Top Picture: Anthony Newley
Second Picture: The Kings Theatre Southsea in the 1960’s
Anthony George Newley, who died at age 67, was an actor, singer, songwriter and director of unusual versatility; his career spanned more than 50 years and embraced film, repertory theatre, comedy revues, music hall, television and had to be one of the most unlikely rock ‘n roll stars of the 1960’s.
He was the original East End boy made good, born illegitimately in Hackney and leaving school at 14. He then found success as a child actor, most notably as the Artful Dodger in David Lean's 1948 film OLIVER TWIST at the age of 17 He made his U.S. debut in 1956, appearing in six films that year. In the 1950s and 1960s, he seemd to be everywhere on television and, seven times, in the top ten.
He made his theatre debut in 1946 in WINDS OF HEAVEN at Colchester and his West End debut in 1955 in the revue CRANKS, which dispensed with sets and relied on John Addison's music, clever lyrics and surprise tactics to hold the attention. CRANKS fired his imagination, and in 1960, after his success in IDLE ON PARADE, he began his career as a director with his own television show, THE STRANGE WORLD OF GURNEY SLADE, a comedy about a social misfit. A programme which had a cult following the theme music being written by Max Harris.
His singing career came about almost by accident. In 1959, he took the part of rock and roll star Jeep Jackson - a spoof on Elvis Presley - in the film IDLE ON PARADE. A ballad from the film, I've Waited So Long, took him to the top of the British charts and started a three year run of hits which included Personality, If She Should Come to You, And The Heavens Cried and the novelty numbers Pop Goes the Weasel and Strawberry Fair. He also had two No 1s, with Why and Lionel Bart's Do You Mind? To say nothing of ‘Right said Fred’ and ‘Hole in the Ground’. "So overnight I had this incredible power," he said years later. "I was a rock and roll singer and it lasted for ten wonderful years."
His film appearances included DOCTOR DOLITTLE and THE COCKLESHELL HEROES. But he is likely to be best known for co-writing and starring in the hit musicals STOP THE WORLD - I WANT TO GET OFF and THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT - THE SMELL OF THE CROWD, as well as a number of best-selling hit singles, including What Kind Of Fool Am I?, The Candy Man and Goldfinger. In 1987 he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
In the United States he became one of the very few British crooners to make it big on the US cabaret circuit (In Las Vegas he commanded the same attention as Tony Bennett, Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra) and his Cockney rags-to-riches story made him a chat show favourite. In 1977 he was voted the Male Musical Star of the Year in Las Vegas. Even the Mafia gave him a special welcome. "They said to me, 'We'd like to buy you a gift', so I asked for a Jaguar and they drove a Jaguar onto the stage," he recalled. He was also an influence on David Bowie among later performers.
He was married and divorced three times. His first marriage in 1956, to Elizabeth Ann Lynn, was dissolved in 1963, the same year he married Joan Collins; they divorced in 1971. His third wife was an air hostess, Dareth Dunn, whom he divorced in 1989. He was survived by his mother, Grace, 96 (with whom he lived in Surrey since 1992 after 22 years living in the U.S.), and four children, a boy (Sacha) and girl (Tara) with Joan Collins and another boy (Christopher) and girl (Shelby) with Dareth Dunn.
He was a lifelong home movie enthusiast and even filmed his first date with John Collins. Twenty years later they teamed up again in London to appear in two of Noel Coward's one-act plays for BBC Television. He also appeared on BBC television in cameo appearances in the drama series THE LAKES and as an amorous used car salesman in the soap EASTENDERS.
Ill health had plagued him for many years. He was first diagnosed with renal cell cancer in 1985, and had one kidney removed. The cancer returned in 1997, this time attacking his lungs, then spreading to his liver.
He died in April 1999.
Stay in touch,
Chris (Biff) writes:
I hope we are not that old
Penicillin = Alexander Fleming in 1928
Split atoms =The discovery of nuclear fission occurred in 1938
Ball-point pens =The first patent on a ballpoint pen was issued on 30 October 1888
Air conditioners =In 1906, Stuart W. Cramer
The name of the news Agents at the top of the High Street was Dodd & Reads. I also used to be a paper boy there mornings and evenings from about 1955 to 1959
Just another of them long distance thoughts, and maybe someone may have some local knowledge.
I was a member of the Army Cadet Force (ACF) at the Drill Hall on Tudor Crescent, There are two questions I would like if possible the answers to.
1. Can anyone remember the name of the bridge that run from Tudor Crescent towards Perrone road before the M27 was build, I believe that this bridge was build during the 2nd World War as a way of moving heavy armour towards the harbour prior to D Day.
News and Views:
Kathy Kirby died on May 19th in London after a short illness. "The Golden Girl Of Pop," as she was dubbed, was 72. Kathy amassed two top ten hits (her biggest a version of "Secret Love" that she sang representing England in the Eurovision song competition in 1965) and three more top 40 records. She did have her own television program in Britain. Her last public appearance was in the early '80s and in recent years she had become somewhat reclusive.
On this day 12th June 1960-1965.
On 12/06/1960 the number one single was Cathy's Clown - Everly Brothers and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Sunday Night at the London Palladium (ATV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 12/06/1961 the number one single was Surrender - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Probation Officer (ATV) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 12/06/1962 the number one single was Good Luck Charm - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was 3 convicts dig out of Alcatraz with spoons.
On 12/06/1963 the number one single was From Me To You - The Beatles and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 12/06/1964 the number one single was You're My World - Cilla Black and the number one album was Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 12/06/1965 the number one single was Long Live Love - Sandie Shaw and the number one album was The Sound of Music Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.