Celeb Gists & Gossip

Inside Toby Jones’ unusual family life from Emmerdale star dad to four marriage proposals

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Toby Jones is notoriously private, but it can be revealed that the Mr Bates vs The Post Office star’s acting talent runs in the family. Both his mum, Jennifer, and his dad, Freddie, were working actors in their time, before retirement.

Sadly Freddie died in 2019, just months before the coronavirus pandemic, but he left behind an acting legacy thanks to his 13-year long role as Sandy Thomas in ITV soap Emmerdale. Prior to that, he also appeared in multiple radio dramas, including playing Mr Pickwick in an adaption of Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers.

Other career highlights for which he was renowned include taking on a gritty David Lynch film, The Elephant Man, back in 1980. Appearing alongside the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Freddie played an evil ringmaster who locked a severely deformed man in a cage with apes, after tickets were sold to see him as part of a freakshow attraction.

Freddie’s career spanned six decades in total, and he even joined the world of theatre, taking on the role of Sir in The Dresser. It culminated with his Emmerdale role, which began in 2005 and ended just a year before his death, when he left voluntarily to pursue new projects.

It wasn’t just Freddie who excelled on both stage and screen, as his wife Jennie Heslewood, whom he married back in 1965, was also a promising actress. Her credits are less extensive, but she played renowned parts in the 1963 film The Odd Man, alongside the TV series Vanity Fair (1987) and Screen One (1992).

Meanwhile, both of Toby’s siblings have launched themselves into the acting industry too, with one brother, Caspar, following their parents into acting, and the other, Rupert, becoming a director.

However, his wife Karen is not in the industry at all, working instead as a criminal defence attorney.

Toby raised eyebrows when he revealed on the Graham Norton Show back in 2016 that the pair had proposed to each other “three or four times” before finally taking the plunge and tying the knot.

In the end, they were inspired to marry as a celebration of 25 years together as boyfriend and girlfriend.

They are now happily married with two children – daughters Holly and Madeleine – and couldn’t picture being without each other.

“We have known each other for so long that I can’t imagine us ever leading separate lives,” Toby told the Telegraph.

“She is engaged in everything I do and I watch and admire her career, seeing her meet far more interesting people than I do.”

Toby has kept his children firmly out of the spotlight, but it is believed that both are currently of university-age.

Meanwhile, episode three of the legendary Mr Bates vs The Post Office, featuring Toby as star of the show Alan Bates, airs tonight on ITV1 at 9pm.

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Source: NewsFinale

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