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Howard Marks, charismatic Welsh smuggler, dies at 70

howardmarksHoward Marks, drugs smuggler and author (13 August 1945 - 10 April 2016)

Dennis Howard Marks, who has died aged 70, was Britain’s best-known and most charming drugs smuggler, and also a successful author and raconteur.

He translated a lifetime of international cannabis dealing and a long stretch in an American jail into a best-selling book, Mr Nice (1996), and a career as a stand-up performer.

Legendary outlaw of country music, Merle Haggard, dies at 79

merleHaggardOver 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 'the ultimate Sherlock Holmes' (8 January 1920 - 31 March 2016)

4699Douglas 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, (December 4 1930 - March 31 2016)

ronniecorbettRonnie 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, Wine Producer Known for Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Dies at 77

bonneauHenri 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 (27 March 1927 - 15 March 2016)

sylviaandersonSylvia 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.

Sir George Martin (3 January 1926 – 8 March 2016 )

sargeantpepperThe 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 Reagan, actor and former US first lady (6 July 1921 - 6 March 2016)

nancyreganNancy (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.