This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Sydney Tafler" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (May 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Sydney Tafler
Sydney Tafler.jpg
Born(1916-07-31)31 July 1916
Died8 November 1979(1979-11-08) (aged 63)
EducationRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Years active1936-1980
Spouse(s)Joy Shelton (1941–1979)

Sydney Tafler (31 July 1916 – 8 November 1979) was an English actor who after having started his career on stage, was best remembered for numerous appearances in films and television from the 1940s to the 1970s.[3]

Personal life

Tafler was born into a Jewish family, the son of Eva (née Kosky) and Mark Tafler, an antique dealer.[4][5] His sister, Hylda, married the film director Lewis Gilbert. Another sister, Sheila, was also an actress.[6]

He was married to the actress Joy Shelton from 1941 until his death[7] from cancer;[8] they had three children – two sons, Jeremy and Jonathan, and a daughter, Jennifer, who became a child actress.


After two years at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Tafler first appeared on stage in London's West End in 1936, with Sir Seymour Hicks in The Man in Dress Clothes. His other stage roles included the menacing character of Nat Goldberg in a production of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party, directed by the playwright;[9] a role he reprised in William Friedkin's 1968 film version, alongside Robert Shaw and Patrick Magee.

On British television he appeared alongside Sid James in Citizen James. His other television work included Angel Pavement, The Gentle Killers, The Infernal Machine, Focus, Dixon of Dock Green, Wodehouse Playhouse, and Hadleigh. He appeared in many films from 1947 to 1977, including The Lavender Hill Mob, The Sea Shall Not Have Them, and Alfie, frequently being directed by his brother-in-law Lewis Gilbert.

He most commonly played spiv characters, one notable exception being the film Reach for the Sky (1956) in which he played the prosthetics expert to Douglas Bader.[10] There again, he appeared briefly in a drily comic role as a uniformed policeman in the film The Cockleshell Heroes (also 1956). His film career ended with a featured role as the captain of the supertanker Liparus in the popular James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).

Selected filmography




  1. ^ "England & Wales Births 1837-2006". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  2. ^ "England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Sydney Tafler". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 13 July 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2014. Born: 31 July 1916, London. Died: 7 November 1979, London.
  4. ^ "England & Wales Marriages 1837-2005". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  5. ^ "England & Wales Marriages 1837-2005". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  6. ^ Howard Maxford (2 November 2018). Hammer Complete: The Films, the Personnel, the Company. McFarland. p. 780. ISBN 978-1-4766-2914-8.
  7. ^ McGillivray, David (15 May 2000). "Joy Shelton". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  8. ^ "Sydney Tafler". Find a Grave. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  9. ^ Plays and Players. Hansom Books. 1974.
  10. ^ "Tafler, Sydney (1916-79)". Screenonline. Retrieved 6 November 2013.