I’m very sad to read that the wonderful character actor David Collings has passed away. An icon of cult TV, he starred in an Asimov adaptation on Out of the Unknown and was in Doctor Who three times. When the BBC dubbed the 1978 Japanese TV series Journey to the West as Monkey, Collings provided the voice of Monkey. (Or Son Goku or Alakazam or Jesse Dart or whatever that character is called in whatever iteration you’re watching.) But he’ll be best remembered as Silver, the devious and friendly technician who showed up in two Sapphire & Steel adventures and downright stole the show from the leads. Our condolences to his family and friends.
Sadly, we’ve lost one of my childhood heroes. Lyle Waggoner, who starred as Steve Trevor in the first season of Wonder Woman and the character’s son, Steve Trevor Jr., in the other two seasons of Wonder Woman, died yesterday. He also appeared for several years in The Carol Burnett Show. Our condolences to his family and friends.
Almost all of Swedish film titan Max von Sydow’s work is outside the scope of our blog, though I certainly hope that our son will enjoy The Exorcist, The Seventh Seal, and Three Days of the Condor when he’s old enough to discover movies without his old man forcing the issue. But we will be seeing his legendary appearance as Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon later this spring, and I’ll tell him that he just will not believe how many good movies von Sydow made. Our condolences to his family and friends.
Claudette Nevins appeared in dozens of roles on stage and screen and is probably remembered for a lot more than two segments of a tacky Saturday morning show, but for two wonderful weeks in 1976, she portrayed the Empress of Evil, a breathtakingly kinky horror hostess type who matched wits with that daring duo Electra Woman and Dyna Girl on The Krofft Supershow. Even in a show where good actors like Michael Constantine and Malachi Throne were allowed and encouraged to have fun going way, way over the top, Nevins looked like she was having a better time than everybody on the planet. I honestly may not recognize Nevins in many of her other roles, but the Empress of Evil was unforgettable. Our condolences to her family and friends.
I was sorry to read that we lost the legend Kirk Douglas. He starred in one of my favorite Kubrick films, Paths of Glory, which I haven’t seen in ages. Our son only knows him – so far – from Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but while most of Douglas’s films are outside the scope of this blog, he’ll certainly see many great old movies starring Douglas if he keeps his interest in classic films. Our condolences to his family and friends.
I was very saddened this morning to read that we lost the great Terry Jones after a long illness. From all of his television work, including Do Not Adjust Your Set and Ripping Yarns, to the films he wrote or directed, I’ve always been a fan. His Monty Python partner John Cleese tweeted out “Two down, four to go,” which seems appropriately irreverent. Our condolences to his family and friends.
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.