Thu. May 30th, 2024
alert-–-film-critic-barry-norman’s-younger-brother-took-his-own-life-at-86-after-becoming-disillusioned-following-the-death-of-his-beloved-wife-seven-years-earlier,-his-niece-revealsAlert – Film critic Barry Norman’s younger brother took his own life at 86 after becoming disillusioned following the death of his beloved wife seven years earlier, his niece reveals

Film critic Barry Norman’s younger brother Rick took his own life at the age of 86 after struggling to find happiness following the death of his beloved wife seven years earlier.

On May 2 earlier this year, Rick Norman was found dead by his neighbour Colin after his cleaner found the house ‘too quiet for comfort’ when arriving for the usual Monday shift. 

Writing for The Telegraph, Rick’s niece Samantha Norman – daughter of film critic Barry – said: ‘I ought not to have been shocked. It was hardly a secret to us in his family that Uncle Rick wanted to die. 

‘He would tell anyone who’d listen that his life was becoming intolerable.’

In 2016, Rick’s wife of 50 years Christine passed away. Since her death, Ms Norman said he had missed her ‘desperately’. 

Rick’s older brother, Barry Norman died in his sleep in 2017 at the age of 83. At the time, his daughters Samantha and Emma said: ‘He had a great life, a wonderful marriage and an enviable career.’

Film critic Barry Norman with his wife Diana (far left) and his daughters Emma (right) and Samantha (left)

His wife Diana Norman, who wrote a series of best-selling historical thrillers under the name Ariana Franklin, died in 2011 aged 77. 

Speaking of Rick, Ms Norman said: ‘Before extreme old age began to bite, he had been quite the bon viveur, spending much of his life travelling the world with my aunt, incautiously indulging his two great pleasures, food and drink.’

READ MORE: End credits roll after 47 years on BBC’s flagship ‘Film’ show made famous by Barry Norman

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She describes her uncle as ‘loving, charming, anti-social and curmudgeonly’.

Ms Norman said that Rick seemed ‘perfectly content’ with his circle of loved-ones, including his sons Mark and Matt, his daughters-in-law Nickki and Liza, and his five grandchildren.

Rick’s son Mark told Ms Norman that he was ‘surprised by his reaction’ to his father’s death. He added: ‘I suppose, mainly what I felt was that as long as he had done it on his own terms and he was at peace, it was somehow all OK.’ 

According to Ms Norman, the coroner at Rick’s inquest said his suicide was one of ‘the most meticulously planned they’d seen for years’. 

On his bedside table there were numerous pharmaceutical bottles, a Do Not Resuscitate wristband, a Do Not Resuscitate document, his living will and a bottle of Baileys.

A suicide note was also found following Rick’s death, which said he he’d been feeling ‘s***’ lately and had fallen twice – leading him to believe his days of independent living were numbered.

Pictured: Barry Norman and his daughter Samantha attend David Frost’s annual summer garden party at his home in Chelsea

Rick’s older brother, veteran broadcaster Barry Norman died in his sleep in 2017 at the age of 83

Ms Norman said Rick would frequently write to his local MP about the legalisation of euthanasia and would often broach the subject with family members. 

She said: ‘When he was in a particularly bad mood, the effort required to head him off at the conversational “I’m-no-use-to-anybody-I-ought-to-be-allowed-to-die” pass, could be wearing. 

‘After all, we’d heard it on repeat for the best part of seven years, ever since his beloved wife, my aunty Christine, died.

‘Just as he became adept at introducing the topic, apropos of very little, we became equally adept at shutting it down: “C’mon, Uncle Rick. Surely it’s not that bad? Aren’t there people worse off? Besides, what would we do without you?”

‘At which platitudes, he’d smile wryly and drop the subject, lulling us into a false sense of security that we’d managed to cheer him up and quell any desire to top himself and that, with luck, we wouldn’t have to discuss it anymore. Except, of course, that we hadn’t.’

Ms Norman said Rick believed he should be allowed to ‘die with dignity, at home, in his own bed’.

Following Barry Norman’s death in 2017, his daughters Samantha (pictured right) and Emma said: ‘He had a great life, a wonderful marriage and an enviable career’

Veteran broadcaster Barry Norman – who is known for his catchphrase ‘and why not?’ – presented the BBC’s Film… programme for 26 years from 1972

During his funeral in June, Ms Norman said the pall bearers brought his coffin into the chapel to the accompaniment of Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust, at Rick’s request. 

Rick’s older brother, Barry Norman died in his sleep in 2017 at the age of 83. His wife Diana Norman, who wrote a series of best-selling historical thrillers under the name Ariana Franklin, died in 2011 aged 77. 

Veteran broadcaster Barry Norman – who is known for his catchphrase ‘and why not?’ – presented the BBC’s Film… programme for 26 years from 1972.

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