Clive James – critic, essayist, poet and novelist and TV performer – has finally died after a decade of parodying his imminently expected passing from leukaemia and emphysema. Described as “a beloved Australian, a supreme entertainer, and a polyvalent literary wizard” who “could put Rambo and Rimbaud in the same sentence, virtually invented TV criticism – and, from his epic poems to his chat show quips, shot an Aussie rocket into the English language.”
He once described Arnold Schwarzenegger as resembling “a large brown condom filled with walnuts”, Frank Sinatra’s hair transplant as looking like “a gorilla’s armpit”, and the tennis player Andrea Jaeger, who was then aged 15 and wore braces on her teeth, as having “a smile like a car crash”.
He was born 7 October 1939 9pm Sydney, Australia, to a serviceman he only saw once as a baby, who was taken prisoner during the fall of Singapore in 1942 and killed in an air crash on his way home three years later, which sent his mother into a nervous breakdown.
He had a Libra Sun and charming Venus in the performing 5th house and there’s no doubt he loved the spotlight and an audience. He had a maverick, rebellious Uranus on his ascendant in a creative trine to Neptune. But what marks his chart out was a formidable Mars in Aquarius in the opinionated 9th in a fearsome opposition to a Cancer Moon and Pluto squaring onto a forced-to-be-self-reliant Saturn in late Aries. Like many acerbic wits he was a deeply troubled soul.