Film Review Daily

 

In Memoriam

 

 

Michael Darvell examines the lives of the recently deceased, including 

Arlene Dahl, Stephen Sondheim, Dean Stockwell, Leslie Bricusse, Barney Platts-Mills, 

Roger Michell, Melvin Van Peebles, Jane Powell, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Nino Castelnuovo, 

Ed Asner, Jane Withers, Desmond Davis, Robert Downey Sr, Richard Donner, Ned Beatty, 

Shane Briant, Charles Grodin, Norman Lloyd, Olympia Dukakis, Monte Hellman, Helen 

McCrory, Anthony Powell, Richard Rush, Paul Ritter, Bertrand Tavernier and Jessica 

Walter.

 

INDIA ADAMS (8 March 1927-25 April 2020)
The American singer-actress India Adams, who has died aged 93, India Adamsheld a special place in Hollywood history. She was 
one of a small group of artists called ghost singers, voice doubles for actresses who had the looks but not the singing voices for movies. The most celebrated ‘ghost’ was Marni Nixon who sang for, among others, Marilyn Monroe, Deborah Kerr, Sophia Loren, Natalie Wood and Audrey Hepburn. Adams famously dubbed Cyd Charisse in The Band Wagon and Joan Crawford on Torch Song and Johnny Guitar. It was generally never revealed that famous stars were at times dubbed by others and contracts with gagging orders were issued to that effect. India Adams was, however, an actress in her own right, appearing in other films including, of late, Fake and Followed with John Savage. She also worked as a radio singer, recorded albums, played nightclubs and appeared on stage in Can-Can, Brigadoon and Mame. In 1990 she formed a quartet with other ghost singers Annette Warren, Jo Ann Greer and Betty Wand and they went on tour. India Adams has two sons, Brian and Zane, from her first husband, advertising executive Jack Stanley. After they divorced she married Quentin Rance.

 

DANNY AIELLO (20 June 1933-12 December 2019)

The Italian-American actor Danny Aiello, who has died aged 86 after a brief illness, was a brilliant performer who, for many years, was usually cast as a typically thuggish gangster in many Hollywood films. Born into a New York family, his father was a labourer and his mother a seamstress who mostly raised her large family on her own. Danny worked early on as a shoeshine boy, a newspaper seller and a bus driver. Encouraged by his movie heroes Bogart and Cagney, he also went in for petty crime. On leaving the US Army, he married and settled back in New York in a slew of menial jobs including work as a bouncer in a comedy club where he first took to performing but without any training. At the age of 40 he got his first film role in Bang the Drum Slowly, a baseball drama with Robert De Niro. Danny AielloThis led to a part in Coppola’s The Godfather Part II, and then Martin Ritt’s The Front, with Woody Allen playing a blacklisted writer in the 1950s. After some TV and stage work he was in Fingers with Harvey Keitel, Robert Mulligan’s Bloodbrothers with Paul Sorvino and Richard Gere, James Caan’s Hide in Plain Sight and Fort Apache, The Bronx with Paul Newman. By 1984 he was appearing with those other great heavies Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, James Russo, Burt Young and William Forsythe in Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America. Woody Allen put him in The Purple Rose of Cairo and Radio Days, but he may be better remembered for playing the Father in Madonna’s 'Papa Don’t Preach' video, although appearing opposite Cher in the triple Oscar-winning Moonstruck also helped his public profile. The January Man was Pat O’Connor’s take on the NYPD with Kevin Kline, but it was Spike Lee who gave Aiello his first top-billed film part as Sal the pizzeria owner in Do the Right Thing (1989) for which Aiello was Oscar-nominated. Then there was Eddie Murphy’s Harlem Nights, Adrian Lyne’s Jacob’s Ladder, Hudson Hawk with Bruce Willis, he was Jack Ruby, Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassin, in John Mackenzie’s Ruby, Tony in Luc Besson’s Leon, and Major Hamilton in Robert Altman’s Prêt-à-Porter as well as many more films and TV series. He never stopped working and there are several of his latest films still to be released. Other work that Aiello engaged in was singing jazz and standard songs on tour and also recording them. He was a prolific donor to charities including the Salvation Army, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Frances Aiello Day Treatment Centre for the blind and deaf, and Covenant House, a mobile food and shelter unit for the homeless. Aiello was married to film producer Sandy Cohen from 1955 until his death. They have four children, Danny (a stuntman who died of pancreatic cancer in 2010), Rick, Jamie and Stacy. The title of Danny Aiello’s autobiography (2014) is I Only Know Who I Am When I Am Somebody Else....

 

MICHAEL APTED (10 February 1941-7 January 2021)
The English director Michael Apted, who has died aged 79, will be remembered for his television series 7 Up which ran from 1964, charting the lives every seven years of a group of fourteen children as they grew into adulthood. The last episode, 63 Up, was made in 2019. Michael AptedHe began his career as a trainee at Granada TV, worked as a researcher and started on the award-winning Up series which grew out of World in Action. He worked on other Granada programmes including a series with Laurence Olivier and several plays by Jack Rosenthal, as well as the BBC’s Play for Today series. He shot his first feature, The Triple Echo in 1972, with Glenda Jackson and Oliver Reed. Stardust (1974) was a vehicle for David Essex about the up-and-down life of a rock singer. Then came The Squeeze, a crime drama with Stacy Keach, and a run of films including Agatha with Vanessa Redgrave, Coal Miner’s Daughter with Sissy Spacek, Continental Divide with John Belushi and Gorky Park with William Hurt. Between his TV work Apted filmed Critical Condition with Richard Pryor, Gorillas in the Mist with Sigourney Weaver, Class Action with Gene Hackman, Nell with Jodie Foster and Extreme Measures with Hugh Grant and Gene Hackman. The World Is Not Enough was his only 007 movie, with Pierce Brosnan. Tom Stoppard wrote the screenplay for Enigma, about codebreaking at Bletchley Park. From 2000 Apted worked mainly in television except for Amazing Grace about the slave trade abolitionist William Wilberforce. His last film was Unlocked, a thriller with Noomi Rapace and Michael Douglas in 2017. Michael Apted married and divorced the actresses Jo Proctor and Dana Stevens. At his death he was married to the producer Paige Simpson, and he has three children. He was the winner of three Bafta TV Awards and another twenty awards including a Grammy for Bring On the Night, his documentary on Sting.

 

ED ASNER (15 November 1929-29 August 2021)
The American actor Ed Asner, who has died of natural causes aged 91, must have been the busiest actor in the US. Not only did he make over four hundred appearances in films and on television, but he also had a long stage career. He will be forever remembered as Lou Grant, the irascible newspaperman, first of all in The Mary Tyler Moore Show from 1970, after which the character was given his own series, Lou Grant, from 1977 to 1982. Grant also appeared on two other TV shows, Ed AsnerRhoda and Roseanne. Born in Kansas City to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrant parents, Asner first studied journalism but then turned to acting before being drafted into the army, after which he co-founded the Playwrights Theatre Company in Chicago which moved in the mid-1950s to New York as the Compass Players which then became the Second City company. In 1974 he co-founded with Richard Dreyfuss the Los Angeles Theatre Works.
His TV debut in 1957 was in the Studio One series and he made his first film in 1962, the Elvis Presley starrer Kid Galahad. More TV work included The Untouchables, Route 66, Ben Casey, Gunsmoke, Mission: Impossible and The Fugitive, etc. Much of Asner's career was devoted to television but he also made more films from 1965 including John Sturges' The Satan Bug, Howard Hawks' El Dorado with John Wayne, Blake Edwards' Gunn, Change of Habit with Presley again, Sidney Lumet's Daniel, Oliver Stone's JFK, Jon Favreau's Elf (as Santa Claus, a role he played five times) and Asner was also the voice of the old man who floats his house to South America in Pixar's animated journey Up. He obviously never stopped working and in 2017 alone worked on sixteen projects, while there are still another eight films and TV programmes yet to be released.
Ed Asner had multiple Emmy Award nominations, winning a record seven, including Roots and Rich Man, Poor Man, alongside five Golden Globes and umpteen other international awards. He was a political activist and campaigner for Liberal Democrats and he wrote a book explaining why. He was a past president of the Screen Actors' Guild, receiving their Life Achievement Award along with his induction into the Academy of Televison Arts & Sciences' Hall of Fame. Ed Asner was first married to Nancy Sykes with whom he has three children, Kate and twins Matthew and Liza. In 1998 he married Cindy Gilmore but they divorced in 2015. He is also the father of Charles Asner from a relationship with Carol Jean Vogelman

    

RENḖ AUBERJONOIS (1 June 1940-8 December 2019)
The American actor René Auberjonois, who has died from cancer at the age of 79, was never a real household name but he kept busy on stage, in films and on television for over fifty years, and in the process often turned quirkiness into an art form. He became famous through his appearances in the films of Robert Altman, but from the age of sixteen trained and gained experience in the theatre. His family were near neighbours of producer-director John Houseman who found him an apprenticeship at his Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Connecticut. Later on he taught under Houseman at the Juilliard School. Rene AuberjonoisTheatre work in Washington, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York followed and at 28 he played the Fool opposite Lee J. Cobb’s King Lear. He was in the musicals Coco (winning a Tony Award), Big River and City of Angels and in plays, including Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor. Robert Altman discovered Auberjonois in a flop musical and put him into M*A*S*H as Father Mulcahy, and then in Brewster McCloud, McCabe and Mrs Miller, Images and The Player. He was also in Martin Ritt’s Pete ‘n’ Tillie, Robert Wise’s The Hindenburg, James Frawley’s The Big Bus, John Guillermin’s remake of King Kong, Irvin Kershner’s Eyes of Laura Mars, Alex Cox’s Walker, Police Academy 5, Nigel Finch’s The Lost Language of Cranes, Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever, Inspector Gadget, Roland Emmerich’s The Patriot, Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women and Blood Stripe (directed by his son Remy Auberjonois). He was in four films during 2019: The Circuit, Windows on the World, Raising Buchanan and First Cow. His last film, Ralph Soll’s Cortex, is in post-production. René Auberjonois’s career was mainly in television, including Rhoda, Starsky and Hutch, The Rockford Files, The Good Wife and over 170 episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as the shape-shifting Odo, his most famous TV part. He also did much voice-over work for animated series including Snorks, Batman: The Animated Series, Pound Puppies, Avatar the Last Airbender and The Smurfs. Auberjonois’ wife was Judith Mahalyi who he married in 1963. They have two children, son Remy and daughter Tessa.

  

CLAUDINE AUGER (28 April 1941-18 December 2019)
Although the French actress Claudine Auger, who has died aged 78 following a long illness, Claudine Augermade just a few English-speaking films, she will always be remembered for being the first French actress to become a Bond girl. In 1965 she played Domino in Thunderball with Sean Connery, doing all her own underwater swimming stunts. Director Terence Young also used her in Triple Cross (1966) with Christopher Plummer and Yul Brynner. In 1958 she had been crowned Miss France but then went on to study acting at the Paris Drama Conservatoire. Most of her career was spent in French, Italian and Spanish films and some television series including some at the BBC. In her lifetime she clocked up over eighty appearances, working with many celebrated directors including Jean Cocteau, Marcel Carnḗ, Mario Monicelli, Jean Girault, Jacques Deray, Pierre Etaix and Ettore Scola. Her first film was Christine in 1958 with Alain Delon, then she did Testament d’Orphḗe for Cocteau. In 1962 she was in the ‘Envy’ section of the portmanteau film The Seven Deadly Sins directed by Edouard Molinaro, a film that had seven directors. Her first US film was Robert Parrish’s In the French Style (1963) with Jean Seberg. After Triple Cross she acted with Peter Cushing in Black Jack and in 1992 was in Andrew Birkin’s Salt On Our Skin with Greta Scacchi. Her last appearance was in a French TV adaptation of Stendhal’s The Red and the Black in 1997. Claudine Auger was married twice, first to the writer, director and editor Pierre Gaspard-Huit for ten years from 1959. She married the British businessman Peter Brent in 1984 (but he died in 2008). At the age of 49 she gave birth to a daughter, Jessica.

    

NED BEATTY (6 July 1937-13 June 2021)
The American actor Ned Beatty, who has died of natural causes at the age of 83, became a star in his first film, John Boorman’s Deliverance in 1972. Screenwriter James Dickey based the script on his own novel about a group of businessmen out for an adventure, canoeing down a remote river in the Georgia wilderness. However, they fall foul of some backwoodsmen who suddenly appear out of nowhere and start a row. One of the party, Bobby (Beatty), gets raped
Ned Beattyby one of the mountain men and Ed (Jon Voight) gets tied to a tree just as Lewis (Burt Reynolds) kills the rapist. And that’s where the story really starts... It was a great critical and box-office success, securing three Academy Award nominations and five Golden Globe nominations and the music, ‘Duelling Banjos’, was also a hit. Beatty went on to have a successful film and TV career in such movies as John Huston’s The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, Lamont Johnson’s The Last American Hero and, in particular, Robert Altman’s Nashville, Alan J. Pakula’s All the President’s Men and Sidney Lumet’s Network, for the last of which Beatty was Oscar-nominated. He continued to appear in popular genre pictures – Silver Streak, Exorcist II: the Heretic, Mikey and Nicky etc, and played Otis Berg in Superman and Superman II. Basically Ned Beatty was a character actor from the ‘heavy’ school, but he had the knack or the good fortune of being able to take over a scene because he had a certain friendly quality which drew an audience to him, and he was equally at home in light comedy or stark drama. He had started performing at the age of ten by singing in gospel choirs and barbershop quartets. Later on he worked on stage in Abingdon Virginia, Erie Pennsylvania, Houston Texas, Los Angeles and ultimately on Broadway in The Great White Hope. He also regularly appeared on television in M*A*S*H, Hawaii Five-0, The Rockford Files, The Streets of San Francisco, Szysznyk (in the title role), Roseanne and The Last Days of Pompeii, among many others. He also appeared in films such as Huston’s Wise Blood, Spielberg’s 1941, Ronald Neame’s Hopscotch, Ted Kotcheff’s Switching Channels (a version of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s The Front Page), Peter Chelsom’s Hear My Song (as singer Josef Locke), Mike Nichols’ Charlie Wilson’s War, and he was the voice of Lotso in Toy Story 3. In all, Ned Beatty made over 160 film and TV appearances across fifty years. He was married four times: to Walta Drummond Chandler, the actress Belinda Rowley, the writer-producer Tinker Lindsay, and Sandra Johnson. He was the father of eight children.

 

JEAN-PAUL BELMONDO (9 April 1933-6 September 2021)
Courtesy of director Jean-Luc Godard, the French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo became a star. He appeared in one of the most influential films from the Nouvelle Vague period of 1960s French cinema. In Breathless (aka À bout de souffle) he played a thief with an American girlfriend played by Jean Seberg in a free-wheeling screenplay that looked improvised but wasn't. Godard created a film noir very much in the style of Hollywood B-pictures of the 1940s, and with a nod to the likes of Humphrey Bogart. Belmondo, who has died aged 88, had already made films from 1956, the best of them being Marcel Carne's Les Tricheurs (The Cheaters, 1958), followed by Marc Allegret's Un drole de dimanche, with Danielle Darrieux, Arletty and Bourvil. A double tour (1959) was Claude Chabrol's thriller with Madeleine Robinson and Bernadette Lafont. Then came Breathless and Jean-Pierre Melville's Le doulos, another thriller from the real father of the New Wave. Belmondo then began to spread his wings in a bid to become an international star in Peter Brook's Moderato Cantabile with Jeanne Moreau, Vittorio de Sica's Two Women with Sophia Loren and Une femme est une femme with Godard again. He was good in these films but was outstanding in Melville's Leon Morin, pretre (1961), in which a young woman (Emmanuelle Riva) falls in love with Belmondo's priest.
BelmondoThis won him an award at the Venice Film Festival and he was also nominated for a Bafta. He worked again with Godard on Pierrot le fou (1965).
Belmondo was born to Paul, a sculptor and academic professor and his wife Sarah, a painter. He had studied at a Paris drama conservatoire before beginning his stage career in 1950, and was also an amateur boxer, from which he inherited a broken nose and his rough and ready-looking appearance. Like Bogart he was not conventionally handsome but had a definite charisma. After his time with the New Wave films, he turned to comedy and action films which were very popular with his audiences as he did all his own stunts. He was much admired in Philippe de Broca's That Man from Rio (1964), Rene Clement's Is Paris Burning? (1966), Louis Malle's Le voleur (1967), the first Casino Royale (1967), François Truffaut's Mississippi Mermaid (1969, with Catherine Deneuve), Jacques Deray's Borsalino (1970, with Alain Delon) and Henri Verneuil's The Burglars (1971, with Omar Sharif). He found time to work on more artistic movies such as Alain Resnais's Stavisky, but also continued to work with popular material including some television work: Alexandre Dumas's Kean (1988), Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) and Georges Feydeau's Tailleur pour dames (1993) and he played Jean Valjean in Claude Lelouch's updated film version of Les Misérables (1995). After suffering a stroke in 2001, Belmondo did not work until 2008's A Man and his dog, a version of De Sica's Umberto D, in which he played a man with talking and walking difficulties, his own afflictions. It was to be his last film. The winner of many international film awards, Belmondo was rated one of the 100 sexiest stars in film history by Empire magazine. He fathered two daughters, Patricia (who died in a fire, aged 40, in 1993) and Florence, and a son, Paul, with his first wife, Elodie Constant, and he had a daughter, Stella, with his second wife Natty. He also for a time cohabited with Ursula Andress and Laura Antonelli.

 

JOHN BENFIELD (9 November 1951-16 June 2020)
The British actor John Benfield, who has died from cancer at the age of 68, was exceptional at playing heavy character roles on John Benfieldboth sides of the law. Born Jonathan Turner in Wanstead, East London, he worked as an ambulance driver before studying acting at Webber Douglas. He did some stage work but was mainly on television. His TV debut was as the Gaoler in The Winter’s Tale in 1981. From there he did It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, The Day of the Triffids, Minder, The Sign of Four, The Beggar’s Opera (another Gaoler), P.D. James’ The Black Tower, and many others including more Shakespeare and, most notably, Lynda La Plante’s Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren. Benfield’s first film was Breakout (1984), then came Whoops Apocalypse, Buster, Ken Loach’s Hidden Agenda, Jim Sheridan’s In the Name of the Father with Daniel Day-Lewis, Hattie Macdonald’s Beautiful Thing, Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, Cousin Bette with Jessica Lange, You’re Dead with John Hurt, 24 Hours in London with Gary Olsen, Lover’s Prayer with Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gray with Cate Blanchett, the Wachowskis’ Speed Racer, Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream, Giuseppe Tornatore’s Deception and The Coldest Game (2019) with Bill Pullman. John Benfield was married to Lilian Lees and they have a son, Freddie.

 

WALTER BERNSTEIN (20 August 1919-23 January 2021)
The screenwriter Walter Bernstein was famous for being involved in the House UnAmerican Activities Committee blacklistings. HUAC, scared stiff of finding ‘Reds under the bed’ in American life, held hearings investigating Hollywood personnel, many of whom were by nature Socialists but, according to HUAC that meant Communists. All in all the number of blacklisted actors, directors, screenwriters and so on amounted to over three hundred, including Charles Chaplin, Walter BernsteinPaul Robeson, Ring Lardner Jr, Orson Welles, Dalton Trumbo and E.Y. Harburg. Among them was Walter Bernstein, who has died in Manhattan from pneumonia, aged 101. This meant that he had to work on the film All the King’s Men (1947) and others without a credit. After the crisis was over he was employed by producer Harold Hecht on Kiss the Blood Off My Hands. Subsequently he worked on television until 1959 when he wrote Sidney Lumet’s That Kind of Woman, with Sophia Loren, and George Cukor’s Heller in Pink Tights, also with Loren. However, he still remained uncredited for The Wonderful Country, The Magnificent Seven and The Train, but for the most part he could put his name to A Breath of Scandal (with Loren again), Paris Blues, Fail Safe, The Money Trap and The Molly Maguires. In 1976 he wrote and was Oscar-nominated for The Front, Martin Ritt’s film based on the activities of HUAC in which Woody Allen acts as a ‘front’ man for a blacklisted writer trying to work in Hollywood. It also starred Zero Mostel who was in real life blacklisted along with some of the other actors, the director and Bernstein himself who remained a very successful writer of Semi-Tough, Yanks (Bafta nominated), Little Miss Marker, The House on Carroll Street and The Couch Trip, as well as several TV series including Hidden, with Philip Glenister and Anna Chancellor for the BBC, his last work (in 2011). Walter Bernstein was born to an immigrant family in Brooklyn and was married four times, to the yoga teacher Marva Spelman, the actresses Barbara Lane and Judith Braun and the literary agent Gloria Loomis. He had two children with his first wife and three with his third. He wrote his autobiography, Inside Out: A Memoir of the Blacklist, in 1996.

   

HONOR BLACKMAN (22 August 1925-6 April 2020)
The English actress Honor Blackman, who has died aged 94 of natural causes, was a strong-willed and often outspoken woman who became a very popular actress in the theatre and on film and television. She will be best-remembered for her role as judo expert Cathy Gale in The Avengers TV series and for Pussy Galore in the third James Bond film, Goldfinger (1964). Born, one of four children, in Plaistow, East London, to a civil servant statistician and his wife, Honor first became a civil servant and then a courier during World War II. Before that her father had offered her either a bicycle or elocution lessons on her fifteenth birthday. She chose the latter and gained a place at the Guildhall School of Speech & Drama. Honor BlackmanHer diction became her strong point in that she always spoke clearly, commandingly and had perfect enunciation. She made her professional debut in the West End in the mid-1940s before being cast (uncredited) in her first film, Fame Is the Spur (1947), the Boulting Brothers picture with Michael Redgrave. A contract with the Rank Organisation followed and she appeared in Daughter of Darkness with Maxwell Reed, A Boy, a Girl and a Bike with John McCallum, The Alien Corn segment of the Somerset Maugham portmanteau film Quartet with Dirk Bogarde, So Long at the Fair, also with Bogarde, and Green Grow the Rushes with Richard Burton. A trip to Hollywood saw her in MGM’s Conspirator with Elizabeth Taylor and Robert Taylor.
Blackman was kept busy during the 1950s in a mixture of films and television including Basil Dearden’s The Rainbow Jacket, Roy Baker’s Titanic film A Night to Remember with Kenneth More, The Square Peg with Norman Wisdom and quite a few B-pictures, too. On TV she was in Danger Man, The Saint and, of course, forty-three episodes of The Avengers. Then came Goldfinger opposite Sean Connery, after which she was in more A-pictures such as The Secret of My Success, Jason and the Argonauts, Life at the Top, Moment to Moment, A Twist of Sand and Shalako, a British ‘Western’ with Connery and Brigitte Bardot, which she counted as the worst experience of her career.
Of her later films, The Virgin and the Gypsy with Franco Nero, Something Big with Dean Martin, To Walk With Lions with Richard Harris, Bridget Jones’s Diary with Renḗe Zellweger, Reuniting the Rubins with Timothy Spall, and I, Anna with Charlotte Rampling were probably the most interesting.
She made a single record of ‘Kinky Boots’ with her Avengers co-star Patrick Macnee and an album of love songs called Everything I’ve Got. After leaving The Avengers in 1964 she wrote Honor Blackman’s Book of Self-Defence, and in her last years toured her one-woman shows on famous women, both wayward and dishonourable. Blackman herself was a wayward, no-nonsense woman with a strong personality – she thought that Margaret Thatcher as a role-model politician should have employed more women in her cabinet. She was married first to the businessman Bill Sankey and then to the actor Maurice Kaufmann. Both marriages ended in divorce and Kaufmann died in 1997. With Kaufmann she adopted a daughter, Lottie, and a son, Barnaby. Honor Blackman refused the offer of a CBE in 2002, claiming she was a Republican.

 

MARK BLUM (14 May 1950-26 March 2020)
The American actor Mark Blum, who has died aged 69 from the Coronavirus, became an actor almost by chance. Born in Newark, New Jersey, he attended Columbia High School where he took part in theatre activities but with the intention of becoming a lawyer. Mark BlumGradually acting took over and he studied his craft at the Universities of Pennsylvania and Minnesota. He toured with the National Shakespeare Company and ultimately reached Broadway in The Cherry Orchard, Arnold Wesker’s version of The Merchant of Venice and, later on, Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers, Herb Gardner’s A Thousand Clowns, Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men, Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra and other plays. His first film was in 1983 but he wasn’t really noticed until he appeared in Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) with Madonna. Blum’s next film was Just Between Friends with Mary Tyler Moore, and then came the huge sleeper hit that was Crocodile Dundee with Paul Hogan, followed by Blind Date with Bruce Willis and Kim Basinger and The Presidio with Sean Connery. He also won the Obie for his part in Albert Innaurato's play, Gus and Al, in which he played Al. A mix of television and undistinguished movies dogged Blum’s career, until films such as I Don’t Know How She Does It with Sarah Jessica Parker and Blumenthal with Brian Cox came along. Otherwise it was more TV, in particular a recurring role in the Amazon Prime series Mozart in the Jungle (2014 to 2018), until his final feature film, Amy Miller Gross’s The Pleasure of Your Presence with Alicia Silverstone and Tom Everett Scott, which awaits release. Mark Blum was married to the actress Janet Zarish from 2005.

 

LUCIA BOSÈ (28 January 1931-23 March 2020)
The Italian actress Lucia Bosè, who has died aged 89, after contracting the Coronavirus, started her working life in a Milanese bakery before winning the Miss Italia beauty contest at the age of 16. Born Lucia Borloni to parents Domenico and Francesca, she became famous during Lucia BoseItaly’s period of Neorealism cinema in the 1950s. Her first film was Under the Olive Tree for Giuseppe De Santis, playing opposite Raf Vallone. Then she worked for Michelangelo Antonioni in Chronicle of a Love. More films followed from Mario Soldati, Luciano Emmer and others until Antonioni cast her again in La Signore Senza Camelie. She worked constantly apart from ten years from the mid-1950s when she brought up her children. Among her films released worldwide were Juan Antonio Bardem’s Death of a Cyclist and Luis Buñuel’s That Is the Dawn. In 1960 she was uncredited in Jean Cocteau’s Le Testament d’Orphḗe and later on appeared in the Taviani Brothers’ Under the Sign of Scorpio, played La matrona in Fellini Satyricon and had another uncredited role in The Picasso Summer, a Ray Bradbury story, with Albert Finney, Yvette Mimieux and Graham Stark! She played George Sand opposite Christopher Sandford as Chopin in A Winter in Mallorca, worked with director Mauro Bolognini in Metello, appeared opposite Farley Granger in Something Creeping in the Dark, was directed by Liliana Cavani in The Guest, appeared with Jeanne Moreau in Marguerite Duras’ Nathalie Granger, and was directed by Moreau for Lumiere. She acted with Rod Steiger in The Heroes, played the vampiric Countess Bathory in The Legend of Blood Castle, and worked with Bolognini again in Down the Ancient Stairs. The best of her later films was probably Francesco Rosi’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold in 1987. She married and divorced the Spanish bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguin. They have three children, Miguel, Lucia and Paola.

 

CHADWICK BOSEMAN (29 November 1976-28 August 2020)
The American actor Chadwick Boseman, who has died from colon cancer aged 43, starred in Marvel Studios’ Black Panther and was impressive as several black American heroes. Born in South Carolina, he studied Fine Arts and visited London for a summer drama school. Chadwick BosemanBack in New York he graduated from the Digital Film Academy, did some teaching and then sought work as an actor in Los Angeles. On television from 2003 in such series as Law & Order, CSI: NY, ER and Lincoln Heights etc, he also began to appear in films, the first a small part in The Express (2008) about the college football star Ernie Davis. In his next, The Kill Hole, Boseman played a troubled Iraqi war veteran, while in Brian Helgeland's 42 he was Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play major league baseball. He then appeared in Draft Day, a football league drama, which was followed by Get On Up, a music biopic with Boseman as the iconic 'Godfather of Soul', James Brown. Then he was in the historical fantasy Gods of Egypt as Thoth, the God of Wisdom, and Message From the King, playing a South African looking for his sister in L.A. Boseman then made the first of his four appearances as Prince T’Challa (aka Black Panther) in Captain America: Civil War. Before his second appearance as T’Challa in Black Panther, he was in Marshall, playing Thurgood Marshall, the first black man to become a US Supreme Court Justice. Boseman completed his T’Challa quartet with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. In 21 Bridges he was a New York detective chasing police killers, while Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods saw him (in flashback) as a squad leader in Vietnam. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, based on August Wilson’s play, is awaiting release. The question remaining is will Black Panther II go ahead without its charismatic titular star? Chadwick Boseman married the singer Taylor Simone Ledward a few months before his death.

 

SHANE BRIANT (17 August 1946-27 May 2021)
The London-born actor and novelist Shane Briant, who has died aged 74, originally studied law at Trinity College, Dublin. However, he decided to become an actor and appeared as Hamlet in an Irish production of Shakespeare’s play. He had a successful career as an actor in films and on television, and was the author of eight novels. On stage he was in John Peacock’s Shane BriantChildren of the Wolf, based on the Romulus and Remus legend, with Yvonne Mitchell, presented by the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1971. Of all his television and cinema work Briant will be remembered mainly for his appearances in four Hammer horror films. The first was Peter Collinson’s Straight On Till Morning (1972) in which a girl (Rita Tushingham) gets involved with a nice young man with the face of a blond angel (Briant) who is actually psychotic. Then came Peter Sykes’ Demons of the Mind, with Robert Hardy as a widower who keeps his children (Briant and Gillian Hills) captive for having incestuous thoughts. He then had a part in Brian Clemens’ Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter and finally Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974) directed by Terence Fisher in which he played Simon Helder, a young doctor helping Peter Cushing’s Baron to invent a new creature (David Prowse). He also made other films, including Hawk the Slayer with Jack Palance, The Mackintosh Man with Paul Newman, and was Sir Clifford in Just Jaeckin’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1981) with Sylvia Kristel as Lady C. On television he played the title part in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1973) and was Norma in The Naked Civil Servant with John Hurt. In the early 1980s Shane Briant moved to Australia with his wife (Wendy Lycett) and made most of his other films either there or in New Zealand. Still to come is Sherlock Holmes vs Frankenstein in which Briant repeats his role as Dr Simon Helder from the 1974 Hammer film. It was his last performance.

 

LESLIE BRICUSSE (29 January 1931-19 October 2021)
Apart from his work on stage musicals, the British composer, lyricist and playwright Leslie Bricusse, who has died aged 90, was a prominent contributor to the film industry. Born in South London but brought up in Pinner in north-west London, he subsequently went to Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, where he wrote and appeared in musical comedies for the Footlights. Leslie BricusseHe shot to fame with Anthony Newley in their collaboration on Stop the World - I Want To Get Off in 1961 which ran for nearly five hundred performances in London and was successful on Broadway, too. The 1966 film version was poorly received, being just a record of the stage production with no relation to cinematic techniques. With Stop the World and their other stage show, The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd, Bricusse and Newley created some evergreen numbers including 'What Kind of Fool Am I?', 'Who Can I Turn To?', 'Feeling Good', 'Gonna Build a Mountain', 'Once in a Lifetime' and 'A Wonderful Day Like Today' etc which were taken up by many popular singers of the day. Bricusse went on to write other shows with other collaborators including Pickwick, Scrooge, Sherlock Holmes - The Musical, Cyrano and Sammy. However, it may be the songs Bricusse wrote for the cinema that will afford him everlasting fame. With Newley he wrote the title songs for Goldfinger (1964) and You Only Live Twice (1967), both to music by John Barry. He wrote the music and lyrics for 'Talk to the Animals' from Doctor Dolittle (1967) and 'You and I' and 'Fill the World with Love' from Goodbye, Mr Chips (1968). Again with Newley he wrote 'Candy Man'  and 'Pure Imagination' from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), 'Can You Read My Mind? from Superman (1978) with John Williams, 'Le Jazz Hot' from Victor/Victoria (1982) with Henry Mancini, and 'Christmas at Hogwarts' from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001), again with John Williams, among many other film and TV songs. Bricusse received Academy Awards for Doctor Dolittle and Victor/Victoria and was nominated for many other film songs. He was married to the actress Yvonne Romain and they have a son, Adam. In 2001 he was awarded the OBE for his services to the film industry and the theatre.

  

JOHNNY BRIGGS (5 September 1935-28 February 2021)
Before he appeared for thirty years in Coronation Street, the actor Johnny Briggs enjoyed a reasonable career in films and television. Born in South London he had a yen to go on the stage and at twelve won a scholarship to the Italia Conti Stage Academy. Johnny BriggsFollowing the Academy’s West End showcase, he worked in repertory at Nottingham and Northampton. In films from 1947 he had uncredited parts in Hue and Cry, Oliver Twist, The Lavender Hill Mob and Cosh Boy, etc. Better roles came in Light Up the Sky, The Bulldog Breed and H.M.S. Defiant (in which he was flogged). Television became more prominent in his life during the 1960s, along with occasional films such as The Leather Boys, The Devil-Ship Pirates, 633 Squadron and The Intelligence Men. He had a long run in No Hiding Place on TV as one of Raymond Francis’s police sidekicks. After a few appearances in Crossroads and a couple of Carry Ons, Briggs nabbed the part of the wide-boy factory owner Mike Baldwin in over 1500 episodes of Coronation Street from 1976 to 2006. When the character of Baldwin was killed off, he was in Holby City, Echo Beach and Doctors, his last acting part (in 2009). Johnny Briggs, who has died aged 85 after a long illness, was first married to Caroline Sinclair with whom he has two children, Mark and Karen, and then to Christine Allsop with whom he has four children, Jennifer, Michael, Stephanie and Anthony. Both marriages ended in divorce. He was made an MBE in 2007 and also won a Lifetime Achievement Award in the 2006 British Soap Awards. His memoir, My Life as Mike Baldwin, was published in 2006.

 

JOHN BRILEY (25 June 1925-14 December 2019)
The screenplay, theatre and television writer John Briley, who has died aged 94, was John Brileyborn in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. He first worked in public relations for General Motors and then joined the US Air Force, eventually being posted to Britain at RAF Northolt. It was there that he began his writing career. After gaining a PhD in Elizabethan drama at the University of Birmingham, he left the air force and joined MGM Studios as a staff writer. He wrote the Spike Milligan comedies Invasion Quartet (1961) and Postman’s Knock (1962) and then adapted the John Wyndham sci-fi novel Children of the Damned. This was followed by Hammerhead and Pope Joan with Liv Ullmann. That Lucky Touch starred Roger Moore and Susannah York, while Richard Burton was in The Medusa Touch. Both Eagle’s Wing and Enigma starred Martin Sheen after which came Briley’s most successful screenplay for Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, for which Briley won an Academy Award. He worked with Attenborough again on Cry Freedom, the Steve Biko story. Before that he wrote Marie for Sissy Spacek and adapted the James Clavell novel Tai-Pan. Following Sandino with Kris Kristofferson he wrote Christopher Columbus: The Discovery for Marlon Brando. His last film was Molokai in 1999. He had many unproduced film scripts and also wrote for television and published several novels. John Briley married Dorothy Louise Reichart in 1950 and they have four children.

 

WILFORD BRIMLEY (27 September 1934-1 August 2020)
The American actor-singer Wilford Brimley, who has died from a kidney condition aged 85, began as an extra in Westerns but quickly became a character actor in several grade-A pictures. His signature role was that of a grumpy, whiskery old buzzard, although he always made his parts likeable. He did stuntwork on Bandolero! (1968), had minor uncredited roles in True Grit and Lawman, Wilford Brimleybut then found fame in The Waltons television series (1974-77). His first real film role was in James Bridges’ The China Syndrome with Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon in 1979. Then he did The Electric Horseman with Fonda and Robert Redford, later appearing with the latter in Brubaker and, even later, in The Natural. Brimley was a senior patrol agent in Borderline with Charles Bronson and an Assistant Attorney General in Absence of Malice with Paul Newman. He was a sheriff in Death Valley, a doctor in The Thing, and a police captain in 10 to Midnight. Other films included High Road to China, Tough Enough, Harry & Son and The Hotel New Hampshire (as Iowa Bob). Cocoon and Cocoon: The Return gave him a star part along with fellow  old timers Don Ameche, Hume Cronyn, Jack Gilford, Maureen Stapleton and Gwen Verdon. There was also further television after The Waltons and more films, including The Firm with Tom Cruise, In and Out with Kevin Kline, Did You Hear About the Morgans? with Hugh Grant, and I Believe, a supernatural religious story, his last film, in 2017. He was also a fine jazz singer and harmonica player. In 1956 Wilford Brimley married Lynne Bagley with whom he has sons James, John, William and Lawrence. Lynne died in 2000 and he married Beverley Berry in 2007. As a longtime diabetes sufferer, he worked for the American Diabetes Association who honoured him with a lifetime service award.

 

TONY BRITTON (9 June 1924-22 December 2019)
The British actor Tony Britton, who has died aged 95, had a long career in which he mastered the art of stage acting, along with television appearances and film work. He was one of those actors who always seemed to be around, a reliable and very capable performer who could master serious drama and comedy with equal aplomb. After leaving school he was determined to become an actor, joining rep companies in Somerset while also working as an estate agent and at an aircraft factory. During National Service he formed a theatre group and worked at Manchester’s Library Theatre as well as in Edinburgh. Tony BrittonHe made his West End debut in 1952 and then joined the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. More West End work followed and then he entered films, while his television career also took off. His first film was an uncredited role in Waterfront (1950) with Robert Newton. Then came Cage of Gold with Jean Simmons and Salute the Toff with John Bentley. Then TV took over for most of the 1950s, including the Francis Durbridge serial The Other Man. His next film was Ken Annakin’s comedy Loser Takes All, with a rather lame script by Graham Greene. The Birthday Present (1957) was rather a good drama with Britton as a man who smuggles an expensive watch through customs. Behind the Mask was a hospital drama with Michael Redgrave, and Operation Amsterdam was an OK war film with Peter Finch. Other films included The Heart of a Man with Frankie Vaughan and The Rough and the Smooth with Najda Tiller. The Boulting Brothers made Suspect with a script by the novelist Nigel Balchin and Britton was in a few other minor flicks when TV took over again, demonstrating Britton’s subtle comedy technique in Happy Ever After, Ooh La La!, And Mother Makes Five, Robin’s Nest, Don’t Wait Up, etc. There were other TV series and some more films such as Disney’s Dr Syn, Alias the Scarecrow, There’s a Girl In My Soup, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Mr Forbush and the Penguins, The Day of the Jackal, Night Watch with Elizabeth Taylor, The People That Time Forgot with Patrick Wayne, Agatha with Vanessa Redgrave and Ray Cooney’s Run for Your Wife, Britton’s last film (in 2012). Tony Britton married and divorced Ruth Hawkins and then married the Danish sculptor Eva Skytte Birkefeldt, who died in 2008. He is the father of the TV presenter Fern Britton, the scriptwriter Cherry Britton and the actor Jasper Britton.

 

JEREMY BULLOCH (16 February 1945-17 December 2020)
Although he was never a star player, the British actor Jeremy Bulloch, who has died aged 75 from Parkinson’s disease, worked consistently in films, TV and theatre for nearly sixty years. His professional debut was in a TV cereal commercial followed by appearances on children’s TV. Jeremy BullochHe had uncredited roles in films and television from 1958 until 1962 when he was cast in Michael Winner’s Play It Cool with Billy Fury. Then came Peter Yates’s first feature, the Cliff  Richard musical Summer Holiday. The Idol (1966) was Daniel Petrie’s drama with Jennifer Jones and then Bulloch made Las Leandras, a Spanish comedy that was only shown in Spain and South America. The 1970s began for him with The Virgin and the Gypsy, based on D.H. Lawrence’s novel, Mary, Queen of Scots with Vanessa Redgrave, Lindsay Anderson’s O Lucky Man! and episodes of Doctor Who and other TV series. Bulloch was the star of Can You Keep It Up For a Week?, a mild sex comedy about hanging on to a job for seven days. Escape From the Dark was for Disney while The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy put him on the Bond movie map. In Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Bulloch created the role of Boba Fett, a role that guaranteed him celebrity for ever. Agony was the first TV sitcom to have a gay couple, here played by Bulloch and Peter Denyer and starring Maureen Lipman. Then it was more TV until Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith with Bulloch as Captain Colton. He played a spectator in The Mandelorian Legacy, while Terry Fujii assumed the role of Boba Fett, Bulloch ended his film career with a couple of shorts featuring Boba Fett in 2015/16. Jeremy Bulloch and his wife Maureen Bulloch have three sons.

 

EARL CAMERON (8 August 1917-3 July 2020)
Earl CameronThe Bermudan-born actor Earl Cameron, who has died aged 102, came to Britain during World War II. Working as a kitchen porter at Lyons Corner House, he bagged a walk-on part in Chu Chin Chow, followed by small speaking roles. He broadcast from the BBC to Africa and the Caribbean and toured to many UK theatre reps. His first film was Pool of London (1951), bold for its day, featuring the relationship between a white girl and a black sailor (Cameron). He made several more ‘problem’ pictures including Emergency Call, Simba, Safari, Odongo, The Heart Within and, in particular, Sapphire and Flame in the Street, both dealing with racial prejudice. Cameron also appeared in several TV series and his other films of note include Guns at Batasi, Thunderball, Two Gentlemen Sharing, The Revolutionary, A Warm December (directed by and starring Sidney Poitier), The Message, Cuba, The Interpreter, The Queen and Christopher Nolan’s Inception, his last film, in 2010. Earl Cameron married Audrey Godowski and they have five children. She died in 1994. He subsequently married his second wife, Barbara. He was awarded a CBE in 2009 for his services to drama.

  

LEWIS JOHN CARLINO (1 January 1932-17 June 2020)
The American screenwriter-director Lewis John Carlino, who has died aged 88, was born in New York to Italian immigrants, Lewis John Carlinobut studied film and drama in Los Angeles. Beginning as a playwright off-Broadway, he soon crossed over to films. Following some TV episodes he adapted for John Frankenheimer David Ely’s novel Seconds, about a man faking death to create a new identity. Sadly, he woke up as Rock Hudson! Carlino’s next adaptation was The Fox, a D.H. Lawrence story, but The Brotherhood was an original screenplay about the Mafia with Kirk Douglas, while A Reflection of Fear with Robert Shaw was adapted from Stanton Forbes’ chiller-thriller. The Mechanic was a good action original for Charles Bronson, as was Crazy Joe for Peter Boyle. Yukio Mishima’s The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea was another adaptation (which Carlino also directed), as were I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (gaining Carlino’s only Oscar-nomination), the Carlino-directed The Great Santini with Robert Duvall and Haunted Summer, about the poets Byron and Shelley. Carlino’s own story, Resurrection, about a woman (Ellen Burstyn) surviving the afterlife, was a film in 1980 (and remade for TV in 1999). Class with Rob Lowe was directed but not written by Carlino. Between films he wrote TV features and created the Doc Elliot series. He was first married to Natelle Lamkin, with whom he had three children, and from 1976 to Jill Denise Chadwick until her death in 2015.

 

JEAN-CLAUDE CARRIÈRE (19 September 1931-8 February 2021)
The French actor, novelist, screenwriter and director Jean-Claude Carrière was the busiest man in the French film industry. His list of screenplays for features, television movies, documentaries and shorts runs to over 150 titles - and he also acted in nearly 40 films and directed four. Born to a family of vintners in south-western France, he studied to be a teacher. Jean-Claude CarriereHowever, he began as a cartoonist, novelist and short story writer and then met the actor-director Jacques Tati who commissioned him to write novelisations of his films. A meeting with Pierre Etaix, Tati’s assistant, led to making their short Rupture in 1961 and two others, Insomnie and Happy Anniversary (Academy Award winner, 1963), plus a full-length comedy, The Suitor. Carrière then embarked on the first of many films he wrote for Luis Buñuel, The Diary of a Chambermaid with Jeanne Moreau. For Buñuel he also adapted Belle de Jour, with Catherine Deneuve, The Milky Way, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Bafta award and Oscar nomination), The Monk, The Phantom of Liberty and That Obscure Object of Desire (Oscar nominated). He adapted Hotel Paradiso for Peter Glenville with Gina Lollobrigida and Alec Guinness, Louis Malle’s Viva Maria! with Brigitte Bardot, Le Voleur with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Milou in May with Michel Piccoli and Miou-Miou, Jacques Deray’s Borsalino with Belmondo, Milos Forman’s Taking Off and Valmont, Volker Schlöndorff’s The Tin Drum and Swann in Love, Andrzej Wajda’s Danton and Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s Cyrano de Bergerac, both with Gérard Depardieu, Philip Kaufman’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Bafta award and Oscar nomination), Daniel Vigne’s The Return of Martin Guerre with Depardieu and the same story in Jon Amiel’s Sommersby with Richard Gere, Luca Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash with Ralph Fiennes and many more in a prodigiously unstoppable career of screenplay and TV writing, not to mention his acting appearances, and he still has three posthumous films in post production. Many of the films he wrote were award-winners and, apart from his single Oscar, he was awarded an Honorary Academy Award in 2015. He first married Augusta Bouy in 1951, then Nicole Janin and finally the writer Nahal Tajadod. He has two children. Jean-Claude Carrière died in Paris of natural causes, aged 89.

 

DIAHANN CARROLL (17 July 1935-4 October 2019)
From the age of six, music was an important part of the life of the actress and singer Diahann Carroll, who has died at the age of 84 from complications following cancer. Early on she was a member of her Harlem church choir in New York, then studied voice and piano with an operaticDiahann Carroll career in mind, after securing a scholarship to the Metropolitan Opera. However, as a teenager she won a radio talent competition and later on began a nightclub act, appearing at the Latin Quarter. At age nineteen she was on Broadway in the Harold Arlen-Truman Capote show House of Flowers and subsequently Richard Rodgers’ No Strings, from which she sang ‘The Sweetest Sounds’ and won a Tony Award. She was cast in Preminger’s films of Carmen Jones and Porgy and Bess, but between movies appeared on television (Peter Gunn, Naked City, Julia, The Love Boat, etc). Other films Carroll made include Goodbye Again, Paris Blues, Hurry Sundown, The Split and Claudine (as Claudine), after which she took on television in such blockbusters as Dynasty and The Colbys, as well as a TV movie of Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, a sequel series of Alex Haley’s Roots: The Next Generation and Grey’s Anatomy. Then it was mostly television again apart from Mo’ Better Blues, The Five Heartbeats and Eve’s Bayou with Samuel L. Jackson. Her final film was The Masked Saint in 2016. She also had a recording career and often guested on TV shows with Andy Williams, Judy Garland, Danny Kaye and Carol Burnett. Diahann Carroll was married four times, latterly to the singer Vic Damone but had also been engaged to both Sidney Poitier and David Frost. She is the mother of the journalist and screenwriter Suzanne Kay Bamford, from her first marriage to the record producer Monte Kay. Carroll founded the charity Celebrity Action Council, working with women in rehabilitation.

 

NINO CASTELNUOVO (28 October 1936-6 September 2021)
The Italian actor Nino Castelnuovo, who has died aged 84, was in films from 1956, including Luchino Visconti's Rocco and His Brothers (1959). However, he will be best remembered for playing the car mechanic Guy opposite Catherine Deneuve as Genevieve in Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964). On paper it was a film that should not have worked as it went against the rules of how to make a movie. With its sung-through dialogue it resembled a filmed opera, but with Nino CastelnuovoDemy's extraordinary skill as a director coupled with Michel Legrand's romantic score, it captured the hearts of filmgoers everywhere and won many awards including the Prix Louis-Delluc and the Palme d'Or at Cannes and was nominated in five categories of the Academy Awards, although it won none. Deneuve and Castelnuovo were both beautiful and charming actors who lit up the simple love story.
Nino was born Francesco Castelnuovo in Lombardy and after a few menial jobs he moved to Milan, joined an acting school making his debut as a mime artist. He did some work with Disney on television, but his real breakthrough came with The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. He was successful on Italian television in I promessi sposi (The Betrothed) about the 17th-century Spanish war in Lombardy, and several other TV series. Most of his film work was made in Italy, although he occasionally did movies with a more international appeal such as Serge Bourguinon's Western The Reward (1965) with Max Von Sydow and Yvette Mimieux, Vittorio De Sica's A New World (1966) with Sean Connery, Agnes Varda's The Creatures (1966) with Deneuve and Michel Piccoli, Pasquale Festa Campanile's On My Way to the Crusades I Met a Girl Who... (1967) with Tony Curtis and Monica Vitti, Radley Metzger's Camille 2000 (1969), The 5-Man Army (1969) with Peter Graves and Bud Spencer, L'Emmerdeur (1973) with Lino Ventura, and Anthony Minghella's The English Patient (1996). Otherwise, in a sixty-year career, it was mainly Italian TV films and series and some stage work. Castelnuovo's last film was the sports-related crime thriller The Legacy Run in 2016. He was married first to the actress Danila Trebbi, who bore his son Lorenzo, and then to Maria Cristina Di Nicola from 2010 until his death.

 

MARGE CHAMPION (2 September 1919-21 October 2020)
The American dancer and actress Marge Champion, who has died at the age of 101, was one half of the dance partnership Marge and Gower Champion who graced many Hollywood musicals in the 1950s. She was born Marjorie Celeste Belcher
Marge Championto Ernest and Gladys Belcher in Los Angeles. Her father was a Hollywood dance director who trained Marge from an early age and she herself became an instructor with her father at twelve in 1931, the year she first met Gower Champion. Her debut was at the Hollywood Bowl, she sang with the Hollywood High School Glee Club and became a model for the Walt Disney’s animators. Her first film was The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939) with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. With Gower she toured in shows and they subsequently appeared on television and in films and eventually married. They made several MGM musicals including Till the Clouds Roll By, Show Boat, Lovely to Look At, Everything I have Is Yours, Give a Girl a Break, Three for the Show and Jupiter’s Darling. Marge appeared on Broadway in Lerner & Loewe’s What’s Up?, Duke Ellington’s Beggar’s Holiday and the play Dark of the Moon. She became an assistant to Gower’s work as a stage director on Make a Wish, Hello, Dolly! and Stepping Out and she appeared in the 2001 revival of Sondheim’s Follies at the age of 81. Her first husband was Disney animator Art Babbitt but they divorced after three years. She married Gower in 1947 and they divorced in 1973. They had two sons, Blake and Gregg, but Blake died in a car accident aged just 25. She married film director Boris Sagal in 1977 but he died in a helicopter accident in 1981. Marge and Gower Champion were both born in the same year but, sadly, Gower contracted a rare blood cancer and died prematurely on 25 August, 1980, just a few hours before the first night of his most successful production of 42nd Street. He was just 61.

  

MICHAEL CHAPMAN (21 November 1935-20 September 2020)
The American cinematographer Michael Chapman, who has died aged 84 from congestive heart failure, became famous through his work with director Martin Scorsese. Michael ChapmanHe began his career as a camera operator in 1965 on Joseph Cates’s Who Killed Teddy Bear? with Sal Mineo, Juliet Prowse and Elaine Stritch, subsequently working on Aram Avakian’s End of the Road, Irvin Kershner’s Loving, Hal Ashby’s The Landlord, John Cassavetes’ Husbands, Alan J. Pakula’s Klute, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather and Steven Spielberg’s Jaws among others. He became a fully-fledged cinematographer on Ashby's The Last Detail (1973) with Jack Nicholson. For Scorsese he did Taxi Driver, American Boy, The Last Waltz and Raging Bull, Martin Ritt’s The Front with Woody Allen, the remake of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and The Wanderers for Philip Kaufman, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid and The Man With Two Brains, both with Steve Martin, Scrooged and Ghostbusters II, both with Bill Murray, The Fugitive with Harrison Ford, and many more until 2007 when his last film was Gabor Caupo’s Bridge to Terabithia. He also worked with Scorsese on Michael Jackson’s Bad video. Michael Chapman was also something of an actor, appearing in many of the films he photographed, including Deadly Pursuit, Kindergarten Cop, Doc Hollywood, Six Days, Seven Nights, The Story of Us and Quick Change. He was nominated in the Academy Awards for Raging Bull and The Fugitive. Michael Chapman was married twice, first to Myriam P. Brun and then to the writer Amy Holden Jones. He has four children, Emma, Patrick, Jonathan and Andrew.

 

LYNN COHEN (10 August 1933-14 February 2020)
Television viewers and filmgoers may well remember the American actress Lynn Cohen from her roles as the appalling Ukrainian housekeeper Magda in Sex and the City on TV (and in the cinema), and as Mags Flanagan in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. However, the actress, who has died aged 86, appeared widely on television and in films as well as doing much theatre work, including Peter Hall’s production of Tennessee Williams’ Orpheus Descending with Vanessa Redgrave, and Chekhov’s Ivanov

Born Lynn Harriette Kay in Kansas City, Cohen studied acting at the Michael Howard Studios in New York City where she began playing in off-Broadway productions from the 1970s but, apart from a small role in Without a Trace (1983), her first major film appearance was in Woody Allen’s 1993 comedy Manhattan Murder Mystery. This was followed by her playing Maman in Louis Malle’s Vanya on 42nd Street, Mary Harron’s I Shot Andy Warhol, Nicole Holofcener’s Walking and Talking and Sharon Pollack’s Everything Relative. Morgan J. Freeman directed her in Hurricane Streets, Lynn Cohenand then she was back with Woody Allen for Deconstructing Harry. Often called on to play mothers, she was the mother in Andrea Clark’s My Divorce and played more mothers in Dani Levi and Maria Schrader’s The Giraffe, Tim Robbins’ Cradle Will Rock, Ethan Hawke’s The Hottest State and later on she was Philip Seymour Hoffman’s mother in Synecdoche, New York. She played Grandmom in Enid Zentells’ Evergreen (2004) and another grandmother in Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe (2007). She also played Golda Meir, the Prime Minister of Israel, in Steven Spielberg’s Munich.

Other films in the 2000s included Invincible with Mark Wahlberg, Delirious with Steve Buscemi, Helen Hunt’s Then She Found Me with Colin Firth and Bette Midler, Deception with Hugh Jackman, Eagle Eye with Shia LaBeouf, Staten Island with Ethan Hawke, Everybody’s Fine with Robert De Niro, and The Extra Man with Kevin Kline. Among many other films Lynn Cohen was the star of The Romance of Loneliness, and she obviously made a great impression as Mags in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in 2013. She then made another score of features over the next seven years before her death. In between her film career were TV shows such as NYPD Blue, Law and Order, Nurse Jackie, Damages, and others including, of course, thirteen episodes of Sex and the City plus the two feature films. Lynn Cohen made many short films in her time (there are still three in the can), while two more features, The Riverside Bench and Six Dinner Parties are in post-production. Lynn Cohen married Gilbert Frazen in 1957, but they divorced in 1963, having had one child. Her second husband, Ronald Cohen, survives her.

 

CHARLOTTE CORNWELL (26 April 1949-16 January 2021)
The British actress Charlotte Cornwell, who has died from cancer aged 71, was equally at home in the theatre, on television or on film. Charlotte CornwellShe had an all-round talent for any medium into which she was cast. She trained at the Webber-Douglas Academy and the National Youth Theatre, and made her professional stage debut at the Bristol Old Vic. She later worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford and in London in plays by Shakespeare and Brecht, as well as modern playwrights such as Pam Gems, Steve Gooch, David Rudkin and Barrie Keeffe. At the National Theatre, she was in Congreve, Shaw, Sheridan, Ayckbourn, Athol Fugard, Chekhov and Shakespeare plus many more besides. She was on television from 1972 and made a great impression in two series of Howard Schumann’s Rock Follies with Julie Covington and Rula Lenska. She was also in Bognor, a comedy series with David Horovitch. On film she started in Stardust (1974) with David Essex, then The Brute, Peter Medak’s The Krays, Clint Eastwood’s White Hunter, Black Heart, The Russia House, from the novel by John Le Carrḗ (aka David Cornwell: Charlotte was his half-sister), Philip Noyce’s The Saint with Val Kilmer, and Couples Retreat with Vince Vaughn, her last feature film (in 2009). From 2004 to 2012 Charlotte Cornwell moved to the US to teach acting at the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts. Unmarried, Charlotte had a daughter, Nancy, by the actor Kenneth Cranham.

 

VALENTINA CORTESE (1 January 1923-10 July 2019)
The Italian actress Valentina Cortese, who has died aged 96, had to wait till after World War II before she became recognised as an actress of renown. After studying at the National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Rome, from 1941 she began to appear in Italian films including The Hero of Venice, First Love and Girl of the Golden West. Her first big break came in 1946 and Rome Open City, an early neorealist film from Marcello Pagliero in which Cortese played a working girl forced to prostitute herself to earn a living. Among her other films was an Italian version of Les Misḗrables, and then in 1948 came The Glass Mountain, Henry Cass’s British film shot in Italy, which dealt with a British Air Force pilot (Michael Denison) shot down in Italy but rescued by a local girl (Cortese) with whom he falls in love. The romantic theme of the film and Nino Rota’s legendary score ensured its Valentina Cortesebox-office success.
Black Magic with Orson Welles followed and then Hollywood beckoned as director Jules Dassin put her in Thieves’ Highway with Richard Conte and Lee J. Cobb. In the USA, Cortese made East of the Rising Sun (aka Malaya), Shadow of the Eagle and The House on Telegraph Hill in which Robert Wise cast her as a concentration camp survivor opposite her future husband Richard Basehart. She then made Thorold Dickinson’s thriller Secret People in 1952, after which she resumed her career in Italy. Joseph L. Mankiewicz directed her in The Barefoot Contessa with Humphrey Bogart, and she worked with Michelangelo Antonioni on Le Amiche. Mostly working in Italian films or others set in Italy, she was in Square of Violence with Broderick Crawford, Barabbas and The Visit, both with Anthony Quinn, Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits, Robert Aldrich’s The Legend of Lylah Clare, Maximilian Schell’s First Love, Franco Zeffirelli’s Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Joseph Losey’s The Assassination of Trotsky, François Truffaut’s Day for Night, James Goldstone’s When Time Ran Out... with Paul Newman and Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
She also worked in theatre in Italy, playing in Shakespeare, Chekhov, Brecht, Pirandello, Schiller and even Pinter. Her last film was Zeffirelli’s Sparrow in 1993. She also played Herodias in his TV series Jesus of Nazareth. Nominated for an Academy Award for Day for Night, Cortese lost out to Ingrid Bergman but she did win a Bafta, the National Society of Film Critics’ Award and the New York Film Critics’ Circle Award. She received the Milano International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award and was made Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, France. Valentina Cortese married and divorced the actor Richard Basehart, who died in 1984. They had a son, Jackie, who died in 2015.

 

LINDA CRISTAL (23 February 1931-27 June 2020)
The Argentinian actress Linda Cristal, who has died aged 89, was born Marta Victoria Moya Peggo Burges. She studied voice and piano and was discovered by a producer holidaying in Mexico. Under her new name, she made films in Mexico until her US debut in Comanche (1951) with Dana Andrews. After decorating various films, including The Fiend Who Walked the West, Strictly for Pleasure and Cry Tough, she made The Alamo (1960) with John Wayne and John Ford’s Two Rode Together. Real fame arrived with the part of Victoria Cannon in nearly 100 episodes of The High Chaparral (below) from 1967 to 1971. After that it was more TV and the odd film until a stint in General Hospital in 1988. Meanwhile, she became very rich in real estate and import/export. Her first marriage was annulled after five days, her second ended in divorce, as did her third to the actor Yale Wexler, with whom she has two children.

Linda Cristal

 

 

BEN CROSS (16 December 1947-18 August 2020)
The British actor Ben Cross, who has died after a short illness at the age of 72, will be remembered for playing the athlete Harold Abrahams in Hugh Hudson’s Chariots of Fire (1981) as well as other film and stage works. Born Harry Bernard Cross in London to a Catholic family, Ben Crosshe first worked as a labourer but then became a carpenter at the Welsh National Opera and then props-master at Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre. He studied at Rada and then worked in repertory, joining the RSC in 1977, the year of his first film, Richard Attenborough’s A Bridge Too Far. His outstanding appearance as Billy Flynn in the stage musical of Chicago led to his casting in Chariots of Fire. However, after that film Cross rarely appeared in major films but worked mainly on TV and, having lived and worked all over the world, graced a collection of eccentric international movies. Apart from the Arthurian First Knight (1995) with Sean Connery and Star Trek (2009) with Chris Pine, his other films included The Assisi Underground with James Mason, The Unholy with Ned Beatty, Live Wire with Pierce Brosnan, Cold Sweat with Alec Baldwin, Turbulence with Ray Liotta, The Venice Project with Lauren Bacall, The Order with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Charlton Heston, Exorcist: The Beginning with Stellan Skarsgård, and Dolph Lundgren’s The Mechanik. He made many TV series including The Flame Trees of Thika, The Citadel, The Far Pavilions, 20,00 Leagues Under the Sea (as Captain Nemo), the lead in the Biblical story of Solomon, Spartacus (as Titus Glabrus), Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial (as Rudolph Hess), Ben Hur (as Tiberius), and William & Kate: The Movie (as Princes Charles), etc. Five more films are still in the pipeline. Ben Cross had three marriages, to Michele Moerth, Penelope Butler and Deyana Boneva Cross. With his second wife he fathered a daughter, Lauren, and a son, Theo.

 

FRANCES CUKA (21 August 1936-16 February 2020)
Although never a household name, the actress Frances Cuka, who has died aged 83 following a stroke and cancer, will always be remembered for creating one of the iconic stage roles in the history of the British theatre. As Jo in Shelagh Delaney’s groundbreaking 1958 play A Taste of Honey for Frances CukaJoan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop at Stratford East, she portrayed a teenager who becomes pregnant by a black sailor but is then cared for by a gay boyfriend, a scenario that the middle-class theatre-going public had never encountered before. Sadly Cuka did not get the film role, which went to Rita Tushingham, but she did get to play Jo on Broadway. Born in London to a family of Czech extraction, Frances Cuka was educated in Brighton and studied acting at the Guildhall School. She made her stage debut in Warrington and various other rep theatres. After Stratford East, she worked at the Royal Court in London and also for the RSC at Stratford-upon-Avon and at the Aldwych. Her first film was Over the Odds in 1961 and she went on to appear in Scrooge (as Mrs Cratchit) with Albert Finney, Henry VIII and His Six Wives (as Catherine of Aragon), Hide and Seek for the Children’s Film Foundation, The Watcher in the Woods with Bette Davis, Bob Rafelson’s Mountains of the Moon, Afraid of the Dark with James Fox, Snow White: A Tale of Terror with Sigourney Weaver, François Ozon’s Swimming Pool with Charlotte Rampling, Roman Polanski’s Oliver Twist (as Mrs Bedwin), and Closer to the Moon with Vera Farmiga. Frances Cuka appeared in many television series and TV movies such as  Henry IV Part II (as Doll Tearsheet), Minder, Trial & Retribution, The Bill and Holby City, among others. She was originally cast as Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders but the part eventually went to Jo Warne and ultimately Barbara Windsor. Her last TV appearances were in the Channel 4 sitcom Friday Night Dinner, playing, hilariously, the Jewish grandma Nelly Buller and showing her great talent for comedy. Frances Cuka was a fine but perhaps underrated actress of great versatility. She remained unmarried, despite having two long-running partnerships.

 

JULIAN CURRY (8 December 1937-27 June 2020)
The actor Julian Curry, who has died aged 82,
Julian Currywas well-known for his work on television, stage and film. He was a member of the RSC, the National, The Old Vic and Prospect theatre companies. On television he is particularly remembered for playing the rather prissy barrister Claude Erskine-Browne in John Mortimer’s Rumpole of the Bailey. His first film was Smashing Time in 1967. After twelve years of TV he played Mr Smith in The Brontë Sisters then Escape to Victory, The Missionary, Hollywood Monster, Loch Ness, Seven Days to Live and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, his last film in 2004. A wine expert, Curry toured the world in his one-man show and wrote books on Shakespeare, interviewing famous actors on their roles. He married the actress Shelia Reid, then Josephine Edmunds, with whom he has two sons, Finn and Patrick, and finally the actress and writer Mary Chater.

 

ARLENE DAHL (11 August 1925-29 November 2021)
The Hollywood actress Arlene Dahl, who has died aged 96, was one of the last stars from the Golden Age of American movies. She was very beautiful, often appearing in glamorous roles. She had a contract with MGM, playing opposite such stars as Van Johnson, Robert Taylor, Joel McCrea, Fred Astaire and Red Skelton. She was born in Minneapolis to Norwegian immigrants Rudolph and Idelle Dahl and became involved in theatre at school, taking elocution Arlene Dahland dancing lessons and working in local amateur theatre. A job as a buyer in Chicago led to modelling work where she was spotted for the stage musical Mr Strauss Goes to Boston and while in another play she came to the attention of a Hollywood talent scout which led to a small role in Warner Bros' Life With Father with Irene Dunne and William Powell. Her first leading role was in My Wild Irish Rose (1947) with Dennis Morgan. At MGM she was in The Bride Goes Wild and A Southern Yankee. In Reign of Terror (aka The Black Book) she starred with Robert Cummings, followed by Scene of the Crime, Ambush, The Outriders and Three Little Words with Astaire and Skelton. She played the female interest in many films such as Caribbean Gold and Slightly Scarlet with John Payne, Desert Legion with Alan Ladd and Sangaree and The Diamond Queen, both with Fernando Lamas whom she later married. At Fox she worked with Rock Hudson on Bengal Rifles while in the UK she starred opposite Jack Hawkins in She Played With Fire (1957). She was also in Woman's World and Journey to the Centre of the Earth with James Mason and Pat Boone. Arlene Dahl also broke into television with a version of Casablanca for Lux Video Theatre and later Burke's Law, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, One Life To Live, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat and Air America, her last appearance, in 1999. From 1959 she became a beauty consultant, writing about and marketing lingerie and cosmetics. She is the author of three books on femininiy, lovescopes and beauty. She was married six times, first to the actors Lex Barker and Fernando Lamas, and Christian Rasmus Holmes III, Alexis Lichine, Skip Schaum and Marc Rosen. She has a son, the actor-producer Lorenzo Lamas, a daughter Christina Carole Holmes, and another son, Rounsevelle Andreas Schaum.

 

ALLEN DAVIAU (14 June 1942-15 April 2020)
The American cinematographer Allen Daviau, who has died aged 77 from complications with Covid-19, was a celebrated figure in the film world, having worked with Steven Spielberg, John Schlesinger, Barry Levinson and Albert Brooks, among others. Allen DaviauHis early career comprised thousands of commercials, documentaries and special effects work, the last for Roger Corman’s The Trip in 1967. The following year saw him working with Spielberg on his short Amblin’. Daviau had already worked with Spielberg as camera operator on another short, Slipstream, which then led to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Indiana  Jones and the Temple of Doom and, more importantly, E.T., on which Daviau was Director of Photography. He was nominated for an Academy Award and the film won six Oscars.
Daviau also worked with Spielberg on The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, and segments of Twilight Zone: The Movie and Amazing Stories. For Barry Levinson he did Avalon and Bugsy, and for John Schlesinger The Falcon and the Snowman. Other films on Daviau’s cv include William Dear’s Bigfoot and the Hendersons, Albert Brooks’ Defending Your Life with Meryl Streep, Peter Weir’s Fearless with Jeff Bridges, Frank Marshall’s Congo, Rand Ravich’s The Astronaut’s Wife with Johnny Depp and Stephen Sommers’ Van Helsing with Hugh Jackman, the last being Daviau’s final feature, in 2004. After that he made some more shorts until in 2012 he had surgery which left him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He spent his last years in the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Los Angeles. His other Oscar nominations were for The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, Avalon and Bugsy. He received Lifetime Achievement awards from both the Art Directors Guild and the American Society of Cinematographers.

 

DESMOND DAVIS (24 May 1926-3 July 2021)
The British writer, producer and director Desmond Davis worked for much of his career behind the camera. He was in the British Army film unit from the age of 18, before his apprenticeship as a clapper boy. From 1944 and for the next twenty years he acted as camera loader, focus puller and camera operator on almost sixty British features, often in an uncredited role. From 1956 he worked as a full-time camera operator on Black Tide, Make Mine a Million, The Giant Behemoth and Scream of Fear etc. Desmond DavisDirector Tony Richardson gave him his first big break on A Taste of Honey in 1961 and he also worked with Richardson on The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner and Tom Jones. He also assisted John Huston on Freud: The Secret Passion before becoming a director in his own right. His first directorial work was Girl with Green Eyes (1964), an adaptation by Edna O’Brien of her novel The Lonely Girl, starring Rita Tushingham, Lynn Redgrave and Peter Finch. The Uncle (1966), which Davis co-wrote with the novelist Margaret Abrams, was about a seven-year-old boy who becomes an uncle to his young nephew. It starred Rupert Davies and Brenda Bruce and was a charming film that received virtually no release. His third film, I Was Happy Here, was equally good, with Sarah Miles, Cyril Cusack and Sean Caffrey, but then Smashing Time with Tushingham and Redgrave again was a not very funny comedy written by George Melly and set in Swingin’ London. A Nice Girl Like Me (1969), co-written by Davis, starred Barbara Ferris as a girl becoming pregnant in Paris. Davis then embarked on a television career with Follyfoot (1972), The New Avengers, The Country Girls (more Edna O’Brien), Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four, Camille, with Greta Scacchi, etc. The only films Desmond Davis directed during this period were Clash of the Titans (1981), an ancient Greek drama with Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin and Maggie Smith, and Agatha Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence (1984) with Donald Sutherland and Faye Dunaway, after which he retired. Desmond Davis, who has died aged 95, married and divorced Shirley Smith. They have a son, Tim

  

DORIS DAY (3 April 1922-13 May 2019)
The American actress and singer Doris Day, who has died aged 97 from pneumonia, was one of Hollywood’s true icons. She was born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff to William, a music teacher, and his wife Alma. Doris DayThe parents separated when Doris was still young and so she lived with her mother and older brother Paul. Wanting to be a professional dancer, Doris formed a dance act with a friend but a bad car accident scuppered her potential career so, having a good singing voice, she took music lessons and was soon touring with bands of the day. She sang with Les Brown’s Band from the age of seventeen and was discovered by Warner Bros and given a contract for Romance on the High Seas in 1948. She went on to act and sing in many more Warners musicals including Tea for Two, Lullaby of Broadway, On Moonlight Bay and By the Light of the Silvery Moon. Her big hit was Calamity Jane in 1953 with great songs including the Oscar-winning ‘Secret Love’. She also had dramatic roles in Storm Warning and The Winning Team (both with Ronald Reagan), Love Me or Leave Me with James Cagney, and Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, with another Academy Award winning song, ‘Que Será Será’ ('Whatever Will Be Will Be'). Fans will remember Doris for her series of romcoms with Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, James Garner and Rod Taylor in the 1960s. She was Oscar-nominated for Pillow Talk with Rock Hudson but didn’t win and was never nominated again, although she did win Golden Globes, Laurel Awards and Lifetime Achievement gongs from the Cecil B. DeMille Award, the American Comedy Awards and the Los Angeles Film Critics. She was also a popular singer and recording artist with many albums and hit singles to her name. She married four times: first to the musician Al Jorden who fathered her only son Terry, then to another musician, George Weidler, then to the producer Martin Melcher who left her penniless when he died, and finally to Barry Comden, a head waiter. With her four husbands and her son gone, she spent her last years working for her own Doris Day Animal Foundation. With her passing it seems that something essentially of Hollywood has now gone. Doris Day represented a time and a way of life in the movies that are just no longer there.

 

OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND (1 July 1916-26 July 2020)
The actress Olivia de Havilland, who has died at the age of 104, was the last reminder of Hollywood in its heyday. She was born in Tokyo to British parents, as was her sister Joan Fontaine, but they soon moved to California and then their parents divorced. In a college play she was spotted by Max Reinhardt who put her in Warner’s film of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Hermia, in 1935. She gained a seven-year contract and worked with James Cagney in The Irish In Us, with Fredric March in Anthony Adverse, and made eight films with Errol Flynn including Captain Blood, The Charge of the Light Brigade and The Adventures of Robin Hood. As Melanie Hamilton in Gone With the Wind for MGM she was nominated for an Oscar. Back at Warner’s she did Hold Back the Dawn, was nominated but lost again. Finding her roles to be less than ideal, she refused the parts on offer and was placed on suspension. She sued Warner Bros, won the case and, with actress Bette Davis, changed the law against illegal studio suspensions. She won her first Oscar for To Each His Own and later films included The Snake Pit (another Oscar nomination) and The Heiress for which she finally won the best actress statuette. In the 1950s she made My Cousin Rachel with Richard Burton, Not As a Stranger with Frank Sinatra, The Proud Rebel with Alan Ladd and Libel with Dirk Bogarde,  etc. Then came TV and some popular shockers such as Lady in a Cage, Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte and The Swarm. She retired from films in 1988. Olivia and her sister Joan (who died in 2013) had allegedly never got on: they both denied it. Olivia de Havilland married the actor-writer Marcus Goodrich and then the writer Pierre Galante. The marriages both ended in divorce but produced a son, Benjamin, and a daughter, Gisèle. Olivia de Havilland received the US National Medal of the Arts, the French Chevalier of the Lḗgion d’honneur and Oldie of the Year. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2017.

Olivia de Havilland

 

NATHALIE DELON (1 August 1941-21 January 2021)
The French actress and director Nathalie Delon appeared in her first film, Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samourai, with her then-husband Alain Delon. They had married in 1964 after Nathalie had divorced her first husband, Guy Barthḗlḗmy, after three years. Nathalie DelonThe couple stayed together for almost five years, although it was a stormy marriage. Nathalie, who has died from cancer at the age of 79, went on to make thirty films and also directed two in a forty-year cinema career. After Le Samouri, she made more films in France and occasionally abroad. Army of Shadows (1969) was also from Jean-Pierre Melville, about underground resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied France. It co-starred Lino Ventura and Jean-Pierre Cassel. Delon’s first British film, When Eight Bells Toll (1971), was based on the novel by Alistair MacLean, with Anthony Hopkins and Jack Hawkins. She made Easy Down There!, a comedy with Alain Delon, and Bluebeard, about a World War I pilot and serial killer, with Richard Burton. The Monk (1972) had a script by Luis Buñuel and a star part for Franco Nero. Many of Delon’s films were only for home consumption but she worked with Roger Vadim, Peter Whitehead and Joseph Losey, the last on The Romantic Englishwoman with Glenda Jackson and Michael Caine. Her last acting appearance was in Mensch, about a champion Jewish boxer in 2009. As a director she made They Call It an Accident (1982), about a boy killed by hospital error. She also wrote the film and appeared in it. Sweet Lies (1987) concerned an insurance investigator (Treat Williams) who is irresistible to young women. Nathalie Delon was the mother of two children, a daughter, Nathalie, and a son, Anthony Delon.

 

BRIAN DENNEHY (9 July 1938-15 April 2020)
The American actor Brian Dennehy, who has died at age 81 from a cardiac arrest following sepsis, was a much lauded performer, winning many awards including a Tony, an Olivier, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for playing Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. A tall, imposing and charismatic figure, Dennehy found fame and glory on stage, in films and on television in a wide-ranging acting career of some fifty-five years. Born in Connecticut he studied at a school on Long Island and subsequently Columbia University. After national service in the US Marine Corps he graduated in history in 1965 but started acting in regional theatre, whilst taking on jobs as a truck driver.
Brian DennehyHe worked in theatre in Chicago, notably in Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, and in Dublin before reaching New York in 1999 in Brian Friel’s Translations. Other Broadway performances included Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s Inherit the Wind and O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms and he also played seasons at Stratford, Ontario. In 2010 he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
From 1977 he appeared in many television series such as Kojak, Police Woman, M*A*S*H, Lou Grant etc until his first film part in Richard Brooks’ Looking for Mr Goodbar with Diane Keaton, then Michael Ritchie’s Semi-Tough with Burt Reynolds, Norman Jewison’s F.I.S.T with Sylvester Stallone, Colin Higgins’ Foul Play with Goldie Hawn, Blake Edwards’ 10 with Dudley Moore and Little Miss Marker with Walter Matthau. In 1981 came Dynasty on TV and then First Blood, the initial Rambo film, giving Dennehy his first major cinema role. After that the movies generally got better and they included Michael Apted’s Gorky Park with William Hurt, Ron Howard’s Cocoon (and its sequel), Lawrence Kasdan’s Silverado with Kevin Kline, Bud Yorkin’s Twice in a Lifetime with Gene Hackman, F/X and its sequel F/X2 with Bryan Brown, and Ivan Reitman’s Legal Eagles starring Robert Redford.
Taking a break from Hollywood, Dennehy went to Italy to play the lead role in Peter Greenaway’s The Belly of an Architect, and in Germany he made Klaus Maria Brandauer’s Seven Minutes. He continued working in the theatre, films and television, including some producing and directing for TV. Arguably Alan J. Pakula’s Presumed Innocent with Harrison Ford, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet (as Ted Montague), Spike Lee’s She Hate Me, Jon Avnet’s Righteous Kill with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, The Next Three Days with Russell Crowe, Tom Hines’ Alleged (as Clarence Darrow), Barry Avrich’s Twelfth Night (as Sir Toby Belch), Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups with Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett, Michael Mayer’s The Seagull, Chekhov with Dennehy as Sorin, and Larry Clarke’s 3 Days With Dad with Lesley Ann Warren are the most interesting among the later films that Dennehy made. Son of the South with Julia Ormond, Long Day Journey with Danny Glover and The Adventures of Buddy Thunder with Angela Lansbury are still in production with Driveways just released online. Brian Dennehy was married first to Judith Scheff and then Jennifer Arnott. He is father to five children, Elizabeth, Kathleen and Deirdre from his first marriage, and two adopted daughters, Cormac and Sarah, from his second.

 

DAVID DENT (5 May 1922-4 April 2020)
Launched in 1939, Adelphi Films was taken over in 1948 by Arthur Dent who made it a family company of independent British film producers and distributors. David Dent, who has died at the age of 97, was the son of the firm’s founder, Arthur Abrahams.
David DentHe was born Cecil David Abrahams, but his father changed the family name to Dent after a village in Yorkshire he particularly liked. David trained as a lawyer and after the war worked for the barrister and novelist Henry Cecil. In 1949 he joined Adelphi, producing low-budget films, distributing them and titles from other sources, running the company with his brother Stanley (who died in 2012). The firm’s production arm, Advance Films, made over thirty films during the 1940s and ’50s, mostly comedies, featuring stars of the day. From 2009 the British Film Institute has been restoring them for DVD. As a producer David Dent was responsible for Skimpy in the Navy (1949), with Max Bygraves, Let’s Go Crazy with The Goons, My Death Is a Mockery with Donald Houston, My Wife’s Lodger and Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary?, both with Diana Dors, The Great Game, a football comedy with James Hayter, Intimate Relations, the first British ‘X’ film, based on Cocteau’s Les Parents Terribles, Don’t Blame the Stork with Ian Hunter, What Every Woman Wants with William Sylvester, The Happiness of Three Women with Petula Clark, You Lucky People! with Tommy Trinder, Fun at St Fanny’s with Fred Emney and Stars in Your Eyes (1956), a musical with Pat Kirkwood, Bonar Colleano, Nat Jackley and Dorothy Squires, David Dent’s last film production. One of his best pictures was The Crowded Day, depicting life in a department store with Joan Rice and Vera Day. David Dent was married to the TV producer Josḗ Crayson who died in 2015. They have a son, Jonathan, and two daughters, Carey and Louise. Adelphi Films is now managed by Arthur Dent’s granddaughter Kate Lees.

  

STANLEY DONEN (13 April 1924-21 February 2019)

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RICHARD DONNER (24April 1930-5 July 2021)
The American producer-director Richard Donner, who has died aged 91, was born Richard D. Schwartzberg in New York City to Russian Jewish parents. His first thought for a career was to be an actor but after Martin Ritt cast him in a small television part he suggested Richard DonnerDonner should become a director. He subsequently became Ritt’s assistant and then joined the Desilu company to direct commercials and later on began directing TV dramas such as Wanted Dead or Alive, with Steve McQueen, among many others. From 1957 until his first major film, The Omen, in 1976 he directed some fifty television series including Route 66, Wagon Train, The Detectives, The Twilight Zone,  The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Perry Mason, Get Smart, The Fugitive, Cannon, Ironside, Kojak and The Streets of San Francisco. His first feature was actually X-15 in 1961 with Charles Bronson. Then in 1968 he helmed Salt and Pepper with Sammy Davis Jr and Peter Lawford, and in 1969 made Lola (aka Twinky, and also London Affair) with Bronson and Susan George. But the big one came with The Omen, after which Donner made only a handful of TV programmes. Superman and Superman II were also big hits, as were The Goonies, Ladyhawke, Lethal Weapon (and its three sequels), Scrooged, Maverick, Assassins and Conspiracy Theory. His last film as director was 16 Blocks with Bruce Willis in 2006. Apart from directing, Donner also executive-produced such titles as Omen III, The Lost Boys, Free Willy, Tales From the Crypt, X-Men and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He was also a writer for comic books published by Action Comics and DC Comics. Richard Donner was married to the Hollywood producer Lauren Shuler Donner from 1986 until his death in 2021.

 

KIRK DOUGLAS (16 December 1916-5 February 2020)

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FREDA DOWIE (22 July 1928-10 August 2019)
The British character actress Freda Dowie, who has died aged 91, was brilliant at playing ordinary but not always happy women with sad lives. She was outstanding as the Mother in Terence Davies’ film Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) Freda Dowiewhich the director based on his own Liverpool childhood. Dowie’s performance at the hands of her abusive husband (Pete Postlethwaite) was a moving portrayal of a brutally wasted life. It won her a nomination in the European Film Awards. Her long, fifty-year career was full of such real performances, mostly on television. She was in many TV series, seemingly born to appear in classic, period dramas such as Doctor Faustus, Antigone, The Bacchae, Maupassant, North and South, Cranford (1972), I, Claudius, The Old Curiosity Shop, The Pickwick Papers, Alice in Wonderland, Middlemarch, and two TV versions of Laurie Lee’s Cider With Rosie. However, she was equally at home with modern drama such as Doomwatch, Crown Court, Angels, Lovejoy, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Our Friends in the North, The Bill, Heartbeat and EastEnders, etc. She had a select roster of feature films including Subterfuge (1968) with Gene Barry and Joan Collins, The Omen (as a nun), Francisco Lara Polop’s The Monk (as another nun), Michael Winterbottom’s Butterfly Kiss and also his Jude, Dan Zeff’s Black Eyes (as Gran), and Jaume Balaguero’s Fragile (2005) with Calista Flockhart. Freda Dowie was divorced from her first husband, John Goodrich. From 1970 she was married to the writer-producer-director David Thompson.

 

ROBERT DOWNEY Sr (24 June 1936-7 July 2021)
Robert Downey Sr was an actor, writer, director, producer, editor and cinematographer who early on was also a minor-league baseball player, a boxing champion and an off-Broadway playwright. Born Robert John Elias Jr in New York City, the son of Lithuanian and Hungarian Jewish stock, he began making movies from 1953 on very low budgets. From the early 1960s he made a number of independent underground films which appealed to the Beat Generation audiences of the time. Robert Downey SrPutney Swope (1969), a satire of Madison Avenue and the advertising business, was the first to receive real attention with a general cinema release. Arnold Johnson played the title role and Allen Garfield, Mel Brooks and Antonio Fargas were among the enormous supporting cast, as was writer-director Downey Sr himself. Many of his films were comedies or satires on the American way of life and he took on various roles, sometimes as a writer, sometimes as a director and at other times just as an actor. During the 1970s, Downey made Pound, with humans playing mutts in a dog pound, a mockumentary that asked Is There Sex After Death?, acted as second unit director on Norman Lear's Cold Turkey, with Dick Van Dyke, and directed Up the Academy (1980), a comedy from the Mad magazine stable, among many others. He had a small part in William Friedkin's To Live and Die in L.A. (1985) with William Petersen and Willem Dafoe, and was in Johnny Be Good (1988) starring his own son Robert Downey Jr. Downey Sr was also involved in television series such as Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, Matlock, Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin, the sitcom 1st & Ten with O.J. Simpson, and Saturday Night Live. His last work included acting in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights and Magnolia, and the comedy Tower Heist (2011) with Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy. As a director, his last film was the 2005 documentary Rittenhouse Square, about Philadelphia’s famous park. Robert Downey Sr, who has died from Parkinson’s disease aged 85, was married three times: to the actress Elsie Ann Ford, the actress-writer Laura Ernst and the writer Rosemary Rogers. With his first wife he fathered a daughter, the actress-writer Allyson Downey, and a son, Robert Jr.

 

JAMES DRURY (18 April 1924-6 April 2020)
The American actor James Drury, who has died aged 85, will be chiefly remembered for playing the eponymous role of The Virginian on television. The initial series began in 1958 under the title Decision. Then in 1962 NBC toughened up the character and called the series James DruryThe Virginian and Drury starred in nearly 250 episodes until 1971. Apart from the weekly episodes there were also occasional TV feature films, the last one in 2000. Although born in New York, Drury spent much time on the family ranch in Oregon, riding and learning to be a woodsman with his grandfather, the inspiration for his characterisation of The Virginian role. He began acting in school, did some touring and studied drama at New York University where his father was a professor. Drury graduated from UCLA in farming but was offered a screen contract with MGM and made his film debut in Blackboard Jungle in 1955. This was followed by Love Me or Leave Me with Doris Day, The Tender Trap with Frank Sinatra, Diane with Lana Turner, Forbidden Planet with Walter Pidgeon, The Last Wagon with Richard Widmark, Love Me Tender with Elvis Presley, and Bernadine with Pat Boone. Apart from The Virginian, he also appeared in many other TV series, mainly westerns on account of his deep voice and macho appearance, and a few more films including Good Day for a Hanging with Fred MacMurray, Pollyanna with Hayley Mills, Ten Who Dared with Brian Keith, Sam Peckinpah’s Ride the High Country with his idols Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea, and Maverick with Mel Gibson. His last film was Hell to Pay in 2005, while his TV movie Billy and the Bandit awaits release. James Drury was married to Cristall Orton, Phyllis Mitchell and Carl Ann Head. He is father to four children, including Timothy Drury, formerly keyboardist for the rock band Whitesnake.

 

OLYMPIA DUKAKIS (20 June 1931-1 May 2021)  
The Greek-American actress Olympia Dukakis, who has died aged 89, was also a director, producer, teacher and activist. Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, to Greek immigrant parents, she was a fine sportswoman and fencing champion who attended Boston University to study Physical Therapy and later attained a Master of Fine Arts degree. She began her career in theatre in 1961 in Williamstown but soon arrived in New York where she worked in the theatre in Central Park,
Olympia Dukakisbut at times returned to Massachusetts for stage work. She ran the Whole Theatre Company in New Jersey with her husband Louis Zorich, directing and performing in plays by Beckett, Tennessee Williams, O’Neill, Albee, Chekhov, Brecht, etc, working with José Ferrer, Blythe Danner, Samuel L. Jackson and Colleen Dewhurst. From 1962, Olympia Dukakis made over a hundred film and television appearances. Her first film was a small role in Robert Rossen’s Lilith (1964) with Warren Beatty and Jean Seberg. She played Dustin Hoffman’s mother in Peter Yates’ John and Mary, followed by Jules Dassin’s The Rehearsal with Melina Mercouri, the first of Michael Winner’s Death Wish films, Philip Kaufman’s The Wanderers, and Taylor Hackford’s The Idolmaker. In Norman Jewison’s Moonstruck she played Cher’s mother and both actresses won Oscars along with screenwriter John Patrick Shanley. More good roles came with Working Girl, Look Who’s Talking (and its sequel), Steel Magnolias with Sally Field and Dolly Parton, and Dad, with Jack Lemmon. She was the star of George Miller’s Over the Hill, made in Australia, and appeared in all kinds of films from heavy drama to light comedy: witness Jeffrey, Mighty Aphrodite, Mr Holland’s Opus, The Event, Charlie’s War, Away From Her, etc. She was also very popular as Anna Madrigal in the TV series Tales of the City. Olympia Dukakis and her husband Louis Zorich, who died in 2018, have three children, Christina, Peter and Stefan.

 

ROBERT EVANS (29 June 1930-26 October 2019)
The American actor and director Robert Evans, who has died aged 89, first had some modest success as a player but later became a celebrated Hollywood film producer. While Evans was at Paramount Pictures, the studio had such successes as The Detective, Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, Rosemary’s Baby, The Italian Job, True Grit, Plaza Suite, Love Story, The Godfather I & II, Robert EvansChinatown, Serpico, Save the Tiger, The Great Gatsby and The Conversation, etc. Born Robert J. Shapero to the Harlem dentist Archie Shapera and his wife Florence, Robert Evans started work as a teenager on radio before his first failed attempt to get into movies. However, several years on he was discovered by the actress Norma Shearer looking for someone to play her husband Irving Thalberg in the Lon Chaney biopic Man of a Thousand Faces, starring James Cagney. Then Darryl Zanuck at Fox cast him as a bullfighter in The Son Also Rises. After appearing in The Fiend Who Walked the West with Hugh O’Brian and The Best of Everything with Suzy Parker, jump several years when Evans joined Paramount as a producer of the hit films listed above. More successes from Evans included Marathon Man, Black Sunday and Urban Cowboy. Less profitable were Popeye and The Cotton Club. A sequel to Chinatown, The Two Jakes, took several years to complete, then there was Sliver, Jade, The Phantom, The Saint and a remake of Neil Simon’s The Out-of–Towners with Steve Martin, none of which were particularly good. After 2000, Evans worked on TV projects and also wrote a documentary feature called The Kid Stays in the Picture, based on his own autobiography. His last major film as a producer was How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days in 2003, while his final film as executive producer is The Stranger at the Palazzo d’Oro, from a novel by Paul Theroux, which is yet to be completed. Robert Evans was married seven times, to the actresses Sharon Hugueny, Camilla Sparv, Ali MacGraw (one child, the actor-director Josh Evans), Phyllis George, Catherine Oxenberg (annulled after twelve days) and Leslie Ann Woodward. His last wife was Lady Victoria White. All his marriages ended in divorce.

 

RHONDA FLEMING (10 August 1923-14 October 2020)
Known as ‘The Queen of Technicolor’ on account of her flame-red hair, the American actress Rhonda Fleming, who has died aged 97, was a gifted player in any role she undertook. Born Marilyn Cheverton Louis in Los Angeles, she acted in high school
Rhonda Flemingand at 17 was discovered by a Hollywood agent who renamed her and secured a seven-year contract with producer David O. Selznick. Her first role of any size was in Hitchcock’s Spellbound  (1943) with Gregory Peck, and she was good in Robert Siodmak’s psychological thriller The Spiral Staircase. With Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas she graced Out of the Past (aka Build My Gallows High), Jacques Tourneur’s classic film noir, and then appeared with Bing Crosby in the musical comedy A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and made The Great Lover and Alias Jesse James with Bob Hope. Robert Parrish’s Cry Danger gave her another shot at film noir opposite Dick Powell, as did Inferno with Robert Ryan, Slightly Scarlet with John Payne and While the City Sleeps, Fritz Lang’s dark newspaper drama. Otherwise it was adventure dramas and westerns, the best being Gunfight at the OK Corral, and the occasional crime thriller such as Tropic Zone with Ronald Reagan. She played Jean Simmons’ sister in Home Before Dark (1958), Mervyn LeRoy’s drama about mental illness, and continued working until the mid-1960s, then reappeared in 1980 for her last feature, The Nude Bomb, a Get Smart spin-off. She was on TV from 1951 in guest shots, and did radio and stage work too. Her last film in 1990 was a short, Waiting for the Wind, with Robert Mitchum as a man with a terminal illness. Rhonda Fleming’s husbands were Thomas Wade Lane Jr, Dr Lewis V. Morrill, Lang Jeffries, Hall Bartlett, Ted Mann and Darol Wayne Carlson. With Lane she has a son, Kent, and with Ted Mann she set up the Rhonda Fleming Mann Clinic for Women’s Comprehensive Care at UCLA.

  

PETER FONDA (23 February 1940-16 August 2019)
The American actor, writer and director Peter Fonda, who has died aged 79 from lung cancer, was the son of actor Henry Fonda and the brother of Jane Fonda. His first work as an actor was with the Omaha Playhouse, after which he moved to New York to be an apprentice at the Cecilwood Theatre. Peter FondaHe made his professional stage debut on Broadway and then moved to Hollywood. After some TV work, his first film in 1963 was Tammy and the Doctor with Sandra Dee and then he was in Carl Foreman’s epic war film The Victors with Vince Edwards, Albert Finney, George Hamilton and George Peppard. He then worked with Roger Corman on Wild Angels, about biker gangs, and also Corman’s drug-filled The Trip. Other early films with Fonda include Robert Rossen’s Lilith and Easy Rider which he co-wrote with director and actor Dennis Hopper, and which was an enormous hit worldwide, grossing some 60 million dollars from a $400,000 outlay, and which earned Fonda, Hopper and Terry Southern Academy Award nominations. He was also in Hopper’s The Last Movie which, with guest appearances by many celebrated stars, was a disaster. Fonda directed three films himself, the first of which, The Hired Hand, in which he also starred, was very good. He was in Robert Wise’s Two People with Lindsay Wagner, Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry with Susan George, Peter Collinson’s Open Season, Race With the Devil, Val Guest’s The Diamond Mercenaries with Telly Savalas, Jonathan Demme’s Fighting Mad, his own film Wanda Nevada with  Brooke Shields, The Cannonball Run with Burt Reynolds, plus many other films that were mostly potboilers. He made The Rose Garden for the Dutch director Fons Rademakers, and Deadfall (1993) for Christopher Coppola. He played both Dracula and Dr Van Helsing in Michael Almereyda’s Nadja, worked with John Carpenter on Escape from L.A., and was nominated for an Oscar as best actor for Ulee’s Gold. He was in Steven Soderbergh’s The Limey with Terence Stamp in 1999 and then continued to act in films and on TV during the 2000 decade including the remake of 3:10 to Yuma. His final three films, The Magic Hours, The Last Full Measure and Skate God are yet to be released. Peter Fonda was married three times and is father to two children, the actress Bridget Fonda and the cinematographer Justin Fonda.

    

ROBERT FORSTER (13 July 1941-11 October 2019)
The American actor Robert Forster, who has died aged 78 from brain cancer, had an up-and-down career with highlights, bad times and missed opportunities. Robert ForsterHe had plans to become a lawyer, having studied psychology at university, but he was sidetracked into being an actor, although while looking for theatre work he was also teaching to make some money. He appeared in his local East Rochester theatre in West Side Story and subsequently reached Broadway in 1965 which led to a contract with 20th Century Fox. His first film was John Huston’s Reflections in a Golden Eye, with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando. Television followed before Robert Mulligan’s The Stalking Moon with Gregory Peck, Justine with Anouk Aimee and Dirk Bogarde, and Haskell Wexler’s Medium Cool in which Forster was the star. Pieces of Dreams, Cover Me Babe and Journey Through Rosebud were less interesting projects until he played the title character of the private eye in the TV series of Banyon. He was in Richard Fleischer’s The Don Is Dead with Anthony Quinn and then a run of routine fare: Stunts, Avalanche, Disney’s The Black Hole, Alligator, Heartbreak High, Vigilante, Walking the Edge and The Delta Force with Chuck Norris. Forster produced, directed and starred in Hollywood Harry, his one and only time as a director. More routine films and TV shows followed until Quentin Tarantino cast him in Jackie Brown (1997) in which Forster played a good guy after having played many bad’uns. It was probably his best film. After that he did a TV move of Rear Window and the Gus Van Sant remake of Psycho (as a doctor). The rest of Forster’s career included David Lynch’s TV movie of Mulholland Dr., Me, Myself and Irene with Jim Carrey, a Charlie’s Angels sequel, Firewall with Harrison Ford, Lucky Number Slevin with Josh Hartnett, The Descendants with George Clooney, and a whole slew of television including the 2017 sequel to Twin Peaks. Two of Robert Forster’s last films were El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019) and What They Had (2018), in the latter playing the husband of a woman (Blythe Danner) suffering from Alzheimer's - for which he received some of the best reviews of his career. Forster was married twice and is father to three daughters, Elizabeth, Kate and Maeghen from his first marriage. He also has a son, Robert, from a previous relationship.

 

DEREK FOWLDS (2 September 1937-17 January 2020)
The British actor Derek Fowlds, who has died aged 82 from heart failure and sepsis, will be remembered mainly for his television work, although his career embraced theatre and films as well. In the late 1960s, he was the human element in the BBC children’s Basil Brush Show, constantly being upstaged by the eponymous foxy puppet. In the 1980s he was Bernard Woolley, private secretary to politician Jim Hacker (Paul Eddington) often in cahoots with the departmental personal under-secretary Derek FowldsSir Humphrey Appleby (Nigel Hawthorne) in both series of Yes, Minister and later Yes, Prime Minister. From the 1990s onwards Fowlds played policeman Oscar Blaketon in over three hundred episodes of Heartbeat for Yorkshire Television. Born in Balham, south London, the boy Derek was educated in Hertfordshire where he began performing, although he also had aspirations of becoming a footballer. A job with a printing firm led to amateur dramatics and an eventual place at Rada. At first he worked in rep and later in London at the Royal Court and Hampstead until his West End debut in 1971. He had started in television in 1960 and his first film part was an uncredited role in Tony Richardson’s The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962). Small parts followed in We Joined the Navy, with Kenneth More, Philp Leacock’s Tamahine, Doctor in Distress and Hot Enough for June, both with Dirk Bogarde, East of Sudan with Anthony Quayle, Hotel Paradiso with Alec Guinness, Frankenstein Created Woman with Peter Cushing, and The Smashing Bird I Used to Know with Dennis Waterman. However, most of the time Fowlds was involved in TV series including Z Cars, The Liver Birds and sixty-four episodes with Basil Brush. He played various characters in After That, This, written by Eleanor Bron, John Bird and John Fortune. After that it was mostly television culminating in Yes, Minister, followed by Affairs of the Heart written by the actor Paul Daneman, a futuristic thriller series Rules of Engagement, Chancer with Clive Owen, Firm Friends with Billie Whitelaw and, ultimately, Heartbeat, in which he demonstrated his versatility as both a dramatic and a comic actor. His last film appearance was a cameo in Ray Cooney’s Run For Your Wife (2012) and his final TV parts were in Casualty (2013) and Doctors (2017). Derek Fowlds was first married to Wendy Tory and then to actress and presenter Lesley Judd. Both marriages ended in divorce. He has two sons from his first marriage, the cameraman Jamie and actor Jeremy.

 

JOHN FRASER (18 March 1931-7 November 2020)
The Scots actor and writer John Fraser, who has died from oesophageal cancer aged 89, was brought up in Glasgow. John FraserAs a boy he was on BBC Radio’s Children’s Hour, and later became an ASM at Glasgow’s Park Theatre. His on-stage debut was in Oscar Wilde’s Salome as a page, and his TV debut was as David Balfour in the Kidnapped series in 1951. After more television and bit parts in films came a major role in Valley of Song (1953). His claim to fame was playing pilot ‘Hoppy’ Hopgood in The Dam Busters, about Barnes Wallis’s Bouncing Bomb. He was Inigo Jollifant in The Good Companions, played another pilot in The Wind Cannot Read, and in 1960 gave his two best performances in Tunes of Glory with Alec Guinness and The Trials of Oscar Wilde with Peter Finch who played Oscar to Fraser’s Lord Alfred Douglas. Both actors were brilliant and Fraser was particularly good as ‘Bosie’ in a mixture of petulance and camp and it earned him a Bafta nomination. He was in El Cid with Charlton Heston, Waltz of the Toreadors with Peter Sellers, Tamahine with Nancy Kwan, and a third pilot in Operation Crossbow. In Polanski’s Repulsion he watched Catherine Deneuve go mad, in A Study in Terror was a foil for John Neville’s Sherlock Holmes, and in Isadora played opposite Vanessa Redgrave’s dancing Miss Duncan. After that it was mostly television until Schizo (1976), his last feature film. Then it was TV, including Doctor Who, Rep, Young Sherlock and The Practice. As a gay actor he never wanted to work in America so, after 1996, he moved to Tuscany with his partner, the painter Rodney Pienaar. Fraser was also a writer of a memoir, Close Up, a play, Cannibal Crackers, and novels, including Clap Hands If You Believe in Fairies, about the thalidomide drug scandal.

 

ALLEN GARFIELD (22 November 1939-7 April 2020)
The American actor Allen Garfield, who has died at the age of 80 from complications with the coronavirus, was a brilliant character actor. He was the sort of performer that Hollywood has always needed, players who can create a presence on film, not necessarily a star performance, but one that can inhabit a supporting role that rings true  without descending into stereotype or caricature. Allen Garfield was one such actor. He generally played heavies, often villainous or shifty characters, corrupt salesmen and politicians. Born in Newark, New Jersey, to Jewish parents, Alice and Philip Goorwitz, Allen became a sports reporter and a boxer before studying acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse. Allen GarfieldHe later enrolled at the Actors’ Studio in New York under the tutelage of Lee Strasberg and Elia Kazan.
Allen Garfield had an extensive stage career before his film appearances took off in 1968, with a movie of five short stories called Orgy Girls ’69, then Greetings, Brian De Palma’s second feature, and also his Hi, Mom!, both with Robert De Niro. He was in Robert Downey Sr’s Putney Swope, followed by Herbert Ross’s The Owl and the Pussycat with Barbra Streisand and George Segal. From then on he was a fixture in many prestigious Hollywood films including Milos Forman’s Taking Off, Woody Allen’s Bananas, John G. Avildsen’s Super Dick (aka Cry Uncle), Don Medford’s The Organization with Sidney Poitier, De Palma’s Get to Know Your Rabbit with Tom Smothers, Michael Ritchie’s The Candidate with Robert Redford, and Howard Zieff’s  brilliant chase movie Slither, with James Caan and Sally (“Are you packing heat?”) Kellerman.
These were made in the 1970s when Garfield was also appearing on TV (Bonanza, McCloud, Ironside, Rhoda,  Gunsmoke, etc). More good films followed with Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation with Gene Hackman, Billy Wilder’s remake of The Front Page, Robert Altman’s Nashville, Sidney J. Furie’s Gable and Lombard, Peter Yates’ Mother, Jugs and Speed, William Friedkin’s The Brink’s Job, Richard Rush’s The Stuntman, Coppola’s One From the Heart, Wim Wenders’ The State of Things and Michael Apted’s Continental Divide. For a while from the late ’70s Garfield reverted to his birth name of Goorwitz. Then in the ‘80s he went back to being Garfield for Irreconcilable Differences with Ryan O’Neal, Teachers with Nick Nolte, Coppola’s The Cotton Club, Beverly Hills Cop II, Quentin Tarantino’s My Best Friend’s Birthday, Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy, Wenders’ Until the End of the World, Donald Cammell’s Wild Side and Roman Polanski’s The Ninth Gate in 1999 before which he had suffered a stroke. He carried on doing television as well as films until his last features, namely Frank Darabont’s The Majestic with Jim Carrey and John Marino’s White Boy in 2002. He had another stroke in 2004 and retired to live in the Motion Picture Home in Los Angeles.

 

TONY GARNETT (3 April 1936-12 January 2020)
The British former actor and producer Tony Garnett, who has died at the age of 83 following a short illness, was one of the most creative and successful film and TV producers who always sought for the truth about love, relationships and social politics. He is best-known for the BBC’s Wednesday Play series, when he worked with director Ken Loach, starting with Cathy Come Home in 1966 and then In Two Minds, the David Mercer screenplay the following year. After that there were The Golden Vision Tony Garnettand The Big Flame. All these television films broached social problems such as housing shortage, manic depression, football mania and redundancy. Garnett produced ten of the Wednesday Plays and five in the Play for Today series, working with writers such as Les Blair, Charles Wood, Jim Allen, Peter Nichols and Nemone Lethbridge, and directors including Roy Battersby, Roland Joffẻ and Jack Gold. He had been a script editor for Ken Loach on Up the Junction and for Gareth Davies on the two Dennis Potter Nigel Barton plays. Before his TV career started, he had studied psychology at University College, London, and then became an actor, working in rep, before breaking into TV in 1958. He was in An Age of Kings. Emergency – Ward 10, Z Cars, Compact, Dixon of Dock Green, The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre and other series until 1965. He played one of The Boys on trial in Sidney J. Furie’s courtroom drama. Turning producer he co-adapted with Loach and Barry Hines, the latter’s novel Kes, which became a huge hit, winning two Baftas and a nomination for Garnett. After that came the documentary The Body, Loach’s Family Life, Days of Hope, The Price of Coal and Black Jack. He directed his own films Prostitute and Handgun and produced Follow That Bird, a Sesame Street spin-off, Julien Temple’s Earth Girls Are Easy, with Geena Davis, Fat Man and Little Boy (aka Shadow Makers) with Paul Newman, The Turnaround with Clive Owen and Beautiful Thing, based on Jonathan Harvey’s gay play. He set up his own company, World Productions, and had great success with many TV series such as Cardiac Arrest, Between the Lines, Ballykissangel, This Life, The Cops and Rough Diamond, his last work in 2007. Tony Garnett married Topsy Jane Legge in 1963 but they later divorced. They have a son Will. His second marriage to Alex Ouroussoff, who has a son Michael, also ended in divorce. He is survived by his partner Victoria Childs.

  

STUART GORDON (11 August 1947-24 March 2020)
The Hollywood writer-director Stuart Gordon, who has died from multiple organ failure at the age of 72, was always a controversial figure in the film world and in the theatre too, where he began his career. After graduating he worked as an apprentice commercial artist before attending the University of Wisconsin, enrolling in a theatre class. Aged 21, he directed a psychedelic, Stuart Gordonsatirical production of Peter Pan. Arrested on obscenity charges, he left university to form The Organic theatre group in Chicago. The company toured and played both on and off- Broadway, premiering David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago. Gordon made his first film in 1985, Re-Animator, based on a horror story by H.P. Lovecraft. The film was more horror-comic than horror-drama, about a mad scientist (Jeffrey Combs) inventing an elixir that brought the dead back to life. Its over-the-top gore created censorship problems in both the US and the UK, and cuts had to be made. Still, it won a Critics’ prize at Cannes. Lovecraft was plundered again for From Beyond, again with actor Combs, followed by Dolls, about haunted toys, and Robot Jox, a sci-fi subject about post World War III superpowers. Surprisingly, he then wrote the story for Disney’s Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and directed a spooked-up remake of The Pit and the Pendulum with Lance Henriksen. Among his other films were Fortress, a sci-fi crime thriller with Christopher Lambert, Space Truckers, about killer robots in space, Dagon, from Lovecraft again, The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, a Ray Bradbury story about a two-piece with magical properties, King of the Ants, on vengeful insects, and David Mamet’s Edmond with William H. Macy. Gordon’s last feature was Stuck in 2007 for which he also wrote the story. He went back to the theatre and in 2011 directed a musical version of Re-Animator which played Los Angeles, New York and Edinburgh. Gordon also worked in television on E/R with Elliott Gould, the TV series of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Masters of Horror, and contributed other stories and screenplays to films and TV. His success may have been through his habit of throwing sex and nudity into his movies. He reckoned that “horror and sex go hand in hand... the two are life and death.” Stuart Gordon was married to the actress Carolyn Purdy-Gordon who often appeared in – and disappeared from – his films. They have three daughters, Jillian, Margaret and Suzanna.

 

JULIETTE GRḖCO (7 February 1927-23 September 2020)
The French singer and actress Juliette Gréco, who has died aged 93, was born to a Corsican father and a French mother, but her grandparents looked after her and her sister Charlotte until their mother returned during World War II. They were all arrested by the Juliette GrecoNazis and jailed, but still survived. Before the war, Juliette was briefly a ballerina, but afterwards the two sisters met the writers Camus, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Boris Vian. So, Gréco performed songs by Sartre, Jacques Prḗvert and Joseph Kosma, quickly becoming the muse of Existentialism. When the trumpeter Miles Davis came to Paris they had an affair and Gréco wanted to marry him, but he wouldn’t agree. Gréco had made a few French films in the 1950s, including Cocteau’s Orphḗe, Melville’s When You Read This Letter, Saluti e Baci with Louis Armstrong, Boum sur Paris with Edith Piaf, and Renoir’s Elena et les hommes with Ingrid Bergman. However, it was producer Darryl F. Zanuck who found her for the US cinema and with whom she had a long relationship. He cast her in The Sun Also Rises with Tyrone Power, The Naked Earth with Richard Todd, The Roots of Heaven with Errol Flynn, Crack in the Mirror with Orson Welles and The Big Gamble with Stephen Boyd. She made more films in France but still carried on touring with her singing. She was in a French TV show, Belphegor, and her later film work included The Night of the Generals with Peter O’Toole, Jacques Brel’s Far West and Jedermanns Fest with Klaus Maria Brandauer, her last film (in 2002). Gréco divorced her first husband, the actor Philippe Lemaire, who died in 1977. She also divorced her second husband, the actor Michel Piccoli, who died in May 2020. Her third husband was the pianist Gḗrard Jouannest who died in 2018. Juliette Gréco had a daughter, the actress and writer Laurence-Lemaire, who died, in 2016, after several years of fighting cancer, aged 62. Among her French government awards Gréco was Commander of the Lḗgion d’Honneur.

  

ALBERTO GRIMALDI (28 March 1925-23 January 2021)
The Italian film producer Alberto Grimaldi was born in Naples to father Pasquale, a lawyer. Alberto followed his father’s profession in law and opened his own firm. Some of his legal clients were in the film business and he learned a lot, so in 1962 he set up his own production company, Produzioni Europee Associati (P.E.A.). His first film was The Shadow of Zorro, a Western adventure set in California. This gave him an interest in action films and his next two titles were Texas Ranger and Legacy of the Incas, an historical tale of bandits, bullets and bounty hunters, Alberto Grimaldistarring Guy Madison and Rik Battaglia. He produced Sergio Leone’s For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, both with Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. Stewart Granger starred in Sergio Solima’s spy story Requiem for a Secret Agent, while Lee Van Cleef headed The Big Gundown. Following more actioners, Grimaldi was involved in a segment of Spirits of the Dead (1968), a portmanteau film of Edgar Allen Poe stories directed by Fellini, Louis Malle and Roger Vadim. This introduced him to the international art movie scene as he produced Elio Petri’s A Quiet Place in the Country, with Franco Nero and Vanessa Redgrave, Claude Lelouch’s Life Love Death with Amidou, Fellini Satyricon, Casanova and Ginger and Fred, Gillo Pontecorvo’s Burn! with Marlon Brando, Pasolini’s The Decameron, The Canterbury Tales, Arabian Nights and Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom. He produced Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris and Novocento (1900), Arthur Hiller’s Man of La Mancha with Peter O’Toole, Billy Wilder’s Avanti! with Jack Lemmon, and Francesco Rosi’s Illustrious Corpses, etc. He had ongoing court cases with Last Tango in Paris, The Canterbury Tales and Salò, on account of their offending public decency. His last feature film as a producer was Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York in 2003, for which it was Oscar- and Bafta-nominated. Alberto Grimaldi, who has died of natural causes at the age of 95, is the father of three children, Massimo, Maurizio and Marcello from his first wife Maria Rosario Buongiorno, who died in 1983. Later he also married Melanie Vaughan-Hughes.

 

CHARLES GRODIN (1 April 1935-18 May 2021)
The American actor-writer-producer-director was born Charles Grodinsky to a Russian and Polish family in Pittsburgh. After dropping out of university, he studied at the Actors’ Studio in New York. In his first film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) he played a drummer boy. After a few television appearances from 1958 he had a part in Sex and the College Girl (aka The Fun Lovers, 1964), a mild comedy set in a Puerto Rican hotel. Better films included Charles GrodinRoman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, Mike Nichols’ Catch-22, Elaine May’s The Heartbreak Kid, Aram Avakian’s 11 Harrowhouse and John Guillermin’s King Kong (1976). Heaven Can Wait was Warren Beatty and Buck Henry’s adaptation of the play about a man who goes to heaven too early. In Albert Brooks’ Real Life, Grodin played the head of a family taking part in a TV reality show. Sunburn was a comedy mystery about a private eye investigating  a businessman’s death in Acapulco, with Farrah Fawcett-Majors and Joan Collins. Grodin was a district attorney in Neil Simon’s screenplay of Seems Like Old Times with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase. From the 1980s Grodin appeared in a range of films, mostly comedies, such as The Great Muppet Caper, The Woman in Red directed by and starring Gene Wilder, The Couch Trip with Dan Aykroyd and Midnight Run, a very popular comedy-drama with Robert De Niro. Another hit was Beethoven, about a big dog and, so successful was it that Beethoven’s 2nd was born. Then the good films dried up. However, Grodin was popular on television in The Young Marrieds, The Paul Simon Special which he co-wrote, Fresno, Louie, Madoff and many other one-off appearances. Charles Grodin, who has died at the age of 86 from bone marrow cancer, made his last film, James Toback’s An Imperfect Murder with Sienna Miller in 2017. He was married to Julia Ferguson and then to Elissa Durward and has one child with each wife, a son, Nicholas, and a daughter, Marion.

 

VALERIE HARPER (22 August 1939-30 August 2019)
The American actress Valerie Harper, who has died aged 80 from brain cancer, began her career as a dancer at Radio City Hall, progressing to acting and comedy on stage and television. She will, however, be best remembered as the titular star of her TV comedy show Rhoda, a spin-off from Valerie HarperThe Mary Tyler Moore Show, in which she played a Jewish girl with romantic problems. Her mother was the always brilliant Nancy Walker who, as Ida Morgenstern, was possibly the most annoying Jewish mother ever. Together Harper and Walker were a great team, batting comic lines off each other during the show’s run from 1974 to 1978. Prior to that, Valerie Harper had been on TV in The Doctors, Columbo and Story Theatre, etc. She had already been in films from 1956 (Rock, Rock, Rock! and Li’l Abner) but her first part of note was as Bean’s wife in Freebie and the Bean (1974), starring Alan Arkin. After Rhoda she was in Neil Simon’s Chapter Two, The Last Married Couple in America with George Segal, and Stanley Donen’s Blame It On Rio with Michael Caine. In 2007 she played Golda Meir in Golda’s Balcony after which came the rather more forgettable Certainty, Shiver and The Town That Came A-Courtin’. Otherwise it was more television including The Love Boat, City, Perry Mason, Missing Persons, Melrose Place, Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives and Valerie, a short-lived series in which she played a working mother looking after her kids while hubby was away. There was also a TV movie, Mary and Rhoda, with Tyler Moore and Harper in 2000. Her last work was voice-overs for The Simpsons and American Dad! She won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her performance in Rhoda. Valerie Harper, an avid supporter of equal rights charities, was first married to the actor Richard Schaal and then, from 1987, to the actor-producer Tony Cacciotti. She became the mother of Cristina Cacciotti, the daughter she adopted with her second husband.

 

RONALD HARWOOD (9 November 1934-8 September 2020)
In recalling his most successful play and film, The Dresser, it is easy to forget that Ronald Harwood, who has died from natural causes aged 85, was a prolific writer. Born Ronald Horwitz in Cape Town, South Africa, to Lithuanian Jewish parents, he trained as an actor but, after Rada, found little success. However, working as Donald Wolfit’s dresser-assistant Ronald Harwoodeventually led him to write. His first screenplay was A High Wind in Jamaica (1965), from Richard Hughes’s novel. He also wrote for the theatre, television and more films. He co-wrote Ken Hughes’ Drop Dead Darling with Tony Curtis, adapted John Harris’s novel Eyewitness with Mark Lester, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich for Tom Courtenay, and Alan Burgess’s Operation Daybreak for director Lewis Gilbert. He re-wrote Dylan Thomas’s The Doctor and the Devils, A Touch of Adultery for Julie Andrews and Marcello Mastroianni (aka A Fine Romance), Terence Rattigan’s The Browning Version for Albert Finney, a remake of Cry, the Beloved Country with Richard Harris, and his own play Taking Sides for director István Szabṓ. In 2002 Harwood’s screenplay for The Pianist won him an Academy Award. Other films included The Statement with Michael Caine, Being Julia with Annette Bening, Oliver Twist for Roman Polanski, Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Love in the Time of Cholera with Javier Bardem, Australia with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, and his own play Quartet for director Dustin Hoffman. In 1980 he wrote The Dresser for the Royal Exchange in Manchester for Freddie Jones and Tom Courtenay. It was an immense hit, transferred to London and was filmed with Finney and Courtenay. Harwood’s last work was Richard Eyre’s TV production of it with Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen. Ronald Harwood married Natasha Riehle, who died in 2013. They had a son, Antony, and two daughters, Deborah and Alexandra. He was awarded the CBE in 1999 and was knighted in 2010.

 

RUTGER HAUER (23 January 1944-19 July 2019)
The Dutch actor Rutger Hauer, who has died aged 75, was born to the actors Teunke and Arend Hauer who ran their own acting school in Utrecht. Being often separated from his parents while they were on tour, Rutger became something of a rebel and ran away to sea (literally) to work on a freighter. Returning home, he studied at night school while working in the building industry. He then took drama classes, wrote poetry and joined the Navy. For five years he worked in a pantomime company before pursuing a serious acting career. His first work for Dutch TV was in Harry Kṻmel’s Monsieur Hawarden, but his scenes were deleted. Then he played the title role in Floris, a television series directed by Paul Verhoeven and then Verhoeven cast him in his feature film, the very successful Turkish Delight.
More TV and Dutch film work followed until Hauer appeared in Adrian Hoven’s Hard to Remember, Rutger HauerRalph Nelson’s The Wilby Conspiracy with Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine, Verhoeven’s Katie Tippel and Herbert Curiel’s The Year of the Cancer. He played Floris again in a TV sequel and was in Fons Rademakers’ epic film Max Havelaar. Hauer was back with Verhoeven again for Soldier of Orange amongst several other films. Hauer made an impression in Nighthawks with Sylvester Stallone and also in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner as the blond, renegade replicant Roy Batty, for which role he wrote much of his own dialogue. Blade Runner did it for Hauer and he became a truly international star player in Nicolas Roeg’s Eureka, Sam Peckinpah’s The Osterman Weekend, Philippe Mora’s A Breed Apart and Precious Find, as well as Richard Donner’s Ladyhawke. Flesh + Blood was the last time Hauer and Verhoeven worked together on what was a difficult project.
But there was still much to come from Hauer including The Hitcher, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Ermanno Olmi’s Golden Lion-winning The Legend of the Holy Drinker, Phillip Noyce’s Blind Fury, Lina Wertmṻller’s Up to Date, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Nostradamus (as the Mystic Monk), Partners in Crime, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Sin City, Batman Begins, Dario Argento’s Dracula 3D, and Jacques Audiard’s The Sisters Brothers, the last named arguably the best film Hauer made among many years of hack feature work and TV series (the results of which rarely reached the UK). There are still four films with Hauer awaiting release along with a television mini-series of A Christmas Carol in which Hauer plays the Ghost of Christmas Future - opposite Guy Pearce as Scrooge.
Often playing sinister or psychopathic villains, Hauer was the winner of many awards around the world, among which he received a Golden Globe for his performance in Jack Gold’s TV movie of Escape from Sobibor. Rutger Hauer was married first to Heidi Merz, with whom he had a daughter, the actress Aysha Hauer, and then from 1985 he married Ineke ten Kate who he had been with since 1968. He was an avid environmentalist and founded an Aids Awareness group which received the proceeds from the publication of his autobiography. During his career he gave master classes for students of film-making, and for many years he was the face in the commercials for Guinness, Ireland’s favourite stout.

 

DAVID HEDISON (20 May 1927-18 July 2019)
The American actor David Hedison, who has died aged 92, was born Ara David Heditsian of Armenian descent to Albert David Heditsian, a jeweller, and his wife Rose Bogosian, in Providence, Rhode Island. His parents wished him to join the family business, but Hollywood beckoned and, after serving in the US Navy, young Al (as he was called) joined a local acting school in Manhattan after enrolling at Brown University. David HedisonHe then went on to study at the HB Studio in Greenwich Village and at the Actors’ Studio. He received an award for his part in A Month in the Country off-Broadway which led him to receive offers in films, although not before he had worked as a radio announcer. His first major film role, after some television work and a part in The Enemy Below with Robert Mitchum, was playing scientist Andrḗ Delambre in The Fly (1958). That was followed by Son of Robin Hood (actually shot on Wimbledon Common), The Lost World, Raoul Walsh’s Marines, Let’s Go with Tom Tryon and George Stevens’ The Greatest Story Ever Told.
By then he was known as David Hedison and as such landed a major TV role - Captain Crane - in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (over a hundred episodes, 1964-68) and that is mainly what he is still remembered for. He did more television and then played James Bond’s friend Felix Leiter in Live and Let Die (1973) with Roger Moore. Television took up the rest of the 1970s until Andrew V. McLaglen’s North Sea Hijack and Bryan Forbes’s The Naked Face, both with Roger Moore again. He played Felix Leiter once more with new Bond Timothy Dalton in Licence to Kill, but otherwise he was mainly in demand for many of the popular TV series: Cannon, Benson, Charlie’s Angels, Hart to Hart, Dynasty and The Colbys, Fantasy Island, The Fall Guy, The Love Boat and Murder, She Wrote. His career ended on a low note in Eric Stoltz’s 2017 film Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk. David Hedison was married to the producer Bridget Hedison who died in 2016. They have two daughters, Alexandra and Serena.

 

MONTE HELLMAN (12 July 1929-20 April 2021)
The career of the film director Monte Hellman was erratic for, between 1959 and 2013, he directed, or partially directed, just 21 films. An independent spirit, he rarely found scripts that he liked and equally rarely got the crews he wanted. Still, early dismissal of his maverick talents later turned into willing acceptance. Born in New York, he grew up in Monte HellmanLos Angeles and studied drama and film. While in the theatre he met the producer Roger Corman who helped him stage the LA premiere of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. He then joined Corman’s brother Gene and his exploitation film company to make Beast from Haunted Cave and he worked uncredited on Roger Corman’s The Terror with Boris Karloff and a young Jack Nicholson (who was also in Hellman’s Flight to Fury, Back Door to Hell, The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind). He co-directed Cordillera with a script by Nicholson but, whereas Nicholson went on to mainstream Hollywood, Hellman stayed on the sidelines making films quickly and on tiny budgets. But Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) will be remembered as the high point of his career. It had the musicians James Taylor and Brian Wilson as two car freaks looking for a suitable race. Given its subject matter, Cockfighter was Hellman’s most controversial film. Shatter starred Stuart Whitman as a hitman in Hong Kong, but Hellman was uncredited. China 9, Liberty 37 had Warren Oates as another hitman out to save his own skin. Hellman made a few more films and helped out other directors (on The Wild Angels, Head, The Big Red One, RoboCop, etc). His last films were Road to Nowhere, a true crime story in 2010, and one section of Venice 70: Future Reloaded in 2013. Hellman, who has died aged 91 following a fall, was also an editor and producer (Reservoir Dogs), writer and actor. He married the actresses Barboura Morris and Jacqueline Ebjier, and the writer-producer Emma Webster. He has two children, Jared and Melissa

 

BUCK HENRY (9 December 1930-8 January 2020)
The American actor and screenwriter Buck Henry, who has died from a heart attack at the age of 89, began writing for the Dartmouth College magazine alongside children’s author Dr Seuss, novelist Budd Schulberg and the playwright Frank D. Gilroy.
Buck HenryAn interest in acting at Harvard Military Academy led to work on Broadway. Later on he joined The Premise, an off-Broadway improv group, and he continued to write mainly comic material. In television he worked on Saturday Night Live, for the Steve Allen and Garry Moore shows, and Get Smart (with Mel Brooks). His entry into the cinema was the story for Theodore J. Flicker’s The Troublemaker (1964) in which Henry also acted. His first screenplay was The Graduate (1967, with an Oscar nomination), then came Candy, Catch-22, The Owl and the Pussycat and What’s Up Doc? (the last two with Barbra Streisand), The Day of the Dolphin with George C. Scott, First Family with Bob Newhart, which he also directed, Protocol with Goldie Hawn, To Die For with Nicole Kidman, Town and Country with Warren Beatty, The Humbling (aka The Last Act) with Al Pacino and Greta Gerwig, and a film of Get Smart with Steve Carell, to which there is a sequel on the way. Buck Henry often acted in his own screenplays, including The Graduate, Candy, Catch-22, The Owl and the Pussycat and The Day of the Dolphin. Other films he appeared in include Milos Forman’s Taking Off, John Cassavetes’ Gloria, Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, Heaven Can Wait (which he also co-directed with Warren Beatty), Paul Bartel’s Eating Raoul, The Player (as himself) and Short Cuts, both by Robert Altman, Gus Van Sant’s Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Grumpy Old Men with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, and many more films and TV shows. He produced Captain Nice and Quark for television. Buck Henry was married to Irene Ramp and Sally Zuckerman. He has a single daughter.

 

NICKY HENSON (12 May 1945-15 December 2019)
Although British actor Nicky Henson, who has died aged 74 following a long fight with cancer since 2003, was never a big star in the conventional sense, he was, however, a prominent leading man in the theatre, on film and on television. He was the son of the comedian and director Leslie Henson and his third wife Harriet ‘Billie’ Dell. Henson Sr was previously married to the actresses Madge Saunders and Gladys Henson, so perhaps it was inevitable that Nicky should study stage management at Rada. His theatre debut was in revue in 1963 and he was chosen by Frank Dunlop when he formed The Young Vic company in 1970 where he appeared in all kinds of plays, from Moliere to Osborne, from Shakespeare to Beckett and from Genet to Stoppard. He played at many other theatres and in his time was a member of both the National and Royal Shakespeare companies. He was Mordred in the Drury Lane production of Camelot, appeared in summer shows at the London Palladium and was in the musical version of The Canterbury Tales. Early on Henson had been part of the Wombats pop group, so in essence he was the perfect theatrical all-rounder. From 1961 he was in TV and may well be best remembered for his part in an episode of Fawlty Towers as a visiting lothario who falls foul of Basil, but worse things could have happened. His first film was Father Came Too! with Leslie Phillips and he went on to make Doctor in Clover, Michael Winner’s The Jokers, Clive Donner’s Here We Go Round the Mulberry  Bush, 30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia with Dudley Moore and the cult horror film Witchfinder General with Vincent Price. Other of his films included Crooks and Coronets, Mosquito Squadron, There’s a Girl In My Soup, Jack Cardiff’s Penny Gold and The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones – in the title role. His later films included Flyfishing, Vera Drake, Syriana, Blitz, We Still Kill the Old Way, We Still Steal the Old Way and Tango One, his last film in 2018. Before that he had appeared in both EastEnders and Downton Abbey. Nicky Henson was first married to the actress Una Stubbs with whom he had two sons, Christian and Joe. Following a relationship with Susan Hampshire, he married the ballet dancer Marguerite Porter with whom he had one son, Keaton.

  

JERRY HERMAN (10 July 1931-26 December 2019)
The American theatre composer and lyricist Jerry Herman, who has died aged 88, was a student of design and architecture at first but later graduated to the theatre. Jerry HermanEarly experience saw him directing shows at youth summer camps. After University he moved to New York and put on I Feel Wonderful, a revue he wrote as a student. More revues followed and eventually he was commissioned to write a show about the founding of Israel, Milk and Honey, which ran for over 500 performances. After his next show, Madame Aphrodite, flopped, producer David Merrick offered him Hello, Dolly!, Herman’s first and biggest hit that won ten Tony awards in 1964 with Carol Channing. Mame, with Angela Lansbury, was another hit, but Dear World flopped as did Mack and Mabel, Herman’s personal favourite show. The Grand Tour also bombed but La Cage aux Folles was an enormous hit. After that he wrote little else and returned to the world of design, although there were three compilations of his work, namely Jerry’s Girls, An Evening With Jerry Herman and Showtune. His two biggest hits were filmed but Hello, Dolly!, with Barbra Streisand, cost too much to recoup its investment. Mame on Broadway (with Angela Lansbury) won the show a Tony award, but as a film was a real fiasco (with Lucille Ball). He later wrote a television show, Mrs Santa Claus, for Lansbury. Unmarried, Jerry Herman’s life partners were Martin Finkelstein, who died in 1990, and Terry Marler, with him at the time of his death.

 

HAL HOLBROOK (17 February 1925-23 January 2021)
Although he made his first film, The Group, in 1976, it took a decade for the American actor Hal Holbrook to play his most famous role of Deep Throat, the US government spy, in All the President’s Men, about the Watergate scandal. He had already made Wild in the Streets with Christopher Jones, The People Next Door with Eli Wallach, The Great White Hope with James Earl Jones, They Only Kill Their Masters with James Garner, and Magnum Force with Clint Hal HolbrookEastwood, etc. Holbrook, who has died from endometrial cancer at the age of 95, was the reliable film actor when casting for professional men which he played in a long career lasting seventy years. He had a parallel career on television including playing Abraham Lincoln on TV in 1966 and 1974. He also played George Washington and did TV adaptations of The Glass Menagerie and Our Town, and the North and South series - as Abe Lincoln. With his wife Dixie Carter he was in Designing Women. Theatre work included plays by Arthur Miller, Robert Anderson and Thornton Wilder and in 1968 he took over in Broadway’s Man of La Mancha musical. His one-man show Mark Twain Tonight! began in 1954 and he played it on and off for some sixty years. On film he will also be remembered for Battle of Midway (as Commander Joseph Rochefort), Julia with Vanessa Redgrave in the title role, Capricorn One with Elliott Gould, John Carpenter’s The Fog, Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, Sydney Pollack’s The Firm, Sean Penn’s Into the Wild (for which he was Oscar nominated), Spielberg’s Lincoln (as the journalist and advisor Francis Preston Blair) and more. Among his awards were several Emmys and a Tony for Mark Twain Tonight! Hal Holbrook married three times, first to Ruby Elaine Johnston, then to Carol Eve Rossen, both of whom he divorced, and finally to the actress and singer Dixie Carter from 1984. He had three children with his first wife.

 

IAN HOLM (12 September 1931-19 June 2020)
The British actor Ian Holm, who has died from Parkinson’s disease at the age of 88, was successful in every realm of the acting profession. Over the space of sixty-five years he carved out a career that saw him winning Olivier, Bafta and Tony Awards and gaining Academy and Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Born Ian Holm Cuthbert in Essex to Scots parents, Ian Holm was interested in the theatre from the age of seven, eventually training at Rada before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Ian HolmHe also worked in many London theatres including the National. Ian Holm’s first film was an uncredited role in Girls at Sea (1958). Ten years later he won a Bafta for Jack Gold’s The Bofors Gun. Then came The Fixer with Alan Bates and Peter Hall filmed the RSC’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Holm as Puck. Following these were Oh! What a  Lovely War, A Severed Head and a trio of historical subjects, Nicholas and Alexandra, Mary, Queen of Scots and Young Winston. The film of Pinter’s The Homecoming had Holm repeating his Tony Award-winning performance as Lenny. He was King John in Robin and Marian, opposite Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn and his cv of over sixty films found him in Ridley Scott’s Alien in which he was the resident android, Ash. He was nominated but did not win an Academy Award for Chariots of Fire. However, he did win a Bafta for the best supporting role and a similar award at the Cannes Film Festival. Holm was Napoleon in Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits and was also in Gilliam’s Brazil. Latterly he played Bilbo Baggins in two of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and returned as Old Bilbo in two of Jackson’s Hobbit movies.

Coupled with his stage and film career, Ian Holm was prominent on television, often in films of Shakespeare and Chekhov classics, as well as historical period series such as Napoleon and Love, Jesus of Nazareth and The Lost Boys (as J.M. Barrie). The Borrowers saw him as Pod with his then wife Penelope Wilton. He received umpteen awards for his work on stage and in films plus national honours such as the CBE in 1989 and he was knighted in 1998 for his services to drama. Ian Holm was married four times, firstly to Lynn Mary Stuart in 1955, then Sophie Baker in 1982, Penelope Wilton in 1991 and at the time of his death to the artist Sophie de Stempel. He has two daughters, Jessica and Sarah-Jane, from his first marriage, a son, Harry, from his second, and a daughter, Melissa, and a son, Barnaby, from his relationship with the photographer Bee Gilbert.

     

GLYN HOUSTON (23 October 1925-30 June 2019)
The Welsh-born actor Glyn Houston, who has died aged 93, was the brother of fellow actor Donald Houston, who became a popular film star, whereas Glyn generally played minor roles often of men in authority. He began his working life as a milkman then during World War II worked for Glyn Houstonthe Bristol Aeroplane Company, was a gunner in the Fleet Air Arm, a docker and a military policeman. Later his brother helped him get a job with the Guildford Repertory Theatre. In 1950 Basil Dearden wrote a part for him as a barrow boy in The Blue Lamp, after which he appeared in many films, although often uncredited. He was in Trio, Wide Boy, Girdle of Gold, The Great Game, The Cruel Sea with Jack Hawkins and Turn the Key Softly with Joan Collins. Among the major films of the 1950s he appeared in were Mark Robson’s Hell Below Zero, Joseph Losey’s The Sleeping Tiger, Lewis Gilbert’s The Sea Shall Not Have Them, Guy Green’s Lost and the Boulting Brothers’ Private’s Progress. On television he did Colonel March of Scotland Yard, The Grove Family, Theatre Royal, How Green Was My Valley, and many other series that kept him busy throughout his career. Other films he made include The Long Arm, High Flight, The One That Got Away, A Night to Remember, A Cry From the Streets, Nowhere to Go, Tiger Bay and Jet Storm. In the 1960s he appeared in some Norman Wisdom films, as well as The Battle of the Sexes, Sink the Bismarck!, Circus of Horrors, Payroll, The Wind of Change, The Green Helmet, Flame in the Streets, Mix Me a Person, One Way Pendulum and The Secret of Blood Island. From the 1970s onwards Houston mainly confined his work to television, apart from the odd movie such as The Sea Wolves, Conspiracy, Old Scores and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, in which he played Grewgious. His last TV appearances in the 1990s were in The Bill and The Sherman Plays. Glyn Houston was married to the actress Shirley Lawrence and they have two children.

   

ZIZI JEANMAIRE (29 April 1924-17 July 2020)
The French ballerina Zizi Jeanmaire, who has died aged 96, and Margot Fonteyn were among the most famous female dancers of the twentieth century. Zizi JeanmarieThey were friends but totally different dancers, Fonteyn being strictly classical while Zizi was not only a celebrated classical ballerina but also a popular actress and singer in Parisian nightlife. Born Renḗe Marcelle Jeanmaire, she adored ballet early on and at nine joined the ballet school of the Paris Opera. She left after seven years along with fellow student Roland Petit who created Ballets des Champ-Elysḗes and who eventually became her husband. Later she joined the Ballets de Monte Carlo, De Basil Ballets and eventually Petit’s own company, Les Ballets de Paris. Their greatest venture together was a ballet to Bizet’s Carmen which played London and New York. Back in Paris, Zizi nursed an injury during which time she learned to sing in Petit’s new ballet La Croqueuse de Diamants, the title song of which earned her a Grand Prix du Disque. And then came films, the first of which was Hans Christian Andersen with Danny Kaye in 1952. Then she played Broadway in the musical The Girl in Pink Tights. Her career continued in dance, theatre, operetta, revue and more films and television specials – Henri Decoin’s Folies-Bergère and his Charmants Garçons, Anything Goes with Bing Crosby, Jean Delannoy’s Guinguette and Terence Young’s Black Tights with Roland Petit who also made a TV version of his Carmen ballet with Zizi and Baryshnikov. Subsequently they moved to Marseilles where she carried on dancing, appearing on TV, doing cabaret and making recordings until Petit left the Ballets de Marseilles when they settled in Geneva. Petit died in 2011 and Zizi is survived by their daughter Valentine.

 

BARBARA JEFFORD (26 July 1930-12 September 2020)
The British actress Barbara Jefford, who has died aged 90, was one of the greatest actors of her time. Born and educated in Devon, she trained at Rada before joining the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre and then the Old Vic, the Oxford Playhouse, the National Theatre and the West End. She excelled in Shakespeare, appearing in more of his plays than any other actor, Barbara Jeffordas well as taking on Pirandello, Turgenev, Racine, Shaw and many more. On TV her debut was as Tess in Tess of the D’Urbervilles in 1952 and her first film role (in 1967) was as Molly in Joseph Strick’s controversial Ulysses, based on James Joyce’s novel. It was cut by the British censor and given an X certificate. Jefford’s other films included The Bofors Gun with Nicol Williamson, The Shoes of the Fisherman with Anthony Quinn, Peter Hall’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lust for a Vampire with Ralph Bates, Hitler: The Last Ten Days with Alec Guinness, and Stephen Frears’ Walter with Ian McKellen, the film that opened Channel 4 in 1982. Jefford also appeared in Fellini’s And the Ship Sails On, When the Whales Came with Paul Scofield, Where Angels Fear to Tread, based on E.M. Forster’s novel, Roman Polanski’s The Ninth Gate with Johnny Depp, Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea, from Terence Rattigan’s play, and Stephen Frears’ Philomena with Judi Dench, her last film, in 2013. She dubbed voices on three James Bond films, From Russia With Love, Thunderball and The Spy Who Loved Me. Her TV appearances included The Canterbury Tales, Porterhouse Blue, The Visitors, The House of Eliott and Midsomer Murders. She was first married to the actor Terence Longdon and then the actor John Turner. My abiding memory of the actress is her Saint Joan at the Old Vic in 1960: she was magnificent. She was awarded the OBE in 1965, the youngest-ever civilian recipient of the honour. But, considering her amount of superb classical theatre work, a damehood would not have gone amiss.

 

RAFER JOHNSON (18 August 1934-2 December 2020)
The former American athlete and actor Rafer Johnson, who has died from a stroke aged 86, was first a basketball star and subsequently an Olympian Rafer Johnsondecathlon champion. He co-founded the California Special Olympics and served as President from 1983-1992. While a TV sports anchorman, he also became involved in campaigning for both John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy. He was one of the men who tackled Robert Kennedy’s assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, and later achieved success in the California Hall of Fame. He almost entered films in 1960 when Kirk Douglas was making Spartacus during the Rome Olympics but, as an amateur sportsman, Johnson could not accept the role of Draba (which went to Woody Strode). Later on Johnson appeared in The Sins of Rachel Cade with Angie Dickinson, The Fiercest Heart with Juliet Prowse, Wild in the Country with Elvis Presley, A Global Affair with Bob Hope, None But the Brave with Frank Sinatra, The Last Grenade with Stanley Baker, Michael Winner’s The Games, Licence to Kill with Timothy Dalton as 007, and John Turteltaub’s Think Big, his last film (in 1990). He also made a couple of Tarzan pictures (not as the hero) plus some television series and a TV movie on his own life. Rafer Johnson was married to Elizabeth Thorsen and they have two children.

    

FREDDIE JONES (12 September 1927-9 July 2019)
The celebrated British character actor Freddie Jones, who has died aged 91, was a late starter in the acting profession. For ten years he worked as a laboratory technician in a ceramics factory before switching from amateur dramatics to the professional stage. He obtained a scholarship to drama school and then acted at Lincoln rep before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1962 for plays by David Rudkin, Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett, Maxim Gorky and Shakespeare. Rarely a star in films or on TV, he nevertheless contributed a wealth of off-the-wall characters throughout his acting career.
He made his mark in Peter Brook’s RSC production of the Marat/Sade both on stage and on film in 1967. Before that he had launched his television career in Androcles and the Lion, Z Cars, The Ticket-of-Leave Man, etc, and later played Claudius in The Caesars among many other series. He had a small part in his first film, Joseph Losey’s Accident (1967). Next came John Schlesinger’s Far From the Madding Crowd, The Bliss of Mrs Blossom with Shirley MacLaine, Otley with Tom Courtenay, and Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed for Hammer. On stage in 1980 he created ‘Sir’ in Ronald Harwood’s The Dresser, his best defining part, based on Donald Wolfit. The film, however, went to Albert Finney.
Between his many TV appearances Freddie Jones Freddie Jonesalso made films including Doctor in Trouble, The Man Who Haunted Himself, with Roger Moore, Kidnapped with Michael Caine, Antony and Cleopatra with Charlton Heston, Sitting Target with Oliver Reed, Son of Dracula with Harry Nilsson, The Satanic Rites of Dracula with Christopher Lee, Juggernaut with Richard Harris, Vampira with David Niven, and Zulu Dawn with Burt Lancaster. He made three films with David Lynch, The Elephant Man, Dune and Wild at Heart and, among many others, did Firefox with Clint Eastwood, Peter Yates’s Krull, Fellini’s And the Ship Sails On (Jones’s favourite), Firestarter with Drew Barrymore, Barry Levinson’s Young Sherlock Holmes, Bill Douglas’s Comrades, Giles Foster’s Consuming Passions, Terry Jones’s Erik the Viking, Timothy Forder’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood (as Sapsea), Gabriel Axel’s Royal Deceit, Hugh Hudson’s My Life So Far, Spike Milligan’s Puckoon, Ladies in Lavender with Judi Dench and Maggie Smith and The Libertine with Johnny Depp.
Apart from his other television work, Freddie Jones played the cantankerous old Sandy Thomas in over six hundred episodes of Emmerdale from 2005 to 2018. He earned five Bafta nominations between 1965 and 1970 and won the title of ‘The World’s Best Television Actor of the Year’ at the Monte Carlo TV Festival in 1969. Freddie Jones was married to the actress Jennie Heslewood and they have three children, the actors Toby and Casper, and writer-director Rupert.

 

TERRY JONES (1 February 1942-21 January 2020)
The Welsh comic writer, actor, producer and director Terry Jones, who has  died from dementia at the age of 77, was one of the founding members of the BBC TV comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969-74). However, before that he had written for and sometimes performed in many other television programmes, including John Bird’s The Late Show (1966), Terry JonesThe Frost Report, Twice a Fortnight, with Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Michael Palin etc, Complete and Utter History of Britain, with Palin, among others, and Do Not Adjust Your Set, with Eric Idle and Palin, etc. Then Monty Python came along, with four series written and performed by Jones, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, John Cleese and Terry Gilliam. Although Python more or less took over his life, he did also contribute to The Two Ronnies. The Punch Review, The Mermaid Frolics and Ripping Yarns, the last written with Palin and in which they both appeared. There was also a compilation of Python sketches, And Now For Something Completely Different (1971), which was released in the cinema. After that came the Python movies which Jones co-wrote and directed – Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. In all these Jones also acted, often playing old women, most notably in Life of Brian as Brian’s Mum (“He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!”). He also wrote and sometimes directed other films, including Erik the Viking, Labyrinth (directed by Jim Henson), Consuming Passions, a film of his play written with Palin, The Wind in the Willows and Absolutely Anything (2015), his last film. He also wrote children’s books and made many historical TV documentaries. As an actor he was also in Jabberwocky, The Great Muppet Caper, The Creator (as God), Locked Out, King Guillaume and The Secret Policeman’s Ball, etc. Terry Jones was first married to Alison Telfer and they have two children, Sally and Bill, and then to Anna Sӧderstrӧm and they have a daughter, Siri.

   

ANNA KARINA (22 September 1940-14 December 2019)
Before she became an actress, the Danish-born Anna Karina, who has died from cancer at the age of 79, had studied dance and painting and also became a successful model in Paris for Coco Chanel and Pierre Cardin. Then director Jean-Luc Godard met her and Anna Karinaoffered her a cameo in his first feature film, Breathless (A bout de souffle) in 1960. But she refused to appear naked in the film and lost the role. However, ironically enough, she was in another Godard feature, Une femme est une femme, playing a striptease artist. Then she appeared as an actress in a silent movie section of Agnès Varda’s Cleo de cinq à sept, along with Godard. She became a muse for Godard and also his wife from 1961 until 1967 when they divorced. They were part of the French 'Nouvelle Vague', the New Wave in French cinema and she was directed again by Godard in Vivre sa vie, Le petit soldat, Bande à part, Alphaville, Made in USA, Pierrot le foux and a section of The Oldest Profession. Karina also worked extensively with other French and Italian directors including Jacques Rivette, Jacques Baratier, Roger Vadim, Jean Aurel, Maurice Ronet, Valerio Zurlini, Visconti, Fassbinder, Pierre Granier-Deferre, Volker Schlṏndorff, Andrḗ Delvaux and Dennis Berry whom she later married. She appeared in a number of English-speaking films including She’ll Have to Go (1962) with Bob Monkhouse and Hattie Jacques, The Magus with Anthony Quinn and Michael Caine, Before Winter Comes with David Niven and Topol, Laughter in the Dark with Nicol Williamson, Justine with Dirk Bogarde, The Salzburg Connection with Barry Newman, an international version of Treasure Island with Vic Tayback, Martin Landau, Jean-Pierre Lḗaud and Melvil Poupaud, and The Truth About Charlie with Mark Wahlberg, Thandie Newton and Tim Robbins, as well as Agnès Varda and Charles Aznavour. She directed herself in both Living Together and her last film, Victoria, which she shot in 2008. Along the way she had made TV appearances including an episode of the BBC’s Z Cars and the US TV series I Spy. Serge Gainsbourg wrote a musical for her in 1967 called simply Anna. Her birth name was Hanne Karen Blarke Bayer. After divorcing Godard, she married actor-director Pierre Fabre, then actor-director-writer Daniel Duval and finally Dennis Berry from 1982 until her death.

 

JEREMY KEMP (3 January 1935-19 July 2019)
The British actor Jeremy Kemp, who has died aged 84, following a long illness, was often seen in sinister or military character parts, playing Germanic or heavy roles both in films and on television. Jeremy KempFollowing National Service with the Gordon Highlanders and the Black Watch, he studied at the Central School of Speech & Drama and then went into rep. He was a member of the Royal Shakespeare and Old Vic companies before joining the BBC Drama Repertory Company. Kemp’s first film was an uncredited role in Powell & Pressburger’s The Battle of the River Plate in 1956, followed by many television appearances, including Z-Cars in which he played PC Bob Steele for over thirty episodes. During that time he also appeared in many films, including Cleopatra, Dr Terror’s House of Horrors, Operation Crossbow, Cast a Giant Shadow, Assignment K, The Strange Affair, A Twist of Sand, The Blue Max, Darling Lili, Pope Joan and The Games. More films followed before his appearance in the popular TV series of Colditz, playing Squadron Leader Tony Shaw. Kemp worked steadily in such films as The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, A Bridge Too Far, Caravans, The Prisoner of Zenda, The Return of the Soldier and Top Secret! as well as the TV mini-series The Winds of War, Sadat, Peter the Great, War and Remembrance, Star Trek, etc. Jeremy Kemp’s last films were Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994 and Angels and Insects in 1995. He battled with illness for a long time and latterly had been living in the Denville Hall home for retired actors in north-west London.

 

IRRFAN KHAN (7 January 1967-29 April 2020)
The Indian actor Irrfan Khan, who has died aged 53 from a colon infection of a neuroendocrine tumour, was a popular performer in the Hindi all-singing and all-dancing Bollywood movie genre. However, he also made a name for himself in many Western films. He was born Sahabzade Irfan Ali Khan in Jaipur in north-west India, but later changed his name to Irrfan, with an extra R. At first he considered a career as a cricketer but could not afford to attend an important tournament. Instead he chose acting and gained a scholarship at the National School of Acting in New Delhi. His thirty-five year acting career began in television in a series called Katha Sagar in 1986, a dramatised collection of famous short stories. His first film was Mira Nair’s Hello Bombay! in 1988 and he continued to appear on Indian television and in films until 2001 when Warrior, Asif Kapadia’s international production, with Irrfan Khan in the title role of Lafcadia, brought him to the attention of world cinema makers. Irrfan KhanFollowing many more films in India he subsequently appeared in Mira Nair’s The Namesake with Khan as the Indian father of his New York-born son who rejects his family’s traditional lifestyle. He also appeared in Mira Nair’s segment of the portmanteau film New York, I Love You.
A Mighty Heart (2007) saw Khan as the Captain in Michael Winterbottom’s film with Angelina Jolie as the widow of the murdered journalist Daniel Pearl. In the same year he was in The Darjeeling Limited, a Wes Anderson comedy-drama about three brothers on a bonding train journey through India. Danny Boyle’s immensely successful eight Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire had Khan playing the vicious police inspector who interrogates Dev Patel as Jamal. Irrfan Khan was lucky enough to appear in a couple of blockbusters, namely The Amazing Spider-Man and Jurassic World as well as the four-Oscar winning Life of Pi directed by Ang Lee in which he played the adult Pi. In Ritesh Battra’s debut feature, The Lunchbox, Irrfan Khan gave one of his best performances as Saajan, a sad widower about to get forced retirement from his clerical job, who receives a lunchbox by mistake from Ila, a lonely Mumbai housewife, who prepares a special daily meal meant for her rather offhand husband. A remote but romantic correspondence ensues which proves that the way to a man’s heart is through his lunchbox.
Puzzle (2018) sees another bored housewife, this time in suburban USA with Kelly Macdonald playing Agnes, a woman ignored by her family who, when given a jigsaw for a present, discovers a latent talent and shares it with her new puzzle partner, a rich inventor called Robert, played by Khan. Marc Turtletaub’s film is a real charmer with two great performances. Before that Khan was in Ron Howard’s Inferno, with Tom Hanks trying to stop some villainous plot to release a globally deadly virus. Khan carried on making films in India until he became ill. In his last film, Angrezi Medium, he plays a businessman intent on seeing that his daughter makes a success of her ambition to study in London.
Irrfan Khan married the film writer Sutapa Sikdar in 1995. They have two sons, Babil and Ayan. Khan was nominated for and was the winner of a number of international film awards. He was also given the Padma Shri, the Indian National Civilian Award for distinguished public service. Dying at such a young age of 53 has robbed both the Indian cinema and world cinema in general of a very special actor. Who knows what else he might have achieved had he still been alive. We will never know. R.I.P.

 

ROSALIND KNIGHT (3 December 1933-19 December 2020)
The British actress Rosalind Knight, who has died aged 87, came from a theatrical family, her father being the actor Esmond Knight and her Rosalind Knightmother the comedienne Frances Clare. Her film debut was in Powell & Pressburger’s Gone to Earth (1950) and then she was a Lady-in-Waiting in Laurence Olivier’s Richard III. This was followed by Fortune Is a Woman with Jack Hawkins, Blue Murder at St Trinian’s and The Horse’s Mouth with Alec Guinness. By then she had already played Fanny Squeers in Nicholas Nickleby on television among other TV work. She acted in the theatre on and off during her career but mostly graduated to films and television. She continued in small film parts including a couple of Carry Ons, a Norman Wisdom comedy and one of the Doctor films. She was in the film of Arnold Wesker’s The Kitchen, was Mrs Fitzpatrick in Tom Jones and did Can Heironymous Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe... ? and Mr Quilp, both with Anthony Newley. Knight was often cast as grand, officious, crabby, hard-faced women in all sorts of TV series and films. She was in the 1979 remake of The Lady Vanishes, played a Rada judge in the Joe Orton biopic Prick Up Your Ears, and was in Mark Peploe’s Afraid of the Dark, Gary Sinyer’s Solitaire for 2, and Giovanni Veronesi’s Italian film Il mio West, a Western with David Bowie and Harvey Keitel. She was in About a Boy with Hugh Grant, played Pam in David Thewlis’s Cheeky, and an old nun in The Lady in the Van, her last film (in 2015). She was married to the producer-director Michael Elliott until his death in 1984. They have two daughters, the theatre director Marianne Elliott and the actress Susannah Elliott-Knight.

   

SHIRLEY KNIGHT (5 July 1936-22 April 2020)
The American actress Shirley Knight, who has died aged 83, was a rare performer who brought something extra to any role she played. She graced the stage, films and television with equal sensitivity in a career that lasted over sixty-five years. In her time, she won a Tony, a Golden Globe, three Primetime Emmys and was nominated for two Academy Awards. Like Marlon Brando and James Dean, she was an actor’s actor which may have stemmed from her being a member of the Actors Studio. Born in Kansas, she graduated from Wichita State University, studied at the Pasadena Theatre School and then later with Jeff Corey, Erwin Piscator, Lee Strasberg and Uta Hagen at Herbert Berghof’s HB Studio. Her stage career took in productions on and off-Broadway and Chicago.
Her first film part was a minor role in Picnic with William Holden in 1955. She went on to appear in Ice Palace with Richard Burton and was then nominated for an Oscar as Reenie Flood in Delbert Mann’s The Dark at the Top of the Stairs with Robert Preston. Another Academy Award nomination was forthcoming for her part in Richard Brooks’ Sweet Bird of Youth with Paul Newman. The Group was Sidney Lumet’s epic film of the Mary McCarthy novel about a bunch of female college graduates in the 1930s. Shirley KnightIt was a starry cast that included many young actresses setting out on the road to success, including Jessica Walter, Joanna Pettet, Joan Hackett, Elizabeth Hartman, Candice Bergen and Kathleen Widdoes. Often cast in independent productions, Knight was excellent in Anthony Harvey’s British film of Dutchman, about a white woman and a black man meeting on the New York subway. Knight’s performance won her the Volpi Cup for best actress at the 1967 Venice Film Festival.
Other films for Shirley Knight included Michael Anderson’s Flight from Ashiya with Yul Brynner, Richard Lester’s Petulia with Julie Christie, and also his Juggernaut with Richard Harris and an uncredited James Cameron-Wilson, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Rain People with James Caan, Irwin Allen’s Beyond the Poseidon Adventure with Michael Caine, Franco Zeffirelli’s Endless Love with Brooke Shields, Richard Rush’s Colour of Night with Bruce Willis, Jeremiah Chechik’s Diabolique with Sharon Stone, Isabelle Adjani and Kathy Bates, James L. Brooks’ As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson, Steve Guttenberg’s P.S. Your Cat Is Dead, Callie Khouri’s Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood with Sandra Bullock and Ellen Burstyn, Steve Carr’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop and its sequel with Kevin James, Gary Lundgren’s Redwood Highway with Tom Skerritt, and Jason Winn’s Periphery with Rebecca De Mornay and Stacy Keach, Shirley Knight’s last film in 2018.
Throughout her career she appeared in multiple television series and TV movies, from Rawhide to Desperate Housewives. Shirley Knight married and divorced the producer (of Dutchman) Eugene Persson, who died in 2008. In 1969 she married the British writer and director John Hopkins, of Z-Cars and Smiley’s People fame. He died in 1998. Following her second marriage, she assumed the name of Shirley Knight Hopkins for a few years. Shirley Hopkins is the mother of the teacher Sophie Hopkins and the actress Kaitlin (formerly Persson) Hopkins.

 

YAPHET KOTTO (15 November 1939-14 March 2021)
The American actor Yaphet Kotto may well be best-remembered for playing Kananga, the first black villain in a James  Bond film. It was Live and Let Die (1973) and was Kotto’s first substantial role, although he had been in films from Nothing But a Man in 1964. He was in TV series including Tarzan, The Big Valley and Bonanza before his second film, Yaphet KottoNorman Jewison’s The Thomas Crown Affair, which was followed by Henry Hathaway’s 5 Card Stud and William Wyler’s The Liberation of L.B. Jones. He was the star of Larry Cohen’s Dial Rat and appeared as a motorcycle cop in The Limit, which he also directed, and he also played a cop in Across 110th Street. Kotto, who has died at the age of 81 in the Phillipines, was born in New York to a businessman/construction worker father and a nurse/army officer mother. After his parents split when Yaphet was just three, he was brought up by his grandmother in the Bronx. His aunt ran a dance school at which Marlon Brando was a student. Inspired by Brando, Kotto took up acting, making his stage debut as Othello in 1958. After joining the Actors’ Studio he began to get parts in films, often playing authority figures including many police officers. He appeared in a number of films such as Paul Schrader’s Blue Collar, Ridley Scott’s Alien (as the chief engineer Dennis Parker), Stuart Rosenberg’s Brubaker, and had the title role in Liz White's all-black Othello (1980). He was with Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Running Man, with Robert De Niro in Midnight Run, and with Robert Englund in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. His later career was a mixture of action films and TV shows such as For Love and Honour, 1914-1918, Law & Order and Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-1999). He turned down roles in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Yaphet Kotto was married to Rita Dittman, Antoinette Pettyjohn and Tessie Sinahon. He has four daughters, Natasha, Sarada, Mirabai and Salina, and two sons, Fred and Robert.

 

LARRY KRAMER (25 June 1935-27 May 2020)
The American author, playwright, screenwriter, film producer and social and political activist Larry Kramer, who has died from pneumonia at the age of 84, will be remembered mainly for his 1985 play The Normal Heart, the first artistic endeavour to deal with the subject of Aids. He was born into a Jewish family, father a government attorney, mother a teacher and social worker. A difficult childhood and early homosexual experiences at junior high school made him question and explore his sexuality and an attempted suicide. After a spell in the US Army, he began script-editing for Columbia Pictures and later became a production executive on Lawrence of Arabia, Dr Strangelove and Darling. He co-wrote his first screenplay, Clive Donner’s comedy Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush and then adapted D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love for Ken Russell, which earned Kramer Academy Award and Bafta nominations. After these successes came the flop that was the musical film of Lost Horizon. On stage he began to develop gay themes in his play Sissies’ Scrapbook (aka Four Friends). Larry KramerHe then published a novel, Faggots, detailing the promiscuous lives of American gay men which, although not well-received by the gay community, was a best-seller. Kramer joined the gay men’s activist group called Gay Men’s Health Crisis when the threat of Aids impinged on his own life but later left when the group failed to live up to its ideals. Instead he wrote The Normal Heart detailing the life of a writer caring for his dying partner of, at that time, an unnamed disease. From 1985 the play has enjoyed over six hundred US productions and other stagings all over the world. It was also filmed for television. In 1987 Kramer was a part founder of ACT UP, a group created to force governments to fund members of the LGBT communities. He also wrote Just Say No, a Play About a Farce, detailing public indifference to the cause that produced the Aids epidemic. Destiny of Me, filmed in 2015, was a sequel to The Normal Heart, fighting the general complacency of government actions. Having been diagnosed as HIV positive himself, Kramer continued to write books and articles in support of LGBT causes. More recently he began covering the Covid-19 pandemic in a play called An Army of Lovers Must Not Die. In his time he won or was nominated for many Arts and Letters awards including a Tony, Obie and Emmy Awards and he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1993. Larry Kramer’s partner was the architectural designer David Webster who he had known from the 1970s. However, later on they split up only to be reunited in 1991. They were married in 2013.

 

CLORIS LEACHMAN (30 April 1926-27 January 2021)
Many filmgoers may not have known the American actress Cloris Leachman, who has died aged 94, until she won an Oscar and a Bafta for Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show in 1971. She had, however, been in films and on TV since 1947. Cloris LeachmanShe appeared in the opening scenes of Robert Aldrich’s thriller Kiss Me Deadly (1955) as a woman on the run. Early on she was in youth theatre in Des Moines and eventually studied under Elia Kazan at the Actors’ Studio. Many stage productions came her way (Shakespeare, O’Neill, Miller, Kern, Rodgers & Hammerstein). She also made many TV shows from 1948 including the Actors’ Studio, Kraft Theatre, Suspense, Matinee Theatre and Lassie series. Further films included The Chapman Report with Jane Fonda, Lovers and Other Strangers with Gig Young, WUSA with Paul Newman  and The People Next Door with Eli Wallach. After John Milius’s Dillinger, Bogdanovich used her for his Henry James adaptation of Daisy Miller. She specialised in weird or wicked women, so Mel Brooks cast her as Frau Blǖcher in Young Frankenstein, Nurse Diesel in High Anxiety, and Madame Defarge in History of the World: Part 1. She was the star of Jonathan Demme’s Crazy Mama and repeated her role of Ruth Popper in Bogdanovich’s Texasville, his sequel to The Last Picture Show. She appeared with Meryl Streep in Wes Craven’s Music of the Heart and Diane Keaton directed her in Hanging Up. She worked with Adam Sandler in James L. Brooks’ Spanglish and Peter Segal’s The Longest Yard. With nearly 300 entries on her cv, she was working right up to the time of her death and still has a number of films awaiting release. Last year she top-billed the Canadian drama Jump, Darling (2020), as a woman resisting the embrace of a local nursing home and who plays host to her grandson from the city, a rookie drag queen. Apart from an Oscar and a Bafta in 1972, she secured a Golden Globe and Primetime and Daytime Emmys among her awards. She married the producer-director George Englund in 1953. They divorced in 1979 and he died in 2017. They have five children, Adam, George Jr, Morgan, Dinah and Bryan, who died in 1986.

   

EDWARD LEWIS (16 December 1919-27 July 2019)
The film producer and writer Edward Lewis, who has died aged 99, Edward Lewiswas notable for choosing prestige properties to film. His CV probably contains more good films that many other producers would have loved to have on their roster. After he wrote and produced his first film The Lovable Cheat in 1949, then came The Admiral Was a Lady, after which he worked on some TV series until his next films, Run For the Hills, Lizzie and The Careless Years. All these titles were second features, but his movie in 1960 was an epic by comparison, Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, which Lewis co-produced with its star, Kirk Douglas, and for which he employed the Hollywood blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo. There followed a skew of  very interesting projects including The Last Sunset, Lonely Are the Brave, The List of Adrian Messenger, Seven Days in May, Seconds, Grand Prix, The Fixer, The Extraordinary Seaman, The Gypsy Moths, I Walk the Line, The Horsemen, The Iceman Cometh, Executive Action and Missing, among many others. With his wife Mildred, who died earlier this year, Lewis wrote books, plays and musicals. Edward and Mildred Lewis have two children. 

 

PEGGY LIPTON (30 August 1946-11 May 2019)
The American actress and singer Peggy Lipton, who has died from cancer aged 72, made her name in the television cop show The Mod Squad in over a hundred episodes from 1968. Peggy LiptonThe show dealt with social problems and without the use of guns. Later on she played Norma Jennings in David Lynch’s bizarre television series Twin Peaks and its film versions, Fire Walk With Me and The Missing Pieces. Her parents had encouraged Peggy to be a model as a teenager and to take drama lessons with Uta Hagen. She began her acting career in several popular TV shows until her first film, Disney’s Mosby’s Marauders in 1967, then Blue with Terence Stamp, after which The Mod Squad and other TV shows kept her busy till Franc Roddam’s War Party in 1988. Other films include Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects with Charles Bronson, True Identity with Lenny Henry, The Postman with Kevin Costner, The Wonder of Sex with Drew Barrymore, Jackpot with Daryl Hannah, When In Rome with Kristen Bell, and A Dog’s Purpose directed by Lasse Hallstrṏm, her last feature film. In between movies, she did more television and her last work was on another Twin Peaks TV series (in 2017). For a time she was a singer and issued several records. Peggy Lipton was married to the musician Quincy Jones from 1974 to 1989. They have two daughters, Rashida and Kidada, both actresses. In 2004 Peggy was first diagnosed with the colon cancer that finally took her in 2019.

 

NORMAN LLOYD (8 November 1914-11 May 2021)
The American actor Norman Lloyd, who has died aged 106, was an incredibly hard-working professional. He acted on stage and in films, and was also a producer and director. He was born Norman Perlmutter in New Jersey to Jewish immigrants from Hungary and Russia. Deciding to be an actor at age eight, he was actually a dancer first. His initial theatre job was with Eva Le Gallienne’s Civic Repertory in New York. Norman LloydHe also joined Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre and did a lot of stage work from the 1930s to the 1950s, including acting and directing in New York and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Connecticut. Alfred Hitchcock cast him in Saboteur (1942) and then he worked on Lewis Allen’s The Unseen, Jean Renoir’s The Southerner and with Hitchcock again on Spellbound. He appeared in Jacques Tourneur’s The Flame and the Arrow, Joseph Losey’s M, Chaplin’s Limelight, Lewis Milestone’s A Walk in the Sun, Robert Wise’s Audrey Rose, Peter Weir’s Dead Poets Society, Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence, Curtis Hanson’s In Her Shoes, and Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck, his last film (in 2015). But he had appeared in scores of other film and TV shows (One Step Beyond, Night Gallery, The Twilight Zone, St Elsewhere, Murder, She Wrote etc) always playing character roles, at which he was a past master. For a while he was blacklisted by Hollywood for having too many left-wing associates, but Hitchcock saved him and employed him as a TV producer. As a director he worked exclusively in television but, apart from his acting, Lloyd’s main work was as a producer from 1960 to 1985 of such programmes as the Alfred Hitchcock series (nearly 260 episodes), Journey to the Unknown, The Name of the Game, Tales of the Unexpected and umpteen one-off TV movies. Norman Lloyd was married to his wife Peggy for 75 years until her death at 98 in 2011. They had two children. Their actress daughter Josie Lloyd died in 2020.

  

MICHAEL LONSDALE (24 May 1931-21 September 2020)
The Anglo-French actor Michael Lonsdale, who has died aged 89, was born Michael Edward Lonsdale-Crouch to an English father and French-Irish mother. He grew up in London, the Channel Islands and Morocco. At sixteen he took art classes but then turned to acting. His first film was Michel Boisrond’s It Happened in Athens (1956) and he continued working in shorts, on TV and features such as Michael LonsdaleMichel Deville’s Adorable Menteuse with Marina Vlady, The Immoral Moment with Maurice Ronet, and Jean-Pierre Mocky’s satirical comedies Snobs!, Order of the Daisy and The Stud. Orson Welles cast him in The Trial, based on Kafka, and he was in Fred Zinnemann’s Behold a Pale Horse. Lonsdale mainly worked in France in films, on TV and in the theatre and in London played in Beckett and Marguerite Duras at the Royal Court. He appeared in Renḗ Clḗment’s Is Paris Burning? and in Truffaut’s The Bride Wore Black and Stolen Kisses. Duras directed him in Destroy, She Said and India Song, Louis Malle cast him in Le souffle au Coeur and Jacques Rivette included him in his two epics Out 1 and Out 1: Spectre.
Michael Lonsdale’s international break came with Fred Zinnemann’s The Day of  the Jackal as an inspector after a potential assassin of De Gaulle. This was followed by Alain Resnais’ Stavisky, Luis Buñuel’s The Phantom of Liberty, and a trio of Joseph Losey titles, Galileo, The Romantic Englishwoman and Mr Klein. He played the villainous Hugo Drax in the Bond film Moonraker and appeared in Chariots of Fire. He was in the TV series Smiley’s People and with Michael Caine in The Holcroft Covenant. He did The Name of the Rose, James Ivory’s The Remains of the Day and Jefferson in Paris, Steven Spielberg’s Munich and Milos Forman’s Goya’s Ghosts. Of the 250 productions he graced, his favourite was Marguerite Duras’ India Song, with Delphine Seyrig, the woman he would like to have married... but he stayed single.

 

CAROL LYNLEY (13 February 1942-3 September 2019)
The American actress Carol Lynley, who has died from a heart attack aged 77, started her working life as a child model for the Sears, Roebuck Company in New York. As a teenager she appeared in television series until her first film, Walt Disney’s The Light in the Forest (1958) with Fess Parker. Carol LynleyShe had appeared on Broadway in the play Blue Jeans as a young girl finding herself pregnant, so she also made the film version, co-starring with the young Brandon De Wilde. The same year, 1959, also saw her in Holiday for Lovers with Jane Wyman and Clifton Webb. Her career continued with a mix of film and TV work, including Don Siegel’s Hound Dog Man with Fabian, Return to Peyton Place, as Alison Mackenzie, Robert Aldrich’s The Last Sunset, with Rock Hudson and Kirk Douglas, Franklin J. Schaffner’s Woman of Summer with Joanne Woodward, Under the Yum Yum Tree with Jack Lemmon, and Otto Preminger’s The Cardinal. She worked with Preminger again on Bunny Lake Is Missing, a mystery story filmed in Britain. Other films she graced were Shock Treatment, The Pleasure Seekers and Harlow in which Lynley played a version of the 1930s star Jean Harlow. The Shuttered Room was David Greene’s horror film shot in Britain with Oliver Reed and Gig Young. Danger Route was one of Seth Holt’s last films, a spy story with Richard Johnson. After more television work, Carol Lynley’s career comprised mostly second-rate films and TV movies, apart from The Poseidon Adventure, a remake of The Cat and the Canary, and a version of H.G. Wells’ The Shape of Things to Come, with Jack Palance. Carol Lynley married and divorced the actor-producer Michael Selsman with whom she has a daughter, Jill.

 

ANN LYNN (7 November 1933-30 August 2020)
The British actress Ann Lynn, who has died aged 86, was a stalwart of British B-films as well as a stage and television actor. Ann LynnShe was born Elizabeth Ann Lynn in London to a theatrical family – her great-uncle was the actor Ralph Lynn, her cousin the director Robert Lynn and her father, Basil, managed the Astoria cinema in Streatham, south London. Her first appearance on film was as a baby in Song at Eventide in 1934 with Fay Compton and later on she joined the Tiller Girl dancers. She studied acting at the Guildhall and appeared in several repertory companies as well as the West End. From her hundred films and TV credits from 1956 she was in both main and second features including Piccadilly Third Stop, The Wind of Change, Strip Tease Murder and Flame in the Streets, a Ted Willis screenplay about racism, with John Mills and Earl Cameron. She suffered well with Colin Gordon, both being imprisoned in a bank vault for Strongroom. She appeared in the comedies Doctor in Distress and A Shot in the Dark, and Michael Winner cast her and Oliver Reed in The System and I’ll Never Forget What’s’sname. She appeared again with Reed in the controversial tale of the beat generation, The Party’s Over – so bad was it, director Guy Hamilton took his name off the credits. She provided one of the stories in Anthony Simmons’ Four in the Morning and appeared in Desmond Davis’ The Uncle, a fine film about childhood that somehow never got a proper release. After that it was mostly television – Armchair Theatre, King Lear (as Regan), Minder, Just Good Friends,  EastEnders, etc. Ann Lynn was married to Anthony Newley from 1956 to 1963. They had a son, Simon, who died from spina bifida at just six weeks.

 

VERA LYNN (20 March 1917-18 June 2020)
Apart from just being famous as the Forces’ Sweetheart during World War II - when she gave morale-boosting concerts at home and on tour to military camps overseas - Dame Vera Lynn, who has died at the age of 103, was also immensely popular through her recordings, radio and television appearances and, indeed, a few feature films. Her recording of the song ‘We’ll Meet Again’ became her signature tune, along with many other favourites such as ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’, ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’, ‘Auf Wiederseh’n, Sweetheart’ and ‘There’ll Always Be an England’
Vera Lynnwhich all offered the right emotional charge for wartime members of the forces and also for those at home awaiting their return. Born Vera Margaret Welch in East Ham, London, she was a performer from the age of seven. At 18 she sang with the Joe Loss Band and made records with Loss and Charlie Kunz and later the Bert Ambrose Band. She joined Ensa and toured Egypt, India and Burma in wartime concerts for the troops. Vera Lynn’s first appearance on film was as an extra in A Fire Has Been Arranged, a comedy with Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen in 1935, but during the war she was in We’ll Meet Again, set during the Blitz, with Geraldo and Patricia Roc. Then she played a teacher in Rhythm Serenade, with Peter Murray-Hill, and a budding singer in One Exciting Night. Her films regularly appear on the Talking Pictures TV channel. In 1962 she played herself in Venus fra Vestǿ, based on Jerrard Tickell’s book about a Danish island community whose prize cow is threatened with abduction by the Nazis. A version of the same story, Appointment with Venus, had been filmed in the UK in 1951 with David Niven and Glynis Johns. She also sang in A Gift for Love in 1963. She made best-selling records from 1952 and later had several series of her own TV show. She recorded constantly right into her nineties and in 1992 was the oldest living artist to have a number one hit album. A dame from 1975, she appeared every year at the British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall and was a constant supporter of charities such as The Stars Organisation for Spastics, The Charity Breast Cancer Research Trust, The Trust for Children with Cerebral Palsy, The Dover War Memorial Project and many others. She received several honours including the OBE, the War Medal, the Burma Star and the Order of Companions of Honour. Dame Vera Lynn was married to the musician Harry Lewis, who died in 1998. They have a daughter, Virginia.

 

SUE LYON (10 July 1946-26 December 2019)
The American actress Sue Lyon, who has died aged 73, had the most extraordinary entrance into the world of cinema when she was cast by Stanley Kubrick for the title role in his 1962 film of the Vladimir Nabokov novel Lolita. She was then a budding TV performer before landing the controversial part of a young girl attracted by the film’s hero, Humbert Humbert (James Mason). Sue LyonPerfectly cast, Lyon won a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer but was seldom able to repeat her first talented success. Her career had begun as a model at age 13 while still at school in LA. Spotting her on The Loretta Young Show, Kubrick chose Lyon from hundreds of contenders for the part of Lolita. Then she appeared in John Huston’s film of Tennessee Williams’ The Night of the Iguana, alongside Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr. She played one of the missionaries in John Ford’s last film, Seven Women, with Anne Bancroft, Margaret Leighton and Flora Robson. Apart from Tony Rome with Frank Sinatra, her career took a downward turn: The Flim-Flam Man (a.k.a. One Born Every Minute) with George C. Scott, the Western Four Rode Out, as the hero’s wife in Evel Knievel, a horror film, Crash!, with Josḗ Ferrer, and End of the World with Christopher Lee. After a few European titles and TV work, she retired from the screen in Alligator (1980). Sue Lyon had five husbands but most of her marriages lasted little more than a year. The filmmaker Hampton Fancher was the first, then the photographer Roland Harrison, with whom she had a daughter, Nona, then Gary ‘Cotton’ Adamson, Edward Weathers and finally the radio engineer Richard Rudman (from 1985 to 2002). With Harrison she adopted a 14-year-old boy, Robert. Lyon had met and married Adamson while he was in jail for murder, after which she began working for prison reform and convicts’ conjugal rights.

 

LOUIS MAHONEY (8 September 1938-28 June 2020)
The Gambian-born actor Louis Mahoney, Louis Mahoneywho has died aged 81, arrived in the UK to train as a doctor. Instead he went to the Central School of Speech and Drama in the 1960s and later worked in rep at the Mercury in Colchester before joining the Royal Shakespeare, the National, the Royal Court, the Almeida and the Bridge Theatre companies. From 1962 he was one of the first black actors to appear on television in such series as Public Eye, Danger Man, Dixon of Dock Green, Z-Cars, Doctor Who, Fawlty Towers, Yes, Prime Minister, The Bill and Casualty, etc. His feature film work included Guns at Batasi, The Plague of the Zombies, Praise Marx and Pass the Ammunition, Live and Let Die, The Final Conflict, The Rise and Fall of Idi Amin, Cry Freedom, White Mischief, Shooting Dogs and Captain Phillips. As well as being an actor, Mahoney was an activist in the theatre, a member of the acting profession’s union Equity and its Afro-Asian Committee, and co-creator of the Black Theatre Workshop and the Equity Performers Against Racism group.

 

JOHNNY MANDEL (23 November 1925-29 June 2020)
The American composer-orchestrator-arranger Johnny Mandel, Johnny Mandelwho has died aged 94, was one of the busiest musicians in Hollywood. He wrote and conducted music for films and TV for over fifty years. From an early age he learned to play piano, trumpet and trombone and as a teenager began working with famous bands from 1940 onwards. He wrote popular songs and jazz and worked with singers including Sinatra, Streisand, Natalie Cole, Peggy Lee, Tony Bennett and Shirley Horn. His first film score was for I Want to Live! in 1958 and he subsequently wrote for The Americanisation of Emily, Harper, The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!, Point Blank, Under the Yum Yum Tree, M*A*S*H, Freaky Friday, Agatha, Being There, Caddyshack and The Verdict, among countless others. His song, ‘The Shadow of Your Smile’ from The Sandpiper, won him his only Academy Award as well as one of his five Grammys. The theme song ‘Suicide Is Painless’ for M*A*S*H is probably his most memorable tune and that too won several awards for being the Most Performed Theme. Johnny Mandel’s marriage to Lois Lee ended in divorce. He then married Martha Louise Blanner and they have a daughter, Marissa.

 

LINDA MANZ (20 August 1961-14 August 2020)
The American actress Linda Manz, who has died from pneumonia and lung cancer at the age of 58, had a relatively short career in films and television. Linda ManzBorn in New York City, she had no intention of being an actress until her mother suggested it. Her schoolteacher recommended the fifteen-year-old Linda to Terrence Malick when he was casting for his film Days of Heaven about life in the Texas Panhandle in 1916. It was a small part but the director was so impressed by Manz he wrote the film’s narration for her, and her performance arguably outshone the film’s stars Richard Gere and Brooke Adams. Days of Heaven won four production Oscars. Then Manz had an uncredited role in Frank Pierson’s King of the Gypsies, played Peewee in Philip Kaufman’s The Wanderers, appeared with Lee Strasberg and Ruth Gordon in Boardwalk, and was the star of Dennis Hopper’s Out of the Blue, about a young girl with a dysfunctional family. Longshot was a football drama from E.W. Swackhamer, after which she did some television and a film in Germany. She retired in 1985 to stay home with her husband, cinematographer Robert L. Guthrie, and their three sons, Michael, William and Christopher (who died in 2018). She returned to the screen briefly in 1997 for Harmony Korine’s Gummo with Nick Sutton and Chloë Sevigny and David Fincher’s The Game with Michael Douglas and Sean Penn. Linda Manz had a brief and impressive career but a life sadly cut short by illness.

 

MARDIK MARTIN (16 September 1934-11 September 2019)
The Hollywood screenwriter Mardik Martin, who has died from a stroke at the age of 85, was chiefly known for his work with director Martin Scorsese. Mardik MartinBorn in Iran, but raised in Iraq, Martin was an American of Armenian descent. He left Iraq to go to New York where he met fellow student Martin Scorsese at New York University. He graduated with a Master’s degree in screenwriting in 1968 and then taught at NYU for five years. He and Scorsese began making films together, the first a student short in 1964 called It’s Not Just You, Murray! Martin then did treatments for Scorsese’s documentaries Italianamerican, The Last Waltz and American Boy. Season of the Witch was the film that ultimately became Mean Streets. Together they worked on New York, New York which Martin wrote with Earl Mac Rauch and Raging Bull which he wrote with Paul Schrader. Martin also wrote Valentino with director Ken Russell,  worked as a Hollywood script doctor and appeared as an actor in Scorsese’s New York, New York, Raging Bull and The King of Comedy. He also wrote an autobiographical documentary Mardik: Baghdad to Hollywood in 2008. His final work in 2014 was as co-writer on Fatih Akin’s The Cut, a film about the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire in 1915. From 2014 he taught at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. Mardik Martin was the winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arpa International Film Festival in Hollywood in 2007.

  

HELEN McCRORY (17 August 1968-16 April 2021)
The British actress Helen McCrory has died at the age of 52, following a battle with cancer. She was celebrated in all areas of acting, latterly making a real impression as women of substance in several high-profile TV series. She played the human rights lawyer Emma Banville in Fearless (2017), out to prove a young man’s innocence. With Helen McCroryRichard Gere she was in MotherFatherSon (2019), Tom Rob Smith’s psycho-thriller, and in Peaky Blinders, Steven Knight’s gangster drama, she played Aunt Polly. Stephen Frears directed her as a QC in Quiz, about the Millionaire TV quiz scam. She was also in Roadkill with Hugh Laurie and voiced the part of Stelmaria in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, and in 2000 she had made a very fine Anna Karenina. Helen McCrory, the daughter of a diplomat and a physiotherapist, grew up in Africa, Norway and France. Her acting career began on stage and in London she worked at the Almeida, the Donmar, the Tricycle, Riverside and the National Theatre. She was in the NT staging of Stephen Beresford’s The Last of the Haussmans with Julie Walters, and she played Hester in Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea. Both productions were streamed to cinemas. However, her feature film debut had been in Jim McBride’s Uncovered in 1994. Then came Interview with the Vampire with Tom Cruise, The James Gang with John Hannah, Charlotte Gray with Cate Blanchett, and The Count of Monte Cristo with Jim Caviezel. She worked with Daniel Craig on three films, Hotel Splendide, Enduring Love and Skyfall, and was mother to Heath Ledger’s Casanova. She played Cherie Blair twice, on film in The Queen, and on TV in The Special Relationship and was popular as Narcissa Malfoy in three Harry Potter films. She seemed totally at home playing any sort of part that required an element of depth. Helen McCrory was married to the actor Damian Lewis. They have a daughter, Manon, and a son, Gulliver.

 

MICHAEL MEDWIN (18 July 1923-26 February 2020)

For a full appreciation 

 

JIRḮ MENZEL (23 February 1938-5 September 2020)
The Czech writer, actor and film and theatre director Jiří Menzel, who has died aged 82 after a long illness following brain surgery, was instrumental in heralding the New Wave of Czech cinema in the 1960s with, among others, Milos Forman and Ivan Passer. Mark MedoffHe did it in 1966 with his first full-length feature Closely Observed Trains, a low-key comedy about an apprentice railway guard at a remote station in occupied Czechoslovakia during World War II. Far from worrying about the political implications of a German onslaught or the anti-Nazi Resistance movement, young Milos is instead desperate to lose his virginity. It’s a charming film full of sly, satirical humour, and it won Menzel an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The director went on to make another delightful film, Capricious Summer. However, the Russians brought a temporary halt to his career when they invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968 and banned his film Larks on a String, but after being released in 1990 it won the Golden Bear at Berlin. Born in Prague, Menzel had originally wanted to be an actor and throughout his career appeared in some eighty Czech films and TV movies. As a director he had worked with Vera Chytilová on Something Different and Pearls of the Deep before he directed Closely Observed Trains, based on a novel by Bohumil Hrabal with whom he often collaborated. Although he wrote and directed up to thirty titles including features, documentaries and shorts, they were seldom seen abroad. They included a version of The Beggar’s Opera, I Served the King of England, on life in an old-world Prague hotel, and The Don Juans, about an opera company rehearsing Mozart, his last film as a director (in 2013). His final work as an actor was in Martin Sulḯk’s The Interpreter which was Oscar-nominated in 2018. Jiří Menzel was married to Olga Menzelová-Kelymanová and they have two daughters, Anna Karolina and Eva Maria.

 

ROGER MICHELL (5 June 1956-22 September 2021)
The British film, television and theatre director Roger Michell, who has died suddenly in his sleep, aged 65, was born in South Africa where his father was a British diplomat. He began directing at Clifton College in Bristol and also at Queen's College, Cambridge, where he also acted. Following university, he directed plays for the Brighton Actors Workshop and eventually joined the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1978. On leaving the Court he directed his own play Private Dick, co-written with Roger MichellRichard Maher, which transferred from Hammersmith to the West End. He became a resident director at the Royal Shakespeare Company and later joined the BBC, working on Hanif Kureishi's The Buddha of Suburbia, Jane Austen's Persuasion, Kevin Elyot's My Night With Reg and other projects. Directing at the National Theatre in the 1990s saw him staging plays by Harold Pinter, Dylan Thomas, Joe Penhall, Harley Granville Barker and Nina Raine. For the cinema, Michell directed Richard Curtis's Notting Hill (1999), Changing Lanes (2002) with Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson, The Mother (2003) with Anne Reid and Daniel Craig, Enduring Love (2004), also with Craig, and Venus (2006), with Peter O'Toole. After more theatre work, Roger Michell returned to the cinema with Morning Glory (2010) starring Rachel McAdams, Hyde Park on Hudson (2012) with Bill Murray as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Le Week-End (2013) with Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan, My Cousin Rachel (2017) with Rachel Weisz as Rachel Ashley, Blackbird (2019) with Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet and Lindsay Duncan, and The Duke (2020) with Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren. He also directed the BBC documentary Nothing Like a Dame, with Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Eileen Atkins and Joan Plowright. Roger Michell was first married to the actress Kate Buffery and they have two children, the agent Rosanna Michell, and the writer-actor-director Harry Michell. He also married the actress Anna Maxwell Martin and they have two daughters, Maggie and Nancy.

 

SYLVIA MILES (9 September 1924-12 June 2019)

Greenwich Village-born actress Sylvia Miles, who has died aged 94, had a long, sixty-two-year career right up to her death. She will be best remembered for her role in Midnight Cowboy for which she was Academy Award nominated. She studied at the Actors Studio, Sylvia Milesworking on stage and in revue from 1947 until her first television appearance in 1950 on The Bob Hope Show. In 1960 she appeared in the pilot for The Dick Van Dyke Show but didn’t make the series. Her first film was Murder, Inc in 1960 with Stuart Whitman, then Delmer Daves’ Parrish with Troy Donohue, and in 1964 Pie in the Sky (aka Terror in the City) with Lee Grant. In between films she was in TV shows such as Route 66, The Defenders, Naked City and N.Y.P.D. Then came John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy and Sylvia Miles’ Oscar-nominated performance as call girl Cass. After that she never seemed to stop working. The Last Movie was Dennis Hopper’s follow-up as the director of Easy Rider. Then there was Ernie Pintoff’s Who Killed Mary Whats’ername?, and Paul Morrissey’s Heat, Andy Warhol’s parody of Sunset Boulevard. Sylvia earned another Oscar nomination in the remake of Farewell, My Lovely with Robert Mitchum. Then came 92 in the Shade with Peter Fonda, The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday with Lee Marvin and Oliver Reed, Michael Winner’s horror shocker The Sentinel and many more. Sylvia graced the all-star adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Evil Under the Sun, she was in Michael Apted’s Critical Condition with Richard Pryor, and played Dolores the Realtor in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street. Working with women directors she was Hannah Mandelbaum the matchmaker in Joan Micklin Silver’s Crossing Delancey, played Meryl Streep’s mother in Susan Seidelman’s She-Devil, and appeared in Sally Kirkland’s The Boys Behind the Desk and Alison Thompson’s High Times’ Potluck. Go Go Tales was Abel Ferrara’s stripclub comedy with Miles as a monster landlady, and she was back for Oliver Stone’s Wall Street sequel, Money Never Sleeps. Her last TV show was an episode of Life on Mars in 2008 and she was filming Eric Spade Rivas’ Japanese Borscht at the time of her death. Sylvia Miles was married three times, to William Miles and the actors Gerald Price and Ted Brown. All three marriages ended in divorce. She once attracted notoriety by dumping a plate of food over the head of John Simon, the theatre critic of New York magazine, for his giving her a bad review in 1973.

 

JEAN-PIERRE MOCKY (6 July 1929-8 August 2019)
The French film actor-writer-producer-director Jean-Pierre Mocky, who has died aged 90, was a hard-working filmmaker of nearly 70 films as well as TV work. Born Jean-Paul Mokiejewski in Nice to Polish parents, his father was Jewish, his mother Catholic. They sent Jean-Pierre to Algeria Jean-Pierre Mockyduring the Nazi occupation of France by lying about his age. Mocky’s career began as a film and stage actor in 1946, working with Cocteau, Visconti, Fellini, and appearing in Antonioni’s I vinti (The Vanquished, 1953). His first screenplay was an adaptation of Hervḗ Bazin’s novel La tête contre les murs (The Keepers, 1959) for Georges Franju, in which he also appeared, and he often acted in the films he later wrote and directed. His first as director was Les dragueurs (1959) about a couple of shy young men looking for girls in night-time Paris.
Mocky was well-named as his films were often satirical or dealt with unorthodox problems including the loss of virginity (The Virgins) a fight for power (Snobs), splitting up of relationships (A Couple), aristocrats adapting to poverty through theft (Heaven Sent), falsifying important documents (Order of the Daisy), murderous orgies (Solo), real estate swindles (Chut!), and so on. Not all of his films were seen in the UK, although Mocky attracted the cream of the French acting profession, working with the likes of Bourvil, Charles Aznavour, Jacques Charrier, Gḗrard Blain, Jean-Louis Barrault, Fernandel, Jean Poiret, Claude Rich, Michel Serrault, Michel Simon, Philippe Noiret, Marie-Josḗ Nat, Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve, Stḗphane Audran, Toto and Jane Birkin, etc. From 2007 to 2019 he directed and hosted fifty-two episodes of stories for TV called Myster Mocky prḗsente. His last feature film, Tous flics!, is due to be released in 2020. Jean-Pierre Mocky was married four times and claimed to have fathered seventeen children, his first born when he was 13!.

  

STEPHEN MOORE (11 December 1937-4 October 2019)
Equally well-known on stage, television and radio, British actor Stephen Moore, who has died at the age of 81, graced some films in a career that included working for the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court. On stage he tackled Shakespeare, Ayckbourn, Sam Shepard, Howard Brenton, David Hare, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, O’Neill and John Osborne among other playwrights’ work. Stephen MooreHe will be remembered, however, for originating the role of Marvin, the Paranoid Android in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and stayed with the piece throughout its many manifestations on radio, TV and audio recordings. His first TV work was the voice of flute in Czech animator Jirί Trnka’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Then, after several television movies and series, he was in Lindsay Anderson’s long ‘short’, The White Bus (1967), written by Shelagh Delaney. Other films that Stephen Moore made include The Last Shot You Hear, Richard Attenborough’s A Bridge Too Far, Don Siegel’s Rough Cut, with Burt Reynolds, Where the Boys Are, with Lorna Luft, Richard Eyre’s Laughterhouse, and Christopher Morahan’s Clockwise with John Cleese from a Michael Frayn screenplay. Under Suspicion was a thriller with Liam Neeson, Brassed Off was Mark Herman’s comedy-drama about a Northern brass band, and The Boat That Rocked was a Richard Curtis comedy about pirate radio. Other notable TV appearances by Stephen Moore were in Tom Stoppard’s adaptation of Three Men in a Boat, two series of Adrian Mole programmes, Middlemarch (as Mayor Vincy), Harry Enfield and Chums (as Kevin’s Dad), Jack Rosnethal’s Ready When You Are, Mr McGill, Doctor Who and Holby City. His last appearance was in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show in 2016. Stephen Moore married four times and is the father of the actress Robyn Moore, the actor Guy Moore and Hedda Moore by his first wife Barbara Mognaz; the father of the actress Charlotte Moore by his second wife Celestine Randall; and the father of Sophie George-Moore by his fourth wife Noelyn George.

     

ENNIO MORRICONE (10 November 1928-6 July 2020)
The Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who has died aged 91, wrote over 500 film scores for features, shorts and television, plus classical, jazz and pop music. He is celebrated for his music to the films of Sergio Leone, a classmate at school. Composing multiple film scores every year (he wrote 29 in 1972), he made an (uncredited) debut in Franco Rossi’s Death of a Friend in 1960. He wrote fourteen more before Bertolucci used him on Before the Revolution in 1964. Then Leone employed him for A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, A Fistful of Dynamite, Once Upon a Time in the West and Once Upon a Time in America. Morricone wrote for all genres rather than just Westerns or horror, so worked for many directors, including Marco Bellocchio, Gillo Pontecorvo, Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Liliana Cavani, Don Siegel, Ếdouard Molinaro, Edward Dmytryk, Roland Joffḗ, Pedro Almodovar, Franco Zeffirelli, Barry Levinson, Terrence Malick, Brian De Palma and Quentin Tarantino. His most affecting music is for Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso (1988), a tribute to movies with a brilliant score, for which his son Andrea wrote the 'Love Theme'. Morricone was nominated and won awards everywhere including an Oscar for Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight in 2016, although he already had an honorary lifetime achievement Academy Award in 2007. Morricone was married to Maria Travia from 1956. They have three sons, Marco, Andrea and Giovanni, and a daughter, Alessandra.

Ennio Morricone

 

LENNIE NIEHAUS (11 June 1929-28 May 2020)
The American musician, composer, arranger and orchestrator Lennie Niehaus, who has died aged 90, had a long career playing in jazz bands, working with singers and composing for films. He particularly became associated with the films of Clint Eastwood, from Tightrope in 1984 to Gran Torino in 2008. He both wrote for films directed by Eastwood and orchestrated film scores by Eastwood and his son Kyle. Born into a musical family in St Louis, Missouri, Lennie NiehausLeonard Niehaus first learned to play violin, then bassoon, clarinet and alto sax. He worked with Jerry Wald’s Band and toured with Stan Kenton - both before and after US Army service - where he first met Eastwood. Having begun composing, Niehaus left the Kenton band to work on writing and arranging for television shows with The King Sisters, Mel Tormḗ, Dean Martin and Carol Burnett. From the early 1960s, Niehaus orchestrated for film and TV composer Jerry Fielding on Straw Dogs, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, The Bad News Bears and Demon Seed. Later on he composed his own film scores which generally had an emphasis on jazz, coinciding with Eastwood’s own taste in music. Among the scores he wrote for Eastwood are Pale Rider, Heartbreak Ridge, Bird, White Hunter Black Heart, Unforgiven, A Perfect World, The Bridges of Madison County, Absolute Power, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, True Crime, Space Cowboys and Blood Work. Niehaus also did the orchestrations for The Outlaw Josey Wales, Escape from Alcatraz, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of Our Fathers, Changeling and Gran Torino, etc. He also worked on other films and TV shows, composing, arranging and conducting. Apart from film scores, Niehaus wrote many jazz works and recorded several albums including many with Stan Kenton, and he won an Emmy Award for the TV show Lush Life. Lennie Niehaus and his wife Patricia have a daughter, Susan.

 

KIP NIVEN (27 May 1945-6 May 2019)
The name of the American actor Kip Niven, who has died from a heart attack aged 73, may not mean too much to UK audiences, but he had a long career in theatre, cinema, television and radio. A native of Kansas, he joined the university theatre programme and gained much experience as an actor on stage. His TV career began in 1968 and he worked solidly on the small screen until he found favour in Magnum Force (1973), one of Clint Eastwood’s ‘Dirty’ Harry Calahan movies in which he played rogue cop Astrachan. Kip NivenMore television work led to films such as Newman’s Law, with George Peppard, and Airport 1975, Jack Smight’s group jeopardy drama with a starry cast headed by Charlton Heston.
He was in Earthquake, another battle for survival with Heston again, and Ava Gardner and the earth-movingly tremulous Sensurround sound process. Niven’s third disaster movie was The Hindenburg, Robert Wise’s flaming Zeppelin drama with George C. Scott and a few archive shots of the original disaster. Completing his run of real-life historical dramas, Niven played a pilot in Battle of Midway with director Smight and Heston again. Scarlet Buccaneer (aka Swashbuckler) was pirate hokum with Robert Shaw.
Niven appeared on TV more than he did in films during the 1970s. In 1977 he did Smight’s Damnation Alley with Jan-Michael Vincent and George Peppard and three years later played a serial killer in New Year’s Evil (1980), a so-so schlock-horror fest. Although always busy on TV, Kip Niven had to wait twenty years to get back in the cinema. The Painting (aka Soldiers of Change, 2001), was a race related film that didn’t make the UK. More Than Puppy Love suffered the same fate, while little happened to Raising Jeffrey Dahmer, The Only Good Indian, Jayhawkers or Goodland. Kip Niven’s last film role was as Farmer Jim in The Land which still awaits a release. In a long career of over fifty years on film and TV, Kip Niven never appeared to be out of work. His first wife, actress Susan Tisdall, with whom he had a son and daughter, died in 1981. He then married the actress Linda Lavin, but they divorced in 1992, and finally he married Mary Beth Reiff, who gave him a daughter, but Mary died in 2012.

 

GEOFFREY PALMER (4 June 1927-6 November 2020)   
The British actor Geoffrey Palmer, who has died aged 93, was a very popular figure in TV comedies and dramas, but in a 65-year career he also appeared Geoffrey Palmeron stage and in many films. He will be particularly remembered for Bob Larbey’s BBC sitcom As Time Goes By in which he co-starred with Judi Dench for sixty-four episodes from 1992. But he was in many other comedy series such as The Army Game, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Butterflies, Fawlty Towers, The Goodies, Whoops Apocalypse, Blackadder and Rev among others. Television drama included The Avengers, The Saint, Doctor Who, Colditz, The Sweeney, Bergerac  and Poirot. On stage he worked for the National Theatre, the Royal Court in London and the Theatre Royal in Nottingham. He also made several radio recordings and was the narrator of the Mr Men children’s TV series. In the cinema he began in 1962, uncredited, in A Prize of Arms, then Ring of Spies, Cast a Giant Shadow with Kirk Douglas and John Wayne, Lindsay Anderson’s O Lucky Man!, The Outsider with Sterling Hayden, Peter Greenaway’s A Zed and Two Noughts, Clockwise and A Fish Called Wanda with John Cleese, Alan Bennett’s screenplay of The Madness of King George, Mrs Brown with Judi Dench, the Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies, Anna and the King with Jodie Foster, Peter Pan (as Quiller Couch), Stanley Baldwin in Madonna’s W.E. and Paddington. His last film, An Unquiet Life, about Roald Dahl’s marriage to Patricia Neal, has yet to be released. Geoffrey Palmer was married to Sally Green and they have a daughter, Harriet, and a son, Charles. He was awarded an OBE in 2004.

 

ALAN PARKER (14 February 1944-31July 2020)
The British writer-director-producer Alan Parker, who has died aged 76 after a long illness, started his working life as an advertising copywriter, often filming his own award-winning TV commercials. After making a couple of shorts, Footsteps and Our Cissy, he wrote Melody (1971) - aka S.W.A.L.K. in the UK - an innocent romance between two children played by Mark Lester and Tracy Hyde. Then he wrote and directed No Hard Feelings, a love story set during the Blitz. Alan ParkerIt wasn’t shown by the BBC until 1976. Before that was another BBC film, The Evacuees, Jack Rosenthal’s script about two Jewish boys evacuated during the war. A mark of Parker’s work was his wide range of genres. Midnight Express is a prison drama about drug-smuggling in Turkey, whereas Fame details the lives of musical students at the High School of Performing Arts in New York. Shoot the Moon is a marital drama with Albert Finney and Diane Keaton. By now well-established as a director, Parker went on to do Pink Floyd – The Wall, then Birdy, about Vietnam vets Matthew Modine and Nicolas Cage, Angel Heart, a psychological horror story with Mickey Rourke and, as Lucifer, Robert De Niro, and Mississippi Burning, a thriller set against Ku Klux Klan activities, with Gene Hackman. The best of Parker’s 1990s films is The Commitments, about music-obsessed kids in Dublin. Evita with Madonna works up to a point, and Angela’s Ashes is a moving story about author Frank McCourt’s childhood in Dublin. Parker’s last film (in 2003), The Life of David Gale, has Kevin Spacey as a man on Death Row in Texas. Parker received many industry awards, including a Bafta for his screenplay to Bugsy Malone and two more Baftas for directing Midnight Express and The Commitments and Oscar-nominations for Midnight Express and Mississippi Burning. In 2013, he received the Bafta Fellowship. He was made a CBE in 1995 and was knighted in 2002. He married and divorced Annie Inglis and then married the producer Lisa Moran. He is the father of a daughter Lucy and four sons, Henry, Alexander, Jake and the screenwriter Nathan Parker.

  

NICHOLAS PARSONS (10 October 1923-28 January 2020)
What most people don’t realise about Nicholas Parsons, who has died aged 96 after a short illness, is that before he was a radio and television presenter he was an actor on stage, in films and on television. Although he always wanted to be an actor, his parents apprenticed him to an engineering firm in Glasgow, followed by study at Glasgow University. He qualified as a mechanical engineer but never graduated. Illness prevented him from joining the Merchant Navy in World War II so, after the war he became an actor in London in The Hasty Heart and Arsenic and Old Lace, followed by rep at Bromley, Windsor and Maidstone. He had been discovered by impresario Carroll Levis and appeared on his radio show. Parsons also did a stint as a stand-up comedian at the Windmill Theatre and later appeared in Boeing-Boeing, was the Narrator in the first London production of Sondheim’s Into the Woods and took part in the 21st anniversary production of The Rocky Horror Show. On television early on he was the voice of Tex Tucker in Gerry Anderson’s puppet series Four Feather Falls. Later he played stooge on comedian Arthur Haynes’ TV show for ten years, with Haynes always referring to Parsons as ‘Nicholarse’. He also worked with Benny Hill and other TV included The Very Merry Widow, The Ugliest Girl In Town, Kappatoo, The Comic Strip, Doctor Who, Cluedo and the children’s shows Bodger and Badger and The Wotnots. From 1971 he was the presenter on Anglia TV’s quiz show Sale of the Century for the next twelve years. However, before that he became (unwillingly, at first) the chairman of the BBC radio programme Just a Minute in 1967, a job he kept for some fifty-two years, with nary a break, missing just a couple of recordings due to ill-health. The show was transferred to television for a while but it was not a long-runner on the box.
Nicholas Parsons

That leaves the films that Parsons made. Although he was on TV from 1953, he had made his cinema debut in Master of Bankdam in 1947, playing Edgar Hoylehouse in a saga about a Yorkshire mill family. He then had small parts in many 1950s films, including To Dorothy a Son with Shelley Winters, Simon and Laura with Peter Finch and Kay Kendall, An Alligator Named Daisy and Eyewitness, both with Donald Sinden, The Long Arm with Jack Hawkins, Brothers in Law with Richard Attenborough, Happy Is the Bride with Ian Carmichael, Too Many Crooks and Carlton-Browne of the F.O. both with Terry-Thomas, Upstairs and Downstairs with Michael Craig, Let’s Get Married with Anthony Newley, and then Doctor in Love, Carry on Regardless, Murder Ahoy!, Every Day’s a Holiday and The Wrong Box. He made a few more films until 1976 and his last cinema appearance was as himself in Lady Godiva in 2008. Nicholas Parsons was first married to the actress Denise Bryer and they have two children. Following their divorce in 1989 he married Ann Reynolds in 1995. He was appointed OBE in 2004 and CBE in 2014, for his children’s charity work.

 

IVAN PASSER (10 July 1933-9 January 2020)
The Czech writer-director Ivan Passer, who has died aged 86 from pulmonary complications, was part of the Czech New Wave of filmmaking in the 1960s. Until then a political stranglehold prevented filmmakers from expressing their own perhaps controversial views. Passer was part of a group that included Jirί Menzel, Jan Nĕmec, Vera Chytilová and Miloš Forman, for whom he wrote Loves of a Blonde and The Fireman’s Ball. It was, however, a short-lived hiatus because, when the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, the government shutters went back up against personal artistic freedom. Ivan PasserSome of the Czech directors moved to the US where they found it easier to work. After a short subject, A Boring Afternoon, and the feature Intimate Lighting, Ivan Passer left Czechoslovakia and made his next film in the US. Born to Win (1971) starred George Segal as a former hairdresser and petty criminal. This was followed by Law and Disorder with Carroll O’Connor and Ernest Borgnine as two disenchanted New York cops, and Ace Up My Sleeve, based on a James Hadley Chase novel, with Omar Sharif as an embezzler. Silver Bears featured Michael Caine and Cybill Shepherd in a comic crime story about money laundering. More criminal activity in Cutter’s Way, with Jeff Bridges uncovering a possible murderer. Passer had a change of subject for Creator, with Peter O’Toole as a scientist trying to clone his dead wife. Haunted Summer featured the threesome that were Lord Byron, Mary Shelley and Percy Shelley. Pretty Hattie’s Baby about a white girl adopted by a black family was made but never released. It starred Alfre Woodard who was also in The Wishing Tree, playing a woman returning to her black roots in Savannah. Passer also directed a number of TV movies including a biopic on Stalin with Robert Duvall, a version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped with Armand Assante, and a remake of Picnic from the play by William Inge with Bonnie Bedelia and Josh Brolin. Passer’s last film was Nomad: The Warrior, made in France and Kazakhstan in 2005. Ivan Passer’s US films were not exactly personal statements of the sort he might have made in Czechoslovakia, but he was a good journeyman director of genre movies. He later became a professor of film at the University of Southern California. Passer was married to Eva Lίmanová and they have one son, Ivan Passer Jr. 

   

D.A. PENNEBAKER (15 July 1925-1 August 2019)
The documentary film director and cinematographer Donn Alan Pennebaker, who has died aged 94 from natural causes, became something of a one-man industry as far as cinéma-vérité was concerned. Before taking up filmmaking, he studied engineering at Yale, ran an electronics firm and worked in advertising. He started making short films in 1953, often with Shirley Clarke (famous for her film The Connection, about drug addicts). D.A. PennebakerHis first film of any length was Opening in Moscow, on the 1959 American Exhibition in Russia. After some TV work, he made Jane, about the 25-year-old actress Jane Fonda rehearsing a play. In 1967 he made the film he is most famous for – Don’t Look Back, a feature-length portrait of the singer Bob Dylan on his 1965 tour of the UK. Monterey Pop covered the pre-Woodstock music festival with The Mamas and The Papas, Canned Heat, Simon & Garfunkel, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, The Animals, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Ravi Shankar, etc. He filmed the recording of Stephen Sondheim’s Company for Original Cast Album in which Elaine Stritch had trouble getting it together (she compared it to “like Judy Garland playing the Margaret Rutherford story”). Pennebaker made more films with musicians including John Lennon, David Bowie, Little Richard, Otis Redding and a feature on Stax Records. Other subjects included John DeLorean, Bill Clinton, Town Bloody Hall with Norman Mailer and Germaine Greer, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, the actress’s one-woman show, Woodstock Diary, Kings of Pastry, about the French pastry chef award, and the five-hour National Anthem: Inside the Vote for Change Concert Tour in 2004, plus many other counter-culture films, often with a musical subject. He was regularly his own cinematographer, sometimes his editor too and also producer. He had a single acting credit in Wild 90, the 1968 film he wrote for Norman Mailer. D. A. Pennebaker was married three times and is the father of eight children. He was awarded a lifetime achievement Oscar in 2013.

 

MICHEL PICCOLI (27 December 1925-12 May 2020)
The veteran French actor Michel Piccoli, who has died following a stroke at the age of 94, was an international star player of enormous magnitude, making nearly two hundred films and many television appearances in his seventy-year career. What Jean Gabin was in the 1930s and ’40s, Piccoli was the equivalent, the great French film and theatre actor of his own generation. He could take on a part and, as he himself said, disappear into a character whether it be a commoner or a king, a hoodlum or a priest, or an everyday member of the bourgeoisie. He worked with the best directors in the business including Godard, Sautet, Buñuel, Melville, Malle, Resnais and even Hitchcock. Born into a family of musicians, Piccoli made his film debut in small roles from 1945. At the time he was rubbing shoulders with the Paris intellectual set of Sartre and De Beauvoir and the singer Juliette Grḗco whom he subsequently married.
Michel Piccoli After years of small parts and short films he appeared in Jean Renoir’s French Cancan (1955) with Gabin and then in Raymond Rouleau’s Les sorciẻres de Salem (aka The Crucible) with Yves Montand and Simone Signoret. Piccoli began to find international fame working with Godard on Le Mḗpris with Bardot and Jack Palance and with Buñuel on The Diary of a Chambermaid with Jeanne Moreau. Peter Ustinov directed him in Lady L (1965) with Sophia Loren and Paul Newman, followed by Alain Resnais’ La guerre est finie with Yves Montand. Is Paris Burning? was Renḗ Clḗment’s war epic with an international cast (Belmondo, Boyer, Delon, Caron, Cassel, George Chakiris, Claude Dauphin, Glenn Ford et al). He worked with Chakiris again on Jacques Demy’s musical charmer Les Demoiselles de Rochefort, with Deneuve and her sister, the late Françoise Dorlḗac. Deneuve was Buñuel’s Belle de Jour with Piccoli, and the same director cast him in The Milky Way, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Phantom of Liberty. Hitchcock used him for Topaz, Chabrol had him for Ten Days Wonder, and Marco Ferreri put him in La grande bouffe with Mastroianni and Noiret.
Appearing mainly in French films by French directors working at home, Piccoli was, however, in Louis Malle’s Atlantic City, USA, filmed in the States with Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon. He was with Godard again for Passion, with Charlotte Rampling in Claude Lelouch’s Long Live Life, and in so many more films that he must have been the busiest actor in France. He was still working up to 2015 when his last film was a short called Our Lady of Hormones which he narrated. Michel Piccoli was first married to actress Elḗonore Hirt, the mother of their daughter Cordelia. He was then married to actress and singer Juliette Grḗco from 1966 to 1976 when they divorced. Finally, he was married to actress Ludivine Clerc with whom he has two children. Although he never won an Oscar, he was nominated many times for the French equivalent of the Academy Award, the Cḗsar, along with winning many other international awards.

 

RONALD PICKUP (7 June 1940-24 February 2021)
The British actor Ronald Pickup made his stage debut as Octavius in the 1964 production of Julius Caesar at the Royal Court in London. He joined the National Theatre under Laurence Olivier at The Old Vic in plays by Shakespeare, Chekhov, O’Neill, O’Casey, Shaw, etc, and also contemporary works by Trevor Griffith, Tom Stoppard, John Arden and David Hare.
Ronald PickupHe also toured as Lucky in Waiting for Godot and played in Alan Ayckbourn’s The Norman Conquests in the West End. Ronald Pickup, who has died aged 80 after a long illness, made his television debut in Doctor Who in 1964. His first film was a version of the National Theatre’s Three Sisters with Laurence Olivier and Alan Bates. His next was Fred Zinnemann’s excellent treatment of Frederick Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal in which he played the documents forger. Then there was Ken Russell’s Mahler, Tony Richardson’s Joseph Andrews and Don Sharp’s version of The Thirty-Nine Steps. Pickup appeared more on television but still made occasional films such as Zulu Dawn, the sequel to Zulu, and Nijinsky, in which he played Stravinsky. Never Say Never Again was Sean Connery’s last Bond movie, Eleni was Peter Yates’s Greek Civil War drama, and The Mission  Roland Joffé's highly praised film about Spanish Jesuits, with Robert De Niro. The Fourth Protocol returned him to Frederick Forsyth’s world of spies and A Dry White Season was a thriller set in South Africa. Other TV work included episodes of Coronation Street and Downton Abbey, and he was the Archbishop of Canterbury in The Crown. His last two major films were The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its sequel, in which Pickup played the philanderer Norman Cousins. His last film is Schadenfreude directed by his son, Simon Pickup, which awaits a release. Ronald Pickup was married to the actress Lans Traverse (they met at Rada) and as well as a son, Simon, they have a daughter, the actress Rachel Pickup.

 

BARNEY PLATTS-MILLS (15 October 1944-5 October 2021)
The British writer-director Barney Platts-Mills, who has died aged 76, seemed to be a new hope for independent British cinema in the 1970s. However, he directed just four feature films and a few documentaries while the rest of his career was taken up with other projects mostly encouraging young people into the film business. He made an initial splash with his first feature, Bronco Bullfrog (1969), for which he worked with young amateurs from Stratford in east London. It depicts the lives of street youths who become (very) minor criminals in their attempts at robbery.
Barney Platts-Mills The film focuses on Del (Del Walker) and Irene (Anne Gooding) who get together in an effort to escape their miserable daily lives. The film won an award at Cannes and a Screenwriters' Guild award for Best Original Screenplay. This was followed in 1971 by Private Road, about Peter, a writer (Bruce Robinson), who meets Ann, a receptionist (Susan Penhaligon), who then go off to live in Scotland. The relationship falters when Ann becomes pregnant. The film won the Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno Film Festival.
Barney Platts-Mills began his film career in 1960 as an assistant editor at Shepperton Studios working on productions such as Spartacus, The Greengage Summer and A Kind of Loving. He also did some editing for television. In 1966 with his Maya Films company he made documentaries on David Hockney and the St Christopher's Rudolf Steiner Schools. He made the short films The War, with Colin Welland and Eric Burdon, and Everybody's an Actor, Shakespeare Said, about the theatre director Joan Littlewood. Later he wrote a screenplay, Double Trouble, which was published as a novel but never filmed. Other works included Hero, made in Gaelic for Film Four with youths from a Glasgow street gang. Ebb Tide, based on a story set in Sri Lanka by Robert Louis Stevenson, was cast with Harry Dean Stanton and Christopher Lee but remained unmade when war broke out in Sri Lanka. Platts-Mills made a TV documentary for Channel Four's Dispatches series and he worked with young offenders and on various other youth projects. In 2000 he moved to Morocco and wrote Zohra: A Moroccan Fairytale which he eventually filmed in 2010. Barney Platts-Mills married and divorced Caroline Younger and is survived by his partner Catriona Guinness and his two children, Ruby and Roland, from another relationship.

 

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER (13 December 1929-5 February 2021)
The Canadian actor Christopher Plummer will always be associated with The Sound of Music. He played Captain von Trapp, the father of seven children he treated with military discipline. He was born in Toronto and, inspired by Olivier’s Henry V,
Christopher Plummerhe began acting in high school. He toured in theatre from 1953 and also made his TV debut. In 1956 he joined the Stratford Ontario Shakespeare Festival before entering films in 1958 with Sidney Lumet’s Stage Struck. Then came Nicholas Ray’s Wind Across the Everglades, Anthony Mann’s The Fall of the Roman Empire - in which he played the emperor Commodus - and The Sound of Music (1965). The same year saw him in Inside Daisy Clover, Robert Mulligan’s adaptation of Gavin Lambert’s novel in which Plummer played a Hollywood studio head. His film career continued with roles as a Nazi spy in Triple Cross, Field Marshall Rommel in The Night of the Generals, the title role in Oedipus the King, a high commissioner in Nobody Runs Forever, a squadron leader in Battle of Britain, and the Inca leader Atahualpa in The Royal Hunt of the Sun. He played Rudyard Kipling in The Man Who Would Be King and also played an archduke, an emperor, a grand duke, a monsignor and even Sherlock Holmes in Murder By Decree. He was Aristotle, Herod, Tolstoy, the Kaiser, John Barrymore and took over from Kevin Spacey as J. Paul Getty in Ridley Scott's All the Money in the World, for which he received an Academy Award nomination, the oldest actor to be so honoured, aged 88. Two of his best parts were in Beginners (2010), playing a man coming out of the closet at 75, for which he won an Oscar (at 82 the oldest actor to do so), and his voice-over on My Dog Tulip (2009), a beautifully animated tale of a gay man and his dog. His last films were Rian Johnson's critically acclaimed whodunit Knives Out and The Last Full Measure, a real-life war drama (2019). Christopher Plummer, who has died aged 91 following a fall, married the actress Tammy Grimes in 1956 and they have a daughter, the successful actress Amanda Plummer. Then he married the journalist Patricia Lewis in 1962, and finally the actress Elaine Taylor in 1970. He wrote a memoir, In Spite of Myself, in 2008.

 

MICHAEL J. POLLARD (30 May 1939-20 November 2019)
The American actor Michael J. Pollard, who has died from a heart attack at the age of 80, will be remembered for one role in particular, although he had a long career in film and television lasting for over fifty years. That one role was as one of the accomplices of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow (played by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty) in Bonnie and Clyde, Arthur Penn’s 1967 film about the 1930s gun-toting bank robbers. Michael J. PollardPollard played C.W. Moss, the couple’s driver and mechanic, for which he received an Oscar nomination. His Actors’ Studio training (with Marilyn Monroe, no less) was put to good use in his amusing, mumbling, naturalistic performance, coupled with his angelic, curly-mopped face. Pollard had done a lot of acting before and Warren Beatty discovered him when they worked together in the theatre. After quite a bit of stage work, Pollard broke into television in 1958 but his first film was It Happened to Jane (1958), in an uncredited role with Doris Day and Jack Lemmon. Much more TV saw him into the 1960s when other films came along – Martin Ritt’s Adventures of a Young Man with Richard Beymer, Franklin J. Schaffner’s Woman of Summer with Joanne Woodward and Beymer again, and Summer Magic with Hayley Mills. More TV kept him busy until Norman Jewison’s The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! Then Roger Corman’s The Wild Angels saw him working with Peter Fonda, Nancy Sinatra and Bruce Dern. Enter Laughing was Carl Reiner’s comedy about a young tyro actor, and Caprice was with Doris Day again plus Richard Harris. After Bonnie and Clyde there was James Goldstone’s Jigsaw, Michael Winner’s Hannibal Brooks, Little Fauss and Big Halsy (as Little Fauss) with Robert Redford, and a starring role in Dirty Little Billy (as Billy the Kid). Pollard co-starred with Ernest Borgnine in Sunday in the Country and played ‘The Hawker’ in Between the Lines, about an underground Boston newspaper, and he was Little Red in Melvin and Howard about the millionaire Howard Hughes. Other of Pollard’s films included The Patriot, America, The American Way and Roxanne. He was in Scrooged, an update of A Christmas Carol, Next of Kin with Patrick Swayze and Liam Neeson, Tango & Cash with Sylvester Stallone, and Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy. In the 1990s and from 2000 onwards, he made many films but nothing particularly interesting, did more TV and played himself in Remembering Nigel. His last film, The Next Cassavetes, is still in post-production. Michael J. Pollard married and divorced actress Beth Howland (she died in 2015) and they have a daughter, Holly. He also married and divorced Annie Tolstoy and they have a son, Axel.

 

ANTHONY POWELL (2 June 1935-16 April 2021)
One of Britain’s best designers of costumes for both films and theatre was Anthony Powell, who has died at the age of 85. He was a Tony, Academy Award and Bafta winner who succeeded in both art forms and enjoyed working on some very prestigious productions. Born in Chorlton-cum-Hardy in Greater Manchester, he was brought up in Anthony PowellYorkshire and Dublin. After touring as a teenage puppeteer, he eventually studied at London’s Central School of Art & Design and then became apprenticed to Oliver Messell and Cecil Beaton. Before he was thirty he had won a Tony Award for his designs for John Gielgud’s production of The School for Scandal, and he went on to design costumes for stage productions of Private Lives, Amadeus, Hay Fever, Sunset Boulevard, Anything Goes, My Fair Lady, Singin’ in the Rain and the Richard Strauss opera Capriccio. His first film was The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1969) based on Peter Shaffer’s play. Three years later he won his first (of three Academy Awards) for George Cukor’s Travels With My Aunt, the Graham Greene story with Maggie Smith. He worked on a variety of projects set in differing periods of time including Papillon (1973) with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, That Lucky Touch with Roger Moore, Robert Altman’s Buffalo Bill and the Indians, William Friedkin’s Sorcerer (a version of The Wages of Fear), and Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile (1978, and another Oscar and Bafta winner) followed by Evil Under the Sun (1982), which was a surprising flop. Powell designed two Indiana Jones movies, The Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade, as well as Steven Spielberg’s Hook. He worked with Roman Polanski on Tess (another Oscar), Pirates, Frantic and The Ninth Gate. Towards the end of his film career, Powell designed 101 Dalmatians and 102 Dalmatians and his last film was Miss Potter with Renée Zellweger, in 2006.

 

JANE POWELL (1 April 1929-16 September 2021)

The petite American actress and singer became a movie star, making her screen debut at the age of fifteen. Born in Portland, Oregon, she sang and danced from an early age, performing on a children's radio programme at eight, but in her teens moved to Hollywood and secured a contract with MGM. She had a natural coloratura soprano voice which gave her leading roles in many musicals. Her first feature was Song of the Open Road in 1944 and she went on to do Delightfully Dangerous, Holiday in Mexico and Three Daring Daughters before having the title role in A Date With Judy, with Wallace Beery and Elizabeth Taylor. More musicals included Two Weeks With Love (1950) with Ricardo Montalban, Royal Wedding (1951, replacing Judy Garland) with Fred Astaire, and Rich, Young and Pretty (1951) with Fernando Lamas.
Powell was at MGM in its heyday when the studio turned out musicals week after week. She had a sunny personality that made her popular with audiences who saw her as the girl-next-door. She will be remembered mainly for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), Stanley Donen's rip-roaring musical with Howard Keel as a backwoodsman bringing home a bride to his six brothers. The film was notable for Michael Kidd's outstanding dance numbers. Powell continued in musicals, Jane Powellincluding Deep in My Heart, a biopic on the composer Sigmund Romberg played by Jose Ferrer, and Hit the Deck with Tony Martin and Debbie Reynolds. When the musicals dried up, she acted in non-musical films such as The Girl Most Likely, The Female Animal and Enchanted Island, and she ended the 1950s in a television version of Meet Me in St Louis with Tab Hunter and Walter Pidgeon.
Television more or less took over Jane Powell's career from the 1960s and through the 1980s. In 1973 she had replaced Debbie Reynolds in the stage musical of Irene and she did other musical shows including Allegro, The Most Happy Fella,  South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Oklahoma!, My Fair Lady, Carousel, and Stephen Sondheim's Bounce. She also had a one-woman show and published her autobiography, The Girl Next Door and How She Grew. In the 1990s Powell came back to TV and her last appearance was in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2002. Finally, she was part of Rick McKay's documentary Broadway: The Golden Age in 2003. Jane Powell had married actor-skater Geary Steffen in 1949 and they have a son, Geary Jr, and a daughter Suzanne. Powell's marriage to Patrick Nerney produced daughter Lindsay and she was also married to James Fitzgerald, David Stellar Parlour and the actor Dickie Moore from 1988 to his death in 2015.

  

NIK POWELL (4 November 1950-7 November 2019)
Film producer and one-time record executive Nik Powell, who has died of cancer at the age of 69, surfaced at a time when the British film industry really needed him. He created Palace Pictures which produced many high-profile films and furthered the careers of directors Mike Leigh, Peter Greenaway and Neil Jordan, etc. Early on he knew Richard Branson and they went into business together, trying to market, of all things, Nik Powellthe breeding of budgies and growing fir trees for Christmas. After these failures, Branson and Powell launched Student magazine, but following a falling out, Powell then joined Branson in a mail order record company called Slipped Disc, with shops around London. He then co-founded Virgin Records with Branson and from their first release, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, the company was a huge success. In 1983, Powell parted from Virgin to create Palace Pictures with Stephen Woolley who ran the Scala independent cinema in Bloomsbury and later in King’s Cross. Together they produced some of the most interesting British films of the 1980s and ’90s including The Company of Wolves, Absolute Beginners, Mona Lisa, High Spirits, Scandal, Red, Hot and Blue, The Pope Must Die and The Crying Game among many others. When Palace went out of business, Powell continued as a producer with Scala Productions, releasing Backbeat, The Neon Bible, Fever Pitch, Little Voice, Last Orders, Ladies in LavenderBrimstone, and many others. Willow, made in Macedonia, is due to be released soon, while A Gentleman’s War, Scott Hicks’ film about Douglas Jardine and the 1930s cricket bodyline scandal, is in pre-production. From 2003 to 2017, Nik Powell was the director of the National Film and Television School. His first wife was Merrill Tomassi, Richard Branson’s sister-in-law and, following their divorce, he married the singer Sandie Shaw in 1982. They have two children, Amie and Jack, and divorced in 1995. Nik Powell received the OBE for his services to the music, film and television industries in 2018.

 

KELLY PRESTON (13 October 1962-12 July 2020)
The American actress and model Kelly Preston, who has died aged 57 from breast cancer, was born in Honolulu, raised in Iraq and Australia and studied theatre in Southern California. At 16, she became a model, leading to appearances on TV in Hawaii Five-O, Quincy M.E., CHiPs and For Love and Honor, etc. Her first film was 10 to Midnight (1983) with Charles Bronson, then John Carpenter’s Christine, Secret Admirer and A Tiger’s Tale, both with C. Thomas Howell, SpaceCamp with Kate Capshaw and John Frankenheimer’s 52 Pick-Up. Ivan Reitman’s Twins brought her international fame and she continued working in films and television, with From Dawn to Dusk, Citizen Ruth, Jerry Maguire, Addicted to Love, Holy Man and Jack Frost her more interesting films. She appeared with her  second husband John Travolta in Battlefield Earth and worked until 2018 on projects including Eulogy, Return to Sender, Death Sentence, Old Dogs and Gotti, both with Travolta, and Last Song with Miley Cyrus. She first married and then divorced the actor Kevin Gage. With Travolta, Kelly has three children, daughter Ella Bleu, son Benjamin and son Jett who died in 2009 aged 27. Preston was a great supporter of education, drug reform and other charities.

Kelly Preston

  

DAVID PROWSE (1 July 1935-28 November 2020)
The British actor, bodybuilder and weightlifter David Prowse, David Prowsewho has died aged 85, will be best remembered on two accounts. Apart from his being a British weightlifting champion in the 1962 Commonwealth Games, he became the face of road safety for children as the superhero figure, the Green Cross Code Man, in several commercials from the 1970s. At six-foot seven-inches (2.01m) he was a commanding figure and at first was typecast as Frankenstein’s Creature in the 1967 Casino Royale and also appeared in The Horror of Frankenstein, as well as the comedies Up Pompeii, Up the Chastity Belt and Carry On Henry until film producer George Lucas saw him in A Clockwork Orange. This ultimately led to Prowse playing Darth Vader in the first trilogy of Star Wars films from 1977. Prowse also appeared in many more films and television shows but he made an indelible mark on his role as Darth Vader - whose face is never seen. Having been born in Bristol, Prowse had a strong West Country accent, forcing Lucas to cast James Earl Jones as the ‘voice’ of Darth Vader. Ironically enough, at 89, James Earl Jones is, at the time of writing, still with us. However, no Star Wars fan will forget the physical presence of the ‘giant’ behind the battledress... the hypnotically impressive Dave Prowse.

 

ANNA QUAYLE (6 October 1932-16 August 2019)
On stage from the age of three in one of her father Douglas Quayle’s productions, the British actress Anna Quayle, who has died aged 86 from Lewy body dementia, specialised mainly in comedy roles but was also a talented dramatic performer. Following her training at Rada, Anna Quayleshe was immediately cast in several revues in Edinburgh and London. Her big break came in 1960 as the four heroines of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse’s musical Stop the World – I Want to Get Off. It played Manchester, London and Broadway, where Quayle secured a Tony Award. Other stage work included plays by Anthony Shaffer, Rodney Ackland, Terence Rattigan, Noël Coward and Sandy Wilson’s The Boyfriend. She appeared on television from 1961 in series including Not Only... But Also, The Avengers, Girls About Town, Grubstreet, Jackanory Playhouse, The Georgian House and The Basil Brush Show. Later on she was in Henry V, Brideshead Revisited, Father Charlie, Mapp & Lucia, Lytton’s Diary and The Sooty Show. For five years from 1990 she played Mrs Monroe in the children’s serial Grange Hill. Anna Quayle’s first film appearance was in A Hard Day’s Night (1964) with The Beatles and she went on to make The Sandwich Man with Michael Bentine, Drop Dead, Darling with Tony Curtis, Casino Royale (1967) with David Niven, Smashing Time with Rita Tushingham, and she had a prominent part as Baroness Bomburst in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She was in Up the Chastity Belt with Frankie Howerd, Mistress Pamela, a version of Samuel Richardson’s novel Pamela, Martin Campbell’s Eskimo Nell and also his Three for All, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution with Alan Arkin, Nicol Williamson and Laurence Olivier, Adventures of a Private Eye and ...of a Plumber’s Mate. Her last work was for television, Adam’s Family Tree in 1999. Anna Quayle married and divorced the actor Donald Baker. They have a daughter, Katy.

   

SANDY RATCLIFF (2 October 1948-7 April 2019)
The British actress Sandy Ratcliff, who has died from cancer at the age of 70, Sandy Ratcliffmade an instant impression in her first film, Ken Loach’s Family Life (1971), playing a teenage girl having a breakdown. Her next film was the science fiction film The Final Programme, from the Michael Moorcock novel. Her television work included Crossroads, Crown Court, Couples, Touch and Go, Danger UXB, Shoestring, Minder, Shelley and over 260 episodes of EastEnders, in which she played café owner Sue Osman. Other films included Yesterday’s Hero, written by Jackie Collins, Chris Petit’s Radio On, Hussy with Helen Mirren, Doll’s Eye and several TV movies, the last in 1994, after which she retired from acting. In 1991 she had appeared in court when her then-boyfriend was accused of murder, her last public appearance. She was married to the photographer Peter Wright from 1968 to 1973, and bore a son, William, whose father was ex-boyfriend, theatre director Terence Palmer. In her time, Sandy Ratcliff played bass guitar in the bands Tropical Appetite and Escalator. Following drug addiction and nervous breakdowns, she became a counsellor and ambulance driver.

 

CARL REINER (20 March 1922-29 June 2020)
The American actor, comedian, screenwriter, producer and director Carl Reiner, who has died at the age of 98, spent a lifetime making people laugh. Born to Jewish immigrant parents in New York City, young Carl became interested in theatre from an early age. During war service he was hospitalised with pneumonia, after which he trained as a French interpreter at Georgetown University where he began directing plays. He subsequently toured overseas with the Special Services entertainment unit until 1946. New York then beckoned and he played Broadway, securing the lead in the Harold Rome revue Call Me Mister. Television followed in 1950 with Sid Caesar’s Show of Shows and Caesar’s Hour, working with Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen, Larry Gelbart and others. More television comedy found him alongside George Burns and Gracie Allen, with Mel Brooks on The Steve Allen Show, and with Dinah Shore, Dick Van Dyke, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, Carol Burnett, Larry Sanders and many others, either as an actor or writer or as both.

Reiner’s first feature film as an actor was Happy Anniversary (1959), a comedy with David Niven and Mitzi Gaynor. Then he did The Gazebo with Glenn Ford and Debbie Reynolds, had three roles in The Thrill of It All with Doris Day, appeared in Stanley Kramer’s It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Norman Jewison’s The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! and The End Carl Reinerdirected by Burt Reynolds, plus countless others including Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen and The Majestic with Jim Carrey. In Toy Story 4 and on the Forky Asks a Question TV series he voiced the role of Carl Reinereoceros. His last acting appearance was in Saddle Up! which is still in pre-production. 

Reiner began directing films in 1969 with Enter Laughing (based on his own novel), then came The Comic with Dick Van Dyke, Where’s Poppa? with George Segal, Oh, God! with George Burns and The One and Only with Henry Winkler. He then made several films with Steve Martin, namely The Jerk, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, The Man With Two Brains and All of Me. He continued to direct films until his last, That Old Feeling in 1997 with Bette Midler. Reiner often appeared in the films he wrote, produced or directed. Writing and appearing with Mel Brooks he wrote their famous monologue 'The 2000 Year Old Man' which appeared as a book, an album and a short film. Like much of his output Reiner wrote what is essentially New York Jewish humour, along with the likes of Sid Caesar, Neil Simon, Woody Allen and, of course, Mel Brooks. They were responsible for creating the tone of American humour on television, influencing the likes of Soap, The Golden Girls, Rhoda and Frasier etc. Carl Reiner was the recipient of many awards including Primetime Emmys, American Comedy Awards, Directors Guild of America, MT Movie & TV Awards, The Writers Guild of America and a Grammy Award with Mel Brooks for The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000. Carl Reiner married the jazz singer Estelle Lebost in 1943. She died in 2008 but not before achieving lasting fame in her son Rob Reiner’s film When Harry Met Sally... by uttering the famous line: “I’ll have what she’s having.” The Reiners have three children, the poet and playwright Annie, the actor-director Lucas, and the  actor-writer-producer-director Rob Reiner. Carl Reiner’s first autobiography, My Anecdotal Life: A Memoir, was published in 2003. It was followed by a further seven memoirs and a dozen other books. A long and very busy life indeed.

 

ANN REINKING (10 November 1949-12 December 2020)
The American actress, dancer and choreographer Ann Reinking, who has died aged 71, was a celebrated performer on stage and in films. Born in Seattle, she learned ballet from an early age, making her stage debut at twelve  in the Royal Ballet’s Giselle. Burt ReynoldsShe studied with San Francisco Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet and joined the chorus at Radio City Music Hall. Among her first musical shows were Bye Bye Birdie (1965), Fiddler on the Roof, Girl Crazy, A Chorus Line, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Pal Joey, the tour of Applause which she also choreographed, and Cabaret on Broadway. She toured in and choreographed Chicago in the style of Bob Fosse, with whom she worked on Pippin (1972), becoming his muse and partner. They worked together on his Dancin’ revue and a revival of Sweet Charity. She was in Fosse’s All That Jazz, an autobiographical film based on their relationship. Fosse died in 1987 but Reinking perpetuated his work in a tribute show, Fosse (2001). On film she was part of Stanley Donen’s Hollywood spoof Movie Movie, and appeared in John Huston’s Annie and Blake Edwards’ Micki + Maude. Reinking produced a documentary In My Hands: A Story of Marfan Syndrome (2009), about the genetic disorder of the body’s connective tissue, from which Reinking’s son Chris Stuart suffers. She was married four times, to Larry Small, Herbert A. Allen, James Stuart and Peter Talbot. She won multiple awards including a Tony for Dancin’ and an Olivier Award for Fosse.

  

DIANA RIGG (20 July 1938-10 September 2020)
The British actress Diana Rigg, who has died aged 82 from cancer, will be remembered as Mrs Emma Peel, the female sidekick (with kick being the operative word) of John Steed (Patrick Macnee), hero of the 1960s television series The Avengers. Taking over from Honor Blackman’s Cathy Gale, she took on the physical action with great aplomb. However, Rigg was no mere decoration for the male chauvinist Steed and his ilk, because she always made her own mark with feisty independence.
Yorkshire-born Diana Rigg was brought up in India where her father worked as an engineer. Back in Britain she joined Rada at the start of an outstanding stage career in which, following repertory, she joined Peter Hall’s newly-formed Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon from 1960 and later worked at the National and then the Almeida. Diana RiggShe excelled in Shakespeare and other works by Molière, Shaw, Stoppard, Brecht, Tennessee Williams, etc. She also played Phyllis Stone in the first London production of Sondheim's Follies. Her first television appearance was in Peter Hall’s pre-RSC TV movie version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Albert Finney, Charles Laughton and Vanessa Redgrave. More TV led to The Avengers and Peter Hall’s 1968 cinema film of Shakespeare’s Dream in which Rigg played Helena with Judi Dench, David Warner and Helen Mirren.
More films materialised including The Assassination BureauJulius Caesar (as Portia) with Charlton Heston but, before that there was On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, with Rigg as James Bond's only wife, Tracy di Vicenzo. Other films included The Hospital, Theatre of Blood with Vincent Price, playing Charlotte in Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music (with a miscast Elizabeth Taylor as Desirḗe), The Great Muppet Caper, Agatha Christie’s Evil Under the Sun, the Evil Queen in Snow White, Genghis Kohn with Antony Sher, A Good Man in Africa with Sean Connery, Michael Winner’s Passing Shots, Heidi with Max von Sydow, The Painted Veil and Andy Serkis’s Breathe.
Apart from The Avengers, television played a large part in Rigg’s career, with Hedda GablerKing Lear (as Regan to Laurence Olivier’s Lear), Bleak House, Rebecca (as Mrs Danvers) and, of course, Game of Thrones, as Olenna Tyrell. After that she appeared with her daughter Rachael Stirling in Detectorists and Victoria, as the Duchess of Buccleuch. She is lately to be seen playing Mrs Pumphrey in the remake of All Creatures Great and Small. Her last film work was on Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho (due for release in April 2021) and a TV adaptation of Black Narcissus. Rigg’s first husband was the Israeli painter Menachem Gueffen whom she divorced. With the theatre producer Archie Stirling she had her daughter Rachael Stirling. They subsequently married and divorced. Diana Rigg won many awards for her work including a Bafta, a Tony, an Emmy and an Evening Standard Theatre Award. She was made a CBE in 1988 and a Dame Commander in 1994.  

 

PAUL RITTER (5 March 1966-5 April 2021)
The passing of that fine actor Paul Ritter at only 54 from a brain tumour is particularly saddening. He was clearly destined for further greatness in the future. Although he worked on many films, it was on television that he made his mark. He will be remembered for playing Martin Goodman in the Channel 4 sitcom Friday Night Dinner. His outrageous behaviour as the appalling father with a love for removing his shirt, an addiction to tomato ketchup and his Paul Ritterconstant reference to “lovely bit of squirrel” at the dinner table, allowed the actor to create a memorably hilarious figure. However, Ritter did not only play the silliest of comedy roles, but was also adept in the most serious of parts such as Anatoly Dyatlov in the brilliant TV mini-series Chernobyl, for which he and the rest of the personnel won a CinEuphoria Award. He was also prominent in other prestigious TV series such as Lark Rise to Candleford, The Game, Great Expectations, Mapp & Lucia, No Offence, Resistance, The Capture, Cold Feet, Belgravia, etc. Paul Ritter was born in Gravesend, Kent, to school secretary Joan Mooney and toolmaker Ken Adams. On stage he worked at the National Theatres in London and Hamburg, the Royal Court, The Old Vic and the Royal Shakespeare Company. His first film was G:MT Greenwich Mean Time in 1999 and he went on to appear in The Libertine (with Johnny Depp), Son of Rambow (with Will Poulter), Hannibal Rising (with Gaspard Ulliel), The Other Man (with Liam Neeson), Quantum of Solace (with Daniel Craig), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (as Eldred Worple), Sam Taylor Johnson’s Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, Kevin Macdonald’s The Eagle (with Channing Tatum), Their Finest (with Gemma Arterton), and Ron Howard’s Inferno (with Tom Hanks). His last film is John Madden’s Operation Mincemeat with Colin Firth, which is awaiting a release. Paul Ritter was married to Polly Radcliffe and they have two sons, Frank and Noah.

 

TANYA ROBERTS (15 October 1955–4 January 2021)

Tanya Roberts staked her position in pop cultural history by being both a Charlie’s angel and a Bond girl – and, less meaningfully, by taking the title role in John Guillermin's Sheena: Queen of the Jungle. Tanya RobertsBorn Victoria Leigh Blum, Tanya (as we shall call her) was born in the Bronx in New York and, being frightfully pretty, dreamed of becoming a fashion model. However, having hitchhiked her way around the US at the age of 15, she went all Method and enrolled at the Actors' Studio in New York. So she went from TV ads for Ultra Brite to weightier material off-Broadway with plays like Picnic and Antigone. She got her big break when she was cast as the streetwise Julie Rogers in the last season of Charlie’s Angels (1980–1981), leading to leads in The Beastmaster (1982) and Sheena (1984). She then played the ballsy earth scientist Stacey Sutton in A View to a Kill (1985), opposite Roger Moore. After all that, Tanya landed a recurring role in 81 episodes of the sitcom That '70s Show (1998–2004) alongside Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher. For fourteen years (1978-1992) she was also the sister-in-law of the psychedelic drug advocate Timothy Leary, who was married to her older sister, Barbara. Her death was confirmed by a representative of the actress on 3 January 2021, but then rescinded. The Cedars-Sinai Medical Center refused to comment on the state of her animation, due to “patient privacy laws.” However, a day later, her death was reported a second time, from sepsis. She was 65.

   

MAURICE ROËVES (19 March 1937-15 July 2020)
The actor Maurice Roëves, who has died aged 83, was born in Sunderland but, being raised in Glasgow, identified as Scots. After National Service, he joined his father’s flour mill. However, amateur drama groups ignited his interest in theatre, so he trained at the Glasgow College of Dramatic Art, then joined the Citizens’ Theatre and was cast in leading roles. Maurice RoevesEventually he appeared in many television series beginning with Dr Finlay’s Casebook in 1966 and went on to play the lead in Scobie in September, a thriller set at the Edinburgh Festival. Later he did Doomwatch, A Family at War, The Sweeney, Jackanory, Inside the Third Reich (as Hitler), Doctor Who, Tutti Frutti, the Hillsborough TV movie, EastEnders, Surviving Disaster (as Matt Busby in Munich Air Crash) and, in 2020, Nicole Taylor's The Nest, his last work for TV. Apart from television, Roëves secured parts in several films, including Joseph Strick’s Ulysses, Attenborough’s Oh! What a Lovely War and Young Winston, When Eight Bells Toll, The Eagle Has Landed, Escape to Victory, Who Dares Wins, Ken Loach’s Hidden Agenda, The Big Man with Liam Neeson, The Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day-Lewis, Judge Dredd with Sylvester Stallone, Beautiful Creatures with Rachel Weisz, Hallam Foe with Jamie Bell, The Damned United with Michael Sheen, the remake of Brighton Rock, and, in 2016, Macbeth (as Monteith) with Michael Fassbender, Roëves' last film. From 2001 he was married to Vanessa Rawlings-Jackson. His first wife was the actress Jan Wilson, with whom he has a daughter, Anne.

 

ANNIE ROSS (25 July 1930-21 July 2020)
The jazz singer and actress Annie Ross died four days before her ninetieth birthday from emphysema and heart disease. Annie RossBorn Annabelle Allan Short in London to Scots vaudevillians Jack and Mary Short, she moved to America aged four, winning a talent contest which took her to Los Angeles with her aunt, the singer-actress Ella Logan. The family, with brother Jimmy Logan, moved back to the UK. Meanwhile, Annie sang in the film Our Gang Follies of 1938 and in 1943 played Judy Garland’s sister in Presenting Lily Mars. She later resumed her film career, but first became a celebrated jazz singer, recording with Jon Hendricks and Dave Lambert with whom, as Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, she made seven classic albums. Her most famous song is ‘Twisted’. In 1964 she ran her own nightclub, Annie’s Room, but she soon went bankrupt. In 1972 she was back on stage, television and films, including Hammer’s Straight On Till Morning with Rita Tushingham, then Tony Richardson’s Dead Cert with her husband Sean Lynch, Ken Hughes’ Alfie Darling, John Schlesinger’s Yanks, Richard Lester’s Superman III, Danny DeVito’s Throw Momma From the Train, and Robert Altman’s The Player and Short Cuts, etc. She also dubbed other actors’ voices, including Britt Ekland in The Wicker Man and Ingrid Thulin in Salon Kitty. Annie Ross married Sean Lynch in 1963. They divorced in 1977 and he died in a car crash in 1979. A brief affair with drummer Kenny Clarke produced Annie’s only son, Kenny Clarke Jr.

 

GIUSEPPE ROTUNNO ((19 March 1923-7 February 2021)
The veteran Italian cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno enjoyed a global fifty-year career. He worked with many of the most prominent directors including Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini, Vittorio De Sica, Stanley Kramer, Martin Ritt, John Huston, Gieseppe RotunnoMike Nichols, Lina Wertmüller, Bob Fosse, Robert Aldrich, Alan J. Pakula, Fred Zinnemann, Terry Gilliam, Sydney Pollack and Dario Argento, to name but a few. He started out as a stills photographer at Cinecittà Studios in Rome. After being incarcerated by the Germans during World War II, he became assistant cameraman on several films before attaining his first position as a cinematographer on Dino Risi’s Scandal in Sorrento (1955) starring Vittorio De Sica and Sophia Loren. After that he never stopped working - on films such as On the Beach, Rocco and His Brothers, Boccaccio’70, The Leopard, The Bible... In the Beginning, Sunflower, Carnal Knowledge, Man of La Mancha and nine films for Fellini. He did Altman’s Popeye, Zinnemann’s Five Days One Summer and Mike Nichols’ Wolf, plus umpteen others. He was an extraordinary artist and his contribution was, arguably, often the best aspect of any film he worked on, be it in colour or monochrome. Just think of his black-and-white work on Rocco and His Brothers, or the rich colours of the ballroom scene in The Leopard, the complexity of All That Jazz (for which he was Oscar-nominated and won a Bafta), and his continuing work for Fellini on Satyricon, Roma, Amarcord, Casanova, Orchestral Rehearsal, And the Ship Sails On, etc and you really will get the picture. Giuseppe Rotunno, who has died aged 97, was the first non-American to join the American Society of Cinematographers, and was the winner of many awards in his own country. He was married to Graziolina Campori and they have three daughters, Tiziana, Paola and Carmen.

 

RICHARD RUSH (15 April 1929-8 April 2021)
The American film director, screenwriter and producer Richard Rush was something of a cinematic maverick. His films are an odd bunch, more independent than traditional Hollywood. As a child he was fanatical about Marcel Proust and Batman comics. He studied film at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) and began making television programmes for Richard Rushthe US Military about the Korean War. He created a company producing industrial and TV commercials before making his first feature, Too Soon to Love, in 1960. Considered to be the foundation of an America New Wave in cinema, the film was inspired by Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, and Jack Nicholson was among the cast. His next film, Of Love and Desire, starred Merle Oberon and Steve Cochran. Then came a clutch of exploitation movies including Hell’s Angels on Wheels and Psych-Out, both with Nicholson again. The Savage 7 was a sequel to Hell’s Angels on Wheels, and A Man Called Dagger was a spy thriller with Paul (Robinson Crusoe on Mars) Mantee. Getting Straight (1970) was a Hollywood studio movie, a political drama with Elliott Gould and Candice Bergen. Four years later Freebie and the Bean was a black comedy about San Francisco cops with James Caan and Alan Arkin, while another six years passed before the film that Rush will be best remembered for, The Stunt Man, hit the screens. It gained Academy Award nominations for Rush’s screenplay and direction and for the actor Peter O’Toole. Disagreements over Air America (1990) meant that Rush only provided the script, while Roger Spottiswoode took over the direction of a cast including Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. Color of Night (1994) with Bruce Willis was a flop and Rush ended his film career with a documentary on the making of The Stunt Man in 2001. Richard Rush, who has died aged 91, was married to the actress Claude Cuvereaux and they have a son, Anthony.

  

ALVIN SARGENT (12 April 1927-9 May 2019)
The American screenwriter Alvin Sargent, who has died of natural causes at the age of 92, was notorious for taking a long time to write his scripts. But, that said, he created many high-profile films and could never be accused of writing second-rate material. Alvin SargentHe was born Alvin Supowitz in Philadelphia where he was educated but left school to join the US Navy during World War II. Moving to Los Angeles, he worked as a restaurant waiter, then for a clothing company and then as a CBS prop man. After some acting experience, he sold advertisements for the showbiz paper Variety. He began writing for television from 1956 including for Naked City, Ben Casey, Route 66 and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. His first film script was for Gambit (1966) with Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine and then Robert Mulligan’s The Stalking Moon with Gregory Peck, Alan J. Pakula’s The Sterile Cuckoo (aka Pookie) with Liza Minnelli, and I Walk the Line, again with Peck. In the 1970s he wrote The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds for director Paul Newman and star Joanne Woodward, Peter Bogdanovich’s Paper Moon, and Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing, again for Pakula and starring Maggie Smith. He contributed (uncredited) to Streisand’s version of A Star Is Born, Sydney Pollack’s Bobby Deerfield, and Julia for Fred Zinnemann, with whom he had worked as an uncredited actor on From Here to Eternity in 1953. After Straight Time, The Electric Horseman, Nuts (with Streisand), and Ordinary People, Robert Redford’s first film as a director, Sargent worked through the 1990s with Susan Sarandon, Bill Murray, Danny DeVito, Dustin Hoffman, Whoopi Goldberg and Richard Gere, until Spider-Man 2 came along in 2004, followed by Spider-Man 3 and finally The Amazing Spider-Man, his last screenplay (in 2012). Alvin Sargent was married to the actress Joan Camden for over twenty years. After their divorce, he lived with Laura Ziskin, producer of the Spider-Man movies, for 25 years but they married only a year before she died in 2011. Sargent won two Academy Awards, for Julia and Ordinary People.

 

JOHN SAXON (5 August 1936-25 July 2020)
The American actor John Saxon, who has died aged 83 from pneumonia, had a busy film and TV career for over 60 years. Born Carmina Orrico to Italian-American parents, he studied acting with the Method teachings of Stella Adler. Discovered by a model agent, John Saxonhe was given a contract at Universal Studios. A couple of uncredited appearances in It Should Happen to You and A Star Is Born in 1954 led to his first film role in Running Wild with Mamie Van Doren, followed by The Unguarded Moment with Esther Williams, Rock, Pretty Baby! with Sal Mineo, Summer Love with Rod McKuen, Blake Edwards’ This Happy Feeling with Debbie Reynolds, and Vincente Minnelli’s The Reluctant Debutante, the first of  three films he made with Sandra Dee. Heftier roles came in The  Big Fisherman, Cry Tough, John Huston’s The Unforgiven, Posse From Hell and War Hunt, Denis Sanders’ take on the Korean War. The 1960s saw Saxon filming in Italy including on Otto Preminger’s The Cardinal. As a martial arts expert, he was often cast in macho roles such as The Appaloosa with Marlon Brando, the Don Siegel (as Allen Smithee) Western Death of a Gunfighter, John Sturges’ Joe Kidd with Clint Eastwood, and Enter the Dragon with the iconic Bruce Lee. There was also TV – Dr Kildare, Bonanza, Ironside, The Virginian, Gunsmoke, The Bold Ones etc – but the films were not first grade, except for Sydney Pollack’s The Electric Horseman and perhaps Richard Brooks’ comedic thriller Wrong is Right (released in the UK as The Man with the Deadly Lens) with Sean Connery, Dario Argento’s Tenebrae, Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (and a sequel) and Beverly Hills Cop III. More TV included Fantasy Island, Dynasty, Falcon Crest and Murder, She Wrote. John Saxon was married three times, first to Mary Ann Saxon, then Elizabeth Saxon and finally Gloria Martel. With his first wife they have a son, Antonio.

 

JOEL SCHUMACHER (29 August 1939-22 June 2020)
The American film writer, producer and director Joel Schumacher, who has died at the age of 80 from cancer, was a gay filmmaker who managed to gauge popular taste with surprising success, while his sexual orientation informed some of his screenplays. Highlights of his career include St Elmo’s Fire, The Client, Flatliners, Falling Down and Phone Booth, in which he often used potential stars before they became public properties. Born in New York City, young Joel
Joel Schumacherwas brought up by his Jewish mother after his father died when the boy was four. At first he studied fashion and worked as a window dresser. When his mother died, he went through a period of heavy drug abuse but on moving to LA he began designing costumes for films including Blume in Love, The Last of Sheila, The Prisoner of Second Avenue and Woody Allen’s Sleeper and Interiors. He wrote his first screenplay for director Sam O’Steen’s Sparkle with Irene Cara, before she went on to do Fame. He also wrote Michael Schultz’s Car Wash and Sidney Lumet’s The Wiz before directing his first film, The Incredible Shrinking Woman with Lily Tomlin.

St Elmo’s Fire, about a group of university graduates, was his first directorial hit, with the so-called Brat Pack actors, Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Ally Sheedy and Mare Winningham. He cast Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Dianne Wiest, Kiefer Sutherland and Corey Feldman for his horror comic film The Lost Boys. Flatliners starred Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon and William Baldwin and he used Roberts again for the rather maudlin Dying Young. Falling Down was a great improvement with Michael Douglas playing against type as an ordinary man whose life begins to slowly unwind. Schumacher made great movie successes out of two John Grisham novels, The Client and A Time to Kill, and ventured into comic book superheroes with Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. 8MM was a thriller with Nicolas Cage, while Flawless saw Robert De Niro’s security guard joining forces with drag queen Philip Seymour Hoffman. From 2000 there was Tigerland and Phone Booth both starring Colin Farrell, who also appeared with Cate Blanchett in Veronica Guerin. The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of The Phantom of the Opera saw Gerard Butler in the title role. Schumacher made a few more feature films up to 2011 and his last work was on two episodes of the Netflix version of House of Cards in 2013. Joel Schumacher’s films were often nominated for Academy and other movie awards and he won several prizes on the international festival circuit.

 

GEORGE SEGAL (13 February 1934-23 March 2021)
The American actor George Segal was born to Russian Jewish immigrants, but raised by secular parents and did not change his Jewish name, although he often played Jewish roles. Inspired by Alan Ladd, he vowed to become an actor. After graduating from Columbia University, where he was a virtuoso banjo player, he formed a jazz band. Following a course at the Actors Studio, he understudied Jason Robards in The Iceman Cometh and worked on George Segalmany other Broadway plays. His first film was The Young Doctors (1961) with Ben Gazzara, followed by The Longest Day. Early on he did many TV shows until his part in Act One, the film of Moss Hart’s autobiography. He was with Yul Brynner in Invitation to a Gunfighter, in Stanley Kramer’s Ship of Fools and starred in Bryan Forbes’ POW drama King Rat. Mike Nichols’ version of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? saw Segal as a young professor sparring verbal games with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, for which he was Oscar-nominated. He secured top-billing in The Quiller Memorandum, a spy thriller with Alec Guinness and Max Von Sydow, and went on to appear in Roger Corman’s The St Valentine’s Day Massacre. George Segal, who has died aged 87, following bypass surgery, showed a penchant for comedy in Sidney Lumet’s Bye Bye Braverman, Jack Smight’s No Way to Treat a Lady, Carl Reiner’s Where’s Poppa? and The Owl and the Pussycat (with Barbra Streisand). He was even better in A Touch of Class with Glenda Jackson, but she collected the Oscar. Their second coupling in Lost and Found was less successful. However, The Black Bird, The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox and Fun With Dick and Jane were reasonably good. Later films proved less successful and he took shelter mostly in TV, including Just Shoot Me!, in a long run from 1997. His last work was the long-running The Goldbergs with Segal as Albert 'Pops' Solomon. George Segal was married first to the film editor-producer Marion Sobel, with whom he has two daughters, Elizabeth and Polly, then Linda Sue Rogoff and finally Sonia Schultz Greenbaum.

 

ELIZABETH SELLARS (6 May 1921-30 December 2019)
The Scottish-born actress Elizabeth Sellars, who has died aged 98, was a prominent player on stage, in films and on television. She enjoyed a long career particularly in the cinema, often playing enigmatic women of mystery, no better than they should have been.
Elizabeth SellarsBorn in Glasgow and educated in Hertfordshire, she attended Rada and then in 1940 worked for Ensa entertaining the troops overseas. Her London theatre debut was in The Brothers Karamazov in Hammersmith and she later worked at the Bristol Old Vic, the Royal Shakespeare Company and London’s West End. She made her television debut in Dr Faustus (1947) and later on did South Sea Bubble, Ordeal by Fire, Dial M for Murder, The Philadelphia Story, Pink String and Sealing Wax, The Browning Version, The Second Mrs Tanqueray and John Mortimer’s Too Late for the Mashed Potato. She was also John Mortimer’s mother in A Voyage Round My Father with Laurence Olivier. Sellars’ first film was Floodtide in 1949, followed by David Lean’s Madeleine, Hunted and The Gentle Gunman (both with Dirk Bogarde) and many British black & white thrillers such as Guilt Is My Shadow, Night Was Our Friend, The Long Memory, The Broken Horseshoe, Recoil, Forbidden Cargo, Three Cases of Murder and The Last Man to Hang, titles that often appear on the Talking Pictures channel. In Hollywood she did The Barefoot Contessa for Joseph L.Mankiewicz, Désirée with Marlon Brando, and Prince of Players with Richard Burton. She was also in The Shiralee with Peter Finch, Jet Storm with Richard Attenborough, The Day They Robbed the Bank of England with Peter O’Toole, Never Let Go with Peter Sellers, 55 Days at Peking, The Chalk Garden and The Mummy’s Shroud. After The Hireling in 1973 she worked solely in television until she retired in 1990. Elizabeth Sellars was married to Francis Austin Henley from 1960 until his death in 2009.

 

JOHN SESSIONS (11 January 1953-3 November 2020)
The actor and comedian John Sessions, who has died from a heart attack at 67, was by his own account not an easy person to know, with doubts about his own talents which led to depression and self-hatred of his appearance. He nevertheless became popular on stage and in television and film. He was born John Gibb Marshall in Ayrshire in Scotland, but his family moved to England when John was three. Educated in Bedford,
John SessionsSt Albans and Bangor University, he then studied for a PhD in Ontario but left before completing his degree. He was at Rada with Kenneth Branagh with whom he later worked. From the 1980s he played comedy clubs and had parts in films starting with the horror film The Sender (1982). He was in The Bounty with Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins, Whoops Apocalypse, Sky Bandits, Castaway and Branagh’s Henry V and In the Bleak Midwinter. His 1990s films included The Pope Must Die, My Night With Reg, Michael Hoffman's A Midsummer Night’s Dream (as Philostrate) and he played the Prince Regent in the historical comedy Princess Caraboo. Sessions worked with Martin Scorsese on Gangs of New York and with Robert De Niro on The Good Shepherd, but after that his career was mostly on television. He used his great facility for mimicry on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Spitting Image, Tall Tales and Likely Stories. In the brilliant Stella Street he played Joe Pesci, Al Pacino and Mrs Huggett and did service in Doctor Who, The Comic Strip, Skins, Upstart Crow,The Loch, Mr Selfridge (as Conan Doyle), and Victoria (as Lord John Russell). Later films included The Iron Lady (as Edward Heath), Mr Holmes (as Mycroft), Legend (as Lord Boothby) and Finding Your Feet with Imelda Staunton.

 

BARBARA SHELLEY (13 February 1932-4 January 2021)
Barbara Shelley, the Hammer Horror queen, has died at the age of 88 from underlying medical issues following Covid-19. Born Barbara Kowin, she began her
Barbara Shelleycareer as a model before going to Italy for minor film roles from 1955. On her return to the UK in 1957, she played the title role in The Cat Girl, after which her future fate was sealed as she was taken up by Hammer Films for The Camp on Blood Island, followed by Blood of the Vampire and later on The Shadow of the Cat, The Gorgon, The Secret of Blood Island, Dracula, Prince of Darkness, Rasputin, The Mad Monk and Quatermass and the Pit (1967). In between Hammer productions, in which she often worked with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, Shelley was in other films such as Bobbikins with Max Bygraves, A Story of David with Jeff Chandler, Postman’s Knock with Spike Milligan, and many television series. Television occupied Shelley’s career during the 1970s and the 1980s, after which she turned her hand to interior decorating. The heady days of Hammer horrors were well behind her but she will always be best-remembered for being the First Leading Lady of British Horror. As far as we know, Barbara Shelley never married.

   

JOHN SHRAPNEL (27 April 1942-14 February 2020)
The British actor John Shrapnel, who has died aged 77 from cancer, was a familiar face on television although he was also a stage actor throughout his career and appeared in many high-profile films. Born in Birmingham to Norman Shrapnel and his wife Mary, he was brought up in a literary household as his father was a Guardian reporter, reviewer and theatre critic who also wrote books on politics. Moving south, John was educated at the City of London School and Cambridge. Early stage productions included Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing, the latter his professional debut. Later he worked at the National Theatre, the Donmar Warehouse, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Young Vic and the Barbican Theatre. John ShrapnelOn television (from 1967) he was in the Elizabeth R series (with Glenda Jackson) playing the Earl of Sussex, as well as various Shakespeare adaptations. He often played men of substance, military types or out-of-the-ordinary professionals. His first feature film was Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), then he played Father James in Pope Joan with Liv Ullmann. Other films included Hennessy starring Rod Steiger, Personal Services with Julie Walters, Partition, set in India at the time of independence in 1947, Tony Palmer’s Testimony with Ben Kingsley as Shostakovich, Bruce Robinson’s How to Get Ahead in Advertising, Nicolas Roeg’s Two Deaths and Stephen Herek’s 101 Dalmatians with Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil. He was a PR Chief in Notting Hill with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, Gaius in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, played an Admiral in Kathryn Bigelow’s K-19: The Widowmaker with Harrison Ford, was Nestor in Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy, played Lord Howard in Elizabeth: The Golden Age with Cate Blanchett, was General Grey in The Duchess with Keira Knightley, played a Reverend Father in The Awakening with Rebecca Hall, appeared with Ant & Dec in Alien Autopsy and was Claudius and the Ghost to Maxine Peake’s Hamlet. John Shrapnel’s last film was the TV version of Mike Bartlett’s play King Charles III in 2017. He was married to the landscape gardener Francesca Bartley, daughter of Deborah Kerr, and they have three sons, writer Joe, director Tom and actor Lex, the latter appearing with his father at the Young Vic in Caryl Churchill’s A Number.

 

JOAN MICKLIN SILVER (24 May 1935-31 December 2020)
The American theatre and film director Joan Micklin Silver, who has died from vascular dementia at the age of 85, became known through such films as Hester Street (1975), Between the Lines (1977) and Crossing Delancey (1988). Joan Micklin SilverBorn Joan Micklin in Omaha, Nebraska, to Russian Jewish immigrant parents, she made films about the immigrant experience and also broke the barriers that had limited women from directing. Her career began as a writer on Village Voice magazine in New York and she also taught music and wrote plays. In 1970 she adapted Lois Gould’s novel Such Good Friends for Otto Preminger but was replaced. Limbo was her screenplay about prisoners’ wives in Vietnam for director Mark Robson but another writer took it over. After working on children’s educational titles, she adapted and directed Hester Street from a book by Abraham Cahan concerning a Jewish immigrant in New York. It starred Steven Keats and Carol Kane, who was Oscar-nominated. Silver’s next film was Between the Lines about an alternative newspaper in Boston, with John Heard, Lindsay Crouse and Jeff Goldblum. Heard was also the star of Chilly Scenes of Winter (aka Head Over Heels) with Mary Beth Hurt and Peter Riegert, a romantic comedy but, with the studio adding a happy ending and a change of title, the film failed. Crossing Delancey was Silver’s most successful movie in which bookshop assistant Amy Irving has a yen to enter literary society but is scared of revealing her lowly background. Later films included Loverboy, Big Girls Don’t Cry... They Get Even, A Fish in the Bathtub and several television movies as well as a radio series of Great Jewish Stories from Eastern Europe and Beyond. In 1956 Joan Micklin married the writer-director-producer Raphael D. Silver, who died in 2013. They have three daughters, Marisa, Claudia and Dina.

  

JOHN SINGLETON (6 January 1968-29 April 2019)
The American film writer, producer and director John Singleton, who has died at the age of 51 following a stroke, was the youngest director to be nominated for an Academy Award. At 24 years old he was also the first African- American to be nominated in that category. The film was Boyz n the Hood (1991) John Singletonand Singleton was also nominated for best screenplay written directly for the screen. The film detailed the lives of three street guys (Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr and Morris Chestnut) growing up in South Central Los Angeles surrounded by problems of drug dealing and gangsterhood. In his time Singleton wrote three other films, Poetic Justice with Janet Jackson, Higher Learning with Laurence Fishburne, and Baby Boy with Tyrese Gibson, all of which he also directed. Among the other films he directed were Rosewood with Jon Voight, 2 Fast, 2 Furious with Gibson and Paul Walker, Four Brothers with Mark Wahlberg, and Abduction with Taylor Lautner. He also produced all these films as well as a remake of Shaft with Samuel L. Jackson, Hustle and Flow with Terrence Howard, Black State Moan with Jackson again and Justin Timberlake, and Illegal Tender with Rick Gonzalez. He also contributed to television series including Empire, American Crime Story, Rebel, Billions and Snowfall, as well as several TV documentaries. He appeared as an actor in Beverly Hills Cop III, Baadasssss! and others, and played himself in The Game TV series. John Singleton was married briefly to Ghanaian filmmaker Akosua Busia and they have one daughter, Hadar. With his former wife, Tosha Lewis, he has two children, Tosha and Maasai, and he also fathered a daughter, Cleopatra. Arguably the most important black filmmaker since Spike Lee, Singleton claimed his favourite directors to be De Sica, Truffaut, Spielberg, Kubrick, Scorsese, Kurosawa, Cassavetes and Coppola. He was a great admirer of Western films such as Henry King’s  The Gunfighter (1950), a movie that particularly influenced many of Singleton’s own film set-ups.

 

STEPHEN SONDHEIM (22 March 1930-26 November 2021)

Born in New York City to Etta and Herbert Sondheim, Jewish clothing manufacturers, Stephen Sondheim, who has died aged 91, wrote his first musical, By George, at his Pennsylvanian preparatory school. He befriended James, the son of the lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, who was a great influence on him. After meeting the writer-producer Arthur Laurents and the composer Leonard Bernstein, he wrote the lyrics for West Side Story in 1957, which led to Gypsy (1959) with Ethel Merman and then the first show for which he wrote both music and lyrics, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a smash hit. Later with Company he hit the jackpot and, with Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Passion and Sunday in the Park with George, the last winning a Pulitzer Prize, he changed the face of the Broadway musical.

Sadly, the cinema has not served Sondheim particularly well. West Side Story was filmed by Robert Wise in 1961, but it was a very stagey movie, although it did win ten Oscars, an all-time record for a musical. Now Steven Spielberg seems to have made an even better job of it with his 2021 remake. The film of Gypsy (1962) was enjoyable enough but it needed Ethel Merman, if only as a permanent record of her blazing stage performance as Mama Rose. A Funny Thing Happened... was filmed by Richard Lester in 1966 but the comedy, based on the stories from Plautus, did not transfer well from stage to screen, even with such great comic actors as Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Jack Gilford and Buster Keaton. Harold Prince's film of A Little Night Music (1977) failed to capture the essence of the stage show, with Elizabeth Taylor miscast as Desiree. Even supported by Diana Rigg, Len Cariou and Hermione Gingold, the film just died the death. The TV recording of Sweeney Todd in 1982 with Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou, from the original stage cast, is just perfect and better than Tim Burton's 2007 film version with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. There had been another TV version with Patti Lupone and George Hearn in 2001.Stephen Sondheim
The National Theatre staging of Follies (2017) was streamed to cinemas, allowing movie audiences worldwide to enjoy this great production. What is arguably the best film version of any Sondheim show is Into the Woods (2014) with Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and James Corden. There have been many other television versions of Sondheim shows including Into the Woods in the productions from San Diego and the American Playhouse television series. Bette Midler played Mama Rose in a complete TV version of Gypsy in 1993 and Imelda Staunton's wonderful performance of Rose at London's Savoy was recorded on DVD in 2015. Pacific Overtures, Passion and Company were all filmed for television, while Merrily We Roll Along survives in a recording of the Harold Pinter Theatre's London production with a film version currently in production courtesy of Richard Linklater.
Even with the passing of Stephen Sondheim there is still plenty to look forward to, starting with Spielberg's West Side Story, then Follies, currently in pre-production under the aegis of Dominic Cooke. And let us not forget the other contributions Sondheim made to the cinema. He wrote music for Warren Beatty's Reds and songs for the same director's Dick Tracy and he wrote the score for Alain Resnais' Stavisky. Finally, over 400 compositions by Stephen Sondheim have been included in films and television programmes. With new movies on the way, perhaps cinema will look again at his body of work and begin filming more of his theatre projects. And just two weeks before he died, Netflix released tick, tick…Boom! in which he was played on screen by Bradley Whitford. You just can't have too much of Sondheim, you know.

   

SHEILA STEAFEL (26 May 1935-23 August 2019)
The South African-born actress Sheila Steafel, who has died aged 84, was British and lived all her adult life in the UK. She trained as an actress in London at the Webber Douglas Academy and subsequently appeared in repertorySheila Steafel

theatre, various shops and a club where she served curry in a sari. On TV from 1957, her big break came with The Frost Report, although she had already appeared in TV comedy programmes such as Hugh and I, Sykes and A..., Not Only... But Also, Frankie Howerd, Comedy Playhouse and Roy Hudd’s Illustrated Weekly. Comedy played a huge part in Sheila Steafel’s career with her appearances with Bernard Cribbins, Tommy Cooper, Jimmy Tarbuck, Eric Sykes again, The Goodies, Spike Milligan, Kenny Everett, Rab C. Nesbit and many more. She was also in TV drama including Z Cars, Diary of a Nobody (as Carrie Pooter), Grange Hill, Holby City and Doctors. Between TV work she managed to fit in many films too, such as Robert Fuest’s Just Like a Woman, her first in 1967 with Wendy Craig and Frances Matthews, Quatermass and the Pit, The Bliss of Mrs Blossom, Otley, Baby Love, The Smashing Bird I Used to Know, Goodbye, Mr Chips, Tropic of Cancer, Some Will, Some Won’t, Percy, Up Pompeii, Melody, Catch Me a Spy, Digby: The Biggest Dog in the World and Bloodbath at the House of Death, among others. In 1976, Steafel was in the West End production of Salad Days and she also worked for the RSC during the 1980s in plays by Shakespeare and Vanburgh, and she did Chekhov’s Ivanov at Richmond, Neil Simon’s The Gingerbread Lady at Watford and was in Paris Match at the Garrick. She had a very funny one-woman cabaret show and often appeared at the Players’ Theatre music hall and on The Good Old Days TV show as Popsie Wopsie, a Gaiety Girl who could never quite keep in step or in tune with the music. Sheila Steafel was married to the actor Harry H. Corbett from 1958 to 1965 and she wrote an autobiography called When Harry Met Sheila.

 

DEAN STOCKWELL (5 March 1936-7 November 2021)
The American actor Dean Stockwell was born into a theatrical family. His father Harry was an actor and his mother Betty a chorus girl. His older brother, Guy Stockwell (1933-2002), was also an actor. Dean was on stage from the age of seven in a Theater Guild production, along with his brother. Discovered as a child star in 1945 he appeared in the MGM films The Valley of Decision with Greer Garson and Gregory Peck, Anchors Aweigh with Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly, The Green Years with Charles Coburn and The Mighty McGurk with Wallace Beery. He continued working at Metro until the Fox studio used him for Gentleman's Agreement with Gregory Peck, Deep Waters and Down to the Sea in Ships with Richard Widmark. He did not enjoy working with Peck, but did get on with Widmark and Sinatra and also with Errol Flynn on Kim (1950) in an adaptation from Rudyard Kipling. By the time he was fifteen Dean Stockwell had made some twenty films. Perhaps his most interesting roles up to that time were in Joseph Losey's The Boy Who Turned Green (1948), a parable about accepting people for who they are, and The Secret Garden (1949) Dean Stockwelln which he was a crippled child kept away from life in the story based on Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel.
On leaving high school, Stockwell gave films a miss for five years, returning in 1956 for some television work and a few feature films. In 1959 he made Richard Fleischer's Compulsion, based on the Leopold-Loeb murder case, and he was surprisingly good as Paul Morel in Jack Cardiff's Sons and Lovers, from the D.H. Lawrence novel. Then he continued in television before Sidney Lumet's filming of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962) in which he played Edmund opposite Katharine Hepburn and Ralph Richardson. After Rapture, Psych-Out and The Dunwich Horror, Stockwell was in Dennis Hopper's controversial The Last Movie (1971). After that it was a mixture of odd films and TV until Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas and the original Dune (1984) directed by David Lynch who also cast him in Blue Velvet in which he famously sang Roy Orbison's 'In Dreams'. He will be remembered for these films and also for William Friedkin's To Live and Die in L.A., Beverly Hills Cop II and Jonathan Demme's Married to the Mob (Academy Award nomination for Stockwell) and his remake of The Manchurian Candidate, and also as Howard Hughes in Francis Ford Coppola's Tucker: the Man and His Dreams. On TV it will be JAG, Battlestar Galactica and nearly a hundred episodes of Quantum Leap (1989-1993) playing Admiral Al Calavicci. Dean Stockwell, who has died of natural causes at the age of 85, was married to the actress Millie Perkins and then to Joy Marchenko, with whom he has two children, Austin and Sophie. Both marriages ended in divorce.

 

BERTRAND TAVERNIER (25 April 1941-25 March 2021)
Bertrand Tavernier was one of the most outstanding directors France ever produced, covering all kinds of genres and always with a certain humanity. Born in Lyon to a literary family, he defied his parents by not taking up law. He began writing about the cinema and, encouraged by Claude Sautet and Jean-Pierre Melville, became a press agent for several directors. In 1964 he co-directed the portmanteau films Les baisers and Chance at Love. He also wrote for Bertrand Tavernierother directors until his own first feature in 1974, The Watchmaker of St Paul, from the novel by Georges Simenon, with Philippe Noiret and Jean Rochefort. The films that followed included Let Joy Reign Supreme, again with Noiret and Rochefort, The Judge and the Assassin with Noiret, Spoiled Children with Michel Piccoli and Death Watch with Romy Schneider and Max Von Sydow. Tavernier, who has died at the age of 79, was an avid fan of US cinema, citing John Ford and William Wellman as his influences, along with the French directors Jean Renoir, Jean Vigo and Jacques Becker. He directed 40 films including Coup de Torchon, from Jim Thompson’s novel Pop, A Sunday in the Country with Michel Aumont, Béatrice with Julie Delpy, Life and Nothing But with Noiret again, and These Foolish Things with Dirk Bogarde and Jane Birkin. ‘Round Midnight was shot in both Paris and New York, with jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon. It won an Oscar for Herbie Hancock’s score. Tavernier continued to work on films but from the 1990s they didn’t necessarily enjoy very wide releases. His last work was an epic TV series, Journeys Through French Cinema, in 2017. He won and was nominated for many international prizes including four French César Awards. Bertrand Tavernier was married to the screenwriter Claudine O’Hagan and they have a son, the actor and director Nils Tavernier, and a daughter, the writer and director Tiffany Tavernier.

 

PAMELA TIFFIN (13 October 1942-3 December 2020)
From modelling to movies was the progression the American actress Pamela Tiffin made early on in her career. She grew up in Chicago and then moved to New York where her intended studies were brushed aside for a successful modelling stint. However, when the teenage Pamela visited Paramount PicturesJohn Fraser in Hollywood, film producer Hal B. Wallis was taken by her obvious good looks and cast her in Summer and Smoke, a 1961 Tennessee Williams adaptation with Laurence Harvey and Geraldine Page, for which Pamela was nominated for a Golden Globe. In the same year she gained another Golden Globe nomination for Billy Wilder’s comedy One, Two, Three. Pamela Tiffin, who has died aged 78, was obviously on her way up the career ladder and went on to make State Fair (1962), a remake of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical with Pat Boone and Bobby Darin, Come Fly With Me, a comedy about air stewardesses, and other modest movies such as For Those Who Think Young, The Lively Set and The Pleasure Seekers. She was put to better use in John Sturges’ The Hallelujah Trail with Burt Lancaster and Lee Remick, in Harper (aka The Moving Target) with Paul Newman and Lauren Bacall, and for Viva Max! with Peter Ustinov. On moving to Italy in 1967, she graced a number of forgettable Italian comedies and did some television work that brought her acting career to a halt in 1974, apart from an Italian TV series in 1989. She had returned to New York with her second husband, the philosopher Edmondo Danon. They have two daughters, Echo and Aurora. Her first husband was the magazine editor Clay Felker whom she divorced in 1969.

  

RIP TORN (6 February 1931-9 July 2019)
The American actor Rip Torn, who has died at the age of 88, was a master at playing unpleasant characters, heavies for whom no-one could feel affection. Born Elmore Rual Torn Jr in Texas of German, Austrian, Bohemian and Moravian descent, he assumed the name Rip which was a family monicker for the male side of his family. At the University of Texas he studied animal husbandry with the intent of buying a ranch. Rip TornTo fund this he moved to Hollywood but needed to work on other jobs before being discovered for the movies. His debut was in Elia Kazan’s Baby Doll in 1956. Then he moved to New York to study at the Actors’ Studio under Susan Strasberg and also dance with Martha Graham. After some television work, Kazan cast him in the film A Face in the Crowd, and then he did Time Limit directed by Karl Malden. He had a reasonable part in Lewis Milestone’s war film Pork Chop Hill with Gregory Peck and then it was mostly TV until he played Judas in Nicholas Ray’s biblical epic King of Kings.
Torn worked on and off Broadway many times. Kazan directed him in Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth with Paul Newman and Geraldine Page, and the same cast appeared in Richard Brooks’ film of the play. Torn played a theatre director in Critics’ Choice with Bob Hope and Lucille Ball and then appeared in The Cincinatti Kid, Norman Jewison’s 1965 poker-playing drama with Steve McQueen. After a slew of popular TV series, Torn then had a run of films including Francis Ford Coppola’s You’re a Big Boy Now, Cornel Wilde’s Beach Red, Brian G. Hutton’s The Heroin Gang, Milton Moses Ginsberg’s Coming Apart, Joseph Strick’s Tropic of Cancer and Norman Mailer’s Maidstone, the last involving a real and famously controversial fight between director and star.
Torn was memorable as a Country & Western singer in Payday and also in Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth with David Bowie. He kept busy in movies and on television right up to 2016. Notable among his films were The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, The Seduction of Joe Tynan, First Family, Airplane II: The Sequel, Cross Creek, Songwriter with Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, City Heat with Clint Eastwood, Extreme Prejudice with Nick Nolte, Beautiful Dreamers (as Walt Whitman), RoboCop 3, How To Make an American Quilt, Men In Black I, II and III, Wonder Boys with Michael Douglas, and Marie Antoinette (as Louis XV). In later years Rip Torn was popular in the TV series The Larry Sanders Show, Will & Grace and 30 Rock. His only Academy Award nomination was for Cross Creek, but he won a Primetime Emmy for The Larry Sanders Show. Rip Torn was married three times, to the actresses Ann Wedgeworth, Geraldine Page and Amy Wright. He was father to six children.

 

PIERO TOSI (10 April 1927-10 August 2019)
The Italian film costume designer Piero Tosi, who has died of natural causes aged 92, was the first costume designer to win an honorary Academy Award. Piero TosiThe citation in 2014 called him “a visionary whose incomparable costume designs shaped timeless, living art in motion pictures.” Noted for his painstaking research into historical costume, his crowning achievement was Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard (1963) which called for hundreds of elaborate costumes, in particular for the grand ball scenes. Tosi was born in Florence where his father was a metalworker. Piero, however, had other ideas with his love for theatre, the movies and costumes. He was discovered by fellow art student Franco Zeffirelli who introduced Tosi to Visconti who then employed him on his theatre productions.
His first three film commissions from 1951 were all for Visconti – Bellissima, Senso and White Nights. He worked again with Visconti on Rocco and His Brothers, The Leopard, The Stranger, The Damned, Death in Venice, Ludwig and The Innocent. He also worked with other high-profile directors such as Mauro Bolognini, Luigi Comencini, Mario Monicelli, Ḗdouard Molinaro, Marco Ferreri, Louis Malle, Liliana Cavani, Vittorio De Sica, Roger Vadim, Pasolini, Fellini and Zeffirelli. He received five other Oscar nominations for his designs and was the winner of two Baftas, for Death in Venice and Zeffirelli’s La Traviata, among many other international awards.

 

CICELY TYSON (19 December 1924-28 January 2021)
The American actress Cicely Tyson always believed she should only portray women of strength. Born in New York to parents from the Caribbean, she was discovered by a fashion editor at Ebony magazine. With her outstanding physical presence Cicely Tysonshe became a top model. In her twenties she acted off-Broadway and then had small roles in films such as Odds Against Tomorrow with Harry Belafonte and The Last Angry Man with Paul Muni. A Man Called Adam starred Sammy Davis Jr and Louis Armstrong, while The Comedians, a Graham Greene story, was set in Haiti with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. The die was cast for the actress to be in films of note. In The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, from the novel by Carson McCullers, Tyson played Portia. Television was an inevitable part in her career, as well as films like Martin Ritt’s Sounder, about black sharecroppers in the South. Tyson was the star and she gained Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. She was in The River Niger with James Earl Jones, a film about Los Angeles ghetto life. After Airport ’79 and Bustin’ Loose, a comedy with Richard Pryor, came Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe with Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates. On television Tyson played Coretta Scott King in King with Paul Winfield as Martin Luther King. She won a Primetime Emmy for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974), about a black woman born into slavery. More recently Tyson appeared in The Help (2011), showing a black maid’s view of her white employers. In 2013 she became, at 88, the oldest recipient of a Tony Award for Best Actress in the play The Trip to Bountiful. Cicely Tyson, who has died aged 96, was first married to Kenneth Franklin and then to the jazz trumpeter Miles Davis from 1981 to 1988. She had had a daughter when she was 17. Here was one of the great black actresses of our time who brought dignity, reverence and inspirational insight to every role she played.

 

MELVIN VAN PEEBLES (21 August 1932-21 September 2021)
Something of a black cultural icon, Melvin Van Peebles was an American actor and filmmaker. However, he was rather more than just that because he was also a playwright, a novelist and composer. Born in Chicago, he was a San Francisco cable car gripman, Melvin Van Peebleshis experiences of which he wrote about in a novel called The Big Heart. When one of his passengers suggested he make films, his life changed. After his first short films, he went to Hollywood but without much success, so he moved to the Netherlands where he met a distributor who screened his films which led to a time in Paris where he became a writer. He translated some issues of Mad magazine into French, wrote plays, novels and short stories. His first film, The Story of a Three-Day Pass came in 1968 and it eventually led him back to Hollywood for his first US film Watermelon Man (1970) about a white man who turns black overnight. Then came Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song which gained kudos with the Black Panther movement. He continued to make films as an actor, writer and director, acting in Jaws: The Revenge, True Identity, Boomerang, Posse, Last Action Hero (1993), Blackout, Redemption Road and Peeples (2013) among others. His directing credits include Don't Play Us Cheap, Identity Crisis, Bellyful and Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha (2008), a semi-autobiographical tale of an adventurer on the high seas. He produced many of his films and often wrote the music for them as well. Melvin van Peebles, who has died in Manhattan aged 89, was married to Maria Marx. They have three children, the actor-director-producer Mario Van Peebles, and the actors Megan and Max.

 

MAX VON SYDOW (10 April 1929-8 March 2020)
International cinema was first aware of the Swedish actor Max von Sydow, who has died aged 90, through his films made with director Ingmar Bergman. Although they had worked together in Swedish theatre, their first film together was The Seventh Seal in 1957. Bergman had made films from the mid-1940s, but The Seventh Seal really put him on the world map. Von Sydow played a 14th-century knight returning from the Crusades, having lost his faith in God. The film had a commanding performance by the actor who was very tall with a deeply sonorous voice. There were further films with Bergman: Wild Strawberries, So Close to Life, The Face, The Virgin Spring, Through a Glass Darkly and Winter Light (1962). Later he was back with Bergman for The Hour of the Wolf, Shame, The Passion of Anna and The Touch. Max von Sydow
For Max Von Sydow the wider world of cinema also called. He turned down the title role in Dr No, but later played Blofeld in Never Say Never Again. He appeared to be the embodiment of Christ in The Greatest Story Ever Told, was creepily outstanding in the title role of The Exorcist and its first sequel, managed to replicate Charles Middleton’s original 1930s persona as Ming the Merciless for Flash Gordon in 1980, and lent gravitas as the King opposite Arnie in Conan the Barbarian. Some of his other films included The Reward with Yvette Mimieux, Hawaii with Julie Andrews, Michael Anderson’s The Quiller Memorandum, John Huston’s The Kremlin Letter, Fred Haines’ Steppenwolf, Sydney Pollack’s Three Days of the Condor, Francesco Rosi’s Illustrious Corpses, Voyage of the Damned with Faye Dunaway, Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters, Duet for One with Julie Andrews, Bille August’s Pelle the Conqueror (Oscar nomination), Judge Dredd with Sylvester Stallone, Dario Argento’s Sleepless, Spielberg’s Minority Report, Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood (as Sir Walter Loxley), Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Oscar nomination), Scorsese’s Shutter Island, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Thomas Vinterberg’s Kursk and six films with director Jan Troell. On the way he was in TV series of Quo Vadis?, Christopher Columbus, The Tudors and, latterly, Game of Thrones, as the Three-Eyed Raven. Max Von Sydow married the actress Christina Olin in 1951 and they have two sons, Clas and Henrik. After divorcing in 1979, he married the director Catherine Brelet in 1997 with whom he also has two sons, Cedric and Yvan.

 

JESSICA WALTER (31 January 1941-24 March 2021)

The American actress Jessica Walter was a popular figure on television and in films. She often played smart women with edge. Born in New York to Russian immigrants (her father played in the NBC Symphony Orchestra) she studied at the New York High School of Performing Arts. On stage from 1963, she started on television in the series Love of Life, then Naked City, Ben Casey, Route 66, The Rogues and episode one of Flipper. Her first cinema film was Robert Rossen’s Lilith (1964) Jessica Walterwith Warren Beatty, but it was Sidney Lumet’s film of Mary McCarthy’s book The Group that brought fame to her and other budding actresses Candice Bergen, Joan Hackett, Elizabeth Hartman, Shirley Knight and Joanna Pettet. This was followed by John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix with James Garner, Sidney Lumet’s Bye Bye Braverman with George Segal, and Tom Gries’ Number One with Charlton Heston. Clint Eastwood’s Play Misty for Me gave Walter her best role as his horrific stalker, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe. She continued on TV in The F.B.I., Mannix, Calling Dr Gannon, Love, American Style and the title role on Amy Prentiss, then returned to films in Goldengirl with James Coburn, had a small part in Airport ’79, while the likes of Going Ape!, Spring Fever, The Flamingo Kid (with Matt Dillon), Tapeheads (with John Cusack and Tim Robbins), The Dummy (with Adrien Brody), and others were mostly fairly forgettable. Then her career was again mostly on TV, the best of which were her appearances in 90210 as Tabitha Wilson, Saving Grace as Betty Hanadarko, Gravity as Henrietta and Arrested Development as Lucille Bluth, for which she won a Primetime Emmy. She was also the voice of Mallory Archer in the animated Archer series. Jessica Walter, who has died of natural causes at the age of 80, was married to the director Ross Bowman and then to the actor Ron Leibman (who died in 2019). She has a daughter, the TV executive Brook Bowman.

 

PETER WHITEHEAD (8 January 1937-10 June 2019)
The British-born documentary film director Peter Whitehead, who has died aged 82, was a pioneer in his own field and a definite influence on other filmmakers and the music video scene. Born in Liverpool, he studied music, played the organ and won a scholarship to Cambridge where he read chemistry, mathematics and physics, although he later wanted to study English literature and become a writer. He won another scholarship to the Slade School of Art to train as a painter but, as a cinephile, he was soon diverted into studying film under the veteran director Thorold Dickinson. Adam WestWhitehead began his filmmaking career with short documentaries for the Nuffield Foundation. Then he appeared to concentrate on the zeitgeist of Britain in the ‘swinging’ 1960s. Wholly Communion (1965) was a record of a beat poetry convention at the Royal Albert Hall, with Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Christopher Logue, Adrian Mitchell, etc. Then he made Charlie Is My Darling (1966) with The Rolling Stones but the band’s manager Andrew Loog Oldham, who had commissioned the film, disapproved of the results and it wasn’t fully released until 2012. However, Whitehead did work with the Stones again on various promotions and filmed other musicians such as Pink Floyd, The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, The Small Faces, etc. For Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London (1967) the filmmaker really captured the spirit of the times in interviews with Mick Jagger, David Hockney, Edna O’Brien, Vanessa Redgrave, Lee Marvin, Roman Polanski, Terence Stamp and Michael Caine, among others. He joined Peter Brook at the Royal Shakespeare Company to produce Benefit of the Doubt (1967), a film of Brook’s production of US, about the war in Vietnam, with Ian Hogg, Michael Kustow, Michael Williams and Glenda Jackson. In 1969 he made The Fall, probably Whitehead’s most personal film and his most political, dealing as it dealt with protest, violence and revolution in 1960s' America. It had such an effect on him that he turned to fictional subjects including Daddy (1973) and Fire in the Water (1977). He also wrote some novels, one of which he made into a film, Terrorism Considered As One of the Fine Arts (2007) about state control of culture. Before that he was interviewed for Paul Cronin’s documentary about Whitehead, In the Beginning Was the Image (2006). Peter Whitehead was married to Dianne Leigh, Dido Goldsmith and Liza Kareninam. He fathered seven children including a son and daughter from his relationships with Coral Atkins and Deanna Woodrow.

 

JON WHITELEY (19 February 1945-16 May 2020)
Former Scots child actor Jon Whiteley, who has died aged 75, made just a handful of films in the 1950s before abandoning
Jon Whiteleythe cinema for a university life. At age six he won a poetry-reading competition which later led to his appearance in Charles Crichton’s Hunted (1952) playing a boy who goes on the run with an escaped prisoner (Dirk Bogarde). In Philip Leacock’s The Kidnappers (1953) he and young Vincent Winter are boys who secretly find an abandoned baby. For their outstanding performances both actors won a special Academy Juvenile Award. Jon Whiteley stars opposite Stewart Granger in Moonfleet (1955), Fritz Lang’s tale of bootlegging pirates, and in Val Guest’s The Weapon (1956) plays a boy who shoots his friend with a gun he has found. In Philip Leacock’s The Spanish Gardener (1956), Whiteley was the lonely son of a diplomat living in Spain where he befriends the title character played by Dirk Bogarde. After a couple of television parts, in Robin Hood and Jericho, Whiteley gave up acting and later became an art historian at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford where he catalogued their French drawings and wrote books on French art and musical instruments. In 2009 he was made a chevalier knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters. With his wife, Linda, Jon Whiteley fathered two children.

   

STUART WHITMAN (1 February 1928-16 March 2020)
The American actor Stuart Whitman, who has died aged 92, had a long career in films and television. He was noted for his athleticism and rugged good looks which made him popular as a leading man. Born to a Russian and Polish Jewish emigrant family, he graduated in law and drama, joined the Army Corps of Engineers and studied acting at the Los Angeles Academy of Dramatic Art. Stuart WhitmanAfter touring in theatre, he entered films in 1951 in uncredited roles in two sci-fi titles, When Worlds Collide and The Day the Earth Stood Still. He spent a long time uncredited in films while also appearing on television. His first credited role was in Rhapsody (1954) with Elizabeth Taylor and later he was in King of the Carnival, the last of the Republic serials, and in Budd Boetticher’s western 7 Men from Now with Randolph Scott. Often in B-pictures, he had the title role in Johnny Trouble, but on a better level did The Young Invaders with James Garner, Ten North Frederick with Gary Cooper, The Decks Ran Red with James Mason, The Sound and the Fury with Yul Brynner, Don Siegel’s Hound-Dog Man and Guy Green’s The Mark, for which Whitman was Oscar-nominated. Michael Curtiz’s The Comancheros was a fine John Wayne Western with Whitman second-billed. He was in the all-star war film The Longest Day, the Western Rio Conchos with Richard Boone, Signpost to Murder with Joanne Woodward, the epic comedy Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines and See You in Hell, Darling (1966) based on Norman Mailer’s novel An American Dream. Whitman’s career then mainly included genre, action and exploitation movies as well as television series. He went on working until 2000 but little of this output could be considered of much value. The TV work included Fantasy Island, The A Team, Hotel, Knots Landing and Murder, She Wrote. Still, it was a fifty-year career during which Whitman was rarely out of work. He was married three times, to Patricia Ann LaLonde, Caroline Boubis and Julia Vadimovna Paradis, producing five children, Tony, Michael, Linda, Scott and Justin.

 

FRED WILLARD (18 September 1933-15 May 2020)
The American comic actor Fred Willard, who has died aged 86 of natural causes, was a ubiquitous performer on countless television shows, although he also appeared in many films. He was never a household name in the UK but was perennially popular in the States.
Fred WillardHis career began in stand-up comedy including Chicago’s Second City company. He entered television in 1966 and spent the next fifty-odd years on the box. Notable series included The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Fernwood Tonight, The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, The Golden Girls, Family Matters, Roseanne, Family Guy, Saturday Night Live, Everybody Loves Raymond, King of the Hill, The Cleveland Show, The Bold and the Beautiful and Modern Family etc. One of his early uncredited film appearances was in Jacques Demy’s American movie Model Shop with Anouk Aimḗe. He was in Robert Aldrich’s Hustle with Burt Reynolds, Arthur Hiller’s Silver Streak with Gene Wilder, Ted Kotcheff’s Fun with Dick and Jane with George Segal and Jane Fonda, and Buck Henry’s First Family with Bob Newhart, but it wasn’t until he worked with writer-director Christopher Guest on his series of mockumentary comedies that he came into his own as a movie actor. The first film was Rob Reiner’s This Is Spinal Tap, followed by Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration, all five written, directed and starring Guest.

Willard also appeared in Fred Shepisi’s Roxanne, Jay Roach’s Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Adam Shankman’s The Wedding Planner, Jesse Dylan’s American Pie: The Wedding, Adam McKay’s Anchorman and Anchorman 2, Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer’s Epic Movie, Amy Heckerling’s I Could Never Be Your Woman, and Andrew Stanton’s WALL-E, alongside many other movies and TV shows, the last of which, Space Force, is still in post-production. In all Fred Willard  notched up over 300 film and TV appearances. He was nominated several times for Emmy Awards and won one in 2015 for The Bold and the Beautiful. He was married to the actress and writer Mary Lovell who died in 2018. They have a daughter, Hope.

   

RICHARD WILLIAMS (19 March 1933-16 August 2019)
The Canadian film animator Richard Williams, who has died of cancer aged 86, was very much an outsider in the world of cartoons. He had his own style unlike any other animator, that was independent, personal and totally original. He was recognised at the Academy Awards who gave him two Oscars Richard Williamsfor his magnum opus in 1988, Who Framed Roger Rabbit which was the culmination of a lifetime’s work, mixing hand-drawn animation and live action with superb skill. Brought up in Toronto by his painter father and commercial artist mother – influences on his drawing – as a child he was impressed by Disney’s Snow White and eventually met Walt and his animators with whom he eventually worked. Feeling hemmed in, however, he carried on drawing and inventing his own stories. He moved to the UK in 1955 and joined fellow Canadian animator George Dunning at TV Cartoons Ltd. Apart from making TV commercials Williams created his first film, The Little Island, which won a Bafta in 1958. Next came Love Me, Love Me, Love Me and then he worked on many title sequences for films such as What’s New Pussycat?, Casino Royale (1967), The Charge of the Light Brigade, 30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, and some of the Pink Panther films, etc. His animated features include A Christmas Carol (1974), which won him another Oscar, and The Thief and the Cobbler, the last undergoing many rewrites over the thirty-one years it took to complete. It was later released as Arabian Knight. Williams wrote a cartoonist’s manual, The Animator’s Survival Kit, and towards the end of his life he held workshops on animation. He was married four times and is father to six children

 

BARBARA WINDSOR (6 August 1937-10 December 2020)
The British actress Barbara Windsor, who has died aged 83 from Alzeimer’s disease, became an iconic figure if not a national treasure. Born Barbara Ann Deeks in East London, the teenager at first opted to study shipping management, she then soon joined a stage school, making her debut in the chorus of Love From Judy in 1952. Her first film was Barbara WindsorThe Belles of St Trinian’s (1954) and then she worked for Joan Littlewoood’s Theatre Workshop at Stratford East in Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’be and the film Sparrows Can’t Sing which earned Barbara a Bafta nomination. More theatre included Oh, What a Lovely War! on Broadway where she was nominated for a Tony, Lionel Bart’s Twang!, Come Spy With Me alongside Danny La Rue, The Threepenny Opera with Vanessa Redgrave and Twelfth Night (as Maria) at Chichester. Further fame came with appearances in nine of the Carry On films from Carry On Spying in 1964 to Carry On Dick in 1974. Other films she made include On the Fiddle, Death Trap, Crooks in Cloisters, A Study in Terror, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Boy Friend, Not Now, Darling and It Couldn’t Happen Here. She reached iconic status playing Peggy Mitchell, landlady of the Queen Vic, in the BBC soap opera EastEnders on and off from 1994 until 2016. She certainly made the part her own, especially with her signature cry of “Get outta my pub!” Retiring from the series, she did other work including BBC Radio 2 and was the voice of the Dormouse in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and its sequel. In 2014 she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and she and her husband Scott Mitchell became ambassadors for the Alzheimer’s Society. Dame Barbara Windsor was appointed a Dame Commander in 2016. She was previously married to the entrepreneur Ronnie Knight and the  chef-restaurateur Stephen Hollings before marrying the former actor and recruitment consultant Scott Mitchell in 2000.

 

JANE WITHERS (12 April 1926-7 August 2021)
The American actress Jane Withers, who has died aged 95, began her working career as a child star on radio from the age of just three, hosting her own children’s show in Atlanta, Georgia. From 1932 she went to Hollywood because her mother Jane Witherswas determined that her daughter should be a movie star. After auditioning, she was chosen to appear in several films for which at first she was not credited. Her big break came in 1934, first with W C Fields in It’s a Gift and then with Shirley Temple in Bright Eyes in which she demonstrated her abilities as an actress, impersonator and expert ad-libber. She secured a seven-year contract with the Fox studio and at the age of nine got her first starring role in Ginger, after which her success was sealed and she became a very popular figure making film after film. She then moved into adolescent parts but, in an effort to break off from childish roles, she wrote her own screenplay called Small Town Deb (1941) and in the same year signed another seven-year contract with 20th Century Fox and went on to make such films as Very Young Lady, Young America and The Mad Martyndales. She also worked for Columbia Pictures, RKO, Republic Pictures and Paramount. She took early retirement at the age of 21 after making nearly forty films. In 1947 she married the Texas film producer and entrepreneur William Moss. They had three children but the marriage lasted only until 1955. She then married Keneth Errair, singer with The Four Freshmen. They had two children but Errair died in a plane crash in 1968. Although Jane planned to become a film director, she was asked by George Stevens to appear in his film Giant, after which she resumed her acting career on television while looking after her children. She also did some stage work, voice-overs and the reading of audiobooks. All her life, Jane Withers was a generous and tireless worker for charity

  

CHARLES WOOD (6 August 1932-1 February 2020)

The British playwright and screenwriter Charles Wood, who has died aged 87, was first a professional soldier from the age of eighteen with a keen interest in military history, a subject he often drew upon for his plays and film scripts. Even with his interest in matters military, his writing often took an anti-war stance. His parents were touring actors and Wood, although he trained as a graphics artist, began working backstage in the theatre, and also as a journalist and in advertising before writing for the theatre. In the 1960s he worked with Peter Brook at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and also at the National, and later on at the Royal Court. He started writing for television in 1961 and wrote his first film in 1965, an adaptation of Ann Jellicoe’s play The Knack... And How to Get It, the first of many collaborations with director Richard Lester. It starred Rita Tushingham, Ray Brooks and Michael Crawford. Help! followed, again with Lester and The Beatles. Then there was Wood’s adaptation of Patrick Ryan’s novel How I Won the War with Michael Crawford and John Lennon, also for Lester. He wrote The Charge of the Light Brigade for director Tony Richardson, and then A Long Day’s Dying for Peter Collinson, with David Hemmings and Tom Bell. He was back with Lester for The Bed Sitting Room, an adaptation of Spike Milligan and John Antrobus’s play. It starred Rita Tushingham, Dudley Moore, Harry Secombe and a host of British actors, plus Milligan. After that Wood mainly wrote for television before working with Lester again on Cuba, with Sean Connery as a British mercenary fighting Castro’s guerrillas. Wagner was a TV miniseries written for Tony Palmer who also directed Wood’s script for Puccini, with Robert Stephens, and England, My England, a portrait of composer Henry Purcell, with Simon Callow. My Family and Other Animals was a TV series about the naturalist Gerald Durrell. War themes surfaced in Wood’s TV work on Richard Eyre’s Tumbledown with Colin Firth, Sharpe’s Company and its several sequels with Sean Bean, and A Breed of Heroes with Samuel West. He also contributed to Inspector Morse, Kavanagh Q.C. and Monsignor Renard, all three starring John Thaw. The other films Wood wrote were An Awfully Big Adventure, from the Beryl Bainbridge novel, with Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant, and Iris, a biopic of the novelist Iris Murdoch with Judi Dench. His last screenplay was a 2008 collaboration - again with director Richard Eyre - for The Other Man with Liam Neeson and Antonio Banderas. Charles Wood was married to the actress Valerie Newman. They had a son, John, who predeceased Charles, and a daughter, Kate.

   

FRANCO ZEFFIRELLI (12 February 1923-15 June 2019)
The opera, television and film director and designer Franco Zeffirelli, who has died aged 96, made his mark in all four art forms. The illegitimate son of a fashion designer and a cloth merchant who were both married to other spouses, Zeffirelli was apparently a descendent from the Leonardo da Vinci family. Perhaps his lineage produced in young Franco an artistic streak that set him up for the rest of his life. He studied art and architecture from 1941 at the University of Florence but during World War II he joined the British Army as an interpreter.
Returning to his studies, he saw Laurence Olivier’s film of Henry V and decided on a career in the theatre. Italian director Luchino Visconti, with whom he had an affair, appointed him assistant director on La Terra Trema which influenced Zeffirelli’s work with Vittorio De Sica and Roberto Rossellini. Throughout his career he often designed his own stage productions and supervised the costumes. With his innate good taste, he made his productions both look and sound exceptional. From the mid-1960s he staged many operas for television, including La Bohème, Otello, Carmen, Turandot, Don Carlo, I Pagliacci, Don Giovanni, Aida, La Traviata and Madama Butterfly, plus seasons from the Metropolitan Opera.
Zeffirelli’s first cinema film as a director was Camping in 1958, but his first major production was The Taming of the Shrew (1967) with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor (Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni were not available), possibly the most successful Shakespeare film ever made – unless it was his next one, Romeo and Juliet (1968) with teenagers Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey which went global on account of the leading lady revealing her embonpoint. Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972) was a biopic on St Francis of Assisi with a young Graham Faulkner in the lead. Jesus of Nazareth (1977) was a miniseries with Robert Powell, while The Champ (1979) was a remake of an old boxing movie with Jon Voight and Ricky Schroder. Franco ZeffirelliEndless Love (1981) seemed like a modern version of Romeo and Juliet and La Traviata was the Verdi opera filmed on location with Plácido Domingo and Teresa Stratas. Domingo was also the lead in the Zeffirelli film of Otello.
Twenty-two-year old C. Thomas Howell played the title role in Young Toscanini with Elizabeth Taylor as an operatic diva, would you believe? Mel Gibson as the Prince of Denmark proved to be a good choice for Hamlet. In 1996 Zeffirelli tackled Jane Eyre with Charlotte Gainsbourg (Anna Paquin played the young Jane) with William Hurt as Rochester. Tea with Mussolini (1999) was based on events from Zeffirelli’s own childhood and starred Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, Cher and Lily Tomlin. His last feature film was Callas Forever (2002) with Fanny Ardant, Jeremy Irons and Joan Plowright.
Outside of the theatre and the cinema, Zeffirelli, an ultra-conservative Roman Catholic, was a member of Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing party from 1994 to 2001. Although he was gay (a word he hated because it was not ‘elegant’), he supported the Roman Catholic church in its anti-gay policy. He finally came out in 1996, which was no surprise to anyone, least of all the young actors who had accused him of sexual misconduct during filming. He had no children but ‘adopted’ two men in his employ. He received an honorary knighthood (KBE) by the UK in 2004. So, a great artist perhaps, but a less than perfect man.

  

  

 

MICHAEL DARVELL