She gave early career breaks to Jodie Foster, Jon Voight, Loretta Swit and many others.
Pam Polifroni, a casting director who had a long stint on Gunsmoke, spotted Michael Learned for The Wons and worked on films including the original Tron and The Shootist, has died. She was 90.
Polifroni died Thursday in Columbus, Ohio, her daughter-in-law, Rebecca Coleman-Polifroni, said.
Polifroni spent almost a decade on Santa Barbara and was nominated three times for the Casting Society of America's Artios Award for her work on the NBC soap opera, winning in 1990.
Starting on Gunsmoke in 1966, she hired Bette Davis and gave Jon Voight one of his early television jobs in L.A. during her first season on the CBS Western. She then cast Jodie Foster in a small part in 1969 when the actress was 7 and put future M*A*S*H star Loretta Swit on two episodes in 1970.
Polifroni also cast the 1971 CBS telefilm The Homecoming: A Christmas Story, which starred Patricia Neal as Olivia Won. When producers were unsure whether Neal would be up to the task of starring in the subsequent Wons series, she brought in Learned, whom she had seen on the stage in San Francisco, to play Olivia. Polifroni cast for the show from 1972-80.
She also worked for Disney on Tron 1982, starring Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner, and the Ray Bradbury adaptation Something Wicked This Way Comes 1983, starring Jason Robards.
She described her experience on Tron as "a little strange since the people at Disney knew little about sci-fi and I knew even less."
And she cast two movies directed by Don Siegel: The Shootist 1976, John Wayne's final film, and the Charles Bronson-starrer Telefon 1977.
Along the way, Polifroni boosted the early careers of Dennis Hopper, Sam Elliott, Harrison Ford, Genie Francis, Emilio Estevez, Meg Tilly, Corbin Bernsen, David Carradine, Richard Dreyfuss, Vic Morrow and Ted Danson.
"I cast for freshness and for interesting characterizations," she told the San Diego Union-Tribune in 1976. "The nicest compliment I can get is for a producer to say afterward, 'The people you sent us didn't seem like actors. They seemed like real people.' That's the trick, to get reality up there on the screen."
Born in Glendale, California, Polifroni began as a secretary on NBC's The Loretta Young Show, working for the producer, casting director and star for four years. Casting director Jack Murton thought she had a "flair" for what he did, so he asked her to be his assistant on a show called The Lineup.
From there, she became casting director on the ABC daytime series Day in Court and Morning Court, choosing 50 to 75 actors every week. As a result, she became familiar with the talents of a large pool of actors in a short period of time.
Polifroni went on to work for CBS and ABC and on Cimarron Strip, Hawaii Five-O, Gilligan's Island, All in the Family, The Wild Wild West, Hotel, The Love Boat, General Hospital and MacGyver, among many other shows. Her final credits came on the telefilms Gunsmoke: The Long Ride and Gunsmoke: One Man's Justice in 1993 and '94.
Survivors include her brother, Larry, and her son, Mark, and his wife, Rebecca.
Disney+ has been in American homes since last fall, but the House of Mouse’s streaming service is only just now starting to expand to international territories.
It’s been one week since Disney+ arrived in Europe, turning The Mandalorian into quite the sensation among viewers in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spin, Switzerland, Austria and Ireland. Now even more international markets are getting a taste of the live-action Star Wars series, with Disney+ launch in India, which was previously delayed from debuting on March 29, starting today.
Deadline has word on the India launch of Disney+ happening today. The debut of the streaming service was pushed back due to complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but the delay ended up not being extensive at all, which is good news for viewers in India who are anxious to start streaming.
In India, Disney’s streaming service will actually be called Disney+ Hotstar. That’s because Disney acquired Hotstar, India’s biggest streaming service, when they picked up Fox’s entertainment assets in their big merger. This will make India’s version of Disney+ significantly different from others.
Disney+ Hotstar will have three different subscription tiers for viewers to sign up for: Disney+ Hotstar VIP, Disney+ Hotstar Premium, and an ad-supported basic version of Disney+ Hotstar. Depending on your subscription tier, viewers will get access to not only Disney+ original programming and the movies of Marvel Studios, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation, but also Bollywood movies and even US shows from HBO, Fox and Showtime.
The Mandalorian Launches Big on Disney+ in Europe
While Disney+ is just launching in India, it’s already comfortable across Europe after launching a week and a half ago. The service is now available in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spin, Switzerland, Austria and Ireland, and The Mandalorian is already a huge hit, based on what TV research company Parrot Analytics calls “demand expressions.”
Deadline has word from Parrot Analytics that the premiere of the first two episodes of The Mandalorian resulted in 33 million demand expressions, which comes from looking at data across social media, video streaming, photo sharing, blogging and research platforms. And that was just on March 24 when Disney+ launched in those territories. That’s not bad considering they’ve had months to pirate the series following its debut in the United States.
However, it should be noted that some demand expressions are not as valuable in measuring the impact of a television series. That’s because social media engagements aren’t indicative of engagement with a series, as in actually watching the show in question. But even so, the fact that so many people are talking about the series...