May 2015 – Bob Wareing, 84
Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby from 1983 to 2010.
1st May 2016 – Grace Lee Whitney, 85
2nd May 2015 – Michael Blake, 69
American screenwriter who wrote Dances with Wolves.
2nd May 2015 – Stuart Archer, 100
George Cross winning WW2 bomb disposal expert.
“In May 1940 Archer, a subaltern with the Corps of Royal Engineers, and in command of No 104 Bomb Disposal Section, arrived in Cardiff. Specialist knowledge in understanding the dangers of unexploded bombs no more existed than specialist equipment with which to handle them. After one bomb blew up while a detail of soldiers, armed with picks and shovels, was on its way to excavate it, Archer telephoned his wife to say that he was going to get a place nearby for her to live because it did not look as if he was going to last very long. In addition to the high risks associated with bomb disposal work, Archer and his team were confronted with the problem of new enemy fuzes specifically designed to prevent their bombs being made safe. For the War Office, it was of the greatest importance that examples of these fuzes and their anti-handling devices were recovered and sent to them for their scientists to examine.”
2nd May 2015 – Ruth Rendell, 85
British crime writer, known for the Inspector Wexford mysteries. She also wrote psychological thrillers under the name Barbara Vine.
“Her novels – which deal with those on the periphery of society, the loners and the lonely, the mentally ill, the addicts – steer clear of moral judgments, and her friend Jeanette Winterson believes she has been "a major force in lifting crime writing out of airport genre fiction and into both cutting edge and mainstream literature"."She made us rethink our worn-out categories," says Winterson. "I met Ruth when I was 26 via our mutual agent, Pat Kavanagh. Ruth was looking for a house-sitter for six weeks and I needed somewhere to write The Passion. That was 27 years ago. She has been like the Good Mother to me, never judging, always listening. As a writer I am amazed at her capacity for invention and execution."
Alison Flood, Ruth Rendell: A life in writing
“What made Rendell extraordinary was her consummate simplicity. As a writer, she was akin to the medieval artist Giotto — or at least to the apocryphal story about Giotto, who, when asked to submit a sample of his work to the pope, proceeded to dip a brush in red paint and draw a perfect circle freehand. Likewise, Rendell flawlessly executed the basic elements of the classic British detective novel. Unlike the books written by her good friend and fellow mystery master P.D. James, Rendell's Chief Inspector Wexford novels aren't distinguished by their vivid off-kilter settings or by the Holmes-ian quirks of a loner detective. Instead, when "Reg" Wexford was introduced in 1964 in Rendell's debut, From Doon With Death, readers met Detective Normal — a middle-aged married man with children, whose politics leaned left and who liked to open up a good book at the end of a rough day. Crimes in Wexford's world were committed in mundane locales: busy roads, suburban villas and even vicarages. The Wexford novels are as traditionally British as a hunk of bloody roast beef — overlaid, that is, with a piquant sauce of nouvelle social criticism. Because what Rendell did add to the basic formula was a contemporary awareness of racism and sexism.”
Maureen Corrigan, NPR, “Remembering Ruth Rendell, Master of Smart and Socially Aware Suspense”
“I wrote many novels before my first novel was accepted. I had never submitted one of them to a publisher and the first novel I ever did submit to a publisher was a sort of drawing room comedy, which is a very hard difficult genre for a young writer to try and deal with. This was kept for a long time and then returned to me and I was told that they would accept it if I would completely rewrite it. I wasn’t prepared to do this and they asked if I had done anything else. I had written a detective story just for my own entertainment or fun, and that was my first published novel, which is called From Doon with Death. It was quite successful for a first novel, and I was caught up really because of this success within the genre. Having now established for myself a means of livelihood, I was constrained to work within the detective genre and doing so I found that I preferred to deal with the psychological, emotional aspects of human nature rather than the puzzle, forensics, whatever most seem to come within the ambience of the detective novel.”
Ruth Rendell, The Line Up interview, Armchair Detective vol 14 issue 1 Spring 1981
2nd May 2015 – Norman Vane, 86
Director of Frightmare, who wrote the script for Once Upon a Time in New York.
“Vane settled in Hollywood and wrote and directed horror films in the 1980s, including Frightmare, featuring veteran horror actor Ferdy Mayne and future Re-Animator star Jeffrey Combs, and Midnight (1989), starring Lynn Redgrave as a late-night horror movie hostess alongside Curtis. His last released film was Taxi Dancers (1993), a lurid look at Los Angeles sex clubs. Vane also wrote and directed the horror film You’re So Dead (2007), which was never distributed. Tom Parsekian, who acted on the Troma Entertainment-distributed Club Life and now is an attorney, called Vane “a compassionate, kind-hearted guy. Tony Curtis had problems with cocaine use, and Norman navigated those waters very well, somehow getting Tony through those scenes and keeping him happy.” Henry von Seyfried, a close friend of Vane’s who served as executive producer on Taxi Dancers, said the filmmaker was “extremely sociable and well-liked. He was always writing. If something didn’t work out, he never gave up. He was really tenacious.””
Sam Weisberg, Hollywood Reporter
4th May 2015 – Ann Barr, 85
Author who wrote The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook.
“The idea was to update Nancy Mitford’s essay on U and non-U in the style of the American Official Preppy Handbook, published in the US in 1980. Ann’s book began a few years earlier as an article in Harpers & Queen when she commissioned a piece on a tribe she had observed at close quarters. The name Sloane Ranger came out of a last-minute vote from the subeditors. Follow-up pieces were published and then came the book, a masterpiece of social observation that identified and exposed the codes, speech, manner and lifestyles of Rangerland’s Henrys and Carolines.The book sold more than a million copies, was reprinted several times, dominated the Publishers Weekly charts for the next two years, and recently featured 87th in the Sunday Times’s bestselling books since the list began 40 years ago. It also fulfilled a long-held ambition for Ann: at the age of 10 she had ended a letter to her father: “PS. I want to write a book.” She went on to write, again with York, The Official Sloane Ranger Diary (1983) and The Official Sloane Ranger Directory (1984).”
Philippa Braidwood, Guardian obit
4th May 2015 – Ellen Dow, 101
Actress who appeared as the rapping gran in The Wedding Singer.
“The sprightly Ms. Dow turned to film and television acting after retiring as a drama and acting teacher in the mid-1980s. She soon became a familiar guest star on television shows like “Seinfeld,” “Six Feet Under” and “My Name Is Earl,” and in films like “Road Trip,” “Patch Adams” and the two “Sister Act” movies. Ms. Dow played a cocaine-abusing doyenne of disco in “54,” the 1998 paean to the nightclub Studio 54 starring Ryan Phillippe, Salma Hayek and Mike Myers. In “Wedding Crashers,” a 2005 Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughn comedy, she was the profane, homophobic matriarch of a blue-blooded family who insults her gay grandson during an excruciatingly awkward dinner.”
Daniel E Slotnik, NY Times obit
6th May 2015 – Errol Brown, 71
Lead singer of Hot Chocolate, known for the songs You Sexy Thing and Everyones a Winner. You Sexy Thing returned to the UK top 10 in 1997 when it was used in the film The Full Monty.
9th May 2015 – Kenan Evren, 97
Former Commander of the Turkish army, who lead a coup, overthrew the democratic government and abolishing the parliament and so became the President of Turkey in 1980. He curbed civil liberties for being “luxurious” and died fighting a sentence of life imprisonment.
“In 1979, a group of generals discussed plans to overthrow the government after nearly a decade of instability. Turkey changed prime ministers 11 times and violent clashes between Left-wing and Right-wing groups were frequent prior to the coup. Thousands of people were killed before 1980. The generals acted in a pre-dawn assault to seize power. More than 650,000 people were detained, nearly a quarter of a million were put on trial, often for political reasons, and 50 were executed after the coup. Hundreds more died after they were subject to such brutal torture and horrid prison conditions. Evren never expressed regret for the coup, claiming that it stopped Turkey from slipping into anarchy. "Should we feed them in prison for years instead of hanging them?" he asked in a speech in 1984 while defending hanging political activists after 1980. “
12th May 2015 – Sir Peter Fry, 83
Conservative MP for Wellingborough from 1969 to 1997, and one of the more surprising victims of the 1997 Labour election landslide.
“Fry’s main contribution to Parliament was in the transport sector. He served on the transport select committee for 12 years, eventually as its senior Conservative member, from its formation in 1980 until a dispute between the whips and his colleague Nicholas Winterton over the latter’s protracted service on the health committee forced Fry too to stand down. During the committee stage of one Bill early in the Thatcher years, he even deputised for the transport secretary Norman Fowler. At various times he chaired the all-party Roads Study Group, Road Passenger Group, Aviation Group and Transport Forum.”
13th May 2015 – Gill Dennis, 74
Screenwriter who wrote Walk the Line and Return to Oz.
14th May 2015 – BB King, 89
Legendary American bluesman, known for The Thrill is Gone.
“Genius and popularity alone are not enough: despite their brilliance, Bob Dylan and Miles Davis were too taciturn, too mysterious and too sharp-clawed for an audience to feel entirely comfortable and relaxed in their presence. BB King’s impact on the way blues guitar – and, by extension, rock guitar – is played to this very day is immeasurable. It is impossible to imagine how Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Albert King, Freddie King (both of whom dropped their birth surnames in favour of BB’s), Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gary Moore or Joe Bonamassa, to name but a few, might have played had BB King never existed.Yet his instrumental virtuosity and the seamless interaction between the liquid, vocal tone he conjured from the numerous Gibson semi-acoustic guitars that have borne the nickname “Lucille” over the past six-and-a-half decades and his warm, chesty singing (“First I sing and then Lucille sings”) was only one part of the reason for his pre-eminence not only in his chosen field of the blues but in the broader expanse of the past musical century’s popular mainstream. BB King was also one of the planet’s consummate entertainers; his expansive stage presence, enveloping generosity of spirit, patent willingness to drive himself into the ground for his audiences and ability to put virtually any crowd at their ease took him from the backbreaking labour and harsh racism of the rural Southern states to the biggest stages of the world’s capital cities. As an old man he would duet on Sweet Home Chicago with Barack Obama at a gala blues concert in the White House. Along the way, he collected enough awards, trophies and honorary degrees to fill a small warehouse and was the subject of a biographical documentary feature, The Life of Riley, narrated by Morgan Freeman.”
Charles Schaar Murray, Guardian 15 May 2015, BB King Was that Rare Thing – a game changer who was also beloved
“I wanted to be able to do like my cousin, Bukka White and some of the other great slide guitarists. I have stupid fingers. They just wouldn't do it. Or stupid head, one or the other. And I also fell in love with Leon [McAuliffe], who used to play steel guitar with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. I never knew his last name, but you'd always hear Bob say, oh, Leon. And the guitar talked. So I always equated the bottleneck with that sound. I used to hear records from the islands, like Hawaii, and the guitar player would sound something similar to that, too. So what I would do is take the guitar, the neck of the guitar, and every time I played it, twirled my hand like this. My stupid ears were saying that sounds similar to what they were doing. And every time I pick up a guitar that's the first thing I try to do. I just trill my hand. It got better at it. I can't really show you, but holding the neck of the guitar, you grab a note and just trill your hand. It's just grab the note and you just hold it. But after I practiced for a while, you learn that you can sustain it. I could hold it until I get ready to turn it loose.”
BB King, Rolling Stone interview 2008
15th May 2015 – John Stephenson, 91
Voice actor who was the voice of Mr Slate, Fred Flinstones boss.
15th May 2015 – John Jarvis-Smith, 93
WW2 Navy man who later became a shipbroker.
“Smith, who had previously seen action off Sword Beach on D-Day and spent three weeks providing covering fire for troops during the British landings, was given command of a landing craft tank to take relief supplies to the people of Caen who had suffered during ferocious fighting to capture the city which was mostly destroyed as a result. Then, a couple of months before the end of the war in Europe, Smith found himself at the centre of a surreal episode when he discovered, through the London Gazette, that he had been Mentioned, “posthumously”, in Despatches. In March 1945 he was named among those honoured “for gallantry and great devotion to duty in the assault on Walcheren, in which operation they lost their lives”. Once informed that it was another officer by the name of Smith who had been killed and that John Smith was alive and well, the Admiralty awarded him the Distinguished Service Cross. An amended statement in the publication just over a month later announced his DSC. “
Alison Shaw, Scotsman obit
17th May 2015 – Margaret Dunning, 104
Long lived American philanthropist.
19th May 2015 – Robert S Wistrich, 70
European historian who specialised in the field of anti-semitism.
19th May 2015 – Jack Aspinwall, 82
Conservative MP for Kingswood from 1979 to 1983, and Wansdyke from 1983 to 1997. In his earlier career, he had run for parliament as a Liberal.
“At Westminster, Aspinwall moved steadily to the right. After voting against capital punishment in 1979, he supported its restoration four years later. He became a consistent opponent of abortion and the lowering of the homosexual age of consent, and advised parents to put locks on their telephones lest their children indulge in pornographic calls. In 1987 his support for Margaret Thatcher’s refusal to stiffen sanctions against South Africa earned him an invitation to visit Ciskei and Bophuthatswana, homelands supported by the apartheid regime. He argued for English cricketers to be free to play in South Africa; supported President Reagan’s intervention in Grenada; accused Israel of behaving “like Nazi Germany” to the Palestinians; and praised the Ceausescu regime on a visit to Romania not long before its fall.”
20th May 2015 – Sir Brian Cubbon, 97
Civil servant who was Permanent Secretary of the Home Office from 1979 to 1988. He was also a survivor in the car which was bombed to kill Christopher Ewart-Biggs in 1976.
“A Whitehall insider of the highest calibre and integrity, Cubbon found it easier to preside over the NIO, relying on a cadre of experienced senior Stormont officials, than a Home Office which was starting to betray its preference for Olympian thought over executive competence. In old age he joked that the Home Office must have been “fit for purpose” in Margaret Thatcher’s day because all three Home Secretaries he served – Willie Whitelaw, Leon Brittan and Douglas Hurd – were, like Cubbon himself, Trinity (Cambridge) men. But the truth of the matter was more complex. Cubbon was most comfortable with the bluff, patrician Whitelaw. The two even set time aside to watch Yes Minister together – though they laughed in different places, Cubbon having more than a touch of Sir Humphrey Appleby about him. Asked once whether a list of “excuses” offered by Sir Humphrey for not carrying out some instruction was authentic, Cubbon volunteered the word “explanations” instead.”
22nd May 2015 – Terry Sue-Patt, 50
Actor who played Benny Green in Grange Hill.
23rd May 2015 – John Forbes Nash, 86
Mathematician who came up with Game Theory, who won a Nobel Prize, and fought mental illness. He was later played by Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind.
“Nash had arrived at Princeton University, New Jersey, in 1948 to study for a postgraduate degree in mathematics, bearing a laconic one-line recommendation from his previous professor, Richard Duffin: “This man is a genius.” He proved his genius within two years by publishing what is surely the shortest paper ever to win its author a Nobel prize. Called Equilibrium Points in N-Person Games, it was less than a page long and contained just 317 words. It was a major contribution to the burgeoning field of game theory, whose foundations had been laid by the mathematician John von Neumann and the economist Oskar Morgenstern at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study in their Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (1944). With Nash’s insight, game theory provides a focus for understanding the roots of many problems in conflict and the failure of co-operation that we face today. Nash himself, however, did not regard his contribution particularly highly. He was more concerned with tackling basic problems across the whole range of mathematics. Even as an undergraduate he had produced an independent proof of Brouwer’s fixed-point theorem – the theorem that tells us that, no matter how much we stir a cup of coffee, there will always be one small bit that is just where it was before we started stirring.”
Len Fisher, Guardian obit
“He's 76 now, and even by the standards of a life that has been anything but ordinary, the past decade has been particularly adventurous. He is one of the most famous mathematicians on the planet, although most people don't know the details. He won the Nobel Prize in 1994 for a mathematical theory that has become a cornerstone of modern economics, but it was Russell Crowe who brought him to the masses. In the movie A Beautiful Mind, Hollywood took Nash's remarkable story of mathematics and schizophrenia and fashioned an unlikely hero from it. He is sanguine about the liberties they took in the process. "I thought at first the music was too loud," says Nash. "But after I got into it I realised that this movie had the ingredients for success because there's a measure of suspense and an entertaining quality. It was hard to accept the personal description but I could see that while it might not be like a documentary, it could be successful as a movie." He thinks that Russell Crowe should have won an Oscar for his portrayal of him. It was the wrong accent, and they met only once during filming, but "his performance was terrific". Alicia adds: "We just love Russell Crowe. It was a great movie, but it was fictionalised." She and her husband then debate whether Jennifer Connelly should have won a leading actress Oscar rather than for supporting actress. "She was the lead," insists Alicia, whom Connelly played in the movie.”
Schizophrenia Daily News, 10 April 2005
“With regard to the specific sub-fields of economics, I don't know so well. I can observe the game theory is applied very much in economics. Generally, it would be wise to get into the mathematics as much as seems reasonable because the economists who use more mathematics are somehow more respected than those who use less. That's the trend. I don't think exactly like a professional economist. I think about economics and economic ideas, but somewhat like an outsider. Of course von Neumann was not an economist but Morgenstern was, and they teamed together on that book. Otherwise there are a lot of trends in economics. What seems fashionable now and the general opinion might be quite different after 20 years or so. Somebody studying a career they should be prepared for changes. I think they should learn things that are good foundations but don't necessarily depend on a current fashion or what could be considered general opinion or popular opinion. You should maybe try to learn things that would be good for all time. Unquestionable scientific value.”
John Forbes Nash, Nobel Prize interview, 1994
23rd May 2015 – Alicia Nash, 82
Mental health advocate and wife of John Forbes Nash. She died in the same car crash as her husband.
23rd May 2015 – Anne Meara, 85
Emmy nominated actress who was in The Out of Towners, The Boys from Brazil and Zoolander.
“Jerry Stiller [her husband] and Meara were a top comedy act in the 1960s, appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show” 36 times. The two were members of the improv group the Compass Players, which later became Second City. Although Meara had converted to Judaism when the couple got married, Stiller & Meara’s material centered on the differences in their ethnic backgrounds, epitomized by their signature “Hershey Horowitz/Mary Elizabeth Doyle” routines.In 2010 the couple had their own Yahoo comedy series, “Stiller & Meara,” produced in part by son Ben. But Meara was also a serious dramatic actress who received a 1993 Tony nomination for featured actress in a play for her work in Eugene O’Neill’s “Anna Christie,” which starred Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson. She also penned a couple of plays that made it to Off Broadway.She was also well known for recurring on daytime soap “All My Children” from 1993-98 as Peggy Moody; for her work on “Archie Bunker’s Place,” for which she received two of her four Emmy nominations; and for her bravura performance as the indefatigable suburban mother in Greg Mottola’s 1997 indie “The Daytrippers.” In that film, Hope Davis plays a woman who can’t get her husband, who’s in Manhattan, on the phone, whereupon her mother, played by Meara, puts the suburban family in the station wagon to begin an antic search for him in the city.”
Carmel Dagan, Variety obit
Her son Ben Stiller became a fairly recognized comic actor in his own right.
24th May 2015 – Tanith Lee, 67
FSF author who also wrote two episodes of Blake's 7.
“In the course of her long career – she made her first sale, a young adult novel, The Dragon Hoard (1971), at 21 and wrote up to her death – she produced adult and young adult novels, science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, spy fiction, erotica, a historical novel (The Gods Are Thirsty, in 1996, about the French Revolution, one of her many obsessions), radio plays and two episodes of the television space opera Blake’s 7. Yet all her work shares a tone – Lee captured like few other modern writers a gothic, not to say goth, sensibility in which the relentless pursuit of personal autonomy and sensual fulfilment leads her characters to the brink of delirium, as well as to a fierce integrity that can co-habit with self-sacrificing empathy. Like Carter in particular, Lee writes in a mode heavily influenced by decadents such as Aubrey Beardsley and William Beckford and yet concerned with ethical behaviour as well as personal fulfilment.”
Roz Kaveney, Guardian obit
“By 1975 she had a publisher, Daw Books, and gave up work in a library to become a full-time author. “It felt like a rescue from damnation”, she recalled twenty years down the line, “and still does”. She was nominated for a Nebula Award for her first adult novel, The Birthgrave (1975), a fantasy epic whose heroine awakes alone in a cave beneath a volcano and spends most of the book in search of her own identity. Though critical reception was mixed, the book performed well as a mass-market paperback and two sequels followed in 1978.The receipt of the British Fantasy Award, in 1980, put her on a firm professional footing. That same year she wrote two episodes for Blake’s 7, the science fiction series created by Terry Nation, best-known to Doctor Who fans as the brains behind the villainous Daleks. A subsequent request for Lee to write a Doctor Who script ultimately came to nothing, and film rights for several of her novels were discussed but never realised.”
Tanith Lee, Locus Issue 4, 1998
“ For me, all genres or sub-genres, can and should be mixed when a writer wants to. (We all do, one way or another, anyhow.) Genre doesn’t matter to me, as reader or writer, providing it’s what I wish and need to read and write (and wallow in) at the time.”
Tanith Lee, Weird Fiction Review, 2012
26th May 2015 – Bob Hornery, 83
Long running Australian actor who had a number of familiar roles. In Neighbours, he was Tom Kennedy. In Doctor Who, he played a doomed pilot in The Horns of Nimon. And in Sapphire and Steel, he terrorised millions in his appearance as The Man Without a Face.
“Hornery played Zoe Caldwell's henchman with a strong understated dignity in the production of The Visit that brought her back to her hometown for the 50th anniversary of the Melbourne Theatre Company (he spent half a century with the MTC, joining in 1961). Hornery was also in one of former MTC artistic director Simon Phillips' starkest productions, the Scandinavian drama Festen. He will always be thought of, though, as a comic actor. His last appearance was in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, with Geoffrey Rush, Christy Whelan-Browne and Magda Szubanski, playing the doddering old man, Erroneous, who keeps wandering on and off stage looking for his children. Hornery, who was such a gagster, also struck Stephen Sondheim, the creator of Forum, with his pathos: Sondheim said he made him feel more for the character than he ever had before. And for all his wackiness as an actor Hornery, who also starred in films including Crackerjack and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, and in TV's Doctor Who and Neighbours, was revered by his fellow thespians for his kindness and his sense of the absurdity of the glamorous profession. He once had the experience of seeing his name up in lights in Shaftesbury Avenue in London's West End.”
Peter Craven, Sydney Morning Herald obit
28th May 2015 – Johnny Keating, 87
Scottish musician who composed the theme to Z-Cars.
“What set the young Keating apart from many of his peers during this era was that he merged the grounding which the soon-to-become-outdated big band style gave him in jazz composition techniques with a more forward-thinking interest in the fast-emerging pop style of the era. Alongside the songwriter Johnny Worth, who used the pen name Les Vandyke, he helped mastermind the musical style of early 1960s pop heartthrob Eden Kane, including co-writing the 1961 UK number one hit Well I Ask You. Accounts vary as to the precise compositional lineage of Theme From Z Cars, with many reports stating that it was based on a traditional arrangement of an old folk song named Johnny Todd sung by children in Liverpool, where the series was set. Musicians Fritz Spiegl and Bridget Fry are also said to have been involved in the arrangement, but it was undoubtedly Keating’s successful chart version which lodged itself most firmly in the public consciousness.”
David Pollock, Scotsman obit
29th May 2015 – Betsy Palmer, 88
Actress who appeared as Mrs Vorhees in the original Friday the 13th film.
“Her lengthy television and film career spanned more than five decades, starting with a number of high-profile roles in the 1950s, including a regular role as a panelist on the prime-time TV game show"I've Got a Secret" and a role as contributor on NBC's "The Today Show. She drew a new generation of fans, her manager said, with her role as Mrs. Voorhees in the 1980 cult classic "Friday the 13th."It's a role Palmer once said she'd only accepted because she was convinced no one would see it -- and because she needed the money for a new car.”
Catherine E Schoichet and Henry Hanks, CNN obit
29th May 2015 – Doris Hart, 89
Tennis player who completed the career slam in both singles, doubles and mixed doubles, and was Womens number 1 in 1951. She won the Australian Open in 1949, the French Open in 1950, Wimbledon in 1951, The French Open again in 1952, and the US Open in 1954 and 1955.
30th May 2015 – Jake D’Arcy, 69
Versatile Scottish actor. He played the gym teacher in Gregory’s Girl, as well as Jackie in Just Another Saturday and Fud O’Donnell in Tutti Frutti, the sitcom based on the lives of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. He played a criminal in Hamish MacBeth, a football manager in Atletico Partick, Hugh Hosie in Rab C Nesbitt and as Pete the Jakey in Still Game. He also had multiple doomed roles in Taggart.
“The director of Still Game, Michael Hines, had worked with D’Arcy since 2000 on the programme. He told The Scotsman yesterday: “Working with Jake on Still Game was a real joy. He was not only professional and an excellent actor but was also very funny. He had a way of making people laugh. It brightened up our day having him on set, as he could be cheeky and witty and whilst he took a lot of ribbing for being Pete the Jakey, he gave as good as he got. He will be very sadly missed and his character’s departure from Craiglang leaves a big hole to fill.”D’Arcy appeared in two prestigious productions at the Edinburgh Festival. In 1989 he played Hugh Auld in the Tron Theatre’s production of Clyde Nouveau directed by Michael Boyd. Ian Heggie’s play “projected the true spirit of Glasgow”, according to Allen Wright in The Scotsman and drew comparisons between the property developers in the city and other shady operators. Wright wrote: “There was strength in the playing of Jake D’Arcy.D’Arcy returned to the Festival for a memorable revival of the classic Thrie Estates in 1991 in the Assembly Hall. Because of a late cancellation of another play the Festival director, Frank Dunlop, had to rush in a revival of Tom Fleming’s production. He cast D’Arcy as Placebo along with a host of renowned Scottish actors including Edith Macarthur, Juliet Cadzow and David Rintoul.”
Alasdair Steven, Scotsman obit
A fiercely private man who differentiated between his public and private life, D’Arcy went to his death with the press still not knowing basic elements of his biography, or even his date of birth, a unique achievement in this day and age.
30th May 2015 – Julie Harris, 94
Costume designer who worked with The Beatles on Help, and on the Bond film Live and Let Die.
“Speaking about working on A Hard Day's Night at the peak of Beatlemania, Harris once said, "I must be one of the few people who can claim they have seen John, Paul, George and Ringo naked." In the documentary You Can't Do That! - The Making of A Hard Day's Night, Harris also joked about the Beatles' lack of comprehension about the magic of moviemaking. "They did not understand about continuity, so they didn't know why they couldn't walk into the wardrobe in the morning and say 'Oh, I'm going to wear that today,' because yesterday they'd worn another suit and they had to wear the same thing," Harris said. The costume designer also shared a story about how production had to halt after Lennon – who demanded that he wear his own cap during filming – lost the hat, which forced the crew to find it since there was no replacements on set.”
Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone obit
30th May 2015 – Tony McNamara, 85
Footballer who played for Everton and Liverpool.