Tributes paid to 'generous' Hampstead actor and businessman

Older white man in blue jumper sitting outside on colourful red and yellow bench

"To know Mickey as one of his ‘inner circle’ of friends was to know one of the most reliable, thoughtful, supportive and generous people." - Credit: Jan Morgan

A long-standing Hampstead resident, Globe Theatre actor and businessman has died aged 93.

Malcolm Victor Morgan, known as Mickey, died on February 19, and a funeral was held at Golders Green Crematorium.

He leaves a big hole in the lives of those he has left behind – his five children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

His wife, Jan Morgan MBE, said at the funeral: "To know Mickey as a friendly acquaintance was to be struck by his stature, his charm, instant wit, and great intelligence.

"To know Mickey as one of his ‘inner circle’ of friends was to know one of the most reliable, thoughtful, supportive and generous people.

"To know Mickey as a dad; a stepfather; a grandfather; a brother; a cousin or uncle was to have enjoyed a life caressed by the love of the ‘head of the family’ whose care, support and protection was freely ‘on tap’."

In November 1929 Malcolm was born in the front room of the family home in Salford. During the early years of the war, he was fostered in Wargrave, Berkshire.

Most Read

On returning to London, Malcolm attended Wessex Gardens Primary School in Golders Green, where he claimed to have learnt the "three Rs" from a teacher who marched around the classroom giving sharp taps with his ruler to any boy who had not learnt the answer in time. He won a scholarship to Haberdasher's school, where he became a lover of rugby and boxing. 

In the school holidays, Malcolm served as an air raid warden messenger. 

He had taken public speaking classes and won an English-speaking Union Scholarship to Peddie in Hightstown, New Jersey, for his final two years at school. All his life he remained grateful for and very proud of those years. He was treated like a young star and indulged with all sorts of trips by American families grateful for the UK’s war effort, and by those who wanted their youngsters to hear and learn the “King’s English”.

Returning to London followed a couple of years at The London School of Economics, where the dramatic society had more appeal than statistics.

Malcolm moved to RADA and acting became his lifelong passion.

He spent a few years playing minor film parts. He subsidised his "slightly extravagant lifestyle" with modelling for the likes of Balkan Sobranie cigarettes.

Older man with white hair in white suit and bowler hat

Malcolm at his son’s wedding nine years ago. - Credit: Jan Morgan

A lightbulb moment brought his personal expenses into perspective and reluctantly he gave up acting and joined his father at Morgan & Co textile firm.

Malcolm met and married Tanya, daughter of Vera and Herman Simburg, a talented and renowned opera singer. They had a home in Hampstead Garden Suburb and soon had two children. Business was successful and life was idyllic for a few years. Although Malcolm and Tanya ended up going their separate ways, they remained on friendly terms.

Later, Malcolm married Carolyn Borley and had a son, Simon. At this time Malcolm was becoming very successful after having broken away from Morgan & Co and starting his company Oronel Fabrics, enabling him to buy a big house in Bracknell Gardens.

They had several wonderful years together, throwing many glamourous parties frequented by "well-known society faces". Carolyn and Malcolm drifted apart and the marriage ended.

After his divorce from Carolyn, Malcolm sought comfort in his long-term friend Jan. Having been confidantes for years, Jan and Malcolm fell in love on the dancefloor at the Savoy, after a charity event in the city.

They enjoyed 40 years of marriage, for the rest of Malcolm’s life.

Malcolm's property business continued to flourish, and in the first few years Jan and Malcolm had an exciting lifestyle travelling to New York on Concorde and building a house in the south of France.

Malcolm stayed with Great Portland Estates until the age of 70. 

Older man dressed in Shakespearean fancy dress outside of the Globe Theatre in London

Malcolm worked at The Globe Theatre while he was in his 80s. - Credit: Jan Morgan

In his later years, while still working, Malcolm was approached to audition for a part at the Globe Theatre. To his delight he was selected and although he was in his 80s, he took to the stage again and enjoyed every minute.

To the end, Malcolm remained "loving, dignified, and uncomplaining" despite the frustrations of being unwell.