Eastbourne Dev Park favourite dies

Tony Linford
Tony Linford

AN ACTOR who was a popular figure at Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park Theatre in the late 60s and early 70s died last week.

Antony Linford, who was known by his friends as Tony, was well-known in the town between 1969 and 1974, when he led the permanent repertory company at the Devonshire Park Theatre.

He put on a different play every week of the year playing Hamlet, Widow Twankey, Osvald in Ghosts and Felix in The Odd Couple.

The one-man shows were performed late at night or on Sundays at the end of a work-loaded evening or week and included George Rylance’s Ages of Man and Patrick Garland’s Brief Lives.

Tony began life in Nottingham, where his first career as a telephone engineer was quickly cut short when a scholarship to The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art plunged him into a different world.

While still a student and working as a dresser in the West End, Mr Linford managed to get himself on a professional London stage for the first time.

He suffered from health problems in his last years and died in his sleep in Hastings on January 23.

His partner of 33 years Anthony McDonald said he had battled against his illnesses in a ‘spirit of cheerful fortitude’.

Mr McDonald added, “Tony was a hugely popular, larger than life, figure on the Eastbourne scene for five years.

“I am sure there will be many people still alive in the area who remember him.”