Sunday, December 07, 2008

Childhood legends are falling...

Today despite a nasty little cold I'm battling. I'm writing with a heavy heart. This week has been really depressing in the world of cinema. Betty Page, a woman I've had a crush on for a lifetime is in the hospital after suffering a massive heart attack and may not pull through. Beverly Garland whom I grew up and played the hot 2nd wife on "My Three Son's" and some Roger Corman classics such as "Swamp Women" has passed away. 

Then Forrest J. Ackerman, a cult hero of mine as a child reading his "Famous Monsters of Filmland" plus he had a bit part in the movie I mentioned here a few weeks ago "Future War" where he is seen in the park reading his famous mag and is devoured by our rubber dinosaur. He was a sweet man and will be sorely missed. 

Added to that an actor whom I had met and had various conversations with over the years, Paul Benedict. Though his name may not conjure box office hits, he was famous as George Jefferson's neighbor in "The Jefferson's" plus worked with Christopher Guest in "This is Spnal Tap," "Waiting for Guffman" and "Mighty Wind." I first met Mr. Benedict back in '97 when I came back to Martha's Vineyard for a year breather from LA and was working at a friends video store here- (Island Entertainment, one of the best I've ever been in and I'm not just saying that.) 
Paul came in to rent some flicks and I recognized him for "The Jefferson's." We chatted about films from that day on. I worked there for less than a year before going back to LA, but I knew through my friend who is now the owner that he would come in everyday and rent films and chat them up behind the counter. He would even ask Anne, (my friend and owner) to put on certain films that he liked, so that he could show her scenes of brilliance. 

Paul was a quiet fellow who I would see in the grocery store and we would occasionally drive by one another or see each other in the coffee shop. He was a gem of person and my regret as such is life is not to have spoken to him more about film and theater.

Paul was found dead Monday December 1st at his home here on Martha's Vineyard. No one knows how long he had been there, he lived alone and was supposed to be with family on Thanksgiving. He never made it. I had just seen him days prior pass me on the street. Some people you never expect to pass, but this week has really been a quiet reminder about our mortality.

There will be a retrospective of Paul and his work January 17th at the Vineyard Playhouse here on Martha's Vineyard. I will post more info once I know more.