Fade to black

Remembering four actors who died on August 29

Lee Marvin, 1987, at the age of 63.

Genuine tough guy — World War II Marine, went through hell in the Pacific Theater. Hit by machine gun fire in 1944, given a medical discharge with the rank of private first class. He had been a corporal but was demoted for being a “trouble maker.” Hobbled home with half a dozen military awards.

In Hollywood he started out playing hard boiled villains and soldiers. He was Detective Lieutenant Frank Ballinger in the TV crime series M Squad which ran from 1957 to 1960.

Leading roles in The Professionals (1966), The Dirty Dozen (1967), Point Blank (1967) and The Big Red One (1980), and won an Academy Award for Best Actor for dual roles in the 1965 comedy Western Cat Ballou.

A favorite role is that of a Mountie in the true story of a Canadian manhunt, the 1981 movie Death Hunt.


Gene Wilder, 2016. He was 83.

Gene did it all — actor, director, screenwriter, producer, singer-songwriter and author. His career began on stage, and his first film role was a hostage in the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde. His landed his first major role and received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in The Producers (1967), his first of several collaborations with director Mel Brooks. The others were Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, both in 1974.

Won acclaim for Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and for his films with Richard Pryor, Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989). 

From Young Frankenstein —


Ingrid Bergman, 1982 at the age of 67.

Starred in many European and American films, TV movies and plays, winning three Academy Awards, two Emmies, a Tony and four Golden Globes. She was great in Gaslight in 1944 — she was great in so many movies, but most of us remember her in the 1942 classic Casablanca.


Jean Hagen, 1977. She was 54.

Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in the 1952’s iconic Singin’ in the Rain. Memorable role as the hapless Doll with Sterling Hayden in the 1950 film noir The Asphalt Jungle.

The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, and in 2008 it was selected to be preserved in the U.S. National Film Registry as “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

All Dix wanted to do was get back home to Kentucky. He finally made it.


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One thought on “Fade to black

  1. My favorites as a kid were Young Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) and Cat Ballou (Lee Marvin) also starring a young and pretty Jane Fonda. I’ve seen both movies numerous times over the years and have enjoyed them both on review.

    However for me, Young Frankenstein has aged the best and still tickles my funny bone. Mel Brooks casting was right on the money with crazy eyes Marty Feldman as Igor and Peter Boyle as the monster. Even Gene Hackman had a cameo as the poor blind man. When you have good actors, usually you have a good movie!

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