Ruby Dee personified class throughout her life. The Oscar-nominated actress, born Ruby Ann Wallace in Cleveland in 1922, began making movies in the mid 1940s and didn’t stop until 2013. In that time she was also was an accomplished playwright, Grammy-award winning poet, social activist and inspiration to millions. Dee passed away Wednesday at the age of 91. Read More »
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The man who did more than any other to influence the entire art of cinematography through a single film was Gordon Willis. The Godfather broke every classical “rule” in the book, and much of its impact can be attributed to the unusual but intuitive approach Willis took to photographing the film. In many scenes Willis used as little illumination as possible. In doing so he invited us to lean forward, to peer into the eyes of characters with blackened souls. We may have recoiled when we saw what was truly in the heart of Michael Corleone, but we could never look away. Willis painted with shadow, and for it earned a loving nickname that was better suited to Michael Corleone: the Prince of Darkness.
Now Gordon Willis has died at the age of 82. A cause of death has not been released, but Willis’ passing has been confirmed by American Society of Cinematographers president Richard Crudo. Read More »
UPDATE: The investigation into Bendjelloul’s death has revealed an apparent suicide. The original text follows.
This is a tragic piece of news. Malik Bendjelloul, director of the Oscar-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man, has died at the age of 36. A cause of death was not released, but foul play is not believed to have played a part in his passing.
Bendjelloul came to the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 with his first film, a little documentary called Searching for Sugar Man. It opened the festival and was an immediate breakout hit. A year later, Ben Affleck presented Bendjelloul with the Oscar for Best Documentary, marking the filmmaker’s arrival as one to watch. His passing comes far too early.
Below, watch Bendjelloul at his peak, winning his first and only Oscar. Read More »
H.R. Giger showed us nightmare visions that were unlike those anyone else had conjured. The man who designed the Alien for Ridley Scott belongs in the pantheon of visionaries of the horrific alongside Hieronymus Bosch and Francis Bacon. Giger visualized concepts that are particularly modern, as they meld biological and mechanical elements, and are harrowingly seductive in their curvaceous sexuality. Now H.R. Giger has died at the age of 74, due to injuries sustained in a fall. Read More »
Bob Hoskins, one of the most recognizable and charismatic actors of his generation, has passed away at the age of 71.
Hoskins gave iconic performances as far back as the 1970s. His most successful films were probably Robert Zemeckis’ Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Steven Spielberg’s Hook. In each Hoskins exhibited a perfect balance of physical humor, aloofness and intimidating strength. His final film was in 2012′s Snow White and the Huntsman, but his legacy includes wonderful turns in Brazil, Mermaids, Nixon, The Cotton Club and Mona Lisa, for which he got an Oscar nomination in 1986.
Hoskins retired in 2012 and at the time he thanked “all the great and brilliant people he has worked with over the years, and all of his fans who have supporter him during a wonderful career.” He added he was “looking forward to retirement with his family.” In a statement released by his family, they said Hoskins passed “peacefully at hospital last night surrounded by family, following a bout of Pneumonia.”
Mickey Rooney lived a hell of a life. He started working on stage in vaudeville acts when he was just over a year old. That was in 1922, and Rooney recently did a part in Night at the Museum 3. His career spanned 92 years, and he was part of just about every major era of film and television entertainment in some way in addition to work on the stage. Mickey Rooney died today at home in Los Angeles of natural causes, at the age of 93. Read More »
Hal Douglas was one of the most prominent voices in the movies, as his instantly-recognizable baritone provided the narration for many trailers. Douglas died recently at 89, reports the New York Times, citing complications from pancreatic cancer. After the break revisit some of his more recognizable pieces of work. Read More »
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Harold Ramis, who co-wrote Meatballs, Animal House, and Ghostbusters, and who wrote and directed Caddyshack and Groundhog Day in addition to many other directorial achievements, has died at age 69, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Despite those achievements, Ramis is best known for playing Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, where he provided the essential and exaggerated straight-man character to anchor the team that also included Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. Those two could be as looney as they wanted to be, and Ramis was there to anchor them, weird as Egon might have been.
Ramis died as a result of complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels. He had been struggling with health issues since 2010. Read More »