Allan Cuthbertson

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Allan Cuthbertson
Allan Cuthbertson.jpg
Born Allan Darling Cuthbertson
(1920-04-07)7 April 1920
Perth, Australia
Died 8 February 1988(1988-02-08) (aged 67)
London, England
Years active 1955–87

Allan Cuthbertson (7 April 1920 – 8 February 1988) was a naturalised Anglo-Australian actor.[1] He was best known for playing stern-faced military officers in British films of the 1950s and 1960s.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born Allan Darling Cuthbertson in Perth, Western Australia, son of Ernest and Isobel Ferguson (Darling) Cuthbertson, he performed on stage and radio from an early age.

During World War II, he served as a flight lieutenant with the RAAF from 6 December 1941 to 1 July 1947, based with 111 Squadron Air Sea Rescue Flight.[3]


Cuthbertson arrived in England in 1947, and appeared shortly thereafter as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet at the Boltons. In London's West End, he appeared as Laertes in Hamlet, Aimwell in The Beaux Stratagem, and Octavius Robinson in Man and Superman, among many other roles.[4]

He was often cast in military roles, which was quite common in actors of his generation, especially those with a military air about them. He was Captain Eric Simpson in Tunes of Glory (1960) as well as being cast as more stuffy regimental types in such films as The Guns of Navarone (1961) and Carrington V.C. (1955), which also starred David Niven.[5] He also made a brief appearance as a harassed staff officer, who then gets blown up, at the beginning of Ice Cold in Alex (1958). In 1962 he played a school teacher in Term of Trial with Laurence Olivier. He appeared four times in the television series The Avengers.[4]

Perhaps surprisingly Cuthbertson also had a talent for playing comedy, which led to his best known role, although again playing a mustachioed military character, as Colonel Hall in the "Gourmet Night" episode of the hit sitcom Fawlty Towers in 1975.[6] He also appeared in many roles on British television, including with Tommy Cooper, Dick Emery and Frankie Howerd, and in All Gas and Gaiters, Danger Man and Terry and June, where he played annoying neighbour Tarquin Spry.[4] He was also a regular guest on The Morecambe & Wise Show from 1973 to 1976.[7] One of his last TV appearances was in Michael Palin's East of Ipswich in 1987.[8]

One of his last stage roles was in The Corn Is Green by Emlyn Williams at The Old Vic in 1985.[9]

At the time of his death, Cuthbertson was living in Surbiton, Surrey.


Personal life[edit]

Cuthbertson was long married to Dr Gertrude Willner, a refugee from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, who had been a lawyer originally, but became a teacher in England. They had an adopted son.


External links[edit]