Credit: Shutterstock/Robert Newton

Take care of your work first. Everything else will be taken care of

More than 50 years before Johnny Depp swaggered onto the big screen as Captain Jack Sparrow, actor Robert Newton was the most famous swashbuckling pirate on celluloid.

The British-born star had been making films in Hollywood for almost 20 years, when he landed the part of Long John Silver in Disney movie Treasure Island.

With a peg-leg and tricorn hat, Newton’s Long John Silver was your truly traditional pirate, peppering his sentences with “arrrs” “oooaarrs” and phrases including “you scurvy swabs” “you blunderin’ squid” and “well blow me down” – all delivered in a West Country accent. He is annually celebrated as the man who showed the world how to say it, on International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

One film critic later fondly summed Robert up as “a ham, but a succulent one.”

Born in Dorset and educated in Penzance, Cornwall, the actor started out in theatre, and headed to America in 1931 when playwright Noel Coward asked him to take on a leading role in his play Private Lives on Broadway.

Before long, Robert was in Hollywood, in films including Hitchcock’s Jamaica Inn. He played Bill Sikes in the original film version of Oliver Twist and Javert in cinema’s first take on Les Miserables.

After starring in Tresaure Island, he played another famous pirate, Blackbeard, before reprising his original seafaring role in Long John Silver.

The actor was aged just 50 when he died of a heart attack. Friends, including the actor David Niven, had warned him that his excessive drinking would kill him and sadly, he proved them right. He was remembered as a sensitive, warm-hearted and rebellious non-conformist who was his own man – on and off the stage.