1983: English actor John Le Mesurier (born John Elton Le Mesurier Halliley) died today in 1983. Born 5 April 1912, he is perhaps best remembered for his comedic role as Sergeant Wilson in the BBC television situation comedy Dad’s Army (1968–77). A self-confessed “jobbing actor”, Le Mesurier appeared in more than 120 films across a range of genres, normally in smaller supporting parts.
Initially acting on the stage in the 1930s, he accepted an offer to work with Alec Guinness in a John Gielgud production of Hamlet. During the Second World War, Le Mesurier was posted to British India, as a captain with the Royal Tank Regiment. He returned to acting and made his film debut in 1948, starring in the second feature comedy short Death in the Hand. He undertook a number of roles on television in 1951 including Educating Archie alongside Tony Hancock.
Le Mesurier had a prolific film career, appearing mostly in comedies, usually in roles portraying figures of authority such as army officers, policemen and judges. In 1971 Le Mesurier received his only award: a British Academy of Film and Television Arts “Best Television Actor” award for his lead performance in Dennis Potter‘s television play Traitor; it was one of the few lead roles he played during the course of his career.
He took a relaxed approach to acting and felt that his parts were those of “a decent chap all at sea in a chaotic world not of his own making”. Le Mesurier was married three times, most notably to the actress Hattie Jacques. He died, aged 71, from a stomach haemorrhage, brought about by a complication of cirrhosis of the liver.
1997: Canadian TV and film producer, Sydney Newman (born 1 April 1917) [http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Sydney_Newman] passed away. A pioneer of British TV drama, Newman is credited as being the creator of Doctor Who.
1994: Robert Bloch (born 5 April 1917), American fiction writer primarily of crime, horror, fantasy and science fiction, died of cancer, aged 77. Best known as the writer of Psycho, the basis for the film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock he had a fondness for puns as evidenced in the titles of his story collections such as Tales in a Jugular Vein, Such Stuff as Screams Are Made Of and Out of the Mouths of Graves.
Bloch wrote hundreds of short stories and over 30 novels. H. P. Lovecraft was Bloch’s mentor and one of the first to seriously encourage his talent. However, while Bloch started his career by emulating Lovecraft and his brand of “cosmic horror”, he later specialized in crime and horror stories dealing with a more psychological approach.
He won the Hugo Award (for his story “That Hell-Bound Train“), the Bram Stoker Award, and the World Fantasy Award.
His favorites among his own novels were The Kidnapper, The Star Stalker, Psycho, Night-World, and Strange Eons. His work has been extensively adapted for the movies and television, comics and audio books.
American actor Anthony Perkins, born April 4, 1932 died this day in 1992).
He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his second film, Friendly Persuasion but is best known for playing Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho and its three sequels.
His other films include The Trial, Phaedra, Fear Strikes Out, Tall Story, The Matchmaker, Pretty Poison, North Sea Hijack, Five Miles to Midnight, The Black Hole, Murder on the Orient Express, Mahogany, and Crimes of Passion.
While young, Perkins was a very shy person, especially in the company of women. According to the posthumous biography Split Image by Charles Winecoff, he had exclusively same-sex relationships until his late 30s, including with actors Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter; dancer Rudolf Nureyev; and composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim.
Perkins reportedly had his first heterosexual experience at age 39 with actress Victoria Principal on location filming The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean in 1971. He met photographer Berinthia “Berry” Berenson the following year at a party in New York City. They married when he was age 41, on August 9, 1973 and had two sons: actor Oz Perkins (b. February 2, 1974), and musician Elvis Perkins (b. February 9, 1976).
Diagnosed with HIV during the filming of Psycho IV, Perkins died at his Los Angeles home from AIDS-related pneumonia at age 60. His wife died nine years later, in the September 11 attacks.
Born in New York City on April 4 1922 to Ukrainian and Austro-Hungarian parents, Elmer Bernstein [http://elmerbernstein.com/], died of cancer in his sleep this day in 2004. He was an American composer and conductor best known for his many film scores. In a career which spanned fifty years, he composed music for hundreds of film and television productions. His most popular works include the scores to The Magnificent Seven, The Ten Commandments, The Great Escape, To Kill a Mockingbird, Ghostbusters, The Black Cauldron, Airplane!, Cape Fear, and Animal House.
Bernstein won an Oscar for his score to Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) and was nominated for fourteen Oscars in total. He also won two Golden Globes, an Emmy, and was nominated for two Grammy Awards.
Peter Cushing (26 May 1913 – 11 August 1994) was an English actor and a BAFTA TV Award Best Actor winner in 1956. He is mainly known for his prolific appearances in Hammer Films, in which he played strong character roles like the sinister scientist Baron Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes and the vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing, among many other roles. He appeared frequently opposite Christopher Lee and, occasionally, Vincent Price. A familiar face on both sides of the Atlantic, Cushing is best known outside the Hammer productions for playing Dr. Who in Doctor Who and the Daleks (1965) and Daleks – Invasion Earth (1966), and for his performance as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars (1977).
Find out more at Wikipedia.
Bonnie Langford (born Bonita Melody Lysette Langford, 22 July 1964) is an English actress, dancer and entertainer. She came to prominence as a child star in the early 1970s before subsequently becoming well known for her role as Mel Bush, a companion of Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy‘s Doctor in the BBC series Doctor Who in the mid 1980s. She returned to the role in 1993 for Dimensions in Time, a special charity Doctor Who/EastEnders crossover episode as part of the BBC’s Children in Need. She has continued to reprise the role in several audio dramas.
Langford debuted in “Terror of the Vervoids”, one of the stories in The Trial of a Time Lord, and departing at the conclusion of Dragonfire.
Aged six years old, Langford won the talent show Opportunity Knocks. This led to early fame in the television series Just William (playing Violet Elizabeth Bott), the 1974 Broadway revival of Gypsy starring Angela Lansbury, the 1976 film Bugsy Malone, and the 1977 film Wombling Free. During this time, she was appearing as a regular on a children’s prime-time show made by Yorkshire Television called Junior Showtime, along with child stars Lena Zavaroni, Neil Reed and Glynn Poole among others. Langford appeared as Scarlett O’Hara’s daughter in the London production of Scarlett (1972)
She has since appeared on stage in various musicals in the West End and on Broadway; shows such as Peter Pan, Cats, The Pirates of Penzance and Chicago, and is now a regular in EastEnders. [Wikipedia] [tardis.wikia.com]
Danny Glover (born July 22, 1946) is an American actor, film director, and political activist. He is well known for his leading role as Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon film series, The Color Purple (1985), To Sleep with Anger (1990), Predator 2 (1990) and Angels in the Outfield (1994). He also has prominent supporting roles in Silverado (1985), and Witness (1985).
Find out more at Wikipedia.
Harrison Ford (born July 13, 1942) is an American actor and film producer. He gained worldwide fame for his starring roles as Han Solo in the Star Wars film series and as the title character of the Indiana Jones film series. Ford is also known for his roles as Rick Deckard in the neo-noir dystopian science fiction film Blade Runner (1982); John Book in the thriller Witness (1985), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor; and Jack Ryan in the action films Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1994).
His career has spanned six decades and includes roles in several Hollywood blockbusters; including the epic war film Apocalypse Now (1979); the legal drama Presumed Innocent (1990); the action film The Fugitive (1993); the political action thriller Air Force One (1997); and the psychological thriller What Lies Beneath (2000). Six of his films have been inducted into the National Film Registry: American Graffiti (1973), The Conversation (1974), Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Blade Runner.
In 1997, Ford was ranked No. 1 in Empire’s “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time” list. As of 2016, the U.S. domestic box-office grosses of Ford’s films total over US$4.7 billion, with worldwide grosses surpassing $6 billion, making Ford the highest-grossing U.S. domestic box-office star. Ford is married to actress Calista Flockhart. [Wikipedia]
Frank Windsor (born Frank W. Higgins 12 July 1927, in Walsall, Staffordshire) is an English actor, mainly on television. He began his career on radio and made an appearance in a 1953 film of Henry V. His first TV appearances were in 1960 in a series of Shakespearean plays.
His most famous role was as Detective Sergeant John Watt in Z-Cars from 1962-65, and thereafter its spin-offs Softly, Softly and Softly, Softly: Taskforce from 1966-76. He appeared as ‘Tobin’ in Series 6, Episode 9 of The Avengers. From 1987-89 he starred in the comedy drama Flying Lady written by Brian Finch.
He was the subject of This Is Your Life on 3 December 1975 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the Metropolitan Police Sports Club in East Molesey.
He starred as a rather old-fashioned headmaster grappling with problems in education in Headmaster, which started as a single play in Play for Today in 1974 and was well received, being expanded into a six-part series in 1977. In 1969 he appeared in the pilot episode of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) in the episode “My Late Lamented Friend and Partner” as Sorrensen, a wealthy businessman with a murderous streak. His lighter side was demonstrated in the pilot episode of the situation comedy The Dustbinmen in 1968, and as Scoutfinder General in an episode of The Goodies.
He had regular roles in the BBC drama Casualty; the ITV drama Peak Practice; he played Major Charlie Grace in EastEnders (1992); appeared twice in Doctor Who; had various stage roles, and in his later years appeared in a number of television commercials advertising life-assurance policies for people over-50. [Wikipedia]