Friday, 3 June 2011

Terry Jenner

A pathological gambler, Jenner took to betting with the money of the car dealership for which he was working. In 1986 he was convicted of embezzlement, but initially spared incarceration.
A repetition of the same offence — eventually he had “borrowed” 10,000 Australian dollars — meant that in 1988 he was sentenced to six and a half years in prison, with a minimum of three years without parole. In the event, due to good behaviour, he served only 18 months .
It was the shock of prison, Jenner insisted, which enabled him to reconstruct his life. Voluble, sociable and devil-may-care in his prime, he was still, in his disgrace, a man whom people wanted to help. Not only did he succeed in creating a new life for himself after coming out of prison; he also became a mentor to the young Shane Warne, whom he helped establish as one of the giants of cricket.
Terrence James Jenner was born on September 8 1944 in Mount Lawley, a suburb of Perth, Western Australia. Soon afterwards his parents moved to Corrigin, 140 miles east of Perth, where they kept a store and quarrelled copiously before divorcing when Terry was 13. After that he moved back to Mount Lawley with his mother. His education ended at 14; by 15 he was an office boy at a clothing wholesalers.
From an early age Jenner had shown a talent for cricket. As a batsman and wicketkeeper he did sufficiently well to be offered coaching by Western Australia. One of the instructors, seeing him bowling in the nets, discerned a natural leg-break bowler.
“Boy, could he bowl wrist spin,” remembered John Rutherford, the first Western Australian ever to play for his country. “He ripped a big leg break, his wrong ’un turned, and his toppie rushed off the wicket.”
By 18, Jenner had been taken on by Western Australia. But when he began playing for the side in 1963-64 he made little impression, ending the season with bowling figures of seven for 600. The problem was that, with the former Surrey and England player Tony Lock in the side, there was little opportunity for another spinner to settle. Nor, when Lock became captain of Western Australia, did he encourage rivals.
Jenner made his mark against MCC in 1965, claiming the wickets of Bob Barber, John Edrich, Peter Parfitt, Colin Cowdrey and Mike Smith. For all his obvious potential, however, in four seasons with Western Australia he took only 27 wickets at 67.11 apiece.
His performances greatly improved, however, after he moved to South Australia in 1967. Finding in Les Favell and Ian Chappell captains who believed in him, he soon became a consistent wicket-taker, and in 1970 was selected for an Australia “B” tour to New Zealand, taking seven for 84 in a match between an Australian XI and a New Zealand XI.
Keith Miller and Richie Benaud both became advocates in his cause , and at the end of 1970 Jenner made his Test debut against England, picking up the wickets of John Edrich and Geoffrey Boycott .
He reached his cricketing zenith on Australia’s tour of West Indies in 1973. When he took five for 90 in West Indies’ first innings in the final Test in Trinidad, it seemed that he had firmly established himself as a Test player.
Even by Australian standards, though, Jenner was a rumbustious character, and he was deemed — unjustly, some believed — to be the guilty party when, at the end of that tour of the West Indies, a woman complained of bottom-pinching.
By 1974-75 he seemed to have been forgiven; at least, he was selected for two Tests against England. He was, however, bitterly disappointed to be left out of Australia’s tour of England in 1975, and made no attempt to disguise his feelings. He did, in fact, have some valuable experience of English conditions, having played for Rawtenstall in the Lancashire League in 1971, and for Cambridgeshire in 1971-72.
A good bowling performance for South Australia against the West Indians earned him a recall to the Australian side for a Test in October 1975. That season he was for the third time in a South Australia side that won the Sheffield Shield. Yet it was now that the downhill slide began.
His bowling became more expensive, and as his performances dwindled, so his aggression on the field, always high-octane, blazed. When he was passed over for the state captaincy in 1976, he exploded and left first-class cricket in a huff.
This was, as he later recognised, a singularly ill-timed decision. In 1977 Kerry Packer ran the first World Series in opposition to the cricketing establishment. Even if Jenner had not been offered a contract by Packer, he would at least have had a good chance of returning to Australia’s Test side, which had been much weakened by the defections.
As it was, over the next 10 years Jenner descended into debt and bankruptcy . His job with Coca-Cola disappeared, and he scraped by on casual labour until landing what seemed like a more promising post with a car dealership. The temptations offered, however, proved fatal.
Jenner’s marriage did not survive his crime and punishment. His saving grace, however, was that he faced up to his own wrongdoing. Freed on parole, he undertook rehabilitation work with the Adelaide City Mission. A local businessman found him a house.
Soon he was coaching young cricketers, at first for local Adelaide teams, and then. He was still on parole when he met Shane Warne; and perhaps his disreputable past helped him to strike up a friendship with a young man who showed little respect for the cricket establishment.
Technically, Jenner helped Warne with his googly and “flipper”, while at the same time persuading the podgy youth to lose some weight. Above all, he helped to keep up Warne’s morale in adversity. Later, in the glory days, he was always on hand to give advice and encouragement during dips in form or fitness.
Jenner also became an excellent radio commentator and after-dinner speaker, and prospered by organising groups to accompany cricket tours.
He played in 131 first-class matches, scoring 3,580 runs at an average of 22.23, and taking 389 wickets at 32.18. His most noteworthy match, for South Australia against his old team Western Australia in 1974, featured bowling figures of four for 43 and seven for 127, along with innings of 59 and 47. In his nine Tests he took 24 wickets at 31.20 apiece, and scored 208 runs at an average of 23.11.
His autobiography, T.J. Over the Top: Cricket, Prison & Warnie, written with Ken Piesse, was published in 1999.
Terry Jenner had a daughter with his wife, Jackie, whom he married in 1984. He is survived by his second wife, Anne.

Phil Solomon

Solomon’s roster of managed artists included The Bachelors, Them, The Dubliners and Twinkle, as well as backroom talents such as Phil Coulter, who wrote Eurovision Song Contest winners for Sandie Shaw and Cliff Richard. He also launched the careers of comedy artists such as Frank Carson and the poet Pam Ayres.
Having mounted a financial rescue package for Radio Caroline, Britain’s first offshore pirate station, Solomon restored its fortunes and, in 1966, established the Major Minor independent record company.
Philip Raymond Solomon was born on April 27 1924 in Belfast, where his parents had built up a large record distribution and sales company, Solomon and Peres. Although he originally hoped to train as a vet, in the 1950s Phil became a publicist for Ruby Murray, the first Northern Irish entertainer to top the UK hit parade. With his wife, Dorothy, he also promoted national tours for the crooner Connie Foley and ventured into management.
In 1958 the Solomons moved to London, becoming impresarios for such disparate performers as Kenneth McKellar, Louis Armstrong and Cliff Richard. They struck gold with their first signing, The Bachelors, who specialised in close-harmony versions of sentimental evergreens such as Diane, I Believe, and Charmaine . The group weathered the beat boom, registering 18 UK Top 40 entries between 1963 and 1967, and appearing on the Royal Variety Shows in 1966 and 1968.
The Bachelors were contracted to Decca, and Solomon’s success with them prompted the firm to sign Them, a Belfast rhythm-and-blues group . A maiden single flopped, however, and, during their first major London booking, Van Morrison was unshowy to the point of inertia until Solomon issued an exasperated offstage directive to move himself.
Matters improved after some string-pulling from Solomon ensured that a second Them release, Baby Please Don’t Go, was heard for several weeks over the opening credits to ITV’s Ready Steady Go! pop series and reached the Top 10.
It was the group’s enthusiasm for a song by Twinkle that led Solomon to groom the 15-year-old schoolgirl for stardom. Her Terry – which was to come within an ace of No 1 in 1965 – was taped with accompanists that included the arranger and pianist Phil Coulter, a former Queen’s University student discovered by Solomon the previous summer.
In 1966 Solomon launched Major Minor Records, which produced chart hits for The Dubliners, Malcolm Roberts, Crazy Elephant, Neville Dickie and Karen Young — as well as the million-selling Mony Mony by Tommy James and the Shondells, and Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg’s Je T’Aime ... Moi Non Plus .
Retiring to Bournemouth, Solomon maintained his interests in horse breeding and racing, and opened Solomon art galleries in Mayfair and Dublin. The critic Brian Sewell became a close friend.
His brother, Mervyn, founded Emerald, Ireland’s principal record label.
Phil Solomon, who died on April 11, is survived by his wife Dorothy. There were no children.

Gil Scott-Heron

Scott-Heron first came to attention with his 1970 recording The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, an attack on the mindless and anaesthetising effects of the mass media and a call to arms to the black community: “You will not be able to stay home, brother./You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out./You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,/Skip out for beer during commercials,/Because the revolution will not be televised.”
Written when Scott Heron was just 18, it first appeared in the form of a spoken-word recitation, his impassioned incantation accompanied only by congas and bongo drums, on his debut album Small Talk at 125th and Lenox.
The following year Scott-Heron recorded the song for a second time, this time with a full band, for his album Pieces of a Man, and as the B-side to the single Home Is Where The Hatred Is.
The song went on to be covered, sampled and referenced in innumerable recordings, the title entering the lexicon of contemporary phraseology. In 2010 it was named as one of the top 20 political songs by the New Statesman.
Scott-Heron’s music reflected something of the militancy and self-assertiveness of such theorists and polemicists as Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael. Over the course of some 20 albums he produced a series of sardonic and biting commentaries on ghetto life and racial injustice, including Whitey’s On The Moon, Home Is Where The Hatred Is, The Bottle (a lamentation about people squandering their lives on liquor, set to an irresistibly seductive Latin beat) and the anti-apartheid anthem Johannesburg. But anger was only colour in Scott-Heron’s music palette; songs such as Must Be Something and It’s Your World were moving affirmations of faith in the power of the human spirit.
A tall, rail-thin man with a wispy goatee beard and a countenance of prophetic gravity, Scott-Heron sang in a rough, declamatory voice that was once described as a mixture of “mahogany, sunshine and tears” and that always emphasised lyrical content over technique. The bass player Ron Carter, who played on Scott-Heron’s second album, Pieces of a Man, described it as “a voice like you would have for Shakespeare”.
His vocal style, and his political message, would be a major influence on such groups as Public Enemy and NWA, and would lead to his being described as “the godfather of rap”. It was a title that Scott-Heron himself always deplored: his music covered a far broader and more sophisticated emotional range than the crude rhetoric of so much rap music, which he dismissed on the ground that “you don’t really see inside the person. Instead, you just get a lot of posturing.” He preferred to describe himself as “a bluesologist”.
Gil Scott-Heron was born in Chicago on April 1 1949. He was named after his father, Gilbert Heron, a Jamaican who had settled in America, where his prowess at football (soccer) brought him to the attention of talent scouts from Scotland; in the early 1950s Gilbert snr played football professionally for Celtic and Third Lanark, earning the nickname “the Black Arrow”, before returning to Chicago. It was there that he met Gil’s mother, Bobbie, a librarian and an accomplished singer who had once performed with the New York Oratorial Society.
Scott-Heron would encapsulate his early years in a poem, Coming From A Broken Home: “Womenfolk raised me and I was full grown/before I knew I came from a broken home.” His parents separated when he was two, and he was sent to live with his maternal grandmother, Lillie Scott, in Jackson, Tennessee. Scott-Heron would credit his grandmother with being one of the primary influences on his life: “[She] raised me to not sit around and wait for people to guess what’s on your mind — I was gonna have to say it.”
Cultivating his interest in music and literature, she bought him a second-hand piano from a local funeral parlour and introduced him to the writings of the Harlem Renaissance novelist and poet Langston Hughes, who utilised the rhythms of jazz in his poetry and who became a major influence.
When Gil was 12 his grandmother died, and he moved to New York to be reunited with his mother, who brought up her son on her own. On the recommendation of his high school English teacher, Gil won a scholarship to a private school, the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, before going on to study at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where Langston Hughes had once been a student.
In his second year at university he was given leave of absence to write a novel, The Vulture (1970), a thriller about ghetto life, while working as a clerk at a dry cleaners. On graduation he published a second novel, The Nigger Factory (1971), about campus unrest, and a collection of poetry, Small Talk at 125th and Lenox.
By now Scott-Heron had begun performing his poetry in coffee houses and jazz clubs, where he was approached by the jazz producer Bob Thiele who, as head of the Impulse label, had recorded such artists as John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Dizzy Gillespie, as well as being the co-writer, with George David Weiss, of Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World.
Thiele signed Scott-Heron to his own Flying Dutchman label, and released Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, a live recording of one of Scott-Heron’s club performances. The follow-up Pieces of Man brought him together on record for the first time with Brian Jackson, a keyboard-player, flautist and composer whom he had met at Lincoln University, and who would become his principal collaborator on nine albums.
With Jackson, Scott-Heron refined an intoxicating hybrid of jazz, Latin and Afro idioms that established him in the vanguard of black American music in the 1970s. The success of a single version of The Bottle in 1974 led to his being signed to a major label, Arista. He enjoyed further chart success in 1976 with Johannesburg and, in 1978, with the anti-drug song Angel Dust: “Please, children would you listen, Just ain’t where it’s at. You won’t remember what you’re missin’, but down some dead end streets, there ain’t no turnin’ back.”
These lyrics were to prove ironic, for by the end of the 1980s Scott-Heron was himself beginning to be undermined by drugs use. Between 1970 and 1982 he made 13 albums, but it would be a further 11 years before the release of his 14th, Spirits; the album’s centrepiece was a gruelling three-part explication of the hells of drug addiction, The Other Side. While he continued to perform intermittently, Scott-Heron became a notoriously unreliable figure.
Monique de Latour, a New Zealander photographer who met Scott-Heron in 1995 and lived with him for several years, described how he would frequently vanish for days on end without explanation, often retreating to one of a number of flophouse hotels in Harlem.
In the hope of shocking Scott-Heron out of his addiction, de Latour took to photographing him when he was comatose on drugs and hanging the pictures on the walls; but he refused to look at them. “He didn’t like to look at himself at all,” she recalled. “He didn’t like to look in the mirror.”
In 2000 Scott-Heron was sentenced to 18 to 24 months of in-patient rehabilitation for possession of cocaine and two crack pipes, but given leave to complete a European tour. After failing even to turn up at a subsequent court hearing he was sentenced to between one and three years in prison. Released on parole, in 2003 he was again charged with possession of a controlled substance after cocaine he had hidden in the lining of his bag showed up on an airport x-ray. And in 2006 he was sentenced to two to four years in a New York State prison for violating a plea deal on a drug possession charge by leaving a rehabilitation centre.
In 2010 there was a resurgence of interest in his work when he returned with his first studio album in 16 years, I’m New Here. The record had come about after an English fan and record producer, Richard Russell, had written to Scott-Heron and then visited him in prison on Rikers Island in 2006.
The record put Scott-Heron into an abrasively contemporary musical setting, placing his gruff, time-worn spoken-word recitations — including a reworking of the Robert Johnson blues Me and the Devil — in a setting of dark, down-tempo beats, loops and samples.
Gil Scott-Heron was married to the actress Brenda Sykes, with whom he had a daughter.

Jeff Conaway

Something of heart-throb in the 1980s, Conaway regularly appeared on hit television shows, including four seasons playing the out-of-work actor Bobby Wheeler in Taxi, alongside Danny DeVito, Andy Kaufman and Judd Hirsch.
Both Grease and Taxi were hugely successful, and Conaway was seldom out of work, appearing in most of the popular television shows of his time, including Murder She Wrote and The Love Boat. A fan of science fiction, in the 1990s he visited the set of the television series Babylon 5, and while there was offered a bit part which grew into a regular role as the recurring character Zack Allen. He was eventually given a full-time role in the series.
Jeffrey Charles William Michael Conaway was born in New York on October 5 1950 . Having an uncle who worked for Nasa, as a boy Jeff read books on jet propulsion. His ambition was to be an astronaut, but then an optician told him that he required glasses. “My dream died before it started — acting hadn’t been an option, but I was desperate for adventure,” he said in 2002.
Conaway made his showbusiness debut on Broadway at the age of 10 in All the Way Home (1961), alongside Lillian Gish, Aline MacMahon and Colleen Dewhurst. After a year at North Carolina School of the Arts, he returned to New York to study film and theatre while also playing in a rock band. In his final year at college, 1972, he replaced Timothy Meyers in the lead role of Danny Zuko in the Broadway production of the musical Grease.
After some early television appearances in shows such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Kojak and Happy Days, he appeared with Michael Caine in the Second World War thriller The Eagle Has Landed (1976). He was then offered the role of Kenickie in the film of Grease (1978), which became an international hit. Although he said he enjoyed working with John Travolta, Conaway thereafter felt typecast: “I couldn’t shake it off. I couldn’t go to the john without being sung a tune from Grease by fans.”
None the less, he joined the cast of Taxi, and in later years he appeared in films such as The Patriot (1986); Elvira: The Mistress of the Dark (1988); and in Ghost Writer (1989), as Tom Farrell. Two of his films — Sunset Strip (1993) and The Last Embrace (1997) — were widely regarded as flops, but he won praise for his performance in Shadow of Doubt (1998), alongside Melanie Griffith and Tom Berenger.
Conaway went on to direct music videos and plays in small theatres in Los Angeles. In 2006 he was in the reality television programme Celebrity Fit Club, but walked out after only three weeks. Two years later, on Celebrity Rehab with Dr David Drew Pinsky (better known as “Dr Drew”), he explored live on air his addiction to prescription opiates and his turbulent relationship with his on-off girlfriend, the singer Vikki Lizzi.
Despite his problems, Conaway continued to work, completing a series of low-budget films.
Jeff Conaway — who claimed to have attempted suicide on 21 occasions — was found unconscious on May 11, and is thought to have taken an overdose of prescription medication. He never regained consciousness and was taken off his life support machine on May 27.
After a brief first marriage, in 1980 he married the actress Rona Newton-John, sister of Olivia Newton-John. They divorced five years later, and in 1990 he married Keri Young; that union was also dissolved.

Janet Brown

She managed to perfect not only the Prime Minister’s manner of speaking — itself very distinctive — but also her mannerisms and style of dress.
Perhaps her finest performance was when she was in New York to appear on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. In the VIP lounge at Kennedy Airport she convinced the acid-tongued American comedienne Joan Rivers that she was indeed Mrs Thatcher. Rivers became obsequiousness itself, and apologised to “the Prime Minister” for berating the British Royal family. When told of the deception, she asked Janet Brown: “If you’re not Margaret Thatcher, for God’s sake who are you?”
Janet Brown admired the Prime Minister as a politician and as a woman, and the admiration was mutual. The two women struck up a friendship and occasionally met at No 10 Downing Street. When she was Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher also invited her “alter ego” to stay for the weekend at Chequers. Janet Brown was preparing to go to sleep in her bedroom when there was a knock on the door. It was Mrs Thatcher — concerned that her friend’s quarters were on the chilly side — bearing a hot-water bottle. On one of the occasions when Mrs Thatcher was reelected to government, she wrote to Janet Brown: “I half expected to find you at No 10 before me!”
Janet Brown was first asked to try her famous impersonation by Eamonn Andrews for Thames Television’s Today Show shortly after Margaret Thatcher had been elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1975. After Mrs Thatcher was elected to government four years later, demands for Janet Brown’s impersonation snowballed.
Janet McLuckie Brown was born on December 14 1923 at Rutherglen, near Glasgow, the daughter of a shipyard worker, and was educated at Rutherglen Academy. She left school early and worked briefly in a local branch of the Co-Op before leaving Glasgow, with the blessing of her father, to tour in a show with Hughie Green.
During the war she served with the ATS, joining a Stars in Battledress entertainment ensemble which gave shows for troops serving in Europe. Among those she worked with were Tony Hancock, Frankie Howerd and Harry Secombe.
She then sought to make a career in London working in radio, and in 1946 received an offer to join a summer revue show at Scarborough. It was there that she met her future husband, the actor Peter Butterworth, best known for his roles in the Carry On films. They married in 1947, and worked together on a number of occasions, including on children’s television.
She continued to be in demand on radio — she later appeared on The Goon Show — and she also appeared on stage in Mr Gillie, with Alastair Sim. She later recalled: “He taught me to always 'feel’ myself into a character from the inside.”
On television, Janet Brown appeared in Rainbow Room, Where Shall We Go? and Friends and Neighbours before the Seventies’ taste for impressions led her to concentrate on the showbusiness niche that would make her famous.
On shows such as Who Do You Do (in which she appeared with Freddie Starr) and Mike Yarwood in Persons she gave impressions of the Coronation Street character Hilda Ogden, the entertainer “Two-Ton” Tessie O’Shea, Noele Gordon and Pam Ayres among others.
In 1981 she was given her own show, Janet and Co, making an impact with her impersonations of Mrs Thatcher and the celebrated dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse. She also played Margaret Thatcher in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only (1981) and on Roy Hudd’s The News Huddlines on Radio 2.
She continued to work until late in life, and had recently appeared in shows such as Midsomer Murders (2004), Casualty (2005) and Hotel Babylon (2009) — her final stage role was as Old Lady Squeamish in The Country Wife at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2007.
Nothing gave Janet Brown more pleasure at the end of her life than watching sport on television, particularly snooker and tennis — she was always keen to follow the progress of her fellow Scot Andy Murray.
In 1987 she published an autobiography, Prime Mimicker.
Janet Brown died at a nursing home in Hove, East Sussex. Her husband Peter Butterworth died in 1979, aged 59, and she is survived by their son; a daughter predeceased her.

Andy Dunkley

Dunkley — who billed himself as “The Living Jukebox” — was resident DJ at two prominent venues of the period: Friars, the club in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, which hosted breakthrough performances by Mott the Hoople and David Bowie; and The Roundhouse in north London, where he spun records at memorable all-day Sunday concerts .
Hawkwind’s lengthy shows included contributions from a naked dancer with a 52in bust, Stacia Blake; the poet Robert Calvert; the sci-fi writer Michael Moorcock; and the psychedelic light-show operator Jonathan Smeeton. Dunkley performed the duties of MC during an ambitious 1972 tour called “The Space Ritual”.
The tour got off to a bad start. Dunkley arrived at the first date — at King’s Lynn Corn Exchange — to find that the group’s soundcheck had been interrupted by a raid by the drugs squad. Fearing a “bust”, most members of the band fled.
Dunkley recalled: “Everybody left apart from [the synthesizer players] DikMik and Del, who were still noodling away. The [sniffer] dogs came on stage and DikMik and Del let loose with the subsonics. The dogs freaked, totally. They didn’t have a clue what was happening and were unable to find a thing.”
The rest of the tour would have proved memorable — had anybody been in a state to remember it. “Thank God we got it captured on an album,” noted the bassist, “Lemmy”. “ It was hypnotic. It was like Star Trek with long hair and drugs.”
Dunkley’s calming presence helped the band through many on-the-road scrapes. Hawkwind’s manager, Doug Smith, credited him with resolving a weekend-long wrangle with tax officials in Indiana when the group were placed under house arrest and their equipment was impounded over unpaid import duties.
Andrew John Dunkley was born in Birmingham on July 13 1942 and brought up at Burgh-le-Marsh, near Skegness in Lincolnshire. On leaving school he studied accountancy in Stoke-on-Trent, but was diverted into the music business in the early Sixties as a club DJ and then as road manager for the Midlands rhythm and blues band The Spencer Davis Group.
By 1969 Dunkley was resident DJ at the newly-opened Friars in Aylesbury, also spinning the sounds at many benefit gigs, including events for the underground magazine Frendz and the west London Greasy Truckers organisation, appearing on the live album of the same name in 1972.
He was installed as regular DJ at the Chalk Farm Roundhouse by the promoter John Curd and maintained his working relationship with Hawkwind by joining them on their 1974 American tour, “The 1999 Party”. During Hawkwind’s sets he added to the aural assault by tinkering on a synthesizer or playing records backwards, a decade before rappers began to scratch and sample vinyl music.
Unlike many of his generation, Dunkley’s career survived the incursions of punk. He became the favoured DJ of The Stranglers, and was part of the bill during their sell-out five-night stint at The Roundhouse in 1977. When touring in France with the band, he prevented a serious incident from escalating further by summoning their manager, Ian Grant, to Nice at 4am, after the New Wave act had been jailed for inciting a riot during a performance at the city’s university.
In the 1980s Dunkley moved to New York, where he was manager and DJ at the East 15th Street venue Irving Plaza. There his selection of eclectic music (from his collection of 12,000 albums and 3,000 singles) earned him the nickname “The Human Jukebox” from rock critic Robert Christgau. “I try to avoid the music everyone else is playing,” Dunkley told New York magazine in 1984. “I always throw in something to keep the crowd on their toes.”
During this period he was an instigator – along with his fellow expat the CBS Records executive Howard Thompson – of weekly “curry nights” for visiting members of the British music business. Entry was gained by production of a two-litre bottle of Suntory beer and the undertaking to tell at least one good joke.
Dunkley also worked with the Chicago-based record label Wax Trax before returning to Britain and settling in Finchley, north London. Latterly he was an IT manager at the database publisher AP Information.
He continued to play music publicly in later life, in 2007 compèring and acting as DJ for The Stranglers’ appearance at The Roundhouse.

Kathy Kirby

Kathy Kirby's biggest and best-known hit was a dramatically overwrought cover version of Secret Love, which reached No 4 in the charts in 1963. Two years later she represented the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest with I Belong, coming second to Luxembourg.
Her voluptuous blonde looks led to comparisons with Marilyn Monroe; her lip gloss and powerful, pitch-perfect voice became her trademarks. In 1963 she was acclaimed Top British Female Singer in a New Musical Express poll.
With her powerful voice and stage presence, Kathy Kirby went on to become one of the highest-paid stars of the mid-1960s, appearing in the Royal Command Variety Performance and in three BBC television series.
She regularly topped the bill at the London Palladium, and starred at the Talk of the Town night spot. She had two Top 10 hits – Let Me Go, Lover followed Secret Love in 1964 – and three more in the Top 40, which earned her her own television series. She was also invited to sing the theme tune for the BBC television series Adam Adamant Lives!
In 1971 the death of Ambrose, at the age of 74 on stage in Leeds, sounded the death knell for Kathy Kirby's career. Fiercely protective of her, even when rumours about her affairs with other celebrities were circulating, he had always made it his business to burnish her public image.
In truth, though, her star was already on the wane: 12 singles and an album recorded between 1967 and 1973 all failed to chart. Her television appearances also dried up, and she later vanished from public view. She made her last major public singing appearance on a television special in the early 1980s.
The remaining 30 years of her life were blighted by misfortune and failed comebacks. Her money drained away, and at one point she was said to be sleeping in a shop doorway. She suffered a much-publicised nervous breakdown and was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia. A lesbian affair with a fan accompanied by scandalous tabloid headlines ended with the other woman being jailed for fraud and forgery.
As a gay icon, she continued to play the diva, and was often recognised by members of the public, even though she sought Garboesque obscurity. "Perhaps, Kathy," one of her friends used to tell her, "it's got something to do with the turban, the sunglasses and the fur coat."
Kathy Kirby was born Kathleen O'Rourke on October 20 1938 at Ilford, Essex. While at convent school she had private singing lessons, at that stage being set on an operatic career.
But in 1954, when she was 16, she saw that the famous bandleader Bert Ambrose was due to appear with his orchestra at her local dance hall, the Ilford Palais de Danse. She decided to go along, and during the show – in an episode that went down in showbusiness legend – she walked up to the maestro and asked if she could sing with his band. Ambrose agreed.
Her renditions of two standards – Love Me Or Leave Me and All Of Me – were greeted with wild applause. Ambrose, recognising a remarkable voice and talent, immediately signed her up. "I have never known anyone with everything Kathy has to offer – voice, tone, range, feeling, personality and looks. In fact this girl has it all, and nothing can stop her becoming one of the greatest stars of our time," he announced. She remained with his band for three years.
As her manager and Svengali, Ambrose guided her career, toured with her on the club circuit and secured a contract on her behalf with Decca. His protégée appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in the United States and was courted by Hollywood film producers. Ambrose (who was born in 1896) also became her lover.
Two years ago Kathy Kirby claimed that she had had a fling with another celebrity, and that this had seriously affected her relationship with Ambrose. She claimed that Ambrose had turned down work for her because he was concerned that she might leave him.
"I think I could have played romantic leads or light comedy roles in movies, but my silly affair had inadvertently brought it all to an end," she recalled. "I could feel frustrated and bitter, but in the end I just put it down to experience. What else could I do?"
Following Ambrose's death in 1971, Kathy Kirby struggled to find direction in her career. She was declared bankrupt and suffered health problems, although she made a brief comeback in 1981 with a reworking of the Charles Aznavour song She (renamed He). But her return to the spotlight was short-lived, and she retired in her mid-40s.
In retirement she shunned publicity, and became a virtual recluse, living on state benefits. Even so, she retained a large fan base. A stage show about her life, Secret Love (based on a biography), opened in Leeds in May 2008. She had reportedly been in poor physical and mental health for some years.
In the 1970s Kathy Kirby was briefly married to a former policeman turned journalist, Fred Pye.