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Veronica Hamel: When intelligence matches beauty

By Ray Bennett LONDON – I had the tee-shirt in the photo above made and gave it to Veronica Hamel on the set of the hit American television cop series ‘Hill Street Blues’, in which she played attorney Joyce Davenport. … Continue reading

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Dave Robb, a fine reporter and great friend

By Ray Bennett LONDON — A friend of mine is gravely ill and so, risking his wrath, I want to write this now rather than later. David Robb is the best reporter I’ve ever known and I’ve been fortunate to … Continue reading

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John Barry on his favourite directors and composers

By Ray Bennett LONDON — English film composer John Barry, who was born on this day in 1933, won five Academy Awards and created the definitive music for James Bond but he remained very fond of his early British films … Continue reading

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When Burt Lancaster wrote me a letter …

By Ray Bennett LONDON – When the Burt Lancaster film ‘Birdman of Alcatraz’ (below) came out in 1962, I wrote about it in the Gravesend Reporter, where I was doing my training in Kent, England. Fascinated by the prisoner’s story, … Continue reading

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Charlie Rich belongs in the Country Music Hall of Fame

By Ray Bennett LONDON — Charlie Rich is the biggest star in country music not to be admitted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. It is time that was corrected. Charlie, who died in 1995 aged 62, was one … Continue reading

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At a country pub with Barnaby from ‘Midsomer Murders’

By Ray Bennett LONDON – ‘How on earth,’ asked John Nettles, ‘can Tom Barnaby be regarded as sexy? I haven’t the faintest notion.’ The British actor, who turns 80 today, played Detective Chief Inspector Barnarby on the internationally successful ‘Midsomer … Continue reading

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How movie queen Merle Oberon hid her dark past

By Ray Bennett LONDON – Michael Korda, publisher, novelist and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Simon & Schuster who turns 90 today, had a most colourful childhood with his uncle, film producer Alexander Korda who with a string of epic productions was … Continue reading

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Why, oh, so serious Charlton Heston never ran for office

By Ray Bennett LONDON – Charlton Heston, who was born on this day in 1923, was as stiff in person as he invariably was onscreen. He had not yet become a shill for the National Rifle Association when we spoke … Continue reading

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Trevor Howard on hellraising with Flynn and Mitchum

By Ray Bennett LONDON – ‘Nonsense,’ said English actor Trevor Howard. I had asked him if all the tales of him being a hellraiser were true. ‘Well, of course, one used to make noise when one was much younger but … Continue reading

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How Jerry Bruckheimer landed Tom Cruise for ‘Top Gun’

By Ray Bennett LONDON – Several actors claimed to have been first choice to play hot-shot pilot ‘Maverick’ Mitchell in ‘Top Gun’ but producer Jerry Bruckheimer told me Tom Cruise always had the part.

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