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Retired Surrey showbiz photographer becomes the star of new nationwide advertising campaign

From photographing The Beatles, to Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor, Surrey retiree Larry Ellis is well versed in all things showbiz – but now it’s 91-year-old Larry who’s the star.   

Larry, who lives at a FirstPort-managed retirement development in West Byfleet, has recently found himself the star of the latest nationwide Specsavers advertisement.  

Larry grew up in Shoreditch in East London and joined the RAF shortly after World War II, where he worked within their photographic division.   

After serving in the RAF, Larry landed a job as a freelance photographer for the Daily Express, and he was later appointed as their showbiz photographer.   

And now, at the age of 91, Larry’s secured himself a new job as the face of a Specsavers advert.   

The advertisement – with the headline ‘Larry photographed stars in the 60s. Now we help him keep everything in focus.’ – has been featured in adverts across British newspapers and online.

Larry explained:

“I ended up in all the papers and I had a friend of mine who lives in Cornwall who I haven’t seen in years, he suddenly rediscovered me.”  

Larry spent much of his career mingling with celebrities while travelling as a photographer across the world. He said:

“I used to chat to them, but I didn’t become one of them. But I used to talk to everybody, and I probably said too much. But the point was, I enjoyed their company.”  

While recalling some of his best moments as a photographer, Larry added:

“One memory I have is from a time when I travelled with The Beatles. We were in Sweden, and I got pushed about a bit by their press.   

“We were supposed to be taking photos by this swimming pool and The Beatles are lined up and they called me over. They then turned their backs to all the Swedish press that were there, and I was the only one to do their photographs before they walked off.”

After happily spending much of his retirement on the Isle of Wight, Larry made the decision earlier this year to return to England. He moved to FirstPort’s Barnes Wallis Court in West Byfleet, Surrey, where he’s now closer to his family and friends.    

He said:

“You know, I’ve been lucky enough to stay in luxury hotels all over the world and while it’s not quite as glamourous here, the point is that I love it – it’s well run, well looked after and I’m quite happy with it.   

“It’s got everything I need, and it’s got a very good atmosphere. I mean, if you want to retire, this is the place to come to. There are no long faces and all jolly people.”  

FirstPort Estate Manager Vickie said:

“The residents love having a star under their roof. It’s been great getting to know Larry over the past few months and it’s just wonderful to hear all about his career.   

“All of our residents have their own story to share and it’s certainly a perk of the job to be able to listen to all of the wonderful stories about some of the best and funniest moments of their careers.”