Harold Lake

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Harold Lake (1920-1964) was a singer, broadcaster and actor.


Harold Marwood Lake was born on 4 December 1920 to James Harold Lake, a civil servant, and his wife Ethel. He attended Durban High School and studied singing with Ukrainian-born soprano Xenia Belmas, who had settled in South Africa. In 1942 Staff-Sergeant Harold Lake was a member of the army entertainment unit called The Troopadours, under Lieutenant Frank Rogaly, and in 1944 he was part of the Modern Rhythmic Orchestra. He had been appearing on radio since 1938, but when he married Rhoda Briggs in 1945, his occupation was given as clerk and when his first son was born he was a sales representative. The couple were later divorced and but when he remarried in 1952, his profession was given as radio announcer. His new bride was Dublin-born Maureen Thereas Frances Smith, better known as Maureen Adair. The couple had met in England in 1951 when they were both in the cast of a British touring company of The Desert Song.

In 1954 he was transferred from the SABC radio studio in Durban to Johannesburg. As broadcaster he acted in numerous radio plays, many of the directed by Cedric Messina, and featured on popular radio programmes like Famous Tenors, The Nugget Mystery Voice Competition and Greeting with Glenryck. He was also the host announcer for Radio Theatre. After World War II he often appeared in public concerts and variety shows, in 1946 with Albert Coates conducting the Johannesburg City Orchestra. He had an excellent baritone voice and performed locally in operas like Don Pasquale, Samson and Delilah, Pagliacci and La Tosca, while at Sadler’s Wells he had a major role in Simon Boccanegra (1948).

From 1947 onwards he appeared in a range of plays for the likes of Nan Munro, Taubie Kushlick and especially Brian Brooke. He also acted in Denis Scully’s film Tremor (1961) and featured in a German ”krimi” called Im Nest der gelben Viper: das FBI schlägt zu (1966). For British television he acted in an episode of the series By an African Campfire (1955), directed by Darcy Conyers, and in 1958 in a locally filmed version of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, directed by Robert Hartford-Davis. He died unexpectedly at the age of 43 of a heart attack on 29 August 1964 at the home of fellow broadcaster Eric Cordell. Some years after his death Maureen Lake married Haydn Talmage Bradfield, who was mayor of Durban from 1979 to 1980. She died in 1997.

Theatre Credits

1947 – The Winslow Boy (Director: Nan Munro), 1947 – Lady Frederick (Director: Nan Munro), 1955 – The Desperate Hours (Director: Taubie Kushlick), 1955 – The Fifth Season (Director: Taubie Kushlick), 1956 – High Temperature (Director: Michael McNeile), 1956 – A Night in Venice (Director: Arnold Dover), 1957 – The Whole Truth (Director: Anthony Farmer), 1957 – A Hatful of Rain (Director: Stuart Brown), 1958 – Janus (Director: Brian Brooke), 1958 – Grab Me a Gondola (Director: Brian Brooke), 1958 – His Excellency (Director: Minna Schneier), 1959 – Not in the Book (Director: unknown), 1959 – Inherit the Wind (Director: Leonard Schach) 1959 – Saint Joan (Director: Leon Gluckman), 1960 – Irma la Douce (Director: Brian Brooke), 1960 – Further Players’ Progress (Producer: Bill Brewer), 1961 – The World of Suzie Wong (Director: Brian Brooke), 1962 – George and Margaret (Director: Robert Langford), 1962 – The Mikado (Director: Anthony Farmer), 1962 – Don't Tell Father (Director: Victor Melleney), 1963 – Becket (Director: Laurie van der Merwe), 1964 – The Physicists (Director: Robert Mohr).


Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

Rand Daily Mail (various issues)

Sunday Times (various issues)


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