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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: Aaland dremble wedge's Avatar
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    Tthe BBC are reporting that Lionel Jeffries has died





    Lionel Jeffries enjoyed a long and varied acting career, most notably in film comedies like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He also wrote the screenplay for, and directed, The Railway Children.

    It used to be a standing joke in the UK acting profession that one should "never work with dogs babies and Lionel Jeffries".

    Although the maxim is not original, there is no doubt Jeffries's innate abilities as a comic were formidable. He did not so much steal scenes as re-mould them in his own image.

    Take, as a case in point, the 1963 film The Wrong Arm of the Law. Originally conceived as a star-vehicle for Peter Sellers, who played a bumbling crook, it was Jeffries's equally incompetent police inspector who was most memorable.

    Bald and mustachioed, he was instantly-recognisable and, besides more than 100 film appearances, he was a regular on both stage and television for more than 40 years, often as policemen and military types.

    He was born in London on 10 June 1926. Both his parents were members of the Salvation Army and worked with poor people in London's East End.

    Lionel Jeffries' father owned a cine camera and projector and some of his earliest memories were of home-made movis which he edited, with his father, on the kitchen table.

    During World War II he served in the Army in Burma and as a member of the West African Frontier Force. He also lost his hair at the same time, a result, he said, of sweating in the humidity of the Far East.

    After being demobbed, Lionel Jeffries started his acting career in repertory theatre, making his film debut in 1953.

    Two years late came Jeffries' first major role, alongside Sir John Mills and Eric Portman in The Colditz Story.

    During the 1950s, he appeared in films like Bhowani Junction, Doctor at Large and Blue Murder at St Trinian's before excelling as the instantly dislikeable Marquis of Queensbury in The Trials of Oscar Wilde in 1960.

    But it was as Grandpa Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang that he will perhaps be best remembered. He later recalled, "Dick Van Dyke was older than me and I was playing his dad."

    In 1970, Jeffries directed and wrote the screenplay for, the film version of E Nesbit's The Railway Children. The movie proved a huge success and remains a perennial Christmas favourite.

    More recently, Lionel Jeffries worked on television, in sitcoms like Tom, Dick and Harriett as well as making a cameo appearance on BBC television's medical drama, Holby City.

  2. #2
    Member Country: UK
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    It has just been announced on the BBC of the very sad death of Lionel Jefferies, a true great of Post-War British films.



    Only last week we lost Ian Carmicheal and now Lionel. I even mentioned on my thread reagarding Ian'death, that I was thinking what a good idea to bring together the last three actors from "The Colditz Story" and then Ian died and now Lionel. That leaves only Bryan Forbes from that great movie.



    Lionel Jefferies always played older than his real age for instance playing Dick Van Dyke's dad in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" when he was actually six months younger than his screen son.



    He had a calvalcade of wonderful true British eccentrics like the inventor Cavor in "The First Men in the Moon", Inspector Nosy Parker in "The Wrong Arm of the Law" and wanted crook Joe Mangan in "Blue Murder at St.Trinians". There are hundreds of great roles that he played over the years both on television as well as film.



    And who can forget that he was the man who directed on of the greatest ever children's films - "The Railway Children".



    Yet again we have lost another stalwart of the British Cinema and once again we thank them all for the many years of joy and entertainment that they have bought to us all.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: UK charliekane's Avatar
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    Yes - sad news - not sure how loved he was (partly because I think he bravely tended to play the character you didn't warm to) but that doesn't mask what an exceptional actor he was. The sort of player we just don't have anymore - because no-one makes movies like that anymore.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    RIP Mr Jeffries.

  5. #5
    GRAEME
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    I'm personally very upset about this. CCBB was one of my first cinema experiences - and he was my favourite thing in that movie.



    How I cried my eyes out over "poor Cavor" (who had such a dreadful cold...) when I first saw First Men in the Moon as a nipper. My dad had to assure me that he was alive and well and living on another planet with his moon-bee friends, or else I'd never have got to sleep that night.



    Well, bye then Lionel - thanks for all the great memories.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: Spain Rowdon's Avatar
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    83 - that's a good innings for the generation, isn't it? Lovely character actor and multi-talented contributor to the films we all love ...



    One of my favourites as a lad:









    As GRAEME says, thanks for the memories.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: UK flynn's Avatar
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    Very Sad news indeed.he was in so many of my favourite films.

    one being the Wrong Arm of the Law.playing. Fred 'Nosey' Parker.R.I.P.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: England Santonix's Avatar
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    Another sad loss. Watched him in 'The Vicious Circle' last night. R.I.P.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: Scotland Gerald Lovell's Avatar
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    Very sad to learn this. Goodbye Lionel and thank you for the many hours of pleasure you gave us.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    Like Graeme I'm of the Chitty generation, so my surprise wasn't so much that Lionel had passed away, but that he was only 83. I knew he wasn't as old as he was playing, but it didn't occur to me that he was only 41 when he made it....RIP Mr Jeffries....it was fun having you around..

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    A bad start to the year. Let's hope it doesn't continue in this manner.

  12. #12
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    The divine Jenny had a few nice words to say about him in the news on Radio 4



    Steve

  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: Europe
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    Rip Lionel.



    Goodbye and thank you for directing the film that was simply perfect, more perfect than you'll ever know.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Country: Europe
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    R.I.P. Lionel.



    Goodbye and thank you for directing the film that was simply perfect, more perfect than you'll ever know.

  15. #15
    Super Moderator Country: Fiji
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    Very sad news indeed - Lionel Jeffries was an excellent performer. Love him in ENDING UP and as old 'Sourkraut' in TWO WAY STRETCH, amongst many other noteworthy roles.



    R.I.P.



    Respect,



    Smudge

  16. #16
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    Two Way Stretch is the film that has remained close to my heart for the longest time.



    Forty years on and I've just laughed out loud watching this nice little tribute.



    Love the bit where Sidney Crout (was there ever a character more on the threshold of madness?)

    meets Lennie The Dip for the first time.

    "Oh now..." followed by the funniest tooth-suck EVER !



    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yC3_APS6xA"]YouTube- PETER SELLERS 'TWO WAY STRETCH' 1960 ...Classic Comedy[/ame]



    That's tonights viewing sorted out...

  17. #17
    Senior Member Country: Canada
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    name='GRAEME']How I cried my eyes out over "poor Cavor" (who had such a dreadful cold...) when I first saw First Men in the Moon as a nipper. My dad had to assure me that he was alive and well and living on another planet with his moon-bee friends, or else I'd never have got to sleep that night.
    I can relate. As a child I found First Men in the Moon a very emotionally exhilarating experience! The scene where Cavor ascended the staircase to meet the alien emperor, and then of course when he was left behind and eventually blown up.



    RIP.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    Very sorry to hear of Lionel's death. A national treasure who never failed to deliver. My two favourites of his (and my favourites with Peter Sellers in a starring role) was Two Way Stretch and The Wrong Arm Of The Law. Of course we can not forget his directorial debut,the priceless The Railway Children.

    Lionel Jeffries - thank you friend and RIP.

    Mark

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    very sad news, always a pleasure to watch on the screen.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Country: Europe
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    R.I.P. Lionel



    Goodbye and thank you for directing te greatest of all family film, Te Railway Children - Simply perfect, more perfect than you'll ever know.



    Always enjoyed your screen performances.

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