Ivor Emmanuel was born in Pontrhydyfen, near Port Talbot in 1927. On 11th May 1941, he and his younger brother John, survived a direct hit on their home during an air-raid. Both parents, maternal grandfather and 3 year old sister were killed. While John was taken away from the village to be brought up by their father’s brother, Ivor stayed in Pontrhydyfen to be brought up by their mother’s sister . Ivor’s talent as a singer/actor was very evident from an early age and he soon was very much in demand both in chapel and amateur stage.
His first professional engagement came half-way through the run of the show “Oklahoma” after a visit to see his old friend Richard Burton, also born in Pontrhydyfen. Show followed show including South Pacific, The King and I and Damn Yankees. In fact he almost became resident at Drury Lane Theatre! He moved from chorus to lead parts and joined D’Oily Carte for almost two years but soon to TV where he will be best remembered for the all Welsh “Gwlad Y Gan’ (Land Of Song) .
He made many other TV appearances and featured on at least two Royal Command shows and also appeared on Broadway in the musical “Time for singing”. In his only movie he played Private Owen in “Zulu” wherein he sings an English version of Men of Harlech. He had three children (all now adults) – Sian, Simon and Emily and lived in Costa Del Sol Spain with his wife Malinee ,having retired there in 1982.
He died on July 19th 2007 at the age of 80.