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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 28 August 2009

The lives of Senator Edward Kennedy; geologist and African adventurer Campbell Bridges; Gregory's Girl producer Clive Parsons; jazz guitarist Lawrence Lucie. With Matthew Bannister.

  • Edward Kennedy

    US Politician and member of the Kennedy family who has died aged 77.

    Senator Edward Kennedy, known as the “lion” of the American senate, was a member of the Kennedy political dynasty. Politics was always Teddy Kennedy’s destiny, although his career didn’t always run smoothly. He was the youngest of the nine children of Joseph and Rose Kennedy who both came from wealthy Irish American political families. After his brother John F Kennedy was elected President in 1960, Ted was elected to the Senate in 1962 and represented Massachusetts until his death. The assassination of JFK in 1963 and Bobby Kennedy in 1968 left Ted unexpectedly the senior political figure in the family for more than four decades.

    Matthew Bannister talks to Kennedy biographer, Dr Robert Dallek, to former Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, to former British Ambassador in Washington, Peter Jay, and to former Senior Advisor to President Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal.

    Senator Edward Kennedy was born on 22 February 1932 and died on 25 August 2009.

  • Campbell Bridges

    Geologist who has died aged 71.

    In exploring his beloved Africa, searching for gems, Campbell Bridges often risked his life, and was finally brutally murdered in Kenya in a mining rights dispute. He studied geology at university in Johannesburg and then began a life of adventure. He made his home in Africa and travelled to the remotest parts of the continent in search of rare gemstones, including tanzanite – a blue gem rarer than diamonds, and tsavorite - a dark green garnet. His work brought him an international reputation: he was a consultant to Tiffany’s in New York, a member of the Gemological Institute of America, and a founder member of the International Coloured Gemstone Association.

    Matthew Bannister talks to Campbell Bridges’ son, Bruce Bridges.

    Campbell Bridges was born on 25 August 1937 and died on 11 August 2009.

  • Clive Parsons

    Film producer who has died aged 66.

    Film producer Clive Parsons is perhaps best known for producing the film Gregory’s Girl, directed by Bill Forsyth, and starring the young John Gordon Sinclair. Clive qualified as a barrister, but he used his legal credentials to get into the movie business, first at Paramount Pictures, and then as Head of Business Affairs at Warner Brothers UK. It was there he met his long term business partner Davina Belling, and in 1971 the pair set up their own company, finding success with Gregory’s Girl, and notoriety with Scum – a film about life in a borstal which had previously been dropped by the BBC.

    Matthew Bannister talks to Clive Parson’s business partner Davina Belling, to the Director of Gregory’s Girl, Bill Forsyth, and to the film’s star, John Gordon Sinclair.

    Clive Parsons was born on 15 August 1942 and died on 12 August 2009.

  • Lawrence Lucie

    Jazz guitarist who has died aged 101.

    Lawrence was a guitarist whose career spanned the history of jazz. He performed with many of the genre’s greatest musicians including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Billie Holliday, and he was the last living musician known to have recorded with the New Orleans jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton.

    Last Word hears from Lawrence Lucie in his own words and music.

    Lawrence Lucie was born on 18 December 1907 and died on 14 August 2009.


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    Last Word

    Radio 4’s obituary programme, marking the lives of significant figures who have died recently,…

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