Elaine and William Sollfrey

“Are you following me or am I following you?” These were the first words that we heard from Alan Rich about 10 years ago. The scene was Zipper Hall, the concert no longer identifiable. We had seen this gentleman at many performances, he had evidently seen us, and it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. We are the Elaine and Bill of whom Alan wrote “[They] understand me better than I understand myself”.

Alan’s well known cantankerous disposition was carefully contrived. He once told us that he had patterned his public personality on King Gama, the main comic in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta Princess Ida. That priceless character describes himself in his introductory song by “Yet everybody says that I’m a disagreeable man, and I can’t think why.” Alan’s surface presentation concealed a warm interior, and he will be missed by all who knew him.