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.
Following news that former iconic child star Shirley Temple had passed away, another iconic star from Hollywood's rich history is gone. THR reports legendary comedian and star of film and television, Sid Caesar, has passed away at 91. Caesar's friend and collaborator Carl Reiner confirmed the news, though a cause of death was not given. Reiner said, "Inarguably he was the greatest single monologist and skit comedian we ever had. Television owes him a debt of gratitude for his pioneering work and the great shows he gave us all. Render onto Caesar what is his due. He deserves real applause from the American people."
Following the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, another iconic star from decades past has left this world. The New York Times reports former child star Shirley Temple has passed away at her home in Califorinia due to natural causes at age 85 years old. Temple's career began at the tender age of three in 1931, but she became a big screen sensation after starring in Bright Eyes, which featured the adorable actress in the memorable musical number "The Good Ship Lollipop." For the next fours years she would become the top box office draw and is credited with helping save 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy during The Depression.
A shocking tragedy has struck this afternoon as actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Oscar-winning actor of Capote, was found dead in his New York City apartment. The actor was only 46 years old, and Wall Street Journal says a cause of death is likely a drug overdose. The actor was just seen at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival as the star of Anton Corbijn's A Most Wanted Man and John Slattery's God's Pocket. In addition, Hoffman had just brought to life a pivotal character in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire last year. The actor also had several gestating projects that are now up in the air in the wake of the terrible news.
At the 2013 Sundance Film Festval, the documentary Life According to Sam (shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary) highlighted Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome as it afflicted teenage boy Sam Berns and his medical doctor parents as they attempted to take all the right steps to research, test and implement a cure. For those who don't know, progeria is an extremely rare genetic condition (one in 8 million children get it) that accelerates the aging process in children from birth until their premature death around 13 years old. Sadly, THR reports the charming Sam passed away this past Friday at the age of 17.