This page is in loving memory of Arthur Sharp, who sadly passed away on Wednesday 27th December 2023.

 

Obituary – Dave Courtney – Gangster turned Actor and Author

The family of ex-gangster Dave Courtney has paid tribute to his “incredible, colourful, rock ‘n’ roll life” after the 64-year-old was found dead at his home in south-east London.

Courtney, who claimed to be an associate of 1960s gangland criminals the Kray twins, swapped an earlier life of crime for writing books in his later years.

He was found at his home in Chestnut Rise, Plumstead, on Sunday 22nd October 2023.

  • Died: October 22nd 2023
  • Details of death: Committed suicide to avoid becoming a burden to his loved ones as a result of his deteriorating health.

Writing Carer

Courtney was an author, having had six books published: Stop the Ride I Want to Get Off, Raving Lunacy, Dodgy Dave’s Little Black Book, The Ride’s Back On, F**k the Ride, and Heroes & Villains.

Acting Career

Courtney starred in and produced his own film, Hell to Pay (2005), and took on the leading role of Mad Dave opposite Manish Patel in the low-budget British film Triads, Yardies and Onion Bhajees (2003).

Largely making a living from television documentaries and personal appearances, Courtney ran his own website, was involved in charity work and worked on the films Six Bend Trap and Clubbing to Death alongside Craig Charles and Nick Moran. Courtney was featured in the 2008 film The Dead Sleep Easy, filmed on location in Mexico.

Courtney worked with Director Liam Galvin on 2 DVDs – Dave Courtney’s Dodgy DVD and Dave Courtney Even Dodgier – both released by Gangster Videos. He collaborated again with Liam Galvin on the 2010 film Killer Bitch and the 2016 film Mob Handed.

Courtney appeared in the film Mother’s Child (2020), as club owner Mr Townsend alongside Alex Reid. It was released worldwide on Amazon Prime, DVD, and Blu-ray.

Legal Cases

In November 2000, Courtney walked free from the Old Bailey after he was cleared of being part of a plot to plant cocaine on an innocent woman. During the trial, he was named as a registered police informant using the alias “Tommy Mac”. Courtney alleged that the police lied about his involvement with them as an informant and subsequently took legal proceedings against the police the next week where is was found that the office who had supposedly hired Courtney as an informant was corrupt and had a history of working with gangsters – including Courtney over a period of 15 years which involved recruiting fake informants, obtaining information from the police computer and sabotaging numerous court cases – and regularly stole drugs from raids to feed his own drug habits.

At the time of the November 2000 case, Courtney had made 10 court appearances in the past 15 years and had received 10 not guilty verdicts in a row. “I have always had faith in the British Justice system,” he said outside the court. “That not guilty verdict was both for the charge I faced and the accusation that I was a grass. I have never been an informer.

In January 2009 he was given an 18-month conditional discharge at Bristol Crown Court, on a charge of possessing live ammunition without a firearms certificate. His defence of not knowing that the single live pistol round was live rather than a stage prop prompted Judge Ticehurst to comment, “It perhaps undermines your street credibility and your stage performance that you cannot distinguish between a real round and a fake round. But perhaps that’s not for me to say.”

In May 2009, Courtney filed for bankruptcy, reportedly owing £400,000 to creditors, including taxes of £250,000.

On 29 July 2009, he was arrested and charged with possession of a prohibited weapon, specifically a Brocock Air Cartridge pistol, and possession of a firearm whilst being a prohibited person. He was sent in custody to Woolwich Crown Court for trial. The Brocock pistol was previously legal as an air-weapon (and would then have been legal for Courtney to possess) but police concerns over the “ease” with which they can be converted into cartridge-firing firearms led to a ban on this specific design. Courtney was on remand in HMP Belmarsh, concerning the aforementioned firearms offences. On 10 December 2009, Courtney was cleared after the jury took two hours to find him not guilty on all charges.

Personal Life & Death

Courtney was born in Bermondsey, London. He went to Adamsrill primary school in Sydenham, South East London.

Courtney often focused on his links with gangsters such as Reggie Kray and Lenny McLean, although he was nine years old when Kray was imprisoned. Courtney has claimed to have been shot, stabbed, had his nose bitten off, and stated that he has had to kill to stay alive. He made the claim that his involvement in a car crash on the M20 was an attempt by “someone who had a grudge against him” to kill him.

Courtney often referred to himself as Dave Courtney OBE, the suffix standing for One Big Ego. His house in Plumstead, called Camelot Castle, was decorated with Union Jack flags and the cross of St George, a painted depiction of himself as a knight and a large knuckle duster.

Courtney claimed to have been involved in debt-collecting, minding clubs, assault, contraband, and murder. He also claimed he has spent time in Belmarsh Prison as a high security prisoner, which has been backed up by ex-prison guard Jim Dawkins in his book The Loose Screw.

In his book F**k the Ride, Courtney claims to have been found not guilty in 19 separate trials.

On 22 October 2023, Courtney was found dead at his home Chestnut Rise, Plumstead, having shot himself. He was 64.

Since his death, his family have released a self-filmed clip where Courtney explains why he has decided to take his own life.

Date of birth: 17th February 1959

Date of Death: 22nd October 2023 (aged 64)

 

Sources:

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Courtney

Warrington Guardian – https://www.warringtonguardian.co.uk/news/national/23872916.family-pays-tribute-ex-gangsters-incredible-colourful-rock-n-roll-life/

The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2000/dec/17/ukcrime.tonythompson

Obituary – Sir Bobby Charlton – World Cup Winner and Legend of Manchester United

Sir Bobby Charlton, who has died aged 86, was one of the greatest footballers England has ever produced. He was certainly the most successful, the only English player to win all of football’s major honours – the FA Cup, Football League and European Cup with Manchester United, and the World Cup with England, accumulating a record number of international caps and goals.

  • Died: October 21st 2023
  • Details of death: complications from dementia.

Early Life

Charlton was born in Ashington, Northumberland, England, on 11 October 1937 to coal miner Robert “Bob” Charltonand Elizabeth Ellen “Cissie” Charlton . He was related to several professional footballers on his mother’s side of the family: his uncles were Jack Milburn (Leeds United and Bradford City), George Milburn (Leeds United and Chesterfield), Jim Milburn (Leeds United and Bradford Park Avenue) and Stan Milburn (Chesterfield, Leicester City and Rochdale), and legendary Newcastle United and England footballer Jackie Milburn was his mother’s cousin. However, Charlton credited much of the early development of his career to his grandfather Tanner and his mother Cissie. His elder brother, Jack, initially worked as a miner before applying to the police, only to also become a professional footballer with Leeds United.

Football Career

Joining Manchester United

Charlton became one of the famed Busby Babes, the collection of talented footballers who emerged through the system at Old Trafford in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s as Matt Busby set about a long-term plan of rebuilding the club after the Second World War. He worked his way through the pecking order of teams, scoring regularly for the youth and reserve sides before he was handed his first team debut against Charlton Athletic in October 1956. At the same time, he was doing his National service with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in Shrewsbury, where Busby had advised him to apply as it meant he could still play for Manchester United at the weekend. Also doing his army service in Shrewsbury at the same time was his United teammate Duncan Edwards.

Charlton played 17 times for United in that first season, scoring twice on his debut and managing a total of 12 goals in all competitions, and including a hat-trick in a 5–1 away win over Charlton Athletic in February. United won the league championship but were denied the 20th century’s first “double” when they controversially lost the 1957 FA Cup Final to Aston Villa. Charlton, still only 19, was selected for the game, which saw United goalkeeper Ray Wood carried off with a broken cheekbone after a clash with Villa centre forward Peter McParland. Charlton was a candidate to go in goal to replace Wood (in the days before substitutes, and certainly before goalkeeping substitutes), but it was teammate Jackie Blanchflower who ended up playing in goal.

Charlton was an established player by the time the next season was fully underway, which saw United, as current League champions, become the first English team to compete in the European Cup. Previously, the Football Association had scorned the competition, but United made progress, reaching the semi-finals where they lost to holders Real Madrid. Their reputation was further enhanced the next season in the 1957–58 European Cup as they reached the quarter-finals to play Red Star Belgrade. In the first leg at home, United won 2–1. The return in Yugoslavia saw Charlton score twice as United stormed 3–0 ahead, although the hosts came back to earn a 3–3 draw. However, United maintained their aggregate lead to reach the last four and were in jubilant mood as they left to catch their flight home, thinking of an important League game against Wolves at the weekend.

Munich Air Disaster

The aeroplane which took the United players and staff home from Zemun Airport needed to stop in Munich to refuel. This was carried out in worsening weather, and by the time the refuelling was complete and the call was made for the passengers to re-board the aircraft, the wintry showers had taken hold and snow had settled heavily on the runway and around the airport. There were two aborted take-offs which led to concern on board, and the passengers were advised by a stewardess to disembark again while a minor technical error was fixed.

The team were back in the airport terminal for barely ten minutes when the call came to reconvene on the plane, and a number of passengers began to feel nervous. Charlton and teammate Dennis Viollet swapped places with Tommy Taylor and David Pegg, who had decided they would be safer at the back of the plane.

The plane clipped the fence at the end of the runway on its next take-off attempt and a wing tore through a nearby house, setting it alight. The wing and part of the tail came off and hit a tree and a wooden hut, the plane spinning along the snow until coming to a halt. It had been cut in half.

Charlton, strapped into his seat, had fallen out of the cabin; when United goalkeeper Harry Gregg (who had somehow got through a hole in the plane unscathed and begun a one-man rescue mission) found him, he thought he was dead. Nevertheless, he grabbed both Charlton and Viollet by their trouser waistbands and dragged them away from the plane, in constant fear that it would explode. Gregg returned to the plane to try to help the appallingly injured Busby and Blanchflower, and when he turned around again, he was relieved to see that Charlton and Viollet, both of whom he had presumed to be dead, had got out of their detached seats and were looking into the wreckage.

Charlton suffered cuts to his head and severe shock, and was in hospital for a week. Seven of his teammates had perished at the scene, including Taylor and Pegg, with whom he and Viollet had swapped seats prior to the fatal take-off attempt. Club captain Roger Byrne was also killed, along with Mark Jones, Billy Whelan, Eddie Colman and Geoff Bent. Duncan Edwards died a fortnight later from the injuries he had sustained. In total, the crash claimed 23 lives. Initially, ice on the wings was blamed, but a later inquiry declared that slush on the runway had made a safe take-off almost impossible.

Of the 44 passengers and crew (including the 17-strong Manchester United squad), 23 people (eight of them Manchester United players) died as a result of their injuries in the crash. Charlton survived with minor injuries. Of the eight other players who survived, two of them were injured so badly that they never played again.

Charlton was the first injured survivor to leave hospital. Harry Gregg and Bill Foulkes were not hospitalised, for they escaped uninjured. He arrived back in England on 14 February 1958, eight days after the crash. As he convalesced with family in Ashington, he spent some time kicking a ball around with local youths, and a famous photograph of him was taken. He was still only 20 years old, yet now there was an expectation that he would help with the rebuilding of the club as Busby’s aides tried to piece together what remained of the season.

Between Harry Gregg’s death in 2020 and his own in 2023, Charlton was the last living survivor of the crash.

Resuming His Career

Charlton returned to playing in an FA Cup tie against West Bromwich Albion on 1 March; the game was a draw and United won the replay 1–0. Not unexpectedly, United went out of the European Cup to A.C. Milan in the semi-finals to a 5–2 aggregate defeat and fell behind in the League. Yet somehow they reached their second consecutive FA Cup final, and the big day at Wembley coincided with Busby’s return to work. However, Nat Lofthouse scored twice to give Bolton Wanderers a 2–0 win.

Further success with Manchester United came at last when they beat Leicester City 3–1 in the FA Cup final of 1963, with Charlton finally earning a winners’ medal in his third final. Busby’s post-Munich rebuilding programme continued to progress, with two League championships within three seasons, in 1965 and 1967. A successful (though trophyless) season with Manchester United saw him take the honours of Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year and European Footballer of the Year into the competition.

Manchester United reached the 1968 European Cup Final, ten seasons after Munich. Even though other clubs had taken part in the competition in the intervening decade, the team which got to this final was still the first English side to do so. On a highly emotional night at Wembley, Charlton scored twice in a 4–1 win after extra time against Benfica and, as United captain, lifted the trophy.

During the early 1970s, Manchester United were no longer competing among the top teams in England, and at several stages were battling against relegation. At times, Charlton was not on speaking terms with United’s other superstars, George Best and Denis Law, and Best refused to play in Charlton’s testimonial match against Celtic, saying that “to do so would be hypocritical”. Charlton left Manchester United at the end of the 1972–73 season, having scored 249 goals and set a club record of 758 appearances, a record which Ryan Giggs broke in the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final.

Charlton’s last game for Manchester United was against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on 28 April 1973. Chelsea won the match 1–0. Coincidentally, this day also marked his brother Jackie’s last appearance as well (for Leeds). Charlton’s final goal for the club came a month earlier, on 31 March, in a 2–0 win at Southampton, also in the First Division.

1966 World Cup

England drew the opening game of the tournament 0–0 with Uruguay. Charlton scored the first goal in the 2–0 win over Mexico. This was followed by an identical scoreline against France, allowing England to qualify for the quarter-finals, where they defeated Argentina 1–0. The game was the only international match in which Charlton received a caution.

They faced Portugal in the semi-finals. This turned out to be one of Charlton’s most important games for England. Charlton opened the scoring with a crisp side-footed finish after a run by Roger Hunt had forced the Portuguese goalkeeper out of his net; his second was a sweetly struck shot after a run and pull-back from Geoff Hurst. Charlton and Hunt were now England’s joint-highest scorers in the tournament with three each, and a final against West Germany beckoned.

The final turned out to be one of Charlton’s quieter days; he and a young Franz Beckenbauer effectively marked each other out of the game. England won 4–2 after extra time.

Personal Life & Death

Charlton met his wife, Norma Ball, at an ice rink in Manchester in 1959 and they married in 1961. They had two daughters, Suzanne and Andrea. Suzanne was a weather forecaster for the BBC during the 1990s. They went on to have grandchildren, including Suzanne’s son Robert, who is named in honour of his grandfather.

On 15 February 2016, Manchester United announced the South Stand of Old Trafford would be renamed in honour of Sir Bobby Charlton. The unveiling took place at the home game against Everton on 3 April 2016.

In October 2017, Charlton had a pitch named after him at St George’s Park National Football Centre in Burton-upon-Trent.

In November 2020, it was revealed that Charlton had been diagnosed with dementia and as a result, he withdrew from public life.

On 21 October 2023, a statement from Charlton’s family confirmed that he had died that morning. He was 86, and the cause of death was given as complications from dementia. His death leaves Geoff Hurst as the last surviving English player of the 1966 World Cup final.

Date of birth: 11th October 1937

Date of Death: 21st October 2023 (aged 86)

 

Sources:

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Charlton

Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/football/2023/oct/21/sir-bobby-charlton-obituary

Obituary – Michael Gambon – Veteran actor who played Dumbledore in ‘Harry Potter’

Sir Michael Gambon, whose extraordinary acting career took him from Laurence Olivier’s nascent National Theatre to screen roles in The Singing Detective and the Harry Potter films, has died at the age of 82.

A statement on behalf of his wife, Lady Gambon, and son, Fergus, issued by publicist Clair Dobbs, said: “We are devastated to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon. Beloved husband and father, Michael died peacefully in hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his bedside, following a bout of pneumonia. Michael was 82. We ask that you respect our privacy at this painful time and thank you for your messages of support and love.”

  • Died: September 27th 2023
  • Details of death: died peacefully in hospital following a bout of pneumonia.

Early Life

Michael John Gambon was born in the Cabra suburb of Dublin on 19 October 1940. His mother, Mary (née Hoare), was a seamstress, while his father, Edward Gambon, was an engineering operative during World War II. His father decided to seek work in the rebuilding of London, and moved the family to Mornington Crescent in London’s Camden borough when Gambon was six. His father arranged for him to be made a British citizen, a decision that would later allow him to receive a substantive (rather than honorary) knighthood. Brought up as a strict Catholic, he attended St Aloysius Boys’ School in Somers Town and served at the altar. He then matriculated to St Aloysius’ College in Highgate, whose former pupils include actor Peter Sellers. He later moved to North End, Kent, where he attended Crayford Secondary School but left with no qualifications at the age of 15. He then gained an apprenticeship as a toolmaker with Vickers-Armstrong. By the time he was 21, he was a qualified engineering technician. He kept the job for a further year, acquiring a lifelong passion for collecting antique guns, clocks, watches and classic cars.

Film Career

1965–1988: Film debut and early roles
He made his film debut in Laurence Olivier’s Othello alongside Maggie Smith and Derek Jacobi in 1965. After his film debut, Gambon was asked by James Bond producer Cubby Broccoli to audition for the role in 1970, to replace George Lazenby. He continued acting in the British horror films Nothing But the Night (1973), and The Beast Must Die (1974). In 1985, he appeared in the British drama film Turtle Diary directed by John Irvin with a screenplay adapted by Harold Pinter. The film starred Glenda Jackson and Ben Kingsley.

1989–2003: Independent films
In 1989, Gambon starred in the Peter Greenaway film The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, which also starred Helen Mirren. He later starred as Fyodor Dostoyevsky in the Hungarian director Károly Makk’s film The Gambler (1997) about the writing of Dostoyevsky’s novella The Gambler. In the 1990s he appeared in films such as, Barry Levinson’s fantasy comedy Toys (1992), the period drama Dancing at Lughnasa (1998), the action film Plunkett & Macleane (1998), Michael Mann’s political drama The Insider (1999), and Tim Burton’s gothic horror film Sleepy Hollow (1999).

During the 2000s, Gambon appeared in several films including Robert Altman’s murder mystery ensemble Gosford Park. In 2003, he appeared with Robert Duvall and Kevin Costner, playing the principal villain in the Western film Open Range.

2004–2011: Harry Potter and other roles
In 2004, he appeared in five films, including Wes Anderson’s cult comedy The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; the British gangster film Layer Cake; and theatrical drama Being Julia.

In 2007, Gambon appeared in Michael Apted’s historical drama Amazing Grace alongside Ioan Gruffudd, Romola Garai, Benedict Cumberbatch, Albert Finney, Rufus Sewell. The film focuses on William Wilberforce, who led the campaign against the slave trade in the British Empire. The film is Certified Fresh according to Rotten Tomatoes with critics’ consensus describing the film as “your quintessential historical biopic: stately, noble, and with plenty of electrifying performances.” That same year, he played major roles in the acclaimed BBC five-part adaptation of Mrs Gaskell’s Cranford novels alongside Judi Dench and Imelda Staunton, and in Stephen Poliakoff’s Joe’s Palace.

His best-known role is perhaps that of Albus Dumbledore, Hogwarts’ headmaster in the third instalment of J. K. Rowling’s franchise, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, taking over the role after the death of Richard Harris in 2002; Harris had also played Maigret on television four years before Gambon took that role. Gambon reprised the role of Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which was released in November 2005 in the United Kingdom and the United States. He returned to the role again in the fifth film, 2007’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and the sixth film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. He appeared in the final two films of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 in 2010 and Part 2 in 2011. Gambon told an interviewer that, when playing Dumbledore, he does not “have to play anyone really. I just stick on a beard and play me, so it’s no great feat. I never ease into a role – every part I play is just a variant of my own personality. I’m not really a character actor at all.”

In 2010, Gambon appeared in Tom Hooper’s historical drama The King’s Speech as King George V, alongside Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, and Guy Pearce. In 2011, the film received 12 Academy Awards nominations, more than any other film in that year. The film won four Oscars including Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Adapted Screenplay.

2012–2019: British films and comedies
In 2012, he played a role in Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut with Quartet, based on the same-titled play by Ronald Harwood and starring Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins. The film premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival to favourable reviews. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 80% approval rating with the consensus reading, “It’s sweet, gentle, and predictable to a fault, but Dustin Hoffman’s affectionate direction and the talented cast’s amiable charm make Quartet too difficult to resist.”

In 2016, Gambon was the narrator for the Coen Brothers’ Hollywood comedy Hail, Caesar!, which satirised the 1950s Hollywood film industry and featured an ensemble cast including Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum. The film was well received by critics, earning an approval rating of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus being, “Packed with period detail and perfectly cast, Hail, Caesar! finds the Coen brothers delivering an agreeably lightweight love letter to post-war Hollywood.” The film also received an Academy Award nomination for its Production Design. Gambon then appeared in comedy film Dad’s Army playing the iconic Private Godfrey, based on Arnold Ridley, who had played the character in the original classic BBC series of the same name. Gambon also provided voice-overs as Uncle Pastuzo in the Paddington films (2014, 2018), starring Ben Whishaw, as the titular bear.

In 2019, he appeared in the biographical film Judy, about Judy Garland, starring Renée Zellweger, Rufus Sewell, Finn Wittrock and Jessie Buckley. That same year Gambon appeared in Adrian Shergold’s period thriller Cordelia, acting alongside Johnny Flynn and Catherine McCormack.

Personal Life & Death

Gambon married mathematician Anne Miller in 1962 when he was 22 years old. Known for being protective of his privacy, he once responded to an interviewer’s question about his wife by asking, “What wife?”. The couple lived in Gravesend, Kent. They had one son, Fergus, who later became a ceramics expert on the BBC series Antiques Roadshow.

Gambon brought Philippa Hart, a woman 25 years his junior, to the set while filming the 2001 film Gosford Park and introduced her to his co-stars as his girlfriend. When their affair was publicly revealed in 2002, he moved out of the home he shared with his wife. He was with Hart from 2000, when they worked together on Channel 4 series Longitude. In February 2007, it was revealed that Hart was pregnant with Gambon’s child and gave birth to a son. Hart gave birth to Gambon’s third child in 2009.

In the New Year Honours 1998, Gambon was appointed a Knight Bachelor for services to drama. On 17 July 1998, he was invested by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

Gambon was a qualified private pilot. His love of cars led to his appearance on the BBC series Top Gear. He raced the Suzuki Liana so aggressively that it went around the last corner of his lap on two wheels. The final corner of the Top Gear test track has been named “Gambon Corner” or simply “Gambon” in his honour. He appeared on the programme again on 4 June 2006 and set a time in the Chevrolet Lacetti of 1:50.3, a significant improvement on his previous time of 1:55. He clipped his namesake corner the second time, and when asked why by Jeremy Clarkson, replied, “I don’t know, I just don’t like it.”

Gambon died in Witham on 27 September 2023, aged 82, from pneumonia.

Date of birth: 19th October 1940

Date of Death: 27th September 2023 (aged 82)

 

Sources:

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Gambon

Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2023/sep/28/michael-gambon-star-of-harry-potter-and-the-singing-detective-dies-aged-82

Obituary – George Alagiah – BBC Newsreader

The foreign correspondent and newsreader George Alagiah, who has died aged 67 of cancer, was one of Britain’s most respected television journalists, with a reputation built up over many years of covering world events.

In a business often seen as cut-throat, George was regarded by colleagues as likable and decent, a view shared by millions of viewers. For the BBC he reported on the famine and the US intervention in Somalia in the early 1990s, and on the genocide in Rwanda and its aftermath. He was one of the news team who in 1999 secured pictures of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, for which they won the Bafta for best news and current affairs journalism.

  • Died: July 24th, 2023
  • Details of death: died after a battle with cancer

Broadcasting Career

Alagiah joined the BBC in 1989 after seven years in print journalism with South Magazine. Before becoming a presenter, he was Developing World correspondent, based in London, and then Southern Africa correspondent in Johannesburg. As one of the BBC’s leading foreign correspondents, he reported on events ranging from the genocide in Rwanda to the plight of the Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq to the civil wars in Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia.

In 1999, Alagiah became the deputy anchor of the BBC One O’Clock News and BBC Nine O’Clock News. He was the presenter of BBC Four News from its launch in 2002; the programme was later relaunched as The World and then another edition of World News Today. In January 2003 he joined the BBC Six O’Clock News, which he co-presented with Sophie Raworth until October 2005, and with Natasha Kaplinsky until October 2007. In December 2007, he became the sole presenter of the Six O’Clock News. In 2006, he began presenting World News Today on BBC World News and BBC Two, which was rebranded GMT on 1 February 2010. He last appeared on the programme in 2014. He was formerly a relief presenter on BBC News at Ten, presenting mainly Monday to Thursday when main presenters Huw Edwards and Fiona Bruce were unavailable.

A specialist on Africa and the developing world, Alagiah interviewed, among others, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan and President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. His other documentaries and features include reports on why affirmative action in America is a “Lost Cause”, for the Assignment programme, Saddam Hussein’s genocidal campaign against the Kurds of northern Iraq for the BBC’s Newsnight programme and a report on the last reunion of the veterans of Dunkirk.

Personal Life & Illness

Alagiah was married to Frances Robathan, whom he met at Durham University. They had two children, Adam and Matthew, and lived in Stoke Newington, North London.

In April 2014, it was announced that Alagiah was being treated for colorectal cancer. A statement from the BBC said: “He is grateful for all the good wishes he has received thus far and is optimistic for a positive outcome.” On 28 June, Alagiah announced on Twitter that he was making “encouraging progress”. In late October 2015 he announced on Twitter that the treatment was officially over, and he returned to the BBC on 10 November. In January 2018 it emerged that the cancer had returned and he would undergo further treatment.

In March 2018, in an interview with The Sunday Times, Alagiah noted that his cancer was terminal and could have been caught earlier if the screening programme in England, which is automatically offered from the age of 60, was the same as that in Scotland, where it is automatically offered from the age of 50.

In June 2020, Alagiah said that cancer had spread to his lungs, liver and lymph nodes, but was not at a “chronic” or “terminal” stage. In October 2022, Alagiah announced that his cancer had spread further and he took a break from television to undergo a new series of treatment.

Alagiah died from the illness on 24 July 2023, at the age of 67.

Date of birth: 22nd November 1955

Date of Death: 24th July 2023 (aged 83)

 

Sources:

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Alagiah

Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/media/2023/jul/24/george-alagiah-obituary

Obituary – Trevor Francis – Britain’s First £1m Footballer

Footballing legend Trevor Francis, known as Britain’s first £1million player, has died aged 69 from a heart attack. His sudden death comes six years after the passing of his wife of more than four decades.

  • Died: July 24th, 2023
  • Details of death: died from a heart attack

Early Career

Francis quickly rose in status, making his debut for Birmingham City’s first team in 1970, aged just 16. His talent was noted when, before his 17th birthday, he scored four goals in a match against Bolton Wanderers. He ended his first season with 15 goals from just 22 games. Birmingham City manager at the time, Freddie Goodwin compared Francis to both Jimmy Greaves and Denis Law.

Birmingham City

In the 1970s, Birmingham City reached the occasional domestic semi-final but failed to make a great impact in the First Division championship, so the ability and achievements of Francis were made more noticeable as a result.

On 30 October 1976, he scored one of Birmingham’s most famous goals, when he turned away from the touchline and cut inside two Queens Park Rangers defenders, constantly being forced backwards, before suddenly unleashing a 25-yard shot.

Detroit Express

Francis negotiated a secondment from Birmingham in 1978 to play for the Detroit Express in the North American Soccer League (NASL), where he scored 22 goals in 19 league matches and was named to the NASL first XI alongside Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia before returning home to the Midlands.

Nottingham Forest
Nottingham Forest, the reigning First Division champions and League Cup holders managed by Brian Clough, put in a bid for Francis which totalled just over £1 million. No player had ever been sold between English clubs for a seven-figure fee before (the erstwhile record was less than half), and the deal was sealed, with Francis famously being introduced to the media by a manager impatient to play squash; Clough was in his red gym kit and carrying a racquet as he addressed the press conference.

While recognised as the first British million-pound player, the actual transfer fee for the player was £1,150,000, including 15% commission to the Football League. Clough wrote in his autobiography that the fee was £999,999, as he wanted to ensure the million-pound milestone did not go to the player’s head, although Francis says that was a tongue-in-cheek remark by Clough.

International Career

Francis played for England 52 times between 1977 and 1986 and scored 12 goals. In 1977, he was given his first England cap by Don Revie, in a 2–0 loss against the Netherlands. After missing out on Euro 1980 due to an Achilles injury, Francis was named in the England squad for the 1982 World Cup in Spain. In the first round of the tournament, he scored in the group games against Czechoslovakia and Kuwait. England were eliminated after two goalless draws against both the host nation and West Germany. In spring 1986, he made his 52nd and final appearance for England in a victory over Scotland, and was subsequently not selected for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Personal Life & Death

Francis married Helen in 1974. The couple had two children together. On 5 April 2017, it was reported that Helen Francis had died.

On 13 April 2012, Francis was reported to be recovering in hospital from a suspected heart attack.

Francis died of a heart attack at his home near Marbella, Spain, on 24 July 2023. He was 69.

Date of birth: 19th April 1954

Date of Death: 24th July 2023 (aged 83)

 

Sources:

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevor_Francis

Mirror – https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/tragedies-trevor-francis-health-woes-30541441

Obituary – Tina Turner – legendary rock’n’roll singer

Tina Turner – one of rock’s great vocalists and most charismatic performers – has died aged 83.

The US-born star was one of rock’s iconic singers, known for her electric stage presence and hits including The Best, Proud Mary, Private Dancer and What’s Love Got to Do With It.

  • Died: May 24th, 2023
  • Details of death: died at her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland, aged 83, following a long illness.

Early Life

Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, in Brownsville, Tennessee, the youngest daughter of Floyd Richard Bullock and his wife Zelma Priscilla (née Currie). The family lived in the nearby rural unincorporated community of Nutbush, Tennessee, where her father worked as an overseer of the sharecroppers at Poindexter Farm on Highway 180; she later recalled picking cotton with her family at an early age.

As a young girl, Bullock sang in the church choir at Nutbush’s Spring Hill Baptist Church. When she was 11, her mother Zelma ran off without warning, seeking freedom from her abusive relationship with Floyd by relocating to St. Louis in 1950. Two years after her mother left the family, her father married another woman and moved to Detroit in 1952. Bullock and her sisters were sent to live with their maternal grandmother, Georgeanna Currie, in Brownsville, Tennessee. She stated in her autobiography I, Tina that her parents had not loved her and she wasn’t wanted. Zelma had planned to leave Floyd but stayed once she became pregnant. “She was a very young woman who didn’t want another kid,” Turner recalled.

As a teenager, Bullock worked as a domestic worker for the Henderson family. She was at the Henderson house when she was notified that her half-sister Evelyn had died in a car crash alongside her cousins Margaret and Vela Evans. A self-professed tomboy, Bullock joined both the cheerleading squad and the female basketball team at Carver High School in Brownsville, and “socialized every chance she got”. When Bullock was 16, her grandmother died, so she went to live with her mother in St. Louis. She graduated from Sumner High School in 1958. After her graduation, Bullock worked as a nurse’s aide at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Ike and Tina Turner

Mainstream success: 1966–1975

Impressed by the duo’s performance on The Big T.N.T. Show, Phil Spector was eager to produce Turner. Working out a deal with Ike & Tina Turner’s manager Bob Krasnow, who was also head of Loma, Spector offered $20,000 for creative control over the sessions to produce Turner and have them released from their contract with Loma. They signed to Spector’s Philles label in April 1966 after Turner had already recorded with him. Their first single on his label, “River Deep – Mountain High”, was released in May 1966. Spector considered that record, with Turner’s maximum energy over the “Wall of Sound”, to be his best work. It was successful overseas, reaching No. 3 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 1 on Los 40 Principales in Spain, but it failed to go any higher than No. 88 on the Billboard Hot 100. The impact of the record gave Ike & Tina Turner an opening spot on the Rolling Stones UK tour in the fall of 1966. In November 1967, Turner became the first female artist and the first black artist to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

The duo signed with Blue Thumb Records in 1968, releasing the album Outta Season in 1969. The album produced their charted cover of Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”. Later that year they released The Hunter. The title track, Albert King’s “The Hunter”, earned Turner a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.The success of the albums led to the revue headlining in Las Vegas where their shows were attended by a variety of celebrities including David Bowie, Sly Stone, Janis Joplin, Cher, James Brown, Ray Charles, Elton John and Elvis Presley.]

In the fall of 1969, Ike & Tina Turner’s profile in their home country was raised after opening for the Rolling Stones on their US tour. They gained more exposure from performances on The Ed Sullivan Show, Playboy After Dark, and The Andy Williams Show. The duo released two albums in 1970, Come Together and Workin’ Together. Their cover of “I Want to Take You Higher” peaked at No. 34 on the Hot 100, whereas the original by Sly and the Family Stone had peaked four numbers below that position. The Come Together and Workin’ Together albums marked a turning point in their careers in which they switched from their usual R&B repertoire to incorporate more rock tunes such as “Come Together”, “Honky Tonk Woman” and “Get Back”.

In early 1971, their cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary” became their biggest hit. The single reached No. 4 on the Hot 100 and sold more than a million copies, winning them a Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group. In July 1971, their live album, What You Hear Is What You Get, was released. It was recorded at Carnegie Hall and became their first certified Gold album. Later that year they had a top 40 R&B hit with “Ooh Poo Pah Doo”. Their next three singles to chart, “I’m Yours (Use Me Anyway You Wanna)”, “Up in Heah” and “Early One Morning” all peaked at No. 47 on the R&B chart.

In 1972, they opened Bolic Sound recording studio near their home in Inglewood. After Liberty was absorbed into United Artists Records, they were assigned to that label. Around this time, Turner began writing more songs. She wrote nine out of the ten tracks on their 1972 album Feel Good. Their 1973 hit single “Nutbush City Limits” (No. 22 Pop, No. 11 R&B), penned by Turner, reached No. 1 in Austria, No. 4 in the UK and the top 5 in several other countries. It was certified Silver by the BPI for selling a quarter of a million in the UK. As a result of their success, they received the Golden European Record Award, the first ever given, for selling more than one million records of “Nutbush City Limits” in Europe. Follow up hits include “Sweet Rhode Island Red” and “Sexy Ida” in 1974.

In 1974, the duo released the Grammy-nominated album The Gospel According to Ike & Tina, which was nominated for Best Soul Gospel Performance. Ike also received a solo nomination for his single “Father Alone” from the album. Turner’s first solo album, Tina Turns the Country On!, earned her a nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female. That year, Turner filmed the rock opera Tommy in London. She played the Acid Queen, a drug-addicted prostitute; her performance was critically acclaimed. Shortly after filming wrapped, Turner appeared on Ann-Margret’s TV special. Following the release of Tommy in 1975, another solo album by Turner was released titled Acid Queen. The album reached No. 39 on the Billboard R&B chart. It produced charting singles “Baby, Get It On” and a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”.

Split: 1976

By the mid-1970s, Ike was heavily addicted to cocaine, which hindered his relationship with Turner. In 1976, they headlined at the Waldorf Astoria New York and signed a television deal with CBS-TV. Ike made plans to leave United Artists Records for a five-year deal with Cream Records for $150,000 per year; the deal was to be signed on July 5. On July 1, the Turners flew from Los Angeles to Dallas, where the revue had a gig at the Downtown Dallas Statler Hilton. They got into a physical altercation en route to the hotel. Shortly after arriving at the hotel, Turner fled from Ike with only 36 cents and a Mobil card and hid at the Ramada Inn across the freeway. She filed for divorce on July 27, and it was finalized on March 29, 1978. After their separation, United Artists released two more studio albums credited to the duo: Delilah’s Power (1977) and Airwaves (1978).

Career resurgence and superstardom: 1983–2000

Until 1983, Turner was considered a nostalgia act, performing mostly at hotel ballrooms and clubs in the United States. During her second stint at the Ritz, she signed with Capitol Records in 1983. In November 1983, she released her cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”, which was produced by B.E.F. It reached several European charts, including No. 6 in the UK. In the US, the song peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 1 on the Hot Dance Club Songs, and No. 3 Hot Black Singles.

Following the single’s surprise success, Capitol Records greenlit a studio album. Turner had two weeks to record her Private Dancer album, which was released in May 1984. It reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and No. 2 in the United Kingdom. Private Dancer was certified 5× Platinum in the United States, and sold 10 million copies worldwide, becoming her most successful album. Also in May 1984, Capitol issued the album’s second single, “What’s Love Got to Do with It”; the song had previously been recorded by the pop group Bucks Fizz. Following the album’s release, Turner joined Lionel Richie as the opening act on his tour.

On September 1, 1984, Turner achieved her first and only No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “What’s Love Got to Do with It”. The follow-up singles “Better Be Good to Me” and “Private Dancer” were both U.S. top 10 hits.

Turner culminated her comeback when she won three Grammys at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Award for Record of the Year for “What’s Love Got to Do with It”. In February 1985, she embarked on her second world tour to support the Private Dancer album. Two nights were filmed at Birmingham, England’s NEC Arena and later released as a concert on home video. During this time, she also contributed vocals to the USA for Africa benefit song “We Are the World”.

Turner’s success continued when she traveled to Australia to star opposite Mel Gibson in the 1985 post-apocalyptic film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The movie provided her with her first acting role in ten years; she portrayed the glamorous Aunty Entity, the ruler of Bartertown. Upon release, critical response to her performance was generally positive. The film was a global success, grossing more than $36 million in the United States. Turner later received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress for her role in the film. She recorded two songs for the film, “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)” and “One of the Living”; both became hits, with the latter winning her a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

In 1986, Turner released her sixth solo album, Break Every Rule, which reached No. 1 in four countries and sold over five million copies worldwide within its first year of release. The album sold more than a million copies in the United States and Germany alone. The album featured the singles “Typical Male”, “Two People”, “What You Get Is What You See “, and the Grammy-winning “Back Where You Started”. Prior to the album’s release, Turner published her autobiography I, Tina, which became a bestseller. That year, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her Break Every Rule World Tour, which began in March 1987 in Munich, Germany, was the third highest-grossing tour by a female artist in North America that year. In January 1988, Turner performed in front of approximately 180,000 at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, setting a Guinness World Record at the time for the largest paying concert attendance for a solo artist. In April 1988 Turner released the Tina Live in Europe album, which won a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. After taking time off following the end of the tour, she emerged with the Foreign Affair album in 1989. It reached No. 1 in eight countries, including in the UK (5× Platinum), her first number one album here. The album sold over six million copies worldwide and included the international hit single “The Best “.

In 1990, Turner embarked on her Foreign Affair European Tour, which drew in nearly four million spectators—breaking the record for a European tour that was previously set by the Rolling Stones. In October 1990 Turner released her first greatest hits compilation Simply the Best, which sold seven million copies worldwide. The album is her biggest seller in the UK, where it’s certified 8× Platinum with more than two million copies sold.

In 1991, Ike & Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ike was incarcerated and Turner did not attend. Turner stated through her publicist that she was taking a leave of absence following her tour and she felt “emotionally unequipped to return to the U.S. and respond to the night of celebration in the manner she would want.”

In 1995 Turner returned to the studio, releasing “GoldenEye”, which was written by Bono and the Edge of U2 for the James Bond film GoldenEye. In 1996 Turner released the Wildest Dreams album, accompanied by her “Wildest Dreams Tour”. In September 1999, before celebrating her 60th birthday, Turner released the dance-infused song “When the Heartache Is Over” as the leading single from her tenth and final solo album, Twenty Four Seven. The success of the single and the following tour helped the album become certified Gold by the RIAA. The Twenty Four Seven Tour was the highest-grossing tour of 2000, grossing over $120 million.

2016-2021

In December 2016 Turner announced that she had been working on Tina, a musical based on her life story, in collaboration with Phyllida Lloyd and Stage Entertainment. The show opened at the Aldwych Theatre in London in April 2018 with Adrienne Warren in the lead role.

Turner received the 2018 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and her second memoir, My Love Story, was released in October 2018. In 2020, she came out of retirement to collaborate with Norwegian producer Kygo on a remix of “What’s Love Got to Do with It”. With this release, she became the first artist to have a top 40 hit in seven consecutive decades in the UK.

In 2020, Turner released her third book, Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good. She co-wrote the book with American author Taro Gold and Swiss singer Regula Curti. It was chosen by Amazon’s editors as a Best Nonfiction book of 2020.

In October 2021, Turner sold her music rights to BMG Rights Management for an estimated $50 million, with Warner Music still handling distribution of her music. Later that month, Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist, accepting her award via satellite from her home near Zurich, Switzerland.

Illness & Death

Turner revealed in her 2018 memoir My Love Story that she had suffered multiple life-threatening illnesses. In 2013, three weeks after her wedding to Erwin Bach, she suffered a stroke and had to learn to walk again. In 2016, she was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. Turner opted for homeopathic remedies for her high blood pressure. This untreated high blood pressure resulted in damage to her kidneys and eventual kidney failure. Her chances of receiving a kidney were low, and she was urged to start dialysis. She considered assisted suicide and signed up to be a member of Exit, but Bach offered to donate a kidney for her transplant. Turner had kidney transplant surgery on April 7, 2017.

On May 24, 2023, Turner died at her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland, aged 83, following a long illness, including cancer, strokes, and kidney failure in her final years.

Date of birth: 26th Nov 1939

Date of Death: 24th May 2023 (aged 83)

 

Sources:

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tina_Turner

Sky News – https://news.sky.com/story/tina-turner-dies-aged-83-12888593

 

Obituary – Jerry Springer – Legendary talk show host

Jerry Springer has died aged 79 just months after being diagnosed with cancer, his family revealed on Thursday.

The legendary TV host passed away ‘peacefully’ at his home in Chicago after his health took a turn for the worse, a spokesman for his relatives said.

  • Died: April 27th, 2023
  • Details of death: died peacefully at home aged 79 after a battle with cancer.

Early Life

Gerald Norman Springer was born in the London Underground station of Highgate while the station was in use as a shelter from German bombing during World War II, and grew up on Chandos Road, East Finchley. His parents, Margot and Richard Springer, were German-Jewish refugees who escaped from Landsberg an der Warthe, Prussia (now Gorzów Wielkopolski, Poland).

In January 1949, at the age of four, Springer immigrated with his parents to the United States, settling in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of Queens, New York City. He attended nearby Forest Hills High School. One of his earliest memories about current events was when he was 12 and watching the 1956 Democratic National Convention on television where he saw and was impressed by John F. Kennedy.

Springer earned a B.A. degree from Tulane University in 1965, majoring in political science. He earned a J.D. degree from Northwestern University in 1968.

Broadcasting Career

Jerry Springer

Jerry Springer debuted on September 30, 1991. It was developed by WLWT to mimic the format and look of fellow talk show The Phil Donahue Show, all the way down to Jerry’s haircut and glasses, making him look like Phil Donahue (both were produced by Multimedia Entertainment). It started as a politically oriented talk show, a longer version of Springer’s commentaries. Guests included Oliver North and Jesse Jackson, and topics included homelessness and gun politics.

In early 1994, Springer and his new producer, Richard Dominick, revamped the show’s format in order to garner higher ratings. The show became more successful as it became targeted toward tabloidish sensationalism. Guests were everyday people confronted on a television stage by a spouse or family member’s adultery, homosexuality, prostitution, transvestism, hate group membership, or other controversial situations. These confrontations were often promoted by scripted shouting or violence on stage. The show received substantial ratings and much attention. By 1998, it was beating The Oprah Winfrey Show in many cities, and was reaching more than 6.7 million viewers.

On July 10, 2002, the sons of guest Nancy Campbell-Panitz – who was murdered by her ex-husband after they appeared on a May 2000 episode with his girlfriend – filed suit in Sarasota County against Springer, his producers, and his distributor, claiming he created “a mood that led to murder.” Ultimately, the estate of Campbell-Panitz dropped all monetary claims against Jerry Springer and the show agreed to waive its claims for malicious prosecution against the personal representative of the estate of Campbell-Panitz and his counsel.

In 2005, a UK version of the show aired on Britain’s ITV network titled The Springer Show. A subdued and more tongue-in-cheek version of the U.S. show, it beat its talk-show rival Trisha Goddard five to one in the ratings.

The VH1 “celebreality” series The Springer Hustle, which took a look at how Jerry Springer is produced, premiered in April 2007.

In April 2015, Springer debuted The Jerry Springer Podcast on his website, JerrySpringer.com. It is also broadcast in the UK on Talkradio, on Sundays at midnight. Springer is the second American talk show host to travel to Cuba, after Conan O’Brien, for The Jerry Springer Podcast.

On July 26, 2018, Jerry Springer aired its final episode in syndication after 27 seasons before it began airing reruns on The CW on September 10, 2018.

Judge Jerry (2019–2022)
Springer debuted a new courtroom show, Judge Jerry, on September 9, 2019. The show gave him the opportunity to host a more “grown-up” program and to use his law school education. On March 9, 2022, the series was cancelled after three seasons.

Other

Springer hosted America’s Got Talent on NBC for its second and third seasons, replacing Regis Philbin, before leaving to concentrate on other projects.

From January 17, 2005, to December 5, 2006, Springer hosted Springer on the Radio, a liberal talk show on Cincinnati’s WCKY-AM. He did the show from the Clear Channel studios in Kenwood on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and in Chicago (where his television show taped at the time) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Air America Radio syndicated the program for most of the show’s run.

He hosted Miss World in 2000 and 2001 and the Miss Universe 2008.He was also the guest host for WWE Raw on February 15, 2010, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. Springer has also hosted The Price Is Right Live!.

From 2010 to 2015, Springer hosted a dating game show called Baggage, which aired on GSN.

In July 2012, he hosted ”Price is Right Live!” in Vancouver’s Boulevard Casino. He hosted the show at Jack Cincinnati Casino in 2018.

From January 2014, Springer hosted Investigation Discovery series Tabloid.

He hosted The Adam Carolla Show on April 25, 2014, where he sat in for Adam Carolla.

Springer guest hosted the 22nd-season premiere episode of WWE Raw on September 8, 2014, in an attempt to conduct an intervention with The Bella Twins.

Springer hosted the show Jerry Springer Presents WWE Too Hot For TV on the WWE Network in 2015.

UK
After a few years of his U.S. talk show being broadcast in the UK, ITV approached Springer, who temporarily co-hosted This Morning with Judy Finnigan in March 1999 and again in 2000. In summer 1999, ITV made 12 episodes of the UK-based version of the series, Jerry Springer UK, filmed at the same studios as his US show.

In September 1999, Springer made a pilot for a Letterman-style talk show for ITV called Jerry Springer on Sunday. The show received good reviews and ratings and a further four episodes were commissioned to be broadcast in May 2000. Five were actually broadcast during May and June 2000 under the name Springer.

The series was picked up by Channel 5 and renamed Late Night with Jerry Springer. Two series were made in 2000 and 2001 with 16 episodes. While working for Channel 5 In 2001, he was the host of the UK version of Greed, and a stand in host for The Wright Stuff. On April 16, 2006, Springer was the guest host for the opening show for the third series of The Friday Night Project for Channel 4 and guest hosted Have I Got News for You on December 12, 2008. In 2007, he was the host of Nothing But the Truth, the UK version of Nada más que la verdad.

Springer covered the 2016 United States presidential election for ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

In 2016, 2017 and 2018, he guest hosted three episodes of the BBC’s The One Show with TV host Alex Jones.

Death

Jerry Springer died at his home in Chicago, Illinois on April 27, 2023, at the age of 79. A family spokesperson said Springer had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a few months prior to his death.

 

Date of birth: 13th February 1944

Date of Death: 27th April 2023 (aged 78)

 

Sources:

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Springer

Daily Mail – https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12021185/Jerry-Springer-dies-aged-79.html

 

Obituary – Mary Quant – British Fashion Designer & Icon

10th November 1964: Clothes designer Mary Quant, one of the leading lights of the British fashion scene in the 1960’s, having her hair cut by another fashion icon, hairdresser Vidal Sassoon. (Photo by Ronald Dumont/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Mary Quant, the British designer who made the miniskirt fashionable, has died aged 93.

A statement from her family to the PA news agency said she “died peacefully at home in Surrey, UK this morning”.

Her family said she “was one of the most internationally recognised fashion designers of the 20th century and an outstanding innovator of the Swinging Sixties”.

  • Died: April 13th, 2023
  • Details of death: died peacefully at home aged 93.

Early Life

Quant was born on 11 February 1930, in Blackheath, London, the daughter of Welsh teachers. Her parents, Jack and Mildred Quant, were both from mining families; however, they had been awarded scholarships to grammar school and had both attained first-class degrees at Cardiff University before they moved to London to work as school teachers.

Quant went to Blackheath High School. For college, her desire had been to study fashion; however, her parents dissuaded her from that course of study, and she instead studied illustration and art education at Goldsmiths College for which she received a degree in 1953. In pursuit of her love for fashion, after finishing her degree, she was apprenticed to Erik Braagaard, a high-end Mayfair milliner on Brook Street next door to Claridge’s hotel.

Fashion Career

Quant initially sold clothing sourced from wholesalers in her new boutique in the Kings Road named Bazaar. The bolder and more unique pieces in her collection started garnering more attention from media like Harper’s Bazaar, and an American manufacturer purchased some of her dress designs. Because of this attention and her personal love for these bolder styles, she decided to take designs into her own hands. Initially working solo, she was soon employing a handful of machinists; by 1966 she was working with a total of 18 manufacturers. A self-taught designer inspired by the culture-forward “Chelsea Set” of artists and socialites, Quant’s designs were riskier and more unique than standard styles of the time. Quant’s designs revolutionized fashion from the utilitarian wartime standard of the late 1940s to the energy of the 1950s and 1960s’ cultural shifts. She stocked her own original items in an array of colours and patterns, such as colourful tights.

Quant’s impact did not just come from her unique designs; in her boutique she created a special environment, including music, drinks, and long hours that appealed to young adults. This environment was unique for the industry, as it differentiated from the stale department stores and inaccessible high-end designer store environments that had a hold of the fashion market. Her window displays with models in quirky poses brought a lot of attention to her boutique, where people would often stop to stare at the eccentric displays. She stated that … “Within 10 days, we hardly had a piece of the original merchandise left.”

For a while in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Quant was one of only two London-based high-end designers consistently offering youthful clothes for young people. The other was Kiki Byrne, who opened her boutique on the King’s Road in direct competition with Quant.

In 1966, Quant was named one of the “fashion revolutionaries” in New York by Women’s Wear Daily, alongside Edie Sedgwick, Tiger Morse, Pierre Cardin, Paco Rabanne, Rudi Gernreich, André Courrèges, Emanuel Ungaro, Yves Saint Laurent, and Baby Jane Holzer.

The Miniskirt

The miniskirt, described as one of the defining fashions of the 1960s, is one of the garments most widely associated with Quant. Skirts had been getting shorter since the 1950s, and had reached the knee by the early sixties, but “Quant wanted them higher so they would be less restricting –they allowed women to run for a bus– …and were much, much sexier”.

Quant later said: “It was the girls on the King’s Road [during the “Swinging London” scene] who invented the miniskirt. I was making easy, youthful, simple clothes, in which you could move, in which you could run and jump and we would make them the length the customer wanted. I wore them very short and the customers would say, ‘Shorter, shorter.'” She gave the miniskirt its name, after her favourite make of car, the Mini, and said of its wearers: “They are curiously feminine, but their femininity lies in their attitude rather than in their appearance … She enjoys being noticed, but wittily. She is lively—positive—opinionated.” The fashion model Twiggy would popularise the miniskirt abroad.

In addition to the miniskirt, Quant is often credited with inventing the coloured and patterned tights that tended to accompany the garment, although their creation is also attributed to the Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga, who offered harlequin-patterned tights in 1962, or to John Bates.

Later Career

In the late 1960s, Quant offered short shorts that were the forerunner of hotpants and became a British fashion icon. In 1967 she designed berets in twelve colours for British headwear company Kangol. Quant’s berets, featuring her daisy logo, are in her collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Through the 1970s and 1980s she concentrated on household goods and make-up rather than just her clothing lines, including the duvet, which she claimed to have invented.

In 1988, Quant designed the interior of the Mini (1000) Designer (originally dubbed the Mini Quant, the name was changed when popularity charts were set against having Quant’s name on the car). It featured black-and-white striped seats with red trimming. The seatbelts were red, and the driving and passenger seats had Quant’s signature on the upper left quadrant. The steering-wheel had Quant’s signature daisy and the bonnet badge had “Mary Quant” written over the signature name. The headlight housings, wheel arches, door handles and bumpers were all “nimbus grey”, rather than the more common chrome or black finishes. Two thousand were released in the UK on 15 June 1988, and a number were also released on to foreign markets; however, the numbers for these are hard to come by. The special edition Mini came in two body colours, jet black and diamond white.

In 2000, she resigned as director of Mary Quant Ltd, her cosmetics company, after a Japanese buy-out. There are more than 200 Mary Quant Colour shops in Japan.

Personal Life and Death

Quant met her future husband and business partner, Alexander Plunket Greene, grandson of the Irish singer Harry Plunket Greene, in 1953. They were married from 1957 until his death in 1990, and had a son, Orlando, born in 1969.

Quant died at her home in Surrey on 13 April 2023, at the age of 93.

 

Date of birth: 11th February 1930

Date of Death: 13th April 2023 (aged 93)

 

Sources:

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Quant

The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2023/apr/13/fashion-designer-dame-mary-quant-dies

 

Obituary – Nora Forster – Music Promoter Married to John Lydon for 44 years

Nora Forster, who has died aged 80, was an actress, model and music promoter who worked with acts that included Jimi Hendrix and Yes. She went on to provide financial support for nascent punk bands such as the Clash and the Slits – and the Sex Pistols, whose lead singer John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, became her husband.

  • Died: April 6th, 2023
  • Details of death: died after a five-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Early Years

Nora Maier Forster was born 6 November 1942 in Munich, Germany, to a wealthy publishing family. Her father, Franz Karl Maier, worked as a “prosecutor who helped bring wartime Nazis to justice.” After the end of WWII, her father was later the editor and publisher of the newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.

Forster was educated in Munich, and was interested in music from an early age. After she finished school, she went to work for her father’s media company. Forster was a publishing heiress of Der Tagesspiegel; after the death of her father she inherited a large share of his AU$ 120 million fortune.

Career

Forster began her work as a music promoter in Munich. Her home there became a meeting place for “rock royalty”. Some of the acts she worked with in West Germany were Jimi Hendrix, Wishbone Ash and Yes. She found German society to be too restricting, and decided to move to London with her daughter in the latter half of the 1960s.

Their first flat was located in a “cold, damp and dark” basement in West London, near the Chelsea football ground. Following that, they moved to a small house off Gowrie Road in South London. During this time she came to be called a “Punk Mummy Warrior” who guided her daughter Ari Up’s musical pursuits and supported the development of her band, The Slits, when Ari was just fourteen or fifteen.

Forster hosted numerous musician house guests, and among them was Neneh Cherry, the teenage step-daughter of Don Cherry. Cherry performed backing vocals with The Slits for a time. Rock journalist and historian Vivien Goldman stated that Forster was “a den mother to all the young punks.”

During the 1960s and 70s, Forster was part of the bohemian scene in London. Starting in the late 1960s Forster’s home in Shepherd’s Bush became a crash pad, salon, and meeting place for rock musicians including Joe Strummer of The Clash, Jimi Hendrix, Jon Anderson of the band Yes, and many other bands.

She helped to financially support the punk bands The Slits, the Sex Pistols and The Clash.

In 1970, Forster began to promote music gatherings in London.

In 1986, she was a major stockholder of Der Tagesspiegel, a West Berlin-based newspaper.

Personal Life and Death

Forster’s first husband was Frank Forster , a West German popular music singer, with whom she had a daughter, Ariane, better known as Ari Up, who was the frontwoman and singer of The Slits. When Forster’s daughter died in 2010 from breast cancer, Forster and Lydon became the guardians of Ari Up’s three children.

In 1975, Forster met John Lydon of the Sex Pistols in west London at Vivienne Westwood’s clothing store, Sex, on Kings Road. The store was co-owned at the time by rock impressario Malcolm McLaren who managed the Sex Pistols. In 1979, she married Lydon who was 14 years her junior. They married in Düsseldorf. Forster and Lydon moved to California in the 1980s. In 1988, Forster and Lydon were booked to travel on 21 December Pan Am Flight 103 that was bombed over Lockerbie, but missed taking the deadly flight due to packing delays. They remained married for 44 years until her death in 2023.

Previously, she was the girlfriend of musician and producer Chris Spedding.

Forster was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2018. She lived in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, U.S. with Lydon who was her full-time carer when he was not on tour. In 2023, Lydon entered Eurosong 2023 as part of Public Image Ltd with the song “Hawaii”, a song dedicated to Forster.

Her death was announced on 6 April 2023; she was 80.

 

Date of birth: 6th November 1942

Date of Death: 6th April 2023 (aged 80)

 

Sources:

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nora_Forster

The Telegraph – https://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2023/04/12/nora-forster-john-lydon-died-obituary/