CLAYTON MOORE 9.14.1914 – 12.28.2000
– That mask, that hat, that horse, that galloping overture. Moore so identified himself with the white-hat archetype he originated as television’s Lone Ranger that he refused to dismount even after the silver-bullet-shooting lawman rode off into the sunset in 1957. He kept making appearances in Ranger regalia well into his 70s, despite legal threats from the company that owned rights to the character.
JULIE LONDON 9.26.1926 – 10.18.2000
– A songstress who shot to prominence with her million-selling 1955 single Cry Me a River, London turned to TV as sultry Nurse Dixie McCall on Emergency!, a hospital-firehouse drama produced by ex-husband Jack Webb, who even cast her then husband/manager, Bobby Troup. With Emergency!, London got in on the ground floor of a genre that endures with shows like ER and Third Watch.
MEREDITH MACRAE 5.30.1944 – 7.14.2000
– TV journalists have parlayed visibility into celebrity, but how many TV celebs leverage fame toward journalism? MacRae – the comely Billie Jo on Petticoat Junction – did just that in the 1980s with her own local talk show, Mid-Morning L.A. On cable, Born Famous, her interviews with star progeny, was a major success. It was a subject MacRae knew well – she was the daughter of Oklahoma! crooner Gordon MacRae and Honeymooner Sheila MacRae.
JIM VARNEY 6.15.1949 – 2.10.2000
– Whatever your opinion of Varney’s mule-grinning hick, Ernest P. Worrell, it must be noted that precious few caricatures make lasting contributions to pop phraseology, knowwhudahmean? But the versatile Varney was more than his trademark yokel, voicing Slinky Dog in two Toy Story movies and taking on a dramatic role in Billy Bob Thornton’s upcoming Daddy and Them.
PAUL BARTEL 8.6.1938 – 5.13.2000
– Before we were Being John Malkovich or Finding Forrester, actor-writer-director Bartel had us Eating Raoul in his 1984 black comedy. Raoul, a Sweeney Todd-ish dismemberment of the swinger lifestyle, was a pet project that became an offbeat sensation. Bartel never produced anything to match it, but he sustained a career on small acting roles, most recently in 2000’s Hamlet – fitting for a man who could always point to a very palpable hit.
LILA KEDROVA CIRCA 10.9.1918 – 2.16.2000
– Winning an Academy Award is one thing. Winning a Tony for a musical version of the same role 20 years later is another. These were the singular accomplishments of Russian-born Kedrova, best known as the doomed French prostitute in both 1964’s Oscar champ Zorba the Greek and 1984’s Broadway hit Zorba. Age, it seems, meant little to Kedrova: When she died, her mileage remained a mystery. She was believed to be 82.
DAVID DUKES 6.6.1945 – 10.9.2000
– Youthful viewers knew him as Jack’s father on Dawson’s Creek, but Dukes probably didn’t consider his WB work the acme of his career, which encompassed stage (1979’s Bent) and film (Gods and Monsters), as well as the miniseries The Winds of War and HBO’s The Josephine Baker Story. TV, however, afforded him his widest exposure, and his death came while filming yet another miniseries, Stephen King’s Rose Red.