Friday, 21 September 2012

Great British Comedy Actors – Reginald Marsh

Fans of British sitcoms of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s will fondly remember Reginald Marsh for playing the parts of Jerry’s boss ‘Sir’ in The Good Life, the similar role of ‘Sir Dennis Hodge’ in Terry and June and Mildred’s Brother-in-law ‘Humphrey’ in George and Mildred, however he had a long, varied career in producing and acting.

One of my personal favourite performances was when he played the Bus Depot Manager in an episode of Sykes, alongside such greats as Eric Sykes, Hattie Jacques and Deryck Guyler. This was when Eric and Hattie got jobs as a bus driver and clippie, turning the route into an “airline on wheels” in the north London streets.

Born in London (17 September 1926), the young Reginald grew up on the English south coast in Worthing.

After leaving school he started work in a bank, but was always passionate about acting and the stage working in many amateur productions. At the age of 16 and already signed up with an agent, he got his first part in JB Priestley’s “East End”, playing a juvenile.

Moving on he then started work for 12 years in repertory theatre, gaining as much experience as possible in numerous different productions. His next job was working as a contestant finder for Granada TV's legendary 60’s gameshow, Criss Cross Quiz.

In 1962 he gained the part of bookmaker ‘Dave Smith’ in the long running soap Coronation Street, leaving in 1976. He went on to work with comedian Harry Worth in his TV shows and in other sitcoms such as How’s Your Father and Never Say DieHe has also been seen in Emmerdale Farm, Crown Court, Bless This House, The Sweeney and often appeared in Children's Film Foundation productions.

Marsh had six children from two marriages, one of his sons being a Down’s syndrome sufferer and he was an active supporter of MENCAP.

In later years he retired to the Isle of Wight, where he died on 9th February 2001, at the age of 74.

It must be said that most people would not necessarily know the name of Reginald Marsh, as he was never what could be classed as a major TV star, but he had one of those distinguished faces that will long be remembered. 

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