Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 In Memoriam (part 4)






30th August – Seamus Heaney, 74


“Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
 Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.”

Seamus Heaney, Blackberry-Picking

Irish poet, translator, academic, analyst, thinker, and winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize (Literature). Heaney was a colossus of modern writing – few if any British children go through school without studying his work.

His poem “Digging” is a standard text. The Nobel Prize was for his translation of Beowulf. 


“The presence of Seamus was a warm one, full of humour, care and courtesy - a courtesy that enabled him to carry with such wry northern Irish dignity so many well-deserved honours from all over the world. His careful delving, translation and attention to the work of other poets in different languages and often in conditions of unfreedom, meant that he provided them with an audience of a global kind and we in Ireland gained from his scholarship and the breadth of his reference.
Michael D Higgins




31st August – Sir David Frost, 74

He didn’t waste much time.

(Frost’s own suggestion for the first line of his obit, from conversation with Mark Lawson.)




David Frost – from That Was the Week that Was, to the interview with Nixon, to breakfast TV. A lot was encapsulated into the career of David Frost. A man who Private Eye’s considered opinion, on death, was that he was “a stealer of others joke who rose without trace and did little of achievement.” (Strangely, that’s exactly my opinion of Ian Hislop – and at least Frost didn’t propagate MMR myths.)




1st September – Ken Wallis, 97


Inventor of the autogyro and WW2 RAF bomber.


2nd September – Alain Testart, 67
French anthropologist who specialised in hunter-gatherers, slavery and evolution of society.


2nd September – Frederick Pohl, 93

SF author.

2nd September – David Jacobs, 87

BBC radio presenter.


2nd September – Ronald Coase, 102


Long lived British Nobel Prize winning economist.


3rd September – Lewis Morley, 88

Photographer best known for a famous photo of Christine Keeler.

5th September – Geoffrey Goodman, 91

Journalist who worked for the Daily Mirror, Tribune, The Sun and the Herald.

“Goodman had wanted to become a journalist ever since hearing a shopkeeper say before the Abdication that the newspapers were refusing to print the truth “despite most of us knowing exactly what is going on”. Demobilised in 1946, he worked briefly on the Manchester Guardian and the Mirror (being sacked in a purge of Left-wingers at Christmas 1948). He worked with Bevan and Foot at Tribune, and also became a fixture on the News Chronicle. Crucially in 1956, he backed the paper’s editor, Michael Curtis, in opposing the Suez operation, over which the staff were deeply divided. A year later, Goodman sat through a “wake” of a dinner with a tearful Foot after Bevan broke ranks with the Left to insist that Britain must not abandon its nuclear weapons. Months before the Chronicle closed in 1960, Goodman moved to the Labour-supporting Daily Herald as its industrial editor. He was a key member of the team that in 1964 relaunched the Herald as the Sun, and at the Sun he secured his greatest scoop, breaking the story that the combatants in the Vietnam War were meeting in Paris to search for a peace formula.  Goodman returned to the Mirror in 1969 just before Rupert Murdoch captured the Sun. The paper then was innovative and progressive, and expected the Labour government to be the same. But its opinionated chairman Cecil King saw Wilson as a busted flush and was machinating for a coalition or even a military junta. Again Goodman alerted Benn.”
Telegraph obit


6th September – Ann C Crispin, 63

SF author who also founded the Writers Beware website, a site dedicated to rooting out scam publishers and agents.

7th September – Marek Spilar, 38

Slovakian football player.


12th September – Ray Dolby, 80

American inventer of the Dolby sound system.

12th September – William A Graham, 87
Director who had a lengthy TV career, including 2 episodes of Batman in the 1960s, and 3 episodes of The X-Files in the 1990s (including the well regarded first series episode “Space”).


13th September – Larry Stewart, 42

Doctor Who fan and friend of many on several online forums and real life.  Had suffered ill health his entire life but never let it rancour his many friendships. A supporter of West Ham, and a man of great comic timing, Larry’s death was unexpected by most of his friends, but he never stopped being good old Larry to the bitter end. Last I spoke to him, about a month before his death, he was bemoaning various government policies designed to “fleece the poor and sick”!


16th September – Kim Hamilton, 81
American actress.

18th September – Ken Norton, 70
Boxer, and one of only two men (the other being Joe Frazier) to beat Mohammed Ali in his prime.

20th September – Angelo Savoldi,  99
Long lived pro-wrestler.

22nd September – Luciano Vincenzoni, 87
Italian script-writer of For A Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

22nd September – Gary Brandner, 83
Horror writer who wrote The Howling.


23rd September – Annette Kerr, 93
Scottish actress.


24th September – Anthony Lawrence, 101


BBC foreign correspondent who covered the Vietnam War.


1st October – Tom Clancy, 66
American novelist.


1st October – Peter Broadbent, 80
Footballer who played for Wolves and Aston Villa, and turned out for England in the 1958 World Cup.


2nd October – Hilton A. Green, 84
Producer who started off as an assistant director on TV, before hooking up with Alfred Hitchcock, first on his TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and then as the Assistant on Pyscho. Green later went on to produce the sequels to Pyscho, as well as Home Alone 3.


4th October – Vo Nguyen Giap, 102
Vietnamese general who fought against the French in the 1950s, and the Americans in the Vietnam war, and was undefeated against both.


5th October – Hugh Jackson, 95


Doctor who spent his life warning of medical dangers to children.


“His tenacity, charm and persuasive skills persuaded government to introduce many regulations to improve safety. The first, following on from his seminal case, was the introduction of child-resistant packaging for medications. This had dramatic effects: within two years the number of children admitted annually with salicylate poisoning fell from 7,000 to fewer than 2,000. In 1976, with the help of his old colleague Donald Court, who was in the throes of writing his report on child health services, he founded the Child Accident Prevention Trust. Through research, lobbying and the involvement of professionals across many sectors, huge improvements were made; these included safety glass in doors, bannisters that children could not climb through, and the wider use of smoke alarms. Changes he instituted are all around us, but Hugh was very modest about his contribution.
Jo Sibert, Guardian obit

8th October – Akong Rinpoche, 73
Tibetan monk who opened the first retreat in Britain, and organised the ceremony in which Duncan and Linda Lunan got married.


8th October – Jose Faria, 80
Football manager who took Morocco to the 1986 World Cup, where they became the first ever African side to qualify for the second round.




8th October – Phil Chevron, 56
Singer/songwriter best known for his long period in The Pogues, and their song “Thousands are Sailing”, which he wrote.




9th October – Stanley Kaufmann, 97


The original film critic and analysist. Without him, there’d be no Roger Ebert or Barry Norman, nor anyone to follow in eithers footsteps


“Mr. Kauffmann went from being an actor and a stage manager with a Manhattan repertory company to a book editor and a writer of vaguely philosophical novels before becoming a film critic at The New Republic in 1958. His reflective, highly wrought essays appeared weekly for the next 55 years, with a break in 1966, when he was, briefly, the chief theater critic for The New York Times.   He also doubled as the theater critic for The New Republic from 1969 to 1979, but it was as a film critic that his influence was felt, even if it was hard to define, since he belonged to no camp. His abiding interest in theatrical givens like theme, story, dramatic construction and character could make him seem old-fashioned, and set him in direct opposition to the auteur school, with its emphasis on the formal aspects of film. Readers came to him for reviews that read like mini-tutorials, the product of a deeply literary mind and a graceful pen. Although resolutely high-minded, with a strong bias toward foreign art films, he was not elitist. He championed Jane Fonda early in her career and preferred Britain’s lightly satirical Ealing comedies, like “Kind Hearts and Coronets,” to the kitchen-sink realism of the British New Wave. He forgave many sins in otherwise negligible films if they had a progressive social message.”
William Grimes, New York Times obit


10th October – Norrie Martin, 74
Former Rangers goalkeeper.


10th October – Scott Carpenter, 88
Astronaut who was one of the original Project Mercury members, and the fourth American to travel in space.


11th October – Maria de Villota, 33
Formula one driver who died as a result of injuries suffered in a car crash the previous year.


14th October – Bruno Metsu, 59
Football manager who took a little known Senegal side to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals, shocking World champions France 1-0 and Sweden along the way.




16th October – Ed Lauter, 74
Well known American TV and film actor, who appeared in the Hitchcock film Family Plot, the X-Files episode “Space” and had a recurring role in ER as the fire safety chief, among many, many roles.


16th October – Bernard Aspinwall, 70s
Well liked academic who spent many a year in the Glasgow University history department.


17th October – Rene Simpson, 47
French tennis star who reached the third round of the womens draw at the French Open in 1989, reached a high ranking of 70th in the world, and went on to coach the Canadian Fed Cup team.


17th October – Lou Scheimer, 84
American founder of Filmnation, the company that produced He-Man.


18th October – Tom Foley, 84
Speaker of the US House of Representatives from 1989-95.


18th October – Vincent Tilsley


Script writer who wrote the famous episode of The Prisoner, The Chimes of Big Ben. Went onto write for several other TV shows of that ilk, including The Guardians.


18th October – Felix Dexter
Well liked comic actor who was part of the Fast Show team.


19th October – Noel Harrison, 79
Singer best known for “Windmills of your Mind”




20th October – Lawrence Klein, 93
The economist who invented the statistical models for which we predicted global economies growth. For this, he earned the Nobel Prize (Economics) in 1980.


20th October – Jovanka Broz, 88
Widow of Tito, the Yugoslav leader during the Cold War. At first his secretary, and then his wife, she was one of the most powerful figures in 50s and 60s Yugoslav. Some allies of her husband plotted against her, convincing the ailing leader she was planning his downfall. Estranged as a result, when Tito died, she was placed under house arrest. Later she fell into poverty, before being allowed a state pension in modern Serbia. When she died, there was state mourning – which felt a bit hollow, given how worthlessly they treated her when she were alive these last 30 odd years.


24th October – Frank Perconte, 96
Member of the WW2 Band of Brothers.


24th October – Antonia Bird, 62
British film director and producer who directed Ravenous, The Village and epsidoes of Morse and Eastenders.


25th October – Marcia Wallace, 70
American actress and voice actor, known across the world for her role in the Simpsons as Edna Krabappel.




25th October – Nigel Davenport, 85
British actor who was a familiar site in film and TV>


25th October – Hal Needham, 82
American stuntman and film actor.


27th October – Lou Reed, 71
Singer/songwriter, known for The Velvet Underground, his solo career, his collaborations... His most famous songs may well be “Perfect Day” or “Take a Walk on the Wild Side”




29th October – Graham Stark, 91
Actor who played Inspector Closeau’s straight man deputy in the Peter Sellers films.




30th October – Dave McFarlane, 46
Footballer.


2nd November – Jack Alexander, 77
Scottish comedian.


7th November – John Cole, 85
BBC political correspondent in the 1980s, and a familiar figure on Spitting Image. Beyond the humour, Cole was a shrewd political mind, being the first to call the downfall of Margaret Thatcher in 1990.




9th November – Steve Prescott, 39
Rugby player.


9th November – Helen Eadie, 66
Scottish MSP


12th November – Sir John Tavener, 69
British composer.


12th November – Hetty Bower, 108
Life long regarded peace activist from the 1920s on, who became more publicly known due to her affiliation with all the anti-war demonstrations of the past decade.


14th November – Jim McCluskey, 63
Former Scottish referee.

14th November – Grace Jones, 113

Oldest British woman alive, and one of the two surviving Brits who were subjects of Queen Victoria.



15th November – Glafcos Cleridies, 94


Twice Cypriot President. He had served in WW2, been captured as a Prisoner of War twice, and escaped both times. He stood down an invasion, took his country into the EU, and nearly managed to unite the two parts.


“Glafcos Clerides, former President, former House speaker, World War II hero, interlocutor, political party founder, lawyer, sea dog and author may fondly be remembered by the international community as the sparring partner of long-time nemesis Rauf Denktash. Paradoxically, he was also probably the closest thing to a Greek Cypriot friend that Denktash ever had. But Clerides` commitment to Cyprus went much deeper than merely negotiating a settlement with the ‘enemy’. Politics was not a career for him. It was his whole life. From the EOKA struggle for independence when he was fresh from the bar in London until he bowed out of politics shortly after his defeat to Tassos Papadopoulos in the 2003 presidential elections after two five-year terms.”
Jean Christou, Cyprus Mail


15th November – Sheila Matthews Allen, 84
Widow of Irwin Allen who made several appeareances in his films.


17th November – Doris Lessing, 94
Nobel Prize winning novelist


17th November –Syd Field, 77

Writer of Screenwriting how to books.


19th November – Charlotte Zolotow, 98
Poet


19th November – Frederick Sanger, 95
Two time Nobel Prize winning scientist, who won the Chemistry Prize in 1958 for his work in sequencing insulin creation, and then again in 1980 for his work in encoding RNA.




19th November – Ray Gosling, 74
Documentary maker and gay rights activist.




19th November – Marc Breaux, 89
The choreographer for Mary Poppins, Sound of Music and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, among other films

.
20th November – Peter Griffiths, 85

Former Tory MP who fought a dubious campaign in 1964 to win the Smethwick seat from Patrick Gordon Walker. IN return, Harold Wilson claimed Griffiths should serve out his term as a “parliamentary leper”.  Griffiths lost in 1966, but returned in 1974 in Wolverhampton, where he remain MP until the Labour landslide of 1997.

21st November – Mad Dog Maurice Vachon, 84
Former Hall of Fame pro-wrestler


21st November – Michael Weiner, 51
MLB players association executive.


25th November – Bill Foulkes, 81
Survivor of the Munich plane crash, and long time football player for Manchester United.




26th November – Stan Stennett, 88
Comedian.


26th November – Araucaria, 92
Crossword compiler.


27th November – Nilton Santos, 88
Brazilian footballer regarded as one of the finest of all time.




27th November – Lewis Collins, 67
Actor best known for his lead role in The Professionals.




30th November – Paul Walker, 40
American actor best known for his role in the Fast and the Furious films.


30th November – Jean Kent, 92
Actress.


2nd December – Mary Riggans, 78
Scottish actress, known for Balamory and Take the High Road.


3rd December – Ida Pollock, 105
Romance novelist.


3rd December – Ronald Hunter, 70
American actor.


4th December – Charles Grigg, 97
Artist who worked at the Dandy for over 30 years, creating Korky the Kat, and writing the Desperate Dan strips during that time.


5th December – Colin Wilson, 82
British true crime writer who collected peoples stories of the supernatural.


5th December – Nelson Mandela, 95


World icon.

Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years for his role in activities against the racist apartheid state. His imprisonment became a beacon for political activism against South Africa in the 1980s. Released in 1990, he could have easily taken up a Mugabe like stance in South African politics. Instead, he showed the world forgiveness and a strong degree of shrewd understanding about politics. Mandela became a world icon, not just for civil rights but for peace and understanding.




5th December – Barry Jackson, 75

British actor.




7th December – Edouard Molinaro, 85


French director and screenwriter of Las Cage aux Folles.


7th December – Jozef Kowalski


Alleged oldest living man, who was the last living soldier of the Polish/Russia war of 1919.

8th December – Edward Williams, 92

British composer who wrote the music for Life on Earth.


8th December – Don Mitchell, 70

Actor best known for his role in ironside.


8th December – John Cornforth, 96


Chemist who won the Nobel prize (1975) for his understanding of cholestoral structures and enzyme/catalyst reactions.


9th December – Lloyd Pye, 67


Cryptozologist who was famed for his promotion of the ‘Starchild’.


9th December – Eleanor Parker, 91


Actress best known for her role as the Baroness in The Sound of Music.


9th December – Norman Harding, 84


English trade unionist.


12th December – Audrey Totter, 94


American actress.

14th December – Peter O’Toole, 81

Actor, last of a breed of great actors which contained Richard Harris and Richard Burton. Nominated 8 times for the Acting Oscar, that he never won it is a mark on that Academy and not his sublime talents. Be he in Lawrence of Arabia, his stellar Jeffrey Barnard on stage, or appearing in random TV, from The Ray Bradbury Theatre (“the Banshee”) to the David Tennant Casanova series, his talent seemed effortless.






15th December – Harold Camping, 92


End of the world specialist who had a propensity for predicting the oncoming Rapture...several times.


15th December – Joan Fontaine, 96

Actress. Her role in Rebecca is of worthy note, and was justly nominated for the Oscar for it. The following year, another Hitchcock film appearance, another nomination, and the win for her performance in Suspicion. Reclusive for the last few decades of her life, she is outlived by her elder sister, Olivia de Havilland, whom she had a long lasting feud with.


16th December – Ray Price, 87


American singer/songwriter.

“His musical career - which spans some 60 years - began in local establishments and radio stations. It is at one of those stations where Price earned his nickname "The Cherokee Cowboy". It was after joining the Big D Jamboree that Price made music his full time profession. Price had his first Billboard hit in 1952 with "Talk to Your Heart".Price met Hank Williams Sr. in 1951 and the pair became friends until Williams' death in 1953. Price also called Williams the only mentor he ever had.Along with his two Grammy Awards, Price has earned two Academy of Country Music Awards, and a Country Music Association Award. For a time he was a member of the Grand Ole Opry and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.”
Sherrill Fulghum, AllVoices


18th December – Paul Torday, 67


British novelist.


“Mr. Torday launched his writing career in his late 50s, publishing “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” in 2007. It was the story of a rich sheik who dreams of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to his desert country. The novel was adapted for a 2011 film starring Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt, with Blunt as the sheik’s representative and McGregor as a cynical fisheries expert who begrudgingly accepts the challenge.”
Washington Post


18th December – Ronnie Biggs, 84



Criminal who was involved in The Great Train Robbery, though his role was rather limited.  He later escaped prison, and toured South America as the British ambassador for ‘not being in prison’. This long run on the lam made him more famous than the masterminds of the robbery (or indeed, the violent ones) and Biggs somehow became a bit of a punk icon. Later, he returned to Britain severely ill, and went to jail, being released in 2009 on compassionate grounds.




I’ve never quite understood the cult status Biggs got. The closest I can get to understanding it is to think he might have been a (relatively) safe figure, in terms of the robbery: having merely supplied a rogue train driver, and been in the getaway car when the violence broke out, Ronnie could be seen by a “stick to the man” type public (rightly or wrongly) as a sort of Del Boy character. If he had been involved in the coshing of the driver who died young later, perhaps the iconoclasts wouldn’t have jumped to his side quite so quickly.  But then, perhaps his “frankly my dear, I couldn’t give a damn” approach to life (he was a one man promotional device for that black humoured/deeply sick – delete as applicate – Deathlist, being photographed with all their merchandise and celebrating his near-perma status on their list) , mixed in with this “safeness” (inverted commas deliberately used) combines to make a myth of a man which is endearing.


All I know is that in terms of the robbery, he was largely an irrelevant figure. And in terms of punishment, for all he ran from the law, he wound up spending more time in jail for his crimes than most of the folk who meant something to the crime. (And indeed, the chap known for the violence allegedly got away scot free entirely.) But then, when the facts don’t live up to the myth, print the myth.





21st December – John Eisenhower, 91

American historian and son of Dwight Eisenhower.


21st December – David Coleman, 87

THE British sports TV broadcaster.




24th December – Ron Noades

Former owner of Crystal Palace FC.


“The outspoken former owner had also been vocal on a number of subjects in recent years, including the redevelopment of Selhurst Park and the future of former star Wilfried Zaha. But Eddie McGoldrick, who was bought – and then sold – by Noades, said most people would always be thankful for his time in charge of the club. McGoldrick said: “Ron has been a big part of my life. He oversaw the best period of success the club ever had. He was very hands-on as a chairman.“He and Steve Coppell were both Mr Crystal Palace. I saw him about a month ago and he was still laughing and joking.”In a close working relationship with manager Steve Coppell, Noades oversaw promotion to the First Division as well as a club-best third place finish in the old First Division in 1991.In 1990, the club reached Wembley for its first ever – and only – FA Cup Final against Manchester United.”
Croydon Advertiser obit

25th December – Wayne Harrison, 46



Former Liverpool footballer whose career ended early, despite great promise, due to a tragic injury.

“A promising striker, he completed a move to Liverpool after just five appearances for Oldham. Joe Fagan.. saw off competition from Everton, Manchester United and Nottingham Forest to sign the teenager. “You hear reports about a special player perhaps once in 20 years,” Fagan said at the time. “That’s why we bought him.”... He was on the verge of a first-team debut when he fell through a greenhouse and, with the local ambulance service on strike at the time, almost died through loss of blood before back-up Army medics could get him to hospital. Harrison then suffered a number of serious injuries -- including one caused by a fall through his loft -- needing no fewer than 23 football-related operations. He looked to have put those problems behind him as he scored 17 goals in 28 games for the reserves as they won the Central League title in 1989-90. But his then tore his cruciate knee ligament during a reserve game against Bradford in May 1990, and was forced to retire the following year.”
Mike Whalley, ESPN

26th December – Marta Eggerth, 101


Actress who played opposite Judy Garland in a number of films, but was best known for her Opera appearances.


“Once upon a time, there was an 11-year-old Hungarian girl, with blond curls and big dark eyes and a beautiful singing voice and a singer mother who taught her how to use it. She was discovered, as such girls often are, and toured as a child prodigy; and she had staying power, which such girls often do not. At 17 she landed a role in a hit show written by one of the biggest names in show business. A great opera conductor tried to secure her services, but so did the film studios, and she became a movie star — all the more starry after falling in love with her handsome leading man. They married; made films together; starred together on Broadway; were known as the Love Couple all over Europe. They had two children. They lived happily ever after.Their castle is still there. On the grounds of a country club north of New York City, the stone house stands like a fortress of memory. Walk through the iron gate and up the steps and into the long living room, filled with chairs set at conversational, slightly informal angles, as if a party had recently been given there, among the tables laden with framed black-and-white photos. And there she is: the same delicate figure, the same big eyes, the same fluting, melodious voice. Sharply dressed in an elegant knit jacket, she makes her entrance. Her name is Marta Eggerth.”
Anne Midgette, Washington Post, 12 April 2012

Sunday, 22 December 2013

2013 In Memoriam (part 3)




12th April – Michael France, 51

Screenwriter who wrote the film Cliffhanger.

13th April – Stephen Dodgson, 89

British composer.



15th April – Richard LeParmentier, 66

British actor best known for his roles in Star Wars (as Admiral Motti) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (as the sympathetic police chief). He also had roles in the mini-series Lillie and the Bond film Octopussy.

16th April – George Beverly Shea, 104

Long lived singer.

17th April – Paul Ware, 42


English footballer who played for Stoke, Stockport County and Rochdale.


18th April – Anne Williams, 62

Bereaved mother in the Hillsborough tragedy whose fight for justice helped spark the campaign for the truth behind the coverup involved in the disaster.


(Note - John Glover, 72, of the Hillsborough truth campaign also died in March this year.)

19th April – Francois Jacob, 92


French biologist who won the 1965 Noble Prize (for Medicine) for his work on enzyme levels, and gene functions of bacteria.


“Built upon the hypothesis of the coded helical structure of genetic material, DNA, put forward by Francis Crick, James Watson and Maurice Wilkins, Jacob's scientific work provided the first experimental confirmation of the existence and exacting role of the messenger RNA (mRNA), which carries the negative print of information from the genes to the cell's protein factories (ribosomes) for the production of specific proteins. The cells of living organisms throb with dynamic and complex functions involving many proteins, enzymes and biochemical steps, whose production sequence is critical.This implies an elegantly controlled co-operative triggering of many individual genes which create a sequence of different specific but temporary messenger RNAs that, in turn, are translated into the correct sequence of enzymes needed for a required biochemical process. Jacob set out to unravel these complexities for a single important biochemical change.
Anthony Tucker, Guardian obit


19th April – Allan Arbus, 95

Actor best known for his role in MASH as Dr Sidney Freedman.

20th April – Nosher Powell, 84

Long time actor and stuntman, who also acted as the sparring partner for many boxing greats like Ali.

21st April – Chrissy Amphlett, 53

Singer of the Divinyls, best known for their song “I Touch Myself”.

22nd April – Richie Havens, 72

American singer-songwriter.

23rd April – Jim Mortimer, 91

Regarded as being “to the left of Michael Foot”, General secretary of the Labour party between 1982 and 1985. He had previously been the inaugural chairman of ACAS. A loyal supporter of Michael Foot, he found himself frozen out by Kinnock.

“The appointment paid off, Mortimer and his team using their tact, experience, contacts and good offices to resolve all but the most intractable of disputes. The first major strike he settled was by 33,000 bakery workers, and his first major failure the year-long shutdown of Times Newspapers over pay and manning levels. Newmarket stable lads and Playboy bunnies were among those workers who benefited from his mediation.”
Telegraph obit

23rd April – Norman Jones, 81

Actor who stole the show three times in Doctor Who: as the monk Khrisong in The Abominable Snowmen, as Major Baker in The Silurians, and as Heironymous in Masque of Mandragora. He was also a standout in the 1980 A Tale of Two Cities as the scheming Defarge, and to stand out in a cast of that magnitude (Cushing et all) is no small feat. He had roles in Oh What a Lovely War and The Abominable Dr Phibes, and played Chief Inspector Bell in the Jon Thaw Morse adaptations.



25th April – Sean Caffrey, 73

‘Unsung character actor’ is part of the Belfast Telegraph’s obituary headline for Sean Caffrey, so let’s start by singing...

Bloody hell! He’s still terrifying in Edge of Darkness!

In the 1985 miniseries Edge of Darkness, Caffrey plays the IRA murderer of Bob Peck’s daughter. So much of that show is done with silence, and facial reactions, and it take a fine man to beat an actor of the calibre of Bob Peck when it comes to acting with the eyes alone. Caffrey’s villain terrified the beejesus out of me when I first saw it, and even now, there is an unnerving quality to his stillness, as the rain pours down on him as he silently stalks the house. It’s all in those eyes.

I never twigged, till the obituaries, that this killer was the same actor who played Lord Palmerdale in Horror of Fang Rock. Two dislikeable characters – for different reasons – but played so differently as to be unrecognisably the same actor.

His talent, in other words, was so strong it makes you wonder what happened to prevent him making a bigger breakthrough as was promised in the youth of his career. The Belfast Telegraph is so diplomatic on the subject, one suspects the personal demons, alas.



25th April – Brian Adam, 64

Scottish MSP.

1st May – Stuart Wilde, 66

British philosophy writer.

1st May – Chris Kelly, 34

Rapper for the band Kriss Kross, who had an international hit with “Jump” in the 1990s.



2nd May – Allen McKay, 86

British Labour MP from 1978-1992.

2nd May – Jeff Hanneman, 49

Guitarist for the rock band Slayer.

3rd May – Cedric Brooks, 70

Skatalites saxophonist.

4th May – Sir Morgan Morgan-Giles, 99

Award winning WW2 Navy officer with a 30 plus year career in the Navy.

“He was mentioned in despatches four times and, in September 1941, awarded the George Medal for “gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty” during bomb and mine disposal work while serving at HMS Nile, the naval base at Ras el-Tin Point, Alexandria. At the end of a war during which he was recruited by Fitzroy MacLean to run arms to Tito’s partisans in Yugoslavia, Morgan-Giles was awarded a DSO for “courage, outstanding leadership and devotion to duty” – notably during an attack on the Croatian island of Lussino.”
Telegraph obit


“As a fellow-member of the Ministry of Defence Parliamentarians' visit to Borneo and Singapore in summer 1965 he told me of his reservations about confrontation with Indonesia in Sabah and Sarawak and his deep scepticism about the American cause in Vietnam. I am told that as a nonagenarian he was disdainful of politicians who would embark on war without a clear military objective. DSO and George Medallist, Morgan-Giles knew what was involved. Unlike many of his future colleagues of senior rank he did not go to Dartmouth but entered the Navy at the age of 18 in 1932. He told me that by not having experienced the camaraderie of the Royal Naval College in his early teens he was never quite accepted as a member of the Navy's highest echelons.”
Tam Daylell, Independent.

He became Tory MP for Winchester from 1964-79.


6th May – Giulio Andreotti, 94



Seven times Italian Prime Minister.

“He was said to have met his first pope, Pius XI, as a boy when he smuggled himself into a papal audience. He provided advice—some of it unsolicited, much of it heeded—to all Pius’s successors, at least until John Paul II. So close was he to the papacy that John XXIII informed him of the most momentous decision in modern Catholicism, the calling of the Second Vatican Council, three days before the official announcement.”
Economist obituary


“He was accused by a supergrass of sharing a "kiss of honour" with the Mafia's "boss of bosses", Toto Riina, at a secret meeting in 1987. And he was tried for allegedly ordering the murder of a journalist who had threatened to publish details of his alleged Mafia involvement. His acquittal was subsequently overturned by an appeals court, which sentenced him to 24 years in prison - before that ruling, too, was overturned. However, in 2004, Italy's top appeals court did uphold a verdict that he had "consciously and deliberately cultivated a stable relationship" with Mafia bosses. But he was not formally convicted because the offence had lapsed under Italy's statute of limitations.”
BBC obit


“In the early 1960s he was a pillar of the party's right, whose main objective was to prevent the formation of a coalition government with the Socialist party – the centro-sinistra (centre-left). At the last minute, the swift-footed Andreotti switched his support and rallied round Moro and Fanfani, the architects of the new coalition whose aim was to reform the country while isolating the communists. Andreotti had thrown his weight behind the new centre-left coalition in 1963 only after ascertaining that it was acceptable to those whose assent he regarded as crucial: the US and the Vatican. He knew them well. As minister of defence, Andreotti was the politician closest to the Americans. As a personal friend of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini, who was about to become pope as Paul VI, he was intimately acquainted with Vatican thinking. Andreotti backed novelties only after he had secured the maximum consensus. For some, politics is the art of bold decisions, striving forward, changing the landscape and making a difference. But for Andreotti, politics was about caution and prudence. It was the art of managing human affairs in an imperfect world. People were fallible and corrupt, flawed and sinful, and one had to accept them as they were. They might be changed by divine intervention, but not by human intercession.”
Donald Sassoon, Guardian obit


7th May – Aubrey Woods, 85

Instantly recognisable British character actor who went via a RADA scholarship into a 50 year career on film, tv and stage. By the time of his appearances in many of the acclaimed 70s cult films and TV shows – Doctor Who, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Abominable Dr Phibes – Woods already had a 30 year career under his belt.




“. While he was still a student, Calvalcanti cast him as a nervy Smike in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1946). From Rada he repped in Leatherhead, Worthing and Richmond while courting Gaynor, whom he married in 1952 and remained with all his life. While there was always something pleasantly old-fashioned about Woods, his London debut was at the sharp end of theatrical innovation, in Peter Brook's production of Sartre's existential Men Without Shadows at the Lyric Hammersmith in 1947. The study of Gestapo torture was early evidence of Brook's fascination with theatrical violence but aroused fury from some critics, including Harold Hobson, who said it achieved "as much aesthetic effect as a street accident". Hobson was delighted, however, by Woods's scene-stealing turn as a messenger to Ralph Richardson's Macbeth in Gielgud's production in 1952, by which time he was well established with the RSC and the same year had been Le Beau in As You Like It and Peregrine in Volpone.”
Simon Farquhar, Independent obit


In the Doctor Who story Day of the Daleks, Woods shows up as a Vidkun Quisling type in an alternative future Earth (even into the 1970s, the Daleks as Nazis analogies were still part of the show). Not content to simply play the card carrying villain, Woods fills the role – which has limited screen time – with as much pathos as one can fit into a delivery. And he has a wonderful ‘redemption equals death’ final last line, allowing the Doctor to escape and facing his imminent execution with the words: “Who knows? Perhaps I have helped exterminate you!” To be the most memorable thing on screen when you are sharing screen time with the Daleks and Jon Pertwee is no small feat, but then this was an actor of the finest calibre.




“For three years in the 1960s Woods was a memorable Fagin in the musical Oliver!, having taken over the part from Ron Moody . For BBC radio, Woods wrote and appeared in numerous plays. A vice-president of the EF Benson Society, he adapted Benson’s Mapp and Lucia novels for the Corporation, narrating a radio version of Queen Lucia which was released as an audio tape.”
Telegraph obit


“In Willy Wonka and Chocolate Factory, the 1971 movie version of the Roald Dahl story starring Gene Wilder, he was the candyman who hands out the scrumdidilyumptious sweets to the children – all but Charlie who has his face pressed up against the window. "Who can take a sunrise," he sang, "sprinkle it with dew, cover it in chocolate and a miracle or two? The candy man can."
Scottish herald obit

Woods would later show up in the 1982 adaptation of Witness for the Prosecution.

“His last command performance – of The Candy Man – was given informally, and quite often, for the nurses in the hospital in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, where he was a much-loved patient.”
Michael Coveney, Guardian obit



7th May – Ray Harryhausen, 92




The creator of cinematic magic.


““We’re joined at the hip and we’re joined at the brow and joined in our imagination. I’m so glad that all these years have been filled with friendship and love with my dear Ray.”
Ray Bradbury (in 1990)


A thirteen year old child watches the latest SFX, becomes enthralled, goes into that field. We could speak the story today. Only this was 1933, the film was King Kong, and the child was Ray Harryhausen. He would go on in his 20s to be taken under the wing of Willis O’Brien, the animator of King Kong, and the pre-eminent in his field.





“"King Kong" haunted me for years, I came out of the theatre in another world. I'd never see anything like that before in my life. I didn't know how it was done and that was half the charm. I didn't just say "Eureka, I've found what I want to do", that came over a period of time. But I'd done a few dioramas in clay of the La Brea tar pits and I saw in "King Kong" how you could make them move. Luckily a friend of my father's worked at RKO and he knew all about stop-motion, so I started experimenting in my garage.”
Ray Harryhausen


“Though his on-screen credit was often simply “technical effects” or “special visual effects,” Mr. Harryhausen usually played a principal creative role in the films featuring his work. He frequently proposed the initial concept, scouted the locations and shaped the story, script, art direction and design around his ideas for fresh ways to amaze an audience.  Mr. Harryhausen made use of many different photographic effects and often combined several in the same film. But he was best known for stop-motion animation, a painstaking process using three-dimensional miniature models that are photographed one frame at a time, with tiny, progressive adjustments made by hand to the models between frames to produce the illusion of movement.”
Patrick J Lyons, New York Times obit




Stop motion has been around nearly as long as cinema itself, Melies was playing with it as early as 1902, and J. Stuart Blackton was pioneering it while Queen Victoria was still alive.  It has moved onto modern day Star Wars, Wallace and Gromit, etc.


The trick was that Harryhausen’s model work didn’t look like models. Even in King Kong, there is the element of what my grandfather George called “knowing there’s a model or a man in a suit there, but getting on with it.” Harryhausen’s skeletons move! The effort and precision that went into the creation of each character, and the craft with which they were created, gave a lifelikeness to the films not seen before. And – for the most – they were done without the aid of Vlahos’s green screen.


“I got tired of being in a dark room while the rest of the crew went off making another two or three films while I was still on one! But I don't regret it. People ask me if I would have used computer graphics today. I may have, I don't know. There's a lot of technology now that allows you to view instantly the film you've just shot. But I never cared what I had done, I only cared where I was going.”
Ray Harryhausen




“My early exposure to all the leviathans of the Saturday matinee creature features inspired me, when I grew up, to make Jurassic Park. And the artist magician who breathed life into clay figures and wire armatures and made us, as kids, happily fear for our lives, was the dean of special effects, Ray Harryhausen. All those so called “B movies” were the A movies of my childhood. He inspired generations.”
Steven Spielberg, to TIME magazine


“I think of Ray more as a magician than a man of immense imagination and a brilliant technician. There we were, we thespians, acting our socks off in the ordinary world while he was holed up in his studio of magic, weaving his spells, hoping that we were all doing him justice.”
Honor Blackman


(Note - sadly Ray's widow - and wife of over 60 years - Diana died in October this year, five months after Ray.)


8th May – Ernie Winchester, 68


Footballer who played for Hearts and Aberdeen, among other clubs.


“ERNIE Winchester was one of those footballers for whom the term cult hero was invented. A big tough centre-forward he scored some spectacular goals in the 1960s and 70s, but also had fans shaking their heads at some equally spectacular misses. He will always be remembered, however, for his wholehearted commitment, and that is why his death some 40 years after his retirement from football has saddened so many.”
Martin Hannan, Scotsman obit


8th May – Bryan Forbes, 86


Director behind the Stepford Wives and Whistle down the Wind, who was also responsible for great 60s black comic film, The Wrong Box.


11th May – Arnold Peters, 87

Actor who played Jack Wooley in the Archers.

11th May – Joe Farman, 82

Scientist who uncovered the hole in the Ozone layer at the Antarctic.


13th May – Joyce Brothers, 85


American TV personality and agony aunt.


16th May – Paul Shane, 72


Actor best known for his role in Hi-De-Hi.

16th May – Countess of Arran, 97


“Although an unlikely champion powerboater, in October 1971, at the age of 53, Lady Arran followed in the wake of her hero Donald Campbell, racing her speedboat Highland Fling across Windermere in a hailstorm to lift the Class 1 record to 85.63mph. In her next 12 races, contending against all comers, she won three times and was never placed lower than third. In 1979, at the helm of her 26ft powerboat Skean-Dhu, she set a new Class II world record of 93mph.”
Telegraph obit


20th May – Ray Manzarek, 74

Members of the Doors. His keyboard sections provided some of the more memorable bits of the Doors back catalogue.

21st May – Trevor Bolder, 62


Member of David Bowie’s backing band, The Spiders from mars.


21st May – Eddie Braben, 82

Comic scriptwriter whose work with Morecambe and Wise led to many of the best loved British comic sketches.

“Eddie wrote for Morecambe and Wise from the late Sixties and throughout the Seventies. What came from his imaginings whilst huddled over a typewriter, with a pen between his mouth as he tapped anxiously away in his office at home in remote Wales, will have made you laugh. You probably know some of his lines. And that is what kept him going. Knowing he was making us laugh.  And he did need a reason to keep going. He confided in me that he wanted to give up every day. Every day it was all too much. He would sit at his desk with the weight of the nation on his shoulders. As Eric Morecambe said: “He has the difficult job… he sits in front of a blank sheet of paper… we couldn’t do that.”
Miranda Hart, Telegraph


22nd May – Richard Thorp, 81

Actor who played Alan Turner in Emmerdale.

22nd May – Mick McManus, 93


British wrestler. See obit here.


22nd May – Brian Greenhoff, 60

Former England international footballer who played for Manchester United.

23rd May – Hazel Hawke, 83

Wife of former Australian PM, Bob Hawke.

24th May – Ed Shaughnessy, 84
Drummer from the Tonight Show.

25th May – Jimmy Wray, 75

Glasgow Labour MP who was outspoken on many controversial issues.

26th May – Jack Vance, 96


Highly regarded SF author.


“His output was vast: he published more than 60 books, some under pseudonyms, among them 11 mystery novels, three of them as Ellery Queen. In addition, he wrote some of the first, and perhaps best, examples of "planetary adventures". He, along with Edgar Rice Burroughs in the early years of the 20th century, and his contemporaries Leigh Brackett, Philip José Farmer and Edmond Hamilton, helped to create the idiom, and his novel Big Planet (which first appeared in a magazine in 1952, and was subsequently revised and expanded) is probably his best of this kind. Vance's lasting impact may lie in the influence he had on other writers. Many have spoken of the way in which his imagery freed their own imaginations, while others may be argued as having come under Vance's thrall. These include writers as diverse as Ursula K Le Guin, Jack L Chalker, Michael Moorcock, George RR Martin and Gene Wolfe. The critic John Clute has even suggested that JG Ballard's "peneplainal venues" might be traced back to Vance.”
Christopher Priest, Guardian obit


26th May – Hector Garza, 43


Mexican wrestler who had short stints in WCW (where he had a famous shock win over Scott Hall) and WWF, but who was best known for stints in his homeland and in TNA for their World X Cup. Died after a battle with lung cancer.


27th May – Bill Pertwee, 86

Member of the legendary Pertwee acting family, who became famous for his role as the ARP Warden Hodges (Mainwaring’s main antagonist) in Dad’s Army. He also had a role in You Rang, M’Lord.


“Throughout the Seventies, Pertwee became a staple of British comedy culture, appearing in Love Thy Neighbour, The Dick Emery Show, Man About the House, and three Carry On films in as many years.He also wrote three books, including an autobiography entitled A Funny Way to Make a Living, and in 2007 was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to charity. But it is as the argumentative air raid warden Hodges, that the comedy actor will be most fondly remembered. Pertwee appeared in sixty episodes of the BBC’s Dad’s Army from 1968 to 1977, regularly coming to blows with Captain Mainwaring and barking: “Put that light out!” His son, Jonathan, led the tributes: “He would give everything a go. He was very dedicated to the people around him and to his charity work. But also he was very humble about the whole thing. “He’d say ‘marvellous, isn’t it, to be in this business, because I’m not really a proper actor’, but he was extraordinarily versatile.”
Oliver Duggan, Independent obit


29th May – Andrew Greeley, 85

“Why should I practice contraception on my ideas?”
Andrew Greeley


American Catholic priest who was also a sociologist and popular novelist. He published sixty-six books in just over two decades, including Cardinal Sins, which sold around 3 million copies in America. His works were often of a rather more erotic nature than one might expect for a man of the cloth. Survived a nasty accident in 2008 when his clothes caught on a cab door, leaving him with a fractured skull.


“Asked to explain his prolific output, Greeley said: "I suppose I have an Irish weakness for words gone wild. Besides, if you're celibate, you have to do something." His 12-novel series about Nuala Anne McGraill, an Irish detective with sixth sense, began with Irish Gold (1994) and always had Irish in the title. Greeley's fictional concerns stayed close to his own life, which was centred on the church, Irishness and Chicago.”
Michael Carlson, Guardian obit


29th May – Nino Baragli, 88

Film editor for some 200 features and films, including: Once Upon a Time in America, Caligula, Once upon a Time in the West, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.


30th May – Vina Mazumdar, 86

Indian feminist activist.

“In the introduction to her memoirs published by Zubaan in 2010, she described herself as a “women’s activist”, a “feminist,”, a “trouble-maker”, but the one she liked best was that described herself as a “recorder and chronicler of the Indian Women’s Movement” and a “grand-mother of women’s studies in South Asia.” Her association with women’s studies and the women’s movement were well known. What was less known was that she lived through the last phases of the Indian Independence movement and participated in various mass protests. In that sense, she was among the last of that generation of women who personally witnessed the transition to free India. One such incident was that she personally witnessed the transfer of power, watching the Union Jack being brought down on the midnight of 14th August in Delhi and listening to Jawaharlal Nehru’s “Tryst with Destiny” speech. Even as she was inspired by the transition to freedom, she was greatly disturbed by the Great Calcutta killings, which she escaped because she was in Delhi at the time. She saw herself as a link between the unfulfilled ideals of the freedom struggle and the women’s movement that emerged in the seventies.”
The Hindu obit


30th May – Jayalath Jayawardena, 59

Sri Lankan human rights campaigner.

31st May – Jean Stapleton, 90

American actress.

2nd June – John Gilbert, 86


Labour MP who served in government under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, at Transport and Defence.


5th June – Helen McElhone, 80

Glasgow MP who served Queens Park from 1982-83 after her husband, who previously held the seat, died. The Labour party office for the constituency was based in the Gorbals Linen Bank, which still stands.


6th June – Maxine Stuart, 94

Actress immortalised for her lead role in one of the best Twilight Zone episodes, Eye of the Beholder.


6th June – Tom Sharpe, 85


Novelist of Porterhouse Blue.


6th June – Jerome Karle, 94

1985 Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner.

7th June – David Lyon, 72


Actor who was best known as the Prime Minster Collingridge, whom Francis Urquhart successfully plots to depose in House of Cards.


8th June – Angus MacKay, 86


Well loved actor who showed up in everything from The Wednesday Play to Budgie. Memorably in The Way up to Heaven (Tales of the Unexpected). Made two appearances in Doctor Who, the latter as a Headmaster in Mawdryn Undead. But it as the original incarnation of Borusa, the Doctor’s dry witted, ever political minded mentor, that he is better recalled.


9th June – Iain Banks, 59



“What Iain brought to his writing was himself. He brought a wonderful combination of the dark and the light side of life, and he explored them both without flinching.”
Ken McLeod, to the BBC


One of Britain’s finest novelists of the last thirty years, able to traverse the line between genres and become respected in multiple fields. The Wasp Factory is visceral, funny, and somehow gets us to root for the least sympathetic of characters. The Crow Road, a wonderful outlook on life, love, religion and death, with the finest opening in modern literature: “'It was the day my grandmother exploded. I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach's Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach.'



“His work was mordant, surreal, and fiercely intelligent. In person, he was funny and cheerful and always easy to talk to. He became a convention bar friend, because we saw each other at conventions, and we would settle down in the bar and catch up.”
Neil Gaiman


“His first published novel, The Wasp Factory, appeared in 1984, when he was 30 years old, though it had been rejected by six publishers before being accepted by Macmillan. It was an immediate succès de scandale. The narrator is the 16-year-old Frank Cauldhame, who lives with his taciturn father in an isolated house on the north-east coast of Scotland. Frank lives in a world of private rituals, some of which involve torturing animals, and has committed several murders. The explanation of his isolation and his obsessiveness is shockingly revealed in one of the culminating plot twists for which Banks was to become renowned.”
John Mullan, Guardian obit


For a man to operate for so long in the literature circles, and for no bad words to be said about him, even in death, shows the nature of the man. Such a person is a rare beast, that such a person could be seen by so many of his contemporaries as the ‘first among equals’ more so. Banks was a writer, and a man, who treated every person as best he could, from colleagues to acquaintances.


A strong politic mind, Banks publicly supported Scottish independence and other causes.


“I wont miss waiting for the next financial disaster because we still haven't dealt with the underlying causes of the last one. Nor will I be disappointed not to experience the results of the proto-fascism that's rearing its grisly head right now. It's the utter idiocy, the sheer wrong-headedness of the response that beggars belief. I mean, your society's broken, so who should we blame? Should we blame the rich powerful people who caused it? No, let's blame the people with no power and no money and these immigrants who don't even have the vote, yeah, it must be their fucking fault."
Iain Banks, in his last Guardian interview with Stuart Kelly

Banks last novel, The Quarry, came out this year.

“Almost absurdly neatly, it’s a book about a terminal cancer victim saying goodbye to people he knew, a wake whilst the dead man’s still with us...And yet Banks was almost disappointed that this was the note he was to end his career on (though notes for a further Culture novel were apparently made). Typically he’d rather have gone out with a grand flourish, something as wild and mad as Transition, rather than the literary fiction he’d used to infiltrate the world of books. Sometimes writers can be wrong though, given his final skiffy novel, The Hydrogen Sonata, was about subliming (the equivalent of death in the Culture) and The Quarry is very much about mortality it’s difficult not to wonder if his subconscious was trying to tell him something. But that’s writing history in retrospect, bending the facts to fit a convenient narrative, assuming characters speak for an author and making a neat story of it as humans are wont to do. Banks didn’t receive his diagnosis until the book was virtually finished. Even if with Banks you can often assume some characters are being given leave by the author to air his frustrations with the world it’s just as likely these are the sort of mortal thoughts that get more prevalent as you get older and – with or without a medically diagnosed deadline – become more and more aware of how short and fragile life is. But if that diagnosis did colour the book – and I’m not saying it did – the final sentiment is an apt and truthful one to go out on.”
Jon Arnold, Winterwind “Quarry” review


In tribute to his death, an asteroid was named after him.


11th June – Sir Henry Cecil, 70

Horse racing magnate.


11th June – Robert Fogel, 86

Co-winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize (Economics), and an expert in the economics of slavery in the US.

“Fogel used quantitative methods to explain economic and institutional change. His work often challenged conventional wisdom and was, at the time, controversial. His research showed that the economic impact of railroads in the 19th century was far less than generally assumed.”
Ethan Grove, University of Chicago obit


12th June – Jiroemon Kimura, 116

Oldest man who ever lived.

13th June – Mohammed Al-Khilaiwi, 41

Saudi Arabian footballer who participated at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups.


14th June – Al Green, 57

Former WCW wrestler.


15th June – Kenneth G Wilson, 77

Winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize (Physics).

“Phase transitions can be characterized by an abrupt change in the value of some physical property or by a smoother transition from one phase to another. However, many previous theories – most notably Lev Landau's 1937 general theory of phase transitions – failed to predict the behaviour close to the transition, known as the critical point. That problem was finally solved by Wilson in 1971. He realized that one has to deal with fluctuations over widely different length scales – taking into account short- and long-range fluctuations. Such transitions are then almost totally determined by the collective effects of every other object in the system. Modelling this behaviour near the critical point would require vast computing power but Wilson developed a method to divide the problem into a sequence of simpler ones based on renormalization group theory, which had been previously developed in the 1950s. Wilson's theory for critical phenomena gave a complete theoretical description of the behaviour close to the critical point proving that many seemingly unrelated systems – liquids or mixtures of liquids and ferromagnets – show identical behaviour.”
Michael Banks, Physics World obit


15th June – Heinz Flohe, 65


German footballer who was a near everpresent in the team which won the 1974 World Cup, and that got to the 1976 European Championship finals and played in the 1978 World Cup.



16th June – Ottmar Walter, 89

The younger of the two Walter brothers who won West Germany’s first World Cup in 1954. Ottmar scored four goals in that tournament, and later survived several injuries and overcame mental demons to live on into old age.



19th June – Slim Whitman, 90

US country singer, whose tunes became known to a young audience after their use in the film Mars Attacks.

19th June – James Gandolfini, 51

Actor forever known for his lead role in hit TV series, The Sopranos.




19th June – Vince Flynn, 47

American political thriller novelist.

20th June – John David Wilson, 93

British cartoonist who owned the Fine Arts production company, and helped create Lady and the Tramp.

21st June – Diane Clare, 74

Actress with roles in many of the finer films of the 50s and 60s: Ice Cold in Alex, The Wrong Box, Whistle down the Wind, etc.

22nd June – Lord Peter Fraser, 68

Scottish advocate known for his investigations and reports into the Lockerbie Bombing and the financing of the Scottish Parliament building.


23rd June – Richard Matheson, 87


“I think we’re yearning for something beyond the every day. And I will tell you that I don’t believe in the “supernatural,” I believe in the “supernormal.” To me there is nothing that goes against nature. If it seems incomprehensible, it’s because we haven’t been able to understand it yet.”
Richard Matheson


“You don’t read a Matheson story — you experience it.”
Robert Bloch


American FSF writer who wrote I Am Legend, and also worked on The Twilight Zone. Of his Twilight Zone stories, which tended to focus on the more SF heavy elements of the show, his most famous are Little Girl Lost (the one with the child who falls into another dimension in her bedroom), The Invaders (the old woman fighting off alien invaders in her house), and, of course, Nightmare at 20000 feet. His short story Duel, he later adapted into a screenplay for Steven Speilberg’s debut film.


“"Richard Matheson's ironic and iconic imagination created seminal science-fiction stories and gave me my first break when he wrote the short story and screenplay for Duel. His Twilight Zones were among my favourites, and he recently worked with us on Real Steel. For me, he is in the same category as [Ray] Bradbury and [Isaac] Asimov."
Steven Speilberg, Independent

He also wrote the Hammer Horror Classic, The Devil Rides Out.

“Well, nobody is going to imitate Macbeth today. Nobody’s going to look for a king and kill him. You’re right though, it’s been all throughout history. As I said, terror and horror are venerable genres that have existed from way back when, and I’m certainly not going to say that “oh no, they shouldn’t exist!” You can hardly do that. But I never liked horror. As for the horror films today, they are so gross. They are hideously gross!”
Richard Matheson, in interview with William P Simmons for Cemetery Dance

(Note - Matheson recorded a 6 hour interview some years ago for the American Institute, which is available in its entirety on YouTube, and highly recommended)


24th June – Mick Ashton, 66

Archaeologist who worked on Time Team.

24th June – Jackie Fargo, 82

American pro-wrestler who helped train Jerry Lawler.

27th June – Stefano Borgonovo, 49

AC Milan star who had suffered from Motor Neurone Disease.

28th June – Matt Borne, 55

American pro-wrestler who wrestled at the first WrestleMania, and became later known in the 90s as Doink the Clown.



29th June – Jim Kelly, 67

Martial artist who starred in Enter the Dragon

1st July – Charles Foley, 82

Co-inventor of the game Twister.


2nd July – Douglas Engelbart, 88

Computing inventor who created (independently of work in Britain at the same time) the first computer mouse. He was also a key figure in the creation of hypertext and computer word processing.




3rd July – Iain McColl, 59


Scottish actor best known for his role in Rab C Nesbitt.

4th July – Bernie Nolan, 52

Irish singer



6th July – Kay Matheson, 84



One of the students who helped steal the Stone of Scone.

7th July – Anna Wing, 98

Actress who starred as Lou Beale in Eastenders, and had a role in the Doctor Who story Kinda, among many roles in a career lasting several decades.

8th July – Norman Atkinson, 90

Labour MP for Tottenham from 1964-87.

9th July – Masao Yoshida, 58

Nuclear chief of the Fukishima plant, whose efforts after the 2011 Japanese tsunami helped to limit the effects of the crippled nuclear plant, at the cost of his own health.

9th July – Toshi Seeger, 91

Wife of Pete Seeger.

9th July – Kirsty Milne, 49

Scottish journalist.

12th July – Alan Whicker, 87


British BBC journalist who travelled the world for Panorama and Whickers World, giving equal time to the eccentrics as much as to the unreported dangerous men of the world. For the latter, he was the first British journalist to speak to, and expose the crimes of, Haitain dictator Duvalier.









12th July – Pran, 93


Indian actor.


12th July – Elaine Morgan, 92


Welsh novelist.


12th July – Ray Butt, 78

Producer of Only Fools and Horses

12th July – Paul Bhattacharjee, 53
Eastenders actor

13th July – Cory Monteith, 31

Glee actor.

16th July – Jack Gillespie, 87

Former Vice-President of Rangers, who warned about the financial issues at the club.

16th July – T Model Ford, 93

American blues musician.

17th July – Davie White, 80

Former manager of Dundee and Rangers.

19th July – Bert Trautmann, 89

German goalkeeper who had moved to Manchester City shortly after the Second World War, and whose gentlemanly conduct and high quality of play helped to ease bad feeling about Germans in Britain after the war. Played through an FA Cup final with a broken neck.


““My education only began the day I arrived in England,” Trautmann recalled. “People were so kind and decent, they didn’t see an enemy prisoner, they saw a human being. The British made me what I am ... When I visit Germany, they say to me: 'Be honest, you’re English through and through’. And I’m mighty proud so to consider myself. I come back four or five times a year and always think 'Great, I’m home.’”  In 2000 the Football League voted Trautmann one of its 100 Players of the Century, and in 2004 he was appointed OBE for his work encouraging Anglo-German relations. Days later he was presented to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the Berlin Sinfonia, where 66 years earlier he had been honoured by Hitler’s sports minister for coming second in athletics in the whole of the Reich.”
Telegraph obit





19th July – Mel Smith, 60

Comic actor, writer, producer, director, composer... One half of Smith and (Griff Rhys) Jones, both as a duo and as the team behind Not the Nine O’Clock News. As well as roles in films like The Princess Bride, Smith helped found Talkback with Jones, the comedy production unit which produced classics such as The Day Today, Alan Partridge, QI and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Helped give folk such as Graham Linehan (co-creator of Father Ted) their break in TV, as well as countless others.  Combined appearances in Kenny Everett with appearances in Shakespeare. Directed the Mr Bean film, and High Heels and Low Lives.




20th July – Helen Thomas, 92

Long time US White House political correspondent.

20th July – David Spenser, 79

Actor who appeared in the Doctor Who story The Abominable Snowman but was best known for his role as Just William on radio in the 1940s.

22nd July – Lawrie Reilly, 84


Scottish footballer who was part of the Famous Five of Hibs which won two league titles in the 1950s. Scored 185 league goals for Hibernian, and twenty-two for Scotland. Missed out on the 1954 World Cup through illness.


22nd July – Dennis Farina, 69

American actor who played Joe Fontana in Law and Order. Also had a memorable role as a crooked jeweller, Cousin Avi, in Snatch.



23rd July – Djalma Santos, 84


Brazil footballer, and as a right back, one of the few men to play in four World Cups, winning two of them.

23rd July – Rona Anderson, 86

Scottish stage and film actress, and the widow of Gordon Jackson (the actor).

25th July – Hugh Huxley, 89

Biologist who specialised in how muscles work.

26th July – JJ Cale, 74

Legendary singer-songwriter

27th July – Pete Tunstall, 94


WW2 POW.


“Tunstall was captured in August 1940, and when a German officer reminded him that his war was over, he responded: “It damn well is not.” He later observed: “As far as I was concerned, a different type of war had started. My first duty was to escape, my second was to be as big a bloody nuisance as possible to the enemy.” Tunstall was so successful in his aim to create trouble that, in March 1942, the Germans transferred him to Colditz, where he was to spend the next three years refining his skills in the art of “goon baiting”.”
Telegraph obit


28th July – Eileen Brennan, 80

Actress who had roles in The Sting, Private Benjamin and Jeepers Creepers. Had cult recognition for her roles as Mrs Peacock in Clue, and Tess Skeffington in Murder by Death.



29th July – Christian Benitez, 27

Ecuadorian footballer who had played in the English Premier League.




30th July – Berthold Beitz, 99




German who became head of Krupps in the 1950s and steered them from a dubious war record into an international industrial conglomerate.

“Mr. Beitz’s reputation for integrity, earned during the war, gained him the confidence of leaders beyond Germany’s industrial backbone in the Ruhr River Valley and placed him in a position after the war to renew business and restore diplomatic ties to countries in Eastern Europe, especially Poland. Chancellor Konrad Adenauer sent him on an exploratory mission to Poland in the 1960s, paving the way for Willy Brandt’s normalization of relations with East Germany and its allies a decade later. “With the death of Berthold Beitz, Germany has lost one of its most eminent and successful corporate personalities, who helped to shape the country in important ways,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said.”
Melissa Eddy, New York Times obit


That integrity stemmed from being one of the Righteous Among the Nations during Hitler’s regime. Working for the oil industry during WW2, Beitz was able to declare people as “essential war workers” (akin to the protected industries in the UK, coal and the like). He used this ability to go into the concentration camps and declare people his workers, even forging work permits proving ‘suitable ancestry’ to get Jewish people out of the camps.


“World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder called Beitz "one of the great Germans of the past century," for his actions during the holocaust which included demanding Jews be released because they were essential employees, secretly providing Jews with food, and issuing them fake work permits. He was awarded the honorary title of "Righteous among the Nations" in 1973. "For many Jews he was a beacon of hope in a sea of despair," Lauder said. "He was a hero of the Holocaust at a time when it was a crime to be a humane person. He will never be forgotten for his tremendous acts of kindness."
Ofer Aderet, Haaretz obit


He continued to do this even after undergoing a personal investigation from the Gestapo.


“A practitioner of sailing, shooting and rowing, Mr Beitz enjoyed a long association with the IOC and Olympic Movement. He was an IOC Member for 16 years (1972-1988), after which he became an Honorary Member. An IOC Vice-President and Executive Board Member from 1984-1988, he was also member of the following Commissions: Finance, New Sources of Financing, Olympic Movement, Preparation of the XII Olympic Congress, and Council of the Olympic Order. He was also an Honorary Chairman of the Olympic Museum Foundation from 1989.Mr Beitz was a Member of the Board of the West German NOC (1972-1988), a Member of the Board of Directors of the Organising Committee for the XX Olympiad in Munich in 1972, and President of the Administrative Council of the Olympic sailing events in Kiel, Germany (1966-1972).The IOC expresses its deepest sympathies to Berthold Beitz’s family.”
IOC official statement


“Asked later about his motivation, he said, "There was no anti-Fascism, no resistance. We watched from morning to evening, as close as you can get, what was happening to the Jews ... When you see a woman with her child in her arms being shot, and you yourself have a child, then your response is bound to be completely different."”
Independent obit


31st July – Michael Donnet, 96

Belgian pilot who served in the RAF during WW2.

1st August – John Amis, 91

Classical music journalist and performer.

1st August – Colin McAdam, 61

Former Partick Thistle and Rangers football player.

3rd August – Dutch Savage, 78

American pro-wrestler who toured the territory system in the 1960s and 70s.

3rd August – John Coombs, 91


Former F1 driver.


4th August – Sir Sandy Woodward, 81

Commander of the British forces in the Falklands War.

4th August – Dominick Harrod, 72

Former BBC economics correspondant

4th August – Art Donovan, 89

American football legend, who became a bit of a cult figure in wrestling circles for his performance as guest commentator during the 1994 King of the Ring, in which his knowledge proved limited but his enthusiasm shown through. (As did the question “How much does this guy weigh?” asked 700 times.)


[And hey, that performance raises more fondly remembered smiles than many politicians managed in their entire lives, and I hear his American football career was HOF worthy, so RIP Art Donovan, and thanks!]


Art Donovan, WWE King of the Ring 1994





5th August – George Duke, 67

American jazz musician




7th August – Elisabeth Maxwell, 92

Widow of Robert Maxwell.



8th August – James Sterling Young

American historian.

8th August – Karen Black, 74

American actress who appeared in Easy Rider.

12th August – David McLetchie, 61

Former leader of the Scottish Tories.



12th August – Prince Frisco, 44

Member of the Dutch Royal Family, who died over a year after a skiing accident from which he never recovered.

12th August – Robert Trotter, 83

Scottish stage actor who appeared in Take the High Road, and was Drama Lecturer at Glasgow University during the 1960s. He also appeared as Dr Nelson in the St Anthonys Fire episode of The Omega Factor.



13th August – Jean Vincent, 82


French Footballer. He played in the 1954 and 1958 World Cups for France, in the fine team of Just Fontaine and company, playing club football for Lille and Stade de Reims. He played in the 1959 European Cup final, though even the combined efforts of Vincent, Fontaine and Roger Piantoni couldn’t prevent Real Madrid’s 4th European Cup win of the 1950s. After retiring from playing, Vincent managed a number of football clubs, and took FC Nantes – then one of the biggest clubs in France – to two league titles in 1977 and 1980.


In 1982, Jean Vincent managed Cameroon to their debut appearance in the World Cup. African national teams had only just started to become a permanent fixture at the World Cup in the 1970s, and the long shadow of Zaire (who went to the 1974 Cup and were duly thumped by all, even Scotland) held long over the rest. As it was, Cameroon weren’t expected to grace the 1982 tournament long. They were in a group with permanent title threats Italy (who indeed, won that years Cup), Poland (one of the strongest sides in Europe at the time) and Peru (who had qualified for the latter stages at the previous tournament). And...it was true they didn’t grace the tournament long, but they went out undefeated! Goalless draws with Peru and Poland were followed up by a 1-1 draw with Italy, and Cameroon went out on goals scored. Vincent’s team had shown that African football was a lot stronger than the armchair pundits thought (together with Algeria’s strong showing at the same Cup, one must add), and subsequent performances from Morocco and Cameroon again in the next two World Cups added to that.




13th August – Sir Michael Stoker, 95


British virologist.

“After moving from Cambridge to Glasgow to take up the first Chair of Virology in Britain, Stoker began with his colleague Ian Macpherson to look at the polyoma virus, which causes cancerous tumours in rodents, isolating a line of rodent kidney cells, known as BHK21, which could be transformed by polyoma into cells which behave like cancer cells. Not only was this the first cell line to be isolated that enabled the study of the operation of a cancer virus and the behaviour of cancer cells, BHK21 cells went on to prove useful in other areas, including the development of a vaccine for foot and mouth disease.  Stoker discovered that, while normal cells cease to grow in high-density cultures, cancer cells continue to multiply and can grow even when they are not attached to a solid support, which normal cells require for growth. He went on to discover that normal cells can suppress the growth of neighbouring cancer cells — a process which is yet to be completely understood by scientists but which represents a mechanism that could potentially be used to halt the initial growth of tumours.”
Telegraph obit


14th August – Allen Lanier, 67

Original member of the Blue Oyster Cult.

14th August – Mark Sutton, 42

British stuntman who performed in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.





15th August – Beatrice Kozera, 92

Jack Kerouac’s inspiration for a character in On the Road.

18th August – Christopher Barton, 85

British rower who competed in the 1948 Olympics.

19th August – Johnny Howard (aka Rasputin the Mad Monk), 70
World of Sport wrestler.



20th August – Elmore Leonard, 87

American writer whose works became well regarded films: Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Jackie Brown.



20th August – Ted Post, 95

American TV director who, among hundreds of credits, directed four Twilight Zone episodes.

21st August – Sid Bernstein, 95

American music producer who fought to get the Beatles known in America, back when they were unknowns.

21st August – C Gordon Fullerton, 76
NASA astronaut who was one of the support crew for four Apollo missions, and was later pilot of the space shuttle test flight in 1982.


23rd August – Gilbert Taylor, 99


Legendary British cinematographer. Known for his stylish camera work, he was responsible for the shots on the following films: Seven Days to Noon, The Dam Busters, Ice Cold in Alex, A Hard Days Night, Dr Strangelove, The Omen, Star Wars, Flash Gordon, Frenzy and many more. A hell of a legacy.




23rd August – David Watkins, 87
Labour MP for COnsett from 1966-83.


24th August – Mike Winters, 82
English comedian.


25th August – William Froug, 91
American producer who produced the final series of The Twilight Zone, and went onto produce Gilligans Island and Bewitched.

25th August – Gylmar dos Santos,  83
Brazilian goalkeeper who appeared in three World Cups, winning two of them.



26th August – Gerard Murphy, 64

Irish actor often in demand on stage or tv.  He had memorable tv roles as the pilot of a doomed plane in Father Ted, Father Doyle in the Taggart episode “Prayer for the Dead” and as time travelling Cavalier in Doctor Who’s Silver Nemesis.



27th August – Michael Goldie, 86

Actor who appeared in 2 Doctor Who stories, Dalek Invasion of Earth (as Craddock, a Doctor ally killed by the Daleks) and The Wheel in Space. Also appeared as Kenneth of Cowfall in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, in several episodes of Coronation Street, and in everything from Inspector Morse to Secret Army.


28th August – John Bellany, 71


Scottish painter.
29th August – Cliff Morgan, 83


Welsh rugby player who became a BBC sports commentator.