Emmy-winning actor Richard Mulligan, best known for starring in the long-running sitcoms "Soap" and "Empty Nest," died Sept. 26 at his home in Hollywood after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 67.
A native New Yorker born and raised in the Bronx, Mulligan had planned to become a priest before embarking on a nearly 40-year career in show business. He began as an aspiring writer then fell into acting when he was drafted into playing a role at a rehearsal while trying to sell a play.
Mulligan found fame during the 1970s portraying the lovable screwball Burt Campbell on the quirky television series "Soap." He won an Emmy for the role in 1980.
On "Empty Nest," Mulligan played Dr. Harry Weston, a widower with three grown daughters. He garnered another Emmy in 1989 for "Nest."
Among the highlights of Mulligan's career was performing onstage with James Stewart in "Harvey" and working with director Blake Edwards on "S.O.B.," in which he co-starred with Julie Andrews and William Holden. Mulligan was also featured in 1969's "The Undefeated" with John Wayne and Rock Hudson.
Additional film credits included "Little Big Man" (1970), "Trail of the Pink Panther" (1982), "Meatballs, Part II" (1984) and "Micki and Maude" (1984).
Mulligan is survived by his son, James; and brothers Robert, a movie director, and James.
-- Doug Galloway
Dori Brenner, who essayed numerous roles on the stage, in film and on TV, died Sept. 16 of complications from cancer at her home in Los Angeles. She was 53.
Born in Manhattan and reared in Cedarhurst, Long Island, she attended Sarah Lawrence College, followed by the Yale School of Drama.
Brenner made her Broadway bow in "Unlikely Heroes" and her screen debut in 1973's "Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams" where she shared the screen with Joanne Woodward.
She later moved to Los Angeles and became a close friend and confidante of Bette Davis.
Brenner's film credits include Paul Mazurky's 1976 "Next Stop Greenwich Village" and "For the Boys" (1991).
Brenner found success with a recurring role as the neighbor on "Who's the Boss," and regular roles on "The Charmings" and "Ned and Stacey." Additional TV credits include "Ellery Queen," "Falcon Crest," "Hill Street Blues," "Night Court," "Wings" and "Party of Five."
Last year, she returned to the New York stage in the Roundabout Theater production of Richard Greenberg's "Hurrah at Last."
Brenner is survived by two sisters, a niece and nephew.
Ann Doran, who appeared in more than 200 films since the 1930s and served as a Screen Actors Guild national officer and board member, died Sept. 19 in Carmichael, Calif., after a series of strokes. She was 89.
Doran served as SAG recording secretary from 1960 to 1965. In 1964, she began a 30-year tenure on the SAG Pension and Health Board of Trustees.
Her service to SAG also extended to education. In 1973, the actress helped establish the John L. Dales Scholarship Fund, which bestows financial aid to college students. As a result of her work with SAG, Doran was honored with the guild's Hollywood branch Ralph Morgan Award in 1990.
Born in Amarillo, Texas, to an actress mother and Army father, Doran began acting at age 4. To spare her family embarrassment, she performed in hundreds of silent films under an assumed name.
Although she shared the lead in "Rio Grande" (1939), she made her mark as a supporting actress. Her film credits include "The High and the Mighty," "Stella Dallas" and "Rebel Without a Cause," in which she portrayed James Dean's mother.
Her TV career includes appearances on series such as "Bewitched," "Highway to Heaven" and "Hunter."
-- Terry Tang
Roger Sherman, an entertainment attorney and senior partner of Mitchell, Silberberg and Knupp, died suddenly of undisclosed causes on Sept. 13 in Los Angeles. He was 68.
During a career that spanned four decades, Sherman represented and advised producers, directors, writers, actors, production companies, distributors and financiers in all aspects of their business in the entertainment field.
Sherman's client roster has included Norman Jewison, James Burrows, Marlon Brando, Jack Lemmon, Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum, Comic Relief, Imax, Alliance Atlantis Communications and Caesar's Palace.
Sherman served as a board of trustees member of the Los Angeles Copyright Society and as its president in 1992-1993. He was a member of the Entertainment Section of the Los Angeles, Century City and Beverly Hills Bar associations and the American Bar Assn.'s Forum Committee on the Entertainment and Sports industries.
Born and reared in New York, Sherman received his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale U. and graduated from Yale Law School in 1959.
The following year he joined the Beverly Hills entertainment law firm of Kaplan, Livingston, Goodwin, Berkowitz & Selvin, where he was a partner. He later continued his career as a partner at Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp in Los Angeles.
He is survived by his wife, Sally; his father, Irving; four children and four grandchildren.
-- Doug Galloway
Wathel Rogers, a Walt Disney Imagineering "magician" whose animation credits include "Pinocchio," "Cinderella" and "Peter Pan," died Aug. 25 at his home in Arizona. He was 80.
Rogers, who was instrumental in many of WDI's landmark innovations, first joined Disney Studios in 1939 as an animator before moving to Imagineering (then named WED Enterprises), where he co-founded the WED Model Shop in 1954.
After producing a series of architectural models for Disneyland, he worked with Walt Disney on "Project Little Man," which led to the creation of Audio-Animatronics technology; and Rogers subsequently programmed Audio-Animatronic figures for the New York World's Fair, Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Rogers was a Disney Imagineer whose projects include "The Enchanted Tiki Room," "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "The Jungle Cruise" at Disney parks and whose other credits as an animator include "Bambi," "Sleeping Beauty" and many of the "Donald Duck" shorts. He also served as art director for Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom after its opening.
He is survived by a daughter and son.
JANE KESNER ARDMORE
Jane Kesner Ardmore, a well-known biographer of Hollywood celebrities during the 1950s and '60s, died Aug. 16 of complications after hip surgery at a Los Angeles hospital. She was 88.
Some of Ardmore's celeb tomes include: Eddie Cantor's bestselling 1957 autobiography "Take My Life," Edith Head's autobiography "The Dress Doctor" (1959), "The Self-Enchanted-Mae Murray: Image of an Era" (1959) and Joan Crawford's 1962 autobiography "A Portrait of Joan."
A Chicago native, she moved to Los Angeles in the early 1940s with her husband Ted Morris, a studio advance exploitation man. After his death from cancer in 1946, she married public relations executive Albert Ardmore in 1951.
Her celebrity profiles and interviews appeared regularly in such magazines as the Saturday Evening Post, Good Housekeeping, McCalls, Coronet, Parents Magazine," Reader's Digest and Photoplay.
Ardmore authored three novels: "Women, Inc.," her first and the winner of an Indiana U. Writers' Conference prize; "Julie," a 1962 Literary Guild selection; and "To Love Is to Listen," in 1967.
Despite increasing problems with arthritis in recent years, she edited her most recent manuscript, "Help! Help!"
Shortly after Ardmore's death, the Margaret Herrick Library at the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences accepted Ardmore's donation of her research and correspondence collection consisting of 22 boxes of materials spanning more than a half- century. The collection, which will be known as the Jane Kesner Ardmore Collection, will be catalogued and made available to scholars and researchers at the library.
She is survived by her daughter, Ellen, a sister and a niece.
-- Doug Galloway
Former NBC and Metromedia exec VP Robert Mounty died of cancer Aug. 6 in Manhattan. He was 71.
A Philadelphia native, Mounty graduated from the Wharton School of Business at U. Penn. and began his career at Metromedia Radio as a local account rep for WIP-AM in Philadelphia. In 1960, he was promoted to general sales manager, and in 1965, became the general sales manager at WNEW in New York. Eleven years later, Mounty was veep and general manager of the station, and subsequently became exec VP and director of sales for Metromedia. There, he directed marketing for 12 stations of the division.
Mounty moved to NBC in 1975 as VP for licensee relations, and after four months, moved on to a veepee position in the network's then-young News and Information Service.
Among his credentials are the creation of NBC's young adult radio network the Source as well as "Talknet," a popular telephone talk-radio program.
During this time, Mounty also strengthened the on-air staff by attracting such talents as Julius La Rosa and Soupy Sales. During his 13-year tenure with NBC, Mounty also served as veep for sales and marketing, and exec VP of the NBC Radio Division.
In 1988, Mounty retired from NBC to establish Mounty Communications, a consulting firm that assisted broadcast companies in their startup, acquisition, and repositioning strategies.
Mounty is survived by four children and three grandchildren.
-- Laura Andriani