Kimber "Tubby" Phillips

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Kimber Phillips (b. Bloemfontein, 25/09/1889 – d. London, 26/04/1930) was an actor


Actor Kimber “Tubby” Phillips was born Robert Henry William Phillips. He was the son of Charles Phillips, at the time a Bloemfontein shoemaker, and his wife, Elizabeth Kimber. After he died the British newspapers reported that in his youth he had seen action in the Anglo-Boer War, as well as during several so-called “native punitive expeditions”. He was also said to have served in East Africa and in France and at one stage may have been a policeman in Johannesburg. None of this can be verified. He had appeared on the stage in South Africa and claimed that he had acted in the first film produced by African Film Productions, which would have been A Story of the Rand (Lorimer Johnston/1916). Unfortunately we have not been able to find any evidence of that.

He really came into his own after he had moved to Great Britain. Weighing in at 26 stone (364 pounds), he claimed to be the largest stage and screen comedian in the world and surviving photographs would seem to substantiate that claim. On the stage he acted in the pantomimes Aladdin (Huddersfield/1920) and Robinson Crusoe (Brighton/1925) and appeared with Claude Rains in The Government Inspector (Gaiety Theatre/1926). In addition he appeared as a sparring partner of boxer Ted “Kid” Lewis and others in music halls. He came to the notice of the general public through a number of films, including shorts directed by Walter Forde/Tom Seymour (1922) and later by Monty Banks (1930). More notable were features like Shooting Stars (Anthony Asquith & A.V. Bramble/1928) and Under the Greenwood Tree (Harry Lachman/1929). He had established his own film production company in 1924, but it looks as though it only completed one film, a short directed by Fred Rains. His later films were mostly for British International Productions at Elstree. Phillips was killed when a car in which he was a passenger collided with a lorry at the junction of Tottenham Court and Euston Road, London in the early hours of 26 April 1930. (FO)

(Trivia: Anyone interested can get a glimpse of him in the short Walter Wants Work (1922) -


The Bioscope, 19 February 1930

Liverpool Echo, 26 April 1930

The Bioscope, 7 May 1930

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