Friday, March 17, 2017

"L.A. Law" Actor Larry Drake 2016 Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Larry Richard Drake (February 21, 1949 – March 17, 2016) was an American actor, voice artist, and comedian best known as Benny Stulwicz in L.A. Law, Robert G. Durant in both Darkman and Darkman II: The Return of Durant and the voice of Pops in Johnny Bravo.

Early life

Larry Richard Drake was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on February 21, 1949, the son of Raymond John Drake, a drafting engineer for an oil company, and Lorraine Ruth (née Burns), a homemaker.[1][2] He graduated from Tulsa Edison High School and the University of Oklahoma.[3]


Drake is mostly remembered for his portrayal of developmentally disabled Benny Stulwicz in L.A. Law, from 1987 until the show's end in 1994, for which he won two consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards (1988, 1989).[4][5][6][7] He returned to the role of Benny in L.A. Law: The Movie, a "reunion movie" that aired on NBC in 2002.[8]

He appeared in numerous film and television roles, including Time Quest, Dark Asylum, Paranoid, Bean, Overnight Delivery, The Beast, The Journey of August King, Murder in New Hampshire, 

Dr. Giggles,[9] 

Darkman,[10] Darkman II: The Return of Durant,[11] 

American Pie 2,[12] and 

Dark Night of the Scarecrow

He was a regular on Prey.[13] Drake provided the voice Pops in Johnny Bravo. In 2007, he co-starred in Gryphon, a Sci-Fi Pictures original film.

Personal life

Drake was married from 1989 to 1991 to Ruth de Sosa. The couple had no children.[14][15]


On March 17, 2016, Drake was found dead in his Los Angeles home at the age of 67. Drake's manager, Steven Siebert, reported that the actor had some health problems in the months before his death.[16] It was later reported that Drake suffered from a rare form of blood cancer that caused his blood to thicken. Other causes, such as hypertension and morbid obesity, led to his cardiac arrest.[17]

Larry Drake is interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery


1. "Larry Drake profile".
2.Lorraine Ruth Burns Drake (1924–2002) at Find a Grave
3. Davis, Chuck (May 8, 1988). "L.A. Law Actor Turns One Scene Into Regular Character on Show". The Oklahoman.
4. Haithman, Diane (November 3, 1988). "Larry Drake of L.A. Law Goes Mainstream". Los Angeles Times.
5. O'Connor, John J. (October 17, 1991). "Review/Television; On 'L.A. Law', New Faces but the Same Nasty Edge". The New York Times.
6. "Review/Television; Life on 'L.A. Law' Grows Ever Odder". The New York Times. May 18, 1989.
7. Selby, Holly (September 24, 1990). "Larry Drake's portrayal of Benny shatters stereotypes of the retarded". The Baltimore Sun.
8. King, Susan (May 12, 2002). "Together Again". Los Angeles Times.
9. Canby, Vincent (October 24, 1992). "Movie Review: Dr Giggles". The New York Times.
10. James, Caryn (August 24, 1990). "Movie Review –With Brains and Skin, Another Cloaked Avenger Fights Evil". The New York Times.
11. "Darkman-II-The-Return-of-Durant". The New York Times.
12. "American Pie 2 (2001)".
13. "Humanoids Make Scientists Paranoids". The New York Times. January 15, 1998.
14. Notice of death of Larry Drake,
15. Mcphate, Mike (March 18, 2016). "Larry Drake, Lovable Clerk on 'L.A. Law', Dies at 67". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
16. McPhate, Mike (March 18, 2016). "Larry Drake, Lovable Clerk on 'L.A. Law', Dies at 67". The New York Times. p. A21.
17. 'L.A. Law' Star Larry Drake Rare Blood Cancer Led to Death,

"Creature from the Black Lagoon" Director Jack Arnold 1992 Westwood Village Cemetery

Jack Arnold (October 14, 1912 – March 17, 1992) was an American actor and film and television director, best known as one of the leading filmmakers of 1950s science fiction films. His most notable films are It Came from Outer Space (1953), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Tarantula (1955), and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957).

Early years

Jack Arnold was born on a kitchen table in New Haven, Connecticut, to Russian immigrant parents.[3]:53 As a child he read a lot of science fiction, which laid the foundations for his genre films of the 1950s.

He hoped to become a professional actor and in his late teens he enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where his classmates included Hume Cronyn, Betty Field and Garson Kanin. After graduating he worked as a vaudeville dancer and in 1935 began getting roles in Broadway plays. He was acting in My Sister Eileen when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and he immediately enlisted as a cadet for pilot training.[3]:53

While Arnold intended to become a pilot, a shortage of planes meant he was temporarily placed in the Signal Corps, where he took a crash course in cinematography. He then became a cameraman and learned the techniques of filmmaking by assisting Robert Flaherty on various military films.[4] After eight months with Flaherty he became a pilot in the Air Corps.[3]:53 While stationed at Truax Airfield at New Rochelle, New York, he met Betty, who would later become his wife.


At the war's end and Arnold's term of service ended, he formed a partnership with an air squadron buddy Lee Goodman to form a film production company. Their new company, called Promotional Films Company, made fundraising films for various non-profit organizations. He also continued acting on stage during this period, in plays including a revival of The Front Page, and played opposite Bela Lugosi and Elaine Stritch in Three Indelicate Ladies.[3]:54

"Jack Arnold dominated the science fiction field during his brief career. No imprint lingers so indelibly on the face of modern fantasy film as that of this obscure yet brilliant artist. All his films, no matter how tawdry, were marked with a brilliant personal vision. He exists as an éminence grise on the horizon of fantasy film, inscrutable, mysterious, almost impossible both to analyse and to ignore."

John Baxter, filmmaker and author[5]

By 1950, after his documentary films had received more exposure, he was commissioned to produce and direct With These Hands, a documentary about working conditions of the early 20th century. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.[6]

Arnold directed a number of 1950's science fiction films. The best known of these, It Came from Outer Space (1953), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Tarantula (1955), and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) are noted for their atmospheric black-and-white cinematography and sophisticated scripts. The Incredible Shrinking Man is considered his "masterpiece," a fantasy film with few equals in intelligence and sophistication, notes author John Baxter. While all the films display a "sheer virtuosity of style and clarity of vision."[5]

Arnold's main collaborator at Universal Studios was producer William Alland.[7] Revenge of the Creature (1955) was Clint Eastwood's debut film.

He later worked as the director of The Mouse That Roared (1959), in which Peter Sellers played three roles, one of them in drag.

Arnold began his television career in 1955 with several episodes of Science Fiction Theater. He went on to direct the long-running television series Perry Mason and Peter Gunn. He also directed episodes of such television shows as Nanny and the Professor, Alias Smith and Jones, The Fall Guy, The Brady Bunch, Gilligan's Island, Wonder Woman, Ellery Queen, Mr. Terrific, Mr. Lucky, and The San Pedro Beach Bums, as well as the TV movie Marilyn: The Untold Story (1980).

Arnold died of arteriosclerosis in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California at the age of 75. Later that year, the UCLA Film Archive held a tribute "Jack Arnold: The Incredible Thinking Man" film festival which screened a number of his films. The Archive also produced and screened a bio-documentary about his life, The Incredible Thinking Man.[8][9]

Jack Arnold's ashes were spread in the rose garden at Westwood Village Cemetery, Los Angeles, California. 

Awards and nominations

Year Result Award Category Film or series

1951 Nominated Academy Award Best Documentary, Features With These Hands Shared with Lee Goodman

1985 Won Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films President's Award


1. Susan Arnold, IMDB
2. audio: "Legends of Film: Producer Susan Arnold", Nashville Public Library, June 15, 2009
3. Fischer, Dennis. Science Fiction Film Directors, 1895-1998, McFarland and Co. (2000)
4. Starlog #3 Jack Arnold Interview
5. Baxter, John. Science Fiction in the Cinema, Paperback Library (1970) p. 115
6. Crowther, Bosley. "'With These Hands,' Film About Garment Workers' Union, Is Shown of Gotham"], New York Times, June 16, 1950
7. Warren, Bill; Thomas, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies!: American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties, McFarland (2010) ebook
8. "His Creatures Walk Among Us : UCLA pays tribute to director Jack Arnold, 'The Incredible Thinking Man.'", Los Angeles Times, Oct. 30, 1997
9. "Jack Arnold remembered for knack on, off screen", UCLA Daily Bruin, Oct. 30, 1997

Further reading

Osteried, Peter: Die Filme von Jack Arnold. MPW, Hille 2012. ISBN 978-3-942621-11-3 (German)
Reemes, Dana M.: Directed by Jack Arnold. McFarland and Company, Jefferson 1988. ISBN 0-89950-331-4
Schnelle, Frank et alii (ed.): Hollywood Professional: Jack Arnold und seine Filme. Fischer-Wiedleroither, Stuttgart 1993. ISBN 3-924098-05-0 (German)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

"Rio Bravo" Actress Estelita Rodriguez 1966 San Fernando Mission Cemetery

Estelita Rodriguez (July 2, 1928 – March 12, 1966) was a Cuban actress best known for her roles in many Roy Rogers Republic westerns, and her role in Howard Hawks' western classic Rio Bravo.[1]

Early life and career

Rodriguez's career began in 1942 when she won a contract with MGM at the age of 14. She continued to go to MGM school in preparation to make a movie. However, MGM dropped her at the last minute, and Rodriguez traveled back to New York until 1945 when she signed a 5- picture deal with Republic.

Her first movie was Along the Navajo Trail. Though it made her career take a better turn, Rodriguez did not enjoy making the movie, reportedly saying "Everyone treats me like a kid. I am a mother." 

Soon after this, she starred with western favorites Roy Rogers and Dale Evans in Twilight in the Sierras in 1950 and In Old Amarillo with Rogers.

She concluded her career with Republic in 1952, and her last film was 1966's Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter.

In 1959, she appeared in Rio Bravo with John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson, and Walter Brennan.

Personal life and death

During the days of her early career, Rodriguez married Mexican singer Chu-Chu Martinez.[2] They had one child together, Nina (1946). They divorced in 1947.

In January 1953, Rodriguez married actor Grant Withers, an ex-husband of Loretta Young. John Wayne served as the best man at the wedding. They divorced in 1955.

Her third marriage was to Ismael Alfonso Halfss in 1956. They divorced in 1960.

Her fourth and final marriage was to Dr. Ricardo A. Pego in 1961. They remained married until her death.

On March 12, 1966, Estelita M. Pego was found dead on the kitchen floor of her North Hollywood, Van Nuys, California, home, at age 37. The cause of death was not made public. Some sources gave influenza as the cause of death.

She is interred at San Fernando Mission Cemetery, Mission Hills, California.


Along the Navajo Trail (1945)
Mexicana (1945)
On the Old Spanish Trail (1947)

The Gay Ranchero (1948)

Old Los Angeles (1948)

Susanna Pass (1949)

The Golden Stallion (1949)
Belle of Old Mexico (1950)

Federal Agent at Large (1950)

Twilight in the Sierras (1950)

Sunset in the West (1950)

Hit Parade of 1951 (1950)

California Passage (1950)

In Old Amarillo (1951)

Cuban Fireball (1951)

Havana Rose (1951)

Pals of the Golden West (1951)

The Fabulous Senorita (1952)

Tropical Heat Wave (1952)

South Pacific Trail (1952)

Sweethearts on Parade (1953)

Tropic Zone (1953)

Rio Bravo (1959)
Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (1966)


1. Boggs, Johnny D. (2011). Jesse James and the Movies. McFarland. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-7864-4788-6.
2. The date of their marriage is unknown at this time.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Magician Harry Kellar 1922 Rosedale Cemetery

Harry Kellar (July 11, 1849 – March 10, 1922) was an American magician who presented large stage shows during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Kellar was a predecessor of Harry Houdini and a successor of Robert Heller. He was often referred to as the "Dean of American Magicians" and performed extensively on five continents. One of his most memorable stage illusions was the levitation of a girl advertised as the "Levitation of Princess Karnack," copied from an illusion invented by John Nevil Maskelyne.

He was a longtime customer of the Martinka Magic Company, which built many of his illusions and sets, including the "Blue Room."

Early life

As is the case with most magicians, there is little of Kellar's early life that can be confirmed. His real name was Heinrich Keller and he was born to German immigrants in Erie, Pennsylvania.[1] He was sometimes called Henry, but later changed it to Harry.[2] As a child, Kellar loved to play dangerous games and was known to play chicken with passing trains.[2]

Kellar apprenticed under a druggist and frequently experimented with various chemical mixtures. On one occasion, Kellar reportedly blew a hole in the floor of his employer's drugstore.[2] Rather than confront the wrath of his parents, Kellar stowed away on a train and became a vagabond.[3] He was only ten years old at the time.[4]

Kellar was befriended by a British-born minister of religion from upstate New York. He offered to adopt Kellar and pay for his education if he would study to also become a minister. One evening Kellar saw the performance of a traveling magician, "The Fakir of Ava," the stage name of Isiaiah Harris Hughes, and, after the show, Kellar "immediately got the urge to go on the stage." He later told Houdini that, "I became very restless, bought books on magic and finally left my friend and benefactor."

While working on a farm in Buffalo, New York, Kellar answered an ad in the newspaper that was placed by Hughes, who was looking for an assistant. Kellar was hired and, at the age of sixteen, gave his first solo performance in Dunkirk, Michigan; it was a disaster and Kellar went back to work with Hughes.[5] Two years later, Keller tried again with better results, but, as he was in poor financial condition, his early career often consisted of borrowing equipment for the show and avoiding creditors.[4]


In 1869, Kellar began working with "The Davenport Brothers and Fay," which was a group of stage spiritualists made up of Ira Erastus Davenport, William Henry Davenport and William Fay. Kellar spent several years working with them, until 1873, when he and Fay parted ways with the Davenports and embarked on a "world tour" through Central and South America.[4]

Kellar's famous decapitation and floating head conjuration

In Mexico, they were able to make $10,000 ($212 thousand in today's figures). In 1875, the tour ended in Rio de Janeiro with an appearance before Emperor Dom Pedro II.[6]

Then, on their way to a tour in England, the ship Kellar and Fay were sailing on, the Boyne, sank in the Bay of Biscay. Lost in the wreckage were Keller's equipment and clothing, along with the ship's cargo of gold, silver and uncut diamonds.[7] After the shipwreck, Keller was left with only the clothes on his back and a diamond ring he was wearing. Afterwards, his bankers in New York cabled him telling him that his bank had failed.[7] Desperate for money, Kellar sold his ring and parted ways with Fay, who left to rejoin the Davenports.

After visiting John Nevil Maskelyne's and George Alfred Cooke's theater, called the Egyptian Hall, Keller was inspired and liked the idea of performing in one spot. He loved the illusions Maskelyne and Cook performed but it was Buatier de Kolta, then playing there, who performed 'The Vanishing Birdcage,' a trick that Kellar decided he must have and spent his remaining money to buy it from him. Kellar borrowed $500 from Junius Spencer Morgan (father of J.P. Morgan), and returned to the United States to try to retrieve his funds from a bank transaction he had initiated when he was in Brazil. Knowing that mail from Brazil was slow, he was able to recover all of the $3,500. With the money, Kellar started a "troupe" based on Masekylne's and Cooke's in England, even going so far as naming his theater the Egyptian Hall.

In 1878, Kellar returned to England and invested $12,000 into purchasing new equipment, including a version Maskelyne's whist-playing automaton "Psycho."

After a disappointing tour in South America, Kellar cancelled his remaining shows and returned to New York. Shortly before arriving, Kellar was told of the death of magician Robert Heller. The New York Sun accused Kellar of violating Heller's personality rights, saying that "Heller is scarcely dead before we read of 'Kellar the Wizard'." The article goes on to say, "Of course 'Kellar' aims to profit by the reputation that Heller left, by adopting a close imitation of Heller's name. This is not an uncommon practice."[8] Kellar attempted to prove that his name had always been Keller with an "e" and that he had actually changed it years previously to try to avoid being confused with Heller. He also pointed out that Heller had changed his name from William Henry Palmer.[9] The public was still unreceptive to him, causing Kellar to eventually cancel his upcoming shows in the United States and return to Brazil.

After another world tour in 1882, Kellar was performing again in Melbourne, Australia and met a fan, Eva Lydia Medley, who came backstage to get his autograph. Kellar promised to send postcards and letters from his travels.[10] They exchanged letters for the next five years.

Kellar started his version of Egyptian Hall in December 1884, after renting out an old Masonic temple on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After 264 performances, Kellar closed the theater on June 24, 1885. Shortly after Kellar left, the theater burned down.

While Kellar was performing in America, Medley arrived a few weeks before his appearance in Erie, Pennsylvania. She played the cornet in the show and started to learn about the magic business. Kellar and Medley were married on November 1, 1887 at a church in Kalamazoo, Michigan.[11] She played an important role in Kellar's shows in the coming years – not only did she play a part in many of his upcoming illusions, but she also provided music for the shows.

Kellar returned to Philadelphia in October 1891 and opened his second Egyptian Hall at Concert Hall, located also on Chestnut Street. On April 30, 1892, Kellar ended a successful seven-month run at his second Egyptian Hall. Kellar then returned to the road.

During the periods Kellar was abroad, another magician, Alexander Herrmann, had become famous and Kellar found himself with a rival on his return to the United States. Herrmann often criticized Kellar's lack of sleight of hand and claimed he preferred to use mechanical tricks instead. While he lacked sleight of hand, Kellar was so good in using misdirection, that he said a "...brass band playing at full blast can march openly across the stage behind me, followed by a herd of elephants, yet no one will realize that they went by."[6] Herrmann died on December 17, 1896.

Later life

Kellar with Harry Houdini in 1915

Kellar retired in 1908, and allowed Howard Thurston to be his successor. Kellar had met Thurston, who was doing card tricks, while on vacation in Paris, France. Kellar did his final show at Ford's Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland.[12] Kellar eventually moved to his house in Los Angeles, California. Kellar's wife died two years later.

Kellar was often visited by other magicians, notably including Harry Houdini.[4] On November 11, 1917, Houdini put together a show for the Society of American Magicians to benefit the families of those who died in the sinking of the USS Antilles by a German U-boat (who have been considered the first American casualties of World War I).[13] Houdini got Kellar to come out of retirement to perform one more show.

The show took place on the largest stage at the time, the Hippodrome. After Kellar's performance, Kellar started to leave, but Houdini stopped him, saying that "America’s greatest magician should be carried off in triumph after his final public performance." The members of the Society of American Magicians helped Kellar into the seat of a sedan chair, and lifted it up. The 125-piece Hippodrome orchestra played "Auld Lang Syne" while Kellar was slowly taken away.[4]

Kellar lived in retirement, until he died on March 3, 1922 from a pulmonary hemorrhage brought on by influenza.[13] He was interred in Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Notable illusions

"The Levitation of Princess Karnac"

Kellar's "Levitation of Princess Karnac"

Kellar supposedly developed this trick by abruptly walking onto the stage during a show by Maskelyne, seeing what he needed to know, and leaving.[6] Unable to duplicate it, Kellar hired another magician to help build another, but eventually designed a new trick with the help of the Otis Elevator Company. Another version built by Kellar was purchased by Harry Blackstone, Sr., who used the trick for many years. The Buffalo writer John Northern Hilliard wrote that the levitation was a marvel of the twentieth century and "the crowning achievement of Mr. Kellar's long and brilliant career."[6]

The trick was done by a disguised machine hidden from the audience's perspective. Kellar would claim the woman onstage, sleeping on a couch, was a Hindu princess, who he would levitate and then move a hoop back and forth through the woman's body to prove she was not being suspended. Inside the princess's dress was a flat board she was resting on, which was connected to a metal bar going out the side into the backstage. The other end of the bar connected to a machine to raise and lower the woman, blocked from view by the curtain and her own body. To allow Kellar to "prove" with the hoop that she was floating, the bar was in a rough "S" shape, letting him move the hoop through the length of her body in any direction.[14]

"The Nested Boxes"

Kellar borrows six finger rings from members of audience. He loads them into the barrel of a pistol, aims and fires the pistol at a chest that is hanging on the side of the stage. The chest is opened and inside is another, smaller chest. Inside that, are six boxes nested in each other. As each is opened, they are stacked on top of each other and inside the smallest one are the five rings each tied with ribbon to flowers. The five rings are returned to their owners. The owner of the sixth ring wonders what happened to hers, with Kellar pretending not to notice.

He continues with his next trick, which a variation of Robert-Houdin's "Inexhaustible Bottle." Audience members call out different beverages like wine, whiskey, lemonade, or just water. Each one is poured from the same bottle and the audience acknowledges that they are indeed receiving their requested drinks. Once bottle is empty, Kellar takes it and breaks it open. Inside is a guinea pig with a sash around its neck which has the sixth ring attached to it. The ring is eventually handed back to its owner.[15]

A variation of the trick was performed in front of United States President Theodore Roosevelt and his children, Ethel, Archie, Quentin and Kermit.[16] Ethel was the owner of the sixth ring and after Kellar had returned her ring, he asked if she would also like to have the guinea pig as a pet. Then Kellar wrapped the guinea pig in paper and handed it back to Ethel. When it was opened, inside was a bouquet of pink roses.[16]

"The Vanishing Lamp"

A lamp is seen set on top of a glass table. Kellar covers the glowing lamp with a thin cloth. Kellar told the audience that each evening, the lamp would be returned to its purported, original owner in India at a specific time. As a bell sounded out the current time of day, Kellar loaded a pistol and aimed it towards the lamp. At the last chime, Kellar fired the pistol. The lamp seemed to melt away, with the cloth falling to the stage.

Kellar was known to have a short temper, and once, after an incident in which the "Vanishing Lamp" failed to vanish, he took an axe to the defective prop. Later Kellar built another one that would continue to work reliably long after his retirement.[2]


1. Caveney 2003, p. 18
2. Christopher 2005, p. 198
3. Christopher 2005, p. 199
4. "Harry Kellar (1849–1922)." American Experience. Public Broadcasting Service. 1999. 
5. Christopher 2005, p. 200
6. Gibson 1966.
7. Christopher 2005, p. 207
8. Christopher 2005, p. 212, 214
9. Caveny 2003, p. 85.
10. Caveny 2003, p. 115.
11. Caveny 2003, p. 163.
12. Christopher 2005, p. 220
13. Christopher 2005, p. 221
14. Ottaviani, Jim (July 31, 2007). Levitation: Physics And Psychology In The Service Of Deception. G.T. Labs. ISBN 0978803701.
15. Caveny 2003, p. 129–130.
16. "Kellar fools Roosevelts" (PDF). New York Times. January 18, 1904. 


Caveney, Mike; Bill Miesel (2003). Kellar's Wonders. Magical Pro-files. 11. Pasadena, CA: Mike Caveney's Magic Words. ISBN 0-915181-38-X.

Christopher, Milbourne; Maurine Christopher (2005). Illustrated History of Magic. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. ISBN 0-435-07016-9.

Gibson, Walter B (1966). The Master Magicians. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. OCLC 358950.

Rath, Arun (April 3, 2013). "The magicians who rip off other conjurers' tricks." BBC News. 

Further reading

Kellar, Harry (1890). A Magician's Tour: Up and Down and Round about the Earth. Chicago: Donohue, Henneberry and Co.