I watched a few of these a while ago on You Tube, the main actors all playing close to the characters you associate them with. John being upper class and a ladies man, Sid being shifty and Peggy being a battle axe. Took meages though to figure out where I had seen Keith before, till it dawned on me he played the wannabe super grass in The Beiderbecke connection.
Last Edit: Apr 1, 2016 7:16:48 GMT 12 by stephen68
I wouldn't have thought John Le Mesurier would have been Bill Collins' kind of actor. But then I do recall him (Bill Collins) doing a commercial for United Airlines in the 80s sometime, sitting next to Loretta Swit from MASH. I'd be surprised if he knew who she was with her being primarily a 'television actor'.
But he's good value old Bill, he's one of those people that's difficult to dislike.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 3, 2017 13:33:44 GMT 12
40 years from the end of Dad’s Army we speak to the wife and son of Sgt Wilson, John Le Mesurier, on his remarkable life
08:53 02 January 2017 - Chris Murphy
John Le Mesurier
Actor lived and died in the county and remains as popular today as ever before
John Le Mesurier
Remarkably, 2017 will be the 40th anniversary of the end of comedy classic Dad’s Army - a show which continues to be aired on primetime BBC channels to this day.
And as millions continue to settle down to watch the antics of Captain Mainwaring and his bungling troop of Home Guard, for many it is the amiable ladies’ man Arthur Wilson who remains one of the show’s most endearing characters.
Portrayed by actor John Le Mesurier, Kent was both home and refuge from a lengthy acting career.
He lived in a property in London Road, Ramsgate - which today bears a blue plaque in his honour - and was known to frequent local bars, often in the company of his Dad’s Army co-stars.
John Le Mesurier
Yet his personal life was far from simple.
Amid filming role in a host of movies and TV shows, he was married three times and had two children. His first marriage crumbled after wife June suffered from alcoholism, his second to Carry On star Hattie Jacques when she had an affair (at one stage moving her lover into the family home), and his third nearly hit the rocks when wife Joan had a torrid affair with legendary comedian Tony Hancock - a close friend of the Dad’s Army star.
But his affection amid the public was only strengthened by his role in the war time saga and he continued to work right up until his death.
Speaking to KoS from his home in California, the actor’s son, Robin who has worked in the music industry since moving to New York as a teenager, explained: “You couldn’t stop him working unless he was unwell.
“I was living in Los Angeles, and still do, so I didn’t get to see him or Joan that much. But I used to visit when I had a little time.
“I know he loved the house he and Joan had on London Road. And he enjoyed going to the local for a drink as the locals wouldn’t bother him. The last time I saw him was a short time before he died, but he still had that dry wit even from his hospital bed.”
Born in 1912 in Bedford to a lawyer father Charles, and mother Amy, the unusual and often mispronounced surname comes from his mother’s roots in Alderney, one of the Channel Islands. The family moved to Bury St Edmunds, and John was sent to boarding school at Grenham House in Minnis Bay, Birchington.
A spell working with his father led to amateur dramatics and he was hooked.
In 1933, time at the Fay Compton Studio of Dramatic Art led to a lifetime friendship with fellow-student Alec Guinness, and his first stage appearance in Edinburgh and television in 1938.
War came and he was made a captain in India until being demobbed in 1946. Two years later, he made his first movies, Death in the Hand and Escape from Broadmoor.
And then his life become complex and tangled.
His first marriage in 1940 to director June Melville ended as she sank in to alcoholism, and as they divorced in 1949 he married Carry On star Hattie Jacques, who herself was born in Sandgate, after a two-year affair.
They had sons Kim, who tragically died in 1991, and Robin.
Meanwhile, Mr Le Mesurier and Ms Jacques teamed up with Tony Hancock for the radio series Educating Archie.
Mr Pritchard said: “John was a major jazz fan and loved to visit places like Ronnie Scott’s with James Beck, who played Joe Walker in Dad’s Army.”
It was also a favourite haunt with Mr Hancock, and Mr Le Mesurier eventually joined Hancock’s Half Hour in 1956, after several more film roles.
But it was in 1968 that Dad’s Army started and he become a household name earning £260 per episode.
Tony Pritchard, secretary of the Dad’s Army Appreciation Society, explained: “He was a true gentleman and a real smoothy.
“John was surprised when he read the pilot episode that he was not cast as the officer, as he usually was. It came to pass that he was originally thought of to play the captain, and Arthur Lowe the sergeant, but an inspired change of roles gave the programme some of its funniest elements, as the gallant captain played the game of one-upmanship with his socially superior sergeant.”
Mr Le Mesurier admitted he based the character on himself, later writing: “I thought, why not just be myself, use an extension of my own personality and behave rather as I had done in the army? So I always left a button or two undone, and had the sleeve of my battle dress slightly turned up. I spoke softly, issued commands as if they were invitations, the sort not likely to be accepted, and generally assumed a benign air of helplessness.”
Dad’s Army saw nine series over nine years including 80 episodes.
Other major roles saw him win a Bafta for his portrayal of a spy in Traitor while he also appeared in sex comedies Confessions of a Window Cleaner and Au Pair Girls.
And while Arthur Lowe voiced the Mr Men children’s cartoon, so Mr Le Mesurier was the voice of popular children’s series Bod.
Hattie Jacques had an affair with her driver in 1962 and even moved him in to their marital home, while Mr Le Mesurier was confined to the attic room.
A year later, he met Joan Malin, raised in Broadstairs, at Peter Cook’s Establishment Club, Soho, famous for its jazz and satirical performances.
They married in 1966 with Mr Le Mesurier taking the blame for divorce so Ms Jacques didn’t get any negative publicity.
A year later, however, Joan started an affair with Tony Hancock, but his violent alcoholism forced her back to Ramsgate, and the forgiving arms of her husband. Mr Hancock committed suicide in 1968 after battling depression and alcoholism.
Joan Le Mesurier told us: “It was a complicated time with a lot of personal relationships moving around, but we did all remain terribly good friends.
“I was good friends with Hattie and it was she who engineered my meeting with John.
“Because she was having an affair with a very handsome chap, who was her driver, she felt really guilty about this and she wanted to find someone for John.
“She kind of engineered a little party and I went along there quite innocently and met John. One thing led to another and we became very good friends.
“It was a long time before we became anything else. Hattie became a very close dear friend of mine.
“John and Hattie were friends with Tony and even after that didn’t go well, we all still spoke. We all just got on, including my previous husband and his new wife. We all grew like tree branches together. There was no acrimony between us - we didn’t do that.
“All this was a long time ago now, and I do look back fondly on it but it was a tragic time when Tony [Hancock] killed himself.
“Now I am 85 and after living in Spain for seven years when John died, and am now back in Ramsgate to be with my family.”
In the earlier 1980s, Mr Le Mesurier became serious ill with cirrhosis of the liver and eventually hospitalised a year later in Ramsgate Hospital. The 71-year-old told Joan: “It has been rather lovely” and slipped into a coma before he died on November 15, 1983.
Prior to his death, he had asked his wife, Joan, to post a death notice in the Times which read simply: “John Le Mesurier wishes it to be known that he conked out on November 15. He sadly misses his family and friends.”
He was cremated and his ashes buried at the church of St George the Martyr, Church Hill, Ramsgate.
His epitaph reads: “John Le Mesurier. Much loved actor. Resting” along with one to his son Kim.
A blue plaque was placed on his home at 8 London Road, Ramsgate in 2010 and unveiled by Joan.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 25, 2017 8:18:10 GMT 12
I think that photo you just posted Col is from the 1971 SFTA Awards, where John won Best Actor in the Television Drama for his portrayal in Traitor, and Dad's Army won an award for its writing. Held in the presence of Princess Anne and all the television bosses, John apparently smoked a joint quite openly at the awards ceremony, much to many people's astonishment.