THE MAN WHO COULD MAKE CLOUDS DISAPPEAR
Spencer Leigh remembers Victor Spinetti, who remembered The Beatles
Victor Spinetti, who died on 19 June at the age of 82, was a versatile character actor, but he will be chiefly remembered for his supporting roles in The Beatles’ films, A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help! (1965). Like many in his trade, he was a wonderful raconteur, both in one-man shows and at Beatle conventions. His stories were all true, but viewed from his perspective and embellished with frequent retelling.
There’s no doubt that Victor Spinetti loved The Beatles. “I fucking hate these songs that are full of hate – kill the fag, kill the Jew – and there is none of that in The Beatles’ music,” he told an audience at the Liverpool Convention in 2008. “It is an avalanche of poetry and melody and it is all about love. I once asked John what was his best lyric and he said, ‘That’s easy, Vic, All You Need Is Love.’ Bear that in mind, my darlings. If you love The Beatles, if you love their music, you have to live up to that. It is a great burden to carry but it is a joyous burden.”
Vittorio Spinetti was born in Wales on 2 September 1929 to a Welsh mother and an Italian father. His father owned a fish and chip shop but was interned in the Isle of Man in the Second World War. In the 50s, Spinetti became a leading actor in Joan Littlewood’s radical theatre …
by Spencer Leigh
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