Sunday, 15 June 2014

It seems that, recently, a lot of people I admire have been dying. I guess it's part of growing older, that more and more people that mean something to you will go. And perhaps the loss of my grandfather in April has made me more aware of it. I'm not sure. In nay case, as well as the great Rik Mayall, so far this month we've lost several admirable people.

Sam Kelly. A very beloved English actor. Best known for his comedy roles in 'Allo 'Allo and Porridge, and his dramatic roles in Topsy-Turvy and Holding On. He was a fine jobbing actor who appeared in dozens of British film, television and radio roles. I have particularly fond memories of his regular role in the lesser-known sitcom On the Up, and his two excellent turns for Big Finish Doctor Who, including the critically acclaimed The Holy Terror with his college contemporary Colin Baker.

Francis Matthews: An English actor best remembered for his various roles for Hammer Films, including major roles in The Horror of Frankenstein and Rasputin, the Mad Monk. He was also Paul Temple for the BBC and the original voice of Captain Scarlet.

Eric Hill: Once a lowly cartoonist in an illustrating company, Eric Hill went on to write the legendary Spot the Dog books. Pretty much anyone in the western world will have encountered these as a child. Hill even invented, with his first Spot story, the lift-the-flap book. Very happy memories of childhood.

Marion Brandvold: A name unlikely to be recognised by many, Marion Brandvolt was a palaeontologist and geologist who discovered the first dinosaur nest. The nest of Maiasaura, which revolutionised our understanding of dinosaur parentage and care, had a major impact on the field. Brandvold was 102 when she died, having lived to see huge developments in the field.

In May, we lost a number of notable people, including:

Pom: The pen name of Josef van Hove, a great Flemish cartoonist whose work was published in Belgian newspapers throughout the late twentieth century. His work decorates many a cafe wall in Brussels and Bruges.

H.R. Giger: The Swiss artist whose nightmarish visions inspired many a writer and moviemaker. Most famous as the creator of the Alien, his portfolio was vast and disturbing.

Maya Angelou: Probably the most notable individual on this list, Maya Angelou's autobiographical novels gained not only widespread critical acclaim but moved thousands of readers. Her writing and activism have furthered understanding of the realities of life for women and African Americans. A truly influential woman, there are no shortage of tributes online.

While none of the above died young, it does not make their deaths any less saddening. The greatest respect to them all.

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