Legendary actor and seventies heart-throb Peter Wyngarde passed away at a London hospital on Wednesday (17 January), aged 90.
The French-born star played a variety of roles over his long career, but was particularly well-known for his role as author-turned-sleuth Jason King during the 1960s and 1970s and General Klytus in the 1980s science fiction film Flash Gordon.
In later years, his flamboyant style and distinctive voice earned him a cult reputation among younger fans.
However, all but his most ardent fans will surprised to learn the actor turned his hand to music in 1970 – with extraordinary results.
In an time where millennials deem even 1990s sitcom Friends 'problematic', it should come as no surprise that his work may nowadays be considered rather politically incorrect.
Indeed, he became known to millions for his appearance alongside Roger Moore in The Saint, where he donned blackface to play the role of a Turkish villain. (In his defence, he said he took the part in the hope he would be chosen to play Othello by a theatre director).
In 1970, Wyngarde attempted to cash in on his fame and recorded an album for label RCA, simply titled Peter Wyngarde.
The spoken-word record sold well, much to the surprise of the record label, but has become a collectable curiosity, largely for its highly questionable content.
One of the tracks titled, Rape or Peter Wyngarde Commits Rape, was released as a promo single for the record. The track starts off dubiously: Wyngarde repeats the word 'rape' in his distinctively raspy voice as a cacophony of horns play in the background.
So far, so awful. The casual misogyny (a woman is heard screaming 'rape' in the background) is only eclipsed by the ridiculous xenophobia that is heard later in the track (50 seconds in for the curious).
It may come as little surprise that the RCA washed their hands of the resulting music and refused to issue more copies when they ran out. Writing in the liner notes of a third party reissue in 1998, Wyngarde said RCA assumed the record would be a commercial failure and only commissioned it to write off as an accounting tax loss.
Thankfully Wyngarde did not press on with his foray into pop music, but the album lives on as an unusual musical footnote of the era.