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Publicity photo of Kinnear possibly taken in the 1980s.
|Born||Roy Mitchell Kinnear
8 January 1934
Wigan, Lancashire, England, UK
|Died||20 September 1988
Cause of death
|Spouse(s)||Carmel Cryan (m. 1970–88,
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 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.
Kinnear was born in Wigan, Lancashire, the son of Annie Smith (née Durie) and Roy Muir Kinnear. 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.
In the 1950s Kinnear began a career in repertory theatre when he appeared in a show at Newquay. 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 Littlewood's workshop, 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. Baker did not know Kinnear's name, and told the casting director to get "the actor from That Was the Week That Was whose surname begins with K." David Kernan, also a cast member of that program, was summoned and Baker chose to hire him rather than search for Kinnear.
Kinnear later appeared in many films and UK TV shows, including Doctor at Large, Man About the House, George and Mildred, The Dick Emery Show (as Gaylord's long-suffering father) 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 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" as the Roman Emperor, and in the BBC's Ripping Yarns episode "Escape From Stalag Luft 112B" (1977) as the fearsome German Sergeant Vogel.
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; in the former he was reunited with his Help! co-star Victor Spinetti.
Kinnear appeared regularly on the stage. In 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.
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. 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.
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.
- The World Owes Me a Living (1944)
- The Millionairess (1960)
- The Boys (1962)
- Tiara Tahiti (1962)
- The Informers (1963)
- A Place to Go (1963)
- The Small World of Sammy Lee (1963)
- Heavens Above! (1963)
- Sparrers Can't Sing (1963)
- French Dressing (1964)
- The Hill (1965)
- Help! (1965)
- The Deadly Affair (1966)
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)
- The Mini-Affair (1967)
- How I Won the War (1967)
- Albert Carter, Q.O.S.O. (1968)
- Lock Up Your Daughters (1969)
- The Bed Sitting Room (1969)
- Egghead's Robot (1970)
- Scrooge (1970)
- On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970)
- Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)
- Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
- The Firechasers (1971)
- Melody (1971)
- The Alf Garnett Saga (1972)
- That's Your Funeral (1972)
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1972)
- The Pied Piper (1972)
- Madame Sin (1972)
- The Cobblers of Umbridge (1973)
- The Three Musketeers (1973)
- Barry McKenzie Holds His Own (1974)
- Three for All (1974)
- The Four Musketeers (1974)
- Juggernaut (1974)
- The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975)
- Royal Flash (1975)
- One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing (1975)
- Eskimo Nell (1975)
- The Amorous Milkman (1975)
- Not Now, Comrade (1976)
- The Last Remake of Beau Geste (1977)
- Ripping Yarns (1977)
- Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)
- The Hound of the Baskervilles (1978)
- Watership Down (1978)
- The London Connection (1979)
- Quincy's Quest (1979)
- Hawk the Slayer (1980)
- High Rise Donkey (1980)
- Cowboys (1980)
- Rhubarb Rhubarb (1980)
- If You Go Down in the Woods Today (1981)
- The Boys in Blue (1982)
- Hammett (1982)
- Anyone for Denis? (1982)
- Superted (1982)
- Anna Pavlova (1983)
- Towser (1984)
- Squaring the Circle (1984)
- The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood (1984)
- Bertha (1985)
- Pirates (1986)
- Mr. H Is Late (1987)
- Unusual Ground Floor Conversion (1987)
- Casanova (1987)
- Hardwicke House (1987)
- Storybook - The Elves and the Shoemaker (1988)
- Just Ask for Diamond (1988)
- A Man for All Seasons (1988)
- The Return of the Musketeers (1989)
- The Princess and the Goblin (1992)
- Make Me an Offer
- Sparrers Can't Sing
- The Clandestine Marriage
- The Travails of Sancho Panza
- The Cherry Orchard
- Roy Kinnear Biography (1934-1988)
- "Rory Kinnear: Good show, sweet prince". London Evening Standard. November 29, 2010.
- Roy Kinnear Is Dead At 54 After Falling From Horse in Film Susan Heller Anderson, 23 September 1988 The New York Times, accessed 28 April 2008
- Preston, John (2008-01-27). "Rory Kinnear: becoming an actor was a way of getting to know my father better". Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 2008-05-21.