End Credits #5: Cinema's 2012 Lost Treasures
Character and Supporting Actors Lost to Us in 2012 Part 1
There are a large number of films with important contributions from often overlooked supporting and character actors, some of whom were sadly lost to us in 2012.
Frank Cady, who passed away at the age of 96 on June 8 2012, appeared uncredited in numerous prominent films such as Mr. Deeds Goes To Town (1936) as one of the farmers, D.O.A. (1950), as Eddie the friendly local bartender, and as a night clerk looking at a police line-up in The Asphalt Jungle (1950). He received credit in next year's Ace in the Hole, memorably sympathetic as Mr. Federber (see picture) with his wife proudly announcing to a radio reporter they were the first visitors on the scene of a man trapped in a cave. He portrayed Harold Ferris in When Worlds Collide (also 1951). Also worth noting is Cady as an F.B.I. agent in The Atomic City and Bennie Amboy in The Sellout (both 1952), his appearance on a fire escape in Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954), as Trader Joe in 1955's The Indian Fighter, and Henry Daigle in The Bad Seed (1956). Cady was best known however for his recurring character Sam Drucker appearing in no less than three successful television series Petticoat Junction, Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies (variably running from 1963 to 1971). His last theatrical motion picture role was as Pa Tater in Hearts of the West in 1975 and his last performance all together was as Sam Drucker for Return to Green Acres a TV movie in 1990.
Another familiar face belongs to R.G. Armstrong who, along with Cady, had a long life until 95 years of age. Armstrong was lost to us on July 27, 2012 and made a wealth of memorable film and television characters come to life. He studied with Lee Strasberg at The Actor's Studio and lent solid, typically intensive support in No Name on the Bullet, appeared as Sheriff Jordan Talbot in Sidney Lumet's The Fugitive Kind (both 1959), and played religious fanatic Joshua Knudsen in Sam Peckinpah's Ride The High Country (1962). He then became somewhat of a Peckinpah regular in the same director's Major Dundee (1965), The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970) and Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid (pictured here in 1973). Armstrong was notably effective as rancher Kevin MacDonald in Howard Hawks' El Dorado (1966). He also acted for director Warren Beatty in Heaven Can Wait (1978) and Reds (1981). He portrayed General Phillips in 1987's Predator, and worked again for Beatty as Pruneface in 1990's Dick Tracy.
Another actor like Armstrong, who frequently inhabited strong and intense characters, was Luke Askew who died on March 29, 2012 at age 80. One will find him in Cool Hand Luke (1967), Will Penny (1968) and Easy Rider (pictured in 1969) in his early years. A little later (like Armstrong) he also played a part in Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid (1973) and in later years portrayed Sheriff Smalls in Bill Paxton's Frailty (2001). He additionally acted alongside Paxton in television's Big Love (2007-2010).
Also making a strong impression due to his facial scarring and low gravely voice was actor Richard Lynch. He studied acting with Uta Hagen and Lee Strasberg, which led to his performances on and off Broadway and a lifetime membership in the New York Actors Studio. In his film acting debut he played a loathsome prison inmate in 1973's Scarecrow, created a formidable Nazi General in 1980's The Formula (pictured) and acted in various other film and television movies and series right up to his death on June 12 2012 at the age of 72. Worth noting is his appearance in the anti-drug documentary The Mindbenders (1978), in which he candidly discusses the burn scarring received from his self immolation after taking LSD.
Appearing in typically opposite kinds of parts was actor Steve Franken, who passed away August 24, 2012 at age 80. He made his motion picture debut in Stage Struck in 1958 and can be spotted in a police line-up in the same year's noir Cop Hater. Franken became well know for playing Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. on the TV series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959-1963). After playing quite a few other T.V. parts, he made a most endearing impression as a waiter who gets totally sloshed in 1968's comedy gem The Party (pictured), admirably competing in the scene stealing department with Peter Sellers. He acted in the same year's Panic in the City, as The Lonesome Kid in The Missouri Breaks (1972) and as a technician in the popular Westworld (1973). He also played an administrator in Nurse Betty (2000) and a Cardinal in Angels and Demons (2009).
Next time: 5 more important actors lost to us in Part 2