Leonard Rossiter

Biography

An English actor with careers in film, television and theatre. He is best known for his roles as Rupert Rigsby, in the British comedy television series Rising Damp, and Reginald Iolanthe Perrin, in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976-79), as well as for a series of Cinzano commercials (1978-1983), with Joan Collins. Date of Birth 21 October 1926, Liverpool, England, UK Date of Death 5 October 1984, London, England, UK (heart attack) Height 5' 9" (1.75 m) Mini Biography Leonard Rossiter was born on October 21st, 1926 in Liverpool. Unable to afford to go to university, he worked in an insurance office until he was 27, when he joined Preston repertory company and made his professional stage debut in "The Gay Dog". After Preston, he starred in productions at Wolverhampton, Salisbury and The Old Vic Company at Bristol's Theatre Royal. In 1962, he made his first big-screen appearance in A Kind of Loving (1962), followed by other films throughout the 1960s, including Billy Liar (1963) and TV appearances such as "Z Cars" (1962), "The Avengers" (1961) and "Steptoe and Son" (1962). His portrayal of "Adolf Hitler" in the 1969 play, "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui", made him a West End star. His roles as "Rigsby" in "Rising Damp" (1974) and the title role in "The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin" (1976) made him a household name, and his Cinzano commercials with Joan Collins were comic masterpieces. A keen sportsman, he excelled in squash, tennis and football. He was also a connoisseur of fine wines. His busy career came to a tragically premature end on October 5th 1984, just sixteen days short of his 58th birthday. During a performance of Joe Orton's play "Loot", Leonard suffered a heart attack in his dressing room. He was married to actress Gillian Raine and had a daughter, Camilla. Spouse Gillian Raine (1964 - 5 October 1984) (his death) 1 child Josephine Tewson (1959 - 1961) (divorced) Trivia Died of heart attack in his dressing room during a performance of 'Loot'. Well-known for his strict professionalism and competitive streak. He was a perfectionist when it came to acting, and was known to be a difficult actor to work with despite his affectionate and flamboyant personality. Leonard was left-handed, as can be seen during an episode of "The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin" (1976). Personal Quotes You get a much greater sense of doing the job more successfully working in the theater ...Theatre is my favorite, I suppose, audiences are very important to me. Partly because of my lack of interest in history and partly because of an in-built conviction that too much research leads to cranky performances, I never dug too deeply into the private lives of any historical characters I've attempted - Voltaire, Hitler, Giordano Bruno or Richard III. If the author doesn't achieve his aim between pages 1 and 80 no amount of research by an actor will do it. When I worked over there (America) I came to a firm conclusion - we are separated by a mutual language. It's not that I can't tolerate fools, I can, providing that I don't have to put up with them for too long.

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Birth Place

Liverpool, England, UK

Birth Date

10/21/1926

Death Date

10/5/1984
Known For
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Britannia Hospital

Vincent Potter

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The Wrong Box

Vyvyan Alistair Montague

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Water

Sir Malcolm Leveridge

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Rising Damp - The Movie

Rigsby

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2001: A Space Odyssey

Dr. Andrei Smyslov

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Portobello Road

Johnston

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Hotel Paradiso

Inspector

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Diamonds for Breakfast

Inspector Dudley

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This Is Joan Collins

Self (archive footage)

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Luther

Brother Weinand

Starring In
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This Is Joan Collins

Self (archive footage)

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Water

Sir Malcolm Leveridge

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Trail of the Pink Panther

Super-Intendant Quinlan

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Britannia Hospital

Vincent Potter

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Rising Damp - The Movie

Rigsby

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The Pink Panther Strikes Again

Quinlan

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Voyage of the Damned

Commander Von Bonin

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Barry Lyndon

Capt. John Quin

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Luther

Brother Weinand

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Portobello Road

Johnston

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Oliver!

Sowerberry

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2001: A Space Odyssey

Dr. Andrei Smyslov

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Deadfall

Fillmore

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Diamonds for Breakfast

Inspector Dudley

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Deadlier than the Male

Bridgenorth

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The Whisperers

Assistance Board Officer

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The Wrong Box

Vyvyan Alistair Montague

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Hotel Paradiso

Inspector

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The Witches

Dr. Wallis

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King Rat

McCoy

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Steptoe And Son - Series 4

Johnny Spooner / ... (2 episodes, 1964-1972)

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The Long Ships

Persian Soldier Who Falls On Sword To Prove Loyalty (uncredited)

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This Sporting Life

Phillips, Sports writer

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Billy Liar

Emanuel Shadrack

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A Kind of Loving

Whymper

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