Category Archives: Interviews

Mel Gibson, great filmmaker, shame about the demons

By Ray Bennett LONDON – I’ve spent time with Mel Gibson, who turns 65 today, and always found him to be genial, open and likeable even though he gave me a clue about his demons in an interview in 1984. … Continue reading

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Jack Elam on westerns, auditing, acting … and that fly

By Ray Bennett LONDON – With his blind left eye, American character actor Jack Elam, who was born 100 years ago today, made a perfect villain in hundreds of TV shows and feature films but he told me he was a better … Continue reading

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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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