Archive

Archive for the ‘R.I.P.’ Category

R.I.P. – 'The Sting' Producer David Brown Dies

February 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Movie producer and executive David Brown, whose six-decade career produced box office hits and Oscar winners alike, died Monday at his home in Manhattan after a long illness. He was 93.

In partnership with Richard Zanuck, with whom he formed the independent production company Zanuck-Brown in 1972, Brown produced a string of financial and critical successes, including 1974 Best Picture winner "The Sting," starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. They also hired Steven Spielberg to direct his first feature, "The Sugarland Express," and later tapped him for the blockbuster "Jaws."

Helen Gurley Brown and David BrownBrown was married for more than 50 years to Cosmopolitan magazine editor and author Helen Gurley Brown, who survives him.

A public funeral will be held on Thursday, Feb. 4, at 3:30 p.m. at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel (1076 Madison Avenue at 81st Street) in New York City.

Born in New York City on July 28, 1916, the young Brown went west to Stanford University intending to be a physicist. However, he felt overmatched by physics and higher math, and instead majored in what he described as "the softest discipline I could think of, which was journalism." After graduating from Stanford in 1936, he returned to New York to earn his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1937.

He apprenticed at a San Francisco newspaper and the Wall Street Journal, and then became a copy editor and theater critic at Women’s Wear Daily. Shifting to magazines, he had a stint as managing editor of Cosmopolitan, where his duties included penning attention-grabbing cover lines. Later in life, as an unpaid staff husband, he returned to writing the cover lines for the magazine, then edited by his wife.

"David Brown was a force in the entertainment, literary and journalism worlds," said Frank A. Bennack Jr., vice chairman and chief executive officer of Hearst Corp. "We are very lucky at Hearst to have worked with him and his legendary wife, Helen, for many years. His expansive body of work will be enjoyed by people around the world for many centuries to come. He will be greatly missed."

Brown also wrote short stories and articles for national magazines like Collier’s, Harper’s, the New Yorker and the Saturday Evening Post, as well as for the New York Times.

Brown also authored a number of books, including his most recent, in 2006, "Brown’s Guide to the Good Life Without Tears, Fears or Boredom."

With his eclectic journalism resume and a clear sense of narrative, Brown caught the eye of legendary Hollywood studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck, who hired him in 1951 to head the story department at 20th Century Fox. To prepare for his second move west, Brown, who then preferred plays to movies, had to take what he called "a crash course in moviegoing."

From 1952 to 1971, Brown rose through Fox’s executive ranks, surviving two firings, one of which briefly took him to Warner Bros., where he was executive VP and a member of the board of directors. While at Fox, Brown began his longtime friendship with Richard Zanuck, son of Darryl.

Also while at Fox, in 1959, the twice-divorced Brown met and married Helen Gurley, then an advertising copywriter in Los Angeles.

Brown and Richard Zanuck formed Zanuck-Brown in 1972 and it continued to produce films until they dissolved the company in 1988.

"Jaws" was one of their biggest hits, creating the paradigm of the summer blockbuster and cementing Spielberg’s reputation. Brown and Zanuck produced "Jaws 2" in 1978.

The pair also produced Sidney Lumet’s "The Verdict" (1982), Ron Howard’s "Cocoon" (1985) and Robert Altman’s "The Player" (1992); the latter won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Picture.

Brown received numerous career honors over the years, including the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in 1990 and the David O. Selznick Lifetime Achievement Award from the Producers Guild of America in 1995.

Other honors included the IFP Gotham Award in 1993, the ShowEast Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998, the Writers Guild of America (East) Evelyn F. Burkey Award in 1999 and ShoWest Producer of the Year in 2001.

In 1988, Brown founded and became president of his own production company, the Manhattan Project Ltd., producing films including "A Few Good Men" (1992), "Deep Impact" (1998, with Richard Zanuck), and "Angela’s Ashes" (1999).

Brown earned another Best Picture Oscar nomination as producer of "Chocolat" in 2001.

Asked to what he attributed his success in Hollywood, Brown once said, "I keep my word, even when I make a mistake. I never lived beyond my means, and therefore, I never had to be a slave to Hollywood. I always had this feeling that I could go back to journalism. Unlike many Hollywood people, I had another career."

Brown also produced stage and television productions, including the Broadway musical adaptation of "Sweet Smell of Success." Shows he helped transfer to the New York stage include "Tru," "A Few Good Men" and the musical version of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels." He also was executive producer of 1996 CBS miniseries "A Season in Purgatory" and two movies for HBO.

Posted via web from MovieDriver – Hollywood Teamster

Categories: R.I.P.

R.I.P. – Disney Closes Miramax Films

January 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Disney Closes Miramax

Posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2010 by Russ Fischer

miramax-films

It is sadly ironic that, just as this year’s Sundance Film Festival comes to a close, Disney plans to close the doors on former Sundance mainstay Miramax for good. New York and LA offices will close today. Eighty staff members will lose their jobs, and the last six Miramax films could well go into some sort of limbo. After thirty-one years, during much of which the label started by Bob and Harvey Weinstein dominated the American indie scene, Miramax is no more.

The Wrap charts the downfall of the distributor, from the purchase by Disney, the departure of Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the takeover by Daniel Battsek. Disney continually marginalized the label, but Dick Cook said it would always continue. When Cook was ousted and Battsek shortly after, it was evident that the days of Miramax were numbered.

Harvey Weinstein said of his former company,

I’m feeling very nostalgic right now. I know the movies made on my and my brother Bob’s watch will live on as well as the fantastic films made under the direction of Daniel Battsek. Miramax has some brilliant people working within the organization and I know they will go on to do great things in the industry.

Kevin Smith was asked to write about the end of the label for The Wrap. He concludes with,

I’m crushed to see it pass into history, because I owe everything I have to Miramax.  Without them, I’d still be a New Jersey convenience store register jockey. In practice, not just in my head.

Over the years, Miramax built the careers of Smith and Quentin Tarantino, brought Steven Soderbergh to prominence after buying Sex, Lies and Videotape and furthered the careers of filmmakers including Jane Campion, Errol Morris, Gus Van Sant and Peter Jackson. The studio did many things that were infuriating, notably when dealing with Asian films that were heavily recut or simply shelved, but there’s no question that the last thirty years of cinema would be very different without Miramax.

Six films are now left on the shelf, among which include two starring Sam Worthington (The Debt and Last Night, the latter of which had a release date set in March), Julie Taymor’s filmed version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and Troy Nixey and Guillermo del Toro’s remake of the TV horror classic Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. Hopefully Disney will release or sell these movies; we’ll find out more as we can.

This may end up being a short-lived death, at least in name. Just yesterday evening there was word from Deadline Hollywood that the Weinsteins still want to reclaim the Miramax name. It was, after all, based on the names of their parents, Max and Miriam. Bob Iger previously offered to sell Miramax in toto, but for a wildly overvalued $1.5 billion. Will Disney now let the Weinsteins take back the name for a much smaller fee?

Posted via web from MovieDriver – Hollywood Teamster

Categories: R.I.P.

R.I.P. – Karl Malden 1912-2009 Oscar Winner dead at 97

Karl Malden (born Mladen George Sekulovich; March 22, 1912 – July 1, 2009[1][2]) was an American actor. In a career that spanned over seven decades, he featured in classic Marlon Brando films such as A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront and One-Eyed Jacks. Among other notable film roles are Archie Lee Meighan in Baby Doll, Zebulon Prescott in How the West Was Won and General Omar Bradley in Patton. His best-known role was on television as Lt. Mike Stone on the 1970s crime drama, The Streets of San Francisco. During the 1980’s he was spokesperson for American Express, reminding cardholders “Don’t leave home without it”.

Career

Acting career: circa World War II

Karl Malden as Father Barry in the trailer for On the Waterfront (1954)

He eventually traveled to New York City, and first appeared as an actor on Broadway in 1937. He did some radio work and in a small role made his film debut in They Knew What They Wanted. He also joined the Group Theatre, where he began acting in many plays and was introduced to a young Elia Kazan, who would later work with him on A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and On the Waterfront (1954).

His acting career was interrupted by World War II, during which he served as a noncommissioned officer in the 8th Air Force. While in the service, he was given a small role in the U.S. Army Air Forces play and film Winged Victory. After the war ended in 1945, he resumed his acting career, playing yet another small supporting role in the Maxwell Anderson play Truckline Cafe, with a then-unknown Marlon Brando. He was given a co-starring role in the Arthur Miller play All My Sons with the help of director Elia Kazan. With that success, he then crossed over into steady film work.

Film career: 1950s to 1970s

Malden resumed his film acting career in the 1950s, starting with The Gunfighter (1950) and Halls of Montezuma (1950). The following year, he was in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), playing Mitch, Stanley Kowalski‘s best friend who starts a romance with Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh). For this role, he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Other films during this period included On the Waterfront (1954), where he played a priest who influenced Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) to testify against mobster-union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb). In Baby Doll (1956), he played a power-hungry sexual man who had been frustrated by a teenage wife. He starred in dozens of films from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, such as Fear Strikes Out (1957), Pollyanna (1960), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), Gypsy (1962), How the West Was Won (1962), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), and Patton (1970), playing General Omar Bradley. After Summertime Killer (1972), he appeared in the made-for-television film The Hijacking of the Achille Lauro (1989) (as Leon Klinghoffer).

Television work

The Streets of San Francisco

In 1972, Malden was approached by producer Quinn Martin about starring as Lt. Mike Stone in The Streets of San Francisco. Although the concept originated as a made-for-television movie, ABC quickly signed on to carry it as a series. Martin hired Michael Douglas to play Lt. Stone’s young partner, Inspector Steve Keller.

Malden’s father was delighted about this series being in San Francisco, as he had intended to settle in that city, but had to change his plans as he’d arrived on the day of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.[citation needed]

On Streets, Malden played a widowed veteran cop with more than 20 years of experience who is paired with a young officer recently graduated from college. During its first season, it was a ratings winner among many other 1970s crime dramas, and served as ABC’s answer to such shows as Hawaii Five-O, Adam-12, Ironside, Barnaby Jones, Kojak, McMillan and Wife, Police Woman, The Rockford Files, and Switch.

During the second season, production shifted from Los Angeles to San Francisco. For his work as Lt. Stone, Malden was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Drama Series four times between 1974 and 1977, but never won. After two episodes in the fifth season, Douglas left the show to act in movies; Douglas had also produced the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975. Lt. Stone’s new partner was Inspector Dan Robbins, played by Richard Hatch. The show took a ratings nosedive, and ABC canceled it after five seasons and 119 episodes.

Skag

Main article: Skag

In 1980, Malden starred in Skag, an hour-long drama that focused on the life of a foreman at a Pittsburgh steel mill. Malden described his character, Pete Skagska, as a simple man trying to keep his family together. The pilot episode for the series had Skag temporarily disabled by a stroke, and explored the effects it had on his family and co-workers. While Skag met with poor ratings, critics praised it, even taking out full page ads to keep it on the air. It was nevertheless canceled after several episodes.

The West Wing

Malden’s last role in film or television was in 2000 in the highly acclaimed first season episode of the The West Wing titled “Take This Sabbath Day“. Malden portrayed a Catholic priest and used the same Bible he had used in On the Waterfront.

Other work

American Express

Malden famously delivered the line “Don’t leave home without it!” in a series of U.S. television commercials for American Express Travelers Cheques in the 1970s and 1980s.

Death

Malden died at his home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles on July 1, 2009 at the age of 97. He is said to have died of natural causes. Malden’s manager said “It could be many things. I mean, he was 97 years old!” A service will be held for Malden in the next 3–4 weeks.[8] He is said to have been in poor health for several years. [9]

Awards

Malden won the 1951 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for A Streetcar Named Desire and was nominated in 1954 for his supporting role in On the Waterfront. Malden was a past president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In October 2003, he was named the 40th recipient of the Screen Actors’ Guild‘s Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment.

On November 11, 2004, his ex-Streets of San Francisco co-star Michael Douglas presented Malden with the Monte Cristo Award of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut, for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Among the recipients besides Malden were Jason Robards, Zoe Caldwell, Edward Albee, August Wilson and Brian Dennehy.

On November 12, 2005, the United States House of Representatives authorized the U.S. Postal Service to rename the Los Angeles Barrington Postal Station as the Karl Malden Postal Station in honor of Malden’s achievements. The bill, H.R. 3667, was sponsored by Representatives Henry Waxman and Diane Watson.

In May 2001, Malden received an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from Valparaiso University.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Karl Malden has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6231 Hollywood Blvd. In 2005, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[10]

Posted via web from MovieDriver – posterous

Categories: ACTORS, R.I.P.

R.I.P. – Ed McMahon.. Post about his military service..

I have a lot more respect for him after I learned about his military service in WWII. He was not just a sidekick for Johnny Carson but someone who served his country when needed, for that I am grateful…

Military service

During World War II, McMahon was a fighter pilot in the United States Marine Corps serving as a flight instructor and test pilot. He was a decorated pilot and was discharged in 1946, remaining in the reserves.[3]

After college, McMahon returned to active duty. He was sent to Korea in February 1953. He flew unarmed O-1E Bird Dogs on 85 tactical air control and artillery spotting missions. He remained in the Marine Corps Reserve, retiring with the rank of Colonel in 1966 and was then commissioned as a Brigadier General in the California Air National Guard.

Several of his ancestors, including the Marquis d’Equilly, also had long and distinguished military careers. Patrice MacMahon, duc de Magenta was a Marshal of armies in France, serving under Napoleon III, and later President. McMahon once asserted to Johnny Carson that mayonnaise was originally named MacMahonnaise in honor of this ancestor, referring to him as the Comte de MacMahon.[4] In his autobiography, McMahon said that it was his father who told him of this relationship and he went on to suggest that he was not certain of the truth of the story.[5]

Categories: R.I.P.