Tag: space: 1999
We are sad to learn of the passing yesterday of actress Zienia Merton, most known for her role as Analyst Sandra Benes in Space: 1999, per her publicist and friend Barry Langford. Merton also appeared in an early episode of Doctor Who, “Marco Polo”, which is unfortunately one of the remaining “lost” episodes.
Anyone who follows me knows I was a big fan of Space: 1999, and there was something about Merton’s character that despite the relatively minor role was memorable, and was one of the few carried into the severely retooled second season of the show. And she even took part in the fan-produced “conclusion” of the series, “Message From Moonbase Alpha”, which featured her alone in a recorded message to Earth telling that the crew of Moonbase Alpha were finally forced to abandon the moonbase and make a new life on a planet.
And the irony of the date of Merton’s passing was not lost on me…September 13th, 2018 – 19 years after the moon was blasted out of orbit…
Probably most know recently for playing Hallyne the Pyromancer in a couple episodes of Game of Thrones in 2012, his acting career spans many years on stage, small and large screen, and he won a Tony Award in 2000 for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his role in A Moon for the Misbegotten, and held the Guinness World Record in 2004 for most voiced characters in an audio book for his reading of A Song of Ice and Fire. He was also awarded the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2008.
Dotrice was no stranger to genre roles either. He was originally set to play Grand Maester Pycelle in Games of Thrones but withdrew for medical reasons (the role went to Julian Glover.) He made two memorable guest appearances in Space: 1999 as Commissioner Simmonds, which sticks in my head for the horrible death he (presumably) suffered. He also had a starring role in the Beauty and the Beast series in the 80s. He had other guest appearances in Babylon 5, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (as Zeus, no less!), Earth 2, and Sliders among many, many roles. He also had a starring role in one of my favorite Olympics-based movies as the Russian skating coach Anton Pamchenko in The Cutting Edge.
Dotrice was married to his wife, actress Kay Dotrice, for just short of 60 years when she passed away in 2007. His three daughters were also actresses – Michele Dotrice (Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em), Karen Dotrice (best known as the young Jane Banks in Mary Poppins), and Yvette Dotrice (Crossroads).
We lost two amazing individuals this weekend.
Oscar winner Martin Landau, who came to prominence among television audiences as the master of disguise Rollin Hand in Mission: Impossible for which he received 3 Emmy nominations and won a Golden Globe, and then followed up with Moonbase Alpha Commander John Koenig on Space: 1999, passed away Saturday at the age of 89 after unexpected complications while hospitalized for a short length of time.
Landau always put all in when playing a role. This helped earn him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Ed Wood for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi. I was also impressed by his portrayal of the President after a limited nuclear exchange in By Dawn’s Early Light. But after Space: 1999, roles for himself and then-wife and costar Barbara Bain disappeared, and they both turned to the corny roles of evil rich guy J.J. Pierson and evil scientist Dr. Olga Schmetner in The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island, the last attempt to revive that franchise. Landau persevered though, until he peaked yet again with his Oscar-winning performance in Ed Wood.
Landau became a member of the Actors Studio in 1955 when he and Steve McQueen were the only two accepted out of 2000 applicants. He learned under Lee Strasberg himself, and later taught acting there. Landau and Bain were married in 1957, and divorced in 1993. They had two daughters, Susan (who works in film and theater production), and actress Juliet.
Legend George A. Romero, the “Father of Zombie films” and “Godfather of the Dead”, passed away on Sunday at the age of 77 after a brief battle with lung cancer. Romero would change the horror film forever with his writing and directorial debut of Night Of The Living Dead. He would follow that with many other shocker monster films, including several more “… Dead” films and Creepshow, and executive produced the 1990 remake of Night Of The Living Dead. His use of black and white film and maximizing low budget productions showed it didn’t take money and gore to make scary. We can thank Romero for helping ignite the flame that has resulted in the current explosion in zombie-related productions.
Romero’s wife Suzanne and daughter Tina were by his side when he died peacefully listening to the soundtrack of The Quiet Man.
Sylvia Anderson, who was the voice of Lady Penelope and co-creator with her husband (at the time) Gerry Anderson on Thunderbirds, passed away after a brief illness at home at the age of 88.
Describing her as “a mother and a legend”, daughter Dee Anderson said, “Her intelligence was phenomenal but her creativity and tenacity unchallenged. She was a force in every way.”
She worked for years with Gerry on the various supermarionation shows they were famous for as a writer and producer, but also on live action productions such as UFO and Space: 1999, including designing the “future 1980s” fashion in the former.
For Space: 1999, she was on record as against the casting of American lead actors, but was overruled by Sir Lew Grade, then head of ITC Entertainment, as they wanted to insure an American TV market. She capitulated, but threw her vote for Robert Culp (I Spy) and Katharine Ross (The Graduate) – instead her husband went with then-hot husband and wife team of Martin Landau and Barbara Bain. It was between the first and second seasons of the show that the Anderson’s separated and later divorced.
I’ve mentioned before that the Andersons were among the architects of my childhood, having grown up with Thunderbirds and Space: 1999. Their influence has been great, and will be greatly missed.
Here are some of the big and our favorite stories we covered in 2012…
Gerry Anderson, the British television writer/producer who loved to imagine the near future, died today at the age of 83, after suffering from multiple dementia for the past couple years. His death was announced by his son on his blog.
Anderson is perhaps best known for both his Supermarionation projects such as Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, as well as his live action series UFO and perhaps his most well known series in the U.S., Space: 1999.
Fanderson, the Gerry Anderson fan group, has a nice obituary.
I remember seeing Thunderbirds as a kid…my mother was familiar with it and some of his previous efforts, having come from Ireland by way of England, and she always insisted one of the “rag tag” fleet ships in Battlestar Galactica came from Thunderbirds – I never quite saw that.
But Space: 1999 was one of the first SF series to garner my attention. The details of the base and the Eagles really drew me. It seemed that there was at least some attempt at realism in certain areas – the Eagles appeared relatively functional if not depicted in realistic flight – provided a level of detail that I love.
If you’ve followed me these 12 years, there are two series I’ve really wanted to see remade – Space: 1999, which is in the works with Jace Hall (and my main requirement there is they keep the production design of the base, Eagles, etc.), and Blake’s 7, which was recently being shopped to U.S. networks by Georgiaville Television.
Now Syfy has stepped up and will develop the remake with a script-to-series commitment (if they like the script, it will get a 13-episode green light). Joe Pokaski (CSI, Heroes) is writing the script, and Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Green Lantern) will direct.
I can’t wait to grill the Syfy executives on this one…
Space: 1999 Fans Celebrate the Past and Look to the Future
Producer of a re-imagining of the cult-classic television show joins convention roster of guests
Jace Hall, President of HDFILMS, Inc., and Executive Producer and Creative Lead of Space: 2099, a re-imagining of the British cult-classic television series Space: 1999, will give fans their first opportunity to hear his plans by joining an impressive roster of guests attending Alpha: 2012, a three-day convention to be held at the Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel on September 14-16, 2012 in Burbank, California. Hall will be joining Australian actor Nick Tate and Glasgow-born Prentis Hancock, co-stars of the original series, as well as revered actors Roy Dotrice and Judy Geeson, both of whom made pivotal guest appearances in the series’ first season. More guests are likely to be added.
Just a few days ago news broke that a Space: 1999 reboot was in development in the form of Space: 2099…and already executive producer Jace Hall has graciously answered some of our questions about the project! Jace and his company, HDFILMS, have partnered with ITV Studios America on the production, which will update the classic ITV production.
SFS: There have been many grass-roots efforts on updating Space: 1999 over the years, even using the name “Space: 2099”, but this appears to be the
first with buy-in from the studios – why is the time right to bring back this classic show?
Jace: My general belief is that any time is ALWAYS the right time to bring a truly compelling story to audiences. From my perspective, the timing of a new Space: 1999 franchise related project coming into existence has primarily related to ITV being presented with a concept that they could feel strongly enough about to warrant and authorize the effort. Now finally, that time has come and we hope to work closely with them to bring something engaging to audiences!
I’ve been waiting for this for a while…it seems that ITV Studios America and HDFilms have gotten together and are working out details to reboot Space: 1999! It will of course get a contemporary makeover at least with it’s title, to become Space: 2099, but not much else is known yet. I actually think they could keep the design of the Moonbase and Eagles from the original…I always liked those designs. But stay the heck away from the second season budget cuts!