Toni Onley


Categories: Artists

tonley.jpgToni Onley, an experienced pilot and well-known Canadian painter, died on Feb. 29 in a plane crash near Vancouver. He was 75.
Onley was practicing landings and take-offs in his LA4 Buccaneer amphibious plane when it went down. The aircraft plunged into the Fraser River, floated for a bit then submerged. The cause of the accident is under investigation. Onley previously survived the crash of another plane several years ago when it struck the side of a glacier.
Born in England, Onley studied painting under landscape watercolorist John Nicholson and attended the Douglas School of Fine Arts. He moved to Canada in 1948 and continued his education at the Doon School of Fine Art.
To support his artistic endeavors, Onley worked as a surveyor, draftsman, commercial artist and teacher. In 1957, he won a scholarship to the Institute Allende in Mexico, where he studied mural painting and fresco. During the 1960s, the prolific artist completed a 300 sq.ft. mural for the Queen Elizabeth Playhouse in Vancouver, and was one of seven artists chosen to represent Canada at the Paris Biennial.
Onley sold a painting for $500 in 1965 and used the money to learn how to fly. Wherever he traveled — Italy, England, Japan — Onley captured the landscape in his art. Inspired by the wilderness he viewed from the air, many of Onley’s later pieces focused on the coastal and mountainous areas of British Columbia. He also donated artwork to raise funds for environmental groups that worked to save some of the area’s old growth forests.
Onley earned $930,000 for a single canvas in 1981, which at the time was the highest price ever paid to a Canadian artist. His work was shown in galleries around the world and featured in his autobiography, “Flying Colours.” He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1999.
Watch Video Interviews With Onley


Kiki McCabe

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Categories: Hollywood, Medicine, Writers/Editors

Mary Catherine “Kiki” Priester McCabe, an Emmy Award-winning soap opera writer, died on March 7 from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She was 75.
The Iowa native first broke into show business as a secretary to soap opera maven Agnes Nixon. In the early 1960s, Nixon created the daytime dramas “One Life to Live” and “All My Children,” and served as the head writer on many others. Originally, Nixon dictated to McCabe. But over time, Kiki came to know the characters intimately and would offer story suggestions.
For the next 20 years, they were a top notch writing team with Nixon developing plotlines and McCabe writing dialogue for soaps like “Guiding Light” and “Another World.” From 1970 to 1983, they penned scripts for “All My Children”; McCabe even won an Emmy Award for her writing.
In 1986, McCabe obtained a master’s degree in social work from the University of Georgia. She spent her final years working as a counselor for the DeKalb Mental Health Center in Atlanta, Ga.


Steve Thoburn


Categories: Business

sthoburn.jpgSteve Thoburn, a greengrocer in Sunderland, England, earned the nickname the “Metric Martyr” in 2001 when he refused to sell his wares using the metric system.
For selling bananas by the pound, Thoburn’s scales were seized by Trading Standards officers and used in his prosecution. European Union rules adopted by the British Parliament allow fruit and vegetables to be labeled in both metric and imperial measures, but all produce must be sold in grams and kilograms only.
Thoburn was found guilty of breaching the Weights and Measures Act and given a conditional six-month discharge. He and four other British vendors appealed the conviction to the House of Lords, but ultimately lost their two-year legal battle.
Thoburn left school when he was 16 and joined the family fruit and vegetable business. He opened his own shop in Southwick market in 1989, where he worked six days a week.
Britain’s most famous fruit vendor died on March 14 from heart failure. He was 39.


Jorge Guinle


Categories: Hollywood

Jorge Guinle, a once-wealthy playboy who romanced several movie stars, died in poverty on March 5 after refusing to undergo surgery to remove an aneurysm in his aorta. He was 88.
Heir to one of Brazil’s wealthiest families, Guinle moved to Hollywood in the 1940s. He took a job reviewing scripts set in Brazil for accuracy, and spent his off-hours partying with movie stars like Orson Welles and Ronald Reagan. He even shared an apartment with Errol Flynn.
Known as “Jorginho,” the suave Guinle bragged in interviews and in his memoir, “A Century of the Good Life,” about his romantic liaisons with Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner, Veronica Lake, Marilyn Monroe and several other beautiful starlets. Although he was married three times, Guinle earned a reputation as a playboy who threw lavish champagne parties until he squandered his entire fortune. He spent his final years living off a government pension.
“The secret of living well is to die without a cent in your pocket. But I miscalculated, and the money ran out too early,” Guinle once said.


Les Gray


Categories: Musicians

lgray.jpgThomas Lesley Gray, the lead singer of 1970s glam rock group Mud, died on Feb. 21 from a heart attack. He was 57.

Gray played the trumpet in his school band and joined a traditional jazz band when he was 12 years old. He later wrote commercials for an advertising agency and played in a skiffle group called The Mourners with his younger brother, Pete.

In 1966, Gray, drummer Dave Mount, bassist Ray Stiles and guitarist Rob Davis formed Mud. The band won a talent contest and appeared on “The Basil Brush Show,” then toured Great Britain as the opening act for Jack Jones. Mud produced more than a dozen hit singles, including the chart-toppers “Lonely This Christmas,” “Tiger Feet” and “Oh Boy.” “Tiger Feet” was the biggest-selling single of 1974.

The band split up three years later, and Gray launched a solo career. He released five singles between 1977 and 1982, and toured as Les Gray’s Mud. In 1981, he also recorded “Rock on Elvis” under the name Tulsa McLean.

After smoking 50 cigarettes a day, Gray spent his final years battling throat cancer. Although doctors wanted to remove his voicebox, he opted for chemotherapy instead.

Watch Classic Mud Video Clips

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