Michael Newell

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Michael Newell (1931-) is a British born stage, television, radio and film actor, and businessman.

Also known as Mike Newell. However, not to be confused with the British film director Mike Newell



He was born in in Blackheath, London, and was educated at City of London School and at Oxford.

Career as performer

He was a chorister and soloist at New College, Oxford, also at Chapel Royal, Savoy, St Jame's Palace and St Paul's Cathedral. He began acting in films and commercials at age nine. At 14, he auditioned for and got the part of Arthur in Thornton Wilder's play The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith. Terence Rattigan was at the first night and came back stage afterwards to ask him to play the title role of Ronnie Winslow in the play he was just completing; The Winslow Boy. The play opened in May 1946 at the Lyric Theatre, London, and ran for over a year, then transferred to the Empire Theater on Broadway in November 1947 and ran in America for more than a year. Newell was the only member of the cast to last the entire run of 1,048 performances over a three year period.

He then worked in London on stage and television, radio and in films. (For details of his acting career in England, see his detailed biography on IMDb[1])

He moved to South Africa and lived and worked as an actor in Cape Town from the 1960's, where met Judith Gibson (Judy Gibson) during the Maynardville season of Hamlet in 1963 and they married in Cape Town in 1964. Having been an actor for 30 years (from age 9 to 39) he became involved in property in South Africa with his wife and daughter, moving in 2001 to work in England, Spain, Portugal, California and North Carolina, before settling in Virginia with their and their two grandchildren. In this period he took up photography and has produced a number of books.

In 1961 he was invited to join Donovan Maule Theatre, Nairobi, Kenya, a monthly repertory company, and there met his future wife, actress Judy Gibson who had also arrived there from London, just two days before him. They worked together there for their year's contracts.

Having greatly enjoyed exploring East Africa, Mike joined a friend driving down through the wilds of Africa to Johannesburg, in a very battered old World War Two jeep.

In 1963 he met Judy again during a performance of Hamlet at Maynardville (1963), followed by joint roles in Ring Round the Moon (Anouih) (1964). They married on 6th June, 1964.

After a two year stint in Johannesburg and Cape Town, they returned to England, to live on a houseboat on the Thames in Chelsea, while he Michael toured the country as Orsino in "Twelfth Night" with a Shakespeare company and they touted the idea of rebuilding the Globe Theatre in London.

In 1965 they returned to Cape Town, invited to perform in Shakespeare productions again, and in 1968 their daughter Amanda was born there.

Michael then became very involved in his other great interest, namely house design, interior design and landscaping, creating many lovely homes in Cape Town, the Natal coast and Johannesburg and ultimately becoming a successful Real Estate agent, handling the sales of fine homes in South Africa, England, Spain, Portugal, California and North Carolina, winning several achievement awards with RE/MAX.

In 2002, Mike having retired, the couple emigrated to America to join their daughter and their two grandchildren near Richmond, in rural Virginia.

Since his retirement, he has written several eBooks and appeared in one more play, as The ghost of Humphrey Bogart in Play It Again, Sam by Woody Allen (Cabrillo Playhouse, San Clemente, California).

Over the years a great deal of travel was enjoyed touring Europe, the Middle East, the length and breadth of Africa, as well as India, Australia, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro.

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

His South African acting career extended over only six years (1963-1968), before he turned to real estate, but includes some significant productions.

1963 Rolf in The Sound of Music, the Brook Theatre, Johannesburg.

1963: The Affair Taubie Kushlick at the Civic Theatre, Jonhannesburg

1963/64 Laertes in Hamlet, Maynardville, Cape Town.

1964 Hugo and Frederick, the twin brothers, in Ring Round the Moon (Anouilh and Fry) for CAPAB, Hofmeyr Theatre, Cape Town.

1965 Edgar in King Lear, (Maynardville, 1966).

1966: Die Laaste van die Takhare ("The Last of the Backvelders"), an Afrikaans play by C.J. Langenhoven (CAPAB, 1966)

1967 Malcolm in Macbeth Maynardville, Cape Town.

1968 Eros in Antony and Cleopatra, Maynardville, Cape Town.

1968 "The lover" in The Affair CAPAB, Hofmeyr Theatre, Cape Town .


King Lear theatre programme notes, 1966.

Personal communication by E-mail from Mike Newell (12 January 2018 07:02 AM)

IMDb [2]

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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