Victor Spinetti, a Welsh actor best known for starring in several Beatles movies, died today of pancreatic cancer at the age of 82.
Barry Burnett, Spinetti’s agent said:
“He was very cheerful to the end. I spoke to him on Friday and he was talking about his plans and everything.”
Spinetti won a Tony Award in “Oh! What a Lovely War,” which caught the eye of the Beatles. Spinetti became a staple of the Beatles films and starred in “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Help!” and “Magical Mystery Tour.”
He would jokingly say that George Harrison once told him: “You have got to be in all our films. If you are not in them, my mum won’t come and see them because she fancies you.”
The Independent reports that Spinetti developed a close relationship with the Beatles and even helped John Lennon write his first book “In My Own Write.”
His agent told the Chicago Tribune:
“He was a wonderful actor and a wonderful raconteur… Everyone looked forward to having an evening with him because they were going to be entertained. He would start talking and he would never stop…. He loved the Beatles – they became great friends… One of his stories was that when he flew over to New York there were big crowds at the airport. So he said ‘who’s on the plane?’ and they said ‘well, they’re waiting for you’. His association with the Beatles made him the next best thing to them.”
Spinetti is best known for his work with the Beatles but his career spanned over 50-years. The Welsh actor worked beside Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Dylan Thomas’ “Under Milk Wood.” He also appeared in “The Taming of the Shrew,” “The Return of the Pink Panther,” and “The Krays.”
Here’s a video of Victor Spinetti talking about his days with the Beatles.