Harry Towb

Prompted by a comment in Mick’s Ryanair post, I’m putting up the news in case like me, you missed the death of that wonderfully versatile actor Harry Towb. He was equally at home in Greek tragedy and the slapstick of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum or a Sam McCready comedy. Reared in the now very small Jewish community in Belfast, the Jewish Chronicle records that he was thought to be the only Jew ever to be born in Larne! The Times full obit recalls the tough days of war time and his launch with the legendary Hibbie Wilmot. Years ago, I had a cheery green room encounter with Harry and taxed him with frightening the life out of me when a big plastic chair completely swallowed him up in a Doctor Who episode. It scared him too he replied. It was inspiring to know that as a man of 83 suffering from cancer, Harry played the blind prophet Tiresias in Owen McCafferty’s version of Sopocles’ Antigone at the Waterfront studio less than a year ago. Great to know that he experienced the actor’s itch to keep working until near the end.

  • Glencoppagagh

    A fine actor although he never seemed able to completely lose the Belfast intonation whatever the role. You can take the man out of Belfast….
    His passing is a reminder what a great loss to Belfast and NI in general the huge decline in the Jewish population has been.

  • loki

    One of those good character actors that we produced from time to time. A sad loss.

  • T.Ruth

    Did Harry Towb appear in East Enders recently? A great actor and one we are proud to claim as a Belfast man. .
    “There are no small actors ,only small parts.”

  • CW

    A fine thespian indeed who worked almost right up to the end. Versatile in his numerous roles on stage and screen, but really deserved more recognition than he actually got.

  • HeadTheBall

    “His passing is a reminder what a great loss to Belfast and NI in general the huge decline in the Jewish population has been.”

    As a school-kid in the ’50’s I numbered many, many North Belfast (Antrim Road) Jewish kids among my schoolfellows. As you say, a sad,sad loss.

  • DoctorWho

    Indeed a sad loss.

  • Joe

    Harry was a good friend of my late mother’s – she was a Group Theatre regular and knew a lot of Belfast’s actors. I was lucky enough to see him in Little Shop Of Horrors in the West End many years ago, and it was always a pleasure to see him pop up in things like The Bill or The Day Today (he appeared in the ‘IRA bomb dogs’ sketch). As noted above, he appeared in Eastenders late last year, as an elderly Jewish widower swindled into (almost) marrying Janine…

  • Tochais Si­orai­

    Not only Belfast. The recent death of David Marcus highlighted the fact that Dublin and Cork are also the poorer for the decline of their Jewish populations.