Memories of the '60's
Take a look at the picture page on
the Manor Court 2 page
Thursday, 11 August 2016
Web Page No 2288
Top Picture: George Sanders
Second Picture: Shere Khan
from the Jungle Book
There was a time in the 1960s that Hollywood craved anything essentially
English and a cultured voice was much in demand and George Sanders was one of
those who broke through into the American film industry
The irony was that George Henry Sanders was actually born in Saint Petersburg in Russia number 6 Petrovski Ostrov in 1906. His parents were Henry Peter Ernest
Sanders (1868–1960) and Margarethe Jenny Bertha Sanders
(1883–1967) née Kolbe, born in Saint Petersburg, of mostly
German, but also Estonian and Scottish ancestry. A biography published in
1990 claimed that his father was the illegitimate son of a Russian noblewoman
of the Czar’s court and a prince of the House of Oldenburg, married to a sister of the
Czar. The actor Tom Conway (1904–1967) was George Sanders's elder brother. Their younger
sister, Margaret Sanders, was born in 1912.
George Sanders was also a singer-songwriter, music composer, and
author. His career as an actor spanned more than 40 years. His upper-class
English accent and bass voice often led him to be cast as sophisticated but
villainous characters. He is perhaps best known as Mr. Freeze in a two-parter episode of Batman(1966) and the voice of the malevolent man-hating
tiger Shere Khan in Disney's The Jungle Book (1967), and as Simon Templar, "The Saint", in five films made in the 1930s and 1940s.
He took her advice and made his British film debut in 1929. Seven years
later, after a series of British films, he took his first role in an American
production in Lloyd's of London (1936) as Lord Everett
Stacy. His smooth upper-class English accent, his sleek manner and his suave,
superior and somewhat threatening air made him in demand for American films for
years to come. He gravitated to supporting roles in A-pictures, often with
all-British casts, such as Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940 and in the same
director's Foreign Correspondent, later that year, where he
played one of his few heroic parts in a Europe threatened by Fascism.
His early leading roles were in B-pictures and adventure serials; in his
first American job as a leading man was in "International Settlement," (1938) playing a
sophisticated British man of danger; it did so well that it led to the title
role in two popular wartime film series with similar characters, one of these
series was based on The Falcon and the other on The Saint. He played a smooth American Nazi in Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) with Edward G.
Robinson. Rage in Heaven (1941). In 1942 he
handed the role of the Falcon to his brother Tom, in The Falcon's Brother.
Two ghostwritten crime novels were published under his name to cash in
on his fame at the height of his wartime film series. The first was Crime
on My Hands (1944) mentioning his Saint and Falcon films. This was followed
by Stranger at Home in 1946. Both were actually written by
female authors: the former was by Craig Rice, and the latter by Leigh Brackett.
1958 he recorded an album
called The George Sanders Touch: Songs for the Lovely Lady featuring
lush string arrangements of romantic ballads. After going to great lengths to
get the role he appeared in the Broadway cast of South Pacific, but was overwhelmed with
anxiety over the singing and quickly dropped out. He also signed on for the
role of Sheridan Whiteside in the stage musical Sherry! (1967but he found the
stage production demanding and quit after his wife Benita Hume discovered that she had terminal bone cancer.
During the production of The Jungle Book Sanders he refused to
provide the singing voice for his character Shere Khan during the final
recording of the song, "That's
What Friends Are For"and a substitute singer had to be found.
In October 1940 he married Susan Larson. The couple divorced in 1949.
From later that year until 1954 Sanders was married to Zsa Zsa Gabor until their divorce. In February 1959 he
married Benita Hume, widow of Ronald Colman. She died in 1967, the same year his brother Tom Conway died of liver
failure. They had become distant because of Tom’s drinking. Also a
further blow in the same year was when his sister, Margaret Sanders died. His last
marriage, in 1970, was to Magda Gabor, the elder sister of his second wife. This marriage lasted only 32
days, after which he began drinking heavily.
He started to suffer from dementia, worsened by waning health,
he also had a minor stroke. He could not bear the prospect of losing his health
or needing help to carry out everyday tasks, and became deeply depressed. At
about this time he found that he could no longer play his grand piano, so he dragged it outside and smashed it with an axe. His last
girlfriend persuaded him to sell his beloved house in Majorca, which he later bitterly
regretted and from then on he drifted.
On 23rd April 1972, he checked into a hotel in Castelldefels, a coastal town near Barcelona. He was found dead two days
later, having gone into cardiac arrest after swallowing the contents of five
bottles of barbiturates. He left behind three suicide notes. His body was returned to Britain and his ashes were scattered in
the English Channel.
On 12/08/1960 the number one single was Please Don't Tease - Cliff
Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was South Pacific
Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Rawhide (ITV) and the box office smash
was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur
were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 12/08/1961 the number one single was You Don't Know - Helen Shapiro
and the number one album was Black & White Minstrel Show - George Mitchell
Minstrels. The top rated TV show was Harpers West One (ATV) and the box office
smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth
£13.25 and Ipswich were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1
On 12/08/1962 the number one single was I Remember You - Frank Ifield
and the number one album was West Side Story Soundtrack. 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 Everton were on the way
to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day
was Mont Blanc tunnel completed
On 12/08/1963 the number one single was Sweets For My Sweet - Searchers
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 Liverpool were on the way
to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the week was
the Great Train Robbery.
On 12/08/1964 the number one single was Do Wah Diddy Diddy - Manfred
Mann and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. 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 Manchester United
were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 12/08/1965 the number one single was Help - The Beatles and the
number one album was Help - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Riviera
Police (AR) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's
money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's
Division 1 champions.