David Cecil MacAlister Tomlinson (7 May 1917 – 24 June 2000) was an English stage, film, and television actor and comedian. Having been described as both a leading man and a character actor, he is primarily remembered for his roles as authority figure George Banks in Mary Poppins, fraudulent magician Professor Emelius Browne in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and as hapless antagonist Peter Thorndyke in The Love Bug. Tomlinson was posthumously inducted as a Disney Legend in 2002.

David Tomlinson
Tomlinson as George Banks in Mary Poppins, 1964
David Cecil MacAlister Tomlinson

(1917-05-07)7 May 1917
Died24 June 2000(2000-06-24) (aged 83)
Westminster, London, England
Years active1940–1980
Mary Lindsay Hiddingh
(m. 1943; died 1943)
Audrey Freeman
(m. 1953)
Military career
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Air Force
Years of service1940–1945
RankFlight Lieutenant
UnitFilm Unit
Battles/warsSecond World War

Early life edit

David Cecil McAlister Tomlinson was born in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, on 7 May 1917,[1] the son of Florence Elizabeth Tomlinson (née Sinclair-Thomson) (1890–1986) and Clarence Samuel Tomlinson (1883–1978), a well-respected London solicitor.[2] He attended Tonbridge School and left to join the Grenadier Guards for 16 months.[2] His father then secured him a job as a clerk at Shell Mex House.

His stage career grew from amateur stage productions to his 1940 film debut in Quiet Wedding. His career was interrupted when he entered Second World War service as a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF. During the war, he learned to fly in Canada and was assigned as a flying instructor in the UK, while also appearing in three more films.[2] He continued flying after the war. On one occasion, a Tiger Moth plane he was piloting crashed into woodland near his back garden after he lost consciousness while performing aerobatics.

Film career edit

Tomlinson played Philip Rowe, one of the three British airmen escaping from a German POW camp, in the 1950 British Film The Wooden Horse.

Tomlinson played the role of George Banks, head of the Banks family, in the Disney film Mary Poppins (1964). Mary Poppins brought Tomlinson continued work with Disney, appearing in The Love Bug (1968) and Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971). Throughout the rest of Tomlinson's film career, he never steered far from comedies. His final acting appearance was in The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980), which was also the final film of Peter Sellers. Tomlinson retired from acting at age 63 to spend more time with his family.[3] However, in 1992, at the age of 75, he appeared on the Wogan talk show along with Tommy Cockles.

Accolades edit

7th Grammy Awards - Winner - Best Recording for Children ( Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke with David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns, Ed Wynn - Mary Poppins)[4]

Disney Legends Award - 2002 [5]

Personal life and death edit

Tomlinson was first married to Mary Lindsay Hiddingh, daughter of L. Seton Lindsay, the vice president of the New York Life Insurance Company. She had been widowed in 1941 when her husband, Major Armand Guy Hiddingh, was killed in action,[6] leaving her to care for their two young sons. Tomlinson married Mary in New York in September 1943, but on 2 December 1943, she killed herself and her two sons in a murder–suicide by jumping from a hotel in New York City, after learning that she could not take her two sons with her to join Tomlinson in England until WWII ended.[7][8][9]

Tomlinson's second wife was actress Audrey Freeman (born 12 November 1931), whom he married on 17 May 1953, and the couple remained together for 47 years until his death. They had four sons: David Jr., William, Henry, and James.[10]

Tomlinson died peacefully in his sleep at King Edward VII's Hospital, Westminster, at 4 a.m. on 24 June 2000, after suffering a stroke.[11][10] He was 83 years old. He was interred at his estate grounds in Mursley, Buckinghamshire. Tomlinson had joked that he wanted "actor of genius, irresistible to women" as an epitaph.[12]

Filmography edit

Film edit

Television edit

  • The Birdcage Room (TV Film) (1954) – Lord Tempest
  • All for Mary (Outside Broadcast of the theatre production, 1954) – Clive Norton
  • Theatre Royal (1955) – episode – The No Man – Tom Pettigo
  • Theatre Night (1957) – episode – Dear Delinquent – David Warren
  • ITV Play of the Week (1960) – episode – The Happy Man – Tom Swinley
  • Comedy Playhouse (1967) – episode – Loitering With Intent – Charles Pinfold
  • Hawaii Five-O (1976) – episode – Nine Dragons – Blake

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ General Register Office of England and Wales – Birth Register for June Quarter of 1917, Henley Registration District, reference 3a 1531, listed as David C.M. Tomlinson, mother's maiden name as Sinclair-Thomson
  2. ^ a b c "David Tomlinson". The Daily Telegraph. 26 June 2000.
  3. ^ "Whatever happened to the cast of Mary Poppins?". The Telegraph. 2 June 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1965 - Grammy Award Winners 1965". www.awardsandshows.com. Retrieved 4 August 2023.
  5. ^ David Tomlinson : Classic Movie Hub (CMH), retrieved 4 August 2023
  6. ^ [1] CWGC Casualty Record, Major Armand Guy Hiddingh. Date retrieved 1 May 2023.
  7. ^ "Mother and Two Sons Plunge 15 Stories to Death in New York City" (PDF). Niagara Falls Gazette. Associated Press. 2 December 1943. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  8. ^ "14-STORY LEAP KILLS WOMAN AND 2 SONS; Wife of RAF Officer Ends Life After Attempt to Join Husband Is Thwarted". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  9. ^ "Actor David Tomlinson's life plagued by tragedy and misfortune despite finding fame". Express. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  10. ^ a b "Mary Poppins Star Dies". BBC News. 24 June 2000.
  11. ^ General Register Office of England and Wales – Death Register for June 2000, Westminster Registration District, reference C49C 281, listed as David Cecil Tomlinson with a date of birth of 7 May 1917.
  12. ^ Morley, Nathan (2021). Disney's British Gentleman: The Life and Career of David Tomlinson. The History Press. p. 277. ISBN 978-0-7509-9757-7.

Further reading edit

  • Luckier Than Most, Tomlinson's autobiography, published 1990.
  • Nathan Morley, Disney's British Gentleman: The Life and Career of David Tomlinson (History Press), 2021. ISBN 0750993308

External links edit

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