Mike Pratt (actor)
Pratt in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)
7 June 1931|
London, England, UK
|Died||10 July 1976
Midhurst, Sussex, England, UK
|Occupation||English actor, songwriter and screenwriter|
|Known for||Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)|
|Children||Guy Pratt Karin Pratt|
Early life and musical career
In his early career, Pratt worked in advertising, while also taking some part-time acting roles, until in the mid-'50s he took a sabbatical quitting his office job. He drove around Europe in an old-style London taxi with three friends, including Lionel Bart.
On returning to Britain, he earned a living as a jazz and skiffle musician in London clubs. An accomplished guitarist and pianist, in the 1950s, he jammed with the Vipers Skiffle Group at the 2 I's club in London with his friend Tommy Steele. Pratt can be seen jamming skiffle on a 1950s Pathé News clip with other musicians of the era including members of the Shadows.A successful songwriter, Pratt collaborated with Bart and Steele on many of Steele's early hits in the late 1950s and early '60s. To enable Steele to start to film his life story, co-writers Steele, Bart and Pratt, wrote twelve songs in seven days. A Steele-Pratt collaboration, "A Handful of Songs", originally a hit for Tommy Steele in 1957, became the theme tune to a long-running Granada Television children's programme of the same name in the late 1970s. They also wrote the song "Rock with Cavemen". Bart and Pratt received the 1957 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically for "Little White Bull". He won a further Ivor Novello award for "Handful Of Songs". In 1961 he wrote the music and lyrics for The Big Client, a play which was produced at the Bristol Old Vic from November 28, 1961.
Between 1965 and 1967 Pratt appeared in numerous plays. From May 25, 1966 he appeared in Tango, a play by Slawomir Mrozek at the Aldwych Theatre alongside Patience Collier, Peter Jeffrey, Ursula Mohan and Dudley Sutton under director Trevor Nunn.
Pratt is best known for his role as Jeff Randall in the late 1960s ITV detective series Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) alongside Kenneth Cope and Annette Andre. Pratt also wrote episode two of the series titled "A Disturbing Case".
He also appeared in TV series such as No Hiding Place, The Saint, Gideon's Way, Z-Cars, Danger Man, Out of the Unknown, Redcap, The Baron, Man in a Suitcase, The Champions, Callan, UFO, The Expert, Hadleigh, Jason King, Arthur of the Britons, Softly, Softly: Taskforce, Crown Court, Father Brown, Oil Strike North and The Adventures of Black Beauty, in which he had a semi-regular role. His last television role was in the BBC drama series The Brothers as airline pilot Don Stacy.
His film career included roles in This Is My Street (1964), The Party's Over (1965), Roman Polanski's Repulsion (1965), A Dandy in Aspic (1968), The Fixer (1968), Goodbye Gemini (1970), Sitting Target (1972), Assassin (1973), the horror anthology The Vault of Horror (1973), and Swallows and Amazons (1974).
He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966, appearing on stage throughout the rest of the 1960s and the early 1970s.
Pratt died from lung cancer in July 1976. In August of that year, a show was staged at the Aldwych Theatre in London in his memory. The cast included Glenda Jackson, Kenneth Haigh and John Le Mesurier.
Of his co-star in Randall & Hopkirk, Kenneth Cope said:
"Michael was a great loss, both to the industry and as a friend."
- Tobler, John; Frame, Pete (1980). Rock 'n' roll: the first 25 years. Exeter Books. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-89673-064-9.
- Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 38. CN 5585.
- "A Handful of Songs - Many thanks to Kathy Jones and Keith Field for providing information on this wonderful little show". Thechestnut.com. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
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- "Historical Comedy For Bristol." The Times (London, England) 12 Sept. 1961. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
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- Tibballs, Geoff (1994) Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), Boxtree