Joan Staley, Actress in 'The Ghost and Mr. Chicken,' Dies at 79
She also slapped Elvis in 'Roustabout,' sang to Audie Murphy in 'Gunpoint' and played Shame sidekick Okie Annie on 'Batman.' Joan Staley, who starred opposite Don Knotts in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and appeared on such TV series as 77 Sunset Strip, The Dick Van Dyke Show and a McHale's Navy spinoff, has died. She was 79.
Staley died Sunday of heart failure at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia, California, her family announced.
In Roustabout (1964), Staley played Marge, the jilted girlfriend of carnival singer Charlie Rogers (Elvis Presley), and she gets to slap him across the face in the film.
"I asked him if he wanted me to pull up," she recalled in Tom Lisanti's 2001 book, Fantasy Femmes of Sixties Cinema. "He said, 'No.' I said, 'Are you sure? I could leave a welt.' He replied, 'That's OK.' So I belted him. That slap you hear in the film was not put in afterward — that was the slap."
Staley also had memorable scenes as a waitress with Robert Mitchum in Cape Fear (1962) and as a stewardess with Paul Newman in A New Kind of Love (1963).
Staley donned a brunette wig she said was left around from a Claudia Cardinale movie to star as damsel in distress and Knotts' love interest Alma Parker in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966), a spoof of haunted house movies that became a huge box office hit for Universal.
Also in 1966, she played a kidnapped saloon singer who is rescued by Audie Murphy in Gunpoint and Shame's (Cliff Robertson) villainous sidekick Okie Annie on Batman. However, she broke her back in a horseback riding accident that year, curtailing her career.
A daughter of missionaries, Joan Lynette McConchie was born on May 20, 1940, in Minneapolis. She studied the violin as a child in Los Angeles and played the instrument with the Junior Symphony at the Hollywood Bowl and on a fire truck in Billy Wilder's The Emperor Waltz (1948), starring Bing Crosby and Joan Fontaine.
A self-described "Army brat" — her father was a chaplain in the Armed Services — she and her family moved all around the world when she was growing up, eventually ending up in Paris for her senior year of high school.
She moved to Memphis after marrying TV director Charles Staley at age 16 and performed as a backup singer for Sun Records, then returned to L.A. to perform in plays at the Music Box Theatre in Hollywood. In 1958, she appeared on an episode of Perry Mason and was Playboy's Playmate of the Month for November.
Staley was seen in the opening credits as a woman in an answering service ad in Vincent Minnelli's Bells Are Ringing (1960) and then signed a contract with MGM. She also was one of the beauties in Jerry Lewis' The Ladies Man and starred in Valley of the Dragons, both released in 1961.
On the 1961 Dick Van Dyke Show episode "Jealousy!", Staley portrayed a movie star whom Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) is convinced is having an affair with her husband. And on the final season (1963-64) of 77 Sunset Strip, she recurred as Hannah, the secretary to Stuart Bailey (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.).
"I've made a career of playing an undulating blonde in tight dresses," she said in a 1964 interview. "It isn't that I wanted that brassy sexpot image, but that's the image producers feel you project when you're, well, blonde and shapely."
Staley played Roberta "Honey-Hips" Love, a machinist's mate and ex-stripper who had joined the U.S. Navy during World War II, on the McHale's Navy spinoff, Broadside. It was canceled after the 1964-65 season.
She also starred with singer Vic Damone on a 1962 summer replacement series, The Lively Ones, and appeared on other programs including Hawaiian Eye, The Untouchables, The Tab Hunter Show, The Lawless Years, The Ozzie and Harriet Show, Mission: Impossible and Adam-12.
She married her second husband, MCA executive Dale Sheets, in 1967, and they ran the talent agency International Ventures Inc. — representing such clients as Tennessee Ernie Ford, Bob Barker and Mel Tormé — until last year, when daughter Dina Sheets-Roth took over the day-to-day business.
Last Edit: Nov 30, 2019 1:58:09 GMT -5 by jimsteel
Irving Burgie, Songwriter of Calypso Hit ‘Day-O,’ Dies at 95
Composer Irving Burgie, who helped popularize Caribbean music and co-wrote the enduring Harry Belafonte hit “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” has died at the age of 95.
At the Barbados Independence Day Parade on Saturday, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced Burgie died Friday.
“Day-O,” written in 1952, has been ubiquitous, appearing in everything from the film and Broadway musical “Beetlejuice” to an E-Trade commercial. “Day-O” was also the wake-up call for the astronauts on two Space Shuttle missions in the 1990s. When a superstar list of music royalty gathered to film the “We Are the World” video in 1985, most burst into a playful version of “Day-O” in between takes. Lil’ Wayne used a sample of “Day-O” in his “6 Foot 7 Foot.”
According to the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Burgie’s songs have sold over 100 million records throughout the world. Many were recorded by Belafonte, including eight of the 11 songs on Belafonte’s 1956 album, “Calypso,” the first album to sell over 1 million copies in the U.S. Burgess also penned songs for the Kingston Trio (“The Seine,” “El Matador,” and “The Wanderer”) and for other groups.
His “Jamaica Farewell” has been recorded by Belafonte, Jimmy Buffett, Carly Simon and others. Others who have sung his songs include Mantovani, Miriam Makeba and Julio Iglesias. Burgie’s classic Caribbean standards include such familiar hits as “Island in The Sun,” “Angelina,” and he was co-writer of “Mary’s Boy Child.” He also wrote the 1963 off-Broadway musical “Ballad for Bimshire” that starred Ossie Davis.
Veteran ‘Will and Grace’ Actress Shelley Morrison Dies at 83
Before “Will and Grace,” Morrison was best known for playing Sister Sixto on “The Flying Nun” alongside Sally Field from 1967 to 1970
Shelley Morrison, an actress with a 50-year career who was best known for playing a memorable maid on “Will and Grace,” has died.
Publicist Lori DeWaal says Morrison died Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from heart failure. She was 83.
Morrison played Rosario Salazar, a maid from El Salvador, in the original run of "Will and Grace" from 1999 to 2006, becoming part of a cast that won a Screen Actors Guild award for best ensemble in a comedy series.
Before “Will and Grace,” Morrison was best known for playing Sister Sixto on “The Flying Nun” alongside Sally Field from 1967 to 1970.
She guest-starred on dozens of television series starting in the early 1960s, and appeared in films alongside Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn and Salma Hayek.
Founding Star Trek writer Dorothy Catherine “D.C.” Fontana has died. She was 80 years old and died after a brief illness. Fontana was one of the key writers who worked on Star Trek: The Original Series in the 1960s, helping to bring Gene Roddenberry’s vision to life. She wrote or co-wrote 10 episodes of The Original Series, including “Charlie X,” "Tomorrow is Yesterday," “The Side of Paradise," "Friday's Child," “Journey to Babel," "By Any Other Name," "The Ultimate Computer," “The Enterprise Incident," "That Which Survives," and "The Way to Eden." She also wrote the episode “Yesteryear" of Star Trek: The Animated Series, worked on five episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation including its pilot, "Encounter at Farpoint," as well as "The Naked Now," "Lonely Among Us," "Too Short a Season," and "Heart of Glory," and co-wrote the teleplay for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Dax."
As a woman working in television in the 1960s, especially in science fiction, Fontana was a trailblazer. She both wrote for and produced Star Trek while being credited as “D.C. Fontana,” keeping her gender a secret until her photograph appeared in Stephen Whitfield’s book The Making of Star Trek in 1968.
"At the time, I wasn't especially aware there were so few female writers doing action-adventure scripts," Fontana told StarTrek.com in a 2013 interview. "There were plenty doing soaps, comedies, or on variety shows. By choosing to do action-adventure, I was in an elite, very talented and very different group of women writers.
"'How seriously was I taken by Gene and the ST writing staff' is not an applicable question. There was no 'writing staff' as there are today. There was Gene Roddenberry and Gene Coon primarily. John D.F. Black and Steve Karabatsos were the two story editors I also worked with (one after the other), but it was primarily me writing and turning in my material to the two Genes and to John or Steve - before I became the story editor. We always worked pretty much one-on-one, and I was given the same consideration as any other writer who came through the door with a good story and delivering a solid script."
Fontana’s work on “Journey to Babel” created the backstory for Mr. Spock. She expanded on that history in “Yesteryear,” revealing more of Spock’s youth and family life.
Outside of Star Trek, her credits include The ABC Afternoon Playbreak, The Questor Tapes, and Logan's Run. Fontana was a senior lecturer at the American Film Institute, teaching screenwriters, producers, and directors.
Last Edit: Dec 3, 2019 20:45:32 GMT -5 by jimsteel
Claude Earl Jones, Actor in 'Bride of Re-Animator,' Dies at 86
He also appeared in two Robert Zemeckis movies and opposite Andy Griffith in a pair of NBC telefilms. Claude Earl Jones, a character actor who appeared in such films as Bride of Re-Animator and Miracle Mile and on TV shows including Buffalo Bill, Battlestar Galactica and Little House on the Prairie, has died. He was 86.
Jones died Nov. 25 of complications from dementia at a senior living facility in Claremont, California, his wife of 48 years, Nancy Jones, said.
Jones' first love was the theater, and his favorite gig was portraying lawyer Henry Drummond in Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Inherit the Wind. (The role was made famous by Spencer Tracy in Stanley Kramer's acclaimed 1960 film adaptation after Paul Muni played Drummond on Broadway.)
Jones also directed the courtroom drama several times and served as artistic director for the Sturges Center for the Fine Arts in San Bernardino, California.
He had small roles in the Robert Zemeckis movies I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978) and Used Cars (1980) and appeared as a deputy working for Andy Griffith's small-town police chief Abel Marsh in two 1977 NBC telefilms, The Girl in the Empty Grave and Deadly Game.
He also recurred as sound man Stan Fluger on the short-lived but brilliant Dabney Coleman NBC comedy Buffalo Bill. (A running gag had Coleman's character never pronouncing his last name correctly.)
In Bride of Re-Animator (1989), the second of three films in the series based on an H.P. Lovecraft short story, Jones played the cop who is given a fatal heart attack by Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and then re-animated.
He also starred as a guy named Philby in another cult horror project, the 1981 CBS telefilm Dark Night of the Scarecrow, a perennial Halloween favorite.
Born on April 29, 1933, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jones was raised in Phoenix. At Phoenix Union High School, he got his first acting job after he went to a casting session to support a friend. He then studied the craft at Phoenix College and the Pasadena Playhouse around a stint in the U.S. Army.
After earning his master's degree in theater from Cal State Los Angeles in 1966, Jones taught theater at Ganesha High School in Pomona, California, from 1969-72. He often remarked his work at the school was among the most important he ever did.
His acting résumé included the films Thunder and Lightning (1977), Evilspeak (1981), Impulse (1984), No Man's Land (1987) and Cherry 2000 (1987) and the TV shows Dallas, Simon & Simon, Who's the Boss?, 21 Jump Street and the Griffith-starring Matlock.
Jones also wrote four books: Specially Not No Chocolate, a collection of short stories about his childhood; Hello Devil, Welcome to Hell, about his work on Inherit the Wind; The Real Ones Learn It Somewhere, about his education and teaching experiences; and I'd Drink It, a novel.