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Norman Rossington

Norman Rossington in 'Sharpe' (1996)
Born Norman Rossington
24 December 1928(1928-12-24)
Liverpool, Merseyside, England
Died 21 May 1999 (aged 70)
Manchester, Lancashire, England

Norman Rossington (24 December 1928 – 21 May 1999) was an English actor best remembered for his roles in The Army Game, the Carry On films and the Beatles film A Hard Day's Night.


Early life

Rossington was born in Liverpool, the son of a publican, he was educated at Sefton Park Elementary School and Liverpool Technical College. He left education at the age of 14. After that he lived a rather aimless adolescent life as messenger, office boy at Liverpool Docks, apprentice joiner, etc. Later, he went to night school and studied industrial design at technical college in order to become a draughtsman. His interest in acting led him to a local theatre group, and Rossington trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and began his acting career at the city's Theatre Royal, by the mid 1950s appearing on the stage in plays such as a London Old Vic tour of the USA in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Salad Days, being one of the original cast. However, his big break through came in 1957, when he starred as Private 'Cupcake' Cook in the popular sitcom The Army Game. He left after three series in 1959, and in the meantime had appeared in I Only Arsked!, again as 'Cupcake'.

Film roles

His first film role was in the 1956 film Three Men in a Boat. Rossington went on to appear in Carry On Sergeant, the first Carry On film, as well as Carry On Nurse (1959) and Carry On Regardless in 1961. Rossington also played notable serious roles in Saint Joan (1957) and the classic 1960 British "New Wave" film Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, playing alongside Albert Finney in the latter's first starring role. In 1958 he acted in the first of two Titanic films, A Night to Remember, as the ship's chef. Rossington would return in his second Titanic movie playing the Sergeant-at-Arms in S.O.S. Titanic in 1979.

In 1962 Rossington played the uncredited role of Corporal Jenkins in Lawrence of Arabia, and later appeared in the The Longest Day (1962), Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965), Tobruk playing Alfie (1967) and The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968). In 1972, he appeared in Young Winston.

Rossington is the only performer to work in both a Beatles film, in A Hard Day's Night, and an Elvis Presley film, Double Trouble. He remembered Presley during filming as a 'quiet man who sat by himself in a corner and who would often borrow my newspaper.'

Television career

From the 1970s onwards, Rossington mainly appeared on television, including roles in His and Hers, The Wednesday Play, Casanova, Carry On Christmas, Crown Court, I, Claudius (1976), Z-Cars, Big Jim and the Figaro Club (1981, in the title role of "Big Jim"), Masada (1981), The Bill and Last of the Summer Wine. His final appearances before his death were Heartbeat in 1996, Sharpe's Regiment as Sergeant Horatio Havercamp, also in 1996, and What's a Carry On? in 1998.


His stage career included time spent with the Royal Shakespeare Company and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Rossington also made many appearances in the West End, with roles in Peter Pan, My Fair Lady (as Alfred Doolittle), Annie Get Your Gun (as Charlie Davenport), Pickwick: The Musical, Guys and Dolls (as Nathan Detroit), and in Beauty and the Beast. He also told the stories fromThe Adventures of Portland Bill


Norman also did some radio, returning to the part of Big Jim in the BBC Radio 4 version of Big Jim and the Figaro Club. He did six half-hour episodes in 1987.

Personal life

Norman Rossington gave his hobbies as: woodwork, skiing, golf and languages. He was married twice. His second marriage, on 19 January 1999 to Cindy Barnes, lasted until his death aged 70 a few months later. He died in Manchester after a six-month battle with cancer.

Selected Television Roles

Year Title Role
1957 to 1959 The Army Game Private Cupcake Cook
1967 Hicks and Stokes Billy Hicks
1969 Curry and Chips Norman
1971 Casanova Lorenzo

External links



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