Nothing like a big batch of celebrity deaths to rouse me from not blogging. Since I am a big fan of pop culture, within the last week several individuals have died and their contributions to the arts made me reflect on the talent that has left us. Some were bigger names than others but I have to mention them here.
Harvey Korman died today at age 81. Harvey was a cast memeber of The Carol Burnett Show from 1967-1978 and along with Tim Conway created so many moments of great television comedy.he won 4 emmys. I think the audience enjoyed Harvey Korman laughing and enjoying himself so much during the show. But he displayed what a good comic actor which also led him to work with Mel Brooks in several films. His best,"Blazing Saddles" , playing evil Hedley Lamarr. He also appeared in High Anxiety and History of the World Pt.I for Brooks.His telelvision work included the voice of The Great Gazoo in The Flintstones.
Sydney Pollack, film director and actor made some of the biggest movies in Hollywood over the last 30 years like "The Way We Were ", "Out of Africa", Tootsie" and was a producer for "Cold Mountain, The Talented Mr. Ripley" He also was a decent actor appearing in "Michael Clayton" "Husbands and Wives ""Tootsie" and "Eyes Wide Shut".
Dick Martin died at age 86 last weekend. Martin the comic to Dan Rowan's straight man were a big hit in nightclubs in the 1950's and by the 60's were part of tv variety shows. In 1968 they were the hosts of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh -In", a show unlike any other variety program at the time. After Laugh-In and Dan Rowan retired, Dick Martin went on to become a talented director of television.
And then there are musicians whose impact on television remain fixed in our memories 40-50 years later...
Earle Hagen wrote the memorable themes to The Andy Griffith Show, That Girl, Gomer Pyle USMC,The Mod Squad, I Spy,and The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Alexander Courage wrote the soaring theme to Star Trek and scored episodes of Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, Daniel Boone, Falcon crest, Eight is Enough and many more.
Joseph Pevney directed 14 episodes of the original Star trek series, including some of the very best "City on the Edge of Forever" and "The Trouble with Tribbles" also a prolific television director with many credits his motion picture work included " Man of a Thousand Faces" the biography of silent star Lon Chaney with James Cagney doing a superior job in the lead role, and "Tammy and the Bachelor" a popular hit for Debbie Reynolds.
Will Elder died May 17th, one of the original artists of Mad Magazine, his detailed cartooning was always a pleasure to see.His parody of Superman -Superduperman remains funny five decades later.His subersive wit went along with some beautiful artwork. He also created the sexy "Little Annie Fanny" for Playboy magazine which featured it from 1962-1988.