Robert MORLEY CBE (1908-1992)

Robert Morley This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 385
  • Subject No: 386
  • Broadcast date: Wed 1 May 1974
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Wed 24 Apr 1974
  • Venue: Savoy Theatre
  • Series: 14
  • Edition: 25

on the guest list...

  • Ambrosine Phillpotts
  • William Franklyn
  • Joyce Carey
  • cast members of A Ghost on Tiptoe
  • Joan - wife
  • Annabel - daughter
  • Sheridan - son
  • Wilton - son
  • Wilfred Hyde-White
  • Margaret - sister
  • Peter Bull
  • Sewell Stokes
  • Morton Gottlieb
  • John Huston
  • David Tomlinson
  • Hugo - grandson
  • Alexis - granddaughter
  • Margaret - daughter-in-law
  • Sybil Thorndike
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Robert Hardy
  • Peter Ustinov

production team...

  • Researcher: Vincent Stafford
  • Writer: John Viner
  • Director: Peter Webb
  • Producer: Malcolm Morris
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...
Robert Morley This Is Your Life Robert Morley This Is Your Life Robert Morley This Is Your Life Robert Morley This Is Your Life Robert Morley This Is Your Life Robert Morley This Is Your Life Robert Morley This Is Your Life Robert Morley This Is Your Life Robert Morley This Is Your Life Robert Morley This Is Your Life Robert Morley This Is Your Life Robert Morley This Is Your Life

Screenshots of Robert Morley This Is Your Life

Robert Morley autobiography

Robert Morley recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in his book, Morley Marvels...

Meeting Rex Harrison once in the Burlington Arcade - where you'd expect him to be - he was kind enough to congratulate me on a television programme I had done the night before. It was an instalment of the ever popular feature This Is Your Life. For an egomaniac like myself it is well nigh the perfect programme - as long as I am the one whose life they are discussing. Rex seemed to think that on this occasion I had got away with it. 'And why not?' he continued. 'You've been so sensible; one house, one wife and, if you'll forgive me saying so, one performance.'

Robert Morley biography

Sheridan Morley recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, Robert, My Father...

Early in 1974 Robert decided to return to the boards and in a play of his own; this would, in fact, be his seventh. It was co-written with Rosemary Anne Sisson, entitled A Ghost on TipToe and, it has to be admitted, not very good.

Thinking (wrongly as it turned out) that A Ghost might need a little help at the box-office, I put together With Eamonn Andrews at Thames Television a This Is Your Life on Robert, which we managed to televise from the stage of the Savoy during the week the show opened. Much helped by Rose, we successfully assembled such old friends and allies as John Huston, Sybil Thorndike, the Peters Ustinov and Bull, Sewell, Mort Gottlieb from New York and, best of all for the family, my brother was flown from Sydney, where he had already started his own management. That party was the last really good one before people started to disappear abroad or, worse, forever.

Robert and Rex Harrison were of an age, and had started out together in drama school and regional tours - indeed Rex had one of his first leading roles in a short-lived play of Robert's called Short Story - but apart from a couple of films, the two men had virtually nothing in common either physically or temperamentally. Fifty years after their start together, they happened to meet in London's Burlington Arcade the morning after Robert had featured in This Is Your Life on television. "So brave", murmured Rex, "and not a programme I would ever dare to do, not with the two suicides in my life, and the four divorces and all that. But then, Robert, for you life has been so very different: one wife, one family, one home and, if I may say so, one performance."

Roy Bottomley This Is Your Life book

Scriptwriter Roy Bottomley recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, This Is Your Life: The Story of Television's Famous Big Red Book...

Among the wonderful cast who turned up to pay tribute to Robert Morley on the stage of the Savoy Theatre on 24 April 1974 was a no less a legendary figure of the theatre than the ninety-one-year-old Dame Sybil Thorndike, the star of the first play Robert wrote in 1935.

Robert's wife, Joan, was the daughter of another theatrical Dame, the late Dame Gladys Cooper.

And Robert was co-author with Rosemary Anne Sisson of the play at the Savoy, A Ghost on Tiptoe, in which he was co-starring with Ambrosine Phillpotts and William Franklyn.

There were greetings from old chums such as Peter Bull, Robert Hardy, Peter Ustinov, and his great pal Wilfred Hyde-White, who summed up Robert's perfect day: 'Stay at the racecourse till dark, and the casino till daybreak.'

The great film director John Huston – he directed Robert in the classic The African Queen – reminded Robert of one particular day at the races, a selling plate. Robert was trying to persuade Huston into joining him in a bid for a horse which Robert really rated. Huston was just about to agree and join a bid when the auctioneer took them by surprise and announced, 'Going, going, gone!' and banged down his hammer, whereupon the horse Robert so fancied joint-owning let out a last 'neigh...' and dropped down dead.

But it was Dame Sybil Thorndike who summed up Robert Morley, the gentleman actor. Rushing to open a door for her at the BBC, he tripped. 'Get up, you silly old thing,' commanded the Dame. But he couldn't. He'd actually broken his ankle and was taken to hospital by ambulance.

The broken ankle put him out of work – but only temporarily. What did he do? Got himself a part in the television series Emergency – Ward 10 – as a man with a broken ankle.

Robert Morley This Is Your Life

Series 14 subjects

Jim Dale | Vic Feather | Hayley Mills | Pete Murray | George Sewell | David Nixon | Robert Dougall | Deryck Guyler
Derek Dougan | William Coles | Jimmy Jewel | John Alderton | Patrick Moore | Sam Kydd | John Dankworth
Gordon Ostlere (Richard Gordon) | Lionel Blair | Sheila Scott | Roy Dotrice | Barry Briggs | Christopher Lee
Beryl Grey | Terry Biddlecombe | Don Revie | Robert Morley | David Hemery | Eamonn Andrews