John Morley Shrapnel (27 April 1942 – 14 February 2020) was an English actor, known mainly for his stage work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre in the United Kingdom and for his many television appearances. One of his well-known roles was Mr. Skinner in the 1996 live-action film 101 Dalmatians.
John Morley Shrapnel
27 April 1942
|Died||14 February 2020 (aged 77)|
Suffolk, United Kingdom
Francesca Ann Bartley
|Children||3, including Lex Shrapnel|
Shrapnel was brought up in Stockport and London, being educated at Mile End School, Stockport where he started acting as a member of the school's drama society, and the City of London School, an independent school for boys in the City of London, where he played Hamlet in the School Play, followed by St Catharine's College, Cambridge, where he obtained an MA.
As a stage actor, Shrapnel was a member of Laurence Olivier's National Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company and appeared as Sir Oliver Surface in The School for Scandal (directed by Deborah Warner) at the Barbican Centre in 2011.
Shrapnel also appeared extensively on television in roles from the 1960s onwards. He played the Earl of Sussex in Elizabeth R and Alexander Hardinge in Edward & Mrs. Simpson. He appeared in Z-Cars, Space: 1999, Inspector Morse, GBH, Coogan's Run, Foyle's War, and many other dramas. He presented an episode of the 1983 BBC television travel series Great Little Railways. He performed in three of the BBC Television Shakespeare plays and as Creon in the BBC's productions of the Three Theban plays (1986) of Sophocles. He also played Pompey in the second episode of Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire and the Jail Warden in The 10th Kingdom.
His film career included roles in Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), Pope Joan (1972), Hennessy (1975), Personal Services (1987), Testimony (1988), How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989), England, My England (1995), 101 Dalmatians (1996) as Mr. Skinner, Notting Hill (1999), The Body (2001), K-19: The Widowmaker (2002), and Alien Autopsy (2006). He has also appeared in historical films such as Gladiator (2000) as Senator Gaius, and in Troy (2004) as Nestor. In Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), he played Lord Howard and The Duchess (2008) as General Grey.
Shrapnel had the rare distinction of appearing in two episodes of Midsomer Murders as two characters in "Death in Chorus" and "Written in Blood." He appeared in Jonathan Creek episode "The Omega Man" as Professor Lance Graumann. He appears in Chemical Wedding alongside Simon Callow, telling the tale of the resurrection of occultist Aleister Crowley. He played John Christie (from a 1980s case) in "Solidarity" of Waking the Dead.
He also had experience in the field of BBC radio drama: He played Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse (opposite Robert Glenister as Sgt. Lewis) and starred in William Gibson's Neuromancer. Shrapnel played the character Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Felsham in the New Tricks episode The Fourth Man (2010). He also narrated episodes of Wild Discovery.
Shrapnel was the son-in-law of Deborah Kerr and Tony Bartley through his 1975 marriage to their younger daughter Francesca Ann Bartley. He and Francesca had three sons, the writer Joe Shrapnel (b. 1976) and the actors Lex Shrapnel (b. 1979) and Tom Shrapnel (b. 1981). Shrapnel lived the last years of his life with his family in Highbury, north London. His ancestor Henry Shrapnel gave the name shrapnel to the English language.
Shrapnel died at his home in Suffolk on Valentine's Day, 14 February 2020. He was 77 years old.
|1971||Nicholas and Alexandra||Petya|
|1972||Pope Joan||Father James|
|1989||How to Get Ahead in Advertising||Psychiatrist|
|England, My England||Samuel Pepys|
|1996||101 Dalmatians||Mr. Skinner|
|1999||Notting Hill||PR Chief|
|2001||The Body||Moshe Cohen|
|2002||K-19: The Widowmaker||Admiral Bratyeev|
|2006||Alien Autopsy||Michael Kuhn|
|Elizabeth: The Golden Age||Lord Howard|
|The Duchess||General Grey|
|2011||The Awakening||Reverend Hugh Purslow|
|1967-1969||Playhouse||Jamie / Schoner||2 episodes|
|1970||Omnibus||Léopold Zborowski||1 episode|
|1971||Elizabeth R||Duke of Sussex||3 episodes|
|1972||The Organization||John Wimbourne||1 episode|
|1974||Crown Court||John Claudius||1 episode|
|1974||Justice||Roger Anderson||1 episode|
|1975||Space: 1999||Captain Jack Tanner||1 episode|
|1976||Z-Cars||George Stonehouse||1 episode|
|1977||The Three Hostages||Gaudian||Television film|
|1978||Edward & Mrs. Simpson||Major Alexander Hardinge||Miniseries, 5 episodes|
|1980||Armchair Thriller||Vincent Craig||6 episodes|
|1981||Private Schulz||German Newsreel Reader||3 episodes|
|1982||The Woman in White||Sir Percival Glyde||5 episodes|
|1983||My Cousin Rachel||Ambrose Ashley||4 episodes|
|1983-1984||Wagner||Semper||Miniseries, 3 episodes|
|1984||Horizon||Cyril Burt||1 episode|
|1984||Sorrell and Son||Thomas Roland||Miniseries, 6 episodes|
|1985||Mr. Palfrey of Westminster||Adrian Vyner||1 episode|
|1985-1995||Screen Two||Various||3 episodes|
|1986||Oedipus the King||Creon||BBC-TV|
|1987||Vanity Fair||Lord Steyne||5 episodes|
|1989||About Face||Donald||1 episode|
|1989||Blackeyes||Detective Blake||Miniseries, 3 episodes|
|1990||Centrepoint||Claude Wareing||Miniseries, 4 episodes|
|1990||The Tragedy of Flight 103: The Inside Story||BKA Police Chief||Television film|
|1991||Young Catherine||Archimandrite Todorsky||Television film|
|1991||G.B.H.||Dr. Jacobs||Miniseries, 3 episodes|
|1991||Selling Hitler||Gerd Schulte-Hillen||Miniseries, 4 episodes|
|1992||The Good Guys||Jerry Rushbridge||1 episode|
|1992||Between the Lines||D.A.C. Dunning||Main cast, 6 episodes|
|1993||Crime Story||Roy Hall||1 episode|
|1994||The Chief||Dan Cheyney||1 episode|
|1994||Fatherland||General Globus||Television film|
|1995||Kavanagh QC||Mr. Justice Griffin||1 episode|
|1995||Coogan's Run||Douglas Crown||1 episode|
|1996||Wycliffe||Dr. Sam Malvern||1 episode|
|1996-1997||Bodyguards||Commander Alan MacIntyre||Main cast, 7 episodes|
|1997||Inspector Morse||Dr. Julian Storrs||1 episode|
|1998-2006||Midsomer Murders||Max Jennings / Leo Clarke||2 episodes: "Written in Blood" & "Death in Chorus"|
|1998||Invasion: Earth||Air Marshal Bentley||Miniseries, 3 episodes|
|1999||Mary, Mother of Jesus||Simon||Television film|
|1999||Jonathan Creek||Professor Lance Graumann||1 episode|
|1999||Hornblower||General François de Charette||1 episode, "The Frogs and the Lobsters"|
|2000||The 10th Kingdom||Governor of Prison||Miniseries, 3 episodes|
|2001||The Gentleman Thief||Monty Sinclair||Television film|
|2002||Foyle's War||Raymond Brooks||1 episode: "A Lesson in Murder"|
|2003||Spine Chillers||Nick||1 episode|
|2004||I Am Not an Animal||Narrator||Voice, Miniseries, 6 episodes|
|2006||Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire||Pompey||Miniseries, 1 episode: "Caesar"|
|2007||The Last Detective||Billy Palmer||1 episode|
|2007||The Inspector Lynley Mysteries||Sergeant Mike McCaffrey||1 episode: "Limbo"|
|2008||The Palace||PM Edward Shaw||Recurring role, 4 episodes|
|2008||Apparitions||Cardinal Bukovak||Miniseries, 5 episodes|
|2010||New Tricks||DAC John Felsham||1 episode|
|2011||Waking the Dead||John Christie||2 episodes: "Solidarity"|
|2012||Merlin||The Sarrum||1 episode|
|2017||King Charles III||Archbishop of Canterbury||Television film|
- "John Shrapnel Biography (1942-)". www.filmreference.com. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
- John Shrapnel. EnglishMovies.co.uk. Retrieved: 2 June 2014.
- Profile on 4. BBC Radio 4. Broadcast: 23 November 1996. Retrieved: 2 June 2014.
- Michael Billington (22 May 2011). "The School for Scandal - review". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
- "John Shrapnel, versatile and intelligent actor on stage, film and television – obituary". The Telegraph. 19 February 2020.
- Coveney, Michael (18 February 2020). "John Shrapnel obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 February 2020.