Roy Kinnear

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Not to be confused with Roy Muir Kinnear.
Roy Kinnear
Roy Kinnear.jpg
Publicity photo of Kinnear possibly taken in the 1980s.
Born Roy Mitchell Kinnear
(1934-01-08)8 January 1934
Wigan, Lancashire, England, UK
Died 20 September 1988(1988-09-20) (aged 54)
Madrid, Spain
Cause of death
Heart attack
Occupation Actor
Years active 1960–88
Spouse(s) Carmel Cryan (m. 1970–88,
his death)
Children Karina
Rory
Kirsty

Roy Mitchell Kinnear (8 January 1934 – 20 September 1988) was a British character actor. He was familiar to UK audiences for his appearances in many British television comedy shows, and is also remembered for his film appearances as Veruca Salt's father, Mr. Salt, in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and as Planchet in Richard Lester's The Three Musketeers and its two sequels. It was during the filming of the latter sequel that Kinnear died as a result of a riding accident.

Early life[edit]

Kinnear was born in Wigan, Lancashire, the son of Annie Smith (née Durie) and Roy Muir Kinnear.[1] His father was a dual international in rugby union and league, having played for Scotland and Great Britain national rugby league team international, making one Lions appearance and three for Other Nationalities, and scoring 81 tries in 184 games for Wigan; he collapsed and died while playing rugby union with the RAF in 1942, at age 38. Scotland Rugby League have named their Student Player of the Year Award after him.

Kinnear was educated at George Heriot's School, in Edinburgh. At the age of 17, he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art; however, national service interrupted his studies.

Career[edit]

In the 1950s Kinnear began a career in repertory theatre, when he appeared in a show at Newquay; and in 1959 he joined Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, performing in both the 1960 play and 1963 film of Sparrows Can't Sing. Prior to joining Joan Littlewood's Theatre, he was a member of the cast of Perth Repertory Theatre. The cast also included people like Valerie Lush, Jane Cain ( the original voice of the Speaking Clock) and Russell Hunter. He continued to work on stage and radio before gaining national attention as a participant in the television show That Was The Week That Was. Kinnear was Stanley Baker's original choice to play VC recipient Frederick Hitch in the film Zulu. However, Baker did not know Kinnear and told them to get him "the actor from That Was the Week That Was whose surname begins with K." However, there was a mix up in which David Kernan, also a cast member of that program turned up and Baker chose to hire him rather than search out Kinnear.

He later appeared in many films and UK TV shows including comedies Doctor at Large, Man About the House, George and Mildred, The Dick Emery Show (as the long suffering dad to Emery's gormless bovver boy character, Gaylord) and starred in Cowboys, a sitcom about builders. His best-known films are those he made with director and close friend Richard Lester: Help!, A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, How I Won the War, The Bed-Sitting Room, and the Musketeer series of the 1970s and 1980s.

He appeared, along with Christopher Lee in the Hammer Horror film Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970). Also, in 1970, he played Mr. Perkins, Melody's father in Waris Hussein's "Melody", a Puppy Love story. He played the father of spoiled rich girl Veruca Salt in the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), an adaptation of Roald Dahl's children's novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He guest starred in The Goodies' episode "Rome Antics", in which he appeared as the Roman Emperor, as well as in the BBC's Ripping Yarns episode Escape From Stalag Luft 112B (1977) as the fearsome German Sergeant Vogel alongside Monty Python actor and series co-writer Michael Palin as Major Errol Phipps, a Royal Flying Corps pilot who is a prisoner-of-war in Germany in 1917 during World War I; ironically, Phipps never escapes from the camp but Vogel does after accidentally shooting the camp Kommandant when he (the Kommandant) was attempting to escape alongside all the guards.

He narrated and provided voices for the stop-motion children's television show Bertha. He appeared in two music videos for Mike + The Mechanics ("All I Need Is a Miracle" and "Taken In") as the band's manager, the former of which saw him reunited with his Help! co-star Victor Spinetti.

He narrated Towser and Bertha, voiced Pipkin in the 1978 film Watership Down and voiced Texas Pete's henchman Bulk in SuperTed (also with Victor Spinetti who also voiced the evil Texas Pete).

Kinnear's name cropped up regularly on the stage; in his later life he appeared in productions such as The Travails of Sancho Panza - playing the title role, and in The Cherry Orchard, in 1985. In 1987 Kinnear starred in the ITV sitcom Hardwicke House, but the show caused such a storm of protest it was cancelled after just two episodes.

His final completed roles were in A Man for All Seasons (1988) a made-for-television film directed by and starring Charlton Heston, John Gielgud and Vanessa Redgrave, and as a patient in the BBC1 hospital drama Casualty. Following his sudden death in September 1988, that episode was postponed. It finally aired in August 1989.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Kinnear was married to actress Carmel Cryan. They had three children, including TV and theatre actor Rory and casting director Kirsty. Their elder daughter, Karina, was born with cerebral palsy.[3]

Death[edit]

On 19 September 1988, Kinnear fell from a horse during the making of The Return of the Musketeers in Toledo, Spain, and sustained a broken pelvis. He was taken to hospital in Madrid but died from a heart attack the next day. He was 54 years old.[4] He is buried in East Sheen Cemetery.

After his death, Kinnear's family demanded an official investigation into the level of medical care he had received in Spain. Director Richard Lester decided to quit the film business as a direct result of Kinnear's death.[5]

Legacy[edit]

In 1994 the Roy Kinnear Trust, which was inspired by his daughter Karina, was founded to help improve the life of young adults with physical and mental disabilities.

Shows[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Theatre (partial)[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]