Monday, May 19, 2008

Bye, Angel

john phillip law as pygar in barbarella
John Phillip Law 1937-2008 (here as Pygar in Barbarella)

Perhaps I'm the last to find out, but I just read that John Phillip Law died last week in LA, at age 70, of undisclosed causes.

The 6'5" actor was an icon of mine in the late 1960s--particularly as the painfully sad young Russian in The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! and as the angel Pygar in the camp classic Barbarella, with Jane Fonda.

He's also memorable as the title character in Diabolik, which has recently achieved a level of cultish importance on its own.

He was more male starlet than screen actor--and though he has left only a light mark on movie history, he was (and remains) a gay icon of importance--not only for his statuesque beauty, but also his participation in such quirky films as (Jacqueline Susann's) The Love Machine, The Sergeant, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Ghost Dog, and CQ.

Side Note: Director Robert Rodriguez is currently developing a remake of Barbarella, possibly starring Rose McGowan in the title role, possibly for release in 2009. Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who scripted Casino Royale, were working on the screenplay a year ago. Casting and production are still in the "rumor' stage--for a while, idle gossip linked Orlando Bloom to the Pygar role.

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