PASSINGS: Joe Maross, Al Cervi, Rod Van Hook

Joe Maross | 1923-2009
Joe Maross, seen in 1960, appeared in several movies but was best known for his work in television. He appeared in scores of series, including “Perry Mason,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Fugitive,” “Mission: Impossible,” “The Rockford Files,” “Dallas” and “Murder, She Wrote.”

Joe Maross

Film, TV character actor

Joe Maross, 86, a prolific character actor whose film and television career spanned the 1950s to the 1980s, died of cardiac arrest Saturday at a convalescent hospital in Glendale, said his son, Michael.

Maross appeared in several movies, including “Run Silent, Run Deep,” “Elmer Gantry,” “Sometimes a Great Notion” and “Rich and Famous,” but he was best known for his work in television.

Beginning on live TV in New York in 1952, he had roles in dramatic anthology series such as “Lux Video Theatre,” “Studio One” and “Armstrong Circle Theatre.”

Maross moved to Hollywood in 1957 and appeared in scores of series, including “Perry Mason,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Fugitive,” “Mission: Impossible,” “The Rockford Files,” “Dallas” and “Murder, She Wrote.”

Born Feb. 7, 1923, in Barnesboro, Pa., Maross served in the Marines during World War II.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in theater arts at Yale University in 1947 and appeared on Broadway in the ‘50s in “Ladies Night in a Turkish Bath” and “The Innkeepers.”

Maross, who once was married to actress Carol Kelly, was a founding member of the Los Angeles-based acting, writing and directing group Projects 58.

Al Cervi

Basketball hall of famer

Al Cervi, 92, a basketball hall of famer who played for the Buffalo Bisons and the Rochester Royals of the National Basketball League before coaching the Syracuse Nationals to the 1955 NBA championship, died Monday 9 at a hospice in Rochester, N.Y.

Cervi (pronounced SUR-vee) was a 5-foot-11 1/2 -inch guard known for his defense.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., on Feb. 12, 1917, he started his pro basketball career in 1937 with the Bisons of the old NBL and was named the team’s most valuable player in the 1938-39 season.

During World War II, Cervi served five years in the Army Air Forces. When he returned to the NBL, he joined the Rochester Royals and played on the team that won the 1946 league title. He led the league in scoring in the 1946-47 season and was named the NBL’s most valuable player.

Cervi signed with the Syracuse Nationals as a player-coach in 1948, a year before the NBL was folded into the National Basketball Assn. He played through the 1952-53 season, then coached the team full time for four more years.

After coaching the Philadelphia Warriors for one season, 1958-59, Cervi retired from basketball and became a manager for a Rochester-based trucking company.

Rod Van Hook

Veteran sports broadcaster

Rod Van Hook, 61, a veteran sports broadcaster for Los Angeles radio stations KFWB, KMPC and KSPN, died of heart failure Saturday 7 at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, his family said.

A Santa Monica resident, he previously had battled pancreatic cancer.

Van Hook had worked as a studio host for National Football League and college football games on Sports USA Radio network from 2007 until earlier this year.

Besides providing sports scores and updates on local radio, he covered major sporting events such as the Rose Bowl, Super Bowl, World Series and other pro and college games.

Born July 31, 1948, in Vermillion, S.D., Van Hook earned his bachelor’s degree at UCLA.

He won three Los Angeles Press Club awards over a three-decade career.

-- times staff reports

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