Anthony Forwood as Will Scarlet

John Nelson has kindly made me aware of the still below of Anthony Forwood as Will Scarlet in Walt Disney’s live-action film The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952).

Anthony Forwood as Will Scarlet

I have often lamented that there was never a sequel to this movie. With todays modern trend for film companies to create a franchise, this Technicolor masterpiece would have been a perfect contender. The Story of Robin Hood could have continued. One of the many reasons, I believe, is because the movie is jam-packed with great characters played by wonderful actors and actresses.

Will Scarlet is one of them. ‘Cousin Will’ as Robin Hood (Richard Todd) describes him, first appears amongst the outlaws in their camp in Sherwood Forest. Nothing in the screen-play explains Will’s background any further. In fact the dapperly dressed Will Scarlet, (Anthony Forwood), only has one main scene and that is to simply help the other outlaws ‘Christen’ Little John (James Robertson-Justice), by throwing him in the river.

Will Scarlet grabs Little John

After the scene with Little John, Anthony Forwood’s time on the silver screen as Will Scarlet is short-lived. I feel that much more could have been added to the narrative. 

Another still of Anthony Forwood as Will Scarlet

I am sure Anthony Forward, or Tony as he preferred to be known, would have wanted a larger part in the movie. He was born in the seaside town of Weymouth in Dorset on 3rd October 1915. In 1939 he began courting the husky-voiced Welsh actress Glynis Johns, whom he later married. Their only child, Gareth was born in London in 1945. (Gareth Forwood was later to appear in films such as Ghandi in 1982). 

Glynis and Tony were divorced in 1948. 

Anthony Forwood

Anthony ‘Tony’  Forwood’s films included :

Man in Black (1949)
Traveller’s Joy (1949)
Meet Simon Cherry (1949)
The Black Widow (1951)
Colonel March Investigates (1952)
Appointment in London (1952)
The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952)

Knights of the Round Table (1953)

In 1939 Tony had met Dirk Bogarde who was later to become one of the biggest British matinee idols of the 1950’s. 
Tony started off by chauffeuring for Bogarde, who often simply referred to him at that time as ‘Forwood’. They later lived in a mansion together, near Pinewood Studios, in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. But Bogarde repeatedly denied that their relationship was anything other than friendship. He described Tony Forwood as a tremendously intelligent, controlling influence. This became more apparent when his former chauffeur now started being referred to as his ‘personal manager.’ 

Tony also kept a unique record of their life together on 16mm film, which included the pair of them entertaining film stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Gregory Peck and Jean Simmons.

‘Tony’ Forwood

Together, Dirk Bogarde and Tony Forwood moved during the 1970’s to a 15th century farmhouse in Provence, in the South of France. Bogarde began writing some successful books, but he also began witnessing Tony’s terrible protracted fight with Parkinson's disease and bowel cancer. When Tony’s health became critical, they moved back to London in 1987. But sadly Tony passed away on the 18th May 1988. 

After witnessing his partners slow tragic death, Dirk Bogarde became active in promoting voluntary euthanasia for terminally patients in Britain. Dirk died in 1999 and in the year 2000 his ashes were taken back to the farm in Provence, where he had spent some of the happiest days of his life-with Tony Forwood.

“ We had a terrific fifty years together and nothing can take any part of that away.” 
(Dirk Bogarde)

Dirk Bogarde, Kathleen Tynan and Tony Forwood