Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ollie Johnston, 1912-2008

By Steve Lee

Ollie Johnston, the last of Walt Disney's legendary group of animators called the "Nine Old Men," died Monday (14 April 2008) in Sequim, Washington. He was 95.

Ollie (above, left) along with best friend and next-door-neighbor Frank Thomas (above, right), who died in 2004, were arguably the best known of the nine. Together they worked on such Disney animated features as “Snow White," "Fantasia," "Bambi,” "Pinocchio.” "Alice in Wonderland," "Peter Pan,” "Sleeping Beauty,” and many others... and they collaborated on many books, including "The Illusion of Life," and “The Disney Villains.”

Oscar-winning director Brad Bird, a huge fan of their work, gave Frank and Ollie animated cameo appearances in his films "The Iron Giant" and "The Incredibles."

CLICK HERE to read the AP obituary.

CLICK HERE to view his credits on IMDB.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Stanley Kamel, 1943-2008

By Steve Lee

Stanley Kamel, an incredibly prolific character actor, has died. He was 65.

His obituary at E Online News said that "It would almost be easier to list the shows he wasn't on." He made appearances on shows including Days of Our Lives, Knight Rider, Hill Street Blues, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Murder She Wrote, The Golden Girls, ER, Beverly Hills 90210, L.A. Law... and countless others.

Visit his extraordinary credit list on IMDB here.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Passing of a Legend: Charlton Heston

By Mark Keefer

One of my heroes just died. Charlton Heston passed away at age 84 this past evening. He was most definitely one of the few remaining true stars of the silver screen - a group of people that has almost completely left us. He had class, high morals, and he was even married to the same woman (Lydia) for 64 years.

His acting accomplishments are well documented, but I have to say that I believe it takes a larger-than-life man to play the roles of Judah Ben Hur (for which he won an Oscar), Moses and John the Baptist. The man that can pull off all of those roles in one lifetime without it going completely to his head deserves everyone's respect.

Some of my favorites of his other roles include: George Taylor in "Planet of the Apes", Stewart Graff in "Earthquake", Capt. Matthew Garth in "Midway" and Robert Neville in "The Omega Man" - a movie that Will Smith just remade entitled "I Am Legend". He also had the small but important role of Henry Hooker in one of my all-time favorite westerns, "Tombstone".

He was a man's man, not just of the roles he played, but because of what he stood for. He was an Air Force veteran, a social activist in his latter years, and in 2003, he won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, this nation's highest civilian honor.

As I said, there aren't many genuine Hollywood stars left. I am however thankful he came along to fill the need Hollywood had for a true hero.

Charlton Heston has left an opening for the next genuine Hollywood hero. Who can possibly fill it?