Good times were undoubtedly with David Hemmings. We had a great, fun together as a couple and although he would drive me mad with his unreliability, his ability to quaff large amounts of alcohol and his roving eye, his attentiveness and care of me was a joy.
I was dealing with personal issues at the time: a panic disorder, which was rather a problem, but David was patient and supportive and I will always treasure our time together. DH ( affectionate nickname) had an interesting start to his career… he had a wonderful singing voice as a child and played/ created Miles, the boy in Benjamin Britten’s opera THE TURN OF THE SCREW. He was a star! Then his voice broke and he wasn’t. However when we met The Beatles on the set of A HARD DAYS NIGHT, although I was the bigger ‘star ‘ at the time, it was David they recognized and were more impressed by…” Ooh that’s David Hemmings..ooh..aah!” My nose was somewhat out of joint!
Our time was the Sixties and we were in the heart of it: swinging London…heady days!
David was struggling in those days, at least until BLOW UP and one of the most extraordinary men in my life, my much loved Uncle Lee, former SAS and a man of great personality and charm helped a bit, getting David stand up gigs in a few night clubs, Lee frequented. I spent a lot of time with Lee towards the end of his life after his beloved wife died. Amazingly he would share many of his war stories with me… escaping from an Italian Prisoner of War camp and walking 500 miles with a fellow prisoner to meet up with the landing Allies in the South and other more hair raising stories of life on the battlefield. These were stories he had never told anyone before. Why me? My encouraging face I guess. He turned up in my life when I was the ripe old age of 12 and took me out to a very grand dinner at one of London’s luxury hotels. He had been the mysterious black sheep of the family, till that point. Goodness, was I impressed, especially since life up till then had largely been spent in genteel poverty in a three room Victorian flat with no proper bathroom or kitchen. A little luxury went a long way.
Of course there were a few actors along the way, who made a deep impression on me. Top of the list was Peter O’Toole, whose lessons in surviving in show business was the stuff of a master, not to mention his extraordinary talent and love of acting.. watching him work moved me to tears a few times. I watched him physically throw up on set after one particularly harrowing and draining scene he had just filmed with Kate Hepburn. Kate was another extraordinary person – I was privileged to work with her. Kate wanted a tight set on her films and visitors were not allowed, only people working on the movie. She only wanted “family” (crew and cast) as she called us, who were in tune with what we were doing. She was good to me and taught me quite a bit. However she knew her talent and her importance in the scheme of things. I know she helped Tony Hopkins quite a bit and threatened to “take the scene away from him”, if he did not step up to the plate and claim his standing in the scene they were doing together. Needless to say he did! When filming THE LION IN WINTER we actors, not on call, were allowed on set when Peter and Kate were working, just to keep us in the loop and stay part of things and I took full advantage of this master class in acting.
All for now friends!