EmptyBart Burns, a veteran film, television and stage actor as well as a screenwriter and playwright, died July 11 at his home in West Hills, Calif. He was 89.
Burns' acting career spanned five decades. His film roles include starring opposite Jessica Lange in "Frances"; John Frankenheimer's "Seven Days in May"; starring as baseball manager Joe Cronin in "Fear Strikes Out"; featured with Jane Fonda in her film debut in Josh Logan's "A Tall Story"; as well as roles in "The Iceman Cometh," "Between Heaven and Hell," "Legal Eagles," "Fear" and "Tora! Tora! Tora!"
Burns began his acting career in the late 1940s, appearing on Broadway with Henry Fonda in "Mr. Roberts" and working extensively during the live television era in New York, where he starred on Sidney Lumet's "Danger," among other shows.
His guest-starring TV credits are in the hundreds.
As a screenwriter, Burns wrote for "Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre" and what would become the first miniseries: the four-part "Kilroy" for "The Wonderful World of Disney," originally titled "The Reluctant Dog Catcher."
Jim Mitchell, who developed a multimillion-dollar adult film empire with his younger brother, Artie, and was later convicted of killing him, died July 12 of a heart attack at his ranch near Petaluma, Calif. He was 63.
In the 1960s and '70s, the perpetually feuding brothers produced a string of porn hits from their blowsy headquarters in the O'Farrell Theatre in San Francisco, which became known as the Carnegie Hall of Sex.
Their most famous and financially successful film was "Behind the Green Door" (1972), which starred Marilyn Chambers, a former Ivory Soap model. That movie, which cost about $60,000 to make, reportedly earned $25 million.
Their empire came crashing down Feb. 27, 1991, when Jim Mitchell, armed with a pistol and a rifle, went to his brother's home in Marin County and shot him to death. He was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and served three years at San Quentin.
Kerwin Mathews, a dark-haired, swashbuckling movie actor of the 1950s who is best known for his starring role in "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad" and particularly for that film's roiling sword fight with a skeleton, died July 5 at his home in San Francisco. He was 81.
In 1957, noted stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen cast Mathews as a flesh-and-blood Sinbad who battles fire-breathing dragons, a Cyclops and a woman who morphs into a snarling serpent. Nearly half a century later, Mathews was still getting letters from people recalling his spectacular duel with the skeleton.
During his 20-year career, Mathews acted in 22 movies and made many television appearances. He also was known for playing Dr. Lemuel Gulliver, tied to the ground by the little people of the island of Lilliput, in Harryhausen's 1960 movie "The 3 Worlds of Gulliver."
Vivienne Nearing, one of the contestants caught in the television quiz show scandal of the 1950s, died July 4 of adrenal cancer in East Hampton, N.Y. She was 81.
Nearing, a lawyer, became a media celebrity in 1957 when she defeated Charles Van Doren as champion on the quiz show "Twenty-One." In four appearances on the NBC program, she won $5,500 before being defeated.
In 1960, Nearing and 13 other contestants were charged with second-degree perjury for lying to a grand jury and denying they had been fed answers on the programs. Although Nearing told the truth in a second grand jury appearance and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor perjury, she was convicted and disbarred for six months in 1962.
She later re-established her legal career and became a senior partner at Stroock, Stroock & Lavan, a New York-based firm.