Arthur Beetson, one of Australia's greatest rugby league players of all time, died suddenly on December 1 at the age of 66. A larger-than-life figure who was a brilliant play maker in the second row for Balmain, Easts and Parramatta, his last major game of football as a player was the inaugural State of Origin clash between Queensland and New South Wales in 1980. The first indigenous Australian to captain a national sporting side, Beetson became a coach, mentor and indigenous community leader in later years. And he even had a go at acting.
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It's probably corny to describe Dennis Hopper as an "icon among iconoclasts", but the mark he left on motion picture history was notable and much admired. And not just because he lived to the age of 74 despite decades of drugs and alcohol.
Hopper died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. He was meant to visit Australia last year to open an exhibition of his photography in Melbourne. He had to pull out at the last minute, and made no further public appearances.
As Australia mourns the passing of Bud Tingwell - who has, indeed, been granted a state funeral next Wednesday - let us cast our minds back to the 1953 war drama "The Desert Rats", in which Tingwell played a minor role. Field Marshall Rommel was played in the same film by James Mason. Today, May 15, is the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Hearing the news in the past hour of the death of Bud Tingwell from prostate cancer at the age of 86 is a bit like feeling that part of Australia's heart and soul has just passed away. A great, lovely, Australian.
Creative writers from the highly-leveraged Channel Nine's publicity department have been spruiking the announcement yesterday that the Haunted House of Packer will be televising next year's Why It Looks Like My Uncle Oscars on February 23 for, in their words, "the first time" in Australia.
Those of us who remember "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" cleaning up the WILLMOOs live on Channel Seven in March 1976 will know otherwise.
There was a time when Charlton Heston, who died yesterday at the age of 83, was a hero of mine. Then I began to appreciate some of the subtleties of screen acting. And well before he became chief evangelist for the Gun Lobby. In the tradition of my Jack Palance obituary, here is my Top Ten List In Chronological Order of my favourite Charlton Heston screen appearances:
Monday (July 16) is the centenary of the birth of Ruby Stevens - Barbara Stanwyck to you. This is a list of my top ten Barbara Stanwyck films of all time, in chronological order:
- The Miracle Woman (1931): An early Frank Capra film with Stanwyck as a fiery female evangelist.
- The Mad Miss Manton (1938): Not a major film, but a favourite screwball comedy co-starring Henry Fonda.
Not much I can say about yesterday's Why It Looks Like My Uncle Oscars as I had only seen one nominated film, which picked up two WILLMUOs.
I was pleased to see "An Inconvenient Truth" win the WILLMUO for best documentary. I saw it at its Australian premiere at the Sydney Film Festival last June and bought the DVD in the week of its release (and have watched it again about three or four times since thus far). There may have been better documentaries over the years, but rarely has one been so relevant to the public conscience.
With the passing of Jack Palance at the age of 87 on Friday, I thought it might be worthwhile to compile a list of my favourite Jack Palance performances on film (with the help of IMDb to jog my memory):
- Shane (1953) memorable western villain
- I Died A Thousand Times (1955) Great villain from that sub-genre of film noir called "Shelley Winters gets murdered again"
- I Mongoli (1962) Hamming it to the hilt as a warlord of Genghis Khan, dubbed into Italian and subtitled back into English