Saturday, March 28, 2015

Obituaries: Gregory Walcott and Others

A few obits from recent days:

Actor Gregory Walcott, a performer who made many films over the decades starring in Clint Eastwood films and in the notable movie Norma Rae, yet will always be remembered as the hero of that incomparable 1959 turkey Plan 9 From Outer Space, has died.

Walcott was 87 years old and had been in poor health for quite some time.

Walcott was an imposing figure who was apparently desperate for a job when he somehow came into contact with the legendary director Edward D. Wood, Jr. I don't know how he could possibly be THAT desperate, for, according to the linked obituary, he made notable films like 1955's Mister Roberts. The Times article states the only reason Walcott lowered himself so much was because the producer was a friend of his.

He was probably the only actor in the stinker who gave a somewhat professional performance.

Mr. Walcott came to accept his bad-film fame with good humor. His last screen role was a cameo in Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood” (1994), about the making of “Plan 9” and its eccentric auteur. Mr. Mattox, his son, said that when a bar called Plan 9 Alehouse opened near his home in Escondido, Calif., last year, he gave the owners, with Mr. Walcott’s blessing, a copy of his “Plan 9” script to use as wallpaper in the men’s room.

“I didn’t want to be remembered for that,” Mr. Walcott told The Los Angeles Times in 2000. “But it’s better to be remembered for something than for nothing, don’t you think?”

I think so.

Here's a brief clip from Plan 9:


Lee Kuan Yew, founding fathr of Singapore, has died at the age of 91.

Mr. Lee was prime minister from 1959, when Singapore gained full self-government from the British, until 1990, when he stepped down. Late into his life he remained the dominant personality and driving force in what he called a First World oasis in a Third World region.

The nation reflected the man: efficient, unsentimental, incorrupt, inventive, forward-looking and pragmatic.

“We are ideology-free,” Mr. Lee said in an interview with The New York Times in 2007, stating what had become, in effect, Singapore’s ideology. “Does it work? If it works, let’s try it. If it’s fine, let’s continue it. If it doesn’t work, toss it out, try another one.”

Actress Sally Forrest, 86, who appeared in many films in the 1940s and 1950s, died March 15 at her home.

The cause was cancer.

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