TRIBUTES were paid to the “shining light and life” of Simon MacCorkindale on February 12 as 200 friends attended a memorial service in London. He would have celebrated his 62nd birthday.
Famous friends of the actor included Twiggy, Gloria Hunniford and Anthony Andrews were among the stars who arrived to pay their respects.
The actor’s widow, actress Susan George, 63, said of her husband of 28 years: “He was the love of my life. He was my rock.”
On 14 October 2010 the ruggedly handsome actor died in his wife Susan George's arms aged 58 at the London Clinic after a five-year battle against cancer.
They had just celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary at the time. Susan said in an interview with the Mail Online about his passing: ‘In the few days before, he was in and out of sleep because he was in a lot of pain. I was holding his hand, and at one point he looked up at me and said, “Don’t worry darling, I’m not going anywhere.” 'And I told him, “I know you’re not – don’t be ridiculous. I’m just here and we’re going to get through this blip. We’ve been here before MacCork, and we’re here again.” Simon had already recovered from four bouts of cancer-related pneumonia.'
But in spite of the hope they both clung to, Simon’s cancer, first diagnosed in the colon and later found in his lung – could not be conquered in spite of him undergoing all kinds of treatments including chemotherapy, homeopathy, a strict macrobiotic diet, use of Amazonian herbs and spiritual healing.
A host of stars who had either worked with Simon or were personal friends, crowded in to St Paul’s church in Covent Garden. There were tributes from Hayley Mills, Tom Conti, Anthony Andrews, Casualty star Tristan Gemmill, Tracey Childs of the TV series Broadchurch, and Susan George.
They spoke of Simon’s “passion for life, passion for art, and a passion for people”.
Dame Maggie Smith, who worked with him on the film Death On The Nile, sent a message from India, where she is filming. Christopher Plummer said in a message: “He brought joy to the world and was a man of courage.”
Tenor Russell Watson sang The Prayer with soprano Natasha Marsh.
At the end of the service the Rector, the Rev Simon Grigg, invited everyone to give Simon “an almighty final applause”. They left to the sounds of bagpipes played by a kilted piper.