Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Notable passings

I just happened to glance at the TDOY blogroll and notice that Mercurie at A Shroud of Thoughts has put together an obituary for actor-director Corey Allen, who passed away Sunday—just two days shy of his 76th birthday, which was yesterday. Listing him among the birthday honorees, I noted that Allen was “best known for being a punk to James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause” (as a matter of fact, it’s a bit eerie seeing that his fellow goon, Dennis Hopper, shuffled off this mortal coil the month before).

I feel kind of bad about giving Allen’s career short-shrift like that, even though the Los Angeles Times is using the same information in the headline announcing Allen’s obit. But Allen had a pretty rich acting resume in films and television—among his silver screen pursuits were roles in The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954), The Night of the Hunter (1955), Darby’s Rangers (1958), Party Girl (1958) and Sweet Bird of Youth (1962). He made frequent guest appearances on TV shows the likes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Gunsmoke, Have Gun – Will Travel, Rawhide, Perry Mason and many others.

But by 1969, Allen began to flex his creative muscles behind the TV cameras, having made inroads as a director in live theater ten years earlier. He helmed episodes of The High Chapparal, Hawaii Five-O, Mannix, The Streets of San Francisco and The Rockford Files, to name a few of the many. His biggest triumph was copping an Emmy win in 1984 for directing “Goodbye, Mr. Scripps”—an episode of the critically-acclaimed Hill Street Blues. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Allen’s name frequently cropped up in the credits of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Corey Allen isn’t the only remarkable show business talent we’ve bid farewell to in the two weeks. Emmy-winning composer Allyn Ferguson passed away June 23rd at the age of 85…but his television legacy lives on in the memorably iconic themes to Barney Miller and Charlie’s Angels. And Ursula Thiess, the actress who appeared in The Americano (1955) and Bandido (1956) but who abandoned her career to become Mrs. Robert Taylor has also left us at the age of 86, expiring on June 19th.

R.I.P, Messrs. Allen and Ferguson and Ms. Thiess…you will be sorely missed.

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Tony Kay said...

Corey Allen directed one of my favorite rinky-dink all-star disaster movies, 1978's Avalanche. Financed by Roger Corman and starring Rock Hudson, Mia Farrow, and Robert Forster, it's still not out on DVD. Silly as it is, it moves, and I'd credit that to Allen's concise direction.

Roger Wilco said...

Typical wanabee comment. If you ever were in a movie or made a movie, you wouldn't make asshole comments like this.