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John Le Mesurier

John Le Mesurier (April 5, 1912 - 1983), born John Elton Halliley, was a British actor. He began to study acting at the age of 21, using his mother's maiden name Le Mesurier as his stage name.

He married June Melville in 1939. In 1952, he married comedienne Hattie Jacques, with whom he had two sons. When she left him for a younger man, Le Mesurier allowed the press to give him the blame for the break-up. His third wife was Joan Malin.

Le Mesurier appeared in over 100 films, including Private's Progress, I'm All Right Jack, Brothers in Law, Carlton Brown of the FO, and Our Man in Marrakesh. In Ben-Hur (1959) he has an uncredited cameo role as a doctor. He also appeared in virtually every Tony Hancock film and television show. His final film was with Peter Sellers in The Fiendish Plot of Fu Manchu in 1980. In most of his performances, he presented an impression of good-natured vagueness, which acquaintances claim was close to his true personality.

Le Mesurier's most popular TV (and radio) role was as the upper-class Sergeant Wilson in Dad's Army from 1968 to 1977. He followed this with a memorable performance as Kim Philby in Dennis Potter's play Traitor.

From the mid-1960s until his death he provided the original voice for the animated TV commercial character "Flour Grader Fred", a little man in a bowler hat who advertised Homepride Flour and related products. The character lives on, voiced by other actors.

In 1975 he narrated Bod, a charming little animated children's programme from the BBC about a boy named Bod, his aunt Flo and their friends and their rather strange adventures (like falling into a manhole and finding a giant strawberry).

On radio he played The Wise Old Bird in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1980) and Bilbo Baggins in the BBC's Lord of the Rings (1981).

In private life, the actor was a heavy drinker. His self-penned obituary[?] in The Times stated, that he had "simply conked out" and "missed his friends and family".

His autobiography. A Jobbing Actor, appeared posthumously in 1984.

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