Veteran TV screenwriter/producer Wilton Schiller has died, aged 95. Schiller passed away peacefully at his home in Studio City, California on Sunday (27Jul14).
Schiller began his career in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois as a stand-up comic and writer for radio. He served as a psychiatric assistant in the Army during World War II, and became a literary agent in Hollywood after the war ended.
He went on to write for a number of classic U.S. TV series, including The Adventures of Superman, Leave it to Beaver, Dragnet, Rawhide, Adam-12, and Lassie.
However he is best known for producing the 1967 series final of The Fugitive, which garnered a then-record breaking 78 million viewers. At the time, it was the most-watched episode in TV history, until the record was broken by the 1980 episode of Dallas which revealed who shot J.R. Ewing.
Schiller is survived by his wife of 39 years, writer/producer Patricia Payne Schiller.
Veteran actress Juanita Moore has died, aged 99. The Oscar-nominated Imitation of Life star passed away at her home in Los Angeles on New Year's Day (01Jan14).
She became only the fifth African-American Academy Award nominee when she landed a Best Supporting Actress nod for portraying a housekeeper in the 1959 drama, alongside Lana Turner.
She also appeared in Disney's The Kid and on TV in shows like Dragnet and Judging Amy.
It's safe to say that the police procedural format has been around for a while – it's a well we keep going to since Dragnet back in the '50s because people always have (and always will) like them. I think of them as a given, like death and taxes. We've seen it go through quite the iterations over the years; everything from the more standard fare like NYPD Blue, to supernatural like The X-Files, to just plain gross like the CSI franchise and its followers. It's hard to reinvent the wheel, but this year (and last year) has sure found some interesting twists on the common form.
Now, we've seen supernatural procedurals before, but have we seen apocalyptic/Revolutionary War/witchcraft tropes all rolled into one big capital-c Concept? No, I think it's safe to say we have not. Sleepy Hollow has old archetypes (people are already rushing to call Lt. Abbie Mills Scully 2.0) and concepts all mixed in with brand new ones: what other show would think to cast John Cho as the most-likable-ever undead servant of Moloch? Now that is some creative thinking.
Okay, so full disclosure, the idea of a sitcom police procedural seemed novel and brand new to me, but I admit that I grew up in a time without Barney Miller. Apparently, the idea of a comedic procedural featuring one of the most diverse casts on television has already been done. But shouldn't it be done again? It's about time: Barney Miller ended in the early '80s. Plus, it's got some solid writing, and a great ensemble cast that makes it all its own. The recent Halloween episode was especially excellent – Andy Samberg's immature Detective Jake Peralta secretly gets most of the squad in on a bet which involves drunken Royal Babies (no offense, Prince George), a half dozen pigeons, excellent lock picking, and a lot of red herrings. Come on, doesn't that pique your interest?
Like the other two "fresh takes," this show has its precursors – it was inspired by the wildly-popular fangirl-generating BBC mini series Sherlock. But, keep in mind that Sherlock was based around 90-minute episodes: that's like a (short) feature length film. Elementary takes things, sanitizes them a little for the sake of network TV, and carefully packages it into the hour-long procedural drama. Masterful, right? Plus, it takes a traditionally white, male character, and cast it as Asian American and female. If that's not something of a new lease on life, I don't know what is.
Honorable Mention: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – as Jordan Smith pointed out earlier this week: it's like "NCIS on a jet."
He's one of the most beloved film actors of all time, yet even Tom Hanks has made a few duds.
1. Bosom BuddiesBefore he was nabbing Oscars for Forrest Gump and Philadelphia, Tom Hanks was dressing up as a woman on the short-lived early 1980s sitcom Bosom Buddies. You kids out there think I'm lying? The evidence is on YouTube.
2. DragnetIn this parody of the '50s cop show, Hanks stars as a newbie detective alongside veteran funnyman Dan Aykroyd. Lucky for Hanks, the following year he would receive his first Oscar nod for Big.
3. The Bonfire of the VanitiesThis film adaptation of the Tom Wolfe novel had no shortage of hype when it was released during the 1990 holiday season. However, not even Hanks could save this bomb from exploding. It would be another two years before the actor's career would fully recover.
2. PunchlineHanks performed stand-up at various comedy clubs across Los Angeles in preparation for his role as an unfunny, angry comedian in Punchline. Although not a bad film, Punchline was overshadowed by the other film Hanks made that year called Big. Perhaps you've heard of it?
1. The LadykillersNotice how this is the only film on the list made after 1990? That says a lot about how far Tom Hanks has come since his freewheeling days as just another Hollywood actor. In 2004, however, he starred in the Coen Brothers' black comedy The Ladykillers, a remake of a classic British farce from 1955. Never heard of it? Neither did anyone else, which is why The Ladykillers, despite receiving some decent reviews, was essentially dead on arrival.
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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.
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My mother always told me that there are three things you should never talk about at a party: religion, politics, and money. I think that my dear mother is going to have to add a fourth thing to that list: Anne Hathaway. If you want to divide a room, just bring up the actress' name and watch the venom fly. People do not like Anne Hathaway. They use the word "hate" a lot when they talk about her. And their hatred is vehement, like Itchy's for Scratchy, like the Hatfields' for the McCoys, and Taylor Swift's for every man who she has ever talked to since her 15th birthday.
But just where does this Anne Hatha-hate come from? I never quite understood it. I always thought she was quite lovely — I love The Devil Wears Prada, and the one time I ran into her in a Manhattan gay bar (she's been known to hang out with her gay brother and his gaggle), she was quite charming. So where does all the vitriol come from?
"She's got this theater kid thing where she adopts the mood of every situation she's in — rude and bawdy on Chelsea Lately, poised and 'classy' at the Oscars, etc — but wildly overcompensates every time," says Richard Lawson, a friend and former colleague who now covers entertainment for The Atlantic Wire, who adds that his feelings stop short of "hate." "She always seems like she's performing, and her favorite act is this overstated humility and graciousness. I've known theater kids my whole life. I was a theater kid my whole life. She is the epitome of the bad kind of theater kid."
The "theater kid" sentiment was the reason I got from a majority of people I talked to about why they loathe this particular girl. (I found numerous willing subjects through a Twitter dragnet, most of which are just average Joes and not media or entertainment professionals.) Tommy, 28, from Brooklyn says, "She is the epitome of the annoying high school drama dork. An air of self importance masking all that boring." Megan, 30, also from Brooklyn, says, "Anne Hathaway is a theatre kid whose enthusiasm and earnestness was never reined in, and now she has an international stage from which to project from her diaphragm."
But what is so wrong with being a theater kid? Isn't Hollywood full of people who have wanted to become actors from a young age? What makes Anne specifically hatable? "I should have clarified that it's not just that she was a theater nerd," Abbey, 27, from Dallas says. "I know plenty of people who were into theater that I would be thrilled for them if they made it. Anne just has something that makes her unlikeable to me. I liked her in Devil Wears Prada and I did think she did a good job in Les Mis, but I did not care for her in other roles. I think she is miscast a lot."
I asked what the difference between Anne and another notorious "theater kid," Lea Michele, was and my coworker Anna Brand quipped, "A spray tan." ZING! Lawson sees it as something a bit more measured. "Anne Hathaway is better at hiding her blind, show-kid ambition," he says. "It's still there, but she's pretty practiced at covering it up. Whereas it oozes out of Lea Michele, probably because she's been playing a version of herself on TV for the past four years."
NEXT: Is Anne just too boring?
So maybe it has little to do with the sort of activities Hathaway enjoyed before her 17th birthday after all. "I think she's 100 percent inauthentic and insincere. Nothing she says or does feels real to me," says Sarah, 32, from New York. "And if it is real, she's even worse because she comes across as entitled, boring, and the last person I would ever want to share a meal with." Now, that's two people who think she is boring.
RELATED: Anne Hathaway Apologised to Claire Danes after SNL Skit
But being a wet rag is the least of Ms. Hathaway's problems. Time and again, people raised questions about her authenticity. Either she seems like she's too enthusiastic or not enthusiastic at all, she's too humble and boring or she only pretends to be humble and boring, she's too much of a theater kid or she's trying to hide that she is. It all boils down to the fact that people don't seem to believe her. They don't trust the persona that she is putting out in public.
It seems like awards shows are doing her no favors. When asked what Anne's worst moment was, many Hathahaters named her performance at the Golden Globes (maybe because it was still fresh in their memories). "The Golden Globes speech takes the cake. Like, seriously? We should all be making fun of her," says Hollis, 36, from New York. Megan also agrees that the speech was awful. "I didn't buy it and she was incredibly annoying. I wanted her to stop ... and secretly kept hoping the music would play her out sooner."
RELATED: Anne Hathaway, Your Turn Is Over! — 5 Biggest Faux Pas of the Golden Globes
One of the common gripes about Hathaway is that she makes everything all about her, even when trying to come off as sweet and humble. And that was certainly present at the Globes when she got up on stage with the rest of the cast for Les Mis' big win and used the time to continue her acceptance speech. And during her Best Supporting Actress acceptance speech, she did herself no favors by calling the award a "lovely blunt object that I will forevermore use as a weapon against self-doubt." The rehearsed self-depreciation just drips off that phrase like an ice cream cone in July.
Okay, now even I'm starting to understand it. When Anne Hathaway is smiling next to (a stoned?) James Franco hosting the Oscars, she does not come across as someone with a lot of self-doubt. So when she says something like that (or "blergh," which many people also thought was her trying too hard), she seems false. But maybe that's just us projecting? Maybe we're thinking that someone talented and beautiful and rich can't have so much self-doubt — can she? She would like you to think she does.
RELATED: For Your Consideration: This Hilarious Anne Hathaway 'Les Mis' Parody Video
Not only is this Anne-amosity unstoppable, but it seems there is nothing that Ms. Hathaway can do (short of getting a new face, new voice, and new personality) to sway it. Ameya, 30, from New York has a rehabilitation plan for her image that he says would make his hatred go away, "She needs to lay low for a while (pull a Gwyneth Paltrow), grow her hair out, maybe start popping out kids with the new husband, take some great paparazzi shots to show us she's human/normal. I'd love for her to come back on the scene with a killer role and surprise us."
Like most intense emotions, hatred of Ms. Hathaway is nonsensical and will probably change with time. Maybe she can wait it out like a bad thunderstorm passing over a boat. But there is one thing that is certain: when she inevitably wins her Best Supporting Actress statue (and haters would lead you to believe that she's already dusting off a place on her mantle), the fury will erupt all over again.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Hollywood.com Illustration]
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This Monday, the latest trailer for director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan's reinvented Superman saga, Man of Steel, soared on to the Internet and leaped high expectations with a single bound. Snyder has had his ups and downs — if you saw Sucker Punch like me, you may still be in recovery — but his dark, brooding interpretation looked in tune with Nolan's successful modernization of the Batman character. Complete with the moody track "Elegy" by Lisa Gerrard and Patrick Cassidy, Snyder's Superman (played by Henry Cavill) struggles with his powers while, of course, flying, smashing, and withstanding opposing forces in glorious blockbuster action scenes. He suffers from a moral complexity, his father even admitting that instead of revealing his alien nature, he should let a bus full of kids die in an accident. Heavy material, and unlike many of the Supermen of the past.
Exploring Superman from an emotional vantage point instead of an action-oriented one isn't revelatory. Bryan Singer's 2006 Superman Returns took a similar approach, having his Superman juggle the responsibilities of being a hero to the people of Earth while identifying an individual. The title marked a revival of the franchise, but was also literal: following the continuity of Richard Donner's 1978 film, Superman "returned" after a trip to the remains of Krypton, leaving Earth without a defender. People didn't like that. Man of Steel looks like another thinking man's movie, but differs from Superman Returns by treating the character as more of a human than a god.
Interestingly, the 1978 Superman wasn't as high and mighty as Singer's 21st Century continuation. In the character's first live-action film with the special effects that could do him justice, Donner's movie was all about spectacle and wonder. The tagline for the movie was, "You'll believe a man can fly," because successfully translating Superman's comic book origins to screen was a feat in itself. Christopher Reeve's goofy interpretation of the Clark Kent alter ego only made the effect of Superman's grandeur even more of a wonder to behold.
Superman first flew off the page back in 1941in Max and Dave Fleischer's animated cartoons. There's a clear Fleischer influence in Donner's Superman from the production design to the do-gooder tone, but the originals portray the Big, Blue Boy Scout as even more of an enforcer of truth, justice and the American way than any live-action film. Below is an episode titled The Mechanical Monsters, that feels like an episode of Dragnet with evil robots.
With Hollywood filmmaking techniques becoming more accessible to the DIY director, the fan interpretation of Superman has also become clear. The fan film World's Finest shows off an unfiltered version of the classic Superman comic book character. Would it work as a feature? Maybe not — but for those invested in Superman's origins, it whets the appetite.
Homemade Superman movies put fans in control of their beloved hero, but for those looking for a style between the over-the-top nature of a comic book storyline and an exploration of the Superman character, DC Comics' animation division is the incarnation to find. For the past few years, Superman has been in a renaissance thanks to the animated adaptations of classic books, like the epic Superman vs. Doomsday plot that's all about action and absurd twists or Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman, which dives into the hero's final days.
Finally, here's a Superman most may not be familiar with: the Bollywood version. Taraka Rama Rao Nandamuri played the character in a 1980 film, and the Man of Steel has never had better dance moves.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
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Pursuing a career in entertainment when you're the child of one of the world's most famous actors can be surprisingly rough. Two of Tom Hanks' sons are following in his footsteps, and they're both trying to step out of their dad's shadow. Colin Hanks is trying to earn respect as a actor in his own right by taking on supporting roles in films and appearing in critically acclaimed TV shows like Mad Men, Band of Brothers, and Dexter. His brother Chester Hanks has taken a bit of a different approach. The Northwestern student has released several rap songs under the name "Chet Haze." (Sample lyrics: Girl, you can be my calendar/Let's go on a date.") Now he's posted some scantily-clad photos on Twitter, in the hope that his impressive abs will draw attention to his music.
Yesterday the 21-year-old posted these shots on Instagram along with the caption, "Ladies... This is for you." He's buff and modest!
Today Haze Tweeted, "Wow, 300 new followers overnight? Lol, I should have took my shirt off a long time ago..." No matter what, we're guessing Chet's dad approves. After all, Tom Hanks knows how hard it is to be a rapper. For proof, just check out the track "City of Crime" from his 1987 film Dragnet.
Source: The Daily Mail
Morgan died of pneumonia at his home in Brentwood, California on Wednesday (07Dec11).
He is best known for portraying fatherly Colonel Potter on the long-running hit American TV series M*A*S*H, a role which earned him an Emmy Award in 1980.
The actor was born in 1915 in Detroit, Michigan and he went on to study pre-law at the University of Chicago in Illinois before taking up a two-year stint on Broadway in the original production of Golden Boy.
Morgan later starred opposite Elvis Presley in Frankie and Johnny, veteran John Wayne in The Shootist, actor James Garner in Support Your Local Gun Fighter, and even Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd in Dragnet.
He also appeared in the TV shows December Bride and Dragnet and made a number of guest appearances in TV hit like 3rd Rock from the Sun, The Twilight Zone, Murder, She Wrote, Gunsmoke, The Love Boat and The Partridge Family.
He last appeared in a comedy short titled Crosswalk in 1999.
When Lt. Col. Henry Blake bid his heartfelt farewell to his tenacious right-hand man Radar O'Reilly on the third season finale of M*A*S*H, it seemed as though he'd be an improbable act to follow. When the series picked up again the fall of of 1975, reporting the shock to its characters and audience that Blake had died due to a plane crash en route to return safely to his wife and family, that task of adequately stepping in for Blake's portrayer McLean Stevenson was stepped up to near-impossible.
But then, we got to know Col. Sherman Potter, played so magnificently by Harry Morgan. And not only did our perspectives change, so did the entire show.
Early this morning, Morgan, a decorated character actor in film and television, passed away at the age of 96. Despite his extensive resume of playing memorable tough guys and no-nonsense authority figures, including a starring role on Dragnet, it is difficult not to associate Morgan almost universally with Sherman Potter, a character to whom M*A*S*H, one of the most influential television series in American history, owes a great deal of its sincerity.
Potter was not a humorless figure by any means, but his attitude was much less flippant than that of the troublemaking Hawkeye Pierce, Trapper McIntyre, B.J. Hunnicutt, and even the commanding officer Blake whom he replaced. In fact, before Potter's arrival on the series, the figures of responsibility and severity—Hot Lips Houlihan and Frank Burns—were seen as antagonistic "kill-joy" characters. In Morgan, M*A*S*H found a way to channel authenticity without sacrificing likability. The series began favoring the comical characters who shirked the chain of command and understood pleasure over principle. But once M*A*S*H found Morgan, it began to find its maturity.
And this is as much a testament to the writing of the character as it is to the performance. Morgan was able to make us feel comfortable with understanding the heartache of M*A*S*H, the significance of this time period, and the importance of growing up and accepting your lot in life. Hawkeye Pierce would rather have remained a hedonistic teenager—albeit, one quite talented at surgery—than really face the fact that he, as a military doctor, owed something to the world. Whereas the character of Frank Burns villainized the idea of "taking yourself too seriously," as Potter, Morgan humanized the notion, exemplifying the honor and dignity in becoming the man or woman you are destined to be.
Without this, M*A*S*H would have suffered an arrest of development. Morgan helped the show grow up, and helped many of its watchers do the same. It is astounding that a man who made so few jokes, a man who was thrust into the series as a replacement for a beloved, beaming, laugh-a-minute character, could be remembered as such a venerable figure in the show's history.
Morgan's task was not an easy one. His placement in the show was difficult, as was his journey of making his character, one among Hawkeyes, Klingers and Radars, a lovable one. But Morgan did this and then some. His fatherly, earnest performance as Potter is something so palpable, that it's difficult for fans not to think of him as some embodiment of a personal role model. If the true testament of a great actor is really touching, affecting one's viewers, and really becoming a part of their lives, then we owe Morgan this accolade.
Today, we should salute Harry Morgan, and fondly remember his service to the American public.
A relatively realistic depiction of police work, showing the job's mundane as well as its flashy side. Dramatizations of the assignments of Joe Friday, a police sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department, drawn from actual police files.