I was sad to read that the actor Shane Rimmer has passed away at the age of 89. A list of his credits is a eyepopping exercise in “I didn’t know he was in that!” He had small roles in two Doctor Who episodes, the first three Superman films, Star Wars, two of the Doug McClure dinosaur movies, one of the good Harry Palmer movies, Batman Beyond, a Dennis Potter serial, and two James Bond films for starters. In 1986, he starred in the original unsold pilot for Gerry Anderson’s Space Precinct; Ted Shackleford took the part when the series was made a decade later.
But Rimmer could have had only one acting job and we’d salute him today, because he was the iconic voice of Scott Tracy in the original Thunderbirds series and films. He did voiceovers in all sorts of things, often uncredited (that’s the case with Billion Dollar Brain), but his awesome voice was so distinctive that you can recognize him instantly. Our condolences to Rimmer’s family and friends.
I read that the actress Jacqueline Pearce passed away this morning. Best known as the villain Servalan in the BBC’s Blake’s 7, she had guest starred in sixties adventure shows and was the unfortunate Reptile-woman in a terrific, silly Hammer film. She killed Sontarans in Doctor Who and was the criminal Miss Pendragon in Dark Season, an early writing credit for Russell T. Davies. Our condolences to her friends and family.
It was announced today that writer Trevor Preston passed away last month. He’s best known for his work on crime series, both ongoing programs like the seminal The Sweeney as well as one-off films, television plays, and serials like 1978’s Out. Most of Preston’s work was outside the scope of this blog, but he did have one fantastic credit to his name. He created Ace of Wands, which we really enjoyed watching last year.
Sadly, none of the Ace of Wands episodes that Preston himself wrote still exist. He also wrote a 1967 adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that is mostly missing, as well as a Freewheelers four-parter for Southern in 1968 which has never been released on home video. So there’s a lot that we’d like to watch together, but can’t!
I’ve been saving two of his other works for a rainy day, though. One of the missing Ace of Wands stories featured a villain called Mr. Stabs. Preston really enjoyed the character and brought him back as the protagonist in two TV plays in 1975 and 1984. They’re included as bonus features on Network’s Wands DVD set. We’ll have to check those out sometime. And as always, our condolences to Preston’s family and friends.
Photo credit: The Guardian.
We’re very sorry to hear that actor Tim O’Connor has died. A familiar face to anybody who watched TV in the seventies and eighties, O’Connor appeared in dozens of dramas, and was a regular in the soap opera Peyton Place for five years. We’ve seen him as a guest in The Six Million Dollar Man and Wonder Woman, where he originated the character Andros, and will of course be seeing him again down the line when we watch Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. For people in their forties, O’Connor is probably best remembered for his role as Dr. Huer in that series. Our condolences to his family and friends.
We’re very sorry to hear that actor Chuck McCann has died. He was also a writer and TV presenter, and an omnipresent face in the 1970s, with appearances on everything from commercials to Columbo. I knew him best as Barney in Sid and Marty Krofft’s hilarious Far Out Space Nuts and was really sorry to hear that such a funny, popular guy has left us. Our condolences to his friends and family.
We’re very sorry to hear that actor Peter Miles has died. A familiar face from 1970s British television, he was the unforgettable Nyder, loyal subordinate to Davros in the Doctor Who serial “Genesis of the Daleks.” He also appeared in two other Who serials, and had memorable parts in programs from the period such as Paul Temple, Blake’s 7, The Sandbaggers, and The Sweeney. He was a fine actor, very watchable in every part he played. Our condolences to his friends and family.
Another of the greats has passed away. Peter Wyngarde was the star of Department S and Jason King, leader of the Hellfire Club in The Avengers, the very best Number Two in The Prisoner, and the inspiration for the hilarious Jason Bentley in The Comic Strip Presents. He recorded probably the weirdest celebrity pop music album of them all, and popularized having a scotch when it’s too early for coffee. Our condolences to his friends and family.
We’re sorry to learn that actress Heather Menzies-Urich passed away this week. She played Jessica in the TV series version of Logan’s Run, but might be remembered best as one of the Von Trapp family in the classic The Sound of Music. She largely retired from acting in the 1980s, and, in the years since her husband passed away, she was the public face of the Robert Urich Foundation, raising funds for cancer research and patient care. Our condolences to her friends and family.