Week after week for nine straight years, television audiences would amble into the General Mercantile in Walton's Mountain, Virginia, to be greeted by the smiling face of one Ike Godsey. Portrayed by character actor Joe Conley, Ike served as one of The Waltons' most recognizable and charming recurring players through the series' nine season-long run. In the acting business for more than 20 years prior to hitching his wagon to the CBS drama, Conley embodied roles big and small in film and television alike. Sadly, Deadline reports that on July 7, the 85-year-old Conley passed away in a California care facility, approximately a decade after setting his acting career to rest.
Among the performer's final roles was a part in the hit Tom Hanks drama Cast Away, which capped off a showbiz career that extended more than half a century. In addition to The Waltons, Conley enjoyed roles on other "small-town" classics, such as Mr. Ed, Lassie, The Brady Bunch, Dragnet, Gunsmoke, Dennis the Menace, and Green Acres, but also appeared on the likes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and in a Carol Channing Show television movie.
One of the everpresent faces in classic television, you'd be hard pressed not to happen upon Conley in the occasional late night rerun viewing. The amicable character actor is survived by his wife Louise Ann Teechen and their four children, Erin, Jana, Kevin, and Julie.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter | Follow hollywood.com on Twitter @hollywood_com
More:Kevin Jonas Expecting a ChildKate Winslet PregnantJennifer Love Hewitt Will Be a Mother
From Our PartnersStars Pose Naked for 'Allure' (Celebuzz)20 Grisliest TV Deaths of 2012-2013 (Vulture)
The Waltons star Joe Conley has died at the age of 85. The actor passed away on Sunday (07Jul13) at a care facility in Newbury Park, California. His cause of death is unknown but reports suggest he had been suffering from dementia.
Conley appeared in episodes of several TV shows during the 1950s and 1960s, including Lassie, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Green Acres and The Brady Bunch.
His big break came when he landed the role of shopkeeper Ike Godsey in family drama The Waltons, starring in more than 170 episodes of the 1970s series before it ended in 1981.
Conley appeared in some of the show's reunion movies, and more recently boasted a role in Tom Hanks' 2000 film Cast Away.
Mary Beth McDonough, who played Erin Walton in The Waltons, has paid tribute to her co-star, writing in a post on Facebook.com, "It is a a sad day... please keep him, (his wife) Louise, and his family in your prayers. RIP Mr. Godsey."
Yes that’s right. BFF’s Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are indeed endearing in their own pot-smoking crass totally inept way--and movie No. 2 continues to prove it. It starts a couple hours after they’ve successfully completed their White Castle quest with Harold’s vow to follow his lady love to Amsterdam. At the airport Kumar runs into his ex-girlfriend Vanessa (Danneel Harris) and is shocked to discover she’s about to get married to a guy he considers a real “douche bag.” But once they make it onto the plane all manner of hell breaks loose: Mistaken for terrorists (yes it does have something to do with marijuana and a bong) the two end up escaping from Guantanamo Bay and embarking on one outrageous misadventure after another to clear their names--and wreck Vanessa’s wedding in the process. High times dude! It’s funny that this week’s new movies features two sets of Odd Couples: Baby Mama’s Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and the reteaming of Penn and Cho who simply click on all cylinders as the pot-smoking former college roommates who couldn’t be more different yet so connected. Even though you cringe at the ridiculous predicaments they find themselves in these two guys sell it lock stock and barrel. Supporting them is Daily Show’s Rob Corddry who overplays it as the hard-ass bigoted Homeland Security agent going after the boys. But it’s the weird characters they meet along the way that make the Harold & Kumar movies including The Office’s Ed Helms as an interpreter; Missi Pyle as a forward-thinking Southern hick; and of course Neil Patrick Harris once again playing himself as a debauched mushroom-taking unicorn-spotting moron. Harris’ appearance in the first Harold & Kumar showed everyone just how funny he is leading to his hilarious turn in the hit TV show How I Met Your Mother. This just solidifies it. Writer/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg probably never thought they’d be back again after their first Harold & Kumar Goes to White Castle effort. But here they are doing it all over again. Maybe it was a fluke the original touched a comical nerve in those Gen-X slackers who made H&K the new Cheech and Chong of the 21st Century but there’s something to be said for a good old-fashioned stoner movie. Unfortunately for Guantanamo Bay however Hurwitz and Schlossberg try to outdo themselves by making it even more raunchy (the “bottom-less” party is quite something) more offensive (the mongoloid cycloptic lovechild of hick incestuous parents) and more ridiculous (smoking out with President Bush?) than it should be. That simplicity of the original is lost. But don’t worry Guantanamo Bay isn’t a complete wash. You’ll still laugh plenty.
On the outside Charlie Bartlett (Anton Yelchin) couldn’t be further from the mold of a “normal teenager.” He wears a suit everywhere he is precocious and he has a spring in his step that suggests oblivion to his high school surroundings. Of course Charlie isn’t really at all oblivious and at his core is very much that “normal teenager”: He wants only to be popular. After starting anew at a public school--because he got kicked out of yet another private school for distributing fake IDs--Charlie is promptly pummeled for the way he dresses by the school’s bully (Tyler Hilton). He complains to his psychiatrist whom his mother (Hope Davis) keeps on retainer. The shrink decides to put Charlie on Ritalin. Ever the entrepreneur Charlie tries to parlay his easy access to drugs into popularity and it works like gangbusters. Before long “Dr. Charlie” is listening diagnosing and prescribing drugs to the entire student faculty. He’s got the popularity the trust and the girl (Kat Dennings) the latter of which just happens to be the principal’s (Robert Downey Jr.) daughter. And that relationship--not to mention the slight legality issue of prescribing controlled substances to minors--threatens to ruin his whole operation. Yelchin (Alpha Dog) is a Hollywood rarity: He’s an ‘it’ boy because of his acting not his looks (sorry Anton). Rarer still is the fact that Yelchin’s actual age is near that of Charlie Bartlett and not since the days of Freaks and Geeks has that industry taboo been broken so successfully. It’s all a credit to the young actor who in the span of Bartlett oozes everything from vulnerability and precociousness to Ritalin-induced mania and the theatricality of a much older actor. There’s nothing he can’t do in this movie; the same goes for his acting future. And the same goes for his adversary in Bartlett Downey Jr. although that’s been abundantly clear for decades now. Downey Jr. is famous for making seemingly effortless work of a complex character which is precisely what he does with Principal Gardner--a concerned parent recovering alcoholic and dutiful high school enforcer/villain. He’s a force to be reckoned with on screen and when Yelchin’s Charlie finally squares off with him the scene is a thing of beauty. As an essential link between those two characters Dennings (40-Year-Old Virgin) is a credible charmer and refreshingly the rare non-ditzy non-clichéd high school-portrayed girl we’re used to seeing. Rounding out the cast is Davis (American Splendor) aka Laura Linney-in-waiting. Her clueless alcoholic mom is a source of laughs and ultimately sobriety--for the character and us. For the first time in his decades-long career Jon Poll trades the editing room for the director’s chair. And after seeing Bartlett it makes sense that Poll who has edited movies like Austin Powers in Goldmember and Meet the Parents/Fockers is a behind-the-scenes veteran but a rookie helmer. His debut is fresh and loose but also very sure-handed. The movie is constantly a pleasant unclassifiable surprise spurning both the raunchiness of teen comedies and the pretention of psychology dramedies. The result is something far less precious and opaque than Wes Anderson’s Rushmore--to which Bartlett bears a broad thematic resemblance--yet a sharp commentary nonetheless. To that end Gustin Nash’s debut screenplay is just as impressive as his director’s rookie effort. His writing is clearly steeped in satire namely how loose today’s doctors are with the prescription pads--especially when it comes to our children--but it’s also able to be sweet and real when necessary. It’s the most impressive screenplay debut we’ve seen in a while--gold standard Juno notwithstanding--and the directorial one isn’t too shabby itself.
Rexxx is a superstar dog in Hollywood with movies such as Jurassic Bark and The Fast and the Furrious on his plate. On the set of his latest movie he is being a diva refusing to come to the set because one of the spotted coats in his trailer reminds him of a snooty Dalmation who broke his heart. Eventually Rexxx’s people convince him he can outlive the Taco Bell Chihuahua dog's legacy if he performs this one great stunt. But while diving out of an airplane Rexxx forgets his parachute and lands in a truck full of tomatoes. He ends up running into a boy Shane (Josh Hutcherson) who’s really not into dogs. Shane’s dad is a fire captain (Bruce Greenwood) and the boy’s extended family is a group of well-meaning misfit firefighters at the Dogpatch Station. They're in constant competition with their rival fire station and the city manager (Steven Culp) is warning the Dogpatch Station that they will soon be closing down. On top of it all there are lots of mysterious fires breaking out around Dogpatch. Can Rexxx help save the day? Hutcherson is an amiable child star. After his recent dramatic role in Bridge to Terabithia and as the older brother in Zathura it's clear he's got a long career ahead of him. He comes across as clever and sensible while the world around him is often going haywire. And the young actor has a superb connection with Greenwood as his distant father. Also doing a fine job is Culp as the city manager and Greenwood’s best friend. The last time these two veteran character actors starred together was in Thirteen Days. Teddy Sears (TV’s Ugly Betty) is particularly funny and charming as the fireman who keeps sliding on top of his fellow firefighters when going down the pole. But of course this is a dog's movie and the four Irish setters used to play the lead pup do some pretty cool stunts and reaction shots. Rexxx comes across as delightfully personable even though he smells bad. Director Todd Holland certainly knows how to direct family stories after winning three Emmys for Malcolm in the Middle. This father-son story centers on a recent tragedy and neither of them deal well with it instead becoming more and more distant from each other. Of course the dog’s intrusion brings them together but the storyline cleverly dances a fine line between the stereotypical genres. Firehouse Dog has both laugh-out-loud moments as well as warm fuzzy teary-eyed moments that feel very real. Of course some of the absurd facial expressions and Matrix-like moves by the dog are computer generated but it's not distracting--and not too obvious. The movie is fun for kids and parents to see together especially if they have a dog at home.