Brian Roper (actor)

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Brian Roper
Born Brian T. Roper
(1929-08-19)19 August 1929
Doncaster,[1][2] West Riding of Yorkshire, England, UK
Died 14 May 1994(1994-05-14) (aged 64)
Antibes, France[3]
Occupation Actor
Real estate businessman
Years active c. 1936 – 1960
Spouse(s) Barbara L. Eaton (1967-1972) Michelle Bisserier (1974-1994) (his death)[4]

Brian T. Roper [note 1](19 August 1929 – 14 May 1994)[1][2][3][5][note 2] was a British-American film and television actor, and, in later years, real estate agent.


Roper played youthful parts during his career due to his young physique, which included his appearance as the animal-loving young boy "Dickon" with a pet fox in The Secret Garden (1949), starring Margaret O'Brien. The Secret Garden was prepared for MGM's 25th anniversary as a film studio and was heavily promoted in 1949–50.[6] Newspapers at the time claimed his age as 14.[7][8] He appeared this age but was actually five years older. Roper was noted for his reddish hair and some freckles.[2]

Born in Doncaster,[1][2] Roper left England on 5 October 1948 when he was 19 years old[9] after his selection for The Secret Garden from more than 100 boys who were tested during a six-month search.[7] Work on the film began on 4 October 1948 and was completed in late November.[10][11] He later lived in both Britain and California, depending on the location of his acting work, and acted for 24 years.

Following his acting career he went briefly into the film industry agency business.[12] Roper married Barbara L. Eaton (aka Barbara L. Stafsudd), in Los Angeles when he was 38 years old, on 30 December 1967. His wife was 13 years younger.[13] Shortly after this marriage, Roper established the Roper School of Real Estate in 1968 in Hayward, California and served as its lecturer and instructor.[14] He would go on to train new salespeople while serving as director of sales training for Red Carpet Realtors in Northern California.[15]


Brian Roper died in Antibes, France at the age of 64. [3]

Theatrical performances[edit]

Dramatic Shows
Year Title Role Location Notes
Before and around 1936 various[2] Britain
Theatre (Stage Plays)
Year Title Role Location Notes
1936 The Boy David[2] David London Played title role in this biblical play, created for actress Elisabeth Bergner by J. M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan; The Boy David was Barrie's last play.
1949 A Midsummer Night's Dream[16] Puck Britain


Year Film[17] Role Notes
1947 Just William's Luck Ginger
1948 William Comes To Town Ginger U.S. title: William at the Circus.
1948 The Boy with Green Hair[18] Background boy. Uncredited.
1949 The Secret Garden Dickon
1950 The Miniver Story Richard Uncredited.
1950 Maria Chapdelaine Tit-Be Chapdelaine French title: Maria Chapdelaine; U.S. title: The Naked Heart.
1952 Time Gentlemen, Please! Cyril Aka Nothing to Lose.
1953 The Girl on the Pier Ronnie Hall
1954 The Rainbow Jacket Ron Saunders
1955 The Blue Peter Tony Mullins U.S. title: Navy Heroes (1957).
1958 Hong Kong Confidential Dennis Brooks Spy film.
1960 The Lost World Zoological Institute [British] – forum participant Uncredited.
Year Title[10] Role Notes
1951 Kaleidoscope Boy page TV serial of 6 episodes that aired 1951–1952. Roper appeared in 1 episode:
  • Episode 2 – "Fools Rush In", 18 May 1951 (first air date).
1952 The Secret Garden (TV series 1952) Dickon TV serial of 8 episodes using the Alice de Grey adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel (weekly on Tuesdays – first air dates: 29 April 1952 to 17 June 1952). Roper appeared in 4 episodes:
  • Episode 4 – "The Door in the Wall", 20 May 1952.
  • Episode 6 – "A Tantrum in the Night", 3 June 1952.
  • Episode 7 – "It Has Come", 10 June 1952.
  • Episode 8 – "When The Sun Went Down", 17 June 1952.
1956 ITV Television Playhouse Gormy Evans TV serial that aired for 9 seasons, 1955–64. Roper appeared in 1 episode:
  • Season 1, Episode 35 – "Boys in Brown", 24 May 1956 (first air date).
1955–1956 Billy Bunter of Greyfriars School Bob Cherry TV serial that aired for 7 seasons, 1952–61. Based on character Billy Bunter at Greyfriars School. Roper appeared in 8 episodes:
  • Season 2, Episode 1 – "Bunter on the Run", 9 July 1955 (first air date).
  • Season 2, Episode 2 – "Bunter the Hypnotist", 23 July 1955.
  • Season 2, Episode 3 – "Lord Billy Bunter", 6 August 1955.
  • Season 2, Episode 4 – "Bunter Forgot", 20 August 1955.
  • Season 2, Episode 5 – "Bunter Takes the Blame", 3 September 1955.
  • Season 2, Episode 6 – "Bunter Knows How", 17 September 1955.
  • Season 3, Episode 1 – "Backing Up Bunter", 9 September 1956.
  • Season 3, Episode 2 – "Bunter the Bold", 16 September 1956.
1957 The Adventures of Sir Lancelot Alan (4th year squire to King Rolf's son Prince Damien) TV serial of 30 episodes that aired for 1 season, 1956–57. Roper appeared at the beginning of 1 episode:
  • Season 1, Episode 18 – "Witches' Brew", 19 January 1957 (first air date).
1958 Studio 57 TV serial that aired for 4 seasons, 1954–1958. U.S. title: Heinz Studio 57. [See Heinz 57]. Roper appeared in 1 episode:
  • Season 4, Episode 12 – "A Source of Irritation", 19 January 1958 (first air date).
1960 Adventures in Paradise Potter TV serial that aired for 3 seasons, 1959–62. Roper appeared in 1 episode:
  • Season 2, Episode 7 – "Hangman's Island", 21 November 1960 (first air date).

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Result Category Film or series Notes
1961 Golden Laurel Award[10][note 3] Nominated Top Action Drama – 5th place The Lost World (1960) Award honors film (all persons involved).


Type Organisation Notes
Member National Association of Boys’ Clubs (United Kingdom)[19] youth
Member Screen Actors Guild (SAG) adult


  1. ^ "Brian T. Roper" appears in the England and Wales Birth Index. It appears as such on the passenger manifest for an airline flight. The middle initial "T" appears on the Marriage Index reference and also appears in his name in his Modesto Bee advertisement reference, and again in the SSDI entry. All other references use the name without the middle initial.
  2. ^ Roper is a common surname around this time period in this area of Great Britain, including on the very same England and Wales register. One should note the typed transcription of his age as "19", which agrees with the Birth Index, on the airflight manifest reference. Birth date in Holmstrom (1998) was erroneously listed as 9 August 1933, the day with a typographical error and the year based on the age of 14 which appeared in the press at his time of flying over to the United States. The Ragan (1992) birth date is listed in error as 19 August 1933, having picked up the year from the Holmstrom (1998) reference.
  3. ^ Later renamed Producers Guild of America Award, or PGA Award.

References (citations)[edit]

  1. ^ a b c England and Wales – Civil Registration Indexes: Birth Index, "Births Registered in July, August and September, 1929", p. 108, General Register Office, London, United Kingdom.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Holmstrom (1998), p. 184, column 2.
  3. ^ a b c U.S. Social Security Administration, U.S. Social Security Death Index Master File (SSDI), Washington, D.C.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Ragan (1992), 2nd Edition, vol. 2.; no listing in 1st Edition (1976).
  6. ^ Chronicle-Telegram, Elyria, Ohio, 12 October 1972, Thursday, p. B-4, advertisement, column 1 (left).
  7. ^ a b Brigham, Ruth, New Castle News, New Castle, Pennsylvania, "Brian Excited" in "Around Hollywood", 6 October 1948, p. 17, column 2, bottom.
  8. ^ Johnson, Erskine. Kingsport Times, Kingsport, Tennessee, "In Hollywood", paragraphs 3–4, 24 January 1949, p. 4, column 3. Roper's age is noted as 15.
  9. ^ Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1897–1957, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. National Archives, Washington, D.C., microfilm roll T715-7663 [roll 7,663 of 8,892 rolls], Air Passenger Manifest – p. 172 (sheet 2 of 2).
  10. ^ a b c Brian Roper profile at IMDb.
  11. ^ San Mateo Times, San Mateo, California, 10 November 1948, p. 20, columns 2–3.
  12. ^ Holmstrom (1998), p. 184, column 3.
  13. ^ California Department of Health Services, Center For Health Statistics, California Marriage Index 1960–1985, Sacramento, California, microfiche (of computer printout), p. 7077, line 12 – Roper/Eaton; p. 24263, line 7 – Roper/Stafsudd.
  14. ^ The Modesto Bee, Advertisement, 30 June 1968, p. A-11, lower left corner.
  15. ^ Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, 13 May 1973, Sunday, p. 11-C, picture of Roper in extreme upper left corner entitled "Training Director".
  16. ^ Hopper, Hedda. Portland Press Herald, Portland, Maine, "Looking At Hollywood", January 15, 1949, p. 9.
  17. ^ Holmstrom (1998); and/or the Internet Movie Database, unless otherwise noted.
  18. ^ Zambrana (2002), p. 23.
  19. ^ Holmstrom (1998).

References (books)[edit]

  • Holmstrom, John (1998), The Moving Picture Boy – An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995, 2nd Revised Edition, Michael Russell (Publishing) Ltd., Wilby Hall, Wilby, Norwich, England, Great Britain; ISBN 0-85955-178-4 (ISBN 978-0-85955-178-6), hardcover. 1st Edition 1996.
  • Ragan, David (1992), Who's Who in Hollywood – The Largest Cast of International Film Personalities Ever Assembled, 2nd Revised Edition, Facts on File (publisher), New York, New York, USA, 2 volumes (vol. 1 A-L, vol. 2 M-Z) (1,920 pp.); ISBN 0-8160-2011-6 (ISBN 978-0-8160-2011-9), hardcover. 1st Edition: Who's Who in Hollywood – 1900–1976, Arlington House (publisher), 1 volume (864 pp.), 1976; ISBN 0-87000-349-6 (ISBN 978-0870003493), hardcover; Crown Publishing, 1977; ISBN 0-517-54822-4 (ISBN 978-0517548226), hardcover.
  • Zambrana, M. L. (2002), Nature Boy: The Unauthorized Biography of Dean Stockwell, iUniverse (publisher), 130 pp.; ISBN 0-595-21829-6 (ISBN 978-0595218295), softcover.

External links[edit]