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Jon Pertwee obituary

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1996-05-21 Toronto Sun.jpg


Actor Jon Pertwee, star of "Dr. Who," the BBC's cult TV science fiction series for children, died of a heart attack Monday in Connecticut, his agent said. He was 76.

Pertwee was on vacation with his wife Ingeborg and had been due to return to Britain within days to resume a tour of solo stage performances across Britain, Susan Shaper said.

His career on stage, screen and airwaves spanned 60 years, but he was best known for playing the mercurial, velvet-clad time traveler Time Lord in "Dr. Who" from 1970 to 1974.

The series, launched in 1963, developed a large cult following, and Pertwee happily addressed "Dr. Who" conventions around the country.

Another major role was to play the turnip-headed scarecrow Worzel Gummidge in a TV production of the classic children's tale.

He did not mind his type-casting as such off-beat characters. "I'm very much afraid to say it, but I'm rather a cult fig-ure," he observed recently.

The son of a writer, Pertwee joined the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the mid-1930s.

In a student production, he played both the murder victim and the senior policeman. Playwright Noel Coward remarked after seeing a performance that they were the only two decent actors in it.

However, Pertwee was later asked to leave RADA for allegedly writing rude words on a bathroom wall.

During World War II, he joined the Royal Navy, where he met Eric Barker, who was to become a radio comedian and with whom he reported on the standards of naval broadcasting.

With such a background, he was a natural choice to star in BBC radio's seagoing comedy "The Navy Lark," which ran for more than 20 years.

Later he appeared in several films, including the zany comedies "Carry on Cleo" and "Carry on Screaming" and per-formed in variety theaters all over Britain.

He refused to retire and had been working recently on a TV show and a commercial, as well as his one-man show. "Actors don't retire, they fade away, like old generals," he once said.

Pertwee is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. Funeral details were not immediately available.

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  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Jon Pertwee obituary | url= | work=Associated Press | pages= | date=1996-05-20 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=16 April 2024 }}</ref>
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  • Title: Dr. Who's Jon Pertwee dies at 76
  • Publication: Toronto Sun
  • Date: 1996-05-21