Richard Beckinsale was born on 6th July 1947 in Carlton, Nottingham to a legal executive named Arthur Beckinsale and his wife who had one other child - a daughter named Judy. The boy failed to gain a place at Grammar School, but had always shown enthusiasm for drama lessons since appearing as Dopey in the school production of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs when he was nine years old.
Since then all Richard wanted was to become an actor, but his father sensibly insisted that he gained a profession to fall back on in hard times. He tried working as an upholsterer, a gas-board accounts department clerk, an inspector of spun iron pipes and a clerk in a Pipes factory as well as several other dead end jobs before deciding to go ahead and attend night school, studying English and Art. From there he attended Clarendon College to take an acting course and began getting extra experience in front of an audience singing at Folk Clubs around Nottingham in his spare time. Finally his work paid off and he got into the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. At RADA his studying went well but his comedic behaviour gained him the tag of being a light comedy actor, and one of his voice coaches insisted that if he didn't make an effort to drop his northern accent he would be forever stuck playing the part of dustmen.
At the age of 18 he married Margaret Bradley, a Nottingham Secretary, and they had a daughter called Samantha who successfully followed her father into the acting profession. After a separation in 1969, the marriage finally ended after a 1972 divorce. Samantha lived with her mother in London, and moved up to Scotland with her in 1974.
In 1968, Richard left RADA and moved to Crewe where he worked in Repertory, gaining his first professional acting work, making many appearances and eventually even taking the title role in Hamlet. While there he fell in love with a young actress named Judy Loe, and the couple lived together for eight years before marrying in 1977, and having a daughter together named Kate in 1973 who went on to become a very famous British actress.
By 1969 he had scored his first TV appearance with a cameo in the soap Coronation Street. His appearance led to his starring role in Jack Rosenthall's comedy The Lovers which rocketed him to stardom and convinced him to give up his place at Crewe Rep and concentrate on his £150 a week job on the small screen.
By 1974, Richard was living in a beautiful Victorian House in Twickenham with his young family and starring in two of the greatest British sitcoms - Rising Damp and Porridge. Despite this, life was not perfect as his youngest daughter Samantha moved with her mother to live in Scotland and would not see her father again for quite some time, only being reunited with him about a year before his death.
In 1979 Richard began work on Bloomers, the show that would become his swan song. In the middle of making a movie that year with Stephen Frears he died of a heart attack on March 19 at his home in Sunningdale, Berkshire. That very day he had been scheduled to begin rehearsals for the last show in the first series of Bloomers, and the series went out uncompleted. The sudden loss was a great shock to the acting world and caused an amazing outpouring of grief from the general public for a young actor whom everyone had thought destined for true greatness.
Richard was cremated at Mortlake Crematorium in London where his wife Judy added a plaque in memory of him.… Expand
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|Rising Damp: Season 4||Apr 4, 1978||Alan Moore (Eps 1 - 22)||tbd|
|Rising Damp: Season 3||Apr 12, 1977||Alan Moore (Eps 1 - 22)||tbd|
|Rising Damp: Season 2||Nov 7, 1975||Alan Moore (Eps 1 - 22)||tbd|
|Rising Damp: Season 1||Sep 2, 1974||Alan Moore (Eps 1 - 22)||tbd|