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  • Whatever happened to ... (continued)

    Original thread:

    Whatever happened to...

    (created by Gibbie in 2004)


    Michael Atkinson

    A real mystery here, Euryale. Notable gaps in this actor's career.


    One of my more recent "cult favourites", Michael Atkinson co-starred with Andrew Faulds and Ann Morrish in the British ABC series The Protectors (1964). This was released on DVD in 2014 - exactly 50 years after its original (and only) transmission. At the time, I remembered the sadly-late Andrew more as as a politician than an actor. The other two were totally unfamiliar, or so I thought. Once I got to know him through this very entertaining series, I realised Michael is the mysterious (uncredited) colleague of Jack Hedley in this scene from Room at the Top, where they are summoned by boss Donald Wolfit to his office.

    This is my favourite image of him, in The Protectors episode Channel Crossing:



    His IMDb filmography indicates that after the programme came to an end there were four more screen appearances until 1966 (including two different roles in Sergeant Cork), and then nothing for the next seven years. If their information is correct, the return to TV was short-lived. A now lost episode of Z Cars, followed by this brief role of 'Bank Manager' in Van Der Valk - The Rainbow Ends Here (1973):

    ​​​


    Looking ten years younger in colour. What did happen to Mr. Atkinson after he finished filming that scene, with Barry Foster? I was doubtful about the 1981-2005 credits attributed to him but have been proved wrong in the case of Rhodes (1996). Eventually locating the Lord Salisbury character in a YouTube upload, I was shocked to see a much older and apparently balding Michael (or was he made up to look that way?) talking to Martin Shaw, as Cecil Rhodes. That's certainly our subject:



    The 'Ambulanceman' in 1980s sitcom Bread is NOT him, however. I found that episode on YouTube as well and can confirm he's a different actor. Shouldn't the other fella have had an initial in his name to differentiate between the two, as required by Equity? Now I've established Michael played Lord Salisbury, I suspect he's the Lord Grey and Major Jolley in even later credits. Unusual for a top actor, with I think a beautiful and distinctive voice, to have such a sporadic career, particularly durimg the Golden Age of 1960s and '70s TV. Was he more comfortable, or better known, in the theatre? Anyway, I love The Protectors (recently completed my second viewing) and wish there were more episodes to enjoy.

    Ann Morrish, incidentally, went on to play Marius Goring's wife in his long-running series The Expert. She had a far more consistent career on the small screen and, like Michael (I assume), was last seen in the mid-2000s.
    Last edited by cornershop15; 24th April 2018, 01:58 PM.

  • #2
    I've always wondered what happened to the lovely Maggie Fitzgibbon, she was quite something back in the day.

    Also Ann Lynn, both 'disappeared' by the looks of things (or probably retired, but it would be a joy to know they are well and with us still)

    Comment


    • #3
      Cornershop - there are two British actors called Michael Atkinson. The first one - your one - began to work in South Africa and eventually emigrated there. You will see at imdb that his later screen credits are in South African productions. Some info. about him here:

      http://esat.sun.ac.za/index.php/Michael_Atkinson

      http://www.artlink.co.za/news_articl...contentID=3191

      Presumably the second Michael Atkinson (who may be a Liverpudlian) could use the name once the first Michael had departed abroad. Their credits do look to be somewhat muddled together at imdb.


      E.

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      • #4
        Thanks very much, Euryale. Fast work there. As you know, I have little interest in anything after the 1970s so only took notice of the titles I knew - the contrasting Bread and Rhodes! How interesting that his "brief return" was to England (from South Africa), not just TV. I was right in thinking Michael was more likely to have been on stage during my favourite era but wasn't expecting his theatre work to be abroad, or that he was just as committed to radio. South Africa didn't have any TV until 1971.

        A highly impressive list of awards, let alone credits. I would have been so proud if I'd seen him collect them on some televised event. Instead, I can't help feeling that, in a world far away from (and long after) The Protectors, his success is somewhat distant and difficult to take in. Mind you, I even missed out on Ray McAnally winning a string of BAFTAs at the end of his career, having lost interest in contemporary productions by then. If we could find some nice pictures of Michael Atkinson with his awards, and stills from South African adaptations of famous plays like Macbeth and Death of a Salesman that would make it seem more real. Are there any pictures online?

        Sorry, I can only (have the chance to) love and admire an actor or director's work if it's on screen, where I can see it - years later. All that said, I'm delighted that an actor I thought forgotten and obscure is so highly regarded elsewhere. I wonder how proud his colleagues, and hopefully friends, in The Protectors were of darling Michael?

        Euryale, have you seen Bob Martin's photo and tribute on this Flickr page? He writes of his friendship and memories of a truly distinguished career on stage (I almost said "albeit"!) ... and TV. Let's hope there's something on YouTube. I wish Michael had made some TV movie versions of his acclaimed work in My Fair Lady, The Dresser, etc., like many great actors did in the 1970s in that American Film Theatre series. A filmed record of the great work he'd done. What can you do? Hope he is well and still enjoying life.

        Can you guess who my next subject will be? Clues: A portly actress who had a supporting role in a 'Kitchen Sink' film and ten years later made a series with my beloved Cheryl Hall.
        Last edited by cornershop15; 24th April 2018, 08:38 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          I watched "She" the other night & I wondered what happened to John Richardson.
          I know he failed to become James Bond & that he made a few European films later on.
          His imdb entry has him marrying Martine Beswick (debatable) & becoming a photographer somwhere in rural England.
          All a bit mysterious for someone who was quite high profile in the 1960's!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by wadsy View Post
            I watched "She" the other night & I wondered what happened to John Richardson.
            I know he failed to become James Bond & that he made a few European films later on.
            His imdb entry has him marrying Martine Beswick (debatable) & becoming a photographer somwhere in rural England.
            All a bit mysterious for someone who was quite high profile in the 1960's!
            In most of his starring roles, John Richardson seems to have been dubbed, maybe not the ugs in One Million Years B.C.,but knowing Hammer, it's possible he was. For She his voice sounds like that of David Spenser.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Gerald Lovell View Post

              In most of his starring roles, John Richardson seems to have been dubbed, maybe not the ugs in One Million Years B.C.,but knowing Hammer, it's possible he was. For She his voice sounds like that of David Spenser.
              Yes Gerald his own voice was very light & can be heard in "Pirates of Tortuga" & briefly in "Sapphire"!

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              • #8
                A little more about Michael Atkinson, Cornershop:

                He was born as Major Michael Atkinson (yes, that is his real first name!) in West Yorkshire on 25th March 1927. His father was Alec Atkinson, a police officer, and his mother was Doris Stott. Doris's father's first name was Major so she clearly passed it on to her own son. Michael graduated from RADA in 1946 and spent the next twenty years working in British theatre as well as making sporadic screen appearances. He went on a theatrical tour of Canada/USA in 1951-52 with various other actors such as Geoffrey Lumsden and John Woodnutt. It was from the shipping records that I found out that his first name was Major - of course initially I took to mean he'd served in the military!

                Here is Michael in an early theatrical appearance with Roland Culver, from The Sketch 28th September 1949:



                We know that Michael departed for South Africa in the mid-1960s, although he returned to Britain briefly around 1972 to appear on the stage.

                Whether Michael is still with us I don't know, but I can find no obituary and I can't see him in my admittedly limited access to South African death records, themselves not necessarily comprehensive. However, the Equity Annual Report for 2015 lists a Michael Atkinson on their 'in memoriam' page. I don't currently know which of our actors of that name it applies to.

                I guess there would be pictures of Michael in South African newspaper/magazine archives but I'm not subscribed to any. The only picture I've across is on this website - it's of Michael with stage director Roy Sargeant and novelist Mary Renault at the latter's home in Capetown:

                http://exhibits.stanford.edu/SAGR/browse/individuals

                As I said in the earlier post, the screen credits of the two Michael Atkinsons seem to have got somewhat tangled up at imdb. I think we can be sure that the Britsh credits post 1973 belong to Liverpudlian Michael and the South African ones to our Michael. I suppose an attempt should be made to sort it out but I agree with what Will said on another thread that it is a daunting task as the imdb process seems to be so arbitrary at the moment.


                E.

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                • #9
                  An actor I'm curious about - amongst a million others! - is David Cargill.


                  I know very little about him except that he was apparently born in Canada on 20th December 1929 (this info. is from shipping records). I believe his mother was from Arbroath in Scotland and she had emigrated to Canada. He began his stage career over there, coming to the UK in the 1950s.

                  He was active in the actors union Equity in the mid-1970s and may have been living at Woolstaplers Way, Bermondsey around that time. After that he just seems to disappear. Perhaps he returned to Canada and/or moved into another profession.

                  Let's hope something turns up! Thanks to Weary for the image.


                  E.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mark O View Post
                    I've always wondered what happened to the lovely Maggie Fitzgibbon, she was quite something back in the day.
                    Also Ann Lynn, both 'disappeared' by the looks of things (or probably retired, but it would be a joy to know they are well and with us still)
                    Maggie Fitzgibbon is now 89. I don't know about her health or if she is still living on her rural property in northern Victoria.

                    "After returning to England she came home in 1978 and by the early 1980s she had organised her retirement on a property in northern Victoria after a very successful career in several branches of show business. She had even been a theatrical agent for a time. Maggie Fitzgibbon was awarded an OAM in 2002 for her community work that included helping to rehabilitate homeless youth by giving them the experience of living in a cottage on her property. She had a marvellous career, but because most of her finest work was done in Britain her renown was probably not as well-recognised in Australia and not given as much attention as it could have been."

                    ~ An extract from "Smacka and the Fitzgibbon Dynasty" on the City of Kingston Historical Website 2010.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Is Charlie Hawkins, the boy in Spring and Autumn, a good example of an actor whose credits have been "muddled" with someone else?

                      David Cargill is in a lot of the 1960s shows I have on DVD, usually in one or two scenes and not saying very much (e.g. the early Saint episode The Loaded Tourist). He had a bit more to do in his second Danger Man, the role I remember him for best. The Canadians made a fantastic contribution to British TV from the mid 1950s to mid-60s. Many wonderful actors - such as Paul and Lois Maxwell, Toby Robins, Jaqueline Ellis, Donald Sutherland - and producers/directors like Ted Kotcheff and Sydney Newman, but they're rarely acknowledged I'm afraid.

                      More outstanding research, Euryale. I'm very grateful for all your help solving the mystery of Michael Atkinson's 'disappearance' from British screens. Clearly our loss was South Africa's gain. Is your picture of him with Roland Culver from the Strand production of Master of Arts? To complete our posts on this fascinating subject, I must include Bob Martin's lovely photo of him as Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady (circa 1970s):

                      Last edited by cornershop15; 25th April 2018, 06:11 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Yes, that is Michael in the play Master of Arts. I'm glad we have managed to find out quite a bit about him anyway!

                        I would certainly say that some of the credits given to Charlie Hawkins belong to another actor of the same name. But he is just one of countless examples. I accept that it can sometimes be difficult to know which actor took what part especially without pictorial evidence and genuine mistakes of attribution can occur. However can anybody be such a twit (that is a euphemism) that they will credit an actor with a role in a film made years after he died? Yes, indeed they can. I mean there is the actor's date of death plain as daylight on his imdb profile and yet somebody thinks he was still doing movies decades after his demise! And I've seen examples of that time and again too. But why is the imdb letting this rubbish through in the first place? I guess they get inundated with data every day and slips will happen. But then why make it so difficult - at times - to rectify these mistakes? You say to them hey, that actor is dead, you know he's dead, I gave you his death record which you accepted. But when you look again the actor is still credited in a film made twenty tears after he died! I think all you can do is persist and usually eventually they will correct it.

                        Anyway I've said my say and back on track, Cornershop, I'm not able to guess who your portly lady is from the earlier post. Are you going to tell us?


                        E.
                        Last edited by Euryale; 25th April 2018, 08:39 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Actors can be in a film that’s released some time after their death. That’s the magic of film. One of the most extreme examples I know of is Michael Powell’s short film Smith which was made in 1938/39.

                          But the film had its first public screening in the UK on 9 October 2004, a mere 65 years after it was made. The first screening on 28 June 1939 was to an invited audience for the preview and launch. But a film about ex-servicemen having difficulty finding work wasn't popular in 1939 just as WWII was about to start and new recruits were needed for the armed forces - so it was never screened publicly

                          Most of the actors appearing in it were long dead by the time it got its first public screening (its first public release) in October 2004.

                          Steve

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Steve Crook View Post
                            Actors can be in a film that’s released some time after their death. That’s the magic of film. One of the most extreme examples I know of is Michael Powell’s short film Smith which was made in 1938/39.

                            But the film had its first public screening in the UK on 9 October 2004, a mere 65 years after it was made. The first screening on 28 June 1939 was to an invited audience for the preview and launch. But a film about ex-servicemen having difficulty finding work wasn't popular in 1939 just as WWII was about to start and new recruits were needed for the armed forces - so it was never screened publicly

                            Most of the actors appearing in it were long dead by the time it got its first public screening (its first public release) in October 2004.

                            Steve
                            Yes, but that isn't really what I'm talking about, Steve.

                            Let's say an actor died in 1950 and all his screen credits are up to that date. Fine. Then you look again later and he is credited in a film made indisputably in 1970. It can't possibly be him - obviously another actor of the same name. That's the issue I'm getting get at!


                            E.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yes, I was going to mention the IMDb's apparent indifference to posthumous credits but couldn't think of the actors this applies to (I remember seeing an old American character actor's filmography mixed with someone much younger) . However, in the case of lovely Susan Strasberg the 2018 entry is accurate! A 1970s film that Orson Welles was unable to complete, The Other Side of the Wind, has been re-edited and is due for release this year. Paul Stewart's credit comes 32 years after his death.

                              You're right. We should be more persistent with our neglected corrections. Despite my pointing out that Michael's Protectors episode is entitled Who Killed Lazoryck?, the IMDb still have it as "Kidnapped" - submitted by some twit, no doubt. Also, Lisa Gastoni was in far fewer episodes of The Four Just Men and David Webb only appeared once in The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs, not 12 times. Furthermore, the David Webb who plays a 'Heavy' in Hazell is obviously not him. I saw the episode quite recently.

                              The "portly actress" (sorry, madam) is Louise Dunn. She was Norman Rossington's girlfriend in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, played Iris Miller in more than 200 episodes of ill-fated soap Compact, and ended her screen career with the recurring role of servant Meg in the Children's adventure series Smith. I also have (all?) her appearances in Emergency Ward 10., which I'll work on now. What happened to her after 1970?

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