EmptyEva Dahlbeck, a deft leading lady of six Ingmar Bergman films who shifted easily and effectively from the wry comedy of "Smiles of a Summer Night" to the stark melodrama of "Brink of Life," died Feb. 8 in Sweden of complications from Alzheimer's disease. She was 87.
Dahlbeck's performance in "Summer Night" (1955) helped launch Bergman's international reputation. She played the central role of a stage actress of advancing years who manipulates her two pompous lovers, a lawyer (Gunnar Bjornstrand) and a military officer (Jarl Kulle).
In "Brink of Life" (1958), Dahlbeck played a proud expectant mother whose baby dies in childbirth. Her image of herself is shattered, and the fierce slap she delivers to another young woman in the maternity ward "is among the most unforgettable moments in Bergman's cinema," according to the International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers.
Kirk Browning, the longtime director of "Live From Lincoln Center," died Feb. 10 of cardiac arrest in Manhattan. He was 86.
Browning, who won three Emmys for directing, began at NBC filing scores in its music library. Soon he was directing live telecasts of the NBC Symphony.
In addition to directing 185 broadcasts of "Live From Lincoln Center," 10 of which won Emmys, Browning directed Frank Sinatra's first TV show; the world premiere of the first opera written expressly for television, Gian Carlo Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors"; PBS' "Great Performances; Live From the Met"; Broadway productions including "Gospel at Colonus" and "You Can't Take It With You"; "Pavarotti at Madison Square Garden" and "Zarzuela With Domingo"; Hallmark Hall of Fame music and drama specials; and White House specials.
Freddie Bell, a forerunner in the 1950s rock 'n' roll era whose rhythmic versions of "Giddy Up a Ding Dong" and "Hound Dog" inspired Elvis Presley to cover the songs, died Feb. 10 in a Las Vegas hospital of complications from cancer. He was 76.
Bell also appeared in a number of films, including "Rock Around the Clock" (1956).
John Alvin, who carved a niche for himself in Hollywood as the creator of evocative movie posters that drew generations of viewers into theaters to see such films as "Blazing Saddles," "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" and "Beauty and the Beast," died Feb. 6 of a heart attack at his home in Rhinebeck, N.Y. He was 59.
A few years after he graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles in 1971, Alvin was working at an animation studio when a friend invited him to work on a poster for Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles." It was conventional artwork, but inscribed on the headdress worn by Brooks as the Yiddish-speaking Indian chief is the phrase "Kosher for Passover."
"Mel Brooks liked it," Alvin said. "I didn't look for work for about 15 years after that; it came to me."
Brice Mack, who painted animation backgrounds for Walt Disney in the 1930s, '40s and '50s and produced and directed commercials and films in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, died Jan. 2 in Hollywood. He was 90.
During a career spanning five decades, Mack painted backgrounds for "Fantasia," "Pinocchio" and many other classic Disney films including "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Cinderella," "Alice in Wonderland," "Peter Pan," "Song of the South" and "Lady and the Tramp." He also painted backgrounds for many short subjects, including the 1942 Academy Award-winning "Lend a Paw."