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Arts and Entertainment

A Year In Memoriam: TV & Movie Players Who Went Into the Light in 2006

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Some people have already been eulogized here on LAist, for example, Robert Altman, so I've done my best not to repeat anyone who has been mentioned recently. As someone who studied film in college, I always try to look over and remember people who changed the industry, improved their art, or who changed/improved me. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and I'm sure I've missed some people. Feel free to add and remind us in the comments.

Aaron Spelling - producer of "Charlie's Angels", "Dynasty","T.J. Hooker", "Fantasy Island", "Love Boat", "Hotel", "Beverly Hills, 90120", "Charmed", "7th Heaven" and about a jillion other shows that were filler between commercials. Love him or hate him, he had a significant impact on what TV shows are made and how they are made.

Darren McGavin - the Dad in "A Christmas Story", also starred in "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" the precursor to "The X-Files"

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Mike Douglas - TV interviewer extraordinaire, his show was the first syndicated TV show to win an Emmy award

Jack Palance - typecast as a bad guy ("Shane", "Barrabas") he reinvented himself later in life and we will never forget him doing one-handed pushups at the Academy Awards in '92 at the age of 73

Ed Bradley - made "60 Minutes" interesting

Shelley Winters - 2 time Oscar winner and who could ever forget her as "Lolita"'s mom

Curt Gowdy - won more than a dozen Emmys for sports coverage and was the Voice of the Red Sox

Dennis Weaver - Started in movies in the '50s ("Touch of Evil") but gradually did more TV ("Mc Cloud", "Lonesome Dove", "Wildfire") was the quintessential westerner

Steve Irwin - croc hunter, TV show creator, environmentalist

Peter Benchley - wrote the first Summer blockbuster: "Jaws" and the beach and movie marketing have never been the same

(more after the jump)

The list goes on:

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Al Lewis - Grandpa Munster, who ran for various public offices including governor of New York as a Green Party candidate

Glenn Ford - 50+ years in movies, mainly as a cowboy but unforgettable in "Blackboard Jungle"

Red Buttons - a pioneer for modern stand-up comics with a 50+ year movie and TV career

Jane Wyatt
- Will forever be the ideal Mom due to her role on "Father Knows Best"

Maureen Stapleton - multi-award winner who after winning an Oscar, she was asked by the press how it felt to be recognized as one of the greatest actresses in the world; she replied, "Not nearly as exciting as it would be if I were acknowledged as one of the greatest lays in the world." Plus she lived just down the road from me.

Louis Rukeyser - brought finances and investing to TV, and made them as interesting as they could be before computer graphics and CNBC

Mickey Spillane - the King of Pulp Fiction, there hasn't been an actor with enough balls to play his character Mike Hammer, except Spillane, of course, who played him in "The Girl Hunters" in '63

Scott Brazil - producer/director of "The Shield", "Hill Street Blues", and many others

Jack Warden - long film and TV career, "Crazy Like a Fox" was his calling card but you saw him all over the place

Joseph Barbera - king of the animation franchise idea (outside of Disney)

Gordon Parks - director of Shaft but was also a composer and photographer

Mako - a favorite for casting directors looking for a stereotypical Japanese bad-guy but his talents went beyond that, appearing in very different roles later in his career ("West Wing", and even as the voice of Aku in the "Samurai Jack" animated series)

Richard Bright - huge career perhaps best remembered from his role in the "Godfather" series as Al Neri protecting Al Pacino

Adrienne Shelley - very promising actor and writer who recently starred in "Factotum"

Chris Penn - Unfortunately overshadowed by his more obnoxious brother he was no less talented or less driven to excess

Vincent Schiavelli - gangly lookin' fellow who suffered from Marfan syndrome, you would recognize him when you saw him. From "One Flew OVer the Cuckoo's Nest" to "Man on the Moon", was in many Milos Forman movies and frequently on TV.

Jack Wild - was the Artful Dodger in "Oliver!" and Jimmy the little boy in "H.R. Pufnstuf"

Vincent Sherman - died at 100, was famous for evoking powerful performances from his leading ladies (Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth) whom he also enjoyed schtupping

Moira Shearer - dancer who made revolutionized ballet onscreen with her performance in "The Red Shoes" (1948)

Don Knotts - TV comedy icon. It was supposed to be ironic to have him be Jack Tripper's wanna-be-lothario landlord, but in real life Don was very handy with the ladies.

Peter Boyle - triumphed in both comedies and drama, from "Joe" to "Young Frankenstein" to "Taxi Driver", TV and beyond

Bruno Kirby - versatile actor, had a career even before "City Slickers" that people should check out

They will all be missed.

movie still of Don Knotts in 'The Love God?' (1969)