Evincing an air of articulate self-possession that came across more as experienced sophistication than precociousness despite her relative youth, Katharine Towne was quite a catch in Hollywood: an att...
The lights dim on the set as Hollywood loses a legend.
Oscar-winning cinematographer Conrad Hall, whose expertise and daring experiments with light and color could be seen in films such Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the most recent Road to Perdition, died Saturday at a Santa Monica, Calif., hospital from bladder cancer. He was 76.
Hall filmed nearly three dozen movies in a career that spanned 50 years. He was also nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning twice for the 1969 Butch Cassidy and the 1999 American Beauty. Many insiders peg Hall to receive his tenth Oscar nomination for his work on last year's Road to Perdition, starring Paul Newman and Tom Hanks.
"I'm devastated," American Beauty and Perdition director Sam Mendes told Reuters. "Conrad was not only one of the greatest cinematographers who ever lived but was also a wonderful man who touched everyone he worked with. I will miss him more than I can say, both as a collaborator and as a friend."
"Every film that he worked on was something beautiful to the eye, and very imaginative," Road to Perdition producer Richard D. Zanuck, who was also head of production at 20th Century Fox when Hall made Butch Cassidy, told Reuters.
"With Road to Perdition you could virtually take every frame of his work and blow it up and hang it over your fireplace. It was like Rembrandt at work," Zanuck said. "Connie was not known for speed, but neither was Rembrandt. He was known for incredible genius. And that he did, and that he was in that field."
Hall was best known for his innovative use of light and color, claiming he preferred black and white to color when telling a story. He also perfected the technique of overexposing the film for a distinctive look, most evident in Butch Cassidy.
Director Robert Towne, who worked with Hall on Without Limits and Tequila Sunrise, told Reuters, "He was always concerned about the story. In that sense, he was his father's son [Hall's father James wrote the classic Mutiny on the Bounty]. He would always say, 'Tell me the story. Let me see what you see, and then I'll show you how everyone'll see what you see.'"
A USC graduate of film, Hall began his career in television but moved into film, earning his first Oscar nomination for the 1965 Morituri, a film shot aboard a freighter where Hall lit all the equipment on the set, shooting day for night.
He went on to lens such classics as 1967's Cool Hand Luke and In Cold Blood, the 1976 Marathon Man and the 1993 Searching for Bobby Fischer.
In 1994, Hall was honored by the American Society of Cinematographers with a lifetime achievement award. He also received an unprecedented three outstanding achievement awards from the guild for Tequila Sunrise, Searching for Bobby Fischer and American Beauty.
"He was feisty," Towne told Reuters. "He was the most relentlessly honest man. You couldn't get anything but an honest response. It was unsettling for some, but for some of us, including me, it was very reassuring. He was a generous man, but he could also be as cranky as an old sea captain," he added. "If he didn't like something, it was 'Jesus! God! That's terrible!' But if he loved it, he would say, 'That's wonderful!' He's simply irreplaceable."
Hall is survived by his second wife, Susan and three children, including Panic Room cinematographer Conrad W. Hall. His first wife was actress Katharine Ross, who starred in Butch Cassidy.
Brace yourself Dr. Laura. This clueless teen queen (Natasha Lyonne) has it all: good looks a football captain boyfriend and a popular pair of pom-poms. But her candy-colored world crumbles when her panicked parents stage an intervention after finding a Melissa Etheridge poster that leads them to conclude she's a friend of Ellen. After being carted off to an anti-gay rehab camp for teens the perky princess must choose between the straight and narrow-minded or the love that dare not speak its name.
The quirky ensemble casting is half this film's fun. Lyonne is charming as the pepster tempted by T&A and she sparks onscreen with swanky and sexy co-star Clea DuVall who plays the butch femme fatale suitor (alarmingly reminiscent of Nancy McKeon's Jo from "The Facts of Life.") Drag queen supreme RuPaul is unrecognizable out of his high heels and even higher blond wig wearing a "Straight is Great" T-shirt as a macho militant ex-gay counselor. Cathy Moriaty is sweetly sinister as the homophobic headmistress and Mink Stole steals scenes as the uptight upright meddling mom.
Kudos to Jamie Babbit for tackling this hot-potato topic but this well-intentioned film too often misses its mark turning potentially comical scenes into unbearably awkward moments. Babbit fouls when tugging at the heartstrings but hits home runs when the humor is at its broadest.
Film acting debut with a featured role in the Seattle rock scene-set independent drama "Girl"; screened on the festival circuit in 1998 and 1999
Starred as a sarcastic runaway who must adapt to her nitpicky aunt and a new high school in NBC the midseason replacement sitcom "M.Y.O.B."
Had a small role in "Go", Doug Liman's vibrant chronicle of Los Angeles nightlife
Played Monique, a chef and one of the potential brides of Chris O'Donnell's titular character, in "The Bachelor"
Appeared in the romantic comedy "Town & Country"
Played Sinead, one of the campers sent to have her lesbian tendencies "rehabilitated", in the quirky comedy "But I'm a Cheerleader"
At age 13, moved in with her father, acclaimed screenwriter Robert Towne
Had a supporting role as the daughter of Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford in Robert Zemeckis' supernatural mystery "What Lies Beneath"
Acted in Robert Iscove's teen romance feature "She's All That"
Guest starred on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" as a tough bloodsucker who gives the heroine a run for her money
Was featured in the thriller "In Crowd", a look at the dangerous secrets of the inner circle
Evincing an air of articulate self-possession that came across more as experienced sophistication than precociousness despite her relative youth, Katharine Towne was quite a catch in Hollywood: an attractive, smart and talented blonde hip to the ins and outs of the business. The eldest daughter of famed screenwriter Robert Towne, the actress initially wanted to be a writer, inspired both by her father's legacy and her own hatred of actors. Time and therapy led Towne to the realization that she was in fact a born actor; she had only been acting as a writer. From here she sought out training and soon began landing small supporting roles. Not many moviegoers caught her work in the festival screened independent "Girl" (1998), but her next feature "She's All That" (1999) was well-attended although her part was less than crucial. A similarly dialogue-light turn followed in Doug Liman's energetic "Go" that same year. She was featured to greater advantage in the silly romantic comedy "The Bachelor", playing chef Monique, a somewhat eccentric candidate to be the bride of Chris O'Donnell's commitment-shy titular character.<p>Although she had filmed a role in the unaired David Lynch pilot "Mulholland Drive" in spring of 1999, Towne did not make her television debut until October 1999 with a fearsome turn as a venomous vampire able to find the heroine's weakness on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (The WB). She was set to star in the midseason replacement series "M.Y.O.B." on NBC, an edgy, acerbic take on high school comedy created by "The Opposite of Sex" director Don Roos. Not unlike Christina Ricci's despicable yet oddly likable character in that feature, Towne's take on sarcastic runaway Riley Veatch was remarkably multi-layered yet still bluntly funny. Shot in one-camera style, nearly all of the show featured Towne and her cutting voiceover dominated the series. The actress proved to be the most watchable aspect of the somewhat uneven program. Shortly after the June berth of "M.Y.O.B.", Towne hit the big screen again with roles in three summer 2000 releases, the sexual preference deprogramming comedy "But I'm a Cheerleader", the eerily Machiavellian social climbing tale "In Crowd" and the Michelle Pfeiffer-Harrison Ford supernatural mystery "What Lies Beneath". The following year, she was featured in the touching romantic comedy "Town & Country", starring her dad's pal Warren Beatty.
married Towne's father in November 1977; divorced c. 1981
born on July 28, 1991 mother, Luisa Towne (nee Gaule)
born Robert Bernard Schwartz on November 23, 1934; father Lou Schwartz later changed the family name to Towne; earned an Oscar for the screenplay of "Chinatown" (1974)
Crossroads High School
Katharine Towne on her starring TV debut in "M.Y.O.B.": "There's some horrible part of me that can't wait to see this show, even though I'm terrified. I mean, it's all me, all the time. You really have to like me, and I don't even like me all that much." --quoted in E! Online's "The Sizzlin' Sixteen of 2000".
Movieline's Jeffrey Lantos on Towne's childhood as the daughter of screenwriter Robert Towne: "Occasionally Dad's art intruded on his daughter's life. At Crossroads High School in Santa Monica, Kate was once asked if she was the model for Katherine, the child born of an incestuous coupling in 'Chinatown'. 'I said, "Listen jack ass, you wanna give me a complex?"', she recalls." --From the May 2000 issue.
Towne on finding the character of Riley ("M.Y.O.B.") within herself: "I didn't do any research. You find what is closest; you use those emotions that are the same or similar. I know what it feels like to not belong, or you can't be where you want and it's not your fault, or craving normality or non-chaos. I also understand channeling that into aggression and sarcasm. Where else are you going to go with that when you're not mature? To go, 'Let's just pick the flowers we have and go on' -- that's really hard to say when you're 14 and you're just a mess." --quoted May 31, 2000 on Zap2It.com TV.
"I'd wanted to be a writer, which is understandable under the circumstances, but when I was 18 I realized I'd [only been] acting like a writer, which was discouraging in so many ways. I always thought actors were big fat morons obsessed with their own pretty faces. I was sort of ashamed to want to be an actress, because I'm not usually one to flock with groups. I sort of went to class, not to learn but just see if I could do it or not." --quoted to Zap2It.com TV, May 31, 2000.