Remembering Milos Forman, Verne Troyer, R. Lee Ermey and More Reel-Important People We Lost in April

Remembering Milos Forman, Verne Troyer, R. Lee Ermey and More Reel-Important People We Lost in April

May 01, 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.

Harry Anderson (1952-2018) - Actor. Best known for his lead role on TV's Night Court, he also starred in the movies A Matter of Faith, The Escape Artist and Mother Goose Rock ' Rhyme and played the role of the adult Richie in the 1990 It miniseries. He died of a cardioembolic cerebrovascular accident complicated by influenza on April 16. (WLOS)

Michael Anderson (1920-2018) - Director. He was nominated for an Oscar for helming the 1956 version of Around the World in 80 Days. His other movies include Logan's RunSummer of the MonkeysOrcaThe Dam BustersThe New Adventures of PinocchioMillenniumThe Wreck of the Mary Deare and the 1956 version of 1984. He also acted in the movie In Which We Serve and as an assistant director on numerous movies early in his career, including Peter Ustinov's Vice Versa. Anderson died on April 25. (Variety)

Susan Anspach (1942-2018) - Actress. She co-starred in Five Easy Pieces (see below), MontenegroThe LandlordThe Big FixBlume in Love and Play It Again, Sam. She died of coronary failure on April 2. (Variety)

Gerald Ayres (1936-2018) - Writer, Producer. He co-wrote Rich and Famous, wrote and produced Foxes and produced The Last Detail and Cisco Pike. He died on April 7. (THR)

Art Bell (1945-2018) - Radio Host, Author. He co-wrote the book The Coming Global Superstorm, which was the basis for the disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow. He also appears as himself in the movie I Know Who Killed Me. He died on April 13. (NYT)

Steven Bochco (1943-2018) - Writer, Producer. Mostly known as a legendary TV series creator (Hill Street BluesNYPD Blue), he also co-wrote the movies The Counterfeit Killer and Silent Running. He died of complications from leukemia on April 1. (Variety)

Charles Bohl (1958-2018) - Writer. He co-wrote the screenplays for Swimfan and He's My Girl. He died of a heart attack on April 18. (Deadline)

Philip D'Antoni (1929-2018) - Producer. He won an Oscar for producing 1971 Best Picture winner The French Connection (see his win below). He also produced Bullitt and The Seven-Ups, which he also directed. He died of kidney failure on April 15. (Variety)

Stephen Del Bagno (1983-2018) - U.S. Air Force Pilot. One of the USAF Thunderbirds demo squadron pilots, he also served as a consultant on the upcoming movie Captain Marvel. He died in an F-16 jet crash on April 4. (Variety/Marvel)

Barbara Dodd (1930-2018) - Actress, Casting Agent. She acted in movies and on TV since childhood in the 1930s through last year. Her recent film credits include Employee of the Month and Big Stan. As a casting director, her film credits include Spaced Invaders. She actually died on March 8. (THR)

R. Lee Ermey (1944-2018) - Actor. After serving as a technical advisor and making appearances in the war movies Apocalypse Now and The Boys in Company C, the actual Marines gunnery sergeant and drill instructor broke out with his iconic performance as Senior Drill Instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket. He later played parodies of this role in The Frighteners (see below) and as the voice of the toy army sergeant in the Toy Story movies. He also appears memorably in Se7enDead Man WalkingMississippi BurningFletch Lives and the Willard and Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakes. Ermey also advised on the set of An Officer and a Gentleman. He died of pneumonia on April 15. (THR)

Milos Forman (1932-2018) - Czech-American Filmmaker. He won Oscars for Best Director for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus and was nominated again for The People vs. Larry Flynt. He also made the Czech classics The Firemen's Ball and The Loves of a Blonde and the movies Man on the Moon (pictured at the top), HairRagtimeValmontGoya's Ghosts and Taking Off. He acted in the movies Heartburn and Keeping the Faith. He died on April 13. (Variety)

Eugene Francis (1917-2018) - Actor. He starred as Algy in four East Side Kids movies in the 1940s. He died on April 10. (THR)

Pamela Gidley (1965-2018) - Actress. She co-starred in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with MeMafia!The Little VampireCherry 2000S.F.W.Dudes and Thrashin'. She died on April 16. (THR)

Larry Harvey (1948-2018) - Artist and Activist. As co-founder of Burning Man, he appears in the documentaries Spark: A Burning Man StoryBurning Man: Beyond Black RockDust & IllusionsRites of Passage and Burning Man: The Burning Sensation. He died of a stroke on April 28. (Variety)

Mary Hatcher (1929-2018) - Actress. She starred in Till the Clouds Roll ByTales of Robin HoodIsn't It Romantic?Holiday in HavanaThe Big Wheel and Variety Girl (pictured right). 

Gertrude Jeannette (1914-2018) - Actress. She appears in the movies ShaftCotton Comes to Harlem and Black Girl. She died on April 4. (Harlem World)

Chuck McCann (1934-2018) - Comedian, Actor. He reprised his cartoon voice roles of Leatherneck and Duckworth, respectively, in the animated features G.I. Joe: The Movie and DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp and also voiced a character in The World of Hans Christian Andersen, which he co-directed. He portrayed W.C. Fields in the TV biopic Mae West and appears in Foul Play and the Mel Brooks movies Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Dracula: Dead and Loving It and Silent Movie, plus the documentary The Aristocrats. He died of congestive heart failure on April 8. (Variety)

Donald McKayle (1930-2018) - Dancer, Choreographer. His movie credits as a choreographer include The Jazz SingerThe Great White Hope and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. He died on April 6. (AP)

Ron Medico (1947-2018) - Editor. His movie credits include Alligator and The Lady in Red. He died on April 12. (THR)

William Nack (1941-2018) - Writer. His book Secretariat: The Making of a Champion was the basis for the movie Secretariat. He also consulted on the movie and appears on screen as a reporter. He was good friends with Roger Ebert and appears in the documentary Life Itself. He died of cancer on April 13. (THR)

Tim O'Connor (1927-2018) - Actor. He was best known for TV work, but he also appears in the movies The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of FearSssssssAcross 110th Street and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, after which he reprised his role of Dr. Elias Hauer on the Buck Rogers TV series. He died on April 5. (THR)

Soon-Tek Oh (1932-2018) - Korean Actor. He voiced the role of Mulan's father, Fa Zhou in Disney's Mulan and Mulan 2. He also co-starred as Lietenant Hip in the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun and appears in Beverly Hills Ninja and The Final Countdown. He died of complications from Alzheimer's disease on April 4. (Variety)

Arthur B. Rubinstein (1938-2018) - Composer. He scored the movies WarGames, Blue Thunder, Demolition, Pride, Radio Days, Stakeout, Another Stakeout, Lost in America, The Best of Times, Nick of Time and L'auberge Espagnole. He died of cancer on April 23. (Variety)

Kirk Simon (1954-2018) - Documentary Filmmaker. He won an Oscar for co-directing the 2010 documentary short Strangers No More. He also was previously nominated as co-director of the documentary shorts Rehearsing a Dream and Chimps: So Like Us and for producing Amram Nowak's 1987 documentary feature Isaac in America: A Journey with Isaac Bashevis Singer. His other documentaries as a director include Buckminster Fuller: Thinking Out Loud and The Pulitzer at 100. He died on April 14. (NYT)

John Stride (1936-2018) - British Actor. He co-starred in the original version of The OmenA Bridge Too FarBranniganBitter Harvest and Oh Heavenly Dog. He died on April 20. (The Telegraph)

Isao Takahata (1935-2018) - Japanese Animator. He earned an Oscar nomination for his 2013 animated feature The Tale of The Princess Kagaya. He was one of the founding members of Studio Ghibli, where he also made the classic animated films Grave of the FirefliesPom PokoMy Neighbors the Yamadas and Only Yesterday and the short Panda! Go Panda!. He served as a producer on Hayao Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Michael Dudok de Wit's The Red Turtle and was musical director on Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service. He also appears in the Studio Ghibli documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness. He died of lung cancer on April 5. (Little White Lies)

Vittorio Taviani (1929-2018) - Italian Filmmaker. With his brother, he wrote and directed the movies Caesar Must DieThe Night of the Shooting StarsPadre PadroneKaosThe Lark Farm and Good Morning Babylon, among many others. He died on April 15. (Variety)

Verne Troyer (1969-2018) - Actor. Best known for his role as Mini-Me in the Austin Powers movies (see below), he also co-starred in Pinocchio's RevengeThe Love GuruBubble BoyMen in Black,  The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. He appears in and performed stunts for Jingle All the Way and also did stunts for Volcano and Baby's Day Out. He died on April 21. (Variety)

Paul Junger Witt (1943-2018) - Producer. He was nominated for an Oscar for producing Dead Poets Society. His other movie credits include Three Kings, A Better Life, Mixed Nuts, Brian's Song, Final Analysis and Christopher Nolan's Insomnia. He died of cancer on April 27. (THR)

Ralph Woolsey (1914-2018) - Cinematographer. Best known for his TV work, including episodes of Batman and Maverick, he also shot the movies The Great SantiniThe MackThe Iceman Cometh and Oh, God! Book II. He also shot second unit for Silver Streak. He actually died on March 23. (THR)




Categories: Features, Obituaries
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