Author Topic: Michael Balfour, actor  (Read 869 times)

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Offline pomme homme

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Michael Balfour, actor
« on: March 01, 2020, 13:16:01 pm »
A son of Dover, Michael Creighton Balfour was born in the town on 11 February 1918. He died in Esher, 79 years later, on 24 October 1997. You might be forgiven for saying - Michael who? But if you are of 'a certain age', when you see his face you're bound to say - oh, yes, it's him!  :)

Offline Craggs

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Re: Michael Balfour, actor
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2020, 07:55:13 am »
The Stage - Thursday 13 November 1997



For nearly a decade, actor Michael Balfour has been the living embodiment of the saying, "Rumours of my death are grossly exaggerated", for, in 1989, this very newspaper mis takenly announced that he had died.

Michael, in excellent health at the time, thought it a great joke and came back with his own bon mot in the following week's edition: "Death," he said, "is something I can live without."

This good-natured humour and positive attitude were qualities which, many years before, had put Michael on the first step to a successful career and kept him going against all odds.

His battered features and lack of formal training were not the best attributes for an aspiring actor. But never letting reality restrict aspirations, he got his first big break in 1947. Knowing director Laurence Olivier wanted a real American actor for Garson Kanin's Born Yesterday, Michael turned up at the Garrick Theatre audition with a Detroit accent and a new past. It was only on the last night that he confessed he was a public schoolboy from Kent.

His film debut was in Just William's Luck (1947). Then followed joint lead in Johnny on the Run, Lewis Gilbert's Reach for the Sky and Alfie, Genevieve, Polanski's Macbeth, Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451, Pasolini's The Canterbury Tales, the 1989 Batman and many more.

Keen to encourage young directors, Michael sometimes worked without pay. The 1992 schlock horror The Revenge of Billy the Kid was shot in mud and cold for the love of it. He was probably best known, however, for his lively squaddies and cabbies, characters epitomising the good-humoured working classes of fifties cinema.

Michael was a prolific artist and opened a gallery near his home in Spain. The circus clown, a sensitive soul behind a comedy mask, recurred throughout his paintings and sculptures. In the seventies he set up Circus Hazzard and toured Europe as an Ernest Hemingway among clowns, Ancient Hazzard.

His extraordinary strength of character saw him through numerous life-threatening traumas. In 1953, he survived with 98 stitches to the face - a car crash which killed his best friend, actor Bonar Colleano. He also overcame alcoholism, distracting himself at social events by absorbedly sketching his beloved clowns.

Five years ago, doctors diagnosed cancer of the sinus and gave him two months to live. He proved them wrong and was still clowning at the Glastonbury Festival as a 77-year-old four years later. After disfiguring operations to the face, he was often reprimanded by hospital staff for sneaking out to attend art classes.

Michael's wife, actress Kathleen Stuart, died in the late sixties leaving him two sons Shane and Perry. His long-time companion was my mother Daphne Gooch. He adopted me and my sister Miranda as his own. His determination to live life to the full affected all those close to him. "Life," he warned, "is the waiting room for God," as he encouraged those around him to reach their full potential.

On his final day, surrounded by his family at the Princess Alice Hospice in Surrey, he remarked how strange it felt to be "only ever playing the Old Man these days". We knew what he meant because, even when desperately ill, Michael epitomised the spirit and enthusiasm of youth. He died peacefully on October 24, aged 79. As director Lewis Gilbert said: "It was always fun when he was around."

                                                                                                                                                       Nicola Gooch


The attached photograph accompanies the obituary............

Offline pomme homme

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Re: Michael Balfour, actor
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2023, 14:23:19 pm »
Michael Balfour featured in many films between 1948 and 1992. These included:

    Just William's Luck (1948)
    No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948)
    Sleeping Car to Trieste (1948)
    Woman Hater (1948)
    The Small Voice (1948)
    William Comes to Town (1948)
    Stop Press Girl (1949)
    Don't Ever Leave Me (1949)
    Helter Skelter (1949)
    Melody Club (1949)
    Obsession (1949)
    I Was a Male War Bride (1949)
    Prelude to Fame (1950)
    Cage of Gold (1950)
    Her Favourite Husband (1950)
    Blackout (1950)
    The Quiet Woman (1951)
    A Case for PC 49 (1951)
    13 East Street (1952)
    Venetian Bird (1952)
    Top Secret (1952)
    Moulin Rouge (1952)
    Hot Ice (1952)
    Three Steps to the Gallows (1953)
    Genevieve (1953)
    The Steel Key (1953)
    The Captain's Paradise (1953)
    Johnny on the Run (1953)
    The Red Beret (1953)
    Recoil (1953)
    Park Plaza 605 (1953)
    Three's Company (1953)
    Albert R.N. (1953)
    Black 13 (1953)
    Small Town Story (1953)
    Love in Pawn (1953)
    Escape by Night (1953)
    River Beat (1954)
    The Diamond (1954)
    The Scarlet Web (1954)
    Delayed Action (1954)
    The Belles of St. Trinian's (1954)
    The Sea Shall Not Have Them (1954)
    Devil's Point (1954)
    Impulse (1954)
    Delavine Affair (1955)
    One Good Turn (1955)
    The Gilded Cage (1955)
    Track the Man Down (1955)
    Barbados Quest (1955)
    Reluctant Bride (1955)
    Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1955)
    Secret Venture (1955)
    It's a Great Day (1956)
    The Secret of the Forest (1956)
    Reach for the Sky (1956)
    Breakaway (1956)
    The Big Money (1956)
    Hour of Decision (1957)
    Quatermass 2 (1957)
    The Steel Bayonet (1957)
    Light Fingers (1957)
    Man from Tangier (1957)
    Fiend Without a Face (1958)
    Look Back in Anger (1959)
    The Flesh and the Fiends (1960)
    Sink the Bismarck! (1960)
    Carry On Constable (1960)
    Too Hot to Handle (1960)
    Make Mine Mink (1960)
    Surprise Package (1960)
    The Hellfire Club (1961)
    The Monster of Highgate Ponds (1961)
    The Treasure of Monte Cristo (1961)
    Pit of Darkness (1961)
    Design for Loving (1962)
    She Always Gets Their Man (1962)
    The Fast Lady (1962)
    The Rescue Squad (1963)
    Echo of Diana (1963)
    A Stitch in Time (1963)
    Five Have a Mystery to Solve (1964)
    The Sicilians (1964)
    Strangler's Web (1965)
    The Sandwich Man (1966)
    Kaleidoscope (1966)
    Where the Bullets Fly (1966)
    Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
    Press for Time (1966)
    Trouble with Junia (1967)
    The Fixer (1968)
    The Oblong Box (1969)
    Hoverbug (1969)
    The Adventurers (1970)
    The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
    Macbeth (1971)
    Man of Violence (1971)
    All Coppers Are... (1972)
    The Canterbury Tales (1972)
    Wreck Raisers (1972)
    The Copter Kids (1976)
    Joseph Andrews (1977)
    Come Play with Me (1977)
    Candleshoe (1977)
    The Stick Up (1977)
    The Prisoner of Zenda (1979)
    The Holcroft Covenant (1985)
    Batman (1989)
    The Krays (1990)
    Revenge of Billy the Kid (1992)

There may not have been many leading roles amongst these but it is evident that he was rarely out of work!

Online alkhamhills

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Re: Michael Balfour, actor
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2023, 18:57:49 pm »
Michael Creighton Balfour
Born 11.2.1918 Dover

In 1939 Michael with 7 others at 4 Colonnade Gardens, Eastbourne. He was an Actor. Also another actor & 2 Actresses

In 1939 Electoral register He was shown with Donald & Richard Creighton Balfour at 79 Grosvenor Ave, Carshalton.
In 1950 he married Kathleen Mary Binder They had 2 children.
Kathleen died 1972

He is recorded in Wikipedia

Offline pomme homme

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Re: Michael Balfour, actor
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2023, 12:10:25 pm »
Reflecting on all the films which I listed in reply #2, I suspect that Michael Balfour gave Sam Kydd a run for his money in terms of the number of 'bit' parts that they had!

Offline pomme homme

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Re: Michael Balfour, actor
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2024, 09:54:33 am »
Michael Balfour came close to death nearly forty years before he died. He was the passenger in a Jaguar XK140 driven by the American actor, Bonar Colleone, which crashed soon after exiting the Birkenhead end of the Queensway Tunnel, under the Mersey, on 18 August 1958. Colleone was killed in the crash. Balfour had to undergo surgery, with nearly one hundred stitches, but he recovered from his injuries. I wonder if his rather 'weather beaten' facial appearance is attributable to the injuries that he suffered on that occasion?