Shore, Donoghue, Hoffman
Shore, Donoghue, HoffmanSig Shore, an independent producer whose low-budget 1972 film "Superfly" was among the first of the blaxploitation movies of the 1970s, died Aug. 17 in Stamford, Conn., of respiratory failure resulting from chronic pneumonia. He was 87.
"Superfly" starred Ron O'Neal and was directed by Gordon Parks Jr., whose father had directed 1971's "Shaft." It cost less than $100,000 to make and grossed more than $30 million. The Curtis Mayfield soundtrack sold more than 1 million copies. Another hit soundtrack, this one by Earth, Wind and Fire, came from Shore's 1975 film "That's the Way of the World," which he also directed.
Other films that Shore produced, and in some cases also directed, were "Superfly T.N.T." (with a screenplay by Alex Haley), "Sudden Death," "The Survivalist" and "The Return of Superfly."
He was working with Warner Bros. Pictures on a remake of "Superfly" when he became ill.
Roger Donoghue, a former boxer who taught Marlon Brando to box for "On the Waterfront," died Aug. 20 of Alzheimer's disease in Greenport, N.Y. He was 75.
Donoghue was 20 when he had his first bout at New York's Madison Square Garden on Aug. 29, 1951. He quit the ring a year later after he knocked out George Flores, who died days later.
Director Elia Kazan hired Donoghue at $75 a day to coach Brando. Director Nicholas Ray, who became a friend of Donoghue's, planned a film on the boxer's life that was to star James Dean. But Dean's death in a car crash ended the project. Donoghue also was a friend of Norman Mailer, who credited the former fighter with giving him the line "tough guys don't dance," which he used as the title of one of his novels.
Robert K. Hoffman, one of three founders of the irreverent National Lampoon magazine and a noted Dallas philanthropist, died Aug. 20 in Dallas after battling leukemia. He was 59.
He was a co-founder and managing editor of the magazine, spawned from the Harvard Lampoon and created while he was a student at the university. The magazine spun off successful films, including "Animal House" and the "Vacation" series.
In a newspaper interview, Hoffman reminisced with glee about a lawsuit filed by Volkswagen after the magazine ran a spoof advertisement featuring a floating Volkswagen Beetle along with the caption, "If Ted Kennedy had been driving this car, he would be president today."
Bruce Gary, a rock drummer who worked with George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Stephen Stills but is best known as a member of the Knack, died Aug. 22 at Tarzana (Calif.) Medical Center. He was 54.
The Knack hit it big in 1979 with "My Sharona," which featured Gary's memorable drum intro and topped the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks. The band's debut album, "Get the Knack," sold 6 million copies.
In addition to the Knack, Gary's three-decade career as a drummer and producer included work with a who's who of performers. He recorded with Rod Stewart, Bette Midler, Yoko Ono, Harry Nilsson, Jack Bruce, Robby Krieger and Sheryl Crow. Gary also worked with blues masters Albert Collins, Albert King and John Lee Hooker and toured with Spencer Davis and Randy Meisner.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee, a Bollywood filmmaker who stood apart with his touching stories about India's teeming middle class, died Aug. 27 of kidney failure at a hospital in Mumbai. He was 83.
Regarded as a trendsetting Bollywood filmmaker, Mukherjee started his career in 1948 as an assistant director and made more than 40 Hindi-language films. Although he worked with a cross section of Bollywood stars, Mukherjee is most remembered for "Mili," "Anand" and "Chupke Chupke," which he made in the 1970s and featured future Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan.