. (THR)

George Kennedy (1925-2016) - Actor. He won an Oscar for his supporting role in Cool Hand Luke. He's also memorable in the Airport movies, The Dirty Dozen, EarthquakeThunderbolt and Lightfoot, CharadeBolero, the original version of The Flight of the PhoenixMcHale's NavyThe Delta ForceChattanooga Choo Choo and Creepshow 2. He also appears uncredited in Spartacus and voiced characters in Small Soldiers and Cats Don't Dance. He died on February 28. (TMZ)

Harper Lee (1926-2016) - Author. She wrote and won a Pulitzer Prize for To Kill a Mockingbird, which was turned into an iconic film. She was portrayed by Catherine Keener in Capote (see below) and by Sandra Bullock in Infamous. She died on February 19. (NYT)

Brock Little (1967-2016) - Surfer and Stunt Man. He worked on many of Michael Bay's movies, including Pearl HarborThe IslandTransformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Transformers: Dark of the Moon, as well as BattleshipTropic ThunderSoul SurferLords of DogtownTraining DayThe RundownLive Free or Die Hard and 2014's Godzilla. He also appears in surfing in the documentaries The Endless Summer 2 and Billabong Odyssey. He died from cancer on February 18. (Surfer)

Alethea McGrath (1920-2016) - Actress. She played Jocasta Nu in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (see below) and also appears in Knowing and Irresistible. She died on February 9. (Star Wars Underworld)

Johnny Murphy (1943-2016) - Musician and Actor. He played Joey "The Lips" in The Commitments and also appears in Angela's Ashes, Into the West and An Awfully Big Adventure. He died from respiratory failure on February 23. (The Irish Times)

Don Owen (1931-2016) - Canadian Filmmaker. Working for the National Film Board, he made narrative and documentary films, including Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen, which he co-directed. He died on February 21. (The Canadian Press)

Jean Rabier (1927-2016) - Cinematographer. He shot dozens of Claude Chabrol's films, including Le BoucherThis Man Must DieThe Unfaithful WifeMadame BovaryStory of Women and Les Biches and worked as a camera operator on his films Le Beau Serge and Les Cousins. Other films he shot include Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (see his work in the trailer below) and Agnes Varda's Cleo from 5 to 7 and Le Bonheur and worked on Francois Truffaut's The 400 Blows, Louis Malle's Elevator to the Gallows, Jean-Pierre Melville's Leon Morin, Priest and Rene Clement's Purple Noon. He died on February 15. (THR)

Louise Rennison (1951-2016) - Author. Her books Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and It's OK, I'm Wearing Really Big Knickers were jointly adapted as the movie Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging. She died on February 29. (BBC)

Douglas Slocombe (1913-2016) - Cinematographer. He received Oscar nominations for shooting Raiders of the Lost ArkJulia and Travels with My Aunt. His other movies include Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last CrusadeThe Lion in WinterJesus Christ Superstar, the original Rollerball, the original The Italian Job, the 1974 version of The Great GatsbyThe Blue MaxGuns at BatasiThe ServantNever Say Never Again, The Lavendar Hill MobKind Hearts and CoronetsThe Pirates of Penzance and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, for which he shot the India sequence. He died from complications following a fall on February 22. Watch a short documentary about him below. (THR)

Vanity (1959-2016) - Actress and Singer. After starting out in the music industry as Prince's protege, she began acting in such movies as Action Jackson (see below), Terror TrainThe Last Dragon and 52 Pick-Up before quitting to devote her life to Christ. She also can be heard on movie soundtracks such as Beverly Hills Cop. She died of renal failure on February 15. (Cocoa Fab)

Andrzej Zulawski (1940-2016) - Polish Filmmaker. His films include Possession (watch the trailer below), The Most Important Thing: Love, Love at TwentyFidelityMy Nights Are More Beautiful Than Your DaysThe Third Part of the NightCosmosOn the Silver GlobeThe Devil and The Night of the Generals. He died on February 17. (Fandor)




Categories: Obituaries
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