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Noel Harrison

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London, United Kingdom (1958 – 2011)

Noel Harrison (born 29 January 1934, in London; died October 2013 in Devon) was an English singer, actor and Olympic athlete. He was the son of British actor Sir Rex Harrison. In 1968 he recorded “The Windmills of your Mind”, the theme tune from the film The Thomas Crown Affair, which won that year’s Academy Award for Best Original Song. In June 2011, Harrison played Glastonbury Festival’s “Spirit of ‘71” stage, marking 40 years since his appearance at the second staging of the then new festival.

As a teenager Harrison joined the Ipswich repertory theatre group and taught himself guitar, but his main interest was sport and most of his spare time was spent skiing in Switzerland. At an early age he was a member of the British ski team, becoming its first giant-slalom champion in 1953 and representing Britain at the Winter Olympics in Oslo in 1952 and Italy in 1956, competing in both down-hill and slalom events.
Noel also did his National Service and, after leaving the army in the fifties, toyed with the idea of becoming a journalist, but instead he concentrated on his guitar.

When he was 20, he started playing professionally, around the tables in a Greek restaurant in London, for meals and tips. He also made a living playing in bars and nightclubs all over Europe, including appearances at the famous Blue Angel Club, where one show was recorded for a live album.

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