Categotry Archives: Actors

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Moose

Categories: Actors

moose.jpgMoose, an actor best known for playing Eddie on the Emmy Award-winning NBC sitcom, “Fraser,” died on June 22 of natural causes. He was 15-and-a-half years old, or 108-and-a-half in dog years.
Born on a Florida farm in 1990, Moose was the youngest in his litter but also the biggest. The long-haired Jack Russell terrier was a rambunctious puppy who drove his owners mad by starting a fire, scaring off the family cat, destroying the couch, chewing through telephone wires, digging a hole in a bathroom wall and urinating on a favorite chair. He would’ve surely ended up in big trouble if fate hadn’t intervened.
While sitting in the waiting room of his veterinarian’s office, Moose was discovered by Cathy Morrison, who worked for Birds and Animals Unlimited, a talent agency for animals. She trained Moose in Orlando, then sent him to Los Angeles to audition for “Frasier.” He landed the role of Eddie, a companion for John Mahoney’s character Martin, and a new owner, animal trainer Mathilde DeCagney. In one episode, Frasier (played by Kelsey Grammer) was listening to some music. He noted that the singer was quite talented, but she could not surpass “the great Mathilde DeCagney.”
Moose appeared on “Frasier” for 10 years before retiring in 2004. He graced the covers of TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly, and was ranked fifth on Animal Planet’s list of the “50 Greatest TV Animals.” After Moose left the show, his son Enzo took over the role of Eddie. Moose also starred in the film, “My Dog Skip,” alongside Frankie Muniz and Kevin Bacon. He played the older version of the title character; Enzo played the younger one.
Moose’s autobiography, “My Life as a Dog,” co-written with Brian Hargrove, was published in 2000. His final days were spent relaxing at his trainer’s home in Southern California, hanging out in the sun, going for hour-long strolls with his dog walker and playing with his buddy Bogus, a St. Bernard/Golden Retriever mix who’s also a retired performer.
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Andreas Katsulas

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Categories: Actors, Hollywood

akatsulas.jpgAndrew C. Katsulas, a character actor who appeared in dozens of movies and television shows, died on Feb. 13 of lung cancer. He was 59.
The St. Louis native caught the acting bug at a young age. He performed in community stage productions as a child, took drama as an extracurricular activity in high school, majored in drama at St. Louis University and earned a master’s degree in theatre from Indiana University.
After completing his education, Katsulas worked in the St. Louis, New York and Boston theatre scenes. For 15 years, he traveled around the world with Peter Brook’s International Theatre Company, doing both improvisational theatre and prepared stage pieces. Katsulas acted everywhere he could, his commanding presence and bold voice resonating from premiere locations, like Lincoln Center in New York and The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., to more humble stages, such as the streets of Europe and remote African villages.
Landing a role in the 1987 film “The Sicilian” brought Katsulas to Hollywood, where he became a familiar face on the big and small screen. He played mobster Joey Venza in “Someone to Watch Over Me,” terrorist leader El Sayed Jaffa in “Executive Decision” and the infamous one-armed man Frederick Sykes in “The Fugitive.” On television, Katsulas appeared in “Guiding Light,” “Max Headroom,” “Alien Nation,” “The Equalizer,” “Jake and the Fat Man,” “Hunter,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Diagnosis Murder” and “NYPD Blue.”
Even though his striking visage was often obscured by latex prosthetic makeup, Katsulas was best known for his work in the science fiction and fantasy genre. He portrayed the red-eyed Narn ambassador G’Kar for five years in “Babylon 5,” and reprised the role in subsequent “Babylon 5” telefilms. Star Trek fans knew him as Romulan Commander Tomalak in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and as a Vissian captain on “Enterprise.”
“He lived an amazing life…full of travel and wonder and good work…was part of the world renowned Peter Brook company…he saw the planet, loved and was loved, ate at great restaurants, smoked too many cigarettes. He lived a life some people would die for,” said writer/producer J. Michael Straczynski.
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Dana Reeve

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Categories: Actors

dreeve.jpgDana Reeve has been described as a talented entertainer, a loving mother, a devoted wife and a champion of spinal cord research.
She was, in fact, all of the above.
Dana Morosini was born in Teaneck, N.J., and raised in Scarsdale, N.Y. She graduated cum laude from Middlebury College in Vermont, and studied acting at the California Institute of the Arts and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Dana became a singer and actress, appearing in plays on and off-Broadway, and in numerous television shows, most notably “Loving,” “All My Children,” “Law & Order,” “Feds,” “Oz” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” She also co-hosted “Lifetime Live,” a daily talk show for women on the Lifetime network.
Dana met Christopher Reeve in 1987. She was performing in a cabaret act at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Williamstown, Mass., when the handsome movie star introduced himself. The couple married five years later, and had one son, Will, now 13. Dana also cared for Matthew and Alexandra, Christopher’s children from his first marriage. In 2005, she won a Mother of the Year Award from the American Cancer Society.
When a horse-riding accident in 1995 left Christopher paralyzed, Dana put her show business career on hold and dedicated herself to his care. She co-founded the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, which seeks a cure for spinal cord paralysis, and succeeded her husband as its chairman when he died two years ago at the age of 52. To date, the foundation has awarded $60 million in research grants and $8 million in quality of life grants.
In 1996, the Reeves established the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center, a facility in Short Hills, N.J., that teaches paralyzed people how to live more independent lives. Three years later, Dana published the book, “Care Packages: Letters to Christopher Reeve From Strangers and Other Friends.” For her work, at home and in the philanthropic world, Reeve received the Shining Example Award from Procter & Gamble in 1998, and an American Image Award from the American Apparel and Footwear Association in 2003.
Although Dana never smoked, doctors diagnosed her with lung cancer in August 2005. While undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, she still found the time and energy to tape television spots and make appearances at fundraisers. On Jan. 12, she even donned a wig to cover her hair loss, and performed Carole King’s “Now and Forever” to a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden in honor of the retirement of her friend, former Rangers hockey captain Mark Messier.
“Dana Reeve had a fierce grace. Under pressure, she embraced her personal struggles with dignity and humor. And always with the focus on the greater good. She filled her life with a love as clear and unflinching as her beautiful voice. Dana made the world a better place and we all shall miss her song terribly,” actress Susan Sarandon said.
Reeve died on March 6 of lung cancer at the age of 44. Her final television appearance on the PBS program, “The New Medicine,” will air on March 29. It was taped last November.
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Don Knotts

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Categories: Actors

dknotts.jpgDon Knotts, the Emmy Award-winning actor who entertained generations in television shows, movies and on stage, died on Feb. 24 of pulmonary and respiratory complications. He was 81.
Born Jesse Donald Knotts in Morgantown, W.Va., Knotts broke into show business as a ventriloquist. After graduating from high school, he moved to New York City with only $100 in his pocket. He hoped to find work as an entertainer, but within a few weeks, Knotts returned home and enrolled at West Virginia University. A year later, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and spent World War II performing for the troops in the Pacific theatre as a comedian with the Special Services Branch.
Knotts completed his education after the war, earning a degree in theatre. He then moved back to New York City and used his Army contacts to score gigs at area comedy clubs and roles in radio dramas. From 1953 to 1955, Knotts was a regular on the soap opera “Search for Tomorrow.” In 1956, he made his Broadway debut playing the psychiatrist in “No Time for Sergeants,” a play that starred Andy Griffith. That same year, Knotts also landed a job doing “man-on-the-street” segments for “The Tonight Show” with Steve Allen. When the program moved to Hollywood in 1959, Knotts did too.
Knotts would eventually appear in seven TV series and more than 25 films, but he was best known for playing the bumbling, high-strung deputy Barney Fife on “The Andy Griffith Show.” The hit series, which ran from 1960-1968, earned Knotts five Emmy Awards. Millions of Americans laughed at his comedic antics on “The Andy Griffith Show” — during its original broadcast and in reruns.
A perfectionist, Knotts was known for practicing his lines over and over, trying out different inflections and emotions until he found the one that best suited the character and story. His care for the craft helped him earn success on the big screen, with starring roles in “The Incredible Mr. Limpet,” “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken,” “The Reluctant Astronaut,” “The Shakiest Gun in the West,” “The Love God?” and “How to Frame a Figg.” Knotts did stage work in the 1970s before being cast as dorky landlord Ralph Furley on the popular 1980s TV sitcom “Three’s Company.”
Knotts remained busy in the final years of his life, touring with plays, appearing as a recurring guest on Griffith’s “Matlock” series, tackling small roles in movies (“Cannonball Run II,” “Pleasantville”) and providing voices for cartoons (“Hermie & Friends,” “Chicken Little”). His autobiography “Barney Fife and Other Characters I Have Known” was published in 1999.
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Michael Vale

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Categories: Actors

mvale.jpg“Time to make the donuts.”
As Fred the Baker, Michael Vale sleepily issued this observation on more than 100 commercials for Dunkin’ Donuts, and became a pop culture icon in the process.
The New York native served as a U.S. Army Signal Corpsman in Europe during World War II. When he returned to the states, Vale studied acting at The Dramatic Workshop and made his Broadway debut in “The Egg.” He later acted in the Broadway productions of Neil Simon’s “California Suite,” Stephen Sondheim’s “The Frogs,” Saul Bellow’s “The Last Analysis” and Albert Hague’s “Cafe Crown.” His most successful stage role was as Harold the hypochondriac doctor in “The Impossible Years”; the play opened in 1965 and ran for two years.
Vale performed in several TV shows, including “Car 54, Where Are You?” in the 1960s and “The Cosby Show” in the 1980s, and played the role of the jewelry salesman in the film, “Marathon Man.” But he was best known for appearing in more than 1,300 TV commercials. He also originated the role of the curmudgeonly Sam Breakstone in advertisements for Breakstone Dairy Products.
Vale worked as the early-rising Dunkin’ Donuts pitchman for 15 years. His character was so popular that comedian Jon Lovitz imitated Vale in a sketch on “Saturday Night Live.” Police officers were known to pull him over — just to ask for an autograph. After his retirement in 1997, Dunkin’ Donuts threw a parade in his honor and gave away a free doughnut to every customer who visited one of their shops that day. He later worked as an ambassador (a.k.a. “Dunkin’ Diplomat”) for the company’s charitable programs.
Vale died on Dec. 24 of complications from diabetes. He was 83.
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