and singer Annette Funicello has died, aged 70.
Starting her career as a child star, Funicello
first found fame as a Mousketeer on The
Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950s, aged
13. She would go on to be a regular star of Disney
films in the late Fifties and early Sixties, including
The Shaggy Dog, Babes
in Toyland, The Misadventures
of Merlin Jones and The Monkey's
Uncle (for which she also sang the fantastic
Around this time, she also had a string of bubblegum
pop hits, all fluffy, harmless and infectious
slices of girl group pop – if you are not
captivated by the likes of Pineapple Princess,
you must be a little dead inside.
After leaving Disney, Funicello went on to work
for AIP on their Beach Party films – Beach
Party, Muscle Beach Party,
Bikini Beach, Pyjama
Party, Beach Party Bingo,
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini and
(in a cameo appearance) Dr Goldfoot and
the Bikini Machine – all made between
1963 and 1965 – were probably the last gasp
of innocent youth cult cinema, with Funicello
and co-star Frankie Avalon being the epitome of
wholesome, clean-cut kids. These were films with
sun, sand but definitely no sex. The
pair reunited in 1987 for the spoof Back
to the Beach.
Other films in the 1960s were Fireball
500, Thunder Alley and
The Monkees' subversive Head.
She also guest-starred on Pee Wee's Playhouse
director Bigas Luna has died, aged 67.
was active as a film maker from the mid-1970s,
but didn't really achieve international fame until
1992, when he made Jamón Jamón,
the first of a number of earthy, erotic comedies
that managed to achieve arthouse approval with
critics and audiences. His follow-ups Golden
Balls (1993) and The Tit and
the Moon (1994) were equally popular,
and though his subsequent films would not have
the same level of success, he remained a director
whose work was always interesting and entertaining.
to Jamón Jamón
, Luna was probably best known for the horror
film Anguish and the sexy drama
Lola, made in the 1980s, and
a 1990 adaptation of erotic novel The
Ages of Lulu.Outside the film world,
he was a successful painter and artist, and in
later years would become involved in experimental
digital film making and the creation of art installations.
director Damiano Damiani has died, aged 90.
was one of Italy's most prolific directors, achieving
success and acclaim for his spaghetti western
and crime films. Among his movies are The
Witch in Love, A Bullet for the
General, Mafia, Confessions
of a Police Commissioner, The
Tempter (aka The Antichrist),
The Assassin of Rome, How
to Kill a Judge, The Warning,
Massacre Play, Angel
with a Gun and Killers on Holiday.
He also worked in America, shooting the outrageous
Amityville 2 - The Possession.
director Nagisa Oshima has died, aged 80.
One of Japan's edgiest and most radical directors,
Oshima is perhaps best known for his 1976 film
Ai No Corrida / In the
Realm of the Senses, which achieved notoriety
due to its explicit, hardcore sex scenes and graphic
violence. These scenes saw the film facing censorship
problems around the world, and it is only recently
that the uncut film became available in the UK.
His less graphic, supernatural follow up Ai
No Borei / Empire of Passion
is also highly regarded.
Oshima began his career at the end of the 1950
with A Town of Love and Hope,
and throughout the decade made controversial and
political drama including Death By Hanging
and Diary of a Shinjuku Thief.
His later works included Merry Christmas
Mr Lawrence and the strange Max,
Mon Amour, which features a love affair
between Charlotte Rampling and a chimpanzee.
Jon Finch died on December 28th, aged 70.
Finch appeared in several classic films in the
1970s – The Vampire Lovers,
Horror of Frankenstein, Sunday
Bloody Sunday, Polanski's Macbeth,
Frenzy, The Final Programme
and the Hammer House of Horror
episode Witching Time
amongst them – and would continue to work
steadily throughout the 1980s. He turned down
the role of James Bond before it went to Roger
Moore, and would later pull out of The
Professionals TV series.
He was diagnosed with diabetes in 1974, and was
married to Lucio Fulci star Catriona MacColl during
the early 1980s.
turned director David R. Ellis has died.
a director, Ellis was responsible for the best
of the Final Destination films
(pt. 2) and the more recent 3D version, as well
as Snakes on a Plane, Shark
Night 3D, Asylum and
moving behind the camera, he'd had a long career
as a stuntman from the late 1970s, working on
a huge amount of movies including Deathsport,
Invasion of the Body Snatchers,
Megaforce, The Beastmaster,
The Wraith, Lethal Weapon,
Fatal Attraction, To
Live and Die in LA, Road House,
Phantom of the Mall, Baywatch,
Warlock, Star Trek V,
Ghost Dad, The Addams
Family, Body of Evidence
Film director Danny Steinmann has reportedly died,
aged 70. While details are still vague, it would
appear the rumours that have been floating around
for the last few days are true.
Steinmann was not the most prolific of directors.
He began his directorial career with High
Rise, one of the first 'porno chic' films
to emerge after the success of Deep Throat,
but didn't continue in the industry. Instead,
several years later he carved out a brief niche
in the horror and exploitation world, starting
with The Unseen in 1980, which
he wrote and directed under the name Peter Foleg
after being disappointed with the final cut of
the film. In the middle of the decade, he achieved
a certain notoriety with the ultra-sleazy Linda
Blair / Linnea Quigley rape-revenge movie Savage
Streets (initially banned in Britain
and then only released after heavy cuts), and
then went on to direct Friday the 13th Pt V –
A New Beginning – the worst film in the
series. It was his last film.
Steinmann also worked as an associate producer
on mid-Seventies films such as Gene Roddenberry's
Spectre and The Man in
the Glass Booth, and had briefly been
an actor in the 1960s, appearing in cult classics
The Hallucination Generation
and The Desperate Ones.
maker Kirdy Stevens has died, aged 92.
Although not one of the well known names of the
industry, Stevens was an important pioneer of
the adult movie world, starting his career in
the late 1950s shooting (then highly illegal)
stag films and nudie movies that were shown in
‘arcades’. At the end of the 1960s,
he began a mail order hardcore business, shooting
and supplying 8mm loops to customers across America.
This led to a police bust, and while on parole,
Stevens shot softcore and exploitation feature
films like Inside Amy and Play
Dead. But as soon as his parole period
ended, Stevens returned to hardcore this time
in the form of feature films, mostly written by
his wife Helene Terrie.. These included the underrated
Little Me and Marla Strangelove,
The Sensuous Detective and A
Taste of Sugar, before he had a major
hit with the controversial, incest-themed Taboo
The success of Taboo led to numerous
sequels, the first fove of which were made by
Stevens. He retired from filmmaking in 1987, having
made just 14 features.
effects artist Carlo Rambaldi has died, aged 86.
Rambaldi worked on some of the more iconic cult
Italian horror films of the 1960s and 1970s before
breaking through in America when working for Dino
De Laurentiis on King Kong, for
which he won a special Academy Award, despite
the failure of the giant mechanical Kong and working
issues with collaborator Rick Baker.
His pre-Hollywood work includes special effects
for Perseus Against the Monsters,
Planet of the Vampires, Bloody
Pit of Horror, The Witch,
Lizard in a Woman’s Skin
(Rambaldi’s disembowelled dog effects being
so realistic that director Lucio Fulci was taken
to court on animal cruelty charges – the
fake dogs had to be produced in court to show
they weren’t real), Bay of Blood,
Night of the Devils, French
Sex Murders, Frankenstein 80,
Flesh for Frankenstein, Blood
for Dracula, La Mano Che Nutre
La Morte, Le Amanti del Monstro,
and Deep Red.
Post-Kong, he worked on Close
Encounters of the Third Kind (creating
the aliens), Alien and ET
(both of which won him Oscars), Nightwing,
The Hand, Possession,
Dune, Conan the Destroyer,
Silver Bullet, King Kong
Lives, Cat’s Eye
and Cameron’s Closet.
Gore Vidal has died, aged 86.
One of America’s most celebrated authors
and political commentators, Vidal wrote 25 novels,
including legendary camp classic Myra
Breckinridge, notoriously filmed in 1971,
as well as the sequel Myron.
His second novel, The City and the Pillar,
was published in 1948 and caused outrage with
its frank look at homosexuality, and saw Vidal
blackballed from polite society for years, forcing
him to write pulp fiction under a pseudonym. At
the end of the 1950s, he emerged from the shadows,
working on screenplays for assorted Tv series
before moving into movies likeSuddenly
Last Summer and Ben Hur.
His most notorious project was Caligula
(pictured), announced in 1976 as Gore
Vidal’s Caligula. Disagreements
with producer Bob Guccione and director Tinto
Brass about the direction of the film –
Vidal’s original version was as explicit
as the final film, but had considerably more gay
sex – saw him become the first of many people
to disown the film, taking his name off the final
Filmmaker Chris Marker has died, aged 91.
Marker directed a series of fascinating, unique
films that transcended stylistic limitations of
‘arthouse’ or ‘documentary’
to become something entirely original. His best-known
film, La Jetee (pictured) –
a short science fiction story told almost entirely
in still images – would later inspire Terry
Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys.
Other admirable works from the prolific director
include Sans Soleil, Tokyo
Days, The Last Bolshevik
and A.K. Marker also worked with
Alain Renais (including on Nuit et Brouillard)
and Walerian Borowczyk.
Simon Ward has died, aged 71.
He had a long and extensive career in film and
television, appearing in cult movie favourites
like Hammer’s Frankenstein Must
Be Destroyed (arguably the best of the
Hammer Frankenstein series), If…,
Quest for Love, Young
Winston, The Three Musketeers
and The Four Musketeers, Dan
Curtis’ Dracula, Deadly
Zulu Dawn, The Monster
Club and Supergirl.
Actress Angharad Rees has died, aged 63.
Best known in Britain as the star of 1970s costume
melodrama series Poldark, she
also played the lead in Hammer’s Hands
of the Ripper in 1971, bringing a rare
depth to her character. Here other films include
Under Milk Wood, Anyone
For Sex? (aka The Love Ban)
and the cult TV movie Baffled.
Her extensive TV work included appearances in
The Avengers, Doctor
in the House, Armchair Theatre,
The Protectors, Thriller
(the episode Once the Killing
Curse of King Tut’s Tomb, Robin
of Sherwood and Remington
legend Ernest Borgnine has died, aged 95.
The list of classic film and TV shows that he
appeared in is huge, and includes From
Here to Eternity, Johnny Guitar,
Marty, Bad Day at Black
Rock, The Vikings, The
Flight of the Phoenix, The Dirty
Dozen, The Wild Bunch,
Willard, The Legend of
Lylah Clare, Hannie Caulder,
The Poseidon Adventure, The
Devil’s Rain, Future Cop,
The Ghost of Flight 401, Ravagers,
Convoy, The Black Hole,
When Time Ran Out, Escape
from New York, Deadly Blessing,
Codename: Wild Geese, Joe D’Amato’s
Treasure Island and many more.
A pretty extraordinary legacy.
Adult movie actress Hollie Stevens has died, aged
30. She had been suffering from breast cancer
that had spread to her brain.
Dubbed ‘the Queen of Clown Porn’,
Stevens entered the industry in 2003 and made
around 175 films, most in the Gonzo genre –
titles include Young and Natural,
Violation of Jessica Darlin,
Swallow This 4, Reality
Teens, Pretty New Girls,
the Peepshow, Compulsion,
Disturbed 2 and Big Ass
Cheerleaders, as well as Clown
Porn. She was also a model and writer
for Girls and Corpses magazine,
worked frequently for Kink.com, and was an acclaimed
artist (both as painter and performer).
Sykes has died, aged 89.
One of Britain’s comedy greats, Sykes is
probably best known to viewers of a certain age
for his long running TV series, which date back
to the 1950s with Sykes and A…
and would continue with Sykes
in the 1970s – both series co-starring Hattie
Jacques as his sister, and - on one memorable
occasion – having a guest appearance by
Peter Sellers, by then already a Hollywood star
and long-time friend. Sykes also wrote the shows.
But his career was about more than just TV. In
1967, he wrote and starred in the (almost) silent
short The Plank, an instant comedy
classic that led onto a 1979 remake (also starring
Sykes) and similar shorts like Rhubarb
Rhubarb, It’s Your Move
and Mr H is Late. These shorts
were undoubtedly an influence on the later Mr
Bean, but shouldn’t be dismissed
for that – they are far superior works.
As an actor, Sykes appeared in movies from the
1960s through to the 2000s – his work includes
Very Important Person, Heavens
Above, The Bargee, Those
Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines,
The Liquidator, The Spy
with the Cold Nose, Shalako,
Theatre of Blood, The
Others and Harry Potter and the
Goblet of Fire. TV work included Hancock’s
Half Hour (for which he also wrote),
the controversial misfire Curry and Chips
alongside old friend Spike Milligan, The
Nineteenth Hole – his final regular
series in 1989 – and Gormenghast,
as well as various TV
Sykes had been partially (and increasingly) deaf
for most of his life, and in later years suffered
eye failure, meaning that, astonishingly, he was
virtually both blind and deaf from the 1990s onwards,
yet kept working.
Film-maker and writer Stephen Dwoskin has died.
An American who relocated to London in 1964, Dwoskin
co-founded the London Film-Makers Co-op in 1966,
and directed numerous experimental films over
the years, including Dirty and
Silent Cry, which was the sort
of thing you used to be able to see on Channel
4. Disabled after a bout of childhood polio, Dwoskin
often explored issues relating to the body, sexuality,
voyeurism and eroticism. He also made documentaries
about disability, and authored two books, Film
Is… in 1975 (about experimental
cinema) and Ha Ha!
movie icon Richard Lynch has died, aged 72.
recognisable thanks to a scarred face - the result
of setting himself on fire during an acid trip
in the late 1960s - Lynch would primarily play
villainous henchmen and other unsavoury characters
in an astonishing number of films: Scarecrow,
The Seven-Ups, The Happy
Hooker, The Premonition,
God Told Me To, Good
Against Evil, Stunts,
The Ninth Configuration, The
Sword and the Sorcerer, Cut and
Run, Invasion USA, Savage
Dawn, The Barbarian Brothers,
Bad Dreams, Aftershock,
Trancers II, Alligator
2: The Mutation, Scanner Cop,
Necronomicon, The Mummy's
Kiss, Rob Zombie's Halloween
and dozens more - not to mention pretty much every
TV series of note in the 1970s and 80s.
Barbour • David Croft • William Finley
• Robert Fuest • Ben Gazzara •
Bill Hinzman • Bert Jansch • Davy
Jones • Zalman King • Sue Lloyd •
Harry Morgan • Cynthia Myers • Charles
Napier • Barney Rosset • Bert Schneider
• Joe Simon • Don Sharp • Victor
Spinetti • Andrea True • Susan Tyrrell
• Jane Waters •
• John Barry • Roberts Blossom •
William Campbell • Gene Colan •
John Dunning • Peter Falk • Anne Francis
• Michael Gough • Farley Granger • Gualtiero
Jacopetti • Mick Karn • Dick King-Smith
• George Kuchar • Sidney Lumet • Harry
S. Morgan • Marie-France Pisier • Pete
Poselthwaite • Gerry Rafferty • Maria
Schneider • Angela Scoular •
Elisabeth Sladen • Poly Styrene • Yvette