The John van Dreelen story

As told to me by Elisabeth, one of his relatives:

“His great-grandparents were Hendrina Jacoba van der Eijk born 1825 and Christiaan Anthony van Drielen born 1821. She was my great great grandfather’s sister and her husband was my great grandmother’s great-uncle. (OMG) The van der Eijk’s were related to two 18th century hero ‘s of the seas, they were brothers and they rescued many shipwrecked in 1769. I still have to examine my family’s statement that my great grandmother was born in the same bedstead as Michiel de Ruyter (another hero of the sea, war at sea) was. I found out that many familymembers lived together and moved in with their relatives when they got married.
His grandmother was Adriana Cornelia Johanna van Drielen born 1848. As usual in that time, they named each other after relatives, so there are many same named members who have nothing to do with him, so I put down their years of birth as well.

I think maybe van Drielen (pronunciation van Dreelen) refers to his natural father? A marriage between a baroness and a fischerman didn’t work in these days.

I found out now that van Dreelen (van Drielen) comes from his paternal grandmother’s side. Gimberg is his ordinary father’s last name. His first name was Jacques Theodore, His mother was a baroness. The funny thing is that both my grandmother and his grandmother’s parents both having both the name ‘van der Eijk’ and ‘van Drielen’. His father put ‘van Drielen next to his father’s name. His grandparents were married in Soerabaja (Indonesia) His father was born in The Hague, just like I was. My grandparents moved in the thirties from Flushing to The Hague, so his paternal grandparents were also from Flushing.
Another funny thing is: my grandparents were from simple descent. My grandfather’s grandmother (parents both born in Ostende Belgium) was CMPh ‘Baels’, and her uncle was Princess Lilian’s great grandfather!”

The opening of the John van Dreelen Fan Website!

Dear fans and visitors,

I am happy to announce today the opening of the website that I dedicate to the fine Dutch actor John van Dreelen. I invite everyone to subscribe here to have all the information about the updates.

My goal is to make John van Dreelen a popular figure among the movie goers and television viewers, because his work has been very much neglected — too much, I would say.

Let us improve and revigorate the image of a man who was a great actor and a special human being, whose qualities were not all the times as much appreciated as he would have deserved. It’s high time to make a considerable fan effort for John, and I wish to see as many visitors as possible on my website.

I am expecting your comments and messages in any of the sections or sub-sections of this site, as well on my e-mail address,

Let us share and, at the same time, treasure the fond memories of an actor who did his best to improve the quality of the productions during a period when there wasn’t so much enthusiasm for the cinema, as television was getting a more and more important role in the people’s lives.

John van Dreelen is, without any doubts, one of my favourite actors, and I became a fan of his after seeing him in the movie Madame X (1966), co-starring with the legendary actress Lana Turner. His work as the aristocratic pianist is a piece of artistry, and I will always cherrish the happy moments when I saw him for the very first time on screen. John deserves this fan tribute, because he was a special actor, who had charisma and a very complex personality, though his career reserved him some both pleasant and unpleasant surprises. It’s pure joy to see him speak in Dutch, French, English, German and Italian – he was a polyglot, and this was a great advantage for him to appear in films both in Europe and in the USA.

I, personally, will try as much as possible to keep his memory alive and I invite everyone – whether a fan of John van Dreelen or not – to talk about him and appreciate his admirable work.

The website consists of several sections:

About – Here you will find some answers about the motives that made me open this website, and also the main information, in brief, about the life and career of John van Dreelen. If you want to know more about him, check his biography on his official website – which it’s a pity it hasn’t been updated for some time

E-store – At this section, you will see everything that is available online with John when it comes to auctions – such as photos, postcards and movies, on websites like eBay and Amazon.

Portraits – All the portraits that appear here are scans from my collection, and this is the reason why all of them are watermarked. Unfortunately, I observed that there are very few items with John on ebay and other websites. I wish John would become a more popular figure of the big and small screen and to see more such items up for auction. I will make all the necessary efforts to improve this soft spot, but I also need your support in this!

The Movies – John has a very large filmography (over 100 productions), and part of it consists of movies made in different European countries, like his native country, the Netherlands, but also Germany and France, among others. Many of his films were made in Hollywood, where he established himself as a charming and distinguished figure, but also as a very effective actor. You will find at this section photos and screencaps from these movies.

The TV Series – Most of John’s merits are credited by his numerous (really numerous) appearances in all sorts of TV series, in a large range of genres – spy, thriller, science fiction, drama, comedy, adventure, horror… He became a very familiar television presence to the children, teenagers and adults of the 60s-70s, the most glorious years of his career. At this section, you will find photos and screencaps from these productions.

Videos – Here you will find various clips with John – whether they are fan tributes, or fragments from his films and TV series. Most of them are part of my YouTube channel dedicated to John, which you could find here