On the 11th June 2009 Richard Todd celebrated his 90th Birthday. A birthday party was held in his honour at Grantham House, near his home in Little Humby, in Lincolnshire. The celebrations were organised by a group of friends known as the ‘The Todd Squad’ and the evening was completed by a Lancaster Bomber flypast to honour the occasion.
To the ‘Whistling Arrows’ and many of the readers of this blog, he will always be Robin Hood, but the man is without doubt also one of the last true legends of British stage and screen, with 60 years in the business. He was the star of a long list of classic films, including The Hasty Heart, A Man Called Peter, The Dambusters and The Longest Day and was the first choice of author Ian Fleming to play James Bond in Dr. No ( a scheduling conflict gave the role to Sean Connery).
But what is sometimes forgotten is this successful actor’s distinguished military career. Dublin born ‘Toddy’ served as an officer in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and as a Paratrooper in the British 6th Airborne Division. As a member of the 7th (LI) Parachute Battalion, he was one of the first British officers to land in Normandy on D-Day and met up with Major John Howard on Pegasus Bridge. Bizarrely, Todd would later play Howard in the film The Longest Day (1962), with another actor portraying ‘Richard Todd!’
Speaking at Richard Todd’s 90th Birthday Party at Grantham House, Newark MP Patrick Mercer described him as one of the greatest living Englishmen.
I would certainly second that-and ask why this living legend has not been knighted? I think it is appalling that chat show hosts and pop stars are handed out titles like confetti-yet a national hero like Richard Todd is completely forgotten.
In the final scene of Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood, King Richard returns to England and knights Robin Hood, played by Richard Todd, for his heroic service to his country. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see this recreated from celluloid and see Britain’s modern day monarch, Queen Elizabeth II bestow at last what is rightfully owed to this true national hero.
What do you think?
To read more about Richard Todd please click on the Label Richard Todd below.