On this day in history : 6th October 1992 – The death of much loved actor Denholm Elliott, who had over 125 film and television credits to his name….

Denholm Elliott – by Clare Park, 1985 – Fair use

Denholm was born in Kensington, London on the 31st of May 1922…. He was the son of Nina and Myles Layman Farr Elliott…. His father, a barrister, was appointed solicitor-general to the Mandatory Government of Palestine…. In 1930 he was assassinated….

Denholm attended Malvern College – he did not care much for public school life…. After finishing his schooling he began training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London…. However, after only a couple of terms his mother was asked to remove him – as in their opinion she was wasting her money….

During World War 2 he joined the Royal Air Force, serving in No.76 Squadron as a wireless operator and an aircraft gunner…. On the 24th of September 1942 the Halifax bomber he was flying in was hit by flak and came down in the North Sea…. Only Denholm and two others survived….he spent the rest of the War in a prisoner of war camp – and here he became involved in amateur dramatics….

After the War he pursued his acting career and made his film debut in 1949 with a part in the film Dear Mr Prohack…. The roles he tended to play were generally likeable, dignified characters but sometimes could err on being seedy – such as the drunken journalist Bayliss in Defence of the Realm and the illegal abortionist in Alfie….

During the 1980s Denholm won three BAFTA awards, for his roles in Trading Places, A Private Function and Defence of the Realm…. He received an Academy Award nomination for A Room with a View…. What many of us will remember him for though, is his role as Dr Marcus Brady in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade….

Denholm Elliott as Marcus Brody – Fair use

Denholm made many television appearances, including in Dennis Potter plays – he also appeared on the stage…. In 1988 he was awarded with a CBE for his services to acting….

In 1954 he was briefly married to Virginia McKenna and then in 1962 he married actress Susan Robinson and they had two children…. Theirs was an open marriage – Denholm was bi-sexual and had many relationships…. In 1987 he was diagnosed as HIV positive…. He died of AIDS related TB at his home on Ibiza, aged 70….

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