John Le Mesurier Biography

UK actor John Le Mesurier was born on the 5th April 1912 at Chaucer Road in Bedford, Bedfordshire. His real name was John Charles Elton Le Mesurier De Somerys Halliley.

His father was a solicitor and the family moved to Bury St Edmunds soon after John's birth.

John Le Mesurier was educated at public school in Dorset, England.

Acting Career Of John Le Mesurier

John Le Mesurier originally studied law and worked as an articled clerk to Greene and Greene but left this when he was 20 to study acting at the Fay Compton School of Acting and Dramatic Art. He adopted his middle name as his stage name which was his mother's maiden name - Le Mesurier. He was sometimes called John LeMesurier in some productions, films and television appearances.

Military Career Of John Le Mesurier

His first acting job was in repertory but this was interrupted by World War II where he served as a Captain in the Royal Armoured Corps. He saw service in England at Tidworth on Salisbury Plain and in India.

In 1939 John Le Mesurier married June Melville and they divorced in 1947.

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First Film Of John Le Mesurier

John Le Mesurier returned to the stage in 1945. Three years later he appeared in his first film Death In The Hand.

Hattie Jacques And John Le Mesurier

In 1949 John Le Mesurier married the actress Hattie Jacques who was famous for acting in Sykes, Hancock's Half Hour and the Carry On films. They had two sons called Kim and Robin. Hattie and John divorced in 1965.

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Joan Le Mesurier

In 1965 John Le Mesurier married Joan Le Mesurier.

Awards Of John Le Mesurier

In 1971 John Le Mesurier won a BAFTA award for Best Actor of the Year for his performance as Adrian Harris in the Kim Philby based Dennis Potter's TV drama called Traitor.

Death Of John Le Mesurier

John Le Mesurier died on the 15th November 1983 at Ramsgate in Kent from a stomach haemorrhage. He had suffered from cirrhosis of the liver. He was aged 71 years old. His last words to his wife, Joan, were "Itís all been rather lovely".

His wishes were that Joan would place an obituary in The Times newspaper stating that "John Le Mesurier conked out and he sadly misses his family and friends".

His autobiography was called A Jobbing Actor and was published posthumously in 1994. Joan, his third wife, wrote the book Dear John after he died.

Film And TV Appearances Of John Le Mesurier

Brideshead Revisited as Father Mowbray
Dad's Army as Sergeant Arthur K Wilson
The Spaceman and King Arthur as Sir Gawain
Bod TV Series as the Voice of the Narrator
The Italian Job as Governor
Traitor as Adrian Harris
The Early Bird as Colonel Foster
The Rebel as the Office Manager
The Bulldog Breed as Prosecuting Counsel
Late Flowering Love as Colonel Hunter Dunn
The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu as Perkins
The Shillingbury Blowers as Council Chairman
Rosie Dixon - Night Nurse as Sir Archibald MacGregor
A Christmas Carol as Marley's Ghost
Jabberwocky as Passelewe
Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers as Colonel Bromley-Pickering
What's Up Nurse! as Doctor Ogden
The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother as Lord Redcliff
Brief Encounter as Stephen
Confessions of a Window Cleaner as Inspector Radlett
The Alf Garnett Saga as Frewin
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever as Pelham
Doctor in Trouble as Purser
Finders Keepers as Mr. X
Our Man in Marrakesh as George Lillywhite
George and the Dragon as Colonel Maynard
The Sandwich Man as the Religious Sandwich Man
The City Under the Sea as Reverend Jonathan Ives
A Clerical Error as Caleb Bullrush
Jigsaw as Mr. Simpson
We Joined the Navy as Dewberry
On the Fiddle as Hixon
Brothers in Law as Judge Ryman
The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's as the Minister of Education
Doctor in Love as Dr. Mincing
The Day They Robbed the Bank of England as Green
School for Scoundrels or How to Win Without Actually Cheating! as Head Waiter
Dead Lucky as Inspector Corcoran
Let's Get Married as Dean
The Captain's Table as Sir Angus
The Hound of the Baskervilles as Barrymore
Too Many Crooks as Magistrate
Jack the Ripper as Dr. Tranter
Hi-de-hi! as Hugo Buxton
The Goodies as Uncle Tom
Sykes as Lord Hetherington
Jason King as Doctor Litz
Doctor at Large as Stanley Moon
Adam Adamant Lives! as Velmer
The Avengers as Benson and Dr. Macombie
The Railway Children as the Doctor
Hancock as Ambrose Butterfield and The Air Marshall
Danger Man as Alvarado
Ben-Hur as a Doctor
The Pink Panther as the Defence Attorney

John Le Mesurier did television adverts for Homepride Flour as flour grader Fred where his catch phrase was "Graded grains make finer flour". He also did TV advertisements for British Airways.

Radio Work Of John Le Mesurier

John Le Mesurier also voiced radio plays and comedies such as J. R. R. Tolkien The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings for BBC Radio 4 where he played Bilbo Baggins. He also starred in the Dad's Army radio series spin off It Sticks Out Half A Mile where Pike and Hodges buy a pier. Other productions included The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where he played the wise old bird.


Hattie was broadcast on BBC4 on Wednesday 19 January 2011. Hattie portrayed the affair between Hattie Jacques and John Schofield whilst she was married to John Le Mesurier. Hattie Jacques met used car salesman John Schofield when he drove her home from a charity event. John Le Mesurier invited John Schofield to be their lodger and when he discovered that his wife and John Schofield had become lovers he moved into the attic room so that he could still be part of both his sons lives. Scenes of Carry on Cabbie were recreated on the BBC4 Hattie programme. Ruth Jones played Hattie Jacques, Robert Bathurst played John Le Mesurier and Aidan Turner played John Schofield, In Hattie on BBC 4.

Hattie was followed by This Is Your Life: Hattie Jacques with Eamonn Andrews with contributions by John Le Mesurier and Eric Sykes and preceded with a vintage episode of the comedy Sykes which starred Hattie Jacques.

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