Back on Wearside after a lifetime's work in Hollywood

Al Wood may not be a household name but his cinema work almost certainly got your attention.

Friday, 28th June 2019, 5:08 pm
Al Wood and his wife Holly on a visit to the North East in 1984.
Al Wood and his wife Holly on a visit to the North East in 1984.

The former Wearside and Horden man made everything from ships to planes and then watched as they were blown up – for scenes being used in Hollywood films.

Al, who was cousin to Sunderland-born Wee Georgie Wood, visited Wearside in 1984 and told of his remarkable job.

He was a model maker for some huge Hollywood productions.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He made a ship for one film about the Titanic. He’s had models on films such as Cleopatra, Samson and Delilah, The Greatest Show On Earth, The Ten Commandments, and Tugboat Annie.

It had all started out as a hobby when he was 12 and he said: “It was my wife who suggested during the depression in Hollywood that I turn my hobby into a business.

“A film producer wanted trains and ships built and that started me off. It snowballed from there.”

Al added: “It is great fun but it is heartbreaking when you see your work literally being blown up and destroyed by bombs and shells, or ravaged by fire in a matter of seconds.”

Al and his wife Holly were staying with family in South Shields when they spoke to the Sunderland Echo.

Al was 84 at the time and used to live in Horden.

And despite his work often going up in smoke, he admitted: “I suppose it is all worthwhile if the public think it is the real thing.”