January 1, 2012
Olympic swordsman Bob Anderson also filled
Vader's black boots, and while his name isn't
synonymous with the baddie, he was an
all-important part of some of the most memorable
Vader scenes in the history of the film franchise.
On Sunday, Jan. 1, the British Academy of Fencing
announced that Anderson, the man who wielded
Darth Vader's lightsaber in the original "Star Wars"
trilogy, died in the early hours of New Year's Day.
"He was truly one of our greatest fencing masters
and a world-class film fight director and
choreographer and both the fencing community
and film world will miss him," a statement on the
organizations website read.
It was Anderson-as-Vader who struck down
Obi-Wan Kenobi in the first "Star Wars" film in
1977, although it was years later before that
information became readily available courtesy of
Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill.
January 20, 2012
The 73-year-old blues singer Etta James died on Friday at
Riverside Community Hospital from complications of
leukemia, with her husband and sons at her side, her
manager, Lupe De Leon said.
"It's a tremendous loss for her fans around the world," he
said. "She'll be missed. A great American singer. Her music
James' spirit could not be contained — perhaps that's
what made her so magnetic in music; it is surely what
made her so dynamic as one of R&B, blues and rock 'n'
roll's underrated legends.
It's a tremendous loss for her fans around the world,
She'll be missed. A great American singer. Her music defied
Despite the reputation she cultivated, she would always be
remembered best for "At Last." The jazz-inflected
rendition wasn't the original, but it would become the most
famous and the song that would define her as a legendary
singer. Over the decades, brides used it as their song
down the aisle and car companies to hawk their wares, and
it filtered from one generation to the next through its
inclusion in movies like "American Pie" and "Pleasantville".
Perhaps most famously, President Obama and the first
lady danced to a version at his inauguration ball.
January 24, 2012
A family spokesman says actor James Farentino, who
appeared in dozens of movies and television shows,
has died in a Los Angeles hospital. He was 73.
Family spokesman Bob Palmer says Farentino died of
heart failure after a long illness at Cedars-Sinai
Hospital on Tuesday.
Farentino starred alongside Kirk Douglas and Martin
Sheen in a 1980 science fiction film "The Final
Farentino also starred opposite Patty Duke in 1969's
He also had recurring roles on "Dynasty," "Melrose
Place," "The Bold Ones: The Lawyers" and "ER,"
playing the estranged father to George Clooney's
January 26, 2012
Robert Hegyes, who played Juan Luis Pedro Philippo
DeHuevos Epstein on 1970s hit "Welcome Back,
Kotter," has died at 60.
The actor died of a heart attack at his New Jersey
home on Thursday, Gossip Cop reports.
Hegyes' Epstein was one of the Sweathogs, remedial
wisecracking students taught by Gabe Kotter (Gabe
Kaplan). His character, a Puerto Rican Jew, was
known for constantly attempting to pass off notes
he himself would write to try and get out of tests or
class, always signing the notes "Epstein's Mother."
Hegyes also appeared on numerous TV shows,
including "The Love Boat," "Chico and the Man" and
"NewsRadio," and movies including "Bob Roberts"
and "Honeymoon Hotel."
January 27, 2012
Kevin White, a political figure who helped transform
Boston into a world-class city during 16 often turbulent
years as mayor, died at 7 tonight in his Beacon Hill
home, his family said in a statement. He was 82 and was
diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease about a decade ago.
Mr. White was surrounded by his family, including his
wife of 55 years, Kathryn.
“Obviously, it’s a very, very sad day,” the statement said.
A larger-than-life presence of his era, Mr. White had
deep roots in the parochial old political culture of the city,
but lightning instincts and a roving intellect that
propelled him to national stature. Amid society-altering
upheavals of the era - the civil rights movement, Vietnam
War, and Watergate - he adapted and survived, at times
From 1968 to 1984, Mr. White was chief executive of a
fast-changing metropolis, which had emerged from
decades of economic stagnation and insularity with an
explosion of growth and construction downtown. But
social change tore at the city’s fabric. Racial tension and
violence during court-ordered school desegregation in
the mid-1970s stained Boston’s image, perhaps indelibly.
Andrea 'Moar' Schenck
January 13, 2012
Andrea Schenck, a cast member of
“All My Children” in the early 1980s
who left television acting and married
a prominent Minneapolis doctor,
drowned while vacationing in Mexico.
Schenck was relaxing in the water off
the coast of Cancun on Jan. 13 and
died while she and husband Dr.
Carlos Schenck were on their annual
vacation there and having just
celebrated his birthday a day earlier.
She was 55.
January 10, 2012
Lila Kaye Passed away peacefully at home. A
British actress, she spent a number of years
working in the United States, on Broadway
and in television, before returning to
She often played motherly and/or comedic
characters, mostly on television, notably in
My Son Reuben, co-starring Bernard Spear,
as a Jewish mother and her bachelor son
who jointly run a dry-cleaning business. She
also notably appeared in feature films,
including An American Werewolf In London,
as the conflicted rural barmaid, and Nuns on
the Run, as a formidable nun.
Frederica Sagor Maas
January 5, 2012
Frederica Sagor Maas, a pioneering female
screenwriter of the silent era who penned films
for likes of Clara Bow, Norma Shearer and Louise
Brooks, died January 5th. She was 111 years old.
Born in 1900, Maas came of age along with the
20th century. At age 19, Maas was an aspiring
writer working as an errand girl when she
spotted an ad for an assistant story editor. She
applied and got the job with Universal. Maas
recalled that she learned to be a scriptwriter by
studying the movies, and also by observing the
greats at work.
The La Mesa, California resident was one of the
last surviving personalities from the silent film era.
January 9, 2012
Mae Laborde, whose acting career began at 93,
dies at age 102, an energetic senior citizen whose
outgoing personality landed her in several Steve
Lopez columns and launched a late-blooming
acting career, died in her sleep Jan. 9 at an
assisted living facility in Santa Monica.
Born May 13, 1909, in Fresno, she moved to
Southern California after attending business
school. She worked as a department store clerk
and as a bookkeeper for "The Lawrence Welk
Show." Laborde was approached for TV and
commercial roles after Lopez featured her in his
Points West columns in The Times beginning in
2002, when she was 93. She recently appeared in
the Hollywood Movies Pinapple Express & The
January 22, 2012
Dick Tufeld, a longtime radio and TV announcer
who intoned "Danger, Will Robinson!" as the
voice of the Robot in the 1960s science-fiction
TV series "Lost in Space," has died. He was 85.
Tufeld died Sunday at his home in Studio City
while watching the NFL playoffs, his family said.
He had heart disease and had been in declining
health since sustaining a fall last year.
In "Lost in Space," producer Irwin Allen's
futuristic retelling of the "Swiss Family Robinson"
story that aired on CBS from 1965 to 1968,
actor Bob May wore the Robot costume and
Tufeld provided the voice.
Besides warning young Will Robinson of
impending danger, Tufeld's Robot uttered other
lines that became catchphrases for faithful
viewers — including "That does not compute"
January 27, 2012
Ian Abercrombie, the British actor who played Elaine's
crochety boss Mr. Pitt on "Seinfeld," died at
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, reports a
family friend to the LA Times. He had recently been
diagnosed with lymphoma.
He said in a 1998 interview with CNN that the show
changed his life forever.
"Incredibly so," Abercrombie said at the time. "I mean,
I have been around as an actor for 40-odd years, and
this show knocked me out of the ballpark."
Abercrombie was born in Essex, England, but moved
to the United States in 1951 at the age of 17 and
made his stage debut in "Stalag 17" with Jason
Robards in 1955. He was known mostly for his stage
work prior to his role on "Seinfeld," though he did also
have some roles in movies and on TV, including "Army
of Darkness" "Star Trek Voyager" "Young
Frankenstein" and "The Lost World: Jurassic Park."