Peter Fontaine, actor – obituary


Peter Fontaine, who has died aged 95, was a flexible character actor on stage and display and appeared in movies starting from The Third Man (1949) to Confessions of a Window Cleaner (1974) and For Your Eyes Solely (1981); he additionally served in Burma in the course of the battle and was one of many final surviving officers who attended the VJ Day seventieth anniversary celebrations in 2015.

Peter Fontaine was born Peter Harold Pexton at Edmonton on July 21 1920. His mother and father divorced three years later, after his brother Geoffrey was born, and the 2 boys had been break up up, one to every dad or mum. Peter’s brother was cared for briefly by his father, however was then given up for adoption. Peter was despatched to his grandmother after his mom remarried.

Leisure ran within the household. His paternal great-grandfather was Bartholomew Pexton, the inventor and producer of the Cremoniene reed organ. His grandfather, Chatham Pexton, so-called as a result of the household believed they had been the illegitimate descendants of the Earl of Chatham, was a provider of magic lanterns and maker of lantern slides, the Victorian precursor to cinema.

Peter was a shiny, however not educational, pupil and after leaving college he attended the London Faculty of Drama. When battle broke out he joined the Royal Corps of Alerts, serving in Eire, Scotland, Africa, India and Burma.

At an Military camp live performance, the place he performed Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, he was noticed as having management potential by his commanding officer, additionally a eager newbie actor, who despatched him to Catterick for officer cadet coaching. His first skilled efficiency was throughout per week’s depart on the Belfast Opera Home in a play referred to as Younger Madame Conti.

When requested about his battle days, Fontaine was fond of claiming that he had performed plenty of bridge. In reality, Captain Pexton (as he then was) fought the Japanese within the Burmese jungle and had some shut shaves, together with changing into misplaced throughout a mission to repair a telegraph line, after which he needed to spend the night time in hiding, with the enemy solely yards away.

As a part of Normal Slim’s “Forgotten Military” he didn’t return to England till July 1946. By night time he then appeared with repertory firms, by day he began numerous companies, together with catering vans on blitzed constructing websites in London.

Having taken the title Peter Fontaine, he appeared in additional than 200 performs in the course of the course of the next six years. Within the Eighties he was in No Intercourse Please, We’re British on the Garrick. His final West Finish function was taking part in Mr Cool in London Assurance, directed by Sam Mendes, which transferred to the Theatre Royal Haymarket from Chichester in 1989.

In 1955 he met his spouse Myra and moved together with her to Hollywood, the place he noticed a lot of his good friend Roger Moore, whom he had met when the Bond star was beginning out on the modelling circuit, posing for knitting patterns.

Again dwelling, Fontaine starred in a number of basic tv ads similar to one for Concord Hairspray, as certainly one of two bowler-hatted males in a cab arguing about whether or not the girl biking alongside was sporting hairspray.

He additionally tried his hand as a theatrical producer.

He appeared in additional than 100 movies. In For Your Eyes Solely he performed the captain of a fishing trawler which reveals itself to be a high-tech British spy vessel armed with a nuclear bomb.

Fontaine’s tv credit included The Saint, The Avengers, Z Vehicles, The Liver Birds and Hello-de-Hello!.

He toured in performs till he was aged 80, his final present being The Kingfisher (2000).

In 2015 he marched down Whitehall as a Burma Star veteran. As his spouse and daughter helped him stroll out of Horse Guards and the crowds cheered, he mentioned: “How bloody embarrassing.”

Peter Fontaine loved tennis, and performed golf with the Actors’ Golf Society.

He’s survived by his spouse and their son and daughter.

Peter Fontaine, born July 21 1920, died June 7 2016


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