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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. On August 10, 2001, he married Lisa Marie Presley and filed for divorce less than four months later. He married former waitress Alice Kim at the end of July 2004 in a private ceremony in northern California. Brambell himself died less than three years later, of cancer. They divorced in 2001. 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. On April 8, 1995, he married actress Patricia Arquette. On one occasion, Brambell used bad language and was openly derogatory about the Australian people in an interview. He has a son, Weston Coppola Cage (born 1990), with model Kristina Fulton.

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. He has developed a reputation for alternating roles in action movies with more serious character-driven dramas, and an occasional black comedy. 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. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Leaving Las Vegas (1995). 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. His next notable roles were in the 1983 movies Rumble Fish and Valley Girl, which was his breakout role. Indeed, when he first became famous for Steptoe and Son, it was still illegal in the UK. He had a small role in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), most of which ended on the cutting room floor.

Brambell was also a homosexual, at a time when it was very difficult, almost impossible, for public figures to be so. He chose the name Cage after the Marvel comic book hero Luke Cage, Power Man. 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. Cage changed his name early in order to try to make his own way in acting without benefiting from his uncle's reputation. 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 is the nephew of both Francis Ford Coppola and Talia Shire. Brambell had a difficult private life: he and Harry H. In 1976, Cage's parents divorced and he moved to Beverly Hills with his father.

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 was born Nicholas Kim Coppola in Long Beach, California, the son of August and Joy Coppola. 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. Nicolas Cage (born January 7, 1964) is an American actor. In the latter, Brambell's part was taken by Red Foxx. National Treasure (2004). 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. Matchstick Men (2003).

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. Adaptation (2002). 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. Windtalkers (2002). All of these roles earned him a reputation for playing old men, though he was only at the time in his forties. Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001). 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 Family Man (2000).

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. Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000). 8MM (1999). Bringing Out the Dead (1999). City of Angels (1998).

Face/Off (1997). Con Air (1997). The Rock (1996). Leaving Las Vegas (1995).

It Could Happen to You (1994). Guarding Tess (1994). Honeymoon in Vegas (1992). Wild at Heart (1990).

Raising Arizona (1987). Moonstruck (1987). Peggy Sue Got Married (1986). Birdy (1984).

The Cotton Club (1984). Valley Girl (1983). Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982).

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