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Obituary: Jeff Morrow

Jeff Morrow, actor: born New York City 13 January 1913; married 1941 Ann Karen (one daughter); died Los Angeles 26 December 1993.

My Biggest Mistake: Franc Roddam

MY BIGGEST mistake was giving Robert Redford an ultimatum. It was 1980 and I was living in Hollywood after being offered a three-picture deal by 20th Century Fox.

Obituary: Don Ameche

Dominic Felix Amici (Don Ameche), actor: born Kenosha, Wisconsin 31 May 1908; married 1932 Honor Prendergast (four sons, two daughters); died Scottsdale, Arizona 6 December 1993.

FILM / 'I thought nothing could possibly go wrong. Huh]': Ian McEwan was happy with his first Hollywood film. It was small, but classy. Then along came Macaulay Culkin's dad . . . Sabine Durrant reports

Macaulay Culkin, the million-dollar-bairn with the sticky-out ears, has a new film this autumn. It's called The Good Son and it's making everyone 'very excited'. The studio is backing a 'teaser' campaign, the Culkin clan is celebrating Mack's agility in a serious role and the audience at the try-outs started talking to the screen - which is a good sign, apparently. But the scriptwriter, the British novelist Ian McEwan, is not excited. He hasn't seen the film - from which he considers himself 'sacked' - and he will not be going to LA to celebrate the opening. 'When I read that I've sold out and am writing movies for Macaulay Culkin,' he says stiffly, 'that I'm 'prostrating' my talent, I bridle. For one thing, I wrote the script when Macaulay Culkin was five years old.'

Arts: 'Mike Sarne? Mike Sarne? Why?': Mike Sarne was the British director all Hollywood was raving about. Until he decided to do some raving of his own. John Lyttle talks to the one-hit wonder (two, if you include 'Come Outside') about his comeback

The voice that answers Gore Vidal's phone sounds genuinely aghast. Sure, he'll tell the writer about the call but he can't believe the topic. 'You're doing a profile of Mike Sarne? Mike Sarne? Why?'

Obituary: Joe De Rita

Joe De Rita, comedian: born Philadelphia 12 July 1909; died Woodland Hills, California 3 July 1993.

Hollywood bosses bow to the power of the rising yen: Phil Reeves in Los Angeles on how a film's villain ceased to be Japanese

A PROVOCATIVE thriller-polemic about the Japanese in America, which made headlines around the world, is at the centre of a fresh controversy - this time over the film based on the book.

FILM / Too long on the back-burner: Toys took 15 years and dollars 40 million to make. In six weeks at the cinema it had made only dollars 21m. Barry Levinson tells Sheila Johnston how the dream went sour

BETWEEN 1979 and 1984 American Film magazine ran a series of long features on the 'greatest stories never told'. Today these articles make even more instructive reading, because a number of the 'legendary unproduced scripts' have subsequently been made. Some of them - Total Recall, The Princess Bride and, latterly, The Bodyguard - went on to be commercial hits; one or two - John Sayles's Eight Men Out - even became a succes d'estime.

Disposal of Reed stake values BSkyB at pounds 1.2bn: Satellite broadcaster's move into black boosts News International profits

REED INTERNATIONAL, the publisher, sold its 3.66 per cent shareholding in BSkyB yesterday for pounds 62.3m as the satellite broadcaster announced a move into profits before interest payments.

Obituary: Joseph Mankiewicz


FILM / Look who's talking: Word of mouth can make or break a movie, whatever its critical reception. Now television has replaced pundits with punters. Sheila Johnston reports

Towards the end of last year, The Independent on Sunday ran a small advertisement labelled Situation Vacant. 'Wanted,' it said, 'Film Critic.' Some 200 eager applicants presented themselves (no doubt many more were deterred by the requirement to write a sample column). I wasn't surprised: these pages also regularly get unsolicited letters from people offering their services as reviewers. After all, anyone can do the job: as Johnny Vaughan said on Channel 4 recently, 'the only difference between them (film critics) and us is that they get free tickets and we don't'.

The Player: Part One - David O Selznick was the archetype for the big-shot Hollywood producer: selfish, reckless and over-sexed, but with a talent for putting magic on the screen that could excuse any excess of temperament

He came to California in 1926, aged 24, after his father had made a fortune in the movies and lost it. By 1935 he had married Irene Mayer, daughter of the head of MGM, and was ready to go independent. He was also about to make the most important purchase of his life.

Hollywood clears a tough year: Film takings are up despite bloodletting and cost-cutting, reports Phil Reeves

HOLLYWOOD has just completed one of its best years at the box office despite a sluggish economy, fired up by sequel hits such as Home Alone 2 and Batman Returns.

Obituary: Dana Andrews

Carver Dana Andrews, actor, born Collins Mississippi 1 January 1909, married 1932 Janet Murray (died 1935; one son deceased), 1939 Mary Todd (one son, two daughters), died Long Beach California 17 December 1992.

Obituary: Ruth Nelson

Ruth Nelson, actress, born Saginaw Michigan 2 August 1905, married William Challee (marriage dissolved), 1946 John Cromwell (died 1979), died New York City 12 September 1992.
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