Remembering James Avery, Pete Seeger, Saul Zaentz and Other Reel-Important People We Lost This Month

Remembering James Avery, Pete Seeger, Saul Zaentz and Other Reel-Important People We Lost This Month

Jan 31, 2014

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.


Luis Avalos (1954-2014) - Character actor best known for TV's The Electric Company. He also appears in the movies Stir CrazyThe Ringer and Jungle 2 Jungle. He died on January 22. (THR)

James Avery (1945-2013) - Actor best known for playing Uncle Phil on TV's The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and voicing Shredder on the animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. His movie work includes The Blues BrothersFletchArlington RoadLicense to Drive and Dr. Dolittle 2. He died after complications from open-heart surgery on December 31. (BuzzFeed)

Amiri Baraka (1934-2014) - Author, playwright and poet who adapted his own plays Dutchman and A Fable for the screen. He also appears in the movie Bullworth and the documentaries ObsceneChisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed and William S. Burroughs: A Man Within. He died on January 9. (NYT)

Martin S. Bergmann (1913-2014) - Renowned psychologist and professor who appears in Crimes and Misdemeanors (see below), Schindler's List and the documentary The Century of the Self. He died on January 22. (NYT)

Ruth Robinson Duccini (1918-2014) - Diminutive actress who played one of the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz and appears in Under the Rainbow. She died on January 16. (THR)

Phil Everly (1939-2014) - One half of the Everly Brothers, whose many hit songs have been soundtrack staples. He also appears performing one tune in Every Which Way but Loose. He died of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on January 3. (LAT)

Bernard Glasser (1924-2014) - Producer of Return of the Fly (see below), Crack in the World and the 1964 version of The Thin Red Line. He died on January 2. (THR)

Roberto Guerra (1942-2014) - Codirector of the documentaries Design Is One: The Vignellis and Langlois. He died of pancreatic cancer on January 10. (First Run Features)

James Jacks (1948-2014) - Producer of The MummyDazed and ConfusedMallratsRaising Arizona and Tombstone. He died of a heart attack on January 20. (Variety)

Miklós Jancsó (1921-2014) - Hungarian filmmaker whose Red Psalm (see below) won him the best director award at Cannes in 1972. His other films include The Red and the WhiteThe Round-Up and Lord's Lantern in Budapest. He also appears in the documentary Henri Langlois: The Phantom of the Cinémathèque. He died on January 31. (Fandor)

Russell Johnson (1924-2014) - Actor best known as the Professor on Gilligan's Island. He also appears in the movies Three Days of the CondorThis Island Earth and It Came from Outer Space. He died on January 16. (CNN)

Barbara Lawrence (1928-2014) - Actress who played Gertie in Oklahoma! and appears in A Letter to Three WivesUnfaithfully Yours (see below) and Thieves' Highway. She died of kidney failure back on November 13. (THR)

Larry D. Mann (1922-2014) - Actor who voiced the character Yukon Cornelius in Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He also appears in The StingBullitt and In the Heat of the Night. He died on January 6. (THR

Riz Ortolani (1926-2014) - Composer who earned Oscar nominations in the Best Original Song category for "More" from Mondo Cane and "Till Love Touches Your Life" from Madron. He also cowrote the title song for Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell and Tarantino favorite "I giorni dell'ira" from Day of Anger (listen below) and composed the scores for The Yellow Rolls-Royce, The Hunting Party and Cannibal Holocaust. He died of complications from surgery on January 23. (NYT)

Alicia Rhett (1915-2014) - Actress who played one of Ashley's sisters in Gone with the Wind. She died on January 3. (THR)

Ted Richmond (1910-2013) - Producer of PapillonRed SunReturn of the SevenThe Fifth Musketeer and The Cimarron Kid. He died on December 23. (Variety)

Pete Seeger (1919-2014) - Folk singer who appears as himself in Alice's Restaurant (see below) and the documentaries The Ballad of Ramblin' JackNo Direction Home: Bob DylanPhil Ochs: There but for Fortune and Pete Seeger: The Power of Song. He died on January 27. (NYT)

Sir Run Run Shaw (1907-2014) - Cofounder of the Shaw Brothers Studio and producer of numerous influential kung fu and wuxia features, including The 36th Chamber of ShaolinFive Deadly Venoms and Five Fingers of Death plus U.S. productions like Blade RunnerMeteor and Cannonball! He died on January 7. (THR)

Richard Shepherd (1927-2014) - Producer of Breakfast at Tiffany'sVolunteers and The Hunger. He died on January 14. (THR)

Tom Sherak (1945-2014) - Former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a studio exec who worked at Paramount, Fox and Revolution. Movies he's credited as a producer on include Jet Li's The One and Rent. He also appears in the documentaries Clarkworld and Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel. He died of prostate cancer on January 28. (NYT

Michael Sporn (1946-2014) - Animator who earned an Oscar nomination for his 1984 short Doctor DeSoto (see below). He was best known for adapting children's books, including Goodnight Moon, but he also worked on Richard Williams' Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure and did title animations for the movies Desperately Seeking SusanMaking Mr. Right and Running on Empty. He died of pancreatic cancer on January 19. (NYT)

Saul Zaentz (1921-2014) - Producer who won Best Picture Oscars for AmadeusThe English Patient and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. He also received the Irving G. Thalberg Memoirial Award in 1997. His other movies include The Unbearable Lightness of BeingGoya's Ghost and the 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings. He died on January 3. (Variety)

 

 

 

 

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