R. I. P. "Moses"! Another great one gone!
Alas! Goodbye Judah Ben-Hur, aka John Charles Carter.
Do you mind a lengthy post?
From Terry Pace.
I wrote this appreciation/reflection for the Classic Horror Film Board and just thought I'd share it with other friends and fellow movie fans:
Though not unexpected, I find this passing truly devastating on a very personal level, though I never knew or even met the man. It's such a sad and significant loss on so many different levels, and yet such a merciful blessing in such a specific and obvious way.
I loved Heston and his work and deeply admired him for being so outspoken about his beliefs, values and principles and so open-minded and respectful to the thoughts, feelings and opinions of others. He was a class act who certainly never treated anyone on the other side of the political fence in the same rude, unfair and uncivilized manner that others behaved toward Heston in recent years. (I suppose you're happy now, Michael Moore and George Clooney ....) Heston always took the high road, even when he exited Moore's deceptive, low-down and highly manipulative home-invasion interview. (Even Rex Reed, who never agreed with Heston& nbsp;and seldom gave him a positive review, called Moore's ambush tactics "inexcusable.") I'm not taking a particular political side here, and I'm not (for the record) a member of the NRA. I'm just talking about the vast differences in civilized human behavior demonstrated by Heston and some of his philosophical opponents.
Heston was always at the top of the list of actors I wanted to meet. I came close many times, but sadly, it never happened. He visited northwest Alabama a few years ago to campaign for a Republican Congressional candidate. I was was working for the newspaper at the time and would have had easy to access to him, but I had committed to moderate a very mundane and boring music-industry panel that conflicted with his appearance and couldn't be there. On another occasion, he was booked as the benefit-dinner speaker for a church-affiliated private school here in the Muscle Shoals area. Traditionally, through the newspaper I wou ld always have an opportunity to do an extensive one-on-one, in-person interview with each of these speakers (who ranged from radio commentator Paul Harvey to astronaut Jim Lovell) during their visits. Unfortunately, the week after the announcement was made that Heston would be their next guest speaker, the actor's (very funny) Bud Lite commercials began airing on radio and television and the school dropped him like a poisonous snake. (My newspaper story on that strange turn of events made the national AP and NYT wires, and Heston issued an upbeat, positive, no-hard-feelings statement in which he said he respected the school's decision, recognized that they saw things differently, and wished them well with their future fund-raising efforts.)
I had hoped to be able to make it out to North Hollywood in early 2000 when Heston appeared (on behalf of the Motion Picture Country Home, I believe) at the Hollywood Collectors Show at t he Beverly Garland Holiday Inn, but I was in the middle of working on a very tricky and demanding theatre production at the time and couldn't leave town. Another missed opportunity that was totally out of my control. Friends told me that Heston signed the full time both days, charged a uniform fee of $10 per item for any of his signed stills or anything else anyone wanted him to sign. (His fee was at least $10 less than anyone else at the show was charging.) He shook hands, looked every fan in the eye, spoke directly to everyone in line and happily posed for photos. At the end of the two days, he handed the box full of money over to the charity representative without any sort of count and left. (Again, I wasn't there, but I heard this from a number of different friends.)
As many of you know, I'm working on a book with Ray Bradbury based on his theatre, film and television experiences. Heston was a close friend of Ray's (and was christened with the na me of Ray's great literary hero, John Carter of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars books) and collaborated with him on several different occasions. (Appropriately, when Ray received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Rod Steiger stood on Ray's left and Heston stood on Ray's right. Again, that was yet another opportunity I had to meet Heston, but newspaper commitments stood in my way.) Heston was a Weird Tales reader who grew up reading Rays work in the pulps and wrote a nice tribute piece for the celebration of Ray's 75th birthday.
On one occasion when they worked together, Ray and Heston went into the recording studio for Heston to record a spoken-word performance of one of Ray's written works. Ray was working on a limited budget and had decided to try to direct the performance himself. Once they went into the studio, Ray said he froze, realized he had no business directing Heston, had no idea how to tell him what he wanted, and fumbled th rough the whole awkward experience in a cold sweat. He said Heston was calm, pleasant, helpful and totally committed to the project. He tried his best to discern what Ray wanted him to do. In the end, the recording experience was a dispiriting waste of time and the resulting performance was (as Ray expected) uneven, unfocused and ultimately unusable -- until Heston intervened and saved the day. Not wanting to embarrass Ray or hurt his feelings, Heston rented the studio the next day (without Ray's knowledge), re-recorded the material under his own direction and at his own expense, and had that tape delivered to Ray for consideration as "the" recording. Ray said Heston's self-directed second-day performance was perfect, not only as an act of pure professionalism (and perfectionism), but as a sensitive and caring act of deep and loyal friendship. Out of considerable for his feelings, Heston never told Ray he had done it. Out of gratitude and res pect, Ray never told Heston that he found out he had done it.
Ray visited Heston at his home two Christmases ago and said he went in and out of recognition. Ray found the visit so tragic and painful that he couldn't bring himself to go back, although he stayed in close contact with his Heston's devoted wife, Lydia.
I've heard very nice comments about Heston from Ernest Borgnine, Janet Leigh, Dennis Weaver, Kenny Miller, Lee Majors, Karen Black and many others who worked with him over the years. My film-critic friend Jonathan Rosenbaum has said on many occasions that the critically acclaimed "reconfiguration" of Touch of Evil would not have been possible had Heston not offered the complete copy of Welles' detailed studio memo that Heston had kept in his files. Linda Harrison, Heston's Planet of the Apes co-star, has been a good friend over the years and said Heston was a true professional, an extremely helpful and nurturi ng co-star and just generally a "really nice guy" when they worked together on the first two films. (By the way, I spoke with one of the few remaining Planet of the Apes survivors, James Whitmore, on the phone the other day. The 86-year-old star of Them! has just had hip surgery but sounded great and seems to be doing very well. He told me to tell Ray, who turns 88 this year, "I'm just a teenager with acne compared to him.")
If I'm not mistaken, the TCM "Private Screenings" interview with Heston was already scheduled to run tomorrow (Monday) morning, right before the underrated Heston/Gary Cooper film The Wreck of the Mary Deare. I'm sure they'll be scheduling even more of his films in his memory. In addition to the two Apes films and his biblical epics The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur (which are extraordinary spectacles regardless of your religious beliefs), my favorites would have to be De Mille's The Greatest Show on Earth (I don't even care if High Noon orThe Quiet Man or other more meaningful films from that year really deserved the Best Picture Oscar -- it's still a delightful family film), Orson Welles' Touch of Evil, George Pal's The Naked Jungle (with luscious Eleanor Parker, of Mysterious Doctor fame), William Wyler's The Big Country, Anthony Mann's El Cid (the new DVD set is marvelous), Sam Peckinpah's Major Dundee (particularly in its "restored" form), Basil Dearden's Khartoum (with Olivier, who once called Heston America's best classical actor), Tom Gries' Will Penny (one of the all-time great mature and thoughtful Westerns), the one-two punch of Boris Sagal's The Omega Man and Richard Fleischer's Soylent Green (I don't even consider them guilty pleasures anymore -- just wonderfully nostalgi c pleasures), Richard Lester's Musketeers films and (most of all) his extremely moving and effective performance as Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons. I also loved his dual role in the underrated adventure thriller Mother Lode, one of his own directorial efforts. (It's interesting to note, I suppose, that Heston died so soon after the first More, Paul Scofield, and right after Richard Widmark, who played the Jim Bowie role he declined in John Wayne's The Alamo.)
In addition to these starring roles, he breathed larger-than-life vibrancy into a number of otherwise-lifeless projects, from his hot-blooded John the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told to his colorful Brigham Young in the TV Western Avenging Angel. His cameos and guest appearances added integrity and stature to everything from the slam-bang neo-classic Western Tombstone and John Carpenter's Lovecraftian chiller In the Mouth of Madness to Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday (his scene with Cameron Diaz is extremely memorable) to the terrible Planet of the Apes remake (ironically, his unbilled cameo in Rick Baker ape makeup was a last-minute addition to the film, but proved to be one of the few truly effective and coherent scenes in the film). Although he was a bit too old and slightly heavy for the role by the time he made it, I thought his Sherlock Holmes telefilm of The Crucifer of Blood was quite creditable and convincing (my apologies, Gord), though I wish I had seen him on stage in the role several years earlier and several pounds thinner (with Jeremy Brett playing Watson). His Player King in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet showed how riveting he could still be in his 70s, even with very little screen time, and Wayne's World 2,Friends, Saturday Night Live, Frien ds, the MTV Video Awards (where he spoofed Planet of the Apes) and even Warren Beatty's Town and Country showed how funny he could be.
I agree with Tim that Heston was a fine writer. His In the Arena is a superb show-business autobiography that explores (with great candor and self-introspection) his complexities as a man and as an artist. It also reveals his wonderful wit, particularly his ability (very rare in this industry) to laugh at himself and take with a grain of pure salt what the world perceives as his "image." (The story about his conversation with Rosalind Cash prior to the filming of their on-screen, interracial kiss on The Omega Man is an excellent example, and one of my all-time favorite salty movie-set stories. Just wish I could repeat it here ...). I also highly recommend his coffeetable book Charlton Heston's Hollywood, a br eathtaking and exceptional words-and-images walk through his vast and versatile career.
I've said too much already, but I could say so much, much more ...
Richard Widmark - Tough-guy gentleman! One final curtain for so many great characters and this loyal family man!
Tristram Cary, composer, died April 24 2008 at the age of 82.
Cary was a pioneer of electronic music, making a substantial impact in British radio and television drama.
The Bradbury connection? He created the music score and electronic effects for the premiere production of Leviathan '99, which Bradbury wrote as a radio play for the BBC in the 1960s.
There is a detailed obituary here:
There is info on that BBC production on my website, here: http://home.wlv.ac.uk/~in5379/audio/leviathan99/leviathan.htm
R. I. P. to a fine lady, Eight Belles!
The filly that placed in the Kentucky Derby last Saturday but finished in tragic manner.
And to think that my co-worker was the Kentucky Derby, saw all of the tragic cicumstances, but I did not know the name. And, I guess I was thinking that way, my thoughts that this thread was in reference to human beings, but animals of renown would be alright as well!
Eddy Arnold, the Tennessee Plowbow, a real class act, a gifted singer, and an icon of an era! A "rich man" indeed!
Plowbow is a good word, but how is it pronounced?
The great Harvey Korman...laughter now fills the heavenly clouds!
That should have been "Plowboy."
|Powered by Social Strata||Page 1 ... 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 ... 106|