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British actor-director Richard Attenborough dies at 90

English actor-director Richard Attenborough died Sunday, his son Michael told the BBC. He was 90.

The Cambridge, England, native made his film debut at 19 in the 1942 war film In Which We Serve, which was later nominated for Best Picture at the 1943 Academy Awards. READ FULL STORY

Menahem Golan, prolific producer of '80s action pics, dies at 85

Menahem Golan, best known for producing and directing scores of schlocky ’80s action pics under the Cannon Films banner—including the likes of Bloodsport and some of the Death Wish sequels—died Friday, Haaretz reports. He was 85.

Obsessed with movies from a young age, the Israeli-born Golan got his start working with B-movie master Roger Corman on 1963’s The Young Racers. He eventually teamed up with his cousin Yoram Globus to head up The Cannon Group, a fledgling production company that they bought in 1979. They transformed Cannon into a veritable force in the industry by the mid-’80s, producing testosterone-driven films for the likes of Sean Connery, Chuck Norris, Charles Bronson, Sylvester Stallone, and Jean-Claude Van Damme.


Film critic Stanley Kauffman dead at 97

Stanley Kauffmann, the erudite critic, author and editor who reviewed movies for The New Republic for more than 50 years, wrote his own plays and fiction, and helped discover the classic novels Fahrenheit 451 and The Moviegoer, died Wednesday. He was 97.

Kauffmann died of pneumonia at St. Luke’s Hospital in Manhattan, said Adam Plunkett, assistant literary editor at The New Republic. READ FULL STORY

Les Blank, filmmaker with an eye and ear for the eccentric, dies at 77

Les Blank, the documentary director who followed fellow filmmaker Werner Herzog to record his devotion to art (Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe in 1979) as well as his exotic descent into obsession (Burden of Dreams in 1982), died Sunday at age 77, according to the The New York Times.

Leslie Harrod Blank Jr.’s own obsessions included a rapturous appreciation of regional music and cuisine, which echoed in a filmography that included The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins in 1969; Chicken Real in 1970; Garlic Is as Good as 10 Mothers in 1980; and Ry Cooder And The Moula Banda Rhythm Aces in 1988;. Blank, born in Tampa, Fla. on the eve of Thanksgiving Day 1935, never became a name that would start bidding wars in Hollywood, but his gentle essayist approach made him an anthropologist with the gentle touch of an erudite tour guide.

“I’ve seen a lot of cameramen go in and treat the subjects like so many guinea pigs,” Blank said of his appraoch in 1979. “I think the people pick up on my very protective feelings toward them, and they aren’t self-conscious about what they do or say, and they try to show the inner light about themselves that I find so attractive.”

Jonathan Frid, original 'Dark Shadows' star, dies at 87

UPDATED: Johnny Depp comments below …

Just a few weeks before his most famous character was to be reborn, the original Barnabas Collins from Dark Shadows has died.

Jonathan Frid, the Canadian actor who brought the suave bloodsucker to life on the 1966-71 gothic soap opera, passed away from natural causes on April 13 in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, according to MPI Home Video, which releases the Dark Shadows DVDs.

Dark Shadows inspired a generation of boys — Tim Burton and Johnny Depp among them — to become obsessed with a show originally aimed at their mothers. On May 11, Burton and Depp will debut their passion project: a big-screen version of the tale, with Depp taking on the role Frid originated. READ FULL STORY

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