As I mentioned recently, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman aggravated me more than it thrilled me, but that was due to uneven writing. Its cast was the best Superman cast of any film or TV treatment, and that included Eddie Jones as Jonathan Kent. Jones was better known in Los Angeles for all the live theater he did, but he appeared in dozens of films and TV shows, and was the best Pa Kent of them all. Our condolences to his family and friends.
Photo credit: Superman Homepage
I was sad to read that we lost Glyn Houston, a fine actor with a seventy-year career in drama and comedy. He made guest appearances in meaty roles in dozens of British films and television series that I enjoy, and starred opposite Ian Carmichael as Bunter in three of the BBC’s Lord Peter Wimsey adaptations. Our condolences to his family and friends.
It amuses me to be coy and not reveal what’s coming up on the blog, but with news of actor Billy Drago’s death, I’ll go ahead and spoil that we’ll begin watching The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. next month. Among dozens of roles as evildoers in film and TV, notably in Charmed and Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables, Drago deserves to be remembered as the recurring villain John Bly in Brisco. I think that John Bly is among television’s all-time greatest bad guys, and I’ve been really looking forward to seeing him get under Brisco’s skin again. Our condolences to his family and friends.
The much-loved character actor Paul Darrow, who found television immortality as the anti-hero Avon in Blake’s 7, passed away earlier today. Darrow could chew up the scenery like nobody else, but he could also be relied upon for some nuanced and riveting performances. He was outstanding in the BBC’s 1973 adaptation of Murder Must Advertise, sharing a brilliant climactic scene with Ian Carmichael. Our condolences to Darrow’s family and friends.
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.