John Slater (actor)

Last updated

John Slater
Actor John Slater.jpg
1955 Barbers Teas Cinema and Television Stars trading card
Basil John Slater

(1916-08-22)22 August 1916
London, England
Died9 January 1975(1975-01-09) (aged 58)
London, England
Years active1941–1974
SpouseBetty Levy

John Slater (22 August 1916 9 January 1975) was an English character actor who usually portrayed lugubrious, amiable cockney types. [1]



Slater's father was an antiques dealer. After attending St Clement Danes Grammar School in Hammersmith, Slater began acting in farce at the Whitehall Theatre. He first appeared on film in 1938, remaining active in the industry up to his death. He was a familiar face in British films of the 1940s and appeared in many classic films of the period, including The Day Will Dawn (1942, US title The Avengers), Went the Day Well? (1942), We Dive at Dawn (1943), A Canterbury Tale (1944), The Seventh Veil (1945), It Always Rains on Sunday (1947) and Passport to Pimlico (1949). [1]

He was also a singer, and made three solo 78rpm records for Columbia in 1953 and 1954. The first of these was a cover of "(How Much is) That Doggie in the Window?", followed by "Travelling Alone", his own composition. [2] The latter was released in 1953, and subsequently used in the 1956 film Johnny, You're Wanted , which starred Slater in the lead role. [1] [2] [3] In 1954, Columbia released a single of excerpts from Dry Rot, a farce from London's Whitehall Theatre by John Chapman (which later became a film of the same name). The record featured Slater alongside Brian Rix, Basil Lord, Cicely Paget-Bowman, Diana Caderwood and Chapman, with Jackie Brown on the Hammond organ. [2] In 1959, Slater participated on a studio cast recording of My Fair Lady , singing "With a Little Bit of Luck" and "Get Me to the Church on Time" as Eliza Doolittle's father Alfred. [4]

Slater narrated the National Coal Board's Mining Review documentary series, and was known on television for his presenter role opposite popular children's puppets Pinky and Perky during the 1960s, as a story-teller on Jackanory and as Det. Sgt. Stone in Z-Cars from 1967 to 1974. He also appeared in the notorious 1958 stage production of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party , as Nat Goldberg. He narrated the 1963 film Giants of Steam made by the British Broadcasting Corporation and British Transport Films. [1]

Slater sustained life-threatening injuries as a result of an air crash in France in 1946 and sporadic bouts of ill health hampered his career. He died on 9 January 1975 from a heart attack, aged 58. [5]

Selected filmography

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wally Patch</span> English actor and comedian (1888–1953)

Walter Sydney Vinnicombe was an English actor and comedian. He worked in film, television and theatre.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">David Bruce (actor)</span> American actor (1914–1976)

David Bruce was an American film actor. He was a company member of Peninsula Players Theatre in Fish Creek, Wisconsin in 1939.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Regis Toomey</span> American actor (1898–1991)

John Francis Regis Toomey was an American film and television actor.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Norma Varden</span> English-American actress (1898–1989)

Norma Varden Shackleton, known professionally as Norma Varden, was an English-American actress with a long film career.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Philip Van Zandt</span> Dutch-American actor (1904–1958)

Philip Van Zandt, sometimes billed as Phil Van Zandt, was a Dutch-American actor of stage, film, and television. He made nearly 250 film and television appearances between 1939 and 1958.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joe Sawyer</span> Canadian actor (1906–1982)

Joe Sawyer was a Canadian film actor. He appeared in more than 200 films between 1927 and 1962, and was sometimes billed under his birth name.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ronald Shiner</span> British stand-up comedian and comedy actor (1903–1966)

Ronald Alfred Shiner was a British stand-up comedian and comedy actor whose career encompassed film, West End theatre and music hall.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Emory Parnell</span> American actor (1892–1979)

Emory Parnell was an American vaudeville performer and actor who appeared in over 250 films in his 36-year career.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rick Vallin</span> American actor (1902–1996)

Rick Vallin was an actor who appeared in more than 150 films between 1938 and 1966.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arthur Hambling</span> British actor (1888–1952)

Arthur Hambling was a British actor, on stage from 1912, and best known for appearances in the films Henry V (1944) and The Lavender Hill Mob (1951). In 1939 he appeared in the West End in N.C. Hunter's comedy Grouse in June.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Beatrice Varley</span> Enhglish actress (1896–1964)

Beatrice Evelyn Varley was an English actress who appeared in television and film roles between 1936 and 1964. She made her screen debut in the 1936 film Tomorrow We Live and began to portray a variety of character roles in films such as Oh, Mr Porter!, Holiday Camp and The Wicked Lady before moving predominantly into television until she died in 1964.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Victor</span> British actor (1896–1965)

Charles Victor was a British actor who appeared in many film and television roles between 1931 and 1965. He was born Charles Victor Harvey.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Millican</span> American actor (1911–1955)

James Millican was an American actor with over 200 film appearances mostly in western movies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">George Merritt (actor)</span> English actor (1890–1977)

Frederick George Merritt was an English theatre, film and television actor, often in authoritarian roles. He studied German theatre in Magdeburg, Germany, and taught at the Berlitz School at the outbreak of the First World War, when he was held as a British Civil Prisoner of War, and interned at Ruhleben, 1914–1918. He was involved in over 50 plays at Ruhleben. He lived for many years in Lissenden Gardens, Parliament Hill, north west London.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eliot Makeham</span> English actor (1882–1956)

Harold Elliott Makeham was an English film and television actor.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Frederick Piper</span> English actor (1902–1979)

Frederick Piper was an English actor of stage and screen who appeared in over 80 films and many television productions in a career spanning over 40 years. Piper studied drama under Elsie Fogerty at the Central School of Speech and Drama, then based at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Walter Sande</span> American actor (1906–1971)

Walter Sande was an American character actor, known for numerous supporting film and television roles.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Salew</span> English actor

John Rylett Salew was an English stage film and TV actor. Salew made the transition from stage to films in 1939, and according to Allmovie, "the manpower shortage during WWII enabled the stout, balding Salew to play larger and more important roles than would have been his lot in other circumstances. He usually played suspicious-looking characters, often Germanic in origin." His screen roles included William Shakespeare in the comic fantasy Time Flies (1944), Grimstone in the Gothic melodrama Uncle Silas (1947), and the librarian in the supernatural thriller Night of the Demon (1957). He played Colonel Wentzel in the Adventures of William Tell "The Shrew" episode (1958). John Salew was active into the TV era, playing the sort of character parts that John McGiver played in the US

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leslie Bradley</span> English actor (1907–1974)

Leslie Ernest Bradley was an English actor. He died in Desert Hot Springs, California.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Boxer (British actor)</span> British actor (1909–1982)

John Boxer was a British film and television actor. His television appearances included Emergency – Ward 10, Dixon of Dock Green, The Saint, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), The Onedin Line and The Life and Times of David Lloyd George.


  1. 1 2 3 4 "John Slater". BFI. Archived from the original on 25 July 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  2. 1 2 3 Andrews, Frank; Hayes, Jim; Smith, Michael (2010). Columbia Graphophone Company Ltd., 'DB' prefixed catalogue series. and 'LB' clef series. of 10 inch 78 rpm records. City Of London Phonograph and Gramophone Society.
  3. "Johnny You're Wanted (1956)". BFI. Archived from the original on 28 September 2019. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  4. My Fair Lady - 1959 Studio Cast , retrieved 5 July 2021
  5. "John Slater, British Actor Of Stage and TV, Is Dead". The New York Times. 10 January 1975. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 5 July 2021.