Page last updated at 11:06 GMT, Saturday, 23 January 2010

Film writer and journalist Dave Berry dies

David Berry [Picture courtesy of Media Wales]
Dave Berry was known for an encyclopaedic knowledge and love of film

Tributes have been paid to journalist, film writer and archivist Dave Berry, who has died in hospital in Cardiff.

Mr Berry, 66, who wrote a history of Wales and the cinema and was a former critic and correspondent with the South Wales Echo, had been ill for some time.

The Lancashire-born writer helped rediscover rare Welsh film, including a life story of David Lloyd George.

He had worked for the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales and also contributed to TV and radio programmes.

Broadcaster Nicola Heywood Thomas, who presents an arts programme on Radio Wales, said: "In the early 1990s, I was presenting an arts programme on what was then HTV Wales.

"He used to come down and do film reviews for us - he just had this encyclopaedic knowledge of film and unbelievable enthusiasm as well.

"You could ask him a question about a little-known film and he would give you the whole history."

In 2002 he won an Anthony Hopkins award for his contribution to the Welsh film industry and was called "Welsh film's best friend" by Welsh media agency Sgrin.

His Wales And Cinema - The First Hundred Years, published in 1994, is regarded as a major reference work although he said he did not regard himself as an historian only a writer with an interest and passion for film.

He also had a long association with Chapter arts centre in Cardiff.

David Berry
Dave Berry published a history of Welsh cinema in 1994

Mr Berry moved to Wales in 1974.

As well as film, he was a sports-lover. His other interests included rugby league - he wrote a column for the Football Echo - Bolton Wanderers football club, cricket and speedway.

He was a former education correspondent, as well as film critic during 15 years at the South Wales Echo.

His former news editor at the Echo, Stuart Minton, said: "He was a brilliant character - a star has gone out as far as I'm concerned. He was loved by everybody.

"He was devoted to film but he was also devoted to journalism when he first joined us. He was one of the old-fashioned investigative journalists in the regions.

"He was meticulous in everything he did. We wouldn't get the final item until he was positive everything was correct."

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