John Horsley (actor)

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John Horsley
Actor John Horsley.jpg
John Lovell Horsley

(1920-07-21)21 July 1920
Died12 January 2014(2014-01-12) (aged 93)
Northwood, Middlesex, England
Years active1950–1997
June Marshall
(m. 1948;died 1988)

John Lovell Horsley [1] (21 July 1920 – 12 January 2014) was a British actor. [2]


He was born in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, England. [3] The son of a doctor, he made his acting debut at the Theatre Royal in Bournemouth. [4] After appearing in repertory theatres he was called up for military service in the Royal Devon Yeomanry, in which he served in Sicily and Italy during the Second World War. [5] He then contracted hepatitis and become a member of an Army drama company that toured military units. [6]

Horsley's early career as a professional career saw him playing a succession of doctors and policemen, including a doctor in the film Hell Drivers (1957) and a policeman in the television show Big Breadwinner Hog (1969). [7] [8] He was more prolific in television from the 1960s, and played character roles in many series and programmes including The Lotus Eaters (1972–73) and The Duchess of Duke Street (1976–77). He is perhaps best known for his role as Doc Morrissey in the BBC sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976–79), in which his catchphrase was "Take two aspirins." [9] [10] He reprised the role in The Legacy of Reginald Perrin in 1996. [11] He also starred in the 1980s comedy series My Husband and I .

He played Giles Rowley in "The Colonel's Lady" (1988), an episode of Tales of the Unexpected . He played Sir Ralph Shawcross in the BBC sitcom You Rang, M'Lord? (1990–93) and the Bishop of Tatchester in the BBC's adaptation of John Masefield's The Box of Delights (1984). He appeared as Professor Wanstead in Nemesis , an episode of Miss Marple , in 1987, and as Edward Tressilian in Hercule Poirot's Christmas , an episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot , in 1995. [9] [12] He also appeared as Clive in "Co-respondents Course", an episode of the sitcom Hi-de-Hi . [13] His final role was in the TV mini-series Rebecca in 1997. [14]

Horsley was married to the actress June Marshall (1923–1988) from 1948 until her death, and they had two daughters. [15]

He died on 12 January 2014 at Denville Hall, a retirement home for actors. [16]

Selected filmography

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  1. "Deceased Estates" the Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  2. "John Horsley". BFI.
  3. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  4. Baker, Richard Anthony (23 January 2014). "John Horsley – Obituaries".
  5. "John Horsley – obituary". 6 February 2014 via
  6. "John Horsley: Character actor whose comedic talent brought him fame as". The Independent. 23 January 2014.
  7. "Hell Drivers (1957) – Cy Raker Endfield – Cast and Crew". AllMovie.
  8. "Improving, But He Must Not Flout Authority ... (1969)". BFI.
  9. 1 2 "John Horsley".
  10. John Horsley at Leonard retrieved 1 January 2012
  11. "The Legacy of Reginald Perrin – TV Guide".
  12. "The Box of Delights". 15 November 1984. p. 68 via BBC Genome.
  13. Guide, British Comedy. "Hi-De-Hi! Series 3, Episode 7 – Co-respondent's Course". British Comedy Guide.
  14. "Rebecca Part 2 (1997)". BFI.
  15. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  16. Brian Pendreigh "Obituary: John Horsley, actor", The Scotsman, 16 January 2014