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Ian Carmichael

For other people named Ian Carmichael, see Ian Carmichael (disambiguation).

Ian Carmichael, OBE
File:Ian Carmichael.jpg
Born Ian Gillett Carmichael
(1920-06-18)18 June 1920
Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died 5 February 2010(2010-02-05) (aged 89)
Esk Valley, North Yorkshire, England
Occupation Actor
Years active 1948–2009
Spouse(s) Jean Pyman (Pym) Maclean (1943–1983) (widower)
Kate Fenton (1992–2010)

Ian Gillett Carmichael, OBE (18 June 1920 – 5 February 2010)[1] was an English actor best known for his roles in the films of the Boulting brothers such as Private's Progress (1956) and I'm All Right Jack (1959). Later he played Lord Peter Wimsey, the character created by Dorothy L. Sayers, on television and radio. Carmichael also had a career on stage.

Early life

Carmichael was born in Hull, in the East Riding of Yorkshire.[2] The son of an optician,[3] he was educated at Scarborough College[3] and Bromsgrove School,[3] before training as an actor at RADA. He made his stage debut as a robot at the People's Palace in Mile End, East London in 1939. With the outbreak of the Second World War his acting career was interrupted by service with the Royal Armoured Corps as a commissioned officer in the 22nd Dragoons. He served in the Normandy campaign, losing the tip of one finger to an accident with the turret hatch of a Valentine tank, and reached the rank of major before returning to civilian life in 1947.[4]


Before the war, the young actor left his family business in Hull to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and to sing in talent contests at the Hammersmith Palais de Danse.

In the years which followed his demob from the British Army in 1947, Carmichael worked mostly on stage. In 1949 he toured for seven months in The Lilac Domino, in which he was half of a comedy double act with Leo Franklyn. He played the part of Otto Bergmann in a West End revival of Wild Violets, then appeared in several revues. One which began at the Lyric, Hammersmith, in 1951, moved into the West End as The Globe Revue of 1952, and later that year Carmichael was the song-and-dance star of High Spirits at the Hippodrome Theatre. Further revues followed.[5]

After minor film roles, Carmichael portrayed serious characters on screen in Betrayed (1954), starring Clark Gable and Lana Turner, and in The Colditz Story (1955). He had greater success, however, performing in a series of comedy films for the Boulting brothers, including Private's Progress (1956), Brothers in Law (1957) and I'm All Right Jack (1959). He appeared in similar films for other producers such as School for Scoundrels (1960) and in the "Pride" segment of The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins (1971)

During the 1960s and 1970s, he worked in television, including the sitcom, Bachelor Father, based on the story of a real-life bachelor who took on several foster children. For the BBC he was Bertie Wooster, opposite Dennis Price as Jeeves, in several series of The World of Wooster, based on the works of P.G. Wodehouse. In later years, he was heard on BBC radio as Galahad Threepwood, another Wodehouse creation. In the 1970s, he played Lord Peter Wimsey in several drama series based on the mystery novels by Dorothy L. Sayers.

Carmichael continued to act until shortly before he died. In 1999, he appeared in the BBC serial Wives and Daughters. In the ITV series Heartbeat, and its spin-off The Royal, he played the Hospital Secretary T.J. Middleditch (2003–07 and 2009 ). He also spent much time in recording audio books: Three Men in a Boat and Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome, and most of the Lord Peter Wimsey books by Dorothy L. Sayers.

He was appointed an OBE in the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours List.[6]

Personal life

Ian Carmichael was married twice: firstly to Jean Pyman (Pym) McLean, from 1943 until her death in 1983 (they had two daughters, Lee and Sally) and then to the novelist Kate Fenton, from 1992 until his death in 2010. Ian Carmichael died of natural causes at the age of 89, at his home in the Esk Valley on the North York Moors on 5 February 2010.[7] He had five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.[8] His autobiography, Will the Real Ian Carmichael... was published in 1979.

Partial filmography

See also


  1. Actor Ian Carmichael dies at 89, BBC News, 6 February 2010, retrieved 6 February 2010 
  2. "Ian Carmichael". Retrieved 20 March 2009. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Barker, Dennis (6 February 2010). "Ian Carmichael obituary". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  4. "Ian Carmichael: actor". The Times (London). 8 February 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  5. 'Ian Carmichael' (obituary) in The Daily Telegraph dated 6 February 2010
  6. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56963. p. 10. 14 June 2003.
  7. "Old Bromsgrovian and veteran actor Ian Carmichael has died". Bromsgrove School. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  8. Veteran actor Ian Carmichael dies


  • Will the real Ian Carmichael– : an autobiography, London: Macmillan, 1979, (400 pp.), ISBN 0-333-25476-7

External links

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