WORLD-OBITS-L ArchivesArchiver > WORLD-OBITS > 2007-11 > 1195420089
From: "Peter McCrae" <>
Subject: [WORLD-OBITS] FELLOWS: Donald Fellows
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2007 21:08:09 -0000
Last Updated: 2:37am GMT 16/11/2007
Don Fellows, the American-born stage and screen actor who has died aged 84,
made his name in the theatre on both sides of the Atlantic before deciding
in mid-career, in the 1970s, to settle in London.
A stalwart of West End imports from Broadway such as Promises, Promises,
Chicago and Crazy For You, Fellows brought a jaunty authenticity, warm
personality and dry humour to numerous roles in both the straight and
musical theatre as well as in films and television and radio programmes - he
is fondly remembered as Conn Kortchmar in The Archers.
A gentle, unobtrusive, versatile player of considerable finesse and sharp
comic timing, he had an endearing way of making minor parts of major
interest - none more so, perhaps, than that of Mr Cellophane, the constantly
overlooked husband of a gun-toting woman due to face the gallows in the
musical Chicago, to whom Fellows brought a haunting quality of sorrow that
was devoid of self-pity; it was a triumphant portrayal of affronted dignity.
Fellows also did sterling work in the "straight" theatre, usually in
American plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, the
regions and the fringe.
Donald Fellows was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on December 2 1922. After
graduating from the University of Wisconsin and the United States Merchant
Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York, he began his stage career with
Sanford Meisner at New York's Neighbour Playhouse on Grand Street. Invited
in 1952 to join the Actors' Studio, he studied with Lee Strasberg before
moving to London.
He had made his New York debut in 1949 opposite Mary Martin as Lt Buzz Adams
in the original production of South Pacific. He followed this with the
happy-go-lucky Ensign Pulver in the Broadway play Mister Roberts, starring
Among his many other Broadway credits was the role of Jesse Vanderhof in
Neil Simon's long-running musical comedy Promises, Promises, which first
brought Fellows to the West End (Prince of Wales, 1969).
He returned to New York for a few seasons before coming back to London in
Terence Rattigan's double bill, In Praise of Love (Duchess, 1973), starring
Donald Sinden and Joan Greenwood.
Fellows also played The Lackey in Before Dawn and Mark Walters in After
Lydia. It was after this production that he decided to remain in England for
good, taking up work in television and films, though it was not until Peter
James's hit production six years later from the Sheffield Crucible of the
John Kaner/Fred Ebb musical vaudeville Chicago (Cambridge Theatre), with a
"book" by Neil Simon, that he got his next big West End opportunity.
Fellows had many stage credits in Britain, among them David Edgar's Maydays
(RSC, Barbican, 1983); Seamus Finnegan's Tout (1984); David Rabe's Vietnam
war play, Sticks and Bones; Paul Osborn's 1939 family play Morning's at
Seven; Philip Barry's Holiday; William Inge's Bus Stop (with Lee Remick); A
Tribute to Lily Lamont (with Gloria Grahame); and David Henry Hwang's M.
Butterfly (Shaftesbury, 1989).
He also appeared in the London premiere of David Mamet's Reunion (King's
Head and Cottesloe); in I Ought to be in Pictures (Redgrave, Farnham); The
Big Knife (Watford Palace); Arthur Miller's American Clock (Birmingham Rep);
and William Douglas-Home's Dame of Sark (Windsor).
For the Nottingham Playhouse he was in A Midsummer Night's Dream; A View
>From the Bridge; and the 1941 American musical comedy Lady in the Dark.
His film credits included Raiders of the Lost Ark; Superman II and IV; Spy
Story; Klute; Haunted Honeymoon; Electric Dreams; Enigma; Pretty Poison; and
Twilight's Last Gleaming. On television he appeared in Inspector Morse;
Jeeves and Wooster; The Beiderbecke Tapes; The Citadel; Lily Langtry; Inside
the Third Reich; Oppenheimer; Tales of the Unexpected; and Monsignor
Don Fellows was married to the actress and choreographer Miranda Fellows.
They had four daughters.
|[WORLD-OBITS] FELLOWS: Donald Fellows by "Peter McCrae" <>|