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Joe Van Slyke, an actor who served as an artistic associate at Chicago’s Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, died Aug. 13 of lung cancer at his home in Chicago. He was 55.
Van Slyke ranked as one of the busiest and most dependable actors in Chicago during the three decades he worked there, up to and including his final job in May in a musical workshop at Northwestern University.
Over the years, he played roles in such productions as “Mrs. Warren’s Profession,” “Twelfth Night,” “I Hate Hamlet,” “Ten Little Indians” and “Quartermaine’s Terms.” He also had numerous roles in film and TV projects, including “Prison Break,” “Children on Their Birthdays,” “Hoodlum,” “The Untouchables” and “Meet the Applegates.”
He was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award in 2002 for his performance as Hirst in Harold Pinter’s 1974 play “No Man’s Land,” a role about which colleagues remarked that “he could scare the daylights out of you.”
Herb Pomeroy, a jazz trumpeter who played with Charlie Parker, backed up Frank Sinatra and influenced generations of musicians in four decades as a teacher at Berklee College of Music and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, died Aug. 11 of cancer at his Gloucester, Mass., home. He was 77.
Pomeroy played at times with Parker, Charlie Mariano, Stan Kenton, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins and others. In addition to Sinatra, he backed Tony Bennett and Sarah Vaughan.
After a single year at Harvard University, he joined Parker’s quintet in Boston, then toured with Lionel Hampton and Kenton before forming the first of several big bands at the Stables in Boston, in tandem with teaching at Berklee. His bands were often staffed with such top sidemen as Joe Gordon, Jaki Byard, Bill Berry, Sam Rivers, Alan Broadbent, Joe LaBarbera, Miroslav Vitous, John LaPorta, Phil Wilson, Harvey Mason and Ernie Watts.
Diane Van Lente, who served for more than 20 years as executive producer of Chicago’s Drury Lane Theatres, died Aug. 13 of ovarian cancer in Burr Ridge, Ill. She was 57.
Van Lente started to work for her father, Chicago theater impresario Tony De Santis, when she was 9. For many years, Van Lente oversaw the food and catering aspects of the business. She rose to executive producer, a job she held for the past quarter-century.
Beryl Denzer Hines, a Cold War journalist who landed the first U.S. television interview with Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov among other scoops, died July 30 at a Washington nursing home of complications from cancer. She was 84.
As an associate producer for CBS’ “Face the Nation” from 1954-57, Hines sometimes went to great lengths to get notable guests.
In 1955, “Nation” and NBC’s “Meet the Press” were in a scramble to get the first U.S. TV interview with Molotov. The networks spent months extending invitations to the Kremlin, the Russian embassy and the Russian headquarters of the United Nations.
Hines went a step further. She managed to get a ride on a Coast Guard cutter that met a big liner outside New York Harbor, Newsweek reported. “She climbed aboard the Elizabeth and spent a sleepless night outside Molotov’s stateroom, where she finally got a Tass correspondent to translate a final CBS invitation to Molotov.”
Hines also got the first interview with U.S. Rep. Alvin M. Bentley, R-Mich., after he and four other congressman were shot on the House floor by Puerto Rican nationalists in 1954.
A memorial for writer-director-producer Melville Shavelson will be held Tuesday at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. RSVP: (323) 782-4694, email@example.com.
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