It seems, unfortunately this is becoming a weekly column here at A Hollywood Republican. We forget that most of the actors from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s are now getting up there in age. This week we lost 3 more of the great ones…One, Tony Scott, who sadly took his own life and two, William Windom and Phyllis Diller, of natural causes.
Director Tony Scott died Sunday August 19th when he jumped off the Vincent Thomas bridge in San Pedro. Officials report that a note was found in his car and at his office but they are not releasing the details at this time. Deputy Chief Coroner Ed Winter in a press release Tuesday went on to say, “Our examination is complete and we will be working towards a comprehensive document once we close the case.” As for the reports of Scott having an inoperable brain tumor Winters continued, “I did talk to the family yesterday late afternoon, and according to his wife, he did not have brain cancer as reported, and (she) does not know who told ABC that information, which is absolutely false.”
Brother of producer/director Ridley Scott, Tony Scott was also a talented Director directing such hits as “Top Gun”, “Beverly Hills Cop II”, “Days of Thunder”, “Enemy of the State” and the 2010 film “Unstoppable.” His complete filmology can be found on the IMDB website.
Tony Scott was born Anthony D.L. Scott in North Shields, England, in 1944. Tony Scott got his start as a teenager in front of the camera, starring in his older brother Ridley Scott’s film “Boy and Bicycle.” In 1995, the two joined forces to create the production company Scott Free Productions.
Tom Cruise star of “Top Gun” said of his friend, “Tony was my dear friend and I will really miss him. He was a creative visionary whose mark on film is immeasurable. My deepest sorrow and thoughts are with his family at this time.”
Tony Scott was 68 and leaves behind his 3rd wife actress Donna Scott and their two sons.
Emmy award winning actor William Windom died Thursday August 16 of congested heart failure at the age of 88. Best known as Commodore Matt Decker in “Star Treks” the “Doomsday Machine” and Doctor Seth Hazlitt in the Angela Lansbury series “Murder She Wrote” Windom starred and co starred in over 100 TV series and movies in an acting career that spanned 7 decades.
Windom was born in New York City on Sept. 28, 1923 and was named after his great-grandfather, a Minnesota congressman and former U.S. Treasury secretary. He attended Williams College in Massachusetts before joining the Army as a paratrooper in World War II. His acting career contained such highlights as starring opposite Gregory Peck in 1962’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” and in the 1964 film “The Americanization of Emily.”
Windom died at his home in Woodacre, north of San Francisco and is survived by his wife of 37 years Patricia and their four children Rachel, Heather, Hope and Rebel.
“Poverty, and my husband, my husband, Sherwood Diller, insisted that I become a comic,” she told NPR in 2006 about her reasons for becoming a comedian. “The thing is, I had been doing [comedy] all my life without realizing it because I’m a born comic. I was born funny. I think funny, and … my attitude toward life was funny.”
And she was that with her wild clothing, electrified hair and hilarious cackle she had for a laugh. For 60 years she would crack jokes about her age and appearance, bad cooking and husband “Fang.” She performed alongside such greats as Bob Hope and Johnny Carson, had two TV series and was regular in “Laugh In” and had her own personal cubical on the game show “Hollywood Squares.”
Her close friend Joan Rivers said “She supported half the world and her five kids and she did it on the road. It was very hard for a woman on the road, and she really knew the loneliness of the road. She was an emancipated woman. And she managed to have a private life.”
In her private life, she was a gourmet cook, an accomplished pianist and a painter.
Phyllis Ada Driver was born on July 17, 1917, in Lima, Ohio. As a child she became interested in classical music, writing and theater.
After briefly attending the Sherwood Conservatory of Music in Chicago, she entered Bluffton College in Bluffton, Ohio, near Lima, with thoughts of becoming a music teacher. She met Sherwood Anderson Diller in her senior year in college, and they were married in 1939. They would divorce in 1967.
Ms. Diller is survived by a son, Perry; a daughter, Suzanne Mills; four grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.
“She had such a good, full happy life,” Rivers said. “She had a great time to the very end.”
Phyllis Diller died at her home in Brentwood, California…gone but not forgotten.
“I once wore a peekaboo blouse. People would peek and then they’d boo.” Phyllis Diller