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Wilfrid Brambell (1912-1985) (born March 22, 1912 in Dublin, Ireland; died January 18, 1985 in London, England, UK) was an Irish film and television actor, best known for his roles in the British television series Steptoe and Son and The Beatles' film A Hard Day's Night.

His television career began during the 1950s, when he was cast in small roles in three Nigel Kneale / Rudolph Cartier productions for BBC Television: as a drunk in The Quatermass Experiment (1953), as both an old man in a pub and later a prisoner in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1954) and as a tramp in Quatermass II (1955). All of these roles earned him a reputation for playing old men, though he was only at the time in his forties.

It was this ability to play old men that led to his casting in his most famous role, as Albert Steptoe, the irascible father Steptoe and Son. Initially the role was merely a one-off for the BBC's Comedy Playhouse anthology strand: however, its success led to a full series being commissioned, which lasted throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s. There were also two feature film spin-offs, a stage show and an American re-make entitled Sanford and Son, based on the original British scripts. In the latter, Brambell's part was taken by Red Foxx.

The success of Steptoe and Son made Brambell a high profile figure on British television, and earned him the major role of Paul McCartney's grandfather in The Beatles' first film, A Hard Day's Night. A running joke is made throughout the film of his character being "a very clean old man." This is in reference to his on-screen son, Harold, in Steptoe and Son constantly referring to his father as "you dirty old man!"

Brambell had a difficult private life: he and Harry H. Corbett, who played Harold Steptoe in Steptoe and Son, detested each other, and were barely on speaking terms outside of takes by the end of the programme's run. In a series almost entirely based around the pair of them with no other regular characters, this made production of the series difficult and stressful.

Brambell was also a homosexual, at a time when it was very difficult, almost impossible, for public figures to be so. Indeed, when he first became famous for Steptoe and Son, it was still illegal in the UK. Earlier in his life he had been married, from 1948 to 1955, to Molly Josephine, but the marriage ended after she gave birth to the child of their lodger, Roderick Fisher, in 1953.

After the final series of Steptoe and Son was made in 1974, Brambell had some guest roles in films and on television, but both he and Corbett found themselves heavily type cast as their famous characters. In an attempt to take advantage of this situation, they undertook a tour of Australia in the late 1970s with a Steptoe and Son stage show: however, with the pair openly despising each other, the tour was a disaster and a working relationship proved impossible. On one occasion, Brambell used bad language and was openly derogatory about the Australian people in an interview. Brambell did, however appear on the BBC's television news to pay tribute to Corbett after the latter's death from a heart attack in 1982.

Brambell himself died less than three years later, of cancer. He was seventy-three. News of his death received far less attention than that of his co-star, and his funeral was sparsely attended.


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He was seventy-three. News of his death received far less attention than that of his co-star, and his funeral was sparsely attended. The couple has one child, named after Broderick's late father. Brambell himself died less than three years later, of cancer. He met actress Sarah Jessica Parker in 1992 and has been married to her since 1997. Brambell did, however appear on the BBC's television news to pay tribute to Corbett after the latter's death from a heart attack in 1982. He was fined 100. On one occasion, Brambell used bad language and was openly derogatory about the Australian people in an interview. The lack of witnesses, skid marks, or other evidence led Broderick to plead guilty in absentia on February 15, 1988 to the lesser charge of careless driving.

In an attempt to take advantage of this situation, they undertook a tour of Australia in the late 1970s with a Steptoe and Son stage show: however, with the pair openly despising each other, the tour was a disaster and a working relationship proved impossible. Broderick had no memory of the event and Grey was distracted at the moment of the accident and saw nothing. After the final series of Steptoe and Son was made in 1974, Brambell had some guest roles in films and on television, but both he and Corbett found themselves heavily type cast as their famous characters. Grey escaped with minor injuries. Earlier in his life he had been married, from 1948 to 1955, to Molly Josephine, but the marriage ended after she gave birth to the child of their lodger, Roderick Fisher, in 1953. Broderick had to be cut out of the car; he was unconscious and suffered facial lacerations and a broken thigh. Indeed, when he first became famous for Steptoe and Son, it was still illegal in the UK. Broderick, possibly on the wrong side of the road, drove his car head-on into another car carrying the 63-year-old Margaret Doherty and her 30-year-old daughter Anna Gallagher: both were killed.

Brambell was also a homosexual, at a time when it was very difficult, almost impossible, for public figures to be so. Broderick met Jennifer Grey on the set of Ferris Bueller's Day Off; in August 1987, she was with him in Northern Ireland as he drove on a rain-slicked road on the outskirts of Enniskillen. In a series almost entirely based around the pair of them with no other regular characters, this made production of the series difficult and stressful. Broderick attended the Walden School, a private school in Manhattan with a strong drama program. Corbett, who played Harold Steptoe in Steptoe and Son, detested each other, and were barely on speaking terms outside of takes by the end of the programme's run. He was born in New York City, the son of James and Patricia. Brambell had a difficult private life: he and Harry H. He has won two Tony Awards, in 1983 for his featured role in the play Brighton Beach Memoirs, and in 1995 for his leading role in the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying!; he was also nominated for The Producers, with the award going to co-star Nathan Lane.

A running joke is made throughout the film of his character being "a very clean old man." This is in reference to his on-screen son, Harold, in Steptoe and Son constantly referring to his father as "you dirty old man!". He returned to Broadway as a musical star in the 1990s, most notably in Mel Brooks' stage version of The Producers in 2001, and continues to make films. The success of Steptoe and Son made Brambell a high profile figure on British television, and earned him the major role of Paul McCartney's grandfather in The Beatles' first film, A Hard Day's Night. In between those plays he starred in WarGames, the summer hit of 1983. In the latter, Brambell's part was taken by Red Foxx. He followed that with the role of Eugene Morris Jerome in two Neil Simon plays: Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues. There were also two feature film spin-offs, a stage show and an American re-make entitled Sanford and Son, based on the original British scripts. Broderick commented on the effects of that review in a 2004 60 Minutes II interview:.

Initially the role was merely a one-off for the BBC's Comedy Playhouse anthology strand: however, its success led to a full series being commissioned, which lasted throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s. This was followed by a lead role in the off-Broadway production of Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy; a good review by New York Times theater critic Mel Gussow brought him to the attention of Broadway. It was this ability to play old men that led to his casting in his most famous role, as Albert Steptoe, the irascible father Steptoe and Son. Broderick's first break came in role in an HB Studio workshop production of Horton Foote's On Valentine's Day, playing opposite his father James Broderick, who was a friend of Foote's. All of these roles earned him a reputation for playing old men, though he was only at the time in his forties. Matthew Broderick (born March 21, 1962) is an American film and stage actor who is perhaps most widely known for his role as the protagonist in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. His television career began during the 1950s, when he was cast in small roles in three Nigel Kneale / Rudolph Cartier productions for BBC Television: as a drunk in The Quatermass Experiment (1953), as both an old man in a pub and later a prisoner in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1954) and as a tramp in Quatermass II (1955). The Last Shot (2004).

Wilfrid Brambell (1912-1985) (born March 22, 1912 in Dublin, Ireland; died January 18, 1985 in London, England, UK) was an Irish film and television actor, best known for his roles in the British television series Steptoe and Son and The Beatles' film A Hard Day's Night. The Stepford Wives (2004). Good Boy! (2003) (voice). The Music Man (2003, TV). You Can Count on Me (2000).

Inspector Gadget (1999). Election (1999). The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998). Godzilla (1998).

Addicted to Love (1997). The Cable Guy (1996) with Jim Carrey. The Road to Wellville (1994). The Lion King (1994).

The Freshman (1990). Glory (1989) with Denzel Washington. Torch Song Trilogy (1988). Biloxi Blues (1988).

Project X (1987). Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). Ladyhawke (1985). WarGames (1983).

Max Dugan Returns (1983).

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