Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Remembering Bernard Breslaw

Bernard Breslaw was born on February 25m 1934 in Stepney, London, England. He attended the Coopers' Company's School in Tredegar Square, Bow, London E3. His father was a tailor's cutter and he became interested in acting after visits to the Hackney Empire. London County Council awarded him a scholarship to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art where he won the Emile Littler Award as the most promising actor. After Educating Archie on radio and The Army Game on television, more television, film and Shakespearean theatre roles followed, until his big break when he was cast in his only Euro-western “Carry on Cowboy” in 1965.
He was featured as Varga, the lead villain in the 1968 Doctor Who story “The Ice Warriors”. Even though all the actors playing the aliens were over six feet tall, Bresslaw towered over them. Sonny Caldinez, who played an Ice Warrior in the story, stated in a 2004 interview that Bresslaw "was the only man that could make me feel small."
Although officially starring in 14 Carry On films, Bresslaw did appear in one other: “Carry On Nurse”. The legs of Terence Longdon were deemed to be too thin and scrawny looking, so Bresslaw's were used as stand-ins for the scene where Joan Sims gives him a bath.
Bresslaw's catchphrase, in his strong Cockney accent, was "I only arsked" (sic), first used in TV’s “The Army Game” (1957-1961), and later revived in “Carry On Camping” (1969). In his fleeting appearance as an angry lorry driver in the 1970 film “Spring and Port Wine”, his character was dubbed.
Bresslaw, at 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m), was the tallest of the Carry On cast, head and shoulders over fellow Carry On regular, Barbara Windsor, who is 4 ft 10 in (1.47 m). Because of his height he was briefly considered for the part of the Creature in Hammer's “Curse of Frankenstein” (1957), which ultimately went instead to 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Christopher Lee. Bresslaw later made a comedy version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for Hammer titled The Ugly Duckling (1959). He made great efforts to prepare for roles, for example learning genuine Swahili phrases for “Carry On Up the Jungle” (1970).
Bernard died of a heart attack on June 11, 1993 in London.
Today we remember Bernard Bresslaw on what would have been his 80th birthday.

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