Anthony Anholt

Anthony Anholt, actor

Born: 19 January, 1941 in Singapore

Died: 26 July, 2002, in London, aged 61

THE suave good looks made Tony Anholt’s career. He was best known for playing a charming and seductive philanderer in the BBC’s popular Sunday-evening soap, Howards’ Way, in the late Eighties.

And, it has to be said, it was a role be played with much dedication both on and off the screen.

His handsome charm made him ideal for casting as the smooth bachelor in numerous television series, and Anholt played these parts with a laid-back cunning. His acting was neither grand nor intense, but debonair he most certainly was.

Anthony Anholt was born of English-Dutch parents in Singapore, but he spent much of his childhood in South Africa.

His first job was teaching Latin at a prep school in Surrey - there he met his first wife, Sheila. They moved to Spain, then Paris, to teach English. On returning to London, Anholt realised his ambition to become an actor and joined the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, where he was given minor parts and made the tea. Allegedly he used another actor’s CV to get the job.

After some months in rep he got a part, when the American cast left in 1964, in the ground-breaking gay play, Boys in the Band, in the West End. Outside London, he was to appear in several stage productions - as Professor Higgins in the European tour of My Fair Lady, in Private Lives and Amadeus, but it was on the small screen that Anholt hit home.

The BBC cast Anholt as the millionaire bachelor (a part be was surely born to play) Charles Frere in its sailing, powerboat and naval soap, Howards’ Way. It was set around the wealthy yachting fraternity on the River Hamble, and Anholt oiled his way round the ladies of the village with consummate pleasure. Much to the fury of his father (played by the irascible Nigel Davenport), Anholt always seemed to be involved in some business skulduggery and absent with a lady friend.

His antics provided endless television amusement and the series ran for over five years. It was panned by the critics and loved by the punters.

The trouble was that Anholt started a relationship off-screen with the actress Tracey Childs. He was also having a torrid affair with her in the series - and she was more than 20 years younger than he was. When the tabloids heard about the affair, they had a field day and stories about the couple ran and ran.

Much muck-raking went on. The private assignations of Anholt and Childs were gone into in daily detail and Anholt’s previous flings were exposed in glorious Technicolor. Various friends appeared out of the woodwork, one labelling him "a rival to Casanova". His first marriage collapsed and he married Ms Childs in 1990.

Anholt continued to work in a variety of jobs. He was a most successful announcer with the BBC World Service while still doing films and TV work.

He was in Coronation Street in the late Eighties and played Nick Stevens in the BBC’s short-lived ferryboat soap, Triangle, opposite Kate O’Mara. He was also seen in such shows as Only Fools and Horses and Juliet Bravo.

One docu-play that saw Anholt stretch his acting abilities came from Scotland. He made a strong impression in STV’s powerful adaptation of The Stonehouse Affair, playing the title role in the story of John Stonehouse, the former Cabinet minister who faked his death and disappeared with his girlfriend. Anholt brought a strong sense of reality and understanding to the tortured character.

His marriage to Ms Childs was dissolved in 1998 and he is survived by a son from his first marriage. He died of a brain tumour.