In Memoriam: Those Not Previously Honored - 12/29
Each year we sadly lose a number of irreplaceable performers and craftspeople from the classic-film community. In this final month of 2017, TCM pays homage to those not previously honored during the year with a night of films devoted to each of these great people and enormous talents.
June Foray (date of death July 26) was one of the most noted and prolific voice performers for animated-cartoon characters, including Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Jokey Smurf and Lucifer in Disney's Cinderella (1950). Foray provides voices for three different characters in the live action/animated movie The Phantom Tollbooth (1970). Among her colleagues she was affectionately known as the "First Lady of Animated Voicing."
Barbara Hale (date of death January 26) is fondly remembered for her Emmy-winning role as Della Street, secretary to Raymond Burr's Perry Mason in the long-running series and many TV movies. The beautiful brunette also appeared in many feature films - perhaps most famously The Window (1949), in which she is very convincing as the anxious mother of a boy (Bobby Driscoll) who witnesses a murder.
Mary Tyler Moore (date of death January 25) burst onto the big screen in the 1920s musical Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) after establishing herself as one of TV comedy's most beloved leading ladies. In Millie, Moore gets to strut her stuff alongside Julie Andrews and Carol Channing and was praised by Vanity Fair for her performance as "the ultimate ingenue."
Roger Moore (date of death May 23) is best remembered as the longest-running James Bond in seven 007 movies of the 1970s and '80s. However, he racked up almost 90 other credits in television and films including a costarring role in the Clint Walker Western Gold of the Seven Saints (1961). Moore's obituary in The Guardian lauded him for "his inimitable humour and panache."
Jeanne Moreau (date of death July 31), stars in Jules and Jim (1962), François Truffaut's romantic drama about a tragic love triangle that also involves Oskar Werner and Henri Serre. This was one of the films that brought Moreau to prominence as an outstanding French New Wave actress of the 1960s, celebrated for her "cerebral sexuality."
Bill Paxton (date of death February 25) plays pilot Fred Haise in Apollo 13 (1995), Ron Howard's docudrama about the aborted lunar mission of 1970. Rolling Stone critic Noel Murray wrote that, in this performance, Paxton becomes "the human face of a mission gone awry...his own kind of hero, at once a handy guy and an ornery cuss."
Don Rickles (date of death April 6) was everybody's favorite "insult comic," winning the facetious title of "Mr. Warmth." In addition to his extensive stage and TV work, Rickles appeared in a number of movies. In the action comedy Kelly's Heroes (1970), set during World War II, Rickles lends amusing support to star Clint Eastwood.
George A. Romero (date of death July 16) won fame as the writer-director of gruesome, funny and undeniably scary horror movies including Night of the Living Dead (1968), a low-budget classic in which he imagined a zombie apocalypse and established the zombie craze in modern culture. Critics of the day were stunned and repulsed by the movie, but it has since been acknowledged and praised by contemporary viewers.
By Roger Fristoe