Local Jeffrey Katzenberg and friends wouldn’t miss a supreme ballistic bash like a centennial outing to Hollywood’s Celebration of Service Gala. The evening was a grand “back at ya” for a hundred years of the Motion Picture and Film Fund. Katzenberg stayed close to pal Chuck Lorre while others like “Silence of the Lambs” star Jodie Foster, Mr. Suave himself George Clooney, Bob Beitcher, and Yvette Nicole Brown also joined in the festivities.
The cherished nonprofit organization was established in 1921 to provide health and welfare to Hollywood folks in need at all levels of their profession.
As studio executive and MPFF Co-Chair Sherry Lansing put it: “People work, they earn a good living and then the work stops. It only stops because of age. Now people are living to be 100. What happens is you outlive your money?”
The MPFF is working hard to change all that. In the end, Katzenberg announced a $300 million fundraising drive.
Hollywood loses two bright stars
He was famous for his role in the smash hit mob movie “Goodfellas” and television’s “Law and Order,” But now those roles will never be reprised.
Paul Sorvino had a diverse career that spanned 50 years. You’ll find his credits in both films and television. Early on, he played an Italian American communist in the Warren Betty flick “Reds.” He went on to star as Henry Kissinger in Oliver Stone’s “Nixon.”
He returned to his role as a mob boss in “The Rocketeer.” He is quoted as saying he may might best be known for playing gangsters, but his greatest loves were opera and the arts.
In the 1970s, he developed a wider audience with Al Pacino in “The Panic in Needle Park” and opposite James Caan in “The Gambler.” He also hooked up with old pal Carl Reiner in the crowd-pleasing film “Oh God!”
In the ’90s, he gained even more attention for Warren Beatty’s “Dick Tracy” in which he portrayed the unforgettable role of Lips.
Then came his biggest role of all, teaming up with Martin Scorsese in “Goodfellas.” He gave a realistic and believable performance as Paul Cicero, which was based on a true life mob story. He died quietly July 25 at the age of 83.
His publicist said he died of natural causes at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. He apparently suffered from health-related problems for several years, but had family with him when he passed on. His daughter, Oscar winner Mira Sorvino, spend some time in Malibu before his death.
Gaining accolades and fans led to a friendship with Dick Wolf and dozens of episodes Wolf’s smash hit “Law & Order.” But it was his role as a mob capos in “The Rocketeer” and “The Firm” which also got him noticed. Then there was Oliver Stone’s “Nixon.” His performance as Henry Kissinger gained him a Screen Actors Guild nomination. He worked with some of the biggest names in the business including Baz Lurhmann in “Romeo + Juliet,” in which he played Juliet’s father, Fulgenico.
In addition to family matters, off screen, he ran a horse rescue back east, had a pasta line based on his mama’s recipe, and sculpted a show-worthy bronze statue. Along with opera, Paul liked being known for those endeavors, “not just being a gangster.”
Another bright light dims
Say the words “Five Easy Pieces” and two names come to mind — Jack Nicholson and director Bob Rafelson. Bob died last week in Aspen, Colorado. His career was diverse, directing everything from the Oscar-nominated “Five Easy Pieces,” to the goofball “The Monkees” TV show starring teen heartthrobs Mickey Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones and Peter Tork.
He appeared with famous faces like Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange at the Cannes Film Festival for his flick “The Postman Always Rings Twice.”
The self-described “movie buff” was said to be a man who liked to push the boundaries of everything in life. He did so by galloping his way around to Africa, South America, and all points in-between. Bob Rafelson was 89.