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John Le Mesurier

Portrayed Sgt. Arthur Wilson

Born in Bedford in 1912, John attended a school in Dorset before embarking on a career in Law. However his real inkling was to become an actor and at the age of 20 with his parents approval, his acting career at the Fay Compton school of dramatic art.

After the war in which he served as a Captain in the North West Indian Frontier he returned to acting on stage and film. By the late 1950's he was a frequent face to be seen in many films, especially those made by the Boulting Brothers and also made his mark on television appearing in several episodes of Hancock's Half Hour. A close friend of Tony Hancock, John also appeared in Hancock's films on the big screen in the early 60's.

By now John was in high demand although sometimes he felt going to work was like going back to school. In 1968 he landed the role of Sgt Arthur Wilson in Dad's Army, a pleasurable role for himself, as he had mutual respect for the actors he worked alongside with on the show. He sometimes likened it to be part of an old boys club. As well as performing in Dad's Army John still kept busy with other TV and film roles including his BAFTA award-winning role in the Dennis Potter play Traitor.

Towards the end of Dad's Army he had become very ill, but was saddened even further by the end of the series, nevertheless he kept on acting and by the end of his career had amassed appearances in over 150 film roles.

His last role was in the radio sequel to Dad's Army, It Sticks Out Half a Mile of which he returned to his role of Arthur Wilson in the years after the war.

John died in 1983 aged 71, according to his self composed epitaph in The Times 'he conked out' wanting to inject some humour and a layed back approach into his passing, this was the ultimate tribute to John Le Mesurier. John was survived by his third wife Joan.

His autobiography, A Jobbing Actor was published posthumously.

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