World of Westfahl | Encyclopedia Introduction | All Entries | Acknowledgements
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

S Entries
  Carl Sagan
  Archie Savage
  William Schallert
  Roy Scheider
  Thelma Schnee
  Arnold Schwarzenegger
  Peter Sellers
  Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
  Rod Serling
  William Shatner
  M. Night Shyamalan
  Curt Siodmak
  Jack Smight
  Will Smith
  Jerry Sohl
  Steven Spielberg
  Ringo Starr
  Warren Stevens
  Robert Stevenson
  Patrick Stewart
  Glenn Strange
  Theodore Sturgeon
(1940– ). British musician and actor.

Acted in Help! (Richard LESTER 1965); Magical Mystery Tour (and co-produced with George HARRISON, John LENNON, Paul MCCARTNEY, and Denis O'Dell; co-wrote with George HARRISON, John LENNON, and Paul MCCARTNEY; and co-directed with George HARRISON, Bernard Knowles, John LENNON, and Paul MCCARTNEY (tv movie) (1967); Yellow Submarine (animated) (George Dunning 1968).; Candy (Christian Marquand 1968); The Magic Christian (Joseph McGrath 1969); 200 Motels (Frank Zappa 1971); Son of Dracula (and produced) (Freddie FRANCIS 1972); Lisztomania (Ken RUSSELL 1975); Ringo (tv special) ( Jeff Margolis 1978); Caveman (Carl Gottlieb 1981);  The Cooler (Lol Crème and Kevin Godley 1982); Give My Regards to Broad Street (Peter Webb 1984); Shining Time Station (tv series) (1984-1989); Alice in Wonderland (tv movie) (Harry Harris 1985). Appeared in several music videos.

Provided voice for: The Point (animated short film; narrator) (Fred Wolf 1971); "Elbert's Bad Word/Weird Parents" (1992), episode of The Simpsons; Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories; "Bugging Out" (1995), episode of Shnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show; "The Duck Brothers/Shirley the Medium" (2000), episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog; several video compilations featuring Thomas the Tank Engine, compiled from Shining Time Station episodes, featuring Starr's voice only.

For seven eventful years, the members of the Beatles both profited from, and felt imprisoned by, the universal perception that they were four essentially similar, lovable moptops—a belief so widespread that one of the proposed scripts they rejected as their third film would have had them playing four aspects of a single man's personality. Unsurprisingly, after the group split up in 1970, all of the ex-Beatles then struggled to show the world that they were, in fact, distinct and very different individuals. And this volume's original policy of discussing their contributions to science fiction film in a single entry, while perhaps a defensible convenience, can be belatedly recognized as an affront to those efforts.

From the beginning, the unassuming Ringo Starr, who clearly had the least musical talent in the Beatles, has been recognized as the group's best actor. Despite a superficially homely appearance, the camera always falls in love with him. After visiting with the Beatles for only a few days, playwright Alun Owen knew that he had to make Ringo the center of the drama, as his disappearance provokes the film's major crisis, and he is undeniably the star of Help!, inasmuch as he is wearing the amazing ring that makes him the target of various improbable attacks by fierce cultists and opportunistic scientists. Even Paul MCCARTNEY, in crafting what passed for a plot in the inchoate television special Magical Mystery Tour, gave Ringo a privileged position by developing the character of Ringo's grandmother as one participant in the journey, and he is the Beatle who helps set the plot of the animated Yellow Submarine in motion. He also made the group's only creative contribution to the film when he instructed the animators to make his nose larger.

After he effectively starred in all the Beatles films, and since he visibly lacked the musical ambitions of his colleagues, no one should have been surprised when Ringo became the only Beatle to embark on a successful career as a film actor, first with a cameo appearance in the appalling all-star mess, Candy, then holding his own in the company of comedian Peter SELLERS in the intermittently entertaining The Magic Christian. By all reports, he was not particularly good in Frank Zappa's 200 Motels or the risible Son of Dracula, he was acclaimed for his performance in a realistic film, That'll be the Day (1974), and continued to garner significant supporting roles like the Pope in Lisztomania and the Mock Turtle in a television adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. He also appeared in his own television special, Ringo, a semi-autobiographical story involving Ringo playing both himself and a humble lookalike following the storyline of The Prince and the Pauper. During this time, with a considerable amount of help from his friends, he also released a number of successful albums and singles.

The 1980s brought two more memorable roles: he was effective in Caveman, a credible effort to revive an unrevivable film genre, while also meeting future wife Barbara Bach. And he was utterly charming as the first host of the children's television series Shining Time Station, playing the diminutive Conductor who talks to boys and girls and introduces stories about Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends. As someone who watched many of these episodes before his young son loved him, and I can report that Starr was far superior to the man who replaced him after he quit, comedian George Carlin. However, while he carried on as an actor, his albums grew worse and worse, and less and less popular, and it was becoming increasingly hard to overlook that he was evolving into an out-of-control alcoholic. Fortunately, Starr recognized the problem, and both he and wife Barbara were soon clean and sober.

Upon seeing the world clearly, as opposed to through an alcoholic stupor, Ringo seemingly decided that he was, after all, a musician more than anything else, and his film work dwindled to occasional voice work while he focused on reviving his musical career. His comeback album, Time Takes Time (1992), produced the modest hit "The Weight of the World," accompanied by a video in which Ringo is seen holding the globe, and he began to regularly tour as the leader of his All-Starr Band, sometimes singing his own hits and sometimes drumming while other guests perform their own hits. One has to say that these efforts were successful, for Ringo has surprisingly evolved into a music who merits respect, regularly writing and producing his own material, but the film world has lost a distinctive performer brought a refreshing air of unpretentious ordinariness to fantastic settings. But even in his seventies, he might still be called upon to portray an avuncular eccentric, and he would undoubtedly do it very well.

To contact us about encyclopedia matters, send an email to Gary Westfahl.
If you find any Web site errors, typos or other stuff worth mentioning, please send it to our Webmaster.
Copyright © 1999–2018 Gary Westfahl All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Hosted & Designed By:
SF Site spot art