Friday, May 18, 2018

RIP Jim Nickerson

Deadline Hollywood
By David Robb
May 18, 2018

Jimmy Nickerson, a veteran Hollywood stuntman who performed and/or coordinated stunts on more than 70 films and TV shows spanning 30-plus years, has died. He was 68. He died May 4, but no other details were available.

A 1985 inductee into the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame, Nickerson’s long list of stunt credits includes Rocky, Rocky II, Raging Bull, Lethal Weapon, Gladiator, Waterworld, Fight Club, True Lies, Last Action Hero, Batman & Robin, Con Air, Volcano, Crimson Tide, Dante’s Peak, Star Trek: First Contact, Fantasy Island, M*A*S*H and Dynasty.

Born on September 18, 1949, in Pittsburgh, Nickerson was 7 when his family moved to San Fernando, CA. There he began riding horses and was on the pro rodeo circuit by 15. He also found success as amateur lightweight boxer, racking up an 18-1 record by age 18. Those skills were serve him well as he began his stunt career on such TV Westerns as Lancer, Gunsmoke, Bonanza and The Big Valley.

After working on fight scenes for the first two Rocky films and Raging Bull, Nickerson was Hollywood’s go-to boxing coordinator. He later was the subject of a 1991 Sports Illustrated profile titled “Tough Guys Do Dance,” which focused on his work choreographing fight sequences. But stunt work was his calling, and he returned to it.

Nickerson was one of the last surviving key players in one of the worst car crashes in movie history. It happened in 1980 on the set of The Cannonball Run, when he was the driver of an Aston Martin that crashed head-on into another car in the desert outside Las Vegas. The stunt called for him to weave through a line of speeding oncoming cars, but the Aston Martin had bald tires, defective steering and a faulty clutch. When he tried to get it running on the day of the stunt, another car had to push it to get it started, and even then he couldn’t get it going faster than 8 mph.

Director Hal Needham had a mechanic work on the car for a while, and stunt coordinator Bobby Bass then took it out for a test run. He said it was fine, but it wasn’t, and it didn’t even have seat belts. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

When it came time to film the stunt, Nickerson still didn’t think it was ready. He wanted more repairs but was told that the parts from Los Angeles had not arrived and that he’d have to “make do.”

Nickerson’s passengers that day were Cliff Wenger, a special effects man who would be operating a smoke machine while hiding on the floor in the backseat, and Heidi von Beltz, Bass’ 24-year-old girlfriend, who was doubling for Farrah Fawcett. As the Aston Martin sped toward the oncoming line of cars, the last thing she remembered hearing was someone yelling to Nickerson on the walkie-talkie: “Faster! Faster!”

The Aston Martin swerved past the first oncoming car but crashed head-on into the second, slamming von Beltz into the windshield and breaking her neck. She survived, paralyzed from the next down, and would later win a $4.5 million wrongful injury judgment. Nickerson suffered a serious head injury, a shattered hip and compound fractures of the left arm.

Wenger was thrown from the car but suffered no serious injuries. James Halty, the driver of the van that hit them, was wearing a seatbelt and harness and suffered a few cracked ribs. Of all those directly involved in the crash that day, he was the last survivor. Wenger died in January at age 91. Von Beltz died in 2015, Bass committed suicide in 2001, and Needham died in 2013.

In the wake of the accident, the industry adopted new safety guidelines that made seat belts mandatory on all stunt cars.

Nickerson, who also directed three features in the 2000s including boxing pic From Mexico with Love, is survived by his wife of 24 years, Deborah; his daughters Kimberly Reddick and Natalie Nickerson; and one grandson.

NICKERSON, Jim (James Nickerson)
Born: 9/18/1949, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Died: 5/4/2018

Jimmy Nickerson’s westerns – actor, stuntman:
Lancer (TV) – 1970 (Dunn)
Alias Smith and Jones (TV) – 1971 [stunts]
Bite the Bullet – 1875 [stunts]
The Long Riders – 1980 [stunts]
Guns of Paradise (TV) 1991 (wagon driver)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

RIP José Lavat

Beloved ‘Dragon Ball Z’ Narrator Jose Lavat Has Passed Away

Comic Book
By Megan Peters

Today, the Dragon Ball fandom is coming together to mourn the loss of one of its own. According to reports, a beloved narrator from one of Dragon Ball Z’s most iconic dubs has passed away.

Not long ago, Toei Animation confirmed José Lavat’s passing with a touching tribute on social media. Over on Twitter, the company honored the vetted actor by thanking him for the work he did on making Dragon Ball Z the global phenomenon it has become.

“Rest in peace José Lavat, an amazing dubbing actor who lended his voice talent to many famous characters for Hispanic audiences including the narrator in Dragon Ball Z. Thank you #PepeLavat for everything,” the message reads.

Lavat’s death is a difficult one for fans to process, and audiences who grew up with Dragon Ball Z’s Latin America Spanish dub will remember the actor fondly. Ever since the anime was brought abroad, Latin America has welcomed Son Goku warmly, and Dragon Ball Z developed a massive following in countries such as Mexico. It was Lavat who helped bring that show to life for Spanish-speaking audiences, and fans are paying tribute to the actor on social media to share their thanks.

While Lavat may be best known by anime fans for his work on Dragon Ball Z, the actor did voice work on plenty of other titles. Not only did Lavat do the Spanish dub of Soichiro Yagami in Death Note, but he also did dubs for Tarzan, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings, and Street Fighter.

What is your favorite narration from Lavat in Dragon Ball Z? Let me know in the comments or find me on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics, k-pop, and anime.

LAVAT, José (José Francisco Lavat Pacheco)
Born: 9/28/1948, Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico
Died: 5/15/2018, Mexico

José Lavat’s Westerns – voice actor:
Rio Grande – 1950 [Mexican voice of Ben Johnson]
Bend of the River – 1952 [Mexican voice of James Stewart]
Shane – 1953 [Mexican voice of Alan Ladd]
Bonanza (TV) – 1959-1972 [Mexican voice of Lorne Greene]
Hombre – 1967 [Mexican voice of Paul Newman]
High Chaparral (TV) 1967-1971 [Mexican voice of Myron Healey, Jonathan Goldsmith, Wes Bishop, Monte Markham, Pat Renella, Richard Gates]
Hang En’ High – 1968 [Mexican voice of Clint Eastwood]
Silverado – 1968 [Mexican voice of Kevin Costner]
The Wild Bunch – 1969 [Mexican voice of William Holden]
Wyatt Earp – 1994 [Mexican voice of Kevin Costner]

RIP Greg Blair

Gregory Blair
August 24, 1960 - May 5, 2018

Los Angeles Times
May 8, 2018

Gregory Blair of Sherman Oaks, CA, was a loving father to Nathan and Grant and brother to Colleen Hamburger, Colin Blair and Deirdre Blair. A graduate of Claremont McKenna College, he was an award-winning Production Designer known for his work on movies including "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," and on countless commercials. Greg loved photography, skiing, hiking, music, and spending time with his sons. This requiem honors a man who was not only beloved by family, colleagues and friends, but who was also an expert Scrabble player that would appreciate the use of a word containing a "q." A memorial service will be held on May 9th, 6:30 p.m, at Church of the Chimes, 14115 Magnolia Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423.

BLAIR, Greg (Gregory Blair)
Born: 8/24/1960, U.S.A.
Died: 5/5/2018, Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.A.

Greg Blair’s western – production designer:
Pathfinder - 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

RIP Joseph Campanella

Veteran Character Actor Joseph Campanella Dies at 93

By Kirsten Chuba
May 16, 2018

Joseph Campanella, a character actor who appeared in more than 200 TV and film roles over his 50-year career, died at his Sherman Oaks, Calif., home on Wednesday, his daughter-in-law told Variety. He was 93.

Campanella appeared across five seasons of late ’60s and early ’70s crime drama “Mannix,” for which he earned a supporting actor Emmy nomination in 1968, and six seasons of ’70s sitcom “One Day at a Time.” He had a number of other co-starring roles on the small screen, including ’60s hospital drama “The Doctors and the Nurses,” the ’70s medical series “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” and ’80s primetime soap story “The Colbys.” In more recent years, the actor held a recurring role on daytime soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful” from 1996 to 2005 and worked on “The Practice” and “That’s Life.”

Along with his on-screen roles, Campanella also built a career as a voice actor, voicing characters in ’90s animated shows “Spider-Man” and “Road Rovers,” along with narrating the “Discover” science series on Disney Channel. He appeared in three Broadway plays, with “The Captains and the Kings” in 1962, “A Gift of Time” in 1962, and “Hot Spot” in 1963. He was nominated for a Tony for his performance in “A Gift of Time.”

Campanella is the younger brother of fellow actor Frank Campanella, who died in 2007. He was born in New York City and attended Columbia University before moving to Hollywood. He is survived by Jill Campanella, his wife of 53 years, as well as his seven sons and eight grandchildren.

CAMPANELLA, Joseph (Joseph Anthony Campanella)
Born: 11/21/1924, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 5/15/2018, Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.A.

Joseph Campanella’s westerns – actor, narrator:
The Virginian (TV) – 1963, 1964, 1968 (Pedro Lopez, Corbett, Walker)
The Road West (TV) – 1966 (Tom Burrus)
Shane (TV) – 1966 (Barney Lucas)
The Big Valley (TV) – 1966, 1967 (Francisco De Navarre, Martinson)
The Wild Wild West (TV) – 1967 (Talamantes)
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1968, 1972 (Amos McKee, Jack Naorcross)
Lancer (TV) – 1969 (Douglas Blessing)
Alias Smith and Jones (TV) – 1971 (Jake Carlson)
Barbary Coast (TV) – 1975 (Austin Benedict)
Mission to Glory: A True Story - 1977
Guns of Paradise (TV) – 1990 (The Horseman)
Walker, Texas Ranger (TV) – 1996 (Victor DeMarco)
Grizzly Adams and the Legend of Dark Mountain – 1999 (Professor Hunnicut)
The Legend of God’s Gun – 2007 (narrator)

RIP Janine Reynaud

Word has come from Robert Monell that French model and actress Janine Reynaud passed away recently in 2018 date unknown. I did some research and found that she passed away on January 30, 2018 in Oradour-Saint-Genest, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Haute-Vienne, France.

Reynaud began her career as a fashion model for designer Jean Patou but became bored of the industry. She wanted to become and actress and in the mid-1960s, when she was almost 35 years-old, Janine first appeared on the big screen. She appeared in films in France, Italy and Germany, most often in B-movies and sex exploitation films. She starred in films by Jess Franco "Succubus." and Max Pécas “Je suis une nymphomane”. In the 1970s, she then appeared in films with her filmmaker husband Michel Lemoine.

Reynaud’s last film was “Tire pas sur mon collant” in 1978. Lemoine and she divorced and she married Herbert Hamilton from Texas and lived in Sugar Land, Texas a suburb of Houston. Apparently Hamilton died or they divorced and Janine returned to France where she lived and died in Oradour-Saint-Genest.

REYNAUD, Janine (Janine Lucienne Reynaud Godard)
Born: 8/13/1930 Paris, Île-de-France, France
Died: 5/13/2018, Sugar Land, Texas, U.S.A

Janine Reynaud’s western – actress:
Blindman – 1971(prostitute)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

RIP Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe Dies: New Journalism Pioneer & ‘The Right Stuff’ Author Was 87

Deadline Hollywood
By Greg Evans
May 15, 2018 8:26am

Tom Wolfe, the master prose stylist, journalist and novelist whose use of fiction techniques like dialogue, scene-setting and point-of-view energized non-fiction in the 1960s and ’70s, died Monday in New York. He was 87.

Wolfe, perhaps the preeminent practitioner of what would come to be called the New Journalism, authored the non-fiction The Right Stuff and the novel Bonfire of the Vanities, both of which became major Hollywood films.

His death was confirmed by his agent Lynn Nesbit. She told The New York Times that Wolfe had been hospitalized with an infection.

Unfailingly attired in a dandy’s uniform of three-piece white suits and high-collared shirts, Wolfe belonged to a generation of writers – Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal – whose celebrity was as bright as the stars they covered.

In Wolfe’s case, those stars were sometimes literal: His 1979 nonfiction account of America’s pioneering astronauts and the Mercury space program quickly took a place alongside Capote’s In Cold Blood and Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song as prime, acclaimed examples of the “nonfiction novel,” with impeccable research and scrupulous attention to detail fueling a story that had all the narrative drive and emotional power of an entirely imagined work.

Hollywood couldn’t resist, and the book became a film in 1983, with Philip Kaufman directing a cast that included Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, Sam Shepard, Fred Ward, Dennis Quaid and Barbara Hershey. The film won four Oscars: Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score and Best Sound.

Wolfe’s first major turn at fiction writing also found its way to Hollywood, though the 1990 adaptation of 1987’s The Bonfire of the Vanities was considerably less successful than The Right Stuff. Directed by Brian De Palma and starring a woefully miscast Tom Hanks, The Bonfire of the Vanities was such a flop that its failures made up an entire book: Julie Salamon’s 1991 The Devil’s Candy: The Bonfire of the Vanities Goes to Hollywood.

The disappointment hardly dented Wolfe’s reputation, though, with the author’s groundbreaking books and articles already a staple of college reading lists and journalism anthologies. The titles alone are classics of their eras: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby.

Such was Wolfe’s skill with a turn of phrase that some of his wordplay took cultural root and became part of our standard vocabulary: Radical chic, The Me Decade, the right stuff. His 1981 take-down of modern architecture, From Bauhaus to Our House, resurrected the German word and early 20th Century school of design in the popular consciousness, even if the architectural world was neither pleased nor won over by Wolfe’s arguments.

Wolfe’s other works include The Pump House Gang, Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine, A Man in Full, I Am Charlotte Simmons and Back to Blood.

Wolfe is survived by his wife Sheila, daughter Alexandra and son Tommy.

WOLFE, Tom (Thomas Wolfe)
Born: 3/2/1931, Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A.
Died: 5/14/2017, Manhattan, New York, U.S.A.

Tom Wolfe’s western – writer:
Almost Heroes - 1998