Remembering Richard Griffiths, Don Payne, Michael D. Moore and More Reel-Important People We Lost This Month

Remembering Richard Griffiths, Don Payne, Michael D. Moore and More Reel-Important People We Lost This Month

Mar 29, 2013

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.


Edward Bland (1926-2013) - Composer and filmmaker who wrote, directed and produced the 1959 short documentary The Cry of Jazz, which is on the National Film Registry for historical significance. He was also involved with Herbie Hancock's scoring of Norman Jewison's A Soldier's Story. He died March 14.(NYT)

Hugo Chávez (1954-2013) - Venezuelan president, who recently appeared in Oliver Stone's South of the Border (watch a deleted scene from the DVD below), Emir Kusturica's Maradona by Kusturica and Joe Berlinger's Crude. Other docs he appears in include The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (aka Chavez: Inside the Coup) and The War on Democracy. He died of a heart attack on March 5. (CNN)

 

Sir Denis Forman (1917-2013) - Former director of the British Film Institute who became a longtime executive at Granada Television, where he oversaw such programs as Seven Up!, the documentary which spawned Michael Apted's Up film series. His memoir Son of Adam was adapted into the film My Life So Far. He died on February 24.(BBC)

Bonnie Franklin (1944-2013) - Actress best known for starring on TV's One Day at a Time. As a child, she also appears in the films A Summer Place and Hitchcock's The Wrong Man. She died of pancreatic cancer on March 1. (THR)

Bob Godfrey (1921-2013) - Animator who won an Oscar for the 1975 short Great (Isambard Kingdom Brunel) and was nominated for Kama Sutra Rides Again, Dream Doll and Small Talk (watch below). He worked with Terry Gilliam on Monty Python's And Now for Something Completely Different and consulted on Yellow Submarine. As an actor, he appears in the Beatles films Help! and A Hard Days Night as well as the original Casino Royale and Peter Greenaway's The Falls. He died on February 21.(Deadline)

 

Richard Griffiths (1947-2013) - Actor best known as Uncle Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter films and Uncle Monty in Withnail & I (see below). He also memorably appears in Hugo, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Sleepy Hollow, The Naked Gun 2 1/2, King Ralph, Gandhi, The History Boys and Blame It On the Bellboy. He voiced the Vogon Jeltz in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He died of complications from heart surgery on March 28. (BBC)

 

Alvin Lee (1944-2013) - Guitarist and singer for Ten Years After, in which he can be seen performing in the documentaries Woodstock and Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival. He also appears in the docs Ten Years After and Groupies. Ten Years After's song "I'd Love to Change the World" has been heard on the soundtracks for many films, including Tropic Thunder and Fahrenheit 9/11. He died of complications from routine surgery on March 6.(THR)

Fay Kanin (1917-2013) - Screenwriter who received an Oscar nomination for cowriting Teacher's Pet with husband Michael (see a clip below). They also cowrote The Opposite Sex, Rhapsody and the Rashomon remake The Outrage, which was based on their play. She served as the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences from 1979 to 1983. She died March 27.(THR)

 

Lori March (1952-2013) - Actress best known for TV soap opera work who also starred in the films Ransom! and Lovers and Lollipops. She died March 19. (THR)

Ric Menello (1952-2013) - Cowriter of James Gray's Two Lovers and Rick Rubin's RUN-D.M.C. feature Tougher Than Leather, in which he also played a role. He also directed music videos, including the Beastie Boys' "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)," which he made with Adam Dubin and Danzig's "Mother." He died of a heart attack on March 1. (The New Yorker)

Michael D. Moore (1914-2013) - Silent-era child actor turned filmmaker who appeared in early Cecil DeMille movies The King of Kings, Manslaughter and Something to Think About before working in the prop department for DeMille's 1930 films, including Cleopatra, The Plainsman and Union Pacific. He went on to direct second-unit action scenes for Raiders of the Lost Ark (see his work below), the first two Indiana Jones sequels, both Ghostbusters movies, Willow, Patton, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Chaplin and Never Say Never, among many others. Earlier he was an assistant director on DeMille's The Ten Commandments, The Furies, The Carpetbaggers and 1953's War of the Worlds. As primary director he helmed the Elvis movie Paradise, Hawaiian Style and the Roy Orbison Western The Fastest Guitar Alive. He died March 4. (THR)

 

Norman "Stormy" Palmer (1918-2013) - Editor who worked for Disney for 45 years, mostly working on James Algar's "True-Life Adventures" documentaries, including Oscar winners Beaver Valley, Nature's Half Acre, The Living Desert, Water Birds and White Wilderness, as well as Algar's Oscar-winning CinemaScope short Grand Canyon. He also edited Midnight Madness, The Shaggy D.A., The Gnome Mobile and the 1963 version of The Incredible Journey. He died March 23. (THR)

Don Payne (1964-2013) - Screenwriter who worked on The Simpsons before venturing into film with scripts for My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Thor. He is credited with cowriting the story to the upcoming sequel Thor: The Dark World, as well. Read Scott Weinberg's tribute to his friend.

Harry Reems (1947-2013) - Pornographic film actor who famously starred in Deep Throat and Devil in Miss Jones. He also appears in non-porn films Klute, Deadly Weapons and of course the documentary Inside Deep Throat (pictured left). He died from pancreatic cancer on March 19. (NYT)

Robert Relyea (1930-2013) - Producer who got his start as a crew worker at MGM and went on to partner with actor Steve McQueen (they cocreated Solar Productions) and director John Sturges. He was assistant director on Jailhouse Rock, West Side Story, The Children's Hour, The Alamo and Sturges' The Magnificent Seven and Never So Few. He then directed second unit on Sturges' The Great Escape and The Hallelujah Trail, on which he also earned his first producer credit. Other films he produced include McQueen movies Bullitt, Le Mans and The Reivers as well as Blame It on Rio and Last Action Hero. Later he returned to MGM to oversee production on the four Pierce Brosnan James Bond films. He died March 5. (Deadline)

Eli Richbourg (1970-2013) - Producer and director who worked with Joel Schumacher, beginning as the filmmaker's assistant in the 1990s. He directed second units for Phone Booth, 8MM, Tigerland, Bad Company and Schumacher's other films through 2009's Blood Creek, most of which he also coproduced. He also scripted an upcoming Gerard Butler movie called Dynamo. He died of a brain aneurism on March 20. (Deadline)

Dale Robertson (1923-2013) - Actor best known for TV Westerns in the '50s and '60s. He also starred in the films Sitting Bull, Son of Sinbad and Full House. He died of complications from lung cancer and pneumonia on February 27. (Deadline)

Malachi Throne (1928-2013) - Actor best known for TV work, including his role of False Face on Batman. He appears in Catch Me If You Can and The Greatest (pictured right) and The Young Lovers. He died of lung cancer on March 13. (THR)

Armando Trovajoli (1917-2013) - Italian composer who scored De Sica's Two Women, Marriage Italian Style and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow and numerous works by Ettore Scola, including A Special Day, and Dino Risi, including the original Scent of a Woman. He died February 28. (The Guardian)

Bebo Valdés (1918-2013) - Cuban pianist and composer who recently scored the Oscar-nominated animated feature Chico & Rita, the plot of which was partly inspired by his life (listen below). He appears prominently in the documentaries Calle 54, Miracle of Candeal, which he scored, and Old Man Bebo, which is focused specifically on him. He died while being treated for Alzheimer's disease on March 22. (THR)

 

Joe Weider (1919-2013) - Bodybuilder who created the Mr. Olympia and Ms. Olympia contests and published many of the leading fitness and muscle magazines. He was a mentor to and major influence on Arnold Schwarzenegger, whom he helped bring to Los Angeles in 1968. He appears in the documentaries The Comeback, Stand Tall and Pumping Iron. He died of heart failure March 23. (CNN)

Paul S. Williams (1948-2013) - Music journalist who created Crawdaddy Magazine and was an expert on science fiction. He became friends with Philip K. Dick, for whom he served as literary executor following the author's death. He appears in the documentaries The Gospel According to Philip K. Dick, The Penultimate Truth About Philip K. Dick (see below) and Philip K. Dick: A Day in the Afterlife. He died of complications from Alzheimer's on March 27.(THR)

 

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