18 June 1927|
St John's Wood, London, England
4 November 1995 (aged 68)|
Southwark, London, England
|Cause of death||Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma|
|Years active||1940s - 1995|
Patricia Eddington (née Scott)|
(m. 1952 - 1995, his death)
|Children||4 (three sons and one daughter)|
Eddington was born in St John's Wood in London to Albert Clark Eddington and Frances Mary (née Roberts). The family were Quakers, and Eddington was brought up by his parents with strict family values. He attended Sibford School, Sibford Ferris, Oxfordshire. In 1952, he married Patricia (née Scott).
Having registered as a conscientious objector, Eddington began his acting career as a teenager with Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA) during the Second World War. He worked for a repertory theatre company in Sheffield and made his first TV appearance in 1956 as a regular cast member of The Adventures of Robin Hood. Initially he played minor characters, but in the fourth season (1959–60), he played Will Scarlet. He also did roles in episodes of The Avengers (1963), The Prisoner (1967) and the final episode of The Champions (1969). He also had a supporting role in Hammer Films' The Devil Rides Out (1968) and appeared as a "straight man" (substituting for regular stooge Henry McGee) in a 1976 episode of The Benny Hill Show.
Rise to fameEdit
Although he was an actor all his adult life, it was not until Eddington was in his late forties that he became a household name. This happened thanks to The Good Life, first screened by the BBC in 1975. The sitcom focuses on a suburban couple who decide to give up work and become self-sufficient in their suburban garden. Eddington was cast as Jerry Leadbetter, a neighbour of the main characters, and Penelope Keith played his wife, Margo. Originally intended as bit parts, the Leadbetters quickly became essential foils for the two "stars".
Eddington's fame grew further when he played the title role of Jim Hacker in the comedy series Yes Minister (first screened in 1980) and Yes, Prime Minister (1986–88) – said to have been former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's favourite TV programme. He was shortlisted four times for the BAFTA award for Best Light Entertainment Performance for the series, but he lost out to his co-star Nigel Hawthorne on each occasion.
During 1987 Eddington appeared as Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore in Australia. His last roles included Richard Cuthbertson alongside Good Life co-star Felicity Kendal in the TV dramatisation of The Camomile Lawn (1992), the voice of Badger in The Adventures of Mole and Justice Shallow in Henry IV (1995), a BBC adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2. He was reunited with another Good Life co-star Richard Briers in a run of the play Home in 1994.
Awards and honoursEdit
Final years and deathEdit
Eddington's autobiography, So Far, So Good, was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 1995. On 30 October 1995, five days before his death, Eddington made an appearance with Jeremy Isaacs on the television series Face to Face, discussing his life, career and battle with lymphoma. On that show he was asked how he would like to be remembered:
"A journalist once asked me what I would like my epitaph to be and I said I think I would like it to be, 'He did very little harm'. And that's not easy. Most people seem to me to do a great deal of harm. If I could be remembered as having done very little, that would suit me."— Paul Eddington, Face to Face
Eddington had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, known as mycosis fungoides, when he was 28. The ailment was to cause his death eventually, but in the intervening four decades, Eddington and his immediate family kept his condition private. It only became public knowledge in 1994, when Eddington responded to press speculation about his darkening skin and hair loss.
|1959||Jet Storm||Victor Tracer|
|1964||Ring of Spies|
|1968||The Devil Rides Out||Richard Eaton|
|1972||The Amazing Mr Blunden||Vicar|
|1974||Fall of Eagles||George Plekhanov|
- Birth registered (as "Paul Clark Eddington") in Paddington Registration District in the third quarter of 1927. Eddington gave his place of birth as St John's Wood in a Desert Island Discs interview with Roy Plomley in August 1981.
- Benedick, Adam (7 November 1995). "OBITUARY: Paul Eddington". The Independent. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- Brooke, Michael. "Henry IV (1995)". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
- Mackinnon, Ian (1 June 1994). "Actor reveals he has rare skin cancer: 'Yes Minister' star refuses to let illness remove him from centre-stage". The Independent.
- Supplement to The London Gazette, 31 December 1986, p. 8, accessed on 9 December 2013 Archived 6 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
- Face to Face with Jeremy Isaacs Archived 29 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine., shows an excerpt.
- "Tributes flow for Paul Eddington, 'a brave man and a fine actor'". The Independent. 7 November 1995. Retrieved 2014-07-22.
- Who's Who 2009