Martin Kemp

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Martin John Kemp (born 10 October 1961) is an English actor, musician, and occasional television presenter, best known as the bassist in the New Wave band Spandau Ballet, as well as for his portrayal as Steve Owen from the BBC soap opera EastEnders. He is the brother of Gary Kemp, who was also a member of Spandau Ballet and has also had an acting career. He also finished third in the summer series of Celebrity Big Brother 2012.

Early life

Martin Kemp was born in his parents’ house in Islington, London, and attended Rotherfield Junior School. At the age of 7 he began to attend the Anna Scher Children’s Theatre drama club with his brother, Gary, and appeared in many TV shows, including Jackanory, The Tomorrow People, and Dixon of Dock Green. In his last year with Anna Scher he won a role in The Glittering Prizes, appearing alongside Tom Conti and Nigel Havers. After leaving Central Foundation Boys' School at 16, he began an apprenticeship in a print factory, but soon began to feel disenchanted

Spandau Ballet

Kemp’s life changed when Steve Dagger, the manager of his brother Gary’s band The Gentry, suggested he should replace the band’s bass player. He learned to play bass in three months and performed for the first time with The Gentry at a college party. Eventually the band was renamed “Spandau Ballet” and Kemp left his printing job to concentrate on the band full-time. Spandau Ballet went on to have a great deal of success in the New Romantic Era, with four of their albums reaching the UK album chart top ten. True also gave the band their first UK number one album and single with the album’s “title track”. Kemp also performed with the band on the popular 1984 famine relief project song "Do They Know It's Christmas", written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure.
In early 2009, newspaper reports claimed that Spandau Ballet was set to re-form later that year, and this was confirmed by the band at a press conference held on board HMS Belfast on 25 March 2009. The band also announced a world tour, beginning with dates in the UK and Ireland in October 2009.

Later career

Kemp and his brother Gary returned to acting in 1990, both of them appearing in the British film The Krays in which they played the notorious gangster twins, Ronald and Reginald Kray. Their performances received a great deal of critical acclaim. Since The Krays, Martin Kemp has been in the public eye more than his brother. He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1990s and made appearances in television series such as The Outer Limits and Highlander: The Series. He also appeared in several Hollywood films such as Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992) and Embrace of the Vampire (1994).
In 1995, he moved back to the United Kingdom and took a break from acting for a short while after recovering from two benign brain tumours. He then resumed his acting career in 1998 when he made guest appearance in the ITV police drama series The Bill. He went on to become popular for his role as villain Steve Owen in the BBC's top soap opera, EastEnders from December 1998. His character was involved in some of the soap's highest rated storylines such as the Saskia Duncan murder and "Who Shot Phil?". By the time he left the series in 2002, he was one of the best-known faces on British television. Kemp won three TV Quick Awards for Best Soap Actor (2000, 2001, 2002), a National Television Award for Most Popular Actor (2000) and five British Soap Awards (Villain of the Year in 2000, Best Actor in 2001 and 2002, Sexiest Male in 2001 and 2002) for his work on EastEnders. In July 2001, he announced that he would leave EastEnders when his contract expired in April 2002.
He then switched over to ITV from 2002 to 2004, where he starred in several television dramas such as The Brides in the Bath, in which he played real-life murderer, George Smith, and Can't Buy Me Love opposite fellow EastEnders star Michelle Collins, which was based on a true story about a man who conned his wife and friends into believing he had won the lottery. From 2004-2007 Martin was also the face of furniture chain ScS.
He starred in a low-budget British film titled Back in Business which had a very limited release in few theatres in February 2007 and one month later was released on DVD.
He has also founded his own production company and in March 2008 directed a low-budget 20-minute short film entitled Karma Magnet, which starred his brother, Gary, and also featured Kemp's son, Roman, and wife, Shirlie. This was released on the internet only.
He appeared on a celebrity special of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire in January 2008 with his brother, Gary, in order to raise awareness of and funds for the Encephalitis Society. Along with his son, he also featured in one edition of a factual television series for Five, Dangerous Adventures For Boys, based on the best-selling book written by Conn and Hal Iggulden, The Dangerous Book for Boys. In 2008, he also appeared on the Discovery Channel television programme Chop Shop where they built him a gangster car.
He hosted TV's 50 Hardest Men for Sky1 in July 2008 and also guest starred as Mr. Burley in BBC drama series, Waterloo Road. 2011 sees him starring as "Dr. Lawrence" in British film noir Jack Falls. In November 2011, Kemp appeared as a contestant on the second series of ITV's 71 Degrees North, but quitted after three days.
Kemp's first feature film as director, Stalker, starring Anna Brecon and Jane March, was released in 2011.
He was announced as the thirteenth celebrity to participate in the summer series of Celebrity Big Brother 2012. Kemp appeared in the final, and placed third on 7 September 2012.

Personal life

Martin Kemp has been married to Shirlie Holliman since 1988. Holliman is a former backing singer of the group Wham! and one half of the 1980s pop duo Pepsi & Shirlie. The couple have a daughter, Harley Moon, (born 1989) and a son, Roman, (born 1993). Martin Kemp is also patron of the UK and Ireland charity, The Encephalitis Society, and at the time of becoming patron confirmed that he had had controlled epilepsy since the 1990s, as a result of having two brain tumours. Following the tumours, Kemp had a protective metal plate implanted over his brain under the scalp. It is unnoticeable but not undetectable - during an appearance on the Frank Skinner Show in 2002, Kemp jokingly remarked that he could never slip quietly through metal detectors at airports, as the plate would set the alarm off.
On 20 January 2006, Kemp opened a new CT scanning suite at Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley, West Midlands.
Kemp's parents, Frank and Eileen, both died in January 2009. Eileen was undergoing treatment for a heart bypass at Bournemouth Hospital, where Frank was brought in after suffering a fatal heart attack. Eileen died 48 hours later.
Kemp is also a big Arsenal football supporter.



Crossmaglen (2012) .... Major Prendergast
Strippers vs Werewolves (2012) .... Mickey
Hustle (1 episode, 2012) .... Harry Holmes
How to Stop Being a Loser (2011) .... Zeus
Jack Falls (2011) .... Dr Lawrence
The Best Years (2010) .... Simon McKnight
The Rapture (2010) .... Victor Walker
Waterloo Road
Series 6 (2010) .... Mr. Burley
Bully Boys (2008) .... Mick Revill
Back in Business (2007) .... Will Spencer
Agatha Christie's Marple
Sleeping Murder (2006) .... Jackie Afflick
Love Lies Bleeding (2005) .... Mark Terry
Can't Buy Me Love (2004) .... Alan Harris
Where the Heart Is
Skin Deep (2004) .... Ian Thorpe
The Brides in the Bath (2003) .... George Smith
Serious and Organised (2003) .... DC Jack Finn
Family (2003) .... Joey Cutler
Casino Casino (2003) .... Casino Manager
Daddy's Girl (2002) .... Chris Cooper
Sugar Town (1999) .... Jonesy
EastEnders (1998–2002) ..... Steve Owen
Monk Dawson (1998) .... David Allenby
The Bill
The Bus Driver’s Prayer (1998) ..... Tom Marsh
Supply and Demand (1998) .... Eddie McEwan
Tales from the Crypt
Escape (1996)
The Outer Limits
Blood Brothers (1995) .... Michael Deighton
Embrace of the Vampire (1994) .... Vampire
Cyber Bandits (1995) .... Jack Morris
Boca (1994) .... Reb
Murder Between Friends (1994) .... Bill Fontanille
Fleshtone (1994) .... Matthew Greco
Highlander: The Series
Avenging Angel (1993) .... Alfred Cahill
Aspen Extreme (1993) .... Franz Hauser
Ultimate Desire (1993) .... Gordon Lewis
Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992) .... Baron Von Frankenstein
Growing Rich (1992) .... Driver
The Girl Who Came Late (1991) .... Digby Olsen
Daydream Believer (1991) ...
The Krays (1990) .... Reggie Kray
The Glittering Prizes
A Country Life (1976) .... Graham Black
Jackanory (1975)
Rumpole of the Bailey (1975)
Dixon of Dock Green (1973)
Oranges and Lemons (1973)
The Tomorrow People (1973)
Scribble (1973)
Katherine Mansfield (1973)
Mind Where You Are Going (1972)
The Edwardians (1972)
Jackanory (1972)


Karma Magnet (2008) (short)
Stalker (2011)

Kemp, M. (2000). True: The Autobiography of Martin Kemp. Orion. ISBN 0-7528-3264-6.

Source: accessed 18th April 2013