Thursday, 1 December 2016

In Memoriam: January 2016

2016, hasn't it been shite?

I mean, there are people I'd have liked to spend more time on this year, who got a bit lost in the shuffle, because there's over 500 of these...

Year End Memoriams for January 2016 (and a few from 2015 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. Prince'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 Alan Rickman 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 2016 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.

2015 - Jason Wingreen, 95

Actor best known for being the voice of Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back, and who also had a role as Dr Brody in Airplane! He also played the confused train conductor in A Stop a Willoughby, one of the best episodes of The Twilight Zone.

2015 – Mae Deuchar, 93

Grandmother of football player Kenny Deuchar, who became a familiar name to Soccer Saturday fans due to Jeff Stelling’s continual shout-outs to her whenever her grandson scored his (many, many) goals for Gretna.

2015 – Mwepu Illunga, 65

Former Zaire international footballer who played in the 1974 World Cup. He was famous for charging out of the Zaire wall at a Brazilian free kick to boot the ball down field. This was in protest to social conditions back home, but lost in translation to the laughs of ethnocentric Western commentators.

“Speaking to World Football, Ilunga says his stunt was no act of stupidity. "I did that deliberately. I was aware of football regulations. I did not have a reason to continue getting injured while those who will benefit financially were sitting on the terraces watching." He had hoped to have been sent off as an act of protest. "I know the rules very well, but the referee was quite lenient and only gave me a yellow card."”
Mewpu Ilunga, to Peter Musembi, World Football 2010

4th November 2015 – Leon Sinden, 88

Actor brother of fellow thespians Joy and Donald Sinden. A familiar face on TV, appearing in the 1979 adaptation of Rebecca as Giles and as Owen in Why Didn’t They Ask Evans. He was also a frequent performer in Scottish dramas, appearing in Take the High Road, The Mad Death (once banned because of its portrayal of rabies infecting East Kilbride) and two episodes of Taggart. In Flesh and Blood, one of the best Taggart stories, which mixes Dungeons and Dragons role-playing with IRA informers and assassinations (normal day at the office for Jim Taggart then), Sinden played Colonel Ross, the troubled father of the first victim.

“Sinden was often seen on Scottish television dramas – most memorably several roles in Dr Finlay’s Casebook, Scotch on the Rocks, Sutherland’s Law, Taggart and as Glendarroch’s grandee George Carradine in STV’s soap The High Road. John Durnin, the artistic director of PFT, told The Scotsman yesterday: “Leon was cherished by the audiences, staff and the actors at PFT. He was never ambitious for himself but was ambitious to remain at the top of his game as an actor and for the PFT. “He was meticulous in his preparation for a role (and, indeed, in his personal life) and had a passion for playing Oscar Wilde – Leon relished Wilde’s sense of detail and language: he is fondly remembered at Pitlochry for his Lord Caversham in An Ideal Husband. Leon was always a true gentleman, in the very best sense of that word, courteous, generous, enthusiastic and supportive of the newer generations of actors. The last night of the Summer Season will never be quite the same again.” 
Alasdair Steven, Scotsman obit, 9 November 2015

31st December 2015 – Natalie Cole, 65

Singer-songwriter daughter of Nat King Cole, who was known for her song Inseperable.

31st December 2015 – Steve Gohouri, 34

Cote D’ivoire international defender who played in the English Premier League for Wigan in 2010.

31st December 2015 – Geoffrey Hawthorn, 74

Academic and author who was a well regarded sociologist at Cambridge University.

“Explanation, he argued, cannot be a question of applying some general law; it must always be a matter of judgment, and such judgments must be both provisional and contestable. Chapter-length analyses brilliantly illustrated how such “descriptive discretion” was involved in trying to understand phenomena as different as the role of the US in the partition of Korea after 1945 or the painting of Duccio’s great Sienese altar-piece in the early 14th century. A whole school of “counterfactual history” has subsequently claimed to take inspiration from his book. But Hawthorn himself shied away from schools and his intellectual trajectory was never predictable. To what possible pigeonhole could we assign an author who began his career by publishing a study of the sociology of fertility and ended by writing a detailed discussion of the conception of politics informing Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War? This final book, Thucydides on Politics: Back to the Present (2014), is at once an extremely close reading of a single text, a meditation on the place of contingency in human affairs, and an argument about what it might mean to “understand” political action.”
Stefan Collini, Guardian obit 17 January 2016

31st December 2015 – Wayne Rogers, 82

Actor who became known to a worldwide audience for his role as Trapper in the MASH TV series.

1st January 2016 – Vilmos Zsigmond, 85

One of the most acclaimed cinematographers in film history, Zsigmond was also one of the very few to win an Oscar, an Emmy and a BAFTA. His hand guided acclaimed films such as The Deer Hunter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Blow Out.

“Style is an interesting thing for cinematographers. I think the best thing is when a cinematographer doesn’t have a style, because I think each movie has to have its own style. If you look at the films I’ve done, every one has its own style. Deer Hunter looks different to Close Encounters of the Third Kind or Scarecrow. I think if someone has a style that is not a good thing. If I have a style, my style is probably lighting, because I love lighting, and I think the most important thing for a cinematographer to do is to create the mood with the lights. That means sometimes you have to use movie lights, or sometimes you have to select the time of the day to shoot, like the early morning light is so beautiful you don’t have to add any lights at all, and it has an incredible effect on you. But, if you look at images of the scenes of my movies you would see that the most important thing is the mood created by light. I have worked closely with the production designer and the assistant director, to schedule scenes to be shot at the right time. I convince them that if we do that we will save a lot of time because I don’t have to use any lights at all.”
Vilmos Zsigmond, Moviescope issue 13 interview, 2009

“A scene should look real, but it should also have poetry.”
Vilmos Zsigmond, Master of Light, American Cinematographer interview with Jon Silberg, October 2004

“Over a period of five decades in Hollywood, his other outstanding achievements included “Deliverance,” “Blow Out,” “The Ghost and the Darkness” and such Robert Altman films as “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” and “The Long Goodbye.” And he considered it the ultimate compliment that no two of his movies looked alike.Working into his eighties, Zsigmond also shot a number of episodes of the Fox sitcom “The Mindy Project” from 2012-14. Zsigmond ranked among the 10 most influential cinematographers in film history in a 2003 survey conducted by the International Cinematographers Guild. The ICG’s Steven Poster, who worked on three of his movies, said in a statement, “Vilmos’ genius was not only in his images, but in his sense of duty to honest storytelling. Working up close with him, I also learned about perseverance and an obligation to the story from the master. His brave beginnings providing footage from the Hungarian revolution will always be an important part of his legacy and to future generations of cinematographers and film students. He made a difference.”
Carmel Dagan, Variety obit, 3 January 2016

2nd January 2016 – Michel Delpech, 69

French singer who was a contemporary of Jacques Brel, and who was known for his connections to the Isle of Wight festival.

2nd January 2016 – Leonard White, 99

TV producer who worked on Armchair Theatre, and was one of the co-creators of The Avengers.

3rd January 2016 – Olwyn Hughes, 87

Literary agent and sister of Ted Hughes. A critic of Slyvia Plath, she was a staunch supporter and defender of her late brother.

“Soon after moving to Court Green, the house in North Tawton, Devon, that Ted had shared with Sylvia, Olwyn found herself looking at the contract from the publishers Faber & Faber for a poetry collection that he had edited. In Paris she had worked for the Martonplay agency, so was familiar with contractual negotiations for film and stage work. She was aghast at the poor terms being offered to her brother. Ted in turn was surprised to learn that contracts could actually be negotiated. Hitherto, simply grateful to be published, he had just signed whatever contract he was sent. So began Olwyn’s career as his agent. The novelist Jean Rhys happened to live nearby, so Olwyn took her on, too. She soon moved to London and acquired a few more clients, but the vast bulk of her time was devoted to the work of her brother and the posthumous literary life of her late sister-in-law. She earned a reputation as a fearsome, difficult gatekeeper and a tough negotiator.”
Jonathan Bate, Guardian obit, 5 January 2016

 4th January 2016 – Frank Armitage, 91

Artist who worked with Disney on several of their films, including Lady and the Tramp, Peter Pan and Mary Poppins.

4th January 2016 – Robert Stigwood, 81

Manager of The Bee Gees.

5th January 2016 – Albert Gubay, 87

Founder of Kwik Save.

5th January 2016 – Pierre Boulez, 90

Acclaimed French composer.

“Boulez’s determination to forge a musical style in keeping with the post-second world war era can be heard in the Sonatine for flute and piano and in the First Piano Sonata (1946). Already he was using the 12-note series in a personal way, refusing to be bound by Schoenbergian rules. In the Sonatine, the writing for piano, “the archetypal instrument of delirium”, set the explosive pattern for later keyboard works, especially the Second Piano Sonata (1948), which is still a stiff test for the virtuoso: Olivier Messiaen claimed Boulez “totally transformed the sonority of the piano”. The First Sonata, as the writer and producer Dominique Jameux has pointed out, is built on binary oppositions that would later feature in Boulez’s “open-form” works – choose either this or that.In 1946 he was appointed musical director of Jean-Louis Barrault and Madeleine Renaud’s Paris theatre company, a post he held for nine years. The practice this gave him in conducting other people’s music with players of variable ability provided valuable experience, tempering his natural impatience with anything that was not perfect.”
Roger Nichols, Guardian obit 6 January 2016

“By the Eighties, Boulez’s triumph seemed complete. As composer George Benjamin says, “Not since Gustav Mahler has a musician made such a colossal impact on the cultural scene.” Parisian musical life was dominated by one man, in a way that hadn’t been since the days of Jean-Baptiste Lully three hundred years previously. But the cost was high. Boulez’s ideological intransigence side-lined many talented people. And by a strange irony, the man who wanted to "liquidate" history began to seem stuck in the past. On his conducting tours, the same masterworks of early modernism, by now more than seventy years old, came round again and again. New trends aroused his scorn (minimalism he dismissed as being “of minimal interest”). Only once did the old revolutionary Boulez reappear, but that turned out to be a misunderstanding. In 2001 he was arrested by Swiss police for being a “threat to national security”. Years previously a Swiss critic who’d written a scathing review of one of Boulez’s performances had received a threat of a bomb attack, and Boulez’s name had absurdly been put on the suspects’ list.”
Ivan Hewett, The modernist maverick: Pierre Boulez at 90, Telegraph 26 March 2015

6th January 2016 – Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros, 87

Cuban musician.

6th January 2016 – Pat Harrington Jr, 86

Actor who appeared in everything from Columbo to the Elvis film Easy Come, Easy Go.

7th January 2016- Kitty Kallen, 94

Singer who had over a dozen top ten hits in the US before her song, Little Things Mean a Lot, became a number one single in the UK in 1954. Just as she looked to be making her big break in the UK, she suffered ill health which prevented her singing for a number of years.

8th January 2016 – Otis Clay, 73

Blues musician best known for writing the song, The Only Way is Up.

9th January 2016 – Ed Stewart, 74

BBC Radio DJ who also presented Crackerjack.

9th January 2016 - Maria Teresa de Filippis, 89

First woman to race professionally in Forumula 1. She competed in the 1958 Belgian Grand Prix.

“Maria Teresa de Filippis posted a best finish of 10th on her debut world championship race at the 1958 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, but was banned from the French Grand Prix the same year after the race director reportedly said: “The only helmet that a woman should use is the one at the hairdressers.” What made her achievement all the more remarkable was that, at 5ft 2ins, she was so small that her Maserati had to be adapted with special padding so that she could reach the pedals.”
Telegraph obit

9th January 2016 - Angus Scrimm, 89

Actor and CD liner notes writer who became a cult hero for his roles as the villainous Tall Man in Phantasm and all its sequels. After the 1979 film, Scrimm was able to make a career out of playing similar characters.

11th January 2016 – David Margulies, 78

American TV, film and stage actor instantly recognisable to a worldwide audience as Lenny Clotch, Mayor of New York City in the Ghostbuster films, a sceptic who tends to fall on the heroes side when the chips are down. He was a familiar face in film, with appearances in All That Jazz, Dressed to Kill,, and Man of the Century, and on TV in everything from The Sopranos to Tales from the Darkside. On Broadway, he was a dependable supporting actor, including a run as Zaretsky in the original urn of Conversations with my Father, and as both villainous Roy Cohn and as Prior in the two original runs of Angels in America.

11th January 2016 – William Del Monte, 109

Man who survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

12th January 2016 – Andrew Smith, 25

Two time NCAA finalist for the Butler Bulldogs. A promising basketball player, his career was cut short by cancer.

12th January 2016 – Meg Mundy, 101

Actress who appeared in Ordinary People.

13th January 2016 - Brian Bedford, 80

English actor who was one of the more acclaimed Shakespearean actors of his generation, racking up seven Tony nominations. He won the 1971 Tony for The School for Wives, and was nominated in 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2003, and 2011 (for the role of Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest!). He played Richard III and Lear thirty years apart, and managed to fit in Chekhov, Coward, and Peter Shaffer too. In 1998 he directed Waiting for Godot, and turned his theatre director skills to Wilde’s Earnest as well as The Winter’s Tale.

This finely acclaimed actor was also known to children, as he was the voice of Robin Hood in the Disney animated film.

“Bedford won a 1971 Tony award on Broadway as the riotously despicable Arnolphe in Molière’s mordantly moralistic The School for Wives (in which he grooms his own ward as his putative wife and lover) and then starred in two British modern classics: on a US tour in the title role of Simon Gray’s Butley (1973), then on Broadway as the philosopher George Moore in Tom Stoppard’s Jumpers (1974), a performance admired as much for its meticulous articulation as its amnesiac buffoonery. This ushered in his “golden age” at Stratford Ontario (1975-80) which coincided with the artistic directorship of Robin Phillips and the participation of Maggie Smith. Opposite Smith, who renewed her career in this period, he played Richard III, Jaques in As You Like It and, once more, Elyot in Private Lives (“a brilliant black diamond of a performance”, said one critic).”
Michael Coveney, Guardian obit, 25 January 2016

13th January 2016 – Sir Albert McQuarrie, 98

Scottish MP for East Aberdeenshire (later Banff and Buchan) from 1979 until 1987, when he lost his seat to a young Alex Salmond. He spoke mostly on fishing matters and health issues. Was still writing to the Telegraph within weeks of his death, and had a reputation for being a firm champion of his local area.

“A supporter of capital punishment and opponent of devolution, abortion and Europe, McQuarrie was 61 when he reached Westminster, having put his political ambitions on hold while he worked in Gibraltar. He came home in 1975 convinced that the Rock had to remain British. McQuarrie chaired the all-party Gibraltar group, campaigned successfully for the colony’s inhabitants to have British citizenship, fought to keep Gibraltar’s naval dockyard in business, defended the right of the Prince and Princess of Wales to start their honeymoon there, and pressed for emergency aid to cope with an influx of tourists when Spain reopened the border. In 2004 he presented a bronze sculptured head of the Queen to the people of Gibraltar.”His parliamentary legacy is his 1986 Safety At Sea Act, which requires vessels to carry radio beacons and life-rafts that surface automatically and is credited with saving many lives. It also closed a loophole under which drunkenness among seamen was an offence, but there were no sanctions against a drunken skipper.”
Telegraph obit

“Known as rarely modest but always effective, he relished his nickname “The Buchan Bulldog”, a cognomen bestowed on him by Margaret Thatcher for his tenacity in defending fishing interests in his constituency. Firmly of the Right, Sir Albert’s loyalty to the Conservative Party could never be questioned, though he hung his hat on a constituency peg rather than establishing a career as a parliamentarian. Thus his Commons activities reflected those of his constituency – vice-chairman of the Conservative Fisheries Sub-Committee, and secretary of the Scotch Whisky All-Party Group. He is best remembered for introducing regulations improving safety on board fishing vessels.”
Gordon Casely, Scotsman obit, 13 January 2016

13th January 2016 – Conrad Philips, 90

British actor who was the lead star in the 1958 ITV series The Adventures of William Tell. He made several other TV appearances, including a memorable one as a father of the bride whose intentions are mistaken by Basil in the Fawlty Towers episode The Wedding Party.

14th January 2016 – Rene Angelil, 73

Manager of Celine Dion who discovered her aged 13, and then became her husband.

14th January 2016 – Robert Banks Stewart, 84

Writer and creator of Bergerac. He also wrote two Dr Who stories during the Tom Baker years, Terror of the Zygons and The Seeds of Doom.

“Knowing that the corporation was, in 1979, looking for a new crime show, Stewart decided to jettison the idea of traditional cops-and-robbers drama, instead conceiving – with the playwright Richard Harris – a series about a private eye, Eddie Shoestring, who works for a local radio station. With its Bristol setting (chosen by Stewart to be a welcome change from the London suburbs hitherto ubiquitous to such dramas), distinctive score by George Fenton, and breakout performance from the then little-known Trevor Eve, Shoestring became a ratings hit. It ran for two series and was nominated for a Bafta. When Eve elected not to return for a third series, Stewart followed the same formula in creating its replacement – an eye-catching location, Fenton’s music and the casting of the right actor for the part rather than a “name”. Bergerac (1981-91) featured John Nettles as a police officer attached to Jersey’s Bureau des Etrangers (a fictional department overseeing non-residents). Jim Bergerac was recovering from injury, alcoholism and a messy divorce, and proved popular with viewers.”
Toby Hadoke, Guardian obit 15 January 2016

15th January 2016 - Dan Haggerty, 74

Actor best known for the lead role in the film The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.

17th January 2016 – Iron Mike Sharpe, 64

Long running enhancement talent in WWF rings in the 1980s and 1990s.

17th January 2016 – Dale Griffin, 67

Mott the Hoople drummer.

“After performing in series of bands in his native Herefordshire, Griffin along with bassist Pete Overend Watts, organist Verden Allen, singer/guitarist Ian Hunter and guitarist Mick Ralphs formally formed Mott the Hoople - named after a Willard Manus novel - in 1969. After a series of albums that were modestly received both commercially and critically, Mott the Hoople were on the verge of breaking up when Bowie, a fan of the band, offered them a pair of songs to record. After rejecting his "Suffragette City," Mott the Hoople opted to record "All the Young Dudes," which became the title track of the band's 1972 Bowie-produced LP. The smash single was named one of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone obit, 18 January 2016

17th January 2016 – Angus Ross, 49

Scottish darts player who got to the last 16 of the World Championship in 1982, shocking former champion Leighton Rees in the first round. He had been suffering from cancer for some time.

18th January 2016 – Glenn Frey, 67

Singer/songwriter who was a founding member of The Eagles. He co-wrote some of their more famous songs, including Take It Easy, Hotel California and Desperado.

“Also on Frey’s side was his attention to detail. He was a student of music – the kind of guy who kept his ear to the ground. He once told Vanity Fair, “I read the backs of albums like they were the Dead Sea Scrolls.” That’s how Frey came to discover and eventually handpick Glyn Johns, the famed producer best known for his work with Led Zeppelin and the Who, to produce the Eagles’ first album. (Funnily enough, Johns turned down the offer twice – but then he heard a live demo of Earlybird and changed his mind.) Frey didn’t have Browne’s flair for words, but his melodies were another story. By then, Frey and Don Henley had stopped singing backup for Ronstadt and decided to team up with Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon to form the Eagles. They began to write, and write and soon became responsible for some of the most popular melodies of the 20th century: Take it Easy, Desperado, Lyin’ Eyes, Hotel California, Already Gone – all bona fide hits. Each of the members’ voices were as distinct as they were beautiful. Frey’s had smooth underbelly with a slight twang at the end of each phrase, fitting perfectly between the rock and country genres the band balanced so well.”
Alex Suskind, With the death of Glenn Frey, it’s time to reassess the Eagles, The Guardian 19 January 2016

19th January 2016- Sheila Sim, 93

Actress and Wife of the late Richard Attenborough.

“She appeared in the film The Guinea Pig (1948, known in the US as The Outsider), in which Attenborough played the central character, a working-class boy at a private school, and she was signed up by J Arthur Rank, then the major if not always the most imaginative of British film producers. Sim and Attenborough also worked together in Dancing With Crime (1947) and The Magic Box (1951). She had a prominent part in the wild fantasy Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951), starring Ava Gardner as a nightclub singer and James Mason as a drifter in a Spanish fishing village. It was shown in a BFI season celebrating the cinematographer Jack Cardiff in 2010.”
Dennis Barker, Guardian obit, 21 January 2016

19th January 2016 – Joachim Fernandez, 43

Senegalese footballer who played in defence for Bordeaux, Udinese and Dundee United.

20th January 2016 – George Weidenfeld, 96

British publisher.

“Everyone has a set of contradictory expectations about George, Grand Old Man of publishing. He's the teetotal party-giver, the much-married womaniser, the international networker, the Jew fascinated by Catholicism, the Viennese émigré who knows the British establishment better than they know themselves, the wheeler-dealer, the aesthete, the profligate commissioner of books who, it's said, doesn't read them. George, they say, conjures a book out of everyone he meets. So when it first became known that he was a regular guest at the Pope's summer seminars at Castel Gandolfo, the joke was that he must be signing up the Holy Father for his memoirs, complete with Sunday newspaper serial rights. Fifteen years later, the old devil has.”
Elizabeth Grice, Telegraph, 2005 (reprinted 20 January 2016)

21st January 2016 – Edmonde Charles-Roux, 95

French writer. Charles-Roux was a nurse during the Second World War, and shot on the front line, later working for the Resistance. By 1954, she was editor of Vogue’s French edition.

“She quickly put her stamp on the magazine, expanding its cultural coverage and showcasing the writers Alain Robbe-Grillet and Violette Leduc and the photographers Irving Penn and Guy Bourdin. She also promoted the careers of up-and-coming designers, notably Emanuel Ungaro and Yves Saint-Laurent. In 1966, she was ousted, for reasons that were never fully explained — either because she had lobbied to put a black model on the cover, devoted too many pages to cultural subjects or failed to keep up with changing styles. “They didn’t like the way I was,” she told The New York Times in 1981. “For me, fashion has never been frivolous.” She was succeeded by Françoise de Langlade, who in 1967 married the designer Oscar de la Renta. Ms. Charles-Roux landed on her feet. Four months after she left Vogue, “To Forget Palermo,” her first novel, won the Prix Goncourt. “When I was fired, I didn’t even know the book had been accepted for publication,” she told The Times in 1966.”
William Grimes, Edmonde Charles-Roux, Novelist and Editor of French Vogue, Dies at 95, New York Times 21 January 2016

22nd January 2016 – Cecil Parkinson, 84

British politician.

22nd January 2016 – John Dowie, 60

Footballer who played for Fulham and Celtic during the 1970s.

23rd January 2016 – Espectrito, 49

Mexican wrestler who appeared as Mini Vader and El Torito during a late 90s run in the WWF.

23rd January 2016 – Archie Gouldie, 79

A territories pro-wrestling star who was known as The Stomper, and was one of Bret Hart’s favourite wrestlers as a child.

24th January 2016 – Henry Worsley, 55

British explorer who attempted to make a solo trek across the Antarctic.

24th January 2016 – Marvin Minsky, 88

One of the founders of AI.

“How could we build a machine that thinks and does all the sorts of things that you would say is thinking if a person did them? So that's one question. Another question is: is there a theory for this? Could we understand principles of intelligence or something like that? But the third one and the one that's really the most effective definition is very weak, namely the AI labs are the places where young people go if they want to make machines do things that they don't do yet and that are hard to do with the currently existing methods. So in that sense, AI is just the more forward looking part of computer science. That's the definition that makes sense in terms of the history, because if you go to the AI labs you'll see people doing... At one time they were doing advanced graphics of one sort or another and then that becomes a little industry of its own, or they're working on speech recognition and that becomes a separate thing. From the very start AI labs were obsessed with making machines that could see. So there was the early vision work. A lot of the early vision work was somehow associated with AI. Althoughmy friend Russell Kirsch at the Bureau of Standards, had been doing it as early as 1954 or '55.”
Marvin Minsky, interviewed by Arthur LO Norberg, Charles Babbage Institute, 1 November 1989

“He secured a fellowship at Harvard, where his academic range broadened into neuroscience, philosophy and computing. In 1956 he attended the first symposium on artificial intelligence at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, an event generally held to have kickstarted AI research. The symposium was organised by John McCarthy, a researcher at MIT, whom Minsky knew from his Princeton days. Together they founded the AI Project at MIT, where Minsky’s early work included the creation of simple learning machines and a robotic hand. In 1962 McCarthy left for Stanford University, leaving Minsky to spearhead AI developments and partnerships at MIT. He remained there for the remainder of his career, latterly as emeritus professor.”
Martin Campbell-Kelly, Guardian obit, 3 February 2016

24th January 2016 – Jimmy Bain, 68

Scottish guitarist who worked with Thin Lizzy in the late 70s. He was also a member of Rainbow alongside Ronnie Dio, and he co-wrote their song Holy Diver.

26th January 2016- Abe Vigoda, 94

Familiar American character actor who was known to audiences as Tessio in The Godfather.

26th January 2016 – Ray Pointer, 79

Footballer who played in the 1962 FA Cup final.

26th January 2016 – Black, 53

Singer who had a top ten hit in 1986 with Wonderful Life.

28th January 2016 – Paul Kantner, 74

Singer and guitarist who was co-founder of Jefferson Airplane.

29th January 2016 – Lord Roper, 80

A former Chief Whip for both the SDP and the Liberal Democrats, who was MP for Farnworth from 1970 to 1983.

30th January 2016 – Frank Finlay, 89

Great Irish character actor who brought his class to numerous dramas, from Bouquet of Barbed Wire, to the war fest The Wild Geese, in which he plays an Irish missionary. Other roles include The Longest Day, the Laurence Olivier Othello, Cromwell, and as Van Helsing in the 1977 Louis Jourdan led Dracula.

Apparently over 95% of his fan mail was about a highly memorable performance in Blackadder as The Witchsmeller Pursuvient, much to his own disapproval, so despite that being a highly memorable role, we mention here at the end in postscript.

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