Apted, the British filmmaker known for directing the long-running Up documentary series and Oscar-nominated features including Coal Miner’s Daughter and Gorillas in the Mist, died Jan. 8, at 79.
He first rose to prominence for his work on the groundbreaking Up films, which followed the lives of 14 Brits from different class backgrounds over the course of 56 years, in seven-year increments. Apted was a researcher on the first installment, 1964’s Seven Up, and helmed the rest, concluding with 63 Up in 2019.
In a career spanning genres and decades, he directed features including Nell, The World Is Not Enough, Stardust, Gorky Park, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Apted also served as president of the Directors Guild of America from 2003 to 2009 and received the organization’s Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award in 2013.
Dearon ‘Deezer D’ Thompson
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Dearon “Deezer D” Thompson died Jan. 7, at 55. The actor was best known for portraying nurse Malik McGrath on the beloved NBC medical drama ER from 1994 until 2009, including the pilot and series finale. Thompson also appeared in movies such as Fear of a Black Hat, CB4, Bringing Down the House, and Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.
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Actress Marion Ramsey died Jan. 7, at 73. She was best known for portraying Officer Laverne Hooks in the Police Academy movies. Ramsey was also an accomplished stage actor, appearing on Broadway in Grind and Eubie, as well as touring the country in Hello, Dolly, starring opposite Bette Davis in Miss Moffatt, and costarring in two productions of Little Shop of Horrors. She was one of the three singers that the original Broadway show Dreamgirls was based on and also performed many voice roles, including in Robot Chicken and the animated series The Addams Family.
Former Bond girl Tanya Roberts died Jan. 4, at 65, from a urinary tract infection that developed into sepsis. Roberts starred as Stacey Sutton in 1985’s A View to Kill, opposite Roger Moore as 007. She also starred on That ’70s Show as Donna’s sweet-but-dim mother, Midge. The actress worked on Charlie’s Angels in the ’80s and appeared in the shows Fantasy Island, Hot Line, The Blues Brothers Animated Series, and Eve, and in films like Sins of Desire, Legal Tender, Sheena, The Beastmaster, Almost Pregnant, and Tourist Trap. Her last role was playing Elle in the series Barbershop in 2005.
British actress Barbara Shelley died Jan. 4, at 88, after contracting COVID-19. She was best known for appearing in horror movies produced by Hammer Films, including 1958’s Blood of the Vampire, 1966’s Dracula: Prince of Darkness, and 1967’s Quatermass and the Pit. Shelley also starred in 1960’s non-Hammer horror classic Village of the Damned. Her many small-screen credits included the British TV shows Blake’s 7, Doctor Who, and Eastenders.
Eric Jerome Dickey
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Best-selling author Eric Jerome Dickey died Jan. 3, at 59, after a long illness. Throughout the Memphis native’s lengthy career, he published 29 novels, including multiple New York Times best-sellers: Milk in My Coffee, Cheaters, Chasing Destiny, The Other Woman, Sleeping With Strangers, Resurrecting Midnight, Sister, Sister, An Accidental Affair, and Decadence. Dickey also penned the 2007 Marvel Comics miniseries Storm, chronicling the epic love story between the Black superheroes Storm (of X-Men fame) and Black Panther.
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Liverpool legend Gerry Marsden died Jan. 3, at 78, after an illness related to a heart infection. Marsden was the lead singer of the ’60s British band Gerry and the Pacemakers, known for “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” which was a rendition of the song from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel. The group’s version became the anthem of Liverpool Football Club.
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George Gerdes died Jan. 1, at 72. The actor appeared in the films The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Hidalgo, and Rumor Has It. He was a regular presence on TV, with roles in series such as L.A. Law, Seinfeld, NYPD Blue, The X-Files, Chicago Hope, Cold Case, ER, Lost, True Blood, and Dexter. Most recently, he appeared in Perry Mason and Grey’s Anatomy, and portrayed Ray Scales in three episodes of Bosch.
Original posted at ew.com