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John Horsley 1920 – 2014

Reggie Perrin’s Doc Morrissey dies, aged 93.

John Horsley

The actor John Horsley, best known for his role as Doc Morrissey in the legendary BBC comedy series The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, has died at the age of 93.

With a busy career on stage and screen, Horsley invariably found himself playing clerics, knights and doctors, thanks in no small part to his avuncular face and bald head. He came into his own in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, starring opposite Leonard Rossiter as Sunshine Desserts’ incompetent physician, who invariably prescribed two aspirin whatever the malady.

Horsley appeared in all three series of the classic comedy between 1976 and 1979. He reprised the role for the 1996 series The Legacy of Reginald Perrin. David Nobbs, the writer of the Perrin books as well as the TV scripts, tweeted saying that Horsley, “was wonderful and I am very saddened”.

As well as the Reggie Perrin series, Horsley had a recurring role in as Sir Ralph Shawcross in the Croft and Perry sitcom You Rang, M’Lord, which similarly saw him acting alongside comedy legends such as Su Pollard, Paul Shane and Bill Pertwee. One of his finest turns as a man of the cloth was playing the Bishop of Tatchester in the children’s Christmas favourite The Box of Delights.

Whilst best remembered for comedy, Horsley was regarded as a fine character actor who could turn his hand to drama too, though he was most easily placed in period pieces and cast as a gentleman.

 

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