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Thompson on Hollywood

Media Watch: Isaacson's Steve Jobs Biography, Reviews, 60 Minutes Profile

Clearly, we can't learn enough about the late Steve Jobs, so his official biographer Walter Isaacson's new book Steve Jobs--over 600 pages--which is published today, two and half weeks after his death, should help to feed our hunger for more details about the fascinating co-founder of Apple. Here's an excerpt about Jobs and Gates.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 24, 2011 8:18 AM
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River Phoenix May Return to Screen Via Re-edited Version of George Sluizer's Unfinished Dark Blood

It's been eighteen years since his death, but that's not stopping River Phoenix's last film, Dark Blood, from being released next year. Director George Sluizer has re-edited footage from the film shoot, which was not completed (Phoenix died at age 23 of a drug-induced heard attack, 11 days before it was meant to wrap), and thinks a final cut can be achieved if Joaquin Phoenix provides voiceover for River's character, Boy, a young hermit who lives on a nuclear test site awaiting the end of the world. "The voices of both brothers are very much alike," Sluizer tells THR, but the director has yet to ask Phoenix if he is willing to do it. The film co-stars Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis as a married couple who find Boy when their car breaks down. After beginning a relationship with the married woman, Boy questions his belief that the world is ending. It may be eighteen years old, but the story sounds very à propos.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 19, 2011 7:46 AM
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Obit: Pioneer Sue Mengers Was Hollywood's Most Powerful Woman Agent

The minute I learned that legendary ICM agent Sue Mengers had died, I contacted Elaine Dutka, who had memorably profiled the uber-agent for the LA Times. Here's Dutka's obit. Sue Mengers, the first female agent to penetrate the Hollywood boy's club, died Saturday at her Beverly Hills home. Flamboyant, charming, witty, and abrasive, she was the most powerful woman on the agency scene in the 1970's and 1980s--arguably the most famous agent of her time.
  • By Elaine Dutka
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  • October 17, 2011 7:22 AM
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RIP Steve Jobs, Who Deserves the Word Visionary: Obits, Links, Clips

I once had lunch with Jobs at an excellent Japanese restaurant in Beverly Hills. He wore his trademark black turtleneck and jeans; he was serious, accessible. We talked about Pixar, which he also deserves credit for. Sadly, Jobs has died at age 56 of pancreatic cancer, which he had been fighting since 2004.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 6, 2011 1:14 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Obit: Rob Remley Dies of Cancer

I am sad to report the death of Rob Remley, a long-time international marketing executive, most recently at Warner Bros. and Lionsgate, who changed careers after a stint as a lead dancer for Merce Cunningham. He died September 27 after a battle with cancer.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 4, 2011 11:56 AM
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More: Obit

Weekly Wrap: TIFF: Moneyball, Descendants, Deep Blue Sea; Reviews Kevin, The Lady; Media Watch

Box Office:
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • September 16, 2011 5:20 AM
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The Late Great John Calley: Businessman with Soul of Artist, Life Saver

Longtime Hollywood producer and studio executive John Calley has died after a long illness. He was 81. While at Warner Bros. in the 1970s (as production chief, president, and vice chairman), the controversial and groundbreaking movies Calley supervised included Alan Pakula's All the President's Men, Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, William Friedkin's The Exorcist and Don Siegel's Dirty Hairy.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • September 13, 2011 9:47 AM
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Remembering Cliff Robertson: from Kennedy and Charly to David Begelman

Cliff Robertson passed of natural causes on September 10. The actor, whose credits span over fifty years, is known most recently for his role as Ben Parker in the Spider-Man franchise, and will be remembered most for his Oscar-winning role in 1968's Charly and 1963's PT 109, in which he played John F. Kennedy. (My favorites are his angry safecracker in Sam Fuller's Underworld USA and unhappy husband in Brian De Palma's Obsession.)
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • September 12, 2011 10:33 AM
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RIP Polly Platt, Production Designer and Producer, Driving Force for Directors

I first met producer/production designer Polly Platt on the set of Terms of Endearment, which went on to earn five Oscars including best picture. Truth is, the movie might not have turned out as well without her. It was TV executive producer/writer James L. Brooks' debut as a film director, and featured his strong screenplay based on the Larry McMurtry novel. But Brooks sought steering and advice from Platt, who earned an Oscar nomination for Terms of Endearment for art direction/set decoration, and continued to supportively work for Brooks at Gracie Films, and on subsequent Brooks projects including Broadcast News and I'll Do Anything.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 27, 2011 9:44 AM
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  • 1 Comment
More: Obit

In Memory of Robert Sklar, NYU Cinema Studies Scholar

NYU Cinema Studies professor and one-time department chairman Robert Sklar died June 26 in a bicycling accident at age 74. While I earned my degree in Cinema Studies from NYU and respected Sklar, I never took one of his classes. Here's his NYT obit; current Cinema Studies chair Richard Allen's tribute is below. IN MEMORY OF ROBERT SKLAR 1936-2011It is with great sadness that I must report to you the death of our beloved colleague, Robert Sklar. On Sunday, June 26, Bob had an accident while bicycling in Barcelona with his wife, Adrienne Harris. He lost control of his bike, fell and hit his head. He was removed to a Barcelona hospital with head injuries. At the hospital he was diagnosed as having extensive bleeding of the brain. He underwent brain surgery, but the injuries were too severe for recovery. On Saturday, July 2, he expired from his injuries. He will be cremated and the ashes brought back to New York. Our thoughts go out to Adrienne and to Bob’s entire family at this time.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 8, 2011 6:17 AM
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  • 1 Comment
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