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  • #61
    In the early hours of Christmas morning, 1964, a young journalist and his brother were visiting a friend who lived in a flat on Regent's Park Road, Camden. They heard a commotion outside and looking out saw a man being attacked by youths. The journalist rushed over to try and intervene but ultimately received a fatal stab wound. His brother and friend had also gone down to help, both receiving injuries in the affray. The friend was later awarded the George Medal and Binney Medal for his courage.

    The journalist's name was Mike Munnelly, and he had been employed by the Sunday People newspaper. His brother mentioned above was Jimmy Munnelly, known as an actor under the stage name of James Kerry. The friend they had been visting was Donald Smith, described in press reports of the incident as an actor and writer. But something in one of these reports made me want to find out more about this Donald Smith.

    From the old London electoral roll I saw that Donald's wife was called Sally. I was able to find the appropriate marriage record and so sent for the certificate. This tells us that Donald Smith married Sally Patricia Pritchard on 27th April 1959 at Stratford-upon-Avon. Donald's father is named as Harry Smith and one of the witnesses at the wedding ceremony was Alice Smith, who I assumed to be Donald's mother. Sally was born in 1933 at Birmingham. Curiously, she had a few years earlier been engaged to another young man, who later became a well-known actor.

    The marriage certificate says that Donald Smith is by profession an actor. Various Shakespearean productions at Stratford in 1959 have a Don/Donald Smith in their cast lists. The certificate also states that Donald was 26 years old, so he must have been born in April 1933 or in the 12 months preceding that. So I had to find a Harry/Henry Smith who had married an Alice and who had a son called Donald born in 1932/1933. Eventually I did find a match. Henry Smith had married Alice Parkinson in early 1932 at Chorley, Lancashire and their son Donald was born there later that year.

    But I then found a death record for this Donald Smith. He had died at Chorley in 1982, his birth date is given as 18th August 1932. So I sent for the death certicate. This gives date of death as 7th April 1982 and confirms the aforementioned date of birth. Donald's profession is once again stated to be an actor.

    But of course I have missed something out of this story. The something that I noticed in the first newspaper report I came across regarding Mike Munnelly's death. The report was in an Irish newspaper, the Sligo Champion, and here Mike's friend is referred to both as Donald Webster Smith...and Donald Webster. The British press reports name him variously as Donald Smith and Donald Webster Smith.

    So obviously my question was: did Donald Smith take the stage name of Webster and go on to appear in Straw Dogs and many other things? We know that Donald Webster was also a writer in early 1960s London, penning scripts for Kenneth Horne and Marty Feldman. It seems a strong chance that they were the same person. I've never been able to find out anything about Donald Webster apart from his professional career. But he appeared on the theatrical scene around 1960 just as Donald Smith was making his last appearances in cast lists!

    I don't know what became of Sally. But she and Donald Smith had a daughter born in the early 1960s. She in turn had a son. He is on Facebook and to my eyes he certainly bears a resemblance to the actor we know as Donald Webster.

    Wadsy I think originally brought up Donald Webster on the old forum and I've been looking for him on and off ever since! Maybe we have found the start of the story. Hopefully more info. will turn up.

    An account about Donald Smith's medals is given here:

    http://www.dnw.co.uk/auction-archive...1&lot_id=88851

    E.

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    • #62
      Cornershop - I only recently found out that one of our old favourites Alison Seebohm died on 22nd Feb. 2015 at Taunton, Somerset.

      I hope you don't mind me reproducing one of your pics in memoriam as it were:




      E.

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      • #63
        Oh no.

        Exceptionally sad news as Alison was such an intriguing subject at the original Britmovie ('Getting to Know You', 'Bit Part Actresses We Wish We'd Seen More Of'), and ideal for this one - dedicated to those who "disappeared off the radar" long ago. What a memorable impact she made in The Servant, looking so sad and lonely in the pub.

        Alison's scene in A Hard Day's Night (1964) with George Harrison and Kenneth Haigh:



        All gone now. Julian Holloway and Edina Ronay (girl in the photo) are still with us, however.

        R.I.P. Alison Seebohm, a Britmovie legend.

        Euryale: Jill Medford was in The Servant as well. Wasn't it reported here that she died last year? The posts seem to have been removed.

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        • #64
          Yes, very sad about Alison. By an awful coincidence, I found out at about the same time that her co-star from The Party's Over, Mildred Mayne , had also died. We had a bit of discussion about Mildred on the old forum. Here she is with Alison, and I think Mike Pratt in the background:



          Mildred Mayne - born in Cork on 4th July 1935, died London 14th November 2016.

          Re: Jill Melford, I've never found anything official to confirm her death and I think it's right to be guarded about it. She may well still be with us, let's hope so at any rate.


          E.

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          • #65
            Gosh, I shall have to refresh my memory of Mildred Mayne with a second viewing of The Party's Over. Now I know what to choose for my Saturday night film. The Pleasure Seekers, another BFI Flipside release, is more vivid for that reason, but for a long while I confused the two because I watched them in close proximity!

            Grayson Hall has become a familiar face on YouTube, as the "meddlesome" Dr. Julia Hoffman in Dark Shadows. She reminds me of the hopefully alive-and-well Jill. And an older Lauren Bacall (certainly the voice). One for the 'Resemblances' thread, I think.

            Causes of Death seem to be dominating the Actors threads at the moment (Demises, Milton Reid, Tragic Coincidences). Do you know about Alison's or am I better off not knowing? I suppose you know she was married to one of Janet Street-Porter's many husbands.

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            • #66
              Lewis Jones (continued)





              I still don't know what became of Lewis, but birth date of 21st March 1924 at the imdb appears to be right - it certainly tallies with that given on the 1939 Register. He was born in Bath though, not Wales.

              His father was a clergyman, at one time the Archdeacon of Monmouth. Lewis was educated at Hereford Cathedral School. His full name was Peter Herbert Lewis Jones. I got that from a 1948 newspaper report - he was fined at a police court in Scotland for a traffic violation. He had been caught riding with another actor on the same push-bike (!).

              But I'm afraid none of this has helped to find him.


              E.

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              • #67
                I can confirm from pension archives, that Peter Herbert Lewis Jones was born on March 21st 1924 and latterly was living in Haslemere Surrey. Prior to this he resided a short distance away in Fernhurst West Sussex.
                Peter passed away on August 03rd 2015 at the age of 91. His widow Patricia, born October 24th 1935, still resides at their Haslemere home at the time of writing.
                Peter's passing seems to have gone unrecorded in the entertainment business.

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by Tigon Man View Post
                  I can confirm from pension archives, that Peter Herbert Lewis Jones was born on March 21st 1924 and latterly was living in Haslemere Surrey. Prior to this he resided a short distance away in Fernhurst West Sussex.
                  Peter passed away on August 03rd 2015 at the age of 91. His widow Patricia, born October 24th 1935, still resides at their Haslemere home at the time of writing.
                  Peter's passing seems to have gone unrecorded in the entertainment business.
                  Thank you very much for looking into this, Tigon. I remember there was a Lewis Jones in the 'in memoriam' section of Equity magazine in 2015, but it wasn't clear it was 'our' Lewis.

                  Sad to hear of his death, but he reached a considerable age.

                  E.

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Euryale View Post

                    Thank you very much for looking into this, Tigon. I remember there was a Lewis Jones in the 'in memoriam' section of Equity magazine in 2015, but it wasn't clear it was 'our' Lewis.

                    Sad to hear of his death, but he reached a considerable age.

                    E.
                    I remember him well as Dr Parker-Brown in General Hospital back in the seventies - he looked to be getting on a bit even then!

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by cornershop15 View Post

                      This actor had a very brief screen career and a curiously inconsistent personality. He played his part of the troubled teenager in the cult series very well, often giving sinister looks like that above. There was one moment, however, and in the same scene, where he suddenly imitates a more manic version of the 'silly ass'-type of character Jonathan played before acting normally again. A couple of years later, Francis appeared in an episode of The Mind of Mr. J.G. Reeder (Hugh Burden). Just the one short scene actually re-enacting that same 'silly ass' impression..

                      He later had a supporting role in the classic Thriller episode Someone at the Top of the Stairs, as Donna Mills' boyfriend (a rather bland character this time), and apparently gave up acting shortly afterwards. Gillian Hills said this in the booklet that comes with The Owl Service DVD. He was very serious about his craft, she said, so it seems odd that his career didn't progress. In fact, all three of the young stars left our screens by the mid-1970s. Tragically, Michael Holden was later killed in a pub brawl.

                      But what happened to Francis after 1974? Interesting actor - and subject, hopefully.
                      I'm sure I remember reading, back in the day, that Francis's family were the retailing Wallises - not the clothing shops but the F. J. Wallis supermarket chain which was later, I think, bought by (or maybe merged with) International Stores. Perhaps he ended up back in that world.

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Simon Coward View Post

                        I'm sure I remember reading, back in the day, that Francis's family were the retailing Wallises - not the clothing shops but the F. J. Wallis supermarket chain which was later, I think, bought by (or maybe merged with) International Stores. Perhaps he ended up back in that world.
                        That's very interesting, Simon, because it does appear to tick various boxes.

                        The supermarket entrepreneur, Francis John Wallis, died in a plane crash in 1972. In The Times in 1980, the forthcoming marriage of his son, also called Francis John, was announced. There was a Francis J. Wallis born in Ilford in 1945, and certainly Francis John senior spent much of his life in that part of Essex.

                        The daughter of Francis Wallis junior is the actress Annabelle Wallis. In several articles she mentions being related to film star Richard Harris through her mother. However, I have found one interview that says Annabelle's father was an actor.

                        All seems too close for coincidence, but may stand some further research. Francis Wallis junior has been living in Winchester in recent years.


                        E.

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                        • #72
                          That's fascinating, Euryale, and a huge coincidence if there really was no connection. I see that Annabelle's middle name is Frances, which may be a further coincidence or might add more fuel to the fire.
                          Last edited by Simon Coward; 9th July 2019, 09:45 PM.

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Euryale View Post

                            That's very interesting, Simon, because it does appear to tick various boxes.

                            The supermarket entrepreneur, Francis John Wallis, died in a plane crash in 1972. In The Times in 1980, the forthcoming marriage of his son, also called Francis John, was announced. There was a Francis J. Wallis born in Ilford in 1945, and certainly Francis John senior spent much of his life in that part of Essex.

                            The daughter of Francis Wallis junior is the actress Annabelle Wallis. In several articles she mentions being related to film star Richard Harris through her mother. However, I have found one interview that says Annabelle's father was an actor.

                            All seems too close for coincidence, but may stand some further research. Francis Wallis junior has been living in Winchester in recent years.


                            E.
                            My research finds a Francis John Wallis born December 13th 1944 (likely registered early 1945).
                            He was living at Sleepers Hill Winchester between April 2007 and December 2017. The after a short spell in in Surrey he has been living in Cascais Portugal, since January 2018.

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                            • #74
                              Have only just joined the Britmovie forum and I was going to ask about Lewis Jones. He was one of those actors I would liked to have seen more of. I read on the Theatricalia website that he was in And Then There Were None in Bath around 1988/89. No idea what role he played unfortunately, but would loved to have seen it. Douglas Fielding (who died recently) was in the same production.

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                              • #75
                                Another actor I have often wondered about is Charmian Eyre. Best known for her role in Crossroads, she had an extensive stage career prior to that. But nothing since leaving the soap in the early eighties. A Brummy girl born and bred, according to Spotlight 1986, her agent was also based in Birmingham so I wonder if she only worked locally.

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