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Dinsdale Landen, who died on 29 December, 2003, at the age of 71, was a British actor best known for his television appearances and weighty theatre roles.During an acting career which spanned almost five decades, his screen roles included parts in All Creatures Great and Small, The Avengers, and cult classic Doctor Who. On stage, he earned an Olivier Award nomination for his role in the West End play Alphabetical Order.His film credits included Mosquito Squadron, Morons From Outer Space and International Velvet.A favourite with British television audiences, the Daily Telegraph has described him as “one of the most original, gifted and hilarious exponents of light comedy”.Dinsdale James Landen was born on 4 September, 1923, in Margate, Kent. He began his education at Hove County Grammar School, before going on to study for the stage at the Florence Moore Theatre Studios in Hove.After National Service with the RAF, he made his professional debut in 1946 at the Dolphin Theatre, Brighton. He then spent nearly a decade in seaside rep until, in 1955, he accompanied an Australian tour of the Old Vic Company.Two seasons later he made his West End debut in Rodney Ackland’s thriller, A Dead Secret, and further roles on the London stage soon followed including musical comedy Auntie Mame and Shakespeare classic Henry V.Great Expectations, a 1959 adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel, marked Landen’s television debut, while his film debut, The Valiant, hit screens in 1962. Other screen work included the popular TV series ‘Mickey Dunne’.His portrayal of a verbally constipated lead writer in 1975’s newspaper comedy Alphabetical Order earned him high praise, particularly from one critic who rated it as “quite possibly the comic performance of the year.”The late 1970s saw Mr Landen appear on BBC Radio 4 in an adaptation of Jim Eldridge’s novel ‘Down Payment on Death’ and even star in his own situation comedy entitled ‘Devenish’.Later years heralded popular guest appearances on TV’s Lovejoy, All Creatures Great and Small and cult series Doctor Who. His final television role came in the 1997 Catherine Cookson adaptation ‘The Wingless Bird’.He retired from acting in 1998, after being diagnosed with mouth cancer. Despite a brief period of remission, the illness ultimately took his life in Norfolk on 29 December, 2003. He was 71.Aside from acting, his hobbies reportedly included golf and walking. He spent much of his time in the country, particularly Norfolk.He was survived by his wife,Jennifer Daniel, who was also an actress.Of his role in popular TV series ‘Mickey Dunne’, Mr Landen once remarked: “I am a chronic worrier. I have so many worries I can’t fit in another for a fortnight. That’s why Mickey Dunne is so good for me. He’s the opposite – a gambler who doesn’t let things bother him. He has great taste and I like him.”
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Published in: Online.
Published from: December 29, 2003.
Region: National
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