Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, or as he is commonly known as, Sir Michael Caine, signed my quick sketch at his London agent’s office.
I drew it after attending the launch of his latest book, Elephant to Hollywood at the British Film Institute in 2011 and carried it around hoping to see him at a premiere or theatre opening night. That never happened. I used to see him at the occasional event, but his appearances have been minimal lately.
He turned 80 this year and planned to retire, but decided he wanted a third Oscar, so his official deadline will now be 90. Having already won two Academy Awards, he is one of the only two actors (the other is Jack Nicholson) nominated for an acting Oscar in every decade from the 1960s to 2000s
Sir Michael is an excellent signer, either in person or through the mail, with an efficient, no frills siggy… similar to his legendary cockney accent and acting style.
One Man, Two Guvnors opened at London’s National Theatre in 2011. Written by Richard Bean and directed by Sir Nicholas Hytner it is a British adaption of The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni (1743) and set in 1963 Brighton.
It transferred to the Adelphi Theatre in November 2011, where James Corden, Oliver Chris and Jemima Rooper signed my sketch. After closing in February 2012, it premiered on Broadway’s Great White Way at the Music Box Theatre until September.
The play was nominated for seven Tony Awards, with James winning for Best Actor.
Eddie Redmayne’s star is certainly on the rise. Apart from his obvious talent, he is one of the nicest people in the film and theatre world and always has time to stop and chat and sign some ‘graphs. He has appeared at London’s Donmar Warehouse twice over the last few years – in John Logan’s RED and Shakespeare’s RICHARD II. In the former he played Ken, the fictional assistant of the American abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko (Alfred Molina). After its London run it transferred to Broadway’s John Golden Theatre for a 15 week engagement till June 2010. For his role Eddie won both the Olivier and the Tony Award. Playing the title role in RICHARD II also garnered him a gong, this time the London Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Shakespearian Performance in 2012. Eddie recently appeared as Marius Pontmercy in Tom Hooper’s musical film LES MISÉRABLES and when he’s not on stage or on the screen, he models for Burberry… and signs my sketches!
Edison Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, is regarded by most as the best football player of all time.
Nicknamed ‘The Black Pearl’, he is the only footballer to win 3 World Cup-Winning medals (1958, 1962, 1970) and was listed as FIFA’s Player of the Century in 1999 and Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee.
From 1995-1998 the Brazilian government created the Sports Ministry specifically for Pelé and made him Extraordinary Minister of Sport. While he held that title, I sent my sketch to him at the government address, and it was returned, signed!
Once is the stage adaption of the 2006 film of the same name. It’s based on the book written by Enda Walsh, about an Irish busker and a Czech flower seller.
After a season at the New York Theatre Workshop, it transferred to Broadway and became a musical sensation, winning 8 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The song Falling Slowly won the Academy Award.
On April 9, 2013 it opened at the Phoenix Theatre in London’s West End. ‘The Guy’ and ‘The Girl’ leads – Declan Bennett and Zrinka Cvitešić signed for me at the stage door after a Saturday matinée performance on 18 May.
I have a 50% success rate when it comes to sending stuff to Broadway Theatres for signatures, so I was very happy to receive my sketches back from Catherine Zeta Jones and the legendary Angela Lansbury in February 2010. Both were starring in Stephen Sondheim’s 1973 musical A Little Night Music at the Walter Kerr Theatre. And both were nominated for a Tony Award, with Catherine winning for Best Actress in a Musical, a category Angela had previously been nominated in 4 times, winning on each occasion. For this production Angela was nominated for Featured Actress in a Musical. She didn’t win, but had won in the same category in 2009 for Blithe Spirit.
Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton Wykenham Fiennes was only signing programmes and tickets at the stage door of the Royal Theatre Haymarket in London in August 2011. He was playing Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Although spelt ‘Ralph’ it is pronounced ‘Rafe’, so don’t ask ‘Ralph’ for a ‘graph or you may not get one! The theatre management were very strict about the signing policy, so I made do with my ticket and programme siggys. I did however, leave a drawing of Ralph as Prospero and Elisabeth Hooper as his daughter Miranda at the stage door, and it was returned, signed by both.
Later that year Ralph also made his film directional debut, with an adaption of the Bard’s tragedy Coriolanus, in which he also played the title role. It screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October that year. Ralph attended and was happy to sign and dedicate my sketch at the Odeon West End Theatre in Leicester Square. Coriolanus actually had its premiere at the Curzon Mayfair in early January 2012. Once again Ralph attended and this time signed a sketch I did some years earlier, when he was on Broadway in 2006, playing Frank Hardy in Faith Healer at the Booth Theater. I was, in fact, in New York during the play’s season, but couldn’t get a ticket. Anyway, he was once again obliging with his autograph and complimentary comments.