Articles on Obituary

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2010’s Animal Kingdom – one of many films to benefit from the legacies of the Whitlam government. EPA/Simon Mein/Sony Pictures

Australia’s film industry owes a debt to Gough Whitlam

Filmmakers and audiences – indeed Australian arts and screen culture more broadly – owe a deep debt of gratitude to Gough Whitlam and the government he led. Although the foundations had been laid by Whitlam’s…
Gough Whitlam, Labor prime minister from 1972 to 1975, has died aged 98. AAP/ Joe Hildebrand

Gough Whitlam, young people and public support for the arts

Gough Whitlam’s legacy in the arts first hit me as a little indie-music nerd in the 1990s. The inner-city Sydney band The Whitlams made a funny little music video about their namesake, a bloke who was…
The acerbic, rasping performer was one of the hardest-working people in show business. JASON SZENES/EPA

Joan Rivers was many things – which will we remember her as?

Joan Alexandra Molinksy was born in Brooklyn on June 8, 1933, to immigrants from Russia. She attended the Adelphi academy in Brooklyn, and, an excellent student, was Phi Beta Kappa at Barnard College…
Sir Richard Attenborough, pictured here with his wife Sheila Sim in 2007, was passionate about access to high quality arts for everyone. EPA/ Gerry Penny

Richard Attenborough held my hand and touched my life

When I was appointed to the role of director of the Richard Attenborough Centre in 2005, while excited about the new job, I assumed that the founding patron Lord Attenborough would just be a name on our…

Between glamour and intimacy: Lauren Bacall 1924-2014

She was 19 when she began work on To Have and Have Not, directed by the seasoned and successful Howard Hawks from a Hemingway story. Delivering a husky-voiced duet with Hoagy Carmichael, she glances across…
US actor Robin Williams has been found dead aged 63 in his home in Marin County, California. AAP/ Tracey Nearmy

Robin Williams gave us a lifelong masterclass in comedy

American actor and stand-up comedian Robin Williams has died today, aged 63. Barack Obama posted a statement about his death and noted, in a rather odd turn of phrase, that “he arrived in our lives as…
Tributes have poured in for soul legend Bobby Womack, who died on Friday. laurent Gillieron/EPA

Bobby Womack sang like his life depended on it, and that endures

By now you’ll be aware that the legendary soul singer Bobby Womack died on Friday, aged 70. As with the death of many cultural “greats”, social media and traditional media have been united in singing his…
The original 20th Century Coyote line-up in 1977: (l-r) Lloyd Peters, Mark Dewison, Ade Edmondson, Mike Redfern, Rik Mayall. Lloyd Peters

Young, gifted and punk: my mad days with Rik Mayall

The untimely death of me old mucker Rik Mayall last week has prompted a plethora of obituaries in the press and on television and radio. However, as someone who “nearly” grew up with Rik at Manchester…
UK comedian and actor Rick Mayall, who died yesterday aged 56. Steve Vas/ Shutterstock

Arsehole of British comedy? Rik Mayall was a funny B'stard

Rik Mayall is putrid – absolutely vile. He thinks nose-picking is funny and farting and all that. He is the arsehole of British comedy. Spike Milligan made this rather pithy statement some time ago (the…
Still I rise. EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

The sorrow and defiance of Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history With your bitter twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise. So begins one of Maya Angelou’s poems, written in 1978. One of her most…

How Maya Angelou made me feel

One of the many quotes from Maya Angelou that people are sharing on this day of her home coming is: I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will…
Louise Wilson died on May 16, aged 52. Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

Louise Wilson was a formidable, passionate force in fashion

The news that Louise Wilson has died held particular force for me, as someone who worked with her for ten years. She was the head of MA fashion at Central Saint Martins School of Art (CSM), and someone…
‘If somebody doesn’t like you, fuck 'em, they’ve got bad taste’. EPA/Juan Herrero

Cockney cool Bob Hoskins eschewed Hollywood glamour

Bob Hoskins, who died on April 29, was a distinct presence in every film in which he featured. Extraordinarily versatile, he excelled as charming everyman, murderous gangster, sympathetic loser or manipulative…
Social media can elevate less tweet-savvy stars to trending status in death. EPA/ Facundo Arrizabalaga

Peaches Geldof and the new, hyper-experience of mortality

This morning I woke up, rolled over and, as I always do, scrolled through my twitter feed. Owen Jones – a British socialist – tweeted his shock that Peaches Geldolf, 25, had died. I immediately checked…

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