EmptyRichard Clayton, a former actor and longtime agent who had James Dean as an early client and managed Burt Reynolds for two decades, died Sept. 29 in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure. He was 93.
Clayton started as an actor and model in New York. He signed a contract with Warner Bros. and appeared in more than 30 films, with parts in "Knute Rockne All-American" (1940), "High Sierra" (1941) and "A Very Young Lady" (1941), in which he gave Jane Withers her first screen kiss.
Clayton met Dean when they appeared in the Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis film "Sailor Beware" (1952). Clayton soon went to work at Famous Artist Agency and worked with talent including Tab Hunter, Jane Fonda, Tuesday Weld, Harrison Ford, Farrah Fawcett, Jan-Michael Vincent, Angie Dickinson, Nick Nolte, Robert Urich, Richard Chamberlain and Peggy Lipton.
After decades as an agent, Clayton became the personal manager for Reynolds during his Hollywood heyday.
Oliver Crawford, who overcame the "Red Scare" blacklist of the 1950s to become one of TV's most successful writers, died Sept. 24 in Los Angeles from complications of pneumonia. He was 91.
Crawford had just landed a two-picture deal when he was contacted in 1953 by the House Un-American Activities Committee, then looking into allegations of communist influence in the entertainment industry. He was blacklisted after refusing to reveal names.
Crawford moved to New York and designed windows for department stores to make ends meet. He got back into the business after actor Sam Levene helped him land a job as a writer for "Playhouse 90."
Crawford's career flourished in the '60s as he wrote for such popular shows as "Rawhide," "Lawman," "The Rifleman," "Ben Casey," "The Outer Limits" and "I Spy." He remained busy throughout the 1970s, writing for "Mannix," "Kojak," "Ironside" and other shows.
His novel "The Execution," about a group of Nazi prison camp survivors living in San Diego who plot to kill a former guard, was made into a 1985 telefilm starring Loretta Swit.
Crawford, who served on the WGA board of directors for 26 years, estimated that he was one of only 10% of blacklisted writers who returned to Hollywood.
James Gavin, who appeared in dozens of TV Westerns in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, died Sept. 18 in Reseda of cancer. He was 88.
With his craggy good looks and deep voice, Gavin was a natural for Westerns. He was a regular on "The Big Valley" as Sheriff Madden and had supporting roles in TV's "Wagon Train," "Rawhide," "Have Gun — Will Travel" and "Gunsmoke." In 1961, he appeared in "The Twilight Zone" episode "Back There" about the Lincoln assassination.