Thursday, 28 January 2021

When pop star slept in my pub store room

DAVID ESSEX is to appear at the Kenton Theatre in Henley on Monday and one man

DAVID ESSEX is to appear at the Kenton Theatre in Henley on Monday and one man in particular is looking forward it.

Dave Beck is being taken by his niece to see the actor and singer in conversation with radio presenter Mike Read as part of the Henley Literary Festival and is hoping to catch his eye from the front row.

The 96-year-old former landlord of the former Rose and Crown pub in New Street met Essex when he was a young performer more than 50 years ago.

Dave recalls: “It was about 1965 and I met a chap called Zack Matalon who was putting on a show called The Fantasticks.

“He asked me if I could put up a Cockney lad, although he didn’t think that he would be able to afford to stay in Henley.

“At first I said no as I didn’t have a room available but, a week before rehearsals, I saw him outside and asked my wife whether she thought it was him.

“I approached him, found out who he was and asked him if he needed a room. He said that he wouldn’t be able to afford to stay but I offered him a bed in the store room as long as he didn’t come in late at night.”

Essex accepted and he proved to be a hit with the regulars.

Dave recalls: “I think that show was the first acting part he got as a young lad. He used to come in and play the piano, which I still have today.

“I will be going to his show on Monday and will see if he will sign my book and when I see him I will say, ‘Hello, David, it is Dave Beck from the Rose and Crown’. He will get a big shock, I think.”

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