wed 01/02/2023

obituary

Remembering Wilko: unforgettable encounters with the Dr Feelgood guitarist

Looking back on the most exciting, atmospheric and musically challenging gigs I’ve seen to date, there are several contenders in each category. But for the distinction of THE MOST DISTURBING GIG I’VE EVER BEEN TO there is only one possible option:...

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Leslie Phillips: 'I can be recognised by my voice alone'

Leslie Phillips would have known for half a century that at his death, which was announced yesterday, the obituaries would lead with one thing only. However much serious work he did in the theatre and on screen, he is forever handcuffed to the skirt...

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'The first thing I do when I wake up is write.' Hilary Mantel, 1952-2022

Hilary Mantel, who has died at the age of 70, was a maker of literary history. Wolf Hall, an action-packed 650-page brick of a book about the rise and rise of Thomas Cromwell, won the Man Booker Prize in 2009. Three years later its successor,...

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Jean-Luc Godard (1930-2022)

Paris, 16 March 1960 – and cinema ruptured. The first public screening of the 29-year-old Jean-Luc Godard’s debut feature, A Bout de Souffle, breathed life into an arthritic medium, announcing a new world of possibility.Its story, of a French petty...

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William Hurt, great Hollywood contrarian, has died at 71

No actor had a classier time of it in the Eighties than William Hurt, who has died at the age of 71. Ramrod tall, blue-eyed and aquiline, with a high forehead swept clear of thin fair hair, he was a brash decade's intelligent male lead. Those years...

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Antony Sher: 'I discovered I could be other people'

The energy of Antony Sher, who has died at the age of 72, was prodigious. He not only acted like a fizzing firecracker. He wrote books about his most celebrated roles, and several novels set in his native South Africa. He also wrote plays, and he...

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Stephen Sondheim in memoriam - he gave us more to see

It seemed impossible and yet, the other evening, while idly flicking through emails, I learned the unimaginable: Stephen Sondheim, age 91, had passed away. And very quickly by all accounts, given that he was reported to have enjoyed a Thanksgiving...

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Remembering Henry Woolf, Harold Pinter's oldest friend

Henry Woolf's place in theatre history is small but significant, a bit like Woolf was himself. Until his death on November 11, at the age of 91, he was the last survivor of a gang who made friends at Hackney Down grammar school in the 1930s. The...

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'Everyone who played for him always gave their very best': remembering Bernard Haitink (1929-2021)

Few musicians get to stage-manage a dignified departure from the world. Among his last compositions, Richard Strauss set a poem by Eichendorff depicting an old couple looking into the sunset and asking “is this perhaps death?”, and towards the end...

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'Rest now, you God': remembering bass-baritone Norman Bailey (1933-2021)

Few singers really change your life. Norman Bailey did that for me [writes David Nice of theartsdesk]. The occasion wasn't my first experience of a Wagner opera, but it was the first time I'd been to a performance of his great human comedy Die...

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Christa Ludwig, 1928-2021: a selective tribute

I only saw Christa Ludwig twice live in concert, but those appearances epitomise her incredible dramatic and vocal rage as well as her peerless artistry in everything she did. The first event was Schubert’s Winterreise with pianist Charles Spencer...

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Helen McCrory: 'If there's one interesting thing about acting it's trying to lose your ego'

Each generation is given an actress who can do everything – be intimate with the camera but also coat a back wall in honey from 100 paces. There was Judi Dench, and then there was Imelda Staunton, both loved by all. Helen McCrory – who has died...

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