Remembering Claymation Legend Will Vinton, 'The Hate U Give' Screenwriter Audrey Wells and More Reel-Important People We Lost in October

Remembering Claymation Legend Will Vinton, 'The Hate U Give' Screenwriter Audrey Wells and More Reel-Important People We Lost in October

Nov 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.

Paul G. Allen (1953-2018) - Businessman. In addition to co-founding Microsoft and his work in various other ventures, he co-owned Vulcan Productions and produced the movies Hard Candy, Far From Heaven, Titus and the documentaries Lightning in a Bottle, Pandora's Promise, Racing Extinction, Girl Rising and Netflix's The Ivory Game. He was played by Josh Hopkins in the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley. He died on October 15. (NYT)

Charles Aznavour (1924-2018) - Singer, Actor. In addition to his songs being heard in numerous movies, he co-starred in Francois Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player and starred as a character of the same name in Atom Egoyan's Ararat. His other memorable movie credits include And Then There Were None (aka Ten Little Indians), The Tin Drum, Jean Cocteau's Testament of Orpheus and Claude Chabrol's The Hatter's Ghost. He died on October 1. (Variety)

James "Whitey" Bulger (1929-2018) - Crime Boss. He inspired the Jack Nicholson role in Martin Scorsese's The Departed and was more directly portrayed by Johnny Depp in the biopic Black Mass (see below). His trials are the subject of the Joe Berlinger documentary Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger. He died in prison on October 30. (NYT)


Adam Burke (1977-2018) - Animator. He worked on Pixar's Up, Wall-E, Ratatouille, Monsters University, Cars, Cars 2, Toy Story 3, The Incredibles and Incredibles 2, as well as some of the studio's shorts, plus the animated features Robots, The Iron Giant, The Road to El Dorado, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, The Swan Princess and Thumbelina and the hybrid Space Jam. He died on October 7. (

Geoff Emerick (1945-2018) - Recording Engineer. He is known for his work with The Beatles in the band's later years and has credits on their movies Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine as well as the Beatles-inspired musical Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. He died on October 2. (THR)

Jim Emswiller (1957-2018) - Sound Mixer. An Emmy winner for his work on HBO's Bessie, his other movie credits include The Shawshank Redemption, Marvel's The Avengers, The Fault in Our Stars, Jack Reacher, Foxcatcher, Adventureland, Wonder Boys and Concussion. He died from a fall on the set of the upcoming Fred Rogers biopic You Are My Friend on October 11. (Variety

Carlos Ezquerra (1947-2018) - Comic Book Artist. He co-created Judge Dredd, the main hero of a 1995 eponymous movie starring Sylvester Stallone in the role and 2012's Dredd, which stars Karl Urban (see the trailer below). He died of lung cancer on October 1. (


Jack D. Fox (1929-2018) - Journalist. He was managing editor of The Hollywood Reporter in the late 1970s. He died on October 3. (THR)

Carol Hall (1936-2018) - Composer. She scored the musical comedy The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, for which she also wrote the music and lyrics to all the songs. She died on October 11. (Variety)

Takanobu Hozumi (1931-2018) - Japanese Actor. He starred in Mr. Baseball and The X from Outer Space and was the Japanese voice for Christopher Lloyd and Eli Wallach in dubbed versions of their movies. He died on October 19. (Hochi

James Karen (1923-2018) - Actor. He played the real-estate developer in Poltergeist and had memorable roles in Wall Street, The Return of the Living Dead (see below), Nixon and The China Syndrome. He also appears in The Pursuit of Happyness, Mulholland Drive, Superman Returns, All the President's Men, Thirteen Days, Congo and Capricorn One. He died on October 23. (THR)


Arnold Kopelson (1935-2018) - Producer. He won an Oscar for Best Picture for Platoon and was nominated for The Fugitive. He also produced Se7en, The Devil's Advocate, Falling Down, Eraser, Outbreak, Porky's and U.S. Marshals. He died on October 8. (Variety)

Nicholas Korda (1945-2018) - Sound Editor. Working primarily in ADR editing, his movie credits include E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Million Dollar Baby, Armageddon, The Rock, Con Air, The Breakfast Club, As Good as It Gets, Enemy of the State, the 1998 Godzilla, Twister, Basic Instinct, Three Kings, Letters from Iwo Jima, Flags of our Fathers, The Insider, Kindergarten Cop, A League of Their Own, Dick Tracy, Fatal Attraction, Disney's The Black Hole and so many more. He died on October 8. (Variety)

John D. Lamond (1947-2018) - Australian Filmmaker. A pioneer of "Ozploitation" cinema, he directed the movies Felicity, A Slice of Life, Breakfast in Paris and Nightmares (aka Stage Fright, see the trailer below) and wrote and produced Sky Pirates. He appears in the popular documentary Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation. He died on October 24. (If)


Danny Leiner (1961-2018) - Filmmaker. He directed Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and Dude, Where's My Car? and produced The Architect and The Great New Wonderful. He died on October 18. (Variety)

Mark Livolsi (1962-2018) - Editor. He cut the movies Vanilla Sky, The Devil Wears Prada, The Blind Side, We Bought a Zoo, Wonder, Wedding Crashers, Fred Claus, Marley & Me, Saving Mr. Banks, The Judge and Disney's live-action The Jungle Book and was working on the upcoming live-action version of The Lion King. He also worked on the editing teams for Wall Street, Almost Famous (watch him discuss one scene from the movie below), MacGruber, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Meet Joe Black and the Thomas Crown Affair remake. He actually died on September 23. (Variety)


Jon Maldonado (1960-2018) - Stunt Performer. His movie credits include The Dark Knight, Code of Silence and Invasion U.S.A. He died on October 3. (Chicago Suburban Daily Herald)

Barbara Mastroianni (1951-2018) - Costume Designer. The daughter of Italian cinema icon Marcello Mastroianni, she designed costumes for Federico Fellini's And the Ship Sails On. She died on October 11. (THR)

Fred Saxon (c.1972-2018) - Film Critic. He was an early entertainment reporter for CNN and later worked for KUSI and other TV stations in San Diego. He was nominated for five Emmys and won two during his career and was a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. He actually died on September 27. (NBC)

Ntozake Shange (1948-2018) - Playwright. Her play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf was adapted by Tyler Perry for his movie For Colored Girls. She also wrote the narration for the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown. She died on October 27. (Deadline)

Diana Sowle (1930-2018) - Actress. She played (but did not sing as) Charlie's mom in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (see below) and appears in the movies Clear and Present Danger and Guarding Tess. She died on October 19. (Metro)


Jerry Thorpe (1926-2018) - Producer, Director. He mostly worked in television but produced the Lucille Ball movie Forever, Darling and directed the movies Day of the Evil Gun and The Venetian Affair and was assistant director on The Band Wagon, The Bad and the Beautiful and the Lucille Ball movie The Long, Long Trailer.  

Will Vinton (1947-2018) - Animator. He won an Oscar for his 1974 claymation short Closed Mondays (co-directed by Bob Gardiner) and was nominated for his shorts Rip Van Winkle, The Creation and The Great Cognito. He was also nominated for the visual effects Oscar for his work animating the Nome King in Return to Oz (see below). He also directed the claymation feature The Adventures of Mark Twain and animated part of the Michael Jackson movie Moonwalker (for the "Speed Demon" music video) and famously created the Noid for Pizza Hut commercials, the M&M commercial characters and the iconic California Raisins. Before he became an animator he directed notable counterculture documentaries Gone for a Better Deal, Berkeley Games and First Ten Days. He died on October 4. (Variety)


Audrey Wells (1960-2018) - Filmmaker. She wrote the adaptation of the new movie The Hate U Give and wrote and directed the movies Guinevere and Under the Tuscan Sun, which she adapted from the best-selling book. Her other screenplays include The Truth About Cats & Dogs, The Kid and the Shall We Dance remake. She died on October 4. (Variety)

Scott Wilson (1942-2018) - Actor. Best known for a regular role on The Walking Dead, he starred as Dick Hickock in In Cold Blood (see below) and memorably appears in the movies In the Heat of the Night, Junebug, The Last Samurai, Pearl Harbor, Monster, Judge Dredd, The HostThe Right Stuff and Dead Man Walking. He died on October 6. (Variety)


Celeste Yarnall (1944-2018) - Actress. Most famous for a role in one episode of the original Star Trek series, she starred in the title role of Eve and appears in The Mechanic, The Velvet Vampire, Beast of Blood, the original The Nutty Professor and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. She died on October 7. (Star Trek)

Hua Yueh (1942-2018) - Hong Kong Actor. He starred in the martial arts movies Come Drink with Me, The Web of Death, The Sentimental Swordsman, Death Duel and Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan among many other features. He died on October 20. (The Paper)




Categories: Features, Obituaries
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