Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Film Obits 1-6-11

Actor Pete Postlethwaite recently died at the age of 64 from cancer. He was earthy and intense, and never gave a bad performance. (I'm fond of great character actors.) I'd rank In the Name of the Father and Brassed Off as his best work of that I've seen, although he was also memorable in The Usual Suspects and The Lost World, among many others.

Director Blake Edwards died at the age of 88 back in December. Among his many comedies, he directed most of the Pink Panther series, starring Peter Sellers. Roy Edroso has two great clips. (I linked one of my other favorites in the comments.)

Anne Francis recently died at the age of 80. Her most iconic role (at least for me) was in the 50s sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet.

I also never wrote anything for one of her co-stars in that film, Leslie Nielsen, who died late last year at 84. Nielsen started as a dramatic actor, but really found his calling with comedy in the Airplane! and Police Squad franchises. Nielsen once demonstrated the difference between acting in drama versus comedy with two line readings. First, he delivered the "dramatic" reading, with appropriate gravitas. Then, he delivered the "comedic" reading – exactly the same way. There are different styles of comedy, but Nielsen understood that his brand depended on him playing everything straight, as a man oblivious to the madness to the world around him, and most of all to his own ridiculousness.

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