Thursday, June 8, 2017

Three New Tributes


1. Roger Smith, 1932-2017, R.I.P.

Roger Smith, actor, screenwriter, and (later in his career) Ann-Margret's husband and manager, has died at the age of eighty-four.

Convinced to become an actor by none other than James Cagney -- after which Smith played Creighton Chaney (a/k/.a Lon Chaney, Jr.) in Man of a Thousand Faces, where Cagney played Lon Chaney, Sr. -- Mr. Smith's best-known role was probably that of Jeff Spencer on ABC's 77 Sunset Strip (1958-1964) with Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., and Edd Byrnes. Smith went on to star as the title character in NBC's Mister Roberts, based on the earlier play (1948) and movie (1955).

Smith started dating actress and singer Ann-Margret in the mid-1960s, and they married in 1967. He eventually became her manager, and producer of her Las Vegas shows. They celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary on May 8th.




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2. Elena Verdugo, 1925-2017, R.I.P.

Actress and singer Elena Verdugo has passed away at the age of ninety-two.

I first encountered Ms. Verdugo in her role as nurse Consuelo Lopez on ABC's Marcus Welby, M.D. (1969-1976). I didn't realize it at the time, but her character was a very early positive role model for Latina women. And it was quite a kick for the teenaged Silver Fox to learn during Welby's run that Ms. Verdugo had played a part in 1945's House of Frankenstein! (She wore a dark-haired wig for this and many other roles -- as a Gypsy, Latina, Native American, etc. -- as she was actually blonde.)

I was also quite pleased to recognize her in a small role at the beginning of 1952's Cyrano de Bergerac, when I finally got to see it in 1983 or so, fifteen years after reading its 1952 comic book adaptation in an old issue of Classics Illustrated!





Ms. Verdugo with one of my very few idols, voice-over goddess June Foray!

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3. Peter Sallis, 1921-2017, R.I.P.


Actor Peter Sallis has died at the age of  ninety-six.

Personally, I wasn't familiar with Mr. Sallis' many projects, outside of his voice-over work as the character of Wallace in the "Wallace and Gromit" films. (I'd actually seen him in such films as The Curse of the Werewolf, Taste the Blood of Dracula, and 1973 TV movie Frankenstein: The True Story, but I saw all of them when I was much younger and regrettably, I don't specifically recall his part in any of them.)





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Thanks for your time.

8 comments:

  1. Oh, God bless. May they all rest in peace. So glad Roger & Ann got to celebrate their 50th!
    Visit me @ Life & Faith in Caneyhead. 😉

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    1. Yeah, I'm glad they made it to that point.

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  2. They sure all lived a good long life. Only ever heard of the first guy. 50 years sure isn't too shabby for a marriage, especially in the entertainment business.

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    1. That's for sure.

      I feel a tiny bit better when the older folks pass on, since let's face it, no one lives forever.

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  3. I saw on the news crawl that Roger Smith had died. I thought he was married to Ann-Margret. I believe he was ill for many years, yet he lived a long time. Ann-Margret told such lovely stories about him in her autobiography. Remember when she had that accident while performing and was badly injured? If I recall correctly, Roger stole a small plane to fly her to a hospital where she could get the best treatment. I remember Elena Verdugo, too, but I didn't realize she had died. I liked Marcus Welby, M.D.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I remember reading about Ann-Margret's accident, but I didn't know about Roger Smith stealing a plane!

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  4. Great tributes and the one I know the most is Roger Smith and a celebrity marriage that lasted! Elena is another soul for the heyday of films that is gone and how I Love Wallace and Gromit. I know you will be writing about Adam West...it seems many are dying this year too.

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    1. Yeah, I'm working on a post about Adam West now...

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