Daria Paris, production coordinator for “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place,” died Saturday in Wells, Maine, of cancer. She was 60.
Paris started as an assistant to Renee Valente and Paul Baerwald on the 1989 mini “Around the World in 80 Days.” From there, she moved on to assist producers Sam Simon on “The Simpsons” and Brett Butler on “Grace Under Fire.”
In 1999, she production coordinated and supervised on “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place” for a year, and did similar work for NBC’s “Happy Family” in 2003.
Survivors include her mother, a sister and a brother.
Andreas “Andy” Albeck, former chairman and CEO of United Artists, died of heart failure Wednesday in New York. He was 89.
Albeck spent more than 30 years at UA working with such filmmakers as Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, during the time the studio made “James Bond,” “Rocky” and “The Pink Panther.”
He began his showbiz career in 1939 as a sales rep for Columbia Pictures in Indonesia. More than a decade later, he joined Eagle Lion in New York as assistant foreign sales manager and in 1951 transitioned into operations at UA after its purchase of Eagle Lion.
During his tenure at UA, Albeck served as prexy of UA Broadcasting, senior veep of operations, and — after almost 30 years with the company — in 1978 was named president and CEO. His time as CEO and later, board chair, was documented in Steven Bach’s best-selling book “Final Cut,” which focused on the challenges surrounding the making of Michael Cimino’s “Heaven’s Gate.”
As a result of his relationship with helmers like Allen he appeared in “Stardust Memories” as a studio head based on himself. A Vanity Fair article described the negative speculation surrounding “Raging Bull.” Following the first screening, when the aud was silent, Aalbeck went up to director Scorsese and shook his hand saying, “Mr. Scorsese, you are an artist.”
In a 1992 report, Variety said, “Albeck is remembered as a benign and wise leader — he was first to identify Japan as the movie industry’s chief future funder — but he is criticized by some as being too European for a changing Hollywood.”
After retiring from showbiz, Albeck took up Christmas tree farming in Lafayette, N.J.
Survivors include his wife, Lotte; a son and a daughter; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Voiceover performer Art Gilmore died Sept. 25 in Irvine, Calif. of natural causes. He was 98.
After a stint at Washington state’s radio station KWSC, Gilmore worked at Seattle’s KOL. By the ’30s, he was a staff announcer for KFWB in Hollywood.
He started as a radio announcer for such shows as “Amos ‘n’ Andy,” “The Sears Radio Theater” and “Red Ryder” before seguing to TV, lending his voice to programs including “The George Gobel Show,” “An Evening With Fred Astaire” and “Highway Patrol.”
During WWII, he served in the Navy, before returning to showbiz.
Gilmore was Red Skelton’s announcer on CBS and NBC. He also appeared on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Waltons” and “Dragnet.” In film, he was the voice heard in trailers and documentaries throughout the ’50s and ’60s, including for “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Rear Window,” “Vertigo,” “War of the Worlds,” “Bye Bye Birdie” and “White Christmas.”
Gilmore served as the national president of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists from 1961 to 1963 and helped found the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters. He taught announcing at the USC and co-authored “Television and Radio Announcing.”
Survivors include his wife of 72 years, Grace; two daughters; two grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Andrew’s Church in Newport Beach, Calif. Donations may be made to the Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic at 5022 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027. –
Dick Griffey, whose label Solar was a force in the smooth R&B and dance market at its height in the ’70s and ’80s, died Sept. 24 in Los Angeles from complications following quadruple bypass surgery. He was 71.
At its height, Hollywood-based Solar (an acronym for Sounds of Los Angeles Records) was a hit factory that produced singles by such prolific chart acts as Shalamar (which spawned solo artists Jody Watley, Howard Hewett and Jeffrey Daniels), the Whispers, Lakeside, Midnight Star, Klymaxx, the Deele and Babyface.
Born in Nashville, Griffey originally considered a career in medicine, but, lured by show business, he moved to Los Angeles in the early ’60s. He ran a nightclub, became an important independent promoter and booked world tours for the likes of the Jacksons and Stevie Wonder.
In the early ’70s, Griffey became talent coordinator for Don Cornelius’ R&B dance show “Soul Train.” He helped found the Soul Train Record imprint; its early hits included singles by a studio incarnation of Shalamar and Carrie Lucas (who later married Griffey).
After the Soul Train label folded in 1977, Griffey inaugurated Solar, which rode to the top of the charts with a lush brand of black music that sat on the cusp of soul and disco.
The company’s No. 1 R&B chart hits included Shalamar’s “The Second Time Around,” the Whispers’ “And the Beat Goes On” and “Rock Steady,” Lakeside’s “Fantastic Voyage,” Midnight Star’s “Operator” and Babyface’s “It’s No Crime” and “Tender Lover.”
Deele member Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds’ production partner, went on to become a powerful executive at Arista Records and Universal’s Island Def Jam Group (where he is chairman and chief executive officer).
Solar enjoyed a series of major distribution deals with RCA, Elektra/Asylum, MCA, Capitol and Sony. After the label ceased operations in the late ’90s, its catalog was acquired by EMI.
Griffey and Solar were involved behind the scenes with rap powers like Ruthless Records and Death Row Records, which led to bouts in the courts. During the ’90s Griffey was sued by N.W.A.’s Eazy-E, while he lodged an action against Death Row’s founder Marion “Suge” Knight and producer Dr. Dre, a former member of N.W.A.
He is survived by wife, Carrie; two daughters; three sons; and five grandchildren.
Newsman and longtime prexy of WGN Continental Broadcasting Ward Quaal died Sept. 24 in Chicago of age-related causes. He was 91.
Quaal began his career as an announcer at radio station WGN-AM in 1941. His radio days were distinguished by his broadcast of the Pearl Harbor attacks, after which he joined the Navy during WWII.
Quaal rejoined WGN in 1945, moving between the station and Crosley Broadcasting before returning in 1956 as VP/general manager.
He became president of WGN Continental in 1961 and later served as chairman of the board for Broadcast Pioneers (now the Broadcasters Foundation) and as prexy of Crosley. The foundation’s Pioneer Award is named after him. He was also a member of the FCC’s original advisory panel on advanced TV systems.
WGN topper Tom Langmyer said in a statement: “Radio and WGN went through major changes during the 1950s and 1960s, as live orchestras went away and dramas and soaps moved to TV. He led through that transition and worked to build a new era for WGN.”
National Assn. of Broadcasters prexy and CEO Gordon Smith said of Quaal: “Free and local broadcasting was built by a handful of visionary giants, but few stood taller than Ward Quaal.”
Survivors include his wife, Dorothy; two children; one grandchild; and three great-grandchildren. – — Sam Thielman
Vet wildlife documaker Malcolm Douglas died Sept. 23 in a car accident in Kimberley, Western Australia. He was 69.
Douglas started out as a crocodile hunter before switching to wildlife documentaries in the ’70s at a time when they were just becoming popular. As such he blazed a trail for later incarnations of the “bushies” such as Steve Irwin. He was accompanied in the early days by the Leyland Bros. on the Nine Network and Harry Butler on pubcaster the ABC, a trio that helped city slickers Down Under get in touch with the unfamiliar Aussie bush.
Known as the “barefoot bushman,” his first docu “Across the Top” screened to boffo auds in 1976 resulting in a long-running association with the Seven Network where he became a regular on the weekend sked.
During the next four decades Douglas switched from hunter to conservationist, a thread that would run through his docus, the most recent “In the Bush With Malcolm Douglas” was a hit for Seven just last year.
In the early ’80s, Douglas opened a crocodile park and a wildlife park in Western Australia, and it was while running these properties that he crashed his four-wheel drive.
Douglas is survived by his wife, Valerie; and two children.
Former Center Theater Group production supervisor Frank Bayer died Sept. 22 in Englewood, N.J., of cancer. He was 74.
Bayer began his career in theater as an actor in the early 1960s at the San Francisco Actors Workshop under Jules Irving and Herbert Blau. Bayer followed Irving and Blau when they moved to head up the Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York, stage managing the majority of the theater’s plays with friend Barbara-Mae Phillips.
In 1980, Bayer moved to Los Angeles as casting director for Center Theater Group, but after five years he was back to production supervising for the Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson until 2005.
There were no immediate survivors.
Van Snowden, the puppeteer behind Chucky in the “Child’s Play” films and the Crypt Keeper in “Tales From the Crypt,” died of cancer Sept. 22 in Burbank, Calif. He was 71.
Snowden, whose acting credits include appearances on “Land of the Lost” and “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters,” was the hand behind dolls in “The X-Files,” “Casper” and “Beetle Juice.”
Snowden earned two Primetime Emmy noms for puppeteering work on “D.C. Follies” in 1989.
Snowden originally steered toward Broadway before earning critical acclaim as a puppeteer. After a starring role in 1970’s “H.R. Pufnstuf” launched his career, the franchise came back to help Snowden pursue his love for the stage. The “Pufnstuf Road Show” took him to venues including Madison Square Garden and the Hollywood Bowl while a later performance in “D.C. Follies” took him to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
Snowden most recently headed up the puppeteer division of Hasbro and Tiger Toys.
Survivors include a sister and brother. –
— Rachel Abrams