Sunday, February 7, 2010

R.I.P. Ian Carmichael and Francis Reid

With the East Side/West Side essay over and up on the blog, I have regained my footing and will once again attempt to keep writing something on a regular basis. Sadly, this post starts out with the mention of the passing of two notable celebrities.

From Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine (who, in turn, credits that foine broth of a boy Toby “Tubeworld” O’Brien) comes the news that British actor Ian Carmichael has left us at the age of 89. Carmichael, who will live on in my television-obsessed memory as the definitive Lord Peter Wimsey (Dorothy L. Sayers’ famed literary sleuth, whose adventures were telecast on PBS’ Masterpiece Theater in the 1970s) also starred in several Britcoms during his lengthy small screen career, notably The World of Wooster (that’s Ian as Bertie Wooster in the photo on the right) and Bachelor Father (no relation to John Forsythe’s 1957-62 sitcom).

A commenter over at Bill’s remarks: “I was born and raised in England in the 1960s and Ian Carmichael was a fixture of my youth, what with being THE Bertie Wooster (regardless of how good Hugh Laurie was later) and Lord Peter Wimsey.” This individual should consider themselves quite fortunate; most of the recordings of the 1965-67 sitcom were victims of the BBC’s “wiping” progress, and from last reports only one and one-half episodes (from a total of twenty) of The World of Wooster are known to exist today. (Father was a bit luckier; only ten of its twenty-two episodes are considered lost.)

Carmichael not only enjoyed a fruitful stage career but appeared in films as well; among his notable celluloid appearances: The Colditz Story (1955), Private's Progress (1956), Brothers in Law (1957), I'm All Right Jack (1959—the scene with Carmichael in the candy factory always makes me laugh), School for Scoundrels (1960), Heavens Above! (1963), Smashing Time (1967) and From Beyond the Grave (1973). His last acting job was on TV’s The Royal, a spin-off from the popular medical drama Heartbeat.

Actress Francis Reid, the last original cast member of the TV soap Days of Our Lives, has shuffled off this mortal coil at the age of 95. She played matriarch Alice Grayson Horton for 42 years, but also found time to work on classic daytime serials like As the World Turns, The Edge of Night…and the heroine of Portia Faces Life in the TV adaptation of the successful radio soap opera.

Reid was also featured in guest roles on popular series like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Ben Casey, Perry Mason, Mr. Novak, Wagon Train, Dr. Kildare and The F.B.I. Among the entries on her movie resume: uncredited roles in Stage Door (1937) and The Wrong Man (1956)—and greater exposure in Seconds (1966) and The Andromeda Strain (1971).

R.I.P, Ian and Francis. You will be sorely missed.

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1 comment:

Linda said...

I had heard about Reid, but not about Carmichael. Edward Petherbridge probably looked more like what Sayers intended for Lord Peter, but Ian Carmichael will also be the definitive Lord Peter to me as well. It was seeing Carmichael in "Murder Must Advertise" on Masterpiece Theatre all those years ago which hooked me on Lord Peter.