Kenneth Waller

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Kenneth Waller
Born (1927-11-05)5 November 1927
Huddersfield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England[1][2]
Died 28 January 2000(2000-01-28) (aged 72)
London, England
Occupation Television actor
Years active 1959–98

Kenneth Waller (5 November 1927 – 28 January 2000)[3] was an English actor. He was known for portraying Grandad in Bread and Old Mr. Grace in Are You Being Served?

Early life[edit]

Kenneth Waller was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire on 5 November 1927.[1][2] In 1949, he was a member of the Christ Church Woodhouse men's choir.[4]

After serving in the Royal Air Force, Waller worked for a firm of auctioneers.[2]


Experience in local rep at the Oxford Playhouse encouraged him to move to London, where he made his West End debut in Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds' 1957 musical Free as Air. He was later in the original cast of Give a Dog a Bone in 1964, and took over various roles in various other London productions such as Salad Days and Anne of Green Gables: The Musical. Waller was also associated the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, but always looked forward to the times when his work took him on location further afield, including Rome, India and Scandinavia.[2]

An excellent pianist and an ardent lover of classical and choral music, Waller was extremely knowledgeable on the subject of oratorio and sang with Anthony Bowles' Actors' choir and the BBC Chorus. He also appeared as the Narrator in Peter and the Wolf, and Carl Davis wrote a special concert piece, "Duck's Diary," for him.[2]

From the fifties to the seventies, his career as an actor saw him appear on both television and film. On the big screen, he had modest roles in Room at the Top (1959), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), Scrooge (1970), Fiddler on the Roof (1971) and Carry On Behind (1975). Other small screen credits included Big Deal, Crossroads, The Fenn Street Gang, Dixon of Dock Green, Z-Cars, The Professionals, Doctor Who, All Creatures Great and Small, Terry and June and Juliet Bravo.[1][2] Waller also portrayed the father of Curly Watts in Coronation Street.[2]

In 1981, he joined the cast of Are You Being Served? as Old Mr. Grace.[2]

Waller also made an appearance in the Series 5 episode, "Boxing Day Social", on On the Buses, as well appearing in the 1984 miniseries, Ellis Island and even lending his voice for Romuald the Reindeer.[1][5]

In 1986, Waller became a household name as Grandad in Carla Lane's Liverpool sitcom, Bread and his catchphrase, "Where's my tea?", quickly caught on with the viewing public.[2]

Waller continued to stay in touch with the theatre during the final years of his life, touring successfully with Barbara Windsor in Joe Orton's classic black comedy, Entertaining Mr Sloane and appearing in a musical version of Beauty and the Beast at the Manchester Opera House, in 1998.[2]

Personal life and death[edit]

Despite his television fame, Waller never lost his affection for Yorkshire, taking great pride in retaining both his accent and his many friends within the Huddersfield Choral Society.[2]

Waller at one time shared the home of theatrical agent Greville Hallam, who was murdered in 1982 by future Guardian journalist, Erwin James.[6]

Kenneth Waller died on 28 January 2000 at the age of 72, after a brief illness.[1][2] He was unmarried.[2]

TV and Filmography[edit]


External links[edit]