Denise Borino-Quinn, who unexpectedly won a role as a Mafia wife on “The Sopranos” after she attended an open casting call, died Wednesday in Morristown, N.J., of liver cancer. She was 46.
Borino-Quinn had no acting experience when she was hired in 2000 to play Ginny Sacrimoni, the Mafia wife with a weight problem. The character quickly became popular with fans and was featured in an October 2002 episode.
Borino-Quinn had attended the casting call mostly to support a childhood friend and was shocked when she was hired for the HBO show.
When she wasn’t acting, Borino-Quinn worked at a New Brunswick law firm.
Survivors include two brothers.
Thesp and stage manager James Wall died Wednesday in Manhattan following a short illness. He was 92.
Wall played Mr. Baxter, neighbor to Captain Kangaroo on the children’s show. Wall, a vaudevillian, started as stage manager for “Captain Kangaroo” in 1962, then became its first African-American character in 1968. He played Baxter until 1978.
Simultaneously, Wall worked as stage manager for the CBS Broadcast Center in Manhattan on several news and sports broadcasts, including the “CBS Evening News,” “Face the Nation,” “60 Minutes” and “NFL Today.”
In a deep voice that commanded attention in a busy newsroom, Wall counted the time to air for the likes of Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather as stage manager for “CBS Evening News,” from the 1960s through the 1980s. He would start with “Two minutes to air,” go to “In five,” and count down until a flip of his hand indicated the anchor was on live television.
Wall had a colorful history before coming to showbiz. He went to sea at 15, was a delivery boy for bootleggers during Prohibition and performed in vaudeville acts around the country and on Broadway stages. He was drafted into the Army and managed USO shows. He went to college on the G.I. Bill and returned to the theater, stage managing and performing in the same show before he joined CBS.
He served as stage manager for the U.S. Open Championships for more than 40 years, and also managed the coverage of political conventions and elections, presidential inaugurations and the space launches of the 1960s. He worked at CBS for more than 50 years.
Wall received the Directors Guild of America’s Franklin J. Schaffner Acheivement Award in 1994.
He is survived by his wife, Dolly. – — Lauren Zima
Thesp and producer Lisa Blount, who was featured in “An Officer and a Gentleman,” was found dead in her Little Rock, Ark., home Oct. 28. She was 53.
Blount had been suffering from a rare blood disorder called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, in which low levels of platelets keep blood from clotting and lead to bleeding and bruising.
As Debra Winger’s insecure and cynical best friend in the 1982 Paramount release, Blount gave a standout perf, according to Variety’s review. She drew a Golden Globe nomination for supporting actress.
Before “Officer” she had had a couple of minor roles. In the following years, she guested on series such as “Moonlighting,” “Picket Fences” and “Judging Amy.” She had a longer arc in the short-lived Fox series “Profit.”
Blount turned to producing and with her husband, Ray McKinnon, won the live-action short Oscar for 2001’s “The Accountant.” She also produced and acted in Billy Bob Thornton starrer “Chrystal” in 2004.
Survivors include her husband, multihyphenate McKinnon; her mother; and a brother.
Legit publicist Nancy “Nance” Movsesian died Oct. 26 in Bradford, Mass., following a short illness. She was 80.
Movsesian promoted scores of productions and venues in New England, including working with the Clarendon Playhouse, the North Shore Music Theater and the West Newbury Summer Theater. She managed Boston’s Wilbur Theater, and later founded public relations firm Ideas Associates of Boston.
Movsesian also helped organize the Elliot Norton Awards.
Survivors include two sisters and a brother.
Donations may be made to Merrimack Valley Hospice House in Mass. at merrimackvalleyhospice.info. — Lauren Zima
Emmy-winning television director Lamont Johnson, who tackled touchy subjects in such made-for-TV movies as “My Sweet Charlie” about interracial romance and “That Certain Summer” about homosexuality, died Oct. 24 in Monterey, Calif., of congestive heart failure. He was 88.
Johnson won a DGA award, for his delicate handling of 1970 pic “Charlie,” starring Patty Duke as a racist pregnant runaway who builds a relationship with a black lawyer who is also on the run. Other highlights included 1972’s Martin Sheen starrer “Summer” about a teen who discovers his father is gay; 1981’s “Crisis at Central High,” which centered around the civil rights movement; and “Fear on Trial,” about blacklisting.
He won Emmys for directing Sam Waterston in Gore Vidal’s “Lincoln” and the mini “Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story.”
Survivors include a son, a daughter, three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Pioneering video post-production guru and founding member of the L.A. Weekly, Joseph Benadon, died Oct. 22 in Beverly Hills of natural causes. He was 72.
In 1975 he and partner Bill Dornisch launched the Film Place in Hollywood, editing hundreds of commercials and earning dozens of Clio Awards. In 1982, Benadon with Sam Holtz launched one of Hollywood’s first video post-production facilities, Action Video. For 12 years Action Video was a leader in technology and online post-production services for musicvideos and commercials.
The Bronx native served in the Army in 1961 where he learned to edit training films.
After the service, he moved to Los Angeles and became an assistant editor for Animation Inc. and later Film Fair. He joined Film EX West as an editor in the early ’70s and rose to be VP in charge of post.
He would join a diverse group of investors, led by Jay Levin, to start L.A. Weekly in 1978.
In 1996 he served as post-production supervisor for Turner Classic Movies production “Money Plays.”
He is survived by wife Rita, three daughters, three grandchildren, a sister and a brother.
Fabian Berke, former administrator and treasurer of the Motion Picture and Television Credit Assn., died Oct. 13 in Thousand Oaks, Calif., of natural causes. He was 90.
Berke worked at the association, an interchange for credit information in the motion picture and television industry, from its inception in 1965 until his retirement in 1995.
Survivors include his sons Rand, a line producer on “Wheel of Fortune,” and Bruce, motion picture account manager at Kodak.
Donations may be made to the Motion Picture Country House and Hospital, c/o Motion Picture Television Fund, P.O. Box 51150, Los Angeles, CA 90051.
John Crawford, who appeared in more than 200 movies and TV shows in his more than 40-year career, died of a stroke on Sept. 21 in Thousand Oaks, Calif. He was 90.
Crawford was spotted by a Warner Bros. scout while attending the U. of Washington’s School of Drama, and though he failed a screen test he joined RKO as a laborer.
He followed that up by building sets at Circle Theater in Los Angeles where he persuaded the producers to cast him in some of its plays. Soon Columbia signed him to act in its Westerns.
He moved to roles in such films as 1958’s “Orders to Kill” and “The Key” in the U.K. On his return to the U.S. he was cast in pics including “The Enforcer,” “Towering Inferno” and “The Poseidon Adventure.”
Crawford had recurring arcs in such TV shows as “The Waltons,” “Swiss Family Robinson” and “Gunsmoke.”
Survivors include his longtime companion, Ann Wakefield; four daughters; and two grandchildren.