Today: February 25, 2024

Hollywood Heaven

We will remember them.

As another year passes so much has been gained in terms of film. There are new talents, some great films, fabulous performances and powerful images. For all we have gained we have also lost. Some of the brightest talents in the film industry passed away over the last year. We will remember them.

The most visible part of any film is the onscreen talent. Leslie Neilson was perhaps most famous for his role as Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun films following on from his wonderful deadpan performance in Airplane! He took the lead in three Naked Gun films and a whole host of other comedies, most recently starring in the Scary Movie franchise. While he will be best remembered for his comic turns Neilson’s early work was as a leading man most notably as Commander Adams in the science fiction classic Forbidden Planet.

Nielson’s Airplane! co –star Peter Graves also passed away this year. He was more famous for his appearances on the small screen most notably as Jim Phelps in Mission: Impossible but played a number of supporting roles including cameo in Men In Black II.

Britain’s comedy world lost a great talent in the form of Sir Norman Wisdom. His talent for slapstick lead to a number of starring roles in comedy films as Norman Pitkin. While his later career was confined to television his cinematic works enjoy an enduring success.

In the world of drama there have been few actors as iconic as Dennis Hopper. His performance and direction of Easy Rider established him as a forced to be reckoned with. Throughout the seventies he appeared in many films most notably Apocalypse Now. His working life was often disrupted by his addictions but he received great critical acclaim for his role in David Lynch’s cult classic Blue Velvet in 1986 and an Oscar nomination for Hoosiers in the same year.

Tony Curtis was a classic good looking Hollywood leading man who found success in both comedy and Drama. He had great critical acclaim for his roles in Spartacus and The Boston Strangler as well as an Oscar nomination for his role in The Defiant Ones but he will forever be associated with the classic comedy Some Like It Hot alongside Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Munroe.

Patricia Neal lived a life filled with awards and tainted with tragedy. She won an Academy Award in Hud playing opposite Paul Newman in 1963. In 1965 she suffered a series of strokes which lead to paralysis on one side but her husband the British writer Roald Dahl helped to rehabilitate her. Her other memorable roles include Emily Eustace Failenson in Breakfast at Tiffanys and her BAFTA award winning performance in In Harm’s Way opposite John Wayne.

A member of one of the great acting dynasties, Lynn Redgrave passed away this May. She began her film career in the 1960s starring in several films including the title Georgy Girl. She spent much of her career on the stage but returned to the screen to great acclaim in the 1990s with supporting roles in Shine in 1996 and God’s and Monsters in 1998 winning a Golden Globe.

Corey Haim was a 1980s teen idol. He broke through with the coming of age tale Lucas in 1986. He became a household name when starring as vampire hunter Sam Emerson in the Lost Boys. This would be his first collaboration with Corey Feldman and their partnership would continue through several films. Haim’s addiction problems lead to a decline in his career mainly working in direct to video movies throughout the 1990s and onwards. He died of pneumonia and heart problems aged just 38.

Many talents behind the screen also passed away over the last year. Director of over 40 films and husband of Julie Andrews, Blake Edwards was responsible for a number of classics. His most famous works include the original series of six Pink Panther movies working with Peter Sellers. His most iconic work is the 1961 classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He received an Honorary Academy Award in 2004 for his achievements.

There have been few producers who have such a varied body of work as Dino de Laurentiis. He began producing in his native Italy and worked with Fellini or his Oscar winning films La Strada and Nights of Cabiria. His long and varied career saw him produce cult classics like Barbarella, Flash Gordon and Conan the Barbarian. He also achieved great commercial success with the Hannibal Lecter films.

Irvin Kershner began his career making naturalistic films however he will be remembered for his association with the world’s biggest franchise – Star Wars. He was director of the most critically acclaimed movie in the series, The Empire Strikes Back from 1980. From there he went on to work within other famous film properties with Sean Connery on the unofficial Bond film Never Say Never Again and the less successful Robocop 2.

So many talents passed away this year. On the silver screen they will live forever.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website:

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