Horror Obituaries 2009

Remembering those we lost this year

While death is omnipresent in this genre we hold near and dear, we’re always deeply saddened when we lose those who contribute to horror in front of and behind the camera. This year was especially taxing as you’ll see below. To cap off our 2009 year-end coverage, let’s reflect on the artists who have passed and the roles and films we’ll always remember.

David Carradine (December 8, 1936 – June 3, 2009)

Son of actor John Carradine, also a genre vet, David’s legacy spread across a multitude of genres, however, many will, of course, remember him for his turn in Kung Fu as Kwai Chang Cain. Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, he’d go on to star in various westerns, action and war films including Paul Bartel’s Death Race 2000 (starring as the driver known as Frankenstein), Circle of Iron and The Long Riders. Larry Cohen tapped him to star as Shepard in Q: The Winged Serpent; he also appeared as Mardulak in Sundown, A Vampire in Retreat and did a cameo in Dead & Breakfast. For Quentin Tarantino, he became Uma Thurman’s target in both Kill Bill volumes. And in 2008, Carradine reprised his role as Frankenstein (in voice only) in Paul W.S. Anderson’s Death Race. The actor was found hanging in a closet Bangkok, Thailand earlier this year. He died of accidental asphyxiation.

Marilyn Chambers (April 22, 1952 – April 12, 2009)

Born in Providence, Rhode Island and raised in Westport, Connecticut, Chambers made her debut in Sean Cunningham’s 1971 movie Together. Later, she co-starred in David Cronenberg’s 1977 Rabid and also appeared in Behind the Green Door and Insatiable. Chambers made 16 movies between 1972 and 1986, mostly for the Mitchell Brothers and Caballero Home Video and she created the series Marilyn Chambers’ Private Fantasies. Chambers tried her hand at producing as well, creating what was hoped to be a continuing series, Nantucket Housewives, for her own company, Damaged Productions. She died of cerebral hemorrhage following an aortic aneurysm in April.

Dick Durock (January 18, 1937 – September 17, 2009)

Durock got his start as an actor/stuntman making appearances in dozens of TV shows such as Battlestar Galactica, The A-Team, Santa Barbara, Knight Rider, Airwolf and many more. He also appeared as the monster in the 1981 two-part episode “The First” of The Incredible Hulk. The actor went on to play the DC comics character Swamp Thing in Wes Craven’s 1982 film, its sequel The Return Of Swamp Thing (1989), and the Swamp Thing television series, which ran for 71 episodes. He succumbed to pancreatic cancer and was 72 years old.

Don Edmonds (1937 – May 30, 2009)

The actor-cum-director (and producer) was well known to exploitation film fans for his Ilsa movies, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS and Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks, as well as such features as Wild Honey, Tender Loving Care, Bare Knuckles, Terror On Tour. He also directed the pilot to Silk Stalkings. He succumbed to liver cancer in May. You can watch him in the 4th episode of the web series America’s Bad Kids alongside Dyanne Thorn (Ilsa herself), Sid Haig and Jack Hill right here.

Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

While he was considered the “King of Pop,” we personally like to remember Michael Jackson as the guy who brought “zombies” (and horror in general) to the forefront of pop culture, a feat that no other artist in music before him had ever accomplished (or has since). Arguably his video for Thriller (directed by John Landis and featuring the amazing work of FX artist Rick Baker) is the most famous “zombie” movie ever made that introduced the terrifying concept of the living dead to households universally around the world. He made another attempt at a horror-themed video/short film when he collaborated with Stephen King on 1997’s Ghosts which was directed by Mick Garris and FX legend Stan Winston. He also flirted for years with the prospect of playing Edgar Allan Poe. He died in June and his death is still being considered a homicide.

Vic Mizzy (January 9, 1916 – October 17, 2009)

The Brooklyn born Mizzy was responsible for the theme to The Addams Family as well as Green Acres and penned top 20 hits from the 1930s to 1940s. He also delivered a bouncy soundtrack to the Don Knotts’ supernatural comedy The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. In ’64 he did the score to William Castle’s The Night Walker. The two reunited three years later for The Busy Body. He passed away in October of heart failure.

Brittany Murphy (November 10, 1977 – December 20, 2009)

Actress Murphy was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and is most well known for her appearances in Clueless, Girl, Interrupted, 8 Mile and Sin City. However to genre fans, Murphy is best known for her turn in the underrated post-Scream “slasher” Cherry Falls which co-starred Michael Biehn and Jay Mohr. Later, she appeared in Don’t Say a Word, Deadline and Across the Hall. She just completed a role in Darin Scott’s upcoming horror flick Something Wicked. She died of a heart attack at age 32.

Paul Naschy (September 6, 1934 – November 30, 2009)

Spanish actor Naschy, whose career began in the ’60s, essayed sundry creatures of the night in his lengthy career, from a wolf man (Waldemar Daninsky) to a hunchback, a vampire and a mummy. His credits including The Hunchback of the Morgue, Night of the Werewolf, Vengeance of the Zombies and most recently Rojo Sangre. BCI recently made Naschy’s films available on DVD and Blu-Ray here in the States. The actor passed away after a fight with cancer at age 75.

Dan O’Bannon (September 30, 1946 – December 17, 2009)

Screenwriter, director and occasional actor, O’Bannon was born in St. Louis, Missouri and later attended USC where he met John Carpenter. They collaborated together on Carpenter’s first feature film Dark Star. Growing up a huge sci-fi and horror enthusiast, he went on to write the first Alien (directed by Ridley Scott), as well as Gary Sherman’s Dead & Buried, Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce and Invaders From Mars and Return Of The Living Dead, which he also directed. He passed from Crohn’s disease this December.

Lou Perryman (August 15, 1941 – April 1, 2009)

Most genre fans remember Lou Perryman as the lovable L.G. in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, but he also worked with Tobe Hooper several times early in the director’s career, first as an assistant director on Eggshells, also on the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and later as an actor in Poltergeist. He also had bit parts in The Blues Brother, Boys Don’t Cry and Last Night at the Alamo. Most shocking about his passing is that Perryman was murdered in his home in Austin, Texas.

Robert Quarry (November 3, 1925 – February 20, 2009)

Most horror fans knew (and loved) Robert Quarry for his portrayal of Count Yorga in Count Yorga, Vampire and The Return of Count Yorga, as well as his appearances in such genre fare as Dr. Phibes Rises Again, Madhouse (both with Vincent Price), Sugar Hill and Deathmaster. Quarry died at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, but not before he was further immortalized in his last screen role as Mr. Clarion in an adaptation of The Tell-Tale Heart co-starring Ingrid Pitt.

Ron Silver (July 2, 1946 – March 15, 2009)

New York born actor Ron Silver was an actor, director, producer, radio host and political activist. Genre fans remember Silver from his performances in 1981’s The Entity (starring Barbara Hershey), Blue Steel (opposite Jamie Lee Curtis), Timecop, The Wisher, The Arrival (with Charlie Sheen), Shadow Zone: The Undead Express and many more. He died of esophageal cancer at age 62.

Edward Woodward (June 1, 1930 – November 16, 2009)

Best known to horror fans for his turn as the unfortunate Sergeant Howie in 1973’s The Wicker Man, directed by Robin Hardy. In the film, he was tempted by the gorgeous Britt Ekland and shared the screen with Christopher Lee. Later, he’d go on to star in the television series The Equalizer and Edgar (Shaun of the Dead) Wright’s Hot Fuzz. Woodward died at the age of 79 in the company of family.

Source: Rob G., Ryan Rotten


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