Prudhoe ready to commemorate its film star

15 February 2017 6:14PM

A PLAQUE dedicated to Prudhoe’s film star son has been designed with plans to have it in place in time for his 141st birthday.

Henry Travers is best known for his scene-stealing role as “angel, second class” Clarence Odbody in the Frank Capra classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Last year it was discovered that the Hollywood actor had North-East roots, and was born in Prudhoe in 1874.

Plans were laid to commemorate Henry’s time in Prudhoe with a plaque.

However, there were some concern raised over the legitimacy of the claims that he was born in Prudhoe.

Prudhoe Town Council has obtained a copy of his birth certificate, stating that Henry John Heagerty was indeed born in Prudhoe on March 5, 1874.

The certificate was signed by a deputy superintendent registrar.

Assured of the validy of the claim, Prudhoe Town Council has designed a plaque and hopes to have it erected by the anniversary of the actor’s birth.

The blue plaque includes the line from It’s a Wonderful Life: “Everytime a bell rings an angel gets his wings.”

The Co-operative Group has also been approached for permission to place the commemorative sign on store’s external north-facing wall, near the The Glade area in Prudhoe town centre.

The actor is believed to have spent the first two years of his life in Prudhoe before moving to West Woodburn.

A pupil at Berwick Grammar School, he went on to train as an architect but then began performing at local amateur shows with the Tweedside Minstrels. After travelling to America with a touring drama group, Henry went on to enjoy success on the silver screen.

He starred alongside big names such as Ginger Rogers, Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Bing Crosby.

Three years after the release of It’s a Wonderful Life, Henry retired and lived in California until his death in 1965.

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