Wow! 2011 is not starting off well. It's only January 3rd and already three stars have died.
ABC News --
Actress Anne Francis, who appeared in dozens of television shows and movies including "Forbidden Planet," died in California on Sunday, her daughter told The Los Angeles Times. She was 80.
Francis died of complications of pancreatic cancer at a retirement home in Santa Barbara, California, after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007, her daughter, Jane Uemura, told the Times.
The New York-born blond beauty was best known for her roles in the 1956 science-fiction classic "Forbidden Planet" opposite Leslie Nielsen and Walter Pidgeon, as well as her title role playing a female private detective in the mid-1960s television series, "Honey West," which earned her a Golden Globe.
Without becoming a major film star, she also had starring or supporting roles in movies including "Blackboard Jungle," "Funny Girl," and "Hook, Line and Sinker," but later more frequently appeared in guest star roles on television.
LA Times --
Oscar-nominated British actor Pete Postlethwaite, described by director Steven Spielberg as "the best actor in the world," has died in London at 64 after a long battle with cancer.
Journalist Andrew Richardson, a longtime friend of the actor, said Monday that Postlethwaite died Sunday in a hospital.
A gritty and powerful actor, Postlethwaite was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the 1993 film "In the Name of the Father." He had recently been seen in the critically acclaimed film "Inception" and had worked with Spielberg on "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" and "Amistad."
Postlethwaite initially planned to become a priest but was drawn to acting.
He received an OBE in 2004, along with many other honors for his long career in movies, theater and television.
Postlethwaite lived in the hills of rural Shropshire, in western England. He was a political activist known for his opposition to the recent war in Iraq and his call for policies to fight global warming.
He recently had returned to the stage to star as King Lear.
The actor had been treated at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. Shortly before his death, he publicly thanked the hospital staff in the Shropshire Star newspaper for their "wonderful" treatment and care during his illness.
He is survived by his wife, Jacqui, his son, Will, and daughter, Lily.
Cinefantastique Online --
Verne Langdon was a multi-talented make-up artist, mask maker, musician, composer, record producer, writer, occasional actor, and even a wrestler in his time. He passed away Saturday, January 1st, at the age of 69.
Langdon was a familiar name and face to readers of Famous Monsters Of Filmland magazine in the 1960’s and 70’s. He wrote a few articles, but was also written about, as he was behind many of the famous masks of the Universal Studios monsters made by the Don Post Studios, and sold in the magazine.
He recorded a An Evening with Boris Karloff and Friends for Decca Records, an composed and performed two albums of horror-oriented music, Vampire At The Harpsicord and Phantom of The Organ. Langdon also recorded a number of non-genre music albums, available on CD.
Responible for many of Don Post’s famous masks, he designed his own original, The Zombie, which is highly prized today by mask collectors.
He produced and designed live shows featuring monsters and make-up for Universal Studios.
Film & TV credits include THE HAUNTED PALACE, THE COMEDY OF TERRORS, the PAT PAULSON TV show, and the PLANET OF THE APES film series, working with designer John Chambers.
His official website can supply more details about his life, showing that Verne Langdom was still active with a wide range of projects and horror/sci-fi fandom up until his death.