Peter Wyngarde: Cult TV star dies aged 90

Discussion in 'Celebrity Scuttlebutt' started by Barbara Fan, Jan 18, 2018.

  1. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    4,119
    Trophy Points:
    7,368
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Scotland
    Ratings:
    +9,435
    Medals:
    6
    Gender:
    female
    Member Since:
    2000
    The actor Peter Wyngarde has died aged 90, his agent has confirmed.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-42731220

    Wyngarde played dandy detective Jason King in the 1970s TV show of the same name - which was a partial inspiration for the Austin Powers films.

    He had numerous stage roles, as well as playing the gold-masked Klytus in Flash Gordon and Timanov in Doctor Who.

    His agent and manger, Thomas Bowington, described him as "one of the most unique, original and creative actors" he had seen.

    "As a man, there were few things in life he didn't know."

    "I sometimes nicknamed him The King because he simply knew everything," Bowington added.

    Wyngarde started his career on stage, in a production on Noel Cowards' Present Laughter at Birmingham's Theatre Royal in 1947; and later starred opposite Richard Burton in the big-screen adaptation of Alexander the Great.

    In 1959, he starred in ITV's South - which some have claimed was the first gay drama on British television.

    Set during the US Civil War, it featured Wyngarde as a Polish army lieutenant Jan Wicziewsky, who must decide who he loves: Miss Regina, a plantation owner's niece; or a tall, rugged officer called Eric MacClure.

    Broadcast live at a time when homosexuality had not been decriminalised in the UK, the drama received scathing reviews in the press.

    "I do NOT see anything attractive in the agonies and ecstasies of a pervert, especially in close-up in my living room," noted The Daily Sketch's critic.


    Unbeknownst to the general public, Wyngarde was himself gay and, after a brief marriage to actress Dorinda Stevens in the 1950s, and had a long-term relationship with the actor Alan Bates.

    "I think you have to give Wyngarde a massive pat on the back in terms of the bravery in taking this role," said BFI curator Simon McCallum when South was rediscovered five years ago.

    The furore over the programme did not affect the actor's career, and he guest-starred in a number of 1960s television shows including The Saint, The Prisoner and The Avengers before debuting Jason King in the spy drama Department S.

    The character proved so popular that Wyngarde got a spin-off series, which made him a household name in the US and Australia.

    He started his own fashion column in a daily newspaper and, after Australian women voted him the man they'd most like to have an affair with, was mobbed at Sydney airport.

    "It was one of the most terrifying experiences I can remember," he later recalled. "They got me to the ground, tore my clothes, debagged me... I was in hospital for three days."


    His career suffered a setback in 1975 when he was arrested and convicted of "an act of gross indecency" with a lorry driver. He was fined £75 by magistrates under his real name Cyril Louis Goldbert.

    The star said the conviction upset him deeply, but did not affect his career. However, his days as a leading man were largely finished.

    He attributed his decline to type-casting by "small-minded people", but homophobia was undoubtedly a factor.

    King remained his best-known character, a globe-trotting playboy with an astonishing array of outfits. And it wasn't just his sartorial extravagance that inspired Mike Myers to create Austin Powers: King even uttered the phrase "groovy, baby" in one episode.


    "I decided Jason King was going to be an extension of me," he once said. "I was inclined to be a bit of a dandy - I used to go to the tailor with my designs."

    However, he took the character's lifestyle a bit too literally, battling alcoholism in the 1980s. He only quit after cutting ties with a close friend in a fight he couldn't remember.

    "Jason King had champagne and strawberries for breakfast, just as I did myself," he told The Observer in 1993.

    "I drank myself to a standstill. When I think about it now, I'm amazed I'm still here."
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    4,119
    Trophy Points:
    7,368
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Scotland
    Ratings:
    +9,435
    Medals:
    6
    Gender:
    female
    Member Since:
    2000
  3. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing World Cup of Soaps Moderator

    Message Count:
    6,546
    Trophy Points:
    7,960
    Ratings:
    +9,962
    Medals:
    10
    Member Since:
    1999
    I recognise the face but I think his time on TV might have been a few years before my time. Sad that his conviction of gross decency affected him so much, I'm guessing whatever it involved it would be something that today would barely raise an eyebrow.
     
  4. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat TV Fanatic

    Message Count:
    1,463
    Trophy Points:
    2,194
    Ratings:
    +1,231
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    Feb 2007
    I used to occasionally meet Peter Wyngarde, up to a few months before his death. I’ve got all of Department S and Jason King on DVD. As well as his appearances in Sword of Freedom, The Champions, a dual role (but sort of three characters!) in an episode of The Baron, The Prisoner, Flash Gordon, Night of the Eagle, Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense, a couple of episodes of The Avengers, a couple of episodes of The Saint, varying Sherlock Holmes Things, The Innocents, The Siege of Sidney Street, I-Spy, The Two Ronnies (who also did a Jason King sketch) and Doctor Who: Planet of Fire. And some television plays and audio material he did, both soundtracks and readings. One of my favourite actors. He was full of funny stories and I joined his Hellfire Club.





    Did you mean indecency?
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
    • Like Like x 1
  5. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat TV Fanatic

    Message Count:
    1,463
    Trophy Points:
    2,194
    Ratings:
    +1,231
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    Feb 2007
    Peter Wyngarde in The Two Ronnies
     
  6. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat TV Fanatic

    Message Count:
    1,463
    Trophy Points:
    2,194
    Ratings:
    +1,231
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    Feb 2007
    Peter Wyngarde in The Champions
     
  7. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat TV Fanatic

    Message Count:
    1,463
    Trophy Points:
    2,194
    Ratings:
    +1,231
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    Feb 2007
    Trailer for The Prisoner: Checkmate. With Peter Wyngarde as Number Two
     
  8. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat TV Fanatic

    Message Count:
    1,463
    Trophy Points:
    2,194
    Ratings:
    +1,231
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    Feb 2007

    Department S was released on Blu-ray last year

     
  9. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat TV Fanatic

    Message Count:
    1,463
    Trophy Points:
    2,194
    Ratings:
    +1,231
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    Feb 2007
  10. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat TV Fanatic

    Message Count:
    1,463
    Trophy Points:
    2,194
    Ratings:
    +1,231
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    Feb 2007
    Early part of this video shows Peter Wyngarde with Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee (who Peter Wyngarde said was one of the actors who most impressed him, along with Jeremy Brett and Patrick McGoohan) in The Avengers: A Touch of Brimstone
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
  11. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing World Cup of Soaps Moderator

    Message Count:
    6,546
    Trophy Points:
    7,960
    Ratings:
    +9,962
    Medals:
    10
    Member Since:
    1999
    Either that or perhaps I was thinking of the the time he helped an old woman across the road, wore a 3 piece suit, donated to several charities and was generally a grossly decent chap.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat TV Fanatic

    Message Count:
    1,463
    Trophy Points:
    2,194
    Ratings:
    +1,231
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    Feb 2007
    Oh, I remember those!
    99B813FC-CFB7-4CB2-8AF3-9A48E21E0756.jpeg
    6451714D-9807-414E-B153-BBF60D93EEBF.jpeg
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  13. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat TV Fanatic

    Message Count:
    1,463
    Trophy Points:
    2,194
    Ratings:
    +1,231
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    Feb 2007
    Peter Wyngarde also voiced some of the Milk Tray adverts. Featuring Gary Myers as the Milk Tray Man


     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
  14. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat TV Fanatic

    Message Count:
    1,463
    Trophy Points:
    2,194
    Ratings:
    +1,231
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    Feb 2007
    Russell Harty interviewing Peter Wyngarde and Sally Ann Howes
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
  15. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat TV Fanatic

    Message Count:
    1,463
    Trophy Points:
    2,194
    Ratings:
    +1,231
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    Feb 2007
    Press Launch picture of the Department S cast. Clockwise: Peter Wyngarde (Jason King), Joel Fabiani (Stewart Sullivan), Rosemary Nicols (Annabelle Hurst) & Dennis Alaba Peters who played their boss, Sir Curtis Seretse.
    47896070-9190-4B69-9959-8D473469EC39.jpeg

    Department S opening and closing credits


    Jason King opening and closing credits


    ———-
    483E223C-8158-4234-B4DD-537C67EC2CA3.jpeg
    ———-

    Peter Wyngarde receiving one of his various fashion awards
    99081093-518E-46EE-8111-D6653C6A6A27.jpeg
    756DC9AA-86E3-4970-A29A-539474DD27FE.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
  16. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat TV Fanatic

    Message Count:
    1,463
    Trophy Points:
    2,194
    Ratings:
    +1,231
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    Feb 2007
    I wouldn’t call it a spy drama as such. While spies are encountered and the Department do sometimes go undercover, the show is about an offshoot of Interpol that deals with the world’s most mystifying crimes that the police and other agencies can’t solve. Like when the population of an entire village (save one) all mysteriously vanish overnight. Or when a plane comes in Six Days late to the surprise of the crew and passengers, who think they are thirty minutes early. Or when a tube train pulls in and all the passengers are dead. Or when people seem to be instantly reduced to fully-clothed skeletons. Or remote controlled cars driving about the roads. Or rebels going to the trouble of trying to kill a waxwork dummy. Or an aircraft landing itself without passengers or crew. Or Sir Anthony Hopkins with reversed vision, impervious to pain and seeing his own body as though it were a separate entity. Or an entire shift failing to turn up for work, except for the person who never misses a day and is subsequently found in the river with a hundredweight of scrap metal attached to his feet. Or why Gavin Campbell looks around 20 but is actually sixty.


    Over 30,000 of them!

    Wasn’t it just?
    671AB42F-1F4C-4770-AC59-C6AF66205F12.jpeg E3474F45-038C-42D9-AA1F-00CCCA1F71F6.jpeg
    D03B77F1-425A-4BE8-871D-C6398E025399.jpeg
    CB9127F1-9F85-4ADC-B0E7-202074956356.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
  17. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat TV Fanatic

    Message Count:
    1,463
    Trophy Points:
    2,194
    Ratings:
    +1,231
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    Feb 2007
    Appreciation: Peter Wyngarde obituary
    [​IMG]
    By Toby Hadoke
    Tues 23 Jan 2018 16:44 GMT

    The obituary of Peter Wyngarde overlooked a number of the talents and successes of this suave and charismatic performer who never lost his ability to inspire fascination.

    Before Jason King he had an early television success as Will Shakespeare (1953) – a taxing part that earned him the admiration of the production’s pioneering producer/director Rudolph Cartier. By 1965, when lured to play the arrogant and dangerous Baron Grüner in an episode of Sherlock Holmes, he had enough clout for the producers to accede to his agent’s stipulation that on foreign sales prints he – uniquely – be inserted into the opening titles and credited alongside the leads (Douglas Wilmer and Nigel Stock, both of whom he was also paid considerably more than).

    His quirky tastes embraced cult shows which showcased his versatility and zeal – he is glorious in both of his episodes of The Avengers (1966-67) and a cunning and aloof Number Two in The Prisoner (1967). As the religious zealot Timanov in the 1984 Doctor Who story Planet of Fire he imbues a flawed character with a tremendous tragic dignity.

    His non-speaking role in the film The Innocents (1961) is no glorified bit part. He is a memorably spooky, spectral presence and gets second billing, a year after his effective turn as a ruthless gang leader in The Siege of Sidney Street.

    His extensive theatre work attracted many good notices from the outset and included Shylock and King John, via Jack Pinchwife (The Country Wife) and more than 200 performances as the lead in The King and I (Adelphi theatre and tour, 1973-74). He also directed productions at the Bristol Old Vic and the Yvonne Arnaud theatre, Guildford.

    In later years he was gracious with fans and a writer of detailed and helpful letters crafted in attractive – if minute – handwriting, generously extolling the virtues of colleagues he admired such as Cartier, Wilfred Lawson and Patrick McGoohan: unpredictable talents all, who should give some clue as to where his sensibilities lay.

    A perfectionist, he was doubtless sometimes difficult, but the scandal that dented his career should not overshadow the many fine qualities of a charming, seductive, watchable leading actor with an offbeat streak.
    https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2018/jan/23/appreciation-peter-wyngarde-obituary
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018

Share This Page