David Kossoff

David Kossoff (24 November 1919 – 23 March 2005) was a British actor. In 1954 he won a BAFTA for his appearance in The Young Lovers.[2] He played Alf Larkin in The Larkins and Professor Kokintz in The Mouse that Roared (1959) and its sequel The Mouse on the Moon (1963).[3]

Because of the drug use of his son Paul, a rock musician, who subsequently died, he became an anti-drug campaigner. In 1971 he was also actively involved in the Nationwide Festival of Light, an organisation protesting against the commercial exploitation of sex and violence, and advocating the teachings of Christ as the key to re-establishing moral stability in Britain.[4]

David Kossoff
David Kossoff
Born24 November 1919
Hackney, London, England[1]
Died23 March 2005 (aged 85)
Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England
Years active1952–1994
Margaret Jenkins
(m. 1947; died 1995)
Children3; including Paul Kossoff

Life and career

Kossoff was born in Hackney, London, the youngest of three children, to poor Russian-Jewish[5] parents. His father, Louis Kossoff (1883–1943), was a tailor, while another son, the eldest named Alec, changed his surname to Keith (aka Alan Keith); the middle sister was named Sarah Rebecca (Sadie). In its obituary of David Kossoff, The Scotsman wrote how he was "a man of deep convictions and proud of his Jewish origins".[6] He attended the Northern Polytechnic, leaving in 1937 to work as a draughtsman and then a furniture designer for a year before becoming an actor.[7]

Kossoff started working in light entertainment on British television in the years following World War II, during which he briefly served in the military.[8] His first stage appearance was at the Unity Theatre in 1942 at the age of 23.[9] He took part in numerous plays and films. He was a Member of the Society of Artists and Designers. In addition to this, he was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

His best-known television roles were the hen-pecked husband Alf Larkin in The Larkins, first broadcast in 1958, and a Jewish furniture maker in A Little Big Business. Film credits included The Young Lovers (1954 - for which he won a British Academy Film Award as Most Promising Newcomer to Film), A Kid for Two Farthings (1955), his role as Morry in the Oscar-winning The Bespoke Overcoat (1956), Professor Kokintz in The Mouse that Roared (1959), starring Peter Sellers, and its sequel The Mouse on the Moon (1963) with Bernard Cribbins. He played Sigmund Freud's father in Freud: The Secret Passion (1962) with Montgomery Clift in the lead.[10][11]

He was also well known for his story-telling skills, particularly with regard to reinterpreting the Bible. His best-known book, also a television series, is The Book of Witnesses (1971), in which he turned the Gospels into a series of monologues. He also retold dozens of Old Testament and Apocrypha stories in Bible Stories (1968).[12]

In 1953, he played the character Lemuel "Lemmy" Barnet in the British sci-fi radio series Journey into Space.[13]

He died in 2005 of liver cancer at age 85.[14] He was cremated and interred at the Golders Green Crematorium.[15]

He married Margaret (Jennie) Jenkins and had two sons, Paul and Simon. Following the death in 1976 of his son Paul, guitarist with the band Free, Kossoff established the Paul Kossoff Foundation which aimed to present the realities of drug addiction to children. Kossoff spent the remainder of his life campaigning against drugs. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he toured with a one-man stage performance about the death of his son and its effect on the family.[16][17]



  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  2. ^ "Film in 1955". bafta.org.
  3. ^ Hal Erickson. "David Kossoff - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  4. ^ "Encyclopedia of Censorship". google.co.uk.
  5. ^ "Variety Club - Jewish Chronicle colour supplement "350 years"". The Jewish Chronicle. 2006-12-15. pp. 28–29.
  6. ^ Alasdair, Steven. "David Kossoff: Actor", The Scotsman, 5 April 2005. Accessed 1 September 2011. "As an actor David Kossoff brought a refined and quick-witted quality to his roles. But he was also a man of deep convictions and proud of his Jewish origins, though he had a delightfully self-deprecating way of telling rambling Jewish jokes."
  7. ^ Dennis Barker. "Obituary: David Kossoff". the Guardian.
  8. ^ Dennis Barker. "Obituary: David Kossoff". the Guardian.
  9. ^ "David Kossoff". Telegraph.co.uk. 24 March 2005.
  10. ^ "David Kossoff - Movies and Filmography - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  11. ^ "David Kossoff". aveleyman.com.
  12. ^ Dennis Barker. "Obituary: David Kossoff". the Guardian.
  13. ^ "JOURNEY INTO SPACE". britishdrama.org.uk.
  14. ^ "David Kossoff". BFI.
  15. ^ The Guardian
  16. ^ "Home". Paul Kossoff Official Website. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  17. ^ "All Right Now: Remembering Guitar Great, Free's Paul Kossoff". gibson.com. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016.

External links

8th British Academy Film Awards

The 8th British Film Awards, given by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 1955, honored the best films of 1954.

A Kid for Two Farthings (film)

A Kid For Two Farthings is a 1955 film, directed by Carol Reed. The screenplay was adapted by Wolf Mankowitz from his own novel of the same name. The film presumably gets its name from an Aramaic song traditionally sung after the Passover Seder, Chad Gadya ("A Lone Kid"), in which a kid bought for two small coins, "zuzim" in the original, stands in for the Children of Israel.

Espionage (TV series)

Espionage is a 1963 Associated Television (ATV) series, distributed outside the UK by ITC Entertainment and broadcast in the United States by NBC.

Inn for Trouble

Inn for Trouble is a 1960 British comedy film - a spin-off of the 1950s sitcom The Larkins - starring Peggy Mount, David Kossoff and Leslie Phillips; the title makes silent allusion to the real Trouble House Inn in Gloucestershire near Tetbury.

The Larkin family takes over a run-down country public house, "The Earl Osbourne", but their efforts to rejuvenate business are impeded by the long-standing tradition of free beer being distributed by the local Earl. The film is notable for the final credited appearance of Graham Moffatt in the role of Jumbo.

Innocent Sinners

Innocent Sinners is a 1958 British film directed by Philip Leacock and starring Flora Robson.It was based on the novel An Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden.

Jet Storm

Jet Storm (also known as Jetstream and Killing Urge) is a 1959 British thriller film directed and co-written by Cy Endfield. Richard Attenborough stars with Stanley Baker, Hermione Baddeley and Diane Cilento. The film has many of the characteristics of the later aviation disaster film genre such as Airport (1970).

Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width

Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width is a British television sitcom first broadcast in 1967 as a single play in the Armchair Theatre anthology series, later becoming a series of half-hour episodes, which ran until 1971. A total of 40 episodes were made, all but one of them being believed to have aired.

It was originally made by ABC Television for the ITV network, with its production being continued by Thames Television.

Paul Kossoff

Paul Francis Kossoff (14 September 1950 – 19 March 1976) was an English blues rock guitarist. He was most notably a member of the band Free.

He was ranked 51st in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

Ring of Spies

Ring of Spies (also known as Ring of Treason) is a 1964 British spy film based on the real-life case of the Portland Spy Ring, whose activities prompted "Reds under the bed" scare stories in the British popular press in the early 1960s.

Robin Hood (1953 TV series)

Robin Hood is a six-episode television series starring Patrick Troughton as Robin Hood and Wensley Pithey as Friar Tuck. It was written by Max Kester, and produced and directed by Joy Harington for the BBC. The 30 minute episodes were transmitted live, and only eight minutes from the second episode, The Abbot of St. Mary's, exists (as a 16mm telerecording). Short clips of this material appeared in 2007 documentary, presented by Jonathan Ross, covering Robin Hood from its beginnings to the more recent BBC production (2006), and were also shown as an example of television production in the BBC documentary series Children's T.V. On Trial The 1950s.

Summer Holiday (1963 film)

Summer Holiday is a British CinemaScope and Technicolor musical film featuring singer Cliff Richard. The film was directed by Peter Yates (his debut), produced by Kenneth Harper. The original screenplay was written by Peter Myers and Ronald Cass (who also wrote most of the song numbers and lyrics). The cast includes Lauri Peters, Melvyn Hayes, Teddy Green, Jeremy Bulloch, Una Stubbs, Pamela Hart, Jacqueline Daryl, Lionel Murton, Madge Ryan, David Kossoff, Nicholas Phipps, Ron Moody and The Shadows. Herbert Ross choreographed the musical numbers.

The film had its World Premiere at the Warner Theatre in London's West End on 10 January 1963.

The Good Beginning

The Good Beginning is a 1953 British drama film directed by Gilbert Gunn and written by Janet Green and starring John Fraser, Eileen Moore and Peter Reynolds.

The House of the Seven Hawks

The House of the Seven Hawks is a 1959 British mystery film directed by Richard Thorpe and starring Robert Taylor, Nicole Maurey and Linda Christian. It was the final film by Robert Taylor under his twenty five year contract with MGM.The film follows an American captain searching for sunken treasure who becomes entangled with criminals and is arrested by the Dutch police. It is based on the Victor Canning novel, The House of the Seven Flies, published in 1952.

The Mouse That Roared (film)

The Mouse That Roared is a 1959 British satirical Eastman Color comedy film based on Leonard Wibberley's novel The Mouse That Roared (1955). It stars Peter Sellers in three roles: Duchess Gloriana XII; Count Rupert Mountjoy, the Prime Minister; and Tully Bascomb, the military leader; and co-stars Jean Seberg. The film was directed by Jack Arnold, and the screenplay was written by Roger MacDougall and Stanley Mann.

The Mouse on the Moon

The Mouse on the Moon is a 1963 British comedy film, the sequel to The Mouse That Roared. It is an adaptation of the 1962 novel The Mouse on the Moon by Irish author Leonard Wibberley, and was directed by Richard Lester. In it, the people of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, a microstate in Europe, attempt space flight using wine as a propellant. It satirises the space race, Cold War and politics.

Peter Sellers, who had played three roles in the first film, did not return for this sequel and was replaced by Margaret Rutherford, Ron Moody and Bernard Cribbins. Likewise Leo McKern did not replay his role of Benter; this part was played by Roddy McMillan. The film also featured June Ritchie and Terry-Thomas, with David Kossoff reprising his role as Professor Kokintz.

The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll

The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll is a 1960 horror film by Hammer Film Productions. It was directed by Terence Fisher, and stars Paul Massie as Dr. Jekyll, and co-stars Dawn Addams, Christopher Lee and David Kossoff. It was written by Wolf Mankowitz, based on the 1886 novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.In contrast to other film versions, Jekyll was portrayed as a rather bland and faceless person, while Hyde was presented as suave and handsome. This reflects director Fisher's belief in what critics (such as biographer Wheeler Winston Dixon) called "the charm of evil". The film is also unusual in that it is one of the few where the Jekyll/Hyde character does not die in the story's conclusion.

The film was released in North America to theaters under the titles House of Fright and Jekyll's Inferno and on American TV under its original British title.

The Woman for Joe

The Woman for Joe is a 1955 British drama film starring Diane Cilento, George Baker, Jimmy Karoubi and David Kossoff. The owner of a circus sideshow and his prize attraction (a midget) become romantically involved with the same woman. The film was made at Pinewood Studios.

The Young Lovers (1954 film)

The Young Lovers (U.S. Chance Meeting) is a 1954 British Cold War romance drama, directed by Anthony Asquith and starring Odile Versois and David Knight. The film was produced by Anthony Havelock-Allan, with cinematography from Jack Asher and screenplay by George Tabori and Robin Estridge. At the 1955 British Film Academy Awards, The Young Lovers picked up the prizes for Best Screenplay and Most Promising Newcomer to Film (David Kossoff).

Who Done It? (1956 film)

Who Done It? is a 1956 British comedy film starring comedian Benny Hill and Belinda Lee.

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