Category Archives: Tributes

Milt Stevens (1942-2017)

Tributes pouring in for BNF Milt Stevens. I’m re-posting the tribute by Mike Glyer, File 770.

Milt Stevens (1942-2017)

Milt Stevens and Craig Miller in 1981. Photo by Dik Daniels.

Past Worldcon chair and fanzine fan Milton F. Stevens died October 2 of a heart attack, after entering the hospital with pneumonia and other medical problems.

Milt attended his first Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society meeting in 1960 at the age of 17. “I’d been reading science fiction for years before that, so the slide into real fanac was easy,” he wrote. He discovered the club through fan-news columns in the prozines.

Milt Stevens in the 1960s

During the Vietnam War he served in the Navy. Milt always attributed his baldness to shiptime service in the smoking-hot climate of the South China Sea.

By 1970 Milt was President of LASFS — he signed my membership card when I joined. He was somebody to look up to who also became a good friend.

Milt won the Evans-Freehafer Award for service to the club in 1971. He was on the LASFS, Inc. Board of Directors for a couple of decades, and was Chair for around five years. After the original LASFS clubhouse was bought in 1973 Milt dubbed himself the “Lord High Janitor,” having taken on the thankless task of cleaning the place.

An exception at the usually inward-focused LASFS, Milt was among the club’s few nationally-active fanzine publishers and fanpoliticians. He put out an acclaimed perzine called The Passing Parade. He coedited and bankrolled later issues of my fanzine Prehensile. For many years he was a member of the Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA).

1965 APA-L photocover — Milt Stevens is in the lower right corner.

Milt was a gifted humorist, dry and cynical, as though he was equipped with a set of glasses where one lens showed him what should ideally be happening in a set of circumstances, while the other showed him what was really happening, and he could juxtapose these two visions in a provocatively funny way. Milt would subtly include himself among the targets of his joking criticism on some level, however, people who didn’t know him rarely recognized that, and he struggled with the fact that such humility no longer defused people’s wrath in the internet age.

For awhile in the 1970s, Milt, Craig Miller, Elst Weinstein and I got in the habit of meeting for dinner at Mike’s Pizza in Van Nuys. Ed Cox or Ed Finkelstein joined us a couple of times – so that the rubric for these get-togethers became (1) always invite somebody named Ed, and (2) always order “pizza ala cruddo” (as we called pizza with everything). Being a comparative newcomer to the club, I looked forward to hearing Milt reveal all the inside LASFS lore – the Chart, Coventry, The Game of Fandom, and why never to mention spaghetti to a certain member.

He also gave us some early insights into conrunning and bidding for conventions. He was Chair of LA 2000, the original Loscon (1975), and later the 1980 Westercon. And he co-chaired L.A.con II (1984) with Craig, which still holds the attendance record.

Milt worked for LAPD for 32 years, mainly as a civilian crime analyst, a career that gave him a fund of cop stories — all punctuated with violence — like the one about a legendary detective who had (cumulatively) fired his gun five times and killed six people. “How was that?”, listeners always asked. The sixth was in a fight after taking away the guy’s knife. His job also unexpectedly put him in the position of attending a training session where the speaker analyzed the “Satanic symbolism” of such things as – the artwork on the cover of the 1984 Worldcon Souvenir Book.

The most indelible memory I have about Milt’s character is something that happened when the first LASFS clubhouse was on Ventura Blvd., near a T-intersection with Tujunga Ave. One evening a driver took the turn onto Ventura too fast and flipped his car. It skidded on the roof and came to a stop just a few yards down from the clubhouse, engine still turning, and smelling of leaking gasoline. I was with the people who collected at a safe distance, replaying in our imaginations TV show stunts of exploding auto wrecks. Milt, on the other hand, ran to the driver’s side and got him out. That’s what a man’s supposed to do.

Appreciation for his fannish contributions came when Milt was made GoH of Loscon 9 (1982) and Westercon 61 (2008).

I personally had Milt to thank for getting me to start working out at a gym, as he did. For a few years in the Eighties I lost weight and looked as good as I ever would.

He remained active in LASFS all his life. I got to share a table with Milt, Marc Schirmeister and Joe Zeff at the LASFS 75th Anniversary dinner in 2009.

And we were together on a panel at the 4,000th meeting of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society in 2014, representing various decades in club history — June Moffatt spoke for the 40s; Bill Ellern, the 50s; Milt Stevens, the 60s; myself, the 70s; Karl Lembke, the 80s; Cathy Beckstead, the 90s; Peter Santell, the 2000s; Mimi Miller, the 2010s.

Dan Goodman, Kara Dalkey, Tom Digby, and Milt Stevens at LASFS in 1976.

Earlier this year he programmed the 2017 Corflu, the convention for fanzine fans, when it met in Los Angeles. (See Milt’s conreport here.) The chair, Marty Cantor, announced today, “I will say it here, he personally paid off the con’s $1200+ budget deficit, and he did so happily as he felt that Corflu was a fannish good and he wanted this series of cons to continue.” Other fans wrote on Facebook about how much they appreciated the conversations they had with him about fanhistory. Milt was passing the torch, and those younger fans learned from him the stories behind fandom’s traditions and legends.

Legendary Monster Artist Basil Gogos (1939-2017)

Legendary Monster Artist Basil Gogos passed away September 14, aged 78.

Basil Gogos (March 12, 1939 – September 14, 2017) was an American illustrator best known for his portraits of movie monsters which appeared on the covers of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine in the 1960s and 1970s.

Google “basil gogos” images, and see an amazing array of art you will almost certainly recognize even if you never heard his name before.

76 images of his art can be found on this site:

http://churchofhalloween.com/basil-gogos/

Wikipedia bio is here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_Gogos

 

Obits for Robert Hardy and Hywel Bennett

Robert Hardy (1925-2017): British actor, died August 3, aged 91, best known to fans as Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter movies. He was best known to me as Siegfried in All Creatures Great and Small.

Something I didn’t know, although I read a lot about the Mary Rose at the time:  Robert Hardy was a keen military historian who loved the longbow and played a large role in raising the Tudor warship, The Mary Rose.

http://www.imdb.com/news/ni61372566/

Hywel Bennett (1944-2017): British actor, died July 25, aged 73. One of his earliest television appearances was as Rynian, the Aridian in The Death of Time, the second episode of the William Hartnell story The Chase.  He is best remembered as James Shelley in the Thames Television series Shelley.

http://www.doctorwhonews.net/2017/08/hywel-bennett-1944-2017.html

 

Doctor Who Companion Debbie Watling Dies

Doctor Who Companion Debbie Watling Dies

Watling with an Ice Warrior in a 1967 episode of Doctor Who.

By Steve Green: Deborah (Debbie) Watling (1948-2017): British actress, died 21 July aged 69 Best-known for playing Patrick Troughton’s companion “Victoria” in Doctor Who (40 episodes, 1967-68), her other genre appearances included H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man (11 episodes, 1958-59), Out of the Unknown (1966 adaptation of John Rankine’s ‘The World in Silence’), Where Time Began (a 1977 animated adaptation of Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth). She reprised her Doctor Who role in the 1993 Comic Relief minisode Dimensions in Time and the non-BBC Downtime (1995), then appeared as herself in the 2013 spoof The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, directed by former timelord Peter Davison.

She was a five-time guest at Gallifrey One, the Los Angeles Doctor Who con. Her first visit was in 1991.

Martin Landau, passed away aged 89

A MASTER OF DISGUISE

Landau had chameleon-like abilities

CHRIS PIZZELLO/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Martin Landau, seen here with his North by Northwest co-star Eva Marie Saint in 2009, died on Saturday of unexpected complications during a hospital stay in Los Angeles.

Martin Landau, the chameleon-like actor who gained fame as the crafty master of disguise in the 1960s TV show Mission: Impossible, then capped a long and versatile career with an Oscar for his poignant portrayal of aging horror movie star Bela Lugosi in 1994’s Ed Wood, has died. He was 89.

Landau died Saturday of unexpected complications during a short stay at UCLA Medical Center, his publicist Dick Guttman said.

Mission: Impossible, which also starred Landau’s wife, Barbara Bain, became an immediate hit upon its debut in 1966. It remained on the air until 1973, but Landau and Bain left at the end of the show’s third season amid a financial dispute with the producers. They starred in the British-made sci-fi series Space: 1999 from 1975 to 1977.

Landau might have been a superstar but for a role he didn’t play — the pointy-eared starship Enterprise science officer, Mr. Spock. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry had offered him the half-Vulcan, half-human who attempts to rid his life of all emotion. Landau turned it down.

“A character without emotions would have driven me crazy; I would have had to be lobotomized,” he explained in 2001. Instead, he chose Mission: Impossible, and Leonard Nimoy went on to everlasting fame as Spock.

Ironically, Nimoy replaced Landau on Mission: Impossible.

Continue reading Martin Landau, passed away aged 89

Adam West has passed away

Posted by Variety, June 10, 2017 | 08:19AM PT

Adam West — an actor defined and also constrained by his role in the 1960s series “Batman” — died Friday night in Los Angeles. He was 88. A rep said that he died after a short battle with leukemia.

“Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight, and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives. He was and always will be our hero,” his family said in a statement.

With its “Wham! Pow!” onscreen exclamations, flamboyant villains and cheeky tone, “Batman” became a surprise hit with its premiere on ABC in 1966, a virtual symbol of ’60s kitsch. Yet West’s portrayal of the superhero and his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, ultimately made it hard for him to get other roles, and while he continued to work throughout his career, options remained limited because of his association with the character.

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Lawrence Montaigne, 1931-2017

http://www.startrek.com/article/remembering-lawrence-montaigne-1931-2017

StarTrek.com is saddened to report the passing of Lawrence Montaigne, the veteran actor who played the Romulan, Decius, in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Balance of Terror” in 1966 and returned a year later to portray Stonn, a Vulcan, in “Amok Time.” The actor died on Friday, March 17, at the age of 86.

His film and TV credits are extensive, his favourite role being that of the Canadian prisoner of war in The Great Escape. See the article in IMDB.

Sir John Vincent Hurt, CBE (22 January 1940 – 25 January 2017)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hurt

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000457/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm

(2011, on Spaceballs (1987)) Mel [Brooks] called and said, “Look, John, I’m doing this little movie and there’s a bit in there that has to do with Alien (1979), so come on over.” He made it sound like a bit of a picnic. He also did that to me on History of the World: Part I (1981). He always does that. “Come on, I’ll give you a couple grand, we’ll put you up in a nice hotel, you’ll have a good time, and then you can go back again.” And when you get there, you suddenly realize, it’s a $3 million scene-God knows how much the animatronic singing and dancing alien cost-and they couldn’t possibly have done it if it hadn’t been for you. What I’m saying is, I think he got me rather cheap.

I had no idea that Doctor Who (2005) had got so huge; I just thought, “Brilliant, I’ll be a Doctor!” I was suddenly – what do they call it? You start “trending”. This is all new to me!
Of course you have to remember that the Doctors are all one person, so I’m not outside of that. I can’t talk about it, but I will say I was really impressed when I did it. Both the previous doctors – Matt Smith and David Tennant – boy, are they good at it. Whoa-wee! They are so quick, and there’s a huge amount of learning and no time to learn it in. All that fake scientific nonsense. Terribly difficult to learn.
I’ve done a couple of conferences where you sit and sign autographs for people and then you have photographs taken with them and a lot of them all dressed up in alien suits or Doctor Who (2005) whatevers. I was terrified of doing it because I thought they’d all be loonies, but they are absolutely, totally charming as anything. It’s great fun. I’m not saying it’s the healthiest thing – I don’t know whether it is or isn’t – but they are very charming.
[on the original series of Doctor Who (1963)] I don’t think I saw the first episode and I think it escaped me for quite a long time. It was a kiddies’ programme, or it was assumed to be. It was known basically for the fact that all the scenery used to fall over.

Les Lupien’s passing is noted on SF Site

LUPIEN OBIT. SF Site News reports that Montreal fan Leslie Lupien (1921-2016) died on October 25.

Obituary: Leslie Lupien

Montreal fan Leslie Lupien (b.1921) died on October 25. Lupien was active in MONSFFA, the Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, and at the time of his death was the organization’s oldest member. Lupien also published several short stories, beginning in 1996 with “Sanitary Zone” and continuing through 2009 with “Wotan.”