Innovative director of
opera, film, theater
Patrice Chereau, 68, a celebrated French actor and director in film, theater and opera who was renowned for cutting-edge productions, died Monday in Paris of complications related to cancer, said the Artmedia talent agency that represented him.
Impassioned by the performing arts at a young age, Chereau showed breadth as a director — from his revolutionary production of Richard Wagner's "Ring" cycle at the 1976 Bayreuth Festival to his blood-soaked 16th century period piece and biopic "Queen Margot," a 1994 film starring French icon Isabelle Adjani which won the Jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Chereau, who headed the Cannes jury in 2003, chalked up directing credits on dozens of plays and operas, plus 10 films. His 2001 film "Intimacy" won the Golden Bear in Berlin.
He made a long-overdue U.S. debut at the Met four years ago with Leos Janacek's final opera, "From the House of the Dead," based on a 19th century novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Chereau's production of Richard Strauss' "Elektra" has been scheduled for the 2015-16 season at the Met.
His film acting roles included Gen. Montcalm in "The Last of the Mohicans" (1992) and Camille Desmoulins in "Danton" (1983).
Chereau was born Nov. 2, 1944, in Lezigne, France, and studied at the Sorbonne before starting a theater company.
Developer helped found
Palm Springs Golf Classic
Ernie Dunlevie, 96, a Coachella Valley real estate developer who co-founded the original Palm Springs Golf Classic that came to be known for its celebrity participants and longtime host Bob Hope, died Sunday night at his home in Bermuda Dunes of complications from cancer.
Dunlevie was born in New York City on Aug. 3, 1917, and came west with his mother after graduating from high school in 1936. Apart from his military service in World War II, he lived the rest of his life in the Coachella Valley.
After the war, Dunlevie became involved in real estate and began developing golf courses and housing tracts in resort settings. He and a partner, Ray Ryan, developed Bermuda Dunes Country Club in 1959 and, capitalizing on the migration of celebrities looking for second homes in the low desert, were instrumental in attracting Clark Gable, Cary Grant and other Hollywood stars to the club.
The inaugural Palm Springs Golf Classic was held in 1960 and won by Arnold Palmer. For most of the tournament's history, it was played with pro golfers and celebrity amateurs over five days in January and on four different courses, among them Bermuda Dunes.
Dunlevie represented Bermuda Dunes on the tournament's board. In 1965, he and another board member, Milt Hicks, persuaded Hope to lend his name to the event, as his fellow entertainer Bing Crosby had done for years in Monterey. For decades, the tournament was called the Bob Hope Desert Classic and then the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
"Just by having Hope's name on the tournament gave us legitimacy," Dunlevie told the Desert Sun newspaper in 2004.
TV producer staged
Marc Merson, 82, a film and television producer who went on to a second career organizing national consumer shows for environmental products, died of heart failure Sept. 29 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, his family said.
Born Sept. 9, 1931, in New York, Merson got his start in television, producing segments for anthology programs and specials including a 1967 staging of George Bernard Shaw's "Androcles and the Lion" featuring music by Richard Rodgers.
Merson's film credits include "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" (1968), "Leadbelly" (1976) and "Doc Hollywood" (1991).
In 1990 he and his wife, actress Nina Wilcox, launched Eco Expo, a traveling marketplace for environmental products and services.
Producing consumer shows wasn't so far removed from the entertainment world, Merson told The Times in 1991.
"The fact that I come from the show business field is not accidental," he says. "Part of the vision is saying, 'We're going to put on a show.' My whole sense is to bring together things that will interest, will excite people and then will get them into action."
Film executive and
Henry Guettel, 85, a film executive with 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures as well as a former head of the Theatre Development Fund, died Monday of pneumonia in Southampton, N.Y., according to his wife, Mary Rodgers Guettel.
Guettel had been a vice president at 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures before leading the Theatre Development Fund, the not-for-profit performing arts service organization best known for operating the TKTS Booths. He was executive director for a decade beginning in 1982.
He was a stage manager for the 1950 Broadway production of "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" and went on to help produce such Broadway shows as "Sugar Babies" and "Romulus." Guettel also produced national tours of Broadway shows in the 1960s, including "The Sound of Music," "The Best Man" and "Camelot."
Guettel was born Jan. 8, 1928, in Kansas City, Mo. He and his wife, who is composer Richard Rodgers' older daughter, have two children, Adam Guettel, who composed "The Light in the Piazza," and Alec Guettel.
Times staff and wire reports