EmptyKen Annakin, best known for directing the 1965 World War II epic "The Battle of the Bulge," died April 22 at his Beverly Hills home. He was 94.
Annakin's daughter, Deborah Peters, said her father had a heart attack and stroke within a day of each other in February.
The British native's 50-year career also included "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines" (1965), for which he received an Academy Award nomination (shared with Jack Davies) for original screenplay.
Annakin also directed the Disney live-action films "The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men" (1952), "The Sword and the Rose" (1953), "Swiss Family Robinson" (1960) and "The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking" (1986); "The Call of the Wild," the 1972 adaptation of Jack London's adventure; and "The Longest Day" (1962).
In two other 1962 films, "The Fast Lady" and "Crooks Anonymous," Annakin directed Julie Christie's first film appearances. His personal favorite film was "Across the Bridge" (1957), starring Rod Steiger and adapted from a Graham Greene story.
"Star Wars" creator George Lucas paid him an indirect compliment when he named the character Anakin Skywalker for him.
Lawrence Miller, a production designer and art director who worked on films, television shows and Broadway and opera productions, died April 11 in Los Angeles after a lengthy illness. He was 64.
Miller is perhaps best known for his Tony-nominated set design for Tommy Tune's Broadway musical "Nine," the model of which was honored by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center as one of Broadway's top set designs.
Some of his other stage productions included designs for the New York City Opera ("Kismet") and New York City Ballet (Jerome Robbins' "Four Chamber Works") as well as for Liza Minnelli's famed three-week concert stop at Carnegie Hall in 1987.
After designing "Catskills on Broadway," the native of Yonkers, N.Y., moved to Los Angeles and worked on films including "The King of Comedy" (1982), "L.A. Story" (1991) and TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
Richard Harris, a former head of business affairs at MCA who got his start under Lew Wasserman, died April 15 at his home in Santa Monica. He was 97.
The USC graduate worked for Wasserman and Jules Stein at MCA as an agent and in business affairs, handling the careers of actors Bette Davis, James Stewart, Ronald Reagan and Gene Tierney.
At the company, Harris is said to have created the early contract form between talent and the studios and is credited with crafting the first actor deal to include a percentage of profits in addition to cash compensation.
In 1962, after MCA was forced to split its production and agency activities, Harris left for Wyman, Bautzer, Rothman and Kuchel, where he teamed with Greg Bautzer and handled clients including Kirk Kirkorian and John Ford.
Later, he worked with Pierre Cossette to help bring the Grammys to television.
Tharon Musser, a Tony- winning lighting designer of more than 100 Broadway shows, including such musicals as "A Chorus Line," "Dreamgirls," "Mame" and "42nd Street," died April 19 at her home in Newtown, Conn., after a long illness. She was 84.
Musser's Broadway career began in 1956 with the original production of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night." She was nominated for 10 Tonys for lighting design, winning three — for "Follies," "Chorus Line" and "Dreamgirls."
Musser worked with a who's who of Broadway theater: directors George Abbott, Harold Prince and Michael Bennett; playwrights Neil Simon, Edward Albee and Tom Stoppard; and songwriters Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman and John Kander and Fred Ebb.
Her work on "Chorus Line" proved revolutionary, using for the first time a completely computerized lighting console instead of the manually operated "piano boards." Her last Broadway show was "The Lonesome West" in 1999.