December 11 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
A Norwich “living statue” performer has landed a big break following an unexpected encounter with Disney voiceover artist Jimmy Rooney in Hollywood.
Antony Arnold, who can be seen regularly performing as Charlie Chaplin’s living statue on the streets of Norwich, hopes his latest Hollywood adventure has secured him a huge business opportunity – after networking among the stars led to an exchange of details between him and the son of American film actor, Mickey Rooney.
This isn’t the first occasion he has performed on the world stage.
After taking his performance to the World Statue Championships in Holland, followed by a trip to Australia, the Norwich busker felt the time was right to head for Hollywood.
First time round, nerves got the better of him, but after confidence-boosting counselling he returned a year later.
And he was straight out to perform on Hollywood Boulevard the day after his arrival, buoyed by recognition of his act as people shouted “Look, he’s back!”.
“Hollywood remembered me,” he said.
A friend handing out cards got talking to a man interested in his impressive Charlie Chaplin act, who explained: “My father knew Charlie Chaplin, he is Mickey Rooney, I am Jimmy Rooney”.
Jimmy, who is the main voiceover artist for Disney, went over to meet the man portraying Mr Chaplin, much to Antony’s delight.
“Can you imagine a Hollywood star being invited to come over and meet you? Awesome!”
Mr Rooney returned the next day to chat to Mr Arnold about joining his tour with the Jersey Boys back in the UK, and they exchanged details.
Mr Arnold did not expect much to materialise – until he received an email from Mr Rooney regarding his arrival in the UK on November 20 – and his wish to meet Antony.
“Jimmy says he’s got lots of plans for me,” he said.
Although the details are yet unknown, the excitement is building: “He told me he had discovered a coincidence between the dates Charlie Chaplin arrived in Hollywood, and the dates I arrived in Hollywood. I need to do some research!”
Mr Arnold makes regular appearances on Gentleman’s Walk in the city.