‘Lone Ranger’ announcer-narrator dies

Fred Foy also introduced 'Dick Cavett Show'

Fred Foy, best known for his narration of “The Lone Ranger” show, died Wednesday in Woburn, Mass., of natural causes. He was 89.

Foy’s stentorian introduction — “A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty Hi-yo Silver …” — was likely the most recognized opening in American radio.

Detroit native’s radio career started in 1940 at WMBC, followed by a stint at WXYZ.

During WWII he served in the 14th Special Service Company and was the “American” voice on the all-British Allied Forces Radio in Egypt. After the war, he returned to WXYZ.

In 1948 he was tapped as the announcer and narrator of WXYZ’s “Lone Ranger,” a role he performed until 1954, even stepping into the role of the Lone Ranger when Brace Beemer had laryngitis. In 1955, he reprised his famous “Return with us now …” opening narration for “The Lone Ranger” television series. His distinctive voice was also heard on “The Green Hornet” and “Sgt. Preston of the Yukon” radio series.

In 1960 Foy went to work at ABC as a network announcer and on-camera commercial spokesman for programs including “The Dick Cavett Show,” “The Les Crane Show” and the Daytime Emmy Awards.

Over at the Alphabet’s radio network he narrated docs like “Voices in the Headlines,” specials including on Blighty’s wartime leader Winston Churchill, presidents Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy and series such as “Theater 5.”

He left ABC in the mid-1980s.

Foy was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in March 2000 and received the Motion Picture and Television Fund Golden Boot Award in August 2004.

Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Frances B. Foy; two daughters, including Nancy, VP feature casting, 20th Century Fox; a son, Fritz, senior VP of digital publishing, Macmillan; and three grandchildren.

Donations may be made to the USO at USO.org.

Steve Landesberg

Steve Landesberg, who played Det. Arthur Dietrich on TV’s “Barney Miller,” died Monday in Los Angeles of cancer. He was 74.

Landesberg had a dual role on ABC’s show, which ran from 1975-82, playing not only Dietrich but also Father Paul. He was Emmy nommed for supporting actor on the cop show for each of its last three years on the air.

More recently Landesberg appeared in features “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Wild Hogs” as well as Starz series “Head Case” from 2007-09. He played several parts in 2002 series “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law” and had recurring roles in such skeins as “Harry and the Hendersons” and “The Golden Girls.” Landesberg frequently guested on shows including “Seinfeld,” “Law and Order,” “The Cosby Show” “Ghost Whisperer” and “Everybody Hates Chris.”

The New York native was discovered at an open audition conducted by Bill Cosby for NBC’s “The Tonight Show” at Gotham’s Bitter End. That led to gigs at the Improv alongside tyros David Brenner, Jimmie Walker and Bette Midler and membership in improv group New York Stickball Team.

In 1972, he was featured in NBC’s “Dean Martin Presents the Bobby Darin Amusement Company” and made his film debut in 1973 pic “Blade.”

He did voiceover work in toons including “American Dad” and appeared in regional stage in “Same Time Next Year,” “God’s Favorite” and “Hold Me.”

Landesberg also appeared in commercials, including one for a Ryder truck that was made by his wife, Nancy. He won a Bronze Lion for a commercial at Cannes’ Lions Festival of Creativity.

Survivors include wife Nancy and a daughter.

Chris Condon

3D pioneer Chris Condon, who was d.p. on 1983’s “Jaws 3D” and founded StereoVision, died Sunday in Encino of complications from a stroke. He was 87.

Condon invented 3D camera lenses, including a widescreen 3D lens for 35mm and 70mm reflex motion picture cameras. Besides his work as cinematographer for “Jaws 3D,” he made films in the format including “The Volcano Creature,” “The CIA Girls of Capitol Hill,” “Mr. Howard’s Crazy Airline” and “Surfer Girls,” which he also wrote.

Jim Chabin, prexy of the Intl. 3D Society, called Condon a mentor to many of the current generation of 3D professionals. “He was 3D before 3D was cool,” he said.

The society bestowed its inaugural lifetime achievement award on Condon in October.

Born Christo Dimitri Koudounis, Condon served in the Army Air Force during WWII in the Pacific Theater. After leaving the military he was employed by Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica before beginning his career as a photo-optical designer and manufacturer at Century Precision Optics.

His 40-year career in 3D was inspired at the 1953 premiere of Warners’ “House of Wax,” starring Vincent Price. At the suggestion of 3D pioneer Allan Silliphant he began developing a 3D camera lens that required use of a single camera (improving upon the dual-camera rigs used at the time).

He founded Magnavision in 1969. The company released its first 3D pic, “The Stewardesses,” in 1971 after which the name was changed to StereoVision Entertainment.

StereoVision supplied a range of 3D equipment, from cameras for production to projection optics for exhibitors. The company helped with production of Indian 3D film “Chota chetan” in 1984, and its products are used in Japan.

He lensed “Jaws 3D,” “Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn” and “Evil Spawn,” which he also produced. He was a consultant for 3D productions throughout the world until his retirement in 2008.

Survivors include a daughter, three brothers and a sister.

Max G. Weine

Playwright Max G. Weine died Saturday in New York of complications from Parkinson’s disease and prostate cancer. He was 89.

Weine’s plays “The Love of Two Hours” and “Brandy Before Breakfast” were produced Off Broadway. His Off Off Broadway plays included “Appetites,” “Mixed Doubles,” “Harmony House,” “A Sublime Scandal,” “A Touch of Intimacy” and “Tales of Women.”

There were no immediate survivors.

Jean Rollin

French filmmaker and actor Jean Rollin, a master of Gallic B movies, died Dec. 16 in Paris of cancer. He was 72.

Jean-Michel Rollin Roth Le Gentil started his professional career in the 1970s with a flurry of low-budgeted erotic vampire pics and fantasies. His first film, “The Rape of the Vampire,” which was released in 1968, reportedly provoked outrage within the French intelligentsia and sparked riots in Paris. Rollin nevertheless followed with other horror films, notably “Requiem for a Vampire,” the gore pic “Grapes of Death” and the erotic zombie chiller “The Living Dead Girl.”

While Rollin’s genre films were snubbed by French critics, the director earned a cult following in the U.S. and in parts of Europe, where fans praised his films’ poetic visual style and surreal eroticism.

Survivors include his wife, Simone; a son, actor Serge; and a granddaughter, Gabrielle, also an actor. — Elsa Keslassy

Thom Keith

Cable TV pioneer Thom Keith died of cancer Dec. 14 in Las Vegas. He was 69.

Keith started his production company, TKO, in 1965 in Laguna Hills and relocated to Las Vegas in 1997. The company was billed as “the world’s largest closed circuit TV network.” Like community access TV it included programs such as the “Good Morning Show.”

He is survived by two daughters, including actress Jennifer Keith, and a brother.

Services will be held at noon Dec. 29 at Westminster Memorial Park Cemetery, 14801 Beach Blvd., Westminster, CA 92683.

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