The legendary Rip Taylor has thrown his final handful of confetti. The irrepressible, larger than life celebrity, who was omnipresent on television in the seventies and was always, always throwing confetti on game shows, bizarre beauty pageants, and Saturday morning television, passed away over the weekend. Taylor, who had a regular and ridiculous role as Sheldon the Sea Genie in the second season of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, made all of our childhoods much more colorful. Our condolences to his family and friends.
Sid Haig didn’t get to play heroes all that often. He spent decades bedevilling some of this blog’s favorite kid-friendly action-adventurers – Batman, Buck Rogers, Jason of Star Command, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl – while another audience knew him from all the grindhouse thrillers and B-movies from the period. Later in life, he enjoyed a career resurrection when directors who loved his earlier work, like Quentin Tarantino and Rob Zombie, got the chance to hire him, introducing him to a whole new crowd. Most of these movies don’t appeal to me very much, but Haig was a great, great villain no matter how little or how much gore was in the picture. Our condolences to his friends and family.
I did a Google Image search for the original source of this photo (From Doctor Who Magazine‘s Twitter, actually) and it suggested it was a picture of a “gentleman.” I find that appropriate.
But we lost Terrance Dicks today. He wrote several Who serials, script-edited many more, helped devise the third and fourth Doctors, and penned several dozen novelizations of Who stories. It’s no exaggeration to say that when I was thirteen, I didn’t want to read anything else. Our condolences to Terrance’s friends and family.
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.