Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Seamas Heaney, Hugo Chavez, David Frost and James Gandolfini probably had the most obituaries this year.
Here’s my own goodbye list:
Richard Beeston – Foreign Editor of the London Times and the great foreign correspondent of his generation. Rick was only 50.
Roger Ebert – A great film critic, the first film reviewer to win a Pulitzer, and a very nice man. (my piece on him here)
Peter Kaplan – Great editor, lovely man. (obit)
Norman Geras – Professor, pioneer blogger and Eustonian. (tel obit)
Elmore Leonard – the Great.
Tom Clancy – the man who predicted the use of civilian airliners as a weapon
Vince Flynn – shocked by his early death.
James Herbert (his “The Rats” terrified me as a kid
Tom Sharpe (comic genius see Porterhouse Blue etc.)
Oscar Hijuelos (loved Mambo Kings….)
Patrice Chereau – director of La Reine Margot and Intimacy; Gen Montcalm in Last of the Mohicans
Tom “Billy Jack” Laughlin
Paul Walker – underrated actor
Dennis Farina – Chicago cop turned actor
Karen Black – cult actress
Michael Winner – director, amusing restaurant reviewer, philanthropist, bon viveur
Bryan Forbes – actor/writer/director
Mel Smith – Comedian, the heart of Not the Nine O’Clock News
Ken Norton – marine, boxer, actor
Lewis Collins – Bodie
Ray Manzarak – as he said, the piano in Riders of the Storm was ‘genius’
Mikhail Kalashnikov – rifle inventor
Syd Field – screenwriting guru
Ray Dolby – Sound pioneer
Amar Bose – Sound pioneer
General Vo Nguyen Giap – North Vietnamese victor
Marcella Hazan – author of the famous Italian cookbook
Alan Whicker – TV journalism pioneer
Al Goldstein – New York in the 80s and 90s wouldn’t have been the same without him, Screw magazine and Channel 35