Arthur Lowe

From Academic Kids

Arthur Lowe (September 22, 1915April 15, 1982) was a British actor. He was best known for playing Captain George Mainwaring in the popular British sitcom Dad's Army; he also played the Captain's drunken brother Barry in one episode.

Arthur Lowe was born in Hayfield, Derbyshire. Lowe’s original intention was to join the Merchant Navy but this idea was thwarted due to his poor eyesight. Working at an airplane factory he joined the army on the eve of World War II, but not before experiencing his first brush with the acting world by working as a stagehand at the Manchester Palace of Varieties.

While serving in the Middle East, he began to take part in shows put on for the troops, which appears to have sparked his desire to act. Lowe became known for his character roles, making his debut at Manchester rep in 1946. He appeared on stage in many roles including parts in Call Me Madam, Pal Joey and The Pyjama Game and eventually featured in no less than fifty films.

By the 1960s Lowe had successfully made the transition to television and landed a regular role as draper/lay preacher Leonard Swindley in the Northern drama series Coronation Street. So popular was his role with viewers that he was eventually given his own spin off series Pardon the Expression. However, Leonard Swindley was not a role Arthur relished and he longed to move on to other parts, so it's no surprise that the months he was not playing Swindley he was busy on stage or making guest roles in other TV series including Z Cars and The Avengers.

In 1968, Lowe landed perhaps his most famous role, Captain George Mainwaring. It has often been remarked by his former colleague Bill Pertwee that this was the role Lowe played which most resembled himself: pompous and bumbling. His comic timing in the role could never be faulted and he went on to take the character into a radio series, stage play and feature length film.

When not filming Dad's Army Lowe would frequently be making films such as No Sex Please We're British and O Lucky Man!. He was in great demand for guest appearances on other TV shows such as The Morecambe and Wise Show.

He employed a multitude of voices on the 1975 BBC animated television series Mr. Men, where he voiced all the characters as well as narrated.

When Dad's Army ended in 1977, Arthur was still very much in demand with starring roles in TV programmes such as Bless Me Father and Potter. He also carried on working on the stage and films. In his spare time he would sail his boat, "The Amazon", across Europe accompanied by his wife Joan and would lead a very active life.

Lowe died of a stroke in his dressing room before a performance of Home at Seven in 1982 aged 66.

Two biographies on Arthur Lowe are available, Arthur Lowe - Dad's Memory by his son Stephen which was released in 1997 and more recently Arthur Lowe by Graham Lord.sv:Arthur Lowe

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