Henry Wilfrid Brambell (22 March 1912 – 18 January 1985) was an Irish film and television actor, who is mostly known for being Albert Steptoe in Steptoe and Son. He was often characters older than him and gained a reputation for being old men on screen, but went through Leslie Nielsen Syndrome. His role as Steptoe gained him enough popularity to be Paul McCartney's grandfather in the A Hard Day's Night movie, however, he never seemed to pull himself away from the role, despite being in popular British comedies and top-billing many theatre performances. Brambell and Harry H. Corbett were said to have had a rocky relationship, and Brambell once said in an interview that he didn't want to do another season. One fall-out was over Brambell's alcoholism during a tour in Australia, and the two men left the country on different planes.
What many never knew was that Brambell was gay and was once arrested for cottaging in a public restroom during the 1960s, which was when being homosexual was illegal in the UK note . This possibly led to an unintentional Meta Casting/Reality Subtext when one of his later roles was a pensioner trying to come out of the closet in Death and Transfiguration, a Terrence Davies-directed film; Brambell appeared in three of his movies.
He died of cancer at the age of 72.