Roy Mitchell Kinnear (8 January 1934 – 20 September 1988)was one of those supporting character actors whose performances made the leading actors look even better. Born in Scotland of a famous Ruby playing father, he started his acting career in the 1950's in repertory theatre,going to do a bit of radio work before his break into TV in That Was The Week That Was. It was in The Beatles film Help! that he really came to my attention when he acted as the bumbling sidekick technician to Victor Spinetti's mad scientist character. He made several films with his good friend and director Richard Lester that not only included Help! but also A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, How I Won the War, The Bed-Sitting Room, and the Musketeer series of the 1970s and 1980s. He played the father of spoiled rich girl Veruca Salt in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, an adaptation of Roald Dahl's famous children's novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
His performances, typecast perhaps, were nearly always comical with his innate ability to fumble his way through every character role he performed. He seemed such a lovable and capable man and even though such appearances may be stage manufactured I would like to think not in his case.
Sadly he died during the filming of the last of the Musketeers films when he fell from a horse and broke his pelvis. He died of a heart attack whilst under surgery. Prior to this he had completed the role of The Common Man in A Man for All Seasons a made-for-television film directed by and starring Charlton Heston as Thomas More, with John Gielgud as Cardinal Wolsey and Vanessa Redgrave as Lady More. Mr. Heston dedicated the film to Roy Kinnear as a memorial to a great actor and personal friend.
A great actor
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