Michael Goodliffe

Lawrence Michael Andrew Goodliffe (1 October 1914 – 20 March 1976) was an English actor known for playing suave roles such as doctors, lawyers and army officers. He was also sometimes cast in working class parts.

Michael Goodliffe
Painted by Aubrey Davidson-Houston in the role of Hamlet, performed while a POW in Germany.
Lawrence Michael Andrew Goodliffe

(1914-10-01)1 October 1914
Died20 March 1976(1976-03-20) (aged 61)
Wimbledon, London, England
Years active1936–1976
Spouse(s)Dorothy Margaret Tyndale 1945-1976 (3 Children)


Goodliffe was born in Bebington, Cheshire, the son of a vicar, and educated at St Edmund's School, Canterbury, and Keble College, Oxford. He started his career in repertory theatre in Liverpool before moving on to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford upon Avon. He joined the British Army at the beginning of the Second World War, and received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in February 1940. He was wounded in the leg and captured at the Battle of Dunkirk. Goodliffe was incorrectly listed as killed in action, and even had his obituary published in a newspaper.[1] He was to spend the rest of the war a prisoner in Germany.

Whilst in captivity he produced and acted in (and in some cases wrote) many plays and sketches to entertain fellow prisoners. These included two productions of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, one in Tittmoning and the other in Eichstätt, in which he played the title role. He also produced the first staging of Noël Coward's Post-Mortem at Eichstätt. A full photographic record[2] of these productions exists.

After the war he resumed his professional acting career. As well as appearing in the theatre, he worked in film and television. He appeared in The Wooden Horse in 1950 and in other POW films. His best-known film was A Night to Remember (1958), in which he played Thomas Andrews, designer of the RMS Titanic. His best-known television series was Sam (1973–75) in which he played an unemployed Yorkshire miner. He also appeared with John Thaw and James Bolam in the 1967 television series Inheritance.

Suffering from depression, Goodliffe had a breakdown in 1976 during the period that he was rehearsing for a revival of Equus. He committed suicide a few days later by leaping from a hospital fire escape while a patient at the Atkinson Morley Hospital in Wimbledon, which has been converted to residential use and is now called 'Wimbledon Hill Park'.[1]



Year Title Role Notes
1955 The Lark play by Jean Anouilh The inquisitor BBC Sunday Night Theatre
1957 The Adventures of Peter Simple Peter's Uncle 4 episodes
1963 Maigret Dr Javet Episode: Maigret's Little Joke
1963 The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre Episode: "The £20,000 Kiss"
1967 Inheritance William Oldroyd 10 Episodes
1969 Callan Hunter 5 Episodes (Series 2)
1969 Judge Dee Judge Dee 6 Episodes
1969 Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) Arthur de Crecy Episode 13 "But What a Sweet Little Room"
1970 The Woodlanders (BBC Series - lost) George Melbury ? Episodes
1973 Sam Jack Barraclough 39 episodes


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