sat 28/05/2022

obituary

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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'I loved being a dresser': Sir Ronald Harwood, Oscar-winning writer, dies at 85

Ronald Harwood, who has died at the age of 85, was best known for his play about tending to the needs of the larger-than-life actor-manager Donald Wolfit. The Dresser, adapted by Harwood, went on to become a great film success starring Tom Courtenay...

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'She was Paris': RIP Zizi Jeanmaire (1924-2020)

"You talk like Marlene Dietrich, you dance like Zizi Jeanmaire, your clothes are all made by Balmain, and there’s diamonds and pearls in your hair…" . Peter Sarstedt may have been a one-hit wonder, but his 1969 pop song, "Where do you go to (my...

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Ennio Morricone 1928-2020: A lost afternoon in his apartment in Rome

Ennio Morricone was a genius, or as close to that description as makes no odds. If we mean someone who created a unique body of work, one that changed culture, had a distincive style and was massively influential, then Morricone fitted the bill....

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Ian Holm, British film's best supporting actor

Ian Holm was once in his local cinema on High Street Kensington, enquiring at the ticket office about concessions for people who appeared in the film they wished to see. The unlucky vendor failed to make the connection between the short customer...

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