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Archive for July, 2018

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Beth Rogan

Beth Rogan

“Daily Telegraph” obituary from December 2015:

Beth Rogan, who has died aged 84, was a Rank starlet who, in the 1950s and 1960s, appeared opposite Herbert Lom, Donald Sinden and Ray Harryhausen’s animated creatures, before marrying into high society.

Lively and prone to wildness, she was reputedly the inspiration for Diana Scott, the young model in John Schlesinger’s Darling (1965), a role that won Julie Christie a best actress Oscar. There were certainly parallels: both were headstrong ingénues who glimpsed fame and were pursued by millionaires.

One day in the mid-1950s Beth Rogan was spotted queuing at the All-England Tennis Club at Wimbledon as Carlo Riccono, an Italian television correspondent, drove past with a friend from Rank studios. The pair pulled in and invited her to join them at centre court. Two weeks later she received a contract from Rank and was immersed in the hothouse environment of the Company of Youth – popularly known as the Rank Charm School – in a church hall adjacent to Rank’s studio in Highbury.

Rogan and a flock of other hopefuls, including Joan Collins and Diana Dors, signed up to represent the studio at events and provide a pool of talent for casting directors. It was, a historian of the studio noted, “a sort of cross between Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio and a London finishing school for young ladies”.

High on the curriculum was the art of “desirability”, for which Beth Rogan had a natural talent. Her coal-dark hair, feline eyes and pillowy pout proved a winning combination. She featured in advertisements for Disprin and Babycham and while her acting career never truly took off she was an appealing bit-part player in several mainstream features and a capable leading lady – screaming or swooning as required – in the low-budget thrillers Innocent Meeting (1959, touted as “Teddy Boy meets girl – then hell breaks loose!”) and Compelled (1960).

Her best-known role was as Elena Fairchild, a sultry shipwrecked aristocrat, in Mysterious Island (1961), a Jules Verne adventure starring Herbert Lom as Captain Nemo. During the shoot she was pitted against giant hens and bees, animated by Harryhausen, while running around in a loosely laced buckskin tunic dress.

It was enough to draw the attention of Tony Samuel, a member of the Shell oil dynasty and later publisher of PG Wodehouse. In 1962 the couple married at the Chelsea register office. “I became quite a jet-setter after marrying a rich man,” she said later.

Beth Rogan: filming Mysterious Island

She was born Jenifer Puckle (and would remain Jeni to friends and family) on July 19 1931 in Walmer, Kent. Her father Kenneth was a major in the Royal Marines who had served at Gallipoli and her mother Enid (née Gray) was a housewife. Her sister, Priscilla, married Brigadier Charles Carroll, MC.

Jenifer attended school near Farnham and taught Latin to boys at a local prep school. She then studied at Wimbledon School of Art, retaining a lifelong passion for illustration. She married one of her teachers, Ted Draper, in order, she later admitted, to get away from her family.

But life in Wimbledon bored her, the chance encounter with Riccono developed into an affair, and her husband Draper gallantly bowed out, faking an assignation at a Brighton hotel in order to expedite a divorce.

By the late 1950s she had taken the stage name Beth Rogan and her Rank contract was beginning to pay dividends. She provided a pretty face in minor supporting roles opposite Dirk Bogarde in Doctor at Large, Kenneth More in The Admirable Crichton (both 1957) and Donald Sinden in The Captain’s Table (1959), and went out on the town with the playboy entrepreneur James Hanson.

She appeared en déshabillé on the cover of Picturegoer while the great Rank stills photographer George Courtney Ward captured her in frilly gingham beachware on the deck of a ship. “Coming on to rain?” enquired the publicity caption. “Don’t worry, there’s room for some lucky chap under Beth Rogan’s parasol.”

For The Captain’s Table she appeared in a striking white bikini with, as she recalled, “heavily padded bosoms”: “It caused quite a stir. I wore another to go swimming with a friend at Roehampton baths in Surrey and stuffed the top with some false breast enhancers, which promptly flew out as I dived into the pool.”

After marrying Samuel she lived in London and Arndilly, her husband’s Adam house on the River Spey. “We’d spend our summers on yachts off the Italian and French Riviera,” she said. The marriage was not a success, however. Samuel, some 17 years her senior, could be cantankerous and Beth Rogan was only partly committed to her role as chatelaine of Arndilly: she would decamp to Italy for August while Samuel hosted grouse shooting parties. The couple divorced in 1965.

Beth Rogan moved to Smith Street in Chelsea, holidayed in Morocco and cultivated colourful friends. She might get her chums into scrapes, one friend recalled, and could be “dangerous to know”, but would get away with it because of her charm.

She made a final screen appearance, opposite Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis Jr, in Richard Donner’s caper Salt and Pepper (1968).

Her third marriage, in 1971, was to Timothy Cassel QC, whom she had met at a party. “She was absolutely magical,” he recalled. Although she was by then in her forties, the couple had a daughter, Natalia, and son, Alexander.

That marriage was dissolved in 1976, after which Beth Rogan lived in West Sussex and Hampshire, where she enjoyed hosting friends, painting and gardening.

She is survived by her children; after her death, they discovered a crop of home-grown cannabis drying out in her airing cupboard.

Beth Rogan, born July 19 1931, died November 25 2015

 
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Alfred Molina

Alfred Molina
 

IMDB Entry:

Alfred Molina was born in 1953 in London, England. His mother, Giovanna (Bonelli), was an Italian-born cook and cleaner, and his father, Esteban Molina, was a Spanish-born waiter and chauffeur. He studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. His stage work includes two major Royal National Theatre productions, Tennessee Williams‘ “The Night of the Iguana” (as Shannon) and David Mamet‘s “Speed the Plow” (as Fox), plus a splendid performance in Yasmina Reza‘s “Art” (his Broadway debut), for which he received a Tony Award nomination in 1998. He made his film debut in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and got a good part in Letter to Brezhnev (1985) (as a Soviet sailor who spends a night in Liverpool), but his movie breakthrough came two years later when he played–superbly–Kenneth Halliwell, the tragic lover of playwright Joe Orton, in Stephen Frears‘ Prick Up Your Ears (1987). He was also outstanding in Enchanted April (1991), The Perez Family (1995) (as a Cuban immigrant), Anna Karenina (1997) (as Levin) and Chocolat (2000) (as the narrow-minded mayor of a small French town circa 1950s, who tries to shut down a chocolate shop).

– IMDb Mini Biography By: Thanassis Agathos<thanaga@hol.gr

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George Mikell

George Mikell

George Mikell was born on April 15, 1930 in Tawroggen, Lithuania. He is an actor, known for The Guns of Navarone (1961), The Great Escape (1963) and Dateline Diamonds(1965).

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George Layton

George Layton

George Layton was born on March 2, 1943 in Bradford, Yorkshire, England as George Michael William Layton. He is an actor and writer, known for Doctor in Charge (1972), Doctor at the Top (1991) and Doctor at Large (1971).

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Harry Burton

Harry Burton
 

Harry Burton was born in 1961 in London, England. He is an actor and director, known for The Trial (1993), Coming Up (2003) and Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2004).

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Sarah Biasini

Sarah Biasini

Sarah Biasini was born on July 21, 1977 in Gassin, Var, France as Sarah Magdalena Biasini. She is an actress, known for Blind Test (2010), Recon: A Filmmaker’s Quest(2012) and Suite noire (2009).   She is the daughter of actors Daniel Biasini and Romy Schneider.

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Peter Lupus

Peter Lupus

Peter Lupus was born on June 17, 1932 in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. He is known for his work on Challenge of the Gladiator (1965), Mission: Impossible (1966) and Goliath at the Conquest of Damascus (1965). He has been married to Sharon M. Hildebrand since November 27, 1960. They have one child.

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Betty Lou Kiem

Betty Lou Kiem

1938 – January 27, 2010) was an American film and television actress.

Betty Lou Keim
Born September 27, 1938

Died
Occupation Actress
Years active 1949-1960
Spouse(s)
Warren Berlinger
(m. 1960; her death 2010)
Children 4

Keim was born in Malden, Massachusetts as the daughter of a choreographer and a dancer, and she grew up in New York from the age of five.bbbShe started getting dance lessons from her father at the age of six and later also took voice lessons. Her stage debut followed at age seven, under the direction of José Ferrer in Strange Fruit. After several stage parts, she debuted on Broadway, and she became most remembered for playing a mean-spirited girl in the play A Roomful of Roses in 1956.

By this time, Keim had already acted on television, guest starring in numerous TV series. In 1953, she landed a co-starring role in the short-lived sitcom My Son Jeep.

Three years later, she made her film debut with a role alongside Barbara Stanwyck and James Cagney in These Wilder Years. The same year, she repeated her A Roomful of Rosesrole in its movie adaptation Teenage Rebel, as Ginger Rogers‘ daughter. In 1957, she had a supporting role in 20th Century Fox‘s, The Wayward Bus. The following year, she appeared in Some Came Running. When not acting, Keim attended the Lodge Tutoring School.   Her final acting experience was on The Deputy, in which she starred as Fran McCord from 1959–60.

Keim retired from acting in 1960 after marrying actor Warren Berlinger, with whom she had four children. She died at her home in Chatsworth, California, aged 71, from lung cancer.[3]

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Richard Pearson

Richard Pearson

Richard Pearson obituary in “The Guardian” in 2011.

It was the destiny of the actor Richard Pearson, who has died aged 93, to be remembered for his role in one of the most famous theatrical failures of modern times: what you might call a flop d’estime. In 1958, he was the original Stanley in Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party. After a short, highly successful provincial tour, the play was critically slaughtered when it opened at the Lyric Hammersmith in London in May 1958. In all, Pearson enjoyed a fruitful career spanning around 70 years, often playing harassed establishment figures, but it was Stanley that he always listed as one of his favourite parts. He reprised the role in an ITV production in 1960.

With his high-pitched voice and crestfallen features, Pearson conveyed Stanley’s baffled vulnerability. As Harold Hobson, the play’s sole critical champion in 1958, wrote in the Sunday Times: “Pearson’s Stanley, excellent throughout, is very moving in [his] hurt wonder when given the child’s drum as a birthday present.”

I once asked Pinter if the character of Stanley, a reclusive seaside lodger victimised by the invasive figures of Goldberg and McCann, had become more aggressive in later revivals. Pinter assured me that Pearson had got it right from the start, and had caught the element of cruelty in Stanley’s goading of his voracious landlady, Meg, and hinted at his later resistance to his tormentors. Only with time did the political implications of Pinter’s play become fully clear.

Born in Monmouth, south-east Wales, Pearson was educated in Worcester and Monmouth and made his first appearance on stage at the old Collins Music Hall in Islington, north London, in 1937. But, like many actors, he found his career interrupted by the second world war. He served in the army, in the 52nd Lowland Division, was mentioned in dispatches and reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.

On being demobbed in 1946, he quickly found work in the small London theatres, such as the Embassy in Swiss Cottage and the Q by Kew Bridge, that were the prototype of the modern fringe. In 1949, he married the actor Pat Dickson, whom he had met the previous year when they both auditioned successfully for a production of This Is Where We Came In.

With his solid physique and faintly plaintive air, Pearson soon graduated to the kind of drawing-room comedies that were staple West End fare in the mid-1950s: plays such as Arthur Macrae’s Both Ends Meet, Gerald Savory’s A Likely Tale and William Douglas Home’s The Iron Duchess. After The Birthday Party, however, his career took a more decisive turn.

His capacity for conveying either outraged dignity or the frailty lurking within seemingly secure figures found its outlet in a number of very good productions. He played Maggie Smith’s increasingly jealous husband in Peter Shaffer’s The Public Eye in 1962 and was an empurpled cardinal in Edward Albee’s Tiny Alice at the Aldwych in 1970.

He moved on to play William Cecil, opposite Eileen Atkins’s Queen Elizabeth I, in Robert Bolt’s Vivat! Vivat Regina! at Chichester – where he had a particularly strong period in the 1970s – and in the West End. He was then totally at home as the bonhomous but mountingly indignant Mr Hardcastle in a revival of Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer at the Young Vic in 1972.

He was later reunited with Smith in the West End, in a 1987 production of Shaffer’s Lettice and Lovage, where he was a wonderfully bemused solicitor, and again in 1993 in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Nicholas Hytner.

Pearson was the kind of actor on which the British theatre has always relied: utterly dependable and totally distinctive. His particular forte, with his slightly fluting voice, was for revealing the chink in the armour of middle-class respectability. Inevitably his capacity for bourgeois fluster led to a long career in television, where he made his first appearance in 1947.

He entered films three years later, with appearances in The Girl Is Mine (1950) and The Woman in Question (1950). He went on to appear in Anthony Asquith’s The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964), Albert Finney’s Charlie Bubbles (1967), John Schlesinger’s Sunday Blood Sunday (1971) and Roman Polanski’s Pirates (1986).

He subsequently had success in several popular TV series including The Wind in the Willows (1984-88), as the voice of Mole; One Foot in the Grave (1992), as Victor Meldrew’s absent-minded brother; My Good Friend (1995-96), as George Cole’s fellow pensioner; and Men Behaving Badly (1995), as Gary’s father. He could always be counted on to play doctors, accountants, politicians, policemen and churchmen: anyone, in short, who seemed to embody professional solidity. Pearson always managed to invest these characters with an inner life and a look of wounded dignity.

He is survived by Pat, their sons Simon and Patrick, who is also an actor, and two grandchildren, Katie and Anna.

• Richard de Pearsall Pearson, actor, born 1 August 1918; died 2 August 2011

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Desmond Tester

 
Desmond Tester

Desmond Tester (Wikipedia)

Desmond Tester was born in 1919 and was an English film and television actor, host and executive. He was born in London, England, and started his career as child actor, among his most notable roles, was that of the ill-fated boy Stevie in the  Alfred Hitchcock film Sabotage (1936).

Tester made his first stage appearance at the age of 12, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, receiving positive reviews from London . He was known more as a child actor in film in his native Britain. Tester’s characters often met with doomed fates, in such early films as Carol Reed‘s Midshipman Easy (1935), Tudor Rose (1936), Robert Stevenson‘s Non-Stop New York (1937), The Stars Look Down (1939) and Sabotage. He also appeared in The Drum (1938).

After the Second World War, he moved to Australia and embarked in careers in radio, theatre, and television. As television broadcasting began in Australia, Tester soon found work with Channel Nine‘s What’s My Line? and in a variety of children’s programmes including Cabbage Quiz and Kaper Kops with Reg Gorman and Rod Hull. He spent fifteen years at Channel Nine, taking charge of children’s programming, and became more involved behind the scenes in production and publicity. He later moved to Reg Grundy Productions, eventually leaving the industry entirely due to a dislike of the overall management culture.

In 1974 he revived his stage acting career on the advice of Hayes Gordon and appeared in numerous productions including productions by playwrights Arthur Miller and John Ewing. He also had occasional minor roles in various films, such as Barry McKenzie Holds His Own(1974) and The Wild Duck (1983).

Tester was married to Evelyn Stuart and had five children – Jolyon (deceased), Dermot, Giles, Toby and Simon and five grandchildren – Sally, Daisy, Sam, Georgia, and the talented Max. The last 29 years of his life was spent in leafy Lindfield on Sydney’s North Shore with his partner Valerie Jones. Desmond Tester, died on 31 December 2002, in SydneyNew South Wales at the age of 83.