#1 Posted on 23.7.02 1326.08 Reposted on: 23.7.09 1329.02
I, however, remember McKern as the last #2 in the really, really trippy final episodes of the Prisoner.
LONDON (AP) - Leo McKern, the Australian actor who gained fame as a curmudgeonly barrister in "Rumpole of the Bailey," died Tuesday at the age of 82, his agent said.
McKern, who had been ill for some time, died at a nursing home near his home in Bath in western England, said his agent, Richard Hatton.
McKern starred as Horace Rumpole in 44 episodes between 1975 and 1992, playing a crafty lawyer giving to quoting poetry, swilling "Chateau Thames Embankment" at Pomeroy's wine bar, and dueling at home with his wife Hilda - "she who must be obeyed."
The distinctive appearance of McKern's fleshy face was due in part to a glass left eye, the result of an accident when he was a 15-year-old engineer's apprentice.
"Rumpole," created by British lawyer John Mortimer, won a global audience, and McKern resigned himself to the inevitable typecasting.
"With Rumpole one comes to be reconciled to the fact that it isn't half a bad thing to be stuck with," he once said.
Mortimer praised McKern as "a wonderful actor."
"He not only played the character Rumpole, he added to it, brightened it and brought it fully to life," Mortimer said.
Actor Peter Bowles, who played Guthrie Featherstone in "Rumpole," called McKern "one of those rare actors who had no pomposity. He wasn't a luvvie. He never took himself seriously and had always kept the child within him.
"He was extremely generous and funny, and was brilliant on the stage as well as on television," Bowles said.
Born Reginald McKern in Sydney, he moved to Britain in 1946, two years after making his stage debut.
Some of his early British stage appearances came at the Old Vic Theater between 1949 and 1952, and at the Shakespeare Memorial Theater at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1952-54.