Roll Of Honour
We created the Outstanding Contribution Gold Award to give thanks and recognition to the
people who have made a significant contribution to the Official Website, or who through some
other means have enhanced the understanding of the life and work of Ian Hendry.
To qualify for the award, you need to have made a difference.
It may be the sharing of a previously ‘lost’ clip or recording:
a previously unknown anecdote on his life and work;
some significant memorabilia
or quality writing.
It is with great pleasure that the first award given, should go to author, writer and journalist, Gabriel Hershman. Gabriel first wrote to me at the end of 2011, outlining his intention of writing the first ever biography on the life and work of Ian Hendry [‘Send In The Clowns – The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry‘ by Gabriel Hershman is to be published in Spring 2013].
Ian had died on Christmas Eve 1984, so some 27 years had already passed by that point. Questions as to his reasons for writing this book, and why now, were obviously asked. Learning to trust someone, who is writing a book about someone in your own family, is certainly not easy.
With time, the motivation for his writing the biography became much clearer. As a long-time admirer and fan of Ian’s work, he was perplexed as to why his story had never really been told, other than in tabloid newspapers, where a headline and some sensation are at times more important than a balanced and in depth understanding. Given Ian’s immense talent as an actor, Gabriel felt that he had simply not received the recognition that he truly deserved. He felt compelled to write his story.
But the telling of Ian’s life is certainly not an easy task. Firstly, so much time had already passed that the trail had, in places, gone cold. Secondly, It involves some events and issues that necessitates you have some real life experience, coupled with sensitivity and understanding. Fortunately, Gabriel has these qualities in abundance.
Through intense, relentless research and questioning, Gabriel has succeeded in writing a biography that some thought would never see the light of day. Myself included. Interviews with students from Ian’s time at the Central School of Speech and Drama, countless discussions with fellow professionals of Ian’s, from both sides of the camera (and stage), as well as contributions from family and friends have been used to build a picture of the man and his life. This in itself is an immense achievement.
But perhaps his biggest achievement has been in his ability to write about Ian’s life, so that we can all see a ‘bigger picture’, the real essence of the man. The picture of a charismatic, complex, creative, gifted, emotional, multi-faceted, generous, much-loved and yes, at times, difficult and struggling man emerges. With any picture or painting, we may at times be drawn to a certain element or detail that intrigues us so much that we no longer see that ‘bigger picture’. And at times, maybe, we have all been guilty of that with Ian. But if you stand back for a minute and look again, you may notice that although the picture may not have changed, the way we see it certainly can. Gabriel’s ability to be able to act as our guide, as well as story-teller throughout, helps greatly in this process.
Words can be extremely powerful. If you can capture a thought, a feeling, an emotion honestly with words, then the hope is that when someone else reads them, it should be possible for them to feel and experience the same things that you did when writing them. Reversing the process if you like.
In many ways there is a similarity here with Ian’s thoughts on acting He understood the importance of the written word and would frequently rewrite scripts so that they were believable.
Ian knew that if you really understood the words and meanings in a script, and
really felt it, that there was no way that you could be anything but true and believable,
even if you were acting. The need for words, a script if you like, that adequately
achieved that possibility, was always at the heart of the matter for him.
In a similar way, when I first read the book I really felt what Gabriel had written.
It struck a chord with me. It was honest and affectionate, but certainly did not try
to portray Ian’s life or character with ‘rose-tinted spectacles’ on. I doubt that Ian would
have wanted it any other way. The book conveys the events and wide range of emotions,
that defined his life. Much humour and affection, amidst the inevitable pain and the tears.
Perhaps only one book will ever be written about the life of Ian Hendry.
If so, then I am glad that it was Gabriel who wrote it. Why?
Because I believe that this book is an admirable ‘script’ for his life.
For all these reasons, Gabriel Hershman deserves recognition for such an outstanding contribution to the understanding of the life and work of Ian Hendry. Congratulations Gabriel!
Editor. The Official Website of Ian Hendry
[Biography: ‘Send In The Clowns – The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry’ by Gabriel Hershman]