Bernard Bresslaw (25 February 1934 — 11 June 1993) was an English comic actor and singer, mostly known for his appearances in the popular Carry On film series.
He first became interested in acting after he visited the Hackney Empire in London and was also encouraged to study a course in it by his primary school teacher. He was given a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art by the London Country Council and a Emile Littler Award for being the most talented and promising newcomer. After graduating, he began to appear on radio shows and a popular sitcom called The Army Game, as well as other comedic television work, and often toured army camps and prisons in order to find experience in order to play hardened criminals in theatre shows. When The Army Game became even bigger than it already had been, Bresslaw appeared in its theatrical release, releasing a single for the movie's theme song, which remained high in the charts for weeks.
For most of the 1950s, Bresslaw mostly appeared in London's West End or the Royal Albert Hall in stage productions and many pantomimes. This was where he met his wife, who was a dancer in a Sleeping Beauty performance, and they had three sons.
In 1965, he appeared in Carry On Cowboy, and became a recurring actor in the Carry On film series for at least 10 years. His 6'7 height made him the tallest cast member of many productions he appeared in throughout his career, but it was often put to good use specifically in the Carry Ons as either Dumb Muscle or Large and in Charge characters. Outside of the series, Bresslaw mostly made background or recurring appearances in television series such as The Goodies, Sykes, and the Doctor Who serial "The Ice Warriors".
When he left the Carry On series in 1975, he returned to the theatre, mostly appearing in Shakespeare productions and television commercials for BT. Bresslaw was determined to show the public that he was able to portray characters that were outside of completely comedic; the Carry On film series had cemented him in the comic type casting and some of his television roles that he had chosen in the meantime hadn't helped either.
One of his last performances were in Twelfth Night and the genie in Aladdin, and was preparing to appear as Grumio in The Taming of the Shrew to show critics that he could portray more serious characters, but he died from a heart attack in his dressing room on the night of the performance minutes before he was due to take the stage. It was ironically before his arguably best acting role of his career.
Works on TV Tropes he appeared in:Films
- Carry On Nurse (1959) — Ted York's Feet (Uncredited Role)
- Carry On Cowboy (1965) — Little Heap
- Carry On Screaming! (1966) — Sockett
- Follow That Camel (1967) — Sheikh Abdul Abulbul
- Carry On Doctor (1967) — Mr. Ken Biddle
- Carry On Up the Khyber (1968) — Bungdit Din
- Carry On Camping (1969) — Bernie Lugg
- Moon Zero Two (1969) — Harry
- Carry On Up the Jungle (1970) — Upsidasi
- Carry On Loving (1970) — Gripper Burke
- Up Pompeii (1971) — Gorgo/Voice of Hungry Prisoner
- Carry On at Your Convenience (1971) — Bernie Hulke
- Carry On Matron (1972) — Ernie Bragg
- Carry On Abroad (1972) — Brother Bernard
- Carry On Girls (1973) — Peter Potter
- Carry On Dick (1974) — Sir Roger Daley
- Carry On Behind (1975) — Arthur Upmore
- One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing (1975) — Fan Choy
- Jabberwocky (1977) — Landlord
- Hawk the Slayer (1980) — Gort
- Krull (1983) — Rell the Cyclops
- Asterix and the Big Fight (1989) — Obelix
- The Adventures of Robin Hood (1956) — Sir Dunstan's Captain
- The Army Game (1957-58) — Private "Popeye" Popplewell
- Danger Man (1964) — Leo
- Doctor Who (1967) — Varga
- Doctor in the House (1969) — Malcolm
- Carry On Christmas (1969-73) — Bob Cratchit/Frank N. Stein's Monster/Spirit of Christmas Future/Cissy/Town Crier/Policeman/Rollicky Bill/Bodkin Pod/Boll/Darts Player/Captain Ffingburgh/Ballerina/Little John
- The Goodies (1971) — Zookeeper
- Sykes (1974) — Johnny Brunswick
- Carry on Laughing! (1975) — Sir Pureheart/Starkers/Sir Lancelot/Otto Klanger/Dr. Pavingstone
- Terry and June (1982) — Morris
- T-Bag (1987) — Omar