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The Adventures of Ragtime

CVMC: Matthew Garber
Date of birth: 1956-03-25

Appearances

TitleRoleYear Approx. Age
The Gnome-Mobile Rodney Winthrop 1967 11

Matthew Garber was a British child actor. Both of his parents were theatrical actors, but neither was particularly famous.

In 1963, Garber came to the attention of actor Roy Dotrice (father of Karen Dotrice) who was seeking potential child actors. Roy recommended Garber to the casting department of the Disney company, where young Garber's "artful dodges, like squinting, screwing up his nose, and brushing his hair back with one hand" were thought likely to make him stand out. He was cast in the film The Three Lives of Thomasina (1963), as the character Geordie McNab, a playmate to the Scottish girl Mary MacDhui (played by Karen Dotrice).

Garber next received a bigger role as the character Michael Banks in Mary Poppins (1964), one of the two charges of the protagonist nanny. Jane Banks, Michael's sister, was played by Karen Dotrice. The film was the greatest hit of Garber's career and is the role for which he is most remembered.

In 1967, Garber had his third and last film role, as the character Rodney Winthrop in The Gnome-Mobile. In the film, Rodney and his sister Elizabeth Winthrop (again played by Karen Dotrice) are trying to prolong the life of a 943-year-old gnome, who has lost the will to survive.

Following his brief film career, Garber returned to his school studies. He attended first St Paul's Primary School in Winchmore Hill, and then Highgate School in Highgate, North London. He graduated in 1972.

In 1976-1977, Garber was in India and contracted hepatitis. He returned to London in June 1977, seeking better medical treatment. It was too late as the disease had infected his pancreas. He died soon after, the official cause being hemorrhagic necrotizing pancreatitis. He was only 21-years-old. He was single and had no known children.

Garber's remains were cremated at St. Marylebone Crematorium, in East Finchley, London. All three of his movie appearances were in films that also starred Karen Dotrice.

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