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by Lance Norris

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As 2005 draws to a close, hack writers like to trod out memories of those who died over the past 12 months and pay trite tribute. It's an end of the year column that writes itself, as they say. Who couldn't come up with a couple of paragraphs of cold dead bum kissing for Johnny Carson, or the long suffering Anne Bancroft?

Ossie Davis, Bob Denver, Richard Pryor, Peter Jennings? Like shooting fish in a barrel. I could even choke out 300 words to Vicki Lamotta without going to the internet, but what about the unknown actor?

I'm a failed actor. I've been in two academy award winning films, and yet I'll never win anyone a dime in a Dead Pool when I pass. I won't even get a sidebar in the Globe or Herald when I go, and there are thousands more like me every year. So indulge me as I pay tribute to the real stars of the silver screen: the great unknowns!

The real winners of this year's dead pool:

Robert Fortier, long time Robert Altman crony. In fact his last film was playing Wino Jim in Altman's OC AND STIGGS in 1987. A joke that even the director himself didn't get.

Barbara Pilavin, who was the Old Woman On The Bus in CONSTANTINE and was a waitress once on SIMON & SIMON.

Stan Watt, who played Charles Lamont on the old soap LOVE OF LIFE and went on to narrate a bunch of shows for The History Channel.

Paul Manning, writer of many episodes of ER and LA LAW.

Warren J. Kemmerling, who played Grandison in Hitchcock's FAMILY PLOT and went on to become the go to guy when you needed a police captain or judge type in a smaller budget film.

Rand Hopkins, who was Justice Scalia in THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNN and Major Cohen in BOBBY JONES: STOKE OF GENIUS.

Robert Shaw, not the good one, but the guy that played the store clerk in HONEY SUCKLEROSE.

Mark Wallace, the storekeeper in the TV adaptation of Louis L'Amour's THE SACKETTS.

Little five foot tall Gabrielle Daye, from Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Jack Ramage, who was Spencer in KRAMER VS KRAMER and in one episode of HART TO HART.

Or Ernest Lenart, a German stage actor in the early 1930s, who fled German when Adolf Hitler (TRIUMPH OF THE WILL) came to power. He played the proprietor in TARGET UNKNOWN back in 1951 and popped up again as Alfred Himmelman in Eytan Fox's WALK ON WATER last year before passing.

Albert Stevens, who was the Hot Dog Man in CLASS.

British actor Richard Clarke, who went from playing an unnamed male hooker in MIDNIGHT COWBOY to the unnamed butler in the remake of MEET JOE BLACK.

Badja Djola, who got his start as a background boxer in THE MAIN EVENT, when on to be an alley thug in THE LAST BOY SCOUT and played Grant Brown in BACK IN THE DAY with Tia Carrere, which went direct to DVD this year.

Haskell Gordon, who's one and only credit was playing Ralph in 1980's GETTING WASTED.

Van Whitfield, talk about range, he played both The Chief and Kimpu on the old TV series, TARZAN.

Bunty Webb, who was the large lady in TOMMY BOY and the woman on the bus in HIGHER EDUCATION.

Gene Baylos, The Comedian's Comedian, who was Eddie Flynn in THE LOVE MACHINE.

Jimmy Griffin, former lead guitarist for Bread, who appeared as Pvt. Dexter in NONE BUT THE BRAVE.

Timothy Jecko, who was a reserve member of the 1956 USA Olympic swimming team before appearing as a Business Executive in POWER and Man At The Party in SURRENDER.

Thelma White, who was the great Mae Colman in REEFER MADNESS.

Dado Ruspoli, who was Vanni in THE GODFATHER: PART III.

Sal Pacino, Al Pacino's dad, who was a swing dancer in YOUNGER AND YOUNGER and once made a fitness video with Richard Simmons.

Amrish Puri, one of Bollywood's most renowned villains but most Americans only know him as the bald headed Mola Ram in INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM.

Jack Kine, an effects guy from England who made it onto the screen as a Spacesuit Technician in QUARTERMASS II.

Clint Prentice, who's only credit was 1965's Indus Arthur near-noir classic ANGEL'S FLIGHT.

Deem Bristow, who was in PROBLEM CHILD but got most of his work voicing video games.

Robert Manitopyes, who was a Cop At The Party in ARE WE THERE YET?

James Holden, who was Pfc. Soames in SANDS OF IWO JIMA.

Zeke Mills, the old timer in DAZED AND CONFUSED.

Steve Susskind, who was Harold Hatcher in FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3: 3D.

Scott Holden, William Holden's son who played the Vet in Clint Eastwood's BREEZY.

Thomas Wilde, who was Collins in SPACE MASTER X-7.

Mutsuko Sakura, who played Tomoko's Grandmother in SWING GIRLS.

Josie MacAvin, art director on HEAVEN'S GATE.

Ray Pollard, who was a Bus Passenger on ME AND VERONICA.

Paul A. Patain, who was Franklin Hardesty in the original THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and reduced to playing a hospital orderly in the 1994 THE RETURN OF THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE.

Chea Tennille, stunt person from BREAST MEN and a Van Halen video.

Vincenzo Gagliardi, who was the singer in MODERN PROBLEMS and a singing waiter in HOUSE CALLS.

Ernst Muller, who played the citizen in NEW YORK STORIES.

Soap actor Ron Tomme.

Voice actor Ron Feinberg, who got on screen in BRIAN'S SONG.

Chad Matz, who was Billy Walsh on TV's LAUREL AVENUE.

Delmar Thomas, who was an extra on the original AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS.

Coley Wallace, a former pro boxer who played Joe Louis in THE JOE LOUIS STORY and RAGING BULL.

Fred Borges, who played Dr. Sendam in WEASELS RIP MY FLESH and ended is career as a Production Assistant on VERMILION EYES.

You know, maybe the hacks have it right. Here I am, only through January of last year and I find myself bored and depressed. Maybe I'll just tip a glass to Don Adams and call it a year.

Peace out, y'all, and to all a good piece.

I'm not really dead...Would you believe, I'm only sleeping?... How about, brain dead with the ability to swallow fluids?

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Ask a Bitter Man
Every Thursday

Lance Norris gives us his opinions on the state of film, vents about Hollywood, and generally lets his thoughts fly.

Other Columns
Other columns by Lance Norris:

Later On Croutons

Mutants On Parade 11/12/09

Mutants On Parade 11/5/09

Mutants On Parade 10/29/09

Mutants On Parade 10/21/09

All Columns

Lance Norris
Lance Norris, dubbed "Boston's only straight Film Critic" reviews movies for WZLX in Boston.

He has two books entitled Ask A Bitter Man: The Best of 1984 - 1999 Vol. 1 and I've Seen Better Film On The Teeth of Wolverines. which you can buy here

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Lance Norris by clicking here.

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