Various film-related message boards and blogs have been lit up today with the surprising, belated news of the untimely death of 1970s cult actress Candice Rialson. The flaxen-haired Queen of New World Pictures, Rialson evidently passed away of as-yet-undisclosed causes last March, at the age of 54. The news was broken two days ago on the Code Red DVD blog.
Considering that all the available online discussion is coming from fans, rather than from friends and colleagues who knew Candice, I extended an invitation to Joe Dante and Allan Arkush, the directors of her cult classic HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD, to use this space to reminisce about her.
"So sad to hear about Candice, the first movie star I ever worked with. She was really witty & sweet & flirtatious and fun to be around. I will forever love those funny sounds she made when she did that fight scene at the drive-in. She played a great drunk, & the afternoon we spent walking around Hollywood Blvd, looking at the "Stars names written in concrete" & singing along to the just-released LP of Bruce Springsteen's BORN TO RUN (which was blasting out of every stereo from every store) will always stay with me. I think, when that night of the last scene on the rooftop of New World was shot, she looked beautiful and embodied all the glamour a New World Picture could muster. I'm missing you, Candice... but I'm sure Paul Bartel is calling you & all actors 'cattle' in Movie Heaven." -- Allan Arkush
"Candice was also the first movie star I ever worked with, since Allan and I shared directing duties on what was our first picture after a year or so of cutting trailers for pictures starring... Candice Rialson! Though out of the public zeitgeist for over two decades, it should be remembered that Candice was a very hot personality in the drive-in movie world. We were thrilled when she consented to play the lead in HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD -- it was the exploitation movie equivalent of getting Julie Christie! Although she was the pro and we were the amateurs, there was no attitude, no airs, just enthusiasm for getting the job done. She made it fun to get up early! Although her reign was brief, she set many an ozoner heart aflutter and is warmly remembered by not only those of us lucky enough to work with her, but by what Norma Desmond called 'those wonderful people out there in the dark.'" -- Joe Dante