2021’s spy entertainment “In Memoriam”

As 2021 draws to a close, here’s a look at those who contributed to spy entertainment (or at least spy-related). These are not listed in any particular order.

Cicely Tyson (1924-2021), actress: Distinguished actress. Her many credits included appearances on I Spy and Mission: Impossible.

Leslie Bricusse (1931-2021), songwriter: Bricusse had a varied career that included collaborating with the likes of John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith and Henry Mancini among others.

In the 1960s, he worked with Barry on Goldfinger, Thunderball (the “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” song that wasn’t used but figured into the score) and You Only Live Twice. He worked with Goldsmith on “Your ZOWIE Face” from In Like Flint.

Nikki van der Zyl (1935-2021), voice artist: She voiced over Ursula Andress and other actresses during the run of Eon Productions’ James Bond film series. Eon also called upon her services to dub Anita Ekberg in Call Me Bwana, the comedy Eon made in-between Dr. No and From Russia With Love.

Yaphet Kotto (1939-2021), actor: He played Dr. Kananga, the villain in the film version of Live And Let Die. Kotto had a long career. He became an actor in the dying days of “old Hollywood.” One of his early films was Five Card Stud, a Dean Martin-Robert Mitchum western produced by Hal B. Wallis who had produced Casablanca.

William P. Cartlidge (1942-2021), production staff: Cartlidge worked on three James Bond movies directed by Lewis Gilbert — You Only Live Twice (as assistant director), The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker (as associate producer).

Jack Turley (1927-2021), writer: American television writer whose work included episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The FBI.

Arthur Weingarten (1935-2021), writer/producer: He penned episodes of The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Later, he had the title of executive story consultant for the final season of The FBI and wrote an episode for that show. He later became a producer of U.S. television shows.

Peter Mark Richman (1927-2021), actor: Veteran character actor who often played villains. His many credits included appearances on The Man From U.N.C.L.E., It Takes a Thief, and Mission: Impossible. He also starred in spy-fi curiosity Agent From H.A.R.M.

Tanya Roberts (1955-2021), actress: She played Stacey Sutton, the lead female character in A View to a Kill. She previously had been in Charlie’s Angels.

Tommy Lane (1936-2021), actor/stuntman: Lane played Adam, one of Dr. Kananga’s henchmen in Live And Let Die. In a movie full of colorful characters, he still made an impact. In the movie’s boat chase, Adam has a faster boat than Bond (Roger Moore). That forces Bond to improvise.

Jessica Walter (1941-2021), actress: Walter enjoyed a long career. That included two episodes of The FBI where her characters were part of espionage rings.

Edward Asner (1929-2021), actor: Veteran actor who played the gruff Lou Grant in two series (The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Lou Grant). He also played villains on The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. and The Wild Wild West.

Neil Connery (1938-2021), actor: The younger brother of Sean Connery was cast in the lead of a Bond takeoff titled Operation Kid Brother or OK Connery depending on which version you saw. The movie featured other actors (Adolfo Celi, Daniela Bianchi, Anthony Dawson, Bernard Lee, and Lois Maxwell) who had appeared in Eon’s 007 film series. The movie was even released by United Artists. In the movie, Neil Connery plays “Dr. Neil Connery.” He uses hypnotism as if it were a superpower.

Frank McRae (1941-2021), actor: The one-time football player transitioned to acting. His roles included Sharkey, the likable “sacrificial lamb” in 1989’s Licence to Kill.

Richard Donner (1930-2021), director: Donner is best known for directing the 1978 Superman film with Christopher Reeve and the Lethal Weapon series of movies. In the 1960s, working in television, he directed episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West and Get Smart. In the 1980s, Donner was offered Never Say Never Again but turned it down.

John Pearson (1930-2021), writer: Pearson wrote on various subjects, including a 1966 biography of Ian Fleming. Pearson had worked with Fleming at The Sunday Times.

Charles “Jerry” Juroe (1923-2021), publicist: Juroe’s long career included stints as a publicist at United Artists and Eon Productions. He published a book about his career in 2018.

Al Harrington (1935-2021), actor: Harrington was a cast member of the original Hawaii Five-O series during the show’s fifth through seventh seasons.

Frank Jacobs (1929-2021), writer: Jacobs wrote many parodies for Mad magazine. In 1965, he penned a satiric version of a James Bond musical. The songs were sung to the tune of songs from Oklahoma!

Michael Apted (1941-2021), director: Apted was known for directing dramas as well as working on the 7-Up series of documentaries. His selection to direct The World Is Not Enough (1999) was seen as unusual.

Helen McCrory (1968-2021), actress: English stage and film actress, she had a key role in Skyfall (2012).

A look at some Ed Asner non-Lou Grant roles

Edward Asner’s title card for The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. episode The Double-O-Nothing Affair

Actor Edward Asner has died at age 91. He, understandably, is receiving acclaim for a long career including playing Lou Grant on two series (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a comedy, and Lou Grant, a drama).

What follows are some of his acting credits of interest to the blog:

The Double-O-Nothing Affair, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.: Asner played a Thrush chieftain whose headquarters is based at a used-car dealership. It’s an outlandish concept, but Dean Hargrove’s script makes it work. The story also makes April Dancer (Stefanie Powers) and Mark Slate (Noel Harrison) look like smart, competent agents. That wasn’t always the case with The Man From U.N.C.L.E. spinoff. Asner, as usual, makes a great villain.

The Night of the Amnesiac, The Wild Wild West: Secret Service agent James West (Robert Conrad) loses his memory just as Asner’s villain gets his way out of prison. The villain’s gang has been taken over by his brother. The brothers hate each other but Asner’s character gets the advantage. Asner complains how killing family members makes him depressed.

Hawaii Five-O/Five-0 (original and reboot): Asner played villain August March in both versions of the series. He was a highlight in both.

The FBI: Asner played a kidnapper in two episodes. In The Tormentors (season one), Asner is more stable of the kidnappers who have seized a young man (Kurt Russell) who is the son of an aging rich man (Lew Ayres). Asner’s character is done in by his sickly and disturbed partner (Wayne Rogers). In The Dynasty (third season), Asner and his nephew (Martin Sheen) have kidnapped a man who runs a family business. Asner’s character is nasty and not well educated. His idea of reading is looking at Superboy comic books. In The Attorney (fourth season), Asner plays a sympathetic character, a working-class stiff whose daughter (Dawn Wells) is involved with a Cosa Nostra crime boss.

House on Greenapple Road: This TV movie was made by Quinn Martin, the producer of The FBI. Asner was part of a stellar cast (Janet Leigh, Christopher George Peter Mark Richman, Lynda Day George, Keenan Wynn, Walter Pidgeon, Joanne Linville and others) about a murder investigation with many twists. Asner plays a county sheriff, hungry for publicity and an overall louse. The TV movie was made in 1968 but not shown until 1970. It led to QM’s Dan August series.

CBS renews Hawaii Five-0 for a third season

CBS renewed the new Hawaii Five-0 series for a third season, according to the show’s official Twitter feed. It also linked to THIS PART of CBS’s Web site, but didn’t really provide any additional details.

Earlier this month, CBS said star Alex O’Loughlin would miss some time for rehab related to pain medication for a shoulder injury, according to a story on the Dateline Hollywood Web site.

Next week, CBS will also televise an episode where Edward Asner reprises a role he played in the original Hawaii Five-O series. Apparently the new show will say Asner’s August March was arrested by the father of O’Loughlin’s Steve McGarrett, rather than the Jack Lord original version of McG. Here’s a preview CBS uploaded to YouTube:

UPDATE: iTunes is offering episodes of the original Hawaii Five-O free for a limited time. To check it out, CLICK HERE.

Edward Asner to reprise role from old Five-O in new Five-0


The new Hawaii Five-0 evidently is going to bend the space-time continuum by having having 82-year-old Edward Asner reprise a role from the original Hawaii Five-O.

Here’s an excerpt from a report on the Deadline entertainment news Web site.

EXCLUSIVE: Ed Asner is upgrading his status on Hawaii Five-0 from a guest star to recurring. In a very unusual series guest arc spanning 36 years, the multiple Emmy winner will guest star on CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 reboot in the spring, reprising the role of August March, which he played in an episode of the original series in 1975.

That episode, Wooden Model of a Rat, aired in the eighth season of the original show. Logically, he can’t play the same role unless you accept the idea that there are two Steve McGarretts, two Dannos and two Chin Ho Kellys in the same fictional universe. August March was the villain going against a 49-year old McGarrett (the series established a 1926 birth date for the Big Kahuna; star Jack Lord was older than that, being born in late 1920) and a Chin Ho who was less than a perfect physical specimen. At least both Dannos (James MacArthur and Scott Caan) are short compared with their McGarretts (Lord and Alex O’Loughlin).

Then again, as the old saying goes, it’s just a television show.

According to the Deadline story, the new show will use footage from the original Asner appearance. The 1975 episode was written by Alvin Sapinsley, one of the best writers on the original show. His other credits include Sherlock Holmes in New York, the 1976 TV movie where Roger Moore played Holmes.

The FBI, season 1, part II now on sale

The rest of The FBI’s first season is now on sale through Warner Bros.’s online store. Included among the 15 episodes of the Quinn Martin/Warner Bros. series are these espionage-theme tales:

The Sacrifice: A defecting Soviet diplot informs the bureau that a key U.S. military contractor has been infilatrated by a spy ring. Inspector Lewis Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) and his partner Jim Rhodes (Stephen Brooks) are assigned the case.

The Spy Master: Erskine impersonates a U.S. diplomat who has been approached by China about turning over a valuable document known as the Forsythe Memo. Erskine’s assignment is to identify members of a Chinese spy ring. The episode was directed by future feature-film director Richard Donner.

The Defector: Two-part story has the bureau seeking an intelligence operative of an unnamed Eastern European country who wants to defect. The agent’s home country wants to prevent that. Meanwhile, a cagey chess player (John Van Dreelen) attempts to play both sides against the middle.

Non-espionage stories include Charles Bronson as a murderous criminal (The Animal), Colleen Dewhurst as a mentally unbalanced woman who has abducted a baby (The Baby Sitter) and Kurt Russell as a boy kidnapped by Wayne Rogers and Edward Asner (The Tormentors).