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Aeronautical ‘ties’ before they were famous…

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Aeronautical ‘ties’ before they were famous…

Old 17th May 2005, 22:12
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Question Aeronautical ‘ties’ before they were famous…

Aeronautical ‘ties’ before they were famous…

I’ve just finished a fantastic biography of the late great Jimmy Edwards and it’s got me thinking what other celebrities flew or had links to flying before they were made famous because of other attributes.

Jimmy Edwards was a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War and spent much his time as a pilot in Toronto, testing those trainee navigators charged with getting him home before the fuel ran out. He was later called back to England to fly the Dakoto as a glider tug over Arnhem in 1944 and during this period he was shot down and sustained serious burns which he later disguised under his trademark handlebar moustache. For this action he received the DFC.

He can probably best be remembered for these works…

Whacko!, 1956-60, 1971, as 'Professor' James Edwards.

Three Men in a Boat, 1956, film role as Harris

Bottoms Up!, 1959, film acting role as ‘Professor’ Jim Edwards.

He was a great actor and comedian and although I was aware of his flying connections (like that of Roald Dahl), it got me thinking that he would have made a great member of the forum.

Can anyone else think of famous person who had ‘aeronautical links’ and then got famous through other talents afterwards?

The 4 celebrity aviators below don’t count for the obvious reasons and the fact they don’t subscribe to the criteria above.

Jimmy Stewart
Clark Gable
Tom Cruise
John Travolta

There has to be more though…?

001
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Old 17th May 2005, 22:22
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Didn't Dick Emery break his career in comedy and become a commercial airline pilot? seem to recal seeing or reading that somewhere,,hmmm mebee I'm thinking of some other famous comedian.
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Old 17th May 2005, 22:26
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Neville Shute author of On the Beach, a book set in a post nuclear world (I think) also wrote Slide Rule about his time on the R101 (ok maybe it was the R100) project. One was private and one government, and both were bitter rivals. I haven't read the book, just a snippet but I would like to read the whole thing.

He also wrote several other books about flying (ok, at least one, but I did read that and it was very good, I just can't remember the name now )

In the opposite vein to your excellent thread, there is Cecil Lewis who wrote Saggitarius Rising about his exploits as an aviator on the Western front in the First World War. His passage about watching artillery shells poise at the top of their trajectory is quite interesting and his passage about flying over the line at the moment the war officially ends is quite moving.

He later became a follower of the Greek Philosopher Ouspinsky and went to form a comune on a Greek island. This story and his subsequent disillusionment is told in Gemini to Joburg.
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Old 17th May 2005, 22:41
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Would "Get on yer bike " Norm Tebbit count ??
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Old 17th May 2005, 22:49
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Smile

Keep em coming chaps..

>Sagittarians Rising was a great book by another talented man.(fastening his ‘tale streamers’ to assume command just before leaving for the front really bought home the emotions...!)


PS

>Brief research (Emery would be proud) has brought up a lead suggesting that Dick did more than a few pilots in his day….which has 2 possible meanings:

1) he was a keen performance review artist
OR
2) lets not……..
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Old 17th May 2005, 22:59
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Errr, seem to recal that Jimmy Edwards was a tad inclined that way as well.
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Old 17th May 2005, 23:03
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Tony Benn, Spitfires.
Duke of York (King George VI), RN pilot's wings in 1919.
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Old 17th May 2005, 23:07
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Not a pilot, but how about Richard Todd?

In real life he was one of the paras dropped on the morning of D-Day to support the operation run by John Howard to take and hold the bridges over the River Orne and the Caen Canal.

By a twist of fate Todd the went on to play Howard himself in "The Longest Day" and later Gibson in "The Dam Busters".

Patrick Moore

Ex WW2 Bomber Command navigator, laterly BBC presenter of "The Sky at Night" for umpteen years.
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Old 17th May 2005, 23:10
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Lawrence Olivier,Fleet Air Arm I believe.
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Old 17th May 2005, 23:13
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Sir Richard Attenborough, RAF (when he had that role in Gateway or Stairway or whatever to the Stars, he was wearing his own uniform, and had just dropped into the studio to goof around).

Sir Ralph Richardson, Fleet Air Arm.

Sir Francis Chichester, long before he became a solo round-the-world yachtsman.
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Old 17th May 2005, 23:29
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Hughie Green was a pilot with the RCAF during WWII. His career as an entertainer was already established in his early teens, but probably best remembered for Double Your Money, Opportunity Knocks and the post-funeral revelations!
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Old 17th May 2005, 23:32
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Indeed, one of Chichesters best books was of his pioneering flights in his Gypsy Moth around Oz, he actually gave a lecture in my school once, very boring for us sprogs at the time it was, only years later after reading his Lonely Sea and the Sky that I realised who I had been lectured to by.

Ah yes spekesoftly, it was Hugie Green I was thinking of not Dick Emery.
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Old 17th May 2005, 23:35
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...and of course, Raymond Baxter



Didn't Audie Murphy play himself in To Hell and Back? What was he famous for - other than for TH&B?





Airey (sp?) Nieve (sp again?) Killed by the IRA under the Houses of Parliament, but first bloke to escape from Colditz.
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Old 17th May 2005, 23:41
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I do not know if he went solo, but Sir Winston Churchill took flying lessons very early on. His instructor was killed in a crash one day the great man could not be there.

Audie Murphy was the most decorated US serviceman of WW2; everything from the Medal of Honour down.
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Old 17th May 2005, 23:59
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My family used to live very near a famous entertainer, and he did a short theatre season with Jimmy Edwards. Because Mr. E. was an heroic drinker our neighbour, himself a well known and successful chap would wet himself before each show, because of the uncertainty about what Edwards would do next.
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Old 18th May 2005, 00:12
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Onan, Audie Murphy was the most decorated US soldier of WW2, seeing intense action during the Battle of the Bulge.

As for celebrity pilots, there's Rory Underwood and the old presenter of Tomorrow's World whose name escapes me.
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Old 18th May 2005, 00:23
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As a youngster, I can remember watching Jimmy Edwards play Polo. Between chukkas, we would help to 'tread-in', and then wander over to the players' enclosure. He struck me as a rather cantankerous old 'B', who didn't take kindly to 'young whippersnappers'.



and the old presenter of Tomorrow's World whose name escapes me.
You're thinking of Raymond Baxter, as mentioned earlier by Onan.
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Old 18th May 2005, 00:45
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George W Bush in Vietnam (or did he not show up)?
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Old 18th May 2005, 01:07
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George Bush Sr. was the youngest pilot in the USN when he got his wings in WW2. He flew 58 missions TBM's and was shot down in the Pacific.

Not a pilot, but Sir George Martin wanted to become an aeronautical engineer before he became an A&R man in the recording industry.
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Old 18th May 2005, 02:44
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Raymond Baxter, that's the chap, ta. Also, Kenneth Wolstenholme the famous football commentator.
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