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.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

RIP continued

Geraldine McEwan (1932-2015) aged 82. Geraldine was a unique talent with an individual voice and mannerisms, sad to see her depart soon after that other great British actress Billie Whitelaw, also 82. I will have to dust down my MAPP & LUCIA boxset, as she WAS Lucia (with that marvellous range of vocal tics and inflections) for me - 
and of course we long remember her in ORANGES ARE NOT THE ONLY FRUIT, that ground-breaking tv drama, for which she won a BAFTA as the religious mother of a lesbian daughter, and more recently THE MAGDALENE SISTERS where she was that terrifying mother superior, and I loved her witch in the Kevin Costner ROBIN HOOD in 1991. I did not care for her MISS MARPLE series though, they were dreadful versions of the originals, over-stuffed with cameo roles, but McEwan had a long career on stage (playing with the likes of Olivier, Richardson, Gielgud, and in the first production of Joe Orton's LOOT with Kenneth Williams, that must have been a scream) and television, with plays like A FLEA IN HIS EAR and THE DANCE OF DEATH - Mrs Proudie in THE BARCHESTER CHRONICLES was TV another success, she also did THE PRIME OF MISS BRODIE on television. Geraldine excelled in high comedy as well as deep drama and could "purr like a kitten or snap like a viper". She was as individual as Maggie Smith or Joan Greenwood (there is no higher praise) and she also played Lady Bellaston (as Joan did in TOM JONES) in a later adaptation of the Henry Fielding novel. I would love to have seen her Judith Bliss, Lady Teazle or Millamant on stage. Au Reservoir indeed! 

Rod McKuen (1933-2015) aged 81, poet and song-writer. Rod wrote hits for Sinatra and Streisand, and that theme "Jean" for the film of THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE in 1969. He also wrote the hit "Seasons in the Sun" and was often referred to as the King of Kitsch. His work was also used in Madonna's RAY OF LIGHT album in the track "Drowned World/Substitute for love". His "If You Go Away" was a reworking of Jacques Brel. Dusty Springfield and others covered his work, and he wrong "Love's Been Good To Me" for the Sinatra album " A Man Alone", and he won two Oscar nominations. He was a best-selling poet too during the 1960s.  He worked with the Beat poets like Ginsberg and Kerouac, and became a folk singer. He certainly did well for a boy who ran away from home aged 11.

Demis Roussos (1946-2015) aged 68. Greek singer who had international hit records ("Forever and Ever", "My Friend the Wind" etc) in the 1970s after being part of group Aphrodite's Child (which also incuded Vangelis). Famous for his hair and caftans, Demis was also immortalised in Mike Leigh's play ABIGAIL'S PARTY where Beverely (Alison Steadman) wanted to hear Demis playing on the record player...

Lotte Hass (1928-2015), aged 86. Back in the 1950s Hans and Lotte Hass were popular chroniclers of animal wildlife on television nature programmes - a rarity then, like Armand and Michaela Dennis chronicling African wildlife or Jacques Costeau's underwater explorations. Hans and Lotte were also diving underwater as Lotte photographed sharks and other wildlife, quite risky sometimes. Lotte's looks were a plus for their popular shows as they filmed at the Red Sea, being the first to capture footage of mantra rays and other exotic (then) underwater denizens. 

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