Nicholas Smith

Last updated 09 January 2020

Nicholas Smith (1934-2015)
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Nicholas Smith

Born: Monday 5th March 1934
Died: Sunday 6th December 2015 (age: 81)


Nicholas Smith was an English actor who is best known for playing the bald, jug-eared manager Mr. Rumbold in the BBC sitcom Are You Being Served?

His father was a chartered surveyor and he attended a preparatory school and St. John's School, Leatherhead. He learnt to play musical instruments, studied singing and trained as an actor at RADA. He then appeared in repertory theatres, on the West End stage, At the Bristol Old Vic and on Broadway.

His earliest TV roles were as a non-speaking extra in various ITV programmes. He got his first speaking role in 1964, in the BBC's Doctor Who serial The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Smith persuaded the serial's director Richard Martin to expand the role, so that his character, Wells, appeared in three of the serial's six episodes instead of only one or two as originally scripted.

This was followed by small roles in many other adventure series, such as The Saint, The Avengers, The Champions and Ace of Wands.

Are You Being Served? began in 1972, with Smith playing Mr. Cuthbert Rumbold, the manager of the menswear and ladieswear departments in a large fictional London store called Grace Brothers. He remained with the programme until its end in 1985, as well as appearing in the spin-off film in 1977, and the sitcom sequel Grace & Favour - known as "Are You Being Served? Again!" in the United States - in 1992 and 1993.

From September 1972, in contrast to his contemporaneous work in Are You Being Served?, he also had a semi-regular role as PC Yates in the series Z-Cars. His last appearance as Yates was in February 1975. He had a cameo in the film The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother as Sigerson Holmes' servant.

In 1979, he appeared in Worzel Gummidge as Mr Foster, the Headmaster of the school.

In 1986 he played Sir John Treymayne in the British tour of Me And My Girl , a role played in the West End by his Are You Being Served? co-star Frank Thornton.

He appeared in the TV mini-series Martin Chuzzlewit. In 2005 Nicholas Smith was also featured in a supporting role as Vicar Clement Hedges in the Academy Award-winning film, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. In 2008, he appeared as a vicar in Last of the Summer Wine.

In 2010, he appeared in children's TV programme M.I. High as Professor Quakermass.

Smith also wrote music and poetry. He was the father of actress Catherine Russell.

Biography from the Wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA