Early 1980, I was invited to dinner at Bernard Cornfelds house in Hollywood. Guests included Oleg Cassini numerous starlets and Cary Grant. Oleg had a bet with one of the aspiring and budding actresses, in regards to one of the courses whether it was organic or not. A bet was placed and if she won the bet Oleg was to design her a new evening gown. She won the bet, and Oleg said OKAY, be in my bedroom tonight at 12:30am for measuring. Cray Grant looked quizzically over to Oleg, and in that umistakeable voice said? And I became an actor!

Here are a few or vignetts of the various people in show business i have met over the years

for those that are old enough to remember the silver screen

Jimmy Stewart, starred with Bob Sherman in the Play Harvey at the Prince of Wales Theater in London in the mid 1970's. Mr. Stewart was a guest at 88 St. James, and we discussed Kenya where his daughter worked with wild life.

THE cARD BELOW WAS GIVEN TO ME BY MR. james STEWART AS A MEMENTO OF HIS FAMOUS FILM HARVEY THE WHITE RABBIT in london 1975, the card was used in the original film and was given to passers by with an invite to his house for dinner, much to the chagrine of his sister

 

some of the stars of yesteryear

Tony Curtis circa 1980's I met him at a semi famous restaurant on Sunset Boulevard I think it was 2270 Sunset, the restaurant was owned by a B Movie actor, he subsequently moved to Vegas. Tony was introduced by the owner, however I was not sure who he was, until the barman told me after, that Tony was out there trying on his new face. (Plastic Surgery).

Trevor Bannister (Are You Being Served) was a Guest at my Aintree Penthouse in the early 1970's, along with a number of the British actors who played the Johanneburg Theatres.

I met Edward Fox in the 1980's when he did a play at Bath for a development that I was developing in Florida. I then met him again this year at a party given by Britania Holdings in London. See photo below.

Edward and I at the Britania Holdings Party 2014, not 2010 as stated on the picture.

Sidney James was a South African actor formerly a boxer. I had dinner with him at the Sleepy Hollow Hotel and bar in Rivonia. probably a little more upmarket then as to what it is now. My partner in the entertainment business was the legendary Yango John, who during my time in the business we brought over from the States Frank Sinatra Jnr, Jerry Lewis, Percy Sledge who we renamed Sledge Hammer. Then we brought over Tom Jones and many others.

David Warner, one of the most underated stars of the era of great films. David was a frequent guest at my home at 88 St. James Street. David was very shy and had a slight skin problem, which gave him a little bit of a complex somewhat. At one party, David being very shy sat under the table where the drinks were, and I think it was Dickie Hendeson that said look an arm just came out from under the table and grabbed a drink. I said, yes, David Warner lives there. He was seen in so many great films, among which were, Perfect Friday with Stanley Baker, and Ursula Andress. Tony Greville Bell wrote the script, Tony and I were partners in a couple of pre-productions, of which David Hemmings was to star.

 

Syd & Max Harrison were the father's of Hope & Keen. their sons were TV Comediams of the 1970's 8o's. I met them in Frankfurt Germany at the Garny Hotel on the Eschesheimer Land Strasse. They were hilarious and Wee Willie Harris also stayed at the same Hotel, this was the days of Gisela Gunther the German Agent doing the rounds with American and UK acts of yesteryear, they all played the US Clubs in the American Zone of Germany in the mid 1960's. I used to take then to their show by car, the first time I took them, they were a hit, and from that day on they would not do a gig unless I drove then to it. They did the act continually off stage as well as onstage. They never ceased to amaze me. Great Vaudevilians.

 

Can be sseen below courtesy of Pathe News

 

 

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/twinkling-tappers-syd-max-harrison

 

I met Wee Willie Harris in Frankfurt Germany in the Garni Hotel in the mid 1960's. He was working for Giesela Gunter a German Agent that booked acts for the US Troops stationed in South Germany and FRANKFURT. This was at the same time and the same hotel that I met Syd & Max Harrison, who were the funniest men, whose act never finsihed from the stage. Wee Willie was managed by someone, forgot his name, but I noticed that when ever I saw Wee Willie Harris, in the bar or the dining area, he always looked sullen with a very blank white face and never said a word. I asked his manager what he did for an act. He said come with us tonight and you will see a transformation. I normally took Syd & Max to their show, and the first time I did they were a hit, so they always thought I was an omen, and always asked for me to take them. Anyway, I went to the show with Wee Willie's Manager, and then a few minutes befor Wee Willie went on stage, he came to the wing of the stage. He still look bland, but with stage makeup on less doomed. As the presnter told the audience, Ladies & Gentlman the one and only Wee Willie Harris. I was dumbfounded, he lit up like a Christmas Tree, and trashed the audience with an act like never before seen. His peronality changed, his body movements, his voice, his everything. Then his Manager said watch this when he comes off, as he eventually did........to be cntinued

The last time I saw Sir Donald Sindon. was at an Art Show next door to the Fishworks off Regent Street, in 2012. I remarked that I had not seen him since 1970 in Johanneburgh, he looked at me and said, "was I there". I know Brian Rix was there, also Robertson Hare and Trever Bannister, Vincent Ball and others. We also all met again at Italo Canata's large house in the best part of Johannesburg. It was a Sunday ritual, Italo was a handsome Italian in the marble business, and always invited celebrtities to his widely known parties. He was we believe the local Godfather, as many Italians would pay their respect and kiss his hand. It was there that now Lord Rix did a skit about being in a man's toilet, quite funny but difficult to describe. Richard Loring at that time was courting Ital's daughter. Richard went on to become the star of the film "The Winners" with Clyde Ray singing the backtrack "My Way" where I flew the Music producer Robin Netscher to Salisbury in Rhodesia in my aircraft ZS-ECC. Richard also became the writer producer of African Footprint, which became a hit all over the world.

THE ONE AND ONLY

LIBERACE

 

 

 

 

 

I used to meet celebrities in some strange places. The first one I remember was Liberace who was together with a woman and his brother George. I was on my way to the Suez Canal in 1956, stationed in Aldershot having just transferred from 1 (BR) Corp in Herford West Germany (as Germany was known then). Our Regiment 7 Signals Regiment was soon to be deployed to the Suez Canal and I got a 48 hour pass to meet my mother in London. I visited Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the Guards. Whilst standing by one of the main gates, the Queen arrived by car to enter the Main Gate at Buck House. Standing nearby was an obviously well-dressed man, which I still remember was dressed in black silk trousers and a black and silver shredded top with alligator type black shiny shoes. I had no idea who he was. As the Queen passed, he said to his friends, “isn’t she just beautiful” and clapped his hand over his mouth, pressing his head nearly through the gate railings. After the excitement of the Queen passing, the crowd drew their attention to the strangely dressed man standing next to me, someone shouted, “Hi Liberace”. The crowd drew closer and suddenly a large black car drew alongside the pavement and I was stuck between the car door and the crowd, who by this time were pressing nearer and closer. Liberace waved at the crowd opened the back door and let George and the lady in, as I was now between the crowd and the door. Liberace leaned over and said hey soldier get in or you will be crushed, so I got in the car. Liberace asked where they could drop me off, and I said, well Piccadilly Circus, would be fine and thanked him for the lift. I had heard of Liberace, so I took the opportunity of getting his autograph. All I had on me was an old photo of me and another soldier called Victor Jinks also from Guernsey. On the backside of the photo, Liberace drew a little piano with a Candelabra and signed his name in a flourish. Shortly after Casandra of the Daily Express was succesfully sued by Liberace for damages of $16,000.00 for writing an article that Liberace was a homosexual, which of course he was, so that shows the Law is an Ass.

 

Liberace

 

 

 

John Higgins, brother of Colin Higgins, Hollywood producer of Dolly Partons films and Gene Wilders Silver Streak, also wrote the classic film with Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort (1971) Harold & Maude. At this time John was staying with me, after being kicked out of Bob Shermans home in Fulham, for as Brigitte, Bob's irl friend expounded in a very annoyed French accent to Bob, "Iggins must go, he kicked the cat". This was Christmas Eve, so avoiding John sleeping on the streets I took him home with me, he stayed several months, his last BBC claim to fame was he closed the doors of Colditz in the TV Serial by the same name. Sadly John died his Obituary is below.

 

 

John Edward Higgins, Jr. Jan. 2, 1940-Nov. 11, 2011 "Don't be afraid to dream." -John Higgins Actor, Director, Producer, Teacher, and Dialect Coach. Born in Sydney, Australia, the eldest of six sons of John Edward Higgins of San Francisco, California and Joyce Higgins of Melbourne, Australia. Upon graduation from St. Ignatius High School in Riverview, John and his younger brother filmmaker Colin Higgins (Harold and Maude, Foul Play) moved to the USA and settled with their family in Atherton, California. John received a Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA) from San Jose State University in California, an Acting Diploma from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and served honorably in the United States Navy in the early 1960s. John made his professional acting debut with the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, California. He appeared in sixteen of William Shakespeare's plays in Repertory, working with eminent directors William Ball, Craig Noel, and Allen Fletcher, before relocating to London in 1970. In London, John performed with The Royal Shakespeare Company, and appeared in the original West End productions of "The Boys in the Band," and "Fortune and Men's Eyes." John divided his time between England, the United States, South Africa, and his beloved Australia, sharing his wisdom with others and challenging himself to take on new goals in the fields of stage, television, and movie directing and acting. In the 1990s, he performed in and directed several plays and musicals in a number of Northern California venues such as the Berkeley Repertory, the Alcazar, the Eureka Company and the Spreckels Performing Arts Center. He was an innovator and a leader, with an unrelenting passion for adventure and discovery. In addition to John's many achievements in the theatre arts and entertainment fields, he was a champion swimmer, and accomplished sailor, and a professional photographic model. John will be fondly remembered for his pioneering work in the Theater, drawing attention to the universal struggle against oppression. His sincere interest in others and belief in their worth earned John the respect and affection of acting students all over the world. Since returning to Australia in 2000, he was in high demand as an acting and dialect coach, assisting such notable actors & actresses as Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids), and Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy of Harry Potter films). While in the process of preparing a revival of his celebrated musical on Bob Dylan called "Words & Music," and creating an updated version of "Midsummer Night's Dream", he learned he had oral cancer. John underwent initial treatment in Australia, after which he traveled to the United States to seek further treatment and to be with his family. The illness took his life on November 11, 2011. He died peacefully at his brother's home in Fremont, California. He is survived by his mother Joyce Higgins of Fremont, California, brothers Gary of Hawaii, Brian of Fremont, Barry of Tasmania, and Dennis Kelly Higgins of New York, in addition to his nephews Patrick, James, and Sean Higgins, and by all the friends and family he touched with his wit, irreverence and spirit. On February 4, 2012, we had a "Celebration of John's Life" party on the Sydney Harbor in Australia. We want to do the same in San Francisco for the many friends, colleagues, and students that worked with him and loved him so much here in the States. Information will be available soon regarding the date, time, and place on John's website at www.professorjohnhiggins.com. Also, feel free to email John's brother Brian at higginsb28@yahoo.com John Higgins-- Son, Brother, Uncle, and a True Friend until the very end. "Thanks for all the fun"--John

John Higgins, my photo of a toasting next to my old Mercedes TYP-8- F. Nan Wright Standing in the Car
I met Colin Higgins in London with John and  David Hemmings (of Blow Up fame), we were looking to produce a film called "Daisy On Monday" Tony Greveille Bell's and my parody of an 1850 ship sailing from Australia to England. An on board fancy dress party is seriously disturbed when the ship sinks near a small Island, (Monday) and the passengers become shipwrecked and in their costumes begin to take on the characters of the party. The eminent cast to be was David Niven (Soldier) Spike Milligan (Clown) Peter Ustinov (Bishop) Michael Cane (Pirate). Daisey is a 17 year old pretty girl dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, who is the subject of attention by each character
Colin Higgins was an Australian-American screenwriter, actor, director, and producer. He was best known for writing the screenplay for the 1971 film Harold and Maude. and for directing the films Foul Play and 9 to 5, with Dolly Parton.

I met Cassius Clay (Mohamed Ally) in 1977 at the Caane Film Festival. He was standing on the stairs of the Carlton Hotel, the venue for the Film Festival. His speech was a little slurred in those days. I had to inform him that I was Mohamed Ally before he was so had first claim to the name. he asked how that was, well in 1952 at the Royals Signals Boys Camp Christmas Pantomine, I was the resident magician, which was described as Boy Tongs as Mohammed Ally (By kind permission of the King Farouk.

Frau Clever, wife of film writer Willie Clever, Juta Mensing and me with moustache. Circa 1975

I met Frau Clever in Munich in the mid 1970's. Frau Clever was the wife of a well known 1940's German writer, who produced a Film called Romance in Moll. Somehow Hitler was displeased with his later works about the Nazis, he was interned in a Concentration Camp. His wife as punishment (as she is seen above) was made to serve Hitler at his Berchtesgarten Lair. From Frau Clever I was able to obtain stories for my Book "Forgotten" about 3 GI's in Germany at the end of the war.

 

The stry of Romance in Moll is about A grieving husband who tries to uncover the truth behind his wife's suicide, leading him to discover a tragic tale of infidelity and redemption.

 

Director:

Helmut Käutner

Writers:

Willy Clever (screenplay), Willy Clever (story), 2 more credits »

Stars:

Marianne Hoppe, Paul Dahlke, Ferdinand Marian | See full cast and crew »                          

David Hemmings when he was much older, he died before Oliver Reed, who also lived in the Island where I was born, more on Ollie later.

The picture is David as I knew him.

 

I was also present when Gayle Hunnicut his wife, came home to The Boltons in South Kensington. he was in the bathroom with Prudence de Casembroot, a divorce ensued shortly thereafter. Below is some background Information. However, David was sent to South Africa to do some public relations on Daisy On Monday, David was found having what Hugh Grant got at Sunset Boulevard with Divine Brown. Substantial Money was raised but the surrounding scandal of all three of them for more reasons gave Roger Moore the ability pick up the pieces, and so the great film GOLD was made and Daisy never got completed.

 

In 1967 Antonioni's 'Blow Up' was received by stunned audiences across the world. It was one of the most beautiful and enigmatic pictures to capture the zeitgeist and by the end of '60s, David Hemmings who played the central role, was one of the biggest movie stars in the world. From ordinary beginnings, with a doting mother and a father bitterly determined to see his son succeed where he had failed, Hemmings was launched early into an extraordinary life at the age of 12, when he was picked by Benjamin Britten to sing in his new operatic version of 'The Turn of the Screw'. Becoming something of a muse to Britten, a normal life was impossible and, going on to stage school in London, David was soon appearing regularly on films and television. His relationship with his father though, had deteriorated beyond repair, and he was left to look after himself. Hemmings's career spanned 50 years, from a quintessentially charismatic icon of the swinging sixties, to a hugely influential television director and producer, of the 'A-Team', 'Quantum Leap' and 'Airwolf', among others. The book has a 16 page plate section of exclusive colour and black and white photos from the family album, as well as previously unseen pictures from friends. Anecdotes from the sets of films from 'Barbarella' and 'Blow Up' to 'Gladiator' and 'Gangs of New York', and insights into Hollywood and the lives of his numerous famous friends and acquaintances make this the essentail reference to one of Britain's most accomplished actors.

The Monkees

 

I first met the group in London at the home of a friend of Bob Sherman. The friend was married to an heiress to a vast fortune of Irish cardboard box makers. Bob was appraoched by one of the famous 4 to ask if I was Gay, Bob as bad as he always was, said yes he's Gay. I do not know which one ever asked, but I treated them all the same, with a girl tightly held on my arm!

The House where I met them, was next door to where Michael Jackson used to rent.

I met with Petula Clark and her husband Claude Wolfe for lunch in 1987/8 at Drones near Harrods. During my development days I had built a luxury subdivision near Disney World, called St. James's Park and also we built a house for George Mitchell, the producer and Conductor of one of Englands favorite TV Shows the Black and White Minstrals Show, which ran for 20 years in the West End and for many years on British TV. George was also a friend of Petula Clark when she was a young upcomimng star. The UK Minstrel show was something similar as the US Lawrence Welk show. Claude visited my home at St. James's Park, where he made a little mess of the kitchen cooking a large Sea Bass stuffed with garlic. It was excellent. George died in 2002, and is survived by his children from his first marriage and his wife Dorothy Ogden, one of the lead dancers in the show. We had many good times, when Jimmy Fraser would come up from Palm Beach. Jimmy was the lead in the Frazer Hayes Four, who performed for the BBC for many years on various shows. Robin Netscher was always a guest, Robin is now the Conductor of The Philharmonic Orchestra in Palm Beach.

The Fraser Hayes Four

Jimmy Fraser lived in Palm Beach but would come up to Kisssimmee every chance he had, Goerge and him would be Jamming the whole night, with George giving a rendition on the piano, as to how some of the Beatles music was very similar to classical favorites.

 

The Fraser Hayes Four was a British close harmony vocal group, formed by the musicians Jimmy Fraser (real name Frazer Potts) and Tony Hayes in the late 1940s, disbanded in 1953, and re-formed in 1956. according to 'The Ballad Years' by Don Wicks, the four original members were Jimmy Fraser (Potts), Tony Hayes, Dave Mason and June Ellis.

 

Popular 1930s and 1940s singer Denny Dennis teamed up with the original Fraser Hayes Quartette (who eventually became the Fraser Hayes Four) in about 1949. Denny initially financed the venture, and the new group was to prove successful. In June 1950 they appeared on the BBC radio show Variety Fanfare, and were given positive comments by the critics. However in January 1951, Denny Dennis left, possibly in part due to the financial pressures of maintaining such a group.

 

While Fraser and Hayes remained constant for the life of the group, the female lead and the fourth (bass) voice changed periodically. Annabelle Lee replaced June Ellis and married Jimmy Fraser. Dave Mason left the group and was replaced by Nick Welsh. Later they had a new female vocalist, Lynda Russell, who herself was replaced by Kerri Sims. Annabelle Lee later rejoined the group, replacing Barbara Moore who had taken over from Kerri Sims. Canadian Harry Currie became the fourth voice in 1962, appearing with the group during their six week headlining engagement at London's Latin Quarter and on several BBC broadcasts. Jimmy Fraser eventually emigrated to the United States to enjoy Florida's sun. Tony Hayes formed a new vocal harmony group named The Skyliners after the Fraser Hayes Four split up. They are best known for providing musical interludes on the BBC Radio comedy programmes Beyond Our Ken and Round the Horne.[1] However, on Round The Horne, when the female singer is occasionally referred to, the name used is 'Marj'.

Watch below

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDxJfUGUCN0

Maestro Robin Netscher, well known Florida Conductor of Magic Pops Orchestra

Robin Netscher through the ages

Robin started his career as a Child Actor, appearing in films with the likes of Richard Burton and Jean Simmons, he appeared as lead over Richard Burton in the film On The Waterfront. After his military National Service, he toured world wide including Las Vegas, with a quatrtet called the Beltones. I met him in Germany in the mid 1960's at a party. Months later he was in the UK and I sold and built his first house for him. We meet again in South Africa where I got him into flying. He had a very successful South African career winning numerous music awards, and conducting the well known Johannesburg Pops. He wrote several number one songs, one of which he has donated to my Non-Profit, called Beautiful Children, which can be heard on this site. Robin went to Hollywood (Florida) in 1978 and became the Entertainment Director for the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. I followd Robin by coincidence in October 1978, had two weeks with him and stayed for another 35 years. He is much loved by all my children and known as Uncle Wobin.

 

 

Ed Begley JNR

Ed and Dennis are obviously standing on a box.

ED Begley Jnr's Father was a prolific actor in the early days of film, below is a history of Ed Snr. Ed Jnr was close, with nearly 100 films to his credit:

 

 

Begley was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Hannah (née Clifford) and Michael Joseph Begley, Irish immigrants.[2][3][4] Begley began his career as a Broadway and radio actor while in his teens. He appeared in the hit musical Going Up on Broadway in 1917 and in London the next year. He later acted in roles as Sgt. O'Hara in the radio show The Fat Man. His radio work included a period as Charlie Chan and Stroke of Fate amongst other roles. He also starred in the 1950s radio program Richard Diamond, Private Detective, playing Lieutenant Walter Levinson, head of homicide at the 5th Precinct, Manhattan. In the late 1940s, he began appearing regularly in supporting film roles. Elected a member of The Lambs (www.The-Lambs.org) in 1943.

In the 1952-1953 television season, Begley co-starred with Eddie Albert in the CBS sitcom Leave It to Larry. Begley, though only five years older than Albert, played the father-in-law and employer of Albert's character, Larry Tucker, a shoe salesman, who with his young family lives with Begley. In 1954 Begley starred in the NBC Television show called Big Boy. He starred as Joe Grant, an engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad living in Cheyenne, Wyoming, who worked on the famous Union Pacific Big Boy steam locomotives. The show is about how Begley's character copes with the transition from steam locomotives to diesel locomotives in the 1950s.

 
Begley (right) with Monte Markham in 1969.

He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Sweet Bird of Youth (1962). Some of his other notable films include 12 Angry Men (1957) as juror #10, The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) and Wild in the Streets (1968). One notable role Begley played both on television (twice in 1955) and in the theatrical film (1956) is William (Bill) Briggs, one of the three primary characters in Rod Serling's Patterns.

I met Gordon Mills with Yango John at the Westbury Hotel in London. This was after we had booked Tom Jones to South Africa in the 1970’s. He offered us a new singing artist for $15,000. We turned the deal down, and a few months later whilst driving through France, I heard on the radio this UK Number One record in 1978, “Love is in the Air, by John Paul Young. The singer we turned down. Gordon was behind the name of Engelbert Humperdink, known before as Gerry Dorsey.

 

 

Engelbert Humperdinck With his dark hair and square jaw, Humperdinck was an immediate hit with the ladies

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Engelbert Humperdinck will represent the UK at this year's Eurovision Song Contest, at the age of 75. But who is the man behind the name?

As names go, Engelbert Humperdinck is right up there with the best Dickens has to offer, overshadowing Martin Chuzzlewit, Edwin Drood, even Uriah Heep.

It is a name so wonderfully odd, that it even inspired comedian Eddie Izzard to one of his funniest routines.

But rather than literary references, the young Gerry Dorsey looked to classical music for his alias - plumping for a 19th Century composer, best known for his opera Hansel and Gretel.

Born Arnold George Dorsey (later simplified to the stage name Gerry Dorsey) in Chennai, India in 1936, he was 20 years old before the first Eurovision contest was even held.

He released his first single, I'll Never Fall in Love Again, under the name Dorsey, in 1958.

It flopped, and the young singer returned to performing in clubs - until a bout of tuberculosis, in 1961, brought his career to a temporary halt.

Tom Jones, Gordon Mills and (r) Engelbert Humperdinck Humperdinck (r), along with Jones (l), became one of the biggest-selling UK singers of the 1960s

In 1965, and still struggling to make an impact on the music scene, Dorsey signed with manager Gordon Mills.

Mills had recently taken another aspiring young singer called Tom Woodward, from Pontypridd in Wales, and renamed him Jones - propelling him toward his first major hit, It's Not Unusual.

Mills persuaded Dorsey that he too needed to change his name if he truly wanted a fresh start, and the artist Engelbert Humperdinck was born.

If the overtly sexual Jones was the fire in the fame-hungry duo, then the reserved, romantic Humperdinck was the ice.

With his square jaw, olive skin and plump lips, not to mention sideburns so ridiculously thick and lustrous they each required a barber of their own - Humperdinck more than matched Jones in the heart-throb stakes.

Engelbert Humperdinck Humperdinck dressed to impress in an evening suit and bow tie

But it was more than his looks: Humperdinck possessed a smooth, almost effortless croon, which harked back to his idols Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Dino and the rat pack.

Though he baulked at the term "crooner".

"No crooner has the range I have. I can hit notes a bank could not cash," he is reported to have said.

It was a voice that, in 1967, when The Beatles were at the height of their creative powers - about to release the game changing Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band - kept the world's biggest band from the top of the singles chart.

Who else changed their name?

  • Elton John - Reg Dwight
  • Cliff Richard - Harry Webb
  • David Bowie - David Jones
  • Freddie Mercury - Farrokh Bulsara
  • Adam Faith - Terence Nelhams
  • George Michael - Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou
  • Dusty Springfield - Mary O'Brien

Humperdinck's big band cover of Release Me held off the, not insubstantial, challenge of the Beatles' double A-side Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane for six weeks. It went on to become the highest-selling single of 1967.

Two more ballads, There Goes My Everything and The Last Waltz, drew a wealth of new fans - now nicknamed "Humperdinckers", and reputed to include the young Princess Anne.

With a string of successful albums, Humperdinck was one of the pre-eminent balladeers of the 60s, both in the UK and beyond.

Like Jones, he even fronted his own US TV show - though it was cancelled after six months. "It happens," he told chat show host Rosie O'Donnell in a 1996 interview.

In the 1970s, with longer hair and a beard, the broad-shouldered singer resembled a power-lifting Bee Gee.

And in 1976, around the time the Gibbs were themselves about to seize the limelight, Humperdinck recorded another of his biggest hit records, After the Lovin.

Engelbert Humperdinck Humperdinck's UK popularity began to wane in the 1970s

The song became a top 10 hit in the US and was nominated for a Grammy, while the album of the same name was another double platinum hit in the States.

However, the single failed to chart in the UK and marked a dip in his popularity on home shores.

Humperdinck, who continued to tour worldwide throughout the 80s and 90s, had something of a UK career revival in the early 2000s following an advert appearance alongside comedian Peter Kaye.

In 2010, it was revealed that Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn had approached Humperdinck to sing on their third studio album Plastic Beach.

Humperdinck's management, unbeknownst to the singer, had rejected the offer. Speaking to the website Undercover News, Humperdinck called it "the most grievous sin that had ever been committed".

He added: "I wouldn't do a thing like that. The Gorillaz? My God! I would jump on it like a ton of bricks".

Fast forward another couple of years, and, at 75, Humperdinck finds himself at the centre of a major cultural event, representing the UK at this year's Eurovision.

After years of humiliation in the contest for the UK, Humperdinck - who has a large fanbase in eastern Europe - has as good a chance as any other artist to bring the title back to Britain.

"I'm excited and raring to go and want the nation to get behind me!" he says.

Being born in Guernsey, I often met Ollie at the Old Government House Hotel, when I was visiting my family. I had met him at Pinewood studios with David Hemmings who was a different kind of hell raiser. I think Olliver Reed won all prizes for that. If you ever went out with him to a restaurant or a bar, if any man or likely candiidate for a fight looked at him strangely, he woud oblige. A lot of young men wanted to see if he was a hard man, Inevitably, they found out the hard way.

 

When the UK government raised taxes on personal income, Reed initially declined to join the exodus of major British film stars to Hollywood and other more tax-friendly locales. In the late 1970s Reed finally relocated to Guernsey as a tax exile. He had sold his large house, Broome Hall, between the villages of Coldharbour and Ockley some years earlier and initially lodged at the Duke of Normandie Hotel in St Peter Port.

 

Reed's face was scarred in a 1963 bar fight after which he received 63 stitches and was in danger of losing his film career over his facial damage. He claimed to have turned down major roles in two hugely successful Hollywood movies: The Sting (1973) (he did appear in the 1983 sequel The Sting II) and Jaws (1975)

 

Alcoholism

 

Reed was known for his alcoholism and binge drinking. Numerous anecdotes exist, such as Reed and 36 friends drinking in an evening 60 gallons of beer, 32 bottles of scotch, 17 bottles of gin, four crates of wine, and a bottle of Babycham. He subsequently revised the story, claiming he drank 106 pints of beer on a two-day binge before marrying Josephine Burge; "The event that was reported actually took place during an arm-wrestling competition in Guernsey about 15 years ago, it was highly exaggerated." Steve McQueen told the story that in 1973 he flew to the UK to discuss a film project with Reed and suggested the two men visit a London nightclub. They ended up on a marathon pub crawl during which Reed vomited on McQueen.

 

Reed was often irritated that his appearances on TV chat shows concentrated on his drinking feats rather than his latest film. David Letterman cut to a commercial when it appeared Reed might get violent after being asked too many questions about his drinking. In September 1975, in front of a speechless Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, the bellicose Reed had a glass of whiskey poured over his head on-camera by an enraged Shelley Winters. (Winters had been upset by Reed's seemingly derogatory comments toward women). see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyV3DlvKYmA

 

 

During 1975 we had an office at Pinewood Studios, in fact next door to *Cubby Broccoli of 007 fame. In the cafeteria one day, I saw James Mason come in and sit down by himself. As soon as I saw him, I knew he needed to know of a story of an incident the week before I was demobbed. (In English meaning released from the army). Standing on the Parade Ground awaiting the Sergeant Major early in the morning, I was parading in the usual manner, other than I was just back from Africa with a deep tan and my army shirt faded to a very light khaki in the sun of Africa. The rest of the squaddies, (in English new recruits) I stood out like a sore thumb. The Sargent Major walked up straight to me, stood behind me and shouted in my ear, “am I hurting you son” I replied in the normal Marine voice, NO SARGENT MAJOR. He replied, well I am standing on your bleeding hair, get it cut. Then he came to the front of the ranks, and looked me up and down, and uttered in a loud voice WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? Then waited to perfect timing as if he was the greatest comedian in England. Then shouted JAMES MASON. I related the story to Mr. Mason and with good humor laughed and said he remembered similar instances in the military.

 

 *Albert Romolo Broccoli, CBE (Hon) (April 5, 1909 – June 27, 1996), nicknamed "Cubby", was an American film producer who made more than 40 motion pictures throughout his career. Most of the films were made in the United Kingdom and they were often filmed at Pinewood Studios. Co-founder of Danjaq, LLC and Eon Productions, Broccoli is most notable as the producer of many of the James Bond films. He and Harry Saltzman saw the films develop from relatively low-budget origins to large-budget, high-grossing extravaganzas, and Broccoli's heirs continue to produce new Bond films

James Mason as Rommel (The Desert Fox).

The two greatest UK comedians whose shows at Christmas are today a National Pastime.

 

Morecombe & Wise were for 30 or 40 years stars in their own rights of stage, screen and TV.

 

During the 1970's, they continually took the mickey out of another seasoned singer/performer called Des O'Connor. everyone in the UK will remember the fun they had with Des. (at his expense) It went on for many years.

 

In the 1980's I travelled a lot from Miami to London, on one flight my colleague a Danish former member of the Danish Diplomatic staff in Miami and I were upgraded to first class on Pan Am. At the very front of the aircraft on the left side was this face pearing up the aisle, to see who was coming on board. I immediately recognized Little Ern as he was known by his partner Eric Morecombe, (Ern was the one with the short hairy legs), I stopped and in sudden explanation said to Lars Otterson "My God Look Who's There" Lars had no idea who he was, however, Ernie Wise beamed with a big smile, and waited for the punch line, and Lars said well, "WHO IS IT", I said its Des O'connor. We became friends after that, and he told me I was the first one to upstage him in 40 years. He took it well. Coincidently, I met him again at Heathrow's baggage arrivals a year later. I asked him where he was staying and he replied in Ebury Streetr near Belgravia, I asked which number he said number 20, I said good I am at 22 Ebury Street for a few weeks, we became again acquainted and he must have told the Des story many times.

Bob Sherman was in a Play in Oxford in the mid 1970's. Always in support of his work and after the show, we met Dickie Hendserson and Lionel Murton in a pub, I think it was the White Hart in Dorchester Oxfordshire. My Mother had recently died and I planned to get away to East Africa  and to meet a girl friend Nan Wright who was coming from South Africa to meet me in Mombassa. Just after meeting Dicke Henderson in Dorchester, a few weeks later I booked into the New Stanley Hotel in Nairobi, and the floor show was Dicke Henderson. Meeting him after the show, I invited him to my flat in London, which was a few minutes walk from Haymarket, where Dickie was to appear some time later. he then became a regular guest at the Flat, where each Sunday, I cooked a roast leg of lamb, a pork roast and a beef roast. In those days I had a Butler (par ttime) Terrennce Henry Murray, a cockney by birth and well known for his serving drinks on a tray, with one for the guest, and a quick one for himself. Needless to say, he became the life and soul of the party, and guests never knew what he was going to say next. at one time he stood behind two bankers talking high finance, then intervened with a remark like "what a lod of bollocks" and then nicely said "drinks sir". he became the floor show.

 

Background courtesy of Wikipedia.

In America, Dickie Henderson broke into show business, aged 10, when he was offered a role as the son of Clive Brook and Diana Wynyard in the Frank Lloyd film version of Noël Coward's play, Cavalcade (1933).

He was also in the running for the part of David Copperfield in David Copperfield, but his father insisted that he decline the part and return to Britain, because he felt Hollywood was not the place for a young boy. Henderson Junior toured in music halls and appeared in several films with his famous father.

Dickie Henderson served in the Army during the Second World War, before appearing in revues, pantomimes and occasional films after demobilisation. He began a successful television career in 1953, with Face the Music, followed by appearing in Before Your Very Eyes with Arthur Askey. He compered Sunday Night at the London Palladium.[1]

He starred in his own ITV television programme: The Dickie Henderson Half Hour in 1958 and afterwards hosted 84 episodes of The Dickie Henderson Show.[1] In the sitcom, June Laverick played his wife and John Parsons their son. Lionel Murton starred as Dickie's friend Jack and Danny Grover played Richard Jr. There were five shows in 1960, twenty-three in 1961, twelve in 1962, twenty-two in 1963, ten in 1964 and eleven in 1965. There was another single show in 1971.

Other television work included a series of A Present For Dickie, several spectaculars and a famous partnership with Bob Monkhouse in I'm Bob, He's Dickie followed by I'm Dickie  – That's Showbusiness. He went on to make many stage appearances including 20 months in Teahouse of the August Moon, followed by When in Rome, Stand by your Bedouin and And the Bridge Makes Three. He also made many working trips abroad to the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Hong Kong and the Netherlands.

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