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Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (19) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 27 November 1920Battersea, London, England, UK
Date of Death 23 June 1999Poole, Dorset, England, UK  (brain tumor)
Birth NameHarry Merryfield
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Buster Merryfield was born on November 27, 1920 in Battersea, London, England as Harry Merryfield. He was an actor, known for Only Fools and Horses.... (1981), Shroud for a Nightingale (1984) and Hannah (1980). He was married to Iris M Mountford. He died on June 23, 1999 in Poole, Dorset, England.

Spouse (1)

Iris M Mountford (1942 - 23 June 1999) (his death) (1 child)

Trade Mark (1)

Magnificent white beard

Trivia (19)

Was a bank manager for 40 years.
Was a British schoolboy boxing champion in 1936.
Was a physical training instructor in WWII.
Was a jungle warfare instructor in WWII.
Only became an actor at age 57, after having worked in a bank for 40 years, only interrupted by World War II.
Died aged 78, after being admitted to hospital 11 days before with a brain tumor. His wife Iris was at his bedside when he died.
Nursed a black eye after hurting himself in a tumble during the British Comedy Awards on 15th December 1997.
He married Iris in 1942 after a week-long romance and they were together for 57 years until his death. They had a daughter, Karen.
After years of badgering, the cast of Only Fools and Horses.... (1981) got him to admit his real name was Harry, but he answered to Buster. They also wanted to see him without his beard, but he never gave in on that one.
He turned up for the audition for Uncle Albert wearing a blazer, gray flannel trousers, a shirt and a neatly knotted tie. He read from an old Only Fools and Horses.... (1981) script confidently and very well. After the reading, he got the part, which led to many happy years, according to David Jason.
Used to be a bank manager, in charge of a branch at Natwest. He had no television experience before Only Fools and Horses.... (1981), and as a result, he was very nervy in his early days on the show. At first, he would crash into the audience (deliver his lines without waiting for the audience laughter to die down first), and had to re-record his scenes. Merryfield would than dry up and lose his words and it would get to him. David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst sat him down for a talk. He was worried he wouldn't last. Whenever they made mistakes in the middle of a recording, they would blame someone and make it into a joke. If you could make the audience think you don't care, they relax and they feel like part of the joke. After that, he cracked his problem, relaxed into the show and the new partnership and became the lovable Uncle Albert.
During the Gulf War, David Jason met someone in a pub who worked at RAF Command Headquarters. He told Jason they race 3-wheel vans against each other, paint them yellow with Trotters Independent Traders down the sides of them. Jason went down to have a look, but he didn't see a race. Jason, Nicholas Lyndhurst and Buster Merryfield sent a Trotters van out to Kuwait. They slipped it into a Hercules plane among other stuff on a supply run and when it was unloaded the crew would find the van, filled up with chewing gum, toothpaste, cake and Danger Mouse (1981) and Count Duckula (1988) tapes from Brian Cosgrove with labels saying Debbie Does Dallas and Unzipperdedoodah and all sorts to amuse them. Jason didn't ask for any publicity because he didn't want anyone to think it was just for that, but a private joke between the RAF and the Trotters. The van was put in the hold and covered up with medical supplies and ammunition and flew to Kuwait, where its discovery brought some light relief.
On November 24th, 1986 Only Fools and Horses.... (1981) was honored with a slot at the Royal Variety Performance, something that excited the whole crew; David Jason, Nicholas Lyndhurst and John Sullivan thought about either re-doing a bit from an old script, or from the current one, A Royal Flush, which was filming on the Dorset Coast, that year's Christmas special. Sullivan opted for something new, a four-minute sketch Jason described as really neat. Del Boy, Rodney and Uncle Albert have a consignment of knock-off whiskey bottles, and mixed up meeting at a nightclub with the stage of the Theatre Royal, in the presence of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Jason, Lyndhurst and Merryfield rehearsed it to within an inch of their lives. It was a scene they didn't want to screw up. The tight schedule forced them to drive up from Dorset on the day of the show. There were so many acts at the Royal Variety that the dressing rooms of the Theatre Royal couldn't house them. Watching the other acts from CCTV in their dressing room, they were the only ones doing something original, something that made them very nervous. They needn't have worried; the show was a success. At the end of the sketch, Del sees the Queen Mother and mistakes her for they're employer. When she waved back, Jason almost dried, because he was not expecting that. When they later met her, she said thank you; he was deeply touched, for five seconds when she said the exact same thing in the exact same tone to everyone else in the line. They then immediately went back to Dorset to finish A Royal Flush; they settled their adrenalin with bottles of whiskey and water, except for Merryfield who never drank. Jason said it was a lovely interlude.
When Merryfield sent in a photo to the producers of Only Fools and Horses.... (1981) to replace the recently deceased Lennard Pearce, David Jason thought this guy had bright eyes and pink cheeks and a bushy Captain Birdseye beard. He wasn't actually wearing a sailor's cap, but when you looked at him, you felt he ought to be. This got John Sullivan thinking about creating a long-lost relative who attends Grandad's funeral. Jason was at first unconvinced but went along with it.
John Sullivan wrote the part of Uncle Albert with Merryfield in mind to play him.
David Jason described Merryfield as funny by instinct and he knew where the laugh was and how to get it. He had that amazing look about him - an eccentric face, the face of someone whom you immediately wanted to like.
Like his Only Fools and Horses.... (1981) co-star David Jason, he combined a day job with amateur dramatics and was a leading light in his local group. He liked to pick up acting experience anywhere he could, even by responding to ads (again like Jason). He didn't have an agent, just his enthusiasm.
After the studio recording of Time on our Hands, the last episode of Only Fools and Horses.... (1981), the cast got a standing ovation longer than any David Jason had ever heard; it just went on and on and on. Merryfield, Nicholas Lyndhurst and all the cast were joined by John Sullivan and they had a group hug on the set, all of them in tears.
Used to be a boxer in the Army, where he got his nickname. In the Only Fools and Horses.... (1981) episode He Ain't Heavy, He's My Uncle, Uncle Albert claimed he used to box for the Navy.

Personal Quotes (1)

[from a letter to the producers of Only Fools and Horses] I understand that Lennard Pearce has died and without wishing to be disrespectful to his memory, if you were thinking of replacing him I would like to offer myself as his replacement.

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