In the annals of Academy Awards telecast history, as the Oscars’ “In Memoriam” tribute has expanded each year, so too has the number of movie stars and other industry professionals inexplicably forgotten or otherwise ignored.
With somber musical accompaniment by Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, who paid tribute to the late Tom Petty by performing his “Room at the Top,” images of stars and other notables from the worlds of film and television appeared onscreen. But among those whose faces didn’t appear was film star, musician and Country Music Hall of Fame legend Glen Campbell, who died last August after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Campbell’s career as an actor, while certainly eclipsed by his musical legacy, included his notable debut role in the 1969 John Wayne Western True Grit, followed a year later by the title role of Norwood, a film pairing him with NFL star Joe Namath. Campbell once famously joked, “I’d never acted in a movie before, and every time I see True Grit I think my record’s still clean,” and while the bulk of his film credits consist of his music being performed in the background of movies, he appeared onscreen in a handful of other feature films throughout his lifetime, including a non-speaking role as a band member in Steve McQueen’s 1965 drama Baby the Rain Must Fall and a brief 1967 cameo role two years before True Grit in a film called The Cool Ones. Other films he was featured in, either as himself or in an acting role, included the 1980 Clint Eastwood comedy Any Which Way You Can, and Uphill All the Way, a 1986 comedy starring fellow Hall of Famers Mel Tillis and Roy Clark.
It’s particularly surprising that Campbell was ignored, however, considering that he was a 2015 Oscar nominee (with producer-songwriter Julian Raymond) for Best Original Song for “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” featured in the acclaimed documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, an unflinching look at his career-closing Goodbye Tour in the wake of his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Tim McGraw sang “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” during the 2015 Oscars telecast.
Other major omissions of note were TV’s Batman star Adam West, whose big-screen films also included the first-ever Batman feature in 1966, singer-actress Della Reese, and another country-music-related actor, Powers Boothe, who played character Rayna Jaymes’ unscrupulous father on Nashville, and also portrayed country legend George Jones in a TV movie on the small screen.