When the film version of the Broadway musical Camelot was released in 1967, critics had a jolly old time lambasting director Joshua Logan for casting non-singers in the leading roles. While it's certainly true that Lynn Redgrave, Richard Harris and Franco Nero seemed to suffer from Tin-Ear Syndrome, the critics were most unfair in picking on the fellow who played Mordred: David Hemmings. The son of a cookie merchant, Hemmings was a successful touring boy soprano at age nine, performing with the English Opera Group. He briefly left the musical world when his voice changed, studying painting at the Epsom School of Art and staging his first exhibition at 15. He returned to singing in his early 20s, first in nightclubs, then on the musical stage. Easing into acting, Hemmings appeared as misunderstood youths and belligerent "Teddy Boys" in a number of British programmers before attaining international stardom as the existential fashion photographer "hero"of Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966). With 1971's Running Scared, the indefatigable Hemmings began yet another new career as director; he has since helmed theatrical and made-for-TV films in England, Australia and Canada. With business partner John Daly, Hemmings formed the Hemdale Corporation for the express purpose of allowing the actor to do pretty much what he pleased both before and behind the cameras. In later years, he added novel writing to his considerable list of accomplishments. David Hemmings was the former husband of American actress Gayle Hunnicutt.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Was a boy soprano, appearing in many works by composer Benjamin Britten.
- As a teen he went to Austria and played the guitar in nightclubs and did magic shows.
- Founded the Hemdale Film Corporation with his manager, John Daly, in 1967.
- Released his debut album, David Hemmings Happens, in 1967.
- Passed away at age 62 from a heart attack while filming in Romania.
- His autobiography Blow Up... and Other Exaggerations – The Autobiography of David Hemmings was published posthumously in 2004.