Been and Gone: Mexico's fearless mayor and other losses
- 5 December 2012
- From the section Magazine
Our regular column covering the passing of significant - but lesser-reported - people of the past month.
Maria Santos Gorrostieta paid the ultimate price for crossing the leaders of Mexico's vicious drugs cartels. A doctor, she served as mayor of her small home town of Tiquicheo, situated in an area notorious as a battleground between gangs operating in the cocaine trade. During her time in office, she fought to improve the social conditions of the poorest in her area. While she did not directly confront the local drugs barons, they saw her as a target. In 2009 she survived an assassination attempt in which her husband died. The gangs tried again three months later, shooting up a car in which she was a passenger. In a gesture of defiance, she insisted on photographs of her wounds being released with the message that she would fight on. She was abducted while driving her daughter to school and her body found dumped by the roadside five days later. She was just 36.
The progressive rock band Renaissance never achieved the fame of peers such as Yes and King Crimson, but they had a strong following for their brand of sweeping symphonic music. Guitarist Michael Dunford was responsible for much of the writing and arranging during the band's most creative period. Albums such as Prologue and Ashes are Burning cemented the band's reputation and showcased Dunford's beautiful acoustic guitar playing. The album A Song for All Seasons contained a Top 10 single, Northern Lights, but changes in musical tastes, particularly the onset of punk, saw Renaissance struggling to stay together and the band split up. Dunford soldiered on with the band's charismatic singer Annie Haslam and a reformed Renaissance recorded and toured at the end of the 1990s. Before joining Renaissance, Dunford had cut his musical teeth with the 1960s pop group The Nashville Teens.
Mild-mannered and bespectacled, Beverley Goodway was miles away from the popular image of a glamour photographer. Yet he was the man principally responsible for shooting the models who adorned Page Three of The Sun newspaper, an institution that has divided opinion for years. Over a 30-year period he photographed some of Britain's most famous glamour models, including Samantha Fox, Jordan and Linda Lusardi. He adopted a fatherly concern for his subjects, many of whom spoke of his professional approach and caring attitude. He began his career with a news agency before moving to The Times. He joined The Sun, then a broadsheet in 1968 as a fashion photographer. "In those days," he said, "fashion shots were really only an excuse to get a picture of a pretty girl in the paper. Rather than looking for excuses, The Sun just said, 'Here's a picture of a pretty girl'."
When Christopher Stamp watched The High Numbers smash up their equipment at the end of a gig, he decided he could steer them to fame and fortune. Together with his partner Kit Lambert, he persuaded the band to change their name to The Who and sent them off to London's best boutiques to clothe themselves in the latest mod styles. Neither Stamp nor Lambert had any experience of managing a band but both took to the rock star lifestyle like ducks to water, living the same hedonistic lifestyle as the band members. Stamp acted as producer on many of the band's albums including Tommy and Quadrophenia. Stamp and Lambert parted company with The Who in 1977 when the band thought that their managers were not paying sufficient attention to actually managing them. Stamp managed to kick his various addictions and set up as a counsellor in alcohol and substance addiction in New York.
For a period of 12 years Sir Philip Ledger was the man behind the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols traditionally broadcast on Christmas Eve on BBC Radio 4. As organist and choirmaster at King's College, Cambridge, he also led the choir on major tours abroad and worked with them on a number of recordings. He was a successful recording artist in his own right as well as a composer and arranger, mainly of choral music. Kings was his alma mater where he excelled as a student. He was appointed master of music at Chelmsford Cathedral, at the time the youngest holder of such a post. He then became the artistic director of the famous Aldeburgh festival. After leaving King's, he became principal of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, now known as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. During his time there he greatly expanded the institution, adding new facilities for students.
Joe Melia sprang to fame as the first actor to play the role of Bri in Peter Nichol's groundbreaking play, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. The play was instrumental in helping to change the way people thought about disability as Melia pushed a wheelchair containing a disabled 10-year-old girl onto the stage and started making jokes about doctors. Like many of his generation, Melia cut his teeth in the Cambridge Footlights review which landed him stage and film parts. He was a regular performer in satirical TV shows of the 1960s and was able to switch effortlessly from serious drama to comedy. For years he was a stalwart of the Royal Shakespeare Company, taking on a wide variety of roles. On TV he was a regular storyteller on Jackanory and appeared in the BBC series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and A Very Peculiar Practice.
Among others who died in November were:
- Actor who found fame as JR Ewing Larry Hagman
- Respected football manager Dave Sexton
- Railway Children and Genevieve actress Dinah Sheridan
- Former governor of the Falkland Islands Rex Hunt
- Corporal Jones in Dad's Army Clive Dunn
- Coronation Street actor Bill Tarmey