Friday, 26 December 2014

2014 Memoriams July and August

2nd July 2014 – Louis Zamperini, 97

Olympian and WW2 POW.

“In June 1943, Anthony and Louise Zamperini, at home in Torrance, Calif., received the following message regarding their son: “In grateful memory of First Lieutenant Louis S. Zamperini, A.S. No. 0-663341, who died in the service of his country in the Central Pacific Area.” The message continued: “He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live, and grow, and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives — in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.” It was signed, “Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States.” Unknown to the military, Lieutenant Zamperini and the others were still adrift at sea, though Sergeant McNamara had died after 33 days. Lieutenant Zamperini and Second Lieutenant Phillips were eventually captured by the Japanese. Then came more suffering as the men were shuttled from one prison to another. For a time Mr. Zamperini was in the brutal hands of Mutsuhiro Watanabe, a camp sergeant who was later classified as a war criminal but evaded prosecution.” Ira Berkow, New York Times

His near fifty days on the raft were rejected due compensation due to the army classifying it “unauthorised travel”.

5th July 2014 – Heniz-Ulrich Wehler, 82

German historian.

5th July 2014 – Imogen Bain, 55

Actress who appeared as one of the Slitheen in the Sarah Jane Adventures.

5th July 2014 – Rosemary Murphy, 89

American actress who was in To Kill a Mockingbird.

5th July 2014 – Elenor Gordon, 80

Scottish swimmer who won the first medal for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games.

6th July 2014 – Dave Legeno, 50

Actor who had appeared in the Harry Potter films as Greyback.

7th July 2014 – Anthony smith, 88


“In 1962 Smith took three months off to fly his hydrogen balloon, Jambo, across Africa for “The Sunday Telegraph Balloon Safari”. Fellow explorer and author Douglas Botting and the film maker Alan Root joined him on a flight from Zanzibar across northern Tanganyika, over the Ngorongoro Crater, where they were reported to have “come down quickly with a loud bang”. In his account (Throw Out Two Hands, 1963) Smith also described how they narrowly avoided being killed when the balloon flew into an enormous thunder cloud. Smith’s African escapade fuelled a passion for ballooning. The following year he made his landmark crossing of the Alps, and in 1965 founded — with the aviatrix Sheila Scott — the British Balloon and Airship Club, of which he was president until his death. He worked on airship sequences for the films Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1967) and Superman II (1980) and became the proud owner of a three-seater gas airship, the Santos Dumont.
Telegraph obit

A presenter on Tommorow’s World, Smith wrote the science book The Body which was the basis for Robert Winston’s TV series.

“Smith sailed across the Atlantic on a sail-powered raft. He was in his eighties. The voyage led people to question his sanity. “Other people use that word, mad, all the time,” he said after his crossing. “But I was determined. So I just went ahead and did it.” Smith’s five children, he said, were not “totally co-operative.” His raft was named Antiki, a reference to Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki, which made a celebrated voyage across the Pacific in 1947. Crew members were recruited through an advertisement seeking older people who were “serious adventurers only.” Smith and his crew of three – Andrew Bainbridge, David Hildred and John Russell, none younger than 56 – set sail from the Canaries on 30 January 2011. No great sailing skill was demanded on the Antiki, which measured about 20 by 40 feet and rested on an array of plastic pipes. The raft had no motor and was powered by a single sail. “You don’t have to do much,” Smith said of navigating. “The wind and the current take you.” In the first week the raft’s two rudders broke. After about three weeks the supply of fresh food was gone. In 10 weeks the wind and current took Smith from the Canary Islands, off the African coast, to the Caribbean island of St Martin, which he reached on 6 April after more than two months at sea.
Martin Weil, Independent obit

7th July 2014 – Dick Jones, 87

Actor who was the voice of Pinocchio.

7th July 2014 – Alfredo di Stefano, 88

One of those with the shout for being the greatest footballer of all time. Di Stefano won Five European Cups with Real Madrid.

“Real Madrid wanted him and agreed a fee with Millonarios, but so did their bitter rivals Barcelona, who tried to outflank Madrid by agreeing a transfer with his former club River Plate, who still held Di Stéfano's official registration, claiming his move to Colombia had been illegal. He eventually signed for Barcelona but the Spanish football federation failed to recognise the transfer and, in a Solomonic judgment, decreed that the two clubs share him and he play alternate seasons for each. Crucially, however – and the Catalan club claimed, with Francoist backing – the federation gave Real first bite. When Di Stéfano started his first season slowly, Barcelona were persuaded to sell their rights to the player – a decision they would regret. Four days later he scored a hat-trick against Barcelona, and that was just the start. In just 30 games that 1953-54 season he scored 27 goals, leading Real to the Spanish championship for the first time in 21 years and sparking an unprecedented era of domestic and European domination. In 11 seasons at Real he won eight Spanish titles (he scored 218 goals in 282 games and was the league's top scorer in four seasons straight); five consecutive European Cups (scoring in all five finals); the inaugural Intercontinental Cup in 1960, played between the European and South American champions; and was named European Footballer of the Year in 1957 and 1959.” Brian Glanville, Guardian obit

9th July 2014 – Ken Thorne, 90

Oscar winning composer.

“Thorne won an Oscar for scoring the 1966 musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and earned a Grammy nomination for writing the incidental score to the 1965 Beatles film Help! He went on to receive an Emmy nomination for the 1995 CBS TV movie A Season of Hope. Thorne was born in England and lived in West Hills, California. He began playing piano at age five and was a professional musician by 15. His other credits include Superman II, Superman III and The Monkees' comedy Head.” Aaron Couch, Hollywood Reporter

10th July 2014 – Zohra Sehgal, 102

Indian actress.

10th July 2014 – Curt Gentry, 83

Author of Helter Skelter, the book that went into the Charles Manson murders.

“Mr. Gentry had written books about California history and culture when he teamed with Mr. Bugliosi, who as a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles had prosecuted the Manson case, among the most sensational of the 20th century. Mr. Manson and his followers were accused of the gruesome murders of seven people, including the actress Sharon Tate, the wife of the director Roman Polanski, over less than 48 hours in Los Angeles in August 1969. As the prosecutor, Mr. Bugliosi was in a position to deliver an authoritative, exclusive account. He provided the facts and the documentation; Mr. Gentry, the driving narrative. The book’s title was taken from words written in blood at one of the crime scenes, a reference to the title of a 1968 Beatles song that had resonated with Mr. Manson. He and his followers were convicted; Mr. Manson, now 79, remains in prison. The book became one of the best-selling titles of the 1970s, helping to elevate true-crime narratives into the mainstream. In 1975, it won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for best fact crime book.”
William Yardley, New York Times obit

11th July 2014 – Tommy Ramone, 62

Last surviving member of the punk band The Ramones.

11th July 2014 – Ray Lonnen, 74

Actor best known for the title role in Harry’s Game.

“He auditioned unsuccessfully for the role of Mike Baldwin in Coronation Street in 1976, but two years on won a leading role in YTV's espionage thriller, The Sandbaggers (1978-80). These were wonder years for Yorkshire Television's drama department, which was headed by the skilful David Cunliffe, and The Sandbaggers was one of their most accomplished successes. Staggeringly bleak and playing no favourites when it came to bumping off leading characters, the series was dubbed "the best spy series in television history" by the New York Times in 2003. It also left ripples of unease after the alleged vetoing of one episode and also the inexplicable disappearance of its creator, Ian Mackintosh. The series led directly to Lonnen being cast in Harry's Game. Beautifully gilded by the lamenting theme music courtesy of Clannad, it was a mature, poignant thriller, every promise of violence and every growling pursuit misting over with a sense of sadness at the perpetual stalemate of the conflict, and it deservedly won the Golden Leopard's Eye at the Locarno International Film Festival.”
Simon Farquhar, Independent obit

Thoughts from Toby Hadoke on Ray Lonnen, with a link to his interview with Ray and his wife conducted in 2013.

13th July 2014 – Nadine Gordimer, 90

1991 Nobel Prize in Literature winner.

15th July 2014 – John Milne, 72

Newsnight and Reporting Scotland presenter.

17th July 2014 – Joep Lange, 60

World authority in HIV treatment.

17th July 2014 – Elaine Stritch, 89

Actress known for Two’s Company. She also had roles in 30 Rock, The Ellen Burstyn Show and A Farewell to Arms. She read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for Jackanory, and was the eponymous Mary in the Tales of the Unexpected adaption of Roald Dahl’s William and Mary.  She was as big a story on Broadway.

19th July 2014 – James Garner, 86

Actor best known for The Rockford Files and 8 Simple Rules. He was also in The Great Escape.

21st July 2014 – Stewart Hillis, 70

Scotland football team doctor.

21st July 2014 – Lettice Curtis, 99

Female WW2 pilot.

“With a small group of other young women, she began by flying light training and communications aircraft at Hatfield. She soon graduated to more advanced trainers and also the twin-engined Oxford. ATA pilots often flew alone and with no navigation aids — they had to rely almost entirely on map reading as they ferried aircraft from factories and airfields to RAF units around the United Kingdom. Weather conditions were often difficult. Until the spring of 1941 there was a government ruling that women could not fly operational aircraft, but everything changed that summer. Without any extra tuition, and just a printed preflight checklist, Lettice Curtis ferried a Hurricane to Prestwick. Soon she was flying the fighter regularly, and it was not long before she was also delivering Spitfires to frontline squadrons. In September 1941 the role of women pilots was extended further, and Lettice Curtis quickly graduated to the more advanced aircraft, ferrying light bombers such as the Blenheim and the Hampden. She then converted to the even more demanding Wellington, later observing: “Before flying [the Wellington] it was simply a question of reading Pilot’s Notes.”
Telegraph obit

“Curtis did, eventually, pass her test flight but, while backed by the chief test pilot, did not get the job, since "all hell broke loose". Instead she was appointed as a flight-test observer, work that extended into tropical aircraft testing and an intercontinental mission, co-piloting a Lincoln bomber to the missile-testing station in Woomera, Australia. From 1953 into the 1960s she was employed, briefly, by Folland and then Fairey Aviation before joining the Civil Aviation Authority, where she stayed until 1976.In August 1948, flying a Spitfire XI, Curtis set an international women's record for the 100km closed circuit at the Lympne handicap. Forty-four years later she qualified to fly helicopters. She gave up flying in 1995. In 1998 she helped unveil a memorial to the women's air services at Elvington, Yorkshire, and in 1999 featured in Forgotten Pilots, a BBC2 documentary.” Nigel Fountain, Guardian obit

“Having met her on several occasions there is no doubt that the aviation world has lost a true character, both inspiring, as well as a formidable pilot. She knew and mixed with many of the legends, such as Yorkshire born Amy Johnson, and her wartime service was without doubt an immense contribution to Britain’s war effort. She was amongst the most courageous of pilots and the Museum and Memorial is  very proud to have had a long association with Lettice and wish her family our deepest condolences.” Ian Reed, Yorkshire Air Museum director

23rd July 2014 – Dora Bryan, 91

Actress. Appearing in the Tony Richardson adaptation of A Taste of Honey, for which she won a BAFTA for Best Actress, Bryan had a perma-career on stage, tv and film for much of the rest of her life.  She appeared as Ros Utterthwaite in Last of the Summer Wine, until poor health forced her to step down in 2005.

25th July 2014 – Bel Kaufman, 103

Author of Up the Down Staircase.

28th July 2014 – Sally Farmiloe, 60

Actress in Howard’s End.

30th July 2014 – Dick Smith, 92

Film make up artist who worked on Amadeus (for which he won an Oscar) and The Exorcist.

30th July 2014 – Sir Peter Hal, 82

Urban town planner.

“The special adviser on strategic planning (1991–94) to the environment secretary Michael Heseltine, he helped shape the vision of the East Thames Corridor (later Thames Gateway) and Channel Tunnel rail link (now HS1). Peter was a somewhat dissident member of John Prescott's Urban Task Force (1998–99), being uncomfortable with his colleagues' enthusiasm for the dense developments referred to by some as "town cramming". He was also a member of the expert advisory committee to the review of the planning system headed by the economist Kate Barker (2006) and the Eco-Towns Challenge Panel (2008). In 2009, he co-authored a report on future train stations for the transport secretary, and launched Sintropher, a five-year, €22m (£17.4m), transnational EU programme bringing together five regions in north-west Europe to promote new transport technologies, particularly for tram, train and air intermodal transfer, to assist regional development. His vision of clusters of existing towns and new garden cities to form new dynamic city regions in the north-west, the Midlands and the south-east of England won his team a commendation in the Wolfson economics prize competition in May 2014.”
David Lock, Guardian obit

31st July 2014 – Kenny Ireland, 68

Actor who appeared in House of Cards and Benidorn.

1st August 2014 – Mike Smith, 59

TV presenter. He presented Top of the Pops and Live Aid, and appeared in Ghost Watch.

“However, Smith was confident enough to apply for the role of BBC1 controller of programmes in 1993, only to be told that the corporation was looking for someone with management experience. He did eventually give up presenting and, in 2003, launched his own business venture, Flying TV, which provides aerial filming for producers. This included coverage of such events as the Boat Race and the Red Arrows at the British Grand Prix for the BBC. When not at his desk as managing director, he would fly helicopters or shoot material himself. An experienced pilot, he and his then girlfriend, the former Blue Peter presenter Sarah Greene, survived a helicopter crash in 1988 that left him with a broken back and ankle, and her with both legs and an arm broken. A year later, the couple married.”
Anthony Hayward, Guardian obit

3rd August 2014 – Charles Simeons, 93

Tory MP and pollution expert.

“Simeons became an advocate of heavier lorries on Britain’s roads after crossing Europe as an unpaid driver’s mate. He concluded: “The government and MPs are too emotional about the problem. Nothing is going to stop the amount of cargo carried by road from getting bigger and bigger. Smaller lorries mean more vehicles, more congestion and more accidents.” While in the Commons, Simeons had taken consultancies with a couple of environmental services companies, and he now expanded this interest. His core business was chemical spills and water pollution, preparing technical programmes for conferences in London and Washington. He wrote several standard textbooks on chemical incidents. He chaired Rotary International’s advisory board on environmental research, was vice-president of the National Industrial Material Recovery Association, joined the international committee of the Water Pollution Control Federation and served on customer committees for the Anglian and Thames water areas. He also chaired fundraising committees for cancer research and children at risk from domestic violence, and the Action Learning Trust.” Telegraph obit

4th August 2014 – James Brady, 73

Press Secretary to Ronald Reagan who was shot in the assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981.

5th August 2014 – Marilyn Burns, 65

Actress who starred in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

5th August 2014 – Chapman Pincher, 100

Legendary spy catching journalist.

“His hard-edged clarity about where he stood in the British order, politically and socially, sat awkwardly beside the ambiguities of the secret world that became his stock in trade. But Pincher had a unique flair for the big scoop to be gained from top contacts in the worlds of science, defence and espionage. Sometimes these came from lunches at a French restaurant in Jermyn Street, in St James's, and he had a love of field sports – shooting and fishing – that he genuinely shared with those on whom he depended for hints and information. He was content to milk a far cosier relationship with "the establishment" than would suit many journalists. He found that politicians from Harold Macmillan downwards, and top civil servants, were more inclined to unbutton secrets when eating grouse than when playing their public roles in London, especially if they knew they were talking to a man who would sit on a story if they wanted him to. He knew he would be first in line if they changed their minds.”
Dennis Barker, Guardian obit

“His scientific training led him to the Rocket Division of the Ministry of Supply, but he remained a soldier until 1946 and was still in uniform when he joined the Daily Express as defence, science and medical editor. He soon caught Lord Beaverbrook’s eye, and the Old Man, feeling his years upon him, sent Pincher chasing round Europe to investigate a variety of methods to ward off old age and death. Beaverbrook believed in God, but was markedly reluctant to meet Him. Pincher, despite his failure in this quest, blossomed in the sunshine of the Beaver’s favour. He treated his subjects, previously regarded as being of specialist interest only, as being full of news. Assiduously cultivating those young experts with whom he had served, and who were now heading for the top in their various fields, he was able to tap into their world. He never lost that ability. He acquired his stories not in Fleet Street pubs or from ministry handouts but on the grouse moors and the dry-fly rivers where his companions were the experts and the makers of policy. He was candid about his pursuit of the leak: “I took up shooting, which has been a marvellous introduction to high-level people who know things.”
Telegraph obit

“His most controversial book - Their Trade is Treachery - put forward the case in 1981 that former MI5 head Sir Roger Hollis had been a Soviet spy and infuriated then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher by cataloguing the apparent blunders of the security service. His efforts to unmask Cold War Soviet agents, including the Cambridge Five, earned him his “Lone Wolf” moniker. While rarely forgetting the value of placing himself at the centre at the centre of his myriad exclusives, Pincher nonetheless achieved the ultimate journalistic accolade of having his success at getting up the noses of the powerful officially recognised. As well as converting his relationship with Mrs Thatcher from friendship to “stony stares” with his 1981 book, he had previously earned the disfavour of Harold Macmillan who wrote a personal minute - marked "secret" - to his defence secretary in May 1959 after yet another Pincher revelation. The exasperated prime minister wrote: “I do not understand how the Express alone of all the newspapers has got the exact decision that we reached at the Cabinet last Thursday on space. Can nothing be done to suppress or get rid of Mr Chapman Pincher? I am getting very concerned about how well informed he always seems to be on defence matters.” Pincher, who had a copy of the memo placed strategically in the downstairs toilet of his Berkshire home, took considerable pleasure from his status as a thorn in the side of the nation’s highest elected representatives.” Cahal Milmo, Independent obit

Whilst a thorn in the side of Harold Wilson (he was a colleague of Peter Wright, and while lacking Wrights steadfast belief Wilson was a Soviet spy, he was, at the very least, interested in there being a story there) he managed to break the story that Wilson’s rooms were bugged by M15!  (Admittedly, this probably didn’t help the Wilson paranoia any!) Both of them were in fact, and when the intelligence men went to remove their own equipment, they found the KGBs listening devices too!

“"I won't take a day off because it's a use-it-or-lose-it situation at my age and you lose it quickly. I intend to die in the harness, like the old war-horse. I've got this bug, you see, of wanting to know everything there is to know about the spy world.” Chapman Pincher, Independent interview in 2013

7th August 2014 – Michael Kerrigan, 61

TV director, who helmed the Dr Who episode Battlefield. Kerrigan was also a reccuring hand at direction on Coronation Street, The Basil Brush Show and the Famous Five. He had returned to the Doctor Who fold in the 21st Century, directing four episodes of the Sarah Jane Adventures.

10th August 2014 – Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw, 101

“[Japan] confirmed my experience that the attitude toward mathematics, of parents, teachers and the general populace, is of critical importance, and that (given good class discipline) the mathematical competence and enthusiasm of the teachers matters more than the size of classes.” Kathleen Ollerenshaw

Educationists.  Having become deaf in childhood, Ollerenshaw overcame that to be a strong advocate for special needs childrens teaching. One of the UK’s best mathematicians, she advised on education policy to Margaret Thatcher. She also served as Mayor of Manchester in the 1970s.

“One of the first mathematicians to solve the Rubik’s Cube (her efforts resulted in her having to undergo an operation for “cubist’s thumb”), Dame Kathleen published her Rubik’s Cube paper in 1980. To solve the puzzle in 80 moves, she said, you did the bottom face first, then the top corners, then the middle slice edges and finally the top edges. She went on to study the theory of magic squares — in which the numbers 1 to 16 are arranged in a 4x4 array so that the sum of each row, each column and the two diagonals add to the same. With the cosmologist Herman Bondi she verified 17th-century calculations that there were exactly 800 different such squares, and in 2006 she published Constructing Magic Squares of Arbitrarily Large Size.” Telegraph obit

“She lectured on mathematics all over the country, making a special effort to cater for children, with whom she developed a rapport. Over 20 years she became increasingly involved in education – including working on the governing bodies of Manchester grammar school, Manchester high school for girls and with the Association of Governing Bodies of Girls' Public Schools. Kathleen's books based on her experiences in education included Education of Girls (1958), Education for Girls (1961) and Returning to Teaching (1974). She was made a dame in 1971 for her services to education and became a prime mover in the creation of the Royal Northern College of Music in 1973. In the 80s she was invited to become an adviser on education matters to Margaret Thatcher's government.” Norman Clarke, Guardian obit

“Notable among her many achievements was the creation, in 1970, of Manchester Polytechnic. While she was serving as chairman of the Further Education Committee she united under one academic umbrella Manchester College of Art and Design, the College of Commerce and John Dalton College of Technology, to create the largest of the 30 new polytechnics then bursting into life. Leading the organisation in its early years, what is now Manchester Metropolitan University today bears remarkable testimony to her foresight and creative vision.”
Kenneth Shenton, Independent obit

Manchester Uni continue a series of lectures named in her honour.

“She was particularly interested in math education and post-school education. She was also a member of the city council's finance committee, the first and only woman member for many years, and deputy chairman from 1968-1971. From 1958 to 1967, Ollerenshaw was chairman of the Association of Governing Bodies of Girls' Public Schools. She wrote two books and many articles in defense of schools for girls and girls' education in general. From 1967 to 1971, she served as chairman of the education committee of the Association of Municipal Corporations, and thus was often called upon to provide information and advice about educational matters to members of Parliament. “ Larry Riddle, Agnes Scott College

Having been a colleague and friend of Alan Turing, she used her time as a Tory councillor to open the first LGBT centre in Manchester.

11th August 2014 – Robin Williams, 63

US comic who starred in several of the biggest kids films of the 90s – Hook, Mrs Doubtfire, Jumanji, Flubber, Aladdin. He had been a stand up comic of renown, and went on to a string of acclaimed serious roles.

“Williams came to Hollywood prominence in the late 1970s with his starring role in "Mork & Mindy," a spinoff of the then-popular "Happy Days."The comedy, about an alien baffled by the ways of Earth, played off the contrast between how the extraterrestrial Mork viewed the world and how the world really worked. With catch phrases such as "Na-nu-na-nu," Williams' character embodied a kind of nerd-sexiness that was more than a quarter-century ahead of its time. After the show went off the air in 1982, Williams' reputation for rapid-fire impersonations — not to mention a seemingly endless talent for comic improvisation — landed him a number of high-profile stand-up comedy specials as well as numerous film roles. In "Good Morning, Vietnam" (1987) he played a disc jockey who ruffled feathers with his truth-spewing, quip-cracking ways, while in the animated "Aladdin" (1992), he single-handedly invented the full-bodied voice role as the silver-tongued Genie.” Steve Chawkins and Steven Zeitchik, LA Times

Williams was known for his great generosity off screen. The number of fans he met, or tried to help, were numerous. He met my sister, an aspiring actress, a few years back and gave her lots of advice and support. He heard of a fan dying of cystic fibrosis who had asked to meet him via Make a Wish but the studio had veto’d it, only for him to cancel his schedule for the week and move in with them for a bit. He paid for all of Christopher Reeves medical bills after his accident, and helped support Reeves childrens after his wife died of cancer soon after his own death.

“Mr. Williams’s acting career reached a new height in 1987 with his performance in Barry Levinson’s film “Good Morning, Vietnam,” in which he played Adrian Cronauer, a nonconformist Armed Forces Radio host working in Saigon in the 1960s. It earned Mr. Williams his first Oscar nomination. He earned another, two years later, for “Dead Poets Society,” directed by Peter Weir and released in 1989, in which he played an unconventional English teacher at a 1950s boarding school who inspires his students to tear up their textbooks and seize the day. (Or, as Mr. Williams’s character famously put it in the original Latin, “Carpe diem.”) But Mr. Williams continued to keep audiences guessing. In addition to his Oscar-winning role in “Good Will Hunting,” which saw him play a gently humorous therapist, his résumé included roles as a villainous crime writer in “Insomnia,” Christopher Nolan’s 2002 thriller; Teddy Roosevelt in the “Night at the Museum” movies; and Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 2013 drama “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” Mr. Williams made his acting debut on Broadway in 2011 in “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” a play written by Rajiv Joseph and set amid the American invasion of Iraq. (He had starred with Steve Martin in an Off Broadway production of “Waiting for Godot” in 1988.) In 2013, Mr. Williams returned to series television in “The Crazy Ones,” a CBS comedy that cast him as an idiosyncratic advertising executive, but it was canceled after one season.” Dave Itzkoff, New York TImes

A sign of his international adoration was shown in one of the more bizarre social media moments of the year, when ISIS fighters (and other groups of that sort) took to Twitter briefly to hashtag #RIPRobinWilliams and talk of Jumanji. This led to an incident in which a member of ISIS refused to give an interview as the interviewer was more interested in the chaps movie tastes than jihad news. It truly is a small world. You’d get the impression Robin would have loved that.

12th August 2014 – Lauren Bacall, 89

“Legends are all to do with the past and nothing to do with the present."
Lauren Bacall

“Stardom isn’t a profession, it’s an accident.”
Lauren Bacall

Golden Age actress who was in The Big Sleep. She was also in Key Largo, Murder on the Orient Express and Appointment with Death.

“The heroine she could have been onscreen was seen for the last time in an unpretentious British adventure, North West Frontier (1959): her governess, boarding a trainload of corpses to retrieve a live baby, has a warmth and strength still not often allowed women in the movies. And certainly not Bacall thereafter. "Film is not a woman's medium," she wrote: "If you weren't the hottest kid in town, men stayed away from you." She was a mere 42 when she took a cameo as a jaded California invalid in the noir-lite Harper (1966), and most of her subsequent film turns exhibited her as a matron – sometimes amiable (James Caan's literary agent in Misery, 1990, John Wayne's landlady in The Shootist, 1976), more often monstrous – a tragedienne disguised as a parvenu in Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Barbra Streisand's mother – less of a dinosaur than the daughter – in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), for which she won a Golden Globe as best supporting actress.” Veronica Horwell, Guardian obit

Bacall wryly admitted that every obit would mention her marriage to Humphrey Bogart, and how her career was defined by it. So instead, we’ll leave that to everyone else, and mention it as a passing footnote at the end here.

12th August 2014 – Arlen Martel, 78

Actress who was T’Pring in a famous episode of Star Trek.

13th August 2014 – Laurence Mee, 63

Marine scientist.

16th August 2014 – Andy MacMillan, 85

Architect. Best known for St Peters Seminary at Cardross (in a parternship with the late Isi Metzstein), he was also responsible for several churches across the Clyde valley, and was consulted soon after the Glasgow School of Art fire.

“‘His effect on architectural education is however his greater legacy. He turned the Mac into a school of international importance where we, and the generations that followed, were taught how to draw, how to build beautifully and to think about both the social values and the symbolism of architecture.” Clare and Sandy Wright, Architects Journal

“‘In his writing and his broadcasting Andy embodied creativity, wit and irresistible spirit. He wrote on urban design, design method, architectural education, Glaswegian and Scottish Architecture and on Charles Rennie Macintosh. He was also the author and presenter of the series Six Scottish Burghs for Scottish Television demonstrating his easy erudition, charm and impish humour.  ‘With the death of Isi Metzstein in January 2012 and now that of Andy, European architecture has been robbed of a pair of its finest thinkers, teachers and practitioners. Like Isi, Andy was a wonderful explainer and interpreter of architecture, not only to architects but well beyond the architectural elite.”
Tony Chapman, Architects journal

17th August 2014 – 6th Earl Russell, 45

Hereditary peer who was in favour of abolition of the House of Lords and fought for disability rights.

18th August 2014 – Don Pardo, 96

American actor.

18th August 2014 – James Alexander Gordon, 78

The voice of the classified football results on the BBC for forty years.

18th August 2014 – Sam Galbraith 68

Scottish politician who was the Education secretary who helped passed through the abolition of Section 28 in Scotland, the law that prevented the teaching of homosexuality in schools, or even the consoling of young gay teens.

A skilled mountaineer and brain surgeon, Galbraith had survived a lung transplant in 1990, needed due to a hereditary condition. He was at time of death the longest surviving patient of such a transplant.

“He was elected MP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden in 1987, winning the seat, which included some of Scotland's leafiest suburbs, from the Conservatives. Two years later, he was diagnosed with fibrosing alveolitis and, with days to live, received a lung transplant at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, which continued to treat him magnificently until the end of his life. Ten hard years of opposition were scarcely suited to Sam's condition but he had his reward in 1997 when he became health minister in the Scottish Office under Donald Dewar. It was a time when the NHS, in Scotland as elsewhere, had suffered much uncertainty and Sam was the ideal man to affirm basic principles and restore morale through investment in hospitals and frontline services. He believed strongly in achieving best value for the NHS and was fearless in leading reorganisation where required. Good ministers, he often said, made unpopular decisions, rather than succumbing to local campaigns which tended to oppose change. He also drove policies aimed at improving health in deprived areas, through diet and lifestyle.” Brian Wilson, Guardian obit

"Sam Galbraith was a devoted and gifted politician whose commitment to improving the lives of others never wavered, even though he faced living with his own serious health condition for the best part of 25 years. My thoughts go to his family and friends at this sad and difficult time."
Alex Salmond, BBC

“[Section 28's repeal will] create a new climate of openness and tolerance that will ultimately benefit all our children. In the new Scotland, we must understand a little more and condemn a little less.”
Sam Galbraith, BBC, 2000

“Section 28 is a piece of legislation that has served only to legitimise intolerance.  Repealing it will remove prejudice and help teachers protect our young people from bullying based on their sexuality. It will help teachers to deal sensitively with the issues. There have been fears that removing Section 28 will allow our schools to be overrun with pornography. As a parent myself, I can reassure everyone in Scotland that this will not happen.  Systems are in place to prevent this happening and have worked well in the past. We are committed to reviewing the guidelines for schools before repeal takes effect to make sure they continue to work well.” Sam Galbraith, explaining in January 2000 why the law had to be abolished

19th August 2014 – Candida Lycett Green, 71

Author who was the daughter of John Betjeman.

“With Candida, you learned to expect the unexpected. If there is one word apart from ‘laughter’ and ‘beauty’ which I will always associate with her, it is ‘England’. It held her heart — she knew most miles of it and every unwrecked corner and wrote about it better than anyone, choosing her words with care and love. She inherited her eye and her devotion to the country from her father, John Betjeman, as she got her love of roaming free from her mother.”
Susan Hill, Spectator

19th August 2014 – Brian G Hutton, 79

Director of Kellys Heroes and When Eagles Dare.

21st August 2014 – Albert Reynolds, 81

Irish Taoiseach.  He was involved in the Northern Irish peace process.

“A one-time promoter of country music gigs who later ran a pet food manufacturer, Reynolds pledged that peace in Northern Ireland would be his priority when he was elected taoiseach in 1993. He famously said: "Who's afraid of peace?" when asked if he believed moves within the republican movement towards an IRA ceasefire were serious. Although he had a close working relationship with Major, Reynolds admitted that the two men "took lumps out of each other" during debates about the IRA and Sinn Féin's intentions towards the peace process. As taoiseach, Reynolds took further risks for peace by allowing a back channel to be established between his ministers, a Dublin trade unionist and loyalist paramilitaries in the hope that the latter would also follow the IRA towards a ceasefire in 1993-94.”
Henry McDonald, Guardian obit

21st August 2014 – Jean Redpath, 77


24th August 2014 – Richard Attenborough, 90

My sister, on learning of Lord Attenborough’s death.

“All these achievements indirectly gave him another, unofficial role – as the de facto patriarch of the British film industry, which he championed tirelessly. An accomplished ‘public man', in his element on committees, he served at various times as chairman, president or patron to some 30 bodies, including Unicef, Rada, and Channel 4. But significantly he was also a towering presence within the British Film Institute, Bafta and the National Film and Television School. To the public, he was for many years simply the face of British film. This coincided with a period when our film industry, in the doldrums, needed one. Attenborough was an ideal person for the task; for a man of modest height he had a big personality. He approached strangers and acquaintances alike with the same delighted, gap-toothed grin. He was not above playing the ham; in committees he sometimes resorted to advancing a cause by adopting grave tones and lapsing into speech patterns with cadences and dramatic pauses that were almost Shakespearean. All these attributes were useful when Margaret Thatcher agreed to a British film industry ‘summit’ at 10 Downing Street in 1990. At the time, it seemed almost impossible to get films financed here; Attenborough’s long-planned picture about Charlie Chaplin was among them. A deputation of film-makers outlined their problems, but it was Attenborough who made headlines, thanks to his exchange with Thatcher. “Why didn’t you come years ago?” she asked him. He allegedly replied: “Because I wasn’t asked, darling.” “
David Gritten, Telegraph

Actor who had early roles in In Which We Serve, before his break out role as Pinkie Brown in Brighton Rock. His CV of acting credits was secondary to none: Whistle Down the Wind, The Great Escape, Seance on a Wet Afternoon, Flight of the Pheonix, Loot, And Then There Were None (in which he was one of the films few saving graces), A Bridge Too Far, Jurassic Park, and the aforementioned Miracle on the 34th Street.

“Richard and his two younger brothers, David and John, were brought up with a sense of social responsibility. Their mother, Mary, was chair of a committee to care for evacuee Basque children during the Spanish civil war, and she marched in protest against the bombing of Guernica. On the outbreak of the second world war, the Attenboroughs took two Jewish girls into their home, where they stayed for eight years. "That particular decision, not merely paying lip service but taking positive, responsible action to help other human beings, made a profound impression on me. It has, I suppose, affected my life and my attitudes ever since," Attenborough wrote.”
Ronald Bergan, Guardian obit

In the 1960s, he was approached by the Indian consulate to direct a film of the life of Gandhi. To prepare to do the job justice, Attenborough took twenty years to learn the trade of direction, filming Oh What a Lovely War, Young Winston and A Bridge too Far in preparation. Following the multi-Oscar winning Gandhi, he went onto direct Chaplin and Shadowlands*. All of the above, acclaimed and great films. 

*Warning – DO not watch Shadowlands with my mum. She considers the story of CS Lewis’s doomed love with the American divorcee the saddest film ever made.

“He was knighted for his efforts in 1976. But he had become frustrated with acting, in which he only ever interpreted other people's work. He began producing films, then making them. "Becoming a director enabled me to do things I couldn't do as an actor," he said. He was a film-maker with a mission, believing popular cinema had a capacity to make the world a better place. His greatest achievement was his 1982 epic Gandhi, starring Ben Kingsley as the outsider hero whose moral courage and sense of purpose enabled him to change the world. Gandhi won eight Oscars, including best actor and best director. But it took Attenborough 20 years to raise the money to make it. He mortgaged his house, sold possessions and took roles in films he described as "terrible crap" to help pay for what became an obsession.”
BBC obit

He was also producer on a number of his works, as well as Bryan Forbes early masterpieces Whistle down the Wind and Seance on a Wet Afternoon.

“We can no longer do big family Christmases. We used to do 18 of us, with my brothers Johnny [who worked in the motor trade] and Dave [Sir David Attenborough, the natural history broadcaster] and their families. But now there are two empty chairs. The sense of there being two people missing is just too great. Instead Poppy and I go away for a few days on our own and when we want to cry we cry… It doesn't get better. The pain doesn't diminish. But what does happen is that you assemble armour, an ability to compartmentalise your grief, put it in a place that you can revisit when you choose. Also you learn to place it in juxtaposition with positive memories. We had 50 happy years with Jane, and 14 with Lucy. So you can suddenly recall joy. It is available. You just have to reach down into your memory to find it. I remember when Jinny, we called her Jinny, first visited the seaside. I remember the time we took her to see a Picasso exhibition. I may still weep, but the box of memory no longer seems empty. It is not just a terrible void.'”
Richard Attenborough, Telegraph interview, December 2007

A tour de force of a man, he never recovered from his loss of his eldest daughter and granddaughter in the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004. A long period of ill health followed a stroke in 2008, but, although they were both in poor health, Attenborough and his wife of sixty nine years (the actress Sheila Sim) were able to spend their last days together in a nursing home, their rooms next door to each other.

Don’t remember him for the final illness though, that tragic silencing of such a giant. Remember him as the villainous would be gangster in Brighton Rock. Remember him as the British officer planning The Great Escape, as the old grandfather who builds a dinosaur theme park, as the department store Santa (who might be the real deal) who performs his Santa act in sign language for the deaf girl.

“There are certain things, and they are evident, obviously, without being boring about it, but I mean obviously, the two evident and easy ones being Gandhi and Cry Freedom, there are things which I do care about very much and which I would like to stand up and be counted.” Richard Attenborough

25th August 2014 – William Greaves, 87

Director responsible for the unique film Symbiopyschotaxiplasm: Take One.

“Greaves (rhymes with “leaves”) gained national recognition as a co-host and later executive producer of “Black Journal,” a monthly hourlong National Educational Television newsmagazine that made its debut in 1968 in response to a call by the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders to expand coverage of black affairs. It was the only nationally telecast series devoted to black issues in the 1960s. “By the acid test of professional and perceptive journalism, ‘Black Journal’ has earned its rightful niche as a continuing and absorbing feature of television’s output,” the television critic Jack Gould wrote in The New York Times in 1969. “Mr. Greaves is simply covering a story that should be covered and covering it with distinction.” In 1970, “Black Journal” won an Emmy in the “magazine-type programming” category. Later that year, Mr. Greaves left the program to pursue projects developed by his own production company. (He was replaced by Tony Brown, and the program was later renamed “Tony Brown’s Journal.”) “The Fighters,” a feature-length documentary Mr. Greaves produced and directed about the 1971 Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight, was released theatrically in 1974. Writing in The Times, Vincent Canby called it “a first-rate film of its unprepossessing kind.” Mel Watkins, New York Times obit

“In his one-of-a-kind fiction/documentary hybrid Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One, director William Greaves presides over a beleaguered film crew in New York’s Central Park, leaving them to try to figure out what kind of movie they’re making. A couple enacts a break-up scenario over and over, a documentary crew films a crew filming the crew, locals wander casually into the frame: the project defies easy description. Yet this wildly innovative sixties counterculture landmark remains one of the most tightly focused and insightful movies ever made about making movies.” Criterion

26th August 2014 – Jim Petrie, 82

Minnie the Minx illustrator.

28th August 2014 – Bill Kerr, 92

Australian actor who was an early collaborator with Tony Hancock, later appearing in the recent found Doctor Who story Enemy of the World as Giles Kent.

“ “He was always cheerful, with this real black sense of humour. I asked him on one occasion to chase a tractor for a scene. On the fifth take he just walked as he got pissed off with chasing it but by the sixth take he started chasing it very full-on and then he staggered and fell over. I thought he was having a heart attack but when I reached him he burst out laughing! Of course, I didn’t do anymore takes after that as he’d made his point!”
Vincent Ward, SBS

He also known for his roles in The Dam Busters, Anzacs and Gallipoli.

“Playing Hancock's breezy and good-hearted Australian lodger, Kerr was often given the best lines by writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson because of his deadpan delivery. His main function was to relentlessly encourage Hancock's grandiose schemes, subsequently exploited by Sid James, only to be thwarted by the voice of officialdom (usually Kenneth Williams), or to suggest ludicrous ventures of his own, immediately pounced upon by the gullible Hancock: "You know, that's a very good idea, Bill!"He was chosen for the show, over Hancock's suggested Graham Stark, because it was thought his Australian accent would be a fine contrast to the star's theatrical, delusional ramblings. In a television interview years after Hancock's death, it was Kerr who pointed out the similarity between the great comedian and Mr Toad: "The bluster, the pomp, the dignity, the frailty."The comic chemistry, with Moira Lister, Andrée Melly and then Hattie Jacques added to the mix, was potent and the generosity of the ensemble playing impeccable. Recordings were joyous occasions; Kerr and James can sometimes be detected laughing helplessly along with the audience during Hancock's diatribes. According to Kerr, the producer regularly had to halt the recording because the cast was laughing so much.”
Stephen Dixon, Guardian obit

He dead peacefully, falling asleep in front of his TV watching Seinfeld. His family heard him laughing away to it, then found that he’d fallen asleep and passed away in front of it.

28th August 2014 – Glenn Cornick, 67

Founding member of Jethro Tull.

30th August 2014 – Sir David Mitchell, 86

Tory MP for Basingstoke from 1964 to 1983, then North West Hampshire from 1983 to 1997, who was Minister for Transport under Margaret Thatcher.

30th August 2014 – Andrew V McLaglen, 94

Director who worked with Jimmy Stewart in Shenandoah and John Wayne in Hellfighters and The Undefeated.

31st August 2014 – Jimi Jamison, 63

Former lead singer of Survivor (after their Eye of the Tiger phase), who later sang the theme tune to Baywatch.