Australian actress Annette Andre appeared in a number of high profile British TV shows in the 1960’s and 70’s, including THE AVENGERS, THE SAINT and THE PRISIONER, with her longest running role as Marty Hopkirk’s widow Jeannie in the Private detective series RANDALL AND HOPKIRK (DECEASED). She starred alongside Mike Pratt and Kenneth Cope who played private detectives Jeffrey Randall and Martin Hopkirk respectively, the later returning as a ghost after he was murdered while investigating a case. Annette was speaking at the Museum Of Comedy in London a couple of weeks ago about the show and her career. I managed to catch up with her afterwards and she signed this Jeannie portrait for me.
Monty Python’s Michael Palin is referred to as ‘Britain’s nicest man’. In his 2009 Telegraph interview with Marc Lee, entitled ‘He’s not a Messiah, but a very nice man’, Michael said it was because of his “amenable conciliatory character.”
After university he teamed up with fellow Oxford graduate Terry Jones to write for TV shows such as the RIPPING YARNS, DO NOT ADJUST YOUR SET and THE FROST REPORT, which was the first time all the British Python’s – Michael, Terry and John Cleese, Eric Idle and Graham Chapman worked together before creating the iconic MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS. They were joined by Terry Gilliam who was an American citizen.
After that Michael journeyed to all corners of the planet many times over as a travel writer and documentarian. His career has also been sprinkled with notable film appearances, including his BAFTA-winning supporting role as Ken Pile in 1988’s A FISH CALLED WANDA. It was the first of four BAFTA’s awarded to Michael. In 2013 he was the given the Fellowship the British Academy’s highest honour. I did this Python/Wanda montage and dropped it into his London agent’s office where Britain’s nicest man signed it for me with a nice inscription.
“She’s absolutely hysterical,” said Jimmy Carr about fellow comedian, Wendy Wason. The Sunday Times added “charming, clever and funny.’ The Edinburgh-raised actress and writer’s initial career was in film and TV, appearing in TAGGERT, SHERLOCK, MIDSOMMER MURDERS, THE IT CROWD and in feature films such as THE LIBERTINE with the three Johnnies, Depp, Malcovich and Vegas. She branched out into stand-up comedy in 2004 at Edinburgh’s Guided ballroom, followed by successful shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – THINGS I DIDN’T KNOW I DIDN’T KNOW (2008), OTHER PEOPLES SECRETS (2010), FLASHBACKS (2011), HOTEL CALIFORNIA (2014) and last year, TINY ME, which she performed at the Soho Theatre in London for three nights last week. On one of those nights she signed this sketch for me.
Jenny Agutter won a BAFTA Award for her performance as Jill Mason in Sidney Lumet’s 1977 production of Peter Shaffer’s psychological drama EQUUS, one of my favourite, if not my favourite play. In the 2007 London stage revival of the play featuring Richard Griffiths and Daniel Radcliffe at the Gielgud Theatre she portrayed magistrate Hesther Solomon. A couple of weeks ago I did this sketch of Jenny in both roles and sent it to her. She signed and sent it back with this dedication.
The 3′ 6″ STAR WARS and HARRY POTTER star Warwick Davis appeared as Prof in the Bristol Hippodrome festive season panto production of SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS in 2015. Warwick came to prominence as the Ewok Wicket in STAR WARS EPISODE VI RETURN OF THE JEDI and continued in THE PHANTOM MENACE, in three roles – Weael, Wald and the walking version of Yoda. In 2015 he returned in the sequel THE FORCE AWAKENS. Warwick was also part of the HARRY POTTER series, as Professor Filius Flitwick and Griphook. On the small screen he played a fictionalised version of himself in the sitcom LIFE’S TOO SHORT, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.
I sent this sketch of Warwick as Prof to the Bristol Hippodrome in December 2015 and it came back last week, signed and dedicated!
I was very happy to receive this in the post yesterday. One of my all-time favourite film directors, Czech-born, New York-based Milos Forman signed and returned this drawing. Although I had corresponded with Milos a few times over the years, I had never actually sketched him, until late this year when the omission suddenly dawned on me. I quickly engaged the 4B and posted the result to the 84 year-old, forthwith. Regarded as one of the most acclaimed filmmakers of his generation and the master of ironic comedy and sumptuous period dramas, he was fascinated with odd, yet sympathetic characters, exploring their struggles as individuals against systems and standards that oppress them.
Growing up in the small, Central Bohemian town of Caslav, near Prague, it was Milos’ parents who nurtured his love of cinema at a young age. Sadly orphaned when both his mother and father died in Nazi concentration camps during the second World War, he went on to become the most important director of the Czechoslovak New Wave, before moving to America in 1968. His multiple accolades include two Best Director Academy Awards, the first for the potent adaption of Ken Kesey’s ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (1975) and his second for Peter Shaffer’s AMADEUS (1984), both Best Picture winners, with the former considered one of the best films ever made. Incidentally two of my top ten films as well.
In its Milos retrospective, the AFI summarised his body of work, “Based on intelligent scripts, Forman’s work is characterised by a sharp anti-authoritarian spirit and a lucid, heart felt humanism.”
‘The Fresh Prince’ was in London town late last week for the European Premiere of his latest film COLLATERAL BEAUTY. I had sketched this portrait some time ago, but never managed to get Will to sign it. His popularity means it can be a bit of a battle to get his graph. Forbes claims he is the world’s most bankable star, with 17 out of his last 21 films grossing over $100 million and Newsweek once called him ‘the most powerful actor in Hollywood’. But I had another chance to get him to sign my drawing, not helped by the pens being locked down at 4pm, and my arrival at ten past. However the Christmas spirit or spirits prevailed and I managed to secure a spot, albeit it in a difficult position.
Will arrived first, did a few pics then proceeded to sign the line. Three rows back wasn’t ideal and that was confirmed as I just couldn’t quite get the sketch close enough to be seen amongst the gazillion other items and selfie requests. He moved on… but that Christmas spirit was still trending and a very kind gentleman next to me, not in red clothing nor a white beard, but with the wing span of a pterodactyl, grabbed my rendering and positioned in right in front of Will and he happily signed it.
During the past eight years I have had the privilege of not only seeing British actor Mark Rylance on the London stage on many occasions, but meeting him, mainly at stage doors. I have also produced a similar number of drawings, which he has kindly graphed for me, often with a complimentary word or two, before getting on his bicycle and riding off to his South London home.
His many accolades, Tony, Olivier, BAFTA and now an Academy Award are acknowledgment to his brilliance. He is routinely described as the greatest actor of this generation and always receives the acclaim with grace and dignity… and usually his faithful black hat. I thought I don’t have a sketch of Mark with his hat! … so I did this one. Most of his memorable work has been on the stage rather than the screen. In fact he turned down a role in Steven Spielberg’s EMPIRE OF THE SUN to tread the boards at the National Theatre.
In a recent interview for the British GQ magazine, writer Ed Caesar described Mark in his intro as “a man powered by inner conflict and never more at peace than when the curtain rises.” But when he does do screen work, he really hits the mother lode. Mark eventually said ‘yes’ to Mr Spielberg, winning this year’s Oscar for his portrayal as soviet intelligence officer Rudolf Abel in BRIDGE OF SPIES and a BAFTA for his star turn as Thomas Cromwell in the BBC’s WOLF HALL.
Mark has returned to his beloved stage this winter, starring in his own play NICE FISH which he wrote with Louis Jenkins, directed by his wife Claire van Kampen. After a short run at the St Anne’s Warehouse in New York earlier this year, the production has transferred to the Harold Pinter Theatre in London’s West End, where I meet him again. No hat, or bicycle this time, but he did sign my ‘hat’ drawing with his inimitable style.
Swedish actress Alicia Vikander began her performing career in stage productions in her home town with the Gothenburg Opera, before training as a dancer at the Royal Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm and then the School of American Ballet in New York. After some TV and short film work in Sweden, Alicia’s feature film debut was PURE in 2010 and she gained widespread recognition two years later as Princess Ekaterina ‘Kitty’ Alexandrovna Scherbatskaya in Joe Wright’s adaption of ANNA KARENINA. She followed that up as Vera Brittain in TESTAMENT OF YOUTH and a humanoid robot in EX MACHINA, which earned her BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations. This year she won the Best Supporting Actress SAG and Academy Awards for her role as artist Gerda Wegener in THE DANISH GIRL.
Alicia signed my portrait sketch for me at the UK premiere of her latest film, THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS at the Curzon Mayfair cinema in London last week.
Lea Helene Seydoux-Fornier de Clansonne thankfully condensed her name to Lea Seydoux, which makes it easier and quicker to sign, as was the case last week when the heavily pregnant French actress attended the screening of Xavier Dolan’s IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD at the 60th BFI London Film Festival. The film won the Grand Prix and Jury prizes at Cannes this year and will be Canada’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at next year’s Academy Awards.
Lea began her career in French cinema, winning the Trouphee Chopard Award given to promising actors at Cannes and receiving one of her many Cesar noms for the 2008 film THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE. Her international break-out role was Emma in the coming-of-age romantic drama BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR, which won the Palm d’Or. Hollywood blockbusters followed including her role as Dr Madeleine Swan the ‘main amour’ in the 24th Bond film SPECTRE Peter Bradshaw in his Guardian review described her performance as ‘stylishly played with just the right amount of sullen sensuality.”
It was great to get her to graph my sketch, albeit with a purple sharpie!