Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Whatever Happened to ... Tom Clegg?

 

Now this is a bit of a puzzle, right from the off. The actor Tom Clegg is best known for his unrecognisable transformation into Oddbod in the classic Carry on Screaming. However when researching Tom online there seems to be some confusion over his origins. 

For a start, there is of course the television director Tom Clegg but we can rule him out immediately. The Lancashire born director of the likes of the The Sweeney and Sharpe was never an actor. He sadly passed away back in 2016. There is a difference of opinion over the actor Tom Clegg's age and his place of birth. Wikipedia lists Tom as being born in Hackney, East London, in 1915. According to this site he sadly passed away back in 1996. The Internet Movie Database however gives Tom's date of birth as 1927 and claims he was born in Leeds, Yorkshire. It also doesn't list a date of death, so it's possible Tom is still with us at the age of 90/91. I have no idea if either of these sources is accurate but if you know more, do drop me a line.

 

Tom Clegg appeared in six Carry On films during the series' heyday in the 1960s. His first role was as the rather imposing boxer Massive Mickey in the boxing match segment of Carry On Regardless in 1961. Appearing in that very funny scene with Sid James, Bill Owen and Charles Hawtrey, Hawtrey's character Gabriel Dimple certainly gives his opponent the run around! Clegg was back three years later for another hard man role in Carry On Spying. His instantly recognisable features can be seen through the door of the curiously named Hakim's Fun House Kenneth Williams and the other agents are led to by Eric Pohlmann's The Fat Man. Go in Peace!

That same year Tom also appeared as Cleopatra's manservant Sosages (or Bangers as Sid James calls him!) in Carry On Cleo. Clegg has a memorable fight sequence with Kenneth Connor's Hengist Pod in Cleo's bath of semi-skimmed! The following year, 1965, saw Tom back at Pinewood for the small role of a blacksmith in Carry On Cowboy. It was his next role in the series that would guarantee his place in the Carry On story. Although not actually seen, behind all the makeup and special effects, it is Tom Clegg who portrays the role of the monster, Oddbod in Carry On Screaming! Not a bad claim to fame!

 

Tom returned one more time to the Carry Ons at the beginning of the new decade when he joined the mammoth cast of names in 1970's dating agency comedy, Carry On Loving. Playing the very brief role of Gripper Burke's boxing trainer, this is almost a homage to his appearance in the sequence in Regardless ten years earlier. Loving itself was in many ways Rothwell's tribute to Norman Hudis' episodic Helping Hands comedy classic. Sadly that was it for Tom Clegg in the Carry Ons, and indeed his role in Loving was his last acting performance. So what else did he get up to during his career?

The young Tom Clegg started out in life as a member of the Household Cavalry, before becoming a professional boxer - you can see why Peter Rogers cast him in that role in two of the Carry Ons! Tom apparently first broke into the world of film when he got some work as a stuntman in the 1952 film, Ivanhoe, starring Robert Taylor. By the mid 1950s Tom was starting to appear in small acting roles too. Some of the films he appeared in during those early days include Moby Dick and The Hideout (both 1956); Saint Joan (1957); This Sporting Life (1963) and the James Bond epic Thunderball in 1965.

 

Branching out in the blossoming world of television in the late 1950s and 1960s, Tom played a range of tough guys and menacing baddies in a wide range of well known series. Drama series he popped up in included the likes of Quatermass II, The Saint, Sword of Freedom, Dixon of Dock Green and The Sweeney. He also found a niche in comedy roles on the small screen, appearing in four separate episodes of the classic comedy series Hancock's Half Hour. He went on to appear in The Benny Hill Show and Till Death Us Do Part. 

With his very final role that cameo in Carry On Loving in 1970, I have no idea what happened to Tom Clegg after that date. He seems to have left the acting profession and doesn't even seem to have done any further stunt work on films or in television. If anyone has any more information on Tom's life and work, please do get in touch as otherwise the trail runs cold here. 


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3 comments:

  1. Hello! As the great grandson of Tom Clegg, I love this blog! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions - no guarantee I can answer them but some of my family might!

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  2. Email - tyler.ungless@icloud.com

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    1. HI Tyler is that Tom that used to live in Epping lower swines??

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