This weekend, the cinematic world lost three well-known actors. One is a music icon who also appeared in some great films. One is a well-known supporting actor. And finally, the horror cinematic world lost another iconic character.
Let’s begin with music icon David Bowie, who lost his battle to cancer on January 10, just two days after his 69th birthday. Born David Robert Jones in London, England, he is considered one of the musical legends of our generation, known for his flamboyant mix of funk and rock in terms of music.
In the world of films, he made his debut in 1967 in a short film, The Image. However, it is his 1976 film, The Man Who Fell to Earth, that brought him to stardom in terms of films in the role of a humanoid alien. He would bring in a memorable performance as prisoner of war Major Jack Celliers in Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, in which he befriends the Japanese soldier who captured him, played by another famed musician, Ryuichi Sakamoto.
The film that personified a combination of Bowie in acting and music was the 1986 fantasy film Labyrinth, in which played the Goblin King, Jareth. Not only did he take the role of the villain, but got to perform the film’s theme song and had a musical number, “Magic Dance”. Bowie continued to sporadically make appearances in films with his last feature film being Bandslam in 2009, playing himself.
He is survived by his wife, former supermodel Iman, his son Duncan (from first wife Angie) and daughter Alexandria (with Iman).
Next, we honor supporting actor Richard Libertini, who passed away on January 7 at the age of 82. Originally from Cambridge, Massachusetts, Libertini was an alumnus of the famed Second City improv troupe. After some work on the stage, Libertini moved to Los Angeles to start a film career.
Some of his most memorable characters include the Dictator in the 1979 comedy The In-Laws, the “Hoopla” yelling Geezil in the live action adaptation of beloved cartoon character Popeye in 1980, the Tibetan Mystic in All of Me, Frank Walker in the Fletch films with Chevy Chase, and the Rabbi who unceremoniously officiates the impromptu hospital “wedding” between Mel Gibson’s Riggs and Rene Russo’s Lorna in Lethal Weapon 4 in 1998.
Libertini was also a television and voice actor for animated series, due to his penchant for being able to speak in many foreign accents due to his Italian-American upbringing.
He is survived by a son from ex-wife, A Christmas Story actress Melinda Dillon.
Horror movie fans will best known the famous Angus Scrimm, who played the iconic character known simply as “The Tall Man” in the Phantasm series of films created by Don Coscarelli.
Despite his somewhat British-sounding name, Angus was born Lawrence Rory Guy in Kansas in 1926. He was a protege of William DeMille (brother of famed filmmaker Cecil) when he studied acting at the University of Southern California. Due to his height of 6’4″ and deep voice, Encyclopedia Britannica hired him in a short film where he played U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.
However, in 1976, 18-year old filmmaker Don Coscarelli cast Scrimm as the titular character’s father in Jim, The World’s Greatest, in which he was credited as Rory Guy. However, when Coscarelli unleashed Phantasm in 1979, he knew exactly who wanted to play the deadly Tall Man who brings on the “spheres of death” and that was the newly named Angus Scrimm.
Scrimm played the role of the Tall Man in four sequels in 1987, 1994, 1998, and one to be released this year, Phantasm: Ravager, which is being marked as his last film. The film was shot last year.
World Film Geek sends its condolences to the families of David Bowie, Richard Libertini, and Angus Scrimm.
May they Rest in Peace…