Who is Matthew Garber?
Matthew Garber is an English child actor. Her parents were both stage actors, but neither was particularly famous.
In 1963, Garber attracted the attention of actor Roy Dotrice (Karen Dotrice’s father), who was looking for potential child actors. Roy introduced Garber to the Disney Company casting department, where young Garber’s “artistic avoidance, such as squinting, wrinkled nose, and one-handed hair stroke” was likely to make him stand out.
As a friend of the Garber family, Karen Dotrice’s father, Shakespearean actor Roy Dotrice, called on Garber to get the attention of Disney Casting. This led to his debut at age 7 in Disney’s The Three Lives of Thomasina (1963).
That same year, Garber and Thomasina’s co-star Dotrice was hired to play Jane and Michael, the children of George Banks (David Tomlinson) and Mrs. Winifred Banks (Glynis Johns), who received more than they were supposed to, when they hire a nanny named Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews). Disney’s live-action animated film adaptation of the Mary Poppins book series by P. L. Travers has won five Oscars and made its stars world famous.
He only appeared in two other films, The Three Lives of Thomasina and The Gnome-Mobile, all three of which appeared alongside actress Karen Dotrice. All three appearances were in Walt Disney Pictures films.
He was cast in the film “The Three Lives of Thomasina” (1963), as the character Geordie McNab, the playmate of Scottish girl Mary MacDhui (played by Karen Dotrice). Garber was then given a larger role as Michael Banks in “Mary Poppins” (1964), one of the protagonist’s two nanny duties. Jane Banks, Michael’s younger sister, is played by Karen Dotrice. The film was the biggest success of Garber’s career and the role for which he is best known.
Did Matthew Garber Star in Mary Poppins?
Considered by many to be Walt Disney’s best live-action film, Mary Poppins has become a true family classic enjoyed by both adults and children for generations.
Released in 1964, Mary Poppins has won five Academy Awards out of a staggering 13 nominations and is the only Walt Disney film to receive a Best Picture nomination in his lifetime.
At just 7 years old, Matthew Garber transformed into the mischievous Michael Banks.
Garber and Karen Dotrice, who plays Jane Banks, previously worked together on Disney’s “The Three Lives of Thomasina” (1963).
Garber’s memorable appearance in Mary Poppins led Garber to star in another Disney film – 1967’s The Gnome-Mobile – again alongside Karen Dotrice.
While Dotrice went on to star in a number of later films, including a small cameo in the 2018 Mary Poppins sequel Mary Poppins Returns, Garber had completely strayed from the Hollywood spotlight.
Where is Matthew Garber Now?
Dotrice’s father and Shakespearean actor Roy Dotrice were friends with the Garber family. Roy researched child actors and introduced Garber to the Disney Company’s casting department.
Garber made his screen debut at age 7 in the 1963 film “The Three Lives of Thomasina”. He played Geordie McNab and co-starred with Dotrice, who played Mary MacDhui.
After impressing audiences with this role, Garber got a bigger role in “Mary Poppins”, in which he played Michael Banks, one of the children the protagonist took care of. Once again, he co-starred with Dotrice in the film. She played Michael’s younger sister, Jane Banks.
“Mary Poppins” was Garber’s biggest film role and remains the film’s most remembered. The film was a huge success.
It also helped make Dotrice and Garber popular child actors, as they were praised for their ability to appear natural on screen. Author Brian Sibley described the duo as lovable, charming young people and added a great centerpiece to the film.
Garber and Matthew teamed up again in their third film, “The Gnome-Mobile”, in which they played the grandson of a rich wood magnate who stumbled upon a gnome forest and were asked to keep the gnomes alive.
However, in 1976-1977, Matthew Garber was in India and contracted hepatitis. He returned to London in June 1977, to receive better medical treatment. It was too late because the disease had infected his pancreas. He died shortly afterwards, the official cause of which was hemorrhagic necrotizing pancreatitis. He was only 21 years old. He was single and had no children.
Garber’s remains were cremated at St. Marylebone, East Finchley, London. Both his father and mother passed away less than a decade after he passed away. Fergus Garber, a surviving brother of Matthew, was never told whether a memorial had been erected for his brother. Garber was named a Disney Legend in 2004.
What Happened to Matthew Garber?
Garber was born on March 25, 1956 in Stepney, London. Paul’s Primary School, Winchmore Hill and Highgate School in Highgate, North London.
As a child, Garber was considered an energetic and intelligent boy and was known for playing pranks on his friends. He also enjoys playing sports and reading books.
Matthew Garber is best known for his role as Michael Banks in the 1964 film “Mary Poppins”. In the film, he co-starred with Karen Dotrice. The couple also appeared in two other films.
“The Gnome-Mobile” turned out to be the last movie Garber was in as he retired at age 10 and went back to school to study. He graduated in 1972.
From 1976 to 1977, Garber was in India. There he contracted hepatitis and returned to London in June 1977 for better care. However, it was too late for him because the disease had infected his pancreas.
He died shortly thereafter, on 13 June 1977, at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, London. His official cause of death was described as hemorrhagic necrotizing pancreatitis. He was 21 years old, single and childless.
Garber’s younger brother, Fergus, was 13 years old when the actor died. Years later, he denied claims that his late brother had drug-related hepatitis and said he probably contracted it from eating infected meat.
Garber’s remains were cremated at St. Marylebone Crematorium, East Finchley, London. In 2004, he was posthumously named a Disney Legend.