Birthday: November 18, 1941
Died At Age: 62
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: David Edward Leslie Hemmings
Born in: Guildford
Famous as: Actor
Height: 5'8" (173 cm), 5'8" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Lucy Williams, Gayle Hunnicutt (1968-1975), Genista Ouvry (1960-1967), Prudence de Casembroot (1976-1997)
children: Charlotte Hemmings, Deborah Hemmings, Edward Hemmings, George Hemmings, Nolan Hemmings, William Hemmings
Died on: December 3, 2003
Cause of Death: Heart Attack
David Edward Leslie Hemmings was an English singer, actor, producer, and director. In 1967, he established the Hemdale Film Corporation, an independent British-American film production company and distributor. Originally from Surrey, Hemmings was a boy soprano in his childhood and sang several works by the composer Benjamin Britten. He made his screen debut as a child actor and one of his early roles was in the 1957 film ‘Five Clues to Fortune’. His breakthrough role came about in 1966 when he was cast in the film ‘Blowup’. Hemmings was one of the few child stars who successfully transitioned to more mature roles with age. In the 1970s and 1980s, he established himself as one of the most prominent character actors in Hollywood and continued to play important supporting roles in the 1990s and early 2000s. Besides acting, Hemmings maintained a moderately successful musical career. He was a teen idol in the early 1960s and continued to compose songs in the 1970s. As a director and producer, Hemmings had been active on both the big and the small screens. In 1973, he won the Silver Berlin Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival for his directorial venture ‘The 14’.
Childhood & Early Life
Born on November 18, 1941, in Guildford, Surrey, England, David Hemmings was the son of a cookie merchant and his wife. He had been a student of Alleyn's School, Glyn Grammar School in Ewell and the Arts Educational School.
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David Hemmings began performing as a boy tenor for the composer Benjamin Britten. Their most significant collaboration was Britten's chamber opera ‘Turn of the Screw’ (1954), in which Hemmings portrayed the role of Miles.
While there were speculations about the nature of the relationship between Hemmings and Britten, who was about 28 years older than him, it was purely innocent. In 1956, Hemmings’ voice broke and Britten subsequently severed all ties with him.
As a child actor, Hemmings made uncredited appearances in films like ‘The Rainbow Jacket’ (1954) before landing the role of Ken in the 1957 crime-drama ‘Five Clues to Fortune’. He also appeared in the telefilm ‘King’s Rhapsody’ that year.
He had important roles in films like ‘The Heart Within’ (1957), ‘No Trees in the Street’ (1959), ‘Men of Tomorrow’ (1959), ‘In the Wake of a Stranger’ (1959), ‘Sink the Bismarck!’ (1960), and ‘The Wind of Change’ (1961).
Hemmings was cast as Dave Martin in the teen musical ‘Live It Up’ (1963). Following the movie’s success, Hemmings suddenly became a teen idol. He would go on to star in the 1965 sequel to the film, ‘Be My Guest’.
As he grew up, Hemmings became accustomed to playing a variety of characters. He was cast as Mordred in the musical ‘Camelot’ (1967), Sharon Tate’s brother in ‘Eye of the Devil’ (1966), and rebel leader Dildano in the science fiction film ‘Barbarella’ (1968).
In the 1970s and 1980s, he appeared in films like ‘The Prince and the Pauper’ (1977), the Australian vampire horror ‘Thirst’ (1979), and ‘Man, Woman and Child’ (1983).
In 2000, Hemmings shared screen space with Russell Crowe in the Oscar-winning film ‘Gladiator’. His final cinematic appearance was in the romance drama ‘Romantik’, which was released three years after his death, in March 2007.
In 1967, Hemmings put out his studio album, ‘David Hemmings Happens’. He was also listed as one of the songwriters of Easybeats’ track ‘Pasadena’.
He and fellow actor John Daly set up Hemdale Film Corporation in 1967. His producing/directing credits include ‘Running Scared’ (1972), ‘The 14’ (1973), ‘The Survivor’ (1981), and ‘Lone Justice: Showdown at Plum Creek’ (1996).
In 1966, David Hemmings starred in the mystery-thriller ‘Blowup’. Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, the film is the epitome of the cinematic expression of the 1960s’ counterculture. Hemmings portrayed a London fashion photographer who comes to believe that he had unwittingly taken pictures of a murder. The film was a critical and commercial success and is considered one of the most significant entries in the history of cinema.
Family & Personal Life
David Hemmings’ first wife was Genista Ouvry, to whom he was married from 1960 to 1967. The union produced a daughter, named Deborah. He became acquainted with his second wife, actress Gayle Hunnicutt, while he was on his US promotional tour for ‘Blowup’. They married on November 16, 1968, and had a son together: actor Nolan Hemmings (born 1970).
During his marriage with Hunnicutt, he had affairs with several women, including actress Samantha Eggar and his secretary Baroness Prudence de Casembroot. The couple divorced in 1975.
He exchanged wedding vows with de Casembroot on March 19, 1976. She gave birth to four of his children: daughter Charlotte and sons Edward, George, and William. Even while he was married to de Casembroot, he continued to have extramarital affairs.
Hemmings and his third wife parted ways in 1997. His fourth and final wife was Lucy Williams, whom he married on October 18, 2002. Their union lasted until his death on December 3, 2003.
At the age of 62, Hemmings passed away in Bucharest, Romania, on the film set of ‘Blessed’, after suffering a heart attack. He is interred in the graveyard of St Peter's Church, Calne, Wiltshire.