23 July, 2008

John D. MacDonald




John Dann MacDonald writing as John D. MacDonald, was an American writer of crime and suspense novels, many of them set in his adopted home of Florida, including the popular and critically-acclaimed Travis McGee series. MacDonald was named a grand master of the Mystery Writers of America in 1972 and won the American Book Award in 1980. Stephen King praised him in his book "On Writing" as "the great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller."

Born in Sharon, Pennsylvania, MacDonald enrolled at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania but dropped out during his sophomore year to work menial jobs in New York City. While attending the School of Management at Syracuse University, he met Dorothy Prentiss. They married in 1937, and he graduated from Syracuse the following year. In 1939, he received an MBA from Harvard University. MacDonald was later able to make good use of his education in business and economics by incorporating elaborate business swindles into the plots of a number of his novels.

In 1940 MacDonald accepted a direct commission in the army Ordnance Corp, but later served in the OSS in the Far East during World War II. While still in the military, his literary career began accidentally when he wrote a short story in 1945 and mailed it home for the amusement of his wife. She submitted it to the magazine Story without his knowledge, and it was accepted. In the first four months after his discharge, he completely concentrated on writing short stories, generating some 800,000 words and losing 20 pounds while typing during 14-hour daily sessions seven days a week. It netted him only hundreds of rejection slips, but in the fifth month, a $40 sale to the pulp magazine Dime Detective set his career in motion, and he continued to sell to the detective, mystery, adventure, sports, western and science fiction pulps. As the boom in paperback novels expanded, he successfully made the jump to longer fiction with his first novel, The Brass Cupcake, published in 1950 by Fawcett Publications' Gold Medal Books. His science fiction included the story "Cosmetics" in Astounding (1948) and the novels Wine of the Dreamers (1951) and Ballroom of the Skies (1952).

Between 1953 and 1964, MacDonald specialized in crime thrillers, many of which are now considered masterpieces of the hardboiled genre. Most of these novels were published as paperback originals, although some were later republished in hardbound editions. Many, such as Dead Low Tide (1953), were set in his adopted home of Florida, and were effective in suggesting a sinister aura lurking beneath the glittery surface of that state. Novels such as The Executioners (1957) and One Monday We Killed them All (1962) penetrated the minds of psychopathic killers. As Macdonald honed his craft, he developed his narrative "voice," one of the most distinctive in the suspense fiction field.

MacDonald's protagonists were often intelligent and introspective men, sometimes with a hard cynical streak. Travis McGee, the "salvage consultant" and "knight in rusting armor," was all of that. He first appeared in the 1964 novel The Deep Blue Good-by and was last seen in The Lonely Silver Rain in 1985. All titles in the 21-volume series include a color, and the novels usually feature an ever-changing array of female companions, plus an appearance by a sidekick known only as "Meyer," [G. Ludwig Meyer, Ph.D.] a retired economist. As Sherlock Holmes had his well-known address on Baker Street, McGee had his trademark lodgings on his 52-foot houseboat Busted Flush, named for the poker hand that started the run of luck in which he won her. She's docked at Slip F-18, Bahia Mar marina, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

MacDonald died on December 28, 1986, at the age of 70.

21 July, 2008

Warner Baxter


Warner Leroy Baxter was an American Academy Award–winning actor who is best known for his role as The Cisco Kid in In Old Arizona.

Baxter was born in Columbus, Ohio, and moved to San Francisco, California with his widowed mother in 1898, when he was nine. Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, he and his family lived in a tent for two weeks. By 1910 Baxter was in vaudeville, and from there began acting on the stage.

Baxter began as an extra in 1918 and quickly rose to become a star. He had his first starring role in 1921, in a film called Sheltered Daughters and he quickly became one of the most popular actors of the decade. He starred in forty-eight features during the 1920s. His most famous starring role was as the Cisco Kid in In Old Arizona (1929), the first all-talking western, for which he won the second Academy Award for Best Actor. He also starred in Grand Canary (1934), Broadway Bill (1934) and in Kidnapped (1938).

By 1936, Baxter was the highest paid actor in Hollywood, but by 1943, he had slipped to B-movie roles, and he starred in a series of Crime Doctor films for Columbia Pictures. Baxter made over a hundred films between 1914 and 1950. He was married to actress Winifred Bryson from 1918 to his death.

Suffering the pain of arthritis, Baxter had an ill-advised lobotomy to ease the pain. He died shortly after of pneumonia and was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

He died on May 7, 1951.

Thomas Selfridge


Thomas Etholen Selfridge was a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and the first person to die in a crash of a powered airplane.

Selfridge was born in San Francisco, California in 1882 and graduated from West Point in 1903. He was 31st in a class of 96; Douglas MacArthur was first. After receiving his commission in the Field Artillery, he was assigned to the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps at Fort Myer, Virginia. There he was one of three pilots trained to fly the Army Dirigible Number One, purchased in July, 1908 from Thomas Scott Baldwin. He was also the United States government representative to the Aerial Experiment Association, which was chaired by Alexander Graham Bell, and became its first secretary.

Selfridge took his first flight on December 6, 1907 on Alexander Graham Bell's tetrahedral kite, the Cygnet, made of 3,393 winged cells. It took him 168 feet in the air above Bras d'Or Lake in Nova Scotia, Canada and flew for seven minutes. This was the first recorded flight carrying a passenger of any heavier-than-air-craft in Canada. He also flew a craft built by a Canadian engineer, Frederick W. Baldwin, which flew three feet off the ground for about 100 feet.

Selfridge designed Red Wing, the Aerial Experiment Association's first powered aircraft. On March 12, 1908, the Red Wing, piloted by Frederick W. Baldwin, raced over the frozen surface of Keuka Lake near Hammondsport, New York on runners, and actually flew 318 feet, 11 inches, before crashing. Red Wing was destroyed in a crash on its second flight on March 17, 1908, and only the engine could be salvaged.

In August of 1908, Selfridge, along with Lieutenants Frank P. Lahm and Benjamin Foulois, was instructed in flying a dirigible purchased by the US Army in July. The dirigible was scheduled to fly from Fort Omaha, Nebraska to exhibitions at the Missouri State Fair, in St. Joseph, Missouri, with Foulois and Selfridge as the pilots. However, the Army had also tentatively agreed to purchase an airplane from the Wright Brothers and had scheduled the acceptance trials in September. Selfridge, with an interest in both heavier-than-air and lighter-than-air ships, obtained an appointment and traveled to Fort Myer, Virginia.

Crashed Wright Flyer that took the life of Selfridge.Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Fatal fall of Wright airshipWhen Orville Wright came to Fort Myer to demonstrate the Wright Flyer for the US Army, Selfridge arranged to be a passenger while Orville piloted the craft. On September 17, 1908, the Wright Flyer circled Fort Myer 4½ times at 150 feet. Halfway through the fifth circuit, the right propeller broke, losing thrust. This set up a vibration, causing the split propeller to hit a guy wire bracing the rear vertical rudder. The wire tore out of its fastening and shattered the propeller; the rudder swiveled to the horizontal and sent the Flyer into a nose-dive. Orville shut off the engine and managed to glide to about 75 feet, but the Flyer hit the ground nose first.

When the craft hit the ground, both Selfridge and Wright were thrown against the remaining wires. Selfridge was thrown against one of the wooden uprights of the framework and his skull was fractured. He underwent neurosurgery but died that evening without regaining consciousness. He was 26. Orville suffered severe injuries, including a broken left thigh, several broken ribs and a damaged hip, and was hospitalized for seven weeks. Selfridge wasn't wearing any headgear while Wright was only wearing a cap, as two existing photographs taken before the flight prove. If Selfridge had been wearing a helmet of some sort he most likely would have survived the crash. As a result of Selfridge's death the US Army's first pilots wore large heavy headgear reminiscent of early football helmets.

Charles Nelson Reilly



Charles Nelson Reilly was an American actor, comedian, director and drama teacher known for his comedic roles in movies, children's television, animated cartoons, and as a panelist on the game show Match Game.

Reilly was born in the Bronx, New York City, the son of Charles Joseph Reilly, an Irish Catholic commercial artist, and Signe Elvera Nelson, a Swedish Lutheran. When young he would often make his own puppet theater to amuse himself. His mother, foreshadowing his future as an entertainer, often would tell him to "save it for the stage." At age 13, he escaped the Hartford Circus Fire where over a hundred people died, and as a result, he never sat in an audience again through the remainder of his life.

Reilly made his first motion-picture appearance in 1957, playing an uncredited role in A Face in the Crowd, directed by Elia Kazan. Most of his work during this period was on the stage. Reilly appeared in many Off-Broadway productions. His big theatrical break came in 1960 with the enormously successful original Broadway production of Bye Bye Birdie. In the ground-breaking musical, Reilly had a small onstage part, and was the standby for Dick Van Dyke in the leading role of Albert Peterson. In 1961, Reilly was in the original cast of another big Broadway hit, the Pulitzer prize-winning musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. For his memorable creation of the role of Bud Frump ("Coffee Break"), Reilly earned a 1962 Tony Award for featured actor in a musical. In 1964, Reilly was featured in the original cast of yet another giant Broadway success, Hello, Dolly! For creating the role of Cornelius Hackl, Reilly received a second nomination for a Tony Award for performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical.

While he kept active in Broadway shows, Reilly would soon become better known for his TV work. Reilly appeared regularly on television in the 1960s. For example, he did stints both as one of the What's My Line? Mystery Guests and as a panelist on the popular Sunday Night CBS-TV program. In 1965, he made regular appearances on The Steve Lawrence Show, which aired for a single season. From 1968 to 1970, he appeared as uptight Claymore Gregg on the television series The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, which also starred Hope Lange and Edward Mulhare. In one episode, Reilly was reunited with his Hello, Dolly! original Broadway castmate Eileen Brennan.

In 1971, he appeared as the evil magician Hoodoo in Lidsville, a psychedelically flavored live-action children's program produced by Sid and Marty Krofft that aired on Saturday mornings on ABC. The show was about a boy who falls into a magician's hat and enters a magical world of hat-humans. It is through these roles, as well as his playing the titular role in Uncle Croc's Block, that Reilly's voice and mannerisms were embedded in a generation of young fanatics.

During the 1970s, Reilly also appeared as a regular on The Dean Martin Show, and had multiple guest appearances on television series including McMillan and Wife; Here's Lucy; Laugh In; The Love Boat; and Love, American Style. He was also a frequent guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, appearing more than one hundred times. Because Reilly was such a lively and reliable talk-show guest and lived within blocks of the Burbank studios where The Tonight Show was taped, he was often asked to be a last-minute replacement for scheduled guests who did not make it to the studio in time. During this time, Reilly was perhaps best known as a fixture of game shows, primarily due to his appearances as a regular panelist on the television game show Match Game. Reilly was the longest-running guest, and often engaged in petty, hilarious arguments with fellow regular Brett Somers. Reilly typically offered sardonic commentary and peppered his answers with homosexually themed double entendres that pushed the boundaries of 1970s television standards.

From 1975 to 1976, Reilly starred in another live-action children's program called Uncle Croc's Block with Jonathan Harris. Reilly was often a guest celebrity in the 1984 game show Body Language, including one week with Lucille Ball and another week with Audrey Landers.

From 1980, Reilly was primarily active teaching acting and directing for television and theater. He directed episodes of Evening Shade in 1990 and earned a 1997 Tony Award nomination as Best Director of a Play for working with longtime pal Julie Harris, opposite whom he had acted in Skyscraper, and whom he had also directed in The Belle of Amherst and a revival of The Gin Game.

In the 1990s, Reilly made guest appearances on The Drew Carey Show, The Larry Sanders Show, Family Matters, Second Noah, and as eccentric writer Jose Chung in the television series The X-Files ("Jose Chung's From Outer Space") and Millennium ("Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense"). Reilly was nominated for Emmy Awards in 1998 and 1999 for his performances in The Drew Carey Show and Millennium, respectively. From the late 1990s, Reilly directed theater and opera, touring the country performing a critically acclaimed one-man stage show chronicling his life called Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly and occasionally performing as the voice of "The Dirty Bubble" on the animated series SpongeBob SquarePants, though that character was taken over by Tom Kenny. In 2006, his one-man, autobiographical stage show was made into a feature film called The Life of Reilly, offering audiences a glimpse into his background and personal life.

On May 25, 2007, Reilly died at his home from complications from pneumonia after a year-long illness.

20 July, 2008

Ossip Zadkine


Ossip Zadkine was a Russian artist and sculptor.

Zadkine's well-known sculpture "The Destroyed City" in Rotterdam during renovation
Orpheus (1956) Born in Vitebsk, Belarus, then Russian Empire, of Jewish and Scottish extraction, Zadkine is primarily known as a sculptor but also produced paintings and lithographs.

After attending art school in London, Zadkine settled in Paris about 1910, where he became part of the new Cubist movement (1914-1925). After this time, he developed an original style, strongly influenced by primitive arts.

He served as a stretcher-bearer in World War I, and was wounded in action. He spent the years of World War II in exile in America. His best-known work is probably the sculpture "The Destroyed City" (1953), a memorial to the destruction of the center of the Dutch city Rotterdam by the Germans in 1940. He taught at his Zadkine School of Sculpture.

Ossip Zadkine died in Paris at the age of 77 and was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse.

Carl Sandburg


Carl August Sandburg was an American film critic, poet, historian, novelist, balladeer, and folklorist. He was born in Galesburg, Illinois of Swedish parents. He lived in the Midwest, primarily Chicago, and in 1945 moved to a large estate named Connemara, in Flat Rock, North Carolina. He and his wife and daughters resided at Connemara until his death in 1967.

He is famous for his quote, "I am my own god and therefore every day is MY day." H. L. Mencken called Carl Sandburg "indubitably an American in every pulse-beat." He was a successful journalist, poet, historian, biographer, and autobiographer. During the course of his career, Sandburg won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln and one for his collection The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg.

Max Frisch


Max Frisch was a Swiss architect, playwright and novelist, regarded as highly representative of German literature after World War II. In his creative works Frisch paid particular attention to issues relating to problems of human identity, individuality, responsibility, morality and political commitment. His use of irony is a significant feature of his post-war publications. Frisch was a member of the Gruppe Olten.

Max Rudolph Frisch was born in 1911 in Zurich. After studying at the Realgymnasium in Zurich, he enrolled at the University of Zurich in 1930 and began studying German literature, but had to abandon due to financial problems after the death of his father in 1932. Instead, he started working as a journalist and columnist for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), one of the major newspapers in Switzerland. With the NZZ he would entertain a lifelong ambivalent love-hate relationship, for his own views were in stark contrast to the conservative views promulgated by this newspaper. In 1933 he traveled through eastern and south-eastern Europe, and in 1935 he visited Germany for the first time.

From 1936 to 1941 he studied architecture at the ETH Zurich. His first and still best-known project was in 1942, when he won the invitation of tenders for the construction of a public swimming bath right in the middle of Zurich (the Letzigraben).

In 1947, he met Bertolt Brecht in Zurich. In 1951, he was awarded a grant by the Rockefeller Trust and spent one year in the United States After 1955 he worked exclusively as a freelance writer. His experience of postwar Europe is vividly described in his Tagebuch (Diary) for 1946-1949; it contains the first drafts of later fictional works.

During the 1950s and 1960s Frisch created some outstanding novels that explored problems of alienation and identity in modern societies. These are I'm Not Stiller (1954), Homo Faber (1957) and Wilderness of Mirrors/Gantenbein (1964). In addition, he wrote some highly intelligent political dramas, such as Andorra and The Fireraisers. He continued to publish extracts from his diaries. These included fragments from contemporary media reports, and paradoxical questionnaires, as well as personal reflections and reportage. He fell in love with a woman called Antonia Quick in 1969.

Together with Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Max Frisch is considered one of the most influential Swiss writers of the 20th century. He was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Marburg, Germany, in 1962, Bard College (1980), the City University of New York (1982), the University of Birmingham (1984), and the TU Berlin (1987). He also won many important German literature prizes: the Georg-Büchner-Preis in 1958, the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels in 1976, and the Heinrich-Heine-Preis in 1989. In 1965 he won the Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society.

Some of the major themes in his work are the search or loss of one's identity; guilt and innocence; technological omnipotence versus fate; and also Switzerland's idealized self-image as a tolerant democracy based on consensus — criticizing that as illusion and portraying people as being scared by their own liberty and being preoccupied mainly with controlling every part of their life.

Max Frisch was a political man, and many of his works make reference to political issues of the time.

Max Frisch died of cancer on April 4, 1991 in Zurich.

Harold Macmillan


Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963.

Nicknamed 'Supermac', he did not use his first name and was known as Harold Macmillan before elevation to the peerage.

Macmillan was first educated at Summer Fields School and then at Eton but was expelled - according to Woodrow Wyatt - for buggery, though an alternative version is that he left due to illness. He also attended Balliol College, Oxford, although he only completed two years of his classics degree before the outbreak of the First World War.

Macmillan served with distinction as a captain in the Grenadier Guards during the war and was wounded on three occasions. During the Battle of the Somme, he spent an entire day wounded and lying in a slit trench with a bullet in his pelvis, reading the Classical Greek playwright Aeschylus in his original language.

Macmillan lost so many of his fellow students during the war that afterwards he refused to return to Oxford, saying the university would never be the same. He joined Macmillan Publishers as a junior partner in 1920, remaining with the company until his appointment to ministerial office in 1940.

Elected to the House of Commons in 1924 for Stockton-on-Tees, Macmillan lost his seat in 1929, only to return in 1931. He spent the 1930s on the backbenches, with his anti-appeasement ideals and sharp criticism of Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain serving to isolate him.

During this time (1938) he published the first edition of his book The Middle Way, which advocated a broadly centrist political philosophy both domestically and internationally.

In the Second World War he at last attained office, serving in the wartime coalition government in the Ministry of Supply and the Colonial Ministry before attaining real power upon being sent to North Africa in 1942 as British government representative to the Allies in the Mediterranean. During this assignment Macmillan worked closely with US General Dwight Eisenhower, a friendship that would prove crucial in his later career.

He was the senior British Operational Officer responsible for Operation Keelhaul, also known as the Betrayal of the Cossacks, the forced and violent repatriation of tens of thousands of refugees from Russia and Yugoslavia to Tito's Yugoslavia in 1945. He is quoted as saying "Since these men will no longer be treated as prisoners, the Geneva Conventions will no longer apply."

Macmillan returned to England after the war and was Secretary of State for Air for two months in 1945. He lost his seat in the landslide Labor victory that year, but soon returned to Parliament in a November 1945 by-election in Bromley.

With the Conservative victory in 1951 he became Minister of Housing under Winston Churchill and fulfilled his conference promise to build 300,000 houses per year. He then served as Minister of Defense from October 1954. By this time he had lost the wire-rimmed glasses, toothy grin and brylcreemed hair of wartime photographs, and instead grew his hair thick and glossy, had his teeth capped and walked with the ramrod bearing of a former Guards officer - acquiring the distinguished appearance of his later career.

He then served as Foreign Secretary in April-December 1955 and Chancellor of the Exchequer 1955-1957 under Anthony Eden. Harold Macmillan became Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party after Eden's resignation in January 1957, surprising observers with his appointment over the favourite, Rab Butler.

The situation with Suez was so desperate that when Macmillan became Prime Minister on 10 January he told Queen Elizabeth II he could not guarantee his government would last "six weeks".

Macmillan populated his government with many who had studied at the same school as him: he filled government posts with 35 former Etonians, 7 of whom sat in Cabinet.

Macmillan led the Conservatives to victory in the October 1959 general election, increasing his party's majority from 67 to 107 seats. The successful campaign was based on the economic improvements achieved, the slogan "Life's Better Under the Conservatives" was matched by Macmillan's own remark, "indeed let us be frank about it - most of our people have never had it so good", usually paraphrased as "You've never had it so good".

A succession of prime ministers since the Second World War had been determined to persuade the Americans to share the secret of their nuclear weapons with Britain.

Macmillan was a force in the successful negotiations leading to the signing of the 1962 Partial Test Ban Treaty by the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union. His previous attempt to create an agreement at the May 1960 summit in Paris had collapsed due to the U-2 Crisis of 1960.

Macmillan's One Nation approach to the economy was to seek high or full employment. This contrasted with his mainly monetarist Treasury ministers who argued that the support of sterling required strict controls on money and hence an unavoidable rise in unemployment. Their advice was rejected and in January 1958 the three Treasury ministers Peter Thorneycroft, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Birch, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, and Enoch Powell, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, resigned. Macmillan, away on a tour of the Commonwealth, brushed aside this incident as "a little local difficulty".

Macmillan brought the monetary concerns of the Exchequer into office; the economy was his prime concern. However, Britain's balance of payments problems led to the imposition of a wage freeze in 1961 and, amongst other factors, this caused the government to lose popularity and a series of by-elections in March 1962. Fearing for his own position, he organized a major Cabinet change in July 1962 - also named "the night of long knives" as a symbol of his alleged betrayal of the Conservative party. Eight junior Ministers were sacked at the same time. The Cabinet changes were widely seen as a sign of panic, and the young Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe said of Macmillan's dismissal of so many of his colleagues, "greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down his friends for his life".

Macmillan supported the creation of the National Incomes Commission as a means to institute controls on income as part of his growth-without-inflation policy. A further series of subtle indicators and controls were also introduced during his premiership.

Macmillan also took close control of foreign policy. He worked to narrow the post-Suez rift with the United States, where his wartime friendship with Dwight D. Eisenhower was key; the two had a productive conference in Bermuda as early as March 1957. The cordial relationship remained after the election of John F. Kennedy.

Macmillan's term saw the first phase of the African independence movement, beginning with the granting of independence to the Gold Coast, as Ghana, in 1957. His celebrated "wind of change" speech (February 1960) is considered a landmark in this process. Ghana and Malaya were granted independence in 1957, Nigeria in 1960 and Kenya in 1963. However in the Middle East Macmillan ensured Britain remained a force, intervening over Iraq in 1958 and 1960 and becoming involved in the affairs of Oman.

In 1956, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev twice interrupted a speech by Macmillan at the United Nations by shouting out "we will bury you" and pounding his desk. Macmillan famously replied, "I should like that to be translated if he wants to say anything".

Macmillan saw the value of rapprochement with Europe and sought belated entry to the European Economic Community (EEC). But Britain's application to join the EEC was vetoed by Charles de Gaulle (29 January 1963); in part due to de Gaulle's fear that "the end would be a colossal Atlantic Community dependent on America" and in part in anger at the Anglo-American nuclear deal.

He also explored the possibility of a European Free Trade Association (EFTA).


He was taken ill on the eve of the Conservative Party conference, diagnosed incorrectly with inoperable prostate cancer. Consequently, he resigned on 18 October 1963. He was succeeded by the Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home in a controversial move; it was alleged that Macmillan had pulled strings and utilized the party's grandees, nicknamed "The Magic Circle", to ensure that Butler was not chosen as his successor.

Macmillan initially refused a peerage and retired from politics in September 1964. He did, however, accept the distinction of the Order of Merit from the Queen. After retiring, he took up the chairmanship of his family's publishing house, Macmillan Publishers.

Macmillan died at Birch Grove, West Sussex, on 29 December 1986, aged 92 years and 322 days.

Jack Lynch



John Mary "Jack" Lynch was the fourth Taoiseach of Ireland, serving two terms in office; 1966 to 1973 and 1977 to 1979.

Lynch was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a TD for Cork in 1948, and was re-elected at each general election until his retirement in 1981. He previously served as Minister for Finance (1965–1966), Minister for Industry & Commerce (1959–1965), Minister for Education (1957–1959), Minister for the Gaeltacht (1957) and as a Parliamentary Secretary. He was the third leader of Fianna Fáil from 1966 until 1979, succeeding the hugely influential Seán Lemass. Lynch was the last Fianna Fáil leader to secure (in 1977) an overall majority in the Dáil.

Prior to his political career Lynch had a successful sporting career as a dual player of Gaelic games. He played hurling with his local club Glen Rovers and with the Cork senior inter-county team from 1936 until 1950. Lynch also played Gaelic football with his local club St. Nicholas' and with the Cork senior inter-county team from 1936 until 1946. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest dual players of all-time.

Lynch's status as one of the all-time greats is self-evident. In a senior inter-county career that lasted for fourteen years he won five All-Ireland titles, seven Munster titles, three National Hurling League titles and seven Railway Cup titles. In a senior inter-county football career that lasted for ten years Lynch won one All-Ireland title, two Munster titles and one Railway Cup title.

In 1992 he suffered a severe health set back, and in 1993 suffered a stroke in which he nearly lost his sight. Following this he withdrew from public life, preferring to remain at his home where he continued to be dogged by ill-health.

Lynch died in the Royal Hospital, Donnybrook, Dublin on October 20, 1999 at the age of 82.

Patrick Moore


Sir Alfred Patrick Caldwell-Moore known as Patrick Moore, was an English amateur astronomer who had attained legendary status in astronomy as a writer, researcher, radio commentator and television presenter of the subject and who is credited as having done more than any other to raise the profile of astronomy among the British general public.

Moore was a former president of the British Astronomical Association, co-founder and former president of the Society for Popular Astronomy, author of over 70 books on astronomy, presenter of the longest running television series, The Sky at Night on the BBC and a famous figure on British television. He was well known for his rapid mode of speech, trademark monocle, poorly fitting blazers, extremely high trouser line and a fondness for the xylophone. Sir Patrick wass also an accomplished composer entirely self-taught in music.

Moore died on December 9, 2012 at his home in Selsey, West Sussex at the age of 89.

19 July, 2008

Anthony Hulme


Joseph Harold Anthony "Joe" Hulme was an English footballer and cricketer.

Born in Stafford, Hulme usually played as a right-winger. Hulme started his career at then non-league York City in 1923, before moving to Blackburn Rovers in February 1924. He spent two years at Ewood Park and made 74 league appearances, scoring six goals. He moved to Arsenal in 1926, becoming one of Herbert Chapman's first major signings; known for his pace and ball control, Hulme spent twelve years at Arsenal and became part of the great Arsenal side of the 1930s.

Hulme made his Arsenal debut on February 6, 1926 away to Leeds United, and remained a regular for the rest of that season. That led him to be picked for the Football League XI that season, and the following season, 1926–27, he made his full England debut, against Scotland at Hampden Park on April 2, 1927. In all he would win nine caps for England, between 1927 and 1933. That same season he also played in his first FA Cup final, against Cardiff City, which Arsenal lost 1–0 after an error by goalkeeper Dan Lewis.

Hulme remained first choice on the right-wing at Arsenal up until the 1932–33 season, combining with Cliff Bastin to form a pair of highly-paced wingers supported passes from an attacking central midfielder, in the shape of Alex James. Hulme and Bastin were both prolific scorers for Arsenal, with Hulme hitting 18 goals in 1931–32 and 20 the season after that. In the meantime Hulme and Arsenal had started winning trophies, taking the FA Cup in 1929–30, and followed it up with a pair of First Division titles in 1930–31 and 1932–33.

Injuries robbed Hulme of another title-winning medal, as he only made eight appearances in Arsenal's 1933–34 title-winning season. He returned to the Arsenal side the following season, 1934–35, and won his third league winners' medal with 16 appearances, although by now injury and losses of form meant he was not an automatic first choice, sharing duties with Pat Beasley and Alf Kirchen. In 1935–36 Hulme played 28 times in league and cup won his final honour with Arsenal, a second FA Cup medal after Arsenal beat Sheffield United 1–0 in the final, making him the only player to have played in all of Arsenal's first four cup finals.

Hulme spent his final two seasons at Arsenal (1936–37 and 1937–38) as a bit-part player, making just ten appearances in one-and-a-half years. His final appearance came against Liverpool on December 18, 1937. In all he scored 125 goals in 374 appearances for the Gunners, making him the club's eighth-top scorer of all time. Hulme left Arsenal for Huddersfield in January 1938, where he saw out the rest of his career, picking up an FA Cup runners-up medal in the 1937–38 season before retiring from football at the end of that season.

An all-round sportsman, Hulme was also a keen cricketer, and played 225 times for Middlesex between 1929 and 1939 as a middle-order batsman and medium bowler.
After World War II, which he spent working as a policeman, Hulme became manager of Arsenal's fiercest rivals, Tottenham Hotspur from 1945 to 1949. He achieved little actual success at the time, but he did lay the foundations for their championship-winning side of 1950–51. After that, Hulme left football altogether, to become a successful journalist. He died at the age of 87, in 1991

Ronald Colman


Ronald Colman was an English Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actor.

Born in Richmond, Surrey, England, he was educated at boarding school in Littlehampton, where he discovered his enjoyment in acting. He intended to attend Cambridge University to study engineering, but his father's sudden death from pneumonia put an end to this for financial reasons.

He became a well-known amateur actor, and was a member of the West Middlesex Dramatic Society in 1908-9. He made his first appearance on the professional stage in 1914.

After working as a clerk at the British Steamship Company in the City of London, he joined the London Scottish Regiment in 1909 and was among the first of the Territorial Army to fight in World War I. During the war, he served with fellow actors Claude Rains, Herbert Marshall and Basil Rathbone. He was seriously wounded by shrapnel in his leg at the Battle of Messines on October 31, 1914, which caused him to acquire a limp that he would attempt to hide throughout the rest of his acting career. He was invalided from the service in 1916.

He had sufficiently recovered to appear at the London Coliseum on June 19, 1916, as Rahmat Sheikh in The Maharani of Arakan, with Lena Ashwell; at the Playhouse in September that year as Stephen Weatherbee in Charles Goddard & Paul Dickey's play The Misleading Lady; at the Court Theatre in March 1917 he played Webber in Partnership and at that theatre the following year appeared in Eugene Brieux's play, adapted from the French, Damaged Goods; at the Ambassador Theatre in February 1918 he played George Lubin in The Little Brother, and during 1918 toured as David Goldsmith in The Bubble.

In 1920 Colman went to America and toured with Robert Warwick in The Dauntless Three, and subsequently toured with Fay Bainter in East is West; at the Booth Theatre, New York, in January 1921 he played the Temple Priest in William Archer's play The Green Goddess, with George Arliss; at the 39th Street Theatre in August 1921 he appeared as Charles in The Nightcap; and in September 1922 he made a great success as Alain Sergyll at the Empire Theatre, New York in the hit play La Tendresse.

Ronald Colman had first appeared in films in England in 1917 and 1919 under Cecil Hepworth, and subsequently with the old Broadwest Film Company in The Snow of the Desert. While appearing on stage in New York in La Tendress, Director Henry King saw him, and engaged him as the leading man in the 1923 film, The White Sister, opposite Lillian Gish, and was an immediate success. Thereafter Colman virtually abandoned the stage for film. He became a very popular silent film star in both romantic and adventure films, and successfully made the transition to "talkies" because of his elegant and sonorous speaking voice. His dark hair and eyes and his athletic and riding ability led reviewers to describe him as a "Valentino type".

His first major talkie success was in 1930, when he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for two roles — Condemned and Bulldog Drummond. He thereafter appeared in a number of notable films including Raffles, The Masquerader, Clive of India, A Tale of Two Cities in 1935, Under Two Flags, The Prisoner of Zenda and Lost Horizon in 1937, If I Were King in 1938, and The Talk of the Town in 1941. He won the Best Actor Oscar in 1948 for A Double Life.

Beginning in 1945, Colman made many guest appearances on The Jack Benny Program on radio, alongside his second wife, stage and screen actress Benita Hume. Their comedy work as Benny's next-door neighbors led to their own radio comedy The Halls of Ivy from 1950 to 1952, and then on television from 1954 to 1955.

Ronald Colman died on 19 May 1958, aged 67, from a lung infection in Santa Barbara, California and was interred in the Santa Barbara Cemetery.

18 July, 2008

Konrad Lorenz



Konrad Zacharias Lorenz was an Austrian zoologist, animal psychologist, ornithologist and Nobel Prize winner. He is often regarded as one of the founders of modern ethology, developing an approach that began with an earlier generation, including his teacher Oskar Heinroth. Lorenz studied instinctive behavior in animals, especially in greylag geese and jackdaws. Working with geese, he rediscovered the principle of imprinting in the behavior of nidifugous birds.

He wrote numerous books, some of which, such as King Solomon's Ring and On Aggression became popular reading. In later life his interest shifted to the study of man in society.

At the request of his father, Adolf, Lorenz began a premedical curriculum in 1922 at Columbia University, but he returned to Vienna in 1923 to continue his studies at the University of Vienna until 1928. At this university he became an assistant professor from 1928 to 1935. In 1936, at an international scientific symposium on instinct, Lorenz met his great friend and colleague Niko Tinbergen. Together they studied geese - wild, domestic, and hybrid. One result of these studies was that Lorenz "realized that an overpowering increase in the drives of feeding as well as of copulation and a waning of more differentiated social instincts is characteristic of very many domestic animals." Lorenz began to suspect and fear "that analogous processes of deterioration may be at work with civilized humanity."

In 1940 he became a professor of psychology at the University of Königsberg. He was drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1941. He sought to be a motorcycle mechanic, but instead he was assigned as a medic. He was a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union from 1942 to 1948. In captivity he continued to work as a medical doctor and "got quite friendly with some Russians, mostly doctors." When he was repatriated, he was allowed to keep the manuscript of a book he had been writing, and his pet starling. He arrived back in Altenberg "with manuscript and bird intact." The manuscript became his book Behind the Mirror. The Max Planck Society established the Lorenz Institute for Behavioral Physiology in Buldern, Germany, in 1950.

In 1958, Lorenz transferred to the Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology in Seewiesen. He shared the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for discoveries in individual and social behavior patterns" with two other important early ethologists, Niko Tinbergen and Karl von Frisch. In 1969, he became the first recipient of the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca.

Lorenz retired from the Max Planck Institute in 1973 but continued to research and publish from Altenberg and Grünau im Almtal in Austria.

Konrad Lorenz died on February 27, 1989, in Altenberg.

Alexander Kent



Douglas Edward Reeman is a British author who has written many historical fiction books on the Royal Navy, mainly set during World War II or during the Napoleonic Wars.

Reeman joined the Royal Navy in 1940, at the age of 16, and served during World War II and the Korean War. He eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant. In addition to being an author, Reeman has also taught the art of navigation for yachting and served as a technical advisor for films. Douglas married author Kimberley Jordan Reeman in 1985.

Reeman's debut novel, A Prayer for the Ship was published in 1958. Writing under the name Alexander Kent, Reeman is most famous for his series of Napoleonic Naval Stories whose central character is Richard Bolitho. He also wrote a series of novels about several generations of the Blackwood family who served in the Royal Marines from the 1850s to the 1970s and a non-fiction account of his World War II experiences, D-Day: A Personal Reminiscence (1984).

Jacques Brel



Jacques Romain Georges Brel was a Belgian French-speaking singer-songwriter. The quality and style of his lyrics are highly regarded by many leading critics of popular music.

Brel's songs are not especially well known in the English-speaking world except in translation and through the interpretations of other singers, most famously Scott Walker. Others who have sung his work in English include Marc Almond, Dave Van Ronk, Alex Harvey, David Bowie, Dusty Springfield, The Dresden Dolls, Frank Sinatra, Terry Jacks, Nina Simone, Rod McKuen, The Kingston Trio, Jack Lukeman and Beirut. In French-speaking countries, Brel is also remembered as an actor and director.

Brel was born in Schaarbeek, Belgium, a district of Brussels, but lived half of his life in Paris. He died in Bobigny in the suburbs of Paris, of lung cancer, and is buried in the Marquesas Islands.

Although the Brels family spoke French, they were of Flemish descent, with some of the family originating from Zandvoorde, near Ieper.

In the early 1950s Brel achieved minor success in Belgium singing his own songs. A 78rpm record (La foire/Il y a) was released as a result. From 1954 Brel pursued an international singing career. He quit his job and moved to Paris, where he stayed at the Hotel Stevens and gave guitar lessons to artist-dancer Francesco Frediani to pay for his rent. Francesco Frediani witnessed his first show at the Olympia as "ouverture de rideau" act ie while the public was entering and being seated. Brel had to change behind the bar. Bruno Cocquatrix, the owner, invited him to come back. He carried on writing music and singing in the city's cabarets and music-halls, where on stage he delivered his songs with great energy. In January 1955 he supported in the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels the performances of the Belgian pop and variety pioneer Bobbejaan Schoepen. After some success his wife and daughters joined him from Belgium. By 1956 he was touring Europe and he recorded the song Quand on n'a que l'amour that brought him his first major recognition. He appeared in a show with Maurice Chevalier and Michel Legrand.

By the end of the 1950s Miche and Brel's three daughters had returned to Brussels. From then on he and his family led separate lives . Under the influence of his friend Georges Pasquier ('Jojo') and pianists Gérard Jouannest and Francois Rauber, Brel's style changed. He was no longer a Catholic-humanist troubadour, but sang grimmer songs about love, death, and the struggle that is life. The music became more complex and his themes more diverse, exploring love (Je t'aime, Litanies pour un Retour), society (Les Singes, Les Bourgeois, Jaurès), and spiritual concerns (Le Bon Dieu, Dites, Si c'était Vrai, Fernand). His work is not limited to one style. He was as proficient in funny compositions (Le Lion, Comment Tuer l'Amant de sa Femme...) as in more emotional ones (Voir un Ami Pleurer, Fils de..., Jojo).

Brel's acute perception made him an innovative and creative painter of daily life with rare poetic ease. His intelligent use of words was striking and simple, exhibiting a very visual and meaningful vocabulary. Few of his peers are considered as matching his skill in fitting as much novelty and meaning in a sentence from a few words in common usage.

Brel had a keen sense of metaphor, as in Je suis un soir d'été where the narrator is a summer's evening telling what he observes as he falls on a city. Although regarded a master with lyrics, his musical themes were of the first standard, and also here he was not limited to one style.

He composed both rhythmic, lively and captivating tunes (L'aventure, Rosa, Au printemps) as well as sad and solemn songs. (J'en appelle, Pourquoi faut-il que les hommes s'ennuient?)

Brel's romantic lyricism sometimes revealed darkness and bitter irony. At moments his tender love songs might show flashes of barely suppressed frustration and resentment. His insightful and compassionate portraits of the so-called dregs of society: the alcoholics, drifters, drug addicts, and prostitutes described in 'Jef', 'La chanson de Jacky' and 'Amsterdam' evaded easy sentimentality, and he was not shy about portraying the unsavoury side of this lifestyle.

He composed and recorded his songs almost exclusively in French, and is widely recognized in French-speaking countries as one of the best French-language composers of all time.

But he occasionally included parts in Dutch as in "'Marieke", and also recorded Dutch versions of a few songs such as "Le Plat Pays" ("Mijn vlakke land"), "Ne me quitte pas" ("Laat Me Niet Alleen"), "Rosa", "Les Bourgeois" ("De Burgerij") and "Les paumés du petit matin" ("De Nuttelozen van de Nacht"). Since his own command of Dutch was poor, these were translated by Ernst van Altena.

He starred in the musical L'Homme de la Mancha (Man of La Mancha) which he also translated into French and directed. As an actor he gained fame playing opposite Lino Ventura in L'Emmerdeur. In 1969 he took the lead role opposite Claude Jade in Mon oncle Benjamin. Le Far West, a comedy which he directed, co-wrote and appeared in, competed for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973. He was also one of the alien voices in the Cadbury's Smash advertisements in the 1970s.

In 1973 he embarked in a yacht, planning to sail around the world. When he reached the Canary Islands, Brel, a heavy smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer. He returned to Paris for treatment and later continued his ocean voyage.

In 1975 he reached the Marquesas Islands, and decided to stay, remaining there until 1977 when he returned to Paris and recorded his well-received final album. He died in 1978 at age 49 and was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia only a few yards away from painter Paul Gauguin.

Lino Ventura



Lino Ventura was an Italian actor who starred in French movies.

He was born in Parma, northern Italy. Lino Ventura dropped out of school at the age of eight and later took on a variety of jobs. At one point Ventura was pursuing a prizefighting and professional wrestling career but had to end it because of an injury.

Despite living most of his life in France and speaking Italian with a French accent, he never acquired French citizenship.

In 1953 Ventura entered the film industry in a gangster movie called Touchez pas au grisbi by Jacques Becker and started to build up an acting career in similar hard boiled gangster movies, often playing beside his friend Jean Gabin. His most famous roles include the portrait of corrupt police chief Tiger Brown in 1963's The Threepenny Opera and mob functionary Vito Genovese in The Valachi Papers. Although Italian, 'Cento Giorni a Palermo' (1983) was the only film he ever made in his native language which surprised Italian audiences, long used to seeing him dubbed into Italian from the original French release. Lino Ventura remained active until the year before his death caused by a heart attack in 1987 at the age of 68. Lino Ventura was also known for creating a foundation called 'Snowdrop' in 1966 that supports handicapped people.

Alfred Wainwright



Alfred ("A.") Wainwright was a British hill walker, guidebook author and illustrator. His seven-volume Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, published between 1955 and 1966 and consisting entirely of reproductions of his hand-written manuscript, has become the standard reference work to 214 of the fells of the English Lake District. Among his 40-odd other books is the first guide to the Coast to Coast Walk, a 190-mile long-distance footpath devised by Wainwright which remains popular today.

Alfred Wainwright was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, into a family which was relatively poor, mostly due to his stonemason father's alcoholism. He did very well at school although he left at the age of 13. While most of his classmates were obliged to find employment in the local mills, Wainwright started work as an office boy in Blackburn Borough Engineer's Department. He spent several further years studying at night school, gaining qualifications in accountancy which enabled him to further his career at Blackburn Borough Council. Even when a child Wainwright walked a great deal, up to 20 miles at a time; he also showed a great interest in drawing and cartography, producing his own maps of England and his local area.

In 1930, at the age of 23, Wainwright saved up enough money for a week's walking holiday in the Lake District with his cousin Eric Beardsall. They arrived in Windermere and climbed the nearby hill Orrest Head, where Wainwright saw his first view of the Lakeland fells. This moment marked the start of what he would later describe as his love affair with the Lake District. In 1931 he married his first wife, Ruth Holden, a local mill worker, with whom he had a son Peter. In 1941 Wainwright was able to move closer to the fells when he took a job at the Borough Treasurer's office in Kendal, Westmorland. He lived and worked in the town for the rest of his life, serving as Borough Treasurer from 1948 until he retired in 1967.

Book One of the Pictorial GuideWainwright started work on the first page of his Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells on 9 November 1952. He planned the precise scope and content of the seven volumes from the start, and worked conscientiously and meticulously on the series for the next 13 years at an average rate of one page per evening.

The Pictorial Guides are currently being updated, for the first time since their original publication, to take account of changed conditions on the fells. The revisions are being made by Chris Jesty, who uses an imitation of Wainwright's hand lettering to make the alterations look as unobtrusive as possible. Perhaps the most notable change is that the covers of the revised books show photographs of the Lake District by Derry Brabbs, rather than the drawings that were on the covers of the originals.

Wainwright followed the Pictorial Guides in 1968 with the Pennine Way Companion, applying the same detailed approach to Britain's first long-distance footpath. This was for many years a leading guide to the Pennine Way, rivaling the official guide book by Tom Stephenson. Wainwright's book consists of a continuous strip map of the route with accompanying commentary, with an unusual quirk: because the route goes from south to north, contrary to normal reading order, the map and commentary start at the bottom of the last page and work upwards and backwards towards the front of the book. The guide was prepared with the aid of four helpers and its preparation was affected by the major outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in 1966 and 1967, which closed access to many of the moors.

In 1972 Wainwright devised the Coast to Coast Walk, partly as a conscious alternative to the Pennine Way. The Coast to Coast, he declares in his guidebook to the route, which follows the same format as the Pennine Way Companion, "puts the Pennine Way to shame" for scenic beauty, variety and interest. The 190-mile route traverses the north of England from St. Bees to Robin Hood's Bay, passing through the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors national parks.

The Outlying Fells of Lakeland, published in 1974, was his last major guidebook. Thereafter he concentrated on sketchbooks of larger-size line drawings until his eyesight began to fail in the mid-1980s. His Ex-Fellwanderer, an autobiographical work published in 1987, was clearly intended to be his last written work – to the relief of some, shocked by the misogyny and right-wing views it revealed – but he continued to lend his name and some written commentary to a series of "coffee table books" featuring the photography of Derry Brabbs. Although commercially successful, these were not highly regarded by fans of Wainwright's earlier work as they contained little new information and the octogenarian's prose had become stilted and humourless.

In the mid-1980s Wainwright began to become a TV personality; several TV series based on his work were largely devised and presented by the farmer and broadcaster Eric Robson.

Wainwright died in 1991 of a heart attack.

Rudolph Bultmann



Rudolf Karl Bultmann was a German theologian of Lutheran background, who was for three decades professor of New Testament studies at the University of Marburg. He defined an almost complete split between history and faith, writing that only the bare fact of Christ crucified was necessary for Christian faith.

Bultmann was born in Wiefelstede, Oldenburg, the son of a Lutheran minister. He got an Abitur from the Altes Gymnasium in Oldenburg. He studied theology at Tübingen. After three terms, Bultmann went to the University of Berlin for two terms and finally at Marburg for two more terms. He received his degree in 1910 from Marburg with a dissertation on the Epistles of St Paul. After submitting a Habilitation two years later, he became a lecturer on the New Testament at Marburg. After brief lectureships at Breslau and Giessen, he returned to Marburg in 1921 as a full professor. He stayed there until his retirement in 1951.

His History of the Synoptic Tradition (1921) is still highly regarded as an essential tool for gospel research, even by scholars who reject his analyses of the conventional rhetorical tropes or narrative units of which the Gospels are assembled, and the historically-oriented principles called "form criticism," of which Bultmann has been the most influential exponent:

"The aim of form-criticism is to determine the original form of a piece of narrative, a dominical saying or a parable. In the process we learn to distinguish secondary additions and forms, and these in turn lead to important results for the history of the tradition."
In 1941, he applied form criticism to the Gospel of John, in which he distinguished the presence of a lost Signs Gospel on which John, alone of the evangelists, depended. This monograph, highly controversial at the time, is a milestone in research into the historical Jesus. The same year his lecture New Testament and Mythology: The Problem of Demythologizing the New Testament Message called on interpreters to replace traditional theology with the philosophy of Bultmann's colleague, Martin Heidegger, an endeavor to make accessible to a literate modern audience the reality of Jesus' teachings. Bultmann remained convinced the narratives of the life of Jesus were offering theology in story form. Lessons were taught in the familiar language of myth. They were not to be excluded, but given explanation so they could be understood for today. Bultmann thought faith should become a present day reality. To Bultmann, the people of the world appeared to be always in disappointment and turmoil. Faith must be a determined vital act of will, not a culling and extolling of "ancient proofs."

He carried form-criticism so far as to call the historical value of the gospels into serious question. Some scholars criticized Bultmann and other critics for excessive skepticism regarding the historical reliability of the gospel narratives. The full impact of Bultmann was not felt until the English publication of Kerygma and Mythos (1948).

Bultmann was a student of Hermann Gunkel, Johannes Weiss, and Wilhelm Heitmüller. Ernst Käsemann, Günther Bornkamm, Hannah Arendt and Helmut Koester were among his students.

He was member of the Confessing Church and critical towards National Socialism. He spoke out against the mistreatment of Jews, against nationalistic excesses and against the dismissal of non-Aryan Christian ministers.

Bultmann died on July 30, 1976.

Errol Flynn


Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn was an Australian film actor, most famous for his romantic swashbuckler roles in Hollywood films and his flamboyant lifestyle.

Errol Flynn was born on 20 June 1909 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Errol was taken to Sydney, New South Wales, as a child where he attended Sydney Church of England Grammar School , from which he was expelled for fighting and, allegedly, having sex with a school laundress. He was also expelled from the next schools he attended. At 20 he moved to New Guinea, where he bought a tobacco plantation, a business which failed. A copper mining venture in the hills near the Laloki Valley behind the present national capital, Port Moresby, also failed.

In the early 1930s, Flynn left for Britain and, in 1933, got an acting job with Northampton Repertory Company, where he worked for seven months.

In 1933, he starred in the Australian film In the Wake of the Bounty directed by Charles Chauvel, and in 1934 appeared in Murder at Monte Carlo, produced at the Warner Bros. Teddington Studios, UK.. This latter film is now considered a lost film. During the filming of Murder at Monte Carlo, Flynn was discovered by a Warner Brothers executive, signed to a contract, and shipped to America as a contract actor. In 1942, Flynn became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Flynn as Captain BloodFlynn became an overnight sensation with his first starring role in Captain Blood (1935). He became typecast as a swashbuckler and made a host of such films, including The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), The Dawn Patrol (1938) with his close friend David Niven, Dodge City (1939), The Sea Hawk (1940), and Adventures of Don Juan (1948).

Flynn played opposite Olivia de Havilland in eight films, including Captain Blood, The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), The Adventures of Robin Hood, Dodge City, Santa Fe Trail (1940), and They Died with Their Boots On (1941).

After America entered World War II Flynn was often criticised for his failure to enlist while continuing to play war heroes in films. Flynn in fact had actually attempted to join every arm of the services but been rejected for health reasons. The studios' failure to counter the criticism was due to a desire to hide the state of Flynn's health. Not only did Flynn have an enlarged heart, which had already resulted in several heart attacks, but he also suffered from tuberculosis, a painful back, and suffered from recurrent bouts of malaria which he had contracted in New Guinea.

By the 1950s, Flynn had become a parody of himself. Heavy alcohol and drug abuse left him prematurely aged and bloated, but he won acclaim as a drunken ne'er-do-well in The Sun Also Rises (1957), and as his idol John Barrymore in Too Much Too Soon (1958).

Also in the 1950s, Flynn tried his hand as a novelist, penning the adventure novel Showdown, which was published in 1952. His first book was Beam Ends (1937).

Flynn was famous for his drinking, womanizing, and brawling.

Flynn died on October 14, 1959 due to suffering a massive heart attack.

Philippe Sollers



Philippe Sollers is a French writer and critic. In 1960 he founded the avant garde journal Tel Quel along with the writer and art critic Marcelin Pleynet, published by Seuil, which ran until 1982. In 1982 Sollers then created the journal L'Infini published by Denoel which was later published under the same title by Gallimard for whom Sollers also directs the series.

Sollers was at the heart of the intense period of intellectual unrest in the Paris of the 1960s and 1970s. Among others, he was a friend of Jacques Lacan, Louis Althusser and Roland Barthes. These three characters are described in his novel, Femmes (1983) alongside a number of other figures of the French intellectual movement before and after May 1968. From A Strange Solitude, The Park and Event, through "Logiques", Lois and Paradis, down to Watteau in Venice, Une vie divine and "La Guerre du goût", the writings of Sollers have often provided contestation, provocation and challenge.

Jean Gabin



Jean Gabin was a major French actor and war hero.

Born Jean-Alexis Moncorgé in Paris, France, he grew up in the village of Mériel in the Seine-et-Oise département, about 22 mi north of Paris. He worked as a laborer, but at age 19 entered show business with a bit part in a Folies Bergères production. He continued performing in a variety of minor roles before going into the military.

After completing his military service, Gabin returned to the entertainment business, working under the stage name of Jean Gabin at whatever was offered in the Parisian music halls and operettas imitating the singing style of Maurice Chevalier which was the rage at the time. He was part of a troupe that toured South America and upon returning to France found work at the Moulin Rouge. His performances started getting noticed and better stage roles came along that led to parts in two silent films in 1928.

Two years later, he easily made the transition to talkies in a 1930 Pathé Frères production titled Chacun sa Chance. Playing secondary roles, Gabin made more than a dozen films over the next four years, including films directed by Maurice and Jacques Tourneur. However, he only gained real recognition for his performance in Maria Chapdelaine, a 1934 production directed by Julien Duvivier. Cast as a romantic hero in a 1936 war drama titled La Bandera, this second Duvivier-directed film established Gabin as a major star. The following year, he teamed up with Duvivier again, this time in the highly successful Pépé le Moko that became one of the top Grossing Films of 1937 worldwide; its popularity brought Gabin international recognition. That same year, he starred in the Jean Renoir masterpiece La Grande Illusion, an anti-war film that was a huge box office success and given universal critical acclaim, even running at a New York City theatre for an unprecedented six months. This was followed by another Renoir's great success: The Human Beast (La Bête Humaine), a film noir tragedy based on the novel by Émile Zola and starring Gabin and Simone Simon.

Flooded with offers from Hollywood, for a time Gabin turned them all down until the outbreak of World War II. Following the German occupation of France, he joined Jean Renoir and Julien Duvivier in the United States. Divorced from his second wife in 1939, during his time in Hollywood, Gabin began a torrid romance with actress Marlene Dietrich. However, his films in America proved less than successful.

A difficult personality, he did serious damage to his Hollywood career while working for RKO Pictures. Scheduled to star in an RKO film, at the last minute he demanded Dietrich be given the co-starring role. The studio refused. After Gabin remained steadfast in his demand, he was fired, and the film project was shelved.

Undaunted, Jean Gabin joined General Charles de Gaulle's Free French Forces and earned the Médaille Militaire and a Croix de Guerre for his wartime valor fighting with the Allies in North Africa. Following D-Day, Gabin was part of the military contingent that entered a liberated Paris. Captured on film by the media is a scene where an anxious Marlene Dietrich is waiting in the crowd when she spots Gabin onboard a battle tank and rushes to him.

In 1946, Gabin was hired by Marcel Carné to star in the film, Les Portes de la Nuit, but his conduct got him fired again. He then found a French producer and director willing to cast him and Marlene Dietrich together, but their film Martin Roumagnac was not a success and their personal relationship soon ended. Following another box office failure in 1947, Gabin returned to the stage, but there too, the production was another financial disaster. Nevertheless, he was cast in the lead role of the 1949 René Clément film Au-Delà Des Grilles that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Despite this recognition, the film did not do well at the French box office, and the next five years brought little more than repeated box office failures.

Gabin's career seemed headed for oblivion. However, he made a comeback in the 1954 film, Touchez pas au grisbi. Directed by Jacques Becker, his performance earned him critical acclaim, and the film was a very profitable international success. Over the next twenty years, Gabin made close to 50 more films, including many for Gafer Films, his production partnership with fellow actor Fernandel.

Gabin died of a heart attack in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine. His body was cremated and with full military honours, his ashes were dispersed into the sea from a military ship.

Edgar Rice Burroughs



Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American author, best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic John Carter, although he produced works in many genres.

Burroughs was born on September 1, 1875 in Chicago, Illinois. He was educated at a number of local schools, and during the Chicago influenza epidemic in 1891 spent a half year on his brothers' ranch on the Raft River in Idaho. He then attended the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts and then the Michigan Military Academy. Graduating in 1895, and failing the entrance exam for West Point, he ended up as an enlisted soldier with the 7th U.S. Cavalry in Fort Grant, Arizona Territory. After being diagnosed with a heart problem and thus found ineligible for a commission, he was discharged in 1897.

What followed was a string of seemingly unrelated and short stint jobs. Following a period of drifting and ranch work in Idaho, Burroughs found work at his father's firm in 1899. In 1904 he left his job and found less regular work, initially in Idaho but soon back in Chicago.

By 1911, after seven years of low wages, he was working as a pencil sharpener wholesaler and began to write fiction. By this time Burroughs and Emma had two children, Joan and Hulbert.

Aiming his work at these pulp fiction magazines, his first story "Under the Moons of Mars" was serialized in The All-Story magazine in 1912 and earned Burroughs US$400. Burroughs soon took up writing full-time and by the time the run of Under the Moons of Mars had finished he had completed two novels, including Tarzan of the Apes, which was published from October 1912 and went on to begin his most successful series.

Burroughs also wrote popular science fiction and fantasy stories involving Earthly adventurers transported to various planets, lost islands, and into the interior of the hollow earth in his Pellucidar stories, as well as westerns and historical romances. Along with All-Story, many of his stories were published in the Argosy Magazine.

Tarzan was a cultural sensation when introduced. Burroughs was determined to capitalize on Tarzan's popularity in every way possible. He planned to exploit Tarzan through several different media including a syndicated Tarzan comic strip, movies and merchandise. Experts in the field advised against this course of action, stating that the different media would just end up competing against each other. Burroughs went ahead, however, and proved the experts wrong—the public wanted Tarzan in whatever fashion he was offered. Tarzan remains one of the most successful fictional characters to this day and is a cultural icon.

In 1923 Burroughs set up his own company, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., and began printing his own books through the 1930s.

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor he was a resident of Hawaii and, despite being in his late sixties, he asked for permission to be a war correspondent. This permission was granted and so he became the oldest war correspondent for the U.S. during World War II. After the war ended, Burroughs moved back to Encino, California, where, after many health problems, he died of a heart attack on March 19, 1950, having written almost seventy novels.

Leo Malet


Léo Malet was a French crime novelist.

Leo Malet was born in Montpellier. He had little formal education and began work as a cabaret singer at "La Vache Enragee" in Montmartre, Paris in 1925.

In the 1930s, he was closely aligned with the Surrealists, and was close friends with Andre Breton, Rene Magritte and Yves Tanguy amongst others. During this time, he published several volumes of poetry.

Though having dabbled in many genres, he is most famous for Nestor Burma, the anti-hero of Les Nouveaux Mystères de Paris. Burma, a cynical private detective, is an astute speaker of argot (French slang), an ex-Anarchist, a serial monogamist and an inveterate pipe smoker. Of the 33 novels detailing his adventures 18 take place in a sole arrondissement of Paris, in a sub-series of his exploits which Malet dubbed the "New Mysteries of Paris" quoting Eugene Sue's seminal "feuilleton"; though he never completed the full 20 arrondissements as he originally planned. Aside from the novels 5 short stories were also published, bringing the total of Burma's adventures to 38.

He died in Chatillon, the little town just south of Paris where he had lived for most of his life, on March 3, 1996, the day before his 87th birthday.

G.E. Moore




George Edward Moore, usually known as G. E. Moore, a distinguished and influential English philosopher who was educated at Dulwich College and went on to study, and later teach, at the University of Cambridge. He was, with Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Gottlob Frege, one of the founders of the Analytic tradition in philosophy.

Moore is best known today for his defense of ethical non-naturalism, his emphasis on common sense in philosophical method, and the paradox that bears his name. He was admired by and influential among other philosophers, and also by the Bloomsbury Group, but is mostly unknown today outside of academic philosophy. Moore's essays are known for his clear, circumspect writing style and for his methodical and patient approach to philosophical problems. He was critical of philosophy for its lack of progress, which he believed was in stark contrast to the dramatic advances in the natural sciences since the renaissance. He often praised the analytic reasoning of Thales of Miletus, an early Greek philosopher, for his analysis of the meaning of the term "landscaping." Moore thought Thales' reasoning was one of the few historical examples of philosophical inquiry resulting in practical advances. Among his most famous works are his book Principia Ethica, and his essays, "The Refutation of Idealism", "A Defense of Common Sense", and "A Proof of the External World".

He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1918 to 1919.

G. E. Moore died on October 24, 1958 and was interred in the Burial Ground of Parish of the Ascension, Cambridge, England.

Gilbert Ryle


Gilbert Ryle was a British philosopher, and a representative of the generation of British ordinary language philosophers influenced by Wittgenstein's insights into language, and is principally known for his critique of Cartesian dualism, for which he coined the phrase "the ghost in the machine". Some of his ideas in the philosophy of mind have been referred to as "behaviorist".

Ryle was born in Brighton, England in 1900. The young Ryle grew up in an environment of learning. His father was a generalist who had interests in philosophy and astronomy, and passed on to his children an impressive library. Ryle was initially educated at Brighton College. In 1919, he went to Queen's College at Oxford, initially to study Classics but was quickly drawn to Philosophy. He would graduate with first class honors in 1924 and was appointed to a lectureship in Philosophy at Christ Church, Oxford. A year later, he was to become a tutor. Ryle remained at Christ Church until World War II.

A capable linguist, he was recruited to intelligence work during World War II, after which he returned to Oxford and was elected Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy and Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. He published his principal work, "The Concept of Mind" in 1949. He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1945 to 1946, and editor of the philosophical journal Mind from 1947 to 1971. Ryle died on 6 October 1976 at Whitby, North Yorkshire.

Edmund Husserl




Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl was a philosopher, known as the father of phenomenology. His work was a break with the purely positivist orientation and understanding of the science and philosophy of his day, giving weight to subjective experience as the source of all of our knowledge of objective phenomena.

Husserl was a pupil of Franz Brentano and Carl Stumpf; his philosophical work influenced, among others, Hans Blumenberg, Ludwig Landgrebe, Eugen Fink, Max Scheler, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Lévinas, Rudolf Carnap, Hermann Weyl, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Alfred Schütz, Pierre Bourdieu, Paul Ricœur, Jacques Derrida, Jan Patočka, Roman Ingarden, Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross), and Karol Wojtyla. In 1887 Husserl converted to Christianity and joined the Lutheran Church. He taught philosophy at Halle as a tutor from 1887, then at Göttingen as professor from 1901, and at Freiburg im Breisgau from 1916 until he retired in 1928. After this, he continued his research and writing by using the library at Freiburg.

Husserl died on April 26, 1938 at the age of 79.

J.L. Austin


John Langshaw Austin was a British philosopher of language, born in Lancaster and educated at Balliol College, Oxford University. Austin is widely associated with the concept of the speech act and the idea that speech is itself a form of action. His work in the 1950s provided the early underpinnings for the modern theory of speech acts developed subsequently by the Oxford-educated American philosopher John R. Searle and his followers.

After serving in MI6 during World War II, Austin became White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford. He occupies a place in philosophy of language alongside Wittgenstein in staunchly advocating the examination of the way words are used in order to elucidate meaning. Unlike many ordinary language philosophers, however, Austin disavowed any overt indebtedness to Wittgenstein's later philosophy. His main influence, he said, was the exact and exacting common-sense philosophy of G. E. Moore.

He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1956 to 1957.

Austin died on February 8, 1960 at the age of 48.

Lalo Schifrin



Lalo Schifrin is an Argentine-American pianist and composer.

Schifrin was born Boris Claudio Schifrin in Buenos Aires of Jewish heritage. At the age of six, Schifrin began a six-year course of study on piano with Enrique Barenboim, the father of the pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim. At age 16, Schifrin began studying piano with the Russian expatriate Andreas Karalis, former head of the Kiev Conservatory, and harmony with Argentine composer Juan-Carlos Paz. During this time, Schifrin also became interested in jazz.

Although Schifrin studied sociology and law at the University of Buenos Aires, it was music that captured his attention. At age 20, he successfully applied for a scholarship to the Paris Conservatoire. While there, he attended Olivier Messiaen's classes and formally studied with Charles Koechlin, a disciple of Maurice Ravel. At night he played jazz in the Paris clubs. In 1955, Schifrin played piano with Astor Piazzolla and represented his country at the International Jazz Festival in Paris.

After returning home to Argentina, Schifrin formed a jazz orchestra, a 16-piece band that became part of a popular weekly variety show on Buenos Aires TV. Schifrin also began accepting other film, television and radio assignments. In 1956, Schifrin met Dizzy Gillespie and offered to write an extended work for Gillespie's big band. Schifrin completed the work, Gillespiana, in 1958. Later that year Schifrin began working as an arranger for Xavier Cugat's popular dance orchestra.

While in New York in 1960, Schifrin again met Gillespie, who had by this time disbanded his big band for financial reasons. Gillespie invited Schifrin to fill the vacant piano chair in his quintet. Schifrin immediately accepted and moved to New York City. In 1963, MGM, which had Schifrin under contract, offered the composer his first Hollywood film assignment with the African adventure, Rhino! Schifrin moved to Hollywood late that year.

To date, he has written more than 100 scores for films, television and video games. Among the classic scores are The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Mannix, The Fox, Cool Hand Luke, Bullitt, Enter the Dragon, THX 1138, The Four Musketeers, Dirty Harry, The Big Brawl, The Cincinnati Kid, T.H.E. Cat, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Voyage of the Damned, Rollercoaster, The Amityville Horror and The Osterman Weekend.

One of Schifrin's most recognizable and enduring compositions is the theme music for the long-running TV series Mission: Impossible. It is a famously distinctive tune written in an unusual 5/4 time signature.

Recent film scores include Rush Hour, Rush Hour 2, Rush Hour 3, Bringing Down the House, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, After the Sunset, and Abominable. He also wrote the songs for Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow. In the 1999 film Tango, Schifrin returned to the tango music he had grown familiar with while working as Astor Piazzolla's pianist in the mid-1950s. He brought traditional tango songs to the film as well as introducing compositions of his own in which tango is fused with jazz elements.

In 1970, he composed the Paramount Television logo jingle "Color I.D." It was an 8-note jingle featuring horns, woodwinds and timpani. This music would have a long run in Paramount's TV production logos through 1987.

Schifrin's "Tar Sequence" from his Cool Hand Luke score was the longtime theme for the Eyewitness News broadcasts on New York station WABC-TV and other ABC affiliates, as well as National Nine News in Australia. CBS Television used part of the theme of his St. Ives soundtrack for its golf broadcasts in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Schifrin's working score for 1973's The Exorcist was rejected by the film's director William Friedkin. Schifrin had written six minutes of difficult and heavy music for the initial film trailer but audiences were reportedly too scared by the combination of sights and sounds. Warner Bros. executives told Friedkin to instruct Schifrin to tone it down with softer music, but Friedkin did not relay the message. Schifrin's final score was thrown out into the parking lot. Schifrin reported in an interview that working with Friedkin was the one of the most unpleasant experiences in his life.

To date, Lalo Schifrin has won four Grammy Awards, one Cable ACE Award, and received six Oscar nominations, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

16 July, 2008

Neville Chamberlain


Arthur Neville Chamberlain was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1937 to 1940.

Chamberlain's legacy is marked by his appeasement policy regarding his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding part of Czechoslovakia to German dictator Adolf Hitler. In the same year he also gave up the Irish Free State Royal Navy ports.

After working in business and local government and a short spell as Director of National Service in 1916 and 1917, Chamberlain followed his father and older half-brother in becoming a Member of Parliament in the 1918 general election at age 49. He declined a junior ministerial position, remaining a backbencher until he was appointed Postmaster General after the 1922 general election. He was rapidly promoted in 1923 to Minister of Health and then Chancellor of the Exchequer but presented no budget before the government fell in 1924.

He returned as Minister of Health, introducing a range of reform measures from 1924 to 1929. He was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in the coalition National Government in 1931 and spent six years reducing the war debt and the tax burden. When Stanley Baldwin retired after the abdication of Edward VIII and the coronation of George VI, Chamberlain took his place as Prime Minister in 1937.

Chamberlain was forced to resign the premiership on 10 May 1940, after Germany invaded the Netherlands, Belgium and France. He was succeeded by Winston Churchill but remained very well regarded in Parliament. Before ill health forced him to resign, he was an important member of Churchill's war cabinet. He had a key role in the formation of the Special Operations Executive. Chamberlain died of bowel cancer on 9 November at the age of 71just six months after leaving office.

Stanley Baldwin

Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, was a British statesman and three times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

He was born at Lower Park House, Lower Park, Bewdley in Worcestershire, England. Baldwin was educated at St Michael's School, Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge. His university career was blighted by the presence, as Master of Trinity, of a former schoolmaster who had punished him at Harrow for writing a piece of schoolboy smut. He was asked to resign from the Magpie & Stump (the Trinity College Debating Society) for never speaking, and after receiving a third-class degree in history went into the family business. As a young man he served very briefly as a Second Lieutenant in the Artillery Volunteers.

He proved to be very adept at the family business of iron manufacturing, and acquired a reputation as a modernising industrialist. Later he inherited £200,000 and a directorship of the Great Western Railway upon the death of his father Alfred Baldwin in 1908.

In the 1906 general election he contested Kidderminster but lost amidst the Conservative landslide defeat after the party split on the issue of free trade. In 1908 he succeeded his father as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bewdley. During the First World War he became Parliamentary Private Secretary to Conservative leader Andrew Bonar Law and in 1917 he was appointed to the junior ministerial post of Financial Secretary to the Treasury where he sought to encourage voluntary donations by the rich in order the repay the United Kingdom's war debt, notably writing to The Times under the pseudonym 'FST'. He personally donated one fifth of his quite small fortune. He served jointly with Sir Hardman Lever, who had been appointed in 1916, but after 1919 Baldwin carried out the duties largely alone. He was appointed to the Privy Council in the 1920 Birthday Honours. In 1921 he was promoted to the Cabinet as President of the Board of Trade.

In late 1922 dissatisfaction was steadily growing within the Conservative Party over its coalition with the Liberal David Lloyd George. At a meeting of Conservative MPs at the Carlton Club in October Baldwin announced that he would no longer support the coalition and famously condemned Lloyd George for being a "dynamic force" that was bringing destruction across politics. The meeting chose to leave the coalition, against the wishes of most of the party leadership. As a result Bonar Law, the new Conservative leader, was forced to search for new ministers for his Cabinet and so promoted Baldwin to the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer. In the November 1922 general election the Conservatives were returned with a majority in their own right.

The King turned to Baldwin to become Prime Minister. Initially Baldwin was also Chancellor of the Exchequer whilst he sought to recruit the former Liberal Chancellor Reginald McKenna to join the government. When this failed he appointed Neville Chamberlain.

The Conservatives now had a clear majority in the House of Commons and could govern for five years before holding a general election, but Baldwin felt bound by Bonar Law's pledge at the previous election that there would be no introduction of tariffs without a further election. With the country facing growing unemployment in the wake of free-trade imports driving down prices and profits, Baldwin decided to call an early general election in December 1923 to seek a mandate to introduce protectionist tariffs and thus drive down unemployment. Protection was not universally popular in the Conservative Party: "one must speak of the election being fought by a divided party." The election outcome was inconclusive: the Conservatives had 258 MPs, Labour 191 and the reunited Liberals 159. Whilst the Conservatives retained a plurality in the House of Commons, they had been clearly defeated on the central election issue of tariffs. Baldwin remained Prime Minister until the opening session of the new Parliament in January 1924, at which time the government was defeated in a motion of confidence vote. He resigned immediately.

Baldwin successfully held onto the party leadership despite calls for his resignation by some in the party. For the next ten months, an unstable minority Labour government under Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald held office. On 13 March the Labour government was defeated for the first time in the Commons, although the Conservatives decided to vote with Labour later that day against the Liberals. The general election held in October 1924 brought a landslide majority of 223 for the Conservative party, primarily at the expense of the now terminally declining Liberals. Baldwin campaigned on the "impracticability" of socialism, the Campbell Case, the Zinoviev Letter and the Russian Treaties. In a speech during the campaign Baldwin said:

It makes my blood boil to read of the way which Mr. Zinoviev is speaking of the Prime Minister today. Though one time there went up a cry, "Hands off Russia", I think it's time somebody said to Russia, "Hands off England".

Baldwin's new Cabinet now included many former political associates of Lloyd George: former Coalition Conservatives Austen Chamberlain (as Foreign Secretary), Lord Birkenhead (Secretary for India) and Arthur Balfour (Lord President after 1925), and the former Liberal Winston Churchill as Chancellor of the Exchequer. This period included the General Strike of 1926, a crisis that the government managed to weather, despite the havoc it caused throughout the UK. Baldwin created the Organization for the Maintenance of Supplies, a volunteer body of those opposed to the strike which was intended to complete essential work.

In 1929 Labour returned to office, the largest party in the House of Commons despite obtaining fewer votes than the Conservatives. In opposition, Baldwin was almost ousted as party leader by the press barons Lords Rothermere and Beaverbrook, whom he accused of enjoying "power without responsibility, the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages".

By 1931 Baldwin and the Conservatives entered into a coalition with Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald. This decision led to MacDonald's expulsion from his own party, and Baldwin, as Lord President of the Council became de facto Prime Minister deputizing for the increasingly senile MacDonald, until he once again officially became Prime Minister in 1935. His government then secured with great difficulty the passage of the landmark Government of India Act 1935, in the teeth of opposition from Winston Churchill, whose views enjoyed much support among rank-and-file Conservatives.

Baldwin did not advocate total disarmament but believed that "great armaments lead inevitably to war". However he came to believe that, as he put it on 9 November, 1932: "the time has now come to an end when Great Britain can proceed with unilateral disarmament".

With the second part of the Disarmament Conference starting in January 1933, Baldwin attempted to see through his hope of air disarmament. On 6 October Baldwin, in a speech to the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, pleaded for a Disarmament Convention.

On 14 October Germany left the League of Nations. The Cabinet decided on 23 October that Britain should still attempt to cooperate with other states, including Germany, in international disarmament. In late 1933 and early 1934 he rejected an invitation from Hitler to meet him, believing that visits to foreign capitals were the job of Foreign Secretaries. On 8 March 1934 Baldwin defended the creation of four new squadrons for the Royal Air Force against Labour criticisms.

On 29 March 1934 Germany published its defense estimates' which showed a total increase of one-third and an increase of 250% in its air force.

With MacDonald's physical powers failing him, he and Baldwin changed places in June 1935; Baldwin was now Prime Minister, MacDonald Lord President of the Council. In October that year Baldwin called a general election. Neville Chamberlain advised Baldwin to appeal to the country on a defense program against Labour, and to make it the leading issue in the election because to announce a rearmament program after the election would be more damaging due to it being perceived as deceiving the people. However Baldwin did not make rearmament the central issue in the election. He said he would support the League of Nations, modernize Britain's defenses and remedy deficiencies but also said: "I give you my word that there will be no great armaments". The main issues in the election were housing, unemployment and the special areas of economic depression. The election gave 430 seats to National government supporters (386 of these Conservative) and 154 seats to Labour.

On 31 July 1934 the Cabinet approved a report that called for expansion of the Royal Air Force to the 1923 standard by creating 40 new squadrons over the following five years. In April 1935 the Air Secretary reported that although Britain's strength in the air would be ahead of Germany for at least three years, air rearmament needed to be increased so the Cabinet agreed to the creation of an extra 39 squadrons for home defense by 1937. However, on 8 May 1935 the Cabinet heard that it was estimated that the RAF was inferior to the Luftwaffe by 370 aircraft and that in order to reach parity the RAF must have 3,800 aircraft by April 1937—an extra 1,400 on the existing air program. It was learnt that Germany was easily able to out build this revised program as well. On 21 May 1935 the Cabinet agreed to expanding the home defense force of the RAF to 1,512 aircraft (840 bombers and 420 fighters).

On 25 February 1936 the Cabinet approved a report calling for expansion of the Royal Navy and the re-equipment of the British Army, along with the creation of "shadow factories" built by public money and managed by industrial companies. These factories came into operation in 1937. In February 1937 the Chiefs of Staff reported that by May 1937 the Luftwaffe would have 800 bombers compared to the RAF's 48.[39]

On 28 November 1934 Churchill moved an amendment to the vote of thanks for the King's Speech, which read: "...the strength of our national defenses, and especially our air defenses, is no longer adequate".

The Labour Party strongly opposed the rearmament program. Clement Attlee said on 21 December 1933: "For our part, we are unalterably opposed to anything in the nature of rearmament".

He faced the abdication crisis of King Edward VIII. With the abdication successfully weathered he retired after the coronation of King George VI and was created Earl Baldwin of Bewdley.

Baldwin's years in retirement were quiet. In June 1945 Baldwin's wife Lucy died. Baldwin himself by now suffered with arthritis and needed a stick to walk. When he made his final public appearance in London in October 1947 at the unveiling of a statue of King George V a crowd of people recognized and cheered him, but by this time he was deaf and asked: "Are they booing me?" Having been made Chancellor of Cambridge University in 1930, he continued in this capacity until his death in his sleep at Astley Hall, near Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, on 14 December 1947. He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium and his ashes buried in Worcester Cathedral.