Tuesday 19 June 2012

Victor Spinetti - 1929-2012

I've just heard of the death of Victor Spinetti. Victor appeared in three Beatles films and was great friends of all of them.

I met Victor on several occasions. The first time was in 1981 at the Beatles Convention in Liverpool. Victor was the star guest and unveiled a statue to John Lennon. He gave a wonderful speech about John and the whole crowd spontaneously sang 'Give Peace a Chance'. It was a moment I will never forget.

After the convention, I chatted to Victor outside the Adelphi, and then had to leave to get my train home. I asked Victor if he was going back to London too, but he said he was being picked up by a friend. It turned out the friend was Paul McCartney and his family, who gave Victor a conducted tour of Beatles sites in Liverpool! I wish I'd stayed around.

A couple of years later, the organisers of the Convention sold off bricks from the Cavern Club to raise money for Strawberry Field, the salvation army childrens home, that of course inspired John to write one of his most famous songs. At first, sales were slow, but the organisers asked Victor to help to promote the sale. Victor gave an incredible, witty, speech, and when he finished, the queue to buy the bricks was a hundred yards long!

When the Help DVD came out the British Beatles Fanclub had a party at the City Barge Pub, which featured in the film. Victor came along as our guest and it was my privilege to interview him. As usual, Victor was his friendly, funny self. He was one of the best story tellers ever.

Many years ago I found out I was adopted and that my birth mother was from South Wales. She was born only a mile or so from where Victor lived! Victor's family owned the local fish and chip shop. Small world!

RIP Victor - you will be much missed.

Richard Porter

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