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, 31 March 2016

RIP, continued

Patty Duke (1946-2016), age 69. I was stunned by Penn's THE MIRACLE WORKER when I was 16 back in 1962 - Patty Duke was so amazing, no wonder she was the youngest Best Supporting Actress winner - beating Angela Lansbury in THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE!), five years later she stunned us again with her over the top Neely O'Hara in trash classic VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (below - THAT scene with Susan Hayward!) - We never saw her PATTY DUKE SHOW here in the UK, but she had a long career in television, as per her list of credits on IMDB) and coped with mental health problems, as detailed in the obituaries. She was the mother of actor Sean Astin.

Zaha Hadid (1950-2016), aged 65. Architect Dame Zaha Hadid, born in Baghdad, designed lots of iconic buildings, including the London Olympics Aquatic Centre (right), and designed stage sets for musicians like the Pet Shop Boys. She had a heart attack after being treated for bronchitis in Miami. Her very individual award-winning designs have been commissioned around the world and often the designs looked like waves or curves. She was one of the world's great architects of our time. 

Ronnie Corbett (1930-2016), aged 85. Yet another veteran British entertainer and legend departs - the much moved Corbett, of THE TWO RONNIES and SORRY). We still laugh at his falling-over moment in Peter Kay's charity video for "Is this the way to Amarillo?"). Corbett was a charismatic and extremely likable man - there is absolutely no doubt that he will be fondly remembered by millions of people as being not only half of one of the most successful comedy duos of all time, but also as a truly brilliant entertainer. He and Ronnie Barker complemented each other perfectly.

Paul Daniels (1938-2016), aged 77. Another veteran British entertainer and magician. His Paul Daniels Show (with the lovely Debbie McGee, his wife) ran on British television from 1979 to 1994, he was still busy until recently.

Cliff Michelmore (1919-2016), aged 96. Another British veteran broadcaster and producer. We seemed to grow up seeing him (and wife Jean Metcalf) fronting all those BBC programmes like TONIGHT and the new travel shows.. He anchored events like the moon landing, general elections, he brought a more informal affable style to news broadcasting, ideal for the times.

Douglas Wilmer (1920-1916), aged 96. Another 96 year old veteran departs. Douglas was a great dependable, as memorable in his way as Christopher Lee - he played Nayland Smith in the Lee FU MANCHU films of the '60s, also played Sherlock Holmes on television - he must have been an ideal Sherlock, as good as Basil Rathbone, and had extensive theatre and television roles, plus in films like OCTOPUSSY, PATTON, JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD. He just was right for period and costume films. He was also a mainstay of epics: I like his Moor Lord Moutamin in EL CID (right), he was in THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, CLEOPATRAKHARTOUM, PATTON, CROMWELL, Olivier's RICHARD III and  Heston's ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.

Barry Hines (1939-2016) aged 76. English author who wrote several popular novels and television scripts. He is best known for the novel "A Kestrel for a Knave", which he helped adapt for Ken Loach's film KES.

Adrienne Corri (1930-2016), aged 85. Veteran British actress not seen much in recent years. Her best known role is that sculptor in Kubrick's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Other roles included in Renor's THE RIVER in 1951, VAMPIRE CIRCUS, DR ZHIVAGO and extensive television. 

Rita Gam (1928-2016), aged 88. Hollywood actress often cast in 'exotic' roles: SIGN OF THE PAGAN, SAADIA, KING OF KINGS, and she had a striking scene in KLUTESidney Lumet was her first husband and she was a bridesmaid at friend Grace Kelly's wedding in 1956.

Sylvia Anderson ( 1927-2016), aged 88.  Television and film producer, best known as the voice of Lady Penelope in THUNDERBIRDS, the series she and her husband Gerry Anderson created.  Anderson's primary contribution was character development and costume design. She regularly directed the bi-weekly voice recording sessions, and provided the voices of many female and child characters, in particular Lady Penelope. 

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