Tag Archives: Obituary

Leonard Termo, 77, Acted in 5 Mickey Rourke Movies

Leonard Termo

Leonard Termo

Char­ac­ter actor Leonard Termo, who appeared along­side Mickey Rourke in five 1980s films, died peace­fully in his sleep Tues­day at his Santa Clarita, Cal­i­for­nia home, his friend, actor Elias Koteas, said Fri­day. He was 77.

Termo voiced Steve’s dad in the 2001 ani­mated short Clay Pride: Being Clay in Amer­ica, directed by David Karls­berg and Jon Watts.

The Brooklyn-born Termo guested in the infa­mous Sein­feld episode “The Mango,” which opened the series’ fifth sea­son. In it, he por­trayed the owner of Joe’s Fruits who bans Kramer, then Jerry, when Michael Richards’ char­ac­ter crabs about a bad peach.

Later, George eats one of Joe’s man­goes, which appar­ently ends his erec­tile dys­func­tion. “I think it moved!” George announces in bed.

Termo first appeared in films in 1983’s Heart Like a Wheel. The fol­low­ing year, he por­trayed a gay waiter oppo­site Rourke in The Pope of Green­wich Vil­lage. Other appear­ances with Rourke were in Michael Cimino’s Year of the Dragon (1985), Bar­bet Schroeder’s Barfly (1987), A Prayer for the Dying (1987) and Home­boy (1988).

His other movies included Fran­cis Ford Coppola’s The Cot­ton Club (1984), Johnny Dan­ger­ously (1984), Turk 182! (1985), Ruby (1992), Tim Burton’s Ed Wood (1994, as a makeup man), David Lynch’s Lost High­way (1997), Fight Club (1999) and Ali (2001).

TV series in which he appeared included Wiseguy and Lois & Clark: The New Adven­tures of Super­man.

Termo became an actor in the mid-1970s, leav­ing his job as a busi­ness­man in New York’s gar­ment dis­trict. To change careers, he “left it all — my wife, my kid, my money, every­thing,” he told New York mag­a­zine in a Novem­ber 1983 pro­file of Rourke. “I love act­ing. I’m broke. I sleep on a cot.”

Rourke befriended Termo after see­ing him in a Los Ange­les the­ater pro­duc­tion. The pair were long­time friends.

If they told me they’d chuck a few years off my life, but I knew when I went that Lenny would go with me, I’d do it in a sec­ond,” Rourke said in a 1987 Play­boy inter­view.

Termo and Rourke were once sched­uled to appear in a Cimino biog­ra­phy at Embassy Pic­tures about “Legs” Dia­mond with Rourke as the 1930s gang­ster and Termo as his body­guard. How­ever, the film never was made.

Rourke could not be reached for comment.

A memo­r­ial ser­vice is planned for Jan­u­ary 15, with details to be announced, Koteas said.

Dave Borthwick Directed Doogal, Magic Roundabout

Dave Borthwick

Dave Borth­wick

British stop-motion ani­ma­tor Dave Borth­wick, a direc­tor of the fea­ture films The Magic Round­about (2005) and Doo­gal (2006), died this past week in Bris­tol, Eng­land, car­toon his­to­rian Jerry Beck said Thurs­day morning.

His age was not imme­di­ately available.

Borth­wick, co-founder of Bristol’s bolexbroth­ers stu­dios with Dave Alex Rid­dett in the early 1980s, died of pneu­mo­nia after his health had been fail­ing for a while, Beck quoted stop-motion char­ac­ter ani­ma­tor Tom Gasek as saying.

Known as The Magic Round­about in the United States, the 2005 movie was orig­i­nally titled Sprung! The Magic Round­about in Britain.

He con­ceived, directed, wrote and even edited 1993’s The Secret Adven­tures of Tom Thumb. Based on an award-winning 10-minute pilot, it was a 61-minute film com­bin­ing 3-D model ani­ma­tion with an inno­v­a­tive use of pix­i­la­tion –the tech­nique of ani­mat­ing human actors frame by frame. The film was the first major pro­duc­tion for the bolexbrothers.

Pix­i­la­tion is no small task for actors,” he said of Tom Thumb. A move­ment or expres­sion that lasts for, say, five sec­onds on screen could take three or four hours to shoot.”

He won sev­eral awards for The Secret Adven­tures of Tom Thumb: the Evening Stan­dard British Film Award for Best Technical/Artistic Achieve­ment, the Crit­ics’ Award — Spe­cial Men­tion at Fan­tas­porto, the Inter­na­tional Fan­tasy Film Award for Best Direc­tor, and the Best Direc­tor award at the Sit­ges — Cat­alon­ian Inter­na­tional Film Festival.

Bolexbroth­ers spe­cial­izes in stop frame and pix­i­la­tion. Fol­low­ing a decade of pro­duc­ing short films and com­mer­cials, it was focus­ing its efforts on a full-length fea­ture, Grass Roots: The Movie, at the time of Borthwick’s death. The film was a clay-animated adap­ta­tion of Gilbert Shelton’s under­ground comic The Fab­u­lous Furry Freak Broth­ers.

Borth­wick worked on such ani­mated shorts as Val­halla (1986), The Saint Inspec­tor (1996), Keep in a Dry Place and Away from Chil­dren (1998) and Lit­tle Dark Poet (1999) as an exec­u­tive pro­ducer, edi­tor or con­sul­tant. He appeared as him­self on “Visions of Child­hood,” a episode of the 2005 doc­u­men­tary TV series Ani­ma­tion Nation.

Bolexbroth­ers also pro­duced ani­mated com­mer­cials for such clients as Coca-Cola’s Fanta, Legos, Weet­abix, Carls­berg, Nestea, Bud­weiser, Scot­land against Drugs and Boots.

Borth­wick was nom­i­nated for a CableACE Award for Edit­ing a Doc­u­men­tary Spe­cial or Series in con­nec­tion with the 1991 spe­cial LifePulse, which aired on Dis­ney Channel.

Oh, Pretty Woman Songwriter Bill Dees Dead at 73

William "Bill" Dees

William “Bill” Dees

Singer-songwriter William “Bill” Dees, co-writer with Roy Orbi­son of such global hits as “Oh, Pretty Woman” and “It’s Over,” died Wednes­day night at a nurs­ing facil­ity in Moun­tain Home, Arkansas. He was 73.

A res­i­dent of Forsyth, Mis­souri, near Bran­son, the enter­tain­ment was diag­nosed this sum­mer with an inop­er­a­ble brain tumor.

Orbison’s ren­di­tion of “Oh, Pretty Woman” was heard in the sound­track of the 2001 Futu­rama episode “The Cyber House Rules.”

Though best known for his work with Orbi­son, Dees wrote songs that were recorded by such other famed per­form­ers as Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn and Glen Campbell.

Born in Borger, Texas on Jan­u­ary 24, 1939, he had lived for the last three decades in the Arkansas and Mis­souri Ozarks.

Funeral ser­vices are pending.

Award-winning “Rabbit” Director Run Wrake Dies, 47

Run Wrake

Run Wrake

British ani­ma­tor and illus­tra­tor Run Wrake, whose Rab­bit was nom­i­nated for a BAFTA Award for Best Ani­mated Short, died at 5 a.m. Sun­day due to can­cer. He was 47.

He had spent a beau­ti­ful Sat­ur­day with his two chil­dren Flo­rence and Joe, his sis­ter Fiona and myself,” his wife Lisa posted on his Face­book page. “We left him at 7 p.m. doing what he loved best — draw­ing and ani­mat­ing with peg bar and paper. I was with him for his last moments.”

Rab­bit (2005) won a host of awards at film fes­ti­vals across the world, includ­ing Best Film at the 2006 British Ani­ma­tion Awards and the McLaren Award for Ani­ma­tion at the Edin­burgh Film Fes­ti­val. Wrake was devel­op­ing an ani­mated fea­ture, The Way to a Whole New You, with writer Neil Jaworski for BBC Films.

Born John Wrake in Yemen in 1965, he stud­ied graphic design at the Chelsea School of Art and then com­pleted an MA at the Royal Col­lege of Art.

As well as mak­ing films, he worked on com­mer­cials and live visu­als for bands includ­ing U2 and Oasis, and worked exten­sively with Howie B, ini­tially on a short film to accom­pany the release of his album Music for Babies and then on a series of pro­mos. In 2010, he devel­oped visu­als for U2’s 360 world­wide tour.

Russell Means, 72, Was Pocahontas Actor, Activist

Russell Means

Rus­sell Means

Native Amer­i­can activist and actor Rus­sell Means, the voice of Chief Powhatan — the title character’s father — in the 1995 Dis­ney film Poc­a­hon­tas, died early Mon­day at his ranch in Por­cu­pine on the Pine Ridge Reser­va­tion in South Dakota, his fam­ily said in a state­ment. He was 72.

The for­mer leader of the Amer­i­can Indian Move­ment was diag­nosed with inop­er­a­ble esophageal can­cer in August 2011. He received a com­bi­na­tion of tra­di­tional Native Amer­i­can and con­ven­tional mod­ern med­ical ther­a­pies at an Ari­zona clinic. Even­tu­ally, the can­cer spread to his tongue, lymph nodes and lungs, friends said.

Our dad and hus­band now walks among our ances­tors,” the fam­ily state­ment said.

Poc­a­hon­tas became Disney’s third highest-selling video ever. Means also voiced Powhatan in the 1998 direct-to-video Dis­ney release Poc­a­hon­tas II: Jour­ney to a New World.

He voiced both the Chief Sen­try and the Shaman in the 2008 direct-to-DVD movie Turok: Son of Stone. Means was a guest actor in the 1997 Duck­man episode “Role With It,” in which Duck­man takes his fam­ily on an edu­ca­tional trip to a “gen­uine Indian reser­va­tion” — which turns out to be a casino.

Means nar­rated Trevor Jones’ 2010 ani­mated the­atri­cal short The Sasquatch and the Girl.

He was described by the Los Ange­les Times as the most famous Amer­i­can Indian since Sit­ting Bull and Crazy Horse.

A for­mer Lib­er­tar­ian Party can­di­date for United States pres­i­dent, he lost the nom­i­na­tion to Con­gress­man Ron Paul at the party’s 1987 national convention.

Rus­sell Charles Means was born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reser­va­tion of South Dakota’s Oglala Sioux on Novem­ber 10, 1939. He was the eldest son of Hank Means, an Oglala Sioux, and Theodora (Feather) Means, a full-blooded Yank­ton Sioux.

Shortly after the out­break of the Sec­ond World War, his fam­ily moved to Cal­i­for­nia, where he grad­u­ated from San Lean­dro High in 1958 and con­tin­ued his for­mal edu­ca­tion at Oak­land City Col­lege and Ari­zona State. Russell’s com­mit­ment to uplift the plight of his peo­ple esca­lated when he served as direc­tor of Cleveland’s Amer­i­can Indian Cen­ter. It was there that he met Den­nis Banks, co-founder of the Amer­i­can Indian Move­ment, and embarked upon a rela­tion­ship that would rocket them both into national prominence.

He had been an activist for Native Amer­i­can rights since the 1960s, when he began protest­ing col­lege and pro­fes­sional sports teams’ use of Indian images as mas­cots. Means described these as demean­ing car­i­ca­tures of his people.

In 1968, he joined the AIM, soon ris­ing to be one of the group’s best-known lead­ers. In 1972, he took part in an occu­pa­tion of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs head­quar­ters in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The fol­low­ing year, he led the 72-day stand­off with fed­eral author­i­ties at Wounded Knee on Pine Ridge.

Arrested many times dur­ing his years of protest, and was jailed on sev­eral occasions.

Means joined “The Longest Walk” in 1978 to protest a new tide of anti-Indian leg­is­la­tion includ­ing the forced ster­il­iza­tion of Indian women. Fol­low­ing the walk, the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives passed a res­o­lu­tion say­ing that national pol­icy was to pro­tect the rights of Indi­ans, “to believe, express and exer­cise their tra­di­tional reli­gions, includ­ing but not lim­ited to access to sites, use and pos­ses­sion of sacred objects, and the free­dom to wor­ship through cer­e­mo­ni­als and tra­di­tional rites.”

In the early 2000s, he ran sev­eral times for pres­i­dent of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, but was defeated each time. Means became an actor start­ing as Daniel Day-Lewis’ adopted father, Chief Chin­gach­gook, in the 1992 block­buster Last of the Mohi­cans. He appeared in over 30 films and TV shows pro­duc­tions, includ­ing Oliver Stone’s Nat­ural Born Killers (1994) and Pathfinder (2007). In other major fea­ture films, he had lead roles as a chief in John Candy’s com­edy Wag­ons East and as the ghost of Jim Thorpe in Wind Run­ner.

He also worked in a tele­vi­sion doc­u­men­tary for HBO, Paha Sapa; and Indian Father and Son, a pilot he cre­ated. He wrote two albums of protest music, Elec­tric War­rior and The Rad­i­cal. On the tech­no­log­i­cal side, he starred in a CD-ROM, Under A Killing Moon.

He split his time between San Jose, New Mex­ico; his ranch on the Pine Ridge Sioux Indian reser­va­tion; and his office in Santa Mon­ica, Cal­i­for­nia. He took pride in hav­ing insti­tuted pro­grams for the bet­ter­ment of his peo­ple: notably, the Por­cu­pine Health Clinic (the only non-government funded clinic in Indian Coun­try) and KILI radio, the first Indian-owned radio station.

One of his prin­ci­pal goals was the estab­lish­ment of a “Total Immer­sion School,” based on a con­cept cre­ated by the Maori peo­ple of New Zealand, where chil­dren are immersed in the lan­guage, cul­ture, sci­ence, music and sto­ry­telling of their own people.

Rus­sell Means was pre­de­ceased by his brother Ted. He was mar­ried five times — the last to his widow, Pearl. He had 10 children.

The fam­ily has not yet final­ized funeral plans. How­ever, fel­low AIM founder Den­nis Banks said he under­stands that Means will be cre­mated, and that his life will be cel­e­brated over four days of cer­e­monies that prob­a­bly will begin Thursday.

Silver Surfer actor Bernard Behrens Dies at 85

Bernard Behrens

Bernard Behrens

British-born Cana­dian the­atre, TV and film actor Bernard “Bunny” Behrens, the voice of Nietre in the Mar­vel Enterprises/Saban Enter­tain­ment series Sil­ver Surfer, died Sep­tem­ber 19 in Perth, Ontario, just shy of his 86th birthday.

Sil­ver Surfer aired on FOX in the United States and Tele­toon in Canada. Har­lan Elli­son was one of its writers.

Behrens also pro­vided addi­tional voices in 1981’s Smurfs.

He voiced Obi-Wan Kenobi in the National Pub­lic Radio drama­ti­za­tions of Star Wars (1981), The Empire Strikes Back (1983) and Return of the Jedi (1996).

In 1992, he won the Gem­ini — the Cana­dian equiv­a­lent of the Emmy — for Best Per­for­mance by an Actor in a Lead­ing Role in a Dra­matic Pro­gram or Mini-Series in con­nec­tion with his work in Say­ing Good­bye. He won a 1995 Gem­ini for Best Per­for­mance by an Actor in a Sup­port­ing Role for the TV-movie Com­ing of Age.

Behrens received Gem­ini nom­i­na­tions in 1986 for Best Per­for­mance by a Sup­port­ing Actor for the TV-movie Turn­ing to Stone, and in 2005 for Best Per­for­mance by an Actor in a Guest Role (Dra­matic Series) for This Is Won­der­land.

As a boy in Depression-era Lon­don, the city of his birth, Behrens dreamed from age 7 of being a Hol­ly­wood actor. He escaped the pri­va­tions of poverty when he sneaked into movie the­atres to live out the fan­tasy world of Cary Grant, Jimmy Stew­art, Irene Dunne and Myrna Loy, a world he even­tu­ally immersed him­self in for more than half a century.

As a child evac­uee dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, he was forced to live by his wits with a fos­ter fam­ily, an expe­ri­ence he never for­got and which often haunted him through­out his life.

His path took him every­where from the Bris­tol Old Vic to Cana­dian Play­ers Tours in the 1950s and 1960s, the TV and radio ser­vices of the Cana­dian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion in their golden age; Toronto’s Crest The­atre; Halifax’s Nep­tune (where he and his wife were found­ing mem­bers under the direc­tion of Leon Major); the Strat­ford and Shaw Fes­ti­vals; and a decade in Hol­ly­wood, where his appear­ances in 1970s series from Dal­las, Starsky and Hutch and The Bionic Woman to Columbo and Mar­cus Welby, MD, among many oth­ers, still grace late-night TV.

Behrens appeared in hun­dreds of films and TV shows, and always gen­er­ously shared humor­ous anec­dotes about his work with folks in the business.

Diag­nosed with demen­tia four years ago, he had his final gigs as the much-loved Young Far­ley in the Shaw Fes­ti­val pro­duc­tion of Belle Moral, along with a brief appear­ance in the TV pro­gram Liv­ing in Your Car.

His final years were spent in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario and, for the last year of his life, in Perth, where he was cared for in Lanark Lodge. Also in Perth, he met the actors and enjoyed a per­for­mance at the Clas­sic The­atre Fes­ti­val, run by his daughter-in-law, Lau­rel Smith. The last show he attended was a pro­duc­tion of Mary, Mary in Perth, in which he starred 50 years ago in its Cana­dian pre­miere at the Nep­tune Theatre.

His pic­ture (along­side that of fel­low Cana­dian actor Ted Fol­lows) graced the Fes­ti­val lobby through­out the summer.

When Behrens suf­fered a major stroke a month before his death, an atten­dant who rec­og­nized him asked if he used to be an actor. Despite dif­fi­culty talk­ing and mov­ing, he responded, with his trade­mark tongue and atti­tude, “I still AM an actor!”

Bunny, as he insisted on being called, was mar­ried to Cana­dian actress Deb­o­rah Cass (nee Ber­nice Katz) for almost 50 years until her death in 2004. He is sur­vived by sons Mark, of Dal­las, Texas; Matthew, of Perth; and Adam, of Lon­don; and by grand­chil­dren Tay­lor, Spenser and Kate.

A cel­e­bra­tion of the lives of Bunny Behrens and Deb­o­rah Cass is being planned, with details to be announced soon.

Arrange­ments are in the care of Blair & Son Funeral Direc­tors, Perth, (613) 267‑3765.

A Face­book trib­ute page was planned.

In lieu of flow­ers, the fam­ily asked that dona­tions (tax-deductible) be made to the Clas­sic The­atre Fes­ti­val (www.classictheatre.ca at the Donate Now button).

John Clive was John Lennon in Yellow Submarine

John Clive

John Clive

Actor John Clive, the voice of John Lennon in the 1968 Bea­t­les car­toon movie Yel­low Sub­ma­rine, died after a short ill­ness, his fam­ily said Mon­day. He was 79.

The star of such movies at A Clock­work Orange, The Pink Pan­ther Strikes Again and the orig­i­nal 1969 ver­sion of The Ital­ian Job, he became an inter­na­tional best-selling author.

The deci­sion to cast Clive as Lennon was con­tro­ver­sially kept quiet after the Bea­t­les opted against pro­vid­ing their own voices in all but the live-action finale to Yel­low Sub­ma­rine.

Born in North Lon­don on Jan­u­ary 6, 1933, Clive appeared in over a hun­dred film and TV per­for­mances. Leg­endary film critic Dylis Pow­ell picked up on him early in his career as the unc­tu­ous, ritzy car man­ager, divest­ing Michael Caine of some of his ill-gotten gains in The Ital­ian Job.

Other films included A Clock­work Orange. He was in Carry On Abroad.

On TV, he appeared notably in Wear a Very Big Hat, directed by Ken Loach, and in The Sweeney and Ris­ing Damp twice. Then he starred in the comedy-drama series Per­ils of Pen­dragon for BBC TV. Then he took the lead as Pro­fes­sor Som­merby in the children’s series Roberts Robots for ITV.

More tele­vi­sion series fol­lowed. He played the Barry Fitzger­ald part in How Green Was My Val­ley for BBC TV. He then did another series, The Gov­ern­ment Inspec­tor, again for BBC TV.

He was Hinks in The His­tory of Mr Polly and the Rev­erend Boon in Tropic for ATV.

He played Mr Dumby in Lady Windermere’s Fan for BBC TV and more recently appeared in Casu­alty and Young Indi­ana Jones. He was in the award-winning com­edy series Ten Per­centers. He also did a fea­ture film, RPM, directed by Ian Sharp.

But there was another side of his work that wasn’t often connected.

His comic tal­ent as a char­ac­ter actor was unusual in that it con­trasted sharply with his tal­ent as a writer. He wrote the inter­na­tional best-seller KG200 and such other fact-based fic­tion as as The Last Lib­er­a­tor, Barossa and Bro­ken Wings.

Clive lived in Spain and in Lon­don with his wife Bry­ony. She is Cana­dian and they met in a play. In the play, he was a psy­chi­a­trist and she was one of his patients, who believed she was Mar­lene Diet­rich. At the end, they were sup­posed to fall in love. And that is where fic­tion became reality.

John Clive is sur­vived by a son, Alexan­der, and a daugh­ter, Han­nah, from his pre­vi­ous mar­riage. Bry­ony has a son, Deane, from hers.

Geof­frey Hughes, the voice of Paul McCart­ney in Yel­low Sub­ma­rine, died July 27 at 68.

Dan Thompson won Daytime Emmy as Rugrats Director



Ani­ma­tor, direc­tor and pro­ducer Dan Thomp­son, who shared a Day­time Emmy for his work on Rugrats, died August 19.

His age was not imme­di­ately available.

As a direc­tor of Rugrats, he received a Day­time Emmy for Out­stand­ing Ani­mated Pro­gram in 1992. He shared a nom­i­na­tion in the same cat­e­gory in 1993.

Thomp­son pro­duced the TV series G.I. Joe (1985–86) and Jem (1987–88), as well as an episode of Swamp Thing (1991).

He directed the series Camp Candy (1990), Swamp Thing, Iron Man (1995–96) and The Incred­i­ble Hulk (1996). As well, he was super­vis­ing direc­tor of the 1983 mini-series G.I. Joe: A Real Amer­i­can Hero and direc­tor of the 1984 mini-series G.I. Joe: The Revenge of Cobra.

He served as ani­ma­tion direc­tor of The Incred­i­ble Hulk (1982–83) and McGee and Me! (1989–90). A key ani­ma­tor for the “Taarna” seg­ment of the 1981 movie Heavy Metal, he ani­mated the 1984 movie Katy, la oruga, along with the TV-movies Clerow Wil­son and the Mir­a­cle of P.S. 14 (1972) and Clerow Wilson’s Great Escape (1974).

In 1984, Thomp­son served as sequence direc­tor for the the­atri­cal movie Galla­vants and the Trans­form­ers TV series.

Tim­ing direc­tor for the 1990 series Tiny Toon Adven­tures and 2000 video Mon­ster Mash, he was an ani­ma­tion and/or sheet timer for the TV series The Wild Thorn­ber­rys (1999), Rocket Power (1999–2002) and As Told by Gin­ger (2003–06), as well as the 2002 TV-movie Inspec­tor Gadget’s Last Case: Claw’s Revenge.

Since 1973, he worked for Krantz, Hanna-Barbera, Mar­vel, Dis­ney, Warner Bros., Graz, Uni­ver­sal, Fun­ny­bone, DIC, Sun­bow, Klasky-Csupo and Nickelodeon.

Thomp­son was also known for his “urban folk” art, mount­ing a very suc­cess­ful show at The Ani­ma­tion Guild’s Gallery 839 in Octo­ber 2010.

Michael Rye, 94, was Cartoondom’s Lone Ranger

Michael Rye

Michael Rye

Voiceover actor Michael Rye, who had the title role in the 1966 For­mat Films car­toon series “The Lone Ranger,” died Sun­day in Los Ange­les after a short ill­ness. He was 94.

Rye was a main­stay in many car­toon series and radio shows.

Born J. Rior­den Bills­bury in Chicago, he voiced Duke Igth­orn and King Gre­gor, Malsinger and Troll the horse on Disney’s “Gummi Bears,” and Green Lantern and Apache Chief on “The All-New Super Friends Hour” and “Chal­lenge of the “Super Friends.”

Rye was Mr. Slaghoople in 1986’s “The Flint­stone Kids.”

He was part of the Hanna-Barbera sta­ble of voice actors, and was heard often in “Scooby-Doo,” “Pound Pup­pies” and many other HB car­toon series.

Dur­ing the Golden Age of radio, Rye acted in about 40 net­work shows dur­ing an aver­age week. He had the lead role on “Jack Arm­strong — The All Amer­i­can Boy.” As well, he was Gary Cur­tis on “Ma Perkins,” Tim Lawrence on “The Guid­ing Light,” and Pem­brook on “Back­stage Wife.”

Michael Rye is sur­vived by his wife, the for­mer Patri­cia Foster.

Dona­tions may be made to the Amer­i­can Can­cer Society.

IMAX developer, director Roman Kroitor dies at 85

Roman Kroitor

Roman Kroitor

Cana­dian and world cin­ema lost a true giant Sun­day with the death of film pio­neer and for­mer National Film Board of Canada film­maker Roman Kroitor.

Born on Decem­ber 12, 1926 in York­ton, Saskatchewan, Kroitor made enor­mous con­tri­bu­tions to film-making dur­ing his tenure at the NFB in the 1950s and 1960s, devel­op­ing the IMAX giant-screen for­mat at the NFB’s Mon­treal studio.

Most recently, the NFB and Kroitor were again cre­ative part­ners as the NFB ani­ma­tion stu­dio, led by ani­ma­tor Munro Fer­gu­son, devel­oped new cre­ative appli­ca­tions for IMAX Corporation’s hand-drawn 3D stereo­scopic ani­ma­tion tech­nique, SANDDE.

Kroitor co-produced the 2000 Imax Cor­po­ra­tion fea­turette Cyber­World. Made in 3D ani­ma­tion, the film opened on 21 IMAX screens, mak­ing $278,000 over its first week­end. By the week­end of Sep­tem­ber 29, 2002, it had grossed $11.2 million.

He wrote the NFB ani­mated short It’s A Crime (1957), pro­duced Pro­pa­ganda Mes­sage (1974), and pro­duced and directed In the Labyrinth, released as a the­atri­cal film in 1979.

It was his col­lab­o­ra­tion on the ground­break­ing multi-screen project In the Labyrinth for Expo 67 in Mon­treal that would set the stage for a new chap­ter in Kroitor’s life — as well as a new era in cinema.

Co-directed by Kroitor with Colin Low and Hugh O’Connor, and co-produced with Tom Daly, the ani­ma­tion was an immer­sive cin­ema expe­ri­ence that caused a sen­sa­tion at the Mon­treal world’s fair dur­ing Canada’s cen­ten­nial year. That same year, Kroitor chose to leave the NFB to fur­ther develop the process he helped pio­neer with In the Labyrinth in the pri­vate sec­tor, co-founding Multi-Screen Corporation.

Roman Kroitor was a remark­able man who has made out­sized con­tri­bu­tions to cin­ema as a film­maker, pro­ducer, and cre­ative and tech­ni­cal inno­va­tor,” said Gov­ern­ment Film Com­mis­sioner Tom Perl­mut­ter, chair­per­son of the NFB. “He was a leg­end whose relent­less pace of inven­tive­ness con­tin­ued through­out a long and pro­duc­tive career. His death is a ter­rific loss to the NFB, Canada and the world of cinema.”

Kroitor was a lead­ing light in direct cin­ema and the new doc­u­men­tary approaches that would put the NFB and Canada at the fore­front of a rev­o­lu­tion in audio­vi­sual sto­ry­telling, with works such as Paul Tomkow­icz: Street-railway Switch­man and the Can­did Eye series.

His cre­ative part­ner­ships with Wolf Koenig and Colin Low resulted in some of the NFB’s most acclaimed doc­u­men­taries of all time, includ­ing Glenn Gould — On & Off the Record, Lonely Boy, Stravin­sky and Uni­verse. As a pro­ducer, Kroitor was involved in the devel­op­ment of fic­tion films at the NFB, start­ing with Don Owen’s land­mark 1964 fea­ture Nobody Waved Good­bye.

Kroitor also played a role in the cre­ation of the Star Wars con­cept “The Force.” Direc­tor George Lucas was an admirer of the work of NFB exper­i­men­tal film­maker Arthur Lipsett and has cred­ited a con­ver­sa­tion between Kroitor and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence pio­neer War­ren S. McCul­loch, excerpted in Lipsett’s 1963 col­lage film 21–87, as part of his inspiration.

But it was a single-projector giant-screen sys­tem that held the most promise for Roman. Co-inventing the IMAX film sys­tem and form­ing IMAX Cor­po­ra­tion, Kroitor and his team set about redefin­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties of cinema.

The NFB remained very much a part of that cre­ative devel­op­ment, with the NFB’s Mon­treal head­quar­ters serv­ing as the birth­place for the new medium. The very first IMAX film in 1970, Tiger Child, made for the Osaka world’s fair, was directed by Don­ald Brit­tain. In the years to come, the NFB worked with Kroitor and Imax on such break­throughs as the first IMAX 3D film, Tran­si­tions, and first IMAX HD film, Momen­tum, both directed for the NFB by Colin Low and Tony Ianzelo.

Kroitor returned to the NFB for sev­eral years, begin­ning in the mid-1970s, to head dra­matic pro­duc­tions, pro­duc­ing such acclaimed works as Giles Walker’s Brav­ery in the Field and John N. Smith’s First Win­ter.

Roman is sur­vived by his wife Janet and chil­dren Paul, Tanya, Lesia, Stephanie and Yvanna. Yvanna Kroitor nar­rated the 1979 NFB ani­mated short Sea Dream.