Howard Lew Lewis
|Howard Lew Lewis|
21 August 1939 |
Lewis' grandmother Dame Ethel Gomer-Lewis was an opera singer. His father Oswald Tenby-Lewis was awarded membership of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) by Queen Elizabeth II for his personal services to the royal family. Lewis was born in London, England. As a young man, Lewis flat-shared with Ken Morley (Reg Holdsworth of Coronation Street) and Andy Carr, actor and screen writer. His first job was with the Royal Air Force, where he was a computer operator. He worked for several years in computing and telecommunications, but when promoted to a manager decided instead to pursue acting as a career.
Maid Marian and her Merry Men
As an actor, Lewis is probably most associated in the British public consciousness with his role as Rabies, one of the Merry Men in the award-winning 1989 BBC children's television comedy series Maid Marian and her Merry Men.
Other television comedy
Lewis has notably appeared in two other prominent historical comedy series - as Blag in the Channel 4 sitcom Chelmsford 123 (1988) set during the Roman occupation of Britain in AD 123, and as assorted medieval peasants, (including Piers and Mr Applebottom) in The Black Adder (1983), set in 1485. His longest recurring role has been as dim barman Elmo Putney in the comedy series Brush Strokes (1991), and he has had minor parts in two Ronnie Barker sitcoms - The Magnificent Evans (1984) and Open All Hours (1985) - and the ITV comedy-drama Minder (1984).
Other TV roles
In addition to his appearances in British comedy programmes, Lewis has had a succession of minor roles in such notable series and mini-series, including:
- Dennis Potter's BBC television drama serial Pennies from Heaven (1978)
- The biographical mini-series Reilly: Ace of Spies about real-life Bond-model, spy Sidney Reilly.
- An early episode of ITV's police procedural The Bill (1985)
- The mini-series The Charmer (1987)
- "Now You See Them", a 1988 episode of the anthology drama series Dramarama
- Later episode(s) of the BBC Children's TV programme The Queen's Nose
- A 2003 episode of the long-running BBC medical drama Casualty (1985)
Lewis has appeared in several films, again mostly in minor roles. Notable film appearances include Terry Gilliam's 1985 film Brazil, where he played one of the Black Maria guards, and playing Hal in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the latter leading to in-jokes in subsequent series of Maid Marian, specifically the episode "They Came from Outer Space". In this episode, after alluding to Kevin Costner's American accent being somewhat out-of-place, Little Ron (Mike Edmonds) suggests a possible title for a Robin Hood film, prompting Rabies to question his role in such a film - receiving an immediate put-down from Robin (Wayne Morris):
Little Ron: "..Robin Hood Prince of Weeds?"
Rabies: "Will I be in it do you reckon?"
Robin: "Oh I shouldn't think so, I see you more as one of those naff comedy characters."
He also appeared in the 1992 Oscar-nominated semi-biographical film Chaplin, and was the English language voice of Obelix in the 1994 film of Asterix in America to Craig Charles' Asterix. In 2005, he played the part of Lillas Pastia, the innkeeper, in Bizet's Carmen at the Royal Albert Hall, London, and in 2007, played alongside Warwick Davis in the film Small Town Folk.
- "Supplement of 13 June 1987". London Gazette (50948): 4. 13 June 1987.
- Interview with Howard Lew Lewis by Jo Johnson. Accessed 14 March 2008
- "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves: Full cast". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-07-04.
- According to Maid Marian fansite The Hideout. Accessed 17 December 2007