Sunday, June 1, 2008

Deceased--Joseph Pevney, Alexander Courage, and Robert H. Justman

Now this is totally bizarre...three individuals involved in the original Star Trek have passed away within a week: Joseph Pevney, Alexander Courage, and Robert H. Justman.
Joseph Pevney

Joseph Pevney
September 15th, 1911 to May 18th, 2008

Joseph Pevney, right, enjoys a break in 1958 when he worked on Twilight for the Gods with Rock Hudson and Cyd Charisse. Pevney, a versatile movie and television director and former actor, was known for directing some of the most popular episodes of the original TV version of Star Trek.

"Joseph Pevney, 96; prolific film, TV director worked on original 'Star Trek' series"


Dennis McLellan

May 29th, 2008

Los Angeles Times

Joseph Pevney, a film and television director who directed some of the most popular episodes of the original "Star Trek" TV series in the late 1960s, has died. He was 96.

Pevney, a former Broadway actor who played supporting roles in several notable films noir in the late 1940s before directing movies such as "Man of a Thousand Faces" and "Tammy and the Bachelor," died May 18 of age-related causes at his home in Palm Desert, said his wife, Margo.

Focusing on television from the early 1960s to the mid-1980s, when he retired, Pevney directed episodes of numerous series such as "Wagon Train," "The Munsters," "The Fugitive," "Bonanza," "12 O'Clock High," "The Virginian," "Adam-12," "Marcus Welby, M.D.," "Emergency," "The Incredible Hulk," "Fantasy Island," "Medical Center" and "Trapper John, M.D."

But "Star Trek," the classic science-fiction series that ran on NBC from 1966 to 1969, was Pevney's most enduring television credit as a director and made him a familiar name to Trekkers.

As has been noted on "Star Trek" fan sites since his death, Pevney directed 14 episodes of the original series, tying with the late Marc Daniels as the credited director of the most episodes.

Pevney directed some of the top fan-favorite episodes, including "The City on the Edge of Forever," "Amok Time," "The Trouble With Tribbles" and "Journey to Babel."

"The first half of the second year of the show, when he was alternating with Marc Daniels, is regarded as the best part of the series," said Jeff Bond, author of "The Music of Star Trek" and editor of the magazine Geek Monthly. "That's when it hit its stride. There was more humor, it was more adventurous, and the tone, I think, was lighter."

Bond said Pevney directed "the first real comedy episode of the series, 'The Trouble With Tribbles,' which was a complete, all-out comedy about the ship sort of getting infested with a bunch of furry creatures. And he certainly worked on some of the strongest dramatic episodes."

"The City on the Edge of Forever," from a script by Harlan Ellison and guest-starring Joan Collins, "is considered to be the best episode of the original series," Bond said.

George Takei, who played Sulu on the series, recalled Pevney as being "very organized and authoritarian" as a director.

"He was very precise in what he wanted," Takei told The Times, "but he was very relaxed -- in fact, jovial -- in the way he directed. I enjoyed working with him."

Pevney's son, Jay, said his father "loved the series and enjoyed working with the actors and being part of the beginning of it. He was surprised at the longevity of it because it was not a popular series at the time; it hit its real popularity [in syndication] after it was over."

Born Sept. 15, 1911, in New York City, Pevney launched his more than 60-year show-business career in 1924 as a boy soprano in vaudeville.

After becoming an actor, he appeared on Broadway in the 1930s and '40s in plays such as "Battle Hymn," "The World We Make," "Native Son" and "Home of the Brave."

During World War II, he served in the Army Signal Corps and staged revues for troops in Europe.

After the war, Pevney was part of actor Paul Muni's "Key Largo" troupe when he arrived in Los Angeles. He made his film debut as the piano-playing killer in the 1946 film noir "Nocturne," starring George Raft.

"Joe's acting career when he came to Hollywood was confined exclusively to noir," said Alan K. Rode, a film noir expert who interviewed Pevney several times. "He carved out a kind of temporary niche of being the sidekick."

Pevney appeared in "Thieves' Highway," "The Street With No Name" and "Body and Soul," the classic boxing film in which he played John Garfield's feisty pal Shorty Polaski.

"Joe told me he was more cut out to be a director rather than an actor," Rode said. "He liked staging and working with actors."

Pevney made his debut as a movie director with "Shakedown," a 1950 film noir with Howard Duff, Brian Donlevy and Lawrence Tierney.

"He made a cameo appearance at the end of the film, and that was the last time he appeared on the big screen," Rode said.

Pevney went on to direct more than 35 movies, most of them in the 1950s, including "Meet Danny Wilson," starring Frank Sinatra and Shelley Winters; "3 Ring Circus," starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis; "Female on the Beach," starring Joan Crawford and Jeff Chandler; and "Twilight for the Gods," starring Rock Hudson and Cyd Charisse.

At his peak at Universal-International in 1957, Pevney had three movies open simultaneously in Los Angeles theaters: "Man of a Thousand Faces," a biographical drama about silent film star Lon Chaney, starring James Cagney; "Tammy and the Bachelor," a comedy-romance starring Debbie Reynolds; and "The Midnight Story," a crime-drama starring Tony Curtis.

Pevney retired in 1985 and moved to Palm Desert several years later.

His first wife, actress Mitzi Green, died in 1969; his second wife, Philippa, died in 1996; and his son, David, died in 1998.

In addition to Margo, his wife of six years, and his son Jay, Pevney is survived by his daughter, Jan Pevney Holt; his son, Joel; two grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Alexander "Sandy" Courage

Alexander Courage
December 10th, 1919 to May 15th, 2008

Alexander "Sandy" Courage, a composer and arranger who wrote the iconic theme song for "Star Trek" as well as numerous film and TV scores from the 1950s through the 1990s, died May 15 in Pacific Palisades.

"Alexander 'Sandy' Courage, 88; composer wrote 'Star Trek' theme"


Dennis McLellan

May 30th, 2008

Los Angeles Times

Alexander "Sandy" Courage, who composed the soaring theme for the "Star Trek" TV series in the 1960s and was an Emmy Award-winning, Oscar-nominated arranger, has died. He was 88.

Courage, who had been in declining health since 2005, died May 15 at an assisted-living facility in Pacific Palisades, said his step-daughter, Renata Pompelli.

After launching his 54-year career as a composer for CBS Radio in 1946, Courage became an orchestrator and arranger at MGM in 1948.

Over the next dozen years, he worked on a string of classic musicals, including "Annie Get Your Gun," "Show Boat," "The Band Wagon," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and "Gigi." He later was an orchestrator for musicals including "My Fair Lady," "Hello, Dolly!," "Doctor Dolittle" and "Fiddler on the Roof" -- as well as for films including "The Poseidon Adventure," "Jurassic Park," "Basic Instinct," "Hook" and "The Mummy."

"He made a very big contribution to the musical life of Hollywood from the end of the second World War to recent years," Oscar-winning composer John Williams told The Times on Thursday.

"He was known to most musicians in the community as having been one of the architects of what we used to refer to as the MGM sound, which meant that most of the musical films from MGM had a particular style of orchestration, which was an extension and development of what was done in the theater in the 1920s," Williams said. "They actually took that to a very high art form, particularly in the musicals produced by Arthur Freed."

Composer Ian Fraser, who met Courage after he had moved to 20th Century Fox in the '60s, said Thursday that Courage's "knowledge of all the genres of music was really monumental."

"He was part of the wonderful music department at 20th Century Fox," Fraser said. "With the passing of [composer] Earle Hagen this week, the last of that group are gone, never to be replaced."

In the late '50s, Courage scored nearly a dozen films, including director Arthur Penn's western "The Left Handed Gun" and Andre de Toth's western "Day of the Outlaw" -- as well as "Shake, Rattle and Rock!" and "Hot Rod Rumble."

He began composing for television in 1959 and wrote music for more than 350 episodes of series that included "The Untouchables," "Laramie," "Daniel Boone," "Judd for the Defense," "Lost in Space," "Land of the Giants," "The Waltons," "Eight Is Enough," "Falcon Crest," "Flamingo Road" and many others.

Then there was "Star Trek," the legendary science-fiction series that ran on NBC from 1966 to 1969.

Courage was no science-fiction fan when "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry asked him to score the pilot episode in 1965.

"I never have been" a sci-fi fan, Courage later told film music historian Jon Burlingame. But I thought, 'Well, what the heck. It's another show.' "

Roddenberry, Courage recalled, said he didn't want the show's score to sound like "space music," nothing "far out."

"He wanted something that had some . . . drive to it," Courage recalled. "In fact, he told me to always write that way through the show, all of it."

The eight-note brass fanfare that Courage wrote to herald the starship Enterprise became one of the most familiar musical signatures in TV history.

"I'd argue that it's the most famous fanfare in the world," Burlingame, who teaches film music history at USC, said Thursday.

"It's been around 42 years -- and it's all around the world -- and when you hear those eight notes you immediately think of the Enterprise," he said.

Courage shared an Emmy in 1988 as a principal arranger for the ABC special "Julie Andrews: The Sound of Christmas."

He also shared Oscar nominations with Lionel Newman for their adaptation scores for "The Pleasure Seekers" in 1966 and "Doctor Dolittle" in 1968.

Courage was born Dec. 10, 1919, in Philadelphia and moved to New Jersey as a boy. He began playing the piano when he was 5 and later played the cornet and horn.

A 1941 graduate of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., he enlisted in the Army Air Forces in January 1942 and served as a band leader on bases in California and Arizona.

Courage, who was one of the founders of the Composers and Lyricists Guild of America, also was an award-winning photographer whose pictures appeared in Life, Collier's and other magazines.

His third wife, the former Shirley Pumpelly, died in 2005.

In addition to Renata Pompelli, he is survived by his other stepchildren, Raphael Pumpelly, Andrea Steyn, Lisa Pompelli; and six grandchildren.

Robert H. Justman

Robert H. Justman
July 13th, 1926 to May 28th, 2008

"Robert H. Justman, 81; a creative force on two 'Star Trek' TV series"


Claire Noland

June 1st, 2008

Los Angeles Times

Robert H. Justman, a producer who was one of the creative forces behind the original "Star Trek" television series of the 1960s as well as the 1980s-era "Star Trek: The Next Generation," has died. He was 81.

Justman died Wednesday at his Los Angeles home of complications from Parkinson's disease, his son Jonathan said.

Justman's death came within days of those of his "Star Trek" friends and colleagues Joseph Pevney, who directed some of the original series' most popular episodes, and Alexander "Sandy" Courage, who composed the series theme.

"There seems to be a big 'Star Trek' convention and everyone is going," Jonathan Justman said. "Everyone is getting beamed up."

As associate producer, technical consultant and eventually co-producer, Bob Justman wielded considerable influence on "Star Trek" from its beginning in 1966 until 1969, when NBC canceled the series. He was involved in all facets of production and had a hand in casting, set design and props, as well as story lines and scripts.

The late Gene Roddenberry created the science fiction TV show featuring the starship Enterprise and its multiracial crew, which explored 23rd century galaxies with a "five-year mission, to boldly go where no man has gone before."

"It wasn't just a science fiction show; it was a morality play," Justman told the Christian Science Monitor in 2001. "It was, 'Do the right thing and do right by your fellow man, and all will be well, hopefully.' "

Although "Star Trek" struggled in the ratings in the 1960s, it found a devoted fan base in reruns and came to be seen as an iconic science fiction TV program.

Twenty years later, Roddenberry revived the franchise for Paramount and reassembled much of the earlier show's production team for "Star Trek: The Next Generation," a syndicated series that aired from 1987 to 1994. (Roddenberry died in 1991.)

Justman was a supervising producer on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," along with Rick Berman, who later became executive producer of that program as well as subsequent spinoffs.

"I can't tell you how nurturing this guy was to me," Berman told The Times. "He was like a mentor and a father. He was extraordinary."

Justman designed sets, models and visual effects and oversaw character and script development for the debut of "The Next Generation." But Berman said his biggest contribution was championing the casting of Patrick Stewart, who became one of the most popular characters of the new series.

"Roddenberry was very against the idea of a bald British actor playing the next Capt. Kirk," Berman said. "But Bob was very persistent, and Patrick became Capt. Picard."

After a year of working on the new show, Justman was satisfied and decided to retire.

"I perceived a chance to prove to the world and to myself that we could make a successful 'Star Trek' series from the get-go, that we didn't have to get saved by fans wanting to keep the myth alive," he told The Times in 1996. " 'Star Trek' was an important part of my life."

Robert Harris Justman was born July 13, 1926, in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of Lena and Joseph Justman. His father found success in the produce business in New York and California, then decided to go into the movie business and bought a studio in Los Angeles.

The younger Justman served as a Navy radio operator in the Pacific during World War II, attended UCLA for two years and worked in his father's produce operation. Then, in 1950, he decided to try his hand at the family's other business, the Motion Picture Center studio. (It later became part of Desilu Studios, owned by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.)

At the beginning Justman made $50 a week. He worked his way up from production assistant to assistant director to associate producer on dozens of feature films, including "Red Planet Mars," "Apache" and "Kiss Me Deadly," and hundreds of TV episodes, including "Adventures of Superman," "Northwest Passage," "The Outer Limits" and the pilot for "Mission: Impossible."

Next came his break in "Star Trek." After its run ended, Justman went on to produce "Then Came Bronson," "Search," "MacGruder and Loud," "Gideon's Trumpet" and other TV fare in the 1970s and '80s.

"Star Trek" was never far away, though. He enjoyed attending conventions where fans and others associated with the show gathered, and in 1996 he co-wrote "Inside Star Trek: The Real Story" with Herbert F. Solow, the Desilu executive in charge of production of the original series.

Justman also served as a uniformed volunteer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for more than 20 years.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 51 years, Jacqueline; a daughter, Jennifer; another son, William; two sisters, Estelle Osborne and Jill Roach; a brother, Anthony; and five grandchildren.

Beam 'em up Scottie!

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