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Heart attack kills dandy Doctor Who

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1996-05-20 Evening Standard.jpg


JON PERTWEE, the actor known and loved by millions as Dr Who, has died at the age of 76. He died after a heart attack in Connecticut where he was holidaying with his wife and friends. His death comes on the eve of a new film revival of the much-loved Doctor, who was "killed off' when the BBC axed the long-running series in 1989.

With his craggy features and shock of white hair, Pert-wee was to many the quintessential Doctor Who, although seven other actors have played the role, including the latest, Paul McGann.

Pertwee was working right up to the end, touring in a one-man show which was due to resume on Thursday, and planning a radio series with his friend Richard Briers.

Originally married to actress Jean Marsh, he leaves a second wife, German-born Ingeborg, with whom he lived in Putney Heath, and two actor children, Sean and Dariel.

Despite a 60-year career in music hall, theatre, film, radio and television, Pertwee remains best known for his TV roles as Dr Who and the scarecrow Worzel Gum-midge, and his early radio work on The Navy Lark.

"I'm very much afraid to say it, but I'm rather a cult figure," he admitted recently, paying tribute to Doctor Who's "endearingly amateurish quality".

He had already been expelled from several schools before arriving at RADA in 1937. He was later asked to leave for writing rude words on the lavatory wall but his talent had already been noted.

In the end-of-term thriller he was asked to play not just the murder victim but the police inspector as well, leading Noel Coward —among the audience — to remark that they were the only two decent actors in it.

Pertwee's big break came during the war when, as a seaman, he met future radio comedian Eric Barker — catchphrase "Steady On".

Pertwee's death comes 48 hours before the BBC's long-awaited new £3.5 million film Doctor Who is released on video, and a week before it is broadcast for the first time.

Una Stubbs, who played Aunt Sally in Worzel Gummidge said she was devastated at news of Pertwee's death adding: "He was an extraordinary man and wonderful to work with. He will be very much missed."


Three of a kind: Jon Pertwee with fellow TV doctors, Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell

In a field of his own: Jon Pertwee as Worzel Gummidge with Una Stubbs as Aunt Sally

Paul McGann: The new Dr Who in a film revival

Pertwee with Donald Sinden in the 1966 West End comedy, There's A Girl In My Soup

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  • APA 6th ed.: Cooper, Tim (1996-05-20). Heart attack kills dandy Doctor Who. London Evening Standard p. 5.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Cooper, Tim. "Heart attack kills dandy Doctor Who." London Evening Standard [add city] 1996-05-20, 5. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Cooper, Tim. "Heart attack kills dandy Doctor Who." London Evening Standard, edition, sec., 1996-05-20
  • Turabian: Cooper, Tim. "Heart attack kills dandy Doctor Who." London Evening Standard, 1996-05-20, section, 5 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Heart attack kills dandy Doctor Who | url= | work=London Evening Standard | pages=5 | date=1996-05-20 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=21 May 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Heart attack kills dandy Doctor Who | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=21 May 2024}}</ref>