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 News Briefs 2006:

Here's an archive of the classic-movie related news items for 2006. 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.

December 2006:

  • 27- The National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress announces 25 films slated to be preserved in 2007 by the National Film Registry, including such classics as Victor Fleming's RED DUST (1932) starring Clark Gable and Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo's FLESH AND THE DEVIL (1927), Alfred Hitchcock's NOTORIOUS (1946), THE BIG TRAIL (1930) starring a young John Wayne, Josef von Sternberg's THE LAST COMMAND (1928) and Rouben Mamoulian's APPLAUSE (1929).
  • 21- 20th Century-Fox announces that more than 200 documents from the  studio's archives will be sold at a Jan. 25 auction to benefit the nonprofit Motion Picture & Television Fund, including a memo saying Norma Jean Dougherty was changing her name to Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart's first studio contract in 1930.
  • 13- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces plans to honor five-time Oscar-nominated composer Ennio Morricone, most famous among American audiences for his scores to Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns, including THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY (1966) and ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1969), with an honorary Oscar for his 45 years in the industry and 300 film scores at the 79th Annual Academy Awards on February 25, 2007.
  • 5- The iconic little black dress Audrey Hepburn wore in the 1961 film BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S, which was donated to an auction benefiting India's poor by the dress's designer Hubert de Givenchy, sells for $807,000, almost six times the highest pre-sale estimate.

November 2006:

  • 23- Betty Comden, playwright, songwriter and lyricist whose six-decade collaboration with the late writer Adolph Green resulted in the authorship of such hit Broadway musicals as "On the Town," "Wonderful Town" and "Bells Are Ringing" as well as the screenplays for SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952) and THE BAND WAGON (1953), dies at 91.
  • 11- Cars, trucks, motorcycles and memorabilia from the estate of Steve McQueen, late American film icon of rebellion during the 1960s best remembered for such films as THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960), THE GREAT ESCAPE (1965) and BULLITT (1968), sell for more than $2.9 million at a Los Angeles auction.  A pair of sunglasses believed to have been worn by McQueen in THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR (1968) went for $70,000.
  • 10- Jack Palance, Oscar-winning screen villain best known for his cold, quiet performances in PANIC IN THE STREETS (1950), SUDDEN FEAR (1952) and SHANE (1953) before winning an Academy Award for a more benign role in CITY SLICKERS (1991), dies at the age of 87.
  • 2- Friends and family of the late June Allyson, perky, wholesome blonde girl-next-door for MGM during the 1940s and '50s, gather for a special memorial salute celebrating the actress' life and career.  Debbie Reynolds, Margaret O'Brien, Gloria DeHaven, Patricia Marshall, Marsha Hunt, Jane Russell, Jane Withers, Tab Hunter and Tippi Hedren are among those in attendance.
  • 1- A publicist for Shirley Temple Black, 78-year-old former child actress and silver screen superstar of the 1930s and '40s, reveals the retired international diplomat broke her wrist in a fall in October and is wearing a cast on her right arm but recovering well.

October 2006:

  • 27- Esther Williams, 85-year-old former swimming champion turned film actress, returns home after being hospitalized for a week due to a viral infection.
  • 25- The United States Postal Service announces plans to honor Jimmy Stewart, Oscar-winning all-American star of such films as MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946), with a commemorative "Legends of Hollywood" stamp to be issued in 2007.
  • 20- Jane Wyatt, stage and screen actress whose most notable film work, including leading roles in GREAT EXPECTATIONS (1934) and Frank Capra's LOST HORIZON (1937), was later overshadowed by her success as a small-screen wife and mother opposite Robert Young on TV's "Father Knows Best" in the 1950s, dies at age 96.
  • 20- Esther Williams, 85-year-old former swimming champion turned film actress whose "water musicals" for MGM in the 1940s and '50s, including BATHING BEAUTY (1944) and MILLION DOLLAR MERMAID (1952), made her one of Hollywood's biggest mid-century stars, is hospitalized for a viral infection but expected to make a full recovery.
  • 19- Phyllis Kirk, large and small screen actress of the 1950s best remembered for her role as the raven-haired beauty stalked by Vincent Price in HOUSE OF WAX (1953), Hollywood's first 3-D blockbuster, dies of a post cerebral aneurysm at the age of 79.
  • 18- Turner Classics Movies announces it has purchased the copyrights to six RKO films of the 1930s previously thought lost from the silver screen due to rights complications.  DOUBLE HARNESS (1933) starring William Powell, ONE MAN'S JOURNEY (1933) with Joel McCrea, RAFTER ROMANCE (1933) with Ginger Rogers, STINGAREE (1934) starring Irene Dunne, LIVING ON LOVE (1937) with James Dunn and A MAN TO REMEMBER (1938) will now be restored by Library of Congress and the BYU film archive and should air on TCM in 2007.
  • 13- Comedian Henry Winterstern acquires the screen rights to the life stories of The Three Stooges, the famous slapstick comedy team of the mid 1930s through the 1950s who appeared in some 200 short films for Columbia Pictures, from C3 Entertainment, the company founded in 1959 by Moe Howard, Jerome "Curly" Howard and Larry Fine.
  • 10- Ruta Lee, 70-year-old blonde screen actress who played supporting roles in a dozen films of the 1950s and '60s including FUNNY FACE (1957), WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (1957) and SERGEANTS 3 (1962), is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • 2- Frances Bergen, widow of the late "Charlie McCarthy" ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and an actress whose occasional film appearances included supporting roles in TITANIC (1953) and INTERLUDE (1957), dies at 84.

September 2006:

  • 24- Sally Gray, husky-voiced British screen actress of the 1930s and 40s best remembered by American audiences for her roles in THE SAINT IN LONDON (1939) and OBSESSION (1949), dies at 90.
  • 23- Sir Malcolm Arnold, British composer responsible for more than one hundred film scores of the 1940s, '50s and '60s including THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957) for which he earned a Best Music Scoring Academy Award, dies at the age of 84.
  • 22- Mary Orr, stage actress and writer whose first short story, "The Wisdom of Eve" (published in Cosmopolitan in 1946) inspired Joseph L. Mankiewicz' Oscar-winning film ALL ABOUT EVE (1950), dies at 95.
  • 19- Elizabeth Allen, stage and screen actress whose half-dozen film appearances included roles in DONOVAN'S REEF (1963) and CHEYENNE AUTUMN (1964), dies of kidney failure at 77.
  • 9- Lauren Bacall, sultry screen siren of the 1940s best remembered for her noir dramas with Humphrey Bogart, and actress Blythe Danner are honored by Bryn Mawr College's new Katherine Houghton Hepburn Center (established to honor the life and works of the late four-time Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn and her suffragist mother -- both alumnae of the school), becoming the center's first recipients of the Katharine Hepburn Medal, recognizing them as women who embody the intelligence, drive and independence of the Hepburns.

August 2006:

  • 30- Glenn Ford, attractive, quiet, versatile Canadian-born actor who appeared in some 90 films over the course of his six-decade Hollywood career but made his mark in such film noir classics as GILDA (1946) and THE BIG HEAT (1953), dies at age 90.
  • 25- Van Johnson, MGM's "Golden Boy" of the 1940s and '50s who played everything from all-American soldiers in THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO (1944), BATTLEGROUND (1949) and THE CAINE MUTINY (1954), to comedic best friends in BRIGADOON (1954), to romantic leads in THE LAST TIME I SAW PARIS (1954) and MIRACLE IN THE RAIN (1956), celebrates his 90th birthday.
  • 25- Joseph Stefano, horror film screenwriter most famous for writing the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO (1960) and co-creating TV's 1960s science fiction anthology series "The Outer Limits," dies at 84.
  • 7- Lois January, redheaded film actress of the 1930s and '40s best remembered for playing an Emerald City manicurist in THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) and singing to Dorothy, "we can make a dimpled smile out of a frown," dies of Alzheimer's disease at 93.
  • 2- Oscar-winner Jack Nicholson, who bought Marlon Brando's Mulholland Drive house in Los Angeles after the legendary actor's death in 2004, announces plans to tear it down due to mold and other condition problems.

July 2006:

  • 21- Mako, Japanese-born stage and screen actor who earned an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of a Chinese coolie in Robert Wise's THE SAND PEBBLES (1966), dies of esophageal cancer at 72.
  • 21- Evelyn Keyes, petite, blonde actress best remembered for playing Suellen O'Hara in GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) and for her relationships with such major Hollywood players as John Huston and Michael Todd, is awarded half of her late ex-husband bandleader Artie Shaw's estate -- their marriage was his eighth and her fourth -- in accordance with a contract Shaw's executor had refused to honor.
  • 19- Jack Warden, Oscar-nominated film and TV actor best known for playing tough, crusty characters in such films as 12 ANGRY MEN (1957), THE THIN RED LINE (1964) and ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN (1976) over the course of a five-decade-long career, dies at age 85.
  • 13- Red Buttons, veteran stand-up comedian and Oscar-winning actor best known for his self-titled TV show of the 1950s as well as his dramatic appearances in  SAYONARA (1957), THE LONGEST DAY (1962) and THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY (1969), dies of vascular disease at age 87.
  • 12- Kurt Kreuger, German-born actor best remembered for playing Nazi soldiers in films during and about World War II, including SAHARA (1943), HOTEL BERLIN (1945) and THE ENEMY BELOW (1957), dies of a stroke at 89.
  • 8- June Allyson, perky blonde girl-next-door for MGM during the 1940s and '50s best known for her leading roles in GOOD NEWS (1947), LITTLE WOMEN (1949), THE GLENN MILLER STORY (1953) and STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND (1955), the latter two co-starring Jimmy Stewart, dies of complications from bronchitis at age 88.
  • 6- Kasey Rogers, prolific film and television supporting actress of the 1950s and '60s best remembered (using the stage name Laura Elliot) for playing Farley Granger's estranged and strangled wife 'Miriam' in Alfred Hitchcock's STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951), dies at 80.
  • 1- Olivia de Havilland, two-time Oscar-winning actress for her roles in TO EACH HIS OWN (1946) and THE HEIRESS (1949) and the sole surviving principal cast member of GONE WITH THE WIND (1939), celebrates her 90th birthday.

June 2006:

  • 25- A Charlie Chaplin hat-and-cane set (one of several known to exist) sells for $139,250, the most ever paid for a such a set, at an auction Bonhams & Butterfields in Los Angeles alongside the two-headed llama from the original DOCTOR DOOLITTLE (1967) ($4,780) and a Walt Disney celluloid from SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937) ($8,365).
  • 18- Vincent Sherman, film and television director whose work for Warner Bros. in the 1940s and '50s included such films as MR. SKEFFINGTON (1944), GOODBYE, MY FANCY (1951), and THE YOUNG PHILADELPHIANS (1959), dies at age 99.
  • 17- Arthur Franz, veteran movie and TV character actor, whose film work included supporting roles in SANDS OF IWO JIMA (1949), THE CAINE MUTINY (1954) and BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT (1956), dies at 86.
  • 15- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honors Olivia de Havilland, two-time Oscar-winning actress for her roles in TO EACH HIS OWN (1946) and THE HEIRESS (1949), with a special tribute to her life and career attended by de Havilland, Joan Leslie, Samuel Goldwyn Jr., and Robert Osborne, among others.
  • 14- The American Film Institute names Frank Capra's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) America's most inspiring movie, followed by TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962), SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993), ROCKY (1976), MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) and 95 other uplifting films during its "AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Cheers" celebration broadcast. (full list)
  • 10- Red Skelton, the late vaudeville, radio, film and television comic whose six-decade career included such films as PANAMA HATTIE (1942), DU BARRY WAS A LADY (1943) and THREE LITTLE WORDS (1951) as well as two Emmy awards for his self-titled TV show, is remembered in his hometown of Vincennes, Indiana with a parade of clowns and the naming of Vincennes University's Red Skelton Performing Arts Center in his honor.
  • 9- Jerry Lewis, comedian and muscular dystrophy humanitarian best known for his 17 film comedies with Dean Martin in the 1950s, is named the new "Abbott" (or leader) of New York's famous Friar's Club at roast in his honor.
  • 8- The American Film Institute presents Sean Connery, 75-year-old Scottish-born, Oscar-winning film actor best known for playing super-spy James Bond during the 1960s and '70s, with the organization's 34th Life Achievement Award at a ceremony to be broadcast June 21 the USA Network.
  • 7- Jerry Lewis, 80-year-old comedian who played the title role in THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (1963) among dozens of other film comedies, announces plans to stage a Broadway musical of the film, directed by him and scheduled to debut in San Diego in January 2007.

May 2006:

  • 30- Robert Sterling, film and TV actor who began his career playing bit parts for Columbia Pictures before making his mark at in supporting roles in such MGM films as TWO-FACED WOMAN (1941), SOMEWHERE I'LL FIND YOU (1942) and SHOW BOAT (1951) and eventually co-starring with his wife Anne Jeffreys in TV's "Topper" in the 1950s, dies at 88.
  • 28- Arthur Widmer, special effects pioneer who, while working at Warner Bros. in the 1950s, developed the Ultra Violet Traveling Matte process (later known as "blue screen") in which two different images shot at different times and places could be combined into one, and received an Academy Award for lifetime achievement in 2005, dies of cancer at 92.
  • 26- Marilyn Monroe biographer Ernest Cunningham sues the owners of the cruise ship Queen Mary over an exhibit of the actress's "possessions"  which thousands of people have paid to see although the author and other Monroe historians dispute their authenticity, claiming some items weren't even made until after the star's death in August 1962.
  • 24- Henry Bumstead, veteran Oscar-winning art director and production designer whose six-decade career encompassed the sets for such films as VERTIGO (1958), TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962), THE STING (1973) and MILLION DOLLAR BABY (2004), dies of prostate cancer at 91.
  • 21- Katherine Dunham, African-American dancer and choreographer who appeared as herself in both the "Smart as a Tack" number in STAR SPANGLED RHYTHM (1942) and the title number in STORMY WEATHER (1943), dies at age 96.
  • 18- Sidney Poitier, 79-year-old Oscar-winning actor whose film performances have included LILIES OF THE FIELD (1963), GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER (1967) and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (1967), receives France's highest arts honor, being named a commander in France's order of arts and letters, in a ceremony at the Cannes Film Festival.
  • 12- Ted Berkman, screenwriter and author of whose film credits include BEDTIME FOR BONZO (1951) and FEAR STRIKES OUT (1957), dies of cancer at 92.
  • 10- Val Guest, British film director and screenwriter best known for directing the science-fiction classics THE QUARTERMASS XPERIMENT (1955) and THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE (1961), dies of prostate cancer at the age of 94.

April 2006:

  • 22- Alida Valli, enigmatic Italian-born actresses whose distinguished eight-decade film career included the iconic role of Anna Schmidt in Carol Reed's THE THIRD MAN (1949) and Hitchcock's seductive widow in THE PARADINE CASE (1947) as well as dozens of European films, dies in Rome at 84.
  • 6- The Writers Guild of America names the script for CASABLANCA (1942) as the greatest movie screenplay of all time in a list of 101 film scripts which also includes such classics as CITIZEN KANE (1941) (no. 4) and ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) (no. 5).
  • 6- Amanda Duff Dunne, former actress for 20th Century-Fox and the widow of HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941) and THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR (1946) screenwriter Philip Dunne, who, with her husband, played host to Hollywood's liberal political elite in the decades following World War II, dies of cancer at age 92.
  • 5- Gene Pitney, successful singer-songwriter of the 1960s who sang the hit title song for Kirk Douglas' A TOWN WITHOUT PITY (1961) and an equally successful ballad based on the Jimmy Stewart/John Wayne film THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1964), dies at the age of 65.
  • 4- Gary Gray, former child actor of the 1940s and '50s whose more than 60 film appearances included roles in RETURN OF THE BAD MEN (1948), RACHEL AND THE STRANGER (1948) and THE PAINTED HILLS (1951), MGM's final Lassie movie, dies at 69.

March 2006:

  • 25- Richard Fleischer, Hollywood director whose five-decade career included such classics as HIS KIND OF WOMAN (1951), Disney's 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (1954) and DOCTOR DOOLITTLE (1967), dies at 89.
  • 20- Ava Gardner, late Oscar-nominated star of such films as MOGAMBO (1953), NIGHT OF THE IGUANA (1964) and THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA (1954) who died in 1990, is remembered by the U.S. Postal Service by having her hometown Smithfield, North Carolina post office renamed in her honor.
  • 17- Oleg Cassini, European-born fashion designer whose Hollywood costumes for his then-wife Gene Tierney in films such as THE RAZOR'S EDGE (1946), THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR (1947) and WHIRLPOOL (1949) as well as his White House wardrobe designs for Jackie Kennedy, made his ready-to-wear styles some of the most popular of the 1950s and '60s, dies at 92.
  • 16- Jerry Lewis, comedian and muscular dystrophy humanitarian best known for his 17 film comedies with Dean Martin in the 1950s, celebrates his 80th birthday as well as his induction into the French Legion of Honor.
  • 15- Warner Bros. announces plans to remake THE DIRTY DOZEN, Robert Aldrich's 1967 war drama which originally starred Lee Marvin as a major who coerces 12 soldiers imprisoned for serious crimes into perform an impossible mission.
  • 13- A spokesman for Sean Connery, 75-year-old Scottish actor who played super-spy James Bond in six films during the 1960s and '70s and earned an Academy Award for his performance in THE UNTOUCHABLES (1987), reveals Connery has undergone surgery for a kidney tumor and is recovering well.
  • 9- Actress-producer Sandra Bullock announces plans to star in a film about Grace Metalious, author of the million-selling-novel-turned-hit film PEYTON PLACE (1957) (starring Lana Turner) which scandalized America during the late 1950s.
  • 7- Gordon Parks, photographer, writer, composer and the first black artist to produce and direct a major Hollywood film, THE LEARNING TREE (1969), as well as SHAFT (1971), dies at 93.
  • 3- Jack Wild, British actor who earned an Oscar nomination at age 17 for his role as the Artful Dodger in the Carol Reed's 1968 musical OLIVER!, dies of mouth cancer at 53.

February 2006:

  • 15- Raymond J. Mauer, who wrote the script for the landmark civil defense film DUCK AND COVER (1951), seen by millions of American school children during the 1950s, dies at age 89.
  • 14- Michael G. Fitzgerald, Hollywood historian and author who wrote "Universal Studios," a 1977 history of the studio, and co-authored "Westerns Women" (1999) and "Ladies of the Western" (2002), containing interviews with Western film actresses, dies at age 55.
  • 9- Phil Brown, veteran stage, film and TV actor who played supporting roles in such films as THE IMPATIENT YEARS (1944) and THE KILLERS (1946) but was best known for his brief role as Luke Skywalker's Uncle Owen in STAR WARS (1977), dies of pneumonia at 89.
  • 8- Akira Ifukube, Japanese film composer who wrote more than 250 film scores over the course of his career, but none more famous than the theme to GODZILLA (1954) and its many sequels, dies at 91.
  • 6- Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez, one of the most recognizable Mexican-American character actors of the 1950's and 60's whose more than 30 film appearances included roles opposite John Wayne in THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY (1954), RIO BRAVO (1959) and MCLINTOCK! (1962), dies at age 80.
  • 4- Myron Waldman, film and TV animator who helped draw Betty Boop, Casper, Popeye, Raggedy Ann and Andy and Superman, during his years with Max Fleischer Studios in the 1930s and Paramount's animation department in the 1940s, dies of congestive heart failure at 97.
  • 3- Al Lewis, veteran Hollywood character actor best known for playing Grandpa Munster on TV's "The Munsters" in the 1960s but whose film appearances included roles in PRETTY BOY FLOYD (1960) and THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY (1969), dies at 82, though some reports say he was 95.

January 2006:

  • 31- Moira Shearer, flame-haired Scottish ballerina-turned-actress who became an international movie star after appearing in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's stunning Technicolor adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson's THE RED SHOES (1948), dies at age 80.
  • 30- Otto Lang, Sun Valley ski instructor and feature and documentary producer of such films as CALL NORTHSIDE 777 (1948) and FIVE FINGERS (1952) who earned Oscar nominations for four short subjects before later directing for television, dies at 98.
  • 29- Shirley Temple Black, former child star of such films as BRIGHT EYES (1934) and THE LITTLE PRINCESS (1939) who later served for more than thirty years in the United States diplomatic corps, receives the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award for her career achievement and humanitarian accomplishments.
  • 25- The United States Postal Service issues a new 39-cent stamp honoring Hattie McDaniel, late Oscar-winning character actress of the 1930s and '40s best remembered for her role as Mammy in GONE WITH THE WIND (1939).
  • 25- Moss Mabry, four-time Academy Award-nominated costume designer whose credits included work on REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955), GIANT (1956), MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1962) and THE WAY WE WERE (1973), dies at age 87.
  • 24- Fayard Nicholas, elder half of the tap-dancing Nicholas Brothers who appeared in more than 50 films between 1932 and 1989 including THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1936 (1935), DOWN ARGENTINE WAY (1940), SUN VALLEY SERENADE (1941) and STORMY WEATHER (1943), dies of pneumonia at 91.  Harold Nicholas died in 2000.
  • 19- Tony Franciosa, film and television actor best remembered for playing moody young men in such films of the 1950s and '60s as A HATFUL OF RAIN (1957), THE LONG, HOT SUMMER (1958) and PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT (1962), dies of a stroke at 77.
  • 14- Shelley Winters, two-time Oscar-winning supporting actress best known for her performances in A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951), LOLITA (1962), A PATCH OF BLUE (1965) and THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1973), dies at age 85.
  • 2- Osa Massen, Danish-born film actress who two dozen film appearances included roles in HONEYMOON IN BALI (1939), YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH (1941), A WOMAN'S FACE (1941) and ROCKETSHIP X-M (1950), dies at 91.

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