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.

Friday, 12 September 2014

RIP, continued ...

Its been a tough year: Stritch, Bacall, and now Joan Rivers (1933-2014) aged 81. Comedienne, writer, producer, actress and television host widely noted for her often controversial comedic persona where she was alternately self-deprecating or sharply acerbic toward others, especially celebrities and politicians. She really made her name in the 1980s as a stand-up comedienne with all those Elizabeth Taylor jokes, and she went on since then attacking celebrities, and their fashion disasters, and commenting on current events with that acerbic wit. Not since Phyllis Diller was there such an individual comedienne. Joan came to prominence in the '60s on THE TONIGHT SHOW with her mentor Johnny Carson, which established her comic style. She also acted in films like Burt Lancaster's THE SWIMMER (in 1969). Her later tv shows, like FASHION POLICE were syndicated to lots of countries, and she worked in the UK a lot, where she was very popular, and not just with the gays. She died due to complications following throat surgery, she had often made fun of her extensive plastic surgery. 

Sinden & Stritch: TWO'S COMPANY
Donald Sinden (1923-2014). Another 90 year old - We like Donald a lot - good, that he became a Sir. He is personable in those '50s Rank Organisation comedies like AN ALLIGATOR NAMED DAISY in 1955  (below)- a childhood favourite, I think I will have to have another look at that. Plus of course DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (and AT LARGE), THE CRUEL SEA etc. He also pops up memorably in films like Burton's VILLAIN, with Glynis Johns as that mermaid Miranda in MAD ABOUT MEN in '54 (the recently departed Dora Bryan was another less attractive mermaid), EYE WITNESS, DECLINE AND FALL, and of course out in Africa as Grace's husband in MOGAMBO
He had an illustrious stage career too, where his distinctive, rich fruity voice was an asset, I remember him vividly as the fop in a 1970s production of LONDON ASSURANCE, at the Aldwych, with young Judi Dench and Elizabeth Spriggs as Lady Gay Spanker !  He also did Shakespeare: a KING LEAR and Malvolio in TWELFTH NIGHT, and THE WARS OF THE ROSES. I vaguely remember that sitcom TWO'S COMPANY he did with Elaine Stritch in he '70s, where he was the unflappable butler, just part of his long and varied career in television as well as stage and screen. RIP, Sir.

Ian Paisley (1926-2014). Ian Paisley (Baron Bannside) was many things in his time to many people. I am not going into the whole Northern Ireland thing, but I just want to focus on this, from Wikipedia: Paisley preached against homosexuality and supported laws criminalising it. Intertwining his religious and political views, "Save Ulster from Sodomy" was a campaign launched by Paisley in 1977, in opposition to the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform (Northern Ireland), established in 1974. Paisley's campaign sought to prevent the extension to Northern Ireland of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 which had decriminalised homosexual acts between males over 21 years of age in England and Wales. The campaign failed when legislation was passed in 1982 as a result of the previous year's ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Dudgeon v United Kingdom
It seems astonishing now that such old-fashioned attitudes held sway a mere 40 years ago, like racism back in the '60s..I wonder how old bigots feel when they see equality enshrined and their efforts come to nought ? Like with Mrs Mary Whitehouse time has a way of solving everything. 


  1. Of course he was a bigot and I never thought I would ever find anything good to say about him but after he went into government with McGuiness I started to 'come round' to him more. Of course, we will never know did he a Damascus change of heart about everything in his later years or was he just a good politician who did 'the right thing' as he saw fit. I have the two documentaries the BBC did on him last year to watch. Maybe they will shed some light on what he was thinking. Did you read my obit on Facebook?

  2. Yes I did, a well considered appraisal, but then you live in Northern Ireland and have had to deal with all that. We just knew him here from his ranting in the news.