Lloyd Lamble

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Actor Lloyd Lamble.jpg

Lloyd Nelson Lamble (8 February 1914 – 9 April 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.


Personal life[edit]

Lloyd Lamble was born in Melbourne, Victoria, to William HS Lamble and Francis AS Lamble (née Potter).[1] He was the youngest of four children, all boys.[1] His father William Lamble was a viola player in the Sisserman String Quartet,[2][3] and in symphony orchestras in Melbourne; secretary of the Musicians Union of Australia; a music teacher, pianist, organist, choirmaster and composer.[1] His grandfather was a music professor.[2]

Lloyd was married three times in Australia.[1] His first marriage to Marjorie ended in divorce.[1] His second marriage to Barbara Smith also ended in divorce, though they had two children together.[1] His third marriage was in his early thirties to actor Lesley Jackson.[1] Lloyd and Lesley adopted two children, and remained together for over 60 years.[1][2]

Lamble was president of Actors' Equity from 1942 to 1948.[4]

In the early 1950s, Lloyd could not get acting work.[1] After a year of selling clothing door-to-door to survive, he left Australia to live the rest of his life in Britain.[1]

He donated a copy of his 1994 unpublished autobiography to the National Library of Australia.[1] The book reveals that he was not satisfied with his personal or professional achievements, despite his obvious talents and successes.[2]

Early career in Australia[edit]

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.[1] His academic record was not outstanding, though he was a keen swimmer and gymnast.[1]

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’.[1] Senior announcing jobs followed at 3KZ and 3AW.[1][4] At this time he also did some dance-hall crooning.[1]

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.[1][4] Two years later he played the role of Danny, a psychotic murderous Welsh pageboy, in Night Must Fall.[1][4]

While he was still at 3AW, he began acting with the Lee Murray Radio Players, and that established him as a radio actor.[1][4] In lighter vein, he was straight man to Roy Rene (‘Mo’), and a compere and fall guy to Bob Dyer.[1]

Lamble opened a successful school of radio and theatre acting in 1937: the ‘Radio-Theatre Guild’.[1][4]

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.[1][4] He played 12 stage parts in that year, and 35 in the 16 years between 1934 and 1950.[4]

From 1936 to 1950 Lamble toured Australia and New Zealand as an actor and director.[1] In 1944 he was leading man and producer in a six-play tour for J.C. Williamson’s in New Zealand.[1][4] In 1945 he formed his own short-lived performing company – ‘L.L. Enterprises’ – and took plays on tour in Queensland, Australia.[1]

Lloyd Lamble was well known in both the Australian Lux Radio Theatre and the Australian Macquarie Radio Theatre.[4] His first play for Lux was in 1939.[4] Soon he was highly sought-after by other radio stations[4] including the Australian Broadcasting Commission,[2] and later the British Broadcasting Corporation.[1][2]

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.[4]

Lloyd Lamble wrote several radio dramas, one of which is in the National Archives of Australia.[5] In 1947, he won a Macquarie Award.[4]

Career in the UK[edit]

One of Lloyd Lamble’s first acting roles in Britain was in 1952, playing in the comedy Curtain Up, alongside Margaret Rutherford and Robert Morley.[1][4] Lamble had earlier toured with them in his native Australia.[4] Throughout the rest of his life he played hundreds of acting roles in Britain: on the stage, in radio, television and film.[4][6]

Twice daily at the 1977 Edinburgh Festival, Lloyd performed two one-man plays as a double-bill, each running over an hour.[1] 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.[7]

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.[2][4][8] He then played a long season in London’s West End in the revival of Me and My Girl.[2][4]


Lloyd Lamble died in Falmouth, Cornwall on 9 April 2008, aged 94.[9][10] 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.[11]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab 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)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Personal communication: Lloyd Nelson Lamble to Tim Lamble
  3. ^ Captioned photo from unidentified newspaper in possession of Tim Lamble
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Lane, Richard. The Golden Age of Australian Radio Drama 1932–1960. A History Through Biography. Melbourne University Press. 1994
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Lloyd Lamble entry in the Internet Movie Database (http://Movie Database) Accessed 25 November 2008
  7. ^ Various theatre programs catalogued under Lamble's name in the National Library of Australia
  8. ^ Ripples of Delight at the Rep, Evening Telegraph, 1 February 1985 (copy of newspaper article with photo, in possession of Tim Lamble)
  9. ^ Email from Lloyd Wallis Lamble to Tim Lamble
  10. ^ Lloyd Lamble
  11. ^ Tim Lamble

External links[edit]