What­ever Hap­pened to...? . . .

Dis­cov­er­ing what be­came of per­son­al­i­ties from the past

Evergreen - - Contents Summer 2015 - An­ge­line Wil­cox

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

David Ker­nan

& 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”.

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