A past president of the HFPA, Helmut Voss has died after a long illness.
Helmut, who was president from 1998-2000, was instrumental in the HFPA purchasing their present building on South Robertson in West Hollywood.
Helmut was born in Hamburg, Germany on July 25, 1939. While still studying at Hamburg University, he joined the giant Springer publishing company as a reporter in March 1961 and only six months later at age 22 was assigned by the company’s newly formed in-house Springer Foreign News Service as a correspondent to its London office.
He stayed in London for five years, covering such stories as the Profumo scandal, the Great Train Robbery and the Aberfan disaster and then was offered a position in Springer’s New York office.
He stayed for two years, covering the early US space program, the Detroit riots and numerous other major US events of the sixties, at a time when foreign correspondents were still doing a lot of leg work and had no cell phones, laptops or digital cameras at their disposal.
After a brief stint as an editor with one of Springer’s Sunday papers in Hamburg, he returned to the US in 1970 and opened Springer’s first West Coast office in Los Angeles. During the next 10 years he reported on the Charles Manson and Patty Hearst trials, traveled extensively in Latin America and also covered more and more celebrity news, doing “at home” stories – when that was still possible for foreign correspondents – with stars like John Wayne, Mae West, Henry, Jane and Peter Fonda.
In 1980 he was given the opportunity to become the Springer bureau chief in London. However, after four years in London he asked to be reassigned to Los Angeles, crossed the Atlantic a fifth time with his family and was in charge of the LA office until it was closed for good in 2000.
In later years he fought a brave battle against cancer but despite his illness he returned to the HFPA as Parliamentarian for nine months until he became too ill to continue. His last visit to the HFPA office was join members watching Germany play in the World Cup.
HFPA President Theo Kingma said: “We are very sad and will miss him a great deal. We will always remember Helmut not just as a great journalist , colleague, board member, parliamentarian and president, but especially as a wonderful person.”
Funeral services will be in Santa Barbara.
A series of classic films restored with funds provided by the HFPA will be screened by Film Independent at LACMA beginning on December 10.
The series, in association with the HFPA and the Film Foundation, begins with 1933’s King Kong, one of several carefully curated films that have been preserved and restored with the support of the HFPA.
King Kong, which stars Robert Armstrong and Fay Wray, spawned a genre, and its remakes (the last was in 2005 by Peter Jackson) and imitators (it’s impossible to imagine Planet of the Apes or Jurassic Park without it) are legion and still ongoing.
The evening celebrates the HFPA’s commitment to the art of film and the screening will take place two nights before the HPFA announces the nominations for next year’s Golden Globes.
Tickets for this event—$10 to the general public— can be picked up at LACMA’s ticket office in the Hammer Building, on the day of the event – as early as 11 am. Tickets are for general, unreserved seating.
Other screenings are planned for December 19, 28 and January 3 and 10. We will keep you updated about future titles.
Mike Tyson in the HFPA offices
Mike Tyson stopped by the HFPA offices in West Hollywood to meet members and chat about his troubled past, his book, his one-man show and his burgeoning movie career.
His visit was part of the rapidly growing Round Table series which was initiated this year at the HFPA and which has so far featured international celebrities such as Lech Walesa, Julian Assange, Jeffrey Katzenberg and John Williams.
The 47-year-old former world heavyweight champion was funny and revealingly honest as he talked of his past misdeeds and his bright future, which he attributes to the support and love of his wife, Lakiha Spicer, who he married in Las Vegas in June 2009 and with whom he has two children.
He is clearly enjoying his new career as an entertainer and his one-man stage show, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth has been filmed by Spike Lee and is being shown around the world. In it he candidly recounts his life’s highs and lows and talks about his troubled youth, landmark boxing career, key people in his life, controversies. time in prison, self-examination, family and new beginnings.
As part of his new life he is forging a movie career for himself and has a cameo role in the soon-to-be-released Grudge Match as well as several other projects lined up.
“I was born to be an entertainer,” he laughs.
Picture: Armando Gallo
Following the exclusive interview with Julian Assange, the HFPA landed another coup when Lech Walesa agreed to be interviewed via Skype by members.
The interview was the latest in a series of Round Table interviews, not necessarily connected with the entertainment industry, pioneered by the association this year.
Thirty members packed the conference room at the HFPA’s West Hollywood offices to question the former Polish politician, trade-union organizer and human rights activist. A charismatic leader, he co-founded Solidarity, the Soviet bloc’s first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and served as President of Poland between 1990 and 1995. He is the subject of the new Andrzej Wajda film Walesa: Man of Hope.