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John Montefiore – Profound painter and teacher

For the past 22 years, John Montefiore was known to many of his friends as “Pranavanta”, a name given to him by his meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy, meaning “full of life-energy”. You didn’t have to be a spiritual giant to know that this was a particularly apt designation. Even as he lay in hospital, suffering [...]

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Dame Elizabeth Taylor – farewell to a queen of the screen

For the bulk of her career, Elizabeth Taylor was known more as a celebrity than as an actor. Foreshadowing the tabloid scrutiny of later stars, even her best screen performances were dwarfed by tales of her personal life. Magazines obsessed for decades with stories of her glamorous lifestyle (including her renowned collection of diamonds), her [...]

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Reginald Pitt – comic book ace

1929-2010. Published in the Sydney Morning Herald. It is rarely mentioned nowadays, but Australia once had a thriving comic book industry. American publications were banned from these shores in 1939 to preserve local currency reserves, opening the floodgates for Australian titles. Within a decade, 50 million locally published comics (both local creations and reprints of [...]

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Lynn Bayonas – creative force behind Australian TV hits

1943-2010. Published in the Sydney Morning Herald. Lynn Bayonas was a major force in Australian drama during the 1970s and 1980s, became the Nine Network’s head of drama during the heyday of local mini-series, and finished her career with the highly successful children’s series The Saddle Club. “There was no one she fought with, and [...]

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Edward Woodward – the screen’s legndary hard man

Actor. Born Croydon, England, June 1, 1930. Died Truro, England, November 16, 2009, aged 79. He was not the most obvious choice to play Harry “Breaker” Morant. Even though Morant was British-born, and Anglo stars had become a common addition to Australian films, Edward Woodward’s best-known role was as the callous, unstable secret agent Callan. [...]

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Paul Newman – cinema’s cool hand

Actor, director and philanthropist. Born Shaker Heights, Ohio, January 26, 1925. Died Westport, Connecticut, September 26, 2008.
Box-office popularity, critical acclaim, awards, admiration from his colleagues… However you look at it, Paul Newman was one of Hollywood’s greatest, appearing on Quigley Publications’ annual Top Ten Money Making Stars poll 14 times between 1963 (when he played the amoral Texan rancher in Hud) and 1986 (when he gave his Oscar-winning performance in The Colour of Money).

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Padraic Pearse McGuinness – Tribute

Journalist, editor, economist and commentator. Born Melbourne, October 27, 1938. Died Sydney, January 26, 2008. When P. P. McGuinness – a long-time critic of the federal honours system – accepted an Order of Australia in 2003 for service to journalism, he had just written one of his most memorable columns for the Sydney Morning Herald. [...]

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Robert Caswell – Tribute

Born Rockhampton, 1946. Died Sydney, October 29, 2006.
For Australian television writers, Scales of Justice (1983) was a promising sign. For years, while the most respected British and American writers had become almost as famous for their TV work as the actors, their Australian counterparts had suffered in obscurity. Scales of Justice, however, was unquestionably “a Robert Caswell series”.

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Screen Heroes Who Weren’t Just Putting On An Act

The Australian, 15 October 2004

The death of Christopher Reeve has received more attention than the deaths of many movie stars with more illustrious careers. The sadness so many felt on hearing that he had died of a heart attack on Monday was not just a response to his cinematic career. That, after all, was distinguished by a single role, albeit one he played extremely well.

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