Charles Bukowski, street poet, novelist and screenwriter who lived the life of alcohol and degradation that he portrayed in his works, died of pneumonia Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 73.Bukowski wrote the screenplay for “Barfly,” Barbet Schroeder’s 1987 movie about two down-and-out alcoholics played by Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway. It was based on a period in his own life. Bukowski’s works came over a lifetime of drinking and menial labor. He wrote short stories, novels, screenplays and more than 1,000 poems. They were gritty, hard-edged and frequently pornographic — much like his own life. He wrote the novels “Post Office” in 1971 and “Women” in 1978. His short story collections included “Notes of a Dirty Old Man” in 1969 and “Erections, Ejaculations and General Tales of Ordinary Madness” in 1972. His poetry collections included “Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail” in 1960, “Poems Written Before Jumping Out of an 8 Story Window” in 1968 and “Love Is a Dog From Hell” in 1978. Bukowski’s reputation grew in the U.S. but his audience remained small. In Europe, however, he achieved widespread fame. His death was played Thursday as a major news story in his native Germany, where national television said 2.5 million copies of his books have been sold. In the early 1960s, a two-year relationship with Frances Dean Smith produced his only child, Marina Stone. In 1976, Bukowski met Linda Lee Beighle, a former health-store owner who married him, fed him vitamins and made sure the bottle was filled with wine instead of hard liquor. Survivors include his wife and his daughter.
* * *John Ewart John Ewart, 66, veteran Aussie character actor, died Tuesday of cancer in Sydney. Ewart began his career on stage at age 5 and then moved into radio. He was 18 when he was cast by Charles Chauvel as the youngest brother in the 1949 film, “Sons of Matthew.” He was doing a radio show when television started in Australia in 1956, and within weeks Ewart moved over to host a children’s show on the government-run ABC, which ran for eight years. While appearing frequently on variety shows, panel games and quizzes, Ewart maintained a stage career with appearances in “Entertaining Mr. Sloane,””Don’s Party” and “Tribute.” He also was much in demand as a featured player in television series and serials, often as the everyday Aussie or the inept criminal. Among his more than 20 feature films were “Sunday Too Far Away,””Caddie,””Newsfront” and “The Picture Show Man,” for which he won the Australian Film Institute’s supporting actor award in 1977. Survivors include his wife, four children and four grandchildren.
* * *Zoli Vidor Zoli Vidor, director of photography, died Sunday in Palm Springs of complications from pneumonia. He was 83. Born in Hungary, Vidor began his motion picture career in the 1930s in Vienna , where he was director of photography on several features in Europe. In 1950, he moved to New York, where he mostly filmed commercials. He also worked on several feature films, documentaries and television series including “American Sportsman” and “Inner Sanctum.” In 1985, he received an Academy Award nomination for the live-action short “Graffiti.” His feature credits include “Touch Me Not” with Lee Remick, “Come Spy With Me” with Troy Donahue and “Killer Behind the Mask.” He was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the American Society of Cinematographers, IATSE Locals 659 and 644, and the Directors Guild of America. Survivors include two sons, two daughters and two grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the World Wildlife Fund, 1250 24th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20037.
* * *Phyllis Smith Former Broadway dancer Phyllis Smith, 62, died March 4 of cancer in Demarest, N.J. Smith danced for three years with the June Taylor Dancers on Jackie Gleason’s TV show, and also in the 1954 revival of “On Your Toes” at the 46th Street Theater. Survivors include her husband, Philip J. Smith, Shubert Organization executive vice president, two daughters and brother. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Actors Fund.
* * *Cynthia A. Spector Cynthia A. Spector, veteran columnist and publicist, died at her Venice home on Feb. 14 of undisclosed causes. She was 59. Spector began her career as a journalist working in various editorial capacities for the Miami Beach Reporter and the Miami Beach Sun. She later wrote a column for the Miami Herald and Rolling Stone magazine before serving as managing editor of Music World and free-lancing for the New York Times, the St. Petersburg Times and Variety. Eventually relocating to Los Angeles, Spector served as a production executive for various companies and also served on the production staffs of “Good Morning America” and “Entertainment Tonight.” As a publicist, Spector worked as an executive staff member with Universal Studios, Rogers & Cowan, Solters & Roskin and Linda Grey & Associates.