Date of Birth: 3 July 1940, St. Louis, Missouri, US
Birth Name: Fontella Bass
Rescue Me has been described as the best record Aretha Franklin never made. This is a somewhat backhanded compliment to Fontella Bass, whose insistent gospel-tinged vocals graced the 1965 single. As none of her other records emulated Rescue Me's commercial success, Bass, who has died of complications from a heart attack aged 72, was sometimes regarded as a one-hit wonder. However, she embraced a wide range of music during her career, including sacred songs and the politically and artistically radical free jazz of the Art Ensemble of Chicago.
She was born in St Louis, Missouri, into a highly musical family. Both her mother, Martha, and her grandmother were professional gospel singers. From an early age, Fontella sang in public and learned piano and organ. She toured with Martha who was a featured soloist with the Clara Ward Singers, one of the most respected groups on the gospel music circuit.
As a teenager, Bass felt the pull of the secular sounds of jazz and R&B. After graduating from Soldan high school in St Louis, she took her first professional jobs with the bands of Little Milton and Oliver Sain. Among her colleagues was the trumpeter Lester Bowie, whom Bass married in 1969.
A duet that she recorded with Bobby McClure, Don't Mess Up a Good Thing, led to a solo recording session for Chess Records in Chicago. The final song of the session was Rescue Me. The arrangement was improvised on the spot by the producer Billy Davis and the musicians. The bass guitar player Louis Satterfield came up with the hypnotic figure that opens the track, while Davis created the memorable ending in which each instrumentalist drops out in turn, leaving Bass to complete the song a capella.
Rescue Me rose quickly to No 4 in the American charts. In the UK, an appearance by Bass on ‘Ready Steady Go!’ helped the record reach No 11 in 1965. Another single, Recovery, also sold well the following year, but only made No 32 in the UK. Bass became embroiled in an argument about money with the record company and unsuccessfully sought to be recognised as the co-writer of Rescue Me. In the early 1990s, she had more luck in challenging the use of the recording without her permission in an American Express commercial.
In 1969, Bowie and what would become known as the Art Ensemble of Chicago decided to move to Paris to seek a European audience. Bass joined them, adding piano and vocals to the group's performance art approach to collective improvisation. She is featured on two albums made by the ensemble in France in 1970.
When they returned to St Louis the following year, Bass made further soul records before devoting herself to raising her four children. She later returned to the stage, playing gospel shows and R&B events. She recorded occasionally with Bowie and in 1980 released an album of religious music, From the Root to the Source, recorded with her mother and her younger brother, the soul and gospel singer David Peaston. Her 1995 album No Ways Tired was nominated for a Grammy.
Bass remained popular in Europe, where she toured occasionally, and she made a memorable appearance at the Womad festival in the UK in 2001. She was also sought out by young producers such as Jason Swinscoe of the electro-jazz group Cinematic Orchestra. When Swinscoe travelled to St Louis in 2007 to record vocals by Bass, he found her in poor health, having suffered a series of strokes.
Date of Birth: 14 April 1929, Bloomsbury, London, England, UK
Birth Name: Gerald Alexander Anderson
Nicknames: Gerry Anderson
Gerry Anderson, after suffering from Alzheimer's disease, was the main mover behind a number of puppet series commissioned by Lew Grade's Independent Television Corporation. They made the company a fortune from the space age: perhaps the best known was Thunderbirds (1965-66), and among the others were Fireball XL5 (1962-63), Stingray (1964) and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967-68).
Anderson embarked on Thunderbirds in 1964. For Grade, international sales particularly into the US market – were a key concern. So Thunderbirds focused on the Tracy brothers, with first names borrowed from the US astronauts Scott Carpenter, Virgil Grissom, Alan Shepard, John Glenn and Gordon Cooper. Enormously popular in its time, the series is still being repeated today.
Scott and the others were members of International Rescue, based on a south Pacific Island, set up, in a nod to the Bonanza western series, by their father, former astronaut Jeff Tracy. Thus did the brothers, with their motto "Thunderbirds are go!", fight fires in mines and villains in Monte Carlo, rescue solarnauts from the sun, quench blazing gasfields and take on the evil of The Hood, a villainous mastermind operating from a Malaysian jungle temple over some 32 episodes. The British featured with aristo blonde bombshell Lady Penelope (voiced by, and modelled on, Anderson's then wife Sylvia Thamm) and Parker, Cockney butler-cum-chauffeur of Penelope's 21st-century Rolls-Royce, FAB 1.
The pre-ITV world of the early 50s had been one of puppets such as Muffin the Mule and the Flowerpot Men, a mirror for a Britain on extremely visible strings. Rocket men, on BBC radio, Radio Luxembourg and in the Eagle comic, meant Dan Dare and Jet Morgan recycled Biggles and Battle of Britain pilots. After Anderson, they were destined for the galactic dole queue, just as Eagle's demise was hastened by the arrival of Anderson spin-offs such as TV Century 21 (1965-71). "Everything we did," Anderson told his biographers Simon Archer and Marcus Hearn, in What Made Thunderbirds Go! (2002), "was in an endeavour to sell to America," and Grade spectacularly achieved that with Fireball XL5, a US network sale to NBC. Thunderbirds, shown across the world and more than a dozen times on British TV, is the show that defines the Anderson achievement, yet never attracted a US network.
There was also the merchandising, for all the hit Anderson series, but spectacularly for Thunderbirds. While listening to the Royal Netherlands Air Force's rendition of the theme tune, the consumer could contemplate the purchase of the Dinky Toy FAB 1. There was a (very) minor hit record for Fireball XL5 and, beyond toys, wrote Chris Bentley in The Complete Gerry Anderson (2003), there were "clothing, toiletries, crockery, bedding, soft furnishings, ornaments, stationery, confectionery and baked beans".
Grade and Anderson's collaboration began in 1960, in the wake of the latter's western series for children, Four Feather Falls. Anderson proposed Supercar, featuring just before astronauts took off a test pilot hero from Arizona, Mike Mercury. Grade slashed Anderson's projected budget by a third, commissioned 39 episodes, and sold the series to the US, where it was a huge hit. That year, Anderson married Sylvia, beginning their tempestuous creative partnership.
Two years later, as Fireball XL5 was going to NBC, Grade's Associated Television (ATV) purchased Anderson's company, Anderson Provis Films (APF). The deal enriched Anderson, and left him, Grade aside, in creative control. In October 1964 Stingray, with Captain Troy Tempest of the World Aquanaut Security Patrol, battling, among others, Titan, ruler of Titanica, waded ashore on ITV and netted ITC millions worldwide. After Thunderbirds came Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, and then Joe 90 (1968), which was erratically broadcast or not around the ITV network.
However, the moment seemed to have passed: television appeared clogged up with Anderson's Supermarionation puppets. Two Thunderbird movies had flopped; the tide was ebbing.
Anderson was born in London, the younger son of Deborah and Joseph Abrahams. Joseph's parents were Jews from eastern Europe. Deborah Leonoff's background mixed Jewish and Cornish roots. Their vituperative marriage gave Anderson an unhappy childhood. His father was a socialist, increasingly debt-ridden and trapped in low-paid jobs. The family gravitated from Willesden Green to penury in Kilburn, and then on to Neasden. In the face of the commonplace antisemitism of the times, mother and son, prevailing over Joseph, had the family surname changed to Anderson.
Gerry was educated at Kingsgate infants school in Kilburn and Braintcroft junior and senior schools in Neasden. Puppetry did not feature indeed, he preferred knitting. Escape was provided in the front stalls at the Kilburn State and Grange cinemas, facing each other across the Kilburn high road. He won a scholarship to Willesden county secondary school and became a chain smoker. The death of his Mosquito pilot brother, Lionel, on active service in 1944 devastated the family. Anderson enrolled at the local polytechnic, flirted with a career in architecture, and developed an aptitude for plaster modelling, which triggered dermatitis.
Then a friend invited him to the Pathé laboratories at Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, and Anderson the moviegoer became intrigued by film. At the end of the war he became a trainee at the Colonial Film Unit, before joining Gainsborough Pictures as an assistant editor. Work on two bodice rippers, Caravan (1946) and Jassy (1947), and a thriller, Snowbound (1948), was followed by a posting as an RAF radio operator. By 1950, he was a freelance dubbing editor. The films included The Clouded Yellow (1950) with Trevor Howard and Jean Simmons, Appointment in London (1953) with Dirk Bogarde, A Prize of Gold (1955) with Richard Widmark and Mai Zetterling, and Devil Girl from Mars (1954). It was a journeyman's career path, in a then declining industry.
In the mid-50s, commercial TV arrived. Anderson and Arthur Provis, a camera operator, set up Pentagon Films, whose recruits included Sylvia as a secretary. After Pentagon went bust came APF, which struggled until commissioned to produce a 52-part, 15-minute puppet series, The Adventures of Twizzle (1957-58). This was followed by Torchy the Battery Boy (1959-60). The wild west was big on late 50s British TV, via shows such as Wagon Train and Wells Fargo. APF came up with Four Feather Falls. Nicholas Parsons voiced, and Michael Holliday sang, Sheriff Tex Tucker. Bought by Granada, the programme debuted on ITV in February 1960. Tucker, his English-accented horse Rocky (Kenneth Connor), his dog Dusty and Pedro the villainous bandit rode into British children's teatime to be followed by Supercar.
In 1960 Anderson had produced and directed the B-movie Crossroads to Crime. At the other end of the decade, alongside a late and ill-starred puppet-live action series The Secret Service (1969), he produced the science fiction movie Doppelgänger. The live action TV series UFO (1970), The Protectors (1972-74) and Space 1999 (1975-78) followed. None greatly prospered.
In 1975, financially battered, and in the era before video sales, Anderson sold off his share of APF royalties. That year, too, he and Sylvia separated. Soon his relationship with ATV, in decline since the late 60s, ended. Anderson's finances were collapsing; his career reached its nadir before signs of revival in the 80s.
From the 1990s onwards the work of Anderson and the group of gifted puppeteers and film-makers he had worked with in 1960s Slough was rediscovered. There were conventions, live shows and repeat showings. Anderson developed other projects, but nothing really compared with those strange times and the mystery of Supermarionation, credited from the later episodes of Supercar.
Not that there was a mystery: it was the product, as the 60s advanced, of increasingly sophisticated and expensive technique. Just as the Wizard of Oz turned out to be a man behind a curtain, so Supermarionation merely combined the words "super", "marionette" and "animation". "It didn't mean," Anderson told Archer and Hearn, "anything other than that."
He was appointed an MBE in 2001. His first two marriages ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife, Mary, two daughters from his first marriage, a son from his second, and a son from his third.
Date of Birth: 28 February 1923, Highland Falls, New York, US
Birth Name: Charles Edward Durning
Nicknames: Charles Durning
Charles Durning first grabbed audience attention as the crooked Lieutenant Snyder in The Sting (1973). He makes an explosive appearance, tearing down an alley after the slick grifter played by Robert Redford, and repeatedly lurches out of the shadows throughout the rest of the film. Durning had only a handful of scenes, and over the next 40 years would seldom be granted more screen time in 200-odd film and TV roles. Nevertheless, his jowly face, with its boxer's nose and sly eyes, grew increasingly familiar, and his name in the opening titles usually promised good things ahead. His heavyset frame meant he was often cast as tough guys, but he later assumed more jovial roles, portraying Father Christmas several times.
His first Oscar nomination came for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), an ebullient musical about the southern hospitality offered at a brothel called the Chicken Ranch. Durning plays the slippery Texan governor who must decide whether to close down the establishment. His evasive nature is captured in a magical song-and-dance routine: "I love to dance a little sidestep," he sings. "Now they see me, now they don't …"
Durning's second Oscar nomination was for playing another character uneasy with his authority – the nougat-loving Gestapo chief Colonel Erhardt in To Be Or Not to Be (1983), Mel Brooks's remake of Ernst Lubitsch's classic about a Polish theatre company's attempt to outsmart the Nazis. Durning has some of the funniest scenes in the film. He barks commands at a hapless captain (Christopher Lloyd), then blames him when his plans backfire. Making doe eyes at Anne Bancroft, he tells her: "Consider yourself in the arms of the Gestapo." It is a broad comic role in a film that balances farce with tragedy.
Durning knew first-hand the horrors of war. Born in Highland Falls, New York state, he grew up near the military academy at West Point. His mother, Louise, laundered the clothes of the cadets there. His father, James, was badly injured in the first world war. Charles joined the army aged 17 and took part in the D-day landing aged 21. In a Memorial Day speech in 2007, he recalled: "I was the second man off my barge, and the first and third man got killed." Shot in the hip shortly afterwards, he spent months in hospital, then fought at the Battle of the Bulge. He received the Silver Star and three Purple Hearts.
Durning was a boxer, ice-cream seller and dance instructor before establishing himself as an actor. He cut his teeth in Shakespearean productions staged by Joe Papp and, in 1972, won a Drama Desk award for his performance in That Championship Season on Broadway.
By then, he had played his first film roles. In Brian De Palma's Hi, Mom! (1970), he is the slobbish superintendent who shows off an unsanitary apartment to a prospective tenant (played by Durning's friend Robert De Niro, who recommended him for the part). He re-teamed with De Palma for Sisters (later Blood Sisters, 1973) and The Fury (1978); in the latter, he is the director of a research facility judging psychic ability, and supervises a female patient who unlocks his own troubling secrets. That decade he also took police roles in Dog Day Afternoon (1975) and the TV series The Cop and the Kid (1975-76).
In Tootsie (1982), he was the wealthy widower Les Nichols, who falls hopelessly in love with the TV star Dorothy Michaels, not knowing that behind the drag makeup is the luckless actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman), who is infatuated with Les's daughter. Les's pursuit of Dorothy is full of funny moments – when he squeezes on to a garden swing with her at his ranch, it creaks under his weight but it touches on pathos, too, particularly when Les speaks of his wife, and when he makes his move on Dorothy with an excruciating proposal.
With his physical bulk and commanding presence, Durning was perfectly cast as the tyrannical tycoon Big Daddy in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway in 1990, for which he won a Tony award. He also looked at home as Chief Brandon in the box-office hit Dick Tracy (1990). Regrettably, fewer saw one of his best performances, in The Music of Chance (1993), based on Paul Auster's novel. He played Bill Flower, a former accountant who believes he has the Midas touch. Flower and a fellow millionaire host a card game and when their opponent (James Spader) cannot settle his debts, they make him and his friend build a wailing wall from 10,000 bricks. Durning was never creepier, seldom more sadistic.
In the Coen brothers' comedy The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), he was the bigwig who, in a boardroom meeting, runs the length of a conference table and throws himself out of the window. "We cast Durning on the idea that a fat person falling 40 floors is a lot funnier than a thin person falling 40 floors," said Joel Coen. "Charles actually used to be a dancer and all that stuff he does at the beginning where he gets up and digs his heel and shakes the tension out of his body was all Charles. He choreographed all his movements."
In O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), another Coen brothers' production, he was the cantankerous Mississippi governor Pappy O'Daniel, whose re-election campaign is boosted by a trio of convicts turned musicians, the Soggy Bottom Boys. Pappy joins them on stage for a rousing version of You Are My Sunshine.
That year, Durning starred in two comedy films written by David Mamet Lakeboat, and State and Main and appeared on stage in New Jersey in Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross. There was little to distinguish his subsequent films such as Kinky Killers (2007), a nasty piece of work, but he evidently relished voicing Peter Griffin's mean-spirited stepfather in the animated TV series Family Guy.
He remained bracingly prolific and kept a straightforward approach. "Of course, I'm often not the top dog," he told Playbill in 2000, "but sometimes it's better not to be top dog, because you last longer.
Date of Birth: 27 April 1922, Philadelphia, US
Birth Name: Jacob (Jack) Joachim Klugman
Nicknames: Jack Klugman
As Quincy, Klugman played a hyperactive, fractious coroner in Los Angeles County who typically questions an apparently natural death, bringing him into conflict with his boss and when he starts to play private detective with the police; eventually Quincy proves that the case is murder, and proceeds to solve it. Later episodes of the series began to address social issues such as the dumping of hazardous waste, airline safety and the multiplicity of handguns.
The character of Quincy is often said to have been based on Thomas Noguchi, the real-life chief medical examiner for Los Angeles County who was known as “Coroner to the Stars”. He performed or oversaw post mortems on celebrities including Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood and Robert F Kennedy.
The show starring Klugman was made in the 1970s and 1980s, and was an ancestor of programmes such as Silent Witness (the British series about a team of crack pathologists) and the American CSI, which suggests that no crime is beyond the investigative skills of forensic science.
Jacob (Jack) Joachim Klugman was born on April 27 1922 in Philadelphia. His father was a house painter who died young, and to make ends meet his mother made hats in her kitchen; the smart ladies of Philadelphia would arrive at the Klugman house by chauffeur-driven limousine to buy them. Meanwhile, Jack sold goods on behalf of vendors who were wary of venturing into the less salubrious areas of the city. He later observed: “Poverty can teach lessons that privilege cannot.”
Klugman served in the US Army in the Second World War, after which he took to gambling, later claiming that this led to his embarking on a career as an actor: “I owed a loan shark, who was also a friend, some money. I couldn’t pay him, so he turned the debt over to a couple of guys who were going to hurt me a little bit. I had to get out of town. Since I had the GI bill, I remembered my brother knew a guy in the Army who had been to Carnegie Mellon University, so I went there.” He enrolled in the drama department, only to be told by his tutor: “You’re not suited to be an actor. You’re more suited, Mr Klugman, to be a truck driver. Not that there’s anything wrong with truck drivers, but you’re really not ready for this.”
But Klugman persisted, and in 1949 made his (unpaid) stage debut at the Equity Liberty Theatre in New York. At this time he was sharing a room with the young Charles Bronson; continually short of funds, Klugman sometimes sold his blood for £3.12 a pint.
In 1957 he landed the part of juror number five in the film 12 Angry Men, starring Lee J Cobb and Henry Fonda (Klugman was the last survivor among the “jurors” in that picture), and finally broke into television, appearing in shows such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone.
He won an Emmy for his performance in The Defenders, and then, in 1970, came one of the roles for which he is most remembered that of the newly-divorced sportswriter Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple. Madison shares an apartment with Felix Unger (Tony Randall), a photographer who is also recently divorced. Unger is neurotically tidy, Madison a slob. The show was a huge hit, and Klugman won two Emmies. He also starred in the original Broadway production of The Odd Couple, before being replaced by Walter Matthau; and in 2005 he published Tony And Me: A Story of Friendship, a book about his long friendship with his series co-star Randall.
Among the films in which Klugman appeared were Days of Wine and Roses (1962) and Goodbye, Columbus (1969). Although not a good singer, he won a Tony Award in 1960 for Best Supporting Actor (Musical) for his role in Gypsy. In 1993 he appeared on a special “celebrity versus regulars” version of the British quiz show Going for Gold, emerging as the series winner.
Klugman was a heavy smoker, a habit which probably contributed to his contracting cancer of the larynx in 1974. After treatment he was able to continue acting but he did not stop smoking, and the cancer returned. In 1989 he underwent further surgery, which involved the removal of his right vocal cord. It was some years before he regained his voice, although it returned as a hoarse rasp.
Among his passions was horse racing, and his horse Jaklin Klugman was voted the 1980 California Horse of the Year after winning several races, including the 1980 California Derby, and finishing third in the Kentucky Derby.
In 2008 it was reported that he was suing NBC Television over what he alleged were missing profits from Quincy.
Jack Klugman had two sons from his marriage to Brett Somers, whom he married in 1953. They separated in 1974, but never divorced; she died in 2007. Klugman had lived with Peggy Crosby (the ex-wife of Bing Crosby’s son, Philip) since 1988, and they finally married in February 2008.
Date of Birth: 31 October 1919, Barnet, London, England, UK
Birth Name: Daphne Margaret du Grivel Oxenford
Nicknames: Daphne Oxenford
Daphne Oxenford, was for 20 years one of the best known voices of Listen With Mother on BBC Radio, captivating children with the words: “Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.”
The phrase has now been enshrined in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. “The time is a quarter to two,” the announcer would intone. “This is the BBC Light Programme for mothers and children at home. Are you ready for the music? When it stops, Daphne Oxenford will be here to speak to you.”
“The music” the Berceuse from Faure’s Dolly Suite was the signal for an audience of pre-school children across the country to settle down. Then, as a regular storyteller on the show from 1950 until 1971 (others were Julia Lang and Dorothy Smith), Daphne Oxenford would read the story of the day. “Few radio memories come as misty-eyed as this,” noted the radio historian Paul Donovan.
But Daphne Oxenford also appeared on television notably in early episodes of Coronation Street. Between 1960 and 1963 she played Esther Hayes, making her debut in episode two. Although the character was a spinster with a criminal brother, she thought the role dull and left after a couple of years, finally returning for guest appearances in 1971 and 1972, when she was last seen at the wedding of Ernest Bishop to Emily Nugent.
For 26 years Daphne Oxenford was also a regular voice on What the Papers Say, Granada Television’s irreverent weekly survey of the British Press, in which she was required to articulate excerpts from publications ranging from the tabloids to The Daily Telegraph, often in assumed voices.
The daughter of an accountant, Daphne Margaret du Grivel Oxenford was born on October 31 1919 at Barnet, north London. From school she trained at the Embassy School of Acting in Swiss Cottage, later the Central School of Speech and Drama, under Sybil Thorndike’s sister Eileen.
During the war she worked briefly in a bank and later as a censor, but hated having to read people’s private correspondence and was relieved to join ENSA entertaining troops and, after VE-Day, spending time in Germany broadcasting for radio. Later in 1945 she appeared with Sonnie Hale and Nellie Wallace in the revue That’ll Be The Day.
Her first radio engagement was in Let’s Join In! For schools radio in 1947, followed in 1949 by her television debut in Oranges and Lemons, a show in which she had worked at the Lyric (Hammersmith) and Globe Theatres. She also appeared in a television adaptation of Tuppence Coloured, the stage revue in which she had worked with Joyce Grenfell and Max Adrian at the Lyric and Globe in 1947.
Although her regular radio work with Listen With Mother occupied her from 1950, Daphne Oxenford continued to develop her stage career. She had roles in productions at the Library Theatre, Manchester, of The Happiest Days Of Your Life, in which she was Miss Gossage, the games mistress played in the later film version by Joyce Grenfell, and Candida (both 1955). In 1969 she appeared in Spring And Port Wine and Relatively Speaking at the same venue.
In 1979 she played Violet in a revival of TS Eliot’s The Family Reunion, starring Edward Fox, at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, and at the Vaudeville when it transferred to the West End the following year.
She appeared as Miss Prism in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest at the Nottingham Playhouse in October 1990, and returned to Manchester to play Emmy in The Doctors’ Dilemma at the Royal Exchange in 1991. The following year, at the Library Theatre, she was Ethel Thayler in a stage version of the film On Golden Pond.
From 1956 Daphne Oxenford made regular television appearances with her friend Joyce Grenfell in the comedienne’s sketch show Joyce Grenfell Requests The Pleasure. She was the mother in John Mortimer’s autobiographical A Voyage Round My Father (1969), and throughout the 1970s and 1980s appeared in numerous comedy series with Jimmy Tarbuck, Les Dawson and Dick Emery, dramas in the Play For Today slot and popular sitcoms including Some Mothers Do Have 'Em, Rising Damp and Man About The House. She played Mrs Patterson, the village grocer, in To The Manor Born (1979-81).
She continued to make cameo appearances throughout the 1980s and 1990s in television series such as The Bill, Brookside and Casualty. In 2002 she played the Queen Mother in an American television biopic about the life of Prince William. Although she looked the part, she was dismayed by some of the lines, protesting that the Queen Mother would never have said “when the chips are down”. However she was told that American audiences needed to comprehend the dialogue.
Daphne Oxenford’s feature film credits included parts in Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969), That’ll Be The Day (1973), and as Mrs Pumphrey in All Creatures Great And Small (1974).
She married, in 1951, David Marshall. They lived in Altrincham, Cheshire, until 2001 when they moved to Essex. After her husband’s death in 2003 she moved to the actors’ retirement home at Denville Hall, Northwood, from where she continued to do occasional television jobs, taking roles in The Royal (2003), Midsomer Murders (2004), Heartbeat (2004-05), and Doctor Who (2008).
Date of Birth: 28 April 1922, Kentish Town, London, England, UK
Birth Name: Violet Yeomans
Nicknames: Violet Phipott
Violet Philpott was a puppeteer best known for her work on the 1970s television children’s series Rainbow, for which she created the character Zippy.
With his huge zippered mouth, the know it all Zippy character was one of a mischievous oddball trio the others were a pink hippo called George and a big bear named Bungle who contributed to the programme’s general mayhem.
Zippy was a typical Violet Philpott creation: she always experimented with new materials and techniques to devise puppet characters, often working with polystyrene, polythene, plastics, and resins.
In 1963 she had been one of the creative figures behind The Telegoons, BBC Television’s adaptation of radio’s The Goon Show, bringing characters such as Major Bloodnok and Bluebottle to the screen. Violet Philpott was involved in the making of many of the Telegoon marionettes, and worked on the series for 15 episodes.
In 1972 she created Zippy for Thames Television’s pre-school children’s show Rainbow, the first British programme to feature significant interaction between puppets and humans.
Although the series ran for more than 20 years, Violet Philpott was forced to withdraw as the character’s operator after the first season because of a back injury sustained on account of having to adopt an awkward position every time Zippy appeared through a window.
With Mary Jean McNeil, she produced The KnowHow Book of Puppets (1975) that showed children how to produce puppet shows.
She was born Violet Yeomans on April 28 1922 in Kentish Town, north London. Her parents divorced when she was seven, and for two years she lived with her father, a pub entertainer, before returning to her mother. At St Martin’s School of Art she discovered a talent for puppetry and met her future husband AR Philpott, known professionally as Pantopuck the Puppet Man.
Theosophists, vegetarians and pacifists, the couple shared their home in Dartmouth Park with the painter Morris Cox (known as Mog), founder of the Gogmagog Press, and his wife, Wyn.
Using junk material, Violet Philpott made puppets to entertain children at the annual Punch and Judy festivals in St Paul’s, the actors’ church in Covent Garden, and worked with the young Emma and Sophie Thompson in a Children’s Theatre Workshop production in the Devon village of Dittisham.
Violet Philpott founded the Charivari Puppets, and in 1971 the Cap and Bells Puppet Theatre. Many of her live shows featured the adventures of a baby marsupial called Bandicoot to which she gave a distinctively comical voice. While touring with Bandicoot in Spain, a kindly woman put her up in what turned out to be a bordello.
She became a regular visiting artist at the Little Angel Theatre in Islington, where her puppet adaptations of The Ugly Duckling and The Elves and the Shoemaker are still part of the repertoire. From the early 1970s she also performed as Boo the Clown.
A lifelong advocate of the therapeutic uses of puppetry, and a dedicated supporter of the Educational Puppetry Association (founded by her husband in 1943 and amalgamated with the Puppet Centre Trust in 1978), she regularly ran workshops and gave performances for disabled and disadvantaged people.
As well as being a creative puppeteer, she wrote poetry and stories.
Date of Birth: 7 August 1924, India
Birth Name: Kenneth Kendall
Kendall’s long association with the BBC began in 1948, when he became an announcer on the Home Service. He transferred to Television News in 1954, presenting with Richard Baker.
At first the newsreader did not appear in vision, for fear that facial expressions would suggest that he had opinions of his own (and indeed Kendall once stood as a Tory councillor). Instead briefings were read over a series of still images and maps. Only in 1955, with the imminent launch of ITN promising a less formal news service, did the BBC decide to take a risk; Kendall became the first “in-vision” newsreader, broadcasting from Alexandra Palace on September 4.
He stayed with BBC News on and off for three decades, gaining a reputation for his immaculate appearance, clear diction and unflappability. About the only time he caused a stir was when a false tooth popped out one night when he was on camera.
In the end, however, his firm adherence to Reithian values led to clashes with his producers, and in 1981 he left the BBC, three years before he was due to retire, complaining about the “sloppily written and ungrammatical” stories he was expected to broadcast.
He soon resurfaced as the studio presenter of Channel 4s Treasure Hunt, which featured Anneka Rice, clad in a jump suit, leaping in and out of helicopters while Kendall played host to contestants in the studio, helping them to solve clues that would guide her to the “treasure”.
Kenneth Kendall was born on August 7 1924 in southern India, but moved to England aged 10 and spent his teenage years in Cornwall. He was educated at Felsted School, Essex, and at Oxford University, where he read Modern Languages. Towards the end of the war he served in the Coldstream Guards, and was wounded during the Normandy landings before being demobilised in 1946 in the rank of captain.
He began his career as a teacher in a Sussex prep school until a friend, thinking he had a clear voice, suggested he might apply to the BBC. He auditioned as an announcer on the Home Service and was successful, joining the corporation in 1948. In 1959 he stood as a Conservative candidate for his local council in north Kensington.
By 1961 he had decided that he did not want to read the news for the rest of his life and transferred to the BBC’s programme planning department. But he hated it so much that he went freelance and presented, among other things, the quiz show Pit Your Wits. Towards the end of the decade work began to dwindle, and by 1969 he was back at the BBC as one of the “big three” newsreaders, alongside Richard Baker and Robert Dougall.
During his career with the BBC, Kendall did short stints on programmes such as Songs of Praise and Fascinating Facts and took part in an adult education series on physiology. He also made a number of unlikely appearances in series such as Dr Who and Adam Adamant Lives.
After his final news bulletin in 1981, he freelanced for many television companies but became best known as the host of Treasure Hunt. Something of an unknown quantity when it began, the programme established itself as a firm favourite with the public and consistently topped the Channel 4 ratings chart.
Like other newsreaders, Kendall acquired an army of female fans, who deluged him with letters and even proposals of marriage – one woman wrote to him for 25 years, and he was even stalked for a couple of years. Richard Baker recalled that at Christmas, while he generally received knitwear and Robert Dougall would get bottles of whisky, Kendall got “rather distinguished things in leather”.
Kendall was immune to such blandishments, however, and returned to Cornwall, where he opened an art gallery exhibiting the work of local painters. Later he moved to the Isle of Wight, where he and his partner opened a restaurant, called Kendalls. They disliked running the business, however, so opened an art gallery in the same premises, where Kendall worked until his death.
Meanwhile, he devoted much time to charitable work and in 1992 took part in a seaborne outing during Cowes Week on behalf of an Aids charity, handing out free condoms and T-shirts to sailors. He was signed up for the trip after winning a Safe Sex quiz at a local hospital.
Two years ago he took part in the BBC series The Young Ones, in which well-known figures discuss the problems of ageing. Kendall lamented the fact that he “fell over too much”, and above all that he was no longer able to keep a dog.
Kenneth entered a civil partnership in 2006 with his partner of 23 years, Mark Fear.
Date of Birth: 19 April 1929, England, UK
Birth Name: Robert Marlowe
The days of the summer show, especially those staged on seaside piers, are almost over. One who championed their cause in the latter years was Robert Marlowe, who became particularly associated with productions in the Norfolk resort of Cromer.
He was stagestruck as a child. At the age of eight, he built a theatre from a summer house, designed and painted its sets and played a starring role, wearing a crimson velvet cloak with a fur-lined collar.
He worked first in engineering and dentistry, but then took up ballroom dancing and began winning medals as a teacher. His professional theatrical career began in a summer show at Clacton in Essex in 1953, followed by a pantomime at the Alhambra, Bradford, in which he quickly had to learn how to dance on stilts.
Soon after that, he joined a nationwide tour of a Folies Bergere production, Paris to Piccadilly, which had enjoyed a long run in the West End. He spent four years with the comedian famous for his “odd odes”, Cyril Fletcher, who also ran summer shows. Over the years, Marlowe worked as a dancer, singer, cabaret artist, actor and writer of pantomimes.
His first association with Cromer came in 1982 when, at the invitation of the impresario Richard Condon, he took over a show in which the cast of 12 was occasionally outnumbered by the audience. Soon Marlowe’s production, Seaside Special, was attracting coachloads of theatregoers from all over eastern and south-east England. He ran the show for 20 years.
One of his friends, Paul Holman, whose company presents pantomimes and summer shows, said: “Bob was a great man of the theatre. He was an inspirational man and his passion was his profession.”
Date of Birth: 17 September 1920, Hampstead, London, England, UK
Birth Name: Dinah Mec
Nicknames: Dinah Sheridan
Dinah Sheridan was a graceful actress fondly remembered for her performances in two of the most thoroughly British, good-natured and popular comedies in modern screen history Genevieve (1953) and The Railway Children (1970).
In the first she played the wife of a vintage car enthusiast and perched prettily but unenthusiastically atop a 1904 Darracq (named Genevieve) which is driven from London to Brighton by her dull barrister husband Alan (John Gregson). The journey is riddled with mishap, and on the return leg they try to beat another couple in a race back to Westminster.
Subtly deploying her smiling mouth and high cheekbones to express doubts about the sort of Englishman who puts more emotion and sincerity into the running of his car than his marriage, Dinah Sheridan’s comic instinct and control were precise and stylish. When the girlfriend of her husband’s racing rival confides that her escort “only thinks about cars and the other thing”, Dinah Sheridan, without batting an eyelid, replies: “Alan only thinks about cars.”
Genevieve proved hugely popular, and won a Bafta for best film.
Dinah Sheridan was then in the prime of her career, having made two dozen films. But having tasted success, she married John Davis, her boss at the Rank Organisation, and promptly had 13 years of retirement imposed upon her. It was only following her separation from Davis, her second husband, that she began acting again. Then, after bringing wit and elegance to a succession of West End comedies, farces and thrillers, she picked up on-screen where she had left off, joining the cast of another huge hit, Lionel Jeffries’s The Railway Children.
Taken from an Edwardian story by E Nesbit about a mother and her three children adapting to straitened circumstances in the Yorkshire countryside after the father, a Foreign Office official, is wrongly convicted of treachery, the film is best-remembered for the adventures of city-bred children exploring a new life in the countryside. None the less, Dinah Sheridan achieved through restraint an affecting emotional eloquence that was crucial to the film’s appeal.
She was born Dinah Mec on September 17 1920 at Hampstead Garden Suburb. A sickly child, she contracted tuberculosis at the age of five. “I was pushed around in a spinal carriage until I was well enough to learn to walk again at age six and a half,” she recalled.
Her father was Russian, while before the war her German mother ran a photographic business, for which Dinah posed willingly and often from an early age. Later the Royal family became clients, and only the Mecs, under the trading name of Studio Lisa (her mother’s first name), were allowed to photograph the royal pantomimes at Christmas.
Educated at the Italia Conti school of acting, Dinah made her professional debut aged 11 in Where the Rainbow Ends (Holborn Empire, 1932), and proved a particularly lovely Wendy in Peter Pan, a role she played, from the age of 15, at least 100 times. By then she had already appeared in her first feature film, Give My Heart (1935), having perused a telephone directory to select “Sheridan” as a stage name. The following year she was the first actress to broadcast on television from Alexandra Palace, in Picture Page. Her first film lead also came in 1936 with Irish and Proud of It.
After such domestic English epics as Father Steps Out (1937), Merely Mr Hawkins (1938), and Full Speed Ahead (1939) she spent two years during the early part of the war in provincial rep, also driving an ambulance at Welwyn Garden City. Then came such films as Salute John Citizen (1942); Get Cracking (1945, with George Formby); Murder in Reverse (1947); Calling Paul Temple (1948); The Story of Shirley Yorke (1949); The Huggetts Abroad (1949); and Paul Temple’s Triumph (1950).
Despite such regular work, it was not until she played the game warden’s wife in Harry Watt’s film about African wildlife, Where No Vultures Fly (1951), that her acting received wide acknowledgement. And only after further parts, in The Sound Barrier (1952), Appointment in London (1953) and The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan (1953), did she finally achieve in Genevieve stardom.
Success came at the same moment as the end of her 11-year marriage to the actor Jimmy Hanley, with whom she had a son and a daughter. Davis soon proposed on one condition that she give up acting “to have a happy home”.
It was a condition she seemed at first to accept: “I looked at films as a career from necessity but all I have really wanted is my home and children. The two things just do not work out together when one has to leave home at 5.30am in the morning to go to the studio.” Soon things changed. Two years later, in 1956, she resented having to turn down a big part in Reach for the Sky, the biopic about Douglas Bader. “I had promised my husband never to accept another engagement. It was hard. It was not a very happy time for me.”
It was two years after the end of her second marriage in 1965 that she returned to the stage in a drawing room comedy by Hugh and Margaret Williams, Let’s All Go Down the Strand (Phoenix). In it she had the only serious role that of a wife who insists on divorcing her husband after his first sexual lapse. Noting her “promising” comeback to the West End, the Telegraph’s critic WA Darlington praised her as “one of the clearest and best speakers on our stage”. “She had the task of winning our sympathy,” he added, “and brought it off with much charm.”
Subsequent stage productions included A Boston Story (Duchess, 1968); Out of the Question (St Martin’s, 1969); A Touch of Purple (Thorndike, Leatherhead, 1972); Move Over Mrs Markham (Vaudeville, 1972); The Card (Queen’s 1973); The Gentle Hook (Piccadilly, 1974); In the Red (Whitehall, 1977); and a tour of Half Life, which took her to Toronto.
If she rarely grappled with the classics, it was perhaps because she never could evoke persuasively that streak of hardness that goes with many great roles. So it was natural that, as she matured, it was as old flames, obliging widows, demure or indignant wives that she was most appreciated. Her femininity, likeability, integrity and sense of comedy contributed richly to the success of such West End hits as The Pleasure of His Company (Phoenix, 1976), A Murder Is Announced (Vaudeville, 1977) and Present Laughter (1981).
Despite the success of The Railway Children, she only made one more film The Mirror Crack’d, a Miss Marple adaptation starring Angela Lansbury as Agatha Christie’s detective. She did take several television roles, though, and could be seen thereafter in Don’t Wait Up (as Nigel Havers’s mother), and Winning Streak. In the early 1990s she also appeared frequently on the afternoon game show Countdown.
Date of Birth: 21 September 1931, Fort Worth, Texas, US
Birth Name: Larry Martin Hagman
Nicknames: Larry Hagman
On 21 November 1980, 83 million people in the US and 24 million in the UK watched the TV show Dallas to see who had shot the villainous JR Ewing. While working late at the office, the boss of Ewing Oil was suddenly fired on by an unseen assailant. Who shot JR, and would he survive?
Any character who had ever come into contact with the oleaginous Texas oilman had good reason to do away with him, but there was no way he could really have been killed off. If JR had died, then the series would have died, because JR was Dallas – and Larry Hagman, who has died aged 81 after suffering from throat cancer, was JR.
Other actors were at times replaced in their roles, but Hagman was irreplaceable. Nevertheless, just in case, Hagman quickly renegotiated his contract with Lorimar Studios just after the episode in which he was shot, securing an annual salary of around £0.62m. JR thus survived the attempt on his life, and continued his scheming ways for another 10 seasons.
One should not underestimate Hagman's achievement in becoming the man the whole world loved to hate, the focal character of this progressively preposterous soap opera. With his bug eyes, smarmy grin and dicey hairpiece, Hagman generated a certain lethal charm as he went about betraying trusts and manipulating innocent people. He was Machiavelli in a Stetson, the evil face of capitalism though, according to Hagman, "JR has lost Ewing Oil more than £9.98m."
Hagman, nominated twice for an Emmy award, though he never won, was the only member of the cast to be in all 357 episodes of Dallas from 1978 to 1991. Ironically, nothing in his previous acting career had indicated Hagman was other than a competent light-comedy actor whose fame would be strictly limited, despite being the son of Mary Martin, known as the "first lady of the Broadway musical".
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, he was brought up for a while by his grandmother after his parents divorced when he was five; he was then shunted between his mother and his district attorney father, Benjamin Hagman, and was moved around various private schools and psychotherapists.
At the age of 20, Hagman moved to London as a member of the chorus of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, which starred his mother as Nellie Forbush, the role she created on Broadway. Hagman and Sean Connery, a year older, were among the shirtless sailors who sang There Is Nothing Like a Dame.
After a year at Drury Lane, Hagman joined the US air force. Four years later he resumed his acting career in earnest, getting roles on television and in films. Hagman made little impression in his first Hollywood movies, as servicemen in Joshua Logan's Ensign Pulver (1964) and in Otto Preminger's In Harm's Way (1965). However, he was very good playing weak men in two Sidney Lumet films: as the US president's nervous Russian interpreter in the nuclear scare story Fail-Safe (1964), and as Joanna Pettet's playwright husband with a penchant for wine and women in The Group (1966).
In Harry and Tonto (1974), he was the selfish, whining son of retired teacher Art Carney. He hammed it up as an incompetent, gung-ho American colonel in The Eagle Has Landed (1976), and as a caricatured Hollywood studio executive in Blake Edwards's S.O.B. (1981).
But it was television that was the foundation of his career. Hagman had scores of TV appearances. His first real success came in I Dream of Jeannie (1965-70), in which he played a befuddled bachelor astronaut who finds himself master of a glamorous, 2,000-year-old genie (Barbara Eden). Continuing to display a deft light touch, Hagman went on to appear in other mildly amusing sitcoms.
Then came the long-running Dallas, which Variety initially called "a limited series with a limited future". Robert Foxworth was originally cast as JR, but he wanted the role softened too much for the producer's taste, and Hagman was the perspicacious second choice.
Hagman differed from JR in most aspects, being amiable and modest, though his liking for practical jokes and dressing up in different guises, such as an English bobby or French foreign legionnaire, gained him the nickname "Wacky Larry" and "The Mad Monk of Malibu". He was, like JR, a heavy drinker, which led to his developing cirrhosis of the liver; he had a transplant that saved his life. Thereafter, Hagman was active in several organisations that advocated organ donation and transplantation. A passionate non-smoker, he also served as the chairperson of the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout, from 1981 to 1992.
In 1996, Hagman reprised his infamous alter ego in a TV special called JR Returns, in which the dysfunctional Ewing family is reunited. Then, acting against type, he showed his range as a benevolent judge in Orleans (1997). Among Hagman's few later feature films was Mike Nichols's Primary Colors (1998), in which Hagman was convincing as a populist, plain-speaking Florida governor. Hagman himself, a member of the Peace and Freedom party, once described fellow Texan George Bush as "a sad figure, not too well educated, who doesn't get out of America much. He's leading the country towards fascism."
In recent years, Hagman became a prominent campaigner for alternative energy, transforming his California home into one of the world's biggest solar-powered estates. He revelled in the paradox of TV's most famous oil man driving an electric car, and his disgust with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill led him to agree to star as JR in a SolarWorld TV advert, in which he parodied vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's use of the phrase "Drill, baby, drill" with the pro-solar slogan "Shine, baby, shine".
Though he appeared in a couple of 2011 episodes of Desperate Housewives, Hagman largely retired from acting. Nonetheless, earlier this year he joined co-stars Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy in a new 10-episode season of Dallas, adding a further generation to the troubled family and its business.
Date of Birth: 4 April 1941, Ardwich, Manchester, England, UK
Birth Name: William Cleworth-Piddington
Nicknames: Bill Tarmey
Bill Tarmey made his name as Jack Duckworth, the endearingly lazy husband of the nagging motormouth Vera Duckworth, played by Liz Dawn, in Granada television's Coronation Street. The former asphalt spreader began with the long-running soap as an extra in the mid-1970s, and came into his own as Duckworth in 1979. This was five years after Dawn joined the cast, and it soon helped to create a character duo that was stronger than the sum of its parts.
Vera and Jack met at Gail and Brian Tilsley's wedding. Jack later became a cellar man at the Rovers Return, whose other stalwarts at the time included Hilda Ogden and Bet Lynch, played by Jean Alexander and Julie Goodyear. The health problems of his son, Carl, led to Tarmey's departure from the series in November 2010, in a touching and memorable finale.
Dawn started to become seriously ill with emphysema in the 1990s. When she found it difficult to get out of a chair, Tarmey would modify the script so that he walked over to her instead of vice-versa.
Tarmey himself had struggled with health problems throughout his time on the programme. He had a coronary in 1976, a stroke in 1977, a bypass operation in 1986, and in 2002 a second heart attack, after which a pacemaker was fitted. He also developed sleep apnoea, disrupting his breathing while asleep.
He and his screen wife had followed similar career paths. Both began by singing in pubs, but whereas Dawn gave up smoking after a 30-a-day habit lasting 55 years, Tarmey persisted. He once said that he could make it easier for himself if he gave up smoking: "I could sit in a rocking chair. But that wouldn't be me. That would kill me sooner than the old ticker. If I die tomorrow, they'll have to prise the smile off my face because I've had such a good life."
Even in the 1990s, Tarmey carried on singing in his local pub in Ashton-under-Lyne, near Manchester. He maintained that after the doctors had "regulated" his problems, no one need worry, though regretted the effect on his wife when he went to bed in a breathing contraption, "looking and sounding like an alien".
Another thing that he and his screen wife had in common was an unapologetic belief that they were not really actors. "I'm just an ordinary guy who got really lucky," he maintained. "I have two terrific children and six wonderful grandchildren."
In 2006 his sudden announcement that he was thinking of retiring prompted many protest letters from fans. When he relented, Granada TV announced that both he and Dawn had signed new contracts.
The sometimes stoically grizzled and bemused-looking Tarmey was born William Piddington in Manchester. His father, an army ambulance driver during the second world war, was killed in 1944 at the Battle of Arnhem. Shortly afterwards, Bill's mother married their next door neighbour, Bob Cleworth. This caused Bill, who adored his stepfather, to change his name by deed poll to Cleworth-Piddington in 1992.
His stage name of Bill Tarmey came from appearing at a club in Stockport where the manager insisted that Bill Piddington was too long to go on a poster. He had wanted to give him the surname of the singer Mel Tormé, but misspelled it as Tarmey.
He met his future wife, Alma, when both were 14 and attending the same school in Manchester. They lost touch until 1963, when she began coming to the church that Tarmey's Lads Brigade was attached to, and were married just before his 21st birthday.
Tarmey did not succeed at school. He left at 15 and then went to night school and a building college to get his City and Guilds qualification in construction, and was apprenticed to a building firm, for which he worked as an asphalter.
But he had not been a complete stranger to the performing arts. From the age of four, his grandmother taught him to harmonise, and by the time he was nine he was appearing with a singing group called the Songsters, who performed for local charities. In the 1950s he was in a skiffle band, playing in pubs while also working in his in-laws' greengrocery.
While he was still in the building trade, his wife persuaded him to sing in pubs and clubs. He accepted the challenge, though did not warm to the occasions when he found himself upstaged by the bingo caller.
Always devoted to Alma, he sang the song The Wind Beneath My Wings when he featured on the TV show This Is Your Life in 1992. Colleagues from the cast of Coronation Street in the studio were reduced to tears.
He started in television when a friend encouraged him to seek work as an extra, getting small speaking parts in series such as Crown Court, Strangers, The Ghosts of Motley Hall and The Glamour Girls. In a BBC Play for Today about a black pudding festival, Thicker than Water (1980), he played a slaughterer, and in the series Rising Star he sang with his own group, Take Ten.
An opportunity to expand his range came in King Lear with Laurence Olivier, in a production commissioned from Granada for Channel 4 in 1983. His agent had been asked whether Tarmey rode a horse. Of course he did, the agent replied. In fact, Tarmey's only relevant experience had been riding a donkey on Blackpool beach when he was four. Tarmey practised for 10 days before the first rehearsal with Olivier. The horse reared and bolted, and the last thing Tarmey remembered of the scene was Olivier saying fatalistically: "Bye, Bill."
In Coronation Street, he had a brief speaking part as Jack Rowe in 1978, and the following year reappeared, now as Jack Duckworth. The idle Stan Ogden was written out of the script, but Tarmey soon established himself as a substitute national anti-hero and helped stabilise the show.
Bill Roache, who has played Ken Barlow since it started, said: "He was the downtrodden loveable rogue who never got anything right but was loved by everyone. This was down to Bill's skills as an actor. He had amazing comic timing and was a genuinely warm and wonderful human being."
In 1989, the year of his appearance in the Royal Variety Performance with Dawn, the two of them released a single of I'll Be With You Soon. In 1993 he made another single, One Voice, for charity, with the St Winifred's School Choir, from Stockport. He produced an autobiography, Jack Duckworth and Me: My Life on the Street and Other Adventures, in 2010.
Date of Birth: 12 September 1920, HIghbury, London, England, UK
Birth Name: Cornel Lucas
Cornel Lucas, was the doyen of still photography in the British film industry. Although his pictures were not destined for cinema screens, his artistry and technique were much respected by his film cameramen colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic.
During the 1940s, working at Denham Studios, in Buckinghamshire, Cornel became well known for his brilliant portraiture and as the master of a huge 12in x 10in plate camera, which gave a large negative area, capable of delivering unmatched image quality. When international superstars came to work on British productions, they were invariably photographed by Cornel to create the publicity stills.
When the film No Highway in the Sky was being made in 1948, a special session was arranged with Marlene Dietrich, resulting in a series of iconic photos.
The success of the Dietrich work led to Cornel receiving an offer from the Rank Organisation: they would set up a specially equipped studio for him at Pinewood, where he would photograph all the 50 or so artists then under contract to Rank. Also to the studio came many veteran American stars and all the Rank starlets, and among his sitters were David Niven, Gregory Peck, Diana Dors and Brigitte Bardot.
Cornel was born in Highbury, north London, and his interest in photography was first nurtured by his mother, who bought him a Kodak Box Brownie snapshot camera for his 11th birthday. Since he was blessed with six sisters (as well as a brother), the availability of young models "in house" meant his ability as a portrait photographer soon become apparent. With the one bathroom in their home doubling as a darkroom, the whole family watched in wonder as young Cornel's pictures developed.
His first job, at the age of 15, was as a trainee at a film processing laboratory that earned him a small salary and enabled him to study photography part-time at Westminster University. At the start of the second world war, he joined the Royal Air Force and was soon posted to the RAF school of photography, in Farnborough, Hampshire. Throughout his years in the RAF, Cornel was engaged in top secret aerial reconnaissance assignments.
Somehow, an opportunity occurred for him to ask the most famous portrait photographer of the time, Cecil Beaton, how a young serviceman might get into his business once the war was over. The great man firmly advised him against it, with the simple words: "Too difficult, too much competition." In no way disheartened and certainly not dissuaded, Cornel secured a junior position at Denham Studios.
In 1959, building on his success in photographing film stars, Cornel opened his own studio in Flood Street, Chelsea, where his work soon embraced wider aspects of photography, particularly high fashion advertising and television commercials.
Cornel's work is held in the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the National Media Museum, Bradford (which also has his magnificent 12 x 10 plate camera). In addition, individual Lucas portraits in homes all over the world are hugely valued by the sitters concerned. Cornel made it his business to ensure that the achievement of "techies", his colleagues behind the cameras, were seen to be equally worthy of recognition. A portrait by Cornel Lucas was for the backroom people of the film industry a lasting privilege.
Date of Birth: 9 January 1920 , Brixton, London, England, UK
Birth Name: Clive Robert Benjamin Dunn
Nicknames: Clive Dunn
Though he was master of all sorts of old-man parts, he will be remembered with most affection as Lance Corporal Jones in the BBC television send-up of life in the wartime Home Guard, Dad's Army (1968-77).
His dithery butcher, slipping a few favoured lady customers some choice cuts from under the counter and then, in his spare time, trying his ineffectual best to keep order for the officious Captain Mainwaring, became such a popular figure that his catchphrase, "Don't panic!", delivered in the agitated tones of a running chicken hanging on with difficulty to the last shreds of its dignity, was repeated with guffaws in homes throughout the land.
The air of good nature with which he imbued the role removed any offence from some of Jones's other catchphrases, such as his constantly reiterated explanation, derived possibly from service in Africa, of why the enemy disliked the bayonet: "They don't like it up 'em, sir!" When in the late 1970s, British sausage manufacturers wanted their first competition, staged at Alexandra Palace, north London, to be opened by someone who suggested both the spirit of Britain and the no-nonsense appeal of the sausage, their choice was Dunn. He also toured for the Egg Marketing Board.
For broad comedy, he was a natural. His father and grandfather had been comics and wanted him to follow the same route, but the young Clive had other ideas. Born in Brixton, London, and educated at Sevenoaks school, Kent, he set his heart on becoming a film cameraman, something which appealed to his visual imagination, he later became an accomplished amateur painter and his sense of security.
In the event, after the Italia Conti acting school, he lined up a job as a teaboy and general dogsbody with British Movietone News just before that company went out of business. His chosen course no longer seemed quite so secure. At the Italia Conti he had drifted towards comedy when he was sent up the road to play a dragon on a high wire and a frog at the Holborn Empire.
Richard Todd, later to become a cinema heart-throb, was in the same acting class. They both appeared before the then queen, the eventual Queen Mother, in a school ballet. This also signalled that Dunn's future might lie in making people laugh. Partnering an especially well-built girl and trying to pick her up, he slipped and dropped her. Despite or perhaps because of this, Dunn was quickly snapped up by talent scouts. He had walk-on parts in Goodbye Mr Chips (1939) and, with Will Hay, in Boys Will Be Boys (1935). When he was still only 17, he toured with British cinema's "bad girl”.
Jean Kent, in a revue called Everybody Cheer. Smitten by her charms, he wrote a song for her, which she sang in Gateshead without being getting booed and in Luton, where she was not so lucky. The infatuation did not prevail, either.
As the patriotic if uncertain lance corporal might well have done, Dunn made several attempts to enlist when the second world war broke out. He eventually joined the 4th Hussars, was captured in Yugoslavia and spent four years as a prisoner of war, held in a room above a barber's shop in Vienna and allowed out at night to do dirty jobs that no one else wanted. It gave him an eye for the oddities of military life.
The television series Bootsie and Snudge (1960-63) first earned him fame as an old-man impersonator. He played Old Johnson, the faithful waiter struggling to preserve order and decorum among those ministering to the gentlemen of the Imperial Club. After the success of this show and Dad's Army, Dunn often sank from public view, though he continued to work in clubs, doing a song and dance routine, he was a trained dancer and ascribed his bandy legs, two of his assets as a comic, to doing too much athletics at school.
Playing elderly men remained his forte. He even made a recording of his song Grandad, which sold 690,000 copies and was in the charts for 28 weeks in 1970-71, three of them at No 1. Using his oldie reputation, Dunn visited many pensioners' clubs and homes to cheer up the occupants, and once spoke at Trafalgar Square in favour of a campaign for better pensions.
However, he was immensely pleased to be chosen, for a change, to play Frosch, the slurred and tipsy but not necessarily aged jailer in a 1978 English National Opera production of Johann Strauss's opera Die Fledermaus. This, he insisted wryly, was at least one step up from his only other experience of being in opera, a quarter of a century previously in a BBC radio performance of a modern work in which he played someone unable to hear or speak, uttering only grunts and groans synchronised with the dissonant music.
Dunn was appointed OBE in 1975, the year he appeared in a Dad's Army sketch at a Royal Variety Performance. A television series took up his Grandad character (1979-84), and he bowed out of the medium as Verges in Much Ado About Nothing (1984).
Date of Birth: 26 June 1946 , Harrow, Middlesex, England, UK
Birth Name: Michael Hugh Saunderson Morris
Nicknames: Mike Morris
As a presenter at TV-am, Mike Morris was distinctive on screen for his prominent moustache and relaxed manner. Along with the puppet Roland Rat, this laid-back style was adopted more widely by TV-am, ITV's first breakfast television franchise holder, and proved successful, following the failure of its initial presenting line-up and the so-called Famous Five, that attracted audiences.
The big guns of David Frost, Anna Ford, Robert Kee, Angela Rippon and Michael Parkinson, with their high-brow approach, were firmly rejected by viewers, who opted instead to watch Selina Scott and Frank Bough on the BBC's Breakfast Time. The BBC show was lighter in style and gained an advantage by going on air 15 days ahead of TV-am's Good Morning Britain and Daybreak programmes in 1983, the year in which both the BBC and ITV launched breakfast television. As a result, Ford and Rippon left and Anne Diamond and Nick Owen became the main faces of TV-am.
Morris started as a sports presenter at TV-am and was host of the Saturday version of Good Morning Britain before becoming a main presenter in 1987. Three years later, he conducted the first live British television interview with Nelson Mandela following the ANC leader's release from prison. TV-am lost its franchise at the end of 1992, but Morris went on to host the new company GMTV's Sunday Best programme (1993-94), then finished his career in regional television.
Born in Harrow, Middlesex, Morris was brought up in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, attended St Paul's school, London, and gained a BA in English and American literature from Manchester University. He entered journalism on the Surrey Comet in 1969, was bulletins editor for the Sydney-based news agency AAP Reuters and, in 1974, became a sports reporter with United Newspapers, rising to the rank of sports editor.
Switching to television in 1979, Morris was a subeditor and reporter on the ITV London weekday programme Thames News before his move to TV-am, where he had the distinction of co-presenting its final programme, with Lorraine Kelly.
He also had a brief spell at the cable channel Wire TV, touring Britain in a bright yellow bus converted into an outside broadcast unit and spending a week at a time in different places. The channel closed in 1995.
The following year, Morris joined Yorkshire Television (now ITV Yorkshire) as a presenter of the regional news programme Calendar. The night before being interviewed for the job, his clothes were stolen from his car, so the wardrobe department dressed him in one of Richard Whiteley's suits.
Margaret Emsley, head of news at ITV Yorkshire, says: "He had such an easy manner on air but would terrify producers by refusing to come on set until just a few minutes before transmission. There was always laughter in the newsroom when Mike was around. He was gloriously irreverent and a master of comic timing. He loved to clown around but was a very intelligent man who was always a delight to be with."
Commuting weekly from his home in Surrey, Morris stayed in Leeds while working, but left Calendar in 2002. Although his television career had finished, he remained an avid viewer of sport.
Date of Birth: 11 September 1917, Prague, Czech Republic
Birth Name: Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru
Nicknames: Herbert Lom
The gibbering, nervous jelly eyelids twitching uncontrollably to which Lom, as Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus, is reduced by Clouseau is likely to remain one of film’s most enduring and beloved comic turns. But its huge success masked the fact that, in a career spanning half a century, Lom’s characters were overwhelmingly elegant, poised and suave.
The Pink Panther also overshadowed the fact that he had the looks, certainly in his early career, to be cast as a romantic lead. Lom himself would have liked to have been cast in more such parts, though the bedside manner of his psychiatrist in The Seventh Veil and The Human Jungle proved exceptionally attractive to women.
In the end most of his film roles were variations of smooth villainy with a foreign accent he was usually well-dressed, and often sported a cigarette holder, sometimes even a buttonhole. The result was a faintly sinister manner and air of mystery that was itself highly intoxicating.
He used to attribute being cast so often as a shifty outsider to having arrived in London from his birthplace, Prague, just before the Second World War, when film producers were seeking actors to impersonate the Nazis. “In British eyes,” he once ruefully remarked, “anyone foreign is slightly villainous.”
He was born Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru on September 11th 1917. Although his parents wanted him to become a doctor, he attended the Prague School of Acting and then ran a small theatre in the city, finding work in Czech films. It was in flight from the Nazis that, aged 22, he arrived in Britain to study Philosophy at Cambridge University and to act at the Vic-Wells and Embassy schools in London.
During the war he worked for the BBC European Service and in various repertory and touring companies before establishing himself in films. In The Young Mr Pitt (1942) he played Napoleon before, in 1945, becoming the psychiatrist Dr Larsen in The Seventh Veil (1945). It was a part for which he was highly suited, as in his youth Lom had studied Freud and Jung and become acquainted with psychiatric medicine. He had even used hypnosis with friends under medical supervision. Though he had “to age” considerably for the role, his casting was a masterstroke.
Six years later, in 1951, the same fictitious character, Dr Larsen, brought Lom his first West End stage appearance, a welcome departure from his relentless film parts as a sly and doomed opponent of Britain’s interests. In casting him as such, producers overlooked his poise and similarity to the great romantic lead of the pre-war era, Charles Boyer. In contrast to Boyer, Lom rarely found a sympathetic role outside the field of psychiatry on screen, and it was to the London stage that he turned to get a break.
In The King and I (Drury Lane, 1953), for example, he gave the monarch great dignity and charm, opposite Valerie Hobson. Much later, in William Douglas-Home’s Betzi (Haymarket, 1975) he gave Napoleon a powerful and at times moving presence in his last years of exile on St Helena, though scarcely anybody else in the play came to life.
By then he had played the French leader twice before in films in The Young Mr Pitt and in War and Peace (1956). At the time of the latter, he was established, with more than two dozen film credits to his name. Then, in 1963, he moved to the small screen for the television series The Human Jungle, charming the nation again (for once not menacingly) as Dr Roger Corder, a Harley Street psychiatrist, a part which brought him no little fan mail.
The letters he received were almost exclusively from women and read, in effect: “Now we know a psychiatrist as nice as Dr Corder we won’t hesitate to consult our local man.” It was a sentiment that pleased Lom, since he supposed that many people were still afraid of psychiatry and liked to think that he was helping to break down barriers; he had no qualms about consulting psychiatrist friends himself if he felt the need. He denied that the series merely popularised mental illness. “We are popularising mental cure,” he insisted, and a psychiatrist advised on every script.
Each story was based on a real case, though Lom felt that the fiction oversimplified the issue. He also realised that Dr Corder as a character was boring he was not allowed to shout or fall in love, and although the central character, had to stay in the background. “The patients are the scene-stealers,” said Lom. “My ambition now is to play one of them.”
His chance came, so to speak, in the Pink Panther films, in which he proved the perfect foil for Peter Sellers. As the harassed, hapless and fumingly indignant Dreyfus, Lom survived in the series for more than 20 years.
From the outset, in A Shot In The Dark (1964), Lom’s Dreyfus had a job to keep his sanity in the face of Sellers’s exasperating incompetence. By the time the series reached Curse of the Pink Panther (1985) he was usually confined to a mental hospital, though ever anxious to keep twitchingly in touch with the activities of his out-of-control underling.
The films gave Lom a rare chance to display his talents as a comedian. Though the comedy might have been thought too low for his well-bred elegance of manner, in the event his transformation from assurance to breakdown contributed strikingly to the success of the farce. Otherwise he had few opportunities to be funny because he acted mostly, in upwards of 70 films, on the other side of the law.
In Dual Alibi (1947) he was a murderous trapeze artist. In Night and the City (1950) he was a wrestling promoter after Richard Widmark’s life as an adulterer. In The Ladykillers (1955) he was the only thief in the group against letting the old lady of the lodging house know what they were up to, and met his end under a leisurely locomotive’s wheels.
No Trees In The Street (1959) saw him as the stylish crook who tempted Sylvia Sims to marry him to escape the slums for an even worse fate; in Frightened City (1961) he formed a Soho syndicate of criminals and ended up on a skewer; and in Villa Rides (1968), as a cold-eyed, toadlike general, he ruthlessly dispatched the president of Mexico so that he himself might succeed to the office.
Other films in which Lom made his somewhat icy presence firmly felt included Whispering Smith (1952); The Net (1953); Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958); North-West Frontier (1959); Mr Topaz (1961); Our Man In Marrakesh (1966); The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971); And Then There Were None (1974); The Lady Vanishes (1977); Hopscotch (1981); Memed My Hawk (1983); King Solomon’s Mines (1985); Whoops Apocalypse! and Scoop (1987). His last film, in 1993, was Son of Pink Panther, an ill-advised return to the series, starring Roberto Benigni as Clouseau’s blundering son.
Hebert Lom was the author of two biographies: Enter A Spy (1971) about Christopher Marlowe, and Guillotin: The Eccentric Exploits of an Early Scientist (1992).
His first marriage, to the film distributor Dina Scheu, with whom he had two sons, was dissolved in 1979. He also had a daughter with the potter Brigitta Appleby. A second marriage, to the skincare specialist Eve Lacik, was dissolved in 1990.
Date of Birth: 3 December 1927, Wall Lake, Iowa, US
Birth Name: Howard Andrew
Nicknames: Andy Williams
Through the popularity of his television show and his mellifluous tenor voice, Andy Williams, who has died aged 84 after suffering from bladder cancer, was one of the best-loved figures in American popular culture. In a career that spanned eight decades, he sold more than 100m albums. Ronald Reagan described Williams's distinctive voice as a "national treasure".
The Andy Williams Show was also a favourite on British television and he had numerous UK hits in the 1960s and 70s. Among the biggest were Can't Get Used to Losing You (1963), Can't Help Falling in Love (1970) and Where Do I Begin (1971), the theme from the 1970 film Love Story.
Williams's British career was revived in 1998 when his 30-year-old hit Can't Take My Eyes Off You was used in a commercial for Peugeot cars. Soon, a Fiat advertisement revived Music to Watch Girls By, and The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (from one of his eight Christmas albums) was chosen for a Marks & Spencer Christmas campaign in 2002. He even appeared in an episode of Strictly Come Dancing in 2009 to sing Moon River.
Williams grew up in Wall Lake, Iowa, the second youngest of six children, to Jay and Florence Williams. His father, a railway worker, arranged for Andy and his three elder brothers, Bob, Don and Dick, to be the choir at the town's Presbyterian church. The quality of their harmonising inspired Jay to train the quartet for a professional career, beginning with performances at weddings and socials. His ambition for the boys led the family to move to Des Moines in 1936 to seek a regular radio show. There, Jay's perfectionism hardened into an obsession: Andy was to claim that his self-confidence was deeply dented by Jay's edict that "you have to practise harder because you're not as good as others out there".
The Williams Brothers were eventually awarded their own 15-minute show on a station where Reagan was a sports reporter. But the family were still not well off, and when the youngest child died of spinal meningitis, the only way the family could pay the funeral costs was for the brothers to sing hymns at the funeral parlour after school for several months.
There were further moves to Chicago and Cincinnati so that the Williams Brothers could perform on more prestigious radio stations, and in 1944 the family uprooted again to Los Angeles. There, Jay Williams, by now his sons' full-time manager, negotiated a studio contract with MGM, which gave the quartet cameo roles in several B movies. He also persuaded Bing Crosby to employ them as backing singers on his hit record Swinging on a Star.
The group broke up as each brother was called up for second world war service – the 17-year-old Andy was briefly in the merchant navy and did not re-form until 1947. They next performed as a cabaret act, appearing in Las Vegas and the Café de Paris in London before splitting up in 1953. The actor and choreographer Kay Thompson then launched Andy on a solo career, which ignited when he landed a job as resident vocalist on Steve Allen's late night television show on NBC (1954-56).
In 1956 he signed a recording contract with Cadence, and the following year had a No 1 hit in both the US and Britain with Butterfly. Although Williams studied Elvis Presley's recordings, he avoided rock'n'roll and had four more top 10 hits with ballads. In 1961 CBS offered him a lucrative record deal.
The 1960s were to be his golden decade. The Andy Williams Show ran on NBC from 1962 to 1971, with consistently high ratings, and he had at least one album in the US top 10 in every year, aided by his musical director, the acclaimed jazz pianist Dave Grusin. The essential blandness of the show was reassuring to middle America, but it introduced new singers, notably the Osmonds, whom Jay Williams had spotted performing at Disneyland, and the fledgling Jackson Five, featuring a seven-year-old Michael.
The popularity of the show kept the crooning Williams afloat during the tidal wave of pop in the 1960s. Also, while contemporaries such as Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett were baritones, Williams, a tenor, shared his vocal range with the Beatles and Beach Boys.
All his albums of the 1960s sold more than one million copies each, with Moon River and Days of Wine and Roses each selling almost 2m. The latter was No 1 in the album charts for 16 weeks in 1963. When his contract with CBS came up for renewal in 1966, his manager, Alan Bernard, negotiated an unprecedented guarantee against royalties of £0.93m. In return, Williams agreed to record 15 albums over the next five years.
The formula for his albums was carefully calculated to attract fans of the television show. Williams seldom recorded new or unknown songs. Instead, he chose a mix of titles from successful movies, Broadway shows and versions of recent pop hits. Williams and his producer, Bob Mersey, were careful to include material by songwriters of the rock era, albeit their most melodic numbers. Thus, he recorded songs from the pens of Lennon and McCartney (Michelle), Burt Bacharach (Don't You Believe It) and Jim Webb (McArthur Park).
On one occasion, he decided to experiment with a "concept" album of songs by the arranger Mason Williams (no relation), depicting existence from birth to death. Clive Davis, the head of CBS Records, warned him that sales would suffer. After some haggling, the concept songs took up one side of the LP Bridge Over Troubled Water. Davis was proved right and the album sold only half a million copies.
The loss of his television show led to falling record sales for Williams in the early 1970s. However, his celebrity enabled him to play lucrative concerts and cabaret engagements throughout the US and Europe. In 1992 he opened his own Moon River theatre in Branson, Missouri, where he appeared for several months each year.
Although he was a lifelong Republican, Williams became a close friend of Robert and Ethel Kennedy in the mid-60s. He was present when Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles during the 1968 campaign for the presidential nomination. Williams sang The Battle Hymn of the Republic at the funeral and voted for George McGovern at the Democratic party convention, having been nominated as a delegate by Kennedy. More in keeping with his political convictions was his outspoken criticism of Barack Obama, and he allowed the rightwing radio commentator Rush Limbaugh to broadcast his recording of Born Free with added gunshot sounds. Sony Music (now the owner of CBS Records) forced Limbaugh to remove it.
Williams was married twice. He had three children, Noelle, Christian and Bobby, named after Robert Kennedy, with his first wife, the singer and dancer Claudine Longet. After their divorce, he was publicly supportive when, following the death of her new partner in a shooting incident, she was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide in 1977. He is survived by his second wife, Debbie Haas, and his children.
Date of Birth: 12 August 1946, Marylebone, London, England, UK
Birth Name: Terry Nutkins
Terry Nutkins introduced generations of children to the natural world as a wild-haired presenter of wildlife television programmes, notably Animal Magic and The Really Wild Show.
Neither tarantulas nor big cats held any fears for Nutkins, who delighted in eliciting gasps of excitement or squeals of fear from his youthful studio audiences as he confronted them with the animal stars of the show. Such on-screen ease with creatures stemmed from what he described as his own “instinctive bond with animals”, a bond that formed early in an extraordinary childhood.
Terry Nutkins was born on August 12 1946 in London to John Nutkins, a bricklayer, and his wife Kathleen. He grew up in a small terraced house in Marylebone, central London. Once, while playing truant from school, he spent the day at London Zoo where, by his own account, he vaulted the fence into the elephant compound. The keepers were initially appalled, but Nutkins had found his calling. “When I went to bed I didn’t wash my hands because I liked to smell the elephants on them,” he noted in a recent interview.
Soon Nutkins was accepted by the keepers, even staying for weekends at their lodge. Then, in 1959, the naturalist Gavin Maxwell wrote to the zoo appealing for two young assistants to help him look after his pet otters at his remote home in the Sandaig Islands near Skye.
The post was only meant to last the summer holidays. In fact Terry ended up staying for seven years, spending his teenage years alongside the hard-drinking, homosexual naturalist, who eventually adopted him and the other boy who had responded to the appeal, Jimmy Watt.
It was, Nutkins was happy to concede later, a highly unconventional arrangement, with the boys alone with Maxwell both during the highs of his great literary success, Ring of Bright Water (1960), and also through the lows and financial hardships of the book’s far less popular follow up, The Rocks Remain (1963).
The writer provided his charges with two or three hours of lessons each day. But the boys’ real education was the environment around them, the stags roaring on Skye, the dolphins, the basking sharks, eagles, pine martens and, of course, the otters. If Watt was away, Nutkins “wouldn’t see people for months. It was just the otters and Gavin and me.” But there was never any hint of impropriety: “Maxwell never tried anything funny with us. But I must admit I’d never let any of my kids go off to live with some strange bloke.”
There were downsides. The loneliness was hard to cope with, and the otters themselves were not always easy company. A year after arriving Nutkins was in the house on his own when one, known as Edal, bit at his shoe. “I automatically put my hand down to get her away but she bit my thumb and had that hanging off in a split second. She then got hold of my middle finger on my right hand and started crunching away on it.” Maxwell drove him to Glasgow for treatment, but gangrene set in (“I can remember the smell now,” Nutkins said half a century later) and the boy eventually lost two fingers. Recounting the episode in print, Maxwell described Nutkins lying in a hospital bed and stoutly declaiming: “Chop ’em off, doctor. That ruddy lot’s no good to anyone.” “But,” as Nutkins reflected, “it wasn’t funny at the time, as I was in hospital for a month. I was 14. It was hugely traumatic.”
His upbringing was also hard on his parents: “It devastated my dad letting me go. Still, my folks knew I was happier up in Scotland living with the otters. I didn’t miss home. I only missed the zoo.”
Fired by his enthusiasm, he eventually joined a zoo himself, and by his late 20s had worked his way up to become general manager at Woburn, near Milton Keynes. It was there that he met Johnny Morris, who had presented the children’s series Animal Magic since its launch in 1962. Morris was filming at Woburn Zoo and was so taken with Nutkins’s ebullience that he asked him to join the programme as a presenter.
The two would go on to become very close friends, with Nutkins describing Morris as a “father figure” (In 1999, after his death, Morris left much of his estate to Nutkins, sparking a legal row between Nutkins and Morris’s family).
On screen, Nutkins’s flared jeans, bald pate and floppy fringe made him instantly recognisable, as did his frequent companion Gemini, a sea-lion which Nutkins had hand-reared. Nutkins spent several years in and around the show, which was made in Bristol, before its anthropomorphic style fell out of fashion. While Morris, to his enduring upset, was sidelined, Nutkins was commissioned to come up with a new animal programme for children, which debuted in 1986 as The Really Wild Show.
It was a huge hit, with patrician presenting scrapped in favour of a new, energetic, and decidedly youthful feel. For seven years Nutkins presented the show alongside Chris Packham, Nicola Davies and Sue Dawson, but in 1993 he suffered the same fate as Morris had before him, and was effectively ousted from what he considered his own programme.
His departure marked the last time that he worked with great regularity on television, but was never short of projects afterwards. He tried to run a hotel, and then, in 2000, bought Fort Augustus Abbey, on the banks of Loch Ness. His aim was to turn it into a wildlife resort, with treetop restaurants, a maze, tropical wildlife glass house, and traditional Scottish tea room. Disney was said to be interested.
But the ambitious venture flopped, and by 2006, Nutkins had “no more businesses, no more partners”. The result was “just pure me, doing what I do best”.
This involved, among other things, a programme called My Life as an Animal, in which “celebrities” tried to live for several days alongside farm and zoo animals. One episode, which had a bosomy former model learning to sleep, eat and communicate like a sheepdog, moved a reviewer to describe the series as “Terry Nutkins’s bonkers show”.
Nutkins himself was not always complimentary about other presenters. He found David Attenborough’s voice “boring” and the late Australian naturalist Steve Irwin responsible for “dreadful, dreadful television”; Bill Oddie he dismissed as “a birdie man”. But he reserved his greatest wrath for glamorous young women who “don’t know their subject so well and are just reading from a script”. According to Nutkins, Charlotte Uhlenbroek, (described by tabloids as a “telly wildlife stunner”), sat around “looking pathetic” after a close encounter with a gorilla which “wouldn’t have bothered me a bit”. His former colleague, Chris Packham, however, he singled out as “a brilliant naturalist who can deliver with an authority which is very gentle”.
Nutkins continued to work despite being diagnosed last year with leukaemia. He lived in Scotland near Skye, amid the landscape with which he had fallen in love during his most unusual boyhood.
Terry Nutkins briefly separated from his wife, Jackie, in 2005, after 26 years of marriage, but they subsequently remarried. She and his eight children survive him.
Date of Birth: 10 December 1957, Chicago, Illinois, US
Birth Name: Michael Clarke Duncan
Nicknames: Big Mike
Michael Clarke Duncan was the American actor best known for his film roles as a gentle giant.
Every character actor who has ever been typecast dreams of a role that will transcend the cliches of his image. For Michael Clarke Duncan, who has died aged 54 of complications from a heart attack suffered in July, that breakout role also drew on the hidden truth of his own personality, and the results were spectacular.
Duncan was nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actor in The Green Mile (1999), the film of the Stephen King story in which he plays John Coffey, a gentle giant with extraordinary powers, on death row for raping and killing two young girls. The film's climax, when Coffey, innocent of the crimes but having punished the real killer and an evil guard, goes to the electric chair telling Tom Hanks not to put a hood over his head because he is scared of the dark, left few dry eyes in any audience.
Born in Chicago, Duncan, 6ft 5in and usually weighing about 20 stone, was himself a gentle giant. His father left when he was six, and his mother Jean's reluctance to allow him to play American football led to his deciding he wanted to become an actor instead.
He played basketball at Kankakee (Illinois) Community College, but when his mother became ill, he dropped out of his communications studies at Alcorn State University, a historically black university in Mississippi. After returning home, he supported his mother and sister, Judy, by digging ditches for a gas company and working as a bouncer at night.
He moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting, again working as a bouncer before getting into the "private security" trade. He had acted as a bodyguard for such entertainment figures as Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx and LL Cool J before breaking into films in 1995 with a bit part in the Ice Cube vehicle Friday. His early film roles, including Warren Beatty's Bulworth (1998), saw him typecast as bouncers and bodyguards, often billed as Michael "Big Mike" Duncan. He gave up his day job as a real bodyguard for good in 1997, when the rapper The Notorious BIG was murdered on the first day Duncan was assigned to him.
Duncan's break came following a part in Armageddon (1998) alongside Bruce Willis, who recommended him to director Frank Darabont for The Green Mile. He went on to work with Willis in three more films: two comedies – Alan Rudolph's adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions (1999) and The Whole Nine Yards (2000) and the noirish blockbuster Sin City (2005).
Although he never found another role with the impact of John Coffey, Duncan remained in demand with substantial parts in blockbusters such as Planet of the Apes (2001), The Scorpion King (2002) and perhaps his best later work as The Kingpin, in Daredevil (2003). To play the comic-book villain he went from weighing less than 20 stone to more than 23.
His career blossomed, as his look made him easily cast for supporting roles in films and frequent guest parts in television series, and his resonant baritone voice made him a popular choice for animation voice-overs, in films such as Cats & Dogs (2001), George of the Jungle 2 (2003), Dinotopia (2005) and Kung Fu Panda (2008). He starred in the comedy The Slammin' Salmon (2009), as a boxer turned restaurant-owner who stages a competition between his waiters to pay off a debt to Japanese gangsters, and was the villain, Erlik, in the straight-to-video Cross (2011), a supernatural action film that also featured Vinnie Jones as a Viking named Gunnar transplanted to the present.
In 2010 Duncan undertook something of a reprise of his Coffey role in Redemption Road, as a man with a secret who brings home an alcoholic for his father's funeral. His last television role was a recurring part in the crime series Finder.
In 2009 Duncan converted to vegetarianism. The following year, he met his fiancee, the Rev Omarosa Manigault, in the aisles of a Whole Foods supermarket in Los Angeles. Manigault, a considerable presence in "reality" television, made her name as a controversial participant in the American version of The Apprentice with Donald Trump, and feuded with Piers Morgan in The Celebrity Apprentice.
In May this year, Duncan made a film for the animal-rights group Peta, talking about his conversion to a vegan lifestyle, and how he had thrown away £3,135.13 worth of meat when he did. Two months later, he suffered a massive heart attack.
Date of Birth: 16 October 1922, Rotherhithe, London, England, UK
Birth Name: Walter William Bygraves
Nicknames: Max Bygraves
Max Bygraves was a singer and comedian who became famous for his stage performances, notably in 19 Royal Variety Performances, and went on to lead the market in the kind of foot-tapping nostalgia which characterised his “Singalongamax” recordings.
Millions were charmed by his disarmingly homely delivery of catchphrases such as “I wanna tell you a story”, “I’ve arrived’, “dollar lolly”, and “Big ’Ead” though to many observers, including most press critics, his repartee often seemed insipid and predictable, and the scale of his enduring appeal remained enigmatic.
The ease with which he combined Danny Kaye’s style of intimate yet polite comic delivery with frequent reference to his own deprived childhood in East London, made his stardom seem universally attainable; and the fact that some of his jokes were familiar or mediocre only enhanced this effect. He was, as one critic said, “The boy next door writ large”.
Bygraves was still a soprano when he appeared in Tony Gerrard’s “Go as you Please” talent contest at the New Cross Empire. His rendition of It’s My Mother’s Birthday Today, given while clutching a half-starved mongrel dog whose level of house-training proved unequal to the testing demands of live Variety, was irresistible to the Empire audience.
This success led to Sandy Powell impressions, and precocious performances of songs such as Melancholy Baby. He later observed that audiences “liked nothing more than a kid singing grown-up words”, a formula he was to invert, with great success, with songs like You’re a Pink Toothbrush, I’m a Blue Toothbrush, I’ll Take the Legs From Some Old Table, and Gilly, Gilly, Ossenfeffer, Katzenellen Bogen by the Sea.
He was born Walter William Bygraves in Rotherhithe on October 16th 1922, the son of a professional flyweight boxer who then worked on the Surrey Commercial Docks. “Wally” was one of six children brought up in a two-bedroom flat. He would acquire his stage name during the war as a result of his Max Miller impressions, performed in RAF reviews.
In his early teens he supplemented the family income by repairing footwear, and went into the business on his own account during the summer holidays, an early indication of an acute business sense not always found in showbusiness types. Lionel Bart, for instance, sold Bygraves his Oliver score for £350; Bygraves resold the rights for £156,756.65 .
Despite his early success at the New Cross Empire, when he left St Joseph’s School, Paradise Street, it was to become a messenger for WS Crawford’s advertising agency, running copy up and down Fleet Street. He spent the war as a fitter in the RAF, and in 1945 went to work as a carpenter in East Ham. A chance meeting with an RAF contact outside the London Palladium secured an appearance in the BBC variety show They’re Out.
The bandleader Jack Payne heard the programme, and this led to a spot in a new show, For the Fun of It, in which Bygraves starred with Donald Peers and a young Frankie Howerd. In 1950 Jack Parnell and Cissie Williams hired him as a replacement for Ted Ray at the Palladium, a role he filled so successfully that he was back in Argyll Street a few weeks later, appearing with Abbott and Costello at the theatre which was to become, for a number of years, his second home.
He gave his first Royal Variety Performance in November 1950, and was invited to join the radio ventriloquist Peter Brough in Educating Archie, the show which “launched”, among others, Tony Hancock; Bygraves’s then scriptwriter, Eric Sykes; and 14-year-old Julie Andrews, who was ousted from her singing spot when Bygraves arrived.
When he accepted an invitation to spend a month supporting Judy Garland at the Palladium, she was sufficiently impressed to ask him to appear with her at the Palace, New York, where together they sang A Couple of Swells. Notices were generally good and, in some sections of the British press, ecstatic. His performances also won praise from Marlene Dietrich.
Bygraves later said that he considered Judy Garland’s act to be “mediocre because of its simplicity”. He was able, nevertheless, to make the trip to Hollywood for The Judy Garland Show, which led to invitations also accepted to meet Clark Gable and James Mason.
During the 1950s there were numerous stage appearances in Britain, notably in Wonderful Time, and in We’re Having a Ball, which also starred the Kaye Sisters and Joan Regan. Bygraves took some time off from having a ball to write You Need Hands, a song which ran for several months in the Top 20.
The show Do Re Mi brought more success, in Manchester and London in 1961, though many considered him less suited to the role of the self-seeking and unprincipled New Yorker Hubie Cram than its American interpreter, Phil Silvers. In another revue from the early Sixties, Round About Piccadilly, he had a 20-minute spot with his son Anthony, though their partnership was never quite the success he had hoped.
With the arrival of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, Bygraves became, seemingly overnight, part of the “Old Guard”. Only two years before the Royal Variety Performance during which he heard John Lennon urge the “expensive seats” to “rattle your jewellery”, he had been appearing in the same event with The Crazy Gang. His response to concentrate on television was typically astute. With writer Spike Mullins, he made Max in 1969, and his relaxed, cosy style adapted well to the small screen, although he still did not convince the serious critics.
At the suggestion of his mother, in 1972 Bygraves recorded an album of songs, including Daisy and If You Were the Only Girl in the World, with relatively sparse arrangements for two pianos and a chorus. Sing Along with Max was an instant success, and the first of a series of recordings which brought him most of his 31 gold discs. By the time the show Singalongamax was produced in London in 1974, the mood was one of wistful reminiscence.
As the youth culture of the Seventies became increasingly unsympathetic to most of Bygraves’s audience, and The Sex Pistols released an irreverent reading of his song You Need Hands, the appeal of such nostalgia only increased.
He continued to appear on television, drawing massive audiences, and in 1983 was appointed OBE. From 1983 to 1985 he hosted the television show Family Fortunes. By the late Eighties, however, there were fewer listeners prepared to “singalongamax”, and his records were banned from peak time broadcasts on the Bournemouth radio station which he partly owned.
He also appeared in several films, including Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1951), Spare the Rod (1961), Charlie Moon (1956) and A Cry From The Streets (1958). His novel, The Milkman’s On His Way, concerned a working boy who became the highest-paid pop star in the world. He saw no essential difference between literary and musical inspiration, as he explained on the book’s publication in 1977: “Dickens and all those people used to do it, almost the same thing as we do. Only, of course, without the songs.”
He published several volumes of memoirs, including I Wanna Tell You A Story (1976), After Thoughts (1988) and In His Own Words (1997).
In 2001 Bygraves recorded an album for the Royal British Legion, and four years later he emigrated to Australia.
His wife Gladys (known as “Blossom”), whom he married in 1942, died in 2011, and he is survived by their son and two daughters. He is said to have fathered three other children by three different women.
Date of Birth: 5 August 1930, Wapakoneta, Ohio, US
Birth Name: Neil Alden Armstrong
Nicknames: Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong, the American astronaut, who has died aged 82, cemented a unique place in the history of mankind by becoming the first person to walk on the Moon; though his personal achievement was a product of the Cold War’s bitter technological and political rivalry, the successful completion of his mission proved a transcendent moment that captured the imagination of the entire planet.
It was a success that owed much to Armstrong’s clarity of thought and split-second ability to make life saving decisions. During Apollo 11’s final, hazardous descent to the surface of the Moon on July 20 1969, his instrument panel was dogged by computer failures that would have justified aborting the mission. Having decided to press on, Armstrong discovered that automatic systems were steering his lunar module on to the steep banks of a large, boulder-filled crater. Sitting next to Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, he seized manual control and guided the craft to a graceful touchdown with just 20 seconds of fuel remaining. Moments later he announced to the world: “Houston. Tranquillity Base here. Eagle has landed.” The two astronauts, until then relentless in their pursuit of an objective that had been set out eight years and two months earlier by President Kennedy, paused to shake hands.
The defining images of the mission were still to come. After several hours conducting checks, Armstrong emerged from the landing craft, swaddled in cumbersome helmet and space suit. Stepping off the ladder onto the dusty surface below he uttered the now celebrated words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Whether he had meant to say “a man” would divert pedants for decades to come.
Armstrong did not have the time either to celebrate the safe landing, or to worry that he had fluffed his lines. “We could not luxuriate in those feelings,” he said in a rare interview with Alex Malley in Australia last year. Even President Nixon’s congratulatory call from the White House was “memorable but instantaneous. There was work to do. The checklists were all over us. We weren’t there to meditate.” During a moonwalk that lasted two hours and 19 minutes, the two men collected soil and rock samples, took photographs and video images, and planted equipment and the Stars and Stripes in the lunar soil, all the while bounding easily across the landscape, unhindered by the Moon’s minimal gravitational pull. Some 240,000 miles away, back on Earth, hundreds of millions watched on agog, following their progress on live television broadcasts.
In all, 12 men walked on the Moon, all of them American. The last mission there was Apollo 17, in 1972. The fact that Armstrong was the first to set foot on our planet’s lifeless satellite was pure chance. The Apollo programme was, in his own words, “very fluid”. He had been the back-up captain for Apollo 8, but when its first choice crew blasted off, “I found myself out of a job. A few days later the boss called and asked if I would take three flights down the road for Apollo 11.” What that mission might entail he did not know; no one did, not even the meticulous planners at Nasa. “There was no way we could predict what each of the flights was going to do,” Armstrong said last year. “It [Apollo 11] was going to depend on the accomplishments of the flight before. But [Apollo] 8 worked well. [Apollo] 9 worked well. 10 did far better than expected, it took a lunar module around the Moon. A month before the launch of Apollo 11 we decided that we were confident enough to try an attempt on a descent to the surface.”
The pressure to do so, with only months remaining to fulfil Kennedy’s promise to land a man on the Moon before decade’s end, was intense. “I was asked: 'Are you and your guys ready?’ It would have been nice to have another month, but we were in a race here. I had to say: 'We’re ready. We’re ready to go.’” Quite apart from bearing the hopes of his nation in the sprint to the finish of a space race that the United States had long seemed destined to lose, Armstrong also had to deal with the ever-present physical dangers that went with every Apollo mission. Then there was the alarming philosophical novelty of watching Earth recede into the infinite vastness on a three day journey to the Moon.
But it was clear to all that Armstrong’s character was perfectly suited to coping with the extraordinary challenges that accompanied the task that fate had allotted him. Driven yet understated, he possessed courage and inner strength of mind. And above all he was able to draw on technical ability so supreme that it was once said of him: “He flies an airplane like he’s wearing it.” Such talent was born of a passion for aviation that had burned within him from his very earliest days.
Neil Alden Armstrong was born on August 5 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio, the eldest of three children of Stephen Armstrong, a local government accountant who frequently moved his family as he followed work, and his wife Viola, a farmer’s daughter who prayed that her son would “grow up to be a good and useful person”. Though both of his parents were extremely devout, Neil Armstrong later professed no explicit religious beliefs. “They allowed me to pursue my own interests,” he said later. “They didn’t try to dictate to me what I should do or where I should go.”
His first experience of aircraft came at the Cleveland Air Race, to which he was taken when he was two. Four years later he was aloft for the first time, after his father paid for the two of them to be taken up in a Ford TriMotor. Thereafter flying gradually became an all-consuming hobby, expressed first through the construction of model aircraft, and then, in Neil’s early teens, by the pursuit of flying lessons. Despite this adventurousness, he was a fearful youngster, and recoiled when forced to confront the death of, for example, a much-loved pet. “I think many younger people are uncomfortable with the thought of death. I shared that uneasiness. It took me some years to circumvent it.”
By his early teens the Armstrong family had returned to settle at Wapakoneta, and it was at the airport there (now known as Neil Armstrong airport) that Neil trained as a pilot, paying £5.64 an hour for instruction with money earned from a casual job at a local chemist. Presented with his licence on his 16th birthday, he had qualified to fly before he knew how to drive.
After leaving high school Armstrong went up to Purdue University, Indiana, to study Aeronautical Engineering as a naval air cadet. For all his prowess at the controls in various aircraft, and the undoubted enjoyment and thrill he derived from flying, Armstrong always regarded himself primarily as an engineer, with its focus on what he called “problem solving”. For this reason his later years as a test pilot, which combined excitement and academic process, were among his happiest. “The test pilot is looking for inadequacies,” he once said. “His job is to identify those problems and find a solution. I found that fascinating. I really enjoyed the opportunity to contribute to in some way to the solution of problems. The history of humanity has been [about] slowly increasing the boundaries of knowledge, at the edges it is always a challenge.”
After two years at college, in 1949 Armstrong was called up to active duty, undergoing flight training in Florida before being sent to Korea, where he flew 78 combat mission over the next three years. Not quite 19 when he arrived in theatre, he became a naval aviator with the rank of ensign aboard the carrier Essex. Many of his fellow pilots were killed, but his own brilliant airmanship enabled him to survive when a six feet section of the right wing of his Panther jet was sliced off by a cable booby-trap deployed against low flying fighters; he nursed the plane back to allied-controlled airspace before ejecting and landing unhurt in a rice paddy. It would be by no means his last brush with death.
The fighting, he later estimated, contained “higher risks than I faced in my test pilot work or my astronaut work”. Certainly any residual discomposure in the face of death was quickly effaced: “There’s a good side and a bad side [to combat]. The bad side is you lose people. The good side is you create very strong bonds with your colleagues that survive. Those bonds exist throughout your lifetime. You are a better person for having learned to endure.”
After the war he returned to Purdue, teaching Mathematics while completing his BSc. He graduated in 1955 and, preferring civilian life to a Service career, successfully applied to be a test pilot with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (Naca), soon to be renamed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa). Based at Edwards Air Force base in California, Armstrong was quickly deployed on space-related programmes, and for seven years he piloted launch planes which dropped the X-series of rocket-powered research aircraft, piloted the X-craft themselves, and test flew many of America’s future supersonic fighters.
It was while at the controls of a B-29, ferrying a rocket plane up to its launch altitude that, for the second time in his life, Armstrong was nearly killed. Just after releasing the rocket plane, the outer starboard engine on his B29 exploded, spraying shrapnel through the aircraft that cut his co-pilot’s control cables and disabled three of the four engines. “That’s an uncomfortable position one [engine] out of four,” Armstrong said later, in typically phlegmatic style. He managed to coax the aircraft to the ground in wide, gentle arcs, and on inspecting it found that just one or two threads of his own control cables remained intact.
His seven flights in the X-15 aircraft took him, at speeds of up to 4,000mph, to the edge of space. As a result the heads of Nasa’s embryonic manned space flight programme were aware that he was well-qualified to be an astronaut. But by the time Armstrong himself had decided to submit his name for consideration, the official deadline for applications, June 1st 1962, had passed.
Technically his candidacy should not have been accepted, but he was added to the list of applicants just before the final selection panel met.
By then John Glenn had become the first American to make an orbital flight of Earth, and an initial group of seven astronauts were halfway through Project Mercury, the first of the three projects leading to the moon landings (the other, before Apollo, was Project Gemini). When, in September 1962, Armstrong and eight others (including one other civilian, Elliot See, who was killed in 1966) were accepted to form a second cohort of astronauts, they were billed “The New Nine”.
They were an average of 32 and a half years old, and while five of the group were to command moon landing missions, the Washington Evening Star was already busy forecasting that it would be Armstrong who would take control of America’s first attempt to land men on the Moon.
Deke Slayton, one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts, was in charge of deciding which of the fiercely competitive “New Nine” should be assigned to each mission. He gave Armstrong two principal tasks. The first was to work out how many more astronauts Nasa needed to complete the 10 two-man Gemini flights and 14 three-man Apollo flights then thought necessary to land on the Moon and explore it. Armstrong’s second task, which nearly proved fatal, was to develop the Lunar Landing Training Vehicle (LLTV), a simulator on which astronauts could practise landings in something approaching the gravitational conditions they would face at the Moon.
This work was interrupted, however, by preparations for Armstrong’s own first space flight – the eighth of the Gemini flights – for which he was paired with David Scott. The two were due to make the first docking of two vehicles in orbit and follow it with what would have been the second ever spacewalk. The target for the docking was an unmanned Agena rocket, sent up in advance.
In March 1966 Armstrong and Scott made history by linking the two craft, in a moment that finally saw America overtake the Soviet Union in the long battle for space supremacy. Time for celebration was short, however, because within minutes of the docking the vehicles started tumbling end over end, out of control. Armstrong decoupled the two vehicles, only for the astronauts’ capsule to continue rotating wildly. Realising that their control thrusters were malfunctioning, and with both he and Scott in danger of blacking out, Armstrong made an emergency switch to the re-entry control system. Stability was restored but the flight, and its spacewalk, was abandoned.
The episode had an effect on more than just space technology. While Armstrong and Scott had been fighting for their lives, with exchanges with Mission Control in Houston becoming increasingly desperate, it had been decided to switch off the live audio link to the astronauts’ wives. Armstrong’s wife, the former Janet Shearon, a college sweetheart whom he had married during his time as a test pilot, promptly drove to Mission Control, only to be turned away. Her threat to go public with the details of her treatment ensured that more consideration was given to spouses in future crises.
Two years later, with just over 12 months to go before Apollo 11, Armstrong once more survived in a situation where many would have panicked and died. He was training on the LLTV when it suddenly spiralled out of control. According to the Nasa flight director Chris Kraft, Armstrong had two-fifths of a second in which to eject safely before the LLTV crashed and exploded. In the event, Armstrong survived with no more than a badly bitten tongue, and even his fellow astronauts were astonished to see him back in his office an hour later. “Well,” Armstrong said, “there was work to be done.”
It was at Christmas 1968, as Apollo 8 circled the Moon, that Slayton selected Armstrong to command Apollo 11. Michael Collins, a US Air Force test pilot, was to be the man who would stay in lunar orbit while Armstrong and Aldrin, another veteran of Korea attempted the landing. The three did not know one another well, and Collins said later that they transferred only essential information to one another, “rather than thoughts or feelings”.
The media-fuelled controversy over whether Armstrong or Aldrin should be first to step on the lunar surface began almost at once with Armstrong resolutely refusing to become involved. Aldrin expected to be first, in accordance with the tradition that the captain is always last to leave his ship, and newspaper correspondents were briefed on those lines. When the proposed flight plan revealed that this had been changed, Aldrin lobbied hard against it. But he professed to be satisfied when it was finally announced that the change was for technical and not for personal or political reasons.
The success of the eight-day mission, including a faultless lift off from the lunar surface to rejoin Collins, captivated the rest of humanity left behind on Earth. But the competition of the Cold War was not forgotten. Even as Apollo 11 was in lunar orbit, the Soviets were making a bold but unsuccessful bid to make an unmanned landing in the Sea of Crises. Their aim was to gather a small lunar sample and return it to Earth a few hours before Apollo 11 splashed down. But their spacecraft, Luna 15, crashed, and the Apollo crew were never told of Mission Control’s brief concern about a possible conflict of radio frequencies.
On their return Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins were quarantined for three weeks, for fear that they might have been contaminated by unknown moonbugs, but this proved to be unfounded. In the event, their confinement would prove an all-too brief moment of calm before the storm of publicity that was to break over them. “We were not naive,” Armstrong said later, “but we could never have guessed what the volume and intensity of public interest would turn out to be.”
His diffident nature made him appear ill at ease at news conferences, and the brevity and occasional evasiveness of his answers led to some unfavourable comment; but he was an effective and diplomatic representative of his country on an exhausting world tour. Even before the launch he had been expressing anxiety on a topic that would not become fashionable for another 50 years the thinness and fragility of the Earth’s atmosphere and warning of the need to conserve it.
For a year after Apollo 11 he took a Nasa job in Washington promoting aeronautical research, but he did not enjoy the public scrutiny that attended his every remark, and he left the organisation entirely in 1971, returning with some relief to a teaching post at the University of Cincinnati. There he remained, as University Professor of Aerospace Engineering, until 1979.
He was on the boards of several major companies and, although notably reticent to exploit his past for financial gain, appeared in advertisements for Chrysler, on the grounds that the company invested in engineering. Twice he was called to panels investigating space accidents: the first in 1970 after Apollo 13, the second in 1986 after the Challenger explosion.
Neil Armstrong remained healthy and active into old age. He suffered a minor heart attack in 1991, during his divorce from his wife of 38 years, but recovered well. He married, secondly, in 1994, Carol Knight, who survives him with two sons of his first marriage. A daughter predeceased him.
Date of Birth: 10 July 1934, Tulsa, Oklahoma, US
Birth Name: Jerry Nelson
Jerry Nelson was one of the principal puppeteers for Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, and created the number-crunching vampire and Dracula lookalike, Count von Count.
Nelson’s hands manipulated many of the best-loved characters in the Muppet pantheon. For Sesame Street he animated Mr Snuffleupagus, Big Bird’s best friend, until he strained his back under the weight of the mammoth-like creature and was obliged to pass the task on to someone else.
Although the Muppets were created by the Americans Jim Henson and Frank Oz, The Muppet Show was made in England, its potential having been spotted by Lew Grade, whose ATV company financed it.
Nelson had a hand in Rowlf, the shaggy, piano-playing dog in the Muppet orchestra. The character was one of several traditional puppets which were fitted were glove-like hands into which the operator could insert his own to facilitate detailed movement. When Nelson first worked with Henson in 1965, he was made Rowlf’s right hand man.
From 1971 Nelson worked on Sesame Street, conceived as a project that used television to educate underprivileged American preschool children. It was shown in Britain on ITV. From 1976 he was based at the Elstree studios outside London, working on The Muppet Show, which by 1981 had become one of the most popular on British television. As well animation, Nelson voiced Robin the Frog, nephew of the show’s compère Kermit, whose song Halfway Down The Stairs reached No 7 in the British pop charts.
Another of his recurring characters was the grumpy old man Statler who, with his companion Waldorf, heaped opprobrium on the Muppet performances from their permanent box at the Muppet theatre. (“Why do we always come here/I guess we’ll never know/It’s like a kind of torture/To have to watch this show” sing the two men in the opening credits).
Jerry Nelson was born on 10th July 1934 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and brought up in Washington, DC. He had perfected a repertoire of silly voices for his mother’s benefit by the age of 10. Having originally trained as an actor, supporting himself by taking jobs as a salesman and a waiter, he worked at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York with Bil Baird, the puppeteer behind the “Lonely Goatherd” sequence in the 1965 film The Sound Of Music.
When Jim Henson offered him occasional work with his Muppets, Nelson anticipated being used as a singer and voice artist. But in 1970 he joined Henson’s puppet company as a full-time Muppeteer and began working regularly on Sesame Street at the start of the show’s second season.
As well as Count von Count, other characters in Nelson’s Sesame Street repertoire included Mr Johnson, Frazzle, Sam the Robot, and Fred the Wonder Horse. On The Muppet Show, Nelson’s recurring characters included Camilla the Chicken, Pops, Louis Kazagger, and the ageing hippy bassist Sgt Floyd Pepper.
“Each one of them is an aspect of my own personality,” he wrote in 1978. “The Muppets are roles I assume, rather than puppets I manipulate. Robin, for instance, is an undersized metaphor for my own insecurities. He has a childlike curiosity about how things work. Uncle Deadly is the greatest ham actor of all time; Floyd is my laid-back, mellow cool side.”
In 2004 Nelson’s chronic health problems forced him to withdraw from manipulating the puppets, although he continued to voice characters on Sesame Street. He was the operator for Tiny Tim (played by Robin the Frog), Jacob Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Present in the 1992 film The Muppet Christmas Carol.
Date of Birth: 17 July 1917, Limaa, Ohio, US
Birth Name: Phyllis Ada Driver
Nicknames: Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller was an actress, author, accomplished musician and above all comedienne, known for her distinctive laugh, big dishevelled hair and outlandish wardrobe.
“The Funniest Woman in the World”, as she was later billed, began her enormously successful career only when she was on the brink of middle age. A 37-year-old mother of five when she launched her career in a California nightclub, she became one of America’s highest-paid entertainers, earning millions from television appearances, books, records and films in which she co-starred with Bob Hope.
Noted for her explosive hair, penguin gait, metallic dresses, corsets and rhinestone studded heels, Phyllis Diller owed her popularity to her mastery of satirical self-deprecation and what she called a “corrective attitude towards tragedy”. Early on in her career she hit upon the device of uttering a braying, cackling laugh which struck some people as being just as funny as her gags. It later became her trademark.
Phyllis would say “Housework can’t kill you, but why take the chance”, not to mention the workplace: “What I don’t like about office Christmas parties,” she would declare, “is looking for a job the next day.”
It was difficult to tell whether it was the performer talking, or the person or both. Her jokes about a mother-in-law called Moby Dick and a sister-in-law called Captain Bligh led to litigation shortly after her first divorce in 1966, when Phyllis Diller was sued by her ex-husband’s mother and sister for defamation. She insisted that she was talking about a “fictitious family”, and not them, eventually settling out of court. She contrasted her stage character with her real personality by pointing out that even though she carried a cigarette holder in her act, she herself did not smoke.
She was born Phyllis Amy Driver on July 17 1917 at Lima, Ohio, the only child of an insurance sales manager. She recalled herself as a plain, freckle-faced girl, “not the type that boys had to lash themselves to masts to stay away from”.
At Central High School in Lima she played tennis, took part in drama, and wrote for the student newspaper. Demonstrating singing ability in school and church, and with a growing interest in classical music, Phyllis briefly enrolled at the Sherwood Conservatory of Music in Chicago before attending Bluffton College with a view to becoming a piano teacher.
In her senior year she met Sherwood Anderson Diller, scion of a wealthy Bluffton family. The couple eloped to Kentucky, marrying in 1939. During the war Phyllis Diller and her husband moved to California . While he moved from one job to another, she brought up the ever-growing family and for a time conducted the children’s choir at Alameda’s Presbyterian Church. Money was tight, and small inheritances from the deaths of her parents only temporarily eased the financial pressure.
To help make ends meet, Phyllis Diller took a job writing a shopping column in a local newspaper, as well as advertising copy for a department store in Oakland, then worked as a radio continuity writer, eventually heading the merchandising and press relations office at KSFO San Francisco. Meanwhile, showbusiness beckoned, but from another, unexpected, direction.
During the bleak years in Alameda, Diller would make light of her troubles and frustrations in front of gatherings of other housewives at the local launderette. Her small, captive audience enjoyed her jokes about the drudgery of the daily round.
On March 7 1955, at the age of 37, Phyllis Diller made her debut at the Purple Onion, a nightclub in San Francisco. To take advantage of her musical training and her flair for impersonation, she fooled around at the piano, imitating performers such as Eartha Kitt and Yma Sumac. Her original two-week engagement was extended to 89 .
Having embarked on extensive road tours of America, with her husband acting as manager, within six years Phyllis Diller was appearing regularly on television, as guest star on many of the leading variety and comedy shows, including those of Ed Sullivan, Red Skelton, Dean Martin and Jack Benny. In September 1966 Diller took the role of Mrs Phyllis Poindexter Pruitt in her own television series, The Pruitts of Southampton. The mannerisms and antics of an impoverished socialite struggling to keep up appearances, however, increasingly resembled those of Phyllis Diller the performer, and in 1967 the series was renamed The Phyllis Diller Show. Despite the programme’s popularity, it could not compete with the offerings of the other networks and it was taken off the air at the end of the year.
During the 1960s Phyllis Diller made appearances in stage productions such as Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1961) and Wonderful Town (1962). She also wrote books based around her comedy, including Phyllis Diller Tells All About Fang (1963), Phyllis Diller’s Housekeeping Hints (1966) and Phyllis Diller’s Marriage Manual (1967).
Her film career flourished mainly on account of Bob Hope, her comedy idol. But if appearances with him in Boy Did I Get a Wrong Number (1966), Eight on the Lam (1967) and The Private Navy of Sergeant O’Farrell (1968), led to critical indifference, it was largely because of the quality of the scripts rather than the performance of the stars.
Nor did she confine herself to stage and screen. Between 1971 and 1981 she appeared on platforms across the United States as a concert pianist, accompanied by some 100 different symphony orchestras, under the name Dame Illya Dillya. While she larded her performances with humour, she took the music seriously. One reviewer called her “a fine concert pianist with a firm touch”.
Date of Birth: 21 July 1923, North Shields, North Tyneside, England, UK
Birth Name: Tony Scott
Nicknames: Anthony Scott
A former advertising director who followed his brother Ridley (now Sir Ridley) to Hollywood, his glossy, commercial sensibility powered films such as Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II and Days of Thunder – testosterone-filled movies described by one critic as “visual amphetamines”.
A director with little interest in ideas or morality, he created a visual sheen that lingered in the memory long after narrative and characters were forgotten. Although he was accused of vulgarity and excessive love of hardware, Scott instinctively understood the power of images and was obsessive in his quest for visual impact.
But for all the reviewing community’s artistic unease, Scott was that rarest of beasts: a British filmmaker with a blockbuster reputation. That he lived in Hollywood, collected Ferraris and Harleys and hustled through relationships, only further alienated the sensibilities of his European peers.
He had extraordinary energy, producing and directing movies, making advertisements and, with his brother “Rid”, buying and managing Shepperton studios. Often involved with 20 projects simultaneously, he relaxed by climbing mountains and running. If his films were often accused of having a shiny core where the insight or empathy might have been, no one disputed his contention that his interest lay with “people who live their life on the edge”.
Anthony David Scott was born in North Shields on July 21 1944, seven years after his brother Ridley, and educated at Stockton-on-Tees. He enjoyed painting and rugby, while the proximity of the moors encouraged a love of the wild he retained all his life. Each summer in his youth he hitchhiked to the Alps to climb.
While at grammar school, he appeared as the title character in his brother’s first short film, Boy On A Bicycle. He then studied painting at Sunderland Art School, Leeds College of Art and Design and finally, on a scholarship, the Royal College .
Realising that he was unlikely to sustain a career as a painter, he joined his brother’s fledgling television production company. Ridley recalled: “I knew he had a fondness for cars, so I told him, 'Come work with me and within a year you’ll have a Ferrari.’ And he did.”
Ridley also taught Tony the techniques of making lush, high-quality shorts and, when he left for Hollywood, passed on several gold-tinted franchises, including the Hovis advert, featuring another boy on a bicycle. While Ridley enjoyed early success with Alien and Blade Runner, Tony made thousands of commercials, evolving a singular visual style and winning awards for his work for Chanel, Marlboro and Levis.
After Ridley’s success, and that of fellow “out-of-advertising” British filmmakers such as Alan Parker, Adrian Lyne and David Puttnam, it was inevitable that Tony Scott would try his luck in Hollywood.
But his first feature, the dark, moody The Hunger (1983), starring David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve – was almost his last. A self-consciously arty, Gothic tale of a vampire forced to find a cure for her rapidly ageing lover, the film was a self-confessed “total knock-off of Nic Roeg’s Performance”, and most memorable for a lesbian love scene between Deneuve and Susan Sarandon.
Despite sumptuous cinematography (albeit compromised by Scott’s fatal attraction to the shorthand of advertising coloured filters, exquisitely photographed smoke, fluttering curtains, shafts of light streaming through blinds), the film was mauled by the critics and Hollywood insiders. The director recalled that, after the first screening, “on my parking space my name was painted out. I couldn’t get anyone on the phone. Nobody had the balls to tell me I’d been fired.”
He returned to making commercials until the producer Jerry Bruckheimer hired him to direct Top Gun (1986). Initially he couldn’t “see” the movie. “I wanted to make Apocalypse Now on an aircraft carrier. Then I got it. It’s rock-and-roll, silver jets in a bright blue sky, good-looking guys.” Taking his “look” from a Bruce Weber photograph, Scott was a self-confessed magpie he created the ultimate feel good movie in which Tom Cruise’s air force recruit tried to pass out top of the flying academy and retain the love of Kelly McGillis.
The film, described by one critic as “a sleek, pulsating paean to testosterone”, took £220.59 million at the box office, propelled Cruise to superstar status and Scott on to the Hollywood A-list.
He was rewarded with Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), a hugely successful action sequel starring Eddie Murphy’s wisecracking, rule-busting policeman which confirmed Scott as a director capable of delivering high energy drama loosely attached to a plot.
Both hits were made with Jerry Bruckheimer, who kept Scott’s less commercial instincts at bay, and when Scott made his next film without Bruckheimer, it showed. Revenge (1990) was a darker thriller, a story of adultery in Mexico starring Kevin Costner and Madeleine Stowe. It leaned towards a darker palette reminiscent of the paintings of Francis Bacon that had inspired Scott as a student and was panned.
Back in the cockpit with his usual producer and a familiar star, Days of Thunder (1991) was Top Gun in a different machine. With fighter pilots replaced by racing drivers, Cruise reprised his role as the talented but reckless young buck who has to control his emotions as much as his motor. But the movie failed to repeat his earlier success, the public evidently taking the view that there was no point in watching the same film twice.
Scott was conscious that he was being typecast as a director of blockbusters, so when he was introduced to a video store employee, unknown scriptwriter and fledgling filmmaker called Quentin Tarantino, he tried to buy the rights to True Romance and Reservoir Dogs . Tarantino refused to sell Reservoir Dogs, using the money Scott paid for True Romance to fund filming it.
But his script for True Romance, a Bonnie and Clyde-themed tale of a hooker and her lover on the run from almost everyone, was sharp edged and allowed Scott the opportunity to focus on individuals as much as action. Although it attracted a cast including Brad Pitt, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, Patricia Arquette, Christian Slater and, in a cameo, Samuel L Jackson, initial reactions were lukewarm though it attained cult status after the by now ludicrously hip Tarantino blessed it.
Having established his ability to handle the egos of multiple stars in a single picture, the permanently pink baseball-capped, cigar-toting Scott had little trouble attracting Hollywood’s finest to his projects. Crimson Tide (1995) starred Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington as two submariners without radio contact to base who take opposing views over whether they should launch a nuclear attack on a Russian island.
The Fan (1996), which portrayed a baseball fan stalking his hero, starred Robert De Niro, Ellen Barkin, Wesley Snipes and Benicio Del Toro, and was followed by Enemy of the State (1998), a hi-tech thriller in which Will Smith’s hapless lawyer was forced to take on the government machine. An opportunity for the director to pay homage to Francis Ford Coppola’s paranoid classic The Conversation, what Enemy of the State lacked in originality it made up in pace and in Gene Hackman’s beautifully understated portrayal of a tired, cynical investigator.
Spy Game (2001), which had to be cut after the September 11 terrorist attacks, again examined the not always beneficent power of the state. The film portrayed retiring spymaster Robert Redford’s attempts to spring his young partner (Brad Pitt) from a Chinese jail, where he faced execution for spying, despite the refusal of his bosses to help.
Scott’s technical skills and his obsession with cinematography at the expense of narrative were again visible in Man On Fire (2004). This starred Denzel Washington as a tortured ex-CIA agent hired to protect a child in Mexico City who was, to no one’s surprise, kidnapped. Displaying all Scott’s capacity for hi-tech mayhem with hand-held camera shots and jump-cut editing, the hackneyed story bounded along furiously towards its inevitable conclusion.
Domino (2005), which starred Keira Knightley as the heiress-turned-bounty hunter Domino Harvey, was universally panned, as much for its woeful miscasting as for the over-exuberant editing which elbowed what little plausible narrative there was aside.
Denzel Washington also starred in two of Scott’s more recent films, The Taking Of Pelham 123 (2009) and Unstoppable (2010). Latterly Scott had been producing for television as well as films.
For a director of such energy and success, Scott was a surprisingly soft-spoken man who retained his Geordie accent all his life. He indulged his love of fast cars, motorbikes and women, and his highly publicised affair with Sylvester Stallone’s ex-wife and the female lead of Beverly Hills Cop II, Brigitte Nielson, put paid to his own second marriage.
Reportedly a man who needed only three hours’ sleep a night, he awoke to three cups of black coffee and a large Monte Cristo, the first of 12 each day. He was a passionate mountaineer who claimed to be never happier than when “5,000ft up on a cliff face”. An art collector of catholic tastes, he acquired works by artists ranging from Robert Rauschenberg to Guido Reni.
The Scott brothers did not suffer from sibling rivalry; rather, they worked together over Shepperton, understood their respective strengths and rejoiced at each other’s success. “Ridley makes films for posterity,” Tony once observed. “My films are more rock ’n’ roll.”
Tony Scott, who apparently committed suicide by jumping from a bridge in Los Angeles, married three times and divorced twice. His second marriage was to the BBC producer Glynis Staunton. He is survived by his third wife, Donna, and their two children.
Date of Birth: 14 September 1933, Ardwick, Manchester, England, UK
Birth Name: Winnie Johnson
Winnie Johnson endured a personal and public agony for nearly half a century as the mother of Keith Bennett, the only victim of the Moors murderers whose body has never been discovered.
Throughout the baleful Moors saga, Winnie Johnson was the tormented figure that the media turned to for toxic comment on the subject of Ian Brady and his lover Myra Hindley, who had murdered four other youngsters, three of whom had been buried in shallow graves on the bleak Pennine moors above Manchester.
When Brady and Hindley failed to pinpoint her son’s grave, both perpetrators had revisited the moors with detectives when the case was reopened in 1987, Winnie Johnson made the first of dozens of weekend visits to the area, accompanied by her family armed with shovels. But although guided by the available evidence, including information gleaned from Brady and Hindley in unpublished letters, their efforts proved physically and emotionally draining and, in the end, hopeless.
The circumstances of 12-year-old Keith Bennett’s disappearance could not have been more humdrum. At 7.45pm on Tuesday June 16th 1964, a fine summer’s evening, Winnie Johnson set out with her son from their home in Eston Street in the Longsight district of Manchester. They were on their way to Morton Street, where Keith was to spend the night with his maternal grandmother, as he did every other Tuesday when his mother played bingo.
Although it was only a half-mile walk, Winnie Johnson judged it prudent to accompany him to the corner of the busy Stockport Road, from where he had only a few hundred yards to go. At the zebra crossing there she waved him off, telling him to give “love to Gran”. She carried on to bingo. Keith Bennett was never seen or heard of again.
One of the streets along which the boy would have made his solitary way was Westmoreland Street, where Ian Brady had lived with his mother. He and Hindley still called regularly at the corner off-licence nearby to buy wine for their frequent trips to the moors. Their routine was to arrive home from work, have a meal, and set out at about 8pm.
When her mother appeared next morning to ask why Keith had failed to turn up, Winnie Johnson checked at his school, panicked and called the police.
Her first concern was that her studious, short-sighted son had not been wearing his wire-framed NHS spectacles, having cracked one of the lenses at the local swimming baths. For many years afterwards she kept the broken glasses in his drawer in the back bedroom. “If I had known,” she said, “I would never have let him out of my sight.”
On four occasions over the next two years, police questioned her husband Jimmy Johnson, Keith’s stepfather, ripping out floorboards in the family house and digging up the concrete back yard.
When a wider search for bodies began following the arrest of Brady and Hindley in October 1965, Winnie Johnson realised that Keith and another missing youngster, 16-year-old Pauline Reade, might also have been among their victims and buried somewhere in the vast wilderness of Saddleworth Moor.
Police showed Winnie Johnson clothing belonging to a second 12-year-old, John Kilbride, one of Brady and Hindley’s known victims, because they thought at first that his body might be Keith’s. But confirmation that Keith had indeed been murdered came only in 1985, 21 years after his disappearance when Ian Brady confessed to a journalist.
Winnie Johnson spent five weeks laboriously writing an impassioned letter to his co-accused. “Dear Miss Hindley,” it began. “I am sure I am one of the last people you would have expected to receive a letter from...” It was, as Mrs Johnson was at pains to stress, no rant but a plea for help. “Please, I beg you, tell me what happened to Keith. My heart tells me you know and I am on bended knees begging you to end this torture and finally put my mind at rest...”
Winnie Johnson had not expected a positive response, or indeed any response at all. Hindley, however, not only admitted her complicity in Keith’s murder but also, in the words of Det Ch Supt Peter Topping, the officer heading the reinvestigation, “appealed to God that the bodies of the two missing youngsters should be found... ”
Hindley further agreed to help police locate the graves of Keith Bennett and Pauline Reade, and in December 1986 was taken by detectives on the first of two highly-publicised searches of Saddleworth Moor. But when finally, in July 1987, police found a body, Topping telephoned Winnie Johnson to tell her that it was that of Pauline Reade, not of her son. Winnie Johnson’s steadfast pugnacity deserted her and she broke down and wept.
Brady, too, confidently accompanied detectives to the moor, but apparently lost his bearings and was unable to find Keith’s grave; six weeks later, when Topping called off the search, a sobbing Winnie Johnson repeated over and over again that, while she did not blame the police, she felt life had “given her a raw deal”. As if to prolong the agony, six years of renewed police searches from 2003-09 were also to prove fruitless.
One of four children, Winifred Bennett was born on September 14 1933 in the Ardwick district of Manchester. Her father was a wholesale fruit dealer, her mother a domestic servant. When she was 10 she witnessed the death of her seven-year-old sister Margaret after her dress burst into flames on an electric fire. Leaving Mansfield Street school when she was 15 Winnie took a series of jobs, including working as a cinema usherette and at a rubber factory. She was 18 and unmarried when she gave birth to her first son, Keith, in June 1952. She subsequently had seven more children, including three with Jimmy Johnson, a joiner, to whom she was married from 1961 until his death 30 years later.
The family moved from Clayton to Eston Street, Longsight, in 1963, with Winnie Johnson working during the school holidays as a cleaner at the Electricity Board offices on Bax Road, five minutes’ walk from her house. Meanwhile, Keith and his siblings would spend hours at the Victoria Baths on High Street (now Hathersage Road).
Keith made strenuous attempts to teach his younger brother, Alan, to swim, but as Alan later explained “I spent most of the time gingerly sat on the edge of the pool with my feet in the water, squinting up at the sun coming through the glass roof. After Keith disappeared I rarely went there again.”
It was at the Victoria Baths that on June 15, three days after his 12th birthday, Keith broke a lens in his glasses during a swimming gala. He vanished the following day.
By the time she wrote to Myra Hindley in 1986 Winnie Johnson was working in the kitchens at the Christie Hospital, south Manchester.
When Hindley died in prison in 2002, Winnie Johnson turned her attention to Ian Brady, engaging with him in what some characterised as a series of mind games as he stalled on the question of the whereabouts of Keith Bennett’s body. Few doubted that Brady knew where to look; his persistent refusal to say was viewed as a particularly vindictive act of cruelty.
Winnie Johnson, who had long suffered from cancer, remained ignorant of the turn of events last week, when it was reported that Brady had written her a letter, to be opened only after his own death, perhaps identifying the location of Keith’s body, or perhaps merely taunting her further.
“I’ll do anything, go anywhere for him,” she said of her dead son earlier this year. “As long as I know one day, I’ll be grateful. I hope he’s found before I am dead. All I want out of life is to find him and bury him. I just wish he is found before I go.”
Despite the confessions of Hindley and Brady, no one was ever charged over her son’s disappearance, and officially the case remains unsolved. Keith Bennett would have been 60 this year.
Date of Birth: 28 September 1923, New York, US
Birth Name: William Windom
The character actor's career on television spanned seven decades, from his debut as a fiery Tybalt in a Philco Television Playhouse production of Romeo and Juliet (1949) to an episode of Star Trek: New Voyages (2004) in which he recreated the role of the unbalanced Commodore Matt Decker. Decker was first seen in one of the series's best chapters, The Doomsday Machine (1967), and it was enough to sanctify Windom in the eyes of Trekkies. The role had been written for Robert Ryan, but Windom's powerful portrayal made any possible comparisons redundant.
Among many other standout performances on television were two in the cultish Twilight Zone series, as an agitated military officer who turns out to be a doll in Five Characters in Search of an Exit (1961), and as a calm psychiatrist trying to sort out Robert Duvall's disturbed mind in Miniature (1963). Windom also had leading parts in long-running programmes such as The Farmer's Daughter (1963-66), as a widowed congressman who falls for the Swedish farm girl (Inger Stevens), governess to his children; and Murder, She Wrote (1984-96), in which he was Seth Hazlitt, the crusty old doctor, friend and confidant of the crime writer Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury).
The former role was close to his heart because Windom's great-grandfather, of the same name, had been a Minnesota congressman and secretary of the treasury in the 19th century.
Windom was born in New York City and educated at Williams College, Massachusetts. During the second world war he served as a paratrooper, and after it enrolled in the new American University in Biarritz, France. It was there that he started acting, and he continued on his return to the US. Windom made his Broadway debut in 1947 in roles of various sizes in an American Repertory Theatre season that included Shakespeare's Henry VIII, Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman (as young Erhart Borkman), Shaw's Androcles and the Lion, Barrie's What Every Woman Knows, and Alice in Wonderland (as the White Rabbit). In 1956, Windom showed a flair for comedy in a revival of Noël Coward's Fallen Angels.
When already 13 years into his long career in television, Windom made his big-screen debut in one of his best films, To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), in which he played the smirking prosecutor who knows that he just has to play the race card to win against Gregory Peck, defending a black man charged with the rape of a white woman.
Further unsympathetic roles followed: an alcoholic whose sister (Joan Caulfield) is being wooed by a cattle rancher (Robert Taylor) in Guns of Wyoming (1963); a closeted, married gay man in The Detective (1968); a sleazy movie producer in The Angry Breed (also 1968); and Deborah Kerr's cuckold husband in The Gypsy Moths (1969). In Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Windom, trying not to look foolish, played the US president questioning an English-speaking simian couple who have landed in America by spaceship. "I tend to go overboard," Windom once remarked. "I go too far and then let the director bring me back where he wants me. It's like focusing a telescope."
Few of his feature films allowed for much humour, unlike television, which gave him more leeway. My World and Welcome to It (1969-70), based on the writings and cartoons of the American humorist James Thurber, gave him the chance to play a witty, nuanced character not unlike the original author. The shortlived sitcom won Windom an Emmy award and led to his touring one-man show on Thurber.
Of the show, which Windom performed around the US and abroad for some years, the Los Angeles Times wrote: "Windom has the gift of picking the terrible plainness of living and bringing it forward to say, 'See? Here's what we are, every one of us. And do you know, we're not bad.' "
Date of Birth: 22 March 1960, Milan, Italy
Birth Name: Helen Gurley Brown
Helen Gurley Brown, the former editor of American Cosmopolitan, took an ailing mid-West magazine and re-created it in her own image. It was girlie, giggly and mad about sex; during her 31 years at the helm, Cosmo became the world’s most successful publishing phenomenon with a worldwide readership of 33 million.
Cosmo’s mission, set out by Helen Gurley Brown in her first editorial, “Step Into My Parlor”, in June 1965, was to appeal to the “grown-up girl, interested in whatever can give you a richer, more exciting, fun-filled, friend-filled, man-loved kind of life!”
Her message was a strange mixture of servitude and empowerment. Men, she taught, are there to be trapped and kept by being made to feel wonderful and given sex whenever and however they want it. But women should also be independent, with successful careers, earning money and, above all, enjoying sex. “Sex is wonderful and to be a sex object is fabulous,” she proclaimed.
In Helen Gurley Brown’s world, men, love, work, achievement and fun all had to be pursued as if by an athlete in training: “My message is, there is no let-up, ever.” Her editors were given strict injunctions that there should be “no glums, no dour feminist anger and no motherhood”.
Cosmo was the first mainstream women’s magazine to feature a nude male centrefold of Burt Reynolds, in 1972. A typical edition from the 1960s featured articles on “Why plain Janes get ahead”; “Sexy secrets your mother never dared tell you”; “What men and women do wrong in bed”; “Get a high jump in your job”; and “Losing those last five pounds”. It frequently contained useful tips on modern etiquette from the editor: “When people ask how many partners you have had,” she advised, “the correct answer is always three.”
For Helen Gurley Brown, it was not possible to be too thin: “Skinny is sacred; anybody plunking down a plate of fried zucchini would be trying to poison me.” Growing old she regarded as “the most disgusting thing in the world”, something it was every woman’s duty to fight, almost literally to the death.
She herself was thin to the point of emaciation, and skipped around in microskirts and leopard-skin mules even in old age. But by her later years her face had been so lifted, botoxed, dermabraded and plumped with silicone that it was only residually human.
She saw herself as the archetypal plain Jane who, by sheer force of personality, got the glamorous job, the film producer husband and a four-storey apartment overlooking Central Park. It was a recipe for life she was determined to teach others: if someone as mousy as I was can reach the top, she told her devoted readers, then, with drive and determination, anyone can. It was a winning formula which enabled her to reign supreme as one of the most successful magazine editors in history.
Helen Marie Gurley was born on February 18 1922 at Green Forest in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas and was brought up in Little Rock. Her father, a schoolteacher, was killed in a freak accident in a lift when she was 10, apparently because he jumped between the doors too late when showing off to a pretty girl. The family was plunged into poverty, and three years later Helen’s mother took her and her sister to Los Angeles, hoping an uncle would help out. He didn’t, and the family struggled on.
Helen recalled that, as a teenager, she had been flat-chested and broad-hipped and had such bad acne that her mother paid for her to see a dermatologist every week, though she could ill afford it and it did no good.
Though she was the brightest girl in her class, there was no hope of Helen’s going to college. Her elder sister had contracted polio at the age of 15 and the family needed a breadwinner. Helen enrolled in a typing school and took a part-time job at £4.41 a week.
After numerous secretarial jobs, in March 1948 she became personal secretary to Don Belding, chairman of the advertising agency Foote, Cone and Belding. He eventually launched her career, making her the first female copywriter at the agency. She went on to become one of the highest-paid women in advertising on the West Coast.
After losing her virginity aged 20, she remained sexually active, but resolved never to get hitched up with “a gas station attendant or somebody who boxed the groceries because he was sexy”, setting her sights on higher things.
She was 37 when she decided on the twice-divorced film producer David Brown (of The Sting, Jaws, The Verdict, Cocoon, A Few Good Men and Driving Miss Daisy). “He was divorcing his second wife and on the market,” she recalled. “I asked my girlfriend if she’d fix us up. She said, 'Not now.’ He was a movie executive and was in his starlet phase dating Deborah Kerr and all. After a year, she called and said, 'It’s time.’ She set up a dinner and we took off from there.”
Helen Gurley played her hand carefully, being the adoring, submissive sex kitten when they were alone together but playing hard to get when they were not. She kept her telephone in the fridge, where she could not hear it, so that he would never think that she was home alone. When he prevaricated about marriage, she walked out on him, saying she did not want to hear from him again unless he wanted her to be his wife. “You have to be sure you’ve got your hooks in,” she said.
A year after her marriage, Helen Gurley Brown decided to write a book, and asked her husband what it should be about. He suggested the title Sex and the Single Girl, since, he reasoned, she had been unlike any other single girl he had known and was obviously well-qualified as she had never been at home when he telephoned.
The book, published in 1962, fed off and helped to fuel the modern craze for self-help manuals. Full of wiles to ensnare men, it contained a catalogue of “how tos” on having sex before marriage, magnificent orgasms and tips on borrowing married men if there were no others available. Described by The Daily Telegraph reviewer as “this most nauseous of handbooks”, it became an overnight bestseller and was adapted as a film starring Natalie Wood in 1964.
Women, it seemed, identified with what Helen Gurley Brown called “Mouseburgers”, girls like her who were not stunning beauties but had the wit, drive and libido to get ahead. The “rich, full life of dating” she assured her readers, does not require great beauty, money or flamboyance; rather, you “work with the raw material you have, namely you, and never let up”.
In 1965 the phenomenal success of Sex and the Single Girl persuaded the Hearst Corporation to let Helen Gurley Brown have a go at editing Cosmopolitan, a mid-West literary magazine that had existed since 1883 but was now about to fold.
She was 43 when she took on the job and had no experience of magazines or publishing, yet she made it a sensation from the very first issue. Aimed at 18- to 35-year-old women, Cosmopolitan set out to be provocative and raunchy, encouraging single women to be sexually and financially independent. Circulation and advertising revenue soared. “It turned out that editing was what I was supposed to do in life,” Helen Gurley Brown recalled.
Over the next 30 years her obiter dicta ruled the Cosmo empire and made her one of the world’s most influential women. She held regular conferences with her editors to keep them in line with the magazine’s commercial formula “men, love, work, achievement, fun”. She worked a 12-hour day and boasted that she had never taken a day off “except for cosmetic surgery”.
Cosmo became the most successful women’s magazine ever and one of the five largest-selling periodicals on American news stands. Under her leadership it spawned 43 international editions, including in Russia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Taiwan.
Helen Gurley Brown continued to write books, following up Sex and the Single Girl with a string of similar titles such as Sex and the Office (1965); Outrageous Opinions of Helen Gurley Brown (1967); Helen Gurley Brown’s Single Girl’s Cookbook (1969); Sex and the New Single Girl (1970); Having It All (1982); The Late Show: A Semi Wild but Practical Guide for Women Over 50 (1993); The Writer’s Rules: The Power of Positive Prose, How to Create It and Get It Published (1998); and I’m Wild Again (2000).
With the advent of the feminist movement in the 1970s, she and her magazine became a target for demonstrators protesting at her portrayal of woman as sex objects. Cosmopolitan’s offices were picketed; her own office was occupied for a sit-in and she was furiously attacked by feminists who regarded the magazine as obscene.
At first these protests served only to fuel Cosmo’s popularity; but by the 1990s the Gurley Brown formula had begun to pall. She was attacked for playing down the Aids epidemic, and her support for American politicians who had been accused of sexually harassing women pitted her against the younger women Cosmo was aimed at. When she suggested in an article in 1991 that women were overreacting to the healthy sexual chemistry that pervades all offices, she elicited a furious response. Sales of Cosmo began to decline, and in 1996 she was effectively ousted in favour of a younger rival after 31 years at the helm.
Her husband died in 2010.Helen Gurley Brown never wanted children on the ground that they would be “horrible little competitors” for the admiration of others.
Date of Birth: 22 March 1960, Milan, Italy
Birth Name: Anna Piaggi
Today we lost an icon. An unmistakable, inimitable woman who was punk before punk existed.
She worked as a translator for an Italian publishing company Mondadori, then wrote for fashion magazines such as the Italian edition of Vogue and, in the 1980s, the avant-garde magazine Vanity. She was known especially for double page spreads in the Italian Vogue, where her artistic flair was given free expression in a montage of images and text.
Her professional life was as a journalist and stylist, principally for Vogue Italia; but Anna Piaggi’s fame also rested on her status as muse to designers such as Karl Lagerfeld and the British milliner Stephen Jones, and on her ability to upstage even the most daring of fashionistas.
Her wardrobe was colossal. In 2006, when the Victoria & Albert’s exhibition “Anna Piaggi Fashion-ology” showed her collection of vintage couture and designer clothing (including garments by Balenciaga, Fendi, Galliano and Poiret), visitors were informed that she had 265 pairs of shoes, 932 hats, nearly 3,000 dresses and 31 feather boas.
In the latter part of her life her home was a one-bedroom apartment in a converted 14th-century convent in Milan, where she shared even her drawing room with her outfits. Her knowledge of fashion history was encyclopedic, and the shoe designer Manolo Blahnik once said of her: “She is the only authority on frocks left in the world.”
Anna Piaggi herself dressed to entertain, and had been known to bring several trunks of fantastical clothing for a single weekend. Nothing — harlequin dresses, zebra trousers, spats — was too outré. One recent interviewer found her with “lips shiny and red, painted with two sharp peaks like a star of the silent movies from the Thirties. And there are pink circles of rouge high on her cheeks, as though they have just been pinched.
“Around her neck is a multicoloured jangle of plastic key rings ... Underneath is a shirt covered with Roy Lichtenstein-style cartoon characters, a pair of trousers printed with big bold letters ... and ... elegant little pink sandals with buttons sewn on.”
Stephen Jones once made her a small trilby in orange metal, which she wore with a silver coat: “It looked amazing,” he recalled. “I think the coat was a thermal one for mountain rescue. It doesn’t have to be Dior with Anna. She’s always worn 1920s shoes with Dolce trousers and a vintage Patou coat and a plastic belt, and a ski pole for a walking stick and crazy blue hair and a funny hat. She’s about the possibility of what fashion can be. It’s not about chic, or a grand gesture, as it was with Diana Vreeland [editor-in-chief of Vogue from 1963 to 1971]. With Anna it’s about fun and interest and frivolity.”
She seldom, if ever, disappointed, even if the effect could occasionally be unintended: at Paloma Picasso’s wedding in 1978, her feathered hat burst into flames as she walked past a lit candelabra.
“I never even go out of my bedroom without make-up,” she said in 2006. “I never wear the same thing twice in public. I love hats and I love little canes and binoculars. It looks like everything is just put together in a haphazard way — but no, it is very carefully thought out. Karl Lagerfeld once held a ball and the theme was Venetian and everyone was dressing as doges, but I decided to go as a fishwife. I balanced a wicker basket on my head filled with seaweed and crabs and I hung two pigeons I’d bought from the butcher round my neck; but at midnight they started to bleed so I had to leave like Cinderella!”
At fashion shows she was often more outlandishly dressed than the runway models. Dolce & Gabbana loved her: “She is a true style icon,” they said, “a woman who has a personal and recognisable style.”
Anna Piaggi was born in Milan in 1931. Her father, head buyer for the department store La Rinascente, died when she was seven, and her mother sent her to a boarding school near Milan where she received a conventional education — “suffering in serge”, as she later put it. Afterwards she travelled, working as an au pair and learning languages.
In the 1950s, while working as a translator at a publishing house in Milan, she met the photographer Alfa Castaldi, whom she married in 1962. He was an important contributor to Vogue Italia and introduced her to the world of fashion magazines. They would work together until his death in 1995.
Anna Piaggi began as a fashion editor and stylist on the monthly magazine Arianna, and in the 1960s made regular trips to London, where “I saw 87 boutiques in one weekend”. She worked with David Bailey and met the antique clothing dealer and collector Vern Lambert, who had a stall at Chelsea Antique Market . She and Lambert trawled the shops and auction houses buying vintage clothes, the foundation of her extraordinary collection. In London, she later said, she learned to “mix the traditional with the avant-garde”.
They also extended their search to English country houses: “These women would go to their drawers and rustle around and then come out with these amazing dresses, Schiaparelli, Fortuny, Poiret and they would be perfectly preserved because of the cold. ”
From 1980 to 1983 Anna Piaggi was editor-in-chief of Condé Nast’s style magazine Vanity, and in 1988 Vogue Italia, which was on the lookout for someone adept at spotting the latest trends hired her as a creative consultant. Her doppie pagine (double page spreads) soon became the heart of the magazine dramatic montages which might feature not just clothes and accessories, but also furniture, art, cakes, or whatever else took her fancy at the time. According to Blahnik: “Her pages are the reason to read Vogue. Every month is a shock.”
She became a muse to Karl Lagerfeld , whom she first met in 1974 and who recorded her in more than 200 drawings, published in 1986 in his Lagerfeld’s Sketchbook: Karl Lagerfeld’s Illustrated Fashion Journal of Anna Piaggi.
Anna Piaggi made frequent appearances in the International Best Dressed List and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2007.
Date of Birth: 23 May 1960, Manchester, England, UK
Birth Name: Nigel Charnock
Nigel Charnock, the performer, director and choreographer of the DV8 Physical Theatre company
Nigel was one who gave everything he had, emotionally, intellectually and physically. Charnock's work was grounded in improvisation and frequently autobiographical, with a streak of black comedy.
He worked on the fringes of the mainstream, often creating challenging pieces that dealt with his homosexuality.
For the next six years, Nigel continued working together on DV8 projects. His unsparing performance in Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men (1990) and tragicomic character in Strange Fish (1992), subsequently captured on film, remain testimony to his extraordinary physicality and talent with text; he was touching, tragic, hilarious, honest.
Born in Manchester, Nigel studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff and then went on to train at the London School of Contemporary Dance (1981) before working with Ludus Dance company (1982-85) and Extemporary Dance Theatre (1985-86).
After leaving DV8 in 1993, he created a series of solos for himself: Human Being, Hell Bent, Original Sin, Resurrection and Frank, which all revolved around themes of love, redemption, loneliness and nihilism. These themes recurred through his life's work. He formed Nigel Charnock + Company in 1995, but continued to make pieces for other companies in Britain and abroad. At the time of his death, he was working on Ten Men for his own company, an excerpt of which premiered to great acclaim at the British Dance Edition showcase in February 2012.
There may have been an element of defensiveness in his statements, but Nigel was scathing about the elitism of contemporary dance and ballet. He disliked arty pretentiousness: "I'm more of an entertainer, I make shows, really, I make pieces, I don't make work."
He said last year in a filmed interview: "I don't take anything seriously, oh well here we go, let's do this, come on, you're not here for very long, you could get cancer tomorrow, it's only life, its really not important." But Nigel was a bundle of contradictions: he took many things seriously and railed fearlessly against religion, homophobia, bad hairstyles or whatever was topical that day.
In 2007, during a performance of his improvised solo Frank in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, he inadvertently caused a cultural furore by dancing on the Armenian and British flags. The Armenian minister for culture said: "It is unacceptable for us that someone who is considered a national treasure to Britain would bring such low-quality art to Armenia." It was reported that some audience members likened the solo to a "strip act" and felt uncomfortable because Nigel challenged their "conservative definitions of art".
Date of Birth: 2 February 1944, Wallasey, Cheshire, England, UK
Birth Name: Geoffrey Hughes
Former Coronation Street actor Geoffrey Hughes has died after a 'long courageous battle' with prostate cancer.
Geoffrey acted in a wide variety of television series for many years. He first graced our TV sets back in 1966 as he stared in the TV show “The Likely Lads” then shortly after landed what was to be his major TV role in "Coronation Street" (1974), and having left the soap after nine years he managed to steer away from the traditional career slumps suffered by many ex-soap actors.
It is not hard to see why. Whilst often typecast as the "loveable rogue" type character, he is simply a superb actor. Whether it be the slowish Onslow in "Keeping Up Appearances" (1990), Twiggy in the "The Royle Family" (1998), or the affable Vernon Scripps in "Heartbeat" (1992), Hughes is a man who knows how to play a part which wins the affection of television audiences.
Aside from Television, he has featured in many stages performances and continues to be a busy actor both on screen and on stage.
Date of Birth: 12 July 1928, Sheffield, England, UK
Birth Name: James William Alexander Burnet
Nickname: Alexander Burnet
The presenter, Sir Alastair Burnet, has died aged 84 after a series of strokes. He last hosted ITN’s News at Ten 21 years ago and at its launch in 1967 and went on to transform it from an energetic nightly news bulletin to an authoritative, though quirky, national institution associated with his name.
James William Alexander Burnet was born in Sheffield on July 12th 1928, the son of a Scottish engineer. He was educated at the Leys School, Cambridge, and at Worcester College, Oxford, where he read History.
After graduation he spent eight years working as a sub-editor and leader writer on the Glasgow Herald before Donald Tyerman recruited him to The Economist in 1958. The same year he married Maureen Sinclair, a sub-editor on a rival Glasgow paper.
He joined ITN in 1963 as its political editor, but left after two years to become editor of The Economist. Over the next nine years he transformed a respected but dry news journal into a lively news magazine with jokey covers.
He increased circulation from 70,000 to 100,000, but his political judgment was variable. He supported Nixon and the Vietnam War, and banked on a Labour win in 1970, “Mr Wilson’s Britain” was the cover story in the week the Tories won.
Five years later, as editor of the Express, he committed the paper to supporting the wounded Ted Heath in his doomed struggle with Margaret Thatcher for the leadership of the Tory Party. Max Aitken and Jocelyn Stevens had persuaded Burnet to take on the paper in 1974 in an attempt to arrest its decline, but he left 18 months later after it had lost another 340,000 in circulation.
Burnet anchored ITN’s coverage of the and the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales and between 1964 and 1966 the elections, and on July 3rd 1967, with Andrew Gardiner sitting beside him, launched the first News at Ten bulletin with the words “Good evening. The railway freight strike has been called off. The railwaymen’s union decided this tonight at the conference at Aberdeen ... ” It was hardly the most gripping of stories, but the concept took off. The viewing figures for the first week put five editions of News At Ten in the top 20 programmes. It was scheduled to last just 13 weeks, but stayed on air for 32 years.
As associate editor of News at Ten, Burnet dominated by sheer force of personality and appetite for hard work. Editorial meetings were held in his office, and he often wrote the script for nearly half the bulletin. Colleagues recognised his huge professional skill, such as when a satellite feed went down he could always be relied upon to ad lib knowledgeably about the story while listening to the director telling him through his earpiece how many more seconds he would have to fill.
Accordingly, he was respected by viewers and revered by colleagues; but inside ITN Burnet was a far more controversial and powerful figure than his courtly manner and deferential interviewing style suggested.
Date of Birth: 9 June 1941, Leicester, Leicestershire, England, UK
Birth Name: Jon Douglas Lord
Nickname: Lord of the Hammond
Jon Lord, who has died aged 71, founded, and was the innovative keyboard player for, Deep Purple, widely regarded one of the world’s most influential rock bands.
With his long straggly hair, droopy moustache and garish stage costumes, Lord looked every inch the archetypal 1970s rock star. But his popular success, with hits such as Smoke On The Water, was built on a fusion of progressive rock with classical influences; he went on to compose some highly regarded classical works, such as Durham Concerto. On his first solo album, Gemini Suite, he worked with the London Symphony Orchestra.
As such he was a passionate advocate for rock music as a much underrated art form, and ruffled a few feathers in 1973 by claiming that Deep Purple’s music was “as valid as anything by Beethoven”.
Jonathan Douglas Lord was born in Leicester on June 9 1941 and studied classical piano from an early age. He was educated at Wyggeston Grammar School and subsequently became a solicitor’s clerk.
Lord was captivated by blues, jazz and rock and roll, notably the piano showman Jerry Lee Lewis and in the early 1960s moved to London, ostensibly to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama. In the capital he displayed a particular penchant for the Hammond organ sounds that he heard on American R&B records, and spent most of his evenings playing keyboards with various groups in pubs.
He served an important apprenticeship with the Bill Ashton Combo, graduating to electric organ with Red Bludd’s Bluesicians before making his first recordings with The Artwoods, fronted by Art Wood, brother of the future Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood. Lord was also involved in one of Ronnie Wood’s early bands, Santa Barbara Machine Head, and played keyboards as a session musician on the 1964 Kinks hit You Really Got Me.
His first taste of pop stardom, however, came backing The Flowerpot Men, who had a major hit in 1967 with the flower power era cash in Let’s Go To San Francisco.
Date of Birth: 8 August 1921, New York, US
Birth Name: William Milton Asher
Bill Asher, the director and producer behind classic TV shows like "I Love Lucy" and "Bewitched," has died. He was 90.
Asher was best known for his work on "I Love Lucy," where he directed Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz for 100 of the show's 181 episodes between 1952 and 1957.
He also produced and directed "The Patty Duke Show" and "Bewitched," which starred his then-wife Elizabeth Montgomery as the mortal-marrying witch Samantha Stephens. Montgomery and Asher had three children together.
Asher brought Sally Field to TV screens in "Gidget," and took the same sensibility to movies as director of the teen romps "Beach Blanket Bingo" and "Beach Party," starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.