RIP Jeremy Wilkin

Created by Bryn on 16/01/2018

Jeremy David Wilkin was born  July 1930, to Greta (Fayne) Wilkin, actor and dancer, Noel Wilkin army clerk, piano player, and scion of a Newcastle on Tyne shipping magnate.

As was the norm for most children of a certain class in England at that time, Jeremy was educated at private boarding schools from a young age.   His parents separated early on, his mother pursuing her stage career, unusual for a woman at that time.  He always regretted their separation and being an only child.

As a young man, Jeremy started his studies to become an MD, but then changed course, going to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art to study to become an actor. On completing his studies, he went on a solo travel to various countries. He was particularly impressed with Sicily, where a “Don” took him under his protective wing, and he returned from that travel with a very impressive stiletto flick-knife, and other similar souvenirs, to add to his collection of knives and swords!

A classical theater actor, and man of many talents, he was a trained swordsman, a brown belt in Judo, a kayaker, a builder, amateur linguist, could sing opera, and play piano and guitar. He had a keen intellect, was socially aware, interested in many things including the sciences and the natural world. Many of these interests he passed on to his progeny. He had a very strong and engaging presence, and loved to chat with people from all walks of life. He loved going to the local pubs for this and other reasons also!

He worked in various theater companies, including Stratford England, Pittlochry Scotland, and then moved to Canada, where he met Mary Catherine Newland an up and coming classical singer. They married and started a family, living in Stratford and Toronto where 3 of their children, Bryn , Laura, and Ben  were born.

 He played Stratford Ontario in its early days, and was a contemporary of William Schatner there, among many other fine actors of that era. While in Canada Jeremy also worked with the CBC,  in various stage and television productions, in “Broadway” productions in the U.S., and toured with theater productions  in the  U.S. and Canada.

At a certain moment, the young family decided to move to England and took the boat across the pond to England, where Marjorie their fourth child was born. 

Jeremy continued in his career on television, in film and on stage in England, although as is often the case in the arts it was feast or famine.

It amused him in later days that he became so well known as a voice in the cast of Thunderbirds, a television show featuring puppet characters in a space age setting, which developed a cult following in later years!

He probably would have preferred to have been remembered for his stage performances!

It was the turbulent 60’s and 70’s, divorce happened, the family grew up, new relationships happened, and at some point he decided to move to Vancouver Canada, near where his good actor friend Bruno Gerussi  (of the  Beachcomber’s television show  fame) lived on the west coast.

There he lived for some years, working with Bard on the Beach, and on various film projects. His friend Bruno unfortunately passed away, and with the film boom in Canada diminishing at that point, and family matters to attend to in England, he decided to move back to the UK. He lived there in Fulham, for many years, later moving to Hastings.

Jeremy made great efforts to connect with his grandchildren on both sides of the Atlantic, and was much loved by them.

 He had a strong “full on” personality, and it was not always easy for his children to get along with his larger than life persona!

In his last years he struggled with cancer, but his greater struggle was with mental illness. He was very well read on many subjects, and read up in detail about any health issues he had, so was definitely aware of his condition,(although he would never admit to it), and tried to mediate it in the early stages by keeping mentally and physically active.  As a consummate actor, he was able to mask the symptoms from the rest of the world for quite a while, by scripting internal dialogues, enabling him to function in the world (although also getting him into trouble!).He could converse at length on many different subjects, especially from his prodigious long-term memory! This talent also kept him functioning somewhat independently until the last years.  

He was an actor and a fighter, and fought the good fight until the very last act!

Family and friends will sadly miss him.