Monday, November 07, 2011
gil cates 1934-2011

"Death ends a life, but it does not end a relationship which struggles on in the survivor's mind toward some resolution which it never finds....."This is a quote from Robert Anderson's Great play and Screenplay.."I NEVER SANG FOR MY FATHER" (1970)......The film starred Melvyn Douglas, Gene Hackman, Dorothy Stickney and Estelle Parsons and was Directed and Produced by Gil Cates, who died on October 31th--just a few days ago.........It is a truly great film---painful to watch because of it's unflinching honesty. The performances are superb in every way and the Direction and Screenplay deeply touching and indelibly memorable. (Melvyn Douglas, Gene Hackman and Robert Anderson all received Oscar Nominations for this film....) Rent this film. You won't be sorry. I would like to watch this film, once again, right now as I write this and be reminded of the humanity that is possible with "art".....



My connection to Gil Cates is "Spoon River Anthology". Gil and his brother Joe, Produced this special close-to-my-heart production. (Edgar Lee Masters great Prose Poetry, adapted by Charles Aidman for the stage...) bringing it to Broadway in September, 1963. Gil also directed a Pay Television version of "Spoon River" while we were still on Broadway.....





Gil Cates had a fantastic career in the Theatre and in Television and in Films.....And was beloved by just about everybody....
For me, what I will remember about Gil Cates more than anything is "I Never Sang For My Father".....It is a searingly truthful film about family and death; it is about aging and responsibility and the pain and guilt of not taking responsibility.......If Gil Cates did nothing else---and he did plenty---(--you can read all about him here---), He Produced and Directed 14 Academy Award Shows---brought Billy Crystal to The Awards as well as Whoopie Goldberg and Steve Martin, just to name a few.....He was the President of the Directors Guild of America for two terms.....He founded and ran the Geffen Playhouse here in Los Angeles since 1994---a stellar theatre that produces fantastic original productions of new plays and revivals....And he was the founder and Dean of The UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television, 1990 to 1998....and in fact, died in one of the parking lots on the campus, having just left work---he was still teaching there....BUT, if Gil Cates had done none of these things, he was responsible for bringing "I Never Sang For My Father" to the Broadway stage and to the Screen.There were many other films, too.....But this is the one that tears your heart out, and what an experience it is. It was and is a haunting film in all it's honesty----Oh, I urge you to rent this film as soon as you possibly can----And the first and last line of this picture is a fitting tribute to the late great and incredibly talented Gil Cates.......
"Death ends a life but it does not end a relationship which struggles on in the survivor's mind toward some resolution which it never finds...."

R.I.P. dear Gil Cates.........


More To Come........







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18 Comments:
Blogger Pat
had this to say:

Yes I must see that film and thank you for telling us about it and Gil Cates himself.
Marvellous that he was able to go on working till the day he died.

Monday, November 7, 2011 at 2:12:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

There are so many "unknown" talents who contribute behind the scenes to provide quality entertainment. Thanks for introducing us to one. My prayers for his family and friends.

Monday, November 7, 2011 at 5:29:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I am so sorry you lost someone important in your life Naomi.
I had read about his passing but did not know your connection.
I will definitely look for that movie.

Monday, November 7, 2011 at 12:17:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Yes, "I Never Sang For My Father" is a tough one to get through.

Regrets and recriminations...and time running out.

Douglas is in top form here.

Monday, November 7, 2011 at 4:49:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

My Dear Naomi

How strange it must be to lose people who you have history with and who know your history. I am so sorry for your loss.

Everything that I have read about Gil has been so nice. Nice is a lame choice of words, but really it has all been praise.

The quote in red at the end of your post....what is it from? It is sad, beautiful, and haunting.

Consider yourself hugged tightly.

Stan
XOXO

Monday, November 7, 2011 at 11:22:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

So sorry to hear the passing of Gil Cates and yes death ends a life but not the memories.

Monday, November 7, 2011 at 11:57:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

oh my.. i am truly sorry for the loss of yet another friend. I think we that get left behind suffer far too much..but there's nothing we can do to make it better.

you just take care of yourself Naomi!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 3:09:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Dear Naomi,

I wish I could say that I'm blond, or that I was having a senior moment.....of course the answer was right there at the beginning.

Much love from Arizona,
Stan
XOXO

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 8:01:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

What a beautiful tribute. I believe artists live on through their work. I will put it on my Netflix. I am sorry for your loss.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 8:24:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

my dear naomi - i am so very sorry for your loss and for the loss of all those who knew and loved the talented mr. cates - such a beautiful and fitting tribute you have created here - one that touches each reader in different, yet still the same, ways - and i'm sure it was not an easy post to do but you have done so with much grace and love - thank you for sharing still another part of your life - your story - with us - much love -

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 1:23:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I'm so sorry. Naomi. I didn't know of this man. I am sure the theater community will miss him terribly. You write such nice "testimonials".
Hope you are feeling better.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 4:39:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I am so very sorry, Naomi, for your loss. It's very sad to lost someone important in our life.
Many hugs of comfort.
Much love.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 11:02:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I have to admit to not knowing this man or his work, but if you recommend him, he must have been good.

I'm so sorry for your loss, but always love the detailed accounts you give of the people and productions that have touched your heart.

How wonderful that although these wonderful people have gone, they leave such a fine legacy of work behind them for future generations to enjoy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 1:34:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Hi Naomi,

So sorry to read of the sad loss of someone so close to you, I hope that all these messages of comfort and understanding will go some way to assuaging your sorrow at his passing.

I checked out 'The Spoon River Anthology' and this looks like an absolute 'must read' for me.

Of course having the fantastic Gene Hackman starring in 'I never Sang For My Father'also makes this one to search out in the future, he is such a multi-talented actor, no matter the role he appears in.

Thinking of you at this sad time.

Yvonne

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 2:21:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I want to watch this movie now. I always thought of Gil Cates as the Academy Awards guy. I didn't realize he had done theater and movies. I also knew he was Phoebe Cates' dad and Kevin Kline's father-in-law. I'm sorry that you have lost another person from your Spoon River days.

Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 12:27:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Can you believe our video store closed down? Too much online competition I guess. I will try to find this film. It sounds right up my alley.

Friday, November 11, 2011 at 11:14:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I've always had great respect for Gil Cates and his work, particularly "I Never Sang..." His loss is significant to the entertainment world, but I didn't realize your personal connection. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 8:42:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Naomi, I am just going to pretend that my first comment from me was actually from another person with my same name :)

A pristine, widescreen dvd of this film arrived yesterday and I watched it last night. I was up til 2 AM, but was too tired to comment.

I was afraid the material would be dated, but was happily wrong. This was really, really good. I loved the dialogue and found it to be quite honest and Melvyn's performance was fantastic. I was especially moved by his scene, not when he breaks down, but before that when he asks Gene if Gene thinks he's incompetent.

I loved the "choosing the casket" scene, and the scene where the Dad wakes up to find his daughter in the house and doesn't quite get it, but then remembers his wife has passed. All he says is "Oh...". Powerful stuff.

I understood so many of the conflicts. I was very lucky in that my mom encouraged me to move back to Arizona when she saw how much I longed for it. And thank God, for that is where I would find Chris and eventually get married. I am lucky, too, as I have many brothers and sisters to care for her. She can be as exasperating as Melvin's character, just without the meaness. Actually, both Melvin and Gene's characters were exasperating. The women had it together, though. Don't they always? :)

You framed your post beautifully, just like the film did. Good job. Gil would definitely smile.

Love, Stan

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 8:50:00 AM PST 

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