Gordon Mulholland

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Gordon Mulholland (1921-2010) Radio, stage and film actor and revue artist.

Biography

Born 30 April 1921 in Cape Town. He died in East London, South Africa, on 30 June 2010 at the age of 89.

He was married to the actress Diane Wilson and one of their sons, Matthew Mulholland, is a director and cameraman.

Youth

Training

Career

He was involved in the South African radio drama scene.

He joined the South African Army at the outbreak of the Second World War. His natural talent for the stage landed him in the Union Defence Force Entertainment Unit in 1940 and he was sent to Egypt, Persia and Italy. This laid the foundation for his future in the world of performance. At the end of the war in 1945 he went to London where he joined several theatre companies. In 1947 he signed a contract and played in two of Jack Hylton's West End productions - the juvenile lead in High Button Shoes and one of the gangsters in Kiss Me, Kate at the Colosseum in 1951. He also did a Mass Empire tour, doing his own variety act. He made numerous TV appearances both in plays and revues. He also spent three months in Paris recording a series called Cafes of Peace for NBC in the United States. He had his first film role in the Disney film Treasure Island in 1950 in which he played Durgin, one of Long John's pirates. He also appeared in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, PC 49, Cheer the Brave, and numerous documentary films.

He returned to South Africa and worked in radio and later television.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

Margaret Inglis directed him in The Philadelphia Story for the Munro-Inglis Company in 1945. He starred in George Washington Slept Here in 1946 with Wensley Pithey and Taubie Kushlick.

In 1956 he took part in Stanley Nathan's musical variety show Bottoms Up which was staged at the Feather Market Hall, Port Elizabeth, in aid of the South African Nurses Trust Fund.

He had roles in Janus (the Brooke Theatre, 1958), he played the part of Jack Worthing in Half in Earnest (1959), he starred in The Marriage-Go-Round, which was directed by Taubie Kushlick and staged at the Intimate Theatre in September 1959, in Neil Simon’s Come Blow your Horn (Johannesburg REPS, 1962), John Steinbeck’s Burning Bright, and Saul Levitt’s The Andersonville Trial, also starring Joe Stewardson for the Reps in 1962.

He starred in Feydeau’s farce A Flea in Her Ear which was staged at the Alexander Theatre for the Reps in 1967, in Uproar in the House which was staged at The Academy Theatre of Laughter in July 1967, in Noël Coward’s Present Laughter, directed by Charles Hickman as the final production for the Reps in 1969.

He starred in Taubie Kushlick’s production of Forty Carats at the Alexander Theatre in 1971.

He starred in the Ben Travers farce, The Bed Before Yesterday presented by Pieter Toerien in 1976.

He starred in Oliver! at the Civic in 1978, Fiddler on the Roof (Tevye) in 1979 and 1985, Pieter Toerien’s production of John Chapman and Dave Freeman’s Key for Two at the Alhambra Theatre in 1982, A.R.Gurney Jr’s The Dining Room at the Baxter Theatre circa 1983 and the Alhambra Theatre in 1983.

He is best known for his roles in The Villagers and Westgate on television and the film Jock of the Bushveld (1986).

He starred in The Marriage-Go-Round for Pieter Toerien in 1985 and in Move Over Mrs. Markham at the Alhambra Theatre in 1990. He starred in Grin and Bare It at the Victory Theatre in 1990.

He starred in Gordon Bleu at the Richard Haines in 1992. He starred in Ray Cooney’s It Runs in the Family in 1993.

Canterbury Tales (NAPAC).

Musicals: My Fair Lady (Doolittle); Oliver (Fagin); Die Fledermaus for NAPAC; Peter and the Wolf.

Radio work

33 Half Moon Street,

Awards, etc

Vita Lifetime Achievement Award, 2002.

Sources

Bottoms Up theatre programme, 1956.

What About Luv? programme notes in 1993.

Tucker, 1997.

Die Burger, 8 July 2010.

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