Category Archives: Interviews

Martin Shaw hasn’t always been a TV copper

By Ray Bennett Martin Shaw, who turns 75 today, is known best for playing TV coppers in “The Professionals” and “Inspector George Gently” but he also has had a long stage career in roles from Stanley Kowalski to Lord Goring … Continue reading

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Recalling Peter Cook and his effortless comedy

By Ray Bennett LONDON – Peter Cook, who died 25 years ago today aged 57, was the funniest person I ever saw and ever met. He was naturally, effortlessly funny but he was never ‘on’ in the way some comedians … Continue reading

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Sidney Lumet on high comedy and great acting

By Ray Bennett LONDON – American filmmaker Sidney Lumet, who was born 95 years ago today and died in 2011, made a series of fine and gripping social dramas from the 1950s through the 1980s but he was a big … Continue reading

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Michael Caine: recalling a class act at the 2000 Oscars

By Ray Bennett Spending time with Michael Caine is always a pleasure and since today is his 86th birthday, here’s one of my favourite encounters from 2000. LOS ANGELES – It’s ironic that the word on everyone’s lips following Michael Caine’s … Continue reading

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Russell Baker: a gift ‘for fooling around with words’

By Ray Bennett LONDON – The great New York Times columnist Russell Baker, who has died aged 93, was one of my journalistic heroes and when I interviewed him in 1989 he turned out to be everything I’d hoped. He … Continue reading

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Tomboy Barbara Mandrell loved to be called sexy

By Ray Bennett LONDON – Barbara Mandrell, who turned 70 on Christmas Day, was country when country wasn’t cool but in 1981, when she was 32, she loved it when I told her I thought she was a knockout. “Well, … Continue reading

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Randy Newman at 75: Part Two – Film composer

By Ray Bennett LONDON – Randy Newman, who turned 75 on Nov. 28, has Academy Awards, Grammy Awards and Emmy Awards and he is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He’s also a very funny man. He told … Continue reading

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Recalling … giggling over lunch with the great Cleo Laine

By Ray Bennett LONDON – It was lunchtime at the Hotel Pontchartrain  in Detroit and things were getting a bit silly. Cleo Laine was talking about Kurt Weill and the Berliner Ensemble when someone mentioned Monty Python and soon she … Continue reading

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Drinking wine in the sunshine with Patrick Swayze

By Ray Bennett LONDON – Patrick Swayze jumped menacingly from the corral fence to the dusty ground of his ranch in the flats next to the Angeles Forest in La Canada. “Steve McQueen said what?” he said. “There’s nothing tough … Continue reading

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On the James Bond set with Roger Moore

By Ray Bennett LONDON – Roger Moore, who died on May 23 aged 89, told me that really he was a frustrated bank robber. “It’s only fear that’s stopped me from robbing banks, and that’s why I’m a movie actor. … Continue reading

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