Desmond Bourne dies at 79
BROADCASTER EXTRAORDINAIRE Desmond Bourne is dead. He died yesterday at his Christ Church home after a prolonged illness.
The 79-year-old was best known in his later years as a columnist in THE NATION publications with his most recent contributions being a weekly birthday column in the SATURDAY SUN.
Bourne was however a seasoned broadcaster who made his reputation in the late 1950s to early 1960s at Radio 610 in Trinidad, as well as working in advertising. He moved to the United States in the 1960s and worked on Madison Avenue, New York, creating advertising campaigns.
His creative ability got full expression in the United States as he was able to write commercials for newspapers, magazines, radio and television.
In 1974 Bourne returned to Barbados and worked as a freelance advertising executive and later with Smith & Oxley Advertising.
Yesterday, publisher and Chief Executive Officer of the Nation Publishing Company Ltd, Vivian-Anne Gittens, expressed sadness on hearing of Bourne’s passing.
“Although he was ill, his death came as a surprise,” she said, adding: “Desmond was an avid NATION supporter and in his brilliant and inimitable creative ways made a significant contribution to the development of THE NATION over the years. Readers will miss his sharp yet mischievous wit when he commented on local and international personalities and events.”
Chairman and Editor Emeritus of the Nation Publishing Company Ltd, Harold Hoyte, who knew and worked with Bourne for nearly four decades, described Bourne as a “highly appreciated asset to THE NATION in our formative years in particular. He gave of his vast marketing and advertising experience in those difficult years of struggle and growth”.
Hoyte said Bourne’s creative genius, along with that of his then wife, Carolle, did much to promote this newspaper’s advertising campaigns, like the controversial Once Is Not Enough, which was used when the paper went from a weekly to a twice-weekly publication.
Hoyte added: “[Desmond] contributed much by way of his columns such as Jiving Around and Xmas With Desmond Bourne, an annual poem that featured names of people who made the news during the year.
“He wrote a highly critical television review column for many years, which served to keep the electronic media on its toes and created many an enemy for him in the media.
“He himself was a broadcaster whose voice was widely used in commercials, particularly for companies like Chefette, who started around the same time as THE NATION. So his heyday was really in the early ’70s and ’80s.
“Desmond’s manner was often abrasive and so he did not have a reputation for sustaining lasting friendships. But over the 40 years that I have worked with him, I understood his petulance and his intolerance of persons who eschewed excellence or dealt in shortcuts. He sought only the highest standards in writing, editing and broadcasting and was dismissive of all those who fell short of all those standards.
“To his son Ian and all those relatives, I would like to extend my sympathy on this occasion.”
Bourne’s son Ian described his father as “incredibly informed”. (SP)