The years memoriams continue...
5th June – Caroline John, 71
Underrated Doctor Who companion. John played Liz Shaw in the first Jon Pertwee series of Doctor Who. An intelligent scientist and expert in her field, Shaw was a marked difference in the style of female companions of the era, and this helped the Seventh Series of Doctor Who in its aim to be grittier and more serious a show than before. (It didn’t last, shortly after her only series, we were back to full throttle Venusian Akidoo and a cosier family atmosphere.)
An RSC actress of considerable acclaim, she still spent more time supporting this quaint little sci-fi show with all the mad fans, appearing in Children in Need reunions, fan videos, conventions and the modern Big Finish audios. Beyond the show which was to give her immortality in cult tv circles, her acting credentials would have her show up in all manner of things, from the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes Dying Detective adaptation, to a memorable cameo in Love Actually. She also appeared in A Pattern of Roses and The Woman in Black, terrifying 1980s supernatural dramas, and A Very British Coup, which was terrifying for slightly different reasons.
(Carrie John's final Doctor Who scene, with the final smile as three much loved and now much missed actors close the book on a very successful series of the show.)
6th June – Manuel Preciado, 54
(Carrie John's final Doctor Who scene, with the final smile as three much loved and now much missed actors close the book on a very successful series of the show.)
6th June – Manuel Preciado, 54
Miracle working football manager, who took Sporting Gijon from nowhere to a long stay in the Spanish top flight. He was sacked from his Gijon club, but had just returned to club football with Villarreal when, the day after he took the job, he was found dead in his hotel room. A man with a long history of personal tragedy, he had fallen victim to a fatal heart attack, and become another family tragedy.
7th June – Bob Welch, 66
Guitarist for Fleetwood Mac during the three turbulent years from 1971 to 1974, as they dealt with the departure of Peter Green, the spiralling health issues of Danny Kirwan, the legal issues around the second Fleetwood Mac, as well as convincing the band to move to L.A. to better deal with contract issues with Warner. A vital component in keeping the band alive in the 1970s, his later life was dominated by his suing his former bandmates for unpaid royalties, and a Rock n Roll Hall of Fame snub he took very personally.
“"Mick and I co-managed the group for years. I'm the one who brought the band to Los Angeles from England, which put them in the position of hooking up with Lindsey and Stevie. I saw the band through a whole period where they barely survived, literally."
8th June – Frank Cady, 96
Long lived American character actor who appeared in hundreds of film and tv roles. He appears throughout Rear Window as the man on the fire escape Jimmy Stewart sees looking out of his window, a rare comedic role in one of Hitchcock’s tenser films.
9th June – John Maples, 69
British Conservative MP, who represented Lewisham West for nine years, and then Stratford-upon-Avon from 1997 to 2010. In the early 1990s he was John Major’s Economic Secretary, where he had a leading role in Britains entry into the Exchange Rate Mechanism. He later became Deputy chairman of the party under David Cameron.
11th June – Ann Rutherford, 94
Scarlet O’Hara’s sister in Gone with the Wind. Rutherford had roles in many of the other American tv shows of the 1950s, but it is her role in the 1939 film classic for which she will always be remembered.
11th June – Teofilo Stevenson, 60
A boxer who became the symbol for a Nation. To win one Gold Medal in your life is a hall of fame career achievement worth building a million pound fortune out of. To win the Gold medal in your sport at three consecutive Olympics, sweeping the World Amateurs and the Pan American games in the same period? That is a level of dominance rarely seen in a top level sport. Stevenson was unquestionably the greatest amateur boxer of his generation, and may even have been one of the greatest – full stop – but we will never know as he steadfast refused to turn professional throughout his career.
“Stevenson went on to win gold in Munich, pummelling West Germany's Peter Hussig in the semi-final with his increasingly renowned right fist, and taking gold when his Romanian opponent, Ion Alexe, reported a broken thumb and withdrew from the final. When he returned home, one of three Cuban gold-medalists in Munich (all of them boxers), he was applauded wherever he went, and embraced by Fidel Castro himself.
That's when the big-money offers started, and by the time he arrived in Montreal to defend the title four years later he had turned down at least three of or above a million dollars. In 1974 he made his position perfectly and quite poetically clear: "No, I will not leave my country for one million dollars or for much more than that," he said. "What is a million dollars against eight million Cubans who love me?"
“ Ali insisted that "if he's offered $2m and don't take it, he's a damn fool". Stevenson didn't take it. His steadfast refusal to allow his principles to be purchased left many in the west bemused. "If people cannot understand how someone can turn down millions of dollars for a matter of principle, who seems brainwashed to you?" he responded.”
His career at the Olympics ended undefeated. Cuba boycotted the 1984 and 88 Olympics, preventing him adding to his impressive tally. A man who could have had countless riches and glamour, but shunned it all to stay true to his own ethics.
13th June – William Knowles, 95
American chemist who co-won the 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in asymmetric hydrogenation.
The Telegraph explains:
“Naturally-occurring organic chemicals, such as amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and sugars often occur in mirror-image or “chiral” forms – like right and left hands – which have different active properties . Spearmint leaves and caraway seeds, for example, contain a chemical known as carvone, but they smell and taste different because spearmint contains “left-handed” or L-carvone, while caraway seeds contain right-handed, or D-carvone.
Until the late 1960s, scientists making synthetic organic molecules, for drugs and other purposes, also created chiral molecules, but found that sometimes, only one “hand” was beneficial while the other was toxic. The most famous example was the drug thalidomide, which was prescribed for pregnant women in the 1960s to control nausea. One hand of the molecule did precisely that, while its mirror image caused terrible birth defects.”
14th June – Peter Archer, 85
Labour MP for two constituencies from 1966 to 1992. In the Callaghan and Wilson governments he was Solicitor General. A former Bevans Boy, who later spent time on the UN human rights committee, in the early 1970s, Archer was chairman of Amnesty International.
“. His Christian socialism may have been in some ways idealistic – he was an enthusiast for world government and Esperanto – but he was never daunted or dispirited by the enormity of the difficult political causes he espoused, and his legal and parliamentary record demonstrates a number of considerable achievements. He was a decent, loyal and principled politician who cared more about achieving his political aims than ideology or personal promotion. He was a profoundly modest man, refusing the customary knighthood offered to the solicitor general when Harold Wilson appointed him to that post in 1974, and even more unusually in the wicked world of Westminster, he was never heard to speak ill of another individual.”
In 1998 he worked on and passed an amendment, removing the death penalty for treason cases.
“Archer was the sort of politician who wanted to be on the inside and recognised that it was more useful to be in a position of authority than to be a challenging outsider. But he was not prepared to put his name to policies with which he disagreed. In the Lords he opposed some of the more authoritarian plans of the Blair government, notably on immigration and asylum issues, and he spoke, voted and campaigned against the invasion of Iraq and the rendition of terrorist suspects.”
Julia Langdon, Guardian.
“A good-natured Christian Socialist , Peter Archer combined humane instincts with a firm grasp on reality, his commitment to world government matched by reluctant acceptance of the nuclear deterrent. Though never a legal iconoclast, he campaigned for decades to make the system more user-friendly.”
“Lord Archer was unique, he possessed a great intellect, deep integrity and a concern for the lives of ordinary people. He is an example for future parliamentarians to follow.”
14th June – Yvette Wilson, 48
16th June – Thierry Roland, 74
Outspoken French football commentator.
17th June – Rodney King, 47
Man whose treatment by the police after arrest in 1992 started the LA riots.
17th June – Brian Hibbard, 65
The lead singer of The Flying Pickets, the only accappela band to ever have a Number One hit in the UK charts. Only You, a cover of Yazoo’s song, became better known with modern audiences for being played during the climatic moments of the final Christmas episode of The Office. He also had a role in the Doctor Who story Delta and the Bannerman, where his death prompted a brilliant sight gag, being obliterated bar a pair of blue suede shoes.
18th June – Victor Spinetti, 82
A man George Harrison’s mum fancied. Ah, you see, that was the reason George gave to convince the wonderful Victor Spinetti to start in A Hard Days Night, as “my mum won’t see it if you’re not in it.” On screen he was the over stressed producer, off screen his friendship with the Beatles saw him face off with them on the big screen twice more, including in the bizarre Help! With his sidekick Roy Kinnear.
"Victor was a fine man, a great pal and a fantastic actor and someone I am proud to have known for many years. His irreverent wit and exuberant personality will remain in my memory forever. I will miss his loyal friendship, as will all the others who were lucky enough to know and love the wonderful Mr Spinetti." Paul McCartney, Beatle.
“It was a pleasure the time we worked with Victor. He was a good man and I send my condolences to his family. Peace and love, Ringo”
Ringo Starr, Thomas the Tank Narrator (and Beatle).
Spinetti was a star of all screens and stages, but I’d like to single out a role you might not think of. He supplied the voice for Texas Pete, all round villain, in the animated Super Ted stories. So good was in the role, I didn’t even realise it was him till recently. So thanks for the large part in my childhood.
18th June – Alketas Panagoulias, 78
Manager of the Greek national team, who took them to the 1994 World Cup and was, until Otto Rehagel, their most successful manager.
18th June – Lina Haag, 105
German anti-fascist activist.
19th June – Anthony Bate, 84
Marvellous actor, forever enshrined for his role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. As Whitehall’s “head prefect”, Lacon enlists George Smiley back from retirement to uncover the mole inside central intelligence. His other roles in a lengthy career were numerous, but special mention must be made of his role in During Barty’s Party, an episode of Beasts. The episode is merely a two hander between Bate and Elizabeth Sellars, as the grumpy married couple the Truscotts. A few others are heard off screen, or only by voice, but they are the only two faces we see. The threat is conveyed only by the sound effects of scraping, and the actors frightened reactions, and yet it remains one of the most unnerving pieces of TV I have ever seen. Credit must be given to Nigel Kneale’s fine script, to the wonderful production crew’s effort, but also to the two wonderful actors who keep us in hoc to their plight all the way along.
19th June – Richard Lynch, 72
Actor best known for his roles in Battlestar Gallactica.
19th June – Sir Michael Palliser, 90
“The last occasion I saw Palliser was at a Foreign Office reception in the Locarno Room some years after he retired. He came up to me and volunteered, "one of my regrets is that when I became Permanent Under-Secretary in 1975 I did not delve more deeply into the British Indian ocean territory position and the rights of the Chagosians [who were forcibly removed from Diego Garcia to make way for a US/UK military base]. I just took on trust what Eleanor Emery [head of the Pacific department from 1969-73] and Sir Bruce Greatbatch [Governor of the Seychelles] told me about the Chagosians, that they were not 'belongers' and therefore had no rights to return to their ancestral atolls. I should have focussed on the issue." Palliser was one of the few senior British diplomats who did not accept the wishes of Washington being paramount in determining British policy.”
Acclaimed British diplomat, who rose up the ranks, serving as Prime Ministers private secretary, ambassador, special adviser and head of the diplomatic service.
“When Palliser arrived in Paris in 1969, Anglo-French relations were in a trough following the row that had erupted over General Charles de Gaulle's attempt to draw Britain into a relationship short of membership of the European Economic Community. But the unexpected departure of De Gaulle in 1969 soon changed all that, as his successor as president, Georges Pompidou, recognised that a determined Britain could not be kept out for ever. Thereafter, Soames and Palliser worked to rebuild a strong Anglo-French understanding, and to lay the foundations for Britain's third-time – and successful – attempt to enter the EEC.”
David Hannay, Guardian
“It was natural, but nevertheless a huge jump, for Palliser to be appointed in 1971 to prepare to take over as Britain's first permanent representative to the European Communities when accession came at the beginning of 1973, the year in which he was knighted. His task was to build up what was a tiny observer mission into one of Britain's largest overseas posts, a microcosm of Whitehall, with more than half of its officials seconded from departments other than the Foreign Office. This Palliser did with great skill and tact, overcoming the reluctance of many in Whitehall who had no wish to part with their brightest officials to deal with an organisation of which they had hitherto hardly been aware, and of which many of them harboured deep suspicion.”
David Hannay, Guardian
“The soul of professional discretion while head of the Diplomatic Service, he felt free in later life to describe Enoch Powell as "mad". He also recalled that when George Brown was Foreign Secretary officials would attempt to limit his drinking by hiding the key of the ministerial drinks cabinet. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given their diametrically opposed views on Europe, his relationship with Margaret Thatcher, was difficult. He described her as "immensely obstinate"; she blamed his Foreign Office for helping bring about the Falklands War.”
21st June – Ramaz Shengelia, 55
A fine footballer, embedded on the minds of every Scotland fan. For it was he who took advantage of Alan Hansen’s nightmare foul up in the crucial Scotland v USSR World Cup 1982 match, and scored to make it 2-1, a goal which wound up fatal for the Scots chances of qualifying. Dagger in our hearts as it was, there was no deny it was a cool finish from a fine player, who died at a stupid young age this past June.
23rd June – Alan McDonald, 48
Footballer who won over fifty caps for Northern Ireland, represented them at the 1986 World Cup, and was loyal to QPR for sixteen seasons.
24th June – Mike Roque, 23
(The victorious Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas with the mentioned tribute shirt, which also references Preciado remembered above.)
Former Liverpool youth player, who later played for Betis in his homeland of Spain before coming down with the cancer which he fought long against before his untimely death. He was paid tribute to by some of his former team mates after Spain won the European Championship final in July.
24th June – James Grout, 84
Dependable. Be he the villain, or Morse’s boss, James Grout was an actor to watch. In the animated Shakespeare series, he provided the voice of Catesby in Richard III, one of my favourite plays. He was Mr Olliphant, the older judge, in several episodes of Rumpole. He also had the running role of Granville Bennett, one of James Herriots colleagues in All Creatures Great and Small. The Biederbecke Affair was another classic he had an acting role in, as was The Box of Delights (as the Inspector) and Yes Minister (as the party whip in the Christmas special where Jim Hacker becomes PM!). As Peter Davison’s mentor of sorts on the university council in A Very Peculiar Practice, Grout got to play a more eccentric (but equally as important, and strong convicted) role. His roles were often fully believable, you could understand the motivations of them, even if you weren’t always compliant to agree with them. Like the actor John Woodvine of the same generation, his natural authority brought with it the role of understanding but firm boss.
26th June – Nora Ephron, 71
Hollywood script writer, best known for When Harry Met Sally.
28th June – Richard Isay, 77
A brave man who fought for the rights of the LGBT community. A gay man himself, Isay’s writing was fundamental in changing the ideas around homosexuality in the psychiatric community. It was thanks to him being gay became seen officially as something one is born with, and not an illness that must be cured.
“He changed the way the psychoanalytic world viewed the subject of homosexuality. He was a pioneer, a very brave man. He was attacked by psychoanalysts. He took a lot of flak.”
Dr Jack Drescher
“In 1992, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, he threatened a lawsuit to force the association to promise not to discriminate against gay people. The group relented, issuing position statements that it would not discriminate in training, hiring or promoting analysts. It also formed committees to educate member institutions on its changed policies. “
New York Times
“William Rubenstein wrote that Isay’s contributions went far beyond this case, citing his “pioneering books attempting to make sense of the particular psychological dilemma gay men confront” and his service “as an analyst, counselor, and mentor for countless gay people in his every-day practice. His many efforts helped lay the groundwork for the advances in social acceptance of LGBT people in the past decades. As importantly, Richard’s work gave dignity to our struggle and helped ameliorate the suffering so many gay people unnecessarily experience.”
30th June – Yitzhak Shamir, 96
4th July – Eric Sykes, 89
Wonderful comic, able to mix the fine physical comedy of Marty Feldman and the spot on language nuances of Eric Sykes, in a single body able to make comments as precise as Milligan on the state of the world. Not for nothing was he beloved by successive generations, from his early shows in the era of the Goons (to whom he was closely linked) to modern day children brought up by his narration of the Tellytubbies or his small role in The Goblet of Fire. As writer for some of the finest comic minds Britain ever saw (all of the Goons, Tommy Cooper, Tony Hancock...) or for himself, he was one of Britain’s finest wits.
8th July – Ernest Borgnine, 95
An actor fine enough to beat Spencer Tracy to an Oscar for best actor. The role was in Marty, and it won out over Tracy’s tour de force in Bad Day at Black Rock, a film which also starred Borgnine, as a villain. Borgnine’ career spanned nine decades, and took in everything from Hollywood classics to cult TV to The Simpsons. Indeed, it was his appearance in The Simpsons that led me and Cat to appreciating him from an early age, as he appeared in one of the finer early episodes. (The one where Bart joins the Boy Scouts, and he and Homer wind up adrift at sea with Ned Flanders and Rod. A story with sarcastic dolphins, Ernest Borgnine gleefully taking the piss out of himself, and a Friday the 13th/Deliverance pastiche. What’s not to love?)
11th July - Joe McBride, 74
Prolific football player of the 1960s, who never saw a net he didn’t score in. And often more than once. 82 league goals (at a rate of less than 1 every 2 games) in five years for Partick Thistle and Motherwell saw him join forces with Jock Stein’s men in 1965. He was top scorer in the 1965/66 season with thirty one goals, despite missing a sizeable chunk of the year to injury. He started the 1966/7 season in similar form, but suffered a nasty injury near Christmas, and so missed out on the European Cup final win.
13th July – Richard D Zanuck, 77
Film producer, who won the Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy in 1989, but was also responsible for film classics such as The Sound of Music, Jaws and MacArthur, as well as the enjoyable Deep Impact and missed opportunity Reign of Fire. In later years, he struck up a partnership with Tim Burton, producing Big Fish onwards, his last Burton credit being this years Dark Shadows film.
15th July – Celeste Holm, 95
Not the most surprising loss this year, as I had feared a fire in the block of apartments where the infirm Celeste (who had had cancer, lung issues and various other medical conditions) was house bound in June might not have been the best for someone in her condition. That besides, it is sad to see the passing of one of the growing few members of Old Hollywood, those legends of film 1950s and before, who once were more stars than in the heavens, and now increasingly twinkle from the great beyond. Her role in All About Eve is the one that springs most commonly to mind.
16th July – Kitty Wells, 92
American country singer, she was inducted in the Country Hall of Fame.
16th July – Jon Lord, 71
I’ve never made much secret of my love for Deep Purple. Shim once bemoaned that people often profess their love for the band, yet only know Smoke on the Water, that track known even by dolphins. “Aha” I said, “My favourite track is Perfect Strangers!” To which my best friend swiftly told me I didn’t count! Like ECW and Metallica, pro-wrestling was my introduction to Deep Purple, as the simply awful in all other ways wrestler Shane Douglas used Perfect Strangers as his entrance theme. It’s got a great riff, and when I went to find it online, I found that the WCW theme was in fact a low budget rip off of a real song. So I gave them a listen...
Jon Lord formed Deep Purple in 1967 with Ritchie Blackmore. A fine keyboardist whose method was to provide a sound board for Purple, Lord was not a keen singer. The cover of Hush was, in fact, a rare chance to hear Lord on vocals. On most of their known tracks (take for example, the easily hummed Black Night) Ian Gillan sings.
Lord left Deep Purple in 1976, joining Whitesnake for a six year period before later rejoining Deep Purple in the mid-80s.
"His contribution to music and to classic rock was immeasurable and I will miss him terribly."
“From the outset, Lord – systematically avoiding using the Moog synthesizer so in vogue with many of his contemporaries – saw Deep Purple as a vehicle for his ideas for fusing classical and rock. There were plenty of classical references on the albums The Book Of Taliesyn (1968) and Deep Purple (1969); and his synthesis of genres came to even greater fruition in 1969 with Concerto for Group and Orchestra, a landmark work performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall with the RPO conducted by Malcolm Arnold.”
“Perfect Strangers pretty much wrote itself. It was so glorious, because it was great to be back together after being apart for so many years. We had grins from ear to ear. Then we did the Perfect Stranger tour and we were second in ticket sales to Bruce Springsteen. Then the management and record company said, “It’s time to do the next album, guys.” We made the massive mistake of trying to make our music current. We discovered that people didn’t want us to that. They wanted us to do what we do best. We’re Deep Purple-loud, proud, pure and simple.”
Jon Lord, Highway Star interview
“They say never meet your heroes, but they weren’t talking about Jon Lord. He was an extraordinary talent who has left us a wealth of music that is both important and inspirational. For this much we can be grateful, but the world is a poorer place for his passing and I am very saddened by it.”
(All quotes come from cited sources, pictures come from public domain sources as best as the author is aware, and videos from YouTube users...)