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Tom Bell Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (11)  | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (4)

Born in Liverpool, England, UK
Died in Brighton, East Sussex, England, UK  (bronchopneumonia)
Birth NameThomas George Bell
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Tom Bell was one of the UK's finest actors but he never achieved the star billing or recognition he so richly deserved. His career spanned some 50 years. Time and time again, Bell gave memorable performances. From the able seaman ordered to be flogged by a sadistic officer, played by Dirk Bogarde, in the film, "HMS Defiant" (AKA "Damn the Defiant") to Sergeant Otley in the ITV TV productions, "Prime Suspect" to the vengeful character of Frank Ross in the Euston Films mini-series, "Out". Bell was the consummate professional and he never ever gave a bad performance. When the kitchen sink dramas became fashionable in the 1960s and floods of angry young men emerged onto the scene, he was in good company along with Albert Finney and Tom Courtney to name just a couple. However, in his younger days, he had a British working class rebellious streak which stood in the way of any success he might have had in the UK or US film industry even though he never created problems when working on a production. One incident in the early 1960s probably damaged his career more than any other. A little the worse for drink, he stood up at an awards function and asked Prince Phillip to, "Tell us a joke!" In fact, so the story goes, Prince Phillip handled the problem well by replying, "If you want jokes, you should get a comedian". At the time, Bell was seated at the table of the Producer and Director of, "The L-Shaped Room", namely Richard Attenbourgh and Brian Forbes who, probably seeing their future chances of knighthoods slipping away, urged him to sit down and keep quiet. It was reported that Leslie Caron, who starred with Bell in "The L-Shaped Room", later talked to Prince Phillip who said he was amused by the actor's remarks, even if Attenbourough and Forbes were not. From then on, though not being totally "blacklisted", his reputation as a trouble maker followed him for several years.

From the 1970s until he died on October 4th 2006, Bell came into his own with a long list of impressive TV credits. His one venture into Hollywood, was when he appeared in an episode of "The Virginian" and a "B" movie, "In Enemy Country". Bell gave, as usual excellent performances in both productions but Hollywood left him unimpressed and he returned to the UK.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Mike S

Spouse (1)

Lois Daine (22 October 1960 - 11 November 1976) ( divorced) ( 1 child)

Trivia (11)

His stage career dated back to 1948.
The son of a merchant seaman he hardly knew, he was a child evacuee during the war, and lived with three different families in the Morecambe area.
Father of Polly Bell by his partner of 30 years, the costume designer Frances Tempest, with whom he also had a step-daughter, Nellie.
In March of 1961, he and his wife Lois Daine were to star together in a BBC live television play, Cottage For Sale, but she couldn't take part because, two weeks before, she gave birth prematurely to their son, Aran Bell, who weighed just 3lb 13oz.
In 1982 he appeared before a bankruptcy court over trouble with non-payment of income taxes. He was subsequently discharged from bankruptcy.
In 1962 he was arrested for picking flowers from someone's garden in Hampstead.
Elder brother of actor Keith Bell.
He and fellow actor Tom Georgeson share a granddaughter, Aran's daughter, the actress Florence Bell.
Preferred to show his acting range on camera instead of in the theatre.
Ended up being shunned by the acting community, following a drunken incident at an awards ceremony. At the ceremony in question, Richard Attenborough and Bryan Forbes kept their distance from Tom Bell as his alleged drunken behavior worried them that they wouldn't be considered for a knighthood.
Highly regarded as an actor within the industry, Tom Bell never quite achieved the recognition he deserved.

Personal Quotes (2)

If you act you need to have threat. Without threat, nobody notices you.
I knew I was Frank Ross. I'm not an actor anyway, I just play myself.

See also

Other Works |  Publicity Listings |  Official Sites

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