Tim Pigott-Smith RIP


One of the best mini-series villains of all time was Major Ronald Merrick, played with sneering desperation by Tim Pigott-Smith in the 1984 hit, The Jewel in the Crown.


His major, furiously driven by the knowledge that he would never measure up in the super-stratified society of the English upper-crusties in India during World War II, still had that one indelible moment of pure, aching vulnerability when Daphne Manners gently turned down his proposal of marriage. He was doomed, and he knew it. (Especially when compared to the suave heartthrob, Charles Dance.)


Pigott-Smith was an incredibly versatile actor, and starred in 2015 as King Charles III on Broadway in the eponymous play that brought him even more acclaim in this country. He still had the aura of youthfulness, as Glenn O’Brien did (my obit yesterday), so it was a shock to see that he died suddenly at the age of 70.


There is something about that age, I guess. (Alan Rickman nearly made it. I still miss him terribly.)


I confess: I used to have a daily subscription to the New York Post. Back then, it was a fun read: the best gossip on Page Six and the most stupidly offensive political cartoons, a pithy horoscope, decent arts coverage, and Michael Reidel’s weekly eviscerations of Broadway flops. But when Rupert Murdoch’s minions and the columnists they hired turned so completely fascist and racist in their coverage of our president, I cancelled it. I refused to put a penny in their pockets. And I don’t miss it at all.

Especially as, in their desperate drive to stop hemorrhaging money, they are going down and dirty. As in this cover. (I cut off the lower right which shows the victim frozen in fear.) It is truly sickening to see a man about to die, pushed on the subway tracks by a deranged person—it’s any commuter’s most indelible fear.

It is almost as bad as one of the worst things they ever printed: a photo of Eric Clapton’s four-year-old, Conor, lying dead on a roof after falling out the window in a horrible accident. His limbs were twisted and there was a trickle of blood coming out of his nose. Even though this happened in March 1991 I can still remember the absolute shock of opening the paper and seeing the terrible image of that broken little boy. There was such a clamor of outrage that they quickly removed the photo from all subsequent editions, but by then the damage was done.

And that is what Rupert Murdoch calls the news.

For more of the reaction to the subway photo, go to: ttp://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/nypost-photo-subway-tracks-cover-173659604.html.