Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 22 August 2011

R.I.P: Some more obits & 1982

JOHN HOWARD DAVIES (1939-2011) - Oliver in David Lean's 1948 classic, when he was 9. He grew up though to produce (and direct) some of Britain's finest comedy classics during the golden age of television. FAWLTY TOWERS and the early MONTY PYTHONS for the BBC, (he directed the first 4 episodes). He produced THE GOOD LIFE for it's entire run, THE WORLD OF BEACHCOMBER in the early days of BBC2. He became Head of Comedy at BBC lauching series like YES MINISTER, NOT THE 9 O'CLOCK NEWS, ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES. It is a great legacy.

RICHARD PEARSON (1918-2011) Richard Pearson was one of the most distinctive English actors, on stage, television and cinema since the 1940s. He was the kind of actor on which the British theatre has always relied: utterly dependable and totally distinctive. He could always be counted on to play doctors, accountants, politicians, policemen and churchmen: anyone, in short, who seemed to embody professional solidity. Pearson always managed to invest these characters with an inner life and a look of wounded dignity.

I would have seen him on the stage as William Cecil opposite Eileen Atkins' Elizabeth I in Bolt's VIVAT REGINA in the 70s, and in the 80s he co-starred with Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in the hit LETTICE AND LOVAGE. He also played in LOVE AMONG THE RUINS in '75 for Cukor with Katharine Hepburn and Olivier. Other films include CHARLIE BUBBLES, THE YELLOW ROLLS ROYCE, SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY and Polanski's PIRATES. It was a long enduring career - he was in the original production of Pinter's THE BIRTHDAY PARTY in '58 - and he had a good innings at 93.

STAN BARSTOW (1928-2011). Barstow was one of those new "kitchen sink" novelists who burst on the scene in the late 50s and early 60s, along with John Braine (ROOM AT THE TOP), Keith Waterhouse (BILLY LIAR), Shelagh Delaney (A TASTE OF HONEY) and Alan Sillitoe (SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING). Barstow's best known book A KIND OF LOVING was an enormous, likeable hit, its transends its period in it's timeless tale of a young couple falling into lust and then having to get married when she is pregnant - AND having to move in with her disapproving mother. John Schlesinger made a marvellous move from it in 1962, with great performances by Alan Bates, June Ritchie and Thora Hird. The book has always been in print, and is just one in Barstow's long career.

1982Re-reading "Sight and Sound"'s partwork "Chronicle of Cinema" which they gave away some years ago, it is fascinating reading the lists of who died in each year - 1982 would have been of particular interest for me - as it saw the departure of several of my favourites: Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly's fatal car crash and Romy Schneider's mysterious early death, as well as the suicides of Patrick Dewaere and Rainer Werner Fassbinder (or accidental overdose, like John Belushi), as well as the likes of stalwarts and vererans Celia Johnson, Kenneth More, Henry Fonda, Eleanor Powell, Jacques Tati, Isa Miranda [whom I have just discovered], Curt Jurgens, Alma Reville (Mrs Hitchcock), directors Charles Walters, Elio Petri, Valerio Zurlini, King Vidor - and that great comedian Arthur Askey!

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