Update: Hollywood star from Welwyn Garden City dies

PUBLISHED: 12:06 20 January 2009 | UPDATED: 21:32 26 October 2009

Edmund Purdom and Ann Blyth in The King’s Thief (Picture courtesy of Allstar Images)

Edmund Purdom and Ann Blyth in The King's Thief (Picture courtesy of Allstar Images)

A FORMER Hollywood movie star has died. Edmund Purdom, who was born in WGC, died on New Year's Day in Italy, aged 82. As an actor, he is probably best remembered for his starring roles in musical The Student Prince and historical epic The Egyptian, both i

A FORMER Hollywood movie star has died.

Edmund Purdom, who was born in WGC, died on New Year's Day in Italy, aged 82.

As an actor, he is probably best remembered for his starring roles in musical The Student Prince and historical epic The Egyptian, both in 1954.

His early years in WGC are not well documented, although the WHT has managed to establish some information about his time in the area.

Edmund Anthony Cutler Purdom was born on December 19, 1926.

His father was the well-known drama critic and author C B Purdom, a leading local figure in the early years of WGC's development.

Edmund's father founded the WGC Theatre Society, and was very passionate about local theatre. It could well be that Edmund first got the acting bug from his father.

The young Edmund attended WGC Grammar School, which is now Stanborough School.

As a teenager, he joined "The Ring"; a local social group for young people, which, among other things, organised theatrical productions around the town.

His big break came in The Egyptian, taking over the lead role from Marlon Brando.

During his brief time as a Hollywood star, he married Linda Christian, the first wife of iconic screen legend Tyrone Power, but the marriage lasted just over a year.

He moved to Rome in the late 1950s, working in Italian films.

He spent the rest of his life there, save for a few appearances on British television, as well as directing and starring in horror flop Don't Open Till Christmas (1984).

That film's plot, a serial killer targeting people dressed as Father Christmas, is reportedly inspired by the story that Edmund saw his mother murdered by a man in a Santa outfit when Edmund was a boy.

But his mother died in 1971, when Edmund was in his 50s, so the bizarre story is by all accounts unfounded.

He is survived by his fourth wife and two daughters.

* Did you know Edmund Purdom when he lived in WGC? Email your recollections to whtimes@archant.co.uk

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