Dr. Otto Wallen (1896-1984) A celebrity in our midst
Actor, musician and local doctor – the extraordinary life of a much loved local personality. Otto Lancelot James Wallen was born in Trinidad the son of a district mayor who received a classical education and began an extraordinary life journey that led to Hucknall.
The Scholar: Otto came to Britain to pursue a career in medicine, training at Edinburgh University where he was also a fine athlete. But he broke off his studies to pursue a career in music and acting.
The Musician: He played the mandolin expertly. Performing at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh helped fund his medical studies. A local legend persists that he taught George Formby to play the ukulele!
The Actor: A talent for performing led to a career in film. His filmography lists the 1940 fantasy classic The Thief of Baghdad among his credits. In other productions he performed the role of body double for scenes involving Paul Robeson the great American singer and actor.
The Physician: Otto returned to medicine, completing his training in Dublin. He was invited to share a GP’s practice in Hucknall with another doctor, appropriately named Dr. Nurse. From the late 1940s he became an exotic addition to the life of this industrial Midland town.