Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Again these things happen in 3s

TV lost three stars in a very short time span.

Don Galloway, the actor best known as Det. Sgt. Ed Brown (the primary sidekick of Raymond Burr) on the TV series Ironside, but also appeared in such films as The Big Chill and The Rare Breed has died. He was 71. As research for the role on Ironside, Galloway hung out with Los Angeles Police Department officers and often found himself wondering what it would be like to actually be a peace officer. In 1993, he became a reserve deputy for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, but he left about a year later when he retired from show business. After debuting on TV in 1962 in the CBS soap opera The Secret Storm he appeared in about 70 TV and film projects including the NBC sitcom Tom, Dick and Mary.

Galloway eventually moved to New Hampshire, where he wrote a weekly opinion column for the Union Leader in Manchester for much of 2004. In his column he once described "the seven best sounds on earth". On the list with a kitten purring and stew simmering was Number 7: "A politician not talking. Hasn't happened lately, but could. Maybe. Probably not."

Patrick McGoohan, the Emmy-winning actor who created and starred in the cult classic television show The Prisoner, has died at the age of 80. He was most famous as the character known only as Number Six in The Prisoner, a sci-fi tinged 1960s British series in which a former spy is held captive in a small enclave known only as The Village, where a mysterious authority named Number One constantly prevents his escape. McGoohan came up with the concept and wrote and directed several episodes of the show, which has kept a devoted following in the United States and Europe for four decades. The series ran just one season and 17 episodes in 1967, but its cultural impact remains. He voiced his Number Six character in an episode of The Simpsons in 2000.

McGoohan won two Emmys for his work on the Peter Falk detective drama Columbo, and more recently appeared as King Edward Longshanks in the 1995 Mel Gibson film Braveheart. His first TV acting job was in Disneyland's The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh (1963). In 1964 he starred in the series Danger Man, a more straightforward spy show that initially lasted just one season but was later brought back for three more when its popularity—and McGoohan's—exploded in reruns. He also appeared as a warden in the 1979 Clint Eastwood film Escape from Alcatraz and as a judge in the 1996 John Grisham courtroom drama A Time To Kill.

Ricardo Montalban, the Mexican-born actor who became a star in MGM musicals and later as Mr. Roarke "your host" on TV's Fantasy Island died at the age of 88. Montalban had been a star in Mexican movies when MGM brought him to Hollywood in 1946. He was cast in the leading role opposite Esther Williams in Fiesta, and starred again with Williams in On an Island with You and Neptune's Daughter.

Sr. Montalban was best known as Mr. Roarke, who presided over a tropical island resort where visitors fulfilled their lifelong dreams — usually at the unexpected expense of a difficult life lesson. Montalban was also the celebrity spokesman for mid-1970s models of the Chrysler Cordoba (Montalban became the subject of jokes when he described the car's optional seats as being "available in soft, Corinthian leather.") Star Trek fans (TV & Movies) will always know and love him as Khan.

Montalban helped found the ALMA Awards, which honor and encourage fair portrayals of Latinos in entertainment. In 1970, Montalban organized fellow Latino actors into an organization called Nosotros ("We"), and he became the first president. Their aim: to improve the image of Spanish-speaking Americans on the screen; to assure that Latin-American actors were not discriminated against; to stimulate Latino actors to study their profession.

Good Night Mr. Galloway, Good Night Mr. McGoohan and Bunas Noches Sr. Montalban.

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