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Richard Vernon in Goldfinger (1964)
Richard Evelyn Vernon
7 March 1925
|Died||4 December 1997 (aged 72)|
Richard Evelyn Vernon (7 March 1925 – 4 December 1997) was an English actor. He appeared in many feature films and television programmes, often in aristocratic or supercilious roles. Prematurely balding and greying, Vernon settled into playing archetypal middle-aged lords and military types while still in his 30s.
He was educated at Reading School and Leighton Park School (both in Reading, Berkshire) and during the Second World War served in the Royal Navy. Vernon trained as an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
In 1960, Vernon appeared in an adaptation of A.J. Cronin's novel, The Citadel. In 1961, he played the father in the BBC series, Stranger on the Shore. An early leading role was as wartime agent-turned-criminologist Edwin Oldenshaw in the TV series The Man in Room 17 (1965–66) and its sequel The Fellows (1967). He also played a small role as Colonel Smithers, an executive of the Bank of England, in a scene opposite Sean Connery and Bernard Lee in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, discussing how Auric Goldfinger transports his gold overseas.
He played an unnamed 'city gent' reluctantly sharing a train compartment with the Beatles in A Hard Day's Night, planet designer Slartibartfast in the BBC radio and TV series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the occasional character Sir Desmond Glazebrook in the TV series Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, and Mr Becket in Sammy's Super T-Shirt. He also appeared in the 1965 Morecambe and Wise film The Intelligence Men as patron of the arts Sir Edward Seabrook, Lord Bartelsham in Ripping Yarns, and Squire Dale in the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of The Small House at Allington. He played Admiral Croft in the 1971 BBC television adaptation of Persuasion. He played the urbane head of the Secret Intelligence Service Sir James Greenley in ITV political drama The Sandbaggers from 1978 to 1980. In 1986 he appeared in Paradise Postponed, and voiced the professor Gus in The Giddy Game Show (1985-7), in addition to a Cameo Role (as Professor Jerry Coe) in the video for Experiment IV by Kate Bush. He also appeared in the final episode of the BBC's television production of Rumpole of the Bailey (1992) as Rumpole's exculpatory dentist, Lionel Leering, and in the last series of Lovejoy (1994) playing Tinker's brother-in-law.
On radio, in 1978 he played Sir Gerald Tarrant in a BBC World Service adaptation of the Modesty Blaise book Last Day in Limbo and Professor Misty in the BBC Radio 3 sitcom Patterson in 1981. He also starred in the title role of Lord Emsworth in several BBC Radio 4 series of Blandings between 1985 and 1992.
Personal life and death
In 1955 he married an actress Benedicta Leigh née Hoskyns. They had a daughter Sarah (1956) and a son , Thomas (1958). They divorced in 1990.
- Stop Press Girl (1949) - (uncredited)
- Street of Shadows (1953) - (wrote the screenplay)
- Indiscreet (1958) - Guide (uncredited)
- The Heart of a Man (1959) - Manager (uncredited)
- The Siege of Pinchgut (1959) - Under Secretary
- Clue of the Twisted Candle (1960) - Viney
- Village of the Damned (1960) - Sir Edgar Hargraves
- Foxhole in Cairo (1960) - General
- Cash on Demand (1961) - Pearson
- Stranger on the Shore (1961) - David Gough
- The Share Out (1961) - John Crewe
- Reach for Glory (1962) - Dr. Aldrich
- Jigsaw (1962) - Dubbing (voice)
- We Joined the Navy (1962) - (uncredited)
- Accidental Death (1963) - John Paxton
- Just for Fun (1963) - Prime Minister
- The Servant (1963) - Lord Mounset
- Hot Enough for June (1964) - Roddinghead
- A Hard Day's Night (1964) - Pompous Man on Train (Johnson)
- Goldfinger (1964) - Colonel Smithers
- The Counterfeit Constable (1964) (French title: Allez France!) - Lord Brisburn
- The Tomb of Ligeia (1964) - Dr. Vivian
- The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1965) - Race Course Official (uncredited)
- The Intelligence Men (1965) - Sir Edward Seabrook
- The Secret of My Success (1965) - Lord Hetherby
- The Early Bird (1965) - Sir Roger Wedgewood
- The Man in Room 17 - ( 1965/'66 ) - Edwin Oldenshaw - TV Series - Granada
- Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969) - Chairman (uncredited)
- Song of Norway (1970) - Councilman
- UFO (1970, TV Series) - Stone
- She'll Follow You Anywhere (1971) - Andrew Coombes
- One Brief Summer (1971) - Hayward
- Persuasion (1971, TV Series) - Admiral Croft
- The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973) - Mathews
- Upstairs, Downstairs (1973, TV Series) - Major Cochrane-Danby
- Thriller (1974, TV Series ) - George Cornfield: ' In the Steps of a Dead Man '
- Adventures of a Taxi Driver (1976) - Gentleman (uncredited)
- The Duchess of Duke Street (1976–1977, TV Series) - Major Smith-Barton
- The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) - Professor Hugo Fassbender
- Ripping Yarns (1976) - Lord Bartlesham - ( Episode : ' Roger of the Raj ' )
- Sammy's Super T-Shirt (1978) - Mr. Becket
- The Sandbaggers (1978 - 80, TV Series) - Sir James Greenley / "C"
- The Human Factor (1979) - Sir John Hargreaves
- Oh! Heavenly Dog (1980) - Quimby Charles
- Yes Minister (1980) - Sir Desmond Glazebrook - ( Episode : ' Jobs for the Boys ' )
- The Box (1981) - (voice)
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981, TV Series) - Slartibartfast
- Evil Under the Sun (1982) - Flewitt
- Witness for the Prosecution (1982) - Brogan-Moore [barrister]
- Gandhi (1982) - Sir Edward Albert Gait
- Night Train to Murder (1983) - Uncle Felix
- Lady Jane (1986) - The Marquess of Winchester
- Last of the Summer Wine (1986) - The Vicar
- A Month in the Country (1987) - Colonel Hebron
- Yes, Prime Minister - ( 1987 ) - Sir Desmond Glazebrook - ( Episode : ' A Conflict of Interest ' ).
- The Camomile Lawn (1992, TV Mini-Series) – General Peachum
- Loch Ness (1996) - Aged Professor (cameo) (final film role)
- "Richard Vernon". ftvdb.bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
- "Obituary: Richard Vernon". 13 December 1997. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
- "Fellows [26/06/1967] (1967)". BFI.
- "BFI Screenonline: Goldfinger (1964) Credits". www.screenonline.org.uk.
- "Richard Vernon". www.aveleyman.com.
- "BFI Screenonline: Ripping Yarns (1976-79)". www.screenonline.org.uk.
- "Classic Serial: The Small House at Allington". 7 October 1993. p. 109 – via BBC Genome.
- "Persuasion Part 5 (1971)". BFI.
- "Patterson". 26 February 1981. p. 65 – via BBC Genome.
- "Blandings". 1 March 1990. p. 63 – via BBC Genome.
- "Richard Vernon - Movies and Filmography". AllMovie.