David Farrar at Home in Dulwich 1952


David Farrar and his family confess to being anti-social and consequently the star is seldom on view at any of the popular night clubs or restaurants. He has lived nearly all his life in Dulwich and spends much of his time educating his daughter, for neither he nor Mrs Farrar – who is a qualified music teacher – likesd schools.  That seems a crazy outlook to me I must say.

The basement or cellar of their home is converted into a little Theatre.

 When he can, David Farrar goes out car driving, riding ( he is a keen steeplechaser ) or has a round of golf.

David Farrar with Family


Above – We see David Farrar at home with his daughter Barbara and at the Piano his wife Irene.

If we piece together things we have learned about him – we have the visit by the Monrovians to Denham in 1948, where as one of the party said ‘ he seemed disinterested, posed for a picture then disappeared into his dressing room and was not seen again that day’ while the visitors were there.

Then we read as above – about him admitting to being anti-social and finally when he was retired and living alone close to his daughter in South Africa, he admitted to not being in touch with any of his colleagues from the film industry – and stated that he had no friends. Then he added ‘Ain’t that sad’ – it certainly is a sad reflection on all that had gone before.

Back to his film career – after he did The Small Back Room and then Gone to Earth for Powell and Pressburger he thought he’d done all he could in Britain and Europe so he went to Hollywood.  However the roles he got there were usually “friend of hero” or occasionally a role as the villain.

David Farrar  wasn’t really all that happy with his career in Hollywood either. He came back to the UK but by then he was getting roles as the father or the uncle where he still saw himself as the leading man.

He did a good father of the heroine in Beat Girl (1960) and his last film was the epic The 300 Spartans (1962) where he played Xerxes, leader of the Persians – a decent villain role

His wife Irene died in 1976 and he thought that would be a good time to retire so he moved to South Africa where his daughter Barbara was living and he stayed there living in a quiet retirement until he died in 1995, aged 87.


We should remember him for his great performances, like as the detective Sexton Blake in a couple of detective thrillers; as the Englishman in the Himalayas flaunting his bare torso and short shorts in front of the nuns in Black Narcissus (1947); as the RAF pilot who comes back to post-war England with the German girl who helped him escape in Frieda (1947); as the physically and spiritually damaged bomb disposal expert Sammy Rice in The Small Back Room (1949); and as the classic “wicked squire” Jack Reddin in Gone to Earth (1950).

His career may not have been all he thought it should have been or could have been, but he did all right, much better than many. As with Roger Livesey and a few others,  he was someone who was mainly a stage actor but who did quite a few films.

Really he gave his  best performances on film  in the films of Powell & Pressburger.   They knew how to get the best out of people.

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