"It's more than
my job's worth to stop him when he's like this.
He's out to rule the world if he can get a
- as Algernon from Help! (1965)
Roy Kinnear appeared in
Anna Pavlova (1983) with James Fox, who plays the part of Mr. Salt in
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), which is the same role
Kinnear played in the original version, Willy Wonka & the
Chocolate Factory (1971).
Mitchell Kinnear (January 8th 1934 September 20th 1988) was a
British character actor. He was familiar to UK audiences for his
appearances in many British television comedy shows, and is also
remembered for his film appearances as Veruca Salt's father in Willy
Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and as Planchet in Richard
Lester's The Three Musketeers and its two sequels. It was during the
filming of the latter sequel that Kinnear died as a result of a
Kinnear was born in Wigan, Lancashire, the
son of Annie Smith (née Durie) and Roy Muir Kinnear. His
father was a dual international in rugby union and league, having
played for Scotland and Great Britain national rugby league team
international, making one Lions appearance and three for Other
Nationalities, and scoring 81 tries in 184 games for Wigan; he
collapsed and died while playing rugby union with the RAF in 1942, at
age 38. Scotland Rugby League have named their Student Player of the
Year Award after him.
Kinnear was educated at George Heriot's
School, in Edinburgh. At the age of 17, he enrolled in the Royal
Academy of Dramatic Art; however, national service interrupted his studies.
In the 1950s Kinnear began a career in
repertory theatre when he appeared in a show at Newquay. In 1959 he
joined Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal
Stratford East, performing in both the 1960 play and 1963 film of
Sparrows Can't Sing. Prior to joining Littlewood's workshop, he was a
member of the cast of Perth Repertory Theatre. The cast also included
people like Valerie Lush, Jane Cain (the original voice of the
Speaking Clock) and Russell Hunter. He continued to work on stage and
radio before gaining national attention as a participant in the
television show That Was The Week That Was. Kinnear was Stanley
Baker's original choice to play VC recipient Frederick Hitch in the
film Zulu. Baker did not know Kinnear's name, and told the casting
director to get "the actor from That Was the Week That Was whose
surname begins with K." David Kernan, also a cast member of that
program, was summoned and Baker chose to hire him rather than search
Kinnear later appeared in many popular UK
TV shows, including Doctor at Large, Man About the House (which
became Three's Company in the US), George and Mildred, The Dick Emery
Show (as Gaylord's long-suffering father), four episodes of The
Avengers (above) as different characters and Cowboys, a sitcom about
builders. His best-known films are those he made with director and
close friend Richard Lester: Help!, 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 (below).
Other films include On a Clear Day You Can
See Forever (with Barbra Streisand in 1970) and The Adventure of
Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (with Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn and
Marty Feldman in 1975).
He appeared with Christopher Lee in the
Hammer Horror film Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970). Also in 1970,
he played Mr. Perkins, Melody's father in Waris Hussein's Melody, a
puppy love story. He played the father of spoiled rich girl Veruca
Salt in the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (below left,
1971), an adaptation of Roald Dahl's children's novel Charlie and the
Chocolate Factory. He guest starred in The Goodies' episode "Rome
Antics" as the Roman Emperor, and in the BBC's Ripping Yarns
episode "Escape From Stalag Luft 112B" (1977) as the
fearsome German Sergeant Vogel.
He narrated and provided voices for the
stop-motion children's television show Bertha. He appeared in two
music videos for Mike + The Mechanics ("All I Need Is a
Miracle" and "Taken In") as the band's manager; in the
former he was reunited with his Help! co-star Victor Spinetti.
He narrated Towser and Bertha, voiced
Pipkin in the 1978 film Watership Down and voiced Texas Pete's
henchman Bulk in SuperTed (also with Victor Spinetti, who voiced the
evil Texas Pete).
Kinnear appeared regularly on the stage.
In later life he appeared in productions such as The Travails of
Sancho Panza (playing the title role), and in The Cherry Orchard, in 1985.
In 1987 Kinnear starred in the ITV sitcom
Hardwicke House, but the show caused such a storm of protest it was
cancelled after just two episodes.
final completed roles were in A Man for All Seasons (1988) a made-for-television
film directed by and starring Charlton Heston, John Gielgud and
Vanessa Redgrave, and as a patient in the BBC1 hospital drama
Casualty. Following his sudden death in September 1988, that episode
was postponed. It finally aired in August 1989.
Kinnear was married to actress Carmel
Cryan. They had three children, including TV and theatre actor Rory
(he was in the Bond films Skyfall and Quantum of Solace and is
Frankensteins Creature in Penny Dreadful), and casting director
Kirsty. Their elder daughter, Karina, was born with cerebral palsy.
On September 19th 1988, Kinnear fell from
a horse during the making of The Return of the Musketeers in Toledo,
Spain, and sustained a broken pelvis. He was taken to hospital in
Madrid but died from a heart attack the next day. He was 54 years
old. He is buried in East Sheen Cemetery.
After his death, Kinnear's family demanded
an official investigation into the level of medical care he had
received in Spain. Director Richard Lester, a close friend of Lester,
finished the film, then unofficially retired from directing. He
returned to directing in 1991 to direct the concert film "Get
Back" for friend Paul McCartney.
In 1994 the Roy Kinnear Trust, which was
inspired by his daughter Karina, was founded to help improve the life
of young adults with physical and mental disabilities. In 2013 The
Roy Kinnear Charitable Foundation joined Choice
Supports group structure who now manages Roy Kinnear House
in Twickenham, England, which provides a home for life for 8 people
with profound and complex learning and physical disabilities who need
nursing care, a high degree of personal care and significant social support.