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.

Bob Flanigan

Although usually described as a jazz ensemble, The Four Freshmen’s music drew on a number of different styles, among them barbershop and pop.
From leftt: Ross Barbour, Bob Flanigan, Ken Errair and Don Barbour
As the clean-cut quartet’s tenor and lead singer, Flanigan developed a vocal style that later influenced such close-harmony groups as The Beach Boys, The Lettermen and The Manhattan Transfer, among others.
With his cousins Ross and Don Barbour, Flanigan formed the group in 1948 at college with a friend, Hal Kratzsch. Flanigan played trombone and string bass and sang lead vocals. Don Barbour was killed in a car crash in 1961, and Kratzsch died in 1970. Although they had only a handful of chart hits, the group produced more than 50 albums and 70 singles, and over the years earned six Grammy nominations.
Their best-known recordings were It’s a Blue World (1952), Mood Indigo (1954), Day by Day (1955) and Graduation Day (1956).
Robert Lee Flanigan was born on August 22 1926, at Greencastle, Indiana. After service in the US Army, he went to Butler University in Indianapolis, where he joined a barbershop quartet, Hal’s Harmonisers, started by Ross and Don Barbour.
When the group’s tenor, Marvin Pruitt, developed stage fright, Flanigan replaced him in 1948. They changed their name to The Four Freshmen — they never graduated from college on account of their musical success — and Flanigan quickly became the group’s frontman.
Unlike other close harmony groups, The Four Freshmen provided their own backing sound, all doubling on at least one instrument. Flanigan played trombone in the smooth style of Stan Kenton and sang in the way he played.
All four Freshmen admired Kenton’s jazz orchestra arrangements and began to layer and arrange their vocals in a similar style.
The group developed a following among other jazz artists, among them Woody Herman and Dizzy Gillespie. When Stan Kenton attended a Four Freshmen concert, he was so impressed that he recommended the quartet to his record label, and Capitol signed them immediately.
The group’s first single, Mr B’s Blues, was released late in 1950. But their first big hit came in 1952 with It’s A Blue World. By 1954, when they released their arrangement of Duke Ellington’s Mood Indigo, one of the group’s biggest hits, The Four Freshmen were well-established. They charted consistently between 1954 and 1957.
Throughout the 1950s they also found success with their albums. These were thematic in approach, all the tracks having some common element, and were promoted with titles such as Four Freshmen and Five Trombones; Voices In Modern; Voices in Latin; and Voices in Love. This thematic approach, as much as the style of harmony, influenced and inspired Brian Wilson when he founded The Beach Boys.
According to Ross Barbour, the last surviving original member of the group, the Freshmen always intended to perpetuate their sound by replacing individual members as they left or retired. In 1992 Flanigan became the last founding member to stand down, after 44 years on the road.
His last album as a performer with The Four Freshmen was the 1992 Christmas release Freshmas! But he continued as manager for another five years and remained the group’s musical adviser and mentor until his death.
The Four Freshmen continue to perform and record. The current line-up — the 22nd — comprises Brian Eichenberger, Curtis Calderon, Vince Johnson and Bob Ferreira.
Their close-harmony sound continued to earn praise in American jazz circles, winning the Down Beat reader’s poll in 2000 as Best Vocal Group of the Year.
Bob Flanigan’s first marriage ended in divorce. He is survived by his second wife, Mary, whom he married in 1963, and by two children from his first marriage and four from his second.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Wallace McCain

Wallace McCain, who died on May 13 aged 81, became a billionaire by selling more frozen chips than anyone else in the world, having co-founded the McCain Foods empire with his elder brother – with whom he later fell out. 

Wallace McCain Photo: REUTERS/CORBIS
This year, Forbes Magazine ranked McCain at No 512 on its annual list of the world's billionaires, estimating his personal net worth at $2.3 billion (£1.45 billion). Described as "a steely-eyed, hard-nosed capitalist", McCain also earned a reputation for salty language.
With his brother Harrison, Wallace McCain founded McCain Foods in Canada in 1956, building it into one of the world's largest frozen food companies. It was said that McCain fries were darker and tastier than American imports because they were cooked longer before being frozen.
It now operates in 44 countries and produces more frozen oven-ready chips than any other company in the world. By 2002 the chipping plant at McCain's British head office near Scarborough was processing an average of 1,200 tonnes of potatoes each day.
The brothers' success story began a little more than 50 years ago, when they followed in the footsteps of their father, who owned a seed potato exporting business in their home town of Florenceville, New Brunswick (pop 1,000). They hired 30 employees at their new plant and sold $152,000 worth of chips in 1957, their first year.
But as more consumers demanded the convenience of prepared foods, the company expanded over a 15-year period into Britain – where it opened its first factory in 1969 – Australia and the United States.
Throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, McCain gobbled up European and American businesses, moving into the frozen pizza, vegetable and fish processing markets, as well as the juice business, while increasing its number of plants around the world.
But in 1994 Wallace McCain was forced out as co-chief executive officer after a bitter public feud with his elder brother about who would take over the company. Wallace wanted his son, Michael, to take charge, but Harrison preferred outside managers. Eventually the courts sided with Harrison, who later went on to name his nephew, Allison McCain, as his successor. Harrison McCain died in 2004.
"The biggest thing that happened to me in the past 25 years –and in my life –was being dumped from McCain Foods," Wallace told a reporter in 2009. But he remained a board member and continued to hold a one-third interest.
Though forced to leave the company he had helped set up, he was unable to stay away from the industry that had made him a billionaire. In 1995 he bought Maple Leaf Foods, a Toronto-based maker of delicatessen meats, bread and other prepared foods. Under McCain's supervision the company grew to more than 21,000 employees, and is now run by his son Michael.
Both brothers were famous for lacing their business dealings with lashings of bad language. One former provincial premier, Frank McKenna, joked that if they were ever prevented from swearing, they would become functionally illiterate. McKenna said that after spending time with the McCains, he had to take time off to cleanse his own vocabulary.
George Wallace Ferguson McCain was born on April 9 1930, the youngest son of AD McCain, a potato seed exporter and founder of McCain Produce. Wallace descended from a long line of Irish potato farmers who emigrated to Canada in 1825 to seek a better life in the New World.
By all accounts, the young Wallace was something of a hell-raiser, and he was reportedly sent down from Acadia University in Nova Scotia for "carousing". "At Acadia I didn't do any work," he admitted later. "It was a Baptist school and I was in trouble all the time." Matters did not improve at the University of New Brunswick, and it was only when he settled at his third college, Mount Allison University, that he knuckled down to his studies, graduating in 1952.
Having joined Green Grass Insecticides as a salesman, McCain soon moved on to a hardware company, and rose to the rank of general manager. He and his brother then explored a number of ideas for a start-up business of their own before Robert, another older brother, suggested they consider frozen food.
Although the technology that made frozen food possible was in its infancy, both Wallace and Harrison quickly grasped the possibilities and founded McCain Foods in 1956, focusing initially on French fries.
Despite his colourful language, McCain's air of brash exuberance was tempered by a self-deprecating manner. While Harrison, with his "motor mouth and million-dollar smile", was the front man, Wallace McCain, with a quieter brand of charisma, tended to remain in the background.
The brothers set about building a global organisation from their base in the Canadian sticks, taking off on a Sunday night or a Monday morning from the tiny airstrip at Florenceville in their corporate jet and returning on a Thursday or Friday. At the height of their empire-building, Wallace McCain estimated he spent about 140 nights a year sleeping aboard the aircraft.
Wallace McCain would often work 18-hour days. But unless he was travelling, he made a point of eating breakfast and dinner with his family every day, and scheduled his work abroad to bring him home at the weekends. Both he and his wife fostered a strong family and work ethic. All four of their children lived within 10 minutes of their parents.
McCain was also renowned for his philanthropic activities, fundraising for the Canadian National Ballet School, and establishing an entrepreneur training institute in his name at the University of New Brunswick."I liked making money," he once said, "but I love giving it away even more."
In 1995 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, one of the country's highest honours.
Wallace McCain married, in 1955, Margaret Norrie, whose father founded the Malartic Gold Mines. She and their four children survive him.

Samuel Wanjiru

Samuel Wanjiru, who has died after falling from a balcony at his home aged 24, was Kenya’s first Olympic marathon champion; he took the gold medal at the Beijing Games in 2008, and his time of two hours, six minutes and 32 seconds, shaved nearly three minutes off the previous Olympic record set in 1984 by Carlos Lopes of Portugal. 

Samuel Wanjiru
Samuel Wanjiru after winning the gold medal for the marathon at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing Photo: GETTY
Wanjiru’s personal best time — two hours, five minutes and 10 seconds — came in the 2009 London Marathon. He also won the 2009 Chicago Marathon, which put him top of the 2008-09 World Marathon Majors rankings and earned him $500,000.
His victory at Chicago in 2010 — when he recorded the fastest time ever recorded in an American marathon — meant that he was the youngest runner to win four major marathon events.
Samuel Kamau Wanjiru was born in Kenya on November 10 1986, a member of the Kikuyu tribe. Brought up in poverty by his mother, Hannah, he dropped out of school at the age of 12. He had already caught the attention of Francis Kamau, a coach with the Mutual Fair Exchanges athletics club; and under the club’s auspices, Sammy finished third in the Kenya National Primary Athletics Championships 10,000m race when he was 14. Lack of money, however, prevented further progress, and Sammy returned to his home.
He was soon offered a place at the Mt Kenya High Altitude Training Camp in Nyeri, where he was spotted by Sunnichi Kobayashi, a Japanese athletics promoter based in Kenya.
In March 2002 Kobayashi arranged for the boy to move to Japan, where he was enrolled in Ikuei Gakuen High School in the northern city of Sendai.
Sammy later said: “My mother was very happy because she had no money to send me to high school. It changed my life.”
He learned to speak Japanese, developed a taste for sushi, and trained hard as an athlete, often running 12 miles a day. As a member of the high school’s athletics team, Sammy excelled at ekiden (a long-distance relay race) and went on to win major cross-country events. In 2005 he joined the Toyota Kyushu athletics team.
Wanjiru’s next stop was Europe. In 2005 he won the Rotterdam Half Marathon in a world record time. In March the following year he took the Fortis City-Pier-City Half Marathon at The Hague, in the Netherlands, with a time of 58:33, another world record (for that achievement he received $25,000, which he donated to a children’s home in Nyahururu where his mother worked).
In 2007, back in Japan, Wanjiru progressed to the full marathon, winning the Fukuoka marathon with a course record of 2:06:39. The following year he finished second in the London marathon before going on to win the gold medal in Beijing.
He attempted to defend his London marathon title in the 2010 London marathon, but retired in the middle of the race so as not to aggravate a knee injury. It was the first time in six marathons that he had failed to finish.
Wanjiru did not take part in this year’s race in London, perhaps owing to personal problems that suggested that his life might be beginning to unravel.
Last December he was charged in Kenya with threatening to kill his wife, Tereza Njeri, and with illegal possession of an AK-47 assault rifle. In February this year Tereza withdrew her accusation of attempted murder, saying that they had been reconciled. “I have come to tell the court that we have solved our differences. Our matters will be settled out of the courtrooms,” she said.
But Wanjiru was still due to appear in court — on May 23 — on the firearm charge. He had also suffered minor injuries in a car crash in January after he swerved to avoid an oncoming truck.
On May 15 Sammy Wanjiru fell from a balcony at his home in Nyahururu, in the Rift Valley 150 kilometres north-west of Nairobi, suffering fatal injuries. Local police said it appeared that Wanjiru had taken his own life after a row with his wife, who had unexpectedly returned home to find him entertaining another woman.
He is survived by his wife and their daughter.

Terence Longdon

Terence Longdon, who died on April 23 aged 88, was a character actor who specialised in seduction, lounge-lizardry and murder conspiracies; he made his name, however, as the airline adventurer, Garry Halliday. 

Terence Longdon
Longdon in 'The Return of Sherlock Holmes'  Photo: ITV / Rex Features
Longdon played Halliday, in the series of the same name, for 50 episodes. Eventually, however, its Biggles-style stories began to look dated, and it was replaced by Dr Who.
As an actor Longdon, adept with the whisky decanter and soda siphon and elegant in his tailoring, could also appear to have emerged from a bygone era. In an earlier generation, for example, his stage manners and good looks might have taken him to the very top of his profession. But by the 1950s and 1960s public affection for the smoothness of performances like his, however skilled the technique, was dwindling.
The Secretary Bird Theatre Programme None the less, his affable persona proved a reassuring presence on stage, for example as John Brownlow, the eligible (but "not unduly flash") lover in William Douglas Home's The Secretary Bird (l968-71).
In the play Brownlow is poised to steal away the wife of a writer until the potential-cuckold contrives for him to fall for a different woman instead; it proved Longdon's longest engagement, and he played the part over a thousand times during a run of 1,463 performances.
The son of Joseph Longdon and his wife Florence Violet (Tully), Terence Longdon was born at Newark-on-Trent on May 14 1922 and educated at Minster Grammar School, Southwell. He trained at Rada from l946-48 and first appeared on the professional stage aged 26, at the Lyceum, Sheffield, in The French for Love.
Parts in three West End productions soon followed: John Gielgud's revival of Euripides's Medea with Eileen Herlie in the title role; Terence Rattigan's play about Alexander the Great, Adventure Story, starring Paul Scofield; and Gielgud's production of a modern comedy, Treasure Hunt, by MJ Farrell and John Perry.
Longdon soon joined the Shakespeare Memorial Company at Stratford-on-Avon for three seasons under Anthony Quayle's direction. His roles there included Prince Hal – his favourite part of all – to Quayle's Falstaff in Henry IV part I; Oliver in As You Like It; and Cassio to Quayle's Othello. Having toured Australia with the company, he joined, in 1954, the Old Vic company for an American tour, making his New York debut that year as Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
His first West End crime play was William Fairchild's The Sound of Murder, in which he schemed with his mistress to dispose of her husband, a popular children's author (Peter Cushing). After the short-lived Golden Rivet by Laurence Dobie and Robert Sloman, and another short run as Mr Darcy in an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Longdon emerged strongly in 1967 as the tall, handsome Colin, lover of his crippled brother's wife, in Somerset Maugham's The Sacred Flame.
Later that year he played opposite Faith Brook and Felicity Kendall at the Savoy in Minor Murder, based on the true story of two schoolgirl friends who murder one of their mothers when she threatens to separate the pair. The same venue then became his home for several more years for The Secretary Bird. Its success shaped his next roles and in Francis Durbridge's Suddenly At Home Longdon played the conceited but likeable Sam Blaine, a detective story writer and the former lover of a wealthy woman whose husband plots her murder.
Other West End stage credits included Mr Davenport in Rattigan's Cause Célèbre, and the farces Charley's Aunt (with Griff Rhys Jones), When Did You Last See Your Trousers? and Paris Match.
He best film role was as Drusus in Ben Hur (1959); he also appeared in several Carry On films.
Between acting engagements Longdon proved himself an unusually accomplished golfer, buttonholing colleagues at leading clubs into betting on rounds and usually winning.
He married first, in 1953 (dissolved 1960), the actress Barbara Jefford. He married secondly, in 2004, Gillie Conyers, whom he had known since 1987 and who survives him.


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Dolores Fuller

Dolores Fuller, who died on May 9 in Las Vegas aged 88, was the muse and girlfriend of Ed Wood, the screenwriter and director responsible for films such as Bride of the Monster, Jail Bait and The Sinister Urge; in 1980 — two years after his death — he won the accolade “Worst Director of all Time”.

Dolores Fuller
Dolores Fuller (complete with her famous angora sweater) and Ed Wood in 'Glen or Glenda' Photo: ALAMY
There were those who considered that Dolores Fuller was his equal in the acting department. Her most notable role was in Wood’s picture about cross-dressing and transsexuality, Glen or Glenda (1953), which has become something of a cult classic.
She also starred in Wood’s Jail Bait (1954), alongside the bodybuilder Steve Reeves, and had a role in Bride of the Monster (1955), in which a mad scientist kidnaps 12 men with a view to turning them into supermen by using atomic energy; the scientist was played by the former Dracula star Bela Lugosi, a fixture in many of Wood’s films.
Dolores Fuller was much more successful as a lyricist, writing the words to a number of songs performed by Elvis Presley in his films, including Rock-a-Hula Baby for Blue Hawaii (1961). She also penned lyrics for Peggy Lee.
She was born Dolores Eble at South Bend, Indiana, on March 10 1923, but at an early age was taken by her mother to live in Hollywood. Her first venture on to the big screen came at the age of 10, when she made a fleeting appearance in Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night (1934), starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. Asked in later life what she remembered of the great star of Gone With the Wind, she confided: “He had very bad breath and would munch on peppermints.”
On leaving high school, Dolores auditioned for parts in early television dramas. “I did the tours of movie studios in heavy make-up and my mother’s fur coat trying to look older than my years,” she recalled. Her break, if such it was, came when she was introduced to Wood in a Hollywood restaurant and immediately fell in love. “He was completely devoted to me,” she said, “and by casting me as his leading lady wanted me to make it big in the movies. His dressing up didn’t bother me — we all have our little queer habits.”
Wood liked to wear Dolores’s clothes — most famously her white angora sweater, which he featured in Glen or Glenda. She stored the sweater in a freezer and continued to wear it when she appeared at film conventions across America.
When the couple finally split up, Dolores Fuller blamed the break-up on Wood’s alcoholism, claiming: “He woke up drunk.”
She gave up acting in the late 1950s and went on to found her own record company, Dee Dee Records, helping to launch the careers of Johnny Rivers and Tanya Tucker.
Dolores Fuller was portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker in the 1994 biopic Ed Wood, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp as Wood. She declined an offer to make a cameo appearance, and made no secret of her dislike of the film. Towards the end of her life she appeared in two films released on video: The Ironbound Vampire (1997) and The Corpse Grinders 2 (2000).
In 2008 she published an autobiography, A Fuller Life: Hollywood, Ed Wood and Me, co-written with Stone Wallace and her husband, Philip Chamberlin.
To the end she defended her former lover’s reputation: “The films may have been as cheesy as hell, but they have made a mint in sales on video and DVD. Today I believe Eddie would look at his cult position in film history and smile widely.”


David Mason

David Mason, who died on April 29 aged 85, was principal trumpet, at various times, at Covent Garden and the Royal Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras, but he became better known as the piccolo trumpet soloist on the Beatles’ 1967 hit Penny Lane.

David Mason


According to the group’s producer Sir George Martin, it was Paul McCartney who had the idea of adding a trumpet solo to the song after watching Mason play in a performance of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. “There’s a guy in them playing this fantastic high trumpet,” Martin recalled the Beatle saying. Mason arrived at the recording session with nine trumpets and,“by a process of elimination”, it was agreed that the B-flat piccolo trumpet, an octave above the normal, was best suited to the task.
“It was a difficult session, for two reasons,” Martin recalled. “First, that little trumpet is a devil to play in tune, because it isn’t really in tune with itself, so that in order to achieve pure notes the player has to ‘lip’ each one. Secondly, we had no music prepared.” Many professionals bridled at such disorganisation. Happily, Martin recorded, “David Mason wasn’t like that at all. Paul would think up the notes he wanted, and I would write them down for David. The result was unique, something which had never been done in rock music before, and it gave Penny Lane a very distinct character.”
Some Beatles historians have claimed that his solo was speeded up on the final recording, but Mason always denied this. “They were jolly high notes, quite taxing, but with the tapes rolling we did two takes as overdubs on top of the existing song.” Once finished, Mason was told that Penny Lane was to form the B-side to Strawberry Fields. He protested: “I much prefer this to Strawberry Fields.” (“Oh, thanks mate,” replied that song’s composer, John Lennon). In the end the songs were released back-to-back as a double A-side.
David Mason was born in London in 1926 and educated at Christ’s Hospital and the Royal College of Music, where he studied with Ernest Hall. For most of the Second World War he was too young for military service and therefore picked up work in orchestras whose trumpeters had been called up. By the time he was called up to serve in the Scots Guards, he was the youngest member of the then National Symphony Orchestra.
After leaving the RCM, Mason became a member, then principal trumpet, of the orchestra of the Royal Opera House, moving on later to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, then the Philharmonia, where he remained for most of the rest of his career. As a much-loved professor for 30 years at the RCM he taught many of today’s leading trumpet players.
Among other performances, Mason was the flugelhorn soloist for the world premiere of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No 9 in 1958. He also contributed to several other Beatles’ songs, including A Day in the Life; Magical Mystery Tour and All You Need Is Love.
He is survived by his wife, Rachel, and by their son and daughter.

David Sencer

David Sencer, who died on May 2 aged 86, was a leading American health official who became the fall-guy for alleged planning failures during a series of public health scares. 

public health scares.

David Sencer


As director of the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 1966 to 1977, Sencer, a respected scientist, was credited with expanding the role of the agency to include family planning, tobacco control and occupational health. He initiated campaigns on malaria and nutrition and also framed guidelines for quarantining astronauts returning from the moon, which it was feared at the time might be a source of extraterrestrial pathogens. Under his leadership the CDC also led a programme that contributed to the worldwide eradication of smallpox. Yet when health issues entered the political arena, Sencer was caught between politicians’ demands for answers and the scientific language of probabilities.
His troubles began in February 1976, when a swine flu virus attacked more than 200 soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey, causing severe respiratory disease in 13 and one death. Fearing a rerun of the 1918-19 “Spanish flu” pandemic, Sencer advised the White House that the nation should be vaccinated, arguing that the whole American population was “probably susceptible to this new strain”. Six weeks later President Gerald Ford declared the government would vaccinate “every man, woman and child” and asked Congress for an emergency $135 million appropriation.
The mood of panic was exacerbated in July when a group of veterans at an American Legion convention at a Philadelphia hotel were struck down with a mystery lung infection (subsequently known as Legionnaire’s disease), from which 34 died. Amid the mounting hysteria, Sencer dispatched 20 epidemiologists to investigate, but it took several months to determine the cause, which turned out to be a strain of bacteria found in the hotel air-conditioning system. As a result he and the CDC drew criticism for what one congressman termed “a decided lack of organisation”.
With the trauma of the Legionnaire’s outbreak still fresh, the nationwide flu vaccination programme began on October 1. Over the next three months, a third of the adult population of the United States — 40 million people — received the vaccine. But while the flu failed to take hold, doctors began reporting dozens of cases of side effects from the vaccine, particularly a debilitating, and occasionally fatal, disorder of the nervous system known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome. On December 16 the programme was suspended, condemned as a fiasco.
Sencer was relieved of his responsibilities by the incoming Carter administration in 1977.
David Judson Sencer was born on November 10 1924, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where his father, who died when David was four, was in the furniture business. After winning scholarships to the Cranbrook School and Wesleyan University, he joined the US Navy which sent him to medical school at the University of Mississippi. He completed his medical degree at the University of Michigan.
He decided on a career in public health after spending two years recovering from tuberculosis, later earning a master’s degree in public health at Harvard. He joined the US Public Health Service in 1955 and the CDC, as assistant director, in 1960.
After leaving the CDC Sencer worked briefly in the private sector, before his return to public service in 1982 as New York City health commissioner under mayor Ed Koch in the early years of the Aids epidemic. There Sencer argued that drug addicts should be issued with free needles and opposed efforts to close gay “bathhouses”, saying that closure would merely drive the disease underground and make it more difficult to promote the message of safe sex. Again, he found himself in an impossible position – attacked both by moral campaigners accusing him of condoning drug use and immorality and by gay rights groups for dragging his feet.
Despite these travails, he remained involved with the CDC and advised the agency during the 2009 swine flu pandemic.
David Sencer is survived by his wife, Jane, and by their son and two daughters.


Thursday, 12 May 2011

Ernesto Sábato

As an existentialist his work was contemporaneous with, rather than influenced by, figures across the Atlantic such as Camus and Sartre. Both Frenchmen admired his writing, as did Graham Greene, Thomas Mann and, later, Salman Rushdie.
Ernest Sabato
Ernest Sabato
A new “boom” of Latin American writers, including the Colombian Gabriel García Márquez, were also influenced by Sábato, taking his style on to what became known as “magic realism”.
His reputation as an author was assured when, aged 72, Sábato was asked to look into the disappearances of thousands of Argentines under the military regimes of 1976-83. Having been appointed in 1983 by the new democratically-elected president, Raul Alfonsin, he chaired a commission whose report detailed the abductions, tortures or murders of close to 9,000 people.
It was not this that proved so shocking, however, as most Argentines already knew of the deaths and in fact believed the actual toll to be closer to 30,000.
What resonated instead was Sábato’s sudden and public judgment on recently untouchable demagogues and the fact that such figures now faced prosecution – although most of them would eventually be granted amnesty. As a result of Sábato’s work, democracy, for the first time in generations, became tangible to most Argentines.
Sábato’s weighty document was titled Nunca Más (Never Again) but became widely known as “The Sábato Report”. As a cornerstone of the newly-established democracy, it helped efface the nation’s pariah status and so contributed to subsequent economic growth. Sábato explained that his figure of 8,960 desaparecidos (disappeared) was as much as his commission could prove during its nine-month investigation. Completing the report, he said, was “like a slow descent into Hell”.
Ernesto Roque Sábato was born in Rojas, in the pampas of Buenos Aires province, on June 24 1911, the 10th of 11 children of Italian immigrant parents whose families had moved to Calabria from Albania. His father, Francisco, started a bakery which he named Francisco Sábato & Sons while his two boys were still at school, and graduated to owning the local flour mill. Ernesto was introverted, had loud nightmares and regularly sleepwalked.
He graduated from the National University of La Plata with a PhD in Physics in 1938 before travelling to Paris on a research fellowship in atomic radiation at the Curie Institute. “I assisted in breaking the uranium atom,” he once wrote, a “race” which was “being disputed by three laboratories. I thought it was the beginning of the apocalypse.”
In Paris he fell in with artists of the Surrealist movement: “I buried myself with electrometers and graduated cylinders during the morning and spent my nights in bars with the delirious surrealists.” But his daytime work left him feeling “empty” and, after a further spell as a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he decided to quit Physics. “War was approaching, a war in which science was going to be the instrument of mechanised slaughter.” He decided he could have more influence as a writer.
Over subsequent decades “el Maestro”, as his compatriots came to refer to him, wrote thousands of influential essays, short stories and magazine articles. But he published only three novels. Those were enough, though, to win him the Cervantes Prize, the most coveted award among Spanish-language writers, in 1984. His lack of published output, he explained, was because he had a tendency to burn in the afternoon what he had written in the morning – it was not that he was making a point of “being existentialist”. He suffered from depression – nothing really mattered, good or bad. “It may be because I considered that all my work was imperfect, impure, and I found that fire was purifying,” he once said.
It was Sábato’s first novel, El Túnel (The Tunnel, 1948), that brought him to the attention of writers such as Camus and Sartre. A dark, psychological novel relating the confessions of a painter, Juan Pablo Castel, who has murdered the only woman who ever understood him, it is considered a existentialist classic. Camus praised its “arid intensity” and ensured that it was published in French, while it has recently been republished by Penguin Modern Classics. His later books, Of Heroes and Tombs (1962) and The Angel of Darkness (1974), put him on a par, in the eyes of Spanish-language critics, with his compatriot Jorge Luis Borges, although the latter would gain more international fame. The great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda once said: “Sábato’s writing shows greater vitality and imagination that anything since the great Russian novels of the 19th century.”
In 1987 France recognised Sábato’s work by appointing him a Commander of the Légion d’honneur.
Ernesto Sábato’s wife, Matilde (née Kusminsky-Richter), whom he married in 1936, died in 1998. His eldest son, Jorge, died in a road accident in 1995. He is survived by his younger son, Mario, a well-known filmmaker, and his companion of several years, Elvira González Fraga.

Henrietta Llewelyn Davies

Henrietta Llewelyn Davies, who died on March 15 aged 56, was a “psychic astrologer” with a degree in English Literature from Oxford and a client list which included barristers, publishers, writers and investors — not the sort of people usually associated with an interest in reading the stars. 

Henrietta llewelyn Davies
Henrietta Llewelyn Davies 

Henri Llewelyn Davies, as she was known, provided advice on anything from buying property and the stock market to plots of novels, plane journeys, contracts, interior design, jobs and personal relationships. As her website informed putative clients: “If you would like a telephone reading from her, you may ask questions about absolutely any area of your life — anything from, for example, 'What’s my Spiritual Path?’ or 'Tell me about my relationship’ (or work, or money) to 'small’ but vital things such as 'Should I change my car?’.”
“I open my mouth and things fly out,” she explained, though she saw herself as a counsellor as much as soothsayer: “I’ve always dealt mostly in emotional traumas. Everyone knows the world is in a state of flux. The divorce rate is 1.5 in 3”.
Justine Picardie, who consulted her when preparing her novel Daphne, based on the life of Daphne du Maurier (a relation of Henri’s), recalled that when she mentioned that her book would be published in May 2007, Henri Llewelyn Davies remarked matter-of-factly, “I don’t think so.” “Though I very much wanted her to be wrong, she turned out to be right,” Justine Picardie wrote.
Jeanette Winterson was an enthusiastic devotee, claiming that she never made an important decision without consulting Henri Llewelyn Davies first. The two women first met in 1987 when Jeanette Winterson wanted to draw up an astrological birth chart for a novel she was planning. “Henri said I wouldn’t write the novel, and she was right,” she recalled.
As she learned about astrology Jeanette Winterson became more and more amazed by her new friend’s powers of prediction: “Not long after we’d met, Henri said to me, 'You really should give up karate.’ I hadn’t even told her I went to karate classes, but I took no notice, and promptly dislocated my shoulder that night.”
When Miramax bought the film rights to one of her novels, Henri predicted they would never make the film; they never did. On another occasion she advised Jeanette Winterson not to buy a house she had set her heart on; later a farmer obtained planning permission for six properties in the neighbouring field and the people who had bought the house sold at a loss.
Henrietta Llewelyn Davies was born in London on September 12 1954, under the star sign Virgo, into an extraordinary family. Daphne du Maurier (whose short story Don’t Look Now revolves around the role of a psychic) was the first cousin of her grandfather, Jack Llewelyn Davies, one of the five “Lost Boys” adopted by JM Barrie who inspired him to write Peter Pan. Her great-grandmother, Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, was played by Kate Winslet in Finding Neverland, and Sylvia’s father, George du Maurier, was the author of Trilby, the novel that introduced Svengali into popular culture. A great-great grandfather was chaplain to Queen Victoria.
Henrietta’s mother – also named Sylvia – was a single parent, and supported herself and her daughter with a career in advertising (she came up with the slogan “Cheese, please, Louise’’). But Sylvia died of breast cancer when her daughter was 15 and Henri was sent to boarding school, which she hated. Holidays were spent at her grandmother’s house in Cornwall, where she met Daphne du Maurier.
Henri went on to study English Literature at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. After graduating she worked for the publishers Hamish Hamilton, but was fired from her job. Soon afterwards she found an out-of-print book on astrology by Louis MacNeice and discovered her “calling”.
She began travelling, learning about astrology in India. For years she wrote horoscope columns for Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Own, TV Times and other publications, while also offering private consultations. One of her best pieces of advice was to tell a woman not to buy a house in California; it burned down two weeks later following an earthquake.
She experienced a growing awareness of her own psychic powers: “I would often hear voices, very clearly, telling me what to say to a client about their particular circumstances. I found that I could use the birth chart as a basic tool... but that the most extraordinary advice was just coming through. Over and again, clients would tell me how right the advice had been. And I would suddenly know things I couldn’t know in normal life.”
While Henri Llewelyn Davies was prepared to give advice on almost anything, she would never predict illnesses, tragedies or death: “I am not given that information,” she explained. “I can warn, and I can see patterns, but the chart is not destiny, and the voices I hear always concentrate on the ray of hope.”
Henrietta Llewelyn Davies is survived by her partner, James Manning.

John Walker

John Walker, who died on May 7 aged 67, founded The Walker Brothers, the American trio which came to Britain in the 1960s and briefly rivalled in popularity The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. 

John Walker
John, Scott and Gary Walker Photo: Dezo Hoffmann / Rex Features
The Walker Brothers specialised in heavily-produced, booming, often lachrymose ballads which — along with their good looks — found particular favour with teenage girls. The group consisted of John Walker on guitar, Scott Engel on bass and Gary Leeds on drums; they were not related, and each adopted the surname Walker.
Their hits included The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore; Love Her; Make it Easy On Yourself; and My Ship Is Comin’ In. John Walker and Scott Engel provided the vocals, although the latter was always regarded as the more charismatic. John himself admitted: “I haven’t got the same kind of depth to my voice that Scott has, but I do have a good voice for the up-tempo discs. ”
John Walker was born John Joseph Maus on November 12 1943 in New York, but the family moved to California when he was three. He began as a child actor, appearing alongside Betty Hutton in the television sitcom Hello Mom, but in 1957 formed a duo, John and Judy, with his sister. They later met Scott Engel, and, with “Spider” Webb on drums, performed as Judy and the Gents.
John began using the professional name Walker when he was 17 . By late 1964 he, Engel and Gary Leeds had formed The Walker Brothers in Los Angeles — and it was Leeds, who had toured Britain with PJ Proby, who is said to have suggested that they try their luck on the other side of the Atlantic. It was an era when the ambition of most British bands was to crack the American market.
“Gary said we could do really well there,” Scott recalled later. “I wanted to get out of America anyway and go to Europe because I’d always been a European film freak. I wanted to see if I could meet Ingmar Bergman and a few other people. So the three of us came over and started going slowly broke. Nothing was happening and we were freezing to death. Straight from California to this in February 1965.”
In June that year, however, the group had its first big success, reaching the Top 20 with Love Her. They appeared on the television show Thank Your Lucky Stars, on which they were mobbed by female fans, and their next single, Burt Bacharach’s and Hal David’s Make It Easy On Yourself, went straight to No 1 that August. At Christmas the group was at No 3 with My Ship Is Coming In, and in March 1966 they scored their second No 1 with The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore.
This proved to be the height of The Walkers’ popularity. Relations between John and Scott were becoming strained, and in April 1967 they played what turned out to be their last British gig, at the Granada in Tooting. Scott announced that he was leaving the group, John Walker remarking: “If Scott quits then that’s it as far as I’m concerned – he is the Walker Brothers.”
John Walker came up with a solo hit, Annabella, and a couple of albums, If You Go Away and This Is John Walker; Scott embarked on his own successful solo career.
In 1975 The Walker Brothers re-formed and attempted a comeback, and a single — a version of Tom Rush’s No Regrets — made the UK’s Top 10. But three albums later, in the late 1970s, they again went their separate ways.
In the late 1980s John Walker moved to San Diego, where he established his own recording studio. He also formed his own publishing company and record label. He remained popular in Britain, where he toured as part of a Silver 60s show until his health declined. Last December he was diagnosed with liver cancer, but he continued to work until only a few weeks ago, making his last concert appearance in Los Angeles in March.
In 2009, with Gary Leeds, he published a book, The Walker Brothers: No Regrets — Our Story.
John Walker was four times married, and is survived by his fourth wife, Cynthia, and by two sons and two daughters.