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4 items from 2011

Robert Easton, Legendary Dialect Coach, Dead At 81

23 December 2011 4:03 PM, PST | | See recent CinemaRetro news »

Robert Easton's name may not be familiar to the public but for decades he has been the "go-to" guy for prominent actors who needed to master the art of speaking in different dialects. Easton started out as a character actor but feared that his southern accent would keep him typecast as hillbillies. He began to study regional accents and foreign languages and discovered he had an uncanny knack for not only mastering them, but for teaching them as well. In short order, he became a real life Henry Higgins, teaching such diverse talents as Charlton Heston, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert Duvall, Robert VaughnAnne Hathaway and Forest Whitaker. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, he completed working with John Travolta on a project. Easton died this week of undisclosed causes at age 81. All the while, Easton worked as a supporting player and appeared in dozens of prominent films »

- (Cinema Retro)

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Top Hollywood Dialect Coach Easton Dies

22 December 2011 5:31 PM, PST | WENN | See recent WENN news »

The renowned Hollywood dialect coach who helped Forest Whitaker hone his accent as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King Of Scotland has died.

Character actor and language expert Robert Easton passed away from natural causes at his home in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles last Friday at the age of 81.

Easton began his career as an actor and landed roles on TV shows such as The Munsters, Get Smart and The Adventures of Superman and in films like 1961's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in 1991.

But he became famed for his skills as a phoneticist and was regularly referred to as the Henry Higgins of Hollywood, in reference to the strict speech tutor in My Fair Lady.

As a dialect coach, Easton taught actors including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Liam Neeson, Sir Ben Kingsley and Anne Hathaway, while his work on 2006's The Last King of Scotland landed Whitaker the Oscar for Best Actor.

Easton continued to work right up until his death, even recording a speech tape for John Travolta to use for an upcoming project.

His daughter Heather Woodruff Perry tells the Los Angeles Times, "A month ago, he did an entire script on tape for John Travolta."

Paying tribute to the veteran, Robert Duvall, who worked with Easton on Gods and Generals in 2003, says, "They (film producers) said, 'We want Virginia accents'. Bob said, 'Which one? There are 12 distinct accents, from the Piedmont to the ocean.' He knew them all.

"He was a wonderful man, a very unique personality, and a master at his craft." »

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Dialect Coach Robert Easton Dies: Henry Higgins of Hollywood Coached Anne Hathaway, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Travolta

22 December 2011 12:06 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Actor and dialect coach Robert Easton, known as the "Henry Higgins of Hollywood," died of "natural causes" on Friday, Dec. 16, in the Los Angeles suburb of Toluca Lake. Easton was 81. Even if he never coached My Fair Lady/Pygmalion's Audrey Hepburn, Julie Andrews, or Wendy Hiller, according to the Los Angeles Times obituary Easton's dialect students included Anne Hathaway, Liam Neeson, John Travolta, Patrick Swayze, Ben Kingsley, Charlton Heston, Arnold Schwarzenegger (who learned to talk with a Russian accent, as per the Times), and Forest Whitaker, who learned to talk like Idi Amin Dada for his Oscar-winning role in The Last King of Scotland. When not coaching, Easton taught at UCLA and USC. Additionally, he had small supporting roles in movies such as Joshua Logan's Paint Your Wagon (1969), starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin, and Jean Seberg; Mike Nichols' Working Girl (1988), with Melanie Griffith, Sigourney Weaver, and Harrison Ford »

- Andre Soares

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Hollywood Dialect Coach Passes Away

22 December 2011 9:25 AM, PST | Huffington Post | See recent Huffington Post news »

Los Angeles -- Character actor and Hollywood dialect coach Robert Easton, whose successes include teaching Forest Whitaker to speak like Idi Amin in the 2006 movie "The Last King of Scotland," has died in Los Angeles. He was 81.

His movie credits include "Paint Your Wagon," "Pete's Dragon," "Pet Sematary II" and "Primary Colors."

When he was younger, he mainly played country bumpkins on TV shows because of his Southern drawl.

He feared being typecast so he worked on different accents and learned he could mimic regional speech patterns.

As a dialect coach, he worked Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charlton Heston, Liam Neeson, Anne Hathaway and Robert Duvall. »

- AP

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