[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Fit for a king
By Nick Serpell
BBC News Profiles Unit

Memorial to the boxer
Tributes to the boxer
Our regular column covering the passing of significant - but lesser-reported - characters of the past month.

• Brought up on the streets of Sacramento, Diego "Chico" Corrales turned to boxing. In 2001 he challenged Floyd Mayweather for the WBC Super Featherweight title but the fight was stopped after he had been knocked down five times. It was his first ever defeat in 34 bouts. He won the vacant WBO lightweight title in 2004 before defeating Jose Luis Castillo a year later for the WBC lightweight title. On 7 May, his motorcycle was in a high speed collision with a car near Las Vegas. He was just 29.

Blow in a trademark hat
Style icon: Isabella Blow
• The term "English eccentric" is one that could have been created for Isabella Blow. The daughter of a middle class family, she worked for a time as a cleaner before studying art in New York. A job with Vogue launched her fashion career and, on returning to London, she established a working relationship with the hat designer Phillip Treacy, whose career she encouraged. She became famous for wearing the most extraordinary hats, many designed by her friends in the industry. Towards the end of her life she suffered from depression and died in hospital on 8 May after drinking weedkiller.

• Born in Chile to Scottish parents, Margery Urquhart graduated with a BSc in Aberdeen but gave up science to become a police officer in London. In 1935 she was recruited to the Special Branch, becoming its first ever woman officer. She was involved in counter terrorism before going into espionage work during World War II. She later joined Surrey police, becoming their first female detective inspector before quitting to work in the probation service and as a social worker. She became the first Director of Social Work in the Grampian region of Scotland.

Gretchen Wyler
Animals' friend: Gretchen Wyler
• Brought up in the American Midwest, Gretchen Wyler moved to New York where she appeared in a number of Broadway productions. A hankering for the silver screen took her to Hollywood, but her career in cinema never materialised. However she appeared in many TV shows including Sergeant Bilko, Charlie's Angels and Dallas. In 1991 she founded the Ark Trust, the organisation which gives the Genesis Awards to people in the arts and media to raise awareness of animal welfare issues. The first recipient was Paul McCartney. She retired from the organisation in 2006 and died from breast cancer complications on 27 May.

Theodore Harold "Ted" Maiman honed his electrical skills as a teenager by repairing radio sets before graduating with a degree in engineering physics from the University of Colorado. On 16 March 1960, he successfully demonstrated the first ever working laser based on a synthetic ruby crystal at a laboratory in California. Nominated twice for a Nobel Prize, he was given membership of the National Academy of Science. He continued to work on the practical applications of laser technology for a number of companies before setting up his own firm in 1968.

Funeral of the king
A royal funeral, Pacific style
Tomasi Kulimoetoke II, the 50th king of the Pacific island of Uvea, signed a treaty to make his kingdom a French overseas territory, recognising the importance of subsidies from Paris. In 2005 he faced being deposed after giving sanctuary to his grandson who was convicted of manslaughter. He claimed the matter should be dealt with by tribal law rather than the French penal system. The King's supporters rioted in the streets and overcame attempts to replace him. He died on 7 May, signalling the start of a six-month period of mourning during which it is forbidden to mention a successor.

Among others who died in May are former Speaker of the House of Commons Bernard Weatherill, televangelist Rev Jerry Falwell and broadcaster Aubrey Singer.


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific