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Notable deaths of 2018 - BBC News
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Notable deaths of 2018 – BBC News


Famous faces who died in 2018

The scientist, the singer, the comic book writer… and others who died in the past 12 months. Take a look at some of the famous faces no longer with us at the end of 2018.

Professor Stephen Hawking

British theoretical physicist and author, who battled motor neurone disease to become one of the finest and most popular scientists of his generation.

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“One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”

– Professor Stephen Hawking

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Aretha Franklin

Known as the Queen of Soul, and an icon of the US civil rights movement, she possessed one of the most distinctive voices in popular music, embracing jazz, gospel, soul and rhythm and blues.

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“Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I’m using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I’m happy with that.”

– Aretha Franklin

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Stan Lee

American creator of comic book superheroes Spiderman, the Fantastic Four and the Hulk, who transformed comic book art into a multi-million dollar industry, spearheading what became known as the “Marvel age of comics”.

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“Every time I go to a comic book convention, at least one fan will ask me: ‘What is the greatest superpower of all?’ I always say that luck is the greatest superpower, because if you have good luck then everything goes your way.”

– Stan Lee

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Dame June Whitfield

Actor celebrated for her comic roles, June Whitfield was a regular fixture of British TV, radio and film. Often playing the female stooge to some of the UK’s most famous entertainers, she called herself “a comic’s tart”. She starred in Hancock’s Half Hour and Carry On films, but will perhaps be best remembered for the sitcoms Terry and June and Absolutely Fabulous.

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“Thank you #damejunewhitfield for teaching me my craft with such grace and dignity. I always wanted you to know how in awe of you I was, however, you were always far too humble to accept my adoration. You were a great source of inspiration to me. Bye-bye Gran.”

– Julia Sawalha, who played her granddaughter in Absolutely Fabulous, paying tribute on Twitter

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Emma Chambers

Best known for playing Alice Tinker alongside Dawn French in the sitcom The Vicar of Dibley, for which she won the British Comedy Award for best TV actress.

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“[A] very bright spark and the most loyal and loving friend anyone could wish for. I will miss her very much.”

– Dawn French

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John Bluthal

Actor best known for playing Frank Pickle in the Vicar of Dibley sitcom. He appeared in a number of Carry On and Pink Panther films in a career spanning more than 60 years.

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Jim Bowen

TV host and comedian who presented the darts-based gameshow Bullseye and was famous for catchprases including “Super, smashing, great” and “You can’t beat a bit of Bully!”

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Bella Emberg

Comedy actress whose career spanned 60 years. She was best known for her role as Blunderwoman, a sidekick to hapless superhero Cooperman in the 1980s TV programme The Russ Abbot Show.

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Barry Chuckle

One half of the Chuckle Brothers comedy duo who found fame on ITV talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1967. With his brother, Paul, he starred in the BBC programme ChuckleVision which ran for 21 series.

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Eunice Gayson

British stage film and television actress who played Sylvia Trench, the first “Bond girl”, in Dr No.

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Jerry Maren

Actor, the last surviving Munchkin, and possibly the last surviving cast member of the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. He played the Lollipop Guild member who presented Dorothy with a large wooden lollipop.

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Geoffrey Hayes

Television presenter, who played the lovable and long-suffering upholder of peace on children’s programme Rainbow from 1974-1992 – alongside characters Zippy, George and Bungle.

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Stefan Karl Stefansson

Icelandic actor best known for his role as villain Robbie Rotten in the children’s television programme LazyTown, who also had numerous roles in Icelandic TV drama and films.

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Bob Burra

Pioneering animator of children’s programmes including Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Captain Pugwash. With his long-time collaborator, John Hardwick, he pioneered new animation techniques.

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Peter Firmin

Co-creator of British children’s television classics Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog, The Clangers, Basil Brush and Pogles Wood – he helped lay the foundations of today’s children’s TV industry.

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John Cunliffe

Author of 90 books for children, including Postman Pat and Rosie and Jim, which became worldwide successes when animated for television.

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Dolores O’Riordan

Singer, frontwoman of The Cranberries.

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“In my opinion, what made Dolores connect with people was her honesty. What you saw was what you got. In the early days, the band was very shy – especially Dolores. She sang with her back to the audience but sang songs that people could relate to. There was no big act. I don’t think people were used to this, and it seemed to resonate with them.”

– The Cranberries guitarist Noel Hogan reflecting on his 29-year friendship with the singer in Rolling Stone magazine

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Charles Aznavour

Singer-songwriter and actor of French-Armenian descent. He sold more than 100 million records during his eight-decade career, writing over 1,200 songs – including the 1974 hit for which he was best known, She.

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“They used to say: ‘When you are as ugly as that and when you have a voice like that, you do not sing.’ But Piaf used to tell me: ‘You will be the greatest.'”

– Charles Aznavour

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Montserrat Caballé

Spanish soprano known for her huge repertoire and bel canto technique, but best remembered for her duet with Freddie Mercury which became the signature song of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

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“I sing from the heart. Singing from any other place is worthless.”

– Montserrat Caballé

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Alan Longmuir

Founder member and bass guitarist with Scottish teen band Bay City Rollers, who sold 120 million records and conquered the UK, US, Australia and Japan in the 1970s with hits including Bye Bye Baby and Shang-a-Lang.

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Tim Bergling, aka Avicii

Swedish musician, DJ, remixer and record producer who became one of the world’s biggest dance music stars, with club anthems including Wake Me Up, Levels and Lonely Together with Rita Ora.

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Mac Miller

American rapper and music producer who had recently completed his fifth studio album, which was also his fifth consecutive US top 10 album. His work often confronted his personal history of substance abuse.

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Ray Thomas

Founder-member of the Moody Blues. He played various instruments, but was best known as the group’s flautist – performing a solo on their hit, Nights in White Satin.

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Eddie Clarke

Guitarist – the last remaining member of British heavy rock band Motorhead.

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Jim Rodford

Bass guitar player with The Kinks for 18 years, he also played with Argent and The Zombies.

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Babs Beverley

Part of British singing trio The Beverley Sisters, who had their own BBC TV show in the 1950s and whose hits included I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and Sisters. Pictured with her twin, Teddie, and their elder sister, Joy.

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Hugh Masekela

Trumpeter and father of South African jazz whose music amplified his opposition to apartheid. Soweto Blues mourned the 1976 Soweto Riots, and Bring Him Back Home called for the release of Nelson Mandela.

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Vic Damone

American ballad singer with a faultless romantic style, whose version of On the Street Where You Live topped the UK charts in 1958.

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Eddie Amoo

British singer and songwriter in 1970s soul group The Real Thing, whose hit You To Me Are Everything made them the first all-black British band to have a UK number one.

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Pete Shelley

Singer-songwriter and guitarist with influential punk band Buzzcocks, best known for their hit Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve).

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Yvonne Staples

Singer-songwriter who performed with her family in the gospel-soul group the Staple Singers, whose hits I’ll Take You There and Let’s Do It Again reached the top of the US charts.

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Mark E Smith

Singer-songwriter and frontman of post-punk band The Fall, who famously hired and fired more than 60 band mates.

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Timmy Matley

Irish lead singer with the band The Overtones, who specialise in doo-wop performances and have had four albums charting in the UK top 10.

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Joe Jackson

Father of the musically-talented Jackson family – pictured centre. His single-mindedness in achieving fame for his children – including Michael, Janet and LaToya – often attracted controversy.

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Chas Hodges

One half of duo Chas (l) and Dave, known for their rock and cockney style, they enjoyed fame in the 1970s and 1980s with hits such as Rabbit – which played on cockney rhyming slang “rabbit and pork”, meaning “talk”.

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Marty Balin

Singer and songwriter with the band Jefferson Airplane who helped create the San Francisco psychedelic rock revolution of the 1960s.

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Sir Ken Dodd

An old-fashioned variety performer – one of the most popular UK artists of his time. He starred on TV, topped the music charts, and filled theatres across the country.

“Farewell to my fellow Liverpudlian the tattyfilarious Ken Dodd. Beloved by many people in Britain and a great champion of his home city and comedy. We met him on a few occasions as The Beatles and always ended up in tears of laughter. Today it’s tears of sadness as well.”

– Sir Paul McCartney

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Burt Reynolds

Actor and director who appeared in of hundreds of films, TV movies and series. His role in Deliverance made him a star, his big hit was Smokey and the Bandit, and Boogie Nights won him an Oscar nomination. His extravagant lifestyle also made the headlines.

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“I can limp with the best of them. The limp is from all the stunts. When they take an X-ray of me, they start calling people in from other offices. My body is all chopped, cut and operated on here and there. I walk with a cane because it hurts like hell without it. Would I give any of it up? Not a chance. Nah, I’d do it again. Everything.”

– Burt Reynolds

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Fenella Fielding

Actress known as “England’s first lady of the double entendre”, vocally alluring, intelligent and funny, she played Shakespeare but is best remembered for her line in Carry on Screaming: “Do you mind if I smoke?”

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“She was such a warm person with a unique presence and a remarkable story to tell. It was a privilege to be able to give her a platform and share some of her last performances – which – no matter how fragile she was off stage – were never anything other than astonishing for their command of the stage, the text, the audience and a testament to her delicious sense of humour and intelligence.”

– James Albrecht, artistic director

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Jacqueline Pearce

Actress with an extensive career in theatre and television, gaining cult status for her role as villain Supreme Commander Servalan in the BBC science fiction series Blake’s 7.

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Lewis Gilbert

British director of Bond films You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, and also Educating Rita, Shirley Valentine, Reach for the Sky and Carve Her Name with Pride. Pictured here (r) with Desmond Llewelyn and Roger Moore.

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Peter Mayle

Author of international best-selling book A Year in Provence – he also wrote A Good Year, which became a film starring Russell Crowe.

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Penny Vincenzi

Best-selling author whose blockbuster novels typically involve strong women, business, romance and family secrets.

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Paul Bocuse

One of France’s most celebrated chefs, a proponent of “nouvelle cuisine”, named joint “chef of the century” by Michelin’s rival restaurant guide, the Gault-Millau, in 1989.

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Joel Robuchon

One of the leading French chefs of his generation, who held a total of 32 Michelin stars, and was named joint “chef of the century” by Michelin’s rival restaurant guide, Gault Millau in 1989.

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Anthony Bourdain

Chef and television personality who found fame with his best-selling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, a behind-the-scenes exposé of the world of haute cuisine.

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Sir VS Naipaul

Author, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001, whose 1961 novel A House for Mr Biswas is regarded as his seminal work.

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John Mahoney

Actor best known for playing Martin Crane in the US sitcom Frasier. British-born, he also had a long list of film and TV credits and a distinguished career in theatre.

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“I’ve not known a kinder man nor more brilliant actor. We were all blessed to spend 11 glorious years together.”

– Jeff Greenberg, casting director for Frasier

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Peter Stringfellow

Nightclub owner who was self-made, with a lavish lifestyle and a reputation as a ladies’ man. With his string of nightclubs he was known as the King of Clubs. Stringfellow’s in London’s West End was a magnet for celebrities.

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“Think almost unimaginable luxury and sophistication, the finest food, wine and service. Deep dark reds and sumptuous velvet fabrics line the walls, private rooms and booths creating the warmest of atmospheres and an air of opulence. Then, on top of all this, the most beautiful and enchanting girls from all around the world dancing and entertaining you throughout your experience.”

– Peter Stringfellow

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Ingvar Kamprad

Swedish business magnate who founded Ikea and pioneered flatpack furniture, his company’s designs became popular in part because of their simplicity and value.

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Trevor Bayliss

Inventor best known for the wind-up radio. He also created hundreds of other devices, including many to help people with disabilities.

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John Julius Norwich

Historian, writer and broadcaster with a passion for the arts. A key player in the Venice in Peril appeal, his A History of Venice became a seminal text on the city.

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Anne Olivier Bell

Bloomsbury Group member, art historian and only British female member of the Monuments Men, whose WW2 endeavours protected German monuments and returned works of art – seized by the Nazis – to their owners.

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Beth Chatto

Pioneering gardener, who won 10 successive gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show. She also won the Royal Horticultural Society’s highest award, the Victoria Medal.

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Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

ANC activist and potent symbol of South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle, she campaigned for black South African rights and the release of her then-husband, Nelson Mandela. Her reputation later became tainted by a fraud conviction and murder accusations, which she denied.

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“The years of imprisonment hardened me. I no longer have the emotion of fear. There is no longer anything I can fear. There is nothing the government has not done to me. There isn’t any pain I haven’t known.”

– Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

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John McCain

American Vietnam war hero who became one of the country’s best known politicians, representing Arizona in Congress and Senate. A Republican, he established a reputation for challenging his own party leadership. In 2008 he ran for the presidency, losing to Barack Obama.

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“Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you but is not defined by your existence alone.”

– John McCain

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President George HW Bush

The 41st president of the United States of America. He was vice-president to Ronald Reagan and became the first vice-president for more than 150 years to be elected president.

He served in the US Navy in World War Two, made a fortune in the Texas oil industry and represented Texas for the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Appointed US ambassador to the UN by Richard Nixon, and head of the CIA by Gerald Ford.

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“Because you run against each other, that doesn’t mean you’re enemies. Politics doesn’t have to be uncivil and nasty.”

– George HW Bush

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Barbara Bush

US first lady – only the second woman in US history to be the wife of one president and the mother of another. She was never content to accept a passive role as political wife. A long-time campaigner for social justice, she spoke out against racial segregation and threw her weight behind the drive to eradicate illiteracy in America.

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Morgan Tsvangirai

Zimbabwean politician and opposition leader who risked his life to stand up to the authoritarian rule of Robert Mugabe. As prime minister, he found it impossible to achieve meaningful reforms but played a part in paving the way for the overthrow of President Mugabe in 2017.

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Pik Botha

Afrikaner National party politician who became South Africa’s longest-serving foreign minister. He served under FW de Klerk and remained in post when the presidency was handed to Nelson Mandela, who kept him as minister for energy until his retirement from the NP and politics in 1996. In 1997 he appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to seek forgiveness for his not negligible role in the promotion and preservation of apartheid.

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Millie Dunn Veasey

Served in the US military’s only all-female, all-black unit in World War Two, and later played a leading role in the burgeoning civil rights movement in the United States.

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Johan van Hulst

Lecturer who helped at least 600 Dutch babies and children avoid concentration camps by escaping the Nazis in carefully orchestrated operations.

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Linda Brown

As a seven-year-old child she was at the centre of the landmark US civil rights ruling that ended legal segregation in US schools and argued the idea of “separate but equal” violated civil rights.

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Hubert de Givenchy

Couturier who dressed Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly among others. Best known for his “little black dress” worn by Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

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Kate Spade

American fashion designer known for her range of women’s handbags, whose pared-down designs and bright and colourful patterns became her trademark.

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John Young

American astronaut who was the first space shuttle commander and flew to the Moon twice. He walked on the Moon in 1972 as commander of the Apollo 16 mission – the ninth of 12 people to set foot on the lunar surface.

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Leslie Grantham

Actor – best known as the roguish “Dirty Den” Watts in BBC television soap EastEnders, in which he delivered the opening line in 1985. His own life was also touched by controversy. Pictured with Anita Dobson and Letitia Dean (his on-screen wife and daughter, Angie and Sharon).

“You learn to play the tough guy, even if you’re soft. To this day, I can keep up a front. I’ve been to prison, I did something terrible, but I’m not a genuine hard man.”

– Leslie Grantham

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Margot Kidder

Actress who found fame as Lois Lane in the Superman films starring Christopher Reeve of the 1970s and 1980s. She later became a political and women’s rights activist and one of the first Hollywood stars to talk openly about mental health problems.

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“On screen there are few who have brought a legend to life in the same way Margot Kidder did. As a person there are few who have been as honest and brave when it came to being open about mental health.”

– Cameron Cuffe, actor and star of TV series Krypton

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Dale Winton

TV and radio presenter. Gained celebrity status presenting Supermarket Sweep in the 1990s, along with National Lottery television programmes and Radio 2’s Pick of the Pops.

“Every guy in the world would love to be Mr Macho, but I am camp and you cannot lie to the public. If you’re yourself, they’ll either love you or they won’t.”

– Dale Winton

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Denis Norden

TV host and comedy writer who – with Frank Muir – formed one of the most successful comedy writing partnerships in British history. He will be more recently remembered as creator and host of the original blooper clip show It’ll be Alright on the Night.

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Ray Galton

Comedy writer who – with partner Alan Simpson (l) – was one of the fathers of British sitcom. They created ground-breaking comedies including Hancock’s Half Hour and Steptoe and Son, plus film and TV scripts for comedy legends Frankie Howerd, Peter Sellars, Leonard Rossiter and Arthur Lowe.

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Milos Foreman

Czech-born Oscar-winning director of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus, who was one of a small number of foreign directors to enjoy lasting commercial and critical success in Hollywood.

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Neil Simon

US playwright who gained international fame in the 1960s for stage and screen comedies including The Odd Couple and Barefoot In The Park, and musical comedies Sweet Charity and They’re Playing Our Song. He was a prolific author who averaged at least one play a year for much of his career and won four Tony Awards.

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Richard Baker

Newsreader whose voice was the first heard on BBC News television bulletins, becoming one of British TV’s most familiar faces. He presented music programmes for BBC radio and television, including Last Night of the Proms, and voiced the popular children’s series Mary, Mungo & Midge.

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Sridevi Kapoor

Arguably Bollywood’s first female superstar who appeared in 300 films in a career spanning 50 years. She was awarded India’s fourth highest civilian honour the Padma Shri.

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Steven Bochco

US television producer, writer and 10-time Emmy winner who helped define modern TV drama through work like Hill Street Blues, LA Law and NYPD Blue.

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Peter Armitage

British actor best known for his role as Bill Webster in Coronation Street.

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Howard Lew Lewis

Actor and comedian who starred in BBC TV’s Blackadder, Brush Strokes and the children’s series Maid Marian and her Merry Men.

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Katie Boyle

Former model and actress turned TV presenter. She became best known for her glamorous presentation of the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK and her appearance on numerous panel shows.

“My whole career really started by accident. There was a time when I was on the BBC three times a week – it seems very strange to think of that now, but it was the only thing people watched.”

– Katie Boyle

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Peter Wyngarde

Actor who played dandy detective Jason King in the 1970s TV show that was a partial inspiration for the Austin Powers films.

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“As a man, there were few things in life he didn’t know. I sometimes nicknamed him The King because he simply knew everything.”

– Thomas Bowington, Wyngarde’s agent and manager

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Verne Troyer

Actor best known for playing Mini-Me in the Austin Powers films, the clone and sidekick of Dr Evil, played by Mike Myers. He also played the goblin Griphook in the first Harry Potter film.

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Penny Marshall

American actor, writer and director who starred in the television series Laverne and Shirley and went on to direct films including Big and A League of Their Own. She also directed Awakenings, which starred Robert de Niro and Robin Williams, and was nominated for three Academy Awards including best picture.

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Dudley Sutton

Actor who found fame as Tinker Dill in the BBC TV series Lovejoy. A veteran of stage, film and television.

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Bill Maynard

Actor whose career spanned variety shows, cinema and television – but he was best known as the loveable rogue Claude Jeremiah Greengrass in the ITV police drama Heartbeat.

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Rachael Bland

BBC Radio 5 Live newsreader and presenter, praised for co-hosting the cancer podcast You, Me and the Big C, and for documenting her life with the disease on an award-winning blog.

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Sir Roger Bannister

The first man to run a mile in under four minutes, establishing him as one of the great names of British athletics. He went on to become a leading neurologist and the Master of Pembroke College, Oxford.

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“However ordinary each of us may seem, we are all in some way special, and can do things that are extraordinary, perhaps until then… even thought impossible.”

– Sir Roger Bannister

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Kofi Annan

Former UN secretary general and Nobel Peace Prize winner who focused on the organisation’s role in fighting poverty, injustice and disease and was able to act as an honest broker at the highest levels of diplomacy.

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“My generation of Africans has learned the hard way that no state can truly be called democratic if it offers its people no escape from poverty, and that no country can truly develop so long as its people are excluded from power.”

– Kofi Annan

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Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Thai businessman and owner of Leicester City Football Club. He made his fortune in duty-free retail. He bought Leicester City in 2010, became chairman in 2012 and led them to a sensational Premier League title in 2016.

His interest in the team was said to have been sparked by seeing them play in the League Cup final at Wembley in 1997, the first time he had been to a match in England.

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“A man of kindness, of generosity and a man whose life was defined by the love he devoted to his family and those he so successfully led. Leicester City was a family under his leadership. It is as a family that we will grieve his passing and maintain the pursuit of a vision for the club that is now his legacy.”

– Leicester City Football Club

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Baroness Jowell

Former Labour cabinet minister Tessa Jowell played a major role in securing the 2012 Olympics for London. Diagnosed with a brain tumour, she campaigned for more NHS cancer treatments.

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“She knew she was dying and yet she was prepared to give everything she had in order to help people in the future. If anyone wants to know what politics can achieve they can just look at her life and how she lived it, and how she ended it, as a testimony to all that’s best in politics.”

– Tony Blair

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Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon

Jeremy John Durham “Paddy” Ashdown led the Liberal Democrats for 11 years, after having served as a Royal Marine and member of the UK intelligence services. In 2002, he was appointed as UN high representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, helping to steer the country through its post-war reconstruction. He was known for speaking his mind and for his drive and energy – which earned him the nickname Action Man.

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“A man of duty, passion, and devotion to the country he loved – right up to the very end. In Government, Paddy Ashdown was my opponent. In life, he was a much-valued friend. His loss will be felt deeply by many – and not least by myself.”

– Sir John Major

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Lord Carrington

British Conservative former foreign secretary, secretary general of Nato and EU peace envoy to the former Yugoslavia. Peter Carington was awarded the Military Cross in World War Two, he also chaired the auction house Christie’s.

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Sir Peter Tapsell

Conservative MP who served for over 50 years under nine Conservative leaders and became Father of the House. He was described as “the grandest of grandees” by the late sketch writer Simon Hoggart.

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Lord Martin of Springburn

Michael Martin was a Scottish Labour MP, Speaker of the House of Commons and the first blue-collar worker to occupy one of the most senior posts in British public life.

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Lord Heywood of Whitehall

Cabinet secretary and head of the civil service, Jeremy Heywood was active in more than three decades of British politics. A trusted adviser to prime ministers, he could cross the divide between opposing parties.

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Eric Bristow

Five-time darts world champion nicknamed the Crafty Cockney, whose cheeky man-of-the-people image and charisma were central to the sport’s domination of post-pub TV in the 1980s.

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Maria Bueno

Brazil and South America’s most successful female tennis player, who won 19 major titles during her career in the 1950s and 60s, including three Wimbledon singles titles and four US championships.

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Roy Bentley

Last surviving member of England’s 1950 World Cup squad and former Chelsea striker and captain. He led the club to their first league title win in 1955, and scored 150 goals in 367 appearances. Pictured centre.

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Ray Wilkins

Former England midfielder who played for Chelsea, Manchester United, AC Milan, Rangers and QPR. He made 84 appearances for England and captained his country 10 times, while he won the FA Cup with Manchester United in 1983 and the Scottish league title with Rangers in 1989. He was also Chelsea assistant coach and manager of QPR, Fulham and the Jordan national team.

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Cyrille Regis

England centre forward, who played for West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City. He was a pioneer for black footballers in British football when he played alongside Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson at West Brom, inspiring a generation of black British players to take up football.

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Peter Thomson

A five-time Open Championship winner, he became the first Australian golfer to claim the title, in 1954.

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John Dunlop

Leading horse trainer whose career spanned 46 years, with more than 3,500 winners to his name including victories in the Derby and the St Leger.

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Tony Bullimore

Yachtsman who survived four days in an air pocket under the overturned hull of his boat, following a storm during the non-stop Vendée Globe solo round-the-world race. A philanthropist, he worked hard to improve race relations in his home of Bristol.

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Baroness Trumpington

Conservative peer Jean Barker was a society girl who became a Bletchley Park codebreaker, working against the Nazis, in World War Two. Known for her independent spirit, she achieved fame for flicking a V-sign at a colleague during a debate in the House of Lords.

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“I had a fantastic time during the war, doing a job that was very worthwhile, having fun when I went out on the town in the little time off that we were allowed, and living life to the full whenever I got the chance. And I still certainly do.”

– Baroness Trumpington

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Billy Graham

Preacher who took his mission of mass evangelism worldwide, preaching to an estimated 215 million people in 185 countries – and reaching hundreds of millions more through his radio and television ministry.

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“I’ve had many opportunities to see what the average clergy would never see. And, on each of those occasions, I’ve tried to let those I’ve come in contact with see a little bit of what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is about.”

– Billy Graham

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Sister Wendy Beckett

Roman Catholic Carmelite nun and art historian, who became an unlikely television star when she presented a succession of popular TV programmes from art galleries around the world. Her belief that art belonged to everyone, her avoidance of jargon and obvious passion for her subject endeared her to audiences.

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Surgeon Captain Rick Jolly

Royal Navy medical officer, who saved the lives of hundreds of British and Argentine troops during the Falklands War – the only person decorated by both countries for his service during the conflict.

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Harry Leslie Smith

World War Two veteran who described himself as “the world’s oldest rebel” and became a high-profile campaigner for refugees and the NHS.

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Derek Findley

Dunkirk and D-Day veteran, whose landing craft tank was in the forefront of Operation Overlord at Sword Beach. Under his command as gun position officer, A Troop fired some of the first artillery rounds at the Normandy beaches. In 2016 he was awarded the Légion d’honneur.

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David Findley

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Vera Jarvis

One of the first generation of NHS nurses, she began her training in 1948 on the day the NHS was founded. She qualified as a midwife, working in Bristol and London before returning to South Wales as a sister in a number of small maternity hospitals.

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Tim Jarvis

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Mary Ellis

Female aviator and member of the Air Transport Auxiliary, which delivered planes to airfields during the World War Two. One of the first women to fly Spitfires, heavy bombers and jet aircraft.

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Written by Amber Dawson and produced by Paul Kerley



Source BBC News

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