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 Cecil MacAlister Tomlinson
7 May 1917
|Died||24 June 2000 (aged 83)|
Westminster, London, England
Mary Lindsay Hiddingh
(m. 1943; died 1943)
|Service/||Royal Air Force|
|Years of service||1940–1945|
|Battles/wars||Second World War|
David Cecil McAlister Tomlinson was born in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire on 7 May 1917, the son of Florence Elizabeth Tomlinson (née Sinclair-Thomson) (1890–1986) and a well-respected London solicitor father, Clarence Samuel Tomlinson (1883–1978). He attended Tonbridge School and left to join the Grenadier Guards for 16 months. 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 served as a flight instructor in Canada and appeared in three more films. His flying days continued after the war. On one occasion he crashed a Tiger Moth plane near his back garden after he lost consciousness while flying.
David 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. However, in 1992, at the age of 75, he appeared on the Wogan talk show along with Tommy Cockles.
Personal life and deathEdit
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 A. G. Hiddingh, was killed in action, leaving her to care for their two young sons. Tomlinson married Mary 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.
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.
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. 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.
- Garrison Follies (1940) (uncredited)
- Quiet Wedding (1941) as John Royd
- My Wife's Family (1941) as Willie Bagshott
- "Pimpernel" Smith (1941) as Steve
- The Way to the Stars (1945) as 'Prune' Parsons
- Journey Together (1945) as Smith
- I See a Dark Stranger (1946) as Intelligence Officer
- School for Secrets (1946) as Mr. Watlington
- Fame Is the Spur (1947) as Lord Liskeard
- Master of Bankdam (1947) as Lancelot Handel Crowther
- Easy Money (1948) as Martin Latham
- Miranda (1948) as Charles
- Broken Journey (1948) as Jimmy Marshall
- My Brother's Keeper (1948) as Ronnie Waring
- Sleeping Car to Trieste (1948) as Tom Bishop
- Love in Waiting (1948) as Robert Clitheroe
- Here Come the Huggetts (1948) as Harold Hinchley
- Warning to Wantons (1949) as Count Max Kardak
- Vote for Huggett (1949) as Harold Hinchley
- Marry Me! (1949) as David Haig
- Helter Skelter (1949) as Nick Martin
- The Chiltern Hundreds (1949) as Lord Tony Pym
- Landfall (1949) as Binks
- So Long at the Fair (1950) as Johnny Barton
- The Wooden Horse (1950) as Philip Rowe
- Calling Bulldog Drummond (1951) as Algernon 'Algy' Longworth
- Hotel Sahara (1951) as Captain Puffin Cheyne
- The Magic Box (1951) as Assistant in Laboratory
- Castle in the Air (1952) as Earl of Locharne
- Made in Heaven (1952) as Basil Topham
- Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary? (1953) as Frank Betteron
- All for Mary (1955) as Humphrey 'Humpy' Miller
- Three Men in a Boat (1956) as Jerome
- Carry On Admiral (1957) as Tom Baker
- Up the Creek (1958) as Lt. Humphrey Fairweather
- Further Up the Creek (1958) as Lt. Humphrey Fairweather
- Follow That Horse! (1960) as Dick Lanchester
- Tom Jones (1963) as Lord Fellamar
- Mary Poppins (1964) as George Banks
- The Truth About Spring (1964) as Charles Skelton
- City Under the Sea (1965) as Harold Tufnell-Jones
- The Liquidator (1965) as Quadrant
- The Love Bug (1968) as Peter Thorndyke
- Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) as Professor Emelius Browne
- From Hong Kong with Love (1975) as Sir John MacGregor
- Wombling Free (1977) as Roland Frogmorton
- The Water Babies (1978) as Sir John / Polar Bear (voice)
- Dominique (1979) as Lawyer
- The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980) as Sir Roger Avery (final film role)
- 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
- 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
- "David Tomlinson". The Daily Telegraph. 26 June 2000.
- "Whatever happened to the cast of Mary Poppins?". The Telegraph. 2 June 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
- "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.
- "Mary Poppins Star Dies". BBC News. 24 June 2000.
- 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.
- 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.
- David Tomlinson at IMDb
- Mary Poppins Star Dies – BBC News obituary from 2000
- David Tomlinson at the Disney Legends website
- Actor David Tomlinson's life plagued by tragedy and misfortune despite finding fame, a 2021 Daily Express article by Nathan Morley describing Tomlinson's personal story, plagued by misfortune.