Lucy Fleming

Lucy Williams (nee Fleming) was born May 15th, 1947. Her father, writer/author Peter Fleming (1907-1971), remarked that by age 10, she was a “good horsewoman”, and by age 14, a “keen and talented shot”: “She began by hitting a woodcock and a driven cock pheasant – never having handled a shotgun before – the first time I took her out, and went on to shoot consistently well. I suppose I enjoyed her prowess and her companionship as much as I have enjoyed anything in the way of shooting.”

Her mother, actress Celia Johnson (1908-1982), is best known for her Academy Award nominated performance in David Lean`s film BRIEF ENCOUNTER (co-written by Ian and Ann Fleming`s friend Noel Coward). Lucy Fleming followed in her mother`s footsteps having wanted to be an actress ever since seeing her mother perform in the Robert Bolt play THE FLOWERING CHERRY. She began with the Farnham repertory company and subsequently went on to the Royal Court Theatre. She even appeared with her mother in several productions including a revival of the Noel Coward play HAY FEVER, and the 1968 BBC production (co-starring Charles Gray; Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the Bond film DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER). She married Joe Laycock (son of Major-General Sir Robert Laycock, an old Peter Fleming friend) in 1971 and they had several children. After a family tragedy in the early 1980s, she married actor/writer Simon Williams, best known for playing the part of Captain Bellamy in the British series UPSTAIRS,DOWNSTAIRS, and also portrayed Nigel Pennington-Smythe in the 1983 tv movie THE RETURN OF THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E (featuring one-time James Bond George Lazenby in a Bondish cameo), and wrote the novels TALKING OSCARS (pub 1988) and KILL THE LIGHTSS (pub 1991).

Lucy Fleming`s step-children, Tam and Amy Williams also act, though her own son designs websites. According to Lucy Fleming, “For an actor there`s a rather worrying time when the final dress rehearsal is over and there`s an hour or so to kill before you present the play to its first audience. There`s not much to do except heed the director`s last-minute notes, open some good-luck cards and panic.” These are her screen credits:

http://us.imdb.com/Name?Fleming,+Lucy (So why don`t the Bond producers give her a cameo in a film?)

She starred in the 70`s cult tv series THE SURVIVORS and was recently seen in the miniseries adaptation of Anthony Powell`s A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME. Lucy Fleming complained in an interview about the lack of film and tv parts for women her age, so instead has appeared mostly on the stage, quite recently in her own husband`s play LAYING THE GHOST.

Her husband told the Daily Mail that “She doesn`t like to be told what to do, so it was a tricky business getting her to do it. Cleverly, I persuaded her by simply leaving the manuscript lying around the house and when she eventually asked who was going to play Judith, I replied sheepishly: “I was rather hoping you would, my dear.” They are in rehearsal and I keep wanting to make the odd little change . . . so I`ve been banned. They`ve even put a combination lock on the rehearsal room!”

In 1993 Lucy Fleming was one of two people selected from 2,687 entrants for the Times sponsored berth in the around-the-world BT Global Challenge voyage, but was forced to withdraw after her brother Nichol died unexpectedly from a heart-attack, aged 56 (the same age as their uncle Ian Fleming when he died). She later wrote a delightful article in The Spectator describing her participation in the 40-day, 7000 mile leg five of the race spanning from Capetown, South Africa to Boston. She was put in charge of weather faxes for her watch, suspecting that this was a wheeze for getting useless crew members out of the way:

“Food started off very promisingly but things declined as the fresh food ran out and dried goods appeared looking like dog food and, even after much inventive preparation, mostly tasting pretty similar. Drinks were the usual hot ones or something called “refresh”, which didn`t. The watermaker converted salt water into slightly less salty water and made a noise like a gout ridden MFH every time it started up. All the crew were issued with a chocolate and sweet ration, known as the nutty bag. Sadly, my family have now applied this title to me.”

Kate Fleming writes that “Lucy and I […] were on the wild side; Lucy was a tomboy and was always at the top of a tree or racing about on a pony. I was very shy and shot upstairs whenever anyone visited the house. Neither of us would put on a dress if we could possibly help it. Our manners left a lot to be desired.” Moreover their childhood home, “Merrimoles”, was intentionally overrun by many unorthodox pets: labradors, a poodle, a cat, ponies, at least one horse, owls, a dormouse, two fox cubs, a raven and a grey squirrel named “Nutto”.

Peter Fleming once wrote in his diary: “Woken early by the patter of tiny feet. Yaks, if stampeded, would make more noise, but not much more noise, than Kate (three) and Lucy (two), who constitute a knockabout turn known as the Reveille Girls.” [He goes on to say about his dogs, “Wonder what Pavlov would have made of Toby and Trigger, who never budge from the bed in my dressing-room until I start brushing my hair. Have tried going downstairs without brushing my hair. Sticklers for protocol, they stayed where they were.” He also left his family the following arrangements for his own funeral: “If there is a memorial service, I would like it to be at the Guards Chapel; the parking facilities are unrivalled.” His final instruction was, “No mourning.”] Both girls were sent off to Cranborne Chase school in Dorset (Kate in 1959, Lucy in 1960), and afterwards Peter Fleming remarked that “the patter of your tiny feet is sadly missed.”

Lucy Fleming: Born 5/15/1947

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