Monday, 5 September 2016

The Esma Cannon Mystery Continues...

I wrote a couple of blogs last year  about that wonderful comedy character actress, Esma Cannon. Esma has long been a fan favourite and she was incredibly prolific in British film over a period of thirty years until her retirement in 1964.

While we all love her performances in the Carry On films, very little is known about Esma away from the limelight. Apart from some sparse details - we know she came from Australia,  was married, had a son, lived in North London and ended up in France - most of Esma's life remains a mystery. 

Last year I was browsing the internet and came across a photo of Esma Cannon I had not seen before. It was accompanied by a brief article in French (my French is very patchy these days but I got the general gist of it). Although it doesn't provide much extra information on Ms Cannon, it does give a fascinating glimpse at the reclusive actress very much as "herself". 

This article pretty much confirms that Esma spent her later years living in France until her death in 1972. 

I was looking for some photos of Esma to share on Twitter the other evening when I started to investigate the later stages of her life once again. I remembered reading that Esma had a son from her marriage to Ernst Littmann and as he was born in London in 1946 I thought there was a fair chance of him still being around today.

Google brought up very little and I was about to call it a night when my search took me to some Border Control documents from Australia in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This archive is all publicly available so I decided to have a trawl. Eventually I came across a record for a Michael Anthony Littmann, born in London in early 1946. The date of birth matched Esma's son and as I scrolled further so did the address of the house they shared as a family in North London from the 1950s until the early 1970s.

I began to get a little excited when I saw Esma Ellen Charlotte Cannon listed as the mother's maiden name. So it looks like Michael Littmann returned to Esma's native land to live after she died in the early 1970s. Furthermore, by 1981 at least Michael was married to an Australian lady called Susan Doris Pinter. Further research has sadly revealed athat Susan passed away suddenly in 2014 in her mid sixties. The whereabouts of Michael Littmann remains unknown but I feel I have inched a little bit closer.

If anyone knows of Michael or indeed it's a bit of a long shot, but if Michael sees this blog, please do get in touch as I'd love to chat to you about your wonderful mother.   

You can check on the French article here and you can read my original blog on Esma here.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

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