From Shakespeare To The Sitcom
October 30, 2010 1:52 PM   Subscribe

Graham Crowden, character actor, has died at 87 after a 52 year career on stage, television, and film. In the United States he may be best known for playing the whimsical Tom Ballard alongside Stephanie Cole's cynical Diana in the BBC series Waiting for God, often shown on PBS. Born in Edinburgh in 1922, he had a distinguished career on stage, particularly at Olivier's National Theatre, undertaking (among other roles) The Player King in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. In 1974, citing an inability to commit to a single role, he turned down the part of the Fourth Doctor, which eventually went to his friend Tom Baker. A few years later, in 1977, he played in Terry Gilliam's Jabberwocky. He had another star turn on television in a previous BBC series, A Very Peculiar Practice, as the physician Jock McCannon. His last role was in 2008 in an episode of Foyle's War, "Broken Souls." Said his agent Sue Grantley to the BBC, "We will all miss him enormously."
posted by sister nunchaku of love and mercy (23 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by oonh at 1:52 PM on October 30, 2010


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posted by Bromius at 1:59 PM on October 30, 2010


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posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:05 PM on October 30, 2010


He was one of those actors who punches above his weight in secondary roles for years, so it was nice that he got to star in the end: but I will always treasure him in A Very Peculiar Practice most of all.

- Red marks!
- No, I'm more of a Freud man, myself.

(You probably need to have watched it.)
posted by Segundus at 2:48 PM on October 30, 2010


I was a big fan of his work.

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posted by pemberkins at 3:01 PM on October 30, 2010


We've been watching Waiting for God a lot the last 6 months and he's delightful in it. Thanks for the post.
posted by dragonplayer at 3:04 PM on October 30, 2010


While he did not take the role of the Fourth Doctor, he did make an appearance in Doctor Who during Tom Baker's tenure as Soldeed in The Horns of Nimon.
posted by pemberkins at 3:13 PM on October 30, 2010


Whoa, I literally 10 minutes ago finished watching if...., in which he had a minor role. Sorry to hear he has passed on.

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posted by thoughtless at 3:19 PM on October 30, 2010


He was brilliant and hilarious in A Very Peculiar Practice.
posted by Fat Buddha at 3:43 PM on October 30, 2010


Crowden was a wonderful and criminally underrated actor.

The moment in "The Ruling Class" where he and O'Toole's character discover they went to the same school is... a moment. A real moment. Sadly I cannot find it on YouTube.
posted by Decani at 3:48 PM on October 30, 2010


Britannia Hospital! His little snack of human brain was ... unforgettable.
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 3:49 PM on October 30, 2010


I recall his work in Foyles War' and 'Midsomer' but not 'Raffles'.
ado sir
posted by clavdivs at 4:14 PM on October 30, 2010


When I heard about this, I watched an episode of Very Peculiar Practice as a sort of tribute. Crowden was excellent, of course, but what struck me was that the programme was terrifyingly up to date for something from the mid-eighties.
posted by Grangousier at 4:26 PM on October 30, 2010


I literally 10 minutes ago finished watching if....

He has parts in all three of Lindsay Anderson's Mick Travis movies, if memory serves. Such a fantastic presence.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:04 PM on October 30, 2010


I'm glad to know there are others here who will miss him. I generally read a lot of British media, and couldn't believe I'd missed the news of his death, so I felt I should really post something on the blue.

Had planned to watch Waiting For God again soon; no better time than now.
posted by sister nunchaku of love and mercy at 5:21 PM on October 30, 2010


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posted by Ranucci at 5:25 PM on October 30, 2010


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posted by ltracey at 6:18 PM on October 30, 2010


He is no longer Waiting for God.

Rest well.

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posted by Gridlock Joe at 9:18 PM on October 30, 2010


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I'm so crushed to hear this. I love him as Tom and loved him in other shows. Aw! I'm so bummed.
posted by Calzephyr at 9:58 PM on October 30, 2010


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posted by peterkins at 11:45 AM on October 31, 2010


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posted by HandfulOfDust at 1:04 PM on October 31, 2010


His death was heavily reported in the Doctor Who fan media. I saw Horns of Nimon recently; it wasn't a great episode, but Crowden played one of those fun scenery-chewing Baker-era villains in it.
posted by immlass at 3:49 PM on October 31, 2010


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posted by monopas at 6:57 PM on November 1, 2010


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