C.V. Becker

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(b. Fauresmith, 08/02/1881 - d. Johannesburg, 21/03/1933). Educated at Marist Brothers, Clarence (Clarry) Vivian Becker was an attorney and a founding partner of Wertheim Becker, a Johannesburg law firm that still exists today. But he was clearly a man of many talents. He is credited with playing one of two Cape Town detectives in The Vulture’s Prey (1922), the film directed by Dick Cruikshanks and William Bowden, while Ralph Trewhela refers to him as being responsible for some of the earliest sound recordings in South Africa (1908), describing him as an attorney who specialised in “humorous monologues”. In fact, his name also comes up on the website of the Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music at the University of London.

In addition he was involved in amateur theatre. In March 1918 he staged an amateur production of Dandy Dick for the Mayoress’ Charity Fund at the Palladium Theatre, while in 1925 he produced the play The Geisha for the Johannesburg Operatic and Dramatic Society. In 1923 he was the Chairman of the Theatrical Benevolent Fund of Africa. In 1928-1929 he was one of the three Vice Presidents of the Johannesburg Repertory Players. For them he also was Shylock in The Merchant of Venice on the occasion of the Johannesburg Shakespeare Tercentenary Celebration in 1916, as well as Sir Toby Welch in Twelfth Night a few months before.

A member of the Johannesburg Municipal Council since 1915, he was the sometime Chairman of a number of Committees, including the Influenza Epidemic Committee in October 1918. He had a lifelong interest in sport, having captained the 1920 Transvaal Currie Cup team as well as being President of the Transvaal Society of Referees, Vice President of the Transvaal Rugby Union, Vice President of the South African Cricket Association and Chairman of the Transvaal Tattersalls. He was Secretary of the Selection Committee for the 1906-7 Springbok tour of England and wrote a book about it. During the South African War he had been an Assistant Press Censor based in Johannesburg. He died at the early age of 52 and was survived by his widow, Hilda May (née Silcock) (1885-1966), two sons and one daughter. The actress Gaenor Becker is his granddaughter. (FO)


S.A. Pictorial, 29 April 1922

Hoffman, Arthur & Hoffman, Anna Romain - They built a theatre: the history of the Johannesburg Repertory Players

Trewela, Ralph - Song safari: a journey through light music in South Africa

South African Who's Who 1931-32



Private correspondence

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