Jack Warner (actor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

For other people named Jack Warner, see Jack Warner (disambiguation)

Jack Warner
Jack Warner.jpg
Born Horace John Waters
(1895-10-24)24 October 1895
London, England, UK
Died 24 May 1981(1981-05-24) (aged 85)
London, England, UK
Resting place
East London Cemetery, London, England, UK
Years active 1943-1978
Known for Dixon of Dock Green

Jack Warner (born Horace John Waters) OBE (24 October 1895 – 24 May 1981) was an English film and television actor. He is closely associated with the role of PC George Dixon, which he played until the age of eighty; but was also for some years one of Great Britain's most popular film stars.

Life and career[edit]

Warner was born in London, his real name being Horace John Waters.[1] His sisters Elsie and Doris Waters were well-known comediennes who usually performed as "Gert and Daisy".[2] Like them, Jack Warner made his name in music hall and radio, but he became known to cinema audiences as the patriarch in a trio of popular post-World War II family films beginning with Here Come the Huggetts. He also co-starred in the 1955 Hammer film version of The Quatermass Xperiment and as a police superintendent in the 1955 Ealing Studios black comedy The Ladykillers.

Warner attended the Coopers' Company's Grammar School for Boys in Mile End,[3] while his sisters both attended the nearby sister school, Coborn School for Girls in Bow. The three children were choristers at St. Leonard's Church, Bromley-by-Bow, and for a time, Warner was the choir's soloist.[3] During the First World War he served as a Driver in the Royal Flying Corps .

By the early years of the Second World War, Warner was nationally known and starred in a BBC radio comedy show Garrison Theatre, invariably opening with, "A Monologue Entitled...".

It was in 1949 that Warner first played the role for which he would be remembered, PC George Dixon, in the film The Blue Lamp.[4] One observer predicted, "This film will make Jack the most famous policeman in Britain".[4] Although the police constable he played was shot dead in the film, the character was revived in 1955 for the BBC television series Dixon of Dock Green, which ran until 1976. In later years though, Warner and his long-past-retirement-age character were confined to a less prominent desk sergeant role. The series had a prime-time slot on Saturday evenings, and always opened with Dixon giving a little soliloquy to the camera, beginning with the words, "Good evening, all". According to Warner's autobiography, Jack of All Trades, Elizabeth II once visited the television studio where the series was made and told Warner "that she thought Dixon of Dock Green had become part of the British way of life".[5]

Mr and Mrs Warner photographed at the Granville Hotel, Ramsgate, with proprietors and friends William and Florence Hamilton

He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1965.[6] In 1973, he was made a Freeman of the City of London. Warner commented in his autobiography that the honour "entitles me to a set of 18th century rules for the conduct of life urging me to be sober and temperate". Warner added, "Not too difficult with Dixon to keep an eye on me!"[7]

He died of pneumonia in London in 1981, aged 85. The characterisation by Warner of Dixon was held in such high regard that officers from Paddington Green Police Station bore the coffin at his funeral.[8]

Warner is buried in East London Cemetery.

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1943 The Dummy Talks Jack
1946 The Captive Heart Cpl. Horsfall
1947 Hue and Cry Nightingale
Dear Murderer Insp. Penbury
Holiday Camp Joe Huggett
It Always Rains on Sunday Detective Sergeant Fothergill
1948 Easy Money Philip Stafford
Against the Wind Max Cronk
My Brother's Keeper George Martin
Here Come the Huggetts Joe Huggett
1949 Vote for Huggett Joe Huggett
The Huggetts Abroad Joe Huggett
Train of Events Jim Hardcastle (segment: "The Engine Driver")
Boys in Brown Governor
1950 The Services Show TV series
The Blue Lamp PC George Dixon
1951 Talk of a Million Bartley Murnahan
Valley of Eagles Inspector Peterson
Scrooge Mr. Jorkin
1952 The Monster of Killoon Bill Anderson TV film
Emergency Call Inspector Lane
Meet Me Tonight Murdoch: Ways and Means
1953 The Final Test Sam Palmer
Those People Next Door Sam Twigg
The Square Ring Danny Felton
Albert R.N. Capt. Maddox
1954 Bang! You're Dead Bonsell
Forbidden Cargo Maj. Alec White
1955 The Quatermass Xperiment Insp. Lomax
The Ladykillers The Superintendent
Dixon of Dock Green P.C. (later Sgt) George Dixon TV series (432 episodes: 1955-1978)
1956 Now and Forever Mr. J. Pritchard
Home and Away George Knowles
1958 Carve Her Name with Pride Mr. Bushell
1962 Jigsaw Det. Insp. Fred Fellows
1978 Dominique George

Box office ranking[edit]

For a number of years, British film exhibitors voted him among the top ten localsstars at the box office via an annual poll in the Motion Picture Herald.

  • 1948 - 7th most popular British star[9]
  • 1949 - 10th most popular British star[10]
  • 1950 - 3rd (5th most popular overall)[11]
  • 1952 - 8th most popular British star[12]
  • 1953 - 7th most popular British star

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Warner (1975), p. 2.
  2. ^ Warner (1975), pp. 74–75.
  3. ^ a b Warner (1975), p. 10.
  4. ^ a b Warner (1975), p. 108.
  5. ^ Warner (1975), p. 84.
  6. ^ Warner (1975), p. 201.
  7. ^ Warner (1975), p. 207.
  8. ^ Sydney-Smith (2002), pp. 105–106.
  9. ^ 'BRITTEN'S "RAPE OF LUCRETIA": NEW YORK DIVIDED', The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959) [Manchester (UK)] 31 Dec 1948: 8.
  10. ^ "Bob Hope Takes Lead from Bing In Popularity.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1954) (ACT: National Library of Australia). 31 December 1949. p. 2. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "Success Of British Films." Times [London, England] 29 Dec. 1950: 4. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 11 July 2012
  12. ^ "COMEDIAN TOPS FILM POLL.". The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1949 - 1953) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 28 December 1952. p. 4. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 

References[edit]

  • Sydney-Smith, Susan (2002). Beyond Dixon of Dock Green: Early British Police Series. London: I. B. Tauris. ISBN 1-86064-790-1
  • Warner, Jack (1975). Jack of All Trades: The Autobiography of Jack Warner. London: W.H. Allen. ISBN 0-491-01952-1

External links[edit]