Anthony Forwood played the part of Will Scarlet in Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men. ‘Tony’ was born in the seaside town of Weymouth in Dorset on 3rd October 1915and in 1939 he started courting the husky-voiced Welsh actress Glynis Johns, whom he later married. Their only child, Gareth was born in London in 1945. (Gareth Forwood was later to appear in films such as Ghandi in 1982). But it was during the filming of Robin Hood in 1952 that their marriage began to break up. Glynis was to appear, the following year, as a young Mary Tudor in the Walt Disney production of The Sword and the Rose.
Anthony Forwood’s early films included :
Man in Black (1949)
Traveller’s Joy (1949)
Meet Simon Cherry (1949)
The Black Widow (1951)
Colonel March Investigates (1952)
Appointment in London (1952)
The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952)
In 1939 Tony had met Dirk Bogarde who was later to become one of the biggest British matinee idols of the 1950’s. They struck up a relationship that would last over fifty years, but they both kept their personal lives very private. Bogarde was said to guard his intimate life like a Rottweiler! John Coldstream sums up in his authorised biography on Bogarde:
The truth is that no one will ever know what the precise relationship between the two men was.
Anthony Forwood’s later films included:
The Gambler and the Lady (1952)
Knights of the Round Table (1953)
Five Days (1954)
Tony started off by chauffeuring for Bogarde, who often simply referred to him at that time as Forwood! They later lived in a mansion together, near Pinewood Studios, in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. But Bogarde repeatedly denied that their relationship was anything other than friendship. He described Tony Forwood as a tremendously intelligent, controlling influence. This became more apparent when his former chauffeur now started being referred to as his ‘personal manager.’ Tony also kept a unique record of their life together on 16mm film (recently shown in a documentary about Bogarde’s life) which included the pair of them entertaining film stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Gregory Peck and Jean Simmons.
Together Dirk Bogarde and Tony Forwood moved during the 1970’s to a 15th century farmhouse in Provence, in the South of France. Bogarde began writing some successful books, but he also began witnessing Tony’s terrible protracted fight with Parkinson's disease and bowel cancer. When Tony’s health became critical, they moved back to London in 1987. But sadly Tony passed away on the 18th May 1988.
After witnessing his partners slow tragic death, Dirk Bogarde became active in promoting voluntary euthanasia for terminally patients in Britain. Dirk died in 1999 and in the year 2000 his ashes were taken back to the farm in Provence, where he had spent some of the happiest days of his life-with Anthony Forwood.
We had a terrific fifty years together and nothing can take any part of that away.(Dirk Bogarde)
© Clement of the Glen 2006-2007
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