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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 07 May 2010

On Last Word this week:
The campaigner for gay rights Antony Grey. He was a leading figure in the lobbying that produced the legalisation of homosexuality for adults over the age of twenty one in 1967.
Also: Jean-Louis Dumas who turned the French luxury brand Hermes into a multi billion dollar global company.
The actress Lynn Redgrave who had a gift for comedy and battled her personal demons in public.
Guenter Wendt who was in charge of the final pre-flight checks before pioneering American astronauts launched into space.
And Avigdor Arikha, the Israeli artist whose first drawings depicted the horrors of the concentration camp where he was taken as a child.


    Gay rights campaigner who has died aged 82.

    Antony Grey was a leading campaigner for gay rights. He led the lobbying that resulted in the legalisation of homosexual acts between consenting adults over the age of twenty one in 1967. And he went on to take a prominent role in subsequent campaigns for the equal treatment of gay and lesbian people. Antony learned his lobbying skills working for the British Iron and Steel Federation. He later became secretary of the Homosexual Law Reform Society, a position he held for twenty years, and he was also Director of the Albany Trust, known for its pioneering work with sexual minorities.

    Matthew spoke to Jeremy Clarke of the Albany Trust and to Antony’s friend and fellow campaigner Andrew Lumsden.

    Antony Grey (A. E. G. Wright) was born on October 6, 1927 and died on April 30, 2010.


    President of Hermes house of fashion who has died aged 72.

    Jean-Louis Dumas turned the luxury French fashion company Hermes into a multi billion dollar global brand. He was the great grandson of Thierry Hermes who founded the company to sell handcrafted bridles and saddles in 1837. They soon branched out into exclusive leather goods, accessories and clothes. The company’s silk scarves and ties became popular with the wealthy. Under his leadership, the company created the iconic Birkin handbag inspired by the actress Jane Birkin.

    Matthew spoke to the actress Jane Birkin and to the style and brand expert Peter York.

    Jean-Louis Dumas was born on February 2 1938 and died on 1 May 2010.


    Actress and playwright, from the Redgrave acting dynasty who has died aged 67.

    The deaths of Vanessa Redgrave’s daughter Natasha Richardson in a skiing accident and her brother Corin last month, have now been followed by the death of her younger sister Lynn. Lynn Redgrave was a talented actress with a particular gift for comedy. She came to prominence as part of Laurence Olivier’s first National Theatre company and went on to make a number of films which epitomised the swinging sixties, most notably Georgy Girl. She made her home in the United States and appeared regularly on Broadway. She was nominated for an Oscar for her supporting role with Ian McKellen in the film “Gods and Monsters”.

    We spoke to Lynn’s long time friend and fellow actress Caroline John and to the theatre critic Michael Coveney.

    Lynn Rachel Redgrave was born 8 March 1943 and died 2 May 2010.


    NASA engineer who has died aged 85.

    For the pioneering American astronauts of the 1960s and 70s, the last face they saw before blast off was that of Gunter Wendt. The German born engineer was officially known as “Pad Leader” – which made him responsible for all the pre flight checks at the top of the rocket as it sat on the launch pad.

    Matthew spoke to John Tribe, former NASA colleague and to the astronaut Jim Lovell.

    Guenter Wendt was born Aug 28, 1923, and died May 3, 2010.


    Israeli artist who has died aged 81.

    The Israeli painter Avigdor Arikha seemed to take the opposite artistic journey from most twentieth century artists. He began as an abstract artist, but gave up the form after a crisis in the 1960s. For eight years he refused to do anything but draw. But then he resumed figurative painting, capturing the details of life around him. He also painted portraits including a portrait of the Queen Mother and the actress Catherine Deneuve.

    Matthew spoke to friend and former TV feature maker Patricia Wheatley.

    Avigdor Arikha, painter, was born on April 28, 1929 and died on April 29, 2010.


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