Anthony Newley
Date of Birth
Sep 24, 1931
Birth Place:
London, England, UK


British entertainer Anthony Newley began as a child star, passing for 10 or 11 even as the Artful Dodger in Oliver Twist (1948), when in fact he was already of driving and shaving age. As a young leading man, Newley learned the ins and outs of self-promotion, chiefly the ability to convince the populace that he could do anything well. In 1959, he became a pop recording star thanks to his singing appearance in Idle on Parade, but this was only the beginning. Stop the World, I Want to Get Off was cowritten by Newley and Leslie Bricusse, but to the world at large Anthony Newley, who also starred in the play, was the whole show. This 1961 London-to-Broadway musical was a superbly written piece and a success. Newley followed up this production with another stage collaboration with Bricusse, 1965's The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd, this time sharing the spotlight (but not without a struggle) with veteran Cyril Ritchard. Few people can remember the plotlines of either of Newley's musical plays, but such song standards as "What Kind of Fool Am I," "Gonna Build a Mountain," "Look at That Face" and "Where Would You Be?" have become audition standards. Newley's overwhelming stage presence didn't translate that well to films, with Dr. Doolittle being the most obvious example of this (it is said that Newley and co-star Samantha Eggar kidded around on the set so much that Rex "Dr. Doolittle" Harrison had to resoundingly insist upon professional decorum). Since Doolittle, Newley has been content to merely write songs for other people's movies, occasionally stepping before the camera in such pictures as Mr. Quilp (1975) and It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time (1976). And in 1969, Anthony Newley directed his then-wife Joan Collins in Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness, a woebegone attempt at "hip" which gained fame only through the embarrassed co-starring stints from Milton Berle and George Jessel, and the fact that many American newspapers refused (probably at the request of studio publicity flacks) to mention the film's slightly licentious title in their movie listings. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Provided by Rovi