Camera operator Suzy Zeffren-Rauch (b.Suzy Zeffren, 1970) died on February 12. Zeffren-Rauch began working for Disney Studios as a camera department coordinator on Beauty and the Beast in 1991 and went on to work on animated films including Lilo & Stitch and Treasure Planet. Following her work on Chicken Little, she moved to the film & digital services department.
Comedian Sid Caesar (b.1922) died on February 12. Caesar was best known for his work on Your Show of Shows. While he was primarily a comedian, appearing in films like It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Caesar did have some genre credits, including The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, based on the Ray Bradbury story, Mel Brooks’ History of the World, Part I and an appearance in an episode of Brooks’ Robin Hood series When Times Were Rotten, as well as Amazing Stories and The Munsters’ Revenge.
Director Christopher Barry (b.1925) died on February 7. Barry directed more than 40 episodes of Doctor Who, beginning with the first two episodes that introduced the Daleks in the first season through the 1979 serial “The Creature from the Pit.” Other genre work included The Tripods, The Man in the White Suit, Moonbase 3, and Out of the Unknown.
Oscar winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (b.1967) was found dead in his New York apartment on February 2. Hoffman, who won an Academy Award for Capote, appeared in Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games series, portrayed a character based on L. Ron Hubbard in The Master, and appeared in The Invention of Lying.
Oscar winning actor Maximilian Schell (b.1930) died on February 1. Schell won the Oscar for his role in Judgment at Nuremberg, but appeared in several genre films, including The Black Hole, Vampires, Phantom of the Opera, and Deep Impact. Schell’s first Hollywood role occurred by accident, when the producers of The Young Lions reached out to his sister, Maria, and connected with him by mistake.
Producer Arthur Rankin, Jr. (b.1924) died on January 30. Rankin partnered with Jules Bass to form Rankin/Bass, an animation company known for their Christmas specials, including Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. Some of their more standard SF/F fare included adaptations of The Last Unicorn, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. He also produced Thundercats.
Director Gordon Hessler (b.1930) died on January 19. Hessler got his start working for Alfred Hitchcock and went on to direct The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, a couple episodes of Wonder Woman, Cry of the Banshee, Murders in the Rue Morgue, and an episode of Tales of the Unexpected. He also served as a producer on Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Japanese voice actor Ichirō Nagai (b.1931) died on January 27. Nagai provided voices for numerous television shows, video games, and films, including Kinnikuman: Showdown! The 7 Justice Supermen vs. The Space Samurais, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Space Battleship Yamato, and Kingdom Hearts.
Actress Alexandra Bastedo (b.1946) died on January 12. She appeared in The Champions, The Starlost and Batman Begins as well as the 1967 version of Casino Royale.
Actor Jerome Willis (b.1928) died on January 11. Willis portrayed Captain Rexton Podly in Space Precinct and Stevens in the Doctor Who serial “The Green Death.” He also had roles in the films Perfume: The Story of a Murderer and Lifeforce.