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Publisher Identifier:. Retail Price:. Blessed with an exceptional speaking voice, he was appointed Fulton Lecturer in Elocution at Edinburgh University in , and shortly afterwards founded his own school of drama and speech training. A few months later, he was asked to play the part of a priest in an amateur production of the play The Land Of Heart's Desire, and was introduced to one of his co-stars, a year-old girl who 'looked much younger than her age'. At her 13th birthday party, just a few weeks later, Sim kissed the new teenager, and she remembered afterwards: 'I had difficulty getting to sleep that night.
The actor also took care to befriend his new admirer's mother Norah - launching a relationship that was to last 'for many years'. Sim became an ever-present guest at the Plaskitt's flat in Edinburgh and took an 'increasing interest' in his devoted admirer's education - to the extent of suggesting that Naomi leave school at 14 to enrol as a pupil in his drama school. After a year of studying with him, Sim offered the infatuated teenager a job as his secretary and they began spending more and more time together.
He even started taking her with him to visit friends. When he was asked if she was his daughter, Sim replied bluntly 'No', but didn't elaborate.
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Alastair Sim played the 'perfect Dickensian character' in the film Scrooge, alongside Melvyn Johns. The truth would have deeply shocked them - for within a year their relationship had developed into 'something more serious', so much so that Sim told her they would be married when she reached the age of That was hardly commonplace in the famously staid world of middleclass Edinburgh in the early Thirties. But when she was 16, Naomi followed Sim to London, where he had decided to try his luck as an actor. Her mother came, too, and the three set up in a small furnished flat in Golders Green.
In August , when Naomi was 18 and Sim 32, the couple married and, within a matter of weeks, the new Mrs Sim was pregnant.
But she suffered terrible bouts of sickness, so debilitating that she was admitted to hospital and the pregnancy was terminated. She was to lose two more children in pregnancy.click
The ST. TRINIAN'S Films ()
Meanwhile, her new husband's career blossomed, expanding into films in with a role in The Riverside Murder. As a result, Naomi became his chauffeur as well as his secretary, ferrying him back and forth to studios every day. Though she'd studied as an actress when they'd first come to London, she abandoned her own career to support him. However dubious the relationship might seem, there can be no doubting that they loved each other dearly. One friend of the time called them 'one soul in two bodies', and Naomi's support did no harm to Sim's career. By Sim had become a star of British film musicals and by the war had repeated his success on the West End stage in a spy thriller called Cottage To Let, which also featured year-old cockney George Cole.
With his wife pregnant for the fourth time, Sim decided to move out of London - renting Egypt Cottage, near Henley, which comprised three 16th century cottages knocked together, but without electricity and where the only water came from a well in the garden. Shortly after the move, the Sims invited the young George Cole to join them, even though the decision 'drew some comments from some quarters concerning the appropriateness of the relationship'. Sim's biographer dismisses the criticism as 'suspicion' and it can't be stressed enough that not a shred of evidence has been found that Sim ever took sexual advantage of either his future wife, while she was under age, or the young actors he befriended.
But again there can be no doubt that a close relationship between a year-old man and a boy 'who was 15, but could easily have passed for 11' - in the words of Sim's wife - would have drawn intense interest in today's society.
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Shortly after Cole settled into Egypt Cottage, Naomi gave birth to their first and only child, a daughter, Merlith, in August The teenage actor was given the task of lighting oil lamps and fires for the new baby while, in return, Sim 'coached him in the art of acting'. Though never formally adopted by the Sims - despite reports to the contrary - Cole was to remain with them for the next 14 years, making 11 films with the actor, until his own marriage in , at the age of 29, when he and his wife Eileen moved into a house nearby. Over the years a string of other aspiring young male actors would also find their way to Sim's home - without arousing public concern.
Alastair Sim: The Real Belle of St Trinians
In , the Sims built a new house not far away and named it Forrigan after a play written by close friend James Bridie. With its tennis court and games room, the house appeared idyllic, but, as so often in Sim's life, appearances were deceptive. One of Sim's friends nicknamed it Bleak House and Simpson admits that 'for all his generosity of spirit, Sim could also be frugal'.
Frugal or not, young actors were always welcome - although the same could no longer be said of Sim's mother-in-law, Norah, who was still living with him. Despite her support for the actor's courtship of her year-old daughter, she was asked to leave - and she did so 'with much ill feeling' to live in a small hotel at Lymington in the New Forest.
The Belles of St. Trinian's
As an established star, Sim's defensive attitude to questions about his private life never wavered. Not only did he refuse interviews, he also steadfastly avoided signing autographs. Dumplin' by Julie Murphy Paperback, Masquerade by Kit Williams Hardback, This biography also explores his life outside of films.
Additional Product Features Author s. Mark Simpson is a government auditor, and an Alastair Sim enthusiast. Show more Show less. Ratings and reviews Write a review. Most relevant reviews. Read full review Verified purchase: No.
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