EmptyLois Nettleton, noted for her work in the plays of Tennessee Williams and as a leading lady of the screen in the 1950s and '60s, died Jan. 18 of lung cancer at the Motion Picture and Television Fund Hospital in Woodland Hills. She was 78.
It was the 1955 Broadway production of Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," staged by Elia Kazan, that brought her to the attention of theater critics, who later called Nettleton one of the finest actresses in American theater.
She went on to star in "Silent Night, Lonely Night," "The Wayward Stork," won the Clarence Derwent Award for "God and Kate Murphy" and was nominated for a Tony in 1976 for "They Knew What They Wanted."
She was no stranger to acclaim during her years in television, winning Emmys for the daytime special "The American Woman: Profiles in Courage" (1977) and for "A Gun for Mandy" (1983), an episode of the syndicated religious anthology "Insight."
Nettleton made her film debut in 1962 in the movie adaptation of Williams' "Period of Adjustment." Among her two dozen additional films were "Mail Order Bride," "Dirty Dingus Magee," "The Man in the Glass Booth" and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."
She was a series regular on TV's "In the Heat of the Night," "All That Glitters" and "You Can't Take It With You," recurring in "Crossing Jordan," "Murder She Wrote," "Full House" and "Golden Girls."
John Stewart, a member of the Kingston Trio who wrote "Daydream Believer" and went on to become an influential singer-songwriter and pioneer of the Americana genre, died Jan. 19 at a San Diego hospital after a stroke. He was 68.
Stewart joined the Kingston Trio in 1961. During his six years with the group, they recorded 13 albums, seven of which made the top 10. After its breakup, he began a long solo career that produced 45 albums, including 1969's widely acclaimed "California Bloodlines." His biggest solo single was 1979's "Gold," a top five hit that featured Stevie Nicks. It was culled from Stewart's lone top 10 album, "Bombs Away Dream Babies."
The Stewart-penned "Daydream Believer" was a No. 1 smash for the Monkees in 1967. Anne Murray's remake hit No. 12 in 1980.
Allan Melvin, a character actor known for appearances in such TV staples as "The Phil Silvers Show," "All in the Family" and "The Brady Bunch," died Jan. 17 of cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was 84.
Melvin got his big break on "Phil Silvers," which ran from 1955-59, playing Cpl. Henshaw, the right-hand man to Silvers' Sgt. Ernie Bilko.
He went on to play Archie Bunker's neighbor Barney in "All in the Family" and different roles on at least eight episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show." Fans of "Brady Bunch" knew him as Sam the butcher, the boyfriend of Alice the housekeeper.
Lew Spence, a songwriter who composed the Grammy-nominated Frank Sinatra song "Nice 'n' Easy" and "That Face," a standard recorded by Fred Astaire, died Jan. 9 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 87.
Collaborating with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Spence co-wrote "Nice 'n' Easy," which was nominated for three Grammys in 1960. He wrote "That Face" with Alan Bergman.
Artists who sang Spence's songs included Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Bobby Short, Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby, Billy Eckstine and Dinah Shore.
Bob LeMond, a popular radio and TV announcer of the 1940s and '50s, died Jan. 6 at his home in Bonsall, Calif. He was 94.
LeMond was the voice of such shows as "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet," "Leave It to Beaver," "Our Miss Brooks," "My Friend Irma," "Life With Luigi," "The Red Skelton Show" and "Bat Masterson."