Friday, November 6, 2020

The Late Great Geoffrey Palmer

Geoffrey Palmer, the actor known for the TV shows The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Butterflies, and As Time Goes By as such movies as O Lucky Man! (1973), The Madness of King George (1994), and Mrs. Brown (1997), died yesterday at the age of 93.

Geoffrey Palmer was born on June 4 1927 in London. From 1946 to 1948 he served in the Royal Marines. While he qualified as an accountant, but a girlfriend persuaded him to join a local dramatic society. He took a position as an assistant stage manager at the Grand Theatre in Croydon. Afterwards he toured in repertory theatre.

In 1955 Geoffrey Palmer made his television debut in 1955 in an episode of St. Ives. In the late Fifties he guest starred on such programs as BBC Sunday-Night Theatre, The Killing Stones, Murder Bag, Arthur's Treasured Volumes, Interpol Calling, The Odd Man, and Probation Officer. He made several guest appearances on The Army Game.

In the Sixties he was a regular on the TV show Family Solicitor. He was a regular on Garry Halliday. He made several gust appearances on Bootsie and Smudge. He guest starred on such shows as ITV Play of the Week, Top Secret, No Hiding Place, Harpers West One, The Edgar Wallace Theatre, The Human Jungle, Suspense, The Saint, Gideon's Way, Riviera Police, The Avengers, Pardon the Expression, Armchair Theatre, The Baron, The Man in Room 17, Sergeant Cork, Public Eye, The Rat Catchers, Emergency-Ward 10, Mrs. Thursday, The Troubleshooters, Coronation Street, George and the Dragon, Z Cars, Love Story, and Paul Temple. He made his film debut in 1962 in A Prize of Arms. During the Sixties he appeared in the movies Incident at Midnight (1963), Ring of Spies (1964), and Cast a Giant Shadow (1966).

In the Seventies, Mr. Palmer starred on the sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. He was a regular on Bill Brand. He appeared on such shows as ITV Saturday Night Theatre, Out of the Unknown, Doctor Who, Doomwatch, Colditz, The Liver Birds, The Prince of Denmark, Churchill's People, Play for Today, BBC Play of the Month, Angels, Van der Valk, Happy Ever After, Crown Court, Fawlty Towers, and The Goodies. He appeared in the movies O! Lucky Man! (1973), The Battle of Billy's Pond (1976), and The Outsider (1979).

In the Eighties Geoffrey Palmer starred in the TV shows The Last Song, Butterflies, Fairly Secret Army, Executive Stress, and Hot Metal. He guest starred on such shows as Young at Heart, Whoops Apocalypse, ITV Playhouse, The Professionals, Oxbridge Blues, Screen Two, Blackadder Goes Forth, Inspector Morse, and Bergerac. He appeared in the movies The Honorary Consul (1983), A Zed & Two Naughts (1985), Clockwise (1986), A Fish Called Wanda (1988), and Hawks (1988).

In the Nineties Mr. Palmer starred on the TV show As Time Goes By. He reprised his role as Jimmy Anderson in The Legacy of Reginald Perrin. He guest starred on the shows Screen One and Alleyn Mysteries. He appeared in the movies The Madness of King George (1994), Mrs. Brown (1997), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Stiff Upper Lips (1998), Anna and the King (1999), and Rat (2000).

Geoffrey Palmer continued to star on As Time Goes By into the Naughts. He was a regular on the shows Savage and  Dickens. He guest starred on the shows Absolute Power, Doctor Who, Ashes to Ashes, Poirot, and Grandpa in My Pocket. He appeared in the movies Peter Pan (2003), Picadilly Jim (2004),  and The Pink Panther 2 (2009). 

In the Teens he guest starred on the TV show Rev. He appeared in the mini-series The Hollow Crown and Parade's End. Mr. Palmer appeared in the movies W.E. (2011), Lost Christmas (2011), Run for Your Wife (2012), Bert & Dickie (2012), and Paddington (2014).

Geoffrey Palmer was known for playing world-weary characters who often had difficulty expressing their feelings. This characterized two of his best known roles, dentist Ben Parkinson on Butterflies and Lionel Hardcastle on As Time Goes By. That having been said, he could easily play other sorts of characters. On The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin he played the title character's brother-in-law, Jimmy Anderson, an incompetent who often overestimated his own authority. His gravelly voice lent itself to authority figures, including Queen Victoria's chief secretary Sir Henry Posonby in Mrs. Brown, Admiral Roebuck in Tomorrow Never Dies, and Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin in W.E. Geoffrey Palmer was a wonderful actor with a gift for comedy who, at the same time, was adept at playing drama.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Godspeed Sean Connery

There can be no doubt that Sean Connery will always be best remembered as James Bond. He was the first actor to portray 007 on the big screen and for many he remains the definitive Bond. That having been said, he played many other roles in his long career. He received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables (1987). He received a BAFTA Award for his role as William of Baskerville in The Name of the Rose (1986). Over the years he played Maj. Gen. Roy Urquhart in A Bridge Too Far  (1977), Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez in Highlander (1986), and Henry Jones Sr. in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). Sean Connery died on October 31 2020 at the age of 90.

Sean Connery was born on August 25 1930 in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh. He worked as a milkman for St. Cuthbert's Co-operative Society. He was 16 years old when he joined the Royal Navy in 1946. When he was 19 he developed a a duodenal ulcer and was honourably discharged from the navy. After his service he returned to work as a milkman for St. Cuthbert's Co-operative Society, and afterwards worked as a lorry driver, a lifeguard at Portobello swimming baths, and an artist's model. He had taken up bodybuilding when he was 18, and competed in the Mr. Universe contest. In 1951 he went to work helping backstage at the King's Theatre in Edinburgh.

It was in 1953 that Sean Connery was cast as one of the Seabees in a production of South Pacific. By the time the production reached Edinburgh, he had been cast in the role of Marine Cpl. Hamilton Steeves. Mr. Connery made his film debut as an extra in Lilacs in the Spring in 1954. He made his television debut in an episode of Dixon of Dock Green in 1956. In the late Fifties he appeared in small roles in the films No Road Back (1957), Hell Drivers (1957), Action of the Tiger (1957), and Time Lock (1957). Sean Connery had a major role in Another Time, Another Place (1958), followed by a lead role in the Disney movie Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959). He also appeared in the movie Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (1959). On television he appeared in the TV shows Sailor of Fortune, The Jack Benny Program, BBC Sunday-Night Theatre, ITV Television Playhouse, Armchair Theatre, Disneyland, BBC Sunday-Night Play, An Age of Kings, and ITV Play of the Week.

It was in the early Sixties that Sean Connery was cast in the role of James Bond. During the decade he appeared as 007 in the movies Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), and You Only Live Twice (1967). During the Sixties he appeared in movies beyond the Bond franchise, including The Frightened City (1961), On the Fiddle (1961), The Longest Day (1962), Woman of Straw (1964), Marnie (1964), The Hill (1965), A Fine Madness (1966), Shalako (1968), Krasnaya palatka (1969), and The Molly Maguires (1970). He appeared in such TV productions as Macbeth, Anna Karenina, and Male of the Species. He appeared on the TV show ITV Saturday Night Theatre.

In the Seventies he appeared again as James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (1971). He played the title character, Daniel Dravot, in The Man Who Would Be King (1975) and Robin Hood in Robin and Marian (1977). He appeared in the films The Anderson Tapes (1971), The Offence (1973), Zardoz (1974), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Ransom (1974), The Wind and the Lion (1975), The Next Man (1976), A Bridge Too Far (1977), The First Great Train Robbery (1978), Meteor (1979), and Cuba (1979).

The Eighties saw Sean Connery reprise his role of James Bond for one last time in Never Say Never Again (1983). He also played such roles as Ramirez in Highlander (1986), William of Baskerbille in The Name of the Rose (1986), Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables (1988), Henry Jones, Sr. in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and Marko Ramius in The Hunt for Red October (1990). He also appeared in the films Outland (1981), Time Bandits (1981), Wrong is Right (1982), Five Days One Summer (1982), Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1984), The Presidio (1988), Memories of Me (1988), Family Business (1989), and The Russia House (1989).

In the Nineties Mr. Connery appeared in the movies Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), Medicine Man (1992), Rising Sun (1993), A Good Man in Africa (1994), Just Cause (1995), The Rock (1996), The Avengers (1998), Playing by Heart (1999), Entrapment (1999), and Fielding Forrester (2000). He was the voice of the dragon Draco in Dragonheart (1996).

In the Naughts Sean Connery appeared in the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003). His last role was as the voice of Sir Billi in the animated film Sir Billi (2012).

Sean Connery may be best remembered as James Bond, but he played a wide array of roles throughout his career. He was the choice of many directors for legendary and literary characters, playing everything from Robin Hood to King Agamemnon to Allan Quartermain. He could not only play the suave, charming James Bond, but also widower Mark Rutland in Marnie, Colonel John Arbuthnot of the British Indian Army in Murder on the Orient Express, former British Army sergeant and fortune hunter Daniel Dravot in The Man Who Would Be King, and erudite archaeologist Henry Jones, Sr. in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. And even when a specific film wasn't necessarily good, Sean Connery always was. While Mr. Connery will always be remembered as James Bond, he will also be remembered for having played a wide array of other roles as well.