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Departed: Those we have lost in 2013

Former prime minister Margaret Thatcher died earlier this year. Picture: PA

Former prime minister Margaret Thatcher died earlier this year. Picture: PA

  • by JEREMY WATSON
 

Many great names and famous faces bade a final farewell this year. Jeremy Watson pays them tribute

January

Jimmy Halliday, leader of the SNP. Born 27 February, 1927, Wemyss Bay. Died 3 January, 2013, Dundee, aged 84.

• Halliday represented a generation of Scottish Nationalists who laboured in the 1950s to keep the independence flame alive when it often appeared in danger of flickering out. At the age of 28, he was elected chairman (leader) for four years and contested the 1959 General Election.

Michael Winner, film director. Born 30 October, 1935, London. Died 21 January, 2013, aged 77.

• Winner’s film career involved big names and dramatic plotlines. He turned from showbiz writing in his teens to screenwriting and directing feature films in both England and the US, including Death Wish, starring Charles Bronson. Later in life he became a snooty food critic who lampooned himself in commercials.

February

Reg Presley, singer/songwriter. Born 12 June, 1941, Andover. Died 4 February, 2013, Andover, aged 71.

• Born Reginald Maurice Ball, Presley was best known as the leader of the 1960s rock band The Troggs, whose best-known hit was Wild Thing, although their only UK No 1 was follow-up With A Girl Like You. He also wrote the song Love Is All Around which featured in the film, Four Weddings And A Funeral.

Alan Sharp, novelist and screenwriter. Born 12 January, 1934, Alyth, Perthshire. Died 8 February, 2013, Los Angeles, aged 69.

• Raised by a single mother in Greenock, Sharp made it to Hollywood through his writing. He penned two novels before turning to screenwriting with his biggest hit being Rob Roy, starring Liam Neeson, in 1995.

Richard Briers, stage and TV actor. Born 14 January, 1934, Raynes Park, Surrey. Died 17 February, 2013, London, aged 79.

• Briers became a household name when he played Tom Good in the BBC sitcom, The Good Life (1975–78), with Felicity Kendal. Roles in Ever Decreasing Circles (1984–89) and Monarch of the Glen (2000–02) kept him in the public eye.

Bruce Millan, politician. Born 5 October, 1927, Dundee. Died 21 February, 2013, in Glasgow, aged 85.

• Known as a quietly effective Labour politician, he was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland in 1976 and is credited with creating the Scottish Development Agency (now Scottish Enterprise). He became a European Commissioner in 1989 and helped create a “Europe of the regions”.

March

Alvin Lee, musician. Born 19 December, 1944, in Nottingham. Died 6 March, 2013, in Marbella, aged 68.

• Born Graham Anthony Barnes, Lee was best known as the lead guitarist and singer with the blues-rock/pop band Ten Years After. He performed at the legendary Woodstock Festival in 1969 and his playing style earned him the reputation of the “Fastest Guitarist in the West”.

Frank Thornton, actor. Born 15 January, 1921, Dulwich. Died 16 March, 2013, Barnes, aged 92.

• A quintessentially English actor, Thornton was best known for playing Captain Peacock in Are You Being Served? and its sequel, Grace & Favour. He also starred as Herbert “Truly” Truelove in Last of the Summer Wine.

Phil Ramone, music entrepreneur. Born 5 January, 1934, in South Africa. Died 30 March, 2013, in New York, aged 79.

• Ramone was at various times a recording engineer, record producer, violinist and composer, who in 1958 co-founded record studio A & R Recording. Artists he worked with ranged from Marilyn Monroe (Happy Birthday To You) to Stevie Wonder and Elton John. Billboard magazine described him as “legendary” and the BBC as a “CD pioneer”.

April

Jane Henson, puppeteer. Born 16 June, 1934, New York. Died 2 April, 2013, Greenwich, Connecticut, aged 78.

• Jane Nebel met and married fellow puppeteer Jim Henson and they worked together on the live 1950s television show, Sam and Friends. They went on to create The Muppets, with Jane developing technical innovations. The couple separated in 1986.

Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister. Born 13 October, 1925, Grantham, England. Died 8 April, 2013, London.

• Baroness Thatcher was UK Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990 and the leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the longest-serving British premier of the 20th century. A Soviet journalist called her “The Iron Lady”, a nickname associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. A research chemist before becoming an MP for Finchley in 1959, she defeated Edward Heath in the Conservatives’ 1975 leadership election to become leader of the opposition.

Mike Denness, cricketer. Born 1 December, 1940, Bellshill. Died 19 April, 2013, London, aged 72.

• Mike Denness played for Kent and then England at Test level. Remaining the only England captain to be born in Scotland, he was one of the inaugural inductees into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.

Struther Arnott, biochemist and academic. Born 25 September, 1934, Larkhall. Died 20 April, 2013, aged 78.

• Professor Arnott was a molecular biologist and chemist whose work helped confirm the structure of DNA. He later championed the sciences as principal and vice-chancellor of the University of St Andrews.

Richie Havens, musician. Born 21 January, 1941, Brooklyn. Died 22 April, 2013, New Jersey, aged 72.

• An American singer-songwriter and guitarist, he is best known for his intense and rhythmic guitar style, soulful covers of pop and folk songs and his opening performance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.

Brian Adam, politician. Born 10 June, 1948, Newmill, Banffshire. Died 25 April, 2013, Aberdeen, aged 64.

• An experienced north-east SNP councillor, Adam contested Aberdeen North in 1991, reducing the Labour majority from 10,000 at the 1997 Westminster election to just 398. He won through in the constituency two years later as a list MSP, and held it in the 2007 election with an increased majority of 3,749. He retained his seat in 2011 in the renamed Aberdeen Donside.

May

Trevor Bolder, bass guitarist. Born 9 June, 1950, Hull. Died 21 May, Cottingham, Yorkshire, aged 62.

• Rock bassist, musician, songwriter and record producer, Bolder was best known for his long association with Uriah Heep and his tenure with The Spiders from Mars, the early backing band for David Bowie.

Mick McManus, professional wrestler. Born 28 January, 1928, London. Died 22 May, 2013, London, aged 95.

• A household name and a giant of his sport in the 1960s, McManus often went by the nicknames “The Man You Love to Hate”, the “Rugged South London Tough Guy” and “The Dulwich Destroyer”.

Jimmy Wray, politician. Born 28 April, 1938, Govan. Died 25 May, 2013, Renfrewshire, aged 75.

• One of eight children born to a poor Catholic family, James Aloysius Joseph Patrick Gabriel Wray was a Scottish politician and Labour Member of Parliament for Glasgow Baillieston and Glasgow Provan. A boxer as a young man, he rose through local politics.

June

Iain Banks, author. Born 16 February, 1954, Dunfermline. Died 9 June, 2013, North Queensferry, aged 59.

• An astonishing writer, Banks wrote mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks, and science fiction as Iain M. Banks. His breakthrough came in 1984 with the success of The Wasp Factory. Mainstream success followed with a series of original novels including Espedair Street and The Crow Road.

James Gandolfini, actor. Born 18 September, 1961, New Jersey. Died 19 June, 2013, Rome, aged 51.

• A former jobbing actor, Gandolfini owned the TV stage for a time as Tony Soprano in the award-winning HBO series, The Sopranos, in which he played a troubled American Mafia crime boss. Three Emmy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and one Golden Globe Award followed.

Peter Fraser, lawyer and politician. Born 29 May, 1945. Died 22 June, 2013, aged 68.

• A talented advocate, Fraser turned to politics and was elected as a Tory MP in 1979. In 1982, he was appointed Solicitor General for Scotland by Margaret Thatcher and became Lord Advocate in 1989, when he was made a life peer as Baron Fraser of Carmyllie. During his time as Scotland’s senior law officer, he was directly responsible for the conduct of the investigation into the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

July

Bernadette Nolan, singer. Born 17 October, 1960, in Dublin. Died 4 July, 2013, in Surrey, aged 52.

• Bernadette Therese “Bernie” Nolan was the lead singer of The Nolans, an Anglo-Irish pop band of sisters – Denise, Maureen, Linda and Coleen – who had a string of hits in the 1980s. Their I’m In The Mood For Dancing is still a disco favourite.

Lawrie Reilly, footballer. Born 28 October, 1928, Edinburgh. Died 22 July, 2013, Edinburgh, aged 84.

• Rated among the top forwards in Scottish football history, Reilly was one of the “Famous Five”, the Hibernian forward line during the late 1940s and early 1950s, along with Bobby Johnstone, Gordon Smith, Eddie Turnbull, and Willie Ormond. With 253 appearances for Hibs and 38 for Scotland, he was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

Rona Anderson, actress. Born 3 August, 1926, Edinburgh. Died 23 July, 2013, Hampstead, aged 86.

• Anderson was a star of 1950s British film thrillers who specialised in the role of the classy girlfriend. According to the Scottish comedian Stanley Baxter, Anderson “had this incredible, porcelain-like face, too beautiful for film.” In 1951, she married fellow actor Gordon Jackson. Her last major film was The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969).

Virginia Johnson, sexologist. Born 11 February, 1925, Springfield, Missouri. Died 24 July, 2013, St Louis, Missouri, aged 93.

• Johnson was, with William Masters, her research associate and sometime husband, the author of Human Sexual Response, a study of the physiology of sexual arousal which has been described as the book which “taught America how to love”. Its publication in 1966 made the pair famous, controversial and rich in almost equal measure.

August

David McLetchie, politician. Born 6 August, 1952, Edinburgh. Died 12 August, 2013, Edinburgh, aged 61.

• As one obituarist put it: “David McLetchie belonged to a threatened species, a leading Scottish Tory politician with popular appeal and high personal standing among colleagues of all persuasions.” The lawyer-turned-politician became leader of the Scottish Conservatives upon the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, and was an MSP for the Lothians electoral region until 2005.

John Bellany, artist. Born 18 June, 1942, Port Seton, East Lothian. Died 28 August, 2013, Essex, aged 71.

• One of Scotland’s most acclaimed painters, he was celebrated for his weather-beaten portrayals of the East Lothian seascape and the fishing community where he grew up. His works hang in the Tate, the National Portrait Gallery and New York’s Museum of Modern Art, but he considered a major retrospective at the National Galleries of Scotland last year to be the highlight of his career.

Seamus Heaney, poet and playwright. Born 13 April, 1939, Londonderry. Died 30 August, 2013, Dublin, aged 74.

• Widely recognised as one of the major poets of the 20th century, Heaney was the author of more than 20 volumes of poetry and criticism, and edited several widely used anthologies. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”.

David Frost, broadcaster. Born 7 April, 1939, Tenterden, Kent. Died 31 August, 2013, aboard the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, aged 74.

• A multi-talented media personality, journalist and comedian, Frost mixed political satire programmes with serious big-name interviews with the likes of US president Richard Nixon, which inspired a recent Oscar-nominated movie. During a career that spanned 50 years, he presented The Frost Report, Breakfast With Frost and That Was The Week That Was.

September

David Jacobs, broadcaster. Born 19 May, 1926, London. Died 2 September, 2013, London, aged 86.

• A consummate broadcaster for more than seven decades, Jacobs’ urbane charm made him a much loved figure on radio, presenting a number of music programmes, including Melodies For You, Music Through Midnight and Housewives’ Choice. He also hosted the BBC’s Any Questions for 17 years.

Ray Dolby, engineer and inventor. Born 18 January, 1933, Portland, Oregon. Died 12 September, 2013, San Francisco, aged 80.

• A backroom boy who invented the tape hiss noise reduction system known as Dolby NR and made a billion dollars in the process. He also helped develop the video tape recorder and was the founder of Dolby Laboratories. He was made an Honorary Officer of the OBE in 1987.

Charles McKean, architect and historian. Born 16 July, 1946, Glasgow. Died 29 September, 2013, Edinburgh, aged 67.

• One of Scotland’s best known and most outspoken architects, with a worldwide reputation as one of the most respected experts on historic Scots architecture, Professor McKean was author of more than 30 books and 100 academic papers. He was a professor at the University of Dundee from the mid-1990s and remained its Professor Emeritus of Scottish Architectural History until his death.

October

Tom Clancy, author. Born 12 April, 1947, in Baltimore, Maryland. Died 1 October, 2013, in Baltimore, aged 66.

• Clancy was a bestselling American novelist whose military thrillers, including Patriot Games and The Hunt For Red October, were made into hit films and spawned video games. He dominated the bestseller lists of the 1980s, with 17 of his books topping the New York Times bestseller chart. His income as a novelist may have been matched only by his countryman Stephen King.

Lou Reed, musician. Born 2 March, 1942, Brooklyn. Died 27 October, 2013, Southampton, New York, aged 71.

• Known for his distinctive deadpan voice and poetic lyrics, Reed bequeathed the world hits such as Perfect Day and Walk on the Wild Side. After serving as guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of The Velvet Underground – a commercial failure in the 1960s – his solo career spanned several decades.

November

Jack Alexander. Born 11 November, 1935, Wishaw. Died 2 November, 2013, Ayr, aged 77.

• Jack was one half of the Alexander Brothers traditional music duo, who with his sibling Tom played across the world and recorded more than 30 albums in a career spanning 50 years. At his funeral, the Rev David Gemmell said: “He played Carnegie Hall in America, Sydney Opera House in Australia and even outsold the Beatles. Not bad for a wee boy from Wishaw.”

Helen Eadie, politician. Born 7 March, 1947, Stenhousemuir. Died 9 November, 2013, Dunfermline, aged 66.

The Labour MSP was one of the original members of the modern Scottish Parliament and remained there until her death. Friends said she was working on constituency business from her hospital bed in Dunfermline until the day before she passed away. Former PM Gordon Brown described her as “a woman of the people”.

Doris Lessing, author. Born 22 October, 1919, Kermanshah, Persia (now Iran). Died 17 November, 2013, London, aged 94.

• Lessing was described as a visionary, prophet, and feminist icon given to constant literary reinvention. A prolific writer and Nobel prizewinner, she produced approximately a book a year for nearly 60 years. They included plays, poems and short stories but her novels, in particular The Golden Notebook, remained her best known, best loved and most controversial work.

Paul Walker, actor. Born 12 September, 1973, Glendale, California. Died 30 November, 2013, Valencia, California, aged 40.

• Paul William Walker IV was an American actor who became famous in 1999 after his role in the hit film Varsity Blues. His popularity blossomed with his role as Brian O’Conner in The Fast and the Furious film series. He died when the Porsche Carrera he was travelling in crashed into a telegraph pole and burst into flames.

December

Mary Riggans, actress. Born 19 July, 1935, Clydebank. Died 2 December, 2013, Edinburgh, aged 78.

• Riggans did her first voice-over at the age of ten and began her acting career in 1946. Best known for playing Effie in Take the High Road and Susie Sweet in Balamory, she delighted a new generation with her portrayal of Sadie in Still Game.

Nelson Mandela, activist. Born 18 July, 1918, Mvezo, South Africa. Died 5 December, 2013, Johannesburg, aged 95.

• A Xhosa born to the Thembu royal family, Mandela was an anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999 on his release from captivity. As a young man he was a leader of the then-banned African National Council (ANC) and was imprisoned for 27 years on Robben Island. He became South Africa’s first black chief executive and the first elected in a full democratic election.

Peter O’Toole, actor. Born 2 August, 1932, Connemara, Ireland. Died 14 December, 2013, London, aged 81.

• With his mesmeric blue eyes and mercurial manner, O’Toole took the film world by storm in 1962 in the title role of David Lean’s Oscar-winning epic, Lawrence of Arabia. The role thrust the 30-year-old actor into the superstar bracket but although he was nominated seven times for an Oscar – for Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man (1980), My Favourite Year (1982) and Venus (2006) – he never won outright although he did receive an Honorary Academy Award in 2003.

Joan Fontaine, actress. Born 22 October, 1917, Tokyo. Died 16 December, Carmel, California, aged 96.

• The British-American actress was a Hollywood leading lady who played demure, well-bred heroines in the 1940s. She was best known for roles in two Alfred Hitchcock thrillers, the 1940 Best Picture winner, Rebecca, and the 1941 film, Suspicion, for which she won a Best Actress Oscar.

Ronnie Biggs, career criminal. Born 8 August, 1929, London. Died 18 December, 2013, London, aged 84.

• A carpenter by trade, Biggs turned criminal as part of the gang which carried out the audacious Great Train Robbery on the Glasgow to London mail train in 1963, in which a railway guard was seriously injured and later died. The gang stole £2.6 million, but although Biggs was caught he was sprung from jail in 1965 and spent 36 years as a fugitive, mainly in Brazil. He returned voluntarily to jail in the UK in 2001 but, with his health deteriorating, he was released on compassionate grounds in 2009. Opinion differs on whether he is best viewed as a loveable rogue or a violent criminal.

David Coleman, Sports commentator. Born 26 April 1926, Alderley Edge, Cheshire. Died 21 December, 2013, Berkshire.

• Coleman was a sports commentator and TV presenter who worked for the BBC for over 40 years. He covered 11 summer Olympic Games from 1960 to 2000 and six football World Cups. He presented some of the BBC’s leading sporting programmes, including Grandstand and Sportsnight, and was the host of A Question of Sport for 18 years. He retired from the BBC in 2000.

 

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