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Archive for November, 2018

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Jane Griffiths

Jane Griffith

Jane Griffiths (Wikipedia)

Jane Griffiths was born in 1929 and was an English actress who appeared in film and television between 1950 and 1966. She died in 1975.

She played the female lead opposite Gregory Peck in The Million Pound Note (1954), but never appeared in another major film, and spent the rest of her career in B movies. However, the film historians Steve Chibnall and Brian McFarlane praise her “unexpectedly poignant” performance in The Durant Affair, in which she evokes “a convincing air of struggling to contain past sadness”.

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Lee Meriwether

Lee Meriwether

Lee Meriwether (Wikipedia)

Lee Meriwether was born on May 27, 1935 and is an American actress, former model, and the winner of the 1955 Miss America pageant. She is known for her role as Betty Jones, Buddy Ebsen’s secretary and daughter-in-law in the 1970s crime drama Barnaby Jones. The role earned her two Golden Globe Award nominations in 1975 and 1976, and an Emmy Award nomination in 1977. She is also known for her role as Herman Munster‘s long-haired wife, Lily Munster, on the 1980s sitcom The Munsters Today, as well as for her portrayal of Catwoman, replacing Julie Newmar in the film version of Batman (1966), and for a co-starring role on the science fiction series The Time Tunnel. Meriwether had a recurring role as Ruth Martin on the daytime soap opera All My Children until the end of the series in September 2011.

Meriwether was born in Los AngelesCalifornia to Claudius Gregg Meriwether (October 13, 1904 – July 15, 1954) and Ethel Eve Mulligan (March 25, 1903 – May 21, 1996, Los Angeles). She has one brother, Don Brett Meriwether (born May 14, 1938). She grew up in San Francisco after the family moved there from Phoenix, Arizona. She attended George Washington High School, where one of her classmates was Johnny Mathis. She later attended City College of San Francisco, where one of her classmates was fellow actor Bill Bixby.

After winning Miss San Francisco, Meriwether won Miss California 1954, then was crowned Miss America in 1955 with her recital of a John Millington Synge monologue. She then appeared that Sunday on What’s My Line, hosted by John Charles Daly (who also emceed the pageant that year). Following her reign as Miss America, she joined the Today show.

Meriwether was a “Today Girl” on NBC’s The Today Show in 1955-1956. Her feature filmdebut came in 1959 as Linda Davis in 4D Man, starring Robert Lansing. She appears in The Phil Silvers Show episode, “Cyrano de Bilko”.

In 1961, Meriwether guest starred once as Gloria in the episode “Buddy and the Amazon” on her first husband’s (Frank Aletter) one-season CBS sitcomBringing Up Buddy. She also appeared in Leave It To Beaver episode “Community Chest” in season four. In 1962, she was cast as Martha Elweiss in the episode “My Child Is Yet a Stranger” on the CBS anthology seriesThe Lloyd Bridges Show. She played Nurse Dickens in a 1962 episode of the ABC sitcom, I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster. From 1963 to 1965, she was cast in different roles in eight episodes of the NBC medical drama, Dr. Kildare. In 1964, she played the character Jeanelle in “This Is Going to Hurt Me More Than It Hurts You” on the CBS adventure series, Route 66. In 1965, she appeared in an episode on The Jack Benny Program as The Secretary. In a 1965 episode of 12 O’Clock High, “Mutiny at Ten Thousand Feet”, she played Lieutenant Amy Patterson, and in “The Idolator” and a 1966 episode, “The Outsider”, she played Captain Phylllis Vincent. She also guest starred in the season 2 episode “Big Brother.”

Lee Meriwether acted as Catwoman in the film (pictured) Batman, replacing Julie Newmar, the usual actress for Catwoman in the television series.

Meriwether appeared as Dr. Egert on the NBC series, Man from U.N.C.L.E. (“The Mad, Mad Tea Party”, 1965) and in an episode of Hazel (“How to Lose 30 Pounds in 30 Minutes”, also 1965) she played Miss Wilson, the owner of an exercise studio. Meriwether portrayed The Catwoman for the Batman movie (1966), and also appeared in two episodes of the Batman TV series in 1967 as Lisa Carson, a love interest to Bruce Wayne in the episodes “King Tut’s Coup” and “Batman’s Waterloo”. She also co-starred as scientist Dr. Ann MacGregor in the 1966–1967 television series The Time Tunnel. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, she had guest starring roles in numerous TV series, including The FugitiveThe Lloyd Bridges ShowMannixStar Trek episode “That Which Survives” (1969), Mission: Impossible episodes 19 and 20 “The Bunker” parts I and II (1969), Perry Mason episode #245 “The Case of the Cheating Chancellor” and the F Troop episode “O’Rourke vs. O’Reilly”.

In films, she joined John Wayne and Rock Hudson for The Undefeated, and Andy Griffith in Angel in My Pocket (both 1969). In the same year as those two films, she played IMF spy Tracey in six Mission: Impossible episodes during season four after Barbara Bain‘s departure.

Publicity photo with Andy Griffithand Lee Meriwether, as wife Lee, for The New Andy Griffith Show (1971). The series was short-lived.

Meriwether began her award-nominated role as secretary and daughter-in-law Betty Jones in the 1973–1980 CBS series Barnaby Jones, opposite Buddy Ebsen. During the series’ eight-year run she enjoyed an on- and off-screen chemistry with the elder Ebsen. During the series’ run, she was reunited with her former classmate and best friend Bill Bixby during one episode. After her stint on Barnaby Jones, Meriwether became best friends with Ebsen, keeping in touch for many years until his death on July 6, 2003. She starred in the 1978 television movies True Grit: A Further Adventure with Warren Oates and Cruise Into Terror, appeared on Circus of the Stars four times, and was a regular panelist on the game show Match Game.

Meriwether portrayed Lily Munster in the 1988-1991 revival of the 1960s television sitcom The Munsters, titled The Munsters Today, in which she starred alongside Jason MarsdenJohn SchuckHoward Morton and Hilary Van Dyke. She also made several guest star appearances on the television series The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

In the 1990s, she appeared as herself on an episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast. She had a memorable exchange with Zorak in which she said, “For my money, Eartha Kitt was the best Catwoman.” Zorak, portraying the evil Batmantis, replied, “Give me your money,” which was followed by a Batman-esque sound effect. In 1993, she guest starred on Murder, She Wrote, episode “Ship of Thieves”. In 1996, Meriwether took over for Mary Fickett in the role of Ruth Martin on the soap opera All My Children, Fickett having played the role since its inception in 1970. After twenty-six years, Fickett wanted to go into semi-retirement as a recurring cast member. Negotiations with the network broke down and Meriwether was cast as Ruth Martin. In 1998, ABC deemed that they were at an impasse with Meriwether’s agents and Mary Fickett was brought back as a recurring cast member. Fickett retired again, this time for good in December 2000. ABC decided to bring back the character of Ruth Martin in 2002, but Fickett remained in retirement. Meriwether was hence brought back and remained a featured recurring performer on the show until it ended.

In 2002, she appeared in the documentary film Miss America. In 2003, Meriwether appeared in the TV-Movie Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt. She also appeared Off Broadway in the interactive comedy, Grandma Sylvia’s Funeral. She voiced Big Mama in the video game Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots for the PlayStation 3. She also appears in one of the game’s opening videos as a talkshow host having an interview with David Hayter, who voices Solid Snake in the game. In 2006, she joined James GarnerAbigail BreslinBill Cobbs and others in The Ultimate Gift. In 2008, Meriwether had a brief cameo as comic book character Battle Diva in the episode “Harper Knows” of the Disney Channel original series Wizards of Waverly Place. In 2010, she was once again reunited on screen with Hollywood veteran Bill Cobbs in No Limit Kids: Much Ado About Middle School; additionally, she voices President Winters in the video game Vanquish by PlatinumGames.

Meriwether continues to work on stage, television, game voice-overs, and feature films. She has made guest appearances on Desperate HousewivesHawaii Five-0The League and Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23. Most recently, she revisited her role as Miss Hastings in the sequel/prequel to The Ultimate GiftThe Ultimate Life (2013), directed by Michael Landon Jr. She is also starring in the short film Kitty.

She also makes appearances at Comic Cons where she speaks about her roles in Batman, Star Trek and Time Tunnel. 

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Peter Gilmore

Peter Gilmore

Peter Gilmore obituary in “The Guardian” in 2013.

James Onedin, the protagonist of the long-running BBC television series The Onedin Line, gained his splendid name from a sea nymph. After the programme’s creator, Cyril Abraham, had read about mythological figure Ondine, he transposed the “e”, thus making her a man. And what a man: Peter Gilmore, who played Onedin in 91 episodes from 1971 to 1980, had tousled hair, flinty eyes, hollow cheeks, mutton-chop sideburns racing across his cheek, lips pulled severely down, chin thrust indomitably forward to face down the brewing gale. He has died aged 81.

The sea captain did not so much talk as emit salty barks that brooked no demur. In 1972, while filming, Gilmore was buzzed by speedboats from the Royal Naval College. Still in character as Onedin, he yelled irascibly at the tyro sailors: “Taxpayers’ money! Where are your guns? What use would you be if the Russians came?”

Like Horatio Nelson, Francis Drake and to a lesser extent the early 70s prime minister Edward Heath, the very cut of Gilmore’s jib suggested that the British – if only in prime-time costume dramas – still ruled the waves. For many, Gilmore’s name conjures up the stirring Adagio from Khachaturian’s ballet Spartacus that was used on the opening credits. Madly and marvellously, Onedin set up a shipping line with sailing vessels in late-19th century Liverpool at a time when steamships were taking over the seaways.Advertisement

By series two, his business model had seen off the sceptics but his wife, Anne, had died in childbirth. That plot twist was partly explained by the fact that the actor who played her, Anne Stallybrass, had decided to return to the theatre.

To honour his dead wife’s memory, Onedin added a steamship to his fleet called the Anne Onedin and then allowed Kate Nelligan (as a coal-merchant’s eligible daughter) and Caroline Harris (as a 20-something worldly wise widow) to vie for his affections. He spurned both, marrying his daughter’s governess, Letty Gaunt, who died of diphtheria. By the eighth and last series, Onedin was married to a third wife, Margarita Juarez, and had become a grandfather.

Before Howards’ Way, The Onedin Line was the BBC’s nautical franchise: Abraham wrote five novels loosely based on his television scripts, while Gilmore was frequently asked to launch ships and was also bombarded with fan mail and advice from veteran sailors. He parlayed fame into reviving a former career as a singer, releasing in 1974 an album of sailor shanties called Songs of the Sea and in 1977 another called Peter Gilmore Sings Gently.

He regretted that he became too typecast as Onedin to get other lead roles. In 1978 he starred opposite Doug McLure in the film Warlords of Atlantis as an archaeologist searching for the fabled underwater city who ends up battling a giant octopus and other sea monsters.

Gilmore was born in the German city of Leipzig. At the age of six, he moved to Nunthorpe, near Middlesbrough, where he was raised by relatives, later attending the Friends’ school in Great Ayton, north Yorkshire. From the age of 14 he worked in a factory, but later studied at Rada. While undertaking national service in 1950 he discovered a talent for singing and after his discharge joined singing groups who performed all over the country.

During the 1950s and 60s he became a stalwart of British stage musicals, appearing in several largely unsuccessful shows, including one called Hooray for Daisy! in which he was the chief human in a drama about a pantomime cow. He even released a single in 1960 as a spin-off from his performance in the musical Follow That Girl, opposite Susan Hampshire. In 1958 he appeared on the pop programme Cool for Cats, where he met the actor Una Stubbs, then one of the Dougie Squires Dancers, who were weekly tasked with interpreting hit songs in movement. The couple were married from 1958 until 1969.

His success at this time in British and US TV commercials led him to be cast in comedies, with 11 appearances in Carry On films, two of which – Carry On Jack (1963) and Carry On Cleo (1964) – gave him early nautical roles. In 1970 he married Jan Waters, with whom he starred in both stage and television productions of The Beggar’s Opera, he playing the highwayman Captain Macheath.

The Onedin Line brought Gilmore the fame that had eluded him. In 1976, he and Jan divorced and he started living with Stallybrass, whom he married in 1987. In 1984 a new generation of viewers saw Gilmore as Brazen, the security chief of a distant human colony called Frontios in Doctor Who’s 21st series. Brazen died heroically while helping the Doctor escape. Gilmore made his last stage appearance in 1987 in Michael Frayn’s Noises Off and his last screen one in the 1996 television movie On Dangerous Ground.

He is survived by Anne and a son, Jason, from his first marriage.

• Peter Gilmore, actor, born 25 August 1931; died 3 February 2013

• This article was amended on 7 February 2013. The original stated that Follow That Girl was Susan Hampshire’s only foray into musicals. This has been corrected.

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Amybeth McNulty

Amybeth McNulty

Amybeth McNulty (Wikipedia)

Amybeth McNulty is an Irish-Canadianactress, born in Donegal in 2001. She is known for her starring role as Anne Shirley in the CBC/Netflix drama series Anne with an E (2017–present), based on the 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

McNulty was born to an Irish father and a Canadian mother. She is from LetterkennyCo. Donegal. McNulty is a natural blonde, contrary to the widespread public belief that she is a redhead. She dyed her hair red for her role in Anne with an E

McNulty has previously appeared in the RTÉ One series Clean Break and Agatha Raisin.[3] Since 2017, she has starred as Anne Shirley in the CBC/Netflix drama series Anne with an E, which is based on the 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.


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Sybil Thorndyke

Dame Sybil Thorndyke
Dame Sybil Thorndyke

Sybil Thorndyke (Wikipedia)

Sybil Thorndyke was born in 1882 and was an English actress who toured internationally in Shakespearean productions, often appearing with her husband Lewis CassonBernard Shaw wrote Saint Joan specially for her, and she starred in it with great success. She was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1931, and Companion of Honour in 1970.

She was born in GainsboroughLincolnshire, to Arthur John Webster Thorndike and Agnes Macdonald, daughter of ship engineer John Bowers. Arthur Thorndike was a canon of Rochester Cathedral. She was educated at Rochester Grammar School for Girls, and first trained as a classical pianist, making weekly visits to London for music lessons at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Her childhood home in Rochester has been renamed after her.  She gave her first public performance as a pianist at the age of 11, but in 1899 was forced to give up playing owing to piano cramp. At the instigation of her brother, the author Russell Thorndike, she then trained as an actress under Elsie Fogerty at the Central School of Speech and Drama, then based at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

At the age of 21 she was offered her first professional contract: a tour of the United States with the actor-manager Ben Greet‘s company. She made her first stage appearance in Greet’s 1904 production of Shakespeare‘s The Merry Wives of Windsor. She went on to tour the U.S. in Shakespearean repertory for four years, playing some 112 roles.

In 1908, she was spotted by the playwright George Bernard Shaw when she understudied the leading role of Candida in a tour directed by Shaw himself. There she also met her future husband, Lewis Casson. They were married in December 1908, and had four children: John (1909–1999), Christopher (1912–1996), Mary (1914–2009), and Ann (1915–1990). She was survived by her four children and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren when she died.

She joined Annie Horniman‘s company in Manchester (1908–1909 and 1911–1913), went to Broadway in 1910, and then joined the Old Vic Company in London (1914–1018), playing leading roles in Shakespeare and in other classic plays. After the First World War, she played Hecuba in Euripides The Trojan Women (1919–1920), then from 1920 to 1922 Thorndike and her husband starred in a British version of France’s Grand Guignol directed by Jose Levy.

She returned to the stage in the title role of George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan in 1924, which had been written with her specifically in mind. The production was a huge success, and was revived repeatedly until her final performance in the role in 1941. In 1927, Thorndike appeared in a short film of the cathedral scene from Saint Joan made in the DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-film process. Both Thorndike and Casson were active members of the Labour Party, and held strong left-wing views. Even when the 1926 General Strike stopped the first run of Saint Joan, they both still supported the strikers.

She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1931. As a pacifist, Thorndike was a member of the Peace Pledge Union and gave readings for its benefit. During the Second World War, Thorndike and her husband toured in Shakespearean productions on behalf of the Council For the Encouragement of the Arts, before joining Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson in the Old Vic season at the New Theatre in 1944.

At the end of the Second World War, it was discovered that Thorndike was on “The Black Book” or Sonderfahndungsliste G.B. list of Britons who were to be arrested in the event of a Nazi invasion of Britain.

She also undertook tours of Australia and South Africa, before playing again with Olivier in Uncle Vanya at Chichester in 1962. She made her farewell appearance with her husband in a London revival of Arsenic and Old Lace at the Vaudeville Theatre in 1966. Her last stage performance was at the Thorndike Theatre in LeatherheadSurrey, in There Was an Old Woman in 1969, the year Lewis Casson died.

Her final acting appearance was in a TV drama The Great Inimitable Mr. Dickens, with Anthony Hopkins in 1970. That same year she was made a Companion of Honour. She and her husband (who was knighted in 1945) were one of the few couples who both held titles in their own right. She was also awarded an honorary degree from Manchester University in 1922 and an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of Oxford in 1966.

Dame Sybil’s ashes are buried in Westminster Abbey.

In 1908, Thorndike married Lewis Casson, to whom she remained married until his death in 1969. The couple had four children, John (born 1909), Christopher (born 1912), Mary (born 1914), and Ann (born 1915).

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Patrick Colbert

Patrick Colbert

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Rachel Kempson

Rachel Kempson

Rachel Kempson obituary in “The Guardian” in 2003.

The actor Rachel Kempson – widow of Sir Michael Redgrave and mother of Vanessa, Corin and Lynn – has died aged 92. Known affectionately as “the matriarch to a dynasty” (a title she usually rejected), for many commentators the skills she brought to negotiating the often volatile strands of her family were quite as outstanding as her long and distinguished acting career. It was true, though, that her own abilities as an actor for stage, television, film and radio were often overshadowed by those of her husband and their illustrious brood.

Born into a conventionally middle-class family in Dartmouth, Devon, Kempson was the daughter of the principal of Dartmouth Royal Naval College, and originally faced strong family disapproval to going on the stage. But once she had seen Dame Sybil Thorndike playing the role of Katherine of Aragon, in Shakespeare’s Henry VIII, the die was cast. She was determined to achieve her aim and, after taking various odd jobs, finally got her wish and went on to win a part scholarship to Rada. 

Kempson’s first stage appearance was as Hera, in Much Ado About Nothing, in the 1933 Stratford-upon-Avon season, followed by Ophelia and a Juliet which those who knew her still describe as “incandescent” – a quality in a sense she never lost. Even in later life, as one friend put it, “however old she was, she brought a quality of youthful gaiety”. Also in 1933, Kempson made her first London appearance, as Bianca, in The Lady From Alfaqueque. Advertisement

The following year, while working at the Liverpool Playhouse, she met and fell in love with the young Michael Redgrave. They married a year later, beginning a partnership that endured for 50 years until his death in 1985, and successfully weathered the storms of his bisexuality. Kempson’s loyalty was a key to their marriage. 

As her autobiography, A Family And Its Fortunes (1986) revealed, she remained modest about her own considerable talent, and, in the early years, allowed domestic demands to take precedence. Friends said that her family always came first in her life. None the less, with her fine-boned, classically English looks – a likeness inherited by her children and grandchildren – and her easy elegance on stage, she was seldom out of work. 

In 1936 she appeared with the Old Vic Company, and later joined John Gielgud’s season at the Queen’s Theatre. In the 1950s, she appeared regularly at Stratford (she played Regan to her husband’s Lear in the 1953 season) and continued to play a variety of roles in the classical repertoire throughout her life. Like many of her generation, she also had the courage and flexibility to reinvent herself with the rise of the new wave, joining George Devine’s English Stage Company in 1956, the same year that John Osborne’s Look Back In Anger made its appearance. 

Not that the transition was without mishap. One night in 1972, while appearing in Osborne’s A Sense Of Detachment, Kempson jumped into the stalls to administer some well-chosen slaps to two members of the audience who had been heckling. Afterwards, regretful, she admitted that it wasn’t the sort of thing to do, “but once in a blue moon, you do”. 

Uncharacteristic in one sense, in another this action was typical of a certain headstrong streak and a fierce sense of loyalty which, once given, remained for a lifetime. That passionate openness also informed her best work. Playing Polena, the lovelorn housekeeper in George Devine’s production of Chekhov’s The Seagull at the Royal Court in 1964 – in some estimations, among one of the best – Kempson played it, as one friend put it, “with her heart flying”. 

In the 1960s and 1970s, she continued to work steadily, appearing in Julian Mitchell’s highly successful West End adaptation of Ivy Compton-Burnett’s A Family And A Fortune (1975), Alan Bennett’s The Old Country (1977), with Sir Alec Guinness, and a number of popular British films of the period – among them Tom Jones (1963), Georgy Girl (1966), which starred her daughter Lynn, The Charge Of The Light Brigade (1968), with her daughter Vanessa and son Corin, a movie made by her then son-in-law Tony Richardson, and The Virgin Soldiers (1969). “She really came into her own in later years,” according to a friend. “A typical role was that of a slightly down-trodden woman who knew her place. But Rachel also had a quite considerable sharpness. She had a great sense of fun as well as tremendous warmth.” 

A favourite role of Kempson’s was apparently that of Dionyza, in Pericles, in the 1958 Stratford season, when she also played Lady Capulet and an “enchanting” Ursula in Much Ado. This is a role traditionally of calculated evil, and many of her friends were surprised at the depth she achieved. “I loved playing it”, she confessed afterwards, “it’s my only opportunity to show the other side.” 

In her 70s, Kempson took on more eccentric, scatty personas. She appeared as Julia Shuttlewaite in a glittering West End revival of TS Eliot’s The Cocktail Party in 1986; two year later, she was Maria Vasilyevna in Uncle Vanya (with Michael Gambon, Greta Scacchi and Jonathan Pryce); and the following year she was Volumnia in Corin Redgrave’s production of Coriolanus at the Young Vic. 

Among many television series and plays, she appeared in Elizabeth R, Jewel In The Crown, Love For Lydia, The Bell, The Black Tower, Uncle Vanya and Lorna Doona, and late in the 1980s won a Bafta best actress nomination (for her television performance in Kate, The Good Neigbour.) On radio, she was a memorable Hester in The Forsyte Saga. Her last film was Deja Vu (1998), in which she played the mother of Vanessa. 

Though her acting career inevitably slowed, Kempson continued to appear, often alongside Corin, on a number of occasions at poetry recitals. Until she became too frail and moved to live with Vanessa, she was a keen and creative gardener, turning her home in Hampshire into a haven where family and friends could always go for support in troubled times. 

In 2000, Kempson sold the Redgrave family archive for £200,000 to the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden. Vanessa, Corin and Lynn survive her. Among her grandchildren are the actors Joely and Natasha Richardson, and Jemma Redgrave. 

· Rachel Kempson (Lady Redgrave), actor, born May 28 1910; died May 23 2003

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Stephen Mangan

Stephen Mangan

Stephen Mangan (Wikipedia)

Stephen Mangan was born in 1968. He has played Guy Secretan in Green Wing, Dan Moody in I’m Alan Partridge, Sean Lincoln in Episodes and Postman Pat in Postman Pat: The Movie.

As a stage actor, he was Tony-nominated for his portrayal of Norman in The Norman Conquests on Broadway. He also starred as Bertie Wooster in Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense at the Duke of York’s Theatre, which won the 2014 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy.

Mangan was born in Ponders EndLondon, to Irish parents. He has two sisters, Anita and Lisa.

Mangan was educated at two independent schools for boys: at Lochinver House School, in Potters BarHertfordshire, and Haileybury and Imperial Service College (now co-educational), a boarding school in the village of Hertford Heath (also in Hertfordshire). He was in a school prog rock band called Aragon, who recorded an album called The Wizard’s Dream.

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Law at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Mangan took a year out to care for his mother, Mary, who died of colon cancer at age 45. Weeks after her death, he auditioned for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and went on to study there for three years. His father, James, died of a brain tumor at age 63.

After graduating from RADA in 1994, Mangan did not pursue lead roles on-screen, preferring to take what he saw as the less limited opportunities on the stage. Between 1994 and 2000, he performed in plays throughout the UK and the West End before joining the theatre company Cheek by Jowl for an international tour of Much Ado About Nothing, earning him a nomination for a National Theatre Ian Charleson Award. He worked again for director Declan Donnellan at the Royal Shakespeare Company in School for Scandal, and at the Savoy Theatre in Hay Fever.

In 2008 he played the title role in The Norman Conquests, directed by Matthew Warchus, at The Old Vic and then at the Circle in the Square on Broadway.  The production was a huge critical success earning several Tony Award nominations, including one for Mangan himself and won the Tony Award for Best Revival.

In 2012 he appeared at the Royal Court in a Joe Penhall play, Birthday, directed by Roger Michell, playing a pregnant man.

Mangan starred as Bertie Wooster in Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense at the Duke of York’s Theatre alongside Matthew Macfadyen as Jeeves from October 2013 until they were replaced by Mark Heap and Robert Webb in April 2014. The production won the 2014 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy.

Mangan’s breakthrough television performance was as Adrian Mole in the six-part BBC TV show series Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years in 2001. That same year he appeared in Sword of Honour on Channel 4, alongside Daniel Craig.

In 2002, he appeared as Dan Moody in the I’m Alan Partridge episode “Bravealan”. A scene where Alan repeatedly shouts “Dan!” at Dan from a distance in a car park, while Dan pretends not to notice him, was named the second best moment from the series by Metro, and in 2014 Mangan said that he has “Dan!” shouted at him by passers-by almost every day.

Mangan played Guy Secretan in the BAFTA-winning British sitcom Green Wing. In Channel 4’s The World’s Greatest Comedy Characters, Guy was voted 34th. He starred as Keith in Never Better, a British television sitcom on BBC Two. He plays a recovering alcoholic Keith Merchant and Kate Ashfield is his long-suffering wife Anita. The series was written by Fintan Ryan for World Productions.

In 2009, Free Agents, a romantic black comedy starred Mangan, Sharon Horgan and Anthony Head. Originally a pilot for Channel 4 in November 2007, the series began on 13 February 2009.  It spawned a short lived US remake, which was cancelled after just four episodes aired, although four more were later released on Hulu.

He played the title role in Dirk Gently, a British comedy detective drama TV series based on characters from the Dirk Gently novels by Douglas Adams. The series was created by Howard Overman and co-starred Darren Boyd as his sidekick Richard MacDuff. Recurring actors included Helen Baxendale as MacDuff’s girlfriend Susan Harmison, Jason Watkins as Dirk’s nemesis DI Gilks and Lisa Jackson as Dirk’s receptionist Janice Pearce. Unlike most detective series Dirk Gently featured broadly comic touches and even some science fiction themes such as time travel and artificial intelligence. He has said that he was “bitterly upset” at the BBC’s axing of the series after four episodes due to a freeze on the licence fee.

He played the title role in “The Hunt for Tony Blair“, a one-off episode of The Comic Strip Presents…, a British television comedy, which was first shown on Channel 4 on 14 October 2011. The 60 minute film was written by Peter Richardson and Pete Richens and presented in the style of a 1950s film noir. It stars Mangan as the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is wanted for murder and on the run as a fugitive. The film received its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Television Festival in August 2011. It first aired on Channel 4 on 14 October 2011; it received a mostly positive reaction from reviewers, and was nominated for a BAFTA award (Best Comedy Programme 2012) and the British Comedy Awards (Best Comedy Drama 2011).

He appeared in Episodes, a British/American television comedy series created by David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik and produced by Hat Trick Productions. It premiered on Showtime in the United States on 9 January 2011 at 9:30 pm  and on BBC Two in the UK on 10 January 2011.

The show is about a British husband-and-wife comedy writing team who travel to Hollywood to remake their successful British TV series, with disastrous results. On 11 December 2013, it was announced that Showtime had renewed Episodes for a fourth season. Episodeshas received positive reviews by critics, with many singling out Mangan, Tamsin Greig, and Matt LeBlanc‘s performances.

In 2018 Stephen Mangan played the lead role in a comedy British TV Series Bliss that was aired on Sky One.

Mangan’s first film part was as Doctor Crane in Billy Elliot. He played French cabaret singer Pierre Dupont in the cult film Chunky Monkeyalongside David Threlfall and Alison Steadman. He appeared in the Miramax film Birthday Girl, starring Nicole Kidman and Vincent Cassel.

He appeared opposite Keira Knightley in the 2002 short New Year’s Eve, and played the leading role in SuperTex (2003), a Dutch film, filmed in English and directed by Jan Schütte. He played a comedian in Festival is a 2005 British black comedy about a number of people at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe directed by Annie Griffin. The general shots of the festival were filmed during the 2004 event. Mangan was nominated for a Scottish BAFTA for his performance.

Confetti, a 2006 British mockumentary romantic comedy film, was released on 5 May 2006. It was conceived and directed by Debbie Isittand stars many British comedians, including Jessica StevensonJimmy CarrMartin FreemanMark HeapJulia DavisRobert Webb, and Olivia Colman. It follows a bridal magazine competition for the most original wedding, the ultimate prize being a house, and the three couples who are chosen to compete. Mangan plays one of the grooms, a professional tennis player.

He starred in Beyond the Pole, a 2010 British mockumentary adapted from the cult BBC radio series of the same name. It received its UK cinema release in 2010. It was directed and produced by David L. Williams.  The film was shot on floating sea ice off the coast of Greenland, and stars an acclaimed cast of actors and comedians including Mangan, Rhys ThomasMark BentonAlexander Skarsgardand Helen BaxendaleVariety magazine described the film as a cross between The Office and Touching the Void.

In 2013 Mangan played Alastair Caldwell in Rush, a British-German biographical sports drama film centered on the rivalry between race car drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the 1976 Formula One motor-racing season. It was written by Peter Morgan, directed by Ron Howard and stars Chris Hemsworth as Hunt and Daniel Brühl as Lauda. The film premiered in London on 2 September 2013 and was shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival[30][31] before its UK and US theatrical releases on, respectively, 13 and 20 September 2013.

In 2014, Mangan voiced the title role in Postman Pat: The Movie, a British 3D computer-animated comedy film featuring Postman Pat, star of a long-running BBC children’s series. It was originally due to be released on 24 May 2013,[33] but was pushed back to a year later. Pat’s singing voice was performed by Ronan Keating. Other voice actors in the film included Jim BroadbentRupert Grint, and David Tennant.

Mangan was host of the Evening Standard British Film Awards for four years (2009–2013). On 27 April 2014, he returned to host the British Academy Television Craft Awards in London for a third time. Mangan recorded the role of Cloten in Shakespeare‘s Cymbelinefor the Arkangel Shakespeare audiobook series, directed by Clive Brill.

Mangan is married to actress Louise Delamere. They have three sons.

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Marie O’Neill

Marie O’Neill

Marie O’Neill (Wikipedia)

Marie O’Neill was born in 1886 and was an Irish actress of stage and film. She holds a place in theater history as the first actress to interpret the lead character of Pegeen Mike Flaherty in John Millington Synge‘s controversial stage masterpiece, The Playboy of the Western World (1907).

Born Mary Agnes Allgood at 40 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin, she was one of eight children of compositor George and french polisher Margaret (née Harold) Allgood,[2][3]she was known as “Molly”. Her father was sternly Protestant and against all music, dancing and entertainment, and her mother a strict Catholic.  After her father died in 1896, she was placed in an orphanage. She was apprenticed to a dressmaker. One of Allgood’s brothers, Tom, became a Catholic priest.

Maud Gonne set up Inghinidhe na hÉireann (Daughters of Ireland) in 1900 to educate women about Irish history, language and the arts, and Allgood and her sister Sara joined the association’s drama classes around 1903. Their acting teacher, Willie Fay, enrolled them in the National Theatre Society, later known as the Abbey Theatre. Maire was part of the Abbey Theatre from 1906-1918 where she appeared in many productions.[9]In 1904 she was cast in a play by Irish playwright Teresa Deevy called Katie Roche  where she played the part of Margaret Drybone, there were 38 performances in this production.

Marie O’Neill

In 1905 Molly met Irish playwright John Millington Synge and they fell in love, a relationship regarded as scandalous because it crossed the class barriers of the time. In September 1907 he had surgery for the removal of troublesome neck glands, but a later tumour was found to be inoperable. They became engaged before his death in March 1909. Synge wrote the plays The Playboy of the Western World and Deirdre of the Sorrows for Allgood.

Under her professional name Maire O’Neill, she appeared in films from 1930-53, including Alfred Hitchcock‘s film version of Seán O’Casey‘s play Juno and the Paycock(1930). She made her American debut in New York in 1914 in the play General John Regan at the Hudson Theatre.

In June 1911 she married G. H. Mair, drama critic of the Manchester Guardian, and later Assistant Secretary of the British Department of Information, Assistant Director of the League of Nations Secretariat in Geneva, and head of the League of Nations office in London, with whom she had two children. He died suddenly on 3 January 1926. Six months later she married Arthur Sinclair, an Abbey actor. They had two children but divorced.

Her life suffered a full share of tragedies; she was crushed by her brother Frank’s death in World War I in 1915, her fiancé Synge died before they married, her beloved husband died after 15 years of marriage, and their son died in an air crash in 1942. Her sister Sara’s husband and baby died of influenza during the Spanish flu. Sara died two years before her; they had become estranged.

She died in Park Prewett Hospital, BasingstokeEngland, on 2 November 1952, aged 66, where she was receiving treatment after being badly burned in a fire at her London home.

Joseph O’Connor‘s 2010 novel, Ghost Light, is loosely based on Allgood’s relationship with Synge.


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Nanette Newman

Nanette Newman

Nanette Newman (Wikipedia)

Nanette Newman was born in 1934 & is an English actress and author. She appeared in nine films directed by her husband Bryan Forbes, including Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964), The Whisperers (1967), Deadfall (1968), The Stepford Wives (1975) and International Velvet (1978) for which she won the Evening Standard Film Award for Best Actress. She was also nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for another Forbes directed film, The Raging Moon (1971).

Newman was born in NorthamptonNorthamptonshire, England. She was the daughter of a show business family – her father was reputed to be a circus strongman, and her mother was also in show business. In the 1940s, she lived in Pullman CourtStreatham Hill. She was educated at Sternhold College, the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts stage school and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Newman made her first screen appearance at age 11 in the 1945 short Here We Come Gathering: A Story of the Kentish Orchards. Her feature film debut as a teenager was in Personal Affairs released in 1953. There followed a number of period roles, including the heroine in The Wrong Box (1966); The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969); The Raging Moon(1971), as a young woman in a wheelchair and International Velvet (1978).

Newman married actor-writer-director Bryan Forbes in 1955. She acted with Forbes in The League of Gentlemen (1960), which Forbes also scripted, and went on to appear in most of the feature films that Forbes directed, including The L-Shaped Room (1962), Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964), The Wrong Box (1966), The Whisperers (1967), Deadfall (1968), The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969), The Raging Moon (1971), The Stepford Wives (1975) and International Velvet (1978).

In his 1983 book Adventures in the Screen Trade, scriptwriter William Goldman was critical of the fact that Forbes cast his wife (then in her early forties) as Carol, one of the robotic spouses in The Stepford Wives, and revealed that it led to a major rift between them. In Goldman’s original script (of which, he claimed, about 75% was re-written by Forbes), the android replacement wives were meant to be like (Playboy) “Playmates come to life”, the acme of youth and beauty, dressed in skimpy tennis shorts and T-shirts. Although Goldman conceded that Newman was both a good actress and attractive, she clearly did not fit his conception of the part (“a sex bomb she isn’t”), and he objected to Forbes’ decision to change the appearance of the ‘wives’ (making them older, more demure and much more conservatively dressed), expressing the view that Newman’s casting “destroyed the reality of a story that was only precariously real to begin with”. Goldman also recounted his misgivings about casting an Englishwoman to play an American – although, in the event, Newman delivered a perfect accent, and few viewers would have realised she was not American.

Newman is from a variety background, acting on stage and also appearing in television advertisements, including for Fairy Liquid. She was also a popular regular panellist on a revival of the BBC panel game show What’s My Line? (1973–74).

She is the author of thirty children’s books and six cookery books; winning a Cookbook of the Year Award with The Summer Cookbook, and presented a children’s television cookery programme, Fun Food Factory (1976).

Newman met actor-writer-director Bryan Forbes in February 1954 on location at Marylebone railway shunting yards, while Forbes was co-starring in the film Wheel of Fate. Newman, then still at RADA, had been sent along for a job:

Newman and Forbes married on 27 August 1955, and had two daughters, Emma Forbes and Sarah Standing. They were married for 57 years, until Forbes’ death in 2013. In her first interview after Forbes’ death, Newman explained that one of the reasons they were able to keep their marriage together was Forbes’ rule that he always took his family with him if he was working overseas for any period longer than two weeks.

  • A good marriage is at least 80 per cent good luck in finding the right person at the right time. The rest is trust.