Saturday, 6 August 2011

Grease actress Annette Charles dies at 63

Annette Charles and John Travolta in Grease  
Cha Cha was famously 'the best dancer at St Bernadette's'

Actress Annette Charles, who played Cha Cha DiGregorio, in the hit film Grease, has died at the age of 63.
The actress, who also starred in TV series Gunsmoke and The Bionic Woman, was suffering from cancer.
As Cha Cha, she memorably stole the limelight dancing the hand jive with Danny (John Travolta) at the school dance competition.
She continued acting into the late eighties, but latterly moved into teaching near her home in California.
According to reports, she had only recently been diagnosed with cancer - and died from complications linked to the disease.
A family member told US website TMZ: "Annette had recently started having difficulty breathing and when she went to the doctor she learned that she had a cancerous tumour in one of her lungs."
She died in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Her death comes two months after Jeff Conaway, who played Kenickie in the hit 1978 musical, passed away.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Police Academy actor Bubba Smith dies

Bubba Smith in 2006  
Smith also appeared in such TV series as Good Times, Charlie's Angels and Half Nelson
Bubba Smith, the American football star who found fame on screen playing Hightower in the Police Academy movies, has died at the age of 66.
The 6ft 7in (2m) star won the 1971 Super Bowl with the Baltimore Colts and moved into acting in the late 70s.
He played the softly-spoken Moses Hightower in six Police Academy films.
Smith was found dead at his home in Los Angeles. The cause of death has not been confirmed, but police have said it did not appear to be suspicious.
He began his acting career with small roles in TV shows such as Wonder Woman, Taxi and Charlie's Angels before joining the recruits in the first Police Academy movie in 1984.
Hightower became a regular character in the comedy franchise, known for his gentle nature and physical strength, which saw him lifting cars or wrestling alligators in the pursuit of bad guys.
Born Charles Aaron Smith, he made his name on the field as a fearsome defensive player for Michigan State University.
He moved into the NFL with the Baltimore Colts in 1967 and played for the Oakland Raiders and the Houston Oilers, before retiring from the sport in 1976.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Audrey Besterman

Audrey Besterman 
Audrey Besterman was known for her creative intelligence, medical knowledge and artistic versatility
Audrey Besterman, who has died aged 90, was a medical artist and scientific illustrator. Between 1955 and 2005, her work was published in more than 100 books and periodicals. Audrey became much sought after for her creative intelligence, medical knowledge and artistic versatility.
The third daughter of a physician, Charles Brehmer Heald, and Edith, a GP's daughter, Audrey had medicine in her genes. She was born in Kimpton, Hertfordshire. On leaving school, she enrolled in 1937 at the Byam Shaw School of Art. She enlisted in 1939 as an ambulance driver and described this period, when she had to deal with some gruesome calls during the blitz, as one in which she really grew up.
In 1944, she married a young medical student, Edwin Besterman. After their divorce, in 1955, she became a single mother with two boys to bring up – my brother, Harvey, and me. Combining her training in medicine and art, she hit on the idea of becoming a medical illustrator – work that she could do from home. A nine-month apprenticeship at Guy's hospital, in London, set her up.
She illustrated more than a dozen books for Faber & Faber and 72 monthly supplements to the Nursing Times, entitled Systems of Life. Her most exquisite work includes her pen and ink wash studies of early hominin bone: she worked from the object, which entailed access to unique material.
In 1961, she married Harold Nottman, with whom she enjoyed a long and happy partnership, acquiring a stepson, Bruce, in the process. Audrey had a particular talent for friendship, often sustained across generations and great distances with the easy flowing care of an inexhaustible blue fountain pen and an elegant, cursive script. There are many people who remember her affection, warmth and wisdom.
Harvey died in 1997 and Harold in 2008. Audrey is survived by Tristram and four grandchildren.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Richard Pearson

Richard Pearson, left, with Anna Massey in ITV’s The Bank Manager’s Wife
Richard Pearson, left, with Avril Elgar in ITV's The Bank Manager's Wife, 1982.
It was the destiny of the actor Richard Pearson, who has died aged 93, to be remembered for his role in one of the most famous theatrical failures of modern times: what you might call a flop d'estime. In 1958, he was the original Stanley in Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party. After a short, highly successful provincial tour, the play was critically slaughtered when it opened at the Lyric Hammersmith in London in May 1958. In all, Pearson enjoyed a fruitful career spanning around 70 years, often playing harassed establishment figures, but it was Stanley that he always listed as one of his favourite parts. He reprised the role in an ITV production in 1960.
With his high-pitched voice and crestfallen features, Pearson conveyed Stanley's baffled vulnerability. As Harold Hobson, the play's sole critical champion in 1958, wrote in the Sunday Times: "Pearson's Stanley, excellent throughout, is very moving in [his] hurt wonder when given the child's drum as a birthday present."

The Birthday Party 
Richard Pearson, right, as Stanley, in the first production of Pinter’s The Birthday Party, at the Lyric Hammersmith, 1958
I once asked Pinter if the character of Stanley, a reclusive seaside lodger victimised by the invasive figures of Goldberg and McCann, had become more aggressive in later revivals. Pinter assured me that Pearson had got it right from the start, and had caught the element of cruelty in Stanley's goading of his voracious landlady, Meg, and hinted at his later resistance to his tormentors. Only with time did the political implications of Pinter's play become fully clear.
Born in Monmouth, south-east Wales, Pearson was educated in Worcester and Monmouth and made his first appearance on stage at the old Collins Music Hall in Islington, north London, in 1937. But, like many actors, he found his career interrupted by the second world war. He served in the army, in the 52nd Lowland Division, was mentioned in dispatches and reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.
On being demobbed in 1946, he quickly found work in the small London theatres, such as the Embassy in Swiss Cottage and the Q by Kew Bridge, that were the prototype of the modern fringe. In 1949, he married the actor Pat Dickson, whom he had met the previous year when they both auditioned successfully for a production of This Is Where We Came In.
With his solid physique and faintly plaintive air, Pearson soon graduated to the kind of drawing-room comedies that were staple West End fare in the mid-1950s: plays such as Arthur Macrae's Both Ends Meet, Gerald Savory's A Likely Tale and William Douglas Home's The Iron Duchess. After The Birthday Party, however, his career took a more decisive turn.
His capacity for conveying either outraged dignity or the frailty lurking within seemingly secure figures found its outlet in a number of very good productions. He played Maggie Smith's increasingly jealous husband in Peter Shaffer's The Public Eye in 1962 and was an empurpled cardinal in Edward Albee's Tiny Alice at the Aldwych in 1970.
He moved on to play William Cecil, opposite Eileen Atkins's Queen Elizabeth I, in Robert Bolt's Vivat! Vivat Regina! at Chichester – where he had a particularly strong period in the 1970s – and in the West End. He was then totally at home as the bonhomous but mountingly indignant Mr Hardcastle in a revival of Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer at the Young Vic in 1972.
He was later reunited with Smith in the West End, in a 1987 production of Shaffer's Lettice and Lovage, where he was a wonderfully bemused solicitor, and again in 1993 in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Nicholas Hytner.
Pearson was the kind of actor on which the British theatre has always relied: utterly dependable and totally distinctive. His particular forte, with his slightly fluting voice, was for revealing the chink in the armour of middle-class respectability. Inevitably his capacity for bourgeois fluster led to a long career in television, where he made his first appearance in 1947.
He entered films three years later, with appearances in The Girl Is Mine (1950) and The Woman in Question (1950). He went on to appear in Anthony Asquith's The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964), Albert Finney's Charlie Bubbles (1967), John Schlesinger's Sunday Blood Sunday (1971) and Roman Polanski's Pirates (1986).
He subsequently had success in several popular TV series including The Wind in the Willows (1984-88), as the voice of Mole; One Foot in the Grave (1992), as Victor Meldrew's absent-minded brother; My Good Friend (1995-96), as George Cole's fellow pensioner; and Men Behaving Badly (1995), as Gary's father. He could always be counted on to play doctors, accountants, politicians, policemen and churchmen: anyone, in short, who seemed to embody professional solidity. Pearson always managed to invest these characters with an inner life and a look of wounded dignity.
He is survived by Pat, their sons Simon and Patrick, who is also an actor, and two grandchildren, Katie and Anna.

• Richard de Pearsall Pearson, actor, born 1 August 1918; died 2 August 2011

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

John Hoyland

John Hoyland obituary View larger picture
John Hoyland showed in London's Situation exhibition, which kickstarted the 60s art scene, and his career took off from there. 
A painter and printmaker of prodigious creative energy and imagination, John Hoyland, who has died aged 76 of complications following heart surgery in 2008, was widely recognised as one of the greatest abstract artists of his time. From the beginning of his career, he unwaveringly championed the centrality of abstraction to the living history of modernist art. "Non-figurative imagery possessed for me," he wrote, "the potential for the most advanced depth of feeling and meaning."
For Hoyland, it was necessary for paintings to be self-sufficient machines, constructed to convey a powerful charge of visual, mental and emotional energy without recourse to any historically established figurative imagery. The expressive force of his paintings derives from the intensity and conviction of their engagement with colour, scale and abstract form, rather than with any direct expression of personal feeling. Hoyland understood the force of Braque's wonderful maxim: "Sensation, revelation!"
Hoyland was born in Sheffield to a working-class family. He was educated from the age of 11 in the junior art department at Sheffield College of Art, progressing to the senior school four years later. It was there that he met his first great friend in art, Brian Fielding, and began his passionate critical-creative engagement with painting.
The work in his finals show at the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 1960, was ordered off the walls by the then president of the Royal Academy, although Hoyland was still awarded his diploma. Within months, he was exhibiting with some of the best British artists of the day in Situation, a show of "large abstract paintings" organised by the artists themselves with a little help from the critic Lawrence Alloway. Situation kickstarted the 60s art scene, and London quickly became one of the most exciting art capitals in the world.
Hoyland was the youngest artist in the show, and his career followed a spectacular trajectory over the course of the decade. After showing in the follow-up exhibition, New London Situation, in 1961, he was taken on by Marlborough, at that time the most prestigious commercial gallery in London. When a critic described his paintings as "exquisite and refined", Hoyland was shocked: "Painting should be a seismograph of the person, and if I'm being 'exquisite', I'm being false. That's why I ditched all that optical hard-edge painting." It was by no means the last time Hoyland would attain a mastery of means, only to change direction deliberately and reinvent his manner and style.
In March 1964, Hoyland was featured in Bryan Robertson's New Generation showcase of young painters at Whitechapel Art Gallery, joining a brilliant galaxy of rising stars including Patrick Caulfield (who became a lifelong friend), David Hockney, Paul Huxley, Alan Jones and Bridget Riley. Not long after, he embarked on an astonishing series of huge acrylic canvases of high-key deep greens, reds, violets and oranges deployed in radiant fields, stark blocks and shimmering columns of ultra-vibrant colour. It was an achievement in scale and energy, sharpness of definition, originality and expressive power unmatched by any of his contemporaries, and unparalleled in modern British art. Visiting the studio in late 1965, Robertson immediately proposed a full-scale exhibition at the Whitechapel.
His one-man exhibition at that gallery in the spring of 1967 was a defining moment in the history of British abstract painting. It consolidated Hoyland's reputation, and established him without question as one of the two or three best abstract painters of his generation anywhere in the world.
Hoyland went to live and work in the United States in the late 1960s, and he was welcomed into the company of New York artists and critics including Clement Greenberg, Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Barnett Newman and Kenneth Noland. Although he counted the younger "cooler" painters such as Noland, Larry Poons and Jules Olitski among his friends there, it was always the brave and visionary older generation painters with whom he felt most sympathy.
Newman especially struck a deep chord: "The image we produce," Newman had written, "is the self-evident one of revelation, real and concrete, that can be understood by anyone who will look at it without the nostalgic glasses of history."
Hoyland never felt particularly happy in the competitive hothouse of east coast painting. Encountering in a New York gallery the work of Hans Hofmann and recognising its European roots was a crucial epiphany. Acknowledging that he belonged essentially within the tradition of British and northern European colouristic expressionism, in 1973 Hoyland returned to England. Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Emil Nolde and Nicolas de Staël had all been deeply admired by Hoyland from early in his artistic life. His painting from this time until the mid-1980s was to be characterised by high colour, architectonic structures loosely based in geometric forms, and a richly textured, painterly surface.
For a talk at the Tate in the 80s, Hoyland wrote a wonderfully undiscriminating and inclusive list of the subjects, experiences and objects that fired his imagination: "Shields, masks, tools, artefacts, mirrors, Avebury Circle, swimming underwater, snorkelling, views from planes, volcanoes, mountains, waterfalls, rocks, graffiti, stains, damp walls, cracked pavements, puddles, the cosmos inside the human body, food, drink, being drunk, sex, music, dancing, relentless rhythm, the Caribbean, the tropical light, the northern light, the oceanic light. Primitive art, peasant art, Indian art, Japanese and Chinese art, musical instruments, drums, jazz, the spectacle of sport, the colour of sport, magic realism, Borges, the metaphysical, dawn, sunsets, fish eyes, trees, flowers, seas, atolls. The Book of Imaginary Beings, the Dictionary of Angels, heraldry, North American Indian blankets, Rio de Janeiro, Montego Bay!"
To which might be added: Zen poetry, classical, modern and contemporary painting and sculpture, domestic pottery, driving cars, humming birds, gulls and reptiles, eclipses of the sun and moon. At any time, Hoyland might be reading and absorbing the writings of Miró, the poetry of Frank O'Hara, the novels of Gabriel García Márquez, and Japanese and Chinese poetry. All of these things fed a voracious appetite for sensory, intellectual and emotional experience in a life of sharp sight and heightened receptivity, free of preconception and cliche.
Some critics found the uninhibited exuberance of Hoyland's later painting, its superabundance of effects and its technical extremism, overwhelming. But those who loved this work were exhilarated by its spectacular diversity of visual effect, and by its impulse towards fantasy released by a heroic ambition that took him again and again to the extreme of what painting might achieve. Hoyland was always a maker of evocative images, with a disposition to the grandly visionary-poetic which has been rare in English painting since that of his greatest heroes, Turner and Constable.
Hoyland was a critically generous and able advocate of British abstract art (he counted Anthony Caro among his closest friends, and acknowledged the great sculptor's enduring influence on him). He was a constant supporter of succeeding generations of younger abstract artists, who found in him an eloquent mentor and friend. In 1979, he selected the Hayward Annual, an exhibition that remains a landmark in the history of British abstract painting. In 1988, he curated an important exhibition at the Tate Gallery of late paintings by Hofmann. He was elected Royal Academician in 1991. In 2006, Tate St Ives held the exhibition John Hoyland: The Trajectory of a Fallen Angel, bringing together paintings from 1966 to 2003.
Hoyland was a man of acerbic wit, and a wickedly cruel mimic, but behind a carefully crafted persona there was enormous generosity of spirit and true kindness. A lover of pubs and restaurants, he was a man without side, utterly un-snobbish, and ever aware of his working-class beginnings. He was an inveterate traveller, visiting South America (with Caro), Australia (with Caulfield), and latterly Spain, Italy, Jamaica and Bali with his longterm companion, Beverley Heath, whom he married with great joy in 2008. Wherever he went, he relentlessly gathered ideas and impressions, in photographs and sketchbooks, as sources for imagery. Nothing was lost and nowhere was alien to this most complete of artists.
He is survived by Beverley; his son, Jeremy, from his first marriage, to Airi; and his mother, Kathleen.

John Hoyland, painter, printmaker and teacher, born 12 October 1934; died 31 July 2011

Monday, 1 August 2011

Cecil Lush

Cecil Lush
Cecil Lush's published memoirs, which drew on his war service, were used by the Imperial War Museum
Cecil Lush, who has died of pneumonia aged 92, established his own architectural practice in London in 1949. In 1956 he was joined by Alfred Lester in founding Lush & Lester, which over the next 25 years was responsible for many award-winning projects in the capital. These included Nansen Village students' accommodation in Woodside Park; the residential development of Vane Close, Mulberry Close and Vane Mews in Hampstead; One Gardiners Corner in the City; Inter-City House in Whitechapel; and the Russian Trade Delegation building in Highgate. As architects for the Burton fashion group, Lush & Lester oversaw more than 100 Evans and Burton shops. They also built synagogues in Brondesbury, Mill Hill and Newbury Park, and houses throughout the UK.
For 27 years until his retirement in 1989, Cecil was architect to King Alfred school in Hampstead, which my brother Peter and I attended, with key buildings designed including the science and arts block and gymnasium. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1968.
Cecil was born in London and went to Christ's College school in Finchley. He was articled to Welch and Lander in 1935, who were influenced by Le Corbusier, and whose clients included London Underground and the London county council. At the outbreak of the second world war, Cecil was one of the first Jewish men to enlist in the Royal Engineers. Following distinguished service in France, including the exodus from Dunkirk, and in Burma and India, ascending to the rank of major, Cecil returned to London and studied for his architecture degree from 1946 at Regent Street Polytechnic (now part of the University of Westminster) before establishing his own practice. In 1952 he married Dolly Weisbort, a child psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic.
After retirement, Cecil retained a keen interest in architecture. He was pleased that although neither of his sons inherited his talent for draughtsmanship, we both became involved in social housing and regeneration. He was interested in cinema and opera, and wrote and had privately published Family Memories 1808-2002; this featured his war service and has been used by the Imperial War Museum and local museums in north London.
Cecil suffered a devastating stroke in 2005 but recovered sufficiently to enjoy visits from his family and many friends. He is survived by Peter and Ian, and three grandchildren. Dolly died in 2010.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

The Rev John Stott

John Stott
John Stott in 2006. He has been described as 'a renaissance man with a reformation theology'.

Though the name of the Rev John Stott, who has died at the age of 90, rarely appeared in the UK national press, in April 2005 Time Magazine placed him among the world's top 100 major influencers. A comment piece in the New York Times six months earlier had expressed surprise that he was ignored by the press, since he was a more authentic advocate for evangelical Christianity than more colourful figures such as Jerry Falwell.
Stott, radical in his conservatism, could not be pigeonholed. He was deeply committed to the need for social, economic and political justice and passionately concerned about climate change and ecological ethics. He regarded the Bible as his supreme authority and related its teaching to all areas of knowledge and experience. He insisted that Christians should engage in "double listening" – to the word of God, and to the world around them – and apply their biblical faith to all the pressing issues of contemporary culture. He himself researched, preached and wrote on a wide range of matters – from global debt to global warming, from the duties of the state to medical ethics and euthanasia. This was the kind of evangelicalism he embodied.
Stott was born in London, the fourth child and only son of Sir Arnold Stott and his wife, Lily. His father, a Harley Street physician, hoped he would enter the diplomatic service, and his peace-seeking spirit could have equipped him well for this. But at the age of 17, while at Rugby school, Warwickshire, his plans took a different turn. One February afternoon, he came to view the Christian gospel as compelling, and shortly afterwards resolved to be ordained into the church.
From school, having been excused national service as a conscientious objector – though he later came to accept the validity of the idea of a just war – Stott went to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he gained a double first in French and German. He then trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. In 1945 he became a curate at All Souls, Langham Place, in central London. This was the church where, as a child, he had terrorised the girls in Sunday school with his toy guns and daggers.
Stott has been described as "a renaissance man with a reformation theology". He had a sharp inter-disciplinary mind, and always worked to bring his thinking under the scrutiny of the Bible. It was, he believed, possible to understand the world only in the light of the Bible's teaching about God and humankind.
While the US evangelist Billy Graham, a long-time friend, was drawing tens of thousands to sports stadiums, Stott's mission field was the university campus. He conducted week-long events at universities in many countries, presenting a case for a Christian worldview, and drawing even the most cynical students into the pages of the New Testament.
In 1950, while only 29, he became rector of All Souls, a crown appointment. When released by the Church of England for wider ministry in 1970, he moved into a mews flat above the rectory garage. This modest two-roomed home became his base until 2007. Much of his substantial writing – a total of 50 books translated into 65 languages – was completed in a remote cottage on the Welsh coast which he bought in 1954. It was at that stage derelict, and for many years had no mains electricity. Stott's books included the million-selling Basic Christianity (1958), Christ the Controversialist (1970) and The Cross of Christ (1986). His final book, A Radical Disciple, "to say goodbye to his readers", was published last year.
Stott was behind the shaping of The Lausanne Covenant (1974), a significant statement of international co-operation in the cause of world evangilisation. He founded several evangelical initiatives in Britain, including the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (1982) of which the sociologist and broadcaster Elaine Storkey later became director, succeeded by Mark Greene. Through his work with the university Christian Unions in the UK and overseas, he engaged with many of the sharpest up-and-coming Christian thinkers while they were still students.
His influence in the church has spread to more than 100 countries through his founding of Langham Partnership International. In the US, it operates under the name of John Stott Ministries. This threefold initiative, now under the direction of the theologian and author the Rev Chris Wright, works to strengthen the church in the developing world by training preachers, funding doctoral scholarships for the most able theological thinkers, and providing basic, low-cost libraries for pastors. Stott's own considerable royalties from his writing went towards the production and distribution of theological books in developing countries.
Stott was appointed CBE in 2006. He had served as chaplain to the Queen (1959-91) and then as extra chaplain until he died. His six doctorates included one from Lambeth Palace.
From childhood, Stott was taught by his father to love the natural world. He became an expert self-taught ornithologist, sighting and photographing some 2,500 bird species.
Urbane and gracious as both visionary and strategist, Stott left the Langham Partnership as perhaps his major legacy. His influence will doubtless attract much further attention.

• John Robert Walmsley Stott, clergyman and theologian, born 27 April 1921; died 27 July 2011

Friday, 29 July 2011

Silvio Narizzano

Georgy Girl, with Lynn Redgrave as Georgina and James Mason as her admirer, directed by Silvio Narizzano. 
The film and TV director Silvio Narizzano, who has died aged 84, handled several genres throughout his career, including black comedies, period pieces, social dramas, action thrillers and horror movies. But one picture, his swinging London romantic comedy Georgy Girl (1966), stands out from the rest of his eclectic filmography.
Georgy Girl was part of the trend in which British cinema shifted the focus from provincial life and back to the metropolis, celebrating new freedoms and social possibilities. Narizzano, influenced by the French New Wave and his chic contemporaries Richard Lester, John Schlesinger and Tony Richardson, explored such "shocking" subjects as abortion, illegitimacy, adultery and sexual promiscuity with a light touch. The film, which took its cue from the jaunty title song by the Seekers, had superb performances from Lynn Redgrave as the virginal and plain Georgina; Charlotte Rampling as her sexy and amoral flatmate, made pregnant by her charming, laidback boyfriend (Alan Bates); and James Mason as a wealthy businessman who takes more than a fatherly interest in Georgy. The film was nominated for four Oscars, for best actress (Redgrave), supporting actor (Mason), cinematography (Kenneth Higgins) and original song. Narizzano was nominated for a Bafta for best British film and a Golden Bear at the Berlin film festival.
The son of an Italian-American family, Narizzano was born in Montreal and educated at Bishop's University in Quebec. After graduation, he joined the Mountain Playhouse in Montreal. The theatre was run by Joy Thompson, a leading figure in English-language theatre in Quebec and a great influence on Narizzano. He then joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, working as an assistant to Norman Jewison, Arthur Hiller and Ted Kotcheff. Soon after co-directing a documentary about Tyrone Guthrie, the artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Narizzano came to Britain to work in television.

SILVIO NARIZZANO Narizzano's first feature was the Hammer horror film Fanatic.
  He rapidly reached the top as a director, gaining plaudits for his work on ITV Television Playhouse (1956-60), a series of Saki tales (1962) and ITV Play of the Week (1956-63), all with superb casts and writers. He directed JB Priestley's anti-nuclear play Doomsday for Dyson (1958); an episode of the BBC series On Trial, starring Micheál MacLiammóir as Oscar Wilde (1960); and 24 Hours in a Woman's Life (1961), starring Ingrid Bergman and adapted by John Mortimer from Stefan Zweig's novel.
Narizzano's feature debut was Fanatic (1965), a Hammer horror film notable for being Tallulah Bankhead's last movie (and her first in 20 years). She plays a crazed religious fanatic who keeps her dead son's fiancee (Stefanie Powers) prisoner, hoping to "cleanse" and then kill her so that she can marry the dead son in heaven. Narizzano managed to coax a venomous performance out of Bankhead, who was intoxicated throughout the shoot. After being shown the film with a small audience of her friends, Bankhead, who is seen in many harsh, unflattering close-ups, announced: "Darlings, I must apologise for looking older than God's wet nurse."
The triumph of Georgy Girl was followed by Blue (1968), a plodding western starring Terence Stamp, which opened to withering reviews but, surprisingly, remained Narizzano's favourite film. Loot (1970), a pointless reworking of Joe Orton's mordant play by the comedy TV writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, and directed at a rapid pace, was only marginally better received.
Narizzano was more at ease with Why Shoot the Teacher? (1977), a feelgood adaptation of a novel set in Saskatchewan in the mid-1930s. Then it was back to British television with William Inge's Come Back, Little Sheba (1977), fluidly directed on an elaborate studio set, starring Laurence Olivier and Joanne Woodward. In contrast, Staying On (1980), Julian Mitchell's adaptation of Paul Scott's novel, was shot for Granada Television in Simla, India, with Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson.
From the mid-60s, Narizzano lived with his longtime companion, the writer Win Wells, in Mojácar in Andalusia, Spain, as well as keeping a house in London. Wells co-wrote the screenplay of Narizzano's Bloodbath (1979), a weird straight-to-video horror movie, shot in Mojácar, starring Dennis Hopper as the leader of a group of degenerate Americans terrorised by locals for their indulgence in drugs and sex.
After directing a Miss Marple mystery, The Body in the Library (1984), for the BBC, Narizzano's work began to tail off. Since his 30s, he had suffered from bouts of depression which became more serious and prolonged after the death of Wells in 1983. He found some comfort at a Buddhist retreat in Chislehurst, south-east London, and later through a Bible study group in Greenwich, where he lived a semi-reclusive life. He is survived by two sisters and a brother.

• Silvio Narizzano, film and television director, born 8 February 1927; died 26 July 2011

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Evelyn Kuypers

Evelyn and Henk Kuypers
Evelyn and Henk Kuypers during the second world war. They both followed the allied liberators into the Netherlands
Towards the end of the second world war, my aunt and godmother, Evelyn Kuypers, who has died aged 92, gave herself a special mission as she drove through the newly liberated Netherlands – to visit her in-laws for the first time and introduce herself.
As a truck driver with the VHK, the Dutch women's voluntary corps, she had followed the liberating troops from Ostend, through Belgium and into the Netherlands, giving first aid and food to the many refugees. She had switched to the VHK from the Dutch Red Cross in an attempt to stay near to her husband, Henricus "Henk" Kuypers, a paymaster with the Dutch war office, who was also with the support troops. Although she spoke no Dutch, she managed to track down her in-laws' home, where she was overjoyed to find that Henk was there to greet her.
Their marriage in Congleton, Cheshire, in 1942 was the start of a globetrotting life for Evelyn (nee Ogden), who hailed from the village of Mow Cop, on the Cheshire-Staffordshire border. She had met Henk the previous year when Dutch servicemen regrouped in Congleton following the Nazi invasion.
After their marriage, they moved to London with his unit until, in 1944, Evelyn's VHK party set sail from Tilbury for Ostend, only to be prevented from landing by severe storms. Lying off the coast, they then lost an anchor and were drifting towards a mined area when the captain decided to return to England. A week later the vessel successfully landed at Ostend.
In 1946 Henk was posted to the Dutch embassy in London. The couple lived in South Kensington for 10 years and had two daughters, Elizabeth and Patricia. Henk's career then took the family to Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Karachi, Edmonton, New York and Bombay (now Mumbai), where he retired as consul-general.
While the family moved around the world, the vivacious Evelyn worked for Catholic charities and schools at each posting. On Henk's retirement in 1978, they settled in St Margaret's Bay, near Dover, where Evelyn immediately declared that she was neither ready nor willing to start taking it easy and, almost until the end of her life, was a staunch volunteer worker for the National Trust, the local Pines gardens and museum, the village charity shop and meals on wheels.
Henk died almost exactly a year before her. She leaves her daughters and four grandchildren.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Dan Peek

Dan Peek
Peek composed Don’t Cross the River. 
The songwriting ability and vocal harmonies of the bassist Dan Peek, who has died aged 60, were an integral part of the success of the soft-rock band America. Between 1971 and 1977, the year he quit for a solo career, Peek and his bandmates, Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley, scored an impressive run of hit singles and albums, mostly in their native US. The biggest of these was their debut single, A Horse With No Name, which made the top three on both sides of the Atlantic and instantly earmarked them as the new Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Like his fellow band members, Peek was the son of a US military serviceman and his early years were peripatetic. Born in Florida, he had already lived in Greenland, South Carolina and Japan before the age of 10. The frequent travel meant long journeys on the US highway, where Peek first began singing three-part harmonies with his brother Tom and sister Debbie. By the time his father transferred to an army base in West Ruislip, Middlesex, in 1967, Peek had also become a proficient guitarist and piano player.
It was while attending London Central high school (for the children of US service personnel) in Bushey that he met Bunnell and Beckley. "We really hit it off as friends long before we became bandmates," Peek said.  "We immediately bonded as we were all obsessed with music. "Eventually I joined Gerry and two of his mates in a band called the Daze." In 1969 Peek left for a brief spell at university in the US, and Bunnell took his place in the fledgling group.
On his return they became a trio, fired by the acoustic Americanisms of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, James Taylor and Joni Mitchell. They were still broke though, and for a time were forced to rehearse in Bunnell's car. "From the summer of 1970 until our first album was released in 1972, we rehearsed four hours or more per day," explained Peek. "Dewey's Morris Minor was actually a great space to practice, as it had an immediacy and closeness that helped in really hearing the intricate harmonies and guitar licks we were fine-tuning."
The band secured early gigs at hippy hangouts in London such as Middle Earth and the Roundhouse, before landing a contract with Warner Brothers. While scouting for a record deal, Peek and Bunnell were still employed as dishwashers at the base cafeteria. "There was an 'Americana' brand jukebox there that we played constantly," said Peek. "Somehow the connection between its music and our quest for a name dovetailed. I pushed for keeping it simple and direct, hence America."
A Horse With No Name, issued in December 1971, was an immediate success. Their smooth harmonies and readily accessible folk-rock sound chimed with the times, as did the hirsute wholesomeness of their image. Their first album, America, was a colossal hit too, reaching No 1 in their homeland, chalking up more than a million sales and earning them a Grammy for best new artist. Their follow-up, Homecoming (1972), which featured Peek's first great composition, Don't Cross the River, was only marginally less popular.
For their fourth album, Holiday (1974), the band drafted in George Martin as producer, who helped frame their songs in clever arrangements and give them a glossy studio punch. Lonely People released in December, became Peek's signature tune and made the US top five. A year later America scored their second US No 1 with Beckley's Sister Golden Hair.
But all was not as ripple-free as the music suggested. Tensions had long been part of the band's dynamic. "All three of us were enormously competitive and it was a high-stakes game we were playing," admitted Peek. "And what had once been an all-for-one camaraderie evaporated. It could get pretty ugly." Peek's increasing drug dependency was also becoming a problem. "I was taking hash, marijuana, cocaine, quaaludes, alcohol and tobacco. …There was a certain amount of naivety regarding drug use in the 60s and 70s. In retrospect I sincerely wish I'd been a teetotaller." He left the group by mutual consent in the summer of 1977.
Peek duly set about overhauling his life. He vowed to kick his addictions and renewed his faith in Christianity. His debut solo single, All Things Are Possible, issued on Pat Boone's Lamb & Lion label in 1979, became one of Christian rock's first big crossover hits, while Bunnell and Beckley contributed to the album of the same name. But despite the occasional on-stage reunion over the next couple of decades, America remained a duo.
By the 1990s Peek had more or less retired from the music circus, preferring instead to record at home in the Cayman Islands. Later years yielded an autobiography, An American Band (2004), and a steady trickle of albums, mostly released via his website. The most recent was All American Boy in 2007.
He is survived by his wife, Catherine.

• Dan Peek, guitarist, singer and songwriter, born 1 November 1950; died 24 July 2011

Monday, 25 July 2011

Pat Evans

Pat Evans 
Pat Evans helped revolutionise the farming industry, motivated by feeding the world’s fast-growing population.
Pat Evans, who has died aged 89, was one of the generation of post-second world war farmers motivated by the vision of feeding the world's fast-growing population. They believed that farming communities, and the industry itself, could shake off their stifling traditions and build a new future.
This new mood eventually became manifest in a worldwide network of farmers known as the Farmers' Dialogue, which Pat and others launched in 1994. Its aim is to promote shared values for the land, the environment, forestry and family life. Pat firmly believed that there is a common language, and often a shared way of looking at the world, between people who work the soil wherever they come from, not least through their religions. He spelt out his wide-ranging ideas in two books, Farming for Ever (1996) and A Hand to the Plough (2006).
After graduating in agriculture from Cambridge in 1943, Pat served in the Ministry of Agriculture. Then he gained experience on farms in Britain and France, where he formed enduring links, before returning to his family's land at Whitbourne in Herefordshire.
Not everything went according to plan. Pat made an abortive foray into a heavily oil-dependent grass-drying system. But despite agricultural surpluses and low prices, he and many others like him did indeed lay the basis for today's modern farming industry. In 1961 the BBC filmed his new pig unit – considered revolutionary at a time when modern units, purpose-built for large numbers of pigs to be managed with minimum labour, were still a rarity.
His ability to combine the hard work of running a farm while being in constant touch with farmers in other countries brought him an extraordinary range of international contacts. The Farmers' Dialogue, which he was able to develop after his retirement in 1988, grew out of this. He took part in Farmers' Dialogues in Thailand, Cambodia, India, Poland and the US as well as visiting Ukraine, Kenya, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Pat also wrote poems, some of which were published. He lived at Whitbourne for most of his life until moving to a nursing home in Bromyard in 2009. He is survived by his wife, Kristin, whom he married in 1962.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Amy Winehouse found dead aged 27 in London home

Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse has been found dead in her London house at the age of 27. 
Singer Amy Winehouse has been found dead at her house in north London She was 27. The award-winning artist, famous for hits including Rehab from the critically acclaimed album Back to Black, was discovered by police in the late afternoon. Her death was being treated on Saturday night as "unexplained" but sources said she had died of a drugs overdose.
The Metropolitan police said: "We were called by London Ambulance Service to an address in Camden Square shortly before 16.05hrs following reports of a woman found deceased. On arrival officers found the body of a 27-year-old female who was pronounced dead at the scene."
Winehouse was last seen with her goddaughter, Dionne Bromfield, earlier last week when the teenager performed at the iTunes festival.
Tributes began to pour in to one of the most celebrated and troubled British artists of recent times. Mark Ronson, who produced Back to Black, said: "She was my musical soulmate and like a sister to me. This is one of the saddest days of my life."
Singer and actress Kelly Osbourne wrote: "i cant even breath right now, im crying so hard i just lost 1 of my best friends. i love you forever Amy & will never forget the real you!"
Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood dedicated his show on Absolute Radio and the reunion performance by his former group the Faces in Hurtwood, Surrey, to Winehouse. "It's a very sad loss of a very good friend I spent many great times with," he said.
Two regulars at Winehouse's local pub, The Hawley Arms in Camden, paid tribute. "Some people might think it shows disrespect to come out drinking tonight but she was such a part of Camden she made it her home and she always got involved," said Mary Gallagher. "Amy even worked behind the bar here. She was such a lovely person and, to be honest, I don't think fame agreed with her. She was an ordinary girl at heart."
Gloria Woods, 26, who works for a record label, said: "There will never be another voice like that in our generation."
A spokesman for the late singer said: "Everyone involved with Amy is shocked and devastated. Our thoughts are with her family and friends."
Winehouse's father, Mitch, returned from New York, where he had been due to perform at the Blue Note jazz club. He said: 'I'm coming home. I have to be with Amy. I can't crack up for her sake. My family need me."
Flowers, teddy bears and candles were left outside her home in Camden Square. One card read: "You will not be forgotten by Camden. We all love you and will continue to love you. Your legend lives on."
Winehouse had suffered a well-publicised battle with drink and drug abuse that saw her withdraw from all of her scheduled performances last month after a series of erratic performances. She started her 12-leg European tour in Belgrade but was booed off the stage after appearing to forget her lyrics. She then pulled out of performances in Istanbul and Athens before she cancelled the tour as fears for her health grew.
A statement released by her spokesman at the time said that she would be given "as long as it takes" to recover. "Everyone involved wishes to do everything they can to help her return to her best," it read.
Winehouse rose to fame with her debut album Frank in 2003, which was feted by music critics in the UK and nominated for the Mercury music prize, but it was her 2006 follow-up album, Back to Black, that catapulted her to stardom and led to five Grammy awards. The album became the third-highest selling album of the 2000s.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Jean Hartley

Jean Hartley
Jean Hartley reads from Philip Larkin’s Hull and East Yorkshire in 1995.
Jean Hartley was half of the tiny firm that published the first mature book of poems by the best poet of the age. Philip Larkin's The Less Deceived was brought out in 1955 by the Marvell Press, run by Jean, who has died aged 78, and her husband, George, from their two-up, two-down house in Hessle, on the outskirts of Hull. The book instantly made Larkin's reputation.
A few years earlier, the Hartleys had started the literary magazine Listen on the proceeds of Jean's accumulated child allowance. She was the "business manager", which meant that she did most of the work while George was out and about scouting for "contacts". The Marvell Press was so named partly because of the 17th-century poet Andrew Marvell's connection with Hull, partly because they realised it would be a marvel if the thing worked.
It did work, and Jean herself was a remarkable woman. She was born in the heart of Hull's fishing community. Her father, Billy Holland, was a foundry worker. In the early months of the second world war, Jean was briefly evacuated to North Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. She went on to win a scholarship to Thoresby high school, in Hull, and found, at the age of 14, that she had to choose one of the three vocational courses offered. She chose "commercial", but left after only a year. Her first job was as a shorthand typist with a small firm of accountants, where she was paid £1 a week.
She already had a hunger for serious reading, and spent part of her first week's wages on a book of poems by Edith Sitwell. It "did not stand the test of time. I was more selective thereafter." At the age of 17, dallying with a boy called Peter, who purported to be a poet, she became pregnant. Jean was sent to a strict but kindly Anglican home for unmarried mothers. When she returned to Hull, she took up with an earlier bohemian acquaintance, George Hartley, who was now a shoe salesman. He courted her with flowers stolen from local gardens. Before long, pregnant again, she married George.
In her memoir, Philip Larkin, The Marvell Press and Me (1989), Jean observed: "Hindsight tells me I should have been reading Dr Marie Stopes rather than Ernest Dowson." But she and George got the first issue of Listen out at the same time that Jean's second daughter was born.
The magazine began to thrive ("critically at any rate"), with a range of contributors that broadly represented what was collectively labelled "The Movement" – Kingsley Amis, Robert Conquest, Donald Davie, John Wain, and also, in almost every issue, Larkin. There followed The Less Deceived, first published with a list of 120 subscribers. (The current dealers' value of this book is about £500.) Jean was busy packing copies, rushing to the post office, keeping a house and family, while George went back to the local art college.
By 1967, George had acquired a teaching certificate and was teaching at a local boys' school. Jean decided to pack in her secretarial job, and take some O- and A-levels. Soon she was encouraged to apply for university. Feeling too embarrassed to ask Larkin for a reference, she consulted him over whether she should try Richard Hoggart (who, much earlier, had taught her on some Workers' Educational Association courses) or CB Cox, to which he replied: "Why not let me do one for you? I've known you long enough. Of course you'll need an UCCA form. UCCA! God's gift to limerick writers." Jean was touched that Larkin came round after she had taken each of the three A-level English literature papers, to see how she had done and talk about the questions.
By the summer of 1968, Jean found that life with George had become unendurable, so she moved out with the girls. They found an attic flat, where they lived for three years while Jean was an undergraduate. At the beginning of this course, Larkin told her: "I expect you'll be hard-up living on a grant. I opened a book account for my niece when she went to university. Why don't I do the same for you?"
Jean did well at Hull University and, after graduating in 1972, was accepted to read for a BPhil degree. Needing money while studying, she managed to get a job teaching English in "a smart, purpose-built girls comprehensive" – her old school, Thoresby, rebuilt and now called Amy Johnson school, after the Hull aviator. Later she taught at the local college of education.
After Larkin's death in 1985, Jean was instrumental in setting up the Philip Larkin Society, and for a time edited its journal, About Larkin. She had warm relationships with several women who had been close to Larkin: Ruth Siverns (nee Bowman), Winifred Dawson (nee Arnott) and Maeve Brennan. In 1995 she published the very useful guide Philip Larkin's Hull and East Yorkshire. She was also a gifted painter and potter.
In 2010 Hartley's memoir was reissued by Faber Finds and Hull Truck theatre presented a stage adaptation, Wrong Beginnings, by David Pattison, as part of the events commemorating the 25th anniversary of Larkin's death. Earlier this year Hartley was awarded an honorary DLitt by Hull University, in response to which she said, of herself and her fellow mature students: "We all learned, like the hairdresser heroine of Educating Rita, that we too could sing a different tune."
After her separation from George, Jean never received any money from The Less Deceived. In her last years and final illness she was fortunate to have the love and support of her daughters, Alison and Laurien, and her granddaughter, Sarah, who survive her.

• Jean Hartley, publisher and writer, born 27 April 1933; died 18 July 2011

Friday, 22 July 2011

Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud with Martin Gayford
Lucian Freud with Martin Gayford in 2010. 
The original, unnerving, sustained artistic achievement of Lucian Freud, who has died aged 88, had at its heart a wilful, restless personality, fired by his intelligence and attentiveness and his suspicion of method, never wanting to risk doing the same thing twice. The sexually loaded, penetrating gaze was part of his weaponry, but his art addressed the lives of individuals, whether life models or royalty, with delicacy and disturbing corporeality.
Freud had a reputation for pushing subjects to an extreme. But unlike the American painters to emerge in the 1950s, his approach was in the western tradition of working from life and brought about with painstaking slowness, rather than unleashed virtuosity. Photographs taken in the studio by his assistant, model and good friend, the painter David Dawson, show Freud working from a roughly sketched charcoal form, the paint slowly spreading outwards from the head. Some canvases were extended, others abandoned while still a fragment.
Portraits of his maturity drew comparisons with equally shocking works by Courbet, Titian and Picasso, the feelings exposed registering as both brash and profound. The recorded stages of Ria, Naked Portrait 2006–07, his last large female nude, indicate the suspenseful build-up of pigment on her toe and the radiator; heavy incretions represent her curls and flushed face.
By 1987, the critic Robert Hughes nominated Freud as the greatest living realist painter, and after the death of Francis Bacon five years later, the sobriquet could be taken as a commendation, or it could imply an honour fit for an anachronistic "figurative" artist working in London. Art critics since Freud's first shows in the 1940s have had difficulties situating his achievement; the common solution has been to apply adjectives to the painted subjects in a way that reflects little more than personal taste, the writers telling readers whether the person portrayed was bored or intimidated, scrawny or obese, the paint slathered, crumbly or miraculously plastic.
Others, however, eschew this moralising tone and are prepared to be startled. Aidan Dunne, for example, reviewing the exhibition in Dublin in 2007, recognised how a single blonde model, "unmistakably" herself, in 1966 led Freud to push "the bounds of decorum in terms of mainstream depictions of the human body considered not as a generic type but as, to use his own term, a "naked portrait". Freud painted three versions of this fine-boned young woman on a cream cover, seen from above, each one a masterpiece. Her pictorial availability seems to some degree predicated on the artist's subtle way of incorporating in his paint strokes the upheavals and new perils that would enliven traditional gender relationships.
Freud was born in Berlin, to Ernst Freud, an architect and Sigmund's youngest son, and Lucie Brasch. The family lived near the Tiergarten, with summers spent on the estate of Freud's maternal grandfather, a grain merchant, or at their summer house on the Baltic island of Hiddensee.
Realising the Nazi threat to Jews, his parents, Lucian and his brothers – Stephen and Clement – moved to England in the summer of 1933. At Dartington Hall, Devon, and then Bryanston, Dorset, the boy was preoccupied by horses and art rather than the classroom. He enrolled at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London, in January 1939 but found the laid-back atmosphere repellent and rarely attended classes.
From 1939 to 1942 he spent periods at the unstructured school founded by Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines in East Anglia, first in Dedham, Essex, and then at Hadleigh, Suffolk. Morris proved a sympathetic mentor, one whose confidence and application gave Freud a sense of what it might mean to be an artist. In March 1941 Freud signed on as an ordinary seaman on the armed merchant cruiser SS Baltrover, bound for Nova Scotia. The ship came under attack from air and then by submarine, and on the return journey he went down with tonsillitis.
By the age of 18, the charismatic, talented young man with a famous name had attracted friends such as Stephen Spender and the wealthy collector and patron Peter Watson. Freud began visiting Paris, first in 1946 while on his way to Greece, where he stayed for six months, and again in 1947, with Kitty Garman, niece of his previous girlfriend Lorna Wishart, daughter of Jacob Epstein and the subject of one of the first major paintings, Girl in a Dark Jacket 1947. His connections in Paris extended to people linked to the arts in the 1930s, such as the hostess and collector Marie-Laure de Noailles.
The handful of surviving postcards contain no mention of postwar deprivations as he offers Méraud Guinness Guevara witty accounts of the installation of André Breton's surrealist exhibition in Paris in 1947, designed by Marcel Duchamp and Frederick Kiesler, and thanks for her hospitality in Provence. Freud expresses admiration for the "malevolence" the French showed to foreigners.
On familiar terms with Alberto Giacometti and Balthus, and, to some degree, Picasso, one senses that the young Freud was marked for life by seeing how single-mindedly, and self-critically, these already famous artists pushed forward their art. When he moved in 1943 to Delamere Terrace on the Grand Union canal, the first of five addresses in Paddington, London, several of his Irish working-class neighbours became models, especially the brothers Charlie and Billy. A large picture with a spiky palm tree and a tense, young Eastender, Harry Diamond, comprises a poignant drama about survival, Interior in Paddington 1951.
Paintings of Freud's two wives – Garman (whom he married in 1948 and divorced four years later) and Caroline Blackwood (whom he married in 1953 and divorced in 1957) – and other intimate friends are filled with suspense and pain, apparent in the strands of hair and a hand raised to the cheek as much as the wide eyes. The pearly skin of these subjects becomes more translucent and the detail extra-perfect. In an article written in 1950, the critic and curator David Sylvester questioned the perversity of feeling in Freud's latest portrayals. "It is impossible to say whether this indicates the incipient decline of an art whose talent flowered remarkably early or simply that every new departure implies growing-pains."
By the time of the Venice Biennale in 1954 – Freud shared the British pavilion with Bacon and Ben Nicholson – the question of prodigy versus an ultimately significant artist was being argued regularly. Freud's only involvement with the art colleges came though accepting William Coldstream's invitation to join the new staff at the Slade in 1949 (he made occasional appearances in the studios until 1954).
It became convenient to account for shifts in Freud's work by focusing on his early reliance on drawing and to cite the influence of painters from northern Europe such as Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and Albrecht Dürer, or even to suggest a false comparison with the Neue Sachlichkeit painters (active in Germany in the 1920s but unknown to the young Freud) and overlook others as relevant as Paul Cézanne and Chaim Soutine. The significance of the change from sable to hogs' hair brush and flake white to Kremnitz white in the late 1950s was exaggerated. Freud was attracted to Bacon's merciless wit and risk-taking, admiring his impulsive handling of paint, yet curiously it was Bacon who tried repeatedly to fix an image of his younger friend's physical magnetism.
By the end of the 1950s Freud's fraught personal life contributed to a visual restlessness, and he began standing to paint, letting the raked perspective exaggerate the anatomies of his subjects. A greenish-yellow palette and vein-marked skin made the subjects, such as Woman Smiling 1958-59, superficially less attractive; the paintings exhibited at the Marlborough Gallery in London in 1958 and 1963 were harder to sell.
Freud's obsession with gambling on horses and dogs brought on debts and dangerous threats, although many of the most singular paintings are of fleshly men within the racing fraternity. The journalist Jeffrey Bernard, describing Freud's afternoons in the betting shop and evenings with the rich and distinguished (including "Princess Margaret's set"), wrote admiringly: "He has cracked the nut of how to conduct a double life." The artist's slightly leering face and naked shoulders appear between the fronds of a giant Deremensis, Interior with Plant, Reflection Listening 1967–68. A superb, dangerously over-worked, standing self-portrait, Painter Working, Reflection 1993 portrays the ageing artist wearing only unlaced boots, holding a palette and knife (he was left-handed), addressing the viewer like a silent actor; invariably paint applied imaginatively to the planes of walls and floor reads as though a leitmotif for the prevailing mood. Each millimetre, he insisted, had to become essential to the whole.
In the 1980s the bodies of the nudes pressed into the surrounding space, their three-dimensionality and almost modelled impasto describing deeply contoured forms like those within Freud's favourite bronzes by Rodin – Naked Balzac and Iris. Freud spoke of his curiosity about "the insides and undersides of things".
The reserved Bella Freud placed diagonally on a red sofa (1986) is one of the artist's masterpieces. Leigh Bowery and Freud had a mutually sustaining friendship that went on until just before the performance artist succumbed to an Aids-related illness at the end of 1994. Bowery's "wonderfully buoyant bulk was an instrument I felt I could use in my painting"; "yet it's the quality of his mind that makes me want to portray him". In front of Titian's Diana and Actaeon in 2008, he explained: "When something is really convincing, I don't think about how it was done, I think about the effect on me."
Several paintings approach allegory revisited as parody, beginning with Large Interior, W9 1973 (his mother and his lover), and the heavily promoted Large Interior W11 (After Watteau) 1981–83, with its awkward (and memorable) conjunction of five people from the artist's intimate life. Sitters sometimes came separately, as with Evening in the Studio, where the model Sue Tilley sprawls on the floor in the pose of seaside postcards with captions such as "Roll over Betty". The shuttered interior in Freud's house in Notting Hill was recorded in several large paintings, one now in a Dallas museum: a long-time friend, Francis Wyndham, sits reading in the foreground, whippet at his feet, and in the space beyond, a hybrid Jerry Hall/David Dawson nurses her son.
Annabel Mullen was painted with her shaggy-haired dog Rattler and reappears seven years later with a pregnant belly in Expecting the Fourth 2005 (only 10x15cm), and in a larger etching, limbs still like a thoroughbred, as described by one of Freud's favourite authors, Baudelaire: "vainly have time and love sunk their teeth into her".
Freud's exceptional ability to convey tactile information is evident in early drawings, especially those of gorse sprigs, a dead heron and a bearded Christian Bérard in a dressing gown. A similarly heightened, highly poetic, sensibility invades the etchings that began in the 1980s, black whorls and stippled textures fanatically worked, the artist relishing the "element of danger and mystery" that accompanies slipping a heavily worked plate into acid.
International exposure increased after the 1974 Hayward exhibition, nurtured by Freud's admirers, particularly William Feaver, curator of the Tate retrospective in 2002, and the dealer James Kirkman. The revival of interest in painting that emerged around 1980 led to outstanding British artists being ringfenced with an inappropriate label, the School of London. Freud thought his close friend Frank Auerbach the best British painter of his lifetime. Auerbach understood how no original concept or idiom could be credited with the mesmerising reality of art: "I think of Lucian's attention to his subject. If his concentrated interest were to falter, he would come off the tightrope. He has no safety net of manner."
A retrospective organised by the British Council reached Washington, Paris, London and Berlin in 1987–88, and the "recent work" exhibition created by the Whitechapel Gallery in 1993 drew crowds in New York and Madrid as well as the East End. Freud's representative from 1993, William Acquavella, had a buoyant, unwavering reckoning of the artist's worth – in others words in the league of 20th-century masters. In 2007 the Museum of Modern Art in New York organised an exhibition with great impact, titled The Painter's Etchings, Freud's place in postwar art history admitted through a side-door rather than placed in the canon.
The completion of a single picture turned into a newsworthy event. In 1993 a Daily Mail front-page headline asked: "Is this man the greatest lover in Britain?" A disconcerting recent painting, the artist working while "surprised by a naked admirer", fed readers' curiosity about the octogenarian's love life. The rather sensational Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (1995) achieved a record auction price for a living artist in May 2008, £17m, by which time Russian oligarchs had joined the wealthy North American collectors who had already replaced upper-class British patrons. The promotion of pictures at auction sometimes gave unfortunate prominence to the failures, notably the truncated picture of a pregnant Kate Moss.
The artist related his acceptance of the Order of the Companions Honour in 1983 and the Order of Merit in 1993 to his family's debt to Britain, the country that allowed them naturalisation in 1939. Freud described the move to England as "linked to my luck. Hitler's attitude to the Jews persuaded my father to bring us to London, the place I prefer in every way to anywhere I've been."
Queen Elizabeth II sat for a small portrait in 2001 which Freud donated to the Royal Collection. He selected the pictures for the important Constable exhibition that opened in Paris in 2002, respecting the artist's "truth-telling. The way he used the undergrowths to suit himself – things being soaked in water and so on – was a way of looking at nature that no one had really done before."
The portraits Freud made of his mother, beginning in 1972 and ending with a drawing from her deathbed in 1989, are a remarkable elegy of ageing and depression. When his children (15 or so were recognised) began leading independent lives, most of them came to sit for him and he was proud of their talents. Bella Freud is a fashion designer and four others are successful writers – Annie Freud, Esther Freud, and Rose and Susie Boyt. Contrary to what has been written about anonymity, the identities of at least 168 sitters have been revealed in various interviews, commentaries and published information.
Thinking about the women who were closest to him for the longest duration, one realises how reticent they preferred to be, particularly Baroness Willoughby d'Eresby and Susanna Chancellor. Any biography of the artist that is written with the claim to analyse character or feelings is doomed.
The list of those he knew and affected would be enormous (and incomplete), the narratives lopsided, with anecdotes and memoirs exaggerating their author's familiarity. Freud's own, sharp recollections are both exciting and skewed. He recently spoke of how it amused him to hold the heads of schoolmates under water, but his occasional violence was countered by a precise, rather Germanic use of language and good manners.
An admitted control freak, who lived alone and liked to use the telephone but not give out his number, Freud kept relationships in separate compartments. He lived with the same aesthetic as that of his work – fine linen, worn leather, superb works of art (and a few cartoons), buddleia and bamboo in the overgrown garden and the residue of paint carried down from the studio. In this setting, he sustained until the end his ability to make portrayals of many of the people and animals who mattered to him (the one still on the easel, Portrait of a Hound), paintings that face-to-face are all-consuming and oddly liberating.

• Lucian Michael Freud, artist, born 8 December 1922; died 20 July 2011

Thursday, 21 July 2011

David Malcolm

David Malcolm
David Malcolm alerted a New York golf club to its possession of the first action painting of golfers
Among the ranks of golf historians, David Malcolm, who has died aged 71, was outstanding. He combined the rigour and discipline of a scholar in his meticulous research, carried out mainly in the archives of St Andrews University library and New York public library, which he then transformed into an eminently readable and stylish prose in the many articles he wrote for the Guardian, the New York Times, Golf Monthly and the Scots Magazine. It was an exacting approach which culminated, after 15 years of painstaking work, in his definitive Tom Morris of St Andrews: The Colossus of Golf, 1821-1908 (2008), co-authored with Peter Crabtree.
A dogged and persistent detective, David also followed up the case of the St Andrews golf champion David Strath, who had emigrated to Australia in 1879 but died shortly after arrival. With the help of a co-author, Noel Terry, he located the place of burial and helped raise funds for a headstone. A handsome posthumous publication on the Strath family of eminent golfers is now under way.
David's sharp eye for detail was instrumental in drawing the attention of the Links Club in New York to the importance of one of its paintings, The First Meeting of the North Berwick Golf Club by Sir Francis Grant RA, which was, as he pointed out, the first action painting of golfers, as opposed to figures standing with clubs in hand.
He was born in Coaltown of Balgonie, Fife, and educated at Waid academy in Anstruther, the East of Scotland Agricultural College in Edinburgh, and Edinburgh University. He joined the department of zoology at St Andrews University in 1972 before becoming a science teacher for 20 years at Madras college in St Andrews.
He was a superb raconteur, a maverick teacher, generous-spirited, great fun and great company. Doc Malc, as he was affectionately known, was involved in the re-establishment of the Kingsbarns' Golf Club in Fife and the development of its links. A keen golfer, a life member and former captain of St Andrews' New Club, he also had wide-ranging interests and enthusiasms beyond the Old Course, from poetry, literature, jazz and gardening to supporting Arsenal Football Club.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth, two sons, a stepdaughter and two grandchildren.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Juan María Bordaberry

Juan Maria Bordaberry at a public ceremony in Montevideo in 1972. 
The name of Juan María Bordaberry, president of Uruguay from 1972 until 1976, who has died aged 83, will be forever associated with the slow death of a democracy at the hands of those entrusted with its care. The word bordaberrización was coined to refer to the way this elected president first bowed to military demands for control of the executive, then became an enthusiastic advocate of military rule. So enthusiastic, in fact, that even the armed forces ultimately balked at his fascist ideas, replacing him with pliant yes-men.
Bordaberry was an ultra rightwing Catholic. His father, a businessman and politician in the Colorado party, belonged to one of the most powerful landed families in Uruguay and was fervently opposed to the so-called batll- ista wing of the party, named after the reformist president José Batlle y Ordóñez (in office 1903-07 and 1911-15). Under Batlle, Uruguay had become a pioneer welfare state, but many – and especially the landowning conservatives – felt that state interventionism had gone much too far.
After studying law and social sciences at the University of Montevideo, the young Bordaberry threw himself enthusiastically into agrarian politics. In 1958, the Federal League for Rural Action, of which his father was a leading member, forged an alliance with the country's other main, traditional political force, the National (or "Blanco") party. Thus, in 1962, it was as a Blanco that Bordaberry Jr, aged 34, was elected to the senate. However, he gave up his seat two years later to run the League himself.
When the Colorados took power in 1967, under President Jorge Pacheco, Bordaberry once again switched sides, and from 1969 to 1971 he was Pacheco's minister of agriculture. A bid to change the constitution, so that Pacheco could be re-elected, failed, and Bordaberry became the chosen successor. He was elected in November 1971, amid charges of vote-rigging by opponents, and took office the following March.
Uruguay was in the throes of a counter-insurgency campaign against the mainly urban Tupamaro guerrillas. Bordaberry's government would defeat them, but at the cost of suppressing civil liberties and handing power to the armed forces, who would not relinquish it until 1985. In April 1972, the country's parliament declared a state of "internal war". As the military pressed for ever greater powers, the president initially resisted. But in February 1973, after a military uprising, he was coerced into signing the so-called "Boiso Lanza agreement" (named after the air-force headquarters where the meeting was held), under which the high command obtained what amounted to veto power over civilian authorities. The agreement established a national security council, known as Cosena, dominated by the generals.
A mere four months later, Bordaberry closed down parliament, banned political parties and began to rule by decree. The number of political prisoners mounted, eventually reaching around 5,000, which was probably the highest concentration in the world at the time, per head of population. Torture was systematic. Relations between the president and the armed forces, however, gradually deteriorated, and in 1976 he was ousted after proposing a new, corporatist constitution which would have abolished political parties.
Bordaberry's coup against his own government had been followed in September 1973 by Augusto Pinochet's against the leftist government of Salvador Allende in Chile. In March 1976, the armed forces in Argentina also seized power. The dictatorships of South America's "southern cone" set up Operation Condor, under which their secret police collaborated in capturing and "disappearing" each other's dissidents.
Among the most notorious cases were those of Zelmar Michelini and Héctor Gutiérrez Ruiz, Uruguayan legislators kidnapped in exile in Buenos Aires on 18 May 1976. Their bodies, with those of two other political refugees, were found three days later. Found guilty by a Uruguayan judge in 2006 of helping to plan the quadruple homicide, among others, Bordaberry was sent to jail. In all, he was eventually sentenced to 30 years for crimes which included repeated violations of the constitution. Due to age and ill-health, he spent the remainder of his life confined to the house of his son, Pedro, a senator, where he died. As well as Pedro, he is survived by his wife, María Josefina ("China") Herrán, and eight other children.

• Juan María Bordaberry Arocena, politician, born 17 June 1928; died 17 July 2011

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Sean Hoare

News of the World phone-hacking whistleblower found dead

Death of Sean Hoare – who was first named journalist to allege Andy Coulson knew of hacking – not being treated as suspicious

Monday, 18 July 2011

Alex Hay

Alex Hay
Alex Hay started out as a professional golfer and then formed a formidable TV partnership with Peter Alliss.

For 26 years, Alex Hay, who has died of pancreatic cancer aged 78, was one of the voices of BBC Television's golf coverage. He formed a formidable partnership with Peter Alliss, the latter providing most of the anecdotes and witticisms, while Hay would complement him with his expert analyses of the players and their techniques. He wrote several books on the art of the golf swing and one, The Handbook of Golf (1985), became a bestseller. Hay seldom appeared in front of the camera and once was harangued by a burly fellow Scot with: "You sound taller than that Peter Alliss, and you're just a midget."
Born in Edinburgh and educated at Musselburgh grammar school, Hay first picked up a golf club at the age of 15, not to strike a ball, but to clear weeds from around the Anderson shelter in his garden. His natural ability was developed on a golf course, however, and he was soon set on a career as a professional. After a stint in the Edinburgh stock exchange and national service with the RAF, he trained as an apprentice club-maker at the Ben Sayers factory in North Berwick.
In 1954, he became an assistant professional at Potters Bar golf club in Hertfordshire under Bill Shankland and after completing his training became the professional at East Herts golf club. Here he entered his first tournament but soon concluded that he was more suited to teaching than to tournament golf. After a spell at Dunham Forest, Cheshire, in 1965 he became the pro at the prestigious Ashridge golf club in Hertfordshire.
After 12 years, Hay moved to the Duke of Bedford's new Woburn golf club where he improved the club's standing by designing the Marquess' course and improving the club's facilities and finances. Soon he was attracting world-class players such as Greg Norman, Gary Player and Seve Ballesteros. Woburn staged many of the Around with Alliss television programmes and became the venue for the Dunlop and then Dunhill British Masters. In 1986, at Woburn, Hay became the first pro to be appointed managing director of a golf club. He also served as a referee and observer for the Ryder Cup from 1973 to 1977.
Hay was also a gifted artist and from 1973 had begun both writing and illustrating his teaching theories for Golf Illustrated magazine. He even had a column in Medical News and, as he wrote in his 1989 collection of anecdotes, Ripening Hay: "I was the only golf pro to give a cure for a slice between a cure for haemorrhoids and another for athlete's foot, all published on the same page."
Having earned a reputation as a public raconteur, he impressed the commentator David Coleman while speaking at a gymkhana attended by Coleman's daughter. Coleman arranged for a BBC audition and Hay made his broadcasting debut at the Open at St Andrews in 1978, won by Jack Nicklaus. The mailbag attested to his popularity, though his main critics were Scots who disliked the anglicisation of his accent. He became famous for his conversational style, his technical insight and his humour. His one effort as fairway commentator did not go so well. He spoke too loudly and caused Sam Torrance to abort a shot in mid-swing, and he forced a cameraman to follow him under a rope with the result that his portable mast caught inside a woman's dress with unfortunate consequences for the lady concerned, less so for male viewers.
In 2004 the BBC, anxious to introduce younger blood into the commentary team, let Hay go, despite attempts by Alliss to reverse the decision. Hay felt no bitterness and told his friend shortly before he died that: "I've had a wonderful life. I've been round the world three or four times without ever having to put my hand in pocket, I've met vagabonds and princes, now I'm not going to lose my hair and my good looks."
He is survived by his wife, Ann, and his two sons, David and Graeme.

Alex Galloway Hay, golf professional and broadcaster, born 10 May 1933; died 11 July 2011

Sunday, 17 July 2011

William Crozier

Scots-Irish painter inspired by Picasso, who imbued landscape with vivid colour
    william crozier obituary
    Crozier painted many of his most intensely coloured landscapes at dusk. 
    On graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 1953, William Crozier, who has died of cancer aged 81, went to Paris, took digs in St-Germain-des-Prés and stayed for a little over six months. He never lived there again but, spiritually, he never departed. "To be in Paris then was to be at the centre of the world," he recalled, and added: "Anyone who was not young [then] and did not sit in the Café Flore or the Deux Magots, where Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir were as gods, simply cannot imagine the excitement that enveloped the young of Europe, emotionally, physically and intellectually." What is peculiar about this enduring attachment is that by the end of the 1950s Paris was no longer the centre of the world and, even though in 1979 Crozier paid an extended visit to the self-appointed new capital, New York, its main effect was to reaffirm his rootedness in European culture – though he loved the freedom of Willem de Kooning's painting. What the gods of the Deux Magots had bestowed on Crozier (through printed texts: he never screwed up the courage to speak to Sartre or de Beauvoir) was existentialism, the root assertion that every man is responsible for his own freedom. In his painting, Crozier saw each fresh canvas as a totally new challenge, and if the very first brushstroke felt wrong, he binned the canvas. His very early work does not indicate anything like the heights to which he would rise. At a glance, his work might seem to follow in the steps of the Scottish colourists, but actually it was much meatier than the painting of JD Fergusson (who met and encouraged the young tyro), SJ Peploe, FCB Cadell or GL Hunter ever was. Nor was Matisse much of an influence, though Crozier recognised that he was a giant. It was Picasso whom Crozier admired with a passion, Picasso's energy on which he drew, though after Crozier's jejune but maybe necessary attempts in 1950 to absorb the influence, the outward lineaments of Picasso's work were never again obvious in his painting. Crozier was born in Glasgow, the son of working-class parents, his father a plumber in Stephen & Sons' Govan shipyard. From the age of 12, the boy received a good education at Marr college in Troon, and made a lifelong friend in William Irvine, who from 1947 would accompany Crozier on explorations of the art of Paris, where on their first visit they camped out in a tented village intended for refugees. Departure from the Island  
    Crozier: Departure from the Island, 1993.  
      Together they graduated from Glasgow School of Art, went to London, and knocked about in Soho making friends. Life in these years was tough, but in 1954, on a visit to Glasgow from London, Crozier met the actress Elspeth McKail, married her, and together they went to Dublin, where he painted backdrops at the Olympia theatre. Back in England in 1956, he and Elspeth set up home in Folkestone, Kent, with their young son Paul, named after Paul Éluard, the Parisian surrealist poet. In 1957, with Irvine and a third artist, John Wright, Crozier had his first show, at the Parton Gallery, in Greek Street, Soho. The following year saw Crozier's breakthrough: he found a studio in Essex, at Pebmarsh, and here he painted a series of dark, dramatic landscapes, sun like a cannon shot in a milky yellow sky, battered black crops streaked blood-red, yellow ochre and earth colours that refuse to stay earthed. The confident aspiration of these canvases set him up for life; and in the same year Halima Nalecz invited Crozier and Irvine to show at the Drian Gallery in Porchester Place, which she had founded precisely to show the work of abstractionists or near-abstractionists who were being ignored by the establishment. Soon afterwards, Arthur Tooth & Sons came calling. Crozier accepted and began showing at Tooth's in Bruton Street, probably the gallery of modern art with the highest prestige in town at the time; but he continued to exhibit at the Drian, and Nalecz was keen enough on his work to give him not only a contract but also the rental on a London studio. Despite the ferocious brushwork and sombre colours of the Essex farmland paintings, it became clear that colour was the name of his game. Even so, dusk was his favoured time of day, with paintings of Gramercy Park, New York, or Lough Hyne in County Cork, glowing with dense blues as effulgent as the Provençal canvases lit by the noonday sun. Crozier's parents were originally from County Antrim and he would say that he felt more Irish than Scots. He became an Irish citizen in 1973 and lived by Roaringwater Bay in West Cork for large parts of the year. Here he felt the landscape had never been painted by anyone before him. He had a home in Hampshire too, and while he was head of painting at Winchester School of Art met and married (his first marriage having ended in 1965) the art historian Katharine Crouan. She became his manager and edited the magnificent monograph on Crozier published in 2007. He is survived by Katharine and by the son and daughter of his first marriage, Paul and Siobhan. • William John Crozier, artist, born 5 May 1930; died 12 July 2011