February 4, 2012
Ben Gazzara, an intense actor whose long
career included playing Brick in the original
"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" on Broadway, roles in
influential films by John Cassavetes and work
with several generations of top Hollywood
directors, died Friday in Manhattan. He was 81.
Gazzara made his movie debut in 1957 in
"The Strange One," Calder Willingham's bitter
drama about brutality at a Southern military
school. He followed that film with "Anatomy of
a Murder," in which he played a man on trial
for murdering a tavern keeper who had been
accused of raping his wife. In the 1970s, he
teamed with his friend director John
Cassavetes for three films, "The Killing of a
Chinese Bookie" and "Opening Night." Other
Gazzara films included "The Bridge at
Remagen," "The Young Doctors," "They All
Laughed," "The Thomas Crown Affair," "If It's
Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium," "The Spanish
Prisoner," "Stag" and "Road House." He also
made several films in Italy.
February 5, 2012
He wasn't the first-ever movie zombie, but he
was the first to appear in George A. Romero's
1968 classic, "Night of the Living Dead."
Actor Bill Hinzman has died of cancer at 75,
horror site Dread Central is reporting.
His character, dubbed the Graveyard Zombie,
makes an appearance early in the film,
staggering towards brother and sister Barbara
and Johnny in a cemetery, and killing Johnny.
The line, "They're coming to get you, Barbara"
is famously delivered by Johnny just before
Hinzman comes after the siblings.
February 5, 2012
Character actor Sam Coppola of Leonia, N.J.,
who gave John Travolta sage but salty advice in
the 1977 film classic “Saturday Night Fever,”
died Sunday. He was 79.
He was a cop in “Serpico”, starring Al Pacino,
and a detective in “Fatal Attraction”, starring
Michael Douglas and Glenn Close. His many TV
credits include “The Good Wife,” “Law & Order,”
“The Sopranos,” “Ryan’s Hope” and the 2001
A&E movie “The Heist,” in which he portrayed
mob boss Paul Castellano.
But to many, he is forever Dan Fusco, owner of
the Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, hardware and paint
store where Tony Manero (Travolta) worked by
day and dreamed of Saturday night, when he
ruled the dance floor at the Odyssey disco.
February 1, 2012
Don Cornelius, creator of the long-running
music show "Soul Train," is dead at 75 of an
Police sources are saying Cornelius died of an
apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The L.A. Times reports he was found early
Wednesday morning at his Sherman Oaks,
"Soul Train" aired from 1971 to March 2006,
featuring primarily African-American musicians.
Stars such as Ike and Tina Turner, Marvin
Gaye, Aretha Franklin, the Jackson 5, James
Brown and Stevie Wonder. He was known for
closing each episode with the catchphrase: "I'm
Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we
wish you love, peace and soul!"
February 6, 2011
Peter Breck, who played a hot-headed son of
California ranch owner Barbara Stanwyck on the
1960s TV Western "The Big Valley," died Monday
in Vancouver after a long illness. He was 82.
Before the 1965-1969 ABC series, the dark-
haired, rugged-looking Breck had worked as a
regular on two other TV Westerns: "Maverick,"
as Doc Holliday opposite James Garner, and
"Black Saddle," on which he played a gunman
turned lawyer opposite future "Gilligan’s Island"
actor Russell Johnson.
A native of Haverhill, Mass., and the son of a
jazz musician, Breck scored a contract at
Warner Bros. and appeared in dozens of shows
from the mid-1950s to the early 2000s,
including "The Virginian," "Hawaiian Eye," "Perry
Mason," "Lawman," "Branded," "Gunsmoke,"
"Fantasy Island," "The Fall Guy" and "John Doe."
His film work included roles in "Thunder Road", "I
Want to Live!", "The Beatniks", "Portrait of a
Mobster", "Lad: A Dog", Samuel Fuller’s "Shock
Corridor" and "Benji".
February 11, 2012
Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music's
queen until her majestic voice and regal
image were ravaged by drug use, erratic
behavior and a tumultuous marriage to
singer Bobby Brown, has died. She was 48.
Houston's publicist, Kristen Foster, said
Saturday that the singer had died, but the
cause and the location of her death were
At her peak, Houston was the golden girl of
the music industry. From the middle 1980s
to the late 1990s, she was one of the
world's best-selling artists. She wowed
audiences with effortless, powerful, and
peerless vocals that were rooted in the black
church but made palatable to the masses
with a pop sheen.
Her success carried her beyond music to
movies, where she starred in hits like "The
Bodyguard" and "Waiting to Exhale."
She had the perfect voice, and the perfect
image: a gorgeous singer who had sex
appeal but was never overtly sexual, who
maintained perfect poise.
February 29, 2012
Monkees singer Davy Jones died Wednesday
in Florida of a heart attack, the medical
examiner's office in Martin
County confirmed to NBC News. He was 66.
Jones was the lead singer The Monkees, ith
Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork,
a foursome created by
TV producers in 1965.
Their hits included "Last Train to Clarksville,"
"I'm a Believer," and “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”
Jones is survived by his wife Jessica and four
daughters from previous marriages.