The hits just keep on coming in 2014. After Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away earlier this year, another great actor has died after a battle with depression, drugs and alcohol. THR reports that legendary comedian and Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams was found dead at his home this morning at 63 years old. Even more tragic is that the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia. Like many great comedians of his time, Williams had a battle with alcoholism and drug addition and had checked himself back into rehab as recently as last month. This is truly a heartbreaking loss for everyone.
Since most of the movie-going public is obsessed with the faces they see on the screen much more than the ones behind the camera, it takes a special kind of talent to gain acclaim and accolades to become known for a craft in Hollywood that isn't acting or directing. But one such talent was Dick Smith, nicknamed the "Godfather of Make-Up" for his incredible work as, you guessed it, a make-up artist. Literally living up to his name, Smith was responsible for impressive work in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, making Marlon Brando look a little less handsome with a lot more jowels. But today, Variety reports the make-up legend with nearly 70 years of amazing work in the entertainment industry has passed away at 92 years old.
After nearly 60 years on the flickering box and the big screen, Time reports actor James Garner has passed away. The iconic star of the TV series "Maverick," who also appeared in the feature film adaptation of the same name starring Mel Gibson, died Saturday night. A cause of death is unknown, but at 86 years old, anything could have happened. After all, the actor hadn't been seen on the big screen since 2007, and his most recent work was lending his voice to a DC Comics animated short in 2010. But the reason we all know Garner today is for his stellar career that took off in the 1950s with the aforementioned western series.
Hollywood has lost another legend after being graced with a 60-year career and nearly 100 years on this Earth as The New York Times reports legendary actor Eli Wallach, star of the classic spaghetti western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, has passed away at 98. After a stint in the army during WWII, serving five years in the Medical Corps and rising to captain, Wallach returned home to become a founding member of the Actors Studio and studied method acting with Lee Strasberg. That led to a Broadway debut in 1951, and stage time with wife Anne Jackson in plays like The Typists, The Tiger and The Diary of Anne Frank.
If you're a child of the 90s, then you're probably familiar with Rik Mayall. However, you may not know the British comedian by name because he's usually referred to by the title of his most famous entry into American cinema, Drop Dead Fred. The comedian brought to life the wacky titular imaginary friend in the 1991 comedy that starred Phoebe Cates, and was a staple of many a childhood. Sadly, ABC News reports that the comedy star died suddenly today at his London home at age 56. Mayall wasn't sick and mysteriously died, his family unaware of what happened to him, but there isn't any foul play suspected now. Read on!
While you're familiar with Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen and Alan J. Pakula's work as directors on The Godfather, Manhattan and All the President's Men, respectively, you may not know about the man who made those films look so damn incredible as the director of photography. Gordon Willis is the cinematographer who lensed all of those films, but sadly, Variety reports that he has passed away at the age of 82. Perhaps what is most impressive about Willis is that his career spans only 32 films, but his work within them is some of the most influential, impressive and generation-defining work behind the camera.
Following the sad news that Alien visual effects and creature designer H.R. Giger passed away, we have even more tragic news. Deadline has learned that director Malik Bendjelloul, who just won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2013 for the musically infused Searching for Sugar Man, was found dead in Stockholm today. No cause of death has been given, but local newspaper Expressen learned from the police that his death was not being treated as suspicious and no crime is suspected at this time. This is some truly tragic news for a young and gifted filmmaker who quickly climbed from Sundance buzz to Oscar glory.
While Ridley Scott and James Cameron can be credited for crafting the spectacular sci-fi films Alien and Aliens respectively, the films might not have had the same impact on the audience if it wasn't for the work of Swiss artist H.R. Giger. While you might not know Giger by name, you certainly know his work, because he's responsible for designing and creating the iconic creature that stalks Ripley (Sigourney Weaver). But sadly, THR has learned that Giger has passed away at age 74 on Monday as a result of injuries sustained after suffering a tragic fall at his own H.R. Giger Museum in Gruyeres, western Switzerland. More below.
Nearly a couple years ago, British actor Bob Hoskins quietly retired from acting after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, the same affliction which Michael J. Fox has been fighting for years now. Hoskins wanted to spend more time with his family, but sadly, Chicago Tribune reports the star of favorite childhood films of mine like Hook and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? has passed away at 71 years old after succumbing to a bad bout of pneumonia. Hoskins has been acting for over 40 years, and while his more recognizable roles came in the late 80s and early 90s, he leaves behind an impressive array of performances.
Another one of the greats from the short history of Hollywood has left this world. The New York Times reports legendary veteran actor Mickey Rooney passed away at his home in North Hollywood on Sunday at age 93. Rooney was most recently seen in family comedies The Muppets and the Night at the Museum franchise, but his career in entertainment began at the tender age of two, as part of a family vaudeville act. But his career as a child star wouldn't begin until he landed a role as Mickey McGuire in a series of comedic short films that lasted for nine years. And it was that role which led to feature film fame.
While losing a lead actor like Philip Seymour Hoffman is always devastating, it's never easier when a fantastic supporting actor leaves this world. Therefore, we're disheartened to report that character actor James Rebhorn has passed away at age 65 after a battle with skin cancer, according to THR. Lately, Rebhorn had been seen most prominently on the small screen as Claire Danes' father on the Showtime drama series "Homeland," not to mention a recurring role on the USA series "White Collar." But Rebhorn also appeared on the big screen, and was easily one of the better known "Hey, it's that guy!" actors.
It's been six years since iconic movie trailer voice over artist Don LaFontaine passed away, and now that niche in the entertainment industry has lost another great. Hal Douglas has passed away at age 89 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. Along with LaFontaine and Don Morrow, Douglas was one of the top three movie trailer voice over artists in the industry. The man lent his voice to trailers for Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Con-Air and Lethal Weapon, but also dabbled in comedy with contributions to the trailers for Coneheads and Meet the Parents. We could list his work all day, but it's better if you listen.
Few filmmakers leave a legacy behind in cinema that will last generations, and even fewer have a career that truly spans decades. French director Alain Resnais was one of those rarities behind the camera whose career began way back in 1946 and lasted up until his death on Saturday in Paris at age 91 (as reported by New York Times), not too long after his last film The Life of Riley premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February. The filmmaker never won an Oscar, but took home a BAFTA, saw several nominations and wins at the César Awards in France, and countless accolades at the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals. More below.
What a terrible start to the week. The Chicago Tribune has reported that writer, director and actor Harold Ramis, best known for playing Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters (not to mention writing the screenplay), has passed away at age 69 due to complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels. Ramis started his comedy career at Second City in Chicago (not to mention the improv troupe's TV series "SCTV"), where he would become buddies with the late John Belushi, a comedian whose career he helped launch by writing the college comedy classic National Lampoon's Animal House. And that's just the beginning of his legendary influence on comedy. Read on.