Oscars - R.I.P.
BY DENNIS KING
It may seem morbid to say, but one of the most compelling, if not entertaining, features of each year’s Oscar telecast is the video montage paying tribute to Academy members who’ve died in the past year.
Generally, the montages – consisting of stirring music, still photos and film clips, along with the dearly departed’s name and show-biz distinction – are tasteful and artful. But that’s undercut with a bit of Hollywood tackiness as the more famous dead inevitably illicit an uncomfortable smattering of applause while less-famous figures – producers, make-up artists, screenwriters and the like – ghost past to ho-hum silence. The big stars get their final curtain call; the little people get respectful indifference.
Anyway, the list of Academy members who’ve gone on to the Big Craft Services Table in the Sky since last year currently numbers 78 (there’s a list on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences website).
Among the most recognizable are: Gene Barry, Dom DeLuise, Farrah Fawcett, Henry Gibson, Karl Malden, Brittany Murphy, Natasha Richardson, Ron Silver, Arnold Stang and Patrick Swayze – actors all.
A few non-actors who might stir an inkling of recognition include: screenwriters Horton Foote (“Tender Mercies,” “A Trip to Bountiful”) and Larry Gelbart (“Tootsie”), Roy E. Disney (a member of the Executives Branch and Walt’s uncle), musical composer Maurice Jarre (“Lawrence of Arabia,” “Doctor Zhivago”) and director John Hughes (“16 Candles,” “The Breakfast Club”).
Tune in to the telecast of the 82nd Academy Awards on March 7 to bid farewell to these and other less famous Oscar insiders. R.I.P.
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