EmptyClive Barnes, longtime theater and dance critic for the New York Times and New York Post, died Nov. 19 of cancer at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He was 81.
The London-born Barnes had a long run as a critic covering the arts scene in New York and abroad. He arrived in 1965 from England to write for the Times, where he was its dance critic until 1977. He was also the paper's daily drama critic for 10 years.
Barnes then moved to the Post, where he was the paper's chief theater and dance critic for more than three decades.
Barnes was a prodigious, prolific writer on the culture scene, often out four, five or more times a week attending theater, ballet and opera, which he also reviewed for the Post.
Irving Brecher, who wrote vaudeville one-liners for Milton Berle and scripted Marx Brothers movies and the 1944 musical "Meet Me in St. Louis," died Nov. 17 died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 94.
At 19, Brecher and a friend began a comedy-writing service for entertainers, promising jokes so bad even notorious gag-stealer Berle wouldn't use them.
Berle was their first customer. He then took Brecher along when he moved into radio and the movies and went to Hollywood, where Brecher got a contract with Mervyn LeRoy, head of production at MGM.
He was an uncredited script doctor on 1939's "The Wizard of Oz" and wrote screenplays for the Marx Brothers movies "At the Circus" (1939) and "Go West" (1940). Brecher also wrote for the TV and film versions of "The Life of Riley."
Irving Gertz, a composer who contributed music to such 1950s science fiction films as "It Came From Outer Space" and "The Incredible Shrinking Man" and to 1960s TV series like "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," died Nov. 14 at his Los Angeles home, the Los Angeles Times reported. He was 93.
From the late 1940s to late '60s, Gertz wrote music for 200 movies and TV shows.
Among his film credits are "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy" (1955), "Francis Joins the WACS" (1954), "The Alligator People" (1959), "Overland Pacific" (1954), "To Hell and Back" (1955) and "Flaming Star" (1960).
His work on TV also included "Daniel Boone," "Land of the Giants" and "Peyton Place."
Jay Fiondella, the colorful owner of the Chez Jay restaurant, a celebrity hangout in Santa Monica for nearly five decades, died Nov. 6 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 82.
Fiondella's spot on Ocean Avenue was frequented by an endless list of showbiz icons, many of whom were Fiondella's pals, including Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Marlon Brando, Lee Marvin, Robert Stack, Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Elizabeth Taylor, Johnny Carson, Clint Eastwood, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mel Gibson, Sean Penn and Drew Barrymore.
Fiondella forbade any photographers, reporters or autograph seekers from staking out his place.
As an actor, Fiondella appeared in more than 50 TV shows and feature films, including TV's "Gunsmoke," "Perry Mason," "Batman," "Mission: Impossible" and "Fantasy Island"; three "Lethal Weapon" films; and "Short Cuts" (1993).
Fiondella moved to Los Angeles in the early 1950s hoping to become an actor. His first Hollywood roommate was Leonard Nimoy. In 1959, Fiondella opened Chez Jay and named it as a tribute to Sinatra, who ran a joint named "Chez Joey" in his 1957 film "Pal Joey."