German actor Ferdy Mayne with Michael Twomey
This is a black and white photo of the German-born actor Ferdy Mayne on stage with the Irish actor Michael Twomey. Mayne on the left of this photo, with his distinctive dark eye brows, is speaking into the microphone while Twomey looks on, papers in hand.
Born in Cork, Michael Twomey (1933-2017) grew up on the Mardyke and attended the Presentation Brothers College. Twomey will be remembered in Cork, and beyond, for his two-hander Cha and Miah with his friend Frank Duggan on the RTÉ television show Hall’s Pictorial Weekly. His other stage work included work with the playwright John B Keane for whom he played in many of his productions, including Many Young Men of Twenty, The Year of the Hiker and Sharon’s Grave. He gave his last stage performance as in 2015 two years before his death. In 2013, along with Frank Duggan and Billa O’Connell, Twomey was awarded the Freedom of Cork City for his “unwavering lifetime contribution to professional and amateur theatre, arts, drama and song.” (The Irish Times, 09.09.2017)
The actor Ferdinand ‘Ferdy’ Mayne, was born in Germany in 1916. Being a Jew, he was sent to England from Germany as a child to stay with his aunt and later attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the Old Vic School. A fluent German speaker he was in demand for propaganda broadcasts during the Second World War and supposedly operated as an informant for the M15. Mayne had a prolific film and theatre career. His stage work includes the role of Max in the long-running Rodgers and Hammerstein production The Sound of Music. Mayne would later achieve international recognition for his various portrayals of suave criminals, Nazi officers, or Hammer horror roles including head vampire in The Fearless Vampire Killers (Roman Polanski, 1967) starring Sharon Tate, Where Eagles Dare (Brian G Hutton, 1968), and The Vampire Lovers (Roy Ward Baker, 1970) starring Kate O’Hara and Dawn Addams (who was a regular visitor to Cork in the early days of the film festival with her then-husband Prince Vittorio Massimo). Mayne later featured in Trip to Vienna (Edgar Reitz, 1973) with Hannelore Elsner, who was in Cork too around the same time as this photo, and he also worked with Kubrick in Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick, 1975).
In his later years Mayne worked mainly in Europe where he was a favourite with German audiences, and lived in America, working until the late 1990s. His final film role was as General Karl von Weber in the neo-Nazi political thriller The Killers Within (Paul Leder, 1995) before he returned to England, where he died in 1998 following the onset of Parkinson’s Disease.
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