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Belated, but sincere recognition for lives well spent

Mister Nizz

Genre Legend Death Trifecta

We had some celebrity deaths last week, and I didn't pay adequate homage in a timely fashion.

Don Knotts, Dead 24 February 2006

Everybody remembers Barney Fife, or perhaps Don's steady gig as Mr. Furley, the replacement landlord for Mr. Roper on Three's Company. The fact is that Don Knotts labored long and hard in the TV landscape, doing gigs on Love Boat, Matlock, Fantasy Island, She's the Sherriff, and Newhart.. among many, many others. So his resume sported a cornucopia of 70s and 80s TV references. My personal two favorite movies where Don actually got to play lead characters are borderline genre pictures-- THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN (which absolutely freaked me out as a child) and THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET (the one where he turns into an animated fish). He made two others of that sort-- THE SHAKIEST GUN IN THE WEST and THE RELUCTANT ASTRONAUT before Don Knotts fever ran its course. He will be greatly missed.

Darren McGavin Dead February 26, 2006

What more can you say about the ORIGINAL Night Stalker, the cool one, Darren McGavin? McGavin had the good fortune to star in one of the best horror/sf genre comedies on television: KOLCHAK THE NIGHT STALKER (the original series from the early 1970s). Kolchak was a definitive role for McGavin-- he played a character that wasn't overtly heroic yet seemed to be on the side of the rigtheous every week. Arguably, his depiction as "Dad" in THE CHRISTMAS STORY might have eclipsed this (if your'e sentimental) but he'll always be Kolchak to me. McGavin also had a long and distinguished career playing various authority figures on TV Shows... he guested on X Files, Grace Under Fire, Murphy Brown, and many others.

Dennis Weaver Dead February 24, 2006

Dennis Weaver was the original Chester Goode from GUNSMOKE, and he did a lot of Western work on television, culminating in his most recognizeable role as MCLOUD in the ABC movie of the week back in the 1970s. Weaver played a lot of "aw shucks" characters on TV for a long time-- usually playing rugged types on shows like GENTLE BEN and THE VIRGINIAN, but occassionally getting a plum role here and there on TWILIGHT ZONE or THE WALT DISNEY SHOW. It is for his one best choice of roles that I remember him today... as David Mann in the minimalist action chase film DUEL in 1971 (aka, the first film made by Steven Spielberg).