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Australia Clive James, the kid from Kogarah, dies aged 80

19:01  27 november  2019
19:01  27 november  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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One of Australia's most acclaimed cultural exports, Clive James , has died in England aged 80 . Key points: Rising to fame as a writer, James later became a prominent Clive James on the difference between writing poetry and prose (An excerpt from ABC TV's Clive James : The Kid From Kogarah ).

Clive James , the Australian writer and broadcaster known around the world for his dry wit, has died at the age of 80 . Born Vivian James in 1939, he moved to England in 1961 and rose to prominence as a literary critic and TV columnist. He went on to deliver wry commentary on international programming

a man wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Clive James was a celebrated broadcaster and author. (News Online Brisbane) © Provided by ABC News Clive James was a celebrated broadcaster and author. (News Online Brisbane)

One of Australia's most acclaimed cultural exports, Clive James, has died in England aged 80.

He had been diagnosed with leukaemia and emphysema in 2010 and since then, had been telling the world of his impending death.

A statement on his website confirmed he died at home in Cambridge on Sunday (local time) and a funeral was held Wednesday.

The 'Kid from Kogarah', a prolific wordsmith with an acerbic intellect, colossal vocabulary and passion for poetry, always retained a fondness for his Australian heritage, despite five decades of British residency.

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Liza Minnelli joins Clive James for The Clive James Show. (Neil Munns – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images). He was also a prolific writer, penning a number Born Vivian Leopold James in 1939 in Kogarah , a southern suburb of Sydney, he changed his name to Clive as a child, choosing the name

Clive James dies at 80 . The Australian was born in Kogarah , New South Wales and settled in England in 1961. Clive was a respected writer and broadcaster. A statement from United Agents read: " Clive died almost 10 years after his first terminal diagnosis and one month after he laid down

James's sharp wit infiltrated households throughout the world as he entertained thousands with his newspaper columns and multiple radio and television programs.

In a career spanning 50 years, James also published poems and essays, memoirs, literature and song lyrics.

New Republic once observed that when James died, it would be as if a plane had crashed with five or six of England's best writers aboard.

His daughter Claerwen referred to him a "a showman and a recluse at the same time."

James will quite likely be best remembered for his hilarious and insightful first autobiography, Unreliable Memoirs, which he described as "a dream of Australia which shows Australia as a dream."

However, as death approached, James's offerings became those of a man reconciling his fate.

Acclaimed Australian poet and broadcaster Clive James dead at 80

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Author and TV personality Clive James , who was known for his dry humour and insightful reviews, has died from leukaemia the age of 80 .

Clive James AO CBE FRSL (born Vivian Leopold James ; 7 October 1939 – 24 November 2019) was an Australian critic, journalist, broadcaster and writer who lived and worked in the United Kingdom from 1962 until his death in 2019.

Rather than fade away, his illness seemed to inspire within him an urgency to capture every idea and thought.

Since 2010, he published seven books, including a translation of Dante's Divine Comedy and Sentenced to Life, a collection of poems described by the New York Times as "harrowing" and "gravid with meaning".

Until mid 2017, he was penning a weekly column for The Guardian called Reports of My Death in which he wrote about "life, death and everything in between" in an amusing deadpan style.

Poetry was first and lasting love

Of all his contributions to literature, James's greatest passion was for poetry.

He published five collections of verse and wrote lyrics for musician and close friend Pete Atkins.

"Writing song lyrics is my favourite form of writing anything," he told The Guardian in 2008.

He and Atkins collaborated for 40 years with James making his vocal debut in 1975 singing a rendition of the Telly Savalas hit, If.

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https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-28/ clive - james - dies - aged - 80 /5751522. his evening shows were very entertaining.

Author, critic and TV presenter Clive James died on Sunday. The esteemed and enthusiastic Australian writer, aphorist and performer Clive James has died at the age of 80 . The family thanked medical staff who “allowed him to die peacefully and at home, surrounded by his family and his books”.

[Peter Atkin and Clive James YouTube]

In an interview in The Australian in early 2015, James described how his fertile mind worked.

"An idea comes in the head like a tiny meteorite that's been roaming about in space," he said.

"It comes in and hits you right in the head. The idea!

"The word needs capital letters all the way through! The IDEA is everything."

As his health deteriorated, James continued to write yet more emotive poetry, illuminating literature and incisive criticism.

Japanese Maple, a heartfelt poem released in 2014 and based on the tree given to him by his daughter, detailed his revelations about life and death.

As expected, he treated the subject with dignity, elegance and grace.

His last poetry collection, Sentenced to Life, published in April 2015 was described by The Independent as "essentially, a love letter to Australia".

James was working on a collection of literary reflections, to be entitled Latest Readings, at the time of his death.

In 2013, motivated by his declining health, he finally published a translation of Dante's Divine Comedy, a project which had been a decade in the making.

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Kogarah kid's childhood of hi-jinks

Born Vivian Leopold James on October 7, 1939 in Kogarah, a suburb of Sydney, his mother later gave him the choice of a new first name.

He settled on Clive after watching a Tyrone Power movie at the Saturday matinee.

An only child, James never knew his father, who survived imprisonment in a Japanese POW camp only to be killed in a plane crash on his way home from WWII.

The death of his father and its effect on his mother's happiness had an immense impact on James, who regularly referred to his father's tragic demise.

In the first volume of his memoirs, James wrote about his lack of paternal guidance and his subsequent amusing but hair-raising childhood escapades."I was witness to the full force of human grief, and I was six-years-old and there was nothing I could do about it. And I think that probably marked me for life," he said in a 2007 interview.

He not only detailed the antics of his fatherless youth but the subsequent stress inflicted on his widowed mother and admitted to a self-destructive streak in a 2012 interview.

An ardent smoker, he once filled a hub cap with cigarette butts in one day.

After leaving Sydney Technical High School, James studied psychology at Sydney University where he edited the university's student newspaper.

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He soon became associated with the Sydney Push, a group of liberal-thinking intellectuals and, aged 22 and uncomfortably aware of his mother's proximity, he fled to London.

The lure of swinging London

London in the 60s was a far cry from Sydney where James lived a bohemian existence alongside fellow Australian émigrés Robert Hughes and Germaine Greer.

While studying at Cambridge University, he began contributing to various undergraduate periodicals and his writing soon came to the attention of London's literary editors.

He also found himself president of Footlights, the university's amateur theatrical club.

In 1972, The Observer newspaper hired James to write a weekly column of humorous and scathing television reviews, which ran for ten years.

It was during this time that James first appeared before the cameras, gradually becoming a renowned television presenter while also writing and hosting numerous TV series and specials.

These included Clive James on Television, Fame in the 20th Century and the pioneering travel program series, Postcards From ... .

He is also credited with bringing Japanese reality TV to British audiences in presenting a selection of hilarious clips of Japanese game show contestants half killing themselves in the name of entertainment.

James retired from television in 2001 to focus on his writing, and began presenting a weekly BBC Radio 4 broadcast, A Point of View.

It gave him the opportunity to deliver pithy reflections on issues ranging from politics to pop culture in a series of vocal "essays".

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"The secret of criticism is to know what your real feelings are before you try to express them," he once said.

Declining health did not slow him down

Despite his declining health, James did not abandon his career — just redefined it on his terms, from the comfort of his home.

Most recently, he had focused his creative abilities on his personal website, www.clivejames.com, a platform for his cultural critique of art, music, poetry and literature.

It was here also that James showcased his series, Talking in the Library, a collection of interviews with charismatic individuals held in his home.

While maintaining his website and attending multiple medical appointments, he also continued to write a weekly television column for The Telegraph in London.

But it was not all literature for the multi-lingual James who was a fan of Game of Thrones, Formula One racing and art.

Tango dancing, another great love, led him to Buenos Aires to learn the technique before installing a dance floor in his flat in London.

An unlikely Lothario, James had a deep admiration for women, an interest which resulted in his being evicted from the family home in 2012 following revelations of an eight-year indiscretion with a former model.

"I realised that being a married man was the centre of my existence and the anchor," he told Kerry O'Brien in a 2013 interview.

"I'm not built for it. I'm built to be Ulysses — no physically perhaps!"

James made his last stage appearance at London's inaugural Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts in June 2014, and shared his effusive wit and humour — and the true poet within — with his audience.

''The poetry I write now, I think, is quite a lot more penetrating and sensitive than my earlier work — because it needs to be,'' he said.

''Inevitably you start saying goodbye. I like to think that I hit a sort of plangent tone of threnody, a sort of Last Post, a recessional tone."

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He joked about his frequent hospital visits, and said his illness provided "terrific material" for his poetry and allowed him to see that he had had a lucky life.

James was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1992, a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2010 and an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in 2013.

He is survived by his wife Prue Shaw and two daughters, Claerwen and Lucinda.

As I begin this last paragraph, outside my window a misty afternoon drizzle gently but inexorably soaks the City of London. Down there in the street I can see umbrellas commiserating with each other. In Sydney Harbour, twelve thousand miles away and ten hours from now, the yachts will be racing on the crushed diamond water under a sky the texture of powdered sapphires. It would be churlish not to concede that the same abundance of natural blessings which gave us the energy to leave has every right to call us back. All in, the whippy's taken. Pulsing like a beacon through the days and nights, the birthplace of the fortunate sends out its invisible waves of recollection. It always has and it always will, until even the last of us come home." — closing paragraph of Unreliable Memoirs

Pictures : People we lost in 2019

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