|Born||25 June 1906|
|Died||4 February 1976 69) (aged|
(m. 1937;died 1973)
Roger Livesey (25 June 1906 – 4 February 1976) was a British stage and film actor. He is most often remembered for the three Powell & Pressburger films in which he starred: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp , I Know Where I'm Going! and A Matter of Life and Death . Tall and broad with a mop of chestnut hair, Livesey used his highly distinctive husky voice, gentle manner and athletic physique to create many notable roles in his theatre and film work.
Livesey was born in Barry, Wales.Although most articles about him indicated that his parents were Samuel Livesey and Mary Catherine (née Edwards), later research has shown that his father was actually Joseph Livesey. The confusion may have arisen because his mother Mary married Samuel (Joseph's brother) after Joseph's death and the death of Samuel's wife, Mary's sister. Samuel and Mary had a child of their own, Stella, who was both Roger's half sister and first cousin. Roger Livesey was educated at Westminster City School, London. His two step-brothers (who were also his first cousins) were also actors.
Livesey studied under Italia Conti.His first stage role was as the office boy in Loyalty at St. James's Theatre in 1917. He then appeared in a wide range of productions from Shakespeare to modern comedies. He played various roles in the West End from 1920 to 1926, toured the West Indies and South Africa, and then returned to join the Old Vic/Sadler's Wells company from September 1932 until May 1934. In 1936 he appeared in New York City in Wycherley's comedy The Country Wife . While in New York he married actress Ursula Jeans, whom he had known previously in England (Livesey's sister Maggie was already married to Ursula Jeans' brother Desmond).
At the outbreak of the Second World War Livesey and Jeans were among the first volunteers to entertain the troops. He then applied for flying duties in the Royal Air Force but due to his age was rejected. Instead he worked in an aircraft factory at Desford aerodrome near Leicester to "do his bit for the war effort".
Livesey was chosen by Michael Powell to play the lead in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) after Powell was denied his original choice, Laurence Olivier (Winston Churchill had objected to the movie and the Fleet Air Arm refused to release Olivier, who had been a Hollywood movie star before returning to England to take a Navy commission).The movie was shown in New York and established Livesey's international reputation as a talented character actor. In 1945, he was the first choice for the male lead role in Brief Encounter , which in the end went to Trevor Howard.
He toured Australia from 1956 to 1958 playing Jimmy Broadbent in The Reluctant Debutante and continued playing many theatrical roles during his film career until 1969. One of his last roles was as the Duke of St Bungay in The Pallisers television series. His final television appearance was in the series Benjamin Franklin in 1975.
Livesey died in Watford from colorectal cancer at the age of 69 on 4 February 1976. He shares a memorial plaque with his wife Ursula Jeans in the actors' church St Paul's in Covent Garden.
The Livesey family has a complicated structure. Brothers Joseph and Sam Livesey married the Edwards sisters. Sam married Margaret Ann in 1900 and Joseph married Mary Catherine in 1905. Sam and Margaret Ann had two sons, Jack (1901) and Barrie Livesey (1905). Joseph and Mary Catherine had two children, Roger (1906) and Maggie (1911).
After Joseph died in 1911 and Margaret Ann died in 1913, Sam married Mary Catherine in 1913.They then brought up the children as one large family, having another child of their own, Stella in 1915.
The family tree was further complicated when Roger Livesey married the actress Ursula Jeans whose brother Desmond Jeans was already married to Roger's sister Maggie.
Many of the family formed a touring company of actors, performing in regional theatres and from the back of an old wagon, one side of which could be dropped to form a stage. Because of their touring, they did not regard themselves as particularly Welsh, or English. They were just British because people happened to be born in the places where their mothers happened to be residing at the time.
|Roger Edwards||Mary David||Thomas Carter Livesey||Mary Wright|
|Margaret Ann||Sam Livesey||Mary Catherine||Joseph Livesey|
|Jack Livesey||Barrie Livesey||Stella Livesey||Roger Livesey||Ursula Jeans||Desmond Jeans||Maggie Livesey|
In 1958, he, Judith Furse, Terry-Thomas, Rita Webb, Avril Angers, and Miles Malleson, recorded 'Indian Summer of an Uncle', and 'Jeeves Takes Charge' for the Caedmon Audio record label, (Caedmon Audio TC-1137). It was re-released in stereo in 1964.
Deborah Jane Trimmer CBE, known professionally as Deborah Kerr, was a British actress. She was nominated six times for the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Michael Latham Powell was an English filmmaker, celebrated for his partnership with Emeric Pressburger. Through their production company The Archers, they together wrote, produced and directed a series of classic British films, notably The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Canterbury Tale (1944), I Know Where I'm Going! (1945), A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948), and The Tales of Hoffmann (1951). His later controversial 1960 film Peeping Tom, while today considered a classic, and a contender as the first "slasher", was so vilified on first release that his career was seriously damaged.
Colonel Blimp is a British cartoon character by cartoonist David Low, first drawn for Lord Beaverbrook's London Evening Standard in April 1934. Blimp is pompous, irascible, jingoistic, and stereotypically British, identifiable by his walrus moustache and the interjection "Gad, Sir!"
Adolf Anton Wilhelm Wohlbrück was an Austrian actor who settled in the United Kingdom under the name Anton Walbrook. A popular performer in Austria and pre-war Germany, he left in 1936 out of concerns for his own safety and established a career in British cinema. Walbrook is perhaps best known for his roles in the original British film of Gaslight, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and The Red Shoes.
Cyril James Cusack was an Irish stage and screen actor with a career that spanned more than 70 years. During his lifetime, he was considered one of Ireland’s finest thespians, and was renowned for his interpretations of both classical and contemporary theatre, including Shakespearean roles as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and over 60 productions for the Abbey Theatre, of which he was a lifelong member. In 2020, Cusack was ranked at number 14 on The Irish Times' list of Ireland's greatest film actors.
I Know Where I'm Going! is a 1945 romance film by the British-based filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It stars Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey, and features Pamela Brown and Finlay Currie.
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is a 1943 British romantic drama war film written, produced and directed by the British film making team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It stars Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr and Anton Walbrook. The title derives from the satirical Colonel Blimp comic strip by David Low, but the story itself is original. The film has been acclaimed as the greatest British movie ever made and is renowned for its sophistication and directorial brilliance as well as for its script, the performances of its large cast and for its pioneering Technicolor cinematography. Among its distinguished company of actors, particular praise has been reserved for Livesey, Walbrook, and Kerr.
Marius Re Goring, was an English stage and screen actor. He is best remembered for the four films he made with Powell & Pressburger, particularly as Conductor 71 in A Matter of Life and Death and as Julian Craster in The Red Shoes, and also for the title role in the long-running TV drama series, The Expert. He regularly performed French and German roles, and was frequently cast in the latter because of his name, coupled with his red-gold hair and blue eyes. However, he explained that he was not of German descent in a 1965 interview, stating that "Goring is a completely English name."
The British film-making partnership of Michael Powell (1905–1990) and Emeric Pressburger (1902–1988)—together often known as The Archers, the name of their production company—made a series of influential films in the 1940s and 1950s. Their collaborations—24 films between 1939 and 1972—were mainly derived from original stories by Pressburger with the script written by both Pressburger and Powell. Powell did most of the directing while Pressburger did most of the work of the producer and also assisted with the editing, especially the way the music was used. Unusually, the pair shared a writer-director-producer credit for most of their films. The best-known of these are The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Canterbury Tale (1944), I Know Where I'm Going! (1945), A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948), and The Tales of Hoffmann (1951).
Margaret Scudamore was an English theatre and film actress who began in ingenue roles before achieving a prolonged career in stage and screen support roles. She and her first husband, Roy Redgrave (1873-1922), are considered to be the first members of the now renowned Redgrave acting dynasty.
Jack Cardiff, was a British cinematographer, film and television director, and photographer. His career spanned the development of cinema, from silent film, through early experiments in Technicolor, to filmmaking more than half a century later.
Arthur Lawson (1908–1970) was a British art director. He had a long association with film directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, beginning in 1943 when he was floor manager on The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. Three years later, when Powell and Pressburger, also known as The Archers, made A Matter of Life and Death, Lawson had graduated to assistant art director. He worked with Alfred Junge on the sets for Black Narcissus in 1947, and earned an Oscar for the set designs on The Red Shoes in 1948. Lawson's association with Powell continued right through to Peeping Tom (1960). He received a BAFTA nomination for The Bedford Incident in 1965.
Ursula Jean McMinn, better known as Ursula Jeans, was an English film, stage, and television actress.
Józef Żmigrod, better known by his stage name, Allan Gray, was a Polish composer, best known for his film scores.
Judith Furse was an English actress.
The Queen's Guards is a 1961 military drama film directed by Michael Powell from a script by Simon Harcourt-Smith and Roger Milner. It stars Daniel Massey, Raymond Massey, Robert Stephens, and Ursula Jeans.
Desmond Jeans was a British actor.
Samuel Livesey was a Welsh stage and film actor.
David Hutcheson was a British character actor. He made his film debut in Fast and Loose in 1930 and played his only lead role in 1934's Romance in Rhythm. He went on to specialise in hooray henrys, silly asses and military types most prominently in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) and Peter Ustinov's School for Secrets (1946) and Vice Versa (1948). He continued in film and television until the 1970s. During the 1960s he often played the role of Colonel Pickering in stage productions of My Fair Lady.
Fred Daniels born George Frederick William Daniels, 1892 – 1959. Daniels was a pioneer of still photography in the film industry and recognised by the BFI.