Journo Roderick Mann, who wrote for the London Express and the Los Angeles Times, died Sept. 17 in Los Angeles. He was 87 and had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Mann covered showbiz for the London Express from the 1950s to the 1980s. His column, Mann About Town, was syndicated internationally and led to friendships with thesps David Niven, Cary Grant and Richard Burton among others. But while he wrote about showbiz he could be discreet and despite many high-priced offers to pen biographies refused to betrayed friendships.
After serving in the Royal Air Force during World War II when he took part in the Battle of Britain, Mann started his journalism career in Birmingham. Moving to London he worked for James Bond author Ian Fleming for a spell before joining the Express, writing for both the daily and Sunday editions.
In 1978 he was lured to Los Angeles by then-Calendar editor Charles Champlin. He wrote for both the Times and the Express until his retirement in 1988. At the time, Mann said the core of his profession is “to listen.”
“I’m an interviewer. I listen to people talking. … The only trick, I suppose, lies in steering the conversation in the right direction. And being interested in your subject.”
Mann penned four books, “Nothing to Declare,” “The Headliner,” “The Account” and “The Foreign Body,” which was directed by Ronald Neame pic starring Victor Banerjee and Trevor Howard.
Survivors include his wife of 25 years, Anastasia.