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Ron Carey, an actor known for his roles on the sitcom “Barney Miller” and in three of Mel Brooks’ films, died Jan. 16 in Los Angeles of complications from a stroke. He was 71.
Carey was born Dec. 11, 1935, in Newark, N.J. He began his career as a stand-up comic on talk and variety shows, including those hosted by Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, Ed Sullivan and Johnny Carson. His most famous role was as the brown-nosing wannabe detective Officer Carl Levitt on “Miller,” which ran on ABC from 1975-82.
Carey’s feature credits include Brooks’ “History of the World, Part I,” “High Anxiety” and “Silent Movie.” He also appeared in “Johnny Dangerously,” “Fatso” and 1970’s “The Out of Towners.”
Don Edgren, an engineer who led a team building the first Space Mountain and had a role in building several famous Disney parks, died Dec. 28 of a hemorrhagic stroke in Eugene, Ore. He was 83.
Edgren was hired by Disney in 1961, when Pirates of the Caribbean already was being built as a walk-through attraction at Disneyland. Walt Disney decided to transform it into a boat ride to open in 1967. Edgren and his engineering crew had to figure out a way to take the expanded ride deeper underground.
In 1963, Edgren went to New York as a project engineer on Ford Motor Co.’s exhibit at the 1964 World’s Fair, one of four shows Disney created for the event.
After leading the engineering team that completed Disneyland’s New Orleans Square in 1966, Edgren went to Florida as chief of field engineering for Walt Disney World.
Curt Dempster, who co-founded a theater known for its commitment to one-act plays and new pieces, died Jan. 19 at his home in New York. He was 71.
A director, playwright and actor, Dempster was the founding artistic director of the nonprofit Ensemble Studio Theatre, a Manhattan venue dedicated to developing plays and nurturing theatrical talent. Established in 1971, the theater staged works by Joyce Carol Oates, Arthur Miller and David Mamet, among others.
Besides staging plays, Frank Curtin Dempster also wrote several, including “Mimosa Pudica,” included in the compilation “The Best Short Plays 1977.”
Bart Roen, a producer, director and graphic designer for many years before starting his Wegian Prods., died Jan. 7 of cancer in Stevenson Ranch, Calif. He was 61.
Roen was active at Patrick Davidson Prods. and produced animation programming for the History Channel, VH1 and other networks. Among his credits are “Jules Sylvester’s Wild Adventures,” a series on which he was the senior producer, and “Rainy Season,” a short film based on a Stephen King story, on which he was producer-director and graphic designer.
Alfredo Ripstein Jr., one of Mexico’s most prolific movie producers and the father of renowned indie filmmaker Arturo Ripstein, died Jan. 20 of respiratory failure at his Mexico City home. He was 90.
In the 1940s and ’50s, during the “golden age” of Mexican cinema, Ripstein produced dozens of movies and worked with such actors as Pedro Infante and Maria Felix.
Virtue Hampton Whitted, a jazz musician who performed for years as part of the Hampton Sisters act, died Jan. 17 in Indianapolis after a stroke. She was 84.
As a child, she began performing in a large family band, and her three sisters formed the Hampton Sisters while their brothers were fighting in World War II.
She continued to perform in recent years, singing and playing bass with her older sister, Aletra, who sang and played piano. The two released an album titled “The Hampton Sisters, a Jazz Tribute” in 2003.
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