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Julian Fellowes was all wrong for his time — at first. When he graduated from drama school in 1973, working-class dramas onstage were all the rage, and the aspiring actor struggled to get an agent. He eventually snagged a supporting role in “A Touch of Spring,” a West End comedy that required him to fall down a set of stairs nightly and brought him his first mention in Variety, a May 21, 1975, review that dubbed him “effective as a feckless young American diplomat.” Roles in film and TV shows followed, but Fellowes found his greatest success at a keyboard: In 2002, he won an Oscar for writing “Gosford Park” and gave up acting for good. He created TV series “Downton Abbey” in 2010, with the show racking up 15 Emmys, including a pair for Fellowes. Now he’s back with more adventures of the Crawley clan and its servants — this time on the big screen in a film opening Sept. 20.
How big a deal was “A Touch of Spring” to you as a young actor?
Touch - Spring - Show - London - Someone
“A Touch of Spring” was a very key show for me. I had come up to London, and I had managed to persuade someone to become an agent — no agent would take me on because I was so wrong for that particular time. I thought, well, I’m going to give this a shot. When I got there, they were quite anxious to cast this part because the person who was going to do it had dropped out for some reason or another, and they were about to start rehearsals. One of the reasons they couldn’t cast it was the guy in the third act had to come on and fall down a flight of stairs. By that time, I was ready to do...
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