Veteran Markyate screen actor dies at 91

A LOCAL actor who starred in an array of films over a career spanning nearly 60 years has passed away. Martin Benson, who lived in High Street, Markyate, with his wife Joy for much of his life, died peacefully at his home a couple of weekends ago, aged 91

A LOCAL actor who starred in an array of films over a career spanning nearly 60 years has passed away.

Martin Benson, who lived in High Street, Markyate, with his wife Joy for much of his life, died peacefully at his home a couple of weekends ago, aged 91, five years after his last acting job.

Martin, who recently moved to Whipsnade, acted in over 150 films from 1946 onwards and he was perhaps best known for his role as Kralahome, the King's Vizier in the 1956 film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I.

From playing Ramos in a 1963 version of Cleopatra to taking the role of Mr Solo alongside Sean Connery in the James Bond film Goldfinger in1964, Martin went on to play a vast collection of characters and his TV appearances included roles in Last of the Summer Wine and The Bill.


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Martin, whose last role was in an episode of Casualty in 2005, was also a talented writer, director and artist who held five one-man exhibitions in London and presented his art twice at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

Before making it big on the silver screen, Martin fought in World War II and, after being captured at Dunkirk, he escaped from the Germans and went to fight in the Middle East with his sergeant and BAFTA award-winning English actor Arthur Lowe.

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Martin's step-daughter Sabra Swinson said that he would be greatly missed and added: "Martin was a demanding man in the nicest possible way and I think that's one of the reasons why he was so successful in the industry. But he was also an extremely loveable person and he was far more than just a stepfather to me and my younger brother.

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