Born: June 30, 1950
Birthplace: London, England
Leonard Whiting (born 30 June 1950) is an English actor and singer who is best known for his role 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. He was touted as a star in the making, the next Laurence Olivier and the next great British actor.
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. He also bears a striking resemblance to Zac Efron, especially in his role of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet Whiting attended the St. Richard of Chichester School, Camden Town, leaving just a week or two before beginning work on Romeo and Juliet (1968).
Whiting was spotted by an agent at the Connaught Rooms where he was performing at a Jewish wedding at the age of 12. He only sang one song ("Summertime") which he had rehearsed as a one-off song with the group Teal Lewis and the Fourtunes, who were the entertainment for the evening. This was set up by his father to get him noticed. 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."
He is also renowned for his on-stage part as the Artful Dodger in the original London cast of Oliver!, where he replaced Davy Jones when Jones and most of the London cast were transferred to New York City for the play's Broadway run.
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".
In 2014, he reunited with Olivia Hussey for the film Social Suicide (2015), their first work together in the 46 years since Romeo and Juliet.
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. He now lives in London.
|1968||Romeo and Juliet||Romeo|
|1969||Giacomo Casanova: Childhood and Adolescence||Giacomo Casanova|
|The Royal Hunt of the Sun||Young Martin|
|1970||Say Hello to Yesterday||Boy|
|1972||À la guerre comme à la guerre (fr)||Franz Keller|
|2015||Social Suicide||Julia's Father|
|1966||The Wonderful World of Disney||Jimmy the Dip||Episode: "The Legend of Young Dick Turpin"|
|1973||Frankenstein: The True Story||Victor Frankenstein||NBC TV film|
|1990-1995||The Dreamstone||Urpgor (Voice)|