Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Hollywood loses another two greats.

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Hollywood has lost another great actor, Martin Landau, and the talented scriptwriter, George A Romero.Martin Landau, 89, a character actor who starred in the 1960s television show "Mission: Impossible" and won an Oscar for playing Bela Lugosi in the movie "Ed Wood," died Saturday, his publicist Dick Guttman said Sunday night.
Landau died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles following "unexpected complications during a short hospitalization," Guttman said in a statement.
    Landau was born June 28, 1928, in Brooklyn and worked as a cartoonist for the New York Daily News before becoming an actor, according to the Internet Movie Database.
    Landau's career spanned the decades. In 1957 he had a part in the play "Middle of the Night," with Edward G. Robinson and ended up on the West Coast, according to the Internet Movie Database.
    To the general public, Landau was best known to the public for playing master of disguise Rollin Hand for a top-secret spy team in the 1960s series "Mission: Impossible," in which his then-wife Barbara Bain also starred.

    He was nominated for Emmys for each of his three seasons on the show and won the Golden Globe for best male TV star in 1968, IMDb said.
    Landau and Bain left the series in 1969 in a salary dispute. His career suffered for about a decade and he was forced to take roles in now-forgotten movies such as "The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island," IMDb said.
    Landau's career picked up when he got a recurring role on the NBC comedy "Buffalo Bill," in which Dabney Coleman starred.
    He was nominated for three Academy Awards for best supporting actor, for playing Abe Karatz in Francis Coppola's "Tucker" in 1988; the adulterous husband Judah Rosenthal in Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors" in 1989; and the aging horror movie star Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" in 1994. He won the Oscar for the "Ed Wood" role.
    Landau's first big movie role was in Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest." He also had supporting roles in "Cleopatra" and other movies and appeared in numerous television shows, including "The Twilight Zone."
    Near the end of his career, he played Bob Ryan, an aging movie producer in the HBO series "Entourage." The character's catchphrase, with an exaggerated idea followed by "would that be something you'd be interested in?" became something of a pop culture joke.
    Guttman said funeral services will be private followed by a memorial service in August or September.

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    George A Romero, director of horror classic Night of the Living Dead, has died. He was 77.
    In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, Romero’s producing partner Peter Grunwald said the director died in his sleep after a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer”.
    Night of the Living Dead, a micro-budget zombie film combining horror and social satire, which Romero co-wrote with John Russo, was released in 1968 and became a cult classic. It spawned a series: Dawn of the Dead (1978), Day of the Dead (1985), Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007) and Survival of the Dead. The last was released in 2009.
    Romero was born in the Bronx, in New York City, on 4 February 1940, to a Cuban father and a Lithuanian-American mother. He began his filmmaking career as a commercial director before finding his niche in horror. Indelibly associated with the zombie movie, he came to be seen as a master of the entire genre.
    The label did not weigh heavy. In an interview with the AV Club in 2008, Romero said: “Everybody asks Stephen King how he feels about Hollywood ruining his books, and the first thing he says is, ‘The books aren’t ruined. Here they are, on the shelf behind me.’ And I sorta feel the same way. My stuff is my stuff. Sometimes it’s not as successful as some of the other stuff. But it’s my stuff.”
    In a 2014 interview with NPR, Romero said he “never expected” his career to be defined by zombies. “All I did was I took them out of ‘exotica’ and I made them the neighbors,” he said, pointing to the success of his uncanny and chilling films that used terrifying effects, makeup and cuts to satirise consumerism, racism and other social horrors. “I thought there’s nothing scarier than the neighbors!”
    The year before, Romero told the Daily Telegraph his films “may have started the ramp” in terms of zombie films being seen as money-making propositions.

    “I used to be the only guy in the playground,” he said. “Now, my God. I do think the popularity of the creature has come from video games, not film.
    “Zombieland, which was relatively recent, was the first zombie film to break $100m at the box office, and therefore got Hollywood interested. The [2004] remake of Dawn of the Dead did about $75m, so I think that may have started the ramp. And then Zombieland and now, of course, World War Z. But dozens of hugely popular video games have had a bigger impact.”
    Romero operated on budgets that shrank in comparison to such profits: Dawn of the Dead cost $114,000 and Dawn of the Dead, its widely loved sequel, was made for just $500,000. He was a co-writer on the Zack Snyder-directed 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, which cost $28m and ended up taking several times more worldwide.
    He also discussed with the Telegraph why he didn’t like The Walking Dead, the zombie TV hit that continues at the same time as a spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead, and which he described as “a soap opera with a zombie occasionally”.
    Romero married three times. His family told the LA Times he died with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter Tina Romero at his side while listening to the score of the John Ford’s 1952 film, The Quiet Man, one of his favourites.

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    Stories Guardian and CNN

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