Film, Music, My back pages, Vespers

Dory Previn, Lyricist, 1925-2012

  All ten year-old tragedians need a soundtrack.  Mine was the Theme from Valley of the Dolls, that heartbreaking ballad from the film that starred Barbara Parkins, Sharon Tate and Patty Duke.  I had no idea that the song was meant to underscore the film heroine’s descent into pill addiction (I thought Parkins, Tate and…

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Art, Film, Television, Theater, Vespers, video

James Farentino 1938-2012; Nicol Williamson 1936-2012; Eiko Ishioka 1938-2012

  Farentino was lethal: a handsome actor whose performances ranged from Happy in Lee J. Cobb’s Death of a Salesman (later onstage as Biff to George C. Scott’s Willie) to Juan Peron in the Faye Dunaway telefilm “Evita Peron.”  My favorite: his hotheaded lawyer in TV’s The Bold Ones. The Scotsman Williamson was a pretty decent…

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Film, My back pages, Television, Theater, Vespers

Alan Sues, Comic Actor 1926-2011

There was Liberace, Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly and on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In, Alan Sues.  What a quartet of flamboyant personalities who blazed on prime time when I was coming of age.   In the 70s their very names were punchlines, code for every euphemism of that other f-word even as the longhaired hippies and…

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Film, Gay, Literature, Music, Vespers

Ken Russell, Film Director 1927-2011

The Music Lovers.  Women in Love.  The Devils.  The Boyfriend.  Tommy.  Altered States.  Could anyone combine the prurient and the literary, the highbrow and low rent more effectively than Ken Russell?  His best films actually look better now than when they were made; the worst (Lizstomania, Gothic, The Lair of the White Worm) remain loopy…

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Film, Television, Theater, Vespers

Cliff Robertson 1923-2011

No, he wasn’t a big star.  He was, however, a dependable leading man with a solid career in TV and films, nabbing an Oscar for his title portrayal in 1968’s Charly.  The momentum from that win was hampered when he publicly took David Begelman to task, exposing the former head of MGM as an embezzler…

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