ACTOR Daniel Day-lewis has re-opened an extraordinary family feud with a vicious attack on one of his own uncles.
Describing retired Conservative Party councillor Jonathan Balcon as a “bully”, “a fraud“ and a hypocrite, the In The Name of the Father star also told an interviewer he’d even like to BEAT him up over comments the 72-year-old made about his private life nearly ten years ago.
The comments – that reclusive Day-Lewis’ grandfather would not have approved of aspects of his private life – were made in a 1997 letter to organisers behind a plaque which was unveiled in Balcon’s father’s honour.
They asked what Balcon – whose sister Jill married Day-Lewis’ father – what British film industry pioneer Sir Michael Balcon would think of his grandson being asked to unveil the plaque.
Balcon duly replied that while he’d be proud of his acting achievements, he wouldn’t have approved of a “bounder” whose morals were “up the spout”.
And in interviews later, he added that he thought Day-Lewis was an unsuitable choice to unveil the plaque. Needless to say, the actor was conspicuous by his absence on the day, with organisers blaming his acting commitments.
It was some years after the actor split from French actress Isabelle Adjani – reportedly in a long distance phone call – while she was seven months pregnant with his child. She would later brand him an inveterate womaniser.
And Day-Lewis – who now lives in Ireland – walked out of his relationship with 26-year-old fitness instructor Deya Pichardo to date his now wife Rebecca Miller.
The first Pichardo knew she wasn’t going out with Day-Lewis and that he had got married to someone else was when she heard about it from a friend, who’d read about it in a newspaper.
Other than writing Balcon a furious letter of protest about the comment, Balcon and Day-Lewis have not spoken or seen each other since.
Last night ex-British Army officer Balcon said he thought Day-Lewis’ outburst was not only pathetic but also “highly libellous”.
He told Ireland on Sunday: “Nearly ten years ago, I was asked what my deceased father Sir Michael would have thought about Daniel being chosen – as he was – to unveil a plaque in his honour.
“I simply said that while my father would have been pleased at Daniel’s progress, certain aspects of his private life would have raised an eyebrow or two.
“I was alluding to the fact that my father, who could be a bit of a mid-Victorian prude, would not have approved of Daniel fathering a child out of wedlock.”
Day-Lewis was quoted yesterday (Saturday) in The Independent as saying: “An uncle of mine felt the need to give an interview a few years ago. He took a moral stance on my actions.
“This was laughable. He is probably one of the most amoral people I have ever encountered. That man has always been a joke in our family.”
He also described him as a “coward, a bully, a hypocrite and a fraud”. And he added: “If he had been younger, I’d have taken him to the market place and smacked him.”
Balcon, whose eldest daughter is a close friend of Day-Lewis’ sister, said: “The man really is pathetic and I’m surprised a newspaper bothered to repeat his remarks.
“I was asked a question a few years back – and it was not an interview – and I just gave an honest answer in the form of a letter. By the reaction it got at the time and ever since, it would seem that the truth always hurts hardest.
“My father wouldn’t have approved of the way Daniel had lived his life and I said as much.
“To harbour this grudge for such a long time is just quite ridiculous and if I could afford to sue him over the word ‘fraud‘ – or be bothered – I would.
“But then to be honest with you, I’m a bit bored with the whole thing. It‘s very sad and again, pathetic.”
And he added: “The only thing Daniel has said to me since the whole episode was in the form of an angry letter, much of which sounds like what he told this interviewer. The contents of the letter will feature in a book I’m writing at the moment.”
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