Archive for the ‘Obituaries – 2010’ Category

Jill Clayburgh Obituary

Saturday, November 6th, 2010


Jill Clayburgh dies at 66; Oscar-nominated actress



Her Broadway and Hollywood career was highlighted by her roles in the 1970s films ‘An Unmarried Woman’ and ‘Starting Over.’ She also was nominated for two Emmys.


Associated Press
November 6, 2010


Jill Clayburgh, whose Broadway and Hollywood acting career was highlighted by her Oscar-nominated roles in the 1970s films “An Unmarried Woman” and “Starting Over,” died Friday. She was 66.


Click here to contine reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Jill Clayburgh



James MacArthur Obituary

Thursday, October 28th, 2010


James MacArthur dies at 72; actor played ‘Danno’ on ‘Hawaii Five-0’


He also appeared in the classic Disney film ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ and gave Hayley Mills her first screen kiss in ‘The Truth About Spring.’


By Valerie J. Nelson
Los Angeles Times
October 29, 2010


James MacArthur, an actor best known for portraying Det. Danny “Danno” Williams on the original “Hawaii Five-0,” the TV series that turned “Book ’em, Danno” into a national catchphrase, has died. He was 72.


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Tom Bosley Obituary

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010


Tom Bosley dies at 83; star of stage and TV’s ‘Happy Days’



He won a Tony Award for his role in the Broadway musical ‘Fiorello!’ But he was best known as the amiable father Howard Cunningham in the long-running sitcom set in the 1950s.


By Dennis McLellan
Los Angeles Times
October 20, 2010


Tom Bosley, a Tony Award-winning actor who was best known for playing Howard Cunningham, the amiable father on the hit TV series “Happy Days,” has died. He was 83.


Click here to continue reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Tom Bosley



Johnny Sheffield Obituary

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010


Johnny Sheffield dies at 79; played Boy in Tarzan movies



The child actor later starred in the Bomba, the Jungle Boy series. After leaving Hollywood, he earned a business degree from UCLA and eventually went into real estate.


By Dennis McLellan
Los Angeles Times
October 19, 2010


Johnny Sheffield, the former child actor who played Boy in the Tarzan movie series starring Johnny Weissmuller in the late 1930s and ’40s and later starred in the Bomba, the Jungle Boy film series, has died. He was 79.


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Barbara Billingsley Obituary

Sunday, October 17th, 2010


Barbara Billingsley, mother on ‘Leave It to Beaver,’ dies at 94




As June Cleaver, Billingsley was the model 1950s mom, clad in dresses, high heels and pearls even while vacuuming. ‘She was the ideal mother,’ Billingsley said of her character.


By Dennis McLellan
Los Angeles Times
October 17, 2010


Barbara Billingsley, who played June Cleaver, the quintessential 1950s sitcom mom on “Leave It to Beaver,” and later did a memorable send-up of her white-bread image playing the “jive-talking” passenger in the hit comedy “Airplane!,” has died. She was 94.


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Michael Hopkins Obituary

Thursday, October 7th, 2010


Michael Hopkins; adopted son of actress, Miriam Hopkins, dead at age 78




By Allan R. Ellenberger


Michael Hopkins, the adopted son of actress Miriam Hopkins, died on Tuesday morning in a convalescent home in Riverside, California. He was 78.


In 1932, Miriam Hopkins became one of the first people in Hollywood to adopt a child – and was a single mother at the time. Miriam had just divorced her second husband, writer Austin Parker, and surprised everyone when she stopped off in Chicago on her way to New York and visited the Cradle Society, an adoption agency in suburban Evanston.


Requesting a tour of the institution, she examined all the children and studied their records of what was known of their parents. Finally, she happened upon a tow-headed, blue-eyed baby boy and immediately fell in love. The boy was known as Baby Wilson. “He’s healthy and cute,” said a representative from the orphanage.


Discovery of her plan to adopt a child and the resulting publicity annoyed Miriam and after adoption papers were signed she left the court declaring that she did not want to talk about it, or anything else for that matter.


“I hate all this publicity over a simple thing,” she told reporters. When asked why she wanted to adopt a baby, she said: “I don’t have to give any reasons. It is just a fact and we will live wherever I happen to be working.”


When Miriam returned the following week to pick up Michael, she had her friend, Dorothy Parker with her. Because Michael had blonde hair and blue eyes and closely resembled his adoptive mother, rumors arose that possibly Michael was her biological son.



Michael standing next to a portrait of himself as a child (Courtesy Hopkins family)


“I was adopted in Chicago from the Cradle Society,” Michael said. “There was someone who wrote about a controversy that she went there to adopt a child that looked very much like her – blond hair and blue eyes, because at the time she was not married.”


Michael never knew for certain if the rumors were true – Miriam never said and he wasn’t interested in finding out. He also wasn’t told he was adopted until his late teens. “I didn’t find out that I was adopted until I had to go into the service and I needed my birth certificate,” Michael recalled. “She never mentioned that I was adopted. And no one ever said anything to me while I was growing up even though everyone in Hollywood knew it.”


Even though Michael grew up in Hollywood, he was rarely exposed to the Hollywood scene. Miriam bought John Gilberts house on Tower Road in Beverly Hills and had it remodeled. That is where Michael spent most of his childhood. “Tower place was nice because it had the amenities – a tennis court and swimming pool,” Michael recalled. Later in his life he returned to the place he grew up and was disappointed because it had been razed and was replaced by another house.


Because the house was located in the hills and was accessed by a winding road, Michael never learned how to ride a bicycle. Miriam was afraid he would ride down the winding road and somehow careen off the edge of a cliff.


Miriam’s neighbors on Tower Road were, Charles Boyer, Edgar Bergen and Sabu. Once, Michael and his best friend, Bob Potter, the son of director H. C. Potter (and Michael’s godfather) found some trouble at John Barrymore’s home, which had several buildings with many glass windows. Temptation took over one day and they took turns seeing who could break the most glass.


Miriam’s third husband, Anatole Litvak was the one who most treated Michael like a son. He was also a very dominate personality, but he gave Michael attention while Miriam’s other suitors didn’t. When Litvak was around it was more of a father son relationship.



Michael with Anatole Litvak (Courtesy Hopkins family)


However, being single during much of Michael’s youth, Miriam took responsibility for being both mother and father. She persuaded Bill Tilden to provide tennis instructions and Jose Iturbi, piano lessons. Because Michael was interested in planes, she arranged for Igor Sikorsky to instruct him on flying.


Regardless, Michael was treated well and educated in a series of private schools beginning with Arizona Desert School  in Tucson, Arizona shortly after Miriam’s divorce from Litvak. His first day there, Miriam was helping him to get settled with his roommate. When she left the room Michael’s roommate asked, “Your mother’s a movie star, isn’t she?”


“Yes,” Michael replied.


“Is she a good actress?”


“I don’t know,” Michael said. “She thinks she is.”


Michael’s schooling continued at Riverdale High School and Valley Forge Military Academy and culminated in four years at Lawrenceville. In his youth, Michael dated Elizabeth Montgomery and Irving Berlin’s daughter, Linda.


After school, he enlisted in the military service during the Korean War. It was during this time, while stationed in Morocco, that he met and married his wife, Christiane Carreno. While they were dating, Michael had not told Chris who his mother was. One evening they went to a Moroccan theater where The Mating Game, starring Miriam and Gene Tierney was showing. Michael pointed to Miriam on the screen and said, “See that lady there? That’s my mother.”


Chris looked at him and replied, “Yeah, and that girl over there is my sister.” So was her introduction to her mother-in-law.  Michael and Chris were married in Morocco without Miriam’s presence.


Michael made a career in the Air Force and as is usual in the military, was assigned to several bases over the world during the next ten years. In 1955, they had a son they named Thomas, and who became the apple of his grandmother’s eye. In 1966 Michael was assigned permanently to March Air Force Base in Riverside, California where they made their home.


Every other weekend, Michael, Chris and Tom would travel to Beverly Hills where they were expected to attend Miriam’s Sunday afternoon gatherings. It was there that they met William Saroyan, Edward G. Robinson, Tennessee Williams, Loretta Young, Shelly Winters and all of Miriam’s friends.



Chris holding Tom, Michael, Miriam and Miriam’s mother, Ellen (Courtesy Hopkins family)


In 1972 Miriam died at age 69 and Michael took his mother’s ashes to her hometown cemetery in Bainbridge, Georgia, and had them interred next to those of her mother.


In recent years Michael suffered from Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. Funeral services will be held on Monday, October 11 at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Riverside, with interment at Riverside National Cemetery. Michael is survived by his wife Christiane and son Thomas.



Stephen J. Cannell Obituary

Friday, October 1st, 2010


TV writer, producer Stephen J. Cannell dies



The man who helped create more than 40 shows, including ‘The Rockford Files,’ ‘The A-Team’ and ‘Baretta’ had a golden touch, though he struggled early in life with dyslexia.


Dennis McLellan
Los Angeles Times
October 2, 2010


Stephen J. Cannell, the prolific television writer and producer who co-created “The Rockford Files” and “The A-Team” and later became a best-selling novelist, has died. He was 69.


Click here to continue reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Stephen J. Cannell



Tony Curtis Obituary

Thursday, September 30th, 2010


Actor Tony Curtis, star of ‘Some Like It Hot’ and ‘Sweet Smell of Success,’ dies at 85


 Tony Curtis Picture Gallery


Curtis may be best known for his role in the Billy Wilder comedy ‘Hot,’ but he appeared in more than 100 films and was nominated for an Oscar for ‘The Defiant Ones.’


By Claudia Luther
Special to the Los Angeles Times
September 30, 2010


Tony Curtis, the dashingly handsome film star of the 1950s and ’60s best remembered for his hilarious turn in drag in Billy Wilder’s classic comedy “Some Like It Hot” and dramatic roles in “The Defiant Ones” and “Sweet Smell of Success,” died Wednesday night. He was 85.


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Arthur Penn Obituary

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010


Arthur Penn dies at 88; director of landmark film ‘Bonnie and Clyde’



The stage, film and TV director was a three-time Oscar nominee who won a Tony for ‘The Miracle Worker.’ His role in shaping the graphic violence in 1967’s ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ helped usher in a new era in American filmmaking.


By Dennis McLellan
Los Angeles Times
September 29, 2010


Arthur Penn, the three-time Oscar-nominated director best known for “Bonnie and Clyde,” the landmark 1967 film that stirred critical passions over its graphic violence and became a harbinger of a new era of American filmmaking, died Tuesday, a day after he turned 88.


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Gloria Stuart Obituary

Monday, September 27th, 2010


Gloria Stuart, ‘Titanic’ actress, dies at 100


 Gloria Stuart Picture Gallery


Stuart was a leading lady in 1930s films, then gave up acting and turned to art. Her role in ‘Titanic’ earned her an Academy Award nomination.


By Dennis McLellan
Los Angeles Times
September 27, 2010



Gloria Stuart, a 1930s Hollywood leading lady who earned an Academy Award nomination for her first significant role in nearly 60 years — as Old Rose, the centenarian survivor of the Titanic in James Cameron’s 1997 Oscar-winning film — has died. She was 100.


Click here to continue reading the Los Angeles Times obituary for Gloria Stuart