Will Fyffe had a long and successful career in the music hall before finding cinema stardom as the archetypal old Scot.
Fyffe was born in Dundee. Shortly after his birth his father started a touring theatre group, travelling the country with a portable theatre. Fyffe was soon enlisted into the company, beginning with child roles, but developed his character acting skills giving his Polonius in Hamlet when he was just fifteen.
He left his father's company to toured with others. He was for a while in William Haggar's company in South Wales. Haggar had been successful in early cinema and his company still made films, one of which featured Fyffe in his first screen role.
Fyffe moved into music hall with a series of self-penned sketches which he'd tried unsuccessfully to sell to Harry Lauder and Neil Kenyon. The sketches proved a hit, but it was another Harry Lauder reject, the song "I belong to Glasgow", which really moved Fyffe into the big time. By 1922 he was appearing at the Royal Variety Performance for the first (of five) times.
When talkies came along, he was in demand. As a bone fide theatre and recording star he slotted into the quality quota production nicely. While few of his films were better than adequate, they did showcase his ability to play character roles and proved popular with audiences. He was even enough of a name abroad for some of his films to have a go at the US market.
Hollywood came calling and he was in the US during the approach of WWII. He declined offers to stay and returned to Britain to entertain the troops, and star in a fondly-remembered series of pantos in Glasgow.
He died while recuperating from an ear operation, falling out of the window of a St Andrews hotel which he owned.
There's more than a touch of the ham about Fyffe's act but he's always the star - never upstaged no matter what it takes.
|1914||The Maid of Cefn Ydfa|
|1936||Well Done, Henry|
|1936||King of Hearts|
|1936||Debt of Honour|
|1936||Love in Exile|
|1936||Men of Yesterday|
|1937||Said O'Reilly to McNab|
|1939||The Mind of Mr. Reeder|
|1939||Rulers of the Sea (US)|
|1940||The Missing People|
|1940||They Came By Night|
|1941||The Prime Minister|
|1944||Heaven is Round the Corner|
|1945||Give Me the Stars|
Will Fyffe at Amazon UK
Will Fyffe at Amazon US