Saturday, 25 February 2012

Britain is still a country for and says "Happy Birthday" to an old actor called Tom Courtenay who, when young, once won and then lost a long distance race



Tom Courtenay is 75 today. I remember seeing him on black and white tv in 1963 in a play called 'The Lads'. I was 16 and Tom was 26 when he sang Trevor Peacock's title song : 'Mrs Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter' ( lyrics at the bottom of the page ).
Here he sings the song against a backdrop of clips from the film 'Billy Liar' which he made with the beautiful Julie Christie in the same year :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsaXnZSipBA

Things you possibly didn't know about Tom, that he :

* was born in Hull where his father was a boat painter, left school and at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, made his stage d├ębut in Edinburgh in 1960 and took over from Albert Finney in the title role of 'Billy Liar' at the Cambridge Theatre in 1961 saying  : "We both have the same problem, overcoming the flat harsh speech of the North."


* had his film debut in 1962 with 'Private Potter', directed by Finnish-born Caspar Wrede and starred in 'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner', directed by Tony Richardson and played 'Billy' in 1963 and encapsulated the freedom of running in the countryside while at reform school
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXMS5ZXKvYA
and the triumph of deliberately losing the race the Governor had pinned his heart on winning for the school, seen here by fast forwarding to the end of the movie :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-e-rmEAoIw


* starred in  John Schlesinger's film version of 'Billy Liar' in 1963
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFdJ-Pr15S4

* was, for his role as the revolutionary leader Pasha Antipov in 'Doctor Zhivago' in 1965, nominated for an Academy Award for 'Best Supporting Actor'.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6raF7kcJJs

* played opposite Dirk Bogard in 'King & Country' directed by Joseph Losey
http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/413663/King-And-Country-Movie-Clip-They-Can-t-Shoot-Me.html
and had parts in the War films : 'Operation Crossbow' and 'The Night of the Generals'.

* from the mid-1960s concentrated more on stage work and at the 'Royal Exchange' and played a variety of roles, including in 1999 the lead in 'King Lear' and in 2001, 'Uncle Vanya'.


* had his memoir 'Dear Tom: Letters From Home', comprising those exchanged between him and his mother, interspersed with his own recollections of life as a young student actor in London in the early 1960s, published to critical accalaim in 2000.


P.S.
My post on Julie Christie's 71st birthday :
http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=605625879464789847#editor/target=post;postID=512748658410238330

Mrs. Brown you've got a lovely daughter.
Girls as sharp as her are somethin' rare',
But it's sad, she doesn't love me now,
She's made it clear enough it ain't no good to pine .

She wants to return those things I bought her.
Tell her she can keep them just the same.
Things have changed, she doesn't love me now,
She's made it clear enough it ain't no good to pine.

Walkin' about, even in a crowd, well,
You'll pick her out, makes a bloke feel so proud.

If she finds that I've been round to see you,
Tell her that I'm well and feelin' fine.
Don't let on, don't say she's broke my heart,
I'd go down on my knees but it's no good to pine.

Walkin' about, even in a crowd, well,
You'll pick her out, makes a bloke feel so proud.

If she finds that I've been round to see you,
Tell her that I'm well and feelin' fine.
Don't let on, don't say she's broke my heart,
I'd go down on my knees but it's no good to pine.

Mrs. Brown you've got a lovely daughter.




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