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Last Updated: Monday, 3 April 2006, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
Been and gone
By Andrew Walker
BBC News Profiles Unit

Our regular column covering the passing of significant - but lesser-reported - characters of the past year.

Lynne Perrie
Lynne Perrie

  • Lynne Perrie, who has died aged 75, played the abrasive Ivy Tilsley - later Brennan - on Coronation Street. Initially a singer in working mens' clubs, she moved into acting, playing the mother in Ken Loach's 1969 film Kes. She joined Coronation Street as an occasional cast member in 1971, before going full-time in 1979. Her private life mirrored her profession one. Addiction to drink and drugs, ill-health and depression were well-documented in the tabloid press. After leaving "the Street" in 1994 she worked as, among other things, a celebrity bingo caller.

  • As a Christian Marxist, Philip Bagwell belonged to an exclusive club. But he saw no contradiction in his beliefs, saying: "Christianity and Marxism are two sides of the same coin." The son of an Isle of Wight newsagent, who was a conscientious objector and committed Christian, he taught at Regent Street Polytechnic from 1951 until the late 1980s. A respected expert on UK transport policy, Bagwell left the Communist Party in 1956, but remained a committed member of the Christian Socialist Movement, eventually serving as its vice-president. He was 92.

    Director Richard Fleischer
    Director Richard Fleischer had a host of Hollywood hits under his belt

  • Pytt Geddes, who has died aged 88, was a heroine of the Norwegian resistance who became the first European to teach t'ai chi in the UK. Born Gerda Meyer Bruun in Bergen, Norway in 1917, she studied in the UK and United States. During the Nazi occupation she distributed BBC news bulletins, narrowly evading capture by the Gestapo before escaping to Sweden. After marrying a British aristocrat, she moved to Shanghai and discovered the Chinese art of t'ai chi, which she taught in the UK for more than 30 years.

  • The Hollywood director, Richard Fleischer, was responsible for a number of hit movies, including Ten Rillington Place, Fantastic Voyage and Soylent Green. The son of animation pioneer, Max Fleischer, who created Betty Boop, he studied at Brown and Yale universities and won an Academy Award, aged 31, for producing the documentary Design for Death. Fleischer worked with a raft of stars including Orson Welles, Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis, who starred in The Boston Strangler. His credits included the acclaimed thriller Narrow Margin and Conan the Barbarian. He was 89.

    Humphrey the cat, shortly before he left Downing St

  • Humphrey the cat, who had died aged about 18, shared 10 Downing Street with two British prime ministers before being evicted by Tony Blair. The black-and-white stray wandered into Downing Street in 1989 when it was occupied by Margaret Thatcher. He remained there under her successor, John Major, but moved shortly after Mr Blair took office in 1997, prompting a Conservative MP to ask in the House of Commons for assurances he was still alive. Mr Blair's wife, Cherie, denied reports her dislike of cats was responsible for Humphrey's eviction.

  • In the gaudy rough-and-tumble world of the American rollerskating derby, no-one was better known than Ann Calvello, who has died aged 76. As the spectacle's resident Bad Girl, the woman nicknamed Banana Nose and famous for her outrageous hair and make-up, drew thousands of spectators. Calvello's famous on-track feuds, most notably with the winsome Blonde Bomber, Joanie Weston, belied her pleasant and caring off-stage nature. In a seven-decade career which began in the 1940s, she sustained 12 broken noses, four broken elbows, a broken collarbone and numerous cracked ribs.

    Others who also died in March include John Profumo, the disgraced politician and charity stalwart (see full obituary); Scottish National Party MP Margaret Ewing, (see full obituary); French clothing magnate Bernard Lacoste; musician and humorist Ivor Cutler, (see news story); English actress Moira Redmond; former US Defence Secretary Caspar Weinberger, (see full obituary); Dana Reeve, widow of Superman actor Christopher, (see full obituary); Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, (see full obituary); Celtic and Scotland footballer Jimmy Johnstone (see news story); and the former president of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, (see full obituary).



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