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The actor, whose real name was Jack Westelman, played one half of the famous brother duo opposite the late Lou Albano in the live-action segments (and also voiced the character in animated segments) for the length of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!’s 65-episode run in the late ’80s. He also recurred on The Jeffersons as Charlie the Bartender, from 1975-1985.
While many of his post-Mario credits were in voice work, one of Wells’ last »
- Sandra Gonzalez
His vast number of television credits also included appearances on “Rhoda,” “Columbo,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “Kojak,” “Sanford and Son,” “The Bionic Woman,” “Fantasy Island,” “Eight Is Enough,” “Lou Grant,” “Happy Days,” “The A-Team” and “Murder She Wrote.”
Wells also did a number of TV »
- Variety Staff
Danny Wells, who played Luigi on the TV adaptation of the wildly popular Nintendo video game franchise Super Mario Bros., died Nov. 28 in Toronto. He was 72. The Montreal-born actor, whose real name was Jack Westelman, also showed up as the recurring Charlie the Bartender on the long-running sitcom The Jeffersons. Wells appeared as the green character Luigi on The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! in the 1989 series’ live-action segments and voiced him for its animated parts. The show, from Dic Entertainment, ran for 65 episodes in syndication and on independent TV stations. Lou Albano, the
- Mike Barnes
Lenny Kravitz, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire star, 49, spills 25 things you don't know about him. 1. I wrote my first song, "I Love You, Baby," at age 7. 2. I have photographed people like Grace Jones, Alicia Keys, and Beyonce. 3. I used to live across the street from Joe Namath and would play catch with him. 4. My mother, Roxie Roker, played Helen Willis on The Jeffersons. 5. Angelina Jolie auditioned for the lead in my "Stand by My Woman" video. The director passed! 6. I am named after [...] »
Tonight, two more singers go home, leaving a scant eight singers left in the competition. After a Monday night of middling performances and strange coaching techniques (Vinyasa yoga anyone? Care for a multi-man lift atop your baby grand piano?), and a lack of standout performers, has tonight’s possible pool of eliminations been split wide open?
Well, the game isn’t quite as unpredictable and exciting as viewers deserve. A quick glance on the iTunes Top 200 singles chart will give you a rough idea of who will remain in the top seven. It’s the bottom three singers who are up for grabs. »
- Jennifer Arellano
Kim Hamilton, an African American actress who appeared onstage, in films and on television and was the wife of the late actor Werner Klemperer — Col. Klink on “Hogan’s Heroes” — at a time when mixed marriages were uncommon even in Hollywood, died of natural causes in Los Angeles on Sept. 16, four days after her 81st birthday.
Two of her early and most noted roles in a career that spanned more than six decades were as Brock Peter’s wife in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and as Harry Belafonte’s wife in “Odds Against Tomorrow.” She had most recently appeared in the 2010 film “The Beginners.”
- Carmel Dagan
Sherman Hemsley might finally be buried, but a long-running dispute over who is entitled to the late actor's residuals survives and was the subject of a ruling on Monday by a California appeals court. The actor best known for playing George Jefferson on All in the Family and The Jeffersons, died of lung cancer at the age of 74 in July 2012. But Hemsley wasn't put in the ground until November thanks to a bizarre estate dispute arising from the emergence of a man who claimed to be Hemsley's brother. Yes, it took four months to bury Sherman Hemsley.
- Eriq Gardner
Television is a gold goose that lays scrambled eggs;
and it is futile and probably fatal to beat it for not laying caviar.
When people argue over the quality of television programming, both sides — it’s addictive crap v. underappreciated populist art — seem to forget one of the essentials about commercial TV. By definition, it is not a public service. It is not commercial TV’s job to enlighten, inform, educate, elevate, inspire, or offer insight. Frankly, it’s not even commercial TV’s job to entertain. Bottom line: its purpose is simply to deliver as many sets of eyes to advertisers as possible. As it happens, it tends to do this by offering various forms of entertainment, and occasionally by offering content that does enlighten, inform, etc., but a cynic would make the point that if TV could do the same job televising fish aimlessly swimming around an aquarium, »
The Emmys are my favorite televised awards ceremony. Why? Because you can win multiple times for the same part, you can lose multiple times for the same part, and you can win by surprise, in a streak, or in an upset. The drama is more varied than the Oscars, and it’s a little harder to predict who will win at the Emmys — yet it’s also rarer that I have a major problem with who takes home the hardware.
Just ahead of this Thursday’s Emmy nominations, here are 10 classic Emmy wins that remind me why I love this ceremony so much.
1. Jackee becoming the first black Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy (’88)
Presenter Bruce Willis may have mispronounced her name, but Jackee (Harry)’s triumph at the ’88 Emmys in the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category for 227 still sizzles with saucy supremacy. “Does this mean I get more money? »
- Louis Virtel
Emmy-nominated comedy writer-producer George Burditt passed away on Tuesday (June 27). He was 89 years old.
Deadline reports the death of Burditt, who wrote dozens of episodes of "Three's Company," which he also serves as executive producer of from 1981-84. Burditt passed away in Burbank, CA.
Burditt earned four Emmy nominations as a writer in the 1970s; two each for variety shows "The Sonny And Cher Comedy Hour" and "Van Dyke And Company." He also wrote episodes for "All In The Family," "Sanford and Son," "The Jeffersons," "The Ropers," "Doc" and "Three's A Crowd." His productions credits include "Silver Spoons," "227" and "Three's A Crowd."
Born in Boston, Burditt worked for American Greetings in Cleveland before moving to Los Angeles to begin his work in TV. His son Jack Burditt is an Emmy-winning writer and producer from such comedies as "30 Rock" and "Frasier." He's also the creator of "Last Man Standing."
Burditt is »
The Emmy-nominated comedy writer-producer died Tuesday in Burbank. He was 89. George Burditt wrote dozens of episodes of the hit sitcom Three’s Company and served as its executive producer from 1981-84. He earned four Emmy noms as a writer during the 1970s — two each for variety shows The Sonny And Cher Comedy Hour and Van Dyke And Company — and also penned episodes of All In The Family, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, The Ropers, Doc and Three’s A Crowd. His producing credits include the sitcoms Silver Spoons, 227 and Three’s A Crowd. Born in Boston, Burditt served in the Marines in the Pacific during World War II. He worked for American Greetings in Cleveland before moving to La to become a TV writer. His son Jack Burditt is an Emmy-winning writer-producer on such comedies as 30 Rock and Frasier and creator of Last Man Standing. Along with son Jack, George Burditt »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
Eleven thoroughbreds have won horse racing’s Triple Crown, but none since 1978. Primetime comedy also has its version of the trifecta — high ratings, critical acclaim and Emmy notice — and the same horse has won it three years in a row.
Somehow, even as popularity and kudos have hit a fork in the road with drama series, ABC comedy “Modern Family” has been able to triumph on all fronts. At once, the show seems to be bucking a trend while offering hope that others might follow in its path. (“The Big Bang Theory,” take note.)
“Unlike ratings, which are literally a popularity contest, the Academy is peer-based, wherein the membership aspires to recognize work that is progressive and challenging regardless of audience size,” says David Miner, an exec producer on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” and “30 Rock.” “So, when we talk about correlating popularity with the idea of challenging viewers’ expectations, »
- Jerry Rice
The final episode of Cheers was a big deal. Cheers was one of those terrific sitcoms that managed to beat the odds. Like M*A*S*H, it not only survived major cast changes, which can kill a show, but was strengthened by them. Cheers remained fresh throughout its run and ended on a high note.
When Cheers closed its doors the big announcement was that there would be a spinoff: Frasier. My first thought was that it would be a disaster. Cheers thrived on an ensemble cast that clicked so well that the power of the characters and their relationships with one another made the show. The bar and situations were secondary.
I couldn’t imagine a series called “Sam” or “Diane” or “Woody” working at all, much less a “Frasier.”
- James Kirk
Jack Shea, a director who was president of the Directors Guild of America at one time, has passed away at the age of 84. A family spokesman says it was due to complications from Alzheimer's disease.
Shea's biggest credits included over 100 episodes of "The Jeffersons" and nearly as many episodes of "Silver Spoons." He also directed episodes of "Designing Women," "Growing Pains" and "Sanford and Son," plus several Bob Hope Christmas specials from U.S. military posts around the world.
Shea was elected as president of the Directors Guild of America in 1997 and was known for advocating diversity in hiring and local production during his tenure.
Shea is survived by wife Patt, daughter Shawn and sons Bill, Michael and John Francis III, »
Shea died on Sunday at a Los Angeles care facility, according to the Los Angeles Times. A family spokesperson said his death was due to complications from Alzheimer's disease.
He is best known for his directorial work on "The Jeffersons" and "Silver Spoons," but his credits also include "The Waltons," "Punky Brewster," "The Royal Family," "The Golden Girls," "Growing Pains," "Full House" and "Sister, Sister."
Along with his television work, Shea was president of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) from 1997 to 2002. Shea addressed issues such as runaway production and diversity in hiring during his time in the position, Deadline.com notes.
- The Huffington Post
Jack Shea, who directed episodes of TV's "The Jeffersons," "Silver Spoons" and "Sanford and Son," died Sunday at his Tarzana home. Shea, who had been suffering from Alzheimer's, was 84. In addition to the sitcoms, Shea directed 10 editions of Bob Hope Christmas specials and earned two Emmy nominations. But he'll be remembered just as much for his work with the Directors Guild of America, according to the guild president, Taylor Hackford. "He occupied a truly unique position in the history of the modern DGA," he said Monday. "As the West Coast president »
- Todd Cunningham
Jack Shea, a TV comedy director for more than four decades who directed 10 Bob Hope overseas Christmas specials and multiple episodes of such sitcoms as The Jeffersons, Silver Spoons and Sanford and Son, has died. He was 84. Shea died Sunday of complications from Alzheimer’s in Tarzana, his wife of 59 years, television screenwriter Patt Shea, said Monday. Jack Shea served three terms as DGA president from 1997-2002 and was a member of the guild for more than a half-century. He was the recipient of the prestigious Robert Aldridge Award in 1992, which honors extraordinary service to
- Mike Barnes
TV director Jack Shea, who served three terms as Directors Guild of America president, died Sunday in Tarzana from complication from Alzheimer’s. He was 84.
Shea, the reicipient of the DGA’s 1992 Robert Aldrich Award, worked for 40 years in television directing and producing, mostly in sitcoms including 110 episodes of “The Jeffersons” and 91 episodes of “Silver Spoons.” He also worked on “The Ropers,” “Sanford & Son,” “Designing Women” (earning an Emmy nomination), “The Charmings,” “Growing Pains” and “The Waltons.”
Shea also directed multiple Bob Hope holiday and comedy specials from 1956-66, including many specials taped overseas. He also was a co-founder with his wife Patt Shea of the Hollywood-based Catholics in Media Associates.
Shea served in a variety of DGA posts for 35 years and as president from 1997-2002.
Shea was a native of New York City and began as a stage manager at NBC in New York in 1950, working on “Philco Playhouse, »
- Dave McNary
Director, producer, writer and former DGA president Jack Shea, died yesterday of complications from Alzheimer’s in Tarzana, according to his wife Patt Shea. He was 84. Shea, a New York City native, served three terms as Directors Guild of America president from 1997 to 2002. Under his watch, the DGA addressed runaway production, encouraged diversity in hiring, formed an Independent Directors Committee and negotiated landmark deals, including the historic “blended contract.” One of the original organizers and a past president of the Radio and Television Directors Guild (Rtdg), the precursor to the DGA, Shea encouraged the merger of the Rtdg with the Screen Directors Guild in 1960 to form the DGA. In 1992, Shea was awarded the DGA’s Robert Aldrich Award for “40 years of extraordinary service.” His 40-year television directing and producing career included episodes of The Jeffersons, Silver Spoons, The Ropers, Sanford & Son and Designing Women for which he received an Emmy nomination. »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
Born in Mahopac, N.Y., he befriended textile designer Vera at age 12, whom he credited with inspiring his pursuit of a design career. A Gotham native, Mees relocated to Los Angeles in the 1970s to pursue his design career.
In his 30-year career, Mees worked on more than a dozen television shows, spending a total of 14 years on the intergalactic sets of “Star Trek” with “The Next Generation,” “Voyager” and “Star Trek: Enterprise.” He received five Emmy nominations for his work with those futuristic sets.
- Michelle Salemi
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