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Obituaries round-up

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Patrick Newley pays tribute to some of the leading names in entertainment who have died recently.

James Harding wrote several critically acclaimed theatre books and biographies including Sacha Guitry (1968), Ivor Novello (1987), George Robey and the Music Hall (1981), James Agate (1986), Gerald Du Maurier – The Last Actor Manager (1989) and Emlyn Williams (1993).

Born on May 30, 1929, Harding began his career as a copywriter and then became a teacher of French. He died on June 21, 2007.

Pat Trenfield began her career as an assistant with the Essanay Theatrical Agency in the late thirties and eventually ran the company with Ricky Meyer, her husband.

The agency continued to flourish up until the time the couple retired in 1987 when they moved to Brighton. Pat died in a nursing home in Powys, Wales, on October 10, 2007, aged 93.

Actor Noel Coleman had a prolific career in television for more than 50 years.

Born on November 26, 1919, he began playing character roles in the fifties in series such as Emergency Ward 10 and The Adventures of Robin Hood. Later roles included General Smythe in Doctor Who, Col Marchbanks in Clouds of Witness, Sir Reginald Blenkiron in The Duchess of Duke Street and General Ironside in Churchill and the Generals.

He died on October 12, 2007.

Broadway star Robert Goulet played Lancelot in the original Camelot in 1960, and then went on to enjoy a long career as a singer and actor – winning a Tony, a Grammy and an Emmy.

Born on November 26, 1933, he began his career as a radio announcer. He appeared in several TV variety shows before Camelot catapulted him to stardom. His other stage appearances included leading roles in Carousel, The Pajama Game, South Pacific and, on Broadway in 2005, La Cage Aux Folles.

He won a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Broadway musical for Happy Time in 1968. Goulet starred in many TV series including Fantasy Island, Cannon and Mission Impossible. He also lent his name and voice to a 1993 episode of The Simpsons, showing up to support the casino that Bart builds in his tree house.

He died on October 30, 2007, aged 73.

Set and costume designer Caroline McCulloch had a long career in both the West End and regional theatre.

Born on February 20, 1950, she studied art and design at Lincoln College of Art. She was resident in-house designer at the Oldham Coliseum, Manchester Library Theatre, and the Leeds and Derby Playhouses.

As a freelance designer she designed sets and costumes for several West End shows as well as for the Royal Exchange in Manchester and the Century Theatre in Keswick.

She lectured widely on theatre design notably at Oldham College and Thameside College.

She died on November 25, 2007.

Versatile actor Ken Parry specialised in playing camp roles in a host of top TV dramas and comedies. He was also an accomplished Shakespearean actor on both stage and screen.

Born on June 20, 1930, in Wigan, he worked as a lodge boy for Wigan Coal before deciding on a career in theatre.

He was in early TV episodes of No Hiding Place, Z Cars and The Avengers and his portly figure and cherubic face made him ideal casting for comedy shows such as The Benny Hill Show, Nearest and Dearest and The Young Ones.

His long film career included appearances in The Taming of the Shrew (1967), Spring and Port Wine (1970) and Ken Russell’s Listzomania (1975). He died on December 12, 2007.

TV script editor and producer Catherine Wearing joined the BBC script unit in 1960 and then went on to produce and develop many classic and contemporary series and dramas.

Among her notable credits were Persuasion (1995), A Dark Adapted Eye (1994), The Buccaneers (1995) and Natural Lies (1992). She also developed the hit series Common as Muck (1994) and produced the second series (1997).

This was followed in 1998 by her production of the Bafta-winning adaptation by Sandy Welch of Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend. For ITV she produced the series Rose and Maloney and for Channel 4 she produced Second Generation by Neil Biswas and Bodily Harm by Tony Grounds.

She was born on January 8, 1966, and died on December 31, 2007. At the time of her death she was working as a development producer for Leopard Films.

Rowan Ayers created and produced the famous sixties BBC2 arts show Late Night Line-Up.

Born on June 16, 1922, he began his career as a playwright and journalist and in 1955 became TV editor of the Radio Times.

In 1961 he became assistant head of presentation with the BBC and went on to produce Points of View. He created Late Night Line-Up in 1964 and when the series finished in 1973, after 3,000 editions, Ayers was appointed to run the BBC community programmes unit.

In 1997 he retired to Australia. He died on January 5, 2008.

Television producer Richard Drewett played a key role in the development of the chat show and in 1971 created BBC’s Parkinson.

He produced 132 editions of the show and later became head of special programmes at London Weekend TV, responsible for one-off studio specials featuring Barry Humphries, Michael Aspel, Mel Smith, Gloria Hunniford and many others.

In the eighties he produced A Night of 100 Stars and The Clive James Paris Fashion Show (nominated for a 1981 International Emmy) and he won a Bafta award in 1991 for Clive James on the Eighties.

He was born on October 22, 1935, and died on January 18, 2008.

Veteran actor Kevin Stoney is best remembered for his roles in three Doctor Who series, Mavic Chen in The Dalek’s Monster Plan (1965), Tobias Vaughan in The Invasion (1968) and Tyrum in Revenge of the Cybermen (1975).

Born in 1921, he played many other character roles on television in series such as The Saint, Danger Man, Man in a Suitcase, The Tomorrow People, Bergerac and Inspector Morse. He was also noted for his role as the astrologer Thrasyllus in the 1976 BBC adaptation of I, Claudius, a role he had earlier played in Granada TV’s 1969 series The Caesars.

He died at his home in Chiswick on January 20, 2008.

Prolific actor and broadcaster Gordon Clyde made his name playing an interviewer in sketches with the TV comic Dick Emery in the comedian’s top rating series in the sixties and seventies.

He had also appeared in character roles in series such as No Hiding Place and Doctor Finlay’s Casebook and was a noted musician. He died on January 26, 2008.

Broadcaster, jazz musician and journalist Miles Kington began his career with the satirical magazine Punch, where he spent 15 years.

In the seventies he began writing Let’s Parler Franglais!, a comic mixture of English and French sketches which were published in a series of bestselling books.

Kington wrote several plays including Waiting for Stoppard (1995) and for many years was the bass player of the cabaret quartet Instant Sunshine.

He wrote a humorous column for The Independent and was a regular contributor to The Oldie. He was born on May 13, 1941, and died of pancreatic cancer on January 30, 2008.

Patrick Newley

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