17 February 1919|
London, England, UK
|Died||31 December 2002
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Spouse(s)||Evelyn Stuart (5 children)
Valerie Jones (partner)
Desmond Tester (17 February 1919 – 31 December 2002) was an English film and television actor, host and executive. He was born in London, England., and started his career as child actor, among his most notable roles, was that of the ill-fated boy Stevie in the Alfred Hitchcock film Sabotage (1936).
Tester made his first stage appearance at the age of 12, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, receiving positive reviews from London . He was known more as a child actor in film in his native Britain. Tester's characters often met with doomed fates, in such early films as Carol Reed's Midshipman Easy (1935), Tudor Rose (1936), Robert Stevenson's Non-Stop New York (1937), The Stars Look Down (1939) and Sabotage. He also appeared in The Drum (1938).
Immigration to Australia and post-war career
After World War II, he moved to Australia and embarked in careers in radio, theatre and television. As television broadcasting began in Australia, Tester soon found work with Channel Nine's What's My Line and in a variety of children's programmes including Kaper Kops with Reg Gorman and Rod Hull. He spent fifteen years at Channel Nine, taking charge of children's programming, and became more involved behind the scenes in production and publicity. He later moved to Reg Grundy Productions, eventually leaving the industry entirely due to a dislike of the overall management culture.
In 1974 he revived his stage acting career on the advice of Hayes Gordon, and appeared in numerous productions including productions by playwrights Arthur Miller and John Ewing. He also had occasional minor roles in various films, such as Barry McKenzie Holds His Own (1974) and The Wild Duck (1983).
Tester was married to Evelyn Stuart and had five children – Jolyon (deceased), Dermot, Giles, Toby and Simon and five grandchildren – Sally, Daisy, Sam, Georgia and Max. The last 29 years of his life was spent in leafy Lindfield on Sydney's North Shore with his partner Valerie Jones. Desmond Tester, died on 31 December 2002, in Sydney, New South Wales at the age of 83.
- The Night Club Queen (1934)
- Midshipman Easy (1935)
- Late Extra (1935)
- Sabotage (1936)
- Tudor Rose (1936)
- The Beloved Vagabond (1936)
- Non-Stop New York (1937)
- The Drum (1938)
- The Turners of Prospect Road (1947)
- Barry McKenzie Holds His Own (1974)
- Save the Lady (1982)
- John Holmstrom, The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995, Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, p.91.
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