Anthony Kimmins (1901 - 1964)

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About Anthony Kimmins

<The Times, May 21, 1964>

CAPT. ANTHONY KIMMINS

PLAYS AND FILMS

Captain Anthony Kimmins, O.B.E., who died on Tuesday at the age of 62 after a long illness at his home in Sussex, will be remembered affectionately by those who were associated with him in a number of different fields and of different places: in the Royal Navy, in the London theatre, in British and Australian films studios, and at Broadcasting House and in the United States during World War II. They will remember him as an indefatigable worker who threw himself into whatever he was doing, so that all through his career, while remaining recognizably the same man, he went on learning and growing.

Born on November 10, 1901, the younger son of the late Dr. Charles William Kimmins and the late Dame Grace Kimmins, D.B.E. Anthony Martin Kimmins was educated at the Royal Naval College, Osborne, and at Dartmouth, and served during World War One as a midshipman in H.M.S. Marlborough, in submarines, and in the newly created aviation branch. He became the youngest flight commander, but a skiing accident, which damaged his spine, put an end to his career in operational flying. While convalescing he wrote a comedy which, under the title "While Parents Sleep", was eventually accepted for professional production in London, was directed by Nigel Playfair at the old Royalty Theatre in 1932, and which, by proving to be a smash hit, led to his retiring from the Navy in his early thirties with the rank of Lieutenant-Commander.

His second play "Night Club Queen" was produced in the following year and his third "Chase the Ace" after an interval of two more years, but Kimmins had not staked everything on the theatre, wisely, since neither of these pieces was as popular as his first. He had entered films, having originally offered his services free of charge to a film company for a period of six months, and having soon afterwards resisted the temptation of a contract with Hollywood as an actor. From directing small quota films in Britain he rose to scripting and directing a number of films for Fox-British and other companies, including starring vehicles for George Formby.

On the outbreak of World War II he rejoined the Navy, serving in the Fleet Air Arm in Intelligence and the Admiralty and as Chief of Naval Information to the Pacific Fleet and acquiring a new reputation as a commentator for the B.B.C. on naval operations, before retiring as a captain in 1945. On his return to films he produced and directed a version of Mr, Nigel Balchin's novel, "Mine Own Executioner", and he continued to be active in films until 1958, when his "Smiley Gets a Gun" was completed.

In 1960 the success in London of his farcial comedy "The Amorous Prawn", with Miss Evelyn Laye and Mr. Walter Fitzgerald in leading parts re-established Kimmins's position in the live theatre.

He married in 1928, Elizabeth Hodges, daughter of Admiral Sir Michael Hodges, Commander-in-Chief of the Home Fleet and later Second Sea Lord – "like all really keen and ambitious naval officers I married the C-in-C's daughter". There was a son and a daughter of the marriage.

END

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Anthony Kimmins's Timeline

1901
November 10, 1901
1964
1964
Age 62
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