Moore Marriott

George Thomas Moore Marriott (14 September 1885[1] – 11 December 1949[2]) was an English character actor best remembered for the series of films he made with Will Hay. His first appearance with Hay was in the film Dandy Dick (1935), but he was a significant supporting performer in Hay's films from 1936 to 1940, and while he starred with Hay during this period he played a character called "Harbottle" that was based on a character Marriott usually played. His character Harbottle was originally created by Hay when he used the character in his "The fourth form at St. Michael's" sketches in the 1920s.

Moore Marriott
Marriott in his "old man" character
Born
George Thomas Moore Marriott

(1885-09-14)14 September 1885
Died11 December 1949(1949-12-11) (aged 64)
Bognor Regis, Sussex, England
OccupationCharacter actor
Years active1912–1949

Career

Marriott was born at Alpha Place, Yiewsley, Middlesex, on 14 September 1885, the son of George Matthew Marriott (1859–1940), who was then a commercial traveller, and his wife, Edith Rousby, née Coleman (1864–1946). His parents were actors, and his father became a theatrical manager. Moore Marriott made his stage debut at the age of five. He had originally intended to train as an architect, but instead he became an actor in films.[3] Rather like Clive Dunn and Wilfrid Brambell later, he became typecast as playing old men when he was still relatively young. He had a special set of artificial teeth which he would put in to play his 'old man' characters. He had no teeth in real life and took four different sets of false teeth with him to achieve variety in his characters.

Although he made 131 film appearances from 1912, today he is probably best known as old "Harbottle" in a number of comedy films he made with Will Hay and Graham Moffatt, including Oh, Mr Porter! (1937) and Ask a Policeman (1939). During the filming of Hay's film Dandy Dick (1935), Marriott played an uncredited stableboy. During the filming of Dandy Dick, Marriott said to Hay he thought he should be a straight man to him in his old-man character. His first role as a straight man using this character was in Hay's film Windbag the Sailor (1936) along with Graham Moffatt.

Following the dissolution of the Will Hay/Graham Moffatt/Moore Marriott partnership, he continued to play his Harbottle-type character in films with the comedian Arthur Askey and the Crazy Gang, e.g. I Thank You (1941) and Back-Room Boy (1942). His other film appearances included Millions Like Us (1943) and Green for Danger (1946).

Death

In his later years, Marriott kept a grocer's store in Bognor Regis, and it is where he died on 11 December 1949; only eight months after the death of his comedy partner, Will Hay. Cause of death was cardiac syncope, acute pulmonary oedema and chronic myocardiac degeneration caused by earlier pneumonia. He outlived his mother and his father by merely 3 years and 9 years respectively.[3] He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium, where his ashes were also interred.

Legacy

The Will Hay Appreciation Society was founded in 2009 by British artist Tom Marshall, and aims to preserve the legacy of Will Hay, Moore Marriott and Graham Moffatt and to bring their work to a new generation of fans. As of June 2019, the organisation has over 4200 members.[4] The Will Hay Appreciation Society unveiled a memorial bench to Will Hay, Moore Marriott and Graham Moffatt in October 2018, in Cliddesden, Hampshire the filming location for Oh, Mr. Porter!. The bench was unveiled by Pete Waterman.[5]

Filmography

References

  1. GRO Register of Births: DEC 1885 3a 23 UXBRIDGE – George Thomas M. Marriott
  2. GRO Register of Deaths: DEC 1949 5h 530 CHICHESTER – George T. M. Marriott
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Moore Marriott on the Will Hay Tribute Site
  4. "The Will Hay Appreciation Society". PhotograFix: Tom Marshall B.A. (Hons) Photo Colouriser. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  5. "Mr Porter returns to Cliddesden with guests in tow". Basingstoke Gazette. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
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