My Steele’s Village: Actor Leonard Whiting, star of Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, praises his ‘amazing community’

Leonard Whiting (middle) with wife Lynn and actor Sir Derek Jacobi, a neighbour of his

Leonard Whiting (middle) with wife Lynn and actor Sir Derek Jacobi, a neighbour of his - Credit: Archant

Actor, writer and painter Leonard Whiting, 64, is best known for playing Romeo in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 Oscar-winning film of Romeo and Juliet, when he was just 17. He lives in Steele’s Village with his wife Lynn, who chairs the Steele’s Village Business Association and was instrumental in putting the area on the map.

What brought you to Steele’s Village? I moved in before it became Steele’s Village, but it was the wonderful mix of nationalities.

What makes it a special place? Its situation. The buzz of pubs, restaurants, etc, and minutes away from the most glorious parks – Primrose Hill, Hampstead Heath, Regent’s Park. Best of the city and the country.

How has it changed since you arrived? The Village has been established. There is an amazing community: people talk to each other and help one another. We have wonderful kitchen shops, homewares, the only drycleaner whose products contain no carcenogens, the best dentist in London. And at its heart, the wonderful Legal Cafe, which could be the inspiration for the coffee shop in Friends.

What is the area’s best-kept secret? Tandis, which is the restaurant of choice for Antonio Carluccio.

You have a day off to spend as you wish in the area, what would you get up to? Breakfast at the Legal, a gentle stroll in one of the parks, lunch at Oliver’s, watching my beautiful daughter try dresses on at Joyce Young, dinner with friends at Coco Bamboo.

It you were editor of the Ham&High for a day, what one issue would you most like to see reported? The creation of communities working together for the betterment of all.

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A film is set to be made about your life. Which actor would you choose to play you and why? Zac Efron, because everyone says he looks like me.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met? Laurence Olivier, because he believed art could change lives for the better.

If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say? He was a gentle man.

Leonard Whiting was in conversation with Tom Marshall.