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Jeffry Wickham in ‘Espionage’ (ATV), playing the first of the screen Russians which became a specialty

Jeffry Wickham: Character actor in the theatre and on television whose patrician bearing made him ideal to play elder statesmen

In spite of claiming to be "hopeless at auditions", Jeffry Wickham was a constantly busy actor for over half a century. A tall man with a patrician bearing, he had fine, swept-back hair and a lower lip that sometimes pursed in comic indignation.

Kerr, right, with Spike Milligan during rehearsals for ‘The Bed-Sitting Room’

Bill Kerr: Comedian and actor who began as a child star and became best known working with the Goons and Tony Hancock

Despite his catchphrase, "I'm only here for four minutes", Bill Kerr enjoyed a nine-decade career most performers can only dream of, impressive as much for its diversity as its longevity. He made his stage debut as a baby, worked with the Goons and Tony Hancock, and won his spurs performing everything from vaudeville to Cole Porter. He was the last surviving regular from Hancock's Half Hour, one of a cherished cluster with Hattie Jacques, Sid James, Kenneth Williams and Hancock himself, all of whom are now no more.

Rodrigues in his ‘Mole’ armchair

Sergio Rodrigues: Designer best known for the 'Mole' armchair who sought to express the spirit of his native Brazil

Sergio Rodrigues, who has died of liver failure at the age of 86, was a celebrated designer, whose "Mole" armchair is among the best-known pieces of Brazilian mid-20th century design. A native of Rio de Janeiro, Rodrigues studied architecture before turning to furniture design – always attempting in his work to express the spirit of Brazil. He designed more than 1,200 different pieces of furniture, though none would prove as enduring a hit as his "Mole" armchair, the name of which means "soft" in Portuguese.

Sotloff: fluent in Arabic, he described himself as ‘a stand-up philosopher’

Steven Sotloff: Journalist who was devoted to exposing the hardships endured by ordinary people in the Middle East conflict

Steven Sotloff had a gift for intimacy as he reported the chaos engulfing the Middle East, describing drinks in a small town's only bar, tea taken with Egyptian fighters and the red of a prayer mat in oil-lamp light while its owner, an Aleppo electrician, fought despair, with all power lines cut.

Behbahani in 2007: she was often mentioned as a Nobel Prize contender

Simin Behbahani: 'The lioness of Iran' whose status as the doyenne of Persian poetry did not protect her from government intimidation

Simin Behbahani was a towering figure in Persian literature who became known as "the lioness of Iran" for poetry in which she elegantly and courageously laid bare the suffering of the destitute, the marginalised and the oppressed. For decades, from the era of the Western-backed Shah to the rule of the ayatollahs that followed the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Behbahani was one of her country's most celebrated writers.

Sir David Mitchell: Transport minister under Margaret Thatcher who also successfully led his family's wine business, El Vino

David Mitchell was a Conservative minister under Margaret Thatcher and a successful wine merchant. Born in 1928, he came from a comfortable but not an academic background. He left his minor public school Aldenham, in Hertfordshire, aged 16. With few qualifications and no clear purpose in mind he turned to market gardening.

Werner Franz: believed to be the last surviving crew member of the German airship Hindenburg

Werner Franz: Airman believed to be the last crew member to survive the loss of the German airship the 'Hindenburg'

Werner Franz was believed to be the last surviving crew member of the German airship Hindenburg that crashed 77 years ago. He was a 14-year-old cabin boy when the hydrogen-filled Zeppelin caught fire and crashed in Lakehurst, New Jersey, on 6 May 1937.

John Walker

John Walker: American naval officer who formed a family spy ring that passed highly damaging secrets to the Soviet Union

John Walker may not be one of the glamour names of espionage. But his 18 years of spying for the Soviet Union, in its later stages as head of a ring involving other members of his family, represented the most damaging leak in the history of the US Navy – and one which might conceivably have given Moscow the upper hand had the Cold War ever turned hot.

Dick Smith: Oscar-winning make-up artist who turned De Niro into Travis Bickle and Brando into Don Corleone

Dick Smith was the Oscar-winning "godfather of make-up" who amused, fascinated and terrified film audiences by devising unforgettable transformations for Marlon Brando in The Godfather and Linda Blair in The Exorcist, among many others. Late in his career he became the first make-up artist to win an Academy Award for lifetime achievement.

Edmund Szoka: Priest, and the Vatican City’s governor who kept finances in the black

He was confidant to Pope John Paul II, who was his financial administrator

Hashim Khan: Squash player who became one of his sport’s most successful exponents

He was only 5ft 4in, and stocky, with a protruding belly that Prince Philip remarked on when they met

Major Mike Pardoe: Soldier who helped secure Juno Beach in Normandy on D-Day

He protected Juno Beach for the allied invaders on D-Day

Rod de’Ath: he owed his unusual name to Belgian ancestors

Rod de’Ath: Powerhouse drummer at the heart of Rory Gallagher’s band during what is held to be the guitarist’s best period

The Welsh drummer Rod de’Ath backed the Irish blues-rock guitarist and singer Rory Gallagher on five of the albums that made the former Taste frontman such a popular and influential figure in the 1970s.

Doctor Magda Heras: in the 1992 Olympic Games she worked out emergency protocols for the venues

Doctor Magda Heras: Cardiologist whose pioneering work transformed the emergency care of heart attack patients

With the death of Magda Heras Fortuny at the age of 61 we have lost one of the most distinguished cardiologists in Europe.

Alicia Albanese in ‘Madame Butterfly’; in her Met debut in the role she was praised for ‘the interest of detail in her performance’

Licia Albanese: Soprano especially acclaimed for her portrayals of Violetta in 'La Traviata' and Cio-Cio-San in 'Madame Butterfly'

The soprano Licia Albanese, who has died at the age of 105, ennobled the tragic heroines of Puccini and Verdi in hundreds of performances with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and on other leading world stages.

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