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Arthur Lowe Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (21) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 22 September 1915Hayfield, Derbyshire, England, UK
Date of Death 15 April 1982Birmingham, England, UK  (stroke)
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Lowe, rotund and professionally indefatigable, rightly gained acclaim as an accomplished comedy character actor; fondly remembered as the irascible "Captain Mainwaring" in the Home Guard comedy series Dad's Army (1968-1977), and as Coronation Street (1960)'s "Leonard Swindley". The only child of a Derbyshire railworker, Lowe gained valuable experience by organising shows for a British army field entertainment unit, in the Middle East, during World War Two, before commencing his professional acting career, at the age of 30, in 1945, upon joining the "Manchester Repertory Theatre Company".

In between endless tours for repertory and in major stage performances, Lowe utilised his character actor status - which writers identify as being aided by his bald head - in bit-parts for films including: the inspired "Ealing" black comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) and The Green Man (1956). Later, whilst gathering fame - with the reputedly observational realist soap opera Coronation Street (1960) - he cemented a professional relationship with maverick film director Lindsay Anderson; using left-wing sensibilities for some of his films: including If.... (1968) and several characters in the avant-garde O Lucky Man! (1973) (the latter earning Lowe an SFTA Award, for best supporting performance).

As his son, and biographer, Stephen Lowe, intimated, finances governed and perpetuated his career, in the final stages of his life, in the 1970s; appearing in over 100, and possibly very lucrative, television advertisements and, not surprisingly, a surfeit of comedies including the sit-com Potter (1979) (1979-1983), the ribald film No Sex Please: We're British (1973) and to rave reviews for his stage performance as "Stephano", in "The Tempest" (1974), at the "National Theatre". Although Lowe received excellent notices for straight roles and appearances in plays such as John Osborne's "Inadmissible Evidence" (1963) at the "Royal Court", Dad's Army (1968) assured Lowe enduring appeal, as his character acting skills seamlessly compliment the show's comfortable sit-com structure.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (1)

Joan Cooper (10 January 1948 - 15 April 1982) (his death) (1 child)

Trivia (21)

Among those originally considered for the role of Captain Mainwaring (Dad's Army (1968)), arguably the most famous was Jon Pertwee.
Son, Stephen Lowe (born in January 1953).
Was interviewed on BBC TV's lunchtime magazine programme 'Pebble Mill at One' on the day of his death.
He was an active supporter of the British Conservative Party.
Suffered a stroke in 1979.
He played the same character (Leonard Swindley) in three different series: Coronation Street (1960), Pardon the Expression (1965) and Turn Out the Lights (1967).
There was a memorial service for him at the Church of St Martin-in-the Fields, London on 24 May 1982.
Three weeks into the shooting of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979), Alec Guinness panicked and decided he couldn't play George Smiley; he suggested Lowe as a replacement.
Narrated a public information film reminding motorway drivers that the right hand lane is not a "fast lane" but is for overtaking only.
Son of Arthur Lowe ('Big Arthur') (1888-1971) and Mary Annie ('Nan') Lowe (née Ford) (1885-1981).
Two biographies of him have been published: Arthur Lowe - Dad's Memory by his son Stephen, which was issued in 1997; and Arthur Lowe by Graham Lord in 2002.
In January 1982, Richard Burton had his private aeroplane fly Lowe to film a cameo role in the television series Wagner (1981), his last screen performance.
In 1972, he recorded the novelty songs "How I Won The War" and "My Little Girl, My Little Boy".
In 2005, he was one of the first 100 to be honoured with his name set into the pavement in London's 'Avenue of the Stars' in Convent Garden.
In an interview for a Dad's Army (1968) retrospective on BBC television in 2010, Clive Dunn, described Lowe sitting at the bar in the evenings when they were filming on location, consuming a drink which Lowe named 'Amazon' after his yacht. Dunn described the drink as comprising "gin and ginger ale, with a single slice of cucumber".
In his final years, Lowe's alcoholism worsened and he was reduced to acting in pantomimes and touring theatre productions. Graham Lord's biography recalls that by 1979, Lowe was suffering from major health problems but continued to drink increasing amounts of alcohol, sometimes passing out on stage or at dinner. He was also a heavy smoker and his weight ballooned. Lowe had long suffered from narcolepsy.
In December 2007, plans were unveiled for a statue of Lowe to be erected in Thetford, Norfolk, where the outside scenes for Dad's Army (1968) were filmed. The statue was unveiled on 19 June 2010, by the writers of the series, Jimmy Perry and David Croft. The star has also had two blue plaques unveiled, one at Maida Vale and one at his birthplace in Hayfield, Derbyshire.
He dropped out of high school at the age of 15.
When touring at coastal theatres with his wife, Lowe used his distinctive 1885 former steam yacht Amazon as a floating base. He bought Amazon as a houseboat in 1968 but realised her potential and took her back to sea in 1971; this unique vessel is still operating in the Mediterranean. The ship had a bar with a semicircular notch cut halfway along, to enable both the portly figure of Lowe and his wife to serve behind the bar at the same time, acting as hosts during the parties they threw on board.
He had a clause in his contract for Dad's Army (1968) saying that he would not be filmed without his trousers on.
He made his debut at the Manchester Repertory Theatre in 1945, where he was paid £5 per week for twice-nightly performances.

Personal Quotes (2)

Acting must be scaled down for the screen. A drawing room is a lot smaller than a theatre auditorium.
An actor is an actor is an actor. The less personality an actor has off stage the better. A blank canvas on which to draw the characters he plays.

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