Tony Hendra, Who Played Band Manager Ian Faith in ‘This Is Spinal Tap,’ Dies at 79


Tony Hendra, the British satirist and comic whose roles included top editing positions at magazines such as National Lampoon and Spy and a part in musical mockumentary “This Is Spinal Tap,” died on Thursday in Yonkers, N.Y. He was 79.

His wife, Carla Meisner, told the New York Times the cause of death was Lou Gehrig’s disease, which the writer was first diagnosed with in 2019.

More from Variety

In Rob Reiner’s 1984 mockumentary “This Is Spinal Tap,” he played Ian Faith, the bumbling band manager who tells Michael McKean’s character that having a gig in Boston canceled isn’t a big deal because “It’s not a big college town.”

Hendra began writing and performing comedy while a student at Cambridge University, working alongside future members of the Monty Python troupe. In 1964, he and his performing partner, Nick Ullett took their stage act to the United States, where he regularly began performing stand-up comedy, writing and editing for various publications, as well as acting and publishing books.

Seeking a more regular income, Hendra pivoted to television writing in 1969. He wrote for Hugh Hefner-hosted “Playboy After Dark” and “Music Scene.” But following these successes, he inadvertently sabotaged his career. Taking out advertisements in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter in the form of an open letter to James Roche, chairman of General Motors, he scolded him for the company’s record on pollution, which damaged his writing gig opportunity for a coming special sponsored by Chevrolet..

By 1970 he began writing at the newly founded National Lampoon, created by alumni of The Harvard Lampoon. The following year, he was made managing editor, remaining with the magazine for the better part of the decade. It was the Lampoon’s most successful period, spawning a franchise, complete with books, record albums, film series and more, such as “National Lampoon’s Lemmings.” The theatrical production became an Off Broadway hit featuring cast members Chevy Chase and John Belushi.

Story continues

Among other notable projects, Hendra co-penned the screenplay for 1996 boxing comedy “The Great White Hype” with Ron Shelton, which featured Samuel L. Jackson, Damon Wayans and Jeff Goldblum. In 2004 he published his critically lauded memoir, “Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul,” which recounted his relationship with a monk who he wrote helped him overcome personal setbacks and moral corruption, leading him back to the Roman Catholic faith of his childhood. In the book, he said he contemplated suicide before “Spinal Tap” began filming, but that working on the production gave him a new lease on life.

However, following the book’s release, Jessica Hendra, Hendra’s daughter from his first marriage, submitted an op-ed essay to The New York Times stating that Hendra had sexually abused her on several occasions when she was a girl, which was not mentioned in his book. While the Times didn’t publish the essay, it assigned an investigative reporter to look into the accusation. A month later the Times published an account of Hendra’s story. A year later, Hendra published a memoir of her own, “How to Cook Your Daughter,” where she detailed the abuse. Hendra denied her accusations.

Following the allegations, Hendra avoided the spotlight, though he published a novel in 2006 called “The Messiah of Morris Avenue.”

Born in Willesden, England, he resided in the United States for most of his life. He married Judith Hilary Christmas in 1964. After divorcing her in the 1980s, he married Meisner in 1986. In addition to her, he is survived by his daughter Jessica and another daughter from his first marriage, Katherine; three children from his second marriage, Lucy, Sebastian and Nicholas; a brother, Martin; two sisters, Angela Hendra and Celia Radice; and four grandchildren.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

You can view the original article HERE.

The Weeknd Teases a Trilogy of New Albums
Kanye West Wants to Meet Putin, Build Business Empire in Russia
David Adefeso Is Heading Home After A Great Time In His Paradisiac Vacay
Dean McDermott Feared He Would Be Put on Ventilator While Sick with COVID
Creepy Archive 81 Wants to be Your Winter TV Obsession | TV/Streaming
Fatal Attraction Meets Misery in Savage Thriller
Willem Dafoe Believes Green Goblin Mask Criticism Influenced No Way Home Look
HBO Max’s Peacemaker Continues Twisted Saga of Suicide Squad | TV/Streaming
Mabel: ‘I’m just hoping that it’ll be another summer full of festivals’ – Music News
The Strokes reschedule NYE show to April with new Mac DeMarco support
Billie Eilish stands up for Charlie Puth amid alleged feud with Benny Blanco – Music News
Michael Bay to produce ‘The Raid’ remake for Netflix
Billups: Nets’ Irving ‘most skilled’ PG in history
Cricket Contests to Watch out for in 2022
Colorado Rapids are Looking Good for an MLS Cup Challenge
Excellent Benefits of Playing Slot Online
Hulu Renews The Great, Drops Dollface Season 2 Trailer
The Walking Dead Episode 10.3 Recap: The Whisperers Punish Alexandria
Joe Gatto Announces Comedy Tour After Impractical Jokers Exit
Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 11 Review: Calling An Audible
How to Wear What You Have
Daily News: Yara Shahidi’s First Campaign For Dior, Janet Jackson Covers Allure, What Olivier Roustein Really Thinks Of Emily In Paris, And More!
Best Straight-Leg Jeans For Women
Best Winter Clothes From Saks 5th Avenue