Farewell to famous faces we have lost in 2014

MANY well known names left this world in the past 12 months. Ashley Davies marks their passing.

The death of actor Robin Williams shocked the world. Picture: Getty
The death of actor Robin Williams shocked the world. Picture: Getty
The death of actor Robin Williams shocked the world. Picture: Getty


Phil Everly, singer.

Born: 19 January, 1939, Chicago. Died: 3 January, 2014, Burbank, California, aged 74.

THE voices of Phil and his older brother Don – the Everly Brothers – created beguiling harmonies in songs such as Bye Bye Love and Cathy’s Clown in the 1950s. By the 1970s they had become thoroughly sick of each other, and would not reunite for ten years when they performed at the Royal Albert Hall in 1983.

Ariel Sharon, politician.

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Born: 26 February, 1928, in Kfar Malal, British Palestine. Died 11 January, 2014, Ramat Gan, Israel, aged 85.

Israel’s hardline prime minister from 2001-2006 was, unsurprisingly, a divisive character. With a strong military background, he was regarded by many as a figure who prioritised the security of Jewish settlers over political progress.

Pete Seeger, folk singer and activist.

Born: 2 May, 1919, New York. Died: 27 January, 2014, aged 94.

Seeger was a huge and popular figure in America’s protest movement in the 1960s, during which time, alongside Joan Baez, he was among those who popularised the spiritual We Shall Overcome. His own best-known folk songs include Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, Turn, Turn, Turn and If I Had a Hammer.


Philip Seymour Hoffman, actor.

Born: 23 July, 1967, Rochester, New York. Died: 2 February, 2014, Manhattan, aged 46.

This immensely gifted film and stage actor was much admired for his ability to bring a delicate humanity to his roles. His credits include The Talented Mr Ripley, Capote, Boogie Nights, The Master and Happiness.

Shirley Temple Black, actress, singer and diplomat

Born: 23 April, 1928, Santa Monica, California. Died: 10 February, 2014, California, aged 85.

In the 1930s, “America’s Little Darling” and star of movies such as Curly Top and Bright Eyes was one of the biggest box-office stars in America. But the ringletted-singer of The Good Ship Lollipop left showbusiness for politics and became the US’s ambassador to Ghana and what was then Czechoslovakia.


Bob Crow, union leader

Born: 13 June, 1961, London. Died: 11 March 2014, aged 52.

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The charismatic general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union was regarded by some as a member of the “awkward squad”. He was accused of holding London to ransom by organising transport strikes, but many saw him as a champion of the workers.

Tony Benn, politician.

Born: 3 April, 1925, London. Died: 14 March, 2014, London, aged 88.

Born Anthony Wedgwood Benn, the pipe-smoking, tea-loving left-wing Labour MP gave up his hereditary peerage in order to remain in the House of Commons. After 47 years as an MP he retired to, as he put it, “spend more time on politics”.

Clarissa Dickson Wright, barrister, chef and tv personality

Born: 24 June, 1947, London. Died: 15 March, 2014, Edinburgh, aged 66.

With a personality as big as her name, Clarissa Theresa Philomena Aileen Mary Josephine Agnes Elsie Trilby Louise Esmerelda Dickson Wright first found television fame alongside Jennifer Paterson in Two Fat Ladies. She had been the youngest person called to the Bar but struggled with alcoholism and moved into cooking. She wrote several cook books and appeared on dozens of food documentaries.

L’Wren Scott, fashion designer

Born: 28 April, 1964. Died: 17 March, 2014, New York, aged 49.

Scott may have been better known to many as Mick Jagger’s girlfriend, but she was a successful designer in her own right. The girl who used to be called Laura started out as a model and fashion stylist and ended up designing for Hollywood A-listers.

Kate O’Mara, actress.

Born: 10 August, 1939, Leicester. Died: 30 March, 2014, Sussex, aged 74.

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The impossibly glamorous O’Mara was seen by many in the UK in Howards’ Way and Triangle, then found a wider audience playing Joan Collins’ scheming sister in Dynasty.


Margo MacDonald, politician.

Born: 19 April, 1943, Hamilton. Died: 4 April, 2014, Edinburgh, aged 70.

Passionate supporter of Scottish independence, MacDonald was for many years regarded as an SNP rebel, never one to keep her grievances to herself. After being expelled from the party in 2003 she became an independent MSP, campaigning for controversial causes including assisted suicide – she had had Parkinson’s disease since the 1990s – and the rights of sex workers.

Mickey Rooney, actor.

Born: 23 September, 1920, Brooklyn, New York. Died: 6 April, 2014, , California, aged 93.

By the end of his long life, the diminutive Rooney was as well known for having been married seven times as he was for acting. He started out as a child star, working alongside Judy Garland in Babes in Arms, and made 43 films.

Peaches Geldof, TV presenter and model.

Born: 13 March, 1989, London. Died: 7 April, 2014, Wrotham, Kent, aged 25

The daughter of Live Aid founder Bob Geldof and TV presenter Paula Yates – who also died very young – provided much fuel for the tabloids when she was in her late teens and early 20s thanks to her wild celebrity lifestyle, but had seemed to calm down after starting a family three years ago. Toxicology reports confirmed she died of a heroin overdose.

Bob Hoskins, actor.

Born: 26 October, 1942, Bury St Edmunds, West Suffolk. Died: 29 April, 2014, in London, aged 71.

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Although Hoskins carved out a career playing Cockneys or gangsters in films such as Long Good Friday and Mona Lisa, he had several high-profile Holywood roles too, including in Mermaids, alongside Cher, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? He retired in 2012 after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s.


Elena Baltacha, tennis player.

Born: 14 August, 1983, Kiev. Died: 4 May, 2014, Suffolk, aged 30.

“BALLY”, as she was known in the tennis world, had been British number one and was mentored by Judy Murray. She received her liver cancer diagnosis in January and had only just married her long-term coach Nino Severino.


Rik Mayall, comedian, actor and writer.

Born: 9 June, 1958, Epping. Died: 9 June, London, aged 56.

With his comedy partner Adrian Edmondson, Mayall wrote and starred in cult comedy shows such as The Young Ones and Bottom and, then went on to play gloriously evil Tory politician Alan B’stard in The New Statesman and various characters in Blackadder. Hilariously childish, he made violent slapstick an art form.

Bobby Womack, singer-songerwiter.

Born: 4 March, 1944, Cleveland, Ohio. Died: 27 June, 2014, Tarzana, California, aged 70.

As well as recording his own R&B hits, most notably Across 110th Street and Looking for a Love, Womack wrote songs for other people, including the Rolling Stones’ It’s All Over Now. He began his career with family group The Valentinos, and his brother Cecil would go on to form Womack and Womack with his own wife Linda.


Elaine Stritch, actress and singer.

Born: 2 February, 1925, Detroit, Michigan. Died: 17 July, 2014, Birmingham, Michigan, aged 89.

The husky, sassy star was a big noise on Broadway, but also appeared on several television shows, most recently 30 Rock.

James Garner, actor.

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Born: 7 April, 1928, Norman, Oklahoma. Died: 19 July, 2014, Los Angeles, aged 86.

This handsome star was best known for his role in TV series The Rockford Files, and performed in more than 50 films, including The Great Escape and Victor Victoria. Unusually for a Hollywood star, he was married to the same woman, Lois, since he was in his late 20s.

Alfredo di Stefano, footballer.

Born: 4 July, 1926, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Died: 7 July, 2014, Madrid, Spain, aged 88.

Di STEFANO was widely seen as one of the finest footballers of all time. He was a key player with Real Madrid during their golden age in the 1950s.

Helen Orr ‘Elenor’ Gordon-Mckay, swimmer.

Born: 10 May, 1934, Hamilton. Died: 5 July, 2014, Wishaw, aged 81.

Arguably Scotland’s greatest ever swimmer, Gordon was a triple Olympian who was the first ever Scotswoman to win gold at the Commonwealth Games.


nRobin Williams, actor and comedian.

Born: 21 July, 1951, Chicago, US. Died: 11 August, 2014, Paradise Cay, California, aged 63.

This garrulous comic actor cut his teeth as a stand-up but found global fame playing an alien in Mork and Mindy. After his cross-dressing role in Mrs Doubtfire he took on more serious films, including Good Will Hunting and the chilling One-Hour Photo.

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Richard Attenborough CBE, Lord Attenborough, actor and director.

Born: 29 August, 1923, Cambridge. Died: 24 August, 2014, Cambridge, aged 90.

The older brother of David Attenborough spent the first half of his career as an actor, gaining plaudits for his performances in Brighton Rock, The Great Escape and 10 Rillington Place. He started directing and producing in the late 1950s, his output including A Bridge Too Far, Whistle Down the Wind, the multi-award-winning Gandhi, Shadowlands and Cry Freedom.

Lauren Bacall, actress.

Born: 16 September, 1924, in the Bronx, New York. Died: 12 August, 2014, in Manhattan, aged 89.

The sultry Bacall’s most famous line, “You know how to whistle, don’t yo, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow” was murmured to future husband Humphrey Bogart in To Have and To Have Not, her first major part. She carved out a role for herself in film noir, notably The Big Sleep and Dark Passage, but also took on comedies such as How to Marry a Millionaire and Designing Women.


Joan Rivers, comedian and actress.

Born: 8 July, 1933, Brooklyn, New York. Died: 4 September, 2014, New York, aged 81.

Born Joan Molinsky to Russian Jewish immigrants who’d settled in New York, this acid-tongued performer started her career as an actor, but her cutting brand of humour soon made her a popular figure in comedy clubs and later on television chat shows. She reportedly had had more than 700 cosmetic surgery procedures in a bid to try look as long as she said she felt, and was working almost until the end, playing the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2008.

The Rev Ian Paisley, Lord Bannside, politician and church minister.

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Born: 6 April, 1926, Armagh, Northern Ireland. Died: 12 September, 2014, Belfast, aged 88.

This charismatic, divisive Protestant minister co-founded the Free Presbyterian Church in 1951 and the Democratic Unionist Party in 1970 and was a passionate, uncompromising Unionist voice in Northern Ireland. For many years he resisted proposals designed to bring an end to the Troubles, but finally, following the 2007 St Andrews Agreement, the DUP agreed on a power-sharing deal with Sinn Fein. He became First Minister of Northern Ireland in 2007.

Sir Donald Sinden CBE FRSA, actor.

Born: 9 October, 1923, Plymouth. Died: 12 September, 2014, Romney Marsh, Kent, aged 90.

As A dashing younger man, Sinden was a successful Shakespearean and West End actor, though in later years he took to television sitcoms, most notably Never the Twain, in which he played a snooty antiques dealer.


Lynda Bellingham, actress.

Born: 31 May, 1948, Montreal. Died: 19 October, 2014, London, aged 66.

Bellingham was known to generations as the “Oxo mum”, after starring a series of cosy advertisements for the gravy brand, but also appeared in All Creatures Great and Small and latterly on the Loose Women chat show.

Ben Bradlee, newspaper editor

Born: 26 August, 1921, Boston, US. Died: 21 October, 2014, Washington, aged 93.

Bradlee was the supportive executive editor of the Washington Post when Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncovered US government operatives’ break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at Watergate. The scandal, which ultimately brought about the downfall of president Richard Nixon, became the subject of the film All the President’s Men and led to the over- and mis-use of the “-gate” suffix.

Jack Bruce, musician.

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Born: 14 May, 2014, Bishopbriggs. Died: 25 October, 2014, Suffolk, aged 71.

Some critics say Bruce – who played many instruments – was the greatest bass guitarist of all time, and he certainly showed off his skills while playing alongside Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker in Cream. He also played with Manfred Mann, and worked extensively as a session musician.

Alvin Stardust, singer and actor

Born: 27 September, 1942, London. Died: 23 October, 2014, Ifold, West Sussex, aged 72.

Stardust began his life as Bernard Jewry, and his career as Shane Fenton, but took on his more sparkly name when he embraced glam rock and made his name with songs such as My Coo Ca Choo and Jealous Mind.

Glenn Gibbons, sports writer

Born: 30 January, 1945. Died: 20 October, 2014, Glasgow, aged 69.

SIR Alex Ferguson led the tributes to the former chief football writer of The Scotsman. Gibbons was described by Sir Alex as “a journalist of substance ... he had a wonderful, lucid writing style but everything he wrote was underpinned by an unwavering accuracy.”


Acker Bilk, clarinettist.

Born: 28 January, 1929, Pensfort, Somerset. Died: 2 November, 2014, Bath, Somerset, aged 85.

Stranger on the Shore exemplified Acker Bilk’s signature style of breathy clarinet playing. His parents called him Bernard, but he took on the nickname Acker, which means “child” in his native Somerset.

Joel Barnett, Baron Barnett, politician.

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Born: 14 October, 1923. Died: 1 November, 2014, in Manchester, aged 91.

This Labour Party politician was the brains behind the Barnett Formula, which allocates public spending in Scotland, while he was Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the late 1970s.

Col Sir (Ronald) Thomas Macpherson CBE, soldier.

Born: 4 October, 1920. Died 6 November, 2014

SIR Tommy was Britain’s most decorated surviving veteran who pulled of an audacious wartime bluff when, armed with nothing more dangerous than a sgian dhu, he tricked an SS Colonel and his 23,000 troops to surrender to him. He was awarded the MC three times, the Croix de Geurre, the Legion D’Honneur and a Papal Knighthood.

Warren Clarke, actor.

Born: 26 April, 1947, in Oldham, Lancashire. Died: 12 November, 2014, aged 67.

The craggy-faced actor was best known for playing the grumpy Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel in the TV drama Dalziel and Pascoe. He had an early role in A Clockwork Orange and had also played Winston Churchill.

Arthur Montford, sports presenter.

Born: 25 May, 1929. Died: 26 November, 2014, aged 88.

Montford was a hugely popular sports presenter with a memorable turn of phrase and a particular love of golf. His classic lines were “What a stramash” and “Disaster for Scotland”.

PD James, Baronnes James of Holland Park, author.

Born: 3 August, 1920, Oxford. Died: 27 November, 2014, Oxford, aged 94.

The prolific crime author wrote 14 books in the Adam Dalgliesh mysteries, including Cover Her Face, but got wider recognition after her dystopian novel, Children of Men, was adapted into a successful film.


Jeremy Thorpe, politician.

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Born: 29 April, 1929, Surrey. Died: 4 December, 2014, London, aged 85.

WHEN he took over from Scot Jo Grimond as Liberal Party leader in 1967 Thorpe seemed destined for political greatness, but his career ended in scandal in 1979 when he was charged, but acquitted, with the attempted murder of his former gay lover.

Norman Mair, sports journalist.

Born: 7 October, 1928, Edinburgh. Died: 7 December, 2014, Edinburgh, aged 86.

The Scotsman writer who was one of the most highly respected rugby journalists in the world was named Sports Journalist of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards six times in ten years.

Joe Cocker OBE, musician.

Born: 20 May, 1944, Sheffield. Died: 22 December, 2014, Crawford, Colorado, aged 70.

The South Yorkshire-born singer performance style looked awkward, but his gravelly voice was perfectly suited to the blues. He got to number one in the UK with his cover of the Beatles’ With a Little Help From My Friends, and had a number one hit in the US with his duet with Jennifer Warnes, Up Where We Belong.

Ian Wood, sports editor & golf columnist

BORN: 13 March, 1934, in Musselburgh. Died: 25 December, 2014, in Edinburgh, aged 80.

Readers knew Ian as the witty and erudite author of two long-running Scotsman columns “The Last Word” and “A Slice of Life”. His colleagues knew him as a highly professional journalist who rose from the ranks, starting as copyboy and eventually becoming sports editor then golf columnist.