Victor Spinetti, an actor who is probably best known for his frequent collaborations with the Beatles in the films “A Hard Day’s Night”, “Help!”, and “Magical Mystery Tour,” passed away on Monday at a hospice facility in Monmouth after struggling with prostate cancer. He was 82 years-old.
Spinetti, who began his acting career with the Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop, made his film acting debut in director Brian Desmond Hurst’s medical drama “Behind the Mask”. After appearing in a number of features, usually in minor or uncredited roles, Spinetti soon found himself cast as a TV director in the Beatles 1964 musica/comedy “A Hard Day’s Night”, the first of three collaborations with the legendary band.
Although he’s probably best known for his endeavors with the Beatles, Spinetti also appeared in a number of other popular motion pictures, including “The Return of the Pink Panther”, “Voyage of the Damned”, and “Under Milk Wood”, the latter of which starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. In 1986, the prolific actor was cast in Prince’s romantic drama “Under the Cherry Moon”, which found Spinetti portraying one of the Jaded Three. In addition to his feature film and theater work, Spinetti leant his voice to a number of children’s television programs.
“He was a wonderful actor and a wonderful raconteur,” his agent Barry Burnett explained to Reuters. “Everyone looked forward to having an evening with him because they were going to be entertained. He would start talking and he would never stop.”
Shortly before his death, the actor was visited by his “Oh! What a Lovely War” co-star Barbara Windsor. “We were very close. He was another of my great friends from that era. He was such a great man,” she said. “He was such a good actor because he took notice of people and used their characters. He portrayed them wonderfully, whatever he did.”
Comedian Rob Brydon, who recently co-starred with Steve Coogan in Michael Winterbottom’s “The Trip”, issued a tweet upon learning of Spinetti’s passing. “So sad Victor Spinetti has died,” he wrote. “The funniest story teller I’ve ever met and a lovely warm man.”
Although I certainly remember his contributions to the aforementioned Beatles’ films, I will always remember Spinetti for his turn in the Mike + the Mechanics 1985 video “All I Need is a Miracle”. You can find the clip embedded below. For more information about Victor Spinetti, swing by Famous Dead.