Anton Rodgers (born Anthony Rodgers; 10 January 1933 â€" 1 December 2007) was an English actor and occasional director. He performed on stage, in film, in television dramas and sitcoms and in animation.

Life and career

Rodgers was born in London, the son of Leonore (née Wood) and William Robert Rodgers. His early education was at Westminster School. Later he was educated at the Italia Conti Academy and LAMDA. He appeared on stage from the age of 14. He was well known for his television performances, specifically his long-running roles in the television sitcoms Fresh Fields in the 1980s and May to December from 1989 to 1994.

However, he also had a long career as an actor on both stage and film, with his stage roles ranging from contemporary comedy and satirical farce to Restoration comedy, Ibsen, Shaw and Wilde and Peter Nichols. He appeared in films such as The Fourth Protocol> (1987), The Day of the Jackal (1973) and Scrooge (1970) (in which he performed the Academy Award-nominated Best Original Song "Thank You Very Much"). He also narrated the children's animated TV series Old Bear Stories and appeared as Andre, the comically corrupt French policeman who aided Michael Caine in his romantic/financial schemes in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Rodgers' second wife was the actress Elizabeth Garvie, whom he met while filming the 1982 drama series, Something in Disguise. They often appeared on stage together, and toured giving readings from the works of Jane Austen and Robert Browning, among others.

Theatre credits

Rodgers made his first West End appearance in 1947, aged 14, in Carmen at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He followed this in 1948 with a tour of an adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations playing Pip, and the title role in a revival of Terence Rattigan's The Winslow Boy which toured the UK in 1949. After repertory experience at Birmingham, Northampton and Hornchurch, he trained at LAMDA.

Returning to London in November 1957 he joined the cast of The Boy Friend at Wyndham's Theatre. Thereafter his credits include:

  • Fingers in The Crooked Mile, Cambridge Theatre, September 1959
  • Appeared in the revue And Another Thing, Fortune Theatre, October 1960
  • Appeared in the revue Twists, Arts Theatre, February 1962; and Edinburgh Festival, August 1962
  • Withers and Tim in John Osborne's double-bill, Plays for England, Royal Court, July 1962
  • He was a member of the original cast of the musical Pickwick, in which he played Mr Jingle, Saville Theatre July 1963; making his New York debut in he same role at the 46th Street Theatre, October 1965
  • Felix in The Owl and the Pussycat, Criterion Theatre, February 1966
  • Chichester Festival season 1967: Francis Archer in The Beaux Stratagem; Randall Utterword in Heartbreak House; and Fadinard in the Labiche farce An Italian Straw Hat
  • Title role in Henry V, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, March 1968
  • Vladimir in Waiting for Godot, University Theatre, Manchester, 1968
  • Directed A Piece of Cake and Grass Roots at Leatherhead, 1968
  • Devised and co-directed We Who Are About To... with George Melly at Hampstead Theatre, February 1969; eight one-act plays presented in a modified form as Mixed Doubles at the Comedy Theatre, April 1969
  • Dr Stockman in An Enemy of the People, Harrogate, August 1969
  • Directed The Fantasticks, Hampstead, May 1970, and took this production and The Rainmaker to the Ibiza Festival
  • Directed The Roses of Eyam and The Taming of the Shrew at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter, 1970
  • Gerald in The Formation Dancers, Hampstead Theatre, January 1971
  • Frank in Forget-Me-Not Lane (Peter Nichols), Greenwich Theatre, then Apollo Theatre, April 1971
  • Macheath in The Threepenny Opera, Stratford Festival, Ontario. 1972
  • Dr Rank in A Doll's House, Criterion Theatre, February 1973
  • Hildy Johnson in The Front Page. National Theatre production touring Australia, 1974
  • Lord Henry Wotton in The Picture of Dorian Gray, Greenwich Theatre, February 1975
  • Directed Death of a Salesman, Oxford Playhouse, October1975
  • Astrov in Uncle Vanya, Oxford Playhouse, December 1975
  • Jack Manningham in Gaslight, Criterion Theatre, March 1976
  • Directed Are You Now or Have You Ever Been...?, Bush Theatre, June 1977
  • Directed Flashpoint, New End Theatre, December 1978; Mayfair Theatre, February 1979
  • Leading role in the 'musical entertainment' Songbook, Globe Theatre, July 1979
  • Jim in Passion (Peter Nichols), RSC Aldwych Theatre, January 1981
  • Walter Burns in Windy City, Victoria Palace, July 1982
  • Richard de Beauchamp in Saint Joan (George Bernard Shaw), National Theatre Olivier, February 1984
  • Tudor Phillips in Some Singing Blood, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, March 1992
  • Gerry Stratton in Time of My Life (Alan Ayckbourn), Vaudeville Theatre, August 1993
  • Dr Feldman in Duet for One revival (Tom Kempinski), Riverside Studios. May 1996
  • Etienne in Under the Doctor, Comedy Theatre. February 2001
  • Grandpa Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, London Palladium, April 2002

Selected filmography

Anton Rodgers
  • The Spider's Web (1960)
  • Carry On Cruising (1962)
  • Carry On Jack (1964)
  • Rotten to the Core (1965)
  • Scrooge (1970)
  • The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970)
  • The Day of the Jackal (1973)
  • East of Elephant Rock (1977)
  • The Fourth Protocol (1987)
  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
  • Impromptu (1989)
  • Son of the Pink Panther (1993)
  • Secret Passage (2004)
  • The Merchant of Venice (2004)


  • The Old Curiosity Shop as Dick Swiveller
  • Danger Man as Attala
  • Man in a Suitcase as Max Stein
  • Gideon's Way as Peter in the episode, "The Nightlifers." (1966)
  • The Prisoner episode "The Schizoid Man" as Number Two.
  • The Saint episode "A Double in Diamonds" (1967) as Pierre
  • Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episode 16 "When the Spirit Moves You" as Calvin Bream
  • The Elusive Pimpernel (1969) as Sir Percy Blakeney
  • Upstairs, Downstairs "The Mistress and the Maids" (1972) as Scone
  • Thomas & Sarah (1979) episode "Love Into Three Won't Go" as Richard DeBrassey
  • Jason King as Philippe de Brion
  • The Duchess of Duke Street "A Test of Love" as Newdigate
  • Murder Most English as Detective Inspector Purbright
  • Rumpole of the Bailey: Rumpole and the Honourable Member as Ken Aspen
  • Lillie as Edward Langtry
  • Fresh Fields as William Fields
  • French Fields as William Fields
  • Noah's Ark as Noah Kirby
  • Disraeli as Bentinck
  • Zodiac as David Gradley
  • After the War as Samuel Jordan
  • May to December as Alec Callender
  • Midsomer Murders "Market for Murder" as Lord James Chetwood
  • Longford (2006) as William Whitelaw
  • C. S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia (2005) as C. S. Lewis
  • You Can Choose Your Friends (2007) as Ken Snell


Anton Rodgers
  • Old Bear Stories as Narrator, Old Bear, Bramwell Brown, Little Bear, Rabbit and many others
  • Wide-Eye as Wide-Eye

Further reading

  • Ian Herbert, Christine Baxter and Robert E. Finlay, ed. (1981). Who's Who in the Theatre (17th ed.). Detroit: Gale. ISBN 978-0-8103-0234-1. 
  • Theatre Record and its annual Indexes


Anton Rodgers

External links

  • Anton Rodgers at the Internet Movie Database
  • Anton Rodgers at the Internet Broadway Database
  • Obituary in The Times, 4 December 2007
  • Newley, Patrick (2007-12-03). "Actor Anton Rodgers dies". The Stage. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 

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