Michael Sheen Circus Heritage?

Posted on Nov 12, 2012 in Stuff | Comments Off

Micheal Sheen as Aro the vampire in The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Welsh actor Michael Sheen, who is known for such films as Underworld, Frost/Nixon, Tron: Legacy and more recently in The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and Breaking Dawn pt. 1 & 2, isn’t surprised he’s found fame playing well-known public figures and supernatural characters. Perhaps influencing Michael’s future choice of career may have come from his father, Meyrick, who is a Jack Nicholson look-alike and is regularly booked as the Academy Award-winning actor. Then again, there had always been unique entertainers in the family. His great-great-grandmother, Mary Ann Blower, was the first female lion tamer and elephant trainer in the UK and had taken off for America in 1896 on the SS Campania, accompanied by the Shakespearean actor Charles North, and the impresario Frank C Bostock, the world’s most famous animal trainer and exhibitor to join Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Circus.

He explains, “She was the first elephant and lion tamer in Barnum & Bailey’s circus. God bless her – she was talented but she wasn’t a looker! She had her left breast mauled off by a lion and the claw of that lion is on a chain somewhere in our family. My great-grandfather was a bit of a waster (drunk) in the town, in Port Talbot [Wales] and the story goes that he was lying in the gutter one night and God spoke to him and said you must mend your ways, save up money, and buy the disused tin mine in the mountain. From that moment on he never touched another drink and he saved up his money – everyone thought he was mad because there was no tin left in the mine but they discovered a new vein of tin and he became the richest man in Port Talbot and became a street preacher from then on.”

CGM thinks that’s some pretty cool history of a pretty cool actor! ■