Alfie Bass

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Alfred "Alfie" Bass (actually Abraham Basalinsky; born April 8, 1921 in Bethnal Green , London , † July 15, 1987 in London) was a British film and theater actor . During his career he appeared in over 200 stage, film, television and radio productions. He was considered an extremely versatile character actor. One of his most famous roles was that of host Yoyneh Shagal in Roman Polański's parody Dance of the Vampires .

life and career

Alfie (at the beginning of his career Alfred) Bass was born as Abraham Basalinsky on April 8, 1921 (other sources give different birthdays and years) as the youngest son of a Jewish family with ten children. His parents had fled to England from Russia, threatened by persecution. After primary school in Bethnal Green, he worked as an apprentice tailor, delivery boy and window dresser before he was drawn to the stage at the age of 18.

Bass' acting career began at the Unity Theater in London in the late 1930s. There he appeared in the play Plant In The Sun alongside Paul Robeson and as the pantomime king in Babes In The Wood . After the outbreak of World War II, he joined the Middlesex Regiment as a messenger rider. Despite his occupations and tasks, he still found time to get involved in political parties and to take part in film documentaries for the army. His stage career includes plays by William Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw . His stage work also contained an adaptation of Gogol's short story The Coat in London's East End, which was also adapted as a film adaptation by director Jack Clayton in 1956 and won the Oscar for best short film . He also took over the role of Tevje in Anatevka from Chaim Topol on the Westend stage.

Bass played a wide variety of types and characters in a number of films. He made his feature film debut in 1943 in The Bells Go Down by director Basil Dearden . This was followed by roles in the films Counted Hours (1949), Luck Came Overnight (1951) at the side of Alec Guinness , Duel at the wheel (1957), The Millionaire (1960), Richard Lester's Hi-Hi Help! from 1965, The seducer sends greetings with Michael Caine and Shelley Winters (1966), The old Romans (1966), A man like Job (1968), Inspector Clouseau - The crazy Flic with the hot look (1978) as well 1979 a small role in Moonraker - Top Secret .

He played one of his most famous and perhaps most emphatic roles in 1967 in Roman Polański's Dance of the Vampires as Yoyneh Shagal, the bustling innkeeper and lustful father of the beautiful Sarah, played by Sharon Tate .

Bass, who shone as a character actor and put down a considerable stage career, gained great popularity in England in the 1960s and 1970s with his roles in television series, for example in The Army Game (1957-1961, 42 episodes, ITV), for which he also participated Michael Medwin , Bernard Bresslaw and Leslie Fyson sang the theme song, or in Bootsie and Snudge , in which he played 'Bootsie' from 1960 to 1974 (103 episodes, ITV).

Alfie Bass died on July 15, 1987 in London of complications from a heart attack. He was 66 years old.


Filmography (selection)


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Alfie Bass in: Are you being served ?: the inside story of Britain's funniest - and Public Television's favorite - comedy series , by Adrian Rigelsford, Anthony Brown, Geoff Tibballs, KQED Books, 1995, p. 85
  2. ^ Obituary for Alfie Bass in The Times