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.
We learned yesterday that the favorite son of the great town of Sylacauga, Alabama passed away. Jim Nabors was best known for his role as the nasal-voiced Gomer Pyle, a character he played for seven seasons across two hit CBS series in the 1960s, The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, USMC. Later on, of course, Nabors starred as the android Fum in Sid and Marty Krofft’s The Lost Saucer for ABC. Nabors was not particularly enamored by The Lost Saucer, and while it honestly isn’t one of my favorites either, every episode features he and his good friend Ruth Buzzi doing something really funny together. Our condolences to Nabors’ family and friends.
We’re sorry to read that actor Richard Anderson has died at the age of 91. He had a great career, with all sorts of entertaining roles in the seventies and eighties. He was the villain in the second Kolchak: The Night Stalker movie, a victim whose murder Columbo solved early in his career, and had small parts in the classic films Forbidden Planet and Paths of Glory. But he’ll always be remembered best as Oscar Goldman in the two bionic shows and the reunion TV movies. Between them, he appeared in more than 150 episodes. He retired about twenty years ago. Our condolences to his family and friends.
Photo credit: https://johnkennethmuir.wordpress.com/
We’re very sad to read that Deborah Watling, who played the Doctor’s companion Victoria Waterfield in Doctor Who‘s fourth and fifth seasons, has passed away from lung cancer. She’ll be missed by so many fans. Our condolences to her family and friends.
The sixties’ Batman may not have come back into vogue, but it has found a newfound appreciation and, dare I say it, respectability that it’s been lacking from popular culture for far too long. I’m glad that Adam West was able to see the show find yet another generation of fans. Sometimes I hear Olan Soule as the voice of Batman when I read old comics, and sometimes I hear Kevin Conroy, but among the men who have worn the cape and cowl in films and television, Adam West has always been the one and only Batman. His is the only Batcave that makes any sense, and his Batmobile the very best of all the cars. Our condolences to Mr. West’s family and friends.
Filed under batman, goodbye
The actor Peter Sallis, who our son first saw in the Doctor Who serial “The Ice Warriors,” has passed away at the age of 96. It’s likely our son will run into him in several other roles in his future, because Sallis was in everything. He played doomed businessmen in Hammer films and crafty villains in ITC action shows, and he played Norman Clegg in an amazing 295 episodes of the BBC comedy Last of the Summer Wine across its 37 year run. But he found his greatest international success as a voice actor in the Wallace & Gromit series, which we’ll certainly show our son sometime in the future. Our condolences to Mr. Sallis’s family and friends.
We lost one of the greats today.
Normally when someone passes away, you pick a photo of just the someone. But while Roger Moore was terrific in everything, I think he was at his best when he wasn’t completely dominating the screen. You watch some episodes of The Saint and you’ll see him stealing every shot. That’s to be expected. Simon Templar is a larger-than-life celebrity character and you expect him to talk circles around everybody. All of the guest stars knew to get out of Roger Moore’s way.
But when you watch him in The Persuaders!, which my wife and I have been enjoying for the last couple of months, you can appreciate just how fabulous an actor Moore was. Lord Brett Sinclair is a celebrity as well, but he was brought up with a proper education, the right manners, and reserve. Moore dominates when his character needs to be the hero and the center of the scene, but he’s otherwise more effortlessly and naturally gracious toward his co-stars Tony Curtis and Laurence Naismith, and to all the guests in each episode, allowing everybody to shine.
In short, Moore was a much bigger talent than a lot of wags were ever willing to credit him, thinking of him first as a luvvie showbiz celebrity attending gala events with royalty, and secondly as an actor. But he was one of the greats, from his iconic roles as James Bond and Simon Templar to his incredibly memorable performances as Lord Sinclair, Beau Maverick, Rufus ffolkes, and that ruthless bastard in The Wild Geese. His memoir, My Word is My Bond, is one of the most entertaining autobiographies I’ve ever read, and it contains lots of background about his work with UNICEF, for which he served as an ambassador for nearly thirty years.
Our condolences to Moore’s family and friends, and we join the world in having a martini this evening, shaken, not stirred.