Monday, December 26, 2016

A pair of Christmastime obituaries

Outside the movie world, the big news of course is the sudden death of singer George Michael, who was found dead in his house in Oxfordshire, England, yesterday, at the young age of 53. He's got an extensive list of IMDb credits, however, mostly because he was a fairly prolific songwriter as well as a singer, and the use of his songs in movies gets him credits in those interminable 20-minute closing credit rolls movies seem to have nowadays. That having been said, he was the subject of a 1986 documentary. When he was still a part of Wham! with his friend Andrew Ridgeley, the two were the first western pop artists invited to tour China, and that was made into a documentary, Wham! in China: Foreign Skies. The documentary is out of print. And as an interesting aside, the man who directed the documentary, Lindsay Anderson, would go on the next year to direct The Whales of August, which just happens to be on the Tuesday prime time lineup on TCM since it fits perfectly the TCM Spotlight on the elderly.

A more traditional movies obituary would be that of Gil Parrondo, who died over the weekend aged 95. He's the sort of person who doesn't get the mention the stars get, seeing that he worked as a production designer and art director. Those are the sort of people really needed to make the movies work, like say the cinematographers, but who never get as much credit as they deserve since they don't show up on camera and they're not quite in charge. Parrondo actually won two Oscars, for Patton and Nicholas and Alexandra, and was nominated for a third for Travels With My Aunt, which is also showing up in Tuesday night's lineup as it too deals with the elderly.


Wendell Ottley said...

Sad to hear about both of these guys passing. Like most people, Michael is the one far more familiar to me as I grew up listening to his music. 2016 has been a rough year for pop culture icons.

Ted S. (Just a Cineast) said...

Yeah, I hadn't heard of Garrondo either, but then, who hears of art directors (well, other than William Cameron Menzies)?

Like you, I grew up with Wham! and George Michael, having been born in 1972. Seeing the news of his death was quite the shock.