Friday 29 December 2017

Is Esma Cannon's son Michael Littman still in Australia?

Over the past few days I've attempted to reignite my search into the life of the late, great 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. 

Esma married accountant Ernst Littman in London in 1945 and the following March she gave birth to her only child, a son - Michael Anthony Littman. Records show that the Littman named was registered to a property in Camden, North London from 1958 (when Esma, Ernst, Michael and Esma's mother moved there) until 1983, 11 years after Esma died. It's in the records that despite Esma having moved to France and actually dying there in October 1972, her husband died in London in September '83.

My main search is now focussed on Esma's son Michael, as it's presumed all other relatives are deceased. Last year I managed to track down some official documents from the Australian authorities, but in the past few days I've been helped enormously by blog reader Alex Edwards, who has sent me scans of as many documents on Michael Littman (or Mick as he seemed to be known) as he could find.

Michael as pictured in 1980
The Michael Anthony Littman named in these documents is definitely the one as his mother is given as Esma Ellen Charlotte Littman, with the maiden name of Cannon. Interestingly, despite Esma ending up in France after she retired, there is no sign that Michael went too. Indeed between 1962 and 1974 Michael was employed as a cleaner at a McVitie's biscuit factory. It was in 1974 by all accounts that Michael made the move to his mother's homeland. Arriving that year, he worked for the Victorian Railways as a Shunter from November 1974 until March 1975 before taking on a role later that year as a cleaner at the tourist resort of Fraser Island.

Sadly, some of Michael's time in Australia seems to have been quite difficult as at one point in 1979 he was in trouble with the police and charged with carrying dangerous drugs after an altercation in a public park. Despite this, and the authorities considering his right to remain in the country, Michael was still in Australia at the turn of the decade. Indeed he is known to have married Susan Doris Pinter in 1981. I believe from what I've found that Susan sadly passed away in 2014 at the age of 65. 

I have found nothing to suggest that Michael is no longer with us, but also sadly nothing to give any clues on what happened to him after 1981. Michael would be 71 years old this year so there's every chance he is still living in Australia. If anyone, either in the UK or in Australia knows anything about Michael Anthony Littman (could be known as Mick Littman) please do get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or at

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  1. I thought Esma was terrific on screen. I hope her time in France wasn't under sad circumstances - though she did die sadly quite young at 66. There's a hint of family estrangement, isn't there...?


  3. I loved her she was so funny. Hope her later years weren’t so unhappy.

  4. we have a house not far from her resting place and intend to place some flowers at her grave in the near future

    1. Hello.
      Did you manage to do that, please ?

  5. Esma Cannon was such a brilliant comedy actress. And although slight of stature had a heart of a giant. She left us a legacy of laughter & joy. Thanks Esma wherever you are.

  6. Esma was a wonderful entertaining soul. Grew up watching her. Shes no doubt got everyone in stitches wherever she is !

  7. Esma was so funny in anything, but she was at her ditsy best in The Rag Trade.A unique character actress & a great favorite.

  8. As a child I was great friends with Michael Anthony but we lost touch when I moved to Australia with my parents at the age of 11. I remember his father - his hobby was collecting different types of soap.