Guest Actor Biography
Page 63 of 127

   

Roy Kinnear

Private Jessop, Esprit de Corps
Hickey, The Hour That Never Was
Quilby, The See-Through Man
Bagpipes Happychap, Bizarre

by Pete Stampede

Roy Kinnear was the kind of comedy actor rather taken for granted during their lifetime, and whose irreplaceable qualities are sadly only realised after their death. Fat from an early age and prematurely balding, Kinnear was a valued member of Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop ensemble; success in the satirical That Was The Week That Was followed (seen today, the sketches with him and Millicent Martin as a droning couple are the show's only funny parts), then he became Richard Lester's favourite actor, appearing in almost all the Beatles director's films from Help! onwards (which included A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with Leon Greene and Anette Andre). He was particularly good in Juggernaut, in which his role as a gormlessly cheerful entertainments officer on board a sinking ship has been interpreted as a clever parallel with show business in Britain as a whole!

The apocryphal story is that while making the tough prison drama The Hill, Sidney Lumet, who had just been dealing with intense New York method actors on previous movies, asked Roy Kinnear how he saw his role and was relieved when he got the simple reply, "Short, fat and stupid!" TV guest spots included Ivanhoe, The Sweeny and (yes!) Jokers Wild, while occasional Hollywood parts included the Fat Man in Wim Wenders' gangster pastiche Hammett. But in 1988, while making The Return of the Musketeers for Lester, Kinnear was thrown from a horse and later died from a heart attack, coupled with his injuries. He was voted Favourite Guest Star in an Avengers poll in Dave Rogers' now-defunct magazine On Target.

The Roy Kinnear Foundation was set up in 1994 in memory of the late actor. It owns and maintains a house in Twickenham, England that is now home for five profoundly disabled young adults. For more information, visit the Roy Kinnear Foundation Website, or contact Tom Pounder. The Foundation is located at 27 Roedean Crescent, London, SW15 5JX, telephone: 020 8878 4914. Registered Charity No. 1056641.

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This website Copyright 1996-2017 David K. Smith. All Rights Reserved.
Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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