Roy Kinnear

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Roy Kinnear
Roy Kinnear.jpg
Publicity photo of Kinnear possibly taken in the 1980s
Roy Mitchell Kinnear

(1934-01-08)8 January 1934
Wigan, Lancashire, England
Died20 September 1988(1988-09-20) (aged 54)
Madrid, Spain
Resting placeEast Sheen Cemetery, London, England
EducationRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Years active1955–1988
(m. 1970)
Children3, including Rory Kinnear

Roy Mitchell Kinnear (8 January 1934 – 20 September 1988) was an English character actor. He was known for his roles in films such as The Beatles' Help! (1965), Clapper in How I Won the War (1967) and Planchet in The Three Musketeers (1973). He reprised the role of Planchet in the 1974 and 1989 sequels, and died following an accident during filming of the latter. He played Private Monty Bartlett in The Hill (1965), Henry Salt in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and cruise director Curtain in Juggernaut (1974), The Dick Emery Show (1979–1981), and in the sitcoms Man About the House (1974–1975), George and Mildred (1976–1979) and Cowboys (1980–1981).

Early life[edit]

Kinnear was born on 8 January 1934 [1][2] in Wigan, Lancashire,[1] the son of Annie (née Durie, previously Smith) and Roy Kinnear.[1] He had a sister, Marjory. His parents were Scottish, originally from Edinburgh. His father was an international in both rugby union and rugby league, having played for Scotland and Great Britain. He scored 81 tries in 184 games for Wigan; he collapsed and died while playing rugby union with the RAF in 1942, at the age of 38. Scotland Rugby League have named their Student Player of the Year Award after him.

Kinnear was educated at George Heriot's School in Edinburgh.[2] At the age of 17, he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).[2]


Kinnear's acting career began in 1955, playing Albert in The Young in Heart, at the repertory theatre, Newquay.[1] In 1959 he joined Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal Stratford East,[1] performing in both the 1960 play and 1963 film of Sparrows Can't Sing.[1]

Kinnear's television debut was on the STV children's series, Mr. Fixit in 1959,[2] before gaining national attention as a participant in the television show That Was the Week That Was.[2]

Kinnear later appeared in many films and television shows, including Help!,[2] Till Death Us Do Part, Doctor at Large, Man About the House, George and Mildred,[2] The Dick Emery Show (as Gaylord's long-suffering father) and four episodes of The Avengers.[2] He starred in Cowboys, a sitcom about builders. His best-known films are those he made with director and close friend Richard Lester:[2] Help!, A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, How I Won the War, The Bed Sitting Room, Juggernaut[2] and the Musketeer series of the 1970s and 1980s.[2]

He appeared with Christopher Lee in the Hammer horror film Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970).[3] Also in 1970 he played Mr. Perkins, Melody's father in Waris Hussein's Melody, a puppy love story.[4] He played the father of spoiled rich girl Veruca Salt in the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), an adaptation of Roald Dahl's children's novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.[5]

He guest-starred in The Goodies'[2] episode "Rome Antics" (1975) as the Roman Emperor, and in the BBC's Ripping Yarns episode "Escape From Stalag Luft 112B" (1977) as the fearsome German Sergeant Vogel.[6][7]

He narrated and provided voices for the stop-motion children's television show Bertha.[8] He appeared in two music videos for Mike and the Mechanics ("All I Need Is a Miracle" and "Taken In")[2] as the band's manager; in the former, he was reunited with his Help! co-star Victor Spinetti.[2]

He narrated Towser and Bertha, voiced Pipkin in the 1978 film Watership Down and voiced Texas Pete's henchman Bulk in SuperTed (also with Victor Spinetti, who voiced the evil Texas Pete). Kinnear appeared regularly on the stage. In later life he appeared in productions such as The Travails of Sancho Panza (playing the title role), and in The Cherry Orchard, in 1985.

His final completed roles were in A Man for All Seasons (1988) a made-for-television film directed by and starring Charlton Heston, John Gielgud and Vanessa Redgrave, as a patient in the BBC One hospital drama Casualty, and a voice role as Mump in The Princess and the Goblin, which was released in 1991, three years after his sudden death in September 1988. Following his death, the Casualty episode was postponed. It finally aired in August 1989.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Kinnear was married to actress Carmel Cryan.[10] They had three children, including actor Rory and casting director Kirsty.[10] Their elder daughter, Karina, was quadriplegic and had learning difficulties;[11] she died of coronavirus in May 2020.[10]


Roy Kinnear's grave in East Sheen Cemetery, London

On 19 September 1988, Kinnear fell from a horse during the making of The Return of the Musketeers in Toledo, Spain, and sustained a broken pelvis and internal bleeding. He was taken to a hospital in Madrid, but died the next day from a heart attack, brought on by his injuries. He was 54 years old.[12]

He was buried in East Sheen Cemetery, London. Following his death, Kinnear's family sued the production company and the film's director, charging, from eyewitness testimonies, that the producer was cutting corners to save money and time, and that the rushed speed of filming contributed to the accident. In 1991, they received a £650,000 settlement.[13]


In May 1994, the Roy Kinnear Trust, which was inspired by his daughter, Karina (1972–2020), was founded to help improve the life of young adults with physical and mental disabilities.



Theatre (partial)[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Roy Kinnear Biography (1934–1988)".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "BFI Screenonline: Kinnear, Roy (1934–1988) Biography". Retrieved 5 November 2022.
  3. ^ "Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)". BFI.
  4. ^ "Melody (1971) – Andrew Birkin, Waris Hussein | Cast and Crew | AllMovie" – via
  5. ^ "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)". Retrieved 5 November 2022.
  6. ^ "Broadcast – BBC Programme Index".
  7. ^ "BBC Two – Ripping Yarns, Series 1, Escape from Stalag Luft 112B". BBC.
  8. ^ "Broadcast – BBC Programme Index".
  9. ^ " | Casualty | Series 3". Archived from the original on 10 February 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2009.
  10. ^ a b c Kinnear, Rory (12 May 2020). "My sister died of coronavirus. She needed care, but her life was not disposable". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  11. ^ "Rory Kinnear: becoming an actor was a way of getting to know my father better". 29 January 2008.
  12. ^ "Roy Kinnear Is Dead At 54 After Falling From Horse in Film". The New York Times. 23 September 1988. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  13. ^ "Actor kinnear says lessons have not been learned about filmset dangers since his father's death 32 years ago". The Herals. 26 August 2020.

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