And so another link to my childhood goes :(
I loved the guy way back then and i watch his work now with awe - such a brilliant, eccentic, wonderful character actor that infused any film he was in, be it Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Railway Children, Murder Ahoy and a standout turn in a Norman Wisdom film where, in the space of only a couple of minutes, he eclipsed the star.
I remember him best though for, at least with me, his defining role in First Men In The Moon.
A film which had a great impact on me, not only for the excellent Ray Harryhausen effects, but for Lionel's work.
Even at the age of 10, i could see i was watching someone special - not only his eccentricity played to the hilt here, but also the terrific acting when he's talking to the Grand Lunar as he realises the burden of responsability of his task.
And most of all the real sense of pathos at the end where he elects to stay behind on the moon.
It affected me deeply then and still brings a lump to my throat now.
Goodbye Mr Jeffries, you've left behind a great legacy - and i wish you'd been my dad.