Thursday, July 14, 2011

Terry-Thomas centenary

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of British comic actor Terry-Thomas, whose movie career started in the 1930s when he played a bunch of extras. Terry-Thomas' career really took off in the 1950s, when he was cast in some sparkling comedies on both sides of the Atlantic, from British movies such as Too Many Crooks. Here in the US, Terry-Thomas was one of the many, many, many comedians cast in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, playing a British man who winds up heading for the buried $350,000 in a car with Milton Berle, leaving Berle's wife and mother-in-law behind. Unlike the more off-balance characters in his British movies, Terry-Thomas' "J. Algernon Hawthorne" in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World is the stereotype of an impeccably well-mannered Brit.

Terry-Thomas died in 1990 after being ill for years with Parkinson's disease, which also ultimately ended his career in the late 1970s.

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