Thorley Walters

Last updated

Thorley Walters
Thorley Walters.jpg
Thorley Swinstead Walters

(1913-05-12)12 May 1913
Teigngrace, Devon, England
Died6 July 1991(1991-07-06) (aged 78)
London, England
Resting place Golders Green Crematorium
Years active1935–1991

Thorley Swinstead Walters (12 May 1913 [1] – 6 July 1991) was an English character actor. [2] He is probably best remembered for his comedy film roles such as in Two-Way Stretch and Carlton-Browne of the FO . [3]


Early life

Walters was born in Teigngrace, Devon, the son of Prebendary Thomas Collins Walters of Silverton, Devon [1] and his wife Mary Francis[sic] née Swinstead. [4] [5] He was educated at Monkton Combe School, Somerset.

Walters appeared in the West End in the 1942 naval play Escort by Patrick Hastings and the 1949 musical Her Excellency at the London Hippodrome.



He featured in three of the St Trinian's films, starting as an army major in Blue Murder at St Trinian's . He later appeared as Butters, assistant to Education Ministry senior civil servant Culpepper-Brown (Eric Barker) in The Pure Hell of St Trinian's and played the part of Culpepper-Brown in The Wildcats of St Trinian's .

From the 1960s onwards he also appeared in several Hammer horror films, including The Phantom of the Opera (1962), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) and Vampire Circus (1972). He was a close friend of Hammer's most important director Terence Fisher. [6]

Walters played Sherlock Holmes's sidekick Doctor Watson in four unrelated films: Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace (1962), The Best House in London (1969), The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975) and Silver Blaze (1977). [7]


Walters' television appearances included the Granada series Crown Court , both as a judge and as a barrister. He also appeared as a barrister in the BBC Series A P Herbert's Misleading Cases starring Roy Dotrice as Albert Haddock. He also was in The Avengers starring as Hemming in the 1966 episode "What the Butler Saw". Walters also had roles in The Lotus Eaters and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy . [8] Walters was considered for the role of Captain Mainwaring in Dad's Army , before the part was assigned to Arthur Lowe [9] – Walters was offered the role by producer David Croft but turned it down. [10] In 1974 he played the Prince of Wales in the TV drama Jennie - Lady Randolph Churchill.

Personal life

In the DVD commentary to The Man Who Haunted Himself , actor Roger Moore mentioned that co-star Walters lived in Dolphin Square in Pimlico, London in which some scenes of the film were shot.

Walters visited the ailing Terry-Thomas in Barnes, London in 1989. Walters had starred with Thomas in the Boulting Brothers' film Carlton-Browne of the F.O. and was shocked at his appearance (he was ill with Parkinson's disease). That visit resulted in the Terry-Thomas Gala held in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in the same year which raised funds to help Thomas live the rest of his life in comfort.

Actress Siobhan Redmond was visiting Walters when he died in a London nursing home. Actor Ian Bannen gave the main address at his funeral held at Golders Green. [11] [12]


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Irene Handl</span> British character actress in over 100 films (1901-1987)

Irene Handl was a British author and character actress who appeared in more than 100 British films.

<i>The Pure Hell of St Trinians</i> 1960 British comedy film

The Pure Hell of St Trinian's is a 1960 British comedy film set in the fictional St Trinian's School. Directed by Frank Launder and written by him and Sidney Gilliat, it was the third in a series of four films.

<i>Blue Murder at St Trinians</i> 1957 British film

Blue Murder at St Trinian's is a 1957 British comedy film, directed by Frank Launder, co-written by Launder and Sidney Gilliat, and starring Terry-Thomas, George Cole, Joyce Grenfell, Lionel Jeffries and Richard Wattis; the film also includes a brief cameo of Alastair Sim, who reprising his lead role in the 1954 film, The Belles of St. Trinian's. Inspired by the St Trinian's School comic strips by British cartoonist Ronald Searle, the film is the second entry in the St. Trinian's film series, with its plot seeing the students of the fictional school making plans to secure a place on a European tour, all while subsequently aiding a criminal who is secretly seeking to escape the country with stolen jewels.

<i>The Great St. Trinians Train Robbery</i> 1966 British film

The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery is a British comedy film, directed by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, written by Sidney and Leslie Gilliat, and released on 4 April 1966. It is the last of the original series of films based on the St Trinian's School set of images and comics, and the only one to be produced in colour. The film stars a selection of actors from previous films in the series, including George Cole, Richard Wattis, Eric Barker, Michael Ripper, and Raymond Huntley, alongside Frankie Howerd, Reg Varney, Dora Bryan, and the voice of Stratford Johns.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Terence Fisher</span> British film director and film editor

Terence Fisher was a British film director best known for his work for Hammer Films.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Basil Dignam</span> English actor

Basil Dignam was an English character actor.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Barry Foster (actor)</span> English actor (1927–2002)

John Barry Foster was an English actor who had an extensive career in film, radio, stage and television over almost 50 years. He was best known for portraying the title character in the British crime series Van der Valk (1972–1992) and Bob Rusk in Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy (1972).

<i>The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother</i> 1975 film by Gene Wilder

The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother is a 1975 American musical comedy film with Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Dom DeLuise, Roy Kinnear, and Leo McKern. The film was Wilder's directorial debut, from his own original script.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Patrick Newell</span> English actor

Patrick David Newell was a British actor, known for his large size.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Raymond Huntley</span> English actor (1904–1990)

Horace Raymond Huntley was an English actor who appeared in dozens of British films from the 1930s to the 1970s. He also appeared in the ITV period drama Upstairs, Downstairs as the pragmatic family solicitor Sir Geoffrey Dillon.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Michael Ripper</span> British actor

Michael George Ripper was an English character actor.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Douglas Wilmer</span> British actor (1920 – 2016)

Douglas Wilmer was an English actor, best known for playing Sherlock Holmes in the 1965 TV series Sherlock Holmes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eric Barker</span> English actor (1912–1990)

Eric Leslie Barker was an English comedy actor. He is most remembered for his roles in the popular British Carry On films, although he only appeared in the early films in the series, apart from returning for Carry On Emmannuelle in 1978.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Colin Blakely</span> British actor

Colin George Blakely was a Northern Irish actor. He had roles in the films A Man for All Seasons (1966), The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), and Equus (1977).

<i>Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace</i> 1962 film by Terence Fisher

Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace is a 1962 mystery film directed by Terence Fisher. It is a West German-French-Italian international co-production. The film starred Christopher Lee as Sherlock Holmes and Thorley Walters as Dr. Watson. Curt Siodmak wrote the screenplay, based on characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kynaston Reeves</span> English actor (1893–1971)

Philip Arthur Reeves, known professionally as Kynaston Reeves, was an English character actor who appeared in numerous films and many television plays and series.

<i>Carlton-Browne of the F.O.</i> 1959 film

Carlton-Browne of the F.O. is a 1959 British comedy film made by the Boulting Brothers and starring Terry-Thomas, Peter Sellers, and Luciana Paluzzi. It centres on an inept Foreign Office (F.O.) diplomat who is sent to re-establish good relations with the island of Gaillardia, an obscure former British colony that attracts the attention of both the UK and the USSR for its mineral deposits.

<i>The Sleeping Cardinal</i> 1931 film

The Sleeping Cardinal, also known as Sherlock Holmes' Fatal Hour in the United States, is a 1931 British mystery film directed by Leslie S. Hiscott and starring Arthur Wontner and Ian Fleming. The film is an adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. Although it is not based on any one particular story, the film draws inspiration from "The Empty House" and "The Final Problem". The film is the first in the 1931–1937 film series starring Wontner as Sherlock Holmes. It is unrelated to the Basil Rathbone series of Sherlock Holmes films that began in the late 1930s.

<i>The Sign of Four</i> (1983 film) British TV series or programme

The Sign of Four is a 1983 British made-for-television mystery film directed by Desmond Davis and starring Ian Richardson and David Healy. The film is based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1890 novel of the same name, the second novel to feature Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.

Silver Blaze is a 1977 British/Canadian television film directed by John Davies and starring Christopher Plummer and Thorley Walters. It is based on Arthur Conan Doyle's 1892 short story The Adventure of Silver Blaze.


  1. 1 2 3 "Devon Clergyman's Son's Success". Exeter and Plymouth Gazette. 6 April 1939. p. 8. Retrieved 22 September 2012.(subscription required)
  2. "Thorley Walters | BFI | BFI". Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  3. "Thorley Walters movies, photos, movie reviews, filmography, and biography". AllMovie. 7 July 1991. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  4. Who's Who in the Theatre, Ian Herbert, Gale Research Co., 1981, p. 689
  5. The Annual Obituary 1991, Deborah Andrews, 1992, p. 460
  6. "the actors". British Horror Films. 25 December 2005. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  7. "The Many Watsons – Marty Feldman & Thorley Walters". Kieran McMullen. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  8. "BBC Four – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Tarr Tells His Story". 19 November 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  9. Roger Lewis (28 September 2011). "Dad's Army: the show that won't go away". Daily Telegraph .
  10. McCann, Graham (2001). Dad's Army – The story of a classic television show. London: Fourth Estate. p. 55. ISBN   978-1841153094.
  11. "Terry-Thomas Tribute". 9 April 1989. Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  12. Graham McCann (2011). Bounder!: The Biography of Terry-Thomas. Aurum Press. p. 1927. ISBN   978-1-84513-756-4.