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John Le Mesurier (pron. "measurer", born John Elton Le Mesurier Halliley; 5 April 1912 – 15 November 1983) was an English actor. He is perhaps best remembered for his comedic role as Sergeant Arthur Wilson in the BBC television situation comedy Dad's Army (1968–77). A self-confessed "jobbing actor", Le Mesurier appeared in more than 120 films across a range of genres, normally in smaller supporting parts.Le Mesurier became interested in the stage as a young adult and enrolled at the Fay Compton Studio of Dramatic Art in 1933. From there he took a position in repertory theatre and made his stage debut in September 1934 at the Palladium Theatre in Edinburgh in the J. B. Priestley play Dangerous Corner. He later accepted an offer to work with Alec Guinness in a John Gielgud production of Hamlet. He first appeared on television in 1938 as Seigneur de Miolans in the BBC broadcast of The Marvellous History of St Bernard. During the Second World War Le Mesurier was posted to British India, as a captain with the Royal Tank Regiment. He returned to acting and made his film debut in 1948, starring in the second feature comedy short Death in the Hand, opposite Esme Percy and Ernest Jay. He undertook a number of roles on television in 1951 including Educating Archie alongside Tony Hancock.Le Mesurier had a prolific film career, appearing mostly in comedies, usually in roles portraying figures of authority such as army officers, policemen and judges. As well as Hancock's Half Hour, Le Mesurier appeared in Hancock's two principal films, The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man. In 1971 Le Mesurier received his only award: a British Academy of Film and Television Arts "Best Television Actor" award for his lead performance in Dennis Potter's television play Traitor; it was one of the few lead roles he played during the course of his career.He took a relaxed approach to acting and felt that his parts were those of "a decent chap all at sea in a chaotic world not of his own making". Le Mesurier was married three times, most notably to the actress Hattie Jacques. A heavy drinker of alcohol for most of his life, Le Mesurier died in 1983, aged 71, from a stomach haemorrhage, brought about by a complication of cirrhosis of the liver. After his death, critics reflected that, for an actor who normally took minor roles, the viewing public were "enormously fond of him".
Hattie Jacques (/dʒeɪks/; born Josephine Edwina Jaques; 7 February 1922 – 6 October 1980) was an English comedy actress of stage, radio and screen. She is best known as a regular of the Carry On films, where she typically played strict, no-nonsense characters, but was also a prolific television and radio performer.Jacques started her career in 1944 with an appearance at the Players' Theatre in London, but came to national prominence through her appearances on three highly popular radio series on the BBC: with Tommy Handley on It's That Man Again; with ventriloquist Peter Brough on Educating Archie; and then with Tony Hancock on Hancock's Half Hour. After the Second World War Jacques made her cinematic debut in Green for Danger, in which she had a brief, uncredited role. From 1958 to 1974 she appeared in 14 Carry On films, playing various roles including the formidable hospital matron. On television she had a long professional partnership with Eric Sykes, with whom she co-starred in his long-running series Sykes and Sykes and a.... The role endeared her to the public and the two became staples of British television.In private, Jacques led a turbulent life. She was married to the actor John Le Mesurier from 1949 until their divorce in 1965, a separation caused by her five-year affair with another man. Jacques, who had been overweight since her teenage years, suffered ill-health soon after the separation from Le Mesurier and her weight rose to nearly 20 stone (130 kg). She died of a heart attack on 6 October 1980, at the age of 58. Her biographer, Francis Gray, considers Jacques had a "talent for larger-than-life comedy which never lost its grip on humanity", while she could also display "a broader comic mode" as a result of her "extraordinary versatility".