This is a delightful little interview with Terry-Thomas, that original screen cad, the gap-toothed bounder, the celluloid Dick Dastardly, who comes across as self-effacing, modest, and really rather sweet. Thomas was a hard-working comic actor, a very funny man, and spell-binding raconteur, who had a taste for the good things in life. However, his years of great success were cut short by Parkinson’s Disease, which cruelly robbed him of everything and left him “a crippled, crushed shadow.”
Thomas had already been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease when he gave this interview to Sue Lawley in 1973. He kept his illness a secret, until a year before his death, when a benefit concert was organized for him. Most touchingly, when Lawley asked whether he is rich, Thomas replied:
“I should say that I really am, because I’ve got all I want…I have a wife, two children - a boy of 9, a boy of 5. A jolly nice house in Ibiza, and a delightful little cottage here in London. I don’t want anymore. (pause) I’m sure I do, but I can’t think what it is at the present moment.”
The film clip is Vault of Horror, a rather good compendium horror film with 5 different tales of terror. Thomas starred as the obsessively neat Arthur Critchit, who marries the laid-back Eleanor, played by the wonderful Glynis Johns, to disastrous results.
Bonus - ‘Vault of Horror’, the full movie.
With thanks to Nellym.