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Stars that died 2010

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bob Holness, South African-born British quiz show host and actor (Blockbusters), died he was 83.

Robert Wentworth John Holness was a British radio and television presenter died he was 83..

(12 November 1928 – 6 January 2012)

Early life

Holness was born in Vryheid, Natal, South Africa.[2] When he was seven,[3] his family moved to the UK, initially to Herne Bay, Kent where his grandfather Nathaniel was brought up, then later to Ashford, Kent. After attending Ashford Grammar School (now The Norton Knatchbull School) and Maidstone College of Art,[4] he then worked for a printing company before returning to South Africa. In 1955, he received his first job as a radio presenter. He also married Mary in 1955, whom he met in South Africa. In 1956 he played 'Agent 007' in a radio production of Moonraker.[2][3][5] The couple returned to the UK in 1961. His daughter, Ros, was a member of the band Toto Coelo.
Holness joined the BBC as a presenter on Late Night Extra, initially on the BBC Light Programme and later on BBC Radio 1 and 2, presenting alongside people like Terry Wogan, Michael Parkinson and Keith Fordyce. From 1971, the show was broadcast solely on Radio 2. Between 1975 and 1985, he was co-presenter with Douglas Cameron of the breakfast-time AM Programme on London's LBC radio station. He originally joined the station as an airborne traffic reporter. He won the Variety Club Award for 'Joint Independent Radio Personality of the Year' in both 1979-84.[citation needed]
Between 1985-97, he returned to Radio 2, presenting many shows including Bob Holness Requests the Pleasure and Bob Holness and Friends, as well as covering various weekday shows for holidaying presenters. From the late 1960s Until 1998, he also presented the request programme Anything Goes on the BBC World Service.[2]

Baker Street

Holness was the subject of an urban myth,[6][7] claimed to have been initiated in the 1980s by broadcaster Stuart Maconie who, writing for the New Musical Express in a section called 'Believe It Or Not', said that Holness had played the saxophone solo on Gerry Rafferty's 1978 song "Baker Street".[8] Tommy Boyd, among others, has disputed Maconie's claim to authorship of the rumour.[9] The actual performer was Raphael Ravenscroft. The story clearly appealed to Holness' sense of humour as he often played along with the myth, and also at various times jokingly claimed to be the lead guitarist on Derek and the Dominoes' "Layla", and the mysterious individual putting Elvis Presley off his stride on the 'laughing' version of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

Television career

In 1962, Holness became the host of UK game show Take a Letter, was relief host of Thames Television's magazine programme Today in 1968, and from 1983 until 1994 presented the British version of Blockbusters, for which he is best known. In 1995, he hosted Yorkshire Television's big-budget game show flop Raise the Roof before becoming the chairman of a revived Call My Bluff for the BBC. Holness appeared on one episode of Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway in 2004, when he presented the last round of Ant and Dec's Blockbusters, with Ant as a contestant.[citation needed]

Personal life, illness and death

Bob Holness gave his support to many charities, including the children's charities Teenage Cancer Trust, Young People's Trust for the Environment and National Children's Home (now Action for Children), of which he was vice-President from 1994.[10] These were among the approximately 30 charities that he supported.[11]
On 24 November 2002, Holness suffered a major stroke, following which a brain scan revealed he had previously suffered a number of transient ischaemic attacks over several years. He also suffered from hearing loss, and began to use a hearing aid in 2003.[12] He was diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2005.[13] In the last few years of his life he suffered from vascular dementia and lived in a nursing home.[14]
His family announced on 6 January 2012 that he had died that day, in his sleep, aged 83.[5] He is survived by his wife Mary, as well as their three children, Carol, Ros and Jon, and seven grandchildren; Sam, Tom, Arthur, Theo, Rylan, Cassian and Lily.[5]


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