Alfred Marks

Alfred Edward Marks OBE (28 January 1921  1 July 1996) was a British actor and comedian.

Alfred Marks
Alfred Edward Touchinsky [1]

(1921-01-28)28 January 1921
Holborn, London, England
Died1 July 1996(1996-07-01) (aged 75)
OccupationBritish actor and comedian
Spouse(s)Paddie O'Neil (1952 until his death); 2 children


Marks was born as Alfred Edward Touchinsky in Holborn, London, to Polish Jewish parents.[2] He left Bell Lane School at 14 and started in entertainment at the Windmill Theatre. He then served in the RAF as a Flight Sergeant in the Middle East where he arranged concerts for servicemen. He also worked as an auctioneer and engineer.[3]

He started in variety at the Kilburn Empire in 1946, and his stage appearances included The Sunshine Boys and Fiddler on the Roof. He also did comedy work with Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe which later led to the formation (along with writer Spike Milligan) of The Goon Show, though Marks did not become a member.[4]

His films included The Frightened City, Scream and Scream Again and Our Miss Fred.[5] His television show, Alfred Marks Time, ran for 6 years on ITV. He compered Sunday Night at the London Palladium and appeared in numerous other television programmes including The Good Old Days, The Sweeney, Blankety Blank, The Marti Caine Show, The Two Ronnies, The Generation Game, Lovejoy, Minder, Parkinson, The All New Alexei Sayle Show, The Persuaders! and others.[6]

In 1967 Marks toured Australia for J.C. Williamson Theatres in Bill Naughton's Spring & Port Wine.[2] In 1968 he played the lead in The Young Visiters, a musical version of the turn of the 20th century Daisy Ashford novel (written when she was nine and published as submitted by her with the spelling errors) at the Piccadilly Theatre in London.[7] He was the subject of This Is Your Life in December 1971 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at London's Garrick Theatre.[8] He was a fine bass-baritone and appeared regularly on the BBC TV series 'The Good Old Days'. One of his most memorable renditions was of Kipling's 'The Road to Mandalay', in the version made famous by Peter Dawson. He appeared as "Wilfred Shadbolt" in a video production of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera The Yeomen of the Guard in 1982.[9]

While on tour in Australia, Marks was appointed the second King of Moomba (1968) by the Melbourne Moomba festival committee; when asked what his qualifications were, he quipped (in full Cockney)

When I was eleven there were rival gangs around a fruit market in the East End. And desperately, I always wanted to be a member of the bigger rival gang. One day when I was in my best Easter suit, someone from one of the other gangs said to me 'would you like to be King of the Golden Apples?' 'All right, just sit there on this box and call out Apples, Apples, give me the Golden Apples.' Which innocently I did and they cobbled me with every rotten apple in the market.[10]

Personal life

Marks married actress Paddie O'Neil in 1952. They remained together until his death. The couple had two children, Gareth (also an actor), and Danielle.[6]

Selected filmography


  1. Brian McFarlane (ed.) The Encyclopedia of British Film, Methuen/BFI, 2003, p. 433
  2. Obituary. The Times
  3. "Obituary : Alfred Marks". 2 July 1996.
  4. N. Farnes (ed.) (1997) The Goons: The Story. London: Virgin Publishing.
  5. "Alfred Marks".
  6. Alfred Marks on IMDb
  8. "Alfred Marks".
  9. Bradley, Ian (3 May 2016). "The Complete Annotated Gilbert & Sullivan: 20th Anniversary Edition". Oxford University Press via Google Books.
  10. Craig Bellamy, Gordon Chisholm & Hilary Ericksen (2006) Moomba – A festival for the people Archived 28 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
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