Clive Dunn – 1920 – 2012
Perhaps best known for his work as Lance Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army he would go on to play many roles as an older person.
Born in Covent Garden, London, Dunn’s parents were both actors. He was also the cousin of actress Gretchen Franklin.
As a child he encountered a health scare when he almost died from post-operative complications after a supernumerary nipple was removed.
Dunn was educated at Sevenoaks School, an independent boarding school for boys (now coeducational), in Sevenoaks, Kent. After leaving school, he studied at the independent Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, in London.
in 1951 Dunn married fashion model Patricia Kenyon. The marriage didn’t last and in June 1959 he married actress Priscilla Pughe-Morgan, they had two Daughters Polly and Jessica.
He began his career in the 1930’s with small film roles. His career took a break during the Second World War when he served in the army with the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars, during the course of which he was captured in Greece and spent four years in prisoner-of-war and labour camps in Austria.
In 1977, after Dads Army ended, Clive Dunn accepted the OBE after being offered the honour many times previously.
A long career ended in retirement in 1984, when his BBC children’s television comedy ‘Grandad’ was cancelled. He retired to Portugal where he would spend his time as an artist painting portraits, landscapes and seascapes until his sight failed. During this time he remained out of the public eye.
A 2006 article reported that Dunn had eye trouble but otherwise was in good health. He made brief recording in 2008 for the program Jonathan Ross Salutes Dad’s Army, which was shown to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Dad’s Army.
On the 6th November 2012 Clive Dunn passed away after complications arising from an operation earlier in the week, robbing the entertainment world of another of the greats.
Dunn’s early career started with small film roles from the 1930s onwards, appearing alongside Will Hay in the films Boys Will Be Boys (1935) and Good Morning, Boys (1937). After World War 2, upon leaving the army Dunn would resume his career working for a good many years in music halls and theatres.
In 1956 and 1957, Dunn appeared in both series of The Tony Hancock Show and the army reunion party episode of Hancock’s Half Hour in 1960. During the 1960’s he made many appearances with Tony Hancock, Michael Bentine, Dora Bryan and Dick Emery, among others, before winning the role that would make him a household name, that of Lance Corporal Jack Jones in Dad’s Army in 1968.
Even early on in his career he made a name for himself creating what would become his trademark character: that of a doddering old man. This first made an impression in the show Bootsie and Snudge, a spin off from The Army Game. Dunn played the old dogsbody,”Mr Johnson” at a slightly seedy gentlemen’s club where the characters Private. “Bootsie” Bisley (Alfie Bass) and Sergeant. Claude Snudge (Bill Fraser) found work after leaving the Army.
In 1967 he made a guest appearance in an episode of The Avengers, playing the proprietor of a toy shop in “Something Nasty in the Nursery”. He was also one of the alien voices in the Cadbury’s Smash advertisements in the 1970s, alongside Dad’s Army co-star Bill Pertwee.
Whilst still working on Dad’s Army, Dunn starred as Sam Corbett in the ITV sitcom My Old Man, which ran for two series between 1974 and 1975. When Dad’s Army ended in 1977, Dunn became a household name all over again when in 1979 he took on the role of Charlie Quick in the BBC children’s comedy Grandad, he had previously had a hit in in 1971 with a song of the same name. In 1984 the BBC axed Grandad and Dunn effectively disappeared off our screens.