Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Jeremy Spenser ?

Those old film magazines I have been acquiring, "Films and Filming" had a monthly column on a Person of Promise, which high-lighted, each month, a person of promise. These included Lee Remick and Stephen Boyd (as per my labels on them), plus Belinda Lee, Shirley Eaton, Shirley McLaine, Don Murray, Carol Lynley, John Fraser, Ronald Lewis, Sylvia Syms, Michael Craig, Diane Cilento and lots of rising talent in the UK and elsewhere. (Its interesting now seeing who became big names and who didn't). I was pleased to see a recent one (in the January 1957 issue) on that interesting actor who seems to have vanished - Jeremy Spenser.   Here is what it says on Jeremy:

A young British actor who would seem to combine a first-class acting talent with a sensual appeal for younger filmgoers is 19 year old Jeremy Spenser, who has been repeating in the film THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL the role of the boy king which he played in the stage production (THE SLEEPING PRINCE) at London's Phoenix Theatre. Spenser, then aged 16, played throughout the 8 months run of the play. Already he was quite a veteran of stage and screen, having began his career when only 8.
As a child actor he had a supporting role with Vivien Leigh in ANNA KARENINA in 1948. He was also in the Alec Guinness Ealing classic KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS. Other film roles followed and stage roles included THE INNOCENTS with Flora Robson (presumably Miles to her Miss Giddens).
His recent films include ITS GREAT TO BE YOUNG with John Mills, SUMMER MADNESS (where he played Rosanno Brazzi's son and has a scene with Katharine Hepburn), and with Claudette Colbert in THE PLANTER'S WIFE
As a personality, Spenser has a serious approach to living, a fact which does not deter him at times from gaily enjoying a full and colourful life. He plays chess, the piano and the trumpet. He admires directors like Kazan and Zinnemann, and artists as diverse as Marlon Brando and Judy Holliday. Of Sir Laurence Olivier he says"He happens once in a century". 
Spenser wants to be a writer. He claims to have written a novel at the age of 11. Although he likes the company of young people, he says he does not like parties. He likes brightly-coloured clothes, such as jerseys and jeans. 
Spenser already has the Hollywood touch. At the early age of 19 he has his own London flat, admittedly a small one, and a not-so-small country house of 8 rooms, 9 acres of garden and a miniature swimming pool.

Well, lets hope he hung on the country house and pool while "gaily enjoying that full and colourful life"!. 
I have been intrigued by Jeremy Spenser, who seems to have vanished after some good early roles. It shows one can play scenes with Marilyn Monroe, Olivier, Katharine Hepburn, Vivien Leigh - and still one's career either grinds to a halt or peters out. Or did Spenser just walk away? Who knows now ? His last credit was in 1967 after some television work.
After this 1957 article he was also in WONDERFUL THINGS in 1958 (see Spenser label) as a sort of British Sal Mineo, where he and Frankie Vaughan are fishermen in Gibraltar, and was back with Vivien Leigh as the young man stalking her in THE ROMAN SPRING OF MRS STONE in 1960, to whom she finally throws down the keys, and in FERRY TO HONG KONG. and that seems to be about it, apart from a small part in Losey's KING AND COUNTRY in 1964, and in Truffaut's FAHRENHEIT 451 and I did not see him at all in OPERATION CROSSBOW in 1965 though IMDB lists him in the cast list. Of course by then a new generation of actors had come to the fore, all doing very well. That other child actor James Fox for instance .... 
Jeremy with Mrs Stone on her balcony
I presume its hard enough to be an actor without trying to maintain a career for more than a decade or so, not many manage it.  Jeremey even had his own fan magazine in 1958!

Then there are those others, like Leonard Whiting or Martin Potter or Graham Faulkner, who are discovered for a big movie role by an important director - a Fellini or Zeffirelli - maybe purely on their looks, but then what? perhaps (as with Whiting and Potter) a few minor roles afterwards, but if they don't have the training or the ambition .... 
Wherever Jeremy is now (he would be 78) one trusts he is well. IMDB says he married his ex-wife and became a drama teacher and was alive and well, some years ago ... 

1 comment:

  1. Trust you to pick up on the 'gaily...'! Yes, I do remember Jeremy and always thought him 'promising' in one way or another!