John Leyton

A profile of the actor and singer John Leyton
John Dudley Leyton was born on February 17 1935 at 'Corners', The Crescent, Frinton-on-Sea in Essex, England. He started his showbusiness career at the age of 18. John's mother, an actress whose stage name was 'Babs Walters', and John's father, a theatre and cinema owner had initially wanted John to join the family rope manufacturing business instead of a career in showbusiness.

As John himself said in the 'Girl Television & Film Annual' 1963 published by Longacre Press "They knew how difficult it was to get a start and as the family business was in a flourishing condition they could not understand why I should turn away from it." John did however join the family business for a while, but later, decided to pursue a career in the acting profession.

John's national service days were spent in the R.A.S.C. (Royal Army Service Corps) gaining as much knowledge as he could about the intricacies of motor vehicles. After national service John had various jobs, and also took a course of drama lessons. John had a good singing voice, and did very convincing impressions of Frankie Lane and Johnnie Ray, this led to auditions for cabaret. Later, John was engaged for a season at London's Blue Angel Club, it was here he met his future recording manager, the now legendary Joe Meek.

In 1959 John made his television acting debut in The Invisible Man, then came his role as Ginger in Granada Television's series Biggles (1960), a series based on the books by W. E. Johns. John also worked on Associated-Television's Tin Pan Alley Show. John's early career awards include: Double Award Winner 1961 (New Musical Express Poll), Best Disc of Year, and he was also voted Most Outstanding New Disc and TV Personality in 1961

John has a guest-starring role as Johnnie St. Cyr, in the ATV series Harpers West One, it is in this series, which ran until 1963 that John, in character, sings Johnny Remember Me. The song was a number-one hit, and remained at the top of the charts for 4 weeks. The song was written by Geoff Goddard and produced by Joe Meek.

Johnny Remember Me was Joe Meek's first independent number one and was recorded at his studio at 304 Holloway Road, North London. John Leyton's successful recording career continued, and he went on to have more chart hits thereafter, including two more songs written by Geoff Goddard: Wild Wind and Son,This Is She.

John's feature film credits include: The Great Escape (1963) in which he plays Willie the Tunnel King, Guns at Batasi (1964), Von Ryan's Express (1965), and Krakatoa, East of Java, films in which his co-stars include-Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Richard Attenborough, Frank Sinatra, Trevor Howard, Maximilian Schell and Jack Hawkins. John also stars in a 1965 comedy film entitled Every Day's A Holiday (1965). 

John Leyton's television guest appearances include: Combat (U.S. 1965), Lost in Space (U.S. 1966) and Dixon of Dock Green (U.K. BBC, 1974). John stars as Nicolas Gage in the US television series Jerico (1966-1967). Jerico is about a group of saboteurs operating behind enemy lines during World War Two.

In the 1974 Granada Television series, The Nearly Man, John stars as Brian Griffin. John also stars In the 1980 HTV (Harlech Television) sitcom, The Square Leopard which revolves around the life of solicitor Gerald Parish (John Leyton), who needs somewhere to live, and rents the ground floor of a large house owned by widow Mary Lampert (Janet Key).  Gerald's father, Henry, (Raymond Huntley) decides to pay his son a visit, so in order to impress, the 'down on his luck' solicitor pretends that his landlady and her children are 'his' family!

Today, John Leyton is as busy as ever, recording, performing at concerts and touring. For comprehensive up-to-date information about John, his career and current work, visit John's website by clicking on the link below.


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