As 2019 comes to an end, we here at Telly Visions would like to pause to remember some of the celebrities we have lost over the past twelve months.
These losses have touched the fields of television, film, literature, music and sports. You may not be familiar every one on the list, but each was appreciated by the British public for the years of entertainment, thrills and enlightenment they provided. They will continue to live on in our memories through the legacies they left behind.
Occupation: Professional Footballer
Claim to fame: Widely regarded as one of the finest players from any era, Banks was goalkeeper for the World Cup winning England team in 1966. He also appeared in the 1970 World Cup finals where he was responsible for what is often considered “the greatest save ever made.”
Honors: In 1970, Gordon received an OBE for services to Association Football. Banks was an Inaugural Inductee to the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 and in 2006 was the first 'legend' to be inducted into a new Walk of Fame in his hometown of Sheffield.
Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker
Occupation: Rock drummer, songwriter
Claim to fame: Co-founder of the rock band Cream and member of the even shorter-lived supergroup Blind Faith, Baker’s work in the 1960s and 1970s earned him the reputation of "rock's first superstar drummer" for a style that fused jazz and African rhythms.
Honors: Baker was an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Cream in 1993
Occupation: Film, television and theater actor
Claim to fame: With a reputation as one of the leading actors of Britain’s early 60s new wave cinema and hailed as the new Olivier, Finney preferred playing working-class heroes to classical roles. He was nominated for five Oscars and won numerous statuettes including BAFTAs, Emmys, Golden Globes, SAGs and an Olivier award.
Honors: Finney declined the offer of a CBE as well as a knighthood.
Occupation: Comedian and songwriter
Claim to fame: Affectionately known as "The Seventh Python", Neil contributed songs and sketches to the group as well as appearing in films like Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Monty Python's Life of Brian. Innes later joined Eric Idle on a new series, Rutland Weekend Television, which gave birth to their spoof band The Rutles - a pastiche of The Beatles.
Honors: Innes won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Novelty Song in 1968 for "I'm the Urban Spaceman".
Occupation: Stage, television, film and radio actor for almost 60 years. Also he is the father of actor Toby Jones.
Claim to fame: Best known for several roles in different mediums - he originated the role of Sir in the play The Dresser; his role as the circus ringmaster Bytes in the film The Elephant Man; for playing Sandy Thomas in the soap opera Emmerdale from 2005 to 2018.
Honors: Jones won the “World’s Best Television Actor of the Year” award in 1969 at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival for his role as Claudius in the mini-series, The Caesars.
Occupation: Author of novels, essays and short stories
Claim to fame: Her acclaimed novels Small Island (2004) and The Long Song (2010) that examined how British Jamaicans reconcile their racial, cultural and national identities.
Honors: Levy won the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Whitbread Book of the Year and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Small Island and the Walter Scott Prize for The Long Song. She was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Occupation: An actor of extraordinary height
Claim to fame: Played the beloved Wookie, Chewbacca, in five of the Star Wars films.
Occupation: Television and film actor and songwriter
Claim to fame: His role as Richard Bucket, the long-suffering husband of Hyacinth in the BBC sitcom Keeping Up Appearances. He notably made guest appearances on Doctor Who and appeared in the 1981 film Excalibur.
Occupation: Comedian, storyteller and television, stage, radio and movie actor.
Claim to fame: TV audiences might know him best as Ballykissangel’s Father MacAnally or The Irish RM’s Slipper. He also appeared in films such as Ryan’s Daughter and Far and Away.
Honors: Mr. Tóibín received an Honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from University College Cork and was honoured with the Irish Film and Television Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award and the Freedom of Cork in 2015.
I urge you to share your memories of these and other personalities who have left us in 2019. Here’s hoping for a happy, healthy 2020!