Comic actor in Beatles movies
June 20, 2012 6:12AM
FILE In this file photo of June 18, 1968 Victor Spinetti talks with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in London. Victor Spinetti, a comic actor who appeared in three Beatles movies and won a Tony on Broadway, has died, his agent said Tuesday June 19, 2012. He was 82. Spinetti died Tuesday morning June 19, 2012 after suffering from cancer for several years, said Barry Burnett, the actor's close friend and agent. Spinetti won a Tony award in 1965 for his Broadway performance in "Oh, What a Lovely War," but became most well-known for his appearances in the Beatles movies "A Hard Day's Night," ''Help," and "Magical Mystery Tour." (AP Photo/ PA Wire)
Updated: July 21, 2012 6:29AM
LONDON — Victor Spinetti, a comic actor who appeared in three Beatles movies and won a Tony on Broadway, has died. He was 82.
Mr. Spinetti died Tuesday morning after suffering from cancer for several years, said Barry Burnett, the actor’s close friend and agent.
Mr. Spinetti won a Tony award in 1965 for his Broadway performance in “Oh, What a Lovely War,” but became most well-known for his appearances in the Beatles movies “A Hard Day’s Night,” ‘‘Help” and “Magical Mystery Tour.”
At a London Beatles Day event in 2010, Mr. Spinetti said he was included in the cast of “A Hard Day’s Night” at George Harrison’s insistence.
“He said, ‘you gotta be in all our films otherwise me mum wouldn’t come and see ’em, because she fancies you,’ ” Mr. Spinetti said. “That was why I was in.”
On another occasion, he told how his association with the Beatles disrupted the opening night of “Oh, What a Lovely War.”
“I came out on stage and a group of girls at the back screamed, ‘Victor Spinetti, aaaah!’ ” he said in an interview. “They were shouting things like, ‘He’s touched George!’ ”
He said he calmed the screamers by promising to answer questions about the Beatles after the show.
Mr. Spinetti also co-authored “The John Lennon Play: In His Own Write” with Adrienne Kenney. Based on the writings of John Lennon, it opened in June 1968 in London.
Mr. Spinetti’s more than 30 film roles included the part of Hortensio in “The Taming of the Shrew” and Mog Edwards in “Under Milk Wood,” both films starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
He also played the concierge in “The Return of the Pink Panther.”
Barbara Windsor, a star of the “Carry On” films, said Tuesday that she had visited Mr. Spinetti at his hospice last week.
“He didn’t look ill. He looked great. He was swearing a lot, like that would get rid of the illness, and we just laughed,” she said. AP