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Last Word
Listen to the latest editionFriday   16:00-16:30
Sunday 20:30-21:00 (rpt)

Radio 4's weekly obituaries programme
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This week
Friday 19th December 2008
(Rpt) Sunday 21st December
Matthew Bannister
Matthew Bannister tells the life stories of people who have died recently: Dr Conor Cruise O’Brien, Davey Graham, Mark Felt and Bettie Page.  
Dr Conor Cruise O'Brien
Former Irish government minister, author and journalist who has died aged 91

Dr. Conor Cruise O’Brien was a politician, an academic and a journalist who strongly opposed Irish Republicanism. He was born in Dublin in 1917 and worked in the Civil Service before joining the United Nations where he was embroiled in the crisis when Katanga tried to leave what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1961.

After holding two academic posts, he was elected to the Irish parliament as a Labour Party candidate in 1969. Given the job of Minister for Posts and Telegraphs he showed his hostility to Sinn Fein and the IRA by enforcing the ban on members of both organisations being interviewed by the media. After losing his seat in parliament in 1977, he left politics and Ireland to become Editor-in-Chief of the Observer newspaper. He published many books, including an acclaimed biography of his hero Edmund Burke, and a work which supported Zionism and the state of Israel. He was also a columnist for the Sunday Independent  and held a number of visiting professorships around the world.

Matthew Bannister talks to the former Irish Prime Minister Dr Garret FitzGerald and to Fintan O’Toole of the Irish Times .
Conor Cruise O’Brien was born November 3rd 1917. He died December 18th 2008.
Davey Graham
Folk-blues guitarist who has died aged 68

Davey Graham influenced many illustrious musicians from traditional folkies to rock players like Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and Ray Davies of the Kinks. Davey Graham’s father was an accountant from the Isle of Skye who was also an amateur singer and his mother came from Guyana. Perhaps this background explained Davey’s love of the exotic and his regular travels, picking up musical influences from around the world. He was impossible to categorise, being equally at home playing blues, folk, classical and jazz styles.

Matthew Bannister talks to Davey Graham’s friend and fellow musician Mike Head, to the half brother he only found later in life, Steve Williams, and to the great traditional guitarist and singer Martin Carthy.
Davey (Davy) Graham was born November 26th 1940. He died December 15th 2008.
Mark Felt
FBI official who helped to bring down Richard Nixon as the anonymous source 'Deep Throat' has died aged 95

Without Mark Felt, the Watergate scandal might never have been uncovered. He was the anonymous source, codenamed 'Deep Throat', who guided the Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein through the complex web of evidence which eventually ended up at the door of President Nixon.

Mark Felt was a senior FBI official who strongly disapproved of the way the Nixon administration was behaving. Woodward and Bernstein said they would never reveal their source until he died, but Felt confirmed his role in the Watergate story in an interview in 2005.

Matthew Bannister talks to our North America Editor Justin Webb.

William Mark Felt, Sr. was born August 17th 1913. He died December 18th 2008.
Bettie Page
Model who has died aged 85

Bettie Page was a secretary who became an iconic pin up in nineteen fifties America. The girl with the jet black bangs and the perfect figure paved the way for a new and more liberal era of sexuality, appearing in early Playboy centrefolds. But after a career that lasted less than ten years, she suddenly disappeared from view, adding to her mystique. She was unaware that her image had become a cult reproduced on T shirts, comic books, lighters and playing cards.

Bunny Yeager was one of the photographers who worked with Bettie Page. A particularly memorable photo shoot took place in a Florida wildlife park where Betty posed with and without animal print swimwear. 

Last Word talks to  Bunny Yeager who was one of the photographers who worked with Betty Page and to her agent Mark Roesler. 
Bettie Page was born April 22nd 1923. She died December 11th 2008.
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