75 (passed away Mar. 27th, 1983)
Apr. 23rd, 1907
James Hayter's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
The son of a police superintendent in India, the character actor James Hayter was educated in Scotland, where he was urged into acting by his headmaster. After one year (1924-5) at the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts in London, he performed in repertory theater, eventually appearing in The West End in such plays as "1066 and All That" and "French Without Tears." He made his film debut in 1936 and continued in films until World War II, when he served in the Royal Armoured Corps. After the war, he established an active screen career, excelling at various sorts of character roles, especially in comedy. Characteristic roles include Friar Tuck in The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952) and A Challenge for Robin Hood (1967), The Pickwick Papers (1952), and David Copperfield (1969) (TV).
- He did not return to _"Are You Being Served?" (1972)_ (qv) after his first season on the show, even though he intended to, as he was made a better offer NOT to appear on the show. Haytner had been doing the TV voice-overs for Mr. Kipling's Cakes, but the firm did not like him playing Mr. Tebbs as they thought the character was unpleasant and that it would hurt their product's image. When Haynter defied Mr. Kipling's request that he quit the show, saying he would continue in the part, the firm offered him three times his B.B.C. salary if he terminated his connection with "Are You Being Served?" According to co-star 'Nicholas Smith (I)' (qv), who was co-starring in a farce with Hayter during the off-season, "I said, what was he going to decide? 'Well, my boy,' he growled, 'if they will pay me three times as much not to do it, then I won't do it. At my time of life I have no more ambition!'" Hayter, who had replaced 'Arthur Brough' (qv) on the show, was himself replaced by 'Alfie Bass (I)' (qv), who also lasted just one season.
- Made his stage debut in 1925. He played Alfred Doolittle in My Fair Lady in the West End at the Drury Lane Theatre and on tour for five years.
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