definition of Wikipedia
|John Le Mesurier|
|Born||John Elton Le Mesurier Halliley
5 April 1912
Bedford, Bedfordshire, England
|Died||15 November 1983
Ramsgate, Kent, England
|Years active||1938 – 1983|
|Spouse||June Melville (1939–47) (divorced)
Hattie Jacques (1949–65) (divorced)
Joan Malin (1966–83)
|Years of service||1941 – 1945|
|Unit||Royal Tank Regiment|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
John Le Mesurier (born John Elton Le Mesurier Halliley, 5 April 1912 – 15 November 1983) was a BAFTA Award-winning English actor. He is best remembered for his role as Sergeant Arthur Wilson in the BBC situation comedy Dad's Army (1968-77).
Le Mesurier was born at No. 35 Chaucer Road, Bedford, Bedfordshire in 1912, the son of a solicitor, Charles Elton Halliley and Amy Michelle Le Mesurier, whose family was from Alderney in the Channel Islands. He was brought up in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and educated at Sherborne School in Dorset before he began to study acting at the age of 20, using his mother's maiden name (common in the Channel Islands) Le Mesurier (pronounced 'Le Measurer') as his stage name.
Le Mesurier was at Drama School with Alec Guinness, and later worked with him in a production of Hamlet, directed by John Gielgud, in which the young Le Mesurier understudied Anthony Quayle as Guildenstern.
Le Mesurier appeared in over 100 films, including Private's Progress (1956), Brothers in Law (1957), Carlton-Browne of the F.O. (1959), I'm All Right Jack (1959), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), Doctor in Love (1960), The Pure Hell of St Trinian's (1960), The Wrong Arm of the Law (1963), The Pink Panther (1963), Our Man in Marrakesh (1966), The Wrong Box (1966), The Italian Job (1969), and The Alf Garnett Saga (1972). In Ben-Hur (1959) he has an uncredited role as a doctor.
He also appeared in Tony Hancock's two principal film vehicles The Rebel (1961) and The Punch and Judy Man (1963), and many episodes of Hancock's television series. The two men were close friends, a friendship which survived despite Hancock's affair with Le Mesurier's third wife. Le Mesurier had a regular role in the sitcom George and the Dragon (1966-68), with Sid James and Peggy Mount, and an occasional role in Pardon the Expression (1966), which starred Arthur Lowe just before the two actors were cast as members of the Home Guard.
Le Mesurier's best remembered TV (and radio) role was as the upper-class Sergeant Arthur Wilson in Dad's Army (1968-77). He accepted that role after discovering Clive Dunn, with whom he had worked in the Players' Theatre, would be playing the part of Corporal Jones. He gave a memorable performance in Dennis Potter's play Traitor (1971) which won him a Society of Film and Television Arts "Best Television Actor" award. He appeared in Doctor at Large (also 1971) as the head of a health farm. He portrayed Jacob Marley in a BBC television adaptation of A Christmas Carol (1977), which starred Michael Hordern as Scrooge.
Following the success of Dad's Army, Le Mesurier recorded several wartime songs as singles: "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" / "Hometown" (the latter with Arthur Lowe) on the Warner label in 1975 and "There Ain't Much Change from a Pound These Days" / "After All These Years" with Clive Dunn on KA Records in 1982.
Along with his other work, Le Mesurier was a regular stage performer throughout his career, appearing in works by Noël Coward and Terence Rattigan. On 13 June 1965 he appeared in a special one off performance Homage to T. S. Eliot, alongside Lord Olivier, Sir Paul Scofield, Peter O'Toole and Ian Richardson. His last stage appearance was a tour of Coward's Hay Fever in 1980/81.
In 1975, Le Mesurier narrated Bod, an animated children's programme from the BBC. In the series, a boy named Bod, his aunt Flo, and their friends have rather strange adventures (like falling into a manhole and finding a giant strawberry).
On radio, he reprised the role of Arthur Wilson in It Sticks Out Half a Mile, and played The Wise Old Bird in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1980) and Bilbo Baggins in the BBC's 1981 radio version of The Lord of the Rings.
Elsewhere, Le Mesurier played a short but significant character role in Granada TV's adaptation of Brideshead Revisited (1981) and guest starred in episodes of the British comedy television series The Goodies, and an early episode of Hi-de-Hi!. His final film was with Peter Sellers in The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980). In most of his later performances, he presented an impression of good-natured vagueness, which acquaintances claim was close to his true personality. For nearly 20 years until his death in 1983, he provided the original voice for the animated TV commercial character "Flour Grader Fred", a little man in a bowler hat who advertised Homepride flour and related products. (The character continues, voiced by other actors.)
Le Mesurier was married three times:-
When Jacques left him for a younger man, Le Mesurier allowed the press to give him the blame for the break-up in order to save Jacques' public image. His close friendship with the comedian Tony Hancock was seriously tested early in his third marriage, when his wife Joan left him for Hancock, only to return a year later.
In private life, the actor was a heavy drinker, often seen with a drink in his hand but never noticeably drunk. Jacques claimed that his legendary calculated vagueness was the result of his "reliance on extra strong cigarettes". Towards the end of Dad's Army, on medical advice he gave up alcohol but became seriously ill, and lost a great deal of weight. Friends relate that when he returned to drinking he had seven more years of life and regained his joie de vivre. His last words before slipping into a coma were reportedly, "It's all been rather lovely."
He died at his Ramsgate home, from a stomach haemorrhage, (caused by cirrhosis) on 15 November 1983, aged 71. He is buried in the churchyard of the Church of St. George the Martyr, Church Hill, Ramsgate. His self-penned death notice in The Times stated that he had "conked out" and that he "sadly misses family and friends".
Le Mesurier's second and third marriages have been the subject of two BBC Four biographical films - the 2008 Hancock and Joan on Joan's affair with Tony Hancock (with Le Mesurier played by Alex Jennings) and the 2011 Hattie on Hattie's affair with John Schofield (with Le Mesurier played by Robert Bathurst).
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