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Sir Ludovic Kennedy


1919 - 2009

Writer and broadcaster, born in Edinburgh the son of a naval officer. Kennedy was educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford. His father was killed early in World War II, when his ship HMS Rawalpindi was sunk by the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst and the young Kennedy soon followed him into the navy and saw action against the Bismarck, later described in his book Pursuit (1974).

His work involved both radio and television, including being a presenter of Independent Television News (ITN), Panorama for the BBC and writing in Newsweek magazine. His books have often revealed injustice; his celebrated 10 Rillington Place (1965) brought to light a grave miscarriage of justice and effectively ended the death penalty in Britain. In 1971, this book was made into a film starring Richard Attenborough and John Hurt. He explored another unsafe conviction in Presumption of Innocence (1976), which brought a Royal Pardon for Patrick Meehan (1928-94). Kennedy's other books include Very Lovely People: A Personal Look at Some Americans Living Abroad (1969), Nelson and His Captains (1975) and his narrative history of Scotland and its people, In Bed with an Elephant (1995).

In 1950, he married ballerina Moira Shearer (1926 - 2006). He was known as an atheist and a supporter of voluntary euthanasia, notably resigning from the Liberal Democratic Party because he found his views on this issue at odds with those of its leader, Charles Kennedy (b.1959), a Roman Catholic. He went on to fight Tory grandee, and another Roman Catholic, Michael Ancram (b.1945) for the seat of Devizes in the 2001 General Election on a platform of the legalisation of assisted suicide.

Kennedy was knighted in 1994, for services to journalism, and held honorary degrees from the Universities of Edinburgh, Stirling and Strathclyde.

He died in a nursing home in Salisbury, Wiltshire, but was buried alongside his wife at Durisdeer.


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