David Hemmings
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David Edward Leslie Hemmings (18 November 1941 – 3 December 2003) was an English actor, director, producer, and singer-songwriter. He co-founded the
Hemdale Film Corporation Hemdale Film Corporation, known as Hemdale Communications after 1992, was an independent British-American film production company and Film distributor, distributor. The company was founded in London in 1967 as the Hemdale Company by actor David Hemm ...
in 1967. Considered an icon of the
Swinging London The Swinging Sixties was a Youth culture, youth-driven cultural revolution that took place in the United Kingdom during the mid-to-late 1960s, emphasising modernity and fun-loving hedonism, with Swinging London as its centre. It saw a flourishin ...
pop scene, Hemmings is best remembered for his roles in British films and television programmes of the 1960s and 1970s, particularly the 1966
mystery film A mystery film is a genre of film that revolves around the solution of a problem or a crime. It focuses on the efforts of the detective A detective is an investigator, usually a member of a law enforcement agency A law enforcement agency (LEA) ...
''
Blowup ''Blowup'' (sometimes styled as ''Blow-up'' or ''Blow Up'') is a 1966 mystery Mystery, The Mystery, Mysteries or The Mysteries may refer to: People * Mystery (pickup artist) Erik von Markovik (born September 24, 1971), more popularly known ...

Blowup
'', directed by
Michelangelo Antonioni Michelangelo Antonioni (, ; 29 September 1912 – 30 July 2007) was an Italian film director, screenwriter, editor, and painter. He is best known for his "trilogy on modernity Modernity, a topic in the humanities and social sciences, is ...

Michelangelo Antonioni
. Early in his career, Hemmings was a
boy soprano A boy soprano (British and especially North American English) or boy treble (only British English) is a young male singer with an Voice change, unchanged voice in the soprano range, a range that is often still called the treble voice range (in No ...
appearing in operatic roles.


Biography


Early life

David Hemmings was born in
Guildford Guildford () is a town in Surrey Surrey () is a counties of England, county in South East England which borders Kent to the east, East Sussex to the southeast, West Sussex to the south, Hampshire to the west, Berkshire to the northwest, and ...

Guildford
, Surrey, England, to a biscuit salesman father.


Benjamin Britten

His education at
Alleyn's School Alleyn's School is a 4–18 co-educational, independent, Church of England, day school A day school—as opposed to a boarding school—is an educational institution where children and adolescents are given instruction during the day, after wh ...

Alleyn's School
, Glyn Grammar School in
Ewell Ewell ( , ) is a suburban area with a village centre in the borough of Epsom and Ewell Epsom and Ewell () is a Non-metropolitan district, local government district with borough status in Surrey, England, covering the towns of Epsom and Ewell. ...
, and the
Arts Educational Schools Arts Educational Schools, or ArtsEd, is an independent performing arts school based in Chiswick in the London Borough of Hounslow. Overview ArtsEd provides specialist vocational training at secondary, further and higher education level in music ...
led him to start his career performing as a
boy soprano A boy soprano (British and especially North American English) or boy treble (only British English) is a young male singer with an Voice change, unchanged voice in the soprano range, a range that is often still called the treble voice range (in No ...
in several works by the composer
Benjamin Britten Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten (22 November 1913 – 4 December 1976) was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He was a central figure of 20th-century British music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal m ...

Benjamin Britten
, who formed a close friendship with him at this time. Most notably, Hemmings created the role of Miles in Britten's
chamber operaChamber opera is a designation for operas written to be performed with a Chamber music, chamber ensemble rather than a full orchestra. Early 20th-century operas of this type include Paul Hindemith's ''Cardillac'' (1926). Earlier small-scale operas su ...
''
Turn of the Screw ''The Turn of the Screw'' is an 1898 horror fiction, horror novella by Henry James which first appeared in Serial (literature), serial format in ''Collier's, Collier's Weekly'' (January 27 – April 16, 1898). In October 1898, it was collected ...
'' (1954). His intimate, yet innocent, relationship with Britten is described in John Bridcut's book ''Britten's Children'' (2006). Although many commentators identified Britten's relationship with Hemmings as based on an infatuation, throughout his life, Hemmings maintained categorically that Britten's conduct with him was beyond reproach at all times. Hemmings had earlier played the title role in Britten's ''The Little Sweep'' (1952), which was part of Britten's ''Let's Make an Opera!'' children's production. Britten's interest in Hemmings ceased very abruptly, from the moment his voice broke, which occurred unexpectedly while singing the aria "Malo" during a performance of ''The Turn of the Screw'' in 1956 in Paris. Britten was furious, waved Hemmings away, and never had any further contact with him.


Child actor

Hemmings then moved on to acting in films. He made his first film appearance in the drama film ''The Rainbow Jacket'' (1954). He could also be seen in ''Saint Joan (1957 film), Saint Joan'' (1957). Hemmings had bigger roles in ''Five Clues to Fortune'' (1957), ''The Heart Within'' (1957), and ''No Trees in the Street'' (1959), directed by J. Lee Thompson. He could also be seen in ''Men of Tomorrow (1959 film), Men of Tomorrow'' (1959), ''In the Wake of a Stranger'' (1959), ''Sink the Bismarck!'' (1960), and ''The Wind of Change (film), The Wind of Change'' (1961).


Teen idol

Hemmings began to be known for playing young men, for example in ''The Painted Smile'' (1962) and ''Some People (film), Some People'' (1962). Hemmings' first lead role was in the low budget teen musical ''Live It Up! (film), Live It Up!'' (1963). He went back to support roles for Michael Winner's ''The System (1964 film), The System'' (1964), then starred in a sequel to ''Live It Up!'', ''Be My Guest (film), Be My Guest'' (1965). Hemmings had a role in ''Two Left Feet (film), Two Left Feet'' (1965) with Michael Crawford.


''Blowup'' and stardom

Hemmings luck changed when he was cast in the lead of ''
Blowup ''Blowup'' (sometimes styled as ''Blow-up'' or ''Blow Up'') is a 1966 mystery Mystery, The Mystery, Mysteries or The Mysteries may refer to: People * Mystery (pickup artist) Erik von Markovik (born September 24, 1971), more popularly known ...

Blowup
'' (1966). It was directed by
Michelangelo Antonioni Michelangelo Antonioni (, ; 29 September 1912 – 30 July 2007) was an Italian film director, screenwriter, editor, and painter. He is best known for his "trilogy on modernity Modernity, a topic in the humanities and social sciences, is ...

Michelangelo Antonioni
, who detested the Method acting, "Method" way of acting. He sought to find a fresh young face for the lead in the film. He found Hemmings, at the time acting in small stage theatre in London, although at their first meeting, Antonioni told Hemmings, "you look wrong. You're too young". Hemmings was offered the part of the protagonist after actor Sean Connery turned the role down because Antonioni would not show him the full script, but only a seven-page treatment stored in a cigarette packet. The resulting film was a critical and commercial sensation for MGM which financed it, helping turn Hemmings and co-star Vanessa Redgrave into stars. "I've been discovered half a dozen times," said Hemmings. "This time I think I've made it." He accepted an offer from Warner Bros to play Mordred in the expensive musical ''Camelot (film), Camelot'' (1967). He also had another supporting part in the thriller ''Eye of the Devil'' (1966), playing the brother of Sharon Tate. Hemmings was then cast as Louis Nolan in the expensive epic ''The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968 film), The Charge of the Light Brigade'' (1968), which, like ''Camelot'', was widely seen but failed to recoup its cost. Around 1967, Hemmings was briefly considered for the role of Alex in a planned film version of Anthony Burgess's novel ''A Clockwork Orange (novel), A Clockwork Orange'' (1962), which was to be based on a screen treatment by satirist Terry Southern and British photographer Michael Cooper (photographer), Michael Cooper. Cooper and the Rolling Stones were reportedly upset by the move and it was decided to return to the original plan in which Mick Jagger, the lead vocalist of the Rolling Stones, would play Alex, with the rest of the Stones as his Nadsat, droog gang; the production was shelved after Britain's chief censor, the Lord Chamberlain, indicated that he would not permit it to be made. In 1967 Hemmings released an album, "Happens" on M.G.M. Records E/SE 4490, in September 1967, both in Mono & Stereo. It flopped and after that he forsook his recording career. Hemmings co-starred with Richard Attenborough in a comedy, ''Only When I Larf (film), Only When I Larf'' (1968), then was the sole star of an anti-war film, ''The Long Day's Dying'' (1968). Both films flopped. More financially successful was ''Barbarella (film), Barbarella'' (1968) in which Hemmings had a key role. He played the lead in two period films for MGM: a comedy, ''The Best House in London'' (1969), and the historical epic ''Alfred the Great (film), Alfred the Great'' (1969), in which Hemmings had the title role. Neither film did well at the box office, with ''Alfred the Great'' being a notable flop. Hemmings managed to be cast in some star roles: ''The Walking Stick'' (1970) with Samantha Eggar, for MGM; ''Fragment of Fear'' (1970), a thriller; and ''Unman, Wittering and Zigo (film), Unman, Wittering and Zigo'' (1971). Hemmings went to Hollywood to play a supporting role in ''The Love Machine (film), The Love Machine'' (1971). Back in Britain he starred in a horror film, ''Voices (1973 film), Voices'' (1973). He went to Spain to appear in ''Lola (1974 film), Lola'' (1974), and in Britain supported Richard Harris in ''Juggernaut (1974 film), Juggernaut'' (1974). Hemmings appeared in the Italian giallo film ''Deep Red, Profondo Rosso'' (also known as ''Deep Red'' or ''The Hatchet Murders'') (1975) directed by Dario Argento. Back in England he supported Anthony Newley in ''Mister Quilp'' (1975).


Director

Hemmings directed the drama film ''The 14'' (1973), which won the Silver Bear at the 23rd Berlin International Film Festival.


Character actor

From this point on, Hemmings was really a supporting actor. In 1977 he appeared as Eddy in the film ''Islands in the Stream (film), Islands in the Stream'', an adaptation of Hemingway's novel of the same name, starring George C Scott. He had support roles in ''The Squeeze (1977 film), The Squeeze'' (1977), ''The Prince and the Pauper (1977 film), The Prince and the Pauper'' (1977), ''The Heroin Busters'' (1977), ''The Disappearance (film), The Disappearance'' (1977), ''Squadra antitruffa'' (1977), ''Blood Relatives'' (1978) and ''Power Play (1978 film), Power Play'' (1978). Hemmings directed David Bowie and Marlene Dietrich in the drama film ''Just a Gigolo (1978 film), Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo'' (also known as ''Just a Gigolo'') (1978). The film was poorly received, with Bowie describing it as "my 32 Elvis Presley films rolled into one".MacKinnon, Angus (13 September 1980). "The Future Isn't What It Used to Be". ''NME''. pp. 32–37. He had a support role in ''Murder by Decree'' (1979).


Australia and New Zealand

Hemmings received an offer to play a supporting role in an Australian vampire film, ''Thirst (1979 film), Thirst''. He starred in a TV film, ''Charlie Muffin'' then returned to Australia to feature in ''Harlequin (film), Harlequin''. Hemmings then received an offer from Ginnane to direct the Australian horror film ''The Survivor (1981 film), The Survivor'', based on James Herbert's The Survivor (1976 novel), 1976 novel of the same name, starring Robert Powell and Jenny Agutter. Hemmings directed ''Race for the Yankee Zephyr'' shot in New Zealand. While in New Zealand Hemmings played roles in ''Prisoners (1981 film), Prisoners'' and ''Beyond Reasonable Doubt (1982 film), Beyond Reasonable Doubt''.


Hollywood

Hemmings then relocated to Hollywood. He played supporting roles in ''Man, Woman and Child (film), Man, Woman and Child'' (1983) and ''Airwolf'' (1984). He also worked extensively as a director of television programmes including the action-adventure drama series ''Quantum Leap'' (e.g., the series premiere); the crime series ''Magnum, P.I.'' (in which he also played characters in several episodes); and two action-adventure series ''The A-Team'' and ''Airwolf'' (in which he also played the role of Doctor Charles Henry Moffet, twisted creator of ''Airwolf'', in the pilot and the second-season episode "Moffett's Ghost"a typographical error by the studio's titles unit). He once joked, "People thought I was dead. But I wasn't. I was just directing ''The A-Team''." Hemmings also directed the puzzle-contest video ''Money Hunt: The Mystery of the Missing Link'' (1984). He directed (and acted in) the television film ''The Key to Rebecca'' (1985), an adaptation of Ken Follett's The Key to Rebecca, 1980 novel of the same name. He also briefly served as a producer on the NBC crime-drama television series ''Stingray (NBC TV series), Stingray''. He directed the drama film ''Dark Horse (1992 film), Dark Horse'' (1992) and as an actor returned to the voyeuristic preoccupations of his ''Blowup'' character with a plum part as the Big Brother (Nineteen Eighty-Four), Big Brother-esque villain in the season-three opener for the television horror anthology series ''Tales from the Crypt (TV series), Tales From the Crypt''.


Later years

In later years, he had roles including appearing as Cassius in the historical film, historical epic film ''Gladiator (2000 film), Gladiator'' (2000), with Russell Crowe, as well as appearing in the drama film ''Last Orders (film), Last Orders'' (2001) and the spy film ''Spy Game'' (2001). He appeared as Mr. Schermerhorn in the historical film ''Gangs of New York'' (2002), directed by Martin Scorsese. His final screen appearances included the science-fiction action film, ''Equilibrium (film), Equilibrium'' (2002), shortly before his death, as well the superhero film ''The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (film), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'' (2003), with Sean Connery and as Frank Sinatra's attorney in the 2003 Australian film ''The Night We Called It a Day (film), The Night We Called It a Day'', a comedy based on true events. He also appeared in the horror film ''Blessed (2004 film), Blessed'' (2004) with Heather Graham, which was dedicated to him in his memory after a fatal heart attack while on set.


Music

In 1967, Hemmings recorded a pop single, "Back Street Mirror" (written by Gene Clark), and a studio album, ''David Hemmings Happens'', in Los Angeles. The album featured instrumental backing by several members of the Byrds, and was produced by Byrds' mentor Jim Dickson (producer), Jim Dickson. In the 1970s, he was jointly credited with former Easybeats members Harry Vanda and George Young (rock musician), George Young as a co-composer of the song "Pasadena". The original 1973 recording of this song – the first Australian hit for singer John Paul Young – was produced by Simon Napier-Bell, in whose SNB Records label Hemmings was a partner at the time. Hemmings also later provided the narration for Rick Wakeman's progressive rock, progressive-rock album ''Journey to the Centre of the Earth (album), Journey to the Centre of the Earth'' (1974) – an adaptation of Jules Verne's science fiction, science-fiction novel ''A Journey to the Center of the Earth'' (1864) – which was recorded live. He starred as Bertie Wooster in the short-lived Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, ''Jeeves (musical), Jeeves'' (1975).


Autobiography

After his death his autobiography, ''Blow Up... and Other ExaggerationsThe Autobiography of David Hemmings'', was published in 2004.


Personal life

He was married four times: to Genista Ouvry (1960–1967), actress Gayle Hunnicutt (1968–1975), Prudence de Casembroot (1976–1997), and Lucy Williams (2002 to his death). Hemmings met Hunnicutt while he was in America promoting ''Blowup'', by which time his marriage to Ouvry was over. At their outdoor wedding, Henry Mancini conducted an orchestra and the Mamas and the Papas performed next to a swimming pool filled with doves dyed puce. Of his relationship with Hunnicutt, Hemmings remarked, "We were the poor man's Taylor and Burton". Their marriage ended when Hunnicutt discovered Hemmings' affairs with actress Samantha Eggar, his co-star in ''The Walking Stick'' (1970), and his secretary Prudence de Casembroot. During his subsequent marriage to Prudence de Casembroot, Hemmings continued his infidelities with, among others, Tessa Dahl. Hemmings had six children; he and Ouvry had daughter Deborah, he and Hunnicutt had actor son Nolan Hemmings, Nolan, while he and de Casembroot had sons George, Edward and William and daughter Charlotte. Hemmings was an active supporter of liberal causes, and spoke at a number of meetings on behalf of the UK's Liberal Party (UK), Liberal Party.


Death

Hemmings died in 2003 at age 62 of a heart attack, in Bucharest, Romania, on the film set of ''Blessed'' (working title: ''Samantha's Child'') after he had performed his scenes for the day. His funeral was held at St Peter's Church, in the hamlet of Blacklands near Calne, Wiltshire, where he had resided in his final years. His body was buried in the church's graveyard.


Filmography

* ''The Rainbow Jacket'' (1954) * ''Saint Joan (1957 film), Saint Joan'' (1957) as Minor Role * ''Five Clues to Fortune'' (1957) as Ken * ''The Heart Within'' (1957) as Danny Willard * ''No Trees in the Street'' (1959) as Kenny * ''Men of Tomorrow (1959 film), Men of Tomorrow'' (1959) as Ted * ''In the Wake of a Stranger'' (1959) as Schoolboy * ''Sink the Bismarck!'' (1960) as Seaman on Ark Royal * ''The Wind of Change (film), The Wind of Change'' (1961) as Ginger * ''Play It Cool (film), Play It Cool'' (1962) * ''The Painted Smile'' (1962) as Roy * ''Some People (film), Some People'' (1962) as Bert * ''West 11'' (1963) as Bit Role * ''Two Left Feet (film), Two Left Feet'' (1963) as Brian * ''Live It Up! (film), Live It Up!'' (1963) as Dave Martin * ''The System (1964 film), The System'' (1964) as David * ''Be My Guest (film), Be My Guest'' (1965) as Dave Martin * ''List of Out of the Unknown episodes#Series 1, Out of the Unknown – The Counterfeit Man'' (1965) as Westcott * ''
Blowup ''Blowup'' (sometimes styled as ''Blow-up'' or ''Blow Up'') is a 1966 mystery Mystery, The Mystery, Mysteries or The Mysteries may refer to: People * Mystery (pickup artist) Erik von Markovik (born September 24, 1971), more popularly known ...

Blowup
'' (1966) as Thomas * ''Camelot (film), Camelot'' (1967) as Mordred * ''Eye of the Devil'' (1967) as Christian de Caray * ''The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968 film), The Charge of the Light Brigade'' (1968) as Captain Nolan * ''Only When I Larf (film), Only When I Larf'' (1968) as Bob * ''The Long Day's Dying'' (1968) as John * ''Barbarella (film), Barbarella'' (1968) as Dildano * ''The Best House in London'' (1969) as Benjamin Oakes / Walter Leybourne * ''Alfred the Great (film), Alfred The Great'' (1969) as Alfred * ''The Walking Stick'' (1970) as Leigh Hartley * ''Fragment of Fear'' (1970) as Tim Brett * ''Simon, Simon'' (1970) as Man in car with posters * ''Unman, Wittering and Zigo (film), Unman, Wittering and Zigo'' (1971) as John Ebony * ''The Love Machine (film), The Love Machine'' (1971) as Jerry Nelson * ''Voices (1973 film), Voices'' (1973) as Robert * ''Lola (1974 film), Lola'' (1974) as Juan * ''Juggernaut (1974 film), Juggernaut'' (1974) as Charlie Braddock * ''Deep Red'' (1975) as Marcus Daly * ''Mister Quilp'' (aka ''The Old Curiosity Shop (1975 film), The Old Curiosity Shop''; 1975) as Richard Swiveller * ''Islands in the Stream (film), Islands in the Stream'' (1977) as Eddy * ''The Squeeze (1977 film), The Squeeze'' (1977) as Keith * ''The Prince and the Pauper (1977 film), The Prince and the Pauper'' (US title ''Crossed Swords'') (1977) as Hugh Hendon * ''The Heroin Busters'' (1977) as Hamilton * ''The Disappearance (film), The Disappearance'' (1977) as Edward * ''Squadra antitruffa'' (1977) as Robert Clayton * ''Blood Relatives'' (1978) as Armstrong * ''Power Play (1978 film), Power Play'' (1978) as Colonel Narriman * ''Just a Gigolo (1978 film), Just a Gigolo'' (1978) as Captain Hermann Kraft * ''Murder by Decree'' (1979) as Inspector Foxborough * ''Thirst (1979 film), Thirst'' (1979) as Dr. Fraser * ''Charlie Muffin'' (US title: ''A Deadly Game'') (1979) as Charlie Muffin * ''Harlequin (film), Harlequin'' (1980) as Nick Rast * ''Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde'' (1980) as Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde * ''Swan Lake (1981 film), Swan Lake'' (1981) as Rothbart (voice) * ''Beyond Reasonable Doubt (1982 film), Beyond Reasonable Doubt'' (1981) as Insp. Bruce Hutton * ''Prisoners (1981 film), Prisoners'' (1981) as Wilkens * ''Man, Woman and Child (film), Man, Woman and Child'' (1983) as Gavin Wilson * ''Airwolf'' (1984) (television film and two subsequent episodes) as Dr. Charles Henry Moffett * ''Magnum, P.I.'' (1985/87) (two episodes) as Lord Smythe-White / Danny * ''The A-Team'' (1983/1987) (one episode) as captain of the boat (episode 2 season 4) * ''The Rainbow (1989 film), The Rainbow'' (1989) as Uncle Henry * ''Tales from the Crypt (TV series), Tales from the Crypt'', "Loved to Death" (1991) as Mr. Stronham * ''Northern Exposure'' (1992) as Viktor Bobrov * ''Kung Fu: The Legend Continues'' (1995) as Durham * ''Gladiator (2000 film), Gladiator'' (2000) as Cassius * ''Last Orders (film), Last Orders'' (2001) as Lenny * ''Spy Game'' (2001) as CIA Agent Harry Duncan * ''Mean Machine (film), Mean Machine'' (2001) as Governor * ''Waking the Dead (TV series), Waking the Dead'': "Deathwatch" (2002) (television episode in 2 parts) as Ex-DCI Malcolm Finlay * ''Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice'' (2002) as Martin Fox * ''Equilibrium (film), Equilibrium'' (2002) as Proctor * ''Gangs of New York'' (2002) as Mr. Schermerhorn * ''The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (film), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'' (2003) as Nigel * ''The Night We Called It a Day (film), The Night We Called It a Day'' (2003) (a.k.a. ''All the Way'') as Mickey Rudin * ''Blessed (2004 film), Blessed'' (2004) as Earl Sydney * ''Romantik'' (2007) as Dr. Sadun


Director

* ''Running Scared (1972 film), Running Scared'' (1972) * ''The 14'' (1973) * ''Just a Gigolo (1978 film), Just a Gigolo'' (1978) * ''Race for the Yankee Zephyr'' (1981) * ''The Survivor (1981 film), The Survivor'' (1981) * ''The A-Team, A-Team'' (9 episodes) (1983/1987) * ''The Key to Rebecca#Film adaption, The Key to Rebecca'' (1985) * ''Down Delaware Road'' (1988) * ''Dark Horse (1992 film), Dark Horse'' (1992) * ''Passport to Murder'' (1993) * ''Christmas Reunion'' (1994) * ''Lone Justice: Showdown at Plum Creek'' (1996)


Bibliography

* Hemmings, David (2004). ''Blow Up... and Other ExaggerationsThe Autobiography of David Hemmings''. Anova Books, Robson Books (London). .


See also

* List of British actors * List of British film directors * List of film producers * List of singer-songwriters


References


External links

* * * * * * * Pulleine, Tim (5 December 2005)
"David Hemmings – Gifted Actor, Director and Producer Who Successfully Outgrew His Iconic '60s Image in Antonioni's ''Blow Up''"
''The Guardian'' {{DEFAULTSORT:Hemmings, David 1941 births 2003 deaths 20th-century English male actors 20th-century English singers 21st-century English male actors 21st-century English singers 21st-century English writers Boy sopranos Benjamin Britten English autobiographers English male child actors English child singers English male film actors English film directors English film producers English male musical theatre actors English pop singers English male screenwriters English male singer-songwriters English male television actors English television directors English television producers German-language film directors People from Guildford People educated at Glyn School People educated at Alleyn's School British expatriate male actors in the United States 20th-century English screenwriters 20th-century English businesspeople 20th-century British male singers