Daily | Remembering Takakura, Champlin, Chapman

Ken Takakura

Ken Takakura

Over the past week or so, since the last general news roundup, death has taken more than its fair share. “Ken Takakura, who first rose to stardom in the 1960s playing yakuza outlaws, but later became Hollywood’s go-to actor for made-in-Japan films, died on Nov. 10 at age 83,” reports Mark Schilling for Variety. “The legendary actor most recently starred in Dearest and Zhang Yimou’s Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles. Western audiences best know Takakura for his roles in Ridley Scott’s Black Rain and 1992’s Mr. Baseball.” Adds James Marsh at Twitch: “Among his most famous films are Brutal Tales of Chivalry (Showa Zankyo-den, 1965), Abashiri Prison (Abashiri Bangaichi, 1965) and Too Late the Hero (1970). He worked with Yamada Yoji in 1977’s brilliant road movie The Yellow Handkerchief, as well as in big budget action films such as The Bullet Train and Kurahara Kureyoshi’s heartbreaking tale of huskies stranded on the South Pole, Antarctica (1983).” More from Charles Bramesco at the Dissolve and Roger Macy for the Guardian.

“Charles Champlin, the former Los Angeles Times arts editor, film critic and columnist whose insightful, elegantly written reviews and columns informed and entertained readers for decades, died Sunday at his Los Angeles home. He was 88.” Dennis McLellan for the LAT: “Champlin received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007. ‘Charles Champlin was one of the great gentlemen of American film criticism and a pioneer in showing that mass-market newspaper reviewing could be smart and well-written as well as accessible,’ Times film critic Kenneth Turan said Monday.” More from Bill Desowitz at Thompson on Hollywood and Susan King (LAT).

“Leigh Chapman, the 1960s actress-turned-screenwriter who wrote Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry and The Octagon, died Tuesday, Nov. 4,” reports Jon Burlingame for Variety. “Chapman was familiar to TV viewers as Sarah, Napoleon Solo’s efficient secretary in several 1965 episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. She also did guest shots on several other mid-’60s series including Combat, Dr. Kildare, McHale’s Navy and The Monkees.” Mike Barnes for the Hollywood Reporter: “Chapman also wrote the treatment that became the blaxploitation film Truck Turner (1974), starring Isaac Hayes, and did the screenplays for How Come Nobody’s on Our Side? (1975); Steel (1979), with Lee Majors and Jennifer O’Neill…; King of the Mountain (1981), with Harry Hamlin; and Impulse (1990), starring Theresa Russell. ‘I couldn’t write a romantic comedy or a chick flick if my life depended on it,’ she said in a 2010 interview. ‘I could write a love story, but it would have to be a Casablanca-type of love story, and some people would have to die.'”

Glen A. Larson, “one of the most prolific creators in the history of television,” has died at the age of 77, reports Sam Barsanti at the AV Club. “Larson is best known as the creator of some of the biggest and most well-known TV hits of the ‘70s and ‘80s, including Battlestar Galactica, Magnum P.I., Quincy M.E., and Knight Rider.”

Jerry Blumenthal, founding partner of the Chicago documentary production house Kartemquin Films, passed away on Thursday,” reports Ben Sachs in the Chicago Reader. “He had been involved with the company from the production of its first film, Home for Life, in 1966. Over the next four decades he would codirect almost a dozen projects for Kartemquin—among them The Chicago Maternity Center Story (1976), The Last Pullman Car (1983), and Golub (1988)—and serve as editor, sound recordist, or consultant on numerous others. He also worked on Barbara Kopple’s Oscar-winning documentary feature American Dream (1990), in addition to teaching courses at the University of Chicago and Columbia College.”

“Actor Warren Clarke has died at the age of 67,” reports Phil Dyess-Nugent at the AV Club. “Clarke became an increasingly familiar face on British TV in the 1980s, and was probably best known in America as the lumbering, working-class police detective Andy Dalziel, a role he played from 1996 to 2007 in the popular crime series Dalziel and Pascoe. But moviegoers first noticed him when he played a character who started out on the other side of the law: Dim the droog, Malcolm McDowell’s heavyset, slow-witted sidekick in A Clockwork Orange (1971).”

“David Watson, who stepped in for Roddy McDowall to portray the chimpanzee archeologist Cornelius in the 1970 film Beneath the Planet of the Apes, has died. He was 74.” THR‘s Mike Barnes has more. Also: “Jerry Alan, a stunt coordinator and stuntman who worked on three James Bond films and the 1993 Burt Reynolds comedy Cop and a Half, has died. He was 75.”

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