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 News Briefs 1999:

Here's an archive of the classic-movie related news items for 1999. All have been verified by reliable news sources, but if you have any updated information about any of these stories, feel free to pass it along.

January 1999:

  • 1- Charlton Heston announces he is recovering from several weeks of intense radiation treatment as part of his battle against prostate cancer. The 75-year-old actor reports that doctors caught the disease early enough (he was diagnosed in June), so in his case, it is not life-threatening.
  • 4- Jane Wyman, Oscar-winning Best Actress for JOHNNY BELINDA (1948), celebrates her 85th birthday.
  • 7- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces it will honor director Elia Kazan with an honorary Academy Award at the Oscar ceremonies on March 21.
  • 7- The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences votes to eliminate the separate Oscar for short documentaries (40 minutes or under), on the basis that there are no longer enough entries to justify it. In future years, short and feature-length documentaries will compete in one category.
  • 12- Betty Lou Gerson, radio and television actress who gave a voice to villainess Cruella De Vil in Disney's animated feature 101 DALMATIONS (1961), dies of a stroke at age 84.
  • 29- Lili St. Cyr, B-movie actress and stripper of the '40s and '50s, dies at age 80.
  • 30- Huntz Hall, star of more than 100 "Bowery Boys" and "Dead End Kids" films from the 1930s through 1950s, dies at 78.

February 1999:

  • 4- Donald O'Connor, 73-year-old dancing star of many MGM musicals of the 1940s and '50s including SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952) as well as the non-musical "Francis, the Talking Mule" series, is reported to be in critical condition in an Arizona hospital, suffering from pneumonia. He is in intensive care and on a ventilator after some heart and lung failure.
  • 5- Herbert Kline, pioneer documentary filmmaker who chronicled the political crises in Europe during the 1930s and '40s (including the 1939 German invasion of Poland recorded in his "Lights Out in Europe") but who was later blacklisted by HUAC for his leftist sympathies, dies at age 89.
  • 6- Donald O'Connor is reported to be showing "marked improvement" by doctors at the Desert Regional Medical Center in Arizona after being admitted a week earlier for general ill health and later being transferred to intensive care with pneumonia.
  • 6- Danny Dayton, actor in a half-dozen films during the 1950s including GUYS AND DOLLS (1955) and who later expanded his career into television, directing such series as "The Lucy Show," dies at age 75.
  • 10- Phyllis Diller, film and television comedienne, suffers a mild heart attack. Reports indicate a pacemaker will be installed March 1, after which she will be released from the hospital.
  • 13- Donald O'Connor is removed from a ventilator almost three weeks after he was stricken with pneumonia. There is no indication when he will be released.
  • 18- Noam Pitlik, veteran character actor and Emmy award-winning director of such TV series as "Taxi" and "Barney Miller," dies of lung cancer at age 66.
  • 20- Gene Siskel, noted film critic for The Chicago Tribune, TV Guide, "CBS This Morning" and WBBM-TV in Chicago, who also made up half of the syndicated TV show "Siskel & Ebert" famous for their "thumbs-up" and "thumbs-down" movie reviews, dies of complications from brain surgery at age 53.
  • 20- Charles Bronson, 77-year-old veteran film actor, takes his third wife, Kim Weeks, in Malibu, CA.
  • 23- Buzz Miller, dancer who appeared on Broadway as well as in musical films like THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS (1954), ANYTHING GOES (1956) and THE PAJAMA GAME (1957), dies at the age of 75.

March 1999:

  • 1- Ann Corio, Broadway burlesque queen and star of a half-dozen classic jungle films of the 1940s including SWAMP WOMAN (1941) and JUNGLE SIREN (1942), dies (exact age unknown, but believed to be in her 80s).
  • 1- Donald O'Connor is released from the hospital after battling pneumonia for several weeks.
  • 2- Howard Pine, producer of such classic films as THE PRIVATE WAR OF MAJOR BENSON (1955) who also worked as an assistant director and production manager throughout the '50s and '60s for studios like Paramount, Warner Bros., Columbia and Universal, dies at age 81.
  • 4- Eddie Dean, longtime cowboy singer who appeared in numerous B Westerns during the 1930s and ’40s including TUMBLEWEED TRAIL (1946), SHADOW VALLEY (1947), and a few films with Hopalong Cassidy and Gene Autry, dies at age 91.
  • 6- Stanley Kubrick, thirteen-time Oscar-nominated director and producer of such science fiction films as DR. STRANGELOVE (1964), 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) and A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971) as well as war films like PATHS OF GLORY (1957) and FULL METAL JACKET (1987), dies at his home in England at age 70.
  • 8- Peggy Cass, comedienne of stage, television and a handful of movies who earned an Oscar nomination for her performance as Agnes Gooch in AUNTIE MAME (1958), dies of heart-failure at age 74.
  • 13- Garson Kanin, writer of several plays and classic movies such as BORN YESTERDAY (1950) and WOMAN OF THE YEAR (1942) for which he received an Oscar nomination with his wife and frequent co-writer Ruth Gordon (who died in 1985), as well as director of such classic comedies as MY FAVORITE WIFE (1940) and TOM, DICK AND HARRY (1941), dies after a long illness in his Manhattan home at age 86.
  • 14- Kirk Alyn, classic actor who played several small roles in films during the 1940 but is best known for his performance as the title character in Columbia's 15-episode serial SUPERMAN (1948), dies at age 88.
  • 21- James Coburn, veteran character actor in such films as THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960), THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963) and CHARADE (1963), is awarded his first Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in AFFLICTION (1997).
  • 21- Elia Kazan, Academy Award-winning Best Director of GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT (1947) and ON THE WATERFRONT (1954), is presented with an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement by Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro on behalf of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
  • 23- Ruby Dee, actress and star of such films as A RAISIN IN THE SUN (1961), and her husband, actor Ossie Davis, are arrested outside New York City police headquarters while protesting the fatal shooting of an unarmed African immigrant by four police officers on February 4.
  • 28- Gil Perkins, Australian-born stuntman and actor who appeared in more than 200 feature films between 1933 and 1977 including CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS (1937), MRS. MINIVER (1942) and WALKING TALL (1973), and who also served for 17 years as treasurer of the Screen Actors Guild, dies at age 91.

April 1999:

  • 3- Lionel Bart, British composer of a stage musical based on Dickens' Oliver Twist which later became the Academy Award-winning Best Picture OLIVER! (1968), dies of cancer at age 68.
  • 4- Faith Domergue, actress who appeared sporadically in feature films from the late 1940s through the '60s including DUEL AT SILVER CREEK (1952), dies of cancer at age 74.
  • 8- Miramax Films announces it has purchased the screen rights to the remake of HARVEY (1950), for which Jimmy Stewart earned a Best Actor nomination. Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey and Tom Hanks are reportedly being considered for the lead role of Elwood P. Dowd.
  • 8- Lucille Vore, actress who, at age 4, starred as Baby Lucille in the original silent "Our Gang" comedies, dies of congestive heart failure at age 82.
  • 10- Jean Vander Pyl, radio star and voice of several classic cartoon characters including Wilma Flintstone in "The Flintstones" and Rosie the Robot in "The Jetsons," dies of lung cancer at age 79.
  • 11- June Allyson and Dick Van Dyke are honored for their contributions to dance over the years at a fund-raiser for the Professional Dancers Society, a group that helps raise money for professional dancers who have fallen on difficult financial times.
  • 13- Don McGuire, Hollywood writer, director and producer involved in such films as BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK (1955) and TOOTSIE (1982), dies at age 80.
  • 14- Aubrey Schenck, producer of a number of adventure and horror films in the 1940s and '50s, initially for 20th Century-Fox and later for Bel-Air Productions, dies at age 90.
  • 14- Anthony Newley, British actor, playwright, author, composer, lyricist and singer who gained notoriety for his performance as The Artful Dodger in OLIVER TWIST (1948) before going on to co-write such musicals as "Stop the World-- I Want to Get Off" and "Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory," dies of cancer at age 67.
  • 14- Ellen Corby, Oscar-nominated supporting actress who played in almost a hundred films after 1940, some of the most memorable of which included a creditor of the Bailey Building and Loan in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946), the manageress of McKittrick Hotel in VERTIGO (1958), and the town gossip in HUSH...HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE (1964), dies at age 87.
  • 20- Señor Wences, ventriloquist who often juggled while talking with his characters and appeared as himself in the 1947 film MOTHER WORE TIGHTS, dies at age 103.
  • 21- Charles "Buddy" Rogers, actor first training at the Paramount School of Acting in New York during the early 1920s who went on to star in a number of musical comedies and other films for the next thirty years, as well as lead a big band orchestra during the 1940s and '50s, dies at age 94. Rogers appeared in the first-ever Oscar-winning Best Picture, WINGS (1927) and was also the long-time husband of actress Mary Pickford.
  • 21- Doreen Lang, actress known for her roles in several Alfred Hitchcock films including THE WRONG MAN (1956), NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) and THE BIRDS (1963), dies of cancer at age 81.
  • 28- Rory Calhoun, actor, producer and writer best remembered for his 1950s Western films and TV series "The Texan," dies of complications from emphysema and diabetes at age 76.

May 1999:

  • 2- Oliver Reed, earthy British film and television actor famous for his role as Bill Sikes in the Oscar-winning Best Picture OLIVER! (1968), dies at age 61.
  • 8- Dirk Bogarde, Britain's leading movie star during the 1950s when he starred in adventure films and lightweight comedies, who acting continued into the 1960s and '70s with a number of memorable film performances including VICTIM (1961), THE SERVANT (1963), DARLING (1965) and DEATH IN VENICE (1973) winning two British Academy Awards, dies of a heart attack at age 78.
  • 15- Walter Matthau, 78-year-old screen star, is admitted to a Los Angeles hospital with pneumonia.
  • 17- Henry Jones, veteran character actor of stage, television and some three dozen motion pictures including VERTIGO (1958) and BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969), dies at age 86.
  • 21- Norman Rossington, British actor whose wrinkled face garnered such classic films as LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962), THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN AND THEIR FLYING MACHINES (1965) and A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (1958), dies of cancer at age 70.
  • 25- Walter Matthau is on the road to recovery from the pneumonia which sent him to the hospital ten days previous, according to his son Charlie Matthau.
  • 25- Hillary Brooke, blond bombshell actress who played "the other woman" in a number of comedies, dramas, thrillers, westerns and war films throughout the 1940s and '50s, including JANE EYRE (1944), THE ENCHANTED COTTAGE (1945) and THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956), dies at age 84.
  • 27- The White House announces a $1 million federal grant for the preservation of silent films to be shared by UCLA's Film & Television Archive, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the George Eastman House. The project, titled Saving the Silents, will produce new masters and exhibition prints of 67 shorts, serials and feature films by filmmakers such as D.W. Griffith, Cecil B. DeMille, Thomas Ince, Maurice Tourneur, Erich von Stroheim, Ernst Lubitsch and Douglas Fairbanks.
  • 27- Francine Everett, actress and entertainer known for her roles in several all-black films of the 1930s and ’40s including KEEP PUNCHING (1939), DIRTY GERTY FROM HARLEM U.S.A. (1946) and NO WAY OUT (1950), dies of unreported causes in New York.

June 1999:

  • 3- Frank Kowalski, child actor whose Warner Bros. films included ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES (1938) and who later served as a script supervisor and screenwriter, dies of complications from Parkinson’s disease at age 73.
  • 5- Mel Torme, silky-voiced singer, songwriter, arranger, instrumentalist, writer and actor in such classic films as WORDS AND MUSIC (1946), dies at age 73.
  • 11- DeForest Kelley, actor who played supporting roles in a number of films of the '40s, '50s and '60s, especially westerns, but was best known as Dr. McCoy on TV's "Star Trek," dies at the age of 79.
  • 16- Hedy Lamarr, 85-year-old classic screen siren, files suit in an Orlando federal court against E&J Gallo, a California winery, to halt the use of her likeness in a television commercial. Lamarr's image was used for two or three seconds in a ad for Gallo's Gossamer Bay wine and was not asked for permission or compensated.
  • 23- Dorothy Lee, actress who co-starred in 13 of the 21 RKO films popularized by the comedy team of Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey during the 1930s, dies at age 88.
  • 25- Walter Matthau continues to recover from pneumonia in an Los Angeles hospital and has recently been released from intensive care.
  • 26- Bobs Watson, child actor of Hollywood's golden age who appeared in over 125 films before the age of ten and is best remembered for his role as Pee-Wee in BOYS TOWN (1938) starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney, dies of prostate cancer at age 68.
  • 26- Charles Collins, actor most famous for his musical theatre roles in the 1930s but who also appeared in half a dozen films through the 1950s including THE DANCING PIRATE (1936) and THE STEEL TRAP (1952), dies of complications from pneumonia at age 95.
  • 28- Sir John Woolf, producer whose films including THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1951) and OLIVER! (1968) won 13 Oscars, dies at age 86.

July 1999

  • 1- Sylvia Sidney, durable character actress for seven decades whose most notable films included AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY (1931), FURY (1936), Hitchcock's SABOTAGE (1936) and SUMMER WISHES, WINTER DREAMS (1973) for which she received her only Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination, dies of throat cancer at age 88.
  • 1- Edward Dmytryk, director of such classic films as HITLER'S CHILDREN (1943), CROSSFIRE (1947), THE CAINE MUTINY (1954) and RAINTREE COUNTY (1957) who served jail time as a member of the "Hollywood Ten" for refusing to admit a communist affiliation before becoming the only member of The Ten to eventually recant and testify, dies at age 90.
  • 2- Mario Puzo, author and screenwriter who penned the original novels and Oscar-winning screenplays for THE GODFATHER (1972) and THE GODFATHER, PART II (1974), dies of heart failure at age 78.
  • 11- Helen Forrest, legendary big band singer who made hundreds of recordings with the likes of Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman, and who appeared as herself in a half-dozen films in the 1930s and 1940s including TWO GIRLS AND A SAILOR (1944), dies of congestive heart failure at age 82.
  • 20- Sandra Gould, character actress who played small parts in two dozen films from the late 1940s to mid 1960s before moving into television where she became famous for her role as Mrs. Kravitz in "Bewitched," dies of a stroke at age 73.

August 1999

  • 4- Victor Mature, beefy heart-throb actor of the 1940s and '50s who rose to stardom playing the prehistoric hunter, Tumak, in ONE MILLION B.C. (1940) but was best known as Doc Holliday in John Ford's MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946) with Henry Fonda as well as for his roles in SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949), THE ROBE (1953), and DEMITRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS (1954), dies in his mid-80s after a long battle with cancer.
  • 4- Carl Toms, famous British stage designer who also designed sets and costumes for such 1960s films as ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. (1966), dies of emphysema at age 72.
  • 5- Jerry Lewis, hospitalized in Darwin, Australia with viral meningitis, should be released today, according his longtime manager Joey Stabile.
  • 5- Elizabeth Taylor adds another acting credit to her resume with NBC's animated sitcom "God, the Devil and Bob," voicing God's girlfriend, Sarah.  The show is currently under development and the character of Sarah has not yet been drawn.
  • 12- Ross Elliott, character actor who appeared in such films as THIS IS THE ARMY (1943) and D-DAY, THE SIXTH OF JUNE (1956) throughout the 1940s, '50s and '60s before doing considerable work in television, dies at age 82.
  • 24- Reuters reports that actor Peter O'Toole is the hit of the summer theatre season in London, winning 10-minute standing ovations every night for his performance in "Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell" at the Old Vic theatre.
  • 25- The California Legislature reaches a compromise on Senate Bill 209 (aka "the Astaire bill") which permits the heirs of deceased celebrities to block commercial uses of the celebrity's likeness while preserving an artist's right to use the image for artistic purposes. The issue was brought before the California Legislature by Robyn Astaire, widow of classic musical star Fred Astaire, after she discovered footage of her deceased husband being used in a dance instruction video and a picture of him being used on a condom package. The bill did not, however, address digitalization -- the use of dead celebrities' images in entirely new performances created through computer technology.
  • 27- Harold Jack Bloom, Oscar-nominated screenwriter of THE NAKED SPUR (1953) who also penned screenplays for ARENA (1953) and LAND OF THE PHARAOHS (1955), dies of cancer at 75.
  • 29- Sixty-seven-year-old actress Elizabeth Taylor is released from the hospital ten days after she fell at her home in Bel Air and broke a bone in her back. She will undergo physical therapy at home and her recovery is expected to take several weeks.
  • 31- Marguerite Chapman, model and actress who appeared in a number of small films for Warner Bros. in the early 1940s before winning leading roles in such movies as DESTROYER (1943) and COUNTER-ATTACK (1945), dies at age 81.

September 1999:

  • 7- Elia Kazan, Oscar-winning director of such classic films as A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN (1945), GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT (1947), A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951) and ON THE WATERFRONT (1954), turns 90.
  • 9- Ruth Roman, notable Warner Bros. actress of the 1940s and '50s who broke into leading roles with Stanley Kramer's THE CHAMPION (1949) and went on to such films as BEYOND THE FOREST (1949) with Bette Davis and Hitchcock's STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951), dies at 75. Roman was also one of the survivors of the 1956 sinking of the Andrea Doria.
  • 9- Chili Bouchier, silent movie actress who became known as Britain’s answer to Clara Bow in the 1920s, even being billed as “Britain’s 'It' Girl,” and who later appeared in a number of British talkies throughout the 1930s and '40s, dies at age 89.
  • 11- Jerry Lewis, classic film comedian, is honored with a Golden Lion from the Venice film festival for his career achievements.
  • 12- Peter O'Toole, seven-time Oscar nominated actor, wins his first Emmy Award as Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for his performance as Bishop Cauchon in CBS's "Joan of Arc."
  • 13- Harry Crane, 1940s MGM screenwriter for such classics as THE HARVEY GIRLS (1946) who later wrote extensively for television, helping to create "The Honeymooners" (1951), dies of cancer at age 85.
  • 14- Charles Crichton, British director of classic comedy films for London's Ealing Studios including HUE AND CRY (1947), THE LAVENDER HILL MOB (1951) and THE TITFIELD THUNDERBOLT (1953) who followed a long hiatus from motion pictures with an Oscar nomination for A FISH CALLED WANDA (1989), dies at age 89.
  • 16- Kirk Douglas, Oscar-winning actor, donates $1 million to his alma mater, St. Lawrence University, at a special ceremony in Canton, New York. Douglas graduated with a degree in English from the school in 1939. The money will be used for minority scholarships.
  • 17- Ann Miller, star of several classic musicals for MGM, makes her first-ever appearance in the Hollywood Bowl, singing "Shakin' the Blues Away."
  • 17- Joan Gardner Korda, actress who appeared in a dozen British films during the 1930s, among them THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (1934) and THE PRIVATE LIFE OF DON JUAN (1934), and the widow of Hollywood director Zoltan Korda, dies of cancer at 84.
  • 18- Harold F. Kress, two-time Academy Award-winning film editor (for both HOW THE WEST WAS WON (1962) and THE TOWERING INFERNO (1974)) who edited more than 50 films over the course of his forty year career at Columbia and MGM including MRS. MINIVER (1942) and THE YEARLING (1946), dies at age 86.
  • 22- George C. Scott, raspy-voiced classic actor who won (and refused to accept) an Oscar for his performance as PATTON (1970) and also turned in notable performances in ANATOMY OF A MURDER (1959), THE HUSTLER (1961) and DR. STRANGELOVE (1964), dies at age 71.
  • 28- Bernadette O'Farrell, actress who appeared in a handful of  British comedies directed by her husband, Frank Launder, during the 1950s, but who was best known for her role as Maid Marian in the 1950s television series "The Adventures of Robin Hood," dies at 75.
  • 30- Stanley Donen, director of such classic MGM films as SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952), CHARADE (1963) and FUNNY FACE (1957), has signed to direct his first film in fifteen years, producer Saul Zaentz announces.  Donen, 75, will direct a contemporary drama titled "The Seven Deadly Sins,'' whose story concerns a man who attempts suicide and is visited by the Seven Deadly Sins.  No expected release date for the film was specified.

October 1999:

  • 4- Radio City Music Hall in New York City reopens after seven months and $70 million of renovation and restoration.  Opened in 1932 as a vaudeville and movie house, the Music Hall's 5,190 seats, 4,178 piped Mighty Wurlitzer organ, and block-long marquee made it one of the most prestigious movie palaces in the United States.  The reopening celebration was taped and will be televised on NBC in late November or early December.
  • 6- George Beck, actor, director, and notable screenwriter of such films as UNLUCKY JIM (1936), HIRED WIFE (1940) and TAKE A LETTER, DARLING (1942), the latter two starring Rosalind Russell, dies at age 92.
  • 9- Meyer Mishkin, theatrical agent who helped discover such legendary classic actors as Tyrone Power, Gregory Peck, Jeff Chandler, Anne Baxter, Vivian Blaine, Kirk Douglas and Wendell Corey, dies at 87.
  • 10- George 'Chet' Forrest, lyricist who with partner Robert Wright wrote songs for 58 motion pictures from the late 1930s through the '50s, and received Academy Award nominations for "Always and Always" (from MANNEQUIN (1938)), "It's a Blue World" (from MUSIC IN MY HEART (1940)) and "Pennies for Peppino" (from FLYING WITH MUSIC (1942)), dies at age 84.
  • 12- New Line Productions announces it is one step closer to remaking George Cukor's all-female divorce comedy THE WOMEN (1939) which starred Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell. The company is in talks with Oliver Parker about directing the remake that is expected to star its producers, Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan.
  • 20- Robert Redford announces that Jack Lemmon, 8-time Oscar-nominated actor, will be joining the cast of his new movie, THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE, currently in production in Georgia.  Lemmon will voice the narration of the film.
  • 22- What is thought to be the only existing complete copy of German director Robert Wiene's 1923 silent film I.N.R.I. (also known as CROWN OF THORNS), one of the first known film adaptations of the story of Christ, is discovered in the vaults of a silent-film library in northern Italy.  Wiene's surrealist film THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI revolutionized silent German cinema when it was released in 1919.
  • 26- Albert J. Whitlock, Oscar-winning visual effects artist who worked on such films as Disney's 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (1954) and several Hitchcock films including THE BIRDS (1963) and TORN CURTAIN (1966), dies at 84.
  • 26- Stephen Roberts, actor who began his career with Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre and subsequently went to Hollywood where he played minor roles in such films as MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947) and larger roles in WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS (1950) and JULIUS CAESAR (1953), succumbs to cancer at age 82.
  • 27- Jonathan Demme, who won an Oscar for directing THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991), is reportedly targeting a remake of CHARADE (1963) (which starred Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant and Walter Matthau) as his next film, hoping to fashion it as a vehicle for Will Smith. The project is taking shape at Universal, although no deals are in place yet.
  • 27- Frank De Vol, Hollywood composer who earned five Oscar nominations for writing theme songs for such movies as PILLOW TALK (1959), WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (1962), HUSH, HUSH... SWEET CHARLOTTE (1964), THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967), and GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER (1967), as well as several popular TV shows (including "The Brady Bunch"), dies at age 88. 
  • 27- Glenn Vernon, character actor and song-and-dance man who appeared in a string of films for RKO during the 1940s including DAYS OF GLORY (1944) and WOMAN ON THE BEACH (1947) and was later active in television, dies at 76.
  • 28- Abraham Polonsky, blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter and director of such films as FORCE OF EVIL (1948) with John Garfield, and who continued to write without credit for two decades during the anti-Communist era, dies of a heart attack at 88.
  • 28- 20th Century-Fox announces plans to remake its film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's romantic novel TENDER IS THE NIGHT (which originally starred Jennifer Jones and Jason Robards in 1962).  Though rights to the remake have been secured, no preliminary casting for this new version has been announced.
  • 28- Betty Garrett, star of such classic musicals as ON THE TOWN (1949) and TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME (1949) and currently starring as aging British character actress Estelle Winwood in "Tallulah & Tennessee'' at L.A.'s Theatre West, fractures a foot but intends to continue with the play. 
  • 30- Grace McDonald, 1940s actress and dancer whose films at Universal included GIVE OUT, SISTERS (1942) with the Andrews Sisters and IT AIN'T HAY (1943) with Abbott and Costello, dies of pneumonia at 81.

November 1999:

  • 1- Minoru Chiaki, the last surviving actor among the title characters in Akira Kurosawa's SEVEN SAMURAI (1954) who also played major roles in the director's HIDDEN FORTRESS (1958) and RASHOMON (1950), dies at 82.
  • 3- Ian Bannen, veteran Scottish character actor who earned a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role as Crow in THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX (1965), dies in a car accident at age 71.
  • 3- Gregory Peck, Oscar-winning classic actor, is honored by the Academy for the Jewish Film Festival for having the courage to star in Elia Kazan's GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT (1947).
  • 5- Sophia Loren, 65-year-old Italian actress, is voted The Most Beautiful Woman in the World in a survey of 3,000 Britons, beating super models half her age.  Loren's picture will be included in the Millennium Vault, Europe's largest time capsule, to be buried in Surry, England until the year 3000.
  • 6- Jack Lemmon undergoes rotator cuff surgery but a full and speedy recovery is expected.
  • 10- The American Film Institute, which sponsored last year's 100 Greatest Movies vote and this year's 50 Greatest Stars vote, announces a new competition to choose the 100 Greatest American Comedies.  AFI has sent a list of 500 films (dating from 1914 to 1998) to its 1,800 voters, including leaders in the film community, critics, studio executives and historians, and although the votes will be tallied in December 1999, the results will not be announced until the AFI's 3-hour television special set to air on CBS in June 2000.
  • 12- The Screen Actors Guild announces that it will honor actor Sidney Poitier with its thirty-sixth Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony on March 12.
  • 13- The Director's Guild of America  and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art pay tribute to Blake Edwards, director of such classic films as BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (1961), DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES (1962) and THE PINK PANTHER (1963).
  • 13- Donald Mills, last surviving member of the world-famous singing Mills Brothers, who were among the first celebrity performers to break racial barriers in radio and film the 1930s, appearing in such Hollywood musicals as THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1932 and TWENTY MILLION SWEET HEARTS (1934), dies of complications from pneumonia at 84.
  • 16- The Library of Congress announces twenty-five more films to be preserved and added to the National Film Registry in 2000, including such classics as ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953), THE WILD BUNCH (1969), GUNGA DIN (1939), KISS ME DEADLY (1955), MY MAN GODFREY (1936), LAURA (1944), THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940), A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951), THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) and WOMAN OF THE YEAR (1942).
  • 18- Horst P. Horst, fashion photographer famous over the course of his 60 year career for his portraits of artists, socialites and such Hollywood notaries as Marlene Dietrich and Loretta Young, dies at age 93. 
  • 18- The Motion Picture Association of America announces it will begin including explanations of a film's rating (such as R or PG-13) when it issues the ratings themselves.  Beginning next year, the ratings will be followed by phrases such as "for excessive nudity" or "for cartoon
    violence" and the explanations, to be tailored to each film, will run on billboards, in newspaper ads and in point of sale material. 
  • 18- Herman J. Mankiewicz's 1941 Oscar for co-writing the screenplay of CITIZEN KANE (the only Oscar the film received) is sold at auction to an anonymous telephone bidder for $220,000. Also at the auction, the music manuscript by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner for the GIGI (1958), which earned nine Academy Awards including one for Best Picture, fetches $134,500.
  • 19- Sophia Loren, classic actress and Italian beauty, announces she will not to fly to Cairo where she was to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cairo International Film Festival on November 23.  Loren backed out of the trip following the October 31 crash of EgyptAir Flight 990, the airline on which she was scheduled to fly from New York to Cairo.
  • 19- Walter Matthau, who has finally recovered from his four-month battle with pneumonia, is preparing to begin filming on his newest picture, HANGING UP, directed by Diane Keaton and starring Keaton, Meg Ryan and Lisa Kudrow.
  • 19- Liza Minnelli will sing a duet with her mother Judy Garland (a la Natalie and Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable") when her live show "Minnelli on Minnelli" debuts at the Palace December 1.  The show will contain clips from ten of Minnelli's films, and among her songs will be a duet with Garland to  "Look for the Silver Lining" from TIL THE CLOUDS ROLL BY (1943).
  • 20- Adele Balkan, Hollywood costume designer whose career spanned four decades including such films as THEY LIVE BY NIGHT (1949), THE FLY (1958), THE YOUNG LIONS (1958) and STAR! (1968), dies of cancer at age 92.
  • 21- Harold Wertz, one of a number of boys who played the "little fat kid" in the two-reel "Our Gang" comedy shorts, dies at 72.  Wertz played "Bouncy" in three of the 1932 shorts, replacing Norman "Chubby" Chaney, and was later replaced himself by "Spanky" McFarland. 
  • 25- William "Billy" Benedict, character actor best remembered for his roles as Skinny Benny in the East Side Kids serial (1943-1945) and Whitey in the first 24 of the following Bowery Boys shorts (1946-1951), and who also had small parts in such films as THE OX-BOW INCIDENT (1943), HELLO, DOLLY! (1969) and THE STING (1973), dies of complications from heart surgery at 82. 
  • 26- Mickey Rooney, 79-year old classic actor, undergoes emergency surgery in a Sydney hospital for a minor colon perforation and is forced to cancel the remaining two concerts of his Australian tour.  However, Rooney is only expected to be in hospital for a short time.
  • 29- John Berry, actor, writer, and blacklisted director of such films as FROM THIS DAY FORWARD (1946), HE RAN ALL THE WAY (1951) and CLAUDINE (1974), dies of pleurisy at 82.
  • 30- Paul Newman announces that in honor of his 75th birthday (on January 16, 2000) he will race the Daytona 500, scheduled for February 5-6.  Newman celebrated his 70th birthday in the same manner five years ago and won, making the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest winner in his class.

December 1999:

  • 1- Maria Riva, 70-year-old daughter of Hollywood legend Marlene Dietrich, sues Berlin producer Bernhard Kurz for infringing upon her exclusive rights to market her mother's image.  At issue is publicity and related merchandise promoting a musical about Dietrich.  A decision is expected from the highest civil court in Germany later this week.
  • 2- A German court of justice rules that Maria Riva, daughter of Marlene Dietrich, can collect damages for the unauthorized commercial use of her late mother's name and picture by several firms, including Fiat (which named one of its car models "Marlene"), Toshiba (which used an image of
  • 5- John Archer, actor and radio personality who played small roles in about fifty films during the 1940s and '50s including Lt. Thurmond in GUADALCANAL DIARY (1943) and Philip Evans in WHITE HEAT (1949), dies of lung cancer at 84.
  • 8- Warner Bros. announces the sale of its 13-acre lot in West Hollywood to BA Studios, LLC.  Built in 1919 as Jesse D. Hampton Studios, in 1922 the lot was bought by Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford and soon became home to their fledgling United Artists film house. Movies like ROBIN HOOD (1922) and THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (1929) were filmed there before the lot was purchased by Samuel Goldwyn in 1938 and renamed Samuel Goldwyn Studios.  Warner Bros. bought the lot in 1980 to supplement its main 110-acre lot and the old ''Warner Ranch'' (about 32-acres), both in Burbank.
  • 8- Venable Herndon, teacher of dramatic writing at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and screenwriter of ALICE'S RESTAURANT (1969), dies of acute leukemia at age 72.
  • 9- Judy Garland's blue-and-white gingham dress from THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) fetches $324,000 at an auction in London.
  • 9- Kirk Douglas, 83-year-old Oscar-winning actor, celebrates his birthday with a second bar mitzvah and prepares for the opening of his new film, DIAMONDS, Douglas's first since a 1996 stroke impaired his speech and left him partially paralyzed.  
  • 15- Olivia de Havilland, Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for her role as Melanie in the film, attends a 60th anniversary party and screening of GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) hosted in Paris by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
  • 15- Julie Andrews, 64-year-old star of such classic musicals as THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965) and MARY POPPINS (1964), files a medical malpractice lawsuit against Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York for ruining her vocal chords and her ability to sing. Andrews had surgery in June 1997 to remove a small, non-cancerous polyp from her vocal chords and was supposed to be singing again within six weeks. Her last singing performance was Broadway's Victor/Victoria in 1995.
  • 17- Rex Allen, "The Arizona Cowboy" and the last of Hollywood's singing cowboy stars who made 20 musical westerns for Republic Pictures in the late 1940s and '50s, and was also known for his narration of Disney nature films as well as the 1973 animated film CHARLOTTE'S WEB, dies at age 78 after being accidentally run over by a car.
  • 19- Desmond Llewelyn, actor best known for his role as Q, the gadget expert in 17 James Bond films dating back to FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (1963) to THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (1999), dies in a car accident at age 85.
  • 20- Irving Rapper, director of two dozen movies including such classic Bette Davis films as NOW, VOYAGER (1942), THE CORN IS GREEN (1945), and ANOTHER MAN'S POISON (1952), dies at age 101. 
  • 21- Bill Edwards, Paramount cowboy star turned western artist who also appeared in such non-western films as HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO (1944) and OUR HEARTS WERE YOUNG AND GAY (1944), dies at 81.
  • 22- Robert Bresson, critically acclaimed director of such French films as PICKPOCKET (1959) and MOUCHETTE (1967), dies at age 98.
  • 28- Clayton Moore, known in Hollywood as "King of the Serials" for the many cliffhanger episodes in which he appeared, and who also made over 70 feature films throughout the 1930s, '40s and '50s but was best known for his television role as The Lone Ranger from 1949 to 1952 and again between 1954 and 1957, dies of a heart attack at 85.
  • 28- Harry Monty, one of the last surviving Munchkins from the 1939 classic THE WIZARD OF OZ who also appeared in such films as RIVER OF NO RETURN (1954), THE COURT JESTER (1956) and HELLO, DOLLY! (1969), dies at age 95. 

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