Thursday, 3 August 2017

RIP Hywel Bennett

I am very very sad to hear of the death of Hywel Bennett, who apparently passed away on 25th July.


The Welsh actor was a favourite of mine, from the fabulous trio of films he made with Hayley Mills in the swinging '60s, to his sitcom legend Shelley via his memorable appearance as Ricky Tarr in the splendid BBC adaptation of John Le Carre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (pictured above)he was nothing short of a personal hero.


In later years as his natural good looks began to fade he began to re-imagine himself as one of this country's very best character actors, often wallowing in the grotesque and the villainous in productions such as Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, Dennis Potter's final plays Karaoke and Cold Lazarus, the excellent low budget film One For The Road and even EastEnders (as seen above). He was previously married to Ready Steady Go's Cathy McGowan and retired from acting in 2007 due to ill health and spent his remaining years in Deal, Kent.



RIP

5 comments:

  1. Unbelievable saddened by this. It's not unexpected but still very sad. I think I found your site by googling Hywel Bennett.
    If ever the term "je ne sais quoi" was invented for someone it was him. He had that extra something, beyond looks and talent (which he also had) that made him so compelling and spell binding to watch. He doesn't seem to have done many interviews either which adds to the enigma.

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    1. Well said, Andrea. He was just sublime, an incredible talent whose career was never not interesting or satisfying. I know some people found it too saddening to see the effects of alcoholism and age upon him in later years, but his talent still shone through, just in different kind of roles

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  2. I remember him in The Bill, and I've also watched The Family Way a few times, tho I've never noticed it on TV! I didn't know he made a trio of films with Hayley Mills, but I noticed 'Endless Night' was on the Talking Pictures channel last night. I've already recorded it, but it's a coincidence as his death has only been announced in the news today! :-( R.I.P I also came across your site by googling him.

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    1. Yeah he had that recurring role on The Bill as a paedophile didn't he? That's a great example of how he diversified in later life, moving from the good guys and attractive comic roles like Shelley into darker stuff.

      His films with Hayley are great, real pinnacles of his career. My favourite is probably The Family Way (which I watched again this afternoon as the news broke in tribute) and you're right, it doesn't get shown on TV at all nowadays. But Twisted Nerve is a close second; that's a really chilling and fun piece and inspired Tarantino for Kill Bill. He's Hayley's son Crispin's godfather

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  3. Actually, this has felt like a complete body blow...
    So talented, such meaty performances, such a variety of roles...
    Even though Hywel had been out of the limelight for several years, the world seems a little less bright with his passing :(

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