Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Yet More Deaths

I think I can speak for most of us when I say that we hoped fewer classic stars from film, television, and music would die in 2017 than had died in 2016. For a time this January that seemed as if that would be the case. Unfortunately last week saw the deaths of several big names within days of each other, including Mary Tyler Moore, Sir John Hurt, Mike Connors, Barbara Hale, and Emmanuelle Riva. I generally try to eulogise those stars who have had an impact on me in this blog, but given how many died last week I could well be spending much of early February eulogising all of those I have not eulogised yet. With this post, then, I intend to acknowledge the contributions of those stars who died recently, but whom I have yet to eulogise.

Actor Philip Bond died the week before last, on January 17 2017. He was born on November 1 1934 in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire. Philip Bond was a regular on several series and mini-series, including The Herries Chronicle, Walk a Crooked Mile, 199 Park Lane, The Main Chance, and The Onedin Line. He was a frequent guest star on British television, including such shows as The Saint, Doctor Who, The Flying Swan, The Avengers, Jason King, Bergerac, Lovejoy, and Midsomer Murders. He appeared in only a few films, including Foxhole in Cairo (1960) and Fever Pitch (1997). He was the father of Samantha Bond, who played Miss Moneypenny for a time in the James Bond movies, played Lady Rosamund Painswick on Downton Abbey, and currently stars as Frances Barden on Home Fires.

Pete Overend Watts
Pete Overend Watts, bassist and founding member of Mott the Hoople, died January 22 2017 at the age of 69. The cause was throat cancer. He was born on May 13 1947 in Yardley, Birmingham. His family moved to Worthing, Sussex when he was a child and then to Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. It was there that he took up the guitar. After a couple of years he switched to the bass. He began playing in a band called The Buddies, which evolved into the Doc Thomas Group, which in turn became Shakedown Sound and then Silence. With the addition of lead singer Ian Hunter, Silence became Mott the Hoople. Mr. Watts remained with Mott the Hoople after Ian Hunter and Mick Ralphs left the group and the band simply became "Mott". Following the break up of Mott, Pete Overend Watts formed British Lions with other veterans of Mott the Hoople. He later became a record producer, producing such acts as Department S, Hanoi Watts, and The Stiffs.

Mary Webster, who appeared in the films The Delicate Delinquent (1957) and Master of the World (1961), died on January 23 2017 at the age of 81. Miss Webster was born in Dallas, Texas. She was a frequent guest star on television shows in the Fifties and early Sixties, appearing on such shows as Father Knows Best, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Bachelor Father, Studio One, Mike Hammer, Death Valley Days, The Millionaire, Perry Mason, Dr. Kildare, and The Twilight Zone. Beyond the aforementioned films, she also appeared in the movies Engagement Party (1956), The Tin Star (1957), Eighteen and Anxious (1957), and The Clown and the Kid (1961).

Gorden Kaye, the star of the hit sitcom 'Allo 'Allo!, died on January 23 2017 at the age of 75. He was born on April 7 1941 in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. In addition to 'Allo 'Allo! he was a regular on several other shows, including Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Come Back Mrs. Noah, Born and Bred, and Revolver. Mr. Kaye guest starred on such shows as Till Death Do Us Part, It Ain't Half Hot Mum, All Creatures Great and Small, and Minder. He appeared in such films as Escape from the Dark (1976), Jabberwocky (1977), Porridge (1979), and Brazil (1985).

Emmanuelle Riva
Legendary French actress Emmanuelle Riva died on January 27 2017 at the age of 89. She was born on February 24 1927 in  Cheniménil, Vosges, France. For Hiroshima mon amour (1959) she was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress. She won the BAFTA Award for Best Leading Actress for Amour (2012) and was nominated for the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for the same film. She won the Venice Film Festival's Coppa Volpi for Best Actress for Thérèse Desqueyroux (1962). Miss Riva also appeared in such films as Kapò (1960), Léon Morin, prêtre (1961), Thomas l'imposteur (1965), Les risques du métie (1967), Liberté, la nuit (1984), Trois couleurs: Bleu (1993), Vénus beauté (institut) (1999), and Le Skylab (2011). She appeared from time to time on French television. Emmanuelle Riva also had a career on the stage as well as being a published poet and and accomplished photographer.

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