Actor Richard Brooker (b.1954) died on April 8. Brooker portrayed Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Part III, Oghris in Deathstalker, and Leon in Deep Sea Conspiracy. Brooker also served as a stunt coordinator and appearing in many documentaries about the Friday the 13th films.
Actress Annette Funicello (b.1942) died on April 8. Funicello was one of the original members of The Mickey Mouse Club and went on to a successful career in film, including making many “Beach Blanket” films with Frankie Avalon. She made her big screen debut in The Shaggy Dog and also appeared in Babes in Toyland, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, and Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine.
Comic artist Carmine Infantino (b.1925) died on April 4. Infantino helped create many of the Silver Age heroes for DC, including the Barry Allen Flash and Black Canary. He also worked on the classic “Flash of Two Worlds” storyline. He took on editorial tasks at DC as well. Later, he developed the Star Wars comic.
Fan and movie critic Roger Ebert (b.1942) died on April 4. Ebert, who is best known for his television shows with Gene Siskel reviewing films and the creation of the thumbs up/thumbs down movie review system, got his start as a fanzine writer while in high school, publishing the zine Stymie and having his writing appear in Xero, Yandro, and other zines. Although he did spend some time distancing himself from his fannish roots, he returned to write the introduction to The Best of Xero. In college, he was a member of the Champaign-Urbana Science Fiction Association.
British author Basil Copper (b.1924) died on April 3. Copper’s first story, “The Spider,” appeared in 1964 in the Fifth Pan Book of Horror Stories. Beginning in the 1970s, many of his works were published by August Derleth and Arkham House. Following Derleth’s death, Copper edited Derleth’s Solar Pons stories into a two volume omnibus. In 1975, his collection, From Evil’s Pillow, was nominated for a World Fantasy Award. He also wrote non-fiction works on vampires and werewolves.
Actor Milo O’Shea (b.1926) died on April 2. O’Shea’s best known genre appearance was in the film Barbarella, in which he portrayed Durand Durand. O’Shea also appeared in the films Theatre of Blood and The Purple Rose of Cairo and episodes of Journey to the Unknown, Out of the Unknown, and Out of This World. Outside of genre films, he may have been best known for portraying Leopold Bloom in Ulysses.
Fan Mark Evans (b.1951) died on April 2. Evans was active in Columbus fandom for several years, active in the early MARCONS, co-chairing the convention from 1978-1983. He was also involved in the Worldcon bid for Cincinnati in 1988 and one of the Columbus Worldcon bids. In more recent years, he was involved with running Context.
Jane Henson (b.1934, Jane Nebel) died on April 2 of cancer. Henson met Jim Henson in college and the two married in 1959. She helped him create the Muppets and collaborated with him on shows, traveling exhibits, and finding talent. She and Henson separated in 1986, but she continued to support his work and in 1992, she founded the Jim Henson Legacy to preserve his artistic contributions.
Spanish director Jesús Franco (b.1930) died on April 2, a week after suffering a stroke. Franco began composing music as a six year old and in the 1950s turned his attention to film. Franco was a prolific director of horror films, including Succubus, Le lac des morts vivants, and Drácula contra Frankenstein. In many of the more than 180 films he directed he also worked as composer, writer, cinematographer, and editor. Early in his career, Franco wrote some fiction under the name David Khume.
Actor Richard Griffiths (b.1947) died on March 28 following heart surgery. An acclaimed stage actor, Griffiths is best known to fannish audiences for his role as Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter films. He also appeared as Swelter in the BBC production of Gormenghast, King George in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and the voice of Jeltz in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Other genre films include Superman II, Hugo, and Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. Griffiths received an OBE in 2008.