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  • Anton Diffring


    Article on Anton Diffring

    Daily Express:

    https://www.express.co.uk/celebrity-...azi-german/amp

  • #2
    Thanks, Julian. Happy New Year to you.


    The first time I've read anything about Anton Diffring's private life. I wasn't aware he was gay or Jewish (great news!). A worrying rumour, towards the end of the article, regarding the cause of his death.

    My favourite performnces of Anton's, so far, have all been in ITC shows. Episodes of Thriller, The Baron, and especially Ghost Squad. I've always loved his scenes with child actress Angela White where they chat on a park bench, and shared her heartbreak when he's exposed as a murderer. The most unusual memory I have of him is dressing up as a woman in Fahrenheit 451!


    Circus of Horrors is well represented at these photo sites:

    Search results at Rex Features and AgeFotoStock

    Gutted about the loss of his Armchair Theatre play with George Cole and Sally Bazely. It's up there in TV Heaven, I hope.

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    • #3
      Disappointing at the lack of insight or new content (then again, it is the Daily Express). Basically, there is little here that isn't on the Wikipedia page

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      • #4
        Anton's cause of death, mirrors that of Tony Beckley. Both were listed as passing away from cancer, but may have succumbed to AIDS.
        I found it interesting that Anton having spent the previous 20 years living in France and Italy, ended up being buried in a country churchyard near Braintree in Essex?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Tigon Man View Post
          Anton's cause of death, mirrors that of Tony Beckley. Both were listed as passing away from cancer, but may have succumbed to AIDS
          ...or may not. In fact, statistically, the chances are he didn't. There are only two facts supporting even the mention of AIDS:1) he was gay, 2) he's dead. Oh, and it was the 80s.

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          • #6
            The fact that he was gay is of zero surprise to anyone - the late Ingrid Pitt described him as such, and that's one of the key reasons he probably fled Nazi Germany. It would be interesting to know why he ended up being buried in the UK, when he died at his home in France, but that's a minor aside. And it would be interesting g to find out how and when he fled Germany.

            I did read an interview with him years ago where he pointed out that he had at one point been cast as a British officer in an Italian movie, so perhaps he was just an international river. I also remember in the same article him telling the story of him living in the UK in the sixties, and having a house with a light outside, which for some unaccountable reason was red. Apparently there were a surprising number of men who knocked on the door asking for services!

            Yeah, it's the Express, so of course it's going to be crap.

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            • #7
              Loved him as Dr Schuller in Circus of Horrors and also in the scene in Where Eagles Dare when he has an argument with Derren Nesbitt. I think that he was due to take the Frankenstein role for Hammer in a TV film series called Tales of Frankenstein but I believe his demands were considered very high. Always played a great Nazi but he was also seen killing Germans in The Red Beret.
              Last edited by cassidy; 2nd January 2019, 11:44 AM.

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              • #8
                A correspondent wrote to the Daily Mail in Jan. 2011:

                "Anton Diffring spent a lot of time in the small village of White Colne, near Colchester. He had a flat at Berewyk Hall, the home of the Compton Dando family, who were relatives of his. He was a regular customer of the (long-closed) butcher's shop in the village when I was working there in the late Fifties/early Sixties, usually in the company of the Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Wheatley). After his death in France on May 19, 1989, aged 72, his ashes were returned to White Colne and interred in the local churchyard, a short distance from his home."


                We know that Berewyk Hall was owned by Geoffrey Compton Dando in the late 1950s. In 1945 we find that Geoffrey married Ruth M. Pollack. I think this has to be the same person as the Ruth Margot Sara Pollack who was listed among 'Enemy Aliens And Internees' during World War II. The record states that she was born in Koblenz, Germany in 1918 and had been living in Hitchin, Herts. The 1939 Register gives Ruth's d.o.b. as 20th Jan. 1918 and shows her residing at the German Convalescent Home, Benslow Lane, Hitchin.

                Anton's real surname was of course Pollack and he was born in Koblenz. He has a sister, the sculptor Jacqueline Diffring, born 1920. It seems highly possible that Ruth is their sibling. I did come across a vague reference on a website that Anton had a sister who lived in Essex.

                Unfortunately I don't know what became of Ruth. Her husband Geoffrey (born 1921) appears to have still been alive in 2017. I believe the son of Ruth and Geoffrey is Ashley Compton Dando, who has been involved in the world of tennis for many years.

                Did come across this curiosity on Instagram though. Was Ruth an artist? A photographer? Is that photo her? The lady certainly seems to bear a resemblance to Anton:

                http://www.instagram.com/p/6-r-szK5CW/


                E.

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                • Bonekicker
                  Bonekicker commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thank you for that - an excellent bit of detective work, and clears up that mystery! Although it dis make me wonder what happened to the 'German Convalescent Home, Benslow Lane, Hitchin', and how it came into existence in the first place. This https://www.north-herts.gov.uk/sites..._interest_.pdf explained how and that it still exists as a private hospital.

                  It also shows that Differing was something of an internationalist, having lived worked throughout Europe. It would be interesting to see if he and his sister were sponsored by one of the various organisations concerned with helping emigre artists to settle in the UK before the war.

              • #9
                Really enjoyed his character in The Double Man (1967) opposite Yul Brynner, which added tension and credibility to the plot. Set in St. Anton in the Austrian Alps, an entertaining film for anyone who enjoys a good thriller with a twist. He also acted the part well in Operation: Daybreak (1975) - he must have held his breath to have been so convincing as he expires from a blast injury.

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                • #10
                  Originally posted by cassidy View Post
                  Loved him as Dr Schuller in Circus of Horrors and also in the scene in Where Eagles Dare when he has an argument with Derren Nesbitt. I think that he was due to take the Frankenstein role for Hammer in a TV film series called Tales of Frankenstein but I believe his demands were considered very high. Always played a great Nazi but he was also seen killing Germans in The Red Beret.
                  He did play Frankenstein in the one and only episode of TALES OF FRANKENSTEIN, failure to secure US finance (probably due to the substandard quality of the whole endeavour) killed the whole thing dead. I doubt if anyone who has seen it will be mourning that decision. He also played the role intended, and written for, Peter Cushing in The Man Who Could Cheat Death

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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Paxton Milk View Post
                    He also played the role intended, and written for, Peter Cushing in The Man Who Could Cheat Death
                    He also played that role in a 1957 TV version of the same story under its original title, THE MAN IN HALF MOON STREET. Arnold Marlé was the elderly professor in that too. I don't suppose the TV version still exists. As well there's quite a tame 1944 American version made by Paramount also under the original title with Nils Asther in the lead and Reinhold Schunzel as the professor with the shakes.


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                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Gerald Lovell View Post

                      He also played that role in a 1957 TV version of the same story under its original title, THE MAN IN HALF MOON STREET. Arnold Marlé was the elderly professor in that too. I don't suppose the TV version still exists. As well there's quite a tame 1944 American version made by Paramount also under the original title with Nils Asther in the lead and Reinhold Schunzel as the professor with the shakes.

                      I hadn't realised there was a television version, I guess that is where Hammer got the idea of casting him. He is another actor I am surprised they didn't make more use of as an ersatz Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee- maybe his rates were too high by then.

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                      • #13
                        I remember that he was cast in the film, Where eagles dare. 1969. Stars, Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Mary Ure and Micheal Hordon. I don’t recall seen him in many other films after that one. As I recall, Where eagles dare was shown at a theatre near Leister square.

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                        • #14
                          He was a very convincing Heydrich in Operation Daybreak.

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