Performing Aylmers

Go to the cinema, concert hall or theatre long enough and you might encounter an Aylmer – and maybe non-league football too. Take care lest one might be a penis-shaped parasite, but here we’re mostly concerned with flesh blood and bones.

Aylmers of stage and screen

First and foremost is the English actor Felix Aylmer, who has his own page. He was married to actor Cecily Byrne.

Their daughter Jennifer Aylmer was not a perfomer, but a historian of the stage, as curator of the British Theatre Museum in the 1960s. Alas the museum was closed by the V&A a few years ago. There is a joint reference to Jennifer and Felix in the papers of Labour politician Hugh Jenkins, a great friend of theatre and one-time arts minister, and Jennifer donated Felix’s papers to the museum in 1980. My correspondent Deborah Baker, whose grandmother went to school with Jennifer, met her many times, both in her (Deborah’s) childhood and shortly before Jennifer passed away. She remembers “a truly amazing and strong woman”.

There have been two David Aylmers.

  • The most notable stage role of the first, brother to Jennifer and son to Felix and Cecily, was in the eternally-running London stage hit The Mousetrap, in 1959. Screen roles included John Ford B-movie (!) Gideon of Scotland Yard, 1958. He lived from 1929 to 1964, and alas committed suicide, predeceasing both parents.
  • The second David Aylmer is still (2013), ahem, performing, as a gay porn actor in what may for all I know be classics of the genre such as Up the Mountain, Down the Shaft.

Star of Italian cinema Mimi Aylmer (1896-1992) appeared alongside Vittorio de Sica and Marcello Mastroianni during her career. See her IMDB listing here.

Denise Aylmer had a bit part in The Last Night of the Titanic (1958).

Ian Aylmer had a lead role in the 1938 British TV drama The Last Voyage of Captain Grant.

Patrick Aylmer (b.1978) played a zombie in the Irish horror spoof Strangers in the Night (2002). Shortly after I added this entry he contacted me. Playing the zombie was, he told me, “the start and end of my performing arts career.” He now works in the pharmaceutical industry in Dublin. The youngest of five siblings (one brother, two sisters), his father Pat Aylmer is a Doctor in Carlow, 50 miles south of Dublin. Patrick went to school at the famous Clongowes Wood college in Kildare, responsible for James Joyce (hooray) and Michael O’Leary of Ryanair (boo); the college is not far from Donadea Castle.

Aylmers in music

Not as many as the actors perhaps, but more current.

Jennifer Aylmer

Soprano Jennifer Aylmer

American singer Jennifer Aylmer is an up-and-coming soprano with a remarkable range from Handel and Mozart to Strauss and Henze. English composer Bernard Rands wrote the role of Cynthia Reid in his work Bella Donna especially for her. She’s at home too in show music such as Rogers and Hammerstein. Nothing to do with the (British) museum curator Jennifer above.

Chris Aylmer was bassist for the British heavy metal band Samson, which regularly gigged with the likes of Iron Maiden and released several albums in the 70s-80s. Chris named the band, after lead singer Paul Samson, who died from cancer in 2002, shortly after the group reformed. Chris himself recently underwent surgery and recently was planning a new band Doctor Ice.

Deeply obscure Michigan garage band Aylmer’s Juice was named after the favourite food of the yet-to-be-profiled parasite named above.

Aylmers in sport

Peter Aylmer in Liverpool kit

Peter Aylmer in Liverpool kit

A very thin list this one. In 2010, the young central defender Peter Aylmer (same as your web manager) broke into the youth team of his local team, the famous Liverpool FC, aged just 16. He’s a local lad, which is good if like me you disapprove of big clubs lazily hoovering up talent from abroad. Alas he didn’t quite make the grade and moved on to (then) local Premiership rivals Wigan Athletic, but they released him in summer 2013.