Been thinking again about the leading men I have worked with over the years.
Recently I finished filming THE HAUNTING OF MARGAM CASTLE and had the pleasure of working again with two actors from my past: Derren Nesbitt and Vernon Dotcheff. I am not sure that Derren and I actually worked on the same show together, but according to IMDB.com we have worked on nine titles together! That doesn’t mean that we were actually in the same episode of any series. We both did episodes of THE PRISONER, the great Patrick McGoohan series. Derren and I appeared at the 50th anniversary of the show held at Portmeirion There were several very popular long running series in the sixties and seventies and there was a stable of actors who turned up regularly in one episode or another. Maybe we were in the same episode, I don’t remember. One actor I do remember, who was in my first episode of THE SAINT (I did three) was an upcoming Canadian actor by the name of Donald Sutherland….. who would have thought? He was special and his career has been remarkable since those early days when he had a supporting role in THE ANGEL’S EYE!
Back to Derren….we had a great time filming THE HAUNTING OF MARGAM CASTLE…..a ghostly, horror film made in the famous Margam Castle, which supposedly is haunted. Derren and I are with the same Agent in the UK – Bowington Management . Thomas Bowington is very entrepreneurial and gets his clients working together on projects as much as possible. His energy and enthusiasm are amazing. Thomas owned and ran London Film Fair for several years before selling it and moving on. Derren has had a great very long career like me, in the business and may be best known for his performance in WHERE EAGLES DARE, back in the day. He is a fine actor and I really loved his recent performance in TUCKED – moving and extraordinary. Derren will chat all day on set, mainly about his career and the actors he has worked with, his memory is astonishing and will keep everyone entertained.
The only other actor I worked with, who will similarly talk endlessly about himself and his career is William Shatner. I really enjoyed working with Bill on THE HORROR AT 37,000 FEET and on THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, with Stewart Granger, who also liked to chat about himself and his career. Nothing wrong with that and these actors were always interesting and charming with it. Actors do love to talk about themselves, but personally I find it easier to do it in an interview!
And so to Vernon Dobtcheff…dear Vernon, who has also been in the business forever and has an even greater body of work than either Derren or me. Vernon and I were in CARMILLA together for ITV. Vernon is one of the most charming men you will ever meet, he speaks several languages and has had a great career in France as well as the UK. Carmilla is one of my favourite roles…playing a vampire in this classic story. If you look closely at the IMDB link, that’s me in the coffin getting the stake driven into my wicked heart! Not my favourite scene, apart from anything else, I did not enjoy having the lid put on top of the coffin. The kind carpenters on set ( you can always rely on crew) built little slats, so that I wasn’t fully enclosed.
A little last side story about Stewart Granger, who had a really wonderful long career in the business……I was at a “Fat Farm”, which is what we call health spas, where you are sent to lose weight – (I was there to lose some for an upcoming film.) I was there with Elspeth March. Elspeth was a delightful actress, with whom I had worked on stage in ARMS AND THE MAN, playing Raina. Elspeth was Stewart Granger’s first wife and they had maintained a long happy relationship after parting. Jimmy – as Stewart was known (his real name was James Stewart, but he had to change it, as there was already very famous actor by the name of James Stewart, in the business), used to come to this health spa and sneak Elspeth and me out for ridiculous high calorie English teas, with scones (baking powder biscuits), cream, jam(jelly) and cake. It rather defeated the purpose of being at the spa, but we were starving and did enjoy ourselves with our delightful host!
Till next time my friends…..