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John Le Mesurier Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (3)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (32)

Overview (5)

Born in Bedford, Bedfordshire, England, UK
Died in Ramsgate, Kent, England, UK  (cirrhosis of the liver)
Birth NameJohn Elton Le Mesurier Halliley
Nickname Le Mez
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (3)

The son of a solicitor, British character actor John Le Mesurier attended public school in Dorset, England, before embarking on a career in law. However, acting was his true calling, and at age 20, with his parents' approval, he began his acting career by studying drama at the Fay Compton School of Acting, where one of his classmates was Alec Guinness.

After acting school he performed in repertory until World War II, when he served as a captain in the Northwest Indian Frontier.

After the war, he returned to the stage and made his film debut in Death in the Hand (1948). By the late 1950s Le Mesurier had made appearances in numerous films, especially those made by the Boulting Brothers, and also on television, particularly on Hancock's Half Hour (1956). In 1968 he landed arguably his most popular role, that of Sgt. Wilson in the long-running television series Dad's Army (1968). Although preferring comedy, Le Mesurier also excelled in drama, winning a BAFTA award for Best Actor of the Year in 1971 for his performance in Dennis Potter's "Traitor (1971) (TV)".

In 1977, during "Dad's Army", he had become very ill, but he recovered and continued acting until his death six years later.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Lyn Hammond

Although born in Bedford he grew up in Bury St Edmunds. Following his Solicitor father's wishes he studied law and worked in a solicitor's office for a while but his heart wasn't in it as his love was acting so with his father's blessing he left and got into a repertory company.

He married his first wife June Melville in 1939. The marriage later collapsed due to her alcoholism.

In 1940 he was called up for the army and was was posted to India.

He later married his second wife Hattie Jacques (1949-1965) by whom he had two sons.

He married his third wife Joan Malin in 1966. When his close friend, comedian, Tony Hancock's marriage broke up John invited him to stay with them. This resulted in Joan falling for Tony but his continued drinking drove her back to John.

In 1977 John was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver but he recovered. He lived for another six years before dying in a Ramsgate hospital aged 71.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: tonyman 5

Educated at Sherbourne, he was half way through his law exams when he decided that his future was the stage. When he was 23 he went to a stage school run by actress Fay Compton, The only other male in the class was Alec Guinness, He spent a short time at Oldham Repertory from where he was fired for sleeping through a performance of Up in Mabel Room. At the outbreak of war he returned home to Chelsea to find his house had been flattened by a bomb. He joined the army and ended up as a captain in India, After being demobbed he made a film in colour and widescreen in Budapest which gave him a day and a half's work in 2 months but in the end it was turned into a travelogue and he was seen twice in long shot, In the film Monsieur le Coq he spent 3 weeks in a bath with Julie Newmar then it was canceled half way through the shoot. Things changed for him with the television play Traitor in 1971 which won him Best tv Actor of the Year.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tonyman 5

Family (2)

Spouse Joan Le Mesurier (2 March 1966 - 15 November 1983)  (his death)
Hattie Jacques (10 November 1949 - 31 August 1965)  (divorced)  (2 children)
June Melville (18 April 1940 - 1949)  (divorced)
Children Robin Le Mesurier
Kim Le Mesurier

Trade Mark (1)

vague and absent-minded, with a cultured voice

Trivia (32)

He had two sons with actress Hattie Jacques: Robin Le Mesurier (born 22 March 1953) and Kim Le Mesurier (born 12 October 1956). Kim died of an accidental drugs overdose on 6 October 1991, exactly 11 years after his mother's death.
He asked his wife Joan to place in The Times the following announcement of his death: "John Le Mesurier wishes it to be known that he conked out on November 15th. He sadly misses his family and friends.".
He was quoted as saying "It's all been rather lovely" before slipping into a final coma.
In her book, "Dear John", Joan Le Mesurier gives her husband's date of death as 16th November 1983.
He separated from his wife Joan Le Mesurier in the mid-1960s when she had an affair with their mutual friend Tony Hancock. John was understanding, and they began living together again after Hancock's death in 1968.
His autobiography "A Jobbing Actor" was released posthumously in 1984.
His surname was pronounced like "measurer" - the "i" was silent.
A memorial service was held for him at St Paul's Church, Covent Garden on 16th February 1984.
He is best known for his role on Dad's Army (1968). He also went on to play Bilbo Baggins in the BBC Radio production of The Lord of the Rings, opposite Ian Holm and Bill Nighy. Holm went on to play Bilbo in Peter Jackson's films, while Nighy appeared in Dad's Army (2016).
He was the son of Charles Elton (1881-1964) and Amy Michelle Halliley (née Le Mesurier) (1878-1968).
He says in his autobiography that the original idea for Dad's Army (1968) was for him to play Captain Mainwaring and for Arthur Lowe to be an NCO. He says 'I hate to think how we would have fared if we had followed that'.
He made a series of commercials for Australian television advertising British Airways.
He voiced the Home Pride Flour commercials on television for 16 years.
He loved jazz and going to Ronnie Scott's famous jazz club in London.
He grew up in Bury St Edmunds where, following his father's wishes, he studied law for a while and worked in a solicitor's office, but his love was acting and he eventually joined a rep company.
In 1977 he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver but recovered and lived for another six years before dying in Ramsgate Hospital.
He met Joan Malin, who would become his third wife, in 1964. His then wife, Hattie Jacques, was having an affair with her driver, John Schofield, and John agreed to take the blame in the divorce case so as not to damage her reputation or career. He and Joan remained good friends with Hattie until her death in 1980.
A few months into their marriage, John Le Mesurier's's third wife, Joan, left him for his best friend, Tony Hancock. A year later, having found Hancock an alcoholic, violent and impossible to live with, Joan returned to John. Hancock committed suicide in Australia in 1968. John was very forgiving of Joan and defended her for the rest of his days.
Would ruefully deflect congratulation on his BAFTA win (for his role as Adrian Harris in Dennis Potter's acclaimed Play for Today: Traitor (1971) by pointing out that the inscription it carried was the somewhat less-than-complimentary "John Le Mesurier - Traitor".
Could play the piano and loved jazz. In his autobiography he said "If you happen to walk into a cocktail bar and you see an elderly grey-haired gentleman in a white jacket playing the piano rather badly, take another look - it might be me.".
The film Monsieur Lecoq (1967) was unfinished and abandoned.
He was a very prolific British character actor known for his slight resemblance to fellow countryman Boris Karloff.
His interment was at Saint George's Churchyard in Ramsgate.
Not to be confused with one of disgraced MP Jeremy Thorpe's co-defendants on a charge of attempted murder, carpet dealer John Le Measurier (although le Measurier's name is sometimes spelled identically). The New Yorker advised potential US viewers of A Very English Scandal (2018), about the Thorpe case, "Imagine that one of the Watergate burglars had been named Alan Alda".
In 1940 he was called up to the army and prior to his posting to India he married June Melville but she was an alcoholic and the marriage eventually collapsed.
Was known for being the same off screen as on - gentle and self-deprecating.
In Dads Army he wanted to be Captain Mannering.
Grew up in Bury St Edmunds.
He loved jazz and played the piano.
Called up into the army in 1940.
His father wanted him to go into law.
He was a talented cricketer and played for Suffolk, if he'd been just that bit better he might have achieved first class county status. His other loves were classical and jazz music.

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