SORRY WE KICKED YOUR ASS IN SOFTBALL!
That was a suggestion for a new card I made after we kicked the ass of the Hallmark softball team. It did not seem a popular one to the losers!
So many passings this week, including two “Star Trek” legends:
Sydney Pollack, six time Oscar nominee and two time winner, passed away after a long bout with cancer. He was 73. Originally beginning his long career in Hollywood as an actor, Pollack appeared in many early television playhouse productions. In 1962 he co-starred in the Korean War film, “War Hunt,” where he met a young actor making his film debut, Robert Redford. After branching out into television directing on such shows as “The Defenders,” “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” and “Ben Casey,” Pollack was finally given his chance to direct a feature film with “The Slender Thread,” starring Sidney Poitier and Anne Bancroft. Given the chance to cast his next film, “This Property Is Condemend,” he chose as his male lead his “War Hunt” pal Redford. This was to be the first of seven films that the pair made together. In 1969 he earned his first Academy Award nomination for Best Director of “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” For next 15 years he was one of the most celebrated and successful filmmakers in Hollywood. His Redford connection continued with “Jerimiah Johnson,” “The Way We Were,” “Three Days of the Condor,” “The Electric Horseman” and “Out of Africa.” In 1990 they teamed up again for “Havana.” “The Way We Were,” co-starring Barbra Streisand, is the romance film against which all others are judged. Over thirty years after it’s release it is still a benchmark film of the genre and a year doesn’t go by where a rumor of a continuance of the film, with it’s two stars, isn’t mentioned.
Despite the success of those films, it wasn’t until 1982’s “Tootsie” that the Academy again recognized Pollack, with two nominations for directing and producing. It is a testament to his talent that in a recent AFI poll of the top 100 comedies of all time that “Tootsie” ranked #2, behind only the brilliant “Some Like It Hot.” In 1985 Pollack finally won his elusive directing Oscar for “Out of Africa.” He also took home an Oscar as producer when the film was awarded Best Picture. This past year he earned his final Oscar nod as one of the producers of Best Picture nominee “Michael Clayton.” Other directing credits include “Absence of Malice, “ The Firm” and “Sabrina.”
As an actor, some of his better known roles included Dustin Hoffman’s agent in “Tootsie,” Woody Allen’s “Husbands and Wives” and as the owner of the mansion/host of the orgy in Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut.”
I had the extreme pleasure of meeting and chatting with Mr. Pollack in 1984 after a special screening of “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” He not only answered my many questions but took the time to sign a one sheet and photo from “Tootsie.” A talented man who will be genuinely missed.
Dick Martin, Emmy award winning co-host of the classic variety series “Laugh In,” died this week from respiratory failure. He was 85. After numerous appearances on “The Lucy Show,” Martin was teamed with Dan Rowan and helped create the show which would become one of the most influential in all television, “Laugh In.” From a bikini wearing Goldie Hawn to Richard Nixon questioning the show’s catch phrase, “Sock It To Me?,” viewers turned on in droves to see what everyone would be talking about the next day. After “Laugh In” ended, Martin continued to work in episodic television, appearing in many shows up until 2002, most notably a short run on “The Love Boat.” In the early 1970s he turned his eye towards directing, beginning with several episodes of “The Bob Newhart Show.” Other series he guided include “Family Ties,” “Brothers,” “Sledge Hammer” and “In the Heat of the Night.”
Earle Hagen, creator of some of the most memorable television show themes ever, died of natural causes this week. He was 88. Hagen will always be remembered for “The Andy Griffith Show” theme, which he not only wrote but is heard whistling over the credits, but he also wrote themes for such popular shows as:
“The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “The Mod Squad,” “T Spy, “That Girl,” “Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.,” “Eight is Enough,” “The Dukes of Hazard”and “Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer.” He also earned an Oscar nomination in 1960 for his musical work on “Let’s Make Love.”
Alexander Courage, composer of the original theme to televison’s “Star Trek” also died this week. He was 87. An orchestrator/conductor by trade, Courage only scored one more original television theme, “Judd for the Defense.” He was very prolific in films, however, earning Oscar nominations for “The Pleasure Seekers” and the musical version of “Doctor Doolittle.” He also earned three Emmy nominations for
various musical specials.
Joseph Pevney, one of the most successful directors on the “Star Trek” television series, passed away this week at the age of 96. Cause of death was given as age related. After early appearances on Broadway, Pevney came to Hollywood and appeared in films. An offer to direct the film “Shakedown” came after he was cast in the film as a reporter. It marked his first film as director and last as an actor. His films in the 1950s include “Meet Danny Wilson,” starring Frank Sintara, “Tammy and the Bachelor” and the Lon Chaney biography, “Man of a Thousand Faces,” starring James Cagney. In the 1960s he took to directing episodic television in such series as “Ben Casey,” “The Big Valley,” “The Munsters,” “Wagon Train” and “12 O’Clock High.” Since creator Gene Roddenberry always imagined “Star Trek” as “Wagon Train to the Stars,” it only seems right that Peveny would direct some of the best loved episodes in the show’s history, including “The Trouble With Tribbles,” “Wolf in the Fold,” “ Amok Time” and, my favorite episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever.” In all Pevney directed 14 episodes of this classic series. Following “Star Trek,” Pevney moved on to “Bonanza,” “Adam 12,” “Trapper John M.D.,” “The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries” and “The Incredible Hulk.”
Harvey Korman, one time serious actor who found fame as one of Hollywood's funniest people, passed this week due to complications from rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. He was 81.
After small roles in shows like "Route 66," "The Untouchables" and "Perry Mason," he began appearing in comedies like "The Lucy Show," "The Jack Benny Program" and "Hazel," he scored the job of voicing the Great Gazoo on "The Flintstones." His voice caught the ear of producer Joe Hamilton, who hired Korman to appear on his wife's variety show. Mrs Hamilton? Carol Burnett. For 12 years he was part of one of the most talented and beloved comedy troupes in television history. It was here that he was seen by director Mel Brooks, who cast Korman as the sinister Hedley Lammar in "Blazing Saddles." Among his other memorable Brooks' films: "High Anxiety," "History of the World, Part I" and "Dracula: Dead and Loving It." He also starred with his Burnett co-star, Tim Conway in "The Long Shots" and gave an acclaimed performance as Bud Abbott in the biofilm "Bud and Lou," opposite Buddy Hackett as Lou Costello. Korman was nominated six times for an Emmy for his work on "Carol Burnett," winning three times. Earlier this week I referred to Korman as one of the best second bananas on television on the level of Art Carney and Don Knotts. I'm glad to see that the people at TV Land felt the same, nominating Korman in that category with those distinquished funny men in 2003.
AND THE OSCAR FOR 1972 SHOULD HAVE GONE TO...