The Watchers

The Watchers

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

In Memoriam 2015

The world of film and entertainment have lost several luminaries this year. Whilst we wrote full tributes to Leonard Nimoy, Sir Christopher Lee and Ron Moody throughout the year, there were several deaths we were unable to pay tribute to at the time. Here then are tributes to several of those stars, from in front of and behind the camera, who sadly passed away this year.

Few people get to redefine the genre they work in once, let alone twice. But that's what Wes Craven did. Firstly, by directing one of the seminal 1980s horror movies- A Nightmare On Elm Street- and introducing the world to one of the best-known horror characters of all time. In 1996, Craven directed Scream which paved the way for a new generation of horror films with a knowing wink to the conventions of the past. He directed all four Scream films as well as Vampire In Brooklyn and- the only non-horror film he did- Music Of The Heart.

James Horner has over 150 credits as composer, working on documentaries, feature films and TV. Composing music for such films as Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, Aliens, Willow, The Rocketeer, Sneakers, Apollo 13, Jumanji, A Beautiful Mind, Troy, The Amazing Spider-Man and Southpaw, Horner won two Academy awards for his musical work on Titanic.

Australian cinematographer Andrew Lesnie won an Academy Award for his work as director of photography on The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring. Lesnie worked on the following two instalments of the Lord Of The Rings saga, and worked on the three Hobbit movies as well. He was also cinematographer for Babe, The Water Diviner and the 2005 version of King Kong.

Robert Loggia in Scarface (1983)
Known for playing cops, mafiosa and other authority figures, Robert Loggia's career spanned seven decades. A versatile actor, he could play anything from Joseph in The Greatest Story Ever Told to Egyptian Prime Minister Anwar Sadat (opposite Ingrid Bergman as Golda Meir). He is best known for his roles in Scarface, Prizzi's Honor, Independence Day and Jagged Edge (for which he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar).

As the suave secret agent John Steed, Patrick Macnee was one of the defining figures of the 1960s. Whilst he will always be associated with The AvengersMacnee's film career was varied - he was an uncredited extra in Laurence Olivier's 1948 film of Hamlet, and played Dr Watson in Sherlock Holmes In New York (opposite Roger Moore as Holmes) as well as playing Sir Godfrey Tibbett in Moore's last James Bond film A View To A Kill.

Geraldine McEwan had a distinguished stage and television career, perfoming with the Royal Shakespeare Company and being nominated for both Olivier Awards and Tony Awards for her stage work. On screen, she starred in The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie, won a BAFTA for her performance as Mother in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, played the witch Mortianna in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves and the cold-hearted Sister Bridget in The Magdalene Sisters. She later went on to play Miss Marple. 

Maureen O'Hara in The Quiet Man
Irish actress Maureen O'Hara is best known for starring opposite John Wayne in five films, the best of which is The Quiet Man. Spotted by Charles Laughton (who gave her the surname O'Hara; her birth surname was FitzSimons), she also starred in How Green Was My Valley, Miracle On 34th Street, Rio Grande and The Parent Trap. She was awarded an honorary Oscar at the 2014 Governors Awards. 

Welsh-American character actor Roger Rees appeared in such diverse fare as Robin Hood: Men In Tights, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Frida, The Prestige and The Scorpion King, whilst also winning the Tony award for his stage performance as Nicholas Nickelby and appearing opposite Sir Ian McKellen in Waiting For Godot. Rees also had television roles in Warehouse 13, Elementary and The West Wing.

Omar Sharif made his English language film debut as Sherif Ali in Lawrence Of Arabia (1962), earning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role. Three years later, he played the lead in Doctor Zhivago. He also appeared opposite Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl and the sequel Funny Lady and took roles in The 13th Warrior and Hidalgo. Away from the silver screen, he was known as one of the best players of contract bridge, even licensing his name to a bridge computer game.

Terry Pratchett wrote more than seventy novels, including 41 set in the fantasy land of the Discworld, several of which- Hogfather, Going Postal and The Colour Of Magic- have been adapted for TV. Pratchett was also a fierce advocate for social issues, including conservation and assisted dying, and spoke eloquently and passionately about his own diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer's. 

One of the ten most influential cinematographers in movie history, Haskell Wexler was director of photography on many classic films such as In The Heat Of The Night, The Thomas Crown Affair and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. He won two Academy Awards for his work on Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? and Bound For Glory

Others who passed away this year include:

  • Oscar-nominated actor Theodore Bikel
  • British actor George Cole
  • American actress Catherine E. Coulson
  • American actress Yvonne Craig
  • Swedish actress Anita Ekberg
  • Writer and director Richard Glatzer
  • Producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr
  • Director John Guillermin
  • Icelandic actor Gunnar Hansen
  • Indian-British actor Saeed Jaffrey
  • French actor Louis Jourdan
  • Swedish author Henning Mankell
  • Oscar-nominated French actress Colette Marchand
  • Screenwriter Melissa Mathison
  • Cinematographer and director Albert Maysles
  • British actor Warren Mitchell
  • American actress Betsy Palmer
  • British author Ruth Rendell
  • Australian actor Rod Taylor
  • American actress Mary Ellen Trainor
  • Producer Jerry Weintraub
  • American actress Grace Lee Whitney
  • American actress Holly Woodlawn

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