|Cause of death Heart Attack|
Name Jon Pertwee
Parent(s) Roland Pertwee
|Years active 1938–96|
|Full Name John Devon Roland Pertwee|
Born 7 July 1919 (1919-07-07) Chelsea, London
Resting place Putney Vale Crematorium
Notable work Doctor Who (1970–74)Worzel Gummidge (1979–81, 1987–89)
Died May 20, 1996, Sherman, Connecticut, United States
Children Sean Pertwee, Dariel Pertwee
Spouse Ingeborg Rhoesa (m. 1960–1996), Jean Marsh (m. 1955–1960)
Cousins Bill Pertwee, James Raymond Pertwee
Movies and TV shows Doctor Who, Doctor Who: The Five Doct, Worzel Gummidge, Carry On Screaming!, Carry On Cleo
Similar People Patrick Troughton, Tom Baker, William Hartnell, Sean Pertwee, Peter Davison
Jon pertwee being hilarious
John Devon Roland Pertwee (7 July 1919 – 20 May 1996), known professionally as Jon Pertwee, was an English actor, entertainer and cabaret performer.
- Jon pertwee being hilarious
- Jon Pertwee 1982
- Personal life
- Early career
- Doctor Who 19701974
- Worzel Gummidge
- Other roles
- Later life
- Death and legacy
Pertwee starred as the Third Doctor in the science-fiction series Doctor Who between 1970 and 1974, and also spent 18 years (1959–1977) playing Chief petty officer Pertwee in The Navy Lark on BBC Radio. He later played the title character in the series Worzel Gummidge from 1979 to 1981, and again from 1987 to 1989.
As an actor, Pertwee appeared in many comedy roles and was once described as having "rubbery features and ability to affect silly voices". Earlier in his career, Pertwee had worked as a vaudeville comedian, performed at the Glasgow Empire Theatre and shared a bill with Max Wall and Jimmy James.
Jon Pertwee 1982
Born in Chelsea, London, and having Huguenot ancestry (his surname was an Anglicisation of "Perthuis"; the origins of his surname being "de Perthuis de Laillevault"), Jon was the son of screenwriter and actor Roland Pertwee and distant cousin of actor Bill Pertwee. Pertwee’s mother, Avice Scholtz, separated from his father Roland when Pertwee was young. His father remarried, and his mother found a new partner, with whom Pertwee did not build a relationship. Avice’s sister Daphne married Captain Philip Cecil Clowes and became the mother of Pertwee's cousin, the writer St. John Legh Clowes (1907–1951). Actor Henry Ainley, a close friend of his father, was his godfather. Coincidentally, Ainley's son Anthony appeared as "The Master" – a renegade Time Lord who was "The Doctor's" greatest enemy – alongside Pertwee in the 1983 Doctor Who anniversary story The Five Doctors.
He was married twice. His first marriage was in 1955, to Jean Marsh, whom he divorced in 1960; later that same year he married Ingeborg Rhoesa, born 1935. Together they had two children, both of whom were to become actors: a daughter, Dariel, in 1961, and a son, Sean, in 1964.
Pertwee was educated at Frensham Heights School, an independent school in Rowledge, near Farnham in Surrey, at Sherborne School in Sherborne in Dorset, and at some other schools from which he was expelled. After school, he went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), from which he was also expelled after he refused to play a Greek "wind" during one of the lessons, feeling it was a waste of both his time and his father's money. He was also accused of writing graffiti about the tutors on the lavatory walls.
During the Second World War, Pertwee spent six years in the Royal Navy. He was a crew member of HMS Hood and was transferred off the ship for officer training shortly before she was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck, losing all but three men in May 1941. Later, he was attached to the highly-secretive Naval Intelligence Division, working alongside future James Bond author Ian Fleming, and reporting directly to Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and Deputy Prime Minister, Clement Attlee. In an interview conducted in 1994 and published in 2013, he said, "I did all sorts. Teaching commandos how to use escapology equipment, compasses in brass buttons, secret maps in white cotton handkerchiefs, pipes you could smoke that also fired a .22 bullet. All sorts of incredible things." During his time in the Navy, Pertwee woke up one morning after a drunken night out while in port to find a tattoo of a cobra on his right arm.
After the war, he made a name for himself as a comedy actor on radio in Waterlogged Spa, alongside Eric Barker, and Puffney Post Office in which he played a hapless old postman with the catch-phrase "It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you tears them up." On 15 November 1948, at the Wood Green Empire, he was billed as 'The Most Versatile Voice in Radio – Jon ("Tear 'em Up") Pertwee from the Radio Shows "Merry-go-Round" and "Up the Pole"'. From 1959 to 1977, he had a long-running role as the conniving Chief Petty Officer Pertwee in The Navy Lark on BBC Radio. He was known as a Danny Kaye look-alike, and his impersonation of Kaye can be seen in the film Murder at the Windmill (1949). In 1953, he played Charlie Sterling in Will Any Gentleman...?. Future Doctor Who actor William Hartnell was also in the film; he played Inspector Martin.
On stage, he played the part of Lycus in the 1963 London production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with Frankie Howerd and appeared in the smaller role of Crassus in the 1966 film version. He appeared as Sidney Tait in the comedy film Ladies Who Do (1963). In 1966, Pertwee starred alongside Donald Sinden in the original West End production of the long-running comedy There's a Girl in My Soup and also appeared in four Carry On films: Carry On Cleo (1964, as the soothsayer), Carry On Cowboy (1965, as Sheriff Earp), Carry On Screaming! (1966, as Dr. Fettle), and Carry On Columbus (1992, as the Duke of Costa Brava). In 1967 Pertwee had been producer David Croft's choice for the role of Captain George Mainwaring in Dad's Army but turned it down – possibly because he preferred to extend his role on Broadway in There's a Girl in My Soup.
His television career had started off with small parts in children's shows featuring Richard Hearne's Mr Pastry character. Later he made an appearance in The Avengers episode 'From Venus With Love' (1967) as Brigadier Whitehead, and in the 1970s, he guest-starred as a vicar in The Goodies' episode "Wacky Wales".
Doctor Who (1970–1974)
In 1969, Pertwee was selected by outgoing producer Peter Bryant and the series' next producer Derrick Sherwin to take over as the Doctor from Patrick Troughton in the television series Doctor Who. Pertwee had asked his agent to apply for the role for him and was surprised to find he was already on the shortlist. He was the second choice for the role; Ron Moody was the first but was unavailable. In a departure from the Doctor's first two incarnations, Pertwee played the character as an active crusader with a penchant for action and fancy clothes, even while the character was exiled on Earth and serving with UNIT. He played the Doctor for five seasons from early 1970 to mid-1974, a longer stint than either of his predecessors in the role, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, although the Pertwee era of Doctor Who had 128 episodes compared to the Hartnell era's 134, as the BBC relaxed its shooting schedule from 39–45 episodes per season to 25–26 episodes per season at the start of Pertwee's tenure as Doctor Who.
Pertwee credited his performance as the Third Doctor for helping him work out exactly who he really was when he was not resorting to comedic disguises or voices: a dapper, technologically oriented man of action. This was because BBC Head of Drama Shaun Sutton had advised him to act out the Third Doctor as himself: in effect, to "play Jon Pertwee." Pertwee remembered asking himself, when so advised, "Now who in the hell is that?" His performances, he said in his later years, helped him to determine the answer to that question.
In 1971 he appeared in the Amicus horror compendium The House That Dripped Blood. Filming in the summer of 1970, between his first and second Doctor Who seasons, Pertwee played the lead in the last segment of the film as Paul Henderson, an arrogant horror film star who meets his doom thanks to a genuine vampire cloak.
In 1973, during the peak of his Doctor Who powers, Pertwee endorsed the Co-op's Baking Your Cake and Eating it, a recipe book written by Sarah Charles. It has been given the unofficial title of The Jon Pertwee Recipe Book.
In early 1974, Pertwee announced he would step down as the Doctor to resume his stage career in The Bedwinner, also citing typecasting in the role as the reason for leaving, though later he would say that the catalyst for his departure was the death of his good friend and co-star Roger Delgado (The Master) and the departures of co-star Katy Manning and producer Barry Letts. His last full-time appearance in the series was in the story Planet of the Spiders in June 1974, which finished with Tom Baker replacing him in the role. Although ratings for the series rose higher under his successor, who overtook him in popularity and became widely viewed as the definitive Doctor, Pertwee's tenure in Doctor Who has been praised by The Daily Telegraph critic Dr. Tim Stanley as "the high point of the programme as a serious piece of science-fiction".
Pertwee later reprised the role in the 20th anniversary story The Five Doctors and the Children in Need story Dimensions in Time, in two radio adventures and on stage in Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure. On 14 April 1971, Pertwee was the subject of Thames Television's This Is Your Life.
After a stint between 1974 and 1978 as the host of the Thames Television murder-mystery game show Whodunnit?, Pertwee took the starring role in Worzel Gummidge, based on the books written by Barbara Euphan Todd. First aired in 1979 on ITV, the series saw Pertwee as a scarecrow, as well as using several comedic voices. The show was an immediate hit and ran on the channel until 1981. Keen to continue beyond this, Pertwee campaigned for the series and it was picked up by a New Zealand TV network in 1987. Worzel Gummidge Down Under aired for the next two years and was screened in the UK on Channel 4. In 1995, Pertwee played the role one last time in a one-off special for ITV, which celebrated 40 years of the channel. Pertwee played the title character in Worzel Gummidge, the musical, book and lyrics by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, music by Denis King, which opened at London's Cambridge Theatre in December 1981, co-starring Una Stubbs and Geoffrey Bayldon. Pertwee also recorded an album, Worzel Gummidge Sings, as well as a Christmas single.
In 1975 he played a memorable role of 'The Colonel' in the children's film One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing. In 1976, Pertwee voiced and appeared in the television advertisement which promoted the Green Cross Code by use of the mnemonic "SPLINK". Also in 1976, Pertwee starred with Australian actress Julie Anthony in a West End production of the musical IRENE (originally 1919, revived Broadway 1973), playing the camp fashion-designer "Madame Lucy" (originally Liam O'Dougherty). The production opened at the Adelphi Theatre, London and enjoyed a long run of over 900 performances: Pertwee features on the cast recording album, produced by Norman Newell for EMI Records (EMC3139). He also voiced the character of "Spotty" in the 1980s cartoon series SuperTed and in 1985 he starred in Do You Know The Milkyway?, a television adaptation of Karl Wittlinger's stage play in which he played Dr. Neuross and another nine characters. In 1995 Pertwee also had the key voice of Death and other voice characterisations in the PC and PlayStation renditions of "Discworld". Also in 1995, Jon Pertwee played General Von Kramer in the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles episode "Attack of the Hawkmen".
He returned to the role of the Doctor in the 1983 20th anniversary television special The Five Doctors and in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time for Children in Need. He also portrayed the Doctor in the stage play Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure which toured theatres in the United Kingdom from March to June 1989. During the 1990s, he made a guest appearance in the "Lords and Ladies" episode of the BBC Radio 4 comedy series Harry Hill's Fruit Corner, playing a Time Lord and also spoofed the role in the Radio 4 comedy The Skivers. He also presented the Doctor Who video releases The Troughton Years (1991), showcasing selected surviving episodes of otherwise wiped stories and The Pertwee Years (1992), the latter a look back at his time on the show, with his three selected episodes.
In 1993, Pertwee was featured in the unofficial 30th anniversary VHS release of Doctor Who entitled 30 Years of Time Travel and Beyond. When asked in an interview for this documentary if the show should be brought back he simply replied with 'No... no', but believed if it did come back a lot more money would need to be spent on the series along with a new production team. Pertwee would continue to act in films and television as well as make appearances worldwide in support of Doctor Who. Ultimately, Pertwee was successful in seeing the Third Doctor return to the airwaves with two audio productions for BBC Radio, The Paradise of Death and The Ghosts of N-Space.
In April 1995, he appeared in Devious, an amateur video drama set between the second Doctor's trial at the end of The War Games and before the start of Spearhead From Space, which shows an interim (between second and third) Doctor played by Tony Garner being told he was "never meant to be the Doctor" and that the third will complete him. Pertwee's scenes in that role are the only pieces of the video that have been released (on the DVD of The War Games). Also in 1995, Pertwee starred in a one-man show called Who Is Jon Pertwee?.
Pertwee's final film role was in a short film entitled Cloud Cuckoo for Scottish Screen, released on 18 June 1994. His last formal television appearance was on Cilla's Surprise, Surprise, broadcast on 21 April 1996. At the date of his death, Pertwee was regularly being seen in the closing moments of an enigmatic UK TV commercial for mobile phone operator Vodafone: dressed somewhat in his flamboyant 'Doctor' manner. His character walked wordlessly across an alleyway in sight of a Liverpool landmark, and entered a garage evidently containing some kind of 'time machine'.
Death and legacy
Pertwee continued on the Doctor Who convention circuit, and with his voice and television acting, until his death; he died in his sleep from a heart attack in Connecticut on 20 May 1996, at the age of 76. He was survived by his wife Ingeborg Rhoesa, and two children who had followed him into the acting profession, Sean Pertwee and Dariel Pertwee. His immediate successor in the starring role of Doctor Who, Tom Baker, paid tribute, saying: "I am very sorry to hear the news. I was a great admirer of such a stylish actor." Another of his successors in the role, Colin Baker, said: "He was a man of such presence and stature. I can't believe he has gone – it is a great shock. Of all of the interpretations of the Doctors his was the most straight in terms of avoiding comedy." His body was cremated at Putney Vale Crematorium with a toy Worzel Gummidge affixed to the coffin, following the instructions in his will.
His death came six days after the American broadcast of the Doctor Who television film, which used in its opening credits a logo based on the one from his era of the television series. The BBC broadcast of the film, on 27 May 1996, featured a dedication to Pertwee at its end.
His last association with the series was posthumous. With the approval of his widow, Ingeborg, his voice was used as part of the plot of the Big Finish Productions' 40th Anniversary Doctor Who audio drama, Zagreus, appearing as messages from the Doctor's TARDIS as it attempted to help the currently corrupted Eighth Doctor (voiced by Paul McGann). Pertwee's voice was culled from the fan-produced Doctor Who film Devious, portions of which were recorded just prior to his death.
Pertwee wrote two autobiographies: Moon Boots and Dinner Suits (published in 1984), which primarily covers his life and career prior to Doctor Who, and the posthumously published Doctor Who: I Am the Doctor – Jon Pertwee’s Final Memoir, which was worked on from April 1995 until 8 May 1996 (ISBN 9781852276218, published in November 1996 by Virgin Publishing Ltd. under the Doctor Who Books imprint and co-written with David J. Howe), which covered his life during and after the series. In 2000, Jon Pertwee: The Biography by Bernard Bale (ISBN 0-233-99831-4) was published by André Deutsch, and included a few chapters by Pertwee's widow Ingeborg.
Archival footage of Pertwee has been used several times in the revived Doctor Who. Footage appears in "The Next Doctor" when the Tenth Doctor shows Jackson Lake an infostamp about himself, and in "The Eleventh Hour" when the Eleventh Doctor rhetorically asks the Atraxi how previous alien invasion attempts were stopped. Footage of Pertwee was used in "The Name of the Doctor" to depict his Doctor interacting with a version of Clara Oswald, and in "The Day of the Doctor" to depict the Third Doctor assisting his other incarnations in sending Gallifrey to a pocket universe to protect it from the Daleks.
Several figurines of Pertwee's Doctor have been released as part of the Doctor Who action figure range.
In 2016, his work was honoured with a blue plaque at the New Wimbledon Theatre, which was arranged by the Doctor Who Appreciation Society.