Reel-Important People is a monthly column that highlights those individuals in or related to the movies who have left us in recent weeks. Below you’ll find names big and small and from all areas of the industry, though each was significant to the movies in his or her own way.
Gabriel Axel (1918-2014) – Danish director whose Babette’s Feast won the 1987 Oscar for Best Foreign Film (see the win below). His other work includes Royal Deceit and a part of Lumiere and Company. He died on February 9th. (THR)
Sid Caesar (1922-2014) – Comic actor and writer and legendary TV host who appears in the movies Grease, Grease 2, Cannonball Run II, Silent Movie, History of the World, Part 1 and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (see below). His TV programs launched the careers of Woody Allen, Carl Reiner, Neil Simon and Mel Brooks. He died on February 12th. (THR)
Mary Grace Canfield (1924-2014) – Actress best known for a recurring role on TV’s Green Acres. She also appears in the Disney movies Pollyanna and Something Wicked This Way Comes. She died of lung cancer on February 15th. (A.V. Club)
Ann Carter (1936-2014) – Former child actress who starred in The Curse of the Cat People (see below) and appears in I Married a Witch, The Virginian and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. She died of ovarian cancer on January 27th. (THR)
Bob Casale (1952-2014) – Founding member of the band Devo, he later worked on the music departments for such movies as Rushmore, Happy Gilmore, Herbie Fully Loaded, The Royal Tenenbaums, Thirteen and The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle. He died of heart failure on February 17th. (THR)
Eduardo Coutinho (1933-2014) – Brazilian documentary filmmaker whose films include Edificio Master (see a clip below), Playing and Twenty Years Later. He was murdered on February 2nd. (THR)
Stuart Hall (1932-2014) – Cultural theorist who was the subject of the recent documentary The Stuart Hall Project (see the trailer below). He died on February 10th. (The Guardian)
John Henson (1965-2014) – Son of Jim Henson and Muppet performer with credited work on Muppet Treasure Island, Muppets from Space and The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz. He died of a heart attack on February 14th. (Moviefone)
Alice Herz-Sommer (1903-2014) – The oldest known Holocaust survivor and subject of one of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Documentary – Short: The Lady in Number 6 (see the trailer below). She died on February 23rd. (THR)
Roger Hill (1948-2014) – Actor who played gang leader Cyrus, of the Grammercy Riffs, in The Warriors (see below). He died on February 20th. (Variety)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014) – Actor who won an Oscar for his portrayal of the title character in Capote. He was also nominated for supporting roles in The Master, Charlie Wilson’s War and Doubt and also was memorable in Boogie Nights, Twister, Magnolia, Mission: Impossible III, 25th Hour, Almost Famous, Punch-Drunk Love (see below), Along Came Polly, Happiness, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, State and Main, Last Party 2000, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Synecdoche, New York and many more. He also directed the film Jack Goes Boating. See our full obituary here and tributes here, here, here and here.
Christopher Jones (1941-2014) – Actor who starred in Ryan’s Daughter, Wild in the Streets (see him singing below) and The Looking Glass War. He died on January 31st. (THR)
Sarah Jones (1986-2014) – Cameraperson on the upcoming biopic Midnight Rider. She died after being struck by a train in an accident on location for the movie on February 20th. (The Wilmywood Daily)
Jimmy T. Murakami (1933-2014) – Animator who received an Oscar nomination for his work on the 1969 short The Magic Pear Tree (watch it below). He was also the supervising director on another Oscar nominee, The Snowman, worked on the animated films Heavy Metal, The Wind Blows, The Point and The Bear and co-directed Roger Corman’s live-action sci-fi movie Battle Beyond the Stars. He died on February 16th. (A.V. Club)
Harold Ramis (1944-2014) – Filmmaker and actor best known for co-writing and co-starring in the Ghostbusters movies (see below). He also directed Groundhog Day, Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Multiplicity and Year One, some of which he also collaborated on the scripts. His other writing credits include Back to School, Animal House, Meatballs and Stripes, in which he also appears. Other acting roles of his can be found in Knocked Up, Baby Boom, Orange County and the animated feature Heavy Metal. See our full obituary here and discussions of his best movies here and here.
Arthur Rankin, Jr. (1924-2014) – Producer and director who was one half of Rankin/Bass, which is best known for the animated version of The Hobbit, The Last Unicorn, Frosty the Snowman and stop-motion holiday favorites like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (see him discuss this one below) and Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town. He died on January 30th. (THR)
Maximilian Schell (1930-2014) – Actor who won an Oscar for his leading performance in Judgment at Nuremberg (see below). He also received nominations for his work in The Man in the Glass Booth and Julia and appeared in The Black Hole, Deep Impact, A Bridge Too Far, Topkapi and Cross of Iron, among many more. As a director, he made the Oscar-nominated documentary Marlene and the murder mystery End of the Game. He died on February 1st. (The Film Stage)
Shirley Temple (1928-2014) – Legendary child star who won the 1935 special Academy Award for juvenile performance and known for such movies as The Little Princess, Curly Top, Heidi, Bright Eyes (see below), Fort Apache and The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer. See our full obituary here.
Joy Todd (? – 2014) – Casting director who worked on Ghostbusters, Once Upon a Time in America, Kramer vs. Kramer, Moscow on the Hudson, Empire Records and more. She died on February 18th. (THR)
Maria von Trapp (1914-2014) – One of the famous Trapp Family children and step-daughter of the woman portrayed by Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. In that movie she is portrayed as the character “Louisa” by actress Heather Menzies. She can be seen in the documentary Climbed Every Mountain: The Story Behind The Sound of Music. She died on February 18th. (NYT)
Wu Ma (1942-2014) – Hong Kong actor and director who co-stars in A Chinese Ghost Story (see below), Once Upon a Time in the West, Iron Monkey 2 and Police Story 2. He died of lung cancer on February 4th. (THR)