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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 February 2007, 10:31 GMT
Broadcaster Sheridan Morley dies
Sheridan Morley
Morley was from a theatrical family and was first seen as a newsreader
Broadcaster and theatre critic Sheridan Morley has died in his sleep, aged 65.

He was also an author, director and actor, and was known for presenting BBC Radio 4's Kaleidoscope, plus Radio 2's Arts Programme and Melodies for You.

"He just devoured everything with an insatiable curiosity," said Nicholas Kenyon, controller of the BBC Proms.

Fellow critic Quentin Letts said he was "a little bit unfashionable, which was, in my view, a good thing. He cherished the sentimental and the traditional".

Mr Letts affectionately described Morley as "an Uncle Bulgaria figure" around the theatres of London's West End, as he was "quite hairy and burly and, in later years, soft-spoken".

He would devour whatever was going on
Nicholas Kenyon, Controller, BBC Proms

"I'm very sad that he's gone," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "I'm not sure that I could say that for all my theatre critic colleagues."

Morley would be most remembered for his love and appreciation for a broad range of the arts, particularly the theatre, according to the BBC's entertainment correspondent Colin Paterson.

"He had incredible enthusiasm and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the performing arts," said our correspondent.


Morley - grandson of actress Dame Gladys Cooper - was born in Ascot, Berkshire.

He was educated at Sizewell Hall, Suffolk and Merton College, Oxford.

Early in his career, as an ITV newsreader, he announced the assassination in 1963 of US President John F Kennedy.

He presented Late Night Line-Up on BBC Two from 1967 to 1975. During that time, he also hosted Film Night every week, as well as several other BBC Two arts specials.

Sheridan Morley
He hosted more than 1,000 editions of BBC Radio 2's Arts Programme
He joined The Times as assistant editor before becoming drama critic and arts editor of Punch in 1975, and went on to be the theatre critic for numerous newspapers and magazines.

His many publications include A Talent To Amuse - The Life of Noel Coward, The Stephen Sondheim Songbook, The Noel Coward Diaries, Tales from The Hollywood Raj, The Theatregoers Quiz Book and The Great Stage Stars.

He also wrote biographies of Dirk Bogarde, Gene Kelly, Sir John Gielgud and his own memoirs, Asking For Trouble.

His varied career also included writing his own musicals, which included Noel and Gertie and Spread A Little Happiness.

And although his early attempts at acting failed to impress his actor father Robert Morley, he turned to it again in later life, appearing in the BBC series Judge John Deed.

'Greatly missed'

Morley was married to critic and TV producer Ruth Leon and had three adult children.

He hosted more than 1,000 editions of Radio 2's Arts Programme, and Mr Kenyon said he was "interested in everything".

"That was the extraordinary voracious sense with which every week on that programme he would devour whatever was going on."

Lesley Douglas, the controller of Radio 2, described him as one of the "great characters" of her station.

"His knowledge of theatre was second to none and he brought his critical skills and personality to many areas of the network, from arts programmes to, more recently, classical music. He will be greatly missed."

Nicholas Kenyon pays tribute to Sheridan Morley

'Insatiable curiosity' of Morley
17 Feb 07 |  Entertainment

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