|Above, Jerry Maren as a Mole Man holds the Electrolux ray gun (far right).|
Sad news arrived in rapid succession this afternoon and this past week.
George Kennedy - An Academy Award-winning actor (for Cool Hand Luke) who has appeared in a number of movies over the decades. He was 91. He specialized in tough-guy roles, but he also had comedic talent. In a couple of Clint Eastwood movies, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and The Eiger Sanction, Kennedy was a scene-stealer.
Jerry Maren - From being one of the Munchkins of The Wizard of Oz to a Mole Man in Superman and The Mole Men, Maren was one of those recognizable actors but whose name may not be known. I met Maren around ten years ago and had him sign a Mole Man poster. He also appeared in commecials as "Little Oscar" for Oscar Meyer and as Buster Brown. He was 96.
UPDATE (MARCH 1): THE MAJOR NEWS MEDIA, WHO REPORTED MAREN'S PASSING, HAVE RETRACTED THE STORY AS HE IS, HAPPILY, VERY MUCH ALIVE.
Charlie Tuna - His real name was Art Ferguson, but we in Los Angeles knew him as radio DJ Charlie Tuna. He began with Boss Radio KHJ on through KIIS-FM. He was only 71. He raised $2.5 million for Children's Hospital of Los Angeles over the years with his "Tunathons". He was also honorary mayor of my community, Tarzana. He will be missed.
Humbert Allen Astredo - He was the suave and oily-slick warlock Nicholas Blair in TV's Dark Shadows. He also appeared in commercials, movies, Broadway and off-Broadway productions and in other soap operas. But he will be remembered most as Blair in Dark Shadows. He was 86.