Leonard Whiting (born 30 June 1950) is a British actor who starred as Romeo in the 1968 Zeffirelli film version of Romeo and Juliet opposite Olivia Hussey's Juliet, a role which earned him the Golden Globe Award for New Star Of The Year - Actor.

Personal

Whiting was born in the Wood Green area of London, England, the only son of Arthur Leonard Whiting and Peggy Joyce O'Sullivan. He has English, Irish and some Romani/Gypsy ancestry. Whiting attended the St. Richard of Chichester School, Camden Town, leaving just a week or two before beginning work on Romeo and Juliet (1968).

Career

Whiting was spotted by an agent at a recording studio at the age of 12. After hearing him sing, the agent suggested he try out for Lionel Bart's Oliver! which constantly needed replacements for its child performers. Whiting played the Artful Dodger in the long-running London musical for 18 months, and for 13 months appeared at Laurence Olivier's National Theatre in the production of Congreve's "Love for Love" opposite Olivier, which toured Moscow and Berlin.

Director Franco Zeffirelli described his discovery, made from 300 youngsters who auditioned during more than three months: "He has a magnificent face, gentle melancholy, sweet, the kind of idealistic young man Romeo ought to be."

In the mid-1970s, his voice caught the attention of Abbey Road and The Dark Side of the Moon engineer Alan Parsons, who was in the process of recording what was to be the first album by The Alan Parsons Project, Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Whiting performed lead vocals on the song "The Raven".

Whiting ended his film career, for the most part, in the mid-'70s and subsequently placed his focus upon his theatrical career as an actor and writer. Whiting now lives in the Haverstock area of London.

Filmography

Film

Year

Film

Role

Other notes

1968

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo Montague

1969

Infanzia, vocazione e prime esperienze di Giacomo Casanova, veneziano

Giacomo Casanova

The Royal Hunt of the Sun

Young Martin

1970

Say Hello to Yesterday

Boy

1972

À la guerre comme à la guerre

Franz Keller

1974

Rachel's Man

Jacob

Television

Year

Title

Role

Notes

1966

The Wonderful World of Disney

Jimmy the Dip

Episode: The Legend of Young Dick Turpin (1), Episode: The Legend of Young Dick Turpin (2)

1973

Frankenstein: The True Story

Victor Frankenstein

NBC TV film

1990

The Dreamstone

Urpgor

Voice role