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25 October 1933|
Dorking, Surrey, England
|Died||18 April 2009
Shadow Hills, Los Angeles, California
Peter Dennis (25 October 1933 – 18 April 2009) was a Screen Actors Guild Award and Drama-Logue Award winning English film, television, theatre and voice actor. His extensive career spanned both sides of the Atlantic with projects ranging from The Avengers to Sideways. He was perhaps best known for his more than three decades association performing the works of A. A. Milne on stage in his one-man show entitled Bother! The Brain of Pooh.
Dennis was born Peter John Dennis in Dorking, Surrey, England, UK, the son of Michael Henry Dennis, a mechanical engineer, and Violet Frances Lockwood, a housewife. He was one of four children including two brothers, Michael and David, and a sister, Dorothy.
His early education was in a Roman Catholic convent. He continued his early studies in Portobello Road, London at the North Kensington Secondary School, until the age of 14. He spent the next four years training as an accountant and as a surveyor. While employed at T.S. Appleton & Son Ltd. in Shepherd's Bush, he was called up for his national service in the British Army.
Peter Dennis served as a Sergeant in Nigeria from January 1952 to March 1958, Royal Army Ordnance Corps, Royal Army Service Corps. His duties included drill and weapons training, shorthand writing in the service of Lieutenant General Sir Roderick McLeod and General Sir Nigel Poett, Director of Military Operations, and as a Personal Assistant to General Sir Kenneth Exham, General Officer Commanding the Royal West African Frontier Force, Nigerian Military Forces.
Upon his return to civilian life, he worked as Personal Assistant to Harry Arkle, European Managing Director, Canadian Pacific Railway and Bill Nicol, Deputy Chairman of Guest, Keen & Nettlefolds, Redditch, near Birmingham.
On his 29th birthday, Dennis saw his first play, a production of Look Back in Anger at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, starring Derek Jacobi and dictated his resignation the following day. By the following autumn, he was in attendance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art graduating two years later in 1965.
After graduating from RADA, he returned to the Birmingham Rep to play numerous leading roles. He went on to perform at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, the Liverpool Repertory Theatre, and in London's West End. He also began to be a regular presence on British television, appearing in The Avengers among many other shows.
14 October 1976 marked the premiere of his one-man show Bother! The Brain of Pooh at the ADC Theatre, Cambridge, given in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Winnie-the-Pooh written by A.A. Milne. It contained selected readings from When We Were Very Young, Winnie-the-Pooh, Now We Are Six, and The House at Pooh Corner.
At the invitation of Anna Strasberg, Head of the Actors Studio, Bother! received its American premier in December 1986 at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in Hollywood, where it was honoured with the Drama-Logue Award and the Los Angeles Theatre Award. Dennis’s one-man bravura performance of Milne’s writings would lead to performances of Bother! throughout the coming decades of his career at more than eighty venues throughout America and Europe from the Hollywood Bowl under the baton of conductor George Daugherty to the Palace of Westminster in London at the invitation of the Prime Minister.
His American television career grew to include appearances on a number of popular series including Friends, Murphy Brown, Alias, Seinfeld, Prime Suspect, and Murder, She Wrote. Highlights of his film career include Sideways and Shrek. Peter Dennis died on 18 April 2009 in Shadow Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA.
- LA Weekly Theatre Award
- Drama-Logue Award
- Corporation for Public Broadcasting Silver Award
- Achievement of Merit Ohio State Award
- Audie Award
- Parents' Choice Award Gold Award
- Screen Actors Guild Ensemble Award Sideways
- Beowulf (2007)
- Ten Inch Hero (2007)
- Monster Safari (2007)
- Man in the Chair (2007)
- Eragon (2006)
- Psychonauts (2005)
- Sideways (2004)
- Hellborn (2003)
- Shrek (2001)
- Second Generation (2000)
- Diagnosis: Murder (2000)
- The Effects of Magic (1998)
- The Emissary: A Biblical Epic (1997)
- A Man Called Sarge (1990)
- The Stud (1978)
- Confessions of a Window Cleaner (1974)
- Alias (2001)
- Felicity (1999)
- Seinfeld (1997)
- Star Trek: Voyager (1996-2001)
- Family Matters (1997)
- Tracey Takes On... (1997)
- In the House (1997)
- Profiler (1997)
- H.M.S. Pinafore (1997)
- Mr. Rhodes (1996)
- Friends (1996)
- Step by Step (1996)
- Mad TV (1995)
- Saved by the Bell: The New Class (1995)
- Casino ID’s (1995)
- Prehysteria! 3 (1995)
- Young Indiana Jones and the Hollywood Follies (1994)
- Acapulco H.E.A.T. (1994)
- The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (1993)
- Melrose Place (1992)
- Murphy Brown (1992)
- Murder, She Wrote (1992)
- Prime Suspect (1991)
- To Be The Best (1992)
- The Rainbow Thief (1990)
- War and Remembrance (1988)
- The Great Escape II: The Untold Story (1988)
- C.A.T.S. Eyes (1985–87)
- Minder on the Orient Express (1985)
- Minder (1984)
- Scandalous (1984)
- The Cleopatras (1983)
- Yes Minister (1982)
- Never the Twain (1982)
- Crown Court (1982)
- Grange Hill (1982)
- The Famous Five (1978)
- How’s Your Father (1975)
- Dial M for Murder (1974)
- Hold the Front Page (1974)
- Hadleigh (1973)
- Detective (1968)
- The Troubleshooters (1968)
- The Avengers (1967)
- The Rat Catchers (1966)
- No Hiding Place (1965)
- "The Complete Works of Winnie-the-Pooh" by A.A. Milne
- "The Tigger Movie", Walt Disney Records
- "102 Dalmatians", Walt Disney Records
- "The Seven Deadly Sins", Jazz Suite with Phil Woods
- "The Children’s Suite" by Phil Woods
- "The Strange Affliction" by Norman Corwin, with Samantha Eggar, Carl Reiner and Norman Lloyd
- Nelson, Valerie J. (29 April 2009). "Peter Dennis dies at 75; actor made a career of one-man 'Pooh' readings". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 30 April 2009.