The legend that is Anthony Newley passed away 20 years ago this week.
Anthony was born in Hackney in London in 1931, but when his parents, who were never actually married, split up he was unofficially adopted by an aunt and uncle who brought him up.
He became a child actor with his first role being Dusty Bates in The Adventures of Dusty Bates in 1947 and then as the Artful Dodger in Oliver the following year.
He could sing, write music, act, arrange and had his own TV series. His more famous film roles included Idle on Parade which was about a singer who was called up for National Service and Doctor Doolittle in 1967. As a songwriter he penned Feeling Good, Candy Man, Goldfinger and Gonna Build A Mountain alongside Leslie Bricusse.
Between 1963 and 1970, he was married to the actress Joan Collins. He died of kidney cancer.
In 1960, he starred in and co-directed the six-episode television series called The Strange World of Gurney Slade. The name is taken from a real place in Somerset which Newley had visited a few weeks before. Each episode followed the life of Gurney (Newley) who seemed to live a mundane life. Most of the dialogue was Newley narrating his thoughts. The cast was limited but one episode featured Una Stubbs and another with Only Fools and Horses actor Roger Lloyd-Pack’s father Charles Lloyd Pack as Tinker. It was always deemed to be a bit strange, but I finally got a DVD copy about a year ago and loved it. It certainly lent something to The Prisoner which came seven years later.
Here’s a rare YouTube click of episode 1. Enjoy.