Monday, 31 January 2011

John Barry

John Barry Barry's Bond scores included Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice
Composer John Barry, famous for his work on Born Free, Out of Africa and the James Bond films, has died aged 77 of a heart attack.
Born John Barry Prendergast in 1933, the York-born musician first found fame as leader of the John Barry Seven.
His arrangement of Monty Norman's James Bond theme led to him composing scores for 11 films in the series, among them Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice.
His work saw him win five Oscars, while he received a Bafta fellowship in 2005.
His most recent film score featured in the 2001 war thriller Enigma, while a musical version of Brighton Rock, created with lyricist Don Black, had its London premiere in 2004.


  • From Russia With Love
  • Goldfinger
  • Zulu
  • Born Free
  • You Only Live Twice
  • The Lion in Winter
  • Midnight Cowboy
  • Diamonds are Forever
  • Out of Africa
  • Dances with Wolves
  • Chaplin
Awarded an OBE in 1999 for his services to music, Barry was renowned for his lush strings, orchestral swells and elegant melodies.
His work found a new audience when Robbie Williams featured music from You Only Live Twice on his 1998 hit single Millennium.
Current Bond film composer David Arnold paid tribute to his predecessor via Twitter.
"I am profoundly saddened by the news but profoundly thankful for everything he did for music and for me personally," he said.
Barry's son-in-law, BBC business reporter Simon Jack, said he "truly loved writing music as much as people enjoyed listening to it".
"He saw himself as much a dramatist as a composer and his music was inextricably linked to the stories told on the screen."
Jack also remembered him as "a wickedly funny man" whose "passion, genius and sense of humour will be terribly missed by his family and friends".
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Born Free star Virginia McKenna said Barry was "a wonderful musician and composer".
John Barry, pictured in 1967 He won Oscars for Born Free, The Lion in Winter, Out of Africa and Dances with Wolves
Barry's first Oscars came in 1967 for his Born Free score and its iconic title theme.
More Academy Awards followed for the soundtracks he wrote for The Lion in Winter, Out of Africa and Dances with Wolves.
Barry also won four Grammys, a Bafta for The Lion in Winter and a Golden Globe for Out of Africa.
In 2002 he was named an Honorary Freeman of the City of York, an honour he received at a venue in the city where he once used to play trumpet in the 1950s.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Gladys Horton

Gladys Horton, front right, with the Marvelettes Gladys Horton, front right, left the group in 1967
Gladys Horton, co-founder of Motown girl group The Marvelettes, has died at the age of 66.
The band were signed to Berry Gordy's Tamla label and had a US number one single with Please Mr Postman in 1961, released when Horton was just 15.
Her son, Vaughn Thornton, said she died on Wednesday in a nursing home in Sherman Oaks, California, where she had been recovering from a stroke.
Horton was replaced as lead singer in 1965 and left the group in 1967.
She formed the band with school friend Georgia Dobbins in Inkster, a suburb of Detroit.
They originally named themselves the Casinyets - short for "Can't sing yet".
After entering a high school talent contest, the group - now called the Marvels - won an audition with Tamla founder Berry Gordy and singer Smokey Robinson.
They changed their name to the Marvelettes and released Please Mr Postman, which gave them their only US number one hit.
An album quickly followed but it failed to enter the charts.
Their hit song was later covered by the Beatles and went to the top of the US chart again in 1974 with the Carpenters.

Dame Margaret Price

Dame Margaret Price Dame Margaret Price catapaulted to fame overnight
Dame Margaret Price, who was considered one of the world's leading sopranos, has died at the age of 69.
She passed away from heart failure on Friday morning at her home near Cardigan, Ceredigion.
Dame Margaret had performed in venues all over the world.
Born into a musical family in Blackwood, Monmouthshire, she was encouraged to sing by her family, although her father was against a career in music.
In her youth she rarely competed at Eisteddfodau - Welsh cultural festivals in which singing plays a major role - and dreamt of becoming a biology teacher.
But on her music teacher's recommendation she went to London to sing for conductor Charles Kennedy Scott.
A scholarship to study with him at the Trinity College of Music followed when she was just 15.
Dame Margaret Price Dame Margaret's father was initially against her pursuing a career in music but later relented
She made her acclaimed operatic debut with Welsh National Opera as Cherubino in Mozart's Marriage Of Figaro in 1962 before becoming famous overnight when she stood in for Teresa Beganza at the Royal Opera House.
At this point, she was still singing mezzo, but her voice was developed into a soprano and within a few years she was in huge demand.
Her career saw her performing in venues like the Royal Opera House in London, New York, Vienna, Paris and the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.
She returned to Wales to perform many times, including recordings of Mozart's C Minor Mass and Beethoven's Missa Solemnis for BBC Wales TV in the 1980s.
She was awarded the CBE in 1982 followed by the DBE in 1993.
The Munich Opera honoured her with the title Bayerische Kammersangerin.

Diana Norman

Diana Norman, the wife of film critic Barry Norman who wrote a series of historical thrillers under the name Ariana Franklin, has died aged 77.
Mr Norman said his wife, who died at home on Thursday, had been seriously ill and had spent time in hospital.
The couple met while working as journalists on London's Fleet Street, marrying in 1957.
Her first book, Mistress of the Art of Death, received a prize from the Crime Writers' Association.
She also wrote books under her own name, including Pirate Queen, King of the Last Days and The Morning Gift.
According to the former Film programme host, Diana Norman was "a considerable expert on the 12th Century" and "a huge fan of Henry II".
"A great deal of research went into every book she wrote," he told the Press Association.
Mrs Norman leaves two daughters, Samantha and Emma, and three grandsons.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Bernd Eichinger

The German film producer and director Bernd Eichinger has died in Los Angeles at the age of 61.
His company, Constantin Media, said he had suffered a sudden heart attack during a meal with family and friends.
Mr Eichinger's production credits included The Name of the Rose, Perfume and the fantasy adventure The Neverending Story.
He was also the screenwriter and producer of the Oscar-nominated Downfall, depicting Hitler's last days.
The film sparked controversy by portraying the private and human side of Hitler - previously considered taboo in German cinema.
Mr Eichinger won many awards for his work and was particularly noted for his skill in turning novels into successful films.
He had also been involved in opera, directing a production of Wagner's Parsifal in 2005.
In 2008, he was criticised by some for his film The Baader Meinhof Complex, about the 1970s German left-wing terror group, the Red Army Faction.
Relatives of people killed by the group accused him of glamorising them, but Mr Eichinger said he was allowing the "monstrosity of the events" to grab the audience's attention.
The film was nominated for a foreign language Oscar and Bafta and won the prestigious Bavarian Film Award in 2009.
Another controversial film produced by Mr Eichinger was the 1982 movie Christiane F, about teenage drug addicts in Berlin.
The German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said his death was a great loss, adding that he had "marked international cinematography as few others have done," the Associated Press reports.
Culture Minister Bernd Neumann described him as "the German movie scene's motor".
Mr Eichinger leaves a wife, Katja, and a daughter from a previous relationship

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Bhimsen Joshi

One of India's most famous musicians, Bhimsen Joshi, has died at a hospital in the western city of Pune, aged 89.
A legendary singer of Hindustani classical music, Joshi had been ailing for some time and was being treated at the hospital for nearly a month.
Joshi received India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 2008.
The maverick singer was one of the few classical musicians to record film music. He also participated in a popular national integration jingle.
Indian musicians paid rich tributes to Joshi.
Singer Shubha Mudgal said his death came as a "big shock for all students of music in India".
She said despite Joshi's series of illnesses, he would "rejuvenate himself" and begin singing again.
"An era of Hindustani classical music has ended. One of the pillars is gone," said singer Shankar Mahadevan.
Born in 1922 in Gadag in southern Karnataka state, Joshi left home at the age of 11 to pursue his musical dreams.
He hopped from one long distance train to another, paying for his tickets by singing to ticket collectors.
He was even arrested a few times for travelling ticketless.
He also sought out households where he heard musicians lived and worked as servants - the young Joshi once worked as a servant at leading Bengali actor Pahari Sanyal's house after he heard that the actor was very fond of music.
Joshi eventually returned home to train under a teacher.
He worked as a staff musician at India's state-run radio station, All India Radio, before he recorded for the first time in 1944.
Joshi was a prolific performer, travelling extensively at home and abroad and aggressively promoting his overseas concerts through poster campaigns.

Jack LaLanne

Jack LaLanne, the man credited with popularising fitness in America, died on Sunday aged 96. For decades he hosted a television workout show and opened America's first health clubs inspiring a generation of exercise enthusiasts.
If you've ever joined a gym, used a weight machine or owned an exercise video, then it's Jack LaLanne you should thank, or blame.
Jack  LaLanne Jack LaLanne hosted America's first national TV exercise show, alongside his wife.
His efforts to get Americans healthy and fit will live well beyond his 96 years.
Mr LaLanne, who died from respiratory failure due to pneumonia at his home in Morro Bay in California, was a fitness fanatic who encouraged millions of others to follow his lead.
Heavy weights He was a "pioneer" who brought health clubs and gyms to the masses, says Philip Haberstro from the National Association for Health and Fitness.
Jack LaLanne opened his first health studio in 1936 in Oakland, California. Up until then, says Mr Haberstro, gyms were the preserve of bodybuilders, weightlifters and the military.
Mr LaLanne placed an emphasis on using weights to work out, inventing the first leg extension machine, pulley machine using cables, and the first weight selectors - versions of which are still seen in modern day gyms and health clubs.
Writing on his website, LaLanne recalled the resistance he met from people at the time.
"The doctors were against me - they said that working out with weights would give people heart attacks and they would lose their sex drive. Women would look like men and even varsity coaches predicted that their athletes would get muscle bound and banned them from lifting weights."
The Motivator Despite the initial scepticism Jack LaLanne expanded the number of health clubs he ran, inviting women to them and encouraging the elderly and disabled to exercise.
By the 1990s there were more than 200 Jack LaLanne health clubs in the United States, which now operate under the name Bally Total Fitness.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Alex Kirst

Iggy Pop's former drummer and The Nymphs musician Alex Kirst has been killed in a hit-and-run accident in the US, aged 47.
Police say the musician was walking along a desert road in California when he was struck. Officers said there was no evidence the vehicle had braked.
The Nymphs disbanded after their only album release in 1991.
Kirst and his brother Whitey joined Pete Marshal to form The Trolls, backing Iggy Pop on some of his albums.
They played on the Beat 'Em Up and Skull Ring records.

Carolin Berger

German tabloids have been mourning reality TV star Carolin "Sexy Cora" Berger, who died in a coma after her sixth breast operation, aged 23.
Ms Berger, a sex film celebrity, had joined the German version of Big Brother last year, where she behaved more and more outrageously.
She embarked on a series of breast enlargements in a bid to keep her publicity going.
Hamburg prosecutors are investigating her doctors for negligence.
Ms Berger was put in an artificial coma on 11 January because of serious complications after her sixth operation, which took place at a clinic in the north German city.
It is believed she suffered two cardiac arrests after the procedure to enlarge her breasts from a 70F to a 70G (UK: 34F to 34G).
She had wanted to increase the size of her silicone breast enhancements from 500g (18oz) to 800g (28oz) each, Bild newspaper reported.
'Senseless death' "The senseless death of Big Brother star Cora shocks the whole of Germany," Bild said.
"[Her] frail, 48kg (106lb) body struggled against death for 224 hours. She lost. Cora is dead!"
Hamburg tabloid Morgenpost, which had a special section called simply "Cora", said Ms Berger had recently come back from a cruise to Dubai with her husband.
Just before the operation, the Berlin-born TV star tweeted her fans a cute photo of her dog sleeping in a laundry basket, it added.
Prosecutors in Hamburg announced they were investigating the anaesthesiologist and the surgeon who performed the operation at the Alster plastic surgery clinic, on suspicion of negligent homicide.
They said a post-mortem would be performed on Ms Berger.

Sunday, 16 January 2011


Nat Lofthouse OBE, who has died aged 85, was one of the post-war giants of football.
He made more than 450 appearances for Bolton Wanderers, and earned 33 caps for England.
He was a one-man club to his boots. A local Bolton lad, he was signed as a 14-year-old schoolboy by then-manager Charles Foweraker.
He played football during wartime while working as a "Bevin Boy" coal miner, and became professional in 1946.
But on the day he put pen to the paper, on 4 September 1939, he watched in bemusement as the whole Bolton team boarded military transport to join the war which had been declared the previous day.
By today's standards, the players of this era received what seems like a pittance for their efforts.
Lofthouse was given £10 as his signing-on fee. However, he said "I know £10 doesn't seem much these days but it was four times more than my Dad was getting per week as a coal bagger for the Co-Op."
Lofthouse scored 255 goals for Bolton between 1946 and 1960, being prodigious with both feet and a brilliant header of the ball.
He captained Bolton twice at Wembley, the first time in the memorable so-called Matthews Cup Final of 1953, when Bolton were beaten 4-3 by Blackpool.
Then, five years later, he won a winner's medal after scoring the only two goals in the Cup Final against Manchester United


Susannah York

British actress Susannah York has died at the age of 72 after suffering from cancer, her son has said.
She appeared in film, TV and theatre during a career which began in the 1960s.
She was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in the 1969 film They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and won a Bafta for the same role.

Susannah Yorks life in pictures can be found at the above link.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Gary Mason

Tributes have been pouring in for boxer Gary Mason who was tragically killed in a bicycle accident on Thursday, aged 48.
Mason's story is an incredible tale and a case of what could have been for the former British heavyweight champion.
On 6 March, 1991, unbeaten Mason was the favourite going into a fight against up-and-coming 25-year-old Lennox Lewis.
An old eye injury - a detached retina - resurfaced during the fight and the contest was stopped in the seventh round, it was Mason's only defeat.

Read more at the above link.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Dick King Smith

Best-selling children's author Dick King-Smith has died at the age of 88, his agent has confirmed.
The writer, whose 1983 book The Sheep-Pig inspired hit 1995 film Babe, died in his sleep on Tuesday at his home near Bath.
King-Smith had been in poor health in recent years, his agent added.
The writer, who often featured animals in his works, was one of the UK's most prolific, penning more than 100 books since 1978.
The Invisible Dog, Harriet the Hare and The Witch of Blackberry Bottom were among his many other titles.
Born and raised in Gloucestershire, Mr King-Smith fought in Italy with the Grenadier Guards in World War II.
After returning to England, he was a farmer for 20 years before turning his hand to writing.
His first book, The Fox Busters, was published in 1978, when King-Smith was already in his 50s.
He went on to sell more than 15 million copies of his works worldwide, winning numerous awards.

Another of his books, The Queen's Nose, was adapted into a BBC TV series that ran for seven series from 1995 to 2003.
His 1990 story The Water Horse was also turned into a 2007 feature film starring Emily Watson and David Morrissey.
King-Smith was made an OBE in December 2009, an honour his agent said he had been "delighted" to receive.
He is survived by his second wife Zona, three children, 14 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Mick Karn

Mick Karn, the former bass player of pop band Japan, has died at the age of 52 after suffering from cancer.
A statement on Karn's website said the musician "passed away peacefully" on Tuesday at his London home in Chelsea, "surrounded by his family and friends".
Japan came to prominence in the early 1980s with hit albums that included Tin Drum and Gentlemen Take Polaroids.
John Taylor of Duran Duran said he was "one of the great visual and sound stylists of the late-70s/early-80s."
An appeal was launched last year when news of Karn's illness was announced.
Porcupine Tree - a band featuring former Japan keyboardist Richard Barbieri - were among those who donated profits from auctions and album sales.

read more by clicking the link above

Salman Taseer

Most people aren't known to the world until they die, and it seems the same fate happened to Salman Taseer. He was well known in his own part of the world Pakistan but he should now have a greater influence as he was one of a rare breed who stood up for what was right even though as he was taking a stand it would ultimately be signing his death warrent.

It seems that if you have a row in Pakistan and you are christian and the other is Muslim, the Muslim can go to the police and say you have blasphemed against Allah and thus get you arrested and sentenced to death. I am sure if that was possible for every dispute and argument ever to have taken place we would not have enough landfill for the bodies which would have to be disposed of.

For a religion which says it is so peaceful why does it have such a draconian and vicious opposition to anything which does not agree with it. Lets hope Salman Taseer did not die in vein.

Bill Erwin

Character actor Bill Erwin, who in later years was best known for his role as the grumpy old man in US sitcom Seinfeld, has died aged 96.
His son Mike said he passed away from old age and was "happy to the end".
Erwin began his career in 1941 in the film You're in the Army Now. He went on to appear in such TV shows as Gunsmoke, Perry Mason and The Twilight Zone.
But his Seinfeld character, Sid Fields, was the actor's most memorable role, earning him an Emmy nomination in 1993.
The actor passed away on 29 December at his home in Los Angeles, his son said on Tuesday.
"He just ran out of gas," said Mike Erwin. The actor also had another son and two daughters.
Born William Lindsey Erwin in 1914, the Texas native studied at the Pasadena Playhouse and went on to perform on stage around Los Angeles.
He also dabbled as a cartoonist and had work published in the New Yorker, Playboy and Los Angeles magazine.

Gerry Rafferty

Above you will find the link to the Obituary for Gerry Rafferty. No sooner do we lose a great actor which didn't hog the lime light but just got on with his work and putting in great performances we now lose a singer songwriter of the same ilk. Famed for Baker street which is reported to have earned him £80k a year in royalties alone. Gerry also started out with the now famous Billy Connelly, and then moved onto Stealers Wheel to create another classic "Stuck in the middle with you".

I must admit I am of an age when I didn't hear it the first time round and so his music was all new to me when it was re-released in the early 90's. It seems we always seem to lose the talent whilst the opportunists seem to last forever.

I also wonder who will be the third, we have lost an actor, a singer , whom next a comedian ?

Monday, 3 January 2011

Peter William Postlethwaite

The above is a link to the wiki page where you can find the full bio of someone who was incredible as an actor. Someone can always transcend celebrity when they don't find themselves on the front of gossip mags to further their careers but actually do it with talent, and Pete Postlethwaite had that in abundenment (talent not gossip that is)

Below is an obituary from the BBC

Their life was too short

A place where I reflect on peoples lives from all spectrums of the world, who are sadly taken from us.

Because everyones life is too short.