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  1. #1276
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    Michael Winner: Death Wish director dies aged 77




    The director became well-known for his action films

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    Film director and newspaper columnist Michael Winner has died, aged 77, his wife Geraldine has confirmed.

    Born in Hampstead, London in 1935, he directed more than 30 films, including Death Wish and Scorpio.

    He was also famous for his barbed restaurant reviews, written for The Sunday Times under the banner "Winner's Dinners".

    Winner had been ill for some time. Last summer, he said liver specialists had given him 18 months to live.

    Paying tribute to her husband, Mrs Winner said: "Michael was a wonderful man, brilliant, funny and generous.

    "A light has gone out in my life."



    Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber said he would "deeply miss" his friend, writing on Twitter: "True originals come rarely in a lifetime."

    Monty Python comedian John Cleese added: "I have just heard the very sad news about Michael. He was the dearest, kindest, funniest and most generous of friends.

    "I shall miss him terribly."

    And Winner's former editor at The Sunday Times, Andrew Neil, said: "So sad to hear of death of my old mate Michael Winner. One of life's great characters."

    Martin Ivens, acting editor of The Sunday Times, added: "For nearly 20 years he delighted readers with his inimitable Winner's Dinners column.

    "He was also not afraid to laugh at himself and rejoiced in the huge postbag of letters which poked gentle fun at him - often he would forward particularly insulting letters that had been sent straight to him for inclusion alongside his column. He will be greatly missed."

    Michael Winner's one-liners

    • The only way to hold a decent dinner party in Hollywood now is to have a seance.
    • Cooking is not a speciality act. It does not require four men juggling lavatories or a set of trapeze artists.
    • Ideally, the average woman needs 25 hours attention a day and if she could get a bit more she'd try for that.
    • Men are ridiculous. Women are far better people. Much wiser (not difficult) and with a temperament to deal with life's complexities and men's abrasiveness. They're also far better at washing socks and darning.
    • I've had 130 lovers so I've had a good run. Geraldine makes up for all of them.
    • A little vulgarity is a thoroughly good thing.
    • I do not lurk. I ponce about, cause trouble, bring light and happiness to the world and generally behave with impeccable (if misplaced) self-assurance.
    A law graduate from Cambridge University, Winner had written about film for local papers and, later, the NME, before he joined Motion Pictures Limited as a writer and editor in 1956.

    By 1962, he had directed his first full-length movie, Play it Cool, a pop musical starring Billy Fury, at Pinewood Studios.

    He established his own film company, Scimitar, in the mid-1960s and made a number of satirical films starring Oliver Reed, including The System and I'll Never Forget What's 'Is Name.

    But he became more well-known for his action movies, especially the violent Death Wish series, starring Charles Bronson as an architect who turns vigilante after his wife and daughter are murdered.

    Speaking to The Big Issue last year, Winner said he knew the film would be his epitaph.

    "When I die, it's going to be 'Death Wish director dies'," he said.

    "I don't mind though - Death Wish was an epoch-making film. The first film in the history of cinema where the hero kills other civilians.

    "It had never been done before. Since then it has been the most copied film ever. Tarantino put it in his top 10 films ever made."

    In later years, Winner also directed and starred in a series of commercials for a car insurance company featuring the catchphrase: "Calm down dear!"

    It was fuel to the fire of critics who felt Winner was a brash, sexist oaf, but he insisted it was all done with a hefty dose of irony.

    "If you create this comedy character of wealth and opulence swanning around, people hate you," he told The Independent in 2010.

    "But the ones who hate me don't get me at all. They don't get the joke."


    In 1963 he directed Diana Dors in a bedroom scene for the crime drama West 11

    For his entry in the 2012 edition of Who's Who, the director listed his interests as "eating, being difficult, making table mats, washing silk shirts" and "doing Pilates badly".

    But he was also a charity campaigner, who established The Police Memorial Trust after the fatal shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984.

    That led to the unveiling of the National Police Memorial in central London, which honours officers killed in the line of duty, in 2005.

    Winner was reportedly offered an OBE for his charity work the following year but turned it down, saying: "An OBE is what you get if you clean the toilets well at King's Cross station".

    The director had experienced a run of ill-health since eating a bad oyster on holiday in Barbados in 2007. It gave him the rare bacterial infection Vibrio vulnificus, which kills about 50 per cent of its victims within 48 hours.

    He was on the brink of death five times and underwent a gruelling 19 operations, including the removal of three tendons, leaving him with mobility difficulties.


    The Queen unveiled the National Police Memorial alongside Winner in 2005

    Later, he picked up the E coli infection from a steak tartare, and was hospitalised eight times in the last few months of his life.

    But he continued to write his weekly column for The Sunday Times until 2 December, 2012, signing off with the headline: "Geraldine says it's time to get down from the table. Goodbye."

    Winner met his wife 56 years ago, but did not marry until 2011 in a small ceremony witnessed by actor Michael Caine and his wife Shakira.

    Mrs Winner said her husband had died on Monday at his home in Kensington, London, where she had been nursing him.

  2. #1277
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    Last Andrews sister, Patty, dies in LA aged 94

    The Andrews Sisters, from left, Maxene, Patty and LaVerne, epitomised the 1940s era


    The last surviving member of The Andrews Sisters - the popular singing trio of the 1940s and 1950s - has died in California at the age of 94.

    Patty Andrews's spokesman, Alan Eichler, said she died from natural causes at her Los Angeles home.

    Patty was the youngest of the sisters whose hits included Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B.

    The Andrews Sisters sold more than 75 million records and entertained World War II troops in Africa and Europe.

    The sisters specialised in swing and played with some of the top band leaders of the era, including Glen Miller, Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey.

    They also appeared in 16 films, including alongside Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Buck Privates and with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in Road to Rio.

    The sisters, who were born in Minnesota, started their careers by performing in local talent shows and later moved to California.

    LaVerne Andrews died of cancer in 1967 and Maxene Andrews died in 1995 after suffering a heart attack.

    In an interview in 1971, Patty said: "There were just three girls in the family.

    LaVerne had a very low voice. Maxene's was kind of high, and I was between. It was like God had given us voices to fit our parts."

    Paying tribute to Patty, singer Bette Midler said: "When I was a kid, I only had two records and one of them was the Andrews Sisters. They were remarkable. Their sound, so pure."

  3. #1278
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    I liked them. I bought one of their records for one penny, pre-decimal currency in 1960.

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    Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch dead at age 88, sources say - NYPOST.com

    Former Mayor Ed Koch dead at age 88: sources
    From POST STAFF REPORT
    Last Updated: 5:48 AM, February 1, 2013
    Posted: 5:04 AM, February 1, 2013
    AP
    Ed Koch served as New York City's Mayor from 1978 until 1989.
    Former Mayor Ed Koch died early this morning, sources told The Post. He was 88.

    Koch had been in and out of the hospital in recent months, and was admitted Monday at New York Presbyterian Medical Center.

    He was moved to intensive care yesterday as his condition worsened.

    Koch – who served as mayor from 1978 to 1989 – died at about 2 a.m. today, sources said.


    Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch had battled health issues in recent months.
    The three-term mayor and former congressman was first elected to City Hall in 1977. Since leaving elected office, he has worked as a lawyer and remained an active presence on the city’s political scene. He also appeared as the judge on the TV show “The People’s Court” for two years.

    A new documentary about Koch’s career premiered at the Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday. He had been expected to attend before falling ill.

    The former mayor's legacy also lives on with the Queensboro Bridge, which was officially renamed in his honor in 2011.

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    Etch A Sketch inventor Andre Cassagnes dies at 86

    Etch A Sketch has had a revival in recent years thanks to its appearances in the Toy Story movies


    The inventor of the classic toy Etch A Sketch has died at the age of 86.

    Andre Cassagnes died in Paris on 16 January, the Ohio Art Company, the US-based firm that made the toy, said.

    Mr Cassagnes came up with the idea for a mechanical toy that creates erasable drawings by twisting two dials in the late 1950s, while working as an electrical technician.

    Picked by the Ohio Art Company at a toy fair in 1959, Etch A Sketch went on to sell more than 100 million copies.

    Etch A Sketch, with its familiar red-frame, grey screen and two white dials, allows children to draw something and shake it away to start again.


    Kites

    Mr Cassagnes saw the potential for the toy when he noticed, while working with metal powders, that marks in a coating of aluminium powder could be seen from the other side of a translucent plate.

    The Ohio Art Company spotted the invention at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 1959, and the next year it became the top-selling toy in the United States.

    "Etch A Sketch has brought much success to the Ohio Art Company, and we will be eternally grateful to Andre for that," the firm's president Larry Killgallon said.

    "His invention brought joy to so many over such a long period of time."

    The toy may seem old-fashioned in an age of tablet computers, but the Ohio Art Company says it still has a steady market, thanks in no small part to its appearance in the Toy Story movies.

    And it became a feature of last year's US presidential campaign, when an aide to Republican candidate Mitt Romney likened his campaign to the toy.

    "You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again," said campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom, a comment seized upon by his rivals as evidence that Mr Romney was willing to change his position to get elected.

    Etch A Sketch has been named by the American Toy Industry Association as one of the most memorable toys of the 20th century.

    As well as being the man behind Etch A Sketch, Andre Cassagnes also developed a reputation as the most successful designer of competition kites in France during the 1980s.

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    Reg Presley of the Troggs dies aged 71

    Reg Presley was the voice behind a number of hit songs in the 60s
    Reg Presley, lead singer of 60s rock band The Troggs, has died aged 71.

    The band's frontman died at his home in Hampshire, his daughter, Karen, confirmed to the BBC.

    The Troggs had a number of hit songs, including Wild Thing and Love Is All Around.

    Music publicist Keith Altham paid tribute to Presley on Facebook, saying his "dear old pal" had died "following a succession of recent strokes and a losing battle with cancer".

    Presley announced his retirement from music a year ago after being taken ill during a concert in Germany and then being diagnosed with lung cancer.

    In January 2012, in a letter to fans by Presley posted on his band's website, he had said: "As you all know I was taken ill whilst doing a gig in Germany in December. During my stay in hospital tests showed that in fact I have lung cancer.

    "I am receiving chemotherapy treatment and at the moment not feeling too bad.

    "However I've had to call time on The Troggs and retire. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the cards and calls and for your love, loyalty and support over the years."

    Love Is All Around became a hit song again in 1994 when a cover version by Scottish band Wet Wet Wet, from the soundtrack of the film Four Weddings and a Funeral, stayed at number one in the UK for 15 weeks.

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    Buffy the Vampire Slayer actor Robin Sachs dies aged 61

    Sachs was a respected voice actor

    British actor Robin Sachs, best known for his role in the hit TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer, has died at the age of 61.

    His villainous character Ethan Rayne was the arch enemy of regular character Giles, played by Anthony Head.

    The London-born actor also played the evil General Sarris opposite Tim Allen in Galaxy Quest.

    His ex-wife Casey Defranco called him "a wonderful person, extraordinarily talented as an actor."

    Staff on his official website wrote: "Please join us in raising a glass to Robin - goodbye, dear friend. Thank you for all the laughter and the cookies. We will miss you so very much."

    Sachs' first role was with the British Hammer film studio, in the movie Vampire Circus.

    He went on to play Adam Carrington in the 1991 miniseries Dynasty: The Reunion when the original actor Gordon Thomson was unavailable.

    Sachs was closely associated with science fiction

    Sachs worked on several sci-fi shows, with appearances in Babylon 5, Star Trek: Voyager and Torchwood: Miracle Day.

    His stage work included touring productions of Hamlet and Twelfth Night.

    In 1999, he appeared heavily disguised under layers of heavy make-up as the baddie Sarris in the satirical comedy Galaxy Quest, which co-starred Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman.

    Later in his career, Sachs provided voices for several video games including Mass Effect 2 and 3 and Resident Evil Damnation.

  8. #1283
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    Carry On and Onedin Line actor Peter Gilmore dies aged 81 after 'long illness'



    • Peter Gilmore also appeared in Doctor Who, The Persuaders and Heartbeat
    • He will be best remembered as the mutton-chopped James Onedin in The Onedin Line
    • Gilmore was married to actress Una Stubbs for more than a decade and went on to marry Anne Stallybrass, who played Onedin's wife in the series
    • Actor Peter Gilmore, who starred in the long-running BBC drama The Onedin Line, has died at the age of 81.

    The star, who also appeared in a number of Carry On films, died at the Trinity Hospice in London after a 'long illness', his family have said.

    German-born Gilmore clocked up appearances in a number of TV dramas such as Doctor Who, The Persuaders, Ruth Rendell Mysteries and Heartbeat.





    But he will be best remembered for his portrayal of the mutton-chopped James Onedin in 91 episodes of the BBC1 series The Onedin Line.

    The saga - with its theme tune familiar to a generation - followed the fortunes of a family shipping line in the second half of the 19th century.









    'Peter was a gentle man and a gentleman and we sorely miss him.'

    Born in Leipzig, he came to the UK at six and was raised in Nunthorpe, North Yorkshire, leaving school at 14 to pursue an acting career.

    His big break was in the TV series Ivanhoe in 1958 and he went on to appear in West End musical stage successes such as Lock Up Your Daughters and The Beggar's Opera.










    Co-stars: Peter Gilmore went on to marry Anne Stallybrass who played his wife in the BBC1 series The Onedin Line



  9. #1284
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    Donald Byrd, Renegade Jazz Trumpeter, Dies at 80


    Donald Byrd, one of the leading jazz trumpeters of the 1950s and early 1960s, who became both successful and controversial in the 1970s by blending jazz, funk and rhythm and blues into a pop hybrid that defied categorization, died on Feb. 4 in Dover, Del. He was 80.


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    Blue and green-screen effects pioneer Petro Vlahos dies




    Mr Vlahos helped perfect the ability to superimpose actors on separately filmed backgrounds

    The special effects industry has paid tribute to Petro Vlahos - the pioneer of blue- and green-screen systems.

    The techniques allow filmmakers to superimpose actors and other objects against separately filmed backgrounds.

    He developed the procedure for 1959's Ben-Hur and then went on to win an Oscar in 1964 after creating a related process for Disney's Mary Poppins.

    The death of the 96-year-old was announced by the company he founded, Ultimatte.

    His innovations continue to be used and developed by the television, film, computer games and advertising industries.

    "Our industry has lost a giant," Everett Burrell, senior visual effects supervisor at Los Angeles-based studio Look Effects. told the BBC.

    "It's hard to even conceive of how we would do what we do without the amazing number of processes and techniques he pioneered. All visual effects professionals and movie fans owe him a debt of gratitude."

    Look Effects has built on Mr Vlahos' achievements to create work for the movies Avatar, The Life of Pi and the upcoming Superman film, Man of Steel.

    Mr Vlahos's techniques were used in dozens of Disney movies


    Six-month idea

    Mr Vlahos was not the first to use a blue-screens - earlier versions of the technique can be seen in films including The Thief of Bagdad, and The Ten Commandments.

    But he is credited with developing a way to use it that minimised some objects appearing to have a strange looking glow as a side-effect.

    He called his invention the colour-difference travelling matte scheme.

    Like pre-existing blue-screen techniques it involves filming a scene against an aquamarine blue-coloured background.

    This is used to generate a matte - which is transparent wherever the blue-colour features on the original film, and opaque elsewhere. This can then be used to superimpose a separately filmed scene or visual effects to create a composite.

    Mr Vlahos's breakthrough was to create a complicated laboratory process which involved separating the blue, green and red parts of each frame before combining them back together in a certain order.

    He also noted in a patent filing that the process allowed the blue-screen procedure to cope with glassware, cigarette smoke, blowing hair and motion blur which had all caused problems for earlier efforts.

    Movie studio MGM had commissioned him to invent it. Mr Vlahos later noted that it had taken him six months of thought to come up with the idea, much of it spent staring out onto Hollywood Boulevard.

    The diagram used to outline Mr Vlahos's original blue-screen colour separation processing technique

    He later created a "black box" - which he called Ultimatte - to handle the process, first for film and then electronically for video.

    Acting alongside cartoons

    Mr Vlahos was also awarded a patent for his work on a related technique called sodium vapour illumination, which he developed for Disney.

    This involved filming the actors' scenes against a while backdrop using sodium-powered lamps which caused a yellow glow to bounce off the background.

    The camera featured two film stocks shot simultaneously, and a prism on its lens.

    The prism split the yellow sodium light away from the other colours, sending it to a black-and-white-based film stock which was then used to create the matte.

    Meanwhile, the other film stock recorded the scenes in colour without the sodium's yellow cast being visible.

    The advantage was that this created an even cleaner effect than Mr Vlahos' original blue-screen efforts.

    Disney used Mr Vlahos's version of the technique to make Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and Pete's Dragon - among other movies - letting its actors appear to interact with cartoons.

    Alfred Hitchcock also borrowed the technique for The Birds, and Warren Beatty later used it in Dick Tracy.

    Ultimatte now offers a software plug-in for Avid and Apple's Final Cut editing programs

    However, it has since fallen out of favour because the equipment involved is more expensive and cumbersome to operate, and the quality of blue- and green-screen techniques has improved.


    'Extraordinary significance'

    Mr Vlahos ultimately racked up more than 35 movie-related patents and went on to co-found his company, Ultimatte Corp, with his son Paul in 1976.

    It now focuses its efforts on making AdvantEdge, a compositing software plug-in.
    Robin Shenfield, chief executive of visual effects studio The Mill, recalls meeting Petro Vlahos several times in the 1980s and says he came across as "unassuming", despite his many achievements.

    "I remember him being rather quiet," he told the BBC.

    "He was a scientist - he wasn't a showman, although I think he rather liked the involvement of his technology in the world of entertainment. Ultimatte had a bit of razzmatazz about it as a company."

    The BBC is among the many organisations which commonly used green-screen techniques in its programmes

    The Mill has since used blue- and green-screen technologies to create visual effects for the film Gladiator, the BBC's Dr Who television series and director Guy Ritchie's Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 trailer among other works.

    "It's the absolute building block of all the visual effects that you see in television and movies," added Mr Shenfield.

    "It's significance is extraordinary. Everything people like us and others are still built on that fundamental ability to take lots of elements from lots of places and seamlessly mesh them into a new convincing reality.

    "Mr Petro - and his family - were pioneers in our industry for which he should be remembered."

  11. #1286
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    I can remember watching him star in Marriage Lines with Prunella Scales.
    One of the first TV programmes I ever watched.

    He was a brilliant actor who could convincingly play different roles.
    I will always remember him in an episode of Morse where he played a nasty, evil university don.
    The complete opposite of Tom Good.

    RIP

  13. #1288
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    This thread is on one hand depressing and the other hand brings back great memories.

    RIP all those who have entertained me over the decades.

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    Hi Loy Toy

    I agree with you. Reading through this thread feels like bidding goodbye and farewell to old friends !


    QUOTE=Loy Toy;2364200]This thread is on one hand depressing and the other hand brings back great memories.

    RIP all those who have entertained me over the decades.[/QUOTE]

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    Mr & Mrs gameshow host Derek Batey dies aged 84

    Derek Batey's gentle presenting style turned Mr & Mrs into a long-running ratings hit
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    Derek Batey, host of ITV gameshow Mr & Mrs in the 1970s and 1980s, has died at the age of 84, his former employers at ITV Border Television have announced.

    He died at a hospice near his home in Lytham St Annes on Sunday night, following a short illness.

    Born in Brampton, Cumbria, the one-time ventriloquist started his broadcasting career with the BBC, then joined Border when it was formed in 1961.

    As well as Mr & Mrs, he presented chat show Look Who's Talking.

    The show had the ambitious aim of bringing the biggest stars of the day to the Border studios in Carlisle.

    In all, Batey worked for Border for nearly 30 years and his passion for his home county was such that he earned the nickname "Mr Border".

    Huge ratings

    He had originally seen Mr & Mrs on a Canadian TV channel and decided to develop a version for Border.

    The gameshow pitted married couples against each other in a quiz that tested how well they really knew their own spouse, and attracted nine million viewers during its heyday in the 1970s.

    Batey presented Mr & Mrs 500 times on TV and 5,000 times on stage after developing a successful theatrical version.

    Phillip Schofield, who presents the modern celebrity version of the show for ITV - on which Batey acted as a consultant - tweeted: "Very sad news. Will be thinking of him when we're next in the studio."

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    Dale Robertson as Jim Hardie in the TV series Tales of Wells Fargo, which ran for four years from 1957.

    In Hollywood, in the days when men were men, Dale Robertson, who has died aged 89, was considered the epitome of masculinity. In the Clarion Call episode from O Henry's Full House (1952), a giggling, snivelling crook, played by Richard Widmark, whom Robertson, a cop, has come to arrest, keeps calling him "the beeg man".

    Robertson, an ex-prize fighter, was indeed "beeg" – tall, well-built and ruggedly handsome, with a gravelly voice. He was tough but fair to men, and courteous to ladies, particularly in the many westerns in which he starred in the 1950s, and in his most famous role, that of special investigator Jim Hardie in the TV series Tales of Wells Fargo.

    He was born Dayle Lymoine Robertson, in Harrah, Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma Military Academy, Claremore, where he was named "all around outstanding athlete". During the second world war, he served with Patton's Third Army, winning bronze and silver stars, before having his knee shattered by German mortar fire. He claimed that, had it not been for this injury, he would have pursued a professional boxing career.

    When Robertson was stationed in California, he had his photograph taken to send to his mother. The photographer liked the picture so much that he enlarged it and put in his window. It was seen by talent agents, who contacted Robertson.

    Without ever having acted, or taken a lesson, Robertson made for Hollywood in 1946, but it took two years before he was given a few small roles at various studios, one as a lifeguard in The Girl from Jones Beach (1949). Then Nat Holt, producer of westerns, cast him as Jesse James in Fighting Man of the Plains (1949). It was a small role, but Robertson got to rescue Randolph Scott from the gallows at the last minute, and was offered a long-term contract with 20th Century Fox.

    He was given a supporting role as a hardened soldier in Robert Wise's civil-war western Two Flags West (1950), and Fox decided to try him in a couple of musicals in 1951: Call Me Mister, starring Betty Grable, in which he played a doting soldier; and Golden Girl, in which he co-starred with Mitzi Gaynor, he as a Confederate spy, she a Yankee showgirl.

    He got his first top billing in Return of the Texan (1952), and subsequently settled down to being a cowboy hero in a number of competently made westerns at Fox, often co-starring with the studio's young contract players, as in The Silver Whip (1953) with Rory Calhoun and Robert Wagner. Occasionally, Robertson had a change of pace, as in the period musical The Farmer Takes a Wife (1953) in which he sang (not badly) We're in Business, with Grable.

    Robertson's favourite among his own movies was The Gambler from Natchez (1954), in which he played the title role of a man on the track of three men who had killed his father. In Sitting Bull, the same year, he played an army major who brings about peace between the Sioux tribe and the American forces. The romance on and off screen was provided by Mary Murphy, who had just played Marlon Brando's girlfriend in The Wild One. She and Robertson were married the same year; however, the marriage was annulled six months later because Murphy claimed her husband did not want children. (Actually, Robertson already had a daughter by his first wife.)

    Robertson, who always professed his love of God and country, was never very co-operative with the press, even once shunning the powerful columnist Louella Parsons. As a result, he won the press Sour Apple Celebrity award for three years running. But then, commented Robertson, "that dang Sinatra had to hit some photographer in the nose and stop me from getting my fourth".

    One of his rare appearances in contemporary clothes was in Top of the World (1955), as a senior jet pilot naturally piqued when transferred from Honolulu to the frozen Arctic.

    As the movie western declined in the late 1950s, Robertson found his niche in westerns for TV, such as Tales of Wells Fargo, which ran for four years from 1957.

    The stories revolved around Robertson as troubleshooter for the pioneering transport company. Not always the most animated of actors, Robertson was effective as a stolid, taciturn type, often letting his left-handed gun speak for him.

    His other long-running series was Iron Horse (1966-68), in which he was a gambler turned railway baron.

    In the 60s, Robertson returned to the big screen in a few B westerns, and starred in the British-made Coast of Skeletons (1964) as a US tycoon whose African diamond operation is being investigated by Richard Todd. However, most of his later appearances were on TV, in series such as Death Valley Days, and as a guest on Love Boat, Murder She Wrote, Dallas and Dynasty, while he lived in semi-retirement at his ranch in Oklahoma.

    There, he and his fourth wife, Susan, and his two daughters, Rochelle and Rebel, who survive him, bred polo ponies and racehorses.

    • Dale Robertson (Dayle Lymoine Robertson), actor, born 14 July 1923; died 27 February 2013

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    Raymond Cusick obituary

    Television production designer who gave Doctor Who's Daleks their distinctive appearance



    The iconic shape of the Daleks – the most enduring villains from the BBC's long-running television science-fiction series Doctor Who – came from the imagination of the designer Raymond Cusick, who has died aged 84. The famous domed silhouette, with three protuberances – eyestalk, sucker arm and gun – and distinctive spherical skirt decorations, has retained its shape even into the current incarnation of the show.

    After Doctor Who, he worked on productions as wide-ranging as The Pallisers (1974), The Duchess of Duke Street (1976-77), Rentaghost (1978), When the Boat Comes In (1981) and Miss Marple (1985-87). A history enthusiast, he most enjoyed productions that required fastidious research. He had a particular interest in the Napoleonic wars and contributed military campaign articles to the journal of the Waterloo Association.

    He provided a vast number of photographs and design sketches for J Jeremy Bentham's 1986 book Doctor Who: The Early Years, and contributed to several Doctor Who DVDs. He was largely self-deprecating about his work, highlighting the ad hoc nature of 1960s television production.

    After retiring from the BBC in 1988, he ran a small hotel in south London with his wife Phyllis, whom he had married in 1964 ("Monster man marries" said the local paper). She predeceased him. He is survived by two daughters and seven grandchildren.

    Raymond Patrick Cusick, television production designer, born 1928, died 21 February 2013

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    For blues enthusiasts who care less for the shock of the new than for the comfort of the old, there was no more reassuring figure than Magic Slim, who has died aged 75. When Slim was in the house, it was as if the clock had been turned back to the 60s, or even the 50s; to a time when blues still represented the lives and tastes of blue-collar African Americans. The sluggish beat, the congested vocals, the guitar wielded with the blunt precision of a miner's shovel, the feeling that the musicians had come to the club or the studio still in their work boots: Slim and his band, the Teardrops, preserved that aesthetic through five decades.

    Yet his name was made not in Mississippi, where he was born, nor in Chicago, where he played, but in Europe. His first five albums came out on French labels, and subsequently more than a dozen – about half of his life's work – appeared on the Austrian label Wolf. Tours and concert bookings took him to the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Scandinavia and Greece; he also visited Japan, and on several occasions Brazil, where he had great success

    Slim received three WC Handy awards for albums he made for Wolf, and subsequently several Blues Music Association awards, including one for blues band of the year in 2003.

    He is survived by his wife Ann, their two sons and four stepchildren, and four children from an earlier relationship.

    • Magic Slim (Morris Holt), blues musician, born 17 August 1937; died 21 February 2013

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    Temptations singer Richard Street dies at 70



    The Temptations (L to R): Richard Street, Dennis Edwards, Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin and Damon Harris

    Motown vocalist Richard Street, a member of the Temptations for 25 years, has died aged 70.

    Street's wife says he died on 27 February at a hospital in Las Vegas after a short illness.

    He sang with Temptations members Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin in the 1950s but didn't join the group until 1971.

    As part of the group, Street had number of hits including the Grammy award-winning song, Papa Was a Rollin' Stone.

    Born in Detroit, Michigan, he was the first member of the band to be born in the city with which they became synonymous.

    His death comes only 10 days after his band mate, Otis 'Damon' Harris, who died on 18 February aged 62, after a 14 year battle with prostate cancer.

    Cindy Street, told CNN: "They're dancing up there in heaven, him and Damon."

    He performed with the band until 1993 when he left due to alleged personal tensions with Williams.

    Street went to hospital five days before he died, suffering from back pain and breathing difficulties. Doctors found he had a clot in a lung.

    He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters

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    Hugo Chávez dead - MiamiHerald.com

    CARACAS Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez survived four elections, a coup and a recall attempt as he became one of Latin America’s most charismatic, influential and controversial leaders. But on Tuesday, the socialist firebrand lost his long-running battle with cancer. He was 58.

    The former tank commander died in Venezuela’s Military Hospital, just a few months after winning a fourth presidential term that would kept him in office until 2019. His passing puts Vice President Nicolás Maduro at the helm of Latin America’s fifth-largest economy until new elections can be scheduled within 30 days.
    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

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    RIP Hugo Chavez - a champion of working people everywhere. Sadly missed.

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    Rock guitarist Alvin Lee dies at 68 - MiamiHerald.com

    British rock guitarist Alvin Lee, founder of the band Ten Years After who burst to stardom with a memorable Woodstock performance, has died. He was 68.

    A statement posted on Lee's official website said he died Wednesday unexpectedly from complications following a routine surgical procedure. Lee's manager, Ron Rainey, said the guitarist died in Spain.

    "We have lost a wonderful, much loved father and companion," said the statement signed by his daughter Jasmin, wife Evi and former companion Suzanne. "The world has lost a truly great and gifted musician."

    The Nottingham, England-born Lee founded the band Ten Years After in 1967. The group first toured the U.S. in 1967, but its popularity exploded following Lee's rousing performance of the song "I'm Going Home" at Woodstock in 1969, which later appeared in the documentary film about the legendary festival.

    Ten Years After released ten albums together featuring the group's mix of blues, swing jazz and rock and toured the U.S. 28 times in seven years.

    Lee left the band in 1975 to embark on a successful solo career that saw him recording with the likes of George Harrison, Steve Winwood and Mick Fleetwood and experimenting with different styles of country rock, rhythm and blues.

    In total, Lee released more than 20 albums over a 45-year career. His most recent, "Still On the Road to Freedom," was released in August 2012 and incorporated a range of styles from rock to blues to jazz to funk.

    Lyons, who played in Ten Years After, called Lee "the closet thing" he had to a brother, recalling "so many great experiences" shared together.

    "He was an inspiration for a generation of guitar players," Lyons said in an email.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    RIP Hugo Chavez - a champion of working people everywhere. Sadly missed.
    RIP. Hugo.
    A strong man. Not afraid to stand up for what he believed in.

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    Kenny Ball, jazz trumpeter, dies at 82


    Kenny Ball died in hospital with his family present, his manager said

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    Jazz trumpeter Kenny Ball has died at the age of 82 after suffering from pneumonia, his manager has confirmed.

    He was best known as the lead trumpet player in the band Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen in the late 1950s and 1960s and for his regular TV appearances with comic duo Morecambe and Wise.

    Ball's manager, Les Squire, said that the musician passed away on the morning of 7 March.

    "If he could have been on stage tomorrow, he would have been," he said.

    Squire said Ball had been ill for a number of weeks and that he had been holding off on bookings until he was better.


    Ball (centre) continued to perform with his Jazzmen right up to his death


    His son Keith has been fronting his father's band at their recent performances and will do so again on Friday at a scheduled concert in Grantham, Lincolnshire that will also feature Acker Bilk, Chris Barber and their respective bands.

    "I've done so many gigs with Kenny it's not true," clarinettist Acker Bilk told the BBC. "Every night with Kenny was different. He was a good lad, with a good sense of humour and a lot of fun to be with."

    Born in Ilford in north-east London, Ball left school at 14 to be a clerk in an advertising agency and started taking trumpet lessons.

    He turned professional in 1953, playing with the Sid Phillips and Eric Delaney bands, before forming his own group, Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen, in 1958
    .
    The band had their first hit record, (I Love You) Samantha, in 1961. Other successes included Midnight in Moscow, March of the Siamese Children and I Want To Be Like You
    .
    He supported his idol Louis Armstrong in 1968 during his last European tour and played at the wedding reception for the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981.




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