Lloyd Nelson Lamble (8 February 1914 – 17 March 2008) was an Australian actor who worked in theatre, television, radio and film. He lived and worked two-thirds of his life in the United Kingdom (UK).
Lloyd Lamble was born in Melbourne to William HS Lamble and Francis AS Lamble (née Potter). He was the youngest of four children, all boys. His father William Lamble was a viola player in the Sisserman String Quartet, and in symphony orchestras in Melbourne; secretary of the Musicians Union of Australia; a music teacher, pianist, organist, choirmaster, and composer. His grandfather was a music professor.
Lloyd was married three times in Australia. His first marriage to Marjorie ended in divorce. His second marriage to Barbara Smith also ended in divorce, though they had two children together. His third marriage was in his early thirties to actor Lesley Jackson. Lloyd and Lesley adopted two children, and remained together for over 60 years.
He donated a copy of his 1994 unpublished autobiography to the National Library of Australia. The book reveals that he was not satisfied with his personal or professional achievements, despite his obvious talents and successes.
Early career in Australia
Before his voice broke, Lloyd Lamble became ‘head boy’ in the choir of All Saints church St Kilda, Melbourne, and that gained him a scholarship for Wesley College, Melbourne. His academic record was not outstanding, though he was a keen swimmer and gymnast.
At the age of 17, Lamble became a junior radio announcer for Melbourne commercial radio station 3DB – a post he describes as ‘little more than an office boy’. Senior announcing jobs followed at 3KZ and 3AW. At this time he also did some dance-hall crooning.
His professional stage career started in 1934 when he was chosen for the lead juvenile role in J.C. Williamson’s production of Fresh Fields. Two years later he played the role of Danny, a psychotic murderous Welsh pageboy, in Night Must Fall.
While he was still at 3AW, he began acting with the Lee Murray Radio Players, and that established him as a radio actor. In lighter vein, he was straight man to Roy Rene (‘Mo’), and a compere and fall guy to Bob Dyer.
Lloyd’s stage career developed fast in 1940 at Sydney’s Minerva Theatre, where he played parts that included: Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Lennie in Of Mice and Men and Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. He played 12 stage parts in that year, and 35 in the 16 years between 1934 and 1950.
From 1936 to 1950 Lamble toured Australia and New Zealand as an actor and director. In 1944 he was leading man and producer in a six-play tour for J.C. Williamson’s in New Zealand. In 1945 he formed his own short-lived performing company – ‘L.L. Enterprises’ – and took plays on tour in Queensland, Australia.
Lloyd Lamble was well known in both the Australian Lux Radio Theatre and the Australian Macquarie Radio Theatre. His first play for Lux was in 1939. Soon he was highly sought-after by other radio stations including the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and later the British Broadcasting Corporation.
In spite of Lloyd’s political left-leanings, he was enlisted by the Australian government to read war propaganda on radio, probably for his strong voice that easily commanded authority.
Career in the UK
One of Lloyd Lamble’s first acting roles in England was in 1952, playing in the comedy Curtain Up, alongside Margaret Rutherford and Robert Morley. Lamble had earlier toured with them in his native Australia. Throughout the rest of his life he played hundreds of acting roles in England: on the stage, in radio, television and film.
Twice daily at the 1977 Edinburgh Festival, Lloyd performed two one-man plays as a double-bill, each running over an hour. He is well-remembered for his many roles as authority figures, some of which were: Joyce Grenfell’s police-superintendent-fiancée in the St. Trinian’s series; Quentin Crisp’s father in The Naked Civil Servant; and Sir Oliver Surface in The School For Scandal.
In his seventies, Lamble appeared in a six-month season at the Scottish Dundee Repertory Theatre, where he played the leading role in four out of six repertory plays. He then played a long season in London’s West End in the revival of Me and My Girl.
Lloyd Lamble died in Falmouth, England on 17 March 2008, aged 94. He is survived by his wife Lesley, his son Tim, his daughter Elizabeth, his adopted son Lloyd Wallis Lamble, adopted daughter Caroline, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
- Lamble, Lloyd Nelson. Hi Diddle Dee Dee: An Actor’s Life For Me. Typescript autobiography of Lloyd Lamble. 1994. (Manuscript sighted in the National Library of Australia, 29 November 2008)
- Personal communication: Lloyd Nelson Lamble to Tim Lamble
- Captioned photo from unidentified newspaper in possession of Tim Lamble
- Lane, Richard. The Golden Age of Australian Radio Drama 1932–1960. A History Through Biography. Melbourne University Press. 1994
- The Rabbit Habit – A Preoccupation with Procreation (Copyright registered 23 January 1942). In his autobiography, Lloyd says he later revised the work and renamed it A Couple of Charlies.
- Lloyd Lamble entry in the Internet Movie Database (http://Movie Database) Accessed 25 November 2008
- Various theatre programs catalogued under Lamble's name in the National Library of Australia
- Ripples of Delight at the Rep, Evening Telegraph, 1 February 1985 (copy of newspaper article with photo, in possession of Tim Lamble)
- Email from Lloyd Wallis Lamble to Tim Lamble
- Tim Lamble
- Lloyd Lamble at the Internet Movie Database
- Obituary: Obituary: Guardian
- Obituary: The Times on Line