Daily | Passages | Stern, Sugawara, Leñero

Phil Stern

Phil Stern will perhaps be best remembered for his 1955 portrait of James Dean

“Photographer Phil Stern, who was responsible for some of the most intimate portraits of Hollywood stars, including Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, John Wayne, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, died Saturday,” reports Shelli Weinstein for Variety. “He was 95.” Dennis McLellan and Steve Chawkins in the Los Angeles Times: “Stern, who began shooting for Life in 1941, told the magazine in a 1993 interview that despite his access to Hollywood’s elite, he was rarely a confidante of the stars he photographed. ‘I was like the plumber who comes to fix your toilet, then you don’t see him again,’ he maintained. Besides, he said, ‘I didn’t care to know them, usually—so many of them were frankly a pain.'”

Japanese actor Bunta Sugawara has died at the age of 81. “After a stint at the Shochiku studio, his break came 15 years later at Toei in Kinji Fukasaku’s Battles Without Honor and Humanity in 1973 as a gangster in the gritty tale of turf wars in Hiroshima that was hailed as a break from the previous romanticized portrayals of yakuza,” writes Gavin J. Blair for the Hollywood Reporter. “In his later years he found work as a voice actor in Studio Ghibli productions, including Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 Oscar-winning Spirited Away, as well as Wolf Children and the title character of Tales from Earthsea.” His death, suggests Patrick Macias, “marks the end of the modern movie yakuza, the last shot of the machine gun dragons, and the final police sweep of the Showa era.”

Novelist, journalist, playwright and screenwriter Vicente Leñero has died. He was 81. John Hecht in THR: “In addition to the box-office hit The Crime of Father Amaro (El Crimen del Padre Amaro), Lenero’s credits included Midaq Alley, featuring Salma Hayek, which got special mention at the 1995 Berlin film fest for exceptional narrative quality, and Luis Estrada’s Herod’s Law, considered by many to be one of the greatest Mexican political satires ever written.”

Joanna Dunham, who has died aged 78, played Mary Magdalene in the Hollywood blockbuster The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), directed by George Stevens, with Max von Sydow as Jesus and Charlton Heston as Pontius Pilate,” writes Michael Coveney for the Guardian. “She had been recommended to Stevens for the role by Marilyn Monroe, who had seen her performance as Juliet on tour with the Old Vic in New York in 1962, after she had taken over from Judi Dench in Franco Zeffirelli’s production.”

Bunta Sugawara

Bunta Sugawara

“Veteran Indian film and television actor Deven Verma has died, aged 77,” reports the BBC. “Verma acted in nearly 80 Bollywood films, including Golmaal, Chori Mera Kaam, Chor Ke Ghar Chor and Angoor, and also did Marathi and Bhojpuri films.”

Ken Weatherwax, who played Pugsley in The Addams Family, the TV series that ran from 1964 through 1966, has died at the age of 59. Sean O’Neal looks back at the AV Club.

“Mary Ann Mobley, the dark-haired and wholesome Miss America who went on to a successful acting career highlighted by two starring turns opposite Elvis Presley, has died. She was 77.” Mike Barnes has more in the Hollywood Reporter.

A few days ago, we noted the passing of Swiss actress Annemarie Düringer, who worked with Fassbinder, Sirk, Margarethe von Trotta and Raúl Ruiz.

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