Thursday, 26 November 2015

In Memoriam: January 2015

Year End Memoriams for January 2015 (and a few from December we only found out about once New Year had passed...)

As with years passed, we take the time to remember those who have left us in the previous twelve months.

(Note - All quotes are italicised and sourced to their authors, except Telegraph obits, as they don't credit their own writers. As in previous years, this is a non-profit memorial with quotes used strictly for critique purposes.)

To repeat the drill, for those new to this:

This stemmed from a conversation with Toby Hadoke in May 2011, over BAFTA/Oscar tributes and their ability to omit people. And then from many, many conversations with poor old Jon Arnold following.

Arnold's belief, and one I share, is that if someone makes a mark on your life, however oblique, it is right to tip a hat of respect towards them at their death. They could have written a book you love, or been a hero of your childhood (or adulthood), or even had a passing role in an episode of a TV show you liked. Whatever they did, it is right to acknowledge their role in an aspect of your life, much as we hope others will do for us in the future when we are gone.

He made one small ruling though: "it can't be a meaningless list of names, it has to express why these people meant something." For some people, that is fairly obvious. Geoffrey Howe's legacy, for example, is fairly easily defined and adored. The bigger challenge was in expressing the adoration felt for so many unsung heroes, too many of whom we lost this year. Folk who might not get a moment in a Year End Memoriam on TV, but who deserve a moment of respect none the less. In fact, researching the finer details of folk I had as fuzzy memories led me to appreciate them all the more again.

And then there's some folk like Christopher Lee you can't help but natter on about!

I guess as you get older, your spheres of knowledge widen, and so by degrees do the vast number of people involved. Take Doctor Who for example. The average fan has an interest in a show going back fifty years, and knows of many of the main stars, production teams, assistants, writers, associates and guest casts of the show. Thats a list of over two thousand names from the off, and I've never met anybody whose sole interest in life is merely one TV show.

So on top of all our the personal tragedies, here is a small (small not being the operative word here) tribute to lives that moved: writers, musicians, politicians, historical figures, war heroes, actors, geniuses, activists, footballers. Some may be acknowledged for their place in history, others for their effect on me. All people made equal by that final exit.

It isn't a complete list. You wont find the Deaths of Everyone in 2014 here - go to Wikipedia for that. I can't pretend to know everything: indeed, I notice many an American football obit, but being blind to the sport, I would have no knowledge of their existence within the sport. Conversely, due to my political history and cult TV geekdoms, folk of those aspects may well show up more than normal.

There was also some judicious editing. My interest has always been primarily in brilliant people, or, at the very least, people I can understand the motivations of. Folk involved in being genuinely evil, I find little brilliance in. Hence previous year snubs of Erich Priebke, and intended future snub of Peter Tobin, for two examples.

For Death is merely a point. All of the people, in their own way, were awe inspiring. So enough of me. Lets pay tribute to the first of these sadly departed.

28th December 2014 – Bernard Kay, 86

Actor who had a long career on TV, film and stage. Early roles as Horatio in Hamlet, and Redcap lead to a spot as The Bolshevik in the film classic Dr Zhivago, from which my mum recognised him to this day. Roles in They Came from Beyond Space, Adam Adamant Lives and Budgie followed. In cult circles he was known for his four roles in Doctor Who. In The Dalek Invasion of Earth, he played resistance fighter Tyler. In The Crusade, he played Saladin, and ignore the obvious elephant in the room for modern audiences, it remains an understated, beautifully played role, the lines all delivered to give triple meaning, the supreme world weary politician. [The Crusade was exactly the type of Dr Who they wouldn’t dare make now – planting the Doctor right in the middle of a war over religion, and pointing out there was sympathetic characters and monsters on both sides with neither having a monopoly of goodness..] In the Faceless Ones, he played Inspector Crossland, an ally for the Doctor investigating the disappearance at Gatwick Airport. And finally, in Colony in Space, he played Caldwell, a man conflicted between his natural disgust at the abusive tactics of the company he worked for, and his need to keep the job due to financial problems.

These multi-layered portrayals were not atypical of the actor, as later seen in a memorable episode of Colditz, in which he plays a German officer who tries to discover if a British officer is faking insanity to be released from the prison, only to gain true sympathy for the man as his method acting leads him to going actually insane. He had a run in the late 1970s/early 1980s as sympathetic cops with troubled pasts. This lead to his role as Harry Perkins Chief of Security, Inspector Page, in A Very British Coup.

In the 1990s, he had roles in the Russell T Davies childrens show Century Falls, in Jonathan Creek and in later years had roles in Doctors and Casualty 1909.

He was an actor who could take the most one dimensional of characters on a page, and turn them into the thing you remembered from the show.

“In 1961 he was given six weeks’ paid leave and told to keep a low profile by the producers of Coronation Street after the angry public response to his killing of Ida Barlow. Though he appeared in several episodes of Z-Cars (1962-72), he turned down the offer of a regular role and guested in everything from The Avengers (1962) to Casualty 1909 (2009) via The Professionals (1978), Remington Steele (1987), Jonathan Creek (1997) and Foyle’s War (2002). His touching performance in an acclaimed episode of Colditz (1972), as a German corporal charged with checking the validity of a claim for repatriation by a prisoner (Michael Bryant) on the grounds of insanity, was one of his proudest achievements.
Toby Hadoke, Guardian obit

30th December 2014 – Edward Hermann, 71

Actor best known for his role as Richard Gilmore in the Gilmore Girls, and as the leader of the vampires in cult classic The Lost Boys. He also won a Tony award for his role on Broadway in Mrs Warrens Profession.

“Growing up as a kid in Detroit, way back, there was a movie station that would show old kinescope reproductions of old movies, and I remember seeing Bela Lugosi for the first time and being duly frightened out of my wits. But I was never drawn to the world of the vampire that has exploded so, turning them into romantic heroes. I just always thought of them as diabolical, and you avoided them like the plague. I like sunny stories. But, no, at the risk of disappointing the vampire clan, I was not personally drawn to them. I just thought it was a hell of a lot of fun to play one, because I’d never done it.”

Edward Hermann, AV Club interview, September 2012

30th December 2014 – Bernard Jordan, 90

D-Day veteran who made news headlines in June 2014 when he escaped from his nursing home, war medals hidden beneath his coat,  to attend commemorations in France.

"I want to thank everyone for their kind words and best wishes following my trip to Normandy - I never imagined my visit would cause such a stir! I'm delighted to be back at home with my wife and the wonderful staff here at The Pines. I was never banned from going to the commemorations, I just decided to make my own way there."Bernard Jordan, June 2014

“A D-Day veteran who went "AWOL" from his care home to see Friday's commemorations in France has returned to a hero's welcome. Bernard Jordan, 90, was cheered and hugged by staff waving Union Flags at The Pines nursing home in Hove, Sussex. "I had a great time. I'm really pleased I did it," he said after the Brittany Ferries ship Normandie arrived in Portsmouth. Quizzed on whether he would go back next year, he replied: "Yes, I expect so. If I am still here, definitely!" Sky report, June 2014

31st December 2014 – Michael Bunce, 79

Former editor of Nationwide, and Executive Director of the Royal Television Society.

“Michael joined the RTS as executive director in 1991. His nine years running the RTS were marked by a wide expansion in its activities and the modernisation of the Society's role. The initiatives undertaken on his watch included the introduction of RTS masterclasses, the sports awards, the design and craft awards, the Hall of Fame, plus an increase in the number of RTS dinners and workshops. Known for his unflappable and urbane style, Michael was also key in helping to enlist the Prince of Wales as the Society's patron. His passion and enthusiasm for the RTS and television per se were obvious to all who knew him. At the Society he presided over a rich and varied programme of events and educational initiatives for members and the wider public.” Steve Clarke, RTS

“Bunce took [Nationwide] on from its founding editor Derrick Amoore and built it into a hugely popular teatime hour on BBC One, with a regular audience of more than 10 million viewers.While the viewers loved it, at the top of the BBC some muttered their wish for more gravitas and cerebral content."Depressingly successful", some in Broadcasting House were heard to sniff.But Bunce was clear he was not producing a broadsheet for an elite, but a tabloid for the teatime audience - a tabloid to inform as well as amuse - and the viewers rewarded him with a huge and loyal following.” Ron Neil, BBC obit.

“The essential paradox is that, whilst readers and viewers are better educated than in the past, the media are lowering the IQ of their output.”
Michael Bunce, 2012

1st January 2015 – Gery Leuliet, 104

Long lived French bishop, Bishop of Amiens from 1963 to 1985.

1st Januaty 2015 – Donna Douglas, 81

Actress who, apart from a famous role in The Beverley Hillbillies and lawsuits over Sister Act and Barbie, had the lead role in a well regarded episode of The Twilight Zone, Eye of the Beholder.

“ Character is what’s inside, but your reputation is what you make other peoples think. Character is what is in your heart and what you hold on to. That’s the anchor in your life and what you make your decisions from. “
Donna Douglas, Pop Culture Addict interview, 2013

1st January 2015 – Mario Cuomo,82

“A pundit has no business covering Cuomo. This is a job for the drama critic. The gentleman is the best freestyle, ad lib, catch-as-catch-can orator in public life today. No one in either party is even close.” James J Kilpatrick, Mario Cuomo: the best orator in public life, Times Daily 22 November 1991

US politician who was Governor of New York from 1983 to 1994.

“Mario Cuomo led New York during a turbulent time, 1983 through 1994. His ambitions for an activist government were thwarted by recession. He found himself struggling with the State Legislature not over what the government should do but over what programs should be cut, and what taxes should be raised, simply to balance the budget.Still, no matter the problems he found in Albany, Mr. Cuomo burst beyond the state’s boundaries to personify the liberal wing of his national party and become a source of unending fascination and, ultimately, frustration for Democrats, whose leaders twice pressed him to run for president, in 1988 and 1992, to no avail.”
Adam Nagourney, NY Times

““Make this nation remember how futures are built,” he said, in stirring words that resounded with New Deal liberalism and directly challenged President Ronald Reagan’s view that “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Mr. Cuomo’s devotion to public service was a rebuke of that idea. His career may have been rich in might-have-beens — a presidential run? a Supreme Court seat? — but Mr. Cuomo was resolutely true to himself at critical moments.He stoutly defended abortion rights in the face of opposition from the leaders of his Catholic faith. He repeatedly vetoed attempts to restore the death penalty in the face of legislators’ grandstanding. As a gifted mediator, he helped settle a riot at Sing Sing prison in which 19 hostage guards were freed, in contrast to the 1971 Attica prison riot in which 10 hostages and 33 inmates died.... What he certainly left, however, was a demonstration that the power to inspire citizens to demand a more humane society and better government is a vital gift.” Editorial Board, NY Times

A man who might easily have become President of the United States if he had wanted to, but knew politics too well to want it.

“Then there are all the conventional arguments against his running. The country has grown conservative, and he is a liberal. Worse, he is a Liberal Italian from New York. He would not play well in the South, or in the West. Because he is an Itlaian from New York, there would be skeletons in his closet. Can any New York politician get union endorsements without there being skeletons?” Editorial, The Day June 15 1990 (as an example of his press)

"Ten days ago, President Reagan admitted that although some people in this country seemed to be doing well nowadays, others were unhappy, even worried, about themselves, their families, and their futures. The President said that he didn't understand that fear. He said, "Why, this country is a shining city on a hill." And the President is right. In many ways we are a shining city on a hill. But the hard truth is that not everyone is sharing in this city's splendor and glory. A shining city is perhaps all the President sees from the portico of the White House and the veranda of his ranch, where everyone seems to be doing well. But there's another city; there's another part to the shining the city; the part where some people can't pay their mortgages, and most young people can't afford one; where students can't afford the education they need, and middle-class parents watch the dreams they hold for their children evaporate. In this part of the city there are more poor than ever, more families in trouble, more and more people who need help but can't find it. Even worse: There are elderly people who tremble in the basements of the houses there. And there are people who sleep in the city streets, in the gutter, where the glitter doesn't show. There are ghettos where thousands of young people, without a job or an education, give their lives away to drug dealers every day. There is despair, Mr. President, in the faces that you don't see, in the places that you don't visit in your shining city. In fact, Mr. President, this is a nation -- Mr. President you ought to know that this nation is more a "Tale of Two Cities" than it is just a "Shining City on a Hill." Maybe, maybe, Mr. President, if you visited some more places; maybe if you went to Appalachia where some people still live in sheds; maybe if you went to Lackawanna where thousands of unemployed steel workers wonder why we subsidized foreign steel. Maybe -- Maybe, Mr. President, if you stopped in at a shelter in Chicago and spoke to the homeless there; maybe, Mr. President, if you asked a woman who had been denied the help she needed to feed her children because you said you needed the money for a tax break for a millionaire or for a missile we couldn't afford to use. Maybe -- Maybe, Mr. President. But I'm afraid not. Because the truth is, ladies and gentlemen, that this is how we were warned it would be. President Reagan told us from the very beginning that he believed in a kind of social Darwinism. Survival of the fittest. "Government can't do everything," we were told, so it should settle for taking care of the strong and hope that economic ambition and charity will do the rest. Make the rich richer, and what falls from the table will be enough for the middle class and those who are trying desperately to work their way into the middle class. You know, the Republicans called it "trickle-down" when Hoover tried it. Now they call it "supply side." But it's the same shining city for those relative few who are lucky enough to live in its good neighborhoods. But for the people who are excluded, for the people who are locked out, all they can do is stare from a distance at that city's glimmering towers.”
Mario Cuomo, from his 1984 Democratic National Convention

2nd January 2015 – Deborah Bone, 51

Mental health worker, and lifelong friend of Jarvis Cocker, who wrote the song Disco 2000 about her.

2nd January 2015 – Little Jimmy Dickens, 94

Grand Ol’ Opry star.

2nd January 2015 – Roger Kitter, 64

Actor who played Captain Bertorelli in ‘Allo ‘Allo.

3rd January 2015 – Edward Brooke, 95

“We must realize that dissent and opposition are necessary to a healthy society.”
Edward Brooke, Boston College Heights newspaper, 29 April 1966

US politician who was the Senator for Massachusetts from 1967 to 1979.

“Brooke was elected to the Senate from Massachusetts in 1966, becoming the first black man to sit in that branch from any state since the post-Civil War Reconstruction era and one of only nine black people who have ever become senators including Barack Obama.Brooke told the Associated Press he was “thankful to God” that he lived to see Obama’s election as the first black US president. And Obama was on hand in October 2009 when Brooke was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award Congress has to honour civilians. Obama hailed Brooke as “a man who’s spent his life breaking barriers and bridging divides across this country”. A Republican in a largely Democratic state, Brooke was one of Massachusetts’ most popular political figures during most of his 12 years in the Senate. Brooke earned his reputation as a Senate liberal in part by becoming the first Republican senator to publicly urge President Richard Nixon to resign. He told ABC News that Nixon had “lost the confidence of the country and I don’t know of anything he could do to turn it around”.He helped lead the forces in favour of the women’s Equal Rights Amendment and was a defender of school busing to achieve racial integration, a bitterly divisive issue in Boston.”
Associated Press, Guardian obit

“His presence in the Senate in those years was absolutely indispensable,” said Mr. Neas, who was chief legislative assistant to Mr. Brooke and later president of the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way. “There were repeated battles during those years. Even some Democrats were retreating on the Senate floor on issues like school desegregation and abortion rights, and Senator Brooke was the one who often single-handedly took on the radical right.”Still, he disappointed liberals by opposing a program to recruit teachers to work in disadvantaged areas. He sought to deny federal aid to New York City during its financial crisis and resisted changing Senate rules to make filibusters against civil rights legislation easier to stop. On the issue of the Vietnam War, Mr. Brooke, a decorated combat veteran, was torn, moving from dove to hawk, then back to dove. He was a forceful speaker, often described as gentlemanly and charming, and meticulous about his appearance, sometimes changing clothes three times a day.” Douglas Martin, NY Times

4th January 2015 – Stuart Scott, 49

American ESPN sportscaster.

4th January 2015 – John McPhee, 77

Scottish footballer who played as a defender for Motherwell and Blackpool

““John was full of life and a terrific person to have around the club. He was such a vibrant character. The first thing you’d say about him as a footballer is – what a fantastic competitor. He didn’t join as a defender but soon settled into the back line alongside Glynn James. They became a great friends .The nickname Chopper was something we never heard in the dressing room. It was more of a fan thing. He was a tough player. He played for keeps, put it that way.”
Jimmy Armfield, Blackpool Gazzette

5th January 2015 – King Sporty, 71

Jamaican reggae musician best known for writing the song, “Buffalo Soldier”.

5th January 2015 – Francesca Hilton, 67

Daughter of Zsa Zsa Gabor.

5th January 2015 – Khan Bonfils, 41

Actor who appeared in small roles in The Phantom Menace, Batman Begins and Skyfall.

 6th January 2015 – Tim Roberts, 38

Pro-wrestler who had a long career on the indies and who made one WWE appearance, for ECW’s debut on the SyFy network as The Zombie.

6th January 2015 – Lance Percival, 81

Comic actor who appeared in Yellow Submarine, Up Pompeii and the Carry On films. Had a role as the Detective in the bonkers yet wonderful Italian Agatha Christie spoof, The Weekend Murders. Whodunit as though filmed by Argento or Leone, seen through the guise of Tchiakovsky’s piano concerto.

“Ned Sherrin plucked Percival from playing guitar at the Blue Angel Club in Mayfair, and during [That Was the Week That Was] brief but hugely successful outing on the BBC in 1962-63, Percival featured in political sketches and performed a regular “instant calypso” inspired by the week’s events — in the manner of the West Indian singer Cy Grant. Gangly, with an expressive, snaggle-toothed face and a good line in funny voices, Percival was the Tory leader Sir Alec Douglas-Home to Willy Rushton’s Harold Macmillan. He was also memorable as a mandarin detecting sexual innuendoes in bureaucratese in a 1963 sketch spoofing the controversy over the junior minister Tam Galbraith beginning a letter to the civil servant John Vassall (whose homosexuality had been used to blackmail him into spying for the Soviet Union) with the words “My Dear Vassall”. In his calypso slot Percival would ask audience members to suggest possible subjects and would then launch into improvised topical calypsos, of which one, Shame and Scandal in the Family, an updated version of a calypso standard, reached No 37 in the charts in 1965.”
Telegraph obit

“Don’t worry if you have an inclination towards humour. The difficulty with the humour business is that there are obviously ups and downs because you are self-employed. You don’t have to rush it because you will have to do as I did and go through all sorts of other jobs to keep yourself going.”
Lance Percival, 2000

7th January 2015 – Cabu, 76

French cartoonist shot in the Charlie Hebdo shootings.

7th January 2015 – Nancy Thomas, 96

BBC TV Producer

“She was one of the handful of clever women who flourished in the basically male preserve of the Lime Grove studios – in her case by building a reputation for efficiently and coolly controlling live studio productions week after week. Her first direction jobs were in 1956 for the hugely popular nature programme Zoo Quest, presented by Attenborough, and the game show Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?. She also inaugurated Patrick Moore’s The Sky at Night but made her most lasting mark on the arts magazine Monitor, where she was one of the producers from its early days until its concluding season in 1965, when she loyally backed up Jonathan Miller’s controversial editorship.”
Anne James and Humphrey Burton, Guardian obit

“She progressed to Huw Wheldon's Monitor, where she prospered. Because of her National Gallery/Clark education she was very knowledgeable about art and architecture. The august Wheldon, who called her "Nance", rated her highly enough to go with her idea of a feature on the surrealists Max Ernst and Marcel Duchamp. She went on to make films which were the visual core of Wheldon's interviews with Jean Renoir and Henry Moore.She also gave modern architecture a good run, with films on the Smithsons Economist building and Denys Lasdun's Royal College of Physicians' headquarters. Wheldon, as editor, commissioned her to do more pieces on, for example, the photographer Cartier Bresson (1960) and African art (1962) She was also good at capturing the magic of great performers making music – for example, Colin Davis rehearsing Mozart.The BBC's mission is famously to "Educate, Inform and Entertain". Thomas was always very keen on the first "E", and after Monitor changed under Jonathan Miller she moved on to the Further Education department. There she produced and directed an eclectic mix of series – from Understanding Music (1967) to I Mean to Say, about the difficulties of communication. She did Places for People (1971), a European survey of developments in the built environment. She made films about community action (Let's Get Going, 1972) and did a fine valedictory job on Poets and Poetry (1973) which featured Seamus Heaney and WH Auden (who died while the series was in production).”
Bernard Adams, Independent obit

7th January 2015 – Rod Taylor, 84

Australian actor best known for his lead role in Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds.

"I don't know which of my films Hitch may have seen, but he invited me to Universal to chat about 'The Birds.' He told me he didn't want an elegant actor, like Cary Grant. He wanted someone with balls. I didn't think we got on too well at that meeting. He was a strange man to talk to, and he had very rigid ideas. But to my great surprise, he cast me two days later." Rod Taylor, Starlog, July 1986

8th January 2015 – Ray McFall, 88

Owner of the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

“Under Mr McFall, many more legends from the Who to the Kinks performed at the Cavern, and he first booked the Beatles for a lunch-hour appearance on February 21, 1961. The Beatles’ first evening appearance followed a month later, the beginning of 292 Cavern Club dates by August 3, 1963, earning roughly 25 shillings per performance. Mr McFall eventually installed a recording studio and founded his own short-lived label, Cavern Sound Recording. Speaking about his first meeting with the soon-to-be worldwide phenomenon, Mr McFall recalled in 2011: “The Beatles were different and they were very well rehearsed because they had come back from three months of torture in Hamburg. “However, I didn’t like them wearing jeans which were taboo in the Cavern. “Our doormen would stop anyone wearing jeans. I felt that if people were wearing good, clean clothes they would be more likely to behave themselves as they wouldn’t want them getting dirty and damaged.”
Alisha Rouse, Liverpool Echo

8th January 2015 – Ken Riddington, 94

Regarded TV producer, responsible for the House of Cards trilogy, A Very Peculiar Practice (and its Polish sequel), Campion, To Serve Them All My Days, Tenko and The Brothers.

9th January 2015 – Samuel Goldwyn Jr, 88

Film producing member of the Goldwyn clan, responsible for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Master and Commander.

10th January 2015 – Junior Malanda, 20

Belgian footballer who played as a defensive midfielder for Wolfsburg and Zulte-Waregem.

10th January 2015 – Ti Drummond, 74

Bass guitarist who played with Neil Young and Bob Dylan.

10th January 2015 – Brian Clemens, 83

Writer and producer who created The Avengers, The Professionals and Thriller.

“ I think the most interesting [Avengers episode] I wrote was The House That Jack Built; that was black and white too. Mostly the ones you just mentioned were black and white; we wanted to start in colour, but that would have cost about £3,000 more and they wouldn’t put the money up for it. So what happened was the first 26 episodes of The Avengers, which are amongst the best, are not shown very often because they are black and white.”
Brian Clemens, interviewed by The Geekend, 10 September 2011

“So how did a barely schooled but voracious reader of a child turn into the "fastest two-fingered typist in the world" and creator of some of the most enduring and well-loved pieces of entertainment ever made? Clemens started writing virtually as soon as he was able, penning two homemade books when he was six, getting his first short story published at 12 – short stories being a perfect training for TV writing. He later submitted his first teleplay to the BBC, a dialogue-free thriller called Murder pegged him as a talent worth nurturing and taught him to "think like a producer". His next effort was more streamlined: two men in a train compartment. From there he went to work for the notorious low-budget British producers the Danziger brothers, who would scour studios for sets left standing from more monied productions, then turn to Clemens to write something that would involve, say, "the Old Bailey, a dancehall and a submarine". Excellent training ground for writing to order, but for Clemens it wasn't a case of churning it out or trying to guess what the audience wanted. For him it's always been about finding a release for his imagination.” Phelim O’Neill, Brian Clemens and the lost art of great TV writing, Guardian 3 August 2010

“There was a series called Police Doctor which wasn’t very successful, but the character in it, David Keel played by Ian Hendrie was good, so it was decided to move him into another series. They moved him into The Avengers which was to be about two people fighting crime [and avenging people]. “That was the creation” said Brian. “That’s all. That was the brief, then I took that brief and made it into the pilot episode. I wasn’t employed by them all the time but I came in and did various scripts, particularly the Honour Blackman ones. I became very familiar with it and a driving force on where The Avengers was going. Then that finished and they put it on film. The producers said they wanted somebody who knows film and knows The Avengers and I was uniquely qualified. Now, this is where I will say I created The Avengers. I created the filmed Avengers. The Emma Peel Avengers onwards, because that was a completely different beast to the videotaped ones. So I will accept that as my creation and it became a long step away from what I did before and a huge success.” Brian Clemens, BBC, Katy Lewis 12 June 2009

11th January 2015 – Jeno Buzanszky, 89

A Hungarian football defender who was the last surviving member of The Mighty Magyars, the wonderful Hungarian side of the 1950s. He played for thirteen years for Dorogi (in itself unique as most of that team played at Honved). An Olympic champion in 1952, and World Cup finalist in 1954, he returned to manage his former club on three occasions. Unlike his compatriots Puskas and Kocsis, Buzanszky never defected, feeling too unsettled when out of his home land.

11th January 2015 – Anita Ekberg, 83

Swedish actress known for her role in La Dolce Vita.

12th January 2015 – Clifford Adams, 62

Trombonist from Kool and the Gang.

13th January 2015 – Trevor Ward-Davies, 70

Dozy, the Bass Guitarist from Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich.

13th January 2015 – Isabel Rosado, 107

Puerto Rican independence activist, imprisoned several times both for armed resistance and for campaigning against sedition laws.

13th January 2015 – Mike Marqusee, 61

Journalist who wrote books into diverse subjects from cricket (Anyone but England – An Outsider looks at English Cricket, for which he was called one of the few Americans to understand the game) to the British Labour party, and Neil Kinnock.

“I grew up in the USA in the 60s and was profoundly influenced by the political insurgencies of the time, the African-American freedom struggle and the worldwide campaign against the Vietnam War. Since then my politics have developed through involvement in all sorts of campaigns – trade union, anti-racist, anti-war. I was an active member of the British Labour Party for twenty years; I left in 2000 because I felt that under Tony Blair the party had become unrecognisable and more an impediment to social justice than a tool for achieving it. Since then, I've been involved in the anti-war movement, opposing US-UK attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, and also in Palestine solidarity campaigns... While I think Marxism remains a powerful instrument for understanding – and therefore changing – a world dominated (more than ever) by an economic elite, it must be a Marxism enriched by a pluralist absorption of different influences and ideas, a Marxism that has really learned the lessons of the grotesque failures of Stalinism, a Marxism that doesn’t assume it has the final word on all social and political problems. I guess what I really believe in is human solidarity, and the human capacity for change.” Mike Marqusee, PakPassion interview September 2006

13th January 2015 – Sir Jack Hayward, 91

Property developer and philanthropist who took ownership of his lifelong football love, Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1990, and took them from the brink of bankruptcy back to the Premier League in 2003.

“"The first page I read now in the Telegraph is the obituaries. If I'm not in it, I have a good day. Time is running out, time was running out to get out of that goddamn awful First Division. I don't want to be derogatory to these places but I said to Jez Moxey [chief executive] and Dave Jones halfway through this last season: 'I'm 80 in June and I'm not going again to Gillingham, Rotherham and Grimsby.' I said that if we don't make it, then I am going to go on to the pitch and it [the club] is going to be given away. I think that frightened them.” Jack Hayward, Guardian interview August 2003

14th January 2015 – Lotte Hass, 86

Underwater photographer who made films with her husband, Hans.

“In 1954, before shooting their first television series, the Hasses appeared on the BBC radio Light Programme series Danger Is Our Business and recalled an adventure in the Caribbean. They described how a sealion attacked Hans and a giant clam seized Lotte by the foot, holding her below the water. Hans saved her life by using a spear to kill the clam. They first came to television in the six-part BBC series Diving to Adventure (1956), in which they roamed the Red Sea, the Caribbean and the Aegean in their three-masted schooner, Xarifa. The couple not only opened a window on the undersea world, but also demonstrated the new lightweight diving equipment and photographic technology that allowed them to do so. Hans made television programmes of his expeditions – forerunners to Jacques Cousteau’s many series – to finance his pioneering scientific research, and recorded both English and German commentaries, but the documentaries were most popular in Britain.” Anthony Hayward, Guardian obit

15th January 2015 – Ethel Lang, 114

The oldest woman in Britain at the time of her death, and the last Brit to be born in the reign of Queen Victoria.

15th January 2015 – Ervin Drake, 95

Songwriter whose hits included “Good Morning Heartache”, “I Believe” and “It Was a Very Good Year”.

19th January 2015 – Bob Symes, 90

TV presenter and model railway enthusiast, born Robert Alexander Baron Schutzmann von Schutzmansdorff. He made frequent appearances on Tomorrow’s World, and presented many a documentary about trains, both model (Model World) and real links to his conversation attempts. He also ran twice for the Liberals in both 1974 elections.

“A serious engineer who could make almost anything himself, Bob Symes (as he was usually known) was a natural broadcaster with a gift for explaining complex projects or the simplest scientific proposition. Asked why toast always fell on the buttered side, he said: “It is gravity; the buttered side is heavier.” Physically he resembled a bewhiskered Victorian engineer, with what The Daily Telegraph’s Peter Clayton reckoned “the baggiest trousers in television”. He presented Model World in the 1970s and Making Tracks with Mary-Jean Hasler in the 1990s. Dedicated to little-known steam railways everywhere, the series was made without background music for maximum effect. Symes’s enthusiasm for railways first surfaced in 1969, when he co-founded the Border Union Railway in a bid to reopen the recently closed Waverley Line between Edinburgh and Carlisle. Despite support from the local MP David Steel and the Duke of Buccleuch, British Rail and Whitehall could not see the scheme as viable. Symes lived to see the reconstruction of 30 miles of the line, to be reopened by ScotRail later this year.”
Telegraph obit

“He principally came to the notice of the public with his 1980s appearances on TV programmes such as ‘Tomorrow's World’, subsequently presenting his own ‘Model World’ series and, in the 1990s, co-presented (with Mary-Jean Hasler) the BBC ‘Making Tracks’ series covering railways in Britain and abroad. Perhaps less known was his time looking after a private timber railway on his family estate, involvement helping the setting up of private railways in Switzerland and Wales and attempting to establish The Border Union Railway Company in 1969 which aimed to restore the (then) recently abandoned Waverley Line between Edinburgh and Carlisle. His Surrey home had both a Gauge 1 model railway and a 10.25in gauge ride-on miniature line and he was president of Guildford-based model railway circle Astolat MRC.” Half a century of railway preservation brings death of several original preservation stalwarts, 24/1/2015

19th January 2015 – Anne Kirkbride, 60

Actress who played Deirdre Barlow in Coronation Street.

21st January 2015 – Pauline Yates, 85

Actress who played Reggie Perrin’s long suffering wife in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, and The Legacy of Reginald Perrin. She was also Muriel Rush in Keep It in the Family, and Celila Thurlow in The Doctors. She also appeared in Doctors, Rumpole of the Bailey, Kavanagh QC and Casualty.

21st January 2015 – George Goodwin, 97

Pulitzer Prize winning American journalist.

21st January 2015 – Harry Gordon, 89

Australian newspaper editor, and historian of The Olympic Games.

23rd January 2015 – Barrie Ingham, 82

Actor who was the voice of Basil the Great Mouse Detective, and who appeared in The Day of the Jackal (as St Clair) and the Steptoe and Son film. He appeared in Doctor Who, both on TV (as Paris in The Myth Makers) and in film (as Alydon in Doctor Who and the Daleks). He also had appearances in The A-Team, Murder She Wrote, and The Caesars, in which he played Sejanus a decade before Patrick Stewart. He was an Irish colonist in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and had a memorable role in a well regarded episode of The Avengers, You Have Just Been Murdered. It was stage where he was most found, however, performing with the RSC and on Broadway.

“His musical theatre skills served the 1973 London premiere of Gypsy, in which he played Herbie the manager opposite first Angela Lansbury and then Dolores Gray, both sensational, at the Piccadilly. He was Smith’s husband in a short run of a not very funny comedy about sexually transmitted disease, Snap (the title Clap was deemed unsuitable), by Charles Laurence, at the Vaudeville in 1974. When he rejoined the RSC later in the same year, as the Duke “of dark corners” in Measure for Measure, he was made an associate artist of the company, but he only returned to the fold once thereafter, stealing the notices as Beverley Carlton, a brilliant send-up of Noël Coward, in an otherwise misfired 1989 revival at the Barbican of the Broadway classic The Man Who Came to Dinner. Three years before, at the National Theatre, he had appeared in David Hare’s The Bay at Nice (opposite Irene Worth) and as the wise narrator of Arthur Miller’s episodic Depression play The American Clock. But he was increasingly peripatetic, touring a solo show to Australia, making sitcoms in Los Angeles and appearing on Broadway as King Pellinore in a revival of Camelot, as Sir George Dillingham in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love, and then for four years (1997-2001) as Sir Danvers Crew in a musical Jekyll and Hyde by Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse.”
Michael Coveney, Guardian obit

“Musicals to me are like Shakespeare is on stage … big and rewarding. I did Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Aspects of Love.’ There’s something about Webber’s music. The audience’s solar plexus gets hit with a sense of shock. Rodgers and Hammerstein knew how to do it. Webber does it. Getting inside the audience and just tweaking their nervous system. Great writing is about that, too.”
Barrie Ingham, Palm Beach Post interview, December 2013

23rd January 2015 – Abdullah, 90

Ruler of Saudi Arabia.

25th January 2015 – Demi Roussos, 68

Greek singer, known for Forever and Ever (and his music appearing in Abigail’s Party).

"The reason for my big success in England was the Brits, they started wanting to go on holidays, like Spain and Greece. My music came right on time. It was romantic Mediterranean music addressed to all the people who wanted to go on holiday. My music was liked by the people. Because you have to have good music, for it to sell. In England I sold more than a million albums. You know a lot of other artists of the same era, Mediterranean, like Julio Iglesias and Nana Mouskouri, followed me. As every artist of my stature, like Charles Aznavour or Tony Bennett, you know, classic artists, we don’t need a hit record in order to go on tour because we develop ourselves into concert artists who make records rather than recording artists who have to do concerts."
Demi Roussos, Scotsman interview 2002

27th January 2015 – Wilfred Agbonavbare, 48

Nigerian international goalkeeper who played for Rayo Vallecano.

27th January 2015 – Larry Winters, 58

Territories pro-wrestling star who was one of the early stars of ECW and helped train a number of their future alumni, including The Sandman. Prior to their leaving the National Wrestling Alliance, Winters was ECW Tag team champions with Tony Stetson.

27th January 2015 – Charles H Townes, 99

Inventor of the laser, who was still giving lectures and talks into his 98th year!

“Until last year, Townes visited the campus daily, working either in his office in the physics department or at the Space Sciences Laboratory.“Charlie was a cornerstone of the Space Sciences Laboratory for almost 50 years,” said Stuart Bale, director of the lab and a UC Berkeley professor of physics. “He trained a great number of excellent students in experimental astrophysics and pioneered a program to develop interferometry at short wavelengths. He was a truly inspiring man and a nice guy. We’ll miss him.” “Charlie Townes had an enormous impact on physics and society in general,” said Steven Boggs, professor and chair of the UC Berkeley Department of Physics. “Our department and all of UC Berkeley benefited from his wisdom and vision for nearly half a century. His overwhelming dedication to science and personal commitment to remaining active in research was inspirational to all of us. Berkeley physics has lost a true icon and our deepest sympathies go out to his wife, Frances, and the entire Townes family.””
Robert Sanders, Berkeley News obit

“Lasers now have applications as diverse as bar codes, making astronomical measurements and eye surgery. However, their development came about as the result of a military initiative. Towards the end of the second world war, the US Pentagon funded research aimed at improving the reach and accuracy of communications and radar systems. Scientists around the world applied themselves to inventing an oscillator – the device used in radar to produce periodic electronic signals – capable of creating electromagnetic waves with higher frequencies than ever before. At the crucial moment, Townes, who was working on high frequency radar development for Bell Laboratories at the time, saw that molecular energy could be used to create shorter wavelengths. In a memorandum produced in 1945, he spelled this out in some detail. Although initially secret, the memorandum was subsequently published in the form of patents which changed global thinking. At first the technical barriers seemed formidable. Yet, with the end of the war in sight, Townes believed that a molecular oscillator would have non-military applications too, opening new windows on to the chemistry of the universe, and providing a new tool with which scientists could study the structure of atoms and molecules.” Anthony Tucker, Guardian obit

“Scientific advice is very important to government, and politicians realize that. Politicians recognize that there are certain scientific things they really don't understand. They have to call on scientists. I think in most other fields, such as how people behave, they probably think they understand it. They may or may not, but they think they understand it. Whereas in science, they recognize the things they don't understand, so they do call on scientists, and scientists have an opportunity then to advise the government. In my view, it's very important that scientists advise government without having a stake in the government or a stake in the industry that may make the things that they're advising on. This means that academic scientists are important, because they can go in and give the government advice. If the government doesn't like it, they can come back home and they still have a job and they don't have to worry exactly about whether the government takes the advice. This means they can be more objective and not adhere so much to these political pressures, you see. That kind of advice has been very important.”
Charles Townes, Berkeley interview

28th January 2015 – Katharine Worth, 92

British academic, who specialised in drama.

“After the second world war she completed an MA and a PhD at Bedford College, London, under the supervision of Una Ellis-Fermor... before she was appointed lecturer in English at Royal Holloway College, near Egham, Surrey, in 1964, becoming reader in drama there in 1974 (it later merged with Bedford College and is now Royal Holloway, University of London). Katharine’s first major publication, Revolutions in Modern English Drama (1973), explored the recurrences and transformations, and the cycles of evolution and change, that she detected in 20th-century British theatre. Many of the chapters (on Harold Pinter directing James Joyce’s Exiles, for example, or the RSC’s revival of Murder in the Cathedral) were stimulated by her reactions to recent stagings.Though her range covered American theatre, popular dramatic forms such as melodrama (for many years she organised staged critical readings of the plays behind grand opera for Covent Garden) and contemporary English practice (she fiercely championed Edward Bond), her abiding research interest was Irish theatre...The Irish Drama of Europe (1978) was influential for its defence of Irish dramaturgy as not inhabiting a parochial backwater; Katharine chose to situate it in the context of European innovation, alongside Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg, Luigi Pirandello, German Expressionism and Maurice Maeterlinck (about whose plays in performance she wrote in 1985). She explored the Japanese influences on Yeats’s dance plays through a number of productions that she directed.” Richard Allen Cave, Guardian obit

29th January 2015 – Collleen McCullough, 77

Australian novelist who wrote The Thorn Birds.

29th January 2015 – Danny McCulloch, 69

Bass guitarist for The Animals.

30th January 2015 – Geraldine McEwan, 82

Actress who became known in later life for her lead role in the ITV adaptations of the Miss Marple novels. She was often the best thing in them. She won a BAFTA for Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, was a Tony nominated stage actress, and was Miss Jean Brodie in the TV adaptation of Muriel Spark’s novel.

“The production is remembered as a definitive Twelfth Night, but at the time it was extremely controversial, even provoking outrage. This was largely because I had rethought the interpretation of Olivia, a part beautifully played by the twenty-six year old Geraldine McEwan. Traditionally, the character had always been portrayed as rather straight laced and matronly... Gerladine’s Olivia was vain, a little ditsy, not to say islly, but she was nonetheless heartbreaking – a young girl thrust into being mistress of a big household.”
Making an Exhibition of Myself: the Autobiography of Peter Hall

“She seemed to belong to everybody but me. I had been watching Joan Hickson in the part only six months before, when I was shopping for a television in John Lewis. She was wonderful but I try not to think about how others had played her, as each actress has to make her their own."
Geraldine McEwan, on Marple, Telegraph 2002

“In the latter part of her stage career, she seemed to cut loose in ever more adventurous directions, perhaps through her friendship with Kenneth Branagh, who had become very close to Cruttwell while studying at Rada. She was a surprise casting as the mother of a psychotic son who starts behaving like a wolf, played by Will Patton, in Sam Shepard’s merciless domestic drama, A Lie of the Mind, at the Royal Court in 1987. And in 1988 she directed As You Like It for Branagh’s Renaissance Theatre Company, Branagh playing Touchstone as an Edwardian music-hall comedian. The following year she directed Christopher Hampton’s under-rated Treats at the Hampstead theatre and, in 1998, formed a fantastical nonagenarian double act with Richard Briers in a Royal Court revival, directed by Simon McBurney, of Ionesco’s tragic farce The Chairs, her grey hair bunched on one side like superannuated candy floss.” Michael Coveney, Guardian obit

“The library I go to most now is in King's Langley in Hertfordshire, where my daughter, Claudia, lives with her two-year-old twins, Freddie and Arthur. The boys have been going to the library every week since they could walk and they absolutely adore it. I read to them a lot and it's lovely to see their faces when they are choosing books. There's such a variety, which is just what children want. They are avid for different things all the time. They began with baby board books and now they like books about animals. The Berenstain Bears are very popular and the Mick Inkpen books about Kipper the dog and Judith Kerr's stories about Mog the cat. They like Postman Pat too. They get out videos from the library as well. Bob the Builder and Kipper are great favourites I enjoy reading. I usually have at least one book on the go. I've just read Love is Where it Falls, Simon Callow's new book about the play agent Peggy Ramsay, whom I knew, and have finally got around to Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres. I owe my enthusiasm for reading to those early days at Windsor library.”
Geraldine McEwan on the love of reading, TES 11 May 2008

30th January 2015 – Johnny Goodman, 87

British TV producer of The Persuaders and The Saint.

31st January 2015 – Lizabeth Scott, 92

Actress who appeared in Dead Reckoning alongside Humphrey Bogart, and with Burt Lancaster in Variety Girl and I Walk Alone.