Sam Kydd

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Samuel John Kydd
File:Sam Kydd.jpg
Born (1915-02-15)15 February 1915
Belfast, Ireland
Died 26 March 1982(1982-03-26) (aged 67)
London, England
Cause of death Emphysema

Sam Kydd (15 February 1915 – 26 March 1982) was an English actor. His best-known roles were as the smuggler Orlando O'Connor in two major British television series of the 1960s, and as a recurring character in Coronation Street. An early film was The Captive Heart (1946), where he had a non-speaking role as a POW.

Early life and career

An army officer's son, Kydd was born to English parents in Belfast, and moved back to England to London as a child. He was educated at Dunstable Grammar School in Dunstable, Bedfordshire. During the mid-1930s Kydd was an MC for various big bands such as the Oscar Rabin Band. He would warm up audiences with jokes and impressions and even some tap dance routines then introduce the other singers and attractions on the bill. During the late 1930s he had joined the Territorial Army serving with the Queen Victoria's Rifles and when war broke out he was called up for active service.

Early in the war, he went to France with the British Expeditionary Force but was quickly captured, spending the rest of the war in Stalag XX-A, a camp near Thorn in German-occupied western Poland.[1] Kydd later wrote of his experiences as a POW in his autobiographical book For You the War Is Over.[2]

During his internment in the German prisoner-of-war camp, where he remained for the next five years, he took command of the camp's theatrical activities - devising and staging plays. He felt so strongly about his work there that, when he was offered repatriation after three years, he turned it down to continue with his theatrical work. In recognition of his valuable services during these years, he was awarded a pair of drama masks made by the Red Cross from barbed wire.

Film career

Returning to Britain after the war, Kydd applied for the film Captive Heart, which was about life in a prison camp, and as this was an area where he had much experience, he got a part. (Any source suggesting that he made films in the 1940s - Halliwell, for example - is incorrect since he was initially on active service in the army, and then a POW, at the time that he was supposed to have made these films. See For You the War Is Over.) He went on to appear in many more films, including such memorable films as The Blue Lamp, Father Brown, The 39 Steps and I'm All Right Jack. He often played the part of a strong and resilient cockney. He is best remembered as a character actor in films such as Chance of a Lifetime, The Cruel Sea, Sink the Bismarck, Too Late the Hero, The Yangtse Incident, Reach for the Sky, Eye of the Needle and Steptoe and Son Ride Again.

He married Pinkie Barnes, an ex-international table tennis champion and one of Britain's first women advertising copywriters. Their son, Jonathan Kydd, followed his father into the acting profession.

He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1974 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews.

Kydd took part in more than 200 films and 1,000 TV plays and series including, The Adventures of Robin Hood, 'Pickwick Papers', Mess Mates, Arthur Askey, Benny Hill, Charlie Drake, Harry Worth, The Expert, Dixon of Dock Green, Crane and Orlando in 1963. In Crane Kydd had appeared as the lovable smuggler Orlando O'Connor. The programme starred Patrick Allen, as a Briton who moved to Morocco to run a cafe and had an aversion to smuggling. Kydd's character was so popular that when 'Crane' finished he was given his own programme, Orlando, a children's adventure series.

He also appeared in the Fossett Saga, and Curry and Chips, as well as the big-screen versions of Dad's Army and Till Death Us Do Part. Amongst his many television appearances were The Tony Hancock Show, critically acclaimed series Minder, Crossroads, Coronation Street (playing the part of Mike Baldwin's father, Frankie), The Eric Sykes Show, and Follyfoot. In 1974, Kydd played the part of a cabbie in Thames Television's A Dickens of a Christmas.

Kydd died of emphysema.

Selected filmography


  1. Letter and photo in camp magazine 1942
  2. For You The War Is Over by Sam Kydd - Futura, London, 1974. ISBN 0-85974-005-6

External links