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Curt Anderson

Who deserves the “TCM Remembers” tribute?

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Whenever a film actor passes away I wonder if I will be seeing their film clips against the TCM windshield wipers accompanied by mournful music.

 

It’s not surprising when a Lauren Bacall is remembered.   She certainly deserves to be.   But sometimes an actor dies who is not afforded the tribute that I think deserved it.   Peter Graves died a few years ago.  He was unforgettable in “Stalag 17” and hilarious in “Airplane”.   I noticed at the time he was not remembered by TCM.    Other recently departed actors who didn’t get the treatment (as I recall) included Jack Klugman, Jonathan Winters, Eileen Brennan, Ben Gazzara, Michael Ansara, Steve Forrest  and RG Armstrong. 

 

Admittedly some of them were not major screen stars.   But that makes them even more deserving.    Their faces are familiar to fans of old movies.   To me it’s like recognizing a photo of somebody in a small town newspaper’s obituary section.   It may not be a person you know extremely well or even by name, but it’s a person you’ve seen around town and exchanged pleasantries with.   They are people whose passing is worth a poignant pause of reflection.  

 

The very famous people like Lauren Bacall or James Garner will be memorialized everywhere else.   For the character actors and the lesser luminaries, TCM is the one place that should mark their passing.

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With an occasional  omission (unintentional I'm sure, especially for those who pass right at the end of the year) TCM will include those people in the end of the year tribute.  Time to prepare and air these things is always a factor. TCM certainly responds extra quick when a major star like Lauren Bacall is involved.  Some of these other people may get an acknowledgement later on like the practice of scheduling a block of their films during the morning/afternoon hours.  Unfortunately these things don't get much advertisement ahead of time. Watch for when their birthdays roll around in the next year.

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