A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
Jay was born in California, but his family left the United States for Europe when he was a child. As a legacy of his itinerant childhood, he is English/French bilingual, and no slouch in Spanish or German, either. If you want to aggravate him, tell him he doesn’t SOUND like an American – neither would you if you’d lived in Europe for 50-odd years (some of them very odd indeed). This doesn’t, however, prevent casting agents from insisting that he play Americans.
He’s probably best known today for his role as John Kieffer – the US Army officer and friend of Christopher Foyle – in Foyle’s War, but in his varied career he has danced with the legendary Zizi Jeanmaire at Le Casino de Paris, played almost every male role in The Rocky Horror Show in the early 1970s (given half a chance, he’d probably have had a crack at the female ones, too …) and has appeared frequently on stage in both straight drama and musical theatre. In June 2009 he played opposite Sharon Gless at a ‘table read’ of A Round Heeled Woman at the the Richmond Theatre and in November of this year will be playing Bill Wilson, Co-Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous in a new play for the Outside Edge Theatre Company – One Day At A Time (see the NEWS page on Jay’s website for more information).
He’s also been seen (and heard) regularly on film and TV. He provided the voice for Shiro Hagen in the cult Saturday morning science fiction show Star Fleet X-Bomber; played escapologist Alan Kalanak in the Jonathan Creek Christmas Special Satan’s Chimney; was Frank Crowe, Superintending Engineer on the Hoover Dam, in the BBC’s award-winning documentary series Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, the obnoxious Yves Houdet in Andrew Davies’ superb adaptation of Angus Wilson’s Anglo Saxon Attitudes and, perhaps most notably was third lead in Vicente Aranda’s beautiful 2003 adaptation of Prosper Mérimée’s novella Carmen. Most recently, he played Lord Melbourne in Channel 4’s Queen Victoria’s Men.
When not in front of the camera, he and his partner run ‘Sync or Swim’, providing post-production ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) services to the film and television industry. Recent projects have included The Tudors, The Golden Compass and Armando Iannucci’s first feature film, In the Loop. In addition, his voice can be heard on video games, documentaries and TV and radio adverts, as well as in innumerable lifts, theatre foyers and other public spaces. The irritatingly soothing voice requesting that you take your seat and switch off your mobile phone is quite probably him: so now you know who to blame.
Jay was one of our first ‘In Conversation with’ interviewees, accepted our invitation to stay, and can generally be relied on to raise at least a couple of censorious eyebrows.
Jay and his family divide their time between England and France, and when they aren’t actually resident, their beautiful manor house in Normandy is available to rent.
Vulpes Libris links:
Staying sane(ish) inside insanity – memories of The Rocky Horror Show.
The Most Unkindest Cut – Aliens, Star Wars and Star Fleet.
TCG Artist Management Ltd – UK agents.
Just Voices – UK Voice-over agents.
Agence Elizabeth Simpson – French agents.