Barry Foster (actor)

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Barry Foster
Barry Foster (1972).jpg
Barry Foster (1972)
Born
John Barry Foster

(1927-08-21)21 August 1927
Died11 February 2002(2002-02-11) (aged 74)
Guildford, Surrey, England
NationalityBritish
OccupationActor
Years active1954–2000
Spouse(s)
Judith Shergold
(m. 1955;his death 2002)
Children3; including Joanna Foster

John Barry Foster (21 August 1927 11 February 2002) [1] [2] was an English actor who had an extensive career on stage, television, radio and cinema over almost 50 years.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Contents

Early life

Foster was born in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, the son of a toolsetter. His family moved to Hayes, Middlesex, when he was a few months old. He received his formal education at Southall County Grammar School.

Beeston, Nottinghamshire town

Beeston is a town in Nottinghamshire, England, 3.4 miles (5.5 km) southwest of Nottingham city centre.

Machinist profession

A machinist is a person who machines using hand tools and machine tools to create or modify a part that is made of metal, plastics, or wood.

Hayes, Hillingdon town in the London Borough of Hillingdon

Hayes is a town in West London, situated 13 miles (21 km) west of Charing Cross. Historically in Middlesex, Hayes became part of the London Borough of Hillingdon in 1965. The town's population was recorded as 95,763 in the 2011 census.

After leaving school, Foster trained as a plastics organic chemist at the local EMI Central Research Laboratories, while unsuccessfully submitting ideas to advertising agencies. Having been "called to the Colours" under the National Service Act 1948, Foster served with the Royal Air Force. [3]

National Service Act 1948

The National Service Act 1948 was an Act of Parliament which extended the British conscription of the Second World War long after the war-time need for it had expired, in the form of "National Service". After a bill with the same purpose had been approved in 1947, expected to be implemented 1 January 1949, the Cold War and the Malayan Emergency caused a revised and extended version of the new legislation to be approved in December 1948, only days before the new arrangements came into force.

Royal Air Force Aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain.

He subsequently trained as an actor, having won a scholarship to train at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, [1] where he earned the affectionate soubriquet 'Fozza' (which would stay with him throughout his life), arriving there aged 20. It was here he became friends with actor and playwright Harold Pinter. Foster would much later appear on stage in three of Pinter's plays, The Basement and The Tea Party and A Slight Ache in 1987.

A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further their education. Scholarships are awarded based upon various criteria, which usually reflect the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award. Scholarship money is not required to be repaid.

Harold Pinter English playwright

Harold Pinter was a Nobel Prize-winning British playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. One of the most influential modern British dramatists, his writing career spanned more than 50 years. His best-known plays include The Birthday Party (1957), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978), each of which he adapted for the screen. His screenplay adaptations of others' works include The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1971), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), The Trial (1993), and Sleuth (2007). He also directed or acted in radio, stage, television, and film productions of his own and others' works.

The Basement is a television play by Harold Pinter. It was written first as a screenplay for a film, then revised for television and broadcast on 20 February 1967.

Career

Foster's professional stage debut came in 1952 as Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice in County Cork. Then in 1955 he made his London stage debut as the Electrician in The Night of the Ball at the New Theatre (now the Noël Coward Theatre). His first film role was in the war film The Battle of the River Plate (1956), as part of the crew of HMS Exeter, in which he played Able Seaman Roper. Over the next decade and a half, he performed in such films as Joseph Losey's King and Country (1964), The Family Way (1966), Robbery (1967), Inspector Clouseau (1968), Battle of Britain (1969), and David Lean's Ryan's Daughter (1970). He had a regular role in the TV series The Troubleshooters (1965). In 1970 he played a Fenian revolutionary paramilitary leader in David Lean's epic Ryan's Daughter. In 1972 he played two roles, on opposite sides of the law. First was the cynical Dutch detective Van der Valk, the second was as a serial murderer in Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy . Frenzy was one of Hitchcock's last films, made after the end of an acclaimed and commercially highly successful career, and caused controversy for the scene in which Foster was required to simulate a rape and murder, driven by Hitchock's desire to prove that he was still relevant as a director in the permissive atmosphere in the arts of the post counter-culture of the 1960s age. Michael Caine had previously rejected an offer of the role, having criticised the production's nature. [4] The Van Der Valk role would resurface twice more in Foster's career, in 1977 and once more in the early 1990s. Shortly after the third series in 1978, Foster took on the role of Sherlock Holmes in a series of radio appearances for the BBC. [5] He recorded 13 episodes of the Holmes canon, with David Buck as Dr. Watson. He was also seen on BBC television in Fall of Eagles (1974) in the role of Kaiser Wilhelm II and as the condescending chief of British Intelligence in the adaptation of the John le Carré novel Smiley's People (1982), starring Alec Guinness. During this time he appeared in the films Sweeney! (1977), spun off from the TV series; The Wild Geese (1978), Merchant Ivory's Heat and Dust (1983), The Whistle Blower (1986) and Maurice (1987).

<i>The Merchant of Venice</i> play by Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice is a 16th-century play written by William Shakespeare in which a merchant in Venice (Antonio) must default on a large loan provided by a Jewish moneylender, Shylock. It is believed to have been written between 1596 and 1599. Though classified as a comedy in the First Folio and sharing certain aspects with Shakespeare's other romantic comedies, the play is most remembered for its dramatic scenes, and it is best known for Shylock and the famous "Hath not a Jew eyes?" speech on humanity. Also notable is Portia's speech about "the quality of mercy". Critic Harold Bloom listed it among Shakespeare's great comedies.

County Cork County in the Republic of Ireland

County Cork is a county in Ireland. It is the largest and southernmost county of Ireland, situated in the province of Munster and named after the city of Cork, Ireland's second-largest city. The Cork County Council is the local authority for the county. Its largest market towns are Mallow, Macroom, Midleton, and Skibbereen. In 2016, the county's population was 542,868, making it the third-most populous county in Ireland. Notable Corkonians include Michael Collins, Jack Lynch, and Sonia O'Sullivan.

Noël Coward Theatre theatre in London

The Noël Coward Theatre, formerly known as the Albery Theatre, is a West End theatre on St. Martin's Lane in the City of Westminster, London. It opened on 12 March 1903 as the New Theatre and was built by Sir Charles Wyndham behind Wyndham's Theatre which was completed in 1899. The building was designed by architect W. G. R. Sprague with an exterior in the classical style and an interior in the Rococo style.

From the 1990s, Foster mainly performed on stage. He took on the role of Inspector Goole in J. B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls in a production directed by Stephen Daldry. In 2000 he starred as Prospero in The Tempest at Stafford Castle directed by Julia Stafford Northcote. From 2001–2002, he performed in a run of Yasmina Reza's stage play 'Art' in London's West End.

J. B. Priestley English writer

John Boynton Priestley, OM, known by his pen name J.B. Priestley, was an English novelist, playwright, scriptwriter, social commentator and broadcaster.

<i>An Inspector Calls</i> play written by English dramatist J. B. Priestley

An Inspector Calls is a play written by English dramatist J. B. Priestley, first performed in September 1945 in the Soviet Union and in 1946 in the UK. It is one of Priestley's best known works for the stage and is considered to be one of the classics of mid-20th century English theatre. The play's success and reputation have been boosted by a successful revival by English director Stephen Daldry for the National Theatre in 1992 and a tour of the UK in 2011–2012.

Stephen Daldry British director

Stephen David Daldry, CBE is an English director and producer of film, theatre, and television. He has won two Olivier Awards for his work in the West End and two Tony Awards for his work on Broadway. He has directed several feature films that have been nominated for Best Director and/or Best Picture at the Academy Awards. These films are Billy Elliot (2000), The Hours (2002), The Reader (2008) and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011). In 2016, he produced and directed Netflix television series The Crown, for which he received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Drama Series. Daldry joined an elite group of directors by receiving nominations for direction in theatre, television and film.

Death

Foster died on 11 February 2002 of a heart attack in his 75th year whilst at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, in Guildford in the county of Surrey, where he lived.

A funeral service was held for him on 21 February 2002 at St. Stephen's Church, at the village of Shottermill near Haslemere. His body was cremated at Guildford Crematorium, and his ashes divided, part being interred at St. Stephen's Church in Shottermill, and the remainder being interred in France. [6]

Personal life

He married Judith Shergold in 1955 in Birkenhead, the marriage producing two daughters and a son. After Foster's death, a trust was set up, entitled the Barry Foster Memorial Award, to help disabled children become involved in the theatre. [7] Foster was a talented amateur pianist, with a taste for jazz music. [8]

Filmography

Radio

Sources

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References

  1. 1 2 Purser, Philip (2002-02-11). "Barry Foster: Versatile actor best known for his portrayals of Orde Wingate and a Dutch detective". The Guardian . Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  2. "Barry Foster". The Telegraph, London. 2002-02-12. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  3. 11 February 2002 Death Notice for Barry Foster, 'Family Announcements' online archive database. https://www.family-announcements.co.uk/localworld/view/2264588/barr-foster
  4. 'Michael Caine explains Hitchcock feued', Daily Express, 22 March 2010. http://www.express.co.uk/dayandnight/164339/Michael-Caine-explains-Hitchcock-feud
  5. Brown, Hugo. http://www.cambridge-explorer.org.uk/HBWEB/VV341/BF-DB-Home.htm . Retrieved 5 February 2015.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. Entry for Barry Foster, 'Resting Places: The Burial Sites of more than 14,000 Famous Persons'. by Scott Wilson. 3rd Edition. (Pub. McFarland & Company. Inc., 2016).
  7. 'The Arts Professional', 17 November 2003. http://www.artsprofessional.co.uk/magazine/article/news-award-winning-theatres-face-uncertain-futures
  8. Obituary notice for Barry Foster, 11 February 2002. https://www.family-announcements.co.uk/localworld/view/2264588/barry-foster