In Memoriam

by HFPA December 30, 2013


In the past 12 months the Hollywood community saw the passing of many notable artists. Among those who passed were screen legends, television and film actors, directors, producers, musicians and writers, including many Golden Globe winners and nominees. We remember them here for their lives and work in the service of entertainment.

As the year draws to an end, magazines, networks and websites publish lists of entertainment figures who passed away during the year. The HFPA would like to especially honor those among them who became part of the Golden Globe family. The past year marked the passing of ten Golden Globe winners. All were actors, their work and careers spanned both film and television, and their awards were earned as far back as 1952 and as recently as 2000.

Esther Williams who passed away in Beverly Hills in June, received the Henrietta Award in 1952. That Golden Globe award category was established in 1951, when the HFPA was just eight years old, and later discontinued. It went to the actor and actress considered "World Film Favorite", after months long polling of readers in the HFPA members' home countries. Williams, "America's Mermaid", won another special Golden Globe four years later, for "exemplary citizenship". Williams continued her acting and civic work for six more decades, passing away at 91.

Steve Forrest won in another category which is no longer a part of the Golden Globes, "New Star of the Year". Forrest was nominated twice in 1954, for his breakout performances in Kid from Left Field and also for So Big. Competing against himself, Forrest won for the latter, a drama based on an Edna Ferber novel. Forrest later worked mostly in television, most notably in the police drama S.W.A.T. He was 87 when he died.

John Kerr was another New Star of the Year, three years later, when he co-starred with his namesake (but not a relative) Deborah Kerr in Tea and Sympathy. John portrayed a sensitive high school student suffering at the hands of his classmates and schoolmaster, and Deborah was the latter’s young wife who showed him sympathy.

Peter O'Toole was the New Star of the Year in 1963, for his signature, breakout role in the title role of Lawrence of Arabia. His costar, Omar Sharif, also won a New Star of the Year. As did the Oscar that year, the Golden Globe for best actor eluded O'Toole. The HFPA chose Gregory Peck, for his leading role of lawyer Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. O'Toole who was nominated eight times by the Academy of Motion Pictures for an acting Oscar but never won, was honored by the HFPA with eleven nominations between 1963 and 2007, and awarded three more Golden Globes for acting: Best performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama for Becket (1965) and The Lion in Winter (1969) and also in the Comedy or Musical category for Goodbye Mr. Chips (1970).

Karen Black was another multiple Golden Globe winner, as an actress in a supporting role (Motion Pictures, Drama) for Five Easy Pieces (1971) opposite Jack Nicholson and The Great Gatsby, (1975), with Robert Redford as Gatsby.

Jean Stapleton also won two Golden Globes on the Television side at about the same time. She was honored for her role as Archie Bunker's stoic (and funny) wife in All in the Family for 1973 and again a year later. All told, Stapleton was nominated for the Golden globes nine times, seven of them for her role in All in the Family. (The show itself gathered 30 Golden Globes nominations in various categories, and won eight times).

All the other four actors who passed away this year, also won their Golden Globes in the television category:

Jack Klugman, who later portrayed the resourceful coroner Quincy in the eponymous drama series won in 1974 for playing the sloppy Oscar Madison to his natty roommate Tony Randall's Felix Unger, in the comedy series The Odd Couple, based on the play and movie.

Eileen Brennan was recognized twice for her role in the comedy series Private Benjamin, and won as best actress in 1982.

Charles Durning, whose first of four Golden Globes nominations was in 1977, finally won in 1991 for portraying patriarch Joseph Kennedy in the mini series The Kennedys of Massachusetts.

Lastly, James Gandolfini, who sadly passed away at age 51, won most recently in 2000 for playing another patriarch in a Television drama series, Tony in The Sopranos, another hugely popular series, which the HFPA was among the first to recognize and honor, giving it 23 nominations (Gandolfini was nominated four years in a row) and four wins.

From comedy and melodrama to history and edgy drama, all of these Golden Globes were awards that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association bestowed to excellence. It now remembers all winners with affection and pride.

Yoram Kahana

To view the 'In Memoriam' Golden Globes gallery - Click Here.