35 thoughts on “Who Am I – U?”

  1. OZ

    10. Ursula Andress (1936) was born in Ostermundigen, Bern, Switzerland, the daughter of Anna, who was Swiss, and Rolf Andress, a German diplomat who was expelled from Switzerland for political reasons. He disappeared during World War II. Ursula is fluent in English, French, Italian, and her native German (Swiss German). She started her career as an art model in Rome, which led to her first roles in the Italian movie industry. Andress became famous as Honey Ryder, a shell diver and James Bond’s object of desire in Dr. No (1962), the first Bond movie. In a well-known scene, she rises out of the Caribbean Sea in a white bikini. The scene made Andress the “quintessential” Bond girl,[4] and is now considered iconic.

  2. Ferret

    7. Peter Ustinov (1921-2004) was an English actor, writer and dramatist. He was also renowned as a filmmaker, theatre and opera director, director, stage designer, screenwriter, comedian, humorist, newspaper and magazine columnist, radiobroadcaster and television presenter.
    Ustinov was born Peter Alexander Baron von Ustinow in Swiss Cottage, London. His father, Jona (né Jonah Freiherr von Ustinow), nicknamed “Klop” (Russian: Клоп, “bed-bug”), was of Russian, German and Ethiopian noble descent, and had served as a lieutenant in the Imperial German Air Force in World War I. Iona’s father was Plato von Ustinov. Iona (or Jona) worked as a press officer at the German Embassy in London in the 1930s, and was a reporter for a German news agency. In 1935, two years after Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, Iona von Ustinov began working for the British intelligence service MI5 and became a British citizen, thus avoiding internment during the war.
    Ustinov was educated at Westminster School. While at school he considered anglicizing his name to “Peter Austin” but was counselled against it by a fellow pupil who said that he should “Drop the ‘von’ but keep the ‘Ustinov’”. After training as an actor in his late teens, along with early attempts at playwriting, he made his stage début in 1938 at the Players’ Theatre, becoming quickly established. He later wrote, “I was not irresistibly drawn to the drama. It was an escape road from the dismal rat race of school.”

  3. OZ
    6. Unity Valkyrie Mitford (1914-1948) was a member of the aristocratic Mitford family, that traces its origins in Northumberland back to the eleventh century Norman settlement of England. Unity’s sister, Diana, was married to Oswald Mosley, leader of British Union of Fascists. In Britain and Germany, Unity was a prominent and public supporter of fascism and from 1936, a part of Hitler’s inner circle of friends and confidants for five years. Following the declaration of World War II, Mitford attempted suicide. It would seem that she never fully recovered from the injury and, despite calls for her to be tried as a traitor, she was allowed to end her days in the family home.

  4. John M

    9. John Updike (1932-2009) was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic. His most famous work is his Rabbit series (the novels Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit At Rest; and the novella “Rabbit Remembered”) which chronicled the life of Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom over the course of several decades, from young adulthood to his death. Both Rabbit Is Rich (1981) and Rabbit At Rest (1990) received the Pulitzer Prize. He is one of only three authors to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once. Updike published more than twenty novels and more than a dozen short story collections, as well as poetry, art criticism, literary criticism and children’s books.

  5. Araminta

    5. Umberto II (1904-1983) was the last king of Italy. He was born at Racconigi, in Piedmont. He was the third child, and the only son, of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Princess Elena of Montenegro. He served as the last King of Italy for slightly over a month, from 9 May 1946 to 12 June 1946.
    Following the overthrow of Benito Mussolini in 1943, King Victor Emmanuel handed over his constitutional functions to Umberto, who was made Lieutenant General of the Realm. Umberto earned for himself widespread praise for his role in the following three years.
    Umberto had by the time of a referendum on the continuation of the monarchy become king, Victor Emmanuel having reluctantly and belatedly abdicated a few weeks before. Some believe that had he handed over the throne in 1943, the monarchy would have won the 1946 referendum on its survival.
    The monarchy formally ended on 12 June 1946 and Umberto became a king in exile, leaving Italy forever. Umberto lived for 37 years in exile, in Cascais in Portugal, a popular old gentleman, nicknamed “Europe’s grandfather”, at many of Europe’s royal weddings. During Umberto’s lifetime, the 1947 constitution of the Italian Republic barred all male heirs to the defunct Italian throne from setting foot on Italian soil again. Female members of the Savoy family were not barred except consort queens.
    President Sandro Pertini wanted Umberto to be allowed to return to his native country by the Italian parliament when he was dying in 1983. Ultimately, however, he died in Geneva. No representative of the Italian government attended his funeral.

  6. Well I would have got Ursula and John Updike (saw him at Hay. Woo) and I was kind of hoping for Ethelred the Unready but I don’t think he’s there… 😉

  7. CWJ

    Seems you know more about him than I do! I chose him because of the Galileo connection…

    1. Urban VIII (1568-1644) became Pope in 1623. He was the last pope to expand the papal territory by force of arms and was a prominent patron of the arts. He is most noted for his initial patronage of Galileo, who he summoned to Rome. Unfortunately, it would appear that Urban never forgave Galileo for putting the argument of God’s omnipotence in the mouth of Simplicio, a staunch Aristotelian whose arguments had been systematically destroyed in the previous 400-odd pages and he staunchly resisted all efforts to have Galileo pardoned. In 1624, Urban issued a papal bull making smoking punishable by excommunication.

  8. Jan – And I wss hoping for U Thant, Secretary General of the UN in the sixties, but he ain’t there either. Nos. 3 and 4 are doin’ my head in so I’m off to bed now and will have another look in the morning.

    Nighty night all.


  9. CWJ

    2. James Ussher (1581-1656) was Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland between 1625 and 1656. He was a prolific scholar. In 1639, he published the most substantial history of Christianity in Britain to that date, Britannicarum Ecclesia cum Antiquitates – the antiquities of the British churches. It was an astonishing achievement in one respect – in gathering together so many previously unpublished manuscript sources. He is best known for his work, Annalium pars Postierior, published in 1654. In this work, he calculated the date of the Creation to have been nightfall preceding 23 October 4004 BC.

  10. Araminta
    8. Galina Ulanova (1928-1944) was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia. She is frequently cited as being one of the greatest 20th Century ballerinas. Her flat in Moscow is designated a national museum, and there are monuments to her in Saint Petersburg and Stockholm.
    Ulanova studied in Petrograd under Agrippina Vaganova and her own mother, a ballerina of the Imperial Russian Ballet. In 1944, when her fame reached Stalin, he had her transferred to the Bolshoi Theatre, where she would be the prima ballerina assoluta for 16 years. The following year, she danced the title role in the world premiere of Sergei Prokofiev’s Cinderella.
    Ulanova was a great actress as well as dancer, and when she was finally allowed to tour abroad at the age of 46, enraptured British papers wrote that “Galina Ulanova in London knew the greatest triumph of any individual dancer since Anna Pavlova”. Having retired from the stage at the age of 50, she coached many generations of the Russian dancers. Ulanova was the only dancer to be awarded Hero of Socialist Labour, and she was also awarded the highest exclusively artistic national title, People’s Artist of the USSR. She was also awarded the Lenin or Stalin Prizes in 1941, 1946, 1947, 1950, and 1957.

  11. Morning all.

    Another success Boa, I was here at 7:30, got number 10 but Oz beat me to it (sob!)

    Those last 2 sound rather tricky, I’ve a feeling some might get the author but as for the chap that designed the boats ?? (I didn’t even know that a name such as his existed!) 😉

    By the way your dates for Ulanova (#24) appear incorrect, when I looked her up I got 1910 – 1998.

  12. Thanks Soutie – It’s pretty obvious from what I’ve written that I got it wrong! 🙂

  13. Janus
    3. Thomas Urquhart (1611-1660) was a Scottish writer and translator, most famous for his translation of Rabelais. He was born to an old landholding family in Cromarty in northern Scotland. At the age of eleven he attended King’s College, University of Aberdeen. Afterwards he toured the Continent, returning in 1636. In 1639, he participated in the Royalist uprising known as the Trot of Turriff and was knighted by Charles I at Whitehall for his support.
    Urquhart’s father died in 1642, leaving behind a large estate encumbered by larger debts. As the eldest son, Urquhart was from that time on harassed by creditors. He left for the Continent in order to economize, but returned in 1645 and published Trissotetras, a mathematical treatise.
    In 1648, Urquhart participated in the Royalist uprising at Inverness. He was declared a traitor by Parliament, although he doesn’t seem to have suffered any other consequences. Two years later he marched with Charles II and fought in the Battle of Worcester. The Royalist forces were decisively defeated and Urquhart was taken prisoner. He lost all his manuscripts, which he had brought with him for safekeeping, and he had to forfeit all his property. He was held first at the Tower of London and later at Windsor, but he was given considerable freedom by his captors. The following year he published Pantochronachanon, a work of genealogy, and The Jewel, a defence of Scotland. In 1652, he was paroled by Cromwell and returned to Cromarty. Soon after he published Logopandecteision, his plan for a universal language, and his most celebrated work, his translation of Rabelais.
    Urquhart returned to the Continent some time after 1653, perhaps as a condition of his release by Cromwell. Little is known of his life after this time. He died no later than 1660, because in that year his younger brother took up his hereditary titles. There is a legend that Urquhart died in a fit of laughter on receiving news of the Restoration of Charles II.

  14. boadicea :

    Soutie knows who it is!

    Ha ha 🙂

    Ja, but I look them up, I consider it a sort of homework assignment to be completed in the mornings while all the rest of our members are still sleeping 😉

  15. Looking them up is just as valid as ‘knowing’ them. Please let me put this one to bed and tell us the results of your research!

  16. Oh, okay then but only if you insist (I think of it a cheating 😦 )

    Uffa Fox, what sort of name is Uffa? I thought that I was looking up some football association 😉

  17. Soutie

    You might as well get one Brownie Point for your efforts! I’m inclined to agree with the name…

    4. Uffa Fox (1898-1972) was an English boat designer and sailing enthusiast. He was the father of the planing dinghy. Having worked on high speed power craft, Uffa believed that if a dinghy hull were made the right shape, and her crew held her upright, she could be made to plane over the surface.
    Prior to the second world war Uffa had established his name primarily in the world of dinghies, where his designs dominated the National Twelves, Fourteens and Eighteens.
    During the second world war Uffa conceived the idea of the Airborne Lifeboat, a vessel to be carried beneath aeroplanes and dropped by parachute to survivors of ditched aircraft. Lightly built, with lines that blended to the shape of the planes, the Airbornes had sails, engine, survival kit and instructions on how to sail. Many aircrews owed their lives to Uffa’s invention. Years later he was caught by Eamon Andrews on the television programme “This is Your Life” where many of the airmen that had been rescued by the were able to thank him. For all his success in the field of yacht racing he maintained that this was his most fulfilling design. Although he had been well known in yachting circles for many years it was Uffa’s association with royalty which spilled his name over on to the broad mass of the British public. He and the Duke of Edinburgh raced together on the Dragon Bluebottle.

  18. Yes OZ, U Thant would have been good. I might have got him. And I’d definitely have got Uma Thurman.

    Uffa Fox’s story is fascinating, though. I’d heard of him vaguely but had no idea of his achievements or what he looked like. Good stuff, Boa! 🙂

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