|Born||John Paton Laurie
25 March 1897
Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, United Kingdom
|Died||23 June 1980
Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom 
|Cause of death||Emphysema|
|Resting place||Cremains ashes scattered at sea|
|Spouse(s)||Florence Saunders (1924–26) (her death)
Oonah Todd-Naylor (1928–1980)
John Paton Laurie (25 March 1897 – 23 June 1980) was a Scottish actor from Dumfries, Dumfriesshire. Throughout a long career, Laurie performed a wide range of theatre and film work. He is perhaps best remembered to modern audiences for his role as the dour but kindhearted Private James Frazer in the sitcom Dad's Army (1968-1977). Laurie appeared in scores of feature films with directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Powell, and Laurence Olivier. He was also a stage actor (particularly of Shakespearean roles) and speaker of verse, especially when written by Robert Burns.
Laurie was the son of William Laurie (1856–1903), a clerk in a tweed mill and later a hatter and hosier, and Jessie Ann Laurie (née Brown; 1858–1935). He was a pupil at Dumfries Academy, then a grammar school, and abandoned a career in architecture to serve in the First World War. Laurie was left particularly haunted by his experiences. He once asked Jim Perry to stop showing a piece of film of the war, which Perry was filming about First World War veterans; saying "Turn it off, son, I cannae watch it". After the war, in which he served with the Honourable Artillery Company, he trained to become an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London and first acted on stage in 1921.
A prolific Shakespearean actor, Laurie spent much of the time between 1922 and 1939 playing Shakespearean parts, including in Hamlet, Richard III, and Macbeth at the Old Vic or Stratford-upon-Avon. He featured in his friend Laurence Olivier's three Shakespearean films, Henry V (1944), Hamlet (1948), and Richard III (1955). He and Olivier also appeared in As You Like It (1936). During the Second World War, Laurie served in the Home Guard.
His early work in films included Juno and the Paycock (1930), directed by Alfred Hitchcock. His breakthrough third film was Hitchcock's The 39 Steps (1935) in which he played a crofter (with Peggy Ashcroft as his wife). Other roles included Peter Manson in Michael Powell's The Edge of the World (1937), Clive Candy's batman in Powell and Pressburger's The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), a gardener in Medal for the General (1944), the farmer recruit in The Way Ahead (1944), and the brothel proprietor in Fanny by Gaslight (1944). In the film I Know Where I'm Going! (1945), another Powell and Pressburger production, Laurie had a small speaking part in a céilidh sequence for which he was also credited as an adviser. In the next decade he played the repugnant Pew in Disney's Treasure Island (1950), Angus in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951), and Dr. MacFarlane in Hobson's Choice (1954).
His role as Frazer, the gaunt-faced, intense, pessimistic undertaker, and Home Guard soldier in the BBC sitcom Dad's Army (1968–77) remains his most known television role, although he featured in many British series of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s including Tales of Mystery, Doctor Finlay's Casebook, and The Avengers.
He starred as Mad Peter in the Hammer film The Reptile (1966), and later appeared in The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), the Disney film One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing (1975), and The Prisoner of Zenda (1979). One of his last appearances, looking slightly frail, was in Return to the Edge of the World (1978), in which Michael Powell revisited his earlier film of forty years before. Laurie's final work was in the BBC Radio 2 comedy series Tony's (1979) along with Victor Spinetti and Deborah Watling.
Laurie was married twice; his first wife, Florence Saunders, whom he had met at the Old Vic, died in 1926. His second wife was Oonah V. Todd-Naylor, with whom he had a daughter. He died aged 83 from emphysema in the Chalfont and Gerrards Cross Hospital, Chalfont St Peter. His body was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea.
|1930||Juno and the Paycock||Johnny Boyle|
|1935||The 39 Steps||John the crofter|
|1936||As You Like It||Oliver|
|1936||Tudor Rose||John Knox|
|1936||Her Last Affaire||Robb|
|1936||Born That Way||Mc Tavish|
|1936||East Meets West||Dr Fergusson|
|1937||The Edge of the World||Peter Manson|
|1937||Farewell Again||Private McAllister|
|1938||A Royal Divorce||Joseph Bonaparte|
|1938||The Ware Case||Henson, the gamekeeper|
|1939||The Four Feathers||The Khalifa|
|1940||Laugh It Off||Jock|
|1941||Dangerous Moonlight||Wing commander|
|1941||The Ghost of St. Michael's||Jamie|
|1943||The Gentle Sex||Alexander Balfour, Scots corporal|
|1943||The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp||Murdoch|
|1943||The Demi-Paradise||British sailor|
|1943||The Lamp Still Burns||Mr Hervey|
|1944||The Way Ahead||Luke|
|1944||Fanny by Gaslight||William Hopwood|
|1945||The Agitator||Tom Tetley|
|1945||The World Owes Me a Living||Matthews|
|1945||Great Day||Scottish sergeant|
|1945||I Know Where I'm Going!|
|1946||School for Secrets||Dr Jock McVitie|
|1947||The Brothers||Dugald McLeod/Alistair MacDonald|
|1947||Mine Own Executioner||Dr James Garsten|
|1948||Bonnie Prince Charlie||Blind Jamie|
|1950||Treasure Island||Blind Pew|
|1951||Happy Go Lovely||Jonskill|
|1951||Pandora and the Flying Dutchman||Angus|
|1951||Laughter in Paradise||Gordon Webb|
|1953||The Fake||Henry Mason|
|1953||Love in Pawn||McCutcheon|
|1953||The Great Game||Mac Wells|
|1954||Devil Girl from Mars||'Jamie' Jamieson|
|1954||The Black Knight||James, the servant|
|1954||Hobson's Choice||Dr McFarlane|
|1961||Don't Bother to Knock||Taxi driver|
|1963||Ladies Who Do||Dr MacGregor|
|1963||Steptoe and Son|
|1963||Siege of the Saxons||Merlin|
|1966||The Reptile||Mad Peter|
|1967||Mister Ten Per Cent||The Scotsman|
|1971||The Abominable Dr. Phibes||Darrow|
|1971||Dad's Army||Private Frazer|
|1975||One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing||Jock|
|1979||The Prisoner of Zenda||Archbishop|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2010)|
- GRO Register of Deaths: JUN 1980 19 1081 CHILTERN/B - John Paton Laurie, DoB = 25 Mar 1897
- "John Laurie". BFI. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
- "iTunes - Music - John Laurie". apple.com. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
- Stevens, Christopher (2014-10-10). "You stupid boys! Attempt to recapture the magic of Dad's Army with a cast of celebs? Life-long fan Christopher Stevens asks 'who do they think they are kidding?'". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 2014-10-10.
- "BFI Screenonline: Laurie, John (1897-1980) Biography". screenonline.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
- Hal Erickson. "John Laurie - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
- Matt Goddard (14 November 2012). "Dad's Army uncovered: 35 things you need to know about the BBC comedy classic". mirror.
- Ian Lavender Birmingham Press Interview Retrieved 10 March 2013
- "John Laurie - Movies and Filmography - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
- "BBC - Archive - Dad's Army at 40 - Letter from John Laurie". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
- "John Laurie". TV.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
- "BFI Screenonline: Return to the Edge of the World (1978)". screenonline.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
- "Tony's". RadioTimes. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
- The Times, death notice, 25 June 1980
- "John Laurie (1897 - 1980) - Find A Grave Memorial". findagrave.com. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
- John Laurie at Find a Grave
- John Laurie at the Internet Movie Database
- John Laurie at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Letter from John Laurie at BBC archive