Being the end of the year, we felt it appropriate to remember those who’ve passed from the frock flick world into the firmament forever. Those listed here played some part in making historical costume movies or TV better over the years.
Nicholas Amer (1923–2019)
British actor featured in historical movies and TV series such as Henry VIII and His Six Wives (1972), I, Claudius (1976), Lady Oscar (1979), The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982), and Borgia (2011).
Diahann Carroll (1935–2019)
Tony Award-winning Broadway singer and actor who appeared in the film version of Porgy and Bess (1959) and historical TV shows Roots: The Next Generations (1979), Lonesome Dove: The Series (1994-1995), The Courage to Love (2000), and Sally Hemings: An American Scandal (2000).
Carol Channing (1921–2019)
Tony Award-winning Broadway singer and actor who could barely be contained in films like The First Traveling Saleslady (1956) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967).
Doris Day (1922–2019)
Chart-topping singer and actor who ventured into historical fare with On Moonlight Bay (1951), By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953), Calamity Jane (1953), and The Ballad of Josie (1967).
Stanley Donen (1924–2019)
Best-known as the director of Singin’ in the Rain (1952).
Freda Dowie (1928–2019)
British actor featured in historical TV series such as The Brontës of Haworth (1973), Upstairs, Downstairs (1974), I, Claudius (1976), Lillie (1978), The Old Curiosity Shop (1979-1980), The Pickwick Papers (1985), Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988), Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1990), and Middlemarch (1994).
Albert Finney (1936–2019)
Welsh actor who starred in historical films and TV shows including Tom Jones (1963), Scrooge (1970), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Duellists (1977), Annie (1982), Nostromo (1996), Washington Square (1997), The Gathering Storm (2002), My Uncle Silas (2001-2003), and Amazing Grace (2006).
Rutger Hauer (1944–2019)
Dutch action hero who appeared in historical movies and TV shows such as Cyrano de Bergerac (1975), Eureka (1983), Ladyhawke (1985), Flesh+Blood (1985), Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight (1994), Nostradamus (1994), The Call of the Wild (1997), Simon Magus (1999), The Mill and the Cross (2011), Francesco (2014), Galavant (2015), Admiral (2015), The Last Kingdom (2015), Drawing Home (2016), Mata Hari (2016), Samson (2018), The Sisters Brothers (2018), and Emperor (unreleased).
Pierre L’Homme (1930–2019)
BAFTA Award-winning French cinematographer for films including Maurice (1987), Camille Claudel (1988), Cyrano de Bergerac (1990), and Jefferson in Paris (1995).
Paul Le Blanc (1946–2019)
Academy Award-winning Canadian make-up and hair/wig artist for TV shows and movies such as Little Gloria … Happy at Last (1982), Amadeus (1984), Places in the Heart (1984), Mrs. Soffel (1984), Valmont (1989), Come See the Paradise (1990), Harlow: The Blonde Bombshell (1993), The Mask of Zorro (1998), and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000).
Serge Merlin (1932–2019)
French actor who appeared in historical movies and TV series including The Song of Roland (1978), Quand flambait le bocage (1978), Le roi Lear (1981), Danton (1983), Nous deux (1992), La rivière Espérance (1995), The Count of Monte Cristo (1998), Nicolas Le Floch (2009), L’énergumène (2011), and One Nation, One King (2018).
André Previn (1929–2019)
Academy Award-winning German musician and composer for historical films such as Gigi (1958), Porgy and Bess (1959), Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1962), My Fair Lady (1964), Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), The Music Lovers (1971), and Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill (1974).
Clive Swift (1936–2019)
British actor featured in historical TV shows and movies such as The Wars of the Roses (1965), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1968), Dombey and Son (1969), Canterbury Tales (1969), South Riding (1974), Romeo and Juliet (1976), Henry IV, Part I (1979), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1980), Excalibur (1981), Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years (1981), The Barchester Chronicles (1982), Martin Luther, Heretic (1983), Pericles, Prince of Tyre (1984), A Passage to India (1984), The Pickwick Papers (1985), and Aristocrats (1999).
Rip Torn (1931–2019)
American actor featured in historical TV shows and movies including The Blue and the Gray (1982), Cross Creek (1983), Dream West (1986), J. Edgar Hoover (1987), Nadine (1987), April Morning (1988), Pair of Aces (1990), Beautiful Dreamers (1990), Where the Rivers Flow North (1993), Heaven & Hell: North & South, Book III (1994), Marie Antoinette (2006), and The Golden Boys (2008).
Piero Tosi (1927–2019)
BAFTA Award-winning Italian costume designer for films such as Senso (1954), Careless (1962), The Leopard (1963), The Damned (1969), Medea (1969), Death in Venice (1971), Ludwig (1973), The Night Porter (1974), L’Innocente (1976), Beyond Good and Evil (1977), Lady of the Camelias (1981), La Traviata (1983), and Sparrow (1993).
Franco Zeffirelli (1923–2019)
Italian director and screenwriter of films including The Taming of the Shrew (1967), Romeo and Juliet (1968), Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972), Jesus of Nazareth (1977), Young Toscanini (1988), Hamlet (1990), Sparrow (1993), Jane Eyre (1996), and Tea With Mussolini (1999).
Have we left out anyone else who left the world of historical costume movies and TV in 2019?
I’m surprised that you would include Franco Zeffirelli on this list, considering the allegations against him.
Might want to check out our article WTFrock About All These Shitty Men in Hollywood for how we approach these situations.
In general, though, to not talk about Zeffirelli is to not talk about some hugely valuable contributions to film history and to negate the work of the women who assisted bringing those films to life. We don’t have to like someone as a person to discuss the cultural value of their artistic contributions to society.
Rutger Hauer! 😭 Ladyhawke was one of my favorite childhood movies.
Jerry Herman, composer of Hello, Dolly, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles. Neil Innes, one of the “sixth Pythons,” who wrote much of the Monty Python music and performed in several movie and TV projects.
True, true. They both passed after I assembled this list — I just heard about Innes this morning :(
You caught quite a few that the mainstream media seem to have missed. Really surprised there had been no mention of Rutger Hauer.
It was all over my Facebook, but then I have a lot of sci-fi/fantasy nerds as friends.
I had missed lots of these–thank you. It also makes sense to me to include everybody who passed–it simply says factually they died, not opinion on whether they were naughty or nice.
I didn’t know Rutger Hauer had passed. Ladyhawke was also a favourite of mine. And I adored Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. And every time I watched Il Gattopardo, I was in awe of Piero Tosi’s beautiful clothes.
I know it’s not Frock Flick relevant but Clive Swift is also notable for playing Hyacinth’s put-upon husband in Keeping Up Appearances.
Rutger Hauer hit me the hardest, though I was also sorry about Doris Day since I grew up watching all her musicals / movies. I adore “LadyHawke.” It’s still such beautiful, romantic, hilarious, campy fun.
Sir Jonathan Miller whose career was multifaceted in the extreme: Wiki says he”was an English theatre and opera director, actor, author, television presenter, humourist and medical doctor.” He was overall artistic director of the middle period of the BBC Shakespeare in the 1980s, directing several personally, (he cast John Cleese as Petruchio, which worked well) and making considerable use of artworks to inform the visual effects of the plays. His “Antony and Cleopatra” was based on a painting by Veronese, “The Family of Darius Before Alexander”