Douglas Gorin (b1937)
Brought up in the Edward Street area, He was the son of Gloucester-born Charles, personnel manager at Ruston & Hornsby.
His family had come to Grantham when the family opened a tobacconist and sweet shop, near the George Hotel, High Street.
Douglas was a pupil at St Anne’s before moving to King’s School.
Although he had aspirations to go on the stage, his parents insisted on him taking a ‘proper job’, so he joined Aveling Barford in the spares and cost department.
He joined the firm’s dramatic group, and, ironically, his first part was in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Nile, in which he had to wear black make-up.
He later joined Grantham Dramatic Society, where he met county (Kesteven) drama adviser Margaret Birkett, through whom he joined Kesteven Children’s Theatre which toured the county’s schools.
On her advice, he went to Rose Burford College of Drama, in Sidcup, where they discovered he had an excellent baritone singing voice.
On leaving, and unable to find a job on stage, he worked at a ticket agency, where one of the perks was complimentary tickets to West End shows.
His big break came at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, with a part in panto Cinderella, with Mike and Bernie Winters headlining.
From there was My Fair Lady, which took five Olivier awards.
Then in 1958 he joined George Mitchell’s Black & White Minstrels, years before they became regarded as non-PC.
After two years he went on a series pantos and supporting stars but then returned t6o the Magic of the Minstrels at London’s Victoria Palace until 1972.
Since then he appeared with Dana at St Paul’s Cathedral, with Edward Woodward in Babes in the Wood at the London Palladium.
There were summer shows with Freddie Starr, Janet Brown, Dick Emery, Dickie Henderson and other stars of the day.
He took an interest in theatrical costumes and in the late 1970s did the outfits for Central TV’s Family Fortunes.
Returning to his home town in 1981, he continued to work on tours from opera Aida to ballet Giselle as well as pantomime.
He took a home break in 1990, directing Grantham Operatic Society’s Iolanthe.
As well as stage work, he has appeared in TV’s Lovejoy, Boon and Enemy, the State, and adverts, notably for British Airways as Mr Bennett the hotel inspector.
When the Guildhall Arts Centre opened, he was behind the introduction of the annual panto, although his last appearance there was in 2010.
Now his stage life is behind him, although he turns out for local events occasionally and gives talks about his memorable life in entertainment.
Based on research by Stan Matthews