End Credits #10: Cinema's 2013 Lost Treasures Peter O'Toole, Joan Fontaine, Tom Laughlin, Audrey Totter
These are a few of Cinema's sad departures of late 2013 taken from my personal notes soon after the tragic events took place:
Legendary Actor Peter O'Toole has passed away at 81 on December 14, 2013. He was a well deserved Honorary Oscar Winner and contributed mightily to everything he appeared in from the epic (Lawrence of Arabia, Becket) to cult favorites (The Stunt Man, My Favorite Year). My personal choice to celebrate this great actor's contribution to his craft would be Peter Medak's bizarre and wonderful The Ruling Class. I loved him in Troy as well.
It's hard, in a way, to mourn the passing of someone who lived to be 96 years of age, nevertheless losing legendary actress Joan Fontaine on December 15, 2013 is very sad indeed. She made remarkable and indelible impressions in major motion pictures (e.g. The Women, Rebecca, Suspicion, and Jane Eyre amongst others) and minor (Kiss The Blood Off My Hands and The Bigamist). My personal choice for her unique contribution to the acting profession would be the exquisite Letter From an Unknown Woman in the former category and the deliciously fun Born to be Bad in the second.
Actor Tom Laughlin, who convincingly played an important supporting role in South Pacific and appeared in quite a few other motion pictures and television series, was much better known for his Billy Jack films beginning with Born Losers. He was an American actor, director, screenwriter, author, educator and political activist and was lost to us on December 12, 2013 at age 82.
Probably the least recognized of the four, (except to film noir aficionados) is actress Audrey Totter who passed away at age 95 on December 12, 2013. To many of us she was a film noir icon, making strong characters come uniquely to life in such terrific films as The Postman Always Rings Twice, Lady in the Lake, The Unsuspected, High Wall, The Set-Up and, my absolute favourite Totter "bad girl" noir, Tension.