|Born||Richard Lewis Hearne
30 January 1908
|Died||23 August 1979
|Resting place||St Mary's Platt, Kent|
Hearne was born in Norwich, Norfolk, in 1908, the son of Richard and Lily May Hearne. Richard senior came from a theatrical family – his mother had been on the stage and he himself was a performing acrobat. Hearne worked on and off for the BBC for thirty years and became the first performer to be known as a "television star" and also the first to have his own television series. The black and white series, with the theme tune "Pop Goes The Weasel", had episodes lasting 25 minutes in which Hearne assumed the character of "Mr Pastry" – an old man with a walrus moustache, dressed in a black suit or raincoat and with a trademark bowler hat. Each week the bumbling old man would have adventures, partly slapstick, partly comic dance, with two young friends. Jon Pertwee also starred in the show in a variety of roles.
The Mr Pastry character had originated in the 1936 stage show Big Boy in which Hearne had appeared with Fred Emney. A Mr Pastry film was subsequently made but portrayed the lead character as a pathetic figure coming out of prison and totally different from the TV series' bumbling comic.
His act first appeared on the US Ed Sullivan Show in 1954, and thereafter Hearne appeared on the show frequently.
He was interviewed for the starring role of the BBC series Doctor Who after the departure of Jon Pertwee, but a disagreement over his interpretation of the role (he wanted to play the Doctor as Mr Pastry) led to no offer being made by the producer, Barry Letts. The role was subsequently offered to Tom Baker.
Hearne died in Bearsted, Kent, in 1979, aged 71, leaving a widow Yvonne and two children. He was buried in a churchyard in the village of St. Mary's Platt, near Borough Green in Kent. He had lived at Platt Farm, a fifteenth-century property in Long Mill Lane, in the village from the 1940s and from where he ran a market garden.
- Give Her a Ring (1934)
- No Monkey Business (1935)
- Passport to Pimlico (1949)
- Helter Skelter (1949)
- Something in the City (1950)
- Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951)
- Madame Louise (1951)
- Miss Robin Hood (1952)
- The Time of His Life (1955)
- Tons of Trouble (1956)
- Richard Hearne at the Internet Movie Database
- Richard Hearne's appearance on This Is Your Life
- Article at Whirligig-tv.co.uk