The 1950s and 60s afforded Hollywood a golden era of musical cinema, cranking out pristine classics like The Music Man and Carousel. Sadly, a veteran of this period of the movie industry has reportedly passed away: Susan Luckey, former film, stage, and television actress from this age of genre benchmarks. TMZ states that the 74-year-old Luckey, born Suzanne Douglas, died on Wednesday, Nov. 29, of "old age." The news was revealed to TMZ by Luckey's daughter, Shayna Reynolds.
Luckey began her film career in 1954 with an uncredited role in Deep in My Heart (a comedic biography of composer Sigmund Romberg). Following this, Luckey earned supporting parts in the likes of Carousel, Teenage Rebel, The Music Man, and Step Out of Your Mind, which marked her final big screen performance in '66. She is pictured above (center) as Zaneeta Shinn, daughter of Paul Ford's mayor character in The Music Man. Luckey also took roles in the TV movie Annie Get Your Gun and a televised Broadway production of Peter Pan. Additionally, she contributed guest appearances to series like The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and Telephone Time.
The former actress married actor Larry Douglas (Girls Are For Loving) in 1964. He passed away in 1996.
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The Music Man star Susan Luckey has passed away at the age of 74.
The actress, real name Suzanne Douglas, died of old age at her Los Angeles home last week (29Nov12), according to TMZ.com.
Her body has already been cremated.
Born in Hollywood, she is perhaps best known for her role as Mayor Shinn's daughter Zaneeta in the 1962 classic comedy, but she also starred in Carousel alongside Shirley Jones. Her other credits include TV movie Annie Get Your Gun and U.S. series The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show.
Douglas, who made her theatre debut when she was just six, additionally appeared in a number of stage productions, including the original Broadway adaptation of Disney's Peter Pan.
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At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.