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.
Thursday, 13 August 2015
Cilla Black (1943-2015), aged 72. Before she became Queen of Saturday Night TV here in the UK, Cilla was one of the new major singers of the 1960s - her and Dusty Springfield plus Sandie Shaw, Marianne Faithfull and Lulu. Cilla came along at just the right time: coatcheck girl at The Cavern in Liverpool. pals with The Beatles, signed by their manager Brian Epstein and the hits kept coming: "Anyone Who Had A Heart", "Alfie" (there's great footage of her recording this with perfectionist Burt Bacharach and producer George Martin) and her TV theme "Step Inside Love" and that marvellous "You're My World". The BBC then discovered she was a natural for television, a new Gracie Fields for the swinging set. She had her own TV series from 1969 to 1976 - the BBC is showing a compilation of them this weekend, where she sings with everyone from Tom Jones to Mark Bolan. I was at the recording of one of them, in '69 at the old Golders Green Hippodrome, and Cilla was just was one expected, joking and talking to the audience and having a good time. Dusty had her own series too and I also got to see one of those - Dusty was the grumpy diva, stomping around the stage and being annoyed at having to sing her first number again.
Cilla then took over those Saturday night hits shows SURPRISE SURPRISE (not my cuppa) and the fun BLIND DATE where her deadpan humour was just right - good for a laugh when getting ready to go out. These ran for years making her very popular. Cilla's sudden death was a shock, being the main item on the news (not many get that), she was also fun in later years sending herself up with that amusing turn playing herself in hit comedy series BENIDORM, and doing that Strippers number from GYPSY with pals Paul O'Grady and Babs Windsor for a Royal benefit, She also acted seriously for Peter Hall in his WORK IS A FOUR LETTER WORD with David Warner.
Val Doonican (1927-2015), aged 88. Another veteran of BBC light entertainment Irish crooner Doonican also also his own shows for years on the BBC.
George Cole (1925-2015), aged 90. Anther English veteran whose career spanned more than 70 years. Best known for his Arthur Daley in the hit series MINDER, he was also Flash Harry in those 1950s ST TRINIANS films with his friend and mentor Alastair Sim. He was also in CLEOPATRA (1963) and I like his gypsy Hayraddin in one of my '50s favourites QUENTIN DURWARD with Robert Taylor and Kay Kendall. He certainly did lots of television too.
Robin Philips (1940-2015), aged 75. Actor and theatre director. His film roles included that rather nice 1970 all-star DAVID COPPERFIELD, DECLINE AND FALL (which I liked again recently) and TWO GENTLEMEN SHARING (which it seems never saw the light of day). He moved to the Stratford Festival in Ontario,Canada where, in the late '70s, he re-established himself as a theatre director of note, attracting the likes of Maggie Smith and others to his well-received productions. Survived by his partner Joe Mandel.
Jonathan Ollivier (1977-2015), aged 39. Lead dancer with Matthew Bourne's dance company, Ollivier was killed in a motor cycle accident as he drove to play the final performance of THE CAR MAN. He was also a stupendous swan in the 2010 revival of Bourne's SWAN LAKE, among other roles which defined him as one of the leading dancers of his generation.