Whatever Happened to...? . . .
Discovering what became of personalities from the past
Your requests for famous folk for us to feature in this series are continuing to flood in. For this issue you’ve set us on the trail of two actors and stepping into the spotlight first is David Kernan.
Heather Marsh, who’s contacted us from Southampton, describes him as one of her “absolute favourites”. She recalls his regular appearances on the Sixties satirical show That Was the Week that Was, with the likes of David Frost and Millicent Martin. Heather also remembers seeing David on the London stage in Our Man Crichton ( the musical adaptation
& Greta Gynt
of the J. M. Barrie play The Admiral Crichton), but she is curious to know what has happened to him since.
On 23rd June this year, Londonborn David will celebrate his 77th birthday. His is a career which has seen him on the big and small screen, but it is the theatre where he is most at home particularly when it comes to the work of the American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.
David was cast in the original 1975 London production of A Little Night Music and in 1977 he was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance on Broadway in Side by Side by Sondheim. His association with Broadway continued in the 1980s when he devised and directed the revue Jerome Kern Goes to Hollywood. Another celebration of musical luminaries, this time Noël Coward and Cole Porter, was his collaboration with Dick Vosburgh and Robin Ray on Noël/ Cole: Let’s Do It!
Looking back into the television and film archives, David also appeared in classic series The Avengers and Upstairs Downstairs and his films included Zulu ( 1964), Otley ( 1968) and Carry On Abroad ( 1972).
A letter from Audrey Barnwell in Horsham, Sussex, is asking for more information about Greta Gynt who she remembers from the Thirties through to the years immediately after the war.
As you might gather from the name, Greta came from Norway, but she was born Margrethe Woxholt in 1916. After working as a dancer, her first film, in Swedish, was released in 1934. Margrethe’s mother, a costume designer, had ambitions for her daughter and thought that her career prospects would be more favourable in England, so the young actress returned to London where she had spent her very early childhood with her parents.
Margrethe then became Greta — taking the surname of Gynt from Ibsen’s character. She was soon signed by the Rank Organisation and, with her blonde hair and blue eyes, often cast as the femme fatale.
Among her films were: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery ( 1939); The Dark Eyes of London ( 1939); Tomorrow We Live ( 1943); Mr. Emmanuel ( 1944); Dear Murderer ( 1947); and Easy Money ( 1948). In addition to acting and dancing Greta could also sing, a talent which she used in some of her films.
Although her attempts to carve a Hollywood career were unsuccessful, she continued making British films throughout the 1950s including Forbidden Cargo ( 1954); the comedy See How They Run ( 1955) and The Witness ( 1959). Her final picture was The Runaway ( 1963).
Married four times Greta, and her third husband, had one son. She remained in London and died in April 2000 at the age of 83.
If you would like to know what became of a famous person of yesteryear then write to us at the address below and we’ll see what we can find out: “Whatever Happened to...?”, Evergreen, The Lypiatts, Lansdown Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 2JA editor@ evergreenmagazine. co. uk
David Kernan in “Upstairs Downstairs”.
Greta Gynt on the cover of “Picture Show” magazine publicising the 1948 film “The Calendar”.