Wednesday, November 22, 2017

RIP Peter Berling

Peter Berling, German Character Actor and Werner Herzog Favorite, Dies at 83

The Hollywood Reporter
By Scott Roxborough

The actor, producer and novelist appeared in 'Fritzcarraldo' and 'Aguirre: The Wrath of God' and had cameos in 'Gangs of New York' and 'The Name of the Rose.'

Peter Berling, a husky German character actor best known for his many collaborations with Werner Herzog, who also appeared in Hollywood films such as Gangs of New York and The Name of the Rose, has died. He was 83.

Berling died on Monday in Rome, his agency confirmed. The actor, who was also a successful film producer and accomplished novelist, had lived in the Italian capital since the late 1960s.

Berling acted in more than 130 films in his decades-long career but his best-known work was for Werner Herzog, who cast him in several of his early films, including Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972), Fritzcarraldo (1982) and Cobra Verde (1987). Berling also worked for Herzog's contemporary, legendary German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. In addition to walk on roles in numerous Fassbinder films, Berling produced the director's 1971 drama Beware of a Holy Whore.

Born in 1934 in an area of West Prussia that is now part of Poland, Berling grew up in Berlin. He dropped out of high school and came to film only after first training to be a bricklayer and briefly studying architecture and graphic design. In addition to his many German films, he has had bit parts in a handful of international productions, including playing a knife act caller in Martin Scorcese's Gangs of New York and the monk Jean d'Anneaux in Jean-Jacques Annaud's medieval thriller The Name of the Rose.

The Middle Ages were an inspiration for Berling, who started a second career in Germany as a fiction writer, penning several best-sellers inspired by the medieval secret society the Priory of Sion.

Born: 3/20/1934, Obrawalde, Meseritz, West Prussia
Died:  11/20/2017, Rome, Lazio, Italy

Peter Berling’s westerns – actor:
Whity – 1971 (hefty bartender)
Return of Halleluja - 1972 (Lt. Schultz)
The Three Musketeers of the West - 1973 (Hans)
Tex and the Lord of the Deep - 1985 (El Morisco)
Texas - Doc Snyder hält die Welt in Atem - 1993 (Hank Snyder)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

RIP David Cassidy

The Partridge Family’s David Cassidy Dies at 67

By Christina Dugan
November 21, 2017

David Cassidy has died, his family tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement.

“On behalf of the entire Cassidy family, it is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, our uncle, and our dear brother, David Cassidy,” his family said in a statement Tuesday. “David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long. Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years.”

The actor, widely known for his starring role as Keith Partridge on the 1970s series The Partridge Family, died from organ failure Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 67.

The actor had been in intensive care since he was hospitalized for liver and kidney failure last week.
Cassidy publicly admitted his struggle with alcohol abuse in 2008. He also battled substance abuse issues, which involved a stint in rehab in 2014 — but in his final days, his family dropped everything to be by his side.

His rep previously confirmed to PEOPLE that the actor was initially in a medically induced coma, but on Saturday was conscious and surrounded by loved ones.

Cassidy is survived by son Beau with ex-wife Sue Shifrin-Cassidy; his daughter Katie; his brothers Shaun, Patrick and Ryan; step-mother Shirley Jones; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Plans for a memorial service will be announced at a later date.

“There had been many family issues because of his alcoholism, but they are all reuniting in support of him,” a source close to Cassidy told PEOPLE on Sunday. “He was delighted to see them.”
“When his brother Patrick walked into the room, David lit up like a Christmas tree,” added the source. “There’s been total resolution within the family. They will always be there for him.”

Cassidy, the son of singer and actor Jack Cassidy and actress Evelyn Ward, kickstarted his acting career in Broadway’s The Fig Leaves Are Falling at the age of 19 and found stardom on The Partridge Family alongside his stepmother, Shirley Jones, when he was 20 years old.

The actor quickly made a name for himself as the lead singer on the show, eventually taking his skills on tour around the world — singing both Partridge tunes and originals, which instantaneously made him a 1970s teen heartthrob.

Easily selling out arenas around the world, the media was quick to name the Cassidy phenomenon “Cassidymania” — a term the star himself was hesitant to embrace.

In 1974, what started out as excitement to see Cassidy sing live in London’s White City Stadium quickly turned into tragedy. An 800-person stampede occurred at his show, killing one teenage girl.

“I feel burnt up inside,” he told the Daily Mail at the time. “I’m 24, a big star … in a position that millions dream of, but the truth is I just can’t enjoy it.”

Soon after, Cassidy decided to stop touring and acting and focused his energy toward songwriting and recording. In the years that followed, Cassidy managed to find great success in both TV and music, working with artists such as Barry Manilow and George Michael. But throughout his career, the New York native experienced his share of ups and downs.

In November 2010, he was charged with a DUI. He was subsequently charged with the same offense in August 2013 and January 2014. A month after his third arrest, his then-wife, Sue Shifrin-Cassidy, filed for divorce. In February 2015, the actor filed for bankruptcy and was charged in a hit-and-run in October 2015.

In February 2017, Cassidy exclusively revealed to PEOPLE that he was battling dementia.
“I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming,” said Cassidy, who watched his grandfather battle the disease and witnessed his mother “disappear” into dementia until she died at age 89.

Of his mother’s struggles, Cassidy recalled: “In the end, the only way I knew she recognized me is with one single tear that would drop from her eye every time I walked into the room. … I feared I would end up that way.”

Cassidy was married three times (Kay Lenz from 1977-83, Meryl Tanz from 1984-85, and Sue Shifrin from 1991-2014). In February, he opened up about his complicated relationships with both of his kids.

“I’ve never had a relationship with her,” he said of his only daughter, Katie, who has starred on Gossip Girl and Arrow.

“I wasn’t her father — I was her biological father but I didn’t raise her,” he said. “She has a completely different life.”

Though Cassidy revealed that he and Katie — whose mom is former model Sherry Williams — weren’t in contact at the time, he was proud of the woman she has become.

“She’s very talented,” he said. “It’s hard for me to even accept how old she is now, like 30.”
The former the teen idol admitted to having kept his dementia diagnosis a secret, but he said Beau, whose mother is Cassidy’s ex-wife Shifrin, had been fully aware and supportive.

“He knows that I’m just a little off,” he said. “Sometimes he cocks his head at me a little bit and goes, ‘Dad do you remember?’ and I say, ‘No, I know I do, I remember.’ He’ll give me reminders once in a while.”

“He’s such a beautiful person,” he added.

CASSIDY, David (David Bruce Cassidy)
Born: 4/12/1950, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 11/21/2017, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.A.

David Cassidy’s westerns – actor:
Bonanza (TV) – 1970 (Billy Burgess)
Forgiven This Gun4hire – 2018 (Blackie Wade)

Monday, November 20, 2017

RIP Della Reese

Della Reese, singer and Touched by an Angel star, dies at 86.

By Lynette Rice
November 20, 2017

Della Reese, the singer and actress who became a household name while starring as a divine supervisor named Tess on CBS’ Touched by An Angel, has died at 86, her family and Roma Downey confirmed to EW.

“On behalf of her husband, Franklin Lett, and all her friends and family, I share with you the news that our beloved Della Reese has passed away peacefully at her California home last evening surrounded by love,” Downey said in a statement. “She was an incredible Wife, Mother, Grandmother, friend, and Pastor, as well as an award-winning actress and singer. Through her life and work, she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people. She was a mother to me and I had the privilege of working with her side by side for so many years on Touched by an Angel. I know heaven has a brand new angel this day. Della Reese will be forever in our hearts. Rest In Peace, sweet angel. We love you.”

Reese found her biggest fame when she signed on to play Roma Downey’s angel boss in the spiritual drama from Martha Williamson that aired from 1994 to 2003. Each episode involved Tess assigning the young angel Monica (Downey) with cases involving someone who was at a crossroads in their life. Though it was initially canceled, Angel was helped back on the small screen by devoted fans and went on to become a massive hit for CBS. It also earned Reese two Emmy nominations.

Born in Detroit as Delloreese Patricia Early, Reese began singing at an early age before forming her own gospel group. She signed her first record contract in the ’50s and went on to top the charts with “Don’t You Know,” an adaptation of the aria “Quando m’en vo” from La Boheme.

Starting in the late ’60s, she transitioned to TV and began guest-starring in dramas like Police Woman and McCloud before launching her own eponymous talk show in 1969 that lasted eight months. She became the first African-American woman to guest-host The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1970 and went on to secure steadier gigs in series like Chico and the Man, It Takes Two, and Room 222.

In 1979, Reese suffered a near-fatal aneurysm that required two surgeries. She would end up becoming ordained — in her ministerial work, she was known as Rev. Dr. Della Reese Lett — and told The Seattle Times in 1996 that “my brain exploding was one of the best things that happened to me. You get such an understanding because you experience it for yourself. It gives you courage and courage gives you strength and strength gives you greater belief in your belief in God.”

From 1996 to 1998, she recurred in Promised Land, an Angel spin-off that starred Gerald McRaney. Her last TV appearance was on Hallmark’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered, another drama from Williamson.

Reese suffered from diabetes later in life, which she blamed on poor diet and lack of exercise.

She is survived by three children, Dominique Reese, James Reese, and Franklin Reese. Her daughter Deloreese Daniels, passed away. Her three previous marriages ended in divorce and one was annulled.

REESE, Della (Delloreese Patricia Early)
Born: 7/6/1931, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
Died: 11/19/2017, California, U.S.A.

Della Reese’s western – actress:
The Young Riders (TV) – 1990 (Stagecoach Sally)

RIP Mark Milsome

Camera Operator Mark Milsome Dies Filming Stunt on BBC/Netflix Drama

Deadline Hollywood
By Nancy Tartaglione
November 20, 2017

Veteran film and TV camera operator Mark Milsome has died while filming a stunt sequence in Ghana. His agent Sarah Prince confirmed the news to Deadline, saying a incident occurred while he was shooting for BBC/Netflix drama The Forgiving Earth.

Details of the weekend incident are not fully known. “We have very little information at present,” Prince said. “The production company have confirmed that an investigation is underway. It occurred on a night shoot during a stunt sequence.”

The UK-born Milsome’s TV credits include Sherlock, Call the Midwife, 24: Live Another Day, Game of Thrones and The Durrells. He had also worked in various capacities on such films as Saving Private Ryan, Finding Neverland, The Constant Gardener, The History Boys, Quantum of Solace, My Week With Marilyn and The Theory of Everything.

The Forgiving Earth, formerly Black Earth Rising, is described as a labyrinthine thriller about the prosecution of international war crimes and the personal, legal and political turmoil it ignites. Hugo Blick is writer-director, with Drama Republic producing. BBC Two is the UK broadcaster with Netflix holding global rights outside the UK.

The BBC issued a statement today: “We are deeply shocked and saddened to hear this terrible news. Mark Milsome was hugely talented and a much respected colleague. Our thoughts are with Mark’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.”

The Guild of British Camera Technicians also released a statement: “The GBCT Board and its membership are absolutely devastated by this tragic news. Mark Milsome was not only an incredibly talented camera operator, he was also one of the kindest and sweetest of human beings. He will be greatly missed. Thoughts and prayers are with Mark’s family at this awful time.”

Said Netflix in a statement today: “Our deepest condolences go out to Mark’s family and friends. We were shocked to hear of this tragic loss, and our hearts go out to all those that knew him and worked alongside him.”

Milsome’s agent Prince added, “We — his family, friends and colleagues — are devastated by this loss. He was the most gentle and generous man. Giving of his time, talent and loyalty. A rare, universally admired and genuinely loved member of the film industry family. He will be so sorely missed.”

Born: 1963, London, England, U.K.
Died: 11/18/2017, Ghana

Mark Milsome’s western – cameraman:
Oklahoma! (TV) - 1999

RIP Claudio Báez

Claudio Báez dies at 69: one of the great villains of telenovelas

The actor left a great legacy in television due to his participation in dozens of soap operas, especially in the decade of the 90's. His last works were in the melodramas ‘Muchacha italiana viene a casarse’ and ‘Despertar contigo’.

November 19, 2017

Mexican actor Claudio Báez died the afternoon of November 19 at the age of 69. Although the causes of his death is still unknown, he had been suffering from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) for several years, which prevented him from breathing well.

The actor, born in the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco on March 23, 1948, we remember him as one of the great villains in nineties melodramas as 'Dos Mujeres y un camino' alongside Laura León and Biby Gaytán , as well as in ' 'El Premio Mayor', along with Carlos Bonavides.

From a very young age, Claudio Báez began to play parts in the world of telenovelas. His first incursion was in the melodrama 'Cuando los hijos van' , in 1983. There were appearances in soap operas such as 'Guadalupe', 'Los años felices' and 'Vivir un poco', where he achieved much popularity and success.

From the beginning of the decade of 1990 he was seen in productions like 'La pícara soñadora',  'Triángulo', 'El privilegio de amar' and 'Nunca te olvidaré', with Edith González.

For 2000 he started working on 'Mujer de madera', 'Mundo de fieras' and 'Mi pecado', and in recent years he was seen in 'La gata', ''Muchacha italiana viene a casarse' and 'Despertar contigo' as the Colonel Basilio Santamaría.

On the personal side, he was married to the actress Isaura Espinoza, but years later they separated on good terms and continued to work together on various projects. In addition to being a great actor in soap operas, another of his great passions were musical comedies, as in the musical 'Mamá ama el rock', with Angélica María.

BAEZ, Claudio
Born: 2/23/1948, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Died: 11/19/2017 Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico

Claudio Báez’s westerns – actor:
Contrato con la muerte - 1985

Sunday, November 19, 2017

RIP Mel Tillis

Country Music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis dead at 85

By Juli Thanki
November 19, 2017

Country Music Hall of Famer, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee and Grand Ole Opry member Mel Tillis died early Sunday morning at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida, according to his publicist Don Murry Grubbs.

The singer, songwriter, comedian and businessman, whose genuine warmth and down-home humor drew countless fans, was 85 years old. In his six-decade career, he recorded over 60 albums, notched three dozen Top 10 singles and wrote several hit songs that are now regarded as classics.

Lonnie Melvin Tillis was born to Lonnie Lee and Burma Tillis on Aug. 8, 1932, near Tampa, Fla. His speech impediment developed after a childhood bout of malaria; Tillis was mocked for his stammer when he was young, but would later use it to comedic effect on stage and screen. "After a lot of years and more hurting than I like to remember, I can talk about it lightly — which eases things a bit," he wrote in "Stutterin' Boy," the autobiography he released in 1984. "It's a way of showing people that it hasn't licked me, so it doesn't have to lick others."

A child of the Great Depression, Tillis knew hard work from an early age. By the age of 10 he was shelling peas in a cannery with his mother and siblings, "but there was something more than peas in that warehouse," he wrote in "Stutterin' Boy."

"It was music — hillbilly music. ... I'd hardly heard any music like that before ... Bill Monroe, Eddy Arnold, and the Carter Family. What a wonderful discovery!"

In high school, Tillis taught himself to play a guitar his older brother Richard bought, and soon he was getting invited to play at parties and events around his town. After a stint at the University of Florida, Tillis enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed in Okinawa and served as a baker; he also sang on Armed Forces Radio with a band called The Westerners.

Upon leaving the Air Force in 1955, he returned to Florida and found work as a fireman on the Atlantic Coast Line railroad. When he wasn't working, he used his railroad pass to come to Nashville and visit publishers in town to pitch his songs (they'd tell him to go back home and work on his music).

He moved to Nashville in 1957 to pursue a music career full time. That year, “I’m Tired,” a song he wrote and country star Webb Pierce recorded, went to No. 3 on the charts. Pierce found success with several other Tillis-penned songs, including “Holiday for Love,” “Honky Tonk Song,” “Tupelo County Jail,” “I Ain’t Never” and “No Love Have I.”

During the 1960s, Tillis became one of Nashville's go-to writers. Songs like "Ruby (Don't Take Your Love to Town)," "Mental Revenge" and "Detroit City," among others, became country classics, and have been recorded by dozens of artists in the past half-century. Brenda Lee took "Emotions," written by Tillis and Ramsey Kearney, to No. 7 on the pop charts in 1961.

Tillis earned his first charting country single in 1958 when he recorded “The Violet and a Rose” for Columbia. Fourteen years later, "I Ain't Never" became his first No. 1.

As a recording artist, Tillis was most successful in the 1970s, with two dozen Top 10 hits. Five of those were chart-toppers, including "Coca Cola Cowboy," which was featured in the Clint Eastwood film "Every Which Way But Loose." The Country Music Association named Tillis Entertainer of the Year in 1976. That year he also was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In addition to his music career, Tillis appeared regularly on television shows such as “Hee Haw” and “Hollywood Squares,” was in multiple films, including “Smokey and the Bandit 2” and “Cannonball Run,” and appeared in commercials for the fast-food chain Whataburger, which further enhanced his visibility.

When Tillis' chart success began to wane, he began focusing more attention on his business ventures. He owned radio stations and acquired several publishing companies with thousands of songs in their catalogs. He also opened his own theater in Branson, Mo., performing several thousand shows there before selling the property.

In 1984, Ricky Skaggs took one of his songs, “Honey (Open That Door),” to the top of the charts.

In the 1990s, Tillis, Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare and Jerry Reed formed the supergroup Old Dogs; the band released a self-titled album of songs penned by Shel Silverstein.

It's hard to say who was prouder in 2007 when his daughter, singer Pam Tillis, inducted her father into the Grand Ole Opry. Later that year, Mel Tillis was working in his Ashland City garden when he got a phone call telling him he was going to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was so stunned he dropped the eggplant he was holding.

"I'm just so thankful, for everything," he kept repeating the day of the Hall of Fame medallion ceremony. Four years later, Tillis was named a National Medal of Arts recipient for his contributions to country music; he received his award in February 2012 during a ceremony at the White House.

If Tillis wasn't onstage, chances are he could be found fishing, gardening or painting — he'd often donate the proceeds from the sales of his art to charity. He toured with his band The Statesiders (named after his 1966 single "Stateside"), and regularly appeared on the Opry into his 80s. "It so happened that I found what I was good for," Tillis, discussing his music career, told The Tennessean in 1965. "I'm lucky. A lot of people go through life and never find out."

TILLIS, Mel (Lonnie Melvin Tillis)
Born: 8/8/1932, Tampa, Florida, U.S.A.
Died: 11/19/2017, Ocala, Florida, U.S.A.

Mel Tillis’s westerns – producer, actor:
The Villain – 1979 (telegraph agent)
Uphill All the Way – 1986 (Booger Skaggs) [producer]
Palo Pinto Gold – 2009 (storyteller)

Friday, November 17, 2017

RIP Hiromi Tsuru

Bulma's Voice Actress Hiromi Tsuru Has Died

By Brian Ashcraft

Yesterday evening, Hiromi Tsuru was discovered unconscious in a car on along the Shuto Expressway in Tokyo. The vehicle was stopped, the hazard lights were on, and Tsuru was still wearing her seatbelt.

According to Asahi News, the famed voice actress was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Tsuru was only 57 years old. Tsuru died from aortic dissection.

There were no external wounds and no sign of an accident. Police believe it’s highly likely she died of from an illness. According to Sankei News, authorities are investigating the exact cause.

Tsuru voiced some of anime’s most beloved characters, including Bulma in the Dragon Ball series, Dokin-chan in Anpanman, Ukyo Kuonji in Ranma ½, Reiko Mikami in Ghost Sweeper Mikami and Meryl Strife in Trigun, among many others. She also voiced video game characters, including Naomi Hunter in the Metal Gear Solid series.

TSURU, Hiromi
Born: 3/29/1960, Kangawa, Japan
Died: 11/16/2017, Chitose, Hokkaido, Japan

Hiromi Tsuru’s westerns – voice actress:
Trigun (TV) – 1998 (Meryle Stryfe)
Trigun: Badlands Rumble – 2010 (Meryle Stryfe)