Cemetery with crosses - legends lost but remembered
This page is our personal hall of faml'e. A reminder to us all that even though considered a B-genre, Spaghetti Westerns were full of great characters, played by great people. Many have passed away, and while we are young growing up re-watching all these classics, many more will probably leave us. May they be remembered. What follows, is a work-in-progress, a growing list of legends who have passed away...
Sorted by last name: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
- WESTBURY, Ken (Albert Kenneth Westbury) - 1/5/1927, Sherpherd’s Bush, London, England, U.K. - 4/28/2023, Staines, Middlesex, England, U.K.
Veteran British cameraman, cinematographer Ken Westbury died in the U.K. on April 28, 2023. He was 96. Born Albert Kenneth Westbury on January 5, 1927, in Shepherd’s Bush, London, England, he had a 40+ year career, mainly working on BBC programs and productions. He began his career as clapper for the British Ealing Studios and then when Ealing was purchased by MGM, Ken went to work for the BBC as a cinematographer and cameraman. He worked on two TV Eurowesterns: “Dr. Who: The Gunfighters” in 1966 and 1971’s “The Last of the Mohicans”.
- BROWN, Jim (James Nathaniel Brown) 2/17/1936, St. Simons Island, Georgia, U.S.A. - 5/18/2023, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Jim Brown, the NFL titan who appeared in “The Dirty Dozen,” a number of Blaxploitation films and Oliver Stone’s “Any Given Sunday,” The Running Man,” Tim Burton’s “Mars Attacks” and Spike Lee’s “He Got Game,” to name a few films, died May 18, 2023 in Los Angeles. He was 87. In nine extraordinary seasons as a fullback with the Cleveland Browns, Brown set an array of NFL records. In 2002 the Sporting News named him the greatest professional football player ever. That phenomenal athleticism and a charismatic personality made him bankable as the first African American action star. The 1969 Western “100 Rifles” starred Brown as an Arizona lawman who ventures into Mexico to find Burt Reynolds’ Yaqui Joe, a Native American who robbed a bank to buy rifles for his people. There he tangles with a beautiful native leader played by sex symbol of the day Raquel Welch; much was made in the press of the interracial love scene featuring Brown and Welch, but Brown apparently grew impatient with the actress because of the control her people exerted over the film. “When I’m on a picture,” he told Ebert at the time, “I have two bosses, the director and the producer. My co-star is not my boss.” Brown also starred opposite Lee Van Cleef in three Spaghetti westerns: “El Condor.”, “Take a Hard Ride” and “Kid Vengeance”.
- YELIZAROV, Anatoly - 2/16/1943, Saint Petersburg, Russia, U.S.S.R. - 5/8/2023, Moscow, Russia
Honored artist of Russia, the master of pantomime Anatoly Yelizarov was found dead in his apartment in Moscow on May 8, 2023. He was 80 years old. Yelizarov was born on February 16, 1943, in Leningrad. From the age of 13, he studied the art of pantomime in the Mime studio of the famous circus artist Rudolf Slavsky. Since the 1960s, the artist began to tour in the USSR and abroad. The Soviet and foreign press compares him to the master of French mime Marcel Marceau. Yelizarov also starred in the films “Aibolit-66” by Rolan Bykov, “Completely Lost” by Georgy Danelia, “The Sun, Again the Sun” by Svetlana Druzhinina, “The Crew” by Alexander Mitta, “The Imaginary Sick” by Leonid Nechaev. He appeared in only one European western in a small cameo role as the man with top hat and cane in 1973’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”.
- JOHNSTONE, Iain (Iain Gilmour Johnstone) - 4/8/1943, Reading, Berkshire, England, U.K. - 5/4/2023, London, England, U.K.
It was reported in the British paper The Guardian on May 18th that English author, broadcaster and television producer Iain Johnstone died suddenly in London, England on May 4, 2023. Born Iain Gilmour Johnstone on April 8, 1943 in Reading, Berkshire, England, Johnstone was a film critic for The Sunday Times for twelve years and producer and fill in presenter of the ‘Film 82’. Johnston produced other British TV programs such as the BBC Two chat show ‘Friday Night, Saturday Morning’, ‘The Frost Interview’ and ran the BBC's Watergate coverage. Johnstone co-wrote the film Fierce Creatures (1997) with John Cleese, and made eight documentaries with Steven Spielberg. Johnstone was also a biographer of Tom Cruise and Clint Eastwood. Johnstone produced the 1977 TV documentary ‘The Man With No Name’ on the career of Clint Eastwood.
- AUSTIN, Ray (Raymond John DeVere Austin) - 12/3/1932, London, England, U.K. - 5/17/2023, Earlysville, Virginia, U.S.A.
British born producer, director, stuntman and coordinator Ray Austin died at his home in Earlysville, Virginia on May 17, 2023. He was 90 years old. Born in London on December 3, 1932. He started his career as a stunt performer on such films as “North by Northwest” (1959) and “Spartacus” (1960). From 1965 to 1967 he served as stunt coordinator on 50 episodes of “The Avengers”. For The Champions he initially became involved as a second unit director, subsequently rising to the position of full director. His work as a television director included episodes of “The Avengers” (1968), “Space: 1999” (1975–1976), “The New Avengers” (1976–1977), and “V” (1984). He directed 50 of the 88 episodes of the Euro-western series ‘Zorro’, which was filmed in Madrid between 1989 and 1992 for the American ABC Family Channel. He has also directed some made-for-TV films, including “The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (1983), and some feature films such as “Virgin Witch” (1972) and “House of the Living Dead” (1974). Austin was married from 1976 to actress Yasuko Nagazumi, who performed in some of the series he worked on, notably ‘Space: 1999’. He later divorced Nagazumi and married British producer and writer Wendy DeVere Knight-Wilton in 1984.
- SAVINA, Federico - 6/9/1935, Turin, Piedmont, Italy - 5/10/2023, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Today the cinematic arts lose a mentor, an artist, and a gentleman: Federico Savina. If you ever heard music by Nino Rota, Ennio Morricone, and even Jerry Goldsmith and Leonard Bernstein, chances are you have been in contact with his mixing or soundtrack restoration work. A pioneer of new technology in sound, he's been a Dolby consultant during the stereo, early surround and digital transitions, contributing to the establishment of what we know today as the Dolby standards.
He could dub an entire sequence, music and dialogue, all in one pass, running faders in real time on an analog desk with no meters, on a student film he had never seen before, and he was 80 at the time!
Federico was the brother of the late composer Carol Savina.
Federico was the music editor on Ennio Morricone’s 1971’s score for “Duck You Sucker!