Victor Spinetti

Victor Spinetti (born 2 September 1933 in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales) is a renowned Welsh comic actor. He was born of Welsh and Italian heritage (his grandfather walked from Italy to Wales), and educated at Monmouth School, and Welsh College of Music and Drama, of which he is now a fellow.

He sprang to international prominence in three Beatles’ films in the 1960s, A Hard Day’s Night, Help! and Magical Mystery Tour. He also appeared on one of The Beatles’ Christmas recordings. Other films include Zeffirelli’s The Taming of the Shrew, Under Milk Wood with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Becket, The Voyage of the Damned, The Return of the Pink Panther, Under the Cherry Moon and The Krays.

Spinetti’s work in Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop produced many memorable performances including Fings Ain’t What They Used To Be, and Oh! What a Lovely War, which transferred to New York and for which he won a Tony Award. He has appeared in the West End including as Felix in The Odd Couple, Windy City, his critically acclaimed one man show, A Very Private Diary, and recently in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He has also appeared on Broadway in The Hostage and The Philanthropist.

He has also acted with the Royal Shakespeare Company, in such roles as Lord Foppington in The Relapse and the Archbishop in Richard III. Spinetti co-authored In His Own Write, the play with John Lennon, and directed Jesus Christ Superstar, and Hair. He has also made many television appearances on British TV. Spinetti’s poetry, notably Watchers Along the Mall, 1963, and prose, have appeared in various publications. A legendary raconteur and mimic, Jane Fonda once asked, “Victor, you play comedy and you play tragedy — how do you do both?” He replied, “Well, you have to listen.” She said, “Pardon me?” His younger brother, Henry, is a noted drummer.

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