Earl Bennett, 88. One-time member of the Spike Jones Band (as Sir Frederick Gas) which specialized in comedic songs, Bennett was film editor for United Productions of America (UPA) on animated series like “The Jetsons,” “Mr. Magoo,” and “Fantastic 4.” Died October 4. Added note: Randy Van Horne (b. 1924), musician, composer, and singer who led the vocalists on the themes for “The Jetsons” and “The Flintstones.” Died September 24 in Woodland Hills, California, of cancer,
Carol Bruce, 87. b. November 15, 1919. Broadway, film, and television actress. Bruce replaced Sylvia Sidney as stern Mama Carlson on “WKRP in Cincinnati“, her best-known role. Sidney was only in the pilot episode. Many other roles included, of genre interest, a TV episode of the 1985 “Twilight Zone” series remake and in movies, voicing the Old One on Land Before Time IV (1996). Of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, October 9.
Lonny Chapman, 87. Actor who played the bartender in the diner in Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963), Chapman appeared in 150 movies and made numerous television appearances, including “Planet of the Apes”, “Night Gallery”, and “One Step Beyond”. Of heart disease October 12.
Bud Ekins, 77. Stunt man and off-road motoryclce racer, best known doubling for Steve McQueen in the fence-jumping motorcycle stunt inThe Great Escape (1963), his first movie. McQueen rode his motorycle as Hilts and, wearing a German uniform, pursued Hilts. That task included a gag: running into a wire strung across the road by Hilts. McQueen tried to make the 60-foot jump but was unsuccessful. Ekins, an LA motorcycle shop manager, did the gag instead. Ekins went on from there, his stunts featured in other leading movies including The Blues Brothers (1980). Genre movies Elkins did stunts for include Return from Witch Mountain (1978) and The Thing With Two Heads (1972). Also acted in a number of movies. Of natural causes, October 6.
George Grizzard, 79. b. April 1, 1928. best-remembered for stage roles such as Broadway’s Who’s Afaird of Virginia Woolf? (1962). His many teleivsion roles included appearances on “3d Rock from the Sun”, “Twilight Zone”, “One Step Beyond”, and “Thriller.” Of lung cancer, in New York, October 2.
David “Tex” Hill, 92. b. 1915. The best-known of World War Two’s Flying Tigers, which was a unit made up of American flyers in P-40s who provided a united air effort against the Japanese who were mopping up the Chinese, equipped with a large number of disparate aircraft, but lacking in cohesion and training. Inspired John Wayne’s character in Flying Tigers (1942) and was featured in numerous documentaries about the unit. Died in Terrell Hills, Texas, October 11.