Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Leslie Randall

Actor Leslie Randall, in character as Danny Boon in the film 'Billy Liar (1963) delivers his catchphrase: It's all happening

Leslie Randall:

† Oct 19 1924 – Aug 2 2020

I don't think I'd ever really mentally registered the name of Leslie Randall, despite his brief but memorable appearance as TV comedian Danny "It's All Happening" Boon in 'Billy Liar' (1963), one of my favourite films. At the time of shooting for John Schlesinger's classic version, Randall would probably be familiar as the co-star of ITV's first sitcom, 'Joan & Leslie' with his real-life wife Joan Reynolds, which ran to 71 episodes between 1956 and 1958 (although no footage survives). His portrayal of Boon, a ruthless professional behind a vapidly cheerful TV persona, sees him crush Billy's one and only daydream with any chance of coming true.              

In an episode of 'The Monkees' from 1967
A stalwart of the last years of music hall, he was regularly seen on panel games and variety shows during the '50s, but his pre-'Billy Liar' film and TV career is rather slight, he's in the war movie 'Mystery Submarine' (1963) and also stars in the light comedy 'Just Joe' (1960) again with his wife, and a cast including Anna Mae Wong and Jon Pertwee.

Perhaps finding opportunities a little slim in the UK, he headed for the states, where he pops up slightly unexpectedly in episodes of 'I Dream Of Jeannie' and 'The Monkees', before heading for Australia to revive the 'Joan & Leslie' concept, as newly-arrived British immigrants in Melbourne.           

In the Australian reboot of 'Joan & Leslie' from the late '60s
Later appearances are quite a hotchpotch, ranging from the lowly soap 'Emmerdale Farm' to Derek Jarman's painfully arty 'The Garden' (1990) via a corporate short for Abbey National with Patsy Rowlands. 

A one of the regular Vox Pops in 'According To Bex'
After numerous long gaps, he seems to have found a new lease of life in comedy, with regular small roles in 'My Family'  and Jessica (Hynes) Stevenson's 'According To Bex', before presumably settling into retirement around 2008. Born in 1924, he's now well into his '90s, so it's well deserved.      

With Emma Thompson in the Dustin Hoffman
movie 'Last Chance Harvey' (2008) 
Leslie Randall-imdb

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