James Leavey obituary


My father, James Leavey, who has died aged 75, was a journalist, author, actor, blogger, broadcaster, cigar aficionado and raconteur.

His winding profession path started in 1964, when he grew to become highway supervisor of his faculty mates’ band, The Villains, earlier than finding out appearing at Mountview theatre faculty, then in north London (1968-70). Apart from showing in varied London reveals and dealing backstage and entrance of home for West Finish productions of Cabaret, The Sound of Music and Fiddler on the Roof, James carried out Shakespeare in basketball stadiums on Mountview’s first US coast-to-coast tour in 1970. His final theatre work got here backstage on the English Nationwide Opera within the Nineties.

Although he skilled as a trainer at Sidney Webb School, Westminster (1974-76), he determined to not pursue a profession in that discipline. As an alternative he grew to become deputy editor of Database, the journal for Publish Workplace computing employees, in 1980, and wrote about topics together with movie, artwork and theatre.

In 1984, he transferred to British Telecom’s advertising division, the place he labored on the introduction of 0800 phone numbers and was seconded to develop a number of the earliest video video games, together with Booty, Elite and Fowl Strike, below Telecomsoft’s Firebird label.

He went freelance in 1990, engaged on business magazines and writing the Sharing an Ashtray column for Punch journal (2000-02), for which he interviewed many well-known people who smoke. He edited The Forest Smoker’s Information to London (1996) and The Forest Smoker’s Information to Scotland (1998), which led to an look within the BBC Horizon documentary We Love Cigarettes (2006). He obtained The Snow Queen Cigar Author of the Yr award in 2015.

James was born in Beckenham, Kent, to Mary Leavy and Werner Pfeifer, a German U-boat captain and ex-prisoner of warfare. By the age of eight, he had already written his first e book and was dreaming of a job in journalism. He left St Anthony’s faculty in Penge at 15 and, regardless of his headmaster saying he had no future as a journalist, inside three months he had written his first article for a weekly journal referred to as Southern Africa, the place he labored as an editorial assistant.

His first marriage having resulted in divorce, James met his second spouse, Gwenda Silsby, in 1992, once they had been each members of a social membership referred to as London Village. They married in 1994. From 1988 to 2009, he volunteered as a presenter of Nice Ormond Road hospital radio, Hospital Radio Barnet and Angel Group Radio on the Isle of Wight, which is the place he spent his later years with Gwenda.

Gwenda survives him, as do Jerome and I – his kids from his first marriage, to Flora Camboni – and his granddaughter.


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