Late Obituaries

Category: 2011

Sir Jimmy Savile

31 October 1926 – 29 October 2011

British television presenter, disc jockey and charity fundraiser whose perennial weirdness and eccentricity took on new meaning when he was posthumously revealed as perhaps the most prolific sex criminal in British history. A Bevin boy in World War II, Savile came to fame as a nightclub disc jockey, claiming to invent the first twin-table record player, and worked for Radio Luxembourg and for decades on BBC Radio 1. One of the BBC’s biggest stars he presented pioneering live music chart show Top of the Pops from 1964 and the children’s show Jim’ll Fix It from 1975-1994, where each week he arranged for the wishes of children (writing in to the show) to be fulfilled. Noted for his Yorkshire accent, catchphrases, hairstyle, preference for grotesque shell suits, tinted glasses, jewellery and cigars, and friendship with Margaret Thatcher, Savile was the subject of much parody and ridicule throughout his life for his general weirdness and blowhard accounts of his professional and personal achievements. He was still revered for his charitable efforts, having raised millions for various hospitals, and was knighted in 1990. Savile died in 2011, aged 84, from natural causes. His obscene sexual preferences were rumoured throughout his life, but never proven. After his death, the extent of his depravity was revealed by a series of horrifying victim revelations and official investigations which confirmed Savile had sexually abused and raped hundreds of children and women throughout his life, with his celebrity status allowing him to escape accusations.

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Andy Whitfield

October 17, 1971 – 11 September 2011.

British actor of huge promise, whose breakout role in Spartacus proved to be his last significant work. Originally an engineer on relocating to Australia, Whitfield turned to acting in his 30s and had single episode roles in a number of Australian TV series. He played the lead role of Archangel Gabriel in 2007 Gabriel, and Australian horror-action film produced on a shoestring budget. In 2010, still a relative unknown, Whitfield was cast as Spartacus, the enslaved Thracian gladiator who led an uprising against the Romans in the Starz miniseries Spartacus: Blood and Sand. On the surface an absurd excuse to cram as much blood and as many breasts as possible into an hour, it was at heart a compelling, well-shot series, with Whitfield’s measured performance the standout part. Production on a second season was delayed after Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leading to Gods of the Arena, a prequel in which Whitfield had only a vocal cameo. Whitfield made an apparently full recovery, but his disease soon returned aggressively. He was replaced in the role by Liam McIntyre, and died in September 2011, aged 39.