Roger Moore (1927-2017)

Roger Moore as Ivanhoe.

By Steve Green: (Sir) Roger Moore died today, May 23, “after a short battle with cancer”, aged 89. Appearances as James Bond aside, he did take the double lead in The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970), adapted from Anthony Armstrong’s short story “The Strange Case of Mr Pelham”; Moore apparently considered it his favorite role and among his best performances. Recent work included a vocal role in Troll Hunters, scheduled for release next year.

Moore’s other roles of interest to genre fans include Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe in the Ivanhoe series (1958), Beau Maverick in Maverick (1959-1961), and Simon Templar in The Saint (1962-1969).

Remembering The Wonderful Frank Capra

By Steven J. Vertlieb: Spending a quiet afternoon with one of cinema’s greatest, most distinguished motion picture directors, the brilliant Frank Capra. An intoxicating afternoon in which Frank and I sat alone together for a couple of hours on a bench at the home of a mutual friend…just the two of us…watching a 16 mm print of his Oscar winning classic. It Happened One Night. Absolutely sublime. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Thanks for your friendship, Frank, and for the enduring legacy of your work in film. Today would have been your 120th year, and “Name Above The Title.” Happy Birthday, old friend.

Steven J. Vertlieb and Frank Capra.

During a particularly sad and lonely Christmas for my friend and hero, I wrote Frank Capra a few ineffectual words of hope and inspiration. His nearly heart-breaking response remains one of my most treasured letters. Today, May 18th, would have been his 120th birthday. He made, and continues to make, millions of people around the globe happy with the hope filled messages and optimism of his classic motion pictures, including It’s A Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart and, of course, “Zuzu’s Petals.” Wishing you a joyous, and Happy Birthday in Heaven, Frank. Thanks for the memories. It truly was “A Wonderful Life.”

Actor Michael Parks (1940-2017)

By Steve Green: Michael Parks (1940-2017): American actor, died May 10, aged 77. Genre roles included The Bible: In the Beginning… (1963, as Adam), The Savage Bees (1976), Night Cries (1978), Fantasy Island (one episode, 1979), War of the Worlds (one episode, 1989), Nightmare Beach (1989), Twin Peaks (five episodes, 1990-91), SeaQuest 2032 (one episode, 1993), Sorceress (1995), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter (1999, in a different role), Planet Terror (2007), We Are What We Are (2013). He was to have appeared in The Summoning, currently in early pre-production.

Remembering Yvonne Monlaur (1939-2017)

Yvonne Monlaur, left, Steve Vertlieb, center, Veronica Carlson, right

By Steve Vertlieb: Yvonne Monlaur was the young, fabulously lovely, sweetly innocent French actress who co-starred with Peter Cushing in Hammer Films’ classic vampire thriller Brides Of Dracula (1960), directed by Terence Fisher, and appeared opposite Christopher Lee in Hammer’s Terror of the Tongs (1961).

She was a sweet, gentle lady who cherished her fans, and was ever grateful for the opportunities that she’d been given. Yvonne, and dear friend Veronica Carlson introduced me from the stage when I presented the posthumous “Laemmle” life achievement award to Bernard Herrmann (accepted by his daughter, Dorothy) at the wonderful Fanex monster film convention in Crystal City, Virginia in 2000.

She was always the most gracious, kind, and humble actress that you’d ever wish to meet. Yvonne passed away, sadly, this past week on Tuesday, April 18th, at age 77. Her gentle presence will be missed by all of us who frequented these events, but her radiant beauty and generosity of spirit will live on in her many screen appearances, as well as in the joyful memories of those of us fortunate enough to have met, and known her. May God rest her tender soul.

Erin Moran (1960-2017)

By Steve Green: Erin Moran: US actress, died April 22, aged 56. Best known for playing Joanie in Happy Days and several spin-off shows, she starred in the 1981 movie Galaxy of Terror and had a small role in Not Another B Movie (2010), her final screen appearance.

In Memoriam – Waldemar Kumming, 31 July 1924 – 5 April 2017

By Wolf von Witting: It feels surreal writing “I only knew him for forty years,” but in fact Waldemar began publishing Munich Round Up [MRU] before I was born. He was among the pioneers of German fandom. MRU, the fanzine of the Munich SFCD-group, was launched as a newsletter in November 1958, but rose to prominence when the dynamic duo of engineers Waldemar Kumming and Walter “Fux” Reinecke took charge of its publication. By the time we first met in 1977, I was 17 and Waldemar 53 and the dynamic duo had already come out with MRU #143. Its appearances grew sparse after the death of Walter Reinicke in 1981.

On June 2, 1962 Waldemar became the second chair of the SFCD, which had experienced a turbulent infancy under Walter Ernsting. With Waldemar at the helm for six years, the SFCD had a somewhat peaceful period.

It hardly seems fair that our history books don’t teach us more about the good men who walked among us. Waldemar was such a good man. Humble. Generous. He was a good listener. Not much of an attention hog. Science fiction fandom was his hobby and he was literally a fan who had an impact on thousands, in Gerfany and abroad. He was not one who sorted his fannish activity among the follies of youth and then got away from it all for a couple of years, only to return to fandom by the time retirement approached. Waldemar was an active fan before I was born and he kept at it, into the new millennium.

In 40 years I saw him disgruntled only once. It was in Berlin, at BärCon 1985, as we had come to a restaurant over-challenged with the arrival of a dozen sf-fans. Most of us had to wait for our food an hour and a half. Waldemar was served half an hour later. One rarely heard him participating in the fierce verbal battles of the SFCD other than when he suddenly yelled; “Stop!” And everyone fell silent. Waldemar turned the tape in the recorder and signaled the heated combatants to resume their ruckus.

Denis Scheck, left, interviews Marion Zimmer Bradley, center, at STUCON 1980, while Waldemar Kumming captures it all on his tape recorder, right.

He was bestowed with the Kurd Lasswitz Award for Munich Round Up in 1993 and received the Big Heart Award at the WorldCon in Glasgow 2005.

Near the end of his life, he was unable to visit sf-conventions. It should not have been a surprise to hear that Waldemar is no more. Yet the news hit me like a punch in the face as Thomas Recktenwald casually mentioned in an email: “Btw Waldemar Kumming died two weeks ago.” We have been bracing for the impact of his departure for a couple of years. Yet, I can’t rid myself of the feeling, that a grand chapter of our fan-history now definitely has vanished into the mist.

P.S. Thanks to Michael Haitel, for reminding me of the classic Stop-episode. Recommended reading (page 20) “Waldemar Kumming – Behold the Fan”: http://efanzines.com/CounterClock#15/CoClock-15.pdf

Remembering James H. Burns

James H. Burns and Steve Vertlieb at Sardi’s.

By Steve Vertlieb: With my dear pal and cherished friend, Jim Burns, over dinner at Sardi’s Restaurant in New York at Christmas, 2014. Jimmy was one of my closest buddies. He could always make me laugh. Jim was a gifted writer and actor, and could charm the ladies with just a mischievous smile. He was one of my greatest supporters and champions, and had pushed for years to get me a lifetime achievement award at the annual Rondo competition. He finally succeeded in his quest, and woke me from a sound sleep only a year ago to tell me that I’d finally been elected to the prestigious Rondo Award Hall of Fame. That was last April, 2016. Two months later Jimmy was gone. He died far, far too early, and too young on Thursday, June 3rd, 2016. Today would have been his birthday. I miss you every day, Jimmy. I miss the sound of your voice. I miss your incessant telephone calls from New York. I miss your terrible jokes, and I miss the sound of your laughter. I miss you. Happy Birthday in Heaven, Jim.

James H. Burns with Steve Vertlieb at Vertlieb’s 70th birthday party.

Together with one of my best pals at my 70th birthday bash here in Philadelphia on December 15th, 2015. James H. Burns was the picture of health when this photograph was taken. Jimmy was loved by men and by women alike. He was charming, and handsome. He was a gifted writer, film historian, and actor, and was one of the funniest men I ever knew. Just four months after this picture was taken, Jim grew ill. On June 3rd of last year, Jimmy passed away. He was a young man with everything to live for. Today would have been his birthday. I’m thinking of my friend, Jim Burns in Heaven just now. Happy Birthday, Jimmy. I’ll never forget you.

[Editor’s note: That image of a light shining brightest just before it goes out comes immediately to mind when I list all the posts Jim wrote here in his last six months.]

JAMES H. BURNS POSTS

OBITUARY

James H. Burns Has Died

Thomas Endrey (1940-2017)

By Andrew Porter: Thomas Endrey, 77, New York City science fiction and gaming fan who attended numerous Boskones, Lunacons, and other local conventions, was found dead at home in Manhattan in mid-February after failing to show up for a gaming group meet-up. He is survived by a sister, Elizabeth von Riesenfelder, of Manchester, Vermont.

Born on January 12, 1940 in Hungary, I believe he came to New York from his native Hungary following the events there of 1956. Tom was retired from CitiBank in NYC. In retirement, he was an office volunteer on the Great Gull Island Project at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.

He also volunteered in the late 1990s as an assistant editor on my Science Fiction Chronicle. He refused to take payment in cash, but I would give him books, and pay for his lunch, at a local Polish-American restaurant where he would enthusiastically consume Lazanki, a Polish dish which he relished.

[Editor’s Note: Endrey wrote several good conreports for File 770 in days gone by, and wrote a lot more for other fanzines. He will be missed.]

Richard Purtill (1931-2016)

Richard Purtill

Fantasy and sf author Richard Purtill died December 4 at the age of 85.

His first novel, The Golden Gryphon Feather, was the beginning of a pair of fantasy trilogies inspired by archeology and the myths of ancient Greece. “I’ve made 28 trips to Greece,” he told an interviewer, “I’ve just been fascinated by all things Greek. In my novels, the Greek gods really exist.”

He is also remembered in fandom for his mystery set at an sf convention, Murdercon. And he wrote several other stand-alone sf novels.

Although Purtill discovered sf as a 12-year-old when his father bought him a copy of Startling Stories, he didn’t publish his first novel until he was 48.

By then he was a philosophy professor at Western Washington University, where he taught until he retired in 1996.

Purtill was a prolific textbook author, producing Logic for Philosophers. Then Logical Thinking, Argument, Refutation, and Proof, and A Logical Introduction to Philosophy. His other nonfiction books include Philosophically Thinking, Thinking About Logic and Philosophical Opinions with Peter Kreeft and Mike McDonald.

While was serving with the U.S. Army in England, he experienced a spiritual awakening. “I was converted by reading G.K. Chesterton, and from him I also gained an affection for Mary. I read an Anglican book about St. Justin Martyr and the early Church fathers, and realized the early Church was Catholic.”

He went on to write several books about Christianity: Reason to Believe, C.S. Lewis‘ Case for the Christian Faith, Lord of the Elves and Eldils, Thinking About Religion, Moral Dilemmas, and J.R.R. Tolkien: Myth, Morality, and Religion.

Purtill is survived by his wife Betty, three sons, and his brother.

[Thanks to Ken Johnson for the story.]

Ed Bryant (1945-2017)

Ed Bryant. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Science Fiction author Ed Bryant, who died in his sleep after a long illness, was found February 10 reports Locus Online.

Bryant discovered science fiction at the golden age of 12 when he purchased the August 1957 issue of Amazing Stories. A decade later, he made his way to the very first Clarion Workshop in 1968, where he sold a story to Harlan Ellison’s Again, Dangerous Visions that became his first professional publication.

John Clute’s entry about Bryant in the Science Fiction Encyclopedia captures one of the reasons for the author’s meteoric ascent in Seventies sf.

His conversational, apparently casual style sometimes conceals the tight construction and density of his best work, like “Shark” (in Orbit 12, anth 1973, ed Damon Knight), a complexly told love story whose darker implications are brought to focus in the girl’s decision to have her brain transplanted into a shark’s body, ostensibly as part of a research project; in the story, symbol and surface reality mesh impeccably. The setting for many of the stories in this collection is a California transmuted by sf devices and milieux into an image, sometimes scarifying, sometimes joyful, of the culmination of the American Dream…

Registering an exception to the overall regard for Bryant’s work was Thomas M. Disch, who named him as part of “The Labor Day Group” (1981), a set of young writers whose work stroked fannish sensibilities, and as a result often won Hugo and Nebula awards. This provoked a response from another Disch target, George R.R. Martin, “Literature, Bowling, and the Labor Day Group”, which gave Bryant a deceptively lighthearted defense.

The Colorado resident was a 7-time nominee for SFWA’s Nebula Award, winning twice – “Stone” (1979) and  “giANTS” (1980) – as well as a 3-time nominee for the Hugo, World Fantasy, and Bram Stoker Awards. The International Horror Guild Awards named Bryant a Living Legend in 1997.

Bryant has been a prolific short fiction writer whose career has been regularly punctuated by new collections of stories — Among the Dead and Other Events Leading up to the Apocalypse (1973), Cinnabar (1976), Wyoming Sun (1980), Particle Theory (1981), Neon Twilight (1990), Darker Passions (1991), The Baku: Tales of the Nuclear Age (2001), Trilobyte (2014), and Predators and Other Stories (2014).

He regularly contributed to George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards series, appearing in five different volumes.

His other professional gigs included writing an annual media coverage essay in the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror anthology, which he did for over 20 years. He also edited an anthology of original stories and some poems, 2076: The American Tricentennial (1977).

Bryant’s fame did not rest entirely on his writing. He was in great demand as a convention toastmaster, gaining the pinnacle of notoriety by conducting the Denvention Two (1981) Hugo Awards ceremony on roller skates.

[Thanks to  Andrew Porter for the story.]