Tribute paid to actor who moved Indiana Jones to tears
By Evening Gazette on Sep 3, 09 11:25 AM in Local News
A MIDDLESBROUGH-BORN actor who once moved a Hollywood star to tears with an impromptu poetry recital has died at the age of 74.
Patrick Durkin, from Linthorpe, was destined for a life of stardom when his father, an RAF veteran also called Patrick, sent him to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).
Today, his brother, John, 69, paid tribute to the star who would often return to Teesside and regale friends with celebrity tales from the film-making world.
He also told how the Raiders of the Lost Ark and Carry on Sergeant actor moved Harrison Ford to tears with his recital of the classic poem Horatius.
John said: "The teachers at Archibald School in Middlesbrough noticed his talent and he was always the best one on in a lot of the school plays. My father sent him to LAMDA when he was 18 and he was in the same class as Peter O'Toole and Richard Harris.
"His sparkling rendition of all the verses of Horatius during a break in filming rendered Harrison Ford speechless and in tears. He was clearly overwhelmed and couldn't go on filming for another hour."
Patrick lived in London but would often visit friends and family in Middlesbrough. John said: "People loved going out with him. We were treated to his stories, a bit of culture with the Shakespeare speeches, comedy and there was a little bit too much drinking."
Patrick and John were brought up by their late parents Gwen and Patrick in Linthorpe. The couple were able to give their sons a good upbringing as the successful owners of Pat Durkin Fireplaces on Cleveland Street.
John, of Cambridge Road, Middlesbrough, said: "Our dad came out of the RAF and did well with fireplaces... which meant he could afford the LAMDA fees."
Dad-of-two, Patrick, pictured with John as children, who was born on June 9 1936, appeared in many of the Carry On films and had a talent for memorising Shakespeare.
John said: "Even as a boy of 14, 15 and 16, he could recite speeches from Julius Caesar. He went to elocution classes to learn to talk posh but I don't think he ever did really. He was also Tommy Cooper's straight man in Blackpool for many years."
Patrick recently worked in Benidorm performing in clubs, but became ill and returned to London, where he died. John said: "Lots of other actors and his contemporaries gave him a good send off. Nobody ever had a bad word to say about him.
"I will remember my brother bringing the house down in a bar in Benalmadena last year with some Shakespeare. I was proud that at his age he could still get it across."
Born: 6/9/1936, Lingthorpe, Middleborough, England, U.K.
Died: 9/1/2009, Longon, England, U.K.
Patrick Durkin's western - actor:
Carry on Cowboy - 1966 (man)