John Laurie

John Laurie

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John Laurie

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John Paton Laurie (25 March 1897 – 23 June 1980) was a Scottish actor born in Dumfries, Scotland. Although he is now probably most recognised for his role as Private James Frazer in the sitcom Dad's Army (1968-1977), he appeared in hundreds of feature films, including films by Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Powell and Laurence Olivier. He was also a noted stage actor (particularly of Shakespearean roles) and speaker of verse, especially that of Robert Burns.

Early life

Laurie was the son of William Laurie (1856–1903), a clerk in a tweed mill and later a hatter and hosier, and Jessie Ann Laurie (née Brown; 1858–1935). He was a pupil at Dumfries Academy and abandoned a career in architecture to serve in World War I. After the war, in which he served with the Honourable Artillery Company, he trained to become an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London and first acted on stage in 1921.

Acting career

A prolific Shakespearean actor, Laurie spent much of the time between 1922 and 1939 playing Shakespearean parts, including Hamlet, Richard III and Macbeth at the Old Vic or Stratford-upon-Avon. He starred in his friend Laurence Olivier's three Shakespearean films, Henry V (1944), Hamlet (1948) and Richard III (1955). He and Olivier also appeared in As You Like It (1936). During the Second World War, Laurie served in the Home Guard - the only future Dad's Army cast member to do so.

His early work in films included Juno and the Paycock (1930), directed...
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