Remembering Tab Hunter, 'Superman' Costume Designer Yvonne Blake and More Reel-Important People We Lost in July

Remembering Tab Hunter, 'Superman' Costume Designer Yvonne Blake and More Reel-Important People We Lost in July

Aug 02, 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.

Denis Akiyama (1952-2018) - Canadian Actor. He co-starred in Johnny Mnemonic, Pixels, Resident Evil: Afterlife, The Pacifier, Repo Men and Dead Ringers. He actually died of cancer on June 28. (THR)

Gary Beach (1947-2018) - Actor. Mostly known for stage work, he played the director Roger DeBris in the musical remake of The Producers after playing the role on Broadway. He died on July 17. (THR

Freda Black (1960-2018) - Lawyer. As an assistant district attorney in Durham, she was one of the prosecutors in the Michael Peterson trial as seen in the documentary The Staircase, which recently received updated episodes via Netflix. She died sometime in July. (THR)

Yvonne Blake (1940-2018) - Costume Designer. She won an Oscar for her costumes in Nicholas and Alexandra (see below) and was nominated for The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge. She also worked on the costumes for Superman (pictured above), Superman II, Jesus Christ Superstar, 1973's The Three Musketeers, Goya's Ghosts, Robin Marian and, earlier as an assistant, on My Fair Lady and Fahrenheit 451. She died on July 17. (THR)


Steve Ditko (1927-2018) - Comic Book Artist. He co-created the Marvel superheroes Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, both of whom are now major movie characters. He actually died on June 29. (NYT)

Stan Dragoti (1932-2018) - Director. His movies include Mr. Mom, Love at First Bite, The Man with One Red Shoe, She's Out of Control and Necessary Roughness. He died on July 13. (THR)

Jonathan Gold (1960-2018) - Critic. Famous for his food criticism, most recently for Los Angeles Times, he also wrote about music. He was the subject of the popular documentary City of Gold (see below) and was a consultant for the music doc Hype!. He died of pancreatic cancer on July 21. (LAT)


Harry Gulkin (1927-2018) - Canadian Producer. He produced the movies Lies My Father Told Me, Bayo and Two Solitudes. He is the subject of the documentary Harry Gulkin: Red Dawn on Main Street and appears as one of the subjects of Stories We Tell. He died of pneumonia on July 23. (THR)

Shinobu Hashimoto (1918-2018) - Screenwriter. He co-wrote the Akira Kurosawa movies Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Ikiru, The Hidden Fortress, Throne of Blood, Kagemusha and The Bad Sleep Well plus many more Japanese classics. He died of pneumonia on July 19. (THR)

William Hobbs (1939-2018) - Fight Arranger, Stunt Performer. He choreographed and/or directed sword fight sequences for Shakespeare in Love, Dangerous Liaisons, Flash Gordon, Ladyhawke, Rob Roy, Robin and Marian, Willow, Excalibur, The Duelists, Brazil, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (pictured below), 1998's The Man in the Iron Mask, 2002's The Count of Monte Cristo, 1973's The Three Musketeers,The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge, the 1971 Macbeth and the 1990 Hamlet. He died on July 10. (THR)


Michael Howells (1957-2018) - Production Designer. His movie credits include Emma, Ever After, Wild Sargasso Sea, Orlando, Nanny McPhee and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. He died on July 19. (Deadline)

Tab Hunter (1931-2018) - Actor, Teen Idol. He starred in Damn Yankees, City in the Sea, Gunman's Walk, Polyester, Grease 2, Losin' It, The Sea Chase and Battle Cry and was the subject of the documentary Tab Hunter Confidential (see below). He died on July 8. (THR)


George Jenson (1930-2018) - Visual Effects Artist. He received an Oscar nomination for his work on 2010. He also did illustration work for Return of the Jedi, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Dune, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, 9 to 5, The Rocketeer, Romancing the Stone, Red Dawn and Logan's Run. He actually died on May 25. (THR)

Alan Johnson (1937-2018) - Director, Choreographer. He directed Solarbabies and the remake of To Be or Not to Be and choreographed for the Mel Brooks movies Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, The ProducersHistory of the World: Part I and Dracula: Dead and Loving It.  He died on July 7. (Deadline)

Robbie Knott (1945-2018) - Visual Effects Artist. He worked on special effects for The Muppet Movie, Repo Man, Donnie Darko, Dante's Peak, the Nutty Professor remake, Field of Dreams and Dances with Wolves. He actually died on June 29. (THR)

Claude Lanzmann (1925-2018) - French Documentarian. His epic nine-and-a-half-hour 1985 Holocaust film Shoah is considered one of the greatest documentaries of all time (see him discuss the film below). He also directed The Last of the Unjust and Sobibór, October 14, 1943, 4 p.m. and was the subject of the Oscar-nominated short Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah. He actually died on June 28. (NYT)


Robby Müller (1940-2018) - Cinematographer. He shot the Jim Jarmusch movies Dead Man, Down by Law, Mystery Train, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai and Coffee and Cigarettes, Wim Wenders' The American Friend, Alice in the Cities, Until the End of the World, Kings of the Road, Wrong Move and Paris, Texas and Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark. His other movies as DP include Repo Man, Barfly, 24 Hour Party People and To Live and Die in L.A. He died on July 3. (THR)

Derrick O'Connor (1941-2018) - Irish Actor. He played one of the main villains in Lethal Weapon 2 (see below) and co-starred in the Terry Gilliam movies Time Bandits, Brazil and Jabberwocky, as well as Daredevil, End of Days, Hope and Glory and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.  He actually died of pneumonia on June 29. (THR)


Roger Perry (1933-2018) - Actor. He starred in The Thing With Two Heads, Count Yorga, Vampire, The Return of Count Yorga, Roller Boogie and Dirty Love. He died of prostate cancer on July 12. (THR)

Anthony Ray (1937-2018) - Actor, Assistant Director, Producer. The son of director Nicholas Ray, he became an actor in the 1950s and starred in John Cassavetes' Shadows (see below), then worked as Paul Mazursky's AD on such movies as Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and Harry and Tonto and later earned an Oscar nomination for producing Mazursky's 1978 Best Picture contender An Unmarried Woman. He actually died on June 29. (THR


Ron Satlof (1938-2018) - Director, Producer. He received an Oscar nomination for directing the short film Frog Story. He also directed many TV movies, including Spider-Man Strikes Back and he was the second AD on Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets. He died on July 2. (THR)

Jon Schnepp (1967-2018) - Writer, Director, Animator. He directed and appears in the documentary The Death of 'Superman Lives': What Happened? and the "W is for WTF" segment of the horror anthology The ABCs of Death (see below). He was also a regular panelist for Collider's Movie Talk web series. He died of complications from a stroke on July 19. (Collider)


Mai Tai Sing (1923-2018) - Actress. She starred in Forbidden and The Golden Horde. She died on July 11. (Deadline)

David Stevens (1940-2018) - Screenwriter, Director. He received an Oscar nomination for co-writing Breaker Morant. He also wrote The Sum of Us and directed Kansas, Undercover and The Clinic. He died of cancer on July 17. (THR)

Yale Udoff (1935-2018) - Screenwriter. He wrote the script for Nicolas Roeg's Bad Timing and co-wrote the 1991 movie Eve of Destruction. He died on July 19. (THR)

Elmarie Wendel (1928-2018) - Actress. Best known for TV work, including 3rd Rock from the Sun, she also appears in Rumplestiltskin and A Bag of Hammers and voiced the character Aunt Grizelda in the animated Dr. Seuss feature The Lorax. She died on July 21. (THR)


Hugh Whitemore (1936-2018) - English Screenwriter. He co-wrote 84 Charing Cross Road, The Blue Bird and the 1996 Jane Eyre. He died on July 18. (The Guardian)

Patrick Williams (1939-2018) - Composer. He earned an Oscar nomination for his original score for Breaking Away. He also scored Cry-Baby, The Cutting Edge, All of Me, Used Cars, The Toy, Shampoo and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. He died of cancer on July 25. (Variety)

Terry Windell (1956-2018) - Visual Effects Artist. As an animator for ILM, he worked on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Return of the Jedi, Poltergeist and Ghostbusters, for which he designed the proton streams (see him discuss that work in the video below). Other movies he worked on in some visual effects capacity include Master of the Universe, Solarbabies and both parts of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Most recently he was the visual effects supervisor for the Amazon series The Tick. He died sometime in July. (Facebook


Robert Wolders (1936-2018) - Dutch Actor. He starred in Raid on Rommel, Tobruk, Beau Geste and Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits. He died on July 12. (THR)




Categories: Obituaries, Features
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