Jim McReynolds of the bluegrass duo Jim & Jesse, died of thyroid cancer on December 31 in Gallatin, Tennessee. He was 75. Jim & Jessie were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1964 and are considered bluegrass legends for their rich harmonies and unique style. "I never heard him try to imitate anyone else," Jesse McReynolds told the Nashville Tennessean. "He just sang what came natural to him."
Cutting Crew Guitarist MacMichael Dies
(AP)HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — Kevin MacMichael, a guitarist and founding member of the 1980s rock band Cutting Crew, has died of lung cancer at age 51.
MacMichael died Dec. 31 in a Halifax hospital, the Canadian Press reported.
He formed Cutting Crew in England in 1985 with vocalist Nick Van Eede, and the group had a hit single in "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" along with a Grammy Award nomination for best new artist in 1987.
In 1992, MacMichael worked with Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant on his comeback album, "Fate of Nations." He also wrote and produced music in Halifax.
MacMichael is survived by his father, a brother and sister, and two daughters.
Comedic Playwright Jean Kerr Dies
(AP)NEW YORK — Jean Kerr, a playwright and author who wrote with self-deprecating humor about show business and suburbia and had a best-seller in "Please Don't Eat the Daisies," has died at age 80.
Kerr died Sunday in White Plains. The apparent cause was pneumonia, her son said.
Kerr wrote entertainingly about show business. She mused about what to say when having lunch with a prospective producer — order a drink so you look relaxed, but don't touch it lest he think you're an alcoholic. Anticipating negative reviews of her latest work, she wrote: "If I have to commit suicide, I have nothing but Gelusil." (That's an antacid.)
But she also had a gift for finding humor in the common anxieties of suburbia and married life. She cheerfully acknowledged doing most of her writing in the family car, parked several blocks away from the chaos of several children and pets.
Kerr collaborated with her husband, the late drama critic Walter Kerr, on several Broadway plays and wrote others on her own.
Her 1961 comedy, "Mary, Mary," about a divorced couple who ultimately reconcile, became one of the longest-running productions of the decade. It was performed on Broadway more than 1,500 times.
Butt Kerr is probably best known for "Please Don't Eat the Daisies," an eclectic compilation of her writings about everything from her pet dogs to the oddities of their house in Larchmont.
The book, published in 1957, was turned into a movie with Doris Day three years later and became a situation comedy that ran on NBC form 1965 to 1967.
She also wrote "The Snake Has All the Lines" (1960), "Penny Candy" (1970) and "How I Got to Be Perfect" (1978).
She and her husband made their Broadway writing debut in 1946 with "Song of Bernadette," a dramatization of the novel about a young Frenchwoman canonized after allegedly seeing visions of the Virgin Mary.
It was not a success, nor was her solo writing effort two years later, a comedy called "Jenny Kissed Me," about a priest who finds his household disrupted by the arrival of his housekeeper's niece.
But the couple's 1949 revue "Tough and Go" was praised by critics. The show included a sketch of "Hamlet" performed as a musical comedy.
Her husband died in 1996 at 83.
Cinematographer Conrad Hall Dies
(AP)LOS ANGELES — Cinematographer Conrad L. Hall, a master artist of the camera who was nominated for nine Oscars and won two, has died. He was 76.
Hall died Saturday at a Santa Monica hospital of complications of bladder cancer, said his wife, Susan Hall.
Considered an expert in the use of light, Hall filmed nearly three dozen movies in a career that stretched 50 years. He won Academy Awards for 1969's "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and 1999's "American Beauty."
"Every film that he worked on was something beautiful to the eye, and very imaginative," said producer Richard Zanuck, who was head of production at Twentieth Century Fox when Hall made "Butch Cassidy" and worked with him on last year's Irish-American mob tale, "Road to Perdition."
"With 'Road to Perdition' you could virtually take every frame of his work and blow it up and hang it over your fireplace. It was like Rembrandt at work," Zanuck said. "Connie was not known for speed, but neither was Rembrandt. He was known for incredible genius."
Hall's other films included "The Professionals" (1966), "In Cold Blood" (1967), "The Day of the Locust" (1975) and "Searching for Bobby Fischer" (1993).
His many honors included a lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Cinematography in 1994 and an outstanding achievement award in 1988 for "Tequila Sunrise." He served last year as Kodak cinematographer in residence at the University of California, Los Angeles' School of Theater, Film and Television.
Hall was to be honored later this month with a lifetime achievement award from the National Board of Review, Susan Hall said.
Born and raised in Tahiti, Hall was the son of James Norman Hall, co-author of the novels "Mutiny on the Bounty" and "The Hurricane." He initially wanted to go into journalism, but after doing poorly in a creative writing class at the University of Southern California he looked for a new major by flipping through the course catalogue, he told the Los Angeles Times last year.
"It started with A for astronomy, B for biology and C for cinema. I thought 'Cinema? You mean like movies? Rubbing elbows with stars? Making all that money?' For all the wrong reasons, I signed up, and then had a love affair with the visual language and learned to tell stories like my dad," Hall said.
Hall's son, Conrad W. Hall, followed him in the profession, most recently filming "Panic Room."