ROBERT MANITOPYES (Cree, 2003)
NOVEMBER 29, 1970-JANUARY 16, 2005
Robert James Manitopyes of Calgary, Alberta, Canada passed away suddenly on Sunday, January 16, 2005 at the age of 34. Manitopyes appeared as Cree on "Days of Our Lives" for five episodes in August, 2003. In the storyline, Cree is a Native American who is used by Tony DiMera to sell him a special substance from a cave on his reservation. Bo and Hope arrive and blow up the cave, and the Horton Foundation ends up helping Cree's reservation. Robert's passion for acting began in grade school and continued on into high school and beyond. He completed a two-year drama program at Mount Royal College and subsequently performed in various stage, film and television productions. He is survived by his two young sons, Brayden and Gabriel; his mother Olive; his father Paul Pesti; a brother Alvin; three sisters, Gloria, Sharon and Carrie (Darcy); his nephews, Blaine, Dylan, Desmond, Jeremy, Travis, and Darian; his nieces, Jada, Denalene, Lanis and Chantal; as well as his partner Yalila; and many friends in Vancouver and Calgary. He was predeceased by his sister Juliet and brother Blaine. He was buried at Queen's Park Cemetery. Forward condolences through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. In memory of Mr. Manitopyes, a tree will be planted at Nose Creek Valley.
JAMES LUISI (Duke Johnson, 1987-1992)
November 11, 1928-June 7, 2002
James Luisi, a character actor adept at portraying hard-boiled detectives and gangsters and remembered for his long-running role as Lt. Doug Chapman on television's "The Rockford Files," has died. Luisi, 73, died June 7 in Los Angeles of cancer. A professional basketball player with the Baltimore Bullets for two years, Luisi got into acting in the late 1950s after hearing that a neighborhood friend, Anthony Franciosa, was appearing in a Broadway show. "I can do that," Luisi said, and promptly enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.Although probably best known for "The Rockford Files" with James Garner, Luisi won his top acting award, an Emmy, in 1976 for his portrayal of George Washington in the NBC special, "First Ladies' Diaries: Martha Washington. Luisi also appeared in episodes of many of television's most popular detective and adventure series, including "Cannon," "Kojak," "Hunter," "Wonder Woman," "T.J. Hooker," "Hart to Hart," "The A-Team," "Knight Rider," "The Fall Guy," "Magnum, P.I." and "L.A. Law." For a single season in 1983, he starred in his own series, "Renegades," as a hip cop who organizes seven tough young gang leaders, including Patrick Swayze, to help him fight crime. In his early acting years, Luisi appeared regularly in the soap operas "Another World" and "Days of Our Lives" and in such Western series as "Gunsmoke." The actor began his career on the stage, appearing in Broadway's "Alfie!," "The Soldiers" and musicals "Sweet Charity," "Do I Hear a Waltz?" and "Zorba." Off-Broadway, he had leading roles in "The Crucible," "Detective Story" and "Threepenny Opera." He continued working in legitimate theater, notably in national tours and Southern California. Luisi earned the Valley Theater League Award in 1994 for best director of a new play when he handled "Final Reunion" for the Valley Theater. Born in East Harlem, N.Y., Luisi attended St. Francis College on a basketball scholarship. He served in the Army during the Korean War. Luisi is survived by his wife of 41 years, the former Georgia Phillips, and their daughter, Jamie Swartz of Los Angeles; a brother, Jerry Luisi, of Dallas, and two grandchildren. A public memorial is being planned. The family has asked that memorial donations be sent to the American Cancer Society.
RAY STRICKLYN (Howard Hawkins, 1991)
October 8, 1928-May 14, 2002
Ray Stricklyn, an actor who scored his greatest triumph in the mid-1980s after abandoning his once promising acting career a decade earlier and becoming a highly respected Hollywood publicist, has died. He was 73. Stricklyn, whose one-man show as Tennessee Williams earned him critical praise and a new lease on his former career, died Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles after a long battle with chronic emphysema. "Confessions of a Nightingale," based on interviews with Williams by Charlotte Chandler and C. Robert Jennings, opened at the Beverly Hills Playhouse in January 1985. Stricklyn portrayed the legendary playwright in his declining years--a time when Williams' talent had faded but his outsized personality remained in full bloom. When his one-man show debuted, Stricklyn was representing Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, Lynn Redgrave and other stars as co-director of publicity for the West Coast office of John Springer Associates, the prestigious Manhattan-based public relations firm. But what had been intended as a four-weekend performance ran for a year and earned Stricklyn best actor awards from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and L.A. Weekly, among others. Stricklyn quit his day job. "Confessions of a Nightingale" opened off-Broadway in New York in 1986, earning a laudatory review from New York magazine critic John Simon, who wrote: "All those small mannerisms, tics, idiosyncratic intonations, hesitancies, shifts of mood are fraught with authenticity." Stricklyn toured with his one-man show for the next decade, with engagements as far-flung as Scotland and Israel. "When I was first working on portraying Williams, I didn't have any idea of doing much with it," he told the Chicago Tribune in 1987. "But he certainly brought me back to life and, in a way, I have done the same for him." Born and raised in Houston, Stricklyn became enchanted with acting in kindergarten when he portrayed Little Boy Blue in a school pageant. He pursued dramatics throughout school. He moved to New York in 1950 and made his Broadway debut two years later, playing the juvenile lead in Moss Hart's "The Climate of Eden." His performance earned him a Daniel Blum Theater World Award as the season's most promising young actor. Moving to Hollywood in 1955, he made his film debut as a "cracked-up" Marine in George Seaton's "The Proud and the Profane." Among other early roles, he played Bette Davis and Ernest Borgnine's son in "The Catered Affair" and Gary Cooper and Geraldine Fitzgerald's son in "Ten North Frederick," which earned him a Golden Globe nomination as most promising new actor of the year. Hollywood gossip columnist Louella Parsons predicted that the young contract player for 20th Century Fox "could be the next Montgomery Clift." But by the early 1960s, the career of the young actor with the boyish good looks began to founder. "I was 27 and still looked 16, but there was a whole new crop of boys coming up who really were that age," he told The Los Angeles Times in 1984. "Before, I'd thought my career was going straight up. So like a lot of foolish young actors, I started living beyond my means. I bought expensive cars, got into debt. Once you think you're going to be a star, then you're not--it's a rude awakening." Stage and film work had virtually dried up for Stricklyn by 1973, when publicist John Springer asked him to head up his West Coast office.From then on, Stricklyn said, "I basically shut myself off from that old life--although I missed the performing and needed it terribly." His self-imposed exile from acting ended in 1982, when he began appearing in local stage productions.The by then mature Stricklyn, his boyish face lined and his hair gray, gave a moving performance as Mr. Nightingale, a dying homosexual living in a seedy New Orleans boardinghouse, in Tennessee Williams' "Vieux Carre" at the Beverly Hills Playhouse in 1983. His performance earned him best actor awards from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, L.A. Weekly and Daily Variety. Portraying Williams' alter ego in "Vieux Carre" served as a prelude for "Confessions of a Nightingale." When not touring as Williams, Stricklyn did guest shots in"Cheers," "The Nanny," "Seinfeld," "Days of Our Lives" and other television shows. After falling ill with emphysema in 1997, he began writing his autobiography. Published in 1999, "Angels & Demons: One Actor's Hollywood Journey" is a candid and witty account of a man who, Stricklyn wrote, "might qualify as one who has had his 15 minutes in the limelight; perhaps even 20." He is survived by his sister, Mary Ann, and his longtime companion, Los Angeles stage director David Galligan.
AVERY SCHREIBER (Leopold Alamain, 1990)
April 9, 1935-January 7, 2002
Avery Schreiber, the portly, mustachioed comedian who struck gold when he teamed with Jack Burns in the 1960s and was a master of both broad and perceptive comedy, has died. He was 66. Schreiber, who had been in declining health, died Monday of a heart attack at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.The comedy team of Burns and Schreiber was best known for its taxicab routine, with Burns as the talkative passenger, a conventioneer who punctuates his marathon sentences with a rapid-fire "Huh? huh? huh?" Schreiber played the long-suffering cabby." Avery was my dearest friend and comedy partner for 40 years," Burns told The Times on Tuesday. "He was an extraordinary talent. More than that, he was probably the most gentle, kind and compassionate person I have known." With his curly black hair, bushy mustache and squinty eyes, the teddy bear-like Schreiber had a face and body made for comedy--as amply displayed in his memorable series of Doritos commercials in the 1970s, in which he appeared as a chef, a pilot, a judge and other characters distracted by people loudly crunching the corn chips. But Schreiber sometimes lamented being a funny man instead of a leading man, a confession that once prompted a reporter to tactfully point out that Schreiber was hardly Cary Grant. "There's a Cary Grant in there trying to get out," Schreiber replied, tapping his ample tummy. "Once, I gave the business its chance. Shaved off the mustache, clipped the eyebrows, had my hair styled and dieted down as svelte as a gazelle. I was the man I left behind 12 years ago. I could not get a job. Out of frustration, I started eating again. As long as I got fat, I grew the mustache and went back to work." Schreiber, who studied directing at the Goodman Theater Drama School in his hometown of Chicago, joined the improvisational comedy troupe Second City in 1960. "He was just fun and smart and inventive and very generous onstage," said comedian Joan Rivers, who worked with Schreiber on stage at Second City in 1963. "He had the mustache and that buffoon look, but he was very smart. "Schreiber met Burns, a onetime Boston newscaster who previously had been teamed with comedian George Carlin, when Burns joined Second City in 1962. Two years later, they were part of a Second City revue that went to New York, where they were spotted and signed by well-known show business manager Bernie Brillstein. Within a month, Burns and Schreiber made their debut as a comedy team on Jack Paar's weekly TV show, where they did their signature taxicab routine. "It was a marriage of opposites," Burns said of their onstage chemistry. "He was Jewish, I was Irish. He was mellow and sweet and optimistic and I was angry and cynical and pessimistic." Burns and Schreiber were a smash on the Paar show. Appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Hollywood Palace" and other variety shows followed. "When we broke up the act [in 1968], it was because they wanted us to do the same routines over and over," Schreiber later told The Los Angeles Times. "When we started working together in the Second City, we improvised all kinds of situations with all sorts of characters....But we found ourselves doing nothing but the cab driver and his fare everywhere we went." Burns and Schreiber began working as a team again in 1972, after getting together for a benefit in Los Angeles. In 1973, ABC gave them a summer variety series, "The Burns and Schreiber Comedy Hour." Cecil Smith, The Times' TV writer, raved about the team's comedy special that preceded the weekly series, calling it not only funny but literate and articulate: "I mean how often do you find a comedy team ... doing a sketch in which an integral part is the recitation of an alliterative lyric poem by the Jesuit mystic poet Gerard Manley Hopkins? On television?" Schreiber enjoyed skewering politicians. Among his and Burns' albums was "The Watergate Comedy Hour." Schreiber appeared in a number of TV series and movies, including "My Mother the Car" and "Days of Our Lives" on television, and the Mel Brooks' film "Robin Hood: Men in Tights." He also appeared frequently on stage. Schreiber is survived by Rochelle, his wife of 40 years; and two children, Jenny of San Francisco and Joshua of Los Angeles.
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