This week: a star of Peyton Place, a celebrated writer on France and a legendary Zombie

THE actress Dorothy Malone, who has died aged 93, was the star of the 1960s soap opera Peyton Place, the first American soap to be shown on British television.

The show was the biggest hit of Malone's career, after years of mainly playing girlfriends and wives. It ran from 1964 until 1969 and had already been a hit 1957 movie starring Lana Turner. Malone assumed the Turner role as Constance Mackenzie, the owner of a bookshop who harbours a dark secret about the birth of her daughter Allison, played by the 19-year-old Mia Farrow.

ABC had taken a bit of a gamble on Peyton Place, scheduling what was essentially a soap opera in prime time three times a week, but it proved to be a ratings winner, winning new prominence for Malone and making stars of Farrow and Ryan O'Neal.

Malone was born in Chicago but moved with her family to Dallas when she was young. She was raised in a strict Catholic household; "As a child I lived by the rules," she said in 1967, "repeating them over and over, abiding by them before I fully understood their full meaning."

In 1942, an RKO talent scout saw her in a play and recommended her for a studio contract. Her first three movie roles were walk-ons with no lines; her later roles were not much improvement. A move to Warner Bros. in 1945 provided greater opportunity, including a small part in The Big Sleep. Later she appeared in the western The Last Sunset with Kirk Douglas and Rock Hudson.

After Peyton Place ended, she appeared in TV movies, including Murder in Peyton Place (1977) and Peyton Place — The Next Generation (1985). Her final on-screen role was in the Sharon Stone-Michael Douglas sex thriller, Basic Instinct.

THE writer Peter Mayle, who has died aged 78, was best known for his 1989 best-seller A Year in Provence, detailing his move from England to France, although he also wrote educational books and children's stories.

Originally from Sussex, the author moved to France in the late 1980s and wrote several follow-on books inspired by his love for the country, including Toujours Provence and Encore Provence.

His works proved so popular that he later bought a home in Long Island, New York, to escape crowds of sightseers at his French cottage.

He started out writing a series of educational books for children, including sex education books and others discussing issues like life and death. Titles included Where Did I Come From? The Facts Of Life Without Any Nonsense And With Illustrations, and Will I Like It? Your First Sexual Experience, What To Expect, What To Avoid, And How Both Of You Can Get The Most Out Of It.

In 2002 the author was awarded a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur by the French government for services to French culture.

THE musician Jim Rodford, who has died aged 76, was the bassist with The Zombies; he also played for 18 years with The Kinks.

He began playing bass in the late Fifties with St Albans' skiffle band The Bluetones before helping Rod Argent form The Zombies in 1961, declining an invitation to join the group but coaching them through their first rehearsals.

Following the break-up of The Zombies in 1968, he joined Argent's new band, the eponymously named Argent, with gold records and chart success following as they released Hold Your Head Up and God Gave Rock & Roll To You.

When Argent split in 1976 Rodford joined The Kinks during their later years and remained until their dissolution in 1996 when he came full circle by eventually joining The Zombies – along with his son Steve on drums – as they were resurrected by Argent and Colin Blunstone in 1999.

He spent the next 18 years recording and touring with The Zombies until his last performance six days ago at the 30A Songwriters Festival in Miramar Beach, Florida.