MY BIOGRAPHY AND ONGOING STORY
ARTISTE OF LIFE
I was born in London on 25th September 1958 at the City of London Maternity Hospital 65 Hanley Road, Tollington Park, N4. I was a breach birth and had to go back to the hospital many times because of the pressure lumps on my head.
I almost died a few times in the first few years of my life. First taking my grandfathers Heart tablets. My mum Jean caught me sitting in his room on the bed eating them and saying 'Mummy, Smarties!!' She grabbed me and ran down the stairs towards the front door. Luckily my dad Peter had just returned that moment from work. Rushed me to Whittington Hospital, had a stomach pump.
The doctor told my parents I would have been dead in 8 mins! I was 2 years old then.
ROY SCAMMEL (Stuntman/lifeguard)
The same year I was with my mum and dad at Finchley Lido and I went near the edge of the 10 ft swimming pool. Fell in the deep end. I remember being at the bottom on my back,looking at the blue sky and the ripples of water above me. I felt at peace and happy, was not frightened at all! Then I saw this hand come in and grab me. This was the lifeguard, his name was Roy Scammel( Stuntman) amazing! He was a good friend of my father together with Matt Monro.
Years later I contacted Roy and thanked him, he invited me to his home.
From an early age fascinated with film and TV, I would entertain family and friends with impersonations of favourite actors and comedians such as Groucho Marx, Burt Lancaster, Danny Kaye,Jerry Lewis and Stan Laurel. Later I appeared in 1985 on the Six O’Clock Show impersonating Stan Laurel. At Christmas and family occasions I would be asked to sing for family and friends.
Sir Nigel Hawthorne
At 13 years old was very fortunate enough to meet the stage and screen actor Sir Nigel Hawthorne, who was a close neighbour and friend. Nigel lived at 55 Witherington Road, just across the road from me. I would be invited for tea on many occasions. He then lived with his partner Bruce. Bruce was working for ATV Television' the Muppet Show as the production designer. When they moved to Ockendon Road, N1. I was invited for lunch and met the wonderful actor Kenneth Griffith(The Prisoner), he told me about his early life and how he came to London from Wales with holes in his shoes!
Nigel encouraged me to think about working within the acting profession and generously agreed to sponsor his application to join British Actor's Equity. I was in contact with Nigel for many years and saw him in 'Shadowlands' at the Queens Theatre.
CHICAGO AND TERRY KATH
I met Terry at The Carlton Towers in Sloane Street in 1976. I was invited while working for Record Mirror and Sounds. I took 2 friends with me Lucas and Paulo. We went to see Chicago at the Hammersmith Odeon and I wrote a review which I still have to this day! After the show we all went to the Chelsea Hotel in Sloane Street. The party was wonderful with Champagne and whatever you liked, even Coke!! LOL! At the party there was the group 'SPARKS' and many others. My friends and I were approached by a man called WALDO and he flirted with us all and said to me 'Are you guys a Band? " I said yes to wind him up! LOL! He gave me his business card and said call me! We left and went to the Carlton Towers as we had inside information that the group were staying there. Well we met Terry Kath, Peter Cetera, Robert Lamb and Bill Champlin and they signed my VIP invite which sadly I gave away many years ago! Terry was a brilliant guitarist and singer!
I always dreamed of being on the stage or in a musical and on the big screen. My first ever job was working within the music industry for Record Mirror, Sounds and Music Week. There I met many great music writers such as the DJ John Peel( a lovely man) and many bands who came for interviews and parties.
Peter Jones the Chief Editor of Billboard said of me one day "Derek, your enthusiasm for the music business has always been fantastic and you have great knowledge of the industry.”You have a pleasant personality and you should go far in what ever you do". This was the man who discovered The Rolling Stones!
In 1976/77 I almost met the lovely Kate Bush. One day I was sent to EMI Records in Manchester Square, London . I was to go to the PR dept to pick some copy up for Sounds and Record Mirror where I worked at the time. While having a chat and a coffee with Andy Childs the A and R guy. Andy told me that they had just signed a very talented girl called Kate Bush and that she was in the other room and asked me if would I like to meet her?
I said "No thanks, maybe next time"! What a silly Teen I was then!
I also picked up the a Kings Costume worn by Marc Bolan for the Record Mirror Cover ! Never met Marc but would have loved too!
During my travels around the West End while working for Spotlight Publications ( Music Week, Record Mirror and Sounds) I would hang out in Soho Market at Rocks On(Rock's off). Stan and Phil, two Irish guys ran it. I first met Suggs ( Graham McPherson) who was then just about to form Madness.
I wrote reviews of concerts and took photos of bands like The Jam,The Clash, The Stranglers and The Stukas. I became good friends with Paul Weller, Hugh Cornwall of The Stranglers, Shane MacGowan ( The Nips/The Pogues)and Eddie and the Hot Rods. My pictures were published in Timeout, NME and Melody Maker
Met Shane MacGawon with his then girlfriend Shanne Bradley. She was beautiful. I was asked to take the very first photographs of Shane's group The Nipple Erectors(The Nips). Stan still has my negatives!
I first went there in the 1960's aged 9 with my dad who took me to Cranks Vegetarian Restaurant!
My late grandfather Arthur Lyons worked as a tailor in Marshall Street which was just off Carnaby Street in the 1950'still 1968.
In 1978 I worked for Cranks for 3 weeks an then ROCK DREAMS Record store as an assistant manger!
Pre 1978 I worked for Record Mirror and Sounds Music papers and would spend many hours with The Who management at there offices.
I first meet Paul in 1976, went to the Great Punk Festival at the Rainbow in Finsbury Park where they supported the Clash. Saw them and took photos of them at The Nashville, Earls Court.( Must find those photos). Whenever I heard they were playing, Paul would always give me free tickets! Great guy! I saw them many times.
After working for Record Mirror/Sounds in 1976-78 I decided to go back to acting again, working on the Shinning and Quadrophenia, I got a job in Carnaby Street for Rock Dreams from 1978 till 1981. Met Marvin Gaye, Kenneth More, Joe Jackson and even the heavy metal band 'Saxon'. They bought some guitar badges off me.
I FIRST SAW THE JAM IN 1976!
Met Paul many times and saw them at The Rainbow, The Nashville and drank with Paul and the Marquee in Wardour Street.
Never ever paid for a ticket as Paul what leave a ticket for me always.
In 1979- 1981 Paul and Jill would visits me at Rock Dreams, Carnaby Street.
One day Paul and I went for coffee in Cranks the vegetarian restaurant and talked about my time on Quadrophenia.
He asked me if he could get hold of some of the suits from the film? I told him he needed to contact Angel's or Burman's and Nathans the costumers.
Paul is such a great guy!
We even had coffee and a snack together in Cranks in Marshall Street. Gave him Guitar badges for him and then girlfriend Jill which they loved.In 1979 in Cranks( Veg Restaurant) I talked with him about working on Quadrophenia, Paul said ''Derek can you get any of the clothes, suits from the wardrobe department?'' I told Paul that they most probably been sold off or back to Angels costumers. Really liked Paul.
Kenneth More came in one day with his lovely actress wife Angela Douglas. I could see that he was shaking from Parkinson's. But did ask Angela if he could sign an autograph to me. He was so very happy with my request. I still can't find that wonderful autograph. Was such a honour to meet this great actor. This was in 1980.
I used to visit The Who's Management and Track Records, Carnaby Street when for Record Mirror and Sounds as a office boy/messenger. I went there in my free time. In The Who's office I had many good friends there including Mike Shaw ( Manager) who I had a really good friendship with. Mike even gave me his copy of John Entwistle's solo album Rigor Mortis Sets in.
I would stay in the offices for hours chatting with Mike and making him tea. Had access to their Record library (Albums) including Jimi Hendrix, Angie Bowie and many others. Mike and another guy gave me every Who album, I was so lucky.
Paul Cummings worked for the Who and later went on to become Co-Manager of Dire Straits! I also met Thunderclap Newman at the office and one day sang 'Something In The Air' with him whilst he accompanied me on piano!!
I went to see the Who management at their press officer during the 1980's which then moved to Wardour Street. I visited the offices till late 1988.
Just heard very recently that Mike Shaw RIP had died. You were a great man Mike and miss you and our chats together. You were so very kind to me and I will never forget you.
In the mid 1980's I would go to many of the Dance Clubs like Heaven,The Wag Club and my favourite The Mud club( Busby's) in Charing Cross road, my friend Philip Salon hosted, Philip was so sweet and would always let me in for free! At Heaven I would see, Freddy Mercury, Kenny Everett and many well known Actors and media people.
Joe Strummer and I were having a drink in The Mud Club, I mentioned that I bumped into Mick Jones the week before in Soho. He said "Del if you see Mick again, tell him I want The Clash back together again". I said "I will Joe".Joe was a brilliant and lovely man.
Would meet old friends from the music biz such as Paul Weller and the lovely Cleo Rocos who I almost went out with. Cleo and I first met on the Kenny Everett's movie 'Bloodbath at the House of Death'. I played a Policeman, during our breaks Cleo and I would play Frisbee together!
Also I have been very lucky in working for one of my music heroes, the late George Harrison whom I met and spoke with a few times whilst working on few of his movies.He was my all time favorite Beatle!
I worked on the Paul McCartney movie 'Give my Regards to Broad Street' . During the movie I met Paul's PA and went out with her for a while. On the movie had talked Paul and Linda who were very nice. One day I brought in two albums for Paul to sign, one was Red Rose Speedway and he kindly signed them for me.
I brought my camera with me and had a few photos taken with Linda and Paul. At the end of the movie I was invited to the party which was held at the directors home in Regents park . In the evening we were waiting for our guest's of honour to arrive, they did wearing matching white Tuxedos with black dinner trousers. Linda wore a skirt.
That evening I danced with Linda and she loved that. Paul was not amused! Linda was such a lovely women. After a few weeks I had a phone call from Linda's PA and she told me that Linda would like to use the photo's for the Book of the film. I was so happy with this.So I took them down to MPL Communications in Soho Square and met Linda.
She really wanted them in the book but alas Paul didn't I think. Years later when Linda was first diagnosed with Cancer, I wrote to her sending my love and best wishes. After a week or so I received a lovely letter from Linda's PA who told me that Linda remembered me, sent her regards and her War Child Calender as a gift of thanks. Linda was a truly wonderful women.
I had the good fortune to have worked with marvelous Director on the film Britannia Hospital. I played a Dead man!! LOL!
Lindsay asked me a question. First he asked my name. I told him then he said ''Derek, what toe do you think the name tag should be on?'' I replied Mmmmmm, I think the left toe!! LOL!!
ME AND RONNIE KNIGHT
Many years ago my cousin Gloria who lived with Terry Duggan ( My Uncle and Godfather) who left my aunty Pat Lyons. Worked for Ronnie Knight at the A and R Club in Charing Cross Road.
I was invited to come and meet Ronnie. One day I walked up the very long stairs.The knocked on the door. Walked in and went to the bar. Saw my cousin Gloria who smiled at me. Chatted for a few minutes, then Gloria was signalled by Ronnie to come over to him. I saw this very well dressed man who was immaculately dressed! He then pointed towards me and signalled me with his finger to come over to him. I had no idea who this man was. Buy took in the atmosphere with cartoons of the Carry On Team all around the bar. I proceeded towards Mr Night. He then said can I get you a drink? I replied Thanks Ronnie. I must say that every time I went to the A and R Club I never paid a penny. I loved Ronnie Knight who was a nice man.
I have always been a fan of the great character Actor Ronald Lacey. This was since I first the 1960's TV series like The Avengers,Randall and Hopkirk and my favourite The Adventures of Don Quick.
In the late 1970's early 1980's I found myself going on a double date with my friend Lucas. He was seeing this Au Pair and she brought a friend for me. that girl was Rebecca Lacey! At the time I never knew the connection with Ronald.
Many years later I worked with a young and upcoming Actor called Jonathan who I helped in the film business. Showing him the ropes as a supporting Artist.
Jonathan was shy and not too confident, so I helped him. During that time he got a part on 'Young Sherlock' Directed by Barry Levinson. In 1980 I auditioned for Raiders of the Lost Ark. I got the part as one of the Nazi Troopers. Sadly I went on holiday and did not work on this one.
Now one day in 1981 I was walking from Carnaby Street to Soho Market when Ronald whom I never met before was walking towards me. I stopped him and said 'Hi Ronald I know your son Jonathan, my name is Derek'. He immediately knew who I was and gave me a big hug and said ''Derek thanks so much for kindness in helping Jonathan, you are so sweet to do such a nice thing like this''. I chatted for a while, really should have gone for a drink with him. I asked Ronald what his Star sign was, always did this! LOL!
He told me he was a Libra. Me too I replied. So I thought I must get his autograph as I was a fan. He wrote To Derek, One Libra to another, Good luck Ronald Lacey '81.
I will never forget my meeting with this fine and lovely British Actor. Shame he is not around any more. Years later I had a dream about Ronald and it was so real. He told me to contact Jonathan and tell him he was OK where he was and not to worry.
Soon after I did phone Jonathan and told him this. Not sure how Jonathan felt, but at least I kept my word.
I was working on the Mirror Crack'd for about 2 weeks at Twickenham studios and the movie was directed by Guy Hamilton!
It was an all star cast including Rock Hudson, Kim Novak,Tony Curtis.
I was one of the Queens guards and Guy Hamilton gave me personal direction in the scene with Rock Hudson!
Pierce Brosnan who had a none speaking part as well was on the same set and did a small scene with the great Liz Taylor! During this scene we all had to clear the set due to Elisabeth being a little tipsy after having too much wine at lunchtime with Larry Hagman (JR). More to tell in my book!
I can't say anymore about this yet, wait for my book please!
One day I was having breakfast with Kim Novak's personal assistant/ Beautician Hiker who was a German Lady and asked her who was in this movie?
She told me and then mention Elizabeth Taylor, I was very excited by this!
As we were chatting( we had Breakfast most days together) Hiker said there she is, look!
I saw a lady that did not look like her( She had no makeup on) I was shocked!
Later I thought I must get her autograph. I did hear at the time that she did not give her autograph out freely !
Anyway one day she was passing by in the front of the Restaurant at Twickenham Studios, he was my chance I thought!
So I approached her and said excuse me Miss Taylor may I have your autograph please?
She then ( I was so nervous about her response) looked me up and down, from head to toe and back again!
Liz then gave me the most beautiful smile ever!
Then she said "OK, what's your name honey?" I then told her as my face was turning red!! LOL!
We then had a little chat which will be in my book!
What a wonderful day as I heard that she gave no other autograph to anyone on that movie, I am a very lucky man indeed!
NOEL DAVIS ,JOHN SCHLESINGER AND PETER SELLERS
In 1983/4 I worked on the film Greystoke the legend of Tarzan. This was directed by Hugh Hudson and starred Christopher Lambert and Andie MacDowell. On the film I was playing one of the members of staff of the Greystoke Estate.
One day a friend Mike Jeffries a wardrobe assistant and who I had worked with over the years came up to me and said ''Derek, come with me I need to have a chat with you''. Now Mike was Peter Sellers personal dresser on the Pink Panther films and was well respected by Peter and many others in the film industry. Mike was Gay and very camp and who could be very bitchy to anyone if he didn't like you. At first he did frighten me,but over the years he was so sweet to me.
Mike told me a very funny story about what Peter Sellers did to him.
One day Mike was dressing Peter in his room at Pinewood Studios, now Peter Sellers liked to smoke Marijuana to help him relax. And Mike had never used this drug before. So Peter said ''Mike share this with me, it will relax you''. At first Mike refused and then was persuaded by Inspector Clouseau !
Peter was aware that Mike was getting rather stoned and said to Mike ''It's best to be in the dark, then you will see images in your mind much clearer'' Peter then persuaded Mike to get into the wardrobe for a few minutes. So Mike did just that.
What happened next was Peter locked him in the wardrobe for an hour! LOL!!
Mike laughed at what had happened to him. He said ''Peter was really naughty doing that to me, I didn't know what to do and it really freaked me out!!''
While on Greystoke which I worked on for 4 weeks until the very last day of shoot, Mike came up to me and said see that actor over there, he is playing King Edward in this film and he is also the Casting director. His name was Noel Davis and one of the very top in this profession. Mike then said that Noel liked my look and thought I could play his Footman in all of his scenes. He then said in the next half an hour the assistant is going to line you and 6 others up and then Noel will choose. Well this was a set up and I was already chosen,but who knows why this was done. Maybe to show power or to make it look fairer for the others?
The original film was over 4 hours long and was sadly cut with my and Noel's scenes gone. Maybe it will come out as a extended directors cut in the future for a Blu ray release. Hope so.
At the end of shoot myself Christopher, Andie, Hugh Hudson and my dear friend actor and British Fencing Champion Richard Bonehill were in a Barn with a few crew members. We all had Champagne and I chatted with Christopher and Andie who were so lovely and kind. I was having so much fun with them laughing and pouring more Champagne in their glasses. When the good vibe was almost halted by the director Hugh Hudson who gave me a stare to say who the fuck are you?
I ignored that wanker for a while and continued in our wonderful conversation.
After a while I then decided to pour Hugh a glass smile at him. He did not know how to react to this and I tried to make small talk with Hugh, but he did not engage with me. I decided not to go any further to his level of arrogance that he had shown to me! I thought that if I ever meet him again, I would put him in his place!
Later after a few weeks I had a call from Noel Davis and was invited to his home which he shared with his friend director John Schlesinger. This was at Victoria Road in Kensington. Very near to Kensington Palace. I arrived one evening and was greeted by Noel at the door. The house was amazing and Noel gave me a tour up to his office which was at the very top of the building. He then told me that John owned it and was away filming. We then shared a glass of Champagne and then he prepared the meal.
The meal consisted 3 courses starting with a a Prawn Cocktail then Salmon with new potatoes and a lovely desert. Later we sat in the living room. Noel then said ''Derek, would you like some Coke??'' I thought the drink at the time which was strange. No he meant Cocaine! Yes I said. We must have had a few grams that evening. LOL!!
Eventually he came closer to me on the couch and said ''Derek, you are a very handsome young man and I could help you in your career''. I thought Oh no, the Casting couch!! Noel then jumped on me and tried to stick his tongue in my mouth! I pulled away and warned him that I did not come over for this and thought this was friendship and help for my film acting career. I then got up and said goodbye! Over the years I had bumped into him in the Kings Road, Chelsea and when I worked on Madame Sousatzka in 1988.He was polite but not as friendly as before.
In the 1980's I use to go to a really nice Soho restaurant called 'Topo Gigio' with my girlfriend . One evening we were eating and having a wonderful meal when I noticed the Cult film director Ken Russell, he was at the table opposite us with friends. Later that evening I timed my trip to the men's room as Ken was leaving his table to do the same. I thought this was my chance ( being a jobbing Actor at the time) to talk and give him my card with my contact details!
After I had finished washing my hands I started to make conversation with Ken.
I said hello Ken, I am an admirer of you work, are you enjoying your evening? ( I was very nervous of his reaction). He said ''the food and wine was marvelous''! Ken was very nice and took my card. I told him that if he needed me, I would love to work with him, just call.
Many years later I worked and was part of the opening team which opened Planet Hollywood, London. Ken made frequent visits with his son. The first time he came in 1993, I reminded him of the time in the mid 1980's when we first met. I told him that I was sorry to approach him in the men's room. He said "Darling it happens all the time,you are forgiven". I said thanks. After that Ken would always ask after me and would only let me seat him. What a truly lovely man!
On working on the movie 'Castaway' with Oliver Reed and Amanda Donahoe in the 1986. Oliver was on form and I had a great and very funny time with him. He chatted and then went on to say ''I liked to show you something!''I was drinking with him and two of the film crew members at the bar of the hotel. We were not sure what to expect, when suddenly he unzipped his fly and went on to pull his Penis out!!
He had a Tattoo on it ! Was so shocked and my eye's watered thinking about it, even now. He went on to tell us that he was very drunk in the far east and had it done!! Oliver was a really nice man.
I first met actress Georgina Hale in the early 1980's as we have a mutual friend Hank Nimwegen a Dutch man and head of the Film Producers Association which was based at Paramount House in Wardour Street. Georgina and I would chat on the phone from time to time and she invited me to see her in a few plays including 'Summit Conference' in which she co starred with Glenda Jackson and Gary Oldman. And 'The Women' which was at the Old Vic Theatre. She always invited me to the dressing room afterwards to meet the other actors. I appeared recently on the 26-27th October 2013 at MCM London Comic Con as a guest and was seated next to Georgina whom I had not seen after almost 18 years .
We had so much to catch up on and spent a lovely time together. She told me stories about Ken Russell and how she adored him. Ken had helped her career and had worked on The Boyfriend, The Devils, Mahler and many more. I loved her film and TV work including 'Budgie' with Adam Faith.
At all Convention I always have fun and engage, entertain the fans. I just try to make all happy. I noticed Georgina watching me and thought maybe she thinks I a a silly fool!
Well she called me over and said this to me ''Derek, you are an amazingly gifted man and such a great talent, you're like a magnet of positive energy, I love it!''
''I've watched you today and did not realise how brilliant you are. You have wonderful charisma and charm the fans, absolutely wonderful darling''. I really could not believe this and was taken aback by her very generous words.
We are keeping in contact and meeting soon for lunch.
I trained at the Trinity College of Music, London with Jean Marshall, and I am a tenor having a two and a half octave range. My great Uncle Bert Mac helped the careers of the famous Irish tenor Josef Locke, Comedian Frank Carson and singer Dana . Bert Mac was a famous Irish yodeler and recording artist who recorded with Parlophone, Columbia, RCA in the 1920's-1960's.
My Grandfather Arthur Lyons worked as a tailor for Kilgour French and Stanbury in Saville Row up to 1965 and was responsible for making the suit that Gary Grant wears in' North by North West' Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Arthur made the suits for Edward the Duke of Windsor, Cary Grant, King Hussein of Jordan, Rex Harrison, Fred Astaire and Robert Mitchum.
In 1983 I formed a 1920-30's Variety Act called The Debonairs . We performed songs from that golden age such as' Keep Young and Beautiful', 'Mean to Me', ' It all Depends on You' and 'You're the Cream in My Coffee', toured around the UK with some success.
I met Matt Monro in 1983 who was a close friend of my father Peter Lyons.
Terry( Matt) was a close friend of my father from early Teenage years. They with Roy Scammell ( Stuntman) use to go to Hampstead Ponds and swim and work out together. High diving from the 30ft or so diving board!
I met Matt two years before he sadly died. This was when he was appearing at The Talk of the Town in London's West End. I went to the stage door and told the door manager who I was and mentioned my father Peter Lyons. Within two minutes, there he was. We shook hands and chatted about my father.Matt was really interested in how my dad was. And asked me to send his warmest regards to him.
Matt ask what I was up to and told him I sang and acted. He wished me all success in my career. He looked forward to seeing my dad again.
Matt was such a sweet and kind man, with the most wonderful voice ever. Even Frank Sinatra said he loved Matt's singing.'' his pitch was right on the nose: his word enunciations letter perfect: his understanding of a song thorough. He will be missed very much not only by myself, but by his fans all over the world''
In 1985 I had the great honour in working on a TV movie called Reunion at Fairborough, starring Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr. Robert was such a presence on the set and I really was so happy to have finally met him. He came up to me on many occasions and told the most filthy jokes, such as ''hey did I ever tell you the story of my buddy in Vietnam? Well he had a dick as large as a Donkey!!''Another time he strolled over to me and said ''I knew this guy in the army who was at a bar and picked up this chick, well, he went up to the room and a minute or two later, ran down screaming''. ''He found our the chick was a guy!'' ''The chick had a three piece suite!!'' LOL!!
The other time I was just coming out of the costume trailer when Bob wiggle his finger at me to come over to him. We were both outside the set where all the other actors including the wonderful Barry Morse were rehearsing a dancing scene. He said when pointing his finger at the building, '' Derek, see in there, there's enough flatulence in that hall, that if I lit a goddam match, the whole place would blow up''!! I laughed with Robert, very funny I said. He then replied ''It's true son'' I thought that was funny. Later I chatted about his album Calypso Like So and how much I loved it. He told me how he decided to make the album after working on the movie 'Fire Down Below' with Jack Lemmon and Rita Hayworth. During my 2 weeks on that movie I had many chats with Bob. I must admit that I was so overwhelmed by him that I could not take in all he said. One day I thought I would bring my camera, which I did not always do. I said to Robert, Robert could we have a photo together please? He replied ''Why, sure Kid'',I looked at Bob and he was wearing his tinted glasses which were dark. I thought for a second, shall I ask him to take them off? I decided not to ask Bob. That very day he had a run in with the 1st Assistant director who almost had his nose bitten off by Bob!!
Film Stars who were an inspiration to me were Steve McQueen, Robert Mitchum, James Coburn, and martial arts legend Bruce Lee, actors from the golden era of Hollywood, the likes of Gary Cooper,Burt Lancaster,James Stewart,Clark Gable, Tony Curtis, Alan Ladd. Musically, the films of Fred Astaire , Gene Kelly and the comedy films of of Laurel and Hardy ,The Marx Brothers ,Buster Keaton, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, Norman Wisdom, Danny Kaye.
I was very lucky to have had my first break as an actor on the Star Wars film, 'A New Hope' in 1976 - this was in fact my first job within the film business. I was chosen to appear as Medal Bearer and Massassi Temple Guard (Rebel Honor Guard).Have met Robert Aldrich( The Dirty Dozen) and was a friend.
In 1991 I had the great pleasure in meeting the stupendous Quentin Crisp who was an author and a flamboyant homosexeual. He wrote the book on his life called The Naked Civil Servant. This was turned into an award winning TV film starring the great John Hurt. I really loved John's performance in this beautiful story and never ever thought that I would ever meet Quentin Crisp.
So this is how it came to be that I met him.
Over the years I had gone to the theatre and seen plays,musicals in the West End. My ex wife hated the theatre but she loved that after the show I would take her to Joe Allens in Covent Garden. I had an account there for many years.
I booked to see Tommy Steele's musical version of 'Some like it Hot' which was based on the original Broadway show 'Sugar' and the brilliant Billy Wilder film starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and the beautiful Marilyn Monroe.
On the evening of the performance which was at the Prince Edward theatre in Old Compton street,Soho. We decided to have a nice glass or two of wine at the Soho Brasserie. So after the first glass of wine I went to the bar again and notice this fairly small gentleman dressed in a very dandy way with Grey hair that had touches of pink/ Purple through it. This was Quentin Crisp I thought! Yes it was!
I looked towards him and we both smiled once our eyes made contact. Then I thought that I must buy this wonderful man a drink.
I said hi Quentin, I would be delighted to buy you a drink, what are you drinking? He replied ''Whiskey my dear and make it a double''!! I thought at the time he was a bit cheeky,but that was Quentin always a wit just like Oscar Wilde. I asked him what he was doing in London. He told me he was playing Queen Elizabeth I in a film called 'Orlando' starring Tilda Swinton and Billy Zane. I told him that I loved his books and was a fan. He loved that. We spoke together for about 10 minutes and was so pleased that I met him and bought him a Whisky!! Well a double!! LOL!
Over the years I had bumped into John Hurt and worked on a few films that he appeared in. John is a great man too.
Anthony Hopkins who one gave me a lift after his performance of King Lear at the National Theatre in 1986. I saw his 3 hour performance and after went to the stage door. Walked in and told the stagedoor man that I was waiting to see Tony.
I sat and waited ten minutes or so and then finally Anthony came through the door. He looked straight at me while rubbing his hair with a towel as he must have had a quick shower.
He then proceeded to walk up to me at I stood up and said '' I know you, don't I? I then told him how we had met over the years at Watkins Book Store. Antony then said '' Can I give you a left anywhere?'' I said that would be great. He then said '' I live in the Kings Road, Chelsea, is that OK?'' I was thinking at the time that this was out of my way, but loved adventure and thought yes to have a left with this wonderful man and actor would be brilliant!
So down to the car park beneath the Theatre and into his left hand drive Citroen.
During my journey this great actor told me his life story, about his Alcoholism and that when he had no money he swept the streets to make some money. I was in the car for 30 minutes due to a traffic problem and I listened intently to his life story.
During this conversation I told Anthony about my insecurities and acting. He recommended a self help book which had helped him, this was called The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. He said '' Derek this would be a marvelous help to you as you are , and I can tell what a beautiful spirit and soul you are''. I was so very touched by what Anthony had just said to me. Anthony dropped me off outside Sloane Square Station and just before signed my program from King Lear which I still have to this day.
Roy Kinnear who also gave me a lift from Pinewood Studios in 1983. I asked Roy how was it that he worked so much? He replied "Derek, whenever they need a Roy Kinnear, they get me". Roy was a truly wonderful man.
PETER HUNT- DIRECTOR
I first had the pleasure in meeting Peter when I was asked to Stand-in on The Last Days Of Pompeii. Peter was the director with the wonderful Jack Cardiff as the Director of Photography(African Queen,The Red Shoes) .Working on this TV movie was wonderful, had almost 8 weeks at Pinewood studios in the summer of 1983. During my time on set, Peter and I would chat and we really liked each other. Peter had a partner called Nicos who was lovely. He took a really nice Black and White photo of me in Roman costume on set which I still have. Peter was Gay, but never approached me in any way, just a very sweet and gentle soul. Most days he would give me a lift in his car to Piccadilly Circus which was great after a long day and much easier to get home in Islington.
I kept in contact with Peter for many years and we would call each other . He would send me a Christmas cards every year. He had a really contagious laugh and this would happen when telling me stories about Charles Bronson and other Stars whom he worked with.
One story was when Peter had a Toga Party and invited Charlie Bronson with his wife Jill Ireland. They walked in in full Toga wear, but Peter noticed Charle's feet.
His toenails were painted bright Pink!! LOL!! Peter said ''Jill why did you do that?'' She replied ''Well his feet are so ugly, I had to something with them!!''
In 1984, Peter was back in Bel Air, Los Angeles. He rang me at home one evening and said ''Derek, I would really love for you to come out to 'LA' so I can help and guide you in your Acting Career. Will send you a one way ticket to come and live in my home''. I was so excited and could not believe it! I told Peter that I would have to think about it. Sadly I was involved with a women at the time and did not take the very kind offer up, silly me once more! The last time I spoke to Peter was in the late 1990's. He is sadly missed by me.
I first met Pierce briefly on The Mirror Crack'd in 1980 as an Actor playing 'Jamie' and I the Queens Guard in the same scene. Peirce and I were supporting Artiste. Later again on Remington Steele and then the The Fourth Protocol. I was in a dancing scene with him. I spoke to him about James Bond then.
He could not get out of the Remington Steele contract then. Years later when I was asked to play the Casino guest we met again. I told Pierce that finally he was Bond.
We had a great chat and said that it was the right time now and he looked great!
I gave my sympathies to him Pierce about his late wife Cassandra Harris who died a few years earlier. He told me that he really appreciated my kind words.
Great man that Mr Brosnan!
MY MEETING WITH PETER CUSHING
Many years ago I worked on TOP SECRET and just missed the day Peter was filming. He was playing Air Commodore Colonel William Raymond. But then on a film called BIGGLES I finally net this stupendous man and Actor.
We were filming in the studio and it was an early call as usual. LOL!!
I was rehearing for Neil Dickson as I was Standing in for him for the first week of filming. Then the moment arrived when Van Helsing, Dr Who arrived.
Peter came up to each crew member, actor and supporting Artist and introduced himself. Eventually Peter walked towards me and I was so in awe of this man in every way. He looked me right in the eyes took my hand and squeezed it gently and said " What is your name dear boy?" I told him. He then said "God Bless you my boy,lovely to meet you". I said thank you Peter and Blessings to you too. He loved that and smiled back at me. When this happened I felt that I had met a truly Spiritual man like Jesus or the Buddha. It actually brought a tear to my eyes.
Will never ever forget this wonderful man.
SIR PETER HALL
Sorry to hear of the sad passing of Peter Hall. I first met his son Christopher Hall when he was an AD on at least 4 movies I worked with him on. Years later in Patisserie Valarie in Soho ( The very first one). Many film and media people would pop in for a tea and cake or Coffee. In the mid 1980's I met again Christopher Hall with his mother Leslie Caron ( An American in Paris). She was lovely and we chatted together for half an hour or so. Then in 1993 when I worked as a host the and looked after Celebrities. One day Peter Hall came in wearing his Black trilby hat! No one knew who this man was, but I immediately as he walked in said welcome Peter and then showed him around. We chatted and I told him that I has worked with his son Christopher hall and told him how much I liked him. Peter smiled and was happy with that. Proud that I met this amazing talent and created of the RSC. My deepest sympathies to his friends and family.
I looked after Telly and his family on a week long visit to Planet Hollywood, London October 1993 a few months before he passed away. Was a Host who looked after Celebrity's PX list. I set up an area in the Sci-fi room on the left of Hollywood Hills.When Telly and family arrived I would seat them and make sure all went well during their time each evening. I did notice that Telly would go to the toilet often, this was because of the Cancer he had. I really could see he was not too well. He was wonderful with all the other guest at the restaurant. Signing autographs and having photos taken. I spoke to his wife and family in my broken Greek, they loved that!!
I said Hi Telly, he said Hey Baby!! Wonderful!! My friend Peter Hunt directed Telly in James Bond's OHMSS, said he was one of the most professional men he had the pleasure in working with,loved Gambling and drinking, but was always on time and always delivered his lines with ease. This was after hard drinking and Poker session through the night. Peter told me that I should have told Telly that I was friends with him. Well at least I met Kojak!! Hey Baby!!
JACK CARDIFF (Cinemaphotographer)
''Universally considered one of the greatest cinematographers of all time''
Jack Cardiff was a nice man, worked on The Far Pavillions and then The Last Days of Pompeii with him. His wife Niki Cardiff and daughter were also Stand-in's on the TV movie with me. Got on so well with them all, later I would call their home in Highgate, North London and chat with Jack and Niki. I was only aware that he worked with John Huston on 'The African Queen'. What an amazing man of the cinema Jack was. A true talent with a wonderful eye for colour,lighting and Cinematography. He told me that the best DP's had Blue eyes as he did!
PETER WYNGARDE AND ALAN BATES
I have been a huge fan of Peter for many years and was fortunate to work on his comeback film FLASH GORDON in 1979. I played three characters: A Mongo man, Aborian Priest and an Aquarium Fish man. My dear friend Alan 'Butch' Meacham worked on this standing in for Peter who he was close friends with since the early 1960's.
Butch over the years told me many stories about Peter and Tony Curtis who were friends and they had stayed at Butch's house many times.
Recently I was appearing at the NEC Birmingham on 23rd-24th November 2013 for my good friend Paul Miley. There were many wonderful guests including the very Lovely Anita Harris.
During the afternoon I wandered over to have a chat with Peter who had been signing for hours. I approached him with my usual smile and shook Peter's hand and whispered in his ear. He then asked me to sit beside him. I told him about my friendship with Butch over the years in the film industry, that I stood in with him on a few films and also played his boyfriend in the movie 'Personal Services'. He found that very amusing! I then told Peter that I worked for 8 weeks on 'Flash Gordon'. He said what did you play? I told Peter I played three characters including one which was called an Aquarium (Fish Planet people).
I also mentioned that I knew he went to Butch's funeral a few years ago. Peter then said ''we have met before,you were at the funeral I remember now''. I replied that sadly I could not make it there Peter. He then said ''I do recognise you still my dear boy''
During my chat with Peter, I mentioned that I was a fan and loved his work on the TV series 'Department S' and Jason King and Films such as 'The Innocents' with Deborah Kerr and was sad that I never saw him on stage.He told me that he was thankful for my kind words.
I mention what Butch had told me about what he had said. I replied in my Camp Butch voice. ''You Know that Peter quite fancies you Derek''. Peter then smiled and said what were you wearing? I told Peter that I had a see-through plastic costume with very small Silver swimming trunks . Peter looked straight into my eyes and said ''Derek you can guess where I was looking , don't you?''. He then smiled. I told Peter that he was a very naughty man!! LOL!
I mentioned that I forgot to bring his Album in to sign. He told me that fans had asked about that album and that he did not have any. I told him I had the CD and would be happy to make some copies for him. Peter said ''really would you do that for me?'' I said of course. He then gave me his address. I said my goodbyes to him and kissed him on the cheek. I sent Peter 10 copies and am awaiting a reply.
It's funny really how my life has been full of connections. My late friend Sir Nigel Hawthorne was good friends with the actor Alan Bates. Nigel told me that everyone close to Alan called him 'Betty', LOL!
I had worked on two films in which Alan starred, 'The Return of a Soldier' (1982) and the other 'We Think the World of You ' (1988). And in 1990 happened to be on the same flight as Alan. We were flying from Lisbon airport. Portugal on my way home after my Honeymoon.
I was a little tipsy at the that time, having had 5 glasses of Champagne. I approached Alan and said Hello Betty! LOL! I told him who my friends was and that I had worked on two films with him. He was very pleasant to me and talked about Nigel.
Now the amazing thing about all of this is that Peter and Alan had a long relationship over the years.
SIR LAURENCE OLIVIER AND ME IN 1983
In 1983 I was working on The Last Days of Pompeii as a Stand -in. I was called to Pinewood one day when I was not really needed. I was on the film for 6 weeks or more. The first AD who's name was Ariel Levy, liked me and wanted me to earn more money!
Went to one of the stage sets which I remember was very close to where James Bond's Goldfinger car chase was filmed. Could have been H stage. I went on set and there was Larry and an actress rehearsing their scene. I watched them for for many hours and was totally mesmerized watching Larry.
At the end when they had finished filming I was feeling very tired having been up since 4am for 7 weeks. During that time I was sitting on one of the set steps and looking down. I felt a hand tapping and squeezing in a very affectionate way on my right shoulder. I looked up and there was one of the greatest actors of our time looking directly at me.
Larry smiled and said to me ''My dear young man, don't look so despondent with your life, give me a smile and be happy''. I replied and said thank you Laurence I appreciate that. Larry then said good luck with your life and career. As we both were looking at each other I felt a calm moment and deeply moved by this. He too had a tear in his eye as I did. I have never shared this before. It will go into my book one day soon!
BOB HOSKINS RIP
I worked on Mona Lisa in the 1985, the movie was directed by Neil Jordan and starred Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins!
The scene I was involved in was when Clarke Peters was chasing Bob and Cathy Tyson along the Pier and through the games and Gambling section!
As Bob runs through I have to walk across his path/ way and then he BANGS into me and knocks me down to the floor!
When I have seen it on DVD I laugh, because you see me and then BAM, I am down!! LOL!
Neil Jordan asked me if I would like to do it! I said yes!! Little did I know that we did it at least 8 or 9 times! I had no pads, just a black leather Jacket and grey casual trousers on!
They really should have got a Stuntman, but I got paid very well!
I must admit that Bob Hoskins really hammered my arm and shoulder and when I think about it now it hurts still!
He did come up every other knockdown and ask if I was ok and was so concerned.
I think he must have believed I was a real Stuntman!! LOL!
I had the pleasure in appearing with Bob in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, A Prayer before Dying, Lassiter and Pink Floyd's The Wall. The Long Good Friday. He will be dearly missed by many including me.
THE DAYS OF THE FILM 'SECOND NATURE'
Alec and his Co-Producer chose me to be his Lead Stand-in/ double/Stunt driver. I was at this time working as a Swimming Coach for a School and private club.
I was called by an old Agent and was told that Alec wanted me. Told my agent that I was now teaching and only would only doing an acting job. As I was an actor. OK years ago I have been a supporting Artist ( 'Extra' is a word I hate because it was used in the negative in the British Film Industry). Acting Assistant director, Stand-in and Stuntman, Dancer, Singer( I did some of the training for my Stunt Ticket and over the years did some minor stunts which I should not have done. But on the day of filming, I found myself in the position and could never say no to the director or AD).
Most of my fellow Supporting Artists such as Harry Fielder, and many others in those days were more experienced on a film set, some worked in Variety and some were actors who never made it. They were brilliant on Camera and could runs rings around a fresh faced drama student who has just walked out of The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Any way back to the Baldwin story. I first refused and they kept on coming back to me with a bigger money deal. So after the third time I accepted.
Worked for 7 weeks and really enjoyed working with Alec and the crew were wonderful. Filmed at Shepperton Studios and on locations in North London. Heathrow Airport where I did the Stunt driving.( Just driving at speed).
During filming Alec did throw a few tantrums, this was because he was going through a heavy divorce with Kim Basinger. Also he has a major problem with allergies. Alec and Powers Boothe had to ride a horse while doing some dialogue.
After less than 5 minutes poor Alec's eyes had swollen like he had been in a fight with Rocky Balboa!!
So now the director Ben Bolt had to use me more as a double, evening learning Alec's part. I did some scenes as Alec's character with the camera shooting from the back of my head!
I did all the driving in the classic 1960's Mercedes and did the stunt's at Heathrow Airport parking facility. One where I had to drive at speed towards the Camera and crew and then turn fast and then ended up in the carwash!! LOL!
Had to get inside one of those food trolleys which had been adapted for the airplane stowaway scene.
Then climbed up into a 10 feet air vent which then Alec had to jump from onto a man he has to kill. This was a set a Shepperton Studios made to be a public toilet.
The Unit location in North London was just at the end of the street where I was born and raised!! Funny that!
I got on well with Alec, we were the same age and he respected me and I he. During the filming we laughed, took some photos together and even cleaned Shepperton!! LOL!
He kindly signed my 'BeetleJuice' soundtrack and also my Laserdisc copy of 'The Shadow'
Well he has some Obsessive compulsive issues which I also have to a degree. On the last night shoot he picked up a broom and said ''Derek, pick up that shovel( Spade), we're going to clean up this mess''!! So for about 30 mins or so we cleaned up the area around the stage where we were filming.
Later we said our goodbyes and Alec thanked me and we hugged and he wished me well in my career as an Actor. I said it was a true pleasure to have met him.
I wished him well in life and said I had loved him in 'The Hunt for Red October' where he played Jack Ryan.
Finally met Anita who I had really fancied since I was 7 years old. She was my template for the kind of women I like. So in November 2013 I met her.
This was at the NEC MCM Memorabilia were I appeared as a guest.
On the 23rd I left my table and went to find where the lovely lady was. When I found her, went straight to her table and said Hello Anita my name is Derek and I am also a guest at this event, really so nice to meet you.
Anita smiled so sweetly and said ''Lovely to meet you too Derek''. I told Anita that I have loved her since I was small. And politely told her that I hope this
does not make you feel too old Anita.
She was so wonderful and the atmosphere between us was electric!!
My dear friend author Sam Stone was with me and I passed her my Fuji camera and then asked Anita if I could come around the table and have a photo taken. Anita replied ''yes of course you can Derek'' . when next to Anita we hugged each other and she even kissed me on the cheek! After that I looked into her lovely Brown eyes and said Anita are to single?, she said ''Married'' I quickly replied Anita if you were single would you go out with me?? She then ''Absolutely Derek '' !!
Really? ''Yes Derek''. I had the biggest smile on my face after Anita said that!
The next day in the late afternoon I went back and said hi again. Anita got up from the table and gave me a big kiss and hug. She then said ''Derek, you smell so good''. I must have gone a little Red then. Anita then placed her hands on my face and said ''Oh, and those eyes, Blue eyes,so lovely Derek''. Was I in a dream??
No this was real. I then gave a signed headshot of myself with my details. Just before I said goodbye I said to Anita, please call me and we can meet for lunch. Anita said OK I will. Maybe one day she will call me.
PAOLO ROVERSI 11TH JAN 2014 IN SWEDEN
I visited my favourite photographic gallery, Fotografiska, in Stockholm for lunch.
While in the cue to order food and a nice beer I started chatting with this lovely man. I started my conversation by commenting on his camera . It was a Fuji SLR. I then took my camera out and showed him what it could do. That I can use it underwater ect LOL! He then made a joke; Do you take it in the bath with you?? LOL! No, I swim in the Lakes of Sweden with it !!
During our conversation I told him that Fujii sent me a new Camera after I complained. He laughed!
I found out he was Italian but now lives in Paris. He then introduced himself as Paulo and then his son. I spoke my little Italian to him, he was very impressed!
During my 10 minute chat with this gentleman, I told him that I was friends with Ornella Muti and hoped to see her this coming year in Rome.
At the till he was paying for his tea and Kanelbullar(Cinnamon Cake). I told him that it was my favorite too.
After the lovely lunch we went to see this wonderful collections of Polaroid 10x8 of mainly semi-nude women by photographer Paolo Roversi.
On the way out I had a chat with one the lovely ladies who work at Fotografiska and asked how much his book was. I told her that I love Paulo's work. She then mentioned that he was in and around the gallery this very day. So I realised that the lovely Italian gentleman I had been chatting with, was infact Paolo Roversi!
Wow, I then went to see if I could find him, but alas he had gone.
On reflection I smile and laugh about meeting this highly praised photographer and how I was telling him about my Camera and what it could do!! LOL!
MOVIES AND ME
I worked on four Bond movies The Living Daylights,A View to a Kill,Octopussy and Goldeneye. Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, Victor/Victoria, Flash Gordon,Ragtime,The Mirror Crack'd', Krull,The Shinning,Quadrophenia ,Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Death Wish 3, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan , Superman 2, plus many others and did a little Stunt work working with the Stunt team on several projects .
I also worked on TV productions and was PC Craig Lovell in The Bill from 1987 to 1991. I have been fortunate enough to work with many great actors, including Robert Mitchum, Julie Andrews,Ornella Muti, Jack Nicholson,Scatman Crothers, Anthony Hopkins, Sir Laurence Olivier,Roger Moore, Sean Connery, John Rhys-Davies, Stubby Kaye, George Hearn, Robert Preston and most recently Alec Baldwin.
I have also been very lucky to have worked with George Lucas,Steven Spielberg, Peter Hunt (OHMSS) .
In 2001 I founded the Martial Arts system, 'ZenSwim'. I use Zen/Taoism principles with over 30 years of study and experience of the Martial way. First came up with the name 'Zenswim' while I was a Swimming Coach and Teacher in 2000.( I taught for 6 years)
What I decided to do was incorporate the philosophy and adapted it from my Martial Arts background and use some techniques of Swimming! I had much success as a Swimming Teacher, many of my students went on to win many competitions.
So it may seem strange to mix Swimming with Martial Arts? All flows in the universe in Circular motion, we Swim/flow everyday on our World,Planet and Universe. As Bruce Lee once said :
''Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.''
So I would say, Be like water, swimming in the Universe of Life!
I am working on a book of my techniques at this moment in 2012!
In my spare time,I sing and listen to music, practice Zen Buddhism and am interested in the works of Joseph Campbell, Taoism and Eastern philosophy.And a keen martial artist for 30 years, starting with Wu Shu Kwan and various other martial arts, including Tai Chi and Aikido.
A big influence on my life was Bruce Lee, I was fortunate enough to meet and talk with his wife Linda Lee in 1976. Linda was in London promoting her book about Bruce and their life together - ‘The Life and Tragic Death of Bruce Lee’.
I am accomplished boxer and fencer, and a fully qualified swimming teacher and coach.
At the moment I am in process of writing a book about my experiences and friendship with the late Marvin Gaye, whom I met in 1980 whilst working in Carnaby Street in a record shop called ‘Rock Dreams’.
Marvin was in London working on his last album for Motown ‘In Our Lifetime’. I was a close friend for three years and travelled with Marvin to Belgium. It was Marvin who complimented me on my voice and offered that he would record with him, saying “Derek, you have a beautiful ballad voice and some day we will work together".
I loved Marvin like a father or older brother and I know he loved me to. The day he died was a very sad day for the world of music and for me. On the 2nd April 1984 Marvins 45 birthday, I sent his agent Marilyn Freeman a telegram which read "DEAR MARVIN, I LOVE YOU AND YOUR SPIRIT WILL ALWAYS BE IN MY HEART" Love Derek.I still think of those times together, running,singing,talking about God and the Universe, laughing and having fun. I will never forget Marvin and maybe some day I will see him again!
I am a massive music and film fan and enjoy reading biographies of the Hollywood stars from the Golden Era.I love the works of Joseph Campbell .
“I am a man of many talents” this has been told to me on many occasions by my friends and peers. I have directed , written and performed at private and public events from Comedy, Singing and various Impersonations as far as Japan and most of Europe. The last event was at Jedicon 2008 where I was invited to talk and perform over two day period on stage performing two , one hour performances which were given rave reviews by the audience and promoter.
In 17th September 2009 in Germany I was awarded the Honorary Membership of the 501st legion, this is a great honour and I am so proud of this Award! . In 2010 there are Convention for Charity including Spain and the UK!
Have helped several Charity Conventions over the years including Claudia Con 2011, PARKINSON'S UK which raised £6,575 with some of my autographs which I donated.
I have been using my Voice Skills this year with Dark Empire Radio( Joe Mignano) and performing my impersonations of Sean Connery, C3PO, Tigger and Christopher Lee with much success. Have a part in a possible movie in 2011 if my health is good and appearing at Charity Events and hope to raise money for the Children's Trust
Am writing two books, one my autobiography and the other about Marvin Gaye. They should be finished this century!! LOL!
This year after 3 years of study I received my Bachelor of Arts BA in Cinema Studies, so now Derek Lyons BA.
Still appearing and giving interviews and talks on film. Earlier this year I was invited as a tutor for the Production Guild at Pinewood Studios by Terry Bamber for a trial course for Assistant Directors.
I was given much praise for my talk. Will be working with the Production Guild on a regular basis soon.
I officially received my BA in Cinema Studies from Professor Michael Nimier ( AUOL) at the Kensington Hotel, London.
I am now connected with Celeb4kids/Peace which was created by the Actor and friend Adrian Paul.
Have now rejoined Actors Spotlight and am ready to Act again, watch this space!
Having private lessons with friend Graham Dixon Director of the Michael Chekhov Studio, London. Graham is the Director and Founder of the Michael Chekhov Studio London and Simon Callow is the Patron.
Had a meeting Julien Temple to talk about contributing to his film about my late friend Marvin Gaye starring Jesse L. Martin. And have been a consultant on this film. Also will be credited on it too.
Been filming a very secret and special documentary by directer Jon Spira and produced by Hank Starrs.
Also was interviewed for a major book with Centipede Press The Shining.
Marvin Gaye film as well. I was an adviser on this film.
At the moment I am connected to two films and a book. One of the films is a Star Wars documentary, the second a biopic on my dear friend Marvin Gaye . The book is a collection of essays by members cast and crew who had worked on Stanley Kubrick's film 'The Shining'.
I have now 3 film projects coming out in 2014 and a book.
Will let you all know the about the other projects soon.
Also I start on my 5th project which is my Autobiography. This should be completed by mid 2014!
The book will cover my childhood and the sparks that led me to who I am now. Been a very tough road for me emotionally and mentally . My friendship with Sir Nigel Hawthorne, Marvin Gaye and many amazing stories of fellow actors and directors I have met and known including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sir Laurence Olivier, Robert Mitchum and Jack Nicholson.
My family connections with the music and film industry. Great Uncle Bert Mac a singer/ agent in the 1920's- 1960's and my Uncle Terry Duggan who was a stuntman/ Comedian/writer and actor.
My creation of my Martial Art Zenswim and my spiritual journey.
MY LIFE WHICH CONTINUES 2014
As you can see is an open book and always speaks the truth and never to offend.
I do suffer from depression which rears it's ugly head from time to time. Then the shit really hits the fan! The accident a few years ago has had an effect on my memory and other health issues too which then makes all things worse.
So at this time I am going through it my friends. Don't believe all the smiles!!
There are some out there who profess to be friends but are really not as they chat behind one's back. They know who they are so I don't have to mention names( Would not do that). I am proud to be eccentric as some have said over time and most recently.
A professor friend of mine Roger Stevens once told me over 20 years ago this. ''Derek without people like you,the world would be so bloody boring''. He then said Great eccentrics like Sir Isaac Newton, Quentin Crisp and Oscar Wilde, imagine a world with these men''?. I by the way am not comparing myself with these greats including Kate Bush who also has been called eccentric.
Look I love the film and entertainment world and artistic people in all friends whether as crew, hair and makeup, Wardrobe dept. All have skills which are brilliant.
Also I do have friends who are well known and A-list Stars who are good friends, but to me they are just friends nothing more or less.
It has been said that 'Derek knows everyone and all are his good friends', well to a point this is true. I have been blessed with a gift of communication and friendliness which people pick up on when I first meet them. This has been said some of my close friends including some Star Wars Actors. Many artist I have met outside the entertainment industry. Including Marvin Gaye, Anthony Hopkins and Sir Nigel Hawthorne RIP who I knew since I was 12 years old.
My late uncle Terry Duggan was a stuntman and Actor. My great Uncle Bert Mac was the highest paid singer in the 1920's-1960's who had recorded on CBS,PARLOPHONE. He was an agent who looked after and discovered Frank Carson( Comedian) Josef Locke( Singer) and Dana.
My late father looked after Georgie Fame and was close friends with Matt Monro and many great British stuntmen and assistant directors including Andy Armstrong, Vic Armstrong Michael Stevenson, Terry Bamber,Terry Madden, Andy Bradford,Greg Powell, Gary Powell, Derek Lea, Peter Brace, Nosher and Dinny Powell and Roy Scammell. Roy saved my life when I was 2 years old by pulling me out of 10 Feet of water when I fell into a swimming pool in Finchley.
My Grandfather Arthur Lyons was a tailor to the real Hollywood stars such as Fred Astaire,Rex Harrison, Robert Mitchum and His Royal Highness Edward VIII.
So I have had some amazing connections that some will be envious of, well that's their problem.
I am not an egotistical man, just a man that has passion and love for all!
I as the late and great Joseph Campbell once said ''FOLLOW YOUR BLISS''
Well I do this every day!
I am an Artist of life