Actor David Hemmings dies on set of film - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Actor David Hemmings dies on set of film

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Posted: Thursday, December 4, 2003 9:09 am | Updated: 1:02 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

LONDON - David Hemmings, the British actor who starred in the 1966 film "Blow Up," has died while filming a movie in Romania. He was 62.

Hemmings died Wednesday after paramedics on the film set of "Samantha's Child" were unable to revive him, his agent, Liz Nelson, said.

"He had just finished his final shots of the day and was going back to his dressing room," she said.

Hemmings was one of the screen icons of the swinging '60s but later went behind the camera to focus on directing and producing TV shows like the "A-Team," and "Airwolf." He returned to acting in Ridley Scott's 2000 epic "Gladiator" and most recently appeared in "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen."

Born Nov. 18, 1941 in Guildford, England, Hemmings began his career as a singer, with nightclub appearances in his early 20s, before moving onto the stage and gradually into films.

After his voice changed, Hemmings studied painting at the Epsom School of Art where he staged his first exhibition at 15.

He returned to singing in his early 20s with nightclub appearances before moving onto the stage and gradually into films.

His early British movie roles usually saw him cast as misunderstood youths and belligerent "Teddy Boys," leading to his role in Michelangelo Antonioni's "Blow Up," which won Cannes' Golden Palm award in 1967.

"I desperately wanted to work for him. This was a job you seek," Hemmings later said of the role.

Hemmings played a fashion photographer, reportedly based on David Bailey, who believes he may have unwittingly photographed a dead man. Scenes in which he photographed a model, played by Vanessa Redgrave, have often been ranked among the sexiest moments captured on screen.

His boyish good looks were also put to use in the science-fiction romp "Barbarella" and the film version of the stage musical "Camelot."

In 1975, Hemmings played the title role in "By Jeeves," a short-running collaboration between Alan Ayckbourn and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

With 1972's "Running Scared," Hemmings began a new career as a director of several movie and TV productions in England, Australia and Canada.

The two careers ran in parallel for several years with his directing credits including the movie "Just a Gigolo," but by the 1980s his TV directing took precedence with shows such as "Magnum PI," "Airwolf," "The A-Team" and "Quantum Leap."

"People thought I was dead. But I wasn't. I was just directing The A-Team," he once remarked.

Hemmings returned to acting in 2002 with the role of Cassius in the Oscar-winning "Gladiator." Other recent roles include parts in "Gangs of New York," "Spy Game" and "Mean Machine."

Hemmings, who was divorced twice, is survived by his third wife, Lucy Williams, and their two sons; and by a daughter from his first marriage and a son from the second.

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