We were forced to say goodbye to several veterans of the TV shows from the past. Some are well known to the public and some are not. Either way, the medium of television wouldn’t be the same without their contributions.
Ron Silver, 62, passed away on March 15th after a two-year battle with esophageal cancer. A veteran of many movies (Reversal of Fortune) and Broadway plays (Speed the Plow), television audiences know the talented actor from Chicago Hope, Law & Order, Crossing Jordan, and The West Wing. One of his earlier roles in the medium was playing the boyfriend and neighbor of Brenda (Julie Kavner) on the Rhoda sitcom. Silver was also the co-founder of an entertainment industry advocacy group, Creative Coalition.
On March 13th, Alan Livingston died of natural causes at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 91. He was best known as the president of Capitol Records during the 1960s, having signed iconic artists like Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, and The Beatles. He was originally hired as a writer and producer of children’s storytelling record albums with illustrated read-along books. He wrote Bozo at the Circus and worked with an illustrator to design the character. The record sold more than eight million copies and spawned Bozo merchandise and local market Bozo-hosted TV shows.
Millard Kaufman died in Los Angeles on March 14 at the age of 92. The cause of death was heart failure following open heart surgery. Kaufman had a varied career which included being a copyboy for the New York Daily News and serving as a marine in the early 1940s until he contracted malaria. In the latter part of the decade, he took up screenwriting and was nominated for Oscars for such films as Take the High Ground! and Bad Day at Black Rock. One of his earlier works was writing an animated short called Ragtime Bear featuring a certain nearsighted old man. With director John Hubley, Kaufman created the Mister Magoo character that went on to great success in additional movie shorts and television series.
Veteran TV writer Morton Lachman passed away in Los Angeles on March 17th. He was 90 years old and, according to his family, died from a heart attack and diabetes. Lachman was a key member of Bob Hope’s writing staff for 29 years, working with Larry Gelbart, Hal Kanter, Gene Perret, Sherwood Schwartz, and Mel Shavelson. He later produced, directed and wrote for such shows as The Red Skelton Show, Sanford, All in the Family, Gimme a Break, and Kate & Allie. He also wrote for 11 Academy Awards ceremonies, six Grammys, and won two Emmys.
Harry Harris, a prolific TV director, has died at the age of 86th on March 19th. He passed in Los Angeles, due to complications of myelodsplasia. He began working in Hollywood in the 1930s and got his start directing while working for Desi Arnaz at Desilu. He won an Emmy for directing an episode of the Fame TV series in 1982. Among his TV credits are classic shows like Gunsmoke, Kung Fu, Lost in Space, Hawaii Five-0, and Falcon Crest. His final work was directing 35 episodes of 7th Heaven, including the series finale that aired in May 2007.
Andy Hallett, 33, passed away at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles on March 29th. The actor died of heart failure after a five-year battle with heart disease. His father was by his side. Hallett is best known to television viewers as Lorne, the green-skinned night club host from Angel. He appeared on more than 70 episodes of the Buffy spin-off and could frequently be heard singing at his demon bar. A private funeral service will be held for Hallett on Cape Cod (where he was from) this weekend. Messages for the family can be sent to: The family of Andy Hallett, P.O. Box 924, Osterville, MA 02655.
Angel co-star Christian Kane spoke fondly of Hallett in our audio interview with him last month. Of his friends’ passing, Kane says, “I have lost a friend, and the world has lost a beacon. I will never forget his laugh or his infectious smile. He has left us better than we were before.”