Screen Junkies » R.I.P http://www.screenjunkies.com Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Fri, 19 Dec 2014 20:16:14 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.3 R.I.P. Joan Rivers http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-joan-rivers/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-joan-rivers/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 20:13:02 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=264706 The brash comedienne famous for her cutting take-downs of the rich and famous, has died at 81.

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Joan Rivers, the brash comedienne famous for her cutting take-downs of the rich and famous, has died at 81.

Rivers had been on life support for the past few days following complications from minor throat surgery but as her condition worsened, the family needed to make the tough decision to remove her. “It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers,” daughter Melissa Rivers said in a written statement today. “She passed peacefully at 1:17 p.m. surrounded by family and close friends. My son and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital for the amazing care they provided for my mother.”

The outspoken comic entered comedy back when it was dominated by old white men and rose to fame thanks to her appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Since that time she’s hosted several talk shows and become a regular fixture on the red carpet at awards shows where she pulled no punches when it came time to insult a Kardashian. She’ll be remembered and missed by her many fans for her wit and commitment to her craft.

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R.I.P Robin Williams: On the Passing of an Icon and the “Legalized Insanity” of Comedy http://www.screenjunkies.com/general/r-i-p-robin-williams-on-the-passing-of-an-icon-and-the-legalized-insanity-of-comedy/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/general/r-i-p-robin-williams-on-the-passing-of-an-icon-and-the-legalized-insanity-of-comedy/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 16:33:27 +0000 Jared Jones http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=264064 Robin Williams was a walking, talking stream of consciousness, an errant television signal from another planet that had (barely) been contained to a human vessel in some sort of freak accident. We'll dearly miss him.

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By Jared Jones

It’s funny — the first thing I did after allowing the news of Robin Williams‘ passing to settle last night was rewatch his appearance on Inside the Actors Studio. A comedy and film icon with over 100 voice and acting roles to his credit (and more memorable characters than my video library could possibly hold) had just died, and rather than dust off my ancient VHS copy of Jumanji and remember the good times, I was looking for closure in the deadpan monotone of James Lipton?

I guess I sought out Williams’ appearance on Inside the Actors Studio out of the misguided sense that it would reveal who the real Robin Williams was. Surely, the episode would consist of a series of deep, “revealing” questions that hinted at the pain, the depression, the drug abuse that Williams had battled against throughout his legendary career. Surely, I would get a glimpse into the man behind the perpetually contorting mask.

Some eight minutes into Williams’ appearance, the only question he had even come close to answering was about his style of comedy, which he had dubbed “legalized insanity.” The rest was basically an extended improv, featuring prop work, audience interaction, and no less than 10 characters; an immigrant, a southerner, an old-timey politician, a smoker speaking through an electrolarynx, etc. Dizzying, hysterical, and almost overwhelming, the bit was the epitome of every joke that’s been made about Robin Williams’ style of comedy since he rose to popularity some 40 years ago, and it freaking killed. Most of the audience was doubled over with uncontrollable laughter, and even Lipton was in stitches. Robin Williams was treating this prestigious, learned audience like the Saturday night crowd at the Laugh Factory, and he was on fire.

Forty impression-filled minutes later, Williams borrowed a pink scarf from a woman in the audience and used it to transform into a female movie director from Bombay, then a terrified Iraqi woman, then Robin Van Schoppel: Gay Rabbi, and finally, an Iron Chef host.

And that’s more or less when I accepted just who Robin Williams was. The unprompted outbursts, the constant barrage of voices and characters; that was just him doing him. Robin Williams was schizophrenia fully realized; a walking, talking stream of consciousness, or an errant television signal from another planet, maybe, that had (barely) been contained to a human vessel in some sort of freak accident. He was certifiably bonkers, but managed to harness those crazy, kneejerk, Id-driven thoughts we all have into a routine. If he weren’t so damn famous, he’d probably be locked up. Hence, “legalized insanity.” He was also one of the kindest, most outgoing guys in the industry, which is probably why they allowed him to stick around as long as he did.

Williams always came across — to me at least — as someone who chose comedy out of a greater desire than making other people laugh. It wasn’t a mindless indulgence to Williams, although the speed at which he could fearlessly fire off material might lead you to believe it was. It was a necessity, a distraction from the soul-crushing normalcy of people who weren’t Robin Williams. To write it off as a coping mechanism would be too easy, but comedy seemed to be the only way he could exist in a world so mundane, so profoundly inhibited.

And that’s perhaps the saddest truth about comedy (and the success garnered by it), that those gifted with it are seemingly the most conflicted, depressed people among us, often as a result. Because comedy is creation — a single person’s unique understanding of the world around them, from premise to execution — and creation often breeds dejection. Where there should be self-confidence, there is only doubt in one’s abilities. Like any drug, comedic success builds a tolerance within you that can only be satisfied with a bigger, better high. Perfection becomes your endgame, impossible as it may be, and eventually, the bottom always drops out.

We’ve seen it with countless comedy greats: Chappelle, Seinfeld, Pryor, and so on. The pressure to constantly best yourself, to make each and every person you meet laugh no matter what condition you might be in…it’s too much for most. Eventually, you just drop all your shit and flee to Africa, so to speak, or become a recluse. You do anything within your power to avoid the mountain of expectation your own damn mind has convinced you that you need to rise above. It’s exactly what happened to Williams, and exactly what has happened to dozens of praised funnymen before him.

Moments before bringing about the apocalypse in Stanley Elkin’s The Living End, God revealed himself to the legions of the assembled dead and the living billions and addressed them all at once. He was moments away from bringing about the annihilation of everything he had created, and his reasoning behind it was simply “Because I never found my audience.”

“You gave me, some of you, your ooh’s and aah’s, the Jew’s hooray and the Catholics’ Latin deference — all theology’s pious wow. But I never found my audience.”

I’d like to think that Robin Williams found his audience. Maybe not during his time here on Earth, or maybe not in whatever afterlife you prefer to picture him in, but within himself. Robin Williams was the only audience necessary for Robin Williams, and the only audience that could truly appreciate his greatness. A hyperbolic or egotistical or plain rude statement it may be, but it’s ultimately fitting for a man as truly original as Williams. Go ahead, try and name one person who you could even begin to compare to him, celebrity or otherwise. Name one person so unashamedly wacky, so multifaceted and uninhibited, that they could even begin to understand the constant influx and outpour of thought that Williams has displayed in almost every public appearance since 1975. I don’t know about you, but I’m extremely grateful that I cannot.

To pull a quote from one of William’s more recent efforts, World’s Greatest Dad, “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up alone, it’s not. The worst thing in the world is to end up with people that make you feel alone.”

Here’s hoping you found your audience, Mr. Williams.

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R.I.P. Casey Kasem http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/r-i-p-casey-kasem/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/r-i-p-casey-kasem/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 16:09:45 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=262266 The radio legend and 'Scooby Doo' star has passed away.

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Radio legend and the bedrock on which Matthew Lillard built his Shaggy performance passed away yesterday morning at the age of 82. His death ends the long and public legal battle between his three oldest children and their stepmother, his wife Jean, he warred over his well-being and kept his location a secret.

It’s always hard to write about sad news on an entertainment humor site where we try to keep things light. It can be really frustrating, as the deceased Mr. Kasem surely agrees.

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R.I.P. Bob Hoskins http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-bob-hoskins/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-bob-hoskins/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 16:42:08 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=261357 The veteran actor dies at 71.

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Veteran British actor Bob Hoskins has passed away at the age of 71. The versatile actor was known for several tough guy roles like in Mona Lisa — a role that garnered him a Best Actor Academy Award nomination — as well as lighter fare like Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Hook, and Super Mario Bros.. His family released a statement that he died due to complications from pneumonia.

Wario has been ruled out as a suspect.

 

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R.I.P. Shirley Temple http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-shirley-temple/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-shirley-temple/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 16:49:38 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=259257 She was 85.

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Shirley Temple Black, hands down the cutest celebrity to have a drink named after them (sorry Arnold Palmer, you should have accessorized), has passed away on Monday. She was 85.

First known to Depression era audiences as an adorable, tap-dancing sassypants, she was a screen legend with over 40 film credits by the age of 12. With her acting career stalled out in her teens, she left the business at the age of 22. From there, she entered politics and went on to become an ambassador for the United States under two different presidencies.

In 1972, after losing her left breast to cancer, she spoke publicly about her mastectomy in the hopes of raising awareness and promoting women to conduct home checks.

The New York Times has published this statement from her family, “We salute her for a life of remarkable achievements as an actor, as a diplomat, and most importantly as our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and adored wife for fifty-five years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black.” Indeed. Let’s all take a moment to pour out a sip of grenadine and ginger ale in her honor.

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Russell Johnson, The Professor From ‘Gilligan’s Island’, Dies At Very Old http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/russell-johnson-the-professor-from-gilligans-island-dies-at-very-old/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/russell-johnson-the-professor-from-gilligans-island-dies-at-very-old/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2014 22:50:30 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=258763 He is survived by the Harlem Globetrotters.

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Russell Johnson, the actor best known as the handsome and brilliant Professor on Gilligan’s Island has died at the age of 89. In reality, he did not live on an uncharted island with a wacky cast of characters, but on the much better known Bainbridge Island, WA. After winning a Purple Heart for his Army Air Force service in World War II, Mr. Johnson studied on the G.I. Bill at the Actors’ Laboratory in Hollywood. He soon began a contract with Universal-International, which led to roles in a series of movies, mostly as the villain in westerns.

In 1964, he won his career-defining role as the Professor on the hit sitcom. That series ran until 1967, with Johnson reprising the role in the 70′s and 80′s for two Gilligan cartoon series and three made-for-television movies.

Mr. Johnson is survived by his wife, Connie; a daughter, Kim; a stepson, Court Dane; a grandson, and the Harlem Globetrotters. (NY Times)

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R.I.P. James Avery http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/r-i-p-james-avery/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/r-i-p-james-avery/#comments Thu, 02 Jan 2014 16:47:42 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=258546 The 'Fresh Prince' uncle was 68.

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2013 can officially eat a dick. With only one day left in the year, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star James Avery passed away from complications of heart surgery at the age of 68. Best known for his role as Uncle Phil, Avery was a classically trained actor who was both a fixture on the small screen as well as a success as a voice actor. He was the voice of Shredder from 1987 – 1996 on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which, whoa. Never would have placed it. Mind blown.

Let’s remember the man for what he did best, throwing DJ Jazzy Jeff out of his mansion like a piece of garbage.

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R.I.P. Peter O’Toole http://www.screenjunkies.com/general/r-i-p-peter-otoole/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/general/r-i-p-peter-otoole/#comments Mon, 16 Dec 2013 17:22:49 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=258363 The 'Lawrence of Arabia' star has passed away.

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Peter O’Toole, the respected actor best known for his starring role as Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia but also known for his role as Zaltar, Master of the Matterwand, in Supergirl, has passed away at the age of 81.

Much like the matterwand, O’Toole too had the ability to turn energy into matter, having turned in unforgettable performances in over ninety screen projects. He was nominated for an Academy Award eight times for his work in the films My Favorite Year, The Stunt Man, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Venus, and of course, Lawrence of Arabia. Though he never won (a decision that Mr. O’Toole attributed to his own “hamming it up” at the time), the Academy did give him an honorary award in 2003. He was also nominated for Worst Supporting Actor by the Razzie Awards for his work on Supergirl. However, he also “lost” that honor as that was the year that Howard The Duck and Prince’s Under the Cherry Moon essentially swept it. Hollywood can be so political.

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R.I.P. Jonathan Winters http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-jonathan-winters/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-jonathan-winters/#comments Fri, 12 Apr 2013 19:26:12 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=254382 1926 - 2013.

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Comedy genius Jonathan Winters, best known for playing the crazy old guy goofing around with Robin Williams in Mork & Mindy, has passed away at the age of 87. He died in his home of natural causes and not by random lion attack as the Wall Street Journal erroneously reported. Our condolences to all who loved him.

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R.I.P. Richard Griffiths http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-richard-griffiths/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-richard-griffiths/#comments Fri, 29 Mar 2013 16:39:19 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=254174 The 'Harry Potter' and 'Naked Gun' star died at the age of 65.

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Richard Griffiths, the hilariously-faced star of the Harry Potter films and Withnail & I, has died from complications of heart surgery at the age of 65. The veteran English actor started his career by joining the Royal Shakespeare Company before going on to become a star of stage and screen. Winner of both the Olivier Award and a Tony, he went on to appear in films such as The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Gorky Park, Chariots Of Fire, Gandhi, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo.

Goodbye to one of the greats. The man could take a bowling ball to the head with the best of them.

 

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R.I.P. ‘Snakes On A Plane’ Director David R. Ellis http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-snakes-on-a-plane-director-david-r-ellis/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-snakes-on-a-plane-director-david-r-ellis/#comments Tue, 08 Jan 2013 13:49:58 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=252731 The director passed away on location in South Africa.

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Cause of death has not been released but Deadline reports that director David R. Ellis has died unexpectedly while in South Africa prepping his next film, the live-action adaptation of the anime Kite.

His career began as an actor before leading to stunt coordinating which in turn eventually lead to directing. While best known for pitting Samuel L. Jackson against poisonous snakes at 30,000 feet in Snakes On A Plane, his best film is Final Destination 2. The sequel raised the bar on gore and splatter in the series and remains the pinnacle of what those films can be. Say what you will about his other films, Shark Night 3D, Cellular, the idiotically NASCAR-based The Final Destination, but it’s only appropriate to play him off with his greatest work — the spectacular car crash from Final Destination 2. Our condolences.

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R.I.P. ‘Jet Set’ Hudson http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/r-i-p-jet-set-hudson/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/r-i-p-jet-set-hudson/#comments Wed, 19 Dec 2012 22:14:38 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=252540 Good night, sweet Jheri curled prince.

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The Florida Sentinel has announced the sad news that Jessie “Jet Set” Hudson, a beloved supporting character on the Comedy Central series Workaholics, has passed away from complications of not being able to be alive anymore. Which we can all agree is one of the worst ways to go out.

According to family members, Jet Set, who lived in Pasadena, California, stopped by a convenience store close to midnight on December 13th.

His sister, Shirley Coleman, said Jet Set went into the store and purchased an Alka Seltzer, a bottle of water, and some milk.

“The clerk in the store said he was sweating really bad, and was in a hurry.

“The clerk said he paid for the items with a $20, and ran out to his car before receiving his change. When the clerk ran out to his car to give him his change, he found Jessie B. slumped to one side inside his car.”

Ms. Coleman said when paramedics arrived on the scene minutes later, he was pronounced dead. Preliminary indications are Jet Set died of a heart attack. (Via)

What makes this news especially sad is this is how we all found out his real name was Jet Set. I’d imagined that was something the Workaholics writers came up with. But no, what happened was they met a guy named Jet Set, decided that’s pretty awesome, and then just hired him because of his ridiculously awesome personality. Jet Set will truly be missed. He is previously deceased by Home Girl. (via Warming Glow)

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Ernest Borgnine Got Old And Died http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/ernest-borgnine-got-old-and-died/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/ernest-borgnine-got-old-and-died/#comments Mon, 09 Jul 2012 16:47:41 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=249628 Shine on, you crazy diamond...

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Acting legend Ernest Borgnine has passed away from kidney failure. The 95-year old is best known for his Oscar-winning performance in Marty, as well as his starring role in the classic sitcom McHale’s Navy. He also acted in classics like The Dirty Dozen, The Poseiden Adventure, The Wild Bunch, and BASEketball.

All in all, he seemed to be a really great guy and we’ll all miss him.

If only, he’d masturbated a little harder.

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Three Years After Billy Mays’ Death: Where Are We As A People? http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-lists/three-years-after-billy-mays-death-where-are-we-as-a-people/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-lists/three-years-after-billy-mays-death-where-are-we-as-a-people/#comments Thu, 28 Jun 2012 23:36:12 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=249428 Have we forgotten his teachings?

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On Monday of this week, we were all reminded that it was the third anniversary of Michael Jackson. Songs were spun, tweets were sent, and heads hung in silence. Which brings us to today, June 28th — the third anniversary of TV pitchman Billy Mays‘ passing. Yes. If you’ll remember, the Infomercial King shuffled off this mortal coil just three days after Jackson. So, where is the fanfare? Where are the rememberance tweets?

Have we as a nation forgotten Billy Mays?

Rather I should ask, have we moved on from Billy? Let’s take a look at how the world has changed without its most charismatic salesman.

The Nation

Today’s headlines are dominated by the news that Obamacare has been passed by the Supreme Court. In a 5-4 victory, the Court upheld the bill which means every American will now have to buy healthcare by 2014, and those with existing conditions will no longer be faced with prejudices.

The Media

Ann Curry gave a tearful farewell on The Today Show this morning. Suspicions have been that Curry was blamed for the show’s sagging ratings, and she was reassigned out of co-anchor chair. This was confirmed by her farewell speech. Ann Curry is a peach and didn’t deserve this treatment. But what do you expect from the network that consistently stiffed Conan O’Brien in favor of Jay Leno? Thank goodness Billy wasn’t around to see this.

Technology

Since Billy May’s passing, our whites have lost their gleam, our putties are a bit less mighty, our hooks less Herculean. But that’s not to say that there haven’t been wonderful advances. We all now carry a personal assistant around with us in our pockets thanks to Apple’s Siri. It means we’ll never have to use our fingers to text again nor have to deal with the complicated mechanics involved with converting ounces to pounds. We’re practically higher beings now.

But that’s not all! The last few years have given blessed the world with several bounties. The Bladeless Fan is now all the rage (though you can’t use it to immitate Darth Vader), we can clone and genetically alter our pets, and the WorldFirst F3 project has created a racing car made from food items. It’s an edible racecar. There’s even an Amtrak train that runs on rendered cattle fat. Take that, Henry Ford!

Entertainment

Clive Owen has been replaced by a guy named Michael Fassbender, and a silent film won Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

************

But let’s now take a look at the lives Mays touched directly. Surely, their finding ways to honor the man and keep his torch lit.

Anthony Sullivan & Vince Offer

The beef continues.

It’s no secret that Mays was not a fan of Vince Offer after he publicly called him out and challenged him to a “pitch off” on the Adam Carolla Show. The feud started after Mays rose to prominence with products like his Zorbeez and Quick Chop. Then, failed filmmaker Vince Shlomi rebirthed himself as Infomercial pitchman Vince Offer, with products like ShamWow and Slap Chop — both direct rip-offs of Zorbeez and Quick Chop. The hatchet would not be buried before Mays passed away.

Instead, the hatchet was picked up by Billy’s former business partner Anthony Sullivan. Who has now reverse-Offered Offer by releasing a commercial for Sticky Buddy, a product that’s a blatant (and improved) version of Vince’s Schticky.

I have to admit, I’m pro-Sticky Buddy. It’s just a better value and Anthony Sullivan doesn’t punch women in the face. Okay. This Sticky Buddy parody may have helped put me over the top too.

His Son

Billy’s son, Billy Mays III, has found a way to both honor his father and give back to the fans. #WheresBillyMays is a website he founded where he curates interesting and respectful tributes to his dad found across the Internet. Like this awesome one:

If anything, it serves as a daily reminder that Billy Mays might be gone but he is in no way forgotten.

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R.I.P. Nora Ephron http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-nora-ephron/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-nora-ephron/#comments Wed, 27 Jun 2012 15:26:50 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=249396 The day the romantic comedy died...

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The romantic comedy genre has lost its most original and refreshing voice. Nora Ephron, writer of When Harry Met Sally and director of Sleepless in Seattle, has passed away.

The 71-year old essayist and dry skin opponent was seeking treatment for acute myeloid leukemia these past few weeks. However, this condition brought on a case of pneumonia which she would not recover from. She passed in a Manhattan hospital on Tuesday night. Another patient there commented, “I won’t have what she’s having.” They were later asked to leave.

Nora Ephron will be missed for her wit, charm, and good humor. She is survived by Meg Ryan.

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R.I.P. Davy Jones http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-davy-jones/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-davy-jones/#comments Wed, 29 Feb 2012 18:59:02 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=246509 Your favorite karaoke song has temporarily lost its irony.

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Sad news. Everyone’s favorite Monkee (by everyone, I men 25%) has passed away. Davy Jones has died after suffering a heart attack this morning.

Jones joined The Monkees in 1965 when producers were looking to cast a scripted series about a rock band. Along with Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork, the quartet scored three number one hits — “Daydream Believer,” “I’m a Believer,” and “Last Train to Clarksville.”

They also came together to show their more serious side by creating the tripped-out experimental, Jack Nicholson-penned film Head, as a counter to the films The Beatles were creating at the time.

Jones is survived by his wife and four daughters. (TMZ)

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Whitney Houston Is Dead http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/whitney-houston-is-dead/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/whitney-houston-is-dead/#comments Sun, 12 Feb 2012 02:02:16 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=245141 She was 48-years old.

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Whitney Houston is dead. The world-famous singer and actress passed away at the Beverly Hilton hotel at the age of 48, representative Kristen Foster confirmed Saturday evening. The cause of death is unknown at this time, but given her well-documented battles with drug addiction, I doubt it was ninjas.

While best known for her singing career, Houston was also famous for her acting work in films such as The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale. According to CNN, she was set to appear in an upcoming remake of Sparkle, which would have been her first movie role since 1996.

R.I.P.

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Ben Gazzara (A.K.A. Jackie Treehorn) Dead At 81 http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/ben-gazzara-a-k-a-jackie-treehorn-dead-at-81/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/ben-gazzara-a-k-a-jackie-treehorn-dead-at-81/#comments Sat, 04 Feb 2012 00:54:39 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=244539 He brought JCPenney's to this town

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It’s not often that I wish I could kick god right in the nuts, but this is one of those moments.

Actor Ben Gazzara has passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 81. You probably remember him best as pornographer Jackie Treehorn in the Coen Brothersclassic, The Big Lebowski, or as monster-truck owning small-town dictator Brad Wesley in Road House. In fact, if you don’t know Gazzara from at least one of those roles, you are an awful person who needs to reassess his or her life.

Of course, I don’t want to reduce the man down to two roles in a career that lasted nearly 60 years, and included both stage and screen. But I’ll always remember him for bringing JCPenney’s to town, and for making great strides in the field of interactive erotic software. The wave of the future, Dude. One hundred percent electronic!

R.I.P.

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R.I.P. Hollywood Swordmaster Bob Anderson http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-hollywood-swordmaster-bob-anderson/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-hollywood-swordmaster-bob-anderson/#comments Mon, 02 Jan 2012 17:00:57 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=241071 There can be only one.

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Hollywood swordmaster Bob Anderson has died and, no, he was not fell by the hand of Inigo Montoya. The veteran fencing champion has crafted some of cinema‘s most famous fight scenes. Actually, he wore the Darth Vader costume to film the epic light saber battles in the original Star Wars trilogy. The former Olympian also worked as swordmaster on The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Legend of Zorro, The Hobbit, and From Russia With Love.

Mr. Anderson was 89 when he passed on New Year’s Day. Police are currently questioning Connor MacLeod. (NY Daily News)

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R.I.P. Cheetah The Chimp From ‘Tarzan’ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-cheetah-the-chimp-from-tarzan/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-cheetah-the-chimp-from-tarzan/#comments Wed, 28 Dec 2011 17:11:50 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=240882 Run free, Cheetah. Run free.

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The holidays didn’t pass by without tragedy. Cheetah, the beloved chimpanzee from the Tarzan films of the 1930′s and 1940′s, passed away on Christmas Eve from kidney failure. Known for his easy charm, winning smile, and knack for losing himself in a role, Cheetah was arguably one of the most famous animal actors in Hollywood’s rich history.

Apart from his acting accomplishments, Cheetah also holds the oldest non-human primate record in the Guinness Book, living to reach the age of 80. The normal life expectancy for a chimpanzee in captivity is 35 to 40 years of age.

He spent his golden years at the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor, Florida alongside aside a myriad of other retired film and zoo animals who had no place else to go. You can donate here if you would like to pay your respects and help better the lives of these animals.

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5 Scathing Obituaries Written By Christopher Hitchens http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/5-scathing-obituaries-written-by-christopher-hitchens/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/5-scathing-obituaries-written-by-christopher-hitchens/#comments Fri, 16 Dec 2011 20:00:25 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=239967 Hitchens pulled no punches when it came to writing obituaries.

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Christopher Hitchens’ command of the English language was such that I’m reluctant to even attempt a tribute, especially on a website that consists primarily of silly lists and dick jokes. After all, if Hitchens was able to read this piece, he’d have a field day mocking my grammatical errors and lack of intellect. But guess what? He’s dead, and unless he was wrong about that whole “there is no god” thing, he can’t read a damn thing. And given the fact that he is now a corpse, it’s also safe to say that he is no longer the amazing writer he once was. So for the first time in my life, I am technically a better writer than Christoper Hitchens! Take that you old scotch-swilling limey!

Now, I bet you’re wondering why I’m being so insensitive about Hitchens’ death, especially given that he hasn’t even been gone for 24 hours. Well, I’m simply proving a point. While everyone, friend and foe alike, lines up to kiss his ass, let’s remember that Christopher Hitchens was never one to pull punches, even in the wake of someone’s death. In fact, he had absolutely no qualms with speaking ill of the dead if he felt they deserved it. So, as a tribute to the late-great author, here are five scathing obituaries written by Christopher Hitchens.

Rest in peace… you filthy trotskyite. You will be missed.

Not Even a Hedgehog: The stupidity of Ronald Reagan.

A good rule of thumb when writing an obituary is to avoid words like “stupid” in the title. Also, comparing the recently deceased to a woodland rodent is usually frowned upon, as well. But that didn’t stop Hitch from doing it, and to a former president, no less.

He was as dumb as a stump. He could have had anyone in the world to dinner, any night of the week, but took most of his meals on a White House TV tray. He had no friends, only cronies. His children didn’t like him all that much. He met his second wife—the one that you remember—because she needed to get off a Hollywood blacklist and he was the man to see. Year in and year out in Washington, I could not believe that such a man had even been a poor governor of California in a bad year, let alone that such a smart country would put up with such an obvious phony and loon.

Read the full obituary.

What’s most interesting about this piece is that by the end, Hitchens actually seems to be complimenting Reagan on some of his accomplishments, admitting the successes of his presidency even while deriding the man himself. I’d hate to see how he treats someone he complete disrespects (see Jerry Falwell).

Hopeless: Did Bob Hope ever say anything funny?

Who in the hell would want to speak ill of Bob Hope? Christopher Hitchens, apparently.

To be paralyzingly, painfully, hopelessly unfunny is not a particular defect or shortcoming in, say, a cable repair man or a Supreme Court justice or a Navy Seal. These jobs can be performed humorlessly with no loss of efficiency or impact. But to be paralyzingly, painfully, hopelessly unfunny is a serious drawback, even lapse, in a comedian. And the late Bob Hope devoted a fantastically successful and well-remunerated lifetime to showing that a truly unfunny man can make it as a comic. There is a laugh here, but it is on us.

Read the full obituary.

Jerry Falwell: Faith-Based Fraud

Again, as a rule, it’s not a good idea to include the word “fraud” in the title of an obituary, even if the deceased was a fraud. But considering Hitchens uses the term “carcass” in the first line, “fraud” was probably about the nicest thing we could have expected.

…there is no vileness that cannot be freely uttered by a man whose name is prefaced with the word Reverend. Try this: Call a TV station and tell them that you know the Antichrist is already on earth and is an adult Jewish male. See how far you get. Then try the same thing and add that you are the Rev. Jim-Bob Vermin. “Why, Reverend, come right on the show!

Read the full obituary.

Osama Bin Laden: Death of a Madman

Finally, a scathing obituary almost everyone can agree on. However, given Hitchens’ deep contempt for Islamic extremists, it’s surprising that this obituary didn’t rejoice more in Bin Laden’s death. Granted, he had been writing about the danger posed by Jihadists even before September 11th, so by the time Bin Laden was killed, it was almost anticlimactic. But it’s still strange to see more vitriol poured out in an obituary to Bob Hope than in an article about the man behind 9-11.

…he and his fellow psychopaths did succeed in killing thousands in North America and Western Europe, but in the past few years, their main military triumphs have been against such targets as Afghan schoolgirls, Shiite Muslim civilians, and defenseless synagogues in Tunisia and Turkey. Has there ever been a more contemptible leader from behind, or a commander who authorized more blanket death sentences on bystanders?

Read the full obituary.

Mother Teresa and Princess Diana

OK, technically speaking, these quotes aren’t from obituaries, so I apologize. But to make up for that fact, I’m giving you a two for one. Do the math, people. That’s a good deal.

To most, Mother Teresa was a saint. And for millions of people, her title of “saint” is quite literal, or at least it will be once the Catholic Church gets around to making it official. But as you can imagine, Hitchens was never a big fan of the Catholic Church. In fact, I once heard a right-wing pundit quip that Hitch would be just as happy to see a war on the Vatican as he was to see a war on Islamic extremists.

Hyperbole aside, the man did not like organized religion, and as one of Catholicism’s most well known proponents, Mother Teresa was on his hit list. He took particular issue with the fact the she urged the poor to accept their lot in life, and accepted donations to her charity from unscrupulous sources, including the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti.

In the wake of Mother Teresa’s death, which was only a few days after the death of Princess Diana (who was also not one of his favorite people), Hitchens gave the follwoing quote.

Words to avoid this week, or perhaps any week from now on: ‘idol’ and ‘icon’. These once meant only the show-biz versions of graven-image worship, or the cult of mortal beings. Now they mean the real thing. And spiritual and secular leaderships compete to prostrate themselves. By the way, what have we ‘chosen’ for our idols and icons? A simpering Bambi narcissist and a thieving, fanatical Albanian dwarf. Nice going.

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Colonel Potter’s Dead, And You Feel Nothing http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/colonel-potters-dead-and-you-feel-nothing/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/colonel-potters-dead-and-you-feel-nothing/#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2011 23:02:17 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=239120 He was 96-years young, which is really friggen old!

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I’ve got some good news for people who hate M*A*S*H, and some bad-to-moderately-interesting news for the rest of us. Harry Morgan, the actor who played Colonel Potter (not Dexter‘s dad), has died at age 96. Considering I thought he was about 85 when the show originally aired, I’m really surprised to find out he was still alive. Good for him (up until today).

Aside from M*A*S*H, Morgan also starred in films such as To the Shores of Tripoli and High Noon. And some people might remember him as Officer Bill Gannon from, Dragnet. Of course those people are really old, and don’t know how to use the Internet, so I'm not sure why I bothered to type that.

At any rate, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, who are, no doubt, avid Screen Junkies readers.

R.I.P.

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Rest In Peace: Five Ken Russell Films You Should See http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/rest-in-peace-five-ken-russell-films-you-should-see/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/rest-in-peace-five-ken-russell-films-you-should-see/#comments Tue, 29 Nov 2011 00:57:10 +0000 Nicholas Pell http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=237986 A tribute to the now-deceased director who brought us the classic date movie, 'Whore'...

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Ken Russell passed away last weekend after a series of strokes at age 84. Many of you might remember him as Kurt Russell’s dad.

Nah, on the reals, the guy was a pretty amazing director, though you could be forgiven for having never heard of his stuff. He was a pretty hot property back in your parents’ day. His later career was marked by films shot on video at his house starring himself. Sadly, we are not even kidding. If you’re unacquainted with this British auteur of high weirdness, we’re going to be kind enough to introduce you to some of his work. Here are a few places to get started with the late, great Ken Russell.

Tommy (1975)

This psychedelic classic almost came a little too late for Ken Russell. Still, the psychedelia of the film seems far more 70′s than the previous decade, which gave us the album. Ann-Margaret received a Golden Globe win and an Academy Award nomination for this film, which screened at Cannes, but was not part of the competition. Russell also wrote the script with Pete Townshend, mastermind of The Who. The list of stars in this film is unwieldy — Roger Daltrey and Ann-Margaret, supported by Elton John, Eric Clapton, Jack Nicholson and Tina Turner. The film is more than a little intense, visually speaking, and you’ll probably turn off your DVD player wondering if you just went on an acid trip.

Altered States (1980)

Loosely based on the real story of John C. Lily (the dude who brought us the drug ecstasy), Altered States stars William Hurt as an academic exploring other states of consciousness. Throughout the course of the film, Edward Jessup (the Lily analogue) experiments with sensory deprivation chambers, Ayahuasca, Amanita muscaria and a mystery tincture that turns him into some sort of ape man. It’s widely considered one of Russell’s stand out moments, with the visual and story-telling elements all pitch perfect.

Salome’s Last Dance (1988)

Salome’s Last Dance is based on some play you probably read and forgot in high school or in college. It’s about how a prostitute made the King of Judea behead John the Baptist… you know, the dude with the dreads who baptized Jesus. The film has all the classic Ken Russell tropes: Garish colors, bizarre costumes, overdramatic performances and high weirdness. Everyone in the film plays two different characters, and the “play” part of the film is bookended by a part with Oscar Wilde going to see it.

The Lair of the White Worm (1988)

For those of you who like updated versions of ancient myths, there’s The Lair of the White Worm. Look for an embarrassingly young Hugh Grant as the Lord of the Manor where an ancient worm is wreaking havoc on the English countryside. This is one of those movies you probably used to see in the “Horror” section at Blockbuster Video when you were about eight, and wondered what the hell it was about. It turns out it’s not just the snake people have to worry about, but an insane cult dedicated to maintaining its worship in the modern age.

Whore (1991)

This was pretty much the last movie Russell made that anyone cared about. After this, he basically retired to England with his camcorder and made fan fiction.

Based on a script written by a London taxi driver, Russell intended this to be an answer to Pretty Woman, which he believed glorified prostitution. The movie didn’t do very well. Did you think some weird-ass movie called Whore that got an NC-17 rating would? It was retitled for family-friendly video stores as If You Can’t Say It… Just See It? This is kind of an awesome date movie, actually. It’s a hell of a lot better than Pretty Woman, which might actually be the worst film ever made.

Honorable Mention: “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” (1996)

Proof that true trolls know how to troll themselves, Ken Russell directed the video to Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now.” We get that Screen Junkies is a hot den of snark and you’re loath to believe us, but we couldn’t be more straight with you than we’re being right now.

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R.I.P. Charles Napier http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-charles-napier/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-charles-napier/#comments Thu, 06 Oct 2011 17:42:07 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=231478 Hollywood has lost its foremost guy who can play a general.

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Steve Jobs isn’t the only dead guy in town. Sadly, square-jawed character actor Charles Napier has passed away at the age of 75. The Bakersfield, California resident enjoyed a 43 year screen career, having recently voiced Dr. Spelts on Archer. Napier is most famous for his authorative look which earned him memorable roles in Rambo: First Blood Part II, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, The Blues Brothers, and The Silence of the Lambs.

This is always a difficult time of year to pass away. I’m predicting we’ll see more than a few Charles Napier costumes this Halloween.

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R.I.P. Steve Jobs http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-steve-jobs/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-steve-jobs/#comments Thu, 06 Oct 2011 13:35:23 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=231433 This is sadder than the first ten minutes of 'Up'.

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The buzzing device in your pocket has likely alerted you to the fact that Apple co-founder and former CEO, Steve Jobs has passed away. The man responsible for changing the way the world communicates, innovates, and entertains succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 56.

Having previously served as the chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios, Jobs helped to radically redefine what an animated film can be. Breathtaking visuals weren’t enough. There needed to be heart as well. This ethic lead to the creation of several memorable characters and unforgettable films. Films that have impacted children and adults alike.

Jobs will be sorely missed but will live on as a symbol of invention and ingenuity. Our condolences to those who loved him and those he loved. This is sadder than the first ten minutes of Up.

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R.I.P. Sherwood Schwartz http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/r-i-p-sherwood-schwartz/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/r-i-p-sherwood-schwartz/#comments Tue, 12 Jul 2011 18:45:18 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=219847 The 'Brady Bunch' and 'Gilligan's Island' creator has passed away at 94.

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Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island as well as their catchy theme songs, has passed away at the age of 94.

The Emmy-winning legend began writing jokes for Bob Hope before launching the world famous television sitcoms and writing their songs that I now can’t get out of my head. He was working on a big screen Gilligan’s Island when he fell ill last week. He is survived by his wife of 69 years and their four children and the Harlem Globetrotters. (AP)

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R.I.P. Peter Falk http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-peter-falk/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-peter-falk/#comments Fri, 24 Jun 2011 17:56:40 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=217807 Kevin Pollak is going to have to find a new impersonation.

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“Columbo” star Peter Falk has passed away according to his family members. Falk died Thursday night at his Beverly Hills estate. No cause of death has been reported but the actor had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Though best known for his role as the trench-coated detective (a role that would win him four Emmys), Falk was also memorable for his performances in films like The Princess Bride and Murder By Death. In 1961, he became the first actor nominated for an Oscar and an Emmy in the same year, receiving best supporting nominations for the movie Murder, Inc., and the TV show “The Law and Mr. Jones.” He followed up in 1962 by being doubly nominated again for supporting actor for the movie Pocketful of Miracles and best actor (he won) for “The Price of Tomatoes,” which was an episode of “The Dick Powell Theatre.”

Kevin Pollak is going to have to find a new impersonation.

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R.I.P. Ryan Dunn http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-ryan-dunn/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-ryan-dunn/#comments Mon, 20 Jun 2011 15:22:41 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=216839 The "Jackass" star died in a car accident early this morning. Aw dammit!

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The Jackass crew have suffered their first casualty and miraculously it wasn’t Steve-O. Ryan Dunn and at unknown passenger died early this morning in Pennsylvania after his Porsche crashed following a night of drinking.

The likable prankster Dunn is best known for shoving a matchbox car up his rectum before receiving an X-ray in the first Jackass movie and for his appearances on several MTV shows including “Viva La Bam.” Hours before the accident, Dunn posted a picture of he and friends tying one on at the bar. It’s believed that he was drunk at the time of the accident and was absolutely not goaded by Johnny Knoxville to wear a blindfold while driving.

If this is true, it sucks to see someone lose their life in a way that could have been so easily prevented. And it really sucks to see them take somebody else with them. (TMZ)

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R.I.P. Uncle Leo http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/r-i-p-uncle-leo/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/r-i-p-uncle-leo/#comments Thu, 17 Feb 2011 16:38:50 +0000 Wookie Johnson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=27749 Jerry Seinfeld has lost his favorite, loudest uncle. Len Lesser, the actor best known for yelling his way into our hearts as Uncle Leo on "Seinfeld," has passed away.

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Jerry Seinfeld has lost his favorite, loudest uncle. Len Lesser, the actor best known for yelling his way into our hearts as Uncle Leo on “Seinfeld,” has passed away.

A veteran of over 500 non-Uncle Leo stage, film, and television roles, Lesser drew acclaim in recent years for his work with the Los Angeles classical repertory company A Noise Within. He was credited with nearly stealing the production of Awake and Sing! this past spring.

The actor died yesterday from pneumonia related to cancer. However, investigators aren’t ruling out involvement from Fake Kim Kardashian in this case. (THR)

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R.I.P. Maria Schneider http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-maria-schneider/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/r-i-p-maria-schneider/#comments Thu, 03 Feb 2011 18:18:44 +0000 Dave Horwitz http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=24433 Maria Schneider, star of the seminal 1970s film 'Last Tango In Paris', has died after a long battle with illness. She was 58.

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Maria Schneider, star of the seminal 1970s film Last Tango In Paris, has died after a long battle with illness. She was 58. After a promising start to her career, the actress succumbed to drugs and a slew of psychological problems amidst tabloid gossip. Schneider reportedly never got over the intense and raw process of shooting Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris with Marlon Brando, and vowed to never film a nude scene again. Her career took a downturn after that, and her last film role was 2008′s Cliente. (AV Club)

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