Jack May

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Jack May
Jack May 1967.jpg
May in How I Won the War, 1967
Born Jack Wynne May
(1922-04-23)23 April 1922
Henley-on-Thames, England, U. K.
Died 19 September 1997(1997-09-19) (aged 75)
Hove, Sussex, England, U. K.
Occupation Actor

Jack May (23 April 1922 – 19 September 1997) was an English actor. Born in Henley-on-Thames, he was educated at Forest School in Walthamstow and, after war service with the Royal Indian Navy in British India, was offered a place at RADA, but he instead went to Merton College, Oxford. Here, with the OUDS, he played parts, which included John of Gaunt in Richard II and Polonius in Hamlet.

On television he became familiar as the butler William E. Simms in two series of the BBC 1 fantasy/adventure television series Adam Adamant Lives! from 1966–67.

He provided the voice for Igor, long-suffering butler to Count Duckula in the cartoon series of the same name. He also appeared as the waiter Garkbit in the television version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Théoden in the 1981 BBC Radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, as General Hermack in the 1969 Doctor Who serial The Space Pirates, and in Bachelor Father. The long-running BBC Radio 4 series, The Archers also featured the voice of May as Nelson Gabriel, son of Walter Gabriel. He played the voice of Muzzy in Muzzy in Gondoland.

His other credits in film and television included Dr. Denny in the 1960 serial The Citadel, the sex-crazed Judge in the horror film Night After Night After Night (1970), the District Commissioner in The Man Who Would Be King (1975), and the prosecuting naval attorney in the remake of The Bounty (1984).

On stage he played many leading and supporting roles, spending five years with Birmingham Repertory Theatre during which time he attracted considerable notice in the title part of Shakespeare's Henry VI. This trilogy of plays came to the Old Vic in London, and from then on began to be far more regularly revived. For Birmingham Rep, he also played parts as diverse as Richard II, Alec in Coward's Still Life (the story better known as Brief Encounter) and the Elephant in Obey's Noah. He returned to the Old Vic for the 1958-59 season, as Julius Caesar among other parts. Later stage roles included The Headmaster in A Voyage Round My Father, and Colonel Pickering in Pygmalion with Alec McCowen and Diana Rigg.

In 1957, he married the actress Petra Davies. He died at 75, on 19 September 1997, survived by his wife, his daughter Henrietta, and his son David.

Filmography[edit]

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