PASSINGS: Russell Arms, David Kelly, Philip Kellogg
Actor who started on ‘Your Hit Parade’
Russell Arms, 92, a singer and actor who was a regular vocalist on the popular TV musical program “Your Hit Parade” from 1952 to 1957, died Monday at his home in Hamilton, Ill., where he had retired with his wife, Mary Lynne. The Lamporte-St. Clair Funeral Home in Hamilton confirmed his death but did not give the cause.
Along with other regular cast members Gisele MacKenzie, Snooky Lanson and Dorothy Collins, Arms performed what were billed as the seven most popular songs in the country every Saturday night on the NBC show. The program had begun on radio before moving to television in 1950 and aired until the spring of 1959. “Your Hit Parade” eventually failed in its bid to capture an audience more interested in rock ‘n’ roll’s premier artists than cover acts.
Arms started his career as an actor. Born Feb. 3, 1920, and raised in Berkeley, he studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. He signed a contract with Warner Bros. in 1941 and was given small parts in war movies before he was drafted the next year.
During World War II he served stateside, making military training films with the Army Signal Corps and the Army Air Forces. When the war ended, he returned to Warner Bros. and was cast in westerns until he tired of those roles and decided to audition for radio shows.
He worked steadily on radio in New York before landing the spot on “Your Hit Parade.” After he left the show, he had guest roles on episodic TV series including “Have Gun — Will Travel,” “Rawhide” and “Perry Mason.”
Irish character actor
David Kelly, 82, an Irish character actor who played Grandpa Joe in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and motorcycled naked in “Waking Ned Devine,” died Sunday in Dublin, his family and friends said. The cause was not announced.
Born in Dublin in 1929, Kelly was best known in Ireland for his 1980 depiction of doomed tenement dweller Rashers Tierney in the historical miniseries “Strumpet City” and for his large body of work as a stage actor.
British and Irish TV viewers also could recognize his face and bony frame from short, usually comedic turns on myriad soaps and sitcoms, most memorably as a work-dodging Irish builder opposite John Cleese in a 1975 episode of “Fawlty Towers.”
Usually consigned to bit parts in film, Kelly’s two most prominent roles came late in life.
In 1998’s “Waking Ned Devine” he portrayed an Irish villager who must impersonate the late Devine to collect a huge lottery win — and finds himself hurtling down a muddy road, naked apart from his motorcycle helmet, socks and shoes, to keep the ruse intact.
In 2005 he played Charlie Bucket’s grandfatherly escort in Tim Burton’s adaptation of the fantasy world of Willy Wonka.
Former VP of William Morris Agency
Philip Kellogg, 99, a former vice president of the William Morris Agency who helped expand its operations into Europe and guided the careers of stars including Omar Sharif, Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren, died of natural causes Feb. 5 in Beverly Hills, his family said.
Kellogg became a talent agent in the 1940s when he joined the Berg-Allenberg Agency. A merger in 1950 brought him to William Morris, where he became vice president of its international film department and director of European operations.
“He was a true gentleman … and a wonderful negotiator,” said producer Norman Lear, who knew Kellogg for more than 60 years.
Among actors he represented, Robert Wagner said Kellogg was respected because of his honesty and devotion. “I was just starting off in the business and he was told to not encourage me,” Wagner recalled. “But he was never too busy to take the time to give you everything he was capable of doing.”
Kellogg also represented major directors, including David Lean. Lean biographer Gene D. Phillips credits Kellogg with giving Lean a copy of the Boris Pasternak epic “Dr. Zhivago” to read on a transatlantic flight. When Lean finished it, he told Kellogg he had to direct the film, which was released in 1965 and won five Oscars.
The son of a gold prospector and a voice teacher, Kellogg was born March 17, 1912, in Provo, Utah, and moved with his family to Southern California as an infant. After graduating from UCLA in 1933, he briefly worked as a feature writer for Hearst newspapers before entering the movie business in 1934 as a personal assistant to producer Irving G. Thalberg.
He worked as a film editor at Warner Bros. for several years until World War II began. He joined the Navy, where he was head of its film unit.
He left William Morris in 1977 and produced several films, including “Year of the Comet” (1992).
-- Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports
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