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John Laurie
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John Laurie

John Laurie (25 March 1897 - 23 June 1980) was an actor born in Dumfries, Scotland. He is probably most recognisable for his role as Pvt. James Frazer, the gaunt-faced, intense, pessimistic undertaker in the popular BBC sitcom Dad's Army from 1968 - 1977.

The son of a mill worker, he abandoned a career in architecture to serve in World War One. After the war he trained to become an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London and first acted on stage in 1921.

A prolific Shakespearian actor, Laurie spent much of the time between 1922 and 1939, playing Shakespearian parts including Hamlet, Richard III and Macbeth at the Old Vic or Stratford-upon-Avon. He starred in all three of his friend Laurence Olivier's Shakespeare films.

His early work in films included Juno and the Paycock, which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. His breakthrough third film, reunited him with Hitchcock, in the director's film 1935 The 39 Steps. Other work included the farmer recruit in The Way Ahead (1944), the brothel proprietor in Fanny by Gaslight (1944) and the repugnant Pew in Disney's Treasure Island (1950).

One of his final appearances, looking slightly frail, was in Return to the Edge of the World, directed by Michael Powell in 1978.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2006.

John Laurie Facts

BirthdayMarch 25, 1897
BirthplaceDumfries, Scotland, United Kingdom
Date of deathJune 23, 1980 (age 83)
Height5' 10½" (1m79)  How tall is John Laurie compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Not available.