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Archive for July 2nd, 2010

Corey Allen 1934 – 2010

Buzz Gunderson:You know something? I like you”.

Jim Stark: “Why do we do this?”

Buzz Gunderson: “You’ve gotta do something. Don’t you?”

 

 

I don’t mark the passing of every Actor or director but one caught my eye this week. My only knowledge of Corey Allen was playing Buzz Gunderson in Rebel Without a Cause (1955). He continued to work as an actor mainly on TV until the 70’s and had two more recent credits in The Works (2004) and Quarantined (voice only) (2009) but his most notable contribution was in directing, again mainly on TV. If you watched TV in the 70’s or 80’s you will have seen his work, having directed episodes of:

  • Magnum
  • Dallas
  • Murder, She Wrote
  • Hill Street Blues
  • Matt Houston
  • Simon & Simon
  • T.J. Hooker
  • The Rockford Files
  • Quincy
  • Lou Grant
  • Police Story
  • The Streets of San Francisco
  • Hawaii Five-O
  • Ironside
  • The High Chaparral

His only major award came in 1981 when he won an Emmy for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for “Hill Street Blues”. His most significant contribution to TV was still to come. In 1987 “Encounter at Farpoint” was the pilot for the Star Trek: The Next Generation. When “picked up” it became the first episode of the first series and the first new Star Trek episode since 1969. Had it not been picked up who knows what would have become of the franchise, would the films have continued and would we have had last year’s excellent reboot? Who knows. Not only did he direct the episode he was involved in the casting and creation of the show along with Gene Roddenberry. He also directed other episodes of The Next Generation as well as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Along with a couple of episodes of The Cosby Mysteries in 1994 his later Star Trek episodes were his last directing credits.

From the various (brief) reports and obituaries I have read, I understand he died at his home in Hollywood on Sunday evening (he would have been 76 on Tuesday) due to complications from Parkinson’s disease, he is survived by a daughter, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

His death comes just a month after fellow Rebel Without a Cause star Dennis Hopper. He may not be as well remembered as Hopper or Rebel star James Dean whose death was 55 years ago this September but anyone who has watched an episode of Star Trek in the last 23 years has felt his influence.

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