Archibald Hall a.k.a. Roy Fontaine
Roy Fontaine was born Archibald Hall in Glasgow in 1924. He started stealing when he was just 15 and received his first prison sentence at 17. At the same time a much older, divorced neighbour initiated him into sex and introduced him to a more sophisticated world and a taste for the high life.
Using the profits of his burglaries Hall moved to London. Hollywood and its stars fascinated him and, inspired by Joan Fontaine in Alfred Hitchcock’s film 'Rebecca', Hall changed his name to Roy Fontaine.
He had a short-lived marriage, but was openly bisexual and embarked on a string of affairs with men. London’s celebrity gay scene welcomed the handsome and charming Glaswegian with open arms and Fontaine claimed to have had sexual relationships with both Lord Boothby and playwright Terence Rattigan. In his memoirs he said that the great love of his life was a fellow con from Hull Prison named David Barnard who died in a car crash in 1974.
In between socialising with London’s elite his con tricks or burglaries would catch up with him and he’d spend more time in prison. During one lengthy sentence for theft he set about refining everything about his character so that he could pass without suspicion amongst the English aristocracy. He eradicated all trace of his Glaswegian accent, studied social etiquette and became a self-taught authority on antiques.
When he was released from prison in 1977 he found employment as a butler to Lady Margaret Hudson at Kirtleton House in Dumfriesshire and had an on-off relationship with a prostitute called Mary Coggle, also known as 'Belfast Mary'.