Whatever Happened To…Ted Neely

Ted Neeley age, hometown, biography | Last.fm

Ted Neely was born in Ranger, Texas in 1943. As a young man, he formed a band called ‘The Ted Neely Five’.

He played the lead in two productions of ‘Hair’ and also starred in a production of ‘Tommy’, which led to him performing on Broadway in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ but not as Jesus. He had originally auditioned for Judas but became part of the chorus and understudy for Jesus instead. He played the title role in the L.A stage version and eventually the film version of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ in 1974, where he met his wife, Leeyan Granger. (She was one of the dancers in Simon Zealots and King Herod’s Song). They have two children, Tessa and Zackariah. He received a Golden Globe nomination for best actor and New Star Of The Year.

After his success on the big screen, he released a solo album and sang in ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band on the Road’ and appeared on T.V, with his band. He returned to the stage to reprise his role in Jesus Christ Superstar in the late seventies.

As well as releasing solo and collaborative albums, he became songwriter, arranger and producer for many well known artists, including Tina Turner, Ray Charles, The Kinks and Meatloaf. He also wrote musical scores for movies and T.V series, including A Perfect Couple 1979 and NBC’s Highway To Heaven. He returned to playing with his new band ‘Pacific Coast Highway’ in the late seventies.

Ted Neeley - TV Celebrities - ShareTV

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original film, the ‘A.D tour’ of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ ran from 1992 to 1997. He played Jesus a reputed 1,700 times. (It’s obviously a bit more than that now)!

In 1999, Ted played in rock musical, ‘Rasputin’, as the title role. In the next five years, he performed in the world premiere of Murder in the First and Waiting For Godot by The Rubicon Theatre. He was also sound consultant for Harry Chapin revue, ‘Lies and Legends’

He performed in a one night benefit of JCS at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood in 2006. The new ‘A.D Tour’ followed, with a minimalist set and lasted between 2007 and 2010.

2012 saw Ted back on the road with new group, ‘The Little Big Band.‘ performing songs from Hair, JCS, Sgt Pepper, as well as their own songs.

Ted played the role of ‘The Publicist’ in Alleluia ! The Devil’s Carnival in 2015.

Ted was invited to Rome to play Jesus in JCS, directed by Massimo Romeo Piparo. Italian group Negrita also featured on stage, as well as a 12 piece orchestra. For a year, the show toured in Italy with overwhelming positive responses and sold out signs.

Another return to Italy for another JCS Tour. This time extending into The Netherlands and Belgium before coming back round to Italy in 2017.

Easter 2018, saw Ted back in the Netherlands, followed by Bulgaria and Spain. Then an Italian tour until December of the same year. I’m sure it would have continued if it hadn’t been for Covid, but knowing Ted, and his optimistic outlook, the tours will return again soon.

Ted Neeley - Movies, Age & Biography

Celebrating The Life Of…Doug McClure

Doug McClure - Ranker Insights
Doug came to prominence in the T.V series, ‘The Virginian’

Doug McClure was born in 1935 in California. He became an accomplished horse rider in his childhood, which would hold him in good stead for some of his future acting roles. He attended the University of California and did some modelling and commercials before getting a couple of minor and uncredited acting roles in several films.

One of his first screen appearances was in the western The Unforgiven (1960) with Burt Lancaster and Shenandoah (1965) with James Stewart. His first notable acting role around that time was in the T.V detective series Checkmate, which ran for 70 episodes.

In 1962, Doug landed the role of Trampas, the cowhand, in the T.V western series The Virginian, (1962 to 1971) which ran for nine seasons.

He would appear throughout the seventies, in several t.v series and many low budget and made-for-t.v movies. (There’s a full movie on You Tube that he stars in called The Hellhounds of Alaska (1973) which I’m going to take a look at, when I’ve finished writing this)!

Now we’re coming up to my favourite part. It was my love of dinosaurs which brought Doug McClure to my attention.

The Land That Time Forgot (1975) — Contains Moderate Peril
One of my favourite films

I remember seeing the monster flick, The Land That Time Forgot‘ in the Easter holidays when I was growing up. I’ve just recently watched it again, twice. (I watch it at least once a year) and I didn’t notice it at the time but there’s a great deal of violence in it, a lot of butt-stroking (striking someone with the butt stoke of a long gun) and a fair amount of punch ups, but no-one really gets hurt, except when they’re being eaten by a dinosaur. This is not your typical children’s movie. It’s set in World War One. When the characters weren’t on the land that time forgot, they were inside a U-boat.

The Land That Time Forgot (1974) - Photo Gallery - IMDb
I just let one go. Do you think anyone will notice?

The monster effects are bad, but when you consider that all the dinosaurs were hand puppets, they’re not that bad. You forget about the effects when you’re ten because the characters and the story draw you in, and of course, your own imagination keeps everything authentic.

The Land That Time Forgot (1974) - Moria
Keep that beak away from me. I know where it’s been.

Keith Barron, who starred alongside him said that Doug was very handy during the fight scenes. He knew exactly where he should be, to meet all the right camera angles and how to throw a punch and make it look real.

Doug originally turned down the lead role in this movie and another actor took his place but Samuel Z. Arkoff of American International Pictures suddenly became co-financers. They would provide the budget and only make the film if McClure was cast. He finally changed his mind and agreed to do the film.

Doug went on to do a string of fantasy/sci-fi adventure movies, including At the Earth’s Core, The People That Time Forgot, Warlords from Atlantis and Humanoids From The Deep.

Doug always seemed to be in B movies, and sometimes, looking through his vast catalogue of film and T.V experiences, he isn’t even credited, or is so low down on the list that you don’t see his name, let alone given top billing. He wasn’t pushy or overly ambitious. He just loved to act. I think that’s a testimony to his modesty and his unprententiousness.

Doug McClure - Rotten Tomatoes

Doug was married five times and has two daughters.

He passed away from lung cancer, at age 59.

I always felt that Doug McClure had that rare acting ability, where he could convey so much without saying a word.

He was under rated, under used, fed to the B movie world.

He played the typical romanticized action movie hero, a no nonsense, use-your-fists type of guy who was always in comforting, re-assurance protector mode. Rough and ready but always a gentleman and always honourable. He gained cult status by being that character in those types of movies.

For me, he will always be synonymous with dinosaur movies and the joy they brought to me, and still bring today.

Whatever Happened to…Jaclyn Smith

The Inspiring Backstory of Jaclyn Smith of Charlie's Angels | by Yitzi  Weiner | Thrive Global | Medium
Go towards the fear because without it, you’ll never know what you’re missing.’ 

Jaclyn was born in Houston, Texas in 1945. After leaving school she trained as a ballet dancer and appeared in many beauty product commercials. She was offered the main role in the cult T.V series Dark Shadows, but turned it down.

‘I passed on parts and opportunities, that if someone pushed me a bit more out of my comfort zone, I may have ended up really enjoying.’

Jaclyn Smith

After doing a couple more shampoo ads, she landed the role of Kate Garrett in Charlie’s Angels. The show ran for five seasons and Jaclyn was the only ‘Angel’ to do the whole five.

Charlie's Angels – The Annotated Gilmore Girls
Jiggle T.V?

Charlie’s Angels was called ‘Jiggle T.V’ by some critics, but Jaclyn defends the series by saying that it was about independent women just ‘carrying out their job’ and ultimately, she says, it was about friendship.

After Charlie Angel’s was cancelled, she starred in the television movie, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, getting a golden globe nomination for Best Actress. She appeared in many T.V movies and miniseries throughout the eighties and nineties including ‘The Bourne Identity‘ and several T.V versions of Danielle Steel novels.

10+ Shes pretty ideas | actresses, celebs, jacklyn smith
‘If you don’t love it, it’s not going to work’

In 1985, Jaclyn pioneered the idea that celebrities could develop their own products rather than representing other brands and introduced a collection of women’s clothing and accessories for Kmart.

A few years later, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

‘If I knew then what I know now, there are several moments I would have been more assertive by either demanding more for myself, or simply having the confidence to walk away when something wasn’t working.’

Jaclyn Smith

From 2002 to 2004, she had a recurring role in the TV series The District and reprised her role as Kelly Garrett for a cameo in the 2003 Charlie’s Angel’s movie, ‘Full Throttle.’ She was also receiving breast cancer treatment around this time, which she has fully recovered from.

In 2008, she added home furnishings, bedding and bath accessories to her Kmart collection and has since launched a wig and skin care collection.

10+ Shes pretty ideas | actresses, celebs, jacklyn smith
‘If it’s not authentic then it’s not you.’

She cites clean living, being loved and a healthy lifestyle as some of the secrets to beauty. She has several tips for great skin, including making home made skin cream concoctions with things you have lying around the kitchen, as well as slathering on ‘Abolene’ cream in the shower (not part of her skin care range) and letting the steam get to work on it.

She has been married four times. She has a son and daughter with her third husband, film-maker Tony Richmond. She is now married to cardiothoracic surgeon Brad Allen.

Kmart & Celebrity Mother-Daughter Duo Launch 'Spencer by Jaclyn Smith'  Layette Collection
 ‘Let life be fully lived’.

Jaclyn become a grandmother recently and has just launched a new layette baby clothes collection.

Jaclyn was a role model for me growing up. She said, half jokingly, while chatting with Kate Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, that she was the ‘sweet one’ in Charlie’s Angel’s. I agree and I think that applies to real life too. I realise now, that was one of the main reasons why I liked her, and it was instinctive when I was a young girl. A lot of people who have known her/ know her, say that she’s beautiful on the outside, but that she’s even more beautiful on the inside.

Quote sources are from the excellent Jaclyn Smith interview with Yitzi Weiner.

Celebrating The Life of…Ray Harryhausen

After seeing King Kong (1933) Ray Harryhausen was inspired to experiment with and develop his own unique stop motion animation called Dynamation. He joined forces with model maker and animator Willis O’Brien, to bring his own unique creatures to life. He took art and sculpture classes at this time and also made life long friends with the writer Ray Bradbury.

‘Evolution of the World’ was one of the first demo reels he produced featuring fighting dinosaurs. His first animation job was on George Pal’s Puppetoon shorts.

Ray served in the U.S.A Special Services Division during World War 2. He made documentary shorts on the use of military equipment. After the war, he made a series of fairytale shorts, which he called his ‘teething rings’. His father worked the armatures of the models, while his mother assisted with little costumes for his animated characters.

In 1947, he was hired as assistant animator on Mighty Joe Young (1949) and then on ‘The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms’ as main animator. The film was a major international box office hit for Warner Brothers. Ray worked with producer Charles H. Schneer on Columbia Pictures and made ‘It Came From Beneath The Sea’ (1955) featuring a giant octupus. This was followed by the extra terrestrial invasion film, ‘The Earth vs The Flying Saucers’. After ’20 Million Miles To Earth,’ he began working with colour film to make ‘The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad’. It was the top grossing film of that year.

The 60’s saw the release of ‘Mysterious Island’ and ‘Jason and the Argonauts.’ After the success of ‘One Million Years B.C‘, Sinbad was to raise his handsome head again, in ‘The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad‘ and ‘Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.’ Both films were box office hits.

His last major motion picture was ‘Clash of the Titans.’ (1981) which was nominated for a special effects award. ‘The Story of the Tortoise and the Hare’ was originally undertaken in the 1950’s and finally finished in 2002. It won an award for best short film.

At 90 years old, Ray was given a special tribute hosted by John Landis, where he was presented with a BAFTA award by Peter Jackson. Steven Spielberg and James Cameron are among the many movie directors who have cited him as an enormous influence and inspiration. George Lucas said that without Ray Harryhausen, there would likely have been no Star Wars.

Harryhausen founded the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation, a joint UK/ US charity, which perserves his collections and promotes the art of stop motion animation. John Walsh, a BAFTA nominated filmaker is a trustee of the foundation. He is also interested in developing Ray’s lost film projects and runs a podcast dedicated to him.

One of my favourite dynamation films is ‘The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad’ featuring Tom Baker, who plays an evil sorcerer. It was so memorable seeing ‘Clash of The Titans‘, in the cinema when I was eleven. The scene at the end with Medusa was very powerful and dramatic.

Ray brightened up my childhood with his unique fantasy movies. I have most of them and watch them regulary. I find them as magical and as exciting today as I did when I was a kid. As Tom Hanks says, ‘Some people say Casablanca’ or ‘Citizen Kane’, I say, Jason and the Argonauts’ is the greatest film ever made. ‘