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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


It never ceases to amaze me how some families produce people of immense and wide-ranging talents.

I was raised with the story of the heroic failure of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Scott of the Antarctic, beaten to the South Pole by Amundsen, then dying so bravely in the frozen wastes. The film starring John Mills was a classic.

I also used to watch the naturalist Peter (later Sir Peter) Scott on wildlife programmes on TV, with no idea that he was actually the good Captain's son, born in 1909, and only a toddler when his father died.

Sir Peter was a great wildlife artist, too, and he was the leading light behind the formation of the World Wildlife Fund. A great man in a completely different way from his father, whom he can't have known, but whose legend he presumably grew up with.

Captain Scott

Sit Peter Scott

Sir Peter Scott with David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough is another great naturalist. Though now 73, he still manages to go places and do things younger mortals would consider too taxing or dangerous. He has been a wildlife presenter and documentary maker for 50 years or more, and is regarded as a National Treasure.

Sir David Attenborough and friend

Here he is presenting an amazing bird in the rainforest.

You can also hear his fascinating 10-minute "Life Stories" on BBC Radio4 each week, the latest of which is here:

I don't know how well-known David is across the world, but his elder brother's reputation is truly international.
Richard (now Lord) Attenborough has been a widely-acclaimed actor for decades, and his role in Jurassic Park as the park's founder means that he has remained a very recognisable figure. He is also an outstanding film director, his most famous work being Gandhi in 1982.
Tragedy hit in 2004 when his daughter and granddaughter were lost in the Asian Tsunami.

Lord Attenborough

The Attenboroughs' father was an eminent academic, his mother one of the founders of the Marraige Guidance Council.

How does it happen that some people, like the Attenboroughs, live up to their families and grow into achievers, while others rebel and amount to nothing?
How is it that some kids, like Peter Scott, who lose a parent very young and under tragic circumstances do things that would have made the dead parent proud, but others use it as an excuse to be a failure?
If we only knew the answers to such questions, we could solve a lot of the world's problems.

Richard and David Attenborough


JanetOOO said...

I could listen to Sir David Attenborough's
voice for hours on end. I never miss
anything he is in.

As for your question..... I believe it has
everything to do with excellent
mothering (parenting). If you are not
loved, disciplined, and encouraged
at home when you go out the door
you are unlikely to get too far.

SnarkAngel said...

OMG! Love the bird imitating the sound of the camera shutter!

Eliza said...

Thats a bit of a deep post for today. I do think it has a lot to do with how we are raised..strong positive carers make all the difference. My parents weren't around too much when I was little, for various reasons, but my grandparents were there for me every step of the way..without them I have no doubt I would have turned out very differently

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Sorry that was me, typing gibberish!

I think David is 83 Val, only because I seem to remember they did a wonderful documentary tribute for his 80th birthday.

Because my parents had to work when I was little, I spent a LOT of time with my gran, my mother's mother, who I absolutely adored. Funny, I never felt the same about my dad's mother, but that might have been because she seemed incredibly ANCIENT to me, even when I was little, whereas my mum's mum never did. She raised 4 children solo, with little money coming in once my grandad (already long dead and in a grave with no headstone when I was born) returned from WW1 virtually wheelchair bound after being gassed in the trenches. She scrubbed floors in other people's houses and in local schools and churches to make ends meet. I'd like to think I have at least SOME of the strength of character she had....

val said...

That's my maths for you, Diane! I worked it out from his DoB - wrongly.

JoJo said...

I would agree w/ JanetOOO, about the excellent mothering, but for the fact that my dad was an orphan and grew up w/o any parents, yet managed to be the most amazing, kind, loving, hard working, generous father a girl could have. And he had zero parenting.

I guess it depends on how much a person wants to play the 'Victim' in life.

Like they said in "Blind Spot", a person can go either way....

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