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, 1 February 2016

RIP. continued ...

January was indeed a cruel month: Bowie, Rickman, Frey (see RIP below) - and then on the last day of the month, news of the passing of Britain's best-loved broadcaster, another British veteran actor, and another American rock musician ....

Sir Terry Wogan (1938-2016), aged 77.Terry Wogan - where does one begin? The Limerick boy got into radio broadcasting and Irish television before his move to England, where he seemed part of the cultural fabric for decades: those radio shows, tv series like BLANKETY BLANK, his famous annual commenting on the EUROVISION song contest, and of course hosting the annual CHILDREN IN NEED charity marathon. He also continued with his radio shows and remained immensely popular and much-loved. We will miss Sir Terry and his twinkle a lot and that wit, affable good humour and that soothing Irish voice. His 1980s chat shows on the BBC - three times a week - were a must too, as the genial host got visiting stars talking - often without they having a book or movie to promote. These were an event before multi-channel television and endless talk shows with everyone having something to plug - Terry just chatted amiably to the likes of Loren, Bacall, Curtis, Hudson, Quentin Crisp, Fanny Craddock, Barbara Cartland and assorted eccentrics and celebrities, while the likes of Grace Jones (see below), Dolly Parton or Whitney Houston sang. Nice to see these re-run recently.  His 2012 travelogue on Ireland now was fascinating stuff too. 

Frank Finlay (1926-2016), aged 89. Finlay was another highly-regarded imposing actor from the National Theatre stable of the 1960s. He played Iago to Olivier's OTHELLO (for which he was Oscar-nominated), scored highly on television as CASANOVA in 1971 and the hit series A BOUQUET OF BARBED WIRE in 1976. A towering presence in his prime one could not mistake him for anyone else - I also passed him in the street once (- working in Central London as I did in Regent Street for 25 years one got used to seeing well-known people walking by...). He kept busy on stage, film and television for over 50 years - movie roles included ROBBERY, I'LL NEVER FORGET WHATSISNAME, CROMWELL, GUMSHOE, and Porthos in the Lester MUSKETEER films, and Polanski's THE PIANIST. I saw him on stage at the National in their successful run of the Italian comedy classic SATURDAY, SUNDAY, MONDAY. He was also a great Salieri in AMADEUS.

Ettore Scola  (1931-2016) aged 84. Well-regarded Italian director who helmed some favourites of mine; A SPECIAL DAY with Loren and Mastroianni in 1977, THE PIZZA TRIANGLE (JEALOUSY, ITALIAN STYLE) in 1971 with Vitti, Marcello again and Giancarlo Giannini. THAT NIGHT IN VARENNES is also a fascinating curiosity (Mastroianni as Casanova), He helped prepare the Criterion Blu-ray release of A SPECIAL DAY recently, which I got just before Christmas, where he is interviewed - reviewed recently, see below. 

Jacques Rivette (1928-2016), aged 88. Masterful French director of arthouse classics like CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING, LA BELLE NOISEUSE, L'AMOUR FOU.

Paul Kantner (1941-2016), aged 74. American musician and songwriter, founder member of the 1960s counterculture group Jefferson Airplane (later Jefferson Starship) which he founded with Grace Slick and Marty Balin. They brought their psychedelic light show to London for that great 1968 all-nighter with The Doors at The Roundhouse in Camden, which I have written about here before, I was 22 and with my hippie friends, we were all bombed of course. I liked their album SURREALISTIC PILLOW.

Sheila Sim (1922-2016), aged 93. Actress wife of Richard Attenborough (who died in 2014 - see RIP-2 label, where I mention my meeting with the Attenboroughs at the BFI in 1970 as they were standing next to me as we waited for the Dirk Bogarde lecture .... and were so friendly). Her films include A CANTERBURY TALE and PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN.


  1. WHAT a month!! It seems as if everyday brings the loss of some notable performer in one of the arts. Music in particular seems to be taking a big hit, a sad start to the year with so many passings but all have left a strong legacy.

  2. Indeed. There hasn't been a month like it in a while - hope its not a portent for the rest of the new year ....

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