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They are gone ... but their work lives on

Published:Sunday | January 3, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Some noted names in entertainment died in 2009. We remember them and their work.

Intuitive artist Roy Reid died in January at age 71. His depictions of the 'common' man earned him the respect of his peers. His painting of the 1980 fire at the Eventide Home in Kingston, in which 144 elderly inmates were killed, is regarded by experts as his best work.

Saxophonist Egbert Evans, an Alpha Boys' School graduate who worked with performers like Freddie McGregor and Burning Spear, died in July at age 56.

Dancehall icon, Wycliffe 'Steely' Johnson, a keyboardist best known as a member of the duo Steely and Clevie, died in September at the Brookhaven Memorial Hospital in Suffolk County, New York. He was 47 years old. Johnson and his musical partner, Cleveland 'Clevie' Browne, produced the majority of dancehall hits of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Playwright Trevor Rhone, co-writer of The Harder They Come and some of Jamaican theatre's treasured plays, died from a heart attack in September. He was 69. Born in St Catherine, Rhone's timeless work included the comedy Smile Orange, which was a hit as a play and film. Another popular play, Old Story Time, was based on a Jamaican family's climb to upward mobility.

Trinidadian man of letters, Wayne Brown, died in September at the age of 65. He succumbed to cancer at his St Andrew home. He was best known for his insightful newspaper column, 'In Our Time', which ran in the Trinidad Express and the Jamaica Observer, and the book Edna Manley: The Private Years.

Fashion designer and journalist Norma Soas died in October at age 68. Soas worked at the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation and The Gleaner Company before switching to a career in haute couture. Her designs were part of the local fashion scene for nearly 40 years.

Wycliffe Bennett, the arts and theatre luminary, died in October at age 87. Bennett produced epic events, such as the 1972 celebration marking the centenary of Kingston as Jamaica's capital. He also did two stints as general manager of the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation.

Singer David Isaacs scored a big hit with the song Just Like The Sea in 1979. His first local-chart entry came after almost 20 years in the music business, working with producers like Lee 'Scratch' Perry. Isaacs was 63.

Bandleader Sonny Bradshaw died in October in London, England, two months after suffering a stroke. He was 83 years old. Bradshaw made a name as a trumpeter in the big-band era of the 1940s, when his contemporaries included saxophonists Tommy McCook and Wilton Gaynair. He was founder of the Sonny Bradshaw Seven, former president of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians, and founded the Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival in 1993.