Sunday 16 June 2024

1626) Van Heflin

Emmett Evan "Van" Heflin Jr. (1908 – 1971). American theatre, radio, and film actor. He played mostly character parts over the course of his film career, but during the 1940s had a string of roles as a leading man. Heflin won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Johnny Eager (1942). He also had memorable roles in Westerns such as Shane (1953), 3:10 to Yuma (1957), and Gunman's Walk (1958).

Heflin was the grandfather of actor Ben O'Brien and actress Eleanor O'Brien. He was also the uncle of Marta Heflin and Mady Kaplan, both actresses, and director Jonathan Kaplan. 
- "If you prefer your leading men to be conventionally handsome and “by-the numbers” actors, then Heflin, with his unruly red hair and restless protruding eyes, probably won’t appeal."


Monday 10 June 2024

1625) Clive Sinclair

Sir Clive Sinclair (July 1940 - September 2021). English inventor. Perhaps most famous for the much-loved Sinclair Spectrum home computer. He was also an early pioneer of electric vehicles with his Sinclair C5.

After spending several years as assistant editor of Instrument Practice, Sinclair founded Sinclair Radionics Ltd in 1961. He produced the world's first slimline electronic pocket calculator (the Sinclair Executive) in 1972. Sinclair then moved into the production of home computers in 1980 with Sinclair Research Ltd, producing the Sinclair ZX80 (the UK's first mass-market home computer for less than £100) and in the early 1980s, the ZX81, ZX Spectrum and the Sinclair QL. Sinclair Research is widely recognised for its importance in the early days of the British and European home computer industry, as well as helping to give rise to the British video game industry.
Sinclair also had several commercial failures, including the Sinclair Radionics Black Watch wristwatch, the Sinclair Vehicles C5 battery electric vehicle, and the Sinclair Research TV80 flatscreen CRT handheld television set. The failure of the C5, along with a weakened computer market, forced Sinclair to sell most of his companies by 1986. Through 2010, Sinclair concentrated on personal transport, including the A-bike, a folding bicycle for commuters which was small enough to fit in a handbag. He also developed the Sinclair X-1, a revised version of the C5 electric vehicle, which never made it to the market.
Sinclair was appointed Knight Bachelor in the 1983 Birthday Honours for his contributions to the personal computer industry in the UK.

Sunday 9 June 2024

1624) Peter Beneson

Peter Benenson (born Peter James Henry Solomon; 1921 – 2005). British barrister, human rights activist and the co-founder, in 1961, of the human rights group Amnesty International along with Seàn MacBride.

Benenson was born in London to a large Jewish family, the only son of British-born Harold Solomon and Russian-born Flora Benenson. His father, an army officer, died from a long-term injury when Benenson was nine, and he was privately tutored by W. H. Auden before attending Eton College. He took his mother's maiden name of Benenson acceding to his dying grandfather’s wishes, the Russian financier Grigori Benenson (1860–1939).
- "He was also inordinately modest (rejecting honours, save for belatedly accepting an honorary fellowship of his Oxford college, Balliol), as well as engagingly eccentric, with a twinkle in his eye and a crop of red hair."


Sunday 5 May 2024

1623) Bernard of Clairvaux

Bernard of Clairvaux, (1090 – 1153), venerated as Saint Bernard. Abbot, mystic, co-founder of the Knights Templar, and major leader in the reformation of the Benedictine Order through the nascent Cistercian Order.

He was sent to found Clairvaux Abbey at an isolated clearing in a glen known as the Val d'Absinthe, about 15 kilometres (9 mi) southeast of Bar-sur-Aube. In the year 1128, Bernard attended the Council of Troyes, at which he traced the outlines of the Rule of the Knights Templar, which soon became an ideal of Christian nobility.
Bernard was canonized just 21 years after his death by Pope Alexander III. In 1830 Pope Pius VIII declared him a Doctor of the Church.
- "His body was so wasted and worn away, that he seemed to be nothing but skin and bones; his face was ruddie, his hair and beard red, and in his old age white, of a middle stature, rather tall then low."
San Bernardo by Juan Correa de Vivar


Monday 8 April 2024

1622) Pamela Ann Davy

Pamela Ann Davy (1933 – 2018). Australian actress, best known for her roles on British television during the 1960s, such as Doctor Who, The Avengers, No Hiding Place, The Saint and The First Churchills.

After graduating from RADA in 1960, and after early repertory experience, she appeared in many popular TV shows of the day. She married racing car driver Geoffrey Lyndon Archer in 1971, and lived latterly in suburban Hobart, Tasmania, Australia until her death.
- "There are other similarities: both are 28, both have red hair, and both wear the trouser suits..."

Sunday 7 April 2024

1621) Keke Geladze

Ekaterine "Keke" Giorgis asuli Geladze (1856/1858 – 1937). Mother of Joseph Stalin.

Born into a family of peasants outside of Gori, in modern Georgia, she married Besarion Jughashvili, a cobbler, and had three sons; only the youngest, Ioseb, lived. Besarion would leave the family, leaving Geladze to raise her son. Deeply religious, she wanted Ioseb to become a priest, working as a seamstress in Gori in order to pay for his education. Geladze remained in Gori when Ioseb moved to the Tbilisi Spiritual Seminary, and stayed there until his rise to power in the Soviet Union as Joseph Stalin. In her older age Geladze lived in Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia; while Stalin wrote to her, he visited rarely, with the last visit in 1935. She died in 1937, and was buried in the Mtatsminda Pantheon in Tbilisi.
- "As a teenager, Geladze was apparently quite "an attractive freckled girl with auburn hair."
- "He adored her: her freckles and red hair resembled those of his mother Keke..."
(PS: Stalin's daughter too,  Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva, had red hair)


Sunday 17 March 2024

1620) Sarah Lawson

Sarah Elizabeth Lawson (1928 – 2023). English actress, best known for her film and television roles.
Lawson trained at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, then worked in Perth, Ipswich, Felixstowe and London's West End.
Lawson's films have included The Browning Version (1951), The World Ten Times Over and The Devil Rides Out. Her radio work included The Hostage, Inspector West and Kind Sir.
Lawson's work on television included Time and the Conways, An Ideal Husband, Rupert of Hentzau, Corridors of Power, The White Guard, Crown Court (TV series), Bergerac, and Zero One. She made guest appearances in such series as The Avengers, The Saint, Gideon's Way, The Professionals, The Persuaders! and Danger Man. Lawson's most significant television work was in the Granada TV series The Odd Man, starring Moultrie Kelsall and Edwin Richfield.
- "Auburn-haired and high-cheekboned, with a beauty described as “copper and cream”..."
- "Auburn-haired British actress of stage and screen, the youngest of three siblings..."