Over decades of trouble, fame, and more trouble, Merle Haggard never stopped making up songs. The country-music star seemed afflicted with a song-writing compulsion, much as Woody Guthrie was.
He penned his first ballads as a child. By later life, he claimed to have written 10,000 of them.
Douglas Wilmer was an English actor, best known for playing Sherlock Holmes in the 1965 TV series Sherlock Holmes.
Wilmer was born in Brentford, Middlesex and received his education at King's School, Canterbury, and Stonyhurst College. Whilst in training as an actor at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, he was conscripted into the British Army for military service with the Royal Artillery in World War II.
Ronnie Corbett, the comedian, who has died aged 85, achieved such fame as one of the Two Ronnies that his solo career was often eclipsed; as his fans knew well, he worked on his own for many years, exploiting to the full both his lack of height – he was only 5ft 1in – and his undoubted talent as a comic performer.
Corbett maintained that after he became a professional comedian he had no regrets about being so small.
Henri Bonneau, an acclaimed producer of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, whose wines were as renowned for their almost otherworldly beauty, complexity and intensity as they were rare and hard to find, died on March 21 in Marseille, France. He was 77.
The cause was complications of diabetes, said John E. Junguenet of Wines of France, Mr. Bonneau’s American importer.
Sylvia Anderson died at age 88, on 15 March 2016, following a short illness.
Sylvia Beatrice Anderson (née Thomas) was an English television and film producer, writer and voice actress, best known for her collaborations with Gerry Anderson, her husband between 1960 and 1981.
The Beatles had been turned down by several record labels including Decca when George Martin invited them for an audience at Abbey Road in June 1962.
While Martin was initially sceptical about their ability as musicians and songwriters, he took to their humour and personalities immediately. Memorably George Harrison told him “I don’t like your tie for a start” when Martin asked him if they disliked anything about the set up.
Nancy (Anne Frances) Reagan, who has died aged 94, had an extraordinary capacity to sit visibly entranced through the hundreds of speeches made by her husband, the 40th US president (and former actor) Ronald Reagan.
But this public display was far different from the admiring conjugality of earlier first ladies such as Mamie Eisenhower and Pat Nixon. Behind Nancy’s gaze lay the reality of Ronald’s long political career – that it would probably never have happened without her influence.
Umberto Eco, who has died aged 84, was a polymath of towering cleverness. His novels, which occasionally had the look and feel of encyclopedias, combined cultural influences ranging from TS Eliot to the Charlie Brown comic-strips. Linguistically technical, they were at once impishly humorous and robustly intellectual. For relaxation, Eco played Renaissance airs on the recorder, and read dictionaries (he was a master of several foreign languages).