Saturday, October 08, 2011

A Bad Week for Beloved Character Actors

Charles Napier (April 12, 1936 - October 5, 2011), the jut-jawed, horse-toothed, all-man actor who starred in numerous Russ Meyer pictures, was featured in several Jonathan Demme films, appeared in the classic STAR TREK episode "The Way to Eden" and, along the way, provided the roars for Lou Ferrigno's THE INCREDIBLE HULK. He was 75.

David Hess (September 19, 1942 - October 8, 2011), actor and musician responsible for writing Pat Boone's "Speedy Gonzales" (under the name David Dante) and for scaring the hell out of 1970s audiences with his uncomfortably real portrayals of psychopaths in Wes Craven's THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, Ruggero Deodato's THE HOUSE AT THE EDGE OF THE PARK and other thrillers. In his last film SMASH CUT (2009), he acted alongside Sasha Grey, Michael Berryman, Herschell Gordon Lewis and THE WIZARD OF GORE's Ray Sager, playing a horror film director in the recursive gore flick hommage. He and Charles Napier acted together in Deodato's BODY COUNT (1987), starring VIDEO WATCHDOG interview subject Mimsy Farmer. He was 69.

Additionally -- or should I say "subtractively" -- this past week also claimed the lives of onar Films founder Bill Barounis, actress/novelist Diane Cilento (THE WICKER MAN), actor George Baker (THE CURSE OF THE FLY, ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE), Pentangle founder/folk guitarist Bert Jansch, pianist Roger Williams (who had hit singles with the themes from AUTUMN LEAVES and BORN FREE in the mid-'50s and '60s) and, of course, Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs.

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