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Inside Obituaries

Phyllis Thom: Nurse imprisoned by the Japanese during the Second World War

Monday, 20 October 2008

As a nurse taken prisoner by the Japanese in the Second World War, Phyllis Thom witnessed a Japanese soldier grind his foot on her patient's wound. She herself, when seriously ill, had to line up twice a day out of doors for the "tenko", or roll call. She noted: "Every hour a Japanese guard tramped through our block and seemed to take delight in hitting our shins with the butt of his rifle."

The Right Rev Richard Wood: Anglican bishop in Namibia expelled for his opposition to apartheid

Monday, 20 October 2008

Richard Wood stands high, with Michael Scott and Colin Winter, among those on the roll of Anglican churchmen who stood up against South African white racial supremacy.

Like most 20th century Scottish painters, Houston strove to maintain a connection with the real world:

John Houston: Painter and teacher whose greatest subject was the Scottish landscape

Saturday, 18 October 2008

The artist John Houston contributed greatly to the cultural life of Scotland over the last half-century, through his bold, expressionistic painting and his long commitment as a teacher to several generations of students at Edinburgh College of Art.

Edie Adams: Actress, singer and comedienne and widow of Ernie Kovacs

Saturday, 18 October 2008

The actress, singer and comedienne Edie Adams won a Tony Award for her beguiling performance as Daisy Mae in the Broadway musical Li'l Abner, and gave sterling supporting performances in such films as Lover Come Back and The Best Man. But she is probably best remembered for teaming up with Rosalind Russell on Broadway in Wonderful Town – and for her marriage to the comedian Ernie Kovacs, noted for his trademark thick moustache and large cigar, with whom she starred in some acclaimed television shows. After Kovacs was killed in a car crash, she battled rough times to settle her late husband's massive tax bills.

Peter Vansittart: Inspirational teacher

Saturday, 18 October 2008

I first came across Peter Vansittart when he strode into my classroom in the autumn of 1947 to take an English lesson, writes Nicholas Tucker

A product of television's 'Golden Age' who took his talents into the film world: Shivas in 1991

Mark Shivas: Film and TV producer who worked with an unmatched range of writers and directors

Friday, 17 October 2008

The producer Mark Shivas was a man of privacy but with a captivating gift for friendship.

Rosalind Goodfellow: First woman Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church

Friday, 17 October 2008

Rosalind Goodfellow was an outstanding lay member of the United Reformed Church, at the forefront of the att-empts of the churches of Britain and Ireland to move towards unity in the last quarter of the 20th century. She was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church for 1982-3, becoming not only the first lay Moderator but also the first woman to hold the position.

Hamilton (left): 'They said I had bought Hitler's yacht for �100,000, and I hadn't even got a bike'

Russ Hamilton: Liverpudlian singer-songwriter who had a hit in America years before the Beatles

Friday, 17 October 2008

In 1957, several years before the British beat invasion of America, a young singer-songwriter from Liverpool, Russ Hamilton, made the US Top 10 with "Rainbow". In Britain the song was the B-side of Hamilton's hit "We Will Make Love", which came close to the top of the UK charts in August that year.

Neal Hefti: Celebrated jazz arranger who wrote for Count Basie and Woody Herman – and the theme music for 'Batman'

Thursday, 16 October 2008

It is grotesque that Neal Hefti, one of jazz's greatest orchestrators, should be best remembered for a 12"x12" picture of an atomic bomb exploding.

An episode of 'Dad's Army' with, left to right, Ian Lavender, Arthur Lowe, Eric Longworth, Clive Dunn and John Le Mesurier

Eric Longworth: Actor best known for playing the town clerk in 'Dad's Army'

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Throughout a long career on stage and screen, Eric Longworth took scores of character roles, but it was the part of the town clerk in the popular television sitcom Dad's Army for which his balding head, moustache and spectacles became recognised.

Harkishan Singh Surjeet: Communist who ensured that his party remained a force in Indian politics

Thursday, 16 October 2008

India's veteran Marxist leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet was an astute and foxy politician who ensured that his country's small band of Communists remained an influential political force in the world's largest democracy. As General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the CPM, for 13 years until 2005, he exerted an influence that was in inverse proportion to the small number of MPs from India's four leftist parties.

Pehr Henrik Nordgren: Modernist composer who incorporated folk music into his work and relished his artistic freedom

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Pehr Henrik Nordgren was a rare phenomenon among composers: he wrote music which held a place at the forefront of contemporary culture and which also managed to speak directly to his listeners. He took an essentially humanist view of the composer's role:

Depardieu: Anguished looks and intense performances

Guillaume Depardieu: Troubled actor who emerged from the shadow of his famous father

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

In 1996, Guillaume Depardieu won the C�sar – the French equivalent of the Oscars – as best newcomer for his performance as Fred in the black comedy Les Apprentis (The Apprentices), directed by Pierre Salvadori.

Tim Fortescue: Conservative MP and marketing man who later led the Food and Drink Industries Council

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Tim Fortescue was essentially an expert in marketing, who brought his skills and panache briefly to Westminster, but it was perhaps typical of our times that he attracted most attention years after he had left politics for his confirmation that the Conservative Whips Office – and no doubt the Labour Party's also – practised some of the black arts that had found their way into the light of day by way of Michael Dobbs's fiction.

Nerina as Lise in 'La Fille mal gardee' at Covent Garden in 1960

Nadia Nerina: Ballerina whose effortless and dazzling virtuosity made her a favourite of Frederick Ashton

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Nadia Nerina's most famous role is so popular that any other ballerina would have sold her soul for the same chance of creating it. She was the adorable, mischievous Lise, the delinquent daughter determined to marry the man of her choice and heroine of La Fille mal gard�e.

Prof Michael Mallett: Scholar of Renaissance Italy and a key historian at Warwick University

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Michael Mallett was one of the most original and productive scholars in the study of italian Renaissance history. His doctoral research at Oxford and formative periods at the British School at Rome and the Scuola Normale, Pisa, led to the publication of The Florentine Galleys in the Fifteenth Century (1967), a study of Florence's attempt to use the recently conquered city of Pisa to gain direct access to the trade of the Mediterranean. This early work reveals much of the character of Mallett's scholarship: respect for the sources, care in composition and a wariness of preconceptions.

Richard 'Popcorn' Wylie: Tamla Motown pioneer who became a cult hero for Northern Soul fans

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The pianist, songwriter, producer, bandleader and occasional singer Richard "Popcorn" Wylie was in at the birth of Tamla Motown. He played on "Shop Around", a 1961 hit for the Miracles, on "Please Mr Postman", a US chart-topper in the same year by the Marvelettes, and also cut a rollicking cover version of Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)", the label's d�but hit.

Resurgent: Haider at his party's pre-election launch in Graz on 30 August

J�rg Haider: Charismatic right-wing politician whose controversial beliefs and policies led to isolation for Austria

Monday, 13 October 2008

J�rg Haider, the right-wing Austrian politician and governor of Carinthia, was killed in a car accident on Saturday. For years Haider had been a kind of bogeyman abroad, but he had a considerable following in his native land, and especially in Carinthia.

Alton Ellis: Pioneering reggae singer known as 'the godfather of rocksteady'

Monday, 13 October 2008

The sweet-voiced Jamaican singer Alton Ellis was the artist most commonly associated with the rocksteady genre of the mid-1960s, and was indeed often called "the godfather of rocksteady". As the frantic ska beat previously popular on the island's sound systems slowed down to a syncopated rhythm more conducive to dancing with a partner, his soulful vocals shone on "Get Steady – Rock Steady", a track featuring the pianist Jackie Mittoo and recorded for Arthur "Duke" Reid's Treasure Isle label.

Jock Wilson: Oldest British survivor of the D-Day landings who won the Military Medal for courage under fire

Monday, 13 October 2008

Jock Wilson was the oldest British veteran of the D-Day landings in the Second World War. He died at the age of 105, more than 60 years after surviving the German pounding that killed comrades around him in Normandy.

Lives Remembered: Gerry Sanderson

Monday, 13 October 2008

Gerry Sanderson, who has died aged 55, was the classic English eccentric, whose talent was as deep as his love of life. His frequent balls and bashes, he declared, were the perfect antidote to the often clinical, calculating world of architecture in which he made his name. The party venues were his own country homes – Bucklebury Place in Berkshire and The Manor House at Petty France, Gloucestershire, which featured as a hotel in the film Four Weddings And A Funeral (Hugh Grant hid inside the wardrobe in Gerry's own room). From his impression of Ursula Andress's Honey Ryder in Dr No to a Heroes Ball get-up as John Lennon in Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club garb, there were few extremes to which he would not go in search of the craic.

Rigorous standards: Eames in 1994

Elizabeth Eames: Influential, widely published archaeologist whose expertise was in medieval floor-tiles

Saturday, 11 October 2008

In 1949 Elizabeth Eames became Special Acting Assistant Keeper in the Department of British and Medieval Antiquities in the British Museum. She had been appointed to unwrap and catalogue the department's collections, which had been sent away to safe places for the duration of the Second World War.

Bernadette Greevy: Vibrant-voiced mezzo-soprano admired for her interpretations of the songs of Mahler

Saturday, 11 October 2008

The mezzo-soprano Bernadette Greevy was admired above all as an interpreter of Mahler's songs, especially those with orchestral accompaniment.

Harry Bath: Rugby league player who twice won the Challenge Cup with Warrington

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Harry Bath spent most of his long life saddled with the reputation of being the best Australian rugby league player never to represent his country. A more positive way of looking at his career would be to acknowledge him as the most influential figure of his generation on forward play on both sides of the globe.

Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld: Hard-working MP who as Deputy Chief Opposition Whip helped hold the Labour Party together in the 1980s

Friday, 10 October 2008

The years 1983 to 1987 were dog days for the Parliamentary Labour Party. It was a very unhappy period. The party had been trounced by Mrs Thatcher in the 1983 general election; the very existence of the party was questioned by some. Nobody did more to hold the party together and lay the foundations of revival under Neil Kinnock than Norman Hogg, the emollient, immensely hard-working, sensitive but firm Deputy Chief Opposition Whip, a pivotal position in the running of Parliament.

More obituaries:

The year in pictures

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