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Robin Bailey (5 October 1919 – 14 January 1999) was an English actor. He was born in Hucknall, Nottingham.

Although often chosen for upper class and tradition-bound roles such as Judge (Death's Head) Graves in Thames Television's Rumpole Of The Bailey, Bailey is perhaps most fondly remembered for his portrayal of Uncle Mort in I Didn't Know You Cared, the BBC's adaptation of Peter Tinniswood's stories about an extended Yorkshire family. The television series ran from 1975 to 1979, and is available on DVD. Bailey continued to play Uncle Mort in a series of radio programmes. Bailey also collaborated with Tinniswood on the television and radio series Tales from a Long Room, playing The Brigadier, an eccentric cricket-lover with a fund of extraordinary tales about the game and its players.

In 1959 Bailey was engaged by the Australian Theatrical Producers JC Williamson Limited to play the part of Professor Henry Higgins in their production of the Lerner & Lowe musical "My Fair Lady". The production was a duplicate of the New York production. Although Bailey was not a drawcard in Australia or anywhere for that matter, Williamson's had a policy then in casting their lead players that an unknown they could bill as "direct from the West End" would always draw better than an Australian. Bailey also had a pleasing resemblance to Rex Harrison who had created the Higgins part in London and New York, on record and in the eventual film of the work. Bailey like Harrison was not a singer and like Harrison dealt well with the talksical songs of the show.

Williamsons also imported a female lead Bunty Turner who likewise carried no weight but had an uncanny resemblance to Julie Andrews who had created the role of Eliza Dolittle in New York and London and would be supplanted by Audrey Hepburn in the film.

The play was a huge success in Australia and a second company was created so it could continue its run in Melbourne and make its essential move onto Sydney where the Empire Theatre was being rebuilt and renamed Her Majesty's Theatre especially for the Sydney season of My Fair Lady. Bailey moved to Sydney with the production and the Williamson production of My Fair Lady between the two companies, toured all over Australia, South Africa and New Zealand for more than five years. It would inarguably become the highest grossing Australian theatrical production of all time, based on the number of paid admissions.

Bailey later visited Australia to play Martin Lynch-Gibbon in "A Severed Head" by Iris Murdoch from a novel by the playwright, a role he had created in London and New York. This had been an attempt to exploit the popularity Bailey had gained in My Fair Lady but like its overseas predecessors, was unsuccessful.

In 1980, he took over from the late Arthur Lowe in the title role of Roy Clarke's BBC television sitcom Potter, about a busybody former sweet manufacturer with time on his hands following retirement. The series co-starred John Barron as the Vicar. Potter ran for three series, the first with Lowe and two with Bailey.

He also played Charters in the 1985 miniseries Charters and Caldicott (the supposed latter-day adventures of two supporting characters from The Lady Vanishes) co-starring Michael Aldridge as Caldicott.

Bailey's Broadway theatre experience consisted of two flops, the 1963 musical Jennie and the 1964 comedy A Severed Head.

Other notable roles included suave civil servant Grainger in The Power Game (1966), and Channel 4 television series in 1985), Neville Chamberlain in The Gathering Storm and Prime Minister Gresham in The Pallisers. His final television appearance was as Lord Probyn (Kavanagh's wife's father) in Kavanagh QC in 1997.

He died aged 79 in 1999 in Wandsworth,[1] London, of respiratory failure.

Selected filmography

References

  1. ^ Deaths England and Wales 1984-2006

External links

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