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Sheridan Morley Remembered

Followers of the world of Arts and Theatre will now all be aware of the sad death of the first Vice President of the Noël Coward Society, Sheridan Morley. For most of us he ignited our affection for the more intimate view of Noël Coward that we discovered within the pages of his first authorised biography of The Master. His distinctive presence at NCS events, in the company of his wife Ruth Leon, will always remain with us, as will memories of his warmth and generosity.

His tangible connection with Coward - he was possibly one of the last people who knew him really well - his heritage as the son of Robert Morley and grandson of Gladys Cooper - the large body of work - broadcasts and later writings and his background in the theatre gave him a gravitas epitomised by his distinctive and instantly recognisable voice. For the society he was the ultimate ambassador and more importantly a great friend. Despite a recent history of intermittent illness he attended events, promoted us at his performances and was always there when needed. He will be best remembered as an Arts broadcaster and theatre critic. For the Coward world he was, as Literary Executor of Noël’s Estate, his man on ‘media earth’ and the voice championing his worth on numerous radio broadcasts over the years. He and Ruth were looking forward to a year in New York. One of our other VPs Stephen Fry who is currently in South Africa has sent condolences to his family. Our world will be so much poorer for losing Sheridan.

Obituaries: The Times - The Telegraph - The Guardian - The Independent
Washington Post - Bloomberg (interview with Ruth Leon) - Los Angeles Times

Alan Farley will be rebroadcasting Sheridan Morley's appearance on "My Favorite Things" (KALW a 'desert island disc' style programme) on Tuesday 6 March at 7:30pm PST Listen...

There is an interview with Ruth Leon about her husband on Bloomberg.com. More info...

Quotations...

"If you can bring yourself to imagine Liberace as King Lear," he wrote after an evening at Cliff Richard's musical Heathcliff, "you will perhaps have some concept of what takes place in what is indubitably the worst musical since Mel Brooks's Springtime For Hitler."

He also had a wonderful store of anecdotes involving some of Britian's theatrical legends.

Morley recalled an occasion in the 1980s when, walking along Piccadilly with John Gielgud, they spotted Margaret Thatcher, then at the height of her powers, coming towards them. As they both knew her slightly, they stopped. Gielgud asked where she was now living. "No 10, Downing Street," replied the Prime Minister with some surprise. "Oh, you women!" exclaimed Gielgud, full of admiration. "Always so clever at buying the right kind of property!

Once, when Morley was crossing Leicester Square with Noel Coward, they saw a poster for an adventure movie starring Michael Redgrave and Dirk Bogarde entitled The Sea Shall Not Have Them.
"I fail to see why not," Coward remarked. "Everybody else has."