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Victor Spinetti, Actor in Beatles’ Movies, Dies at 82

The Welsh-born stage and screen actor got his big break courtesy of John Lennon and George Harrison

Comic actor Victor Spinetti, best known for his appearances in three Beatles movies, died on Tuesday morning. He was 82.

The Welsh performer had been fighting pancreatic cancer in recent years, according to his agent, Barry Burnett. 

Born in the village of Cwm in south Wales, Spinetti studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama before launching his acting career in England.

His big break came after John Lennon and George Harrison, with "A Hard Day's Night" director Walter Shenson and screenwriter Alun Owen, caught his performance in 1968, in the play "Oh! What a Lovely War" in London. 

Spinetti hit it off with the Beatles and landed roles in "A Hard Day's Night," "Help" and "Magical Mystery Tour."

Of his first encounter with Harrison and Lennon, Spinetti said, "I was known to them. But I wasn't prepared for the fantastic and wonderful reception I got from them, which was to be totally accepted."

Over the course of his career appeared in more than 30 films, including "The Taming of the Shrew," "Under Milk Wood" and "The Return of the Pink Panther."  

He also took on Lennon's writing in a dramatic project, co-authoring "The John Lennon Play: In His Own Write" with Adrienne Kenney.