14 Facts About John Laurie


John Laurie is perhaps best remembered for his role in the sitcom Dad's Army as Private Frazer, a member of the Home Guard.


John Laurie appeared in scores of feature films with directors including Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Powell and Laurence Olivier, generally playing memorable small or supporting roles rather than leading ones.


John Paton Laurie was born on 25 March 1897 in Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, to William Laurie, a clerk in a tweed mill and later a hatter and hosier, and Jessie Ann Laurie.


John Laurie attended Dumfries Academy, before abandoning a career in architecture to serve in the First World War as a member of the Honourable Artillery Company.


In only his second season at Stratford, John Laurie got the chance to play Hamlet, which was almost unheard of for someone with such little experience.


On radio, he created the role of John Laurie the Baptist in Dorothy L Sayers' cycle of plays The Man Born to Be King, and reprised the role in two further versions of the cycle.


John Laurie played the part of MacDuff in a radio adaptation of Macbeth, with Ralph Richardson playing the title role.


John Laurie had first met Laurence Olivier at the Old Vic and went on to make their first film appearance together in the 1936 adaptation of As You Like It.


John Laurie went on to appear in Olivier's three Shakespearean films, Henry V, Hamlet, and Richard III.


In 1954, John Laurie joined the Edinburgh Gateway Company to play the leading role in Robert Kemp's The Laird o' Grippy, a translation into Scots of Moliere's L'avare.


John Laurie starred as Mad Peter in the Hammer film The Reptile, and later appeared in The Abominable Dr Phibes, the Disney film One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing, and The Prisoner of Zenda.


John Laurie was married twice; his first wife, Florence May Saunders, whom he had met at the Old Vic, died from meningitis in 1926.


John Laurie died aged 83 from emphysema in the Chalfont and Gerrards Cross Hospital, Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire.


John Laurie's body was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea.