Mark Wynter Biography

Terence Lewis, 29 January 1943, Woking, Surrey, England. Wynter was one of several UK heart-throbs in the early 60s who took their cue from the USA. Once the extrovert champion of many a school sports day, he was serving in a general store by day, and sang with the Hank Fryer Band in Peckham Co-op Hall, London in the evening, when his well-scrubbed, good looks betrayed star potential to Ray Mackender, a Lloyds underwriter who dabbled in pop management. As ‘Mark Wynter’, the boy was readied for his new career with vocal exercises, tips on stage demeanour from a RADA coach, and advice about a middle-of-the-road repertoire from Lionel Bart. After exploratory intermission spots in metropolitan dancehalls, he was signed to Decca Records, and had UK chart entries until 1964 - beginning with ‘Image Of A Girl’ (1960) at number 11. At the height of his fame two years later, and now on the Pye Records label, he reached the Top 10 with cover versions of Jimmy Clanton’s ‘Venus In Blue Jeans’ and Steve Lawrence’s ‘Go Away Little Girl’. From then on, he resorted to a-side revivals of such 50s chestnuts as ‘It’s Almost Tomorrow’ and ‘Only You’, but was overcome, like so many others, by the burgeoning beat boom. He did play a major role in the lightweight beat movie Just For Fun, but the poor script did not flatter Wynter’s abilities. He then turned his attention to the theatre, both straight and musical. He played the leading role in Conduct Unbecoming for more than a year at the Queen’s Theatre in London, and for six months in Australia. He appeared with Evelyn Laye and Stanley Baxter in the musical Phil The Fluter, with Julia McKenzie in On The Twentieth Century, and in Charley’s Aunt. He also starred in Side By Side By Sondheim in Toronto, Chichester, and on the UK tour. In the 1982 Chichester Festival season he acted in several plays including On The Rocks and Henry V, and also sang in Valmouth. Wynter played the male lead in Sheridan Morley’s Noël And Gertie in London, Hong Kong, and New York. His other work in musicals during the 80s included the role of the King in a revival of The King And I, the title roles in Hans Andersen and Barnum, the 1986 revival of Charlie Girl with Cyd Charisse and Paul Nicholas in London, and the part of Robert Browning in Robert And Elizabeth.

During the 90s Wynter spent two years on that famous rubbish dump in the New London Theatre which is inhabited by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, and was also seen as the Phantom and M. Andre in The Phantom Of The Opera, and starred as Vittorio opposite Bonnie Langford in the 1998 West End revival of Sweet Charity. He has appeared frequently in the provinces and portrayed Emile de Becque in a national tour of South Pacific. For BBC Radio 2, Wynter narrated The Danny Kaye Story, and his UK television work has included a series with Dora Bryan (According To Dora), as well as Tale Of Two Rivers with Petula Clark, and his own seriesCall In On Wynter.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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