Sir Stanley Baker

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He sustained his critical success three years later in 'Robbery' (1967) as the criminal mastermind of the so-called Great Train Robbery. But Baker's most improbable acting success was in 'Accident' - the same year. Here he offered a brilliantly offhand portrait of an academic-turned-media-hero, narcissistic, effortlessly agile in argument but helpless in anything requiring a trace of humanity.

His production company, Oakhurst, made ‘The Italian Job’ (1969). He personally produced several films, most notably ‘Zulu’ , in which he also starred.

Baker was a dedicated socialist off screen, and a friend of the Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson. In 1976 he was granted a knighthood in Wilson's controversial resignation list of honours, known as the "Lavender List", although he never lived to officially receive the honour at Buckingham Palace. His busy life was cut short that same year, when he died from pneumonia following surgery for lung cancer in Málaga, Spain, aged forty-eight.

He established his own niche as an actor content to be admired for peerlessly portraying the disreputable and the unsympathetic. In that he was a dark mirror, more accurately reflecting human frailty and the vagaries of life than many of his more romantically or heroically inclined contemporaries. He was married to actress Ellen Martin from 1950 to his death.

Biographies:
'Stanley Baker: Portrait of an Actor' 1977


Suggested films to see:

Yesterdays Enemy (1959)
Zulu (1964)
Accident (1967)
The Guns of Navarone (1961)





 

 

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