André van Gyseghem

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André van Gyseghem (18 August 1906 – 13 October 1979) was an English actor and theatre director who also appeared in many British television programmes.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Van Gyseghem was born on 18 August 1906 in Eltham, Kent, the son of Georges Emil van Gyseghem and his wife Minnie Evison (née Offord).[3] He went to school in Greenwich, then studied for the stage at RADA. He worked initially in a music-publishing business.[4]

He made his stage debut at the Theatre Royal, Bognor, in September 1927, as Peveril Leyburn in The Constant Nymph, then in January 1928 toured as Lewis Dodd in the same play. From September 1928 to July 1930 he was engaged at the Hull Repertory Theatre, then under the direction of A.R. Whatmore, playing a round of leading juvenile parts.[4]

Return to London[edit]

At the Arts Theatre in July 1930 he played Vitek in The Macropulos Secret.[5] He then joined the repertory company at the Embassy Theatre, and remained there from September 1930 until October 1934.[6] He continued to take parts in plays, such as Florindo in The Liar and Master Klaus in The Witch, but also began his long career as director, starting with the Agatha Christie play Black Coffee in December 1930.[7]

Other subsequent productions which he directed at the Embassy included:

Between 1933 and 1935 he made several trips to the Soviet Union, including a year's work at Nikolay Okhlopkov's Realistic Theatre in Moscow. He attributed much of his own acting expertise to the education he received there.[9] He became a member of the Communist Party and president of the Unity Theatre's "Management Committee".[10]

In 1939 he appeared in a short BBC television play Rehearsal for a Drama.[11] In 1944 played Cecil Tempest in the film Candles at Nine, and in 1949 Oblensky in Warning to Wantons.[1] In 1953 he played the Stage Door Keeper in The Limping Man.[12] Between 1951 and his death in 1979 he appeared in over 50 British television dramas. [13] These included in 1963 as Vennekohl in Rudolph Cartier's production of Stalingrad for the BBC's Festival series.[14][15] He appeared in The Adventures of William Tell as the Grand Duke in episode 24, "The Ensign".

He was one of several Number Twos in the 1960s cult classic television series The Prisoner.[16] He played the retiring Number Two in the episode "It's Your Funeral".[17] Van Gyseghem also appeared in an episode of The Saint in 1968 with Roger Moore.[18]

Personal life[edit]

He married actress Jean Forbes-Robertson in 1940.[3] Actress Joanna Van Gyseghem is their daughter.[19]


Year Title Role Notes
1944 Candles at Nine Cecil Tempest
1949 Warning to Wantons Oblensky
Stop Press Girl Ex-Editor of Evening Comet uncredited
1953 The Limping Man Stage Door Keeper
1957 Face in the Night Bank Manager
The Surgeon's Knife Mr. Dodds
1959 The House of the Seven Hawks Hotel Clerk
1965 Rotten to the Core Field Marshal von Schneer
1970 Cromwell Archbishop Rinucinni
1972 The Pied Piper Friar
1979 Prince Regent Lord Liverpool


  • André van Gyseghem (1943). Theatre in Soviet Russia. London: Faber and Faber Ltd.


  1. ^ a b "André Van Gyseghem". BFI.
  2. ^ "Andre Van Gyseghem".
  3. ^ a b "André van Gyseghem – Biographical Summaries of Notable People".
  4. ^ a b c Who's Who in the Theatre: Van Gyseghem, André, Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  5. ^ Wearing, J. P. (15 May 2014). The London Stage 1930-1939: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9780810893047 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ a b c Davies, Andrew (10 July 1987). Other Theatres: Development of Alternative and Experimental Theatre in Britain. Macmillan International Higher Education. ISBN 9781349187232 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Campbell, Mark (1 September 2011). Agatha Christie. Oldcastle Books. ISBN 9781842435359 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ Wearing, J. P. (15 May 2014). The London Stage 1930-1939: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9780810893047 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Sheila Tully Boyle & Andrew Bunie (2001). Paul Robeson: the years of promise and achievement. Sheridan Books Inc. ISBN 9781558491496. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  10. ^ Reiner Lehberger, Das sozialistische Theater in England 1934 bis zum Ausbruch des Zweiten Weltkriegs. Frankfurt 1977, p. 97
  11. ^ "Rehearsal for a Drama". 23 January 1939. p. 17 – via BBC Genome.
  12. ^ "The Limping Man (1953)". BFI.
  13. ^ André van Gyseghem at IMDb
  14. ^ "Festival: Stalingrad". 4 December 1963. p. 39 – via BBC Genome.
  15. ^ "Stalingrad (1963)". BFI.
  16. ^ "The Prisoner: It's Your Funeral (1967) – Robert Asher – Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related – AllMovie". AllMovie.
  17. ^ "It's Your Funeral (1967)". BFI.
  18. ^ "The Saint – S6 – Episode 1: The Gadic Collection". Radio Times.
  19. ^ "Joanna van Gyseghem – Biographical Summaries of Notable People".

External links[edit]