Saturday, 24 November 2018

Frank Ellement - the actor who was short-listed for James Bond and appeared on one of my favourite paperback covers

Frank Ellement, 1928-1998 (copyright: John Mott)
I recently received an email from a Mr John Mott, asking me if I owned the original artwork for this striking illustration, which appears on one of my Pinterest boards:

Unfortunately, I don't own the artwork, and I've no idea who does.The illustration was by Sam Peffer, the outstanding paperback cover artists of the 1950s and '60s, and it was used for the 1958 Pan Books version of Patricia Wentworth's excellent detective novel Miss Silver Comes to Stay:
I own a copy of the book, and the cover has always intrigued me, not only because it's one of Sam Peffer's undoubted masterpieces ( I paid homage to the artist here and here), but because the man about to be bludgeoned is very much a distinct individual, rather than an illustrator's stock "type". That, it turn s out, is because Peffer used an actual model, an actor with the memorable name, Frank Ellement, who was John Mott's uncle. 

Frank Ellement's list of credits on iMDB includes appearances in two films - Confess, Killer (1957) and The Child and the Killer (1959) - and a number of TV shows, including Maigret, No Hiding Place and Hour of Mystery. In 1961, he was one of the actors short-listed to play James Bond (I've no idea how good an actor Frank Ellement was, but, with the sort of good looks that might have suited a hero or a heavy, he doesn't seem like a bad choice for Bond). 

First, my thanks to John Mott for sending me the photograph of his uncle at the top of this post, and for giving me permission to reproduce it here. And if anyone has any information regarding the whereabouts of Sam Peffer's original artwork, please contact me and I'll pass the details on to Mr Mott.   

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