My grandmother Ann Zeidberg passed away on Sunday morning. The funeral was this afternoon. Ann was 101 years old, so she led a full, long life. The last several years she was in poor health, so I feel it’s actually a relief that she is no longer suffering.
Ann could be very gruff (no doubt the result of both her being the daughter of working class immigrants from Eastern Europe and her growing up during the very difficult days of the Great Depression) but she was also caring in her own way, and I know she loved me. She always referred to me as “a handsome young man” which inevitably made me blush.
Due to the pandemic and her poor health, I didn’t have any opportunities to visit my grandmother over the past couple years. In a way that was a blessing, because I really hated to see her slowly fading away like she was.
Below is a photo of me with Ann from happier times, eight years ago. Michele and I had gone to a comic book convention at the Westchester County Center in June 2014, and afterwards we walked over to my grandparents’ house in White Plains to say “Hello.” Thank you to Michele for taking this photo of me with my grandmother.
British actor Peter Bowles passed away today at the age of 85. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Bowles had a career that spanned from 1956 to 2019, during which he appeared in a diverse selection of television shows, movies, and theatrical productions.
Depending upon your own particular interests, you may recall Bowles from one thing or another. To the general public in Britain he is probably best-known for his starring roles in the sitcoms To The Manor Born on BBC1 from 1979 to 1981 and Only When I Laugh on ITV from 1979 to 1982. Offhand I don’t recall having ever watched either of those shows. However I was very familiar with Bowles from his numerous appearances in British genre television over the years.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Bowles guest starred on such shows as Danger Man, The Saint, The Prisoner, Department S, The Avengers, The Protectors and Special Branch, often playing villains. In 1975 Bowles appeared in “The Fourth Horseman,” the first episode of the post-apocalyptic drama Survivors created by Terry Nation. Bowles played David Grant, the husband of lead character Abby Grant, portrayed by Carolyn Seymour; by episode’s end David, along with 99% of the human race, had been wiped out by a virulent pandemic, setting the stage for the rest of series.
Another of Bowles notable genre roles was in the Space 1999 episode “End of Eternity,” written by Johnny Byrne and directed by Ray Austin, broadcast in November 1975. Space 1999 was an ambitious sci-fi / space opera which often transcended its low budget and primitive special effects via an effective combination of quality writing & acting, resulting in a number of memorably disturbing episodes. “End of Eternity” is definitely among those. Bowles played Baylor, an immortal alien who the actor subsequently described as “the most evil man in the universe.” The combination of an absolutely chilling performance by Bowles and effective direction & staging from Austin succeeds in making Baylor a genuinely terrifying presence.
It absolutely speaks to Bowles’ skills as an actor and to his versatility that throughout his career he was able to so very successfully transition back & forth between drama and comedy, between playing the sinister villain and the normal, likable everyman.