Jan 202019
 

On This Day

January

20

Births

DeForest Kelley1920Died : 11 Jun 1999Aged 79


DeForest Kelley known to colleagues as "De", was an American actor, screenwriter, poet and singer known for his roles in Westerns and as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy of the USS Enterprise in the television and film series Star Trek (1966–1991).
Tom Baker1934Age 85


Tom Baker is an English actor. He is best known for his portrayal of the fourth incarnation of the Doctor in the science fiction series Doctor Who from 1974 to 1981, a longer tenure than any other actor, and for the narration of the comedy series Little Britain. Baker's voice, which has been described as "sonorous", was voted the fourth-most recognisable in the UK.
Ciara Hanna1991Age 28


Ciara Hanna is an American actress and model. She is known for playing the roles of Gia Moran in Power Rangers Megaforce and Nicole Parker in Blood Lake.

Deaths

Edgar Froese2015Born : 6 Jun 1944Died Aged 70


Edgar Froese was a German artist and electronic music pioneer, best known for founding the electronic music group Tangerine Dream. Although his solo and group recordings prior to 2003 name him as "Edgar Froese", his solo albums from 2003 onwards bear the name "Edgar W. Froese".

On This Day

Jan 082019
 

On This Day

January

8

Births

William Hartnell1908Died : 23 Apr 1975Aged 67


William Hartnell was an English actor. Hartnell played the first incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who, from 1963 to 1966. He was also well known for his role as Sergeant Grimshaw, the title character of the first Carry On film, Carry On Sergeant in 1958, and Company Sergeant Major Percy Bullimore in the sitcom The Army Game from 1957 until 1958, and again in 1960.
Roy Kinnear1934Died : 20 Sep 1988Aged 54


Roy Kinnear was an English character actor. He is known for his roles in films directed by Richard Lester; including Algernon in Help! (1965); Clapper in How I Won the War (1967); and Planchet in The Three Musketeers (1973). He is also known for playing Private Monty Bartlett in The Hill (1965), Henry Salt in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and cruise director Curtain in Juggernaut (1974).

He went on to appear in numerous British television comedy programmes, including The Dick Emery Show (1979–81), and in the sitcoms Man About the House (1974–75), George and Mildred (1976–79) and Cowboys (1980–81).
Graham Chapman1941Died : 4 Oct 1989Aged 48


Graham Chapman was an English comedian, writer, actor, author, and one of the six members of the British surreal comedy group Monty Python. He played authority figures such as the Colonel and the lead role in two Python films, Holy Grail (1975) and Life of Brian (1979).
David Bowie1947Died : 10 Jan 2016Aged 69


David Bowie was an English singer, songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry and is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. In the UK, he was awarded ten platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, and released eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and nine gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Norman Piper1948Age 71


Norman Piper is an English former footballer who played professionally in England for 13 years before finishing his career in the United States.

He played 358 times for Portsmouth scoring 60 goals between 1970 – 1978.
Michelle Forbes1965Age 54


Michelle Forbes is an American actress who has appeared on television and in independent films. Forbes first gained attention for her dual role in daytime soap opera Guiding Light, for which she received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination. She is also a Saturn Award winner with three nominations.

Forbes is known for her recurring appearances on genre and drama shows such as Ensign Ro Laren in Star Trek: The Next Generation and her regular role as medical examiner Julianna Cox on Homicide: Life on the Street during the 1990s, while building her career with recurring roles throughout the 2000s in Battlestar Galactica, 24, In Treatment, Durham County, Prison Break and her series regular role as Maryann Forrester on True Blood. She has appeared in significant roles in movies such as Escape from L.A., Kalifornia and Swimming with Sharks.
Amber Benson1977Age 42


Amber Benson is an American actress, writer, director, and producer. She is best known for her role as Tara Maclay on the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and has also directed, produced and starred in her own films Chance (2002) and Lovers, Liars & Lunatics (2006). She also co-directed the film Drones with fellow Buffy cast member Adam Busch.
John Utaka1982Age 37


John Utaka is a Nigerian footballer who currently plays as a striker for Championnat National 2 side CS Sedan Ardennes. He is the older brother of fellow professional footballer Peter Utaka.

Utaka has played for several clubs across three continents, first for Arab Contractors and subsequently Ismaily of Egypt, and then spending a season playing for Al-Sadd of Qatar, before joining RC Lens and later Rennes in France. He has represented Nigeria at two World Cups and three Africa Cup of Nations since his debut in 2002.

He played 114 times for Portsmouth scoring 13 goals between 2007 – 2011.

On This Day Norman Piper John Utaka David Bowie Obituary

Jan 252017
 

John Hurt

22 January 1940   –   25 January 2017



John Hurt, widely admired stage and screen actor, dies aged 77

British actor became an overnight sensation after playing Quentin Crisp in the 1975 television film The Naked Civil Servant

Few British actors of recent years have been held in as much affection as Sir John Hurt, who has died aged 77. That affection is not just because of his unruly lifestyle – he was a hell-raising chum of Oliver Reed, Peter O’Toole and Richard Harris, and was married four times – or even his string of performances as damaged, frail or vulnerable characters, though that was certainly a factor. There was something about his innocence, open-heartedness and his beautiful speaking voice that made him instantly attractive.

As he aged, his face developed more creases and folds than the old map of the Indies, inviting comparisons with the famous “lived-in” faces of WH Auden and Samuel Beckett, in whose reminiscent Krapp’s Last Tape he gave a definitive solo performance towards the end of his career. One critic said he could pack a whole emotional universe into the twitch of an eyebrow, a sardonic slackening of the mouth. Hurt himself said: “What I am now, the man, the actor, is a blend of all that has happened.”

For theatregoers of my generation, his pulverising, hysterically funny performance as Malcolm Scrawdyke, leader of the Party of Dynamic Erection at a Yorkshire art college, in David Halliwell’s Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs, was a totemic performance of the mid-1960s; another was David Warner’s Hamlet, and both actors appeared in the 1974 film version of Little Malcolm. The play lasted only two weeks at the Garrick Theatre (I saw the final Saturday matinée), but Hurt’s performance was already a minor cult, and one collected by the Beatles and Laurence Olivier.

He became an overnight sensation with the public at large as Quentin Crisp – the self-confessed “stately homo of England” – in the 1975 television film The Naked Civil Servant, directed by Jack Gold, playing the outrageous, original and defiant aesthete whom Hurt had first encountered as a nude model in his painting classes at St Martin’s School of Art, before he trained as an actor.

Crisp called Hurt “my representative here on Earth”, ironically claiming a divinity at odds with his low-life louche-ness and poverty. But Hurt, a radiant vision of ginger quiffs and curls, with a voice kippered in gin and as studiously inflected as a deadpan mix of Noël Coward, Coral Browne and Julian Clary, in a way propelled Crisp to the stars, and certainly to his transatlantic fame, a journey summarised when Hurt recapped Crisp’s life in An Englishman in New York (2009), 10 years after his death.

Hurt said some people had advised him that playing Crisp would end his career. Instead, it made everything possible. Within five years he had appeared in four of the most extraordinary films of the late 1970s: Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), the brilliantly acted sci-fi horror movie in which Hurt – from whose stomach the creature exploded – was the first victim; Alan Parker’s Midnight Express, for which he won his first Bafta award as a drug-addicted convict in a Turkish torture prison; Michael Cimino’s controversial western Heaven’s Gate (1980), now a cult classic in its fully restored format; and David Lynch’s The Elephant Man (1980), with Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft.

In the latter, as John Merrick, the deformed circus attraction who becomes a celebrity in Victorian society and medicine, Hurt won a second Bafta award and Lynch’s opinion that he was “the greatest actor in the world”. He infused a hideous outer appearance – there were 27 moving pieces in his face mask; he spent nine hours a day in make-up – with a deeply moving, humane quality. He followed up with a small role – Jesus – in Mel Brooks’s History of the World: Part 1 (1981), the movie where the waiter at the Last Supper says, “Are you all together, or is it separate cheques?”

Hurt was an actor freed of all convention in his choice of roles, and he lived his life accordingly. Born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, he was the youngest of three children of a Church of England vicar and mathematician, the Reverend Arnould Herbert Hurt, and his wife, Phyllis (née Massey), an engineer with an enthusiasm for amateur dramatics.

After a miserable schooling at St Michael’s in Sevenoaks, Kent (where he said he was sexually abused), and the Lincoln grammar school (where he played Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest), he rebelled as an art student, first at the Grimsby art school where, in 1959, he won a scholarship to St Martin’s, before training at Rada for two years in 1960.

He made a stage debut that same year with the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Arts, playing a semi-psychotic teenage thug in Fred Watson’s Infanticide in the House of Fred Ginger and then joined the cast of Arnold Wesker’s national service play, Chips With Everything, at the Vaudeville. Still at the Arts, he was Len in Harold Pinter’s The Dwarfs (1963) before playing the title role in John Wilson’s Hamp (1964) at the Edinburgh Festival, where critic Caryl Brahms noted his unusual ability and “blessed quality of simplicity”.

This was a more relaxed, free-spirited time in the theatre. Hurt recalled rehearsing with Pinter when silver salvers stacked with gins and tonics, ice and lemon, would arrive at 11.30 each morning as part of the stage management routine. On receiving a rude notice from the distinguished Daily Mail critic Peter Lewis, he wrote, “Dear Mr Lewis, Whooooops! Yours sincerely, John Hurt” and received the reply, “Dear Mr Hurt, thank you for short but tedious letter. Yours sincerely, Peter Lewis.”

After Little Malcolm, he played leading roles with the RSC at the Aldwych – notably in David Mercer’s Belcher’s Luck (1966) and as the madcap dadaist Tristan Tzara in Tom Stoppard’s Travesties (1974) – as well as Octavius in Shaw’s Man and Superman in Dublin in 1969 and an important 1972 revival of Pinter’s The Caretaker at the Mermaid. But his stage work over the next 10 years was virtually non-existent as he followed The Naked Civil Servant with another pyrotechnical television performance as Caligula in I, Claudius; Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and the Fool to Olivier’s King Lear in Michael Elliott’s 1983 television film.

His first big movie had been Fred Zinnemann’s A Man for All Seasons (1966) with Paul Scofield (Hurt played Richard Rich) but his first big screen performance was an unforgettable Timothy Evans, the innocent framed victim in Richard Fleischer’s 10 Rillington Place (1970), with Richard Attenborough as the sinister landlord and killer John Christie. He claimed to have made 150 movies and persisted in playing those he called “the unloved … people like us, the inside-out people, who live their lives as an experiment, not as a formula”. Even his Ben Gunn-like professor in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) fitted into this category, though not as resoundingly, perhaps, as his quivering Winston Smith in Michael Radford’s terrific Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984); or as a prissy weakling, Stephen Ward, in Michael Caton-Jones’s Scandal (1989) about the Profumo affair; or again as the lonely writer Giles De’Ath in Richard Kwietniowski’s Love and Death on Long Island.

His later, sporadic theatre performances included a wonderful Trigorin in Chekhov’s The Seagull at the Lyric, Hammersmith, in 1985 (with Natasha Richardson as Nina); Turgenev’s incandescent idler Rakitin in a 1994 West End production by Bill Bryden of A Month in the Country, playing a superb duet with Helen Mirren’s Natalya Petrovna; and another memorable match with Penelope Wilton in Brian Friel’s exquisite 70-minute doodle Afterplay (2002), in which two lonely Chekhov characters – Andrei from Three Sisters, Sonya from Uncle Vanya – find mutual consolation in a Moscow café in the 1920s. The play originated, like his Krapp, at the Gate Theatre in Dublin.

His last screen work included, in the Harry Potter franchise, the first, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), and last two, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts One and Two (2010, 2011), as the kindly wand-maker Mr Ollivander; Roland Joffé’s 1960s remake of Brighton Rock (2010); and the 50th anniversary television edition of Dr Who (2013), playing a forgotten incarnation of the title character.

Because of his distinctive, virtuosic vocal attributes – was that what a brandy-injected fruitcake sounds like, or peanut butter spread thickly with a serrated knife? – he was always in demand for voiceover gigs in animated movies: the heroic rabbit leader, Hazel, in Watership Down (1978), Aragorn/Strider in Lord of the Rings (1978) and the Narrator in Lars von Trier’s Dogville (2004). In 2015 he took the Peter O’Toole stage role in Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell for BBC Radio 4. He had foresworn alcohol for a few years – not for health reasons, he said, but because he was bored with it.

Hurt’s sister was a teacher in Australia, his brother a convert to Roman Catholicism and a monk and writer. After his first short marriage to the actor Annette Robinson (1960, divorced 1962) he lived for 15 years in London with the French model Marie-Lise Volpeliere Pierrot. She was killed in a riding accident in 1983. In 1984 he married, secondly, a Texan, Donna Peacock (divorced in 1990), living with her for a time in Nairobi until the relationship came under strain from his drinking and her dalliance with a gardener. With his third wife, Jo Dalton (married in 1990, divorced 1995), he had two sons, Nicolas and Alexander (“Sasha”), who survive him, as does his fourth wife, the actor and producer Anwen Rees-Myers, whom he married in 2005 and with whom he lived in Cromer, Norfolk. Hurt was made CBE in 2004, given a Bafta lifetime achievement award in 2012 and knighted in the New Year’s honours list of 2015.