As Part 1 in our series of “TOH! Remembers” posts, we look back at some of the talent the film community lost in 2013.
Who: Ray Harryhausen
Born: June 29, 1920
Known for: Pioneering work as creator of stop-motion special effects
Career breakout: “Mighty Joe Young”
High Point: The sword-fight of the skeletons in “Jason and the Argonauts”
Low Point: CGI
Yes, it’s true: Was referenced in the song “Worried About Ray’ by The Hoosiers. –John Anderson
Who: Patrice Chéreau
Known for: Prolific opera, theater, and movie director, who
Career breakout: Appointed director of suburban Parisian
theater at age of 22
High point: In film, “La Reine Margot”
(“Queen Margot”) awarded the Jury Prize and Best Actress Award (for
Virna Lisi) in Cannes in 1994, as well as three Cesar nominations; won Cesar for
Best Director, “Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train,” 1998.
Low point: His now-beloved Marxist production of the Ring
cycle at Bayreuth was booed at its debut in 1976
Yes, it’s true: In his only English language film
“Intimacy,” (2001), stars Mark Rylance and Kerry Fox had actual
(although notably unerotic) sex onscreen; Chereau was the longtime partner of
French actor Pascal Greggory; he worked until a few hours before his death. –-Meredith Brody
Who: A.C. Lyles
Known for: More famed for his nearly-80-year tenure on the Paramount lot (he started there as an office boy straight out of high school and ended up as an exquisitely-groomed and well-dressed ambassador for the studio, interviewed for countless documentaries) than the undistinguished string of Westerns he produced there in the 50s and 60s.
Career breakout: Associate producer on “Rawhide” television series
High point: Awarded star on Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame in 1988
Low point: Produced “Night of the Lepus,” about giant mutant rabbits, in 1972
Yes, it’s true: Last credit was as consulting producer on David Milch’s “Deadwood,” 2005 — 2006, at age of 88; both his wives were named Martha. — Meredith Brody
Who: Ted Post
Born: March 31, 1918
Known For: Directing hundreds of episodes of such television series as “Peyton Place,” “Rawhide,” Gunsmoke,” “Wagon Train” and “Combat.”
Career Breakout: Directing Clint Eastwood’s first American movie, “Hang ‘Em High” (1968), after Eastwood’s success in Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns, and the actor’s second “Dirty Harry” movie, “Magnum Force.” (1973)
High Point: His 1978 Vietnam War movie “Go Tell the Spartans,” which is now considered a classic and arguably the best movie made about the Vietnam War. The title echoes the epitaph for the 300 soldiers who died at Thermopylae fighting Persian invaders in 480 BC: “Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie.”
Low Point: “Go Tell the Spartans,” which failed commercially and was dismissed by most critics in 1978. Starring Burt Lancaster, the clear-eyed movie about how the war could not ever be won had the misfortune to be competing against Michael Cimino’s savage Vietnam movie, “The Deer Hunter” which won five Academy Awards including Best Picture.
Yes, it’s True: In Hollywood, where marriages are tossed away almost as often as old clothes, Post married at the age of 22 and was still married to his first wife when he died 73 years later. –Aljean Harmetz
Who: Gilbert Taylor
Born: April 21, 1914
Known for: British director of photographer for black-and-white and color films who worked with Polanski, Hitchcock, Kubrick and Lucas.
Career breakout: In 1964, Taylor lensed two B&W films by soon-to-be-major auteurs: Polanski’s psychosexual horror “Repulsion” and Kubrick’s wartime black comedy “Dr. Strangelove.”
High point: In 1977, George Lucas brought Taylor aboard “Star Wars: A New Hope” as cinematographer, defining the visual landscape of the franchise.
Low point: Taylor never received an Academy Award nomination.
Yes, it’s true: He used his wife’s silk stocking as a camera filter to create the soft, eerie look of Richard Donner’s 1976 satanic thriller “The Omen.” —Ryan Lattanzio
Next up: TOH! remembers the leading men the film community lost in 2013.