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GreenCine Movie Talk
Star Power
Discuss the people who make what we watch.
59

Obits 2008
Topic by: Cinenaut
Posted: January 16, 2008 - 9:55 AM PST
Last Reply: January 14, 2009 - 9:20 AM PST

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author topic: Obits 2008
Cinenaut
post #1  on January 16, 2008 - 9:55 AM PST  
Maila "Vampira" Nurmi, aged 85? 86?, passed away in her sleep. Time to watch Plan 9 From Outer Space again.

Also, Brad Renfro, age 25.
underdog
post #2  on January 16, 2008 - 11:03 AM PST  
I still can't believe Renfro - though on the other hand, given his long running battles with drug addiction, it's no surprise at all. Certainly tragic, though.

More here at GC Daily.
Vanamonde
post #3  on January 16, 2008 - 1:39 PM PST  
> On January 16, 2008 - 11:03 AM PST underdog wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I still can't believe Renfro
>

"I've seen the Needle and the Damage Done,
I've seen a part of it in everyone,
But every junkie is like a setting sun."

- Neil Young

"Man with the Golden Arm", "Panic in Needle Park", "Sid and Nancy"

I cannot believe we are still fighting this demon in this new century. There was even a fashion trend to celebrate this pathology - heroin chic!

And of course, the U.S. government undid the only good thing the freaking Taliban ever did and make Afghanistan safe for the heroin producers.

I always tried to convince my friends that "the only dope worth shooting up is Richard Nixon" but still I had to bury a few.

"I've seen people with tombstone in their eyes,
...
If I was President of this land,
I would declare total war on the Pusherman,
I would stab him if he stands,
Or shoot him if runs,
I would kill him with my Bible, my razor, and my gun,

GAWD DAMN the Pusherman!"

- Hoyt Axton

A simplestic solution born of grief. I really don't support violence in any form, but I certainly can second the emotion.
underdog
post #4  on January 22, 2008 - 2:48 PM PST  
More shocking than Renfro's death, Heath Ledger, found dead in a NYC apartment. Awful, awful. Didn't see that one coming. Sounds like it's a suicide. Wow. I'm just speechless.
underdog
post #5  on January 22, 2008 - 2:48 PM PST  
Anyone see that one coming?

Best performance of Ledger's career was clearly in Brokeback Mountain, imho, but he had some other good ones, too.
AstroAppa
post #6  on January 22, 2008 - 3:41 PM PST  
> On January 22, 2008 - 2:48 PM PST underdog wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Anyone see that one coming?
>
> Best performance of Ledger's career was clearly in Brokeback Mountain, imho, but he had some other good ones, too.
> ---------------------------------

Yeah, he was definitely an actor on the rise. Beautiful performances in 'Monsters Ball', 'Brokeback', etc... I read that after '10 Things I Hate About You' he was offered a lot of that type of teen movie scripts, but turned them down to wait for something better; got to respect that. Quite a shame really he was one of my favorite up and coming actors. His Joker is going to be legendary now.
underdog
post #7  on January 22, 2008 - 4:08 PM PST  
I almost feel the same way about this untimely loss that I did when River Phoenix died. Don't know if you remember that but I was really upset (I didn't know he'd had drug issues so it was more of a shock to me than maybe it was to his inner circle), but he was so incredibly talented and was only going to get better and better. Ledger, too, had so many things ahead of him.

Wow, poor Terry Gilliam, too - another cursed production. If he hadn't finished shooting his Dr. Parnassus film, he probably have to start over.
MsManners
post #8  on January 22, 2008 - 4:36 PM PST  
It's a real shame. The good ones die young, huh? Suicide or OD, both are terrible ways to go.
Cinenaut
post #9  on January 23, 2008 - 9:06 AM PST  
Yes, the death of Heath Ledger is totally shocking. I saw a section of The Dark Knight at an Imax theater before a showing of I Am Legend (zzzzzZZZZZ), and it really seemed quite good. It hits you harder when you know the actor had the potential of a long, interesting career in him.

artifex
post #10  on January 24, 2008 - 9:57 AM PST  
Ledger wasn't on my radar, but Renfro's death was a shock to me. I thought he was in rehab or something, working it out. Renfro's death reminded me more of Jonathan Brandis' death, actually, because both had seemed to have careers that were flagging. And if Ledger did kill himself, that's a similarity to Brandis' situation, also.
weezy
post #11  on January 24, 2008 - 11:26 AM PST  
I read this eerie article that discusses the similarities between Ledger's death and the two scheduled releases from him - "Dark Knight" and ""The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus".

Some of it sounds a bit like conspiracy but it's an interesting read nonetheless.

Article: This Joke is Not Funny
hamano
post #12  on January 25, 2008 - 5:34 AM PST  
It's interesting how these two died so close together in time, but how they died is perhaps not as compelling as "decapitation by helicopter" (Vic Morrow) or "shot with prop gun" (Brandon Lee)... how long before we forget Renfro and Ledger and how they died? Their deaths are unfortunately just too common among actors, notable mostly for the sense of waste...
Cinenaut
post #13  on January 25, 2008 - 8:48 AM PST  
Oh, c'mon! There are lots of people who fondly remember River Phoenix or John Belushi, but would never give a thought to Vic Morrow, unless maybe they happened to be taking a helicopter ride that day.

An unusual death can give an actor a Jayne Mansifeld type of urban legend notoriety, but a fondly remembered personality or career is a different story.

Lots of people remember Brandon Lee, but not Jon-Erik Hexum.

> On January 25, 2008 - 5:34 AM PST hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> It's interesting how these two died so close together in time, but how they died is perhaps not as compelling as "decapitation by helicopter" (Vic Morrow) or "shot with prop gun" (Brandon Lee)... how long before we forget Renfro and Ledger and how they died? Their deaths are unfortunately just too common among actors, notable mostly for the sense of waste...
> ---------------------------------

artifex
post #14  on January 25, 2008 - 9:07 AM PST  
Vic Morrow wasn't the only one killed in that crash. He wasn't even the only one decapitated. Personally, I'm more compelled by what happens off the set, with things like drug abuse leading to death, or suicide, than I am by what might be thought of as industrial accidents.

A helicopter falling on a guy doesn't tell me anything about his life. The fact that someone would deliberately hang themselves does.
hamano
post #15  on January 25, 2008 - 11:31 AM PST  
What I'm saying is River Phoenix is remembered today more for his body of work than the circumstances of his death. Same with James Dean, I'd say.

I'm not sure the same can be said for the "legacy" left behind by Renfro and Ledger. I'm not sure their careers transcend those of Brandon Lee or Vic Morrow. In that respect the circumstances of their deaths become more important biographically and/or allegorically (maybe in the long term Ledger's legacy will be raised higher for stuff like Monster's Ball or Brokeback, but to me he's still the guy from A Knight's Tale...)

Yes, the behind-the-scenes dissolution of the lives of public figures is interesting, in a tabloid sense as well as a literary sense. But as I said these are not unusual stories, perhaps all too common. Unless someone does a Sid & Nancy on Heath Ledger, his death is not that shocking or compelling... Renfro hardly pops up on the radar.
Vanamonde
post #16  on January 25, 2008 - 9:10 PM PST  
Those of a certain age will forever remember Vic Morrow from his role in the "Combat!" TV series.

The thang about the this horrible accident is that two children were killed who should not have been working so late at night. Jon Landis broke several child labor laws and paid dearly for it.

I met the man personally, years afterward and he is still quite remorseful about it. He has to live this everyday.

Me, I like to remember Landis for "The Blues Brothers", one of the greatest comedy and musicals of all time.

Cinenaut
post #17  on January 26, 2008 - 7:28 PM PST  
Christian Brando, 49. He spent way too much time in the tabloid headlines.
WimsWings
post #18  on January 28, 2008 - 12:26 AM PST  
> On January 25, 2008 - 11:31 AM PST hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> What I'm saying is River Phoenix is remembered today more for his body of work than the circumstances of his death. Same with James Dean, I'd say.
>
> I'm not sure the same can be said for the "legacy" left behind by Renfro and Ledger. I'm not sure their careers transcend those of Brandon Lee or Vic Morrow. In that respect the circumstances of their deaths become more important biographically and/or allegorically (maybe in the long term Ledger's legacy will be raised higher for stuff like Monster's Ball or Brokeback, but to me he's still the guy from A Knight's Tale...)
>
> Yes, the behind-the-scenes dissolution of the lives of public figures is interesting, in a tabloid sense as well as a literary sense. But as I said these are not unusual stories, perhaps all too common. Unless someone does a Sid & Nancy on Heath Ledger, his death is not that shocking or compelling... Renfro hardly pops up on the radar.
> ---------------------------------

First time visitor to these boards. Admittedly it was the news of Heath Ledger's sudden death that led me here, curious what the authors of such wide-ranging member lists and, largely, thoughtful reviews would make of the loss of a young actor who seemed both limitless and evermore deft at his craft. Where his death ranks on the Mansfield-Morrow bar is not really the point, is it?

The emotive heft derives solely from the sudden absence - not how unseemly or shocking the circumstances. Not to meanly spot anyone out but Brad Renfro should be on every GreenCine member's radar. It's unfortunate that what consumes so many people, so young, took him down too. Not sure their careers transcend those of Brandon Lee and Vic Morrow? Are you serious? I think Renfro's varied and naturalistic - mostly independent - resume can counter that claim. Undoubtedly Ledger's body of work will do the same with or without the release of "The Dark Knight" (rent "Candy" if your tread is stuck on what he could and couldn't do).

Both Ryan Gosling and Daniel Day-Lewis championed Heath Ledger's solid talent and gifts as a person at this evening's SAG awards. Surely our discussion - engaged movie people all - could turn on those same markers instead of reductively weighing-in on the allegorical and/or tabloid worthiness of an actor's death.
hamano
post #19  on January 28, 2008 - 4:54 PM PST  
> On January 28, 2008 - 12:26 AM PST WimsWings wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Not sure their careers transcend those of Brandon Lee and Vic Morrow? Are you serious? I think Renfro's varied and naturalistic - mostly independent - resume can counter that claim.

I'm not so sure about that. And I think the "mostly independent" is a telling distinction. If you really delve into film history, there have been THOUSANDS of actors with incredible talent who starred in GREAT films that few people ever saw. I really think the whole "independent" label is a commercially conceived pseudo-category nowadays, and a resume that includes a lot of performances in them, however wonderful from a acting technique aspect, probably won't make a big impression in film history. River Phoenix was lucky he was cast in "independent" films that also had a lot of cultural impact beyond just the script and acting and direction.
WimsWings
post #20  on January 29, 2008 - 7:09 PM PST  
> On January 28, 2008 - 4:54 PM PST hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On January 28, 2008 - 12:26 AM PST WimsWings wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > Not sure their careers transcend those of Brandon Lee and Vic Morrow? Are you serious? I think Renfro's varied and naturalistic - mostly independent - resume can counter that claim.
>
> I'm not so sure about that. And I think the "mostly independent" is a telling distinction. If you really delve into film history, there have been THOUSANDS of actors with incredible talent who starred in GREAT films that few people ever saw. I really think the whole "independent" label is a commercially conceived pseudo-category nowadays, and a resume that includes a lot of performances in them, however wonderful from a acting technique aspect, probably won't make a big impression in film history. River Phoenix was lucky he was cast in "independent" films that also had a lot of cultural impact beyond just the script and acting and direction.
> ---------------------------------
I will grant you that "independent" as a distinctive qualifier simply doesn't work anymore. My reason behind the Renfro insertion was to emphasize that it doesn't really matter how exhaustive the filmography or which studio was at the helm. If the performance resonates with you then you honor the actor's intent, the study of the craft.

Obviously saying who will be better remembered and for which films is a wholly subjective banner, yielding to personal preference as well as generational cues and what continues to excite all of us about the medium of film. River Phoenix or, perhaps more acutely, his death, was a touchstone for those who are nearing 40. I remember watching his movies on cable and VHS, splayed in living rooms with movie posters for "My Beautiful Launderette" on the wall. Likewise, I enjoyed much of what he created but I seldom read a contemporary corollary to his contribution -except when another seemingly otherworldly talented actor dies too young.

Finally, I can tell that your purview of Brandon Lee and Vic Morrow's work is beyond mine. I sadly read about one passing in Rolling Stone and the other in People magazine at the doctor's office, respectively. "The Crow" and "Jennifer Jason Leigh's Father" were my adolescent lens. And of course I concur that there are innumerable excellent movies with actors who are little known. My now lukewarm pique rests with the comment about Heath Ledger's film "legacy" being unable to transcend his tragic death. Not convinced of Renfro's worth many years later...sure, I get that. But Ledger? I just, politely, don't see how you could arrive at that assertion given the caliber of what we have seen from him throughout his brief career.


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