James Karen 1923 – 2018

James Karen is one of those actors whose face you recognize even of you don’t know his name. If “Actor whose name I don’t know” was something you could look up, Karen’s face and name would likely be on the other end of a search. He played a lot of nameless guys, including Larry’s silver-haired… Read on



Mike MacDonald 1955 – 2018

Comedian Mike MacDonald’s death at 62 on March 17 wasn’t totally unexpected. He suffered from serious health problems in recent years, at one point requiring a liver transplant. Still, his passing was decades premature and jolting for me personally because it stirred memories of shared comedy club stages way back in the day. I had the good fortune to catch… Read on


Hugh Hefner 1926 — 2017

Hugh Hefner, who died Wednesday at 91, was still a pretty big draw at press tour when he made a memorable TCA appearance in July of 2005. The Playboy founder was there to promote The Girls Next Door, a series that did little to enhance his legend. The reality show co-starred Hef’s “latest posse of helium hotties,” as… Read on


Jerry Lewis 1926 – 2017

Chris Albrecht is one of those guys you don’t screw around with on TCA press tours. So the day he got heckled by Jerry Lewis was one to remember. Albrecht, a former boss at HBO, was running Starz in July of 2011 when he took the podium in front of a roomful of TV reporters… Read on



Martin Landau 1928 – 2017

In 2010, I joined a small group of  reporters interviewing Martin Landau when he took part in a PBS “Pioneers of Television” press tour session. He was at the Los Angeles gathering along with Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura on Star Trek), Mike Connors (Mannix), Robert Conrad (The Wild, Wild West) and Linda Evans (The Big Valley and Dynasty). Landau… Read on


Bill Dana 1924 – 2017

“My name José Jiménez.” With those four words, uttered on The Steve Allen Show on Nov. 23, 1959, Bill Dana built a career. The comedian passed away last Thursday at his home in Nashville, Tenn. He was 92. I met him 20 years ago at one of those autograph-signing shows in Hollywood. That’s where he explained the… Read on


Robert Osborne 1932 – 2017

Turner Classic Movies almost never takes part in the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tours. I’m always a little disappointed about this, because it is one of my favourite channels. Around ten years ago, TCM cracked open the vault and hosted an evening event outdoors at the Beverly Hilton. They brought a few movie stars from… Read on


Bill Paxton 1955 – 2017

I met Bill Paxton, with other reporters,  on a couple of occasions. Once or twice during the run of HBO’s Big Love, and just last month in Pasadena during the TCA press tour where he was promoting his new CBS series Training Day. He was his usual, good-natured self on that day, dominating the session.… Read on