Over the years, PETER has attended hundreds of parties and events. This on-going section will tell the stories behind some of his adventures…
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A SURPRISE ENCORE WITH A CUDDLE FROM THE KING
The London Evening News – Thursday, 10 October, 1973
Dawn was almost breaking before Sally Ann Howes and PETER WYNGARDE got to their beds today after their triumphant West End first night in The King and I. It had been an emotional occasion at the Adelphi Theatre, with audience applause thundering out and curtain call after curtain call.
One of the most emotional moments of all – which was totally unexpected by the stars – came when the curtain rose one more time to find the two of them hugging each other with delight. PETER explained: “We thought the curtain was down for good and we just fell into each other’s arms in relief. It was a magic moment.
⇐ PETER at a party after the triumphant first night revival of The King and I.
“I don’t know what we said but it sort of sealed the occasion. I imagine we were just gasping our thanks to each other”.
Backstage after all the congratulations from people like Cicely Courtneidge, who looks upon herself as a second mother to Sally Ann Howes, the stars exchanged presents.
He, using a line from the script, gave her a large model elephant. “I think it’s brought us both good luck”, he told her.
She, remembering that the King wears glasses in the show, gave his a pair of Georgian spectacles. Said TV’s Jason King: “When I get the lenses taken out , I will wear them in future performances”.
Both of them went on to a series of parties to mark the opening. There were public ones and private celebrations. PETER got to two of them but missed a third. “With a matinee due today,” he said, “I felt I had to sleep some time”.
It was his first West End musical, and he was at the theatre early to mentally adjust himself from London to Siam – leaving one world for another.
“It was wonderful hearing the adulation for the music,” he said. “I was so nervous that I must’ve gargled a hundred times before going on stage.”
“But it was exhilaration rather than fear. My last words to Sally were, “look into my eyes while we’re out there.”
⇑ PETER pictured with Verity Lambert at the 1961 World premiere of ‘Too Late Blues’, which starred Bobby Darin and Stella Stevens.
“I’ve always loved Classic Cars. I’ve owned a Bristol, Studebaker, TR7 and several Porsches.
The first car I had was a 2-stroke Jowett, which has a chassis that made partly from a material which made the strangest noises. Andrew Faulds, who was a fellow actor and who I shared a dressing room with when I played Voltimand in Sir Alec Guinness’ production of ‘Hamlet’.
Andrew and I would tootle around Hyde Park in the Jowett on our days off, trying to pick up birds”. PETER WYNGARDE
PETER at the opening night of ‘Oh, Calcutta!’ at the Roundhouse, Camden, London: Monday, 27th July, 1970
“I didn’t like the show”, PETER said. “I found it very amateurish”.
⇐ PETER (just in picture to the right), with Roger Moore and Princess Muna of Jordan during her visit to Elstree Studios on 7 July, 1966.
The London Evening Standard – Thursday, 21st September, 1972
Actor PETER WYNGARDE, star of the television series Jason King, and singer Dana Gillespie were among guests who fled a fire early today at a Piccadilly nightclub.
Firemen, some wearing breathing apparatus, rescued five people trapped by the flames. The rescue was hampered because firemen were unable to get their appliances into Mason’s Yard, off Jermyn Street, to tackle the blaze at the three-story Music Workshop Club. But after dragging an escape ladder across the yard, they rescued two men from the roof and helped three others from the top floor flat down an internal staircase.
Lee Jackson, a 25-year-old flautist with Jackson heights, was playing at the club when the alarm was raised. He said: “We had just finished our set when the manager yelled fire, but he’s known as a practical joker, so we ignored him.”
PETER WYNGARDE, who was unhurt in the blaze said: “I smelt smoke, so raised the alarm and left.”
In 1973, whilst PETER was on a promotional tour of Germany and Austria, he took a couple of days off to go skiing in Switzerland.
Whilst there, he met a group of underprivileged British kids and their teacher, who’d been taking on by a charity. As a kindly gesture, he paid for the group to go up the mountain by cable car.
Julia Young, who was then part of the class told the Hellfire Club recently: “I met PETER when I was on a charity skiing trip in Switzerland. He wanted to do something for our group and tried to arrange skiing lessons but his PR people wanted to big up the charity angle and he refused. Instead he arranging sleighs to take us to his hotel, and he had a tea party for us in the lobby. Such a wonderful, kind and generous man. He gave me hope that celebrities can be nice people as well”.
Jason King still reigns, just less of a woman’s man
The Sunday Express – 26 April, 2015
TV HERO Jason King was the epitome of the dilettante dandy in the 1970s, breaking crime rings and hearts with equal gusto ⇒
For some, his famous breakfast quip “a bit too early for coffee… I think I’ll have Scotch”, will for ever hold memories of a bygone, more carefree era.
Actor PETER WYNGARDE, who played the suave author-cum-spy in Department S and Jason King between 1969 and 1972, was once mobbed by 30,000 hysterical Australian women at Sydney airport.
Now the wavy locks of hair are gone, the moustache is duly trimmed and the clothes, said by Hollywood star Mike Myers to have inspired the Austin Powers look, are somewhat tamer.
Still, at 86, WYNGARDE was the star attraction yesterday as he signed autographs at the London Film Memorabilia Convention.
He still had a gaggle of adoring female fans clamouring to speak to him.
He once admitted: “Jason King had champagne and strawberries for breakfast, just as I did myself. Yet when I think about it now, I’m amazed I’m still here.”
Life was not always so lush, however. As the son of a diplomat he grew up in different countries and was in Shanghai when the Japanese invaded during the Second World War. Author JG Ballard was a fellow prisoner of the Japanese at Shanghai’s Lunghua civilian internment camp in 1943.
PETER at the Munich Beer Festival, 1973 ⇒
Getting into the spirit of the forthcoming presentation of ‘The King and I’ at the Adelphi Theatre, London.
PETER and his Co-star, Sally Anne Howes took a Chinese junk called the Hoi Lung (‘Sea Dragon’) up the Thames to Tower Bridge on Thursday, 13th September, 1973. Reporters and photographers were invited to join the two stars from their press launch for the two-hour trip down the river.
For the shoot, both PETER and Sally Anne wore full theatrical costumes. His comprised of a knee-length velvet Kimono with a cloak trimmed with gold braid, a 900-year old Moroccan bracelet and clogs.
The Duke of Gloucester chats with PETER and Delia Sainsbury backstage at the Theatre Royal, Bristol, on Tuesday, 10th September, 1974, after a performance of ‘Present Laughter’. With them is Charles Clarke, the theatre’s owner.
The Theatre Royal had chosen ‘Present Laughter’ to re-open their splendid Georgian theatre of September 9th, following a summer refurbishment.
The Duke, who was the guest of honour at the ‘black-tie’ occasion, joined invited guests of the management and company at a champagne party on stage after the show.
There were many civic dignitaries from Bath, Bristol and elsewhere to lend importance to the occasion, which brought hopeful signals for a new and profitable lease of life for the grand old theatre.
N.B. Apologies for the quality of the photo’, as it has come from a newspaper and hasn’t copied well. However, I thought you’d rather see it as is as opposed to not at all.
⇐ PETER with fellow actor, Stanley Baker, at the Annual Variety Club dinner – November, 1973
PETER with the late pop singer, Lyndsey de Paul, at a party at the Empire Pool , Wembley, on 12 September, 1975, in honour of Alice Cooper ⇒
⇐ PETER and his girlfriend, Victoria Berkley, at the premier of ‘Flash Gordon’, 1980
Each of the stars of the film went to a premier in different cities around the world. PETER was chosen to attend the New York showing.
This photo’ of PETER and actress, Edina Ronay, was taken at the premier of ‘Georgy Girl’ in London, 1966 ⇒
⇐ This photograph of PETER and his beau, Suzanna Leigh, was taken at the Plaza Theatre, Lower Regent Street, London, on February 2nd, 1972, where Roman Polanski’s ‘Macbeth’ was being held in aid of The Association For Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.
The production, which starred Jon Finch in the title role; Francesca Annis as Lady Macbeth, and Martin Shaw as Banquo, was performed in the presence of Princess Anne.
MANY HAPPY RETURNS OF THE DAY FOR CHARLIE CHAPLAIN
There was a standing ovation for Charlie Chaplain at the charity premier of ‘Modern Times’ ay the Paramount Theatre on Saturday, 19th February, 1972.
Princess Alexandra and her husband, Angus Ogilvy, where there to enjoy the film, with our very own PETER WYNGARDE – a lifelong Chaplain fan.
The critics appeared to enjoy it too. They were there along with PETER, Joseph cotton, Jenny Agutter and Duncan Sandys when they met the 82-year old silent movie legend afterwards at the pub named after him at the Elephant and Castle in London.
Later that evening, there was a gala dinner party at the Savoy at which the stars were entertained by the Princess and her husband.
PETER commented to waiting pressmen that he thought the power cuts which had plagued Britain that particular year were made all the more ironic after attending the premier: “Many a true word is spoken in jest,” he quipped.
⇐ PETER with lady friend at the races, 1972
PETER meets a young disabled fan in Oslo, 1970 ⇒
⇐ PETER with Austrian actress, Antonia Reininghaus, at the premier of ‘Alten Simpl’ (Montag/Dienstag, 31 October 1977)
PETER meets Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent after the Royal Charity Premier of ‘Flash Gordon’ at the ABC Cinema in Shaftsbury Avenue, London – December, 1980.
The charities that benefited from the screening were The Variety Club of Great Britain, The Army Benevolent Fund, The International Social Services of Great Britain and The Charities Aid Foundation.
© The Hellfire Club: The OFFICIAL PETER WYNGARDE Appreciation Society: https://www.facebook.com/groups/813997125389790/