Sketch: Stefanie Powers

Stefanie Powers is widely known as Jennifer Hart, her role opposite Robert Wagner as half of a married couple of amateur sleuths in the 1979-84 series Hart to Hart. She received two Emmy and five Golden Globe Award nominations.

She overcame lung cancer and went on to star in an American production of Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Sunset Boulevard, Stefanie has also appeared on the London stage on numerous occasions. Her latest was part of an all-star cast of Follies.

The iconic show was revived for two performances only at the Royal Albert Hall to celebrate the 85th birthday of legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

“I don’t have one, but if I had a bucket list, being on stage in the Royal Albert Hall would certainly be among the top ten choices,” she said.

I left this sketch, which depicts Stefanie rehearsing for Follies and an earlier portrait, at the Royal Albert Hall and she signed, dedicated and returned it for me.

Sketch : Ingrid Fliter

ingrid fliter

Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter rose to global attention when she was awarded the 2006 Gilmore Artist Award, one of only a handful of pianists to have received the honour. The Gilmore Artist Award is presented to an exceptional pianist. Over two years, the Gilmore committee listened to artists from around the world in search of a “truly exceptional” candidate. The Award’s director Daniel Gustin said, “We were unanimously swept away by Ingrid Fliter’s astonishing prowess and her overall musicianship.”

Ingrid has established a reputation as one of the pre-eminent interpreters of Chopin. Geoffry Norris in The Independent stated “Ingrid Fliter was born to play Chopin with power and passion and is completely at one with the music’s demands of agility, vim and vigour, but also possesses the essential quality of impeccable taste to preserve the music’s poetic perspective.”

Ingrid divides her time between Europe and the US and last week she played the Royal Albert Hall in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra under conductor Juraj Valcuha, where she signed my sketch.

Drawing: Sabine Lisicki

Sabine Lisicki

Last year’s Wimbledon runner up Sabine Lisicki was among the stars taking part in the Mylan World Team Tennis Smash Hits event at London’s Royal Albert Hall earlier this month.

The annual charity extravaganza, now in its 22nd year, usually takes place in the US, but this year it was held during the Statoil Masters, to benefit Elton John’s AIDS Foundation UK.  Sabine played for Team Billie Jean, joining former world number one Kim Clijsters, Tim Henman and Jamie Murray against Team Elton’s Andy Roddick, John McEnroe, Martina Hingis and Heather Watson.

The likeable German reached the 2013 Wimbledon final losing to Marion Bartoli and has a highest world ranking of 12, with four WTA titles.

Drawing: Joan Baez

joan baez

Joan Baez is the world’s best known female folk singer. She defined the American folk music boom in the 1960s, has influenced nearly every aspect of popular music ever since, and is still going strong. Being a life long pacifist and activist gives greater meaning to her music and lyrics.

“You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die, or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live”.

In a Guardian interview in 2006 by her own admission she only had two real hits; ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ and ‘Diamonds and Rust’ but the music was always less important to her than the message, since walking on stage at the Newport Folk Festival in 1959 as an 18 year old. Since then she has not been in entertaining people so much as  moving them, making them feel “true to the spirit of the times”. Early in her career she played traditional folk music, adding political songs to her repertoire during the 1960s  decade of civil rights, advocating peace during the Vietnam War and social change. “I went to jail for 11 days for disturbing the peace. I was trying to disturb the war”

Joan played London’s Royal Albert Hall for four nights last week in what reviewers called, “a remarkable show that earned her a standing ovation”. I grew up listening to her music on the ‘wireless’ and my parents’ vinyl 45s . I was a nice moment to finally meet her. Most performers arrive at the Artists’ Entrance in flash, chauffeur driven cars, Joan arrived in a  cab. When I asked her if she wouldn’t mind signing my sketch she looked at it and said, “you’ve been busy”. Not half as busy as her and she’s still going strong.

Drawings: Pat Rafter and Goran Ivanisevic

goran ivanisevic

Pat Rafter and Goran Ivanisevic contested the 2001 Wimbledon Men’s single’s final. The former was one of the top seeds, the latter was ranked 125, although he had been runner-up in three previous occasions, in 2001 he went one better.

I accidentally placed a $5 bet on the Ivanisevic to win and considered it money not well spent, given the huge odds. Actually I meant to back 4th seed Marat Safin, but not being an experienced gambler I selected the wrong number when filling in the betting slip. Ironically Goran beat Marat in the Quarterfinals and went on to turn my fiver into a wad of cash.

With back to back US Open titles in 1997-98 briefing holding the World Number One ranking, Pat was favoured. Goran became the champion, winning 9-7 in the fifth set, and becoming the only person to win with a wild card and the lowest ranked player to win in history.

He did have a career high Number Two ranking in 1994 behind Pete Sampras and won bronze medals in both singles and doubles at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Both players were part of the ATP Champions Tour Masters’ Tournament at the Royal Albert Hall this week and they signed their respective sketches for me. For the record, Pat won this time.

pat rafter

Drawing: John McEnroe

John McEnroe

John McEnroe is a legend, to put it mildly. Perhaps the most iconic player in the history of tennis, and only one of a handful from his generation to have transcended the sport.

Famous for his temper as for his precocious talent, he is without doubt one of tennis’ all time greats with 17 Grand Slam titles – including 7 Singles (3 Wimbledons and 4 US Opens).

He became the top ranked singles player in the world on March 3, 1980 and spent a total of 170 weeks at number one between 1980 and 1985.

John has also been called “the greatest doubles player of all time,” forming a powerful partnership with Peter Fleming. They won 57 men’s doubles titles including four at Wimbledon and three at the US Open.

On the few occasions I have met John he has been extremely pleasant and has happily signed. After beating Wayne Ferreira in his opening game at the Statoil Masters at the Royal Albert Hall – a title he has won on four previous occasions – he signed and dedicated my sketch.