I’m one of those people who really mourn. I suddenly remembered that Roddy McDowall is dead, and felt a pang. So many memories – Lassie Come Home, the Bookworm on Batman, the Planet of the Apes movies, Cleopatra, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Poseidon Adventure, Funny Lady, The Cat from Outer Space, Alice in Wonderland, Around the World in 80 Days – and even voiceovers (A Bug’s Life and Snowball on “Pinky & the Brain”). He did lot more, I know, but these are the things I remember. I don’t know why I suddenly think of certain movie and television stars who have died and miss them so terribly – it happens all the time.
Since we can buy or rent their images, it seems as though we have a Book of the Dead to open anytime that we want. The images somehow represent absence through their presence – more so for film (or dvd). Perhaps religious beliefs about avoiding images may have a certain truth embedded in it. Perhaps we are all idolators at heart.
On the other hand, Roddy McDowall himself worked very hard to support film preservation and edited books of his own photographs (including many other stars). He collected movies and a few days before he died of the cancer that had spread all over his body, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named its photo archive after him. So, in that spirit I’ve made a little graphic of some of my favorite photos of him (and changed them enough that I hope I’m not treading on any copyright/permissions issues).