Anthony "Anton" Rodgers (10 January 1933 – 1 December 2007) was an English actor and occasional director. He performed on stage, in film, in television dramas and sitcoms. He starred in several sitcoms, including Fresh Fields (ITV, 1984–86), its sequel French Fields (ITV, 1989–91), and May to December (BBC, 1989–94).
10 January 1933
|Died||1 December 2007 (aged 74)|
Reading, Berkshire, England
Early life and careerEdit
Rodgers was born in Ealing, London, the son of William Robert Rodgers and Leonore Victoria (née Wood). His early education was at Westminster City School. The family were evacuated to Wisbech, Isle of Ely during the war, where his father worked for Balding and Mansell, printers of ration books, permits and passes. Later he was educated at the Italia Conti Academy and LAMDA. He appeared on stage from the age of 14. He was well known for his television performances, specifically his long-running roles in the television sitcoms Fresh Fields in the 1980s and May to December from 1989 to 1994.
He also had a long career both on stage and in film. His stage roles ranged from contemporary comedy and satirical farce to Restoration comedy, Ibsen, Shaw and Wilde and Peter Nichols. He appeared in films such as The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970), Scrooge (1970) (in which he performed the Academy Award-nominated Best Original Song "Thank You Very Much"), The Day of the Jackal (1973), and The Fourth Protocol (1987). He also narrated the children's animated TV series Old Bear Stories and appeared as Andre, the comically corrupt French policeman who aided Michael Caine in his romantic/financial schemes in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Rodgers's second wife was the actress Elizabeth Garvie, whom he is reported to have met while filming the 1982 drama series, Something in Disguise. However, this seems unlikely, as their eldest son was born in September 1981. They often appeared on stage together, and toured giving readings from the works of Jane Austen and Robert Browning, among others. He became a patron of the Angles Theatre, Wisbech.
Rodgers made his first West End appearance in 1947, aged 14, in Carmen at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He followed this in same year with a tour of an adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations playing Pip, and the title role in a revival of Terence Rattigan's The Winslow Boy which toured the UK in 1948. After repertory experience at Birmingham, Northampton and Hornchurch, he trained at LAMDA.
- Fingers in The Crooked Mile, Cambridge Theatre, September 1959
- Appeared in the revue And Another Thing, Fortune Theatre, October 1960
- Appeared in the revue Twists, Arts Theatre, February 1962; and Edinburgh Festival, August 1962
- Withers and Tim in John Osborne's double-bill, Plays for England, Royal Court, July 1962
- He was a member of the original cast of the musical Pickwick, in which he played Mr Jingle, Saville Theatre July 1963; making his New York debut in the same role at the 46th Street Theatre, October 1965
- Felix in The Owl and the Pussycat, Criterion Theatre, February 1966
- Chichester Festival season 1967: Francis Archer in The Beaux' Stratagem; Randall Utterword in Heartbreak House; and Fadinard in the Labiche farce An Italian Straw Hat
- Title role in Henry V, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, March 1968
- Vladimir in Waiting for Godot, University Theatre, Manchester, 1968
- Directed A Piece of Cake and Grass Roots at Leatherhead, 1968
- Devised and co-directed We Who Are About To... with George Melly at Hampstead Theatre, February 1969; eight one-act plays presented in a modified form as Mixed Doubles at the Comedy Theatre, April 1969
- Dr Stockman in An Enemy of the People, Harrogate, August 1969
- Directed The Fantasticks, Hampstead, May 1970, and took this production and The Rainmaker to the Ibiza Festival
- Directed The Roses of Eyam and The Taming of the Shrew at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter, 1970
- Gerald in The Formation Dancers, Hampstead Theatre, January 1971
- Frank in Forget-Me-Not Lane (Peter Nichols), Greenwich Theatre, then Apollo Theatre, April 1971
- Macheath in The Threepenny Opera, Stratford Festival, Ontario. 1972
- Dr Rank in A Doll's House, Criterion Theatre, February 1973
- Hildy Johnson in The Front Page. National Theatre production touring Australia, 1974
- Lord Henry Wotton in The Picture of Dorian Gray, Greenwich Theatre, February 1975
- Directed Death of a Salesman, Oxford Playhouse, October 1975
- Astrov in Uncle Vanya, Oxford Playhouse, December 1975
- Jack Manningham in Gaslight, Criterion Theatre, March 1976
- Directed Are You Now or Have You Ever Been...?, Bush Theatre, June 1977
- Directed Flashpoint, New End Theatre, December 1978; May Fair Theatre, February 1979
- Leading role in the 'musical entertainment' Songbook, Globe Theatre, July 1979
- Songbook was at the Angles Theatre, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire for a single performance on a Sunday to raise funds for restoring this Georgian theatre.
- Jim in Passion (Peter Nichols), RSC Aldwych Theatre, January 1981
- Walter Burns in Windy City, Victoria Palace, July 1982
- Richard de Beauchamp in Saint Joan (George Bernard Shaw), National Theatre Olivier, February 1984
- Tudor Phillips in Some Singing Blood, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, March 1992
- Gerry Stratton in Time of My Life (Alan Ayckbourn), Vaudeville Theatre, August 1993
- Dr Feldman in Duet for One revival (Tom Kempinski), Riverside Studios. May 1996
- Etienne in Under the Doctor, Comedy Theatre. February 2001
- Grandpa Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, London Palladium, April 2002
- Vice Versa (1948) - Pupil (uncredited)
- The Browning Version (1951) - Pupil (uncredited)
- Operation Stogie (1959)
- Crash Drive (1959) - Tomson
- Night Train for Inverness (1960) - Scottish Doctor (uncredited)
- The Spider's Web (1960) - Sgt. Jones
- On the Fiddle (1960) - Soldier in NAAFI Canteen (uncredited)
- Tarnished Heroes (1961) - Don Conyers
- Part-Time Wife (1961) - Tom Briggs
- Petticoat Pirates (1961) - Alec
- Girl on Approval (1961) - Snooty Bowler-hatted Neighbour (uncredited)
- Carry On Cruising (1962) - Young Man
- The Traitors (1962)
- The Iron Maiden (1962) - Concierge
- This Sporting Life (1963) - Restaurant Customer (uncredited)
- Carry On Jack (1964) - Hardy
- Comedy Workshop: Love and Maud Carver (1964) - P.R.O. / Window Dresser
- Rotten to the Core (1965) - The Duke
- To Chase a Million (1967) - Max Stein
- The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970) - Tony Alexander
- Scrooge (1970) - Tom Jenkins
- The Day of the Jackal (1973) - Jules Bernard
- Intimate Reflections (1975) - Michael White
- East of Elephant Rock (1977) - Mackintosh
- The Fourth Protocol (1987) - George Berenson
- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) - Inspector Andre
- Impromptu (1991) - Duke D'Antan
- Son of the Pink Panther (1993) - Chief Lazar
- Secret Passage (2004) - Foscari
- The Merchant of Venice (2004) - The Duke
- The Last Drop (2006) - Churchill (uncredited)
- Go Go Tales (2007) - Barfly
- Brambly Hedge as Lord Woodmouse (voice)
- Inspector Maigret, as Radek in episode "Death in Mind" (1962)
- Old Bear Stories as Narrator, Old Bear, Bramwell Brown, Little Bear, Rabbit and many others (voices)
- The Old Curiosity Shop as Dick Swiveller
- The Sentimental Agent, as Mr Fripp in the episode 'The Height of Fashion' (1963). NB: Billed as 'Anton Rogers'.
- The Champions, as Jules in the episode 'Reply Box No 666' (1967).
- Danger Man as Attala
- Man in a Suitcase as Max Stein
- Gideon's Way as Peter in the episode, "The Nightlifers." (1966)
- The Prisoner episode "The Schizoid Man" as Number Two.
- The Saint episode "A Double in Diamonds" (1967) as Pierre
- Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episode 16 "When the Spirit Moves You" as Calvin Bream
- The Elusive Pimpernel (1969) as Sir Percy Blakeney
- The Paz Show as Pappy (voice)
- Upstairs, Downstairs "The Mistress and the Maids" (1972) as Scone
- Thomas & Sarah (1979) episode "Love Into Three Won't Go" as Richard DeBrassey
- Jason King as Philippe de Brion
- The Duchess of Duke Street "A Test of Love" as Newdigate
- Something in Disguise (1982) as John Cole
- Murder Most English (1982) as Detective Inspector Purbright
- Rumpole of the Bailey: Rumpole and the Honourable Member as Ken Aspen
- Lillie as Edward Langtry
- Fresh Fields as William Fields
- French Fields as William Fields
- Noah's Ark as Noah Kirby
- Disraeli as Bentinck
- Zodiac as David Gradley
- After the War as Samuel Jordan
- May to December as Alec Callender
- Midsomer Murders "Market for Murder" as Lord James Chetwood
- Longford (2006) as William Whitelaw
- C. S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia (2005) as C. S. Lewis
- You Can Choose Your Friends (2007) as Ken Snell
- Richard the Lionheart as Sir Kenneth
- Wide-Eye as Wide-Eye, Great Grandma Toad and Father Natterjack (voices)
- "Anton Rodgers Obituary". Legacy.com.
- "Anton Rodgers". Ftvdb.bfi.org.uk. Archived from the original on 15 January 2009.
- "Anton Rodgers". telegraph.co.uk. 3 December 2007. Archived from the original on 3 December 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2007.
- "Actor Anton Rodgers dies aged 74". BBC News Online. 4 December 2007. Archived from the original on 6 December 2007. Retrieved 4 December 2007.
- "Actor had a special bond with town". Archived from the original on 27 September 2015.
- Who's Who in the Theatre: A Biographical Record of the contemporary stage, seventeenth edition, ed. Ian Herbert, Gale Research Co., 1981, p. 582
- "Anton Rodgers Biography (1933-)". Filmreference.com.
- "WATSON Morna E / RODGERS Anton / Kensington 5c 2281" in General Index to Marriages in England and Wales, 1959
- Dennis Barker, Anton Rodgers Actor and director, he starred in TV sitcoms Fresh Fields and May to December (obituary) in The Guardian, 4 December 2007, accessed 12 Oct 2020
- Tim Walker, Miranda Hart plans Christmas special in The Daily Telegraph, 4 Jan 2014, accessed 12 Oct 2020
- "RODGERS BARNABY WILLIAM / GARVIE / WESTMINSTER 15 2761" in General Index to Births in England and Wales, 1981
- Daniel Lombard (2 February 2007). "Anton Rodgers in Monmouth". Southwalesargus.co.uk. Retrieved 3 November 2017.