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Paul Danquah, born Joseph Paul Walcott[1] (25 May 1925 – 13 August 2015), was a British film actor, known particularly for his role in the film A Taste of Honey (1961), adapted from the 1958 play of the same name written by Shelagh Delaney. He later became a barrister and a bank consultant.[2] His father was the Ghanaian statesman J. B. Danquah.[3][4]

Life and career

He was born Joseph Paul Walcott in London, England, where he grew up.[5] His mother, Bertha May Walcott, was English, and his father Joseph Boakye "J.B." Danquah was a Ghanaian politician and traditional aristocrat; Paul was the eldest of his many children from two marriages and various relationships.[6]

Danquah studied law and was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple, as well as in Ghana and in Washington, D.C. He subsequently worked as a consultant with the World Bank until his retirement in 1986,[2][4] and while living in Washington befriended African-American arts practitioners including Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Roberta Flack and Nina Simone.[7]

While still a student, Danquah made his acting debut in the British film A Taste of Honey (1961), featuring in the role of Jimmy.[4][8] A review in The New York Times noted: "Paul Danquah in his movie debut as the Negro sailor, is gentle and subtle in a small but demanding role".[9] He presented the BBC Two television series Play School and is reported to have been the first black presenter of a children's programme in the UK.[10]

Francis Bacon lived with Danquah and Danquah's partner Peter Pollock (19 November 1919 – 18 July 2001)[11] in their Battersea flat from 1956 to 1961.[4][12] During this period, in late 1961, Danquah arranged for Don Bachardy to draw Bacon.[13] Danquah moved with Pollock to Tangier, Morocco, in the late 1970s.[4] In the late 1990s, Danquah and Pollock discovered a suitcase containing drawings by Bacon; these drawings were acquired by the Tate in 1996 and exhibited in 1999.[14][15][11]

Danquah died in Tangier on 13 August 2015 at the age of 90; according to his niece Meri Nana-Ama Danquah, he was buried in Boubana Cemetery,[16] beside Peter Pollock, as he had willed.[6]

Filmography

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1965 Armchair Theatre Flecker Series 5, episode 17: "A Voice in the Sky"
1965 Danger Man James Owen Series 2, episode 22: "Parallel Lines Sometimes Meet"
1966 Danger Man Cleaner Series 3, episode 6: "The Mercenaries"
1966 Danger Man Barman Series 3, episode 12: "The Man on the Beach"
1966 The Avengers Lieutenant Razafi Series 4, episode 16: "Small Game for Big Hunters"
1966 Play School Himself Presenter

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1961 A Taste of Honey Jimmy Directed by Tony Richardson
1966 That Riviera Touch Hassim Morecambe and Wise comedy directed by Cliff Owen
1967 Maroc 7 Police Officer Directed by Gerry O'Hara
1967 Smashing Time 2nd Exquisite Directed by Desmond Davis

References

  1. ^ The London Gazette, 3 November 1950, p. 5514.
  2. ^ a b Isherwood, Christopher, "Danquah, Paul", The Sixties — Diaries, Volume 2: 1960-1969, Random House, 2010, pp. 624–25.
  3. ^ Niven, Alastair (31 March 2006). "Every word doth almost tell his name". Times Higher Education. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Paul Danquah". The Knitting Circle. London South Bank University. 27 January 2002. Archived from the original on 5 April 2002. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "Paul Danquah Biography", IMDb.
  6. ^ a b Danquah, Nana-Ama, "Actor. Lawyer. Lover of the arts. Her uncle defied category", The Washington Post, 2 June 2016.
  7. ^ Danquah, Meri Nana-Ama, "What I Learned From My Auntie Maya", The Wall Street Journal, 28 May 2014.
  8. ^ Hanson, Stephen L.; Patricia King Hanson (1981). Magill's Survey of Cinema--English language films, second series, Volume 5. Salem Press. p. 2416. ISBN 0893562300. 
  9. ^ Weiler, A. H., "Screen: 'A Taste of Honey' Arrives:British Drama Stars Rita Tushingham", The New York Times, 1 May 1962.
  10. ^ Williams, Sarah (15 October 2012). "How we made: Joy Whitby and Phyllida Law on Play School". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Hall, Willis (11 September 2001). "Obituary: Peter Pollock". The Independent. 
  12. ^ Peppiatt, Michael (2007). Francis Bacon in the 1950s (Illustrated ed.). Yale University Press. pp. 30 and 42. ISBN 030012192X. 
  13. ^ Isherwood, Christopher (2010). Diaries: 1960-1969 (reprint ed.). Random House. p. 118. ISBN 0701169400. Paul reported that Francis wasn't very keen on the idea, but he advised Don to go around to Francis's flat with his drawing board and act as though he had misunderstood and that they had an appointment. This Don did and it worked. 
  14. ^ Graham-Dixon, Andrew (1 February 2001). "A side of Bacon". The Telegraph. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  15. ^ MacRitchie, Lynn (7 March 1999). "Exhibitions: The drawings he didn't want you to see – Francis Bacon: Works on Paper and Paintings Tate Gallery, London". The Independent. p. 7. 
  16. ^ "Paul Danquah" at Find A Grave.

External links