Obituary

Hugh Hefner died on September 27th

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WHENEVER Hugh Hefner mentioned that his strict Methodist mother had wanted him to be a missionary, he got a big laugh. He got a bigger one when he said he answered: “Mom, I was.” His listeners were thinking of the missionary position, no doubt, and the hundreds of women he had conquered with that irresistible Read More

Stanislav Petrov was declared to have died on September 18th

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OVER the years, Stanislav Petrov got used to those telephone calls. Typically they would come at night or at the weekend, just as he was unwinding. He would lift the receiver to hear the jaunty strains of “Arise, our mighty country!” in his ear, and know that he had to get dressed, now, and get Read More

Obituary: Peter Hall died on September 11th

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WHEN he was preparing a Shakespeare play—always with love and awe, though it might be for the 20th time—Peter Hall would mutter it to himself in Elizabethan. It sounded like a cross between Devon and Belfast, but it revealed the colours and made the words wittier. American, he thought, might be just the accent for Read More

Obituary: Nancy Dupree died on September 10th

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SHE cut a curious figure in the bazaars of Peshawar, in Pakistan, in the 1990s: a tiny figure in salwar kameez with fluffy white hair, a sweet doll’s face and, when needed, the mouth of a stevedore. Nancy Dupree was looking for papers. Any papers. Magazines, UN reports, newspapers produced by rival factions of the Read More

Obituary: Richard “Dick” Gregory died on August 19th

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RACISM is no laughing matter. But ridicule can erode it. Until Dick Gregory broke into the mainstream, American black comedians had only two choices, playing to black audiences, or being the butt of white performers’ jokes. That changed at the Playboy Club in Chicago in January 1961. The young man took the wrong bus, and Read More

Obituary: Wayne Lotter was killed on August 16th

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NO LANDSCAPE was dearer to Wayne Lotter than the savannah of southern Africa, and in particular one corner of it, the Selous-Niassa Wildlife Corridor round the Ruvuma river in Tanzania. He cherished it from the air, circling in a microlight over the dry rolling plains, the miombo woodlands, the white river bed and the bright-green Read More

Obituary: Bruce Forsyth died on August 18th

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LET me tell you a little story. (It won’t take long, and by the time you wake up it’ll be over.) It’s about a fellow called Bruce. Skinny little runt, not much of a looker: far too much chin and not enough hair, though it’s wonderful what a good toupee and a comb-over will do. Read More

Obituary: Heather Heyer died on August 12th

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TO HER friends, it seemed as if Heather Heyer was always sounding off about something. Why was the world so unfair? Why did one particular kid get bullied on the school bus? Why could her gay friends not get married? Why did Alfred Wilson, her lovely division manager at Miller Law, who was college-educated and Read More

Obituary: Jeanne Moreau died on July 31st

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THE moment Jeanne Moreau fell in love with acting was when, at 16, she saw Jean Anouilh’s “Antigone”. She was not allowed to go to the theatre, so she lied to her father and went anyway. To her delight, the play was also about a girl who said no. She said it again when her Read More

Obituary: Dr G. Yunupingu died on July 25th

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THE shoreline was where it began. This was where Baru, his totemic animal, the saltwater crocodile, wandered and danced in the Dreamtime. Baru sang the names of the red cliffs, the mangrove swamps, the creeks and stringybark trees. And there, on the wide beach at the aboriginal outstation of Nayingburra on Elcho Island, off north-east Read More