John Bennett

Last updated 09 January 2020

John Bennett (1928-2005)
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John Bennett

Born: Tuesday 8th May 1928
Died: Monday 11th April 2005 (age: 76)


John Bennett was an English actor.

He had two major roles in Doctor Who. he played General Finch in the 1974 story Invasion of the Dinosaurs and Li H'sen Chang in the 1977 story The Talons of Weng-Chiang

Born in BeckenhamKent, he was educated at Bradfield College in Berkshire, then trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama, followed by a wide Rep experience including Bromley, Bristol Old Vic, Dundee, Edinburgh Festival and Watford before going to London's West End.

Often cast as a villain, he had many roles on television including PorridgeSurvivorsThe AvengersBergeracThe Professionals and four episodes of The Saint.  He is also well remembered as Philip Bosinney in the BBC's 1967 adaptation of The Forsyte Saga, but also appeared in over three hundred TV productions including God's Architect;Blake's 7I, ClaudiusRomeRosemary & ThymeSaracenHoney LaneSpecial BranchSoftly, SoftlyMulberryTales of the Unexpected and Anna Karenina. One of his last televised roles was in an episode of Jonathan Creek.

His film roles included The Fifth Element (1997), Charlotte Gray (2001) and Minority Report (2002). He also played an undercover detective in Victim (1961) (starring Dirk Bogarde), but the role was uncredited.

His theatre roles included Yasha in The Cherry Orchard and Henry Percy (Hotspur) inRichard II both for John Gielgud, Exton in Richard II and Volscian Senator in Coriolanus(Almeida Theatre), Marley's Ghost in A Christmas Carol (Royal Shakespeare Company) and Uncle in Inner Voices (Royal National Theatre), as well as working extensively at theRoyal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. He starred in many West End musicals includingOn Your Toes (Palace), Marilyn (Adelphi), The Sound of Music (Apollo Victoria), The King and I (London Palladium), The Baker's Wife (Phoenix) and was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical for his performance as Louis Epstein in Jolson The Musical (Victoria Palace and Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto). His last stage role was as Conrad in Gates of Gold by Frank McGuinness with William Gaunt at the Finborough Theatre, London, in December 2004.

In radio, he had been a member of the BBC Drama Repertory Company, and his broadcast parts included roles in programmes that ranged from Shakespeare to Paul Temple.