30 October 1920|
Coalville, Leicestershire, England, UK
|Died||22 April 2005
Wolverhampton, England, UK
|Spouse(s)||Nona Blair (1954-2005) 2 children|
Norman Bird (30 October 1920 – 22 April 2005) was a British character actor. Often sporting a moustache and an air of worried resignation, he seemed to specialise in downtrodden roles. Describing himself as "the man with the cardigan", his doleful looks ensured that he was usually cast as henpecked husbands, petty officials or interfering busybodies.
Bird was born in Coalville, Leicestershire, England. A RADA graduate, he made his West End debut in Peter Brook's production of The Winter's Tale at the Phoenix Theatre in 1951. His first film appearance was as the foreman in An Inspector Calls (1954).
He was a familiar face to British cinema audiences of the 1960s, appearing in such films as The Angry Silence (1960), The League of Gentlemen (1960), Whistle Down the Wind (1961), Victim (1961) and Term of Trial (1962) with Sir Laurence Olivier.
He went on to make nearly 70 films and over 200 television appearances, notably as Mr Braithwaite in Worzel Gummidge (1979–81) and as Mr Arrad in the Fawlty Towers episode "Waldorf Salad" (1979). His long list of credits include Steptoe and Son, Rising Damp, Ever Decreasing Circles, Yes Minister, To Serve Them All My Days, Z-Cars, The Saint, Department S, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and Boon. In 1990 he appeared in Stay Lucky, with Dennis Waterman, which marked his 200th television appearance. One of his last film appearances was as a taxi driver in Richard Attenborough's Shadowlands (1993). He also appeared as Mr. "Jack" Braithwaite in the 1979-81 children's comedy series Worzel Gummidge as the ever going farmer with a living, walking, talking scarecrow,
He was born in Coalville, Leicestershire. At 16 he left school and spent six months working in an office before studying at he Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. During the Second World War, he served with Royal Air Force, being demobbed in 1947.
He had met his wife Nona Blair (Joan Hood in radio's The Archers) in rep in Northampton. They married in 1954. In 1992 they moved to Bridgnorth, Shropshire, to be nearer to their two daughters and five grandchildren.