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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 20th June 2008
(Rpt) Sunday 22nd June
Matthew Bannister
Matthew Bannister tells the life stories of people who have died recently: Stan Winston, Peter Asquith, Cyd Charisse, Jack Skinner and Esbjörn Svensson.
Stan Winston
Special effects and makeup artist who has died aged 62

The robot in “Terminator”, the Queen in “Aliens”, the T Rex in “Jurassic Park” and the Predator  were all the work of Stan Winston. He won no less than four Oscars for make up and visual effects and was nominated a further six times.

Stan Winston collaborated regularly with directors like James Cameron and Tim Burton, for whom he developed the make up and effects for Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands and Danny de Vito as the Penguin in Batman Returns. He studied painting and sculpture at the University of Virginia and then after graduating, he moved to Hollywood with the aim of becoming an actor. When he failed to find work, he took a make up apprenticeship at the Walt Disney Studios.

In 1972, he set up his own company – Stan Winston Studios – which has grown to become one of the most sought after in the industry.

Matthew Bannister talks to Shane Mahan and Lindsay MacGowan who worked with Stan Winston.

Stanley Winston was born April 7th 1946. He died June 15th 2008.
Peter Asquith
Co-founder of Asda who has died aged 81

Peter Asquith started his working life at sixteen in the family butcher’s shop in Pontefract in West Yorkshire. He ended it as life president of the Asda supermarket chain which he co-founded with his brother Fred.

Peter Asquith’s emphasis on discounting built the business from its first supermarket in his home town to become one of the big four chains that dominate food shopping in Britain. Even though the company is now owned by the American giant Wal Mart, Peter still went in to work every day until he died. He also became a successful racehorse owner and trainer with a stud run by his daughter Gay Scott.

Matthew Bannister talks to Gay Scott and to Andy King who worked with Peter Asquith at Asda for twenty years.
Cyd Charisse
Dancer and actress who has died aged 86 

They said her legs were insured for ten million dollars – and certainly Cyd Charisse’s pins were extremely valuable to MGM studios in Hollywood. She was a classically trained ballerina who had taken up dancing to strengthen her muscles after suffering from polio as a child. Her grace of movement and natural beauty made her an obvious choice to partner the two great male dance stars of the 1940s and 50s – Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Cyd Charisse appeared with Astaire in Bandwagon and Silk Stockings and with Kelly in Brigadoon and Singin’ In The Rain.

Matthew Bannister talks to the British dancer Lionel Blair.

Cyd Charisse was born March 8th 1921. She died June 17th 2008.
Jack Skinner
Canal boatman who has died aged 88 

Jack Skinner was one of the last canal boatmen who made his living transporting freight on Britain’s waterways. He came from a long line of canal carriers and boat builders, going back two hundred years.

Jack was born in a cottage at Braunston in Northamptonshire at the junction of the Oxford and Grand Union canals. At just three weeks old, he was taken on board his parents’ narrow boat, and spent the rest of his life either on or beside the water. In 1946 Jack married Rose Hone, the daughter of another established canal family, and the pair formed a partnership of equals as they plied their trade up and down the inland waterways.

Matthew Bannister talks to local historian Catherine Robinson and to Rose Skinner.
John Thomas "Jack" Skinner who was born August 19th 1919. He died April 28th 2008.
Esbjörn Svensson 
Jazz muscian who has died aged 44

Esbjörn Svensson was the leader of a Swedish jazz trio who had made a big impact internationally. Often playing to young audiences in rock venues, Svensson was known for his vibrant piano playing style. His trio – E.S.T - won awards for their records in their native Sweden as well as in Germany and France. 

The jazz musician and radio presenter Julian Joseph pays tribute to Esbjörn Svensson.

Esbjörn Svensson has died in a scuba diving accident aged 44.
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