As we are all very much aware, teddy bears have been owned and loved by thousands of people the entire world over, regardless of their age, nationality or gender and by both rich and poor, but do we realise just how many famous people have owned a teddy bear?
Politicians, Members of the Royal Family, Sportsmen and women, Pop Stars and Film Stars have all been known to own a special teddy bear. Many celebrities have finally come clean to admitting they have owned a teddy bear who they have loved, even though, it is only during the past few decades that owning and loving a teddy bear has not had a stigma attached to it. Previously, loving a teddy bear was thought of as being a bit childish or you were looked upon as being a bit eccentric. Thankfully, however, we can all now shout it from the roof-tops that we love teddy bears!
Alexis Tarnoff, the famous dancer, was given a teddy bear when he was just five years old (he was born in 1901 - just before the teddy bear made his appearance). His teddy bear had black painted boot-button eyes and he is made of mohair. He is quite an unusual kind of teddy bear, his arms and legs are rather narrow and they are attached to his body with exterior metal fastenings, which look like large metal buttons, which carry the tradename 'Shield'. Actually, this bear does look a lot like the early French teddy bears, dating back to the 1920's - 1930's, as these bears had external jointing just like his. The problem is, if this were the case, the dates, etc. do not match up, so I suppose his teddy bear will always be a bit of a mystery. Unfortunately Alexis Tarnoff died in 1989, so we cannot ask him more about his old bear's history. However, trying to work out a teddy bear's history is often very exciting and interesting and really does add to the excitement of collecting teddy bears.
The Late Dame Barbara Cartland, who was famous for writing romantic novels, had a teddy bear who she called The Prince of Love. She said that he epitomised the teddy bear version of her romantic heroes. The Prince of Love was adorned all over by an array of jewels which were bestowed upon him by Ms Cartland. He had earrings sewn up and down his arms and in one ear and he wore a beautiful pink ribbon around his neck (Ms Cartland was always famous for wearing pink herself). She dressed her teddy bear to look, as she said, like an indian prince. Barbara even wrote a special poem for her beloved teddy bear.
Dame Judy Dench, the famous actress who amongst many other roles, is famous for playing 'M' in the recent James Bond films, she has been an avid teddy bear collector for many years. She now has over 100 teddy bears in her collection, her favourite teddy bear is her first bear who she calls 'Gray'. Gray is dressed in lovely green trousers.
Ringo Starr (drummer with The Beatles) has a very large Panda which was given to him in 1976 by Keith Moon (the famous drummer with The Who). It was obviously love at first sight, as the two became almost inseparable. Ringo called his Panda 'Chairman of the Board', as he now resides over all of Ringo's business meetings. The Chairman of the Board was given a pair of white gloves which once belonged to Marc Bolan (of T-Rex fame).
The late and great poet, Sir John Betjeman (1906 - 1984) had a beloved teddy bear who was made by the famous German firm Steiff (circa 1910). Sir John derived great comfort from his teddy bear who he called 'Archibald'. Sir John even wrote Archibald into his poetry (Summoned By Bells). When he died, Archibald was in his arms.
Teddy Bears have also been quite active in Parliament. Edwina Currie's bear called 'Omar' would often sit on her desk at the House of Commons, as her lucky mascot. Sometimes, Edwina would practice her speeches on him and not once did he moan or answer back.
The late Dr. Marjorie (Mo) Mowlan had a big and, as she called him, 'rather ugly' teddy bear which her Father bought for her when she was a small child, he bought him from the local tobacconist, she called him 'Growler'.
Ex Prime Minster, Margaret Thatcher, had a large teddy bear who she called 'Humphrey' who was made of sheepskin with brown leather paws, he was born around 1930. During the 1980's he lived with the Prime Minister at No.10 Downing Street, London, of course, that was when he was not away from office doing important charity work. Humphrey was a large bear too at 22 inches tall. Sadly, poor old Humphrey went to teddy bear heaven in 1988 after he was put in the washing machine.
The late Earl Mountbatten of Burman (1900 - 1979), grew up to become first sea lord. He owned a beautiful and much loved Steiff Bear (circa 1904). Presumably, his teddy bear was given to him by one of his German relatives.
BBC's famous gardener, Alan Titchmarsh has a bear who he calls 'Teddy', who sits on a chair outside his bedroom door. Unfortunately, the bear has lost most of his stuffing from his hands. Although his head is still quite firmly attached, it does seem to 'lean' a bit to one side. Poor old Teddy smiles a friendly biro smile which Alan put on him to replace his black stitched one.
The Late Dusty Springfield owned a beautiful Merrythought 'Cheeky' Teddy Bear who she called Mr Einstein.
Prince Charles is also very well known for his love of teddy bears and was photographed taking his teddy bear to school with him. The Late Queen Mother too, loved teddy bears and has been photographed on many occasions holding teddy bears and, when Sarah Ferguson married Prince Andrew, Prince Edward gave them both a big Merrythought Teddy Bear.
Elvis Presley had many teddy bears, although he did have a special teddy bear who he called Mabel. Mabel went to teddy heaven when, after visiting England, she had a confrontation with a dog. Elvis had a hit with his song Teddy Bear and was later bombarded with teddy bears on stage by his fans every time he sang the song.
Shirley Temple sang the beautiful song Me And My Teddy Bear and later the song was covered by many artists including Peter Gabriel, Sharron Corr and Rosemary Clooney.
There really are so many Pop Stars, Film Stars and Show biz people who have owned teddy bears, far too many to mention in this article and lots of other famous poeple too, such as Donald Campbell (the land speed and water record breaker). Amy Johnson (who flew solo from England to Australia), Willie Carson (the jokey), Jimmy Hill (the sports commentator) and so on and so on.....
It is therefore extremely clear to us all that even the rich and famous need the love, support and comfort of a teddy bear. Is there really no end to his love ?
Gino loves fast cars, especially fast italian cars. Gino also loves anything Italian. Gino also heads an old teddy bear site which is full of adorable old teddy bears and their friends.
Please visit his website at www.ginosbears.co.uk
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