Part one of our look back at those we lost during the last year.
One of the inevitabilities of life is death and every year, we will lose people who, for one way or another, are noteworthy figures. Some of them will make headlines when they die, others slip away barely noticed – as viewers of Academy Award obituary segments can tell you, we are as unequal in death as we are in life. Our Reprobate list is also, by necessity, selective and certainly not automatically respectful – people who were awful in life do not become saints the moment they die and if it is required, we’ll happily speak ill of the dead. But all the people here made some sort of impact and their deaths are worth noting.
If you were a teenage boy during the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, you were probably very familiar with the art of Chris Achilleos, which often featured fantastical but realistic images of sexy, half-naked and very powerful women. Several of his images are iconic beyond the world of fantasy art – the poster for Heavy Metal, his outrageous cover for Whitesnake’s Lovehunter and the cover image for Raven: Swordsmistress of Chaos that was later ‘borrowed’ for Kate Bush’s Babooshka video. His book Beauty and the Beast remains one of the classic collections of sexy fantasy art and his work has appeared everywhere from Conan book covers to Doctor Who, Star Trek and Fighting Fantasy novels. As tastes changed and the market for pulp fantasy novels diminished in the 1990s, he moved into illustrating trading cards. He died aged 74.
Amalia Isabel Rodríguez Carriera, known professionally as Amalia Aguilar, was a Mexican burlesque dancer and actress who appeared in numerous movies – mostly comedies – between 1946 and 1957 as well as dancing in cabaret shows, sometimes with her sister Cecelia. She appeared in the American burlesque film A Night at the Follies in 1947 but turned down further offers to work in Hollywood, including the starring role in a biopic of Lupe Vélez. She retired from performing after marrying in 1956, but returned to live performance in the mid-1970s and produced further shows in the 1980s. She died aged 97.
Rick Aiello was an American actor who had a long career playing supporting roles in movies and TV shows, including Silent Madness, Do the Right Thing, 21 Jump Street, K-9000, The Closer, Jungle Fever, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Tales from the Crypt, Clockers, CSI, The Sopranos and Sex in the City. He also worked occasionally as a stuntman. He died aged 65.
Rodney James Alcala – born Rodrigo Jacques Alcala Buquor – was an American serial killer who was convicted of seven murders in California and New York that he committed between 1971 and 1979. The actual number of his crimes is estimated to be considerably higher, and include rapes and child abuse as well as murders. In 1971, he was convicted of child molestation and sentenced to three years in prison; he was released in 1974 and almost immediately molested a 13-year-old girl. Although he had murdered at least one woman in 1971, his killing spree really began in 1977 when he was again released from prison. Around this time, he began working as a typesetter at the Los Angeles Times and set up a photo studio, posing as a fashion photographer – however, most of his photographs involved teenagers, male and female, posing nude, often in sexually explicit poses. Alcala’s brush with fame – and the reason why he is remembered more than many serial killers – came in 1979, when he appeared on The Dating Game – he won the competition after being picked by bachelorette Cheryl Bradshaw, who then refused to go on a date with him because he seemed ‘creepy’. Some have tried to blame this rejection for the escalation of his killing spree, which seems a bit unfair – he was hardly a wholesome character until this point and serial killers routinely become more and more prolific as time passes and their urges become ever-more dominant. He was arrested and convicted in 1980, though the verdict was then overturned because jurors had been improperly informed on his previous convictions; he was retried and convicted in 1986. Amazingly, this conviction was also overturned on appeal. In 2003, prosecutors tried again and added more cases to the indictment – this led to more appeals and delays. Finally, in 2010, Alcala was convicted once more and given his third death sentence. He eventually died, however, of natural causes aged 77.
Carlo Alighiero was the stage name of Carlo Animali, an Italian actor, playwright and director who appeared in a number of seminal Italian crime and Giallo movies during the 1970s – The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, The Violent Professionals, The Suspicious Death of a Minor, Silent Action, The Tough Ones and Gambling City. he also appeared in Dario Argento-scripted western The Five Man Army. He died aged 94.
Brad Allan was an Australian stuntman who first found fame as part of Jackie Chan’s Stunt Team, working on Hong Kong action movies like Drunken Master III, Mr Nice Guy and Who Am I, before moving on to be a stunt coordinator on Hollywood films as varied as Pacific Rim, Kick-Ass, the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake and the Kingsman films. His last completed work was on the Marvel martial arts movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. He died of a heart attack, aged 48.
Keith Allison was the bass player in Paul Revere and the Raiders between 1968 and 1975, joining the band after their garage punk heyday when they were already sliding into obscurity and sticking around while the band worked the nostalgia circuit. He died aged 79.
Joey Ambrose was the saxophonist with Bill Haley and the Comets, performing on the band’s early hits like Rock Around the Clock and Shake Rattle and Roll. He left the band in 1955 and joined The Jodimars for the next four years before becoming a backing musician at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, where he would remain until 1987 when he joined a new touring version of the Comets, playing on the nostalgia circuit. He died aged 87, the last surviving member of the band.
Jack Angel was an American voice actor who worked extensively on animated films and TV shows as well as video games. He began his career playing multiple characters on the assorted Superfriends series in the mid-1970s and his other work includes (often multi-character) appearances in Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo, Transformers, Dino-Riders, Darkwing Duck, Spider-Man: The Animated Series and Sonic the Hedgehog. His film work includes playing Teddy in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc., Ice Age: The Meltdown, Cars, Horton Hears a Who, The Prince of Egypt, The Iron Giant, Aladdin, Hercules, Mulan, Tarzan, Despicable Me 2 and much more. If it was animated and made between the 1980s and the 2010s, there’s a good chance he’s in it. He died aged 90.
Michael Apted Was a British film and TV director, known both for his feature films and the ongoing Up series that started in 1964 and has followed a collection of individuals over seven-year periods throughout their lives ever since. He began his career at Granada TV and directed many television dramas, from a year of Coronation Street to supernatural drama Haunted, sitcoms The Lovers and The Dustbinmen, children’s show Follyfoot and crime series Big Breadwinner Hog. His feature films include The Triple Echo, Stardust, The Squeeze, Agatha, Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorky Park, Gorillas in the Mist, Nell and The World is Not Enough. As a documentarian, his films include Incident at Oglala and Moving the Mountain. He died aged 79.
Born George Jamieson, April Ashley was one of the pioneers of sex-change surgery, back when it was still somewhat rough and ready – she had reassignment surgery in Morocco back in 1960. Ashley had grown up as a sickly child and had a difficult life that included two suicide attempts, but the surgery seemed to offer new hope. She had already worked in drag acts and post-transition became a model (being photographed for Vogue by David Bailey) and actress. Her brief career was somewhat derailed in 1961, however, when she was outed by the Sunday People. She wasn’t averse to outing others, we should note: in 1982 she was one of the originators of the claims that Amanda Lear was trans, something Lear has consistently denied (or at least fudged) and so presumably didn’t want to be made public. Ashley had a brief marriage to the 3rd Baron Rowallan (as he later became) that was annulled within a few years, even though her spouse knew her history beforehand – in 1970, Ashley was still considered to be legally male and this gave her husband the opportunity to legally separate without having to go through a costly divorce and pay maintenance. Her 2006 autobiography The First Lady made some dubious and widely disputed claims of affairs with everyone from Omar Shariff and Peter O’Toole to Grayson Perry and Michael Hutchence and was pulled from print after plagiarism claims. She remained a trans rights advocate and icon throughout her life. She died aged 86.
Edward Asner was a much-loved American actor, best known for his role as/on Lou Grant. The character had started life on the comedy series The Mary Tyler Moore Show before being spun off into his own drama series – an unusual move that nevertheless paid off. Asner was also the president of the Screen Actors Guild for some years and noted for his leftist politics – it has long been claimed that it was his political beliefs that led to the cancellation of the still-hugely popular Lou Grant in 1982. His acting career outside his famous character was interesting and extensive, mostly in TV: appearances include the Naked City TV series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Route 66, The Untouchables, The Virginian, Dr Kildare, The Outer Limits, the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea TV series, The Satan Bug, The Venetian Affair, Gunsmoke, The Doomsday Flight, The Fugitive, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West, The Invaders, Mission: Impossible, Ironside, Daughter of the Mind, They Call Me Mister Tibbs!, Skin Game, Mod Squad, Rhoda, The Girl Most Likely To, Death Scream, Hawaii 5-O, Rich Man Poor Man, Police Story, Roots, Fort Apache The Bronx, Highway to Heaven, JFK, Fish Police, Batman: The Animated Series, Gargoyles, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Freakazoid, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure, The Practice, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Up (the animated film) and Elf. Much of his later career involved voice acting in animated films and radio productions. He also did voice-over work in numerous documentaries. In 2021, he voiced a character in Muppets Haunted Mansion and his most unusual appearance might be in the Ugly George Show – stopped on the street by the gonzo pornographer and asked his opinion of sex and violence on television, he wittily retorted “I think it needs watching very closely”. He was also a 9/11 ‘truther’ who believed that the buildings were demolished by controlled explosions. He died aged 91.
Jarvis Astaire was a British boxing and wrestling promoter, the man behind Joint Promotions – the company behind the professional wrestling seen on British television from the 1950s to the 1980s. He was also the man behind the WWF’s first live UK shows. Outside his career in getting large men to beat the crap out of each other, he produced the speculative biopic Agatha (based around Agatha Christie’s real-life mysterious 11-day disappearance) in 1978. He died aged 97.
Peter Aykroyd was the less-well-known brother of Dan Aykroyd and the pair worked together on various projects, most notably the oddball horror-comedy Nothing But Trouble in 1991 that they co-wrote. He appeared in films like Spies Like Us, Doctor Detroit, Gas, Dragnet and Coneheads, was a writer and performer on Saturday Night Live, created and wrote the TV series Psi-Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal and voiced the character originally created by his brother in The Blues Brothers: The Animated Series. He died aged 66.
F. Lee Bailey
Francis Lee Bailey Jr. was an American defence lawyer who rose to fame through a number of high profile and controversial cases where, some might say, he had to defend the indefensible – and often won. His first major case was the Sam Sheppard appeal in 1966 – Sheppard had been convicted of murdering his wife in 1954 but Bailey successfully argued that he had been denied due process and a new trial was ordered; Sheppard was then acquitted. Bailey then represented Albert de Salvo, the Boston Strangler – de Salvo was convicted of several sexual assaults but never tried for the murders, though Bailey claimed he confessed to them. He secured an acquittal for Ernest Medina, the US Army captain who led his troops into a mass slaughter in MyLai, Vietnam – Medina claimed that he was not responsible for the actions of the men under his command even though he admitted shooting an unarmed woman who was raising her hands in surrender because he thought she had a grenade. He failed to keep patty Hearst out of prison but did stop her from receiving a death sentence for her part in a bank robbery that ended in murder (Jimmy Carter let her out of prison after 22 months of a seven-year sentence; Bill Clinton pardoned her. It pays to have influence!). Bailey’s most famous case was that of O.J. Simpson, who he successfully defended in his murder trial. His career took a hit from both public backlash to that verdict and some questionable decisions, however – he offered to defend the men accused of blowing up Pan-Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in the middle of a case where he was representing the families of the passengers of Korean Air Lines Flight 007, which had been shot down by the Soviet Union in 1983, something that hardly endeared him to his clients who already felt that he was putting little effort into the case. Bailey was often accused of being drunk during trials and was finally disbarred in both Florida and Massachusetts in 2001 and 2003 for misconduct. His attempts to return to the Bar were unsuccessful. He died aged 87.
Bob Baker was a British scriptwriter who – mostly in collaboration with Dave Martin – wrote serials for Doctor Who throughout the 1970s, including The Three Doctors. The pair were responsible for the creation of the robot dog K-9. Baker’s other writing included work on TV series like Scorpion Tales, Z-Cars, Shoestring, Public Eye, Bergerac and Target, and he wrote series and TV movies like Machinegunner, Murder at the Wedding, Sky, King of the Castle and Into the Labyrinth. In later years, he wrote several Wallace and Gromit films – The Wrong Trousers, A Close Shave, A Matter of Loaf and Death and Curse of the Were-Rabbit. When Doctor Who was revived in 2005, Baker contacted producer Russell T. Davies but was bluntly told that old writers were not welcome on the new show. Davies still used his K-9 character though. He died aged 82.
Chris Barber was a British jazz musician who had considerable success as a musician in his own right, but who is important primarily for the influence that he had as a musical pioneer and catalyst, inspiring a whole wave of British jazz, blues and rock ‘n’ roll performers. His band’s first album in 1954 included a recording of Rock Island Line with Lonnie Donegan performing – when the song was released as a single under Donegan’s name, it kicked off the skiffle boom that gave a musical start to most of the musicians that would make up the British rock scene of the 1960s. From the late 1950s onwards, Barber arranged UK tours by American blues musicians and this too had a massive influence on the bands to come. He expanded the boundaries of jazz by including blues musicians and going beyond the traditional line-up, while still respecting the history of the music and promoting it to a wider audience – in 1963, he organised the country’s biggest trad jazz festival. In recent years, he had been suffering from dementia. He died aged 90.
Andy Barker was a member of Manchester-based electronic dance music act 808 State, joining the band in 1989 and becoming part of their biggest successes. he also co-presented the 808 State Radio Show during the early 1990s, which was a major influence on the Manchester scene of the time. He died aged 53.
Edward Barnes was a BBC children’s TV producer who was behind two of the broadcaster’s biggest shows for nippers – Blue Peter and John Craven’s Newsround. The latter show was the first news show for kids, and because of its position in the schedule – coming in the middle of the late afternoon children’s slot at a time when the 5.45 News was the first ‘proper’ news show of the day – managed to actually break news stories from time to time. Barnes was very much part of the middle class, worthy and educational children’s TV world that has long since ceased to exist. He died aged 92.
Sometimes called “the busiest actor in Hollywood”, Ned Beatty occupied that space between a movie star and character actor – rarely the leading man but immediately recognisable and well-loved by movie fans. His screen career is a remarkable one that began with a bang – his rape in Deliverance gave 1970s cinema one of its most notoriously savage moments. He then worked relentlessly in supporting roles until his retirement in 2013. Just a few highlights from a remarkable career: The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, The Thief Who came to Dinner, The Last American Hero, White Lightning, W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings, Nashville, All the President’s Men, The Big Bus, Network, Silver Streak, Mikey and Nicky, Exorcist II: The Heretic, Gray Lady Down, Superman, Promises in the Dark, 1941, Guyana Tragedy – the Story of Jim Jones, Wise Blood, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, Restless Natives, Back to School, The Big Easy, Rolling Vengeance, The Fourth Protocol, Switching Channels, The Unholy, Repossessed, 1990’s Captain America, Hear My Song, Radioland Murders, Cookie’s Fortune, The Killer Inside Me and Toy Story 3. He also made numerous TV appearances: Kojak, The Waltons, The Rockford Files, M*A*S*H*, Petrocelli, Gunsmoke, Hawaii 5-O, The Streets of San Francisco, Murder She Wrote, Roseanne, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Law & Order to name a few. He died aged 83.
Jean-Paul Belmondo was more than just an actor – he was the epitome of European cool, a symbol of French New Wave cinema and an example of someone who worked in his own way – he turned down offers from Hollywood, preferring to remain in France. His film career took off in the 1960s with the lead role in Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, a film that immediately made him an international star. He would also work with Godard on Une Femme est un Femme and Pierrot Le Fou a few years later. He starred with Sophia Loren in Two Women and Claudia Cardinale in The Lovemakers and appeared in Jean-Pierre Melville’s Léon Morin, Priest, The Fingerman and Magnet of Doom. He worked consistently through the 1960s and expressed a personal preference for comedy and action over arthouse cinema – but seemed equally at home in both. He had small roles in Is Paris Burning? and Casino Royale but any hope of a Hollywood career fell apart because of his reluctance or inability to learn English. Instead, he focused on French cinema, which was still a place that an actor could have a successful career at the start of the 1970s. His films included The Brain, Borsalino, Le Casse and Animal with Racquel Welch and Belmondo became an icon for both French audiences and international critics – he was seen as Europe’s coolest actor, a man whose laconic style would enhance any movie. The varying quality of the actual films didn’t much matter. He died aged 88.
Fran Bennett was an American actor who worked extensively in film and television, as well as having a long theatre career. Her work includes appearances in Promises in the Dark, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, Foxfire, Leave It To Beaver, The Next Best Thing, Jessabelle, Diff’rent Strokes, Roots: The Next Generations, Lou Grant, Trapper John M.D., Knots Landing, Falcon Crest, St Elsewhere, Benson, Cagney and Lacey, L.A. Law, Dynasty, ALF, Tour of Duty, Matlock, Quantum Leap, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Melrose Place, Murder She Wrote, ER and Chicago Hope. She had recurring roles in several daytime soaps like The Bold and the Beautiful, General Hospital, Nightingales and Sunset Beach. She died aged 84.
Walter Berstein was an American writer who first came to prominence for his wartime essays for The New Yorker, later gathered together as the book Keep Your Head Down in 1945. Two years later, Berstein moved to Hollywood, where he began a career as a screenwriter, mostly for television. He continued to write articles for The New Yorker, and eventually, his left-wing political leanings came to the attention of the growing anti-Communist movement, and he found himself blacklisted from TV and film work. Imagine someone being hounded out of their job for their political views now – unthinkable, eh? Using pseudonyms and ‘fronts’ who gave their name to his work, Berstein carried on working, but it was 1959 when he was able to use his real name again, on Sidney Lumet’s That Kind of Woman. In the 1960s and 1970s, he wrote several important films: Paris Blues, Fail-Safe, The Molly Maguires and Yanks. He wrote and produced The Front in 1976, inspired directly by his experience of the blacklist, and made uncredited contributions to The Magnificent Seven. He died of pneumonia, aged 101.
Dennis Berry was a French-American actor and director – the son of blacklisted director John Berry, most of his work was in French films and international co-productions – as an actor he was in Eric Rohmer’s La Collectionneuse, Paula Is Leaving, Promise at Dawn and Borsalino; as a director, he worked on The Big Delirium, Stargate SG-1, Highlander: The Raven and Mata Hari. He was married to both Jean Seaberg and Anna Karina, which is quite an achievement. He died aged 76.
Kevin Billington was a British filmmaker who moved from TV documentary making in the mid-Sixties to directing some of the more interesting and underrated films of the late Sixties/early Seventies. He made the drama Interlude in 1968 and followed it with the extraordinary (and still very relevant) political satire The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer, the adventure romp The Light at the Edge of the World and the weird British horror film Voices. None of his movies were hits and he was soon back working on increasingly anonymous TV productions. It seemed like potential wasted. He died aged 87.
Lionel Blair was the perpetually smiling British celebrity who seemed to be showbiz personified – a shameless, camp luvvie who knew everyone and was probably born with a copy of The Stage under his arm. In reality, he was born Henry Lionel Ogus in Montreal, though his family moved to England when he was two. He began performing on stage as a child and as he grew, gave up acting in favour of dance – by the 1950s he was working in London as a choreographer. He and his dance troupe were television regulars and Blair would still take on small acting roles as well as choreographing dance routines in films like The World of Suzy Wong, The Cool Mikado, The Beauty Jungle, A Hard Day’s Night, The Plank and The Magic Christian. He was a guest on the Miss World shows in 1969 and 1970 and in 1979 became a household name as a team captain in the celebrity-laden charades show Give Us A Clue that ran for over ten years. He was also a presenter on the 1980s version of Name That Tune. In later years, Blair was essentially a celebrity without portfolio, popping up in the most unlikely places such as Channel 5 show The Farm, where he appeared alongside Ron Jeremy, appearances as himself in Birds of a Feather and Extras, and an appearance in Celebrity Big Brother. He was a panto regular and in 2013 released his first album, Blair Sings Astaire. He seemed a hard man to dislike and had a sense of humour about his own image – the classic ‘Lionel Blair Cut’ harp ad in the 1980s showed that. He also saved someone’s life once – in 2006, he and comedian Alan Carr rescued a man who was hanging by his fingertips from a Blackpool pier. He died aged 92.
Tim Bogert was an American rock musician, best known as a founding member of Vanilla Fudge. He was also bassist in power trio Beck, Bogert and Appice, with Jeff Beck and Carmine Appice, before going on to perform with a variety of musicians through the 1970s up until his retirement from touring in 2008. He would continue recording for another six years. He died of cancer, aged 76.
Linda Boyce was an American actor who was one of the pioneering performers in the pre-hardcore 1960s adult movie industry, working with legendary directors like Michael and Roberta Findlay, Doris Wishman, Joseph P. Mawra and others. Her filmography is impressively torrid: Electronic Lover, Kitten in a Cage, Private Relations, The Girl Grabbers, The Curse of Her Flesh, Sugar Daddy, Return of the Secret Society, Daughters of Lesbos, A Thousand Pleasures, I Want You, Anything Once, Olga’s Dance Hall Girls, Sex Circus, Graffiti, Everything for Everybody, She Came on the Bus, Marcy, The Ultimate Voyeur, Monique My Love, Love Me… Please, To Hex with Sex, Passion in Deadly Hollows, Once Upon a Body, Mnasidika, K.O. Suzette, Girls That Do, The Good The Bad and the Beautiful, Bacchanale, Only in My Dreams, Torture Me Kiss Me, The Sidewalk Cowboy, The Amazing Transplant, The Pro Shop, Pleasure Plantation and Lovers By Appointment. Like many an adult movie star of the 1960s, her career ended as hardcore started to become the industry norm in 1971. Her age at death is unknown.
Lizzie Bravo was one of the ‘Apple Scruffs’ – devoted Beatles fans from the pre-groupie era who used to hang around all day outside Apple Corps and Abbey Road in the hope of seeing their idols. It was a more innocent time all around. She achieved lasting immortality when George Harrison invited her and Gayleen Pease – who also died in 2021, aged 71 – to provide backing vocals for the original recording of Across the Universe in 1968. She died aged 70.
Shane Briant was one of the young men that Hammer Films was grooming as their new stars of the 1970s to replace the ageing Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Unfortunately, Briant emerged just as Hammer entered a slow demise. His work for the company was in some of its most interesting 1970s films – Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter, Demons of the Mind, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell and Straight On Till Morning, often playing the slightly – or totally – unhinged blonde pretty boy character that was popular in British horror at the time. He deserved a better career than the one he subsequently had – after the Hammer films and the TV movie of The Picture of Dorian Gray, he worked mostly in television, sporadically appearing in movies like Hawk the Slayer, Lady Chatterley’s Lover and The Naked Civil Servant. He relocated to Australia in the 1980s and carved out a solid career in films like Shaker Run, Run Chrissie Run, Cassandra, The Lighthorsemen, Grevious Bodily Harm, Outback, Out of the Body and Tunnel Vision as well as the TV series Farscape. In the 1990s, he became a successful novelist, writing several thrillers and horror stories. He died aged 74.
Leslie Bricusse was an English songwriter and playwright whose work you all know, even if you don’t recognise his name. In the 1960s and 1970s, Bricusse teamed up with Anthony Newley to form a brilliant songwriting partnership. They wrote the stage musical Stop the World – I Want to Get Off (which spawned hit singles for Newley) and the songs for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, widely dismissed at the time but now recognised as some of the most memorable musical songs ever recorded. On his own, Bricusse wrote the songs for Doctor Dolittle, Goodbye Mr Chips, Scrooge and – as a lyricist to Henry Mancini’s score – Victor Victoria. He was also a prolific songwriter outside of musicals. With John Barry, he wrote the theme songs for Goldfinger and You Only Like Twice, with John Williams the title song from A Guide for the Married Man, the love theme from Superman and songs from Home Alone and Hook. He died aged 90.
There are actors who spend their careers fighting against typecasting, leaving popular film franchises and TV series as soon as their contract allows. Not Johnny Briggs, who clearly saw the benefits of a job for life and so stuck with his role in Coronation Street for thirty years, from 1976 to 2006. Less acting in the conventional sense and closer to a career working in a factory or an office, soap jobs offer the sort of career continuity that most acting work could never offer, and given that Briggs’ career was not exactly a glittering one up to that point, who can blame him for sticking with it until the increasingly relentless work schedule (as the show expanded from twice a week to every day) wore him down. Prior to Coronation Street, Briggs had a steady career playing small parts – rarely with actual names and often uncredited – in an impressive list of British films from the late 1940s on: Oliver Twist, The Lavender Hill Mob, Cosh Boy, Sink the Bismark, The Bulldog Breed, The Wild and the Willing, Doctor in Distress, A Stitch in Time, The Leather Boys, The Devil-Ship Pirates, 633 Squadron, The Intelligence Men, Carry On Up The Khyber, The Girl with the Pistol, Some Girls Do, Perfect Friday, Quest for Love, The Au Pair Girls, Bless This House, Go For a Take, On the Buses, The Best Pair of Legs in the Business, Secrets of a Door-To-Door Salesman, Man About the House, Bedtime with Rosie, Carry On Behind, Carry On England and The Office Party. He died aged 85.
Jeffrey M. Beltzner, aka Brick Bronsky, was a bodybuilder turned professional wrestler who worked the indie circuit for much of his career during the 1980s and 1990s, eventually forming International Pro Wrestling in 1996, a successful promotion that would later expand out into other sports and boxing. In the 1990s, he became one of the Troma Studios stars, appearing in Sgt Kabukiman NYPD, Class of Nuke ‘Em High 2: Subhumanoid Meltdown and Class of Nuke ‘Em High 3: The Good, the Bad and the Subhumanoid. Outside his Troma work, he had small roles in Death Match and The Quest and set up his own film studio, Evolving Pictures Entertainment. He died of covid-19, aged 57.
For a generation of kids in the UK, Denise Bryer will be forever known as the voice of Zelda in Gerry Anderson’s Terrahawks. She had first worked with Anderson as a voice artist decades earlier on his early shows The Adventures of Twizzle and Four Feather Falls. Her other voice work included the children’s TV show Hector’s House, the films Return to Oz and Labyrinth, the English-language version of Japanese show Star Fleet, dubbing work on the 1983 Hercules and providing a child’s voice on Maigret. She was married to Nicholas Parsons for 35 years. She died aged 93.
Allan Burns was a television writer and producer, best known for co-creating The Munsters. His other shows include the less-remembered fantasy sitcom My Mother The Car and spy spoof Get Smart, which he was the story editor on. In 1970, he created The Mary Tyler Moore Show. His other TV writing work included Rhoda, Lou Grant and FM. He began his career as an animator on shows like The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, George of the Jungle and Dudley Do-Right, and in a rare big-screen excursion wrote Butch and Sundance: The Early Days. He died of Parkinson’s Disease, aged 85.
For most of their career, Iron Butterfly was a second division post-psych/pre-metal combo, occasionally coming up with a decent track but by and large rather forgettable. None of that matters though, because their one great moment is one of the great moments in rock history. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was the 17-minute epic that perhaps more than anything else made albums more important than singles, a thunderous, hypnotic piece of lumbering genius that remains unlike anything else ever recorded (even/especially by the band themselves). It sold millions and is one of the most iconic recordings in rock history. Much of its success is the tribal drum solo that makes up the central section of the song, and you can thank drummer Ron Bushy for that. Bushy was a member of the band from 1966 until their break-up in 1971, and then rejoined for assorted revivals; he’s the only person to have played on all the studio albums. He died of oesophagal cancer aged 79.
George Butler was an American documentary filmmaker, best known for his 1977 body-building movie Pumping Iron that launched both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno into the public consciousness. In 1971, he co-wrote The New Soldier with John Kerry, about the Vietnam Veterans Against the War movement and would later make a documentary about Kerry’s involvement in the peace movement, Going Upriver. He made Pumping Iron II: The Women in 1985 and two IMAX documentaries – Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure and Roving Mars. He was making a pair of documentaries about endangered tigers when he died of pneumonia, aged 78.
Françoise Cactus was the co-founder of Stereo Total, the Berlin-based electro-pop art-lounge duo. Prior to that, she had been in the band Die Lolitas, one of the few bands to sneak behind the Berlin Wall to play gigs in the East pre-unification. She also wrote several novels and worked as a journalist. She died of breast cancer, aged 56.
Joanna – or JoAnna – Cameron was an American actor best known for her appearance in the title role on Saturday morning children’s show Isis, a live-action superhero series produced by Filmation. It ran for two seasons from 1975 to 1977, including crossovers with the Shazam! series that was running concurrently. Prior to this, Cameron had appeared in small roles in How to Commit Marriage, I Love My… Wife, Pretty Maids All In a Row, B.S. I Love You, The Great American Beauty Contest, Night Games, A Time for Love, Sorority Kill, It Couldn’t Happen to a Nicer Guy and the classic Columbo episode Negative Reaction. Her later career included roles in McMillan and the Spider-Man TV series (in episodes that later became the movie Spider-Man Strikes Back) as well as a lot of commercials – enough to have her listed in the Guinness Book of Records at one point. She retired from acting after making Swan Song in 1980 and moved into healthcare and then marketing. Well, she certainly had experience selling things. She died of a stroke aged 73.
Ron Campbell was an Australian animator, best known for his work on the 1965 Beatles cartoon series. He would also work on Yellow Submarine a few years later, creating the connecting sequences that brought the whole film together. In the 1970s, he produced animated sequences for Sesame Street and The Smurfs, and by the 1990s he was working with Disney on their TV projects like Darkwing Duck, and Nickelodeon on Rugrats and Duckman. He died aged 81.
Known as The King of Rockabilly, Ray Campi’s musical career stretches back to the 1940s and takes in country, folk and rock ‘n’ roll. Despite having been recording since the 1950s, Campi’s career didn’t really get started until the early Seventies, when nostalgists rediscovered him, leading to a successful touring career around Britain and mainland Europe, and numerous new recordings with modern rockabilly acts, as well as the release – sometimes for the first time – of his 1950s recordings. His 1959 release The Ballad of Donna and Peggy Sue was the first musical tribute to Buddy Holly. He died of natural causes, aged 86.
Maurice Capovilla was a Brazilian filmmaker active across the 1970s: his films include Brasil Verdade, Bebel, Garota Propaganda, The Prophet of Hunger, Noites de Iemanjá, Vozes do Medo, The Night of the Scarecrow, O Jogo da Vida and O Boi Misterioso e o Vaqueiro Menino. He also acted in other director’s movies including O Ritual dos Sádicos. He died aged 85.
John ‘Bud’ Cardos
John ‘Bud’ Cardos was an American film director, actor and stuntman who had a long association in the latter two roles with Al Adamson, working on the director’s films from the late 1960s – classics like Satan’s Sadists, Blood of Dracula’s Castle, Hell’s Bloody Devils, Five Bloody Graves, Horror of the Blood Monsters, The Female Bunch and Death Dimension. He was also in Hells Angels on Wheels, Psych-out, Nightmare in Wax and The Rebel Rousers before he began to focus on directing. His films are notable for being efficient, entertaining and no-nonsense and include Kingdom of the Spiders, The Dark, The Day Time Ended, Mutant and Outlaw of Gor. He died aged 91.
Ralph Carmichael was an American composer and arranger who flitted between the religious and the secular, a split career set in motion in the late 1940s when his band mixed gospel and jazz and were banned from performing by many churches. In 1951, Carmichael formed a relationship with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and scores twenty of their religious propaganda movies, including the cult hit The Cross and the Switchblade – one of the few evangelical movies to cross over to mainstream audiences. Carmichael also scored more secular productions in the 1950s – The Blob, The 4D Man, I Love Lucy and My Mother the Car. At the end of the decade, he became the arranger for Nat King Cole and this led to work with Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Jack Jones, Julie London and Peggy Lee. In the 1960s and 1970s, he focused more on Christian music, bringing a pop and rock feel to religious songs – something that was considered very controversial at the time, He founded evangelical record label Light Records and his songs were recorded by The Carpenters and Elvis Presley. He died aged 94.
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Jean-Claude Carrière was a French novelist and screenwriter who was behind some of the most important and significant films from the 1960s to the 1980s. He worked with Luis Bunuel on many movies: Diary of a Chambermaid, Belle de Jour, The Milky Way, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Phantom of Liberty and That Obscure Object of Desire. He also wrote movies for Jess Franco (The Diabolical Dr Z) and Louis Malle (Viva Maria, The Thief of Paris) and his filmography is nothing less than a checklist of great European cinema: La Piscine, Borsalino, A Few Hours of Sunlight, The Wedding Ring, Taking Off, The Outside Man, Marco Ferreri’s Liza, The Monk, Flesh of the Orchid, The Tin Drum, The Return of Martin Guerre, Jean-Luc Godard’s Passion, Danton, Swann in Love, Max Mon Amour, Exploits of a Young Don Juan, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Andrzej Wajda’s The Possessed, Valmont, Hard to Be a God, Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata (adapted from the original nine-hour stage version that he also wrote), May Fools, Cyrano de Bergerac, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, The Night and the Moment, The Ogre, Chinese Box, Birth, Goya’s Ghosts and much, much more. As if that wasn’t enough, he was also a prolific actor and taught screenwriting at the film school that he’d co-founded. He wrote an opera and was a consultant on Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon. A life well spent, you might think. He died aged 89.
Steve Carver began his film career by studying at the American Film Institute, under the tutelage of filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock and Charlton Heston, but he probably learned more when he was employed by Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, where he was initially put to work cutting trailers for over one hundred films. This led to his feature film debut, directing The Arena, a 1974 film with Pam Grier shot in Italy; there are claims that Joe D’Amato – who was the project’s cinematographer – shot much of the film. The claims mostly came from D’Amato himself, and viewers might care to watch other movies by both directors to decide on their validity. Carver would go on to shoot acclaimed gangster films Big Bad Mama and Capone (the latter with Ben Gazzara and John Cassavetes) for Corman and then made Drum for Dino De Laurentiis, Steel, An Eye for an Eye and Lone Wolf McQuade with Chuck Norris, Jocks, Bulletproof and River of Death. By the mid-1990s, he had grown disillusioned with the quality of projects coming his way, and left filmmaking to concentrate on photography, opening his own photo lab in 1995. He died of a heart attack, aged 75.
Nino Castelnuovo was an Italian actor who first rose to prominence in the 1950s with small roles in films like Visconti’s Rocco and His Brothers, The Hunchback of Rome and The Facts of Murder, as well as a singing role in the Disney production Escapade in Florence. The latter set him up for his breakthrough role in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg in 1963 and he would spend the rest of the decade and into the 1970s working on interesting projects across Europe – Edward G. Ulmer’s final film The Cavern, Vittorio De Sica’s Un Monde Nouveau, Agnes Varda’s Les Créatures, Massacre Time, The Chastity Belt, Red Roses for the Fuhrer, The Five Man Army, Radley Metzger‘s Camille 2000, Strip Nude for Your Killer, That Malicious Age and Star Odyssey. From the end of the 1970s, he worked mostly in television. he died aged 84.
Raymond Cauchetier was a French photographer who was best known for his work as a set photographer on many classic French New Wave movies during the 1960s. His photography career began as a war correspondent in Vietnam and Cambodia, but on returning to France he found work hard to come by and began shooting photo stories for romance magazines before meeting aspiring filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. Cauchetier would shoot production stills on Godard’s debut film A Bout de Souffle and this led to work for directors like Jean-Pierre Melville and Francois Truffaut. His work is now considered to be just as iconic as the films themselves. He died of Covid-19, aged 101.
Malcolm Cecil was a British jazz bassist and recorder producer, who had been active on the jazz scene since the late 1950s, later being a founding member of Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. At the start of the 1970s, he was – with Robert Margouleff – half of TONTO”S Expanding Head Band, a pioneering synthesiser-based act, and this led to work with Stevie Wonder on several albums in the first half of the decade. The pair would also work with Quincey Jones, Gil Scott-Heron, Weather Report, Steve Hillage, Little Feat and the Isley Brothers amongst others. He died aged 84.
John Challis was doomed to be forever associated with the role of Boycie from the inexplicably popular BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses. I say ‘doomed’, but he certainly made the most of it, parlaying his supporting role into a long career of spin-offs, books, documentaries, a one-man show and personal appearances. His career outside the show was perhaps more interesting – he was in the oddball psychodrama Where Has Poor Mickey Gone? in 1964 and Dan Curtis’ 1973 Dracula, and he was a reliable British TV actor from the mid-Sixties into the 1990s, appearing in Z-Cars, Softly Softly, Big Breadwinner Hog, Dixon of Dock Green, Strange Report, Who Killed Lamb?, Whodunnit, Crown Court, The Sweeney, The Legend of Robin Hood, Doctor Who, Thriller, The New Avengers, Citizen Smith and more. The BBC sitcom Bloomers was in part inspired by his part-time career at a garden centre, though the lead went to Richard Beckinsale. He died of cancer, aged 79.
Pauline ChamberlainPauline Chamberlain had the most extraordinary career as an actress, working from 1947 to 1995, with over 150 appearances on-screen… all without a single credit. She started her unusual showbiz career as a Bluebell Girl, and appeared in revues, strip shows and the variety circuit, often with her twin sister Pamela. Her ‘acting’ career consisted entirely of being an extra, often playing roles like ‘woman at party’ or ‘showgirl’. But her filmography is extraordinary. Just look at this for a career: Brighton Rock, Saint Joan, Hell Drivers, Lucky Jim, Six-Five Special, Indiscreet, The Spaniard’s Curse, A Night to Remember, Please Turn Over, Too Hot to Handle, Carry On Cruising, Play It Cool, The Boys, The Punch and Judy Man, The Small World of Sammy Lee, Echo of Diana, The Girl Hunters, Doctor in Distress, Seance on a Wet Afternoon, A Shot in the Dark, A Hard Day’s Night, Carry On Spying, The Human Jungle, The Yellow Rolls Royce, Dr Terror’s House of Horrors, The Intelligence Men, various Edgar Wallace Mysteries, The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders, The Pleasure Girls, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, Rotten to the Core, A Study in Terror, The Liquidator, The Wild Affair, Thunderball, Life at the Top, Up Jumped a Swagman, Where the Spies Are, Gideon’s Way, Georgy Girl, The Sandwich Man, The Trygon Factor, The Family Way, Funeral in Berlin, The Avengers, Danger Man, Don’t Lose Your Head, The Prisoner, The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Saint, Man in a Suitcase, The Champions, Department S, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, The Virgin Soldiers, The Magic Christian, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Taste the Blood of Dracula, Up Pompeii, Hands of the Ripper, The Persuaders, Villain, Gumshoe, Jason King, Frenzy, Columbo, The Amazing Mr Blunden, No Sex Please We’re British, Love Thy Neighbour, The Wicker Man, The Sex Thief, Voyage of the Damned and The Shining. She died aged 88.
Michael Chapman was an English singer-songwriter who emerged from the oddly-related worlds of folk music and progressive rock in the late 1960s alongside contemporaries like Roy Harper and John Martyn. A favourite of John Peel, Chapman never quite made it into the mainstream but he consistently released albums on a variety of labels from 1969 to 2020. He died aged 80.
Geoffrey Chater was one of those British character actors who was immediately recognisable, often playing authority figures and businessmen – often in a comedic manner – in television shows in a career that ran from the start of the 1950s until the mid-2000s. As you might expect, he appeared in a lot of the major shows from that period: the 1950s Sherlock Holmes, Armchair Theatre, The Third Man, Scotland Yard, Z-Cars, The Plane Makers, The Human Jungle, Scales of Justice, Emergency Ward 10, The Troubleshooters, The Wednesday Play, Adam Adamant Lives, Softly Softly, Sexton Blake, The Avengers, The Champions, The Saint, The Power Game, Department S, The Main Chance, Callan, Steptoe and Son, Doomwatch, Paul Temple, Jason King, Dad’s Army, The Dick Emery Show, Orson Welles’ Great Mysteries, Thriller, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, Special Branch, Father Brown, Moll Flanders, Crown Court, Within These Walls, Rings on Their Fingers, Play for Today, Agony, Brideshead Revisited, Shelly, Harry’s Game, Tales of the Unexpected, Blott on the Landscape, Mapp and Lucia, Norbert Smith – A Life, The New Statesman, Harry Enfield and Chums, One Foot in the Grave, Rumpole of the Bailey, The Thin Blue Line, Pie in the Sky, The Detectives, The Bill, Heartbeat, Foyle’s War and Midsomer Murders. His film career was briefer but rather interesting: The Strange World of Planet X, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, If…., 10 Rillington Place, Endless Night, The Best Pair of Legs in the Business, O Lucky Man, Barry Lyndon and Gandhi among them. Until the age of 97, he was still giving public poetry readings. He died aged 100.
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Richard Cole was the tour manager for Led Zeppelin from 1968 to 1980, when he was fired before the band’s final shows. He was responsible for several touring changes, including British bands taking their own equipment and crew to the USA rather than relying on local sources. He was the man who introduced groupies to the band and is often the only source for the various outrageous stories about the band’s antics that are now taken as gospel, even though the band have always denied them and Cole was a junkie who needed money when selling his stories (first to Stephen Davis for his infamous book Hammer of the Gods and then in his own Stairway to Heaven: Led Zeppelin Uncensored). He was not, truth be told, a reliable source. During his time with the band, he was connected to/responsible for several unpleasant incidents – he hired gangland thug and sometime actor John Bindon as security, which led to a few violent incidents involving promoters and their staff; Cole was also a prime suspect in the theft of over $200,000 of the band’s takings from a safety deposit box at Madison Square Garden, though he passed a lie detector test and was never charged. Nevertheless, the band had tired of his behaviour by 1980 and fired him. He would go on to manage faux lesbian techno-industrial band Fem 2 Fem (whose media appearances outstripped record sales) and worked as tour manager for Eric Clapton, Ozzy Osbourne, Lita Ford and others. He died aged 75.
Don Collier was an American actor who spent pretty much his entire career appearing in westerns. A former ranch-hand, he was able to perform his own stunts and ride horses with ease, making him a popular choice with producers. His work includes appearances in films and TV series like Outlaws, The Virginian, Wagon Train, Branded, Death Valley Days, Incident at Phantom Hill, The High Chaparral, Bonanza, The Waltons, Gunsmoke, How the West was Won, Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven, Young Riders and Tombstone. He’d sometimes venture into non-western fare – Land of the Giants, Banacek, The Winds of War – but he clearly knew where he felt comfortable. He died of lung cancer, aged 92.
Michael Collins was an American astronaut – and not just any astronaut. Collins was the third member of the Apollo 11 crew, the one chosen to stay onboard the command module Columbia as it orbited the Moon while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin actually got to step onto the surface. It was his second (and last) spaceflight. On his first in 1966, he became the first person to carry out more than one spacewalk. He died of cancer, aged 90.
Alongside her twin sister Madeleine, Mary Collinson had a brief but impressive career as a model and actor after relocating from Malta to London in 1969. Two things have guaranteed them immortality – their iconic title roles in Hammer’s Twins of Evil and their appearance as 1970 cover stars and centrefolds in Playboy. Their first film appears to be the George Harrison-Marks nudie short Halfway Inn and their other roles included British sex films Some Like It Sexy, Permissive, She’ll Follow You Anywhere and Groupie Girl and the American melodrama The Love Machine. Perhaps limited by how many roles there were for sexy twins in 1970s movies and not in demand on their own, the twins retired from acting and modelling within a few years. They would later re-emerge on the nostalgic convention circuit. Madeleine died in 2014. Mary died of bronchopneumonia, aged 69.
Jaime Comas Gil was a Spanish screenwriter and producer, best known as one of the writers of A Fistful of Dollars. He was the writer of several other exploitation movies with cult followings: The Glass Sphinx, Danger: Death Ray, Encounters in the Deep, Savana: Violenza Carnale, The Shark Hunter, Panic and Blue Paradise, and the producer of Sandokan the Great and Monte Hellman’s Iguana. He died aged 85.
Neil Connery was the younger brother of Sean Connery, and for a brief moment was able to capitalise on the popularity of his brother as James Bond with a starring role in the Italian Eurospy film OK Connery, also released as Operation Kid Brother. he followed this with an appearance in British science fiction film The Body Stealers and would then make occasional TV appearances in small parts, usually as characters with no names, before attempting to cash in on his second-hand fame once again as ‘Mr Bond’ in Tsui Hark’s Aces Go Places 3 in 1984. He filled in the considerable gaps between appearances working as a plasterer until a workplace accident in 1983 ended his career. He died aged 82.
Charles Connor was the drummer for Little Richard, starting in his band The Upsetters in 1953. Connor’s drumming style is said to have been the inspiration for “a-wop bop-a loo-mop, a-lop bam-boom” and he played with the singer throughout the 1950s. he also worked for James Brown, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, The Coasters and others as well as forming his own outfits. His most recent album came out in 2013. He died aged 86.
Storm Constantine – as her legally adopted name might suggest – was a British fantasy author who emerged from the 1980s goth scene and built a reputation with the Wraeththu trilogy, a story of androgenous, gender-fluid beautiful post-humans that perhaps would make her the darling of the millennials if published today. As it was, she built a reputation within the fantasy and goth communities for her novels – over thirty in total – that were very much wish-fulfilment stories for self-professed outsiders, and was somewhat ahead of her time in that sense. She died aged 64.
Alex Cord, born Alexander Viespi Jr., was an American actor who had a long career working mostly in television and low budget films. While he was briefly a leading man, he never quite had the success that he possibly deserved – however, mainstream cinema’s loss is cult cinema’s gain. He made his movie debut in The Chapman Report in 1962 and then appeared in Stagecoach, Stiletto, The Etruscan Kills Again, The Tell-Tale Heart, Chosen Survivors, Inn of the Damned, Greyeagle, Goliath Awaits, Jungle Warriors, Uninvited, Street Asylum, The Dirty Dozen: The Fatal Mission, Roots of Evil and The Naked Truth. His TV work was extensive and included a lot of western series like Branded, Laramie, Frontier Circus and Gunsmoke, as well as spots on Naked City, Route 66, Night Gallery, Mission: Impossible, Police Woman, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Murder She Wrote, Monsters, Freddy’s Nightmares, Jake and the Fatman and Walker Texas Ranger. He starred in one of Gene Roddenberry’s failed series pilots, Genesis II, but finally found a recurring role in Airwolf where he played Archangel in 55 episodes. He died aged 88.
Chick Corea was an American jazz musician who was considered one of the pioneers of jazz fusion. He worked with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. After forming free jazz group Circle, he began to explore the wider possibilities of the musical form, mixing jazz, rock, funk and Latin music and using modern electronic instruments. Corea was a committed Scientologist and played a pivotal role in the frankly mind-boggling Space Jazz: The Soundtrack to the Book Battlefield Earth that was one of L. Ron Hubbard’s more eccentric vanity projects, a lumbering Fairlight-laden score to the Scientology founder’s space opera that was released in 1982. He also appeared on another Hubbard LP, The Road to Freedom, which featured a Scientology all-star line-up: John Travolta, Leif Garrett, Frank Stallone and Karen Black. Corea died of cancer, aged 79.
John Cornell was an Australian actor and businessman. While working as a TV producer, he spotted the unknown Paul Hogan and was instrumental in making him a star with The Paul Hogan Show (which Cornell also acted in). He would then produce and co-write Crocodile Dundee and also directed the sequel. He was one of the pioneers behind the controversial World Series Cricket in 1977 and in 1990 built the Byron Beach Hotel at a cost of $9 million. His business hit a stumbling block when he and Hogan were investigated for tax evasion by the Australian government, a case that dragged on for eight years before being settled. neither man was charged or convicted of any crime. Cornell suffered for many years from Parkinson’s Disease. He died aged 80.
If you went to the circus in Britain during the 1970s or 1980s, chances are it was run by Gerry Cottle, who was the king of the Big Top for decades, touring the country with three different shows at his peak. Cottle’s was the archetypal circus story – he literally ran away at the age of sixteen to join up with The Roberts Brothers Circus in 1961, and then worked his way up from the bottom rung to having a juggling act and then opening his own show in 1970. Like all circuses of the era, he featured animal acts, but as tastes changed he phased them out, and from 1993 was animal-free. During the 1980s, Cottle struggled with cocaine addiction and eventually ended up in prison. Freed from his addiction, he helped create The Circus of Horrors in 1995 in partnership with French alt-circus Archaos, arranged UK tours for The Moscow State Circus and Chinese State Circus, and bought the Wookey Hole Caves, which became his main interest in the early 2000s; he added a circus museum, theatre, hotel and circus school to the location. In 2007, he wrote his autobiography, Confessions of a Showman. He died of Covid-19, aged 75.
Paul Cotton was lead singer, lead guitarist and main songwriter for country-rock band Poco, though not a founding member – the band was formed by former Buffalo Springfield members Richie Furay and Jim Messina in 1969, and Cotton joined in 1970. Cotton wrote the band’s biggest hit, Heart of the Night and penned numerous other songs for them, being a mainstay in an ever-changing line-up until leaving in 2010, at which point he launched a solo career. He died aged 78; fellow Poco member Rusty Young also died in 2021.
Douglas S. Cramer
Douglas S. Cramer was an American television executive who had roles with impressive titles for 20th Century Fox and Paramount, where he took responsibility for shows like Star Trek, Mission: Impossible and The Brady Bunch before setting up his own production company in 1971. Among his productions were Wonder Woman, The Love Boat, The Cat Creature, Dynasty and The Colbys. He also produced twenty miniseries based on Danielle Steele novels. You might question his aesthetic judgement based on that – but he was also one of the world’s leading collectors of modern art and was a founder of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. His collection has been exhibited worldwide. He died of heart and kidney failure, aged 89.
Johnny Crawford was an American actor and singer who began his career as a child, being an original Mickey Mouse Club ‘Mouseketeer’ before being cut loose as the numbers were halved. Not that it mattered much, as Crawford was much in demand on TV, appearing in The Lone Ranger and several live episodes of NBC Matinee Theatre as well as guest spots on many other late 1950s shows. His acting career survived into adulthood with roles in diverse productions like the film version of The Naked Ape and episodes of Hawaii 5-O, Little House on the Prairie and Murder She Wrote. During the 1960s, he also has a second career as a teen heartthrob from 1961 with a long singing career that was a bit hit and miss but saw him score four top thirty hit singles. His singing career lasted until 1968. He suffered from Alzheimer’s for many years but was eventually killed by Covid-19 related pneumonia, aged 75.
Alan Curtis was a British actor who had a long and prolific career that ran from the late 1950s until the early 2000s, mostly playing supporting guest roles on TV shows. His list of guest slots includes parts in The Avengers, Coronation Street, Compact, Curtain of Fear, The Saint, Doctor Who, Z Cars, Up Pompeii, On The Buses, Whoops Baghdad! and Jason King. He was clearly liked by several big names who regularly gave him work – he’s in assorted Frankie Howerd projects, appeared in five Morecambe and Wise shows and turns up in Peter Walker’s early thrillers and sex comedies Die Screaming Marianne, The Flesh and Blood Show, Tiffany Jones and The Four Dimensions of Greta. He also appears in two Carry On films – Carry On Henry and Carry On Abroad. He had the title role in Ronnie Barker’s original 1971 version of The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town, and his other film work includes Tomorrow at Ten. He is not to be confused with the Hollywood star from the 1930s and 1940s of the same name. He died aged 90.
Robby D. was an American adult film director and cameraman who made almost 300 films over two decades. Starting out shooting feature titles, D. built his reputation with the Jack’s Playground gonzo porn series, which reached some 38 instalments as well as having assorted spin-offs. As part of his contract with Digital Playground, he also worked on major productions like Pirates and other feature film productions. He died aged 54.
Shannon Claire Spruill, better known under her ring name of Daffney (or sometimes Daffney Unger) was an American wrestler whose career lasted from 1999 until 2018, making her debut in WCW – where she managed to become the Cruiserweight Champion in the main men’s division. Developing a character that was shown as psychotic and unbalanced, she became known for her eccentric, goth chick style and piercing scream. She would later join TNA, where she played a spoof on Sarah Palin before reverting to her more demented character. During her time in TNA, she was pretty hardcore – wrestling matches that involved being slammed onto tacks and through barbed wire – and her extreme performances resulted in a pair of concussions. She would later sue TNA for placing her in an unsafe work environment. Outside the major divisions, she wrestled for various indies and had a brief acting career – she seemed made to be a horror movie star, but for whatever reason, it didn’t happen for her. A much-loved figure in the wrestling world, she had struggled with depression for years, and on September 1st, she posted a video on Instagram Live, holding a gun and threatening to kill herself – requesting that her brain be sent for CTE testing. Viewers alerted the police and friends from the wrestling world tried to contact her – but her phone had been switched off and because she had just moved house, no one knew her address. The news came the next day that she had made good on her threat. She was 46.
Arlene Dahl was an American actor who was active from the 1940s until the turn of the century, often appearing in action-adventure and crime movies. Her career highlights include Scene of the Crime, Reign of Terror, No Questions Asked, Caribbean Gold, Desert Legion, Jamaica Run, The Diamond Queen, Slightly Scarlet, Wicked As They Come, Fortune is a Woman, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Pleasure Pit and Land Raiders. In 1957, she sued Columbia over the promotion of her British-made noir Wicked As They Come, claiming that the “lewd” advertising “degraded” her. Her claim was not successful. In the 1960s she began to move away from acting and into the world of advertising and consultancy – she became director of beauty products for Sears Roebuck in 1970 and in 1975 formed her own perfume company, Dahlia, which was not a success. In 1981 she filed for bankruptcy and returned to acting, appearing on daytime soap One Life to Live for three years. She then got into astrology and wrote numerous books about absolute nonsense. She died aged 96.
Born John Kiedis, Blackie Dammett had a solid but fairly unsuccessful acting career from 1977 to 1990, making appearances in a decent number of cult films and TV series without ever really having a part of any substance. He had the looks that might have made him an impressive villain, but he never quite had the breaks. Still, his filmography has some impressive titles on it: Charlie’s Angels, Starsky and Hutch, The Lady in Red, Midnight Lace, Class Reunion, Dr Detroit, Magnum P.I., The Fall Guy, The Lost Empire, Meatballs II, Nine Deaths of the Ninja, The Boys Next Door, 52 Pick Up, Crime Story, Lethal Weapon, The American Scream and L.A. Bounty. After retiring from acting, he spent the 1990s raising wolves in Michigan before becoming President of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers fan club; his son Anthony was the band’s frontman. He died of dementia, aged 81.
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Henry Darrow was an American actor who had numerous guest spots and supporting roles in TV shows and movies. His most famous work was in The High Chaparral and Zorro and Son (where he became the first Latino actor to play Zorro) and his other work includes the films Curse of the Undead, Revenge of the Virgins, The 3rd Voice, Cage of Evil, The Man-Trap, The Glass Cage, Halloween with the New Addams Family, Computer Wizard, Walk Proud, Attica, Beyond the Universe, The Hitcher, Mission to Kill, Death Blow, L.A. Bounty, Blue Heat, Maverick and Criminal Passion, while his TV appearances include Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, The Wild Wild West, Bonanza, Mission: Impossible, Night Gallery, Hawaii 5-O, The Mod Squad, Kung Fu, Kojak, The Invisible Man, The Streets of San Francisco, The Six Million Dollar Man, Quincey M.E., Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, Airwolf, Magnum P.I., Knightrider, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Golden Girls and Babylon 5. He died aged 87.
Sarah Dash was an American singer who got her start in gospel music before forming The Bluebelles with Patti LaBelle in 1962. The band had several R&B hits during the decade, but in 1971 changed their name to LaBelle and began performing more raunchy, rocking and socio-political material, including their biggest hit Lady Marmalade. The group split in 1977 and Dash began a solo career that led to a few disco hits and some later minor successes. However, Dash was probably as well known for her session work that included work with the Rolling Stones and a long collaboration with Keith Richards. She died aged 76.
John Davis was one of the uncredited singers behind Milli Vanilli. After the scandal erupted over the fact that the two frontmen didn’t actually perform on the record – not actually that unusual in truth – Davis and fellow singer Brad Howell released The Moment of Truth as ‘The Real Milli Vanilli’. They might have been better off severing the connection, and the album did not sell. He died of Covid-19, aged 66.
Martha De Laurentiis
Martha De Laurentiis – then Martha Schumaker – was a former model who moved into film production in the late Seventies before joining De Laurentiis Entertainment Group in 1980, initially as an assistant production accountant; over the years, she would rise to company chairman. She also married Dino De Laurentiis, which might have helped her career trajectory with the company. Her work as a producer includes Firestarter, Cat’s Eye, Silver Bullet, Raw Deal, Maximum Overdrive, King Kong Lives, Desperate Hours, The Bedroom Window, U-571, Hannibal, Red Dragon and the Hannibal TV series. Prior to her production work, she also acted as an accountant on Wolfen, Amityville II: The Possession and Amityville 3D. Her final film project was, somewhat fittingly, the forthcoming remake of her first DEG movie Firestarter. She died of cancer, aged 67.
Gianetto De Rossi
Gianetto De Rossi was the man behind some of the most extreme images of the late Seventies and early Eighties Italian horror boom. His make-up work on Lucio Fulci‘s Zombie Flesh Eaters had an immediate and lasting impact on a generation of horror fans, with the spectacular gore effects and zombies so grotesque that you could almost smell them. Fulci and De Rossi would continue their collaboration in The Beyond and The House By The Cemetery, pushing the envelope further each time. The imagery of those films remains iconic, and it is as much down to De Rossi as Fulci that those films remain so popular. By the time he made those films, De Rossi had already been working in Italian cinema for almost two decades, working on thrillers, comedies and dramas. In 1967, he was Tony Curtis’ dedicated make-up artist on The Chastity Belt, and then worked on prehistoric sex romps When Women Had Tails and When Men Carried Clubs and Women Played Ding Dong, Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West and historical epic Waterloo. His first work on the more extreme side of make-up effects came in 1974 with The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue, and then he worked on the distressingly realistic snuff sequences in Joe D’Amato’s Emanuelle in America. His other late 1970s work includes 1900, Fellini’s Casanova, The Humanoid and Cannibal Apocalypse. In the 1980s and 1990s he worked with Carlo Rambaldi on Dune and Conan the Destroyer, Sylvester Stallone on Rambo III and Daylight, as well as major films like Dragonheart, Kull the Conqueror and The Man in the Iron Mask, before returning to gory horror with Switchblade Romance. He had a brief directing career at the end of the Eighties, the most notable title being the infamous Killer Crocodile 2, but make-up would remain his main career. He died aged 78, on the same day as his fellow Fulci collaborator, the poster artist Enzo Sciotti.
Nathalie Delon was doomed to be under the shadow of her husband Alain, who was an iconic figure in French cinema, and in truth, her film career did begin because she was married to him – in 1967, she had a role in Le Samouraï, one of his most famous films. But after their 1969 divorce, she carved out a decent career for herself in international movies throughout the 1970s. Her more significant films include When Eight Bells Toll, Bluebeard, Le Sex Shop, The Monk, The Romantic Englishwoman, Roger Vadim’s Game of Seduction, Peter Whitehead‘s Fire in the Water, Gli Ultimi Angeli and Seagulls Fly Low. Her acting career fizzled out in the early 1980s, though she also directed two films in that decade. She died of cancer, aged 79.
Dustin Diamond was an American actor best known for playing Screech in Saved By The Bell and its various offshoots. It was a job for life – or would’ve been if Diamond’s behaviour and publicity-hungry antics hadn’t alienated his co-stars and, ultimately, everyone else involved in the show. He also failed to take responsibility for his own actions. In 2006, he starred in his own sex tape – seen by many as the nadir of the genre – and then later tried to claim that his role had actually been played by a stunt double with his face superimposed, something that wasn’t technically possible at the time. He bad-mouthed his former colleagues and told stories of sordid behind-the-scenes behaviour in his autobiography and then tried to claim that it was written by a ghostwriter without his knowledge. In 2014, he was sentenced to four months in jail for his part in a bar fight that ended with a man being stabbed. Like many a fading celebrity, Diamond dabbled in wrestling, music and reality TV. He died of small cell carcinoma of the lungs, aged 44.
Joan Didion was an American writer who helped revolutionise the art of journalism and reportage, mixing the personal and the political as she studied the 1960s counter culture and life in Hollywood with a sharp and often autobiographical style that used the style of fiction to tell a story. Her first big break came in 1956 when she won a writing contest in Vogue, back when writing for Vogue was still an admirable profession rather than an entitled embarrassment. She would work for the magazine for seven years, writing her first novel during this period. Often working in collaboration with her husband John Gregory Dunne, she spent the 1960s as a prodigious magazine writer and then collected much of this work in her first non-fiction book Slouching Towards Bethlehem, a book that covered her life in 1968 California. This and her 1979 book The White Album remain classic examples of new journalism. She and Dunne adapted her novel Play It As It Lays for the screen and also wrote the 1976 version of A Star is Born and Panic in Needle Park. Her career would switch between fiction and non-fiction, though it’s the latter that is the most interesting. She died aged 87.
Nina Divíšková was a Czech actor who had a long career in Czech cinema, much of which is still shamefully unexplored by wider audiences. Her films include the gothic tale Morgiana, Věra Chytilová’s Wolf’s Hole and an uncredited voice part in Valerie and Her Week of Wonders. She died aged 84.
Malcolm Dome was a veteran British music journalist whose career stretched back to the late 1970s. He began his career writing for Record Mirror and Metal Fury before becoming one of the founding writers for Kerrang! in 1981. He would later go on to write for and edit magazines like Terror, RAW, Metal Forces, Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Prog, as well as helping launch Total Rock Radio. He wrote numerous books on rock bands including the influential Encyclopedia Metallica in 1981 – the same year that Metallica the band formed, possibly taking their name from Dome’s book. He is also widely credited with inventing the term ‘thrash metal’. In recent years, Dome had been a familiar face in music documentaries, and his enthusiasm and expert knowledge made him a welcome contributor to those DVDs. He died aged 66.
Tim Donnelly was an American actor, best known for appearances in a couple of cult movies – The Toolbox Murders (directed by his brother Dennis) and The Clonus Horror – as well as The Secret of Santa Vittoria and TV shows like The Virginian, BJ and the Bear, Dragnet 1967 and Project UFO. He died aged 77.
Richard Donner was an American film director and producer who will forever be associated with big, populist action-adventure movies – he was the director of Superman and the Lethal Weapon films, as well as The Goonies and Scrooged. If 1980s big-budget cinema is your thing, he’s an iconic figure. Rather better than all those movies was his 1976 breakthrough film The Omen, which still feels like a textbook example of how to construct a horror movie – even the film’s detractors struggle to argue that it isn’t highly effective at what it sets out to do. Donner came to that movie via a lengthy stint in television – where he learned how to make effectively formulaic work that delivered exactly what the audience wanted – and a few interesting films – X-15, Salt and Pepper and the ‘wouldn’t be made now’ Lola. Donner’s production company made the X-Men films and the Tales from the Crypt TV series and in 2006 he worked on Action Comics, co-writing several Superman stories. He died aged 91.
Robert Downey Sr
Robert Downey Sr was an American filmmaker who is probably best-known these days as the father of Robert Downey Jr. But he had a solid career as both a director and actor (as well as a writer and cinematographer). His best-known film underground satire Putney Swope in 1969 and his other films – a mixed but fascinating bag for sure – include Babo 73, The Sweet Smell of Sex, Chafed Elbows, No More Excuses, Pound, Greaser’s Palace, Moment to Moment, Up the Academy, the 1980s Twilight Zone TV series, America, Rented Lips, Too Much Sun and Hugo Pool. His career is marked by experimental, deliberately absurdist underground filmmaking with the occasional commercial project to presumably help pay the bills. He also wrote The Gong Show Movie and as an actor appeared in Paul Bartel’s Naughty Nurse, You’ve Got To Walk It Like You Talk It or You’ll Lose That Beat, To Live and Die in L.A., Johnny Be Good, Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Tales of the City. His son’s career has been more successful but considerably less interesting. He died aged 85.
John Drake was the singer in garage band The Amboy Dukes – one of many members of a constantly revolving line-up – between 1968 and 1969, fronting the band for their only hit single, Journey to the Center of the Mind. The group would eventually devolve into being guitarist Ted Nugent’s backing band, though Drake was long gone by that point. he died aged 74.
In 1995, Terry Driver carried out a brutal sex attack on two teenage girls, Misty Cockerill and Tanya Smith, badly beating the former and raping and murdering the latter. He would then carry out a series of bizarre stunts that included making phone calls to the police and emergency services taunting them over the crime, stealing Smith’s headstone and writing a threatening message aimed at Cockerill on it before leaving it on the hood of a radio station car and writing a note to the police that took credit for three more crimes, which he then wrapped around a wrench and threw through a random house window. If Driver thought that he was some sort of master criminal in the style of The Zodiac, he was sorely mistaken – recordings of his calls were broadcast and both his mother and brother recognised his voice and reported him; on arrest, his fingerprints matched those found at the crime scene. Driver’s ludicrous defence was that he hadn’t beaten the two girls, but simply came across the unconscious Smith, who he then raped before taking Cockerill to hospital. Unsurprisingly, this convinced no one and his claims that Tourette’s syndrome, OCD and attention deficit disorder were responsible for his actions were also dismissed. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and was later convicted of two more assaults that he had taken credit for in his note to the police. He died of cancer, aged 56.
Jacques Drouin was a Canadian animator who specialised in the underused art of pinscreen animation. His brilliant 1976 film Mindscape/Le paysagiste remains his best-known work, the nightmarishly gorgeous story of an artist who enters his own landscape.
Dannie Druehyld was Denmark’s only registered witch, a folklorist who lived in Rold Forest and educated people about elves, forest ghosts and environmental issues. She authored several books, including Heksens håndbog – ‘The Witches handbook’. She died aged 73.
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Marilyn Eastman is forever guaranteed immortality as one of the stars of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, where she appeared alongside partner Karl Hardman. The two of them were independent Pittsburgh media producers who joined forces with Romero to form The Latent Image Inc and produce the low-budget film. As well as starring, Eastman helped with make-up, props and had input into the screenplay. What was planned as a low-budget horror movie that might make a bit of money became, of course, one of the most important films of the 1960s. Eastman did not benefit from the film’s success very much – she would go back to making commercials and corporate films after the release. Like pretty much anyone connected to the film, she would later be interviewed extensively and appeared in various documentaries and retrospectives, and the cult success led to appearances in a couple of movies in the mid-1990s including the trashy Santa Claws, directed by Night… co-writer John Russo. She died aged 87.
Ruben Ecleo Jr was the head of Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association, Inc. (PBMA), having succeeded his father who founded the organisation in 1965 and died in 1987. The PBMA might sound harmless enough but is actually an ultra-violent cult with an estimated one million members. The two Echlos are seen as Gods by believers and when the police tried to arrest the “Supreme Master” for murdering his wife in 2002, some two thousand heavily-armed PBMA members surrounded Echlo’s mansion, resulting in an all-night gun battle that left 23 people dead. Four members of the dead wife’s family were also killed by PBMA members that same evening to keep them from talking. Ecleo was eventually convicted both of murder and fraud. He died in prison aged 61.
Mark Eden was most famous for playing a nutter who was eventually killed by a Blackpool tram between 1981 and 1989 in Coronation Street; such is the fixation with soaps in the UK that there is now a plaque at the tram stop where it was filmed. But prior to that, he had a decent career that included the films Heavens Above, The L-Shaped Room, Seance on a Wet Afternoon, The Pleasure Girls, I’ll Never Forget Whatsisname, Curse of the Crimson Altar, Nobody Ordered Love, Richard’s Things and a couple of Edgar Wallace Mysteries, as well as appearances in Quatermass and the Pit, The Avengers, The Saint, Doctor Who, The Prisoner, Man in a Suitcase, Spyder’s Web, The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, Jesus of Nazareth and Poldark on TV. Soaps, all too often, are career killers, and after Coronation Street his options were limited. He died of Alzheimer’s, aged 92.
Graeme Edge was the co-founder and drummer with the Moody Blues, from the band’s formation in 1964 until he retired in 2018. He was also a songwriter and poet within the band and when the group briefly split in 1974, he formed his own group The Graeme Edge Band. He has been credited as co-creator of the first electronic drum kit, which he used in 1971. He died of cancer, aged 80.
Alber Elbaz was a Moroccan-born, Israeli-raised fashion designer who began his career in New York before relocating to Paris where he became the designer for Guy Laroche until the business was bought by Gucci. he moved on to become artistic director at Lanvin for fourteen years, transforming the small menswear fashion house into a more female-oriented business that became beloved of Hollywood celebrities. Nevertheless, he was fired by the company in 2015, at which point he worked for various houses, launched his own perfume and designed clothing for the Natalie Portman vanity project A Tale of Love and Darkness. He died of Covid-19, aged 59.
Robert Enyart was a far-right Christian radio host who is destined to be remembered as a grimly amusing statistic – one of several Covid-denying, anti-mask anti-vaxxers to die of Covid-19. A thoroughly unpleasant individual, Enyart picketed abortion clinics, taught creationism, referred to someone who had died of AIDS as a ‘sodomite’ on his radio show and would read a list of AIDS deaths on his show while Queen’s Another Bites the Dust played. He supported corporal punishment of children, so much so that he served an 80-day sentence for beating a child so severely that it raised welts and broke the skin. he also ran an on-air harassment campaign against citizens who had complained about his show. What a piece of shit. He claimed that Covid vaccines had been tested on aborted fetuses and refused to be vaccinated. He died aged 62 of natural selection.
Sergio Esquivel was a Mexican singer-songwriter who had a long and prolific career – twenty albums and 350 songs to his credit, performed by Mexico’s biggest stars but mostly unknown and unrecorded internationally – Vicky Carr (a Mexican-American singer) was a notable exception. Esquivel secured his place in cult movie history as the soundtrack composer for the 1969 movie Santo en la Frontera del Terror. When the long-overdue Santo box set finally emerges, maybe he will get the recognition outside Mexico that he deserves. He died aged 74.
Don Everly was one half of The Everly Brothers, the notoriously dysfunctional rock ‘n’ roll crooners who had numerous hits and a lot of influence in the 1950s but ultimately fell apart, reunited and split again over the years. Their love-hate (with the emphasis on hate) relationship is the stuff of music legend. He died aged 84.
Enzo Facciolo was an Italian comic book artist who began his career as an animator before turning to still images. After working on Clint Due Colpi in 1959, he joined the team behind Diabolik in 1963, becoming one of the lead artists on the influential crime series and helping to standardise the look of the characters. He remained on the book until 1979 when he moved into commercial art. He would, however, return from time to time. He died aged 89.
Peggy Farrell was a Hollywood costume designer who worked on several significant films in the 1970s – The Stepford Wives, Taking Off, The Hot Rock, Dog Day Afternoon, The Sentinel, The Front and the TV series Holocaust amongst them. Her other work includes Death Wish 3, They All Laughed, Brenda Starr, Radioland Murders and a great deal of television, for which she won two Emmy awards. She died aged 89.
Bob Fass was an American DJ who helped revolutionise the medium, being a pioneer of free-form broadcasting with a show – Radio Unnameable – that broke away from formula to become whatever it wanted to be in 1963. Fass would play records on repeat, or two records at the same time, take phone calls or go off on tangents discussing social issues. Fass was counter-culture before counter-culture was a recognisable thing and his work is as far from the formulaic, contrived radio of today as you can imagine. He died aged 87.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti was a poet, painter and – most significantly – co-founder of City Lights, the San Francisco book shop and publisher. He published Alan Ginsberg’s Howl in 1956, leading to a major and precedent-setting obscenity trial – the book was declared not to be obscene because of socially-redeeming qualities and Ferlinghetti was acquitted; the decision opened the door to the publication of other controversial novels in the USA. he would go on to publish other books of both poetry and prose by prominent Beat authors and underground writers like Georges Bataille, Charles Bukowski, Pier Paolo Pasolini and André Breton. He died aged 101.
Antonio Laxa, better known as Tony Ferrer, was a Filipino actor, director and producer. In his home country, he was best known for playing Tony Falcon in the X-44 series of Bond-inspired spy films that ran through the 1960s and into the Seventies. He eventually appeared in twenty-one films in the series. His extensive Filipino filmography is little known internationally, but Ferrer did make appearances in The Vengeance of Fu Manchu, Cover Girl Models and Blind Rage. In 2007, he made an appearance in a reboot of the X-44 series. He died of heart illness and diabetes complications, aged 86.
Duggie Fields was an English artist whose work is possibly overshadowed by his friendship with Syd Barrett, with who he shared a flat in 1968. It’s possible that Fields was one of the ‘friends’ referred to by other Pink Floyd members who encouraged Syd’s damaging indulgences. Fields was a dandy, a collector of ‘beautiful people’ and a post-modernist artist, perhaps in that order – he lived in a world of celebrity and fashion, hanging around with pop stars like Marc Bolan and David Bowie and filmmakers like Derek Jarman, always looking the business and creating lurid, dayglo pop art works that have been exhibited internationally and proved highly influential. He also recorded and performed both music and spoken word pieces. He died aged 75.
The mid-1970s saw a curious rock ‘n’ roll revival in the British pop scene, spinning off from both bubblegum pop and glam rock with bands like Showaddywaddy chalking up numerous hits. One of the biggest acts to emerge – right in the middle of the punk era – was Darts, who specialised in lightweight doo-wop covers and had several top ten hits between 1977 and 1980. Bob Fish was one of the band’s vocalists, joining when they formed in 1976 and staying until the hits dried up in 1980. In more recent years, Fish became a respected roots musician playing the auto-harp. He died aged 72.
Siegfried Fischbacher was a German magician who achieved global fame as one half of Siegfried and Roy alongside Roy Horn (who died in 2020). The pair met on the cruise ship TS Bremen and soon developed a nightclub act where they combined magic and big cats, primarily tigers. They would eventually become legends of the Las Vegas showbiz scene, much parodied until Horn was attacked by a tiger during a performance in 2003. While he recovered and the pair staged a comeback performance in 2009, things were clearly not going to be the same, and they announced their retirement a year later. Siegfried died of pancreatic cancer, aged 81.
Peter Fleischmann was a German filmmaker who rose to prominence in the New German Cinema movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He often worked with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, who also died this year. His always-interesting work was often political and complex, which made it more critically than commercially successful and much of it remains relatively unknown outside Germany. Perhaps his best-known movie is Hard to Be a God, made in 1979 and other movies include Hunting Scenes from Bavaria, Havoc, the erotic drama Dorothea’s Revenge and The Hamburg Syndrome, an ahead-of-its-time pandemic drama. He died aged 84.
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Verónica Forqué Vázquez-Vigo was a Spanish actress, best known for playing the title role in Pedro Almodóvar’s Kika in 1993. She also appeared in the director’s What Have I Done to Deserve This? and other films like The Standard, Year of Enlightenment, La Vida Alegre, Bajarse al Moro and Why Do They Call It Love When They Mean Sex. She won four Goya Awards for her performances over several years and was one of Spain’s most respected actors. However, she had mental health struggles in more recent years. In November 2021, she appeared on the reality show Masterchef Celebrity but quit during the semi-final citing physical and mental exhaustion. She took her own life a month later. She was 66.
Michel Fourniret was a French serial killer who killed at least twelve people – ten of them women and girls aged between 12 and 30 and one unidentified man – between 1987 and 2003. His accomplice and partner in the rapes and murders was his third wife, Monique Olivier, who he had met while serving one of many prison sentences for other crimes. The murders took place in both France and Belgium and might have continued if the pair had not bungled the kidnapping of a thirteen-year-old girl, leading to his arrest. Although the pair resisted initial police interrogation, Olivier finally informed on her husband in 2004 and he confessed to eight murders when faced with her statement. The pair were convicted to life in prison and would later be convicted of more murders in 2018 and 2020 and are suspected of yet more crimes. Fourniret was sometimes called ‘The Virgin Hunter’ – apparently, Olivier agreed to help him ‘hunt’ virgins in exchange for him killing her ex-husband (which he failed to do), though the truth of this story remains in doubt. He died in prison, probably of Covid-19, aged 79.
Annabel Battistella, who performed professionally as Fanne Foxe, was an Argentinian stripper who secured her place in history due to her part in a scandal involving Arkansas Congressman Wilbur Mills, with whom she struck up a relationship in 1973. The pair met at the Silver Slipper club in Washington, where Foxe – known as The Argentine Firecracker – was performing. The pair seem to have had a fairly indiscreet relationship, as well as a somewhat tempestuous one, but it wasn’t until October 1974 that it became public. The police pulled over a car that had been driving erratically, at which point Foxe jumped out, swearing in English and Spanish, and jumped into the 3m deep Tidal Basin in an effort to escape. She also had two black eyes. She and Mills were arrested and the press ate up the story. Nevertheless, Mills was narrowly re-elected to Congress just a month later, and things might have quietened down had he not then turned up at one of Foxe’s burlesque shows, drunk, and climbed on stage to give a rambling speech to the astounded audience. He did not run for re-election again after this. The scandal boosted Foxe’s career no end, increasing her appearance fee from $3500 to $15000 almost overnight. She also wrote an autobiography in 1975, The Stripper and the Congressman. She appeared in Playboy and Cheri, was featured in the documentary This is America and starred on stage in Women Behind Bars. She died aged 84.
Myra Frances was a British actress who secured her place in history as one half of the first lesbian kiss to take place on British TV, in the 1974 Second City Firsts drama Girl (the other half was Alison Steadman). The rest of her career mostly consisted of supporting spots on TV shows from 1968 to 1984, including the science fiction drama Red Shift, Doctor Who, Survivors, Within These Walls, Angels, The Sweeney, Z Cars and The Gentle Touch. She made a rare film appearance in the sex comedy Don’t Just Lie There, Say Something. She died aged 78.
George Frayne IV
Imagine a band formed in 1967 called Commando Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen and – unless you know better – you’re probably not going to picture a country-rock act, but that’s what Cody – in real life George Frayne IV – and his band were, playing a mix of country, swing, blues, bluegrass and rock ‘n’ roll in a form that might be best described as ‘eccentric’. The band was known for lengthy shows and had an affinity with their hippy contemporaries, being chaotic and rough-edged – the story goes that Warner Bros signed them expecting something like The Eagles, only to be very disappointed. The band appeared in the Roger Corman production Hollywood Boulevard before breaking up in 1976; Frayne continued to use the Commander Cody name as a solo artist for a further eleven albums between 1977 and 2019. He died of cancer, age 77.
Charles Fries was an American film television producer, active in the industry since 1952. He began his career working for Ziv Television, pioneers in syndicated programming before joining Screen Gems where he worked on shows like I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Naked City, Route 66 and The Johnny Cash Show. In the late Sixties he moved into film production, supervising the likes of Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, The People, She Waits, Go Ask Alice, The Norliss Tapes and Future Shock before setting up his own company in 1974. His executive producer credits are extensive – as well as the aforementioned, he was involved in Scream of the Wolf, Chosen Survivors, Terror on the 40th Floor, The Strange and Deadly Occurrence, Where Have All the People Gone?, The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald, The Initiation of Sarah, Are You in the House Alone?, The Crash of Flight 401, The Amazing Spider-Man TV series, The Martian Chronicles, Cat People, The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood, Terror at London Bridge, The Case of the Hillside Stranglers, Phantom of the Mall, Deathstone, Peacemaker, Steel and Lace and Screamers – and that’s just a sampling. He died aged 92.
Gérard Fromanger was a French artist associated with the Figuration Narrative movement in the 1960s and 1970s, a politicised reaction against the abstract that combined photorealism and collage in a style that resembles – but isn’t – pop art. He also collaborated on experimental film projects with Jean-Luc Godard. He died aged 81.
Robert Fyfe was a familiar face to British television viewers thanks to his role as Howard in the long-running sitcom Last of the Summer Wine, which he appeared in from 1985 to 2010. His other work in film is more interesting than you might expect, with roles in Xtro, The 51st State, 2004’s Around the World in 80 Days, Babel, Burke and Hare, Cloud Atlas and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. He died of kidney disease, aged 90.
Grigori Galitsin was a Russian erotic photographer who found himself in trouble with the authorities as Russia slid further and further away from liberal freedoms and back towards moralising totalitarianism. Galitsin was not an art photographer – his work appeared on the websites Most Erotic Teens and DOMAI. He later launched the site Nud-Art. His work – professional but generic porn – was shot at home or in hotel rooms, as well as in exotic international locations, including in Indian brothels that were subsequently raided when his photos and videos became public. In 2006, Galitsin and his wife Irina Aleksandrovna Pischasova were arrested and charged with coercion and producing pornographic images of minors – however, no evidence to support either claim emerged and it seemed that he was as much a victim of a clampdown on porn by the Russian authorities as anything. He remained in custody for two years without trial before being released and unsurprisingly, the threat hanging over him had the desired effect – he gave up shooting porn and moved into farming. He died aged 64.
Maruja Garcia Nicholau was a Spanish model who, in 1962, was crowned both Miss Spain and Miss Europe. She died aged 77.
Antón García Abril
Depending on your cultural interests, Antón García Abril was known either as the composer of several significant orchestral, choral and chamber pieces or as the man behind the soundtrack to several Spanish cult films, most often for director Armando De Ossorio. in the latter capacity, he composed the evocative soundtracks for all four of De Ossorio’s Blind Dead films – Tombs of the Blind Dead, Return of the Evil Dead, Horror of the Zombies and Night of the Seagulls – as well as The Loreley’s Grasp. He also scored the Paul Naschy films Werewolf Shadow/The Werewolf vs the Vampire Woman and Curse of the Devil, Mel Welles’ Island of the Doomed/Maneater of Hydra, westerns Texas Adios, Awkward Hands and Pancho Villa, crime thriller The Cobra and drama The Holy Innocents. In 2005 he was awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Civil Order of Alfonso X, the Wise for services to music. He died aged 87.
Leon Gast was an American documentary filmmaker who made several films covering the culture of the early 1970s. His best-known film is When We Were Kings, a documentary about the Muhammad Ali – George Foreman boxing match that took place in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974. Gast, who had made just one music documentary at this point, travelled to Kinshasa to make a film about a music festival that was being held concurrently with the boxing match, but when the festival was made a free event, his production budget – supposed to come from the festival proceeds – vanished. By luck, the boxing match was postponed for a few weeks and Gast was able to follow the preparation for the fight, filming some 138 hours worth of material. He didn’t have enough money to complete the film, however, until 1996 – he laboured over the project for two decades, making other commissioned projects to help pay for it. These included a documentary about the Grateful Dead and another covering the Hell’s Angels. Hells Angels Forever apparently displeased the Angels and Gast was given a beating for his troubles. His film about the Kinshasa festival, Soul Power, finally appeared in 2008. He died of Alzheimer’s aged 84.
Bob Gill was an American artist and graphic designer whose work includes designing the main titles for The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, The 3 Worlds of Gulliver and Mysterious Island, writing and designing the musical extravaganza Beatlemania in 1975 and working as a designer for companies like Apple Corp, Pirelli, Universal Pictures, Harpers and Queen, High Times magazine and the United Nations. His plans for a peace monument in Times Square involved creating a 40-foot high pile of global military memorabilia, sprayed black and mounted on white marble – the project was not commissioned. He died aged 90.
Jorald Gjerstad was a conman who took advantage of unquestioning religious belief to pass himself off as a Christian faith healer in Norway, where his claims were accepted by the press and the general public without a murmur, even though there was no evidence to back up his stories – like many a shyster, he refused to be tested under scientific conditions. He was the subject of a best-selling biography and an uncritical documentary, and there are two museums dedicated to his life. He was awarded the King’s medal of Merit in silver in 2001 and was even a politician, serving as deputy mayor for the Labour Party in Snåsa. He died aged 95.
John Goodsall was a guitarist who worked in the progressive and jazz-rock world with Joe Cocker, Atomic Rooster and Brand X in the 1970s before becoming an in-demand session player during the 1980s, often as part of the backing band Zoo Drive. He died aged 68.
Desiree Gould was an actress with a fairly insignificant career in the theatre and on TV in commercials, but her brief appearance in the notorious 1983 slasher Sleepaway Camp seems to have given her some sort of cult status. After appearing in the film, she retired from acting to work in real estate, but was tempted back by a few fanboy productions and made several documentary and convention appearances. She died aged 76.
Robert Green Hall
Robert Green Hall was a make-up and visual effects artist who worked on films and TV shows like Vacancy, The Crazies remake, Quarantine 2, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. He made his directorial debut in 2004 with Lightning Bug, and also made the horror films Laid to Rest and ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2, as well as several music videos. He died aged 47.
Nanci Griffith was an American singer-songwriter how hovered on the line between folk and country music, sometimes leaning in one director more than the other. She referred to her music as ‘folkabilly’, making it hard to define on strict genre lines. She collaborated and dueted with many artists including the Crickets, John Prine, Suzy Bogguss, Judy Collins, Emmylou Harris, Don McLean, Jimmy Buffett, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett and the Chieftains. She died aged 68.
Alberto Grimaldi’s name is familiar to anyone who watched Italian movies from the 1960s and 1970s – he was the producer of numerous classic and provocative works, for Sergio Leone (For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly), Pier Paolo Pasolini (The Decameron, Arabian Nights, Canterbury Tales, Salo – 120 Days of Sodom), Bernardo Bertolucci (Last Tango in Paris, 1900) and Federico Fellini (Histoires Extraordinaires, Casanova, Satyricon, Ginger and Fred). Grimaldi also produced numerous spaghetti westerns including Face to Face and Sabata and assorted other films, from comedy to Giallo to Mondo – The Shadow of Zorro, Requiem for a Secret Agent, Emma Hamilton, The Bitch Wants Blood, Africa Uncensored, Bawdy Tales, Avanti, Illustrious Corpses and A Quiet Place in the Country. His last feature film production was Gangs of New York in 2002. He died aged 95.
Charles Grodin was an American actor who became known for his comedy work, though he wasn’t a comedian as such – he just had a knack for playing rather put-upon straight men who were often the foil of comic actors, grounding the absurdity in a sense of realism. His career in movies included a small but notable role in Rosemary’s Baby, Catch-22, The Heartbreak Kid, the 1976 King Kong, Heaven Can Wait, Sunburn, Seems Like Old Times, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, The Great Muppet Caper, The Woman in Red, Ishtar, The Couch Trip, Midnight Run, Beethoven and So I Married an Axe Murderer. In the 1990s he retired from acting to host his own cable news talk show – though he would return to acting later on – and also authored several humorous and autobiographical books. He died of bone marrow cancer, aged 86.
David Gulpilil was an Australian actor best known for his appearance in Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout – Roeg cast the inexperienced sixteen-year-old based on his tribal dancing skills. Bitten by the acting bug, Gulpilil would become Australia’s leading indigenous actor, making many films – Mad Dog Morgan, Storm Boy, The Last Wave, The Right Stuff, Crocodile Dundee, Dark Age, Until the End of the World, Dead Heart, The Tracker, Rabbit-Proof Fence, The Proposition, Australia and Charlie’s Country among them. He organised traditional dance shows at festivals and events with his own dance troupe and was the subject of a few documentaries, most recently the 2020 production My Name Is Gulpilil. His private life was plagued with struggles with alcoholism and run-ins with the law as a result – in 2011, he was sentenced to a year in prison for aggravated assault against his wife. His exact age was unknown as birth records were based on guesswork by missionaries, but it is estimated that he was 67-68 when he died of lung cancer.
Abimael Guzmán was a Peruvian philosophy professor who took his revolutionary fantasies more seriously than most academics who preach Maoist ideals while living comfortably capitalist lifestyles. He founded the terrorist group/revolutionary movement Shining Path (the Communist Party of Peru) in 1969, slipping underground in the 1970s to carry out the armed struggle on behalf of the people, whether the people wanted him to or not. In the 1980s, the group had seized power over much of central and southern Peru and set out to destabilise the country in the hope of causing a coup. As with many a revolutionary group, Shining Path’s love of the common man ended when the common man didn’t do as he was told – workers who refused to strike, people who supported the government or voted in elections, the middle classes and the military were all seen as equally legitimate targets for murder. The group has been held responsible for half the 70,000 violent deaths that took place as a result of the conflict. Guzmán became drunk with power and ambition and his habit of carrying out bomb attacks in civilian areas did not endear him to the people and he was eventually captured in 1992 and convicted in 2006 after a previous military trial was voided. He went on hunger strike in 2021 and died aged 86.
Tom T. Hall
Tom T. Hall was an American country music singer-songwriter who is best-known for writing Harper Valley PTA, which became a huge crossover hit in 1968. He had worked as a songwriter in Nashville since 1963, grinding out generic country songs, often with a narrative theme, for the likes of George Jones, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Loretta Lynn. Lest you think that the progressive themes of Harper Valley PTA in any way represented his thinking, we should note that in 1968, he also wrote the pro-Vietnam War song Hello Vietnam, which proved popular with the conservative country audience. He died aged 85.
Connie Hamzy was one of America’s most famous groupies from back in the day when groupies could become celebrities of a sort. Being based in Little Rock, Arkansas made her something a local attraction for bands passing through on tour, and made her stand out from the Los Angeles groupie elite, and – by all accounts – did her oral sex skills. The rock stars that she claimed to have serviced were a mixed bag, from the sublime to the ridiculous: John Bonham, Keith Moon, Glenn Frey and Don Henley (possibly not at the same time), Mick Fleetwood, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Huey Lewis, Waylon Jennings, Rick Springfield and Richard Carpenter. Like all the best groupies, she was immortalised in song, not once but three times; Grand Funk railroad sang of her (“last night in Little Rock, put me in a haze/Sweet, sweet Connie, doin’ her act”) in We’re An American Band and she is also name-checked in songs by The Guess Who and Cheap Trick. In 1991, she claimed that Bill Clinton had propositioned her in 1984. Wonderfully unrepentant to the end, she was a symbol of a rock ‘n’ roll world barely imaginable these days. She died aged 66.
Bridget Hanley was an American actress who had a long career in television. She had leading roles in the series Here Come the Brides (based on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) and the sitcom Harper Valley PTA (based on the hit song of the same name). She also made guest appearances in many shows: Gidget, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Flying Nun, The Odd Couple, Ghost Story, Adam-12, CHiPs, Simon and Simon, Murder She Wrote, Columbo and Family Matters. She died aged 80.
Matt Harris was the bass player in the American power-pop group The Posies, who had some success during the 1980s. Harris joined the band in 2001, long after their heyday and stayed with them until 2014. A reunion tour had been planned for 2020 but was cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak. His age at death is unknown.
Andrea Haugen, who recorded under the name Nebelhexë, was a german musician, writer and model who was active in the neo-pagan and goth scenes since the mid-1990s. She worked with Cradle of Filth on a couple of albums and recorded on various projects. She was also an active writer of both poetry and magazine articles, and a vocal critic of established religion. She was killed during the Islamic terrorist attack in Kongsberg, Norway, aged 52.
Alan hawkshaw was a British musician who worked extensively in the library music field and so inadvertently provided some of the seminal moments in British culture. Most notably, one of his library tracks became the theme music to long-running children’s TV series Grange Hill while another became the theme to quiz show Countdown. He also provided the music intros for Dave Allen, Channel 4 News and the educational show On The Move. Hawkshaw became a session musician at the start of the 1960s even as he performed with bands like The Crescendos and The Mohawks and was drafted in as a member of The Shadows in 1969. During the next decade, he worked with various artists as an arranger and performer – Cliff Richard, Serge Gainsbourg, Olivia Newton-John and Donna Summer amongst them. His library music work for KPM would turn up on commercials, TV shows and several of Radley Metzger’s adult movies, and he composed the music for Arthur C. Clarkes Mysterious World. In 1979, he had a US dance hit with Here Comes That Sound Again and released a disco album as ‘Bizarre’. He died of pneumonia, aged 84.
Damaris Hayman was a British actress who made a number of film and television appearances in small parts, often playing characters with no name like ‘woman on the bus’. But she cemented her place in cult TV history by playing the impressively named White Witch of Devil’s End in the splendidly occultist Doctor Who story The Daemons. She would reprise the role in a 2017 straight-to-DVD production. Her other work includes appearances in The Belles of St Trinians, Only Two Can Play, Bunny Lake is Missing, Steptoe and Son, Mutiny On The Buses, Love Thy Neighbour, Man About the House, Confessions of a Driving Instructor (in which she shared a nude love scene on a golf course with Robin Askwith), Full Circle, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, The Missionary and One Foot in the Grave. She died aged 91.
Jim Haynes was an American who was at the centre of London’s counter-culture in the late 1960s, helping launch The International Times and then later co-launching the controversial sex newspaper Suck with William Levy, Germaine Greer and Heathcote Williams in Amsterdam. In 1970, he helped organise the Wet Dreams Film Festival, the first festival of erotic movies in Europe. From 1969, Haynes lived in Paris, working for the University of Paris teaching Media Studies and Sexual Politics. He became famous for his Sunday open house dinner parties, which attracted people from all walks of life to share ideas, food and good times. He died aged 87.
Shay Healy was an Irish TV presenter, documentary producer, author and songwriter. In the latter capacity, he wrote Ireland’s Eurovision winner What’s Another Year, as well as satirical songs for Billy Connolly and comedy records of his own, released under assorted names. He died aged 68.
Jerome Hellman was an American film producer who was behind some of the most important films of the New Hollywood era. Starting out as a talent agent, he began his production work in the 1960s on TV dramas before making The World of Henry Orient in 1964 with Peter Sellers. He followed this with A Fine Madness, Midnight Cowboy, The Day of the Locust, Coming Home, Promises in the Dark and The Mosquito Coast. He also acted in Being There in 1979. He died aged 92.
Monte Hellman was an American filmmaker who, for a while, was up there with the big names of the 1970s. Unfortunately, his work was less commercially successful than many of his contemporaries and he fell out of favour even though he was one of the best directors of the era. Hellman was one of the many directors who was given his first break by Roger Corman – he made his directorial debut in 1959 with Beast from Haunted Cave. He found direction in the latter half of the 1960s with a pair of westerns – Ride in the Wild Whirlwind and The Shooting – before making the magnificent Two-Lane Blacktop. His career was then somewhat pushed off course with the controversial Cockfighter and he would move further from the Hollywood mainstream after this, only directing sporadically. His films are interesting – the Italian western China 9, Liberty 37, strange thriller Iguana, the unlikely Silent Night Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out, horror anthology Trapped Ashes and the romance thriller Road to Nowhere. Outside of directing, he worked in various capacities on other people’s films – he worked second unit on Robocop, completed movies by dead directors, shot extra footage for TV versions and edited films like The Killer Elite, Head and The Wild Angels. He was an executive producer on Reservoir Dogs and since 2011 had been teaching film at the California Institute of the Arts. He certainly kept busy but it still feels like a career that could have been much more than it was. He died aged 91.
Bob Herron was a long-serving stuntman in the film industry, active from 1950 through to 2011 when he finally retired aged 87. He doubled for actors and performed risky stunts in hundreds of movies and TV shows, including Winchester ’73, The Flame and the Arrow, The Sniper, The River of No Return, To Hell and Back, The Ten Commandments, The Monolith Monsters, Rio Bravo, Gidget, Spartacus, The Absent-Minded Professor, Lonely Are the Brave, Gunsmoke, The Slime People, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Bullet for a Badman, Sex and the Single Girl, Major Dundee, Girl Happy, Cat Ballou, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Silencers, Star Trek, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Mission: Impossible, The Green Hornet, In Like Flint, Batman, The Invaders, Ironside, Ice Station Zebra, The Wild Wild West, The Wild Bunch, They Call Me Mister Tibbs, Shaft, Diamonds Are Forever, Banacek, Prime Cut, The Groundstar Conspiracy, Soylent Green, Dillinger, Cleopatra Jones, The Don is Dead, Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off, Blazing Saddles, Earthquake, Columbo, Kung Fu, Death Race 2000, Doc Savage: Man of Bronze, Farewell My Lovely, The Hindenberg, Silent Movie, Shadow of the Hawk, Obsession, Rocky, Silver Streak, The Enforcer, Rollercoaster, Logan’s Run the TV series, The Six Million Dollar Man, Wonder Woman, Charlie’s Angels, 1941, The Black Hole, The Nude Bomb, The Island, The Sword and the Sorcerer, Poltergeist, Cujo, Knightrider, Remington Steele, The Dukes of Hazzard, City Heat, Street Hawk, Pale Rider, The Goonies, Explorers, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Airwolf, Howard the Duck, 52 Pick-Up, The A-Team, The Untouchables, Dragnet, Prince of Darkness, Red Heat, The Naked Gun, Pet Semetary, Dick Tracy, Child’s Play 3, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Batman Returns, True Lies, Batman Forever, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Liar Liar, Mousehunt, Lethal Weapon 4, Small Soldiers and The X-Files to name but a few. There is no way that you haven’t seen him blown up or thrown through the air at some point. He was the founding member and former president of The Stuntman’s Association, which started in 1961. He died after complications from a fall, aged 97.
Barbara Hewson was an Irish lawyer who came from an aristocratic background, and between 1985 and 2000 was elected to the Bar in England and Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. She rose to public attention in the late 1990s, when she took on the establishment over the rights of pregnant women to both refuse medical intervention and to have home births. Her support of women’s right to choose – be it abortion, forced medical treatment or beyond – made her briefly a hero of the feminist movement, but yesterday’s hero is today’s villain in the world of social justice and internet outrage. In the 2010s, Hewson became a demonised figure when she suggested that Operation Yewtree was an overreaching attack on old men with scant evidence, and then made things worse by calling for a lowering of the age of consent and an end to complainant anonymity in rape cases. None of these things was going to win her any friends in a world of moral certainties. For several years after a press campaign by the NSPCC, Hewson seemed to be the most hated figure on social media, and she responded with equal fury, resulting in Twitter bans for abuse (then, as now, Twitter proving to be very selective in the sort of abuse that was considered beyond the pale). In 2019, a Bar Standards Board hearing barred her from practice for two years after a Twitter spat was reported by fellow Barrister Sarah Phillimore, who complained about abuse and harassment. Showing how what goes around comes around, Phillimore has now had numerous of her own tweets reported to the police for transphobia and has been dropped from platforms for hate speech. Hewson died of pancreatic cancer, aged 60.
Dusty Hill was the bassist, vocalist and keyboardist with ZZ Top for over fifty years and played alongside drummer Frank Beard for even longer in Texas bar bands from 1966. He died aged 72.
Billy Hinsche was an American musician who is best known as part of the trio Dino, Desi and Billy – alongside Desi Arnez Jr and Dean Paul Martin – during the 1960s. He also toured with the Beach Boys and appeared on their albums as a keyboardist, off and on from 1969 to 1996 – though he turned down an offer to formally join the band. He died of lung cancer, aged 70.
Pat Hitchcock was an English-American actor whose career was mostly confined to working in her father Alfred’s movies – she appeared in small parts in Stage Fright (also doubling for Jane Wyman), Strangers on a Train, Psycho and several episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents on TV. She also appeared in shows like Suspense, Matinee Theatre, Screen Directors Playhouse, The Life of Riley and Judgement at Nuremberg and had brief roles in the movies The Ten Commandments and Skateboard. Much of her life was devoted to protecting her parents’ legacy and for many years she was the family representative for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. She died aged 93.
Hal Holbrook was a much-loved and hard-working American actor who was an immediately recognisable presence in many classic films where his characters were often untrustworthy authority figures. His work includes The Group, Wild in the Streets, The People Next Door, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Magnum Force, All the President’s Men, Midway, Rituals, Julia, Capricorn One, The Fog, The Kidnapping of the President, Creepshow, Girls Nite Out, The Star Chamber, Wall Street, The Unholy, Fletch Lives, The Firm, Cats Don’t Dance, Eye of God, Hush, Waking the Dead, Lincoln and Promised Land. He also worked extensively on TV and spent six decades starring in the one-man show Mark Twain Tonight, finally retiring the show in 2017. He died aged 95.
Roy Holder was a familiar face on British screens thanks to extensive TV and movie work from the early 1960s until the late 2010s. His career started while he was still in his mid-teens and an impressive filmography includes Whistle Down the Wind, Murder Ahoy, Othello, The Taming of the Shrew, Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, Psychomania, The Virgin Soldiers, The Virgin and the Gypsy, Loot, The Land That Time Forgot, Trial By Combat, Jesus of Nazareth, Out of the Darkness, Mack the Knife, the 2010 Robin Hood and War Horse. His TV work included recurring roles in the sit-com Sorry, drama series Spearhead and fantasy show Ace of Wands, as well as guest spots in (amongst others) Dixon of Dock Green, The Plane Makers, The Pathfinders, Crown Court, Z-Cars, Steptoe and Son, Pennies from Heaven, Terry and June, Doctor Who, Star Cops, Coronation Street, The Little and Large Show, Eastenders, The Les Dennis Laughter Show and Bugs. He died aged 75.
Mike Howe was an American heavy metal singer who began his career fronting Hellion before joining Heretic in 1986. That band recorded just one album before breaking up; Howe then joined Metal Church in 1988, staying with the band until its demise in 1996. He then retired from music, though in 2015 Metal Church reformed and he recorded two more studio LPs and a live album with them over the next few years. They were working on a new album when Howe hung himself. He was aged 55.
Sally Ann Howes
Sally Ann Howes was an English actor who will forever be a part of the British Christmas experience thanks to her appearance as Truly Scumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. But her career stretches back to her childhood – a second-generation performer from a theatrical family, she was ‘discovered’ by an agent friend of the family and before long had made her film debut in Thursday’s Child aged thirteen. Other films quickly followed including the pioneering horror anthology Dead of Night, the much-underrated ghost story The Halfway House, Pink String and Sealing Wax, Anna Karenina and Nicholas Nickleby. Aged eighteen, she signed a Rank contract and appeared in some less memorable films – Stop Press Girl, Fools Rush In, The History of Mr Polly and Honeymoon Deferred. She then began to move into musical theatre in the 1950s and moved to the USA where she built a major career on stage. She also had her own variety show on ITV in the UK during the early 1960s. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1967 was, in retrospect, her career-defining role. It did not lead to much more film work though, as she continued to focus on the theatre. She did, however, make an unlikely appearance in Death Ship in 1980 and TV roles included the 1972 TV movie version of The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Good Old Days and Sesame Street. She died aged 91.
Grischa Huber was a German actress who worked extensively in both the theatre and film, usually with arthouse directors on less commercial and more socio-political projects. Her films include the 1971 TV movie Vampira (where she took the title role), feminist classic Under the Pavement Lies the Strand, Ingmar Bergman’s The Serpent’s Egg, Winterreise im Olympiastadion, Malou, The Heiress, September, The Garden and Mama Told Me Not To Look Into the Sun. She also worked extensively in television during the 1980s and beyond. She died aged 76.
Toshihiro Iijima was a Japanese film director, known for his superhero and monster movies and TV shows that he primarily made between 1966 and 1972. He worked extensively on the Ultraman franchise – Ultra Q, Ultraman, Return of Ultraman and Ultraman Cosmos: The First Contact – as well as Daigoro vs Goliath and Homecoming, made in 2011. He died of aspiration pneumonia, aged 89.
Bob James was an American rock singer, best known for replacing Sammy Hagar in the band Montrose in 1975. His career with the band wasn’t a long one – by 1977 he had left and a year later joined Magnet, a band that was expected to do big things but which never really had an impact. He was also tapped as a replacement for Steven Tyler in Aerosmith when it looked as though the position might become available. During the early 1980s, James formed and dissolved bands on an almost yearly basis, almost guaranteeing that none of the groups had a chance of gaining a following. Perhaps realising that being in a band wasn’t his thing, he spent the rest of the decade and the next as a songwriter and solo artist before taking a career turn into engineering and real estate. He died aged 68.
Khasha Jawan – real name Nazar Mohammad Khasha – was an Afghan comedian who incurred the wrath of the Taliban by mocking them even as they seized control of the country. As the militants – for whom any sort of pleasure beyond the thrills of being a murderous psychopath is a taboo – Jawan was both a thorn in the side and disgustingly decadent, and as they swept into Kandahar, he was ‘arrested’, beaten – all caught on camera – and then taken away and murdered, possibly by having his throat cut; his body was then dumped. His age at death is unknown.
Jethro real name Geoffrey Rowe – was one of those odd comedians, like Roy Chubby Brown, who became a star without TV exposure; more interestingly, he became locally famous in Cornwall long before finding a wider UK audience. He played the club circuit and slowly – over decades – built an audience with his live shows and recordings, both audio and video. His comedy was definitely old-school and this generally kept him off TV, with his comedy declared too offensive for the small screen by producers who have no problem with the most foul-mouthed and scatological humour – offence is often defined by the tastes of those in the media rather than audiences. Jethro, with his decidedly old-fashioned and un-PC comedy was never going to fit into that world. Nevertheless, he found a large following with live audiences. Outside comedy, he bred horses and raised money for charity. He died of Covid-19, aged 73.
Don Jones was something of a jack-of-all-trades in American exploitation cinema during the late 1960s and 1970s, working as everything from director to sound editor and stuntman. His films as director are an interesting selection of Seventies sleaze that almost suggests the work of an auteur – certainly, The Love Butcher and Schoolgirls in Chains represent a fascinating double bill of grotty psycho cinema. However, his other work is a tad inconsistent in style, if never less than watchable – titles like Who Killed Cock Robin, Sweater Girls, The Forest, Lethal Pursuit and Molly and the Ghost – the latter three rather forgettable and generic 1980s efforts. As a cinematographer, Jones worked on cult horror movie The House of Seven Corpses and soft erotic drama Inside Amy, while his work in various sound department areas includes The Psycho Lover, Swinging Cheerleaders, Blood of the Iron Maiden, Switchblade Sisters and Date With a Kidnapper. His other work, in various capacities, takes in titles like Beyond LSD, The Astro Zombies, The Mighty Gorga, Psych-Out, Sandra: the Making of a Woman, Suburbia Confidential and Hot Summer in Barefoot County. Quite the filmography. He died aged 83.
Quintin Jones was yet another grim statistic in the American legal system that routinely executes the mentally ill, the abused and the poor. In his case, he was convicted of murdering his 83-year-old Great Aunt, who had refused to give him money to buy cocaine – he was high on cocaine and heroin at the time of the murder. Jones admitted the crime, and so you might think it was fair enough – you reap what you sow. But Jones had a history of poverty and sexual abuse at the hands of his siblings, gang violence (he once shot himself in the hand to placate gang members out to get him) and attempted suicide. His proven mental health issues might have been evidence enough to save him from death row in most places, but not Texas. Despite 175,000 people – including the victim’s family signing a petition asking for clemency and evidence that he was no longer a danger to anyone, he was executed by lethal injection after 21 years on death row, aged 41.
For a generation of British kids, American folk singer Rick Jones was Yoffi – the human star of iconic pre-school TV show Fingerbobs. The very essence of simple innocence, Fingerbobs had Jones donning gloves and paper cut-out animal faces to create characters like Fingermouse, who would then engage in some sort of vaguely educational activities. It doesn’t sound like much, and that was the point, I guess. But Fingerbobs was beloved, and Jones’ gentle style fitted the show perfectly. Only thirteen episodes were made in 1972, but the show was re-run until 1984. Prior to the show, he’d been a presenter on Play School, Play Away and other BBC shows before going on to form country-rock band Meal Ticket. He also appeared on stage in Flash Fearless vs. The Zorg Women in Los Angeles. He died aged 84.
Joey Jordison was the drummer for Slipknot from the band’s founding in 1995 until 2013 when he was rather unceremoniously given the boot after a neurological condition affected his ability to play. Jordison had been the musical driving force of the band, his relentless drumming and the additional percussion giving the band’s music a brutality and power that few could match. While Slipknot was lumped onto the Nu-metal scene, the band was very much removed from the sound of that movement, having more in common with the more extreme industrial music scene. Jordison also played guitar in the goth-horror metal band The Murderdolls, who also became successful for several years before falling apart in 2013. Post-Slipknot, he formed several new projects but not of them really took. He also played with Ministry, Rob Zombie and Korn, and famously played with Metallica at the Download Festival when Lars Ulrich was ‘indisposed’. He died aged 46.
George Jung was all set for a high flying career in business or sports, but a taste for drugs and money took him in a different direction. A taste for marijuana saw him move from small-time dealing to interstate transport to international smuggling between the late 1960s and his 1974 arrest. Upon release from prison in 1976, Jung put the knowledge that he’d gained from cellmate Carlos Lehder – a German-Columbian drug dealer – to good use and the pair of them became America’s pre-eminent cocaine traffickers, working with Pablo Escobar in Columbia. It all came crashing down in 1994 when Jung was arrested with almost 800kg of cocaine; he was sentenced to 70 years in prison, though this was reduced after he named names. He was released in 2014. He was the subject of the 2001 film Blow and also collaborated on the 2014 fictional movie Heavy. He died of liver and kidney failure aged 78.
Patrick Juvet was a Swiss musician who was fairly big in the Europop world as both a songwriter and performer. At the age of eighteen, he was working as a model in Germany but upon relocating to Paris in 1971, he began a music career, working with the likes of Jean-Michel Jarre on his debut album released in 1973. That same year he performed Switzerland’s Eurovision entry, coming twelfth. In the later 1970s, he had success as a disco artist and composed the score for David Hamilton’s erotic film Laura – he also released a rare English-language recording on Casablanca Records. With the decline of disco, he focused on more traditional French pop for the rest of his career. He died of a cardiac arrest, aged 70.
Lorina Kamburova was a Bulgarian actor who was building a career for herself in low-budget genre movies – her appearances between 2017 and 2021 include Leatherface, Nightworld, Day of the Dead: Bloodline, Crystal Inferno, Deathrace: Beyond Anarchy, Doom: Annihilation and Love and Monsters. She died of Covid-19 related pneumonia, aged 30.
Nick Kamen achieved fame as the star of a 1985 Levi’s 501 commercial, where he stripped down to his shorts in a Fifties-themed launderette scenario. The popularity of this ad was enough to propel him into a music career that started well in 1987, with a single – co-written and with backing vocals by Madonna – that hit number 5 in the UK and even higher across Europe. But the novelty wore off quite quickly, with only the follow-up cracking the top 40 and most singles and albums failing to chart at all. Nevertheless, he kept his music career going until 1992, releasing five albums in total. He died aged 59, after a long illness.
Sayaka Kanda was a Japanese pop singer and actor who did a lot of voice work on animated TV shows and films like Farewell, Kamen Rider Den-O: Final Countdown, School Wars: Hero, Dragon Head and Real Girl. Her pop career was long, if not especially prolific as both a solo artist and half of the band Trustrick. She also worked extensively in the theatre. She was found dead in December after a fall from a hotel window; at the time of writing, the police are still investigating if it was suicide or not. She was 35.
Roger Kibbe was an American serial killer, known as The I-5 Killer. Over a ten-year period, he kidnapped, raped and murdered eight women on the freeways around Sacramento, California. He was initially convicted of one murder in 1991, and then in 2009 admitted to six other killings; one case attributed to him was never prosecuted. He was killed by his cellmate, aged 81.
Larry King was one of the legendary figures in American news broadcasting, reaching fame in the late 1970s with The Larry King Show, a long-format nationally broadcast radio talk show where half the broadcast was devoted to interviewing a guest and the other half a phone-in free-for-all. In 1985, he moved to CNN for Larry King Live, where his interviewees ranged from celebrities to politicians to assorted oddballs. King became known for his easy-going approach – people knew that he was not going to be throwing them hard questions or taking an aggressive stance. It made him popular with people who wanted the space to express their opinions and politicians who didn’t fancy being challenged, and so the show quickly attracted a who’s who of guests. The best of King’s interviews are rare chances to see people talking in-depth, without some chat show host who thinks he is hilarious interrupting and then cutting them off after a few minutes; the worst a sycophantic love-ins. King clearly liked celebrities and being a celebrity, his own fame leading to appearances as himself in various TV shows and movies, as well as voice work in the Shrek films. In 2010, his CNN show was cancelled – replaced by Piers Morgan, which must have felt like a slap in the face. After a few specials, he left the station in 2012 at launch Ora TV, a production company; his show continued online and then on Russia Today, the notorious propaganda channel. He died of Covid-19, aged 87.
Richard H. Kirk
Richard Harold Kirk was a British musician who specialised in electronic music, forming the hugely influential industrial band Cabaret Voltaire in 1973. In 1980, he began working as a solo artist, at first concurrent with his work in the band and then full time. He was always experimenting with music and in the 1990s became very prolific, recording under almost 40 different names, sometimes for one-off projects. The names helped keep differing music projects – from experimental electronica to dance music – separate but, of course, are a completist’s worst nightmare. He also worked as Sweet Exorcist with Richard Barratt and Acid Horse with members of Ministry. He died aged 65.
Tawney Kitaen was a model and actor who had a pretty successful career in the 1980s both as a cult movie star and muse for heavy rock bands. She started her modelling work in the early 1980s, making an appearance on the cover of a pair of releases by Ratt – the first of her connections with the LA hair metal scene. She had the look and the style that the scene required and her most famous work is probably in a series of Whitesnake videos – she would later marry singer David Coverdale. Her movies are more interesting, starting with the erotic comic-book romp Gwendoline and continuing with sex comedy Bachelor Party and horror film Witchboard, along with a lot of TV appearances including several Hercules TV movies. Her private life was lively – she had an affair with O.J. Simpson and was charged with domestic violence against her second husband, baseball player Chuck Finley. She was also busted for cocaine possession and had two DUI convictions. She faced jail for the second one but died before the trial took place. She died of heart disease, aged 59.
Reuben Klamer was the inventor – or, more accurately, the re-inventor – of the classic board game The Game of Life, which he developed for Milton Bradley as part of the centenary celebrations in 1960. The game had previously existed as The Chequered Game of Life in 1860, but Klamer’s version was a complete reinvention, more visually appealing and interactive. It would become one of the classic board games, undergoing several revisions to make it less ruthless and more appealing to contemporary audiences over the years, but the basic style of the game remains true to Klamer’s invention. He would also make several other fascinating contributions to pop culture over the years – he designed the Man from U.N.C.L.E. guns and a phaser rifle for Star Trek and created the car seen in the titles of The Pink Panther Show. He was, in other words, an integral part of 1960s cool. he died aged 99.
Yaphet Kotto was a prolific American actor who made a number of cult classic movies: 4 For Texas, The Thomas Crown Affair, Bone, Across 110th Street, Live and Let Die, Truck Turner, Shark’s Treasure, Friday Foster, Drum, The Monkey Hustle, Blue Collar, Alien, Brubaker, The Star Chamber, Warning Sign, The Running Man, Midnight Run, From a Whisper to a Scream, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and The Puppet Masters, as well as a lot of TV. His 1967 single Have You Ever Seen the Blues/Have You Dug His Scene is one of the great underrated records by an actor. He was politically active, if somewhat confused in what he believed – he supported Donald Trump, Black Lives Matter and QAnon. He died aged 81.
Jeff LaBar was a guitarist with the American glam metal band Cinderella, a position he held from 1985, through the peak of their success and in subsequent reunions until 2014. He died aged 58, a day before Cinderella keyboardist Gary Corbett.
Alexi Laiho was the vocalist and lead guitarist of Finnish death metal band Children of Bodom, a band he formed in 1993. He was also the band’s main songwriter. As one of the most acclaimed players of his generation, he steered the band towards a more melodic and progressive form of brutal music and led them to international success – they were Finland’s best-selling band. Laiho was plagued with ill-health, and in 2019, the band fell apart due to musical differences. Not owning the name, Laiho went on to form Bodom After Midnight. The band managed one live show in 2020, but no music was released until after Laiho’s death. He died aged 41.
A former dance instructor, Dave Lampert had a vision in 1979 – a vision of a sexual pleasure product that could be ridden rather than manually inserted by women. It would take eight years of trial and error before his dream became reality in the form of the Sybian, the extravagant vibrating saddle that is perhaps the world’s most famous sex toy (thanks in part to fairly relentless promotion on the Howard Stern Show where assorted porn stars would put it to the test). Lambert also created the equally extravagant Venus for Men, another hands-free device aimed at the male market. He died aged 90.
Alan Lancaster was the bass player with Status Quo from their formation in the early 1960s – he put the band together with schoolfriend Francis Rossi – until 1985. He played on all their biggest hits at a time when the band still had some rock credibility and were continually in the British charts, seemingly immune to fashion. His final show with the band was at Live Aid, but the triumph of opening that global extravaganza soon turned to sourness as he found that the band had started recording a new album without telling him. Perhaps moving to Australia wasn’t the best career move. He would go on to form Aussie band The Bombers, who had some success in their home country. A reunion of the original Quo took place for a tour in 2013 and again in 2014, but a full reunion was not on the cards. He was in ill health for many years and died of multiple sclerosis, aged 72.
Anita Lane has probably never quite had her contribution to the musical world that spun out of The Bad Seeds given enough credit – while Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, Blixa Bargeld, Barry Adamson and others have had high profile and critically acclaimed careers, Lane was often unfairly dismissed as a mere fellow traveller. But her song The World’s A Girl is probably the best thing that any of that collective recorded, and her co-writing work with Cave – a one-time romantic partner, something that inevitably muddied the waters of her creative credibility for many male critics – and Bargeld, her vocal contributions to work by the Bad Seeds as both the band and the assorted solo projects – not to mention work by Die Haut and contributions to the soundtrack of Ghosts… of the Civil Dead and her much underrated two solo albums all reveal her to have been a rare talent. In another world, she might have become very famous, though I’m not sure that creatively that would have been a good thing. She died aged 61 – 62.
Silvio Laurenzi began his film career as an actor, and would continue in that role from time to time, but became best known as a costume designer, working on many important and visually stylish Giallo movies, poliziotescchi movies and other Italian genre films, including All the Colours of the Dark, Spasmo, The Case of the Bloody Iris, Knife of Ice, Torso, The Torment, Confessions of a Lady Cop, Cop in Blue Jeans, The Cynic, The Rat and The Fist, The Invincible Barbarian, Throne of Fire, Erotic Games, The Red Monks, Dirty Love II, Fashion Crimes, Fatal Frames and many more. He died aged 85.
Robin Le Mesurier
The son of actors John Le Mesurier and Hattie Jacques, Robin Le Mesurier was a session guitarist whose biggest work took place somewhat anonymously – he was one of The Wombles and so hidden beneath both a womble identity and costume. He also worked extensively with Rod Stewart and Johnny Hallyday as well as the reformed Faces. He had a long struggle with alcoholism, which was documented in a 2009 TV show, Rehab. He died aged 68.
Cloris Leachman was an American actress who had a long and prolific career, working from the early 1950s almost until her death. She first made a name for herself in live TV dramas before appearing in Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly in 1955. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, she appeared in TV shows like The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, One Step Beyond, Perry Mason, Mannix, 77 Sunset Strip, Ironside, Night Gallery and Wonder Woman, while her film work included The Chapman Report, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Lovers and Other Strangers, WUSA, The Last Picture Show, Happy Mothers Day, Love George, Dillinger, Daisy Miller, Crazy Mama, The Muppet Movie, Scavenger Hunt, Herbie Goes Bananas, The Demon Murder Case, Deadly Intentions and many more. She had a strong working relationship with Mel Brooks, appearing in Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, his TV series Nutt House and History of the World Part 1, though they had a falling out when she was rejected for the stage version of Young Frankenstein, Brooks rather crassly commenting “we don’t want her to die on stage” – she was 81 at the time. A year later, she appeared as the oldest contestant on Dancing with the Stars. Leachman posed nude for the cover of Alternative Medicine Digest in 1997 and appeared clad only in lettuce leaves in a PETA ad in 2009. She died of natural causes, aged 94.
Libertad María de los Ángeles Vichich Blanco was one of the most popular – and infamous – of Argentina’s blonde bombshell sex goddesses of the 1960s, appearing in numerous erotic dramas and comedies that pushed the censorship boundaries of the era. She began her acting career in 1960 and over the next twelve years worked consistently in films like Love Hunger, Violated Blonde, The Pink Pussy: Where Sin Lives, Una Mujer sin Precio, La Piel Desnuda, Fuego en la Sangre, El Satanico, A Woman Possessed, 4 Contra El Crimen, Sex Analysis, Deliciously Amoral, Sensual Jungle, Siege of Terror and Olga La Hija de Aquella Princesa Rusa. Changing tastes slowed her career after 1972, though she made the occasional movie comeback, such as the 1989 drama Standard, and worked in TV. She was offered a contract in America by Columbia Pictures but her husband, film producer Leonardo Barujel, refused to let her take her daughter out of Argentina and so she turned it down; she would later divorce him. She died aged 83.
Olivier Libaux was a french musician and record producer, best known for his work as the founder of Nouvelle Vague. Earlier, he had been part of the indie band Les Objets and had a solo career, but it’s his time with the neo-lounge act and their smooth, easy-listening covers of rock hits that defined his career. He died aged 57.
G. Gordon Liddy
G. Gordon Liddy was one of the main organisers of the break-in at the Watergate building that ultimately brought down Richard Nixon. As a result, Liddy was convicted of burglary, conspiracy, and refusing to testify to the Senate committee investigating Watergate, serving nearly fifty-two months in federal prisons. On release, he managed to work his infamy into a strange celebrity – as well as appearing in Watergate documentaries (where he would cheerfully confess to plans to kill journalists during the height of Nixon’s paranoia) he went on the lecture circuit with LSD guru Timothy Leary – the pair were theoretically opposed on most things but both shared a libertarian bent and a narcissistic nature that overcame any distaste that they might have had for each other. He took to acting, with appearances on Miami Vice, Airwolf and MacGuyver as well as numerous TV appearances as himself in reality shows and celebrity game shows. He had his own radio talk show where he could peddle all manner of bullshit to an adoring public who were willing to overlook his attempts to subvert democracy. I wonder if January 6th insurrectionists will have similar careers in decades to come? He died of Parkinson’s, aged 90.
Rush Limbaugh was an American conservative radio talk-show host who had hate-filled, reactionary opinions about everything and fed conspiracy theories about Barak Obama, false flag attacks, climate change and – of course, Covid-19. He was a huge supporter of Donald Trump, opposed gay rights, racial equality, abortion and science. It takes a lot of effort to be this appalling but Limbaugh rose to the challenge for many decades. He died aged 70.
Gunnel Lindblom was a Swedish actress, best known for her work with Ingmar Bergman – she appeared in The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, The Venetian, Rabies, The Virgin Spring, Winter Light, The Silence and Scenes for a Marriage. her work for other directors includes Loving Couples and The Girls for Mai Zetterling. She directed two films: Paradise Place and Sally and Freedom. She also worked extensively in the theatre, sometimes with Bergman. She died aged 89.
Norman Lloyd’s acting career started way back in 1923 and continued until 2015 – almost a century spent on the stage and in front of the camera. He began performing on the stage as a child and by the age of seventeen as a professional actor. He was a founding member of Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre and worked with them until Welles’ plans to film Heart of Darkness fell through – though asked to hold on in Hollywood while Welles put another project together, Lloyd returned to New York and so missed out on being involved in Citizen Kane. However, he soon began a movie career with Alfred Hitchcock, starring in Saboteur in 1942 and Spellbound in 1945, with roles in other films like The Unseen, The Beginning or the End, Scenes of the Crime, The Black Book, The Flame and the Arrow and the remake of M. He worked with John Garfield on He Ran All the Way in 1951 and became caught up in the blacklist that ruined Garfield’s career – Lloyd’s career was saved by Hitchcock who hired him as a producer and director on the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series. He would continue to direct TV shows during the 1960s and 1970s while on a break from screen acting, but by the mid-1970s and for the next few decades he was a TV regular and appeared in movies like Audrey Rose, The Dark Secret of Harvest Home, FM, The Nude Bomb, The Jaws of Satan, Dead Poets Society and his final film Trainwreck. He died aged 106.
Janice Long was a British radio DJ who, for some years, was the gateway from the mainstream pap of Radio 1 to the determinedly esoteric musings of John Peel, perhaps representing the best of both via her evening show. She was the first woman to have a regular weekday show on the station and also the first female Top of the Pops regular presenter; she would also be one of the main presenters for Live Aid. Radio 1, predictably, gave her the push during one of their desperate purges of the unhip but she found a found at Radio 2, Radio 6 and assorted indie stations. She was the sister of Keith Chegwin. She died aged 66.
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