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Tomlinson in Mary Poppins, 1964
|Born||David Cecil MacAlister Tomlinson
7 May 1917
Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England
|Died||24 June 2000
Westminster, London, England
|Cause of death||Stroke|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Lindsay Hiddingh
(m. September 1943 – 2 December 1943; her death)
(m. 17 May 1953 – 24 June 2000; his death)
|Children||David Tomlinson Jr
David Cecil MacAlister Tomlinson (7 May 1917 – 24 June 2000) was an English film and occasional television actor and comedian. He is primarily remembered for his roles as authority figure George Banks in Mary Poppins, fraudulent magician Professor Emelius Browne in Bedknobs and Broomsticks and as hapless antagonist Peter Thorndyke in The Love Bug.
Tomlinson was born in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire on 7 May 1917, to a well-respected London solicitor father. He attended Tonbridge School and left to join the Grenadier Guards for 16 months. His father then secured him a job as a clerk at Shell Mex House.
His stage career grew from amateur stage productions to his 1940 film debut in Quiet Wedding. His career was interrupted when he entered Second World War service as a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF. During the war, he served as a flight instructor in Canada and made three films. His flying days continued after the war and he crashed a Tiger Moth plane near his back garden after he lost consciousness while flying.
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David Tomlinson was known to generations of children for his role as George Banks, head of the Banks family, in the 1964 Disney film Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins brought Tomlinson continued work with Disney, asking him to appear in The Love Bug (1968) and Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971). Throughout the rest of Tomlinson's film career, he never steered far from comedies. His final acting appearance was in The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980), which was also the final film of Peter Sellers, who died shortly prior to its release. Tomlinson retired from acting at age 63 to spend more time with his family, however, the enduring popularity of Mary Poppins ensuring that he remained well-known.
Personal life and death
Tomlinson was first married to Mary Lindsay Hiddingh, daughter of L. Seton Lindsay, the vice president of the New York Life Insurance Company. She had been widowed in 1941 when her husband, Major A.G. Hiddingh, was killed in action, leaving her to care for their two young sons. Tomlinson married Mary in September 1943. She committed suicide on 2 December 1943, when she jumped from a hotel in New York City, while holding her sons' (his stepsons') hands.
Tomlinson's second wife was actress Audrey Freeman, whom he married on 17 May 1953, and the couple remained together for 47 years until his death. They had four sons: David Jr., William, Henry and James.
Tomlinson died peacefully in his sleep at King Edward VII Hospital, Westminster, at 4 a.m. on 24 June 2000, after suffering from a sudden stroke. He was 83 years old. He was interred at his estate grounds in Mursley, Buckinghamshire.
- Garrison Follies (1940) (uncredited)
- Quiet Wedding (1941) as John Royd
- My Wife's Family (1941) as Willie Bagshott
- "Pimpernel" Smith (1941) as Steve
- Name Rank and Number (1941)
- The Way to the Stars (1945) as 'Prune' Parsons
- Journey Together (1945) as Smith
- I See a Dark Stranger (1946) as Intelligence Officer
- School for Secrets (1946) as Mr. Watlington
- Fame Is the Spur (1947) as Lord Liskeard
- Master of Bankdam (1947) as Lancelot Handel Crowther
- Easy Money (1948) as Martin Latham
- Miranda (1948) as Charles
- Broken Journey (1948) as Jimmy Marshall
- My Brother's Keeper (1948) as Ronnie Waring
- Sleeping Car to Trieste (1948) as Tom Bishop
- Love in Waiting (1948) as Robert Clitheroe
- Here Come the Huggetts (1948) as Harold Hinchley
- Warning to Wantons (1949) as Count Max Kardak
- Vote for Huggett (1949) as Harold Hinchley
- Marry Me! (1949) as David Haig
- Helter Skelter (1949) as Nick Martin
- The Chiltern Hundreds (1949) as Lord Tony Pym
- Landfall (1949) as Binks
- So Long at the Fair (1950) as Johnny Barton
- The Wooden Horse (1950) as Phil
- Calling Bulldog Drummond (1951) as Algernon 'Algy' Longworth
- Hotel Sahara (1951) as Captain Puffin Cheyne
- The Magic Box (1951) as Assistant in Laboratory
- Castle in the Air (1952) as Earl of Locharne
- Made in Heaven (1952) as Basil Topham
- Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary? (1953) as Frank Betteron
- All for Mary (1955) as Humphrey 'Humpy' Miller
- Three Men in a Boat (1956) as Jerome
- Carry on Admiral (1957) [note: not a Carry On film] as Tom Baker
- Up the Creek (1958) as Lt. Humphrey Fairweather
- Further Up the Creek (1958) as Lt. Humphrey Fairweather
- Follow That Horse! (1960) as Dick Lanchester
- Tom Jones (1963) as Lord Fellamar
- Mary Poppins (1964) as George Banks
- The Truth About Spring (1964) as Skelton
- The City Under the Sea (1965) as Harold Tufnell-Jones
- The Liquidator (1965) as Quadrant
- The Love Bug (1968) as Peter Thorndyke
- Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) as Professor Emilius Brown
- From Hong Kong with Love (1975) as Sir John Mac Gregor
- Wombling Free (1977) as Roland Frogmorton
- The Water Babies (1978) as Sir John / Voice of Polar Bear
- Dominique (1978) as Lawyer
- The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980) as Sir Roger Avery (final film role)
- The Birdcage Room (TV Film) (1954) - Lord Tempest
- All for Mary (TV Film) (1954) - Clive Norton
- Theatre Royal (1955) - episode - The No Man - Tom Pettigo
- Theatre Night (1957) - episode - Dear Delinquent - David Warren
- ITV Play of the Week (1960) - episode - The Happy Man - Tom Swinley
- Comedy Playhouse (1967) - episode - Loitering With Intent - Charles Pinfold
- Hawaii Five-O (1976) - episode - Nine Dragons - Blake
- "BBC News - UK - Mary Poppins star dies".
- General Register Office of England and Wales – Birth Register for June Quarter of 1917, Henley Registration District, reference 3a 1531, listed as David C.M. Tomlinson, mother's maiden name as Sinclair-Thomson
- "David Tomlinson". Telegraph.co.uk. 26 June 2000.
- Mary Lindsay Hiddingh Tomlinson, Find A Grave (online), accessed 19 November 2014
- "Mary Poppins star dies", BBC News (online), accessed 27 October 2013
- General Register Office of England and Wales – Death Register for June 2000, Westminster Registration District, reference C49C 281, listed as David Cecil Tomlinson with a date of birth of 7 May 1917
- "Mary Poppins Star Dies". BBC News. BBC. 24 June 2000.
- Luckier Than Most, Tomlinson's autobiography, published in 1990.
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