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Leonard Whiting (born 30 June 1950) is an English actor and singer who is best known for his role as Romeo in the 1968 Zeffirelli film version of Romeo and Juliet opposite Olivia Hussey's Juliet, a role which earned him the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor.

Leonard Whiting
Born (1950-06-30) 30 June 1950 (age 69)
OccupationActor, singer
Years active1966–1975, 1990-1995, 2015
Spouse(s)Cathee Dahmen (1971–1977)
Lynn Presser (1995–present)

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Whiting was born in the Wood Green area of London, England, the only son of Peggy Joyce (O'Sullivan) and Arthur Leonard Whiting. He has English, Irish and some Romani/Gypsy ancestry. Whiting attended the St. Richard of Chichester School, Camden Town, leaving just a week or two before beginning work on Romeo and Juliet (1968).

CareerEdit

Whiting was spotted by an agent at the Connaught Rooms where he was performing at a Jewish wedding at the age of 12. He only sang one song ("Summertime") which he had rehearsed as a one-off song with the group Teal Lewis and the Fourtunes, who were the entertainment for the evening. This was set up by his father to get him noticed. After hearing him sing, the agent suggested he try out for Lionel Bart's Oliver! which constantly needed replacements for its child performers. Whiting played the Artful Dodger in the long-running London musical for 18 months, and for 13 months appeared at Laurence Olivier's National Theatre in the production of William Congreve's Love for Love opposite Olivier, which toured Moscow and Berlin.

Director Franco Zeffirelli described his discovery, made from 300 youngsters who auditioned during more than three months: "He has a magnificent face, gentle melancholy, sweet, the kind of idealistic young man Romeo ought to be."

He is also renowned for his on-stage part as the Artful Dodger in the original London cast of Oliver!, where he replaced Davy Jones when Jones and most of the London cast were transferred to New York City for the play's Broadway run.

In the mid-1970s, his voice caught the attention of Abbey Road and The Dark Side of the Moon engineer Alan Parsons, who was in the process of recording what was to be the first album by the Alan Parsons Project, Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Whiting performed lead vocals on the song "The Raven".

In 1990, he provided the voice of the Urpney scientist Urpgor in the children's animated television series The Dreamstone. After voicing the character for three seasons, he was replaced by Colin Marsh for the fourth and final season.

In 2014, he reunited with Olivia Hussey for the film Social Suicide (2015), their first work together in the 46 years since Romeo and Juliet.

Personal lifeEdit

In 1971 Whiting married model Cathee Dahmann, and in 1972 they had a daughter, Sarah Beth Whiting. They divorced in 1977. In 1995, he married his assistant Lynn Presser. Whiting ended his film career, for the most part, in the mid 1970s and subsequently placed his focus upon his theatrical career as an actor and writer.[1] He lives in London.

FilmographyEdit

Film
Year Film Role Other notes
1968 Romeo and Juliet Romeo
1969 Giacomo Casanova: Childhood and Adolescence Giacomo Casanova
The Royal Hunt of the Sun Young Martin
1970 Say Hello to Yesterday Boy
1972 À la guerre comme à la guerre [fr] Franz Keller
1975 Rachel's Man Jacob
2015 Social Suicide Julia's Father
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1966 The Wonderful World of Disney Jimmy the Dip Episode: "The Legend of Young Dick Turpin"
1973 Frankenstein: The True Story Victor Frankenstein NBC TV film
1990-1994 The Dreamstone Urpgor (voice)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Brennan, Sandra. "Biography". Retrieved 2 December 2011.

External linksEdit