Departed artists left their mark on the biz

Below-the-Line Impact Report 2012

Above-the-line obituaries tend to generate big headlines and major retrospective packages in the media, but the untimely loss of a below-the-line worker usually receives far less attention.

Sally Menke’s death at 56 was not one of those that went unnoticed. The disappearance of Quentin Tarantino’s longtime editor (she worked on every Tarantino film since “Reservoir Dogs”) during a Los Angeles heat wave in September, 2010, got nationwide publicity.

She had gone hiking in Griffith Park; her body was found in a ravine with her dog nearby. A lover of the outdoors, she learned she had landed the “Reservoir” job while hiking in Canada. At the time, Blighty’s Guardian newspaper quoted her as saying, “I let out a yell that echoed around the mountain.”

Natural causes claimed cinematographer Ric Waite in February. Despite being 78 he was far from retirement. Rather, the former Air Force vet-turned-photographer was prepping 2013’s “Legacy” when he died. Photography led to a career in film, plus three Emmy noms for his TV work. He segued into features with “Footloose” and “Red Dawn.” On his final blog post, one month before his death, he reminisced about shooting “Red Dawn” in minus-39-degree temperatures: “Now that’s tough filmmaking.”

D.p. Denny Hall died while his career was in full swing. The 54-year-old suffered a heart attack in his hotel in New Orleans in October. Hall got his start as a camera operator and became known for his work on shows including “Magnum, P.I.” He was working on USA’s “Common Law” at the time.

The Big Easy is also where Tarantino shot some of the upcoming “Django Unchained.” Veteran production designer J. Michael Riva was preparing to work on-set there when he suffered a stroke in June and died a week later.

Riva, 63, had four decades of experience, an Oscar nom for “The Color Purple,” and worked on films including “The Goonies” and “Iron Man.”

He came by his Hollywood stripes naturally: his grandmother was Marlene Deitrich, his mother a stage actress and his father a Broadway set designer.

“Design has been an extraordinary gift for me,” he said at 2009’s 5D Conference.

More Scene

  • Angler Los Angeles

    Angler Is L.A.'s Major New Seafood Destination

    San Francisco transplant Angler is set to make a major splash in Los Angeles, as Joshua Skenes’ innovative seafood-focused restaurant opens in the somewhat unlikely location of the Beverly Center. Angler is the latest and the most ambitious restaurant to join a fresh crop of spots, including Cal Mare and Yardbird, on the recently refurbished [...]

  • Bette Midler

    Bette Midler Set for Special Performance at New York Pride (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bette Midler is set to appear at New York’s Pride Main Event this Saturday (June 29) at the Javits Center. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, she’ll perform a song accompanied by composer Marc Shaiman, of “Hairspray” and “Mary Poppins Returns” fame. Her stage time is set for 11 p.m. Also scheduled to [...]

  • Magic Johnson, Larry Bird

    Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Robin Roberts Honored at 2019 NBA Awards

    The NBA went Hollywood on Monday night, mixing basketball legends with a star-studded list of presenters including Samuel L. Jackson, Tiffany Haddish and “This Is Us” star Justin Hartley at the 2019 NBA Awards. Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal hosted the third annual award show, which aired live on TNT, kicking things off with a surprise [...]

  • Naomi Watts and Gretchen Carlson'The Loudest

    ‘The Loudest Voice’ Stars Naomi Watts, Russell Crowe Talk Roger Ailes

    Roger Ailes may have been the force behind the creation of Fox News, but the late newsman’s legacy will forever be his atrocious sexual harassment of several of the network’s female anchors and producers. Showtime premiered its new limited series “The Loudest Voice,” which chronicles Ailes’ rise and fall, on Monday night at the Paris [...]

  • Billy Eichner Power of Pride Variety

    Billy Eichner on Taylor Swift's 'Calm Down' Backlash

    When Taylor Swift released her “You Need to Calm Down” music video, it seemed like every member of the LGBTQ in Hollywood was included — except for Billy Eichner. “I’m still not gay enough for Taylor Swift — or too gay — I don’t know what it is,” Eichner joked at Variety’s Power of Pride [...]

  • Bebe Rexha

    Mumford and Sons, Sting, Ciara, Bebe Rexha Light Up Cannes Lions

    There was no shortage of excellent music at the 2019 edition of Cannes Lion. The international gathering of creatives drew top music brands – among them: Spotify, Live Nation, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM/Pandora, VEVO and Universal Music Group – and a slew of well-known acts to stages across the Croissette, to villas above the city and onto [...]

  • Patrick Wilson

    Patrick Wilson, Mckenna Grace on Scary Stories From 'Annabelle Comes Home' Set

    Tales of spooky occurrences on the sets of horror movies like “The Exorcist” and “Poltergeist” have circulated for years, and it looks like “The Conjuring” franchise is following in their footsteps in that regard. The cast of “Annabelle Comes Home” shared their unnerving stories from set at the film’s premiere on Thursday night at the Regency [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content