Sunday, December 15, 2013

R.I.P. Peter O'Toole, Tom Laughlin, Joan Fontaine and...

While running various and sundry errands today, I spent most of my time away from home base. But it seemed like, everywhere I went, death pursued me. Each time I checked my smartphone, there was news of another dimming of another luminary. First it was Peter O'Toole... then Tom Laughlin (a.k.a. Billy Jack)... then Ray Price... then not Ray Price (reports of his death were a tad premature)... and finally Joan Fontaine. Whew.

I scarcely know where to begin. I know I need to write something about my favorite film performances by O'Toole -- Lawrence of Arabia is on the Top 5 list, but so is The Ruling Class and My Favorite Year. And yet, I also should write something about Laughlin's fleeting heyday as a genuine pop-culture icon. (Billy Jack had one of its very first test engagements in New Orleans many years ago -- and I wound up being one of the first critics to praise it, in a review I wrote as a free-lancer for, no kidding, the weekly Catholic newspaper The Clarion Herald.) And how could I not write something about Fontaine and her Hitchcockian double play of Rebecca and Suspicion.

But the hour is late, and I am too weary to do justice to any of these folks right now. And, frankly, I have had enough of death for today.

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