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Gordon Mulholland

Gordon Mulholland worked his way into the business through bit parts on British feature films, notably playing 'a lunatic' in the wonderfully monickered madcap comedy, The Lady Craved Excitement (1950), and a small part in Disney's live-action version of Treasure Island shot in the UK in the same year. He also appears in Cheer the Brave (1951), one of those quota quickies from Britain, that barely touches an hour in terms of duration. By the Sixties, Gordon was appearing alongside the likes of Richard Todd in films such as Coast of Skeletons (1964), an adventure yarn. He also appeared on the London stage, including a run of the Cole Porter musical, Kiss Me Kate at the Coliseum in 1951.

By 1967, when he appeared in The Cape Town Affair with James Brolin and Jacqueline Bisset, Mulholland had moved to South Africa, where he has lived ever since. In his time there, he has been successful in the theatre (his production of Charley's Aunt was highly acclaimed), radio (appearing in countless Springbok Radio productions), film (in which he has appeared with the likes of Gary Busey, Robert Vaughan, Donald Pleasance and Herbert Lom) and television (where he has has played regularly in Isidingo, a high-profile SABC3 soap opera).

In his radio days, Gordon was reknowned as something of a joker. Despite the quality of the product, which cannot be denied, behind the scenes, actors got up to all sorts of mischief. On occasion, scripts were set alight while they were being read from, and Mulholland was known to refuse to make space for fellow actors at the mike. Occasionally, he would nudge them in the ribs, causing them to grunt or groan, and this had to be covered up with a quick, off-the-cuff line of explanation. "It was like a rugby scrum around the mike, survival of the fittest," Mulholland would later comment with a twinkle in his eye. With radio drama very much a thing of the past in South Africa today, Mulholland looks back his part in the golden days of Springbok Radio with some nostalgia: "We lived for a laugh, a drink and a guinea" (the payment for recording one episode). 

Today, Gordon Mulholland is a celebrated performer in South Africa. He continues his television and film work and is a regular theatre player, often, like Rex Garner, in farce.

by Alan Hayes