Wednesday 10 June 2009
Tom Vallance's obituary of Anne Brown (17 April) covers the contours of her career in fine detail,
writes Martin Anderson, but misses some of the spark of mischievous fun that became evident on personal acquaintance. I got to know her in her late eighties and was delighted to find she was an enthusiastic e-mailer. But in her 90th year the e-mails suddenly dried up and so, fearing the worst, I wrote to ask if she was all right. I had a note a few days later, apologising for her silence and explaining that she had been in hospital for cancer of the colon, which required the removal of 18 feet of intestine – "But don't worry: I don't need that end of it".
Although in old age she still radiated the sexual electricity that Gershwin had felt in the mid-1930s, she was afflicted by an essential tremor in the arms that made eating difficult; it was, she said, inherited from her father whose career as a surgeon had had to be abandoned as a result. Initially she had kept it under control with yoga, which she dropped during a period of illness: "The two dumbest things I ever did: give up yoga, and marry the three men I married".
She enjoyed the status that her celebrity brought her but it didn't cloud her judgement, as she reported in an e-mail in September 2001: "I was the Patroness for a Cultural Festival of UNESCO on Saturday and Sunday, held an opening speech and had to smile and talk to a lot of people from Cuba, Africa, etc. about the Slave trade, in which the Norwegians and Danes took a very active part, tho those self-rightous bastards claim to have had 'clean hands' where Slavery was concerned. Ha, ha! Their Slave ship, The Fredensborg, sank off the Norwegian coast and was dug up not so many years ago. So you see, your evil deeds live after you!! Careful now!"
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 3 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 4 The most powerful passports in the world
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
Nepal earthquake: How you can help victims of the Kathmandu disaster
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital in London where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
General Election 2015: The photo of a tree that proves the Tories have an image problem
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...