Your friends the stars – 2
A flair for conjuring, when he was a schoolboy, led David Nixon to the music-hall stage. This in turn led him to occasional TV appearances. But it was determination to get further on, and win headline fame, which got him into What’s My Line?
Every other Sunday, in the TV Theatre at Shepherd’s Bush, there is an audition for would-be What’s My Line? panellists. Here unknown actresses, fashion models, writers, journalists, and amateur comics mix with famous actors, actresses, and novelists to have a go on a dummy What’s My Line? show, while producer Dicky Leeman watches to see if any of them show enough promise to get on the reserve list for the real panel.
David Nixon went all out to get one of these audition tests. With charming persistence he worried Dicky Leeman into it. He took the test, and went down on the reserve list, very near the top. Months passed. Then, when Jerry Desmonde had to leave the panel, Leeman put David in. His success there has bolstered his stage conjuring career and made him a certain ace in the coming shuffle for TV fame which commercial TV will stir up. It has meant a brighter and more secure future for David and his wife Paula, who is a singer, and with whom he has played in pantomime.
Yet this break is the ultimate sequel to another one—save the pun, a break in his leg. For it was when he broke his leg as a Boy Scout and was unable to take the part allotted to him in a Scout concert, that his father bought him some billiard balls and suggested that he should mock up a bit of conjuring. “You can stand still, doing that,” he said. Today, standing still is the last thing to interest David Nixon.