The Year in Review: Obituaries


Lord Deedes

Bill Deedes W. F. Deedes, Lord Deedes, best-loved of Fleet Street editors was a phenomenal survivor. Thirty years after he had passed retiring age, he continued to travel and write tirelessly for the newspaper to which he devoted most of his working life, The Daily Telegraph. A man of vast experience but absolutely no conceit, he made friends everywhere he went, and for more than 70 years he reported on the human condition with a rare mixture of insight and compassion. When speaking in public, he tended to accentuate a habit of shushing his "S"s a quirk which recalled the diction of Winston Churchill, and led to Private Eye's catchphrase "Shome mishtake, shurely. Ed". He was a good trencherman, and a firm believer in the restorative powers of what he called a strong whishky and shoda (Rupert Hart-Davis)

W.F. Deedes, journalist and politician, 94: died 17 August

Norman Mailer

Flushed with the extraordinary success of The Naked and the Dead, the young Mailer went off the rails. He lived hard, smoking lots of marijuana, drinking to excess, carousing in a Bohemian, Beat-inspired fashion. For a time an inveterate brawler, Mailer was constantly in fights, once even punching a sailor on the street for suggesting Mailer's dog showed homosexual tendencies. This relentless machismo seemed out of place in a man who was actually quite small though perhaps that was where the aggression originated. And Mailer's most notorious act of violence had nothing macho about it at all at the end of an all-night drunken party in 1960, he stabbed his wife Adele twice with a penknife. In an event-filled life of almost existential self-creation, this was the one act Mailer was always to regret. It haunted his reputation, and haunted him (Andrew Rosenheim)

Norman Mailer, writer, 84: died 10 November

Luciano Pavarotti

Luciano Pavarotti, "the greatest tenor in the world" according to the public-relations hype, was a giant, both literally and figuratively, who sang in football stadia, sports arenas and open-air theatres, giving pleasure to tens of thousands of people; one who turned a Puccini aria into a pop number, and whose trademark was the large white handkerchief with which he frequently mopped his brow. However, it should never be forgotten that, behind the razzmatazz thrown up by the media, there stood the figure of another singer younger, thinner, more agile. This Pavarotti had a most beautiful lyric tenor voice, perfectly produced, with strong, effortless top notes that rang out, clarion-like; his phrasing was stylish, his diction impeccable, and he could infuse a simple love song or a complicated aria with exquisite tenderness (Elizabeth Forbes)

Luciano Pavarotti, singer, 71: died 6 September

Dame Anita Roddick

She invented 15 products based on natural ingredients, most of them based on cocoa butter. They were sold in small, plain plastic bottles designed to hold urine samples. Their labels were hand-written by Roddick, who told customers that if they brought them back she would refill them. "We recycled everything, not because we were environmentally friendly but because we didn't have enough bottles," she said. Even then Anita Roddick knew the power of storytelling. Tales of the products and how they were made were displayed alongside photographs of the countries she had visited and the tribes peoples she had met. She was selling the story as much as the product. Within a few years the Body Shop with its pineapple face scrub, peppermint-oil foot lotion and strawberry exfoliators became one of the icons of the British high street (Paul Vallely)

Anita Roddick, businesswoman, 64: died 10 September

Boris Yeltsin

The hero of the failed coup d'tat of August 1991, Boris Yeltsin enjoyed the distinction, otherwise unknown among politicians of the Soviet era, of returning to power after having been sacked in ignominious circumstances. His switchback career was virtually a leitmotif of the perestroika years, his escapades and his populist rhetoric had given him the image of a man who was either too erratic, flamboyant and unstable to pose a real threat to the Communist establishment, or a potentially dangerous rabble-rouser. From that bungled coup he emerged as a master of political crowd-control and a statesman of calibre. If Mikhail Gorbachev is remembered as the Communist leader who did not act to prevent the foundations of the Soviet Union from being fatally weakened, Boris Yeltsin will go down in history as the man who gave the edifice the last push (Harry Shukman)

Boris Yeltsin, politician, 76: died 23 April

Isabella Blow

Blow was known for many things, but primarily for discovering the designer Alexander McQueen, nurturing new talent and obliterating the view of customers at the Paris couture shows. Teetering on satin stiletto Manolos, wearing couture gown, feathered hat and smeared ruby lipstick, Blow was a dishevelled bird of paradise who didn't give a damn about convention. She loved to gossip, talking 20 to the dozen, dropping names, witticisms and acute observations, and invariably ending her sentences with a deafening roar of laughter. Incredibly perceptive, inventive and intuitive, she worked completely on instinct. Although her last official title was Fashion Editor at Large at Tatler, Blow, flitting in and out of the office, with a life far larger and more complex than her job, was an agent provocateur (Linda Watson)

Isabella Blow, 48, fashion journalist and stylist: died 7 May

Michelangelo Antonioni

Blow-Up was either championed as a multi-layered philosophical enquiry into the basic instability and inscrutability of the photographic image, or else denounced as a complacently exploitative indictment of Swinging London. It seems likely that the jury will be forever out (Gilbert Adair)

Michelangelo Antonioni, film director, 94: died 30 July



Alan Ball

On a blazing hot afternoon at Wembley in July 1966, he ran his West German opponents into the ground as England lifted the ultimate prize in football. As the England manager Alf Ramsey, a fellow famously reticent with praise, told him afterwards: "Young man, you will never play a better game of football in your life than you did today" (Ivan Ponting)

Alan Ball, footballer and manager, 61: died 24 April



Ingmar Bergman

"The fact that I must die does not bother me. Indeed, I look forward to it as an interesting experience," the great Swedish film and stage director Ingmar Bergman declared in an interview on Swedish television in 2000. At an early age Bergman had become obsessed by death and dying, a subject he went on to explore in his films, including the 1957 masterpiece which first brought him to international attention, The Seventh Seal (James Kirkup)

Ingmar Bergman, film and theatre director, 89: died 30 July



John Biffen

His total mastery of Commons affairs, his dry wit, the regard in which he was held by ministerial colleagues and his close relationship with the Prime Minister all these factors made it possible to think of him as a future Prime Minister (Patrick Cosgrave)

John Biffen, politician, 76: died 14 August

Mark Birley

Mark and Annabel Birley, one of the most glamorous married couples in London, attracted a raft of their upper-crust friends to be founding members. Annabel's was an immediate success, and became a great meeting place for swinging London, but no one thought the place would stay open for more than a short period, still less for 44 years and counting (Louis Jebb )

Mark Birley, club proprietor and businessman, 77: died 24 August



Alan Coren

As a team member from 1975 on Radio 4's The News Quiz, he was always outrageously anti-German. He had a theory that the books which sold best in Britain dealt with sports, pets, and the Second World War, so one of his collections was called Golfing for Cats (1975) and had a huge swastika on the front (Miles Kington)

Alan Coren, writer and broadcaster, 69: died 18 October



Nigel Dempster

Although gossip writing is not regarded as a heroic branch of journalism, Dempster's strength was that he approached it with great seriousness. He recognised that it was necessary to bring to his stories the disciplines of hard news reporting, paying attention to accurate detail especially when the people involved would have preferred to keep matters private (Michael Leapman)

Nigel Dempster, journalist, 65: died 12 July



Dame Mary Douglas

Mary Douglas's Purity and Danger (1966) was listed by the TLS in 1991 as one of the hundred most influential non-fiction books published since the Second World War. Her books, which range from African ethnography and biblical exegesis to accounts of contemporary social movements, stirred interest and debate in a number of different disciplines, but they also attracted a wide general readership (Adam Kuper)

Mary Douglas, anthropologist, 86: died 16 May

Lord Forte

Forte's great expansion came in the 30 years after the war when he took the fullest advantage of the ever-increasing willingness of the British public to go out to eat and drink, to travel, and stay in hotels. He proved to have a superb eye for a bargain and for new business opportunities, for he was a far better wheeler and dealer than he was a caterer or hotelier (Nicholas Faith)

Lord Forte, hotelier and caterer, 98: died 28 February



Baroness Jeger

Canvassing as she did from the top of flats, downwards, she met a woman in the lift. Jeger addressed her on the issue of the day German rearmament which evoked the reply, "People have been pissing in this lift. What are you going to do about it?" Jeger said that, if elected, she could not promise, as an MP, to stop this. She harped back to the German threat. "Well," said the woman. "If you can't stop people pissing in lifts, how are you going to stop Germans rearming?" (Tam Dalyell)

Lena Jeger, politician and journalist, 91: died 26 February



Deborah Kerr

In Hollywood she was regarded as little more than classy, patrician decoration before she famously shocked the town and many of her admirers with a steamy performance as the unfaithful wife of an army captain in From Here to Eternity (1953). Her beach scene with Burt Lancaster has become an iconic screen sequence, imitated and parodied as well as celebrated (Tom Vallance)

Deborah Kerr, actress, 86: died 16 October



Dame Thea King

Thea King was one of Britain's best-loved musicians, a treasured presence on the classical scene for over half a century. As soloist, chamber and orchestral musician and teacher, she influenced two generations of clarinettists; the listeners who enjoyed her playing, in concert, on disc and over the air, must rank in the millions (Martin Anderson)

Thea King, clarinettist, 81: died 26 June

R.B. Kitaj

A painter and writer of extraordinary imagination and force, R.B. Kitaj made a distinctive contribution to art and thought in his time. Innovative in both content and method, his work in each of his disciplines roused great admiration and furious controversy (Richard Morphet)

R.B. Kitaj, painter and writer, 74: died 21 October



Evel Knievel

His death-defying attempts included the Snake River Canyon in Idaho, the fountains at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, and a line of 13 buses at Wembley Stadium. He also made the Guinness Book of Records for the 433 bone fractures sustained from the many jumps where he didn't quite make it (Michael Roscoe)

Evel Knievel, motorcycle stuntman, 69: died 30 November



Verity Lambert

Verity Lambert was consumed by her work and her life-long ambition was only to be associated with the very best. She leaves behind a prodigious body of work, from Doctor Who to Shoulder to Shoulder to the Naked Civil Servant, all ground-breaking in their day. No other female producer can claim to have produced such a wide range of quality popular drama over the last half-century (Janet Street-Porter)

Verity Lambert, film and television producer, 71: died 22 November



Magnus Magnusson

Most famously, he interrogated on BBC's Mastermind, sitting individual contestants in a sinister black revolving chair. Dramatic music (the theme tune was entitled "Approaching Menace") and stark lighting effects heightened the tension, until Magnusson launched into a torrent of questions, to be answered against the clock. If the signal sounded for the end of the round as he was still speaking, he would utter the words "I've started, so I'll finish" (Tam Dalyell)

Magnus Magnusson, writer and broadcaster, 77: died 7 January

Bernard Manning

He would argue that he was not racist, and that his act was "just jokes". In this sense, Manning was more about history than comedy. Whilst comedy hopes to shed some light on contemporary life and illuminate its ironies, Manning tried to preserve the past in Harpurhey, north Manchester, half a century ago, for folk of a certain age, who like him, were born, lived and died within the same few miles (Jonathan Margolis)

Bernard Manning, comedian, 76: died 18 June



Marcel Marceau

Of Marceau's moving depiction of the four ages of man, Youth, Maturity, Old Age and Death, one critic said, "He accomplishes in less than two minutes what most novelists cannot do in volumes" (James Kirkup)

Marcel Marceau, mime, 84: died 22 September



George Melly

The worst thing you might say about George Melly is that he was respectable. He was a man who had invented himself out of a provincial middle-class upbringing to become a Surrealist flneur, an incisive critic, and a vivacious entertainer in outrageous suits, "the Oscar Wilde of English jazz", as his friend the artist and writer Philip Core dubbed him (Philip Hoare)

George Melly, jazz singer and writer, 80: died 5 July



Gian Carlo Menotti

Menotti was one of the most successful opera composers of the mid-20th century. He had an inborn sense of the theatre, inheriting the tradition of Puccini, with an intuitive feel for character and drama, which served him faultlessly in a fusion of music and theatre to his own texts almost all in English (Peter Dickinson)

Gian Carlo Menotti, composer, 95: died 1 February

Lord Nolan

There was naturally much reaction to the Nolan Report on Standards in Public Life, with one MP suggesting that, if sections of it were implemented, there would be no further references to "my honourable friend" because "society will have shown it no longer considers us to be honourable" (James Morton)

Lord Nolan, lawyer, 78: died 22 January



Mstislav Rostropovich

Mstislav Rostropovich's virtuoso performances on the cello, his great gifts as pianist and conductor, were only equalled by his exuberant personality. Even the critics found difficulty in disapproving of some of his more outrageous interpretations, that in a lesser artist would have met with howls of protest. The defence was to become an oft-repeated phrase: "Well Rostropovich is Rostropovich" (Margaret Campbell)

Mstislav Rostropovich, 80, cellist and conductor: died 27 April



Vernon Scannell

Vernon Scannell was fond of quoting Wordworth's remark that he "wished to keep the reader in the company of flesh and blood". But in looking to portray the everyday experience of life, Scannell found also the dark places, the ordinary hurts of the ordinary world (Anthony Thwaite)

Vernon Scannell, 85, poet, writer and broadcaster: died 16 November



Ned Sherrin

It is difficult now, in an age in which, as Richard Eyre recently noted, "satire has become mainstream", to comprehend the effect of the show which Sherrin assembled. That Was The Week That Was became a legend in post-war entertainment. It happened at a time when youth culture met clever satire and a new knowingness, and it anticipated much of what was to come in television, and in the wider entertainment world (Philip Hoare)

Ned Sherrin, 76, film, theatre and television producer: died 1 October

Anna Nicole Smith

It says much about the red-carpet culture of contemporary America that Smith, who was to become a model, actress, reality television personality and endorser of diet products, managed to extend her 15 minutes of fame over the remainder of her lifetime. Indeed, that will surely be remembered as her singular achievement. By the end, she was famous because she was famous (David Usborne)

Anna Nicole Smith, 39, model and actress: died 8 February



Ian Smith

On the morning of 11 November 1965, after a last appeal by phone from Harold Wilson, Smith took the fateful step. The UDI proclamation itself was a parody of the American Declaration of Independence, full of lofty "whereases" and "therefores", but in practice a charter for white rule (Rupert Cornwell)

Ian Smith, 88, politician and farmer: died 20 November



Sir John Smith

Houses and cottages, factories and workshops, disused stations and forts yeoman buildings that 50 years ago were disparaged, ill used or disregarded are now the subject of reality television programmes, of competitive efforts of restoration, and the source of national pride. Without the Landmark Trust, which Smith founded in 1965, the picture might be very different (Louis Jebb)

Sir John Smith, 83, founder of the Landmark Trust: died 28 February

jane tomlinson

No-one has ever responded to a cancer diagnosis with more energy and pizazz than Jane Tomlinson, who was 26 and had two small children when she was diagnosed. In the subsequent 17 years she raised over 1.5m for cancer charities. She was happy to be an inspiration to other cancer patients without being regarded as some sort of athletic miracle. "It is very easy to be defined by the disease," she said. "I don't want to be described as a 'cancer sufferer'" (Caroline Richmond)

Jane Tomlinson, 43, fund-raiser and athlete: died 3 September



The Rev Chad Varah

It occurred to him that what people who were feeling suicidal or in despair most needed was an emergency telephone line akin to 999. This he set up in the crypt of St Stephen Walbrook, a magnificent Wren church in the City of London, and so were born the Samaritans (Michael De-la-Noy)

The Rev Chad Varah, 95, founder of the Samaritans: died 8 November



Kurt Vonnegut

In Slaughterhouse-Five he produced a contemporary American classic, unique for its extraordinary combination of science-fiction, satire, autobiography, outrage and compassion. And "So it goes" the book's fatalistic shrug of the shoulders in the face of death and suffering became almost as emblematic for the Vietnam generation as Joseph Heller's "Catch-22" (Peter Guttridge)

Kurt Vonnegut, 84, writer: died 11 April

Tony Wilson

The original Factory Records mission statement simply read: "We own nothing, the musicians own everything." "All our musicians have the right to F off, which I think was a wonderful contract," Wilson said. "That document in the end made Factory bankrupt and resulted in my entire catalogue being owned by somebody else. But I can't regret it, because the idea was not to own the past but to present the future" (Pierre Perrone)

Tony Wilson, 57, broadcaster and entrepreneur: died 10 August



Bob Woolmer

Bob Woolmer was one of world cricket's most innovative and intelligent coaches. He was always prepared to challenge the perceived wisdom of the day and his first book, in 1984, was entitled Pirate and Rebel although most who knew him well thought of him as a gentle man (Derek Hodgson)

Bob Woolmer, 58, cricketer and coach: died 18 March



Jane Wyman

Jane Wyman, who married the future US president Ronald Reagan when he was still an actor, was a prime example of a film star who paid her dues in the days of the studio system. Best remembered for films in which she suffered nobly, she also shone in comedy, and she could sing too. The director Alexander Hall said, "That gal can do anything she sets her mind to; she is one of the most creatively versatile performers the screen has ever boasted" (Tom Vallance)

Jane Wyman, 90, actress: died 10 September

Marit Allen, fashion editor and costume designer, 66; Don Arden, music promoter, 81; Brooke Astor, philanthropist, 105; Maurice Bjart, choreographer, 80; Mark Birley, club proprietor and businessman, 77; Lesley Blanch, writer, 102; Michael Brecker, jazz saxophonist, 57; The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, politician and landowner, 83; Art Buchwald, humorist, 81; Sir Alan Campbell, diplomat, 88; Kitty Carlisle Hart, actress and singer, 96; Professor Anthony Clare, psychiatrist and broadcaster, 64; Liz Claiborne, fashion designer, 78; Eva Crane, beekeeper, 95; Yvonne De Carlo, actress, 84; Michael Dibdin, crime writer, 60; Denny Doherty, singer, 66; Phil Drabble, naturalist and broadcaster, 93; Gianfranco Ferr, fashion designer, 62; Ernest Gallo, winemaker, 97; Lord Gilmour of Craigmillar, politician and writer, 81; Colin Graham, opera director, 75; Mike Gregory, rugby league player, 43; Wyn Harness, journalist, 47; Ronnie Hazlehurst, composer, 79; Leona Helmsley, hotelier, 87; Sir Wally Herbert, explorer, 72; Tony Holland, co-creator of EastEnders, 67; Harry Horse, children's writer and illustrator, 46; Gareth Hunt, actor, 65; Betty Hutton, actress and singer, 86; John Inman, actor, 71; Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, law lord, 82; Earl Jellicoe, soldier, diplomat, politician and businessman, 88; Lady Bird Johnson, US First Lady, 94; Ryszard Kapuscinski, writer, 74; Lord Kelvedon, politician, 71; Teddy Kollek, former mayor of Jerusalem, 95; Hilly Kristal, club owner, 75; Frankie Laine, singer, 93; Angela Lambert, writer and journalist, 67; Terence Lancaster, journalist, 86; Ira Levin, novelist and playwright, 78; Professor Norbert Lynton, art historian and critic, 80; Colin McRae, rally driver, 39; Lois Maxwell, actress, 81; Pierre Messmer, former French prime minister, 91; Sheridan Morley, writer and critic, 65; Ulrich Mhe, actor, 54; Andy Norman, sports agent, 64; Al Oerter, athlete, 71; Maurice Papon, Vichy bureaucrat and war criminal, 96; Abb Pierre, founder of the Emmaus movement, 94; Steven Pimlott, theatre director, 53; Carlo Ponti, film producer, 94; Mike Reid, actor and comedian, 67; Sir Norman Reid, arts administrator, 91; Lord Renton, lawyer and politician, 98; Ian Richardson, actor, 72; Sir Gareth Roberts, physicist and university administrator, 66; Baron Guy de Rothschild, banker, 98; Gene Savoy, explorer, 80; Wally Schirra, astronaut, 84; Arthur Schlesinger, historian, 89; Sidney Sheldon, novelist and screenwriter, 89; Beverly Sills, opera singer, 78; Karlheinz Stockhausen, composer and conductor, 79; Richard Stott, journalist, 63; Glen Tetley, choreographer, 80; Colin Thompson, arts administrator, 87; Bill Threlfall, tennis commentator, 81; Ike Turner, singer, 76; Dick Vosburgh, comedy writer, 77; Kurt Waldheim, politician, 88; John Ward, painter, 89; Lord Weatherill, former Speaker of the House of Commons, 86; The Very Rev Alan Webster, priest, 89; Sir Colin St John Wilson, architect, 85; R.D. Wingfield, writer, 79; Ian Wooldridge, sports journalist, 75; Werner von Trapp, singer and farmer, 91; Mohammed Zahir Shah, last King of Afghanistan, 92

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