Patrick Macnee passes at age 93

Avengers 1961From

Avengers star Patrick Macnee dies

Actor Patrick Macnee, star of The Avengers TV series, has died in California at the age of 93.

The Briton, best known for playing John Steed in the 1960s television spy series, died at home with his family at his bedside, his son Rupert said.

Macnee also played roles in theatre, appearing on Broadway, and served in the Royal Navy during World War Two.

A statement on the actor’s website read: “Wherever he went, he left behind a trove of memories.”

He died peacefully at his home in California’s Rancho Mirage on Thursday, Rupert said.

A favorite television show of mine in the 1960s, I concomitantly fell in love with Diana Rigg as Emma Peel — who currently plays Lady Olenna Tyrell in HBO’s Game of Thrones.



Composer James Horner dies in plane crash

James Horner, a composer for movie scores, died yesterday in an aircraft accident, piloting his own small plane.

From the

James Horner, Film Composer for ‘Titanic’ and ‘Braveheart,’ Dies in Plane Crash

by Mike Barnes

James Horner, the consummate film composer known for his heart-tugging scores for Field of Dreams, Braveheart and Titanic, for which he won two Academy Awards, died Monday in a plane crash near Santa Barbara. He was 61.

Horner was piloting the small aircraft when it crashed into a remote area about 60 miles north of Santa Barbara, officials said. An earlier report noted that the plane, which was registered to the composer, had gone down, but the pilot had not been identified.

His lengthy film résumé includes The Lady in Red (1979), Wolfen (1981), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1983), Red Heat (1988), Glory (1989), The Rocketeer (1991), Patriot Games (1992), Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993), Jumanji (1995), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), Troy (2004) and The Amazing Spider-Man (2012).

James Horner ConductingLet me please unequivocally state that some of the best — probably the best — orchestral work is done today for movie soundtracks.  Probably some of the best music, period.

A sad day indeed.  Please play the video above for a remembrance, nicely done.



Robert Kinoshita, robot designer for ‘Forbidden Planet’ and ‘Lost in Space,’ dies at age 100

Robert Kinoshita LOST IN SPACEA piece of my past dies, reminding me of my age, vulnerability and mortality.


by Mike Barnes

Robert Kinoshita, a production designer and art director who designed the iconic robots for the 1956 science-fiction classic Forbidden Planet and the 1960s TV series Lost in Space, has died. He was 100.

Kinoshita died Dec. 9 at a nursing care facility in Torrance, Calif., family friend Mike Clark told The Hollywood Reporter.

For Robby the Robot on Forbidden Planet, Kinoshita cobbled together several concepts contributed by MGM’s art and special-effects departments and made a miniature prototype of wood and plastic. The model, with a domed head of clear plastic, was quickly approved, and Kinoshita completed its construction. The film received an Oscar nomination for special effects.

Robby The RobotInformation on Robby the Robot can be found here.

Kinoshita was in the work pool of 20th Century Fox’s art department in the mid-1960s when producer Irwin Allen selected him to become the first-season art director for Lost in Space, which aired for three seasons on CBS from 1965-68.
Kinoshita’s bubble-brained Robot — a late addition to the cast whose famous line was “Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!” — featured a metallic barrel chest, light-up voice panel and rubberized legs. Kinoshita rushed to deliver the complicated costume shortly before the show entered production. (Dick Tufeld provided the voice.)
Lost In Space RobotThe Robot received as much fan mail as its the human cast, and a nationwide organization of fans, The B9 Robot Builders, has built more 100 full-size Robot replicas.

Bob MayBob May portrayed the robot on Lost In Space.  Very few people recognize this.

Born in Los Angeles on Feb. 24, 1914, Kinoshita grew up in the Boyle Heights area. He attended Maryknoll Japanese Catholic School, Roosevelt High School and USC’s School of Architecture and became interested in the movies, receiving his first practical experience on the 1937 film 100 Men and a Girl.
He and his wife Lillian were sent to a Japanese internment camp in Arizona during World War II, but a sponsor allowed the couple to leave before war’s end and move to Wisconsin, where he became proficient in industrial design and fabricating products out of plastic.

Kinoshita came back to California in the early 1950s and returned to the movie industry just as MGM was gearing up for production of Forbidden Planet. In addition to Robby, Kinoshita designed several sets including the lab of Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon).

God bless you sir, and your work and your creativity.  This is me trying to acknowledge, as much as I can, your labors to the world.


Robert Kinoshita

Jaws is dead; long live Jaws

richard-kiel-as-jawsRichard Kiel, the 7’2″ actor who played the villain “Jaws” in two of the James Bond movies with Roger Moore in the late 70s, passed away in a Fresno, Fornicalia hospital this week.  He was 74 years old.

Twilight Zone - To Serve ManI particularly remember Kiel from the 1962 Twilight Zone episode entitled “To Serve Man.”  For those unfamiliar with the story, I won’t provide a full spoiler — with the exception of three small words: “it’s a cookbook.”

Richard Kiel As Jaws With Roger MooreI could never forget the scene where Kiel places his hand on Roger Moore’s face, looking like nothing more than a grapefruit in his huge mitt.

Michael_Dunn_Richard_Kiel_Wild_Wild_WestKiel also played the character Voltaire, the assistant of Dr Miguelito Loveless (actor Michael Dunn) in the series The Wild, Wild West in 1965.

Mr Kiel had broken his leg the week prior to entering the Fresno hospital.

Requiescat en pace, Mr Kiel.