THOMAS WRIGHT THORNBURG KING
Wright King an American film and television actor has passed away at the age of 95. He was a native of Okmulgee in east central Oklahoma. His career spanned the years from 1949 until his retirement in 1987.
Mr. King was a guest of the Memphis Film Festival in 2001.
King studied acting at the St Louis School of Theater, where he graduated in 1941, before enlisting in the United States Navy during World War II. King made his small screen debut in 1949 as Midshipman Bascomb in the television series, "Captain Video and His Video Rangers". Throughout his career, he worked in both United States and in United Kingdom.
King was cast in numerous westerns and is particularly known for his role in the 1951 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" (See picture above), starring Vivien Leigh (whom his character kisses). Prior to that, he had appeared in the original stage production, a performance that was lauded by drama critic Harold Hobson. Other noteworthy film credits included roles in "Cast a Long Shadow", "King Rat", "Planet of the Apes", "Finian's Rainbow" and "Invasion of the Bee Girls". In 1974, he played U.S. Senator Richard B. Russell Jr., of Georgia in the ABC television film, "The Missiles of October", a dramatization of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. He appeared in the television series "Johnny Jupiter" and was Steve McQueen's partner for a season of "Wanted Dead or Alive".
He enjoyed attending the Twilight Zone Conventions of which is a statement shared below:
“Sad news…Wright King, costar of ‘Shadow Play’ and ‘Of Late I Think of Cliffordville’ (and later Dr. Galen in ‘Planet of the Apes’, which Rod Serling co-wrote) died on Sunday, November 25th. He lived 95 long and wonderful years which included a 60 year marriage to wife June, who died in 2009…..He had tons of stories about Hollywood and he loved recounting them. He attended our first Twilight Zone Convention in 2002 and spent the weekend catching up with old friends. He’ll be missed.”
KEN RONALD BERRY
Ken Berry an American actor, dancer and singer has passed away at the age of 85. Berry starred on the television series "F Troop", "The Andy Griffith Show", "Mayberry R.F.D" and "Mama's Family". He also appeared on Broadway in "The Billy Barnes Revue", headlined as George M. Cohan in the musical "George M!" and provided comic relief for the medical drama "Dr. Kildare", with Richard Chamberlain in the 1960s.
Mr. Berry has starred on broadway, in Vegas, movies and television. He has had a very diverse and wonderful career.
He starred in the movies "Hello Down There", "Guardian of the Wilderness" (which is the story of Galen Clark who created Yosemite National Park). Berry also earned broader success as a Disney star in the films "Herbie Rides Again" and "The Cat From Outer Space".
In 1956, after being released from Universal, Berry ventured to Las Vegas where he opened for and joined Abbott & Costello in their stage act, performing sketches and song and dance routines at the Sahara Hotel and Casino. While working with Abbott & Costello, he met Dee Arlen, an actress whom he credited with getting him his first big break. This was Berry's first performance on the Las Vegas strip.
Then, in 1957, Berry was asked by Ken Murray, a well-known vaudeville performer, to join his stage variety show The Ken Murray Blackouts. The Blackouts played to standing-room-only audiences, and Berry was asked to choreograph and perform the opening number for the show when it played the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Berry eventually returned to Las Vegas again in the 1970s at the invitation of Andy Griffith. Griffith, with Berry and Jerry Van Dyke, played Caesars Palace, where Berry performed song and dance numbers sandwiched by Andy and Jerry's stand-up routines.
Mr. Berry became a staple on the "The Carol Burnett Show". Ken was one of Burnett's most frequent guest stars along with Jim Nabors and Steve Lawrence. In 1972, Ken and Carol appeared together in the 1972 color remake of Burnett's Broadway hit, "Once Upon A Mattress" for CBS. (see picture above)
Berry was cast as Vinton Harper in "Mama's Family", a spin-off from "The Carol Burnett Show" with comic actors including Vicki Lawrence, Dorothy Lyman, Rue McClanahan, Betty White, and Beverly Archer during six seasons of the show.
Lucille Ball asked Berry to guest star on "The Lucy Show", where he played a bank client needing a loan to start a dance studio. He performed a tribute to the Fred Astaire number 'Steppin' Out with My Baby' and a duet with Ball for a rendition of 'Lucy's Back in Town'.
Mr. Berry is known for "F-Troop". a western spoof where he played the accident-prone Captain Parmenter—his first weekly role starring in a sitcom. Berry's co-stars were Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch. Berry called his time on F-Troop "two years of recess" as the entire cast spent time between takes trying to make each other laugh. His grace and agility allowed him to perform choreographed pratfalls over hitching posts, sabers, and trash cans.
Mr. Berry was cast in the featured role of Sam Jones, a widowed farmer, on the last few episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show". He took the lead role on the spin-off Mayberry R.F.D.
Berry "loved cars and anything with wheels" from the time he was a young child, particularly smaller cars, and maintained a 1966 Mini Moke. An avid motorcyclist, he camped and rode the local Los Angeles mountain ranges.
Michele Carey an American actress who was best known for her role as Josephine "Joey" MacDonald in the 1966 film "El Dorado", has passed away at the age of 75. She appeared in movies in the 1960s and 1970s, and guest-starred in episodes of several television series.
Carey was born in Annapolis, Maryland, where her father was working as a wrestling instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy. Her family soon moved to Rochester, Minnesota, so that her father could continue his medical studies. At an early age Michele proved to be a piano prodigy; she won a national contest at the Chicago Music Festival at age 13, and performed with the Rochester Symphony Orchestra.
Carey's family eventually moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, where her father practiced as a physician. While attending Fort Collins High School she was briefly married and had a son. After graduating she was signed by the Powers agency, and moved to Los Angeles in 1964 with her son to pursue a modeling career.
Carey enjoyed success as a model, but was more interested in acting. Aided by her beauty and trademark long, wild hair, she soon caught the eye of Hollywood producers. In 1964 she made her first television appearances.
The following year she did more television work, had a small part in the kitsch classic "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini" and acted in her first major film, the Howard Hawks-produced and directed John Wayne Western "El Dorado", with a memorable role as high-spirited troublemaker Josephine "Joey" MacDonald.
Carey went on to co-star in films such as "Live a Little, Love a Little" with Elvis Presley (see picture above), "The Sweet Ride" and "Dirty Dingus Magee", in which she played an anachronistically miniskirted Indian girl.
On television she appeared in guest-starring roles on episodes of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.", "Mission Impossible", "It Takes a Thief", "The Wild Wild West" "The F.B.I.", "Starsky and Hutch" and "Alias Smith and Jones". Carey played the title role in the 1972 "Gunsmoke" episode 'Tara', appeared in the second "The Six Million Dollar Man" pilot film and provided the recurring female computer voice in "A Man Called Sloane".
Fading from view in the late 1970s, Carey staged a brief comeback in the mid-'80s in such films as "In the Shadow of Kilimanjaro" (1986). She also appeared as Crystal in a 1982 episode of the television series "The Fall Guy".
Carey was married to businessman Fred G. Strebel until his death in 2011.
This page is to honor the passings of our favorite stars of stage, screen and television. Some of the stars we have had the honor of their presence at our festival.
Some of these stars were behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera. They will be missed.
(Please note: Passings are changed month to month.)