N/A (passed away Apr. 11th, 2008)
Bicester, Oxfordshire, England, UK
Willoughby Goddard's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
King-sized character actor from England who began his career with the Oxford Playhouse in 1943.
Willoughby Goddard, was a character actor whose girth made him a commanding presence on stage and television for 40 years.
His television roles included being the partner of Charlie Drake in such shows as Drake's Progress and the Charlie Drake Comedy Hour; a wonderfully pompous Mr Bumble in Oliver Twist; and the Director of Public Prosecutions in The Mind of Mr JG Reeder.
Most notable was his role, alternately leering and quivering with venom, as the Austrian governor Gessler who is constantly outfoxed by Conrad Phillips as the defiant Swiss leader in The Adventures of William Tell (1958).
He also projected a powerful image as the weighty Prof Siblington watching condoms floating among Cambridge's elegant spires in the climax of Porterhouse Blue (1987).
On stage Goddard could be even more beguiling. He was the "fat and 40" Gowing in The Diary of a Nobody; Professor Mark Harrison in The Voices; and a wonderfully pompous Mr Bumble in Oliver! on Broadway.
In addition he never failed to command as Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night. When he appeared in the Prospect Players' production of 1968 he was described as "still substantial despite his claim to have lost eight inches round the middle from a complaint he caught in Cairo on tour".
At the Round House, Chalk Farm, in 1973 he was said to be "so comfortably and substantially in the picture as to deserve painting in his alcoholic haze". And when he was in the Royal Shakespeare Company version in 1979, one critic declared: "It is a pleasure to hear this actor merely murmuring."
Willoughby Wittenham Rees Goddard was born at Bicester on July 4 1926, and, as a schoolboy, set a 20-year record for swimming down the Isis. He made his debut at Oxford Playhouse in 1943 as The Steward in Shaw's Saint Joan. After repertory with the Bristol Old Vic Company, he played at the Arts as Horngolloch in Gog and Macgog (1948).
Goddard earned the praise of WA Darlington for playing the evangelist in a version of RL Stevenson's Ebb Tide (Royal Court, 1952) "with an unction worthy of Robert Morley". In 1960 Caryl Brahms gave Goddard in the role of the fleshy Cardinal Wolsey as a reason for seeing Robert Bolt's new play, A Man For All Seasons.
In 1974 Goddard was a woman-shy rural landlord in A Month in the Country (Chichester), and as the Duke of Venice to Donald Sinden's Othello at Stratford five years later showed the RSC's "teamwork at its best".
He also had parts in such films as Carry on Cruising (1962), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) and Joseph Andrews (1977).
Goddard's career was curtailed by arthritis, but his voice continued to be familiar for some years as the bear in the advertisement for Fox's Glacier Mints, which he hymned as "cool, clear and minty".
He was a keen supporter of his local cricket club and a voracious reader of books on Ancient Egypt and the Roman empire.
Willoughby Goddard, who died on April 11, married, in 1950, the actress Ann Phillips, with whom he had a son.
- He was the voice of the polar bear which advertised "cool, clear and minty" Fox's Glacier Mints on television in the 1970s and 1980s.
- King-sized character actor from England who began his career with the Oxford Playhouse in 1943.
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